The House That Cook Built – Part 4

The Alexandria Paper Co. Campus

The next few years flew by. Working first as secretary then vice-president and general manager of the Alexandria Paper Mill, Harry Cook was often on the road for business…and pleasure. His position offered him the luxury to spend a few months in Florida joined by his sister and in later years his father, S. A. An avid sportsman, he enjoyed attending sporting events all over the country, and when he was not a spectator, he was a talented and competitive participant.

In October of 1911, Georgina Yule prepared to make a trip home to Canada. The timing of her visit got Ed Yule and Harry thinking. They gallantly offered to escort Georgina as far as New York City, where they would stop to witness the opening game of the World’s Series. The New York Giants battled the Philadelphia Athletics in the Game 1 opener which occurred on October 14th before a record attendance of 38,281 fans. “Baseball was fast becoming more than just another entertainment spectacle. Soon it would officially be christened ‘America’s national pastime.’”

It certainly was a favorite sport in Alexandria, as early as 1905 Sunday games were a popular past-time. Harry brought his love of the sport to the paper mill by introducing indoor baseball, which he played on the mill’s tennis court. “Indoor baseball is played almost the same as the outdoor game, except that a smaller bat and a larger ball are used, and the pitcher merely tosses up the ball instead of putting on the speed and curves which are such an important part of the regular game.”

Harry was always ready to put together a friendly game. During one such game on November 19, 1911, Joe Lauderdale, “colored chauffeur for Harry” attempted to make a “Ty Cobb steal of third base when his feet became tangled and he fell heavily to the ground,” breaking his leg above the ankle. 

The mill also boasted an outdoor field, and Harry was known to “call men from their jobs to play ball on the lawn west of the factory gates.”

In May of 1913, the paper mill was again evaluating what would be the most efficient fuel with which to run the plant, and it was determined that switching to steam would reduce the fuel bill by twenty percent. This also required a new “steel stack one hundred and twenty feet high” to be erected “at a cost of $4,000.”

Two months later a massive lightning storm blew over Alexandria. Lightning struck the recently erected steel water tank and shattered a portion of the roof. Another bolt struck the office and demolished a desk, while a third lightning bolt struck the house, but thankfully no serious damage was done.

Our first up-close look at the home is in 1914 when the Yule’s celebrated George Washington’s birthday with a euchre party at the house. “The home was decorated in the national colors with small silk flags and figures of Washington scattered throughout the living rooms. The tally cards were hatchets and the favors consisted of little hatchets with cherries attached. Numerous vases of beautiful flowers adorned the rooms. A four course luncheon was served.” They invited 22 people. Euchre is a game typically for four players, so they would either have set up six tables for play, or three tables for play rotation. 

What did the house look like? The article mentions “living rooms.” So, we can assume more then one parlor for entertaining. We know the home had at least three bedrooms, as it was home to the Ed Yules and Harry Cook. Frequent guests were Harry’s sister, Maud, and her husband Charles Lancaster. Harry’s father. S.A. Cook would occasionally come for an extended stay. My guess is that Harry would stay in his rented rooms in Alexandria when the whole family was in town. 

In May 1915, Harry, vice president of the Rolling Mill Land company, along with Ed Yule, secretary, petitioned the Alexandria city council for the dis-annexation of five acres located between Fifteenth and Seventeenth streets, and Harrison and Wayne streets in the south-part of the city. This five acres was part of a purchase the company had made in 1906. Was this the start of what would become the Alpaco Farms? (Alpaco = Alexandria paper company).

In September The Times=Tribune reported that “Under the direction of Harry Cook…a number of repairs are being made on the country home occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Yule adjoining the paper plant. The driveway of the home will be beautified with a fence separating the spacious lawn to the south of the country home. A flag pole has been erected in the far south corner of the indoor baseball diamond. When completed the home will be one of the prettiest around Alexandria.”

October saw the end of the 1915 baseball season. Almost a thousand fans crowded into Westside Park on October 31st to watch the final match between the Alexandria Paper Mill Team and the Marion Boosters. “At the end of ten long innings Manager Doyle (of the Marion Boosters) was forced to load his ball players into a traction car with the small end of a 4 to 3 score.” “By defeating Marion…the Alexandria club made a record this season that is hard to beat. Out of twenty-eight games played with some of the fastest semi-professional teams in the state…the club won twenty-two and only lost six.”

To celebrate the end of this amazing season of baseball, Harry hosted the team at a six o’clock dinner at the “country home of Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Yule.” Mayor J. S. Wales was scheduled to be the “chief orator” for the evening, but he had lost his voice while attending the game. The “tenth inning excitement was too much,” and he lost his voice, only a whisper could be heard.

The banquet and the home were described like this: “A menu of turkey and all the trimmings reminded the ball tossers of Thanksgiving. It was an old fashioned turkey dinner prepared by the famous colored a la carte cateress, one Fannie Judy…the service resembled the Louis XIV dining room at the Claypool.” The Claypool was a grand hotel in Indianapolis.

Who was Fannie Judy? A year later when she passed away from a heart attack at the age of 45, her obituary describes her this way: “Fannie Judy’s name was a household name in many Alexandria homes. She was known for her ability as a cateress in serving the finest dinners. As a cook she was hard to beat. When a social event of any consequence was arranged in this city and it was decided to serve a meal, the first name suggested was Fannie Judy. Her fame in the kitchen was spread to Elwood and frequently she was seen with a heavily laden basket enroute to the west Madison county town where she was to serve dinner.” She “could always be depended on to help make an evening a pleasure for the invited guests.”

The Alexandria Paper Company continued its quest to acquire additional acreage in eastern Indiana, as in January 1916 136 acres were purchased in Monroe Township for $22,720. S. A. continued to hold the 16 acres that the house sat upon as personal property, which had a tax value in 1916 of $4,155.

Harry announced that after June 12, 1916 the mill would be moving from a 12-hour to an eight-hour shift model. This would increase the number of employees by 50, and the number of working crews from two to three. This announcement was a “source of satisfaction for employes.”

Lightning again struck the mill on August 4th and burned out some fuses. At 4:30 a.m. Harry was awakened by the shock, and looking out his window “saw a ball of fire as large as a ballon cavorting in a zig-zag manner along the wire.” To see the mill, his rooms would have been at the back of the house.

Undated photo from the Facebook page of the Alexandria Monroe Historical Society Museum

“Alexandria’s Show Place” is what The Times=Tribune called the paper mill campus on September 26th. “Every town and every city has its so-called ‘show place,’ the one outstanding place of interest to which the citizens point with pride when showing guests and strangers the outstanding features of interest and advantage possessed by their home town.” In Alexandria, this “show place” was the paper mill. “A natural beauty spot, the factory site has been enhanced by artificial means until today it is a veritable park. The ornamental brick posts, topped by large white globes, inclosing electric lights, give an aristocratic aspect to the place. The home of the resident manager, Mr. Ed Yule, is nearby, giving the entire place a homelike and comfortable appearance A new port cochere is now being constructed on the south side of the residence which, when completed will greatly add to its attractiveness.” “A fine sight is to view the mill at night, the myriad of lights giving it the appearance of unusual significance.” 

1909 Sanborn

On November 16, 1916, two garage buildings were destroyed by fire following an explosion of gasoline. Joseph Lauderdale, the mills chauffeur, sustained burns on his arms. He had been using gasoline to rub grease from a pair of trousers, and it was supposed that the friction had caused a small explosion. Joe braved the flames to safely back out two automobiles that were stored in the garage. The local fire department attached a line of hose to the water tower at the factory and they were able to draw 75 pounds of water pressure, but the structure was a total loss. Several tires were lost in the fire, but thankfully the feed nozzle for the 200-gallon underground gasoline tank could be turned off and was made safe from further explosion. The fire chief estimated the loss at $400, and the “Alexandria Paper Company will give a banquet at an early date in honor of the firemen who fought the stubborn garage fire.”

The newspapers were always quick to report on Harry’s comings and goings, and he was making countless trips to Neenah to “visit his father.” I believe that there was another reason for so many trips home, he was courting Martha Wheeler Paine of Oshkosh, Winnebago County. Martha was the daughter of Edward Wheeler Paine and Elizabeth May Hosford. The Paine’s were a pioneering family of Oshkosh, and Martha’s grandfather, George Milton Paine, was the founder of the Paine Lumber Company which in 1917 was known as the “largest sash and door mill in the world.”

Another clue that change was in the air was the January 1917 announcement that Ed and Georgina had purchased a home at 212 Lincoln Avenue in Alexandria. They planned to move in as soon as the home was available.

212 Lincoln Avenue – April 2016

With the resignation of Jack Yule, elections were held to make the adjustment in management needed to move forward. S. A. “who is known among paper manufacturers all over the United States,” remained president, Harry as the “recognized head of the plant,” vice-president, Charles Lancaster, who recently had been appointed the head of the real estate department, secretary, and Edwin Yule, “who has been connected with the concern for a number of years,” treasurer. Charles also became a member of the board of directors.

Upon taking this new management role, Charles and Maud decided to acquire a permanent residence in Alexandria. They purchased, or rented, a home “near the Alexandria Paper Mill factory” and in April 1917 started “improvements amounting to several thousand dollars” on the home. The exact location of the home has not yet been determined. 

Patriotism was deeply rooted in the Cook family, so it was only natural that as the United States officially entered World War I, S. A. would announce a flag-raising ceremony at the paper mill. The date was set for April 17th. I have documented this momentous event in a post titled: A Forgotten Family. Click the title to read.

The creation in 1915 of the Hoosier-Dixie Highway encouraged the citizens of Alexandria to take great pride in the appearance of their property. By 1917 flowers were planted and front yards were being maintained. Motorists approaching from the south passed the paper mill where “in the last year much improvement work has been done and the country home at the mill is noticed by the traveling fraternity. H. H. Cook has stated that a number of other changes will be made early this summer.” The Times=Tribune reported on May 28th that Harry was building a private golf course, that he was  “laying out a course of nine holes near the paper mill.”

As work continued on the country house, thirty-six-year-old Harry had moved into his rooms in the Day building and was soon joined by his sister and brother-in-law as worked progressed on their new home.

On June 22nd The Times=Tribune reported that they had received news “that was a surprise to many Alexandria friends.” Harry Cook was to be married to Martha Wheeler Paine. “Before leaving for Chicago this morning, where he was to meet Miss Paine and a party of friends, Mr. Cook was reticent concerning the wedding.”

The wedding took place at on June 30, 1917 at 11:00 a.m. in the Paine living room. 22-year-old Martha was given away by her father, and the ceremony was performed by her uncle, Rev. Francis L. Palmer. There were no bridal attendants “The house was beautifully decorated in a simple scheme, using spring flowers. Syringa blossoms and pink peonies were combined in the living room and the bride’s table in the dining room bore an exquisite arrangement of white sweet peas. The bride wore a simple afternoon gown of white chiffon and carried white orchids.” “The young couple left early this afternoon for New York city and will go from there to Maine and Canada for about a month. They will reside at Alexandria, Ind.”

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  1. “Woman’s World,” The Times-Tribune, 20 Oct 1911, Friday, p. 1, col. 2; digital images, ( : accessed 17 Jun 2016). 
  2. : accessed 4 Sep 2021.
  3. “Indoor Game is Popular,” The Times-Tribune, 2 Jul 1912, Tuesday, p. 3, col. 1; digital images, ( : accessed 5 Sep 2021). 
  4. “Lauderdale Broke His Leg.,” The Times-Tribune, 20 Nov 1911, Monday, p. 2, col. 3; digital images, ( : accessed 4 Sep 2021).
  5. Sue Marston, “Old Paper Mill Will Again Have A Heart Beat,” The Times-Tribune, 15 Apr 1970, Wednesday, p. 8; digital images, ( : accessed 19 May 2016).
  6. “A Money Saver,” The Times-Tribune, 9 May 1913, Friday, p. 1, col. 2; digital images, ( : accessed 20 Jun 2016).
  7. “Brief City News. Damage at Paper Mill–,” The Times-Tribune, 29 Jul 1913, Tuesday, p. 4, col. 4; digital images, ( : accessed 20 Jun 2016).
  8. “George Washington Party.,” The Times-Tribune, 19 Feb 1914, Thursday, p. 4, col. 3; digital images, ( : accessed 5 Jun 2016).
  9. “Garbage Master Kicked When a General Cleanup Was Suggested,” The Times-Tribune, 4 May 1915, Tuesday, p. 1, col. 1-2; digital images, ( : accessed 19 May 2016). 
  10. “Ideal Country Home–,” The Times-Tribune, 1915-09-14, Tuesday, p. 3, col. 2; digital images, ( : accessed 27 May 2016). 
  11. “Paper Mill Boys Take Marionettes,” The Times-Tribune, 1 Nov 1915, Monday, p. 4, col. 3; digital images, ( : accessed 7 Sep 2021). 
  12. “Mayor Loses His Voice and Avoids Address at Ball Players’ Banquet,” The Times-Tribune, 1 Nov 1915, Monday, p. 1, col. 1-2; digital images, ( : accessed 17 Jun 2016). 
  13. Ibid.
  14. “Mrs. Fanny Judy Dies Suddenly,” The Times-Tribune, 1916-11-02, Thursday, p. 1, col. 7; digital images, ( : accessed 7 Sep 2021). 
  15. “Real Estate Transfers,” The Elwood Call Leader, 19 Jan 1916, Wednesday, p. 2, col. 4; digital images, ( : accessed 19 Jul 2016).  
  16. S. D.  Smith, President, Caron Directory Co.,Publishers, Louisville, KY, Caron’s Directory of the City of Anderson, Indiana And Taxpayers of Madison County for 1916-1917, II vols., II:, p. 744, (383 of 457); digital images, ( : accessed 1 Jul 2016). 
  17. “Eight Hour Shift Will Start June 12,” The Times-Tribune, 3 Jun 1916, Saturday, p. 1, col. 2; digital images, ( : accessed 17 Jun 2016).
  18. “Brief Local News. Lihgtning [sic] Strikes Wire–,” The Times-Tribune, 4 Aug 1916, Friday, p. 3, col. 1; digital images, ( : accessed 20 Jun 2016). 
  19. “Alexandria’s Show Place,” The Times-Tribune, 26 Sep 1916, Tuesday, p. 1, col. 4; digital images, ( : accessed 20 Jun 2016). 
  20. “Garage at Paper Mill Destroyed,” The Times-Tribune, 16 Nov 1916, Thursday, p. 1, col. 4; digital images, ( : accessed 20 Jun 2016).
  21. “Estimtaes [sic] Loss—,” The Times-Tribune, 17 Nov 1916, Friday, p. 3, col. 2; digital images, ( : accessed 18 May 2016).
  22. “E. W. Paine Passes Away At His Home,” (Oshkosh) The Oshkosh Northwestern, 30 Apr 1938, Saturday, p. 1, col. 7. Cit. Date: 5 Nov 2004.  
  23. “Branum Property Sold To J. H. Benton,” The Times-Tribune, 27 Jan 1917, Saturday, p. 1, col. 4; digital images, ( : accessed 24 May 2016). 
  24. “Annual Election of Paper Company.,” The Times-Tribune, 26 Mar 1917, Monday, p. 1, col. 6; digital images, ( : accessed 23 May 2016).
  25. Could this be the home that Ed Yule maintained in later years near the mill?
  26. “To Improve Home,” The Times-Tribune, 27 Apr 1917, Friday, p. 6, col. 2; digital images, ( : accessed 20 Jun 2016).
  27. “Hoosier-Dixie Highway is Cause of a Big Improvement Near Alex.,” The Times-Tribune, 6 Apr 1917, Friday, p. 1, col. 6-7; digital images, ( : accessed 19 May 2016).
  28. “Private Golf  Course,” The Times-Tribune, 28 May 1917, Monday, p. 4, col. 4; digital images, ( : accessed 1 Sep 2021).
  29. The Times-Tribune, 2 May 1917, Wednesday, p. 3, col. 5; digital images, (, : accessed 1 Sep 2021).
  30. “Manufacturer of Alexandria Will Wed Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Girl June 30,” The Times-Tribune, 22 Jun 1917, Friday, p. 1, col. 6-7; digital images, ( : accessed 18 May 2016).
  31. “Cook-Paine Wedding,” The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, 30 Jun 1917, Saturday Evening, p. 4, col. 6; digital images, ( : accessed 14 May 2016), Newspapers & Publications.

The House That Cook Built – Part 3

Setting the Stage

It is a testament to S.A. Cook’s management skills that the Alexandria Paper Mill was so quickly and efficiently designed and built from the ground up. He had an overall vision for this 30-acre parcel of land. Today we would call it a campus. His placement of the mill on the southern border of the property, the brick office nearby, and Pipe Creek running through the northern border, parallel with the factory. Located near the railroad line, side tracks were laid at company expense to afford easy access for deliveries of raw materials, and pick-up of the finished product. [1] [2]

1901, Section 30, Madison County

While S.A. chose Alexandria for the inexpensive gas running through the county, he was not fully trusting that this would be a lasting source of energy to power the mill. The Daily Northwestern reported: “While the company feels very confident of an ample supply of gas for many years, in erecting its plant it has made provisions for the use of oil for fuel if necessary, and for the use of coal if that should at any time become desirable.” [3]

Following the dissolution of the partnership with M. H. Ballou in the spring of 1900, S.A. had a plan for the future. Since the formation of the S.A. Cook Manufacturing Company in 1897, he had been grooming Watson “Watt” Yule, and his son Harry Cook, to take management positions in the paper-making industry. At age 51, S.A. had no intention of moving to Alexandria to oversee the mill.  30-year-old Watt was working as a teller at the First National bank in Neenah, [4] and S.A. felt that he was experienced enough to take on a management role at Alexandria, and so positioned him as Secretary.  At 19, Harry was finishing his formal education at the state university while continuing to learn the family business under the tutelage of his father. S.A. would send him to Alexandria in 1901. 

In February 1899 the news arrived from Texas that John “Jack” Yule’s wife had passed away shortly after giving birth to their son. Knowing that he would not want to be so far away from family, S.A. offered him the role of company sales manager.  In accepting the position, Jack moved to Alexandria. 

The Yule brothers found places to lodge a short distance from the mill and began serving as the eyes and ears for their “uncle” S.A. Cook. Their relationship with S.A. has been documented in many places as uncle/nephew. While not technically correct, they were of the same generation as S.A.’s children, and trying to explain the correct relationship, which is first cousin-once-removed, was complicated, so they came to be known as his nephews. 

Watt and Jack’s younger brother, Edwin Watson “Ed” Yule soon joined them in Alexandria.  We know he was in Alexandria in 1901 when he married a girl from “home” in Canada, Georgina Louise Lemon, on July 17, 1901. He was 27, and she was 26, and they set up residence in a house that stood near the paper mill. [5]   I can only imagine the enthusiasm with which the Yule brothers and Harry Cook welcomed Ed and Georgina on their arrival in Alexandria. Their marriage and subsequent residency in a home on the “South Side” of town created a home base for the family. 

A married couple could provide the role of chaperone when they wished to entertain friends and family, such as the Tuesday evening party held on June 10, 1902 in honor of Miss E. M. Daville of Aurora, Canada, and Harry’s sister, Maud Cook. [6] More elaborate parties, such as the one given by Watt, on another Tuesday evening, March 2, 1905, required an additional chaperone, this time Mrs. F. P. Nourse filled the role. On that evening “guests were first driven to the paper mill and after going over the plant repaired to the home…which was situated nearby.  Games and music were indulged in until a late hour. Elegant refreshments were served in four courses.” Harry Cook attended, his presence rounding out the numbers to eight couples. [7]

R. L. Polk was in town in 1901 to document the city of Anderson for a 1902-1903 City Directory, including the landowners and taxpayers of Madison County. The county directory noted the landowner’s name and post office address, acreage, and assessed value of real and personal property.  S.A.’s property was included, showing a value of $1,310 for his 16-acre plot in Alexandria. [8]

1902 Sanborn Map:

In March 1902 the Sanborn Fire Insurance Company was in Alexandria to map its important buildings.   Sanborn Maps are wonderfully detailed, with facts about the community such as the size of the fire department, which streets are paved with brick, and how in 1902 there were four night police, and the lights were electric. The paper mill was included on page nine. In addition to detail about the construction of the mill, the map shows that whole property was surrounded by an 8’ white picket fence, a brick one-story office sat within the fence “about 280’ to S. Park Av.” The mill was mapped again in 1909 and a frame “Auto Shed” with storage shed attached, had been added. [9] [10] 

The next Yule to marry was Jack. He married an Alexandria girl, Grace Jane Crouse on May 15, 1903 and they settled into the city of Alexandria. Four children were born to the couple: John Hawkins, George Edwin, Mary Elizabeth, John (Jack, Jr.) and Watson Albert. Only two, George and Mary Elizabeth, lived to adulthood. Jack resigned his position as company sales manager in February 1917, returning to Canada, settling in Renfrew, Ontario. He remained in the paper industry, working for the Kenwood Mills Limited of Albany, New York. He passed away on December 5, 1943 in Arnprior, at the age of 71. [11]

By January 1904 the availability of natural gas had dwindled to the point that the Paper Company was compelled to convert its plant to the use of coal. [12] The company was prepared for this change, and the transition from gas to coal was a smooth one. Meanwhile, many other companies began to close or leave Alexandria, which left many of the tenant houses empty. S.A. as president of the Rolling Mill Land Company, began to purchase these homes in 1906 for the purpose of converting the land back to farming. [13]The company reported that they would sell some homes to the county, place tenants in some and others would be torn down and removed. [14]

Watt Yule married 35-year-old Emly Ada Perryman [15] on 31 Dec 1907 in Toronto, Ontario, he was 37 years old. Until that time he had lived in what was known as the “Bachelor’s Retreat” located at 216 East John Street. In 1906 the boarding house was “facetiously called the ‘Orphans’ Asylum,’ for there are no two people of the same name residing there; every one of the ten members is marriageable, and all are perfectly willing that Landlady ‘Aunt’ Kate Williams, be called ‘mother,’ and, indeed, a mother she is, to the oddly made up family.”

“While to the un-poetic and unsentimental it is just a commonplace boarding house, to this family it is far more—it is home.” The article states that some of the residents have “passed by one year, the three score and ten marks.” Kate Williams who was interviewed for the article stated that “‘Happy Hooligan,’ as Watt Yule is deservedly called, …another of the happy family, which owes to him much of its happiness, for he is a natural clown, and though out on the road much of the time, he puts the house in good humor that lasts from one week’s end to his arrival at the other.” [16] I am not sure when Watson left the employ of the Alexandria Paper Mill, but he too remained working in the paper industry. For most of his later life, he lived in Chicago and was traveling for work to Green Bay, Brown Co., Wisconsin when he died of a heart attack on 17 Jan 1935 at the age of 64. [17]

Earliest postmark found: 1908

S.A.’s daughter, Maud Christie Cook, graduated in 1897 at age 19 from Mt. Vernon Seminary, a private women’s college in Washington, DC., now known as the Mount Vernon Campus of The George Washington University.  Following graduation, she returned to Wisconsin, and settled into acting as hostess for her father, supported by her aunts, Emeline and Margaret, and adopted aunt, Elizabeth Bartlett.

On November 21, 1913, S.A. announced the engagement of his daughter, Maud, to Charles F. Lancaster of Boston, Massachusetts. [18] The Fond du Lac newspaper describes the relationship between 35-year-old Maud and her 64-year-old father this way: “Miss Cook is a woman of rare attainments and very unusual executive ability.  For some years she has been virtually business manager for her father, caring for a great mass of details in his affairs, and saving him untold work and worry. Her marriage and the probable separation it will entail will mean to Mr. Cook not only parting with his daughter, but with a business partner and chum as well.”

Her new husband, Mr. Lancaster, had long been engaged in real estate in Boston. At the time of his marriage to Maud, he was 46 years old. A divorcee, he had one son, Earle Winship Lancaster, born in 1897. Charles and Maud were married on Christmas Day, the “ceremony, which was performed at the residence of the bride’s father, on North Commercial Street, was marked by the utmost simplicity. Rev. E. H. Smith of the First Congregational church, Oshkosh, officiated. The bride wore white Venetian white point lace and was unattended. Although no invitations were issued, Mr. and Mrs. Lancaster received many beautiful presents.” [19]

After their marriage, the couple traveled extensively both here and abroad and were often guests at the home of Edwin and his wife in the house near the paper mill. 

Dare I say that Henry Harold Cook, known as Harry, was a bit of a playboy who enjoyed parties and social gatherings, attending ball games, and driving fast cars.  As the son of a wealthy man, he was afforded such luxuries and had the time and money to indulge in entertainment. 

He is recorded as joining and being part of the organization of many new clubs in Alexandria such as the Alexandria Whist Club, the New Century Club, and the Fortnightly Club. In May 1909, at age 28, he became president of the Monroe Township branch of the Law and Order League. The league was formed to work for the retention of the saloons in Madison County in the coming “county option campaign.” The “purpose of the organization is not only to prevent the county from going dry, but to continue as a permanent thing, to force the saloonists to obey the law, and to drive out of business those saloonists who do not obey the law.” [20] I do not know if they were successful.

S.A. entered the political arena for the last time in 1907 when petitions were signed encouraging him to run for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senator against Senator Robert M. La Follette. He was defeated in the 1910 primary. His response to his loss was that he needed no sympathy, and that “I shall be found in the future as in the past, supporting those principles which I believe will benefit the whole people, helping rather than criticizing, and conscious that if the future may justly be judged by the past, my course shall in the end be fully vindicated.” [21]

As a young man in Alexandria, Harry kept rooms in town, first at the Bachelor’s Retreat, and later in an apartment in the Day Block, [22] but his permanent residence was with Edwin and Georgina Yule. It was here that at age 28, he was enumerated in the 1910 United States Federal Census, residing as a lodger. Edwin, 36 years old, was head of the household, with his wife, Georgina, age 35, keeping house. Also living with them was a servant, 19-year-old Lottie Stewart. [23]

The Paper Mill continued to grow and thrive under the leadership of the Yule brothers, Harry Cook and long-time superintendent William H. Brannon, [24] but it was the vision of S.A. that created the culture of the mill. In 1908 the city placed the tax value of the Paper Mill at $33,540. [25]

On April 5, 1902, S.A. had written a letter “To Our Employees.”  In this letter, he informed the employees that he intended to adopt what he called “a short hour schedule,” in which the mill would “commence the manufacture and finishing of paper at seven o’clock Monday morning and stop manufacture and finishing of paper Saturday night at six o’clock, until further notice, wages to remain the same…” “And as a further consideration of your past, present and expected willingness to do, we have decided that each person in our employ for one year beginning April 1st, 1902, or those who may come later and remain continuously in our employ for one year, shall at the end of such year of service receive ten per cent on the amount paid such person during said year on present rate of wages. This may be construed by you as a share in the earnings of the business, or as interest on your wages, which is a workingman’s capital.” [26]

The culture that S. A. created for the mill was not only ahead of its time, but one that would withstand the test of time.

circa 1910


  1. “Nearly Completed.,” (Neenah) Neenah Daily Times, 24 Oct 1899, p. 4, col. 4. Cit. Date: 10 May 2016.
  2. In 1998 the location of the railway lines was described this way: “There was a switch track east of Ind. 9 between Gaither Family Resources and the old Colonade or Elder House today. The track continued across the highway, through the Yule Estates area and connected with the present railroad track. The street car track came down the center of Harrison Street and through the present Yule Estates.” Club Notes. Alexandria-Monroe Historical Society,” The Times-Tribune, 25 Mar 1998, Wednesday, p. 12 & 13, col. 2 & 5; digital images, ( : accessed 10 Jun 2016).
  3. “Neenah Capital In Indiana,” The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, 25 Jan 1900, Thursday, p. 6, col. 2; digital images, ( : accessed 26 May 2016).
  4. “Watson A. Yule Died Thursday,” The Menasha Record, 18 Jan 1935, Friday, p. 1, col. 5; digital images, ( : accessed 27 Aug 2021). 
  5. John La Rue Forkner, History of Madison County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, its People and Its Principal Interests, 2 volumes (Chicago and New York: Lewis Publishing Company, 1914), 2: 598-599. Cit. Date: 4 May 2016.
  6. “Alexandria, Ind.,” The Muncie Morning Star, 15 Jun 1902, Sunday, p. 8, col. 4; digital images, ( : accessed 28 Aug 2021).
  7. “Pleasantly Entertained,” The Times-Tribune, 2 Mar 1905, Thursday, p. front page, col. 2; digital images, ( : accessed 17 Jul 2016).
  8. R. L. Polk, R. L. Polk & Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, R. L. Polk & Co.’s Anderson City and Madison County Directory, 1902-1903. A Business Directory and a complete list of all Landowners and Taxpayers in Madison County, 524, e 213; digital images, ( : accessed 1 Jul 2016).
  9. Sanborn Map Company, Sanborn Fire Insurance Map for Alexandria, Madison County, Indiana (N.p.: n.p., March 1902, 13 sheets); digital image, Indiana University Bloomington ( : accessed 17 Oct 2017).
  10. Sanborn Map Company, Sanborn Fire Insurance Map for Alexandria, Madison County, Indiana (N.p.: n.p., November 1909, 13 sheets); digital image, Indiana University Bloomington ( : accessed 28 Aug 2021).
  11. Ontario, Canada Archives of Ontario, death certificate 033409, 630; reference no. RG 80-08-0-2265 (1943), John Campbell Yule; digital image,  “Registrations of Deaths, 1943, Archives of Ontario; Toronto, Ontario, Canada,” ( : accessed 26 Aug 2016). 
  12. “Around A Big State,” The Silver Lake Record, 22 Jan 1904, Friday, p. 3, col. 6; digital images, NewspaperARCHIVE ( : accessed 6 May 2016). 
  13. “Have Forty Houses,” The Daily Record, 24 Mar 1906, Saturday, p. 1, col. 2; digital images, ( : accessed 1 Dec 2017).
  14. “Republic Company Is Selling Vacant Houses,” The Muncie Evening Press, 23 Jan 1906, Tuesday, p. 6, col. 5; digital images, ( : accessed 28 Aug 2021).
  15. On all legal documents she spelled her name Emly, although based on the common use of Emily, it was pronounced as Emily.
  16. “‘Bachelor’s Retreat’ At Alexandria,” The Muncie Sunday Star, 4 Nov 1906, Sunday, p. 2, col. 2; digital images, ( : accessed 28 Aug 2021).
  17. “Watson A. Yule Died Thursday,” The Menasha Record, 18 Jan 1935, Friday, p. 1, col. 5; digital images, ( : accessed 27 Aug 2021). 
  18. “Maud Cook Engaged,” (Fond du Lac) The Daily Commonwealth, 21 Nov 1913, Friday, p. 4. Cit. Date: 12 Aug 2004.
  19. “Miss Cook Is A Bride,” The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, 26 Dec 1913, Friday Evening, p. 9, col. 2; digital images, NewspaperARCHIVE ( : accessed 21 Nov 2016). 
  20. “Officers Are Named,” The Times-Tribune, 5 May 1909, col. 4; digital images, ( : accessed 19 Jul 2016). 
  21. “S. A. Cook Says He Needs No Sympathy,” The Appleton Evening Crescent, 16 Sep 1910, Friday, p. 8, col. 3; digital images, ( : accessed 2 Sep 2021). 
  22. “Guests Entertained.,” The Times-Tribune, 15 Jan 1917, Monday, p. front page, col. 1; digital images, ( : accessed 27 May 2016). 
  23. 1910 U.S. census, Madison County, Indiana, population schedule, Monroe Township, enumeration district (ED) 109, sheet 9, p. 175B, dwelling 213, family 213, Edwin Yule household; digital images, ( : accessed 29 Apr 2016); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 364.
  24. William H. Brannon had worked for S.A. Cook in his Neenah mills. He moved his family to Alexandria in 1903 to run the Alexandria Paper Mill.
  25. “Tax Valuations Fixed.,” The Times-Tribune, 19 Jun 1908, Friday, col. 5; digital images, ( : accessed 19 Jul 2016). 
  26. The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, 12 Apr 1902, Saturday Evening, p. 4, col. 5-6; digital images, NewspaperARCHIVE ( : accessed 6 May 2016).

The House That Cook Built – Part 2

The Cast of Characters

To begin where I ended the last post: As I began my research into the home, I came across many statements regarding this once-majestic dwelling place. Comments that it had been a brothel, [1] a gin house, bordello, and gambling joint. [2] The home that Harry H. Cook built for his bride, [3] the home that the “owner of the paper mill,” Edwin Yule built. Another article states that after Harry died the home was sold to Ed Yule his “nephew” and he renovated it for his bride. [4] So many stories surrounding the origin of this house. It is almost as if I am watching a stage play.

Here are the “Cast of Characters,” although not in order of appearance, but as a family group.

  • Samuel Andrew Cook, known as S.A. (1849 – 1918)….Owner of the property. Serial entrepreneur
    • Jennie Christie (1849 – 1895)….Deceased wife of S. A. Cook
  • Maud Christie Cook (1878 – 1949)….Daughter of S. A. and Jennie Cook
    • Charles Frank Lancaster (1867 – 1933)….Husband of Maud Christie Cook
  • Henry Harold Cook, known as H. H., or Harry (1881 – 1931)…Son of S. A. and Jennie Cook
    • Martha Wheeler Paine (1895 – 1993)…Wife of H. H. Cook
      • Henry Hosford Cook (1918 – 1927)…Son of H. H. and Martha Cook

Mary Jane Watson…Maternal 1st Cousin to S. A. Cook, daughter of Mary McGarvy and John Eves Watson.

Andrew Yule…Husband of Mary Jane Watson

They raised their children in Aurora, York, Ontario, Canada 

  • Watson A. Yule, ak Watt (1870 – 1935)…A resident of Neenah, Winnebago, Wisconsin in 1895 Resident of Alexandria, Madison, Indiana in 1900
    • Emly/Emily Ada Perryman (1872 – 1958)…Wife of Watson. Married 31 Dec 1907 in Toronto, York, Ontario, Canada
  • John Campbell Yule, aka Jack (1872 – 1943)…A resident of Alexandria in 1900
    • Dora Rynerson (1870 – 1899) …Wife of John. Married 15 Dec 1897 in Erath County, Texas
    • Grace Jane Crouse (1881 – 1952)…Wife of John. Married 15 May 1903 in Alexandria
  • Edwin Watson Yule, aka Ed (1874 – 1970)…A resident of Alexandria in 1901
    • Georgina Louise Lemon (1874 – 1959)…Wife of Edwin. Married 17 Jul 1901 in Aurora, York, Ontario, Canada
  • Edward Boyd Yule (1876 – 1972)…Did not emigrate to America
  • Walter Scott Yule (1879 – 1921)…Did not emigrate to America

To paraphrase: “The Cooks were a family, to begin with.” For decades this extended family had resided near each other in Canada, specifically communities in York, Ontario Province. S.A.’s parents, William and Jane McGarvy Cook were the first to leave. In 1856 they emigrated to Stockbridge, Calumet County, Wisconsin. I have written posts about their early years in Wisconsin and the sinking of the Lady Elgin, an event that changed the family forever. [5] What didn’t change for the family was their love, and the closeness that they felt to the family left behind in Canada. Before her death, Jane had been very close to her mother and sisters, Elizabeth McGarvy Watson, and Mary McGarvy Watson. The Cook children can be documented crossing back and forth visiting their grandmother, aunts, and cousins. 

Jane’s sister, Mary, and her husband, John Eves Watson had eight children. Their fourth child Mary Jane married Andrew Yule, and they in turn had six children. The firstborn was a girl they named Mary Jane who died in infancy. The next five were sons, born between 1870 and 1879, ages that matched closely to the family down in Wisconsin. As the boys grew older, they were ready to spread their wings and try life in the United States. The first to come south was 25-year-old Watson. He joined his uncle, S. A. in Neenah, sometime before June 20, 1895. [6]

The summer of 1895 was a pivotal year for the Cook family. S. A. had been elected to the House of Representatives and was planning to fulfill his duty to his country and state, leaving his family home in Neenah while he attended to government business in Washington DC. Going alone to Washington allowed 17-year-old Maud, and 14-year-old Harry to continue their schooling in Neenah uninterrupted. Jennie would not be alone, as her sisters Elizabeth, Emeline, and Margaret were residing with the family in their large home on Commercial Street. 

Then, unexpectedly, on July 27th, 49-year-old Elizabeth Christie passed away. She had “been an invalid for about a year and for two months past had been confined to her bed.” [7] S. A. purchased a family plot in Oak Hill Cemetery, and it was there that she was laid to rest.

S. A. Cook, 1896

Two months later, on September 10th, Jennie, who had “been in delicate health the past few years” left with her sister, Margaret, for Aurora, Canada, in the “hopes that a change of climate might benefit her health.” Sadly, instead of improving, she took a turn for the worse, and S. A. was called to her bedside. Taking Harry with him, and accompanied by Watson, he rushed to Canada where she sadly passed away on September 19th. Jennie was just 46-years-old. Her remains were brought back to Neenah for burial near her sister in Oak Hill Cemetery. [8]

The passing of Jennie changed S.A.’s plans for Washington, DC. He decided to take the family with him. He rented a home in the city and made arrangements to leave earlier than originally planned so that he could settle Maud and Harry in school. His sisters-in-law, Emeline and Margaret would accompany the family, one to care for the household, the other to “act as his secretary under appointment according to the new law, giving representatives each a clerk paid for by the government.” [9] S.A. asked Watson to occupy his home in Neenah during his absence. [10] He would serve just one term in the House of Representatives, returning to Wisconsin in 1897 at the end of his term.

S.A. was a serial entrepreneur, always looking to expand, evolve and grow his empire. This is not to say he was a mean-spirited person, as there are dozens upon dozens of newspaper accounts of what a kind, wonderful man he truly was. He was just always “thinking.” And so it was on October 27, 1897, that he filed articles of incorporation in Menasha, Winnebago, Wisconsin, for the S. A. Cook Manufacturing Company, in partnership with Miner H. Ballou, 27-year-old Watson Yule, and his son, 16-year-old Harry.[11] Two years later, on June 29th, he would incorporate another company, the Alexandria Paper & Investment Co., with Miner H. Ballou and A. E. Bunker.

We may never know when Watson moved to Alexandria to begin work at the paper mill, but he was certainly there in June 1900 to be enumerated in the census.[12] He was living at 119 Church Street, residing as a boarder in the Ralph and Nellie Bertsche household, his occupation is listed as the “secretary of the paper co.”

Watson’s brother John was also living in Madison County in June of 1900. He was working at the paper mill as a sales manager [13] residing as a “boarder” on the farm of William Dean and his family. The farm must have been very close to the paper mill as John was one of 3 “boarders” the family had taken in, all of whom worked at the paper mill.[14] A 1914 published biography about John[15] states that he came to Alexandria in 1899. 

John had been living and working in Dallas, Dallas, Texas. The biography states that he like his brother Watson had first gone to Neenah to work, presumably with the help of S. A. He left for Dallas in 1895. John married Dora Rynerson in 1897, and they welcomed their firstborn son, Byron on January 28, 1899. Sadly Dora passed away soon after his birth on February 2nd. Shortly after Dora’s passing, John took his newborn son home to Canada to be cared for by his parents.[16] [17] On May 15th in 1903, 31-year-old John married Grace Crouse, and Byron was brought to live with them in Alexandria.[18]

Last but not least, we look for Edwin Yule. In his 1914 biography,[19] he states that he arrived in Alexandria at the time that the Alexandria Paper Company was founded, July 1900. He is not found in the 1900 census for Madison County, but when 27-year-old Edwin married Georgina Lemon on 17 Jul 1901, he listed Alexandria as his place of residence, and his occupation was that of “manufacturer.”[20]

Alexandria, Indiana, 1908

The last cast members to move to Alexandria are S. A.’s children, Harry and Maud. Harry is still living at home in Neenah at the time of the 1900 census. He is 19 years old, had finished his schooling at the University in Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin, and he lists his occupation as that of a “Paper Manufacturer.” [21] The first published record of his residence in Alexandria is in October 1901 when the newspaper reported that “The Alexandria Whist club, composed of men only, was organized Tuesday evening. The following gentlemen compose the charter members: W. H. Yule…John Yule…Harry Cook… The club’s permanent quarters will be in the Opera house block. Games will be played once a week, the playing season to end in April of next year. A score of each player will be kept and the winner will receive a handsome prize. The members are all experienced players.” [22] Notice, Edwin Yule is not listed as a charter member of the club.

Maud would not have a residence in Alexandria till many years later, but there is a record that she would come and visit her brother and cousins. For much of her young adulthood, she acted as a travel companion, and hostess for her father, as he entertained business associates and friends.

Phew. The players have now been introduced, the stage is set, and we will now begin to look at the first act of a very special home on Park Avenue, in Alexandria, Monroe Township, Madison, Indiana.


  1. “Hotels–Indiana–Madison County,” Clipping Files, 1989-2002; OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 880652327, WorldCat Database; Indiana Historical Society Library, Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana. Cit. Date: 14 May 2016.  
  2. Linda Ferris, “Elder House to open house on Sunday,” The Times=Tribune, 16 Jan 1991, Wednesday, p. 1 & p. 8, col. 1-4 & top; digital images, ( : accessed 20 Jun 2016). 
  3. “Lines from Linda,” The Times=Tribune, 10 Sep 1986, Wednesday, p. 2, col. 1-2; digital images, ( : accessed 6 Jul 2016). 
  4. Mary Graves, “Elder House comes to Colonnades,” The Times=Tribune, 4 Dec 1985, Wednesday, p. 1 & p.2, col. 1, 3-4; digital images, ( : accessed 27 May 2016). 
  5. A Face to a Name; September 6, 1860; The Lady Elgin Disaster, Part, 1; The Lady Elgin Disaster, Part 2; Maps. Another Layer to the Story
  6. 1895 State Census, Winnebago County, Wisconsin, population schedule, Neenah, 2nd Ward, line Last, Watson Eule; digital images, ( : accessed 30 Mar 2016).
  7. “Death of Miss Christie.,” The Appleton Weekly Post, 4 Jul 1895, Thursday, p. 3, col. 5; digital images, ( : accessed 11 Aug 2018). 
  8. “Widespread Sorrow. Caused by Death of Mrs. Cook.,” (Oshkosh) The Daily Northwestern, 20 Sep 1895, Friday, p. 3, col. 1. Cit. Date: 6 May 2004. 
  9. “A Busy Week,” (Oshkosh) The Daily Northwestern, 26 Oct 1895, Saturday, p. 5, col. 1. Cit. Date: 12 Aug 2004.
  10. “Leaves for Washington.,” The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, 15 Nov 1895, Friday, p. 5, col. 2; digital images, NewspaperARCHIVE ( : accessed 30 Mar 2016). 
  11. “A New Company.,” The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, 27 Oct 1897, Wednesday, p. 2, col. 2; digital images, ( : accessed 7 Jul 2016). 
  12. 1900 U.S. census, Madison County, Indiana, population schedule, Monroe Township, Alexandria City, enumeration district (ED) 97, sheet 12 (penned), p. 52B (stamped), dwelling 223, family 253, Ralph Bertsche household; digital images, ( : accessed 26 Aug 2021); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll FHL microfilm: 1240386.
  13. 1900 U.S. census, Madison County, Indiana, population schedule, Monroe Township, Alexandria City, Ward 1, enumeration district (ED) 97, sheet 28-29, p. 68A-B, dwelling 548, family 611, William Dean household; digital images, ( : accessed 24 Aug 2016); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 386. 
  14. John was enumerated in District 97, while the Ballou’s were enumerated in District 95. 
  15. John La Rue Forkner, History of Madison County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, its People and Its Principal Interests, 2 volumes (Chicago and New York: Lewis Publishing Company, 1914), 2: 598. Cit. Date: 4 May 2016. 
  16. “Obituaries. Byron Andrew Yule,” The Post-Crescent, 6 Nov 1978, Monday, p. B-11, col. 2; digital images, ( : accessed 23 Aug 2021).
  17. 1901 census of Canada, Ontario, York, district 130 York North, S. District No: A, sub-district 3, Town of Aurora, p. 10, dwelling 111, family 111, Andrew Yule household; RG 31; digital images, ( : accessed 29 Apr 2016); citing citing Library and Archives Canada, microfil reels: T-6428 to T-6556.
  18. 1910 U.S. census, Madison County, Indiana, population schedule, Monroe Township, enumeration district (ED) 112, sheet 8, p. 210B, dwelling 186, family 188, John C. Yule household; digital images, ( : accessed 4 Jul 2016); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 364.
  19. Forkner, History of Madison County, Indiana, 2: 598-599. Cit. Date: 4 May 2016.
  20. Ontario, Canada Ontario, Registrar General,  Marriage Register, (Archives of Ontario, Toronto), K, 1901: 499-500, image 327 & 328 of 430,  Yule-Lemon; FHL microfilm. Cit. Date: 24 Dec 2017. 
  21. 1900 U.S. census, Winnebago County, Wisconsin, population schedule, City of Neenah, 3rd Ward, enumeration district (ED) 127, sheet 1, p. 141A, dwelling 12, family 13, S. A. Cook household; digital images, ( : accessed 1 Apr 2001); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 1824.
  22. “Alexandria,” The Muncie Morning Star, 27 Oct 1901, Sunday, p. 10, col. 3; digital images, ( : accessed 26 Dec 2017). 

The House That Cook Built – Part 1

The Beginning

The house that Cook built. Or did he?

In early 2016 I received an email from a cousin who had just spent time in Alexandria, Madison County, Indiana, a community located 385 miles from Neenah, Winnebago County, Wisconsin. Included in the email was a photo of a large, white-columned house located at 1515 South Park Avenue. My cousin shared with me that she had been told that this was Samuel Andrew (S. A.) Cook’s home during the time he owned the Alexandria Paper Company. I remember thinking, why would he own such a large home in Alexandria when I knew he had retained his residence in Neenah? So into another rabbit hole, I dove. 

It is now 2021, and I have yet to write this post. I started, but new information kept slowing the process. But it is time to begin again. I cannot head to Alexandria, so I will begin as I most always do, with armchair research.

Why Alexandria? We cannot study the history of this home without first understanding the land that it stands upon. The first record found, is a land patent dated August 5, 1834. Morgan James of Rush County, Indiana purchased 82 acres and forty-hundredths of an acre in the W half of the NW Corner of Section 30, under the Land Act of 1820. This act ended the ability to purchase land on credit or an installment program. [1] The new law which came into effect on July 1, 1820, required full payment, and had the minimum price per acre reduced from $2.00 to $1.25 an acre, and the minimum tract being reduced from 160 acres to 80. Morgan James received certificate no. 1784 after having made full payment on the land. The certificate “given under my hand, at the City of Washington” by President Andrew Jackson. 

A Madison County history tells us that “previous to the year 1831, there was not a white man within the territory which comprises the township.” The first entry for land in Monroe township occurred that year in Section 19, near the present site of Alexandria. In 1832, Morgan James settled on “Little Pipe creek, south of where Alexandria is now situated.” And we know that two years later he purchased this land in full. And two years after that, in January 1836, Monroe Township was named for the fifth President of the United States, and became the largest township in the county, containing fifty-one square miles. [2] Who is Morgan James? I have not been able to locate him in the census. The Madison County Register of Deeds is only open for in-person research, and at this time records are not available online for this time period. Relying on plat maps, I have been able to move forward in time to 1880, and another owner, Joel Jones. 

Joel Jones was a very well-to-do farmer in Madison County. Born in North Carolina in 1816, he came to Monroe Township in 1838. [3] I find him in Monroe Township in 1860 with a value of real estate owned of $2,500, and a personal estate of $300. Residing with him at the time of the census was his wife Rhoda, age 34, sons John, age 10, Leroy, age 6, and Alpheus, age 3. Ten years later in 1870, he is still living in Monroe Township. His wealth has continued to grow, and he now owns real estate valued at $18,400, with a personal estate of $3,100. His sons, John, Leroy, and Alpheus are living at home, and have been joined by a sister, Sarah, age 10. Living with them was farm laborer, 25-year-old Wesley McKinley. Joel’s wife, Rhoda, passed away on 6 Mar 1871, at the age of 44. By 1880, the time of the map, Joel had re-married and was living in Monroe Township with his wife, Mary, age 44, [4] and his daughter enumerated as Ellen. Joel passed away on 8 Jun 1892.

The History of Madison County gives us a glimpse into the Jones life in Madison County through a biography written about Joel M. Jones, [5] grandson of Joel, son of John. At the time the history was written in 1914, Joel was living in Boone Township. His biography tells us that he was born 8 Mar 1872 in Monroe Township and that his father was also born in Monroe, “and the Jones family has been identified with this county since pioneer times.” “At the age of twenty-two, he had come into possession of a farm of his own, formerly owned by his grandfather, Joel Jones, who had come to Madison County from North Carolina.”

Were Joel and his family living in the house when the 1880 census was enumerated? According to the county records, the 2 1/2 story wood frame house was built in 1875, and currently has approximately 5,570 square feet of living space. This does not include the basement, which is said to be unfinished. The detached garage was built in 1899, a gazebo was added in 1980, and a utility shed in 1997. [6]

Looking again at the 1880 map of Section 30, there is no mark indicating a house, or as the key states, a “farmhouse” located on the Jone’s property. An example of a farmstead in Monroe Township was published in Forker’s Historical Sketches and Reminiscences of Madison County, Indiana, p. 116, is this of N. E. Tomlinson. He lived north of Alexandria, and this is his home, marked on the property as being residence.

By February of 1893 Alexandria was in the “Center of the Largest Natural Gas Belt.” This vast amount of available cheap energy caught the ear of S.A. Cook, and by 1895 the Oshkosh, Winnebago newspaper, The Daily Northwestern, was reporting that he was “transacting business” in Alexandria.[7] Alexandria was actively advertising and promoting this inexpensive energy, stating that the average daily flowage of 9,000,000 feet of gas had a pressure of 320 pounds to the square inch. Because of the industries locating in Alexandria, the population had grown from 715 in 1891, to over 4,500 by December 1892. It was projected that the population would rise to 10,000 in 1893. The city had “moderately priced lots” in the city, and acreage a mile to a mile and a half outside the city was being “platted for business, residence and factory purposes.” [8]

Six years later in 1899, S.A. Cook as the “chief owner of the Rolling Mill Land Company”[9] was working to entice manufacturing companies to locate on property in Alexandria owned by the Rolling Mill Company. In June he took his own advice, and the Alexandria Paper and Investment Company was incorporated with a capitol stock of $300,000. Director S. A. Cook entered into a partnership with M. H. Ballou, a Neenah man, who would become the company’s vice president and general manager, and secretary-treasurer A. E. Bunker from Chicago. G. W. Young of Neenah was also part of the management team, working as superintendent. For the location of the new factory, S. A. purchased a 30-acre site south of the city, located on Little Pipe Creek. Shortly after incorporation work began on the 3-story, 340 x 100 main building, the 2-story, 250 x 60-foot pulp mill, plus the engine and boiler rooms, each to measure 100 x 100 feet. The paper mill would be in operation by November 1, 1899. [1]

In September, 40-year-old Miner Hart Ballou moved his family to Alexandria. [11] His family consisted of his wife, Flora, 38 years old, son Harry, age 16, and daughter, Belle, age 12. It was this year that the garage was added to the property.

In October it was reported that the mill was nearly complete, and the city had grown by 1,000 people due to the influx of workmen for the paper mill. The company had “sold nearly 500 lots that are fast being covered with tenement houses.” [12] The houses are “sold on the monthly plan, and in about three years the mechanic owns his own home. [13] In December the company name was changed from the Alexandria Paper and Investment Company to the Alexandria Paper Company. [14]

By the spring of 1900, M. H. Ballou had a falling out with S. A. Cook, and they dissolved their partnership. In June of 1900, he and his family returned to Wisconsin to reside in Appleton, Outagamie County. [15]

Did they live in the house? Maybe? They were enumerated in the 1900 United States Federal Census on June 23rd, residing in a rented home in Monroe Township. Enumerated around them were families renting, owning, living on a farm, living in a house, day laborers, a teamster, and even an undertaker. At this point, I am not sure. The official date of the 1900 census was June 1st, so I believe that by the 23rd they were no longer residing in Alexandria, as the information is either incomplete or just a bit “off.” The instructions for the census are to include the  “Name of each person whose place of abode on June 1, 1900, was in this family,” so someone on the property was found to give their details, and they did the best that they could. The Ballous are also found in the 1900 census for Appleton. Enumerated on the 13th of June, complete details were given, including the birth month of each family member. I believe they were home to speak to the enumerator when he came to the door of their home on College Avenue.

As I began my research into the home, I came across many statements regarding this once-majestic dwelling place. Comments that it had been a brothel, [16] a gin house, bordello, and gambling joint. [17] The home that Harry H. Cook built for his bride, [18] the home that the “owner of the paper mill,” Edwin Yule built. Another article states that after Harry died the home was sold to Ed Yule his “nephew” and he renovated it for his bride. [19] So many stories surrounding the origin of this house, yet no one seems to have taken the time to do the logical thing, and look at the actual land records. So what IS the story behind this once stately home on Route 9, just south of Alexandria?


  1. 1. Certificate 1784, 5 Aug 1834, Morgan James; Federal Land Patents, State Volumes; General Land Office Records; digital images, “Madison County, Indiana,” ( : accessed 4 Sep 2016).
  2. 2. John La Rue Forker, and Byron H. Dyson, Historical Sketches and Reminiscences of Madison County, Indiana.A Detailed History of the Early Events of the Pioneer Settlement of the County, and Many of the Happenings of Recent Years, as Well as a Complete History of Each Township, to which is Added Numerous Incidents of a Pleasant Nature, in the Way of Reminiscences, and Laughable Occurrences   (Anderson, Indiana: n.p., 1897),  832.
  3. 3. History of Madison County, Indiana, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers  (Chicago: Kingman Brothers, 1880),  127. Cit. Date: 4 Sep 2016.
  4. 4. Find A Grave, digital images ( : accessed 20 Aug 2021), Rhody Jones Memorial, created by starbuck, 9 Aug 2010, memorial number 56837068. 
  5. 5. John La Rue Forkner, History of Madison County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, its People and Its Principal Interests, 2 volumes (Chicago and New York: Lewis Publishing Company, 1914), 2: 577. 
  6. 6., accessed 6 May 2016.
  7. 7. “Neenah Council,” The Daily Northwestern, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, 3 Jan 1895, Thursday, p. 1, col. 7; digital images, ( : accessed 6 Jan 2018). 
  8. 8. The Alexandria Company, Alexandria, Indiana (Louisville, Kentucky: Courier-Journal Lithograph, 1893); digital image, Indiana State Library Map Collection ( : accessed 21 Aug 2021).
  9. 9. The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, 15 Jun 1899, Thursday, p. 2, col. 2; digital images, ( : accessed 18 May 2016). 
  10. 10. “The Alexandria Mill,” The Paper Mill and Wood Pulp News. The Newspaper of the Pulp and Paper Industry, volume 22, June 1899, 22; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 26 May 2016).
  11. 11. The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, 20 Sep 1899, Friday, p. 22, col. 3; digital images, NewspaperARCHIVE ( : accessed 10 May 2016). 
  12. 12. “Nearly Completed,” Neenah Daily Times, 24 Oct 1899. Cit. Date: 10 May 2016. 
  13. 13. “Neenah Capital In Indiana,” The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, 25 Jan 1900, Thursday, p. 6, col. 2; digital images, ( : accessed 26 May 2016).
  14. 14. “Incorporated.,” The Indianapolis Sun, 23 Dec 1899, Saturday, p. 3, col. 6; digital images, NewspaperARCHIVE ( : accessed 10 May 2016). 
  15. 15. ”Big Purchase,” The Daily Northwestern, 11 Jun 1900, Monday, p. 1, col. 4; digital images, ( : accessed 26 May 2016).
  16. 16. “Hotels–Indiana–Madison County,” Clipping Files, 1989-2002; OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 880652327, WorldCat Database; Indiana Historical Society Library, Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana. Cit. Date: 14 May 2016.
  17. 17. Linda Ferris, “Elder House to open house on Sunday,” The Times=Tribune, 16 Jan 1991, Wednesday, p. 1 & p. 8, col. 1-4 & top; digital images, ( : accessed 20 Jun 2016).  
  18. 18. “Lines from Linda,” The Times=Tribune, 10 Sep 1986, Wednesday, p. 2, col. 1-2; digital images, ( : accessed 6 Jul 2016). 
  19. 19. Mary Graves, “Elder House comes to Colonnades,” The Times=Tribune, 4 Dec 1985, Wednesday, p. 1 & p.2, col. 1, 3-4; digital images, ( : accessed 27 May 2016). 

Johann F. Faßbender and Salome Barbara Bel

Johann F. Faßbender was born February 2, 1811, the sixth of seven known children born to Johann and Maria Apollonia Stüsser. Then as now, the birth needed to be recorded with the government officials. The very next day Johann, “age fifty-four years farm-worker living at Oedecoven” trudged through the early morning chill with his newborn son (the average February temperature for Oedekoven is 37°F). He appeared before the mayor of Oedekoven to present the child, declaring his name as Johann. [1]

Very little is known about the life that Johann and Maria Apollonia led. We know that they were successful farmers who made sure their children received an education and served as needed in the German army. Johann was also a skilled artisan. A 1921 article published in Wisconsin newspapers, tells of a snuff-box, given to his grandson while on a visit home to Germany in 1901. [2] “The cover is inlaid with mosaic work which represents two robins on a bough tree. The stones are no larger than a point of a pin and a magnifying glass has to be used to distinguish them. [3] The snuff box remained in the family until sometime in the 1940s when it was sold. [4]

Born October 19, 1812, in Oedekoven, Salome Barbara Bel was the fifth of ten known children born to Joseph Guilleaume Bel and Anna Maria Schweikart. 

Joseph passed away September 12, 1837, at age 66, [5] and so did not live to see his daughter Salome marry Johann F. Fassbender a few months later on Thursday, April 19, 1838. At 10:00 a.m. 27-year-old Johann and 25-year-old Salome appeared before the mayor of Oedekoven requesting to be married. They arrived with the required proof that they had posted the announcement of their wish to marry on the main door of the town hall on April 8, and again on April 15, 1838, and that no “contradiction against this marriage had been brought.” The mayor confirmed that Johann had been born on February 2, 1911, Salome on October 19, 1812, that the father of the groom had died on January 12, 18135, and the father of the bride on September 12, 1837. After the “co-present mothers of the bridal pair” agreed to the marriage, the mayor read aloud the vouchers, and “the sixth chapter of the marriage-title of the Civil Code.” He then asked Johann and Salome if they were willing to marry each other, and upon receiving an affirmative reply, he announced them “together legally married.” 

The chapel at Behlsmühle

Joining them in the mayor’s office, and acting as witnesses, were Johann’s brothers, 28-year-old Adolph, and 31-year-old Theodor, both stating their profession as “farmers in Oedekoven,” and Salome’s brothers, 27-year-old carl, profession, farmer, and 29-year-old Joseph Ignatz, who was an innkeeper in Duisdorf. Signing the marriage document was the bridal couple, Salome’s mother, Anna Schweikart, and the four witnesses. “The mother of the new husband declared not able to read and write. [6] As was the custom, Salome and Johann had their marriage blessed by the Catholic Church. This blessing occurred in the family chapel at Behlsmühle. [7]

Johann and Salome started married life with great hope and promise. Their first child was born on December 22, 1838. [8] One can only imagine how cold it must have been, when two days later at 9:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve, Johann arrived at the office of the mayor of Oedekoven and “presented to [him] a child of male sex,” declaring they were giving him the first names: Peter Joseph Hubert. Acting as witnesses were his brother, Heinrich, and Johann Lommerzheim.

Over the next five years, two more children would be born to the couple, but neither survived to adulthood. Nothing is known about these children other than what was included in published biographies about their brother, Peter. “She [Salome] was the mother of three children, all of whom are dead save our subject Peter Fassbender…”[9] and “…[Peter] is the only survivor of three children born to John and Salome Fassbender, the former of whom died in 1843 in Germany, leaving three children, of whom Peter is the only survivor.” [10]

The day before Peter’s fifth birthday, December 21, 1843, Johann died. The civil record that records his death does not include any details as to the cause of death. Witnesses to the death record were Heinrich Faßbender, and Johann Lommerzheim, the same men to act as witnesses to the birth of Peter just five years earlier.


  1.  Oedekoven, Administrative District Cologne, Germany, “Births,” 1811, No. 23, 12th Certificate of Birth,  Johann Fasbender. Cit. Date: Apr 1999. 
  2. I believe that the trip referred to in this story was made in 1899, not 1901 as I have yet to find a trip made that year.
  3. “Has Snuff Box More Than 100 Years Old,” The Capital Times, 10 Feb 1921, p. 3, col. 7; digital images, NewspaperARCHIVE ( : accessed 6 Nov 2002).
  4. Interview with Arthur Ellenbecker, by Susan C. Fassbender, Appleton, Wisconsin, 6 Dec 2002. 
  5. Administrative District Cologne, Germany, Certificate of Marriage,  “Fasbender to Bel, 1838, No. 7”. Cit. Date: 6 Oct 1999.
  6. Administrative District Cologne, Germany, Certificate of Marriage, “Fasbender to Bel, 1838, No. 7”; Community Oedekoven, Circle Bonn; Schloß Augustusburg, Brühl. Cit. Date: 6 Oct 1999; translated by Karl Wüllenweber.
  7. Interview with Arthur Ellenbecker by Susan C. Fassbender, 10 Aug 1999, Appleton, Wisconsin.
  8. Oedekoven, Administrative District Cologne, Germany, “Births,” 1838, no: 139,  Peter Joseph Hubert Fassbender; Schloß Augustusburg, Brühl. Cit. Date: 29 Sep 1999.
  9.  J. H. Beers & Co., editor, Commemorative Biographical Record of the Fox River Valley Counties of Brown, Outagamie and Winnebago, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, and of Many of the Early Settled Families., 2 (1895; reprint, Chicago, Illinois: J. H. Beers & Co., 2004), volume I: 570.
  10.  Thomas H. Ryan, History of Outagamie County Wisconsin (Chicago: Goodspeed Historical Association, 1911), 924.


I was first introduced to Behlsmühle in 1999 while visiting with Arthur Ellenbecker, the grandson of the Fassbender patriarch and immigrating ancestor, Peter Joseph Hubert Fassbender. As we sat talking with Arthur in his home – the very home that his grandparents purchased when they “retired” to Appleton, Outagamie, Wisconsin, he stood up to take a picture off of his wall. We immediately offered to assist him, but he brushed off the help stating that it wasn’t heavy, as he had dropped it a while back and the glass had broken. 

“Peter Fassbender Received This Picture From his Cousin. 1904 From Germany”

Handing the framed image to us, he continued with the story. We had been talking about his great-grandparents, Johann Faßbender and Salome Barbara Bel. The image he handed us was a chalk drawing of the property in Oedekoven, Germany, owned by his maternal great-great-grandfather, Joseph Bel. Arthur told us that before his marriage, his great-grandfather, Johann, had lived in an apartment behind the “third upper window from the right.”

The property was known as Tempelhof Manor and the Tempel-Mühle (Temple Mill). Today, in 2021, the building is called Behlsmühle, for Joseph Bel. The manor, first mentioned in print in 1362, originally belonged to the Hospital of St. John and St. Cordula in Cologne run by the monks of the Johannites. The monks were descendants of the Tempel-Knights who operated many hospitals along the roads leading to the Holy Land and the Temple of Jerusalem.

The French conquered the Rhineland during the French Revolution. It was at this time they also confiscated the property of the churches and monasteries of the region. Over the next 20 years, they sold the property back to the German people to fund the war. It was at this time that Joseph Bel had the opportunity to purchase the property. The property included an oil mill, a 4-wing structure, a chapel, and a two-story manor house. 

In 1812 Joseph Bel became Mayor of the 14 villages that comprised the Borough of Oedekoven. He held this position for two years. Joseph died at the age of 66 on September 12, 1837, [1] having spent his later years as a Gutsbesitzer, or “Gentleman Farmer.” [2]

Behlsmühle still stands. In 1984 the manor house was given Monument status. The plaque on the house reads: “Anna 1818 Joseph Bel.” [3] While the house and the mill’s wheel still stand, the rest of the property has been converted into a multi-family housing complex.

Google Map image, 23 Jul 2021

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  1. Administrative District Cologne, Community Oedekoven, Germany, death certificate no. 68 (1837), Joseph Bel; Schloß Augustusburg, Brühl. Cit. Date: 27 May 2002.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Rheinisches Amt für Denkmalpflege, Central Monuments Archive, 23, Rhein-Sieg-Kreis, Alfter, KZ.