Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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UPTON, William W., jurist., born in Victor, New York, 11 July, 1817. He removed with his parents to Michigan in 1837, and in 1845 was admitted to the bar, and elected treasurer of Clinton county. He was elected to the state legislature in 1847, was appointed district attorney for Ingham county in 1848, and was elected for two terms of two years each in 1849 and 1851. He resigned this office in 1852 and went to California, where he settled first at Weaverville, and in 1855 in Sacramento. He was elected a representative in the legislature of California in 1856, and was prosecuting attorney of Sacramento county from 1861 till 1864. In 1865 he removed to Portland, Oregon, and was at once elected a member of the legislature on the Republican ticket. He had been a Democrat until' the civil war. He was appointed associate justice of the supreme court of Oregon in 1867, and was elected to that office for a term of six years in 1868. In 1872 the legislature ordered more than eighty of his nisi prius decisions to be printed and bound with the decisions of the supreme court, and he became chief justice the same year. He declined a renomination in 1874 and resumed the practice of his profession. In the presidential controversy of 1876, the vote of Oregon being in doubt, the Republicans practically rested their case before the electoral commission on a decision that had been rendered by Judge Upton upon the question of the power of the governor of Oregon to exercise judicial functions. A majority of the supreme court of the state differed with him, but the electoral commission sustained his view. In 1877 he was appointed second comptroller of the treasury of the United States, but in 1885 he resigned, and resumed the practice of his profession in Washington. He has published a "Digest of Decisions of the Second Comptroller of the Treasury, 1869 to 1884" (Washington, 1885).
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