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November 2010 Odd Wisconsin

The Dodgeville Hermit

A century ago, Archibald McArthur (1844-1925) was a celebrity of sorts. He arrived in Dodgeville just after the Civil War without a penny, but soon became a successful young attorney and amassed a fortune. He dressed in the latest fashions, owned the finest horse in town, started a newspaper, and became a mortgage lender to the citizens. Then one day...
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Posted in on November 29, 2010

American Indian Thanksgivings

This week, elementary school classrooms across the nation are decorated with paper cutouts of turkeys and autumn leaves. In some places kids still dress up as ersatz Pilgrims and Indians to re-enact a fictional feast about which few details survive (we gave all the slender evidence for the first Thanksgiving in this previous entry). Thanksgiving nevertheless became the universal celebration...
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Posted in Curiosities on November 23, 2010

Badger Detective

In May of 1872 a body was discovered in a Peshtigo lumber camp. The man had been knocked unconscious by a blow to the head and then strangled. This murder naturally produced much gossip in a nearby tavern, the Dew Drop Inn, but after several days talk moved to other things and the murder was left unsolved. About a...
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Posted in Animals on November 18, 2010

Kristallnacht in Wisconsin

Last week marked the 72nd anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night of Nov. 9/10, 1938, on which hundreds of German synagogues were burned, thousands of Jewish-owned businesses destroyed, and 25,000 to 30,000 innocent people were arrested for deportation to concentration camps. We tend to categorize the Holocaust as "back then" and "over there," so it is odd to discover the truth...
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Posted in Curiosities on November 9, 2010

The Champeen of Michigan and His Peculiar Leg

In the heyday of logging, lumberjacks invaded northwoods towns every spring after spending a long winter isolated in the woods. "When we had been in camp four or five months," Otis Terpenning recalled, "we were so full of life and activity we just had to expand or die… One crew was always ready to fight any other crew, and...
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Posted in Bizarre Events on November 4, 2010

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