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July 2009 Odd Wisconsin

The Devil and Martin Rowney

In the spring of 1838, Martin Rowney, a discharged soldier who had been trading with the Indians on Puckaway Lake in Green Lake County, returned to Portage for a drunken spree that lasted for two weeks or more. At the end of it he took an oath before fellow-trader John De La Ronde that he wouldn't drink another drop of...
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Posted in Bizarre Events on July 27, 2009

Beer and Sweet Corn

Required ingredients for a July weekend, aren't they? And both have a proud heritage in Wisconsin. Corn was grown in fields like this for hundreds of years and stored by Indians in ceramic pots such as this one. Indians put it into stews, or dried and ground it to make "sagamite," described here by Fr. Jacques Marquette in 1673: "The...
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Posted in Curiosities on July 14, 2009

The First Rhythm & Booms

"Pshaw, talk about the time that tried men's soul, just as if a woman had none --- " That's the way Roseline Peck remembered the first Independence Day celebration in Madison. Only a few weeks after she'd arrived on the barren isthmus, the cornerstone for the state capitol was to be laid, on July 4, 1837. She was responsible for...
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Posted in Madison on July 10, 2009

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