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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Historical Essay

The Origins of Thanksgiving

Examining the historical evidence documenting the first Thanksgiving.

When and where did The Gideons International really begin? There are more answers then you would think. Give this a read and decide for yourself.

Historical Essay

The Crowning of King James

Early Mormon leader James J. Strang declares himself successor to Joseph Smith, relocates followers to Burlington, WI, and has himself crowned "king."

Discover Juliet Severance, the free-thinking Whitewater physician who was involved with the anti-slavery movement, temperance, and women's rights.

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

In 1959 Rev. A.A.A. Schmirler traced the path Fr. Rene Menard took in 1661 down northern Wisconsins rivers to discover where Menard likely died.

Historical Essay

Bonne Fete, Sieur La Salle!*

Robert de La Salle was on the first expedition to the upper Great Lakes and went on to claim the Mississippi River watershed in the name of France.

The first and only manifestation The Virgin Mary in the United States confirmed by Vatican officials happened near Green Bay.

Historical Essay

Madison's Fur Traders

The first white residents of Madison were fur traders Wallace Rowan, Olivier Ammel, and Michel St. Cyr.

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.
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