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On This Day: April 12

1850 - Milwaukee Mayor Peter J. Somers Born

On this date, Peter J. Somers was born in Menominee Falls. After attending the common schools and the Whitewater Normal School, Somers attended Waukesha Academy to study law. Somers was admitted to the Wisconsin Bar in 1874 and served as the city attorney of Milwaukee from 1882 to 1884. In 1890, he was elected to the common council, serving as mayor of Milwaukee until 1893. Elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-third U.S. Congress, he served from August 27, 1893 to March 3, 1895 Somers moved to Reno, Nevada, in 1905, served as chairman of the State Democratic central committee from 1907 to 1909, and died in Los Angeles, California, on February 15, 1924. [Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.]

1864 - (Civil War) Battle of Blair's Landing, Louisiana

The Battle of Blair's Landing occurred in Red River Parish, Louisiana. During the fight, the 14th, 29th, and 33rd Wisconsin Infantry regiments helped repulse Confederate troops who attacked Union transport ships headed upstream on the Red River Expedition.

1880 - Adrian "Addie" Joss Born

On this date Adrian Joss was born near Woodland, Wisconsin. He became a great professional baseball pitcher. He joined the Cleveland "Naps" in 1902. Famous for his "hip pocket" delivery, he pitched a perfect game against the Chicago White Sox in 1908 and a no-hitter in 1910. His career record was 160 wins and 97 losses, winning 20 or more games in four successive seasons with a total of 45 shutouts. Joss died of meningitis in 1911 and was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame in 1978. [Source: History Just Ahead: A Guide to Wisconsin's Historical Markers, edited by Sarah Davis McBride] 

1930 - Oshkosh All-Stars Win Midwest Championship

On this date the Oshkosh All-Stars capped off their first year as an independent pro basketball team, beating the Chicago Majestic, 30-23, and claimed the Midwest championship. The Stars were led by Branch McCracken, Bud Foster and Charlie "Feed" Murphy, three stars signed after the college season ended. McCracken and Foster were later inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. [Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online]

1936 - Governor Tony Earl Born

On this date Anthony Scully Earl was born in Lansing, Michigan to Russell and Ethlynne Scully Earl. Earl earned his bachelor's degree from Michigan State University in 1958 and then studied law at the University of Chicago. After serving as a legal officer in the Navy, Earl and his family moved to Wausau, Wisconsin where he served as county assistant, district attorney, Wausau city attorney, and majority leader of the state assembly. He had been appointed secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Administration and secretary of the Department of Natural Resources before being elected governor in 1982. Tony Earl served as Wisconsin's governor from 1983 until 1987. [Source: First Ladies of Wisconsin, The Governors' Wives by Nancy G. Williams]