The Shooting in the Territorial Council - 1

An early day tragedy

On February 11, 1842 the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature was interrupted by the shooting of one member by another. Representative Charles C.P. Arndt implied that fellow member James R. Vineyard had lied in the chamber. In the moments following adjournment, Arndt approached Vineyard's desk on the floor of the assembly and the two continued their disagreement. When Arndt came closer to Vineyard and struck him in the head, Vineyard drew a pistol and shot Arndt in the chest. Arndt reeled backward and fell to the floor, dying where he had fallen about five minutes later. English author Charles Dickens was traveling in the U.S. at the time, and the incident was one of several that he used to show the brutality and barbarity of frontier Americans in chapter XVII of his book, American Notes. The links below take you to a memoir of the incident by Elisha Keyes (1828-1910), who was a child in Madison at the time.

Related Topics: Territory to Statehood
The State Constitutions of 1846 and 1848
Creator: Keyes, E. W. (Elisha Williams), 1828-1910.
Pub Data: Milwaukee Sentinel, August 27 1899.
Citation: Keyes, E. W. "An early day tragedy." Milwaukee Sentinel, August 27 1899. Online facsimile at:; Visited on: 4/17/2024