Joseph Fifer


Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois
pub. in 1920

Joseph W. Fifer, nineteenth governor elected, Republican, of McLean, Jan. 14, 1990, to Jan. 10, 1893, was born in Staunton, Va., Oct. 28, 1842. In 1857 his father moved to McLean county, Ill. He practically educated himself. His father was a brick mason and the son was taught that trade. When the war broke out Joseph W. Fifer and his brother, George, enlisted in the 33d Illinois infantry. He participated in the battles of the Vicksburg campaign, and at Jackson, Miss., on July 13, 1862, in an assault on breastworks he was desperately wounded by a rifle ball, which passed through his right lung and also through the upper portion of his liver. After a time in the hospital he was discharged and returned to his regiment, serving out his time. Returning home in 1864 he entered the Illinois Wesleyan University at Bloomington, from which he graduated in 1868. Then he studied law and was admitted in 1869, beginning practice immediately in Bloomington. He was corporation counsel of Bloomington, State's attorney two terms, and was elected to the State Senate in 1880, and in 1888 was elected Governor by the Republicans after a hot campaign against ex-Governor Palmer, the
Democratic nominee, Fifer receiving 367,860 votes to Palmer's 355, 313. After his term as Governor he returned to the practice of his profession at Bloomington. He is married and has one son and one daughter.

/Source: Illinois Blue Book 1903-04/

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