Collage of historical images.

Wisconsin History Essays

Learn something new about the past and gain a deeper understanding of your world. Hundreds of essays tell the stories of the people, places and events that are Wisconsin history.

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Search by keyword below to find information on Wisconsin's history.

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Join cantankerous British geologist George Featherstonehaugh as travels to Madison in 1837 and finds things not as he expected them to be

Historical Essay

The Trial of Chief Oshkosh

The Clash of U.S Law and Indian Legal Tradition

The trial of Menominee Chief Oshkosh, one of the most famous in Wisconsin history, pitted Indian traditional justice against white man's law.

Historical Essay

Pierce, Hattie, 1829-1944

Born into slavery, Hattie Pierce lived 115 years and was able to fully experience both life before and after emancipation.

Learn about the most successful Utopian community in Wisconsin and the interesting fact that it was born in the wake of a failed doomsday prediction.

Discover how The Wisconsin Dells came to prominence as a Midwestern tourism institution.

Discover Belle Boyd, the celebrity Civil War spy who died while performing in The Wisconsin Dells.

Historical Essay

Reform of Military Hospitals

Read about Cordelia Harvey's mission to reform Civil War era military hospitals and how invaluable her efforts were.

The story of Capt. Jonathan Walker whose hand was branded with "S.S." (for "slave stealer") for assisting fugitive slaves.

Read about John Till and his miraculous "medical" plaster treatment that got him arrested by the WI State Medical Board a number of times.

Morris Pratt was a well known psychic medium whose legacy is his eponymous spiritualist institution in Whitewater, known locally as "Pratt's Folly."
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