William Lyne Wilson
|William Lyne Wilson|
|Wilson pictured in The Calyx 1898, Washington & Lee yearbook|
|37th United States Postmaster General|
March 1, 1895 – March 5, 1897
|Preceded by||Wilson S. Bissell|
|Succeeded by||James A. Gary|
May 3, 1843|
Charles Town, Virginia, USA
|Died||October 17, 1900
Lexington, Virginia, USA
|Political party||Bourbon Democrat|
|Alma mater||George Washington University|
|Profession||Politician, Lawyer, Soldier, Professor, University president|
|Service/branch||Confederate States Army|
|Unit||12th Virginia Cavalry|
|Battles/wars||American Civil War|
Born in Charles Town, Virginia (now West Virginia), Wilson attended Charles Town Academy, graduated from the Columbian College of the George Washington University in 1860 and subsequently studied at the University of Virginia. During the Civil War, he enlisted in the Confederate Army and served as a private in the 12th Virginia Cavalry. For several years, he taught school at Columbian College during which he graduated from law school and was admitted to the bar in 1869, commencing practice in Charles Town.
Wilson was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1880 and was chosen as president of West Virginia University, taking office on September 4, 1882. He was elected a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives shortly afterwards and won reelection five times afterwards, serving from 1883 to 1895. He served as chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means from 1893 to 1895 during which he co-authored the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act which slightly reduced the United States tariff rates from the numbers set by the McKinley Tariff of 1890, though the logrolling that raised the rates disgusted him.
After leaving Congress, Wilson was appointed Postmaster General in the cabinet of President Grover Cleveland and served from 1895 to 1897. During that time, future Secretary of War Newton D. Baker served as his private secretary. In 1896, he broke party lines by opposing the Free Silver Movement led by Democratic presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan and, like many Bourbon Democrats, supported the National Democratic candidate John McAuley Palmer who supported the traditional gold standard, limited government and opposed protectionism.
After leaving office as Postmaster General, Wilson served as president of Washington and Lee University. He died in Lexington, Virginia, on October 17, 1900 and was interred in Edgehill Cemetery in Charles Town. A portion of U.S. Route 340 between Harpers Ferry and Charles Town, West Virginia, is designated the William L. Wilson Freeway in his honor.
- William Lyne Wilson at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress Retrieved on 2008-10-19
- Beach, Chandler B., ed. (1914). "Wilson, William Lyne". The New Student's Reference Work. Chicago: F. E. Compton and Co.
|United States House of Representatives|
John B. Hoge
|Member from West Virginia's 2nd congressional district
March 4, 1883 – March 4, 1895
Alston G. Dayton
Wilson S. Bissell
|United States Postmaster General
Served under: Grover Cleveland
April 4, 1895 – March 5, 1897
James A. Gary
George Washington Custis Lee
|President of Washington and Lee University
Henry St. George Tucker III