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Term: Taylor, William Robert 1820 - 1909


farmer, politician, governor, b. Woodbury, Conn. He attended Champion Academy in N.Y. and in 1840 moved to Ohio, where he taught for a few years, attended medical school, and served briefly as an officer in the state militia. In 1848 he moved to Wisconsin, settling in Cottage Grove where he farmed and held local political offices. A Democrat, Taylor was state assemblyman (1855) and state senator (1859-1860). In the gubernatorial election of 1873, Taylor, utilizing his membership in the state Grange as well as railroad and liquor support, and aided by his able campaign manager, George H. Paul (q.v.), was elected governor on the Democratic-Liberal-Reform ticket (Granger-Democrat). During his administration (Jan. 1874 to Jan. 1876) Taylor advocated moderate railroad rate regulation and also recommended passage of a law making railroads responsible for injuries to their employees. However, the outstanding issue of Taylor's administration was the Potter Act of 1874 which fixed maximum freight and passenger rates and provided for the establishment of a regulatory railroad commission. Although Taylor did not favor such an extreme program, both he and his chief railroad commissioner, George Paul, were forced to uphold the Potter law when it was deliberately challenged and disregarded by railroad interests under the leadership of Alexander Mitchell (q.v.). In a desperate attempt to retain the Granger-farmer support which had elected him to office, Taylor appointed E. G. Ryan (q.v.) to the state supreme court bench and Ryan ruled in favor of the constitutionality of the Potter Act. Nevertheless, both Taylor and Paul felt it necessary to work out a compromise with Mitchell, and in 1875 the Democrat-Granger-Reform coalition fell apart and Republican Harrison Ludington (q.v.) was elected to the governorship. After leaving office, Taylor was for a time involved in a series of legislative investigations which charged him with misuse of public funds. In his later years he lost heavily in grain speculation, and in 1905 he was forced to seek shelter in the Gisholt Home for the Aged where he died in relative obscurity. W. F. Raney, Wis. (New York, 1940); A. J. Beitzinger, E. G. Ryan . . . (Madison, 1960); Wis. Mag. Hist., 14, 15, 33; Wis. Legis. Manual (1875); Wis. Blue Book (1935); W. R. Taylor Papers.

View a related article at Wisconsin Magazine of History Archives.

[Source: Blue book]

100 records found

Aurora, Town of, Taylor Co.
Bellinger, Taylor Co.
Benson, Taylor
Black Hawk War Encampment (Historic Marker Erected
Boardman, Maj. Frederick A. (1832-1863)
Browning, Town of, Taylor Co.
Chelsea, Taylor Co.
Chelsea, Town of, Taylor Co.
Clark, Julius Taylor 1814 - 1908
Cleveland, Town of, Taylor Co.
Conrad, William Harrison 1888 - 1951
Coomer [origin of place name]
Davis, Jefferson (in Wisconsin)
Dean, Robert W. 1923
Deer Creek, Town of, Taylor Co.
Donald, Taylor Co.
Eastern Orthodox in Wisconsin
Ford, Town of, Taylor Co.
forest fires in Wisconsin
Gilman, Taylor Co.
Gilman, Taylor Co. [origin of place name]
Gilman, Village of, Taylor Co.
Goodrich, Taylor Co.
Goodrich, Town of, Taylor Co.
Governor James Taylor Lewis (1819-1904) (Historic
Greenwood, Town of, Taylor Co.
Grover, Town of, Taylor Co.
Hammel, Town of, Taylor Co.
Hannibal, Taylor Co.
Hardie, Keith 1910
Holway, Town of, Taylor Co.
Hughey, Taylor Co.
Interwald, Taylor Co.
Jump River [origin of place name]
Jump River, Taylor Co.
Jump River, Town of, Taylor Co.
Lato, Stanley J. 1924
Lewis, Gov. James Taylor (1819-1904)
Little Black, Taylor Co.
Little Black, Town of, Taylor Co.
Lublin [origin of place name]
Lublin, Taylor Co.
Lublin, Village of, Taylor Co.
Ludington, Harrison 1812 - 1891
Maplehurst, Taylor Co.
Maplehurst, Town of, Taylor Co.
McKinley, Town of, Taylor Co.
Medford [origin of place name]
Medford, Taylor Co.
Medford, Town of, Taylor Co.
Menard, Fr. Rene, 1605-1661
Mills, Joseph Trotter 1811 - 1897
Mitchell, Alexander 1817 - 1887
Molitor, Town of, Taylor Co.
Murat, Taylor Co.
Museum of Medical Progress (Historic Marker Erecte
Nation's First Cooperative Generating Station (His
Ocooch [origin of place name]
Old Military Road (Historic Marker Erected 1955)
Osborn, Joseph Horatio 1822 - 1892
Paul, George Howard 1826 - 1890
Perkinstown, Taylor Co.
Pershing, Town of, Taylor Co.
Pine Creek, Town of, Taylor Co.
Polley, Taylor Co.
Potter Law (1874)
Presidential Visits to Madison
Queenstown, Taylor Co.
Rib Lake Lumber Company (Historic Marker Erected 1
Rib Lake, Taylor Co.
Rib Lake, Town of, Taylor Co.
Rib Lake, Village of, Taylor Co.
Roosevelt, Town of, Taylor Co.
Rustic Road (Historic Marker Erected 1976)
Ryan, Edward George 1810 - 1880
Soldiers Grove Origins (Historic Marker Erected 19
State Park Movement in Wisconsin - Interstate Park
Stetsonville, Taylor Co.
Stetsonville, Village of, Taylor Co.
Taft, Town of, Taylor Co.
Taylor County [origin of place name]
Taylor, David 1818 - 1891
Taylor, Horace Adolphus 1837 - 1910
Taylor, Jackson Co.
Taylor, Lena C. 1966
Taylor, Town of, Sheboygan Co.
Taylor, Town of, Washington Co.
Taylor, Village of, Jackson Co.
Taylor, William Robert 1820 - 1909
Taylors Corners, Dane Co.
timeline of Wisconsin history, 1622-1699
timeline of Wisconsin history, 1836-1899
Westboro, Taylor Co.
Westboro, Town of, Taylor Co.
Whig Party
Whittlesey, Taylor Co.
Williams, Mary 1949
Winslow, John Bradley 1851 - 1920

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