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On This Day: September 15

1795 - Poet and Geologist James Percival Born

On this date poet, doctor, geologist, and linguist James Gates Percival was born. A highly intelligent man, Percival graduated from Yale at the age of 20 and medical school at 25. He spoke ten languages and loved reading. While he failed in his medical practice, he faithfully served the states of Connecticut and Wisconsin as their State Geologist. His poetry, for the most part, was ignored by the public. However, one of his poems was set to music and sung before President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in 1863. Percival's thirst for knowledge replaced social relationships, and he died alone and poor in 1856 in Hazel Green, Wisconsin. [Source: Badger Saints and Sinners by Fred L. Holmes]

1832 - Ho-Chunk Treaty Signed

On this date a a treaty was signed between the Ho-Chunk and the United States that stipulated that the Ho-Chunk cede lands lying to the south and east of the Wisconsin river as well as lands around the Fox river of Green Bay. [Source:Oklahoma State University Library]

1837 - Daniel Hadley Sumner Born

On this date David Hadley Sumner was born in Malone, N.Y. He moved to Michigan in 1843 with his parents, where he attended the common schools and Prairie Seminar in Richland, Michigan. After practicing law in Michigan, Sumner moved to Oconomowoc in 1868, where he continued to practice law as well as publish the La Belle Mirror. Sumner moved to Waukesha in 1870 where he practiced law and served as town superintendent of schools, a member of the county board of supervisors, and district attorney of Waukesha County in 1876 and 1877. Sumner was elected as a Democrat to the Forty-eighth Congress (March 4, 1883-March 3, 1885). Sumner died in Waukesha on May 29, 1903 and is buried in Prairie Home Cemetery. [Source: Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress]

1862 - (Civil War) 23rd Infantry Heads South

The 23rd Wisconsin Infantry left Madison for Cincinnati, Ohio under the command of Colonel Joshua Guppey. It would go on to fight in the battles of Port Gibson, Champion Hill, the Siege of Vicksburg, the Red River Campaign, Spanish Fort, and Fort Blakely in Alabama. The regiment concluded the war by occupying Mobile, Alabama, where it mustered out of service on July 4, 1865. It lost 308 men during service.

1892 - Lawrence Henry Smith Born

On this date, Lawrence Henry was born in Racine, Wisconsin. He attended public schools and the State Teachers College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Smith continued his education at Marquette University Law School where he graduated from in 1923. He commenced the practice of law in Racine, Wisconsin. Smith was a veteran of the First World War, where he served as a first lieutenant of Infantry in the Thirty-second Division from 1917 to 1919. In 1941, Smith was elected as a Republican to the Seventy-seventh Congress, filling a vacancy left by the death of Stephen Bolles. Her served in Congress until his death in Washington, D.C. on January 22, 1958. Smith is buried in West Lawn Memorial Park, in Racine, Wisconsin. [Source: Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress]