1944 Aug 3 GBPG P1 Obit Photo

 Photo courtesy: Green Bay Press Gazette, August 3 , 1944, Obiturary, page. 1.

Riggie Dwyer

Photo by: Dennis Jacobs


Photo by: Dennis Jacobs

St Marys Of The Angels

Photo Courtesy: 1910 postcard of the St. Mary's of the Angels (Polish Catholic Church) Monastery (left) Church (Center) School (Right).

 IMG 0255

Photo by: Myrna Dickinson

Ebeling Mill

Photo Courtesy: BCHS-DUG01- Photograph of the Ebling Flour Mill on South Washington Street.
From the Bethe Postcard 1910

 Ebeling Tombstone

 Photo by: Dennis Jacobs

  Denis Business

Photo Courtesy: Denis Store in Bay Settlement about 1925.  Photograph from the Jacobs Family Archives.

Denis Tombstone

Photo by: Dennis Jacobs

Rahr Brewery

Photo Courtesy: Rahr Brewery from the Souvenir of Green Bay 1903

Rahr Brewery Explosion Tombstone

Photo by: Myrna Dickinson

Desnoyers Photo

Photo Courtesy: Obituary Photograph, Green Bay Press Gazette September 17, 1945  Page 1

Desnoyers Photo2

Photo Courtesy: Frank Desnoyers riding on the new city bus, November 18. 1937  Page 1

Desnoyers Tombstone

Photo by: Dennis Jacobs

Eva Blood Waggoner Photo

Photo Courtesy: Women of Northeast Wisconsin: Dreamers and Doers, Volume I.

Eva Blood Waggoner Tombstone

Photo by: Myrna Dickinson

John Arndt Phto

Photo Courtesy: Painting is 1856. Possibly by Brookes and Stevenson.

 John Arndt Tombstone

Photo by: Dennis Jacobs

Oshaughnessy Business

Photo Courtesy: Green Bay County Seat  1915.  The building was recently renovated into apartments.  Located near North Broadway and Kellogg Street.

Oshaughnessy Tombstone2

Photo by: Brooke Uhl

Oshaughnessy Tombstone1

Photo by: Brooke Uhl

 Hagerty Business

Photo Courtesy: This circa 1905 postcard shows the three story American House at the Northeast corner of Washington and Walnut Street.

 Hagerty Tombstone

Photo by: Dennis Jacobs

 Lucia Photo

Photo Courtesy: A.J. Lucia and brother Howard Lucia in the first car in Green Bay a Duryea in 1901. Green Bay Press Gazette July 18, 1934 Transporation section page 12

 Lucia Business

Photo Courtesy: The first showroom on North Adams Street from 1916. The building is currently Republic Chop House. Green Bay Press Gazette March 18, 1916 Page 11

 Lucia Bros

Photo Courtesy: 2nd showroom for Lucia Brothers on North Adams Street. Image is from 1934. Lucia Brothers moved to the new building in 1924, it later became the Packer Playadium in 1941. Green Bay Press Gazette July 18, 1934 Transporation page 13

 Lucia Bikes

Photo Courtesy: Interior of the Lucia Brothers bicycle shop about 1900. Green Bay Press Gazette July 18, 1934 Transportation section page 12.

 Lucia Tombstone

Photo by: Myrna Dickinson

 Francis Sullivan Photo

Photo Courtesy: Green Bay Press Gazette, March 26, 1918

Francis Sullivan Ww1 Parade

Photo Courtesy: Brown County Historical Society Digital Archives, Registration Day Parade on June 5, 1917. New Recruits.

Francis Sullivan Ww1 Parade2

Photo Courtesy: Brown County Historical Society Digital Archives, Registration Day Parade on June 5, 1917. Different lodges and fraternal groups marching in the parade.

Francis Sullivan Ww1 Parade3

Photo Courtesy: Brown County Historical Society Digital Archives, Registration Day Parade on June 5, 1917. Different lodges and fraternal groups marching in the parade.

Francis Sullivan Tombstones

Photo by: Dennis Jacobs

 Anna Borremans Obit1

Photo Courtesy: Green Bay Press Gazette, August 19, 1947.

Borremans Tombstones

Photo by: Brooke Uhl

 Christian Hochgreve Photo

Photo Courtesy: Obituary Photo, Green Bay Press Gazette, 1939. 

Hochgreve Brewery

Photo Courtesy: Image of Hochgreve Brewery from “Souvenir of Green Bay 1903.” 

 Christian Hochgreve Bier Into The Fox Photo

Photo Courtesy: Green Bay Press Gazette, 1924.

 Hochgreve Tombstone

Photo by: Dennis Jacobs

Ida Cooke Photo

Photo Courtesy: Green Bay Press Gazette, 1939.

Ida Cooke Tombstone

Photo by: Myrna Dickinson

Baum Photo

Photo Courtesy: Green Bay Press Gazette, May 4, 1927.

Baum Department Store

Photo Courtesy: 1914 Baum's Department Store. From Dennis Jacobs Collections.

Baum Tombstones

Photo by: Dennis Jacobs


Photo Courtesy: Green Bay Press Gazette, 1946.

Desire Maes Tombstone

Photo by: Myrna Dickinson






Please help support our Programs by donating today!

"If Tombstones Could Talk" Tuesday: September 29, 2020

Rigney L. Dwyer: 1896-1944

Let me introduce myself, my name is Rigney L. Dwyer, but all my friends call me Riggie. I was born on April 18, 1896 in Ontonagon, Michigan.   My father moved the family to Green Bay a few years later, and we settled on the west side of the city. I attended St. Patrick’s Grade School, then went West High School, where I fell in love with the sport of football and basketball.  It was in High School that I became a star football player, playing right end mostly and scoring numerous touchdowns.  I graduated from West High School in 1916 and serving our country during the Great War (World War I), I became an apprentice in the machine shop of the Milwaukee Road.

It was August of 1919, when an article appeared in the newspaper about setting up a football team for the Indian Packing company.  I went to the meeting along with my younger brother Clem, and we joined the team.  Earl Lambeau or Curly as many called him coached the new team.  It was very interesting, many of my new teammates were once high school rivals, putting our past behind us, we made a hell of a great football team.  The following year I returned to the team for more football. It was on November 24, 1920, about 2 o’clock in the morning, while working my railroad job, when I tripped or fell, I really don’t remember which, and ended up under the train. My left arm and my left leg were crushed.  It was screams that alerted the other workers, who rushed me over to St. Vincent’s Hospital. My leg and arm were amputated, and I began a long road to recovery.  To help pay medical bill, my fellow teammates played a charity game where they raised a little over $4,000. I stayed a total of 14 weeks in the hospital, thank goodness I had my Victrola to help pass the time that is until those darn nuns took it away stating it violated the hospital blue rules.

People were amazed that the loss of an arm and a leg never stopped me, it slowed me a bit. It was two years after my accident when I ran for Register of Deeds for Brown County and won, I held that office for 22 years. I took my last breath on August 2, 1944, dying at the age of 48.  Before my death, I had completed the election paperwork for the upcoming primary in August.  And I won election by a about 200 votes, even in death I can still win a public office. 
















"If Tombstones Could Talk" Tuesday: September 15, 2020

Joseph Servotte: 1862-1940

My name is Joseph H. Servotte. You may recognize my name as my brother, Ernest, and I were builders under the firm name of Servotte Brothers between the years 1888 - 1906. Many of the stately homes in the Astor neighborhood were erected by our firm. In addition to building homes, Ernest and I erected the Franciscan Monastery on Cass Street, which I understand is now an apartment complex with one- and two-bedroom apartments, called Friars Flats. It is heartwarming to me to see the Monastery has been restored rather than demolished! We also built St. Patrick’s school, put an addition on Joanne’s Wholesale grocery house on Washington Street, and were awarded the contract to build a Government school and assembly hall on the Oneida Reservation.

In 1906 I dissolved my ownership in the Servotte Brothers firm and went to work at the Green Bay Planing Mill Company, which was not doing well at the time. Under my leadership the company grew and expanded. After 6 years I realized I preferred being in business by myself, so I sold my interest in the mill.

Soon after, I received two contracts, one was the building of Howe school and the other was to replace the old Adams House on Adams Street. It was an old wooden hotel…an eye sore, built in 1854…a fire hazard! I was awarded the carpentry work on the three-story building, while Marcel Lambeau, Curly’s father, did the mason work.

I was active in civic affairs in both Green Bay and Brown County.  Because of my building expertise, I was part of the building committee for the courthouse. Our responsibility was to read bids submitted by architects, visit other courthouses and look at plans. We settled on Charles Bell from Minneapolis as architect.

When the Metropolitan Sewerage district was organized in 1931, I was one of the first commissioners appointed by the court and served as secretary of the commission until I died in 1940. Buried here beside me at Allouez cemetery is my wife, Mary (Lefebvre) and two of my three children.

"If Tombstones Could Talk" Tuesday: August 25, 2020.

John H. Ebeling: 1836-1918

I was born in Holstein, now part of Germany, on February 23, 1836 to Johan H. and Anna Ebeling. My father was a miller by trade and taught me how to run and operate a grist mill to produce flour. My brother Henry and I left the port of Hamburger on March 5, 1864, I arrived at New York City on March 24, 1864. I then made my way to Wisconsin and settle in Mishicot where I worked for a local miller. In 1866, I made my way to Green Bay and eventually operated a flour mill in New Franken. My flour mill barely escaped the flames of the Great Fire of 1871, only to catch fire and burn to the ground on November 4, 1876.

I then moved back to Green Bay and partnered with Henry Straubel to construct a new flour mill on South Washington Street at the base of Doty Street. When Mr. Straubel decided to retire, I purchase his share of the business and ran it with my sons. I decided to trademark my brand name “Cream of Wheat” flour, but I learned that three other mills in the country were using that same name. I hired a patent lawyer from Milwaukee and went to court. Since I was able to prove the age of my mill, I won the case and trade marked the brand.

In 1907, I retired from the flour mill, turning over control to my sons. My wife and I moved to Los Angeles because the winters were starting to affect my body. It was there on January 15, 1918, that I pass away. I started this life with limited income and leave it a wealthy man. I invested much of my money into stocks, and my wealth was estimated at $405,000, or in value of today 8.5 million dollars. As for my flour mill, it is sold to outside investors from Minnesota in 1933 and closed. In 1938, the owners sold the mill as salvage, and it is soon torn down.








"If Tombstones Could Talk" Tuesday: August 11, 2020.

Gregoire Denis: 1841-1923

Hello, my name is Gregoire Denis, and I have a rags to riches story to share with you. I was born in Belgium on February 8, 1841 to Ghislain and Jeanne Denis. Father decided to move to America in 1855, I was left with a family friend to continue school, but soon after my parents left, the man I was staying with had all his property seized due to debt and I was homeless. An uncle took me in, so I could continue with my schooling. In 1856, father sent word to sell of his lands in Belgium and for me to join them in America. So, in April of 1857, I sailed to Canada and then on to Wisconsin to be reunited with my family.

In 1861, I married to Mary Depereaux, a widow, who operated a small restaurant in Bay Settlement. To earn extra money, I took up work with the Chicago Northwestern Railroad in Appleton as a general laborer. My wife and I saved up $65.00 so we could establish a small general store in a log building near the catholic church. In 1867, I build a new larger store with living space above. Mary died in 1869, I married Antoniette Schieger a year later.

In 1870, I became postmaster for Bay Settlement, which meant people had to visit my store to collect their mail. Besides the store, I owned a saloon and ran a small banking real estate business. Soon I owned hundreds of acres of land, my store was always busy, and I was making money. To show off my wealth, I built a large home across the street from the store in 1889. It was the finest home in the Town of Scott.
I passed away in 1923, and my store stored in 1940s. All that remains of my empire is the large home at the corner of Church and Bay Settlement Roads.






"If Tombstones Could Talk" Tuesday: August 4, 2020.

The Horrific Deaths at Rahr Brewery: 1887

An aging obelisk, with names and dates fading, stands near the old red chapel at Allouez cemetery. Buried within the obelisk’s shadow are five men killed by an explosion at the Rahr brewery located at the time on Main Street.

Those men were August Delforge, age 45, and sons Frank, age 20, and Joseph, age 14, John Heibe, age 32, and John Biemeret, age 34. Another victim, George Huber, age 21 lies buried in his family’s plot at Allouez.

The full details of the scalding deaths were published in the August 11, 1887 Green Bay Advocate, a week after the horrific deaths. According to the Advocate, Mr. Rahr had been putting in a new steam boiler and the brewery had been closed. The changes were nearly completed with the new boiler having been tested to 150 hydrostatic pressure. The men were making changes in the evening of August 3, with plans to reopen the brewery on August 4.

The quarter inch copper kettle, with a capacity of 100 barrels, contained 70 barrels of water at the time of the explosion. The kettle had been in use several years without incident.

Suddenly, at about 8 o’clock, the kettle exploded and fell over on it’s side on the stone floor of the room, filling the room with hot, scalding water and intense steam. Mr. Delforge was struck on the head by a falling timber and pinned to the floor where he lay bleeding in the scalding water. The others were scalded or burned and died from their injuries within a few hours.

The day of the funeral flags on all public buildings were placed at half mast and there was a tolling of many bells. Five of the men were members of St. John’s church where the services consisted of requiem high mass. Then the caskets were removed to the hearses and the procession proceeded to the Catholic cemetery.

The explosion, heavy as it was, did no damage whatever to the building. Mr. Rahr considered his loss a mere trifle and would rather have seen his whole brewery swept away than to have had this shocking loss of life. He was greatly distressed over this tragedy and did all in his power for the relief of the unfortunate families.



"If Tombstones Could Talk" Tuesday: July 28, 2020.

Frank B. Desnoyers: 1859-1945

Hello, I would like to wish you a fine how do. Name is Desnoyers, Frank B. Desnoyers. I am sure many of you know the name. My father was the 2nd mayor of Green Bay and I was the 27th person to be mayor. Funny thing is, even my stepfather, Dr. Charles Crane, served as the 17th and 19th mayor. So, I guess being a mayor was in my blood.

I was born and raised here in Green Bay. My father, Frank Desnoyers, whom I was named after, was a very successful businessman and owned a number of buildings and property along Washington Street. The most famous of these buildings was Uncle Frank’s Block. The building stood for sixty-six years, until in 1930, when it was torn down to make way for the new Woolworths at Cherry and Washington Streets. My father passed when I was nine years old. Such fond memories I have of him and all his stories of the early days of Green Bay. It was four year later, when mother married Dr. Charles Crane, who treated me as if I was his real son.

Since my time is short, let me tell you one quick story. It was 1894 I was on the city council, the city of Fort Howard started operation of an electric streetcar service, a year later the streetcars came to Green Bay. I along with the mayor and other city council members were aboard the first official transit of our streetcars. I had ridden streetcars before, but this was the first time here in Green Bay. The early tracks served just the immediate downtown area, but they soon expanded into outlying districts. One line expanded to De Pere and later to Kaukauna; another ran to Duck Creek. A popular summer line ran out to Bay Beach. Forty-three years later in 1937, I was aboard the last streetcar, which was celebrated with a parade. The street cars were replaced with motor buses. How I miss the clang of the bell and the occasional sparks caused when moving from wire to wire at intersections, but a city must keep up with changes. So next time you ride the city bus, think of me and the streetcars that once graced our streets.

















"If Tombstones Could Talk" Tuesday: July 21, 2020.

Eva Blood Waggoner: 1884-1979

When I was a child, my father told me and my 6 brothers and sisters, “The big thing in life is service to others.” I’ve seen the better part of my 96 years in service to others, living my father’s creed.

My name is Eva Waggoner Blood. Born in Oconto, but raised and educated in Green Bay. Upon graduation from East High School, I took secretarial classes at Green Bay Business College and later in Chicago where I received a teaching degree in stenographic.

After my marriage to Lee Blood and while working in the Mayor’s office days and teaching at Green Bay Business College evenings, I joined the newly formed Green Bay Women’s Club, an organization formed for the betterment of the community. I saw an opportunity for “service to others,” and as a member of the child welfare committee in the club, I organized the Visiting Nurses Association, covering children from cradle to school and beyond.

In 1922 after returning from a YWCA convention, I saw a need for girls from 12 - 18 and formed a group called “Girls Reserve” and later the “Y - Teens.” Our motto was, “It is not the way the wind blows, but how you set your sails.”

In addition to working to serve children and family needs, I was President of the Brown County Historical Society, and as president I spearheaded a drive to raise money to move the historic Cotton House to its present location in 1938. I was also active with the Gray Ladies at Bellin Hospital, the Green Bay and De Pere Antiquarians and the Republican Party. Lee and I found time to teach Sunday school at the First United Methodist Church.

I passed away in 1979 at age 96 and am buried with Lee at Woodlawn cemetery. I’m proud to say my father’s motto became mine, “do for the service of others.”






"If Tombstones Could Talk" Tuesday: July 14, 2020.

John Penn Arndt: 1780-1861

I want to wish a fine day to all of you fine folks. Let me introduce myself, I am John Penn Arndt. I have been asked to tell you a bit about myself, which will be hard to do, since I lead a very busy life. I was born in Buck’s County Pennsylvania. I never knew my mother, she died giving birth to me, so I was raised by my grandparents. When I was old enough, I joined my father, Phillip, operating a store. In 1797, I moved to Wilkes-Barre and opened a tavern, or as you folks call it today a hotel.

My tavern was located across from a ferry on the Susquehanna River. I wed a young lady named Elizabeth Carpenter in 1799, and we started our family.

My father joined us in Wilkes-Barre and we expanded out business into boat building and lumber. About 1821, I moved my family to Mackinaw Island, in which I got involved in the fur trade. A few years later, the American Fur Company forced me to move. So again, I moved the family, this time to a small French settlement called La Baye, or as we call it today, Green Bay. I purchased a large log home owned by the De Langlade family and opened a tavern for the traveling public. It was the first hotel in the area. I also started constructing durham boats for the transportation of products on the Fox River. I became a true entrepreneur in the area, if I saw a need I made it happen. From lumber to bricks, even two sailing ships, I seemed to have my hands into everything. You would think with all these ventures, I would be rich, not so, the depression of 1837 hit me hard.

I got into politics as Wisconsin became a territory and held a number of posts at the local and the territorial level. I was part of the county board as the county was being divided up into towns. I suggested many names for the new towns, but many were never used.

I lost my dear wife Elizabeth in 1860, such a hard-working woman she was. My death followed a year later in 1861. To this day, if you listen carefully, you can still hear the frogs in the swamps around the area saying my name. Old John Arndt, Old John Arndt.



"If Tombstones Could Talk" Tuesday: July 7, 2020.

John E. O'Shaughnessy: 1859-1933

My name is John E. O’Shaughnessy. I was born in Fond du lac in 1859 to Patrick and Elizabeth (Madden) Shaughnessy. They immigrated to America from the Emerald Isle in 1848, during the potato famine. Father worked many odd jobs until, like many of his fellow countrymen, he found work as an employee of the Northwestern railroad.

For 16 years he worked in the car-repairing department, saving money wherever he could with the dream of owning something of his own and not having to work at the “beck and call” of someone else.

He saw the need for a place to stay while traveling through, or working in, Fort Howard so he resigned from the railroad and built a hotel called “Hibernia House,” a rooming house for area businesses. At age 16, I put aside my book learning to assist in the hotel, knowing the hotel would eventually be mine.

The family lived in the rooming house in separate quarters and by 1883 we needed to expand the hotel, adding additional rooms and renaming the rooming house “Northwestern Hotel.” Father opposed the renaming because Hibernia is the Latin name for “island of Ireland,” and he believed the hotel was an “island” for the workers living here. I felt the name, “Northwestern,” was more in keeping with the times.

After I passed away in 1933, my wife, Sarah, and son, Harold, managed the hotel. The Northwestern hotel went through a number of changes over the years, including a homeless shelter.

Father would be happy to know it is now an upscale apartment building called The Hibernia!







"If Tombstones Could Talk" Tuesday: June 30, 2020.

John Hagerty: 1828-1897

I would like to wish you a good day and a fine how do you do. My name is John Hagerty and I was born in Aclare, Ireland. I was 19 years old when my family sent me to America in 1847 due to the potato famine. I first settled in Cherry Valley, New York which is near Albany. It is there I got married to my loving wife Ellen. We soon moved from New York to Wisconsin. I worked hard doing odd jobs and saving money. All that hard work paid off. In 1858, about ten years after I arrive in Green Bay, I constructed a modest hotel on Pine Street between Washington and Adams Streets, calling it the New England House.

When the railroad came to town in 1862, and the bridge across the river was constructed the following year, I established a taxi service, known as the Omnibus from the depot to my hotel. I also purchased a piece of property at the corner of Washington and Walnut Street near the new bridge. Because of the prime location, I had house movers jack up my hotel and move it two blocks to the corner lot, renaming the hotel, City Hotel in 1865. When new and larger hotels are constructed in the city, I decided to remodel my small hotel. So, in 1876, I have builders jack the building up twelve feet and construct a new first floor under it, which contained a new dining room, bar room and kitchen. I then cover the whole building in brick, and once again I change the name of the hotel to the American House.

I was 68 years old when I developed a bad cold, and as you all know, those bad colds can turn to bronchitis. I ended up in St. Vincent Hospital. The bronchitis coupled with my asthma made breathing difficult. On February 4, 1897, I drew my last labored breath. I was laid to rest in the family plot at Allouez Catholic Cemetery. As for my hotel, it continued on until 1906, when Dr. John R. Minahan purchased the property and razed the old hotel to make room for his new office building.

This circa 1905 postcard shows the three story American House at the Northeast corner of Washington and Walnut Street.







"If Tombstones Could Talk" Tuesday: June 23, 2020.

William J. Lucia: 1885-1956

I understand on August 8, Brown County Historical Society is hosting a Roaring 20’s Road Rally. Participants will “race” to various historic places in Brown County, answering questions about historical events of the 1920’s and earning points for a prize at the end destination. Hot dog! I wish I was still alive to join in the Rally fun!

I’m one of the Lucia brothers. There were three of us, A. J., Howard and me, William J. My brothers and I were the first automobile dealers in Green Bay. Our business was on Adams St.

It was a “nationwide craze” that got us into the automobile industry. Brother Howard was a bicycling enthusiast and, at age 17, he won a bicycle competition, in Oconto County July 4, 1895. His winning that competition, and his ability to repair bicycles, marked the entrance of the Lucia Brothers in the bicycle business in Oconto. Four years later we set up another shop in Green Bay.

Between 1900 - 1907 the “Horseless Carriage” had started creating quite a sensation…it was a novelty…one that surely wouldn’t last.

Our interest, tinkering ability, and youth drove us…literally…out of the bicycle repair business and into the auto repair business. We believed there was a future in that noisy “horseless carriage.”

Soon, in addition to repairing automobiles, we started bringing autos into our shop to sell. In later years we were the official Packard dealer in Green Bay.

Both A.J. and Howard passed away when they were fairly young and I didn’t have the health or desire to continue the business without them, so in 1936 I sold the business to Rhodes Stathas who had been with our business for many years. I was pleased with him and the sale arrangement. He changed the name from Lucia Brothers to Green Bay Motors Incorporated.

Stop by our Lucia Family plot at Fort Howard some time. The whole family, along with our parents, are together.

































"If Tombstones Could Talk" Tuesday: June 16, 2020.

Francis Sullivan: 1897-1918

My name is Francis Sullivan and I am the son of Irish immigrants. Our family has never had much money, but Pa tried his best to give us all a comfortable life. He worked in the lumber yards and later traveled to Upper Michigan to work the lumber camps. It is at one of those lumber camps where he suffered a serious fall that ended his life. After Pa’s death, my older brother Thomas Jr started working for Green Bay Western Railroad, so we have some money. But we soon were moving from house to house. 

I had been going to school at St. Patrick’s Catholic School but due to continued money troubles I left after the 7th grade. I worked odd jobs until I began working at the Diamond Match Company stacking lumber in the lumber yard. I still remember the day in 1917 when President Wilson declared war against Germany and the United States became part of the Great War. I did not want to sign up at first but then Battery B and E here in Green Bay did a parade on June 5th and most of the city turned out to watch the soldiers march through the city. I signed up with Battery B on July 3, 1917. 

It was my first time leaving Wisconsin, not to mention leaving the county. Who would believe it, a poor man like me, heading overseas to England. I had been in the Army for 9 months, when I passed away on March 18, 1918 at Liverpool, England from an infection. On March 21, 1918, my poor Ma received a telegram telling of my death. It read.

“Mrs. Ellen Sullivan, 309 S. Maple Ave., Green Bay, Wis.
Deeply regret to inform you that it is officially reported that Private Francis Sullivan, Field Artillery, died of angina Ludovici, March 18.
“Adjutant General”

My body was shipped from England back to Green Bay. And I arrived about April 20th with my funeral at St. Patrick’s Church taking place on April 23rd. My grave is honored each year as being the first Brown County resident to die during the Great War. Even the local American Legion post chose my name for the name of their post.































"If Tombstones Could Talk" Tuesday: June 9, 2020.

Anna Borremans:1877-1947

Saturday, June 6, the 103rd season of the Farmers’ Market began on South Washington St. in downtown Green Bay. Oh My, how it has changed from the many years I was a market gardener!

Why, the gardeners now must be 10 feet apart, with the shoppers counted and controlled for numbers! Shoppers and gardeners are asked to wear face covering and to leave their children at home. It seems there is some kind of a pandemic, similar to the flu that raged through the country in 1918.

My name is Anna Borremans and I was a market gardener, as were my parents, my husband’s parents and many who immigrated to America from Belgium in the 1870s. Many of us settled in Fort Howard in our own little Belgian community bordered by Broadway on the east, Platten on the west, Dousman on the south and Mather on the west.

I married at 17 to Alphonse Borremans and we continued the market gardening tradition that our parents had enjoyed. We were successful for the time, accumulating 40 acres of land, six head of cattle and three horses.

Unfortunately Alphonse died of Typhoid Fever when he was only 42. He may have contracted the disease from tainted ground water from emptying the chamber pot out the window or he could have eaten food that was contaminated according to Dr. Minahan, his attending physician.

I was left with 7 very young children, 40 acres, cows and a gardening business. Through hard work, a helpful family and good fortune, I was able to make a comfortable living for myself and children selling produce and butter.

I suffered a stoke and passed away at age 70 feeling very fortunate. All seven of my children were alive and living near me and I had 16 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.

While visiting Fort Howard cemetery, please stop at my family plot and view our family monument.





"If Tombstones Could Talk" Tuesday: June 2, 2020.

Christian Hochgreve:1877-1939

Cheers to good Beer or Prost auf gutes Bier as my father used to say. I am Christian Hochgreve, but my good friends always call me Chris. I was born into a brewing family. My Father, August Hochreve and Mr. Henry Rahr established a brewery in what is now Allouez, today known as the Hochgreve Brewery. I often joke that I was born in a brewery, or at least next door to one. 

The brewery business was not always easy, we almost lost the brewery when father died unexpectedly. My mother and older brother worked hard to pay the debts and make the brewery profitable. Things were going well, until the “Drys” got the Volstead Act passed into law and Prohibition shut down all our operations. 

We started to brew near beer, but in a secret vat, I continued to brew real beer. I contacted Mr. Peter Joseph, a former saloon owner, now taxi driver to see if he would take part in a beer delivery plan. We delivered cases of beer to his house on Oakland Avenue, and he would then deliver beer to clients with his taxi. Things went well for the first three deliveries, but on the fourth, we got busted by the feds. It was March 16, 1924, when the delivery truck was stopped and five of us were arrested. On May 12, 1924, the federal agents opened the value to the secret tank and 2,500 barrels of good beer flowed into the Fox River. Many people teared up as the amber fluid streamed into the river, where only the fish could enjoy it. I was sentenced and served six months for violating the Volstead Act.

It was the morning of September 12, 1939 that I wasn’t feeling myself, so I left my office in the brewery and went next door to my home. Brewery workers found my dead body around Noon, I had died of a heart attack. The brewery continued to operate until 1959, when the corporation board decided to shut down operations.























"If Tombstones Could Talk" Tuesday: May 26, 2020.

Ida Cooke: 1852-1939


Good heavens! The Drink Demon strikes again! I was witness in 1933 when the tavern doors swung open after 13 years of being closed during Prohibition. With the passage of the 21st Amendment, allowing the sale, production and consumption of alcohol, thirsty men and women rushed in to taverns to consume the vile beverage! Oh how it broke my heart!

As a staunch member of the WCTU...Woman’s Christian Temperance Union...I dedicated my life to helping “fallen men” and their families. Through reading rooms and church activities at Union Congregational church, I enlightened young people to the evils of “the drink.” As State Treasurer of WCTU for 29 years, I proudly kept accurate account of membership, dues, and fees incurred by the organization.

My, my...I believe it is a good thing I am “tucked away” at Woodlawn cemetery. I would not want to be witness to the possible devastation “the drink” or the virus may reek upon the innocents of the community because of opening the tavern doors








"If Tombstones Could Talk" Tuesday: May 19, 2020.

John Baum: 1861-1927

Hello, I am John Baum, of Baum’s Department store.

It was 1861 that I was born in Russia and for the most part life was good. That is until 1881, when Tzar Alexander II was assassinated. For some reason, the blame was cast upon the Jewish people at which point life became much more difficult for me and my family, since we’re Jewish. 

I sold all my processions for what money I could get for them, and book passage for America. I arrived in Green Bay in 1887 with basically the clothes on my back. 

One of the first things I did was purchase a small hand cart and some household items, then went door to selling. Within a year I saved enough money to open a store, I called the Main Street Fair Store. Eventually I needed more room, so I moved the store into the D. W. Britton Block at the corner of Main Street and Monroe. Over time I purchased the three-story building and Baum’s Department Store became a shopping destination for the area.

In 1922, I retired from the business, turning over operations of the store to my son, Ceil. Now that retired, I had promised my dear friend, T. W. Hagerty we would do a motor trip into Canada this year, but I had to postpone it until July. My health wasn’t the greatest, so I traveled to Chicago to see a specialist. It was there I died on May 4, 1927. I guess I will not be making that trip with my dear Hagerty.
















"If Tombstones Could Talk" Tuesday: May 12, 2020.

Desire Maes: 1861-1946

When I hear the expression, “He toots his own horn,” I get a bad impression of the person. I think he is a braggart or vain, someone to avoid. But in my case, I DID toot my own horn...a cornet. I tooted it most of my 84 years. I am Desire Maes, and if you’ve been to the Allouez cemetery walk, you’ve met me.

I began “tooting my own horn” after I immigrated to America. I joined Kimball’s Silver Band, organized in Green Bay in 1884. We were given bright new instruments and white uniforms with gold trim. The city, thrilled by our appearance and music, kept us engaged at park and indoor concerts and other functions. Though popular, the Silver Band disbanded after 5 years.

When M. J. Heynen formed a men’s concert band in 1902, I became one of the founding members of that band. The band, now known as Green Bay City Band, will be starting its 118th consecutive season this summer.

Obviously, I won’t be “tooting my own horn” as I passed away in 1946.