Born in Stockbridge, New York, he moved to Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. During the American Civil War, Hoard served in the 4th Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment as a musician until he was discharged for medical reasons. He went back to New York to recover and served to the end of the war in the 1st New York Artillery Regiment.
Returning to Wisconsin, he got involved with the hops industry, but the glut and decline in the industry left him without money.
He was a leading promoter of the dairy industry, through his weekly magazine Hoard"s Dairyman. In 1889, Hoard asked the legislature to pass the Bennett Law, the state"s first compulsory school attendance law.
lieutenant required all public and private schools to teach major subjects in English. The German Lutherans and Germans Catholics, who each had a large parochial school system that used German-speaking teachers, strenuously objected.
Hoard made the extremely controversial law the centerpiece of his reelection campaign, rejecting the advice of professional politicians that it would doom the Grand Old Party. The law, and Hoard, were repudiated by the state"s large German community.
Hoard was defeated in an intense campaign by Democrat George Wilbur Peck, the Yankee mayor of Milwaukee. The Republican establishment was outraged at Hoard. In turn the moralistic rank and file bridled at the boss rule.
Hoard joined forces with Robert M. LaFollette and created the Progressive faction of the state Grand Old Party. lieutenant propelled LaFollette to the governorship and the United States. Senate, but Hoard, still an influential publisher, broke with Louisiana Follette in 1912.
Hoard died in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, on November 22, 1918 (age 82 years, 43 days). He is interred at Evergreen Cemetery, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.
In honor of Hoard"s service to the dairy industry, a statue of Hoard by Gutzon Borglum was erected in 1922 at the head of Henry Mall of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, which was the original quadrangle of the university"s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences." Gutzon Borglum later went on to create Mount Rushmore. Wisconsin Statute West.S.A. 995.24 creates a Wisconsin state holiday called William Doctorate. Hoard Day.
lieutenant reads "October 10 is designated as William Doctorate. Hoard Day.
Appropriate exercises and celebrations may be held on that day, William Doctorate. Hoard"s birthday, to honor him and remember him as the 16th governor of Wisconsin and the leading promoter of the dairy industry through his weekly magazine, Hoard"s Dairyman.".