Sunday, November 24, 2013

Moving Day

With more probate records on their way to the library, I had to redo the furniture arrangement in the library, to make room for at least 8 more filing cabinets.  Oh goodness, we were already pretty full, and now I have to squeeze in even more records!

I redesigned the room layout, putting all shelving and files in the back of the library,  and moving the work tables to the front of the room.  Then, those wonderful baseball players from Marian University came over, and suddenly, a dream that was only on paper, became a reality!  In one hour, all 41 cabinets are in their new location!

Cabinets and bookcases getting moved

Moving books with an assembly line!

New line of cabinets.

New photo area

There is still a lot to be done, but now its looking good, and the library should be opening soon.

Thanks to those hard-working players on the Marian University baseball team!

tracy reinhardt

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

JFK in Fond du Lac

Presidential Candidate John F Kennedy made a stop in Fond du Lac, Feb. 17, 1960 while campaigning for the Democratic nomination for President.  Found one really good photo of him, taken at the Retlaw Hotel. (from the photo collection of the Fond du Lac Co. Historical Society)

Monday, November 18, 2013

German Newspaper

When digging in the archives, I came across "Nordwestlicher Courier", a German language newspaper from Fond du Lac.  It appears to be a special edition, dated 8 April 1896.  There are 12 pages to this issue, and the first column, written in English, gives a summary of the past 60 years of Fond du Lac history.  The balance of the paper contains photos and biographies of city officials,including P. J. Van Blarcom, 'Urkundenreg', A. E. Richter, 'Countyrichter', Owen Ferguson, 'Countyclerk' and Simon Schafer, 'Unterscheriff', among other.

There are also pictures of various buildings in the county, and one of them caught my eye.

Even though I thought this looked like the Church of Peace on Military Rd., the steeple looks a little different.  And since I can't read German, the text that accompanied the picture was of no help to me. It seems to me that I remember my cousin, who still attends this church, mentioning a re-build of the steeple, so I will have to check with her to confirm.

Since this is an early commemorative history of the early days in Fond du Lac, I truly hope that I can find someone willing to undertake a translation of all these wonderful articles.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

more digging in the archives

For the past several weeks, MaryBeth Hayes and I have been digging in the archives of the Adams House, opening boxes, moving boxes of books, creating pathways into all the archive rooms on the second floor of the Adams House.  And thank goodness for MaryBeth, since she could do all the heavy lifting that I am unable to do, until my back heals.

Every day was like Christmas for us, since we never knew just what treasure we would find when we opened a box.

In the newspaper room, we made a startling discovery.  We found a bound newspaper book, which contained the very first issues of the The Daily Union newspaper, starting with Vol. 1, No. 1 dated March 8, 1856 and continuing through Nov. 7, 1856.   Astonishing.

But right under that book we found another.

This was the first issues of the Fond du Lac Journal, starting with Vol. 1 No. 1 dated Feb. 21, 1857 and continuing through April 17, 1858.(Vol II, No. 61).

It was totally enlightening to carefully glance through these early issues.  There was very little, if any local news in that era.  The issues contained national news, and local advertising, on four pages.
What a wonderful glimpse into the past.

Another treasure that we found at the bottom of the pile, was a box that contained the actual hand-written WWI veterans census, taken in Fond du Lac county.  The entire state of Wisconsin conducted this census, and these are the actual forms that were filled out by the veterans, listing their unit, the names of their parents, any wounds or illnesses incurred during service, dates and places of enlistment and discharge, etc.  What is wonderful about this census, is that Fond du Lac county made a concerted effort for each veteran to include a photo of himself with his form.  Those WWI veteran pictures are all cataloged in the society's photo collection!  Now here were the original forms!

Needless to say, it feels like Christmas every time we open a box!
Next step is to inventory all these boxes, and assign them a permanent shelf location.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tallmadge Bible

Now that that archive room has some semblence of workablilty, I have been spending an hour or two whenever possible, checking out to see what the room contains.  Some things are obvious, but others are not.

I encountered a lot of 'books' that were wrapped in archival paper, with only a number written on the outside.  No clue as to whether what was enclosed was a scrapbook, an old photo album, a bible, or just an old book to preserve.  Just numbers on the spine.
Of course, I had to open one of them, to find out just what this collection consisted of.

I picked one of the larger books, and carefully opened the paper.  Lo and Behold, this was a large and beautiful Bible.  With all the reverence I could muster, I scanned the Bible to see if there were any pages for Family Records to be entered, and much to my surprise, I found the family record pages, and discovered that the Bible belonged to none other than Nathaniel Tallmadge himself.

Now, I have a special interest in the Tallmadge family.  In researching early Fond du Lac history, you can't help but discover that Nathaniel Tallmadge was one of the most important politicians of his time.  He was a very influencial Senator from the State of New York, and resigned his senate seat when his family all moved to Wisconsin.  He was appointed Governor of the Wisconsin Territory, and ran most of the state business from his home in the Town of Empire.

Nathaniel was the 8th of 9 children born to his parents, and almost all of his siblings came to Wisconsin with him.  There is one minor flaw, when doing Tallmadge research.  His tombstone lists his middle name as Potter, while most documents and articles online about his political life, give his middle name as Pitcher.  Both sources indicate that his middle name was the maiden name of his mother.

The only way to prove whether his middle name was Potter or Pitcher, was to find the Tallmadge Bible, and today I just stumbled upon it by accident.

So now I know, that Nathaniel Tallmadge's middle name was POTTER! (and also this is his mother's maiden name.)


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The archives

It's been a bit since I have made any progress in familiarizing myself with all that this library contains.  I am now back on track, digging through material.
Just recently I received a key to the Adams House, so I can check out the "archives" .  The second floor of the Adams House contains material not currently on display in the Village, and one room is designated for library material.
My first attempt to look at the contents, made me think of a popular tv show, because I could only step a few feet into the room!
Yesterday I started clearing a path, opening boxes and cataloging the contents. I have yet to find any list of the library holdings, so I am making my own list as I go.
There is a full set of DAR Patriot Books, which probably belonged to Ruth Worthing.
I found a box of materials from the schools, and one item was a scrapbook from Cleveland School, which listed the names of their teachers from 1920 to 1959.
there was also a collection of record books from Lodge 357, of the brotherhood of railroad trainmen!
and this is just the start.
I plan on continuing my digging, and hopefully will have a full list of all of the library's holdings.
Stay tuned, as I make more discoveries.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Journal of Fidelis Steinauer

My first discovery.......I did find one really neat book, just donated to the library last year, but not cataloged or shelved yet, since the library had closed.  I had to take it home to read it.  The book is called "The Journal of Fidelis Steinauer".  He was a Capuchin priest at St. Lawrence Seminary in Mt Calvary, and his journal runs from 1863 when he first arrived, until his death in 1882.  I am not much for reading journals, but this one caught my interest.  I wasn't expecting any humor, but couldn't help but chuckle at his description of himself and his problems.  He rings the bell at the wrong times during Mass, and keeps getting Penance for his screw-ups.  He is supposed to ring the bell at 5:00  for Matins, but often rings it at 4:00 by mistake. (not sure if it's am or pm)  When taking part in his first Lenten processional, he spilled the Holy Oil all over the floor of the choir.  And this is no kid, for he was already 45 years old when he first entered the seminary.
His journal  mentions that the congregation at St. Joe was under an Interdict when he arrived (because they refused to dismiss a morally scandalous teacher).

I also learned that when priests were assigned to "The Wilderness", it meant that they were going to Dotyville!  Sometimes Dotyville was also called "the desert", which probably is what started it all.  St. Michaels Church in Dotyville was originally named "Jesus In The Desert".   

Now, this book was originally written in German, and later translated, so some of the names mentioned might not be spelled correctly, and with that in mind, I made another discovery. When Fr. Fidelis walked to Dotyville, often a parishioner would give him a ride back to Mt. Calvary at the end of the day.  In Dotyville, that parishioner was Philip Buese.  (Philip had originally donated the land for the church).  One diary entry mentions that Philip Buese drove him to visit my own Reinhardt family, who lived 2 miles from Dotyville, and were related to the Buese's.  The Reinhardt's had 4 sons and 1 daughter, and I suspect Fr. Fidelis might have been recruting for a future seminarian.  (He was unsuccessful with the sons, but the Reinhardt daughter did enter the convent in Campbellsport.)

I wonder what other things I will find mentioned in this book!

The Cleaning Starts

Finally started reorganizing the library.  I have to clean off the tops of all filing cabinets, so the cabinets can get moved.  Then, the library will get re-arranged to make room for an additional 8-10 filing cabinets, for the new probate records that are coming.
Jim G showed me the second floor of the Adams House, where I can store some of the overflow boxes of material, and I was overwhelmed by what I saw.....and excited.  Jim also showed me a lighted display cabinet that I could use in the library.  I want to rotate and display some of the material that I am finding, like the old cookbooks, old bibles donated to the society, and the old Sear-Roebuck catalogs, etc etc.
I can even get rid of the huge metal map cabinet, and replace it with the beautiful beautiful wooden one that I saw in the Adams House!
Lots of the books I went through today were old books about Wisconsin History, (i.e.  Laws passed by the Wisconsin Legislature in 1858....) and not really relative to Fond du Lac, and I think that some can be sold. My focus is to have the library primarily focused on Fond du Lac County.  I did find a neat old "homemaker" type of book, that had some empty pages in the center, where someone had written their own recipes.  I need to check this book out further.
Still lots of work to do here.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

More records

Just discovered that another 10,000 probate records will be arriving soon, and now I really am wondering just where I am going to put it all. That's about ten more legal sized filing cabinets!

The Beginnings

In Aug. 2013, the Fond du Lac Historical Society asked me to re-open their research library, located in the Blakely Museum.  I am a local history buff, genealogist, artist, and retired grandma, and the prospect of opening the library was very exciting.
Right now I am spending all of my spare time just going through every cabinet and bookshelf, trying to familiarize myself with all that is there.  What a daunting challenge.
So far the surprises have been finding some very old Sears-Roebuck catalogs, and some extremely old cookbooks.  Many more file cabinets to go!
I already have some new donations to catalog, and the library isn't open yet.

Stay tuned.  I will let you know when the doors are open again.