WILLEY, Waitman Thomas (1811-1900)

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 expulsion 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.

Pierpont Morgan Library
New York, NY
Papers: 1881. 2 items.

University of Virginia
Alderman Library
Charlottesville, VA
Papers: 1867-1870. 2 letters. Also portrait.

Virginia Historical Society
Richmond, VA
Papers: Miscellaneous items in various collections.

West Virginia Division of Culture and History
Charleston, WV
Papers: 1 speech (1863) and 1 item.

West Virginia University
West Virginia and Regional History Collection
Morgantown, WV
Papers: 1830-1900. 8 feet. Correspondence on political, social, and economic affairs, and 2-volume diary. Topics include the temperance movement in Virginia, the Civil War, and the West Virginia statehood movement.
Additional Papers: Correspondence in James Monroe Ingalls service records, 1865-1898, on 1 microfilm reel; and speeches in Agnes N. Preston collection, 1783-1932, 1952.

  • Ambler, Charles Henry. Waitman Thomas Willey, Orator, Churchman, Humanitarian; Together with a History of Wesley Methodist Church, Morgantown, West Virginia. Huntington, WV: Standard Print & Publishing Co., 1954.
  • Bayless, R.W. "Peter G. Van Winkle and Waitman T. Willey in the Impeachment Trial of Andrew Johnson.'' West Virginia History 13 (January 1952): 75-89.
  • Willey, Waitman Thomas. A Sketch of the Life of Philip Doddridge. Morgantown, WV: Morgan & Hoffman, 1875.