William Boyd Allison, a Representative and a Senator from Iowa, was born in Perry, Ohio on March 2, 1829; and attended country schools, the academy in Wooster, Ohio, and Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Western Reserve College, Hudson, Ohio (now in Cleveland), in 1849; studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1852. He commenced practice in Ashland, Ohio; and was an unsuccessful candidate for district attorney in 1856.
Allison settled in Dubuque, Iowa, in 1857 and resumed the practice of law; served as a lieutenant colonel in the Union Army during the Civil War; and was elected as a Republican to the Thirty-eighth, and to the three succeeding, Congresses (March 4, 1863-March 3, 1871). He was Chairman of the Expenditures in the Department of the Treasury (1869-71); declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1870, and was an unsuccessful candidate for the United States Senate. He then resumed the practice of law in Dubuque; and was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1872. Allison was reelected in 1878, 1884, 1890, 1896, and again in 1902, and served from March 4, 1873, until his death on August 4, 1908. During his tenure, Allison was the Republican Conference Chairman (Fifty-fifth to Sixtieth Congresses); Chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs (Forty-fourth to Forty-fifth Congresses), Committee on Appropriations (Forty-seventh to Fifty-second, and Fifty-fourth to Sixtieth Congresses), Committee on Engrossed Bills (Fifty-third Congress) Allison died in Dubuque.