William B. Allison

William B. Allison

Infobox Senator
name=William Boyd Allison

jr/sr=United States Senator
term=March 4, 1873 – August 4, 1908
preceded=James Harlan
succeeded=Albert B. Cummins
date of birth=March 2, 1829
place of birth=Perry, Ohio, USA
date of death=August 4, 1908
place of death=Dubuque, Iowa, USA
spouse=Anna Carter Allison Mary Neally Allison
profession=Politician, Lawyer

William Boyd Allison (March 2, 1829 – August 4, 1908) was an American lawyer and politician.

Early life and career

Born in Perry, Ohio, Allison had an excellent grade school education (somewhat rare in those times). Afterward, he spent a year at Allegheny College (Pennsylvania), then graduated from Western Reserve College in Ohio in 1849. He then studied law and began practicing in 1852. He did so in his hometown of Ashland until 1857. In that year, he moved to
Dubuque, Iowa (his place of death), where he took a prominent part in Republican politics.

Civil War

In 1860, Allison was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Chicago, which nominated Abraham Lincoln for President of the United States.

During the subsequent Civil War, he was on the staff of Iowa Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood, who ordered him to help the state raise regiments for the war (he personally helped raise four regiments). He also served as a lieutenant colonel during the war, although it was unlikely he actually served in uniform.

Allison was elected to the United States House of Representatives as the representative of Iowa's 3rd congressional district in 1862, in the midst of the war. As a congressman he pushed for higher tariffs.

Political career

Following the war, Allison continued to serve in the house until 1871, when he declined to be a candidate for renomination, having unsuccessfully sought election to the U.S. Senate, losing to George G. Wright.

In 1873 he was elected by the legislature to represent the state of Iowa in the United States Senate and was reelected in 1878, 1884, 1890, 1896, and 1902. From 1881–93 and again from 1895, he was chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, where he had great influence. He was also a member of the Senate Committee of Indian Affairs, and the Committee on Engrossed Bills, and was a cosponsor of the Bland-Allison Act of 1878, which passed over the veto of President Rutherford B. Hayes. It remained unchanged until the Sherman Act of 1890. He became chairman of the Senate Republican Conference in 1897.

He was twice asked to serve as the Secretary of the Treasury, first by President James Garfield, then by President Benjamin Harrison, and his name was floated up for the position of President of the United States.

Allison was married twice. The first marriage was to Anna Carter, who died in 1859, four years after the marriage. His second marriage was to Mary Neally, who died in 1883, ten years after their marriage. Although Allison was a rich man, he did not spend much time thinking about money-making; rather, he was very focused on public and political affairs.

At the time of his death, Allison still held his Senate seat, having been in the Senate for thirty-five consecutive years. He is interred in Linwood Cemetery in Dubuque, Iowa. The Allison-Henderson Park in Dubuque was named in honor of Allison and fellow Dubuque icon, U.S. Speaker of the House David B. Henderson.


*CongBio|A000160 Retrieved on 2008-02-14

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