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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Person, William

by Sue Dossett Skinner, 1994

30 Nov. 1734–1778

William Person, planter and member of the colonial Assembly and Provincial Congress, the son of William and Ann Person, was born in Surry County, Va. When he was a small child, he moved with his parents to North Carolina and spent his life in Granville (later Bute and now Warren) County. Among his large landholdings were six grants from Earl Granville.

William Person succeeded his brother, Benjamin, on 16 Dec. 1771 as representative of Bute County in the colonial Assembly and was reelected for three successive sessions, serving until 1774. He then became a member of the first four Provincial congresses, which held sessions at New Bern in 1774 and 1775, at Hillsborough in 1775, and at Halifax in 1776. In the latter body he held a variety of committee posts. In addition, he was a justice of the Bute County Court.

On 2 Sept. 1759 in Granville County he married Martha Eaton (b. 1742), the daughter of Colonel William and Martha Rives Eaton. Their children were Sarah (b. 30 July 1760, m. William Vaughan), Martha (b. 19 Jan. 1763, m. William Johnson), William (19 July 1765–1857, m. Elizabeth Holman), Thomas (b. 17 Feb. 1768), Mary (b. 15 Dec. 1771, m. one Williams), and Benjamin Eaton (b. 5 Mar. 1774). Person died in Bute County.


W. C. Allen, History of Halifax County (1918). (accessed July 21, 2014).

Samuel A. Ashe, History of North Carolina, vol. 1 (1908), and ed., Biographical History of North Carolinavol. 7 (1908).

Bute County Records, Estate Papers, Granville County Records, and Warren County Records (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh).

John L. Cheney, Jr., North Carolina Government, 1585–1979 (1981).

Walter Clark, ed., State Records of North Carolina, vols. 11 (1895), 13–15 (1896–98), 17 (1899), 19 (1901), 22–23 (1907, 1904). (accessed July 21, 2014).

Raleigh Register, 25 Nov. 1800.

William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vols. 6 (1888), 8–10 (1890). (accessed July 21, 2014).

George F. Walker, Person Lineage (1951).

Manly Wade Wellman, The County of Warren, North Carolina, 1586–1917 (1959).

John H. Wheeler, Historical Sketches of North Carolina (1851). July 21, 2014).

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