MORRISON, William Ralls, (1824 - 1909)


MORRISON, William Ralls, a Representative from Illinois; born on a farm at Prairie du Long, near the present town of Waterloo, Monroe County, Ill., September 14, 1824; attended the common schools and McKendree College, Lebanon, Ill.; served in the war with Mexico; went to California with the gold seekers in 1849, but returned to Illinois in 1851; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1855 and commenced practice in Waterloo, Ill.; clerk of the circuit court of Monroe County, Ill., 1852-1854; member of the State house of representatives 1854-1860, 1870, and 1871, and served as speaker in 1859 and 1860; organized and was colonel of the Forty-ninth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, during the Civil War; while in command of his regiment in the field was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-eighth Congress (March 4, 1863-March 3, 1865); unsuccessful candidate in 1864 for reelection to the Thirty-ninth Congress and in 1866 for election to the Fortieth Congress; continued the practice of law in Waterloo, Ill.; elected to the Forty-third and to the six succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1873-March 3, 1887); chairman, Committee on Ways and Means (Forty-fourth, Forty-eighth, and Forty-ninth Congresses), Committee on Public Lands (Forty-fifth Congress), Committee on Expenditures in the Department of the Treasury (Forty-sixth Congress); unsuccessful candidate for the United States Senate in 1885; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1886 to the Fiftieth Congress; delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1856, 1868, 1884, and 1888; also a delegate to the Union National Convention at Philadelphia in 1866; appointed in 1887 by President Cleveland a member of the Interstate Commerce Commission; reappointed by President Harrison on January 5, 1892, and served from March 22, 1887, to December 31, 1897; was chairman of the commission from March 19, 1892, to the end of his term; resumed the practice of law in Waterloo, Monroe County, Ill., and died there September 29, 1909; interment in Waterloo Cemetery.


Bibliography

Robbins, David E. “The Congressional Career of William Ralls Morrison.'' Ph.D. diss., University of Illinois, 1963.