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May 2012 Odd Wisconsin

The Strange Fate of Marquette's Journal

Few people are as famous in Wisconsin history as Fr. Jacques Marquette (1637-1675). Every school child in the country learns about his 1673 voyage down the Mississippi River with Louis Joliet. Here in Wisconsin, they might also learn about his years of missionary service in Ashland, DePere, Sault Ste. Marie, and Illinois. But almost no one realizes that nearly all...
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Posted in Curiosities on May 31, 2012

Dog Follows Master to the Grave

When the Civil War erupted, Wisconsin's immigrants quickly joined up to fight for their adopted homeland. Company F of the Sixth Infantry, for example, was composed entirely of Germans from Milwaukee. One of its officers, Capt. Werner von Bachelle (shown here), had been trained as a soldier in the French army before coming to America. Col. Rufus Dawes recalled...
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Posted in Animals on May 24, 2012

Buckskin Brown and the Marvelous Shingles

A Greek philosopher once claimed that you can never step into the same river twice. His maxim apparently escaped the notice of some Wisconsin lumberjacks. The trees of the Wisconsin River pinery were among the first harvested. As early as 1853, 20 mills were running more than 100 saws and floating 70 million feet of lumber downriver each year. Makeshift...
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Posted in on May 16, 2012

Mother Impresses Tough Logger

For Mother's Day, here's a peculiar story about a humble woodchuck that won the heart of a rugged lumberjack named John Nelligan. Nelligan was a tough character who braved death many times, punched out more than his share of bullies and brawlers, and demanded unquestioning obedience from his crew. He once drove a bear from his camp by sneaking up...
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Posted in Animals on May 10, 2012

John Till and His Miracle Plaster

John Till was not your typical doctor. He wore farmer's overalls rather than a white lab coat, and he couldn't show you a college degree or even a medical license. But at the start of the last century, people came from far and wide to be healed by his miraculous treatment. Unfortunately, the medical profession and state regulators were not...
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Posted in Odd Lives on May 2, 2012

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