Term: Barstow-Bashford Affair (1856)
After an exciting election contest in 1855 between William Barstow, the Democrat governor, and Coles H. Bashford, the first Republican candidate for governor, the canvassing board consisting of the attorney general, the secretary of state the state treasurer, declared Barstow elected by 157 majority. The Republicans charged fraud publicly. Feeling ran high as the day of inauguration approached [ Jan. 7, 1856]. Troops were brought to Madison and there was every indication of trouble. Barstow was sworn in and held his position in the executive chamber. Bashford also took the oath before Chief Justice Whiton of the supreme court, then made a formal demand for the office, which brought the matter into court. [Over the next three months] the most distinguished lawyers of the state appeared in the case. During the taking of testimony Barstow withdrew from the contest, sending his resignation to the legislature. The lieutenant governor then assumed the duties of governor, but a few days later [March 24, 1856] the supreme court decided in favor of Bashford and the acting governor, after filing a protest, vacated the office and Bashford assumed the duties.
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[Source: Wisconsin: comprising sketches of counties, towns, events, institutions, and persons, arranged in cyclopedic form, ed. by Ex-Gov. Geo. W. Peck (Madison, Wis., Western Historical Association, 1906).]