Hugh Williamson, a native of Pennsylvania, was educated as a Presbyterian minister, but was never ordained. In 1764 he began the study of medicine and set up practice in Philadelphia. He went to Europe, and then eventually settled in Edenton, NC as a merchant and doctor. During the Revolution, Williamson was appointed surgeon-general for the NC troops. After the Revolution, he began a political career, being a member of the NC House of Commons, and then the Continental Congress. Williamson was an original trustee of UNC-Chapel Hill, and prominent organizations in New York City. In 1793, he moved to New York City where he engaged in literary pursuits.