delay. Yours received
some days ago inquiring about one Bill Johnson, for whom Johnson Falls
on the Peshtigo river is said to have been named. I have had
other inquiries in recent years in regard to him. Whatever may have
been known of him has been lost with the passing of his contemporaries,
or those immediately following.
so far as the Chippewa
chief, White Eagle, who used to visit Thunder Lake (Dutch) Frank. I was
intimately acquainted with him and his tribe. His Indian name was
Waba-skip-a-ness, and I may add that Waba lake was named
although at present it is spelled Waubee, a corruption of the original
Lake in Oconto County, WI).
I lived for several years within calling distance of the tribe on the
lake and l acquired a smattering of their language. I frequently
employed one of the women to assist in heavy work. The children
tribe became very friendly and brought me odd formations of plants,
stone specimens, and other curios.
click on the image for full size view
Photo contributed by Mike
that in the early
history relative to Peshtigo river and vicinity that a man (name and
date unknown) became lost in the country north of the river and
wandered many days without food or shelter. In his wanderings he
approached the river near Cauldron Falls and hearing the roar of the
water made his way to the stream and followed its course until he
reached civilization. It may or may not have been Johnson. He brought
with him a sample of silver ore very rich in the precious metal. His
ambition was to return with others and locate the place where he found
it. However exposure had done its work and he died leaving only a
meagre description of the location.
the early '80s a Mr. McCaslin
and son Henry of Oconto prospected until they located what they
believed to be the silver mine and began operations. Before they got
any tangible results, however, the son was shot accidentally while
handling a shot gun and the father returned to Oconto. I have never
heard that anyone ever made another attempt to mine in that locality.
The place is now known as McCaslin mountain and brook.
shall be glad to give you any
information I can about the early days of my pioneering in that
vicinity, or of the few inhabitants."
Florence A. Buckman.
in the 1960s, Florence's
daughter, Lenore (Buckman) (Nickel) Beck, wrote
mother's life in the following story titled:
mother was a woman of
fiercely decided traits, and when she thought she was right, she had
the courage to stand by her convictions. For instance, she hated
liquor, and if my father happened to be talking to someone in front of
a saloon, as she passed by she refused to even nod at him. Eyes front!
In later years she was convinced she had heart trouble, although
several doctors assured her that the contrary was true. She felt they
didn't want to alarm her by telling her the truth, so she insisted on
an impaired heart until she died of a stroke at the age of 81.
Florence Ada Hubbard June
22, 1858, she was raised at Brier Hill, New York, on the St. Lawrence
River. She married quite young to William Waite, who was much older
than she. Shortly after they were married, he had a tailor cut
pair of trousers, took them to Mother and said, "sew these up for me."
She hadn't the slightest idea what to do, but being spunky, she ripped
up an old pair, jotted down step by step how they went together, and
made the trousers.
her daughter was four years
old they went South, hoping to find help for her husband's failing
health. As he did not improve, they decided to go West to the
mountains, and set out for Helena, Montana. By this time Mother was an
accomplished seamstress, even doing tailoring, and was supporting the
that time the railroad only
ran as far as Omaha, Nebraska, and the rest of the way was by
stagecoach. When they reached Omaha, Mother said, "We are so tired,
let's not take the stage out today, let's get a nights rest at a hotel,
and go out tomorrow." So they did that, and later they heard that the
first stage had been held up and robbed by road agents.
the second day out, the driver
stopped his horses, got down, opened the stage door, and whispered,
"Has anyone got a gun?" Everyone thought, "road agents," and
men got out with guns ready. The driver pointed up the hill where a
mountain lion lay asleep with his head on his paws. Several men fired,
but the lion never moved a muscle. Then the driver laughed. The lion
was a very life-like combination of logs and rock.
coaches were built to hold
nine people, but the passenger list numbered fourteen. Mother became so
tired that her head dropped onto the shoulder of the man next to her,
and she slept. Her husband tried to rouse her, but the gentleman said,
"Just let her sleep, she is all tired out."
a dressmaker, Mother easily
got work, but her husband's health continued to fail. She had relatives
living near Abrams, so they decided to come to Wisconsin. By then the
railroad had pushed on to Helena, and the return trip was made in
Wait passed away in 1882, and
mother later married Winfield Hale. Mr. Hale was a Civil War
veteran and loved the woods. Starting atrading
post for the
they moved into a log cabin on Waubee Lake in Oconto County. They
bought venison hides, berries, and other things from the Indians, and
sold them cloth, flour, guns and staple goods. They also ran a hunting
camp for hunters from the cities.
wealthy man from Chicago
decided to rough it and camp by himself. It didn't turn out so well and
he sent a member of his party to my mother and asked if he could borrow
her cook stove, as his chef did not know how to cook over an open fire.
band of Chippewa Indians lived
across the lake. The chief's name was Waubeskibinas, hence the
name Waubee Lake. his son was Modoc and his daughter was
Kenewaubeque, which means morning flower or morning glory.
morning Mother was washing
clothes outdoors when the Indian women across the lake started to wave
their arms and cry, "Shkode, shkode!" A couple of them came running
around the lake. They dashed up to Mother's cabin. Each grabbed a
couple of pails and raced to the lake, filled the pails with water and
ran back to the house. Mother was dumbfounded, she couldn't figure what
it was all about. But the roof of the cabin was on fire and the Indians
had seen it. The "shkode" meant fire.
day one of the Indian guides
was in the woods and stepped over a log, right into a nest of bear
cubs. Of course they squealed and the mother came running. She took a
swipe at the man's head with her paw, pulling his scalp down over his
face. He tried to lie perfectly still, but the blood began to smart and
pain his eyes unbearably. He tried, very carefully and slowly, to move
a hand up over his eyes. The mother bear saw it, grabbed his wrist and
chewed it through and through. The guide managed to endure the pain and
lie quietly until the bear had coaxed her cubs out of hearing. When he
decided it was safe to move, he crawled out on his hand and knees, back
to camp. Luckily, he recovered.
trading post hauled their
supplies by horse and wagon from Crivitz, about fifty miles away. The
nearest neighbor was five miles away, and once Mother rode there on
horseback to get a "setting" of eggs, a dozen or so, as she had a hen
who wanted to "set." That is, the hen wouldn't get off her nest, but
wanted eggs put under her. She would set on these for three weeks, only
coming off once a day to eat. At the end of the three weeks, the eggs
had fluffy little chickens inside of them who broke the shells with
their bills, and came out into the world.
Indians loved pictures, and
as Mother papered her walls with newspapers, more for cleanliness than
beauty, the Indian women would come in and study the illustrations.
Sometimes they would become so absorbed and quiet that Mother would
forget they were there. One day, however, they cried out angrily,
shaking their fists at a picture of Indians, "Eyah, Eyah,
Winnebagos! Winnegagos!" It seems there was enmity between
tribes, and by their moccasins, they had recognized the Winnebago
handled her own birch bark
canoe, paddling all over the lake, trapping, skinning her game, and
curing the hides herself. I really think she enjoyed this period of her
life to the very fullest. She surely could adjust herself to any mode
don't know how long they lived
at Waubee Lake, but they did make quite a lot of money, and they
decided to go to Alaska. If it had gone through, probably mother would
have hunted Polar Bears, and learned the Eskimo language, as she had
started down the Mississippi
River by boat, but at New Orleans, Mr. Hale became ill with some fever,
and they returned to Wisconsin, where he passed away within a short
click on the image for full size view
Warren L. Buckman,
Photo contributed by Mike Churchill
Levi Fredrick Hale,
son of Leonard and grandson of Jinks Hale,
born Thresa, Jeffereson County, New York, April 19 1853, died Crivitz, Wisconsin, November 7, 1938
1888, she married my father,
Warren L. Buckman. When I was five years old, my brother Albert, or
"Buckie" as he was known all his life,was
born. The house we lived
then was also an Indian Trading Post. This one, built by my father
around 1883, was the first building constructed on the site that would
later become the village of Pike, later re-named Amberg. Father was
raised in Brown County, but came north as a young man. Loading his
wagons with goods, he traveled up the old Pine River Road until
reaching the rapids below "Dow Dam" on the Pike River, where he pitched
his tents and sold his wares to the loggers at the nearby camp. The
following year he built a permanent structure, our house, and began a
business trading with the Indians at White Rapids on the Menominee
River and with the loggers at the various camps.
I was 10 years old, we moved
onto a piece of wild land west of Amberg. My father being a carpenter,
hastily threw up the shell of a house. The windows, all chewed by
porcupines, came from an abandoned lumber camp. The doors were strips
of carpet, nailed at the top. When it rained, we would anchor them at
the bottom too and hope for the best. But bit by bit, it became a full
were pretty rugged, and
Mother could economize as no other person I ever knew. She would make
out a grocery list, then go through it and cross out everything we
could get along without until the next trip to town. Spices being
cheaper than vanilla, we had spice cakes for several years. When we
moved, my brother and I located and ate what shredded coconut Mother
had on hand, and it was a long , long time before we had any more.
course, we had cows, "Baby,"
"Cherry," "Fawn," and Mother would skim the cream off the milk and make
butter. Then she soured the skim milk and made cottage cheese. Then she
took the whey from that and made whey buns. If she had been asked, I'm
sure she could have found a way to utilize the squeal from the hogs at
the packing houses.
usually worked at several
jobs at once. For instance, we always had griddle cakes for breakfast,
and between turnovers, she would dash into her bedroom, and by the time
the cakes were all fried, her bed would be made too. But I must confess
we often ate burned griddle cakes.
didn't feel as though there
was anything in the house for company unless she had white cookies,
cookies, and doughnuts, often frying a big batch of doughnuts before
made all our clothes, and
knit our long black stockings. When she was small, and walked along the
road to play with her cousin, she always carried her knitting bag on
her arm, and knit as she walked, so she just could not remember when
she learned to knit. She didn't make our shoes, but she did make
buckskin moccasins the way she learned from the Indians.
always had fancy work ready
to grab up at every spare moment. It was a matter of pride that every
pillow slip she owned, made of flour sacks, of course, either had lace
or embroidery on it. One year she kept track of the garments she made,
and it averaged one a week.
she did, she threw
herself into it wholeheartedly and was so interested in everything at
hand. I think Mother must have lived by two mottoes:
"Never put off till tomorrow
what you can do today."
"Never buy anything you can
had supreme contempt for
anyone who bought canned goods from a store. We had a lady hotel keeper
and Mother used to say of her, unflatteringly, "She dashes to the
grocery at eleven in the morning, and again at four, and comes home
with her arms full of tin cans and paper bags."
never had fresh fruit or
cookies from the store. Two things I remember. When I had mumps, along
with my girl chum, her mother bought bananas for her, and I didn't have
any. Then our neighbor, a foreign lady, died, and the family invited us
for lunch after the funeral, as was their custom. And they served
frosted store cookies and LUMP sugar-- a red letter day for me. I don't
suppose I had ever seen lump sugar before.
my father's death, Mother
applied for an army pension, Mr. Hale being a veteran. And of all the
papers she had to produce! Her birth certificate, all three of her
marriage certificates, all three death certificates, Mr. Hale's
discharge papers, and other military information. How she ever managed
to hang onto them, I'll never know. Of course, it took a long time and
a lot of searching through trunks and boxes in attics and basements.
Finally she had everything except Mr. Hales death certificate. Repeated
trips to the hospital where he died, in Marinette, and searches through
newspapers of that date, failed to turn up the information. At last the
office girl at the old M&M hospital in Marinette had an idea.
said, "We have one more chance. I believe we have some old records
stored in the attic." And there she found Mr. Hale's bedside chart
which was acceptable, and Mother finally received a pension of forty
dollars a month.
the first time in her life
she felt security, and she surely enjoyed it. She invested in a
permanent wave--I think her first one was twelve dollars, dresses by a
dressmaker and so on. It must have been a wonderful experience, after
having denied herself so much all her life.
Mother had great
tenacity and stuck to a project, there were two things that had her
stumped. She could never learn to make tatted lace, nor to ride a
bicycle, and she surely tried.
lifetime project also failed.
Willie Dickenson, eight years old, disappeared on his way home from
school, in a Michigan town, where his father was superintendent of a
mine. Willie was in sight of someone all the way home except for a
short strip of timber. Workman on the road saw him enter this, but no
one saw him come out into the open. Some thought a disgruntled miner
might have abducted him, and others laid it to the Indians. All her
life my mother hunted Willie Dickenson. She wrote hundreds of letters,
and called numerous Indians to our home for interviews. Several times
she thought she had located him, and she did restore a couple of boys
to their parents, but she never found the boy she was looking for. His
disappearance is still a mystery.
summer she was seventy-five
years old she developed uremic poisoning which clouded her brain, and
her mind was gone all summer. She didn't recognize us, and called me
Sarah, the cousin with whom she had played as a child. She recovered in
late fall, but it seemed as though part of her had died. She was quite
different from then on.
she was eighty-one years old
she had a stroke. At first she could speak and kept asking what day of
the month it was. She lived two weeks, and as she grew weaker and
unable to talk, she would point to the calendar. We couldn't imagine
why, but on November first, her pension check came. She made us
understand she wanted to sign it, so we helped her, and that evening
she passed away. Her indomitable will didn't fail her, but kept her
going until the very last--that of a very remarkable woman."
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