Booth was the editor of the Wisconsin Freeman--the leading voice of abolition
in Wisconsin--and a prominent organizing member of the Republican party
in the state when he was arrested in 1854 for his role in freeing Joshua
Glover, a runaway slave. Booth's case grew to national stature over the
next six years as the federal goverment and the state engaged in an ongoing
legal battle over states' rights. Freed by the state and rearrested numerous
times over those six years, Booth was finally forcibly freed by a group
of men from Ripon and Waupun and brought to Fond du Lac County, where
for the next two months Booth's supporters resisted attempts by federal
marshals to recapture him.
Bowles was among the five Wisconsin men captured following the Battle
of Hickory Point, Kansas, and imprisoned at the territorial capital at
Lecompton in September, 1856. He was the only man of nearly 100 imprisoned
to die while incarcerated.
William Caine, a resident and farm hand in Chester Township during the
1850s and 1860s, was representative of the Republican activism characterizing
the county and much of central Wisconsin in the years leading up to the
Civil War. A young man, Caine responded to the Kansas call, pre-empting
one hundred and sixty acres in Anderson County, Kansas, in 1855. When
Missouri border ruffians with southern sympathies drove Caine from his
new home the same year, he joined a company of the Fifth Regiment of Kansas
Volunteers, under the command of Captain John Brown, and became one of
the original twenty men in Brown's infamous abolitionist crusade
in Kansas. Caine served as a scout in Brown's unit, and with it participated
in the battle of Osawatomie. (See
also Caine Obituary, Winona, Minnesota 1913)
Daniels was on the faculty of Brockway--later Ripon--College and was both
the state geologist and a member of the Board of Regents of the state's
normal schools system when he became involved in the plan to liberate
Sherman Booth from federal
custody in Milwaukee during the summer of 1860. Prior to the notoriety
he gained with the Booth affair, Daniels was also intimately involved
with the Emigrant Aid Society of
Wisconsin, in which role he transported weapons to the Kansas Territory
for use by Free-soil settlers. With the onset of the Civil War in 1861,
Daniels organized the First Wisconsin Cavalry regiment in Ripon and served
as its first colonel.
Born in 1818 in Maryland as a slave, self-educated, confidant of Lincoln
and John Brown, Douglass became one of the most eloquent of spokesmen
for African Americans and the anti-slavery cause. Between 1854 and 1860,
he was also a frequent visitor to Wisconsin.
H. Ford Douglass
A black antislavery spokesman from Ohio and later Illinois, Douglass appeared
in Wisconsin several times during the late 1850s to speak against slavery.
Hans C. Heg
Heg, the first Scandinavian immigrant elected to state office in Wisconsin,
was the Commissioner at the State Prison at Waupun in 1860 when Sherman
Booth, the state's most prominent spokesman for abolition, was forcibly
freed from federal custody in Milwaukee. Heg provided Booth sanctuary
at the prison for two days until Booth made his way to Ripon, for which
Heg was loudly condemned by the state's Democratic press. Heg was also
one of the organizers and the principal officer of the Waupun Wide Awakes
during Lincoln's campaign for President in 1860. At the outset of the
Civil War in 1861, Heg asked for and was given a release from his duties
at the prison and became the Colonel of the Fifteenth Wisconsin Infantry
regiment. He was killed in the fighting at Chicamauga in 1863.
LaGrange was a student at Brockway--later Ripon--College in 1860 when
he participated with Professor Daniels in freeing Sherman Booth from federal
custody in Milwaukee. LaGrange became a Major in the First Wisconsin Cavalry
at the onset of the Civil War in 1861 and distinguished himself throughout
the war, reaching the rank of Brigadier General. Following the war, he
became the director of the San Francisco mint.
Reverend Byrd Parker
An African-American pastor from Oshkosh, Parker was a well known orator
on behalf of the anti-slavery cause and the rights of blacks.
James B. Pond
Pond, the son of abolitionist Willard Pond, settled with his family on
a farm in the town of Alto in western Fond du Lac County in 1847 at the
age of nine. There he participated with his father in operating a branch
of the underground railroad. He subsequently rode with John Brown during
the Kansas struggle in 1856, edited the Markesan Journal from 1859 to
1861, and in 1861 helped to organize Company C of the Third Wisconsin
Cavalry. Pond earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism during
the battle of Baxter Springs, Kansas, in 1863.
Partridge was among John Brown's company in the Kansas Territory during
Brown's controversial efforts to ensure that Kansas would enter the union
as a free state. He was killed along with Brown's son Frederick in 1856
at the Battle of Osawatomie, Kansas.
Schurz, a German immigrant living in Watertown and an unsuccessful candidate
for Lieutenant Governor, became during Lincoln's campaign for President
in 1860 one of the leading national spokesmen for the Republican party.
William A. White
William White was a Harvard educated lawyer, prominent national spokesman
for the abolition and temperance movements and close friend of Frederick
Douglass. Arriving in Wisconsin from Massachusetts in 1853, he became
the chairman of the State Central Committee of the new Republican party
in Wisconsin. For three years, until his death in 1856, he provided critical
organizational skills and moral leadership to the emerging party. Douglass's
presence in Wisconsin during those years was undoubtedly related to his
relationship with White.
For names associated with the Underground Railroad in
Wisconsin, see the Wisconsin Network to
Freedom Web site.