Edward Salomon, WI Governor
The American Civil War continued through 1862 as a young Manitowoc man, Edward Salomon, became highlighted in the race for Wisconsin’s governor. Edward Salomon, an immigrant from Prussia, settled in Manitowoc during the 1850s and soon became the lieutenant governor of Wisconsin in November, 1862.
Edward Salomon was born on 1828 in Prussia and studied at the University of Berlin. His support for democracy during the 1848 German uprisings led him to flee the country. He settled in Manitowoc in 1852, and began to study law in Milwaukee in 1855 and was admitted to the bar.
The Salomon brothers, Edward, Frederick, Charles, and Herman, hated slavery and sided with the Union cause at the start of the Civil War. Three Salomon brothers joined the Union army and in 1861 the Republican Party chose Edward as its candidate for lieutenant-governor. He was elected, and when Gov. Louis P. Harvey accidentally drowned in April 1862, he succeeded him as the eighth governor of Wisconsin. At thirty four-years-old, he was the youngest Wisconsin Governor and the first who was not born in the United States.
Salomon served from April 19, 1862 to January 4, 1864, devoting much of his time to causes related to Wisconsin's role in the Civil War. He lobbied strongly for increased funding for military hospitals and worked to recruit new troops. During his term, 14 new regiments were created. Salomon is also credited with persuading Secretary of War Edwin Standon and President Lincoln to accept Wisconsin’s 363 “colored” troops and 279 Native Americans - and to pay them the same pay as the “white” volunteers.
In the fall of 1862, President Lincoln created a draft to replenish Union forces. When anti-draft riots broke out in Port Washington in November 1862, Salomon called for troops to stop them and protect the officials carrying out the draft. The 28th Wisconsin Infantry was called in and order was restored.
Salomon frequently noted that Wisconsin had exceeded its quota of volunteer enlistments and worked to increase the volunteer bonus paid per soldier from $100 to $302.
Following the end of his term as Wisconsin governor, Edward Salomon returned to a more private life. From 1864 to 1868 Salomon continued to practice law in Milwaukee and then moved to New York and opened a new practice focusing on German interests and immigration law. In 1894 he retired and moved to Germany with his wife. He died there in 1909.
In 1927 the citizens of Manitowoc erected a monument on the lawn of the Manitowoc County Courthouse in honor of the four Salomon brothers for their service in the Civil War. The Salomon unit of the Steuben Society formed a committee to raise funds for a memorial to the four Salomon brothers and donations came in from across the United States. The fundraising campaign was successful in raising $2,775 for the purchase of the 27 ton granite monument. The inset bronze text panel was donated by the Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry. The monument was officially dedicated on Sunday, October 23, 1927. Governor Fred R. Zimmerman attended the dedication and closed with saying “The four Salomon brothers deserve to have their names enrolled on the same page of the Book of Fame whereupon are inscribed those of Steuben, Herkimer, Muchlenberg, Schurz, and Sigel. This memorial should become a shrine where patriotic Americans, particularly those of German ancestry, may come for inspiration in future years, and renew their devotion to the high ideals of liberty and unselfish public service which are the glory of our country, and the best guarantee of its place of honor among the nations of the world.”