Mt. Vernon in Dane County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Robert M. La Follette: The Early Years
Among early Primrose settlers were six La Follette brothers from Indiana. One of them, Josiah, and his wife Mary, arrived in 1850 and acquired acreage in section 18, three miles south of this site. Josiah held town offices, including town chairman.
Robert M. La Follette, later to gain fame and popularity as “Fighting Bob,” was born on June 14, 1855. His father, Josiah, died eight months later.
Young Bob displayed early talents for oratory at family gatherings and public events. At age 3 ½, he recited a poem in the newly built schoolhouse near his Primrose home. He started school at age 4.
Mary, his mother, married widower John Saxton and moved the family to his home in Argyle in 1862. But in 1867, she returned to the Primrose farm with her aging husband and children. Bob stayed in Argyle to finish school. He lived with friends and supported himself by barbering in the local hotel.
At age 14, bob returned to the Primrose farm, gaining knowledge of crops and livestock. He often traveled to Madison to sell the farmís produce.
The family moved to Madison in 1872 where Bob entered a prep academy to prepare for entrance to the university. He enrolled in 1875.
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At the University of Wisconsin, Bob enrolled in the “school of life” and found a mentor in John Bascom, president of the UW. In contrast to his academic studies, Bob excelled in oratory, winning competitions throughout the state and across the Midwest.
As a co-owner of the student newspaper, The University Press, Bob tackled all aspects of the job, selling subscriptions, writing and soliciting articles from faculty members.
After graduating in 1879, he decided to pursue politics and enrolled in the UW Law School. After a seven-month course and an internship at a city law firm, Bob passed the bar and embarked on his legendary public career.
In 1881, at age 26, he was elected Dane County District Attorney. Continuing the family tradition of public service, Bob went on to serve in Congress, as governor of Wisconsin and U.S. Senator. He ran for President in 1924 on the Progressive ticket and dominated Wisconsin politics until his death in 1925. He is buried in Madison.
Robert M. La Follette, a political titan and zealous advocate for reform, will always be a true native son of the Town of Primrose.
Erected 2017 by Dane County Historical Society. (Marker Number 47.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Wisconsin, Dane County Historical Society marker series.
Location. 42° 55.406′ N, 89° 40.634′ W. Marker is in Mt. Vernon, Wisconsin, in Dane County. Marker is at the intersection of County Highway G and Oak Grove Road, on the left when traveling south on County Highway G. Touch for map. Marker is located in the triangle between the intersection of CTH G and Oak Grove Road. Marker is at or near this postal address: 8799 Oak Grove Rd., Verona WI 53593, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Donald Park (approx. 2.7 miles away); Primrose Lutheran Church (approx. 2.9 miles away); Pioneer Scottish Settlement (approx. 3.8 miles away); Springdale Lutheran Church (approx. 5.8 miles away); Old Town (approx. 6.6 miles away); German Valley (approx. 6.9 miles away); Hauge Log Church - 1852 (approx. 7.2 miles away); Paoli (approx. 7.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mt. Vernon.
Categories. • Politics •
Credits. This page was last revised on April 26, 2018. This page originally submitted on April 26, 2018, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 68 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on April 26, 2018, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.