Waller Redd Staples

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Waller Redd Staples (February 24, 1826 – August 21, 1897) was a Virginia lawyer and politician who was briefly a member of the Virginia General Assembly before the American Civil War, became a Congressman serving the Confederate States of America during the war, and became a law professor at Washington and Lee University and justice of the Virginia Court of Appeals.[1]

Early and family life[edit]

Staples was born in Patrick County, Virginia. He attended the University of North Carolina for two years and then entered the College of William and Mary from which he graduated in 1845.


After graduation and admission to the Virginia bar, Staples moved to Montgomery County, Virginia to begin the practice of law.

In 1854–1855, Staples represented Montgomery County in the Virginia House of Delegates as a Whig. In the latter year, he ran for the United States House of Representatives in the 12th district as a Know Nothing, but lost to the Democratic incumbent, Henry A. Edmundson.[2]

After Virginia's secession from the Union and acceptance into the Confederate States, Staples was named a delegate to the Provisional Confederate States Congress. He was elected to the First and Second Confederate Congresses, serving in the Confederate House of Representatives from 1862 to the end of the war. When it ended, he resumed his law practice in Montgomery County.

In February, 1870, he was elected to the Supreme Court of Appeals to a twelve-year term. However, in 1882, the Readjuster Party controlled the state legislature, and none of the judges on the Court of Appeals were re-elected. However, when the Readjuster Party lost power, Judge Staples served as a member of the committee to revise the civil and criminal laws of Virginia in 1884. In 1893-94, Staples was president of the Virginia Bar Association. He was also one of the revisors 1887 Code of Virginia, along Edward C. Burks and John W. Riely, both of whom also served as Justices on the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia.

While a judge, Staples served as a member of Washington and Lee University School of Law's faculty from 1877 to 1878. Governor Fitzhugh Lee appointed Staples to the board of visitors of Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College in Blacksburg on January 1, 1886, and his fellows members elected him rector on January 23, 1886, although he only served an additional year.[3]

Death and legacy[edit]

Staples died in Christianburg in 1897, and was buried in Roanoke's Evergreen Cemetery.[4] His nephew Abram Penn Staples Sr. of Roanoke served on the Washington and Lee University law faculty, and Abram Penn Staples Jr. served on the Virginia Court of Appeals.


  1. ^ http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/stanwood-starin.html Political graveyard
  2. ^ Kromkowski, Charles A. "The Virginia Elections and State Elected Officials Database Project". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  3. ^ Kinnear, Duncan L. The First 100 Years: A History of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Blacksburg: Virginia Polytechnic Institute Educational Foundation, 1972. Print. p. 119
  4. ^ https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=10539047