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.

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This Day in Wisconsin History

  • November 26, 1882 - Ringling Brothers' First Performance
    On this date the of Baraboo, Wisconsin performed their first show to an audience in Mazomanie. The brothers called their show the "Ringling Brothers Classic Comic Concert Company." The show was barely a success, bringing in 59 paid admissions - just enough money to meet their hotel expenses. However, the brothers continued to tour and raised over $300 in three months, performing in Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Dakotas. After extensive investment and practice, the brothers launched their first circus in Baraboo on May 19, 1884. [Source: by Fred L. Holmes, p.476-492]
  • November 26, 1857 - Abby Louise Smith Tallmadge Died
    On this date Abby Louise Smith Tallmadge died in Empire, Fond du Lac County. She was born between 1803 and 1804 in Lithgow, Duchess County, New York. She on November 27, 1822 in Lithgow, New York. Abby Tallmadge gave birth to nine children, all of whom were born in New York. Nathaniel Tallmadge was appointed Territorial Governor of Wisconsin in September, 1844 and served until May, 1845. The Tallmadges made their home in Empire, Fond du Lac. Abby Louise Smith Tallmadge died at the age of 53. She is buried in Rienzi Cemetery in Fond du Lac. [Source: by Nancy G. Williams, p.17]
  • November 26, 1863 - (Civil War) Battle of Mine Run Unfolds 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.
  • November 26, 1903 - Green Bay Packer Johnny Blood Born
    On this date Johnny Blood (aka John McNally) was born in New Richmond. Blood was an early NFL halfback playing for Green Bay from 1929 to 1933 and 1935 to 1936. He also played for the Milwaukee Badgers, Duluth Eskimos, Pottsville Maroons, and the Pittsburgh Pirates. An elusive runner and gifted pass receiver, he played a major role in the Packers' drive to the first three championships in 1929, 1930 and 1931. Johnny Blood died on November 28, 1985, at the age of 82. Titletown Brewing Co. in Green Bay named their brew Johnny "Blood" Red Ale after the famed halfback. [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