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William Gilliam

Member From: 1871 - 1875

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  • Bio: William Gilliam served in the House of Delegates from 1871 to 1875. He represented Prince George County, where he was born to a free African American couple. Gilliam was a farmer who owned a four-acre tract of land on the outskirts of Petersburg; he was elected to the first of two consecutive terms in the House of Delegates in 1871. Identified in newspaper reports as a Radical Republican, Gilliam was active in the assembly and introduced numerous bills, although only one—authorizing a Prince George County business to construct a pier on the James River—passed. When he ran for a third term in 1875, some ballots in his district were lost and others were not reported; his Conservative opponent was declared the winner and seated despite Gilliam’s request for a recount. After this, Gilliam appeared to withdraw from partisan politics. He moved with his family to New York City, where he died in 1893.
Session District District Number Party Leadership Committees
1871-1873 Prince George Manufactures and Mechanic Arts
1874-1875 Prince George Republican Manufactures and Mechanic Arts
Propositions and Greivances

*The information within this interactive and searchable application has been researched extensively by the House Clerk’s Office. As with any historical records of this age and breadth, there may be discrepancies and/or inconsistencies within records obtained from a variety of credible sources. Any feedback is encouraged at history@house.virginia.gov.

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