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October 2011 Odd Wisconsin

Outwitting Zachary Taylor

Zachary Taylor commanded Fort Crawford in Prairie du Chien from 1829 to 1837. His tenure there produced many stories, including this one about a unique way he had of punishing small offenses. That was a discipline that the men under him called "wooling." It consisted of Col. Taylor simply grabbing a man by both ears and shaking his head while...
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Posted in Curiosities on October 26, 2011

The Curse of the Hille Farm

In honor of Halloween, we offer a little-known Wisconsin ghost story. John Hille was a German immigrant who came to America in 1837. He was a skilled cabinet maker and made his living as a carpenter. After marrying fellow immigrant Magdalena Jaquitard, the pair settled in Waukesha Co., where John built a beautiful farm house and where they raised six...
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Posted in Strange Deaths on October 20, 2011

The Victorian Web

No, not television. Not radio. Not even the telephone. No, the real predecessor of the Web was the telegraph, invented in 1837 by Samuel F.B. Morse. Its value was proven on May 24, 1844, when he sent the question, "What hath God wrought?" from Washington to Baltimore. This miraculous technology was introduced in Wisconsin in 1848 when the Territorial Legislature,...
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Posted in Curiosities on October 14, 2011

Columbus Day Again

Columbus has been much romanticized over the years, as in this 1893 catalog art and in annual parades on innumerable main streets like this one. Communities all around the nation even named themselves after him to celebrate his role as a great hero. But in recent years, the dark side of his career has become better known, and some communities...
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Posted in Odd Lives on October 6, 2011

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