Biography of William H. Whittlesey

WM. H. WHITTLESEY.- This popular young gentleman, who has brought to our coast a business capacity and enthusiasm of progress which augers well for the city in which he has made his home, was born in Virginia August 8, 1858, and is a son of the gallant Major Joseph H. Whittlesey of the United States Army. The mother, Kate K. Fauntleroy, belonged to one of the first families of the Old Dominion.

The son William, of whom we write, remained in the south while his father, the major, was transferred to the Department of the Columbia, having command of Fort Dalles; and his grandfather, General Fauntleroy, was in command at Vancouver, and later at Benicia, California.

Upon the outbreak of the Civil war, the family returned to their old home; and after this fearful political storm was over, and the year of 1872 reached, our subject, now become an ambitious youth, went to Princeton College, graduating with honor four years later, then being but eighteen years of age. Repairing to Washington City, he entered the Columbia Law School, securing a legal education, and also filling a position as clerk in the War Department at the Capitol.

Seeking a career at the West, he came to Leadville, Colorado; and, being admitted to practice in the supreme court of the state, he entered upon professional work. With the facility of the Western man, he also engaged in mining. In 1882 he saw the greater opportunities upon our coast, and came to Puget Sound, stopping at Whatcom and later at Seattle. In 1885 he selected Port Townsend, Washington Territory, as his future home, and entered the customs service as deputy collector. Resigning the year following, he began his grip upon the great business of that section as ticket, freight and express agent for the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, acting also as their customs attorney, and having special charge of the shipment of all particularly valuable cargoes, such as teas. In 1886 he had so far advanced in reputation and public favor as to be elected probate judge and justice of the peace, and was also appointed clerk of the district court, a position which he still holds. He was appointed the same year as disbursing agent for the custom-house, whose payments aggregate nearly a quarter of a million dollars. From 1883 to 1886 he was secretary of the Bellingham Bay Railway & Navigation Company.

Mr. Whittlesey has recently severed his connection with the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, and now devotes his whole energy and enthusiasm to the real-estate business. He is exceedingly sanguine as to the future of Port Townsend; and his confidence is of that contagious character which is worth thousands or millions of dollars to an aspiring city.

In a public capacity he has born his full share, having acceptably filled the position of secretary of the state central committee of the Democratic party. He has also served as vestryman for the past three years at St. Paul’s church. He has a delightful home, with all the surroundings of comfort and refinement; and with his wife, Lillian Bell, of Zanesville, Ohio, and their two boys, he enjoys a most happy, domestic life.

MLA Source Citation:

History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889. Web. 31 January 2015. - Last updated on May 21st, 2011

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