Robert McKee Bashford was born in Lafayette County, Wisconsin, on December 31, 1845, growing up on the family farm. He graduated from University of Wisconsin with a degree in ancient classical studies in 1870 and earned a law degree in 1871 and a master's degree in 1874.
In 1871, Robert and two others purchased The Democrat, a Madison newspaper. In his capacity as editor, Bashford influenced the successful gubernatorial campaigns of James R. Doolittle and William R. Taylor.
After leaving the paper, Bashford joined a Madison law firm and served as city attorney from 1881 to 1886. In 1886, he moved to Chicago to practice commercial and corporate law. The firm was successful in Chicago, but Bashford disliked the daily strain and returned to Madison.
In 1890, he was elected mayor of Madison and successfully assisted the state attorney general in prosecuting former state treasurers for the return of interest they had collected on the deposit of public funds. The state recovered nearly a half-million dollars.
From 1893 to 1897, Bashford was a state senator and for seven years, taught at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Bashford enjoyed teaching, giving them the best of himself and his spirit and the love of the law entered into many of his lectures.
Bashford was appointed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in January 1908, upon the death of Chief Justice John B. Cassoday, but six months later, lost in a special election to John Barnes but went on in resuming his law practice.
Bashford died January 29, 1911, in Madison. John A. Aylward spoke at Robert's memorial service, giving many insights into Robert's life and career. [Source: WI Court System]
Susie # 47375864
Gravesite Details Date of Burial: 2/1/1911, Military: none, Race: White,,, Father:, Mother: Death Place:, Birth Place: American, Cause: Heart trouble, Occupation: Ref: Cemetery Records
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