November 2013 Odd Wisconsin
During the 1830s, the U.S. government passed more than 70 laws forcing Indians from their homelands and forcing them West. For another six decades, it made war on any that resisted this ethnic cleansing. Gen. Phil Sheridan summed up the official government policy in 1869 with the comment, "The only good Indian I ever saw was dead" – a sentiment...
Posted in on November 27, 2013
Gertrude Stein once said that Ezra Pound was like "the village explainer. Very useful if you happen to be a village; if not, not." On Dec. 5, 1936, Dorothy Potter ran into a village explainer in Cassville, on the Mississippi River. She'd been hired by the Wisconsin Folklore Project to collect stories from elderly residents about Wisconsin's first governor, Nelson...
Posted in on November 21, 2013
Winter's fast approaching, and here at the Society headquarters in Madison, runny noses and sore throats are beginning to proliferate. Relief is in sight, though. Our Museum possesses a bottle of skunk grease made in New Glarus about 1920 that was designed to help relieve chest congestion (read about it here). When doctors were scarce and health insurance non-existent, families...
Posted in Curiosities on November 13, 2013
In 1886, an aspiring young historian in New York wrote to Wisconsin Historical Society director Lyman Copeland Draper: "Although personally unknown to you, I take the liberty of writing to you. I am now engaged on a work in reference to the extension of our boundaries to the southward from the day when Boone crossed the Alleghanies, to the days...
Posted in Curiosities on November 6, 2013