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.



Mostly cloudy


Washburn, WI

Mostly cloudy
Humidity: 77%
Wind: N at 0 mph
Monday 41°F / 60°F Mostly sunny
Tuesday 44°F / 67°F Mostly sunny
Wednesday 46°F / 68°F Mostly sunny

This Day in Wisconsin History

  • March 26, 1881 - Old Abe Dies
    On this date , famous Civil War mascot, died from injuries sustained during a fire at the State Capitol. Old Abe was the mascot for Company C, an Eau Claire infantry unit that was part of the Wisconsin 8th Regiment. During the Capitol fire of 1881, smoke engulfed Old Abe's cage. and is in the Wisconsin Historical Museum. [Source: , pg. 51]
  • March 26, 1862 - Third Cavalry Regiment Company "C" Departs
    On this date, Company C of Wisconsin's Third Cavalry left for St. Louis. Members had been recruited in 1861 from Green Lake, Fond du Lac, and Marquette counties by E.R. Stevens, a 37-year-old merchant, and James B. Pond, a 23-year-old editor of the . You can see in our online version of the . Eventually stationed at Ft. Leavenworth and working among marauding guerillas on the western frontier, the regiment witnessed some of the most ruthless activity of the war. For more about them, follow the link below and check Estabrook's at Turning Points in Wisconsin History. [Source:]
  • March 26, 1864 - (Civil War) Change of Command in Tennessee
    Union General James Birdseye McPherson assumed command of the Army of the Tennessee. Many Wisconsin regiments served with his army over the course of the war. Four months later McPherson was shot in the back while retreating from a skirmish.
  • March 26, 1931 - Brother Joseph Dutton Dies
    Brother Joseph was born Ira S. Dutton in Stowe, Vermont, and came to Wisconsin as a child. He served with the 13th Wisconsin Infantry during the Civil War, mostly tending the sick and burying the dead. Afterwards, he stayed in the South tracing missing soldiers, collecting their remains, and settling survivors' claims. These horrors and a failed marriage led him into alcoholism, and by his own account he spent the next decade in a drunken stupor. When he emerged from the gutter in 1876, he began to study religion and in 1883 joined the Trappist Monastery at Gethsemane, Kentucky. After hearing about the work of Fr. Damien De Veuster ("Damien the Leper") in 1886, Dutton made his way to Hawaii, where he introduced himself as "Brother Joseph" and joined the tiny relief corps at Damien's colony of exiled native Hawaiian lepers. He remained there as a lay brother until his death in 1931, building latrines, bandaging sores, cleaning clinics, and serving meals to the diseased and despised. Brother Joseph Dutton accepted no pay and directed that his military pension be given to the monks at Gethsemane.

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