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Colvill, Jr., William J.



Map of Red Wing
Red Wing, MN

House 1865 (District 9); House 1878 (District 16)

Party when first elected:  Not Available

Counties Served:  Goodhue

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Date of Birth: 4/5/1830 Date of Death: 6/13/1905
Birth Place: Forestville, New York Birth County: Chautauqua Birth Country: United States
Other Names:
Alternate Spelling of Last Name:  Colville
Gender:  Male Religion:  Episcopalian
City of Residence (when first elected):  Red Wing

Occupation (when first elected):  Lawyer/Colonel/Former Editor; Red Wing Sentinel, Democratic Newspaper

EDUCATION

Fredonia Academy, New York; Secondary; Graduate
Read Law; Offices of Future U.S. President Millard Fillmore and Haven, Buffalo, New York; Admitted to the Bar, 1851

OTHER GOVERNMENT SERVICE

County GovernmentGoodhue County, Minnesota (County Clerk) ??/??/18?? to ??/??/18??
Territorial GovernmentMinnesota Territorial Council (Enrolling Clerk) ??/??/185? to ??/??/185?
Territorial GovernmentMinnesota Territorial Council (Secretary of the Council) ??/??/1856 to ??/??/1856
Military1st Minnesota Voluntary Infantry, Company F (United States Civil War, Bull Run, Wounded in Chest and Right Foot, Battle at Gettysburg; Wounded in Left Shoulder at Glendale; Captain, when he first enlisted; Major, Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel, May 1863) 04/29/1861 to 05/05/1864
Military1st Minnesota Heavy Artillery (Colonel, Brevetted Brigadier General) ??/??/1865 to ??/??/1865
State Attorney GeneralMinnesotaElected01/08/1866 to 01/??/1868
U.S. Executive BranchUnited States Land Office, Duluth, Minnesota (Register of Land Office, Federal Registrar, Appointed by President Cleveland)Appointed??/??/1887 to ??/??/18??

FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Spouse: Single (when first elected); Jane Elizabeth Morgan (married in 1867, she died on November 13, 1894)
Children:
Family Members Who Have Served in the Minnesota Legislature:

GENERAL NOTES

Toensing, and the Minnesota Legislative Manual, 1878 list his last name as Collville. The Minnesota Historical Society says it is actually Colvill. The Minnesota Journal of the House, 1865 lists Colvill. The Minnesota Legislative Manual, 1865 lists both Collville and Colvill.

He was of Scottish and Irish ancestry.

He moved to Red Wing, Minnesota in the spring of 1854.

He was disabled on July 2, 1863 during the United States Civil War at the Battle of Gettysburg and was permanently crippled from his wounds.

"William Covill, a Civil War hero who led the First Minnesota regiment in its famous charge at Gettysburg, was injured in that battle when a shell fragment hit his back and a bullet went through his foot. He limped and used a cane the rest of his life. After the war, Covill was elected state attorney general and ran for Congress." (Kimball, Joel. "Council's Sesquicentennial Brochure Highlights Lives of Early Minnesotans with Disabilities." MinnPost, June 24, 2008.)

He was listed as a Democrat on the list of members posted after the 1877 election. ("The Next Legislature." St. Paul Pioneer Press, November 10, 1877)

He ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic candidate to the United States Congress in 1866. He lost to Ignatius Donnelly.

"Colvill served a term in the Minnesota House of Representatives (1865) and as state attorney general (January 1866 through December 1867) as a member of the Union Party, an organization philosophically close to the Republican slant." (Minnesota History, Summer 2009, p. 269)

"He could never overcome the fact that he was a Democrat in a heavily Republican state." (Minnesota History, Summer 2009, p. 269)

He was honored with a bronze statue in the Minnesota State Capitol in 1909. Colville Township, Minnesota was named for him in 1906. Colvill Park in Red Wing, Minnesota was named after him.

His body was lain in state in the west corridor of the State Capitol on June 14, 1905. He was the first person to lie in state in the third State Capitol soon after it opened in 1905.

He died in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota at the Veteran's Home. He was in town for a reunion of the 1st Minnesota soldiers. His funeral was held at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. He was buried in Cannon Falls, Minnesota.

Religion provided by his obituary.

Legislative Session: 20th (1878)   Session Details
Body: House Elected: 11/6/1877 Term of Office: 1/8/1878 to 1/6/1879
District: 16 Residence: Red Wing
Counties Represented: Goodhue
Occupation: Lawyer
Party: Democratic Party Notes: He was listed as a Democrat on the list of members posted after the 1877 election. ("The Next Legislature." St. Paul Pioneer Press, November 10, 1877)
Committees:
Judiciary
Military Affairs

Legislative Session: 7th (1865)   Session Details
Body: House Elected: 11/8/1864 Term of Office: 1/3/1865 to 1/1/1866
District: 09 Residence: Red Wing
Counties Represented: Goodhue
Occupation: Lawyer/Colonel/Former Editor; Red Wing Sentinel, Democratic Newspaper
Party: Not Available
Committees:
Banks
Judiciary
Military Affairs (Chair)
Printing

Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, 645 State Office Building, Saint Paul, MN  55155