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On This Day: November 4

1847 - First Class at Beloit College

On this date the first class of Beloit College assembled. [Source: History Just Ahead: A Guide to Wisconsin's Historical Markers edited by Sarah Davis McBride]

1864 - (Civil War) Skirmish in Fayetteville, Arkansas

The 9th Wisconsin Light Artillery had participated in a skirmish in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

1909 - Nation's First Commercially Built Airplane

On this date in Beloit, a plane was assembled and built by Wisconsin's first pilot, Arthur P. Warner. This self-taught pilot was the 11th in the U.S. to fly a powered aircraft and the first in the U.S. to buy an aircraft for business use. Warner used it to publicize his automotive products.[Source: History Just Ahead: A Guide to Wisconsin's Historical Markers]

1958 - Governor Gaylord Nelson Elected

On this date Wisconsin Governor Gaylord Nelson was elected. Nelson was the first Democratic governor to be elected in Wisconsin since 1932. [Source: Wilderness Society]

1985 - Activist Father Groppi Dies

On this date Milwaukee civil rights activist and Catholic priest, Father James Groppi died. Father Groppi is one of the best recognized Milwaukee civil rights activists of the 1960s. He gained notoriety from the open housing marches he led from the inner city across the 16th Street Viaduct to Milwaukee's South Side. In 1976, Father Groppi left the priesthood, married and had a child. He resumed his former position as a Milwaukee County Transit System bus driver in the summer of 1979. Groppi died on November 4, 1985, at age 54. [Source: University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Archives]