Amanda’s Weekly Archival Discovery

Hello there Forest County Residents!

This was a colorful week in my archival world because I organized and analyzed Justice Court Dockets. These large books include information on any legal disputes or court appearances in the City of Crandon’s history which you can imagine is as entertaining as watching the day time court television shows like “Judge Judy”. There were the standard disputes you would expect with many complaints about people being too drunk, hunting or trapping out of season,  and driving recklessly. As I scanned through the document one case caught my eye because of the punishment that was doled out.

On June 15th, 1939 Charles Stegall claimed that Lenard Montgomery came into his house and took a watch with a value of $19.00. Lenard plead guilty and his punishment handed down by Judge Clarence Sipple was: signing a promise that he would never take or steal anything from now on because he understands it is wrong. Now I know why they are called the good old days! I wonder if this vote of confidence from the judge was all it took for Lenard to change his ways or if he broke his promise? I will have to investigate deeper into the archives another day to solve the mystery!

blog july 12th

Amanda’s Weekly Archival Discovery

Happy Independence Day Forest County Residents!

This week I organized and inventoried records from the City Clerk of Crandon from 1938-1950. There were a few interesting items because of Crandon growing as a city and because of the war effort. The city under took the enormous task of putting in a water and sewer system starting in 1941 and continuing to 1942 at the urging of the Public Health Department in order to provide the citizens with clean drinking water. The City of Crandon started the project with the assistance of the Work Projects Administration providing the labor and more than half of the cost of the supplies needed. Then at the end of 1942 The Works Projects Administration was being disbanded as a federal agency and the sewer and water systems in Crandon were not fully in place yet. There were quite a few frantic letters from the City Clerk to the headquarters in Madison asking them to complete the project or send another federal agency to complete it because the city could not function with only half a sewer and water system in place. From what I could gather from the correspondence the government granted Crandon a long term loan to pay for the rest of the project. Can you imagine the whole city in an uproar after hearing they would be stuck with only half the houses being able to receive water? The things we take for granted today and the huge undertaking our ancestors had to go through to provide us with the modern comforts is something to reflect on this Fourth of July weekend.

Amanda’s Weekly Archival Discovery

Hello Forest County Residents!

This week’s archival discovery reminded me that no matter what time period someone lived in we still hold commonalities that come with human nature. I came across the guest register book for the Park Hotel in Crandon formerly owned by Osborn and Poppy which was located on Madison Avenue near the courthouse. The book had the signature and address of guests from 1886- 1895. It was fascinating finding out that some visitors came from as far as London England! The signature that made me smile was the one by Wild Bill from Big Horn in 1888. Even in the 19th century people found it funny to leave false names in hotel guest books! I hope you think of this post next time you spot Anita Bath or Amanda Huggenkiss in a register book

 

Amanda’s Weekly Archival Discovery

Hello Local History Fans!

This week I discovered the story of a local resident whose short life was filled with great accomplishments and who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. I came upon this information from a printed power point sent to the library by a student from the St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy in 2006. As part of the requirement for the student’s history class he must have been assigned to research a statue or memorial on campus and he chose the “Himes Memorial Fountain”.

Thomas Forest Himes was born in Crandon on June 10th 1923 to Colonel Forest H. Himes of the Wisconsin National guard and his wife. His father also owned the F.H. Himes Lumber and Coal Company in town. At the age of fourteen Thomas was sent to the St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, WI. During his four years there he excelled as a student, an athlete, a leader, and was immensely popular among his fellow cadets.  A few of the awards and he received were:

  • President of the 1941 Senior Class
  • Member of the Officers Club
  •  Most Likely to Succeed
  • Most Popular Captain
  • Most Efficient Cadet
  • Best All Around Fellow
  • Most Modest Cadet
  • Expert Rifle and Marksmen
  • Dr. Delafield Medal(Highest Honor for a Senior)

After Thomas’s extraordinary success at the academy he was admitted to Lawrence University where he finished a semester before joining the U.S. Army following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was a member of the 4th Army 80th Division and deployed as Second Lieutenant and Platoon Leader. Thomas was sent to France on August 3rd 1944 where he swept across the country on foot liberating villages and towns. On September 25th 1944 in order to prepare for an attack on the German lines Lieutenant Himes, along with a few others, went on a reconnaissance mission to locate the German lines to allow their regiment to move into the most optimum position the night prior to the attack. But the Germans had this area heavily guarded and they shelled the U.S. soldiers killing Lieutenant Himes instantly. St. Johns Academy erected the Himes Memorial Fountain on their campus with funds given to them by the Himes family that stills stands today.

This is only one of the many stories of the brave men and women from Forest County who chose to serve their country and accomplish tremendous feats in the face of death and war. We should be proud of our veterans and very thankful! To learn more about local residents who served in the military visit the Veterans Office and Museum on Main St. in Crandon.

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Summertime is Research Time

The joys of summer.  Long days.  Fishing.  Lake Metonga.  Genealogy Research.

Yep, that’s right.  During the busy summer months, the Crandon Public Library sees an upswing in the number of visitors researching their family history.  Just this week we  enjoyed a visit from Kevin Jackson of Cudahy, Wisconsin.  Kevin is researching the Wickham, Jackson, and Domrose families of early Crandon and left the library with a large stack of obituaries and newspaper clippings from our microfilm collection. {It also helped that the Library Director is also researching the same Wickham line!}

Before leaving Kevin shared with us the following photo from his Jackson family’s collection.  It is an early photo of the Crandon Lions Club.  Kevin estimated the photo was published pre-1959.

Thanks Kevin for the great photo and we look forward to visiting with you on future research trips!

Left to right:  Art Carptenter, Herb Walker, Tony Kolspice, Art Lutterman, George Krohn, Dr. Rathert, Rudy Augustine, Alfred Kalkofen, Lyle Carter, Chester Jackson, William Bassett.
Left to right: Art Carptenter, Herb Walker, Tony Kolspice, Art Lutterman, George Krohn, Dr. Rathert, Rudy Augustine, Alfred Kalkofen, Lyle Carter, Chester Jackson, William Bassett.

 

Amanda’s Weekly Archival Discovery

Hello again Forest County Residents!

My second week as the summer archivist was fantastic! On Monday I received a wonderful tour of the Forest County Historical Society Museum from Terry Thompson. There are a lot of neat displays and fascinating stories that can be found at the museum. I encourage everyone to plan a visit and support your local history! The museum hours are 10 am-4 pm on Tuesdays, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

My interesting find in the archival collection this week has to do with my family history. I came across a collection on The Flannery Sisters, a well known country singing duo from the 1930’s and my great great great aunts.  Ruth Alene and Violet Flannery better known as “Billie and Allie” began their music debut by performing for concerts, parties, and singing in the church choir in their hometown of Gladstone, Michigan. Their mother and father were originally from Northern Wisconsin but moved to the Upper Peninsula. The Flannery sisters got their big break when a barn dance road show from Chicago played at the Gladstone theatre. Billie and Allie performed for the managers and then were asked to join the Midwest theatrical tour and sing on the radio in Chicago every weekend. A few of their recorded hits on their 1935 album were “Come Back to the Hills” and “Wild Western Moonlight”.

Consider taking some time to delve into your family history you never know what you are going to find!

The Flannery Sisters
The Flannery Sisters

Amanda’s Weekly Archival Discovery

Hello Forest County Residents!

I am the new archivist for the Crandon Public Library and Forest County Historical Society. This summer I will be working on organizing and cataloging all the archival information for these two institutions. Some of the items that I am working with include: photographs, postcards, letters, government records, local organization’s meeting records, books, and pamphlets. If anyone has any items they would like to donate to enrich the historical collection of Forest County feel free to visit me at the Crandon Public Library I will make sure your items are preserved for future generations to learn from and enjoy!

Every week I am going to post something about a unique or interesting item I find in the archival collection.  This week I organized the Assessment Rolls for the city of Crandon dating from 1909-1976. The collection contains information on the real estate assessment and tax roll as well as personal tax roll, bank stock, occupational assessment and a summary of real estate and personal properties for the city of City and adjoining villages. 

Since it is my first week I am going to give you two fun facts!

  • In 1909 only one person, Dr. Decker, owned an automobile in the entire city and the car’s estimated value was $250.00.
  • In 1921 the city government started assessing occupational taxes and would have certain categories for occupations that paid taxes on their livelihood. Throughout the 1940’s the books recorded occupational taxes for the category of “Domestic Mink Farmer” and “Bee Keeper”. How many mink farmers were living in Crandon Wisconsin that they had to create a whole category for it! How times have changed! 

The personality of James Beulen, Forest County Civil War Veteran

Here’s a follow up, written by local historian R.T. Krueger, about Forest County’s Civil War veteran James Beulen. R.T. has spent many hours researching and documenting Forest County’s civil war veterans and over the years he has managed to track down photos of the veterans.  A photo of James Beulen and some of his contemporaries is included in this post as well.

I’d never make a good academic historian – I’m too eager to fill in blanks with my own opinions.  Create personalities for people from the shreds of documentation.  I’ve done this with far too many of the folks I’ve researched and James Beulen is no exception.  He seems to me to have had the classic “bark is worse than the bite” personality.  Serious, civic-minded, even gruff when the situation required, but never too full of himself to take things too seriously.  Never afraid to be made fun of respectfully and to do the same to others.  Quietly generous with his time and money. 
 
Shirley Coleman, of Crandon, provided me with a page of hand-written notes her mother had put together on memories from her childhood.  This is what she said of Mr. Beulen, “Civil War veteran, often visited my folks, told us war stories, every other word was a curse, we loved it.”
 
Jim Beulen was born in the east, but came to the frontiers of Wisconsin as a kid, along with a wave of New York farmers who made the journey in the 1840’s and 1850’s.  He and several of his brothers enlisted in the Union service during the Civil war and Jim rose to the rank of sergeant by its close. 
 
Like so many other young men from Central Wisconsin, Jim hooked up with logging crews working in the northwoods and, by 1884, was employed at a new mill on the north shore of Lake Metonga.  When Forest County was created a year later, Governor Jeremiah Rusk, himself a Civil War vet, named Buelen to be the first sheriff.  Governor Rusk was probably looking for a man with some natural sense of authority and leadership and Buelen’s wartime experience would have made him a prime candidate.  Jim Buelen resigned as sheriff after only a short time, but would later serve the community as an alderman and in other civic roles throughout his years in Crandon. 
 
While these things make him noteworthy as a pioneer settler in Crandon, it is the informal paper trail that he left that makes him interesting to me.  He seems to have been one of the local newsmen’s go-to guys on those slow news days.  A man who always had some ridiculous cause, complaint, or issue to keep the typesetter busy.  These are some of my favorites:
 

 

Fine Cut Club Resolves

That the Rights of the American Citizen are Being Trampled Upon

At the last meeting of the Fine-Cut Club a resolution was passed authorizing the president of the order to appoint a commission to investigate the workings of that unholy combination the tobacco trust.  To the members of the Club, tobacco is the staff of life, and the article put upon the market in these degenerate days is something fierce.  Brown paper, sawdust, bootlegs, and supernuated German socks, it is believed are ground up and sold as “Duke’s Misery”, “Dub’s Delight” and other popular brands, while plug contains things unmentionable.

A prominent member of the club said he bit off a chaw of plug once and immediately thereafter found a rat’s tail between his teeth.  He said on more than one occasion the hired girl had complained about his breath and he would like to know how he could have a violet breath on a diet of rat tails.  What?

One of the veteran members of the Club advocated a boycott upon all Crandon merchants who refused to keep “poor boxes” in a prominent place in their stores.  He said he had patronized Crandon merchants liberally for many years, running large accounts, some of which he had been forced to pay, and he thought any self-respecting dealer should willingly furnish free tobacco to such as he, as well as free cigarette papers to tallow-faced dudes.  The brother’s remarks were uproariously cheered.

The next meeting of the order will be held on “All Fool’s Day”, April 1st.  A special program is being prepared.

 

 

Sporting News

 

Col. James Beulen, president of the Crandon Euchre Club and Fine Cut Chewers Union arrived home Saturday from a trip to Seattle.  In an interview with the sporting editor of this paper he stated that prospects look good for some interesting games this winter and with the knowledge he had picked up on his trip he could easily trim anyone brought forth…. Mr. Beulen expects to meet all comers and convince them that they do not know anything about the game… Hereafter, spectators on the sidelines will be charged a nickel a piece, the fund to be used in buying chewing tobacco for the players… Thomas Walker, he of little words, has been chosen by James as a partner.  When the score gets too close for comfort and the opposing players go over the top and out upon no-man’s land, Walker and Beulen will give them a gas attack.  Mr. Walker will quote a few of the ten commandments and little Shakespeare and Mr. Beulen will use a few chose words that go something like pbzqtohellwiththem.  This method of attack is sure to rattle their opponents and win the game.  Since leaving Crandon, Mr. Beulen has learned to swear in French and Dago which feature will be introduced whenever necessary.

 

Beulen spent time out West with old buddies and his brother, but reported not being impressed and always returned to Northern Wisconsin.  He passed away in 1926 after over 40 years on and off in the area.

The Heat Wave of 1911

As the Midwest Heat Wave of 2012 hopefully comes to an end, many news outlets are highlighting the July 4th, 1911 heat wave that struck the eastern United States and killed 380 people.  This lead me to wonder what kind of weather Crandon was experiencing in July 1911.

As it turns out, the local newspaper didn’t make that big a deal out of the heat wave.  The only mention of the heat is an advertisement from the “City Drug Store” and in an article titled “Beulen Loses His Beer”.

Beulen Loses His Beer

President James Beulen, of the Fine Cut club of this city, is warm under the collar and not from the warm weather either. The last-trip made to Crandon by Joseph Eihlien of the Schlitz Brewing Co., of Milwaukee, he met James and upon parting told him, that he being an old friend, he would send him a case of beer from his big Milwaukee brewery. The beer came just before the Fourth of July, and James placed it in his cellar with great care, and then presented a number of his friends each with a bottle before he sampled any of it himself. Later on he pulled a cork and discovered that some unhung reprobate had opened a good share of the bottles, drank the beer and refilled them with water. Then he had to hunt up the people he had given bottles to and find out if they had beer or water. If Jim should ever discover the perpetrator of the joke he swears that Forest county will have to record the worst tragedy in its history.

As it turns out, James Beulen was one of Crandon’s Civil War Veterans.  According to R.T. Krueger, Beulen served in Wisconsin’s Company I of the 11th Wisconsin Infantry and Company E of the 52nd Regiment Infantry.  Let’s hope someone discovered the “unhung reprobate” that pulled this prank on one of Crandon’s veterans!

A Grand Fourth of July Celebration

Crandon’s Historic July 4th, 1916 celebration

June 9, 1916 advertisement

According to newspaper reports, Crandon’s Commercial Club, began preparing for their “rousing celebration” in May of 1916.  Members of the executive committee included T.B. Guthrie, M.D. Keith, W.A. Wescott, J. Breakstone, Wm. Wilson and Lyle Carter.  These gentlemen urged the citizens of Crandon “to do your share toward making this a big day”.

The committee did their fair share of making this an event to remember. According to the June 30th advertisement in the Forest Republican, the committee went to “great expense” to secure Howe and Barlow and their dog Ginger, a sensational Iron Jay Wire Act and Prof. Perry  who would make a “death defying slide for life hanging by his feet, from the court house dome”.

And, to finish off the celebration, “Fire works will be fired from a barge anchored out on Metonga Lake, on the night of the Fourth”.

A Grand Success!

July 7, 1916 follow-up article

In a follow-up article published on July 7th, it was announced that “about two thousand people from neighboring towns and the country” attended the 1916 Crandon celebration.  The morning trains were filled with visitors from “Shawano, Lily, Neopit, Langlade and other settlements.”   “The trains were met at the depot by the Crandon band which headed a long parade of floats and automobiles”.

The article went on to announce the winners of various races held throughout the day.  In the half mile running race between ponies, Howard Kuss, Dennis Lee and Hiram Ritter were winners in the order listed.  In the “free for all trotting race”, Mont. Whitt, Ed Merenes and E. Jamison all participated with Mont. Whitt earning the first prize money.

A photo of the July 4th parade route meeting the morning trains at Crandon’s depot.

All-in-all it sounds as if the July 4th, 1916 celebration was a grand success!