Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Wisconsin Territorial Governors

territorial governor | Wisconsin Historical Society
EnlargeA detail of a full-length portrait of Henry Dodge in formal suit and fur coat.

Henry Dodge, 1836

Green Bay, Wisconsin. This portrait was painted by James Bowman just after Henry Dodge was appointed  first governor of the Territory of Wisconsin in 1836. He served a second term from 1845-1848. View the original source document: WHI 2612

Dictionary of Wisconsin History.

Wisconsin had four territorial governors before becoming a state in 1848. Territorial governors were appointed for three-year terms. They were authorized to veto territorial legislation, appoint lower level officials, and serve as commander-in-chief of the militia.

Wisconsin Territorial Governors

Henry Dodge
1836-1841
Appointed by Andrew Jackson, April 30, 1836
James Duane Doty
1841-1844
Appointed by John Tyler, September 30, 1841
Nathaniel Talmadge
1844-1845
Appointed by John Tyler, June 21, 1844
Henry Dodge
1845-1848
Appointed by James K. Polk, April 8, 1845

[Source: "Cultural Resource Management in Wisconsin," Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1986]