William Joseph Robertson, May 10, 1859-February 8, 1865

William Joseph Robertson
Oil on canvas, 27 x 22 in., by Eliphalet F. Andrews, undated
Location: Hearing Room A

Born December 30, 1817 in Culpeper County, Virginia
Died May 27, 1898 in Charlottesville, Virginia

Elected by popular vote on April 14, 1859 to fill the vacancy created by the death of Green Berry Samuels and began his service on May 10, 1859. Service terminated by the defeat of the Confederacy and the adoption of the Virginia Constitution of 1864, ratified under the auspices of the Restored loyal government meeting in Alexandria.

University of Virginia, LL.B., 1842

Professional career:
Private practice of law in Charlottesville, Virginia, 1843-1859, 1865-1898
Commonwealth’s attorney, Albemarle County, 1852-1859
Director, Virginia Central Railroad
Associate counsel to James G. Fields, Attorney General of Virginia, Ex Parte Virginia, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1879; and Virginia v. Rives, decided in 1880.
First president, Virginia State Bar Association, 1888-1890

Further reading/Research collections

Elected, A Proclamation by the Governor of Virginia, The Daily Dispatch, (Richmond, Va.), May 11, 1859, col. 7, retrieved on March 26, 2014; defeated J.B. Baldwin, of Augusta, and Richard Parker, of Frederick, in election held on April 14, 1859, Judicial Election, The Daily Dispatch (Richmond, Va.), April 7, 1858, col. 2, retrieved on March 26, 2014; birth, death, education, and career, memorial and resolutions of the Albemarle County Bar Association, published in 97 Va., v-ix; University of Virginia School of Law, Class of 1842 University of Virginia Catalogue, 1841-1842: Law, 4th Session, University of Virginia Law Library, Special Collections; portrait, Ray O. Hummel, Jr., and Katherine M. Smith, Portraits and Statuary of Virginians Owned by the Virginia State Library, the Medical College of Virginia, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Other State Agencies (Richmond, Va.: The Virginia State Library, 1977), 104. Robertson’s portrait was acquired from his family through former court president Lunsford L. Lewis on December 5, 1901 (Order Book 32, p. 494).