William Jay Whipple was born (William Jay Haynes) in Troy, New York in 1839 to William Haynes and Mary Case. William Haynes died in 1840 and Mary Case remarried Dr. James Whipple when her son was two.
In 1847, William Jay Whipple with his parents (Dr. James Whipple and Mary Case) and a younger brother and sister, Samuel and Mary, emigrated west stopping in Ottumwa, Iowa. Within a year the family had resettled in Oshkosh Wisconsin. But by 1852 the family left for Galena, Illinois, headed to St. Paul, Minnesota. However his parents (according to William Jay Whipple’s biographical sketch in the "History of Winona County") changed their destination to Hudson, Wisconsin and finally settled in Prescott, Wisconsin.
During this period Dr. James Whipple and Mary Case had at least four other children. Valentine born in Iowa 1847, Frank born in Wisconsin 1848, Ellen born in Wisconsin 1853, and Dean born in Wisconsin in 1856. The first daughter Mary E. Whipple was married to John Cowles Foster April 5, 1860 in Prescott Wisconsin. John Cowles Foster was the brother of Cornelia Foster. She married William Jay Whipple September 27, 1866 in River Falls Wisconsin.
William Jay Whipple attended the public schools in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1848 and later went to Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin until the spring of 1852 when his parents left Oshkosh and resettled in Prescott. In 1856 and part of 1857 he was a student again at Lawrence University. By 1858 he appears to have begun working as a newspaper editor for the Prescott “Democrat.” In 1860 William Jay Whipple was appointed deputy US Marshall for the taking of the federal census of Pierce County, Wisconsin. In 1861 William Jay Whipple was a correspondent for the Milwaukee "News", accompanying the Fourth Wisconsin Regiment to Washington the day after the Battle of Bull Run. In April 1862 he and his younger brother, Samuel, left Prescott Wisconsin for Walla Walla Washington by way of wagon train. They arrived in September, but by October of 1862 William Jay Whipple left for Portland, Oregon. From October of 1862 to 1865 he work as a newspaperman in Oregon (The Portland Evening News) and California. In 1864 he served as a delegate to the National Democratic Convention. In 1865 William Jay Whipple returned to Wisconsin where be became involved with the LaCrosse "Republican" newspaper. Between 1865 and 1869 he was the legislative reporter for the LaCrosse "Republican", telegraphic reporter for the Milwaukee "News" and Chicago "Times", and clerk for the railroad committee of the Wisconsin State Senate. In 1866 he founded the Chippewa Falls (Wisconsin) "Union" and published the " Union Times " until 1867 and established The Sparta ( Wisconsin) "Democrat."
William Jay Whipple went Winona, Minnesota in 1869 and purchased the defunct "Daily Democrat" and published the Winona "Herald" until 1885. From July 1, 1885 until July 1, 1890 he was the Postmaster at Winona. In 1872 and 1873 William Jay Whipple served in the Minnesota Legislature. He was the chief engineer for the Winona Fire Department in 1871, 1872, 1873, 1877, 1878, 1879, 1880, and 1881. He was the Winona City Treasurer in 1874, 1875, and 1876. He was a member of the Board of Education 1879, 1880, 1881, and 1882, serving as theclerk in 1881 and 1882.
In 1893, William Jay Whipple and his wife moved to Norfolk, Virginia for health reason. However they stayed less than a year and returned first to Chicago and then to Winona in 1895. Upon his return he purchased an interest in the Winona "Daily Herald" and again assumed the editorial responsibilities. In 1901 he was again elected as clerk of the Board of Education. From 1908 to 1912 he was the secretary for the Winona Board of Trade. William Jay Whipple was a member of the Winona County Old Settlers' Association, a life member of the Minnesota State Historical Society and a trustees for the Margaret Simpson Home and member of the Winona Public Library Board.
William Jay Whipple died on February 5, 1918.
This thorough history was researched and written by David Barth
Speaking of my great uncle, his name was W.J. Whipple. His father was a doctor and they were from Troy, N.Y. But when my grandmother was a small girl they came by canal boat and up the Mississippi then by wagon team to where the town of Oshkosh now stands. They were heading to California but my great grandmother must have had a mind of her own for my grandmother tells the story that her mother was so disgusted with the west , as she called Wisconsin, that she stamped her foot and said, " This is bad enough without going to California. I'm going to stay right here." And so they did, coming over to Prescott on the Mississippi where Dr. Whipple and his family resided for a number of years. They did go to California and both died there and my grandmother stayed behind as she and my grandfather were married in 1860 and went to live at the homestead at River Falls which is the farm that we were to take over in 1931when we went back and John was to take over where my uncle left off, as the place had never been out of the family in all those seventy years. This newspaper uncle had a series of articles published in a Winona, Minnesota paper which he owned for a half century which tells of his trip across the plains to California and also a trip around the horn. I think he sent the articles which he had pasted in a book form to my aunt in Wisconsin. And that is the one I would like to have. That would mean much more to me than any material things she might leave. This uncle was a great story teller and I can remember how we used to love to listen to him when he made his yearly visits to the farm each summer. I'd drive him out and as we'd ride along he would teach me some of Robert Burns' poems of which he was very fond. To this day I can recite line upon line from "The Cotters Saturday Night" which starts out : "Oh happy love, where love like this is found" … I was about seven at the time and each summer he would teach me another favorite. I can recall when he died the St Paul Dispatch carried a news story about him calling him "The Grand Old Man of Minnesota Journalism."
From Louise "My Good Friend," Coram, Montana, March 11, 1953