Staples was born in Patrick County, Virginia. He attended the University of North Carolina for two years and then entered the College of William and Mary from which he graduated in 1845. After graduation, he moved to Montgomery County, Virginia to begin the practice of law.
In 1854–1855, Staples represented Montgomery County in the Virginia House of Delegates as a Whig. In the latter year, he ran for the United States House of Representatives in the 12th district as a Know Nothing, but lost to the Democratic incumbent, Henry A. Edmundson.
After Virginia's secession from the Union and acceptance into the Confederate States, Staples was named a delegate to the Provisional Confederate States Congress. He was elected to the First and Second Confederate Congresses, serving in the Confederate House of Representatives from 1862 to the end of the war. When it ended, he resumed his law practice in Montgomery County.
Staples served on the board of visitors of Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College in Blacksburg from 1886 to 1888 and was rector from 1886 to 1887. He was appointed to the board by Gov. Fitzhugh Lee on January 1, 1886, and elected rector by the board on January 23, 1886.
In February, 1870, he was elected to the Supreme Court of Appeals but, in 1882, the Readjuster Party controlled the state and none of the judges on the Court of Appeals were re-elected. Judge Staples served as a member of the committee to revise the civil and criminal laws of Virginia in 1884. In 1893-94, Staples was president of the Virginia Bar Association. He was also one of the revisors 1887 Code of Virginia, along Edward C. Burks and John W. Riely, both of whom also served as Justices on the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia. Staples served as a member of Washington and Lee University School of Law's faculty from 1877 to 1878.
- Political graveyard
- "Waller Redd Staples". Find a Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/memorial/10539047. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
- ↑ Kromkowski, Charles A.. "The Virginia Elections and State Elected Officials Database Project". University of Virginia Library. http://vavh.iath.virginia.edu/php/bio.php?pid=7080. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
- ↑ Kinnear, Duncan L. The First 100 Years: A History of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Blacksburg: Virginia Polytechnic Institute Educational Foundation, 1972. Print. p. 119
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