William H. Haywood, Jr. (1801 – 1852)

A Democrat Senator who served from 1843 until 1846, William H. Haywood, Jr., was born to the affluent Haywood family on October 23, 1801. Haywood studied at the Raleigh Male Academy, and he later attended the University of Chapel Hill. After his graduation in 1819, Haywood read law and was admitted to the bar in 1822.

Haywood became an attorney in Raleigh during the 1820s, and he later served in the N.C. House of Commons in 1831 and again from 1834 until 1836. During his last year in the legislature, he served as Speaker of the House. Haywood entered national politics after a brief time in state politics.

President Martin Van Buren nominated William Haywood to serve as Charge d’Affaires to Belgium, but Haywood declined. Instead of working as a diplomat, Haywood decided to run for the United States Senate. As a Democrat candidate, Haywood was elected to the Senate.  He served from March 4, 1813 until his resignation in July 25, 1846. He resigned because he refused to follow the N.C. legislature’s instruction on the tariff vote.

After he retired from the U.S. Senate, William Haywood became involved in the 1848 presidential election. Haywood, who supported the Free Soiler party, voiced his support behind the former president Martin Van Buren and Charles Adams. Despite Haywood’s support of Van Buren, the Free Soiler gained only sixty votes, and Whig Zachary Taylor won North Carolina’s electoral votes.

Haywood practiced law in Raleigh, North Carolina, before his death on October 7, 1852. The North Carolina senator was interred at the Old City Cemetery in Raleigh.


“Free Soilers.” William S. Powell, ed. Encyclopedia of North Carolina (University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill, NC 2006).

“Haywood, William Henry, Jr.,.” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=h000411, (accessed April 25, 2012).