He was born in Independence Township, Oakland County, Michigan, and attended the common schools in Clarkston and Detroit. He began teaching school in 1869, served as superintendent of schools in Waterford Township in 1875 and also as principal of the school at Waterford, Michigan. He went on to study law, was admitted to the bar in 1877 and graduated from the law department of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1878. He began legal practice in Pontiac, Michigan, and was prosecuting attorney of Oakland County 1880-1884.
He served in the State senate 1885-1887, and was elected as a Republican to the Fifty-fifth and to the eight succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1897-March 3, 1915); chairman, Committee on District of Columbia (Sixtieth and Sixty-first Congresses). He did not stand for reelection to the Sixty-fourth Congress, but moved to Detroit in 1913 and continued the practice of law. He died in Detroit and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Adrian, Mich.