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On This Day: September 14

1848 - Milwaukee Female Seminary Opens

On this date Mrs. William Parsons opened the Milwaukee Female Seminary. This event placed Wisconsin in the forefront of education, at a time when colleges for women were almost unknown. The school was later renamed Downer College. [Source:History Just Ahead: A Guide to Wisconsin's Historical Markers edited by Sarah Davis McBride, p. 24]

1858 - Mary C. Van Vechten Randall Dies

On this date Mary C. Van Vechten Randall, wife of Governor Alexander William Randall, died in Waukesha. She was born between 1820 and 1821 in New York. The daughter of Herbertis Van Vechten and Susanna Staley, Mary Van Vechten married Alexander William Randall in 1842. Randall was inaugurated as governor in 1858. Mary C. Van Vechten Randall died eight months later of consumption. The Randall's had one daughter, Sarah Adeline, who died in childhood. Mary C. Van Vechten Randall is buried beside her parents in Prairie Home Cemetery in Waukesha. [Source: First Ladies of Wisconsin-The Governors' Wives by Nancy G. Williams, p.48]

1860 - Hamlin Garland Born

On this date noted author Hamlin Garland was born in West Salem. His novels depict the pioneer life of his forefathers. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1918. In 1920 his book A Daughter of the Middle Border was awarded the Pulitzer Prize as the best biography of the year. He died on March 3, 1940. [Source: Hisory Just Ahead: A Guide to Wisconsin's Historical Markers edited by Sarah Davis McBride, p. 157]

1862 - (Civil War) Battle of South Mountain, Maryland

The 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th Wisconsin Infantry regiments fought at South Mountain. Seeing them from a distance, the Union's top commander, General George McClellan, commented, "They must be made of iron." Historians believe that this was probably the origin of the name, Iron Brigade. When McClellan was told that the brigade had performed even more heroically two weeks earlier at Second Battle of Bull Run, he called them the "best troops in the world." At South Mountain, Wisconsin regiments lost 222 men killed or wounded.

1875 - Increase Lapham Dies While Fishing

On this date Increase Lapham died of a heart attack while fishing in Oconomowoc. Lapham served Wisconsin as a geologist, meteorologist, historian, archivist, anthropologist, and scientist.He helped found the State Historical Society and served on its board for 22 years. He helped establish the National Weather Service and worked to preserve Native American burial mounds, as well as the forests and prairies of Wisconsin. He also helped establish hospitals for the blind, deaf, and mentally ill in Milwaukee and to start two women's colleges, Carroll College and Milwaukee-Downer College. [Source: Badger Saints and Sinners; by Fred L. Holmes, p.330-344]

1885 - Milwaukee State Normal School Founded

On this date the Milwaukee State Normal School was founded. The school began granting degrees in 1927 and changed its name to Milwaukee State Teachers College and in 1951 became known as Wisconsin State College. Eventually the college merged with the University of Wisconsin's Milwaukee Extension Center to become the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1955. [Source: History Just Ahead: A Guide to Wisconsin's Historical Markers edited by Sarah Davis McBride, p. 20]

1888 - The Great Washburn Fire

On this date a fire broke out in back of Peter Nelson's Hardware Store in Washburn, Wisconsin. The fire spread quickly, consuming an entire block of homes and businessses, including Meehan's Clothing Store, two local newspapers, and Beausoliel's Meat Market. [Source: "B" book : beer bottles, brawls, boards, brothels, bibles, battles & brownstones by Tony Woiak, p.2-3]

1918 - Lynched for Resisting WWI

On this day an armed mob estimated at 200 people surrounded the Clark Co. home of Mrs. Caroline Krueger and her sons, who had refused to serve in the First World War. "They said that if the war was in this country they would be among the first to volunteer," reported a neighbor. "They declared however that it was not right to send American soldiers to France and that they never would go." The family was known for its religious and pacifist views, but that didn't matter to a mob of patriotic citizens. When the boys refused to respond to a draft notice, a crowd from nearby Owen, Wis., surrounded their home. A shootout followed, one of the mob was killed, one of the Kruegers shot through both legs, and their barn was burned down to smoke out the other sons. Two of the sons were convicted of murder and served 13 years before being transferred to a psychiatric institution, driven insane by their ordeal according to the press. The third son, Ennis, was believed killed when a youth matching his description was shot trying to escape authorities a few days later. This was, however, merely the final injustice in the sequence of events, as Ennis Krueger surfaced in 1933. When officials entered the farmhouse after the shootout, they found an American flag mounted above the family hearth.