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On This Day: March 11

1839 - Dane County Organized

On this date the Territorial Legislature passed an act that officially recognized Dane County and called for the election of county officers on the first Monday of May, 1839. [Source: Madison Democrat - December 20 1886]

1844 - Sauk County Officials Elected

On this snowy evening in Sauk County, a group of men gathered at the Upper Sauk abode of Joshua Abbott to hold an election. Abbott's home served as the county's first hotel, tavern, and the county court house. On this evening, Abbott was elected Sheriff. To see what pioneer life was like in Sauk Co. at the time, see this reminiscence by an early settler. [Source: Sauk County Historical Society]

1852 - Milwaukee's Kossuth House Opened

The Kossuth House hotel at 347 East Water St. in Milwaukee was opened by the proprietors Jacob Schlatter (1821-1884) and Benedict Geser (1819- ca. 1866). At his location the "Teutonia Turner Society" was founded on June 9th, 1852. [Sources: Banner & Volksfreund, March 24,1852, page 3; Koss, Rudolf A. Milwaukee. (1871): p. 371.]

1865 - (Civil War) Skirmish in Clear Lake, Arkansas

The 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry took part in a skirmish in Clear Lake, Arkansas.

1917 - First Lady Dorothy Knowles

On this date the wife of Wisconsin governor Warren P. Knowles was born. The couple met in Texas during WWII, while the governor served in the Navy. Dorothy Knowles had studied business and interior design in college. Knowles was not a typical first lady, campaigning for liberal causes such as birth control. Throughout the governor's term (1965-1971), she also redecorated the mansion. The couple divorced in the summer of 1968 after the governor announced his candidacy for a third term (which he won). Knowles later married Francis Trecker and, after his death, O.R. Braun. Throughout her life, she remained fiercely independent, intellegent, attractive, and sophisticated, recognized for her dressing and decorating style - - a Wisconsin first lady in the tradition of Jacqueline Kennedy. [Source: First Ladies of Wisconsin, The Governors' Wives by Nancy G. Williams p 216-220.]

1950 - Jerry Zucker Born

On this date film producer Jerry Zucker was born in Milwaukee. With his brother David, he has written, produced, and directed a number of classic comedies including Naked Gun, Airplane!, Top Secret, Police Squad, and Rat Race. Zucker also produced My Best Friend's Wedding, First Knight, A Walk In the Clouds, and My Life and gave the 2003 commencement address at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. [Source: Internet Movie Database ]