Newsletter - March, June, and September 2002


Burlington Historian

March, June, and September 2002


March 2002

Nick King retires from presidency; 
Doug Lind elected president

             After leading the Burlington Historical Society through one of the most productive periods in its history, Nick King stepped down in January 2002 as the Society’s President.  Fortunately for the Society, Nick will continue as a member of the Board of Directors.  His successor in the President’s seat is Doug Lind.
            During Nick’s tenure, the Society relocated the Pioneer Log Cabin from Echo Park to Wehmhoff Square; had the Museum building exterior cleaned and reconditioned; had smoke detectors and an alarm system installed in the Museum; hooked up or installed wiring and lighting fixtures for several of the Museum’s display cases; put coverings over the windows in the Museum’s main room to cut down on the amount of damage that sunlight  inflicts on cloth, paper, and other artifacts; replaced the deteriorated and damaged storm windows on Whitman School with plexiglas, while also painting the window casements and trim; acquired an up-to-date computer system, with scanner and printer; started computerizing the Society’s photograph collection and developing a systematic storage and filing system for the photographs; arranged for and conducted two trolley tours of Burlington’s historic sites; produced a video tape of some of Burlington’s historic houses; converted several reels of movie film from the 1940s to video tape; and participated in many community events, including pancake breakfasts, the Art Fair, the autumn historic walk days, and ChocolateFest and other parades, where Nick, accompanied by his wife, Bernice, and sometimes other Society members either inside the car or in the rumble seat, drove the Model A Ford that he has restored.
            Nick has also handled many of the routine handyman duties required at the Museum and Whitman School, especially in the plumbing and heating line.  He was involved in getting new furnaces installed in the Museum, which enables the Museum to remain open even during winter months.  He has also hosted many school and other groups in tours of the Museum, Whitman School and the Log Cabin, and he started the tradition of annual appreciation dinners for Society volunteers.
            For the Pioneer Log Cabin project, Nick provided several oak trees which were needed to replace deteriorated logs or cover the spaces where the previous fireplace and chimney had been.  Nick contributed much of the physical labor and construction expertise needed to reconstruct the Cabin.  When the oak trees had been sawed into the needed logs, Nick wielded the adzes to reproduce the finish that would match the appearance of the new logs to that of the existing ones.  When it was decided to build a tool shed near the Cabin, Nick located an old barn, arranged with the owners to donate the barn siding to the Society, and, with Doug Lind, tore the boards off the old barn and transported them to the construction site.
            Nick’s fir trees have graced the Museum for the Society’s annual Christmas programs for many years, and for the last couple years, he has also provided a large tree for the Legacy Garden, which the Burlington Garden Club has included in its Christmas lighting and decoration project.
            During Nick’s tenure, the Society has continued on a solid financial footing, with additional contributions being received for the endowment fund.  The Society has also continued to receive valuable and unique artifacts from many donors and Society members; and has provided information and historic data and photographs to many genealogical and other researchers, including downtown building owners and occupants who are doing much to improve the appearance of the historic district.
            Nick and the Society have accomplished much during his presidency, and he has passed on a solid foundation on which to build the Society’s future.  We look forward to his continued involvement in Society activities and his continued service as a member of the Board of Directors.                                                                          

Pioneer Cabin opens May 4th        

The weekend of May 4th and 5th, 2002 marks the opening dates for tours of the log cabin in Wehmhoff Square. A number of artifacts will be added to the collection within the cabin including the hutch cabinet donated by Howard Zabler. To make room, the present hutch, a reproduction built by the historical society staff will be sold. 
            Visitors this season will get to see some periodic maintenance procedures being performed including repairs to the mortar “daubing” that fills the cracks between the logs, and the application of a coat of linseed oil to the exterior sawn lumber trim, shutters, and entrance door.
            The historical society board announces the retirement of Pioneer Cabin docent Shirley McCarthy. Shirley’s volunteer work at the cabin was greatly appreciated and we will miss her. That leaves,  however, a void we will need to fill with the recruitment of another docent. Any persons who might be interested in telling the story of Burlington to the many who visit us should call the museum at 262-767-2884 and leave a message for Doug Lind.

Cabin hollyhock seeds

            Seeds gathered from the hollyhocks planted in the cabin’s vintage gardens are available to beautify your own gardens. They were planted by members of the Burlington Garden Club who researched and created the vintage gardens. 
            Hollyhocks were grown in ancient China as ornamental plants and for food. The leaves were cooked and eaten like other greens. The buds were considered delicacies.  They were carried to North America around 1630 by English flower lovers. 
            The silken, bell-shaped blossoms invariably inspire children to pick and play with them. Turn a hollyhock flower upside down to make a skirted doll, using toothpicks and unopened blossoms for head and arms. 
            Free seed packets are available at the Museum, Cabin and Chamber of Commerce. 

Whitman School programs explored for possible revival    

The Historical Society is pleased to announce that after several years of inactivity, our faithfully restored 1840 school house will come alive with the voices of children.    Volunteers have come forward expressing interest in reviving programs at Whitman School. While plans are in the early stages right now, by the next newsletter we hope to announce more specifically what form the new programs for using the building will take. 
            We thank our board member Marge Peterson, for her efforts at spearheading this renewal of interest in Whitman School.

Bits and Pieces . . Bits and Pieces . . Bits and Pieces

Back to the Basics in Education
                                                             Free Press, Dec. 17, 1902

The Physiology class at Burlington High School has learned to make beer and wine and to distill whiskey. 

Hard Times
                                                    Standard Democrat, May 11, 1895

Yes, these are hard times, says the Reedsburg Press. We let our timber rot and buy fencing. We throw away our ashes and grease and buy soap. We raise dogs and buy hogs. We let manure go to waste. We grow weeds and buy vegetables. We catch five-cent fish on a $4 pole and reel. We build school houses and send our children off to be educated. And lastly we send our boys out with a $40 gun and a $10 dog to hunt 10-cent birds. Oh, yes, these are hard times.

A Man Named Joe
                                                    Standard Democrat, April 23, 1937

The pallbearers at Joe Heiligenthal’s funeral at St. Joseph’s (St. Joe’s) in Lyons were all named Joe: Schaefer, Held, Brickner, Ahler, Robers, and Howe.

More Music; Less Traffic
                                                    Standard Democrat, Oct. 10, 1908

Assessed property this year (1908) in the city of Burlington included 76 pianos and 21 automobiles.

Sharp Practice
                                                    Burlington Gazette, Sept. 6, 1859

Our neighbor, Ulrich Schadegg, who keeps a dry goods store next to our office, purchased some paper rags of a woman other day, and after she had gone, he opened them and discovered that the inside of the bundle was composed principally of old horse shoes, which he sold to Mr. Wagner, a blacksmith, for three cents a pound. Considering that he purchased the rags for a cent and a quarter a pound, he has certainly no cause to grumble; but we would advise the woman to enquire the price of horse shoes before she sells any more rags.

Quarterly Meeting - Open House on April 21

The first quarterly meeting for 2002 is shaping up to be a fun, fun afternoon for members and the community. The open house will answer several questions that point out the interesting history of our small community.

 Have you ever wondered . . .

. . . what main Native American tribe populated the Burlington area in the 1800s and what their Indian name for Browns Lake was.
. . . what Burlington’s name was just prior to becoming Burlington.
. . . why the city streets do not run true north and south.
. . . what the names Origen, Perkins, Whiting, Gardner, Lewis, and Conkey have in common.
. . . where the state’s oldest continuously operating bank is located.
. . . what houses in town were part of the underground railroad for fugitive slaves before the Civil War.
. . . how many bottling companies (breweries included) were started in Burlington.
. . . what is the oldest business in Burlington.
. . . what patented inventions were manufactured here in Burlington.
. . . what the Town Pump, Purple Cow, Skyscraper, and Carousel have in common.

Find the answers to these questions and so much more when you visit The Burlington Historical Society Museum Open House.  (Note:  Answers in June 2002 newsletter, below)

- - - - -

Undertaker’s Ad

Standard Democrat, Aug. 10,1889

Coffins and caskets at reduced prices

Until further notice I will sell coffins and caskets as follows:

   A fine polished coffin with glass, well trimmed, and box, for $13

   A high back coffin with glass,   better trimmed, and box, for $16

   A rosewood casket, sliding glass, well trimmed, six large handles $18

   A mourning cloth casket, sliding glass, well trimmed, six large handles for $20

   A broadcloth casket, sliding glass, well trimmed, six large handles for $25

   Hearse, within six miles of town, for $3

   Hearse, within village corporate limits $1

   No charge for cooler — have three for use.

F. Willhoft



June 2002

Bus Tour to Milton House and Rotary Gardens 

    (Note:  This tour was cancelled)

          The Burlington Historical Society has planned a bus tour to Milton House in Milton and Rotary Gardens in Janesville on Saturday, June 22.
           Milton House, a National Historic Landmark is on the National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom and part of the Wisconsin Heritage Sign Program. When Joseph Goodrich came to Milton, then known as Prairie du Lac, in 1838, he was looking for a better place for his family to live. He built a small frame house on prairie land at the intersection of two Indian trails. As settlers continued to come to this area, this crossroads became heavily traveled and the need for a resting place for travelers was needed. Joseph built an inn.
            Travelers were not limited to settlers; some were escaping slavery through the Underground Railroad. Milton house recounts this chapter in our history with a guided tour of the inn, furnished as it was in the middle 1800s.
           Following the guided tour of Milton House, the group will have lunch in Janesville and continue on to Rotary Gardens, an internationally themed botanical garden that provides horticulture and environmental education to children and adults.
           With over 16 themed garden areas, visitors get a sampling of the world's gardening and landscaping styles including a Scottish, Alpine, English Cottage, Japanese, herb, sunken, formal gardens and more.  Founded in 1988, Rotary Gardens continues to be funded almost entirely through private donations.
​            The bus will leave at 8:30 from the Veteran's Building parking lot on Milwaukee Avenue and return about 5:00 p.m. The $25 ticket ($21 for Burlington Historical Society members) covers the bus and admission to both sites. A stop for lunch in Janesville will not be included. The tickets are available at the BAAC Gallery and Gift Shop, 112 E. Chestnut Street in Burlington. Most of Rotary Garden is accessible to individuals with mobility impairments; wheelchairs are available upon request at no charge. Tours at Milton House include stairs; those with difficulty walking should notify us and Milton House will provide a video tour of upper floors with advance notice. Please call Barb Messick at 262-539-3626.

Ice Cream Social - July 27

            The Annual Ice Cream Social will be held on Saturday, July 27 at the Pioneer Cabin in Wehmhoff Square. Maxwell Street Days is taking place and you can visit city retailers, crafters, and other vendors, then stop by the cabin for refreshing ice cream while you enjoy the banjo music of Jeff Kramer.

Visit us at . . .

            We’ve joined the technology age! The Society’s website is up and running with new additions daily! Visit the site at  The site includes a photo gallery, bits of history, articles, links to other history sites, and more. At printing this site has already had 500 visitors from around the world, even from as far as Australia. As they say, it is a small world.

Open House a great success

The quarterly meeting held on April 21st was a great success with about a hundred visitors viewing the displays that answered ten questions about Burlington history. The comments were all favorable with suggestions to do this more often. Several visitors joined the society as well.  If you were unable to attend and have pondered the questions that appeared in the last issue of Burlington Historian, read on . . .

        This area was home to the Potowatomi tribe. Their name for Browns Lake was Lake of the Shining Arrow. An early map of Racine and Kenosha Counties shows some Indian trails. Several led to Mukwonago, which was an important Potowatomi village.

        Foxville. In July 1836, E.D. Putnam of Southport (Kenosha) was hired by Enoch D. Woodbridge to supervise the surveying and laying out of lots. At its completion, a group decided it was time to give the town an official name. Putnam was chosen for the honor in light of his hard work. He was from Vermont and thought that Foxville, with its beautiful location and scenery, was reminiscent of Vermont’s beautiful city, Burlington. A unanimous vote confirmed the town’s new name. However, the post office remained Foxville until July 15, 1839.    The area was earlier known as Drovers Forks and Lower Forks (Rochester was known as Upper Forks).

        An unconfirmed legend cites one reason as a conflict between Silas Peck and Pliny Perkins. Both filed their street surveys at the county clerk’s office on the same day. They agreed on Jefferson and Washington Streets’ extensions into each other’s property, but not about Chestnut Street, so Peck built a stone building at 164 Chestnut Street to prevent the extension, causing the Chestnut Street bend, or “loop.”

        While this is an interesting story, the most likely scenario was that Perkins’ plan provided that his East/West streets ran parallel to the White River; Peck’s plan included North/South streets that ran parallel to the Fox River. Chestnut Street was probably a compromise where the two plans came together. Later development designed streets that ran true north and south.

        These streets are named after some of Burlington’s founders and early leaders.  Origen Perkins arrived in August 1836. He was the town’s first Justice of the Peace.  

        Perkins Boulevard also honors other members of the Perkins family including Ephraim and Pliny Perkins, who arrived in April or May of 1837. They owned and operated a saw mill and the first flour mill.

        The Perkins family continued to play a large role in Burlington for many years. Whiting Street (in the new industrial park on Highway 83 South) was named for William Whiting who arrived in December 1835 with Moses Smith. With Smith, he made the first jack-knife claim along the Fox River.  

        Palmer Gardner established a claim in the spring of 1836. The area of his claim came to be known as Gardner’s Prairie. In 1872, Gardner moved to Burlington where he built a two-story house on Kane Street. That house, with a third story and tower added, was later owned by the Patterson and Waller families. It was moved to the Shiloh Hills subdivision in April 1996.

        Lewis Street is most likely the namesake of Dr. William Lewis, one of the founders of the Burlington Academy, a private school built in 1844.

        Conkey Street was named for the family of Pliny Perkins’ wife, Ellen, whose maiden name was Conkey. Her middle name was Amanda, another familiar street name.

Most of the early banking was done in Racine, but lawyer Caleb Barns was Burlington’s first banker. In 1847 he built a building on the southwest corner of Pine and Chestnut Streets. The lower level was leased to a grocer, but the second floor was Caleb’s office and bank until his death in 1866. Antony Meinhardt started the Meinhardt Bank on the first floor in 1891. Today the building houses Bank One.

Many people in Burlington were connected with the Underground Railroad including Dr. Edward G. Dyer, Origen Perkins, Lemuel Smith, Ephraim Perkins, Caleb Barns, Dr. Joel H. Cooper, Trueworthy Durgin, and Pliny Perkins.

        The first “passenger” on the route through Burlington was Caroline Quarlls during the summer of 1842. Other fugitive slaves are reported to have been hidden in the Dyer, Origen Perkins, and Durgin houses.

        The last reported “passenger” was Joshua Glover, who was hidden in Dr. Cooper’s house (which is just north of Lincoln School on what is now Perkins Boulevard.

           Bottling companies include: Klein, C. Boub,  Jacob Muth, Anton Finke, Finke-Uhen, James E. Eaton, August Zoehrlaut,  Frank Howland, John H. Bowers, George Westrich, Peter Kline, and these bottling companies with their brands: Otto A. Klein - Echo Beverages. William Kazmaier - Pepsi Cola franchise, Grapette Bottling Co. - Grapette & Orangette, Weber Brewing Co. - Mission Beverages, Burlington Brewing Co. - Burlington,  Chesterton, Original Burlington, Burlington Muenchener, and Old Wisconsin beers         Van Merritt Brewing Co.

        Burlington Standard Press. The earliest newspaper in the area was the Voree Herald, published by James J. Strang in 1848.

        The first Burlington paper was the Burlington Weekly Gazette, published by H.W. Phelps in 1859, lasting only a year.  Phelps' wife, Alta C., was co-editor.
        In 1863, a paper, called the Burlington Standard, was founded by Lathrop E. Smith to aid President Lincoln's war efforts by putting out a paper here with strong Republican sentiments.
        Henry L. Devereux bought the paper in 1866 and continued it as the Burlington Standard.  Michael Wagner, Jr., and C. Eddie Sawyer bought out Devereux in 1881.  After Sawyer left in 1882, Wagner ran the Standard until 1886, with Chester Whitman as a partner for a short time in 1885.
        In 1886, the paper was purchased by James I. Toner & A. F. Ransom.  Toner, an ardent Democrat, changed the editorial policy "to keep alive the true principles of Jeffersonian Democracy." The name was changed to the Standard Democrat.
        The paper was purchased by Henry E. Zimmermann in 1889. He changed the paper by printing local news more prominently. He also printed the paper in German for the many German immigrants in Burlington. Der Standard Demokrat was published from 1896 to 1911.

        A second paper in the town was the Burlington Democrat founded in 1879 by Levi Alden. After he sold it to William A. Colby in 1881, Colby changed the political leaning to Republican and called it the Burlington Free Press.

        William Brannen, publisher and owner of the Standard Democrat purchased the Burlington Free Press in 1954 and the single paper became the Standard Press.

        Another paper, the Pictorial News-Advertiser, started in October 1965 by Art Roesing and Glenn Hintz of The Wisconsin Hi-Liter, was bought out by the Standard Press in February 1967.

        Other short-lived papers included "Our Enterprise" of Chet Whitman and Charley Case, the "Burlington Independent" of Frank Redner, the "Hillside Perhaps" of Harry C. Hansen, and the "Burlington Daily News."

Multiscope & Film Co. - Al-Vista camera and pictures.

        Anton Zwiebel - Ironing board, knuckle joint, window lock, fly-screen for windows.

        Burlington Blanket Co. (later Burlington Mills) - Stay-on horse blanket, Auto-Tex auto robes, and other products.

        Lawton & Bushman - Shoe and harness repairing outfit.

        Burlington Brass Works - faucets.

        Agner Simplex - grease and oil injector, adjustable spark plug wrench, Simplex Meteor radio antenna, crank case drain plug that opened with rod.

        Security Lightning Rod Co. - Lightning rod.

        Wagner Specialty Co. - bull ring, calf-weaners.

        Others - Lingle spirit level; Grasshopper Horse Hoe of McCumber & Klein; photographer burnisher of Adolph Moestue, made by Hubert Wagner; hammock stand of Wagner Bros.; lawn swing of Nicholas Thomas, made by Smithers, Harris & Co.; electric cord holder of Thomas Hanson, made by Hugh Agner; double woven basket of Herman Wegwart, made by Burlington Basket & Veneer Co.

Ice cream parlors. Before McDonalds, before Dairy Queen, before Adrians or Culvers, there were ice cream parlors. Families stopped in after church or an afternoon of shopping and it was a favorite hang-out for teens (think - “Happy Days.”)

Board members attend Local History Workshops

      Judy Stone and Barb Messick attended workshops on Exhibitions and Displays and Fund Raising in Lake Mills in April. The workshops are presented by the Wisconsin State Historical Society’s Department of Local History.

      Great information and ideas were gathered and Barb and Judy are excited about the possibilities for the Society’s museums and checkbook!

      The Department of Local History offers these workshops for minimal fees of less than $20 for an entire day of information and expertise. With budget deficits in the state government, this program and others of the State Historical Society are in danger of large cuts in funding. Contact your Wisconsin representatives and share your concerns about the future of state and local history programs.

Did You Know . . . . that our Society will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2003?

      The Burlington Historical Society was organized on February 13, 1928 for the purpose of collecting and preserving historical records and artifacts of the Burlington area. The first officers were Antionette Meinhardt Fulton, Herbert Duckett, and Augusta Nielson (Mrs. Louis Zwiebel).

      The Society has collected many papers, photos, memorabilia, and artifacts over the years - a collection that is much more extensive than the limited space the museum allows. Many projects have been completed by the Society including several historical monuments marking the Voree settlement and the site of the first frame house built in Burlington, restorations of the Whitman School and Pioneer Cabin, a book of Burlington history, cataloging of extensive photo collection, maintaining the Burlington Historical Museum, and a new website with many exciting plans for the future of Burlington history.

      The articles of incorporation of the Society state our purposes “are exclusively educational and shall be to preserve, advance, and disseminate . . . knowledge of the history of the City of Burlington and counties of Racine, Kenosha, and Walworth.”

      How shall we celebrate our anniversary? It will be your celebration, and we welcome ideas and suggestions for appropriate activities to mark this special event.

Becker Lee new cabin docent

      Joyce Becker Lee has joined the volunteer docent staff of the Pioneer Cabin. Visit her and our other docents at the cabin on various Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer from 1 - 4 pm .



1 lb. butter              1/2 c. wine
1 lb. sugar               1/2 c. brandy
1 lb. flour                1 tbs. nutmeg
6 eggs                     1 tbs. cinnamon
1 pint whole milk     1 tsp. baking soda or cream  mixed with 1 tsp. water

Note: Salaratus was a sort of precursor to baking powder used to leaven products where it was undesirable to use yeast. It is no longer obtainable so disregard it and use the alternative, baking soda.

Stir together a pound of butter and a pound of sugar; and sift into another pan a pound of flour. Beat six eggs very light, and stir them into the butter and sugar, alternately with the flour and a pint of rich milk or cream; if the milk is sour it will be no disadvantage. Add a glass of wine, a glass of brandy, a powdered nutmeg, and a table-spoonful of powdered cinnamon. Lastly, stir in a small tea-spoonful of soda, or salaratus, that has been melted in tepid water; take care not to put in too much soda, lest it give the cake an unpleasant taste. Stir the whole very hard; put it into a buttered tin pan, (or into little tins), and bake it in a brisk oven. Wrapped in a thick cloth, this cake will keep soft for a week.

From Miss Leslie's Directions for Cookery by Eliza Leslie, 1851


2 qt. corn ("Indian") meal
1 qt. whole wheat "(Graham") flour
1 packet or cake yeast
1 c. molasses or sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
 Two qts. Indian meal, 1 qt. Graham flour, 1 cup yeast, 1 c. molasses or sugar, 1/2 tea-spoonful soda, 1/2 tea-spoonful salt.

From Transactions of the Wisconsin State Agriculture Society, blue ribbon winners at the Wisconsin State Fair of 1860. Item entered by Mrs. H. W. Hayes, Palmyra, Wisconsin.

Editor’s Note: These recipes were taken from The Civil War Interactive website. Nearly 500 recipes, North and South, from the Civil War era are included.

Bits and Pieces . .Bits and Pieces . . Bits and

Mastodon Bones Found in Dover

                -- The Burlington Standard, Nov. 12, 1874

      A great and most unique curiosity was brought into town on Tuesday by Mr. John C. Lightfield of Rochester. The article in question resembled to some eyes an Elephant’s Tusk, to others an immense Horn! Whatever it may prove to be, it is nevertheless a great curiosity. It measures four and on-half feet long, thirteen inches around, and weighs twenty-five pounds.

      It came into the hands of Mr. Lightfield while in the legitimate occupation of digging a ditch on the marsh belonging to Mr. F. Hoffman of the town of Dover. Many small pieces of bone were also found in the ditch. This curiosity was found lying three feet under the surface of the earth. It is in a perfect state of fossilization. How long it has lain there and what creature or animal had the honor of wearing it must be left for others to decide. 

        Since the above was written, Mr. A Eddy Wells and Mr. A. Meinhardt have visited the spot, made a digging and recovered a large number of bones, and most fortunately the other Tusk has also been recovered intact, a description of which we will endeavor to give in our next issue.

        The following week’s issue reported that Fred Wells and Frederick Stanton Perkins, with seven stout men, had also gone to Hoffman’s marsh and uncovered an area about 20 feet square and 4 feet deep. Besides the tusks, the various parties found large portions of the back bone, with the vertebrae measuring 9 inches in width; ribs measuring 8 feet long; a large section of the hip joint; and portions of the foot bones. They were unable to find the animal’s head.

         The second tusk was taken to the furniture store of Fred Willhoft, where it was cleaned, coated with varnish, and  mounted on a piece of black walnut 5 feet long. Dr. Hoy of Racine, who was called to Burlington to examine the bones, pronounced them to be the bones and tusks of a mastodon of an under size, but probably as large as an elephant, and of a period at least two thousand years ago.

        In October 1887, the Standard Democrat reported that Frederick Stanton Perkins had given the mounted mastodon tusk to the public museum at Milwaukee.

Imitating a Stump Speaker

                   -- Standard Democrat, Jan. 8, 1898

      Wegge & Baumann have a new Edison Graphophone which will imitate a band, stump speaker, singer, and many other things.

[Note: John Wegge and Bruno Bauman had a saloon in the recently demolished Hi-Liter building when it stood on the corner of Pine and Chestnut Streets where May’s Insurance building, formerly the McCanna - Bank of Burlington building, is now located. The brick saloon building, erected by Civil War veteran, William Laske, in 1873-74, was moved across the Chestnut Street railroad tracks in April 1909. After its move, the building’s occupants included Walter F. Uebele and Henry A. Runkel’s Burlington Feed Company; C.B. McCanna’s Wisconsin Condensed Milk Co. (later Nestle’s and then Phelps) can shop; Lake Services warehouse; and Hi-Liter Graphics, Inc. headquarters.]

Gun Control in 1897

                     -- Standard Democrat, Dec. 18, 1897

      Wood thieves are becoming numerous. One lady on West Geneva Street (now W. State Street) is prepared for them with a shotgun should a recent visit be repeated.

Pathmasters of 1870

                   -- Standard Democrat, April 7, 1870

      Pathmasters were local citizen who were responsible for seeing to the upkeep of the public roads in their assigned areas in the 1800s and into the early 1900s. The roads at that time were dirt roads, which required periodic grading, removal of large stones, filling of ruts, and other maintenance. Until 1886, the Town of Burlington had 26 road districts. After the village of Burlington was incorporated in 1886, the Town had 23 (and later 24) road districts. 

      The pathmasters elected in April 1870, listed below, included many individuals with surnames that are still familiar in the Burlington area.

  1.  William Baumeister
  2.  William Chipman
  3.  Emerson O. Cole
  4.  William Kruger (Krueger)
  5.  William Garnetz
  6.  Peter Griebel
  7.  John Prasch
  8.  Henry Spiker (Spieker)
  9.  Adam Kleinkopf
  10. PhillipGriebel
  11. Liberty Fisk (Fiske) 
  12. Ephraim S. Sawyer
  13. Nikolas Klein

  14. Christopher Winkler
  15. Bernard Kresken
  16. George Rosenhauer
  17. Anton Grass
  18. William Breukmann
  19. Sebastian Heiligenthal
  20. Henry Uhlenhake
  21. Edward Barrett
  22. John Boyle
  23. Daniel Warren
  24. Lorenz Hess
  25. F. Elderbrook
  26. Charles Matthews

  Other individuals who served as pathmasters in later years included Anton King, Herman Koldeway, Fred Uhen, Henry Pihringer, and others.

September 2002

Underground Railroad -- Historical Society publishes booklet on Burlington connection

            The Burlington Historical Society recently issued a new booklet which attempts to collect and piece together the information that has been published or collected over the years about the Burlington area's role in the Underground Railroad.

            The 60-page illustrated booklet includes sections on Burlington, Rochester, and Spring Prairie.  Among the six appendixes are copies of Lyman Goodnow's account of taking Caroline Quarlls, an escaped slave, on her journey from the Burlington area of Spring Prairie to Canada, and Chauncey C. Olin's account of his taking the fugitive, Joshua Glover, on his journey from Waukesha, through Rochester, to Racine.  Added to Olin's account is some information from Sherman Booth and Mrs. Walter Derthick on Glover's being subsequently taken from Racine to Spring Prairie (and possibly Burlington) for a few weeks before being returned to Racine and put on a boat bound for Canada.

            A section of the booklet highlights the activities of Dr. Edward G. Dyer, of Burlington, whom Goodnow called the area's "Commander-in-chief" and "greatest and best friend to humanity."  Also included is C. C. Olin's account of his speaking and singing trip through southeastern Wisconsin with former slave, "Lewis Washington," in the early 1840s.  The school house in Burlington, now known as Whitman School, was one of the sites where "Washington" and Olin spoke and sang.

            Photographs of the various sites and people involved in the anti-slavery movement in the Burlington and Rochester areas are included, along with a map showing where some of the Spring Prairie sites were located.

            The booklet was put together for the Society by member, Don Vande Sand, based on a review of the Society's files, the files of the Racine Heritage Museum, and the reference materials in various libraries in the area, and a search of pertinent sites on the Internet. Rochester historians, Edwin and Wendy Ela and Larry Aspinall, contributed information on that community's role in the Underground Railroad. Many of the photographs reproduced in the booklet are from the Burlington Historical Society's collection. Also included are copies of some photographs, taken by member, Dennis Tully, of paintings in the Society's collection. The booklet was made possible by those who recorded their stories or memories of the period when the Underground Railroad operated in the Burlington area, those who previously researched and reported on the topic, those who donated such material to the Society, and the present and previous members of the Society who collected and preserved the material.

            The booklet is intended to add to the knowledge base of the Underground Railroad in the Burlington area and in Wisconsin.  However, because of the secretive nature of the enterprise, the lack of any official records, and the possibility that information lies undiscovered in attics and archives, the booklet is not, and could never be, the complete story or final word on the role of Burlington and the nearby areas of Rochester and Spring Prairie in the Underground Railroad.

Website up and running

            The Burlington Historical Society has joined the World Wide Web.  Under the name, the Society has opened a website with lots of information on Burlington and the surrounding area and a sample of the Society's photo collection.

            Webmaster Jeff Kiekenbush and content contributors, Don Vande Sand and Dennis Tully, have created a website that includes:

            v   Death, birth, marriage, and other information that has appeared in the Burlington newspapers (or in other sources) on persons who have lived in or been connected to the Burlington area since the first settlers made their claims in the 1830s.  The information, with identification of the sources, is fully searchable.

            v   A list of some of the events that were reported in the Burlington newspapers (or other sources) over the years, including some events in the towns and villages near Burlington, such as Rochester, Waterford, Lyons, Spring Prairie, New Munster, Dover, Kansasville, Brighton, Springfield, and others.  The information is in summary or capsule form and is fully searchable.

            v   A short history of early Burlington.

            v   A history of the Burlington Historical Society, with photographs.

            v   A sample of the historical photographs in the Society's collection that Tully, Vande Sand, and Roger Bieneman have been identifying, cataloging, and scanning into the computer.

v   Copies of the 1842 and 1846 Territorial Censuses of the town of Burlington.

            v   A surname index to the 1900 Census of both the City and the Town of Burlington.

            v   Articles and items from the Society's latest newsletters.

            v   Articles, with photographs, on the start of the Burlington Liars Club and on Burlington booster, Bill Frook - the State Street bridge man.

            Additional information, photographs, and articles will be added to the website from time to time.  Information on homes and farms in and around Burlington, for example, is being readied for "launch" in the near future.  Also, the various databases will be updated from time to time as research of the Burlington newspapers and other sources continues.

            The website includes an on-line discussion forum, a list of publications and other items the Society has for sale, and links to related sites.  A mechanism is set up for submitting comments, questions, and feedback to the site.

            The Society also has an e-mail address - "burlingtonhistory (at)" for communicating with its members and others interested in Burlington history.

Pioneer Cabin Notes
    by Doug Lind

            Our annual Ice Cream Social event was again held during Maxwell Street Days ( July 27th) and marked the half way point in the cabin's operating season. Rain had us serving ice cream from inside the cabin but clouds soon gave way to sunshine and the event continued outside. During the Maxwell Street Days event ( July 26-27) approximately 250 visitors toured Pioneer Cabin. The help from our board members, volunteers and docents was greatly appreciated and contributed to making our annual event a success.

            The condition of the cabin remains very good; however, the need for some minor repair work is coming to light. The new logs in the chimney wall have been shrinking somewhat, causing cracks to appear in the interior mortar and white-wash. This was not totally unexpected and will be dealt with this year. Some of the outside daubing has come loose and will need to be touched up. The barrel bolts that secure the shutters inside are difficult for the docents to operate. Other methods of securing the shutters are being considered.. The entrance door and the shutters have been given a coat of linseed oil and the end gable sheathing will get the same before winter. We have added small US flags and holders which are mounted on the fence posts for use on festive occasions to attract attention to the cabin's location. The kitchen garden's cover crop of rye has been cut and the soil will be tilled before winter. The fence-line garden is getting a face lifting thanks to the Burlington Area Garden Club and the Racine County Master Gardeners. Some old growth is being removed and plans for new plant materials in the spring are being considered. We continue to receive many nice comments about the cabin and its garden from visitors. The hollyhocks are becoming a little legend in their own time with requests for seeds showing no signs of letting up.

            I have been informed that folks are stuffing these seed packets in their Christmas cards. Now that is a novel idea!

            Finally, I remain hopeful that we can add perhaps two more docents to the cabin's staff of volunteers. If any reader is interested or knows of someone who is, please call the museum and leave a message for Doug Lind. Thanks for all the help and have a great summer!

Annual Meeting

            The annual meeting and elections will be held on Sunday, October 20 at 2:00. A brief business meeting including board elections will be held.

            Following the meeting, the society welcomes Phil Larson, of Burlington who will share his vast knowledge of clocks and timepieces. Refreshments will follow.

            Thank you to members of  the Genealogical Society who have provided the baked goods. 

School Days . . . . Take a look at the past

Talked Over Old School Days

Standard Democrat, Sept. 16, 1910

            Half a dozen of the boys and girls who went to school together sixty years ago, in the little old log school house located between the Hockings and Moore residences at Brown's lake, on what was then called the Racine plank road, met again a few days ago at the residence of William Hockings, talked over old times and brought up memories that had been forgotten for these fifty years.

            There were present William Hockings and George McDonald, of Burlington; Mrs. Ada Minter, nee McDonald, of Spickard, Kansas; Mrs. Mary Metcalf, nee Hockings, of Madison, South Dakota, and Lem McDonald and wife, nee Lovira Boss, of Princeton, Mo.  The McDonald family sixty years ago lived on what is now the John F. Wegge farm, and the children went across the river in a boat spring and fall and across the ice in the winter.  It is needless to say that a royal good time was had at the reunion.

Teachers for Next Year

Free Press, May 29, 1919

The entire corps of teachers, with two exceptions, have been engaged for the coming year for the public schools.  The third and seventh grades are still vacant.
            Following is the list of teachers, with the salaries they will receive:

School Superintendent                       F. L. Witter, $2500 per year.
            Commercial                            H. S. Youngs, $1600 per year.
            Manual Training                     Harvey Wereley, $1300 per year;
                                                                Assistant, Carl Triechel, $105 per month.
            Domestic Science                  Rodella Godfrey, $1200 per year;
                                                                Assistant, Evelyn Raible, $90 per month.
            School Nurse                         Della Mertens, $110.53 per month.
            Penmanship                           Lillian Bushman, $100 per month.
            Music                                      Nellie Jacobson, $100 per month.
            Mathematics                           Florence Mauer, $120 per month.
            Languages                              Anne Goodchild, $115 per month.
            English and Arithmetic            Inez Heath, $115 per month.
            History and Library                  Edith McEachron, $110 per month.
            English                                    Ruth Winston, $115 per month.

            Eighth Grade                           Lucy Itzin, $85 per month.
            Seventh Grade                        Vacant.
            Sixth Grade                             Frances Mealy, $85 per month.
            Fifth Grade                              Margaret Foley, $85 per month.
            Fourth Grade                          Gertrude Shaw, $82.69 per month.
            Third Grade                             Vacant.
            Second Grade                         Miss Martha Rohr, $75 per month.
            First Grade                              Mrs. Grace Asby, $87.50 per month.
            Primary Dept.                          Clara Reesman, $85 per month.
            Kindergarten                            Delnia Mathews, $87.50 per month.
            Kindergarten and Music           Lauretta Uhen, $75.39 per month.

Bits and Pieces

Electric Lighted Bus

Standard Democrat, Oct. 28, 1910

            Things have been and are being done to give outsiders coming to this city an impression of the progressiveness of Burlington.  W. F. Gill has made another step, and one that will catch the eye of outsiders coming in by train.  An electric lighted bus.  Have you ridden in one?  Well, anyway, Burlington has one of the first ones, and a progressive step like this will attract attention.

            The Jones house bus, driven by the genial Gaylord Keyes, is now electric lighted, the system being installed this week.  There are two small lights in the bus and the current is furnished by a storage battery under the front seat.  Of course, Driver Keyes feels elated.