William David Upshaw

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William David Upshaw, c. 1919

William David Upshaw (October 15, 1866 – November 21, 1952) served eight years in Congress (1919–1927), where he was such a strong proponent of the temperance movement that he became known as the "driest of the drys.".

He was born on October 15, 1866 and served as vice-president of the Georgia Anti-Saloon League in 1906 and played a major role in passage of state-wide prohibition in that state in 1907, making it the first dry state in the South. The defense of prohibition was a major factor in the establishment of the second Ku Klux Klan ("Klan of the 1920s") in 1915. However, Upshaw was not sympathetic with the Klan, and, on one occasion, ran against a Klan-supported candidate for public office.

Known as the "Billy Sunday of Congress," Upshaw was supported politically by the most powerful names in Southern Protestantism, including evangelist Bob Jones, Sr., the founder of what eventually became Bob Jones University. Upshaw served as a member of the Board of Trustees from the founding of Bob Jones College in Lynn Haven, Florida in 1927 until he was dropped from the Board in 1932 because of failure to attend the annual Board meetings or file his voting proxies. (See William David Upshaw Correspondence file, Bob Jones University Archives, Mack Library.)

In 1932, he was the Prohibition Party candidate for the presidency of the United States, losing to Franklin D. Roosevelt, who favored repeal of prohibition. For the remainder of his life he was a strong supporter of the prohibition of alcoholic beverages.

In February 1951 at the age of 84 Upshaw claimed he was supernaturally and miraculously healed after being crippled for 66 years in a William Branham Healing Service.[1] He died on November 21, 1952.

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United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William S. Howard
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 5th congressional district

March 4, 1919 – March 4, 1927
Succeeded by
Leslie J. Steele