James Russell Vineyard

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James Russell Vineyard (1804 – August 30, 1863) was a United States Democratic politician and pioneer.

Born in Kentucky, Vineyard settled in Platteville, Wisconsin, in Wisconsin Territory, in the 1840s. During this time, he was elected to the seventh Michigan Territorial Legislative Council for the western area of Michigan Territory; he was then elected to the Wisconsin Territorial Council (the equivalent of the present Wisconsin State Senate).[1] On February 11, 1842, in the course of a heated debate over the appointment of a sheriff for Grant County, Vineyard clashed with Charles C. P. Arndt. After the body was adjourned, Arndt's temper remained heated, he charged Vineyard's desk, and Vineyard shot Arndt dead upon the Council floor.[2] Vineyard had boarded with the Arndt family in Green Bay during the winter of 1835–36, and is reported to have been regarded as almost one of the family; the two men were considered fast friends (even staying at the same boarding house in Madison).[3][4]

He was tried and acquitted of the murder and later served in the first Wisconsin Constitutional Convention of 1846 and was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1848 for one term.[5][6]

In 1850, he moved to California to join the Gold Rush. He settled in Sacramento, California, where he was an Indian agent. There he was elected to the California State Assembly in 1855. In 1861, he moved to Los Angeles, California, and was elected to the California State Senate in 1863.[7][8][9] :659

He died in Los Angeles on August 30, 1863.[9]:659[10]


  1. ^ 'Proceedings of the Wisconsin Historical Society at its Sixth-eight Annual Meeting, Vol. 68, October 21, 1920, The Rump Council, Biographical Sketch of James Vineyard, p. 55.
  2. ^ "A Wisconsin Tragedy". The Weekly Wisconsin. February 13, 1886. p. 8. Retrieved November 2, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ Cravens, Stanley H. "Capitals and Capitols in Early Wisconsin" in Theobald, H. Rupert; Robbins, Patricia V., eds. The State of Wisconsin 1983-1984 Blue Book. Madison: Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, 1984; pp. 135–136.
  4. ^ http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/dictionary/index.asp?action=view&term_id=21&search_term=arndt
  5. ^ http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/dictionary/index.asp?action=view&term_id=2772&search_term=vineyard
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-12-09. Retrieved 2015-01-17. 
  7. ^ http://www.scvhistory.com/scvhistory/ripley12.htm
  8. ^ http://www.joincalifornia.com/candidate/9214
  9. ^ a b Winfield J. Davis, History of Political Conventions in California, 1849-1892, California State Library, Sacramento, 1893
  10. ^ "Col. J. R. Vineyard". Petaluma Argus. September 16, 1863. p. 1. Retrieved November 3, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read