Lucy Toft: Journal of Anecdotes
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Lucy Toft was born in 1889 to Juleyanne (Panter) and Thomas Toft. She was the sixth of eight children (William - Olive - Mary - Thorwald - Samuel - Lucy - Emma - Elsie). The Toft family divided their time between a Baileys Harbor home and an area just northeast of town now known as Toft Point.

The following anecdotes were copied from a spiral notebook written by Lucy Toft in the mid 1960’s. They have been edited by Lucy’s great-grandson in an attempt to clear up confusing passages and sentence structure.

All profits from the sale of this book go towards the continued preservation of the Toft Point Natural Area.

Mother And Father

My parents were really such upright and honest people. Their integrity and honesty were untarnished. They loved their home and taught us to appreciate that spot. I still love it with every ounce of strength I have. When I see it, one incident after another seems to tumble over in my memory. There are so many incidents I could tell about.


First Day Of School

I started going to school a short time after my fifth birthday, while my family was still living at Mud Bay. I woke up one bright spring morning and went into the kitchen where my mother was busy getting breakfast. She told me I was five years old now and would start school that day. My brother Sam, who was seven years older, was still in school at this time and I was very excited about going with him. After breakfast I was dressed and my pretty blue flannel cape with scarlet lining was brought out for me to wear.

Sam and I started out on the two and one half mile jaunt to Baileys Harbor. As you may imagine, we talked and noticed a number of things as we walked through the tall trees. One thing that I certainly remember him telling me was, “Lucy you will see some very bad little girls today.”

Before we crossed a bridge over a small creek, Sam told me I had better take off my cape and he would hide it for me behind some trees and we could pick it up on our way home in the evening. Then we walked out onto the beautiful sand beach that was our sidewalk to the village. Even without my cape I was quite warm because I had to walk fast to keep up with his long strides.


A Walk To Grandmas

This story proves that we were taught by our parents to be rugged and independent people:

Sam had to go out to Grandfather’s farm on a message and my mother told me I could go with him. We went cross lots, walking through fields to shorten the distance. At the edge of one field we had to crawl through a barbed wire fence. Sam went through first. Then he held two of the wires apart as far as he could for me to crawl between. As I passed, I got an ugly scratch just above the underside of my knee.

I did not tell him and so far as I know I did not tell anyone else, but there was a real large scar there for many years. I am too stiff now to even see if it is still there.


Running Away!

Sometimes fishermen lived in a shingled cabin out on Little Point. At one time, a family lived there that had at least two children quite near to my age. The father’s name was Pat Chambers. He was a very good fisherman and a fine man and neighbor.

I was not supposed to go over to their place but I conceived the idea of scampering over when no one would see me. Sometimes my father saw my sun bonnet bobbing as I ran as fast as my legs could carry me. Or sometimes it would be one of the men and they would tell my father. If they missed me, Olive or Mary would be told to go and get me. At the little point, Mrs. Chambers or some other member of the family would tell me to hide behind the curtains that separated their one room home into living and sleeping quarters. That was great fun for me. When no one saw me, I had a chance to play with Edith and Walter Chambers for a while.

One day we wandered out to the limekiln. Walter went up on the hill at the back of the kiln and stepped on to the top edge and walked around it. Then he came down and began to dare us to do what he had done. We took the dare and went up and walked around it.

There was deep consternation when I inadvertently told my family about it at home. I received strict orders to never do that again. The next time I went over to Little Point, my mother humiliated me by tying me up to the bedpost in her room. She left the rope on the bedpost for several days. Then I told her she could take it off because I would not run away any more. And I did not.


The Slipper That Went Sailing

When I was small and still living at Mud Bay, my parents had the shoemaker make me slippers because my store shoes wore out so quickly. I was very proud of them.

One day I was down by the water in front of the house. The water was shallow and always quiet there because it was like a little bay. I cannot remember what I did, but all at once I realized that one of my slippers was sailing in the water and I did not know how to get it. If I had gone into the water, I could have gotten it in a moment. Instead, I began to scream, “My hibbon is in the water! My hibbon is in the water!” Someone soon came and got it for me.

The shoemaker’s name was Lehman and his little house was built hugging the bluff across from John Braun’s place.


The Summer I Was Ten

I will always remember the year I was ten. It was the summer my mother’s brother died. The whole family was upset about his untimely death and my mother often had her parents at our home in Baileys Harbor. Many times she would have me go to Mud Bay with my father. Most of the time we went with the horses and wagon but sometimes we walked and carried our lunch.

When we took the horses and wagon, we drove near the waters edge on the most wonderful and beautiful moist sand. Dad said that it was good for the horses’ feet. At the cornfield, my dad would swing me up on the horse’s back. Then I held the reins and guided her through the rows. Sometimes Sam would be along and he would cultivate while dad cut hay with his scythe.

When we walked, I would hoe while Dad cut the hay. Sometimes he would come over from where he was working and tell me to sit in the shade and rest for a while. He too might sit down in the shade and tell me stories. He usually would warn me to always do what was right and to never do things that I would be ashamed of; to be a good girl.


Time Flies

Sometimes when the weather got hot there would be what seemed like great swarms of flies. On those days we could scarcely use the horses. We could use them in the morning while it was still cool, but after millions of flies were in the air, we had to put the horses into the barn. Then we would hang gunnysacks over the windows to make it dark so the flies would not like it. Sometimes the flies were so bad that the cows would have to be brought out of the pastures and put into the darkened barn.

One morning Dad, Sam, and myself all started out on the hayracks. There was a lot of hay ready to be hauled in that day. By the time we got over to Mud Bay, the flies were getting quite bad. We only hauled a load or so before the horses were too distraught with the flies. They were kicking and catching their feet in the harness so much that we had to give up and put them into the barn.

We tried to do some more work but the flies were biting us as well so we could scarcely go on. The walls of the barn were black with flies and we ran as hard as we could down to the big dock to get away from them. This was the dock that stones were shipped off when the stone quarry was still in operation. It was right on Lake Michigan and there was usually a breeze there so the flies were not as bad.

When the sun went down, we ate our supper of lunch leftovers. By the time we were finished, the flies had disappeared and we got the horses out to haul in the hay. A little later, the moon came out and we could see really well. Sam was on the load while Dad pitched up to him. With a wooden hay rake, I raked up the straw left from where the shocks had been.

We went home near midnight in the nice cool fresh air, happy that we got the hay done in spite of many difficulties. That night as we three worked together, my dear father expressed the desire to be buried over there on the hill where the lime kiln is.

It was a real exciting day and is impressed on my memory as though it was yesterday.

Before Dynamite

My father was foreman of the Stone Quarry at the Point about 1875. He worked there for some time for the company that owned it. They had their office in Lower Michigan. The boats and scows came over and got the loads of stone and took them to Frankfort and Manistee. There the stones were used to build cribs on the sandy shore.

My father did all the blasting when he was working at the quarry. All the time that he was blasting the stones out, there was no dynamite. He did all the blasting with powder. I think dynamite was made about fifteen years after the quarry closed down.

The machinery was very crude. They had a heavy four-wheel cart and a big horse that pulled it out on the dock after the men loaded it. There were two driveways and a stretch along the front of the dock. The men piled rock onto the cart and then unloaded them on the dock so the scows and boats could get at them easily. Sometimes there would be several boats tied up at the dock waiting to get loaded. At other times the dock would be loaded and there would be quite a wait before the boats came.

The company in Michigan would call the Park Hotel by telephone if they needed a load. Then the hotel proprietor would send his son with a saddle horse to tell my father that a scow or boat was coming; or perhaps three or four were on their way. My dad would quite often have to round up all the extra men he could at Baileys Harbor and from the outskirts and farms to come help load boats.

On those days, my mother and one or more hired girls would really be busy preparing meals for all the men. Those men were really heavy eaters as you may imagine. The food was mostly salt pork and corned beef. They would get barrels at a time that the boats brought over from Michigan.

After the Sturgeon Bay ship canal was excavated, the stone boats went to the quarries in Sturgeon Bay instead.

My Brother And The Good Templars

There were many men around our home at Mud Bay when my father was the owner and manager of the quarry. Many of the quarry men drank. A number of them kept bottles of whiskey in their rooms. A couple of them got the idea of asking Will to go to the house and get their bottles from their rooms, even though he was forbidden to go up into the men’s quarters. They also began giving him a sip or two of the whiskey for doing this errand for them.

One day my mother heard footsteps, so she went and stood at the foot of stairs as Will was carefully coming down. She saw that he was holding something under his jacket. He did not want to tell her what he had. When she found out he had a whiskey bottle and had even been bribed with sips of the whiskey, a royal battle was begun. My father was just as determined as my mother was to put a stop to it, so they decided to have the children sign a temperance pledge.

My mother belonged to the Womens Christian Temperance Union. When my oldest brother and two older sisters were real small, my mother took them all to a “Good Templars” meeting in Baileys Harbor. A speaker by the name of Jack Warburton was there to speak on the drink situation. He had been a drunkard at one time. My mother often told some of his stories.

Jack told how he spent most of his money over the bar and then had nothing left to buy food for his family. In those days, the butchers all gave liver away. He would go into the butcher shop and ask for some liver to take home. At the same time, he saw the saloonkeeper’s wives come in the butchers shop and buy nice steaks for their families. After a while he reasoned with himself about what a fool he was and he quit drinking.

He also said that the saloonkeeper’s families had all sorts of expensive food and clothes. The wives would walk down the street and as their skirts swished from side to side you could hear, "whiskey, whiskey, whiskey."

My Brother And The Good Templars continued


When his oration was over, he asked the members of the audience to come up to the front of the hall and sign the temperance pledge. My mother took three children up and had them all sign the pledge. Each one that signed got a little white ribbon bow as a symbol to identify them with the lodge.

Will was about six years old then and lived to be almost seventy-eight years old. Even in the last years of his life, I heard him tell how his mother got him to sign the pledge when he was a boy and how he never touched intoxicating liquors after that.


Men Of Stone

The quarry men had nothing but their human muscles and brawn. It was a crude hard life working in the quarries those days. They really had to work! There were no modern methods as we know them today. Heavy sledges, crowbars, and such were used. It was a hard, hard life. No wonder some of them liked to get a bottle of whiskey when they went over to the village on weekends!


My Father’s Hunting

All of the men in the Toft family liked to hunt. I think Dad and Sam liked it more than Will. They did not hunt for sport but for food.

The guns were arranged on hooks across one end of the large dining room. It looked like the arsenal of a modern Robin Hood! There were about ten guns there. Two of them were immense muzzle loaders.

I remember when there were no laws against hunting and trapping. I also remember when the licenses were started. Not many people hunted deer in those days.

We were living in Baileys Harbor the last time my father shot deer. It was the first week in November and the season had just opened. My two sisters and I went with Dad to Mud Bay that afternoon. We stayed at the summerhouse while he took his gun and went up to the field where there was some green clover still growing.

After a while he returned and told us to go back to Baileys Harbor because he wanted to wait longer into the evening. Later he came home with a deer and put it into the barn. He told us there were two together but the other ran into woods. He seemed to think he wounded it.

The next day he went over with the team and wagon to look for the other deer. He found it since it had not gone far when it dropped. When he got home, he hung it in the barn.

Will was working at the Baileys Harbor station during this time. He came over on his day off. When he found out about the two deer in the barn he said, “Well, we will hang them out in the yard. These young fellows are out hunting and cannot get one deer and here you are so much older and have two.” You may be sure there were a lot of neighbors coming to look over those two beautiful deer.

Picking Raspberries At North Bay

My mother canned hundreds of quarts of wild strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. There were no tame berries those days!

At North Bay there were large slashings. These were stretches of land from which the worthwhile trees had been cut to be used for wood or lumber. After a few years elapsed, wild raspberry bushes grew there.

Several family members and neighbors would go to the slashings numerous times during the season. Sometimes we went with the team and wagon and sometimes we crossed Mud Bay in a boat. Then we had but a short way to walk to the berries. We brought milk pails, water pails, and a huge lunch basket. Each person would have a small pail to fill and then empty into the large pails.

Those were long hard days. I was not a fast picker and I did not like the berry picking excursions. Some of the others received much praise for being such good pickers, but not me! A poignant clutch grips my heart when I think of those berry pickings days.


More Berries

Wonderful luscious blackberries grew on the bluff at Baileys Harbor. In the fall when they were ripe, my mother picked as often as she could.

My mother often left loaves of bread in the kitchen when she hurried away to get a couple of hours picking those berries. When I came home from school in the evening, I would have to bake them. When she got home, she had to milk and we would have supper but she would spend every spare moment with the berries.

She cooked them with sugar and then poured them into jugs. Very few glass cans were used. They had not been made yet. The jugs were one gallon, two gallons, and she had a few three gallon. In the fall, she would have hundreds of quarts of raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries. In the early years, she had gallons and gallons of the wild blueberries that grew on the ridges. Huckleberries also grew on the ridges.

The jugs did not have the screw tops that are commonly used today. Corks were bought and plenty were whittled out of a bit of wood. Sometimes my father made them but I have seen my mother whittle a piece of wood into a good fitting cork. You may ask how the jugs were sealed so the fruit would not ferment? Well, there was always resin in the homes those days. My mother would soften the resin a little and then she could pack it around the cork with her fingers until the air was completely shut out. If there was no resin, they would have tallow that had been rendered from beef suet. Tallow was used in the same way.


Sailing To The Berry Patch

When the raspberries were ripe, we sometimes took the flat-bottomed sailboat across the bay and landed a short distance away from Mud Lake Creek. Then we just had to walk up the hill and we were in the berry patch.

The worst thing about going with the boat was the fact that the weather could change so suddenly. I was always in dread fear of a strong wind or storm coming up before we got the pails all filled with the luscious berries.

As we were picking one day, we could tell that a strong wind was coming. The water was very rough when we got back to the boat. My mother tried to induce Sam to take off his shoes and stockings, roll up his pant legs, and take the line at the bow of the boat to guide me and her and the berries along the nice sand beach over the head of the bay. Then in the protection of the rushes, we could push the boat through with the oars. But Sam was a daredevil. The fourteen or fifteen year old boy thought he was a man of the world and an exceptionally good sailor! We got into the boat, he hoisted the sail, and we were off. It was a rugged ride on the big waves.

When we got real near to home, Sam could not seem to be able to get the boat into the little harbor where all was calm. He let it run up on the tip of the little point and jumped out on terra firma. He almost let the boat and our mother and the berries, to say nothing about me, zip around the point and out into rough seas. But he was so agile that he grasped the bow rope and fastened it and then let the sail down. He and my mother each took an oar and pushed us into the peaceful little bay in front of our home.


More Sailing

There was another time that some of the family got caught in some way and tried to go through the marsh. They had to spend the night on a marsh haystack because they could not make the ones at home see or hear them. I think it rained and my mother was sick for sometime from it.


The Little Green Boat

The Bues’s owned quite an amount of land on the other side of the bay. They lived out on the point west of Cana Island. Mr. Bues used to row across the bay to our side and then he would walk to Baileys Harbor to get some necessary things. He carried them home on his back. I can remember seeing him come from Baileys Harbor with a stout stick on his shoulder and packages tied to it. Sometimes a brown jug was one of the articles he carried. I have always wondered what was in the jug! Perhaps it was vinegar . . . and than again it may have been whiskey! No, I think it was vinegar.

Mr. Bues decided to move out to the state of Washington. The Bues’s got a chance to sell their property and when they left, they gave my family little articles that they did not care to take with them. Sam received a small rowboat.

The Little Green Boat was what boatmen called a cranky boat. That meant that like a flash, if you made a wrong move, it might have you in the water before you knew it. Sam was very adept with it. However, I know that he capsized it more than once in shallow water, to the consternation of whom ever was riding with him.

A Boat Ride

One day, Emma and I had a special ride in the Little Green Boat! I must have been a little more than five and Emma about three.

Sam was told to go over to the fishermen’s cabin on the little point and he took Emma and I along. He was to get something on the dock. I do not recall what. He told me to sit along side of Emma on one seat while he sat on the other seat rowing the boat with two oars. We only had a short distance to go.

When we reached the dock, Sam got out and tied the boat. Just then, in spite of all I could do, Emma made a lurch to side of the boat and went over the edge. I screamed and Sam was there in a second and had her out dripping wet. She was quite a bedraggled sight with her little woolen plaid dress clinging to her. Sam was alarmed because this was something that my parents would not like. He untied the boat and rowed back to the house. Then he snuck Emma and me up stairs without anyone seeing us and changed her clothes.

So far as I know, no one else knew about it. I can still picture her striking the water and settling head first into the water.

The Cana Island Light House

Of course all of the Cana Island Light House property was kept well painted. Uncle Sam furnished the paint! The light keeper just had to do the painting. And he had lots of time to do it! Sometimes there were sly remarks in the area about how the light keeper’s relatives homes were painted up too . . . providing he had relatives near.

The keeper was Mr. Brown. He and his wife had six sons that lived there at the Light. The boys were all grown up and they certainly had it easy. I do not know that they ever left and worked anywhere during the years I knew them.

Simultaneously, the Duclon family of several boys lived at the Eagle Bluff Light House where their father was keeper. Many a fight was worked up at dances in Baileys Harbor and Sister Bay between the Duclon boys and the Brown boys. If a fight was not precipitated, the crowd was disappointed. They felt that something was wrong.


The Lighthouse Boat

When I was a child, the Cana Island Light House always had several boats. There was one in particular that I loved to watch. It was a round-bottomed boat, with two masts and sails on it, called a Mackinaw. It also had some small sails called jibs. It was painted black on the outside and a tantalizing green yellow inside. It was just glossy with paint.

Sometimes a couple of the Brown boys would come across the bay in the boat I liked. One of the older ones liked to play cards. He would come over in the afternoon and walk to Baileys Harbor. It would be on toward morning when we would hear him getting up the sails and pulling out for home.

Sometimes they were in Baileys Harbor for several hours during which a heavy wind would come up. Those were the times I loved to watch them sail over the rough waters and see the spray flying high in the air. We would go down to the big dock and watch until they got over to the other side. Those times they did not go around the point but landed on Bues’s old place. They tied the boat there and walked to the lighthouse.

Some Apples That Were Given To Us

One Sunday evening, my friend Alice came to my home because her father had asked her to go out and see her grandparents and she wanted me to go with her. Alice’s grandparents lived about two miles from the village so we walked there.

After we had stayed a while, Alice’s grandparents gave us each a large shiny red apple. I think they were Wolf Rivers. We took our apples and started back home. When we had gone a short distance on our walk, we had to cross a small creek. As there had been quite a lot of rain, the creek was flowing fine and I was very much interested in it. I coaxed Alice to go with me into the farmyard that the creek ran through. We walked a ways and then came back.

Just as we reached the road, we could see the owners coming. They always went to the Catholic Church at Baileys Harbor. When church was over, they would both go into the saloon and get a good jag on before they came home.

When they got down to us, they both began yelling. They thought that we stole the apples out of their orchard. We tried to tell them where we got the apples from but they kept on yelling at us and said they would get the sheriff after us. I just stood there petrified and Alice kept telling me to come on! I was so scared you can perhaps imagine what I had already done. Finally I left and we decided to go up on the hill and walk home through the woods. We kept peeking out to see if the sheriff was coming but we got home safely and heard no more about it.


Cows At Baileys Harbor

My mother always milked the cows. She did not trust any one else to do it. My father never milked, although he did when he was younger. My mother always said he had done so much hard work in the stone quarry at Mud Bay that his hands were too stiff and he could not milk dry any more.


O Yasus Yasus

Before we moved to Baileys Harbor, our cows ran in the woods and marshes all summer. Anyone who had cows or stock those days had several cowbells of different sizes on their premises. We had some real small ones for the calves and young stock and some large ones for the big cows. When the cows had to be rounded up, my older brothers or sisters would go and hunt them down. If they could not find all of the cows, my father would have to go.

Billy Jackson and his family lived on the east side of the harbor, where the Coast Guard station was later built. If my father walked over that far while searching for cows, he would sometimes call in and see the Jacksons.

Mrs. Jackson had a hard life with her big family and drunken husband. One day when my father stopped there very weary and tired, he found Mrs. Jackson cleaning some wild ducks that her sons had shot. She had them picked and was starting to dress them. She always used the expression “O Yasus Yasus.” So she said to my father, “O Yasus Yasus, I must cut off the ass-holes.” She had a small hatchet and cut off the tails instead of the parts that should have been taken off!


Old Billy

Billy Jackson was a justice of the peace. He was a veteran of the Civil War. And he certainly did love whiskey! When people saw Billy Jackson going up and down on the street from side to side they would say, “There goes Billy with three sheets in the wind,” a marine expression.

When we lived at Baileys Harbor, sometimes my mother would send me to the store for small items. Maybe a spool of thread. I was so afraid of meeting Billy along the way. He seemed to always be drunk and would go from side to side on the sidewalk. I would go way out on the road those times for fear of Old Billy.


The Little Red Car

The first car owned in Baileys Harbor was a tiny red car. Those first cars did not move very fast and the drivers knew absolutely nothing about them. They chuck a chuck, chuck, chuck, chuck!

The dentist in Sister Bay also had a car. One day he took his wife along for a ride. They got about half way up the Sister Bay hill when it stopped. The dentist got out and quickly told his wife to get out! They stood there looking at it slowly start backing down the hill. All at once his wife got in and guided the car down the hill. She had far more spunk than he did.


Breakfast At Baileys Harbor

When I was little, my mother would leave me to watch the meat fry for breakfast. It was usually side pork cut in quite thin pieces, pork sausage, bacon, or ham. When the food was ready, I had to set the table and put some other things out. In summer we had bacon and eggs or ham and eggs. As I got older I did more and more. The only time that I did not have to get breakfast ready was when I was teaching.


My Education

I stayed home two years after I finished the eighth grade. When I was sixteen, I went to Sturgeon Bay High School for one year. Professor Stangel helped me pick out studies that I could use to pass the teachers third grade certificate test. During the summer I received my certificate.

I was hired out to teach the school at North Bay for $25 for the first four months until Christmas. Many of the children in those small schools did not have the necessary clothes for the cold winter months and there was a vacation through the hardest part of the winter. After the break, one of the board members came to see me and told me they would pay me more for the last three months of the school year. I suggested $28 but he said they wanted to pay me $30.


Teaching At North Bay

Sometimes my father drove me with the horse and buggy to my school on Monday mornings. A few times he took me to Mud Bay and used the flat-bottom boat. He would row me to the other side and let me off at what we called the Finnis Shanty, east of the Mud Lake Creek. There was not much left of the shanty. A few logs was about the size of it.

One Monday morning, Dad rowed me across the bay. The wind, which was scarcely noticeable when we started, kept getting stronger. By the time we got over to Finnis Shanty, it was quite strong and a rough sea had kicked up.

My father dropped me off and started right back. I went up higher on shore but I could not leave because I was so frightened that he might not be able to make it. I stood there and watched until I could see he was pulling into the quiet waters in front of our house. I got to school in plenty of time because it was very early when we left.

I usually got to school at seven o’clock. I remember this because one family lived about half a mile from the schoolhouse. The father was on the school board and told me that they could see smoke coming out of the schoolhouse chimney at about that time.


More Education

When I finished my first year of teaching, I had money enough saved to go to Oshkosh Normal for the six weeks of summer school. I took Algebra and Physical Geography that year.

I had no more than been home from summer school when the County Superintendent came and said he wanted me to take one of two schools. I told him I had promised to go back to North Bay but he just waved his hand and said he would take care of that.

I got $45 to take on the two room state graded school at Jacksonport. When my brother Will heard about it, he said that $45 was too much of a raise in such a short time. He and Sam were getting $65 in the Coast Guard.

I was very happy when I got my first school. I felt like a queen after my day was over and the children were gone. I walked like a queen because I was only seventeen and earning my way and did not need to get help from home.

I taught two years and then went back to summer school at Oshkosh again. Then I taught one year at Jacksonport and one at Fish Creek. After that I went back to summer school again and then taught at Fish Creek two more years. During that time I received my second grade certificate and part of my first grade.

I have learned to appreciate how I went to summer school those three years all with money I had saved from my work. I have continued to read and study for my whole life. My husband Max and I would read and read and then have discussions. Unlike myself, Max was a self-made man for he had very little opportunity to go to school.


Max’s Dog

I first met Max while he was still living on the farm in Jacksonport. He had a beautiful shepherd dog named Sport. It was given to him by a family that moved away. The dog would lie almost buried in the big white snow drifts in front of the house on the east side.

Around the time that Max was working at Jim’s store in Egg Harbor, he had a photographer take a picture of Sport. Max and I became sincere friends and he gave me one. It was on a postcard but I framed it myself and it is still in with the pictures.


Stage Coach Days

Those days there were several miles of heavy sand all through the swamp for the stagecoaches. The Baileys Harbor Stage was really convenient when I taught at Jacksonport. I could get on at six o’clock and get to Jacksonport about seven-thirty. If roads were bad, I would get there at eight. On Friday evening the stage came by my school about four-thirty so I could get home just about suppertime.

One day there had been several big snowstorms. Usually, after we passed Kangaroo Lake, the driver had to travel through the fields because the snow was so deep that the horses could not get through it. But this particular evening, we reached the spot where he had been going through the field and the road had been shoveled out by hand. There were no snowplows then such as we know today. The stage driver, Pete Collins, was real pleased when he saw the road because he had been asking the town chairman to get that stretch opened up.

He happily drove in on it and went for quite a ways when suddenly we were surprised to come up against a snow wall! The driver was very angry. He said the men that had been doing the shoveling should have barricaded the road with rails or something so he would have known it was not all shoveled. All that was left for him to do was go back to the place where the road went into the field.

There was no room to turn around, so the driver and a boat builder from Baileys Harbor named Ernest Anclam had to unhitch the horses and single them out to get them to the back of the coach. Then we went back to the field, hitched the horses up front again and went on our way.

Over The Ice To Menominee

When I taught at Fish Creek between 1910 and 1913, there was much ice travel across Green Bay. Several men with good teams made regular trips hauling over eggs and butter and other produce from the farms. They brought back loads of groceries and dry goods from Menominee for the storekeepers in Ellison Bay, Sister Bay, Ephraim, Fish Creek, and Egg Harbor.

Max was working in Egg Harbor and he had crossed the bay quite a few times with teamsters. I even went across with him one Saturday afternoon to visit his sister’s home until Sunday.


Fish Creek Winters

Sometimes the roads were very bad when I taught at Fish Creek in the winter and I was not always able to go to Baileys Harbor for the weekend. When I did make it home, I was not always able to get back to my school.

One Saturday morning in March, I thought I’d go to Sturgeon Bay. I had a few things to do and would have enough time to make the one o’clock stage to Baileys Harbor for rest of weekend.

It had thawed for a couple of days so the road was full of chuck holes that held travel up a lot. We arrived at Egg Harbor and the driver, Walter Olson, was exasperated. At the post office, he talked to John Forest and Frank Moeller. They had been up north and were going to Sturgeon Bay with a team of mules. They too were exasperated. They told Mr. Olson that they were going to take to the ice for the rest of the way. After deliberating for a few moments, Mr. Olson said he was going to go the same way.

Mr. Olson, an insurance agent from Sturgeon Bay by the name of John Waldmann, and myself went down to the ice and followed the mule team’s tracks. We did not drive long when we realized there was a mist on the ice. Mist or fog is very dangerous when traveling on ice unless you have an old track to follow. We did not have an old track but instead followed the cutter track hitched to the mule team in front of us.

We drove for several hours before we finally saw a point of land. The men in the stage said it must be Sherwood Point. We had not driven far when we saw the cutter and mule team stopped with Forest and Moeller out looking at some tracks. They finally had to admit that the tracks were their own. We had made a big circle and were back to Egg Harbor. The men were furious, especially Mr. Olson. We started out again and stayed near enough to the shore that the drivers could at least see it.

Fish Creek Winters continued


When we got to the Parkinson property, we drove up on to land and then continued towards Sturgeon Bay. I got there just in time to take the Baileys Harbor Stage at one o’clock. The stage driver for Baileys Harbor had Mrs. Mary Moeller in the Union Hotel make a sandwich for me and then I rode home.


The Cutter Ride

In the winter, when I was young, my mother would beg our brother Sam to take us for a cutter ride after school. He sure disliked doing it but one afternoon he finally took us. When he got up to the spot where the two roads meet, he turned the horse around so fast that the cutter tipped over and we all fell out . . . along with a mouse. It scampered out of the upholstering in the cutter and ran away on the snow. That was the last cutter ride for a while.


Christmas Tree Boat

Sam was a surfman for the Kewaunee Life Saving Station. While standing watch on a gloomy November day with intermittent snow flurries, he suddenly saw a three masted schooner flying distress signals. He immediately reported it to the keeper. The keeper came up and took the glasses but he could see nothing in the storm.

Kewaunee always had the old boats. A heavy southeast sea was running and the keeper evidently was afraid to try and go to the rescue with their poor boats. Instead, he called Two Rivers and told them the schooner had been sighted. The Two Rivers men went out but could find no signs of her.

It must have been the ill-fated Christmas Tree Boat that my brother saw. I think that Sam was the last person to see the ship before it went down.

Later there was an investigation and the keeper lost his job.

The Boat That Foundered

When Sam was a keeper at Holland Station in Michigan, a ship was lost in his district. There had been some heavy winds when it did not make port. The wreckage was picked up not far from there.

At the time of the disappearance, Sam had a young fellow subbing for a vacancy in the crew. This young man happened to tell some of the members of the crew at the station that he had sailed on the missing ship and it was nothing but a coffin it was so old.

Someone must have told the authorities about what he had said because he and Sam were called to the investigation. It was a trying thing to go through. Neither Sam nor the young fellow could give them any information about what happened to the ship.

Several weeks went by and Sam had not received his mileage or what ever pay he was to get, so he asked this young fellow if he had. The fellow answered Sam, “No, and I do not want any.” Sam thought it quite a joke but they were both eventually paid.

Later Sam chose this same boy for a regular in the crew. He thought the fellow had carried himself pretty well at the hearing.

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