Governor James Taylor Lewis · 1819 - 1904
Governor James T. Lewis, the ninth Governor of Wisconsin (1864-66), led the state through the tumultuous conclusion of the Civil War. He was born in New Your State and in 1845 settled in Columbus where he practiced law. In 1854-56 he built this house in the Italianate style of architecture. Lewis began his political career as a Democrat, serving in the Assembly, state Senate and as lieutenant governor. He joined the new Republican party and was elected secretary of state in 1861 and governor, by an overwhelming majority, in 1863. Lewis served one term and returned to his large land holdings and legal profession in Columbus.
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Governor Lewis: Civil War Era
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As the last of Wisconsin's four Civil War governors, Governor Lewis made a subtantial contribution to the northern cause. At a time when morale was low and money was scarce, he both met and worked to lower the state's conscription quota. Lewis, along with the four other western governors, designed the "one hun?dred day militia" program and convinced the War Department to continue the high bounty for new army recruits. He made extensive visits to Civil War army hospitals and camps and secured the transfer home of many of Wisconsin's sick and wound?ed soldiers.