WILLIAM HASELDEN ELLERBE was born in Marion, South Carolina. After attending Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, he became both a planter and businessman. He was twice elected Comptroller General of South Carolina. After mounting one unsuccessful campaign for governor in 1894, he went on to win the first gubernatorial race in which a statewide primary election was held. During Ellerbe’s administration, South Carolina raised troops to fight in the Spanish-American War. At the same time, all railroads operating in the state were required to provide separate cars for blacks and whites. Ellerbe was elected to a second term in November 1898 and died in office seven months later.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 12. New York: James T. White & Company.