MERLIN ENNIS -- Memories l877- l882

Written circa 1955

Transcribed by Anonymous

MERLIN ENNIS -- Memories l877- l882 
Little Neenah Creek:  It is not much of a stream.  Its small flow empties into Neenah 
Creek and that into the Fox River which discharges in Green Bay, an arm of Lake Michigan.  
So a pint of water from Little Neenah may flow over Niagara some day.  A teaspoonful may 
eventually reach the Atlantic Ocean and roll a grain of sand up an African beach.  Little 
Neenah Creek is almost wholly in the town of Douglas, which is the southwestern corner of 
Marquette County.  The creek rises in some marshes in the Western part of the township.  
Possibly some of the springs are in New Haven, the home of a locally famed baseball team, 
the New Haven Clippers.  The house where I was born stood under a towering cottonwood, on 
the East side of the road (from Douglas Center to Briggsville), and just south of the creek.  
Below the bridge there was a deep pool with a sloping sandy beach on the side toward the 
house, a typical swimming hole, a hole in which I was never permitted to go.  I recall 
watching my father and the hired man wash the sheep there in preparation for the shearing.  
The sheep were penned in on the beach side.  The men would seize a sheep, drag it into the 
stream, souse it under, then thoroughly knead and squeeze the fleece until a major part of 
the year's collection of grime had been washed away, then, to the great relief of the 
baptized, it was lifted onto the high farther bank which was in a pasture, where it stood 
about, dripping. 

Very indistinctly I recall that one day Bat Mullin came with cables, planks, rollers, and 
a windlass.  His gang jacked our house up, put skids put under it, and rollers under the 
skids; the cable attached to a sling attached to each side of the house was wound onto the 
windlass and our house went careening and creaking across the road to be placed on foundations 
on a cellar hole that had been prepared on the west side of the road and not so adjacent to 
the swimming hole.  I have an idea that mother [Charlotte Chapman] was the mover behind the 
professional mover. 

One of my oldest and most definite memories concerned a day when mother's sister, my aunt 
Carrie [Chapman], at that time unwed, wanted to know if I would like to go and look at the 
creek.  I was delighted to do so.  On the west side of the road, there were trees along the 
stream all the way back to the hill where there was a long steep sandy slope from the hill 
top to the stream which rippled over a bright sand and pebble bottom.  We strolled, picked 
up things to carry home.  When we got back, I found that I was the brother of twin sisters, 
Lola and Lulu -- an event that made less of an impression on me than the wonderful trip 
along the Little Neenah.  This when I was three years old. 

The first fish:  Perhaps I was two years older when, one day, my father [Hugh Ennis] had to 
repair a pasture gate on the far side of the creek and near the bridge.  He took along a fish 
line and hook attached to a short alder pole.  Father baited the hook and directed me to drop 
the wormed hook into the stream.  After cautioning me not to fall in, he went to his task with 
hammer and nails.  It was not long before I had a bite and soon I pulled up a bullhead and 
while it was flopping around on the planks, I jumped up and down In glee, piping at the top 
of my lungs, "Tartar Jack Welch, Tartar Jack Welch."  I have no idea who that character may 
have been. 

Indians:  The Indians used to come and camp beside the creek.  They built their wigwams at 
the end of the hill where it seemed as though Little Neenah had cut off the hill.  This was 
a sheltered nook where there was good water and firewood.  It was the family of Mackawaimi 
which used this site.  He was an example of the aborigine which one wishes to think of.  
Mackawaimi was an oldish man, tall and thin, who walked with a lithe dignity that was 
indicative of the soul.  Occasionally, he ate at our table.  At the time, I, as a child, 
never gave a thought to the difficulties that he and his family must have had in remaining 
alive.  I recall that once, in the winter, some two or three of father's hogs broke through 
the ice on the creek and were drowned.  With some hesitation, my father suggested that 
Mackawaimi might utilize some part of the carcasses.  With very sincere gratitude, he took 
them, saying they could utilize all.  This was a case where we ourselves might have enjoyed 
spare ribs. hams, etc. if we had not been stopped by artificial squeamishness. 

Other Indian families camped near by, but not on Mackawaimi's site.  Most of the others 
belonged to the Da Corah family.  There was the father of the clan, Big Jim, Sam, and a 
younger, crafty member whose name comes back to me as Will.  Associated with them, although 
I am uncertain of their relationship, was Old Aleck and his squaw Pasigaw.  Each was one-eyed.  
The legend was that when Aleck was on a spree, he beat Pasigaw and blinded one eye.  The camp 
court took up the case and decreed that the culprit should be punished by having an eye 
destroyed.  They were both of them undignified and persistent beggars. 

Some of the younger Indians sought work, usually grubbing out trees or in wood cutting.  
Most, if not all, the Indians of that period were Winnebagos who had been removed from the 
area by the Federal Government and placed on reservations west of the Mississippi.  They, 
having lived in a wooded land of lakes and streams, did not like the prairies so they just 
walked back.  In a condition of acute destitution, they begged help from those who now held 
their former lands with the formula, "Me heap footsore, walkum all the way from Nebraska."  
In these circumstances, there were those who were ready to exploit their need. 

McMillen and the Indians:  I recall father McMillen as a tall, thin, white-bearded man who 
lived In the valley of the Neenah, some three miles to the north and east.  There was a 
large family of young men and very good looking daughters.  "Old McMillen" was a friend 
of the Indians, a sort of co-opted chief.  They went to him with all their troubles, even 
family and personal ones.  All his life he never failed them and, when there was any dispute 
with a white, the Indian would appeal to McMillen with the well founded statement, "McMillen, 
he know." 

Indian economy:  The Indians followed a cycle of seasonal camps.  In the spring, they hunted 
wild fowl and caught the sucker and red horse that were pushing into the smaller streams to 
spawn.  Later, some of them made plantings of squaw corn.  In late summer, they went into 
Adams and Juneau counties to gather blue berries, after that, they moved to regions where 
the wild rice grew in order to harvest that.  Later, they went deer hunting.  In the winter, 
they came among the farms where they looked for work, hand-outs, and sold their manufactures: 
excellent baskets made from ash splints, moccasins, beaded work -- some of this artistic and 
well done.  In speaking of McMillen, I forgot his son-in-law, Mr. Lee, a lawyer who lived in 
Stevens Point.  He was equally devoted to the welfare of the Indians and took up their rights 
before the courts.  Some of those who were cheated of their prey dubbed him in derision "Lo 
the poor Lee."  Certainly he made no money off the defense of human rights. 

In those days, circa 1880, the Indians wore blankets and moccasins.  The squaws had a sort 
of legging coming up to the knee.  In the outer side of the leg, they carried a well sharpened 
knife, sheathed between the leg and the legging.  With frontier toughs, this secured them 
a degree of respect.  Some of the men still used the bow and arrow.  The bow was not very 
long, of a rectangular cross section and, I believe, made of hickory.  The arrows were of 
wood.  They danced and sang on occasion, thumping a sort of tambourine-shaped drum.  We 
could hear them altogether too clearly from our house.  The steady monotonous beat of the 
drum and an occasional shouted "hi-yah, hi-yah, hi-yah -- hee-ee-e," 

Mixed blood:  There were some of the older settlers with some Indian blood.  Instead of a 
pride in this, they tended to forget it.  There was a character of whom I often heard, 
although I never saw him, Indian Jack.  I surmise there was some reason for the name.  What 
his real name was I never knew.  There was a corny anecdote about him which ran thus:  at a 
dance, a young woman wishing to embarrass him said, "Jack, is there a little Indian in you?"  
He replied, "No miss, but there was in my mother before I was born."  (Blushes). 

Douglas Center:  Geographically, this place must have been very near the center of the 
township.  It is a place  that has been like many places in New England, and for the same 
reason.  In Angola, for bureaucratic reasons of the past, I had to state in writing the date 
and place of my birth.  The place where I was born no longer had an existence.  When the 
county was settled, there was need of lumber for making doors and furniture and the grinding 
of grain for the making of bread.  The one available source of power was from the water in 
the streams.  Thus it happened that many small centers of population gathered about a grist 
mill located at some place where a stream could be dammed and a mill built.  So we have 
Briggsville, Oxford, Westfield, Montello, and there was Douglas Center where a dam was built 
on Neenah Creek.  I do not know who built the original mill but, at the time I became conscious 
of affairs, the owner and operator was Oscar Pomeroy.  Our house must have been a little over 
half a mile outside the town.  We were friends and visitors of the Pomeroys.  I cannot recall 
all the inhabitants.  I know there was a blacksmith shop.  Probably Johnny Blume was the smith. 
 His sister [Mary] had married my uncle Jim Ennis.  There was one son [John Ennis] and they had 
separated.  The Blumes were Germans and the elder Blume's farm joined ours on the west and over 
the hill.  Johnny, the blacksmith, ate at our house occasionally.  I recall two inventions of 
his.  He described a certain person as having a bad "forgettery" and he spoke of an addition 
to a house as a "condition."  If he had gone in for journalism instead of iron mongering, 
undoubtedly he would have enriched the language.  The store and post office were run by Mr. 
Pierce.  There was also a tavern; I do not recall under whose management.  There was a dress 
maker.  Pat McMahon's house was in the village and his farm on the side of it.  It was a 
rambling structure under some great trees.  My memory of it centered about a chain pump in 
their well, and the first I had seen.  The chain ran over coggle wheels, one on the platform 
at the top and another submerged in the water of the well.  Every six inches or a foot on the 
chain there was a rubber-edged disk which just fitted the bore of an iron pipe which reached 
down into the water.  When the handle of the top wheel was revolved, the disks brought up water 
which ran out of a spout at the top 

McMahons:  There was a numerous family.  Mr. McMahon was a thin man and worked hard to keep 
his large family fed and clothed.  His fences were in disrepair so my father used to speak 
of the youngsters as "McMahon's fence," for they were used to an extent in keeping the live 
stock in place.  Once when I went with my mother visiting at their house, we saw that their 
cattle were breaking into the corn field.  My mother gave the information as soon as we 
reached the house.  Mrs. McMahon called the oldest boy and said, "Patsy, run and get those 
critters out of the corn, and don't go draggin' a horse under you, nayther." 

On the east side of the mill stream, where I never went, there was the house of Widow White.  
Below the mill on the east side of the creek there was a high cliff-like bank with trees, 
and among them a small house occupied by a hermit old bachelor, Peter Dunn. 

Pomeroys:  Now to return to the miller, Ock Pomeroy.  His wife's name was 0live and her 
home was in the southeastern part of Wisconsin and one of her friends was the poetess 
Ella Wheeler Wilcox.  One of my early playmates was Willie Pomeroy.  He was one of the 
untamed and uninhibited.  As a child, I recall seeing "hair snakes."  They were in water, 
a little thicker than a horse hair, and transparent.  Popular word had it that they were 
horse tail hairs that had come alive in water.  I recall Willie pulling hairs from his own 
head and throwing them into the horse trough in order to raise up hair snakes for himself.  
One day when his mother was having a "tea" for neighbor women, she aimed to set a social 
norm for the benighted and wished to send Willie to fetch a bread board from the kitchen.  
He expressed the unwillingness common to children putting on company independence.  Finally 
his mother broke through his alleged ignorance and he said, "Now I know" and went through 
the house chanting, "The guttin' board, the guttin' board, the guttin' board" to the amusement 
of the guests and the chagrin of his mother.  He had a faithful small dog which allowed him 
to bury it in a heap of leaves, which Willie fired, removing much of the dog's coat.  My 
last recollection of WilIie was his first day at district school, which was about two miles 
from our house.  Our teacher was a veteran with many years' experience, Kate Donaher.  Willie 
was in the front seat and when she told him to do something or other, Willie not only refused 
but was offensive in method.  When she insisted he, being unacquainted with the voice of 
authority, told her if she felt that way about it he was going home and he started for the 
door.  With one swoop the teacher had him by the collar with one hand and brought a switch 
from the desktop with the other, and started such a vigorous intimacy between the two 
handsfull that not a breath was drawn in the benches for the next half minute.  Willie 
stayed, shut up, and did what he was told.  I cannot say that the teacher was an educator 
but, as there are practical nurses, so Miss Kate Donaher was a practical teacher. 

Associated with Ock Pomeroy was his younger brother Hank.  They and a third person, I guess 
a brother-in-law, were interested in some new invention having to do with producing flour 
by a new method.  I know I heard the words "rollers" said.  Perhaps it was the roller process 
which made all the old stone grinder mills obsolete.  I may have been where history was made.  
I know that the Pomeroys sold the mill, went away, never came back, and were reputedly 
prosperous.  A sister, Rosie, a buxom red headed young woman, was a friend of mother's who 
often stayed at our house a week at a time, and teased me by calling me "Merlin B. Ennis." 

The Widow Green:  In later years, I have often wondered who she may have been and where she 
went.  The bridge from which I caught my first fish was the Widow Green Bridge.  On the north 
side of the creek and west of the road there was a small field of father's, about four acres, 
which was called the 'Widow Green field.'  The year that I graduated from Endeavor Academy, 
father let me have his buggy team and the surrey and the graduation class went to Portage City 
to have the class picture taken.  We were Martha Bennett, Maggie McMillen, Alfred Gardner 
(Allie), Jim Bennett, and myself.  After exposing ourselves to the camera, we drove back to 
Douglas so that the Academy baseball team could play a local club.  The game was played in the 
Widow Green field.  Jim Bennett was captain, played first base, and hit a home run.  I pitched 
the game; we won, and it was the last game I played on the Academy team.

Pinery Road:  Long ago, a street in Portage City cut diagonally across the right angled net 
work of streets conforming to the mid-west city plans.  It was called Pinery Road.  The last 
time I was in this metropolis, the name of this old thoroughfare had been modernized and it 
is called Franklin Street or some other such tasteless name.  Early in the century, the birds 
of prey had begun to exploit the great pine forests of North Wisconsin.  Great fortunes were 
made and individuals made honorable, elected to prominent offices, and their names permanently 
embedded in history on the basis of the amount of loot taken from the public domain.  One 
outlet for their loot was the Wisconsin River.  The river furnished the power to operate the 
mills which turned the logs into lumber.  The river brought the logs down to the mills; the 
river carried the rafted lumber down to the Mississippi, to St. Louis and to the world. 

The river did not present a channel for the food, tools, and machines needed for logging 
and lumber making.  These supplies were taken in by teamsters, by wagons in the spring, 
summer, and autumn, and by sleighs in the winter.  Horses were the chief motive power.  
As oxen were used in logging, I suppose that the oxen went into exile attached to some 
vehicle.  No one has ever spoken of the roads as having been made and it is probable that 
little effort was given to their upkeep away from the advancing settlement. 

Portage Wisconsin:  Portage, on the boat portage between the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers and 
later on the line of the Chicago, Milwaukee and Saint Paul Railway, was a point of departure 
for supplies being teamed to the "pineries."  As far as I knew, Pinery Road came through 
Briggsville, passed to the west of a chain of hills, crossed the Little Neenah along the 
west side of the Widow Green field, passed Riley's, on up to the west of Neenah Creek, 
through Oxford, and on and on up to Grand Rapids (later the name was changed to Wisconsin 

Pinery Road at Little Neenah:  When I came to observe traffic, much of it had been diverted 
across the top of Widow Green Field and onto the turnpike running due south as straight as 
a line on ruled paper.  This road went past our house.  Portage was the shopping center for
 a great agricultural area.  I believe that it was 13 miles by road from Widow Green Bridge 
to Portage.  Farmers from as far away as twenty five miles passed our house, taking fowls, 
eggs, butter, hogs, wool, wheat, and other produce and coming back at night or the next day 
with stuff purchased in the better and cheaper merchandise found in the local metropolis.  
This road in wet weather was muddy and rutted, in dry weather, sandy and dusty.  The slope 
up from the bridge on the south side of the creek was red clay.  In the spring and in time 
of heavy rains, vehicles sank into this clay clear to the hubs.  My father kept a yoke of 
oxen and a long chain.  With them he rescued many a baffled wayfarer.  Oxen are better 
draught animals than horses for such occasions for they do not have the "nerves" of the 
swifter animals.  Kipling's "the bullock is a fool" was assembled by some one unfamiliar 
with the ox.

Peddlers:  The road brought to us many friends and visitors as well as the passers by who 
wished a drink of water or directions in order to get to where they wished to go.  There 
were also the tramps and the city folk going a-hunting or a-fishing.  There were the peddlers 
and the mobile traders such as "Yankee Smith."  I do not know that he was a yankee; he was 
called that because his caravan was loaded with "yankee notions" as well as pieces of dress 
goods and some kitchen ware.  He was welcomed, asked to stop to dinner or over night.  He 
was a purveyor of local news and gossip.  One character who went about with horse and light 
wagon selling meats was an Englishman, Joe Tempest.  He was about as tempestuous as a tea pot. 
 My father would tempt him to make his standard reply to a certain complaint.  Father would 
say, "Mr. Tempest, this meat is a little high."  Joe would reply, "'E smells a little, but 
not enough to 'urt."

Philips:  Some miles to the north there were two English brothers, Philips, Tom and his wife 
were well to do, great friends of mother, and they had no children.  Joe Philips, the brother, 
was an indifferent farmer.  He had a numerous family.  He too had an habitual answer.  Most 
folks when making the long journey to Portage would get away early and pass our house before 
we had breakfast.  Invariably Mr. and Mrs. Joe Philips with their numerous brood in the wagon 
box would come along sometime toward eleven.  When this was spoken, Joe, a thin dispirited man 
would say, "One of the children was sick in the night and we did not get hup 'til habout hate 

Binding out boys:  A road leads to all the world; even a dead end street has a live end.  A road 
such as the Pinery Road is an exit as well as an adit.  The two decades following 1845 brought 
people from many lands to Marquette County, even some Africans.  In the following twenty years, 
there was a steady exodus.  I as a child did not comprehend what I saw and heard.  The county was 
fairly filled up and, to some, their numerous progeny proved to be a problem, a problem which was 
often the sole heritage of the progeny.  I heard without understanding that some one or other had 
"bound out" his son or some young man had been "bound out" to such and such a farmer and that when 
he was twenty one that the young man planned to go west.  This must have been some sort of apprentice-
ship which had gone out before I was grown up, for in my later years I never heard of any such practice.

As it was in the seventies and up into the eighties, young men went away to work. Many of them went 
to the "woods."  That was up North into the lumber or logging camps.  This, in general, was a seasonal 
occupation and lasted through the winter while there was little doing on the farm.  Others went to work 
on the prairie.  The prairie was anywhere south of the railway from Portage to Milwaukee and east of the 
line from Portage to Janesville.  There were large well developed farms with good soil and good markets 
in this region, and some of those who went there to work got year long employment.  There were others who 
went to Iowa and Minnesota for the harvesting season.

Father went to Dakota:  About 1881 when the Northern Pacific was building and there was offer of government 
land In North Dakota and Montana, some sold their holdings and moved their families to this land of promise.  
Father went along with some of his friends to look and see.  He got work on the construction of the bridge 
across the Missouri River at Bismark.  He had time to look around and was not tempted.  After he came back, 
he and mother decided to sell the farm and move to the Wisconsin Central line at Merritt's Landing in the 
town of Moundville and set up a country store and lumber yard.  This they did in 1882 when I was eight.

People of Douglas:  There was much in the way of character in the region just emerging from the pioneer stage.  
Many of the farmers were either immigrants from Ireland or from Germany.  These immigrants were in the south-
western two thirds of the town.  Most of them were Roman Catholics and some were uneducated.  There was a 
story of one priest who served the parish whose church was in Briggsville.  He was preaching on the theme 
of improving living conditions.  He, an Irishman, praised the housekeeping and upkeep of the Germans in 
his parish.  Then he said, "When I go to the house of an Irish parishoner and approach the door to knock, 
I stand with my feet wide apart.  And now why do I do that?  Why, of course, so I won't interfere with the 
pig when the door is opened.  Now then, quit making your pastor straddle." 

O'Rahelty:  One of our closest friends and our closest neighbor was Mr. Riley, Morgan O'Rahelty, but as the 
Americans could not say that with the proper gutterals, he compromised on Riley.  He had a small farm and, 
as I recall, there were two or three grown children.  There was a son, Morgan, who was married, a bit spoiled, 
and at one time he, his wife and child lived with the old man.  We were visiting there and I went out to slide 
on a patch of ice.  The young grandson joined in the sport although he had bare feet.  It was my first realization 
of what it is to be poor.  It bothered Johnny not at all.  There was a young girl of ten or twelve, Maggie, who 
was fond of me and sponsored me on the long trip to the Parrott School.  The elder Mr. Riley was a staunch friend 
to the family and always glad to neighbor.  He had a peculiarity of speech whereby all words with "WH" in them he 
pronounced the diphthong as "F."  In speaking of a road race with some other farmer he said, "I firled and hit the 
fite horse with my fip."  (I whirled and hit the white horse with my whip.)

Peter Dunn:  Peter Dunn, he of the small house above the mill stream, was often helped in one way or another.  
Father was clearing some new land and he told Peter that he would give him wood for his winter fire if he would 
cut it up.  When this was done, father hauled the wood with team and wagon to the wee house.  Peter was telling 
Mr. Riley about it and he said, "Hugh is a good man.  It is too bad that he is not a Catholic."  Mr. Riley replied, 
"There are plenty of them about and a hell of a lot of good it does you."  Once, when I had been there with Maggie, 
I came home and told mother, "There were some old men there and Mr. Riley was talking Indian (Erse) with them."  To 
come back to Peter Dunn, once he told father that having meat hunger, he stole one of Widow White's hens and ate it.  
Then, when he went to confession, the father had given him a penance by condemning him to go with half a dozen dried 
peas in each shoe for ten days.  Father said, "Peter, that must have been pretty hard on you."  Peter replied, "Ah Vic, 
I biled them."

O'Keefe:   We were on good terms with our Irish neighbors.  I recall visiting the Clearys, the O'Neills, McMahons, 
Blumes, O'Keefes, and Boyles.  I was a puny kid but I recall how good the men were to me.  They called me "Conn."  
I do not know the significance of this.  I think that it had to do with some belief in incarnation.  Later, when I 
was a student in college, I encountered a boy in his early teens at the railway station In Portage.  He was blinded 
and being sent to the State School for the Blind at Janesville.  I helped him, sitting and conversing with him until 
I turned him over to the proper authority.  His name was Placide Mugenot (I hope that is the spelling).  He was an 
orphan and had been placed with a Boyle family in Douglas, I suppose a son of Pat Boyle of my memory.  Some fool 
youngster had pointed a shotgun at Placide and it had been discharged destroying both his eyes. 

Jack O'Keefe:   Neighbors to the Boyles on the North-South road on the east bank of Neenah Creek was the farm of 
Conn O'Keefe.  The house and farm buildings were in plain sight across the valley from our house.  They were about 
5 miles away, going around by the road.  The threshing machine that came to do our grain was captained by Conn's 
son, Jack.  To my young eyes, he was an heroic figure, like the Lone Ranger of later days to a later generation.  
It was told how Conn O'Keefe tried to keep his son from going into such a dangerous occupation.  Conn said, "I 
devised him and his mother devised him, but he took (name forgotten)'s device and bought a machine and now he 
is gone to the divil entirely." 

Breshnahan:  To the west of us, there was a Breshnahan family.  Corny Breshnahan was the source of many anecdotes.  
My father, passing his farm one day, found him plowing with oxen.  Evidently he was not too familiar with the process 
for he had attached the plow at the full length of the chain.  The long connection caused the plow to run into the 
soil clear to the beam.  My father said, "Mr. Breshnahan, you are plowing pretty deep."  Corny replied, "Ah, Hugh, 
the plow is terribly ayger for the ground."

Heberlein:  On the way from our house to Briggsville, between the corner where we turned to the west for a half a mile, 
between that corner and Neenah Creek, there were two well set up farmsteads belonging to families of Germans, Heberlein 
and Brancell.  On these farms there were two big boys, Fred Brancell and Fred Heberlein.  Later, the latter went away 
to college and seminary.  He was ordained into the ministry, had churches in the Southwest, North Wisconsin and finally 
at Endeavor, where, when we were home on furlough, we renewed friendship.  Since we retired, Fred Brancell, grandson of 
the Fred I knew, went to Angola as a missionary of the Methodist Church.

Grays:  When the road turned south again to skirt the range of hills, we passed three farm houses of Grays:  that of 
Gene (of whom more later), that of Tip Gray who wore a fine heavy beard and, as I remember it, drove mules, then there 
was the house of the father, Old Man Gray.

Waldo and Brooks:  In Bríggsville we traded at Waldo's general store.  Furthermore, we were visitors back and forth.  
Charlie Waldo was widely known and liked.  There was another character in Briggsville known throughout the region, 
Mother Brooks.  One day when I was about three, I was playing in the barn while my father was working at something 
when the wind slammed one of the big doors shut catching one of my bare feet and partially crushing it.  I can recall 
father picking me up and carrying me to the house.  My ankle did not get well and a sore developed.  After a time 
mother said that something had to be done and that I should be taken to a doctor.  Father balked at Dr. Parrot (more 
of him later).  Father said, "Let us take him to Mrs. Brooks."  Mother was a bit dubious.  We went to Briggsville.  
Mother stopped with Mrs. Waldo while father took me across the mill stream and up a small hill on a street leading 
to the south.  The small, low house was on the left hand side of the street.  The herbalist was a short, pleasant, 
motherly person, perhaps sixty years of age.  She asked carefully about the accident, what had been done.  She said 
there was nothing to be concerned over.  I do not recall what medications she provided; I do know that the sore healed 
up and soon I was on the go again.

Curtis Cushman:  One of our Briggsville friends was Curtis Cushman, a young man of a lively disposition, gay and 
entertaining.  Some eight years after we left Douglas, he called at our house and had us all in stitches as he 
related a domestic incident which involved Ma Brooks.  He said that his wife had a mole on her nose and that he 
used to say to her, "Jule, if it weren't for that mole on your nose, you would be a pretty good looking woman."  
So, one day when he was shaving, he was kidding her about the mole when she said, "If you don't like it, why don't 
you cut it off?"  He said, "Pshaw, you wouldn't let me·"  She averred that she would and that as he had his razor 
in hand to go ahead.  This was a "Wade and Butcher" type razor, not a Gillette. The upshot was, that after negotiations 
of the daring kind, he took his razor and sliced it off.  The result was like the bomb at Bikini; they exceeded all 
anticipation.  The stump began to spout blood and they were both panicked.  Application of cloths only spread matters 
and soon the whole front of her dress was soaked and he himself was gored.  He ran and got flour from the flour sack 
and applied it liberally.  He said the combination of flour and blood on face and clothing was horrifying.  Their 
numerous children were circling about weeping and saying, "Papa has killed mama, papa has killed mama."  He said, 
"I began to think I had."  Then Jule said, "Curtis, go get Ma Brooks."  The team was outside, harnessed to the wagon.  
He took one of the horses from the wagon and, without removing the harness, mounted and galloped away to Ma Brooks 
house.  She said, "Why Curtis, what have you done to yourself?"  He said, "It is what I did to Jule."  Then he told 
her and she told him, "Go home as fast as you can; go into the attic and gather some cob webs and put them on her 
nose and I shall come as fast as I am able.  So he went galloping back with the harness flapping.  "When he got back 
the bleeding had lessened.  The cobwebs helped again.  When Ma Brooks came panting, she put on something that stopped 
the flow of blood and then helped them wash up.  He said that cured him of fooling.  A doubtful statement.

Dr. Parrot:  Now to come back to Dr. Parrot.  He and his wife were English -- it exuded from them.  They had a fine 
green-shuttered, white house with lawn and flowers on the east side of the Neenah Creek, a mile above the mill at 
Douglas Center.  He had a farm which he worked using hired help; I do not recall how many.  The grown older son was 
Arthur and I suppose he worked on the farm.  The younger son, Alfred, was grown and a particularly handsome youth.  
Later he married our friend Roay Pomeroy and they succeeded to the farm.  Dr. Parrot had a license to practice and 
did, but his skill was not highly rated.  I have often wondered about his history and what may have led him to come 
and locate in such a community.  Mrs. Parrot was a good looking woman who always was well dressed.  Their chief 
friends were the Brickwells.  Mr. Brickwell was a lawyer living in Portage.

Black sheep:  Then there were the local black sheep.  First there was Jess Morgan.  He was a strong character and 
a well-to-do farmer.  His place was just west of Dr. Parrot's and on the west side of the creek.  There was a fine 
white house and extensive red farm buildings.  He wore a full black beard and drove good horses.  He had been married, 
I believe to a Tiffany, and they had two sons, smart and active young men.  The older, Will, married mother's sister 
Carrie [Chapman].  This was before my recollection.  They moved away to the Dakotas and never returned except for 
rare visits.  The original marriage broke up, I do not know how and Jess took up with a local girl -- my impression 
was that they were not married though living together.  Whatever the merits of the case may have been, it was not 
locally approved.  Perhaps ostracism burned this proud man and he began to drink heavily and ultimately lost his 
farm and moved away. 

Gene Gray:   A somewhat similar case was that of Gene Gray.  He had a good farm, a capable wife from a family of 
repute and, I believe, two growing children.  They were among those with whom we visited.  He became enamored with 
a dashing, gypsy-like daughter of a family of partial repute.  This caused much scandal.  He left the farm to his 
wife; I suppose a divorce was arranged.  I recall going with my parents to call on the discarded wife.  As we moved 
out of the community, I have no recollection of what happened to Gene and Tilly -----. 

Pages:  My father was an Odd Fellow.  The lodge had meetings in a hall in Brlggsville.  One of the brothers was 
Bill Page.  The Pages had a farm some four miles to the northeast.  Bill was an advanced farmer.  I recall that 
he was one of the first to store his hay under a light roof mounted on posts and arranged so the roof might be 
raised and lowered.  The contraption was called a barrack.  Mrs. Page was a daughter of McFaulkner, an Englishman 
resident in Moundville.  They had two sons and two daughters; the youngest, Ellen, is today in 1955, my oldest 
living friend.  Our acquaintance goes back more than 75 years. 

Deaths:  My father's younger brother, David [Ennis], was the pride of the family.  He was a scholar.  Today, I do 
not know where he went to school.  This I know:  that he was principal of the high school in Westfield at the time 
of his death, which occurred in his young manhood.  He was unmarried.  I recall him as a medium-sized, cheery 
individual, red-haired, and with a short, well-trimmed beard.  His death was sudden and unexpected and I can recall 
the gloom and sadness of the whole family.  I could not comprehend the disaster and did not share the sorrow and sense 
of loss.  I suppose that I must have been about 4 years old.  I have written of the birth of my twin sisters in my 
third year (really 4th, I was a bit more than 3 when they were born).  Lulu died of "summer complaint" when she was 
about six months old.  I have no recollection of the sickness, but I can recall the funeral.  The burial was in the 
cemetery near the Loomis School House.  Later, a Presbyterian church was built adjacent to the burying ground.  I can 
recall holding to my father's hand in the cemetery and my mother leaning on one of her sisters while she wept.  The 
people sang hymns and the tunes of two of them were in my memory for many years.

Economics of the 1870s
Subsistence:  The farming was largely subsistence.  People took their grain to the grist mills and had it ground into 
flour.  The grains taken were wheat, rye, maize, and buckwheat.  The Germans went in for rye bread but everyone ate 
wheat bread and mostly from white flour.  The corn meal was used for "mush" and for making "Johnny Cake," also in 
Indian pudding.  I recall my grandfather [Benjamin Henry] Chapman getting the pot of water hot on the kitchen stove 
and with the pudding stick in one hand he sifted corn meal in with the other hand while he stirred steadily until 
the mush was cooked enough, when the pot was lifted off and we all fell to.  I suppose every farm had it's buckwheat 
patch.  Buckwheat was used for feeding fowls, especially turkeys.  All through the winter, people reveled in buckwheat 
cakes with sorghum syrup.  Some mills specialized in the grinding of buckwheat.  There was a mill to the north of 
Packwaukee, run by Charlie Richards, which was famous for its buckwheat flour.  At our house, we also had pancakes 
made from whole wheat flour.  For these, as well as for the buckwheat cakes, a perennial batter was used.  I do not 
know how the batter was started, perhaps newlyweds brought a bit from home to start them in house keeping.  This 
batter was made in a crock or some other such container.  The correct amount of flour, water and salt stirred in, 
and the mixture put where it would enjoy the proper temperature.  In the morning, saleratus would be added and the 
batter blown full of bubbles which gave the cakes their desired lightness.  Here is where the skill of the cook was 
tested, for if there was too much economy the cakes would be soggy and sour; if one was too generous with the soda, 
the cakes would have a jaundiced appearance and an appropriate flavor. 

Sorghum:   Now, in order to have top satisfaction from the buckwheat cake, butter and syrup were required.  Maple 
syrup was a rarity and the molasses sold at the stores was of a robust quality, so the prime favorite was sorghum 
molasses.  Almost everyone had a patch of sugar cane.  In addition to care and fertilizer, this cane had to be cut 
at the right point of sweetness.  As a small boy, I was pressed into the job of stripping the cane.  I was given 
a lath and sent into the patch where I slashed the leaves from the stems.  When this was done, father cut the seed 
tops off  then cut the canes close to the ground with a corn cutter.  The canes were then tied into bundles the 
thickness of a man's thigh and they were piled up crisscross, that is, a layer of bundles laid on poles oriented 
east and west then a layer north and south.  Of course, co-ordination with the points of the compass had nothing 
to do with it.  The pile was covered with hay to prevent evaporation.  When a date had been made with the sorghum 
mill, father loaded the wagon with bundles and we set off the five miles or so to Al McMillen's. 

Al McMillen's cane mill:  Al ran a sorghum mill in addition to operating a large farm.  We found that many had been 
before us so we were assigned a place to put our cane.  I know that father made more than one trip.  This was an 
experience for me.  First I looked at the crusher which was operated by a team at the end of a long sweep.  As the 
horses went round and round, they caused the roller of the mill to revolve.  These rollers stood perpendicular, and 
the man in charge inserted the canes between the rolls which crushed the canes and then squeezed them so that a 
yellowish-green, watery juice ran out and into a large barrel.  There was some one who disposed of the bagasse.  
Next my father took me to the boiling shed.  There was a whole series of shallow, rectangular metal pans set 
over a masonry tunnel in which a fire was kept burning, there being a smoke stack at the far end.  There were 
divisions and gates in the pans.  The watery juice boiled vigorously at the first section and passed on into 
another section where it was thicker and had a yellowish color. There was a person in charge who had a long 
handled skimmer.  He skimmed off a greenish, frothy scum which was put into a barrel.  As the boiling juice 
progressed, there was less scum and, at a certain point, it became thin syrup.  At the end, the syrup was 
drawn off, measured and put into a container.  This final stage required good judgement, for if the syrup 
was insufficiently cooked it would ferment.  Care was needed in the whole process to keep the pans from 
becoming overheated -- syrup with a scorched taste was unpopular.

Summer for the farmer:  The summer was a busy season for the farmer and for the house wife.  A garden was a 
necessity.  This was well manured and plowed early.  The first thing to come on the menu was parsnips which 
had been left in the ground all winter and dug as soon as the frost was out.  Next was asparagus and pie 
plant. Before the winter was passed, most of last year's vegetables had been eaten.  As far as they were 
able, the whole family worked in the garden.  After preparing the ground, there was weeding and hoeing.  
It was an aim to have the first new potatoes and green peas by the fourth of July.  Between the time of 
pie plant and new potatoes, there was the season of "greens" --  dandelions and nettles, also, later, pig 
weeds and red root. 

Autumn:  By the time cold weather set in, there were squashes, pie pumpkins, rutabagas, beets, carrots and 
cabbage to be put away with the potatoes in the cellar.  During the summer, apples had been dried, sweet 
corn dried, jams and jellies made, and some had begun to can fruits in mason jars.  By my day, most every 
farm had an orchard with apple trees and sometimes with cherries and plums.  Everyone expected to grow their 
own strawberries and many had currents, gooseberries, raspberries and blackberries. 

Farm animals:  All farms had cows, fowls, turkeys and hogs; many had geese and some had ducks.  Thus, they 
had turkeys for Thanksgiving and to sell, goose for Christmas, and chicken when wanted.  The hogs were butchered; 
hams and bacon smoked in the smoke house, and lard made in quantity.  Usually, there were no eggs in the winter.  
Milk, butter and cottage cheese were produced in sufficient amounts.  Parenthetically, I may say that sometime 
about 1880, my father, coming back from Douglas Center, reported two new food items for sale:  1) "butterine" -- 
name later prohibited by law and thereafter written "margarine" and said "margerine" and 2) "glucose," sold as 
Karo today.  We tried the glucose and deferred further experiment.

Wild fruit:  As an addition to the diet, most of the farmers did some hunting and fishing.  Many looked for 
wild berries and expeditions were made into the scrub pine regions further north in the blueberry season.  
Most of the farms had a melon patch where they grew both watermelons and muskmelons.  In the fall, hazelnuts 
and hickory nuts were sought and put away for winter use as was a stock of pop corn. 

Home industry:  Then there were the other devices for saving one from having to buy store things.  Most every 
farm had sheep.  Most of the wool was sold but, in many houses, there were spinning wheels and the women had 
cards and teasel.  They knit socks, mittens, scarves, and caps.  Wool was an excellent substitute for cotton 
in making comforters and quilts.  Those who had geese plucked them in season and the feathers acquired made 
the best pillow filling. 

Candles:  Both beef and mutton were used and the tallow was saved for many purposes, especially for making 
tallow candles.  I remember watching my Granny [Mary Pepper] Chapman melt the tallow, put the wicking through 
the orifice at the small end of the molds, pull it tight, and tie it to a nail laid across the larger end of 
the tube.  My thought is that there were eight of these tubes all arranged in one unit.  When the tubes were 
all equipped with wicking, she carefully poured the hot liquid tallow into each tube.  The knot at the bottom 
of the mold kept the tallow from escaping.  The candle mold was set aside to cool and, when the candles had 
hardened, the knots at the tips were untied, the whole set then gently heated, and the candles removed, and 
then the process repeated.

Soft soap:  Another home industry was the making of soap:  soft soap.  I suppose that many who use the term 
as a literary device have little idea about the actual article.  There was a container into which all surplus 
grease was put.  Sometimes this soap grease was offal, dirty or smelly grease.  It was a high grade garbage.  
Somewhere back of the house, there was the "leach."  Some households had an article made for the purpose.  
Ordinarily, there were boards nailed together to make a square some 2x3 feet; some grooves were cut in the 
boards running with the grain. This tablet was mounted on something to raise it up from the ground two or 
more feet.  It was placed at a slant with the length of the boards slanting down.  On this platform would 
be mounted a barrel with some holes bored through the bottom and the bottom of some staves.  Into this barrel 
would be thrown all the wood ashes from the house, then water would be poured on the ashes.  This water, having 
extracted the alkali from the ashes, would seep out through the holes in the barrel, run down the grooves and 
be caught in a container placed to catch the drip.  This drip was lye.  The lye was put away and kept until 
soap-making time came around.  I remember when we made soap.  The cauldron kettle, generally used for cooking 
feed for the hogs, was hung from a pole supported by crotched stakes firmly fixed in the earth, the lye and 
soap-grease put in, and a fire kept going under the kettle to keep the mess simmering.  I do not know how they 
determined how much lye was used in proportion to the fat.  When the soap was made, it was transferred to a barrel 
which was kept in the woodshed.  It was a brownish tinged semi-liquid of a stringy consistency and very slippery 
to feel.  It was not perfumed.  When clothes were to be washed, some was taken out with a dipper and put into the 
suds.  A small quantity was put in one hand preparatory to washing up.  It was tough on dirt and most everything 
else.  As far as I know, after 1890 it was used only by politicians and book agents. 

Fencing:  Fencing was another matter of considerable importance and for the most part depended on home provision.  
The early fences were the rail fence and the worm fence with stakes and riders.  These were still being built while 
I was a boy in Douglas.  They were the fences that earned Lincoln to be called the "rail splitter."  The best rails 
were those split from big logs.  Later, they made excellent firewood.  When the surplus timber was used up, the farmer 
had to turn to other devices.  My earliest memories are of the board and pole fences along the highways.  Fencing 
was perhaps the most common stock of the lumber dealers.  The stuff was unplaned boards, one inch thick, six inches 
wide, and 16 feet long; 12 and 14 foot lengths were also stocked.  All the stores carried fence nails.  These were 
square nails, thicker and stronger than those used in building.  Generally, the farmer cut the posts from his own 
land.  As these were often put in green they rotted soon and were an item of failure and weakness in the project.  
There were three posts to a length, one at each end and one in the middle of the board.  The board needed two nails 
at every post.  Of course, in the whole length of fencing there were two posts to each board length.  The pole fence 
was like the board fence except that those who had long, slim, straight poles cut them to length, sniped the butts 
to a sufficient thinness, and nailed them to the posts.  Sometimes the fence was a combination of boards and poles.

Father and the Tamaracks:  My father owned forty acres of tamarack swamp some five miles to the northeast.  It was 
possible to get to this land only in the coldest period of the winter.  He would go and break a road to this, trampling 
down the snow into the unfrozen slush beneath.  After this had frozen, he would go with horses and bob sleigh to fetch 
poles for firewood and fencing.  He, having spent years in the pine woods, was an accomplished axe man.  He would do 
his chores by lantern light, breakfast while it was still dark, and come back at night with a big load of tamarack.  
Evidently the growth in the swamp was dense, hence the boles of the trees were straight and long, keeping their 
thickness for a considerable distance.  The wood was soft and a very few blows of the axe brought the tree down.  
As the branches were small, in the time of frost most broke off when the tree hit the frozen surface, and a few 
sweeps of the axe and a blow cut off the top.  When he had cut enough for a load, they would be put on the sleigh, 
hauled out of the swamp to hard land, and unloaded for future haulage when the frost had gone out in the swamp.  
Then he would go back to the swamp, eat his lunch, cut more poles, load them, and come home.  He cut red tamarack 
to be used for posts.  This kind was more resistant to rot.  After the cold was past, he secured the services of 
a portable power saw and the poles were split into two, three or four slices.  These slabs and unedged boards were 
used in fencing our fields and pastures.

Metal fencing:  Digging post holes for these fences, setting the posts, cutting the rails to the correct length 
and nailing them on, entailed much hard work and discounted the amount of effort that could be given to production.  
The first metal fencing that I saw was along the road near Date's Mill.  It was a shiny strip of metal (I suppose 
galvanized) fastened to posts.  The next, I believe the same year, was on the farm of "Colonel" (Cornelius) Merritt.  
This was a 3/4" wide strip of galvanized sheet iron, having one edge notched, like saw teeth, and the whole twisted 
and stapled to posts.  We heard from father's brothers, who were farming in Buffalo, that they had bought a kind of 
wire fencing with barbs on it.  I do not recall where I first saw barbed wire itself.  But barbed wire released for 
production much farmer energy. 

Economics for barter:  I have often wondered what the first settlers sold, to whom they sold it, and where it went.  
I do not know when the railroad came to Portage City.  As they celebrated the centennial of the town's organization 
in the fifties, I imagine that the railroad must have dated from about 1850.  My grandfathers came into Marquette 
County in 1848.  My grandfather [B.H.] Chapman was among the first to build in Moundville.  He made no mention of 
a railway.  He and the Haweses came up from Sauk Center way by wagon.  Twenty years earlier, people came to Fort 
Winnebago via the Fox river.  Soon after my grandfather Chapman was established,  Grandmother became hungry for 
bread.  He walked 40 miles or more across country to Beaver Dam and carried fifty pounds of flour back on his 
shoulders.  Where he stopped on the way I was not foolish enough to ask, but it would seem that if supplies had 
been available in Portage that he would have preferred the 15-mile carry.

Packwaukee:  Packwaukee was a trading post from earlier times.  I imagine that the same was true of Montello and 
of Marquette.  There is a legend which was current to the effect that, at the time of the Black Hawk War, both 
Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln visited Packwaukee.  So its existence would reach back to the 1830 -1835 era.  
My first sight of Packwaukee, circa 1880, recorded it as a city.  I know that at that time there were docks, two 
grain elevators and a large storehouse on the bank of the lake (Buffalo Lake, a widening of Fox River).  This would 
lead me to think that the first markets were on the rivers -- Fox and Wisconsin, principally on the Fox.  The saleable 
stuff would be foods for man and beast -- first wheat, then com and oats, cattle, hogs, sheep and fowls, next salt 
pork, corned beef, wool and hides, probably some sale for hay.  Then there would have been sale for wood for steamboats 
as soon as they began to run. 

1850-1860:  Between 1850 and 1865, there must have been great advances in settlement, clearing of farm lands, making 
of roads and building of bridges.  I suppose the digging of the canal between the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers belongs 
to that period.  The war created many demands and the development of the lumber industry created demands for many 
of the products of the farm. 

Hops for beer:  Sometime before my consciousness there must have been a boom in hop raising.  I judge that this rose 
and fell in the 15 year period between 1865 and 1880.  I used to hear my mother [Charlotte Chapman] and her sisters 
discussing experiences at hop picking.  My guess is this was in the period 1870 -72.  When I was a small boy, I can 
recall the sight of a hop yard -- the vines hanging from tall poles set in rows in a field, men bringing vines to 
groups of women and girls gathered round large boxes with barrow-like handles on them.  All through the country 
there were hop houses in later years, distinguished by cupolas for allowing hot fumes to escape.  At the same 
time, on many farms there were stacks of hop poles awaiting the time that they would go into the kitchen stove.  
I saw instruments for pulling hop poles.  When I was about ten, I climbed a stairway at the unused hop-house on 
the Harrison Coon farm and went into the drying chamber.  The floor was made of strips of inch lumber, about 3 
inches wide, set on edge, about an inch and a half apart.  Over these there was fastened some very loosely woven 
burlap.  Peeking through a hole, I saw a large iron box stove in a large empty room.  Our school house, the Town 
Line School, was heated by a discarded hop stove.  I was told that when they raised hops, a hot fire was made in 
the stove in the lower room, the hops were spread in the upper room, the hot air came up through the cracks in 
the floor and out through the cupola, thus preparing the hops for baling and sale.  As far as I can recall, the 
hop business was out by 1882.  What stopped it I do not know. 

Pig feed:  By 1882 when we left Douglas, the dairy industry had not developed.  Potatoes were grown only for local 
use.  In the last years before we left the farm, my father had depended largely on the growing of hogs.  He grew 
quantities of pumpkins and had a machine for grinding corn and oats.  He grew the pigs on pasture, then fattened 
them on corn, potatoes and oats cooked together in the great iron kettle.  And he gave them pumpkins and mangel-
wurzels in the fall.  We had a root cellar. This was the cellar of the house abandoned when the house was moved, 
covered over with beams with poles on top of the beams and plenty of straw over the poles. He grew quantities of 
large carrots, mangel-wurzels, and rutabagas.  These, along with potatoes, were put in the root cellar and in the 
winter were taken out for our food and as feed for the stock. 

Sailor Mann:  I have one vivid memory from this old root cellar.  On two different summers, there appeared at our 
farm a sailor by the name of Mann.  If I am not mistaken, it was Alonzo Mann.  He was a large, bronzed, taciturn 
man with tattooed arms and immense powerful wrists.  He said that he was tired of the sea and was not going back 
again.  He carried a seaman's duffel bag and asked for work, which my father gave him.  He was a good worker.  
One day at table some one mentioned Havana.  He spoke up and said, "I know that place.  I was in prison there 
for three years."  My father said, "Why Mr. Mann, what did they put you in prison for?"  He replied in Coolidge 
style, "Good behavior."

Well, when sister Lola was about two years old we were playing on top of the root cellar.  Lola broke through 
the straw and fell down through to where her arms stopped her descent.  We both began to yell with fright.  
Sailor Mann, who was working near, came running and with a sweep of his powerful arm picked her out and said 
to me, "But why don't you do something for your God damned little sister instead of yelling your head off?" 

Hogs and sheep:  Hog raising was one considerable source of income in the 1870 -1885 period.  Corn, potatoes, 
clover and other things too bulky or heavy to be hauled away to advantage were converted into pork, and this 
found a ready market.  There was a constant discussion of the comparative merits of the Berkshires and the 
Chester Whites as money producers.  Most farmers had flocks of sheep.  There was a considerable clip of wool 
and this was a profitable product.  I remember the wagons going past piled high with wool.  The surplus animals 
could be either carried to market in a wagon or driven in on the hoof.  When we moved from Douglas to Merritt's 
Landing, I drove the few remaining sheep over the roads all the way. 

Roads:  In general, the roads were poor.  They were kept up by the farmers themselves.  There was a poll tax 
and it was permitted to pay this through work on the road.  The township was divided into districts and there 
was a town official in charge of each section.  He had a list of the payers of poll tax in his area and was 
charged with calling out the men and deciding where they should work and what should be done.  It seems to 
me that his title was "pathmaster."  Some of these were definitely interested in good roads, others in 
securing the minimum of compliance.  Under this system, it was hard to develop trunk lines leading to markets.  
When the ground was frozen before the snow came, the wise farmers loaded their wagons to capacity and set out 
for market.  Sleighing sometimes offered good transport facilities, but as there were many rail fences 
reinforced with hazel and briar bushes, there was much drifting of snow in the regular roads and it was 
common for an opening to be made in a fence and a winter road through the fields and woods to be improvised 
and used all through the winter. 

Miscellaneous:  I suppose most readers of Americana know the term "shake roof."  I have, in the Douglas days, 
seen shakes in place and in use on out buildings and old log houses.  They appear to have been a superior type 
of shingle and more durable than those cut with a saw.  I was curious about them.  My father explained their 
manufacture and qualities.  When he went into the 'pineries' in the sixties, he was sent far up into the woods 
to prepare the buildings for the logging camp to be used in the coming winter.  As it was too difficult to 
send shingles, the crew included a man to shave the shakes for the roofs.  A log with a straight grain and 
which split readily would be cut in lengths approximately 20 inches long.  Rectangular blocks would be split 
from these sections.  The man would take a long knife like tool having a heavy back.  He would hit this froe 
(I hope that is the spelling) a sharp blow splitting off a piece, then he would split off a thin slice from 
the block and continue until he had reduced the block to a series of thin flakes.  The ones I saw appeared 
to be about 1/4 inch when well weathered.  After these blanks had been split off with the froe, any unevenness 
was removed.  The shakes were laid as shingles are, but the exposed laps were wider. 

Arrow heads:  I began observing early.  One day when father was plowing, I followed behind him walking in the 
furrow, probably to collect grub worms for bait so that I might go fishing.  I found a large and beautifully 
made point made from a yellowish-pink flint.  It was then called an arrowhead.  My thought afterward was that 
it may have been a lance head.  I called my father's attention to it and together from the same spot we unearthed 
four more.  The five were almost identical.  We surmised that it might have been either a cache or else a burial 
offering.  I do not know where they went later. 

Kangaroo mice:  Since I have been writing, there has come back to me an experience which had gone unrecollected 
for a great many years.  On the west side of the road in a pasture strip there were trees and bushes along Little 
Neenah for a distance of perhaps 75 feet (not heavy growth) on a sloping terrain.  I was strictly charged not to 
go to the stream, an injunction which I always observed.  I was permitted to go to the edge of the partially wooded 
strip.  I was sitting at the root of a tree when I saw a small creature hopping about.  It was not as large as a 
rat but larger than a mouse.  It had long hind legs with short fore legs like a diminutive kangaroo.  At that time, 
I had never seen a kangaroo nor heard of one.  I have never seen such a creature again nor heard of one.  I am sure 
that I saw this and at that time and place.  There is a somewhat similar rodent in Africa which I have seen.

Passenger Pigeons:  I can recall the passenger pigeon in the days of it's abundance.  On the occasions when we went 
to visit my grandfather and grandmother Chapman, it was the ordinary proceeding to avoid going up the stony, bumpy 
hill to the north of Frank Seavy's place (later Whitney's and Frank Sweeny's), cross the field of the old Hawes 
farm (later the Marvin Mills farm), enter the woods on the north side of the field, and go through the woods until 
we struck the regular road at the comer of grandfather's field.  At the place where we entered the woods, the soil 
was sandy with only a scattering of stunted trees.  One time, as we passed on a Sunday, the netters of pigeons had 
had their nets operating in this place during the week.  Some poles used in the operation were lying scattered about.  
There were branches that had been lopped from the standing trees on one side.  I never saw the nets.  It was said 
that the trappers spread buck-wheat on the ground and when a sufficient number of birds had gathered that the net 
was sprung over them by some mechanism, the working of which I did not understand.  I heard the account of how many 
birds were caught, how they were shipped, and the destination.  All of this has escaped me.  It seems that this 
piece of woods was a regular roosting site.  It was also said that so many pigeons attempted to roost on a tree 
that some times the branches were broken down. 

I can remember the last time I saw these pigeons.  It was in 1881.  I do not recall the time of year, perhaps it 
was in autumn.  The birds passed over our house in a ribbon formation going from north toward the south.  I lay 
on my back and watched them streaming by in a stream of numberless individuals.  Their manner of flight and their 
general appearance was fixed on my memory.  I think that I never saw a live bird close at hand.  Twice since we 
have been here in Lexington [Massachusetts], I have seen birds whose flight reminded me of that of the passenger 
pigeon.  Once there were four together.  The next time there were at least a dozen in a flock.  Is there a remnant?

Machinery:  This topic should have preceded the miscellany.  The use of farm machinery must have been making its 
entry into our part of Wisconsin in the 1870s.  I do not know what the first machines may have been.  My first 
and earliest recollection is that most wells had wheel, rope and old oaken buckets, though there were a fair 
number with the sweep, a very long slender tree trunk mounted on a crotch of some height at one side of the well.  
Often a rock was tied to the base of this lateen-like yard arm to be a counter-weight for the pail or bucket 
attached to a hook which was at the bottom end of a slim pole attached to the top of the slanting yard arm by 
some hinge-like toggle.  When it was desired to get water, a bucket was hung on the end of the pole hanging 
over the well; the pole was brought down hand over hand until the bucket was submerged, then the process was 
reversed, the bucket taken from the hook, and the water carried away. 

Windmills and Pumps:  Between 1875 and '80, there was a rash of pump salesmen and pumps, most of them being 
of the wooden variety.  Those who could afford it and who had much stock to water began to put up windmills 
to operate the pumps.  The first windmills had the vanes and tails made of wood.  In order to catch the wind, 
the mills were mounted on tall, tapering, four-legged towers, also of timber, towers such as are now associated 
with oil fields.  Where there were many animals to be watered, a large tank made of planks was placed somewhere 
near the well and the water from the pump spout conducted to the tank by a trough.  The windmill would go on 
patiently clanking and squeaking and filling the tank while the farmer was away working in the fields.  This 
released a considerable amount of manpower for production. 

Horses and Plows:  Most all the old hand tools used by farmers were used by a great many in my childhood.  Some 
of the more progressive farmers had sulky plows, both of the riding and of the walking variety.  They had a plow 
that cut a wider furrow and some, using three horses, had two plows in a gang.  But most of the plowing was done 
with the personally-conducted, wood beam, chilled mold board plow drawn by two horses or a yoke of oxen.  Maize 
was being planted more and more.  Some cultivated this corn with the hoe; even if they used a cultivator drawn 
by one horse, they would go over the field once with the hoe.  I can recall the debates between the followers 
of the single horse drawn cultivator going twice to a row and the "lazy" operators from the cast iron sect of 
the sulky drawn by two horses and doing a row at a time.  The riders introduced wide harrows to take the place 
of the (A) drag and, by harrowing the field after the planting and even after the emergence of the first leaves 
of the corn plants, so discouraged the weeds that subsequent use of the hoe was not needed.

Planting Corn:  My first memory of corn planting was of men with a planting bag tied to the waist, armed with 
a long-handled hoe, the left hand picking four grains from the bag while the other hand was lifting a hoe full 
of dirt from the mark.  The four grains were skillfully dropped into the hole and the dirt dropped back and 
stepped upon in a wonderfully rhythmic series of acts.  And good planters took pride in the amount they could 
plant in a day.  I recall how some brave progressives bought mechanical planters.  One kind was used without 
hands.  This automatically counted out 3, 4, or 5 grains, dropped them into a metal chute, a metal plunger 
shot the seed into the ground and covered it up  -- twenty times while I am writing about it.  Thus there was 
another contender requiring the use of both hands, the hoe, condemned by automation.  More man-hours were added 
to production.  The horse drawn two row planter came later. 

Haying:  In the past, hay had been cut with scythe and grain with the cradle.  The sickle and reaping hook were 
of ancient times.  Grain, after being cut with the cradle, was gathered with a hand rake.  The bundles were bound 
in a twinkling with a handful of straw made into a band by a special twist of the wrist, drawn tight around the 
bundle of grain and knotted, all in one motion.  My father was a craftsman with either scythe or cradle.  In my 
time, he bought a mowing machine, mower, and a horse rake and only finished off corners with the scythe.  The 
mower and horse rake reduced the physical effort and materially shortened the time devoted to haying, and thus 
provided more time for productive labor.  The great hay barns, the haying and the heavy, disagreeable hauling 
of manure were carried on to provide the motive material for the horse power used on a farm to save man power 
and increase its productive capacity. 

Cutting Grain:  Though father bought and used a mower and horse rake, as long as he was on the farm he cut the 
grain with the cradle.  Up to 1882, machines for cutting grain were expensive to purchase and to operate.  They 
were heavy and needed a crew to work efficiently.  When I started to school at the Town Line School, across lots 
from Merritt's Landing, in the fall of 1882, I found an abandoned McCormack reaper in John Merritt's field back 
of the hill at a spot which is now the corner of the cemetery.  This was an immense heavy machine, complete in 
every way.  It appeared to have been used to cut grain in that field and -- as a warrior hung up his shield, 
said, "Never again."  I do not know how long it had been there.  Ten years later when the farm was sold, it 
went to the junk dealer.  This kind of reaper required a number of horses to haul it and a man to run after 
it and rake the grain from the platform on which the grain was laid flat by a revolving reel.  Then at least 
two men had to follow and bind the sheaves, putting them out of the way of the next round of the harvester.

Reapers and Harvesters:  As a boy, I was enthralled to watch the newer, lighter version which had rakes like 
great combs which waved round and round as the three horses pulled it through the heat.  Every so often, one 
of these great combs, instead of swishing the falling stalks into line, would sweep clear down to the floor 
of the platform on which the stalks fell and push the whole accumulation off onto the ground.  Those binding 
the grain would hasten from bunch to bunch.  These swept off bunches did not impede the machine on its next 
round and under these circumstances, the grain could be bound later.  Another machine which preceded the twine 
binder was called a harvester.  On these, there was a platform on which men stood, I believe a crew of four.  
This machine delivered the cut grain to the platform, the "binders" in turn look enough of this for a bundle, 
bound it and put it in a container which automatically dumped off together enough bundles to make a shock. 

Threshing Machines:  I cannot say when the first steam threshers began to take the place of the separators 
run by horse power.  I recall that on the farm, all our grain was threshed by machines run by horse power.  
The threshing machine was a noisy, dusty thing.  If they were threshing from stacks, there would be two men 
pitching from the stack onto the feed boards.  The "band cutter" armed with a knife with saw-like teeth, 
attached to his wrist with a thong, slashed the straw band and pushed the released straws to the "feeder" 
who pushed the grain head first into the teeth of the whirling cylinder and the fixed concaves.  He took 
the straws by their butts and swayed the bunch back and forth to get even distribution.  It was like some 
insatiable dream monster as it devoured and roared and sometimes squealed like an angry bull.  AII the time 
the grain was pouring into the half bushel measurers where the boss kept tally on a slate.  The measurers, 
as they filled, were emptied into a special kind of sack known as grain bags.  If there were plenty of these, 
they were filled, two bushels to a bag, tied and stood in a growing company beside the machine.  Otherwise, 
there were a number of men told off to carry half-filled sacks to be dumped into a bin in the granary.

Some tried to borrow enough bags to take the whole threshing, for the filled bags, two bushels to the bag, 
were a check on the tally on the slate, where an occasional checkmark might be omitted or be duplicated.  
Payment was by the bushel.  I have a faint impression that, in the time I am writing of, the take was 3 
cents a bushel.  The first steam threshers, when they came to the region, were not locomotive, though they 
had wheels.  They were hauled about by horses.  The separator, divested of straw carrier and other accessories, 
was a heavy, swaying, bulky article requiring a good driver to handle the four or more horses used to move it 
from farm to farm. 

Story of too much grain:  Once when a board secretary thought our African mission was over expanded, I wrote 
a parable-like reply which was printed in the Missionary Herald.  This was based on a legend current about 
1880 of a man, his name and locality were given but I cannot recall them, who, while the threshing was going 
on, went into the house and then came out waving his arms, shouting, "Stop the machine, stop the machine."  
This was no simple matter for there was no brake and no clutch to be disengaged.  The driver, who sat on the 
housing of some of the gearing of the "horse power," and from this central post wielded a whip with a long l
ash, would stand up shouting "whoa" and lightly flick the lash of his whip in the faces of the horses.  Every 
man would be at attention, slowly the cylinder and all its related pulleys and belts would lose momentum, as 
well as the "tumbling rod" which connected the horse power to the threshing machine and provoked its activities. 
 When the din had ceased, the head thresher came to find out what it was all about.  The farmer said that he 
had been in the house to count his money and found that they had already threshed more grain than he had money 
wherewith to pay for the threshing.  This statement was hugely enjoyed as well as the "coffee break" welcome 
to man and beast, although there would have been no coffee but there may have been cider.  This is illustrative 
of the humor of the time.  The master whose rate of profit depended on no breaks, laughed with the rest. 

Fanning Mill:  The fanning mill was a machine, already established before my day, used to prepare the grain 
for mill or market.  The chaff and broken straws were driven out by the current of air generated by the fan 
wheels and weed seeds, etc., fell through the sieves which were shaken back and forth at the same time that 
the fan blades were propelling the air through the grain as it fell from the hopper to the sieves.  In the 
old barns, I have seen the flail hanging from a nail but I have never seen it in operation. 

Trucks:  Another improvement of the time was the 10-wheeled, broad-tired farm wagon, generally referred to 
as a "truck."  In pioneering, there was a certain advantage in the use of a wagon with high wheels and a 
tire of 11/2 to 2 inch face.  This vehicle, when used in hauling to and from the fields, would produce ruts 
and sink into soft ground until it became mired or even completely stuck.  Some genius had the idea of reducing 
the size of the wheels and broadening the face of the tire to three or even four inches.  The reduction in 
height made loading and unloading easier.  On fields, meadows and other soft ground, the wheels did not cut 
in, making life easier for horses and drivers.  Immediately these became popular; I believe that at one period 
a differential in taxes was introduced to secure their use on the roads where they flattened out the ruts.

Saws:  The portable saw must have come into common use sometime in the era 1875 - 80, at least in our region.  
I have spoken of the saw which ripped tamarack poles into fencing.  I do not know whether it had a carriage 
or not, nor how the poles were fed to the saw.  The "buzz-saw" was the more common type.  This was run by 
horse power, the tumbling rod running to a jack and from the jack a belt ran to a pulley mounted on the same 
shaft that held the cross cut circular saw.  Poles and logs were cut in the woods, hauled in, and piled in 
advance.  The pole to be cut was laid on a hinged swinging guide, the sawyer advanced this so that the saw 
engaged the wood and with a shriek it cut the piece off.  This was the "buzz."  The stick was advanced a 
stovewood length by the helper and another cut was made.  A third man picked up the block and threw it into 
a pile.  In a day or two, the pile of poles was cut into a heap of blocks for splitting into wood for the 
kitchen stove and chunks for the "acorn" heater.

The Flood:  This had nothing to do with Noah but it was the subject of interest and conversation for the whole 
countryside.  The high water was in the Wisconsin River. I am not sure of the year, but think that it was 1880.  
The Fox River makes a turn at Portage and flows north to Green Bay, Lake Michigan, and the St. Lawrence.  A 
mile and a half away, across a sandy plain, the Wisconsin river, diverted to the east by the barrier of the 
Baraboo Bluffs, here turns to the southwest to empty Into the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico.  It is said 
that the bed of the Wisconsin is some feet higher than that of the Fox so that, if it were desired, that stream 
could be diverted to the St. Lawrence system.  The canal connecting the two rivers had locks to prevent any such 
diversion.  Levees were constructed along the Wisconsin to prevent accident in case of high water.  In the year 
of the flood, there must have been a greater flow than usual and the levee in Lewiston, some 10 -15 miles west 
of Portage, gave way and the flood waters poured into the "Big Slough"  -  I suppose the relic of prehistoric 
events.  The water there broke into Neenah Creek which joins the Fox somewhere about the southern line of Marquette 
County.  Neenah Creek has low banks and, below the junction, the Fox is bordered by marshes and swamps till it 
comes to Buffalo Lake at Endeavor.  Buffalo Lake is from 1/2 mile to 3/4 mile wide and 14 miles long, ending at 
Montello.  The result was that a raise of level of say eight feet flooded a great deal of territory, shut off 
many roads, and floated bridges away.  The Fox had a great many fish in it, and some quality of the water from 
the Wisconsin caused the fish to die.  My memory of the flood is of the vast number of dead fish cast up on the 
shore of this temporary lake and reeking to heaven in the summer sun.  On a visit to grandfather's, I went with 
my father and uncles when they went to view the damage.  After we moved to Merritt's Landing, I know that in 
ditches on the right of way of the railroad there were still fish left there from the time of the flood. 

My Forbears:  My father, Hugh Ennis, was the son of John and Mary Ennis and was born on Amherst Island in Lake 
Ontario near Kingston on February 17, 1846.  Grandfather was the son of William Ennis of Kircubbin, County Down, 
Ireland, who was known as "Big Willie Ennis."  Grandfather John Ennis was born January 1, 1805 and died March 23, 
1885.  Mary (McGee) Ennis was born May 1, 1816 and died April 18, 1884.  Father died June 26, 1933.  Mother was 
Charlotte E. Chapman, the daughter of Benjamin Henry Chapman and Mary Pepper Chapman, and was born at Trenton 
Center, Dodge County, Wisconsin on June 26, 1849.  B. H. Chapman was the son of Charles Chapman and Sarah Chapman 
and was born in Ballyloughlin Parish, Wicklow, Ireland on October 24, 1820.  His mother's name was Sarah Hudson 
before marriage.  Mrs. B. H. Chapman was born Mary Pepper of Avoca, Wicklow; it is supposed that the name was of 
a French refugee family, Peppard.  She was born in 1819 and died May 30, 1888.  Mother died September 11, 1917. 

Ennis Farm:  Grandfather Ennis came to Wisconsin sometime between 1847 and 1850.  He bought the farm of Mr. Muir, 
the father of John Muir, the naturalist, beside Muir [Ennis] Lake in the town of Buffalo, Marquette County, 
Wisconsin.  Besides my father, there were seven other sons:  Thomas, William, John, James, George, Samuel and 
David.  There were two sisters:  Mary, who married Hugh McGuin, and Eliza, who married Alonzo Yates.  My father, 
when he was a boy, lived with a Tiffany family for four years, I believe about 1856 to 1860.  He had little 
schooling, perhaps equal to four grades.

Father in the Pineries:   When my father was sixteen or seventeen, he went to the pine woods where there was 
demand for workers.  He worked for a lumberman by the name of Rabelin whose business was in Grand Rapids, now 
Wisconsin Rapids.  He spent two of the four years that he worked for Rabelin at the head waters of the Wisconsin 
River at Lac Vieux Desert.  He worked in the pine woods in the winter and, with a companion, herded the work 
oxen in the summer when the other workers went down the river with the logs. 

He must have left the pine woods when he was twenty or twenty-one, probably in 1866.  I know little of his life 
from that time until his marriage in 1872.  He bought a farm adjoining the old home farm on the west side of 
Ennis Lake.  One day, in talking with him, he spoke of being engaged in transport "teaming" - probably hauling 
supplies to the pineries and returning with lumber.  The time he spoke of this was to relate an instance of Irish 
ability to make a snap reply even in the case of youngsters.  He said that he was walking to keep his feet warm 
when he overtook a small boy on his way to school.  Father, in order to start a conversation, said, "Bub, do you 
know where I am going?"  The lad without waiting an instant, said, "To Hill (Hell), I suppose." 

After his marriage, he traded farms with his brother-in-law, Hugh McGuin, who had married Mary Ennis.  Each wife 
wished to be near her own people.  That is how I came to be born in Douglas Center.  My father and mother were 
married at Thanksgiving in 1872.

Mother's early life:   I know few details of my mother's early life.  She grew up on the farm overlooking Buffalo 
Lake.  I suppose she spent her first winter in the log house which was on an old farm purchased by my father in 
the 90s: later he sold the old homestead to Marvin Mills.  My grandfather Chapman told me some of the scouting 
for a home in the "Indian Land" thrown open for settlement in about 1849.  He joined up with a Mr. Hawes.  Mr. 
Hawes was of old American pioneer stock.  They came up with horses and wagon to look out a place.  They chose 
a place lying between a tamarack swamp and Buffalo Lake, about a mile from each.

Wisconsin in 1848:  My grandfather said that the whole county was like a park.  It was covered with tall grass 
with an occasional great oak tree.  The grass was so tall that, in order to mark the trail for the return, they 
cut a small tree and tied it to the rear of the wagon and let it trail as they went back to fetch their families 
from Dodge County. 

First winter in Moundville:   When they came back with them, it was already late and they were put to it to 
complete a house before real hard winter set in.  They cut logs in the tamarack swamp and built a large log 
house.  These were fine timbers for, some 45 years later when father bought the place, I helped tear down the 
wall and haul away the logs which were sound and as hard as bone.  I think that the building was roofed with 
shakes.  A large fireplace for cooking and heating was made of stone.  They did not have bricks for the chimney, 
so they cut green oak and split it into straight, even sticks some 40 inches long; then they secured some clay 
and mixed it with marsh grass to make a sort of mud layer.  The oak sticks were built up log-house style, a 
layer of mud-cake hung over each stick, some of the cake lapping down inside and some outside.  So they built 
a wood-clay chimney which, when duly dried, smoked, and fire-hardened, disposed of the smoke for that winter.  
Two families pioneering through a long Wisconsin winter was a bit trying and generated an isolationist yen.  
At any rate, the Chapmans, having chosen land and a building site under a hill with a wonderful view of lake 
and woodland, built themselves a more comfortable house and moved away to it, a distance of about a mile.  
The Hawes family continued on in the first house, which was roomy and durable in spite of its hurried building. 

Mother taught school:  I have no recollection of accounts of my mother's school days.  She spoke of the anxiety 
the family had lest my grandfather be drafted into the civil war army, and the relief they felt when he became 
45 and no longer subject to military service.  About the time that she was twenty, she secured a certificate 
authorizing her to teach in the district schools.  I believe that this was called a third grade certificate.  
As far as I know, she taught in three schools.  Once in a school somewhere in the direction of Big Spring, in 
an Irish settlement.  I recall that she told stories of her experience.  One was that of the younger of two 
brothers who came to school bawling and, on being questioned, said that his brother thrust a bunch of nettles 
into his face after asking him to smell them.  The older brother, when interrogated, answered in the lisp which 
he had, "That'll teath him to go sthmellin' of everythin'."

Again, she taught in the Beyer school in the northwest of Douglas or the southwest of Oxford.  Here she boarded 
with Mr. and Mrs. Tom Philips.  They were English, well to do, and had no children, and neither was able to read 
nor write.  They became very much attached to mother and she was like a child to them as long as they lived.  
Mrs. Philips, Maria, lived with us for a considerable period after her husband died.

The last school that she taught was in the town of Buffalo.  This was the district in which the Ennises had gone 
to school.  Here she met my father and they were married in 1872 at Thanksgiving time.  I recall very little that 
she reported from her experience in this school. 

My Aunts:  Two of my mother's sisters taught school.  These were younger sisters, Ella and Harriet.  I have a 
feeling that the oldest sister, Sarah, also taught, but I have no sure memory of this.  She, Sarah, married 
Andrew Reid of Buffalo, a leader of the United Presbyterian church of the community.  They had five children.  
Duncan became an authority on fowls and taught at a branch of the University of Texas at College Station.  
Logan also was a teacher and taught at Berkeley.  The youngest, Walter, stayed on the farm and cared for his 
parents.  After their death he, in his forties, moved to Wheaton, Illinois, attended college and seminary, and 
is now a minister of the regular Presbyterian church.  Of mother's other sisters, Carrie married Will Morgan.  
They then went west to Minnesota, Dakota and to Canada.  Ella went to Minnesota to teach.  She married Frank 
Bishop and they moved to South Dakota.  The youngest, Harriet, also went to Minnesota where she married a man 
by the name of Daniel Arbuckle.  The had a family and were absorbed into the life of the state. 

Joe Chapman:   The oldest male of the Chapman family married Lide Waldo.  They went to central Missouri and had 
a farm near Breckenridge.  The land was good and they became well-to-do.  He adopted the ways and speech of the 
south and was elected county judge, and in his later years was Judge Chapman.  Their family consisted of two sons 
and a daughter, Elizabeth. 
Cousin Lizzy:  Elizabeth was near my age.  I never met her.  My impression of her is that she was a proper and 
conscientious miss and not equipped with the steel-trap, sharp, worldly wisdom of her mother.  She gave one an 
impression of extraordinary intelligence, shrewdness and capacity.  At any rate, at that time I was about to go 
to Africa and later, I developed a correspondence with cousin Elizabeth.  She was quite solicitous for my equipment 
and urged that I be sure to subscribe for the Saturday Evening Post.  Much later I did.  Our common aunt, Ella 
Bishop, was more or less of an invalid for several years.  Elizabeth wrote in one of her letters, "Aunt Nellie 
has become a Christian Scientist; she is much better.  Isn't it too bad?"  It is possible that I have misunderstood 
Cousin Elizabeth.  On the occasion of her marriage, she wrote many details of the extensive sewing operations that 
she and her mother were engaged on in preparation for the event, and they were in despair of completing them.  She 
wrote, "but fortunately, Charles fell and broke his arm and the wedding had to be postponed for two weeks." 

Henry Chapman:  Another brother went west to Minnesota where he found relatives.  My great grandfather died young, 
the circumstances I never heard.  My great grandmother, Sarah Hudson Chapman, married again (Charles Johnston) and 
had children, half brothers of my grandfather.  At some later date, some one of these came to Minnesota.  Henry 
Chapman married Charlotte Johnston, his half cousin.  They lived for some years in South Dakota and, on the death 
of my grandmother, came to live with grandfather and ultimately inherited the farm. 

Cecil Chapman:  Cecil Chapman, another brother, married an heiress, Ann Brown. They lived on one of the farms she 
inherited, then Cecil worked for the railway, moved to South Dakota and finally he and Ann came back to Endeavor 
and spent their remaining days in a house which they built at the side of Buffalo Lake; which was originally called 
Brown's Landing. The youngest son, Walter, lived at home, was unmarried and, while still a young man, died of 

The Fox River 1882 -1890
It was in the fall of the year when we moved from Douglas Center to Merritt's Landing.  I do not recall any 
emotion connected with leaving the farm, only a sense of adventure.  I do not recall to whom the farm was sold.  
I know that, in addition to household stuff loaded on a wagon, that I drove a few sheep, keeping up with the 
wagon.  We took along a muley cow which father had bought from a herd being driven through the region and offered 
for sale.  She was a good milker and father kept her descendants for the next forty years.  Also there was a 
young mare which ultimately became "Old Sailor." 

Merritt's Landing:  At Merritt's Landing, father had secured two acres of land out of John Merritt's sheep pasture.  
This was a square facing the road which followed the line of the depot ground, so that across the road was the siding 
of the railroad, and beyond that to the north the marsh which was the bank of the Buffalo Lake and the Fox River, of 
which the lake was an enlargement.  My father had built a house on this.  The upright was to serve as a country store 
and the ell was for a residence where there were chambers in the second story of the main portion.  I can recall little 
of the season, the spring and summer, while this was building.  Father must have spent the week days overseeing the 
building.  There was a woodshed and stables.  Also, there was a fence around the two acres, for John Merritt's sheep 
could not be allowed to escape.  The store was equipped with groceries on one side and with cloth and a variety of 
other dry goods on the other.  There was a long counter on each side and shelves for the goods along the walls.  
There was a back store room where the kerosene barrel was located as well as coarse salt, nails, and other such.  
Father also dealt in lumber and there were piles of lumber across the road and along the siding. 

Brown's Lending:  Before taking up other matters, the geography of the place has to be attended to.  Merritt's 
Landing was a misnomer.  The name had been, for some time back, Brown's Landing.  I failed to get any biography 
of Brown.  He was the father of my Aunt Annie, the wife of Cecil Chapman.  He appears to have been a man of property 
and had considerable land both in Buffalo and Moundville.  I have no idea how long he had been dead nor how it came 
about.  I suppose that Cecil and Ann must have married about 1875.  His widow had married again to Perry Leach; I do 
not know for what reason.  Mrs. Leach's parents were living a little over a mile to the south on the road to Portage 
on a farm which was a part of the estate left to Ann. 

Fox River:  Now the banks of the Fox and its widened part were marshy almost all the way from Packwaukee and for 
several miles further up stream, except for the landing on Brown's property.  I suppose the place had had an 
Indian name.  The Fox River had a large part in the development of the region.  It had its source to the east 
of Portage and was a sluggish slow moving stream that, at Portage came within more than a mile of the Wisconsin 
River, which coming nearly due south through the length of the state flowed away to the southwest to empty into 
the Mississippi at Prairie de Chien.  The Fox flowed away to the north with many windings among the marshes and, 
after having made a big double turn at the oxbow, widened into Buffalo Lake.  Brown's Landing was the head of the 
lake which turning at nearly a right angle at Seaman's Island stretched away for some ten miles in a fairly straight 
course to Montello, the county seat at the foot of the lake.  Buffalo Lake is a shallow lake, somewhere about a half 
a mile wide and 14 miles long, well stocked with fish and, in 1882, visited by great flocks of water fowl. 

Montello:  Montello had, I suppose still has, a famous granite quarry.  The outcrop is of limited extent, a very 
hard, fine-grained, pink, granite, much used for grave stones. The sarcophagus in Grant's Tomb on Riverside is from 
Montello.  The Custer Monument is also from it.   In 1882, aside from grist mills, Montello had the only industry 
in the county.  There was also a factory, I believe a knitting mill. 

The Fox River was important in the early days of the fur trade as, with the Wisconsin, it provided a water link 
between the Mississippi and the St. Lawrence system by using the portage at Portage.  Father Marquette passed this 
way, and then a great many others.  Today, September 13, 1955, I had a clipping from a Wisconsin paper recording 
the finding of a skeleton at Packwaukee.  This was the skeleton of a young man found buried only about a foot 
beneath the surface.  The corpse had been buried face down.  With the skeleton was found a pair of silver-plated 
shoe buckles, and a pipe bowl of red stone.  They suppose that it had been in the ground for about 150 years. 

Jeff Davis:  Early in the 1800s, a post was built on the banks of the Fox at Portage and called Fort Winnebago.  
This was supplied from Green Bay by way of the Fox.  At the time of the Black Hawk War, there was a military 
force stationed here.  Jefferson Davis was, I believe, in charge of the fort, at least he was an officer of 
the regular army stationed at Fort Winnebago.  It was said that Abraham Lincoln was here at the same time as 
a member of a militia company from Illinois.  Packwaukee had a claim that both of these figures of history 
visited that flourishing trading post on the west shore of Buffalo Lake. 

When we came to Merritt's Landing, there was still considerable traffic on the river.  I believe that this went 
no farther than to Portage.  If any craft used the canal and went down the Wisconsin, this was confined to small 
craft.  One boat that attracted attention was the "Belle of Charlevoix," a good-sized schooner.  The intention 
was to pass through the canal and then on to the Gulf of Mexico.  For some reason it did not, and one day it 
returned the way it came. 

The other means of travel at Merritt's, as the railway station was called, was the line of the Wisconsin Central 
Railroad.  The main line came from Chicago to Milwaukee, from there to Stevens Point, and then north to Ashland 
on Lake Superior.  Its purpose was to haul away the lumber from the pine forests and to haul the ore from the 
iron mines of the Hurley region.  Then they built the branch from Stevens Point to Portage.  It was said that 
the intent was to continue the line from Portage to Madison where it would link up with the Illinois Central 
and make a complete system running through central Wisconsin and central Illinois to Cairo, Memphis and New 
Orleans, thus connecting the Great Lakes with the Gulf and by-passing Chicago.  There was talk that this 
grandiose plan was defeated by rivals through political means.  At any rate, long freight trains carrying 
lumber went south by day and by night.  There also was considerable passenger traffic, if I am not mistaken, 
of two trains a day. 

John Merritt:  Just across the roadway from the northeast corner of our lot there was a large boulder of 
rhyolite brought from the ledge on McNutt's Island at the east end of Buffalo Lake.  This rock, some ten 
feet long, six wide, and the part above the surface of ground some four feet high, marked the grave of a 
child, a daughter of John Merritt.  Over the rock, there spread the finest elm tree that I have seen.  It 
had a large trunk and a wide dome crown.  It was a tree of the weeping variety and the drooping branches 
reached the ground in a circle perhaps 75 feet across.  Some 100 yards away, across the railroad tracks, 
there was another large elm of the standard shape.  By this tree, there was the remains of a house foundation 
in a tangle of tansy plants.  This is where the first house that belonged to John Merritt stood.  I do not 
know that this house was built by John Merritt.  Probably this was the first house at this place.  From my 
present knowledge, I think that neither elm could have attained their size in 1882 in less than 40 years.  
At the time we came, John Merritt lived in a small frame house in a grove to the south of the railway and 
facing the Portage Road.  I used to go across through the sheep pasture, over a rail fence, and through the 
grove to fetch milk for our use.  This house interested me for, in the center of the living room, the floor 
rose up in a dome-shaped hump that must have been a foot higher than the edges of the room.  John Merritt 
was a small, quiet old man, soft-spoken and retiring.  He had a large and valuable farm and was reputed to 
be well-to-do.  His wife was dead and he lived with his two children.  His one expletive was "Buoy Gad." 

His daughter Ettie was mature, about the age of my mother.  She must have been born an old maid.  She was 
the living example of the cartoonist's "maiden lady" and she would go out of her way to avoid meeting a man.  
Her brother Leonard was younger and equally peculiar.  He studied telegraphy and, after his marriage, went 
into the employ of the Federal Government and went away to Washington, and I believe only came back for his 
father's funeral. 

Colonel Merritt:  The other building at this whistle stop was the depot.  This was a rectangular two story 
wooden building by the railway tracks.  There was a platform along the side of the building next to the siding 
and of the height of the doorway of a box car.  The ground floor had a store room for freight, a waiting room, 
and an office for the agent when they should have one.  The second story was reached by a long flight of wooden 
steps going up at the end of the building.  In this second floor was the country store of "Colonel" Merritt and 
the post office was in the store.  Colonel  Merritt, the younger brother of John, was everything that John was 
not.  The Colonel was bearded, burly, loud-voiced, assertive and domineering.  I pass up his by-words.  He was 
the station agent, postmaster, proprietor of the store, and owner of the lumber yard.  He had a good farm and 
farmstead a half mile down the Portage Road, also a wife, three daughters and two sons.  There is a story 
illustrative.  Two miles away to the southwest there was the farm of the Skinner family.  Both the parents 
had died and the large family of children with great pluck, intelligence and mutual trust had held together, 
kept the farm and themselves.  Like most of the other people of the region, the pancake was their staff of 
life.  One morning it was discovered that there was no saleratus to raise the batter to make the cakes, so 
one of the younger boys, Moe (Moses), was put on a horse and sent post haste for a package of saleratus.  
When he appeared the Colonel boomed at him, "Boy, there is mail for you folks," and he gave him a paper.  
Mail was such an unusual thing that Moe, in excitement, rode off home with it.  His worried elder sister 
was not amused and demanded the saleratus.  The whole family joined in speeding Moe away.  When he showed 
up again, the Colonel demanded an explanation and, when he had it, he said, "Hell, Bub, are all your folks 
that smart?"  Some folks thought that the lord of the manor was Colonel Merritt.  But not so.  This was a 
nickname derived from his real moniker, Cornelius.  lf they had made it the ordinary diminutive, Corny, it 
would not have been too bad. 

There is a story about the first winter that the railway was in, and that in the first winter there was a 
heavy fall of snow with drifting.  As there was a slight cutting at the location of the station, this was 
drifted full to the depth of thirty inches or so.  The Colonel brought his whole family out onto the platform 
in front of the building.  When the snow plow came with two locomotives behind it, the Colonel shouted, "Kate, 
look at that.  Isn't it grand!"  And as he exulted, the trio swept by throwing tons of snow up against the 
building engulfing the whole family; Kate was not amused. 

Needless to say the Colonel was not pleased to have a competitor for the trade in the small world which he 
dominated.  There was no thought of peaceful co-existence on his part.  There came to be a following of each 
store.  The Colonel was handicapped by the long climb to the second floor of the station building.  Very soon 
he had a store building built.  Of course, the coming of a second store increased the trade so there was 
probably four times as much business as before, but the profits were not so high. 

Moundville:  There were a great many Indian mounds on the southwest side of the river within a distance 
of a mile from the river.  These were in great number and variety:  round burial mounds, elk, bison, bears, 
and some very long mounds were supposed to be either mink or otter.  I recall one eagle mound and one owl.  
I do not know of any neighboring region that had these mounds.  The mounds covered a distance of some seven 
miles and were clear to the town boundaries, so the name Moundville was justified.  The Fox River passed 
diagonally through the township.  A township consisted of a rectangle of 36 sections of land:  six columns 
of sections, six in a column.  A section was a mile square.  Now, as the river was not passable, the part 
of the township on the east of the river, for administrative purposes, was joined to the town of Buffalo, 
making a town of unusual size.  The part on the west of the river was thought to be too small, so one column 
of six sections was detached from Douglas and added to Moundville on the west side. 

People of Moundville:  So much for the geography of Moundville.  To the more important feature, the people.  
Douglas had a fair number of native Americans (and I do not mean the aborigines) and a second, larger, 
community of Irish with a few German families.  In contrast, Moundville was largely an English colony.  
I believe there was only one family of Germans, some four of Scotch, perhaps eight of native Americans, 
one of Irish, and the rest were English.  The bulk of the English seemed to be of one community that had 
come together.  They belonged to some branch of the Methodists other than the Episcopal.  I do not know 
the part of England from which they came.  They established a church and had regular services.  In this 
church, there were a number of lay preachers.  I knew and heard Mr. Jones Barrow and Audiss, and heard 
of Smith and Whitehead who had already passed on.  They set the pattern of life for the region, and it 
was good.  One item of the town's mores was that, from the organization of the state in 1848, they had 
not permitted the sale of alcoholic liquors.  As a concomitant of this, there were no paupers, no one 
"on the town."

Dr. Clark:  I have already written about my grandfather and that he came up with the Hawes family.  I do 
not know when they left, but before my memory there came to the next farm to the west a man who later 
intrigued me, Dr. Clark.  He, as far as I know, had no family.  He came from England and had a very 
pretty white house with shrubs and a number of spruce trees as well as a line of Lombardy poplars.  
In my boyhood, these were lined along the roads on all well conducted farms.  Dr. Clark was a friend 
of the Chapman family.  He did not have a license to practice medicine.  After it was too late to ask, 
I wondered where he came from, what were his antecedents, and why did he come?  (When my memory took hold, 
the farm was occupied by Frank Seavey, distinguished by his team of large and powerful mules.)  There may 
have been private reasons for his going into exile, which is suppositionary.  I suppose my grandfather 
knew whether or not Dr. Clark had touch with his family and his past.  There is no written record. 

Townley:  Some three miles away, there were two brothers, Townley.  They came from a prominent English 
family.  In my day, both of these had passed into legend.  Many supposed that one of these was a sort 
of remittance man.  His name was John and the legends indicated that he was original.  One of the stories 
dealt with his attempts to farm.  He acquired a yoke of oxen and a plow and assayed to plow a field.  The 
oxen, sensing that he did not have the know-how, yawed and otherwise disported themselves as oxen are wont 
to do when they find themselves in the hands of the innocent.  Finally, John in exasperation said, "Damn 
thee.  Go where thee wilt.  Thee hast to plow hit hall hanyway." 

Sam Townley:  I do not know the name of the other brother who developed a very fine farm to which his son 
was heir; he was a handsome and capable young man when I first saw him late in 1882.  In after years, he 
was a prominent farmer with a fine family.  One of the things which made him interesting to the American 
element was the location of his aitches in speaking.  One illustration was a called statement to a pal 
of the same age, Ace Rundle.  Sam called across the road, "Ho Hace, hi found hay nest huv little howls 
ardly big henough to oot." 

Sykes:  There was a third Englishman who was definitely a remittance man, a Mr. Sykes or "Old Sykes·"  
He was a large man, perhaps in his sixties, educated and with cultured manners, but definitely incompetent.  
Mrs. Sykes, who was in charge of him, was competent but neither educated nor urbane.  It was said that she 
received a regular income for caring for the husband.  They lived somewhere toward Oxford. 

Grandfather Chapman:  This is leading too much toward the abnormal.  The people of Moundville were normal, 
although exhibiting individuality.  In many ways, my grandfather, Benjamin Henry Chapman, was the most 
outstanding individual of the town when we went to Merritt's Landing.  He was an intelligent man who had 
been educated in a private school sponsored by the English Church in Wicklow.  If I recall correctly, this 
was at New Town (pronounced thus, rather than Newton).  Some time in the period of my memory, and I suppose 
prior to 1880, he was thrown from a wagon when a young team of horses attempted to run away.  The femur in 
one leg was broken not far from the hip joint.  The medical help available was insufficient for righting 
this and, after lying in bed for many months with a weight pulling the leg into place, finally a frail 
healing of the bone took place which left one leg 4 inches shorter than the other and too frail to carry 
his weight.  As a result, for the next twenty odd years he had to get about using two crutches.  He was a 
big man, but never fat.  He wore a beard all his life.  He was just a shade over six feet tall.  He told 
me that when he was sixteen he weighed 210 pounds.  He had a chest girth of 48 inches. 

Town clerk:  He served as the Town Clerk of Moundville, I believe, all his life up to the time of his death 
in 1903.  He was an omnivorous reader and, as he could work at few things, he read a great deal.  At that 
time, the State of Wisconsin attempted to have a lending library connected with each rural school.  I do 
not know how this was financed.  I do know that grandfather had the duty or opportunity of buying the books 
for the three school districts of Moundville and, to make sure that the books were suitable, he read them 
before sending them to their respective librarians.  The people of the town were exposed to the classics.  
When I was checked on when I entered college, the professor was astonished to hear the reading that I had 
done in the backwoods.  He asked questions about this book and that and found that I knew more than the titles. 

First grand child of the Chapman family:  I was the first grandchild, which is an advantage.  Furthermore, 
I appreciated grandfather, which some did not.  He was uniformly cheerful and optimistic; to put it plainly, 
he was a hero.  Consequently, he told me many things which otherwise would now be forgotten.  Most of these 
items have been written in my journal.  I believe that I have already recorded the incident of his having 
walked to Beaver Dam to fetch fifty pounds of flour for the purpose of making bread.  When he came to Beaver 
Dam, he bought a pint of whiskey and poured it into his boots to keep his blistered feet from being infected.  
An onlooker asked the meaning of this libation.  When grandfather explained, the frontiersman said that if 
it were he, the blisters would have been treated through the mouth.  It appears that grandfather had been 
a teetotaler all his life, and this was a practice passed on to all his descendents without any ill effects. 

Grandmother:  My grandmother Chapman was a very quiet unobtrusive person.  There was one story passed along 
which showed that when the occasion arose she could act.  The family had a large and powerful dog of a decided 
disposition.  Some Indians came to the house one day when grandfather was not at home.  There was a dog with 
the Indians which joined in a fight with the house dog.  This grim canine grabbed the Indian dog by the neck 
and refused to let go.  The Indian owner tried to release his hound but the Chapman dog would not yield.  The 
Indian knocked the gripper on the head with the back of his tomahawk without effect so he shifted to the blade 
side to chop his mutt loose.  The children had been playing with the poker and left it in the fire; the end had 
become red hot.  Grandmother grabbed this and went for the brave.  The whole lot fled from the house in hot 
haste.  I am sorry to say I do not know whether Tige let the Indian dog go or not.  I do know that, in my day, 
the formidable poker graced the kitchen stove, 20 inches long and with a 5/8 inch bolt hammered at the end to 
be a lifter for the stove lids, and bent to conform to the use to which it was put. 

Grandfather Chapman and the ship:  One day when I was eleven or so, grandfather asked me to get him a good 
piece of timber.  I secured the end of a 4x4 piece of pine that had been cut off in some building operation.  
He took this home and from this he whittled out the hull of a model ship.  He cast a bar of lead to go on the 
keel as ballast and fitted the whole with mast and sails, using cord to make the stays and the rigging.  He 
cast anchors by pouring melted lead into a matrix cut in a potato.  The ship was painted and had black squares 
on the side to serve as port holes.  I was very proud of this, but unfortunately this was lost when our house 

It is incumbent to explain that from our house to my grandfather's was 1 3/4 miles over a poor road.  But, when 
walking on the railroad, one traveled only about a mile.  My grandfather had a lift fastened to the shoe for 
his short leg.  Using this and two stout crutches, he walked this mile to visit us once a week in suitable 
weather, I believe on Friday.  I think that it took him about an hour each way.  He knew the train schedules 
and we were always looking for him.  Later, he gave me his flute and the book of music for the same, written 
by his music teacher at his mother's request, and given to him when he left Ireland.  One of my sorrows is 
that this was destroyed by the white ants in Angola. 

Dan Coon:  One of the families of pioneer stock were the Coons.  They had relatives in Indiana and I suppose 
that they came by the way of that state.  The family consisted of Old Man Coon and Grandma Coon.  Hank Coon 
was a tall, lank, tobacco chewing buck who lived with his parents.  I have no intimation that he was ever 
married, or for that matter that he was not.  They lived on the "River Road" about a mile and a half from 
Merritt's Landing.  They had an old log house and a few stables.  Dan was an old man, loquacious and with 
a lively imagination.  It was a pleasure to call at their house which had a supply of old-fashioned flavors, 
and an air of hospitality.  The living was of the primitive frontier type, a cow, a hog, a garden, and a 
supply of fowls, a few turkeys, ducks and geese.  Dan was proud of his feet.  I suppose that, in size, they 
were the largest the town ever had.  There was no report of his having worked, except his own claims of the 
feats of former years.  He sat, smoked, and invented tall tales.  If some industrious person had written these 
down they would have made a book.  Here is a sample.  In a gathering of farmers, they were discussing the art 
of mowing with a scythe and the feats of local performers, when Dan broke in to tell what a whiz he was when 
he worked.  He said, "The biggest day's mowing I ever did was to cut a hundred swaths, each a mile long, and 
I carried my swath."  (To "carry the swath" meant that when the mower reached the end of his cut or swath, he 
took his scythe under his arm and walked back to the place where he started, there he whetted his scythe and 
started in on a new swath.)  The feat of walking back 100 miles in one day left the others speechless.  There 
were many other tales of Dan's prowess which have escaped me and I suppose they are remembered by no one else.  
The other son of the family was Harrison who had been in the Union Army and had been part of the force sent 
down to the Texas/Mexico border at the time the ill-fated Maximilian was making an attempt to occupy the throne 
of Moctezuma.  As a souvenir of this experience, he had a genuine Colt revolver, a big heavy weapon.  As I recall 
it, the cylinder was not intended for cartridges, but each chamber had a nipple for the reception of a percussion 

The development of trade at Merritt's Landing:  I have the impression that when my father decided to leave the 
farm and go into business at Merritt's Landing, that very little business was being done by Colonel Merritt, and 
it would appear that father sensed a good opportunity.  He was not well equipped for business and not for the 
store-keeping end of it.  If he had attempted to handle lumber and farm products he would have done well.  He 
was neither neat enough nor meticulous enough for handling a country store.  Mother had the family and the house
work to do and was not able to give much time to the store.  One side of the store was devoted to dry goods and 
notions, foot wear, ready made work garments, cloth, thread, buttons, ribbons, etc., etc.  The other side had 
groceries.  Some bought supplies on time and this involved much book work. 

Father's store:  Father bought eggs, butter, fowls, potatoes and some grain.  In addition, he had a lumber yard 
where he sold all sorts of material for building residences, barns and other farm buildings.  He was unfortunate 
in the period of economic stringency which set in.  He did not have adequate capital to finance the stuff he 
sold on time.  He bought some of his stock on 30 days time, some at sixty days.  Those who supplied him required 
prompt payment.  Some of the farmers to whom he sold were anything but prompt.  It was a constant battle to make 
dates meet.  He made a living and was thoroughly busy.  The amount of business done at the place ballooned.  The 
Colonel increased his stock of lumber, built himself a new store business, and increased his business again and 
again.  A man began to handle farm machinery and another began to buy and ship livestock. 

Trade with the river craft:  Father did quite a lot of business with the river boats in the time that the river 
was free of ice.  As the "Dock Lot" belonged to Uncle Cecil Chapman, or rather to his wife, he had control of the 
river traffic.  Great quantities of cord wood and pulp wood were cut in the winter and piled back from the river 
bank.  When the season opened, the steamboats came and took it away.  The boats brought barrels of salt from 
Michigan, and lumber from Oshkosh.  Occasionally, they brought lime.  One line was run by a man named Steadman.  
His boats were of a finer kind and suitable for passengers.  On occasions, they planned "Excursions," which meant 
running to Packwaukee, Montello, through the locks there, then down the river to Lake Puckaway and to the old town 
of Marquette. 

Blacksmith:  A man came and opened a blacksmith shop, a place that interested me, and every opportunity that I had 
I would go and watch him making repairs or shoeing horses.  One day he told me that only two blacksmiths had gone 
to hell.  One for pounding cold iron and the other for not charging enough.  This last fault was one which kept my 
father from making a fortune.  In lieu of the fortune he got many friends. 

The Town Line School:  Soon after we were established at Merritt's, I was faced with the pleasant excitement of going 
to school.  I had learned my letters at home in my third year.  I recall asking my mother the names of the letters on 
the "elevated oven" cook stove.  When I had these learned, someone got me a primer.  Later I went some to the Parrot 
School along with Maggie Riley.  I suppose that I was seven.  When we came to Merritt's, Will Leach volunteered to 
be my guardian in going the 1 3/4 miles to the Town Line School.  This school house was the typical little red school 
house.  It was just over the township line on the corner of one of the sections taken from the town of Douglas.  The 
school house faced a road running from west to east, from near the Neenah Creek in Douglas to the Portage Road, which 
is now U.S. 51.  U.S.51 is a north and south road from New Orleans to Ashland on Lake Superior and from there to Duluth. 

School House:  There had been an older school house, I believe a log house, 1/4 of a mile north which my mother had 
attended.  I suppose that the red Town Line School house must have been in use for 15 years, or thereabouts.  The 
school house was surrounded by woods.  That year, there was a man teacher by the name of Chadwick.  As in most country 
schools of the time, there were a good many grown young men who went to school in the winter term.  To my boy's mind, 
some of the girls appeared to be adults.  Because of the influx of grown youths, the school boards tried to get male 
teachers for the fall and winter session of school.  As I recall, the first term at the Town Line there were a good 
many grown men:  George Coon, Enveh Skinner, Charley and Dave Merritt, Dave and John Rodgers, Fred Pettus, and others
whom I do not recall.  Mr. Chadwick was living in one of the quarry houses out on the Leach farm.  I have a feeling 
that he had been connected with the quarry on McNutt's Island which was on the point of folding up.  Perhaps it had 
already folded. 

Furniture:  The one thing that I recall more than anything else was the long road, the deep snow, and the cold.  I am 
not sure but that that was the winter that I began to wear felt boots with overshoes.  The school house had been used 
in an earlier day for some sort of lodge meetings and singing school.  There were bracket lamps high up on the window 
casings. The glass bowls of the lamps contained kerosene which because of age had turned yellow. The school house had 
also been used for Sunday school and there were Bibles and other books belonging to that era in a cupboard under the 
chimney.  The desks were carpenter-made from pine wood, and the seats had backs.  In places, holes had laboriously 
been drilled through the back through which a slate pencil could be pushed by the boy in the seat behind to the 
discomfort and annoyance of the occupant. 

The one room was heated in the winter by a big box stove that once had been a hophouse stove.  It would take fire 
wood more than three feet long.  Some days in the winter, the room would not be adequately heated when the chilled 
pupils arrived and some were permitted to stand by the stove until they were warm.  It was not an uncommon thing 
for the stove to become so hot that the room was too warm for comfort.  There were two long rows of desks.  Those 
on the right, as viewed from the teachers rostrum, were for the girls.  The boys sat on the left.  There was a 
middle section back of the stove and under the stove pipe, I believe three desks.  The blackboard was back of the 
teacher's desk, reaching across the whole space between the two doors.  There were maps on the side walls between 
the windows. There were three windows on a side.

School functions:  Along each wall, there was a board bench running the whole length of the building and known as 
the ·side seat.  The side seat facing an open space, and to the right of the teacher, was the recitation bench.  
When a class was called for a recitation, they came up front, lined up along the side seat and stood until the 
teacher told them to sit.  As each was called on to read or recite, they stood for the ordeal.  On the opposite 
side of the room there were hooks on the wall for coats, hats and caps.  The water pail, a wooden one, was on 
the side seat along with a tin long-handled dipper.  Water was fetched a half a mile from the well on Elijah 
Hopwood's farm.  Fetching water was a privilege.  Perhaps a speed of two miles an hour was attained by two boys 
who did not dawdle. 

There was a platform some five feet wide and more than a foot above the ground across the outside front of the 
building, I suppose for the convenience of a person alighting from a vehicle.  I do not know that anyone ever 
did that but it was a possibility.  I was a rather insignificant unit in this educational institution.  In fact, 
I suppose that I was the very least, for at that time I was 48 inches tall, or short, and weighed 48 pounds, and 
I am quite sure that there were none younger. 

School was another matter when it came spring.  The numbers were much reduced.  The big boys stayed at home to 
work on the farm.  If I am not mistaken, there were only four boys.  The big girls came, for most of them were 
hoping to get enough instruction so that they could go to the "examinations," pass, and secure a limited certificate 
for teaching in a third grade school.  The spring term was taught by a woman teacher.  I do not recall that there 
was a man teacher after Mr. Chadwick left.  The young men of the district were looked upon as sufficiently well 
mannered to be left under the charge of the cheaper teacher.  The pay of teachers was very low.  The custom of 
boarding them around had already passed for the schools of Moundville.

Teachers:  Some years later, my father was on the school board and I heard at home that a young woman from East 
Moundville, by the name of Mason, walked a full two miles to teach, and received the princely sum of $16.00 a month!  
In listening in on the deliberations of the board, I judged that the lowness of salary that an aspirant would take 
was the main qualification considered.  Some did not have a third grade certificate, only a temporary permit issued 
by the County Superintendent of Schools.

The capacity of the teachers, even good ones, was pointed up for me when I was fourteen years old.  That year, for 
some reason, the school did not function in the fall term of the Town Line School.  My father was, as a side line, 
always dealing in horses.  At that time he had a span of three year old black geldings; it was my task to break the 
young horses, that he bought, to the bridle; this I did by riding them.  One of these, Prince, was a spirited, 
intelligent horse and we delighted to go out together.  I did not use a saddle.  Because of the lack of school, 
it was decided that I should go to the Loomer School in Douglas, something over four miles away.  We secured 
stable room and I rode Prince to and from school.  This school that year was taught by Eben Mills who was a 
very competent teacher whose teaching inspired me.

In the spring there was a teacher's examination held in Briggsville.  My parents secured permission for me to 
take the examination.  I had old Sailor and a road cart for the trip, and put up at the hotel, which increased 
my ego.  I took the examination for the third grade certificate and passed very well, but of course could not 
have a certificate because of juvenility.  Eben Mills also was there taking the same examination.  At the close, 
as he did not have transportation, I took him home in the road cart.  On the way he began asking me, "How did 
you answer so and so?"  When I told him, he said it was correct but that he did not make it.  As these questions 
dealt with a number of subjects, I felt a queer sense of surprise that I had out-played a teacher that I admired 
very much; also that he, a grown man and married, had talked to me, a boy, as man to man.  Much later I came to 
realize that a teacher who does not have pupils who excel him is a poor teacher. 

Good Teachers:  In the period between 1882 and 1890, there were a number of different teachers and I can not name 
them all.  Among them there were two who impressed me especially.  One was Lottie Hartt.  I do not know that she 
had any especial degree of education, but her way of keeping order was remarkable.  She had no set of rules; she 
did not say that she would punish anyone.  She just came in and asked us all our names and put them in a book.  
When the time came, she rang the bell and announced the program for the classes, and everything went off smoothly.  
She gave no orders, did no scolding, and every child in school was anxious to know what she wanted done and did it.  
They knew that whispering and playing in school time annoyed a teacher and no one thought of doing anything to annoy 
her.  We all worked hard at our lessons and recited to the best of our ability.  Discipline was a co-operative affair 
and we all enjoyed it.  I have never seen any other person who was her equal in having their will done so thoroughly 
with so much mutual satisfaction.

The other teacher who impressed me was Maria McNutt.  She was a teacher who had been teaching for years and enjoyed 
a reputation for her ability.  She had had more education than others who taught in the Town Line school.  I believe 
I am right in saying that she enjoyed the privilege of having a first class certificate good for life.  I do not know 
why she came to our school unless it may have been to be with her brother, Gid.  She taught in the year following my 
taking the examination.  As that examination covered all subjects taught in little red school houses, I was in position 
to enter high school and wished to do this but my parents were not able to afford such a venture.  Maria McNutt was 
pleased to take an interest in me.  She put me in a class by myself, had me review a lot of the work in history, 
geography and arithmetic, gave me work in science outside the regular curriculum, and introduced me to the study of 
algebra.  She was efficient as an organizer and teacher, and her school progressed without hitch or incident.  There 
was no such outpouring of affection as in the case of Lottie Hartt, but she was a very good teacher and that was the 
last of my experience with the Town Line School.  No, not by one term -- the teacher who came in the spring term had 
neither the education nor the ability and I attended but spent much of my time reading and reciting things which I knew 
more thoroughly than the teacher. 

The family:  In this period, three members were added to our family.  When we came from Douglas, I was eight and my 
sister Lola was five.  Two years later the twins were born, a boy and a girl.  The girl was named Charlotte after my 
mother, and my brother was named Chauncy in order to have a name with a similar sound.  I do not know why this was a 
compelling reason but so it came about.  My father was a strong Republican and, as James G. Blaine was the Republican 
candidate for president, my brother was Chauncy Blaine.  In 1887, my sister Norma was born.  Perhaps she was called 
that as she was quite normal.  I suppose that there was some person of note at that time who attracted my mother's 
attention.  Part of the time we had a hired girl to help my mother, especially when the babies were small.  Sister 
Lola was soon drafted in as mother's helper and she was very helpful in the rearing of the twins.  There were few 
gadgets for helping with the house work in those days.  The floors were mopped and sweeping was done with the broom.  
The wood stoves had to be kept going with wood, the ashes taken out, and the stoves themselves blackened.  Washing 
of clothes was on the washboard.  The white clothes had to be boiled.  We had a wringer that could be attached to 
the washtub and it fell to my lot to turn the handle.  This was too difficult for sister Lola who had many more 
things on her hands than a child of eight, nine, and ten should have.  I had my own list of occupations for we had 
horses and cows and fowls and I had the milking and stable work to attend to.  There were the fires to be started 
in the morning, wood to be brought in, and as I grew, more and more of the splitting.  My father had fruit trees 
and a garden; these needed much attention.  These tasks were educative and kept one out of mischief.  In spite of 
Lola's efficiency, there was a bit of house work that fell to my lot.  I learned to sweep, wash clothes, iron clothes, 
make butter, and, on occasion, take part in the cooking. 

Deaths:  In the period between 1882 and 1890, three of my grandparents and my mother's younger brother, Walter Chapman, 
died.  Walter Chapman died of tuberculosis.  It would appear that there was a very deadly type of  tuberculosis prevalent 
for there were a number of deaths of young men and young women in the Marquette County area.  There was at that time no 
successful way of combating this killer known to the local medical profession.  Grandmother Ennis died in 1884.  This 
was just at the time the twins were a week old and the event made no especial dent on my memory. 

Grandfather Ennis:  Grandfather Ennis came to visit us some time that year and it is the clearest memory that I have of 
him.  He was interested in the progression which I was making in school.  He asked me questions on various topics.  He 
was one of those who, in the days before the cash register, was interested in mental arithmetic.  He tested me with a 
number of problems and seemed not too discouraged.  He started me off on the same hobby, one that has saved me much 
time and perhaps as much as one lead pencil.  Once in the post office in Luanda [Angola], I had occasion to note the 
disadvantage of the non-practitioner.  Some one had asked Bess [Elisabeth Logan] for samples of all Angola's stamps 
and when I went ashore from the steamer I was to get ten stamps of each denomination.  Being curious about the slowness 
of the young woman at the stamp window, I peeked and found that she put down a column of ten fifteens, added up the 
figures, put it in the debit account, then a column of 20s, and so on.  My Grandfather died the next year.  My grandmother 
Chapman died in 1888. 

Medicine in the Eighties:  The country was grossly without adequate medical care.  There were capable medical men 
including a surgeon of repute, Dr. Meacher.  I have written of Dr. Parrott whose practice dwindled steadily.  As 
far as I know, there were no doctors in either Briggsville or Packwaukee.  Dr. Robert Mitchell had a farm some 
three and a half miles west of Merritt's Landing.  His practice was over a wide area.  He was about 50 or past 
in 1880.  He wore a beard, was a kindly, dignified individual devoted to his profession and to his patients.  
I doubt that he had time to keep read up on the advances made in medicine.  Nevertheless, he did much for the 
region and he never spared himself night or day. 

Maud Perkins:  I recall that when the first child of Charley and Laura Perkins was imminent, they came to ask 
father to fetch Dr. Mitchell.  My father called me to go in his stead.  I believe that I was 13 at the time.  
It was in the winter and it had been storming all day and was still snowing.  We put "Old Sailor" into the 
cutter.  I was furnished a lantern and left a little after ten at night.  The road had not been plowed and 
in places there had been drifting.  I came to the Mitchell house about midnight, a fine, white, green-shuttered 
farm house surrounded with trees and back from the road.  I tied the mare, who was quite willing to stand, to 
a hitching post, and went and waked the doctor up and stated my errand.  He was not enthusiastic for travel, 
but judged that a boy would not be sent on such a night unless matters were urgent.  He asked if I could take 
him.  I could and so he dressed for the weather, got his black bag, and we followed our trail back, arriving 
before dawn or the stork. 

Dr. Chillson:  Sometime in the eighties, a handsome young doctor decided to settle in Oxford.  Dr. Chillson 
was fresh out of medical training, possessed of a kindly disposition and a manner confidant and cheerful.  
He had an immediate success.  He had patients from every direction.  He, in a short time, had such a practice 
that he had to have two drivers, a stable of horses, and more than one vehicle.  It is said that he learned 
to sleep on the road and for days at a time he would have only a few hurried hours in the office and would 
be on the road both night and day.  It is needless to say that he soon acquired a fortune and became so 
exhausted that while still a comparatively young man he had to retire to a farm in southern Wisconsin. 

Dr. Grigsby:  Sometime in the 90's, a character came to Packwaukee and set himself up as a doctor.  He, 
judged by his language, came from the South.  I think his name was Grigsby.  His methods of treatment 
were outré.  Some people considered him to be wonderful; others held that he was a charlatan.  He was 
peculiar in looks and in manner.  He was in a fight with a man of the town; using a small pocket knife, 
he, the doctor, punctured the other party in some two dozen places.  He disappeared into the unknown 
from which he came.

I believe that there were practitioners in Montello and in Westfield.  Due to the state of the roads at 
the time, getting a doctor from a distance of 12 or 14 miles was a difficulty.  Generally, it took two 
and one half hours to go from Merritt's Landing to Portage.  It took about the same to go to Westfield, 
and 3 or more to go to Montello.  Sometimes it took 3 1/2 hours to go to Portage, and a team had to be 
fed and rested before the return.

Dentist Straight:  When I was about 15, a spot came on one of my front teeth which slowly enlarged until 
it started a spot on the next tooth.  I started off one day and walked the 14 miles to Montello to Dr. 
Straight to have these filled.  I do not know why I did not go to a dentist in Portage nor why I did not 
go by train.  Dr. Straight was a man in his fifties and his dental equipment was primitive.  He had a 
spittoon attached to the chair for his own convenience.  He filled the two cavities with gold, hammered 
into place using a mallet and a punch.  The fillings were good and remained a long time.

The fire:  I suppose that I was about 12 when this occurred.  I do not recall the date nor the time of year 
except that it was not in the winter.  I don't recall our first house at Merritt's Landing very clearly.  
There was the main part, two stories.  On the ground floor there was the store proper and above this there 
were bedrooms, one of which was mine.  There was a "lean-to" back room across the end of this upright used 
as a store room.  There was a one storey ell to the west of the two storey upright.  In this was the living 
room and, off the living room on the west end of the ell, there were two bed rooms.  A stairway led from the 
living room to the upstairs over the store.  To the south of the living room there was a one story addition 
containing the kitchen.  The fire started on the outside of the store room, sometime after midnight.  Mother
heard the crackling of flames.  Father woke me and ran into the store, threw the scales through the front 
window and pushed his desk containing money, books and accounts through the broken window.  As I ran down 
the stairway I called to him to throw out the powder, which he did.  This was in a small metal drum.  The 
farmers hunted with muzzle loading guns and the sale of powder, shot and caps was a regular feature of a 
country store.  The wind carried the flames to the second story and burned rapidly so that father was unable 
to save anything more.  Mother got Lola and the twins out the back door. 

Mr. Silas Mills:  Mr. Silas Mills, a family friend from Douglas, with his wife Cynthia had turned their farm 
over to one of the boys and retired to Merritt's Landing.  He lived in one of the small houses which father 
had built for renting purposes, and he came hurrying over and asked mother, who was outside the kitchen door 
with us children, what he could do.  She told him that as the flames had not yet reached the living quarters 
that he might be able to fetch some of the furnishings out of the house.  Mr. Mills went into the kitchen, 
on through the living room into the farther bedroom.  This contained a bureau and on it there was an oval 
mirror mounted so that it could be tilted.  This mirror was not an integral part of the bureau.  Mr. Mills 
took this, retraced his steps, and handed it to mother.  She was so disgusted that he should have used up 
all the available time in securing such an unimportant item that she threw it on the ground and the glass 
was broken.  Aside from the clothes we had hastily put on, and the items father had taken from the store, 
this was all that was saved from the fire.  It was a rather bleak day that dawned.  I believe that the rest 
of the family went into one of father's small houses.  As soon as the ashes cooled, carpenters were called 
and the building was restored, but in a modified form.  I do not recall that a second storey was built above 
the store part.  As there never was a stove in the back store room and as the fire was at first external, 
we in the family always supposed that this was an incident in the system of competition and free enterprise.  
Although the building and a part of the furnishings were insured, debt was inevitable in getting business 
going again. 

I live with grandparents:  I was sent to live with grandfather and grandmother Chapman.  My uncle and namesake, 
their youngest son, Walter had died of tuberculosis.  I do not recall that I had many duties.  As the elder 
grandson of the family, I suppose that they were glad to have me.  I certainly enjoyed the position and went 
to the Town Line School, from there the distance being practically the same as from home.  As there was no 
one of the family to do the work of the farm, I have a feeling that one of the Rodgers (John) boys was employed.  
In the house I discovered a history (Appleton's) of Napoleon Bonaparte.  This was a large tome, the first volume 
of a two volume set.  I read the accounts of the first part of Napoleon's career with great eagerness and have
 never had to go into the matter with care again. 

Early reading:  This reminds me of another time that I stayed with my grandparents.  This was sometime before 
we left the farm, when I may have been about six.  In a press I found an old battered book which I surreptitiously 
took out to the bank at the back of the house and read with great interest.  It was illustrated with engravings.  
It was a book about Africa.  Sometimes I have thought that it might have been Livingston's first journals.  It 
seems to me that the account of his encounter with a lion was there.  Again, I wondered if it might have been 
Chapman's writings.  I recall a map of the west coast of South Africa and names such as Walfish Bay, Great Fish 
Bay, and Little Fish Bay.  At any rate, when one of my aunts discovered that I was at this, she said that the 
book was too old for me, took it away, and put it where I did not find it again.

Hard times:  I stayed with my grandparents after the fire for some three months, which spells the time it took 
to get rebuilt and into business again.  I am afraid that I did not realize at the time what a strain it must have 
been on my parents, this calamity, and how it hampered them financially for the next ten years.  I think that there
was a depression about this time.  I think that it was in the next year that my mother wished to do some Christmas 
shopping and my father killed two fat cows; the quarters of these beeves were put in the box of the bob sleigh and, 
with me driving the team, mother and I went to Portage City.  We tried to sell this beef to the various butcher shops 
for 3 cents a pound and were not able to do so.  In the early darkness of a winter day we came dispiritedly back home.  
As it was freezing weather some of the beef was sold locally and other we ate ourselves. 

Danish immigrants:  My father did a flourishing business in selling lumber.  He traded in all sorts of things, 
bought pulp wood, bought lumber from the river boats, had a stable of horses.  As I have mentioned before, he 
built some small houses to rent.  At one time a Dane, Peter Peterson, came and asked for work; he was an educated, 
earnest young man who lived with us, helped with handling lumber, and devoted himself to learning English.  After 
awhile, two more of his friends joined him.  One of these, a short, stocky fellow full of gaiety and good humor, 
by the name of Hansen, was by trade a maker of wooden shoes.  He brought his tools with him.  He set up a sort of 
vise which he made of elm wood, got out his draw knives, shavers, and the spoon-shaped gouges which were used to 
hollow out the insides.  These spoons were set in a cross piece handle such as is used to activate an ordinary 
augur.  He made shoes for all of us and for himself.  The railroad was renewing the piles under the trestlework 
across Chapman's Marsh.  The piling was rock elm brought in from the North.  When the piles had been driven as 
far as they would go, the top was sawed off and thrown aside.  Father sent a team and wagon and gathered a lot 
of these rejected pieces from 2 to 5 feet long.  Hans (Hans Christian Hansen) found this wood just to his liking, 
and he produced a pair of shoes in a remarkably short time.  He was an artist and fitted the interior of the shoe 
to the vagaries of the foot, allowing for bunions and such.  I can recall with pleasure how he went clump, clump 
up the iron ladder on the side of a box car where he was sent to release the brake.  Like birds in the fall, one 
day they decided that they had a working knowledge and they went I know not where.  (These days, 1955, when in a 
crossword puzzle I see 'No. 8, A Danish coin" I put down "ore," which is all I learned of the Danish language).

Hunting and fishing:  In the eighties, there was much wild fowl that passed our way. The lake and the river, in 
spite of the flood which I have mentioned, already contained much game fish.  At the landing there were several 
"club houses."  These were built and used by hunting and fishing clubs.  They were occupied by men who came mostly 
from Portage, though there was one house used by men from points to the north, principally from Westfield and 
Plainfield.  The hunting came in both spring and fall.  Immense flocks of ducks and mudhens came to the upper 
end of Buffalo Lake.  Except for the channel used by the steam boats, the lake was shallow, grown up with weeds 
and at the oxbow there was a large area grown up to wild rice.  In addition to the ducks, there were flights of 
Canada geese, brants, and sandhill cranes.  These rested in the marshes to the north of the oxbow or in Chapman's 
swamp, a mile to the west of the lake.  Morning and evening in the hunting season there was continuous gun fire 
and the men would come back to the camp or clubhouse loaded with birds.  There was comparatively little shooting 
done by the men of the region.  There were a few who would occasionally shoot a duck or two.  For the most part, 
the farmers did not have good guns.  If they had a shooting iron it would be a muzzle loader and, in general, they 
confined their shooting to squirrels and rabbits, and an occasional grouse -- known as partridges. 

Fishing on Buffalo Lake:  There was some fishing all through the year.  In the summertime, those with a little time 
off would go fishing for sunfish, bullheads and perch, and occasionally some one would troll for pickerel.  These ran 
from 3 to 10 pounds.  I suppose that some folks would call our pickerel pike.  When in Yale, I went skating on Whitney 
Lake and found men fishing through the ice for pickerel.  They showed me their catch of fish of about a pound.  I said,
"In Wisconsin, we call those 'jacks' and throw them back."  They were unimpressed and thought I was a typical Westerner 
who always had the bigger and better.  Those fishing on Buffalo Lake sometimes got bass, either black bass or rock bass.  
There was also some fishing through the ice.  Those who practiced this had a small, light, moveable hut with some sort 
of heater in it. 

In the early years of our being in Merritt's Landing, the great catch of fish was in the spring of the year.  No 
check was placed on the take and the fish population must have been depleted to a considerable extent.  The winter 
had killed the weeds which had sunk to the bottom.  The same was true of the wild rice.  At the same time, due to 
the melting of the snow, the water was above the normal stage.  The fishing was done at night by torch light.  The
equipment was a stout, flat-bottomed scow boat, rectangular, and with a bottom slanting up both at the bow and at 
the stern.  The boat was about 4 feet wide and 14 or even 16 feet long.  A standard, some 4 to 5 feet high, was 
mounted in the bow.  On this was the "jack," which consisted of a tank holding up to 2 gallons of kerosene.  From 
the bottom of this receptacle, a small iron pipe with a valve in it led out some five feet in front to where a huge 
ball of rags was wound on a perforated section of pipe connected to the feed pipe, with an elbow to hang below the 
level of the feed pipe.  When the tank was filled with kerosene and the valve opened, the whole ball of rags would 
become soaked and, when a lighted match was applied, one got a great ball of flame streaming 4 or 5 feet into the 
air.  Generally, two men armed with long-poled spears were in the bow, one at each side of the light, and two others 
sat on the stern seat, each with a paddle.  The spears were wicked barbed instruments with three, five or even seven 
tines.  The handle of the spear was a straight pine shaft of ten or twelve feet in length.  When all was ready and 
the jack lighted, they sailed forth, the men paddling the boat slowly where there was not too great a depth of water.  
The brilliant light lit up the whole surrounding area.  In the clear water of the lake, every item in the water and 
on the bottom stood out clearer than the characters on this page.  The spearmen took no account of the little fish 
but concerned themselves only with the larger fish.

Problems of the fisherman:  An inexperienced person might suppose that spearing the fish under these conditions 
would be a simple and easy thing.  But due to the refraction at the surface of the water, the fish was not where 
it appeared to be.  If one inserted the spear into the water at an angle the shaft appeared to have a kink in it 
at the point where it entered the water.  So the fisherman had to make allowance for the angle of vision and an 
estimate of how far the fish was below the surface.  If he had a fish directly beneath the bow it was "duck soup."  
Generally, the fish was 8 or 10 feet away from the boat and from 18 inches to 4 feet down.  There, a fish of size 
had to be struck just right or it would tear itself off the spear. 

Jack fishing:  This type of fishing was very destructive and the successful crew was not satisfied when they had 
taken enough.  The fish taken included suckers, red horse, pickerel, an occasional muskellunge, an occasional 
catfish, bass, walleyed pike, and some dogfish.  The latter were thrown away because of the name.  The dogfish 
was prized by the Indians who claimed that they were the best fish of these waters for smoking.  When the fish 
were much reduced, the state Government passed a law forbidding the use of the spear and the jack light.  This 
lessened the evil, but the occasional light would shine out when all good folks had gone to bed.  At the height 
of the destructive era, the cold, wet-footed crews used to come and get my father out of bed to buy crackers 
and cheese and sardines.

Coon hunters:  There was a type of hunting that roused father for midnight snacks.  They were the coon hunters.  
I suppose these hunts were in the fall of the year and raccoons must have been more plentiful in those days.  
The young men used hounds and they went with lanterns.  The hounds would find a coon, track and then follow 
the victim, letting out the deep toned bay of the hound.  If successful, the hounds would tree the coon which 
would be shot by the light of the lantern.  Going coon hunting was one of the boyhood ambitions never realized.  

When the hunters had had sufficient exercise, taken a coon or two, they would come into the store to buy 
something to eat and recount the details of the hunt.  Sometimes the hounds would start after a fox and 
have to be called off.  Tom Sutcliff, who had hounds, used to hunt foxes.  This in the daytime.  He understood 
the ways of foxes and would wait at the proper place and shoot the fox when it passed that way.  Once Tom's 
hounds treed a black bear in Cheadlis Swamp and he dispatched it. 

Yankee Smith:  I came in for some hunting as a gilly.  There was a man of Portage City known as Yankee Smith 
-- not because of his native section but because he was a traveling purveyor of "Yankee notions," that is, 
ribbons, edging, lace, thread and needles, buttons, laces, and some kinds of cloth.  These he carried in a 
kind of light van drawn by one horse.  His specialty was shooting squirrels.  I knew the woods and the haunts 
of squirrels, rabbits and such.  I must have been his hunter three or four years when in the fall he made his 
annual foray.  Once he rewarded me with a pair of stockings and, I believe, once with a quarter.  In addition, 
he put his horse in our stable and had at least one meal. 

The quarry:  At the end of Buffalo Lake there was an obstruction, a wooded island sometimes called McNutt's 
Island, sometimes Quarry Island.  It was an island in the terminology of the frontier.  An island did not need 
to be surrounded by water.  It might be part water and part swamp or it might be hard land completely surrounded 
by marsh or swamp.  There was Seaman's Island between Chapman's and Packwaukee.  One side had Buffalo Lake, the 
south Chapman's Creek, and on the north a sluggish swamp-banked stream whose name I never heard.  To the west 
was the broad swamp now made into a widely known lettuce and onion project. 

McNutt's Island:  To return to McNutt's Island, I do not know how it came into possession of that prominent family 
of the pioneers of Oxford.  The Fox River, flowing from east to west, touched the eastern end of the triangular 
island containing more than 160 acres.  The river passed on along the north of the island for a mile or more, 
separated from the hard land by a belt of marsh.  At this reach, the river was deep and wide and a semi-lake, 
and at the very tip end of the marshy extension of the island it became comparatively narrow, deep, and with 
a faster current.  The river swung around north and then back to the east so as to make an almost complete loop 
of the island.  This loop of the river was known as the Ox Bow. 

Now for the reason that they said "The Quarry Island" or just "The Quarry."  About 1880, or just before, there 
was great demand for building stone and paving blocks in all the cities that were growing up on the shores of the 
Great Lakes.  A spur of the railway was built from Packwaukee to Montello to carry out the Montello granite which, 
because of its superior quality, soon became too valuable for building stone.  Near Packwaukee, there developed a 
sandstone quarry which employed a number of men.  The Packwaukee stone was almost a quartzite.  The quarry in 
Montello continued to be the main industry of Marquette County.  On McNutt's Island, there was a considerable 
outcrop of a nearly black rhyolite.  There was a smaller ledge to the south of the small stream that cut off 
the island.  This smaller outcrop was in Leach's field.  A company was formed to exploit this rhyolite.  A spur 
of railroad about a mile long was built to the main outcrop with a fill to cross the swampy stream between the 
island and the mainland.  The rhyolite was very hard and refractory, difficult to work.  The company made the 
mistake of attacking the ledge from the east instead of from the more workable west side.  They were unable to 
get out good building material and devoted themselves to putting out paving blocks.  The quarry was still in 
operation when we built at Merritt's Landing.  Soon afterward, they ceased to work it and the railway was taken 
out.  The houses on the Leach property were occupied for a time and then sold for the material in them.  Derricks 
and other equipment remained for some years.  (Just this last week, November 1955, a letter from Endeavor said 
that wealthy people from Portage were building on the island.  Of course with well-paved U.S. 51 connecting, the 
road that took a horse team 3 hours or more to reach Portage is now covered by car in 15 or 20 minutes.

Geodetic Survey:  When I was either 14 or 15, one day a well dressed, bearded man came and said that he was employed 
by the geological department of the U.S. Government and that his immediate job was mapping the country in regard to 
the results of the glacial era.  He said that his regular employment was as principal of the high school, I believe 
in Sun Prairie.  His name was Ira M. Buell.  He wished to hire a team, rig, and driver.  The upshot of it was that 
he made our house his headquarters and I became the driver of our team with the surrey.  I became Mr. Buell's assistant.  
He was a good teacher.  He explained his work and how he was going about it.  He was making a contour map of the whole 
region.  He had a staff and level, and to get the changes in the level he had an aneroid barometer.  There were 
established points of known altitude to check from.  In addition, he was checking the boulder train from certain 
definite outcrops.  The boulders from Quarry Island were of immediate concern.  It is needless to say that I was 
very interested.  In a short time, I knew the examples from all the known outcrops to the Northeast, and he could 
trust me to work with him gathering and classifying boulders and pebbles.  As he developed the contours, he explained 
the meaning of them and the process that resulted in their formation.  I came to recognize the moraines, pot holes, 
etc.  He was a graduate of Beloit College and this decided the college to which I aimed to go if it could be done. 
He gave me every encouragement in this purpose.

Stephen  D. Peet and the Mounds:  Among the points we visited was Observatory Hill in Buffalo.  This is the highest 
point of land in all the region, possibly in Marquette County.  The rock in it is much like the ones on Quarry Island.  
One thing that Mr. Buell must have noted was the number of effigy mounds in the locality which led to the town being
named Moundville.  So later, Stephen D. Peet, a Beloit graduate with an interest in archaeology came to our house and 
asked that I go with him to examine the mounds of the vicinity.  He was a small elderly gentleman with a flavor of 
the past.  We went about together.  I held the end of the tape line as he measured the mounds and decided what they 
represented.  Many of the effigy mounds of the region he called "elk" mounds.  I wondered if they might not have been 
intended for buffalo, hence the name Buffalo Lake.  Away back, the region was semi-prairie and at that time buffalo 
were common east of the Mississippi River.  Others he listed as bear mounds.  Some were just long mounds with no 
limbs.  A mound near the principal quarry building on the Leach place he said was unique.  He thought that it was 
meant to represent the horned owl.  This was quite elevated, perhaps 6 feet above the surface, very symmetrical, 
the body and wings tapering finely toward the tip.  The bird was headed toward the north.  Under each wing, there 
was a round pit.  Mr. Peet called it an intaglio, and said that it was a double purpose mound, that in the first 
place it represented the totem of the horned owls, and in the second place it was a stylized human face, the pits 
being the eyes of the same.  As I recall it, this mound was the best preserved, the most balanced, and the best 
finished effigy mound that I have seen.  Not far from this, there was a mound on the railroad right of way that 
I had thought was an alligator.  Mr. Peet had seen a similar one or read of it and he said that it was representing 
an eagle in flight, carrying its young on a wing.  All these mounds, reaching for a distance of a mile and a half 
were near the lake.  What was once in all probability the finest of all was back from the lake, on a spur of Academy 
Hill.  He said that this was a mink.  To me, it seemed possible that it might have been an otter.  This mound was 
close to 500 feet in length and ran diagonally through a wood lot.  The head and neck and the rump and tail were 
in plowed fields, and their outlines blurred.  The long body was the size and height of a railroad grading or a 
turnpike road.  In fact, John Merritt had used it as a roadway between fields. Incidentally, I may say that Stephen 
D. Peet was one of the three men who graduated in the first class of Beloit College some 100 years ago (1956).

The family:  The twins, Charlotte and Chauncy were born in 1884.  I was ten and Lola was seven.  Needless to say, 
this threw a good deal of work on mother.  There was no water in the house.  The pump was near the back door.  
Sometimes the valve which held the water in the head of the pump became worn and the pull of the column of water 
below would exhaust the water in the plunger chamber.  When this occurred, water had to be poured into the top 
of the pump while the pump handle was worked up and down vigorously until it caught.  Then the pump would begin 
to suck and fetch water up from the well.  This is what was known as "priming the pump."  I suppose many who used 
the figure of speech when applied to financial affairs did not know what they were talking about.  Generally, 
some water was kept in reserve when one had a pump that needed priming.  It was more than a quarter of a mile 
to the spring, so for final resort one would go to the rain barrel for an emergency operation.  The water in our 
well was heavily charged with lime and was known as hard water.  This hard water did not collaborate with the soap 
in washing clothes, so mother was glad to have a barrel of soft water, i.e., rain water to use in washing.  This 
barrel would be a 50 gallon empty kerosene barrel having one head removed and used as a loose to keep out dirt 
and objects such as children delighted to throw in so as to hear the splash.  However, mosquitoes would get in 
and deposit their eggs and a crop of wrigglers was found in most barrels and their presence induced a foul smell.  
When the barrel was half full of water, one could get a delightful echo by yelling into the barrel as you held 
your head over the edge.  So there was the small girls' song, "I don't like you any more.  You can't slide down 
our cellar door. You can't yell in our rain barrel." 

Frozen Pump:  To come back to the pump, when winter came the pump would freeze, so there was a valve that let 
most of the water out of the head of the pump.  But on very cold days, in spite of a horse blanket over the pump, 
the frost would get into it and freeze the plunger tight into the barrel.  Then one heated a tea kettle full of 
water and, when it was boiling, poured the contents into the top of the pump. In the frosty air there would be a 
vast column of steam and down below there would be a crackling as the hot water drove out the frost.  Finally 
the pump handle could be moved and soon the water would be coming out into the pail.

Sister Lola and house work:  The only labor saving device that mother had was the wringer.  The laundry equipment 
consisted of two wash tubs, the boiler, wash board, and the wringer.  Now, with two adults and four children there 
was quite a bit of washing.  I was able to fetch water, turn the wringer, and throw out the wash water. Lola, for 
a small girl, did a lot of work about the house.  She looked after and amused the twins.  She set the table for 
meals, swept the floor, sometimes she helped dry the dishes, sometimes I washed them.  It fell to me to fetch 
wood, keep the fires up and to take out the ashes.  Part of the time mother had a hired girl. 

Norma arrives:  Sister Norma was born in 1887.  By this time Lola was ten years old and a very efficient mother's 
helper.  She did an amazing amount of work and did it amazingly well.  By this time I had graduated from carrying 
wood to splitting it.  I had also come to the point of being able to start a fire so I acquired the habit of getting 
up at six to get the fire going in the kitchen stove.  I recall that father explained to me the way a person worked 
their hand when milking a cow.  I got the idea and he let me bring a tin cup and milk that full.  So one day I 
graduated from the tin cup to the milking stool and learned to milk with both hands, holding the pan between my 
knees.  It was not long before I was the regular milker and later it came to me that father was not very fond of 
the job anyway.  There were many more things I learned in the course of time; how to grab the cow's skin before 
she placed her hoof in the milk pail, in fact, how to keep the hoof out, how to have a straw hat absorb the swing 
of the tail.  Mr. Silas Mills ("Sile") kept his cow with ours and often he used to be milking at the same time.  
He was a stout man of sixty odd, with a very mild and gentle disposition.  But his cow used to bring out the pepper.  
She was an annoying cow.  She would stand quietly a good "soh Bossy" until he had half a pail of milk, when she 
would up with the hind foot and kick the pail, either spilling it or splashing Sile.  Then she would step off 
two or three steps and stand.  The ritual was always the same.  Sile would pop up like a grain of popcorn when 
overheated, as mad as the proverbial wet hen, snapping forward very briskly for a stout man and deliver a stout 
man's kick, saying with passion and emphasis, "Take that, damn you."  The cow side stepped.  He, having vented 
his wrath, finished his milking.  Never, as far as I observed, did he ever succeed in kicking the cow, and I never 
failed to enjoy the ceremony. 

Dewey and the frogs:  Writing of a stout man reminds me of a character that used to come from Portage to the club 
house, allegedly to fish, but actually for the sake of the outing and to find new hearers.  He was a large and 
very stout man and was called "Old Dewey."  It seems to me that it was said that he was a painter by trade.  He 
loved to tell tales, and a specialty of his, enjoyed by the youth, was his impersonation of frogs.  He had a 
powerful bass voice and he would imitate the bullfrog with "Who are you?  Who are you?"   Then he would reply 
imitating the little edge-of-the-lakers in a peeping falsetto, "Dewey, Dewey."  Then he would evolve a whole 
drama better than a funny.  We had especially fine big bullfrogs, as big as a hen (without feathers) with great 
voices out of proportion to their size.  They could be heard for a mile.  Unfortunately, their legs came to get 
a price almost as high as those of a movie star, and I am afraid they are now extinct.

Stephen LeRoy:  There was another fisher, but not stout, Stephen LeRoy.  I do not know where he came from nor 
what supported him.  He was a middle-sized old man with a matted beard.  He asked permission of father to build 
himself a habitation on a slim point of hard land running out into the marsh toward the lake.  He built a small 
square hut of boards and tar paper.  His only occupation was fishing, and I suppose that he lived largely on 
fish.  My father teased the twins by telling them that Stephen ate so many fish that the bones worked out 
through his skin and that he could not take his clothes off.  The bones were mythical, but they explained 
their failure to come off.  When he came to the store, he was garrulous and an inventor of tall tales.  
If there had been a recorder of them, they would now constitute a volume of a past indigenous art.  I 
do not know that he ever told of a blue ox, but there is just one example that sticks in my memory.  
He told how one day he was out hunting with an old fashioned Daniel Boone type of single-barrelled, 
muzzle-loading rifle when he found a partridge (ruffed grouse) sitting on a limb of a large oak tree.  
This tree had a hole in it and there was a fine fat squirrel on the tree.  He had a dilemma.  If he 
should shoot the partridge the squirrel would run into its hole, while if he should shoot the squirrel 
the bird would fly away.  After due consideration, he loaded a second ball into the rifle on top of the 
one already in place, then he moved so that the squirrel was directly above the partridge.  Then aiming 
at the bird, he fired, jerking the muzzle of the piece up exactly at the time of the discharge.  The second 
ball killed the squirrel while the first out of the gun got the partridge.  I do not know that he ever read 
Baron Munchausen, but he did not need to for by his own account he was dexterous enough in its own rights. 

Ben and Mrs. Wilbur:  Stephen diverted me from the rotundo.  In Packwaukee, the general store was run by Ben 
Wilbur.  Both Ben and his wife were obese.  They were a gracious hospitable pair.  Mrs. W. had a good voice 
and could sing and did.  One of the incidents that Ben loved to tell was a tale of a nephew of Mrs. W. who 
came from New York City to visit them.  The nephew was a stranger to the ways of central Wisconsin.  Mrs. 
W. that year had gone in for fowls and had a fine flock of pullets of which she was justly proud.  In honor 
of the guest, she decided to have chicken pie.  She said to the young man, "Take Ben's gun and go out and 
kill a fowl."  (Ben was a duck hunter and had a good double barrelled breech loader).  The youth took the 
gun and went out and got some corn and spread it on the ground and stood away with the gun.  I believe that 
he got six of Mrs. W.'s prize birds.  They had chicken pie, alright and Mrs. W. was het up. 

In the nineties, Ben sold his Packwaukee property and rented father's store at Endeavor.  They continued at 
Endeavor for some years.  One day, a group of men came into the store in the evening and Ben said to them, 
"Did you hear that the four o'clock train ran off Chapman's Bridge?"  This was on the way to Packwaukee, a 
long bridge over a deep stream with swampy banks.  There was immediate excitement and a barrage of question.  
When Ben could puff in with explanations he said, "Well, it ran on at one end of the bridge and off at the 

Rube Nick:  In the eighties, Oxford was a small town out in the sticks which had a past.  In the days of the 
boom in the teaming from Portage to Grand Rapids, Oxford was an important stopping point on the way.  It was a 
trading center, had a hotel and a good flour mill and, if I am not mistaken, a saw mill and a distillery.  When 
the line of the Wisconsin Central was built, Oxford was seven miles from the railway and began to wither on the 
twig.  The general store in Oxford was in charge of Rube Nick (Ruben Nickerson).  He was a big man of immense 
girth, also a keen duck hunter.  In Oxford, there was a pioneer family, if I remember rightly the name was 
Wright.  A teen age son of the family was a natural, without cares, occupation, or outstanding intelligence.  
He was babbling and fooling about Nick's store when a traveling salesman came and was making sales to Rube.  
When he said to Rube in a low voice, "Is that fellow bright?"  Rube replied, also in a lowered voice, "No, 
the poor chap, when he was a kid, he had a brick slide off a roof and hit him on the head, so he has been 
foolish ever since."  The subject of the talk had sharp ears and at this point he drawled, "The same brick 
hit the whole family." -- which was to the point. 

Hank Coon:  A few miles outside the town there was a family by the name of Coon, no relation to Dan Coon.  
One of the sons, Hank, was a smart active man of quick and unpredictable action.  He was strongly opposed 
to alcohol.  In Oxford, there was bootlegging, however it was not possible to get evidence.  One day Hank 
was in Rube Nick's store and several young blades present.  Hank loudly doubted that there was illegal 
liquor to be had.  One of the youngsters laughed loudly and contradicted him, said he could get it at any 
time.  Hank bet him five dollars that he could not make good.  The money was put up and in a few minutes 
the young buck came back with a half pint.  He won the five dollars, but when he had explained to the court 
how he came by it, the bootlegging in Oxford was history.

Hank and the hogs:  Later Hank built at Endeavor.  In the mean time, he had become well-to-do.  He had married, 
been to Oklahoma, and done well in oil, real estate, or something else.  One of his exploits in Oklahoma was 
this.  He had a large planting of corn.  His neighbor had a large drove of hogs which invaded Hank's cornfield.  
Hank protested but got no action.  So he took his gun, went down to the field and shot and killed a number of 
hogs, then called on the neighbor to remove his meat.  The neighbor sued Hank for damages.  Hank filed a suit 
for damage to his field.  Each won his case.  Hank said that he came out more than even and had a day's shooting 
into the bargain.

Sometime late in the 1880's, there was an epidemic called "la grippe."  This appears to have been a world wide 
affliction.  Mr. Denby, a bearded Briton who lived on the road leading south from Skinner's place and ending 
in a swamp, was a man of vigor who, late in his seventies, went to Milwaukee and married a bright young woman 
and became the father of a daughter at his advanced age.  He scoffed at the name la grippe and said that, when 
he was a young man in England, there was an epidemic of the same sort and that the name of it then was 
"window-flew-endwise."  He has had justification since, for subsequent epidemics have been known by the Italian 
derived appellation of "influenza,"  a name of significance for it would appear that it was a magic induced 
malady as they looked on such matters in Italia.

La Grippe:  I had an adventure with it.  My father sold lumber on time and, when payments were past due, I 
was sent out to remind debtors of their dues.  Kate Hulet lived on the east side of the Fox River, neighbor 
to the Egglestons.  She was a character; a widow with a small farm.  She had bought lumber and, as she was 
honest, one of her peculiarities, she was given credit.  It was a time of snow, I think late in the winter.  
Father mounted me on Old Sailor, a sturdy roan mare which came from Douglas as a colt.  I went some five 
or six miles down the River Road to the "swing bridge" and some three miles back north to the Hulet's place.  
After collecting some cash and having promises of more, I started back.  Then I began to feel sick.  By the 
time I got to the swing bridge I felt rather bad.  I got off the horse to walk, thinking that would help me.  
It did not and I stumbled on in the snowy road.  I was too weak to get on the horse again.  When I came to 
the Hume farm, I saw one of the Hume boys out in the barnyard.  I called to him and he came out to the road 
and helped me get onto Sailor's back.  I let her amble all the way home while I hung onto her mane and just 
managed to stay on board.  I think the folks at home never realized what a serious ride it had been.  I was 
invalided for a week or so and have never been affected by any of the return bouts of "Window-flew-endwise" 
that I have encountered.

Grange and co-op:  Some where in this era, 1882 -1890, there came a wave of attempts to improve the conditions 
of farm life.  One of these was the establishment of a farmer's grange in Moundville.  This was a co-operative 
movement and held promises of economic betterment.  The active participation did not reach the Merritt's Landing 
area.  We, as free enterprisers, did not sympathize.  The movement was confined to the wide southern end of the 
town, and most of those active were English and members of the Methodist Church.  Later, I have wondered if the 
idea came in with those who had come from England.  I think that it was mostly a buyer's co-operative.  They 
built a store out in the country and for some years handled groceries and some other merchandise.  There was 
no clear account of the saving.  I suppose that most of the advantage came from dealings in cash and from free 
voluntary services.  Be that as it may, the system became too burdensome and voluntary directors developed 
tensions and misunderstandings.  At any rate this feature was discontinued. 

Co-op creameries:  There was a secondary development of wider significance and this was connected with the 
development of the dairy industry.  All along, the farmers had cows, and milk and butter were produced for 
home requirements.  Surplus milk was fed to the pigs and surplus butter was traded for groceries when possible.  
We bought and sold butter, often at a loss.  Father attempted to furnish dealers in the northern part of the 
state.  He would get wooden "firkins" and, buying butter either in rolls or in jars, would repack it into 
firkins for shipment.  The butter which we bought was of a varied quality and some of it unfit for shipment.  
We kept a record of each lot we bought.  In one jar we found a three pound stone neatly embedded in the butter.  
One day I did not have a jar of like size and, over the protests of the woman, took the butter out to put it 
in a tub.  I found that she had arranged a nice little cheat.  She had made a pillar of butter to support a 
disk of butter closing the top of the jar.  The space around the pillar was filled with brine.  When I fished 
the butter out and weighed it and returned her jar with the brine, we lost a customer. 

The farmer's grange established a co-operative creamery where farmers took their cream which was made into 
butter by a trained creamery worker.  Then the butter was packed into tubs and sent to market.  After subtracting 
the salary of the operator, the proceeds were divided in proportion to the butter fat contributed by each member.  
The co-operative creamery was a success, they multiplied throughout the state and, when I visited Wisconsin in 
1950, I found statewide existence of co-operative creameries.  I have the impression that Land-o-Lakes is co-operative.  
The development of creameries and cheese factories changed the economy of Wisconsin.  Great Dairy companies such 
as Bordens grew up and still flourish. 

Potatoes:  Another development was the growing of potatoes.  All along these tubers had been produced for home 
and local use.  It was found that parts of Wisconsin produced a superior quality.  Companies such as Stark 
Brothers built frost proof potato houses and arranged for heated railway cars.  There came, as a result, a 
large increase in potato planting.  Instead of a part of the garden being a potato patch, fields of potatoes 
were planted and special horse drawn diggers took the place of the back trying fork. 

Potato Culture:  It developed that the sandy soil near Hancock and Plainfield produced the best potatoes, and 
the farmers who had been existing in this region became affluent.  In the potato season, potatoes were taken 
out of there by the trainload.  After the potatoes were dug, they sowed the land to winter rye.  The next year, 
in the first of June, they plowed the rye under and then planted the potatoes.  They found that planting the 
potatoes from June 20th, they beat the potato bug, or Colorado beetle.  It appears that it is the early potato 
that gets the bug, for this beetle is patriotic and does not work on the 4th of July. 

Tobacco Culture:  Another attempt on the elusive dollar was made by the growing of tobacco.  It was found that 
certain soils in Wisconsin produced a good quality of the weed.  Many farmers in Marquette County gave this a 
try.  The Indians are said to have grown it and, when I was a small boy, I knew of some who grew some for their 
own use.  In order to cure the tobacco, it was necessary to have a certain type of building known as a "tobacco 
barn."  These were built like the ordinary barn with the balloon frame, and the sides were of dimension boards, 
that is, boards a foot wide and put on perpendicularly.  Instead of having the cracks covered with battens, 
every other board was fastened to its neighbor with hinges.  This allowed the hinged boards to be swung open 
providing rapid evaporation of the juice from the leaves of the plants which, at the proper time, had been cut 
and hung top down from frames inside the barns.  If the process of curing required it, part or all of the 
openings could be closed.  The Marquette region did not yield profit sufficient to warrant the outlay.  The 
culture of tobacco continued to be a profitable crop in an area farther south.  The capital of the tobacco 
growing area is Edgerton. 

Mickey Devine's Cow:  To hark back to milk production, there is the story of Mickey Devine.  He was Irish, no 
relative of Father Divine, and lived in the Caledonia Hills to the north of Portage.  One of the historic 
figures of Portage City was Judge Guffy, the organizer of the Guffy Guards of the Civil War.  He had a mansion 
and estate on the north bank of Silver Lake, to the north of Portage.  Well, Judge Guffy wished to buy a cow.  
Mickey had one and the judge asked if she was a good cow.  Mickey assured him that she was.  He asked, "Does 
she give plenty of cream?"  Mickey said, "Ah, Jedge, she gives nothing but crame."  The judge said, "Mickey, 
that is pretty rich.  I wish a little milk for my porridge."  Then Mickey said, "I'll tell ye Jedge, if you 
set the crame, after awhile some milk will rise to the bottom." 

Books:  Just before I was sixteen, I had an urge to read some of the things that I ought to know about.  Being 
in Portage and having a dollar to spend, I bought at Graham's Drug Store a Pope's translation of Homer's Odyssey.  
I had read that this was one of the great classical poems.  I read it with great pleasure.  Again, in our region 
no one skated.  I saw pictures in books of people skating and their poses looked graceful and the text indicated 
that it was a pleasant pass time.  In someone's wood shed I had seen a skate, one of those of ancient illustrations 
where the blade of the skate swept up in a graceful near circle so that the tip of the blade turned away from 
the toe of the skater.  I noted that the skate had a wooden top to fit to the sole of a shoe and a screw to 
fasten the skate on, the screw being abetted by straps to bind the skate to the toes of the skater.  If the 
skate had not been a widower, I should have attempted to negotiate for them.  There was a middle aged man who 
lived with his wife and several children about two miles out toward Mitchell's.  It seemed to me he was one 
of those men who get by with little effort.  Billy Moore was said to have come from Boston and that he was 
an accomplished skater.  I never saw him on ice, but that was the reputation that he had. 

Learning to skate:  Be that as it may, I had seen a pair of modern skates in Portage, no curled over toe ornaments, 
no wooden base, and they fastened to the sole of a boot with clamps.  The price was 75 cents.  Looking about, I 
found a job husking com for 3 cents a basket.  I went out early and late and in the course of a week had 75 cents.  
I found a way to send for the skates.  There came an early freeze and I went down across the railroad into the 
John Merritt pasture where there was a little patch of ice in the marsh.  I put the skates on, but I had not the 
slightest idea of what one does to skate, never having seen a person on skates.  I fell down.  I found that it 
was the easiest thing that I could do.  Then first one skate and then the other pulled off the sole of my boots.  
I tightened the screws more and more.  I did manage to slide a little.  I practiced diligently in preparation 
for the time I could go on the lake.  Then one day I saw young Ben Wilbur from Packwaukee skate; he was a good 
skater.  I saw the principle of using one's weight to secure propulsion.  After that I skated and it was a joy. 

Endeavor:  1890 - 1900

1890 a turning point:  This year was a turning point in the status of Merritt's Landing, of the community, and 
the lives of a great many people beside myself.  For some years back, we had heard of religious gatherings at 
Jordan Lake, a place in Adams County, and I believe in the township of White Creek.  My impression is that 
these meetings were of the sort called "Camp Meetings." Some local people had visited them.  There was a 
Congregational Church there and at Big Spring.  So it was that there were camp meetings at Jordan Lake in 1890. 

Religious condition of the area:  The region in the neighborhood of Merritt's Landing had few believers and no 
regular religious services.  The Methodist meetings in the southern end of Moundville were regular, and they 
had a small building used for the Sunday services of worship and Sunday school.  Often I had been there in the 
summertime along with the Harrison Coon family.  The ageing elders, or preachers, were not very stirring preachers.  
I believe some of the more capable had already passed on.  There was a Sunday school and occasional preaching at 
the Loomer school in Douglas.  A Presbyterian minister would come from Oxford occasionally.  Mr. Almon Holmes,
Mr. Loomer and Albert McMillen were of the more active in this.  Some years there were Sunday school classes 
held in the Town Line School.  The Sandy Rodger family, the Pettuses and the Skinners were of those who did 
something in this line.  My impression is that this had been more active in the past, for in a cupboard under 
the chimney of the Town Line School house there were a quantity of bibles and other books from a time previous 
to mine. 

Coming of the tent:  In 1890, Albert McMillen and Morris Seavy went to Jordan Lake and fetched the evangelistic 
team and the tent for the camp meetings.  They must have arranged this with other members of the community but 
this escaped my attention.  They had secured the use of the grove in the "dock lot" which belonged to my aunt 
Annie, wife of Cecil Chapman.  The tent was a large one designed for the purpose and was put up in the west 
end of the grove where the River Road turned after crossing the line of the railway.  The place was easy of 
access, almost public.  The evangelistic team was in charge of the Rev. Russell Cheney who was a musician and 
who led the song services.  The evangelist was a tall young man, Eli A. Childs, a recent graduate of Oberlin, 
having been in charge of a church at Plainfield.  He was a good and forceful speaker.  Mr. Cheney's father 
and mother, both old, saintly, in earnest, and singers, added not a little to the success of the enterprise, 
and a success it was.  People carne from far and near. 

They used hymns from a then new hymn book, Gospel Hymns No. 5.  The tunes were catchy and both young and old 
joined in the song services with gusto.  This camp meeting was just what the community needed.  In fact, the 
people of the region became a community through the meetings; the latent religious longings of people starved 
for such blossomed out like a lilac clump under the spring sun.  When it came time to call for converts, there 
were so many of them that it was a problem.  Most did not care to join the Methodist Church, partly because of 
distance and partly because that body showed little interest. 

Church Organized:  It must have been about August when the consensus of opinion was to form a new church.  I 
believe there were 44 baptized on one occasion, most of these were baptized in the tent.  A few had immersionist 
leanings and the Rev. Eli Childs baptized these in the lake.  Within a few months, there were more than sixty 
charter members of the church. 

First pastor:  It was decided to call Eli Alexander Childs to be pastor of the church.  Then there was the matter 
of a meeting place.  No room in the place would serve, the school house was a mile and a half away.  So it was 
decided to build a church.  Subscriptions were started, aid was gotten from the Church Building Society, help 
from the Home Missionary Society for the pastor's salary, and permission to use a triangle plot of land belonging 
to Annie [Brown] Chapman was secured.  Enthusiasm was high.  And so the Church was built by the railway and the 
road to Portage, at the southeastern end of the main street of the town -- which really was yet only a road. 

The Pastor's Wife:  The pastor's wife, Emma Logan, was a graduate of Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.  
Her uncle, Robert W. Logan, was a pioneer missionary to Micronesia, and this had affected the whole family strongly.  
She and her husband had been appointed to that mission and had their goods packed to go when Eli took the pastorate 
at Plainfield, and then the summer evangelistic campaign.  I never understood just why they turned back from Micronesia.  
When Eli was called to the pastorate of the new church, they carne to live in one of the small houses father had 
built to rent.  Emma had a large part in the future development of the church.  They had an infant son named Finney 
after an Oberlin hero. 

Organizing a young folks' class:  I find that I am unable to put all the changes that followed in proper sequence, 
for these changes came rapidly and I was not intimately connected with them all.  A Christian Endeavor Society had 
been organized in the Mills - Loomer region; I know that Ellen Page was interested in this.  When the new church 
was organized, there were many young people in it, including those from the Douglas area.  So in the new church, 
a society was organized.  Mr. and Mrs. Childs organized a bible class of the young people's society to give them 
instruction both in religion and churchmanship.  As this went on, the needs for a secondary education for the 
youth of the church was apparent, for the economics of the time and the condition of transport, to attend high 
school in Portage, Westfield or Montello was out of this world. 

Beginnings of Christian Endeavor Academy:  Sometime in the winter of 1890 - 91, the thought of starting a school 
equivalent to a high school came to the mind of the young pastor and his wife.  The subject of developing an academy 
such as the ones at Poynette and Beaver Dam was brought up and discussed with the leaders of the church and with 
the pastors of the Lemonweir Association.  Mr. Childs had the mind and ability of a promoter.  Somewhere about 1890, 
John Merritt died.  He had two children, both a bit queer.  Len was a Morse telegraphist and had government employment 
in Washington, and no inclination to farm.  His sister, Ettie, was born an old maid and had by this time arrived 
at an age of discretion.  She had neither inclination nor ability to carry on the fine 320 acre farm which her 
father had.  E. A Childs saw the possibility.  Some of the interested chipped in.  E. A. applied to his father-in-law, 
John Logan of Hortonville, Outagamie County, a man of substance, and an option was secured on the John Merritt farm.  
This was a bit more than 320 acres. 

Brick yard:  An Academy Committee was organized.  The plan of a town was laid out and officially registered, and 
lots put up for sale.  Mr. Logan bought and paid for a part of the farm.  Friends were solicited for the erection 
of an Academy Building.  Building of residences went into the boom stage.  Mr. Childs came from a family of brick 
makers and he found brick clay on the new property, so he called his father, Seth Childs, from his home in Kaukauna, 
and also a half brother, and a pilot plant was founded and the first kiln of bricks burnt.  They proved to be a good 
red brick. 

Development of he Academy:  Mr. Logan sold his farm in Hortonville and came to Merritt's Landing.  Mrs. Child's 
sister, Delia, was taken on as bible teacher.  She had studied at the Moody Institute in Chicago.  A Mr. and Mrs. 
Elmer E. Buck were also engaged.  Mr. Buck taught penmanship, drawing and business.  Mrs. Buck taught music.  Mr. 
and Mrs. Harrison Churchill moved into the new boom town.  They had both been school teachers with long experience.  
The first classes were organized in 1891 - 92.  The courses were varied and the curriculum unorganized.  Mrs. Childs 
taught classes in Latin, Greek, grammar and botany.  A good deal of attention was given to organ and piano music, 
and to the commercial course.  Mr. Childs taught algebra and geometry.  The school was popular and there was a 
considerable influx of students from Buffalo, Oxford, Big Spring, White Creek, Pardsville, and even from out the 
state.  Mr. Childs now had the trustees properly organized and had interested men of means.  Logan Hall was built 
to house both faculty and students.  A large stone building which had been built by a Mr. Goodhue was rented.  The 
school, which had developed from the Endeavor Society, was named Christian Endeavor Academy.  Colonel Merritt never 
approved of the tent meeting, of the church, or the school.  He had, on his own, changed the original name of Brown's 
Landing to Merritt's Landing where no Merritt had ever had a landing.  Somehow Mr. Childs managed to get the name 
changed to Endeavor and Endeavor it is to this day -- and from here on I shall use this name. 

Personal affairs:  Now to come back to our personal connections with affairs.  My father was not cut out to be a 
store keeper.  He furnished lumber for buildings and contributed funds for both the church and the school.  Mother, 
Lola and I joined the church but my father, who had universalist beliefs, attended and supported but did not join.  
The old Hawes farm had been unoccupied for years.  There was an abandoned field of little value of about 20 acres, 
the old original log house occupied first by the Hawse and Chapman families with the roof partly fallen in, and 
a quantity of wooded land and marsh reaching across the railway to the river.  This had come into the possession 
of a lawyer in Montello by the name of McCaffery.  Father dickered with him and bought it.  Times were rather 
hard in the 90s.  Father rented the store and sold the stock to a man by the name of Foat.  Father then ran the 
lumber business and began to develop the land.  He cut a lot of cord wood from it, drained a couple of ponds, 
and broke some of the cut over land for fields.  He also fenced parts of the land for pasture.  He enjoyed this 
type of work and I had my share in working oxen, grubbing and cutting wood.  When Mr. Foat did not make a success 
of the store, Ben Wilbur rented the building and conducted a store business for a time.  Finally, father sold the 
building, residence and store to Tom Skinner, disposed of the lumber business to Sam Campbell, built a barn and 
a house on a lot he bought from the Academy, and went back to farming. 

Chores:  I had many tasks aside from going to school.  I had the chores in the barn, swept the store, and did some 
of the clerking, kept fires going, and did a good deal of the cutting of the wood.  In the first year that we had 
the Hawes farm, I plowed and planted and cultivated a field of corn on part of the old field, helped mow and stack 
hay.  This was on marsh that was cut by hand and the hay was poled to build the small round stacks. 

Haying:  Some of this was on our own marsh and some was on McNutt's Island, the oxbow section.  The land on the 
oxbow was high and firm but separated from the mainland by soft marsh impassable for horses except in the winter.  
The grass on the oxbow was tall and thick, of a kind called "blue joint," much esteemed by stock in the winter. 

Father a master scythe man:  The hay was cut with the scythe.  My father was a master of this instrument, as he 
was in the use of the cradle for cutting grain by hand.  No one in the region could keep pace with him in mowing, 
nor could any one bind the grain that he cut with the cradle as fast as he cut it.  I believe there was a youthful 
pal of his by the name of Sam Whitehead who could bind grain as fast as he cut it.  After the hay had lain in the 
swath a day in the hot dry summer, it was dry enough to cock.  The hay was bunched with a three tined long-handled 
hay fork and piled carefully in a neat round pile some five feet across and the same in height.  In the course of 
four or five days, the hay had settled and the cock had lost half its height.  Then it was poled together and put 
into a stack.  It took two men to pole hay properly.  The poles that we used were tamarack some 12 feet long by 
2 1/2 inches thick at the butt.  They had to be straight and carefully smoothed.  The butt was trimmed with the 
axe for about a foot to a thickness of 1 1/4 inches so that it could be taken in the hand. 

Stacking hay:  Each man carried a pole.  One would go ahead, pass to the far side of the cock to be carried, stoop, 
and slip the pole along the ground under the cock of hay and about a fourth of the distance in from the right hand 
side of the hay cock.  His partner would do the same from the other side.  The two poles should then be parallel, 
about 30 to 36 inches apart.  Each man would take a pole in each hand.  They would lift up the cock of hay and 
carry it to the stack site where each would let go of the tip end of a pole and, holding on to the handle of the 
other, pull it out from under the hay, and start for the next cock dragging his pole.  It was heavy, hot work. 

Stacking hay:  The first loads would be dropped on the site of the stack.  These would later be shaped to the 
bottom of the stack.  The hay cocks would be placed in a circle round the base and later the hay put in place 
with forks until the stack was 6 or 7 feet high.  Then the stacker would climb up and build the stack up as 
high as it was convenient to pitch.  Pieces of wood would have been brought and when the stack was topped out, 
hay ropes would be twisted, a piece of wood fastened to each end, and a number of the couples hung over the 
top of the stack to prevent the wind from blowing the top away. 

Some miles up the river and 2 1/2 by road, there was, and is, a large tract of marsh with the river on one side 
and a bayou on the other, and that is Packwaukee Island.  I believe that no one holds the title to this so that 
it is government land.  Those who wished hay went there by boat, cut the grass with a scythe, and then in the 
winter when the marsh was thoroughly frozen and covered with snow, the hay would be taken away with bob sleighs. 

Haying with Father:  Father had a quantity of cattle and a number of horses so he had need of filling for the 
winter.  When I came back from college one year, he said to me, "Do you think you can do a man's work?"  It had 
seemed to me that I was a light weight and interested in study and that he was of the opinion that I could not 
do a man's work.  I have an idea that this was the first time that I came back from Beloit.  The next day, we 
took a horse and a buggy and went up to the point of land that jutted out through the marsh at the edge of the 
Joe Waldo swamp.  There was an old boat that we could use in crossing to Packwaukee Island.  In previous years 
I had used a scythe and father had explained in detail his system for using a scythe.  This was to stand quite 
erect, with the feet a foot apart, to keep the heel of the scythe down and the point up, to swing the scythe 
and not to chop.  He quoted the instructions of a Scotch neighbor of his youth, which was, "Stand up strecht, 
man, and stech your belly oot."  In the year that I had worked on the railroad, we had cut the grass, weeds, 
and bushes on the right of way with the scythe, and this had enabled me to perfect my technique. 

We cut hay on Packwaukee Island:  On the morning that we set out for Packwaukee Island, I selected the blade 
with care, saw that it was well ground, picked out a snath that suited me, and adjusted the grips.  When we 
had crossed the river, we hung our scythes.  I tested mine to see that I could touch the point of the scythe 
with my left toe while holding the tool in working position.  I noted that father, who led, was cutting a 
comparatively narrow swath.  I chose to cut a wider one.  This allowed me to reach into the grass up to an 
inch farther.  This used more energy but I figured that I had it.  I cut stroke for stroke and, when we came 
to the end of the swath, and he turned "to carry his swath," I cut three clips and followed him.  At the 
beginning, we whetted the scythes with our whet stones and went the course again.  We worked silently and 
doggedly as though part of a machine.  Finally, as we walked back, father looked up at the sun and said, 
"It is noon.  Let us eat our lunch."  We went to the boat and got out our lunch and ate it.  I, for one, 
was ready for it.  We sat on the seats of the boat out in the noonday sun, talked and rested.  Finally, 
we went back to the piece of hay we were working on.  When we had whetted our scythes, father said to me, 
"You go ahead."  No other examination that I have passed ever gave me the lift that that one did.  It was 
acknowledgement that I was father's equal in his chosen field.  From then on, while I worked with him, I 
was first scythe.  Later, he said that since he was a boy no one else had ever cut him out of his swath.  
I had not actually done that but we both knew that I could. 

I rake and bind against father's cradle:  Perhaps it was two years later when father had cleared, broken, 
and sowed to oats several acres of new land on the property that he had bought from McCaffery.  When I was 
through school he said, "Tomorrow I want you to come out and bind oats.  Channie [Chauncy Ennis] and Ab 
Wells get so far behind that I have to turn to and help them out."   I said, "O.K."  In the morning he 
had me turn the grind stone while he ground the blade of the cradle.  This blade was wider and heavier 
than the blade of the scythe.  When we went to the field, I carried the regulation long handled wooden 
rake.  I had not done much of this, but I had learned how to make the band from a handful of straws and 
how to bind the bundle.  As we walked I thought over the problem.  I figured that one ought to be able 
to put the grain cut in five clips of the cradle into one bundle.  If one could bind the bundle and 
throw it aside while the cradle was swung twice, then one could pick up the rake and rake up the swath 
while the fourth swing was making, and be ready to take the fifth clip from the cradle.  Well, it worked.  
I went through the morning counting one, two, three, four, and five.  When the oats were heavy, the 
bundles, to use the current vocabulary, were "king size."  Father beefed when they were being pitched 
onto the wagon. 

I come up to Sam Whitehead:  When it came noon and we started back to the house in our sweat-soaked clothes, 
Father said, "Nobody has ever followed my cradle for half a day since Sam Whitehead bound grain behind me."  
This was cheering but not the thrill that I had from acquiring the first scythe.  We did not work so 
strenuously again.  I told him how I counted the clips of the cradle.  He concluded that there was something 
in mathematics after all.  I should say that the reason that this grain was cut by hand was because of the 
stumps.  Father tried to hire a man to cut it with a reaper but he would not risk smashing his machine.  
After the oats were taken off, father seeded the land to timothy and clover and made the land into pasture.  
After a few years, the partly rotted stumps were pulled out and burned. 

Pineries and the Knox Brothers:  Some of the tales connected with working in the pine woods go back to the 
period of the 80's and 90's.  Those who had worked in the woods were fond of telling anecdotes about the 
Knox brothers.  I know nothing about them aside from the legends.  As it comes back to me, there were 
three brothers in a company exploiting the primitive riches of Wisconsin, Bill, Sam, and John.  From the 
tales, it would appear that they made a practice of exploiting the lumber jacks who worked for them.  
Many of these were scarcely literate, casual labor, shifting from job to job and place to place.  The 
Knox Brothers had a company store and men who worked for them could buy clothing and other things that 
they might need, and the articles would be entered in a book, the amount to be deducted from their pay 
at the end of the season.  The victims considered the book to resemble Avemus, in that entrance was easy 
and some of it mythical. 

John Knox:  One tale was of a man who came before brother John.  The lumber jack, after months in the camp 
back in the deep woods, had been celebrating his coming out, and was in a bewildered condition.  When faced 
with the extent of his alleged purchases, he protested.  The tale was that John was not only large, strong 
and rough but also addicted to manual suasion.  So he roared at the victim, and among other things listed, 
announced, "On so and so, a pair of pants that you got , and on so and so, a pair of pants you didn't get.  
And there is what is coming to you. Take it and get to hell out of here."  And he got.

Those who got the better of the Knoxes were few and celebrated in legend.  One, who was a veteran of the 
Civil War and knew of the racket, came in with a piece of paper on which he had listed what he had had from 
the store, the wages due, and the sum to be paid.  He stated this as he laid the paper down with one hand 
and he brought a pistol out with the other.  He said, "I'll take what is coming to me, and keep your hand 
out of your drawer."  Knox never batted an eye, said, "Yes sir, here is your money.  Hope to see you next 
season."  My uncle, Cecil Chapman was on speaking terms with the brothers.  When he went to settle up, he 
said that he had made no purchases from the store and had worked so long.  The boss saw that he was sober 
and athletic and the account was settled in an ordinary, uneventful manner. 

Back to Endeavor:
Deane and parlor organs:  One of the adventitious incidents adhering to the founding of the Academy was 
the gathering of the John Logan family to the place.  There was a friend of the Ennis family by the name 
of Deane whose home was in Briggsville.  Perhaps his first name was Oliver.  His business was selling 
parlor organs.  Whenever he came our way, he would stop for a visit.  Often he would ask to leave an 
organ at our house, perhaps with the thought of an eventual sale, ostensibly to ease his horses from 
the task of hauling it back to Briggsville.  Then when he made a sale in the district, he would pick 
up the one left at our house as a sample for further agency. 

A small girl visits house:  In the first year of the academy, Delia Logan, the bible teacher, had pneumonia.  
The family were summoned and the youngest daughter, Bessie [Elisabeth], came along.  A conscientious youngster 
of ten, she was taking music lessons at the time and felt that she must keep up her practice.  She did this 
on the organ at our house.  She was a shy, dark little girl who worked the pedals and droned out tones to 
a counting of one, two; one, two; one two. 

Sometime, perhaps on this occasion, the family bought the organ and kept it, for Lola was growing up and 
soon began to take lessons.  This did not deter A O. Deane, so that on occasion there were two organs in 
our front room. 

I have no sure record of the sequence of events.  The development of the church and Academy brought a 
complete change in the environment.  New houses multiplied.  Streets were laid out.  New stores were 
built and there was an influx of young people who enlivened the community.  There were new teachers, 
and prominent individuals of the church were guests and later educationalists. 

Printing Press:  Someone who had had a job at a printing plant gave a press and type, including type cases, 
to the Academy.  The whole lot was boxed up and sent by freight and was put into the upper room of the side 
room of the church.  Due to shortage of room, the ground floor room was used as a recitation room of the 
academy, a practice continued for many years.  The press and other equipment for printing suffered no damage.  
Everything had to be gone over and oiled.  The type had not been removed from the cases and packed in fonts, 
as it should have, but card board was put over the tops of the cases and they were packed in a big box one 
on the other.  A wonderful collection of pi was the result, types of all sorts and sizes were unsegregated 
when it was opened.  No one in the school had ever had any experience in printing or ever been in a printer's 
establishment.  Mr. Childs turned the mess over to Alfred Gardner and myself to straighten out.  Most of the 
job came to me.  I insisted that the thing could be made to work.  A rough stand was made to hold the dozen 
or so cases and a top to hold the case from which a compositor could work. 

Alfred Gardner and I turn printers:   We consulted the Encyclopedia Britannica and found where the different 
letters were put.  Then, as many type as had remained in their places were cleared of strangers.  The different 
sized types from the different fonts were segregated and then the type was distributed into their respective 
cases.  One day, there was enough type to set up a paragraph.  Ink had been secured, a stick of type was ready. 
Then the method of getting the type out of the stick and into the press was worked out.  Eventually, we had the 
whole plant in working order and issued our first news bulletin.  I continued this as a work of love all through 
my course and by the time I went to college, I was a competent compositor.  In the meantime, I had visited printing 
establishments and had much professional advice.

Roy Thompson:  While I was still in the course, there came a student from Hancock, Roy Thompson, who had suffered 
from polio with the result that one leg was much larger than the other which had ceased to grow after the attack 
of polio.  He had a shoe with a lift to make up the difference in length, but he moved with a considerable limp.  
To add to his trouble, when he had the attack, the poor doctor who was unequipped to deal with the disease had 
done something with carbolic acid.  Through some mischance, a drop of this got into one eye, destroying it so 
he had only one good eye and one good leg.  To offset these disadvantages, he had a whole and jubilant soul.  
He did not feel sorry for himself nor did he feel handicapped.  He became a boarder at Logan Hall.  Those 
boarding there ate at a long table of the dining room, Mr. Childs at one end and Mrs. Childs at the other.  
The first meal that Roy was there, he, because of his handicap, was the center for all eyes.  There were 
doughnuts for supper and Roy ate from the circumference of his until there was only a thin rim surviving, 
the central hole left.  This he leaned up against his teacup.  Mrs. Childs said, "Roy, why have you done 
that with your doughnut?"  He spoke up, "My mother told me to be very careful and not get a hole in my 
stomach."  This reply made his reputation.  The whole table burst into a roar of laughter.  And from then 
on he was a human being.  After Allie Gardner and I went away to college, Roy took over the press and made 
it a going concern and, when he finished his course at the Academy, he went back to Hancock and made a going 
concern of the local paper, which in time was taken over by his son Royal.  The press and other equipment 
later was taken over by the Endeavor Epitome, one of those periodicals that have been. 

The course which I took in the Academy was one intended to have one entered in the classical college course.  
The trustees contacted Ripon and Beloit, both Congregational colleges, and representatives of these colleges 
came to inspect and advise this new educational experiment.  Alfred Gardner and myself took this course.  
Mrs. Childs taught us Latin and Greek.  Mr. Childs taught algebra and geometry.  There were various teachers 
dealing with diverse things.  One effort was to prepare pupils to teach in public schools.  Mrs. Harrison 
Churchill, who had made teaching a life long profession, had this branch.  There was a business course.  
Mr. E. E. Buck taught this and gave instruction in drawing and penmanship.  Mrs. Buck taught music.  Mr. 
Harrison Churchill also conducted a course in singing.  After Mr. Buck left for a larger opportunity, I 
myself taught penmanship for a year.  Due to press of family affairs, Mrs. Childs turned over the Latin 
class to Mrs. Una Richardson, granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Almon Holmes. 

Academy prospers:  The academy became popular and pupils came from out of state and from far places in the 
state.  It is beyond me at this time (1956) to attempt to recall their names.  One of the outstanding figures 
was Grant Vincent Clark who came from somewhere down toward Marquette.  I believe that G. V. had been to a 
largely advertised Business College somewhere in Indiana.  He taught some subjects and studied others.  Miss 
Mary Delia Logan, who had been to Moody Institute, as I have already stated, taught classes in bible.  There 
was a depression coming on.  The promotion of the school exercised Mr. Childs a great deal and, with limited 
funds and a swept-up staff, it was hard to get a well organized curriculum established and keep it going.  
There were fanatic supporters.  Some of the opponents would scarcely speak to those who backed the church 
and academy.  The academy promoted an interest in education throughout the whole area and families who had 
never thought of having their children educated beyond the "little red schoolhouse" stage either sent their 
children to the academy or else away to some high school. 

Wrestling:  All through the eighties I had lacked playmates.  Sometimes I went to see George and Elsie Coon 
and sometimes my cousins Ben, Roy, and Joe Chapman, all younger than myself.  The coming of the academy changed 
all this.  My cousin, Hugh Yates, almost my exact age, came to live with us and go to school.  I had many chores 
both in the house, garden and stables.  There were the stoves to keep plenished with wood, the fires to be started 
in the mornings, and the cows to be milked twice a day.  There was little time left for social activities.  
Somehow one of the talents that I developed was in wrestling.  This type I believe is called Greco-Roman, but 
in the parlance of the time, "side holt."  My father had been, in his day, very good at this.  I can recall once 
when he was in his late thirties that he and Uncle Cecil Chapman were discussing this sport, and the upshot was 
they went out into John Merritt's sheep pasture and had a bout to determine the merits of certain attacks.  Be 
that as it may, in spite of my light weight and short stature, I came to have a local reputation.  When the snow 
was not on the ground, in an evening it was not uncommon for some boy to come and say that he had arranged a 
match and would I come out and try the aspirant.  I do not recall that any of these ever got the best of me.  
When this sport had developed to a certain point, I went to my father and asked for coaching.  I had expected 
that he would give me specific instructions on tricks and methods of tripping.  Instead he gave me the following 
general attitude, instruction I found useful when I came to play football.  His instruction was as follows. Many 
wrestlers stand with their feet far apart and with their muscles taut.  Do not do this.  Stand with your feet 
close together and with all your muscles relaxed.  Fix your attention on your opponent's feet.  You can judge 
his attack by the way he shifts his feet.  You are ready to step any direction with either foot; you do not 
have to relax any tensed muscle before you move to defense.  He will be deceived by your stance and think he 
can trap both feet.  Plan to avoid his attack rather than to oppose it.  That for defense.  When you attack, 
decide what you are going to do; consider each feint and arrange your whole course.  Do not move your feet or 
make any preliminary motion.  When you attack, snap to it with all the speed and strength that you have.  The 
strategy and tricks are yours.  If you can't invent them, don't wrestle. 

More athletics:  In addition to wrestling, I enjoyed coasting on the hill, which later became "Academy Hill."  
I made a long heavy sled of boards and ironed the runners with the strips that came from the edges of an old 
wagon box.  This sled would take four persons on board.  Also I became more proficient at figure and fancy 
skating than any other local skaters. 

Goodhue Hall:   In the winter, there was a group of boys who had rooms in the Goodhue building.  This building 
had been built on the main street by Mrs. Goodhue, a widow who was related to the Mills family.  It was a large, 
square, frame building, the ground floor designed for a store with store rooms at the back, and the second storey 
with rooms intended for a residence.  Somehow Mrs. Goodhue failed to make a go of the business and the building 
was rented by the academy.  The lower floor was used as class rooms and the upper storey as a dormitory for boys.  
I recall that Jim Bennett roomed there, also Jim Brodie.  The latter was a sort of playboy.  His father had a 
shoe store in Portage and Jimmie was sent to the academy to get him reformed a bit.  No soap.  He had, along 
with young Kilmer, traveled one summer with a ball team that toured the county under the leadership of Napoleon 
La Jay.

Boxing:   In this group, Jim Bennett was my chief friend, as well as the Gardner boys. Enough money was gathered 
to buy a set of cheap boxing gloves.  We worked these gloves with great regularity.  Jim Brodie was our trainer.  
At the time I fancied that I was quite a boxer. 

Baseball:   When they played ball at the Town Line School, I was too small to get into it.  Later, there were 
not boys enough, so that I had scarcely had a ball in my hand.  One day in the spring, some of the boys thought 
of getting up a team.  A ball came from somewhere and they were playing catch.  I came along and was invited 
to join and did so very awkwardly.  As I threw to the next one, he held the ball and called some of the others 
to come to him.  Then he threw the ball back to me and said, "Throw that the way you did before."  I did so.  
Then they both called out, "This guy throws a curve."  So I was kept demonstrating.  Jimmy Brodie said that 
it was a curve.  On the strength of this, they began to plan a ball team.  This required funds and there was 
not a farm surplus at this time.  Someone had an advertisement for a pamphlet explaining the pitching of curves.  
I sent for this.  It comes to me that this cost 25 cents.  The pitching of curves was comparatively new, and 
there were many who said, "There ain't no such animal."  When I got this book, I grasped the principle and 
began to study how to get the correct spin.  The natural, which had attracted attention, was a side-arm "out" 
for a right hand batter.  When I grasped the principle I developed this until it was good, but slow.  I found 
that a fast ball was the straight over-hand.  This gave me a quick breaking "out", and an "in" with less break 
but faster. 

We develop a team:  Art Batty was catcher and we practiced all the time that we had, trying to develop control.  
Great economies enabled us to get a mask, chest protector, spikes for the shoes, and some cheap fielding gloves, 
but not a catcher's mitt.  Art used a sort of thumbless glove which he had made from a piece of leather which 
father had.  There was a ball team in East Moundville of some years' existence, a team that had played no match 
games.  We got in touch with them and arranged to have our first game.  This was the first ballgame I had ever 
seen.  And I was the hope of the academy team.  As there had never been a curve pitcher in any of the teams in 
the county nor of Adams county either, the Moundville players were psychologically affected.  They were afraid 
they could not hit a curve, and they did not.  When no one had reached first base in four innings, Jim Bennett, 
our captain and first baseman, told me to just toss the ball and let them hit it, or they will not play with us

More Baseball:  The next year, we developed a reputation and played various teams about the county.  The batters 
found that they could hit curves, and they did.  In the second year, I developed a "drop" and a "slider."  I was 
anxious to mix in my slow side-arm, (which in 1955 was quite effective in league ball), but Jim Bennett as captain, 
and Art Batty as catcher vetoed the idea.  On the day that we had our graduating class-picture taken, I played for 
the last time with the team against a Douglas town team in Widow Green's field on our old farm in Douglas.  We won.  
Jim Bennett hit a home run. 

Wisconsin Central Railroad:  I am of the impression that it was in the summer of 1891 that I went to work on the 
railroad --  "working on the section," as was the idiom of the time.  At that time, the Wisconsin Central was an 
important means of transport.  I suppose that financial opposition prevented this road from achieving its projected 
place in the middle west.  As I recall it, this line ran from Chicago to Milwaukee, to Stevens Point and to St. 
Paul.  There was another from Ashland, on Lake Superior, to Stevens Point, to the city of Portage.  One function 
was to carry lumber and other forest products to market.  It also carried iron ore from the mines to the docks in 
Ashland.  A bit of its cargo at that time, before the age of concrete, was building stone and paving material.  It 
was also the outlet for a great deal of the agricultural production of a considerable area.  As there was no other 
vehicle for travelers, its passenger service was important. 

Competition:   Between Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul, there were the strong competitors of the Chicago, Milwaukee, 
and St. Paul Railroad, and of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad.  I imagine that those who planned the railway 
had in mind extending the line from Stevens Point through Portage to Madison and on down through central Illinois 
to St. Louis, to Cairo, and to the Gulf.  This could have been done through merger with the Illinois Central.  
However, the line stopped at Portage, and it would appear that the management chose to make the connections with 
the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul Railroad inconvenient. 

Railroad work:  The line through Endeavor had light iron rails laid on an unballasted road bed.  The local section 
ran from a place adjacent to Chapman's cut to a point near Corning Station.  The car house was at Endeavor, directly 
in front of father's store, and on the opposite side of the main line.  The handcar was kept in the car house as well 
as some extra tools and equipment.  The trolley, or flat car, a four wheeled bogey for carrying ties and rails, was 
pushed off at the side of the road at any convenient place. 

Section boss C. F Perkins:  Charles F. Perkins was "section boss."  He was a local young man, the son of James Perkins 
who had been living at Corning.  Jim was a character known for his magnificent beard, his membership in the Grand 
Army of the Republic, a capable and industrious wife, and for competent and sightly children.  Charley had married 
Laura Page and they continued to be pillars of the community and of the church for a great many years.  C. F. died 
this current year (1955), full of years, honor and respect.  In that year, I had attained the limit of my moderate 
stature.  If I am not in error, the crew besides myself included Will Leach and Ab Hudson.  Also, I believe, Will 
Leach soon left to take up the conduct of the farm.  I believe that Charlie got either $40.00 or $45.00 a month.  
We who did the work were allotted $1.10 a day for a day of ten hours.  There were six full days in a week. 

Dinner pail:  We were supposed to be at the car house promptly at seven o'clock in the morning, a minute or two 
before the boss would unlock the padlock on the double doors.  These would be thrown back and the car run out on 
the wooden rails that led into the house.  The car would be swung around onto the rails of the mainline.  The men 
would store their dinner pails and place on board the tools intended for the day's work.  The dinner pail was an 
important part of the equipment.  Usually they were oval in outline.  In the bottom section, there would be coffee, 
already mixed with cream and sugar.  Then a section that fitted tightly over this.  In this section were sandwiches, 
boiled egg, some fruit and other substantial food. Above this was a thinner compartment that might contain a piece 
of pie or cake or cookies.  This section had the lid and on top of the cover there was a circular small container 
in which might be pickles or preserves.  And over which a tin cup was fitted as a lid. 

The Hand Car:   When all was aboard, the boss took his position on one side, facing the handle of the forward 
pumping handles.  One of the men on the rear would push the car to set it in motion while the rest of the crew 
alternately pushed down and lifted up on the transverse handles connected with the iron driving rod that engaged 
the crank that operated the toothed spur wheel that engaged the pinion on the shaft of the rear wheels.  When the 
car had sufficient momentum, the pusher would jump on and away the handcar would go to whatever part of the section 
that the boss had decided upon. 

Railway track work:  The work was quite diverse and on a given day might deal with several different phases.  One 
thing that was to be done regularly, and I am not sure but daily, was to run over the whole section to see if the 
track was in order in every way.  One of the things that plagued our piece of line were low joints.  The "fish 
plates" that joined the ends of the rails did not hold the ends sufficiently so that the ties at the joints 
would be forced into the earth and there would be a certain depression at the joints.  As the cars passed over 
this depression, there would be pounding.  We had a foot square piece of heavy plank; this would be used as a 
fulcrum for a crow bar, the sharp end stuck under the end of the tie which would be raised by the weight of 
the man on the other end of the bar.  Two other men with shovels would tamp dirt under two or more ties to 
correct the lowness of the low joint.  Some times there would be a half mile of these low joints to be corrected.  
In the summertime on hot days, the rails would lengthen under the influence of the sun and the rails would be 
thrown out of line.  This would lead to conditions that might endanger trains.  The boss would sight on the 
rail while the men with bars would bring the rails back into line. 

Rail cutting:  Once we found one rail so lengthened that a whole section of the rails on one side was raised into 
the air at least three feet.  At one end of this tight area, the "fish plates" were removed from a joint then, as 
the men stood back, the boss took a spike maul and pounded one side of the end of a rail until it disengaged, and 
the whole bent-up section sprang ahead and flopped to the ground.  Men had been sent out with red flags which were 
stood in the middle of the road in case a train might come.  Then a rail was disengaged.  Cold chisels with short 
handles were gotten from the toolbox, and the length of rail to be cut out was determined.  Then, with two men 
swinging heavy spike mauls alternately, coming down on the crown of a cold chisel, the piece of rail was cut off, 
and new holes punched in the shank of the rail to take the bolts which held the fish plates.  This operation was 
a very clangy one, quite advertised to the whole neighborhood.  When the rail was back in place, the ties and 
alignment had to be readjusted. 

The whole right of way had to be mowed and burned every year.  One main task was to remove the unsound ties, pile 
them and burn them.  New ties had to be put in their place and spiked.  One man, using the plank fulcrum and bar, 
held the tie firmly against the rail. The heavy spike was driven with a long-handled, six-pound hammer, the spike 
maul.  This work required bull's eye hitting, for if there was the slightest deviation, the spike would fly off 
like a bullet.  I felt quite cocky when it was found that I had a good eye and a good aim. 

New steel:  In the summer that I was working on the track, the road decided to replace the old iron rails with new 
and heavier steel rails.  These were brought on flat cars and on board were crews of men whose job it was to drop 
the rails off on both sides of the slowly moving train.  Our crew and the crews from sections both to the north 
and south were brought to assist in the job of taking out the old rails and putting in the new.  The old rails 
were just pushed to the side, the spikes were pulled along one side of the old rails.  These had to have the 
fish-plates unbolted from all the joints.  The new rails were heavier than the old ones.  The new rails were 
handled by teams of six or eight men with tongs, a man to each handle of the two-man pair of tongs. 

Difficulty:  Some of the joints had never been unbolted since the rails were laid and an occasional nut refused 
to come off the bolt.  The practice was to take a spike maul and pound the refractory nut until it broke off, 
and some were very refractory and pounding them into agreement delayed the whole crew.  I was assigned to one 
of these crews.  I recalled that in our toolbox was a heavy wrench with a handle at least three feet long.  
It was seldom if ever used.  I had an idea.  I got this wrench and when applied to the nut the nut did not 
come off, but the bolt came in two, just twisted off.  The road master, a small thin man was looking on; I 
believe that his name was Charley Coombes.  He came over and took a look, and I had a job.  He said, "Fetch 
that wrench and stay with me."  And so for the rest of the job, I was trouble shooter for the track superintendent, 
and every cranky nut yielded peaceably to our persuasion. 

Adjusted date:  After all, I judge that I must have worked on the railroad in the year 1892, when I was 18.  
The year of 1891, I worked on father's new land plowing with oxen and grubbing.  We rented land from Leaches 
and we planted corn on the old Hawes field.  Yes, railway was 1892. 

Brick yard:  I worked at the brickyard that had been developed in John Merritt's old pasture.  Mr. Childs came 
of a brick-maker family.  The first lot of bricks were sand molded.  He had his father, Seth Childs, come from 
Kaukauna, also a half brother whose first name I do not recall.  I remember working with the elder Mr. Childs, 
a thin, tan, dark, elderly man who had many of the ways and some of the looks of an American Indian.  I helped 
fire the kiln, the firing of which he superintended.  He was very careful and he explained to me carefully what 
he was doing and why.  The bricks were so good that it was decided to develop the yard in order to build the 
academy for which Mr. Eli Childs was raising the funds.  A new power machine was ordered from Ohio, a used 
steam engine and boiler were ordered.  Charley Perkins left the railroad and acted as foreman.  Will Burwell 
was the engineer.  While this was being arranged and the machinery installed, Gus Bliesner, a German brick 
maker, who came from I know not where, was installed, and a kiln of water-molded "slop" bricks was made, 
using a home made pugging machine. 

Brick yard:  This was in 1893.  In 1894, the new machine was put in operation.  This machine was able to 
produce 20,000 bricks a day.  But as there was not market for this amount and as there was not kiln room 
for so many, the equipment was run only half a day at a time.  At this time, I took part in all the work 
except running the engine.  Grandfather Childs explained to me the system used in constructing a kiln and 
much of the lore of burning.   In two of the years I worked closely with Gus Bliesner and he showed me the 
technique of setting brick in the kiln.  We worked as a team in taking the raw bricks from the kiln.  In 
vacation from college, I also worked in the yard. 

Going to college:   My Uncle Dave, who died when I was a child, had an advanced education and was principal 
of the high school in Westfield, Wisconsin when he died. Otherwise, there was no one round about in Moundville 
who had attempted a college education.  So when the first class of Endeavor was graduated, Jim Bennett planned 
to go to Ripon and Allie Gardner and myself intended to go to Beloit and made application for the same.  I 
suppose my contact with Ira M. Buell influenced me. 

Endeavor Academy:   Reverend Joseph Collie came to look over the school and the class.  Professor Blaisdell 
also visited us.  Now I know that the whole staff were amateurs in education.  Mrs. Emma Childs taught English 
and Greek, and started us in Latin.  In Latin, we used a new system, inductive, produced by President Harper 
of Chicago University.  I believe this system did not take with the professional teachers of Latin.  As Mrs. 
Childs had home duties, Miss Una Richardson, grand daughter of Mr. Almon Holmes, took over when we came to 
Cicero and Virgil.  She was primarily the music teacher.  Mr. Childs (Eli Alexander) taught us math.  Sometime 
in the course, the Academy secured the services of Grant V. Clark who had been to a business college in Valparaiso, 
Indiana, and who took charge of mathematics.  Mr. and Mrs. Harrison Churchill, both veteran teachers from the 
district schools, also joined the staff.  They carne from Big Springs and they took charge of certain classes 
of a junior high school nature.  The only thing I had with Mr. Churchill was a term in singing.  Early in the 
history of the institution, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer E. Buck taught for a year.  Mrs. Buck taught music, organ and 
piano.  Mr. Buck taught business, and free-hand drawing.  After Mr. Buck's departure, believe it or not, if 
anyone should read this, I took his place in teaching penmanship. 

While we were doing in three years what should take four years for pre-college training, Mr. Childs was raising 
funds and seeking backers throughout the state.  Logan Hall was built.  A couple of store buildings were made 
into class rooms and dormitory.  Classes were held in the church, and the press installed in the upper room of 
the church where Allie Gardner, as sexton and handyman, slept.  Many pupils came, some of them from out of the 
state.  Allie Gardner and I made our applications for admission to Beloit College at Beloit, Wisconsin, for 
the class of 1898. 

Copyright © 2002 - 2007 Transcribed by Joan Benner
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