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.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks to your repeated mention of Seven Mile Creek books, I have begun searching for them. As you know, they are very hard to come by! I did find an online copy at https://archive.org/ that I am reading as a "borrowed" copy with my free membership. Not sure if they have the other books in the series. Preaching to the choir here, but THESE ARE INCREDIBLE! You have a friend in me...what can be done to get these back in print? I understand some public domain books can be printed through a special Google sponsored book printer, but I'm not sure if these are public domain. As a former English lit student I know there are some special publishing companies that print obscure literature. I wonder if we can get it in print that way? I would love to see these books available in the local public and school libraries, Galloway House bookstore, etc. Would love to strike up a dialogue with you about this! Thank you for your blogs - I really enjoy them! Kim Everson

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  2. I feel exactly as you do.....these books are just as great as the Little House series of books, and boy would I like to see them back in print. I believe that they now meet the criteria of being in the public domain, and would like to see them reprinted. That's why I have started singing their praises....they are wonderful.

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