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October 2008 Odd Wisconsin

Wisconsin's First Election

During the last week of October 1836, Wisconsin's first elected officials took office. By today's standards, the state's first elections were informal. Voters and candidates generally knew one another personally. No party machines organized to get out the vote, no advertisements flooded the non-existent media, and no bumper stickers adorned the backs of ox-carts and horse-drawn wagons. The major ideological...
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Posted in Curiosities on October 22, 2008

Civil War Youngsters

William DeSteese of Fond du Lac County enlisted in the Union Army in the spring of 1864, one month shy of his 14th birthday. In this short memoir (from Turning Points in Wisconsin History), he recalls sneaking out of camp in Virginia with other young soldiers to call on President Lincoln. The youngest woman from Wisconsin in the war was...
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Posted in Children on October 16, 2008

More Bank Failures (1857)

Twenty years after the Panic of 1837 (described in a previous entry), Wisconsin suffered again when the nation plunged into another depression. The economy had boomed for a decade. Railroads extended their reach all across the nation, cutting the cost and time required to move people and goods. The population grew dramatically as European immigrants entered Atlantic ports and...
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Posted in Curiosities on October 5, 2008

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