Jeremiah McLain Rusk

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Jeremiah McLain Rusk (June 17, 1830 - November 21, 1893) was the 15th Governor of the U.S. state of Wisconsin from 1882 to 1889. He was a member of the Republican Party. He began as a planter, then turned to innkeeping and finally to banking before the Civil War. During the war he was appointed Brevet General and saw action at Antietam with the 26th Wisconsin Volunteer, which was almost wiped out.

After the Civil War, he became a congressman and then resigned to run for Governor of Wisconsin, an election he won. His most noted act during his governorship was when he sent the National Guard into Milwaukee to keep the peace during the Great May Labor Strikes of 1886. The strikers had shut down every business in the city except the Bay View Rolling Mills. The guardsmen's orders were that if the strikers were to enter the Mills that they should shoot to kill. But when the captain received the order it had a different meaning and he ordered his men to pick out a man and shoot to kill when the order is given. Several people were killed and Governor Rusk took the majority of the blame.

In 1889 he resigned his governorship and accepted the new cabinet position of Secretary of Agriculture in the Benjamin Harrison administration.


Preceded by:
William E. Smith
Governor of Wisconsin
1882 - 1889
Succeeded by:
William D. Hoard
Preceded by:
Norman J. Coleman
United States Secretary of Agriculture
Succeeded by:
Julius S. Morton

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