My great-great-grandfather had one of those names that could be spelled several different ways, depending on the time of day, the person putting his name down onto paper, or the weather. His name was Lewis Herman Cook or Louis Herman Cook. The name sounds the same when spoken, no matter how you spell it.
The question is, how did my great-great-grandfather spell it? What was his preferred form? Below is a list of ways that his name is spelled, minus Wausau newspaper spellings which almost always used the form, Louis.
His maternal grandfather’s name was Lewis Phelps Blood
1880 United States Census – Lewis H. Cook
6 Aug 1906 Letter written to him by his father, Alfred – Louis Cook
1912 Wausau City Directory, p. 90 – Louis H. Cook
12 Sep 1918 WWI Draft Registration Card – Lewis Herman Cook, signed as Lewis Herman Cook
1918 Wausau City Directory, p. 137 – Louis H. Cook (125)
15 Nov 1918 Marathon County Resolution – Louis H. Cook
1919 Army Transport Service, Neal returning home – Louis H. Cook (125)
1920 Wausau City Directory, p. 178 – Louis H. Cook (125)
20 Dec 1920 Evangelical Lutheran Church marriage record for Neal Jasin Cook and Clarice Ovedia Weik – Louis Cook
30 Jun 1923 Appointment of U.S. Postmasters – Lewis H. Cook
1925 Wausau City Directory, p. 223 – Louis H. Cook (325)
1928 Farmer’s Directory, p. 673 – L. H. Cook
27 Apr 1928 – Margaret’s Marriage Announcement – Lewis H. Cook
10 Jan 1928 Re-Appointment of U.S. Postmasters – Lewis H. Cook
1929 Wausau City Directory, p. 141 – Lewis H. Cook (325)
1931 Wausau City Directory, p. 127 – Lewis H. Cook (325)
28 Jun 1932 – Anola’s Marriage Announcement – Lewis H. Cook
1933 Wausau City Directory, p. 108 – Lewis H. Cook (125)
1934 Gravestone – Lewis H. Cook
His maternal grandfather spelled the name Lewis, his WWI Draft Registration Card, his Postmaster appointments, Marriage announcements, and his Gravestone all using the form “Lewis” suggest to me that this is the spelling given to him at birth. The preferred spelling.
As I continue to go through files, I continue to be surprised by what I am finding hiding inside of them. Interesting things, printed in the early days of information being uploaded to the internet. My recent find was a printout stating that my great-grandfather had, at the age of 40, enlisted in the newly formed Wisconsin State Guard on August 23, 1917.
After a little bit of internet and newspaper searching, I learned that on July 9, 1917, an announcement was made in Madison, that a state guard would be formed to take the place of the Wisconsin National Guard which would leave the state in August of 1917. This new guard would be comprised of men too old or too young for the WWI Draft. It did not exempt the men from the draft once they became of age, or the draft reached out to men age 31 to 45, which it did with the third draft registration, on September 12, 1918.  Lewis H. Cook, County Clerk of Marathon County appeared that day at the local draft board in the 1st Ward of the city of Wausau, to register for the draft. He was noted to be of Medium height, Medium build, with blue eyes and light hair.
The new organization was to serve as a Home Guard Unit, and would be called upon in emergencies such as floods, large conflagrations, riots, etc. or whenever the police force of the community needed to keep order, or to meet a situation.
By this time Wausau had already organized. Following the declaration of war with Germany on April 6, 1917, the men of Wausau came together and organized as the Citizens’ Training camp of Wausau. The purpose was to drill “young men who might be eligible as soldiers of the U.S. army, to foster patriotism and to do police duty if any emergency demanded.” A petition was created and circulated on April 9th, just three days after the declaration of war. It was “quietly signed in two days.” The following Sunday they met, elected a board of governors, and the Citzens’ Training Camp “soon came into being.” “We were a motley array of citizens that met for the first drills, and we knew little about drill work. But all were fired with a zeal to be of service in any small way, that might help our country to bring to a successful issue the mighty tragedy into which we had all been thrown.” “Out of the 293 that have entered the ranks, eighty-one enlisted in the regular army.” Many immediately being “taken from the ranks to become corporals and sergeants as soon as it was learned that they had had military training.” The men of the Citizens’ Training Camp ranged in age from nineteen to fifty-five years of age, and they drilled nights and Sundays.
On August 23, 1917, when Colonel H. M. Seaman, inspector general of the Wisconsin State Guard, arrived in Wausau, enough men from this original training camp enlisted in the new guard to form Company C, 10th Infantry. The Wausau company was the 5th in the state following Milwaukee, Green Bay, Stevens Point and North Milwaukee. Fifty-two men signed the role that night, and formed a line to respond to roll call. The roll call for forty-six of the fifty-two men were listed in the Wausau Daily Record-Herald published August 24, 1917, but unfortunately my great-grandfather’s name was not one of the forty-six. The full roster was published by the coordinator of the Marathon County Rootsweb site, but as of today, Rootsweb is down so I cannot access the information that I printed September 13, 2006. The names included on the webpage were compiled from the actual service records for the 10th Separate Company, Company C, 10th Wisconsin State Guard. These papers (at least at that time) were located at the Marathon County Historical Society. The entry for my great-grandfather states:
Name: Cook, Lewis H. ~ Born: Gravesville, Calumet County, WI, ~ Age at enlistment: 40y 9m ~ Date of Enlistment: 8/23/17 ~ Married ~ Occupation: County Clerk.
Unlike any other state guard, the companies of Wisconsin were trained, and equipped by the state, rather than rely on the War Department for the donation of surplus equipment. The companies were paid an allowance for Armory rent, and an allowance for the upkeep of clothing and for general expense. They were issued uniforms that were different in appearance than those worn by the Wisconsin National Guard and the United States Army. The men were armed with arms issued to the State by the War Department, specifically for this purpose.
It was determined that all guards attend a week long training camp the summer of 1918. The Wisconsin State Guards met at Camp Douglas, Juneau County, for week long camps during the weeks between July 6 to August 2, 1918. It was a strenuous week of exercises for the infantry field camp. The Wausau guard, part of the Tenth Regiment, with headquarters in Eau Claire, and which included the guards of Wausau, Superior, Menomonie, Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, Ladysmith, Neillsville, Mauston and LaCrosse, attended camp during the week of July 27. The schedule for each day kept the guard busy from 6:00 a.m. with First Call, till Taps at 10:30 p.m. Each regiment was required to do guard duty, and spend one morning on the rifle range. The members of Company C, First Battalion, and the Tenth Infantry band arrived home in Wausau on August 2, 1918, riding the 4:45 p.m. Northwestern train. They then marched to their quarters at the Y.M.C.A. where they disbanded. The band went on to their headquarters at the Armory, where they also disbanded.
The Wausau guard was honored with a historic guard mount that reads: “Special orders, No. 6, General King, Wisconsin’s foremost soldier, has been pleased to make the following memorandum in a note to the commanding officer, which is published for the information of all concerned: Company C at guard mounting eight a.m. scored next to perfect. It was the finest performance clear through to the posting of the first relief I have ever seen on these grounds. So far as I can recollect and I can recollect pretty well My yearly book will show. The words of commendation from the general are the highest compliment a company can receive. The splendid exhibition was made possible by the earnest hard work done by Captain Becker and C company at the home station and in this camp. No further comment is necessary. By order of Col. Cousins.” Governor E. L. Phillip had this to say about the men of the Wisconsin State Guard at the conclusion of the camps: “These men are not toy soldiers. They come from the rank of the busy men and come here for military training and have made good use of every minute during their stay. There probably is no better training ground than Camp Douglas, dry and healthful, splendid water, in fact just the place to give men real pep.”
A second camp was held the following year, again in July. Company C maintained its position as one of the leading companies of the regiment during this second week of hard work, and hard play.
The Wisconsin State Guard as a whole was called out 3 times. The first was September 16-18, 1918 in Clark County to assist in the search for draft dodgers. The second time was August 20-24, 1919 as guards during the Cudahy riots. The final time they were called was September 9-12, 1919 when troops were assembled in the armory at Manitowoc as strike riots at Two Rivers started to escalate, but they were not used.
On July 11, 1919, it was reported that Governor E. L. Philipp had ordered for the reorganization of the Wisconsin National Guard. Included in the order was the offer to “Every officer of Wisconsin state guard who passes the examination required by the national defense act and will take the oath of service prescribed by the act, will, on approval by the war department, be also commissioned in Wisconsin National guard reserve.”
In March 1920 the order was given for Company C, Wisconsin State Guard to be mustered out of service. The company commanders were directed to issue honorable discharges to all men of their commands. The order stated: “The state military authorities desire to express appreciation of the loyal, patriotic and efficient service rendered by the officers and enlisted men of the Wisconsin State Guard during the period of emergency.”
On the night of April 19, 1920, the men of the Citizens’ Training Camp, and later the Wisconsin State Guard, gathered for a celebratory dinner, to reminisce, and to honor the work that they had done. Following the suggestion to meet occasionally, it was decided to meet annually as the Company C Club. A. P. Woodson stated that “he had formed many friendships as a member of the unit that he would not have made otherwise.”
Henry C. Smith, made the closing remarks: “The life of Company C draws on to its close. If we have helped in any little way and in a workmanlike manner the duties that have been assigned us, we have been fully recompensed. Let us cherish the memories of these three years we have had together, and resolve to profit by the discipline we have received during these dark days of the world’s most tragic period.”
“At the close of the singing of ‘America’ the party ended and the members of the company departed.”
“Wisconsin’s Military History,” database, Wisconsin State Guard (www.b-1-105-us/history/wsg/htm\#tables : accessed 10 Feb 2018).
“Wisconsin Guard Is Formed Here,” Wausau Daily Record-Herald, 24 Aug 1917, Friday Evening, p. 1, col. 3, digital images, Newspapers.com(www.newspapers.com : accessed 10 Feb 2018)
“Company C Club To Meet Yearly,” Wausau Daily Record-Herald, 20 Apr 1920, Tuesday, p. 1, col. 7, digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 14 Feb 2018).
“Wisconsin Guard is Formed Here.”
“Short News Items,” Wausau Daily Record-Herald, 27 Aug 1917, Friday Evening, p. 1, col. 3, digital images, Newspapers.com(www.newspapers.com : accessed 10 Feb 2018).
Wisconsin. Adjutant General’s Office, Biennial Report of the Adjutant General, State of Wisconsin (University of Minnesota, 1910, digital images, Google Books (www.books.google.com, digitized 29 Mar 2011 : accessed 13 Feb 2018).
“Solid Week of Military Life,” Wausau Daily Record-Herald, 25 Jun 1918, Tuesday Evening, p. 1, col. 5, digital images, Newspapers.com(www.newspapers.com : accessed 12 Feb 2018).
“Band and Guards Come Home Today.” Wausau Daily Record-Herald, 2 Aug 1918, Friday Evening, p. 1, col. 7, digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 13 Feb 2018).
“Issues Orders for Re-Organization,” Wausau Daily Record-Herald, 11 Jul 1919, Friday Evening, p. 1, col. 1, digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 13 Feb 2018).
“Company C to be Mustered Out,” Wausau Daily Record-Herald, 10 Mar 1920, Wednesday, p. 1, col. 6, digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 14 Feb 2018).
This past Friday and Saturday, I had the wonderful opportunity to network with other genealogists, and learn from Judy G. Russell (!) at the Wisconsin Genealogical Society’s Gene-A-Rama. This year the Gene-A-Rama was held in Wausau, Marathon Co., Wisconsin, the birthplace of my father, Robert Sternitzky. I knew that I would have no time to do any research, but I did think I would have time to search out the church that my father and his family attended while living in Wausau. Thinking this would be an easy process, I asked my mom if she knew what church they were attending when dad was baptized. Not finding his baptismal certificate, she did find his Solemn Holy Communion card, dated May 14, 1944, and from St. James Catholic Church. BINGO! A quick Google search showed that St. James church no longer existed in Wausau. What happened to it?
It took a bit of digging, and a lot of disappointment in the lack of information available on the parish website, and also the diocesan website, but I figured it out. They had simply changed the name of the parish. Now in the world of consolidation of parishes, I am used to seeing parishes being re-named. An example is St. Katherine Drexel in Kaukauna, Outagamie Co., Wisconsin. St. Katherine Drexel is the consolidation of three parishes, but they still retain their individual identity by being called: St. Katherine Drexel, St. Mary Site; St. Katherine Drexel, St. Al Site; and St. Katherine Drexel, St. Francis Site, which is the parish located in Hollandtown, Brown Co., Wisconsin. In Wausau, the Eastside Parishes consist of St. Michael Parish, and Church of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ (formerly known as St. James).
While I have not yet determined when and why the parish was re-named, I have learned that the present building was constructed in 1911-12, as the congregation had outgrown its present building. St. James had been organized in 1905 as the first English speaking Catholic parish in Wausau.
Checking the Mass schedule, I was disappointed to learn that it was a 6:00 p.m. Saturday Mass, while St. Michael’s had the 4:00 p.m. Knowing that churches are usually open 45 minutes to an hour before mass time, I made the decision to attend St. Michael’s for Mass, and then head over to Resurrection, hoping to get in. I had no problems navigating to the address: 621 North 2nd Street, and getting out of the car, I shot a couple of photos of the exterior:
Testing the door, I found it unlocked, and so went in. The lights were still dimmed, and there was a woman praying near the front of the church, who I did not want to disturb. I quickly snapped a few shots, knelt and said a few prayers, and vowed to return at a time closer to Mass time so I could have better light. But until that point in time, I did find this website discussing the restoration of the interior of the church by Conrad Schmitt, and this flickr album showing the windows.
Directly across the street from the front entrance of the church, is the school. Dad would tell the story of how he would take the bus to school, and after school, or at lunch time, would head over to visit his Grandma Sternitzky (Christine Goerling Sternitzky) at her house on Steuben Street.
The Baptismal Font is still there, and appears to be original. Now I just need to be able to get close to it for a good photograph. Another item to add to the growing to-do list. Photo of the Baptismal Font in the Church of the Resurrection aka, St. James. NOTE: This is NOT the original baptismal font, please see comments below.
An Addition: Laziness set in yesterday, and so I didn’t go in search of my great-aunt and uncle’s address in Wausau, even though I knew my father would visit with them also; sometimes for a quick lunch during the school year. And it should be shame on me, as I never knew my great-grandparents, Robert R., and Christine Sternitzky, I did know my grandmother’s older brother, Great-Uncle Russell Cook, and his wife Hattie (Dietzler). Aunt Hattie even attended my wedding! Here is the route dad might have taken to their home from school, and then back down to the Sternitzkys:
Family lore states that when the Cooks left Stockbridge, Calumet, Wisconsin in the late 1870s they took clippings of the peonies that were growing on the property. We know that they did like peonies, as they can be seen in later Cook photos taken in Unity, Marathon, Wisconsin.
As far back as my memory goes, my paternal grandmother lived in one side of a duplex that she owned in Neenah, Winnebago, Wisconsin. As with most homes where the driveway marches closely to the house leading to a detached garage, there was a strip garden next to the house. Included in this small garden was an enormous red peony plant. Again, family lore tells the tale that this was an actual clipping of the peony that grew on the Cook property in Stockbridge. While I cannot speak to that, as we would have to analyze what variety of peony grew in Wisconsin during that time period, and was this that variety of peony, I can state that when my mother and I left the duplex for the last time that May day in 1986 following my grandmother’s death, we made the decision to dig up the peony, the Cook Peony.
I may never know if this peony can be dated back to the 1800s, but I can attest to the fact that this peony, which was included in every garden during my grandparents years in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin during the 1930s, moved with them to Nicolet Blvd. in Menasha, Winnebago, Wisconsin, and then on to my grandmother’s 1960s duplex, has now lived in a garden at my parents home since 1986. And in addition, a transplant has been happily multiplying here in my own garden since the late 1990s. That is still an old peony.