September 2007 Odd Wisconsin
Early in the last century, Jack Ryan kept a saloon for woodsmen at Mercer, Wisconsin. Fresh from a long winter in the forest, lumberjacks would often blow their entire season's wages on a grand spring bout of drinking, gambling, fighting, and debauchery. Ryan kept a pile of old gunny sacks in a corner where they could pass out on the...
Posted in Animals on September 30, 2007
The Wisconsin women serving today in Iraq and Afghanistan follow in the 150-year-old footsteps of a handful of dedicated -- and clever -- predecessors. During the Civil War, women were forbidden from the military but that didn't stop some of them from disguising themselves as men and joining up. The Platteville Witness in March, 1864, noted, as if it were...
Posted in Odd Lives on September 23, 2007
James Buck came to Milwaukee in 1837 and helped construct many of its first homes and businesses. For decades he would also drop in on friends in the city's newspaper offices, who would give him fragments of papers with stories about local life. These he pasted into scrapbooks alongside other memorabilia which, combined with his memory, allowed Buck to ultimately...
Posted in Bizarre Events on September 16, 2007
That's when collecting had to be a true obsession, when a lifetime might be spent in pursuit of beauty and history -- or just peculiar oddities. It seems that people always collected stamps and autographs, but many also simply collected old stuff. After 30 years of gathering curiosities, Mr. T. Brown, up in Prescott, Pierce Co., put his collection of...
Posted in Curiosities on September 9, 2007
"None but the oldest inhabitant of Madison will remember Pinneo," wrote George Hyer about 1870, "and little was known of him even by them. He was a vagabond naturally and a long life of dissipation had confirmed him in all his vagabond notions and habits. Pinneo came to Madison among the first and commenced work as a shingle maker or...
Posted in Odd Lives on September 2, 2007