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

  • November 25, 1838 - Legislature Assembled in Madison for the First Time
    On this date, after moving from the temporary capital in Burlington, Iowa, the assembled in Madison for the first time. Two years earlier, when the territorial legislature had met for the first time in Belmont, many cities were mentioned as possibilities for the permanent capital -- Cassville, Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, Platteville, Mineral Point, Racine, Belmont, Koshkonong, Wisconsinapolis, Peru, and Wisconsin City. Madison won the vote, and funds were authorized to erect a suitable building in which lawmakers would conduct the people's business. Progress went so slowly, however, that some lawmakers wanted to relocate the seat of government to Milwaukee, where they also thought they would find better accomodations than in the wilds of Dane Co. When the legislature finally met in Madison in November 1838 there was only an outside shell to the new Capitol. The interior was not completed until 1845, more than six years after it was supposed to be finished. On November 26, 1838, delivered his first speech in the new seat of government. [Source: Wiskonsan Enquirer, Nov. 24 and Dec. 8, 1838]
  • November 25, 1863 - (Civil War) Battle of Mine Run Begins in Virginia
    The seven-day series of engagements known as the Battle of Mine Run in northern Virginia pitted 81,000 Union troops against 48,000 Confederates. The 2nd, 5th, 6th and 7th Wisconsin Infantry regiments and the 1st U.S. Sharpshooters G Company were involved. Although the two sides skirmished repeatedly, neither could claim victory. This was the last battle in the Eastern Theater before winter set in.

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