I made several major changes to MAGI. The main changes are behind the scenes and a) make it easier for me to add new content and b) allow MAGI to be expanded to include more areas of interest in the future. The changes that are visible to users are mainly stylistic, but I did add 1900 U.S. Census data. Yes, the 1900 Census is readily available for free from FamilySearch, but adding the data to MAGI helps make MAGI more of a one-stop shop for Mazomanie genealogical data. One other feature you might notice when looking at census data is that transcriptions of the source are now included in MAGI. This will eventually be expanded to include the other existing citations.
The Mazomanie Historical Society will hold its annual Ice Cream Social Sunday, September 14 in the Westland Promenade in downtown Mazomanie from 1:30-3 p.m. Ice cream will be served and donations will be accepted.
The museum will be open so those who have not had a chance to visit this year can see the additions to displays that are new this year. An antique animal treadmill which used animals such as dogs, goats and sheep to power churns, washing machines and cream separators can be viewed in the tool room. The Civil War display has additions related to the G.A.R. and the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War. A stop in the jail will reveal new doors to the three jail cells which were added last year.
Take a look also at a work in progress. The bank along the museum parking lot is being improved by board member, Dennis Schafer. Check with him if you would like to assist with this improvement to the museum grounds.
The Mazomanie Historical Society museum will open for the 2014 visitor season on Sunday, May 25 and Memorial Day, Monday, May 26. The museum located at 118 Brodhead St. is open from 1-4 p.m. on Sundays and holidays: Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day and Wild West Day parade day, Sunday September 7. Appointments for other times and tour groups can be made by calling 795-4355.
A recently donated artifact is already attracting attention and will be on view for the first time in the Thiers Tool Room on opening day. An animal operated treadmill used to power pieces of equipment such as cream separators, butter churns, washing machines, fanning mills and corn shellers was used long before electric power was available on family farms. Dogs, goats and sheep were trained to walk on the belt-driven treadmill thus saving time and energy of humans and allowing them to do the other great many other tasks needed to keep the farm and home in operation.
The treadmill was donated by Phil Hodgson from the Hodgson family which lived west of the village of Mazomanie for four generations*. Neither Phil or his brother, Joe, who delivered the treadmill to the museum ever saw it in use but had been told it was used to operate a cream separator. Several years ago it was found in the farm granary and Phil then decided to put it back in operating condition by making replacement wooden treads and other minor adjustments. The tread mill, manufactured by the Vermont Farm Machine Company, Bellows Falls, Vermont, has a brake and the incline can be adjusted to two different positions, one of course making the animal work a bit harder, similar to the treadmills people use today to enhance and maintain fitness.
Joe compiled a Hodgson family history which includes the four generation:
- Ben, Don, Claude, Paul, Phil, Barb, Evelyn, Joe, Averil, Verna & Ned
- Their parents: Joe & Effie Hodgson
- Their grandparents: Ed & Rose Hodgson
- Their great-grandparents: Benjamin & Mary Ann Dawson Hodgson
The family farm eventually passed out of the family and to present owners, Paul & Julie McKee.
The treadmill is now part of the dairy exhibit in the museum and will be on display for long term. This was a treadmill to power other machines and aid people in their work.
Today’s treadmills are now used by people who may not perform enough physical work or activity and to help them to get and stay in better physical condition.
The museum needs to be ready for the visitor season when it opens Sunday, May 25. A clean-up morning has been planned for Saturday, May 10 from 8:30- until 12:45 or until the work is completed. There is a wide assortment of tasks that need to be done—dusting, vacuuming, washing glass surfaces, sweeping out the jail and airing the inhabitant and the bedding, removing the sheets covering everything in the tool room and shaking them out, folding and storing in boxers, cleaning the restroom, setting out chairs and the sign by the sidewalk, and more.
Dennis Schafer is working to clear the bank of overgrowth and will be planting bulbs and mulching on his own time. He may want help with this at other times than on the 10th. If you like outdoors work, you might check with him to see if he would like assistance.
The Mazomanie Historical Society will hold its annual meeting Sunday, January 26th at 1:30 p.m. followed by a special program at 2 p.m. featuring Frank Wolf who will discuss the railroad and Mazomanie.
The annual report of the society will be presented during the business meeting. Dues and donations for the Benefactor Drive will be accepted and an election of officers will take place. The nomination committee will present a slate of officers for consideration. Nominations may also be made from the floor.
Immediately after the business session, local historian Frank Wolf will present an illustrated talk about the railroad in Mazomanie. The span covered will range from 1856 to the present day. His research will culminate in a forthcoming book which he anticipates will be published this summer.
He will describe the considerable influence the railroad has had on the village since the it was platted in 1855. Frank conducted a thorough search of some 400 railroad people who were associated with the operation of the railroad in the village. He has sketched out sixty railroad men from thirty families most of which have relatives still living in the area, including names such as Cooper, Hodgson, Lawler, Lucey, Royston, and Salava. Questions and discussion will be welcomed.
All members, guests, and the general public are welcome to attend.
Several changes have been made to the site, the foremost of which is the addition of a blog. The blog will contain information about MHS news, website updates, museum exhibits, events, etc. The main page of the website will store current news items. For all other blog posts, please visit the main blog page. Alternately, you can go to the drop-down menu above, select News and then Blog. If you are an RSS feed aficionado, you can subscribe to our RSS feed here to keep up-to-date with our blog posts.
To go along with the blog, we also have new widgets on the right side of every page of the website. These include website submenus, MHS hours, Mazomanie population statistics, MAGI statistics, etc.
Finally, we’ve added one more new feature: This Month In History. This contains the same entries as the Timeline, but organized by month. Once enough entries are added (sometime in the distant future), this will morph into This Day In History.
The Mazomanie Historical Society has opened a mid-season new exhibit which correlates to the All Around Downtown-1850-1900 exhibit that opened earlier this year. The focus for the satellite exhibit focuses on secret societies and fraternal organizations that formed in the Mazomanie area during the last half of the 19th century.
Secret societies provided many important benefits to their members, not the least of which was a sense of community. Indeed, it has been said of this period that a town was not truly established until it had its own Masonic lodge.
Crescent Lodge No. 97, Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons was formed in Mazomanie when a dispensation was granted in 1857 for the organization of a lodge and in June the following year a charter was granted. As membership in these types of organizations has dropped in recent years, many have disbanded or consolidated with neighboring lodges. The Black Earth and Mazomanie Masonic lodges have combined as Crescent Valley Lodge No. 97 and now meet in the Masonic building in Black Earth while the Masonic building in Mazomanie is used for other purposes.
In 19th century America one’s community and peers were often defined by secrets. This was the golden age of fraternalism and the United States had literally hundreds of such organizations. Each had their own “mystic” traditions and esoteric rites. For most, these groups served purely social purpose. Others joined secret societies for business connections, financial protection and even insurance benefits. All found—in an age before T.V. and the Internet—an appreciated escape from everyday life.
The Mazomanie Grange, Patrons of Husbandry, No. 318 was organized January 10, 1874 and its purpose was to promote economic and political well–being of the community and agriculture, and to create direct cooperation between farmers and consumers, and to provide social activities for isolated farm families. Order of the Eastern Star, Odd Fellows and Modern Woodmen of America may remain as some of the more familiar organizations but those such as Mystic Workers of the World and the Mendotas–Montezuma Council, No. 8 or the Scientific and Literary Association of Mazomanie and Black Earth are unheard of today.
The museum is located at 118 Brodhead Street and is open Sundays through September 8, 1- 4pm or by appointment, 795-4355 or 795-2549. The society’s Research Center is located in the Mazomanie Free Library; to contact historian, Virgil Matz for an appointment call 767-2305.
–Rita Frakes, Curator
All Around Downtown, a new exhibit for 2013, features a photographic tour of downtown Mazomanie between 1855 and 1900. Both exterior and interior views are displayed along with vintage advertisements from the local newspapers. Period artifacts of various businesses are also included. The museum is open on Sundays from 1 to 4 pm until Labor Day.
Ornate pump organs from the Victorian period, the late 1800s and into the early 1900s, were a common fixture in many household parlors. According to the 1897-1909 Sears, Roebucks and Montgomery Wards catalogues, they ranged in price from $21.50 to almost $65.00 depending on the type of wood and the extra features such as beveled mirrors or fretwork.The Mazomanie Historical Society Museum has two such organs on display this season with one of them newly acquired this year. Stenciled on the organs are BESTOR BROS. MAZOMANIE, WIS and D.L. BESTOR, CROWN, MAZOMANIE, WIS., which at first would leave one to believe that the organs were manufactured in Mazomanie. Just as today’s car and truck dealer’s have their dealer name and address affixed to the vehicles, Bestor Brothers and D.L. Bestor did the same with the pump organs and sewing machines they sold, first in Black Earth and then later in Mazomanie. A treadle sewing machine with the Bestor name on it is included in the display.
Excerpts from the Mazomanie Sickle are as follows:
March 5, 1892: Black Earth: Bestor Bros. seem to be doing quite a good business in sewing machines and organs. Sever Lee has invested in a new $350 piano.
December 6, 1895: Bestor Bros. have dissolved partnership. D.L. Bestor and family have moved to this place. Mr. Bestor will start a music store here. Hugo Welsch’s store building has been partitioned off so as to make three separate stores. One being used by himself, one has been rented by D.L. Bestor and the third by Knapp Bros. D.L. Bestor has opened a general store. 37 Crescent St. (Mazomanie)
January 10, 1896: D.L. Bestor has disposed of about two carloads of pianos or organs since December.
Further research indicates that the Geo. P. Bent Piano Co. was established in Kentucky in 1879 and moved to Chicago in 1889 when it added the name CROWN to its pianos and organs. As the economy started to get bad in the late 1920s the company was sold to the Winter Piano Co. in 1927. Winter immediately discontinued the Geo. Bent name in 1927 and added the CROWN name to its line of instruments.
Also from the Sickle is the obituary for David L. Bestor, 1860-1929, which included the following. “Mr. Bestor was engaged in the farm implement business at Black Earth for a number of years before coming to Mazomanie in 1897. After five years in the retail business, he organized the Mazomanie Telephone Co. which he managed successfully until his 1916, when he retired from active business”.
The museum which is located at 118 Brodhead Street is open summer Sundays and holidays from 1-4 p.m. and by appointment. For more information or an appointment call 795-2992.
–Rita Frakes, Curator
A new display at the Mazomanie Historical Society Museum coincides with the 100th anniversary Girl Scout celebrations all across the U.S. this year. Area residents and current scout leaders have contributed numerous items and memorabilia to create a display that features many aspects of the scouting program.
According to accounts in The Sickle, the earliest known Girl Scout troop in Mazomanie formed in 1945 and it held a mother daughter banquet the following May in the Mazomanie Community Building. Some but not all of those scouts include Lois Reeve, Betty Westland, Shirley Duhr, Mary Sears, Virginia Ohnstad, Kathleen Shackleton, Marilyn Gust, Mary Fangmeier and Betty Lou Solon.
The scouts were active through the 1950s and 1960s and then inactive until Mae Wildt helped to revitalize the program. Mae had been a scout herself in the Milwaukee area in the mid 1940s and then became leader of Troop 666 which included daughters Karen and Lisa. Now granddaughter Sidnee is a Brownie Scout. It is not unusual for generations of a family to become involved in the scouting program.
Black Earth scout, Kathy Bomkamp, and best friend, Carrie Obright, were very active in the 1970s and 80s. Eventually, both received the Girl Scout Gold Award, the symbol of Girl Scouts highest achievement in 1982. Mother, Irene Bomkamp, was leader of Black Earth Troop 303.
Currently there are nine troops which include Daisy (kindergarden & first grade), Brownies (second and third grade), Juniors (fourth and fifth grade), Cadettes (sixth, seventh & eighth grade). The tradition of girl scouting is very strong at this time with the involvement of 13 leaders and many, many girl scouts.
The display includes uniforms, photos, projects, camping experiences, memories, and memorabilia from the Girl Scout celebration held in Madison on May 5, 2012. The society is compiling a list of past and present scout leaders and personal memories from people involved with the scouting program. Paper and photos can be copied and returned to the owners. For more information and/or to contribute, contact Rita Frakes, Curator, 795-4355 and Virgil Matz, Historian, 767-2305.
The museum located at 118 Brodhead Street is open summer Sundays from 1-4 p.m. or by appointment, 795-2992
–Rita Frakes, Curator