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July 26, 1990


Guyants’ Lives Center on the History of the Waupaca Area

By Loren F. Sperry


            Wayne Guyant and his wife, Alta, share their home in Waupaca’s Chain O’ Lakes area with cats, birds and books.

            Not your run-of-the-mill books; these are ring-binder books, in the hundreds, that are jammed full of the history of Waupaca County and much of the rest of Wisconsin, as well.

            The retired (almost) consultant to potato growers and his wife, who is retired from Woody’s Cheese in Waupaca, share a passion for history that is mind-boggling.

            They’ve spent much of the past two decades systematically mapping cemeteries, copying or clipping obituaries, wedding and birth reports from newspapers, delving into courthouse files, and meticulously cataloging their accumulated information in the ring-binder books that fill several huge bookshelves at their home at N3062 Otter Dr., Waupaca.

            They gladly share what they’ve found with anyone, averaging two or three inquiries a week from people from all around the country who are investigating their “roots”.

            “If they tell us the name,” said Alta, “we look it up in our books, then look at our maps of the cemetery and can tell them where the grave is.”

            “One man from California,” Wayne recalled, “was here, in the wintertime, looking for he grave of an ancestor.  We were able to give him the location in the cemetery and, despite the heavy snow cover, he was able to walk right to it.”

            They have a complete record of every known burial and cemetery in five counties:  Waupaca, Waushara, Portage, Langlade and Florence, as well as partial records of cemeteries in Wisconsin’s 67 other counties.

            Wayne and Alta are active in genealogical societies and Wayne is northwest regional director for the Wisconsin Cemetery Association.

            They got started in their hobby in 1971, when a cousin in Weyauwega asked for some help when their children were doing a genealogy report for school.

            The Guyants responded by taking their vacation to go to New York, where, with much detective work they found records of Wayne’s great-great-grandfather.

            After their return to Wisconsin, they attended a genealogical society meeting in Mayville, where a “copying bee” at a local cemetery was held, with everyone recording the information on gravestones.

            “On the way home,” says Alta, “we remarked that that’s never been done in Waupaca County.”

            Now, thanks to their efforts, it has.

            In the comfort of your home, free from mosquitoes, the heat and rain, sit back in the comfort of your easy chair with your Waupaca County Post in hand, and take this imaginary cemetery walk through the Waupaca Lakeside Memorial Park.

            The Waupaca Lakeside Memorial Park consists of three main sections:  the original section, the Lakeside addition and the Townsend addition.

            I will start out with the original section which is bordered on the north by St. Mary Magdalene Cemetery, on the east by High Street, on the south by Center Street and the Lakeside Addition, and on the west by the woods.








July 26, 1990


            Warranty Deed, volume 5, page 75, shows that on the 13th day of August, 1855, Erastus Sessions and his wife Abby Sessions sold to the Waupaca Cemetery Association for $80 and a lot, the following described tract of land:  Commencing 27 rods west of the Southeast corner of the Northwest ¼ of the Southeast ¼,, in section 30, thence west 30 rods, thence north 28 rods and 2 links, thence, East 27 rods, thence, in a Southeasterly direction to the place of beginning.  This was surveyed June 7, 1861.

            E. C. Sessions arrived at the Falls June 15, 1849, along with Joseph and William B. Hibbard, Martin Burnham and a Mr. Pratt.  These were all Vermonters and the first to reach the Falls (Waupaca).

            Mr. Pratt could not see any future for him at the Falls, and left in search for some settlement that had already been established.

            Mr. Burnham remained long enough to help the remaining three to survey and stake out their claims. He then went to Missouri and joined up with a caravan headed for the gold fields of California.  He later returned to the state of Illinois, where he was still living in 1917.

            E. C. Sessions set claim to three of the original forties of the Village plat of Waupaca, and one forty in the third ward.

            In 1859, the Sessions family left by covered wagon for the gold fields of California, but not before they left behind a small grave of little Abby C. Sessions, their infant daughter, who died September 14, 1856, aged 11 weeks and 2 days (lot 157).

            According to the obituary of Edward Sessions, son of  E. C. and Abigail Sessions, who died at his home in Berkeley, CA, in 1928, their gold mine eventually turned into one of the large cattle ranches of the southwest.  It also stated that Edward was supposed to have been the first white child born in Waupaca.




August 2, 1990


A Correction.


            After reading the portion of my story last week about E. C. Sessions, I want to make a correction in the year that he went to California.  After re-reading the obituary of Edward Sessions, it just states “that his parents enthused by the gold fever of California in 1849, made the trip from here in a covered wagon.”

            The grave of the little infant daughter Abby C. Sessions who died September 14, 1856, tells us that they were still in Waupaca at that time.

            I have since gone to the Courthouse to check the land records to find when Mr. Sessions sold the last parcel of land in Waupaca. I found 21 land transactions dating from 1854 to February 14, 1859.  The Grantor records are missing from this time until 1873, and there is no record of him after this time.




August 2, 1990


            The oldest complete date found on a marker in Waupaca’s Lakeside Cemetery is found on the stone for Lucius Hibbard, son of William B. and his wife, Philens Hibbard.  He was born November 23, 1844, in the state of Vermont and died in Waupaca on September 24, 1851, aged six years, ten months and one day.  There are, however, two other burials that show only the year of birth and the year of death. They are Ada Scott, 1846-1851 and S. H. Hutchinson, 1829-1851.

            William B. Hibbard was one of the first five Vermonters who arrived at the Waupaca Falls in the summer of 1849.  I cannot find what happened to this family; they may have gone back to their native Vermont as did his brother, Joseph.

            Olive H. Hibbard, wife of Joseph Hibbard, was born in 1814, possibly in Vermont.  She died November 28, 1878, in Vermont, to where she and Joseph Hibbard had moved in 1878 to spend their remaining years with their only son, Henry J. Hibbard.

            They left behind in this cemetery, far from their native Vermont, two children:  Abbie A. Hibbard, who died February 21, 1864, aged 19 years, 9 months; and Fred R., who died May 23, 1874.  Their daughter, Mary, was supposed to be the first white female born in Waupaca.

            A cemetery is not only a place for the dead, but also the living.  A cemetery can be a classroom full of history, geography, poetry, art and nature study.

            You can find on some of the older stones where the person was born, such as:  the country, state, county or city.  Some stones have poems, Bible verses, pictures of the person embedded in the stone, hobbies depicted on the stone, or an occasional epitaph.

            I will share with you at various times some of my favorites.  The eastern and western states are where the most unusual epitaphs are found.

            Here is a starter:

            “Here I lie between two of the best women in the world, both my wives, but I have requested my relatives to tip me a little toward Tillie.”

            “Here lies the body of Soloman Pease, under the daisies and under the trees.  Pease is not here, only the pod, Pease shelled out and went to God.”

            Future articles will be directed more to people of the area, buildings of the past, or unusual happenings in and around Waupaca.

            The majority of the people I will be writing about are buried in either the Waupaca Lakeside Memorial Park or St. Mary Magdalene’s Cemetery




August 23, 1990


            In the first of my stories, I mentioned taking you on an imaginary cemetery walk, but since have decided to extend my field of research to other events, as you may have noticed; so our cemetery walk can be compared to a baseball game – it can run into rain delays.

            Today I will resume the cemetery walk by stopping at the gravesite of Capt. Thomas Spencer, who served in the War of 1812.

            The location of his grave is in the Lakeside Addition of the Waupaca Lakeside Memorial Park, a name that was changed several years ago from the Waupaca Lakeside Cemetery.  The Lakeside Addition is bordered on the east and south by County Trunk “K,” on the west by the Townsend Addition and on the north by Center Avenue and the Old Original Cemetery.

            Thomas Spencer was born in Hartford, CT, March 19, 1789, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Epiphas Spencer.  He was married to Hannah Aikens, who was born at Potsdam, St. Lawerence County, New York, November 19, 1798.  Their children were:  Rodney, who died in New York at the age of 14; Laura, who later married Charles Chesley in Waupaca; Myra, who married Ezra Thompson of Greenwood, Clark County; and Ira, who married and stayed on the home farm in the Town of Lind.

            Thomas Spencer was raised on a farm in Connecticut, and when still a young man he migrated to the state of New York.  He was a captain during the War of 1812, and was in the Battle of Lundy’s Lane and served with distinction throughout the war.

            This is found in the Commemorative Biographical Record of Upper Wisconsin.  I have in the past written to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. for his military record, but they have failed to locate any with the information that I have supplied from the state of New York.

            While Thomas Spencer lived in the state of New York, he was sheriff of Franklin County and held a Customhouse office.  Franklin County borders the St. Lawrence over in the north-west corner.

            His wife died in New York state in 1846, and in the spring of 1850, he left two graves behind and took his other three children and started to what was then the “Far West.”  They came down the St. Lawrence into the Great Lakes and around Michigan to Milwaukee.  They brought with them five horses that hauled the family as far as Berlin, Green Lake County.  Here the children stayed while Capt. Spencer ventured farther north in search of a good place to settle.

            He settled in what was later section 18, Town of Lind.  This was still Indian land and was not opened for settlement until June 2, 1862, at midnight.  This made him a squatter.

            His first shelter was a shanty of lumber hauled from Weyauwega.  Poles were stretched from tree to tree and the boards leaned up against them.  This was on the north shores of what is now known as Spencer Lake, named in honor of the Spencer family that settled there.

            Here he married again, but had no children. I have never been able to find out who this lady was, or whatever happened to her.  She does not have a tombstone on the Spencer lot beside her husband.

            He built a large house which was known far and wide as “Spencer’s Hotel.”  He donated the location for a grist mill to Robert Parfrey in Parfreyville, with the stipulation that he grind the first grain before Waupaca could.

            It is well remembered that the first grinding in Parfrey’s mill was one Saturday afternoon.  The next day Robert Parfrey attended a meeting at the home of Thomas Spencer.  After the sermon, and before the benediction was fairly finished, Mr. Parfrey jumped to his feet and, taking a handful of flour from his coat pocket, shouted at the top of his voice, “Here’s a sample of my flour.”  This can be found in the Standard History of Waupaca County, by Ware.

            Capt. Thomas Spencer died July 26, 1881, thus ending the life of the only veteran of the War in 1812 buried in Waupaca.

            A notice that appeared in the Waupaca Record, Thursday, May 26, 1910:  “Veterans in the Lakeside Cemetery, whose graves will be decorated Monday, May 30:  75 Civil War, 5 Spanish American and 1 War of 1812.”




August 30, 1990


            This article will be about some interesting facts about some of the early inventions in Waupaca and what has followed.

            The Stewart four-wheel drive tractor was manufactured in Waupaca about 1919.  It had solid hard rubber tires with deep grooves for better traction.  There was no cab; the driver sat out in the open.

            The Wagner Bros. of Waupaca bought one of these tractors that was three years old to take up north to Oneida County, to be used for stumping and plowing a large tract of cut-over farm land that was to become their potato operation in Oneida County.

            Alex Stewart, who was at the head of the Stewart Tractor Company, said that the machine was in splendid condition, and with proper care it would last for a long time.

            The plow that was to be used with this tractor had a 22-inch bottom and weighed approximately 1,500 pounds.

            This was one of the tractors that Mr. Stewart had used at the time that he had his contract for the graveling of Mill Street from the depot to the Mill Street Bridge, and for the work that had been done on East Fulton and Granite Streets.

            It was said to be the most economical power made for that class of work.  The City of Waupaca was to have saved a considerable sum of money, and at the same time the local tractor company made a nice profit.

            During the grading of Mill Street the tractor used approximately 15 gallons of gas per day hauling large trailers with 24 yards of gravel a distance of six miles.

            The Wagner Bros. took their Stewart tractor to their holdings in Oneida County, nine miles west of Rhinelander, where they grew potatoes until 1949.  I am very familiar with this property.  In the over 25 years that I was a certified seed potato inspector for the College of Agriculture, I inspected many acres of potatoes for Stark’s Farms Inc., there.

            This property has since been taken over the by the University of Wisconsin and now is one of the best Elite and Foundation Seed Potato Farms in the United States.  It is now known as the Lelah Starks Elite Foundation Seed Potato Farm.  It produces disease-free seed stock that is sold to the Certified and Foundation seed growers of Wisconsin.  These growers in turn plant this stock in their own seed plots.

            In the early years of the 1900s, Waupaca had it own Industrial Development Corporation.  This was a group of people that was also looking for the business firms to locate in Waupaca.  Even then the progressive men of Waupaca were thinking of the future.  This progressive group was called the Commercial Club.

            An article in the Waupaca Record-Leader, dated August 13, 1916, states that at the last meeting, Mr. J. A. Terrio and Mr. Lewis Larson of Ogdensburg demonstrated a device which would test 24 eggs at one time, and by some ingenious device it would transfer the eggs from the candler directly to the case without touching the eggs.

            They also hold a patent on a butter tester, as well as several other patents pending.  This company was called the Terrio Manufacturing Company.  N. Cohen and C. N. Nelson were the chief contributors, and the article said that there was still a small block of stock for sale.

            Taken from the Waupaca Record, dated October 7, 1915.

            “Carpenters are at work on a building on Shearer Street which will be ready in about a month, directly opposite the Central Lumber Company’s office.

            “The Hoaglin Manufacturing Company will be manufacturing novelties in their new building.  This is to be a one-story building 26 x 26 feet, with the long side to the street.”

            The machinery had been purchased and would be installed as soon as possible for the manufacturing of fly swats, kitchen recipe files, and no-spill gasoline funnels.

            All of the specialties were inventions of F. L. Hoaglin.  When in full operation they would employ about 10 people producing a daily output of about 10,000 fly swats and 1.000 recipe files.




September 06, 1990


            Jens Hansen, an extensive wagon and carriage manufacturer of Waupaca, was born in Boesholm, near Helsigor, Nort Sjeland, Denmark, in July of 1838.  He was the son of Hans Christian Rasmussen and his wife, Meta Marie Larson Monk.  The father, Hans Christian Rasmussen, was a blacksmith with the reputation of making the best wagons and carriages in all of that part of Denmark.  Young Jens learned the skills of a blacksmith and wagon maker from his father.  (His last name was different from his father’s due to Danish custom.)

            In 1864, Jens enlisted in the services of his native country.  He served for 14 months, and retired with the rank of corporal.  After he returned home he assisted his father in his shop until 1869 when he emigrated to the United States, and Waupaca.  Here he found employment with Henry D. Prior, and on November 5, 1869 he bought out Mr. Prior.  He paid him $400 for the west 60 feet of out lot 38, in the village plat.

            In 1870, Jens Hansen returned to Denmark to bring his father back to Waupaca.  His father returned with him and worked with his son until his death in 1879.

            Jens Hansen’s blacksmith and wagon shop was located where the old Kruenen Implement building was, now the Flying Kernels.  The original shop had his motto, “Live and Let Live,” painted in big letters on the front.

            He employed 12 men and they manufactured wagons, carriages and sleighs, besides doing general blacksmith work and handling farm machinery of all kinds.

            Jens Hansen’s half-brother, Albert Martin (A.M.) Hansen, came to Waupaca when only ten years old, supposedly with his father and Jens.  At the age of 17, young A.M. Hansen started his training in his half-brother’s shop.  Here he had excellent training under Jens and his father, Hans Christian Rasmussen.

            A.M. Hansen opened his own business after seven years, and ran it for the next 10 years, when he ventured into the sawmill business.  More about A.M. Hansen in Waupaca will appear in future articles.

            In 1890, Jens Hansen built a new and much-improved building on the same location.  His original shop was of wooden construction, two stories high with three windows on each side of a large display door in the middle of the second story, and one window on each side of the two large, double doors on the ground floor.

            The new building that stands today was of brick construction with a lower, or basement level, and at the same time it has the same basic design right down to the two big double doors to permit a team of horses to enter to be shod, or room for a wagon or carriage to enter to be repaired or painted.  There is also the large door in the upper story.  Mr. George Frieberg told me that this was used as a display door to show models.  Both buildings first had hand-operated freight elevators, but later was mechanized with a large electric motor.  The freight elevator was approximately 10 by 10 feet.

            Jens Hansen married Johanna M. Person. She was born in Sweden, March 19, 1851.  They were married December 25, 1869, and she died April 6, 1908 here in Waupaca.  Jens Hansen passed away January 16, 1902.

            Warranty Deed Volume 117 page 100, dated August 15, 1906, shows that Johanna Hansen sold out to Herman, Thorvold, Albert and Carl C. Nelson on January 13, 1910; Carl C. Nelson sold to Matilde Ekstrom in 1911; Matilde Ekstrom sold to Thorwold and Albert Nelson on April 19, 1920; Thorwold Nelson and his wife Anne Nelson, and Albert Nelson sold to Kreunen and Skinner.  They were partners until January 26, 1924, when George Skinner and Gaywood A. Skinner, his wife, sold his share to Cornelius Kreunen, who died April 17, 1932.

            From 1920 until 1924 the business went under the name of Kreunen and Skinner, but since that time it has been known as the Kreunen Implement Company.  After the death of Mr. Kreunen the property went to Bernice Kreunen, his daughter, and George Frieberg, her husband.  They sold John Deere machinery and had John Deere Days held in the Palace Theater.  George Frieberg began selling Pontiac cars at this time.

            In 1973 George E. Frieberg sold out to James and Gerald Cook, and the Cooks in turn sold to Bill Marek in 1986.  This is now the empty building of the Flying Kernals. What next is in store for this old historic building?

            At some time in the past, someone stated that Olaf Skye used the building for his blacksmith shop.  This is not the case.  Olaf Skye worked for Jens Hansen before he went to Scandinavia to open a shop.  In 1898, he went to the gold rush in Alaska.  He remained there for three years, then he homesteaded in Canada from 1908 until 1921.  When he came home to Waupaca he started to work for Claude Knight on the corner of Washington and Fulton Streets.  He purchased a place for himself at the corner of West Union and Washington, where he operated until he became sick in his own shop and died February 19, 1951.








September 13, 1990


            Caleb S. Ogden led a most interesting life.  He was a farmer, businessman, lawyer, judge and newspaper.

            Born August 2, 1819, near Cannonville, Delaware County, New York, he was the son of Abraham and Mary Smith Ogden. 

            On February 23, 1845, he was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Hoag, who was born in Montgomery County, New York.  They became the parents of 11 children, one dying in infancy.  Five sons and five daughters lived to adulthood.

            In 1848 – the year Wisconsin became a state – Caleb S. Ogden moved to the Township of Plover, Portage County, Wisconsin and engaged in the mercantile and lumbering pursuits.  A couple of years later, he added farming.

            In 1854, he came to Waupaca County, settling on the site of Ogdensburg which later was named in his honor.  Here he built a sawmill, constructed new roads and purchased a large stock of merchandise.  He built a large machine shop in Waupaca which was destroyed by fire a short time later at a loss of $30,000 to him.

            In 1857 or 1858, he was elected district attorney, and in 1861 became judge, a position he held until 1894, except for one term when he chose not to run because of other commitments.

            In 1865, he moved to Waupaca and in 1868, launched into existence the Waupaca Republican.  He also founded the New London Times, and later with the aid of his sons, four of whom were printers, formed the Waupaca Post in 1877.

            In the early county plat books you can find extensive land holdings that Caleb S. Ogden had purchased; possibly he was in a position to see good deals when they came up.

            I will not dwell on the early life of Judge Ogden, or his family life before he became a newspaperman in Waupaca.  This all can be found on page 316 of the Commemorative Biographical Record of Upper Wisconsin.

            Judge Ogden’s five sons all grew to manhood, four of them followed in newspaper work:  Francis E., who first helped with the Waupaca Post but died at the early age of 43; William C., who was a newspaper publisher in Rhinelander; John, who also was a judge and purchased the Antigo Republican in 1886; and Charles.

            John Ogden married Alida Randall of Waupaca in 1879.  They had two sons: Caleb and Howard.  Young Caleb was only 20 years old in 1902 when he was accidentally killed while sawing wood on his father’s farm north of Anitgo.

            All of John Ogden’s family are buried in the Antigo City Cemetery.

            Charles W. Ogden was a part owner in the Waupaca Post before he left the paper to embark on an adventurous life as a showman with his own traveling tent show which headquartered in Waupaca.  After some years of this life, he went to Saquache, Colorado, where he purchased the Saquache Crescent and ran it until his death in 1935.

            In some later article, I would like to relate to you some of the interesting accounts of his life with his traveling tent show days until his death and burial here in Waupaca.




September 20, 1990


            These bits and pieces were gleaned from either the Waupaca Record, the Waupaca Post or the Waupaca Republican Post dating back to 1904-1909.  I thought our readers might enjoy these nostalgic glimpses of our past.


            A.J. HOLLY & SONS PUT IN A MORGUE – “Excellently fitted up for cases of emergency which often arise.  A morgue is a new thing in this city and is something that people have many times felt the want of. A.J Holly & Sons have fitted up a room beneath the store for such cases, putting in water works and other conveniences.  They have recently purchased an excellent lowering device.”

            SCOTT HOTEL – This was run by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Scott.  It had three levels.  The main floor had a tavern, the upper floor was the hotel rooms, and in the basement it has been said that some gambling took place.  Robert Scott was a Negro and bought cattle as a sideline.  This building was located on the corner of Main and Sessions Streets.  It was struck by lightning around 1912, and burned to the ground.  This was replaced as the Whittington Building in 1913.  Kay’s Gift Shop was in this building.

            GLOVE FACTORY – “Just opened in the city.  We manufacture first class canvass gloves and mittens.  Place orders now for the fall trade.  B. H. Edmunds, 116 Water Street.

            ELECTRIC THEATER – “We always appreciate your attendance and are never so busy that we can not give our entire attention.  We carry fourteen reels of film each week, and we select the six best subjects for our own use.  We have installed a $60 Edison Triumph Phonograph for the musical programme.  We admit the little ones free when accompanied by parents.  We do not take up your time with announcing break-downs, or have long waits.  We give you twice the amount of pleasure you get elsewhere.  We do business to please the people, not ourselves.  Give your mind a rest and give us your patronage.  Bert Quimby.”

            WAUPACA CITY OF GOOD SIDEWALKS – “30,000 square feet built in the past year (1904) at the expense of nearly $4,000.  Waupaca has more fine cement walks than any other city its size in the state.  Up to four years ago a cement sidewalk in our neat little city was a rarity, now we have a trifle more than five miles of walks ten and twelve feet wide with a cement curb combined.”

            THE LIBERTY MOVING PICTURE CO. – “The Liberty Moving Picture Co. will open in this city Saturday night, May 29, 1909, under canvas on the lot back of J.E. Cristy’s store, W.F. Peterson, a well-known and popular Waupaca boy, is the manager.  The Company carries its own electric light plant and will travel by wagon and show under canvas, making a large number of towns in the northern part of the state and in Minnesota.  Duke, the world’s champion high diving dog, that makes a leap from the top of a 40-foot ladder, is one of the features in the free exhibition on the outside at 7:30, just before the opening of the show.  Admission, 15¢ and 25¢.”

            OPERA HOUSE AND CHURCH BURNED – Fire wipes out Waupaca’s modern play house, St. Mark’s Church and several small buildings.  The church bell rang its own doom.  Waupaca’s model opera house is no more.  What promised to be the most serious conflagration in this city’s history was narrowly averted, but not before some of the landmarks, as well as more modern structures had vanished in smoke and ashes.  Shortly after three o’clock Tuesday morning, night clerk Ed Pipe, who was sitting in the office of the Gordinier, saw a red light reflected in one of the upper stories of the Roberts Block.  Thinking that the block was afire he ran out to give the alarm and saw the red glow in the eastern sky.  He ran to St. Mark’s Church and sounded the alarm that was the doom of that edifice.  Earl Gurley, who was with Mr. Pipe, ran to the City Hall and sounded the second alarm. The fire company responded promptly, but the opera house was a mass of flames which quickly spread to St. Mark’s Church, the Park Hotel barn, the Curtis barn and the Chandler residence and barn.  The worse difficulty was the lack of water which only came in jerks with no pressure.

            “Supt. I.C. Nelson was called as soon as possible and he directed the operation on trying to save the other places of business and residence in the area.  To add to the ordeal two of the water hoses broke.

            “Since the opera  house and the church fire was out of control the stand was directed to the office of the Citizen’s Telephone Exchange, which caused several blistered faces.  The firemen done themselves proud, and just how they managed to save the day was hard to under-stand.  The heat was terrific and as the Park Hotel began to sizzle as well as the Sam P. Godfrey storage building, the Randall bicycle and machine shop, the Curtis residence and the Citizen’s Telephone Exchange, there seemed to be no possibility of saving the eastern part of the city. However, the deed was accomplished.

            “After viewing the smouldering remains they could see how the fire had burned right up to the buildings and had lapped at the overheated shingles and siding.  It was now that they first realized what a terrific job that the firemen had accomplished.

            “During the course of the fire goods were being removed from the office of E. E. Brown, the Sam Godfrey, M.R. Randall, the Curtis residence, which was the only residence that suffered more than cracked windows and burned shingles.  William Bruley, the Park Hotel and Mrs. Brown were ready to move out at a moment’s notice.  Burning flying shingles were carried high into the air and deposited as far north as the depot.  Many residents in the third ward were not able to leave their homes for fear of the flying burning shingles.  Only the lack of a high wind saved a terrible disaster.

            “The opera house was a great loss to the community.  It had just been remodeled under the direction of G. H. Slater, by the late Richard Lea.  Mr. Slater took his ideas from St. Peter, a Minnesota opera house, which burned about a year before.

            “Many that witnessed the destruction of St. Mark’s Church has assisted in its building.  Regardless of the fact that water was kept on the church, the bell melted down and the Baptismal font crumbled into dust.  Most of the furniture was removed by willing hands before the fire drove them away.”

            St. Mark’s Church as located approximately on the same location where Stiebs Jeep Eagle Inc. is today, at 219 Jefferson.

            The night operator at the Citizen’s Telephone Exchange stuck to her post answering calls as to the fire, but when it seemed as if no human could stay any longer, she received her orders from the Weyauwega office to vacate the building.

            The full story can be found in the old Waupaca Record in the April 7, 1904, edition.




September 27, 1990


            Not too many people living today can remember the hey-days of the granite quarry that once existed in Sections 32 and 33 in the Township of St. Lawrence, and Sections 4 and 5 in the Township of Waupaca.

            The 1889 Waupaca County plat book shows that the company buildings were located in Sections 4 and 5.  This location was on a power site of the South Branch of the Little Wolf, so that the plant could be operated by water power.

            The granite that was quarried was mostly red and black in color, but there was some green and pink mixed with black.  It was polished at the plant, and sold mostly for ornamental purposes.

            It has been said that 276 pieces were used in the construction of the granite pillar work in the state capitol in Madison.

            Large blocks were used in the construction of the Omaha Bee building in Omaha, NE.  In Minneapolis, MN, the gateway leading into Lake Wood Cemetery, the chapel and large vault in the Grace Wood Cemetery and the telephone building were all, or in part, made from this Waupaca granite. There is also a soldier’s monument in Chattanooga, TN, made from this granite.

            Prior to 1907, all of the finished product had to be hauled by teams of horses and wagons to be loaded on railroad cars at some distant point.

            The quarry opened around 1886, and was located about midway between Waupaca and Ogdensburg.  Which way did they go with the heavy loads of granite?  Did they go to Ogdensburg and load onto the Green Bay-Winona & St. Paul, or from Waupaca on the Wisconsin Central?  As the name of the company was The Waupaca Granite Company, and with the more level terrain for the horses to pull the heavy loads, it would seem as if Waupaca would have been the better choice.

            The 1912 Waupaca County plat book shows the Scandinavia-Waupaca branch of the Green Bay & Western with tracks near the quarry, so the coming of the tracks to the quarry made the shipping of the finished product faster and cheaper.

            The Waupaca Granite Company at one time employed as many as 145 men, mostly stone-cutters, and they maintained their own general store and sleeping quarters for the employees.  They had their own machine shop and blacksmith shop to care for the horses.

            Thomas W. Davidson of Waupaca was in charge of the Waupaca Granite Company until it closed.  Under his supervision, three carloads of pilasters and columns were sent to Madison for the south and east wings of the state capitol.

            Tommy Davidson had a small shop where he sold monuments.  Small bits and pieces of granite may be found at this location directly across to the west of the lower South Park entrance.

            The going wages at the Waupaca Granite Company ranged from $1 to $4 per day.  It appears that after several years of operation, seams appeared in the granite and it became unprofitable to operate.  It was abandoned in the early 1920’s.

            Warranty Deed, volume 65, page 41, shows that S. Ripley and J. L. Mead of Winnebago County purchased from Thorwoldt Nelson, for $50, the property sections 32 and 33, in the Town of St. Lawrence.  This was dated August 3, 1885.

            Warranty Deed, volume 65, page 39, also dated August 3, 1885, shows that Boe Peterson sold to S. Ripley and J. L. Mead, that part of the NE ¼ of the NE ¼ of Section 5 of the Town of Waupaca, and that part of the NW ¼ and the NW ¼ of Section 4, lying and being on the north side of the highway as now traveled across said forties, containing about 10 acres, expecting and reserving the timber now lying, or being on said land and the right to enter upon and remove in a reasonable time.

            In the later part of the 1880s, it became evident that granite had possibilities in building and ornamental works.  The tombstones made of granite came on the scene now, because they came in beautiful colors, were far more durable than marble or sandstone, and would last for years and years.

            On October 25, 1899, there came the inception of the Wisconsin Granite Company, which was located a few rods northwest of the Waupaca depot.  More about this granite quarry in a later column.




October 04, 1990


            One evening I received a telephone call from Mr. Everett Anderson.  He asked me if I was interested in the story about an attempted rain robbery that happened September 19, 1885.  I told him that I would be very much interested.  He told me that the article could be found in the September 20, 1885 issue of the Waupaca Republican.  He ran across this story while he was doing some genealogical research.

            The first attempted train robbery, in central Wisconsin, happened the night of September 19, 1885, in a spruce swamp three miles northwest of Waupaca.  Old No. 2 was coming south after leaving Sheridan, with an express and baggage car, a smoking car, two coaches and two sleepers.  Gilbert Whitney was the conductor. Scott Blaine was the engineer and Charley was the fireman.

            The train was nearing the spruce swamp about halfway between Waupaca and Sheridan when a man came running toward the train swinging a torch and yelling for the engineer to stop because there was a broken rail ahead.  The engineer slowed the train down when he saw the trouble ahead, but not in time to prevent the ditching of Old No. 2. Luckily no other damage resulted.

            No sooner had the train come to a stop when three or four men with large revolvers fired volleys of shots into the air and through the windows of the smoker and coaches, at the same time ordering the passengers to lay low or be shot, and the command was obeyed.

            Two men boarded the express and baggage car and ordered F. L. Robinson to open the safe.  He refused, so the gunman held Mr. Robinson in the corner of the car with his gun while the other one of the gang attempted to blow open the safe with dynamite.  Eight charges were used in all, the last being made with a whole stick.  At this point they assisted Mr. Robinson out of the car before it went off.  The outer door of the safe was blown off, but they failed to damage the inner steel chest that held the money.

            They either became scared or ran out of dynamite because they took off for the woods.  In the meantime the engineer had gotten away and started down the tracks toward Waupaca to meet the next train coming north, and the brakeman went back to Sheridan and telegraphed for help.

            Sheriff Peterson was on the train at the time, but he said when the bullets commenced to whiz through the windows it was impossible to organize any force to face the Winchesters and the dynamite.  It seems that the passengers thought it best to follow the instruction and lay low until the ordeal was over.  One man boarded one of the sleepers, and the porter asked him what he wanted.  His answer was that he was looking for his partner, and then walked through the car and left.  It was thought that an effort would be made to rob the passengers, but since the outlaw did not find his partner as he had expected, the attempt was abandoned.  They had been working for over an hour in their attempt to rob the train, and maybe, thinking that they had heard another train and fearing that they might get trapped, they fled into the darkness.

            All of the night trains were stopped in Waupaca and the restaurants did a rushing business. Superintendent Marsh was on the scene soon after the incident with a crew to clear the tracks and get the engine jacked up and put back on the tracks.  The ill-fated train was pulled into the depot about 10:00 the next morning looking as if it had been in a war.  Many spectators had gathered to view the damages.  The express company and the authorities ordered a rigid search.  Sheriff Peterson also had a big posse searching the area, but the robbers seemed to have vanished into the air.

            If my memory serves me right, I read at one time that a skeleton had been found in that swamp area many years later, and it was thought that the skeleton may have been one of the robbers.




October 11, 1990


            The Wisconsin Granite Company operated in Waupaca until about 1915, when it was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.  Over the years, the methods of street paving had changed to concrete and asphalt and the plant was abandoned.

            According to the Warranty Deed, volume 97, page 204, dated May 25, 1899, N. P. Nelson and his wife, Ellen R. Nelson, and Mads Rasmussen and his wife, Mary Rasmussen, all of Waupaca, sold to the Waupaca Crushed Granite and Stone Company of Racine, Wis.  The description of the property is faint and hard to read, but it is described in chains, link and degrees.  The selling price was $1,000.

            Warranty Deed, volume 104, page 32, dated April 26, 1902, shows that the Waupaca Crushed Granite and Stone Company sold their holdings to the Western Consolidated Granite Company of Chicago, Ill., including in the machinery, crushers, boilers, screens and other equipment.

            Warranty Deed, volume 110, page 593, dated May 20, 1905, shows that the Western Consolidated Granite and Stone Company sold out to the Wisconsin Granite Company, also of Chicago, Ill., so now we are at the beginning of the Wisconsin Granite Company that was located north of the main Soo Line tracks, about one half mile west of the Waupaca Depot.  This was supposed to be one of the six quarries owned and operated in Wisconsin.  The Red Granite and Montello quarries may have been two of the others.

            The Wisconsin Granite Company produced, in carload lots, granite paving blocks for pavements and crushed granite in various sizes for of the types of pavement work.  Most of the products were shipped to the Chicago market.

            In the first years of operation they employed 50 to 60 men in manufacturing paving blocks and six different sizes, or grades, of crushed granite for paving and cement work.  It also produced a grade of crushed granite that was in the manufacturing of asphalt shingles, and sold to other roofing places where the patent roofing was manufactured.

            A considerable amount of the crushed granite was used on state highways in Waupaca and Portage counties.  In later years the work force increased to approximately 100 men.  Many were employed as stone-cutters who produced paving blocks by hand.  These blocks were about eight by eight feet, by 10 inches.

            The huge crushing and screening plant was of wooden construction three or four stories in height with a cable-way leading from the quarry hole to hoist the granite to the plant to be crashed.

            The hole was 150 to 200 feet deep and required constant pumping of the water to keep the pit dry.

            A big power plant supplied the steam power for operating the crushers and screens, as well as many steam drills operating in the quarry hole.

            This plant was different from the one that was four miles to the north, in that it did not have a polishing plant.  It may have been that this granite was of poorer quality and color and not suited to ornamental work.




October 18, 1990


            This story is not historical or earthshaking, but it is about a man who was born and raised on a farm in the Scandinavia area, who later in his life was billed as the tallest man in the world.

            Clifford Thomason was born sometime in the very first years of the 1900’s, a son of Julius and Carrie Johnson Thompson.  He was 8’ 6” tall, and tipped the scales at 324 pounds.  But in an article in the Waupaca County Post dated July 6, 1944, he is shown as the second tallest man, following a man who was 8’ 7” tall and weighed in at 460 pounds.

            After his graduation from the Stevens Point Teachers’ College in 1926, he made his living with carnivals and circuses because of his height.  In the spring of 1926, after his completion of college, he filed several applications for teacher positions.  One of the requirements on the application was to list some personal data including height.  Since he showed his height at 8’ 6”, none of the applications were ever answered.  None had even the courtesy of polite refusal.  He often wondered if the school heads to whom the applications were sent believed that he made a simple error in arithmetic in putting down his height as 8’ 6”, or believed that he would scare the children.  At any rate, that closed the doors to a teaching profession.

            In the summer of 1926, a traveling carnival came to Stevens Point.  He was wandering around the lot when he was noticed and immediately offered employment.  He was kept busy for the next five years traveling with five different carnival companies. It was not unusual for many performers to stay with the same show until death or old age ended their careers.

            The Al. G. Barnes show was one of the big outfits that belonged to the giant Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey organization, which controlled nearly all of the outfits under the canvas tops.

            In the carnivals, Cliff Thompson was advertised for a time as “Count Olaf of Norway,” but with the Al G. Barnes show, he was known throughout the United States as “Cliff Thompson.”

            Part of his act was selling pictures of himself, and metal rings that were a snug fit on his forefinger and through which a half dollar could pass with ease.

            His one difficulty was sleeping accommodations.  A few hotels in the West which he favored had special size beds where he could stretch out for a good night sleep and not have to be curled up like a crescent.

            His clothes were made to measure. He once stated that the only things that he could buy in a store were neckties and toothbrushes.

            One night in the early 1940s, my wife, Alta, and I were standing in line for the doors of the Palace Theater to open when Alta, with bewilderment in her eyes, motioned for me to turn around.  As I slowly turned around, I was looking nearly straight at a big belt buckle.  My eyes started to look upward at the big bulk of a man, and here was Cliff Thompson with his big hat and broad smile.

            Cliff Thompson traveled the circus circuit for 12 years throughout the country.  In 1944, he was granted a writ of attachment against the Cole Bros. Circus for back pay.

            In June of 1944, Mr. and Mrs. Julius G. Thompson, formerly of Scandinavia, returned from Milwaukee where they attended the graduation of their son Clifford from the law school at Marquette University.

            Clifford Thompson was married to Harriet Bryant of Fort Worth, TX, in May of 1930 in Fort Myers, FL, where the circus troupe was playing.  His bride was 5’ 2” tall.  In their wedding picture, she had to raise her hand face level for him to place the ring on her finger.

            Clifford Thompson passed away October 12, 1955 in Portland, OR.  He had been a practicing attorney there for some time.  When he first started out, he practiced law in Iola for a short time.  He had moved to the West Coast about 10 years before his death.




October 25, 1990


            Frederick Emil Lund had the largest harness business in Waupaca County in 1895.  He was born in the Province of Sjelland, Denmark, Nov. 7, 1843, a son of Nelson and Anna (Jensen) Lund.

            Nelson Lund, the father, was born in 1800, in Jylland, Denmark.  In 1840, he was appointed roadmaster, or road inspector, a position which he held for 16 years.  He retired due to ill health and died in 1859.  His wife lived until 1870.  They were the parents of 13 children; in 1895 there was only five still living:  Peter, Christian, Caroline, Sophia and Frederick E., the subject of this story.

            Frederick attended school in Denmark, from ages 7 through 14.  These were the years that were prescribed by law in Denmark at that time, so at the age of 15, he was apprenticed by his mother to a harness maker for five years.

            During this period of time the young apprentice would receive nothing for his services; his clothing was provided by his mother.

            For about a year after he completed his apprenticeship he worked in various shops, and in the spring of 1867, he decided to come to America.  He landed at New York City May 1, 1867, and reached Waupaca eight days later with only 50¢ in his pocket.  Now, he was forced to work as a common laborer to provide for his daily existence, but all the time he kept in mind his trade as a harness maker.

            Within two months – to be exact it was on July 8, 1867 – he went to work in the shop of a William Temme.  Here he stayed as a steady and reliable employee for the next two years.  In 1869 he left for Iowa, where he remained for a couple of years before returning to Waupaca with his new wife, Mary Larson, whom he had married in Iowa.

            Mr. Lund resumed his old place in the shop of Mr. Temme where he worked for the next five years. By that time he had saved a neat sum of money and wished for a shop of his own.

            Frederick Emil Lund realized his dreams on July 4, 1876, when he opened a harness shop for himself.  This was the Centennial Day of the Declaration of American Independence, so this was a double celebration for him.

            Frederick E. Lund was married three times. His first wife was Mary Larson, and they had three children:  Anna, Albert and Waldemar.  His second wife was Christine Johnson. They were married in Waupaca in 1878.  She died four years later leaving a little daughter, Caroline.  For his third wife he married Berthine Christianson, in 1884, and she bore him two children:  Christian and Martha.

            In 1893 Mr. Lund paid a visit to his old home and friends in Denmark. Mr. Lund died in 1919.  It was then that his son-in-law, Frederick Andersen, purchased the business.

            Frederick Christian Andersen, son of Thomas and Kerstine Andersen, was born in Hjorring, Jutland, Denmark, September 6, 1865 and died at the home of his brother, Louis, in Berkeley, California.

            As a young lad he learned the harness trade in Hjorring, Denmark.  After the completion of his apprenticeship he left Denmark for America, landing May 3, 1884. He then came directly to Waupaca where he found employment with Frederick Emil Lund, at the Old Reliable Harness Shop.

            On April 12, 1898 he married Anna Lund, his boss’ daughter.  They had one daughter, Helga.  Mrs. Anna Andersen passed away on October 7, 1924.  After the death of F. E. Lund in 1919, Mr. Andersen bought the business and ran it until his death, except for a few months that he worked in Amherst, Racine and Chicago.  Frederick Christian Andersen passed away June 16, 1939.

            Delbert (Dell) Carl Andersen married Helga, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Lund on July 2, 1939 in Waupaca, so now another son-in-law became an owner of the Old Reliable Harness Shop on North Main Street.

            There were hundreds of harnesses that were switched, oiled and repaired at this location through the years of existence, up to the year 1956, when only three harnesses were oiled.  In 1956 Delbert Andersen sold out his stock, and the building was leased to the Assembly of God, who remodeled the building and operated a stationery and book, besides using part of the space for offices.

            How many can remember the life-size model of a horse that stood in the big window?


            The information for this story was taken from the “Commemorative Biographical Record of Upper Wisconsin,” and the “Waupaca Centennial Book 1857-1957.”




November 1, 1990


            Charles W. Ogden was one of five sons of Caleb and Catherine E. (Hoag) Ogden.  There were also five daughters in the family.

            Charles W., for a short time, was a partner with his father in the Waupaca newspaper business, until he decided to try a more adventurous life.

            Charles Ogden was born in Ogdensburg, Wis., December 16, 1862.  In 1866, the family moved to Waupaca.  When he was 13 years of age, he started work in the office of his brother, John Ogden, at the Waupaca Post, to learn the newspaper business.

            In 1881, he went on his own and opened the first music store in Waupaca.  It was about 1883 that he sold out to try the hotel business at the Lewis House.  This was the same location on which the Delavan Hotel was later built.  It is now the site of Bank One.

            Not content with the hotel life, he ventured into the dramatic profession under Harry L. Seymore. After a couple of years of character acting, he was convinced that he was not cut out to be an actor.

            It was sometime in this part of his life that he married Carrie Scoville.  I cannot find any marriage or death record for her, but there is a death record in the Register of Deeds office for a two-day-old-infant daughter who was born to Charles Ogden and Carrie Scoville.  The infant was born July 19, 1883 and died July 21, 1883. She was buried in the Waupaca cemetery.

            In 1886, he started out as a foreman at the Mining Record in Ironwood, Mich., when the Gogebic Range was in its infancy.  Mr. Ogden remained there for 18 months before he became engaged as a manager of the Iron Journal, a paper devoted to the interests of mining of the Vermilion Range, located in Tower, Minn.  He once again felt foot-loose and fancy free, so in February of 1888, he resigned his position with the Iron Journal and left for San Diego, Calif., where he met and married Miss Sylvia Sherman.

            It was in June of 1889 that the newlyweds returned to Waupaca, and in the fall, he went into partnership with John L. Sturtevant in buying the Waupaca-Post.  John M. Ware, a farmer and livestock dealer living two miles north of Waupaca, also had a financial interest in the venture.  This was known as Sturtevant-Ogden and Ware.  It has been written that there is no reliable record of the transitions in several years, but John L. Sturtevant sold out to D. F. Burnham back in about 1907.

            Let us turn back a few years in time to 1888 when Charles Ogden married Sylvia Sherman and returned to Waupaca to live.  She was born in 1872.

            It was here in Waupaca that they became the parents of five children, one of these died in infancy.  This was a daughter born June 6, 1891 and died June 7, 1891.  She was buried in the Waupaca cemetery.  This left four children to live and enjoy a full life.  There were:  Ray, Francis, Ethel and Mary. Sylvia Ogden died on June 2, 1907 in Dalton, Wis., and is also buried in the Waupaca cemetery, the only grave with a marker.  It is presumed that she died while the stock show of Uncle Tom’s Cabin was on the road.  Charles W. Ogden had a traveling show, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” for several years before the death of his wife.

            The following is taken from an ad that appeared in the Waupaca Record dated May 11, 1905:

            “Ogden’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin Company will open the season’s work with a performance on May 13, under a large, waterproof canvas.  Ogden’s Company has grown more popular each year under the capable management of Chas. Ogden.  The cast is:

                        Uncle Tom                                         George Miltimore

                        St. Claire                                       Hal Lawrence

                        Geo. Harris                                       W. L. Holmes

                        Marks                                                   Otis Knight

                        Simon Legree                                      Willys L. Holmes

                        Phineas Fletcher                                    Harry Janette

                        Geo. Shelby                                      Ray Ogden

                        Haley                                                   Harry Bye

                        Gumption Cute                                     Ralph Nowell

                        Harry Harris                                       Master Sherman

                        Sambo                                                  Al. G. Frost

                        Quimbo                                     Wm. Lark

                        Eliza                                                     Bessie Knight 

                        Orphelia                                              Myrtle LaPaloma

                        Marie                                                   Flossie Gates

                        Chloe                                                    Allie Thorn  

                        Emiline                                                  Marie Bell

                        Topsy                                                   Ethel Ogden

                        Eva                                                      Francis Ogden

            “Specialties during each wait, ‘Biff Bang’ from the raise of the front drop until the closing.  We can only mention a few to be featured:  Jenette, the Mexican Juggler; Wiggins, contortionist; Knight and Miss Bessie, a sketch team; the Holmes Entertainers; the Hayseed Quartette; Ethel Ogden, in coon songs and King Sherman, the five-year-old wonder, in a new line.  Ask your leading musician in regard to Frank E. Rose and his slip horn.  The prices remain the same, 15 and 25¢.  Parade at 11:30, concert 7:15.”


            I did not find when Charles Ogden dispersed his show, but in 1910, he went to Colorado to live, and he disappeared from the Waupaca scene.  The rest of his life in Colorado came to light in 1935, when his obituary appeared in the Waupaca County Post.  This is only the start of a burial mystery to follow:

            It was in 1976, while I was doing some research at the Holly Funeral Home, that in the course of a conversation with Tom Holly, he mentioned receiving the ashes of Charles W. Ogden with a note that said “hold for further burial instructions.”  This was in 1935, and it was now 1976 – 41 years later – and as of yet, no instructions had been forthcoming.  As a result, his ashes were still on a shelf in the basement of Holly’s Funeral Home in a metal container bearing the name of Charles W. Ogden, register #6002, December 18, 1935, Denver Crematory, Denver, Colorado.

            It was at this point that I thought that his ashes should be buried in the Lakeside Memorial Park beside Sylvia, his second wife.  His funeral had been held in Saquache, Colo., prior to his cremation in Denver.  I knew from his obituary that the family still ran the Saquache Crescent, so I wrote a letter to that address in hope of finding someone to see if they were aware that his ashes were never buried.  To my surprise, I received a nice letter from Mrs. Jack K. (Irene) Gray, who is a daughter of Mr. Ogden by his third wife.

            The first letter I received from Irene Gray stated that she was surprised to hear that her father’s ashes were never buried.  The family never realized that they had never sent the final instructions for burial.  To my knowledge, no instructions have ever been sent.

            Irene Gray went on to say that, “at the time of his death, the family never appreciated the colorful life he led.  In fact, I think we took it for granted as we grew up with the stories of the shows, etc.  In looking back, we realize his life was indeed an adventuresome one.”

            Mr. Ogden ran a paper in Moffat, Colo., where Irene was born right on press day.  Shortly after, he sold the paper and moved to Albuquerque, NM, where her sister, Marie, was born.  They lived in Albuquerque about four years where she said that “her daddy worked on a newspaper there in the mailing department.”

            In 1917, it was learned through a lawyer friend that the Saquache Crescent was for sale. After the down payment was made, he had only a nickel left in his pocket.

            By now; Charles W. Ogden had a fourth wife, Mary Elizabeth, but her last name was not given.  Irene Gray went on to say that “Mom worked as a typesetter in the office and they hired another typesetter for $18 a month.  When Marie and I were teenagers, Dad purchased a dance hall, and the family ran it along with the printing office.  Marie and I both learned to set type, both by hand and to run a Linotype which dad purchased in 1925.  I remember that Francis Ogden came to help set it up and ran it for about a year.  Francis then married and moved to Albuquerque where he worked on a newspaper until his death on August 7, 1950, at the age of 53.”

            In the obituary for Charles W. Ogden, it states that the “Ogden family now publishes the only newspaper in Saquache, the county seat, and the paper bears a striking resemblance to the old Waupaca Post as it was published by Sturtevant, Ogden and Ware 40 years ago.”

            Ray Ogden followed the circus route all his life, and played in various bands in and around Dallas, Texas.  He died July 25, 1965 in Fort Smith, Arizona, at the age of 66.  Ethel married and moved to Birmingham, Alabama, where she lived until her death on May 19, 1958, at the age of 67.  Mary never married and was a private secretary to the head of the veterans’ hospital, first in Oklahoma City, and later in Muskogee, Oklahoma.  She died on August 16, 1963.

            I recently contacted Roman Jungers of Holly Funeral Home.  It was agreed that since the ashes of Charles W. Ogden had been held for nearly 55 years with no instructions for burial, they could be buried with his second wife, Sylvia, in Lakeside Memorial Park.

            I contacted Rick Martin, the sexton at the cemetery, and he told me that there would be no problem and that he would take care of it.

            On October 17, 1990, the Holly Funeral Home delivered the ashes to Mr. Martin for burial.

            Now the curtain has fallen on the final act in the life of Charles W. Ogden and his families throughout the years.




November 8, 1990


            The pride and joy of the Waupaca Historical Society is the 136-year old Hutchinson House that stands on the north shore of Shadow Lake in the Waupaca South Park.  This site was donated by the City of Waupaca in 1956 for that purpose.

            The Hutchinson House stands as a monument to the fine example of a house that was built in 1854, and after 136 years has retained very close the original design inside and out.

            Chester F. Hutchinson and his wife, Susannah (Pray) Hutchinson, left their home in New York State with their two sons, George and Denison, and headed west for new horizons.  They first settled on a farm in Rock County for a few years, where it is believed that a daughter, Mary, was born. They remained there until 1853, when they came to Waupaca to make their home.

            In the Register of Deeds Office in Waupaca are the records of two land transactions in which Chester Hutchinson purchased property in Waupaca.  Both transactions were made on November 15, 1853. Warranty Deed volume 2, page 178, shows that Charles Bartlett sold Chester Hutchinson three acres of land for $100, and adjoining was one acre of land for $40.  This was purchased from Olaf Dreutzer, and is in Warranty Deed volume 2, page 179.

            It was on this property that Chester Hutchinson and his two sons built their home in 1854.  Chester F. Hutchinson, the father who was born in 1799, died at his home in Waupaca in 1867.  About 1869 the Hutchinson home was sold to Winthrop Lord.

            In 1860 the Federal census for the City of Waupaca shows Chester Hutchinson as 61 years old, Susanna his wife as 60 years old, Denison, their son, as 14 years old and Mary, their daughter, as 8 year old.  George, who was the eldest had already struck out on his own and bought land both in the Townships of Farmington, Waupaca County, and in Lanark Township, Portage County, only a couple of miles west of Sheridan.

            Denison, the younger son, was born in Darin, NY, on February 15, 1837.  After the death of his father in 1867, he purchased a farm in the Township of Lanark just over the county line in Portage County, and it was here that he took his mother to live with him until she passed away in 1882.  Denison was never married and continued to live alone on his farm until 1906, when he returned to Waupaca to live with his brother, George, and family who had regained possession of the home on the corner of West Fulton and South Jefferson Streets in 1905.

            Denison Palmer Hutchinson passed away November 26, 1927 in the home that his parents had built in 1854, at 303 W. Fulton Street.

            George Hutchinson, who had farmed on his land in Portage and Waupaca counties for many years, returned to Waupaca and bought back the old home at 303 West Fulton Street from Julia Lord, the widow of Winthrop Lord. Warranty Deed, volume 113, page 398, dated February 4, 1905 and February 6, 1905, shows the selling price at $1,800.

            George Hutchinson was married to Kate Clinton on December 5, 1859, and they had two daughters.  Julia H. Hutchinson was born February 11, 1860, on her father’s farm west of Sheridan. She was the only one to live to maturity.  Julia H. Hutchinson taught in rural schools for about seven years.  She moved to Cedar Rapids and did office work for three years.  Her mother died in 1903.  She lived in Amherst in 1909, before returning to Waupaca after the death of her father in 1911, to live with her uncle, Denison, at 303 W. Fulton Street.  Julia, the last of the Hutchinson family, passed away July 2, 1944.

            Julia joined the Sheridan Presbyterian Church while still a young girl, where she was active in Sunday School work.  She later became a member of the Sheridan Christian Temperance Union, and it was then that she received the inspiration for her life work for temperance reform.

            Julia H. Hutchinson became known throughout the state for her fearless and loyal devotion to temperance work.  She would never compromise with evil.  Only ill health prevented her from carrying-on her beloved work. She was laid to rest in the family plot in the Waupaca Lakeside Memorial Park.

            After the death of Miss Julia Hutchinson in 1944, the property was for sale.  Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Mannel purchased the property and rented the house. A Warranty Deed, dated December 28, 1955, shows that Frederick and Marion Mannel sold the property to the D-X Sunray Oil Company, a Delaware Corporation, of Madison, that wanted the property for a service station. Now that they owned the property, the question was how to dispose of the house on the property.

            To make a long story short, the D-X Sunray Oil Company donated the house to the Waupaca Historical Society which had high hopes of obtaining the house. The Historical Society made arrangements with Nyman Rasmussen to move the house to its new location in South Park on a site that the City of Waupaca had donated to the Society for that purpose.

            In the April 26, 1956 edition of the Waupaca County Post, there is a picture of the house being made ready to be loaded on one of Nyman Rasmussen’s moving trucks.

            The group that had gathered on April 27, 1953, in the library club rooms for the purpose of organizing a society for the purpose of the preservation of historical material of interest and value of the people of Waupaca and surrounding area, was now ready to take on the task of renovating and preserving the old Hutchinson House. The Historical Society’s major endeavor from 1956 through 1957 was the acquiring and the restoration of the old Hutchinson House.  There was hard work to be done and much money to be raised to finance the project.

            The dedication and the laying of the cornerstone was an important part of the program in 1957, when Waupaca celebrated its centennial as an incorporated village.

            The Waupaca Historical Society has had well over 100 paid members at one time, but has now dwindled down to 36, of which over one-half are now residing in nursing homes, or are unable to attend meetings due to old age, poor health, or just neglect to attend.

            The Waupaca Historical Society is open to anyone interested in history.  It needs new blood with new ideas.  The society meets the fourth Monday of each month in the Methodist Church parlors.

            I urge readers of this column to join and to give support to the Historical Society, so that it may continue to function as a society. Thank you.




November 15, 1990


            Christian Neilson was born on a small farm near Copenhagen, Denmark, a son of Neils Christianson and Christine Jorgenson. Christian had a brother, George, who was older than he, and a sister, Mary, who was younger.  Neils Christianson also had a daughter, Anna, and possibly a son by a previous marriage, of whom there seems to be no record.

            Neils Christianson, the father, was the owner of a small farm near Copenhagen where he lived and cultivated the land.  Neils Christianson sawed ship lumber to help in making a better life, until that day in 1845, when he was killed by being struck by a log.

            Christian was born on the farm near Copenhagen, on December 3, 1828. He was only 17 years old when his father was killed in that accident.  As a young boy, Christian herded the cattle and the geese on the farm, as there were no fences to keep them within their boundaries.

            After the death of his father in 1845, Christian remained on the farm for another year, attending school in the meantime until he was apprenticed to a shoemaker in Frederiksborg, Denmark, a small community near Copenhagen, to learn the shoemaker trade.  He served his five year apprenticeship while living with his employer and received his living as compensation.  After his apprenticeship he worked another three years to become a master shoemaker.  He then moved into Copenhagen and opened his own business.  He often had shoes from the King’s Palace to repair and was often paid in used clothing.

            By now, he was using the name of Christian Nelson.  Christian Nelson was united in marriage to Miss Julie Marie Pauling Jorgenson, in Copenhagen, on June 5, 1854.  She was a daughter of Hans Jorgenson and Johanne Marie Christensen.  She was born December 23, 1827.  She received her education and special training as a seamstress.  Five children were born to this union of which two boys and a girl died in Denmark.  The two sons to survive were Julius, born in 1858, and Thorwoldt, born in 1861.

            At the time American steamship companies sent special agents to the European countries to encourage people to come to the United States to live.  Some worked on a commission basis.  It was an Episcopal minister, named Sorenson, who sold Christian Nelson the tickets for himself and his family.

            They left their home at Number 2, Spring Street, Copenhagen, in early May of 1863. Julius was five years old and Thorwoldt had his second birthday while in Liverpool, England, where they met a group of Norwegians who were on their way to Scandinavia, Wis., to join some relatives who had settled there.

            Their ship landed in Montreal, Canada.  They traveled together as far as Grand Haven, Mich., when they ran out of money. Their Norwegian friends turned out to be more than friends; they offered to loan Christian the $40 to complete his trip, and assured him that their relatives could put the family up until something came along.

            Upon arriving at Scandinavia, the situation was not as rosy as it was first thought to be.  The relatives’ home was not as large as they had thought and the Nelsons moved into a one-room log shed with no windows or doors to keep out the cold.  It was also located about a mile from Scandinavia.  They lived there until after the fall harvest.  The neighbors gave them milk for the two boys for the first week,

            From there Christian walked to Waupaca where he found employment with a shoemaker who paid him $10 a week.  Julie did any work that she could find to supplement their income.  Within four weeks Christian had paid back the $40 loan.

            Christian walked to Waupaca, a distance of about eight miles, every Sunday evening or early Monday morning and returned to Scandinavia every Saturday night, so he could spend Sundays with his family.

            At harvest time Julie gleaned wheat from the farmers’ fields and ground it in a coffee mill for bread.  When fall came they had saved enough money to move to a home in Waupaca, on Granite Street.

            Christian Nelson worked for Louis Larson in his shop on South Main Street.  It seems as if a Mr. Parrish owned a shop next door to Mr. Larson’s and he also wanted Christian to work for him.  Christian wondered just how he could do justice to both parties and show equal time to both, so he bought a two-room house at 211 N. Division Street, where he worked for both men.  He used the front room for his shop where he repaired shoes.  He also made new shoes, and on some Julie did decorative stitching.  Someone convinced Mr. Larson that there was a wonderful opportunity in the state of Kansas raising corn and hogs, so Christian bought him out and ran this shop on South Main Street for a few years.

            Later, Christian bought a building on the river bank on East Fulton Street.  At this location there was a big drop from the street level to the river, so the shop was built up in several levels from the river bank to the street level, with the shop located on the street level.  It was not connected, however, so a narrow bridge was built from the street to the shop.

            The family lived in the bottom room, below the shop.  Each room was on a different level with steps from the lowest level to the next room.  The third room was two steps above the second room, and this was the sleeping quarters for the two boys.  This room was not high enough for a man to stand erect.

            Julie’s health became poor during their residence in the basement, and their doctor advised them to move to their place at 211 N. Division St.

            It was during these years that a young man by the name of Chris Wied came to America from Denmark and worked for Christian Nelson and made his home with them.  When young Chris Wied had earned enough money for the passage of his family, he sent for them, but his mother wrote back that his father had passed away and she didn’t feel that she could make the trip alone with the other five children.

            Sometime later Christian Nelson went to Denmark for a visit and brought Mrs. Wied and her three sons and two daughters with him to Waupaca where they moved into the basement under the shoe store, where they lived until they moved to the Town of Lind where William bought a farm.  The William Wied family was well known in this area.

            Christian’s next venture was to buy a lot on Water Street, where he built and operated a shoe shop for a couple of years.  It was here that Thorwoldt, his youngest son, started to learn the trade from his father, at a very early age. He was only 13 years old when he quit school, but his brother, Julius, was interested in school and was among the first class to graduate from Waupaca High School.

            Christian was helping Julius finance his education, so to even things he bought Thorwoldt a farm in the Granite Quarry District when he was 17.  Thorwoldt left his father’s shop and went to live alone on the farm.  His mother made regular trips to see Thorwoldt to do some baking and cleaning.

            The land was rocky, and some years passed when he realized that most of his time was spent in clearing the rocks from the land.  He took pride in his horses, especially fast-driving horses that let no one pass him on the road.

            At that time the Granite Quarry was doing a booming business and Thorwoldt did some hauling of the granite for them. He also cut and hauled logs to Waupaca.  He stamped the ends of each log with his initials TN.  This was done so each logger’s logs could be identified at the mill.  The logs were rolled down the hill from Main Street to the river just south of the City Hall. In the spring when the ice broke up, the logs would float downstream to the sawmill.

            Thorwoldt played the fiddle and the accordion at country dances.

            In 1883 Christian sold his shop and went to the state of Washington to try his fortune there.  His wife, Julie, then went to live with Thorwoldt on the farm. In Washington, Christian worked for a shoemaker, who was forced out of business and Christian no longer had a job, so he returned to Waupaca and stayed for a year on his farm that he had previously purchased.

            Julius had finished his high school education and went on to attend the University of Wisconsin and John Hopkins University and received his degree of Doctor of Philosophy.  He then became professor of biology at Rutger’s University, at New Brunswick, NJ.  He married Nellie Chase of Madison on August of 1888.  They had six children.  Julius died in March 1915 and Nellie died in 1935.

            In 1888 Christian Nelson bought back his former shop on East Fulton Street from the widow of Mr. Peterson, and went back to shoemaking, the occupation he continued at this location until he retired about 1902, but not before he had razed the old shoe shop in East Fulton Street and rebuilt a new modern one on the same location, that stands today at 109 East Fulton, owned by Attorney Laurie W. Anderson and used as his law office.

            Thorwoldt was married on May 2, 1888, to Miss Anna Caroline Peterson, who was a daughter of Soren and Karen Marie Jacobson Peterson.  After Thorwoldt was married, Christian built a small house for Julie on the farm close to the Granite Quarry, where she lived until Thorwoldt left the farm and she moved back to Waupaca and lived in the rooms above Christian’s shop, which was nothing more than a loft.

            One day Thorwoldt returned to the farm and told his wife, Annie, “I guess we will move to town; father needs help in the shop, and wants me to work for him.”  So the spring of 1898 found them in Waupaca in the house at 211 N. Division St.  There was plenty of land for gardening, a barn for a pair of horses, with a stable beneath for a cow, an island for the cow to graze in the summer and a playground for the children.  Thorwoldt built a small bridge to the island.  On this island the children picked violets, climbed the butternut tree and had picnics with the neighborhood children.  The children played house in a little box house that the boys had made.

            This island was removed in 1934 to make way for progress.  This island was dug out and deposited back of the City Hall to provide access to the rear entrance of the buildings there.  This altered the course of the river and it no longer ran close to the rear of the buildings.  There is a nice playground area here today.

            Thorwoldt and Anna had nine children:  one died at birth and was buried in the garden behind the house on the farm in the Granite Quarry District.  The children that grew to maturity were:  Julia, who married Clarence Nelson; Harry, who married Marjorie Sherman; Walter, who married Grace Wied; Mabel, who married Myron Godfrey; Clara, who married Kenneth Cristy; Esther, who married Earl Granberg; George, who married Agnes Kolb; and Reuben, who married Gertrude Manson.

            Sometime just before the 1900s, Thorwoldt went to work for Ed Churchill in his shop on Union Street opposite the jail.  Christian told Thorwoldt to take the job, because it was more than he could pay.  In 1903 Ed Churchill decided to move to the west coast and he sold out his stock and business to Thorwoldt and moved away.  Thorwoldt then moved back to his father’s former place on West Fulton Street on the north side of the Courthouse Square.  He did some remodeling and was open for business in 1904 at his new shop, The Stone Front Shoe Store.  Here he sold new shoes and repaired old ones.  Thorwoldt used the same repair bench that Christian, his father, brought from Canada.  Although all of the children at one time or another helped in the store, Walter really became the manager from the time that he graduated from high school until he enlisted in the Army in World War I.  After the war, Walter became the postmaster for Waupaca. Seth Ballard and a Mr. Todd were hired as clerks during the war years. The store was sold to Harold Harrington, but Thorwoldt remained at his bench until 1947, working for Mr. Harrington.

            In the Waupaca County Post, dated February 13, 1947, there was a picture of Thorwoldt Nelson working at his cobbler bench which he had used for 55 years.  He was 86 years old at the time.  Mr. Nelson’s greatest fear was the day that he would have to retire; he said that he felt like 50 and was good for another 10 years.

            Thorwoldt Nelson did retire in 1947, and died January 5, 1959, age 98 years.  His wife, Anna, preceded him in death on December 20, 1943, age 84 years.  They are buried in the family plot in the Waupaca Lakeside Memorial Park.

            Julia, Mrs. Clarence Nelson, who is now 101 years old, living in Fort Wayne, IN, is the last survivor of Thorwoldt Nelson’s family.  It is through her memoirs that much of this material was taken.

            Tom and Eloise Godfrey have most graciously loaned me her papers, that she had written as she had remembered things as a girl growing up.

            Tom Godfrey is a great-grandson of Christian Nelson and has in his possession the old cobbler bench that his great-grandfather bought secondhand in Canada, well over 100 years ago.




November 21, 1990


I wish to apologize for omitting the names of the other two living descendants of “Thorwoldt and Anna Caroline Nelson in my last article that appeared in the November 15 issue of the Waupaca County Post.  They are:  Clara Marie Christy who is living in a nursing home in Woodstock, Ill., and just had her 94th birthday on November 14, 1990, and Esther Jeannette Granberg, who is still living alone in Oshkosh and just had her 92nd birthday on November 9, 1990.




November 21, 1990


            Adelbert Monroe Penney, the one-time Potato King of Wisconsin, at one time had plans to build a new and modern hotel in Waupaca on the site where the Delavan Hotel was located on the southeast corner of Main and East Union Streets.

            His daughter, Rose was instrumental in changing his mind to building a new theater instead of putting his money into a hotel.  A. M. Penney, as he was better known, started to break ground for the new theater in early spring of 1920.

            C. W. Nelson was the architect, Theodore Anderson was the general contractor, Bernie Wilson was the electrical contractor, and William Auer had the plumbing contract.

            The New Palace Theater opened two weeks later than scheduled because Bernie Wilson had to spend two weeks at the National Guard Camp.

            It was built at an estimated cost of $100,000, and was erected as a monument to the City of Waupaca.  The Palace Theater opened its doors for the first time October 4, 1920, with the stage production, “The Old Homestead,” put on by a road company passing through Waupaca from Milwaukee to Minneapolis.

            J. W. Schienssner, who was the manager, had also booked Barrier’s Waupaca Orchestra for the opening occasion and Ethwell (Eddy) Hanson at the “Golden Voiced” baritone pipe organ, Eddy’s father, Gus Hanson, was playing cornet, Soren Johnson on trombone, Clint Hartman on bass, Art Feregan on clarinet and Ben Peterson on cello.

            Through the early years the Palace Theater served as a hub for civic activities as well as showing stage productions and silent films.  The popular Carroll’s Waupaca City Band of those days and the Lawrence College Men’s Glee Club of Appleton were frequent performers in those days.

            The admission price ranged from 25¢ for adults and 15¢ for children on weekdays to 50¢ for adults on Sundays.

            Easter Sunday, 1921, was a big day for the Palace Theater patrons, as Mary Pickford smiled across the screen in “Pollyanna” and the Palace Male Quartet sang. The members of this quartet were:  Henry Nelson, Orlando Anderson, Arnold Christiansen and George Lindahl.  The Palace Theater also had its own orchestra in the pit.  They were E. Lowe, E. Chady, Jesse Loberg, Tom Temple, Henry Nelson, John McCall and Reed Holm.

            Through the early years, the Palace had several managers, including O.H. Brown, Schienssner, Joe Winneger, John Lucia and R. C. Wheller.  In the later years there were Arlo Clausen, E. P. Kissinger, E.D. Rodgers and Dorothy Helgerson.

            During the roaring ‘20s, the Palace featured such stars of the silent films as Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Rudolph Valentino, the Gish Sisters, Harold Lloyd and William Boyd.  When the Depression hit in 1929 the theater was forced to make some price changes. On Thursday nights they had what they called a family night, when the whole family was admitted for 25¢.  By now the talkies were coming into existence.  There were problems tying to keep the audio synchronized with the video.  The mouth may have been moving, but there was no sound.

            On February 10, 1929, “The Shopworn Angel,” starring Nancy Carroll and Gary Cooper, gained the distinction of being the first talkie to reach the Palace screen.  Local talent was not forgotten.  On November 3 and 4, 1931, the Girl Scouts of Waupaca sponsored “West of Broadway.”  The cast were:  Allen Scott, Josephine Diekhoff, Howard Jeffers, Carolyn Court, Ray Jensen, Eloise Quimby and Andrew Larson.

            In 1932, John P. Adler of Marshfield leased the Palace Theater from the Penney estate. During these early years of the 1930s, Bank Nights were started on Thursday nights with a double feature and the admission price dropped to 14¢ and children’s matinees on Saturday were 5¢.

            They still had shows on the stage. The local paper stated that the local gay blades got an eyeful when Sally Rand appeared as a fan dancer.  Lula Belle and Scotty of WLS barn dance fame and Gene Autry, before he became a star, all graced the Palace stage.

            In 1934, the pretty Maxine Holman, a Waupaca personality, appeared on the stage doing her fan dance routine.  It is something to do a fan dance, and it something to do a toe dance, but it is really something to combine them together!

            In 1937 J.P. Adler bought the Palace Theater from the Penney estate, and in 1939 he carried out a full-scale remodeling job.  The orchestra pit and the organ, which both had since ceased to be important with the advent of talkies, were taken out.  The organ was sold to a church in Stevens Point, the wooden seats received new cushions, a new ticket booth was built, the projectionist booth was revamped, new fire-proof doors were installed, as was a new generator.  The two ornamental lamps that stood in front of the theater were removed and later they were installed in front off the Scandinavia Lutheran church at Scandinavia.

            Back in 1936 when the film, “Birth of a Baby,” was shown there were nurses on hand and two men fainted during the show.  On the brighter side, “Sing-Alongs” were popular at the Palace when the audience would all join in and sing together.  After 1939 the Palace Theater became more of a straight movie house, although the Waupaca High School continued to hold their graduation exercises there until the late 1950s.

            Attendance records were set with such movies as, “Gone With the Wind,” “Mutiny On the Bounty” and the “Greatest Show on Earth,” which all ran for a week.  The last senior class play was held there in 1953 when the curtain fell on the final act of “A Change of Heart.”  The cast consisted of:  Carol Barden, Sheilla Harris, Marge Schmahl, Marie Doro, Kathleen Hill, Donna Bartleson, Jim Abrahamson, Mike Fallgatter, Tim Schroeder, Bob Hanson, Roger Wilson, Mary Bradley, Shirley Button, Lois Nikles, Paul Suhs and Dave Hathaway.

            By the mid-1950s the die had been cast.  The attendance was dwindling as the movies were being replaced by TV.

            On January 12, 1957 the Palace closed its doors forever as manager Dorothy Helgerson counted the last receipts and projectionist Orville Ayres rewound the last roll of film.

            The last film to be shown was, “Seven Men From the Nile,” starring Randolph Scott, Gail Russell and Lee Marvin.

            In 1961 seven men staged the biggest production ever played at the Palace, as they demolished the once beautiful theater that was rated as one of the theatrical and cinema showpieces of central Wisconsin.  The Palace Theater was being sold to the Farmers State Bank, of Waupaca to be used as their parking lot. The Farmers State Bank that once stood on the corner of Main and West Fulton Streets now stands on the old Palace Theater site.




November 29, 1990


George H. Calkins was a great grandson of John Calkins, a yeoman of New York, a liberty-loving patriot who took up arms against the British to save the American cause.

John Calkins, the grandfather, married Jane Eyre and they had a family of eight children.  Varanes Calkins, who was one of these eight children, married Betsey Utter, and they had two children.  George H. Calkins, who was one of the two children, is the subject of this article. He was born April 21, 1830, at Castle (Wyoming County), N.Y.

Varanes Calkins, the father, was a farmer.  He left New York and moved to Maryland in 1852, and settled on a farm just outside Washington.  Two years later he moved to Delavan, Wis., and then on to Waupaca.  He died here December 18, 1867, and is buried in the Waupaca Lakeside Memorial Park in the family plot.  Betsey, his wife, died July 10, 1880.  There is no marker, but I would presume that she would be buried beside her husband.

Young George remained on the farm until he was 18 years of age, attending school at every opportunity.  He was undecided for a time as to which profession he would pursue, law or medicine.

In 1849, George Calkins went to work in the office of Dr. J. B. Stanton at Ellicottsville, Cattaraugus County, N.Y.  He remained there for the next five years in the drug store.  G. H. Calkins was married March 18, 1852, to Miss Caroline L. Jenkins.  She was born February 5, 1834, a daughter of John and Rachel (Greene) Jenkins.  Rachel’s mother was a close relative of the brilliant Gen. Nathaniel Green of Revolutionary War fame.

He received his diploma at Buffalo, N.Y., in 1856, and stayed there for some time in the college and hospital, becoming Dr. George H. Calkins.

Dr. Calkins came to Waupaca and opened his office in 1857, and built up a very successful practice, making many friends throughout his years of practice.

            In 1863, during the Civil War, Dr. G. H. Calkins enlisted in the Army as a contract surgeon, doing hospital duty.  He was commissioned assistant surgeon of the 37th Wisconsin Infantry.  On May 12, 1864, he took charge of the Harvey Branch Hospital at Camp Randall in Madison and served until the end of the Civil War.

            In 1874 Dr. Calkins became a candidate for State Assembly and was elected by a large majority, serving for two years.  Besides his lovely home in Waupaca, he owned property at the Chain o’ Lakes.  On his property on Sunset Lake he built a building for a bottling house.  Early history called this Hick’s Lake after the early landholder.

            Dr. Calkins was the owner of the celebrated “Shealtiel Mineral Springs,” whose sparkling waters were free from organic matter and sulphate of lime, had won a wide reputation and was shipped to all parts of the county.  It being remarkably free from solid matter, it acted as a tonic solvent when taken as a beverage, and for many of the ailments of mankind.

            Shealtiel was a Biblical name for a pure water spring meaning, “Asked of God.”  Dr. Calkins had the water chemically analyzed and he realized the potential of this pure water.  It became the only water served at the Grand View Hotel on Rainbow Lake.  It also became the base of many soft drinks manufactured by Dr. G. H. Calkins at his factory near the springs.

            His products were bottled in glass bottles with the words “Shealtiel Mineral Springs, Waupaca, Wis.,” that was molded in raised letters on the bottles.  He allowed the townspeople the benefit of the Shealtiel water.  They could come with their containers and fill them up, free of charge.  The spring still exists in 1990, but it has been capped over for many years.  If you were to take a ride on a boat cruise on the northeast corner of Sunset Lake you could see the gazebo which shelters these springs

            Dr. Calkin’s advertisement read, “Shealtiel Mineral Springs at the Chain O’ Lakes, three miles west of Waupaca, the purest water in the world, palatable, acts agreeable on the system and cures where medicine fails.”

            A home testimony dated May 6, 1884:  “Having ourselves used and received benefit from Dr. G. H. Calkins Shealtiel Mineral Springs water, and believe that it possesses rare medical qualities, we gladly subscribe our names as recommending the same.  M. L. Skinner, J. W. McCormick, J. O. Scott, A. J. Poll, Mrs. G. L. Lord, Mrs. P. Gurley, Mrs. M. J. Nordvi, J. J. Demarest, W. H. Noys, F. L. King, F. D. Randall, Merrick T. Allen, H. C. Beadleson and J. W. Bemis.”

            Dr. G. H. Calkins passed away June 24, 1896 and is buried in the Waupaca Lakeside Memorial Park in the family lot.

            His famous seltzer, ginger ale and birch beer, among other kinds of drinks, were all made from pure Shealtiel water.




December 6, 1990


            John W. Evans was born July 10, 1843, at Newton, Montgomeryshire, Wales, a son of Evan and Mary Hughes Evans.  His birthplace was in a region in Wales that was noted for its flannels.

            His father, Evan Evans, and his grandfather, Nathaniel Evans, were weavers before him. Evan Evans was born in 1809, and married Mary Hughes at Newtown, Montgomeryshire, Wales, and they became the parents of six children:  Mary, Evan, Elizabeth, John W., whom this story is about, Thomas E., and one child that died in infancy.

            In 1846 the Evan Evans family came to America from Liverpool, and nearly three months later arrived in New York.  They first located at New Hartford, N.Y., which is only a few miles south of Utica.

            At New Hartford, Evan worked at his trade as a weaver for five years.  They then moved from New Hartford to Madison County, N.Y., where they stayed for the next six years, before moving to Marcellus, N.Y.  It was here that his father died in 1865, and his mother died in 1866.

            John W. Evans, the subject of this article, had very few privileges in early life.  He had little time for his education, for when only eight years of age, he began working in the woolen mills.  It was not unusual for children of that age to work in the textile mills in the East.

            In February of 1862, John W. Evans tried to enlist in support of the Union cause, but due to his age, he was unable to get his parents’ consent and was not allowed to muster in.

            However, in February, 1864, after he came of age, he enlisted in Battery E., Third New York Light Artillery.  He saw action in the last years of the war.  He went into the army as a private and was promoted to corporal before he was honorably discharged in July 1865 at the end of the war between the states.

            He cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln while he was in the army, or at least he intended to.  Soldiers in the army at that time had to send their ballot to their home voting place.  In opening the letter, the inner envelope containing the ballot was accidentally torn and the vote was rejected.

            After his discharge, he returned to Marcellus and worked at his old position in the woolen mill for the next year.  He then attended school at Cazenovia, N.Y., for another year.

            In 1867, accompanied by his brother, Thomas E. Evans, and their sister, Mary, John Evans came to Waupaca, where another sister, Elizabeth (Mrs. William Smith), was already residing.

            As stories have it, John W. Evans formed a partnership with Dayton, Dewey and Baldwin, and they began to remodel the old grist mill.  (This property now belongs to the Shanak Foundry and Machine Co.).

            Quit claim deed, volume 58, page 292, dated April 1, 1884, shows that a quit claim deed was given by Charles Evans and his wife, Hortense Evans, for $1 and other valuable consideration, for the following described tract of land: the undivided one-fourth part of the northeast ¼ of the northwest ¼ and the northwest ¼ of the northeast ¼ of section 32, T.22N-R.12E to east.

            When the mill was completed, they employed about 20 people and manufactured cashmeres, men’s suitings and flannels.  The mill prospered and grew and had a good business until the price of raw wool declined. George McGill, who was one of our old-time historians and has now passed away, remembered taking raw wool from sheep sheared on his father’s farm in the Town of Dayton to be processed at the mill.

            John W. Evans returned to Marcellus, N.Y., where he married Anna Edwards, the daughter of a weaver, and the couple returned to Waupaca to live.

            Here they became the parents of four children:  William L., Grace M., May E., and Llewellyn.  Anna Evans died in March 1890, and in April of 1891, John W. Evans was married to Cora McAllister in Oshkosh.  John and Cora had two children:  John Kenneth, who died in 1894, age two years, and Bryant McAllister, born June 17, 1895.

            John W. Evans passed away October 15, 1920 and his wife passed away in 1930.  All are buried in the Evans’ lot in the Waupaca Lakeside Memorial Park.

            It seems as if the woolen mill ran into some bad years.  The Waupaca Record, dated April 16, 1903, had this to say:

            “The lease held by J. Bower of the Waupaca Woolen Mill ran out on the first of April and Mr. Evans is anxious to dispose of the factory and has been in communication with a knitting factory whose management considered coming here and putting in a knitting factory.”

            John Evans did dispose of his holdings.  A warranty deed, dated May 22, 1906, shows that John W. Evans and his wife Cora sold all of the woolen mill property, including the flowage and power rights, the storehouses and all tools and machinery in the woolen mill, to William and James Proctor of Milwaukee and J. Bower of Waupaca, for $7,000.

            In the summer of 1906, a stock company was organized with a capital of $50,000, one-half of the stock being held by the National Straw Works of Milwaukee.  John Hebblewhite was the manager and Nathan Cohen served as president.

            Then, on October 15, 1906, they filed an Article of Incorporation to become the Waupaca Felting Mills, for the purpose of carrying on business of manufacturing, jobbing and dealing in all kinds of felt, woolen and knit goods, to manufacture felt, felt hats, bodies and other articles of every kind and description out of wool and woolen yarns, including cloths and cloths of wool and cotton mixture.

            The headlines of the Waupaca Record Leader, dated March 25, 1914, proclaimed:

            “Waupaca Hat Mills are manufacturing.”  It went on to say that, “it was with great pride that the directors and stockholders of the Waupaca Hat Factory had made arrangements for the manufacturing of men’s, ladies, and boys’ hats,” and that they would completely finish and box the hats for market.

            Nathan Cohen and John Hebblewhite had been in New York and Reading, Pa., and other eastern cities and had made a partial contract with I. C. Young of Reading, Pa., to come to Waupaca and take charge of the now improved plant.

            There was to be $5,000 worth of new machinery to be shipped and installed as soon as possible.  The article stated that there would be employment for many people, who would have to be trained for the new order of things.

            In April of 1916, high water caused by the spring thaw caused a break in the dam, resulting in $5,000 damage to the old felting mill.

            On January 30, 1919, the Waupaca Felting Mills filed for Dissolution of Organization.

            In the 1930s, the two story frame building and basement was completely destroyed by fire, and was never rebuilt.  Part of an old chimney still stands at the north end today.

            The property passed on to the Jorgensen Bros. Manufacturing Co., and presently to the Shanak Foundry and Machine Co.




December 13, 1990


            It was the morning of December 3 when I gazed out of the windows at the first major snowstorm of the season to strike the area, and as I gazed at the drifting snow outside, it brought back memories of how the methods and cost of snow removal have changed in the last 50 years.

            Back then you could purchase a good snow shovel for under $5, but now we think that we have to have a new powerful snow blower that costs upwards to $500 and more, depending upon the make, model and size of the machine.

            I thought that it would be interesting to go back nearly 90 years and see what the prices were then.  In fact, the following prices were taken from the 1902 Waupaca Post.

            Waupaca Starch and Potato Company was selling Pillsbury Best, Ceresota, Superletive, Gold Mine and Gold Crown Flour for $3.75 per barrel.

            Peter Holst Grocery Store, that was located on North Main Street opposite the old City Hall, had these to offer:  Oat Meal at 3-1/2¢ per lb., Fancy white clover honey at 15¢ per lb., Imported Spanish olives 38¢ a qt.  Butter and eggs bought for cash at the highest prices.

            The Fair Store listed children’s black woolen mittens an 8¢ value for 2¢; fine India linen, a 9¢ value for 5¢; men’s hemstitched handkerchiefs, a 10¢ value for 4¢; stocking caps, a 25¢ value for 10¢;  27-inch length ladies’ jackets worth $6 now going for $2.48.

            Churchill’s Shoe Store, located on East Union Street, opposite the jail:  men’s tan shoes were $3.50, now $1.97; ladies tan shoes were $2.50, now $1.47; lumberman’s rubbers, selling 88¢ to $1 per pair.

            Sam P. Godfrey Machinery, located on East Union Street:  new buggies, runabouts, tops and open buggies and surreys, selling from $35 to $150.

            E, C, Williams Hardware Store, located at 103 North Main Street (this is the present location of the Market Place): 1 large 6-hole steel range $39; 1 large 6-hole Sunshine steel range $32, and 1 large 6-hole cast iron range for $32.

            George H. James Furniture Store, located on the second floor over the Union Dry Goods Store, had for sale three-piece oak chamber suites ranging from $12.75 to $18.75 and McLean swing rockers at $3.90.

            Hoffmann’s, eight-day clocks, $2.50 to $4.

            Laabs Bros., fancy table syrup 20¢ a gal.; maple syrup $1.08 to $1.35 per gal.; tea 30¢ per lb., down to 24¢; 22 lbs. of prunes for $1; Reg. 5 gal oil can filled up with oil, regular price was $1.68, now $1.50.

            Alfred R. Lea, men’s clothing: men’s suits $5 to $20; men’s overcoats $5 to $20; boys’ suits $1.50 to $10; fancy and white dress shirts from 50¢ to $1.50; collars 15¢ and cuffs 25¢, umbrellas in serge and silk tops and steel rods, with natural or silver trimmed handles at 50¢ to $5.

            Now let’s move on to the 1930’s, just coming out of the Great Depression years.

            Pioneer Hardware Store, 103 N. Main, Atwater Kent radio for $39.90; electric toaster completed with cord for 95¢, other models at $2.85; Nester Johnson tubular ice skates at $4.85 and alarm clocks 98¢ and up.

            A & P Grocery Store:  Eight O’ Clock coffee, 3 lbs. for 55¢; brown sugar, 3 lbs. for 17¢; P & G soap, 10 giant bars 39¢; 10 Texas seedless grapefruit 29¢ and peanut butter, 2 lb. jar 25¢.

            Louise Mary Shoppe, E. Union, panties all sizes, lace trimmed or plain $1; slips that everyone loves $1.50 and Beldings ringless hose in gift boxes $1.

            Mendelson & Solie, Main Street in the post office block:  ladies’ silk dresses $1.98 to $2.98; men’s union suits heavyweight $1 and boys’ mackinaws all-wool blazers $1.50.

            Haebigs Clothing:  Portes and Mallory fall hats $2.50 to $4; belted back suits and free swing models $18.50 to $21, and 14-oz. Worsteds $23.50.

            Gambles Hardware, 117 N. Main:  tire prices, 30x3-1/2 $3.45, 4.40x21 $4.26 and 4.50x20 at $4.45.

            Waupaca Candy Kitchen:  5 lb. box of chocolates 80¢; 5 lb. box of finest assorted chocolates $1.35, and hard candies at 15¢ per lb.

            This would not be complete without the mention of the cost of having a baby.  In 1943 Dr. A.M. Christofferson drove to our place at Blaine and he delivered our twins, Gary and Jerry, on the dining room table, and he made a trip back the next day to see how the boys were coming.  The bill was only $25.

            These cheap prices were not what they seemed to be.  You were lucky to be getting $1 for a 10-hour day of hard labor, with no coffee breaks.


            In the mid-1940s I was still farming, battling the rocks and low farm prices, running out of money, patience and cuss words.  I figured that there was a better way to make a living and I found it.




December 20, 1990


            Christmas Eve, sometime around 1917 or so, Glenn Dent had moved to his new farm one mile west of Blaine Corners, just over the county line.  It was customary that they spend every other Christmas with their parents.  Glenn’s parents were Frank and Ernie Dent, and Elsie’s parents were Cyrenius and Clara Rogers.  In those days, the roads were not plowed and the only travel was by horse and sleigh.

            This was the year the Glenn Dent family was to spend its Christmas at the Cyrenius Rogers’ home in the Town of Dayton.  The road from the Glenn Dent farm went directly east from Blaine, down past Fountain Lake, the Grant Mill, and through the big pines.

            The Frank Dent farm was located on County Trunk D, and ran south nearly to the point where the Glenn Dent family had to pass by.  As a surprise, Frank and his wife, Ernie, walked through the snow that one-half mile carrying Christmas trimmings and presents.  There they cut a Christmas tree and trimmed it and stood it in the middle of the road with the presents under it.  Then, they sat and waited for their son and family to come along so they might have a few moments of Christmas together.

            This is a true story and shows how one family figured out a way they, too, could have a Merry Christmas over 70 years ago.

            Alta, my wife, is a granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Dent and Dr. Robert Dent is a grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Dent.

            Albert Mathew (Dr. A.M.) Christofferson left his practice in Colby in 1920, and came back to his native Waupaca to join his brother Peter John (Dr. P.J.) Christofferson in the medical field.  Together in 1921, they built the Waupaca Hospital, located on the corner of Lake and Washington Streets.  This building is now the South Park Retirement Home.

            Much can be written about the Christofferson brothers in Waupaca; indeed, the following poem is entitled, “Reflections on Christoffersons’ Hospital.”



Should illness or accident happen your way,

Go straight to Waupaca to Dr. P.J.

If great is your need, your requirements to meet,

He’ll promptly convey you right up to Lake Street.


A kindly faced nurse in immaculate white,

Is there to receive you by day or by night.

A good restful bed in a room light and airy,

With linen and blankets so clean and sanitary.


With dear Mrs. Bowers, the best nurse in the land,

A “ministering angel” with heart and with hand,

She soothes all your fears, your doubts will take flight,

At once you’re convinced that you’ll soon be alright.


A competent cook and a lady refined,

In good Mrs. Dopp you will find combined,

She prepares our meals with those fine filled trays,

We wish she might do so the rest of our days.


The eagle-eyed doctor so genial and fat,

Comes often each day to see just where you’re at,

His medicines are bitter, but many a life,

Has been saved by his skill with scalpel or knife.


When patients grow restless and time seems to pall,

The doctor’s good wife cheers us up with a call.

A dish of ice cream or a bouquet of flowers,

She knows what will help while away the long hours.


To chase away blues and to drown melancholy,

To speed your recovery by keeping you jolly,

Forget all your troubles both little and big,

Then Miles will come over and dance you a jig.


When daylight is fading and time comes to sleep,

Then Mrs. McGinley her vigil will keep.

She’s patient and quiet as many can tell,

And always alert for the sound of the bell.


If e’er your appendix or liver act funny,

Or if the x-rays show you have no money,

On either occasion the doctor’s no dunce,

He’ll start operations to relieve you at once.


Here’s health to the doctor and all of the staff,

But for them I’d not be here to write all of this chaff.

My honest convictions, there’s no better berth,

To be found till St. Peter reclaims you from earth.

            The people mentioned were Ulrecka, Mrs. Charles Bowers, mother of Mrs. Allen (Ethel M.) Guyant; Myra Buckholt Dopp, wife of Robert Pryse; Mrs. Clara Collier McGinley and Miles Matson.


Wishing You All A Merry Christmas

And A Happy New Year!




December 27, 1990


            Francis Marion Benedict, educator, archaeologist, farmer and teacher of penmanship, was born June 9, 1853, at Dale in Outagamie County, the son of William W. and Achsah H. (Hoar) Benedict.  The parents were both born in Delaware County, Ohio, where most of their eight children were born.

            In 1847 William Benedict and his wife and children came to Troy Center, Wis., where they remained until 1849 when they moved to Dale.  In 1853 William, the father, came to Waupaca in search of some good land and in 1854 he moved his family to a farm of 160 acres located in Section 19, Township of Farmington.

            William Benedict was the chairman of the Town of Farmington for eight years.  During this time he laid out most of the roads in the area.  Achsah, the mother, died in 1881 and William died in 1893.  Both are buried in Sheridan Cemetery.

            Frances Marion Benedict, the subject of this article, was the sixth in line of the eight children.  As a boy growing up on the farm, Francis learned a great deal about nature around him and became quite a naturalist.  He once stated that he felt that he had the best teachers while growing up, and that it was the teachers rather than the schoolhouse or equipment which accounts for a true education.

            In 1870 Francis M. Benedict himself became a teacher.  He taught schools in Pleasant Valley and Parfreyville, both in the township of Dayton, and at Weyauwega High School.

            In 1870, while attending a teacher’s institute at Waupaca, he took a course in writing lessons from Prof. Walter C. Hooker.  During the following winters while he was teaching me made a special study in writing, not only practicing it himself, but instructing his students.  It was during this period of time that he developed a system of teaching penmanship that became called “Rythmic Writing,”  From 1880 to 1895 Mr. Benedict taught writing as a specialty.

            It was on September 16, 1874, that Francis M. Benedict was united in marriage to Millicent M. Taylor, a daughter of David and Mary (Radley) Taylor.  Seven children were born to this union.

            In 1878, Francis Benedict bought 125 acres of undeveloped land in Section 26, Township of Farmington.  This farm is located on State Highway 10, approximately one mile east of King.  Some will remember this farm as the John Montgomery, or the Carroll Christensen place.  Look for the tall water tower.  In every year from 1878 to 1880, when Mr. Benedict was teaching, he took his vacations between school terms working on his farm.  Here he put in much physical labor clearing out the trees and brush and removing the stumps until he had about 100 acres under cultivation.

            He received substantial returns from his farm, especially from his operations as a breeder of high grade Holstein cattle, and his thoroughbred Ancona chickens.  Mr. Benedict erected a fine set of buildings, and was supposed to have driven every nail in those buildings.  He had constructed one of the best built barns in Waupaca County at that time.  He acquired the water tank from the Cristy House property, in Waupaca, and set it upon a tall structure on his farm, using the lumber from the old water tower at the Wisconsin Veterans Home when it was razed in about 1906.

            At one time in his early life he was an emigration agent for 15 years for the Wisconsin Central Railroad, later the Soo Line.  He gave over 500 lectures to induce people to settle in the new districts of northern Wisconsin.

            He was an archaeologist and student of the Aboriginal remains found in Wisconsin.  F. M. Benedict located no less than 61 mounds around the Chain o’ Lakes, that he copyrighted in 1896.

            Mr. Benedict wrote several papers about these effigy mounds that were built by a pre-historic culture of which we know nothing, or very little.  The effigy mound builders inhabited this area, as well as some others, long before the Indians as we know them.  Their mounds gave our forefathers fits when settling in the new world.

            There is enough material that has been written by F. M. Benedict about the Indians and the prehistoric race in this area, that a complete story can be written in some later article.

            The Benedicts in America are descendents from Thomas Benedict, who came from Nottinghampshire, England, in 1638, landing at the Plymouth Rock settlement, 18 years after the original colony was established by the passengers from the Mayflower.




January 3, 1991


            Rev. Silas Miller came to Waupaca about 1850, in search for a good location for a sawmill.  He made a bargain with E. C. Sessions for his entire claims.

            For payment he traded his 80 acres of land in the Township of Alto, in Fond du Lac County, six head of cattle and a promise of 6,000 feet of lumber as soon as it could be sawed.

            Rev. Miller and Mr. Sessions went to Alto to sell the land and bring back the cattle to Waupaca.  They had good luck and sold the land and sold the cattle before they reached Ripon on the way home.

            Soon upon arriving home, Mr. Sessions went up on the prairie northwest of Waupaca (Township of Farmington) and secured a claim.  This became known as Sessions Prairie; now we know it as Sheridan.

            Rev. Silas Miller did build his sawmill and sawed one Norway pine log and part of another on September 10, 1850.  A couple of years later he sold out to W. C. Lord.

            He then went north to Iola, along with Samuel S. and John W. Chandler and built their sawmill in 1854.

            Rev. Silas Miller did not live long enough to “saw” his mark into the history of Waupaca.  He passed away May 30, 1855, at the age of 59 years, 4 months and 28 days.  Eunice, his wife, passed away in 1878, at the home of her son in Milwaukee.

            Rev. Silas Miller did leave a little history in Waupaca, as a Methodist minister.  He was a circuit rider and was the first man to deliver the Word of God to the people in Waupaca, where he preached in the homes.  The Methodists were the first to build their own church in 1853.

            On October 19, 1975, the Methodist church celebrated 125 years of Methodism in Waupaca.  The first church that was built in 1853 was of wooden construction located on the corner of Badger and Main Streets.

            After the second church was built it became a blacksmith shop.  This location, you may remember as the location of the Waupaca Motor which was owned by the Laux brothers, where they sold Buicks and Chevrolets. It is now the used car lot for Colligan Motors (northeast corner of Main and Badger Streets).

            A metal plaque with the figure of a circuit rider for Rev. Silas Miller, was purchased by the congregation and was mounted on a new white marble stone, that was donated by the Henry Haertel Company of Stevens Point.  This was dedicated on the morning of October 19, 1975, as the church bells chimed in the distance, Rev. Barry Shaw led the prayers of the group of people who had gathered at the gravesite of the Rev. Silas Miller.

            This was the start of the day’s festivities.






January 10, 1991


            The present site now occupied by Radio Shack and Colligan’s Bakery goes back to the days just after World War I, when a Mr. Downey had erected a wooden platform from the street out over the bank that dropped down to where the river ran by. He had a popcorn stand at this location.

            In 1921, Carl Cohen bought the property and built a new, two-story brick building.  The building was completed in October 1921, and at that time it became the first home of the National Guard unit of Waupaca.  A five-year lease was signed to provide an armory and home for the Howitzer Company 127th Infantry, known as the Waupaca National Guards.

            The Guard unit was to occupy the ground floor and basement.  The rental fee was $1,500, which would include heat and fire service.  The main floor was used for drill purposes and was fitted up with a gymnasium for use by the members of the company.  On the lower floor Mr. Cohen reserved space for the boiler and coal rooms; the National Guard had the remaining space for toilets and bath, club room, property room, locker room with lockers for every man in the company, a reading room, a company commander’s office and a first sergeant’s office.  The club room and reading room were to be open at all times to the members.

            Capt. Holly had estimated that $10,000 would come annually to the City of Waupaca from the U.S. Treasury because of the National Guards being in Waupaca.

            After the lease expired the National Guard unit drilled on the second floor of the Dane’s Home, because the armory building, it was felt, would not withstand the weight and the marching, despite the fact that while the building was being constructed state architects were here to approve the construction for its safety to be used as an armory.

            Wrestling matches were held here in the armory.  Waupaca had quite a following in wrestling in those days.

            After the National Guard’s lease ran out, Carl Cohen filed for an Article of Organization with the state of Wisconsin, to form the “Waupaca Theatre Company.”  It was accepted and filed July 3, 1926. It was to have capital stock of $10,000 consisting of 1,000 shares at $10 a share. The officers were:  Carl Cohen, president; Sylvia Cohen, vice president; Harry Balkansky, secretary; Solomon Minkoff, treasurer; and a board of directors of four stockholders.

            The main floor was completely renovated and made over for a theatre and it was named the “Waupaca.”  This was the beginning of a theatre business at 108 N. Main Street for Carl Cohen that lasted until 1949.  However, Mr. Cohen was one of the first Waupaca theatre operators dating back to 1913. Clifford Quimby told me that his father, Bert Quimby, and Carl Cohen had been partners in a theatre enterprise at one time.

            The newly decorated Waupaca was leased to J. P. Adler of Marshfield in 1926 and continued to operate as a popular showhouse until December 24, 1946, when his lease ran out.

            Irving Ashe of the Ashe Theatre Corporation, picked up the expired lease from Mr. Cohen and renamed the Waupaca Theatre to the “State.”  The new State opened on January 5, 1947, showing “A Night in Casablanca.”

            When it first opened, the State Theatre was in the process of being remodeled, at an estimated cost of between $12,000 and $15,000 to completely modernize the building.  The Nelson Painting Company had the contract for redecorating the interior; Lear Electric handled the wiring and other installations; the Nelson Sign Company had the contract for the signs at the front of the theatre, and some new projection equipment was installed.  Due to some material shortage new chairs had to be put on hold; meanwhile the Wisconsin Chair Company re-upholstered where necessary and did the re-varnishing. Do you remember walking into the theatre and having to turn around to be seated to see the movie?

            In the Waupaca County Post there was a notice dated December 22, 1949, that the State Theatre reluctantly bids the public “Farewell.”

            “Our last show after 30 years in our present location will be screened Friday night, Dec. 23, 1949.  After that the State Theatre will exist no more. Marvin Cohen and all employees of the State Theatre join in thanking you for your support and wishing you a Happy Holiday Season.”

            The last show to be shown was a double feature, the “Bohemian Girl” and “Mob Town.”

            The building was once again remodeled to make way for a hardware store. Arthur L. Terhune purchased the building and opened the doors of his new Coast to Coast agency until 1972, when he became affiliated with True-Value.  Mr. Loomis retired in 1973 and sold his business to Jack Wachholz and Jesse Kennow, who continued with True-Value.

            Norah, wife of Douglas Loomis, let this property out on land contract in August 1975, and gave a clear title in July 1982.  Through several real estate transactions the building ended up in the possession of Darlene Shafer.  She told me that in 1985, she had the building front remodeled.

            This building is now the present location of Radio Shack and Colligan’s Old Time Bakery




January 17, 1991


            Up to at least 1946, Charles A. Hansen had spent more time serving the Waupaca public than any other resident of the city.

            Charles A. (Charley) Hansen was born in Waupaca, April 14, 1876, a son of Morten and Karen Jorgenson Hansen.  Morten and Karen came to America from Denmark in 1873.

            Charles A. Hansen was united in marriage to Eva Johnson of Saxeville, Waushara County, Wis., in July 1910.  To them three children were born, one daughter, Cleo, and two sons, Everett and Lowell.

            Charley Hansen started work in the Waupaca Post Office at the age of 15.  He had to stand on a dry goods box to look over the postal counter. Wages were $5 a week, but later were increased to $30 a month.  Included in his duties were cleaning and filling the old kerosene lamps that were used to illuminate the post office, and to keep a supply of wood to feed the hungry round oak stove that was used to heat the building.

            Charley’s long employment with the Waupaca Post Office started back in 1891, when there was still some mail and passengers arriving by stagecoach.  These were the days of no free rural delivery, and no city deliveries.

            The building in which he started, in 1891, was located on the corner of Sessions and North Main Streets, which is now the location of Stu’s Interior Decorators, 121 N. Main.  According to two past postmasters’ research, the first post office was located in Edward L. Browne’s law office on the corner of Jefferson and East Union Streets.  In 1989 this was the law office of Franzoi and Franzoi.  The next post office was located at 106 East Union Street, now the Shambeau and Lyons Realty Office.

            The 1889 Waupaca County plat book shows a map of the original plat of the City of Waupaca, and it shows that there was a post office located adjacent to the alley on the west, on Lot 10, Bock “O”.  The third site was at the present location of Stu’s Interior Decorators, where Charley Hansen started his long employment with the Waupaca Post Office back in 1891.  Mr. Hansen was named assistant postmaster here under the U.S. Civil Service Board of Examiners.  As part of his duties in that capacity he gave examinations for postal positions throughout Waupaca County.

            The fourth location was 212 S. Main Street, in the building now occupied by the Culligan Water Company.  When James W. Carew was postmaster he started the proceeding which resulted in the erection of the new post office on the corner of South Main and Badger Streets.  The new post office was dedicated August 30, 1939.  This is the fifth location.

            About 1921 an Act of Congress created for postal employees the privilege of sick leave pay, but Mr. Hansen never availed himself of this privilege until about 1941.  In 55 years one can acquire a considerable amount of knowledge about the postal rules and regulations.  Mr. Hansen received a letter from Joseph A. Connor, regional director, expressing appreciation for his fine record.

            One patron that Mr. Hansen recalled at the post office was Dana Dewey, who was one of the early pioneers to Waupaca.  Dana Dewey was always first to pay his taxes, the first to pay his box rent and was first every morning to pick up his mail.

            Charley Hansen served as assistant postmaster under seven postmasters before retiring in 1946.  He took the oath of office under Evan Coolidge on June 16, 1891, and served under the following postmasters:  Henry C. Mumbrue, A. M. Penney, S. P. Godfrey, Mrs. Charlotte Ware, Walter J. Nelson and James W. Carew.

            Charley Hansen retired April 30, 1946.  There was a pleasant coincidence:  on the same day his son, Lowell G. Hansen received his honorable discharge from the armed forces at Camp McCoy.

            Mr. Hansen passed away at his home on Granite Street on February 10, 1956, and was laid to rest in the Waupaca Lakeside Memorial Park.




January 24, 1991


            In the western town of Verna, Utah, Jacob Alkins and his family had made plans in July 1976 to take their vacation in western Canada, when all of a sudden they changed their minds and decided to come to Ogdensburg, Wis., instead.  Their ancestors once lived in the area from 1858 to 1880.

            The big factor that made them change their minds was a family heirloom that contained a record to the fact that a “Centennial Box” had been buried on Juniper Island, in Hick’s Lake, one of Waupaca’s Chain o’ Lakes, on July 4, 1876, by Manasseh T. Phewsby who was a great-great-grandfather to Jacob Alkins.  Family records showed that Phewsby had been a stagecoach driver on the run between Berlin and Stevens Point.

            On July 4, 1876, Manasseh T. Phewsby, then 41, sealed a box which was to be passed on to the oldest child of each generation and was not to be opened until July 4, 1976.  The request that he had expressed on this Centennial Box was respected and on July 4, 1976, the box was opened by his granddaughter, Ada C. Alkins of Vernal, Utah.

            Among the various mementoes and memorabilia there was a copy of the Ogdensburg Criterion for June 29, 1876, which discussed the local events that were planned for the celebration of the nation’s 100th anniversary.  I find no record of the Criterion ever being published in Ogdensburg, but it was a Waupaca paper in the early days.

            A note that was written by Mr. Plewsby and attached to the paper stated “Please read of my activities reported in this paper, so you may learn of this area and your ancestors.”

            The account that was related in that paper is what ultimately led Mr. Alkins to his discovery 100 years later.  The account described a ceremony that occurred in July 1876.

            The Criterion reported that it contained a list of the names of the area residents, coins and other items thought to be of future interest.

            M. T. Phewsby had constructed a weather proof box which was sealed in glass. The box was on display at School Number 6, and on next Tuesday, July 4, it would be permanently sealed and buried on Juniper Island, in Hick’s Lake.  The directions for locating this box were that it would be buried in the center of a ring of juniper trees, approximately 100 yards from the north bank of the island.

            The Alkins family arrived in the Chain o’ Lakes and rented a cottage at Long Lake on July 20, 1976.  They made numerous inquiries about the location of Hick’s Lake and Juniper Island to no avail.  Someone recommended that they consult the State Historical Society of Wisconsin at Madison.  Here they discovered on some old maps what they were searching for. The old maps showed Hick’s Lake and Juniper Island, but around the turn of the century Hick’s Lake was renamed Sunset Lake and Juniper Island was changed to Onaway Island.

            After the Alkinses returned from their find in Madison, they started their search for the Centennial Box.  They paced off approximately the 100 yards from the north end of the island and ran into a thick growth of trees and brush but no junipers.  They soon spotted some juniper trees a little farther to the south and discovered that they had been planted in a circle, although they had grown together over the last 100 years.  After a difficult time trying to find the center of the ring, it was finally allocated.  Here was a series of red granite blocks encompassing a three-by-three foot area.

            They removed the granite blocks and started to dig; at about five feet they struck a layer of rocks.  Underneath the rocks was the box for which they had been searching.

            The box was sealed in a glass container and remained protected for all of the 100 years.

            The contents of the box were the following items: a note written by M. T. Phewsby explaining the ceremony in 1876; a Bible; President Grant’s second Inaugural Address; a timetable for the Wisconsin Central Railroad; a set of U.S. coins for 1876, including a $10 gold piece; a listing of the 10 students who graduated from the Waupaca High School; and a watch that Mr. Phewsby used while driving the stagecoach.

            Mr. Phewsby’s letter mentioned that the box was partially put together by the Old Settler’s Society.

            I would like to know why Juniper Island was chosen for the burial site of that Centennial Box, it being quite a distance from Ogdensburg in those days.




January 31, 1991


Main Street Musings.


To The Editor:

            It was with great interest that I read Mr. Guyant’s memory-jogging story about the Cohen theatre and apartment building erected on Main Street in the early ‘20s.

            My family had just moved to Waupaca from Iola into the old red brick jail which stood beside the Courthouse on the corner across from the (new) First National Bank.  Dad was the new sheriff of Waupaca County.  I was only 10 and watched the construction of that building which we thought was quite grand.

            Do any of you remember the little stand operated by a Mrs. Kline and her son on the same location?  It stood on high stilts because of the deep ravine and river.  It was just a little one-story shack which opened right onto the sidewalk.  Seems to me it was sort of a concession stand, but what I remember most was the parrot named “Polly” which always sat perched on the sidewalk and to everyone who walked by, she squawked “Polly want a cracker!”

            Balkansky and Minkoff were two fellows from Chicago who later opened a fruit and grocery store where the Travel Shop is now, and later moved to the Lighthouse corner where it was known for years as the “Fruit Store.”

            Getting back to the theatre.  The first “talkie” I saw was there, and it starred Charles King and Bessie Love about 1928 and as Mr. Guyant said, “One had to walk in and turn around to face the stage.”  Mickey Pope Anderson was the first ticket seller, in a glass projection, I recall.  A talented girl from Rhinelander played skillfully on a big grand piano during various intermissions.  Her name was Catherine Nitke.

            Who of you remember the ever-popular curling rink on the Courthouse Square where the old Chamber of Commerce shack stood?  We kids used to watch the men sweeping those heavy granite blocks down that stretch of ice toward a target.  Oh, yes, there were names like Soren Johnson, Peter Holst, Irving Hansen, Frank Stratton, Harry Rawson and many other prominent businessmen.

            I’m sure many of you remember the old Fair Store – a three-floor department store – the former Schultz Store now beautifully remodeled into several badly needed downtown shops, with attractive apartments planned for later above.  The former store was also owned and operated by Nate Cohen, I believe a relative of Carl.  They lived in a huge yellow house that stood where the Catholic Church is located, and owned a Winton Six Sedan, probably the swellest car in town.  At least we kids thought it was!

            In a sadder vein does anyone recall the two little boys who drowned in the water at the foot of the Water Street Bridge? (One of the names was Grogan.)  All of this was about 1920.

            Wouldn’t it be fun to go up and down Main Street and tell about what businesses were existing then?  I remember almost all of them and this was 70 years ago.

            Remembrances of Waupaca,

Cal Swenson,





January 31, 1991


            Richard J. Woolsey was born on October 25, 1834, at Harbor Creek, Erie County, Pa., one of 12 children born to the Joseph Woolseys. Four male members of this family served the Union cause during the Civil War.  Richard attended the common district schools of that area – until he was 11 years of age, when he went out on his own working for farmers.  He received his education in Erie County, going to school in the wintertime and working for his room and board. Richard decided to leave Pennsylvania and come to the Town of Lind, Waupaca County, where his uncle, John Brown, then was living.

            He started out from Girard in Erie County, went to Cleveland, Ohio, then on to Chicago, and from there went by rail and stage to Madison and Waupun, thence by rail to Fond du Lac, and from Fond du Lac he took a stage for some time before he transferred to oxen through the woods to Omro.  He proceeded on to the north and arrived in the Town of Lind on March 3, 1855.

            All the money that he had was script from Pennsylvania, which was worthless here. So, broke and without work, he went to live with his uncle, John Brown.

            The first thing Woolsey did in the line of work was to make shingles which he hauled to Berlin in Green Lake County, a distance of 26 miles, and trade them for provisions.  The following year he worked at lumbering in the woods and ran logs on the Wisconsin River.

            On November 18, 1856, Richard J. Woolsey was married to Laura Lamphear in the Town of Lind.  She was born in St. Lawrence County, N.Y., April 1, 1838.  They were to become the parents of two children:  Fred Z., and Eunice M.

            In the spring of 1856 he bought some land in Marathon County.  He had saved enough money to pay for this, but never lived there.  Richard later traded this land for a yoke of steers and a wagon.

            After their marriage, the Woolseys rented a farm in Section 27, Town of Lind, and they lived here until May 27, 1859, when he, with his wife, hauled by that same yoke of steers started for Wright County, Minn., which was still a pioneer section.  From Wright County they moved on to Blue Earth County, Minn., before the days of the homestead laws, and pre-empted 160 acres of government land.

            Their cabin was like all others, built from lumber taken from speculator’s land.  He remained here until the spring of 1860, when his wife’s health became poorly and he abandoned the place. After selling all his possessions and leaving any improvements to the place, they had barely enough money left to get them back to the Town of Lind.  He was again penniless and had to start out all over again. Richard worked some land on shares in the summer and went to work in the woods in the winter.

            Richard J. Woolsey enlisted in Company M, First Wisconsin Cavalry, on November 21, 1861, at Weyauwega.  He was recruited by Lt. Caldwell, a well known and respected man from this area. Mr. Woolsey was actively engaged in many battles of the Civil War.

            On page 819, in the Commemorative Biographical Record of Upper Wisconsin, there is an interesting account of Richard J. Woolsey, “Dick Woolsey’s Daring Dash.”

            In essence, this is what it went on to say:

            “Dick was a large-framed man of 200 pounds and a bundle of good nature, rather decided in his opinions and ways of doing things.  He was a private in Co. M, 1st Wisconsin Cavalry in the spring of 1864, when he was out on patrol duty with 13 other men with Sherman’s army in Georgia.  They were not to exceed 14 miles from the main body.

            “Somewhere along the way they met up with some southern women who offered them water and were unusually talkative.  Dick became uneasy and feared that something was up and suggested to the officer in command that they meant mischief.  After some discussion the officer discovered that a body of Wheeler’s Rebel Cavalry was after them, across the road ahead of them was another line.  There was a dense forest on both the right and left and no place to go.  Now the officer realized that Dick was right, that the women had been stalling for time.  The officer halted to consider what avenue to take, but the Rebel Cavalry unit behind just kept coming on.

            “Here Dick took the initiative and called for the men to follow him.  With reins in his teeth, revolver in his left hand and saber in his right, he spurred his big horse straight ahead, firing as he went.  The line opened up and let them through, firing as they did.  When the patrol reached the Union lines there were only six left.  It was supposed that the others had been taken prisoners, as no bodies were found on the road the next day.  None were ever heard from.  Woolsey was made corporal the next day for his gallantry.”

            Here is another interesting account:

            When on a march to Selma, Ala., they had a skirmish with the Confederate Generals Chalmers and Forrest. After this fight Mr. Woolsey came upon a lieutenant of the 8th Mississippi Cavalry who was dying.  He took from him four buttons, some Masonic emblems and a white stone ring set in gold.  He also secured his portfolio containing letters addressed to parties in Tip Top, Jasper County, Miss.  Mr. Woolsey was also a Mason and would have returned all of these mementoes to the proper parties, but no replies were ever received from his many letters.

            Richard J. Woolsey was discharged July 19, 1865 and mustered out July 22, 1865.   He passed away March 1, 1914, and is buried in the family plot at Lind Center.

            This poem, “The Old Canteen,” was written by Richard Woolsey’s daughter, Eunice, Mrs. William Bartlett, who passed away July 20, 1903.  She is buried in the Lind Center Cemetery.




I’ll treasure the old canteen,

So battered and worn,

For it was father’s companion

Through sunshine and storm.

Oh! What tales it could tell

Of the battles that were fought

And the comrades who fell.


While now it is rusty, battered and old,

But more precious to me

Than diamonds or gold.

It is dear to me,

And I’ll guard it with care,

For it went with father

All through the war.


It was away down in Dixie,

At a place called Burnt Hickory,

That a Reb’s rifle bullet

Brought it to the ground;

But father, undaunted,

From his horse sprang down

To save his canteen,

While bullets whistled around.


All through the ranks

This sent a great cheer,

Which routed the Rebs,

From the front to the rear.

Oh, I thank God

That the hardships of war are o’er,

And the North and the South

Are at peace once more.

Our mother bravely waited

With us little ones at home,

None can tell the fears she had

For the beloved one that was gone.

He went at his country’s call,

Perhaps never to return,

But oh! What joy when the struggle was o’er,

Our father returned.

We hoped, to leave us no more.


He brought home to mother

His old haversack,

And the old canteen, too,

Which was saved at risk of his life;

For ‘twas shot from his side

In the midst of the strife.


Ofttimes I’ve heard father tell

Of the hunger and thirst,

When for want of food

Shared corn with his horse.

Often at night,

The damp ground for a bed,

His saddle for a pillow,

And the stars overhead.










February 7, 1991


            There were four different barbershops in 1902 with advertisements in the Waupaca Post.  They were:  A. F. Larson, F. E. Paronto, The Star Barber Shop and James Paris, whose ad read, “Special attention to shampooing ladies’ hair and cutting children’s hair.”

            Since I have some material about James Paris and his family, I will write this article about them and other barbers who followed at the same location, which is now down under the Grey Dove Antiques building on Main Street.

            James Monroe Paris was born in Louisville, KY., on December 22, 1842.  In 1845 he came to Chicago with his parents.  His parents passed away in Chicago.

            James Paris completed three years apprenticeship at the barber trade in Chicago, and then left for a somewhat cooler climate in New London in 1861.  He remained there for a year, coming in 1862 to Waupaca where he opened his own barbershop.

            He remained at his chair until 1909, when failing eyesight prompted him to retire.

            James Monroe Paris was united in marriage to Anna Emerson on December 9, 1874.  She was born February 17, 1851, at Moores Forks, NY, where she came to the Township of Lind with her parents when only a young girl.  They had two sons born to them:  Charles Robert and Claude Monroe.

            Charles R. Paris, the elder son, had the misfortune of having an accident at the early age of seven, that left him a cripple for life.  He was born December 9, 1877.  From 1916 he was confined to a wheelchair until death in 1951.

            James Monroe Paris passed away in Waupaca, August 16, 1915 and Anna, his wife, in March of 1924.

            Claude Monroe Paris was born June 6, 1880, and went on to follow his father’s footsteps.  He was a barber at King for many years.

            Harold Plowman apprenticed under Claude Paris at King, about 1924, and in about 1925 he came back to Waupaca and bought out Felix Paronto. Harold Plowman and John Baker were partners for a time before Ray Plutz joined Harold in the partnership.  They shared the same partnership for nearly 36 years when Mr. Plutz retired.  In 1967 Jim Vander Bloomen became Harold Plowman’s new partner until Plowman retired in 1967, after 42 years as a barber. Vander Bloomen took over the shop in 1967 and has since sold out and moved to his new location on East Badger Street.  All of the mentioned barbers made many friends and listened to many tall tales while a customer was sitting in his chair.  Thus ends the many years of barbering down under the old pool hall.

            This story would not be complete without the telling about the life of Claude M. Paris, the barber son of that pioneer barber, James Paris.

            In the April 9, 1903 issue of the Waupaca Record, there was a long article in honor of Claude Paris.  Here I will attempt to relay some of the material that was in that article:

            Claude M. Paris was elected president of his freshman class by an overwhelming majority.  He graduated from the Waupaca High School with an excellent record, having gained some distinction in scholarship, declamation and in athletics.  After graduating from high school, he worked in his father’s barbershop for the next three years before going to Stevens Point as a journeyman.  While in Stevens Point he played on their basketball team which tied Kenton, Ohio for the National Championship in 1901.  In 1901 and 1902 Claude Paris was picked by the critics as one of the five players to constitute an all American team.

            All of this time he was planning for a college education.  In September of 1902 he enrolled at St. Lawrence University in Appleton, possibly in electrical engineering.  In his spare time he helped on Saturdays in a barbershop, and during the remainder of the week he cared for some horses and attended several furnaces besides doing odd jobs of various kinds.  In addition to his studies and work, he found time for athletics and had a fine record.

            Thus the article had to say “pluckily, steadily unostentatiously working his way through the college course at St. Lawrence university is a young colored man, Claude M. Paris of Waupaca, who in every detail of his personality and every incident of his career makes a lie to Senator Ben Tillman’s dictum that a Negro is and must always remain an inferior creature.”

            Claude M. Paris was married to Clara Marie Ehrgott and they had one daughter who lived in Appleton.  Mr. Paris remained at his barber chair at King for many years and passed away in 1970.




February 14, 1991


            The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) of Waupaca filed for an Article of Incorporation with the state of Wisconsin and was approved August 7, 1905.  The purpose being exclusively benevolent, charitable and reformatory for the purpose of improvement of the spiritual, mental, social and physical condition of young men.

            A news item that was found in the “Waupaca Record” dated January 25, 1912:  “YMCA Hall burns to the ground.”  A destructive fire gave some Waupaca citizens an exciting hour when it was found that the flames had gained such headway that it would be impossible to even make an attempt to save the building and but very little of the contents was saved.

            The building was being used by the Dispensio Club and the Waupaca High School basketball team.

            The building was a wooden frame structure with brick veneer and the space between the frame walls was filled with sawdust and shavings, both of these materials are poor when it comes to fire protection.

            It was even very doubtful for a time as to whether Larson Bros. store and the adjoining building could be saved, the buildings being connected to the YMCA Hall at the rear.  The two buildings had been formerly occupied by the Fair Store with a frontage on two streets.

            This would put the location of the Fair Store at the corner of East Union and Jefferson Streets.  The location of the YMCA Hall building was approximately where the vacant Wisconsin Bell Telephone Company office is now located.

            Though the efforts of the firemen who had hoses from four fire hydrants were successful in preventing the fire from reaching the main part of the Larson building, a considerable amount of damage was done to the rear storeroom.

            Both buildings were owned by John Pinkerton who stood to stand a considerable amount of loss as he had only $1,500 insurance on the property.  The loss to Larson Bros. was due to the damage by smoke and water to the nearly one carload of flour that was stored in the back room.  This flour could no longer be sold for human consumption.

            After the fire, the people of Waupaca realized that they had escaped what could have been a far more serious fire.

            The fire was supposed to have originated from a fire that was left in the stove by the high school boys who were heating the hall for a basketball game that night with Wausau.  The game was cancelled that night for obvious reasons, and the Wausau basketball team returned home.

            Now some of you may say, “Whoa” the Fair Store was on Main Street.  And so it was, but Nathan Cohen came to Waupaca in 1897, and opened a small store in the Perkins building with one clerk.  This building was located on East Union Street.  It burned many years ago.  The next building to stand there was the former Chris Hansen Studio, next to the old Delavan Hotel.  In 1899, Mr. Cohen moved to the John Pinkerton building, also on East Union Street.  In 1907, he moved to his new location on South Main Street.  This all can be found in the January 10, 1912 edition of the “Waupaca Leader.”




February 21, 1991


            Hakon Martinus Nordvi was born in Martensos, East Finmarken, Trondhyem’s Still, Norway, February 4, 1829.  His father was a well-to-do mercantile merchant in Norway, who had business dealings with merchants from Russia, Spain and Denmark.

            The father had the means and wanted young Hakon to go to the best schools to study medicine.  Young Hakon spent his early years in a school in Copenhagen, Denmark.  At the age of 17 he entered the National University of Norway, at Christiania, where he graduated from the department of medicine.

            The urge to become a merchant was too strong in the veins and won out over the medical profession.  After the death of his parents and his only sister, he left his native Norway in 1852 and immigrated to America.

            It seems as if he came directly to Wisconsin, where he was in the mercantile business in Taycheedah, Fond du Lac County; Manitowoc, Manitowoc County; Fort Howard, Brown County; and Kewaunee, in Kewaunee County.

            It was when Hakon was in Manitowoc as a member of the firm of O. Torrison and Company that he became ill and decided to return to his native Norway to see if he could regain his strength.  He actually went to New York to embark for Norway, but was too late and he missed the steamer.  This possibly was the best luck of his life, as the steamer, the Austria, burned at sea when only a few days out of port and nearly all perished at sea.

            He then returned to Wisconsin and to his trade in the mercantile business at Fort Howard.

            It was at Fort Howard that he was united in marriage to Mary Jane Hudson on September 29, 1863.

            His next move was to Waupaca, in 1865. Here they lived out their natural lives and here they became the parents of four children:  Charlotte Annis, George Henry, Alfred Charles and Albert M., who died in 1872, Hakon also had a brother who remained in Norway, and died at Christiania, Norway, in January 1892.

            Hakon M. Nordvi was called a living encyclopedia by his friends, as he had a terrific memory.  As a linguist besides his native Norwegian he spoke English, French and German.  He could translate Greek, Hebrew and Latin.

            George Henry Nordvi, the son of Hakon Nordvi, became associated with his father in the mercantile business while he was still in the last years of school.  George Henry Nordvi’s obituary that appeared in the Waupaca County Post in 1928, stated that the building in which he became associated with his father was the Arcade Building.  The building has had many different occupants down through the years.  Now, 1991, it is known as Meredith’s Fashion Shop at 109 North Main.

            After the death of his father on September 6, 1894, George continued with the business until 1900, when he merged his line with several other merchants and they became the Union Store. In 1905 the business was sold to Nathan Cohen who had recently established the Fair Store.

            This later became a part of Schultz Bros. five and dime store.  The Kruger food chain had its store in this building until Schultz Bros. remodeled and expanded in 1948.

            A city of Waupaca building permit, according to the Waupaca County Post, Oct. 15, 1990, was granted to Hansen, Shambeau and Johnson for conversion of a commercial building at 112 S. Main Street to five apartments and mall arrangement. There is still a doorway on the south end of this building that used to lead upstairs over the old Union store where George James had his furniture store.

            After the business was sold, George Nordvi became a salesman representing several lines of merchandise.

            George Henry Nordvi was born in Waupaca May 3, 1866, and in 1896 he was married to Blanche Dunbar, who was a teacher in the public schools of the area.  They had three daughters:  Carolyn, Victoria, and Mary.  George died in 1928 and his wife Blanche, died in 1941.  All members of the original Hakon Nordvi family are buried in Waupaca.


February 28, 1991


            The other day I came across a news item in the Waupaca County Post from October 1921 that drew my attention.  It stated that Chris Oyen had received word of the death of his brother, Olaf Henry Oyen, that occurred at his home in Forest Hills, Long Island, NY, on October 23, 1921, at the age of 38.  The cause of death was by a cerebral hemorrhage.

            Olaf Henry Oyen was born in Christiania, Norway, November 28, 1882.  His parents immigrated to the United States and to Waupaca when he was only two years old.  He attended Waupaca schools during his boyhood and showed a great aptitude for descriptive writing and had a fondness for hunting, fishing and travel.

            At the age of 16 he left Waupaca and went to Chicago, there, for the next two years, he was employed by the Swift Packing Company.  He had in the meantime written some short stories that attracted the attention of the Chicago Tribune and he was hired as a reporter for its Sunday section.

            The farther that I read the article the more intrigued I became about the author, Olaf Henry Oyen.

            I knew that Mrs. Gayhart (Henrietta) Sannes, who lives out on Otto Road between Sheridan and Amherst, is a daughter of Chris Oyen, and would be a niece of Olaf Henry Oyen.  I gave her a call one evening to see if she had any history of her uncle.  Well, I hit the jackpot.  She told me that she had a history written by his wife several years ago, and that she was coming to Waupaca the next day and would bring me a copy of it.

            Olaf Henry Oyen always went by the name Henry, perhaps to save the confusion of being mistaken for his father, whose name was also Olaf Oyen.  From this point on, I will follow her story as closely as space will allow.  You may note some discrepancies, but they do not alter the life of the author, Henry Oyen.

            Olaf Henry Oyen was born in Christiania, Norway, November 28, 1882.  He was a son of Olaf and Henrietta (Johannason) Oyen, Olaf, the father, had previously come to America and to Waupaca to prepare a home for his little family that remained in Norway.

            When only a year old, little Henry Oyen came to Waupaca with his mother, an older sister, Bertha, and a brother, Karl.  Olaf Oyen, the father, was like all of the other Norwegians who settled here among the hills and lakes that reminded them so much of their homeland.  Olaf was a farmer and sold produce wholesale.  The farmers of those days were a close-knit bunch, they helped each other build their homes, put in the crops, and fished and hunted together. Henrietta Oyen took her children to church twice every Sunday.  The family was happy in this new land. Karl was always sickly and passed away December 5, 1888, at the age of 13.  Two other sons blessed their home.  Christopher J. (Chris) was born in 1884, and the baby of the family, Norman Morris, was born in 1888.

            Skating on the Chain o’ Lakes and exploring the woods with his brothers, Henry developed a love for the great out-of-doors, which never left him.  Tragedy struck in 1889, when Henry was only six years old.  His father suddenly died and money became scarce for the family.  After a few lean years the widow decided to move to Chicago, where she had hoped that the children would have a better chance in life.  In Chicago, hard times continued and often there was nothing on the table but oatmeal.  Henry worked at any job that he could find. Here in Chicago, Henry went to night school and spent as much time as possible in the public library, not only to read, but to keep warm.

            As he grew older he tried professional baseball for one season.  He next got a job as a bookkeeper with the Swift Packing Company; it was while here that he wrote a short story about an educated Indian, who went primitive under strain, and the story was published by “Century.”  It was on the strength of this story that Henry was hired as a reporter for the Sunday section of the Chicago Tribune.  But, what Henry really wanted was to be able to save $2,000 on which to go to New York City and become a novelist.  Finally, a well-known publishing house, Doubleday-Page, accepted his first novel and “Joey the Dreamer,” a story about a boy from the slums of Chicago, was published.  They promised to take occasional articles for their magazine “The World Work.”  Although the $2,000 was never saved, one spring day, at the age of 27, after five good years on the Tribune, Henry took the train for New York City.

            Henry’s mother, with the rest of the family returned to Waupaca to live.

            Oscar Caesare, a cartoonist friend from Chicago, who was on a New York newspaper, was living in a room facing Washington Square.  It was here that Henry settled in a small room facing the park, the room furnished only with an iron bed, a pitcher and bowl and a straight chair with a hole in the cane seat.

            The landlady was a German-Swiss widow and would often say, “If only dese lodgers did nefer open the windows, no dust vould come in.”

            The first summer Henry wrote articles for “The World Work.”  Soon afterwards Henry left for Waupaca where his mother was dying from cancer.  Henrietta, his mother, passed away November 17, 1911, in Chicago.  After the death of his mother, Henry Oyen returned to Washington Square in New York City. He was still determined to make a name for himself as a fiction writer. He often had said, “I’d rather starve writing stories than to make a million at anything else.”

            The going was tough.  “The World Work” had stopped publication, and his stories were being returned.  One day in January somebody stole his overcoat and he did not have money enough to buy another.  He was now living in a cheaper room, heated only by a smoking oil stove.  He soon learned that, when hungry, it was better to stay in bed, that he felt it less; also that peanuts and chocolate bars were cheap and filling.

            There was a young lady rooming in the same house who was working on a newspaper, and she suggested that she cook dinner every night in a chafing dish on her fireplace.  Henry paid her 37¢ per night.  It really came to more than that, but she had taken a liking to him.  Whenever he sold a story, he would generally celebrate by getting a shoeshine, a store shave, and buy some oranges, then he and the lady would take a bus ride up Fifth Avenue, or a 5¢ round trip ferry ride to Staten Island.  One snowy night they walked to the Battery on the Bay, from here they could see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island which was the port of entry into the United States.  As Henry gazed over the water he was trying to imagine what it was like here when his mother came to this same spot, met by his father, and himself an infant in her arms.

            Toward spring, one year after his return to New York, so many of his stories had been returned that he wrote his brothers asking for a loan to come back to Waupaca.  Here he moved in with his two unmarried brothers in a cottage on Otter Lake, which in happier days he had bought for his mother.

            (From our dining room window on Otter Lake Drive we can see the general area where the cottage stood).

            It was the only cottage on the lake.  Here living was cheap.  Here they could fish and game was abundant.  Here Henry used to stand looking out of the window and wonder how to mend his fortune. Here Henry had the inspiration to write a novel, “The Snow Burner.”  It was about a man of wonderful powers, against a background of those beloved Wisconsin woods.  “Adventure Magazine” bought his works at once and asked for more.  Henry wrote the “Snow Burner Pays,” which “Adventure” also like, and that was the end of hard times for Henry Oyen.

            Henry turned to writing novels.  The first two, “The Man Trail” and “Gaston Olaf,” both tales of the woods, were published by “Adventure Magazine” and were later published in book form, as was “The Snow Burner.”

            “The Snow Burner” and “The Man Trail” were made into moving pictures by Essanay, a Chicago company.  “Gaston Olaf” was filled by Metro, a forerunner of Metro-Goldwyn Mayer.  There appeared a billing for the Lyric Theatre in Waupaca, dated June 1, 1916:  “Waupaca boy stories are dramatized. Henry Oyen, author of “the Man Trail,” will be shown at the Lyric Theatre.”

            The history of the Lyric Theatre will be a story in itself, but the location of this building is now the location of Uni-Travel, 104 North Main Street.

            “Adventure Magazine” had asked its readers to vote for the author whom they like best.  Henry Oyen won this contest by a large majority.

            Henry Oyen was married by this time – you guessed it – it was to the young lady who had so graciously cooked for him at Washington Square.  He did not like New York particularly, but it was the literary center of the country.

            Henry changed over to a larger publication, “Country Gentlemen.”  His next novel, “Big Flat,” also about Wisconsin, came out in the “Country Gentleman.”

            A pattern was established, a new novel almost every year, which was published by the “Country Gentleman” and was later published as a book by Doran, who after a few years merged with Doubleday and Company.  The actual writing of a book took him only six months, during which time he sort of went into seclusion, then loafed around the next six months searching for ideas.

            The editor of the “Country Gentleman” asked Henry to dramatize for them in his novels various activities in different parts of the country.  They sent him to the Mississippi Valley for “The Plunder,” to Louisiana for “Twister Trails,” and to the Texas oil fields for his last novel “Tarrant of Tinspout.”  Henry did not live long enough to proofread this last novel.  He left his widow, Sara, and small son, Henry Jr., a sister, Bertha Moosler, who was a widow of L. A. Moosler of Evansville, Ill.  Bertha was born in 1879, and passed away January 25, 1945. Norman M was born July 2, 1888, and passed away February 28, 1952.  He was a Navy veteran in World War I.

            Henry’s body was brought back to Waupaca and was laid to rest in the family plot, along with his parents, Olaf and Henrietta Oyen, his sister, Bertha Moosler, and brothers Karl and Norman.

            His other brother, Chris Oyen, who married Charlotte H. Anderson, died in 1960. Both he and his wife are buried in the Salem  (Old Swede) Cemetery in the Town of Farmington, Waupaca County.  Henrietta, Mrs. Gayhard Sannes, was born in the old Oyen home, which is now the property of the Richard Studleys, on the corner of Otter Drive and Highway 54.  This house is due for destruction in the near future to make way for the Highway 54 expansion.




March 7, 1991


            The old tannery that stood on the east bank of the Waupaca River just over the bridge is the present location of the Waupaca Glass and Paint Company.  This building has undergone several changes from the original structure that was built in 1863 by two gentlemen – a Mr. Timme and a Mr. Zahl.  They operated here for several years, manufacturing leather from hides.

            In 1870 Mr. Timme sold his interest in the tannery to Mr. Zahl, and directed his entire attention to converting leather into harnesses at his new shop on North Main Street.  This location became known as the Old Reliable Harness Shop for many years.

            The land on which the old tannery now stands was purchased by the Rev. Silas Miller, for $88.40, in 1853, just two years before Waupaca’s first grist mill was put into operation located on the Pearl (now the Crystal) River.  This location later became John W. Evans felting mills, and now is the property of the Shanak Foundry on Churchill Street.

            In 1873 Mr. Zahl sold a half interest in the tannery to a Chris Johnson and in 1878 Johnson purchased the remaining half interest.

            Christian (Chris) Johnson was born in Denmark on November 28, 1826, a son of John and Mary (Nelson) Johnson.  He was the youngest of the five children born to John and Mary Johnson.  The other four were – John, Soren, Nels and Sophia.

            Christian was reared on his father’s farm and attended the local schools.  At the age of 23 he entered the artillery service of the Danish Government.  For three years he participated in the war raging between Denmark and Germany over the possession of the provinces of Schleswig and Holstein.  After he had served his service time he returned to farming and working for others until his marriage in 1856, to Dora Larson.  They never had any children.

            In 1863 Chris Johnson immigrated to America with very little resources.  He reached Waupaca with an indebtedness of $50.  For the next several years he worked on a farm for $12 per month, and by 1873 he had saved enough capital to buy the half interest in the tannery with Mr. Zahl.

            In 1881 Chris Johnson sold a half interest in the tannery to M. E. Hansen. The competition from the larger tanneries proved too much for the smaller ones and the business of the old tannery gradually shifted to that of dealers in hides instead of the manufacturing of hides into leather.

            In 1893 Mr. Hansen sold his interest back to Chris Johnson, but in 1894 Johnson retired and sold the tannery property back to Mr. Hansen, who then expanded the business to a dealership in hides, wool and farm seeds until 1900, when he sold the tannery to Alfred and Jens Peter Johnson who were nephews of Chris Johnson.

            After a partnership of four years, Alfred sold his interest to his brother, Jens Peter Johnson, who continued to do an extensive business in the shipping of wool, hides, furs and clover and timothy seed.  He continued to cater to the local needs of the community in supplying first-class farm seeds.

            Jens Peter Johnson, perhaps better known as J. Peter Johnson, was born in Laaland, Denmark, June 7, 1869, a son of Soren W. and Nellie Johnson.  He came to America in the spring of 1882. He was married to Wilhelmina (Minnie) Black in Waupaca, July 14, 1897.  Seven children were born to this union:  William, Margaret, Waldemar, Catherine, Kenneth, Dorothy and James.

            J. Peter Johnson passed away January 31, 1924.  After the death of his father, Waldemar left his position with a banking and real estate firm in Slayton, Minn., and returned to Waupaca to take over his father’s business.

            Waldemar G. Johnson was born in Waupaca, the second son of J. Peter and Minnie Black Johnson on September 9, 1902, and was married August 28, 1929, in Saxeville, Waushara County, to Juanita Bartleson.  They became the parents of two sons:  David and Paul.  He was married for a second time to Alice Johnson.

            Waldemar G. Johnson continued to run the Johnson Seed Company at 214 Water Street until 1976, when he sold out to Richard and Dennis Schultz.  It was at that time one of the oldest family names still in business in Waupaca County.

            Mr. Johnson once made the remark that he had the privilege of seeing many changes in businesses and in agriculture during his half-century in business in Waupaca.  At one time there was a street car line going past his place of business, there was a potato brokerage house, a grist mill and the old blacksmith shop, all within sight of his place.  Throughout the years Mr. Johnson modernized his operations and finally devoted his time to garden and lawn seeds.

            When he sold out to the Schultz’s the old tanning vats were still in the basement under the old tannery part.

            I remember coming to Waupaca with my father, who had a cow hide to sell.  I remember the trap door that was opened up so they could drop the hides into the basement.  The odor that came from the basement was not that of roses. I asked the people who moved into this building, if the vats were still in the basement and was told that they were no longer there.

            Waldermar G. Johnson died November 13, 1976, in the Northside hospital in Atlanta, Ga., while en route to Florida.  Thus ends the last Johnson associated with the old tannery at 214 Water Street.




March 14, 1991


            George Allen was born February 25, 1820 in Sturbridge, Mass.  His parents were Timothy and Theresa Marsh Allen, who were members of the Puritan families who were of the stock that settled in Massachusetts when it was a Bay Colony. Ethan Allen of colonial fame was a member of one of the branches of the family, and General T. S. Allen, who was a hero in the Civil War, was also connected with them in their ancestral origin.

            When George was six years of age, his parents moved to Madison County, NY, where he grew to manhood.  In 1846 he came to Dane County, Wisconsin, before it became a state, and in the following years he returned to Madison County, NY, where he was married to Miss Julia Richmond.  She was a granddaughter of Atzar (Abrezer) Richmond, a veteran of the Revolutionary War.

            George Allen and his new bride returned to Wisconsin and to the Township of Vinland, Winnebago County.  It was here that their only child, a son, Merrick Timothy Allen, was born on August 15, 1850.  The little family remained there until the spring of 1856, when they moved to their new home in Section 6, Township of Dayton, Waupaca County.

            George Allen enlisted in Company A, 8th Infantry, Wisconsin Volunteers, on September 13, 1861. He served a year with his regiment, and about two years on hospital duty, was discharged on account of disability.  He returned to his family and took up farming once more. He remained in charge of the farm until 1880, when he moved to Waupaca to live. Merrick T. Allen grew up working on the farm and was now ready to take over.

            I have viewed the microfilm of the diary of the day-by-day events of the life of George Allen that was sent to me by Marion J. Thomas, who is a great-granddaughter of George Allen and lives in California.  This diary was kept on a daily basis from 1874 through 1892.

            I will start with the May 19, 1874 entry.

            George Allen started his basement for a new barn.  Sometime later an entry said that the barn had been completed and was being painted as well as was the hop house.  (In the history of northern Wisconsin, it states that the Allens had the largest hop house in the county, it being 30x56, and well-equipped.)

            An August 1874 entry indicated that they started picking and drying hops:  September 15, hauled 12 bales of hops to Waupaca; September 22, 1875, went to the Portage County Fair; July 31, 1875, the bees swarmed for the third time, and in November 1875, he put up a windmill.

            Most of the daily entries were farm life related. It seems as if hop growing was his main enterprise in his first years of farming. The diary tells of hop growing from 1874 through 1879.  It tells of his going to Ogdensburg and buying hop poles, hauling hop poles, setting hop poles, setting out hops, and tying hops.  He mentions corn planting, cultivating, harvesting and husking the corn in the hop house.  Other crops mentioned were potatoes, wheat, oats and buckwheat.      

            In the winter months it tells of cutting and sawing wood by hand, burning the brush and taking the grain to the grist mill to be ground into feed for the cattle.

            There were many growing hops in those early years.  My grandfather grew hops on his farm, less than a mile from the Allen farm.

            It seems that ice and disease started to take their toll on the hops and it no longer was profitable to grow hops.  More barns were built and more and more cattle and livestock were being kept by area farmers.  George Allen was one of them.  In his diary he talked of cattle, sheep and hogs in his farm operation.

            Most all of the dates in his diary told about the weather.  There were mentions of neighbors and friends who came to see them, as well as their return visits.  Many pages were not legible, too faint to read.  Some of the writing was hard to decipher because of the spelling. The microfilm was put together by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.

            George Allen retired in 1880, and his son, Merrick, took control.

            Merrick T. Allen was married on March 29, 1871 to Jennie Collins and they had five children:  Arvin D., Carrie D., George W., Fay, and Julia.  During his active years in farming he was a fancier of the Holstein breed of dairy cattle.  It is not clear just who set out the apple orchard, that long has outlasted its usefulness, which is located as part of the campgrounds in the Hartman Creek State Park.

            Asa D. (Apple Tree) Barnes, located in Waupaca, had established the Artic Nursery about 1885.  It would seem reasonable to assume that Merrick T. Allen set out this orchard from stock purchased from Barnes. John Windfeldt leased this orchard for many years before it became the property of the state of Wisconsin.

            As milk production began to increase, the farmers had to have a place to sell their milk, so a group of farmers formed the Spring Hill Creamery Cooperative. The association was organized on February 24, 1903, with the purpose of building a creamery, located at or near Section 6 in the Township of Dayton. Merrick T. Allen sold them one and one-quarter acres of land, dated February 27, 1903.  After nearly two decades the creamery ceased to operate and was purchased by John J. Windfeldt on April 1, 1921.

            To better explain the location of the Spring Hill Creamery, I would direct you straight through the main entrance of the Hartman Creek State Park, proceeding straight south to the “T” in the road, turn right, and there on your right, on the south bank of the creek stood the creamery and a house.  Before the state closed the road that continued on, it went up past the old Munger place which later became the John J. Windfeldt place.  Continuing on, this road came out on County Trunk D, in Portage County.  The Gary Grants live at this intersection today. This was the main shortcut to the Wisconsin Veterans Home for people coming from the south and west.

            George Allen, the father, died at his home on Fulton Street in Waupaca in 1901, and his wife, Julia, died in 1911.  After the death of George Allen, his son, Merrick T. Allen left the farm in charge of his son, George W. Allen, and moved to Waupaca to live with his mother on Fulton Street.  This left George W. Allen, the third generation in charge of the Spring Hill Farm, but it was not until 1925 that he came in full ownership.

            From the time George W. Allen first took control of the farm he started to convert the dairy farm into a fish ranch.  During the 1920s, he cleared the swamps and built dams to regulate the water.  In 1930 he built the dam that regulates the flow of water out of the east lake.

            Besides investing most of his earning and inheritance into this development, George W. became a serious student of trout propagation.  He was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and was a former instructor at the North Dakota Agricultural College, at Fargo, ND.

            On January 24, 1927, John J. Windfeldt gave George W. Allen a land lease on the abandoned Spring Hill Creamery and he converted it into a fish hatchery.  When the fingerlings were three to four months old, they were transplanted to ponds which would provide them a natural habitat.  At first the annual yield was estimated at 300,000.  In January 1936 the plantings totaled 3.5 million.

            These were in the Depression years and times were tough. In 1935, after borrowing from various private individuals, he faced foreclosure; 247 acres reverted to the state of Wisconsin, and the WPA crews began setting it out with the wonderful pines that we all can enjoy today. It is only a few minutes’ drive to Waupaca for supplies.

            Merrick T. Allen died at his home in Waupaca on October 15, 1928 and his wife, the former Jennie Collins, died at the home of her son, George W. Allen, in Stevens Point in 1962, and is buried with his parents on Lot 590 in the Waupaca cemetery.  George W. was born in 1878 and died in Stevens Point in 1962, and is buried with his wife, Mary, in St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery in Stevens Point.

            George W. Allen had two sons:  George F. of Stevens Point and Walter M. of Kalispell, MT.  Walter M. Allen followed in the footsteps of his father and became a fish culturist during the ‘30s and ‘40s.  He worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and, from 1949 until his retirement in 1968, he was superintendent of the Fisheries for the state of Montana.

            The Spring Hill Farm was the foundation of the Hartman Creek State Park, as other holdings were added onto it in later years.

            In a June 24, 1976 paper, there was a large article that there was a movement on to rename the Hartman State Park to Allen Creek State Park, or possibly Spring Hill State Park.  The article was written by George F. Allen and Walter M. Allen, sons of the late George W. Allen.  They listed a good many reasons why the name should be changed, but I don’t believe it has ever been pursued farther.






March 21, 1991


            Leonard Arnold, the owner of the first and only brewery in Waupaca, was born in Bavaria, Germany, April 15, 1851.

            His father was a farmer in their homeland, and did not want to see his son become a farmer, so apprenticed young Leonard out to learn the cooper and brewery trade. This required three years of hard work.  After his apprenticeship was completed he worked at his trade for some time before deciding to come to America to seek his fortune.

            In 1853 he landed in Boston, MA, and from there proceeded on to Milwaukee, and then to Oshkosh, where he worked at his trade for five years.  In 1856, he married Amelia Krouse in Oshkosh.  After five years in Oshkosh they moved to Weyauwega and worked there for two years.

            In the History of Northern Wisconsin that was published in 1881, it states that he worked in a brewery in Weyauwega. His next move was to Waupaca, to build a brewery for himself.

            Warranty Deed, Volume 15, page 620, dated May 21, 1865, shows that Leonard Arnold purchased three and one-quarter acres of land from John Ostertag and his wife, for $100.  This property was located on an irregular shaped tract of land between what in later years was the Wisconsin Central railroad tracks on the west and Ballard Street on the east.  Ballard Street was the main road out of Waupaca going north toward Scandinavia.  How many of you remember the old High Bridge, with the sharp turn just before it entered onto Elm Street?  This was the site of many accidents and even deaths before the new Highway 49 was built from Harrison Street north, out over the new High Bridge over the railroad tracks.

            On his newly acquired land, he cleared the trees and brush away so that he could build a small 20x40 foot building, and here he started his own brewery.

            Arnold built all of his kegs and casks at the brewery, as he was also a cooper.  The malt was also ground by hand.

            His business prospered and grew, so, by 1881, he owned 24 acres of land, and his brewery was enlarged to 20x100 feet, with an addition of 14x40 feet for machinery and cooling rooms.  There was a full basement and a second floor, housing their living quarters.  He had his own icehouse, too.

            When the construction of the Wisconsin Central Railroad was started in the late 1860’s and early 1870s the Arnolds boarded many of the railroad workers.  It was in October 1872, that the first train came through Waupaca.

            The brewery had a room where the customers could come and sit at a table and order a stein of beer for a nickel.

            Leonard Arnold lost an arm on July 4, 1869, at a political campaign in the Waupaca Courthouse Square.  The cannon accidentally discharged, blowing off his arm.

            The information thus far has been recovered from The History of Northern Wisconsin, published in 1881, from the History of Waupaca County, and various obituaries.

            Leonard and Amelia Krouse Arnold had 10 children, of whom eight grew to adulthood.  In the Waupaca Lakeside Memorial Park, on the Arnold lot, there are two small markers, one that has just “Charles,” no dates, and the other, just “Baby,” with no dates.  On page 524, in the History of Waupaca County, it lists the following children of Leonard and Amelia Arnold:  Charles, who died in infancy; Frances; Emma; Carrie; Minnie; Amelia; Hulda; and the twin boys, Leonard and Albert.  There is no mention of another baby.

            Amelia, the mother, died in 1872 and following that Leonard Arnold married her sister, Frances, who died in 1924.

            So far, I have found nothing on Carrie, Minnie or Amelia. Emma was born September 28, 1861 and died January 28, 1931; Hulda T. was born February 25, 1868.  The eldest daughter, Frances H., went on to become a lawyer.  She was admitted to the bar in 1880, being only the third woman lawyer in the state.

            Leonard Arnold died in 1888, and his son, Albert, took over for a few years before he became a local distributor for the Schlitz Brewing Company.  The brewery burned to the ground in the early 1900s.

            Albert W. was with the Waupaca Police Department for several years and was sheriff of Waupaca County for some time. Leonard O. was also on the police force at the same time, in the early 1900s.  There were descendents remaining from these families, but I’ll end the story of the Arnold Brewery at this point.




March 28, 1991


            Fred Nelson, in 1895, had already built up a good trade in his Waupaca cigar factory that was located near the bridge on Water Street.  There are few people who today realize just how much business was done in that little, modest cigar factory.

            His output in 1897 was 230,000 cigars.  In 1895, Mr. Nelson began to make a new brand, the “Legal Tender” which equaled the sale of the “K.P.” and the famous “Keystone” brand of cigars.

            A jobber in Grafton, ND, made arrangements to handle his cigars.  He had remarked that he could not get the quality of cigar, for so little anywhere else.  A firm in Minneapolis, Minn., also handled his “Keystone” brand.

            Mr. Nelson generally employed about six people in his factory and expected to hire more as business grew.  He made 14 brands of cigars, and his local sales in Waupaca alone were in the neighborhood of 5,000 cigars per week.

            In June 1895, W. N. Jersild leased the front of the Fred Nelson Cigar Factory, where he opened up a fruit and confectionary store.

            Mr. Harold Holly, who is now a resident of Bethany Home, recently told me that Al Born, who lived on Fifth Street, had a cigar factory in his home, and as a young man, he stripped tobacco leaves for him.  Al Born had two brothers, Jake and George who both had cigar factories in their own homes as well.

            Jesse Cohen, 1919 graduate of Waupaca High School and the son of Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Cohen, who were the former owners of the old Fair Store in Waupaca for nearly 25 years, won acclaim for his accomplishments at the piano.

            He played over WBBM every Sunday after the ball game.

            Jesse had a number of dance orchestras in Madison, before moving to Chicago, Il.




            For the most part of 1933, Julius H. Halvorson was seriously ill and during his long months of convalescence he amused himself by writing music and verse.

            The song that won him the greatest acclaim was “That Wonderful Mother of Mine,” for which he wrote both the words and music.

            It was published by the DeVaignie Music Corp., Chicago, a firm with branches in London, England, and Melbourne, Australia.

            The cover sheet had a red background showing an artist’s conception of a doorway to a country home. Beneath the title was printed, “Words and music by Julius H. Halvorson.”  Beneath this was the picture of Miss Lora Sanderson.  She was the vocalist who brought the son to popularity by her renditions over the radio from a New York Studio.




            Another Waupacan who went on to become a star in his own right was Ethwell (Eddy) Hanson, a nationally known master organist, composer, and pianist.

            Although Hanson was born in New London, on August 1, 1893, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Gustav Hanson, he spent most of his 92 years in Waupaca when not performing on the road.

            Eddy Hanson first gained fame at the organ in Chicago, Ill.  He was the first radio organist in Chicago, beginning in 1923, on station WDAP, which later became WGN.

            From 1924 to 1948 he became staff organist on Chicago stations WBBM, WLS and WCFL.

            Through the years Eddy played the organ in various theaters and supper clubs.

            Eddy Hanson was at the “Golden Voiced Baritone Pipe Organ” on the opening night of the Palace Theater here in Waupaca, October 4, 1920.  He also played the saxophone, and was a soloist with the John Philip Sousa Band and was a longtime featured performer at the Circus Inn and at Simpson’s nightclub here in Waupaca, besides writing and publishing many songs during his career.

            There are over 300 of his pieces which are listed with ASCAP.  Mr. Hanson passed away in 1986.




April 4, 1991


            Dorothy Graham Mills was a daughter of Charles E. and Sara (Strong) Mills, born July 19, 1897, in Montevideo, Minn.

            She was raised and attended school there, and always had the love for the stage even from her childhood.  Dorothy graduated from the Phail School of Music and Dramatic Arts in Minneapolis, Minn.

            Dorothy started out first as the city editor on her father’s newspaper, the “Montevideoan Daily American.”  Four of her five brothers also owned their own newspapers.  It was while she was with her father’s newspaper, that she met the man she would eventually marry.

            Her stage debut was quite by accident, and brief; it all happened one night in 1922, when an actress with the Acme Chautauqua Company became ill and was hospitalized for two weeks. Dorothy’s chance was just long enough for her to get the trouping bug in her blood.

            After the two-week engagement she returned to work for her father in the newspaper business until the following year, when she joined the Boyd Clark Stock Company in Carroll, Iowa, and the dramatic career of Dorothy Mills shifted into high gear.

            Like so many theatrical people she had to make many changes in jobs to secure advancement in her profession.

            At the age of 26, she joined the Neil Schaffner troupe in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and then traveled with the Frank Norton Company from Oklahoma City, during the late 1920s.

            Dorothy Mills’ stage name had now become Diana Mills.  She stayed with the Norton Company for three years, which included a full month’s engagement in Houston, Texas.  There were nights when she and others from the cast would take in the final acts of the up-and-coming actor, Clark Gable.  Ginger Rogers and Guy Kibbee were among other celebrities she met in the theaters.

            The “new” Diana Mills went to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, playing summer stock in Iowa and Wyoming with the Boyd Truesdale unit for four seasons.  In the beginning of the Depression years she joined the troupe of Leo Truesdale, a nephew of Boyd Truesdale, in South Dakota.

            Along with many others in the entertainment world, salary cuts were the order of the day and only a little summer stock work was available.  Diana Mills folded with the Truesdale players in Leeds, SD.  It was on a Saturday night that they played to a meager crowd of 12; the next day they didn’t eat and things were nip and tuck.

            She returned to Iowa for a few months before going back to the theater.  There was a four-month stand in Montgomery, AL, with Walter Amber, followed by another series of summer stock engagements with Harry Hugo in Nebraska, from 1931 through 1934, and with the Christy Obrecht Troupe. The Depression was still taking its toll.

            In 1935 Diana Mills joined a troupe in Aberdeen, Iowa and two years later on September 17,1937, she married the man she had first met in her father’s newspaper office.  They were married at Milbank, SD.  He was an actor in his own right and a veteran of World War I.  This man was Melvin (Blondic) Helgerson who was born August 8, 1893, in Soldier’s Grove, WI, a son of Martin and Susan (Nelson) Helgerson.  He was the director of his own company, so now the stage names changed to Dick and Dorothy Dickson, and from 1938 through 1946 they played on radio shows in the Dakotas, traveling through many adverse conditions.  There was one night when a blinding blizzard forced them to seek shelter in a schoolhouse.  They said that this was mild compared to the night they had to sleep on pool tables in Stanley, ND.

            After their tour through Wisconsin and Illinois, doing summer stock work, they decided to settle down.  In 1948 they made arrangements with J. P. Adler of Marshfield to manage his Waupaca Theatres.  For months there was the desire to return to the stage, but as time passed they met many people and the desire faded away.

            Melvin (Blondic) Helgerson loved to be in the lobby talking to old friends and making new ones.

            Melvin Helgerson passed away at his home in Waupaca on March 1, 1952, and was buried in the Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Park, at King.  On March 5, 1952, Dorothy, his wife, took over his duties as manager and carried on as he had, meeting the people.

            Her beautiful, smiling face will always be remembered by the patrons who attended the Rosa Theatre.  Dorothy Helgerson was the person who counted the last night’s receipts when the Palace Theatre closed its doors forever on January 12, 1957.

            Dorothy continued to run the Rosa Theatre until September 7, 1962, when she passed away at her home in Waupaca, from a heart attack, three weeks before her planned retirement.  She was laid to rest in the Wisconsin Veterans Home Memorial Cemetery, beside her husband.




April 11, 1991


            Erastus C. Sessions, better known as E. C. Sessions, was one of the first five Vermonters to arrive at the Falls (Waupaca) in the summer of 1849.  He erected a 12x13 foot log cabin, with a bark roof and a bark floor, near the granite ledge where the old Danes Home is located.

            There was not a board used in the construction, as the first sawmills were not in operation yet.

            Since E.C. Sessions was a bachelor and had a home, he began thinking of marriage.  It seems as if he already had someone in mind:  a special lady who was living with friends in the southeastern part of the state, who had come from the green hills of Vermont the year before.

            E.C. Sessions was married somewhere in the southeastern part of the state, and immediately started back to the Falls.  They had an unusual wedding trip, that you could hardly call a honeymoon.

            The wedding trip back began by taking the stagecoach to Fond du Lac, thence by steamer to Oshkosh, and on to find their way up the Wolf River.  At Oshkosh they chartered a schooner, as it was called, capable of carrying three to four tons of freight.  The schooner’s crew consisted of two men.  They left Oshkosh in mid-afternoon with a fair wind, expecting to reach Butte des Morts, or even Winneconne, before dark.  But they were in the middle of Lake Butte des Morts when the wind subsided and it became very calm.  They were at a standstill.  The water was too deep to use the poles, but a tie-up was finally made to a raft of logs.

            There they were, newlyweds, out in the open boat with only a single cover for a bed, and in the company of two total strangers, with the unsympathetic moon looking straight down on them. Dawn finally came with a breeze that took them out of Lake Butte des Morts and into the channel leading to Winneconne.  By much hard work the party reached Winneconne as the sun was sinking behind the horizon. Here they found shelter at the home of the Mumbrues.

            Capt. David Scott and a Mister Gard joined the crew the next day, helping whenever necessary.  The progress was slow going through Lake Winneconne and around the Indian pay grounds in Lake Poygan. Averse winds hindered their progress, but by repeated tackings back and forth across the lake they reached the entrance of the Wolf River.  It was now evident to the newlyweds that they could make better time if they left the main craft and used the rowboat that was being towed behind. Scott, Gard and the newlywed pair pressed on with Gard as the steersman, and the other two being the motive power, with the bride seated in a rocking chair in the middle of the boat.  Their destination was Little River where a sawmill was being erected.  It is not clear just where they disembarked and left the Wolf River – was it at the place that became known as Gills Landing, or was it at a point downriver where they could proceed straight west to Little River?  At any rate, night was coming on, but they continued on foot through the timber and darkness.  To make things worse, at one point water was some rods in width and several inches in depth.  This was overcome by carrying the bride safely across.

            The next morning a walk of five miles brought the weary party to the Chandler Settlement, where they found women, children and the comforts of home.  The party pressed on to the Falls where they started a new life in the log shanty with the bark roof and the bark floor.

            I never found out what E.C. Sessions’ wife’s maiden name was, but her first name was Abigail (Abby).

            E.C. Sessions was a businessman, so he set out and laid claim to three of the original 40s in the plat of the Village of Waupaca, and one in the Third Ward.

            About 1850, Rev. Silas Miller came to the Falls in search for a good location for a sawmill.  E. C. Sessions had just what he was looking for, and made a deal whereby he traded his farm and livestock at Alto, Fond du Lac County, for Mr. Sessions’ entire holdings. Mr. Sessions then moved to the property that he bought northwest of the Falls; this was then called Sessions’ Prairie, and is now Sheridan.

            It was not known to me until recently when the Sessions family left the Waupaca area.  On March 4, 1991, I received a letter from Mrs. John (Shirley) McArthur, of McArthur, CA, asking me to do some research.  In the letter she included a copy of the “Reminiscences of Edward P. Sessions,” who was a son of E.C. and Abigail Sessions. It has been said that he was the first white boy born in Waupaca.  This goes on to tell when they left the area, and an interesting story of their lives in the West.  The McArthur families left the Waupaca area and founded the city of McArthur, CA, in 1902.




April 18, 1991


            The reminiscences of Edward P. Sessions confirm when, exactly, the Sessions family left the Waupaca area for the far west.  Edward Parish Sessions was a son of Erastus C. and Abigail Sessions, and was the first white boy to be born in Waupaca County.

            It was one spring day in 1858, when E. C. Sessions, as he was better known, along with William and Robert Steele, started out for Pike’s Peak, CO.  While on their journey westward they met a party coming back from Pike’s Peak, and after talking to them, they switched their course and headed for California, wintering on the old Shaffer ranch, which later became the George Mapes ranch, about 10 miles west of Amadee.  They mined on the Feather River for a couple of years before E.C. Sessions went to Nevada to prepare a home for his family, coming soon from Waupaca.

            On May 1, 1861, Mrs. Esther Steele and her three children – Sophia, Alex, and Minnie; Mrs. Abigail Sessions, with her three children – John Orville, Edward Parish and Charles Dana – all left Waupaca for new frontiers in the west.  Mrs. Sessions left behind a little grave in the Waupaca cemetery, that of Abby C. Sessions, who was the only daughter of E.C. and Abby Sessions, who had died on September 14, 1856, aged 11 weeks and two days.

            Jule Cody, Lon Harris and a couple of others were hired on to escort this little caravan of pioneers to Nevada.  The caravan consisted of the two grown women and their six children, a crew of four, two covered wagons, and two yoke of oxen.  They left Waupaca heading for Council Bluffs, IA, crossing the river there, through Omaha, NE, and up the north side of the Platte River, to Sweetwater Valley and then Fort Bridger, over the Rocky Mountains and down into Salt Lake City, UT.

            The trip to Salt Lake City was not without incident.  On the plains along the North Platte the children had to gather buffalo chips for the campfires and cooking purposes.  To make matters worse Mrs. Sessions’ best ox got alkalied so the load had to be lightened by throwing out many of her precious keep-sakes.  Abigail, better known as Abby, cried as if her heart would break.

            The children had to walk as much as possible until they could find another ox.  Their bare feet became chapped and sore.

            Mr. Steele met the little caravan at Salt Lake City and he happened to have an extra ox.  The caravan was now under his guidance.  He took them down through the Humboldt Valley, Carson Sink, to Silver City, NV, where they arrived about October 20, 1861, after 173 days on the trail.  Silver City, Gold Hill and Virginia City were the three mining towns of the Comstock Lode, all within a few miles of each other.

            At one point between Salt Lake City and Silver City, Mr. Steele lined the children up and made them eat some chopped-up onions with some salt.  It was said that it made the tears come to their eyes, and they were the strongest onions that they ever ate.  Mr. Steele had a very good reason for the onions. Scurvy was a common and dreaded affliction among overland immigrants, and raw onions, being rich in vitamin C, were commonly used as an antiscorbutic.

            The little caravan from Waupaca did not encounter any Indians, although they had someone stand guard at night.  They were relieved when they arrived at Salt Lake City, because Mr. Steele told them that the Indians were peaceful, as there was no Indian war in progress in 1861.

            Shortly after arriving at Silver City, E.C. Sessions built a two-room house where they spent the winter.  In the spring of 1862, the Sessions moved in Virginia City, and lived there until April 18, 1863, when they moved to Truckee Meadows, CA, where Mr. Sessions had bought a ranch.  Truckee Meadows was approximately 16 miles west of Reno, NV. There was now a new addition to the family; Carrie was about five weeks old when they moved from Nevada into CA.

            In the fall of 1864, E.C. Sessions was county commissioner of Washoe County, NV, and the family moved back to Washoe City, which was the county seat.  It was here in Washoe City that another girl, Celia, was born January 14, 1865.  E.C. Sessions lived in Washoe City and had his ranch over in California. E.C. Sessions started a milk business in Reno, NV and Edward P. peddled milk for 2-1/2 years for his father.

            In 1869 E.C. Sessions, his wife, Abby, and three of their children – Charles, Carrie and Celia – went back to Vermont to visit relatives.  Orville and Edward, with a hired man, stayed home and ran the ranch and dairy business. When the family returned from Vermont, Aunt Bessie Parish returned with them, later marrying C.H. Eastman.  Now this tells me that Abigail had a sister, Bessie Parish, so Abigail’s maiden name had to be Parish.  After returning from Vermont, Mr. Sessions started Edward and Orville out in the cattle business.  He gave them eight cows.

            There are several pages of the Reminiscences of Edward P. Sessions that goes on about the trials and tribulations of being a rancher.  Edward tells of several cattle drives that he made from Truckee Meadows to Fort Bidwell, in Modoc County, which is in the extreme northeastern corner of California.

            He and his brothers trailed some horse thieves over 2,000 miles; there was claim jumping; rodeoing; dry summers with little feed and cold winters with deep snows.

            By 1890, he had a herd of 750 head of cattle, only to lose one-third of them that winter.

            In 1892, Edward Sessions purchased 300 feet of light well casing and in 1893 he put in wells.  He no longer had to break the ice each morning before the cattle could drink.  Edward Sessions was now in Modoc County, CA, and like so many other pioneer ranchers in Modoc County, their ranches finally passed out of the family ownership when they were combined with other pioneer properties, to become the Sagehorn Ranch.

            Edward Parish Sessions, the first white boy to be born in Waupaca County, was married in the spring of 1877. There is no mention of his wife’s name.  After retiring, Edward Sessions moved to Berkely, CA, to live.  He died there February 11, 1928, aged 75 years.




April 25, 1991


            Godfrey is an old pioneer name in Waupaca. 

            Thomas Godfrey was born in County Derry, on the Emerald Isle, July 13, 1823; his parents were Robert and Mary (Orr) Godfrey.  Mr. and Mrs. Robert Godfrey had a family of eight children, five sons and three daughters.  Thomas was the third in order of births.

            Thomas remained and helped on the family farm in Ireland until the spring of 1846 when he came to America.  His parents supplied him with what money he needed for his passage. He said goodbye to his parents and friends and set sail from Londonderry on the vessel “Fannie.”  The crossing took six weeks and three days before the Fannie dropped anchor in the harbor of Philadelphia.

            He had heard of the advantages and opportunities afforded in the New World, and he was willing to work at anything that would yield him an honest living.  His first employment was as a driver of an ice wagon for $10 per month.  After some time he became dissatisfied with Philadelphia and moved north to Germantown and worked as a farm hand in that locality for nearly three years.  He also served as coachman for two years for a Judge Kane who was the father of Elisha Kane, the Arctic explorer, who was spending some time at home. He often rode behind the horses that were driven by Thomas Godfrey.

            In the spring of 1851, our subject developed the urge to come westward.  He first went by boat through the Hudson River to Albany, NY, then by rail to Buffalo, by boat to Toledo, OH, by rail again to New Buffalo, MI, then across Lake Michigan to Milwaukee.

            In Milwaukee he caught a ride with a farmer from Big Foot Prairie who was returning home after taking a load of grain to market.  From this point he started out on foot in search of government land to buy.  He circled around in south-central Wisconsin, visiting Janesville, Fort Atkinson, Beloit, Johnstown Center, Watertown, Oak Grove and on to Strong’s Landing (Berlin).  He stayed in Berlin one night and then set out for Waupaca.  It has been written that he crossed the Waupaca River at Waupaca where the old electric light plant was built years later.  He struck a trail leading northwest and came to what became Sheridan.  He chose 120 acres in Section 7, which became the Town of Farmington, and 80 acres in what later became the Town of Lanark, Portage County.

            This was in 1851 and not a furrow had been turned or any improvements had been made.  The Indians roamed the area and the game was plentiful, in what was still Indian land.

            After three months Mr. Godfrey walked to Kane County, IL, where he worked for four seasons on a farm, returning at intervals to his farm west of Waupaca to make what improvements he could afford.  He gradually saved enough money to buy some stock and farm implements and soon began to cultivate his own land.

            For a time he was engaged in teaming, hauling goods for merchants from Ripon to Stevens Point.  He found time to spend a few months each year to improve his farm.  On September 27, 1861 he married Elizabeth Pinkerton in Waupaca.  She was a native of County Antrium, Ireland.  She was born September 18, 1843, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Pinkerton. She was only about four years old when she came to America with her parents.

            Thomas and Eliza Pinkerton Godfrey were the parents of 10 children:  Samuel, William, Mary, Ella, Robert, Elizabeth B., James and George.  A son, Robert, and a daughter, Mary Ann, died when less than a year old.  They are both buried on the Godfrey lot in the Sheridan Cemetery.

            Thomas Godfrey died April 19, 1899, and his wife, Elizabeth, died March 4, 1898. They are buried in the Sheridan Cemetery with other members of the family.

            Their son, Samuel P. (Sam) Godfrey, was one of Waupaca’s most successful businessmen.  He was born June 8, 1865 on the family farm in Section 7, Township of Farmington near the Portage County line, west of Sheridan.

            At the age of 17, he became dissatisfied with life on the farm, and decided that farming was not the vocation for him. He left home with the intention of attending school, but instead he hired out to work as a clerk in a general store.  After he had saved enough money to buy in on a half interest in a business, Waupaca became his new home.

            After three years in the partnership, he sold out his half interest and spent the next two years as an insurance salesman.  At the end of the two years it was evident to him that selling insurance was not for him, either.

            Sam P. Godfrey’s next venture was selling farm implements for one of the larger farm implement companies. He found that he liked this type of work.  His past experience in business had given him a thorough knowledge of the implement business, so he went out on his own and bought a large stock of farm implements.

            His first place of business was on East Union Street, located approximately midway between the old Browne Law Office and the present Waupaca Hotel, and from 1896 until 1944 he remained in the farm implement business in Waupaca.

            I have been told that when he first started out on his own, that when a representative from an implement company would make their annual round to settle up his bills, they would take inventory of returned and damaged stock.  They would begin by making two piles of merchandise.  If they agreed on the value of a particular piece, it was thrown into one pile, and if they disagreed it was put on the other pile.  That is when the real dickering began, and often lasted for hours.

            His business grew rapidly and his trade came from many miles in every direction from Waupaca.  In 1906 he bought out the stock of implements from his stiffest competition, J. F. Gallagher, and added it to his own on Union Street.  The J. F. Gallagher place of business was located at the corner of West Fulton and South Washington Streets, now the location of the Waupaca Youth and Senior Citizens Building (southeast corner of intersection).

            In 1902 Sam P. Godfrey ran such advertisements as this in the local newspaper:  “Racine Runabout buggies, a complete line of plows, seeders, drills, drags, McCormick binders, mowers, corn binders, pianos and sewing machines.”

            On October 5, 1908, Sam P. Godfrey purchased the former place of business of J.F. Gallagher from John and Mary Pinkerton.

            He had the agency for the DeLaval cream separator and McCormick Deering machinery and parts.  In 1909 his ads were for Iron Age four row potato sprayers and potato diggers.

            Mr. Godfrey claimed that he owed his success to the fact that he handled only the very best of any line that he had taken on.  His dealings with customers were fair, square and upright, and a satisfied customer was said to be his main object at all times.

            He was Waupaca’s postmaster from 1914 to 1921.  He served as director and vice president of the Farmers State Bank for 28 years, and was on the Waupaca City Council for 10 years.

            Sam P. Godfrey retired from business in 1944, and leased the building to the Thompson Implement Company and in 1953 he joined partnership with Werner Jensen and they started the Ford Implement business at that location until 1963, when they moved to their new location one mile east of Waupaca.  The building was razed to make room for a new brick building that was to become the home of the Waupaca Youth and Senior Citizens Building.  That ended another of Waupaca’s old wooden buildings.

            On January 21, 1891, Samuel P. Godfrey was united in marriage to Edna M. Plowman, daughter of Jabez and Sarah Shaw Plowman.

            To this union three children were born:  Edwin, who became a lawyer; Marjorie, who became a teacher; and Myron P., who at the age of 21, became associated in business with his father until October 1915, when he went into the automobile business for himself, selling Studebakers.

            Myron (Mike) Godfrey was married June 11, 1918, to Mabel Nelson, and they had two children – Tom and Dorothy – and the Godfrey name carries on in Waupaca.




May 2, 1991


            An Admiral in the U.S. Navy once called Waupaca his hometown.  Capt. C. E. Ekstrom and family paid a visit to his hometown, Waupaca, in August of 1950.  While here they were guests at the Fred Suhs home.  The naval officer had just been relieved of command of the aircraft carrier Franklin D. Roosevelt and was en-route to his new command, the navy station on Whidbey Island, Wash.

            In 1951 he was promoted to the temporary grade of rear admiral.  Ekstrom was selected for promotion to what the Navy calls flag rank by a board in Washington, D.C. on July 2, 1951, and was approved by the President of the United States, Harry Truman, 10 days later.

            Shortly after the President approved his selection for the promotion, Ekstrom received his orders detaching him as commanding officer of the Whidbey Air Station, and directed him to report to San Diego as chief of staff to Vice Admiral T. L. Sprague, naval air commander of the Pacific Fleet.

            Clarence E. Ekstrom was born in Waupaca on March 10, 1902, a son of John and Mathila Ekstrom.  He graduated from Waupaca High School and shortly afterward he entered the Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD.  It was there that he earned the nickname “Swede.”

            After graduating from Annapolis in 1924, he completed his flight training at Pensacola Naval Air Station and was assigned to the Navy’s historic aircraft carrier, the U.S. Langley, in 1929.

            Ekstrom returned to the Naval Academy for a post-graduate course in aeronautical engineering.  He completed this training in 1931 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, followed by a year’s duty at the naval aircraft factory in Philadelphia, PA.

            In 1935 Ekstrom went on shore duty in Washington, D.C., in the Bureau of Aeronautics.  It was during this time that he met and married a Seattle, Wash. girl, Elizabeth Lodoll, and to them a son, John, and a daughter, Martha, were born.

            During World War II he commanded patrol and seaplane squadrons and was an executive officer aboard the aircraft carrier Bunker Hill.  He also commanded the carrier escort Savo Island in action against the Japanese in the South Pacific.  He was awarded the Navy Cross, Legion of Merit and a Bronze Star.

            Admiral Ekstrom’s later duties involved commands of Carrier Division 17 during the Korean War and Carrier Division 6 with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea.

            In October 1959 Admiral Ekstrom became the commander of the Pacific Navy Air Force at San Diego.  He retired there in 1962.

            Admiral Clarence E. Ekstrom died January 10, 1986, in San Diego.  A private burial with full military honors was held at Fort Rosecran’s National Cemetery.

            This is most probably the only time that a naval officer of such high rank has called Waupaca his home.

            (The material for this article was found in the July 19, 1951, edition of the Waupaca County Post and the obituary for Admiral Clarence E. Ekstrom.)










May 9, 1991


            Recently I came across two interesting items:  one from the January 27, 1916 issue of the Milwaukee Sentinel, captioned “Unique Family in Sports,” and the other a family picture of T. M., Oscar, Carl, Alfred and William, the Cook Family Bowling Team of Waupaca, in the March 3, 1910, issue of the Waupaca Record.

            It seems as if there was a statewide organization whereby families competed against families in bowling.

            In 1907 the father, Theodore M. Cook, with four of his sons, formed their family team.  The article that appeared in 1910 indicated that the Cook family had competed several times since 1907, and never was defeated.

            In the winter of 1910, Theodore M. Cook, with four of his sons, defeated F.  W. Kehl and his sons of Madison, at a tournament that was held in Milwaukee to claim the State Family Bowling Championship.

            The Cook Family Bowling Team made everyone who was interested in bowling stand up and take notice.  The Cook family team’s game was off the night that they defeated the Kehl family in Milwaukee, but managed to win by six pins.  The entire Cook and Kehl families were invited to a banquet that was held in the Blatz Hotel in Milwaukee.

            The highest scores ever rolled by the Cook family team up to 1910 was an 893, a 967 and a 1,030.  That was an average of 192 for the five men, for the three games. The highest individual score was a 272, rolled by William R. Cook.

            It was also in February 1910 that the Cook family team went to a tournament in Stevens Point, where they won the Wisconsin River League Championship.

            Theodore M. Cook was once a member of the National Gun Club and the champion trapshooter of Wisconsin.  His best record was 93 out of a possible 100.  He often remarked that his boys could also shoot a little.

            Theodore M. Cook was born in 1856 and passed away in November 5, 1939.  He was married to Johanna Anderson in the Town of Farmington on June 26, 1885.  She had been born in Turndrup, Denmark, September 4, 1864.  They were the parents of seven sons:  Carl, Oscar, William and Irving of Waupaca; Dr. Alfred of Lancaster, Dr. Arthur of Stevens Point; and Edward, who was a teacher at Hayward.

            Mrs. Cook died January 18, 1936.  Her pallbearers were all men with familiar names in Waupaca:  Will C. Ware, Oscar and Charles Larson, Chr. J. Miller, Peter Holst, and D. C. Hayward of Weyauwega.




May 16, 1991


            This will be a bits and pieces column.

            An old Civil War relic, a muzzle-loader converted into a shotgun, was found by George Gregorson in 1921 on his Route 3, Waupaca, farm.

            Stranger even than the appearance of the gun is the way that it was found.

            George Gregorson was walking through the woods on his farm one day when he noticed a peculiar bunch of branches protruding from the trunk of a tree.

            The branches grew outward and back to the trunk in a peculiar manner.  After cutting the branches and part of the trunk he discovered the aged firearm, overgrown by limbs, laying in such a way as to indicate that someone had placed the gun in the fork of the tree and left it there until the tree branches had completely hidden it.




            The Chapel Car St. Anthony arrived at the Wisconsin Central depot in Waupaca on a Monday and remained until Tuesday in the summer of 1908.  This was a beautiful car constructed to make a church, with accommodations for 100 people, costing $25,000, being donated by Ambrose Petry in memory of his parents, John and Caroline Petry.

            The Chapel Car attracted great crowds throughout the country as it toured.  The Chapel Car was used by the Catholic Church Extension Society of the United States.  Although the majority of those attending were Catholics, thousands of various denominations took advantage of seeing this beautifully constructed church on wheels.




            In April of 1908, Postmaster A. M. Penney notified the people of Waupaca that he had not received the official notice to start city free mail delivery, because of the questions with the number and condition of the sidewalks, although Waupaca had more walks than many cities with free delivery.

            A month later, Postmaster Penney received word from Washington that the Post Office inspector who had recently visited Waupaca recommended that as soon as the street signs and house numbers were erected, the city delivery could be initiated.

            The territory for delivery was bounded as follows:  Beginning at the south end of Main Street, thence north in a direct line including Washington Street to Badger Street.  Thence west to Franklin Street, thence north to Fulton Street, thence west to one and one-half blocks beyond Harrison Street and including Morton Street, thence one and one-half blocks south to Fulton Street, then north one block to and including North Fulton Street, thence northeast to Harrison Street, thence north to Hulda Street, thence east to Elm Street, thence northeast to the Wisconsin Central Railroad, thence directly east to Jensen Street, thence south to the Wisconsin Central Railroad, thence southeasterly along the line of said railroad to Miller Street, thence in a direct line to the south corner of School and Royalton Streets, thence west to Berlin Street, thence south one and one-half blocks, thence southwest to the point of beginning.

            City delivery began Monday, Nov. 16, 1908, with Will Ottman and John Kiffner as carriers.  They were all decked out with their new uniforms.

            Mr. Ottman delivered mail to all of the business places and the First and Third Wards north of Mill Street.  Mr. Kiffner delivered to the residences in the Fourth, Second and Third Wards to Mill Street.




            In the spring of 1911, A. E. Cartwright established a grocery delivering service to the people of Waupaca.  In July, only three months later, a notice appeared in the local paper, that the parcel delivery was being discontinued due to the lack of patronage by the local merchants.

            The merchants that had supported the delivery system were:  The Peterson Grocery Co., J. E. Cristy, E. W. Czeskleba, Mortenson and Co. and S. J. Danielson.




            The earthquake which was felt over large sections in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Michigan on May 26, 1909, was felt to a slight degree in Waupaca.

            In several places throughout the city the shock was felt:  chairs rocked and dishes rattled, but the disturbance was attributed to a heavy blast at the quarry.




            In April 1909, the lease had expired on the old park grounds on the Larson farm.

            Irving P. Lord of the Waupaca Electric Light and Railway Co. obtained a 10-year lease for a new location of approximately eight acres for park purposes on a trace of land owned by John Pryse which adjoins the railway track on the north and the Frank Benedict farm on the west.

            Mr. Lord’s plans were to fit up the park in fine style for baseball, tennis, football and trapshooting as well as other sports.  The park on the Larson farm was to be discontinued and the grandstand fence moved to the new location.  A side track was to be put in and ample platform accommodations provided to the public.  There would be a 5¢ fare to the park.

            There was to be a 15 minute schedule with a 10-minute running time between the city and the ballpark.




May 23, 1991


            From the Waupaca Record, May 23, 1912, comes this story about the origin of Memorial Day.

            Early in 1866, just after the close of the Civil War, Mrs. Mary A. W. Howard, widow of a Confederate officer, suggested the setting apart of a day for placing flowers on the graves of Confederate soldiers, and for appropriate memorial exercises.

            This idea was received with general approval, and on April 26, 1866, it was made the first Confederate Memorial Observance.  This southern idea appealed to the sentiments of the men and women of the north.  In 1868, General John A. Logan, the national commander of the Grand Army, issued an order calling for Memorial Day exercises May 30, 1868.

            When I was a young lad going to the Pickerel Lake school at Blaine, the school put on a program each Memorial Day at the Blaine Methodist Church.

            Memorial Day was a big day for us kids.  We had parts and songs to learn.

            The main attraction each year was Hannah Rebecca Sutherland Taylor reciting the Gettysburg Address.  She pleased the audience with her rendition until she was in her 90s.  She was born in 1838 and passed away in 1933.  Mrs. Taylor was the wife of Albert Taylor, who was a Civil War veteran.  She remembered all about the Civil War, and had many memories of it.  She still wrote poetry while she was in her 90s.

            After the church services, everyone went to the First Belmont Cemetery in one large body.  Here all the children placed flowers on the veterans’ graves.  These flowers were picked mostly the day before.  These flowers were picked in the wild, mostly violets, paint brushes, lilacs, lady slippers, or any flower that was blooming at that time of year.  In those days the people did not have the nice flower gardens.  Before the automobile, there used to be a long string of horse-drawn conveyances going to the cemetery.

            How times have changed.  The school house has long been removed, and now pine tree plantings hide the original location.  The old church that was built in 1875 has stood empty for many years now, deteriorating each day, and the old custom of Memorial Day exercises like that exists no more.

            The Waupaca Post of May 29, 1902, lists 59 Civil War veterans, one Mexican War and four Spanish-American War veterans’ graves that would be decorated on Memorial Day at the Waupaca Lakeside Cemetery.

            In 1986 I received a computer list of 429 veterans who are buried in the Waupaca Lakeside Cemetery.  It lists 163 Civil War, 147 WWI, 85 WWII, 19 Spanish-American War, four Korean, two Vietnam, two Mexican War, one War of 1812, and six peacetime veterans.

            I just received a list from the Veterans Office of all veterans who passed away from May 1, 1990, to May 1, 1991, in Waupaca County.  The rundown goes like this:  53 WWII, 10 peacetime, 13 Korean, seven Vietnam, three WWI, and one who served in both Korea and Vietnam.  This totals 87 in all.


            Let us not forget our veterans on this upcoming Memorial Day.


May 30, 1991


            Waupaca has had many men and women who have followed an honorable profession.

            This article is about a printer who may have set a record for dedication to his profession.  This printer retired after 51 years of service, and then only because he had to.  This was the prominent Alderman J. Henry Christenson, who was a veteran printer of the local newspapers in Waupaca.

            He was born July 9, 1878, in Medford, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Mads Christenson.  The Christenson family came to Waupaca in 1884 when J. Henry was only six years old.  His given name was really James Henry, but he always went by Henry.

            James Henry Christenson was 12 and 13 years of age when he spent two years on the farm of James and Nancy Smith, north of Blaine, in the Town of Belmont, Portage County.  He attended the District Number 8 School (Pickerel Lake) in the winter of 1891 when he was 13 years old. Hannah Tobin was the teacher in 1890 and 1891.  This was the same school that I attended from 1921 through 1929.

            At the age of 14, J. Henry Christenson started at the Waupaca Post as a student apprentice.  He became the foreman of the shop in 1907 when J. L. Sturtevant moved to Wausau.

            He was one of the partners who purchased the Waupaca Post in November of 1908 and merged with the Republican, later, to form the Republican Post.  When the Warner Brothers purchased the Waupaca County Post in 1946, Mr. Christenson remained with the paper, but was forced to retire in 1947 due to ill health.  Fifty-one years is quite a record.

            He served as alderman from the Fourth Ward, and he was elected president of the Common Council in 1947.  At the time of his death a year later, he was chairman of the council committee negotiating the purchase of the Armory to be converted into a Civic Auditorium and Recreation Center.  He belonged to several fraternal organizations in Waupaca.

            James Henry Christenson passed away at his home at 421 West Fulton Street, May 23, 1948.  His obituary states that “One of the finest tributes which could be paid his industrious character, is the fact that in 51 years as a printer he never missed a paycheck.”

            Officiating at his funeral were his two nephews, Rev. Austin Sorenson and Rev. Henry Sorenson.  He was laid to rest in the Waupaca Lakeside Memorial Park Cemetery.  Among the survivors were his widow, Lucille Ermine Mowry; two daughters, Mrs. Theodore Stearns of Berlin and Mrs. Carl Ter Haar of Stevens Point; and one sister, Mrs. Walter Sorenson of Waupaca.




June 6, 1991


            On March 16, 1886, an Article of Incorporation was signed by a dozen citizens of Waupaca, to form the Waupaca Electric Light Association, the purpose and object of which was to purchase, locate and operate an electric plant in the City of Waupaca.

            Irving P. Lord was a businessman who envisioned that the introduction of electricity to Waupaca and surrounding area would be a shot in the arm to the development and economy of Waupaca.  It seems that when it came to financing such an undertaking, the businessmen of Waupaca did not share Mr. Lord’s enthusiasm.

            Lord, as president, and Mr. W. B. Baker, as secretary, attempted to sell bonds to the people of Waupaca.  Only one man agreed to buy a single share of stock worth $100.  When the time came to pay for the stock this man was excused from fulfilling his contract, and as a result Lord and Baker furnished the entire capital required, by themselves.

            Lord had already had dreams of connecting Waupaca to the Wisconsin Veterans Home by electric railway. On June 23, 1898, there was an Article of Incorporation drawn up to form the Waupaca Electric Light and Railway Company.  Its purpose was to furnish electric light, and power to maintain and operate a street railway.  Lord and his wife and Baker and his wife became the principal officers.

            Before continuing further I will interject a little about Irving P. Lord’s early life.  Irving Parish Lord was born in Waupaca on October 10, 1858, the eldest son of George Loren and Hannah Parish Lord.

            He attended the public school in Waupaca and graduated with the first of the Waupaca High School class in June 1876.  The following August he went to the state of Nevada, where he put in a year teaching school and doing newspaper work.

            In September 1877, he returned to Wisconsin and entered Lawrence College at Appleton and finished his sophomore year in 1878.  Lord then studied law at Waupaca in the office of Judge C. S. Ogden and F. F. Wheeler, was admitted to the bar in March 1881, and he opened his own law business in the Lord building on North Main Street.  He specialized largely in commercial and corporate law.  He remained active in law business until he moved to Los Angeles, CA, about 1923.  Jeff Fletcher, the grandson of Mike Fletcher Sr., the originator of Fletcher’s Jewelry Store, told me that he had in his possession the law books of Irving P. Lord that were found in the building at 204 North Main Street.  This is the building in which Mike Fletcher Sr. first operated his own jewelry store.  On November 9, 1891, Irving P. Lord was married to Grace Allen Beach in Dewitt, IA, and they had three children, a daughter, Betty, and two sons, Reginal and Allan.  Allan died in an accident on October 20, 1912, at the age of 11.   

            Irving P. Lord’s dream of connecting Waupaca to the Wisconsin Veterans Home became a reality on July 4, 1899.  At the signal from W. B. Baker, at 2 p.m., the cars rolled from the barn as they started on their maiden trip to the Wisconsin Veterans’ Home.

            But before all of this could become a reality more money had to be raised to build the streetcar line.  Lord and Baker closed a deal for floating bonds on May 4, 1899, the contract for building the line was completed a short time later, and a franchise was granted to the company by the City of Waupaca and the Farmington Town Board.

            There was a scarcity of men, but 20 teams and 50 men started the task of laying the tracks.  Laborers were paid $1.50 per day.  By June 1, 1899, 50 cars of material had been shipped to Waupaca on the Wisconsin Central Railroad, including 500 tons of steel rails.  On June 16, five streetcars from Milwaukee arrived at the Wisconsin Central Depot.  These included two motor cars, two trailers and one baggage car. Construction was delayed for a few days by the lack of supplies, including iron and copper strips which connected the rails electrically.  By June 29, the poles had been set and the electric wires were strung.  The car barn was 40 by 100 feet, located at the corner of Mill and Oak Streets.  It was reported that the tickets would be for sale at 20 rides for $2.50, single rides at 15¢ and within the city, a nickel.

            The streetcar line finally totaled over five miles of track, beginning at the Wisconsin Central Depot, which became the Soo Line in 1909.  The line passed over the Waupaca River on Mill Street, down part of Main Street to Fulton Street, then west up Fulton Street.  This was a long, steep climb, and it has been said that so much power was used by the streetcar in negotiating the grade that all electric lights in Waupaca dimmed.  The line left Waupaca on what is now Highways 22, 10 and 54.  One mile west of Waupaca is Chady’s Corners.  This was known as the intersection of Home and Penney roads.  There was at one time a small store located there, and a platform on which passengers could wait for the streetcar.  Nearby was the ballpark located approximately in the area of Noffke’s lumberyard.  Sunday baseball games often attracted many people who used the electric railway for transportation.  Back to the north of the intersection of the Penney property, was Penney’s Shooting Park, which was located in the area of today’s River Bend Sports Shop.

            The track turned south, following the old Indian trail – now County Trunk QQ – on its way to the Chain O’ Lakes.  At the Wisconsin Veterans Home (King), the streetcar stopped where people waited for rides, either to the Grand View Hotel or back to Waupaca.  This top was originally Mr. Johnson’s store, which was later moved to the Wisconsin Veterans Home Memorial Cemetery where it was used as a morgue for many years.  Later, the streetcar stopped at Spindt’s store.  This building is now being razed to make room for a new branch bank for the Farmers State Bank of Waupaca.

            After leaving Spindt’s store, the track took a right turn at the point where Rumor’s tavern is now located, then up the hill overlooking Rainbow Lake to a depot at Downey’s Dock. In June 1914, the Electric Park was opened in this general area. One of the advertisements read as follows:  “The Ideal spot to spend the 4th of July.  Tables and benches for picnic parties; soft drinks, ice cream, candies; boating, bathing, canoeing, dancing afternoons and evenings.  The dance pavilion is Waupaca’s choicest spot for the Independence Day frolic.  Come and dance to the special waltz dedicated to the Electric Park.”

            The Waupaca Post for April 20, 1899 said, “…the building of the electric road would mean much to the Chain o’ Lakes and would greatly add to the city and vicinity as a summer resort.”

            The famous Grand View Hotel was built in 1886 on the south shore of Rainbow Lake by Chris Hill and Sam Nessling, two retired railroad men.

            The hotel complex consisted of the hotel with 20 sleeping rooms; an annex with 45 rooms; 10 cottages, each with a fireplace and four bedrooms; an amusement hall (Japanese Gardens); and four dining rooms.

            Irving P. Lord saw an excellent opportunity, and he purchased the Grand View Hotel in 1901 and appointed his brother, Wallace Lord, as its manager.  He extended the streetcar track from Downey’s to the Grand View Hotel.  In 1902, Mr. Baker sold out his interest in the company to John D. Caughell, who later sold to A. M. Penney and P. M. Olfson.  They, in turn, transferred their holdings to Irving P. Lord, who then became the sole owner and manager of the Waupaca Electric Light and Railway Company.

            Lord advertised in several papers about the beauty and accommodations of the Grand View Hotel at the Chain o’ Lakes.  People came by the hundreds from as far away as St. Louis, Chicago and Milwaukee. They came to Waupaca on the Wisconsin Central Railroad, where they could transfer to the streetcar that took them directly to the Grand View Hotel.  Here they could relax in a place of grandeur, where they could go boating, fishing and swimming in the crystal-clear water of Rainbow Lake.  Many people liked what they saw and came back year after year, while some came to the Waupaca area to make it their home.

            The electricity generated to provide the electricity for the lights and railway came from the powerhouse located on the Waupaca River between Elm and Wisconsin Streets.  The dam had a head of 18 feet of water, sufficient to drive a waterwheel which generated 210 horsepower.  Other equipment included one direct-current generator at 150 kilowatts and two direct-current generators at 175 kilowatts each. In addition, there were two boilers at 140 horsepower each, and one steamboiler at 165 horsepower.

            By 1910, there was a total of seven cars including one closed car with an electric heater.  Children from the Wisconsin Veterans Home rode the street car to Gards Corner to school.

            The Waupaca Record Leader had notices in their October and November, 1913, papers.  The first one was that the Town of Farmington granted a freight franchise to haul freight to the Waupaca Electric Light and Railway, and the other was that the Waupaca Electric Light and Railway gets the freight franchise to carry coal and freight to the Wisconsin Veterans Home.  At the Common Council meeting, the mayor cast the deciding vote.

            On October 24, 1916, A. E. Aspenes and J. F. Richardson of Chicago bought the road and changed the name to the Waupaca Electric Service and Railway Company.  The road shut down its operation on July 4, 1925, on its 26th birthday since its maiden run, July 4, 1899.  It was sold to the Wisconsin Valley Electric Company, which later merged with the Wisconsin Public Service Company.

            The Waupaca County Post for September 10, 1925, summarized the situation beautifully when it said:  “Today the streetcar has been superseded by its swifter rival, the motorcar, and is doomed to pass away, having seen its time, even as the livery barns, the blacksmith shops, the windmills, and other remnants of an earlier day; where speed is the aim, efficiency is a necessity, specialization is a means and money is the goal.”

            The Waupaca Picture Post for August 27, 1976, ran a picture of West Fulton Street in 1925, with the streetcar tracks removed.  It also stated that the tracks on Main Street were not removed until 1947.

            Much more in detail can be found in an essay written by Todd Fonstad on the Electric Railway, published by El-Ray Associates, South River Drive, Stevens Point, WI, for the Wisconsin State University Foundation, Inc., Stevens Point, WI, in 1965.




June 13, 1991


            The Glover name has appeared in the Weyauwega, Lind Center and Waupaca areas periodically since the days of the Civil War.

            It all begins with Albert Glover, son of Solomon and Clara Glover, who was born in Oshkosh, August 1, 1856.  When Albert was still a small boy, he moved with his parents to Weyauwega during the Civil War.  A few years later his parents settled on a farm in the Town of Lind, which in later years became the property of William Wied.

            Some of you may remember William and Caroline Georgina (Madsen) Wied, or possibly went to the Waupaca High School with one or another of their children:  Edward, Walter, Bert, Grace, Ida, Elizabeth, John Clifford, who died early in life, or Milton “Bill,” who was killed in an airplane crash near Neenah in 1929.

            When still on the farm as a lad of 14, Albert Glover was apprenticed to William Timme, who at that time operated the harness shop on North Main Street in Waupaca.  Frederick E Lund was also employed by Mr. Timme at the same time; Lund went on to be the owner of the Old Reliable Harness Shop at 102 North Main Street.

            After Albert Glover completed his apprenticeship he moved to Stevens Point to find employment.

            Albert Glover and Sarah Feldman were married in 1884; she preceded him in death in 1916, but not before there were two daughters, the future Mrs. Ben Picus and Mrs. Alex Levin, and one son, Louis was born in Stevens Point on September 9, 1887.

            Louis also became a harness maker, like his father, and during his youth he operated a harness business with his father in Wild Rose.

            Louis Glover was united in marriage to Miss Mildred Stahl in Madison, February 23, 1912. Mildred Stahl was born in Lodi, September 5, 1880, a daughter of Samuel and Ellen (Keyes) Stahl.  Her parents came to Wisconsin from Pennsylvania and settled in Barneveld.  Louis and Mildred Glover were the parents of two sons, Kenneth and Keith.

            After the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Glover in 1912, they started a hardware and harness business in Barneveld.

            In 1920 they moved to Waupaca and bought out the harness shop owned by William Koening. This would be the same building which was under Chris Hansen’s photo studio.  There have been many different businesses in this location.  One you may remember well was the Taylor and Stange furniture store before they moved to the Central Wisconsin Seed Company building on West Union Street.

            In 1922 Mr. Glover moved to the building on the corner of East Union and Jefferson Streets and opened a hardware store.  At one time this location was Cohen’s second location for his Fair Store, before moving to Main Street.

            In 1930 Louis Glover and associates bought out the old Pioneer Hardware Store from Chris Christensen.  This was the former hardware store of E. C. Williams.  Now, 1991, it is the Main Street Marketplace.  In 1931 he sold out his interest to the balance of stockholders and moved to Blue Earth, MN, where Louis Glover and his eldest son, Kenneth, operated a hardware store until 1933, when they returned to Waupaca to open a grocery and hardware store. The hardware store was the same location on East Union and Jefferson Streets, where Mr. Glover started in 1922, and the grocery store was in the building adjacent to the west.  This building has just been vacated by the Harbor Bicycle Shop.  Mr. Glover took on a dry goods line in 1938, when they bought the other section of their building that was previously occupied by the Central Wisconsin Seed Company.

            Keith, the Glover’s youngest son, joined the firm in 1940.  In 1950 Keith was the manager of the Glover branch in Weyauwega.

            In the Waupaca County Post of September 5, 1946, “Glover’s Making Many Alterations in Local Store.”  At this time they expanded the various departments to make service to the customers more efficient.  The most notable change was the transformation of the former hardware department into a meat and produce department.  They removed the walls in the eastern section, the opening between the clothing and dry goods section was enlarged for the patrons’ convenience, which gave them more floor space.

            Louis Glover passed away in December of 1954, and the partnership was dissolved.  Kenneth Glover took over the dry goods department and Keith took over the grocery business.  Keith closed out the grocery business in 1963 and Kenneth closed out in May 1964.  Louis Glover and Sons enjoyed several years of prosperity, but the Glover family business would not have been the same, if it was not for Mrs. Glover and her smiling face, as she met the customers in the store.  Mildred Glover at one time worked as a graduate nurse in Madison and Milwaukee.  The Glovers were active members of the First Methodist Church and staunch supporters in the development of Waupaca.

            When Kenneth Glover closed his store on May 29, 1964, he stated that a new store would be opening in the near future.

            On July 9, 10, and 11, a new store had an opening sale.  The new store was known as Ballard’s V Store, and was under the ownership of Clinton Ballard.  Clint Ballard was not new to the people of Waupaca, as he had been employed by the Glovers for 28 years.

            Six years later there was a notice in the Waupaca County Post for April 16, 1970.  “Glover takes over the Ballard V Store at 110 East Union Street.”  Kenneth Glover, who was employed in Glencoe, MN, stated that the store was presently closed, but would open sometime soon, when all merchandise in the store would be sold at a further reduced price.  The reason for this action was that Clinton Ballard was moving from the city.

            Louis Glover’s parents, Albert and Sarah Glover, are buried in the Hebrew Cemetery in Wausau.  Mildred Glover lived until February 13, 1958, and Louis Glover passed away January 25, 1954. Their youngest son, Keith, passed away April 21, 1978.  They all are laid to rest in the Waupaca Lakeside Cemetery.




June 20, 1991


            Allen King, world-famed wild animal trainer, and his wife spent the winter of 1949 in Waupaca, at the home of Mrs. King’s mother, Mrs. Olive Wilson.

            Mrs. Wilson owned and operated the Circus Inn on Churchill Street for several years.

            The Kings had many friends in Waupaca.  Allen King died in Chicago in September of 1951, only a week after the Kings had been in Waupaca to visit Mrs. Wilson.  He was cremated and his ashes were returned to his home city, Chattanooga, TN.  His death occurred after he had just completed a tour with the Mill Brothers circus.

            Mr. King started his profession with the Al G. Barnes circus and later he joined the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Baily circus.

            He performed with 27 lions and nine tigers at the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago in 1934.  Mr. King was the teacher of Clyde Beatty and Terrell Jacobs.

            I can remember Mrs. Wilson’s beautiful white hair, and her pet cockatoo.  It was white with a yellow crown.  It amused her patrons with its antics.  There was always unexpected entertainment at the Circus Inn for any stranger who might drop in.

            One of the things that caused the most amusement for the patrons was the talking toilet in the ladies’ room.  There was also a large spider that would drop down from the ceiling on a long string.  This received quite a reaction from the ladies.  There was a coin that was embedded in the floor that could not be picked up, and then there was the air hole in the floor in front of the jukebox that could be turned on at anytime.

            I remember the Circus Inn for another reason. During the severe winter of 1945, I started to work at the Northwestern Co-op in Waupaca.  One of my jobs was to deliver coal around town with the half-ton truck.  One morning I had my orders to deliver some coal to the Circus Inn.  It was early in the morning and no one was around, so I put the coal down the coal chute and left.  It seems as if the circulating air fan for the upstairs had not been turned off; consequently there was a fine coal dust that was brought upstairs.  Before I had returned to the office, they received a call from a very disturbed Mrs. Wilson.  It was a mess.  The glassware on the back bar was covered with the black dust, and the furniture and dance floor all had to be cleaned.  The Northwestern Co-op hired a lady to clean up the mess.

            From then on I made it a point to check if they had any air fans on. Live and learn.




            From the Waupaca Record, May 5, 1910:  “Twenty-five machines owned by Waupaca citizens.  Six years ago an automobile was a curiosity in Waupaca.  For two years we boasted of one.  The number has grown in the last four years to 25.  There are three garages here, all doing a good business as Waupaca is an objective point for those touring this part of the state.”

            The paper listed the machines owned by Waupaca people: 

Charles Hanson, Cadillac; Dan Downey, Cadillac; Wm. Dressen, Reo; John Madsen, Cadillac; N. Cohen, Cadillac; Dr. J. P. Christofferson, Rambler, Dr. L. H. Pelton, Mason; C. E. Cain, Ford; A. M. Penney, Ford; George Faulks, Ford; Matt Jensen, Buick; F. L. Hoaglin, Mason; Dr. E. M. McIntosh, Buick; Hans Peter Mortenson, Reo;

            John Gordon, Reo; Walter Jensen, Reo; Amel Johnson, Reo; Myron Randell, Ford; A. C. Larson, Ford; Dr. Delano, Buick; Gus Hanson, Buick; John Dorffler, Ford; Michel Jensen, Ford; A. M. Hanson, Rambler; A. M. Hanson, Maxwell.




June 27, 1991


            Waupaca’s Bethany Home name dates back to its inception in August 1895, when the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Synod (better known as the Blair Synod), decided to inaugurate a Christian welfare program for orphaned, indigent and neglected children.

            Albert Lea, Minnesota, was chosen as the first site for the new children’s home. At first a dwelling house was rented to provide temporary housing until the new home was built.

            When the new building was completed and made ready for the big move, it was named “Bethania Bornerjem,” Danish for Bethany Children’s Home.

            It was through the influence and encouragement of her pastor that Mrs. Ane Petersen, who had just recently become a widow, took the position as the first home’s matron.

            Ane Petersen was born December 7, 1851, in Lolland, Denmark, a daughter of Rasmus and Anna Marie Jensen Jacobsen.  She emigrated to America sometime between 1859 and 1869.  Records show the two different dates.  Ane was married in Oshkosh in 1872, to Christian Peterson.  They lived in Oshkosh for six years before moving to their farm in Section 4, Township of Waupaca.

            Misfortune struck the Peterson family.  Their daughter, Mary C., died March 28, 1882, aged five years ad four months, and 15 days later on April 6, 1882, their son, Victor W., died, age eight years and nine months.  When their third child was born they named him Victor Mannus. Ane’s husband, Christian, passed away August 6, 1894.  Her only remaining child, Victor, went to Albert Lea to be with his mother and help her as much as possible.  He was only 12 years old at the time.

            At the annual convention held in Blair, NE, in July 1897, it was voted to move the Bethany Children’s Home from Albert Lea to Waupaca.

            The Danish people of Waupaca all pulled together and raised $600 to help defray the expenses of moving and purchasing the new property on which to erect the new children’s home.

            September 7, 1897, the United Evangelical Lutheran Church purchased approximately 30 acres of land from Henry Warren and Fredrick Dunbar for $1,400.  This property is located from the banks of the Crystal River to the southeastern shores of Shadow Lake on the old Berlin Road.  When this property was first purchased, it was approximately one mile from downtown Waupaca.

            While the new home on Berlin Street was being built, Mrs. Peterson and her 10 to 12 children lived in a small house near the Soo Line depot.

            The new children’s home was completed in 1899, at a cost of $2,400, including the equipment and furnishings, and would accommodate about 40 children.  In October 1899, it was officially opened and it was not long before the Bethany Children’s Home population grew to 33.  Mrs. Ane Petersen resigned her position in 1908, after serving 13 years of dedicated service, and for this, she was presented a gift of $100 in gold by the president of the synod.

            Ane Petersen, following her retirement, went to live with her son, Victor, on his farm.  She died April 26, 1930.

            I find the name Petersen also spelled Peterson in different documents.  On the Petersen (Peterson) lot in the Waupaca cemetery, Christian’s marker is Peterson and Ane’s marker is Petersen.

            Ideas and times change policies and in the early 1950’s, it became apparent that the children could be placed in foster homes to a better advantage, so the Bethany Home was taken down board by board and the land leveled.  The only evidence that was left of the two-story wooden structure with the two huge screened-in porches in the front, one above the other, was the cornerstone that read “Bethania 1898”.

            In 1953, at the annual Wisconsin District Convention of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church, a directive was made to arrange for the incorporation of Bethany as an operating Christian home for the aged.

            The Bethany Lutheran Home, Inc. on March 22, 1954, filed for its Article of Incorporation.

            The Bethany Lutheran Home, Inc. for the aged began operation with 18 guests on a budget less than $4,000, and a lot of faith.

            March 10, 1959, the Bethany Lutheran Home, Inc. filed amendments to the original Article of Incorporation, and the Bethany Foundation, Inc. filed for its Article of Incorporation on October 12, 1978.




July 3, 1991


            George Nehm started his career with the Schultz Bros. on March 16, 1926.  Schultz Bros., then known as the 5 and 10 Cent Store, opened its doors in Waupaca on March 28, 1926.  The location at that time is where the present Paca Pub is located, 106 N. Main Street.

            Schultz Bros. 5 and 10 Cent Store continued to operate at this location until 1931, when it moved across the street to the building that is now the business location of Meredith’s Fashion Shop at 109 N. Main.

            In 1940 Schultz’s rented the Scott Building at 112 S. Main; this was the former location of the Cohen Bros. Fair Store.

            Schultz Bros. wanted to expand and in 1948 they rented the Hebblewhite Building that was adjacent to the south. This building had just been vacated by the Kroger Food Store.  The Waupaca County Post for March 4, 1948, stated that a considerable amount of wall space was being removed in the remodeling project that was in progress at the Schultz Bros. store.

            Mrs. John (Carrie) Hebblewhite passed away on March 27, 1957, and she willed the Hebblewhite Building to the Riverside Community Hospital, Inc.  Warranty Deed, volume 286, page 431, dated December 30, 1957, shows that the Schultz Bros. Company, an Illinois corporation, purchased from the Riverside Community Hospital, Inc., for the sum of $1 and other valuable consideration, the following described property.  The South twenty four (24) feet in lot number 3, in Block “K”, of the original plat of the Village (now city) of Waupaca, according to the recorded plat thereof, except the South six (6) inches thereof.

            In a news item that appeared in the Waupaca County Post for October 16, 1958, a report by a Schultz Bros. representative stated that they were proud to offer to their customers in the Waupaca and surrounding community the most modern shopping facilities to be found in any variety store for miles around.

            With the installation of the new counters and modern self-service fixtures it greatly increased the merchandise area. With four checkout stations and plenty of help to answer inquiries when needed, saved time for the customer.  There was also a bell at each checkout if you needed personal service.

            Schultz Bros. held a big three-day grand opening sale, starting October 16, 1958.  A big two-page ad in the Waupaca County Post advertised ladies’, children’s and infants’ clothing; household goods and a pet department; in fact, the new Schultz Bros. variety store carried nearly everything from alarm clocks to zippers.

            George Nehm, who was with the Schultz Bros. opened a new store in the new shopping center that was built on Waupaca’s west side, but continued to operate its variety store on Main Street until October of 1988.

            The new shopping center, Waupaca Woods Mall, was built between Neuville Motors and the Bowlby Candy Company.  It had an area of 80,000 square feet.  Schultz Bros. settled in the west 40,000 square feet of the building.  This made their new store almost six times the size of the downtown store.

            A little history of the Schultz Bros.:  the 5 and 10 Cent chain began in Appleton in 1902, when Robert Schultz opened a small store there.

            Louis Schultz, Robert’s brother, opened the second store in Green Bay in 1903, and a third one in 1904.  Two other brothers, Charles and Gustave, joined the expansion which became the forerunner of the chain of 65 modern variety and 11 family stores located in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

            In 1906 the Schultz Bros. chain moved its headquarters to Chicago, Ill., and in November of 1974, their headquarters moved to Lake Zurich, IL, where a new office complex and distribution center was located.

            A news article appeared in the November 3, 1988 edition of the Waupaca County Post.  “Prange Way set sights on Schultz’s in the Mall.  Larry Sommers, president of the Prange Way Division of H. C. Prange, stated that they were anxious to come to Waupaca, and if all loose ends could be tied up soon, they could be open in the spring of 1989.”

            Prange Way opened its doors in the former Schultz Bros. family store on March 13, 1989, and they held their grand opening in April.  This ended over 60 years for the Schultz Bros. in Waupaca, serving the public well.

            The Waupaca County Post for September 13, 1990, shows a picture of the architect’s concept of the downtown Schultz building after the exterior renovation is completed.  The article goes on to say that the former Schultz building at 112 South Main Street, which has been owned by Stephen Hansen, Steven Shambeau and Richard G. Johnson since January 1987, is slated for an October 1, 1990 construction start and approximately completion date set for mid-1991.  The tentative plan is to rename the renovated building as the Scott Building.






July 10, 1991


            On April 15, 1853, the Waupaca County Board, by a vote of 3-2, ordered the removal of the county seat from Mukwa to Waupaca, and the Gothic Hall was designated for holding the county and circuit court.

            The Gothic Hall was then located east, across Jefferson Street, from the Public Square.  In 1920 Sherm Sanders purchased the Dr. Brown property on the corner of Jefferson and Union Streets and built his Ford garage.  At that time the Gothic Hall was moved to the west end of Badger Street, across from the Immanuel Ev. Lutheran Church, and the former site of Gothic Hall became the Ford parking lot.  This property now belongs to the First National Bank of Waupaca.

            In 1855 it was decided by the State Supreme Court that Waupaca would be the county seat.  In the winter of 1855, construction on the “new” Courthouse had begun, near the center of the Public Square, and after its completion it served as the Waupaca County Courthouse until 1881.

            The title to the Public Square originally was received by David Scott by a United States govern-ment patent.  This land was platted in the original plat of the Village of Waupaca and was dedicated at that time to public use.

            In some research by Roy Rasmus, found in the “Waupaca Centennial 1857-1957,” he gives the transactions and transfers of the old Courthouse building, but not the land on which it stood.  This led up to the disposal of the old Courthouse to the Danes’ Home in 1882.

            The De Danske Hjem (the Danes’ Home) held its organizational meeting on January 6, 1877.  From then on they held meetings in four different buildings before they became the owners of their own building. The last location that they rented was over Matt Jensen’s Market on North Main Street, where they remained until November 14, 1882.

            When the new brick Courthouse was erected on the Public Square in 1882, the old Courthouse had to be moved to make room for the new, so it was moved to one corner of the Square.  Here it was purchased by the Dane’s Home for $275.  Now, they needed to find a home for their new acquisition.  According to Warranty Deed, Volume 56, page 229, dated September 19, 1882, the Dane’s Home purchased lot one (1), Block D, in the Village plat for $600, from Edson L. and Mary E. Demarest.  With the moving of the building and what improvements had to be made, the total cost for their new home was $1,300.

            The Danes’ Home building, now empty, stands on the corner of Granite and North Main Streets.  The old Courthouse that sat at this location served the Danish Society until in 1894, when it was sold once again and moved to the west end of the Water Street Bridge, on the edge of the Waupaca River.

            One of the last businesses to operate here was a bargain store that was run by Mossie Lucie before it was condemned.  It was razed in December 1965.

            This was another of our historic buildings that met the fate of the wrecker’s hammer.




July 17, 1991


            September of 1941, the old barn that stood on the A. M Penny property on South Main Street was moved to the Bailey cranberry marsh eight miles south of Waupaca on County Trunk E, where the old barn became a cranberry storage building.

            The barn was a sturdily built frame building that measured approximately 30 by 54 feet, and 20 feet in height on the foundation.

            This old barn stabled some of the finest carriage horses 90 years ago, back in the days when the horse and buggy was king.

A. M. Penney used to travel by horse and buggy to keep in touch with potato warehouses in a wide area around central Wisconsin.  The last horse that Mr. Penney drove was a little sorrel.  A young boy named Hanford Strand drove for him on frequent trips to the Penney farm just west of town.

The barn was sold by Mrs. Etta Penney Townsend, daughter of a potato magnate,

to Ralph and Ned Bailey, who also were members of another pioneer Waupaca family.

            Earl Cartwright had the task of moving the Penney barn, and it has been said that he handled it skillfully despite the size of the building and the length of the haul.  He sat the old barn down on the edge of the cranberry marsh without scraping a single shingle.

            In talking to Mr. Edmund Bailey, I learned that the move did not go all that smoothly.

            It seems that Mr. Cartwright had made a few miscalculations in road measurements, so Mr. Bailey had to pay for a few trees that were in the way, and the railing on the Dunbar Bridge had to be removed so the loaded barn could pass through without the need to block the building higher on the moving trucks.

            The old barn served as a cranberry storage house until into the 1950’s. It still stands on the Bailey property today, one end serving as a garage.




July 25, 1991


            When the first white settlers come to the Waupaca area in 1849, they initially built their crude shanties of logs, using blankets to cover the doorways and any windows.  These crude abodes served them well until such time that a better home could be built.

            It was not long before saw mills and planing mills came into operation, but most of the first lumber had to be hauled long distances.  Some of the lumber came by boats to Gill’s Landing, on the Wolf River, and had to be hauled overland from there to Waupaca by oxen.

            As lumber became more available, frame buildings were being erected, and soon after, a new source of material for the fireplaces and chimneys, other than the field stones found in the area, came into existence.

            An article that appeared in the Waupaca County Post, January 4, 1945, made note that Waupaca had been identified with a brick industry since pioneer days.

            The picture combined with this story was loaned to me by the Waupaca Historical Society for this story.  This is a picture of the Waupaca Brick Yard, owned and operated by Conrad Gmeiner in the late 1920s.  The eight funny-shaped structures that resemble corncribs were drying sheds, for drying the green brick.  The green brick remained in these drying sheds for about one week.

            Mining the clay was strictly manual labor at first.  The clay was shoveled into two-wheeled carts and hauled by one horse from the clay pit to the mixing shed, which stands at the left side of the picture.

            The 1874 plat map of the Township of Waupaca shows two 40 acre parcels in Section 32 belonging to Isaac N. West; this property in later years was owned by Chas. Churchill, whom Churchill Street was named after.  This property you will best remember as the Merle Pennebecker place on Apple Tree Lane, Isaac N. West and his son, Newton, manufactured brick from the clay pit on the 40 on the south side of the Crystal River, before it empties into the Waupaca River.  There was another pioneer brick yard that was referred to as the Webb Brick Yard.  It was located further down stream on the north side of the Waupaca River.

            The 1889 plat map of the Township of Waupaca shows this property as belonging to William J. Chamberlain, and it shows a brick yard in Section 33.  This is the first true indication of any brick yard in the area.  William J. Chamberlain purchased this tract of land from G. L. Lord on November 28, 1881.  William J. Chamberlain and his son, Elmer, owned the property until March 24, 1903, when it was sold to Conrad Gmeiner, who operated the brick yard until June of 1944, when it was sold to Elmer Dushek.

            The Waupaca Record of April 1903, mentioned that Con Gmeiner had recently purchased the brick yard property, the former Chamberlain property, and was going to purchase some new and modern machinery in the fall, at a cost of $2,000, and he expected to make the Waupaca plant one of the best in the northwest.

            In the early ‘30s, the Waupaca Brick Yard was a place where the young men of high school age could find summertime employment.  The brick yard only operated from April to November.

            The early ‘30s were rough, and you were lucky to have a job.

            Edwin “Eddie” Pope told me that he was a water boy there as a young lad, carrying water to the men.

            As time passed, new technique in brick making came about.

            Mercedes Sundby was interviewed by the Waupaca County Post in 1980.  She told the Post that she started work at the Waupaca brick Yard right out of high school as a secretary and a general handyman.  She remained associated with the brick business, off and on for 50 years.

            The Conrad Gmeiner Brick Yard was doing well.  It employed about 32 people, and the pay was from 30 cents to 45 cents per hour.  There were only three “bee hive” kilns in operation at the time.

            The following information comes from Elmer Dushek, who purchased the controlling interest in the Conrad Gmeiner and Sons Inc. Brick Yard in June of 1944, where he employed between 15 and 25 people.

            The one-horse, two-wheeled cart had long given way to the steam crane that used a 40 foot boom and a clam bucket to mine the clay.  Now there were five kilns looking like giant bee hives.

            The quantity and the quality of the clay was excellent, lying only a few feet belong the top layer of sand and gravel.  Mining clay became quite complicated here as the Waupaca and Crystal Rivers joined at this point.  This required diking the river and pumping the pit at all times.  An electric pump mounted on a float and used to pump the water from the bottom of the pit.  One of the pits was approximately four acres in area and 80 feet deep.

            A 24 inch gauge railroad, powered by a gasoline donkey engine, pulled two side dump cars that hauled the clay out of the pit and delivered it to the storage shed, where an overhead electric crane with a clam bucket moved the clay into the building where it was ground and mixed to make the brick.  Mike Tarr was the steam crane operator and Bob Prochnow was the donkey driver.

            In 1938 a 16mm movie was made of Waupaca and its people.  This has been transferred to video, and copies can be purchased.  The Waupaca Library has the film on loan.  One segment shows scenes of the Waupaca Brick Yard, and the donkey engine pulling the two side dump cars, dumping the clay directly into the mixing shed before the storage shed was built.

            Emil “Peg” Abrahamson was the plant foreman and brick machine operator.  Hans Anderson and Ken Nichols were the premiere brick pitchers.  They pitched the fresh dried brick (not fired) up to the brick setters in the kiln before firing.  Herschel Heath and Chris Schroeder, among others, were brick setters.  Gerhardt Sannes, Marlin Opper, Alfred Thiel, among others, were firemen.

            Firing, of course, was a round the clock job, which accounted for four men on three shifts, plus weekends, Bob and Wally Niemuth, Reuben Abrahamson and several other high school boys were brick pitchers. There are two other names that come to my mind:  Wilbur Larson and Harold Buck.

            When the brick machine was in operation, it would extrude and cut 6,000 bricks per hour.  These extruded bricks were soft clay, just firm enough to be handled carefully and placed on a car.  A conveyor belt took the brick from the cutter that was traveling just fast enough to allow about five inches between each brick.

            It was the job of the three pickers to pick up two bricks, one in each hand, turn around and place them on the “dried” car, turn around and there would be more bricks in front of them.  This continued at the rate of 6,000 bricks per hour.

            It was a matter of pride for the pickers to allow only a minimum of bricks to go over the end.

            The drier cars were steel, and arranged so that the air could circulate around the brick. These cars also traveled on a 24-inch gauge rail, carrying about 500 bricks.  These were transferred into the tunnel drier that was heated by waste heat.  It took 24 to 48 hours to dry the brick before they were ready to be set in the kiln for firing.

            The tunnel driers replaced the old drier sheds that resembled corncribs.  The waste heat was the heat that was released mechanically from the fired kiln to the tunnel drier while it was cooling down.

            On temporary tracks, the drier cars were switched into the kiln, where the brick pitchers tossed two bricks at a time to the setters who placed them in a precise position for correct heat transfer by exposing the greatest surface of the brick to the heat.  The kilns had a capacity of 40,000 to 60,000 bricks at each setting.

            After bricking up the doors, eight fireboxes around the kiln would gradually heat the entire mass to about 1,960 degrees F.  Melting cones of clay, which were about three inches in length, were placed in various places in the kiln to spot and signal possible overheating.  There was also an electric thermometer set strategically in the kiln to charter the temperature throughout the firing.  This process took five to seven days to complete, and it took another several days for the kiln to cool down.

            Waupaca clay naturally burned to a deep, red color.  However, for a variation of color, some kilns were finished off by adding pure zinc to the fire at the end of the firing and smoking.  Smoking was actually smothering the fire to make it smoke.  The chemical reaction of the zinc and molten clay left a permanent greenish, or tan color to the brick.

            Elmer Dushek told me that they used to buy all of the old zinc canning jar covers that they could.  Another source was the Feinberg junk yard.

            Following cooling, the kilns were unloaded as quickly as possible, to start the cycle over again.  The lower brick in the kiln would not get as hot and would have to be sorted out as common brick, while the greater portion would grade out as high-quality face brick.

            The wide range of colors set a standard for quality face brick in central Wisconsin.

            Mr. Dushek sold to several sizeable post-war housing projects.  One was in Mundelein, IL, which was 150 homes, and another was in Neenah, with 40 houses.

            The larger projects demanded a continuous supply of brick, which in turn required them to operate most of the winter months.  Winter operation increased the cost considerably and proved to be non-economical.

            The kilns required a large amount of hand labor.  Then, too, the clay mining costs kept rising as they went deeper, requiring more diking and more pumping.

            In 1953 Charley Schultz, a young ceramics engineer, was hired with the intent of making the operation more automatic.  In 1954 he formed the Badger Ceramics Corp., and lease-purchased the plant.  Badger Ceramics built a new, small continuous kiln that was more labor saving.

            However, with labor and mining costs on the rise, it used up any efficiency produced by the kiln.  They experimented with clay shipped in from other areas, but no changes seemed to ease the economic pressure, and Badger Ceramics turned the plant back to Elmer Dushek, who in turn, sold it to Edwin Pope in 1963.

            Mr. Pope operated the plant for a couple of years and then leased it to Graff Brick Co. of Waupaca, Inc., which filed for Article of Incorporation on May 25, 1965, who operated it only a short time before closing permanently.

            Folks who have the privilege of enjoying the Pope River Bend picturesque canoe trip may well remember seeing, at the point of disembarkation, what the Waupaca Brick Yard looked like before it was dismantled, only a couple of years ago.









August 1, 1991


            An article in the January 20, 1916, issue of a local paper proclaimed: “Waupaca to have an Automatic Base Ball Game.”

            F. L. Lewis of Lodi rented the building on West Fulton Street next to the alley adjacent to Prink’s barbershop.  This, it would appear to be, is the present location of the U.S. Army recruiting office at 111 West Fulton.

            This is what the article went on to say:

            “The equipment consists of a large canvas placed at the back of the room, set at an incline to be perpendicular with the top edge of the canvas farther from the front than at the bottom end.  Marked across the canvas are three lines, the lower line represents a single, the second line represents a two-base hit and the top one a home run.

            “Immediately in front of the canvas is an automatic pitcher which throws the balls to the batsman who stands well to the front of the floor which is set at an incline in order to return the ball to the pitcher if the batsman misses it.

            “When the ball is driven straight into any of the fields on the canvas without first touching the floor in front of the canvas, the batsman scores as the legend on the canvas indicates.”

            In a March 16, 1916 paper, only two months later, was this notice:  “Base ball game did not prosper here.”

            The business thrived for a time but soon the novelty wore off and the patronage declined to a point where it was not profitable to continue.  So Mr. Lewis struck out, took down his canvas, packed his equipment and returned to Lodi.




August 8, 1991


            Lot 1, Block “L”, is the original plat of the village, now the City of Waupaca, may

have been a business location as early as 1863, and possibly even before.

            This location, 202 South Main Street, is JR’s True Value Hardware Store in 1991, owned and operated by Roger and Gloria Coenen.

            There had been four owners of this property when on August 24, 1922, Joseph E. Cristy purchased it from Mrs. Louisa Spaulding, the widow of Henry J. Stetson of Chicago, Illinois.

            Going back in warranty deed records, on January 21, 1857, Benson Survey and his wife, Eliza, of Waukesha, sold Lots 1 and 10 in Block “L”, as recorded in the original plat of the village, to Thomas McCrossen.

            Four months later on May 19, 1857, McCrossen sold the same two lots to William P. and Isabel Quint.  The property again changed hands on August 15, 1863, when William P. Quint and wife sold the property to Henry J. and Austin Stetson.

            It is believed that Henry and Austin Stetson operated a mercantile or jewelry business together until June 18, 1877, when Austin sold out his interest to Henry, who continued to operate the business until his death on July 16, 1892.  Austin had passed away in 1881.

            It would seem only logical that Henry J. Stetson built his large, two-story brick building sometime shortly after the big fire on January 19, 1877, that destroyed many of the old wooden structures on Main Street.

            The Stetson store had a stairway on the south side of the building that led upstairs to a large hall on the second floor over the Stetson store.  This was known as Stetson Hall where large parties, dances, and roller skating were held.

            I found an interesting account that told about J. H. Hudson, who had one of the first bands in Waupaca that was active in playing at gatherings, such as concerts, patriotic celebrations, baseball games and at the roller skating rink over Cristy’s store (Stetson Hall).

            Mrs. Kathleen Marceil of Wisconsin Rapids, who is a granddaughter of the late Joseph E. Cristy, told me that Cristy’s also held style shows there.

            And when Turkey Trot days were held in Waupaca, she said that Cristy’s released their turkey from their roof.

            As close as I can find out, Turkey Trot days started shortly after the years of World War I.  It was a day set aside before Thanksgiving when the merchants of Waupaca got together and ran big sales to induce the people of the surrounding area to come to Waupaca to do their shopping and to have a chance of catching a free turkey.

            Large crowds gathered in the streets below waiting for the moment that a turkey would be released from the roof of a store building.  Whoever wound up with the turkey – probably scared out if its wits and lacking some of its feathers – was his – or hers – to keep for Thanksgiving dinner.  This practice was discontinued in a few years because things got a little out of control, and I believe that a football was substituted to replace the live turkey.

            C. J. (Curtis John) Vosburg was employed in the mercantile establishment of H. J. Stetson in 1892, at the time of Mr. Stetson’s death.  Mr. Vosburg took over the operation of the Stetson store in 1893, and ran it until 1900, when he retired.

            A notice in a Waupaca newspaper for August 24, 1895, noted that C. J. Vosburg had a new hardwood floor and new plate glass front windows put in, which gave him a better chance to display his large stock of goods.

            Vosburg was born in Milwaukee, March 12, 1847 and died August 8, 1931.  He was united in marriage to Miss Lucy Havenor and they had two daughters:  Frances, who married Carroll H. Cristy, and Florence, who married W. M. Lukes.

            Vosburg gained his experience in clerking at an early age, working for A. M. Kimball at Pine River and at Northport and later was a partner in a store in Plainfield before coming to Waupaca after his marriage in 1886.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Vosburg are buried in the Saxeville Union Cemetery.

            After C. J. Vosburg retired in 1900, the Nielson Bros., Frank and Edward, took over the store and operated their mercantile business until they were forced to close in 1903.

            A Waupaca paper dated October 8, 1903, stated that, J. E. (Joseph Elmore) Cristy, “a young man from Ringwood, Illinois, came to Waupaca last week with the view of renting the store building that was operated by the Nielson Bros.”

            J. E. Cristy opened the Cristy store March 15, 1904.  He opened with a big three-day sale. This was the start of one of the three big names in business in Waupaca:  Cristy’s, Cohen Bros. (Fair Store) and Lea’s.

            Another news item that appeared in the Waupaca Leader, May 8, 1912, said, “Cristy will remodel store. Plans are underway for extensive improvements.  The store building will be extended 36 feet to the west, and will be two stories high, and the same width as the present building.  He will have a galley room 36 by 43 feet at the west end, where he will have offices and a rest room.  The women’s ready-made clothing will be upstairs.  The partitions in the main store room will be taken out. There will be no change in the basement.”

            For several years J. E. Cristy conducted an annual vegetable fair, whereby people were encouraged to exhibit their labors.  The winners were given different amounts as premiums for the different categories of produce.  These premiums were payable in merchandise of their choice from any department.

            The premium list for September 1910, for Cristy’s fourth annual vegetable fair, included vegetables of all types:  field corn, apples, grapes, canned fruit, jellies, pickles, and flowers, a total of 43 categories in all.  The prize winners’ produce, except roses, canned fruit, pickles and jellies became the property of J. E. Cristy after the fair.  He paid them the market price.  He also bought any other produce that was for sale.

            A $1 premium was paid for most of the categories.  I will list only a few:  peck of Rural New Yorker potatoes, peck of Burbank potatoes, peck of Early Rose potatoes, also pecks of Early Ohios and Triumphs; pecks of red, white and yellow onions, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, sugar beets, parsnips, rutabagas, watermelons, musk melons, squash, popcorn, sweet corn, white and yellow Dent corn and white and yellow flint corn; largest and best variety of apples; canned fruit; pickles; jellies; roses, cut flowers and dahlias in bloom.

            Joseph Elmore Cristy was born January 1, 1865, at Johnson, VT.  His parents moved to Ringwood, IL, when he was still a small boy.  He attended the public schools at Ringwood and later at the University of Valparaiso.  When he returned from Valparaiso he became associated his father in the general merchandising business.  He later purchased his father’s interest and established a bank in connection with it.

            On September 30, 1885, Joseph E. Cristy was united in marriage to Flora Harsh of Ringwood.  They became the parents of five children:  Carroll, Harry, Mae, Kenneth and Jay.  Flora Harsh Cristy passed away in Waupaca on October 14, 1920.  On February 12, 1924, J. E. was married to Beatrice McCallen, who died the following October 6.

            Mr. Cristy was the superintendent of the Methodist Sunday School nearly the entire time that he resided in Waupaca.  J. E. Cristy passed away January 25, 1927, and is buried in the family plot in Waupaca.

            It was not until August 24, 1922, that J. E. Cristy purchased on land contract the property where he had opened his store in March of 1904.  After his death in 1927, his son, Carroll H. Cristy, took over the business.  It was on January 20, 1928, that Carroll H. Cristy fulfilled the land contract obligation, with Mrs. Louisa S. Spaulding of Chicago, IL (Mrs. Spaulding was the widow of Henry J. Stetson, who had remarried.)

            The Cristy store continued to operate on the corner of West Union and South Main streets until March 5, 1942, when Mrs. Carroll Cristy leased her entire store to Gamble-Skogmo, Inc.  The article in the Waupaca County Post stated that Gamble’s had plans to greatly enlarge their sales room in both the basement and the main floor as well as the balcony and that Mrs. Cristy would dispose of her ready-wear and dry goods stock immediately.

            In 1939 Gambles moved from their location at 117 North Main Street to the Cristy building.  Mrs. Cristy rented them the left, or inside one-half of her building, and in 1942 they took over the entire building.

            In 1981 Roger and Gloria Coenen rented the building, converting it to JR’s True Value Hardware Store, and in 1988 they purchased the property from Mrs. B. L. (Kathleen) Marceil, the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Carroll Cristy.




August 15, 1991


            Con artists generally concentrate on the unfortunate; the aged, the sick and the poor, often resulting in the loss of their money, or even death.

            “Operation Desert Con,” an article that appeared in the Washington Post, February 15, 1991, told about a family who had a son fighting in the Persian Golf.  They answered a knock on their door, and there stood two men dressed to give the impression that they were emissaries from the military.  They were solemn as they told the couple their son had been arrested for the possession of marijuana in Saudi Arabia.  They said that the courts were rough over there, but that they might be able to get him off.  It would cost about $5,000.

            Anyone connected to this type of scam is so low that they could crawl under the belly of a snake, and still have plenty of room.

            Closer to home: in the local newspapers of May 7, 1908, the story broke that Ole Budsburg of Iola may have been murdered.  Ole Budsburg was about 50 years old when he left his home north of Iola, and went to LaPort, IN, in the fall of 1906.  He soon returned and drew out $1,000 from his bank account.  Since that time he was never heard from again.  It was thought by his family that he may have gone to Norway.

            Henry Gurhold of Scandinavia also had been missing for two years.  His friends said that he had been in communication with a matrimonial bureau through a Scandinavia paper, and was corresponding with a Mrs. Gunness.  When he left Scandinavia he said he was going to marry a widow who owned a large farm near Chicago.

            Mrs. Bell Gunness of LaPorte, IN, had placed ads for matrimony and farm managers in some Scandinavian newspapers, but there was a catch; they had to come up with a certain amount of money.  It seems as if there was too many things not accounted for, so the authorities were called in.  They unearthed 22 bodies on her farm in LaPorte.

            Oscar and Matt Budsburg, sons of Ole Budsburg, and Ed Chapin went to LaPorte for the grim purpose of identifying one of the corpses as that of their father.  The remains were brought back to the Scandinavia Lutheran Cemetery for burial.

            Another incident that was of interest was that Carl Peterson, a fireman at the Wisconsin Veterans Home, had corresponded with Mrs. Gunness relating to renting her farm.  Evidently he could not come up with the proper amount of money, because in another letter, the deal was off.  He answered another ad from her for a farm manager.  Luckily for him that he was unable to come up with enough money to make the deal attractive enough for her. Carl Peterson lived to read about the scam that almost cost his life.




August 22, 1991


            Peg Holzman put in several hours researching Waupaca City Council minutes to find out when the Waupaca bandstand was built.  It seems that Peg had received a query from a lady in New London, asking if she knew when the bandstand was built, and this prompted her search for the answer.

            She spent all of the first day with no luck.  The second day she started again with less spring in her step.  After about three hours she spied the word “Bandstand.”  She felt like shouting at the top of her voice “Eureka, I’ve found it at last.”

            The minutes of the Waupaca City Council for June 17, 1898, state: “Whereas the city of Waupaca has two bands and whereas there is no bandstand in the city of Waupaca, therefore be it resolved that a committee of three, two appointed by the Mayor, and the Mayor as chairman of said committee, to investigate the advisability of said city to erect a bandstand in the courtyard.  A. R. Lea, Secretary.”

            On June 27, 1898, the committee reported that it found general approval for a bandstand.  They offered a resolution authorizing the city to spend $250 for it.

            On July 18, 1898, it was reported that the committee had let the contract for building the same at a cost of $275 and authorized that another $25 more be appropriated.  All voted aye.

            The City Council continued in assisting the city band for band purposes such as concerts.

            In August of 1904, $7.50 was appropriated to light the bandstand, and on June 18, 1907, $25 was appropriated to help pay the expense of a Fourth of July celebration.

            In the Waupaca Centennial 1857-1957, that was published in 1957, can be found this story about one of Waupaca’s earliest bands.

            This band was a group of country boys from the Town of Farmington who practiced in the Barton School House under the guidance of Lee Dana, who received the enormous amount of $3 a week for his instructions.  The Barton Schoolhouse is now the Farmington Town Hall, at the intersection of State Highway 54 and County Trunk Q, approximately four miles west of Waupaca.

            Four Smith Brothers – Alfred, Fred, Dave and Ed – were all born on the old homestead, then called the Hill, which is on Smith Lane, were the four surviving children of William and Elizabeth Evans Smith.

            These four brothers formed the backbone of a musical group that played together for nearly a decade.

            The most outstanding achievement of this musical group took place when they played for a G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) encampment in Milwaukee that was headed by General William Sherman of Civil War fame.

            Their big moment came when this band of country boys from the Waupaca area was chosen from among 52 bands from all over the north to go with General Sherman as he addressed large crowds in various halls.

            One of the group had remarked that they didn’t get anything but their expenses, but they didn’t want any more, as they had made a name for themselves.  On the day of the great encampment in Milwaukee, they marched and played for six consecutive hours.

            A little background on the Smith Family. The father, William Smith, was born in Wales in 1840, and came to America when only 12 years of age.  He first settled in New York State where he met and married Miss Elizabeth Evans in 1857.  In 1858, they came to the Town of Farmington, Waupaca County, to make their home near the Chain o’ Lakes.  It was here that they became the parents of six children.  Only four survived to adulthood.

            In 1897 or 1898, Mr. and Mrs. William Smith erected the first main building which was named Locksley Hall, on Round Lake.  This became a very popular summer resort.  This later became known as Locksley Lodge.

            In 1948 and 1949, the Waupaca County Post published the memoirs of the Chain o’ Lakes, by Fred M. Smith, the Patriarch of the Lakes.

            Fred M. Smith and his wife built the Brinsmere Inn, also another popular resort before the days of the automobile, when people could travel long distances to other areas of the state.

            There was another band that started in Waupaca in the 1880s, directed by J. H. Hudson.  They gave regular weekly concerts and played at celebrations on patriotic holidays, baseball games and at the roller skating rink over Cristy’s Store.

            Charles Carroll, from the east, was another outstanding director of the 32-man Waupaca City Band from 1918 to 1935. In 1936, the Waupaca schools established a regular band department.




August 29, 1991


            Let’s start back in Merrie Old England on February 6, 1817, the day that Joseph Bucknall was married to Miss Mary Wilson, at Withern, North Alford, Lincolnshire, England.

            Here they became the parents of four children:  Hannah, John Wilson, Sarah and another daughter, who stayed in England.

            John W. Bucknall married Jane Housam; Hannah married George Harness, and Sarah married Nathan Hebblewhite.  They were all married in England, in the mid-1850s, and came to America right after their marriages.  Nothing is really known about the other sister who stayed in England.

            There are many living descendents of the Bucknell and Hebblewhite pioneers in the Waupaca area.  The Harness descendents are mostly in the Neenah area.

            The name of Bucknell in England was changed to Bucknell in America.  John W. Bucknell was this columnist’s great-grandfather.

            This story is going to branch out to the Hebblewhite family. John Hebblewhite was the eldest son of Nathan and Sarah Bucknell Hebblewhite, who was active in business circles in Waupaca for several years.

            Warranty Deed, volume 9, page 314, dated September 20, 1899, shows that Frank and Carrie Stout sold to John Hebblewhite 19 ½ feet in width off the north side of Lot 4, Block K, as shown in the original plat of the Village (now the City) of Waupaca.  The Waupaca County National Bank was the owner of the south 39 ½ feet of Lot 4, Block K.

            On May 25, 1901, there was an agreement drawn up between the Waupaca County National Bank and John Hebblewhite for $475, whereby Hebblewhite could utilize the north wall of the bank building that had previously been built on the lot line between the two lots.  It also was understood and agreed that the $475 only gave John Hebblewhite the use of the wall to a height of 32 feet, and if at any time he decided to go higher, he could do so by paying, at the same rate.

            In the Waupaca Post, July 17, 1901, a notice states that the Hebblewhite building next to the bank building was torn down and work on a new structure will commence in a few days.

            John Hebblewhite willed this property to his son, Earl T. Hebblewhite, who in turn willed it to his niece and nephews; Clement, Walter and Jeanette Hebblewhite, all of Oshkosh.  A warranty deed recorded January 18, 1974, shows that C. Kenneth Petersen purchased the property from the Hebblewhites. This completes the owners up to the present, but between 1901 and the present, there were several different establishments renting this building.

            The Waupaca Record for July 4, 1912:  “Two more saloons here.  Waupaca now has 12 saloons, which is the limit for a town of this size.  The two new licenses were issued to Whittington and Thurston, who will start a saloon in the Lord building formerly occupied by Hub Bessinger’s pool room, and to Guy Lyons, who will occupy the place that was vacated by Jake Hofberger.”  This is the building owned by John Hebblewhite at 118 S. Main Street.

            Two years later on July 1, 1914, at the stroke of the clock at midnight all saloons closed, as the city went dry.  A reporter from the Waupaca Record Leader interviewed all of the proprietors of each saloon asking them what their future plans were. It seems as if he received many different answers.  Frank Guyant was evidently backing Guy Lyons, because he reported that his plans were to dispose of the fixtures of his place as soon as he could and retire, that he came into it by accident and was anxious to get out.

            On Sunday, October 17, 1915, Mr. A. C. White and Mr. A. E. Sherr held a formal opening of their New England Restaurant in the Hebblewhite building that was formerly a saloon.

            Their opening advertisement read:  “Every energy had been put forth to make the restaurant a beautiful, as well as a home-like place to eat.”  Besides they had a soda fountain, fresh candies, cigars, as well as other delicacies.”

            The Sunday evening dinner was served from 6 to 8 p.m., with music.  The menu consisted of celery, olives and ill pickles; choice of prime roast beef, spring chicken, baked lake trout with tomato sauce, roast pork with applesauce, escalloped oysters, Hungarian goulash, fresh vegetables; brown pudding with brandy sauce, tea, coffee, milk, brick ice cream, cake, fruit and nuts.  There was no price on the ad, but the New England Restaurant ad for Sunday, October 28, 1915’s list for the Sunday dinner menu was cream of tomato soup, celery, olives and sweet pickles, roast veal with dressing, chicken pie, scalloped corn, roast beef with brown gravy, combination salad, orange pudding, pie and ice cream, tea, coffee and milk.  Price 50¢.

            An ad dated November 18, 1915, boasted 15¢ lunches.  The ad stated that it was not necessary to spend 35¢ for a meal when you can get meat, potatoes, bread and coffee for 15¢.

            The main floor of the building was the main dining room, with the second floor a banquet hall fitted up in a modern way with a wash room, toilet room and a writing room for the ladies and children.  The kitchen was in the basement. We remember this basement as always being a barber shop.

            I found a poem written by A. W. Ross about the New England Restaurant that I am going to share with you.

Sherr and White, so they say,

Have opened up this very day

A brand new restaurant, spick and span

That will please the heart of any man.

Then Sherr and White, we will say

Are up to date in every way;

Their table service is the best,

That you will hear from every quest.

And in their larder you will find

The very things you had in mind,

And so it will be easy for the rest

To get the things you like the best.

Then all their waiters are right in line

To serve refreshments at any time,

But when the public have once been served,

They will shout without reserve

To all their friends to get in line,

For Sherr and White is the place to dine.

And when they have dined one and all

They will adjourn to the K of P Hall

There they will trip the fantastic toe

Till the wee small hours and it’s time to go

But at midnight then is the time

When Sherr and White will get in line

To serve refreshments spick and span

Which will certainly please the inner man.

Then they will go and shake their toes

For another hour and it’s time to close.

Then they will adjourn for home and bed,

Thinking for once they are well fed,

But in the morn, if they are still in need,

They will start for White’s to get more feed,

And you will hear them shouting along the way

That Sherr and White is the place to stay.

And they will keep this up from morn till night,

And all you’ll hear will be good things for White and Sherr.


            Sometime around 1919, Arthur White and Henry Buedding joined in as partners starting the Buedding and White Billiard Hall in the building vacated by the New England Restaurant.

            In June of 1942 the Buedding and White pool hall had a face lifting, as a result of an accident when a flare fell from the top of the wall above, and set fire to the awning and cracked two large plate glass windows at the time that Waupaca held its rally to promote the sale of war bonds.  Sherm Neuman repaired the damage in a fitting manner, so as to keep company with the Schultz Bros. store front.

            Arthur White passed away in 1937, but Henry Buedding continued to operate the pool hall for some time.

            While talking to Ted Girard over a cup of coffee at Katie’s one day, the subject of Buedding and White came up about the pool room.

            Mr. Girard mentioned a couple of incidents that happened in Buedding and White’s pool room.  Art Hewitt, who was at one time the city motorcycle cop and was a dare-devil on the motorcycle, having been seen at various times standing upright on his motorcycle coming down one of Waupaca’s streets, came into the pool room and pulled out his revolver and shot two shots straight into the floor.

            I believe it was about the time that Mr. Buedding wanted to sell out and that Art Hewitt considered buying him out.

            Hewitt ran the pool hall for about three days, and the kids gave him so much grief he gave up the idea of buying.

            I remember Buedding and White’s mostly for the large, thick chocolate malts.

            There was no beer sold while Buedding and White ran the pool hall.  The high school boys played pool there, but at a certain time they were ordered to rack them up to they would have plenty of time to get back to the schoolhouse.

            Since Buedding and White, there were other operators of the pool hall such as Pedersen, Cliff Potts and Carroll Johnson.

            The building is now occupied by the Grey Dove Antiques and Resale, and in the basement where the barber shops of James Paris, Plutz and Plowman and lastly Jim Vander Bloomen were, is now the Book Cellar and Sound Investments.




September 5, 1991


            Many people pick up a nickname sometime in their lifetime.  Maybe the nickname was Red, due to the color of their hair, or possibly by an occupation such as a dealer in cranberries.  One such was Cranberry Jones.

            When I was still in high school, I had the misfortune of cutting a deep gash in my leg with an axe, while cutting wood.  Consequently I walked with a limp for some time.  At the time there was a man whom some of you may remember. He was Louie Seavy, who had a wooden leg, and he walked with a limp, so I picked up the nickname of Louie.  You might say that I acquired my nickname by accident.

            The rest of the story you might also say, is about the Jones boys.  The following is taken from the obituary of Ansel Jones, better known as “Cranberry Jones.”  He passed away at the home of his son, Eugene, on February 10, 1910, at the ripe age of 95 years.

            He was born in Cayauga County, NY, in 1915.  In 1849 he came to Wisconsin with his new bride, Helen Schell, whom he had married in New York.  They arrived in Waupaca County sometimes in the 1850’s and purchased land in Sections 31 and 32, in the Township of Farmington.  The homestead farm is located near the entrance to the Hartman Creek State Park.

            Ansel Jones was engaged in farming until the 1880s.  In his earlier years he was engaged in lumbering for several winters, and he dealt in cranberries quite extensively, and from this derived his name of “Cranberry Jones.”

            Mr. and Mrs. Jones had seven children; two died at an early age – Ernest L. and Josephine. The five who grew to adulthood were Clinton, Neil, Herbert, Eugene and Edith, who married W. A. Hartman.  The mother, Mrs. Ansel (Helen) Jones passed away January 9, 1887.  Ansel Cranberry Jones lived a full life, and died on the homestead.  All are buried in the Pleasant Valley Cemetery.

            His obituary quotes that in business he valued his word from man-to-man, both physically and mentally, but in his declining years he was nearly blind.

            The rest of the story will follow Eugene Jones’ family.  The other brothers left home to make their fortunes in the West.

            Actually, Eugene Jones’ proper name was Ansel Eugene Jones. On November 25, 1880 he married Lorn Ann Perry and they had two sons, Thad H. and J. Paul.  Both were veterans of World War I.

            When Gene and Lola, as they were always called, began their married life together, they were harnessed with a little less than nothing.  Their farm, with only an old ramshackle house, and a big mortgage, was Gene Jones’ start in farming.  But with youth and a great ambition he paid off the mortgage and built a nice new farm home.

            Gene Jones was a great lover of music.  In his early youth he began taking music lessons on the organ, but his quick ear for music betrayed him into playing by ear instead of by note.

            His ability to improve on accompaniments, both to human voice and to other instruments, let him to join with the neighboring family of Truman Hartman and sons, who were known far and wide as “Hartman’s String Band,” with Gene Jones at the melodeon.  They were in big demand for dances through-out the country.  Later Gene took up with the violin, and with one or the other of his brothers playing the melodeon, he struck out on his own and became an accomplished performer on the violin.

            Gene Jones passed away December 28, 1928, and Lola, his wife, passed away December 1, 1940. They are buried in the Waupaca Cemetery.  One part of Gene Jones’ obituary states that he had many virtues and some faults, “but let us remember the virtues and bury the faults with his worn-out body in the grave.”

            Thad H. Jones, a son, also had musical talent.  He ran his own Jones Music Company in Waupaca, at 116 North Main Street.  He was a piano tuner and repaired organs. In his ads he advertised selling New Home sewing machines.  He served in World War I, and finally went to the Tomahawk area, where he stayed.

            J. Paul Jones, better remembered as Paul Jones, was born May 9, 1893, in the Town of Farming-ton, on the old homestead, and on October 14, 1925, he was married to Irene Kain, in Chicago, IL.  They had no children.

            Paul Jones was the Waupaca Police Chief from 1937 to July of 1944, and went on to be the super-intendent of the Waupaca County Hospital at Weyauwega from July 1, 1944 to March 1, 1966.  His wife, Irene, was the matron.  Together they were responsible for many improvements at the hospital, that made the place a better place for the inmates to live.  Mr. Jones was likely by everyone who knew him.

            After retiring in 1964, Mr. and Mrs. Jones retired to the old homestead farm near the Chain o’ Lakes and the Hartman Creek State Park.  Here he could be seen driving his tractor after both legs had been amputated.  Both Paul and Thad had diabetes and had lost both legs to this dreaded disease.

            My father was born and raised on the farm adjacent, to the north, of the Jones farm, and he spent many hours playing with the Jones boys.

            It was some time after Paul Jones had retired, when Dad was talking to him about his brother Thad, who also had lost both legs, when Paul Jones remarked that “you might say that the Jones boys don’t have a leg to stand on.”

            One story that I remember my father telling was about when they were kids, over to the Jones place playing with Paul and Thad.  Their parents were away, so the kids thought up some deviltry.  Grandpa Ansel Jones was home, his eyesight was bad, so the boys threw small stones at the house roof. It made quite a noise, and Grandpa Jones would come out of the house and yell at them.  Boys can be cruel at times.




September 12, 1991


            Charles R. Hoffmann, Waupaca’s optometrist for 57 years, passed away November 12, 1938, due to a fatal heart attack.

            Charles Hoffmann, his grandfather, was a citizen of Prussia, Germany, and reared a family of five children.  Their eldest son, also Charles, served an apprenticeship to a jeweler in Germany.

            After he had mastered the trade he came to America.  In New York he was married and remained there for a few years before moving on to Chicago, becoming one of that city’s early settlers.  It was in Chicago that his first wife died, leaving two small children, Charles R., the subject of this sketch, and his sister, Laura.  Charles R. Hoffmann had been born in Chicago, March 10, 1858.

            At the time of the great Chicago fire, October 9, 1871, Mr. Hoffmann had one of the largest jewelry establishments in Chicago, at 88 North Clark Street, and was among those who lost everything in the big fire.  He began all over again and was successful enough to save enough money to enable him to live in comfort for the remaining years of his life.

            He remarried again when young Charles was only 12 years of age and the boy was sent to a military school for the next two years.  After he attended the Academy at Lake Forest, near Chicago, he spent another three years at a school in Kankakee, IL. After he had enough schooling he was apprenticed to a watch maker, paying a tuition fee of $200 per year for the next three years.

            After he completed his apprenticeship he joined the large jewelry establishment of Giles Bros. in Chicago, until he decided to come to Waupaca in June 1881.

            It seems as if prior to 1881, Charles R. Hoffmann had been suffering from a sinus complaint, then called by the old-fashioned name “Catarrh.”

            He was advised by his physician to leave Chicago and move to a clean northern climate.  He had heard that a Mr. Chady had a jewelry and notions store in Waupaca, and had a position open for a clerk and jeweler.  This brought him to Waupaca and he worked for Mr. Chady for a year and then went into business for himself.

            On January 23, 1883, he was united in marriage to Anna Lea, who was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Lea, one of Waupaca’s early clothing store operators.

            In 1911 the jewelry stock was sold out, and now special training was required for Mr. Hoffmann’s new-found profession of making and fitting eye glasses.  A new business with new termin-ology was born.

            Four children were born to the Charles R. Hoffmann family, and one son, Ralph, eventually worked with is father, starting in 1933.

            Ralph L. Hoffmann had been born in Waupaca on March 12, 1894, and graduated from the Waupaca High School and from the Chicago School of Optometry in 1916.

            Dr. Hoffmann was a World War I combat veteran in France; following his army service he married Lucille Czeskleba in Waupaca on January 15, 1920.  They were the parents of two children, another Charles and Beverly.

            He retired due to ill health in 1962.

            I can still see the long metal stairway leading up the north side of the old Farmer’s State Bank building to the Hoffmann office on the second floor.




September 19, 1991


            The material for this story is taken from an old Waupaca newspaper, dated October 4, 1906. The story started out by commemorating the 100th birthday of Mary Marshall, who was a member of the Wis-consin Veterans Home, King.

            In 1906 she was one of the very few widows of soldiers of the Mexican War, whose names were on the pension roll.  She herself was a nurse in both the Mexican War and the American Civil War.

            She quoted that her life had spanned the most remarkable 100 years in all of the world’s history.

            She witnessed the rise and development of our American republic from the 13 original infant colonies to it becoming the most powerful nation in all the world (1906), whose brilliant and sublime achievements, both in the arts of war and peace, were supreme.

            She would be amazed today, in 1991, if she could see the advancements our country has made since 1906. She may have never in her wildest dreams thought of television, radio, automobiles, aeroplanes, atomic bombs, computers and the “confisticated” equipment that was recently employed in Desert Storm.

            Mary Marshall was born October 1, 1806, in Gunnon, Ireland, and had been a resident of these United States for 70 years in 1906.  In volume 6, page 217 of the death records, it shows her father as Patrick Skivewkon and her mother was unknown.

            She married Andrew Marshall at Toronto, Canada, in 1822.  He was a British soldier there at the time.  They moved to Milwaukee in 1849, and there Andrew became engaged in business. He served in the Mexican War for 17 months.  During their married years they had nine children, of which two sons went into service of his country during the Civil War and never did return.

            I could not find any mention as to when and where her husband, Andrew Marshall, died or is buried, but Mary E. Marshall died December 14, 1908, aged 102 years old at the Wisconsin Veterans Home hospital at King.  She is buried at the WVH Cemetery.




September 26, 1991


            The June 25, 1903 issue of the Waupaca Record wrote about this interesting account of “Old Abe,” the famous Wisconsin eagle.

            Chief Sky, a member of the Wisconsin Chippewas, was on a hunting tour in the spring of 1861 when he climbed on top of a ledge of rocks, and from this vantage point saw a large nest with two young eaglets in it.  The mother eagle was nowhere in sight so he took the two eaglets home with him as pets for his papoose.  One of them died shortly afterwards and the other one turned out to become famous.

            In the fall of 1861 a group of soldiers stopped at the home of Chief Sky and made a trade with him; a bushel of corn for the young eagle.  Soon thereafter, they presented the young eagle to their regi-ment, which left for the Civil War.  The young eagle was placed in the charge of one soldier.  During the long marches this soldier often carried him on a shield fastened to a standard. Sometimes when he was tired of riding or needed some exercise, he would leave his perch and fly away.  If fresh meat for his meals became scarce, he would be gone for several days and would return with a lamb.

            He could distinguish between the blue and the grey.  Sometimes he went to the wrong regiment before he found the right one.  During the battle at Jackson, MS, Old Abe, as he had by then been named, flew into the air and remained there from dawn to dusk.

            Old Abe was struck down several times by bullets during the war – once at Gettysburg’s Missionary Ridge – but he was soaring so high and his feathers were so thick that he suffered little harm.

            After the war was over he became the property of the State of Wisconsin and the basement of the Capitol at Madison became his home.  In the winter he roamed within the building and in the summer he occupied a cage on the grounds.  A live animal was always given him for his breakfast.  One day a white chicken was offered him for his breakfast, but whether it was from compassion or just longing to have a feathered friend to share his loneliness, he shared his corn with the chicken.  He allowed her to share his perch at night and would shelter her with his big wing.

            In 1876 Old Abe was taken to the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.  Visitors came from all over the country to see him.  He seemed to feel that he was highly honored.  He appeared to be watching the sale of his pictures and the story of his life. Some of his quills sold for $5, the money going for charity.

            In the spring of 1881 Old Abe fell ill.  The doctors pronounced it a case of lung trouble.  Everything was done for him, but he soon died.  His body was preserved in a museum at Madison.

            After reading this article, I became interested in learning more about Old Abe.  I found a publica-tion “Old Abe the War Eagle.”  It has been documented to be a much more accurate and up-to-date account of Old Abe.

            O-ge-ma-we-ge-zhig (Charlie) Chief Sky killed the mother eagle and had to cut down a tall pine tree that contained the nest with the eaglets.  He was a member of the Flambeau band of Chippewa Indians.

            Mrs. Dan McCann who lived near Jim Falls in Chippewa County, purchased the young eaglet for a bushel of corn.  They kept a large blue ribbon around its neck, clipped its wings and tied his feet.  Their two children were kept busy furnishing food for the growing bird.  They found rabbits, mice and partridges for his menu. Once he escaped for four days, but the large ribbon around his neck prevented him from flying very well.  He was growing day by day and becoming more and more a problem.

            Dan McCann took Abe to Chippewa Falls, which was forming a militia, and offered him to the soldiers for a mascot.  They rejected his offer, so he then went to Eau Claire and made them the same offer and they accepted.

            So now Abe was in the army.  The regiment from Eau Claire went to Camp Randall in Madison for training on September 4, 1861.

            Camp Randall was the training facility that transformed most of Wisconsin’s volunteers into soldiers.  When the Eau Clair company marched into Camp Randall to the tune of “Yankee Doodle,” Old Abe, aroused by the music, the trip and the attention of the citizens who had lined the streets, grasped the end of the company flag with his beak.  Flapping and stretching his wings, he created quite a sensation.

            The Madison State Journal described the event as a “majestic sight.”  Obviously the sound of a snappy tune turned Old Abe on, because when he was living in the Dan McCann household he enjoyed hearing Dan play his violin.  When he heard the fast part of “Bonaparte’s Retreat” he would jump up and down and flutter his wings.

            Old Abe now received a new perch to replace the old one.  The regimental quartermaster, Francis L. Billings, a 30-year-old-Oshkosh merchant, constructed a shield-shaped wooden plate above which a crosspiece was placed for Old Abe to perch on.  The shield was painted with stars and strips, with three wooden arrows along each side of the roost, and attached the device to a five-foot pole. At the base of the shield was inscribed “8th Reg. W.V.”

            Men from the 8th came from all over Wisconsin. They represented many different skills from mechanics, carpenters, lumberjacks, farmers and blacksmiths to name only a few.  It took nearly 100 men in several companies to form a regiment.  Company A were men from Waupaca, Portage and Waushara counties.  Company C came from the Eau Claire area.

            Old Abe stayed with Company C as its mascot. Six different members of Company C served as bearers during the Civil War.  James McGinnis, an Eau Claire farmer, carried the eagle until May 1862, when he died of some disease in Mississippi.  Thomas J. Hill of Eau Claire became Abe’s next bearer until August of 1862.  David McLain, a carpenter and farmer from Buffalo County, became Old Abe’s best-remembered bearer.  He carried the eagle during the fiercely fought battle that lasted for two days at Corinth, in October 1862.  Edwin Homaston, an Eau Claire blacksmith, became Old Abe’s closes human associate.  He carried him through the Vicksburg Campaign. Jacob Burkhardt, a German immigrant from Eau Claire, bore the eagle to 1864, John F. Hill, the 16-year-old brother of Thomas Hill, who was wounded at Corinth, carried Old Abe back to Madison and was mustered out in September 1864.

            Old Abe was home at last, free from the sounds and horrors of war.  He now became the property of the State of Wisconsin, and was now classified along with the battle flags that were returned by the state regiments, as a “War Relic.”  He was no longer a member of the 8th Wisconsin Infantry, but the eagle mascot now became a Civil War Curiosity.  As the years passed Old Abe’s fame grew.

            In the State Capitol, Old Abe had access to a specially constructed bathtub, was fed fresh rabbits daily, and had several sawhorses to roost upon.  The “Eagle Department” never lacked for visitors.

            Wisconsin’s War Eagle was not destined to spend his remaining years relaxing in his pen at the Capitol.  After January 1865, Old Abe made many journeys through Wisconsin and many other states.  All of this can be found in detail in the publication “Old Abe The War Eagle,” by Richard H. Zeitlin, and copyrighted by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in 1986.

            The bitter cold winter of 1880-1881 proved to be disastrous for Old Abe.  In February 1881, a small fire broke out in the basement of the State Capitol in a storage area containing paints and oils.  The fire was quickly brought under control, but an enormous amount of smoke filled the War Eagle’s quarters.

            On March 20,1881, Old Abe refused to eat and continually lost strength.  On Friday, March 25, the bird went into spasms, appearing to be suffering from lung difficulties.  Old Abe died in George Gile’s arms the following afternoon.  Immediately the question arose as to what should be done with the eagle’s remains.  Having the bird mounted won out over the burial in Union Rest at Madison’s Forest Hill Cemetery.  It seems as if the taxidermist did a poor job on Old Abe, as he did not look very natural.

            In May a dispute arose over where and how the stuffed eagle would be displayed. On September 17, 1881, Old Abe went on display in the rotunda of the State Capitol.  Four years later the eagle was removed to the War Museum which was a part of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin’s room in the Capitol.  The eagle was placed in an octagonal black walnut and glass case which stood near the rows of tattered flags that had survived the Civil War.

            Old Abe, even after death, traveled in his eight-sided black walnut case to be viewed at fairs and expositions around the country.

            In 1900, when the State Historical Society moved into its new location on the University campus, Old Abe went along.  Pressure from veterans’ groups convinced Governor Robert M. LaFollette to have the eagle and the war flags returned to the Capitol.  As it turned out that was a grave mistake.

            In the spring of 1903, the encased Old Abe became part of the exhibits at the G.A.R. Memorial Hall in the Capitol.  Old Abe did not even spend an entire year in the G.A.R. Memorial Hall, because in February of 1904, a fire broke out in the Capitol once more.  Despite all efforts, the fire consumed Old Abe in his beautiful case.

            I hope that you enjoyed reading this article as much as I did in putting it together.  Be sure to read the full account of Old Abe in “Old Abe the War Eagle.”




October 3, 1991


            Pick out your favorite easy chair, close your eyes and make yourself comfortable for a trip down memory lane.

            Do you remember getting out of the warm feather tick on those cold winter mornings, only to find the stoves all out, and ice on the water pail?

            You try to start the fire in the kitchen cook stove, so you could start breakfast, only to find that you had not brought in any dry kindling the night before to start the morning fires, and there was no dry wood in the wood box.  Corn cobs soaked in kerosene were excellent for starting a fire.

            Did you ever take a dare from someone to stick your tongue on the pump handle on one of those cold winter days, only to find that you were stuck there – until someone came with some warm water to pour on the pump handle, or you lost some skin?  “Ouch!”

            Since you had no modern conveniences, such as running water, you had the old outhouse in the backyard.  Sometimes you wished that you had started out a little earlier.  And there was nothing more disturbing than to find only the smooth pages of the Sears-Roebuck catalogue.

            Remember the old-fashioned flat irons that were heated on top of the kitchen range?  These were not only used to iron the freshly-washed clothes, but were many times wrapped in a blanket and placed at the foot of the bed to keep your feet warm if you slept in a cold, non-heated room.  If you did not have a charcoal heater to keep your feet warm while riding in a sleigh or a cutter, these flat irons made a good substitute.

            Back in the days when we received our first big winter snows, the old flivver was put in the garage, up on blocks until spring.

            The country folks used to be a cooperative lot; at least they were in Blaine when I was growing up.  They worked hard and played together.  Many exchanged work when it came harvest time. At thresh-ing time, each one helped his neighbors.  Oh, what meals the ladies put on at threshing time.

            When the cook yelled, “Come and get it,” she had better get out of the way.  They did not take a lot of time washing or primping up.  They were hungry and wanted to eat so that they could get back to work as soon as possible.  Sometimes they ate in shifts to save time.

            Ethel Bowers, who was raised under the influence of city life in Waupaca, married my father and was introduced to country life on the farm.  Her first experience with threshing crews was something else. She had expected the men to clean up and put on their best manners at the table. She had put her best tablecloth on the table, but when the men sat down to eat, she just stood there in shock, as the men passed, or reached for the bread, meat and potatoes.

            There was silo filling and corn shreading to be done before the winter set in.

            In the winter each farmer would put up his own wood pile, to be sawed by some power-driven circular saw.  I distinctly recall helping saw wood a few days before Christmas, when it was 10 below zero. The saw rig was powered by an old stationary gasoline engine. The engine would continually stop, and to keep warm we burned the sawed wood nearly as fast as it was sawed.  Better saw rigs were being built by mounting an automobile engine on a car frame with a swinging saw.  You who never helped saw wood don’t realize how dangerous it was.

            Another winter chore was putting up ice for summer use.  It was generally very cold weather when that task was done.  More than one man took a dip in the cold water when a large chunk of ice broke from the main part.

            Saturday night was time to relax and enjoy life. If there was no dance at the Blaine Hall, or in the area, there was a card party in one of the homes in the community.  Dr. Sam Salan and his Troubadours from Waupaca were popular at the Blaine Hall.

            Each family in a club would take their turn at hosting a card party.  Generally the family that was the farthest away would take its team and sleigh and pick up neighbors as they went.

            How we kids enjoyed this.  We would tie our sleds behind the sleigh. We spent as much time picking ourselves out of the snow, as we did on the sleds.

            Once at the party, we would play kid games until we were tuckered out, and then we would lie on the beds and cover ourselves with the coats that were there.  When it came time to go home our folks had to sort out their right kids from under the coats.  This was the tough part, to be awakened in the wee hours of the morning, put back in our warm coats and go out in the cold again for the trip back home.  We were satisfied to ride in the sleigh going home.

            Remember the old dry cell operated telephone that hung on the kitchen wall?  The one with the receiver hanging on the left side and the hand crank that was on the right side?  In those days it was all party lines, and when the phone rang, it rang on every phone on that party line.

            Each party on the line had a certain number of rings such as two short, one short and one long, etc.  One long ring was for central.  It seemed as if some people had nothing better to do than to listen to every ring that came on their phone.  It did not take long to memorize the rings for all on that line, so if you wanted to keep tabs on a certain party you listened in. This was how the news and gossip traveled, and sometimes there must have been some red faces.

            It was nice, after the chores were done, after a day of hauling in hay, to go to Pine or Pickerel Lake for a swim.  You met most of your neighbors there for a good time. I remember of one instance when a rather heavy woman jumped off the springboard and landed straddle on a fellow’s neck and drove him to the bottom.

            What happened to the 5¢ ice cream cone, package of gum and the Baby Ruth candy bar?

            How much did you pay for your first automobile?  An ad in the Waupaca County Post in 1934 went something like this, “The Ford V-9 for 1934, the only car under $2,000 with a V-8 cylinder engine, dual carburetion and gives 2-1/2 more miles per gallon.”  The new Terraplanes and Hudsons were on display in 1934, at Rohde Motor Co., at the Modern Garage at 219 Jefferson Street, Waupaca.

            The Terraplane 6 sold for $565, for a coupe at the factory, and a Hudson 8 at $695, for a coupe at the factory.  Leo J. Fuhrman, 114 Granite Street, advertised his Oldsmobiles at $845 for a beautiful V-8, and a six-cylinder for $640.

            Van Nelson Company, at 200 North Main Street, received a carload of Overlands in March, 1914.  He also handled Jeffery cars.  This building was for many years the Nelson Paint Company, and now stands empty.  There is a story in itself on this building.

            A. M. Hanson had his ad in the 1909 paper for his Maxwell cars, the car for the farmer and a car for the businessman, selling from $500 to $1,750.

            In 1916, Myron P. Godfrey sold 40-horse power, 4-cylinder Studebakers, selling at $885.

            Here is a car that not many people remember; the Allen.  William Koenig was the agent located at 106 East Union Street in 1916.  It had a long wheel base, 112 inches, ample power, 37 hp, lightweight, 2,300 lbs., and priced at $795.

            F. L. Hoaglin, proprietor of the Waupaca garage, advertised in 1912, Ford Model T, 2-passenger, 4-cylinder and 20-horsepower for $590.  This Ford was full equipped with top, automatic windshield, speedometer, two gas lights, three oil lamps, horn and tools.




October 10, 1991


            While nicknames may still be in your mind, another interesting one has come to my mind:  “Apple Tree” Barnes.

            I will start with his father, Horace Barnes, who was born in Onondaga County, New York, and died at his home in Oakfield (Fond du Lac County).  He was married in Onondaga County, NY, about 1846, to Phoebe L. Higgins.

            Samuel W. Soule, a nephew of Mrs. Barnes, was the original inventor of the typewriter, the plans of which, and the first model were made on Horace Barnes’ farm in the Township of LeRoy (Dodge County).

            Horace Barnes came to Dodge County with his bride, being among the first settlers in LeRoy Township.  Mr. and Mrs. Barnes were blessed with 11 children:  William D., who was the first white boy born in LeRoy Township, Asa D., Horace, Henry B., Julius A., Flora A., Blanch D., Duane P., Phoebe I., and two more who died in infancy.

            Asa D. (Apple Tree) Barnes, the subject of this story, was born September 5, 1852.  He attended school in a log schoolhouse in which the desks were supported by wooden pegs, set in holes bored in the logs on the side of the building.

            At the early age of 10 he became interested in planting, pruning and grafting trees.  His interest was due to his mother, who was very fond of trees, shrubs and flowers.

            Asa D. Barnes was reared on the family farm, where he assisted in the hard work of helping clear the land and digging out stones all day.  Asa remained on the farm until he became of age.  Asa D. Barnes had visions of a better life as he toiled in the fields on the home farm.

            He left home, arriving in Nebraska on November 10, 1873, with only $28.40 in his pocket.  On the first of January 1874, he filed a homestead entry, and the next four years he devoted his time and attention to the development of his farm.  Meanwhile he had purchased three other farms.  His first house was a dugout in a bank.

            He planted the first orchard in Fillmore County, Nebraska, and started the first nursery, but it was destroyed by wind and drought.

            On September 30, 1877, Asa D. Barnes was united in marriage to Miss Lucie J. Wheeler, in Fillmore, NE.  Her father was supposed to have been a cousin of the Wheeler who was then the country’s vice president.

            In 1880 he traded his Nebraska holdings for a farm back in Wisconsin, in Fond du Lac County.  He spent the next two years there before moving to the City of Fond du Lac, and became engaged in the nursery business in Waupun.  In 1883 they moved to South Dakota.  While there he acted as a head foreman for a nursery firm at Atlantic, IA, often having as many as 50-100 men in his charge.

            In 1885, Mr. and Mrs. Barnes disposed of their interest in Fond du Lac and came to Waupaca County to live.  On May 19, 1887, A.D. Barnes purchased on land contract from Chas. Churchill, all of the SE ¼ of the NE ¼ in Section 32, T.22N-R.12E, lying south of the corner of the highway, also a sufficient amount, or portion of the NE ¼ of the SE ¼, also in Section 32, which together with the first piece described will make 20 acres of land.  According to the 1889 plat of the Township of Waupaca, it shows 53 acres of land in Section 32, as belonging to A.D. Barnes and Fruit Farm.

            The 1912 Waupaca County plat book, in Section 32, Township of Waupaca, shows A.D. Barnes as owning a total of 83 acres.

            Here in Waupaca, Mr. and Mrs. Barnes became the parents of three sons:  Roy W., Ray V., and Vernon Dee, who was the eldest of the three.  He was born in 1883, and died at the age of six years, as a result of accidental drowning in 1889.  He is buried beside his father, Asa D. Barnes, in the Waupaca Cemetery.  Asa D. Barnes died at his home in Friendship, January 31, 1927.  Lucie (Lucy) Wheeler Barnes died in 1911, and is buried in the Waupaca Cemetery, but in a different area, beside their son, Ray W. Barnes.

            The obituary for Asa D. (Apple Tree) Barnes states that he was married for a second time.  This time to Elsie Ewing, in 1910, and in 1920 they moved to Friendship, and established an abstract agency.  This would suggest that A.D. Barnes and Lucie Barnes had been divorced as he had married Elsie Ewing in 1910, and Lucie died in 1911.  This would account for their being buried in different parts of the Waupaca Cemetery.

            In 1887 Asa D. Barnes established the Arctic Nursery in Waupaca, from which he harvested as many as 8,000 bushels of apples in one year.  He took prizes on his fruit at the World’s Fair in Chicago and the World Exposition at St. Louis.  He received a diploma and medal at the Continental Exposition at Omaha, NE, and a gold medal valued at $175 at the Pan-American exposition at Buffalo, NY.  His winning at Chicago was for the best bushel of apples of any variety.

            It seems as if Apple Tree Barnes was the first person to introduce the idea of putting out fruit trees on contract.  He sold grape vines on contract with the guarantee of 12 pounds of grapes from every vine, and had 10,000 apple trees in the state from which he was to receive a certain percent of the fruit.  Throughout the years he had eight traveling men on the road selling his nursery stocks.

            On October 6, 1919, A.D. Barnes sold out to John T. and Sophia Meier, who ran it for a few years before giving up and returned to Iowa.

            In the early years of the 1930s, Mearl Pennebecker purchased the property and combined it with his Churchill property until about 1976, when he retired, and Mr. and Mrs. Pennebecker moved to town.  Mrs. Evelyn Pennebecker’s father was at one time a nursery salesman for Mr. Barnes.

            The Pennebecker Orchards that were located on Old Highway 10 (now Apple Tree Lane) have been renamed Crystal River Orchards.




October 17, 1991


            In the spring of 1946, the old frame building that stood next to the Leo J. Fuhrman garage, that was an old landmark in the central part of Waupaca, was being razed.

            The building, some 60 years old, had served a wide variety of uses since it was first constructed.

            It was first used as a church before it was moved to its present location. I have been told that at one time there used to be a church standing on the hill to the north of this location.  It apparently existed for only a few years.

            After this old building was moved to its new location it was used as a blacksmith shop; with the advent of the automobile the building was converted into a garage, with living quarters on the second floor.


            It next became a place for the storage for Waupaca school buses.

            What became of the building’s location after the structure was razed?

            Further research answers that question.  Warranty Deed, Volume 209, page 93, dated February 8, 1946, shows Peter W. Heckel and Leona, his wife, sold to Lee J. Fuhrman lot 4, block D, except the north 43 feet of said lot.

            In the Waupaca County Post, dated November 20, 1947, was an article stating that L. J. Fuhrman, proprietor of the Oldsmobile garage on Granite Street, was erecting a one-story building directly west of his present building:  it was to become a modern workshop when completed.

            A building was constructed 27 feet wide by 51 feet long. It was constructed of special baked blocks that are similar in size to concrete blocks, but are much lighter in weight and possesses much better insulating qualities.

            The front of the building was of the conventional brick, similar to the front of the original garage.  After the building was completed, they were joined by removing a portion of the west wall of the old garage building.

            Ev. Hansen, owner of Ev’s Service Center, has operated out of this building for several years, and brother Kerm Hansen, owner of Hansen Auto Exchange, has operated out of the old Leo J. Fuhrman garage since 1976.  As of January 1, 1991, the Hansen brothers united their businesses at 112 Granite Street.




October 24, 1991


            In the winter of 1876-77, the Wisconsin Central Railroad had just been completed to Ashland and many of the men who had worked on the line were idle.

            Combined with the young men idled by the lack of work on the local farms, there was an enormous amount of men who had no place to go for an evening of companionship and amusement, except at the local saloons.

            A group of members of the Waupaca community got together to see just what could be done to provide these men with a more suitable environment in which to gather.

            Lars Larson, William Bendixen and Nels Larson from Waupaca, and A.P. Anderson from Farmington circulated a pledge and a petition, and when 12 people had signed the pledge a room was rented in the wooden building owned by O.O. Olson.  The first meeting was held January 6, 1877.  Each signer paid a fee of 50¢ and the Danes Home was born.  A short time later this building was destroyed by fire.

            The Danes Home (De Danske Hjem) was the first lodge to organize for social and literary purposes.  In 1882 it incorporated under the laws of Wisconsin.

            The constitution and bylaws were adopted and the name “The Danes Home” was formally adopted.  The bylaws provided that all males born to Danish parents, 18 yeas of age, or older, who were able to read and speak the Danish language, be eligible for membership.  Gambling and intoxicating beverages were strictly forbidden on the premises.

            After some years they had their own insurance branch for the benefit of the sick and incapacitated.

            The charter members were Hans Yorkson, president; A. Rasmussen, vice president; George Nelson, secretary; William Bendixen, treasurer; Lars Larson, librarian; Jens Peterson, John Georgeson, George Hennegsen, N. Larson, A.P. Anderson and Jens Rasmussen.

            The newly-organized Danes Home rented three more different locations before they made the purchase of a building of their own in 1882.  The second location was upstairs in the F. Peterson building; the third was over the post office in the Chady building on East Union Street, south of the Courthouse Square.  While here this building burned; the next location was over Matt Jensen’s market on North Main Street, where the home remained until November 14, 1882, when they purchased the old original courthouse, that had been moved to one side of the square to make room for the new courthouse, the one that was demolished this past summer.

            The old courthouse was purchased for $275, and now the Danes Home had a building to be moved to their property that they had previously purchased.

            According to Warranty Deed, volume 56, page 229, dated September 19, 1882, the Danes Home purchased lot one (1), Block D, in the Waupaca village plat, for $600 from Edson L. and Mary E. Demarest.  With the cost of moving the building to this location and with what improvements that had to be made, the total cost for the new home was $1,300.

            The money was raised by non-interest bearing notes of $10, payable to the members at the pleasure of the society.  Within four to five years the debt had been discharged, there was money in the treasury, and 560 books in Danish were in their library.

            This building served the society’s needs until in 1894, when they sold the building and it was moved to the west end of the Water Street bridge, where it remained until it was demolished in 1965.

            The Danes Home building that was erected in 1894, that stands empty today on the corner of Granite and North Main Streets, was designed by the architect, William Waters of Oshkosh, who was a highly-respected architect of his day, and was drafted by Peter Jensen of Oshkosh, a former resident of Waupaca.

            Construction of the building began in early August 1894, and the building was turned over complete to the society by the contractor on November 22, 1894.  The building was completed at a cost of $7,000.

The dedication ceremonies took place on November 29, 1894, with about 400 people in attendance.  The Waupaca Republican stated that the building was brilliantly illuminated with electric lights and profusely decorated with festoons of evergreens, flowers and flags, and that all enjoyed the exercise, the dance, the music, the social and the supper.

            From the description that appeared in the Waupaca Republican on December 7, 1894, the main entrance from the sidewalk opened through three doors to a vestibule, where there were two doors which led to the assembly hall, ladies’ parlor, smoking room, cloak room and ticket office.

            At the rear there was a wide stairway leading to the dance hall and lecture room.  This was a fine hall where 15 to 20 couples could dance with ease.  In case of a lecture or other entertainment there was room for 300 chairs and 200 more could be placed in the gallery above, which occupied three sides of the building.

            Some of this information was gleaned from an article written by Margaret Saart in 1980.

            For about 25 years, from the time of its dedication until 1920, when the Palace Theatre was built, the Danes Home was known as the Danes Home Opera House.  The main room was also used by the Waupaca Howitzer Company of the National Guard for a drill room for some time.

            Many Waupaca High School graduation exercises were held in the Danes Home auditorium.

            In the fall of 1923, the Ku Klux Klan (K.K.K.) held a public lecture in the Danes Home gymnasium.  More on this interesting account can be found in full detail in an article that was written by Edwin Emmons, in April of 1988.

            At one time the Danes Home Society had 150 active members and a library of over 1,000 Danish books.

            The Waupaca County Post for March 8, 1945, reported:  “Danes Home a landmark for 50 years is sold. One of Waupaca’s old landmarks changed ownership last week when the D.A. Hall, opposite the city hall, was sold to Henry Bille, local tinsmith.  The building had been in the possession of the Danes Home Society for the past 50 years. Formerly a lodge room, theatre and dance hall, the structure had been condemned for such use by the Industrial Commission.”

            Mr. Bille continued to operate his business from this location until in April of 1977, when he incorporated, and moved to his new location at King, where Bille’s Inc. continues to operate today.

            Henry Bille sold the building in June of 1975, to Johnson, Hansen and Shambeau, but maintained the use of the basement rent free for two years.  This is why he did not move to King until 1977.

            The giant magnificent structure that stands at the head of Main Street is still a reminder of the many good times that were had there.

            The Old Danes Home is on the National Register of Historic Places and although its future may be uncertain, nothing could be finer for downtown Waupaca than to see this building refurbished to its original condition.




October 31, 1991


            Two men who served the North during the days of the Civil War spent their last days at the Old Grand Army Home on the shores of the beautiful Rainbow Lake at King.

            Both – Israel J. Cannon and Lansing A. Wilcox – lived past 100.

            Lansing A. Wilcox, who was one of the nation’s last five surviving Civil War veterans at his death on September 29, 1951, had attained the advanced age of 105 years.

            In 1947, with the death of Josiah Cass of Eau Claire, Wilcox became the state’s last surviving Civil War veteran.

            Wilcox was born at Salem (Kenosha County), March, 1846.  A short time later the family moved to New York, NY, where they remained for a short time; while Lansing was still a young lad they returned to Wisconsin, locating this time in the Cadott area near the village which was named for Jean Baptiste Cadotte, a French Indian trapper who in 1838 had settled there, on the Yellow River.

            The War Between the States started while Lansing Wilcox was a teenager and continued for three years before he attained the age of 18.

            He enlisted in Company F, 4th Wis. Cavalry, and was sent to Baton Rouge, LA.  Upon his discharge from the Army at the end of the Civil War with the rank of corporal, he returned to Wisconsin.  Here he became restless and moved about during the next three years, first to Kansas and back to Wisconsin, then to Washington and back to the Badger State.

            He taught school at Cadott for a time, and in 1902, when he was 56, became the postmaster there, serving for the next 10 years.  At the end of this time he retired and lived on his pension.  For his final 18 months, he lived at the Grand Army Home, where he was in his own words “waiting for the last trumpet to call me home.”

            Preceding Mr. Wilcox in death were his first three wives and a son, Alonzo.

            In 1942, when he was 96 years old, he married 65-year-old Marie Duttle, who survived him.

            This old veteran lies beside his first wife, Mary (1841-1926), and his son, Alonzo (1876-1899), in the Brooklawn Cemetery at Cadott (Chippewa County).

            It was almost 19 years after the death of Lansing A. Wilcox, that Wisconsin’s last Civil War veteran finally had a marker erected at his gravesite.  It is a plain, 12 by 24 inch tombstone, which lies level with the ground that marks the grave of a soldier who was one of almost four million men who served in the War Between the States.

            Israel J. Cannon passed away at the Grand Army Home March 13, 1941.  The 101-year-old Civil War veteran was one of the last of many “Boys in Blue” who had walked, chatted, rested and lived at the Grand Army Home at Waupaca’s beautiful Chain o’ Lakes since the institution was established in 1888.

            On the night of his death, he left a half glass of milk that he had been drinking, and the centenarian quietly took leave of this world, slumping in his bed so quietly that the attendant was surprised when he found his lifeless body.

            He went to join his comrades of Chickamauga, Lynchberg, Bull Run and Gettysburg.

            Israel J. Cannon had lived a full life on this earth before he answered “Taps,” a soldier’s farewell.

            Cannon was born in Pennsylvania in 1840, but was a resident of Wisconsin when he enlisted at Columbia County on August 15, 1862.  He served in Company C, 23rd Wis. Infantry until his honorable discharge January 21, 1865, at Madison.

            On July 11, 1886, he was married to Parthena Quimby, at Marion, after which they became the parents of six children:  Mrs. Julius (Amelia) Satier; Mrs. Edward Pomplum of Wautoma; Mrs. Charles Thomas of Lee Center, NY; Benjamin Cannon, Rib Lake; Cecil R. Cannon, West DePere; and Stillman Cannon, Rome, NY.

            Mr. Cannon first entered the home in 1905, but was there continuously after 1921.




November 7, 1991


            Romance and tragedy aren’t only found in novels.  They can be found close to home, as this true life story unfolded to a writer for the Waupaca Record, dated May 11, 1905 shows.

            Mrs. James White came to the Wisconsin Veterans’ Home in search of her husband whom, she had learned through the Pension Department in Washington, D.C., was a member here.

            She stated that she was born at Mineral Point and was married there to James White in 1853, and to this union were born three children, two dying when very young.

            Her husband, James White, enlisted in Company E, 11th Wisconsin Infantry, and served until the end of the War Between the States.  Soon after his return a difference arose between them, which resulted in a separation.  She took their only child and moved to Chicago, where she cared for herself and the child by working as a domestic.

            The years passed and their son grew to manhood, married and moved to Omaha, Neb., where he was engaged as an electrician.

            A child was born to them at Omaha.  In 1903 the son’s wife died in a hospital in Omaha from blood poison, then three months later the son died from an electrical shock.

            This left their child an orphan, and the grandparents of the child’s mother took the child to live with them in a small town near Council Bluffs, Iowa.  Here they received the appointment by the court as legal guardian. Within a short time the child was kicked by a horse, and died two weeks later.

            There was some property amounting to $6,000 left, and this was the reason that Mrs. White came looking for Mr. White.  She needed to get his signature to get her share of the property.  This was the first time Mr. and Mrs. White had met in 40 years, though each had made several fruitless efforts to find each other.

            Mrs. White, according to the local newspaper account, was returning to Omaha to settle the estate and planned to come back to King to join her husband.

            I did not look up the date of James White’s death, but his government marker, in Section 11, in the Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery at King, is engraved with these words, “Jas. White, Co. E, 11th Wis. Inf.”




November 14, 1991


            It has now been well over a year since I have written anything about cemeteries, so I have decided to bring to you a little insight into what we encounter while copying cemeteries.

            I will start out by explaining what is meant by the term “copying.”  When I say we, I mean Alta, my wife, and I.  We first select a cemetery that we would like to copy.  This usually depends on the distance from home and the time that we can spend that day.  Also, if the weather is hot, we try to find a well-shaded cemetery.

            We both start out with large spiral notebooks in which to enter the inscriptions from the tomb-stones.  We carry stiff bristle brushes to clean off any foreign material from the marker.  One should never use wire brushes or metal objects to clean the stones; they can cause damage.  White chalk – the kind used on school blackboards – is a necessity to chalk the badly eroded markers; this helps to bring out the lettering more clearly.  A thermos of cold water is also a must on hot days.

            Before entering the cemetery we write in our notebooks the name of the cemetery, the county, the township and the section.

            Then we draw a map of the cemetery, drawing in all driveways.  This divides the cemetery into sections which we give numbers to work with.  These are our own section and numbers, and not neces-sarily the same as the original plat of the cemetery.

            We are now ready to take our pencils and notebooks and go to work.

            We each enter our section number in our notebook, make note if we are copying the cemetery from east to west, or west to east, as the case may be, and if we started on row one to the south, then it was row two to the north and so on until the section was completed.  As we move down the row of lots, we enter every name, date and all pertinent information in our notebooks from every tombstone as we progress back and forth.

            You may be wondering why I said that we started copying from the east to west or, west to east.  That is because all Protestant cemeteries have their graves facing east and west, therefore, the walkways are running north and south. Some Catholic cemeteries have their graves facing north and south, but only if they face the church.

            In the winter months Alta types up our summer’s work from our notebooks on reinforced, three-ring typing paper. I then index the names.  Our books are recorded by county and townships.  Each township has all of their cemeteries in their own book.

            By our system we can walk to any given grave in a cemetery in a short time by referring back to our section number, which row that name was on, and if we copied from north to south, or south to north.

            Hopefully, we have copied the inscriptions from every marker in every cemetery or burial site in Waupaca, Waushara, Portage, Langlade and Florence counties.

            We have copied, indexed and filed a total of 350 cemeteries from 16 counties.  Alta has a collection of thousands of obituaries pasted in books, all separated and entered into their proper cemetery along with the inscriptions.

            This all started back in 1971.  We have been asked many times why we ever started such a weird hobby.

            The answer is easy.  In doing our family genealogies, we found that most of the old pioneer names could not be found in the death records in the courthouses, and the only proof of their existence is found on the old white tombstones that are eroding away so fast.  These old stones are falling down, being broken, hauled off the lot, or vandalized.

            We felt someone had to record this history before it is all gone.

            Just a short summary on the number and the condition of the cemeteries in Waupaca, Waushara and Portage Counties.  We have copied and recorded 74 cemeteries in Waushara County, of which eight have been totally destroyed and eight that are neglected, or are in bad condition; in Portage County we have recorded 84 cemeteries, of which eight have been totally destroyed and seven are neglected, or are in bad condition, and in Waupaca County we have recorded 104 cemeteries or burial sites, of which 23 are completely destroyed and 11 are neglected, or are in bad repair.

            A cemetery is like a classroom; you can study the birds, animals, flowers, find history, geography, poetry, and even some humor.

            Epitaphs can be humorous.  Here are a couple that have been brought to our attention:

            In a cemetery there were two single markers, on the first was:  “I’m snug as a bug in a rug,” and on the one that died last it said, “I’m snugger than that other bugger.”

            Another said, “I’ve never been seriously ill before.”

            Another:  “I told you I was sick.”

            The epitaphs bring to mind the story of the two old gentlemen sitting on the park bench one day, both getting quite forgetful.  One of the men turned to the other and said, “I forgot, was it you or your brother that died?”

            The following are things that we have encountered through our hobby.

            In the Plainfield Cemetery there is a marker that reads, “Eliza A. Hagerman Crandell, Apr. 28, 1803-Nov. 20, 1903.”  Embedded on her marker is a metal emblem furnished by the Daughter’s of the American Revolution, which states that she was a Real Daughter.  This means that her father fought in the Revolutionary War.

            In the Waupaca Lakeside Memorial Park Cemetery, there is a marker for Asa James Holly, the founder of the Holly Funeral Home, who was born in 1840 and died in 1917.  It seems as if he had a habit of smoking cigars.  On his marker there is sketched a man sitting on the seat of a horse-drawn hearse with the stub of a cigar in his mouth.

            We have an old obituary for Mrs. R. E. Davis, from the Waushara Argus, dated March 27, 1897, telling that while the remains of Mrs. R. E. Davis was being brought to Wild Rose from Waupaca for burial, the team attached to the hearse became frightened while descending a steep incline and ran away, smashing out one side window of the hearse, letting the casket fall to the ground.  The glass in the casket was broken and its contents disarranged considerably.  Mr. Holly, the gentleman who was driving the team, was badly hurt and was obliged to remain in Wild Rose for several days before he could be moved home.

            In the Little Wolf Cemetery at Manawa, there is a tall, white marker with the names of Abram Bruley and his wife with only their birth dates 1826 and 1827, and, very faintly, can be found these words:  “Father and Mother of 21 children.”

            In the Greenleaf Cemetery in Marion, there is a marker for Frank M. DeVaud, Sept. 14, 1859-Jan. 4, 1937, “In memory of the first white child born in the Township of Dupont, Waupaca Co., Wis., to Mr. and Mrs. Louis DeVaud.”

            In Section 7, Town of Evergreen, Langlade County, are two graves, one for Henry Thornberry, Jan. 6, 1882-Feb. 10, 1918, and the other one is for Isaac Thornberry, Apr. 16, 1849-May 18, 1931.  In checking the death records in the Langlade County Courthouse in Antigo, I found that Isaac Thornberry built the first house in the Sherry District, and Henry was killed as a result of being hit on the head from the spikes on a falling log jammer.

            We have found burial sites in some of the most unusual places, some still have markers, while others have been destroyed, if they ever had one.  Just to name a few, they are:  On the banks of the Wolf River, only a few rods north of the Winnebago County line, under a house are the graves of four young children of Henry G. and A.J. Reifland. All died as a result of a contagious disease.  Big John Bonnell told me first about this little cemetery where he used to lie in wait for game violators.

            In the schoolyard of the old Helstad School on Highway 49, south of Scandinavia, I was told that there was a cemetery in the schoolyard and even some graves under the school house.

            On the banks of the Waupaca River, on Frost Valley Road, there remains only the small foot stones for two children of John and Sarah Morey. Back about 50 years ago someone had potatoes near this spot, and they had migrant pickers.  I was told that they had used the big markers for the steps to the building that housed them.  I could never find them around the buildings so they might even be in Texas by now.

            Many gravesites are found on farms where the people buried there lived.  One such site was vandalized this past summer, not too far from Waupaca, where someone dug two openings, one on each side of the large headstone.  One might ask what they were looking for; it is a serious offense for anyone caught molesting a gravesite, Indian or white.

            We get so many phone calls asking for me to answer a question about our cemetery records.  Alta can answer these questions as well as I, because she has been involved from the beginning.



            The Wisconsin State Old Cemetery Society welcomes your support in helping preserve cemetery records for future generations.  Anyone wishing to support the cause and receive four to five issues of “Inscriptions,” can send $8 for an annual membership to Miss Bernadine Boulia, 3325 S. 26th St. #18, Milwaukee, WI   53215.




November 21, 1991


            The Waupaca Post for August 20, 1908, reported the bills announcing the Potato Bake attractions have been printed and are being circulated all over the county and railroad stations of the Wisconsin Central and the Green Bay and Western

            Copies have been sent to the newspapers in central and northern Wisconsin.

            “All we need to insure a great success on September 7, will be fair weather,” the paper said.  A great crowd is expected at this first Potato Bake, which will be, very soon a state day.

            The program that appeared in the Waupaca Post for September 3, 1908, consisted of the following:  George G. Ghoca, Grand Marshall, The Waupaca City Band, on the bandstand; the Oneida Indian Band, near the City Hall; 10 o’clock, high wire performance; 10:30 o’clock exhibits of vegetables, grains and cooking at the YMCA Hall, open for inspection all day Monday and Tuesday; 11 o’clock, speaking will be Hon. J.H. Davidson; noon, baked potatoes, barbecued beef and bread free of charge, coffee 5¢.  The Potato Bake Dance will be held in the Danes Home Hall, with music furnished by Allen’s 10-piece orchestra.

            The Waupaca Post for September 10, 1908:  “Waupaca making history.  The Potato Bake and barbecue has proven to be a great success.  Monday, September 7, 1908, will long be remembered as a red letter day for Waupaca, it being the inauguration of the Potato Bake Carnival.  Experts estimated the crowd to be from 8,000 to 10,000 people.  The weather was ideal and everything went off splendidly.

            “The large crowd was handled in a satisfactory manner.  It was a great day for music, as the band never played better.  The Oneida Indians had a great band and attracted much attention as they marched down Main Street.  Congressman J.H. Davidson’s address was heard by fully 5,000 people.

            “One thousand pounds of imported beef was barbequed on wire netting placed over charcoal beds in trenches 40 feet long.  Mr. Murray started the fires at two o’clock in the morning.  One hundred and fifty gallons of the finest flavored soup ever tasted in this part of the country was added to the meat, and the potatoes were baked in stone ovens.”

            In arranging for the lunch, service tables were built in the Courthouse Square 70 feet long, with a line of tables in the center for supplies.

            Several hundred loaves of bead were used in making the sandwiches.  The coffee was cooked in large quantities.

            “Great credit was due to the splendid manner in which the committee conducted the lunch service, which must be taken into consideration that 500 people were served in one hour without a single hitch,” the newspaper reported.

            The high wire performer who had signed a contract to give two exhibitions failed to materialize, but a troupe of acrobats were secured in his place, among them being a singer from the Hawaiian Islands whose voice had such volume, he could be heard for four blocks.

            The tug of war teams were composed of the following teams:  Dayton – Ed Fonet, John Chase, George Currier, Will Hathaway, Warner Caldwell; Farmington – Albert Olson, John Nelson, Albert Peterson, Mark Johnson and Lars Nelson, and Waupaca Town – John Huffcutt, Van Faulks, Enoch Smith, Henry Kobiski, Nels Claussen.  Dayton defeated Farmington in the first contest.  The second contest was between Waupaca and Dayton, with Waupaca the winner.

            The chicken chase – Stanley Salter, Ernest Peterson, Raymond Sawyer, Einer Hanson, Will Johnson and Raymond Logan each won a chicken.

            Barrel rolling contest – J. Elsworth, Raymond Logan, Walter Velie, Peter Brazil, Myron Anderson, Walter Velie won first money.

            Foot race over 15 years – Peter Brazil, Joe Palfrey, Myron Mower, Chich Keeney, V. Prink, Frank Utley.  Chich Keeney was the winner.

            Foot race under 15 years – Chas Larson, Ray Paulson, Sidney Brasure, Walter Keaton, John Jacobson, Ralph Constance, John Pinkerton, Elmer Anderson, Matt Wilcox.  Sidney Brasure the winner.

            Kid’s shoe race – Sidney Brasure, Donald Lockman, Ray Paulson, Myron Dorfler, Walter Hanson, Alvin Peterson.  Donald Lockman the winner.

            Ladies nail driving contest – Lizzie Price, Jennie Hanson, Mary Peterson, Mary Nelson.  It did not give the name of the winner.

            Hurdle race – Frank Utley, Walter Velie, Peter Brazil, Chich Keeney, Albert Christofferson, V. Prink.  Frank Utley the winner.

            The balloon ascension was made about 6 o’clock and was perfect, being viewed by the entire gathering.

            The illuminated parade, headed by the City Band, was just great as it passed through the streets, according to the newspaper account.  The decorations were very attractive.  The streets were crowded until midnight, as well were the various halls where dancing was going on.

            The exhibits of vegetables, grains and pastry were considered as being equal to anything ever in the state.  Thus ends the account of the very first Potato Bake in the City of Waupaca.

            Another year passed swiftly and the Waupaca Record for August 5, 1909, came out with an article about a second Potato Bake to be held in Waupaca, on September 6 and 7, 1909.

            The Business Men’s Advancement Association met on Monday evening, and all of the committees on the Potato Bake reported progress.  “The committees on advertising, contests, and premiums have been busy.  They met with hearty support and encouragement from the Waupaca citizens and this year promises to excel the event of 1908,” the newspaper predicted.

            The events and contests were much the same as in 1908.  The contests were mainly a cross country race, tug of war, barrel race, fat man’s race, ladies nail driving contest and the judging of the vegetables, grains and bakery goods.

            A new contest was added for 1909, it was a potato race scheduled for 2:30 p.m.  September 6, in the block between Fulton and Union Streets.  Thirty-three potatoes were placed three feet apart in a straight line, and must be picked up with a spoon and carried herein to a basket, one potato at a time.  After finishing his line each contestant must run 15 rods to a finishing line.  Each contestant must furnish their own spoon.  The first prize was $3.

            Again at 2:30 p.m. on September 7, at the same location was another potato race. This time the potatoes were scattered over an area of 40 by 100 feet.  The contestants were again to pick up one potato at a time and place them in a basket at the finishing line.  The winners were chosen by the number of potatoes they had put in their basket.

            There were the usual large selection of vegetables, grains and bakery display. The barbecue dinner was served on the North Main Street Hill and the Courthouse yard.

            I could not find anything about a Potato Bake in 1910, but on June 8, 1911, the Waupaca Business Men’s Advancement Association held their meeting to decide upon a committee to act upon a date and arrangements for a Potato Bake for 1911.  In August 1911, the Waupaca Business Men’s Association held a special meeting for the purpose of taking action on whether Waupaca should have a Potato Bake that year.  Besides the president and the secretary, there were only four other persons present.  It was decided due to the lack of interest and cooperation, that there would not be a Potato Bake in 1911.

            The Waupaca Leader, for July 10, 1912, announced that the Executive Committee of the Waupaca Advancement Association made plans for a big two-day “Potato Day” in early September.

            We’ll look back at the 1912 Potato Bake next week in the Waupaca Count y Post.




November 27, 1991


            The attractions for the 1912 Potato Bake in Waupaca were to be conducted somewhat differently than in former years, by putting on the most up-to-date attractions with livestock exhibits.

            The “Waupaca Record Leader” for September 5, 1912, reported, “There will be one or two and possibly more flights by an experienced “Bird Man.”  The most recently constructed aeroplane and expert driver will be here and the crowd will witness real flights in the air.  Waupaca will be the first city in this section of the state to attempt to get an airship.”

            It was in the minds of the committee to have a parade of farmer teams and drivers.  There were to be premiums for the best matched team, largest draught horse and best single driver.

            There was billed to be a free public wedding in the bandstand in the Courthouse Square; I never did find if there were any applications for the free wedding and gifts.

            Two baseball games were scheduled between Waupaca and Clintonville.

            In the next week’s paper was the official program for the Waupaca Potato Bake and Big Street Carnival, Thursday and Friday, Sept. 5 and 6.

            The committee had secured the Capital City Amusement Company to come here Monday and remain with us all week.  The company carries a street band which gives three marvelous and entertaining free shows upon the streets three times daily.  The free shows that they give – trapeze performance by a lady and gentleman; a trapeze performance by the human monstrosity, the man-monkey, and a comic clown.  Besides these free acts the company carries the Twentieth Century merry-go-round and spectacular ferris wheel.  Besides the free attractions the amusement company has six or seven shows which they charge admission of 10¢ and 15¢.  The attractions and free shows by the Capital City Amusement Company will be given every day of the week beginning at 10 o’clock in the morning and concluding at 11 o’clock at night from Monday, Sept. 2, to Saturday night, Sept. 7.

            Aeroplane Notice – “The Curtis Exhibition Company of New York City will give their aeroplane flights in the Demarest field on the outskirts of the city.  They will use this field for their starting and stopping points, and during the course of flight will make several ascensions from the ground showing the people the manner in which an aeroplane rises from the ground and descends to the ground.  Besides this, they will remain in the air from 10 to 30 minutes and will circle around the city and surrounding country.

            “The aeroplane will be housed on the field in a large tent, and any person who is desirous of a more closely inspection of the machine, will be admitted to the tent for the nominal fee of 10¢.   The D.D.H. Society have kindly donated the use of their hall as a rest room for the two days and a large room on the second floor of the city hall will also be used for that purpose.”

            The agricultural exhibits will be held in the A.M. Hanson garage.

            Contributions for the Potato Bake by the businessmen of the city supported the festival.  This two-day event was known as the Aviation and Potato Show.  There were 120 contributors pledging $1,123.

            The “Waupaca Record” and the “Waupaca Leader,” both carried accounts of the two-day affair.  The following is taken in part from both of these newspapers:

            At the original Potato Bake held in Waupaca in 1908, they furnished the barbecued beef and baked potatoes free of charge, while there was a charge of 5¢ for coffee.  This was a big task on the part of the ladies of Waupaca to feed that many thousand that visited that former occasion.

            The new plan in 1912, was to have the potatoes baked in the ovens of the local bakers, which they did furnish both days, but on the account of congestion of both bakeries the supply was somewhat limited, and it was thought by the committee that the aeroplane event would take place of the beef and potatoes.

            Thursday and Friday were great days for Waupaca.  There was probably the largest crowd that ever visited this city, for any two-day occasion.

            The sun came out Thursday morning which insured the committee that there would be an opportunity to carry out their program.  Both days were exceedingly hot, the continuous raining weather previous to this time was a great hardship on the committee members, who had worked so hard to give the visitors to this city two full days of entertainment.

            An immense crowd of people, estimated at between 7,000 and 8,000, gathered on Thursday morning in anticipation of the aeroplane flight.

            The first event on the morning program was the Auto Parade, which, although not as large as it should have been, was very pretty.  The first prize was won by Ward Olfson and second by Harry Gordon, both cars being trimmed in pink and white.  J.E. Cristy’s car represented a large basket and was a novel affair.

            The crowd then trouped by the thousand to the Demarest field to see the airship, and then came the biggest disappointment of the whole affair.  After waiting about one hour and a half the big machine was wheeled out on the field and a flight was attempted, but the pilot was unable to elevate his machine sufficiently to clear the telephone wires at the west end of the field.  The aeroplane ran quite a distance on the ground then raised and sailed over the crowd at a low height, turning in a southwesterly direction just barely missing the tops of the trees as it left the grounds and flew across the Crystal River, near Dunbar’s bridge, and lit in a field near the big hill on the former Peter Larson farm, damaging the plane slightly.  The pilot was Lloyd Barlow, an experienced pilot.

            About 5:30 the motor of the ship could be heard for blocks, as it started from the field in which it had lit.  Soon a great number of citizens, in their homes and several hundred people who were still gathered at the aviation grounds, saw the ship cross Berlin Road (Berlin Street) over the tops of the trees, going in a partial circle towards the Felting Mills, where it turned north and came towards town about on a line with Churchill Street.  It passed the aviation field a couple of blocks toward town, as it was the pilot’s intention to pass over the city of Waupaca, but being unable to reach a sufficient height he circled back to the grounds and landed most successfully.  He again tried to make a flight from the grounds, but, unable to reach a sufficient height, he landed on the west end of the Demarest field, and in doing so damaged his machine, making further attempts impossible.

            It may have been to some a satisfaction to know that $300 was deducted from his original contract of $500.

            Many “kicks” were registered against the committee for bringing in the carnival company, but how would the thousands of people be entertained had it not been for the free shows and carnival attractions?  The committee had guaranteed the carnival company $200 for its week stay in Waupaca.  In turn the carnival company returned 10% of its receipts from the shows.  Merry-go-round and ferris wheel which came to $194.02, plus $50 from the concessions, which left the committee paying only $5.98, for providing a week of entertainment for Waupaca and community.

            There was only one draft team entered in the parade.  Winners of the horse parade were:  A.A. Papineau; best draft team, Anders O. Olofson; best single driving horse, Mrs. Williams; best riding horse, Arlington Stearns.

            The tug-of-war between the city and the farmers was won by the farmers.  The following were on the winning team:  E.O. Frihart, Peter Rasmussen, John Tessen, Chas. Rasmussen, Dave Danielson, Wm. Jensen, Louis Minton, Bert Anderson, Albert Chady, Phil Faulks, Wm. Nelson, H.P. Nelson, Van Faulks, J.A. Nelson and J.C. Madsen.

            The Clintonville Four Wheel Drive automobile created much interest.  It headed the automobile parade with the Waupaca band boys in the forenoon.  In the afternoon it was hooked up to two big wagons loaded with people and there was no trouble in pulling the load with a capacity of six tons.

            The first baseball game was won by Clintonville, by a score of 7 to 0.  The Waupaca players were:  Reed, ss; Breit, 1b; Flanagan, 2b; Huffcutt, 3b; Thiex, c; Galloway, 1f; Boyles cf; Parish rf and Hollenbeck, p.  The second game was between Waupaca and Stevens Point.  Waupaca won by a score of 3 to 0.  The following players were:  Reed, 3b; Weekler, ss; Kline, cf; Snow, c; Flanagan, 2b; Breit, 1b; Thiex, rf; Galloway, lf; Baillies, p; and Huffcutt, rf.

            The horse-pulling contest on Friday afternoon drew a large crowd near the stone crusher.  A wagon was loaded with stone and the wheels blocked.  The contest was advertised for farmers’ teams, but since there were no entries previous to Friday, a hurried performance was gotten up.  Ed Durant, Fred Minton, Con Gmeiner and Oscar Larson came in with their teams and put on a good show for steady pulling horses.

            On Thursday evening the illuminated parade passed along Main Street, headed by the city band.  There were all colors of pot fires and Roman Candles which gave the street an illumination of a variety of colors. Following the band were men and boys carrying torches.  After arriving at the city hall, fireworks were set off and the parade returned to the south end of the street.

            There was dancing both evenings at the Dane’s Home, M.W.A. and F.R.A. halls which were supplied with good music.  The M.W.A. kindly donated their receipts of $20 to the association.

            So, in only five short years the original Waupaca Potato Bake was transformed into a Potato, Aviation, Live Stock Show and a carnival.




December 5, 1991


This story has its beginning with Tyler C. Caldwell and Mary Warner, who both were natives of Vermont.  Tyler C. Caldwell was born July 11, 1798, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Caldwell.  Tyler was married in Rutland County, VT, to Mary Warner, who was born October 9, 1804, a daughter of Capt. Warner, who was a veteran of the War of 1812.

            Soon after their marriage, the couple migrated to Chautauqua County, NY.  It was there that they became the parents of seven children:  Columbia, who married Stephen P. Thresher, and died in California; Columbus, who is the main character of this story; Mariette, who married Harvey S. Bowers, of the Town of Dayton; Sophia, who married George Campbell, and died in California; Emily, who married Augustus Chandler, and died in Iola, and Harrison and Tyler, who were twins and died in infancy.

            In 1835 Tyler C. Caldwell made a trip from his home in Chautauqua, NY, to Kenosha County, Wisconsin Territory, with the intention of settling in that new frontier.  It was at this same period of time that his brother, Joseph Caldwell, also came to Kenosha County, from his home in Rutland County, VT, in search of land. Joseph had already settled at Pike River, where he was met by Tyler.

            Tyler C. returned to his home in Chautauqua County, NY, in the following spring to bring his family back to Kenosha County.  They took a boat from Buffalo, NY, to Kenosha, then only a settlement of three houses.

            The Caldwell brothers were not satisfied with their location in Kenosha County, so three years later the Caldwells moved up the Fox River to Rochester Township, Racine County, where they took out the first land claim, since that time known as “Caldwell’s Prairie.”  Tyler C. Caldwell lived there for the next 10 years, and it was there that he built the first bridge over the Fox River, on the road between Racine and Janesville.

            On October 28, 1849 this pioneer family again moved northward, this time on a long, perilous journey past the outpost of civilization.  By team they traveled through the forests from Racine County to Section 22, Township of Lind, Waupaca County. Mr. Caldwell worked his land until in January of 1861, when he made a trip to his old home in Vermont to visit his aging mother and the scenes of his childhood.  There was no mention about his father, who must by then have passed away.  One week after his arrival, he died in the home of his birthplace.  His mother lived to be 101 years of age.  There seems to be no record of Tyler C. Caldwell’s body ever being returned to the Crystal Lake Cemetery for burial.  His wife, Mary Warner Caldwell, died in February of 1888, and was buried in the Crystal Lake Cemetery, beside his daughter, Mariette (Maryette) Bowers.

When the Caldwell family was still living at Caldwell’s Prairie, young Columbus Caldwell, the only living son of Tyler C. and Mary Caldwell, was only eight years of age when he began driving a yoke of oxen, breaking up the virgin prairie sod.  He was paid $10 a month.

            In February 1852, Columbus Caldwell and his brother-in-law, Stephen P. Thresher, started for the gold fields of California, by the new Overland Route, crossing the Missouri River May 11 and reaching California on July 28.  He remained engaged in gold mining for the next seven years before returning to Wisconsin, in 1859, via the Isthmus of Panama and New York City, and resumed farming in the Township of Lind.

            He was married at Weyauwega on November 21, 1861, to Mary L. Taggart, a daughter of George W. and Eunice L. (Fulton) Taggart.  Eunice L. Fulton was a cousin of Robert Fulton, the inventor of the first steamboat.

            On December 6, 1861, less than one month after his marriage, he enlisted in Company M, First Wisconsin Cavalry, a company which he was largely instrumental in forming.  His regiment was ordered to Missouri and first saw active service at Cape Girardeau, MO, on May 15, 1862.  His regiment was responsible for ridding Missouri and Arkansas of the bushwackers that overran that part of the country during the early years of the war.

            While in Missouri Private Caldwell was commissioned quartermaster of the regiment, and when it was ordered to join Gen. Rosecran’s army at Murfreesboro, TN, in the fall of 1862, he had received his commission as second lieutenant.  Participating with the company about Murfreesboro was regiment accompanied the army to Chickamauga, TN.

            In October of 1863 Lieutenant Caldwell was taken sick, and after spending a week in the hospital at Nashville, was sent home to die.  He reached home in November 1863, but by March 1, 1864, he had sufficiently recovered enough to return to his regiment.

            While in charge of 25 men on detached duty, he and 19 of his little squad were captured on the “Duck Town Road,” 12 miles east of Cleveland, TN by Gen. Wheeler, then in command of the rebel cavalry.

            He was first sent to Andersonville Prison.  The day after his capture his commission as captain arrived at the regimental headquarters, although he had been acting as captain for some time.  The story goes that Captain Caldwell received preferred treatment.  He was permitted to eat from pieces of broken dishes, because he was an officer.  Most people did not get out of the Andersonville Prison alive, but Captain Caldwell was jailed in Macon, GA, thence sent to Savannah, GA, and on to Charleston, SC, where the prisoners were put under the fire, while the Union Army was shelling the city.

            He remained a prisoner until being exchanged on March 1, 1865.  The imprisonment and treat-ment received in his confinement had broken down his health to a point where this fine specimen of a man, six feet, one inch tall and weighing 190 pounds, was weakened to a point of not being able to walk.

            Captain Caldwell was sent home on a 30-day furlough, after spending two weeks at Annapolis, MD.  While still on furlough at his farm in the Town of Lind, Richmond fell, and the war between the states was nearly over.  He was honorably discharged from Camp Chase, Columbus, OH, May 15, 1865, and never was wounded.

            The children of Capt. Caldwell and Eunice Fulton, his first wife, were:  Minnie L. and Ida S.  His first wife died January 6, 1886, and for his second wife, he married her sister, Ida Jane Taggart. The children by this marriage were:  George T., Warner F., Otis L., Beatrice L., and Eunice.

            After his discharge, and the war was over, he returned to his farm in the Township of Lind.  Although physically unable to work, he supervised its operation.

            His fellow citizens soon honored him with a number of important offices.  For two years he was clerk of the Town of Lind, and a member of the school board.  He was elected register of deeds in 1867, and while serving in this capacity, he was elected a member of Waupaca’s City Council. In 1870 he was elected assessor for the city and the Township of Waupaca. In 1871, he returned to his farm in the Town of Lind, where he partially resumed farming.

            In 1872 and again in 1873, he was elected to the Wisconsin Legislature.  In 1880 he was one of five men appointed by the Waupaca City Council to serve on a building committee to erect a new courthouse.

            In 1882 he was elected superintendent of the Waupaca County Poor Farm, near Manawa.  He served there for nearly five years, until resigning December 1, 1887, to accept the position as commandant the Wisconsin Veterans Home.  He held this position until July 1897.  Mrs. Caldwell was a very efficient matron during those years.

            Columbus C. Caldwell died at his home in Waupaca on December 18, 1908.  His wife, Ida Jane Taggart Caldwell, born November 24, 1848, at Rochester, Racine County, died at her home in Waupaca on November 6, 1916.  They are buried on the Caldwell lot along with five other members of the Caldwell family in the Oakwood Cemetery in Weyauwega.

            There are two grandsons of Mr. and Mrs. Columbus C. Caldwell living today in the area.  They are Clifford Caldwell, still living on his place in the Town of Belmont, Portage County, and Gilbert (Gibb) Caldwell, formerly of the Town of Farmington, who is presently convalescing in the Manawa Nursing Home.  Get well soon, Gibb.

            There are other living descendents through the Warner F. Caldwell and the Mrs. Walter L. (Beatrice Caldwell) Radley families.




December 12, 1991


            The Waupaca Historical Society taped the memoirs of Mrs. Robert (Florence) Ewald in August of 1981.  Members of the Wisconsin Historical Society taping committee were:  the Rev. George Warren, George Jeffers, Ken Poulton and John Holzman.

            Mrs. Ewald talked freely about some early business places and Waupaca in its potato heydays.

            Florence Ethel Peterson Ewald was born March 31, 1894, in the Town of Saxeville (Waushara County) to Christian and Mary (Jensen) Peterson, who started out their married life on a farm near Saxe-ville.  During the years that followed they became the parents of nine children.  The first two were twins who died in infancy, but the remaining seven grew to adulthood.

            It was on Florence’s sixth birthday that the Peterson family moved to Waupaca. 

            In Waupaca, Christian Peterson, her father, went into business with his brother, James Peterson, and together they ran the Peterson Cash Grocery on South Main Street.  This building, in 1991, is the present location of Knutson & Sons Inc., at 210 South Main.  Florence Ewald described the location as being located between Dutton’s Bakery and John F. Breitenstien’s Jewelry Store on the north and the U.S. Post Office and Gordon’s Meat Market on the south side.  Continuing to the south, there was a large empty lot, and the next building was a large store.  This was Knaap’s Variety Store, now the present location of Simpson’s Indian Room Restaurant, at 222 South Main.  The empty lot that Mrs. Ewald mentioned became Webb’s Bratwurst and the Rosa Theatre properties.

            The Christian Peterson family remained in Waupaca for a year and a half, then moved back to Saxeville, as the income from the store did not support two large families.  Back in Saxeville, her father purchased stock in a general store.  For the next six years they lived in Saxeville.  It was in the store there that Florence learned to clerk and meet people.

            Florence was about nine years old at the time and was paid 25 cents a week.  Mrs. Ewald went on to tell the taping committee that when they ran the store in Saxeville, tobacco came in pails. Fine-cut tobacco, like Brother Jonathon, was sticky and awful to handle, she said.

            At the end of six years, the Petersons moved to Waupaca once more, where her father had been selling potatoes for the A.M. Penney Company, while still a partner in the grocery store with his brother, Jim Peterson.

            In the Peterson Cash Grocery on South Main Street, a glass showcase was on the right hand side as you came into the store.  In it was displayed cigars, five cents or two for ten cents; also on display were small sacks of Bull Durham from which cigarettes could be rolled.  There were no factory rolled cigar-ettes in those early days.

            Grocery stores were quite different in those days.  You gave the clerk the list of groceries that you wanted, then you waited for the clerk to pick up the items.  The clerk would make out the bill, and you paid at the cashier.  Some stores had stools where a customer could rest while waiting.

            Most grocery stores took eggs and butter in exchange for groceries.  The quality of butter varied from each patron.  Each lot of butter was kept in separate jars.  When a customer wanted some butter, the clerk would take a small chip from a jar of butter for tasting.  If the customer was not satisfied, they would try another.

            Very few articles came in packages in those days.  Sugar, coffee and the cheaper candy came in bulk.  Some candy came in trays for showcase display. Bar soaps, like Fels Naptha and P&G, were popular, as was the Gold Dust Twins for a cleaning powder.

            The Fourth of July was a very exciting day at the Peterson Grocery.  They had a booth outside and sold ice cream, oranges and so forth.  Florence Ewald’s father had a nephew, Will Olson, who manufactured ice cream from his own special recipe, and had a good business around town.  Peterson’s sold ice cream only on holidays, as they had only one eight-foot by ten-foot refrigerator.  This was cooled by ice delivered by the Larson Ice Company, harvested from Mirror Lake.

            Mrs. Ewald remarked that as she looked back on her childhood, it was fun to hear the hustle and bustle in the mornings, as the wheels started turning, such as the horse-drawn sprinkling wagon coming down Main Street, settling the dust.

            Florence Ewald’s mother always had to keep busy. It got so that she kept busy in baby care. A baby case usually meant working with the baby in the home from ten days to two weeks, this usually included cooking for the family, cleaning the house, and the other daily duties.

            It was in 1910 that a new doctor, Fred C. Wood, came to Waupaca, looking for a place to open a cottage hospital.  He asked Florence’s mother to run it for him.  It was decided to use the upstairs of their home for this hospital.  She ran the hospital for 12 years.  It was located on Ware Street, two doors from their potato warehouse.

            The Peterson Cash Grocery existed from 1898 to 1921.

            In about 1910, Christian Peterson, with his brother William, who also had been working for A.M. Penney, and Florence’s brother, formed the Peterson Produce Company.  Their main warehouse was located on the corner of Oborn and Ware streets, which several years ago was the location of the Badger Building Company.  Jesse’s Seed Market is now in the rear of this location.  The Peterson Produce Company also had a smaller warehouse nearby. They shipped about 1,000 carloads of potatoes a month during the fall harvest season.  Each car held 600 bushels of potatoes.  This would amount to 360, 100-pound bags by today’s standards.  Some days as many as 35 to 40 loads of potatoes would come into Waupaca in a single day.  All of the potatoes were being hauled by team and wagon, or sleigh in the winter months.

            Many buyers met the loads of potatoes on the outskirts of town, where they would dicker over the price.  If the buyer came to an agreement with the farmer, he would generally ride back to town to make sure the load was delivered to the proper warehouse and that no other buyer could intercept the load by paying more.

            The Peterson Produce Company ran 14 buying stations in the small towns around Waupaca and Waupaca County.  These were rented and all sales business was conducted from the Waupaca headquart-ers.

            It was during these years that Waupaca was known as the Potato Capital of the World.  There were about 14 dealers and buyers, some from Chicago, St. Louis and Cincinnati, who had their main office here.

            In the early years the standard measurement was in bushels, and shipped in 150-pound bags, which would be two and a half bushels.  These were too heavy and cumbersome to handle.  Mrs. Ewald said that her brother and Mr. Nelson of Christensen and Nelson went to Washington when they standard-ized and changed the size to 100-pound sacks.

            This is only a small bit about the potato business in the early years.  In a later article, I will write about the many changes that have taken place in the potato operations since those days, such as growing, varieties, harvesting, storage, marketing, shipping and potatoes in their many uses as food from fresh market to processing.

            Florence Ethel Peterson was married in Waupaca on March 26, 1921, to Robert Ewald, who died May 21, 1960.  She passed away September 5, 1991.  They were the parents of two children.  Mr. and Mrs. Robert Ewald are buried in the Waupaca Lakeside Memorial Park cemetery.




December 19, 1991


            Col. Theodore W. Goldin, who has been officially recorded as the last white man to see General George Armstrong Custer alive that fateful June 25, 1876, is buried at the Wisconsin Veterans Home Cemetery at King.

            Theodore W. Goldin, then a lieutenant, was with Co. G, 7th U.S. Cavalry, under General Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

            He escaped the fate of approximately 225 men, along with General Custer, only because he had been detailed to deliver a message to Major Marcus A. Reno, who had dug in, in a gully a short distance away.  Goldin had just left when the Indians came swooping down on Custer.

            Theodore W. Goldin was born July 25, 1857, a son of Rufus W. and Elizabeth Lozier Goldin.  He died February 15, 1936 at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King, and is buried in the Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery, in Section 52.

            The Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery also has claim to another man known to General Custer and he was Loren Hollix, who was a lieutenant with Custer for six years.  He died September 3, 1916, aged 86.

            The treaty of 1868, signed at Fort Laramie, WY, had set aside a permanent home for the Sioux and Cheyenne.  This area was called the Great Sioux Reservation.  It extended westward from the Missouri River to Wyoming and Montana, to Nebraska on the south and to North Dakota on the north.

            In this area was the Black Hills with its hidden gold.  This area was also abundant with game, which was most essential to the livelihood of the Indians.

            In 1874, General Custer and the 7th Cavalry were sent from Fort Lincoln on an expedition into the Black Hills.  It was said that the nature of this mission was only to gain military information.  Horatio M. Ross, a member of Custer’s 7th Cavalry, was credited with making the first gold discovery on French Creek, July 4, 1874.

            Immediately upon the world receiving this news of gold in the Black Hills, hordes of prospective miners invaded this Indian land in search of gold.

            The Federal Government was bound to honor the treaty that they had signed in 1868, making this area the Great Sioux Reservation, so they now had to try to prevent this influx of people into their land.  Despite the repeated warnings issued by the Federal Government against their entering this area, and giving no thought as to their well-being or to what consequences that they might face from these Indian nations, they just kept coming.  The word “gold” was just too great a lure.  It was like a disease, so the westward movement was on.

            This invasion by the whites was the main cause for many of the Indians to leave their reservation to plunder and kill, in retaliation against these white intruders.  This retaliation was the immediate cause of the 1876 campaign against the Indians.

            Previously on the Third of December, 1875, the Federal Government had ordered all Sioux and Cheyenne to return to their reservation, or be deemed hostile and would be dealt with accordingly.

            They had until January 31, 1876 to comply to this order.  Due to the extreme winter weather con-ditions it was practically impossible for them to comply in such a short time.

            So the Indians failed to comply, and on February 7, 1876, the Secretary of the Interior and the General of the Army gave General P.H. Sheridan authority to commence operations against the so-called hostile Indians.

            There were several conflicts and encounters which led up to that fateful day, June 25, 1976, when General Custer and the 7th Cavalry, 225 men strong, were wiped out at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

            It has been reported that Comanche, a horse from Custer’s command, was the only thing found living after the massacre at the Little Big Horn.

            General Custer had divided his command into three battalions; Companies A, G and M were assigned to the command of Major Marcus A. Reno; Companies H, D and K went under the command of Captain Frederick W. Benteen; Companies C, E, F, I and L stayed under Custer’s command; and Company B was left behind to protect the pack train.

            Each officer had been briefed on his mission and assigned to his position, so they all separated to take up their stand against the Indians.  Major Reno had traveled only a short distance down a gully, when Indian warriors swarmed into full view and the fight was on.  Being so greatly out-numbered, Major Reno ordered his men to retreat to the bluffs for safety; now every man was for himself.  At this maneuver the Indians turned back and attacked Custer’s troops.  Custer was outnumbered 20 to 1.  History tells us that Custer had reliable reports from his scouts that there were several thousand Indians encamped ahead.

            Why did he divide his men?  That question has puzzled historians ever since.

            Captain Benteen had not encountered any hostiles.  There had been many speculations as to what just really did happen at the Little Big Horn, on June 25, 1976.

            Where was Benteen and Reno when Custer needed them?




December 24, 1991


            Nathan (Nat) Cohen was born in Russia December 24, 1870, and received only a fair education in his native land.  When he left Russia and came to America, he had to start life on the bottom rung of the ladder.

            In 1887 he went to Milwaukee and joined his two brothers, Max and Joseph Cohen.  In 1892 the Cohen Brothers relocated to Neenah, and in 1894 they moved again. This time to Grand Rapids (now Wisconsin Rapids), where they again became active in business.

            In 1897 the Cohen Brothers came to Waupaca in search of a location to open a branch of their enterprise.  They first located in the H. J. Perkins building on East Union Street.  This was the birth of the Fair Store in Waupaca and Nat Cohen became its operator for the next 41 years.

            Many people have had the misconception that the Fair Store was always on South Main Street.  Here, I will explain a little about the H.J. Perkins building.  H.J. Perkins had a studio, or an art gallery, as they were called in the early days. This location, in later years, became known as 104 East Union Street.  The original building was destroyed by fire, but on the same lot a new and larger art gallery was built.  Mr. Perkins sold out to James Knudsen, who operated it for several years before selling out to Chris H. Hansen in 1893.  There was an inside stairway on the left hand side of the building, leading up to the second floor, where Mr. Hansen operated his photo studio until his death in 1940.  It was then taken over by his son, Randolph C. (Randy) Hansen.  Randy Hansen operated his father’s old studio until the last months of 1974.  In January 1975, the building was razed to make room for a new Homestead Savings and Loan Building.  This location is now Bank One, on the corner of East Union and South Main streets.  Through the years there were many different businesses on the main floor under the Chris H. Hansen Studio.

            In the fall of 1897, the Perkins Building was leased to the Cohen Bros. for their new Fair Store.  They opened here with only one clerk, in 1899, the building was enlarged to meet their growing needs.

            This building soon became too small once again, and they moved to a large building in 1900.  The building was the John Pinkerton Building on the corner of East Union and Jefferson streets.  Two years later this building was enlarged.

            The Cohen Brothers had set their eyes on a building on Main Street for some time, and in April of 1904, they secured a 10-year lease on the Scott-Hebblewhite block on Main Street, then occupied by the Union Store.  The lease was to take effect on January 1, 1905.

            The Union Store that had occupied this location since 1900 was a group of businessmen, who were united as an organization, but operated independently from one another in the Scott-Hebblewhite block.

            M.J. Nordvi had the dry goods department; Ing. Ovrom, the clothing department; A.G. Larson and Son, the grocery department, and George James, the furniture department on the second floor.  James Paris had his barbershop at one time in the basement under the Hebblewhite section in the south one-third of the building.

            In the Waupaca Record for the 5th of January, 1905, there was this Cohen Bros. notice:  “Wait if you want bargains.”

            They bought $8,000 worth of merchandise, as they had bought the entire stock of the Union Store for 47-1/2¢ on the dollar.  In the Waupaca Record for January 9, 1905, there was this interesting announcement, that they were often asked by their customers, why don’t you put in a grocery department?  It seems that up to this point in time, they never had room enough for groceries, but now in their new location, they had fixed up the southeast corner of the Scott basement, and would be ready for business Monday, February 13, 1905.  Mr. Louis Jeffers of Wild Rose would be in charge.

            The departments of the Union Store in the Scott-Hebblewhite block were adjacent to one another.  When the Fair Store took over, it was remodeled and refitted to make the interior one mammoth establishment. The Fair Store occupied the entire basement and first and second floors, except the M.B. Scott office on the second floor in the Scott building.  They added a toilet, and cloak and dressing room.  The Fair store when completely remodeled became one of the finest stores in central Wisconsin.  The Fair Store’s slogan that appeared in their advertisements for 41 years were, “The Originators and Champions of Low Prices.”

            The Fair Store continued to operate until December 6, 1939.  It had been decided by the officers, that it would “no longer be feasible to operate under the present conditions,” whatever that meant.  There was a big spread in the November 6, 1939, Waupaca County Post announcing the big 30-day closeout sale.  This three-floor sale was under the management of I. R. Ross, of Milwaukee.  On December 6, 1939, the shades were drawn and the clock recorded the last checkout of the clerks.  This was the end of the Fair Store that had operated in Waupaca for 11 years.

            How many of you remember where the stairway was located, that led down to the large basement area?  Mrs. Charles Yost had the distinction of having a record of 32 years of faithful service.  I have heard that the Fair Store was the first to display some ladies under apparel in their show windows, and when the men passed by on the streets, they always had to turn their heads for a second glance.

            How many recall the days before self-service became the thing, when the Fair Store sales clerks put the sales slip, money and goods purchased into a screen basket on the counter?  By a pulley arrangement she raised the basket to a tight overhead wire on which the basket traveled up to a cashier’s balcony where the items were wrapped and money changed.  Then the basket was returned across the store to the station from which it had been sent.  As many as five baskets might be floating in the air high above the counters and showcases at one time on a busy day.

            At Cristy’s, only the money was placed in cylindrical cups that went whisking up to the cashier.  While you waited for the change to return, you could see the sales person wrap your purchase.

            The old Fair Store location became the Schultz Bros. five and dime store and just recently remodeled completely inside and out is the business places of the Harbor Bike and Ski and the Little Professor Book Store.



December 31, 1991


            This is what the July 28, 1910, issued of the Waupaca Record had to say:  “Charter for a State Bank.  Waupaca will have another financial institution in the near future.”

            The fact that a city the size of Waupaca had only one bank caused some concern among the people of the area, especially after the event of the Charles Churchill incident and his resigning in February, 1910, after 20 years as president and director of the First National Bank.  This was the primary cause that led to the birth of the Farmers State Bank.

            On October 1, 1910, the State Bank Commissioner approved the Article of Incorporation of the Farmers State Bank of Waupaca.  They had a capital stock of $25,000, 250 shares at $100 each.  The incorporators were Dr. L.H. Pelton, with 100 shares; John Pinkerton, 100 shares; E.B. Jeffers, 35 shares; L.D. Moses, 10 shares, and G.J. Moses, five shares.

            The building owned by John Pinkerton, next door to Alfred Johnson’s Abstract Office, was to become the new bank’s permanent home, which it was to occupy later.  Dr. L.H. Pelton was elected president and G.J. Moses as cashier.

            In the Waupaca Record for October 20, 1910, there appeared an ad for the Farmers State Bank:  “The Farmers State Bank will open next week at 114 East Union Street.”  Also in that same issue was a notice that the Rosholt Brothers had secured a home for a new bank and they closed a deal that assured a third bank for the City of Waupaca.

            Things were happening fast since the shakeup of the First National Bank.  There was another article that appeared the 27th of October, 1910, stating that the Farmers State Bank had changed hands in its infancy.  A deal which had been pending for a week was consummated whereby the Rosholt Brothers – Julius Rosholt of Minneapolis and Kim Rosholt of Eau Claire – purchased the property and took over the charter of the newly organized Farmers State Bank of Waupaca.

            When the Rosholt Bros. came to Waupaca looking for a location to open a bank they leased the building just vacated by Charles Hoffmann, who retired from the jewelry business after 29 years.

            A deal was made the first day of November, 1910, by and between the Estate of Richard Lea, of the City of Waupaca, and the Farmers State Bank of Waupaca.

            The party of the first part agreed to lease to the party of the second part the following described premises; the basement and first floor of the building used by Charles Hoffmann as a jewelry store.  Said building being located on lot one (1) Block K, in the City of Waupaca, to hold for a term of 10 years November 1, 1910, November 1, 1920, for an annual rental of $550.

            The party of the second part was authorized to build a suitable fire proof vault in said building at their own expense, provided however that at the expiration of said lease, if it is not renewed, the party of the second part had the right to remove such vault, provided the floors and building shall be repaired and placed in as good condition as it was before the erection of the vault.

            The Waupaca Record, dated November 5, 1910, had this to say:  “New State Bank to open soon.  Work on remodeling the Hoffmann building is going ahead rapidly.  Mr. Kim Rosholt of Eau Claire told the representative of the Waupaca Record that they expect to have one of the most modern banks in the state.  They are installing a large burglar-proof vault with safety deposit boxes, and the floors and the front of the building will be marble.  The officers have not as yet been elected, but would be soon.”

            The original Article of Incorporation was amended December 29, 1910.  The time had come, and the Waupaca Record for Thursday, Jan. 12, 1911, brought the news to the people of Waupaca:  “The new State Bank opens Saturday.  The Farmers State Bank held its first meeting on Wednesday afternoon (and) 26 stockholders were present.  The bank opened for business on Saturday, Jan. 14, 1911.”

            The first officers elected were:  president, J. Rosholt; vice president, K. Rosholt, H.J. Myhus, C.R. Hoffmann, E.W. Smith, Albert Breit, O.C. Harrington, and Mr. Hoffmann was elected as chairman.

            The original stockholders were Herm Felker, O.C. Hole, Carrie A. Wheeler, B.P. Hom, E.W. Smith, R.J. Havenor, N. Cohen, O.B. Ware, Albert Chady, J.R. Keating, F.D. Axtell, Chas. R. Hoffmann, Albert Breit, Thos. Davidson, Lawrence Miller, A.B. Axtell, R. McCabe, M.E. Hansen, O.C. Harrington, John Wallace, Carl A. Sander, Fred Hess, S.J. Danielson, Thos. Oyans, William Pope, A.W. Warren, K. Rosholt and J. Rosholt.

            When the building was completed, the wainscot was Grecian marble set off most beautifully by a base board of Italian marble.  The dealing plate was of Belgian marble and the woodwork and fixtures were all in mahogany.

            The 10 years lease came up, and it was renewed for another 10-year period.

            On June 12, 1930, they renewed the lease for a third time for 10 years.

            On September 30, 1939, the Farmers State Bank purchased the entire lot one (1) Block K from the estate of Richard Lea, for $30,000.  This was a Trustee Deed, volume 193, page 221, executed by Charles W. Lea, who was a son, and Harry R. Lea, who was a grandson of Richard Lea; the original builder of the building.

            “Farmers State Bank in home of its own, in Lea Block.  The Farmers State Bank, 28-year-old Waupaca financial institution, soon will boost a roof of its own and a home of its own.

            “On October 2, 1939, a deal will be consummated whereby the bank acquires the Richard Lea estate property now occupied by the bank, McLean’s Market, Stedman’s Drugs store and Allen’s Restaurant.  All occupants will continue in their present quarters, states Harry Rawson, the bank president, and will continue as tenants of the bank excepting Allen’s Restaurant.  David Allen has already arranged to purchase the quarters occupied by his restaurant.”

            The above was published in the Waupaca County Post.

            On January 13, 1955, there was a picture in the Waupaca County Post of workmen installing a new revolving clock on the Farmers State Bank building.  The old clock prior had been installed on October 25, 1916.

            The new revolving clock was unique in design, and there were only four of them in Wisconsin, the others in Milwaukee, Madison and Fond du Lac.  It was installed under a lease agreement by the Federal Sign and Signal Co., Milwaukee, assisted by Reuben Nelson of Nelson Sign Service, who became in charge of the maintenance.  Kissinger Electric did the wiring.

            The clock was installed so that its twin faces were visible for long distances in all directions as it revolved.  The faces were three feet six inches square and were of white plastic with black plastic numerals.  They were illuminated by white grid tubing.  The signs at the top and bottom that advertised the bank were maroon with gold letters.  They too were illuminated.

            In the Waupaca County Post, for October 23, 1958, there was a picture of the Farmers State Bank before it underwent its extensive exterior remodeling.  The heading was, Waupaca’s Main Street undergoes a “Face-lifting.” 

            “The west side of the 100 block on South Main Street in Waupaca is undergoing extensive “Face-lifting.”  From Union Street northward, the First National Bank remodeled the exterior and the interior of its building some months ago, the Schultz Bros. Variety store remodeled the interior, converting to self-service, the Campbell store is in the process of doubling its space by annexing the former Leader Hardware building and on the corner of Main and West Fulton streets, the Farmers State Bank is sealing off the second floor and installing a modern new front which will include Winches drug store.”

            Sometime between January 1955 and June 1966, the first temperature-time clock was installed on the Farmers State Bank building on the corner of Main and Fulton streets.   This clock replaced the revolving time clock that had been installed there in January of 1955.

            When the Farmers State Bank moved to their new location at 112 West Fulton Street on March 7, 1966, they took their time-temperature clock with them to their new location.

            For years the clocks that were mounted on the corner of the Farmers State Bank had dominated the Main and Fulton streets intersection.  The people had acquired the habit of glancing at these as they stopped for the stop sign to get the time of the day or the temperature.

            As the result of the move of the clock, the officials of the bank received many hints and remarks on how they missed the clock on the corner while shopping downtown.  The courthouse workers and businessmen found it convenient to take a look out of their doors of windows.  County Treasurer John DeVaud could see the clock from his office window and had remarked, that he looked at the bank clock more than his own office clock.

            While admitting that there had been some pressure to maintain some device at the city’s principal intersection, Executive Vice President P.L. Karling said, that when the bank officials found out how much the clock meant to the people, the decision was made to provide another clock, with the compliments of the Farmers State Bank, and as a public service to the community.

            The Waupaca County Post for June 9, 1966, had this to say:  “Bank with a soft heart bends to the will of the clock watchers.”  There was also a picture of the clock being installed.  Above the new clock were the words “Compliments of the Farmers State Bank,” and below the clock was “One block West.”

            The new clock took its orders through the old clock at 112 West Fulton Street by means of wires which carried the proper instructions.  If it was 2 p.m. at the new bank, it would be 2 p.m. at the old location, and the same went for the temperature.

            Sometime between 1966 and December 1982, another new clock was installed.  This new clock had just the words “Farmers State Bank of Waupaca.”  In the afternoon of Christmas Day, 1982, a pictured appeared in the Waupaca paper showing the temperature at 49°.  I understand that the present clock was installed in 1984.  I am sure that the people of Waupaca and surrounding areas appreciate this service provided by the Farmers State Bank.

            When the Farmers State Bank moved to its new location, the old bank building was for sale.  On the first day of March, 1967, Edward J. Hart purchased from the Farmers State Bank the north 17 feet of lot 1, Block “K” of the original plat of the Village (now City) of Waupaca, except the West 29 feet thereof.  The Grantor reserved the right to maintain the time and temperature clock attached to the building on said premises for a period of 10 years.  This location is now the Law Office of Attorneys Edward and John Hart.




January 9, 1992


            The large brick building on the corner of Main and West Fulton streets, that was built in 1870 by Richard Lea, became the largest place of business in Waupaca at the time.

            In a previous article I wrote about the Farmer’s State Bank purchasing the north 17 feet of lot 1, Block “K” from the Richard Lea estate on September 30, 1939.  This is now 100 South Main Street, the present location of Hart and Hart Attorney’s office.

            The door adjacent to the south was also a part of the Richard Lea estate.  Hugo M. Lea, son of Richard Lea, became the proprietor and executor of the estate.  Hugo M. Lea closed out his clothing store at 102 South Main in 1906, and in October of 1906, the Hocking Brothers Rexall drug store moved into the empty clothing store.  This location has since became the business location of five different drug stores.

            William J. Hocking was born in Dodgeville in 1857, where he spent his youth and early manhood.  He spent two years in Madison, after which time he went to Chicago and worked as a clerk, finally graduating as a pharmacist.  He then was engaged in his own business in Rockford for a short time, going from there to Florence, in upper Wisconsin, until 1896, when he came to Waupaca to open a drug store.

            In 1883 William J. Hocking was married to Mary Elizabeth Wright.  To them were born three daughters and three sons.  He had a brother, J. F. Hocking, who was associated with him for some time in the drug store business. Wm. J. Hocking died May 14, 1912, and is buried in the family plot in the Waupaca Cemetery.

            The Hocking Bros. name remained until it was taken over by the Murphy Drug Store. These dates I do not know.  The Murphy Drug Store was first owned by Stack and Murphy, then Murphy and Fox and finally by A. J. Murphy alone.

            Miss Helen Stedman took possession of the Murphy Drug Store on March 1, 1929, and ran it for the next 16 years.  Miss Stedman graduated from the Waupaca High School with the class of 1918.  She completed the course in pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin in 1922, and that same year became a registered pharmacist while working in the Frank O. Stratton Drug Store in Waupaca, where she built up a wide circle of friends.

            Helen Ruth Stedman was born December 19, 1898, in the Town of Lanark, Portage County, and came to Waupaca with her parents when but a small child.  She never married, and a lingering illness forced her to retire in 1945.  She passed away in 1950, leaving her mother, Cora Stedman, one sister, Evelyn and two half-brothers, Robert and Leman Stedman.  She was buried in the family plot in the Barton Cemetery, Town of Farmington.

            On October 1, 1945 Harold D. Olson purchased the business from Helen Stedman.  Mr. Olson was a former lieutenant in the Navy Air Corps.  He was released from active duty September 22, 1945, after serving four and a half years as an aviator.  His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar L. Olson, moved to Waupaca in 1938 while Harold was attending the University of Wisconsin.  Mr. Vernon Peterson, who had been employed by Miss Stedman for 13 years, remained in charge of the prescription department.  Harold D. Olson sold out to Sam Winch, effective April 1, 1954, and moved his family to Madison.

            Sam Winch, band director at Waupaca High School, took over the Olson Pharmacy April 1, 1954.  Mr. Winch told the Waupaca County Post at the time that he would not be active in the store, but Mrs. Winch, who had many years experience in drug stores in Stratford and Marshfield, would be the active manager.

            Mrs. Sam Winch, was the former Minnie Giles of Marshfield, and they were married in 1938.  They had three sons: Tim, Tom and Terry.  Sam “Tim” Winch was born and raised at Chain O’ Lakes near Waupaca.

            The Farmers State Bank sold to John C. Cormican the south part of the Richard Lea estate on March 1, 1967.  This was the end of the era of drug stores located at 102 South Main Street.




January 16, 1992


            John P. Adler, owner of the Adler Theatre Company of Marshfield, came to Waupaca in 1926, when he leased the Waupaca Theatre, located in the Carl Cohen building at 108 N. Main Street. This location, in 1922, is Colligan’s Old Time Bakery.

            In 1932 Mr. Adler leased the Palace Theatre on West Fulton Street from the A.M. Penney estate, and in 1938 he purchased the building.

            J.P. Adler continued to operate both show houses until December 24, 1946, when his lease expired on the Waupaca Theatre, and the option was picked up by the Ashe Theatre Corporation, and they changed the name to the State Theatre.

            J.P. Adler had been associated with the theaters in Waupaca for 20 years, and he figured that the people of Waupaca deserved a new, modern theater.  The wheels of progress had already been put in motion for a new theater.  Adlers Trio, Inc. purchased from Maurice Behnke and Associates the south 10 feet, off Lot Number 3, and the north 29 feet and 11 inches off Lot Number 4, all in Block “L” of the original plat of the Village of Waupaca, now the City of Waupaca.  Adler’s trio, Inc. was a corporation of three people headed by John P. Adler and his wife, Rose, and one other person.

            This location was then a vacant lot between Behnke’s Food Market on the north and Webb’s Bratwurst Restaurant on the south.  This location was later to become the now Rosa Theatre.

            The Waupaca County Post for April 8, 1948, had this to say about the construction for a new theater:  “The partially constructed theater on South Main Street was started in 1946, two years previous.  The construction was halted at that time by some legal restrictions, but not before 165 feet of wall had been built.”

            Could there have been an error in the boundary lines that caused the delay?  Perhaps, because on August 28, 1946, Alice Webb sold to Adler’s Trio, Inc. one foot and ten and three-quarters inches off the north side of their lot.  Once the restrictions were lifted, the construction was to begin on the new fire-proof Adler theater as soon as circumstances such as luck, labor and materials became available.

            The Waupaca County Post, dated June 3, 1948:  “Construction of the new theater coming along fine.  The steel supports for the ceiling of the new Waupaca theater, being constructed by the Adler Theatre Company, were put up this week and the motion picture house was well along towards completion.

            “Mr. Adler was in town recently and announced that he still hopes to have the building completed by July 1.  The cement floor is being laid now, seats, projector, air conditioning, and various other equip-ment is already arranged.  The theater will seat 554 people.”

            Despite difficulties and setbacks the beautiful new Rose Theatre had its grand opening as planned on July 31, 1948.  The show went on, even though the front doors of the theater had not as yet arrived, and there were odds and ends to be taken care of.  The opening night was ready with band, speakers and the whole works.

            Mr. Adler dedicated this theatre to his wife Rosamond, who was of Danish descent.  The first syllable of her name, translated in Danish, is a derivative of the name Rose.  It was then fitting and proper to carry out the Rose motif in the decorative design.

            The new theater had a number of unusual features.  One was the lighting on the inside of the theater, which was neon instead of the usual florescent.  Others were the openings at the top of the auditorium ceiling for ventilation, the 554 cushioned seats and the variation of colors of rose and green that predominated throughout.

            Among the outstanding exterior features were the modern, triangular marquee; the concave panels of brick above the marquee that was to be covered with light green plaster.  Mr. Adler had gotten this idea from a $4 million store in St. Petersburg, FL, and to make it complete there was the new sign, “Rosa.”

            Getting back to the opening night:  Mrs. Adler was unexpectedly called to the front of the theater by her husband and introduced to the public.  She had not known that the new theater was being dedicated to her, until about two weeks before.

            Souvenir books and roses were presented at the door, the roses to the ladies of course.  Distributing the roses was Adler’s two daughters, Anne Victoria and Elizabeth Bille.  The souvenir books were attractive and clever.  A circle being cut out in the front cover to show a red rose over the name “Rosa” on the cover.  In addition to telling about the policy and personnel of the Adler theatres, the souvenir books gave a chronological description of the construction of the theater.  As each section and part of the building was discussed, the advertisement of the tradesmen and contractors who had worked on the Rosa were published alongside it.

            In the lobby of the theater on Saturday and Sunday were boards on which congratulatory telegrams from film people and motion picture companies were posted.  Among the motion picture companies were such names as RKO, 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, Republic Pictures and MGM.

            Wires were received from the following stars:  Johnny Mack Brown, Rod Cameron, William Bendix, Esther Williams, Clair Trevor, Van Johnson, Gene Autry, Margaret O’Brien, June Allyson, Red Skelton, Evelyn Keys, Nina Foch, William Holden, Greer Garson, Paulette Goddard, John Lund, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Alan Ladd, Betty Hutton and Clifton Webb.

            The decorators were to return on Monday to paint the lobby and rest rooms, because the plaster at the time of the grand opening was not dry enough to paint.  The air conditioning unit had not as yet arrived either.  Luckily, the weather was cool enough, so the air conditioning was not needed.

            The feature attraction on the screen for the grand opening was a comedy, “Sitting Pretty,” starring Robert Young, Maureen O’Hara and Clifton Webb, plus a Bugs Bunny cartoon.  How many of you remember the night of the grand opening of the Rosa Theatre, or saved one of the souvenir books?

            J.P. Adler also continued to operate the Palace Theatre until January 12, 1957, when its doors were closed forever as a theater.  This location at 112 West Fulton Street now belongs to the Farmers State Bank.

            In October 1948, Melvin T. (Blondie) Helgerson and his wife, the former Dorothy Mills, finally gave up their acting careers and came to Waupaca where they became the managers of the Adler Theatres.

            Mr. Helgerson managed the Palace and Rosa theatres in Waupaca for three and one-half years, until his death on March 1, 1952.  He had been assisted by his wife, Mrs. Helgerson then became the manager of the Rosa Theatre until her sudden death on September 7, 1962.

            A couple of managers of the Rosa Theatre that followed Mrs. Helgerson were Clarence Kissinger and a Gene Wilson from Marshfield.

            In 1969 Laverne Kienert became the manager until May 31, 1972, when he bought the theater.  The document was signed by Elizabeth B. Adler and William H. Halverson, who were the officers of Adler’s Trio Corporation.

            Mr. and Mrs. Laverne Kienert continued to operate the Rose until December 19, 1986, when they sold the theater to Otto Settele and wife, who operate the Rose Theatre today.

            Mr. and Mrs. Settele are only the third owners of the Rosa Theatre.  Just a last note.  I have been told that Earl Schnieder was the contractor of the Rosa Theatre.

            After this article was all typed up and ready to take to the Waupaca County Post, I came across the story of the Rosa Theatre celebrating its 20th anniversary on October 17, 1968.  In the article it explained why the delay of the construction of the theater.  It was because they were faced with a govern-ment restriction against building amusement places.

            Gene Wilson, who was the manager for the 20th anniversary, advertised that the first 250 people would be given a free deck of cards.  The special movie was “Five Card Stud.”




January 23, 1992


            Back in the early years of the 1900s, before the days of the professional baseball, football, basketball and hockey, horse racing was the entertainment of the day in the Waupaca area.

            I don’t believe that there were many young men out for a Sunday ride with their special girl, who did not pass another buggy and challenge the driver to a race, just to impress the lady fair.

            In the February 10, 1910 Waupaca Republican Post, was an item about horse racing on the ice:

            “Last Sunday the owners of fast driving and racing horses again enjoyed the fine sport on the ice track on the lake.  Hundreds of spectators are said to have been present.  H. Habersaat, Will Ware, F.E. Paronto, Fred Brown, Dr. G.H. Atkinson, A.A. Papineau, and R.P. Hanson were among those who parti-cipated in the sport.”

            Just a little about Dr. George Atkinson … He had his veterinary office in a building on the east side of the McLean feed barn on the southeast corner of Washington and West Union.  Dr. Atkinson’s advertisements in the local paper read like this:  “Dr. G.H. Atkinson Veterinary Surgeon and Dentist.”

            Harry Edmund “Beans” Atkinson was a son of George H. and Katherine (Schneider) Atkinson, and as he was growing up, he too was interested in horses, and he spent many hours around the office of his father.

            Young “Beans” Atkinson met with an accident, when a horse that he was riding pinned him against a pole, which resulted in the loss of a leg.

            It was in the winter time, and some boy threw a snowball that spooked the horse, which caused Mr. Atkinson’s leg to be pinned against the pole.

            Both father and son loved horses and both were instrumental in the promotion of horse racing.  In his younger years “Beans” Atkinson also drove in harness races.  He also helped to care for some show horses for Mr. and Mrs. Miles S. Loberg at their Mi-Lo-Way stable just west of Waupaca.

            The old McLean feed barn became the Farm Market of Jay “Kelley” Ware, before it was razed to make room for a machinery lot, on the corner of West Union and South Washington streets.

            When I was first married, and lived in Waupaca County, I would often cull out a few of the laying hens to take down to Kelley Ware’s to sell to get a little money so we could go to the movies.

            There was this hen that was really light in weight, and he would pick it out for me to take home.  After my trying for about the third time to get this hen through, Kelley said, “You can’t fool me with that chicken, so take it home and kill it.”

            F. E. Paronto was a barber in Waupaca for many years and also served as mayor.

            R.P. Hanson owned the bakery that became known as the Star Bakery.

            A.A. Papineau operated a saloon in the building that was, until the end of 1991, the Army Recruiting office on West Fulton Street.

            Will Ware was Waupaca’s chief of police.

            Another man who competed in sports was Asa W. Hollenbeck, who came to Waupaca in 1887 and established the Crystal Springs Bottling Works on Churchill Street.

            Mr. Hollenbeck was a member of the Chandler rink, which in January of 1895 captured first place from competitors at the National Curling Bonspiel held in Milwaukee, which included leading curlers from the United States and Canada.




January 30, 1992


            Earl Thomas Knight, who left the family homestead in Section 29, Township of Farmington, Waupaca County, to go “west” in 1909, was reunited with his sister after a separation of 48 years.  His sister, Mary, who had grown to womanhood during his long absence, married Myron Schultz and raised a family of her own.

            The Knight family homestead is located at the bottom of the big hill on State Highway 54, five miles west of Waupaca.  The hill has been known as “Knight’s Hill” for many years.

            John Knight married Helena Hearn, August 29, 1883, and it was on the homestead that they started out their married life together.  They became the parents of seven children, three boys – Earl, Robert and Hugh – and four daughters – Florence, Margaret, Olive and Mary, the baby of the family.

            When Earl left his home he was 24 years old and little Mary was only four.  When Mr. Knight embraced his sister after 48 year he made the remark that he could not have held her like this before he left home, because he was so big and she was afraid of him.  When he came in one door, he said, “she would exit out another.”  Mrs. Schultz countered with, “Well, I am not too little or afraid now, so this calls for another big hug.”

            Mr. Knight told of his life after leaving home.  He worked as a deck hand on a Columbia River steamboat in Washington, then as a surveyor for the Oregon Trunk Railroad.

            Then he went to Tucson, AZ, where he was married and worked as a well driller.  Later he became an “extra” on the Tucson Volunteer Fire Department.  In 1913, a fireman friend asked him to work a couple of hours for him, as a hose driver.  The friend gave him $1 and never did return.  He continued as a hoseman, then as a driver of a chemical wagon, as now he had a full-time job.

            When he started as a fireman, horses were in use.  It was not until four years later that motorized apparatuses replaced them.  He retired from the Tucson Fire Department in 1913.  He died in Tucson, on April 9, 1964.  His sister, Mrs. Myron (Mary) Schultz, is the last survivor of the John Knight family.  She makes her home at the South Side Retirement Home, Waupaca.




February 6, 1992


            Two brothers, Horace “Ted” and Ira August Christoph, came to Waupaca in 1924 from Neenah in search of a location to start a dairy business.

            Ted Christoph was born in Neenah on October 17, 1900, and on July 27, 1925, he married Edna J. Hesselman.  They became the parents of two sons:  James C. and John W.

            Ira Christoph was also born in Neenah on June 10, 1892.  He was united in marriage in the Town of Vinland, Winnebago County, to Julia Smith on November 8, 1916.  They had one daughter, Doris.

            Their first location in Waupaca was a small vacant building located directly behind the former George James Furniture Store at 121 N. Main St.  Paul B. Bammel Sr. came to Waupaca in 1929, and purchased the furniture business from the George James estate.  At one time during Bammel’s ownership, the building directly behind the furniture store was Bammel’s Provincetown Shop.  This marks the location of the first business site of the Christoph Bros. Waupaca Dairy Products Company.

            Their business soon outgrew the building, and they made arrangements to rent the building at 111 W. Fulton St. that had been vacated earlier by Martha Trader’s “Model Garment Shoppe.”  In October 1929, the Christoph brothers told the local paper that their new home would be renovated and redecorated before they would move in around January 1, 1930.

            The six-ton refrigeration unit that held their milk, cream, butter and ice cream, a new boiler and pasteurizing equipment were installed in the new location.  The front part of the building was used as a retail outlet.

            The Christoph Bros. Waupaca Dairy Products Company had been handicapped in the old location because the ice cream plant had to be in a separate building.  The name of the firm was changed to Christoph’s Dairy after they moved to 111 W. Fulton St. The Christoph brothers retired in August 1953.  They sold out to Adolph Ritter of Fond du Lac, after serving the people of the Waupaca area for 29 years.

            In one of the interviews with the Waupaca County Post, Ted Christoph spoke of the many changes in the dairy business.  The milk was first bottled in round glass bottles, then went into square glass bottles and finally into paper-plastic cartons.  There were home deliveries seven days a week by horse-drawn wagons in the summer and sleighs in the winter.  The change to truck delivery began in the early ‘40s.

            Originally, there was no refrigeration equipment so ice cream making required much ice and rock salt.  The busiest time in the Christoph Dairy was on Thursday nights during the band concert, where up until World War II the double dip ice cream cones were only a nickel.

            Horace “Ted” Christoph died in the River View Nursing Home on March 19, 1973 and Ira August Christoph died on April 13, 1975.  They are both buried with their wives in the Waupaca Lakeside Memorial Park Cemetery.  They left behind many friends and acquaintances through their association with the Christoph Dairy.

            Ritter operated the business for one year before selling out to Woody’s Cheese Company on August 1, 1954.  On January 1, 1956, Woody’s sold out to the Nelson Dairy Company, and by mid-June of 1956, Lund’s Music and TV shop occupied the building.  That ended the building’s use as the home of a dairy.

            The following is only a brief history of the building that Christoph’s Dairy occupied next to the alley on West Fulton Street.  Dating back to 1914, an ad appeared in the local paper for the A.A. Pappineau Saloon that read:  “We will start serving food in the fall.”

            By starting a lunch counter in the fall, when the farmers began to haul loads of potatoes to town by teams of horses, it provided another place where the farmer could get a hot meal while his horses were resting and being fed in the Colburn Barn, which was just around the corner where the old Armory stands today.

            At 1 a.m. Sunday, June 4, 1916, fire broke out in the building, then owned by Mrs. George Hanson. The east two-thirds of the building was formerly the saloon of A.A. Pappineau, but was vacant at the time.  The west one-third of the building was occupied by Ed Prink’s barber shop.

            Some trouble was experienced in getting the fire, owing to the fact that the fire had started in the partition and worked its way up to the lone attic where it continued to burn above the steel ceiling.  After the fire was thought to be out, the firemen went home, but left the fire fighting equipment at the scene.  The proved to have been a wise move, because at 4 a.m. a second fire run had to be made, as the fire had broken out again.

            The interior and the roof was a wreck.  The walls seemed to be unharmed, but there was some question as to whether the building could be repaired so that it would be fit for occupancy.  The furnishings in the barber shop were saved and only slightly damaged.

            The origin of the fire was a mystery.  The most plausible theory was that a match or a cigar stub had fallen through a hole in the floor.  It seems that there were several such holes in the floor in the passageway which connected the barber shop and a toilet in back of the vacant saloon building.

            Since Lund’s Music and TV shop took over the building in June 1956 the building ceased to be used as a dairy store.  There have been only two other occupants since.  Lund sold the music and television service to William “Bill” Ellingsworth in mid-June 1964.  It then became known as “Waupaca TV Sales and Service.”  Ellingsworth operated out of this building until in 1974, when it became the U.S. Army Recruiting Office.  That office recently moved to Stevens Point, and as of January 1, 1992, the building has stood vacant.

            Many of you remember Ted Girard and Howard Wilson making their early morning milk deliveries for the Christoph Dairy.




February 13, 1992


            This story will include some of the highlights in the lives of the Chandler families who settled in the Chandler-Vaughn District midway between what is now Waupaca and Weyauwega, in 1849.

            Augustus Chandler was born August 12, 1782, at Hanover Centre, Grafton County, New Hampshire.  He was married there on November 22, 1804, to Polly S. Slade.  Augustus Chandler died in Waupaca April 17, 1871, and is buried in the family lot in the Waupaca Lakeside Cemetery.  His wife, the former Polly S. Slade, was born November 26, 1784, in New Hampshire, and died in Waupaca, March 19, 1864.  She is also buried in the family lot.

            Augustus and Polly Chandler were the parents of 10 children, all born in Grafton County, NH; they were:  John Wilkes, Samuel Slade, Augusta, Sarah Slade, William Henry (who died in infancy), William Henry, Augustus Hill, Harriet Jane, Martha Hill and Thomas Baldwin.

            The Chandlers embarked on a new life in the mid-1840s.  Augustus Chandler decided to take his family to what was then the Western frontier, so they left their home in Hanover Centre, NH, and headed for Wisconsin.  Two members of the family stayed behind.  William Henry, who died in infancy, and Harriet Jane Chandler, who chose teaching as a profession.  She graduated from the New Hampton Seminary in 1843, and in the fall of that same year, accepted a teaching position in Barryton, AL.

            In September of 1846, the Chandler clan had settled in Waterford (Racine County) except for Augustus Hill Chandler and family, who went on to Jo Davis County, IL.  This was two years before Wisconsin became a state.

            The Augustus and Polly Slade Chandler family including John Wilkes Chandler, their eldest son, John W. Chandler, his wife, Phebe Bridgman Chandler, with their two daughters Mary M. and Harriet A., all left their homes in Waterford to make a new start again in the unsettled wilderness in the Indian Lands farther to the north in central Wisconsin.

            John Wilkes Chandler had been born at Hanover, NH, in 1808, and was married there to Miss Phebe Bridgman, and they had three children born there also:  Mary Bridgman and Harriet Augusta.  They had a son, John Wilkes Jr., who died February 22, 1842.  He was about two and one-half years old.  He was buried in New Hampshire.  Phebe Bridgman was born March 2, 1806.  John W. Chandler became a lieutenant colonel in the militia in New Hampshire before moving to Wisconsin.

            Early in the spring of 1849, after some weeks of travel, this group of the Chandler family arrived on the south bank of the Waupaca River, in Section 1, Township of Lind, Waupaca County.  Here they lived with the Simon C. Dow family in a 14 by 16 foot shanty.

            Many of us may be wondering just what mode of transportation these pioneers had when they embarked into the unbroken wilderness.  It is not known how the Chandler families traveled from their home in New Hampshire, to Racine County, or from Racine County to Algoma at the mouth of the Fox River.  At that time Algoma was located on the south side of the Fox, and Oshkosh was on the north side.

            But Mrs. John Wilkes Chandler did record how they traveled to the Town of Lind from Algoma.  They started by sailboat and went up the Fox River to Winneconne, and into the Wolf River, and on up to Gills Landing.  Here they found a man with a single ox and a drag (stoneboat) for sale.  This was the conveyance on which grandmother Polly Slade Chandler rode on from Gills Landings, to their destination in the new land.

            In a letter written by Phebe Chandler to Mrs. Augustus Hill (Susan) Chandler postmarked July 10, 1849, urging them to leave Jo Davis County and come to this new land, she described their new home with the Dows:  “Our new shanty is only 14 by 16, made of boards and no partitions.  Mrs. Dow and mother Chandler have beds set up on one side; the rest of us has to bundle in well.  How we do this is, there are curtains before the beds, then I hung a curtain across the other way, so we are made into four bedrooms.  We have not been by ourselves but a few nights since we have been here, 14 sometimes, and as thick as three in a bed, and we all look tether way.”

            They had only one stove for both families.  Phebe Bridgman Chandler, wife of John Wilkes Chandler, was struck down in the prime of her life, on August 14, 1853, before her hopes and dreams had a chance to materialize.  She was buried on their property on the south bank of the Waupaca River.  Hers is one of the oldest markers in Waupaca County.  In 1857 Col. John W. Chandler left the Iola and Waupaca areas and returned to Waterford in Racine County.  He remarried to Mrs. Catherine M. Tyler.  He died there of consumption on July 21, 1862, aged 54 years, and was buried in the Oakwood cemetery there, so many miles from the small lonely burial place of his first wife, Phebe.

            It was on June 1, 1862, that the government through an act of Congress first opened up the Indian Lands for sale to the white man.  Fremont was the main crossing point on the Wolf River.  The Big Crossing as it was called, started at midnight June 1, 1852, when a large wave of whites crossed the Wolf, in hopes of laying out a claim.  All early settlers that lived in the Indian Lands west of the Wolf River and east of the Wisconsin River prior to June 1, 1852, were squatters, or sometimes called waiters, but they preferred to be called preemptors.

            In March of 1850 the Samuel Slade Chandler Sr. family left their home in Racine County and joined the Chandler clan that had settled in the Chandler district between Weyauwega and Waupaca Falls.

            Samuel Slade Chandler Sr. was born August 11, 1809, at Hanover Center, NH, and was married there to Sarah Gould Colcord, who was born January 12, 1815 at Kingston, NH.  She died in Iola February 20, 1872, and is buried in the Riverside Cemetery there.

            Samuel S. and Sarah Chandler had the following children:  Daniel Augustus, Mary Colcord, Sarah Frances, William Henry H., Samuel Slade Jr., Harriet Jane and Martha Foss.  The Samuel S. Chandler family was in Iola by 1854, and was one of the very first families to be living there.  Samuel S. and his brother, Col. John W. Chandler, built a saw mill in Iola, if not the first one.  Mr. Chandler hired the first school teacher in Iola, paying all of her wages, except for $7.50, and he boarded her besides for the first three months.

            Samuel S. Chandler Sr. was a pioneer in the days when clearing the forests and converting the timber into lumber was king.

            Mr. Chandler was 63 years old when his wife, Sarah, died. After her death he moved to Waupaca to live with his son, Samuel S. Jr.  Here he was married for a second time, this time to Mrs. Harriet Ingalls, on April 16, 1873.  He died on March 22, 1899, and Harriet died February 2, 1910.  Both are buried in Waupaca Lakeside Cemetery.

            Remember, when the Chandler families left their home in New Hampshire, and settled at Waterford, Racine County, Augustus Hill Chandler and his wife, Susan Woodward Chandler, continued on to Jo Davis County, IL, to live.  There was a letter, dated July 10, 1849, that Phebe Bridgman Chandler, Mrs. John W. Chandler, wrote to Susan, Mrs. Augustus H. Chandler, in Jo Davis County, IL., urging them to hurry and come to this new land before all of the claims were taken up.

            Mr. Chandler, his wife, Susan, and children responded to her plea, and left their home in Jo Davis County, and arrived upon the scene in the Chandler settlement in the spring of 1850, on a claim of government land.  This property now includes much of the Waupaca Municipal Airport.

            It was here, in Section 35, Town of Waupaca, that they built their first home, and it was in this home that the first school classes were held, taught by Mrs. Susan Chandler.  This made her the first teacher to teach in the first school in Waupaca County.

            School started on June 5, 1851, because school classes had to be started in June, so as to complete a three-month term to draw state money.  Three weeks later a new one-room schoolhouse was built and made serviceable and classes resumed in the new schoolhouse.  There were about 20 pupils ranging in ages from 5 to 17, all coming from the surrounding area within a radius of one and one-half miles.

            Augustus Hill Chandler was born March 31, 1819, at Hanover Center, NH.  He married Susan Woodward there on September 22, 1842.  She was born August 7, 1823, also in Hanover Center.  She died January 22, 1899, in Chicago, IL, and Augustus H. died January 15, 1893.  Both were laid to rest in the Waupaca Lakeside Cemetery.  They were the parents of three children:  William Augustus, who died September 12, 1865, aged 13 years; Jessie Estelle, who died March 12, 1865, aged six years, and are both buried in the Waupaca cemetery, and a third child, Fremont Elmer, was born in the Town of Lind in 1861.

            Fremont C. Chandler graduated from Waupaca High School in 1876, and continued his education at the University of Wisconsin.  He finished his bachelor of science course in 1886.  He attended the Rush Medical College in Chicago, graduating in 1893, going from there to Augustana Hospital where he served his internship under the famed Dr. Ochsner.

            Dr. Chandler practiced medicine in Chicago until 1915, when he returned to Waupaca to assume his practice until his death in 1931.

            In 1889 Dr. Fremont E. Chandler was married to Mary Rebecca Saxe of Whitewater, WI.  They became the parents of eight children, two of whom died young.

            Dr. Arthur H. Chandler, son of Dr. Fremont E. Chandler, practiced dentistry in Waupaca from 1918 until his death in 1968.

            Samuel Slade Chandler Jr., son of Samuel Slade Sr. and wife, Sarah, was born in New Hampshire on August 8, 1842.  He served nearly three years with Co. G, 21st Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, in the Civil War, with quite a distinguished record.  He married Ella E. McKenzie of Iola in 1868, and they had two sons, Arthur M. and Clarence C.

            Ella E. Chandler died August 5, 1929 and 19 days later he husband Samuel S. Chandler Jr. passed away.  Both are buried in Waupaca.  Arthur M., their eldest son, was born July 18, 1870, and died October 2, 1898, of typhoid fever, aged 28 years.  He had graduated from the Waupaca High School with the class of 1888.  After graduating he was assistant postmaster until January 1893, when he was appointed deputy register of deeds by his father.  He held this position until January 1897, when he accepted a position with the March-Davis Cycle Company of Chicago.  He held state records in bicycle racing for the one-quarter, the one-half and the one mile.

            Going back to Harriet Jane Chandler, who was a daughter of Augustus and Polly Chandler, and had not come to Wisconsin in 1846 with the others of the family:  She had met Thomas S. Parker while attending school at Deerfield, MA, and married him in 1846.  When the Civil War broke out he joined the southern army.  In 1864 they arrived in Iola, and resided there until her death on May 15, 1901.  Thomas S. Parker died in the Riverside Cemetery there.  He was one of only a very few Confederate soldiers buried this far north in Wisconsin.




February 20, 1992


            Due to the Jan. 23 issue of the Waupaca County Post some interest in the name of Asa W. Hollenbeck has been raised.

            First, I received a phone call from Mrs. Lester Barrington telling me that in her collection of old bottles there was one with the name of A. W. Hollenbeck on it.  This was found on the present property of Allen Barrington who lives approximately three-quarters of a mile east of Heffron. It has apparently been dug up by some dogs from an old garbage burial site.

            In checking the Portage County plat book I found that Allen Barrington owned 40 acres of land in Section 33, Township of Belmont (Portage County).  I also found that Joseph Wiora came from Chicago, IL, in 1903 and purchased this very tract of land.  This property is only approximately three-quarters of a mile east of the old Frank Wiora store and tavern that existed from the turn of the century until in February of 1934, when it was destroyed by fire.  Is it possible that this little store in Heffron handled soft drinks in the bottles from the A.W. Hollenbeck bottling works in Waupaca?

            The day following after this first call, I received another call, this time it was from my sister, Mrs. Paul E. (Phyllis) Pope, in Lind Center.  You guessed it – she has one of these ice blue-colored glass bottles, with the writing A.W. Hollenbeck Bottling Works, Waupaca, Wis., with a number 15 on the bottom.  This was plowed up near an old dwelling site in the Town of Lind.  These bottles could be nearly 100 years old.

            Asa W. Hollenbeck was born June 20, 1857, at Pine River (Waushara County).  He was a son of Abraham and Malinda (Boyington) Hollenbeck, and was a grandson of Nathaniel Hollenbeck, one of the very early pioneers of Jefferson County.

            When but a mere boy Abraham came with his parents from Pennsylvania to Pine River.  Abraham was a cabinet maker in his early years, but in later years followed farming.  Abraham and Malinda Hollenbeck had three children:  Asa W., and two daughters.

            Asa’s parents left Pine River when he was only six months old, and moved to Rome (Jefferson County).  Here Asa received his common schooling, and at the age of 14 took on the tasks of every day life.  He spent some time in his father’s shop, but did not care for it. His parents offered to place him in a machine shop, and he turned that down.  He preferred instead to work on a farm for $8 per month.

            However, sometime later he learned the molders trade at Fort Atkinson, a trade that he followed for over a year.  In 1878 he went to Marinette, where he found employment in the Marinette Iron Works. Asa W. Hollenbeck was married to Miss Belle Harrison in 1876, in Hebron (Jefferson County).  They had five children:  Jessie, Leo, Fred, Warren and Linda.

            In 1887 Mr. Hollenbeck came to Waupaca.  On June 19, 1888, Asa W. Hollenbeck and J. Bowers purchased a part of Section 32, Township of Waupaca, from John W. Evans and his wife, Anne. On this property was a sparkling mineral spring.  Here on the banks of the Crystal River, Mr. Hollenbeck and Mr. Bowers built a building that became the home of the Crystal Springs Bottling Works.

            The water from this spring was in such demand that Mr. Hollenbeck not only supplied local dealers, but sold his product to many outside points.  Apparently they first bottled and sold just mineral spring water.  This was the birth of the Crystal Springs Bottling Works that was to flourish for many years on the steep banks of the Crystal River on Churchill Street.

            The Wisconsin Semi-Centennial souvenir edition of the Waupaca Post, published October 13, 1898, shows a picture of the residence and bottling works of Asa W. Hollenbeck. The residence sat on the site where Pine Ridge Manor stands today and the bottling works was a one-story building with a basement.  The wooden structure was facing east and west on the bank of the Crystal River, and the west one-half of the basement was constructed of stone and cement.  When the building was razed and new additions were added this stone wall was never removed, and remains in the basement of the Pepsi Cola shop on Churchill Street today.

            Lemon seltzer and ginger ale were the best sellers for the Crystal Springs Bottling Works in its early years.  It has been said that Mr. Hollenbeck was also an agent for the Pepsi Brewing Company in Milwaukee.

            On or about July 30, 1901 A.W. Hollenbeck and wife, Belle, and J. Bowers and wife, Mary, sold out to J. Petrie and Henry Glattly, for the sum of $1,000.  Nothing is mentioned about the Crystal Springs Bottling Works in the deed.

            On or about December 1, 1902 Joseph Petrie and wife, Nell, and Henry Glattly sold out to Nels Gunderson for $1,200.  Still no mention about the bottling works.

            On or about March 25, 1904 Nels Gunderson and wife, Ella, sold out to Richard McCabe for $1,350.  No mention about the bottling works.  On that same day, March 25, 1904, Richard McCabe and wife, Mary, sold the property to Mary Machin for $1,450.  This was recorded on March 26, 1904.

            On or about January 17, 1912 Sarah Williams sold out to P.H. Trader and E.J. Trader for $1,500.  This was the first warranty deed to list all buildings and new additions.

            On or about May 12, 1917 P.H. Trader and wife, Letitia, sold their share to E.J. Trader.  The amount was not given. The warranty deed lists all buildings and appurtenances. 

            On or about April 24, 1920 E.J. Trader and wife, Hazel, sold out to W.W. Wilcox, no price given.  This time the deed shows the listing of all property of the Crystal Springs Bottling Works.  This would indicate that the Crystal Springs Bottling Works was back in business.

            On or about May 5, 1936 W.W. Wilcox and wife, Agnes, sold out to Evan H. Smith and wife, Eleanor.  The deed shows together with the machinery and fixtures of the carbonated beverage bottling plant on said premises, including the automatic bottling machine, the carbonator, the bottle washer with electric motor, about 500 bottles and cases for same, the automatic water pump, a 1934 Dodge truck used in the business, and other small tools and articles used in said business.

            E.H. Smith was from New London, and was a field man for the Knapstein Brewing Company there.  He continued on in this position and delegated the management of the bottling works to his son, Gorman.  Gordon McCunn continued on with Mr. Smith in the same position he had held with W.W. Wilcox.  At that time the pop and soda water was bottled in the basement of the building.  There was a driveway leading down to the basement on the south side of the building, where the trucks could drive to load and unload their product.

            By 1940 the Smiths had added to their line of carbonated beverages and wide range of flavors of pop and soda water, a new flavor, “Mission Orange,” also a Natural Setup, which was supposed to wash away that “rocky, morning after feeling,” when your mouth tasted like the bottom of a bird cage.

            In 1953 Mr. Smith tore down a part of the original structure and built on some new additions.  After this the bottling process was moved upstairs.

            The next acquisition was the Waupaca County franchise for Pepsi Cola.

            Sanford E. Sonny Snyder purchased the Crystal Springs Bottling Works on Churchill Street from E.H. Smith on July 1, 1957, and in the fall of 1960, he removed the remaining part of the original structure, and between 1960 and 1964, he erected the building as it stands today.

            When he extended the east end of the new building, it was built over the original spring.

            Most of the material was supplied to me by Mr. Snyder.  He ran the business for nine years before selling out to the Pepsi Cola Company of Oshkosh.  During that time his business had more than quadrupled.  The Pepsi Cola Company took over August 26, 1966, at which time Mr. Snyder held the franchise for Pepsi Cola in Waupaca County and Dad’s Root Beer and Canada Dry for seven counties.

            This building is now being used by the Pepsi Cola Company for a storage and repair shop for their pop vending machines, and the south part is a truck storage room.


February 27, 1992


            There is still standing today the sad remains of the once dream resort of two Chicago men.

            The badly neglected former Charmaine Hotel stands partially hidden behind a row of cedar trees on State Highway 54, approximately 4-1/2 miles west of Waupaca.

            A Warranty Deed dated December 4, 1929, shows that Louis Anderson, a widower, sold to Louis Austmann, about 99 acres in the Town of Farmington.  The lake mentioned in the land description is called Silver Lake on plat maps, but was known as Anderson’s Lake by the people of the area.

            On March 7, 1930 Louis Austmann, who was a single man, sold the property to Charles A. Kramer and Joseph Rausch, except for a recorded mortgage of $5,5000, due on or before five years from December 4, 1929.

            The two new owners formed a corporation called “Charmaine Country Estates.”  It was filed with the state on March 18, 1930.  The purpose of the corporation was to “buy, sell, deal in, lease, hold or improve real estate and personal property … and generally hold, manage, deal with and improve the property of the company… to construct, erect, equip and improve houses and buildings; to purchase real estate and plat and sub-divide the same, to erect, provide, maintain, operate, lease, purchase and acquire hotels, restaurants, inns, or places of entertainment and refreshments, to conduct and operate amusement enterprises and all the branches pertaining hereto and thereof consisting of summer gardens, parks, hotels, dance halls, and bathing beaches; to operate and maintain a golf course…”

            Their plans called for building a two-story clubhouse, 44 feet by 56 feet, that would be lighted by electricity and contain showers and baths, all steam-heated.  The work was completed on the building and included a bath house on the lake.

            The Waupaca County Post on May of 1931, had an article which explained a little bit about the new Hotel Charmaine.  The hotel promised to be the most exclusive resort in Waupaca County.  It was scheduled to open to the public on Memorial Day, 1931.

            The resort was opened under the management of R. C. Wheeler.

            The building, according to the article, was completely remodeled and redecorated as a summer hotel and clubhouse, was expensively furnished, and the interior was a place of beauty.

            Mr. Wheeler featured chicken and steak dinners, and chicken and steak sandwiches.  Private parties were especially catered to and dancing was permitted in the main dining hall.

            The beautiful Silver Lake was located on the property, and a tennis court and a golf course were in the process of construction in 1931.  But the bathing beach and the golf course were never completed, as the organization went broke – it was, after all, early in the Great Depression.

            At a sale held at the Waupaca County Courthouse on October 8, 1932, descendents of the late Louis C. Anderson brought back their former property, with Chris G. Peterson as administrator.  The Waupaca County Post for October 13, 1932, stated that the Anderson family was again in possession of the property, and that they planned on holding it until such time that it would sell for a larger portion on the money invested in it.

            A large number of merchants, plumbers, lumber dealers and others who had liens against the property all forfeited their claims.  The property stood empty until March of 1936, when the property was leased by Alvin Carlson of Minneapolis.  Workmen began to renovate the spacious building, installing new equipment and furniture and a new sign went up proclaiming it the “Ranch Hotel.”

The Ranch Hotel sign came down that same year, however, and a new sign was in its place. It was now the Charmaine Hotel, and had its opening on Saturday, Nov. 2, 1936.  The Charmaine Hotel featured a splendid line of foods. Mr. and Mrs. A. Joly, the new operators, served barbecued ribs, spaghetti, steaks, chops, chicken, homemade pies and a pastry department.

            On October 21, 1947, Andrew R. Newhoff sold the property to Mr. and Mrs. Benson Burns, who again remodeled the Charmaine Hotel.  An article found in the Waupaca County Post, dated March 25, 1948, reported that interior redecorations of the Charmaine Hotel were nearing completion and the exterior landscaping was about to begin.

            The Charmaine Hotel had been under the ownership of Benson Burns, formerly of Chicago, since September 1947.  Burns, the newspaper said, had made many changes in this spacious tourist hotel.  All of the hotel’s 24 bedrooms had been redecorated and equipped with closet space which they did not have before.  The lobby gave a pleasant lodge atmosphere, and lodging and meals were available at all times by reservations.  Private parties were available by reservation only.  Only home cooking was served, prepared by Mrs. Burns, who was Hungarian and specialized in dishes of her native land.

            Mr. and Mrs. Burns had hoped to begin with the landscaping soon the County Post reported.  The tennis court would be in order for the summer season.  A woman experienced as a recreation director had been engaged to supervise the sports program.  A stable of riding horses was added, along with outdoor table tennis.

            On December 6, 1952, Benson Burns and his wife, Vilma, sold the property to Richard G. Selke and his wife, Ellieen, and once again remodeling and redecorating was in order.

            After nearly two years, on August 14, 1954, the Charmaine opened again under the managership of Marie Classon and the new owners, Mr. and Mrs. Richard G. Selke of Chicago.

            The dining room was open daily for all meals from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Special catering services were provided for parties in the remodeled dining room that extended approximately 40 feet on the east side of the building.  A small private dining room adjoined the large room on the north side.  Now there were only 14 bedrooms upstairs that had been redecorated and refurnished.  A modern kitchen had been installed, the dining atmosphere was highlighted by flowers, carpeting and candles.

            Bob Paulson was chef, assisted by Mrs. Elsa Lillie and Mrs. Elmer Williams. Waitresses were Beverly Dixon and Mrs. Bob Paulson.  Victor Berzin, a nephew of Mr. Selke, was a general handyman.

            The next change of ownership was on February 1, 1957, when Richard G. and Elliene Selke sold the property to the Fathers of the Blessed Sacrament of Hyde Park, NY.  Soon thereafter bids were taken for the construction of a Catholic seminary to be built to the north and east of the Charmaine Lodge.  The original plans called for a two-story building approximately 110 by 60 feet.  The second floor was to have a study hall, classrooms and a library which would serve as a temporary chapel.

            The ground floor was to house the dormitory and showers.  The basic structure was to be built, so other wings could be added as needed.  The Marks Construction Co. of Marshfield was awarded the general contract.  Construction was started in the summer of 1957, and was completed one year later, in time for the fall classes to start after Labor Day.  The construction cost was $215,000.  Classes started with about 35 first and second year high school students.  The new facility included a chapel, dormitory, recreation room, study hall and classrooms. Until future buildings were constructed, the students ate their meals in the Charmaine Lodge. A locker room for the students was built at the rear of the building.  The old barn that stood behind the lodge was razed and a new garage was built.

            The Blessed Sacrament Fathers and Brothers was established in September 1958 for the purpose of fostering and encouraging vocations to the priesthood.  They announced on March 19, 1971, that the school would close in June, at the end of the school year, and on May 2, 1973, the Fathers of the Blessed Sacrament sold out to Tomorrows, Inc.

            Tomorrows, Inc. was incorporated May 3, 1973, for the purpose or purposes to establish facilities for education, to educate anew, especially to rehabilitate handicapped persons by special training, and to provide expert counseling service to organizations engaged in similar endeavors. It was during the time of the ownership of Tomorrows, Inc. that a fire was set and burned the garage that was behind the Charmaine Lodge. The garage was used as a training shop to teach the members in automobile repair. Sterling Petersen was the instructor at the time.

            July 31, 1976, Tomorrows, Inc. sold out to Louis H. Neuville, L.I. Forman and Carol M. Block. The Neuville group sold the seminary location to the joint school district No. 1, of Waupaca, and this is now the Chain o’ Lakes Elementary School.

            On Friday night, March 21, 1986, the Waupaca Fire Department was called to the property owned by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Steinpreis, located on Silver Lake Drive.  The building was the former famous Charmaine Hotel and Lodge. It was not occupied at the time, but was used for storage.  The Waupaca Fire Department fought the fire for five hours.  State Marshall Don Kessler from Kaukauna and the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Department were called in to investigate.  No cause of the fire was ever determined.

            The old Charmaine Hotel and Lodge stands like a ghost, a burned-out shell of a dream of the past.




March 12, 1992


            Do you remember the date that Radio Station WDUX first went on the air?

            WDUX began broadcasting at 800 kilocycles and 500 watts of power from their studios in Waupaca and New London.  The resident manager in Waupaca was Tom Karavakes and Noel Franzin handled the duties at New London, and Allen Embury was the general manager of station WDUZ at Green Bay.

            The station went on the air each weekday at 5:30 a.m.  It seems as if they went off the air at sun-down.  They broadcasted the news, music programs and sports, including the Milwaukee Braves baseball games.

            The station personnel in Waupaca included Don Richards, Stewert Olson and John Olson as announcers, Helen Webb as secretary and receptionist; Robert F. Stange as newsman and continuity writer, and Garth Bowker was the chief engineer.

            You are right if you guessed that WDUX began broadcasting at 7 a.m., Sunday, April 29, 1956, from their studio above the Waupaca Abstract and Title Co., on South Main Street.

            On December 11, 1930, the Central Wisconsin Gas Company, Waupaca’s newest public utility, turned gas into the mains, and that evening some 20-odd homes were using gas to cook their evening meal.  A number of gas ranges and other appliances were being installed in other homes that week.

            The Central Wisconsin Gas Company started erecting their plant and laying the gas mains earlier in the fall.  The plant where the gas was manufactured was located north of Elm Street and just south of the Green Bay and Western railroad tracks.

            This was a small brick building of excellent construction according to the Waupaca County Post.  It housed the automatic machinery which turned the high grade distillate oil into gas.  When first converted into gas the mixture was too rich for use as a fuel, so before it entered the gas mains it was mixed with air until the correct mixture was obtained.  The mixing process was done in a series of mixing tanks, all automatically controlled.  Five and one-half gallons of liquid gas were used to make 1,000 cubic feet of gas as it entered the mains.

            Just east of the building were three large tanks.  One tank had the capacity of 17,000 gallons of the liquid butane gas as it was delivered her by rail.  From this tank the gas was piped into a second tank where it was heated. This, in turn, was followed by more heat and air mixing.  Two motor-driven pumps located in the plant proper were used in the air mixing.  A third pump would start up automatically whenever the load became too heavy for the two pumps.

            Another 17,000 gallon tank contained a supply of prepared gas.  This was a 24-hour supply for emergency use, if trouble should develop at the plant.

            The plant was in the charge of James Ogletree, a young man who had the technical training and knowledge of the operation of automatic gas making machinery.  He had been with the company for several years, coming from Sparta.  The sales room and business office was located in the Lord building on North Main Street.  They are located today, 1992, at the same location at 211 North Main Street.

            Edwin Chandler was the local manager and was assisted with the clerical work by Miss Lota Wied.  The Central Wisconsin Gas Company had expectations that nearly 100 homes would be using gas for cooking and water heating before the summer months.

            Dan Carlson told me where to find the original brick building.  The tanks are gone and the brick building with some metal additions is boarded up.  Death due to natural gas.

            I apologize for omitting the name of Aileen Beth Christoph in the “When Then Was Now” that appeared in the Waupaca County Post, dated February 2, 1992.

            Many times I turn to obituaries for some of my information, and I realize that sometimes they are not complete.  I obtained the names of the two sons of Mr. and Mrs. Ted Christoph from their obituaries, but for some unknown reason, the obituaries for Mr. and Mrs. Ira Christoph stated that they had one daughter, Doris, and there was no mention of a deceased daughter.

            Now, since that article appeared, I have been asked by several people what happened to the other daughter, Aileen, who married Dr. Lawerence G. Patterson?  This prompted me to do some research to learn more about her.

            I first went through our records of the tombstones in the Waupaca cemetery, but found no Patterson names.  I knew that the Pattersons lived at one time in Arizona after leaving Waupaca, so I checked the obituaries from that state.  Here I found an obituary for Dr. Lawerence Patterson, but it showed Jeanette B. Whale as the surviving wife, and that they had moved to Arizona from Florida in 1971.

            So I turned to the obituaries from Florida.  Yes, here was Aileen Christoph Patterson.  Her obituary shows that she died November 14, 1956 at her home in Largo, FL, and she was buried in that city.

            Survivors were her husband, Dr. L.G. Patterson, a son Larry, her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ira Christoph, and a sister, Mrs. Ray (Doris) Sherrill of Decatur, GA.  The former Aileen B. Christoph was born in Neenah on November 11, 1918, and came to Waupaca with her parents when only a child.

            Her obituary did not mention when she was married to Dr. L.G. Patterson, so I went to the marriage record collection. In these records I found that Aileen Beth Christoph was united in marriage to Dr. Lawerence G. Patterson at the Neil Hotel in Waupaca on March 26, 1946.

            Rev. A.E. Tink of the Methodist church officiated, as the couple stood in front of the fireplace, in which a fire was burning.  Candles and pictures of the bride and groom reflected in the mirror above the fireplace.

            Today she lies buried in the southern city of Largo, FL, many miles from the place of her birth and the graves of her parents, who are buried in Waupaca Lakeside Cemetery.

            Another correction that I would like to make at this time are the names of the children of Asa W. and Phoebe B. Hollenbeck that appeared in the story about the Crystal Springs Bottling Works on February 2, 1992.

            I had found no record of where Asa Hollenbeck went after he sold his Crystal Springs Bottling Works in 1901 until I asked Mrs. Warren (Pat) Hollenbeck at the Waupaca Public Library a few days ago if her husband was by any chance related to Asa W. Hollenbeck.  It was at this point that I realized that I had not completed my homework, because she told me that Asa was a grandfather to her husband.  She went on to say that Mr. Hollenbeck moved to Neenah where he found employment in the foundry there.  From Neenah he moved to New Holstein.

            I searched farther, and found his obituary, which told me that he died on April 29, 1921, at his home at New Holstein, where he had lived for the past 10 years since leaving Neenah.  His body was brought back to Waupaca for burial.  A burial permit that was issued for Phoebe B. Hollenbeck showed that she died October 29, 1937, at Appleton, at the home of her daughter, Lynda, who never married.  She, too, is buried in the family plot here in Waupaca.








March 19, 1992


            This column is about a gentleman who may hold the record for moving his place of business more than any person on Waupaca’s Main Street.  This man was Sophus J. Danielson.

            His parents were Peter James Danielsen and Maren Kristine Jensen, who were married in 1871 and started out their married life on a 100-acre sand farm in the Town of Farmington, 1-1/2 miles east of what is now King at the intersection of what is now King and Pryse Roads.  The Wisconsin Veterans Home at King was not founded until 1887, and prior to that time there was no King Road running east.

            It was here that they had two sons, Fred and Sophus, born to them before the young mother passed away in the spring of 1876.  Sophus J. was born January 2, 1876.  The father was then left with two motherless sons to care for, but in 1877 Peter James Danielsen married for a second time. His second wife was Miss Karen Kristine Hansen, and they became the parents of 10 children.  Three died in infancy and were buried in the family plot in the Waupaca Cemetery.

            At the age of 22, Sophus J. Danielsen started to clerk in a grocery store in Waupaca.  His first boss was a man by the name of Peter Holtz, who was a cousin to Miss Meta C. Mortenson, whom he eventually married on July 12, 1904, in Waupaca.  For 40 years following his first employment with Mr. Holtz, it is believed that Mr. Danielsen operated grocery and seed stores in about eight different locations.

            It seems as if Mr. Danielsen moved only a few doors each time, so that with careful planning he could move at night with the aid of his children. In a Waupaca paper for August, 1929, there was an ad that read:  “Red and White Store, S.J. Danielsen and Son.”  Many of the ads through the years advertised for butter and eggs.  He sold Badger Brand grass seeds and garden seeds.  Sophus J. Danielsen always had time to say “Hello” to whomever he met on the street.  His Christmas ad for December 1910 advertised special discounts to churches and schools.

            Sophus J. Danielsen was married to Meta C. Mortenson in Waupaca on July 12, 1904, and they had five children born to them:  Reuben, Harold, Ellen (Mrs. Maurice Rendell), Marion (Mrs. Ray Martin) and Inga (Mrs. Carroll Peterson).

            There was a short notice in the Waupaca County Post in June 4, 1931, that stated that Sophus J. Danielsen had taken a trip to Nebraska to attend a Danish Evangelical Lutheran convention, and two of his daughters, Marian and Inga, remained to manage the store.  The notice added that they had much experience in wrapping merchandise and making change.

            After 40 years, the Quality Grocery stores operated by S.J. Danielsen came to a close. It is believed that his last location lasted for only a few months in the building behind the Bammels Furniture Store, while he was disposing the last of his stocks.

            In 1941, after retiring from his active business, S.J. Danielsen became the manager of the Haertel Monument Company on South Main Street. To say that a monument display is attractive may seem a bit peculiar, but S.J. Danielsen, who was the manager at the time for the local office of the Henry Haertel Service, laid out such a display.

            It was laid out like a miniature cemetery, against a background of green in the show window of the South Main Street office.  There were 30-some miniature monuments and markers, all cut and engraved with names, all replicas of larger stones manufactured by the company.

            I have tried to locate this display, but no luck.  The younger generation at the Haertel Monument Company in Stevens Point never heard of it.









March 26, 1992


            Recently I received a phone call from Mrs. Johnny Hansen, the former Beatrice Darling, asking if I would be interested in seeing an old original document, dated September 6, 1888.  It was the confirmation for membership of Christ Nelson to become a member of the De Danske Hjem (Danes Home).

            This interested me very much, so I went to see her.

            In my article about the Danes Home that appeared in the Waupaca County Post, October 24, 1991, I made mention that the De Danske Hjem was the first lodge to organize for social and literary purposes.  The constitution and bylaws were adopted and the name De Danske Hjem (Danes Home) was adopted.  The bylaws provided that all males born to Danish parents, 18 years of age or older, who were able to read and speak the Danish language, be eligible for membership.  This document of confirmation for membership in the De Danske Hjem is a part of the history of Waupaca, and especially the Danes Home.

            Mrs. Hansen was quite concerned as to where this document could best be saved and preserved for future generations to see.  Mrs. Hansen plans to have the document laminated and framed.  The Hutchinson House seemed to us to be the logical place, if it was to be property displayed in their glass showcase where the public could view this old original document.

            For those who may be wondering who Christ Nelson was, I did a little research and came up with a brief account for this young Dane, who had applied for membership in the Danes Home.  The original document was written in Danish, but this is the translation in English:

            “The Danes Home, Danes Home Hall 6th Sept., 1888.  To the President and members of the association of D.D.H.  The undersigned who were chosen as a committee to interview Mr. Christ Nelson’s application and therewith report.  Having done the necessary questions in regard to his health, morals and character, we recommend him to membership in association of De Danske Hjem, Signed by the committee, C.P. Dall, Mary Bendixen and Thorvald Nelson.”

            Christ Nelson was born at Lolland, Denmark, November 14, 1862, a son of Nels Christensen and Anna Christenson, Christ Nelson’s name was derived from the Christ in Christensen and adding “sons” to Nels.  This is a Danish and Norwegian system of name changes.

            Christ Nelson came to the Town of Lind when only 11 years old with his parents.  His parents are buried in the Lind Center Cemetery.

            Christ Nelson was married to Mary Gabrielson, March 3, 1892, and they had five children born to them – Frances, Mae, Levi, Roy W., and infant son who died.

            Christ Nelson died August 19, 1942, and is buried in the Waupaca cemetery, along with his wife, who died in 1955.

            Frances Nelson married Fred H. “Ted” Smith, April 3, 1912.  Fred H. Smith died June 29, 1959 and is buried in Waupaca, while Frances, his wife, who is now 98 years old, is living at the Bethany Home.  They had three sons and three daughters:  Glenn, Fred Jr., Ronald, Ethelyn, Lois and Shirley.

News Flash

            Waupaca newspaper, August 8, 1929:  “Three planes of the George A. Whiting Airport will fly at the Bucknell farm near the Barton schoolhouse, five miles west of Waupaca, Sat.-Sun., August 10-11.  One plane is a six-passenger monoplane, also a stunting exhibition, Elwyn West, chief pilot.  Planes and pilots are government licensed.”








April 9, 1992


            The Cain family that operated the general machine shop and garage at 111 West Fulton Street in Waupaca between 1909 and 1917 came from Sheboygan County to Waupaca in the late 1890s.

            Charles and Phoebe (True) Cain secured their land holdings in Sheboygan County from the United States Government in 1852.  They were the parents of 14 children.  The father, Charles Cain, died there in 1913, and his wife, Phoebe, passed away one year later.

            The eldest son was also named Charles Ed Cain.  He was born June 11, 1854, in the Township of Holland, Sheboygan County.  It was here that he received his early education in local schools. Charles Ed Cain went by C.E. Cain.  His obituary was the only place that I could find his correct name.  C.E. Cain took up the trade of machinist and was employed as a journeyman and foreman in railroading for a number of years.

            C.E. Cain was married to Miss Ann Elizabeth Brown and they had two children, William Charles and Pearl.  Pearl married Ed Saecker, who was connected with the Menasha Furniture Company and Undertaking business in Menasha.  William C. Cain was born August 15, 1876, and in 1878 the family moved to Milwaukee, where William finished a course in a business college.

            According to the “Standard History of Waupaca County,” by John M. Ware, William C. came to Waupaca with his father in 1897, at which time they established a general repair business and a bicycle shop where he learned the machinist trade largely under his father.

            W.C. Cain had an ad in the Waupaca Post, dated April 3, 1902.  It advertised to take your wheels to W.C. Cain for repairs, and that he handled the new Racycle.  The ad stated that all bicycles are alike.  The heart of the bike is in the crank hangers, and every bicycle on the market, except for Racycle, has “heart disease.”

            In 1902 William C. Cain went to California and spent the next seven years employed there largely in the automobile business.

            In the Waupaca Post dated February 8 and again on April 12, 1906, C.E. Cain ran ads directing the farmers and all engine users that he handled the very best gasoline engine on the market. The gasoline engine that he was selling was the Milwaukee engine. He was also agent for the J.I. Case Threshing Machine Company.  He made repairs on al kinds of engines, boilers and ran a general machine shop.  Call on C.E. Cain at School and Royalton Streets, the ad said.

            In 1909 William C. Cain returned to Waupaca from California, and on March 25, 1909, he and his father, C.E. Cain, purchased from A.E. Nourse and wife, Belle, of Santa Barbara, CA, the east 60 feet in width of Lot 10, in Block L, in the original plat of the Village of Waupaca.

            By May 20, 1909 C.E. Cain and son were building a large machine shop and garage on the lot directly behind J.E. Cristy’s store.  Con Gmeimer had the contract to build a 60 by 40 solid brick building.  C.E. Cain and Son had an ad in the local paper dated August 26, 1909.  “We want every farmer to help us by bringing their machinery to be repaired.  We can fix anything from threshing machines down to a shovel.”

            They were equipped with machinery and appliances for a general machine shop.  There was a large sign at the top in front of the building, “C.E. Cain and Son, Garage and Machine Shop.”  Also in one of the early pictures, there was a small sign nailed to the telephone pole next to the alley that read, “Bicycle repair.”

            It is not clear if C.E. Cain and Son ever sold Studebaker automobiles from their garage, but Tom Salverson had an ad in the Waupaca Record Leader for May 13, 1914, “Just received another carload of FORD automobiles.  Better call and get one now.  They will soon be gone.  Cain’s Garage, Tom Salverson Agent.”

            It seems as if Myron P. Godfrey had a chance for the Studebaker Agency and in October 1915 he must have leased the Cain Garage and Machine Shop.  Mr. Godfrey served in the U.S. Army in WWI, and was gone for some time.  Meanwhile, he had a friend oversee his business when he was gone.

            A warranty deed in the Register of Deeds office in Waupaca shows that on February 12, 1917, C.E. Cain (a widower) and W.C. Cain and his wife, Etta, sold to Myron P. Godfrey the east 60 feet in width in Lot 10, Block L, of the original plat of the Village of Waupaca, except the steel garage building in the rear, with the right to remove same on, or before May 15, 1917.

            During the years under the ownership of Myron P. Godfrey several changes were made in the front of the building and a couple of additions were added to the rear of the building.  After the Studebaker Corp. discontinued production, it became known as the Godfrey Equipment Company.

            In a conversation with Tom Godfrey, I learned that the original bricks on the exterior walls were soft and was in need of repair, so Myron P. Godfrey made some major repairs.  Two more layers of bricks were added so the outside of the building now has a wall of brick three layers thick.  Tom also mentioned that in the early years of the automobile when the salesmen from the various companies stayed at the nearby hotel, the salesmen would store their cars in the Godfrey garage overnight; on cold nights, this assured them that the engines would start in the morning.  Sometimes there was not room enough for another car.  Tom’s father said that the storage fees paid for the winter heating bill.

            After selling out to Mr. Godfrey in 1917, the Cains apparently left the Waupaca area.  I found an obituary for Charles Ed Cain (C.E.) which stated that he had died January 1, 1946, age 92 years, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. E.J. Saecker in Menasha, and was buried back at Hingham (Sheboygan County).  He was also survived by his son, William C. Cain, who resided at Corpus Christi, TX.




April 23, 1992


            According to the Waupaca County Post, May 21, 1931, “A new lunch stand is to be erected on South Main Street.  The two billboards between the Service Grocery and Behnke’s Homstor, on the West side of Main Street are being torn down and re-located in order to make space for a lunch room, which is to be erected on that site.

            “The two billboards are being placed at an angle near the Homstor, leaving a space next to the Service Grocery (which is now Simpson’s), in which the new stand will be erected by Everett T. Webb, of Fond du Lac.  Construction will start as soon as the lot can be cleaned out.  I have heard people saying that they had looked through the cracks in the boards, and seeing the lot overgrown by weeds.”

            Everett T. Webb leased this location for a term of five years from Herbert E. Miles, in the spring of 1931.  The Waupaca County Post, July 9, 1931, reported the hot dog stand “is in operation, and it gives Waupaca’s Main Street a new spick and span, new white building.”  E.T. Webb, the proprietor of the new business, told the Post that he would serve hot and fast refreshments to both the tourist and local patrons.

            On March 28, 1934, Everett T. Webb leased the whole lot form Herbert E. Miles.

            On August 1, 1942, Maurice and Alfred Behnke purchased the entire lot from the First National Bank of Madison, and on July 9, 1945, the Behnkes sold the north three-quarters of the lot to Adlers Trio, Inc. who built the Rosa Theatre on this location.  A land contract was made December 1, 1943 whereby, Alice Webb leased her restaurant location from the Behnkes, until August 1, 1945, when she bought it.

            The Waupaca County Post, October 16, 1947, reported that Bratwurst Restaurant, operated by E.T. Webb, was undergoing remodeling.  “Construction is now underway to increase the size of the establishment.  Present plans include a horseshoe counter which will seat 45.”

            Do you remember the days when the grill was by the front window and the straight counter?  The Post went on to say that the new kitchen would have the latest equipment and a special floor constructed of a metal cement.  There was to be a full basement with the bakery located there for the making of pies and pastry for the restaurant.

            The dining room part was to be furnished with enameled tile and indirect fluorescent lighting, the floor constructed of plexo-tile, and the entire interior of the dining room constructed of plastics.  The entire building was to be 70 feet long and the exterior having a finish corresponding to that part of the Palace Theatre, but I am sure that they meant the Rosa Theatre, and not the Palace.  The remodeling was to be completed by April 1, 1948.

            The Waupaca County Post, April 8, 1948:  “The new Bratwurst Eat Shop, one of the finest in the state, held its grand opening last Tuesday (April 6), with roses for the ladies and cigars for the men.  The Bratwurst boats of all new equipment in its stainless steel kitchen.  Food is prepared in the basement kitchen and sent via dumbwaiter to the main floor.  Homemade pies and rolls are a feature of the Bratwurst cuisine.”

            The only flaw of the grand opening occurred during the transporting of food from the lower kitchen to the main floor.  Mrs. Alice Webb, wife of the owner, sent the first batch of homemade pies up the dumbwaiter, only to have several of them turn upside down before reaching the upper kitchen.

            This same dumbwaiter is still being used today, in Katie’s Restaurant.

            On July 20, 1961, Kathryn Gresen purchased Webb’s Bratwurst Restaurant from Mrs. Alice Webb.

            The sign in the window may say Katie’s Restaurant, but there is still the big red, lighted sign on the top of the building, “Bratwurst.”  Katie serves a good home-cooked meal, reasonably priced, and where you can still get a good cup of hot coffee for 35¢, and on Wednesdays her special homemade lemon pie.

            The following is taken from the obituary of E.T. Webb, who died December 11, 1958, of a heart attack at the Waupaca Riverside Hospital.  Mr. and Mrs. Webb operated the Webb’s Bratwurst Restaurant on Main Street in Waupaca for 27 years, and at one time Webb’s drive-in at Chady’s corners, just west of the city.

            Everett T. Webb was the first president of the Waupaca Industrial Development Corp. (WIDC), which was organized in 1953.  He initiated three debenture bond drives which financed industrial expansion in Waupaca.  The first one brought the Woody’s Cheese Company to the city, and the other two made it possible for the Waupaca Foundry, Inc.

            Everett Thomas Webb had been born in Fond du Lac, on July 4, 1901, a son of John and Mary Dwyre Webb, and was married to Alice Nettekoven in Fond du Lac on July 9, 1928. They had two children, Neil and Nancy.  Mr. E.T. Webb was laid to rest in St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Cemetery in the city of Waupaca.




Because of a telephone call, I would like to make an addition to my article of “When Then Was Now” in the March 26 issue of the Waupaca County Post.

            I had written that Frances Nelson had married Fred H. “Ted” Smith, and they had three sons and three daughters.  This was copied from Mr. Smith’s obituary. Whoever made out his obituary failed to mention that he had been preceded in death by a son, Gerald.

            Mr. and Mrs. Ted Smith received a telegram from the war department, telling them of the death of their son, Pvt. Gerald E. Smith, who died June 30, 1944, in France, while with the infantry commandoes.

            Gerald Everett Smith was born in the Town of Waupaca, November 5, 1919.  He was inducted into the Army in January 1941.  In November of 1942, he was in Africa where he saw active service.  In 1943 he was in England.  He was survived by his wife, the former Mae Bennet in London, England and a son, Gerald, whom his father never saw.  Gerald Smith now lives in Waupaca.








May 7, 1992


Let us step into your brand new automobile of your choice, start up the motor, put it in reverse and back up in time, back to when the automobile was just making its appearance.

            In May of 1908, while Sam P. Godfrey and C. Kreunen were running ads for farm machinery, buggies and surries, and N.P. Peterson and Sorenson and Pederson advertised hose shoeing and repair, A.M. Hansen was running ads for Maxwell cars.

            The May 21, 1908 ad read as follows:  “The Rambler Model 31.  It is the car for the farmer.  It is a car for the businessman.  A.M. Hansen’s new machinery hall.  Price $1,400.”

            Within a year the Nelson Painting Company advertised to paint buggies and automobiles at a fair price.  The location that they gave was northeast of the Courthouse Square.  In 100 years from now people will be asking, just where was the Courthouse in 1908?  Northeast of the Courthouse stood a tall, two-story wooden building.  This building stood in what is now the vacant lot adjacent to Verna’s, Inc. at 195 Jefferson St.  The building burned to the ground in 1920.

            On a nice spring day in May in 1942, Alton Hansen took the opportunity to do some shop cleaning when his father, A.M. Hansen, was home sick.  After 30 years of accumulation, the office was spick and span again with varnish and new paint.  In the process of the cleaning up job, there was unearthed old printed brochures of the birth of the automobile industry – pamphlets and pictures from 1910.

            A test officially sanctioned by the American Automobile Association, according to the pamphlet, showed that a Maxwell car costs less to use than a horse and buggy.  The itemized expense account showed hay, oats, straw, shoeing and axle grease in one column.  The figures showed that a salesman using the horse and buggy could cover only 197 miles in a six-day work week, while the salesman using the Maxwell Runabout was able to cover 457 miles in the same six days.

            The Maxwell won with a mileage cost of 3-1/2 ¢ per mile against 5¢ per mile with the hay burner.

            Also from the Hansen office cleaning was found a rare volume – a motor car directory for 1909.  The 1909 directory listed 183 manufacturers of gasoline-propelled pleasure vehicles, five steam-propelled manufacturers and 13 companies with electric-powered vehicles.

            The cars in the pictures of the 1910 brochure were not as streamlined as they were in 1942, many of the cars being only buggies or surries with gasoline motors concealed under the seat in the space intended for a halter, lap-robe and a sack of oats.  The horsepower, too, wasn’t much greater with the gasoline engine, than with old dobbin.

            There was the Bendix, priced at $650, which had a 12-horsepower, two-cylinder engine, chainbelt drive with 1-1/2 inch solid rubber tires.

            The Invincible Schacht, model K, had the same specifications, except that it developed 18 to 20 horsepower.  The $680 model had a 74-inch wheelbase and a genuine 72-inch Corning buggy spring. The driving power was chains, one to each rear wheel.

            For $750 you could buy a McIntre two-seater, with 34 by 1-1/2 inch solid rubber tires, 24-horsepower motor, two forward speeds and real roller bearings in the wheels.

            The International Buggy had high surrey wheels and a top that covered both seats. It cost $850 and developed only 14 horsepower.  Like 100 other makes that year, it had but two cylinders.

            The Hobble Accessible had 46 by 1-1/2 inch solid rubber tires, two cute little kerosene lamps on the dashboard, two cylinders, dry cell current supply and double-side chain drive.  The cost was $850.

            When you wanted 30 h.p. model you got into big money, with the brass plated two-seater, custom made by Premier Motors, selling for $2,500 to $3,600.  It was a four-cylinder, with 34 by 3-1/2 inch inflated tires, Bosch magneto, forced fed lubrication, multiple disc clutch, doors that enclosed the rear seat, and left-hand drive.

            It seems as if the list went on for over 150 more names showing the wide variety of experimenta-tion which went on before Walter Chrysler, Henry Ford and Alfred P. Sloan, who, 30 years later, controlled 95% of America’s 800,000 new units per year.

            The Waupaca Record for May 5, 1910, gave the names of the owners and the automobiles they owned.  There were seven Fords, five Reos, four Cadillacs, four Buicks, two Ramblers, two Masons and one Maxwell, for a total of 25.

            Here is a partial list of automobile sellers in the past that you might remember.  These names were found in old newspaper ads:

            April 1, 1909, the Cadillac “Thirty,” at the Waupaca Garage, F.L. Hoaglin, Prop., 200 North Main Street;

            Godfrey Auto Company, at 111 West Union, Studebaker-Packard dealer since 1915;

            March 11, 1914, just received a carload of Overlands, Van Nelson Company, 200 North Main Street.

            Yes, 200 North Main Street was N.P. Peterson’s blacksmith shop before F.L. Hoaglin purchased it on January 12, 1912.

            April 13, 1916, Van Nelson sold the Jeffery at 200 North Main Street;

            March 16, 1916, Wm. Koenig was agent for the Allen, at 106 East Union Street;

            May 25, 1916, W.M. Wolcott, sold the Chevrolet 490 model with electric lights and starter;

            May 4, 1916, Salverson and Gunderson received a carload of Fords and a carload of Reos.  “Come and see us at the old Public Garage, located on the corner of Jefferson and Badger Streets.”

            July 13, 1916, the Modern Garage at 217 Jefferson Street, Tom Salverson, G.S. Gunderson and Sherman Salverson, prop. “Gasoline at 20¢ per gallon, oil at 30¢ per gallon, all Ford supplies and accessories always on hand.”

            In late 1928, after 20 years, Henry Ford came out with a new conception for his Ford.  This was known as the Model A.  There were quite a few sold in 1928, but 1929, was the first full year of production.

            In the Waupaca County Post, for May 23, 1929, S.E. Sanders, Inc. ran his ad for the new Ford at the Ford Garage.  S.E. Sanders built this garage in 1920.  This exact location is where the First National Bank stands today.  In 1932 Ford came out with is first V-8; this was known as the Model B.

            In the Waupaca County Post, for August 4, 1932, J.C. Opperman Inc. ran an ad that had an appli-cation blank for people to fill out if they wished for a demonstration ride in the new V-8.  Then on November 10, 1932, J.C. Opperman ran an ad for a 1932 Ford V-8 tudor demonstrator, with a new car guarantee. Opperman operated his Ford agency at a different location, other than with S.E. Sanders.  This Model B ended by 1934, when Ford came out with a new version from his first V-8, which ultimately led to the great success of the Ford, Mercury and Lincoln cars of today.

Here are the names of some of the makes of cars that have come and gone through the years:  The Oakland, Durrant, Willys Knight, LaFayette, Nash, Hupmobile, Marquette, Auburn, Graham-Page, Victory 6, by Dodge Bros., Star, DeSota, Essex, Whippet, Packard, Terroplane, Hudson and Studebaker.

            Whether it be Ford, Chrysler, General Motors or any other, they all had from time to time various models that did not fare so well.  Here are three makes of automobiles that did not make the grade, at least here in Waupaca.  The Kaiser-Frazer came out in 1946 and the Henry J. came out in 1950.  Hetzel and Nelson, at 300 West Fulton Street, had the dealership, and the biggest disappointment of all was perhaps the Edsel, by Ford, which I understand did not have a dealership in Waupaca.

            In 1948, there was the “Tucker Torpedo,” a car that most people never heard of, and very few ever saw, because less than 50 ever came off the production line.  It was the fastest sedan available in America in 1948, capable of reaching speeds of 120 miles per hour.  This car weighed in at 4,200 lbs., with a modified six-cylinder helicopter engine mounted in the rear.

            I believe that it would be interesting to do a story on the different automobile dealers and what lines of cars that they sold, all within walking distance of Main Street in the past 30 years.



May 21, 1992


            The Larsen name is one that is well remembered and respected in the Waupaca area. I’ll start back a few generations in Denmark, with Ole Larsen, who was a farmer there, and had spent some time in the Danish Army during the campaign in the West Indies.  Ole Larsen had a family of seven children, four of whom – Peter, Andrew, Maggie and Lars S. – lived to immigrate with their parents to America in 1860.

            Lars S. Larsen was born near the City of Holbeck, Island of Sjeland, Denmark, November 14, 1857.

            Upon their arrival in the Town of Waupaca, the Larsens were only the second Danish family to settle there. They remained in the Town of Waupaca only for five years before moving to the Town of Lind, where for the following 15 years Ole Larsen supervised the farm of his son-in-law.  Ole Larsen then moved into Waupaca, where this pioneer died on November 26, 1885.  His wife, Ane Marie Larsen, died April 6, 1882. They are buried in the Waupaca Cemetery.

            Lars S. Larsen, the youngest son of Ole and Ane Larsen, attended the district schools of Lind Township until the age of 14.  Young Lars then hired out as a farm laborer for the next two years.  He saved his money and it went towards the purchase of a home for his parents, in Waupaca.  When 17 years of age he began working in the woods in the wintertime and worked in the sawmills during the summer.  He followed this life for three years.  It was during this time that he severely injured a hand on a saw.  He was very athletic as a young man; weighing only 175 pounds, he was strongest in the gang of 17 lumbermen.

            Lars S. Larsen was married in December 1876 to Nicalena Andersen, also a native of Denmark.  After the marriage, he rented a farm in the Town of Lind, and worked it for three years.

            It was by mere accident that he was directed to the butchering business.  He had five head of cattle for sale, and could not find a buyer.  It was in sheer desperation that he killed the animals and sold the meat, and made a nice profit.  He then bought more cattle and disposed of them in the same way.

            The following spring he bought four 40s of unimproved land.  This he cleared in the summer months and did his butchering in the winter.  After four years he sold the farm and moved to Waupaca, and worked in a butcher shop for a year; then in 1884, he went into business for himself.  He was the senior member of the firm of Larsen and Yosham.  It became Larsen and Pope, and Larsen then sold out to John Gordon, the business becoming Gordon and Pope.  A picture from 1900 shows the sign in the window, “City Market Gordon and Pope.”  This is the same location that later became Behnke’s, the Homstor, Erv Nicolaisen and Clair Matson’s, City Food Market and Fredrickson’s Red Owl Agency, and lastly – Team Outfitters, at 214 South Main Street.

            Lars S. Larsen and his wife, Nicalene, had the following children:  Carrie M., Charles, Fred, Oscar, Emma, Marie, Eva and Jessie.  Lars had been ward policeman for several years, and was Chief of Police for seven terms.  He died in 1914 and his wife, who was called Lena, died in 1910.  They are buried in the Waupaca Cemetery.

            From there, I will branch out, only to the three sons, Charles, Fred and Oscar, not that the sisters were not important, but because the men were more closely involved with the ice business in Waupaca.

            The Larson Ice Company was first started by Hans Benlick, who had married Margaret (Maggie) Larsen, who was a sister to Lars S. Larsen.  About 1898, after operating the ice business for a few months, Mr. Benlick sold out to his brother-in-law, Lars S. Larsen.  I would presume that when Mr. Larsen took over the ice business, his three young sons worked for him until his death in 1914, at which time Oscar and Fred took over the ice business, with Oscar as the senior partner, and Charlie followed the butchering business, working for McLean’s Meat Market for many years.

            I found an ad in a 1908 Waupaca newspaper for Larson and Son listing ice prices for the season from May 1 to October 15, 1908:  family refrigerator per season, dropped $5; family refrigerators, per season boxed $7; family refrigerator per month, dropped $1.25; family refrigerators per month, boxed $1.50; family refrigerators 3 or 4 times a week, boxed $1.25, and meat markets, hotels, restaurants and saloons, special contract.

            A newspaper ad for January 15, 1931 called it the Oscar Larson, Mirror Lake Ice Company.  From April 23, 1932:  “Oscar Larson purchased a new pair of greys, one of the prettiest teams that you ever saw, to deliver ice with.  They weigh 4040 pounds, one was 20 pounds lighter than the other.  They were matched both for color and gait.”

            By now you will notice that the spelling of Larsen changed to Larson since the sons had taken over.

            Charles (Charlie) Larson was born in the Town of Lind, June 15, 1878, and was married to Jessie Carolyn Hansen, on December 29, 1921.  They had two children, Kenneth and Bernice.  Charlie Larson died January 20, 1947.  Mr. Larson was always actively interested in outdoor sports, particularly in trap and sharp shooting, and was an enthusiastic bicyclist.

            On July 25, 1918, the Waupaca area trap shooters carried away the top honors at the trap shooter’s tourney at Wausau, Charles Larson winning the state championship by breaking 99 out of a possible 100 birds, and the Waupaca team of Dr. P.C. Ware, H.E. Gordon, Charles Larson, Fred Larson and Oscar Larson won the state five-man championship.  The Waupaca men came home loaded down with silver trophies, medals and cash prizes.

            Charles Larson represented the state at the National Tourney at Chicago, August 21 to 28, 1918.  The Grand American Handicap was the premier shooting event of the world, and it was won by our Charles Larson, of Waupaca, over 798 competitors from all over the country.  Many records were set that were said to stand for years at the South Shore Country Club Traps at Chicago.  Charles Larson had to beat Mark Arie of Thomasboro, Ill., in a shoot-off for first place.  Mr. Larson won by a score of 135 to 133.

            The last day’s shoot-off was held under poor conditions.  It was breezy and a light drizzle fell.  Larson was then 38 years of age, being the youngest man in the competition.  He won $782.40 cash in addition to a beautiful set of sterling silver.

            Fred J. Larson was born September 1, 1881, and married Kate Burgoyne of the Town of Belmont, Portage County, September 4, 1922. They had one child, Doris Irene.  Fred J. Larson died October 10, 1941.  Fred J. Larson was a noted hunter and fisherman, and loved his guns.  Here is a memorial written by Erle Whipple, called “The Fisherman’s Guide.”

He was not a humble fishing guide, but a noble man,

who spoke with properly modest pride, of his

descendants on his father’s side, from the Danish clan.

The forest was his home, his church and his all.

The birds, the leaves, a waterfall performed at his will in his music hall.

He had garnered prodigious stores of knowledge in days

ago, as he thrilled to the rhythm of swishing oars,

and smelled the pancakes cooking outdoors at the early crack of dawn.

O, may there be lakes and morning dew, and all

of the beloved woods creatures, wild skies of blue.

Arbutus and pines, yes, and fishing too,

where Fred has gone.

            Oscar Larson was born April 11, 1882, and died April 13, 1944.  He was married to Mary Elizabeth Gibbons on October 23, 1907.  They were the parents of four children:  Gordon, Harriette, Marjorie and Arlene, who died at the age of two years.  All of the previously mentioned Larson families are buried in the Waupaca Cemetery.

            The Larson Ice Company, that was owned and operated by members of the Larson families for nearly 60 years, was sold to William E. Feathers, who operated it for some time. It was during this period of time that Joe Naylor was Mr. Feather’s key man in his feed, seed, potato and coal operations.  The Marion Olson coal yard was then operated by Mr. Feathers.  Joe Naylor told me that they used to wash the sawdust from the ice at the coal yard before delivery.  By now, home delivery of ice was a thing of the past, and ice was used primarily to ice railroad cars in the summertime and early fall potato shipments.

            On January 2, 1946 Tom Gunderson and his wife Marjorie purchased the ice business from Mr. Feathers, and operated the business until December 13, 1955, when Tom Gunderson was killed in a car-truck accident.  He had been born September 12, 1911, in the Town of Farmington, to Gunder and Bessie Salverson Gunderson.  It was on February 2, 1934, that Tom Gunderson was married to Marjorie L. Pope, and to them two sons, Jack and Larry, were born.

            After the death of his father, Jack took over the ice business.  A year or so later, Jack dismantled the old Larson ice house on the north shores of Mirror Lake, and moved one half of it to Manawa, where he put up ice to ice railroad cars for the Sturm Company.

            This ended in about 1959, and the old ice house was burnt down, so all that remains of the old Larson ice house are its memories, except that there stands a plaque near the original ice house location that reads:  “This land has been donated by Marjorie Gunderson, in Memory of Tom Gunderson, September 1973,” and on the ice house site stands an abandoned city well.

            Marjorie L. Gunderson was a nurse at the Wisconsin Veterans Home when she passed away on June 21, 1982.  Mr. and Mrs. Gunderson are both buried in the Waupaca Memorial Park.




June 11, 1992


            A new large, three-story brick building was erected on Lot 4, Block K, of the original plat of the Village of Waupaca in 1893.  This location is on the northwest corner of South Main and West Union streets.  It was originally the location of Robert’s clothing store in the early years of Waupaca.

            This historic Old National Bank building was rescued from the fate of the wrecker’s ball in 1975 by Kenneth “Penrod” Petersen, and now is the offices of Coldwell Bankers-Peterson Realtors.

            Mr. Petersen, who was a historical preservationist, made several changes in the interior architecture and décor, attempting to retain the flavor of the past by keeping the old bank building basically unchanged.

            Going back in time, to the turn of the century, there was a picture of the original bank that was built in 1893, showing a doorway to the bank, being at an angle, facing directly southeast.  This would be looking across the street at today’s Bank One, which was then the location of the Delavan Hotel.

            Clarence H. Truesdell came to Waupaca in 1894 and shortly thereafter opened up a drug store in the north side of the bank building. The doorway to the drug store was located practically where the doorway today leads to Coldwell Bankers-Petersen Realtor office.  It has been written that the Truesdell Drug Store had the first soda fountain in Waupaca.

            I believe it was in 1914 that Mr. Truesdell’s lease ran out, and the bank wanted to enlarge due to their increasing business so, his lease was not renewed.  It was at this point in time that the exterior of the bank building was altered, much as it is today.

            The Old National Bank remained in business until January 27, 1933, when, due to the Great Depression, the bank closed its doors.  Many anxious months followed.  Banks were failing all over American.  Waupaca fared better than most, and in March of 1934, the bank was reorganized as the First National Bank.

            In the Waupaca County Post for Thursday, March 15, 1934, was this notice: “To Creditors of the Old National Bank of Waupaca, Wisconsin.  In accordance with the authority of the comptroller of currency I am now paying 50% of the proved liabilities of the Old National Bank of Waupaca as of the close of business January 27, 1933.  This payment is made through the newly organized First National Bank of Waupaca, C. W. Plowman, Conservator.”

            This remained the home of the First National Bank until their new facility at 111 Jefferson Street was completed in November 1973.  As I said before, the people of Waupaca fared better than many, because it was not long before the bank settled with the creditors, resulting in very little or no financial loss to the depositors.

            In an old newspaper dated June 30, 1894, there was an ad for Peterson Bros. coffee house and lunch counter located on the south side of the bank building.

            The Waupaca Record for April 30, 1903, had a notice: “Restaurant for sale.  The well-known and established restaurant business of D. L. Barnhart, located in the new bank building, is offered for sale on the account of the health of the proprietor.  This stand has been one of the best paying investments in the city for some years.”

            By 1906, this restaurant became known as the Red Front Restaurant.  The Waupaca Post for January 11, 1906, ran this ad:  “We want your trade, and we will give you more for your money than any other place in the city.  Meals and lunches at all hours.  Oyster Stew, the best there is, bring in your lady friends with you.  Candies, Bitter sweets and Bonita Chocolates, cigars and tobacco.  The Red Front Restaurant in the bank building. If things are not right, tell McGill.”

            On November 22, 1913, the Express offices in Waupaca were consolidated, with the business being transacted at the Western Company’s office in the rear of the Old National Bank building.  C. W. Pier was the joint agent and Harry Larsen was the former agent for Wells Fargo Co., and had his office in his grocery store.

            I will move on to 1934 when Frank Lubenetsky informed the Waupaca County Post that he would be moving his Electric Shoe Shop from his present location in the Old National Bank building, to the former Turner’s Sporting Goods store next to Clark’s Restaurant on West Fulton Street, on about March 15.  Mr. Lubenetsky came to Waupaca in 1921, and was originally in partnership with Joe Misky in the Electric Shoe Shop on West Union Street.

            In December 1939, Norman “Darky” Barrington opened the Warehouse Furniture Mart on West Union Street in the Old National Bank building.

            Mrs. Rose Mendelson moved her dress shop, the Rosemere Dress Shop, from the Delevan Hotel annex on East Union Street to her new location just around the corner from the First National Bank, February 1, 1942.

            After 32 years in active business, Rose Mendelson sold her Rosemere Dress Shop to Mrs. Ethel Myrick, and then the women’s ready-to-wear store at 106 West Union Street became known as Ethel’s Dress Shoppe.

            The doorway to 106 West Union Street now leads to a backroom at Coldwell Bankers-Petersen Realtors. Over the years the building also housed, for a time, the law office of attorney Gerald Anderson, and a barber shop.




June 25, 1992


            This story is about an old business location that still exists at 108 S. Main Street in Waupaca.

            Alfred (Fred) R. Lea of Waupaca owned and operated a men’s clothing store there from 1888 until his untimely death on September 8, 1931.  He died at 11:25 p.m., as the result of a self-inflicted rifle shot, while standing in the rear of his backyard on Jefferson Street.

            Mr. Lea had enjoyed many years of prosperity from his clothing stores both in Iola and Waupaca, until in the 1930s when the Great Depression caused him to suffer serious financial losses.  He was considered, at the time of his death, to be the oldest businessman in Waupaca.

            This was taken from an article that appeared in the Waupaca County Post August 28, 1931:  “A new Campbell’s Dollar Store, the fourth store to open in Wisconsin, will open in the Fred Lea building Saturday, according to the managers of the stores, who were in Waupaca putting up advertising and making other final arrangements for the opening.  The firm has one store in Neenah and two in Oshkosh.  The stores carry light dry goods items, including women’s hosiery, lingerie and wash dresses, and children’s clothing and infant wear.  The manager of the new store is Reynold Parks of Iola, who will be assisted by two local women as clerks.”

            It is not known for sure how long Mr. Parks was the manager, but Mr. Rowland Campbell, who was the owner of the Campbell Dollar Stores, Inc., transferred Miss Caroline Eckhart from his Oshkosh store to Waupaca to manage it.  She lived in the apartment above the store.

            Another article that appeared in the Waupaca County Post, on February 18, 1943, reported:  “The Campbell Store is rearranged for the patrons’ convenience.  The popular Campbell Store in Waupaca, under the direction of the efficient management of Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Malinsky, has undergone extensive improvement the past two weeks.  A canopy now extends the full length of the north wall beneath which are coat and dress racks, which permit the display of the women’s ready-to-wear for the convenience of the shopper.  The interior woodwork has all felt the touch of the brush, that revives dull surfaces with color and pleasing freshness.  The spacious show windows that flank the lobby of the Campbell Store are distinctive features found only in metropolitan stores.”

            Etola Hanson became the next manager.  Here are the names of some of the ladies that clerked in the Campbell Store through its years of existence in Waupaca, as they have been given to me.  Meta Behm, Madge Jensen, Cora Olson, Donna Schroeder, Margaret Frazer, Sylvia Axtell, Alta Sannes, Mable Tarr and Mary Lautenbach.  Mary Lautenbach started work as a clerk in March of 1943.  In 1949 she became the manager, the position that she held until Campbell’s closed its doors in May of 1985.

            On May 2, 1958, Phil Tiesberg announced that he had sold his lease of the Leader Hardware Store to the Campbell Store, which was adjacent on the north for their planned expansion.  On December 11, 1958, the Campbell Store held its grand opening of their newly enlarged and redecorated store.

            Turning back in time to the article that appeared in the Waupaca County Post on October 19, 1943, which carried the obituary for Rowland Campbell.  He died unexpectedly in a doctor’s office in Appleton, at the early age of 48.  Mr. Campbell operated not only his Campbell Store in Appleton, but also Janey’s Cotton Shop and Nancy’s Sport Shop, also in Appleton.  These last two stores were named after his daughters.  Mr. Campbell was a former president of the Reo Motor Car Company, and was responsible for a handy low step delivery truck produced by the Reo Co.  Later it became a widely used type for home delivery service.  He also served as chairman of the board of the Reo Motor Company, Lansing, Mich., from 1937 to 1939.  This young man was also president of the Campbell Engineering Company of Appleton, a heating and draft control company.  He was credited with personally designing an electric draft control for furnaces.

            In the fall of 1985, after Campbell’s closed their store, Leah Jean Minton opened up her “Leah Jeans,” ladies, children and infant clothing store.  A picture of Leah Jean’s ribbon cutting appeared in the Waupaca County Post on March 6, 1986.  Seven months later, on October 6, Darrell and Leah Minton purchased the building from Mrs. Barbara Disher.

            Now, you remember that after 1958, when the Campbell Store at 108 S. Main Street enlarged their store after acquiring the Leader Hardware Store at 110 S. Main, they became one store by cutting a large doorway between the two buildings.

            Mrs. Minton operated the children and infant department in the original Campbell Store location for some time before renting this location at 108 to Zwicker’s Knit Picker outlet store.  The Knit Picker, under the management of Mrs. Nancy Hirte, operated for a couple of years, before this location was taken over by the Preferred Video.  Preferred Video had their ribbon cutting ceremony picture in the Waupaca County Post for October 11, 1989.  As of this June 1992, the store is vacant, a they moved to a different location.

            Mrs. Minton continued to operate “Leah Jean’s” at 110 S. Main, which was the former Leader Hardware Store.  While under the ownership of the Mintons, a stairway leading to the basement was installed to give them added rental space.

            Leah Jean Minton had an ad in the Waupaca County Post, July 6, 1989, “Going out of business,” and her ad for August 26, 1989, “Closing soon.”

            After Mrs. Minton discontinued her store at 110 S. Main, Enlightened Video rented a part of her building, and Shirley Carlson became the next occupant. Shirley Carlson’s “Printables-Shirt Shack” had her picture of her ribbon cutting ceremony on September 4, 1990.  She still occupies this location at 110 S. Main.  The Mintons still are the owners of this two-door establishment in 1992.




July 2, 1992


            William J. Knights was one of eight children born to Mr. and Mrs. Knights, in the little village of Shawangunk, near Grant, N.Y., on March 26, 1853

            In his early years he worked on farms, and at the age of 19, he came to Wisconsin, where he became associated with one of his old schoolmates, C. A. Smart, who was operating a general store in Wild Rose.

            A few years later he moved to Evansville, in southern Wisconsin, where he became connected with the Evansville Mercantile Company.  Due to failing health he turned to being a salesman for the John S. Gould and Company of Chicago, and he moved to Janesville in 1895.

            It was a chance on a cold winter night that John Nicholson and Samuel Hill met with William J. Knights in a small hotel room in Boscobel in 1899.  In this hotel room in Boscobel the three salesmen discussed the idea of placing Bibles in hotel rooms for the Christian commercial traveling salesmen.

            The three men met again in Janesville, and the Gideon Society was organized on July 1, 1899, to help travelers in keeping their Christian faith.

            Lacking for a name, Mr. Knights called for prayer.  The three men knelt in silent prayer, and as they rose Mr. Knights said “the name of their organization would be Gideons” because Gideon was always ready to do what God commanded without regard to his own judgment.

            Their first work was placing Bibles in hotel rooms in the United States, and soon extended into Canada and many foreign countries.  They also placed Bibles in hospitals, sanitariums, schools and penal institutions.  Mr. Knights returned to Wild Rose in the early years of the 1900s to make the Waushara County community his home.

            William J. Knights was married to Ella A. Smart of Wild Rose on February 25, 1882; she died January 16, 1919.  On November 14, 1992, he was married to Lelah May Larsen of Wild Rose, and she lived until 1964.

            William J. Knights died at his home in Wild Rose, August 22, 1940.  He is buried beside both of his wives in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Wild Rose.  His marker has the following inscription:  “William J. Knights, March 26, 1853-August 22, 1940.  Co-Founder, the Gideons International, organized July 1, 1899.”

            In 1940, before the death of William J. Knights, he attended the State Gideon convention in Janesville, and by that time they had placed over 1,400,000 Bibles in hotel rooms, penal institutions, schools and hospitals throughout the world.

            On the other side of the coin, there are others who wish to take the chance of making a fast buck by breaking the law.

            This was the case of a man known only as Patsy, one of the four men that robbed the Wild Rose Post Office on October 6, 1905.

            A posse of 30 men were quickly formed under Marshal Prothroe, and the next day the four robbers were apprehended in a shootout, which resulted in the death of Patsy.  He was buried in an unmarked grave in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Wild Rose.

            The full account of this daring robbery can be found in the Wild Rose, Wisconsin, Centennial book, 1873-1973.




July 9, 1992


            Linus Bidwell Brainard, M.D., was born in Boardman, Trumbull County, Ohio, October 30, 1805, the eldest of 11 children.

            His father came from Connecticut and was a pioneer in the Ohio wilds, losing his life by being crushed under a log while helping a fellow pioneer erect his cabin.

            While yet in his teens, young Linus was obliged to become the head of the family.  He superintended the work of the family, and began his own career by teaching school.  Having a rich, mellow voice he gave singing lessons and became a successful instructor.

            After some time he entered upon the study of theology, looking forward to working in the Episcopal ministry, but after a few months he turned his attention to medicine.  He pursued his studies at the Western Reserve College and graduated with highest scores.

            In 1839 he moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he continued his medical practice until in 1844.  In the summer of 1844 he was seized with the urge to move west.  The family followed the next year. Brainard’s first purchase was a tract of 1,040 acres in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin.  He erected a sawmill on the Pigeon River, but there was some question on the title, and he lost the land.

            In 1849 he moved to Green Bay and stayed there until June 1853, when he came on horseback to Waupaca County, and entered 280 acres of land near the Village of Waupaca.  He returned to Green Bay for his family, and they arrived back in Waupaca in November of that year.

            Thus at the age of 48, he began anew the life of a first settler on virgin land.  A portion of the forest had been cleared, and the land plowed.  He erected a sawmill on the Waupaca River one-half mile above the Village of Waupaca and put it into an active operation, working day and night.  The demands upon his time as a skilled physician and surgeon were such that the mill and the various shops were wholly left in the care of others.

            The mill did not prove to be a lasting success.  A few years later the mill burned and was never rebuilt.

            Dr. Brainard brought about the establishment of the Masonic Lodge, and was its first worshipful master.  His fame as a physician and surgeon spread through the area, and many times his horseback rides were often to points 70 to 80 miles from his home.

            In 1862 he received a surgeon’s commission in the army, and served with the Seventh Wisconsin Infantry until the end of the war.

            He lived to see his 40-acre homestead embraced within the city limits of Waupaca, and to see his other land rise greatly in value.

            Linus Bidwell Brainard’s aim in life was to see his 80th birthday.  He passed away November 14, 1885, two weeks after his 80th birthday.

            There seems to be no record in the Waupaca County history books telling who Linus B. Brainard married, so I went to the 1860 federal census for the Town of Waupaca.  Here I found the Brainard family.  Linus B., age 54, born in Ohio, physician, real estate value $5,660, personal property $700.  Huldah R., age 39, physician, born in Ohio.  Charles Rollin, age 19, college student, born in Ohio.  Alice E., age 18, college student, born in Ohio, Lucius Henry, age 10, born in Wisconsin.

            As you must have gathered by now, the Brainard homestead was located just to the south of the Waupaca River, on the hill next to the Brainard Bridge City Park.

            Now I know that L.B. Brainard’s wife had the first name of Huldah, but still do not know her maiden name.  I have not had the time to go to the Courthouse to see if she had a death certificate, which would give her full name.

            Following the death of Dr. Brainard on November 14, 1885, his wife Huldah ran a dairy and drove the village street of Waupaca, peddling milk.  Her transportation was a pair of small mules, with their short bodies filling only two-thirds the length of the buggy pole.

            She would stop in front of the home of her patron, and the aged lady would ring her little bell, then wait for the housewife to come out with her pitcher to hold up for one or two quarts of milk.

            The well-noted doctor may be buried alone in the Waupaca Lakeside Memorial Park, as there is no marker for his wife, Huldah.

            Where did Huldah and the three children go?




July 23, 1992


            My last article that appeared in the Waupaca County Post (July 9, 1992) would not be complete without this story about Charles Bidwell Brainard and the ghost at the pole bridge.

            The story is from the Waupaca Republican Post, January 15, 1897.  The story goes on about a man with a fictitious name, who was living northwest of Waupaca, who took a shortcut through the woods by the way of the old pole bridge on the Brainard property.

            This man did not fear the darkness, because he was fortified with fire water, but upon approaching the bridge, nearing midnight, he was surprised to see a figure of a woman standing on the bridge, quietly looking at the boiling rapids in the river below.

            He stood there for a few moments watching the figure before she turned and walked toward him. That was the last straw.  He took the trail up the back road at a speed that would break the record set by any bicyclist in the country, and he did not stop until he was safely back at home.

            A few days later he met Charles R. Brainard, who owned the property, and he confidentially told him of his encounter with the ghost at the bridge.

            Mr. Brainard’s reply was, “I have known for the past three months about the ghost.  I have an incurable lung malady, and I cannot undress and go to bed as other people do.

            “I am obliged to get my sleep sitting in an armchair, or bolstered up on a sofa.

            “I have waking spells when I cannot sleep, so I put on my overcoat and go for a walk in the cool night air.

            “One night I walked down the lane along the river bank, then up toward the cornfield on the north side of Mt. Tom, when I suddenly became aware of a moving object ahead of me.  This was in October.  The figure was walking slowly toward the pole bridge, and was evidently that of a woman.  I watched her until I became chilled through.

            “After a time, she turned, went across the bridge and disappeared in the darkness of the woods.”

            Mr. Brainard said that he had seen her 15 to 20 times during the last three months.

            “I have on several occasions went out ahead of time, to see if I could discover the direction from which she came, but my first view has invariably been near the cornfield gate, as if she had suddenly risen from the ground.”

            Since my article about the Brainard family I received a nice phone call from Mrs. Mary (Knight) Schultz, and she told me that Charles R. Brainard carried mail on Route One, Waupaca, when she was a small child, and in the wintertime, the road over Knight’s Hill was very bad, and Mr. Brainard would circle to the north around Knight’s Hill, passing through the Knight farm.  She described him as being a ve