University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

The history of Columbia County, Wisconsin, containing an account of its settlement, growth, development and resources; an extensive and minute sketch of its cities, towns and villages--their improvements, industries, manufactories, churches, schools and societies; its war record, biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers; the whole preceded by a history of Wisconsin, statistics of the state, and an abstract of its laws and constitution and of the constitution of the United States

Butterfield, C. W.
V.--Wisconsin as a state,   pp. 52-109 PDF (28.8 MB)

Page 65

was thereupon given until the twenty-fifth of February to answer the information
that had been
filed against him by the attorney general.
      On the day appointed, Barstow filed his plea to the effect that, by
the laws of Wisconsin
 regulating the conducting of general election for State officers, it was
the duty of the board of
 canvassers to determine who was elected to the office of governor; and that
the board had found
 that he was duly elected to that office. It was a plea to the jurisdiction
of the court. A demurrer
 was interposed to this plea, setting forth that the matters therein contained
were not sufficient in
 law to take the case out of court; asking, also, for a judgment against
Barstow, or that he answer
 further the information filed against him. The demurrer was sustained; and
Barstow was
 required to answer over within four days; at the expiration of which time
the counsel for Barstow
 withdrew from the case, on the ground, as they alleged, that they had appeared
at the bar of the
 court to object to the jurisdiction of that tribunal in the matter, and
the court had determined
 to proceed with the case, holding and exercising full and final jurisdiction
over it; and that they
 could take no further steps without conceding the right of that tribunal
so to hold. Thereupon,
 on the eighth of March, Barstow entered a protest, by a communication to.the
supreme court,
 against any further interference with the department under his charge by,
that tribunal, " either
 by attempting to transfer its powers to another or direct the course of
executive action." The
 counsel for Bashford then moved for judgment upon the default of Barstow.
     A further hearing of the case was postponed until March 1S, when the
attorney general
 filed a motionto dismiss the proceedings;'against which Bashford, by his
counsel, protested as
 being prejudicial to his rights. It was the opinion of the court that the
attorney general could
 not dismiss the case, that every thing which was well pleaded for Bashford
in his information was
 confessed by the default of Barstow. By strict usage, a final judgment ought
then to have fol-
 lowed ; but the court came to the conclusion to call upon Bashf ord to bring
forward proof, showing
 his right to the office. Testimony was then adduced at length, touching
the character of the
 returns made to the State canvassers; after hearing of which it was the
opinion of the court that
 Bashford had received a plurality of votes for governor and that there must
be a judgment in
 his favor and one of ouster against Barstow; which were rendered accordingly.
     The ninth regular session of the legislature of Wisconsin commenced
on the ninth of
 January, 1856. William Hull was elected speaker of the assembly. The senate
had a repub-
 lican majority, but the assembly was democratic. On the eleventh Barstow
sent in a message to
 a joint convention of the two houses. On the twenty-first of March he tendered
to the legisla-
 ture his resignation as governor, giving for reasons the action of the supreme
court in "Bashford
 vs. Barstow," which tribunal was then hearing testimony in the case.
On the same day Arthur
 McArthur, lieutenant governor, took and subscribed an oath of office as
governor of the State,
 afterwards sending a message to the legislature, announcing that the resignation
of Barstow
 made it his duty to take the reins of government. On the twenty-fifth, Bashford
called on
 McArthur, then occupying the executive office, and demanded possession-at
the same time
 intimating that he preferred peaceable measures to force, but that the latter
would be employed
 if necessary. 'The lieutenant governor thereupon vacated the chair, when
the former took the
 gubernatorial seat, exercising thereafter the functions of the office until
his successor was elected
 and qualified. His right to the seat was recognized by the senate on the
twenty-fifth, and by the
 assembly on the twenty-seventh of March, 1856. This ended the famous case
of" Bashford vs,
 Barstow," the first and only "war of succession " ever indulged
in by Wisconsin.
    The legislature, on the thirty-first of March, adjourned over to the
third of September, to
dispose of a congressional land grant to the State. Upon re-assembling, an
important measure
was taken up-that of a new apportionment for the legislature. It was determined
to increase the

Go up to Top of Page