Archer, William B.

Born: 1793-01-30 Scott County, Kentucky

Died: 1870-08-09 Marshall, Illinois

Born in Kentucky, William Beatty Archer and his family entered land along the Wabash River in the Illinois Territory in 1817 and established a farm in what was to be Clark County two years later. Archer served as the clerk of the Clark County Commissioners’ Court and the Clark County Circuit Court. During the Black Hawk War, he recruited a company of volunteers and served as a captain in the Illinois militia. Archer served in the Illinois General Assembly from 1825 to 1843 but lost elections for U.S. Congress in 1832 and lieutenant governor in 1834. In 1835, Joseph Duncan and Archer purchased federal land in Clark County, and they founded the town of Marshall where the National Road crossed the newly established Chicago-Vincennes state road. In 1836, Governor Joseph Duncan appointed Archer to the Board of Canal Commissioners, which oversaw the construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal. A member of the Illinois constitutional convention held in 1847, Archer also served as the vice president for Illinois delegates to the 1856 Republican National Convention. At the convention, Archer seconded the nomination of Abraham Lincoln for vice president. Archer again served as Clark County circuit clerk from 1848-1852. In 1854, Archer ran as a Whig to represent his district in the United States House of Representatives against James C. Allen. Although Allen was declared the victor, Archer contested the results. Congress vacated the seat under dispute and another election was held in 1856, which confirmed Allen’s victory. In 1869, Archer served as the Clark County delegate to the state’s constitutional convention.

Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, vol. 18 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1923), 76-353 passim; Newton Bateman and Paul Selby, eds., Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Clark County, ed. by H. C. Bell (Chicago: Middle West, 1907), 22; Proceedings of the First Three Republican National Conventions of 1856, 1860 and 1864 (Minneapolis, MN: Charles W. Johnson, 1893), 41; Gravestone, Walnut Prairie Cemetery, York, IL.