Coming from a family of distinguished soldiers, William Penn Duvall traces his roots in Maryland, USA. Born on January 13, 1847, he graduated No. 4 of his class at West Point in 1869. He started as a Second Lieutenant where he was assigned to various units until he retire as a major general in 1911.

During the American Occupation of the Philippine Islands, then Colonel William Penn Duvall of the 48th Infantry Regiment U.S. volunteers (The Colored Regiment), virtually became the provincial chieftain of La Union and the adjacent Province of Benguet. He set his leadership style as an example to the whole occupational forces led by Gen. Arthur McArthur as the best pacification strategy. His work noted for strict militarization laced with leniency in civilian affairs became the prototype for the other provinces.

One of his most notable accomplishments include the discovery, prosecution, conviction and banishment of incumbent Filipino officials led by Gov. Lucino Almeida who secretly assisted the Revolutionary Soldiers. To totally cut support from the townspeople to the revolutionalists, he garrisoned every town and required passes for all travelers. As a result of his no-nonsense administration, he is credited for installation of a stable civil government in the region.

After peace was finally achieved, he concentrated on education and effective governance. With the cooperation of the people of La Union, more books and school buildings were purchased and constructed.