Born: 1803 Pennsylvania
Flourished: Peoria County, Illinois
Alternate name: Campher
William Compher was sheriff of Peoria County, Illinois, from 1834 to 1835, when he resigned. Compher later represented Peoria County in the Illinois House of Representatives alongside Abraham Lincoln in the 11th General Assembly; they served together on the Committee on Finance. However, Compher resigned his seat before the end of his term. In 1844, he married Harriet Jontz. He was elected as sheriff of Peoria County again in 1846, and 1848, but during his second term, he was charged with withholding tax money due to the state government and fled the county. The state sued and hired Abraham Lincoln to prosecute the case. After multiple hearings in two county circuit courts and two appeals to the Illinois Supreme Court, Compher and his sureties were judged accountable for $1,287 in damages.
History of Peoria County, Illinois (Chicago: Johnson, 1880), 348; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Peoria County, 28 July 1844, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Illinois House Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 4, 31; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Peoria County, IL, 187; People v. Compher et al., Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, 2d edition (Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2009), http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=136968; Compher et al. v. People, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=136971.