Wisconsin History Day By Day

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A Tragedy in the Capitol

Life in Territorial Wisconsin

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"The History of Wisconsin," Vol. I, "From Exploration to Statehood" by Alice E. Smith



Interesting Fact:

Despite the killing, Vineyard was a delegate to the first state constitutional convention and was a state assemblyman before leaving Wisconsin in 1850.

Study Questions:

  • What was the argument between Arndt and Vineyard that led to the shooting?
  • What were the backgrounds of the two men? Where did they come from, what were their occupations, did they have families? What became of Vineyard after 1850?
  • Why was Vineyard able to have a gun in the legislature?

    U.S. historical events that occurred on February 11:

    1861: President-elect Abraham Lincoln leaves Springfield, Illinois, on a train for Washington, D.C.
    1937: General Motors agrees to recognize labor union United Automobile Workers, ending a sit-down strike.

  • February 11

    February 11, 1842: During a heated argument in the territorial legislature J. R. Vineyard shot and killed C.C.P. Arndt. Vineyard, a lead miner, was acquitted of manslaughter and retained his popularity in the lead mining region. Vineyard left the state in 1850, following the gold rush to California.

    Madison Express, February 12, 1842

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