Use the smaller-sized text Use the larger-sized text Use the very large text

Dictionary of Wisconsin History

Or Search Everything...
Search All Terms:

Search All Fields:


Search Results for: Keyword: 'washburn'

Term: Washburn, Gov. Cadwallader Colden (1818-1882)

Definition:

b. Livermore, Maine, April 22, 1818
d. Eureka Springs, Arkansas, May 15, 1882

Cadwallader Colden (C.C.) Washburn was a U.S. Congressman, Civil War officer, industrial empire builder and founder of General Mills, and 11th governor of Wisconsin. Few people of his generation had as much influence on Wisconsin history.

Early Life

Washburn grew up in Maine. He taught school there before moving to the Midwest to seek his fortune. He worked in Iowa and studied law in Rock Island, Illinois, before settling in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, in 1842. He opened a law practice, founded a bank, and acquired a vast amount of northern Wisconsin forest.

Washburn, a Republican, served in the U.S. Congress from 1855-1861, and again after the Civil War, 1867-1870 (five terms in all). At the same time, he broadened his business operations in banking and real estate. Early in 1861 he moved to La Crosse and was sent as a delegate to an unsuccessful peace convention held in Washington, D.C., that had hoped to prevent the impending Civil War.

Civil War Service

After the outbreak of hostilities, Washburn accepted an appointment as colonel of the 2nd Wisconsin Cavalry, on October 10, 1861. The following spring he led it south into Arkansas to join Union forces in the West.

Washburn was promoted to brigadier general in June 1862.  He took command of not only of his regiment, but also the entire 2nd Cavalry Brigade. On July 7, 1862, it defeated Confederate forces at Cotton Plant, Arkansas, and then marched east to take possession of Helena, Arkansas. From there it supported the Union campaign against Vicksburg, Mississippi. In March 1863 Washburn was commissioned a major general with command over all Union cavalry in West Tennessee, headquartered at Memphis.

After the Siege of Vicksburg in the summer of 1863, Washburn’s command was moved to New Orleans. In August he led 16,000 men in support of the Red River Expedition, occupying and pacifying large areas along the Texas Coast. He spent most of 1864 and the spring of 1865 in command at Memphis and Vicksburg.

Postwar Career

After leaving the military in May 1865, Washburn returned to La Crosse and served again in Congress, from 1867 to 1870.

He was elected governor of Wisconsin in the fall of 1871 and served from 1872-1874. At that time, there was movement by farmers for government regulation of railroads to alleviate the monopolies of railroad barons.  Washburn made some decisions that alienated the farmers, railroad barons and other constituents. This, combined with his veto of a popular construction project, led to his defeat in the 1873 gubernatorial election. After an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 1875, Washburn retired from politics.

Afterward, Washburn devoted himself to business enterprises. In 1866, he opened his first flour mill in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which became known as General Mills. It was spectacularly successful and flourished for over a century. He also worked in the lumber industry and helped secure the construction of the Minneapolis and St. Louis railroad.

Washburn served as a regent of the University of Wisconsin and president of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. He died in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, on May 15, 1882, while recuperating from an illness.

Links to Learn More

Biography of Gov. Washburn by Albert Kelsey in the Wisconsin Magazine of History, vol. 88, no. 4, (2005)

Sketch of Gen. Washburn’s Civil War service by E.B. Quiner in his book, "Military History of Wisconsin" (Chicago, 1866), pages 980-981.

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin Biography (Madison, 1965); Love, William D. Wisconsin in the War of the Rebellion (Madison, 1866): 743-746, 895-896; Quiner, E.B. Military History of Wisconsin (Chicago, 1866: 408-409.]

90 records found

Barronett, Town of, Washburn Co.
Bascom, John 1827 - 1911
Bashaw, Town of, Washburn Co.
Bass Lake, Town of, Washburn Co.
Bayfield [brief history]
Beaver Brook, Town of, Washburn Co.
Beaver Brook, Washburn Co.
Beaver, Town of, Washburn Co.
Birchwood, Town of, Washburn Co.
Birchwood, Village of, Washburn Co.
Birchwood, Washburn Co.
Blake, Thomas E. 1902 - 1994
Brooklyn, Town of, Washburn Co.
Cadotte, Michel 1764 - 1837
Cameron, Angus 1826 - 1897
Cameron, Howard W. 1915
Carpenter, Matthew Hale [B. "Carpenter","Decatur M
Casey, Town of, Washburn Co.
Cassoday, John B. 1830 - 1907
Chicago Junction, Washburn Co.
Chicog, Town of, Washburn Co.
Chittamo, Washburn Co.
Civil War: 28th Infantry
Civil War: 35th Infantry
Civil War: 39th Infantry
Civil War: 43rd Infantry
Civil War: 48th Infantry
Civil War: 51st Infantry
Civil War: Camp Holton (Historic Marker Erected 1
Comstock, George Cary 1855 - 1934
Crystal, Town of, Washburn Co.
Earl, Washburn Co.
Early, Michael P. 1918
Evergreen, Town of, Washburn Co.
floods in Wisconsin
Frog Creek, Town of, Washburn Co.
governors
Gull Lake, Town of, Washburn Co.
Harmon (historical), Washburn Co.
Hines, Edward 1863 - 1931
Kedrowski, David R. 1942
Korpela, Ernest J. 1936
Lampson, Washburn Co.
Long Lake, Town of, Washburn Co.
Loomis, Town of, Washburn Co.
Madeline Island (Historic Marker Erected 1956)
Madge, Town of, Washburn Co.
Madge, Washburn Co.
Mills, Town of, Washburn Co.
Minong, Town of, Washburn Co.
Minong, Village of, Washburn Co.
Minong, Washburn Co.
Namekagon River (Historic Marker Erected 1967)
Nancy, Town of, Washburn Co.
Nobleton, Washburn Co.
Norse Pottery (1903-1913)
Peavey [Peavy], Hubert Haskell 1881 - 1937
quarried stone (architecture)
Rasmusen, Holger B. 1894
Sarona, Town of, Washburn Co.
Sarona, Washburn Co.
Schricker, Kenneth 1921
Shell Lake, Town of, Washburn Co.
Shell Lake, Washburn Co.
Smith, Patricia Spafford 1925
Spooner, Town of, Washburn Co.
Spooner, Washburn Co.
Spring Brook, Town of, Washburn Co.
Springbrook, Town of, Washburn Co.
Springbrook, Washburn Co.
St. Croix Reservation
Stanberry, Washburn Co.
Starbuck, Frank Washburn 1845 - 1929
Stinnett, Town of, Washburn Co.
Stone Lake, Town of, Washburn Co.
Stone, Jeff 1961
timeline of Wisconsin history, 1622-1699
Trego, Town of, Washburn Co.
Trego, Washburn Co.
Veazie, Town of, Washburn Co.
Washburn County [origin of place name]
Washburn [origin of place name]
Washburn, Bayfield Co.
Washburn, Gov. Cadwallader Colden (1818-1882)
Washburn, Town of, Bayfield Co.
Washburn, Town of, Clark Co.
White, Joe (Gishkitawag, "Cut Ear") ca. 1838-1894
Wolfe, Town of, Washburn Co.
Woodman, Cyrus 1814 - 1889
Yellow River (Historic Marker Erected 1968)

  • Questions about this page? Email us
  • Email this page to a friend
select text size Use the smaller-sized textUse the larger-sized textUse the very large text