Born in Waterbury, Vermont, WILLIAM PAUL DILLINGHAM studied law and began practicing in his father’s law office before becoming president of the Waterbury National Bank. He was also a trustee of the University of Vermont and a director of the National Life Insurance Company in Montpelier. He began his service in the public sector as a State’s Attorney for Washington County in 1872 and 1874. He was also Secretary of Civil and Military Affairs from 1874 to 1876, a state representative in 1876 and 1884, a state senator in 1878 and 1880, and State Tax Commissioner from 1882 to 1888. During his term as governor, he focused on education, supporting legislation for the election of a State Superintendent of Education. Also while he was in office, a State Hospital for the Insane was established and a law was enacted banning betting on elections. He went on to serve as Chairman of the U.S. Immigration Commission from 1907 to 1910. In addition, after being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1900 to fill a vacancy, he was reelected in 1903, 1909, 1914, and 1920. He died in Montpelier and was buried in his home town of Waterbury.
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. 8. New York: James T. White & Company.