Was born in the City of New York, April 13th, 1817, and received his education in Flushing, Long Island, after which he read law with the Hon. G. L. Lawrence, in the City of New York, and was admitted to the bar, February 23d, 1838, and immediately thereafter emigrated to Illinois and located in Pittsfield, Pike county, in May of the same year. In August he was again examined, and admitted to the bar, after which he was a successful expounder of the law until 1847, at which time he was elected a member of the constitutional convention of this state, and was chairman of the committee on organization of officers connected with the executive department. After the adjournment of said convention, Mr. Archer again resumed the practice of law, in Pittsfield, until 1856, when he was elected circuit clerk and ex-officio recorder of Pike county. He served in this capacity until 1860, when he was elected a member of the state legislature from the twenty-eighth district--composed of Pike and Brown counties.
In 1869, he was again elected a member of the state constitutional convention, that framed the present constitution of this state, and was chairman of the committee to future amendments. In 1864, he was appointed by the state democratic convention as a delegate from the ninth congressional district to the national democratic convention that met at Chicago, and nominated Gen. McClellan for president of the United States, and in that convention served on the committee on credentials. Mr. Archer has been officially connected with the public school system a great deal, and has always taken a warm interest in the free school system, and has done all that was in his power to advance the cause of education as well as all other matters of useful enterprise that have a tendency to benefit society and improve the country.
Mr. Archer has held many of the most important offices of this country; and has at all times and in all cases discharged his duties with credit to himself and full satisfaction to his numerous friends and constituents, to whom he feels grateful for the many kind favors he has received at their hands. As a citizen, Mr. Archer is a true patriot and an able advocate of all useful enterprises. As a politician, he is firm, consistent, conscientious, and well posted. He is, and always has been, a democrat, believing in the soundness of the democratic principles, as illustrated in the lives and state papers of early statesmen in the better days of our republic. We presume there is not a man in Pike county who has more warm friends, or that stands higher in the scale of morality, integrity, or general usefulness, than the Hon. Wm. R. Archer.