PACA, William (1740-1799)

PACA, WILLIAM, a Delegate from Maryland; born at ``Wye Hall,'' near Abingdon, Queen Anne (now Harford) County, Md., October 31, 1740; was graduated from Philadelphia College in 1759; studied law in Annapolis, Md., and in the Middle Temple, London, England; was admitted to the bar in 1764; returned home and commenced the practice of his profession at Annapolis in 1764; member of the provincial assembly 1771-1774; Member of the Continental Congress 1774-1779; a signer of the Declaration of Independence; served in the state senate 1777-1779; chief judge of the superior court of Maryland 1778-1780; chief justice of the court of appeals in prize and admiralty cases 1780-1782; governor of Maryland from November 1782 to November 1785; was influential in establishing Washington College in Chestertown, Md., in 1786; delegate to the state convention in 1788 which ratified the Federal Constitution; appointed by President Washington as judge of the United States Court for Maryland and served from 1789 until his death at ``Wye Hall,'' Queen Anne County, Md., October 23, 1799; interment in the family burial ground, Queen Anne County, Md.

Duke University
Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections
Durham, NC
Papers: 1782-1783, 4 items.
The collection consists of four letters addressed to William Paca. Most are requests from various persons, e.g., a British prisoner asking for his freedom and permission to settle in Annapolis with his family, a Maryland Representative writing on behalf of a woman seeking restitution for personal losses to the British, and a Baltimore man seeking an official pass to visit New York City on business. Another letter inventories the losses in the 1783 fire at the Annapolis armory.


The John Work Garrett Library Evergreen House
Baltimore, MD
Papers: In the Signers Collection, 1770-1826, 60 documents.
Subjects include William Paca. A container list is available in the repository.


Library of Congress
Manuscripts Division
Washington, DC
Papers: In the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection, 1784-1789, 2 items.
The two items are from William Paca.

Papers: In the George Washington Papers, 1741-1799, 215.2 linear feet.
Correspondents include William Paca. A finding aid is available in the library.

Papers: In the Henry A. Willard II Collection, ca. 1743-1888, 0.8 linear foot.
Persons represented include William Paca. A finding aid is available in the library.


The Morgan Library
Department of Literary and Historical Manuscripts
New York, NY
Papers: 1774, 1 item.
A document signed by William Paca on June 26, 1774.

Papers: 1783, 1 item.
A letter from William Paca to Rev. William White, written on June 27, 1783.

Papers: 1787, 1 item.
A letter from William Paca to Rev. Dr. White, written on February 3, 1787.

Papers: In the W.C. Ford Collection, 1795, 1 item.
An document from William Paca to Mr. Aquila Brown, written on December 12, 1795.


The Rosenbach Museum & Library
Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 1783, 1 item.
A petition from Thomas Church to the governor and Council of Maryland written on June 4, 1783.

Papers: 1784, 1 item.
A draft order for the Western Shore Treasurer to pay 300 pounds to Thomas Johnson, Jr., Paymaster, from funds appropriated for the defense of the Chesapeake Bay. The order is signed by Governor William Paca and members of his council on January 16, 1784. Thomas Johnson's receipt is on the verso.

Papers: In the Signers of the Declaration of Independence Autograph Collection, 1756-1818, 56 items.
Other authors include William Paca.


University of Maryland
Archives and Special Collections
College Park, MD
Papers: In the State and Local Government Records, Maryland Manuscripts Collection, 1704-1949, 343 items.
Individuals represented include William Paca.


University of Virginia
The Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
Charlottesville, VA
Papers: 1776, 2 items.
A letter from Stephen Hopkins to the Committee of Observation at Amboy written on March 26, 1776. A modern reproduction of an engraving of Stephen Hopkins accompanies the letter. The letter is in the hand of William Paca and is co-signed by fellow Continental Congressmen Thomas Johnson and Stephen Hopkins.

Papers: 1782, 2 items.
A letter from William Paca to Joseph Harrison written on March 8, 1782. The letter also includes an engraving of William Paca. Also in the letter, William Paca requests that Joseph Harrison purchase a tombstone and William Paca will have the letters engraved in Philadelphia. He notes that the "England" is about to sail with a cargo of rum and that his [factor?], Mr. Crookshanks, believes there is enough stock on hand to pay the cost.

  • Stiverson, Gregory A., and Phebe R. Jacobsen. William Paca, A Biography. Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1976.
  • To the People of Maryland: The Following Facts. Disclosing the Conduct of the Late Convention of Maryland, is Submitted to the Serious Consideration of the Citizens of the State... [Annapolis: Frederick Green, 1788].