Waitman Thomas WILLEY
Senate Years of Service:1861-1863; 1863-1865; 1865-1871
Party:Unionist; Unconditional Unionist; Republican
WILLEY, Waitman Thomas, a Senator from Virginia and from West Virginia; born in Monongalia County, Va., in what is now a part of Marion County, W.Va., October 18, 1811; graduated from Madison (Pa.) College in 1831; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1833 and commenced practice in Morgantown, Va. (now West Virginia); appointed clerk of the county court of Monongalia County in 1841 and later clerk of the circuit superior court, and held both positions until 1852; delegate to the Virginia constitutional convention in 1850 and 1851; elected as a Unionist to the United States Senate from Virginia to fill the vacancy caused by the retirement of James M. Mason and served from July 9, 1861, to March 3, 1863; chairman, Committee on Enrolled Bills (Thirty-seventh Congress); delegate to the State constitutional convention of West Virginia; upon the admission of West Virginia as a State into the Union was elected as a Unionist to the United States Senate; reelected in 1865 as a Republican and served from August 4, 1863, to March 3, 1871; chairman, Committee on Engrossed Bills (Thirty-ninth Congress), Committee on Patents and the Patent Office (Thirty-ninth and Fortieth Congresses); again served as clerk of the county court of Monongalia County 1882-1896; retired from public life; died in Morgantown, W.Va., May 2, 1900; interment in Oak Grove Cemetery.
BibliographyAmerican National Biography; Dictionary of American Biography; Ambler, Charles. Waitman Thomas Willey, Orator, Churchman, Humanitarian. Huntington, W.Va.: Standard Print and Publishing Co., 1954; Bayless, R.W. “Peter Van Winkle and Waitman T. Willey in the Impeachment Trial of Andrew Johnson.” West Virginia History 13 (January 1952): 75-89.
Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present