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On This Day: March 20

1854 - Republican Party Founded

On this date Free Soilers and Whigs outraged by the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, met in Ripon to consider forming a new political party. The meeting's organizer, Alvan E. Bovay, proposed the name "Republican" which had been suggested by New York editor Horace Greeley. You can see eyewitness accounts of the meeting, early Republican campaign documents, and other original sources on our page devoted to Wisconsin and the Republican Party. Though other places have claimed themselves as the birthplace of the Republican Party, this was the earliest meeting held for the purpose and the first to use the term Republican. [Source: History of Wisconsin, II: 218-219]

1865 - (Civil War) Battle of Goldsborough, North Carolina, Continues

The fighting at Goldsborough, North Carolina, continued for a second day as 100,000 Union troops were held off by a smaller force of Confederates. The 21st, 22nd and 25th Wisconsin Infantry regiments took part in this battle.

1958 - Ed Gein's Home Burned by Angry Mob

On this date an angry mob torched serial killer Ed Gein's home in Plainfield, in response to rumors that it would be purchased at an auction and reopened for tourism. [Source: Oddball Wisconsin: A Guide to Some Really Strange Places by Jerome Pohlen]