Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",  published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.

     WILLIAM J. CANTON is one of the leading attorneys of Douglas county.  Being endowed with an analytical mind and forensic ability which have been fortified with the best of training and thorough and extensive reading, the subject of this article is especially fitted to win distinction in his chosen profession in which he has made rapid strides and done excellent work.  He is at the head of a fine practice in Douglas county and has won many friends, distinction and honors, especially in the military line.
     William J. Canton was born in Leeds county, Ontario, Canada, on November 5, 1861 and was raised on a farm.  Like the ordinary youth of the land, William J. commenced his education in the common schools.  Then he pressed on through the excellent high schools of Ontario, and later took a thorough university course.  He also took his degree from the law department in the university in 1879, being the youngest member of the large class and yet the recipient of special honors.  For two years subsequent to his graduation he taught school at New Market, in Ontario, and in July, 1883, he enlisted in Company C, Fifteenth United States Infantry under Captain C. H. Conrad.  For four years he served, first as sergeant and then asked for his discharge that he might take up the practice of law.  In 1887, he was honorably discharged and took up his profession at O'Neil, Nebraska, in company with Hon. Thomas M. Carlon, where he remained until 1890.  In July of that year, Mr. Canton determined to come west and accordingly selected Washington as the objective point.  For a time he remained in South Bend and in June, 1891, located at Waterville and. opened an office.  Since that time, he has given himself largely to the practice of his profession, and has maintained an office in Waterville continuously.  In 1892, Mr. Canton organized a company of militia which took the prize at the encampment in 1894.  In May, 1898, he was appointed adjutant general of the state, by Governor John R. Rogers and fitted out the troops for the Spanish-American war.  In the fall of the same year he was appointed major of the First Washington Volunteer Infantry and went to the Philippine Islands.  For eleven months he saw active service there and participated in the heaviest part of the fighting.  On November 1, 1899, he was mustered out at San Francisco and immediately returned to Waterville and gave himself to the practice of law.  In the November election, 1904, Mr. Canton was chosen prosecuting attorney for Douglas county.
     At Yankton, South Dakota, on November 26, 1888, Mr. Canton married Lillian M. Reynolds, a niece of General Philip Sheridan, and the daughter of William E. and Mary E. Reynolds, natives of Vermont.  She was born in Island Pond, Vermont, and to this marriage two children have been born, William R., in Nebraska, in October, 1889, and Florence J., in Waterville, in 1891.
     Mr. Canton is a member of the Spanish-American war veterans and has the distinction of being one of the best drilled men in military tactics in the state of Washington.  He has won numerous prizes at contests and he is certainly very proficient in this line.