WILLIAM HENRY MC MASTER was born in Ticonic, Iowa. He attended public school in Sioux City, Iowa and Beloit College in Wisconsin from 1895 to 1899. He began a career in banking as a cashier, becoming president of a banking chain in South Dakota in 1910. He served in the South Dakota House of Representatives from 1911 to 1913 and in the South Dakota Senate from 1913 to 1917, after which he served as Lieutenant Governor for four years before being elected governor. Having been a friend to farmers as a banker, McMaster continued his support of the farming community as governor. He fought, for example, to revise tax levies and to provide state guaranteed credit to help relieve the burden on agriculture, and he waged a successful battle against high gasoline prices. After serving two terms as governor, he chose not to seek reelection, instead winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, where he served from 1925 until 1931. He then moved to Illinois, where he served first as vice president, then as president, and finally as chairman of the board of Dixon National Bank.
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. 55. New York: James T. White & Company.