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.