William R. Creighton was born in June of 1837 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Before the war he was a printer in Cleveland.

On April 22, 1861 he was mustered in as lieutenant colonel of the 7th Ohio Infantry Regiment when it was organized for three months service. He married Eleanor L. Quirk on May 2. Creighton continued as lieutenant colonel when the 7th Ohio was reorganized and mustered in for three years service in June.

On May 20, 1862 Creighton was promoted to colonel. On August 9th he was wounded in his left side and arm at the Battle of Cedar Mountain.

He recovered from his wound and returned to his regiment, temporarily commanding his brigade, the First Brigade of the Second Division of the Twelfth Corps, in February and March of 1863. He commanded his regiment at the Battle of Gettysburg, where it was lightly engaged. In October of 1863 he moved west with the Twelfth Corps to join the Army of the Cumberland.

Creighton once again took temporary command of his brigade as senior colonel on November 23, 1863, leaving Lieutenant Colonel Orin J. Crane in command of the regiment. He was killed at the Battle of Ringgold on November 27, 1863, shot through the heart.

Creighton is buried in Woodland Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio, side by side with Orin Crane, who was also killed at Ringgold.