James Wickersham

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
James Wickersham
Territorial Delegate to U.S. House of Representatives from Alaska
In office
March 4, 1931 – March 3, 1933
Preceded by Daniel Sutherland
Succeeded by Anthony Dimond
In office
March 1, 1921 – March 3, 1923
Preceded by George Barnes Grigsby
Succeeded by Daniel Sutherland
In office
January 7, 1919 – March 3, 1919
Preceded by Charles August Sulzer
Succeeded by Charles August Sulzer
In office
March 4, 1909 – March 3, 1917
Preceded by Thomas Cale
Succeeded by Charles August Sulzer
Personal details
Born (1857-08-24)August 24, 1857
Patoka, Illinois, U.S.
Died October 24, 1939(1939-10-24) (aged 82)
Juneau, Alaska Territory, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Deborah
Profession judge
Flag of Alaska
History of Alaska
Prehistory
Russian America (1733–1867)
Department of Alaska (1867–1884)
District of Alaska (1884–1912)
Territory of Alaska (1912–1959)
State of Alaska (1959–present)
Other topics
Wickersham's courthouse in Eagle. Wickersham moved the Third District court headquarters to Fairbanks in 1903.
Judge Wickersham (center) in council with Indian chiefs, Fairbanks, Alaska

James Wickersham (August 24, 1857 – October 24, 1939) was a district judge for Alaska, appointed by U.S. President William McKinley to the Third Judicial District in 1900. He resigned his post in 1908 and was subsequently elected as Alaska's delegate to Congress, serving until 1917 and then being re-elected in 1930. He was instrumental in the passage of the Organic Act of 1912, which granted Alaska territorial status, introduced the Alaska Railroad Bill, legislation to establish McKinley Park, and the first Alaska Statehood Bill in 1916. He was among those responsible for the creation of the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, which later became the University of Alaska. A residence hall on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus is named in his honor.

Wickersham was born near Patoka, Illinois and moved in 1883 with his wife, Deborah, to Tacoma, Washington Territory. He was a Judge in Tacoma, Washington before going to Alaska. While in Tacoma he was a member of the Tacoma Academy of Science and was President of that organization in 1893. He presented a paper to the Academy on 6 Feb, 1893, entitled, Is it Mount Tacoma, or Rainier? During the presentation the "following prominent Indians representing the Puyallup, Nesqually and Klickitat tribes were seated on the platform: George Leschi, son of Quiemuth, a leader in the Indian war of 1855; Jack Simmons; John Hiaton, one of the patriarchs of the reservation, 80 years of age, and a signer of the treaty of 1854; Mrs. John Hiaton and John Powers". The presentation has been reproduced by a digital file created at the Library of Congress.[1]

The new Third District covered some 300,000 square miles (780,000 km2); it had no roads, no public buildings, and almost no U.S. currency. The district court and its officials were the only civilian government, besides town functionaries, in the whole of the interior. In addition to traveling his own circuit, the district judge was expected to procure land and materials to construct his own courthouse and jails. It was fortunate that his duties also included the collection of mercantile and saloon license fees, for Congress had provided no other funds for the construction and operation of the court.

Wickersham made the first climbing attempt on Mount McKinley in 1903. To finance it, he wrote and published a single issue of a newspaper called The Fairbanks Miner, dated May 1903.[2] He chronicled the expedition, which was aborted at 8,000 feet (2,400 m), in his book Old Yukon: Tails, Trails, and Trials, which also recorded his life as a judge in Alaska. The Wickersham Wall on Mount McKinley was named after him.

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ Is it Mount Tacoma, or Rainier? Originally published in Tacoma: News Publishing Company 1893, reproduced by the Library of Congress from a digital file.
  2. ^ Carroll, Tony (January 28, 2005), A Judge's Life: Opened for the world to read, Juneau Empire 


United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Thomas Cale
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alaska Territory

March 4, 1909 – March 3, 1917
Succeeded by
Charles August Sulzer
Preceded by
Charles August Sulzer
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alaska Territory

January 7, 1919 – March 3, 1919
Succeeded by
Charles August Sulzer
Preceded by
George Barnes Grigsby
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alaska Territory

March 1, 1921 – March 3, 1921
Succeeded by
Daniel Sutherland
Preceded by
Daniel Sutherland
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alaska Territory

March 4, 1931 – March 3, 1933
Succeeded by
Anthony Dimond