James WICKERSHAM, Congress, AK (1857-1939)


WICKERSHAM, James, a Delegate from the Territory of Alaska; born in Patoka, Marion County, Ill., August 24, 1857; attended the common schools; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1880 and commenced practice in Springfield, Sangamon County, Ill.; served in the Governor’s guards, Springfield Militia; moved to Washington Territory in 1883; probate judge of Pierce County, Wash., 1884-1888; city attorney of Tacoma, Wash., in 1894; member of the State house of representatives in 1898; moved to Eagle, Alaska, when appointed United States district judge for the Territory of Alaska in 1900; moved to Nome in 1901, to Valdez in 1902, and to Fairbanks in 1903; served as district judge until January 1908, when he resigned to run for Congress; elected as a Republican to the Sixty-first and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1909-March 3, 1917); successfully contested the election of Charles A. Sulzer to the Sixty-fifth Congress and served from January 7 to March 3, 1919; successfully contested the election of Charles A. Sulzer to the Sixty-sixth Congress and served from March 1, to March 3, 1921, succeeding George B. Grigsby, who had qualified on credentials of a special election held to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Mr. Sulzer, which occurred while the contest was pending; was not a candidate for renomination in 1920; moved to Juneau, Alaska, in 1921 and resumed the practice of law; elected to the Seventy-second Congress (March 4, 1931-March 3, 1933); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1932 to the Seventy-third Congress; continued the practice of law in Juneau, Alaska; writer on ethnological and historical subjects; editor of Alaska Territory Law Reports, and of Old Yukon and Alaskan literature; died in Juneau, Alaska, October 24, 1939; remains were cremated and the ashes deposited in Old Tacoma Cemetery, Tacoma, Wash.


Atwood, Evangeline. Frontier Politics: Alaska’s James Wickersham. Portland, Ore.: Binford and Mort, 1979.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present