HARRISON LUDINGTON was born in Kent, New York. At the age of twenty-four, he moved to Milwaukee, where he purchased a merchandising business with his uncle. Several years later he entered the lumber business, engaging in lumbering in the northeastern part of the state. He was active in the development of Milwaukee, where his political career began. He served two one-year terms as Alderman and was elected Mayor for four years before winning the governorship in 1875. Ludington focus as governor was on the promotion of business, and his term saw the dismantling of many of the financial reforms of his Democratic predecessor, as well as the weakening of the “Potter Law” that had asserted state jurisdiction to regulate the railroads. Threatened with revolt by younger Republicans, he declined renomination in 1879, and was passed over again in 1881 for governor and in 1882 for Milwaukee Mayor. He returned to private business, and died in Milwaukee.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 12. New York: James T. White & Company.