Collage of historic photos.

Historical Figures in Wisconsin

Learn about the lives of your favorite Wisconsin historical figures, from the famous to infamous, and their contributions to our state's history.

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Search by keyword below to find information on historical figures in Wisconsin.

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Read an account of the French explorer who claimed much of Wisconsin for France and who traded with several Indian tribes near Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Historical Essay

Porlier, Jacques 1765-1839

Fur Trader and Chief Justice

Biography of fur trader and chief justice of the Brown County Court Jacques Porlier.

Historical Essay

Nicolet, Jean 1598-1642

French Explorer

Biography of French explorer Jean Nicolet, believed to be the first European to see Wisconsin.

Fur Trader and Explorer

Brief biography of M├ędard Chouart des Groseilliers who was a fur trader and explorer.

Historical Essay

Stephenson, Isaac 1829-1918

Lumberman, Financier and Congressman

Biography of Isaac Stephenson who was a lumberman, financier and congressman.

Historical Essay

Williams, Eleazer 1788-1858

Canadian Clergyman, Missionary and Con Artist

Biography of Eleazer Williams, a Canadian clergyman and missionary who claimed to be the French Lost Dauphin.

Historical Essay

Reaume, Charles 1752-1821


Brief biography of legendary judge Charles Reaume.

Teacher, Newspaperman and Politician

Biography of teacher, newspaperman and politician Albert Gallatin Ellis.

Historical Essay

Catlin, George (1796-1872)

Artist and Author

Biography of author and artist George Catlin, who painted Indians.

Influential Early Wisconsin Settlers

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If you have questions about historical research, please contact our Library Reference Services staff by phone at 608-264-6535 or by email.