House 1865 (District 9); House 1878 (District 16)
Party when first elected: Not Available
|Date of Birth: 04/05/1830
||Date of Death: 06/13/1905
|Birth Place: Forestville, New York
||Birth County: Chautauqua
||Birth Country: United States
|Alternate Spelling of Last Name: Colville|
|City of Residence (when first elected):
Occupation (when first elected):
Lawyer/Colonel/Former Editor; Red Wing Sentinel, Democratic Newspaper
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 Government||Goodhue County, Minnesota (County Clerk)|| ||??/??/18?? to ??/??/18??
|Territorial Government||Minnesota Territorial Council (Enrolling Clerk)|| ||??/??/185? to ??/??/185?
|Territorial Government||Minnesota Territorial Council (Secretary of the Council)|| ||??/??/1856 to ??/??/1856
|Military||1st 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
|Military||1st Minnesota Heavy Artillery (Colonel, Brevetted Brigadier General)|| ||??/??/1865 to ??/??/1865
|State Attorney General||Minnesota||Elected||01/08/1866 to 01/??/1868
|U.S. Executive Branch||United States Land Office, Duluth, Minnesota (Register of Land Office, Federal Registrar, Appointed by President Cleveland)||Appointed||??/??/1887 to ??/??/18??
Single (when first elected); Jane Elizabeth Morgan (married in 1867, she died on November 13, 1894)
Family Members Who Have Served in the Minnesota Legislature:
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.