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On This Day: November 21

1785 - Prairie du Chien Physiologist Born

On this date William Beaumont was born. Beaumont served as a surgeon at Fort Crawford in Prairie du Chien during the War of 1812.  After the War he moved to the northwest where he met and treated Alexis St. Martin, a man who was accidently shot in the stomach at a social gathering. Beaumont studied Martin for many years, using his open wound to learn about digestion. With rudimentary medical tools (a spool of thread, scissors, thermometer, and various types of food), Beaumont conducted 238 highly scientific experiments that were later published in Experiments and Observations on the Gastric Juice and the Physiology of Digestion. The dietetic table he created has changed very little over the years and all subsequent experiments of digestion were based on his findings. [Source: Badger Saints and Sinners by Fred L. Holmes, p.136-150]

1861 - (Civil War) 4th Wisconsin Infantry Reconnoiters Virginia's Eastern Shore

The 4th Wisconsin Infantry was among Union forces assigned to an expedition in Accomac County, Virginia. The regiment's historian wrote, "The Fourth and a battery [of light artillery] and small cavalry force, embarked on an expedition to the eastern shore of Virginia, where they remained, encountering some severe marching through the mud and flooded roads, under the command of General Lockwood, until the 9th of December."

1931 - NFL Center Jim Ringo Born

On this date NFL Center Jim Ringo was born in Orange, New Jersey. Ringo played for the Green Bay Packers from 1953 to 1963. Despite being only 235 pounds and a seventh round draft choice, Ringo went on to win All-Pro honors eight times, seven as a Packer, and play in 10 Pro Bowls. He helped the Packers win back-to-back NFL titles in 1961 and 1962. [Source:]

1941 - Badger Army Ammunition Plant Established

On this date the Badger Army Ammunition Plant was established on 7,354 acres of land in Sauk County, near Baraboo. Employment reached an historic high of near 7,500 during World War II. The plant operated intermittently over a 33-year period to produce single and double-base propellant for cannon, rocket, and small arms ammunition. Plant operation was terminated in March 1975 and all production facilities and many support functions were placed on standby status, which continued until 1998. [Source: Joint Munitions Command]

1968 - Black Thursday at UW-Oshkosh

On this date, 96 African-American students were arrested for occupying the university president's office to protest the University administration's refusal to commit to adding more black teachers, classes in African-American history, black speakers on campus, and a black cultural center. Although the students were jailed and suspended from the University, within a year many of their ideas were implemented, including adding black literature and history classes and opening an Interracial Cultural Center. [Source: UW-Oshkosh Web site, "Do Your Thing," UW-Oshkosh]