1860 – Wisconsin Congressman Challenged to Duel

On this date, with the threat of civil war hanging in the air, , a Wisconsin representative in Congress, was by Virgina representative Roger Pryor. Potter, a Northern Republican, had become a target of Southerners during heated debates over slavery. After one exchange, Pryor challenged Potter to a duel and Potter, as the one challenged, specified that bowie knives be used at a distance of four feet. Pryor refused and Potter became famous in the anti-slavery movement. Two years later, when Republicans convened in Chicago, Potter was as a tribute; the knife hung with pride during all the sessions of the convention.  Before his death, Potter remembered the duel and proclaimed, “I felt it was a national matter – not any private quarrel – and I was willing to make sacrifices.” [Source: , by Fred L. Holmes]