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On This Day in Wisconsin History

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On This Day: December 1

1863 - (Civil War) Operations at Natchez, Mississippi
The 12th Wisconsin Infantry took part in operations at Natchez, Mississippi.

1873 - Edward Voigt Born
On this date Edward Voigt was born in Bremen, Germany. In 1883 he immigrated to the United States with his parents and settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He began practicing law in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and served as district attorney of Sheboygan County from 1905 to 1911 and city attorney for Sheboygan from 1913 to 1917. He served as a Republican Congressman from March 4, 1917 to March 3, 1927. After returning to the practice of law in Sheybogan, he was elected in 1928 as a judge of the fourth judicial circuit of Wisconsin, a position he held until his death.  Voigt died at his summer home at Crystal Lake, near Sheboygan, on August 26, 1934 and is buried in Forest Home Cemetery, Milwaukee. [Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress]

1884 - Fire Destroys UW Building
On this date fire destroyed Science Hall on the UW-Madison campus. As a result, engineering students were forced to use the cramped space of the former dormitory, North Hall, for the next four semesters. [Source: College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison]

1889 - Verle E. Sells Born
On this date Verle E. Sells was born in Eagle River. Sells grew up in Florence where her father, Max Sells, practiced law. Sells graduated from Marquette University Law School on Feb. 7, 1936, with high honors and was admitted to the bar on Feb. 14, 1936. She practiced law in Florence with her brother Arthur, who later moved to Milwaukee and then Florida. Sells was Wisconsin's first female circuit court judge, appointed to the Florence County bench by Gov. Philip F. LaFollette on March 5, 1936. She was elected without opposition for the balance of the term a month later and was reelected without opposition for a six-year term in April 1937. She was a member of a select committee appointed by Gov. LaFollette to study social welfare programs in Wisconsin. Verle Sells also served on the Florence School Board and as director of a local bank. Judge Sells died in office on April 23, 1940. [Source: State Bar of Wisconsin]

1906 - Fred Beell Crowned Heavyweight Champ
On this date Fred Beell, of Marshfield, Wisconsin, won the American heavyweight wrestling championship in New Orleans, taking two of three falls from Frank Gotch. Beell's reign was brief. Sixteen days later, he lost a rematch to Gotch. Beell's victory was the only match that Gotch lost from 1904 until his death in 1918. [Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

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