Oconomowoc, Wisconsin may seem like a small town in the Midwest, but it has a rich history that dates back centuries. From the earliest settlers to modern times, Oconomowoc has been a hub for many important events throughout history. Here are just seven of the many historical events that have taken place near Oconomowoc, WI:
1. Treaty of Prairie du Chien (1829): This treaty was signed between several Native American tribes and the United States government. It ceded lands to the government and provided Native Americans with annuities in exchange. The treaty was significant for Oconomowoc because it was signed just 30 miles away in Prairie du Chien.
2. The Underground Railroad (1830-1865): Oconomowoc was a central location for the Underground Railroad. Many runaway slaves passed through the area as they fled to freedom in Canada. Many homes and safe houses in Oconomowoc were used as stops on the Underground Railroad.
3. Maria Barker trial (1851): Maria Barker was accused of poisoning her husband and several other people in Waukesha County. Her trial was held in Oconomowoc and was one of the most publicized trials of the 19th century. Barker was found guilty and later hanged.
4. The Great Peshtigo Fire (1871): The Great Peshtigo Fire was one of the deadliest fires in United States history. It killed over 1,200 people and destroyed over 1.2 million acres. Although Oconomowoc was not directly affected by the fire, it provided aid to survivors and helped rebuild the surrounding areas.
5. The founding of the YMCA (1875): The YMCA was founded in London, England in 1844, but the first YMCA in the United States was founded in Boston in 1851. The Oconomowoc YMCA was established in 1875 and still serves the community today.
6. The Battle of Oconomowoc (1893): The Battle of Oconomowoc was a labor dispute that resulted in a shootout between farmers and striking workers. Two people were killed and many were injured. The battle was part of a larger movement for workers' rights in the late 19th century.
7. The Brown Berets protest (1970): The Brown Berets were a Chicano group that fought for civil rights and social justice in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1970, the Brown Berets held a protest in Oconomowoc against racism and police brutality. The protest drew national attention to their cause.
These seven events represent just a fraction of the rich history of Oconomowoc. From Native American settlements to modern-day protests, Oconomowoc has been a witness to countless events that have shaped the course of American history.
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