Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Seven Mile Creek

Long ago and far away..........well,  back in the 1970's at least, when my children were very young, I discovered the Laura Ingalls Wilder set of books.  They were very entertaining,  and whenever we would make that 2-hour trip to visit grandpa and grandma, I would grab one of the books, and read to my kids in the car.

Later came the Little House on the Prairie TV series, another favorite of my family.

My children still love those books, as well as the supplemental books written later about Laura's mom and grandma's childhoods.

Until recently, I did not know that there was a series of books written about a young boy growing up in Seven Mile Creek!  (Lamartine, for you young 'uns).  These were also written as children's books, and in the same style as the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.

My first hint of the existance of these books, was while cataloging some scrapbooks at the Historical Society.  A newspaper clipping fell out of one of the scrapbooks, and it mentioned the first book 'Jerry of Seven Mile Creek.'   My curiosity was peeked, and that's when my search started.

I googled the title of that book, and found several for sale on Amazon, so I purchased a copy for myself.  After reading it, I began to sing its praises, and soon all other copies of the book got snapped up.  A short time later, I discovered that there were two more books in the series,  so I renewed  my search.  I found the second book and purchased it,  but the third book has eluded me.
The third book is not for sale anywhere.

Luckily, the Fond du Lac Public Library has a copy of each book in the Seefeld room, but they can't be checked out.  I can tell you however, that they do have comfy chairs, so I spent one morning reading the third book, and was not disappointed.  These books are a wonderful glimpse into days gone by.

Here is a summary of the books"
The books were written by Lamartine native Elmer Ferris.  He did not use the real names of himself and his neighbors, as Laura did,  but gave himself the name Jerry Foster.

The first book is titled "Jerry of Seven Mile Creek" and takes place about 1874, when Jerry was 12 years old.   It tells the story of growing up in a small community, where everyone knows everyone else, and of Jerry's dream one day of owning a drum and becoming a drummer.  Trips to the Big City of Fond du Lac also occur (his father secretly enters the horse races at the fair), but not often.

The second book in the series is called "Jerry at the Academy". This story tells of Jerry's years attending Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam, and some of his adventures there.  He had to find work to pay for his education during this time, and even tells about how close he came to getting expelled for racing his employer's horse one day.

The third book in the series is called "Jerry Foster, Salesman" and tells the story of Jerry's first year after school, living in Chicago as a coffee salesman for a large firm.  During this time of his life, Jerry struggles with his idea of attending college, or giving in to the lure of the money his job affords him.

The author of these books, Elmer Ferris, eventually became a minister, and then a teacher, and did not start writing these books until the age of 70.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Prohibition prescriptions

New donation to the library:


While the production, transport, and sale of liquor was illegal during Prohibition, the National Prohibition Act allowed alcohol for medicinal and religious use. This loophole was often exploited as a way to acquire alcohol, but it required a prescription that cost $3 from the doctor and another $3 or $4 to get it filled from a pharmacist. A doctor could prescribe up to a pint of a certain kind of liquor, or Spiritus frumenti [spirits of grain], the official medical name for whisky.

The following "Prescriptions" for whiskey, filed during the prohibition, were filled in by various physicians, but all turned in to Plank Drug Co. at 49 S. Main St., and then found their way to Brickles Tavern for filling.















Monday, January 30, 2017

Marytown in 1913

The following is another article in a series, that was published in The Reporter in 1913, concerning the many small communities located in Fond du Lac County.


Marytown in Center of Rich Farming Territory


Village is Divided Into Three Sections – Public and Parochial Schools, Churches, Stores, Blacksmith Shops, Markets, Hotels and Buffets are located there.


Garnet is Enterprising Hamlet


Attracts Large Trade in General Merchandise, Smithy Work, Cheese, etc. – Receives Mail over Rural Route

Marytown is a little hamlet located in the northeastern part of Fond du Lac county. It is in Calumet township and is governed by the officials of the town, who are as follows: Anton Moersch, chairman; J. J. Roehrig and Mike Lefeber, supervisors; Paul W. Langenfeld, clerk; Math Mauer, treasurer and Joseph Heus, assessor.  Like a number of the other little villages throughout the county Marytown had a postoffice which was in existence until the establishment of the county rural route system. Since the discontinuation of the postoffice the settlers in this community receive their mail service over rural route 40 leading out of Calvary station.

A visit to this locality will convince the most skeptical that Marytown lies in the midst of some of the finest agricultural lands to be found anywhere in the state. Vast fields of cultivated lands, dotted with large and substantial buildings, are seen in all directions. Signs of prosperity are in evidence everywhere. The store and other business places all seem to be thriving due, undoubtedly, to the great expanse of territory they have to draw from. The village and surrounding territory is almost wholly settled by Germans. They are all of the kind that show much enterprise and who work with a determination to win. Their homes and surroundings are sufficient evidence of their success in the various undertakings.

Has Three Sections

Although only a small hamlet, comparatively speaking, Marytown is divided into three sections or divisions. When the post office was established it was located on the four corners of sections 22, 23, 26, and 27 of the township.  When St. Mary’s church was established it was located something like half a mile south from the postoffice location in section 27, and still further to the south sprung up another cluster of buildings. As a result three settlements, known as Upper, Center and Lower Marytown make up the little village.

Two Public Schools

The Marytown school district has two separate school buildings. When the district was first organized the school was located near the Catholic church now properly known as Center Marytown. With the development of the surrounding country the population grew rapidly and within a short time the attendance and enrollment was unusually large for a district school and proved more than one teacher could handle with justice to all interested. Steps were then taken to overcome the difficulty and the plan of constructing a two department building was considered. Owing to the vast territory to be served this solution of the problem was not deemed advisable. It also caused more or less discussion with reference to the best location for a building of that kind.  Finally the construction of two school buildings one at the north end and the other at the south was agreed upon, the same school board having supervision over both schools. That this solution of the problem has proven satisfactory is shown by the fact that there has been no change in the public system since its adoption.  Miss McGauley is the teacher in the north end school while Miss Anna Hanson has charge of the school at the south end.

St. Mary’s Church and School

The settlers who came to this locality, were largely of the Catholic denomination and as they increased in numbers they organized a parish and established a church. St. Mary’s church was located at what is now commonly known as Center Marytown.  The present edifice is situated on a hill, the site being a very picturesque one. Nearby is the parochial school.  The cemetery is also in the immediate vicinity. The buildings belonging to the parish are up=to-date structures being provided with all the modern conveniences. The congregation is large and composed of well to do families. Rev. Fr. Edward Staehling is the pastor in charge. He has been here for the past four years. The school is a two story building  with ample accommodations for those attending.  Here as in the public school, there is a large attendance. The school is in charge of Sisters.


Business Places

Marytown is well supplied with the business institutions necessary for a town that is bounded on all sides by a farming community. They are well distributed throughout the three sections which comprise the village.

Simon and Gerhartz, successors to the Neis and Nett Company, conduct a large merchandise store. They carry a complete line of staple groceries, dry goods, gent’s furnishings, crockery, shoes, notions, etc. and are doing a thriving business.  In addition to the general store they are also proprietors of a hotel and have a buffet in connection.  They also have a large dance hall which is used frequently for dancing and wedding parties.  Approaching from the south their place of business is the first to come to the travelers’ observation upon entering the village.

The blacksmith shop of Joseph Haensgen is located near the above mentioned general store. Mr. Haensgen besides his blacksmith business has an extensive patronage in wagon repair work. He is assisted in the shop by Andrew Haensgen.

Marytown can boast of a well equipped photograph studio.  It is in charge of John Zierer, who came here from St. Nazianz, Manitowoc county about one year ago. He has had many years of experience in the business and the large patronage which he enjoys indicates that the work turned out under his supervision is entirely satisfactory. The building he occupies is well fitted for the purpose and is neat and attractive in every detail.

Michael Heus is another of the prosperous merchants of the village.  He deals in all kinds of goods to be found in a general merchandise store. He has always lived in Marytown and the surrounding country.  For some years he was engaged in farming but retired fifteen years ago to take up his present business duties.  Mr. Heus pays much attention to the buying and shipping of eggs. His markets for this product are Calvary Station and Fond du Lac.

Jacob and Ben Schoenborn are the members of the firm of Schoenborn Brothers, who are proprietors of the meat market, dealing in all kinds of fresh and salt meats. They have been engaged in the business for the past two years.  They are well known in the entire community having been born and raised here. They also are proprietors of one of the village saloons.

Joseph Schneider came to Marytown from Jericho to which place he moved with his parents from Stockbridge. Farming received his attention for some years. For twelve years he was owner of a threshing outfit, doing a large portion of that work in this community.  He is now engaged in the general merchandise business in the village, having been here three years this month.  He has a complete stock in all lines to be found in this business.  The telephone exchange for Marytown is located in his store.

John Langenfeld, who was born near Marytown and for a number of years was engaged in the agricultural line, has been in the village for five years conducting a hardware store. He also deals in farm machinery and has the agency for this community for the Jackson and Hupmobile automobiles. Mr. Langenfeld is well known throughout this territory and his business is a profitable one.
Another blacksmith shop in Marytown is conducted by C. Schmitz, who is also interested in farming. Mr. Schmitz besides horseshoeing and general blacksmithing, gives special attention to repairing of wagons and carriages.

Jos. Boehnlein is another well known resident of the village having been engaged in business here for over fifteen years.  He was born in Calumet County.  He owns a large two story building, the lower floor of which is devoted to his saloon business and pool rooms.  He also owns a dance hall.
J. W. Winkel is proprietor of a hotel which affords good accommodations to visitors in the little village. He also has a dance hall.  In connection with these he conducts a buffet. He has been located here for the past six years.


Jacob Schiller, who was born and raised in Marytown, is the proprietor of the creamery located here and has been in charge for nearly ten years. The factory is operated by steam power and does a large amount of business through the year.  Mr. Schiller is also proprietor of a cheese factory which is located about two miles south of his creamery.  The cheese factory is managed by Anton Schiller.  The product of this factory is shipped to Plymouth where it is sold on the board of trade in that city.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

winter scenes




Just a few pictures of winter in the past, from our photo collection.






Cutting ice blocks


marking a road on the ice with trees


the long ramp to the chutes in winter


Ice boats on the lake


Ice skating at Lakeside Park, early 1920's

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Funeral Procession

Had someone loan me some photos to scan of a funeral procession.   The street appears to be Main St.,  and many old buildings that no longer exist.


Was able to zoom in and identify several businesses, which date this picture to be ca. 1910-1911.
J. L. Kern Shoe Hospital, Fraternal Hall, J. E. Sullivan Co., a laundry, and A. P. Fleischman groceries are all found in the 1910-1911 city directory.   The laundry was actually owned by Sun Wah, and his tombstone in Rienzi Cemetery is the only one there with Chinese characters on the tombstone.
The Red Dot in the photo is mine, placed so you can locate Division St. a little easier.  This is one of the few pictures that pre-date the Retlaw Hotel.

Finally discovered that this is the funeral procession for Fr. Keenan, of St. Patrick's Church. 

Orpheum Theatre

While browsing through some of the various scrapbooks donated to the society, I spotted this photo.  I had always heard of the Orpheum Theatre, but knew little about it.   It was located on Main St., just north of Forest Ave, where the old J. C. Penney building used to be.



Monday, October 10, 2016

More Mt. Calvary images

These are additional photos from an early untitled photo album, ca. 1913-1914, of the Mt. Calvary area.  These pictures include activities that the young man must have participated in while living at the seminary.
























I think that the seminarians put on a lot of plays for entertainment.










The original Village People???????







...and they played ball....