William N. Runyon was born in Plainfield, New Jersey on March 5, 1871. His education was attained at Yale University, where he graduated in 1892, and at New York Law School, where he earned an LL.B. degree in 1894. Runyon first entered politics as a member of the Plainfield Common Council, a position he held from 1897 to 1898. He also served as city judge of Plainfield from 1899 to 1910; was a member of the New Jersey House of Representatives from 1915 to 1917; and served as a member and president of the New Jersey State Senate from 1918 to 1922. On May 16, 1919 Governor Walter E. Edge resigned from office, and Runyon, who was president of the senate at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. He served in this capacity until January 13, 1920. After making an unsuccessful bid for the governor’s office in 1922, Runyon secured an appointment to serve on the U.S. District Court bench, a position he held from 1923 to 1931. Governor William N. Runyon passed away on November 9, 1931, and was buried in the Hillside Cemetery in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.