Alexander Williams Randall (October 31, 1819 – July 26, 1872) was a lawyer, judge and politician from Wisconsin. He served as the sixth Governor of Wisconsin from 1858 until 1861. He was instrumental in raising and organizing the first Wisconsin volunteer troops for the Union Army during the American Civil War.
|22nd United States Postmaster General|
July 25, 1866 – March 4, 1869
|Preceded by||William Dennison, Jr.|
|Succeeded by||John Creswell|
|3rd United States Minister to the Papal States|
June 6, 1862 – August 4, 1862
|Preceded by||John P. Stockton|
|Succeeded by||Richard Blatchford|
|6th Governor of Wisconsin|
January 4, 1858 – January 6, 1862
|Lieutenant||Erasmus D. Campbell|
|Preceded by||Coles Bashford|
|Succeeded by||Louis P. Harvey|
|Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge |
for the 2nd Circuit
April 1856 – December 31, 1857
|Appointed by||Coles Bashford|
|Preceded by||Levi N. Hubbell|
|Succeeded by||Arthur MacArthur, Sr.|
|Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly|
from the Waukesha 4th district
January 10, 1855 – January 9, 1856
|Preceded by||Jesse Smith|
|Succeeded by||Charles S. Hawley|
Alexander Williams Randall
October 31, 1819
Ames, New York, U.S.
|Died||July 26, 1872 52) (aged|
Elmira, New York, U.S.
|Resting place||Woodlawn Cemetery|
Elmira, New York
|Political party||Republican (1855–1872)|
Whig (Before 1838, 1849–1855)
Free Soil (1848–1849)
|Spouse(s)||Mary C. Van Vechten|
Helen M. Thomas
|Children||Sarah Adaline Randall|
(b. 1843; died 1852)
Life and career
Randall was born in Ames, New York, on October 31, 1819. His father, Phineas, was judge of the court of common pleas there from 1837 to 1841. Randall attended Cherry Valley Academy in New York then studied law with his father. He was admitted to the bar in New York at age 19. Shortly after that, he moved to Wisconsin Territory. He opened a law practice in Waukesha in 1840, where he became postmaster in 1845.
Randall was a delegate to the state's first constitutional convention in 1846. There he successfully advocated for a resolution that would put the question of "Negro suffrage" to a statewide referendum. He was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1855. From 1855 to 1857, he was a circuit judge in Milwaukee.
Randall was elected governor in 1857 as a Republican, and won re-election in 1859. He was a dark horse candidate in 1857. The two principal candidates in the convention that year were Edward D. Holton of Milwaukee and Walter McIndoe of Wausau. Holton's abolitionist passions and his connections with the Milwaukee elite gave him strong support, but McIndoe's more rough-hewn personality resonated better with the frontier character of the state at the time. As such, they split the vote, neither able to garner a majority for the nomination. When it became apparent that the convention was at an impasse, and the delegates were released from their obligation, the votes eventually were cast in favor of Randall, the obvious compromise candidate.
As governor, Randall conducted an investigation of fraud in the distribution of federal railroad land grants in Wisconsin perpetrated by his predecessor, Republican Governor Coles Bashford.
Once war began Randall raised 18 regiments, 10 artillery batteries, and three cavalry units before leaving office, exceeding Wisconsin's quota by 3,232 men. The Union Army created a military camp from the former state fairgrounds in Madison, Wisconsin, and named it "Camp Randall" after the governor. Camp Randall Stadium is now located on the site of the military camp.
In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Randall U.S. Minister to the Papal States. He was succeeded by Richard Milford Blatchford, and, in 1863, accepted appointment as Assistant Postmaster General. President Andrew Johnson appointed him United States Postmaster General in 1866 and he remained in that position until 1869. When Johnson was impeached, Randall remained loyal, testifying on Johnson's behalf and contributing to his defense fund.
|General Election, November 3, 1857|
|Democratic||James B. Cross||44,239||49.12%||-0.95%|
|General Election, November 8, 1859|
|Republican||Alexander Randall (incumbent)||59,999||53.21%||+3.58%|
|Democratic||Harrison Carroll Hobart||52,539||46.60%||-2.53%|
- Wisconsin Historical Society, Dictionary of Wisconsin History, "Term: Randall, Gov. Alexander W. (1819–1872)". Retrieved December 20, 2012.
- Wisconsin Historical Society, Wisconsin Historical Images, "Governor Alexander Randall". Retrieved December 20, 2012.
- Michael J. McManus, Political Abolitionism in Wisconsin, 1840–1861. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1998, p. 28.
- Caryn Hannan (ed.), Wisconsin Biographical Dictionary. 2008–2009 ed. State History Publications, 2008, pp.334–335.
- "State Convention of 1857". The Milwaukee Sentinel. March 18, 1896. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
- Gayle Soucek, Chicago Calamities: Disaster in the Windy City. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2010, p.54.
- National Governor's Association, "Wisconsin Governor Alexander Williams Randall". Retrieved December 20, 2012.
|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for Governor of Wisconsin
Louis P. Harvey
| Governor of Wisconsin
Louis P. Harvey
| United States Postmaster General
John P. Stockton
| United States Minister to the Papal States