WILLIAM P. WHIPPLE, for a number of years a figure in the Iowa legislature, and by many regarded as the leading lawyer in the senate, is a native of the county he so ably represented — Benton county. He is a son of Cyrenius T. Whipple, whose sketch also appears in this history.
Senator Whipple was born on his father's farm near Vinton, in Benton county, Iowa, December 26, 1856, and here passed his boyhood and youth, receiving his early education in the public schools. In 1873 he entered the State University of Iowa, where he completed the full collegiate course in 1877 and graduated from the university law department in 1878. In August, 1878, he engaged in the practice of law in his home town, Vinton, where he has since continued, at present being associated with Judge E. P. Brown, under the firm name of Whipple & Brown. Judge Brown is a brother of Leon Brown of the Register and Leader and of United States Senator Norris Brown of Nebraska. Mr. Whipple's first law partner was Hon. Cato Sells, now a resident of Texas; and for a number of years he was associated in practice with Judge G. M. Gilchrist under the firm name of Gilchrist & Whipple. An able advocate and a wise and safe counsellor, with years of experience and success, when he was honored with a seat in the state legislature he was prepared to give good service. He served as a member of the state senate during the Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth, Thirty-first, Thirty-second, and Thirty-third general assemblies, and many of the measures now on the statute books bear the impress of his strong personality. Throughout the whole of his senatorial career he was a member of the judiciary committee. In this connection we are pleased to quote from a recent copy of the Vinton Eagle.
"During his first session Senator Whipple was chairman of the laborious committee on penitentiaries and pardons. The committee gave careful and painstaking consideration to each case coming before it, including the disposal of the noted Wesley Elkins case.
"Senator Whipple was one of the two members of the senate appointed on the first supplement of the code commission in 1902. In the Thirtieth general assembly he was chairman of the senate insurance committee, a position he held in the succeeding general assemblies. He has greatly assisted in the enactment of many important measures pertaining to insurance. The Twenty-seventh general assembly enacted a law placing the several charitable and penal institutions of the state under a single board of control. This law has proved so satisfactory that many have concluded that the three state educational institutions, the State University, the State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts and the State Normal School, could be more efficiently and economically administered under a single board of education than under separate boards for each of the three educational institutions. Senator Whipple was one of the first members of the legislature to advocate such a plan.
"The Thirtieth general assembly appointed a committee of six members, of which committee Senator Whipple was chairman, to inquire into the management and affairs of the three state educational institutions, their business management and educational policies, with power to investigate methods of similar institutions outside the state, and to make a report to the Thirty-first general assembly of its conclusions and findings. The committee after full investigation made an elaborate report to the Thirty-first general assembly, recommending a single board of control for the three state educational institutions. The drawing and tabulating of the report was largely the painstaking work of the chairman.
"In the Thirty-first and Thirty-second general assemblies Senator Whipple prepared and introduced a bill providing for a board of control to have full management of the State University, the State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts and the State Normal School. In both sessions this measure passed the senate but was defeated in the house. But Senator Whipple's faith in the proposed measure was undaunted by defeats. He had the courage of his convictions and resolutely and confidently introduced a revised and perfected measure in the Thirty-third general assembly, providing for a board of education to have full control and management of the three state educational institutions, which measure, after due consideration, passed both houses of the legislature by an overwhelming vote. Thus after six years of earnest and persistent labor, success crowned the efforts of the Senator from Benton."
Senator Whipple has been twice married. In September, 1881, he married Miss Katherine Joyce, assistant principal of the Vinton schools. Two sons were born to them: Cyrenius J., who met a tragic death by drowning in 1898, and Milo R., engaged in business in Vinton. After the death of his first wife, Mr. Whipple married Miss Jennie Keith, a primary teacher in the Vinton schools, in October, 1887. They have one child, Virginia, six years of age.
Senator Whipple is still in the prime of life. In addition to his extensive law practice he supervises a large farm just west of Vinton, a portion of which was his father's old homestead, He and his family occupy a beautiful home in Vinton, where contentment and hospitality reign, and he enjoys without stint the confidence and esteem of the people of his home town and county.
Picture of William P. Whipple