Dictionary of Wisconsin History
Search Results for: Keyword: 'fugitive slave law'
Term: Whiton, Edward Vernon 1805 - 1859
lawyer, politician, judge, b. South Lee, Mass. He was admitted to the bar in Massachusetts. He moved to Wisconsin in 1837, settling in Janesville, where he set up a law practice. Originally a Whig, and later a Republican, Whiton was a member of the lower house of the territorial legislature (1838-1842), where he played an important role in the revision of the territorial laws; he was also a member of the territorial upper house (1842-1846), where he was known as an opponent to the free- school movement. Whiton was a delegate to the second state constitutional convention (1847-1848), and when Wisconsin achieved statehood in 1848 was elected circuit judge of the first Wisconsin district. In this capacity, he also served as ex officio associate justice of the state supreme court (1848-1853). When the supreme court was organized as a separate body in 1853, Whiton was elected chief justice, serving in this capacity from June, 1853, until his death. During Whiton's tenure on the high court bench, he was an important figure in the stormy pre-Civil War period. In July, 1854, he affirmed the decision of Associate Justice Abram D. Smith (q.v.) in ordering the release of abolitionist Sherman M. Booth (q.v.), who was charged with violating the federal Fugitive Slave Law of 1850; Whiton thus, in effect, affirmed Smith's opinion that the federal law was unconstitutional. In 1856 Whiton also handed down the opinion in the disputed gubernatorial election of 1855, which declared Republican Coles Bashford (q.v.) the legally elected governor of Wisconsin due to fraudulent balloting in behalf of Democrat William Barstow (q.v.). J. B. Winslow, Story of a Great Court (Chicago, 1912); Wis. Mag. Hist., 19, 20, 22; Green Bag, 9 (1911), pp. 63-75; WPA MS.
The Wisconsin Historical Society has manuscripts related to this topic. See the catalog description of the Edward Vernon Whiton Letter for details.
[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]
17 records found
Booth, Sherman Miller 1812 - 1904
Cole, Orsamus 1819 - 1903
Crawford, Samuel 1820 - 1861
Dixon, Luther Swift 1825 - 1891
Doolittle, James Rood 1815 - 1897
Finch, Asahel Jr. 1809 - 1883
Fugitive Slave Act
Howe, Timothy Otis 1816 - 1883
Miller, Andrew Galbraith 1801 - 1874
Paine, Byron 1827 - 1871
Paine, Col. Halbert E. (1826-1905)
Ryan, Edward George 1810 - 1880
Sinking of the Lady Elgin (Historic Marker Erected
Smith, Abram Daniel 1811 - 1865
timeline of Wisconsin history, 1836-1899
Whiton, Edward Vernon 1805 - 1859