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May 2007 Odd Wisconsin

Wounded Knee -- A Wisconsin Connection

This week HBO premiered "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," a film version of Dee Brown's well-known 1970 book about the massacre of the Lakota Sioux in western So. Dakota in 1890. The movie, which stars Aidan Quinn, Adam Beach, Anna Paquin, and August Schellenberg and will air almost daily over the next month, should help educate a new generation...
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Posted in Odd Lives on May 31, 2007

Heading North Soon?

It's now officially summer, and down here in Madison all eyes turn north, either with happy memories of the weekend just passed or in anticipation of an upcoming one. The idea of a northwoods vacation may owe its origin to Henry Thoreau, who described his own "excursions" to the Maine woods in 1848 and 1857. They took a bit more...
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Posted in Curiosities on May 28, 2007

Conquering "a Multitude of Hates"

In May of 1848, lumberjack Osborn Strahl (1818-1902) narrowly escaped death thanks to the timely help of a passing Ojibwe Indian. Strahl had come out from Ohio at the age of 23 to try his luck as a lumberjack. In the fall of 1847 he made his way to Chippewa Falls, where Hiram S. Allen owned not only the sole...
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Posted in Curiosities on May 24, 2007

Horrible Monsters That Devour Men

Father Jacques Marquette was in the prime of life 334 years ago this week as he made his way down the west shore of Green Bay. With him was Louis Joliet, a young trader with "the courage to dread nothing where everything is to be feared." The pair was on their way to discover whether the Mississippi River went south...
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Posted in Animals on May 20, 2007

Cash in the Attic. Really.

Henry Hayden was a shooting star. After serving in the Civil War, he studied law in Oshkosh and in 1872 moved to Eau Claire, where he soon became the most powerful attorney in northwestern Wisconsin. He defended railroads and logging barons, bought up shares in local banks and businesses, and in 1885 brought his new young bride to a luxurious...
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Posted in Odd Lives on May 14, 2007

Drove Two Million Nails into Feet

Two or three weeks ago, a reader asked about the vocabulary of oxen -- what commands they understood and how they were managed by a teamster. Although we weren’t able to answer that question with the Society’s online collections (we refered him to colleagues at Old World Wisconsin), we did stumble across some oxen-related oddities. Perhaps the most colorful of...
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Posted in Curiosities on May 9, 2007

Pocahontas in Wisconsin

The nation is currently celebrating the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, Virginia. When that colony was on the brink of destruction, it was saved by Capt. John Smith, who had himself been saved by the quick thinking of Powhatan Indian teenager Pocahontas. That rescue became a powerful symbol in the American imagination, and Pocahontas was depicted again and again by painters...
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Posted in on May 5, 2007

No Snooze Button

"I can vividly recall the tall clock which he made, and which was connected with his bed in such a way that when the time came for which he had set it, the mechanism was released which tipped up the bed and threw the occupant on the floor, and at the same time struck a match and lighted a candle,...
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Posted in Curiosities on May 3, 2007

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