The Booth War

The Ripon incident known locally as the Booth War occurred in August through October of 1860. It was a reaction to a decision by the US Supreme Court vacating a decision made by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. It involved primarily Riponites Edward Daniels, Oscar H. LaGrange, Alvan Bovay, and William Starr.

In 1854, Sherman Booth from Milwaukee rescued a fugitive slave, Joshua Glover, from jail and helped him escape to Canada. Booth spent the next five years in and out of jail and court where he claimed the Fugitive Slave Act was unconstitutional. The Wisconsin Supreme court sided with Booth, which prompted the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case and find against Booth and Wisconsin in March 1859. Booth was rearrested and jailed in Milwaukee the following year.

By that summer, outrage against the government decision was peaking, and Daniels talked LaGrange into helping him break Booth out of jail.