......The citizens of Mukwonago, through Dr. Collins, tendered an invitation to the Association to convene its next meeting at this place, as, owing to the inclemency of the weather, the attendance had not been as large as expected. ..."
2 o'clock P.M. – Jas. Lovell in Chair. Went into committee of the whole, Dr. Collins, of Mukwonago, in Chair. Several resolutions were discussed by Bros. James Lovell, W.S. Hawkins, Revs. Searles, Hollis, and others. O.M. Tyler, Esq., appeared and took the Chair. Under the head of good of the Order, speeches were made by Rev. Mr. Hollis, of Genesee, and Dr. Collins, of Mukwonago, which were decidedly good.
The Convention was very harmonious, and the whole proceedings were calculated to advance the interests of the cause, which is near and dear to every true Good Templar. Adjourned sine die.
"Miss Alura Collins, the energetic advocate of total abstinence and woman suffrage, was married last Wednesday at her home in Mukwonago to a Mr. Hollister, who resides, we believe, in the neighboring town of Vernon. The bride has the esteem and friendly regard of all who know her, notwithstanding her "advanced" ideas, and that the wedded life of Mr. and Mrs. Hollister may be long and happy will be a wish echoed from the heart of every acquaintance."
Thirty years ago a circle of Mukwonago girls organized the "Old Maids" club, and each year since that time they have held a reunion, at the home of one or another of the members, or in a convenient grove, where the reunion took the form of a picnic. Alura Collins, one of the "Old Maids," for years, now Mrs. Alfred Hollister, is the scribe of the circle and each year writes of the meetings for the benefit of the members of the club who cannot attend. Her last letter describing the reunion of 1908 appear-in a recent number of The Mukwonago Chief, as follows:
"Dear Ida: – Thirty years! It does not seem possible, does it, that thirty years can have passed over our heads since that bright August day in 1878?
"Last year the girls, as you know, came to our house early in October, and at that time Ella invited us to her lovely home in Waukesha for this year's meeting and two or three weeks ago she came to Mukwonago to make arrangements, but we have been having such excessively hot, dry weather and every one has felt so exhausted from its effects that no one wanted to go far from home, and so they decided to have it at Mukwonago and as Nettie expressed a desire that we should go to the woods, as we used to years ago, we did so; we went to the wood lot on the Sewall Andrews land, north-east of Floyd's barn. When I first heard of it, I said I couldn't go, but Clark was not willing I should miss it and Lou said she would take me with her, so I went. The ride seemed so good to a shut-in like myself.
We found the girls there, Joe and Rose, Teen and Nettie, Addie and Bettie, Mina and Lillie, Dell, Ella, Eva, Ellen, Alma, and a few minutes later came Dr. Evelyn by the electric, then Lou and myself, Berry and Emeline. We had our dinner on the ground and only two or three of us felt any inconvenience from thus sitting. The rest seemed to sit a comfortably as if it were thirty years ago and their bones and muscles were limber as in those days.
"Dinner was very good and we were genuinely hungry and we cleared the cloth pretty well. We had lemonade and I am sorry to tell you that, in the absence of glasses enough to go around, Teen and Dell tried to use a pint can between them and they were continually scrapping about it, each accusing the other of drinking such quantities, and I really don't know which told the truth, but somebody drank a lot, for I am almost sure that the can was filled more than twice. Biscuits and brown bread, cheese, salmon salad, meat loaf, jelly and preserves, cake and pies – really you wouldn't think we could have eaten so much. Oh yes, and beautiful candies to "top off" with. We were all sure we had not eaten so much at one meal since last October.
"After dinner, we sat around on the grass and talked. Dr. Evelyn had been to the National Prohibition convention; that, and the nomination of 'Gene by the convention of course led our talk in that direction. We were all glad and proud that 'Gene should be so honored; it makes no difference that he can not be elected – the fact that he is respected enough to head the party which has helped to make the great prohibition wave which is sweeping over the country, was enough for us, his old friends and comrades.
"Some of the girls lay down upon the grass and finally Bettie said that if our good dinners were going to make us feel like lying down, we had better have only bare necessities next time, and depend more on a "feast of reason." You should have seen the energy with which Teen, Rose and Dell came to an upright posture and heard the vehemence with which Teen said they wouldn't lie down any more, because they were sure they wanted something to eat besides reason. Dr. Evelyn brought news of the recent marriage of Emma Cade and that news gave rise to gentle raillery upon the liklihood of some of number following the example.
"So went the dear hours spent together once more. We did not name those dear ones who have gone, but each of us thought lovingly of them all and we could not name them. Five years ago, at Teen's some one said that it was possible we might all live to meet again, after twenty-five more years, but since that day, five years ago, three of our number our gone from us.
"At last, Lou lead us in Auld Lang Syne and once more we went our several ways.
Alura C. Hollister,
Mukwonago, Wis., Aug. 8, '08."
Forty-five years ago a group of "old maids" in Mukwonago, some of these "old maids" being as young as twenty and others as old, perhaps, as thirty, gave what they called an "Old Maids' picnic", little thinking then that for forty-five years more their picnics would continue. That first picnic was held on the banks of Phantom lake, was an all day affair and the bountiful basket dinner that followed hours of swimming, romping through the fields, caring for the horses that had been unhitched and allowed to graze while the owners basked in the sunshine or gathered flowers which they tramped through the woods to seek, were all features that those same "old maids" remember with pleasure today. And then to cap the day's pleasure there was the drive home in the cool of the early evening of that perfect August day, as the horses hoofs hammered over the hard dirt roads of the countryside.
The "old maids" had so good a time that they have continued their picnics into the years.
The latter day picnics have eliminated the swimming. The "old maids" have not raced and romped through the woods, nor climbed trees, nor done many of the things they did at those first gatherings, but they have quite as good times now, although they make their journey to the assemblage in automobiles instead of with the horses they used to drive and come over smooth concrete instead of over the dirt roads of yore.
Many of the old maids became wives but still they would not forego the fun of their annual picnics but they broke the original rule barring men and let their husbands attend, too. This year they met as usual, and here is a letter written, the Freeman suspects, by Mrs. Alura Collins Hollister, although it is signed only A. C. H. It was sent to "Alma" who, the Freeman is equally sure, is Miss Alma Cobber of the old Mukwonago days.
Here are excerpts from the letter:
Perhaps you in your room of convalescence, may wonder that you have heard nothing from the forty-fifth annual picnic of the "Mukwonago Old Maids." They told me I must write about it, for the benefit of those of us who were away.
It was a wonderfully bright, cool day and the dust of our long continued drouth was laid by a fine shower the day before. We met at Teen's again this year.
It seemed good to see the faces of these life long friends again; there were our hosts, Teen and Andrew, Rose and Mr. Owen, Frank and Ella Smart and their grandson, Francis, all from Waukesha; Bettie, Dell and Meb, Mina Lobdell, Eva and Hattie, Addie and George, Ellen, Lou and Fred, Bertha and Bert, Dr. Evelyn Hoehne from Milwaukee, Alfred and myself.
All were on hand early, even Bettie, and dinner was served in good season in Teen's lovely living room, on two tables. The tables looked very pretty and were of course covered with the wonderfully good food always served by "our girls." We even had the black currant jelly, which is a little harder to get these later years because of the lack of help in caring for bushes. We missed your candy, which has been a part of our feasts for so many years, that its absence was quite conspicuous. After dinner we sat out on the lawn.
The men went to look at the new viaduct over the Soo line for awhile. Teen and Ella gave readings in their inimitable manner and Dell spoke a few earnest words in remembrance of Laura Chafin, Jane Miller Homedew and Mina Lobdell's daughter, Ruth. Laura and Ruth were with us last year. Lou and Fred sang some old time songs as no one but they do sing them. We talked and told stories as of old, yet we all thought much of the many who have passed on from among us.
There were a few words from Eleanor and a long and good letter from Hattie. And at last, as for so many years, Lou led us in Auld Lang Syne and another dear day was gone.
Your friend, A. C. H.
The 18th of September, 1926, will long be remembered in the minds of the pupils of Mill Valley school district as the culmination of a long thought of dream; the dedication of their new school building.
This dedication was unique in as much as the invitations were sent to all former students and teachers of this school.
The afternoon program consisted of an opening address by the school clerk followed by the dedication of the flag pole and grounds, both of which were donated by a former student, Mr. Julius Heil of Milwaukee. After several short talks by former teachers, Mr. Heil gave the concluding address.
School Over Filled.
In the evening the crowd was so large that it was impossible to conduct the exercises in the building and so the chairs were moved out onto the commodious grounds and the program held there. After a very pleasing musical program by the "Kitchen Klenzer" orchestra of Big Bend, Dr. W. A. Garfield of Carroll college gave the closing address.
This was followed by dancing in the basement of the new building.
Alura Collins Hollister Writes.
More than seventy years ago the people about here were pioneers in a new strange land – a land covered largely by forests – with now and then a little hamlet, generally clustered about a post office or a mill; beyond these only now and then a house. But every few miles was a church and even closer together were school houses, often log ones, sometimes a room in a house, some times taught by the lady of the house.
Mr. Fletcher tells me that before this old school house was built, 72 years ago, a school was taught first in a log house and later in a log school house.
Those pioneers were anxious about the school of their young people and sacrificed much to give their children a chance to learn.
Tribute to Old Teachers.
When my father, Dr. W. P. Collins, taught in this old school house, 70 years ago, it seemed to my childish eyes that the room was filled with men and women, so large and old they seemed. Ten years later I taught here myself and still there were pupils who seemed old to me, older than I was, but without the opportunity I had had, first under my father's tuition and later under our wonderful teacher, T. W. Haight.
Seventy years is a long stride from tallow candles to electric lights; from ox teams to automobiles, tractors, electric cars and machinery. These changes are far greater than the changes in methods of teaching have been; knowledge is still reached by application of the "3Rs."
Not All New Is Good.
The changes that have come in methods of teaching are apparently not all improvements, as witness the complaint from our great departments in Washington that much time is wasted in consulting the dictionary, because of lack of knowledge of the alphabet. Those of us who learned our alphabets in the old fashioned, regular way are never at a loss in consulting our dictionaries and never waste time as do people who learned to know their letters by the word method. Time saved in the beginning seems to be really lost in later years.
Reading Greatest Teacher.
After all, the first R – "reading" – is most important of all, for the one who is taught to read, as an old county superintendent, Mr. North, used to say, "Intelligently and intelligibly" has in his power the gaining of all knowledge. Seventy years ago few people had means to send children to higher institutions of learning – no high schools then – so teachers often had to help some struggling young mind to grapple with higher learning desired – had to give a few moments here and there or after school.
Paid $1.50 for Board.
When I taught here 60 years ago, I think my salary was $20 a month and I paid $1.50 a week for my board. I was near sighted and wore glasses which seemed very queer to every body as at that time almost no young people wore glasses. One little fellow, much younger than children are allowed in school now, when he first saw me, ran out of the school house crying and when I sent an older child out to question him, he sobbed out that he was afraid of that teacher with the glass eyes.
The people about here were from eastern states, from England and Scotland; only one German about here and two German families near Mukwonago. I am struck by the few familiar names on your committees. Only Blott, Fletcher and White are names of 60 years ago and I am quite sure none of the names of 70 years ago are left. Those pioneer times were strenuous times and took from us very early the men and women who made the times, but who left us with their splendid influence for truth and right living.
Alura Collins Hollister
Sept. 17, 1926."
Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Hollister, Mukwonago, celebrated their golden wedding anniversay Sunday at their home in Mukwonago.
Mrs. Hollister was Alura Collins, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. William Collins and Mr. Hollister is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Hollis Hollister.
In the same house where they were married and now reside, they pledged anew their vows of 50 years ago. They were married by the Rev. Florence Kolleck of the U. and U. church. A dinner was served and children, grandchildren and two great grandchildren were present.
They also held open house Sunday from 2 to 5 o'clock in the afternoon to greet their many friends."
"Editor of Freeman:
I was surprised at the item in the last Freeman in regard to the age of the Waukesha Public Library.
Mukwonago's library dates from 1847 or 1848 and was, I think, brought into being by the efforts of Miss Ray. The Ray family at that time llived near Beulah and the first volumes for the library were carefully selected by Miss Ray. The Rays were always deeply interested in learning and Waukesha and Walworth counties have reason to remember their interest in such matters. More recently Mukwonago Library received $500 from Mrs. Parthena Chafin Stockman. It seems as if there must be some mistake as to the age of Waukesha's library, as Waukesha also was blessed by the presence of members of the Ray family.
Alura Collins Hollister."
"Mr. and Mrs. Stacey and children, Chicago, spent the week-end at the Hollister home."
The last probate term of the County court until the regular September term, Tuesday, Sept. 7, will be held Tuesday, July 20, when twenty-five matters will be disposed of by Judge David W. Agnew. The calendar comprises hearing on claims in the estates of DeWitt Edwards, ..."
"Mr. and Mrs. William Hollister of Troy Center called last Friday at the home of their daughter, Mrs. C. Calpin."