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Odd Wisconsin Archive

Father-Son Senators


According to the U.S. Senate's history site, the first and only father and son to serve in the Senate at the same time were Henry Dodge of Wisconsin and his son Augustus Caesar Dodge of Iowa. The elder Dodge represented Wisconsin in the Senate from 1848 to 1857. When he arrived in Washington, he joined his son, who was already there as an Iowa senator (1846 to 1855). So for seven years during the middle of the 19th century, the Senate had its only father-son team.

The Elder Dodge

Henry Dodge grew up near St. Louis and moved to Wisconsin in 1827, settling with his slaves near the present site of Dodgeville in order to mine lead. He led the local militia in the Black Hawk War, was appointed Governor of the Territory of Wisconsin, 1836-1841, and was elected as a Democrat to the House of Representatives for the Twenty-seventh and Twenty-eighth Congresses (March 4, 1841-March 3, 1845).

The elder Dodge came home from Washington to Wisconsin, though, to serve a second time as Governor of the Territory (1845 until 1848). When Wisconsin became a State in 1848, he was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate. When he got to Washington he joined his son Augustus, who had already been elected a senator from Iowa. He served in the Senate from June 8, 1848, to March 3, 1857 where he chaired the Committee on Commerce before retiring. He died in Burlington, Iowa, June 19, 1867.

The Younger Dodge

Augustus, Henry's son, was born in 1812 and followed his father to the Lead Region in the 1820s. In 1837 he moved across the Mississippi to Burlington, Iowa, which he represented in the U.S. House of Representatives until the end of 1846, when the Territory of Iowa was admitted as a State. The younger Dodge was then elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate, where he served until 1855, when he was appointed U.S. ambassador to Spain (1855-1859). He died in Burlington, Iowa, in 1883, sixteen years after his father.


:: Posted in Odd Lives on June 5, 2013
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