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April 2004 Odd Wisconsin

When Wisconsin Was a Corner of New France

Dateline: April 12, 1679. While cooking a goose on the shore of Lake Pepin, Father Louis Hennepin and two comrades were surprised by 50 canoes of Sioux warriors. After more than a year of captivity, they were rescued in June 1680 by the explorer Daniel Greysolon, sieur Duluth. Strangely, the two men had crossed paths six years earlier thousands of...
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Posted in Odd Lives on April 27, 2004

A True Bird of Prey

Dateline: Eau Claire, Sept. 6, 1861. On this date the Eighth Wisconsin Infantry set out for the front carrying Old Abe the War Eagle. Because today (April 26th) is the birthday of John James Audubon, we thought it fitting to profile Wisconsinís most famous bird. The facts about Old Abe are fairly straightforward, but a bird that survived three years...
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Posted in on April 23, 2004

Earth Day

Dateline: Somewhere in Wisconsin, March 14, 1981. These athletes put a novel spin on the phrase "Earth Day." Seriously, though, today's international celebration exists largely because of the efforts of Wisconsin's own Gaylord Nelson. He's shown here enjoying the outdoors as a boy, and later , when governor, as a committed Green Bay Packers fan (alongside then-attorney general Robert F....
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Posted in Curiosities on April 22, 2004

Shooting in the Capitol!

Dateline: Washington, April 20, 1836. On this date the U.S. Congress approved the creation of Wisconsin Territory. This gave our citizens the right to form a government and elect territorial representatives. Wisconsin was the Wild West at the time, as evidenced by the shooting death of a territorial legislator by an opponent that's recalled here. Had it not been for...
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Posted in Curiosities on April 20, 2004

Lincoln's Assassination

Dateline: Washington, April 14, 1865. 139 years ago tonight President Abraham Lincoln was shot in Ford's Theater. A Mondovi veteran was present that night and recalls his experiences, in Wisconsin Local History & Biography Articles. For other personal recollections of Lincoln by Wisconsin citizens, see the reminiscences of the Appleton man who drove Lincoln and Douglas together in his carriage...
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Posted in Curiosities on April 14, 2004

Mark Twain Learns Croquet from Milwaukee Girl

Dateline: New York, ca. 1870. Mark Twain always loved children and games, and was so childlike himself that his wife nicknamed him "Youth." Here he is recalled by a Milwaukee woman who met him while visiting a friend in New York in the years before Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer were even conceived, and taught him the then-novel game of...
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Posted in Curiosities on April 13, 2004

That's A Lot of Quarters

Dateline: Madison, 1955. We understand from the wire services that J. Loís mother won $2.4 million at an Atlantic City slot machine recently. Itís a good thing she didnít try it a few years ago in Wisconsin, where the guardians of public virtue took sledge-hammers to one-armed bandits as late as 1955. Gambling restrictions in the dairy state were eased...
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Posted in Curiosities on April 7, 2004

Easter with Father Marquette

Dateline: Easter, 1675. Father Jacques Marquette, for whom we have named Wisconsin towns, schools, parks and even shopping centers, made his final trip through our state 330 years ago. Dying from typhoid, with two companions he journeyed down the shore of Lake Michigan from Green Bay, passed through the swamps that would become Chicago, and came to rest on the...
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Posted in Strange Deaths on April 5, 2004

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