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On This Day: December 7

1817 - Isaac Whitbeck Van Schaick Born

On this date Isaac Whitbeck Van Schaick was born in Coxsackie, New York.  He moved to Milwaukee in 1861 and engaged in the flour-milling business. Van Schaick, a Republican, served in local, state and national government, culminating his political career as a United States Senator(1885-1887) and Congressman (1889-1891). Van Schaick moved to Catonsville, Baltimore County, Maryland in 1894 where he lived in retirement until his death on August 22, 1901. He is buried in Athens Cemetery, Athens, New York. [Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress]

1836 - Wisconsin Counties Formed

On this date a Territorial Act set apart the following counties: Portage, Marquette, Calumet, Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, Sheboygan, and portions of Washington and Dodge counties. [Source: Sussex-Lisbon Historical Society]

1862 - (Civil War) Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas

The Wisconsin 20th Infantry and 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry fought in the Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas. At one point, the 20th lost almost half its members. In just 20 minutes of fighting, 59 were killed, 150 wounded, and eight missing.

1919 - Agnes Potter Scofield Dies

On this date Agnes Potter Scofield, wife of Governor Edward Scofield, died in Green Bay. She was born on January 14, 1850, in Clarion County, Pennsylvania. Agnes Potter moved to Oconto to live with an older sister in 1868. She married Edward Scofield in November 1869, in Oconto. Agnes Scofield served as Wisconsin's first lady from 1897 to 1901. During the Spanish-American War, Agnes Scofield participated in Red Cross efforts to sew and knit garnments for soldiers. She was known as a modest and unassuming woman, devoted to her family and friends. She died in 1919 of a ruptured gall bladder. Agnes Potter Scofield is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, in Oconto. [Source: First Ladies of Wisconsin-The Governors' Wives by Nancy G. Williams, p.114]

1941 - Wisconsin Man Survives Pearl Harbor Attack

On this date Russ Warriner, a 25-year-old first class seaman on the USS Arizona, miraculously survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The explosions ripped apart the Arizona and killed nearly all his mates. At the time of the attack, Warriner was on the sky control platform, where his job was to spot enemy ships and planes. The bomb that struck the Arizona sliced through the steel deck and exploded into a fuel tank. Fire flared for seven seconds before it ignited 1.7 million pounds of explosives held in the ship's magazine. More than 1,000 sailors died instantly, including many on the lookout platform with Warriner. Warriner lost his balance and fell onto the platform. His hands swept through fiery magnesium remaining from incendiary bombs and were nearly burned off. He was knocked off the ship, pulled aboard a small motor boat, and eventually made his way to shore. Warriner was treated at Great Lakes Naval Base in Illinois, where plastic surgeons were able to repair his hands. Warriner settled in Wisconsin, married and raised two children. In the late 90s, Warriner was a retired piano tuner living in Beloit Township. [Source: Janesville Gazette]

1943 - USS-Wisconsin Christened

On this date the USS-Wisconsin was christened by Wisconsin's first lady Madge Goodland. The ship was re-christened by Mrs. Goodland in March, 1951 during the Korean War. The USS-Wisconsin was inactive for many years but was recommissioned in 1989. [Source: First Ladies of Wisconsin, the Governor's Wives by Nancy G. Williams, p.181]

1954 - McCarthy Criticized for Eisenhower Condemnation

On this date Wisconsin U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy publicly condemned President Eisenhower for being "weak on Chinese communists," a statement that earned McCarthy public rebukes from both state and national Republicans.