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A Short History of Wisconsin

Historical Essay

Wisconsin's First Election

Creating the Wisconsin Territory

Discover the story of Wisconsin's first elections and how the state was divided into its present-day areas.

Historical Essay

The War of 1812

Wisconsin's Involvement with the war on the French, British and Natives

Learn how the British relinquished control of Wisconsin and Americans took over the region's fur trade during the war of 1812.

Lesson Plan

Little Elk, 1829

Use the 1829 speech by Little Elk, Ho-Chunk orator, to learn more about Ho-Chunk views on Euro-American cultures

Historical Essay

Brunson, Alfred (1793-1882)

Wisconsin's first Methodist Missionary

Biography of Methodist clergyman, lawyer, politician and author Alfred Brunson

A Warrior Prepared to Die is Disappointed

Discover the story of a Ho-Chunk warrior who surrenders and is grieved at receiving a fair trial.

From Slave to Healer

Learn about Mary Ann Menard, Wisconsin's first doctor.

Historical Essay

Crelie, Joseph 1773-1866

Pioneer and Hoaxer

Biography of Prairie du Chien pioneer and Wisconsin's "oldest man," Joseph Crelie.

Historical Essay

Early U.S. Settlement

Military Outposts in Wisconsin

Read how American forts were established and settlement increased in Wisconsin after the War of 1812.

Historical Essay

Lice Comb from Fort Crawford

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Bone lice comb from site of first Fort Crawford in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, 1816-1829. (Museum object #1997.62.11941)

Historical Essay

Petersylvania, Wisconsin

A Bizarre Story of Land Prospecting Gone Awry

Read the amazing story of a man who watched his potential 10,000-square-mile northern Wisconsin empire disappear into thin air.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Authtor, Attorney, State Senator

Historical Essay

War of 1812 Cannonball

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Fragment of six-pound cannonball fired in battle between American and British forces on July 1814 at Prairie du Chien, Illinois Territory (now Wisconsin).

When the Beaver was King

Discover how beavers transformed Wisconsin's economy in the 1650s for the next two centuries.

Fur Trader, Merchant, Judge and Territorial Legislator

Biography of fur trader, merchant, judge and territorial legislator James Henry Lockwood.

A Bizarre Story of Scientific Progress

Learn the bizarre story and scientific contributions of Alexis St. Martin, the man who lived over 50 years after a shotgun blasted a hole in his side.

Lawyer, Judge, Politician and Land Speculator

Biography of lawyer, judge, politician and land speculator Morgan Lewis Martin.

Historical Essay

Brisbois, Michael 1760-1837

Fur Trader and Settler

Biography of French-Canadian fur trader Michel Brisbois, who founded the first permanent white settlement in Prairie du Chien.

An Old Man's Tall Tale

Wisconsin pioneer Joseph Crelie was said to be 139 years old when he was exhibited to spectators in 1864. But how old was he really?

Evidence of First Feasts

Take a look at some first hand accounts of the ways Native Americans of Wisconsin celebrated their own Thanksgiving ceremonies.
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