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On This Day: July 9

1755 - Charles de Langlade Ambushes British

On this date Frenchman Charles de Langlade led a group of Wisconsin Native Americans (including Ottawas and Ojibways) against the British General Braddock during the French and Indian War. Langlade, acting as "commander" of the Northwestern Indians, ambushed the British troops. The battle is depicted in the oil painting by Edward W. Deming which hangs on the 4th floor of the Wisconsin Historical Society. [Source: Badger Saints and Sinners by Fred L. Holmes, 1939; pg 25]

1840 - William Freeman Vilas Born

On this date William Freeman Vilas was born in Chelsea, Vermont. He moved with his parents to Madison in 1851. Vilas graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1858. Vilas began the practice of law in Madison in 1860, the same year that he received his law degree from the University of Albany, New York. Vilas enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War and served as captain of Company A, Twenty-third Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He also served as major and lieutenant colonel of the regiment. William F. Vilas was a professor of law at the University of Wisconsin and regent of the university from 1880 to 1885. He served as a member of the State assembly in 1885 and Postmaster General of the United States in the Cabinet of President Grover Cleveland from 1885 to 1888. In 1888 he became Secretary of the Interior of the United States and served until March 1889. Vilas was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1891 and served from March 4, 1891 to March 3, 1897. He was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1896. Vilas died in Madison on August 27, 1908. [Source: Biographical Guide to the United States Congress]

1863 - (Civil War) Siege of Jackson, Mississippi, continues

On this day in 1863, the 11th, 12th, 23rd, 29th, and 33rd Wisconsin Infantry regiments, the 1st Light Artillery and the 1st Cavalry were involved in Sherman’s siege of Jackson, Mississippi.

1925 - Frances Bull Fairchild Dies

On this date Frances Bull Fairchild, wife of Governor Lucius Fairchild, died in Madison. Frances "Frank" Bull was born on November 14, 1845 in Detroit, Michigan. The daughter of General Charles Merriam Bull and Mary Cowles, Frances married Lucius, fourteen years her senior, on April 27, 1864 in Washington, D.C. Frances Fairchild gave birth to three daughters, all of whom lived to adulthood. Frances Bull Fairchild served as first lady of Wisconsin from 1866 to 1872. She enjoyed intellectual, philanthropic and women's interests. Frances was an accomplished hostess and enjoyed the friendship of many notable individuals such as Thomas Edison, Alexander Bell, and Samuel L. Clemens. Frances Bull Fairchild outlived her husband by nearly 30 years. She died of a cerebral hemorrhage and is buried in the Fairchild plot at Forest Hill Cemetery, in Madison. [Source: First Ladies of Wisconsin-The Governors' Wives by Nancy Greenwood Williams, p. 65]