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Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Giant knife presented to John Fox Potter by Missouri Republicans after his challenge to duel with a Virginia congressman, 1860. (Museum object #1957.112)

Two Lawyers Spur Abolitionist Reform and Universal Voting Rights

Byron Paine and Halbert E. Paine use the power of law as a powerful force for radical abolitionist reform in mid-19th century Wisconsin.

The story of Louise Williams who provided business and legal counsel for women who lived all over southern WI for five decades after the Civil War.

Historical Essay

Paine, Byron, 1827-1871

Civil Rights Law

Learn about the Milwaukee based lawyer who won two of Wisconsin's most important civil rights cases and was on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Read about the development of the Republican Party in Wisconsin in the years prior to the Civil War.

Read about the most famous escapes of fugitive slaves along Wisconsin's Underground Railroad. Includes links to primary sources.

Discover Juliet Severance, the free-thinking Whitewater physician who was involved with the anti-slavery movement, temperance, and women's rights.

The story of Capt. Jonathan Walker whose hand was branded with "S.S." (for "slave stealer") for assisting fugitive slaves.

Historical Essay

Abolition and Other Reforms

Read about 19th-century reform movements such as temperance and antislavery, as well as experimental utopian communities, in Wisconsin.
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