William D. Hoard

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William Dempster Hoard
William D. Hoard.jpg
16th Governor of Wisconsin
In office
January 7, 1889 – January 5, 1891
Lieutenant George W. Ryland
Preceded by Jeremiah McLain Rusk
Succeeded by George W. Peck
Personal details
Born (1836-10-10)October 10, 1836
Stockbridge, New York
Died November 22, 1918(1918-11-22) (aged 82)
Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, U.S.
Resting place Evergreen Cemetery
Fort Atkinson, Jefferson County, Wisconsin
Citizenship USA
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Agnes Elizabeth Bragg Hoard
Children Halbert Louis Hoard
Arthur Ralph Hoard
Frank Ward Hoard
Parents William Bradford Hoard
Sarah Katherine White Hoard
Profession Dairyman
Military service
Service/branch Union Army
Years of service 1861-1862
Unit 4th Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment
1st New York Artillery Regiment
Battles/wars American Civil War

William Dempster Hoard (October 10, 1836 – November 22, 1918) was an American politician, a newspaper editor, and the 16th Governor of the U.S. state of Wisconsin from 1889 to 1891.

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Stockbridge, New York, he moved to Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.

During the American Civil War, Hoard served in the 4th Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment as a musician until he was discharged for medical reasons. He went back to New York to recover and served to the end of the war in the 1st New York Artillery Regiment. Returning to Wisconsin, he got involved with the hops industry, but the glut and decline in the industry left him without money.[1] He was a member of the Republican Party, but was an outsider and an amateur in politics. He was a leading promoter of the dairy industry, through his weekly magazine Hoard's Dairyman.[2]

Governor of Wisconsin[edit]

In 1889, Hoard asked the legislature to pass the Bennett Law, the state's first compulsory school attendance law.[3] It required all public and private schools to teach major subjects in English. The German Lutherans and Germans Catholics, who each had a large parochial school system that used German-speaking teachers, strenuously objected. Hoard made the extremely controversial law the centerpiece of his reelection campaign, rejecting the advice of professional politicians that it would doom the GOP. The law, and Hoard, were repudiated by the state's large German community. Hoard was defeated in an intense campaign by Democrat George Wilbur Peck, the Yankee mayor of Milwaukee.[4][5]

The Republican establishment was outraged at Hoard. In turn the moralistic rank and file bridled at the boss rule. Hoard joined forces with Robert M. La Follette Sr. and created the Progressive faction of the state GOP. It propelled La Follette to the governorship and the U.S. Senate, but Hoard, still an influential publisher, broke with La Follette in 1912.

Death and legacy[edit]

Henry Mall monument

Hoard died in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, on November 22, 1918 (age 82 years, 43 days). He is interred at Evergreen Cemetery, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.

In honor of Hoard's service to the dairy industry, a statue of Hoard by Gutzon Borglum was erected in 1922 at the head of Henry Mall of what is now the University of Wisconsin–Madison, which was the original quadrangle of the university's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.[6]' Gutzon Borglum later went on to create Mount Rushmore.

Wisconsin Statute W.S.A. 995.24 creates a Wisconsin state holiday called William D. Hoard Day. It reads "October 10 is designated as William D. Hoard Day. Appropriate exercises and celebrations may be held on that day, William D. Hoard's birthday, to honor him and remember him as the 16th governor of Wisconsin and the leading promoter of the dairy industry through his weekly magazine, Hoard's Dairyman."

Family life[edit]

Son of William Bradford and Sarah Katherine White Hoard, he married Agnes Elizabeth Bragg and they had three sons, Halbert Louis, Arthur Ralph, and Frank Ward.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/dictionary/index.asp?action=view&term_id=2246&keyword=hoard
  2. ^ "Hoard's History". Hoard's Dairyman – The National Dairy Farm Magazine. Archived from the original on 2011-12-27. 
  3. ^ http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/dictionary/index.asp?action=view&term_id=831&search_term=bennett
  4. ^ Richard Jensen, The Winning of the Midwest: Social and Political Conflict, 1888-1896 (1971) online ch 5
  5. ^ William Foote Whyte, "The Bennett Law Campaign in Wisconsin," Wisconsin Magazine of History, 10: 4 (1926–1927).
  6. ^ http://news.cals.wisc.edu/newsDisplay.asp?id=257


  • Osman, Loren H. W.D. Hoard: A Man For His Time (1985)
  • Risjord, Norman K. "From the Plow to the Cow: William D. Hoard and America's Dairyland." Wisconsin Magazine of History (2005): 40-49.
  • Wyman, Roger E. "Wisconsin ethnic groups and the election of 1890." The Wisconsin Magazine of History (1968): 269-293. in JSTOR

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Jeremiah McLain Rusk
Governor of Wisconsin
Succeeded by
George W. Peck