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On This Day: August 12

1837 - Simeon Mills Commissioned as Justice of the Peace

On this date Dane County pioneer, Simeon Mills, was commissioned as the county's first Justice of the Peace. In his first act as justice, he performed a marriage ceremony for two Frenchmen, Oliver Armel and Joseph Pelke, and their Winnebago brides.

1858 - Sisters of St. Agnes Founded

On this date Fr. Caspar Rehrl founded the Sisters of St. Agnes in Barton, Wisconsin. The Sisters of St. Agnes offered teaching and nursing services throughout Wisconsin, Kansas and New York. [Source: History Just Ahead: A Guide to Wisconsin's Historical Markers edited by Sarah Davis McBride, p.8]

1862 - (Civil War) Scouting expedition in Missouri

The 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry was among Union forces on a scouting expedition from Ft. Leavenworth to Independence, Missouri.

1892 - Actor Alfred Lunt Born Today in Milwaukee

On this date actor Alfred Lunt was born in Milwaukee. He was well known for his performances with his wife, Lynn Fontanne. The couple starred in more than two dozen theatrical performances as well as a handful of silent movies. Lunt and Fontaine built Ten Chimneys in Genessee Depot, Wisconsin and hosted many acting luminaries, including Helen Hayes, Lawrence Olivier and Vivian Leigh. [Source: Ten Chimneys]

1939 - Wizard of Oz World Premier -- in Oconomowoc

According to the fan site,, "The first publicized showing of the final, edited film was at the Strand Theatre in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin on August 12, 1939. No one is sure exactly why a small town in the Midwest received that honor." It showed the next day in Sheboygan, Appleton and Rhinelander, according to local newspapers. "The official premiere was at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on August 15, attended by most of the cast and crew and a number of Hollywood celebrities." [Source: