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1862 October 29: Political Campaigns Were Nasty Back Then Too

October 31, 2012

From the October 29, 1862, issue of The Prescott Journal, the last issue before the election of 1862.  Can you envision the television advertisements this election would have produced?


That every secessionist in this congressional district will vote for Col. STODDARD¹ for Congress.

Not a man whose loyalty has been questioned, will cast a vote for LUTHER HANCHETT.²

Col. RODOLPH, of La Crosse, was one of the committee who reported the name of Mr. Stoddard as a candidate for Congress.

Brick Pomeroy [Marcus Mills “Brick” Pomeroy], in the La Crosse Democrat of October 20, says of him :

Rodolph is at heart a rebel, and cannot deny it.  Not one word of sympathy for the Union in its struggle for life has ever fell from his lips, and every reverse to loyal arms has wreathed his face in sardonic smiles.

The same paper reports a Co. Convention in which Col. Rodolph was the leading spirit, which

Resolved, That we, as Democrats, will use all honorable means within our power to secure the election of Hon. T. B. Stoddard as member of Congress.

The semi-secessionists all support Stoddard.

From the Hudson North Star.

Assembly Nomination.

We learn that the Union Assembly Convention held last Saturday, at River Falls, nominated Hon. C. B. COX of that place.  We heartily endorse the nomination.  The convention did a right thing in nominating a man on whom all true union men can unite.  Mr. COX is the man for the times, possessing the rarest of all qualifications for a political candidate—political honesty as well as honesty of belief and honesty in deal between man and man.

— Judge BERTON, of La Crosse, has been spending a few days in the St. Croix Valley, trying to advance the interests of Col. Stoddard.  When asked why Col. Stoddard did not stump the district, he replied that if the democrats got acquainted with him they would refuse to support him.  The fact is, Col. Stoddard’s age and infirmities will not admit of his traveling over the district.

Col. Stoddard has been, and is, a radical republican, but if elected by the voices of all the semi-secessionists in the district, he might feel bound to defer to their views in his action.  Mr. Hanchett received his nomination at a convention to which only loyal men were invited.  Let all loyal men give him their support.

— The Union men in St. Croix Co, have nominated the following ticket:

Treasurer—ALFRED DAY.
Clerk of Board—J. H. WING.
Register—O. F. BROWN.
Surveyor—D. WHITE.

It is an excellent ticket, and cannot be beaten.

The Democrats have nominated, Treasurer, C. S. White; Clerk of Board, A. D. Gray;³ Register, F. Darlington; Surveyor, W. R. Anderson.


So far as can be judged by the tone of the Press throughout the District, Mr. Hanchett will walk the course.  All the papers in the district are classified as follows:

       . Polk County Press, Dem Hanchett
Hudson Times, Rep Hanchett
Hudson Star, Dem Hanchett
Prescott Journal, Rep Hanchett
Durand Mirror, Rep Hanchett
Eau Claire Press, Rep Hanchett
Eau Claire Herald, Dem Stoddard
Dun Co. Lumberman, Hanchett
Buffalo Co. Journal, Mixed Stoddard or Dingman.
Buffalo Co. Republikaner, Rep Hanchett
Galesville Transcript, Rep Hanchett
La Crosse Republican, Rep Hanchett
La Crosse democrat, Dem Stoddard
La Crosse Nord Stern, Rep Stoddard
Viroqua Expesiter, Rep Hanchett
Viroqua Times, Rep Hanchett
Sparta Herald, Rep Hanchett
sparta Eagle, Rep Hanchett
Jackson Co. Banner, Rep Hanchett
Clark Co. Advocate, Rep Hanchett
Juneau Co. Argus, Dem Stoddard
New Lisbon Republican, Rep Hanchett
Mauston Star, Rep Hanchett
Adams Co. Independent, Rep Hanchett
Times, (Portage Co.,) Rep Hanchett
Wis. Pinery, (Portage Co.) Dem Hanchett
Wood Co. Reporter, Rep Hanchett

1.  Thomas Benton Stoddard (1800-1876) was a lawyer, railroad promoter, and politician from La Crosse. He was instrumental in organizing the Southern Minnesota R.R. Co., of which he was president (1864-1871), and was active in several unsuccessful railroad schemes designed to make La Crosse the railroad center for the upper Mississippi valley. A Democrat, Stoddard held local political offices in La Crosse, and was state assemblyman (1862). For more details see Stoddard’s entry in the Dictionary of Wisconsin History. The Wisconsin Historical Society holds the Thomas B. Stoddard Papers.
2.  Luther Hanchett (1825-1862) moved to Plover, Wisconsin, in 1848 where he practiced law, engaged in lumbering and mining enterprises, and served for several years as district attorney of Portage County. A Republican, he was state senator (1857-1860) and U.S. Congressman (from March, 1861, until his death in 1862). For more details see Hanchett’s entry in the Dictionary of Wisconsin History.
3.  Almon D. Gray (1830-1912), from Hudson, had served as captain of Company H, 16th Wisconsin Infantry. He had just recently resigned—on September 8, 1862—and returned home. He had been in the state assembly in 1855, was county attorney of St. Croix county, and the first mayor of Hudson.

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