1840 – William Freeman Vilas Born

On this date was born in Chelsea, Vermont. He moved with his parents to Madison in 1851. Vilas graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1858. Vilas began the practice of law in Madison in 1860, the same year that he received his law degree from the University of Albany, New York. Vilas enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War and served as captain of Company A, Twenty-third Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He also served as major and lieutenant colonel of the regiment. was a professor of law at the University of Wisconsin and regent of the university from 1880 to 1885. He served as a member of the State assembly in 1885 and in the Cabinet of President Grover Cleveland from 1885 to 1888. In 1888 he became Secretary of the Interior of the United States and served until March 1889. Vilas was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1891 and served from March 4, 1891 to March 3, 1897. He was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1896. Vilas died in Madison on August 27, 1908. [Source: ]