Dortch was born near Rocky Mount, North Carolina. He was a member of the North Carolina General Assembly from 1852 to 1861, including a term in which he served as Speaker of the House of Commons.
During the Civil War, Dortch served as a senator from North Carolina in the First Confederate Congress and the Second Confederate Congress (from 1862 to 1865). During his term Dortch was accused of sexual improprieties with a minor, but was exonerated after an investigation.
After the war, he again served in the legislature as a North Carolina state senator from 1879 to 1885.
He died in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
This article incorporates facts obtained from The Political Graveyard. bio
! colspan="3" style="background: #cccccc" | Confederate States Senate
|width="40%" style="text-align: center;" rowspan="1"|Confederate States Senator from North Carolina
February 18, 1862 – May 10, 1865
Served alongside: George Davis, Edwin G. Reade and William A. Graham Template:S-non |}
de:William Theophilus Dortch