Tag: Appleton, Wisconsin

Piano space

The listing read: “Located on a quiet cul de sac is where you will find this Federal Style Home. Exceptional finishing both inside and out. Impressive all brick exterior. Side loading garage. Private yard w/beautiful garden. Stunning entrance w/turned staircase. Formal & informal spaces. Prized kitchen w/commercial appliances. Fabulous 3 Seasons Rm w/1 of 6 fireplaces thru out. Cozy hearth Rm, Piano space, 1st Fl. Office, Grand Master Suite w/private patio. Finished LL for family fun. Garage can accommodate 3 cars.”

Piano space. Our homes have always had “piano space.” When I met Gary he owned a spinet, and there was space for it in his living room. This was the piano that we brought with us to Pinewild Court and the piano that both of our children used as they started piano lessons. As they grew both in size and competency, we decided that it was time to upgrade, and we purchased a Yamaha Studio Upright. This larger piano also found space in our home.

As the house was going up, I remember standing in the family room with Gary and our contractor discussing the progress. By this time we were wondering if the family room was too small, and so asked the question about the possibility of someday building out by blowing out the wall and adding the screen porch to the interior living space. Yes, was the answer. Followed by the statement that it would be about $150 now, or $1,000+ later. We decided to go ahead and add the additional header right away.

Ten years later it was time. We loved our screen porch but dreamt of a larger space. One that had a fireplace, a four-track window system to block out inclement weather and extend our use of the space, and room to spread out. Our children continued to play the piano, and we dreamt of upgrading our piano once again to a Yamaha C2 Grand. We discussed the design of the porch, and how we would transition the porch into an interior living space – a Music Room.

What I can relay in just a few sentences was actually the result of months of study, planning, visits to an architect, and talks with our contractor, now the son of our original builder. 

We started our time in the house with the original screen porch nestled in the L of our family room and breakfast room and was roughly 10 x 15’, its sister porch, accessed from the master bedroom, was directly above. We accessed the lower porch through french doors through the breakfast room. These french doors would be re-purposed, matched with a second set, and used to access the new screen porch. The original window in the family room looking into the porch would be moved to the outside wall of the music room. The room would be entered from both sides through arched openings designed after the arch found at Carter’s Grove Plantation in Virginia. 

Work began in October 2003, and it was a super cold day in January when they finally opened the house to the outside. I was stripping wallpaper in the kitchen wearing a heavy Irish fisherman sweater with the fireplace in the family room roaring. Working quickly, they soon had the window moved into place, and the doors set in their frame.

A few weeks later and the wall was ready for Gary and me to free-hand the arch opening. We were also busy removing carpet as we planned for hardwood to flow from the existing kitchen and breakfast room into the family room and music room. 

This new space was a beautiful addition to our home. The music room was a cozy place to sit with a cup of coffee or evening snacks with a glass of wine. Listening to our daughter play the piano was an added bonus. For us, it was more than a piano space, it was our music room. 

The Tree Must Come Down

This archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” was first published 18 Aug 2013.

At the time that we built our home in 1993, White  Clover Dairy was in the middle of an expansion, and because of this, trees that had been on the property for many years needed to be removed. We took advantage of this and moved a large crab apple tree and a maple to our property. The trees were moved in November 1993, the maple straining the size limits of the largest tree spade that the tree moving company owned. We placed the crab to the right of our driveway, positioning the “flat side,” the side that had been growing against the building, away from the street. This tree has rewarded us for the last 19 years with the most glorious blossoms each spring. 

The maple was planted in the backyard with the idea that it would provide a nice dapple-shaded area for the swing set and patio. While it took a while for it to settle into its new home, we soon had a large and beautiful tree – with a history! 

Gary received a 1972 Cougar XR7 as a high school graduation gift. It was blue with a white vinyl top and a blue leather interior. He loved that car. But it soon became a favorite of Marie’s, and as she did not  at that time have a car of her own when she needed a vehicle and Gary’s was available she would choose the Cougar. As it happens this particular model of Cougar had a flaw, while idling in park, it would unexpectedly pop out of park and throw itself into reverse.  One summer day Marie packed her eldest grandson into the car and made a quick stop at the factory to let them know she was heading to town. While she was inside letting Butch know where she was going, the car popped out of park, spun around, and rammed into the maple that had been recently been planted on the neighbor’s property near the factory office. Luckily Rich was not harmed, the car was intact, but the tree bore a scar from the impact for years. The neighbor had great concern that his tree might not survive the brutal Cougar attack, so in typical Butch fashion, he paid the man an agreed-upon value for the tree. The tree survived but the money was not returned.

Jumping forward 40 years, late Tuesday night, August 6th, six tornadoes ripped through the Fox Valley. The storm woke us up just long enough for us to close windows, comment on the strobe light lightning and the wind that was pushing harder at the side of the house than an other time in memory. Then we went back to bed. No sirens went off that night, so many of us slept safely through the storm. Looking at the damage the next day, it is amazing that no one was killed by the tornadoes. We do count ourselves one of the lucky ones, we only lost a tree.

Meatballs – From Ken’s Mary

  • 3 lbs ground beef – I, Susan, like a mix of 90% lean and 80-84% lean
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup saltine crackers, crumbled
  • 24 oz. chili sauce – 2-12 oz bottles
  • 24 oz. Water – fill the chili sauce bottles
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp white vinegar

Combine the first 6 ingredients, and roll into balls, bake in a 350° oven till brown. Approximately 10 minutes, turning at 5 minutes.

You can freeze the meatballs at this point.

Bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil, and then simmer the browned meatballs in the sauce for 3 or more hours. 

NOTE: We discovered that if you still have sauce remaining when the meatballs have disappeared, you can freeze the sauce for a later time and just add meatballs.

1st Fl. Office

Today I will continue to explore the listing for our previous home at 15 Pinewild Court: “Located on a quiet cul de sac is where you will find this Federal Style Home. Exceptional finishing both inside and out. Impressive all brick exterior. Side loading garage. Private yard w/beautiful garden. Stunning entrance w/turned staircase. Formal & informal spaces. Prized kitchen w/commercial appliances. Fabulous 3 Seasons Rm w/1 of 6 fireplaces thru out. Cozy hearth Rm, Piano space, 1st Fl. Office, Grand Master Suite w/private patio. Finished LL for family fun. Garage can accommodate 3 cars.”

One family’s “1st Fl. Office” is another family’s Library.

As we designed the home in 1993, we took a close look at what we loved about our current 1938 character home. This home had a small office in the front of the house that also doubled as a den. This knotty-pine paneled room had one full wall that held a built-in desk with storage and shelves. We loved the coziness of this room with its large wing chairs and the desk space for bills and other paperwork. As we also ran a small business from the house, we had a computer, and when we had finished the basement we created a corner workspace to hold the monster computer monitors of the day, and a drawer that housed the large dot matrix printer and it’s huge box of paper. Those were certainly the days! And as for the business? The main office in my in-law’s home held the “main” computer, and I remember the early days when my brother-in-law would have a question about what he was working on. He would call me on the second line, he would tell my mother-in-law that we would be using the house line, and I would dial in using PCAnywhere to take a look at his question. HA! We thought we were so high-tech, little did we know the changes that would happen in just a few short years.

We also had books, well, I had books, boxes of books. Knowing that we would need a designated computer space, a desk for Gary, and a place to hold what was then seven-ish boxes of books, we knew we wanted a library. Floor to ceiling storage for books and office files, and a corner desk to accommodate the huge monitors of the day, and a spot to hide the dot matrix printer with its box of paper. As we thought about the room, we knew we also wanted a fireplace. 

The fireplace took a bit of figuring as the wall for the fireplace was the wall common with the family room, and that wall already was designated for the family room fireplace. Do we do side-by-side fireboxes? That placed one or the other in an awkward, not centered, sort of way. We settled on a two-sided extra large fireplace to accommodate both rooms.

The design complete, we knew we wanted this to be a cozy room for our family to gather. The living room sofa had been purchased for perfect scale in our current home, and was also the perfect size to fit in the living room, it just needed to be reupholstered. And we chose a deep dark green for the walls and carpet to give it the warm feeling we were going for. 

This room so lived up to our expectations! We spent hours and hours in the winter in the library with snacks or hors d’oeuvre dinners in front of the fire. The corner desk turned into a sleeper great design choice as the kids started to use the computer, then the internet for school projects. I could be cooking in the kitchen and see the monitor from there to answer questions, or just to make sure they were making safe choices. The biggest change we made in the room was to move Gary’s large desk that sat nestled in the bay window upstairs to our bedroom and place his grandparent’s library table in its place. Other than that, it was just making adjustments to our growing book collection. 

When we moved it was a huge task to sort through what books were going with us, and what books needed to be donated, or sold to Half Price Books. Now that we are here in Rhode Island we are designing our next library. The maid’s quarters on the 3rd floor offer us the opportunity to create a wall of bookshelves in the eaves of one of the rooms. This transition is on the list for this winter, as the summer is the time for outside projects such as restoring windows and getting the house painted. I do so miss the ability to just walk into the room for a book that I know we own and I know has the answer to a question that is being asked. Hopefully, we will soon be able to unpack the many boxes that fill the closet in that room. For now, I have many memories of having once owned a home that housed a library. 

Prized kitchen w/commercial appliances

15 Pinewild Court

I write a lot about house histories, and I love to speak about how much fun they are to research and to write about. What is not to like? Learning the origin story of a house that you live in, or  lived in, and love? Nothing. Until it becomes painful to write about. If you had asked me a few months ago if I thought this feeling would be possible, I would have said no. That is until we discovered that almost exactly to the day, two years after we left, 15 Pinewild Court was back on the market, and had sold. 

We chose to leave a house that we designed, improved, maintained and loved, because we felt it was the right time. Time to retire, time to downsize, and time to move closer to our children. We also decided it would be a great opportunity to purchase a fixer-upper and bring another home back to life. But the story of our current home has not yet been fully written, time will tell how this house will speak to my heart and soul. But I have learned that not a day goes by that I don’t miss, and yes, sometimes mourn having left our old house behind. 

The house that holds my heart entered our lives as Lot 68 in the Evergreen Meadows subdivision of Appleton, Outagamie, Wisconsin. Located at the top of Pinewild Court, we learned that it would be number 15. If I were to sit down to write its full story, it could be novel length, rather than blog post length. With that in mind, I have decided to approach our homes story through the eyes of its latest real estate listing. 

“Located on a quiet cul de sac is where you will find this Federal Style Home. Exceptional finishing both inside and out. Impressive all brick exterior. Side loading garage. Private yard w/beautiful garden. Stunning entrance w/turned staircase. Formal & informal spaces. Prized kitchen w/commercial appliances. Fabulous 3 Seasons Rm w/1 of 6 fireplaces thru out. Cozy hearth Rm, Piano space, 1st Fl. Office, Grand Master Suite w/private patio. Finished LL for family fun. Garage can accommodate 3 cars.”

How do I unpack the above description, as there is so much going through my mind. I stop on one sentence then another. Let’s start with “Prized kitchen w/commercial appliances.”

In 1993 when we were in the design process for our new home, we were very hands on with opinions on may of the design details. But as I recall, the kitchen was not one of those details we spent a lot of time with. We saw it as a workable space, and we chose finishes that fit our budget at that time. Corian was not in the budget, so we chose a neutral, but pleasant formica top (this was many years before granite and stainless steel appliances became the desired design finish), we chose what we thought would be long lasting appliances – heck, they were in all the magazines that year, and moved on to other decisions. 

Fast forward through many family night dinners, holidays with 20+ people, the hosting on non-profit holiday parties of 50+, and Mac & Cheese dinners when dad had to work late, and the appliances were starting to fail. The worst offender were the double ovens. In order for them to turn on, you had to first hit the control panel, then say a quick prayer. I wanted these double ovens, and loved them for most of their lives, but at this moment in 2012, I began to wonder if I should not have taken the appliance company up on their offer way back in 1993. We had ordered Jenn Air ovens, and they arrived with a Kitchen Aid double oven combo, that was an oven on the bottom, and a microwave on the top. They tried to convince me to keep them. I said no. I wanted the obscene luxury of two ovens. But Easter of 2012 when I opened the lower oven to find what looked like metal honeycomb nestled in the potatoes, we knew it was time to do something. 

We could have just made the decision to replace the appliances, upgrade the countertop, sink, faucets and call it a day. It could have been a nice looking kitchen. But, we learned when the long awaited double ovens were finally installed and working that the cabinet maker had used an experimental paint on our job. A defective finish. The panel that enclosed the ovens, and was the first thing you saw as you came down the stairs blistered from the heat of the ovens. It looked horrible. This was a factor, but the real push to create a new kitchen was that we were in the remodel business, and looked forward to the challenge of designing a kitchen for ourselves.

We had already made a few changes to the original design as we settled into life at Pinewild Court. We like to cook together, so in 1997 a small sink had been installed on the “C Island” for Gary to do his prep work. He had his own set of knives in the drawer on the island, and the odds and ends tools for cleaning the fruits and vegetables that he was prepping. 

All that we loved, wishes for changes, and the question of “Does this work for us?” were considered as we tweaked the layout for the new kitchen. We knew that we would stay within in the original footprint, but with a few changes. A 30” Wolf range would be installed were the cooktop had been, on the oven wall, we created a wall of Wolf ovens, at the top was a convection microwave, below that a wall oven, and below that a warming drawer. A Sub Zero refrigerator replaced the old side by side Kitchen Aid, and we swapped the dishwasher from the right side of the sink to the left. We are not fans of granite, but we loved the Cambria quartz that we chose for the countertops.

When we were through, we knew we had something special. As members of NARI (National Association of the Remodel Industry) we put together a project binder and entered the COtY Award process, (COtY is Contractor of the Year) at the National Level. The first step is to win at the Regional level, and those winners are placed into competition at the National level. We won at the Regional level. So this kitchen is not just prized, but prize winning!

I will let my binder tell the story of our new kitchen. 

DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT

The time had come for the homeowners to remodel their 19-year-old kitchen. They had been babying the failing appliances for over two years as they discussed the pros and cons of their original kitchen design, determining what worked for them and what didn’t. What was working for them was the basic floor plan and the white cabinetry which was in keeping with their Federal style home. What wasn’t working for them was a much longer list.

What was not working: 

  • The appliances. It was hit or miss as to whether the ovens would even turn on, or stay on for the duration of the cooking time required.
  • The location of the dishwasher. Although located next to the sink, it was not easy for one person to empty the dishwasher while another was cooking.
  • The location of the garbage pullout was not conveniently accessed from all angles.
  • The existing prep sink was too small.
  • Although conveniently located the planning desk was never used as the homeowner felt as though she was sitting in a dark hole.
  • The Butler’s Pantry upper cabinet had been installed at 16″ which was too low for effectively using the space. More height was needed.
  • The open space between the cabinets and the ceiling. It was just a catch-all for dirt and was clearly visible when walking down the stairs to the kitchen.

The Challenges:

  • Designing the kitchen to exactly fit the existing floor plan of the cabinets. 
  • The homeowner wished to retain the existing oak hardwood flooring.
  • The homeowners wished to keep the existing wallpaper. All cabinets needed to fit within the existing lines, and the custom crown molding needed to be saved and re-used.
  • Create easier access to the prep sink plumbing.
  • Change from an interior wall, down draft vent, to an updraft range hood.
  • Center the range within the visual space and actual space.
  • To follow through with the Federal architectural detail found elsewhere in the home, and create a space that blends into the existing open floor plan without screaming “New!”

The Homeowners Desires:

  • Professional grade appliances. The homeowners are avid cooks, and they desired professional grade appliances to enhance the enjoyment of preparing meals for family and friends.
  • A quartz countertop
  • More lighting, both recessed and under cabinet lighting.
  • Deep sinks
  • A new hot water dispenser, with filtered water drinking option.
  • A kitchen that really fit the style of the home.

Pinterest:

The homeowner was a fan of Pinterest so we took advantage of this and she created a Board just for pinning ideas she had for the kitchen. By linking to this board, we were able to see exactly what she was interested in, and to read her thoughts about how and where she envisioned using the idea. From sinks to knobs and drawer pulls, to tile, the homeowner shared all of her ideas with us through Pinterest.

Still Troubles Him

I am a compulsive searcher when it comes to newspapers, I just love them. The fact that new pages are continually added, and best of all, pages are re-scanned which sometimes will produce a better image, I can’t get enough. A recent search for “Jacob Cook” in the Appleton, Outagamie County, Wisconsin newspapers told, in his own words, how he was injured during the Civil War while fighting in the Battle of Cold Harbor. For this post, I am including the story of his Civil War years that I published in my book A Snapshot: Jacob Harrison Cook,[1] along with links to actual images from the battlefield, and then adding another layer to the story by including his words published 28 Sep 1899, in the Appleton Weekly Post.[2]

“…Just seven months after the Lady Elgin disaster, April 12, 1861, Civil War broke out between the states. On April 27, 1861, Jacob headed to Taycheedah, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin to enlist for a term of three years into Company I, 5th Wisconsin Infantry. He was mustered in as a Sergeant July 12, 1861, at Camp Randall, in Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin.[3]

Jacob may have mustered in as a Sergeant, but he did not remain a sergeant for long. In November 1861 he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, and then on December 24, 1861, while in the field of Virginia, he was commissioned to 1st Lieutenant…”[4]

“…Jacob continued to prove himself a brave and capable soldier as on May 12, 1863, he was commissioned Captain of Co. I, 5th Wisconsin Infantry, mustering out as Captain J. H. Cook on September 26, 1864, from Annapolis Maryland.”

“His biography included in the Soldiers’ and Citizens’ Album of Biographical Record, tells the tale best in the flowery voice of 1888: ‘Mr. Cook’s first engagement was at Williamsburg and he was one of the detail that made the famous bayonet charge on Fort Magruder, the first in the war. The capture of the battle flag of the 5th North Carolina by the 5th Wisconsin in that action, was one of the first instance in the war when a regimental flag was taken.’ ‘Mr. Cook was in all actions known to history as the Seven Days Battles, being constantly on duty throughout, with the exception of a few hours on Friday, June 27th. He continued unhurt until the last terrific action. At White Oak Swamp, June 30, he was severely injured in his back and sustained a rupture on the left side. [In the act of changing the regiments position ‘on Double quick,’ Jacob ‘sliped on the Root of a Tree and Fell a cross a hedge Hurting his Back and Left Groin.’[5]] [https://civilwarphotos.net/files/images/779.jpg] He was under treatment at Washington Naval Hospital two months and through the winter following he served on court martial duty; he rejoined his regiment near Alexandria in time to participate in the movements at Fredericksburg, where the Wisconsin 5th was deployed to act as reserve. Early in 1863, the ‘Light Division’ was formed, and the regiment incorporated therein, having a well established reputation for reliability in action and emergencies, and the regiments composing that body were, from that day placed where danger was most certain. May 3rd [1863], Mr. Cook participated in the charge on Marye’s Heights, regarded as a hopeless attempt, but which the spirit of the soldiers made successful, and he was again in reserve at Gettysburg. [https://civilwarphotos.net/files/images/381.jpg] In July the regiment was sent to New York to aid in the enforcement of the draft and was stationed on Governor’s Island several months, where the command had artillery drill which served them well in their subsequent experience in action. At Rappahanock Station [Virginia, November 7, 1863] the 5th led the advance and suffered terrific loss. The fight at Spottsylvania [sic] was commenced May 10, 1864, and, on that day Mr. Cook received a blow in the right eye from some unknown missile, which caused great suffering at the time and has resulted in the almost total loss of vision in that eye. He did not leave his post of duty and, two days after, with four others, during the daring movement made by General Hancock re-took and operated a gun which the squad had discovered to be abandoned. They sighted the gun and, afterwards learned that their first fire swept away 42 men in the line of battle. They fired their first six-pounder until all shot in the caisson were exhausted, and three of their number had joined the ‘great majority,’ Captain Cook and Adelbert Norton only remained to relate the incident. In the battle of Cold Harbor in June [1st, 1864], [https://civilwarphotos.net/files/images/329.jpg] Captain Cook was severely wounded, a bullet passing through his right thigh, which still ‘holds fort.’ He passed three days in an army wagon before arriving at White House Landing, and three days after at Alexandria, VA., he first received medical care, six days after being shot. He was in hospital two months, and went home to furlough, returning to Annapolis to be discharged [September 27, 1864].’[6]

The wound that Jacob received in the battle of Cold Harbor took a long time to heal. His hospital record dated July 7, 1864[7] states that there is still much inflammation in the limb, and he was still experiencing fever; he was given a leave of absence of 30 days. As stated above, he ‘went home to furlough.’ On August 2, 1864, his physician in Fond du Lac, Dr. Edmund Delany wrote a letter certifying that Capt. J. H. Cook had been under his ‘care and attendance since July 12, 1864 – that he is still entirely unable for duty; and that he is not yet able to travel without serious inconvenience, and probable injury.’ Dr. Delany did not think it was ‘proper’ for him to travel for at least another 30 days.[8] On August 30, 1864, he was in Madison at Camp Randall for a checkup with Dr. C. B. Pierson, surgeon for the 28th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. Dr. Pierson found that he was ‘still entirely unfit for duty, and also, in my judgement, he is at present unable to travel without serious inconvenience, and probable injury,’[9] he recommended that his leave to be extended an additional 20 days. As previously noted, Jacob never did return to active duty, but traveled to Annapolis to the army hospital to be examined, and on September 27th he was discharged from duty.

During the two months that Jacob was in Wisconsin on furlough, he rekindled his friendship and romance with Anna Eliza Halsted, and on August 26, 1864, they were wed by Justice of the Peace, W. C. Kellogg, in the Town of Friendship, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin. They were wed in the home, and in the presence of Conner and Kate Healy, brother-in-law and sister of Jacob.

Notice the bandage on his right leg, all the way down to his foot.

Following his discharge from Co. I, 5th Wisconsin Infantry, Jacob returned to Wisconsin settling in Stockbridge, Calumet County, Wisconsin. Shortly after returning home he filed for an invalid pension, filling out the Declaration for an Invalid Pension form on November 12, 1864, he was just 23 years old. His sisters, Kate Healy and Sarah J. Drake witnessed the document, attesting to the fact that his sole occupation since returning home had been ‘taking care of his leg…”[10][11]

Many years later in September 1899, now 58 years old, Jacob was an elected justice of the peace in Appleton, Outagamie County, Wisconsin, and the Appleton Weekly Post wrote a piece about him, and the bullet that was never removed from his leg, which now “occasionally confines him to the house for several days at a time” due to rheumatism. 

Jacob H. Cook August 1906, Neenah, Wisconsin

“…In response to questions as to how he was wounded, the Captain said that his company, which was supporting a battery, was ordered down a slope about forty rods in front of the guns, who were in hiding in the words. The men were in a kneeling position and had been in that position only a few minutes when the Captain fell forwards on his face. Upon regaining his balance he looked at the men on either side and they in turn looked at him, all realizing that some one had been hit, as they had heard the ‘spat’ of a bullet. It was not until the Captain endeavored to regain his feet that he realized he had been wounded. He felt no pain at the time, and did not for several minutes. The bullet struck his limb about half way between the knee and thigh, and passed at an angle from one side nearly through to the other. He was placed in an army wagon with three others, and on account of being surrounded by rebels was three days in reaching Whitehouse Landing where he was placed on a boat that required three days to reach Alexandria. Here he was placed in a hospital where he received his first medical attention. During the six days his limb had swollen to such an extent that the physicians found it very difficult to remove his clothing. An effort was made to remove the bullet but did not prove successful.”

“Ever since he was wounded he has been compelled to carry a cane, and expects to as long as he lives.”[12]


[1] Fassbender, Susan C., A Snapshot: Jacob Harrison Cook (Appleton, Wisconsin, Self-published, 2006), 4-6.

[2] “Still Troubles Him,” The Appleton Weekly Post, 28 Sep 1899, Thursday, p. 1, col. 4; digital images, Newspapers.com(www.newspapers.com : accessed 11 Oct 2019).

[3] Company Muster-in Roll Card, Jacob H. Cook, Book mark: 9334-D-86. Veteran Record of Jacob H. Cook, National Archives and Records Administration, Veteran Records, Washington DC.

[4] Fassbender, A Snapshot: Jacob Harrison Cook, 4.

[5] General Affidavit for Any Purpose, State of Wisconsin. Jacob H. Cook, Invalid Pension, Sworn testimony of William Billings, Wild Rose, Waushara County, Wisconsin, 9 Mar 1886.

[6] Grand Army Publishing Company, Soldiers’ And Citizens’ Album of Biographical Record, (Chicago, Illinois. Grand Army Publishing Company, 1888), 288-289.

[7] Hospital Patient Record Number 6493, 7 Jul 1864. Veteran Record of Jacob H. Cook, National Archives and Records Administration, Veteran Records, Washington DC.

[8] Edmund Delany, Physician & Surgeon to Whom it may concern, 2 Aug 1864. Veteran Record of Jacob H. Cook, National Archives and Records Administration, Veteran Records, Washington DC.

[9] C. B. Pierson, Surgeon, 38th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, 30 Aug 1864. Veteran Record of Jacob H. Cook, National Archives and Records Administration, Veteran Records, Washington DC.

[10] Fassbender, A Snapshot: Jacob Harrison Cook, 5-6.

[11] Declaration for Invalid Pension, Adjutant General’s Office, Washington DC, 12 Nov 1864. Invalid Pension Record for Jacob H. Cook, National Archives and Records Administration, Invalid Pension Records, Washington DC, Application no. 55279, certificate no: 37916, 19 Nov 1864.

[12] “Still Troubles Him.”

Riverside Cemetery

“Beautiful Riverside! Silent city of the dead wrapped in the somber mantel of dreamy autumn, how sweet seems the slumber of those dear to our hearts who now live but in our memories, and rest enshrinek in those boundaries. In straying through its silent pathways, stopping here and there to study the name, date of birth and death of someone, who in years past bustled near us on the busy mart of life, what sermon these slabs preach to us, on the uselessness of much we crave for, or the blindness that hides from our vision so much that we should see in order to reach this final goal where life casts aside the burdens of its toil,” October 8, 1891.[1] 

I love newspapers. What I love about newspapers is the stories that I find. Not only as they pertain to my family, but to the communities in which they lived. I am in the process of taking my research paperless. Anything that is easily replaced or available online is being digitally attached to my Legacy Family Tree database. In my purge, I have re-discovered two articles that were editorials aimed at the trustees of Riverside Cemetery. The cemetery is located in Appleton, Outagamie, Wisconsin.

Here is a brief glimpse of the history of Riverside Cemetery. The cemetery was founded in 1870 by Joseph E. Harriman, but it wasn’t until 1872 that the Appleton Cemetery Association was formed to take charge and make it a reality. The need for a new cemetery was great, as the original city cemetery founded in 1850 was located in downtown Appleton, sat on poor soil, and allowed no room for expansion. This cemetery was located on what is now known as the Post-Crescent block. In those days Franklin Street was known as Fisk Street, and Washington Street was known as Edwards, but the block is still recognizable.

Appleton City Cemetery
The land today

 

On August 24, 1872, the new Cemetery Association took charge of the twenty acres of land on the Fox River that had been set aside for a new cemetery. (see the deed from Volume 30, page 171 at Family Search. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-95N6-9VZZ?i=181&wc=M6LQ-SM9%3A43295501%2C44209601&cc=1463639.) On November 25, 1872, Rev. T. W. Orbison, a pioneer and Methodist minister, was the first to be interred. In 1877 a Greenhouse was constructed on cemetery property, and in 1905 was moved into a new building across the street. The location was later known as Riverside Florist, which closed in 2015.

In October 1891, there was more on the mind of the Appleton Weekly Post’s editor, E. P. Humphrey, than the beautiful grounds of the cemetery. While he had been ‘rambling through our beautiful city of the dead,” “admiring its sylvan beauty,” it “occurred” to him that there was an important piece that was missing from the cemetery, “a vault capable of offering accommodation for the temporary keeping of the dead.” He felt that this was much needed as a “place to hold the dead while it was impossible to excavate a grave in the middle of winter, or if the family wished to wait till family living far away could return home.” Or in “instances when doubt is entertained as to whether life is really extinct in persons we regard as dead. What a boon to place such in a vault until the living are absolutely positive that their loved ones are not interred alive.” He goes on to tell this story, which I feel is what touched his heart, and was the reason for writing this editorial: “But a short time ago it happened that a child in this city died of diphtheria at 11 o’clock in the morning and at 2 o’clock the same day that child was buried. No matter how contagious a disease may be, there is not a mother on the face of the earth but would object to such heartless, inhuman proceedings. It is against human nature, and could have been avoided if there had been a vault to receive the body of that mother’s darling and the funeral taken place, as is the custom, three days after death.” While he implored, “have the trustees of the Riverside Cemetery Association ever thought of this matter? Is it not about time some thing in this line was undertaken?” it was not until 1910 that the large stone entrance to the cemetery was constructed. The entrance includes a chapel, office space and winter storage for bodies, from the time when it was impossible to excavate a gravesite in winter.[2] 

A year later,  on September 10, 1892, one of the Ryan brothers, James or Samuel, editors and proprietors of The Crescent, was enjoying a walk through the cemetery, and felt compelled to write an editorial about what he had experienced. He reported that “the walks and drives are free from every thing that would be unpleasant, the grass is clean shaven and the trees and shrubs neatly trimmed, the mounds of flowers look beautiful, and the graves kept in good condition.” In the north part of the cemetery “tile under-draining” had been installed, thus allowing for “many new and cheaper lots” to be sold at prices ranging from $25 to $35. The greenhouse that had been erected in 1877 was yielding a “handsome income.” His one complaint, and the reason for the editorial, was to ask the common council to “contract with the Riverside board of trustees to remove all the remains from the old cemetery, and get rid of that blot upon the fair fame of this city.”He concluded his editorial with this statement, “All the people will rejoice over its accomplishment.”[3] According to the History page of the cemetery, www.riversidecemeteryappleton.com, all of the bodies from the original city cemetery were to have been moved by 1884, but unfortunately bones were still being discovered as late as the 1930s.

Riverside Cemetery has grown to nearly ninety acres of beautiful landscape overlooking the Fox River. It not only shelters our city’s dead, but has always been a welcome place for a Sunday stroll. The large trees have been labeled, and on any given day, you can find students wandering the paths, looking for leaves to finish a school or scout project.

When we visit, we start at the large stone entrance, and make our way east along the river, strolling past a Cook cousin, Leslie Lloyd and his wife, Winnefred Cook. Then we follow the path north to the main lane and into St. Joseph Cemetery, where many family members are buried. St. Joseph Cemetery was founded in 1878, and has 25 acres of developed land, and 12 acres of undeveloped land. With over 127 acres of shaded paths overlooking the river to meander through, it is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. Among “those dear to our hearts who now live but in our memories, and rest enshrinek in those boundaries.”

Sources:

  1. “Beautiful Riverside,” (Appleton) Appleton Weekly Post, 8 Oct 1891, Thursday, p. 1, col. 4.
  2. ibid.
  3. “Riverside Cemetery,” (Appleton) The Crescent, 10 Sep 1892, p. 2, col. 3.

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