William H. James

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William Hartford James (October 5, 1831 – February 1, 1920) was a Republican Nebraska politician best known as the Acting Governor of Nebraska. He was also a member of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Board of Regents during his tenure as Governor.

James was born at Marion, Ohio. He attended the public school and Marion Academy for two years[1] and worked on the family farm. He began studying law on his own, and in 1853, James moved to Des Moines, Iowa and joined a law firm. He was admitted to the Iowa Bar Association in 1855 and moved to Sergeant Bluff to start his own legal practice. He married Louisa Epler and they had four children.[2]


In 1857 James moved to Nebraska and staked a homestead claim in Dakota County. He soon became active in local politics, serving as Justice of the Peace and County Attorney for Dakota County. In 1864 President Abraham Lincoln appointed James as register of the Dakota County Land Office. After serving as register of the Dakota County Land Office for five years, James then ran on the Republican ticket and was elected Secretary of State in 1870. In 1871, with the impeachment of Governor David Butler, James became Acting Governor of Nebraska until January 13, 1873.[3] He was a member of the University of Nebraska board of regents from 1871 to 1873.[4]


After serving out his term as acting Governor, James returned to his legal practice. In 1877 he was appointed register of the Colfax, Washington Land Office. He held that position until his death. He is interred in Colfax, Washington.[5]


  1. ^ "William H. James". The Encyclopedia of Nebraska. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "William H. James". National Governors Association. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "William H. James". World Trade Press. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "William H. James". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  5. ^ "William H. James". National Governors Association. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas P. Kennard
Nebraska Secretary of State
1871 – 1873
Succeeded by
John J. Gosper
Preceded by
David Butler
Acting Governor of Nebraska
1871 – 1873
Succeeded by
Robert Wilkinson Furnas