William P. Hickerson, Jr. was born on October 20, 1850 in the community of Manchester in Coffee County. He was the son of William P. Hickerson, Sr. and Mary S. Martin Hickerson. Treasurer Hickerson’s father was a leading lawyer in the area and eventually became a judge for the Fifth District in the Middle Tennessee area; he was later appointed as a judge for the State Arbitration Court.
While Treasurer Hickerson’s father had a notable career as a judge in Tennessee, Treasurer Hickerson himself also had significant accomplishments. Treasurer Hickerson was educated at Manchester College and then became involved in the railroad business. He first served as a contractor in building the Illinois Central Railway through West Tennessee. After serving ten months as a contractor, he leased the McMinnville, Manchester, Winchester, and Alabama railroads. Three years later, he sold the railways to the Chattanooga Company and became the conductor.
On October 17, 1877, Treasurer Hickerson wed Ella Ramsey from McMinnville, Tennessee. The couple eventually had nine children. Their names were William P. III, Chisum R., Georgie M., Nasion W, Laura, Heloise, Lillian, Wright, and Allen.
In 1879, Treasurer Hickerson changed his occupation by establishing the Stone Fort Paper Mills. The company produced print paper that was sold mainly to Nashville newspaper companies for many years. Treasurer Hickerson served as manager for the paper mills for twelve years and then retired in 1886. After retiring, Treasurer Hickerson returned to work on his farm, but then also began to seek other opportunities and eventually became the president of the First National Bank in Manchester.
During the early 1900s, Treasurer Hickerson became involved in public service, and was elected as a State Senator in the 54th General Assembly, serving from 1905-1907, and also in the 57th General Assembly from 1911-1913.
Following his career as a State Senator, in January of 1913, Treasurer Hickerson was appointed as the State Treasurer of Tennessee. He served from January 1913 to January 1915.
As a result of his failing health, Treasurer Hickerson arranged for his successor Porter Dunlap to take the office thirty days earlier in February rather than the scheduled transition in March. Not long after, Treasurer Hickerson died on February 17, 1915 in Manchester, Tennessee.
Reference: Biographical Directory of the Tennessee General Assembly, Vol. III, 1901-1931(Nashville: The Tennessee Historical Commission, 1988); History of Tennessee: From the Earliest Time to the Present, Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Cannon, Coffee, Dekalb, Warren, and White Counties (Nashville, TN: Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1887); "W.P. Hickerson, Ex-Treasurer of State Dies," Nashville Tennessean and Nashville American, 18 February 1915, p.1; "Former State Treasurer Hickerson," Nashville Tennessean and Nashville American 18 February 1915, p. 6B.