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On This Day: May 28

1837 - First Steamer to Visit Milwaukee

On this date the first steamer to visit Milwaukee, the James Madison, arrived. [Source: History of Milwaukee, Vol II, pg. 7]

1854 - Cornerstone Laid for St. Raphael's Church

On this date the cornerstone was laid for St. Raphael's, the first Catholic church in Madison. Catholic services were held in Madison as early as 1843 by Rev. Martin Kundig of Madison. The church suffered severe damage when set on fire by an arsonist on March 14, 2005.

1855 - Ole Amundsen Buslett Born

On this date Ole Amundsen Buslett was born in Gausdal, Norway. An author, newspaperman, and politician, Buslett arrived in the U.S. with his family in 1868 and settled in Waupaca County. Known as the "Father of Norwegian-American Literature", his writings included plays, novels, and stories that often portrayed Wisconsin immigrants. He also wrote temperance stories, poems, and a history of the 15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He published the Stoughton Wisconsin Normanden in 1894 and moved the paper to Madison in 1895, after which time it was known simply as the Normanden. He held local political offices in Waupaca County and served in the state assembly from 1909 to 1910. Buslett died on June 5, 1924.

1858 - Lizzie Black Kander Born

On this date settlement founder and cookbook author, Lizzie Black Kander, was born in Milwaukee. She was born the daughter of John and Mary Black, Jewish pioneer farmers from near Green Bay. She was educated in the Milwaukee public schools and in 1878 graduated from East Side High as valedictorian. In 1881 she married Simon Kander, a real estate and insurance salesman, who later served in the 1907 Assembly of the Wisconsin State Legislature. Kander was one of the first women in Milwaukee to undertake social work activities with Russian Jewish immigrants. She was president of the Milwaukee Jewish Mission and its successor, the Settlement (1896--1918). Her "Settlement Cook Book" (1901), compiled in conjunction with a Settlement cooking class, sold over a million copies and funded the Milwaukee Jewish Center. Her social work among immigrant Russian Jews in Milwaukee earned her the sobriquet "the Jane Addams of Milwaukee." From 1907 to 1927 she was a member of the Milwaukee School Board. She was also a founder of the Girls' Trade and Technical High School and the Milwaukee nursery school system. In 1938 Kander was the first person chosen for the Milwaukee Jewish Center Honor Lecture, a lecture series that honored a prominent member of the Jewish Community. At the 1939 New York World's Fair she was designated one of Wisconsin's outstanding women. She died on July 24, 1940 in Milwaukee. In 1948 Kander Auditorium at the Girls' Trade and Technical High School was named in her honor. [Source: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Golda Meir Library and About.com]

1864 - (Civil War) Battle of Bethesda Church, Virginia, Begins

The Battle of Bethesda Church (also called Totopotomoy Creek), Virginia, was part of the Wilderness Campaign. The Union forces that fought there for three days included the 2nd, 6th, 7th, and 36th Wisconsin Infantry regiments.

1927 - Wisconsin First Lady Joyce Unke Dreyfus Born

On this date the wife of Wisconsin Governor Lee Sherman Dreyfus was born. The couple grew up together on the same block in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Unke received a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Throughout her husband's term (1979-1983), she busied herself raising their three children and volunteering her time to organizations such as the Special Olympics and the United Cerebral Palsey Foundation of Southeastern Wisconsin. [Source: First Ladies of Wisconsin, the Governors' Wives by Nancy G. Williams, pp 234-239]