William Henry Trolinger (also spelled Trollinger), physician, developer, state representative, and state senator, was born in Dublin, Pulaski County, Virginia, on August 11, 1827. He was the son of Henry and Allelia (Cecil) Trolinger. In 1832 the family relocated to Springfield, Henry County, Missouri, where Trolinger was raised. As a young man he undertook the study of medicine. On January 22, 1850, Trolinger married the widowed Mary Jane (Thompson) Montgomery in St. Clair County, Missouri. They had several children. Trolinger won election as representative of St. Clair County to the Twenty-First Missouri General Assembly in 1860. In May 1861 he participated in a special legislative session called by pro-slavery governor Claiborne Fox Jackson to create the Missouri State Guard, a state militia organized by Confederate sympathizers in reaction to the Camp Jackson Affair. Trolinger volunteered the following month and served as a lieutenant and quartermaster in the state guard until October 1861.
Shortly afterward, Trolinger immigrated with his family to Texas and settled in the vicinity of Whitesboro in Grayson County. In addition to practicing medicine, he assumed a leading role in the public affairs of the community. In 1869 he assisted Ambrose B. White with the survey of the modern township of Whitesboro and donated land for the creation of a public park. Throughout the 1870s and 1880s, Trolinger aggressively promoted the development of area schools, businesses, and infrastructure. In 1872 he won election, on the Democratic ticket, as representative for District 22—comprised of Cooke, Denton, Grayson, Jack, Montague, Wise, Clay, Young, Wichita, Knox, Throckmorton, Baylor, Wilbarger, Haskell, and Hardeman counties—to the Thirteenth Texas Legislature. He chaired the Counties and County Boundaries Committee. The following year Trolinger won election as senator for District 22—now comprised of Grayson, Cooke, Montague, Clay, Wichita, Wilbarger, Hardeman, Archer, Baylor, and Knox counties—to the Fourteenth Texas Legislature. He resigned from office in July 1874 but remained active in the state Democratic executive committee. Trolinger was also a leading member and officer in the Baptist General Convention of Texas. In 1873 he was appointed to the board of trustees of Waco University (now Baylor University), and in 1875 he was elected president of Shiloh Baptist Institute in Whitesboro. He also served on the board of deacons at First Baptist Church in Whitesboro. He was a Mason and Odd Fellow and a charter member of the Odd Fellows B.F. Christian Lodge, No. 102. In 1886 he was elected first president of the County Line Medical Association in Whitesboro. Trolinger died in Grayson County on October 28, 1895, and was buried at Oakwood Cemetery.
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Grayson County Frontier Village, History of Grayson County, Texas (2 vols., Winston-Salem, North Carolina: Hunter, 1979, 1981). Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Dr. William H. Trolinger (http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legeLeaders/members/memberDisplay.cfm?memberID=4829&searchparams=chamber=~city=~countyID=0~RcountyID=~district=~first=~gender=~last=trolinger~leaderNote=~leg=~party=~roleDesc=~Committee=), accessed November 12, 2014.
School Trustees and Regents
Health and Medicine
Physicians and Surgeons
Thirteenth Legislature (1873)
Fourteenth Legislature (1874-1875)
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Aragorn Storm Miller and R. Matt Abigail,
“Trolinger, William Henry,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed July 03, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
November 12, 2014
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: