April 15 – 21
April 15, 1989: A rally in Minocqua against Chippewa spearfishing treaty rights attracts nearly 2,000 protesters clad in blaze orange hunting gear, setting a record for the largest gathering of opposition against the tribe’s treaty rights. Speakers at the rally, sponsored by Stop Treaty Abuse Wisconsin and Protect Americans’ Rights and Resources, laid out their plans for individual protests at several boat landings during the Chippewa’s spearfishing season. Tensions between anti-spearfishing groups and Native American tribes had been mounting for years, but were exacerbated by the Chippewas’ recent announcement that they would double their harvest for the upcoming season. The rally against spearfishing, which also included a contest for the best concrete walleye decoy, intended to damage the tribes’ spears, contrasted with the treaty supporters’ rally a week earlier where spiritual leaders led prayers for a peaceful spearfishing season.
April 16, 1991: Dairy farmers rallied at the State Capitol calling for government help after milk prices hit a 13-year low in the state. Faced with loss of business due to overproduction, which would be worsened by the use of synthetic bovine growth hormones being considered for use in Wisconsin, the 300 dairy farmers demanded that the government increase their subsidies to account for the price drop from $15 per hundred pounds the year before to $10 in March.
April 17, 1947: A bill that would permit anyone to shoot a monkey or ape that was causing personal property damage was introduced at the State Capitol. Joe, the monkey that triggered the need for the new legislation, attended the hearing with his owner and World War II veteran, David Mackin. He won the monkey from French sailors during the war and after accompanying the unit, Joe settled down in Milwaukee where he terrorized and attacked the neighborhood children. While there was a law that allowed private citizens to shoot mad dogs, there was nothing in place to penalize monkeys, prompting the introduction of the “monkey bill.”
April 19, 1862: Governor Louis Harvey drowned in the Tennessee River when he tried to cross from one steamboat to another. Harvey, who had just taken office in January, was leading an expedition to visit the wounded Wisconsin troops after the Battle of Shiloh, the bloodiest battle since the start of the Civil War, and arrange for more medical equipment and doctors to be sent.
April 21, 1967: The 100 millionth General Motors car is produced at GM’s Chevrolet-Fisher Body plant in Janesville. Despite the fact that there was no record of exact production, there was no doubt that GM had produced 100 million cars and trucks, and Janesville’s plant was chosen for the symbolic celebration. The selected car, a Chevrolet Caprice, was one of the six million cars made in the Chevrolet-Fisher Body plant since it opened in 1923.