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09/18/2021 02:11 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate

William M Rapsher

Photo credit:

Portrait: Governor’s Photograph Album, 1878, RG-22, PSA; Rodearel, 1893; Rapsher and  “Yellow Jack” Donohue can be found in the Tamaqua Courier, Oct. 28, 1876



Session Position District Party
1891-1892 22 Democrat
1893-1894 22 Democrat
 Counties   Carbon, Monroe, Pike


1843 - 1897

William Rapsher was born in Northampton County, Pa., April 23, 1843; educated in public schools and Albion College, Michigan; and left school to enlist as a private with Co. E, 6th Regt., Michigan Volunteers, Aug. 20, 1861, Kalamazoo, Michigan.  He engaged the enemy at Sewell’s Point, Va.; Grand Gulf, Mississippi; Fort Blakely, Alabama; Fort Jackson and Ponchatoula, Louisiana; Vicksburg; Baton Rouge; Fort Tracy, and a dozen other major battles in the Mississippi Valley and Gulf campaigns.  He mustered out at Port Hudson, Louisiana, July 1864; then re-enlisted in the same regiment (now heavy artillery) for another three-year tour; mustered out on Aug. 20, 1865, in New Orleans, La.; returned to the Mauch Chunk area where he taught school, studied law, and joined the Carbon County bar, 1871.  In 1876, he served as defense counsel for the unfortunate “Yellow Jack” Donohue during the Molly Maguire trials.  He served as district attorney, 1886; councilman; school director; state House of Representatives, 1887; elected to state Senate in Nov. 1890 and served four years before retiring from public life.  The Senator married Ella Fath of Carbon County.  He passed away on February 8, 1897.