William L. Nuessle was born May 5, 1878 in North Boston, New York. He was the son of Christopher and Mary (Vail) Nuessle. His family moved to the Dakota Territory in 1886, and settled on a farm near Emerado. Nuessle was educated at public schools in the area and attended the University of North Dakota following his graduation from high school.
While at UND, Nuessle played tackle on the undefeated 1899 football team. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1899. He also completed a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1901, and was admitted to the North Dakota Bar that same year. He practiced in Grand Forks for a short time before moving to McLean County in 1902. He married Emma Weiss in Crystal, North Dakota, on December 28, 1904. The couple had four children: William, Robert, Francis, and Mary Louise.
Nuessle was elected the State's Attorney for McLean County in 1904, and served in this position until 1909. He was elected to District Court in 1913. He served in the Sixth and Fourth Judicial Districts, and gained notoriety for his decision against Governor Frazier's takeover of the coal mines in 1919. He was elected to the North Dakota Supreme Court in 1922. He retired from the Court when his last term expired on December 31, 1950. Nuessle acted as the Court's Chief Justice in 1928-1929, 1933, 1939-1941, and from 1949-1950.
Nuessle was active in the Boy Scouts of America, and received the Silver Beaver Award from the Missouri Valley Scout Council. He acted as a trustee for the Bismarck Hospital for over twenty five years. He was also an active member in the American and North Dakota Bar Associations, as well as the Masons, Elks, and the Rotary. Nuessle was awarded an Alumni Achievement Citation by the UND Alumni Association in 1956.
William L. Nuessle died in Bismarck on March 30, 1959.
The William L. Nuessle Papers date from 1904-1959 and have been divided into six series:
Series 1: Correspondence, 1904-1959
Series 2: Farming, 1914-1959
Series 3: Judicial, 1919-1950
Series 4: Political, 1934-1947
Series 5: Miscellaneous
Series 6: Photographs