John Black (Wisconsin politician)

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John Black (1827–1899) was a Democratic politician who served one term as mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[1]

Black was born near Bitche, Lorraine, France. He attended college in Metz before moving with his family to the United States in 1844, settling near Lockport, New York. He moved with his wife to Milwaukee in 1857, where he started a wholesale wine and liquor business. Black was active in politics, having served in the Wisconsin State Assembly, the Wisconsin State Senate, the Milwaukee Common Council, and, in 1878, as Mayor of Milwaukee for a two-year term, a Democrat in a city largely Republican at the time. He appointed a fellow Democrat as police chief, who fired twenty-five Republican policemen (as part of the spoils system then prevalent).[2] He was described by a contemporary, publisher William George Bruce, as "a tall, broad-shouldered, dark-bearded man, a positive character who spoke his mind freely and who called a spade a spade."[3] Black was the Democratic nominee to the United States Congress in 1886, but was defeated by Henry Smith of the Union Labor Party.

He is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Milwaukee.[4]


  1. ^ John Black
  2. ^ Wellauer-Lenius, Maralyn A. Milwaukee Police Department. Mt. Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2008; p. 10.
  3. ^ Bruce, William George. "Memoirs of William George Bruce: Seeing and Hearing Eminent Persons". Wisconsin Magazine of History, V. 18, No. 1 (Sept. 1934), p.52
  4. ^ Aikens, Andrew J. and Lewis A. Proctor, eds. Men of progress. Wisconsin. A selected list of biographical sketches and portraits of the leaders in business, professional and official life. Together with short notes on the history and character of Wisconsin. Milwaukee: The Evening Wisconsin company, 1897; pp. 630-632.
Political offices
Preceded by
Ammi R. Butler
Mayor of Milwaukee
Succeeded by
Thomas H. Brown