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.
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.”
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
“Auto Runs into Swarm of Bees,” Wausau Daily Record-Herald, 14 July 1924, Monday, p. 1, col. 4; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 7 January 2022).
Many memories of Thanksgiving are tied to food. The big turkeys, the stuffing, the cranberries.
Yesterday I made a batch of cranberry sauce for Thursday’s feast, and as I do every year as I watch the sauce come to a boil and the berries start to pop as they heat up, my thoughts wander back to another Thanksgiving, either 2000 or 2001.
The computer was on in the library, connected to the internet, and email open. We designed the corner desk to be visible from the family room and kitchen with the intent that I could monitor the kid’s activity on the computer from the other rooms. The added benefit was that I could also monitor for incoming email – genealogy email.
As it was the week of Thanksgiving I was starting the cranberries while the kids were doing homework and just hanging out in the family room. Just as the berries were coming to a boil, I heard the tell-tale signal that I had just received an email. Forgetting to set a timer, and after one last glance at the pot, I hurried into the library to check my email. And that is where I got into trouble.
I had heard from Germany!! I had recently connected with a gentleman in Bonn who was helping me with my Fassbender line. He was retrieving birth, death, baptism, and marriage information for me from Schloß Augustusburg in Brühl. The best part is that he was also helping me with translating the documents, plus providing invaluable insight into the Rhineland in the late 1700s to early 1800s.
I got distracted. I was jolted out of my excitement by the kids yelling that the cranberries were spattering all over the stove. I had not yet burned them, just created a sticky mess on the cooktop.
So each year as I watch the cranberries bubble in the pot, I am taken back to the early days of “online” genealogy when there were real people at the other end of the discovery of a document. I love the ease of Ancestry, but miss the connection with people all over the world.
I make cranberry sauce the way my mother-in-law taught me many years ago. I shared this recipe last year, but it is worth sharing again.
Marie’s Cranberry Sauce
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 12 oz. package of fresh cranberries
Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; add cranberries, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour sauce into a bowl. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time. Makes 2 1/4 cups
To make strained cranberry sauce:
Follow directions in step 1 as written. After boiling the cranberries for 10 minutes, remove pan from heat and strain. Return sauce back to the pan, adding an additional cup of sugar. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
Pour sauce into a bowl. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time.
In recent months I have been working with a client’s DNA, and researching adoption practices in the first decade of the 1900s in Des Moines, Polk, Iowa, and Chicago, Cook, Illinois. This post is not a comprehensive study about the issue or any individual establishment.
A baby boy was born in the summer of 1906 and adopted shortly after his birth. I knew from documented sources for him, that he had spent time in the Iowa Children’s Home, so this is where I started. Moving to newspapers, I soon discovered that the Iowa Humane Society was investigating what was commonly known as baby farms. The newspaper was full of news.
In the usual back and forth of newspaper research, I soon focused my attention on Mrs. S. M. Ingraham who ran a baby farm in Des Moines “where women could become mothers, and their shame be concealed.”1
Mrs. Ingraham had taken out an ad for her home in 1906. She stated that she operated a “retreat for unfortunate girls” where the “home like surroundings and the kindness and skill of its treatment of patients, has defied all competition for more than 14 years past.” She declared that both she and her assistant, Mrs. Mary Gilson, were trained nurses who “stand at the head of the profession in the city of Des Moines.”2 Mrs. Ingraham retired later this year, moving from the home and passing her work to Mary Gilson.
The newspaper advertisement may have led young women to believe that they would be treated with kindness, but the Iowa Humane Society’s research discovered that these young mothers were “in a position to ‘ask no questions’ as to what becomes of the infants. In many cases, they are told the infants are dead and never see them after they are born.” At this point, there was no state supervision over baby farms and the subsequent “disposal” of the babies.3 The Iowa Humane Society was determined to change this and worked to create new regulations and laws to require these institutions to be licensed and to submit to regular inspections.
In November 1907 this story came to light. A woman, the mother of two boys, one four years old, the other a “little over a year” was in court because she had admitted to her husband that the babies were not her own. Mrs. Ingraham and Mrs. Gilson were both in court to testify on behalf of the younger child. They testified that the woman had “secured the baby from them when it was but a few days old.” The husband had “left the city for a short time and when he returned he found the little stranger awaiting him. Never until last week, when his wife confessed, did he know the baby was not his.” The woman also admitted that she had “worked the same scheme” on her first husband, from whom she was divorced. While her first husband was away “on a long business trip she secured an infant twenty-four hours old from the West baby farm and palmed it off to her husband as hers and his. Not only that, but she had a doctor present her husband with a bill for attendance during her sickness.”4
The judge ultimately ruled that the youngest child, whose “real mother is a farmer’s daughter living near Stuart, Ia.,” be turned over to the Iowa Children’s Home. The older boy was to be given into the custody of his paternal grandmother.
Mrs. West, from whose establishment the older boy was “secured,” was the topic of news throughout much of 1907 as she stood trial for the murder of a young baby boy. As a result of the ongoing trial, the inner workings of her “lying-in” hospital were revealed. In February 1907 The Evening Times-Republican from Marshalltown, Iowa, wrote: “Mrs. West now has at her home thirty-eight unfortunate girls, young mothers, for whose care she has charged the father in the case $200 spot cash, that being the minimum fee. [I can’t find the source, but I read that if the girl would not name the father, they waited until the time of birth to coerce her to name him.] The birth records show that there is an average of nearly one baby a day born in this institution. This means that over three hundred and fifty girls annually cover their shame in the place, and the officers say it will be shown that few of the babies live. There are ten such institutions in Des Moines.” The article goes on to state that “the monthly receipts from persons standing sponsor for unfortunate mothers is close to $30,000, and the annual receipts way beyond a quarter of a million.”5
Chicago homes were run differently than those in Des Moines. Here my attention was focused on Dr. William Farmer Briney, in whose home a baby girl was delivered, and then “adopted” out.
As early as 1903 Dr. Briney was advertising himself as the “great women’s specialist,” “reliable and skillful treatment of all diseases and complications peculiar to women.” “Positively the only physician who owns, manages, and operates personally a first-class, strictly private maternity home for ladies before and during confinement.”6 By 1911 he was operating the Anna Ross Hospital on Kedzie Avenue, advertising for young women to take a three months training in maternity nursing, and also a six months hospital training in obstetrical nursing.7 He was also advertising babies “For Adoption.”8
In 1913 the Curran Commission was investigating foundling asylums and infant “homes” in Chicago. After each session, the newspapers gave a full report of their findings providing much anecdotal information. On April 15, 1913, The Day Book had this to say about the Anna Ross Lying-in Sanitarium: “Mothers who go to the sanitarium are induced to sign contracts giving away their children before the children are born. Five unmarried women were found in the place. The rates charged by the sanitarium depend on how much money the mother has.”9
When the Curran Commission met the following week, the newspaper reported new findings: “Testimony of witnesses disclosed the fact that physicians received one-third of the fees charged patients for care and treatment in the institutions. This money is paid by the superintendents for recommending their establishments. It also was shown that babies are sold when only twelve hours old to total strangers, without any understanding whatsoever regarding legal adoption.” The first witness called that day was Dr. Briney who stated: “he had eight mothers in his institution, and that the standard charge for each of these cases was $60. The mothers, he said, had been sent to him by physicians. Asked what he paid the doctor, Dr. Briney replied that he gave them $20 for each of the cases sent to him. ‘This is pay for their trouble,’” “If I did not give them this fee they would not send the cases to me.” He went on to say that he placed advertisements in medical journals with distribution in Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. “It is a simple matter to get rid of the babies left at the institution by the young mothers,” “‘We have three times as many calls for babies as we have babies to give away.’ he said 95 per cent of the mothers were willing to leave their babies.” When he was asked, “What do you charge a person who desires to adopt a child?” He replied: “Absolutely nothing.”
Dr. Charles S. Wood’s testimony gave a deeper look at the industry. He stated that since 1894 he had “disposed of 665 babies, none of which was legally adopted.” One child born at 4 a.m. was on its way to McGregor, Ia., before noon the same day.” He “insisted there was nothing inhuman about the incident. He said it was the best time for a newly born babe to travel, as it did not require nourishment for twenty-four hours. He keeps no records of adoptions or the fathers, and held ‘It is nobody’s business.’”
His contract was presented to the commission and reads:
“This statement is to certify or declare that I gave birth to a baby on …. and being unmarried and unable to properly support and care for it I have authorized and directed Dr. Charles S. Wood to procure a home for it as best he can, and I do release all right I have in such child, and declare I have abandoned it forever. I also authorize and direct Dr. Wood to consent for me to its adoption at any time or in any manner he may see fit. I promise and declare I will never claim that child or seek it at any time or in any manner, but do abandon it forever.”
He firmly believed that he was doing “a lot of good,” as he had “saved the lives of many girls who might have become suicides, and I have saved the lives of their babies.”10
One final story about deception and discovery. In September 1915 two couples were in court discussing the custody of a 21-month-old baby boy who had been born in Dr. Briney’s establishment. “Twenty-one months ago from somewhere in Minnesota there came to Chicago” a woman “whose husband had long wished for a baby and consequently assented gladly to his wife’s suggestion that at a critical time she should visit the maternity and infant hospital conducted by Dr. William F. Briney.” The article states that she “did not wish to rear a baby.” She told Dr. Briney that her husband had left her, and asked that he find a family to adopt him. “He [Dr. Briney] says she signed a release. He says he did not know she wrote to her husband and said the baby had died.”
At that time residing in Chicago was a husband wishing for a child, the wife, did not wish to bear a child. The wife approached a doctor expressing her wish to adopt one. The doctors stated they knew nothing of the situation other than “One simply knew that there was a 1 day old baby to spare. The other simply knew there was a 1 day old baby wanted. It was as simple as the transfer of a pound of sugar from a grocer who did not want it to a housewife who did.”
Twenty-one months later the birth mother confessed. Her husband immediately left for Chicago, hiring an attorney upon his arrival. Dr. Briney’s records “told the entire story” and the two sides met in court. The baby was given to his birth father, who returned with him to Minnesota. The adoptive parents “left the courtroom. In the evening people at their residence said the owners had ‘gone out of town’ for an indefinite stay.”11
“Grand Jury Investigates Baby Farms,” The Des Moines Register and LeaderI, 13 Dec 1906, Thursday Morning, p. 1, col. 7; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 28 Jul 2022).
“The Greenwood Park Home,” Personal, The Des Moines Register, 4 Feb 1906, Sunday Morning, p. m8, col. 6; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 20 Jul 2022).
“To Cure Horrors At Baby Farm,” The Marshalltown Evening Times-Republican, 13 Nov 1906, Tuesday, p. 1, col. 5; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 29 Jul 2022).
“Admits Babies Are Not Her Own,” The Des Moines Register, 10 Nov 1907, Sunday Morning, p. 10, col. 7; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 20 Jul 2022).
“Stirred By Sense of Shame,” The Evening Times-Republican, Marshalltown, Iowa, 5 Feb 1907, Tuesday, p. 2, col. 7; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 28 Jul 2022).
“Medical and Hospitals” The Chicago Daily Tribune, 24 Sep 1903, Thursday, p. 12, col. 7; Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 28 Jul 2022).
This is an archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” and was first published 15 Jun 2015.
I don’t know when it started, but if Butch wanted to get Marie’s goat, he would mention that she was a “salutatorian of a class of two.” Granted, Hilbert High School in 1939 only had 13 seniors, but as Marie would say – “She still had to get the grades.”
And get good grades she did. Back in the day before we were all concerned about privacy, Hilbert High School regularly submitted, to both the Appleton Post-Crescent and the Chilton Times, a listing of students who had made the “A” Honor Roll in a particular semester; Marie’s name was always included. Good grades and perfect attendance.
In 1939 the Hilbert High School Commencement was held on May 25th, and Marie’s speech was about Education. I wish we had a copy of this speech. To read how 17-year-old Marie expressed herself would be pretty amazing.
The salutatorian of the class of 1939 would soon be leaving the farm and moving to the big city of Milwaukee, where she would go to Beauty Culture School. While in Beauty Culture School she would study Cosmetology Law, and learn more about the brain and the nervous system than I will ever know. But that is for another post.
Elisabeth Fassbender was admitted to Appleton’s St. Elizabeth Hospital in late March 1937. Her daughter, Anna, had passed away on February 2nd at the age of 71, and at 97, Elisabeth herself was beginning to slow down.
Monday afternoon, March 23rd, Henry and Ida drove from their home in Hollandtown, Brown County, to Appleton to visit his mother. They made the approximately 13-mile drive in the company car, a “1935 model Ford sedan, dark green, with the 1937 Wisconsin license plates No. 198-968,” registered to the Fassbender Brothers.1 Parking in the lot, they entered the hospital to spend time with Elisabeth. I would like to think that they met Henry’s sister, Elizabeth, and brother, Hubert in the room so that it was a nice family visit.
Upon leaving his mother’s bedside at approximately 8:30 p.m. they were shocked to discover that the car was missing. It had been stolen.
How did they return home that evening? A call may have been made to Elizabeth’s son, Arthur Ellenbecker. After filling out the police report, it was very late, and the 37-year-old was the perfect person to make the trek out to Hollandtown and back to Appleton.
Elisabeth was released from the hospital and returned home where she passed away peacefully on Wednesday afternoon, 14 Apr 1937. She was survived by four sons, one daughter, 34 grandchildren, and 34 great-grandchildren. The oldest grandchild was 41, and the youngest, Henry’s daughter, Rosemary, was just 11 years old.
But what about Henry’s car? What happened to it?
Tuesday afternoon, March 24th, the car was recovered at the St. Mary school grounds in Menasha, Winnebago County, by the Menasha police.2 “Apparently” the car had been taken for “transportation from Appleton to the basketball tournament under way” at St. Mary’s.3
“Four Plead Guilty Of Car Theft” read the Appleton Post-Crescent headline 26 Mar 1937. “Four youths plead guilty of operating automobiles without the owners consent.” Two of the youths 17 and 18 years of age were from Kimberly, Outagamie County. They were arraigned on two warrants, one dating February 25th, and the second being Henry’s car.
The other men, 19 year old residents of Appleton, were on probation when they drove to Menasha in the Fassbender vehicle, returning to Appleton in a second stolen car, as the previous October they had been convicted of taking two nickel slot machines from a Menasha tavern. They were arraigned on three counts of operating a car without the owners consent.
A total of eight vehicles had been stolen and used for “joy-riding about the country” by the young men; five cars from Outagamie and three from Winnebago County. One of the boys told the Outagamie county sheriff that one of the cars “was nearly new, with less than 500 miles on the speedometer. The sheriff said he boasted that he had ‘had it up to 90 miles an hour.’”4
The two 19-year-olds were charged to “three years in the state penitentiary [in Waupun] on each of the four counts on which they were arraigned. The sentences will run concurrently.”
In December a judge canceled the probation of the two younger men, and they were sentenced to serve three years in the state reformatory at Green Bay, Brown County.5 The paper doesn’t give a reason for this, but it may have had something to do with the fact that “a loaded automatic was found on” one youth’s “person when he was picked up,” and “police reported finding a revolver under the mattress” at the other youth’s home.”6
So as the newspaper reported: “The Court Closes Crime Career.” I am sure that Henry was happy to have the car returned with only a few extra miles put on the speedometer, and without being damaged.
“Report Auto Theft,” Appleton Post-Crescent, 23 Mar 1937, Tuesday Evening, p. 13, col. 4; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 4 Feb 2022).
“Car Is Recovered,” The Daily Northwestern, 25 Mar 1937, Thursday, p. 17, col. 4; digital images, NewspaperARCHIVE (www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 18 Nov 2015).
“Car is Recovered” The Daily Northwestern, 25 Mar 1937, Thursday, p. 17, col. 4; NewspaperARCHIVE (www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 18 Nov 2015).
“Youths Are Held While Car Thefts Are Investigated,” The Daily Northwestern, 23 Mar 1937, Wednesday, p. 4, col. 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 18 Feb 2022).
“Cancel Probations of Two Kimberly Youths,” Appleton Post-Crescent, 2 Dec 1937, Thursday Evening, p. 12, col. 6; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 19 Feb 2022).
“Youths Are Held While Car Thefts Are Investigated,” Wednesday, p. 4, col. 1.
I belong to a German genealogy group on Facebook where members are ready and willing to help in any way, many times by translating German text.
I also have a scan of a small piece of ephemera that is part of the collection of a Tapper relative. In 2008 this collection was sent to my mother to scan, catalog, and organize, which she did, and then returned the box to her cousin. While I found all the small bits fascinating, one piece, in particular, caught my eye as it had the name A. H. Klöfkorn written at the bottom. I grabbed my German/English dictionary and took a stab at translating the text. I didn’t get very far in creating a translation that made sense to me. I opened Google Translate and what it produced made even less sense. I put the image of the piece aside but would return to it now and again to take another stab at it.
The small piece is very pretty, with a bouquet of flowers on one side, with the text “Heartfelt Congratulations” written below, but scratched out with a strong line across it. This I could translate. Flowers, congratulations, the signature of A. H. Klöfkorn… All I could think ,was that this was a token of love given to my great-grandmother Gretje Folkerts Müller by her husband, Albert Heinrich Klöfkorn. I wrote about them in my post titled: “Strength at Christmas” which can be found here: https://www.outagamieandbeyond.com/2015/12/26/strength-at-christmas/.
A friend from high school is also a member of the aforementioned Facebook group, and I began to notice that she was having a lot of luck asking for translations of postcards and other items in her collection. A lightbulb went off as I remembered this piece and my frustration in translating it. I decided to ask the group for help. OH MY GOSH! Almost before I finished hitting send, the messages of help started to flow in. What I received that morning was not only a translation, but a link to the original poem it came from, a link to a good German to English translator, comments about the text, and me having the opportunity to tell everyone who helped why this was so important to me. It was a good morning.
Here is what I learned. The text includes words that there is no direct equivalent in English, so the wonderful translator included options:
You remain in your still/quiet/peaceful being/existence.
And I must travel on.
Let us remember with gratitude,
What we were to each other.
As a reminder/memory, A. H. Klöfkorn
I was both right and wrong in my thoughts about what this small piece was to Gretje. Albert did not give her the small card, he did not sign the small card, but in many ways, it is a small token of love, a memory of a person lost. It is an early form of today’s funeral card.
The text, (thank you to the wonderful translator) is the third stanza of a poem by Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866) titled: “Du hast mir hell in’s Herz geblickt.” The text has also been put to music.
A bit of Googling tells me that mourning cards date as far back as the 1700s, and stem back to the custom of using calling cards to announce your visit. Receiving a mourning card could serve as your “ticket” to attend the funeral.
While we may never know if this small card was created at the time of Albert’s death on 20 Dec 1870, or if Gretje found the card and many years later wrote his name at the bottom, I feel confident that this card with its stanza of poetry on the back meant something to Gretje. The sentiment reminded her of her first love, her husband, Albert Heinrich Klöfkorn who was lost at sea, going down with his ship the Drei Schwestern (Three Sisters).