William H. Wallace

For Confederate general with a similar name, see William Henry Wallace.
William H. Wallace
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from Idaho Territory's at-large district
In office
February 1, 1864  March 3, 1865
Preceded by District created
Succeeded by Edward Dexter Holbrook
1st Governor of Idaho Territory
In office
March 10, 1863  February 1, 1864
Preceded by (none)
Succeeded by Caleb Lyon
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from Washington Territory's at-large district
In office
March 4, 1861  March 3, 1863
Preceded by Isaac Stevens
Succeeded by George E. Cole
4th Governor of Washington Territory
In office
Preceded by Richard D. Gholson
Succeeded by Wiliam Pickering
Personal details
Born July 19, 1811
Troy, Ohio
Died February 7, 1879(1879-02-07) (aged 67)
Steilacoom, Washington Territory
Political party Republican
Residence Tacoma
Profession Attorney

William Henson Wallace (July 19, 1811 – February 7, 1879) was an important figure in the early histories of two U.S. states, serving as governor and Congressional delegate from both Washington Territory and Idaho Territory.


Wallace was born July 19, 1811, near Troy, Ohio. He attended in the common schools of Indiana, studied law, was admitted to the bar and began practicing law. He married Luzanne Brazelton and had three children, two girls who died in infancy and one son.[1] Wallace's older brother David Wallace served as a Whig Governor of Indiana from 1837 to 1840. Wallace's nephew was Lew Wallace, Civil War Union general and author of Ben-Hur.


After being admitted to the bar, Wallace moved to the Iowa District of Wisconsin Territory in 1837. He was elected to the Iowa Territorial Legislature as a Whig after Iowa Territory was organized the following year.[2] Wallace was appointed colonel of state troops and receiver of public money at Fairfield. Wallace ran an unsuccessful campaign for delegate from Iowa Territory in 1843. In 1848 he was a candidate for United States Senate from the new State of Iowa, but the Iowa Legislature instead selected Democrats George W. Jones and Augustus C. Dodge. Wallace moved to Washington Territory in 1853. Sometime during the early 1850s, he befriended Abraham Lincoln and they remained good friends until Lincoln's death.[3]

In 1861 Wallace was appointed governor of Washington Territory by President Lincoln, but was also elected the territory's delegate to the United States House of Representatives and never took office as governor. He was the first Republican chosen for those roles in Washington Territory. Wallace served a single term representing Washington Territory in the House. During his term, he got Congress to establish Idaho as a territory. Shortly after his term expired in March 1863, Lincoln appointed Wallace governor of the new Idaho Territory and he took office July 10, 1863.[3]

Wallace designated Lewiston as the territory's capital and arrived there in July. Later that year, Wallace was elected as the delegate from Idaho Territory and again vacated his gubernatorial appointment to serve in the House.[2]

Wallace was reputedly one of several people who turned down an invitation from Lincoln to accompany him to Ford's Theatre on the night Lincoln was assassinated.


After his term expired in March 1865, Wallace returned to Washington Territory where he served as a probate judge in Pierce County until his death in 1879. Wallace is buried in Fort Steilacoom Cemetery, Steilacoom, Pierce County, Washington, USA.[4]


  1. "William H. Wallace". The Moss Back Tripod. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  2. 1 2 "William H. Wallace". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  3. 1 2 "William H. Wallace" (PDF). Idaho State Historical Society. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  4. "William H. Wallace". Find A Grave. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
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United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Isaac I. Stevens
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington

Succeeded by
George E. Cole
Preceded by
office created
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
from Idaho

Succeeded by
Edward D. Holbrook
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