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Term: Randall, Gov. Alexander W. (1819-1872)


b. Ames, New York, October 31, 1819
d. Elmira, New York, July 26, 1872

Alexander Randall was governor of Wisconsin when the Civil War broke out and was instrumental in raising and organizing troops for the Union cause. Camp Randall in Madison is named for him.

Early Career

Like his father, Randall was trained in law in New York. He was admitted to the bar at age 19 and soon afterwards moved to Wisconsin. In 1840 he opened a law practice in Prairieville (now Waukesha), where he was also appointed postmaster.

Randall was chosen a delegate to the first Constitutional Convention in 1846. He was also elected to the state Assembly in 1848, and served as circuit judge in Milwaukee, 1855-1857. He was nominated the Republican candidate for governor in 1857, won that year's election, was re-elected in 1859, and held that office when the Civil War broke out in April 1861.

Civil War Years

Gov. Randall immediately called for Wisconsin volunteers. Although President Lincoln requested only one regiment, enough recruits came forward to fill several. By the end of July 1861, six regiments of Wisconsin soldiers had left the state for the front.

Unfortunately, Randall made powerful enemies in Washington and at home in Wisconsin by his disregard for the cost to taxpayers for preparing troops and the slow pace of government bureaucracy. He was only moderately successful at navigating the politics of organizing troops, establishing training camps, obtaining supplies, arming recruits, and paying for it all.

As his second term drew to a close in 1861, he decided not to run again for governor.

Later Life

When Randallís term ended in January 1862, President Lincoln appointed him U.S. minister to Italy. He served two years before coming home and accepting Lincoln's appointment as assistant postmaster general in 1863.

In July 1866, President Andrew Johnson named him Postmaster General of the U.S., a position he held until 1869. Randall was the first Wisconsin resident appointed to the Cabinet of a U.S. president. When President Johnson was impeached in 1866, Randallís political career ended. He resumed his law practice in Elmira, New York, where he died in 1872.

Links to Learn More

A colorful memoir by a friend, Milwaukee Sentinel, November 14, 1897

Randall's Civil War efforts are described at length in Chapter I of E.B. Quiner's book, "Military History of Wisconsin" (Chicago, 1866)

View original documents relating to Gov. Randall

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin Biography (Madison, 1965); Sobel, Robert. Biographical Directory of the United States Executive Branch, 1774-1989 (N.Y., 1990) Engle, Stephen. "The Union Must Stand." Wisconsin Magazine of History 91/1 (2007): 14-27. ]

69 records found

Allen, Col. Thomas S. (1825-1905)
Best, Phillip 1814 - 1869
Camp Randall
Camp Randall (Historic Marker Erected 1961)
Capital, Attempted Removal of.
Civil War, Wisconsin troops
Civil War: 2nd Infantry
Civil War: 5th Infantry
Civil War: 6th Infantry
Civil War: 7th Infantry
Civil War: 8th Infantry
Civil War: 11th Infantry
Civil War: 12th Infantry
Civil War: 15th Infantry
Civil War: 16th Infantry
Civil War: 17th Infantry
Civil War: 19th Infantry
Civil War: 1st U.S. Sharpshooters, Co. G
Civil War: 20th Infantry
Civil War: 23rd Infantry
Civil War: 25th Infantry
Civil War: 29th Infantry
Civil War: 30th Infantry
Civil War: 34th Infantry
Civil War: 36th Infantry
Civil War: 37th Infantry
Civil War: 38th Infantry
Civil War: 40th Infantry
Civil War: 42nd Infantry
Civil War: 44th Infantry
Civil War: 45th Infantry
Civil War: 46th Infantry
Civil War: 47th Infantry
Civil War: 49th Infantry
Civil War: 52nd Infantry
Civil War: 53rd Infantry
Civil War: 11th Light Artillery
Crandall, George Humphrey 1869 - 1938
Cutler, Gen. Lysander (1808-1866)
Dawes, Col. Rufus R. (1838-1899)
Dixon, Luther Swift 1825 - 1891
Elfers, Earl H. 1913
Guppey, Gen. Joshua J. (1820-1893)
Harriman, Col. Samuel (1826-1897)
Heg, Col. Hans Christian (1829-1863)
Hobbins, Joseph 1816 - 1894
Kerkman, Samantha 1974
Knox, Randall S. 1949
Land Grant Scandal
Langenberg, Conrad (1830-1899)
Madison [brief history]
Mears, Helen Farnsworth 1872 - 1916
Old Abe, the War Eagle
Peabody, Arthur 1858 - 1942
Putnam, Henry Cleveland 1832 - 1912
Radtke, Randall J. 1951
Randall Guard (Civil War)
Randall Zouaves (Civil War)
Randall [origin of place name]
Randall [origin of place name]
Randall, Burnett Co.
Randall, Clifford Ellsworth 1876 - 1934
Randall, Gov. Alexander W. (1819-1872)
Randall, Town of, Kenosha Co.
Sinking of the Lady Elgin (Historic Marker Erected
timeline of Wisconsin history, 1836-1899
Waukesha [brief history]
Young, Rebecca 1934

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