Levi H. Bancroft Papers, 1863-1956


Levi H. Bancroft of Richland Center, Wisconsin, was a prominent politician, lawyer, and state attorney general of Wisconsin. Bear Valley, Wisconsin, was the place of his birth and early education, although Levi attended high school at Lone Rock, Wisconsin. After graduation from high school he taught school for two years in Lone Rock.

In 1884, Levi Bancroft received his LL.B. degree from the University of Wisconsin, and was admitted to the bar in 1885. He began his law practice in Richland Center, Wisconsin.

Myrtle De Lap, daughter of a prominent Richland Center physician, became the wife of Levi Bancroft in June, 1890. The Bancrofts had two children, Blaine, and Carolyn, who became Mrs. Roman A. Heilman. Blaine was Levi Bancroft's law partner until the son's death in 1936.

Levi H. Bancroft held the following judicial and political offices during his career:

  • District attorney for Richland County, city attorney for Richland Center, and city supervisor, 1887-1888
  • Delegate to the Republican National Convention, 1896 and 1900
  • County judge for Richland County, 1897-1902
  • Assistant state attorney general, 1903-1904
  • State assemblyman, 1907-1910, serving as speaker in the 1909 session
  • Judge advocate of the Wisconsin National Guard, 1907-1913
  • State attorney general, 1911-1913
  • Circuit judge of the fifth judicial district, 1920
  • Assistant attorney general for the eastern district of Wisconsin, 1927-1932
  • Mayor of Richland Center, 1934-1936
  • County judge, 1937-1948

In his law practice Mr. Bancroft specialized in criminal law and received nation-wide publicity in his defense of Rose Zoldowsky, arraigned in the 1890s on a charge of murder.

Mr. Bancroft was highly respected for his speaking talents and was often selected to address public audiences, as he was at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915 and at the dedication of the Wisconsin memorial monument at Andersonville, Georgia.

Mrs. Levi Bancroft was an artist of high reputation in Wisconsin and was well-known for her portraits. Among her subjects were Robert La Follette, Governor Edward V. Scofield, Senator Isaac Stephenson, and Judges George Shaughnessy and Samuel Crawford.