Age at Convention: 32
Date of Birth: 1755
Date of Death: March 17, 1813
Schooling: Read law at Inner Temple (London) 1776
Occupation: Politician, Lawyer, Planter
Prior Political Experience: Confederation Congress 1783-1786, State Legislature of Georgia 1783-1787
Committee Assignments: Third Committee of Representation
Convention Contributions: Arrived June 1, departed the Convention on August 6 and did not return. Voted against the creation of the Committee which drafted the Connecticut Compromise. William Pierce stated that “Nature seems to have done more for his corporeal than mental powers. His Person is striking, but his mind very little improved with useful or eloquent knowledge.”
New Government Participation: Took no active role in the new government.
Biography from the National Archives:William Houstoun was the son of Sir Patrick Houstoun, a member of the council under the royal government of Georgia. He was born in 1755 in Savannah, GA. Houstoun received a liberal education, which included legal training at Inner Temple in London. The War for Independence cut short his training, and Houstoun returned home to Georgia. For many years members of Houstoun’s family had been high officials in the colony. With the onset of war, many remained loyal to the crown, but William, a zealous advocate of colonists’ rights, was among the first to counsel resistance to British aggression.
Houstoun represented Georgia in the Continental Congress from 1783 through 1786. He was chosen as one of Georgia’s agents to settle a boundary dispute with South Carolina in 1785 and was one of the original trustees of the University of Georgia at Athens.
When the Constitutional Convention convened in 1787, Houstoun presented his credentials as one of Georgia’s delegates. He stayed for only a short time, from June 1 until August 6, but he was present during the debate on the representation question. Houstoun split Georgia’s vote on equal representation in the Senate, voting “nay” against Abraham Baldwin’s “aye.”
Houstoun died in Savannah on March 17, 1813, and was interred in St. Paul’s Chapel, New York City.
* indicates delegates who did not sign the Constitution
William Samuel Johnson – Roger Sherman – Oliver Ellsworth (Elsworth)*
George Read – Gunning Bedford, Jr. – John Dickinson – Richard Bassett – Jacob Broom
William Few – Abraham Baldwin – William Houstoun* - William L. Pierce*
James McHenry – Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer – Daniel Carroll – Luther Martin* - John F. Mercer*
Nathaniel Gorham – Rufus King – Elbridge Gerry* - Caleb Strong*
John Langdon – Nicholas Gilman
William Livingston – David Brearly (Brearley) - William Paterson (Patterson) - Jonathan Dayton – William C. Houston*
Alexander Hamilton – John Lansing, Jr.* - Robert Yates*
William Blount – Richard Dobbs Spaight – Hugh Williamson – William R. Davie* - Alexander Martin*
Benjamin Franklin – Thomas Mifflin – Robert Morris – George Clymer – Thomas Fitzsimons (FitzSimons; Fitzsimmons) - Jared Ingersoll – James Wilson – Gouverneur Morris
John Rutledge – Charles Cotesworth Pinckney – Charles Pinckney – Pierce Butler
Rhode Island did not send delegates to the Convention.
John Blair – James Madison Jr. – George Washington – George Mason* - James McClurg* - Edmund J. Randolph* - George Wythe*