Emiline Caldwell Somerville
Josephine Ingalls Sawyer
Caroline Lehmann Quimby
Pauline Lehmann Cordes
Harriet Woodford Bill
Mary Lehmann Bemus
Alanson A. Lyon
William Lehmann
Bessie Sandell

Mid—Peninsula Library Cooperative
Iron Mountain, Michigan



    All the articles comprising this book were written many years ago, but none were written for publication. One was a brief diary, one was written for relatives and family descendants, and several were composed many years ago for presentation to groups interested in local history. All were written by actual participants in the early history of Menominee County.

   Thanks to Mr. Michael Anuta of the Menominee County Historical Society the manuscripts can now be printed and made available in book form.

                   Ralph W. Secord



Trip Up The Menominee River
    Alanson A.Lyon ................1

Early Years In Menominee
    William Lehmann ..............13

My Ten Year Old Experience
    Caroline Lehmann Quimby ......19

First Community Christmas Tree
    Pauline Lehmann Cordes .......37

Social Life In The Early Days
    Emiline Caldwell Somerville...43

The Cunard Line
Bessie Sandell ...............47

Early Schools and Churches
Harriet Woodford Bill ........65

The Big Fire of 1871
    Josephine Ingalls Sawyer......81





Trip Up The Menominee River

Alanson A. Lyons






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Trip Up The Menominee River
The Fall Of 1854

Alanson A. Lyon

    September 4th. Monday P.M. Left home with a boat I had prepared for the purpose. Provisioned it for two persons one month, myself and son. Concluded to try it without other help as we found it difficult to procure a suitable person for an assistant on the voyage, landed the first night about a mile above the Chappee Rapids.

    Tuesday, 5th. Pushed on leisurely and camped at night at the mouth of the Little Cedar River foot of Grand Rapids. A severe rain commenced about midnight and lasted until 9 a.m. Soon as we were up in the morning and before we had attempted to make a fire, two Indians, father and son, landed by the side of our boat and came to the tent. They had been out all night in a small hunting canoe, very heavily laden as you may well believe, for beside themselves, they had guns and a small pack, an old female bear and two cubs. What alive, you ask? Oh, no, they had killed them the day before and were hastening down the river with them not yet dressed. We gave them a good breakfast and they were very thankful for they had nothing


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with them to kindle a fire with or eat except the bear meat. They offered to dress the bear and to give us some of the meat, which we declined. They started down the river as soon as they got thru eating and we up when it ceased raining.

    Wednesday, 6th. Pushed on the river and camped near J. Kittson's. I had forgotten to mention yesterday that we met Mr. Burt just below Twin Island, a government surveyor on his way down. His men having got lame and disabled prevented his finishing what he wished to accomplish. He was after a hand or two and intended returning up the river.

    Thursday, 7th. Kittsons Shanghai crossed with us in the morning. We cooked and eat our breakfast of duck which was very fine. Made our portage at Kittson's partly before he was up, chatted with Kittsons a little while and pushed on. Stopped at Decotos (foot of White Rapids) a short time. Got some potatoes and green corn, mush mellon and water melon to take along with us. A good many Indians were here and at Kittsons on their way down. We saw several canoes come thru the rapids. Yellow Dog and his family and others. Jim Crow is here, and they say there is no more Indians above the river. They are all thus far on their way down.


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Pushed on and camped at Battise old place head of White Rapids. Docotos was very glad to see us and was anxious for us to stay with him. Said ought not to hurry on that I was working too hard but I promised to stop when I came down.

    Friday, 8th. It commenced raining soon after midnight and rained hard and incessantly till late in the P.M. so that we kept in our tent all day.

    Saturday, 9th. We pushed on up to Pemina Falls as we have a portage to make, got our tent in order and shall pass the Sabbath here.

    Sunday, 10th. Rambled about the falls a little but staid about the tent most of the day. The river is narrowed down to a few rods here between the two hard jagged points of rock thru which it has worn or broken its way and rushed down with great violence, the rapids commencing some little way above the great pitch.

    Monday, 11th. Made our portage and got started again at about 9 o'clock and was pushing on up when we saw a deer (the first we had seen) crossing the river some way above us. We landed near where he went out of the water and Morgan tried to get a shot at him, but the fellow was to wide awake for him. Got within a few


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rods when the deer saw him first and he was soon up and off. Got to P.P.W. made the portage and went on a little above the Grand Island on pitching our tent for night on the Wisconsin side on a Norway plain.

    Tuesday, 12th. Started about 7 o'clock in the morning and made a push for Sturgeon Falls, which we reached about noon and the portage which is a steep rock perhaps 100 ft. raise in 15 rods, the whole portage may be 60 rods as steep down one side as it is high up the other. This portage we made and were tired enough to camp without starting any further. Today we have seen three deer and Morgan has shot three times, once a very good chance but he got no venison which rather mortified him. He had got a duck for us now and then however which relishes well.

    Wednesday, 13th. Got to foot of Sand Rapids about noon. Cannot see why this is called Sand Rapids for the bed of the river is a perfect bed of boulders without any regular channel going among them. The whole river white with foam as far up as you can see it say 80 or 100 rods. We took the portage trail and walked to the head of it about 1½ miles. At the head of the trail is a considerable fall. While looking about here we discovered a trail leading around


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This fall only and concluded that the Indians some times made a short portage only when they are on the descending route. I observed fresh barefoot tracks on this short trail and on our return to the foot of the rapids found an Indian and squaw landed with their bark canoe, which they had turned up in the sun to dry in order to mend a hole which they had broken in it coming thru the rapids. We exchanged a little bread and pork with him for some dried venison and some potatoes. He soon mended his canoe and went on probably as far as the Sturgeon falls that night. On our way this morning we ran our boat up a small still run a few rods when we found a little lake of 50 or 60 acres. We soon discovered a fine deer feeding or rather standing in the grass at the margin of the water. I paddled the boat direct for him and he stood and looked at us carelessly as an ox until we were within 12 or 15 rods when he walked away. Morgan did not shoot at him. Wished to get a little nearer. We concluded not to make a long portage, but to camp here and examine for timber as far as Quinnesec on foot. We find on the island here where they have a camp and a tree marked with pencil Green Bay and Lake Superior RR Survey August 15th 18 4. No names. Two leaves from a work in astrology pinned or pegged to a tree.


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    The company whoever they were had evidently spent some days here I presume timber hunters -- their railroad story to the contrary notwithstanding.

    Thursday, 14th. Took an all day tramp in the wood following township line T 39, R 29 -- T 37, R 30 and on section line starting ½ mile above our tent but coming to the river again some miles below. Got home tired as usual cooked and eat our suppers and laid down to rest.

    Friday, 15th. Started for Quinnesec Falls and reached there about half past ten o'clock. The fall is splended one about 80 ft. nearly perpendicular the river is narrow and the water a perfect mass of foam and spray with rainbows in every direction. The place is well represented by the picture you have seen of it in the geological report. Returned to camp and got a late dinner and — down the river to some timber we had observed yesterday a little more than a mile, pitched our tent where there had been a large ledge or rather 2 or 3 large ledges of Indians and a great deal of venison dried made our bed got plenty of wood, ate our pork and bread, and laid down that night for a good sleep.

    Saturday, 16th. Examined the lots we came here for and find them good.


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While on this examination Morgan shot a duck and a partridge which will give us a fine relish for two meals. Got back to camp about noon. Eat a little and went down the river with boat near a mile to make preliminary observations on the Wisconsin side, traveling three or four miles among thick pine and hemlock woods. Found what we were anxious to find a line and figures, returned to our boat and up to camp; cut wood for night. Ate a duck and laid down for Saturday night. Deer tracks fresh with well beaten trails in all directions while we were away from our boat today, there was a deer to it and tracked all around so that he must have been here some time. We have spent no time hunting or watching for them, but should much like to get one.

    Sunday, 17th. A rainy morning. Got breakfast bout 8 o'clock and shall probably lie in camp all day. Ceased raining about noon and we had a fine afternoon. Amused ourselves with whittling.

    Monday, 18th. Broke camp and moved down the river a little. Left all in the boat and went on a line west on the Michigan side. Traveled until 5 p.m. when we got back to our boat and pitched our tent on the Wisconsin side and got


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things as comfortable as circumstances would permit. Today is the first that we have seen a deer in the woods. We ran upon him when he was asleep sure for he could not have been more than 50 feet from me when he bounded up and was off. Morgan was not in a position to get a shot at him which he much regretted.

    Tuesday, 19th. Examined timber and decided locations all day and came home satisfied with my day's work, at all events satisfied that I was very tired. A little shower just after noon has made the woods rather wet. We have killed no game since last Saturday and begin to want something fresh.

    Wednesday, 20th. Soon after we were up in the morning we heard a flock of wild geese. Got our breakfast of pork, bread and coffee. Struck our tent and started for the mouth of the Sturgeon River. On our way down Morgan shot a duck which served us a good meal. At this point (mouth of the Sturgeon River) we had much work to do and remaining here examining and locating for timber until Saturday. We saw several deer on our travels but none near enough to shoot. When looking for lines and timber talking and thrashing along thru the brush deer hear and see us before we do them for they have long


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ears and sharp eyes. We were hunting for timber not deer and have spent no time hunting game. I have not finished. Our vicinity to the mouth of the Sturgeon River keeps us well supplied with ducks. We have no music here but the roar of the falls above and below us and the constant chatter of the red squirrels of which the woods are full generally you might sit at our tent and shoot as many as you please for they are saucy enough to come close to you. In one of our woods rambles Morgan saw a porcupine on the top of a pine tree and tried a shot at him, but as we did not consider him worth the ammunition we left him and went on.

    Saturday, 23rd. Broke our encampment and moved down below Sturgeon Falls, made a portage which is the worst we have had to make, in about two hours. This is the one I mentioned as being right down, but coming down stream it is worse than up. Got camped about one or two o'clock but Morgan and myself felt more like resting than anything else so we laid about camp bringing as you see two Sundays together.

    Sunday, 24th. Here below Sturgeon Falls we have a little addition to the music. The Sturgeons often break the stillness with his heavy splash and plunge into the water and judging from


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the noise made in the night some of them must be very large. The river here is not very wide, but all the way between Sturgeon and Pemene Pan Wau falls it is quite deep.

    Monday, 25th. We feel quite fresh this morning and after breakfast started to finish our work about Sturgeon which we did to our satisfaction and on.

    Tuesday, 26th. Started down the river made some observations long the river and made two portages, Pemene Pan Wau and Pemenee running our boat thru all the rest of the rapids and camped at the lower end of the Pemenee portage.

    Wednesday, 27th. Pushed on down to Decotos at the foot of the White Rapids. The river is very low and some of the rapids are quite rough but our boat works admirably down stream as well as up. We left our oars and irons at the first portage as we went up, but have had the use of them today and from this down shall find them very useful.

    Thursday, 28th. Staid last night at Decotos. You would hardly suppose that a white man could live as he does, but he seems happy enough with his little half naked boys. We got plenty of potatoes here and some venison of


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Decotos and some of an Indian so that although bread bag is getting low, we shall get along well for provisions to last as long as we wish. I forgot to mention yesterday that Morgan shot a fine white goose which I dressed last evening and have it with us in the boat. We do both wish that mother had it home. What a fine meal it would make you. We have had an Indian passenger from White Rapids down to Kittsons, but he was very sociable as he could neither speak or understand English. Stopped a few minutes at Kittsons where we got our first news from home which we had since we left. We discovered very soon when we came to the place yesterday that men had been up to drive logs but they were too late about 6 days before we camp up the men should have been here. Guess there is some trouble about logs at the mill by this time.




Early Years In Menominee

William Lehmann



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Early Years in Menominee

William Lehmann

    At the time I came to Menominee, in the summertime of 1862, right after the battle between the Monitor and the rebel ship Merrimac, I found work with Isaac Stephenson for a short time at shoeing horses. The next Sunday when I went to Menekaune, William Bagley, with whom I had worked together at Whitefish Mill, came after me, and told me that Henry Strauss wanted to see me. I went to see Strauss, and took a job with him as Engineer at his mill. I stayed with him until the mill shut down for the winter.

    My family were at Flat Rock and there I went. My daughter was in Menominee and for the winter I had to go to Menominee again. At Cedar River the superintendant of the mill there, Saxton, made me an offer to stay as blacksmith. I took the job, but Saxton would not keep the promise he had made, so I throwed the hammer down before his feet, and went to Menominee again, where Strauss was glad to have me once more as Engineer. When the mill closed, Isaac Stephenson sent Joe Eggner and wanted me to work for him, which I did, but then rheumatism laid me low for


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thirteen weeks.

    When I felt better, A. C. Mason gave me work as blacksmith, and I stayed with him until September when I intended to start for myself in the blacksmith business. I had to build my shop myself, not being able to pay $5.00 per day for a carpenter. Over winter I had plenty of work, with sled-building, ox—shoeing, and horse—shoeing, which kept me busy on many a day from 5 o'clock AM to one o'clock after midnight. My neighbor (Judge) Ingalls often said to me, "I have been thinking you wanted to make a night of it," but with the springtime, the work stopped, because there were no wagons in Menominee, except one sawdust cart, so I had to turn to repairing guns and rifles, altering old flint—lock guns into percussion guns, making trap springs and hunting knives for hunters and trappers and fishknives and fishhooks for fishermen.

    I bought lumber in the spring from A.C. Brown of the New York mill, made a raft, and with the help of Louis Dobeas and the hired man sent by Mr. Ingalls we floated the lumber over here. Charles Laughery had made the timber for the sills, and when he was opposite Menominee with his raft, he released the timber on it. It floated to the


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shore, from where I had to drag it to my lot with a yoke of oxen. This lot I had bought from Nicholas Gewehr for 58 dollars. I had August Sieman build the house, and if I had no particular work to do in the shop, I would help him: and so the house was built. When Christmas came I owed thereon just 2 dollars, which was paid.

    When I came to Menominee in 1862, there were very few houses on Main St. Where Kirby Street (Second St.) is now there was a big swamp where we went with a canoe, shooting ducks. Where the old NW Railway depot is now, there was a pool of water where very often, deer could be seen. Yes, even on the same day when I came to Menominee, a bear was shot on that spot where the additional school—house on the Liberty School lot now stands. A target was put up where L. Loewenstein Jewelry store is now.

    Mr. Abbott would come with a boat, and tie it on the west end of his lot on Kirby Street. Mail and express we had to get from Menekaune, until the government started a post office here. Herman R. Saule was appointed Postmaster, but made Abbott his deputy. Saule afterwards resigned, and Abbott was made Postmaster. He kept the office for years thereafter.


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In the first Circuit Court held by Judge Goodwin, I obtained my citizenship papers. I had my first papers since 1854, but I never was in a place where a Circuit Court was in session during those 10 years, so I can say I am the first citizen of Menominee.

    I tried to get a wheelwright here, but could not agree good enough with the man, so I started a wheelwright shop for myself. It made much work and hardship for me, but I had at least success, and built many wagons and sleighs. However, the year 1875 put a heavy burden on my shoulders:  my wife was sick. Four doctors said she must be operated on. This she would not consent to, saying she wanted to be operated on by Dr. Wilmer, in Berlin. She went there and was cured without any operation, but during the time she was on the ocean the panic broke out here, and wherever any money was due me, I was disappointed and lost what I had worked so hard for. I almost despaired, but worked so much harder to overcome my trouble and succeed. I wouldn't wish that time I had, on my worst enemy.

    It was better after many a hard ship. My wife and the two children came back, and we tried hard to repair our lost fortune.


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    Since 1848, after the revolution, I have been a blue republican; we wanted a lawful Republic, differing from the red republicans, who wanted a Republic by all means, even if they had to shed blood. I held fast on my republican idea up to this time.

    In 1884 I was elected a Justice of the Peace for one year. In the next year I was elected again, with only 2 votes against me. As long as I was in office, I did my best. I felt sympathetic with a good many unhappy persons, but with persons who came before me with the complaint of cruelty to animals, I never found sympathy in my heart. I may be sometimes hard, but I think a person who is cruel to a poor animal, won't be much better to a human being if he would have his chance.

    I sold my property to Charles A. Spies for $8,000.00. I always prayed the Lord to give me so much that I would be able to pay as I go, for everything I need, but a hard trial came again when I was put into a lawsuit for money I didn't owe, and had to run into debt again, in an age where it is impossible for me to save any money to pay, but the Lord who has helped so far, He will help further and help to overcome all.



My Ten Year Old Experience

Caroline Lehmann Quimby



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My Ten Year Old Experience

Caroline Lehmann Quimby

    I have been asked to speak before the Parent—Teacher Club this afternoon on some of my early recollections of Menominee, but before I can begin my story I will have to go back to 1857 when my father and family settled in the small village of Flat Rock, 60 miles north of Menominee. He was employed as a blacksmith by the Nelson— Ludington Company.

    Of course you understand that school facilities were very poor so that when in the summer of '61 a friend of my family from Menominee persuaded my father to have me go to Menominee and stay with his wife and child and go to school, I was overjoyed at the very thought that I was to go to school. In September of that year my father took me down to the mouth of the Escanaba River to the place called "Hay Sheds", but which today is the thriving town of Wells. A small yawl lay at the dock which provided means of getting out to the steamer which lay anchored at the mouth of the river. In the yawl the day I left there was a party of gentlemen, among them being Ex—Governor


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Ludington of Milwaukee who held me on his lap on the way to the boat.

    The boat was called the "Sarah Van Epps." To my wondering eyes she looked beautiful with her glistening white paint and when I got aboard I just walked from one end to the other admiring the beautifully kept saloons and the upholstered furniture. It seemed like a bit of heaven. Two personages on the boat that day were William Boswell and Miss Sue Lyon who later became Mrs. Susan Douglas, whom some of the older people recall. As the time for dinner drew near I watched the people flocking into the dining room but as I had no money I did not know if I was expected to go in to dinner or not so I sat perfectly quiet in a chair.

    After dinner was over a tall, very fine looking gentleman came through the room where I sat and said, "Well, little girl, where are you going?"
"I am going to Menominee, sir."
He said, "Haven't you had any dinner?"
    "No sir," I answered.
    "Wouldn't you like some dinner?" he asked. "You just come right along with me." He took me into the dining room and told the man and his wife who were cooking to wait on me.


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    It was a bountiful dinner and I enjoyed it very much. As the day began to grow dusk the boat lay at the mouth of the Menominee River and we were taken in the yawl to the dock at Menekaune. It was at that time the largest of three towns on the river. When I stepped out on the dock I followed the crowd up to White's Hotel which was quite an imposing structure at that time.

    Someone said, "Is there anyone here going to Menominee?"

    Someone answered, "Yes, there is a little girl here that wants to go to Menominee."

    Quite a tall gentleman approached me with a mailbag in his hand and said, "Little girl, I'll take you over if you come to the ferry with me."

    We retraced our steps back to the dock and to the ferry. The gentleman, by the way, was N. R. Soules. He was a clerk at the Quimby Hotel or tavern and he also took care of the mail.

    I can scarcely give you an idea of how beautiful the river was then, so wide, altogether different from what it is today. There was no middle ground at all except for a few sunken


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piers about where the Sawyer—Goodman log slip is today.

    My first impression of Menominee when I stepped off the ferry is something I shall always remember. The ferry landed at the foot of what is now the bridge at a little dock built out into the water. We walked up what was then called Main Street, now Sheridan Road. It was nothing but a dirt road, trees growing up on either side, brush and small pine trees. There were about sixteen houses on Main Street and one mill which was called Strauss Mill but was later the Ramsey and Jones Mill. Main Street ended at what is now Eveland Court.

    I arrived at my destination that evening very glad to be with friends. Of course my dream of going to school was ever with me. The schoolhouse at that time was a small wooden building of one room at the rear of what is now the National Hotel block. The house that I lived in stood right where the National Hotel is now. But I was fated never to enter the school door. They appeared to have had other plans for me and I was required to take care of the baby, wash dishes and run errands and made a perfect little servant, doing work which I had never been accustomed to do at home. I expected


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to have to run errands but the errands those days were not like those of the present time. To go to the store meant to go away over to Kirby—Carpenter Store where the Sugar Beet Company plant is now, carrying the heavy baskets of provisions and running errands up the beach as far as Eveland Court to get fish which was very plentiful then.

    I was a very homesick child and sometimes sat grieving all night to go home. Finally in my desperation I decided I would write to father to have him come and get me. But I had to ask the lady for a postage stamp and of course she asked me what I wanted it for and said she would take care of the letter. When she saw what I had said she gave me a terrible whipping.

    Finally in the latter part of January I bacame sick and someone evidently felt that it was their Christian duty to write to my family and tell them how I was situated.

    One evening, just at dusk, who walked in but my father. He had made the journey on foot on the beach to come to Menominee. How delighted I was to see him, I even crept into bed with him that night. He made arrangements for me to be sent home as soon as they could so that in February I 


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was to go home with the man who carried the mail.

    The mail was carried between Menominee and Flat Rock by Sam Hayward. The day I was to go, for some unknown reason, Hayward could not make the trip so he hired a man by the name of Boardman, a Californian, to go in his place.

    He had never been farther north than Menominee and was totally inexperienced about the route but of course Hayward had explained to him as well as he could the different stopping places and thought that would be all that was necessary.

    One bright sunny morning, bitter cold, I got on the little mail sleigh consisting of a small "pung" and a small Indian pony. I was not properly clad for such a journey on the ice. Our first stopping place was at the
G. R. Brooks tavern, twenty—two miles from Menominee. I was nearly frozen when we got there. They helped me out of the sleigh into the house and got me seated in a big rocker near the hot stove. Mr. Brooks' mother, more familiarly known as Grandma Brooks who made her home with them, came and asked me where I was from and wanted to know all about me. She took off my little old—fashioned Prunella


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gaiters. She placed some bricks in the oven to heat for my feet and took me into the bedroom and slipped on some heavy underwear that belonged to her son. After she put my shoes on she slipped on some heavy stockings over my shoes. I shall always remember her with gratitude.

    At dusk we reached Cedar River which was our first stop for the night. At that time my father was working at Cedar River for the Underwood people and he was there to meet me when we came in and took me to the boarding house where he was staying. It was kept by S.P. Saxton, who afterwards bought the Quimby Hotel in Menominee.

    That night I was put into the spare room off of Mrs. Saxton's parlor and as I had been frozen nearly all day I nearly completed the job that night. In the morning she called me before it was light and said, "Little girl, you can bring your clothes out here in the sitting—room and dress by the fire." How grateful I was!

    I completed my toilet and had my breakfast. The cook and his wife were Swiss people by the name of Luttie. They had as cook and dish—washer Amos Lemere, who, afterwards became Chief of Police of Menominee. When I left


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they gave me four cookies, two sugar and two molasses, made as large as saucers. These were given to me for a lunch for which I was very grateful.

    When I stepped out into the yard to get on the sleigh it was snowing and it was quite dusky but the man said, "Oh, I think we can make it all right."

    He bundled me up with the buffalo robe and we started off on the ice. But after we got out on the ice we found that it was storming very, very badly and it kept increasing, snowing and blowing with great violence. We were bewildered, we did not know where we were. Every little while the man would say, "Little girl, are you all right?" and several times he said, "Drink this" and placed a jug to my mouth. I was so drowsy I did not know what he gave me but I suppose it was liquor. He would say, "I do not know where we are. I think this must be Derling's fishery, I am going to leave some stuff here in the shanty. The pony is tired out and can hardly go any farther."

    We drove on until five o'clock and the storm abated. But, oh, so cold it turned! So bitter cold after that dreadful fall of snow! He said, "I believe I will try and see if there


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isn't a road on the beach." Finally we did see a place and got out on the shore and went a little farther. We came to a small hill and the pony refused to go any farther.

    He said, "Little girl, do you think you could stand up if I lift you out? I will try to get the sled up the hill."

    He lifted me out and piled the mail and things out on the snow and dragged the empty sled up the hill, then led the pony up and reloaded his sled. We travelled on the little narrow road. The moon came out bright and clear, and as I lay with my head resting back I could see the moon shining through the trees overhead with their interlacing boughs. Many times I said, "Aren't we nearly home?"

    "We will be home pretty soon, little girl."

    After a while he noticed a bit of a shingle nailed to the side of a tree and said, "I believe there are people living here because that is one sign of habitation. I think I'll holler."

    He gave the Indian yell and finally got an answer back.

He said, "Now do you suppose you


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could walk out toward the beach and I'll lead the pony?" He covered the sled with the buffalo robe, leading the pony, and I following behind over stumps, windfalls and brush waist deep until we came out on the beach. There was a low one—story building and it was occupied by an Indian named Bertrand, his wife and daughter and another Indian. This was at Bark River. They came out to meet us and helped me into the house. I was about all in.

    They had a large fireplace, and the two squaws got me into a big rocking chair and drew off my shoes and clothes and tried to get me thawed out.

    Mr. Boardman said, "We are nearly starved. We would like something to eat."

    "All we have is sturgeon and hemlock tea," they said.

    He said, "Well, I can drink it, I had it in California."

    But I could not drink it, so I nibbled at a little sturgeon.

    In the meantime the man came to me and said, "I have to send those two


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Indians out to get the mail bags to bring them in for fear the wolves will get at them. I believe I'll have them bring that jug in because if they find it they will drink it anyway.

    In a little while we heard them. They had already sampled the liquor by their screaming and noise, so as soon as they were in the shanty they wanted to start in making the hot stuff. They began dancing after they had a few rounds with the liquor. The old man Bertrand became boisterous and began to walk up the floor and swear and curse the name of Quimby. Little did I dream that some day my name would be Quimby.

    Finally the man said, "You will have to find some place for this little girl to sleep for she is all tired out."

    They had two little alcoves in one room which was their bedroom. They had patchwork pillows and covers on the bed. They looked very comfortable. The man whispered to me, "Now, little girl, if I were you I would not take off all my clothes, just loosen them a little because the Indians are so drunk we do not know what they are liable to do."


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    So I just took off my shoes and took off my hoop skirt and crept into bed. I was dead to the world as soon as I struck it.

I awoke with a terrible start to find myself hanging to the edge of the door and Bertrand had grabbed one of my arms and was shaking me, calling "Angeline, Angeline, come and dance." He must have thought it was his daughter because I was occupying her bed. Boardman made one leap down the ladder and grabbed Bertrand and threw him against the side of the wall with great force so that the house shook.

He said, "Little girl, you go and lie down and I will see that he does not disturb you any more. "

So the poor man who had travelled all day in the deep snow sat and watched till morning. In the morning he got the pony and sled through the woods and brought it on the shore and got ready to load it up. He told me to get ready but I could not find all my clothes. I had a little velvet cap trimmed with ribbon and my hoop skirt that I could not find.

The man said, "I will not leave this house until you give this little girl what belongs to her."


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    They found the skirt between the tick and cords of the bed. My hat and other things they found in boxes and at last I was ready to go.

    We travelled till one o'clock that day until we reached Ford River where we stopped at the boarding house and had some dinner. There I met an old gentleman who had been bookkeeper at Flat Rock who was very kind to me. I had my dinner and got warm.

    We travelled until eight o'clock that night until we reached the village of Flat Rock. How glad I was at last to be home again, because home is home to children as well as to grown—ups!

    About two years after this experience Mr. Boardman met my father and he said, "Mr. Lehmann, how is that little daughter of yours who took that terrible trip with me to Flat Rock?"

    And father answered, "Oh, she is all right, she is doing fine."

    "Well, I want to tell you that she was a little heroine and never murmured nor made one complaint through that terrible storm. She was


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a courageous girl."

    When I think of the meager advantages I had as a child and see these beautiful buildings and all the modern equipment and remember my mentally starved childhood, how grateful we ought to be that we live in this day and age.

    Other Reminiscences of
    Caroline Lehmann Quimby

    When I came here everything from Kirby Street over to Parmenter Street was water. It was just a slough, filled with wire grass, cattails, willows and the like. The fishermen used to bring their boats up the Menominee River and into this slough, because they did not think they would be safe in the river if a heavy storm should come up. My earliest recollections of Menominee include a boat called the Black Warrior lying partly sunken at the foot of what is now Guy Street. Where the Washington school now stands was a piece of high ground, but corduroy roads were built through this slough so that people could get from place to place. One corduroy road was built on Quimby Avenue in front of the old Gage place. The lumber that was used to build the
S. W. Abbott house, now the Wolcott


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Studio, was brought up this slough to Menominee in pound net boats. The year I came here (1861) there was great excitement over the killing of a bear in the woods near this building in which we are tonight assembled. The alarm was given that there was a bear prowling about and a man by the name of Peter Beans shot at it three times with his gun, but another man by the name of Pelete killed the animal with a shovel. There was a dispute as to who killed it, Beans claiming that his gun killed it, but when it was skinned no bullet holes were found in the bear and Pelete got the skin.

    This slough was finally filled up with edgings and sawdust from the Kirby—Carpenter Company during the early seventies. The first Macadam that Main Street had was slabs and sawdust, the sum of $1,500 being paid to the Kirby—Carpenter Company for this slabbing and sawdust, that filled Main Street over as far as Ogden Avenue.

    The fish caught in the early days of Menominee included sturgeon, herring, dory, whitefish, trout, and also the so—called coarse fish. The early settlers here caught loads and loads of herring but never dressed them. They took boatloads of them out and dumped them. Whitefish at that time was worth nine to ten dollars and


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sturgeon, which is almost extinct now, was caught in the nets by the hundreds but was left to rot. There was a fortune to be made in those fish if we had only known it, for sturgeon is now 19 or 20 cents a pound. The fish buyers from around Green Bay and that vicinity would come to Menominee in their boats and buy from the local fishermen. The fish were packed in barrels made by Nicholas Gewehr and Sam Abbott, who each had a cooperage. Fishing was done with nets, the same as in the present day, some of the fishermen sending outside for their nets while others made their own nets by knitting them. In the winter time fishing was done through the ice just as it is now.

    In the year of 1879 John and Edwin Quimby set their nets under the ice and as they thought the ice was going out, started across the bay to get their nets. The ice broke while they were gone, but they saved themselves by remaining that night at Green Island. During the night the ice again formed and the next morning they skated back with their fish and nets on their backs. The women folks watched all night for their return in a building on the former National Hotel site.

    Menominee has grown from a sawdust village to a city of over 10,000 people, all in my time, the sturdy pioneer turns


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over to the younger generation the fish we didn't take during our time, but I guess the present day fish are used to the ways of the flapper and it will not be so easy to hook them.



The First
Community Christmas Tree

Pauline Lehmann Cordes



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The First
Community Christmas Tree
In Menominee, 1865

Pauline Lehmann Cordes

    Sitting one evening over our knitting in the Fall of 1865 talking with Mrs. Louis Vanderlip, the talk drifted to the approaching holidays and Mrs. Vanderlip began telling about the Christmas trees they used to have for their church in Albany, a thought came into my head, if they had Christmas trees there why could not we have one for the Village of Menominee? The next day I talked it over with Amy Ingalls and we decided to ask her father's advice. Judge Ingalls thought it too much of an undertaking for a couple of 15 year old girls and also told us if we undertook it then we must finish it too, but he would not discourage us. "Go ahead, girls," he said.

    Menominee was widely scattered at that time and snow almost waist deep. It is easier to imagine than to describe the long tramps we had, but we met with good success in soliciting and everyone was so pleased with this new idea, which was of course very encouraging, that it would have


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taken more than snow to put us off our self—appointed work. Our collection of money amounted to $56.00, but now came out great quandary. We could not buy anything suitable for Christmas presents in Menominee. In soliciting we had taken in every family, the names and ages of the children so as to better arrange the gifts suitable to the age of the children. At this juncture Mrs. S. P. Saxton offered to help us, so on Sunday afternoon Amy, Ed, and I went to Mrs. Saxton's to make out a list of presents. They were all to be useful articles with some small toy for each child. There were caps, mittens, comforters and the like. About that time John Hanley was going to Green Bay and we gave him the money and the list of articles wanted. In due time the package came.

Then arrangements must be made where we were going to have our Christmas tree.. .no church. We could have the Saxton House Dance Hall for the afternoon if we would promise to have it all cleared out, for a dance was to be given that evening. We had all the help we wanted. Ed Leake, George Caldwell, Henry Nason and others got the trees (there were two) and evergreens to make garlands to decorate the hall and assisted in putting them up. When Amy and I made our soliciting


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trip we also asked each one to bring something for a lunch. Hon. S. M. Stephenson donated apples, nuts, and candy. (He was just as generous then as he was after he was a millionaire.) The trees occupied the center of the hall, with walking space all around set off by placing barrels and laying boards on them, which also served for tables to eat the lunch on.

    When Christmas, December 24th afternoon came we darkened the hall and lit the lamps, (we had forgotten to get candles for the trees), and the hall was full of people, for everybody in town had to be there. The decorations and trees were very much admired and praised. First the lunch was disposed of and then the presents were distributed. I sometimes wonder if there are any still living here that took part in that festival. (I mean those who were little ones at that time.) Some of the little ones began to cry and others just shouted with glee. We had forgotten to have a Santa Claus. Ed Leake took charge of one tree and handed the gifts to a couple of girls who gave them to the children and George Caldwell had the other tree. Amy Ingalls stood at one tree but I have forgotten who assisted her. Sarah Ann PenGilly and I were at the other watch the little ones as they got their little presents


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was enough to repay us for all the work we had done to make the First Community Christmas Tree a success. Unknown to us someone had donated a nice handkerchief for everyone who helped.

    By this time it was growing dark and time to clear the hall. So everyone turned to work with a will and it was soon cleared for the evening pleasures. Thus ended our First Community Christmas Festival.

NOTE: Mr. and Mrs. William Lehmann of Lansburg, Germany with their three daughters, Pauline, born in 1847, Mary, in 1849, and Caroline in 1851, came to the United States about 1855. After living for a time in Manistee, Muskegon, and Flat Rock, in March, 1863, Mrs. Lehmann, the girls and small twins, William and Louise, went by sleigh from Flat Rock to Cedar River where Mr. Lehmann was working as a blacksmith. In June she moved her family by sail boat to Menominee where Mr. Lehmann had taken employment in the spring of 1863 and where Caroline had spent some months in 1861—2. This was the year Menominee County was organized. At the first session of court in the new county William Lehmann took out his naturalization papers. From that time to the present, members of the Lehmann family have been residents of Menominee


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and have made substantial contributions to community life.

The three older daughters married and established homes and reared their families in Menominee. All were unusually intelligent women, possessed of keen powers of observation and retentive memories. Pauline Lehmann Cordes died in 1934 at the age of 86, Mary Lehmann Bemus in 1940 at the age of 90, and Caroline Lehmann Quimby later in the same year at 89. William Lehmann, Jr. is still an active figure in Menominee. Mrs. Louise Lehmann Vowack resides in Channing, Michigan.





Social Life In The Early Days

Emiline C. Somerville




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Mrs. Emiline Caldwell Somerville

    Away back in the 1860's, Menominee was young and there was not much doing in the social line. No clubs or organizations of any sort. Dancing was the chief amusement, and we were never at a loss to know where to get music. Our Orchestra consisted of three pieces, Therriault with his fiddle, (not a violin then), Jack Farrier bass viol, Terrance Cassidy snare drum. He was fine, even better than Mr. Fifield. Farrier also called the quadrilles. The Schottische, Polka, Varsouvienne and Waltz were the other dances. We made our own little muslin dresses, walked to the parties thru the sand, and if our shoes got filled, it did not matter, we did not care in the least. We did not have to powder our noses every half hour nor rouge our cheeks or lips, neither did we go bare back. We were vain enough to think that nature had been so kind to us that no artificial adornment was necessary.

    Mr. E.L. Parmenter was a great help to us, he had a small hall which we were always given, and we would go

* read at the Old Settlers' banquet given by the Menominee Rotary Club in 1923.


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and dance until the pinch bugs got so thick we had to stop. One of our young men, Gust Chandler, was Captain of a tug, the Bob Mills, belonging to the K.C. Company. We would get the tug and a party of us would go to Green Island. Mr. Drew, the light house keeper could play the violin. S.M. Stephenson always helped us out with anything we started. He gave a dance in the Boarding House once a year. We had singing schools which we all attended and became very proficient with our voices, but unlike Bernhardt, we knew when to retire.

    We also had spelling bees. Hattie Woodford was right in her element with these. She did better in that than she did in dancing. She said she felt like a turkey on the floor. Our young men did not smoke between courses at a dinner or perhaps we only had one course. In winter we never lacked sleighing parties. Mr. Robert Stephenson of the L.W. and V.S. Company would hitch up a four mule team with a big sleigh, and in the middle of the day we would start to the Rapids or Relay Farms, have supper, dance, and sometimes stay all night. I remember on one occasion when asked if any of us were cold, Mr. Farrier said, "Cold? I feel as if I had on paper cambric trousers, with the shiny side in."

    We were invited to a Masquerade


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party in Menekaunee one night. We decked ourselves in costumes, walked down to the river, and tooted for Bob O'Neil, the ferry man, to take us over. When we were ready to come home the ferry man had gone to sleep and we tooted and waited and waited and tooted. Finally one of the men got a canoe and went over and got him. His home was in Menominee. Main Street was just a path through the blue berry bushes.

    We now come into the '70's when we began to put on airs. On New Year's evening '73, after receiving and making calls all day, a few met in the evening and that was the beginning of our New Year's club. We organized with thirty members a few years later and met every New Year's Eve until 1913 when the Club ceased to exist. Up to 1912 I had not missed a meeting in 25 years. We then moved to the Soo and Mrs. William Somerville entertained the club in 1912. Only five are left who were members.

    Mr. and Mrs. Robert Stephenson celebrated their silver wedding anniversary soon after building their home on Main Street, now the Spencer Carpenter home. The whole town was invited, and Mr. Stephenson built a platform on the bay shore just north of his home for the dancing. I do not remember whether the floor was planed lumber or not, I only know it was not a matched hardwood floor.


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Refreshemnts were served in the house, and were they good? I'll say, "Yes." Mrs. Stephenson was a famous cook. We also had numerous sleighing parties to the lumber camps within 40 or 50 miles, driving home by moonlight. Such wonderful singing you folks have probably never heard. No musical instrument was necessary as we usually had a tuning fork along. "Them days are gone for ever."

    Come to sum it all up, I think we had a diversity of amusements after all, and had about as much enjoyment out of it as was our lot. There were many things perhaps more interesting, but these are what come to my mind, primitive, of course, but I wonder if the modern social life is any more enjoyable.




The Cunard Line

Bessie Sandell




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The Cunard Line

Bessie Sandell

    To all of my many dear nieces and nephews, four generations, I will try to write the Cunard Story. This will be as near the real happenings as I can make it without any written records except the birth list that starts this endeavor. Time is running out for me also, as I have passed my 83rd birthday. I have asked for Divine Guidance to make a true record of our family, the sad parts as well as the glad ones.

    First I will tell about my father, as he told it to me the last years of his life when he was living with me in Milwaukee which will come later in this record.


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    John Henry Cunard was born in Aroostock County, Maine. His parents were immigrants from Ireland during the terrible potato famine in Ireland. There were many boat—loads of immigrants shipped out of Ireland to save them from starvation. This was in 1847—8—9. I do not know what his father did for a living, but they were very unhappy in this country, and I guess it was the reason my father left home at the age of eleven years. He just walked away and never saw his parents again. He was dressed in a pair of overalls, no underwear, shirt, shoes or stockings. He walked through the woods, sleeping on piles of leaves, as it was in the fall of the year. On the third day he came to a large lumber camp, cold and hungry. The cook took him in and fed him and found some old clothes for him. He was at that camp all winter, until it was spring and the end of the logging season. He worked hard for the cook, hauling water and firewood to the cook camp and sweeping out the bunk house every day, also keeping the paths clear of snow. He loved the life of the camps. When the camps broke up in spring he "took to the road," as he said, living on what he could beg, until fall when the lumber camps opened for the winter logging season. This time he was more wise about earning a living, so he asked for a job as "cookee" or cook's helper, and got paid


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for his work. He loved the woods, and was quick to learn all about the different kinds of work that was available in a lumber camp. There was log sawing, tool sharpening also "swamping," or cutting brush to clear the way for the haulers. He loved to help groom the big horses when they had finished their day's work and much more. His next step was to learn to estimate stands of timber, also to survey tracts and give estimates of the log content of the land. He learned to "scale" a log, that is, measure the log and find how many board feet of lumber to the log. He worked his way down the eastern coast, doing farm work in summer, and back to the lumber camps in winter. He must have covered every state in the East. From Maine to Pennsylvania as it was in Pennsylvania he met my dear mother. She was the daughter of Henry and Rebecca Stanley. Father was 32 years old, and mother was 16 when they married in 1878, and as soon as fall came he was off to the camps. They moved to Marinette, Wisconsin, where they rented a house, and mother lived alone until her first child was born. She had a girl to live with her to help with the new baby and housework. Mother always had a maid (or hired girl as they were called) as she was not very well and was alone so much. (Note——there will be a separate record


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later about my mother).

    While father was in Marinette, Wisconsin, he met a man who was looking for a good surveyor. He was Mr. Spalding, of the Spalding Sand and Lumber Company and father worked for him many years. First, he was superintendent of 16 lumber camps. He had a team of driving horses, and a "cutter" or sleigh and made the rounds every month, checking on the timber cutting, also the cook camp, as to waste and also to see if the men were well fed. He did all the accounts and had to report to Mr. Spalding every month. He was no longer the young barefoot boy, but a man, doing a man's work.

    At about this time, Mr. Spalding heard of a large tract of virgin timberland in Upper Michigan——beautiful, full grown trees, and highlands and meadows thick with maple, birch, oak, beech, elm and white pine, and in the low places or swamps, spruce, hemlock, balsam, cedar and tamarack, so thick one could hardly walk through. This land was for sale, both land and stumpage (logs) and Mr. Spalding bought up many sections. He advised father to buy some so he bought six sections (a section is 640 acres).


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He decided to clear some land and build a home for the family. He hired a man, after staking out the land he reserved for the farm, to move up there and clear enough land to build a log cabin for himself, but father lived in Marinette until after their second child was born——when they moved to Spalding, Michigan, nine miles from where our future home was. The Spalding Lumber Company headquarters was in Spalding. Father hired more men to clear land for crops, garden, orchards, etc. The best logs of clear maple were hauled to Hermansville (four miles) to be sawed into beautiful flooring, called IXL white maple flooring. Then carpenters were hired to build the house, an eight room five—bedroom two story, with basement, with porches on north, west and south sides, only in those days they were called verandas. There was a bay window in the living room, also in kitchen, which was used later for a sewing room, as later four more rooms were added in the rear——a large dining room, kitchen with a pantry, also two bedrooms at the end for the hired field hands. There were four large bedrooms, with closets upstairs in the main house, mother and father's bedroom was off the living room downstairs. The family moved to the farm in 1893. I was twenty—five months old, Frank was nine months. Of course, I do not remember a thing about it, but we had


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to come by "horse—power" as the railroad was not built until later. We had a three seated surrey complete with fringe on top and father's beloved bay mares to pull it. Later, when I was several years old, I remember we were given the old worn out surrey to play in. My two brothers drove many miles with their "imaginary" horses, while I rode in the back seat with my dolls.

    We had a great deal of company, as all the old friends from Marinette and Spalding would come up to the farm to visit, but later, when my dear mother's health was beginning to fail, we had less company. Our own house full was plenty to cook for, as we had two hired field hands, a chore boy, and we also boarded the school teacher.

    I am way ahead of my story, as I want to tell you about how my father's six sections of land turned out—— From all parts of Europe people were emigrating to America and a ship landed in Boston, Massachusetts with a nice grandfather and grandmother from Sweden, the Onstroms. They had married children and grand children and they all wanted land for farming. So they got in touch with father, and he sold them land, still timbered, and there were other Swedish people who heard of the great


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forest trees. It was hard labor and they were hardworking, wonderful people. Father sold to any who wanted a home. Some only forty acres, some bought eighty acres. They "traded" work, as not everyone owned a horse. It was all done by hand, and they grubbed out the stumps, planted potatoes and rutabages any place that would hold a few seeds. The first thing they bought was a cow so they had milk and butter. Chickens, too, were raised and soon a little village materialized. Then the railroad was extended——it cut through the center of our farm home. My mother was Episcopalian, my father a Catholic. There was no church nearer than eleven miles but that did not stop the Swedish Methodists! Grandma Onstrom held Sunday School in her kitchen and we Cunard kids went to it, as well as their own. Soon we younger children were talking Swedish and the little Swedes were learning English.

    Next, a name for the little new settlement. It was first called Cedar, then some years later it was named Vesper, until later it was named Vesper, Wisconsin. So the name that is on the Rand Mc—Nally road maps is now Cunard.

    A one—room log schoolhouse was built——all with no money, as everybody helped cut logs, build the house, beg for money to buy windows, and then a teacher. There was a large box stove


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(wood—burning) in the center of the room. The Hermansville mill donated rejected pine boards for the floor—— and our first school began. The County paid the teacher's salary of $50.00 per month and the teacher paid my mother $10.00 a month for board, room and laundry. She had the room my two older sisters used before they married and moved away to start their own homes——Jessie married a conductor on the C and N Railroad, Anna Belle married the mill doctor at Hermansville—— Nellie and Minnette were "keeping company" with two local neighbor boys.

    Minnette attended high school in Hermansville and lived with Anna Belle and Colin. Later after she graduated she took a short course in summer college, and was able to get a teacher's permit for country eight—grade schools, so she was teaching for two years at our little Cunard school. These dear Swedish people wanted to have their children go to Bible school so for a time Grandma Onstrom taught them in her home. Later, when the school house was built, they held services in the school house whenever a stray pastor was available. Our family took confirmation lessons by mail, as the nearest Episcopalian Church was twelve miles from home——so when each one was ready mother took us to Wilson, Michigan, to be confirmed. But the neighbors wanted


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 their own Swedish Methodist Church with a pastor, and that's when our dear little church was started. There were many meetings, and many plans—— as no one had money——but my Father started out by donating one acre of land on the northwest corner of our farm. There were trees in the forest to cut, on land that had been logged but young trees had replaced them. My father gave the use of one team of horses and one farm hand to haul and cut all the rafters, beams, and studding was hand—hewed by the community, each giving as much time as he could spare from his farm work. Father also gave $25.00 cash, and $5.00 for each child, cash, $60.00 in all. The Hermansville mill donated rejects of pine flooring and siding, and later we bought maple IXL grade 2 flooring. How many times did I help scrub that floor through the years? The women gave box auctions—- a lovely lunch in a very fancy crepe paper shoe box, sold to the highest bidder, and people came by horse and buggy to help us along, the young men trying to guess what color their girl friend's lunch box was——and it was great fun. We raised money for all the windows that way——also had pie socials——and cake and coffee socials. The pies were all donated and sold for 5O cents, the coffee and cake was 25 cents, all you could eat. That was what we used to buy our church dishes, as the cake and coffee socials had to bring their


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own cups, sugar and cream. Our church was finished and dedicated about the year 1880. This land father donated was not a sale, or a gift, but a 99 year lease, and was to revert to the heirs of the Cunard family at the end of 99 years. Since our family moved away, after our home was sold, when the mortgage was foreclosed the younger generation no longer wanted our little white church. The automobile was the thing then, and they deserted the little church, transferred to the English Methodist Church at Hermansville, giving them all the dishes and other altar fittings for communion service, in fact everything in the building. But there is one thing still left at our dear little church——I was living in Milwaukee at the time, and had not heard of this until it was too late to protest——while I still lived in Cunard, on the farm my husband and I bought, I had gone over with the other ladies one day for a "cleaning day." We brought a cake and some coffee and we scrubbed the church floor on our knees, with a stiff hand scrub brush, washed windows, polished the organ and altar rail and pulpit, blacked the wood stove, and made everything nice and clean. We did this several times a year as there were no sidewalks and lots of mud! One day I measured our little altar——it was about five feet wide and I made a cloth for it. I used fine white thread, and it was


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hand—crocheted in a pattern. There was a chalice on each end and a cross in the center. I sewed it on a linen cloth, and it is still there, through all these years on the little altar. My dearest friend, Agnes Peterson, takes it home to wash it and puts it back again, nice and clean. Poor little church—— 

    There is some legal hangup about the ownership of this unused church. By rights, it should be returned to the Cunard heirs, as it is no longer used, but the Methodist Church Council insists on holding it until the 99 year lease runs out. I would like to have it used for some worthy purpose. If nothing more——just a place where a group of people could hold meetings, religious or even social meetings, sort of as a memorial to all the love and labor that went into that dear little building. I was confirmed in the Episcopalian Church but attended the Methodist Church all my life, and am a member now in Albright Methodist Church in Milwaukee. When we sing the old Methodist hymns, I am sometimes tempted to sing them in Swedish.

    So, back to the family——I would like to tell more about our farm home. We had 210 acres, all farm land except a large wood lot to keep a 12—room house warm in the severe Northern


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Michigan winters. It was such a beautiful place, when we had the three teams of work horses, and a driving horse for the children. His name was Rocket and he was too small to do field work but was trained to the saddle, also, used for driving, in winter we had a cutter with buffalo robe and hot bricks to keep our feet warm——in summer a buggy——just one seat, but a nice top to keep the rain out, used mostly to go to Hermansville for groceries. He lived to be 28 years old, and it was a sad day for all of us when he died.

    I would like to tell you all about the farm when things were good and we were all so happy. We had a large orchard of seven hundred trees, all varieties one could name, such as crab apples, yellow transparent, wealthy, northern spy, greenings, Longfellow and others I cannot recall. There were 24 cherry trees, two long rows of currants both red and white, and also gooseberries.

    Our horse barn had seven stalls and a box stall for foaling——as we raised colts also. There was a harness room where all the harnesses were mended and oiled, also a large hay mow upstairs and a granary near for oats and corn. All of the barns were painted dark red and were well kept


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when things were going well.

    We had a 50—foot windmill right next to the house that pumped all the water for stock and kitchen. There was also a three—story building next to the pump, or well, the first floor a stone—walled dairy, where we kept the cream, butter, eggs and bread. It had running water in it to wash the dairy pails. Above this milk house was a large square building for storing ice which was hauled every winter from a lake, packed in sawdust we hauled from the mill in Hermansville. The third story of this building was a tank that held 100 barrels of water, and we had installed pipes to lawn and vegetable garden and could water the garden by the pressure of the water, as it was high enough for this use. We had one full acre for garden vegetables, except potatoes which were raised in a large field of several acres for family use and also a cash crop. We had a beautiful place as the lawns were always cut and flowers planted. We even raised popcorn in our garden and one year tried peanuts, but the summers were too short for them to mature.

    Now there are only three left living in that large house. Frank, mother and me. I was seeing a lot of


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one nice Swedish lad who had come to America a year before. He worked on the railroad repairing track and in winter in the woods cutting timber for the iron mines, or ties for the railroad. Frank was also working on the railroad or "Section" as that work was called. I was going to omit the part where father faced with debts he could never repay left us all and we did not know if it was just another of his drinking sprees, or if he had gone for good. Mother was very ill. I had the housework to do, cooking and cleaning and caring for mother. I was then 16 years old. Frank was 14 years. Somehow we made a garden, set eggs under broody hens for baby chicks, and all the other things that needed to be done. We could not plant crops for sale as the machinery we had left was geared for horses, so we planted a garden and used spades and rakes and what little muscle power we had. But we had worked in the garden since we were 8 or 9 years old, so knew how to plant and take care of growing and harvesting vegetables. We had good luck raising chickens, and had set quite a few hens with hatching eggs so we had all the eggs we needed and a chicken left over once in a while for soup. Our one cow also kept us in milk and butter. We even had enough navy beans for winter, also ripe peas for soup. I never knew what money


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mother had as there was no income but there was always enough money when the flour was gone to buy a bag of 100 lbs. for $3.00. We had no sugar but did have salt and when winter came and I made pea soup or baked beans mother always found money for a piece of bacon which sold then for 15 cents a pound. The bacon was used only to flavor the beans and also the pea soup. I baked bread and also baked the beans with the rind of the bacon and some butter. We also drank only tea as coffee was too expensive. We had a lot of firewood but closed off the upstairs and I slept with mother and Frank had a cot in the sewing room. I think mother knew she was very ill, as one day we had a talk about my boy friend, Axel Sandell. She asked me if I liked him and I said he was very nice, and she suggested that I encourage him, as she would like to see me married. So I began asking him over to spend the evening, and he would sing Swedish songs for us. Mother loved to hear him sing, though she did not understand the words, but his voice was a deep, baritone, and he sang the old Swedish Folk songs. The Alpine Rose was her favorite. She did insist on my waiting a few more months, or until I was over 17 years old. So on March 28, 1911, we were married in our home. Father had come home shortly before my wedding day, sick and sorry once again. Frank


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had just started to work on the Section (railroad) so we had a few dollars for a small dinner, as Axel wanted to ask the Johnsons, where he had been living for several years. He had saved several hundred dollars, and we had a nice dinner. I made my own dress, a checked dimity white cotton, very sheer, with lace—trimmed underskirt and "camisole" which has been greatly modified and is now called a "bra." Our honeymoon was a week's visit to my sister Minnette in Escanaba. My dear Axel gave me fifty dollars, and baby—sat for Minnette's baby, Tom, who was just learning to walk, while we went shopping to buy clothes for myself as I had outgrown everything. After our week's visit there we returned to my home, and we bought a horse so we could put in a crop and get enough to live on. Axel still held his job on the railroad and worked the small crops we put in, evenings and Sundays. Also mother was now unable to be up and she was failing fast. She did manage to be dressed long enough to see me married. Our old family pastor from mother's church, Dr. Roberts, married us in our home. My sisters, Nellie and Minnette, were at home for my wedding and it was a lovely day in March. The Johnson family were there also and one of my school friends and her boy friend were our witnesses—-A Happy Day!


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    Sister Nellie stayed with mother the week we were visiting Minnette, and then I was right back in the old routine, housework, cooking, baking and caring for mother. She failed so rapidly after I married I think she knew I would be taken care of. Just two months after my wedding she died, on May 23rd. She was buried in our Spalding Cemetery next to her Mother Stanley, and her absence left an awfully empty place in my heart, as I had cared for her so long.

    It was then that Nellie and her husband Will Larsen left Michigan to find work. Will got a job in a lumber mill in Winton, Minnesota, and the home we had lost through mortgage foreclosure was sold, so brother Frank left also to find work, and so that ended the story of the beautiful Cunard Farm. It has been sold and re—sold many times, and there is a change for the worse in every re—sale. The barns, most of them, have been torn down and used for fire—wood, and all seven hundred apple trees in our once beautiful orchard have been uprooted with a bull dozer. The last time I saw the place they were still laying there, a tangle of dried branches and roots.

    The four—room addition was also torn down leaving only the original eight—room house, still in good


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condition after eighty years of use (and abuse.) The present owners have lived there many years, raising a family of nice boys and girls. The mother of the family is a widow now, children all grown up, the husband died a couple of years ago. The new owner destroyed the orchard and tore down the building as he had steady work in the sawmill and did no farming. One comfort to me is that my brothers and sisters never saw the home as it is today. In my memories I see the picture of a beautiful orchard of apple trees in bloom on a warm May day long, long ago.




Early Schools and Churches

Harriet Woodford Bill




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Mrs. Harriet Woodford Bill

    The first school was opened in the winter of 1853—1854 at the old water mill near the Second dam. The building was of rough boards, battened, both walls and roof with slabs. One end of it was used as a blacksmith shop. Oscar Bartholomew of Elmira, N.Y., stranded here by some adverse fate, taught for two months. It was a subscription school, the price being three dollars for twelve months schooling.

    The first real school house was built by Charles McLeod, Sr., on a bluff near the end of the First dam. This school was taught by Miss Sue Lyon, four months during the summer and fall and was also a subscription school. There was an average attendance of sixteen pupils, among whom were represented five nationalities, French, German, Irish, Swede and Yankee, with one full blooded Indian boy and several half breeds.

* read at the Old Settlers' Banquet given by the Rotary Club, Menominee,1923.


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    In 1857, a school was taught by Miss Emily Burchard, in a part of Henry Nason's house at his shingle mill, on the shore of Green Bay, where now stands the National Hotel. Miss Burchard used to paddle her canoe from Menekaunee where she resided. One morning her canoe capsized. She swam to a boom and righting the canoe proceeded on her way, borrowed dry clothes and taught as usual.

In 1858, several men, Andreas Eveland, A.F. Lyon, W.C. Boswell, Henry Nason and others volunteered labor and contributions and erected a log school house where the Chicago and North Western Railroad crosses Ogden Ave., at West Menominee. Miss Sue Lyon also taught here. Long benches were used as seats.

When Menominee County was organized in 1863, the school laws were put in force and districts were organized. District No. 1, in Menominee embraced all the village lying along Green Bay and near the mouth of the river. District No. 2, included that part of the village now called West Menominee.

In the spring of 1864, the town of Menominee was organized and the first public money was drawn for school purposes. All previous schools were subscription schools.


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    The first school held in District No. 1 was in a small building owned by Samuel Abbott, which had been built for storing fish nets. It was about 16 by 18 feet built of rough boards and filled between the joists with saw dust. The seats were long narrow benches, very uncomfortable. A poineer woman who attended that school, remembers the boys used to dig the saw dust out of the cracks and on one occasion a little snake was seen gliding along the floor, which caused much confusion among the pupils. Exact location of this school was unknown. This building was used a short time only.

    This year, (1864) the town built a school on Kirby Street, 24 by 28 feet which they thought would be large enough for many years to come. Mr. John McClelland was the first teacher. Mrs. Bemus (Feb. 5, 1923) told me among those who attended this first school were Mr. H. Sharon, John Cook of Marinette, Mrs. A.L. Sawyer, Mrs.
Caroline Quimby, Bert PenGilly, William PenGilly, Amos Lemieux and Mrs. Mary Bemus. Settlers came in so fast that this soon proved inadequate, and in 1868 a two—story building was erected also on Kirby St. at a cost of $7,000 which caused considerable comment among the tax—payers. In this building were two departments below and one long


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room in the second story. Here benches gave place to double seats and desks.

    It was in the Kirby St. building I taught two years; 1873—74 and 1874—75. The primary was taught by Miss Nina Flood; the intermediate by myself, and the higher department by Mr. J.W. Bird. The second year Miss Hattie Parker taught the primary and Miss Myra Sizer——who became Mrs. (Dr.) Crawford——assisted Mr. Bird. She taught her classes at one end of the room and Mr. Bird at the other end. The pupils of the intermediate and primary school marched upstairs each morning to opening exercises, where the Bible was read. I think the principal offered prayer. The Lord's Prayer was recited and two or three school songs were sung.

    This building was located diagonally across from the present location of the Milwaukee and St. Paul Depot.

    The first year, ninety pupils, ages ranging from seven to sixteen were enrolled in my room and fifty-nine the second year. It was during the year of 1873 that a small one—room school house was erected on Holmes Ave., near State St. in the swamp; load after load of sawdust was hauled forming a walk to the road and also surrounding the building.


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    Miss Alice Jacobi taught in this building that year and the congested condition of my room was somewhat relieved.

    There was also a small school house on Stephenson Ave. on the land now occupied by the Agricultural School, which, I think, was taught in the year 1874—75 by Mr. Albert Bird. My salary the first year was forty dollars per month, increased the second year to forty—five. I was then offered fifty dollars in Marinette but I resigned the vocation of teaching and took up domestic science, from which I have not yet graduated. My teacher's certificate was signed by Dr. O.B. Bird and G.A. Woodford, "School Inspectors Township of Menominee, County of Menominee."

    A store building was rented on Ogden Ave. perhaps in 1874——Mrs. Bemus remembers it as 1876——for school purposes and Miss Dolly Chandler was stationed there. At a teacher's meeting held Oct. 24, 1874, the following program was rendered:

Exercise on Outline Maps
        ... Miss Parker
Select Reading
        ... Miss Chandler
        ... Miss Sizer


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Essay on Iron
        ... Miss Nettie Ingalls
Decimal Fractions
... Miss Woodford

    Whether Miss Chandler and Miss Ingalls were on the teaching force at that time or not, I cannot say.

    District No. 2 had also erected a small school house which became too small and, in 1876, erected a two—story building.

    An important change occured in 1880 when the district system was changed to the graded system under graded school terms. Six trustees were elected, viz: S.M. Stephenson,A. Spies, B.T. Phillips, Win. Somerville, Jas. Juttner, and J.H. Walton. At that time District No. 1 covered the old Kirby St. Building, the Holmes Ave. building, and the rented store on Ogden Ave., in all, five rooms with five teachers and a principal. There were then 752 children of school age, 402 enrolled in school and a seating capacity of 310. In Aug. 1881 the Liberty St. building was completed.

    In 1882 the Holmes Ave. building was removed to Wabash Ave. and the Kirby St. building was moved to Marinette Ave. where now stands the Roosevelt school. This old building burned in 1888.


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    It was in April 1883 that Menominee was charted as a city and the two districts were united, thus adding the Boswell building with two stories of two rooms each, while the teaching force consisted of twelve teachers. In 1885 nineteen teachers were employed.

    In 1886 the State St. school and Primary No. 1 at Liberty St. were erected at a cost of $9,800.00. In 1890 the Spies Ave. building was erected at a cost of $5,963.00, including the lots. There were now 29 teachers including the superintendent.

    In 1892 the Boswell St. and Lincoln Ave. buildings were erected at a cost of $32,812.42 and the teachers enrolled were 36. In 1893 the school census was 3,737, with an enrollemnt of 2,300 and 41 teachers were employed. The total cost of the high school building, which was completed in 1894, including ground and furniture, was $53,987.34. Mr. Jesse Hubbard served as superintendent for six years, being succeeded by Mr. O. I. Woodley, superintendent in 1895.

    In 1890 the free text book system was adopted in the grades, and extended to the high school in 1895; drawing was introduced in 1892; kindergarten work in 1893 under the supervision of Miss Laura Bingham, a graduate of Froebel Institute; music, in 1894; manual training in 1896.


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It is a far cry from the first log school house in 1856 with its low benches, primitive box stove, no blackboards; a subscription school, with an average of 16 pupils, to all the handsome well—equipped buildings of today valued at seven hundred thousand dollars, 76 teachers; with blackboards all around the room, fine gymnasium, Junior and Senior High Schools and its swimming pool, one of the finest athletic fields in the country, the parent—teachers associations where the parents and teachers meet and become acquainted, and an excellent library and the finest heating and ventilating system, with running water inside, toilets, machine shops, wood shops, house—hold arts, and a school census of 3,197,2100 of whom are enrolled in the public schools and 531 in the parochial schools. The students of today should congratulate themselves upon their fine opportunities compared with the children of the earlier generation.

    I received a letter from my brother G.A. Woodford, in the spring of 1872, saying I could probably get a school here. I thought a year or two spent in the west would be pleasant and accordingly left my Connecticut home for the "wild and wooly West." Upon passing Chicago safely I started on the C. and N.W.R.R. for Menominee which was the terminal of that road. There was no pullman on our train and as there


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were two coaches only, one was left off at Milwaukee. All of the passengers left the train at Oshkosh except one woman and myself. She left at Green Bay, and the train seemed to run for my special benefit to Menominee. It was a beautiful moonlight night and the summer after the great fire of '71, during that fire the wind was so strong that it up—rooted the trees, and all the holes left from the roots were filled up with water; the great blackened trunks covered the ground, and to me it looked the most desolate country I had ever seen. I mentally resolved that no money would ever induce me to stay in such a country. I would make a short visit, and return to civilization. I landed here at 2:30 a.m. at the dock down back of the old Kirby—Carpenter store, which was demolished a few years ago. Mr. Forvilly's bus was there, the old fashioned open bus with seats on both sides. I asked to be taken to Mr. Woodford's residence and on the way not a sound could I hear of the wheels and it seemed to me almost uncanny. The next morning I found that the streets were all saw dust and sand and therefore no sound could be heard of the wagons.

    After a ride around the town I could see nothing attractive in Menominee, except the Bay which seemed most beautiful and which has never lost its charm.


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    On my first attendance at church I was welcomed as cordially as if I were an old friend.

    The next week Mr. S.M. Stephenson arranged for a picnic at Green Island, all going over on scows propelled by tugs. There I met many people and all were so friendly, my favorable impression of the people deepened.

    One thing that always distressed me, was the great "fire pens" or Cehennas as I called them, which were located at every mill, burning day and night, the trimmings from the mills made a lurid glare sometimes at night. To my New England idea of thrift and economy, this was a wicked waste.

    Having come from "New England and her cloud—capped granite hills" Menominee seemed hopelessly flat and I had a feeling akin to pity for the boys and girls who never enjoyed the fun I had when a child, sliding down hill. A boy on his sled drawn by his dog was not an unusual sight, but there was no exhilaration in that. I was very homesick for the sight of a hill or mountain.

    The postmaster was Mr. Samuel Abbot and everybody had to go to the post office for their mail.

    One thing I remember distinctly


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was the "Sahara," or "Court House Square." That was the block opposite the old Kirby House on which some day they expected to erect a Court House. It was all sand and sand burrs, and in that Sahara in one corner, was the county clerk's office, in a very small building, and adjoining it was the county jail.

    Menominee had begun a public library which was housed in Mr. Woodford's jewelry store. It opened to the public on Friday afternoon and I acted as librarian in Mr. Woodford's stead.

    Life was very primitive in those days. No furnaces, no sewers, no lighted streets; dark nights when we went to church we had to carry a lantern. Everybody in preparing for winter had sawdust banked up against their houses, and having no water works, the people who lived in Frenchtown had wells and others had to get their water from the Bay. Everybody burnt kerosene.

    The C. and N.W.R.R. was being built up further from Menominee and all the engineers made their home here; this made the social life of the young people very delightful. When they had completed 26 miles up the line, they gave an excursion to about 25 or 30 


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young people. We went up to their camp riding in a caboose and, after walking about a mile thru the towering pine woods, came to their camp and enjoyed a fine dinner. Someone bet me that I could never drive a spike and I bet that I could, so I lifted the sledge hammer and successfully drove a spike which the chief engineer said was done in correct form, so I feel that I was a true pioneer having helped to lay the C. and N.W.R.R.

    During the first winter here I received a letter from the school board of my native town in Connecticut offering me a school and requesting my answer by telegram in "YES" or "NO." Previously I had said that no money or anything could ever tempt me to live in Menominee, but I had found the people so cordial and feeling that "Menominee was a good town" after all, I telegraphed "NO." That sounded the death knell to my hopes of ever living in Connecticut again.


During my first school year, the circus came to town to the delight of all the children. Mr. S.M. Stephenson decided to take all the children and teachers to the circus. They reported at school and answered to roll call.  Each teacher marched with her pupils to


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the circus grounds far up Ogden Avenue. Mr. Stephenson took all the teachers into the side shows. The huge boa constrictor haunted me for weeks. It was my first attendance at a circus.


    The location is now a part of the Riverside Cemetery, by the dam. Pupils reported at school and the business men of the town provided conveyances to the picnic. The women went ahead and made great tubs of lemonade. After enjoying a fine dinner which was spread on the ground and was decorated with Daddy Long Legs and spiders, a number of us went down to the river bank, the river was filled with logs. Mr. Bird dared me to cross the river on logs. Being a tenderfoot, it didn't look like any trick at all, but it was a clear case of a "fools rushing in where angels scarce dare tread." I ran down the bank and jumped on the first log which immediately began to sink. I went to the next one and the next one sank and by that time I didn't know who was the most frightened, Mr. S.M. Stephenson, who had constituted himself my chaperone for the day, Mr. Bird, or myself. Mr. Bird, having lead me into such a trick gallantly came to my rescue by snatching my hand and going a log behind me. I jumped from log to log and didn't need any police to tell me to "keep


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moving." I lead him a merry race across the river and was glad indeed to put my foot on "Terra Firma." I was as glad as the woman who had taken the ocean voyage and had suffered from "mal de mer."  Relating her experience to a friend she said, "I tell you I was glad to put my feet on 'Vice Versa.'" Her friend said, "Oh, that's too funny, you mean "Terra Cotta." At any rate I was glad to put my feet on vice—versa, or terra cotta, or "terra firma."

    Maybe the only thing that saved me from a watery grave was that the logs were so tightly packed together that they could not roll, therefore making a pretty good footing and we got across safely. This was my first and last attempt to cross the Menominee River on logs.

    Another young tenderfoot from Illinois had a similar experience, but wearing a velvet dress, it filled with air like a balloon and kept her up as she fell between the logs. She had the presence of mind to seize the young man, who accompanied her and who had slipped in the water, by the coat collar, and, getting his head up between the logs, scratched his cheek, but they called for help and were rescued by men with pike poles.


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    When I arrived in Menominee there was only one church, the Presbyterian, and it was the only one in the county. It was organized June 7, 1868, with nine members, by Rev. John Fairchild of Marinette and Mr. Henry Loomis, a theological student from Auburn, N.Y.: he was full of zeal and agitated the building of a church immediately. The Kirby—Carpenter Co., donated a lot; the building was completed in 1869 and dedicated the 18th of July, free of debt.

    The Presbyterian Board of Church Erection of N.Y. donated or loaned $500. The building committee consisted of Mr. S.M. Stephenson, E.S. Ingalls, and Wm. P. Newberry. The first trustees were S.M. Stephenson, Miles Shepard, Themes Murray, Edward L. Parmenter and Newberry. Mr. Loomis was the first pastor, for four months. In 1876 there were 73 members and Rev. A.W. Bill was the pastor.

    There were no clubs in those days, and the church was the center of life. Entertainments and sociables were in order and for a week before Christmas, we were very busy decorating the church with ground pine and cedar, which was a most joyous occasion, and the two large trees that almost touched the


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ceiling were really community trees as the people brought their presents to the church.

    In 1872, the Roman Catholics commenced the construction of a building (St. John's I think) which was completed in 1873. The building committee was Thomas Breen, Bartley Breen, Edward Hatton, Joseph Garon, and Robert PenGilly. Father M.A. Fox was the first priest.

    The German Lutheran Church was begun in 1873 and finished in 1874. First officers were George Harter, Pres; Henry Ammerman, Sec., and Gewehr, Tres. Their first preacher was Rev. M.C. Toeppel. Later the Rev. Richard Copp was sent here. He organized the Methodist Church and started the erection of a building.



The Big Fire Of 1871

Josephine Ingalls Sawyer




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The Big Fire of 1871
(The Peshtigo Fire)

Josephine Ingalls Sawyer

    The summer of 1871 was hot and dry. There were frequent forest fires in various parts of the northern states and for weeks before the big fire of October 7th and 8th the smoke hung so heavy that the sun looked like a ball of fire most of the time.

    Just when and where the fires started, no one can say, but the woods and swamps between Oconto and Peshtigo had burned at intervals, controlled only by occasional rains. These fires were supposed to have caught from the camp fires of the laborers who were building the Chicago and Northwestern railroad track through to Escanaba that year. The culmination began the evening of October 7th. In describing this, I will have to give it from a personal standpoint, as that is the way I remember it.

    I think everyone had a feeling of uneasiness and premonition for weeks; to my people, our first alarm came in this way. At that time my father, W. S. Ingalls, had a water mill on Little River, about five miles from


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Menominee. (NOTE: The place now occupied by Rudginsky Brothers on the River Road.) October 7, being Sunday, most of the crew had come down town leaving the boarding house keeper, his wife and two children, and about ten men there. The bookkeeper, Mr. Merrill, had spent the day at our home. About 6:30 p.m., my brother, Fred, put the team on a light wagon and accompanied by my younger brother, sister and myself, started to take him back.

    After passing Frenchtown, we noticed an occasional log burning beside the road. Mr. Merrill told us to go back; he would walk the remaining mile and a half. There was already a roaring in the air and the sky was lighted up over towards Peshtigo. The smell of smoke was strong before we were halfway back; the roaring became loud and the wind came in fierce hot gusts, which fanned the smouldering logs into flames. Often a standing tree took fire. Our horses needed no urging on their way home. Afterward, Mr. Merrill told us his experience.

All Buildings Afire

    It took him some time to make his way over the logging road to the mill, for the whirling wind had carried the fire to one side and over Marinette,


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and struck the mill and surrounding forest. All the buildings were on fire when he got there. He hastily got the books from the office, and taking the cook's baby, ran with the rest to the river. He buried the books in the earth on the river bank. The cattle and the horses had been turned loose though one ox fell and was burned on the river bank. Each person had grabbed a pail or something to hold water, and carried it with him. Mr. Merrill said the heat was so intense that the instant they rose out of the water their clothes caught fire and when they inverted wooden buckets of water over their heads, the bottoms of the buckets would catch fire.


    ...Late the next day, my brother—in—law got a team as far as Frenchtown. From there he had to walk the rest of the way to the mill, over fallen timber and hot ashes. He found them all alive but blind from smoke and heat and badly blistered, especially the eighteen months old baby, which could only be held under water a few minutes at a time. He roped them together, so he could guide them, and so carrying the children, and sometimes the women, they stumbled along, helping each other as best they could, often falling over 


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burnt logs, or burning their feet in hot ashes till they reached Frenchtown. We kept them at our house for two weeks, feeding them like children, until their eyes recovered. The woman and baby died two or three months later.

Marinette Escapes

    As I have said, the whirling wind carried the fire, now high, now low. Marinette, directly in its path, escaped. Only the brush and low growth around the town caught fire, though it kept men busy to control it. Menekaune was caught in one of the whirls of fire. My remembrance is that everything burned even fences, walks, and the sawdust covered streets. The fierce hot wind carried burning shingles a mile and more out into the bay and set fire to sails of ships. Where the fire struck it was so sudden and fierce that everything caught at once. In one house a woman was in confinement, with the upper part of the house burning, the doctor and neighbor woman attending her. As soon as the child was born, she was lifted, mattress and all and put into a sawdust cart, not a minute too soon, and carried to safety. Menominee, like Marinette, was rimmed with fire, and Birch Creek was entirely burned. The loss of life in this farming village was appalling...the survivors found safety in root cellars,


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holes in the ground or in Birch Creek.

    Two girl survivors came to Menominee in 1878. I took my horse and buckboard and we went to visit near their old home farm and spent the day wandering through the growth of poplar and fireweed that always follow a woods fire. The tree trunks were still lying all in one direction like mown hay. These girls told me there were nine in their family. When the fire struck, the father and mother each took a small child and all ran to reach the creek if possible. These little girls, ten and eleven years old, soon began to stumble and fall. The father suddenly threw them both into the water and mud under roots of an overturned tree, telling them to crouch down and stay there, until he came for them. They alone survived in that family.

Excitement in Menominee

    Our first excitement at home came just after we had returned from Little River mill, about 9:30, probably. There was a fierce gust of wind and a crash, and Belle Stephenson, (Mrs. Joseph Fleshiem) who had been spending the day in Marinette, came running in and told us that their buggy had been blown over into a brush heap, just across the road. (My home was where


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the Spies Public Library now stands, and the brush heap was on a vacant lot known in late years as the Walter Hicks home.) Belle told us that it was reported in Marinette that Peshtigo was burning and that Marinette would likely burn also, as trees were already burning on the edge of town. Everything seemed to happen all at once after that. The sky south and west was a blaze of light. The fierce hot whirling wind rose and fell, bringing flames to new spots, sometimes rising and leaving a spot of green timber untouched.

Frenchtown Refugees

    Soon people began to drift down from Frenchtown. They said, the jack pines back of the village are burning. We had lived there when we first came to Menominee (1862) and knew many of them. They camped in our back yard near the bay. I do not know how many there were. I heard my mother say she counted eight little babies in her bed at one time, and children were asleep all over the house. I know we gave bread and coffee to forty or more the next morning. Their homes did not burn and they went back. There were constant alarms.

Fighting the Fires

    Gilmore's mill down on the point


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where the Hoskin—Morainville plant is now, had caught from the Menekaune blaze and was burning. Houses kept catching fire. The women and girls pumped water and men carried wet blankets and covered roofs. This was a common method. Main Street, sawdust covered of course, kept blazing up in spots, and we ran with buckets or pitchers, or anything to stop the spread. I met the late Joseph Fleshiem in one of these sorties, though I did not know it till long after. He had just come off a steamer and was walking up the street, wondering just what he had got into, when a girl came running toward him with a bedroom water pitcher and watering can and said, "The shavings under the porch are on fire. Crawl under and put them out." He crawled while I ran to the bay for more water. The house was George Horvaths, on one of the Victory Park lots.

Fire in the Swamp

    Suddenly the swamp which stretched from Ogden Avenue to the river, and was covered with willows and dry grass, (Kirby Street was a swamp then) was on fire. The only good road, crossing the swamp was Pengilly Street, leading to the mills. The older men and women worked along the edge, the women carrying water, the men throwing up fresh earth. The younger folks pumped and carried


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water also. There was but one good well on the side of the street where the Lloyd store is now, at the Saxton place, later known as the H. P. Bird place. We pumped it dry twice before morning. It was hot, exhausting work. The young boys would lie down a few minutes at a time to rest, then go on —— our dresses and shoes were scorched and burned.

Boat in Readiness

    One of the big lake steamers had come in about midnight and tied up at Jones dock. Among other things it brought the furniture for Mr. E. L. Parmenter's beautiful new home on what is now called State Street (the home of F. J. Trudell). About two a.m. I was standing on guard at our gate, the others having gone where they were needed more. It was so light from the glare in the sky that I saw Charlie Fairchild coming up the street with a load of furniture and called out, "Why take it to the house? The hills are all on fire back of Kirby Creek (runs through Finntown)." He answered, "Well, they'll get the insurance if it is in the house but not if it is on the boat." He told me the boat was being held at the dock for women and children if needed, some of them fled to it early in the night....


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Water Lowered in the Bay

    My brother, Charles Ingalls, had personal proof of the lowering of the water in the bay. He was getting out cedar posts on my father's Hay Creek farm which ran from the Magnus Nelson farm clear through to the bay, joining John Quimby's land at Poplar Point. Charlie had a lumber ship anchored off the point and a crew of twelve or fifteen men. Sunday morning (October 7) most of them had come up town. Seven people were left, including the farm keeper's daughter, who had remained to get meals for the men. When the fire struck the forest and out—buildings, the cattle and horses were turned loose, except one team which Charlie had kept, hoping to get to town or to shore. Charlie begged the men to get into the wagon, but four of them hastily threw some planks over a hole in the ground and crawled in. Someone spoke of the girl. Charlie looked for her and found her in her bed, with the clothes drawn over her head. He grabbed her, quilt and all, and chucked her into the hole as he started for the shore, for the road was already cut off by flame. One of the men in the hole begged him to write their names on a piece of paper and fasten it on a stump near the hole. Charlie headed


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for water with one man with him; the team needed no urging.

Loss of Animal Life

    When a hot gust would come, the cattle and horses, running ahead, would throw themselves down and bury their noses in the sand for a minute or two. The loss of animal life was terrible that night. Several deer, wolves, and bear, were on the edge of the farm yard in the morning; live rabbits ran into the hole with the men and the girl. By some freak of wind, the house did not burn, though barns, fences, and surrounding woods all did. Charlie said the horses ran into the water until it reached the wagon box. He and the man lay down and went to sleep in the wagon and were awakened when the returning water covered them in the morning.



    Many of the incidents relating to the burning of Peshtigo were told me by the late Mrs. Isaac Stephenson of Marinette. She was a young girl living with her parents and brother at that time. She said, "The whole town seemed


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to be on fire all at once." People ran madly to the river; some sought refuge in cisterns or wells and were smothered there. Nine members of one family were found in their well. Some lingered to save treasured belongings and died in homes. Like most of the people, she, with her brother, started for the river. She told him (Tom Burns) to go back and help his father and mother; she could go alone. She had not run more than two blocks before she fell exhausted, and would have burned there, but R. M. Hurt, engineer in charge of construction for the C. and N. W. railroad company came along and picked her up and carried her to the river. The scene was terrible. Men were fighting off the crazed horses and cattle to keep them from trampling men and children under water. Their clothes caught fire as they worked.

    Mrs. Stephenson told me that she personally knew of seven confinements which took place during the night. Men laid their coats in the mud and ooze at the foot of the bank for the unfortunate women to lie on, and while women were doing what they could for the sufferers, the men carried water and poured it over them. Several of the women died, and only three of the babies lived, so far as she knew. So the night passed in terror, pain and


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grief. In the morning there was nothing but desolation, no food or shelter for hours. They ate potatoes which were baked in the ground.

    Among the incidents I knew about personally was this one: A young French man, Joe Martel, running to the river, saw a little baby lying in the road. He picked it up, carried it into the water and took care of it as well as he could. In the morning the women helped him, but all had their own to care for. The child belonged to a niece of Governor Beebe of Wisconsin. The father and mother died. Governor Beebe provided for the child, also for the young man.

    One incident was related to us by Judge Fred Bartels of Peshtigo. When the fire struck the town, he started for Marinette with his horse and buckboard. On the seat with him was the sister of F. J. Trudell. She had recently married and gone to Peshtigo to live. Her husband and another man sat on the back of the buckboard. There was a wall of fire on each side of them and the horse ran off on its own accord. Suddenly the two men fell off. The young wife tried to jump off but Mr. Bartels held her. He couldn't stop, for that would have meant death to all.


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    At the beginning of the fire, a small lumber train which ran to Peshtigo harbor took as many as it could carry down to the harbor. They were safe and soon in communication with outside towns. The train men tried to get back for another load but could not.

    Of course, people in near—by towns were not idle. Men from Marinette and Menominee forced their way through burning logs and hot ashes and brought the sufferers to Marinette. Barracks had been hastily built to house them. Governor Beebe had sent Dr. B. T. Phillips up to take charge. Women of the towns were volunteer nurses. We, in Menominee, helped. We had the Birch Creek refugees and outlying farmers to look after also. From far and near, food and clothing poured in; it continued coming for months.

    I asked Mrs. Stephenson once, when I was in her room, where she got such an oddly shaped white petticoat she was putting on. She said, "Well, when I got to Green Bay, I didn't have a gown to put on, but I was immediately given thirteen white petticoats. This is one of them.

    After the fire destroyed Birch


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Creek, it leaped over about ten miles of green forest and burned the beautiful forest near what we call Greenwoods. Several days after the fire, I went with some friends to try and locate some of their relatives who lived there. I had spent some weeks with them before the fire. We could not get beyond Birch Creek. It was strange to see these great forest trees lying row after row, as though cut with a scythe, their tops pointing towards the north. The trunks of some of these great trees still lie in the birch grove beyond Birch Creek.

The fire burned so deeply into the peat bogs near Cedar River that it was still burning a year later. At times, during the first winter after, smoke came up through the snow. The fire got a good start early in the evening of the 7th of October (1871), but the height of its fury and destruction came in the morning of the 8th between one and five a.m. approximately.

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