Collage of historic photos.

Historical Figures in Wisconsin

Learn about the lives of your favorite Wisconsin historical figures, from the famous to infamous, and their contributions to our state's history.

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Search by keyword below to find information on historical figures in Wisconsin.

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Historical Essay

Catlin, John, 1803-1874

Brief biography of pioneer lawyer, politician and railroad man John Catlin.

Brief biography of pioneer lawyer, politician and railroad man John Catlin.

Historical Essay

Kilbourn, Byron (1801-1870)

Land Speculator and Politician

Brief biography of surveyor, land speculator, railroad promoter and politician Byron Kilbourn, twice elected mayor of Milwaukee.

Lawyer, Politician and Judge

Biography of lawyer, politician and judge Edward George Ryan.

Politician and Industrialist

Biography of Walter Jodok Koher, politician and founder of the Kohler Company.

Historical Essay

Chase, Warren 1813-1891

Spiritualist, Social Reformer and Politician

Biography of spiritualist, social reformer and politician Warren Chase.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, U.S. Congressman

Brief biography of Civil War veteran and three term U.S. Congressman best remembered for disobeying orders to return fugitive slaves to their owners.

Lawyer, Politician, Senator, Cabinet Officer and Philanthropist

Biography of William Freeman Vilas, 1840-1908.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Wisconsin Governor

Brief biography of Gov. Louis P. Harvey, helped organize the Republican Party in 1854, state senator from 1854-1857 and in 1862 became governor.

Historical Essay

Bashford, Coles (1816-1878)

Lawyer, Politician and Governor

Discover the history of Wisconsin governor Bashford Coles.

Historical Essay

Brunson, Alfred (1793-1882)

Wisconsin's first Methodist Missionary

Biography of Methodist clergyman, lawyer, politician and author Alfred Brunson
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Have Questions?

If you have questions about historical research, please contact our Library Reference Services staff by phone at 608-264-6535 or by email.

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