Wisconsin in History

Historical Events

  • 1809-02-03 Territory of Illinois organizes (including present-day Wisconsin)
  • 1832-08-02 Battle of Bad Axe, Wisconsin: 1,300 Illinois militia defeat Sauk & Fox Native Americans ending the Black Hawk War in the US
  • 1836-04-14 US Congress forms Territory of Wisconsin
  • 1836-04-20 Territory of Wisconsin created
  • 1836-07-04 Wisconsin Territory forms
  • 1846-01-31 After the Milwaukee Bridge War, Juneautown and Kilbourntown unified as the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1848-05-29 Wisconsin becomes 30th US state
  • 1849-02-04 University of Wisconsin begins in 1 room with 20 students
  • 1854-02-04 Alvan Bovay proposes name "Republican Party" in Ripon, Wisconsin
  • 1854-02-28 Republican Party formally organized in Ripon, Wisconsin
  • 1855-02-03 Wisconsin Supreme Coutt declares US Fugitive Slave Law unconstitutional
  • 1866-07-25 25th US Postmaster General: Alexander W Randall of Wisconsin takes office
  • 1871-10-08 Forest fire destroys Peshtigo, Wisconsin, killing between 1,200 and 2,500 people, making it the deadliest wildfire in recorded history
  • 1883-01-10 Fire at uninsured Newhall Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin kills 71. General Tom Thumb of P T Barnum fame, escapes unhurt
  • 1883-02-10 Fire at un-insured New Hall Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, kills 71
  • 1886-05-05 The Bay View Tragedy occurs, as militia fires upon a crowd of protesters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin killing seven.
  • 1886-07-06 Horlick's of Wisconsin offers 1st malted milk to public
  • 1890-01-03 1st US college-level dairy school opens at University of Wisconsin
  • 1903-05-23 1st direct primary election law in US adopted, by Wisconsin
  • 1903-09-11 The first race at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin is held. It is the oldest major speedway in the world.
  • 1908-12-29 Patent granted for a 4-wheel automobile brake, Clintonville, Wisconsin
  • 1911-06-16 A 772 gram stony meteorite strikes the earth near Kilbourn, Columbia County, Wisconsin damaging a barn
  • 1912-11-05 Arizona, Kansas & Wisconsin vote for female suffrage

MurderMurder of Interest

1914-08-15 A male servant of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright sets fire to the living quarters of the architect's Wisconsin home, Taliesin, murders seven people and burns the living quarters to the ground.

  • 1917-11-24 Nine police officers and one civilian are killed when a bomb explodes at the Milwaukee, Wisconsin police headquarters building.
  • 1922-01-24 -54°F (-48°C), Danbury, Wisconsin (state record)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1925-11-09 Robert A. Millikan confirms the existence of cosmic rays from outer space in a speech to the National Academy of Sciences at Madison, Wisconsin

  • 1932-01-28 1st US state unemployment insurance act enacted (Wisconsin)
  • 1935-02-02 Leonarde Keeler first uses his polygraph machine on criminals later convicted of assault on its findings in Portage, Wisconsin
  • 1936-07-13 114°F (46°C), Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin (state record)
  • 1939-01-19 Ernest Hausen of Wisconsin sets chicken-plucking record of 4.4 sec
  • 1941-03-29 3rd NCAA Men's Basketball Championship: Wisconsin beats Wash State 39-34
  • 1954-11-30 20th Heisman Trophy Award: Alan Ameche, Wisconsin (FB)
  • 1964-01-22 World's largest cheese (15,723 kg) manufactured in Wisconsin for New York's World Fair
  • 1966-01-27 Wisconsin State Circuit Court Judge Elmer W Roller rules either the Braves stay in Milwaukee or NL must promise Wisconsin an expansion team for 1966
  • 1968-04-02 Senator E Mccarthy wins Democratic primaries in Wisconsin
  • 1970-08-24 Bomb kills 1 at U of Wisconsin's Army Math Research Center in Madison
  • 1985-09-06 Midwest Express Airlines Flight 105, a Douglas DC-9 crashes just after takeoff from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, killing 31.
  • 1987-06-20 Chuti Tiu, 17, of Wisconsin, crowned America's Junior Miss
  • 1991-06-02 Three Andrettis finished 1-2-3 in the Miller 200 at Wisconsin

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1994-11-28 In Portage, Wisconsin, convicted serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is clubbed to death by an inmate in the Columbia Correctional Institution gymnasium.

Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer
Serial Killer
Jeffrey Dahmer
  • 1999-01-02 A brutal snowstorm smashes into the Midwestern United States, causing 14 inches (359 mm) of snow in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and 19 inches (487 mm) in Chicago, where temperatures plunge to -13°F (-25°C); 68 deaths are reported.
  • 1999-12-13 65th Heisman Trophy Award: Ron Dayne, Wisconsin (RB)
  • 2005-03-13 Terry Ratzmann shoots and kills six members of the Living Church of God and the minister at Sheraton Inn in Brookfield, Wisconsin before killing himself.
  • 2012-06-05 American gubernatorial recall election is held in Wisconsin. Governor Scott Walker wins and becomes the first governor to survive a recall election.
  • 2012-08-05 Gunman opens fire on Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin killing six people and committing suicide
  • 2015-04-06 77th NCAA Men's Basketball Championship: Duke beats Wisconsin 68-63
  • 2015-09-21 Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, pulls out of the Republican US Presidential race
  • 2015-10-29 Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) is elected Speaker of the US House of Representatives, succeeding John Boehner (R-Ohio)
  • 2015-11-10 Fourth Republican presidential candidates debate, sponsored by "The Wall Street Journal", held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 2016-02-11 Sixth Democratic presidential candidates debate, broadcast on CNN and PBS, and held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Electoral defeatElection of Interest

2016-04-06 US primary elections: Wisconsin won by Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republican Ted Cruz

US Senator Bernie Sanders
US Senator
Bernie Sanders
  • 2017-06-18 117th US Golf Open: Brooks Koepka wins his 1st major with a 16-under par 272 round at Erin Hills, Wisconsin

Famous Birthdays

Birthdays 1 - 100 of 176

  • 1824-02-23 Lewis Cass Hunt, American Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Brown County Wisconsin (d. 1886)
  • 1855-06-14 Robert Marion La Follette, Wisconsin, presidential candidate (Progressive)

Person of interestEdward L. Doheny

1856-08-10 Edward L. Doheny, American oil tycoon, born in Fond du lac, Wisconsin

Oil Tycoon Edward L. Doheny
Oil Tycoon
Edward L. Doheny
  • 1857-04-14 Edgar Stillman Kelley, Sparta Wisconsin, composer (Gulliver)
  • 1859-01-09 Carrie Chapman Catt, Ripon, Wisconsin, American women's suffrage leader and founder (League of Women Voters)

Person of interestThomas J. Walsh

1859-06-12 Thomas J. Walsh, United States Senator (Montana), born in Two Rivers, Wisconsin (d. 1933)

Lawyer and Politician Thomas J. Walsh
Lawyer and Politician
Thomas J. Walsh
  • 1867-02-07 Laura Ingalls Wilder, author (Little House on Prairie), born in Pepin, Wisconsin (d. 1957)

Person of interestFrank Lloyd Wright

1867-06-08 Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect (Guggenheim) recognized as "the greatest American architect of all time", born in Richland Center, Wisconsin (d. 1959)

  • 1872-04-18 Bernard Ogilvie Dodge, Mauston, Wisconsin, USA, American botanist and pioneer researcher on heredity in fungi
  • 1881-10-12 William Nigh, American director (Ape, Doomed to Die, Mr Wong), born in Berlin, Wisconsin (d. 1955)

Person of interestGeorgia O’Keeffe

1887-11-15 Georgia O'Keeffe, American sculptor/painter (Cow's Skull), born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin (d. 1986)

Painter and Sculptor Georgia O’Keeffe
Painter and Sculptor
Georgia O’Keeffe
  • 1889-08-01 John Friend Mahoney, American physician who pioneered the treatment of syphilis with penicillin, born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin (d. 1957)
  • 1890-08-22 Floyd Henri Allport, American psychologist and sociologist, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (d. 1979)
  • 1893-08-12 Alfred Lunt, American Broadway actor (The Guardsman, Sally of the Sawdust), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (d. 1977)
  • 1893-08-18 Burleigh Grimes, American baseball player, born in Emerald, Wisconsin (d. 1985)

Person of interestFredric March

1897-08-31 Fredric March, American actor (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Best Years of Our Lives), born in Racine, Wisconsin (d. 1975)

Person of interestCurly Lambeau

1898-04-09 Curly Lambeau, First coach of the Green Bay Packers, born in Green Bay, Wisconsin (d. 1965)

NFL Head Coach Curly Lambeau
NFL Head Coach
Curly Lambeau

Person of interestNoel Wien

1899-06-08 Noel Wien, American aviation pioneer (Wien Air Alaska), born in Lake Nebagamon, Wisconsin (d. 1977)

Aviation Pioneer Noel Wien
Aviation Pioneer
Noel Wien
  • 1899-07-08 David Eli Lilienthal, US government organizer (Wisconsin)
  • 1899-11-11 Pat O'Brien, American actor (Knute Rockne, Angels with Dirty Faces), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (d. 1983)
  • 1900-06-15 Otto Clarence Luening, composer (Sonority Canon), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1901-05-27 Conrad Elvehjem, McFarland, Wisconsin, USA, American biochemist and nutrition scientist (discovered niacin)
  • 1902-02-14 Ray "Crash" Corrigan, American actor (Crash Corrigan's Ranch), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (d. 1976)
  • 1902-05-22 Al Simmons, American baseball outfielder (A's), lifetime batting avg of .334 (d. 1956), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1902-10-31 Eduard Franz, American actor (Zorro), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (d. 1983)
  • 1904-02-16 George F Kennan, US ambassador (to Moscow), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1905-09-25 Red Smith, sportscaster/columnist (Fight Talk), born in Green Bay, Wisconsin

Person of interestEd Gein

1906-08-27 Ed Gein, American serial killer (inspired Psycho & The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), born in La Crosse County, Wisconsin, (d. 1984)

Murderer and Body Snatcher Ed Gein
Murderer and Body Snatcher
Ed Gein
  • 1908-03-13 Walter Annenberg, American publisher (Triangle-TV Guide) and philanthropist, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (d. 2002)

Person of interestJohn Bardeen

1908-05-23 John Bardeen, American physicist, electrical engineer and co-inventor of the transistor (Nobel 1956, 1972), born in Madison, Wisconsin (d. 1991)

Physicist and Electrical Engineer John Bardeen
Physicist and Electrical Engineer
John Bardeen
  • 1908-05-31 Dominic "Don" Ameche, American actor (Cocoon, Trading Places), born in Kenosha, Wisconsin (d. 1993)
  • 1908-12-20 Dennis Morgan, American actor (Kitty Foyle), born in Prentice, Wisconsin (d. 1994)
  • 1909-01-14 Joseph Walton Losey, Wisconsin, director (Damned, Accident)
  • 1909-04-01 Abner Biberman, American director and actor (His Girl Friday, The Leopard Man), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (d. 1977)
  • 1909-10-25 Philleo Nash, US Bureau of Indian Affairs (1961-67), born in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin (1961-67)

Person of interestJoseph McCarthy

1909-11-14 Joseph McCarthy, American Senator, (Rep - Wisconsin) who claimed anti-communists had infiltrated the US government, born in Grand Chute, Wisconsin (d. 1957)

US Senator Joseph McCarthy
US Senator
Joseph McCarthy
  • 1910-12-24 Mitchell Ayres, orchestra leader (Hollywood Palace), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1911-06-03 Ellen Corby [Hansen], American actress (The Waltons, Vertigo, Caged), born in Racine, Wisconsin (d. 1999)
  • 1911-07-31 George Liberace, American violinist (Liberace Show), born in Menasha, Wisconsin (d. 1983)
  • 1911-11-01 Donald William Kerst, American Physicist who developed the betatron (device to accelerate electron beams), born in Madison, Wisconsin
  • 1913-06-10 Thor Johnson, Wisconsin Rapids Wisconsin, conductor (Cin Symph 1958)
  • 1913-06-10 Wilbur J. Cohen, American pioneer of social security, worked on the New Deal, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1914-02-09 Ralph Herman, orchestra leader (Circus Time), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1914-02-18 Pee Wee King, country vocalist (Pee Wee King Song), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Person of interestOrson Welles

1915-05-06 Orson Welles [George], American actor (Citizen Kane, War of the Worlds), born in Kenosha, Wisconsin (d. 1985)

Actor and Director Orson Welles
Actor and Director
Orson Welles
  • 1915-06-09 Les Paul, American jazz, country and blues guitarist, songwriter and inventor (solid-body electric guitar), born in Waukesha, Wisconsin (d. 2009)
  • 1915-09-02 Meinhardt Raabe, American actor (The Wizard of Oz), born in Watertown, Wisconsin (d. 2010)

Person of interestLiberace

1919-05-16 Liberace [Wladziu Valentino], American pianist (Liberace Show, Evil Chandell-Batman), born in West Allis, Wisconsin (d. 1987)

Pianist Liberace
  • 1919-06-24 Albert "Al" Molinaro, American actor (The Odd Couple, Happy Days), born in Kenosha, Wisconsin (d. 2015)
  • 1920-04-09 F Don Miller, Boxing coach (Olympic-1956), born in Racine, Wisconsin
  • 1921-02-16 Esther Bubley, Phillips, Wisconsin, American photographer
  • 1921-02-25 Andy Pafko, Boyceville, Wisconsin, MLB player (Chicago Cubs), (d. 2013)
  • 1922-05-06 Pat Harder, NFL fullback (Cardinals, Lions), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1922-07-13 Lois Kibbee, American actress (Edge of Night), born in Rhinelander, Wisconsin (d. 1993)
  • 1924-01-24 Robert Kastenmeier, Politician (Rep-D-WI, 1959-91), born in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
  • 1925-02-03 John Fiedler, American actor (Mr Peterson-Newhart), born in Platteville, Wisconsin
  • 1925-08-07 Felice Bryant, rock writer (Bye Bye Love), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1925-09-28 Seymour Cray, American inventor (Cray Research, Cray I supercomputer), born in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin (d. 1996)
  • 1926-02-17 Lee Hoiby, composer (1957 Arts & Letters), born in Madison, Wisconsin
  • 1926-04-22 Charlotte Rae, American character actress, comedian, singer and dancer (Edna-Facts of Life), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1927-01-27 Nancy Dickerson, pioneering American radio and TV journalist (NBC, CBS), born in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin (d. 1997)
  • 1927-02-26 Donald Gramm, bass-baritone, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1928-05-03 Dave Dudley, American country singer (Six Days on the Road), born in Spencer, Wisconsin (d. 2003)
  • 1928-07-14 Nancy Olson, American actress (Absent-Minded Professor, Pollyanna), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1930-06-19 Gena Rowlands, American actress (The Notebook), born in Madison, Wisconsin
  • 1930-11-23 Robert Easton, actor (Someone Up There Likes Me), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1933-03-15 Cecil Percival Taylor, American pianist and poet (U of Wisconsin)

Person of interestGene Wilder

1933-06-11 Gene Wilder [Jerome Silberman], American actor ( Blazing Saddles, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (d. 2016)

  • 1934-03-04 Barbara McNair, singer/actress (Barbara McNair Show), born in Racine, Wisconsin
  • 1934-06-05 F Curtis Michel, LaCrosse Wisconsin, astronaut
  • 1935-01-26 Bob Uecker, catcher/actor (Mr Belvedere), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1935-02-07 Herb Kohl, (Sen-D Wisconsin)
  • 1935-05-08 Salome Jens, actress (From Here to Eternity), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1936-02-12 Paul Shenar, American actor (Carrington-Roots), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1936-05-12 Tom Snyder,American newscaster (The Tomorow Show, NBC Weekend News), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (d. 2007)
  • 1936-10-12 Tony Kubek, shortstop (NY Yankees) and sportscaster (NBC-TV, Madison Square Garden), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1938-03-09 Charles Siebert, American actor (One Day at A Time, Trapper John), born in Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • 1938-10-03 David R Obey, (Rep-D-Wisconsin, 1969- )
  • 1938-10-10 Tobias A Roth, (Rep-R-Wisconsin, 1979- )
  • 1938-10-29 Peter Stampfel, musician and songwriter (The Holy Modal Rounders), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1939-07-20 Jeanne Bice, American entrepreneur (Quacker Factory clothes), born in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin (d. 2011)
  • 1940-03-07 Daniel J Travanti, actor (Frank Furillo-Hill St Blues), born in Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • 1940-03-12 Al Jarreau, American jazz singer (Moonlighting), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (d. 2017)
  • 1940-04-18 Ed Garvey, American labor leader (NFL Players Association), born in Burlington, Wisconsin (d. 2017)

Person of interestAldrich Ames

1941-05-16 Aldrich Ames, CIA officer and spy for the Soviet Union, born in River Falls, Wisconsin

Soviet Union Spy Aldrich Ames
Soviet Union Spy
Aldrich Ames
  • 1941-11-19 Tommy Thompson, former U.S. Governor of Wisconsin
  • 1943-03-27 Milton Robert Carr, (Rep-D-Michigan, 1975-81, 83-95), born in Janesville, Wisconsin
  • 1943-06-14 F James Sensenbrenner, (Rep-R-Wisconsin)
  • 1943-07-03 Kurtwood Smith, New Lisbon, Wisconsin, American actor (That '70s Show, Robocop)
  • 1943-10-05 Steve Miller, rocker (Abracadabra, Space Cowboy), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1943-11-10 George Sauer, Jr., AFL player (New York Jets), born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin (d. 2013)
  • 1944-12-27 Tracy Nelson, American singer, born in Madison, Wisconsin
  • 1945-02-12 Joe Schermie, US bass player (3 Dog Night-Joy to the World), born in Madison, Wisconsin (d. 2002)
  • 1945-07-03 Michael Cole, actor (Pete-Mod Squad), born in Madison, Wisconsin
  • 1946-01-20 Susan Vreeland, American author (The Passion of Artemisia), born in Racine, Wisconsin (d. 2017)
  • 1946-02-21 Tyne Daly, actress (Cagney & Lacey, Angel Unchained), born in Madison, Wisconsin
  • 1947-05-28 Leland Sklar, musician and bass guitarist, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1947-10-16 David Zucker, director (Airplane, Naked Gun, Top Secret), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1947-10-31 Deidre Hall, American actress (Days of our Lives, Our House), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1948-10-22 John Peterson, American freestyle wrestler (Olympic gold 1976), born in Cumberland, Wisconsin

Famous Weddings

  • 1884-05-01 "Poems of Passion" author Ella Wheeler Wilcox (33) weds Robert M. Wilcox in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

HeartWedding of Interest

1911-04-11 Actress Mae West (17) weds fellow vaudevillian Frank Wallace (21) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Actress Mae West
Mae West

HeartWedding of Interest

1919-08-16 NFL player Curly Lambeau (21) weds high school sweetheart Marguerite Van Kessel in Green Bay, Wisconsin

NFL Head Coach Curly Lambeau
NFL Head Coach
Curly Lambeau
  • 1984-12-03 Oldest groom - Harry Stevens, 103, weds Thelma Lucas, 83, in Wisconsin

HeartWedding of Interest

1996-06-23 Five-time Olympic speed skater gold medalist Bonnie Blair (32) weds four-time Olympian Dave Cruikshank (27) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Speed Skater Bonnie Blair
Speed Skater
Bonnie Blair
  • 1996-07-14 "Green Bay Packer" quarterback Brett Favre (26) weds Deanna Tynes (27) at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • 2006-07-01 "Hi-5" actress and singer Jennifer Peterson-Hind (26) weds recording artist Tom Korbee in Madison, Wisconsin
  • 2012-12-17 Minnesota Vikings football quarterback Christian Ponder (25) weds ESPN reporter Samantha Steele (27) in Hudson, Wisconsin

Famous Deaths

  • 1862-04-19 Louis Powell Harvey, US governor of Wisconsin, drowns
  • 1889-07-21 Nelson Dewey, American politician, 1st Governor of Wisconsin (b. 1813)
  • 1947-06-24 Emil Seidel, Mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (b. 1864)
  • 2005-12-15 William Proxmire, U.S. Senator from Wisconsin (b. 1915)