IN SEARCH OF ST. MARIE | THE CLIPS

Here are some news clippings about St. Marie that I gathered while working on my history of Princeton (pre-World War II) published in 2020, followed by stories published in the Princeton Times-Republic about St. Marie:

Berlin City Courant, Oct. 30, 1862 – “If any of our readers is harboring the conviction, either gladly or otherwise, that the village of Princeton don’t amount to much in a business point of view, that individual might be thoroughly cured of an egregious error by spending a few days among its active population. St. Marie and Hamilton were founded about the same time as Princeton, and so long as either of them made any pretensions to a rivalry with their upriver sister, so long was the fate of all problematical, and neither could finish in a healthy manner. But Hamilton soon faded out, and after a fitful life of a few years, St. Marie has followed suit, and first its business and then its buildings have been swallowed up by its more fortunate neighbor, Princeton, and the latter village has finely become the business center of quite an extensive, tolerable productive and densely populated farming district. Never, however, until the present season has Princeton reaped the full advantage of its central position. … This year the advent of one or two cash wheat buyers has made a visible and happy change in Princeton. The streets are daily lined with loads of produce which is sold for cash at good prices. The merchants are selling double the goods they ever did before, and getting the cash for them, too.”

Berlin Courant, April 9, 1863 – “A serious accident, and at the same time an almost miraculous escape from drowning, happened to Mr. Williams, at St. Marie, on Tuesday week. Mr. Williams was hauling a load of household furniture to this city for Mr. Shipley, who, with his family in another wagon, had just passed over the bridge. Mr. Williams was following about two rods behind Mr. Shipley, and as his team came upon the draw, a section of joist and planking about ten feet in length, gave way, precipitating the horses, wagon and driver, headfirst into the river – about twelve feet deep at that point – the wagon turning bottom side up upon the horses, with the driver between. To add to Mr. Williams’ embarrassing situation, the reins were wound around both his arms, and a blanket was wound around his legs several times, rendering him almost helpless. As he fell into the water his shoulder blanket fell over his head completely enveloping his face. This was fortunate, as it gave him opportunity to breathe a few times after going under, and while struggling to extricate himself. … Feeling his way out he came up alongside the wagon box, upon which, in a very exhausted condition he succeeded in climbing. He floated down stream about forty rods, when his craft grounded on a submerged island from which he was rescued by Mr. Shipley and others who had rallied to the spot. The horses and wagon never came to the surface. … Some blame is attached to the town authorities, who it is charged had been notified that the bridge was unsafe and had not taken proper precaution in regard to it.”

Berlin Courant, April 16, 1863 – “There is an onward feeling manifested at Princeton, and the citizens are sanguine that their town is destined to go ahead from henceforth and it cannot be denied that appearances favor the idea. During the last winter several more buildings have been moved up from St. Marie and will be fixed up and occupied soon.”

Princeton Republic, March 5, 1868 – “John Cassidy, a young man 25 years of age, son of John Cassidy of this town, was shot by a half breed, in a saloon at Grand Rapids last week, and died next morning. His mother left on Monday for the remains of the murdered son, which we learn will be interred at the Catholic cemetery at St. Marie.”

Princeton Republic, Dec. 7, 1868 – “As S.A. Hake Esq. of this village was about leaving the residence of Barney Murphy in Black Creek neighborhood, some four or five miles north of this village, last Sabbath noon, the latter requested a ride a short distance, which request was granted. A Mr. Haley was already in the seat with Mr. Hake, and both sat apart to slow Murphy room between them. They had proceeded but a few rods when the horses became frightened and started on the run, when one grappled a line and reined them to one side against a stump which the wagon struck, throwing Hake and Haley out, when the horses dashed furiously forward, Mr. Murphy meantime riding undisturbed in the seat. But a few rods from the place where the two fell out, the near horse grazed a tree, and as the wagon came up, it suddenly stopped, and Mr. Hake observed Mr. Murphy carried forward by the momentum, apparently striking his chin against the tree. … By this time Haley came up and called to Hake that Murphy was hurt, who fell forward and out of the wagon, expired in a few minutes. He funeral was held at the St. Marie church on Tuesday and was conducted by Father Gray of Ripon. The procession numbered forty wagons as they passed through this village. Mr. Murphy leaves a widow and five children.”

Princeton Republic, Aug. 22, 1874 – “We hear that the old house at the Big Spring in St. Marie being about three miles northeast of this village, was burned one day last week. The principal loss of interest connected with it is the removal of an old landmark, as it is one of the first buildings erected in the county.”

Princeton Republic, Jan. 30, 1879 – “A new insurance company is soon to be in operation, known as the Princeton & St. Marie Mutual Fire Insurance Company. J.M. Van Buren is president, and Wilber J. Mesick secretary. Insurance will be confined to farm property. We learn that the organization was perfected on Saturday of last week.”

Princeton Republic, May 22, 1884 – “The old railroad bonds ($2,000) given as collateral in the construction of this railroad by the town of St. Marie have been surrendered. This settles the matter and is a receipt in full that St. Marie has liquidated her obligations in that direction.”

Princeton Republic, May 17, 1894 – Martin Manthey says he will see to it that a dock is built at St. Marie so that people can land there if an excursion comes up the river again.”

Princeton Republic, June 13, 1895 – “The Crow and Gopher Club of St. Marie gave a picnic Sunday, which was quite well attended, quite a number going from here by steamer and team. Each year the members on the east and west sides of the river center into a contest to see which will kill the largest number of crows and gophers, and the losers have to stand treat. Sunday was treat day, and a good many kegs of beer were punished.”

Princeton Republic, July 4, 1895 – “A dynamite outrage was perpetrated in the town of St. Marie, at the home of August Arndt, several days ago. Two sticks of firewood were charged with dynamite by some fiend in home shape, one of which caused the mischief when placed in the stove, the other being found in the woodpile later. The explosion occurred in the wing of the house, which is occupied by the old people, Wm. Arndt and wife. Mr. Arndt had been sitting by a window and was called out by his son to help in cleaning wheat. They had hardly reached the barn when they heard the explosion and rushed back to find the room a complete wreck and a huge hole in the side wall just where the old gentleman had sat. Mrs. Arndt was kneading bread, with her back to the fire, and was severely injured by the flying pieces of the stove. Had she been standing erect, she would have been instantly killed by a large fragment which passed over her head as she bent over her work. A grandchild playing in the room escaped with a slight scratch. The authorities were confident they will soon have the perpetrators of the deed behind bars. It took the workmen several days to repair the damage to the building, and the stove was blown into a thousand pieces.” (A woman was arrested and determined to be insane.)

Princeton Republic, Nov. 24, 1899 – “The county board ordered the road that was laid out across the marsh in St. Marie many years ago to be completed by July 1st, 1900.”

Princeton Republic, May 14, 1908 – “The citizens of school No. 7 of St. Marie voted to build new schoolhouse at a special meeting last Saturday evening. The old building has stood for the past 50 years, and it was deemed unfit and unsafe for children. It was voted to tear down the old building and put up a new modern building in its place. A building committee consisting of Henry Prieve and L. Mashuda were elected. Work on the new building will begin about June 1. The school board are Joe Frost, L. Sharpotta and John Soda. A new heating system will be put in the new building.” (School No. 7 was west of the Fox River, on what is today County Road Y. See 1901 map below.)

Princeton Republic, May 23, 1912 – “Postmaster O.C. Olman conferred with Chairman Fred Spooner and Town Clerk Wm. Sommerfeld of St. Marie, Saturday, relative to extending the rural route service to the farmers in that vicinity. The farmers out in those sections should be supplied with rural mail and we are glad that Postmaster Olman is putting forth strong efforts to get mail routes for them. We understand that a route was laid out which was submitted to the department for approval. A map was made of the route and in a few days H.C. Spooner will take the postmaster and the committee over the new route.”

Princeton Republic, June 8, 1922 – “There has appeared recently in the township of St. Marie, Green Lake County, six cases of scarlet fever. The first cases occurring in the family of Mr. Herman Hark were not properly diagnosed by the attending physician and no precautions were taken to prevent the spread of the disease. As a result, the Hark children were permitted to mingle with other children while able to transmit the disease and many contact exposures were the result. … Dr. G. W. Henika, Deputy State Health Officer”

Princeton Republic, Jan. 2, 1930 – “The Princeton, St. Marie & Seneca Insurance Co. … has just concluded 50 years of business. This company was organized in the old stone schoolhouse, known as the Stimson school, in the Town of Princeton, in 1879, for the purpose of insuring all kinds of farm property. They now carry $1,465,617.00 of insurance on 429 policies. … To make the fiftieth year more successful, the company made no assessment. They have paid $65,774.76 in losses and in only one case did they go to court. The first officers of the fire insurance co. were James Van Buren, president; Ernst Lambert, treasurer; W.J. Mesick, secretary; and Eph. Mueller, F. Luedtke, H. Falbe and John Rude were the board of trustees.”

Princeton Times-Republic, Sept. 21, 1939 – “When the automobile first came, we heard frequent predictions of a coming horseless age and horseless farming. As far as we know, the first completely mechanized farm in this section is that of Messerschmidt Brothers in St. Marie. They are farming over 200 acres without a horse on their farm.

Princeton Times-Republic, January 27, 1949 – “John Roberts recalls the days way back there about the turn of the century when Nick Pfeiffer and this three sons undertook to develop an iron mine at Mount Tom. He says that they dug quite a hole and as he recalls it when prospective investors became skeptical they took them down into the shaft and showed them real-honest-to-goodness iron, bolts nicely threaded with nuts on the end and other evidence that the mine was producing iron. J.E. Leimer, a former bank officer here, as Mr. Roberts remembers it, was one of the financial wizards who induced a number of local people to invest in the mine. Despite that fact that the optimism of the promoters prompted the building of barracks on what is now the Albert Prachel farm, the buying of land for a right of way for a spur track from the railroad and other improvements, investors became scarce and the Pfeiffer Brothers decided to abandon the project. They eventually paid off the investors and left the country.”

St. Marie history articles

FACT CHECK: I disagree with the notion that St. Marie was “a thriving trading post” before Royal Treat staked his claim on the land that would become Princeton in 1848. There were no stores, but there might have been a blacksmith shop. … Reetz refers to the College House of St. Marie, which the 1860 history calls the Cottage House, which moved from Hamilton to St. Marie. … The election numbers do not seem accurate. According to the Berlin Courant of Nov. 8, 1860, there were only 109 votes cast in the entire St. Marie Township, 279 in Princeton Township, in the 1860 presidential election. … John Thompson was not postmaster of St. Marie – his father was – and John moved to Princeton in 1863, not 1881, to operate the American House.
FACT CHECK: I didn’t provide details of John Shaw’s war exploits in the post, but you can read much more about Shaw in my book published in 2020. He was not commissioned a colonel in the War of 1812. He enlisted as a private and served as scout and spy with a Rangers unit. Just before the end of the war, he was elected – not commissioned – colonel of a militia group that did not see action and was not recognized as regular Army or Army Rangers. … Abe Lincoln was not in his command. … The article infers Shaw was an abolitionist. That is false. He strongly supported Illinois becoming a slave state. … I question the speculation about Shaw’s wife and children. According to the census, he lived with Mary Kinner, who was born in Virginia and not Native American, in 1850 and 1860 and with Isaac and Nancy Blanchard and their six children in 1870.

FACT CHECK: I am not going to address the nonsense regarding the Legend of the Cross in this article; just realize it’s bull. … The St. Marie settlers did not come north from the lead mines in Galena, Illinois. There has been nothing documented in obituaries published of early settlers to support that theory. … St. Marie was not a “thriving town with a population of around 500 curing the Civil War.” That is terribly misleading. The village plat of St. Marie was pretty much abandoned by the end of the Civil War. The village’s population peaked at about 125 in the mid to late 1850s after it merged with Hamilton and State Centre. The population of 500 likely refers to the entire township straddling the Fox River. I also disagree with the unsubstantiated notion that the plans of the Sheboygan & Fond du Lac Railroad in the early 1870s had anything to do with the demise of St. Marie, which historians say was in decline by 1860 and the plat converted to farmland a few years later.

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