WILSON, William Lyne

WILSON, William Lyne
Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object


WILSON, William Lyne, a Representative from West Virginia; born near Charles Town, Jefferson County, Va. (now West Virginia), May 3, 1843; attended Charles Town Academy; was graduated from Columbian College (now George Washington University), Washington, D.C., in 1860 and subsequently studied in the University of Virginia at Charlottesville; during the Civil War served in the Confederate Army as a private in the Twelfth Virginia Cavalry; taught for several years in Columbian College, during which time he was graduated from its law school; was admitted to the bar in 1869 and commenced practice in Charles Town, W.Va.; delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1880; chosen president of the West Virginia University at Morgantown and entered upon the office September 4, 1882; elected as a Democrat to the Forty-eighth and to the five succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1883-March 3, 1895); chairman, Committee on Ways and Means (Fifty-third Congress); Postmaster General in the Cabinet of President Cleveland and served from April 4, 1895, to March 5, 1897; president of the Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va.; died in Lexington, Rockbridge, County, Va., October 17, 1900; interment in Edgehill Cemetery, Charles Town, W.Va.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Washington and Lee University Library
Special Collections

Lexington, VA
Papers: 1848-1849, 13 items. Letters of William Wilson, agent representing Hoover and Frick, a milling firm located near Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. Among the topics discussed are news of the grain market in Baltimore, Maryland, and other major cities on the east coast; political news and events in Europe and Mexico; the effects of the California gold rush on the east coast; and cattle and grain prices.
Papers: 1852-1901, approximately 550 items. Includes letters from the Civil War period; correspondence of Wilson while he was Congressman from West Virginia, Postmaster General under Cleveland, and President of Washington and Lee University; 3 bound, indexed volumes of Wilson's official correspondence (copies) as Postmaster General; 6 diaries; miscellaneous papers and printed speeches; 38 letters from the University of West Virginia collection (microfilm); photograph.
Papers: 1862-1980, 0.4 linear foot. The collection of William Lyne Wilson include three manuscript diaries, 1862-1863, which were written while Wilson was serving in the 12th Virginia Cavalry. Also includes reviews of books about Wilson, correspondence about Wilson by his biographers and descendants, genealogy information on Wilson's mother, and eight xeroxed letters from Wilson to Waitman Barbe, 1891-1899.
Papers: 1894-1900, 26 items. Items of W.L. Wilson with Isidor Straus concerning politics and events at Washington and Lee; includes 4 letters from J.A. Lapham to her sister, Amelia H. Scorah, 1874-1875.
Papers: In the William McLaughlin Papers, 1851-1898, approximately 38 items. Other authors include William Lyne Wilson.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library

Springfield, IL
Papers: 1895, 1 item. A letter from President Grover Cleveland to William L. Wilson written on July 20, 1895. In the letter, President Cleveland approves suggestions for postmaster appointments, with the exception of Fred K. Bastian of Fulton, Illinois, whom Cleveland does not favor.

Brooklyn Historical Society

Brooklyn, NY
Papers: May 4, 1895. 1 letter. Finding aid in repository.

Massachusetts Historical Society

Boston, MA
Papers: In the Edmund Rice and Family Papers, 1845-1966, 0.5 cubic foot. Other authors include William Lyne Wilson.
Papers: In the William Eustis Russell Papers, ca. 1846-1920; 24 boxes, 22 volumes, and 10 extra tall volumes. Correspondents include William L. Wilson.
Papers: In the Palemon Jared Smalley Papers, 1863-1944, 0.5 cubic foot. Other authors include William Lyne Wilson.

The Morgan Library and Museum

New York, NY
Papers: 1895, 1 item. Person represented includes W.L. Wilson.

New-York Historical Society

New York, NY
Papers: 1889-1897. 11 letters. Finding aid in repository.

West Virginia University Library

Morgantown, WV
Papers: 1862-1900. 3 boxes and 13 reels of microfilm. In part copies of original privately owned and in other repositories. Correspondence, diaries, manuscripts of writings, newspaper clippings, and miscellaneous papers. Restricted.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Summers, Festus P. William L. Wilson and Tariff Reform. New Brunswick, N.J,: Rutgers University Press, 1953.

Tull, Thomas R. "The Shift to Republicanism: William L. Wilson and the Election of 1894." West Virginia History 37 (October 1975): 17-33.

Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va. The inauguration of William Lyne Wilson, LL., D. as President of Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va., September 15, 1897. Lynchburg, Va.: J. P. Bell Company, printers, [1897].

Williams, John Alexander. "The Final Confrontation of Henry G. Davis and William L. Wilson and in the Election Campaign of 1894." West Virginia History 32 (October 1970): 1-9.

Wilson, William Lyne. Borderland Confederate. Edited by Festus P. Summers. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1962. Reprint, Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1973.

------. The Cabinet diary of William L. Wilson, 1896-1897. Edited by Festus P. Summers. With an introduction by Newtom D. Baker. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, [1957].

------. The Morrison bill-reduction of taxes ... Speech of Hon. William L. Wilson, of West Virginia, in the House of Representatives, Monday, May 5, 1884. [Washington: Government Printing Office, 1884].

------. The National Democratic party: Its history, principles, achievements, and aims. With special treatment of the position of the party on the living issues of to-day. Baltimore, Md.: H. D. Harvey & Co., [1888]. Reprint, Philadelphia: Hubbard Brothers, 1889.

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Committee Assignments

  • House Committee - Ways and Means - Chair
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