Notable People, Places & Events


Joshua Sandford

Joshua Sanford was the only Native American to fly as a pilot and flight commander with the famous
Flying Tigers of WWII. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942, when the U.S. was involved in the Indo-China war, and was sent to China. As a member of the 75th Fighter Squadron of the 14th Air Force, Sanford flew 102 combat missions, had 7 enemy kills and numerous possible hits. He was shot down 12 times. This chronicle of his life is presented by Tom Thomas, a board member of the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame. This is a Sauk County Historical Society presentation.

William H. Canfield

A lecture on Surveyor Wm Canfield's historic 1859 map, presented by Paul Wolter. Included is the history of interesting features on the map, such as Bogus Camp, where counterfeit coins were minted; a hidden cave with Mr. Canfield's name inscribed; a humorous misguided trip across a tamarack swamp; iron mines; hop growers; the ghost town of Newport. 

Drummer Boys

The story of two young boys from the Reedsburg and LaValle area, who ran away from home to join the Union Army during the Civil War. Too young to become regular soldiers, they were made Drummer Boys. Frank Pettis was only 11 when he joined, and George Inman was about 15. Their adventures are chronicled in this lecture. Spoiler alert: They both survived the war and returned home safely.

Archibald Barker – the Irish Superman

Irish immigrant Archibald Barker was just 24 when he became the first to raft a load of lumber down the Baraboo River in 1841. The trip was a memorable one. Later in life, Barker recalled seeing what looked like a dam of stones across the river at the lower Baraboo Rapids. The stones turned out to be sturgeons which were powerful enough to knock Barker down when he jumped in to collect three that he had killed with a hand spike. Learn about the adventures of this early Sauk County settler.

Baraboo River Talk, Part I

Winding over 100 miles through Wisconsin’s Driftless region, the Baraboo River has nurtured mankind in this area for thousands of years. As many as 1,000 years before that the native people of the area constructed burial mounds along the banks of the river which were still there when white settlement started in the 1830s. 

Baraboo River Talk, Part II

The river was eventually harnessed with eleven dams and provided water power for a variety of industries that fueled the growth of ten communities along its path. Today all the dams are gone and the river has once again returned to a free-flowing state. Taking on a new role as a recreational corridor, the river and its story continue as sure as its eastward flow.

POW Camps During WWII

A talk by Matt Carter of the Dakota County Historical Society. Learn about the Prisoner of War camps which were located in Sauk County during the WWII.

Reedsburg at the Ready

When the United States declared war against Germany in April of 1917, the Badger State and Reedsburg sprang into action. Reedsburg’s Company A of the First Wisconsin Infantry of the National Guard was called into duty for the great war in Europe. They were the first troops from Sauk County sent to fight.