Philetus Sawyer

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Philetus Sawyer
Philetus Sawyer - Brady-Handy.jpg
United States Senator
from Wisconsin
In office
March 4, 1881 – March 3, 1893
Preceded by Angus Cameron
Succeeded by John L. Mitchell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 6th district
In office
March 4, 1873 – March 3, 1875
Preceded by Jeremiah McLain Rusk
Succeeded by Alanson M. Kimball
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1865 – March 3, 1873
Preceded by Ezra Wheeler
Succeeded by Charles Augustus Eldredge
Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
In office
Personal details
Born (1816-09-22)September 22, 1816
Whiting, Vermont
Died March 29, 1900(1900-03-29) (aged 83)
Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Political party Republican

Philetus Sawyer (September 22, 1816 – March 29, 1900) was an American politician of the Republican Party who represented Wisconsin in both houses of Congress. Sawyer County, Wisconsin, is named for him.[1]

Sawyer's family mausoleum

Philetus Sawyer was born in 1816 in Whiting, Vermont, and moved to Crown Point, New York, as an infant in 1817. He moved to Wisconsin in 1847 and worked in the lumber industry. Sawyer's early political career included serving in the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1857 and 1861, and as mayor of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, from 1863 to 1864. He ran for and was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1864 and served for ten years from 1865 until 1875 being first elected to the 39th United States Congress. From 1865 till 1873 he was the representative of Wisconsin's 5th congressional district. However, for the 43rd Congress he redistricted and represented Wisconsin's 6th district. He did not run for reelection in 1874. Sawyer returned to Congress in 1881 as a U.S. Senator. He served two terms from 1881 to 1893 and did not seek a third. However, he became notorious for a charge made against him by Congressman Robert La Follette Sr. that he had attempted to bribe La Follette.[2]

Sawyer died in 1900 in Oshkosh at age 83. He was interred at a family mausoleum at Riverside Cemetery in Oshkosh.[3]



U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ezra Wheeler
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Charles A. Eldredge
Preceded by
Jeremiah McLain Rusk
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
Alanson M. Kimball
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Angus Cameron
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Wisconsin
Served alongside: Angus Cameron, John C. Spooner, William F. Vilas
Succeeded by
John L. Mitchell