Born in Ohio in 1835, William Langford crossed the Great Plain to Oregon and began his study of the law under J.S.D. Shattuck of Portland, considered an excellent attorney in his day. Langford continued his studies in the office of Judge P.A. Markham. After serving in the Indian wars of the 1850s he began practicing law in Vancouver, Washington Territory, where he remained until 1862. The next year, he was appointed prosecuting attorney for the first judicial district (Walla Walla County) and subsequently moved to Walla Walla, then only in its first year as an incorporated city.
In 1864, Langford served in the Territorial Legislative Council, but soon moved on to Washington, D.C., Mississippi, and San Francisco, practicing law in each location. He returned briefly to Washington Territory before moving again to Lewiston, Idaho, and finally back to Walla Walla. He served as Walla Walla’s City Attorney until his appointment at age 50 the Federal bench.
He was the last Territorial Justice of the Washington Territorial Supreme Court to serve in Walla Walla County, which comprised the first judicial district of Washington Territory. He was appointed by President Grover Cleveland on December 3, 1885.
Justice Langford was a highly respected lawyer in his day, with wide legal experience. He was able to practice law in Oregon, Washington Territory, California and elsewhere. He was seen by both his colleagues and the citizenry as honorable, capable, possessing a deep knowledge of the law, and was esteemed in bi-partisan support.
Judge William Langford is portrayed by Don Schacht.