Photograph of attorney Byron Paine, ca. 1860

Studio portrait of Byron Paine (1827-1871)

Attorney and abolitionist Byron Paine was born in Painesville, Ohio, 10 October 1827, and died in Madison, Wisconsin, 13 January 1871. He is best remembered for representing defendants in two of the state's landmark civil rights cases. After the Joshua Glover incident in 1854, he defended Sherman Booth in a case that ultimately led the Wisconsin Supreme Court to declare the federal Fugitive Slave Law unconstitutional; and in 1865 he carried the suit of Ezekiel Gillespie through the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the case that won black citizens the right to vote in Wisconsin.

He came to Milwaukee about 1847, was admitted to the bar in 1849, and entered practice as a partner of Carl Schurz. He was judge of the Milwaukee county court from 1856 until 1859, and an associate justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court from 1859 until 1864. In the latter year he entered the army as lieutenant-colonel of the 43d Wisconsin infantry, serving until the end of the war. Returning to Milwaukee, he entered private practice with another radical Republican, Halbert E. Paine (no relation) until in 1867 he resumed his position on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. From 1868 until his death in 1871 Paine was also a professor of law at the University of Wisconsin.

Related Topics: Wisconsin in the Civil War Era
Abolition and Other Reforms
The Civil War Home Front
Desegregation and Civil Rights
Creator: Fuller's Temple of Art, Milwaukee
Pub Data: Unpublished photograph
Citation: Fuller's Temple of Art, Milwaukee. Unpublished photograph of Byron Paine (1827-1871) in the Visual Materials Collection of the Wisconsin Historical Society Library-Archives. Online facsimile at:; Visited on: 4/24/2024