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On This Day: December 19

1813 - Nelson Dewey Born

On this date Nelson Dewey, the first governor of the state of Wisconsin, was born in Lebanon, Connecticut. The son of Ebenezer Dewey and Lucy Webster, Nelson arrived in the Wisconsin Territory in 1836. He studied law, began a legal and business career in Lancaster, and made a considerable sum of money in land and lead mining investments. At the age of 35, he became the first state governor and served two terms, from June 7, 1848 to January 5, 1852. In later years, Dewey suffered misfortune. On Thanksgiving day, 1873, his mansion at Stonefield was gutted by fire, after which his wife and children moved to Europe for several years. In 1886 he began divorce proceedings against his wife on grounds of desertion but later dropped the suit. For more than 10 years Dewey lived alone. During the final 5 years of his life he had no contact with his family. He lost a fortune in a railroad deal and was ruined financially. In February 1889, he suffered a stroke while arguing a court case in Lancaster. Nelson Dewey died on July 21, 1889, in Cassville, where he is buried. [Source: First Ladies of Wisconsin-The Governors' Wives by Nancy G. Williams]

1862 - (Civil War) Wisconsin 1st Light Artillery prepares for Vicksburg Campaign

The 1st Wisconsin Light Artillery prepared for the first Union assault on Vicksburg, Mississippi, by loading on steamboats at Memphis and heading south. The Vicksburg Campaign would begin a week later with the Union defeat at Chickasaw Bayou.

1997 - Postal Clerk Kills in Milwaukee

On this date in Milwaukee, postal clerk Anthony J. De Culit shot and killed his supervisor, a co-worker, and wounded one other person. He then killed himself. [Source: Timeline Wisconsin]

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