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On This Day: May 27

1673 - Marquette & Joliet Reach Green Bay

Towards the end of May, 1673, the two explorers reached the site of modern Green Bay. "Embarking then in our canoes," Marquette wrote in his journal, "we arrived shortly afterward at the bottom of the Bay des Puants, where our Fathers labor successfully for the conversion of these peoples, over two thousand of whom they have baptized while they have been there." Read what they encountered there, as well as what the old French name "Puants" means, in our pages devoted to Historic Diaries.

1837 - First Post Office Opened in Madison

On this date the first post office opened in Madison. Although the post office was established on February 27, 1837, mail was stored in and distributed from Eben Peck's log cabin until a postal facility was erected. [Source: Wisconsin Local History & Biography Articles]

1844 - Utopian Community Founded Near Ripon

On this date the first settler moved to the Fourierite utopian community in what is now Ripon. This communal society was based upon the teachings of Charles Fourier, a French Socialist, who urged the rebuilding of society from its foundation as the only cure for economic hardship. This especially appealed to those suffering from the 1837 Depression. The communal village was named Ceresco after the goddess of agriculture, Ceres. Also known as the Wisconsin Phalanx, the community thrived for six years, with membership reaching 180 in 1845. The community officially disbanded in 1850 after many members decided to farm for their own profit. Families gradually left the commune to work and live on their own property. The center of the commune, the "Long House," remained vacant until the 1930s when people suffering from the Great Depression found shelter and comfort there. Community founder Warren Chase said of the failed community "It was prematurely born, and tried to live before its proper time, and of course, must die and be born again. So it did and here it lies." [Source: Wisconsin Saints and Sinners by Fred L. Holmes, pg. 94-104]

1862 - (Civil War) Battle of Hanover Court House, Virginia

This battle in northern Virginia gave Union troops a better position for attacking the Confederate capital of Richmond. Co. G of the 1st U.S. Sharpshooters, from Wisconsin, fought in this battle.