Research Thoughts

Auto Runs Into Swarm of Bees

On a warm Monday, July 14, 1924, shortly before noon, my great-grandfather, Postmaster Lewis H. Cook was “bowling along” Highway 10 near the town of Maine, heading towards Wausau, when he “ran into a swarm of bees which made a veritable cloud in the highway.”

Sorry to leave you at this exciting moment, but I have been stuck on this direct quote from the article: “he was returning to the city through the town of Maine. Near the Burg farm on state highway No. 10…” The Town (now Village) of Maine is north of Wausau, and state highway 10 is south of Wausau. I can find no Burg listed on the 1930 Plat Map for Maine. Where was Lewis when he ran into the bees? All I know is that he was on his way to Wausau.

1927 Official Highway Map of Wisconsin. : accessed 1 Jan 2022
ca. 1922. The Cook automobile in the driveway of 325 Sturgeon Eddy Road, Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin. His mother, Amanda Blood Cook, and his daughter Anola, plus an Unknown on the back steps.

The story was published in the Wausau Daily Record-Herald the same day, and reads: “In an instant the auto was full of bees, several dozens were smashed against the windshield which was covered with honey from the crushed bodies.” The article goes on to report that “two of the insects crawled over his neck to his hair, but he hung grimly to the wheel” hoping by continuing to move forward he would “lose the unwelcome visitors.”

“One adventuresome bee started an investigation about his ankle and this one used its stinger when an attempt was made to dislodge it.”

When he arrived at the post office, “more than forty bees were stuck in the ventilator and others were in almost all parts of the car, while the windshield was so mussed up that an immediate cleaning was necessary.”

ca 1922. Lewis H. Cook in his garden at 125 Sturgeon Eddy Road, Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin

When interviewed about the occurrence, Lewis calmly speculated as to what would have happened if he had “a car full of passengers instead of being alone.”1


  1. “Auto Runs into Swarm of Bees,” Wausau Daily Record-Herald, 14 July 1924, Monday, p. 1, col. 4; digital images, ( : accessed 7 January 2022). ↩︎
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