About William Henson Wallace
William Henson Wallace (July 19, 1811 in Troy, Ohio – February 7, 1879 in Steilacoom, Washington Territory) was an important figure in the early histories of two U.S. states, serving as governor and Congressional delegate from both Washington Territory and Idaho Territory.
Wallace's older brother David Wallace served as a Whig Governor of Indiana from 1837 to 1840. Wallace's nephew was Lew Wallace, Civil War Union general and author of Ben-Hur.
After being admitted to the bar, Wallace moved to the Iowa District of Wisconsin Territory in 1837. He was elected to the Iowa Territorial Legislature after Iowa Territory was organized the following year. Wallace was appointed colonel of state troops and receiver of public money at Fairfield. Wallace ran an unsuccessful campaign for delegate from Iowa Territory in 1843. In 1848 he was a candidate for United States Senate from the new State of Iowa, but the Iowa Legislature instead selected Democrats George W. Jones and Augustus C. Dodge. Wallace moved to Washington Territory in 1853.
In 1861 Wallace was appointed governor of Washington Territory by President Abraham Lincoln, but was also elected the territory's delegate to the United States House of Representatives and never took office. Wallace served a single term representing Washington Territory in the House.
Shortly after his term expired in March 1863, Lincoln appointed Wallace governor of the new Idaho Territory. Wallace designated Lewiston as the territory's capital and arrived there in July. Later that year, Wallace was elected as the delegate from Idaho Territory and again vacated his gubernatorial appointment to serve in the House.
Wallace was reputedly one of several people who turned down an invitation from Lincoln to accompany him to Ford's Theatre on the night Lincoln was assassinated.
After his term expired in March 1865, Wallace returned to Washington Territory where he served as a probate judge in Pierce County until his death in 1879. Wallace is buried in Fort Steilacoom Cemetery.