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Odd Wisconsin Archive

Original State Constitution Also Missing!

Dateline: Madison, 1848. Not only are some of Gov. Thompson's archives gone forever but so, too, is the hand-written manuscript of our state contitution! That crucial document, the foundation of our legal system and government, resides like the missing Thompson papers in historical oblivion. This catastrophe was apparently first reported by the Milwaukee Sentinel and picked up some time later by Madison's Capital Times. The first to discover it missing was historian Lyman C. Draper, who tried to track it down in 1882. He contacted Morgan L. Martin of Green Bay, one of its signers, and Martin replied (May 19, 1882), "My own impression favors the idea that the first secretary, McHugh, gave the original to the printer for copy, and that it was not returned to the office." The official printer at the time was Horace A. Tenney of Madison, but the manuscript of the constitution was apparently not among his papers when he died.
:: Posted in Curiosities on March 17, 2004
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