Darlington, Wisconsin is a small town located in the southwestern part of the state, nestled in the rolling hills of Lafayette County. The town has a rich history and has been the site of several important historical events. Here are seven events that have taken place near Darlington that have shaped the course of history in Wisconsin and beyond.
1. The Black Hawk War (1832)
The Black Hawk War was fought between the United States and a group of Native American tribes led by Chief Black Hawk. The conflict began in northern Illinois but quickly spread to what is now southwestern Wisconsin. In June of 1832, a group of Native Americans attacked a settler's cabin near present-day Argyle, killing two residents. This led to the involvement of the U.S. Army, who eventually defeated the Native American forces at the Battle of Bad Axe, which took place on the banks of the Mississippi River near what is now Victory, Wisconsin.
2. The Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses used by slaves to escape from slavery in the 19th century. Darlington and the surrounding area were an essential part of this network. The town's location near the border of Illinois made it a safe haven for slaves fleeing north. Several houses in Darlington are known to have been part of the Underground Railroad, including the home of John and Sara Watson.
3. The Wisconsin Territory
The Wisconsin Territory was created in 1836 when Wisconsin was still part of the Michigan Territory. The territorial capital was located in Belmont, just a few miles east of Darlington. The territorial legislature met for the first time in Belmont in 1836 and passed a series of laws that laid the groundwork for Wisconsin's statehood in 1848.
4. The Civil War
During the Civil War, Wisconsin played a key role in the Union's efforts to defeat the Confederacy. Many men from Darlington and the surrounding area joined the Union army, including the 2nd Wisconsin Infantry Regiment, which was organized in nearby Mineral Point. The regiment fought in several key battles, including Gettysburg and Antietam.
5. The Cheese Industry
Wisconsin is known for its cheese, and Darlington has been a hub of the state's cheese industry since the early 20th century. In 1912, the Darlington Creamery Company was formed, and the town quickly became known for its high-quality cheese. Today, Darlington is home to several cheese factories, including Hooks Cheese and Brunkow Cheese.
Prohibition was a nationwide ban on the sale, production, and importation of alcohol that took place from 1920 to 1933. Many people in southwestern Wisconsin opposed the ban, and several speakeasies operated in the area. One of the most famous speakeasies was located in Darlington and was run by a man named Frank Schulze. The speakeasy was so popular that it was raided by the police several times.
7. The Driftless Area
The Driftless Area is a region of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois that was not covered by glaciers during the last ice age. As a result, the area has a unique topography and ecology that is different from the surrounding regions. Darlington is located in the heart of the Driftless Area, and the town's rolling hills, deep valleys, and lush forests make it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
In conclusion, Darlington, Wisconsin, has played a vital role in Wisconsin's and the United States' history. From the Black Hawk War to the Underground Railroad to the cheese industry, the town has been at the center of many significant events. These events have shaped the course of history in Wisconsin and beyond and continue to influence the town's culture and identity.
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