The Bayfield County Historical Society (BCHS) is an affiliate of the Wisconsin Historical Society. There are 11 Chapters that make up the umbrella organization of the BCHS. The Chapters are Barnes Area Historical Assn., Bayfield Heritage Assn, Cable/Namakagon Historical Soc., Cornucopia Historic Green Shed Museum, Drummond Historical Soc., Eileen Area Historical Soc., Mason Area Historical Soc., Oulu Historical Soc., Port Wing Historical Soc., Washburn Area Historical Soc., and Western Bayfield County Historical Soc.  Chapter memberships include membership in the Bayfield County Historical Society and receipt of the organization’s newsletter, “Historical Happenings.”  

 A book of the first 10 years of our "Historical Happenings" newsletters is now available. This book is a compilation of published newsletters from 1980 through 1989.  It includes many stories, maps, and photos that capture the local history of Bayfield County, Wisconsin.

To order a book, please print and use the order form.

This Day in Wisconsin History

  • August 2, 1832 - Black Hawk War Ends
    On this date the defeat of and his followers at the , ended the . Black Hawk led the American troops northward while the rest of the Indians constructed rafts and canoes to facilitate an escape over the Mississippi river. The plan was successful initially but eventually General Atkinson realized the ruse. In the battle, women, children and the elderly hid behind rocks and logs and American soldiers often could not or did not differentiate between warriors and the women and children. Atkinson sent Wabasha and his Sioux warriors, enemies of the Sauk, after the approximately 150 members of the British Band that made it to the Western bank of the Mississippi. The Sauk, "", but only 22 women and childern were spared. Black Hawk escaped, but the Battle of Bad Axe marked the end of the war. [Source: by William F. Stark, p.142-153]
  • August 2, 1862 - (Civil War) Assault on Cumberland Gap, Tennessee
    Union forces, including the 1st Wisconsin Light Artillery, assaulted the Cumberland Gap in Tennessee. This strategic pass through the Appalachian Mountains from Virginia into Kentucky and Tennessee was a natural route for the South to invade the North and vice-versa. Confederate forces fortified it in 1861 and Union troops approached it in the spring of 1862. The Confederates abandoned it temporarily in June but took possession of it again in September 1862.
  • August 2, 1961 - Lone Ranger Appears at Rock County Fair
    On this date, with a cloud of dust and a mighty "Hi-ho, Silver," the Lone Ranger and his horse, Silver, appeared at the Rock County 4-H Fair. Played by actor Clayton Moore, the Lone Ranger, "masked horseman, champion of law and order," was a big hit playing in two shows to a packed grandstand. Besides Silver, "the idol of boys and girls," the Lone Ranger also performed with a second steed, Victor. [Source: ]



Originally named La Pointe County in 1848, Bayfield County was renamed on April 12, 1866 in honor of Henry Wolsey Bayfield, a British Rear Admiral in the Royal Navy who surveyed Lake Superior in 1823-24.


Bayfield County Historical Society - PO Box 581 - Washburn, WI 54891