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July 2006 Odd Wisconsin

Lawless Legislators

Laws are the basis of society. The words in our statutes define what we must, can, and must not do. Our police make people comply with them, and our judges punish those who donít, by refering to what the law says. That's why it's odd that for the first few years of Wisconsin's existence, not even legislators could get...
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Posted in Curiosities on July 27, 2006

Frontier Culture

On this day in 1834 a Wisconsin minister named Cutting Marsh was en route to a village of Meskwaki (Fox) Indians in southeastern Iowa, to see if they'd like a missionary to open a school at their town, show them how to farm, and teach them how to read the Gospel. On the way there, Rev. Marsh stopped off at...
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Posted in Curiosities on July 24, 2006

Fort Koshkonong

On this day in 1832, General Henry Atkinson finished erecting at the junction of the Rock and Bark Rivers a temporary stockade known as Fort Koshkonong. He was hot on the trail of Black Hawk, who had retreated up the Rock River and was then about 60 miles away, just east of Fort Winnebago at Portage. All but 30 of...
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Posted in Curiosities on July 15, 2006

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Florida's governor recently signed a law requiring that in the state's public schools, "American history shall be viewed as factual, not constructed, shall be viewed as knowable, teachable, and testable, and shall be defined as the creation of a new nation based largely on the universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence." But uninterpreted facts are like unmined gold;...
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Posted in Curiosities on July 13, 2006

Had Enough

Between the War of 1812 and the Civil War, few American military men were as well-known as General William S. Harney (1800-1889). He served all over the country, from Louisiana north to Wisconsin and from Florida west to Utah and the Pacific Northwest. According to his biographer, he was bold, ambitious, and innovative but also impulsive, vindictive, and violent. Harney...
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Posted in Curiosities on July 8, 2006

Sheeps Heads, Petrified Frogs & Other Curios

When Wisconsin and its Historical Society were still young, citizens eagerly donated objects to its "cabinet of antiquities," hoping to build its collection into a rival of older and more prestigious East Coast institutions. Their enthusiasm, however, often outpaced their taste or judgment. Here's a very small selection of the items donated during the year 1875. See if you can...
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Posted in Curiosities on July 5, 2006

Why We Have Fireworks

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any...
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Posted in Curiosities on July 1, 2006

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