August 2011 Odd Wisconsin
Religious enthusiasm can lead to unexpected consequences. H.P. Leavens, a pioneer settler of Neenah, recalled a particularly energetic Methodist minister, one Rev. Albert Baker, and the day he attempted to walk on water. Baker was remembered as "a brilliant speaker and enthusiastic worker" who once claimed privately that he could prove how that Biblical miracle had occured. His friends...
Posted in Bizarre Events on August 25, 2011
In 1842, a strange character could be found on the edge of Milwaukee village. A hermit named Carl Grotke had taken up residence on a spit of land about 100 yards south of the present-day Juneau Avenue bridge. He was remembered as "the Robinson Crusoe of Milwaukee" because he lived all by himself in what appeared to be a shipwreck....
Posted in Odd Lives on August 18, 2011
In frontier Wisconsin, it was not too uncommon for settlers to own a tame bear. If a female killed during a hunt had a cub, once in a while a hunter would decide to raise it. Keeping a tame bear was not without its challenges, of course, and could lead to peculiar situations like the following. The neighbor of a...
Posted in Animals on August 11, 2011
When the market for Wisconsin lumber exploded during the 1880s, many naive city boys flocked to logging camps in pursuit of wages. Spending their first winters in the remote wilderness, they were frightened by the tales of grizzled old veterans about the ferocious beasts that lurked in the depths of the forest. One such creature was the Sidehill Dodger....
Posted in Curiosities on August 4, 2011