McCONNELL, William John (1839-1925)

MCCONNELL, WILLIAM JOHN, a Senator from Idaho; born in Commerce, Oakland County, Mich., September 18, 1839; pursued an academic course; moved to California in 1860 and engaged in mining, the cattle business, merchandising, and banking; resided in Oregon in 1862 and 1863 and taught school in Yamhill County; moved to Idaho in 1863; deputy United States marshal 1865-1867; returned to Oregon and was engaged in the cattle business; member, Oregon State senate 1882, and served as president; returned to Idaho in 1886; member of the constitutional convention of Idaho in 1890; upon the admission of Idaho as a State into the Union was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate and served from December 18, 1890, to March 3, 1891; was not a candidate for renomination; Governor of Idaho 1892-1896; appointed Indian inspector by President William McKinley in 1897 and served until 1901; appointed by President William Taft an inspector in the Immigration Service in 1909 and served until his death in Moscow, Idaho, on March 30, 1925; interment in Moscow Cemetery.

Idaho State Historical Society
Boise, ID
Papers: 1892-1896. 2 feet. Gubernatorial records including correspondence, subject files, proclamations, and miscellany. Also in John James Burns papers, 1896-1918.

Latah County Historical Society
Moscow, ID
Papers: [1925]-[198-]. 9 items. Miscellaneous items relating to McConnell including 1 deposition [1882] of McConnell recounting his days as a vigilante in the Boise area, a position paper (May 1, 1883) on relocation of the county seat of Nez Perce County, and clippings in the Lola Gamble Clyde papers, [19--].

University of Idaho Library
Special Collections and Archives
Moscow, ID
Papers: 1890-1925. 1 scrapbook. Includes correspondence, certificates of election, photographs, telegrams, and newspaper clippings.

  • Lauterbach, Margaret. "A Plentitude of Senators.'' Idaho Yesterdays 21 (Fall 1977): 2-8.
  • Lindstrom, Joyce, ed. Idaho's Vigilantes. Moscow: University Press of Idaho, 1984. Excerpts from McConnell's The Early History of Idaho, and articles by James S. Reynolds.
  • McConnell, W.J. The Early History of Idaho. Caldwell, ID: Caxton Printers, 1913.
  • McConnell, William John, and Howard Roscoe Driggs. Frontier Law: A Story of Vigilante Days. 1924. Reprint, with new preface by Thomas J. Ward. New York: AMS Press, 1974.