William V. Sullivan

William Van Amberg Sullivan (December 18, 1857 – March 21, 1918) was a United States Representative and Senator from Mississippi.

William Van Amberg Sullivan
WVA Sullivan.jpg
United States Senator
from Mississippi
In office
May 31, 1898 – March 3, 1901
Preceded byEdward C. Walthall
Succeeded byAnselm J. McLaurin
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1897 – May 31, 1898
Preceded byJohn C. Kyle
Succeeded byThomas Spight
Personal details
Born(1857-12-18)December 18, 1857
Winona, Mississippi
DiedMarch 21, 1918(1918-03-21) (aged 60)
Oxford, Mississippi
Political partyDemocratic


Born near Winona, Mississippi, he attended the common schools in Panola County and the University of Mississippi at Oxford, where he was a member of St. Anthony Hall.

He graduated from Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1875, was admitted to the bar that year, and commenced practice in Austin. He moved to Oxford in 1877, was a member of the board of city aldermen, and was elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-fifth Congress and served from March 4, 1897, to May 31, 1898, when he resigned, having been appointed Senator.

He was appointed and subsequently elected to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Edward C. Walthall and served from May 31, 1898, to March 3, 1901; he was not a candidate for reelection.

On September 8, 1908, Sullivan led a lynch mob which murdered a black man named Nelse Patton, who had been accused of killing a white woman. William Sullivan was quoted a day later as saying, "I led the mob which lynched Nelse Patton, and I'm proud of it. I directed every movement of the mob and I did everything I could to see that he was lynched."[1]

Sullivan retired from active business and resided in Washington, D.C.. In 1918, he died in Oxford. Interment was in St. Peter's Cemetery.


  1. ^ "Ex-Senator Sullivan Will Stand Consequences for Directing Shooting". New York Times. September 10, 1908. Retrieved 2010-03-23. A special from Oxford, Miss., quotes former United States Senator W.V. Sullivan as follows with reference to the lynching last night

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John C. Kyle
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Thomas Spight
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Edward C. Walthall
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Mississippi
Served alongside: Hernando D. Money
Succeeded by
Anselm J. McLaurin