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11/27/2022 11:05 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate

William Scott Vare

Photo credit:

Congressional Biographies; Photo: Lib of Congress



Session Office Position District Party
1923-1924 1 Republican
 Counties   Philadelphia


12/24/1867 - 08/07/1934

William Scott Vare (R1) Philadelphia County 1923

Early Life: 

William Scott Vare, born December 24, 1867, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; son of Augustus and Abigail Vare; attended public schools; contractor, Vare Brothers (i) 1890-1912; married Ida Morris; Recorder of deeds, Philadelphia, 1902-1912; delegate, Republican National Conventions, 1908, 1912, 1916, 1920, 1924; elected, Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1912, resigned; elected, Republican, United States Congress, 1912-1923; elected, Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate 1923; elected, Republican United States Congress 1923-1927; elected, Republican Senator-elect, United States Senate, 1927, never seated, corruption; died, Atlantic City, New Jersey, August 7, 1934, interment: West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Early Career:

Grew up on a pig and produce farm, Philadelphia, location of Fourth Street and Snyder Avenue. John Wanamaker, the Department Store magnate took young Bill under his wing and paid for his tuition at Central High School in Philadelphia. Later, he worked as a storeboy at Wanamaker's. (ii)

The Vare brothers started a family business hauling ash and garbage in South Philadelphia. Started construction contracting with his two older brothers, 1890. Vare Brothers contracting worked on excavating, paving and municipal contracts for the city of Philadelphia that totaled $7 million, 1909-1912. Their projects included building trolley tracks, sewers, Municipal Stadium, Broad Street subway and excavating the site of the Philadelphia Art Museum.

Professional titles; business ownership; board memberships; local government; club memberships:

Member of the select council of Philadelphia, 1898-1901  


My Forty Years in Politics, William S. Vare, Philadelphia, Roland Swain Company, 1933

Pennsylvania Politics:

Recorder of deeds for Philadelphia 1902-1912.

Delegate, Republican National Conventions, 1908, 1912, 1916, 1920, 1924.

Unsuccessful, Republican candidate, Mayor, Philadelphia, 1911. 

Elected, Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate, Phiiladelphia County, 1912, at the same time, elected, Republican, Sixty-second Congress, on May 24, 1912, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Henry H. Bingham.

Elected, Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1st district, Philadelphia County, 1923-1924; fill vacancy, Senator Edwin Vare, brother; Chair, Railroad Committee; member, Appropriations, City Passenger Railways, Congressional Apportionment, Corporations, Elections, Finance, Insurance, Law and Order, Municipal Affairs and Public Roads and Highway Committees. Resigned, November 30, 1923.

Continued Government Service/National Politics:

Elected, Republican, Sixty-second United States Congress, on May 24, 1912, vacancy, death, Henry H. Bingham; Reelected, Sixty-third, sixty-fourth, sixty-fifth, sixty-sixth and sixty-seventh Congresses, served, May 24, 1912 - January 2, 1923, resigned.

Elected, Republican Sixty-eighth and Sixty-ninth Congresses (March 4, 1923-March 3, 1927); not a candidate for reelection, 1926.

Candidate, United States Senator; presented credentials, Republican Senator-elect to the United States Senate for the term beginning March 4, 1927, but was not permitted to qualify, voted fifty-eight to twenty-two to deny the senate seat December 6, 1929, due to charges of corruption and fraud concerning his election; resumed his former business and political activities.(iii)   


Was the youngest of the three Vare brothers known as “Dukes of South Philadelphia,” also all three were Pennsylvania State Senators Edwin H. (oldest) and George A. Vare.

Wife, Ida Morris, sister, of his sister-in-law Senator Flora Morris, wife of brother, Senator Edwin Vare.

Fourth cousin of Fletcher Wilbur Stites Pennsylvania State Senator, 12th District, 1923-1926


Whitmore, R.E., (Compiler). (1923-1924). The Pennsylvania Manual, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pages 983, 990, Biographical Sketches of Senators, page 965. 

       (i) Beers, Paul B. (1980). Pennsylvania Politics Today and Yesterday: The Terrible Accommodation. Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 0-271-00238-7. https://books.google.com/books?id=6SpJJmkNDFEC&pg=PA61#v=onepage&q&f=false

       (ii) U.S. Senate: The Election Case of William B. Wilson vs. William S. Vare of Pennsylvania (1929)". https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/contested_elections/109Wilson_Vare.htm

        (iii) U.S. Senate: The Election Case of William B. Wilson vs. William S. Vare of Pennsylvania (1929)". https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/contested_elections/109Wilson_Vare.htm

After 1 session(s) serving in the Pennsylvania Senate, William Scott Vare went on to serve in congress