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On This Day: September 25

1812 - Abolitionist Sherman M. Booth Born

On this date abolitionist and editor of the Milwaukee Free Democrat, Sherman M. Booth, was born in New York. At the age of fifteen, he became a country school teacher and then a student at Yale. After representing the Liberty Party in Connecticut, he moved to Milwaukee in 1848. When Joshua Glover, a captured fugitive slave, was to stand trial in March 1854, Booth successfully rallied hundreds of people to help Glover escape. There was a rush on the jail, Glover was paraded around town, and then disappeared into the Underground Railroad, with the help of Booth's supporters. Booth was arested for aiding and abetting a fugitive, a crime under the Fugitive Slave Law passed in the Compromise of 1850. The Wisconsin Supreme Court released him, and Justice A.D. Smith declared the Fugitive Slave Law void. The U.S. Federal Courts caught up with Booth, however, and he was sentenced to serve one month in jail and pay a $1000 fine by Justice Roger Taney, the author of the Dred-Scott Decision. Booth and his supporters refused to comply. Booth jumped bail and fled to Waupun. He was found and taken back to jail, only to be pardoned by President Buchanan two days before Abraham Lincoln's inauguration. Booth was famous for his work with the Underground Railroad and his support of state's rights over federal law. When the Civil War broke out, he publically supported the Union, delivering over 1,000 speeches to secure enlistments to the Union Army. [Source: Badger Saints and Sinners by Fred L. Holmes, p.185-202]

1847 - Nationally Loved Artist Vinnie Ream Hoxie Born

On this date Vinnie Ream Hoxie was born in Madison. She was the first woman sculptor to receive a commission from the federal government. Ream was 18 years old when her supporters convinced President Lincoln to sit while she sculpted his bust. She later received a commission to sculpt a life size statue of Lincoln, beating out several distinguished male sculptors for this honor. The life-sized Carrara marble figure of Lincoln stands in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Her statue, "The West," is in the State Capitol in Madison. She was also commissioned to model busts of important people such as Senator John Sherman, General Custer, Horace Greeley, Admiral Farragut, Sequoyah and others. During her lifetime she sculpted more than 100 pieces, many of which stand in capitol buildings across the country. She was one of the first white children born in Wisconsin and had an obvious admiration for Native Americans. She was also a writer and fighter for women's rights and other political issues. Being active internationally in the arts and politics brought much attention to her, and speculation was rampant about the nature of her friendship with her most powerful advocate, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman. After working in Rome for 20 months, she married Lieutenant Richard Leveridge Hoxie at the age of 30, and they had one son. She is now buried in the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. [Source: Arlington National Cemetery]

1848 - Education Leader James Stout Born

On this date education leader James H. Stout was born. Chosing to work in the family's lumber company instead of going to college, Stout mastered the business in just a few years. While in St. Louis for business, Stout visited a exhibition fair in which Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Germany displayed their new style of teaching manual arts and domestic science. Encouraged and motivated, Stout opened a small school in Menomonie in 1889, funding the building and the teachers out of his own pocket. The Stout Institute became a leader of vocational training for Wisconsin's youth, and was later incorporated into the UW system. James Stout also served in the State Senate, and created Wisconsin's first traveling library system. Stout also built a modern highway in his home county to show the state and nation the benefits of the "good roads" movement. [Source: Badger Saints and Sinners by Fred L. Holmes]

1864 - (Civil War) Expedition from Little Rock, Arkansas

The 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry was among the Union forces in an expedition from Little Rock to Fort Smith, Arkansas.

1961 - Law Requires Seatbelts in Wisconsin Cars

On this date Wisconsin Governor Gaylord Nelson signed into law a bill that required all 1962 cars sold in Wisconsin to be equipped with seat belts. [Source: Janesville Gazette]

1964 - Janesville Auto Workers Strike

On this date about 4,800 members of UAW Locals 95 and 121 walked off their jobs at the Fisher Body and Chevrolet plants in Janesville, as the United Auto Workers staged a nationwide strike against GM over a number of unresolved issues including grievance procedures, production standards and work conditions. [Source: UAW Local 95]