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February 19, 2023

The Fascinating Life of William A. Barstow: From War Hero to Governor of Wisconsin

William Augustus Barstow was a prominent figure in Wisconsin’s history. He served as Governor of Wisconsin from 1854 to 1856, and his service to the state didn’t end there. Before becoming Governor, he was a brave soldier who fought in the Mexican-American War, and later in life, he became a successful businessman. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at his life story and discover just how fascinating it really was.

Early Life and Career

William A. Barstow was born on May 16, 1813, in Connecticut. His family moved to New York when he was a young child. Barstow’s father was a successful businessman, and he encouraged his son to follow in his footsteps. After completing his education, Barstow became a merchant and moved to Wisconsin in 1836.

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In Wisconsin, Barstow established himself as a successful trader, operating his own business, and made a name for himself. However, his life was soon to take an unexpected turn.

Mexican-American War and War Hero

In 1846, the United States declared war on Mexico, and Barstow answered the call to duty. He joined the 1st Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment and was quickly promoted to Captain. Barstow fought bravely in the war and was wounded twice.

After the war ended, Barstow returned to Wisconsin and was hailed as a war hero. He parlayed his newfound fame into a successful political career, eventually becoming Governor of Wisconsin in 1854.

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Political Career and Governorship

Barstow’s Governorship was eventful. During his time in office, he focused on improving the state’s infrastructure, increasing funding for public education, and promoting economic growth.

One of the most notable events during Barstow’s tenure was the creation of the Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad. The construction of the railroad was a significant undertaking and helped to connect Wisconsin’s western regions with the rest of the state.

Unfortunately, Barstow’s career as Governor was cut short due to a scandal. In 1855, Barstow was accused of election fraud, and after an investigation, he was removed from office.

Later Life and Legacy

After leaving office, Barstow returned to his successful business career and eventually retired to California. He passed away in 1865, but his legacy lived on.

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In 1914, a statue of Barstow was erected in his honor on the Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin. The statue still stands today as a testament to his contributions to the state.

FAQs

Q. What is William A. Barstow famous for?

A. William A. Barstow was a prominent figure in Wisconsin’s history. He served as Governor of Wisconsin from 1854 to 1856, and his service to the state didn’t end there. Before becoming Governor, he was a brave soldier who fought in the Mexican-American War.

Q. When was William A. Barstow born?

A. William A. Barstow was born on May 16, 1813, in Connecticut.

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Q. What was William A. Barstow’s profession before he became Governor?

A. Before becoming Governor, William A. Barstow was a successful merchant in Wisconsin.

Q. What did William A. Barstow focus on during his Governorship?

A. During his Governorship, William A. Barstow focused on improving the state’s infrastructure, increasing funding for public education, and promoting economic growth.

Q. What is the Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad?

A. The Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad was a significant railroad that connected Wisconsin’s western regions with the rest of the state.

Q. Why was William A. Barstow removed from office?

A. William A. Barstow was removed from office due to election fraud allegations.

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Q. What is William A. Barstow’s legacy?

A. William A. Barstow’s legacy is his contributions to Wisconsin’s history. In 1914, a statue of Barstow was erected in his honor on the Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin.

Conclusion

William A. Barstow was a remarkable man who dedicated his life to serving Wisconsin. From his service in the Mexican-American War to his tenure as Governor, he left an indelible mark on the state’s history. His legacy lives on in the statue erected in his honor, and his story serves as an inspiration to us all.

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