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On This Day: October 13

1862 - John R. Commons Born

On this date John R. Commons was born in Hollandsburg, Ohio. As a young man he took an interest in many reform movements, including temperance, the single tax movement and socialism. Commons, Professor of Political Economy, joined the UW faculty in 1904. During Wisconsin's second era of Progressivism in the 1920s, Commons formulated a model unemployment compensation system and promoted it in the Legislature. His efforts bore fruit in 1931 when Wisconsin enacted the first such system in the nation. He spent the remainder of his career completing a history of labor in the United States. John R. Commons died on May 11, 1945. [Source: Wisconsin Electronic Reader]

1862 - "Waukesha Minute Men" mustered in

On this date Company B of the 28th Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment was mustered into service by Captain J. M. Trowbridge. Known as the "Waukesha Minute Men," this company was part of the 28th Regiment, recruited during the summer of 1862 in Waukesha and Walworth Counties and organized at Camp Washburn in Milwaukee under the command of Colonel James M. Lewis of Oconomowoc. They spent the next nine weeks training at Camp Washburn before heading south on December 20, 1862. [Source: 28th Wisconsin]

1864 - (Civil War) Battle of Darbytown Road, Virginia

The 4th Wisconsin Light Artillery participated the Battle of Darbytown Road in Virginia. Union forces advanced to assess a new Confederate defensive line in front of Richmond, Virginia, and was repulsed with heavy casualties. They retired to their entrenched lines along New Market Road.

1924 - Milwaukee's First Black Police Officer

On this date the first African American police officer in the Milwaukee department, Judson Walter Minor, was appointed. [Source: Negro Business Directory of the State of Wisconsin 1950-1951, p.112]

1961 - First Oktoberfest Held in La Crosse

On this date the first Wisconsin Oktoberfest celebration was held in La Crosse. In early 1960, civic leaders agreed that the city needed a community-wide activity. La Crosse had been without such an event since the Winter Carnival in early 1920s. Community leaders decided upon an Oktoberfest celebration. Parades, pageantry, royalty, brew, bratwurst, and entertainment characterize the event. [Source: La Crosse Oktoberfest]