LOUIS POWELL HARVEY was born in East Haddam, Connecticut. Largely self-taught himself, he served as a tutor and teacher, moving to Southport (now Kenosha), Wisconsin to teach at the Southport Academy. In 1843, he became managing editor of the Southport American, a weekly Whig newspaper. In 1847 he moved to Clinton and was elected a delegate to the second State Constitutional Convention. In 1853 he was elected to a two-year term in the State Senate as a Whig. In 1855 he was reelected to the State Senate, this time as a Republican, serving as President Pro Tempore in 1857. In 1859 he was elected Secretary of State. In 1851 he was nominated for the governorship by both the Union and Republican Parties. Elected over his Democratic opponent, he devoted considerable time to the welfare of Wisconsin’s troops during the Civil War. When word was received that Wisconsin units had suffered many casualties in the Battle of Shiloh, Harvey organized a relief expedition that he led himself. As he prepared to depart for Savannah on April 19, 1862, he slipped and fell into the Tennessee River while making his way through camp after dark. Efforts to save him failed because of the river’s strong current, and his body was recovered on May 3, some sixty miles down river from the accident. His remains were returned to Madison, where he was buried in the Forest Hill Cemetery.
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.
Wisconsin Historical Society