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Stories of Metonga : Part 1

Good afternoon Crandon residents. Last week I presented at a History On-Tap Program at the Hotel Crandon to a crowd of about 85 people. Afterwards, I received a few different requests to share my power-point presentation and while I am willing to do that, I also am planning to post the material online in hopes that others will find their way to it. (Local history is much more fun and exciting if it is shared!) Publishing my research on this site will also allow people to post comments about the presentation and hopefully, we will continue to learn from each other about our county and its heritage.

What’s in a Name?

When Forest County officially became a county by an Act of the Legislature in 1885, the lake that we now know as Metonga, was called Sand Lake.  And in truth, the lake today is still called by that name.  The definition of Sand Lake is in fact the Indian name “Mitaawangaa”, or as the English spell it, Metonga.

In fact, only a few short months after the county was established, the editor of the Forest Leaves published a description of the lake known as Metonga.

Additional research from The Ojibwe People’s Dictionary defines the word “sandy” as “mitaawangaa”

Another source document that was beneficial in determining the origin of the Lake’s name was provided by the Forest County Potawatomi Library and Cultural Center. In September of 1941, Mrs. Wm. Tahwah of Wabeno provided the following list of names of Forest County Lakes and their meanings:

source: Forest County Potawatomi Library collection

Page 1 of Forest Leaves, published in Crandon, Wisconsin on Thursday, August 6th, 1885

Lake Cisco?

Lake Metonga residents might also be suprised to learn that they were at one time destined to live on a lake named after a the fish Cisco, also known as Lake Herring.  

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cisco_(fish)#/media/File:Cisco.jpg


The Forest County Spy, published in Pelican Lake, Wisconsin on Tuesday, May 26th, 1885

The Forest Leaves, published in Crandon, Wisconsin on Thursday, August 27th, 1885

Calling the lake by its Indian name caught on, and very soon there was no doubt the lake would be called Metonga.

However, its possible that not everyone agreed to have the name returned to its proper Indian title. As you can see from this 1906 Crandon map that hangs in the Forest County Courthouse Treasurer’s office, the name Sand Lake stuck around for some time.

Next week we will begin our tour around Lake Metonga courtesy of a March 1887 newspaper article. Don’t forget to leave your comments and share some of your local history related to Lake Metonga.

History of Maple Syrup in Forest County : a Tree Rings Podcast

It’s Maple Syrup Time in Forest County. An annual tradition for many families going back several generations. Join hosts Isak D. and Bryce M. as they share a brief history of Maple Sugaring and interview two local residents with strong family ties to the Maple Syrup tradition in Forest county.

Click the tree rings logo to listen to the podcast via SoundCloud!

Introducing TreeRings!

The Crandon Area Historical Society is excited to announce the release of the first episode of our local history podcast titled Tree Rings, produced and hosted by Isak Drangstveit and Bryce Marshall.

This premiere episode features the story of the 1918 Spanish flu and its impact on Forest county residents over a century ago. Hosts Isak and Bryce share with listeners the research they conducted on the Spanish Flu outbreak in Forest County and the key players involved in the prevention of the spread of the 1918 flu. As part of their research, they interview historical society member Jackie Aszman regarding some of the stories she uncovered while conducting her own research on the pandemic. Finally, Isak and Bryce interview current members of the Forest county Board of Health to gain insight into the similarities and differences of the two pandemics in Forest County.

Membership now available online

Its name may say “historical,” but the Crandon Area Historical Society is taking advantage of current trends to allow secure and convenient technology for its Membership Campaign. For the first time since the Society was established, individuals and businesses may now join the society or renew their memberships online.

To use the online payment feature from the Society’s website, www.crandonareahistory.org, go to the “Membership” page, scroll down and click on the appropriate “Membership” of “Donate” button. Individuals can renew memberships or become a new member using a major credit card or an existing PayPal account.

The Society’s Board of Directors thanks residents and businesses who have supported the historical society in the past.   Annual membership dues enable the Society to maintain its Historic Carter House Museum, present educational programs, and grow and maintain its archives, which contains well over 1,000 items pertaining to the history of Forest County. 

To stay current on the activities and programs of the historical society, please visit our website at www.crandonareahistory.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

New Display at the Crandon Public Library

       After a couple months of sitting empty, like so many things during COVID-19, the Historical Society case at the Crandon Public Library has a new display.  The theme, BOOKS BUILD BETTER BRAINS, encourages reading to children to bring knowledge, wonder and joy into their lives.  The books featured are mostly children’s books from the 1940’s but the Peter Rabbit book was printed in 1912.  The homemade blocks show the wear and tear of many childhood building projects. Looking at the books in the display may bring back memories of some of your childhood favorites.

      The Society is looking forward to next year, when hopefully we can again celebrate the Christmas season with vintage decorations in the museum at the Carter House Museum.  We wish all a Blessed and safe Christmas Season.

FOREST COUNTY HISTORICAL AND GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY ANNUAL MEETING

The Forest County Historical and Genealogical Society dba Crandon Area Historical  Society is inviting its members and anyone interested in becoming a member to attend their annual meeting scheduled for Thursday, November 19, 2020.

Due to current guidelines limiting gatherings, this meeting will be held virtually using the Zoom app. Simply download the app on your computer, tablet, or phone. Send us an email request by November 18 and we will send you the link before the meeting begins.  The email address to send your request is: forestctyhistory@gmail.com. The meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m.

The Forest County Historical and Genealogical Society is a nonprofit organization founded in 1973. Its purpose is to promote Forest County history and preserve archival materials.

CARTER HOUSE MUSEUM OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Tired of staying in? Looking for something to do this summer?  The Crandon Historical Society after careful consideration has decided to reopen the Carter House Museum, located on the corner of Hazeldell and Jackson streets for public viewing.

The Carter House dates back to the year 1902. It has been used as a church, hall and mission.  In 1920 it was sold to Henry Carter and remained in the Carter family until 1994 when it was purchased by the historical society.

Discover what life was like during the 1900’s.  Come see the old school room. Learn about the making of maple syrup and moonshine.  Displays are ever-changing and are sure to bring back memories for the young at heart and a chance for kids to learn what it was like in the “olden days”.

The museum will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Due to the pandemic, hand sanitizer and masks will be available. Social distancing is required and admittance will be limited.

Eagle Scout project honors veterans buried in Crandon Lakeside Cemetery

An Eagle Service Project, the culmination of a Scout’s commitment to an intensive advancement program, must demonstrate leadership of others while benefitting the scout’s community, school or another non-profit organization.  It is estimated that Eagle Projects contribute approximately 3 million hours of community service every year.

Local veteran’s-service organizations have loyally marked the graves of servicemen at Lakeside for many years but the lists they use to locate the graves are incomplete, inaccurate and confusing.  With the guidance of local UW-Madison Division of Extension Positive Youth Development Educator and Historical Society president, Michelle Gobert, Bradley reviewed those outdated materials and lead family members and his fellow Scouts from Crandon Troop 649 in confirming and correcting information on-site.  He then developed an online database that includes the block and lot location of each veteran.

The main point of Bradley’s presentation was that his project is not a finished product, rather it provides a base for more information and corrections to the existing list.  “There are actually people that are on the list who don’t belong there and a LOT who should be on the list but are not”, he said.  The Society is hoping to schedule some organized efforts to continue Bradley’s work.  In the meantime, we encourage the public to visit the site.  Visitors can search for friends and family members and will find a form on which they can provide additions and corrections.

Searching the database is easy. The database is online and veterans are listed by lot number but can be easily searched by last name.  While the primary goal of the list is to provide a more accurate and complete tool for locating graves, the database has future potential to store biographies, obituaries and other documents pertaining these brave men and women.  The database also includes a suggestion form for capturing information that may be missing from the database. Please direct any questions about the project and/or the database to Michelle at 715-478-7797 or forestctyhistory@gmail.com