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On This Day: June 21

1856 - First Vessel Leaves Milwaukee for a European Port

On this date the first vessel to leave Milwaukee for a European port departed. Loaded with 14,320 bushels of wheat from H. & J.F. Hill, the "Dean Richmond" left Milwaukee for Liverpool. She reached her destination on September 29, 1856. [Source: History of Milwaukee, Vol. II, pg. 10]

1862 - (Civil War) Engagement at Battle Creek, Tennessee

The 10th Wisconsin Infantry participated in minor action at Battle Creek, Tennessee.

1921 - Nation's First Women's Rights Bill Passed

On this day, the Wisconsin legislature passed the nation's first bill ensuring that women have the same legal rights as men. Section 6.015 opened, "Women shall have the same rights and privileges under the law as men..." It was signed into law on July 11. [Source: Chicago Tribune, June 21, 1921, p. 12]

1944 - German POWs Assist with Janesville Harvest

On this date, Camp Janesville was established when 250 German POWs arrived in Rock County to help pick and can peas, tomatoes, and sweet corn. The camp was a small town of tents that housed guards and the POWs, many of them from the defeated Afrika Corps led by the "Desert Fox", Field Marshall Rommel. Another 150 prisoners were assigned to a similar camp in Jefferson. The German POWs were primarily in their mid-20s. They were eventually transferred to an undisclosed camp on September 25, 1944.  [Source: Stalag Wisconsin by Betty Cowley, p. 165]

1949 - Southern Wisconsin's First Drive-in Movie

On this date Southern Wisconsin's first outdoor, drive-in movie, the Hi-Way 26 Outdoor Theatre, opened on Milton Avenue in Janesville. The screen was 33- by 46-foot. [Source: Janesville Gazette]