Born in Williamsburg, Virginia, WILLIAM HODGES MANN attended Brownsburg Academy and became Deputy Clerk of Nottoway County, Virginia. He left his position to serve in the 12th Virginia Infantry of the Confederate Army, but returned to his clerkship after being injured at the Battle of Seven Pines. He was chosen Commonwealth’s Attorney for Nottoway and in 1870 was elected the first County Judge of Nottoway County, serving in that position until 1892. He also was a member of the Virginia Senate during most of its sessions from 1899 to 1910. As a state senator, he was instrumental in securing the passage of legislation to provide the caliber of public support for high schools that existed for primary and postsecondary education. He also authored the “Mann Bill,” which resulted in the closure of saloons in 70 of 100 Virginia counties. Elected governor in 1909, he personally favored Prohibition but felt that liquor control should be handled at the local level. And during his administration, a bill providing for a referendum on statewide prohibition was narrowly defeated in the Virginia Senate. Mann also pressed to widen the scope of agricultural demonstration work, promoting progress in scientific agriculture and helping to disseminate knowledge to farmers. And he hosted the Governors’ Conference of 1912 in Richmond, where governors adopted Articles of Organization for their new association. After leaving office, he became president of the Citizens’ Bank at Blackstone and President of the Bank of Crewe.
Mann, Etta. Four Years in the Governor’s Mansion of Virginia, 1910-1914. Richmond: Dietz Press, 1937.
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. 14. New York: James T. White & Company.
Washington Post, December 13, 1927, p. 2 (obituary).
Washington Post, December 14, 1927, p. 2 (obituary).
Washington Post, December 15, 1927, p. 3 (obituary).
Younger, Edward and Moore, James Tice, eds. The Governors of Virginia, 1860-1978. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1982.