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Our future flows from our past.

Ripon Historical Society 508 Watson Street Ripon, WI 54971 USA 920-748-5354 Betsy Stanfield, Editor

Cemetery walk highlights Ceresco settlement By Betsy Stanfield Several of the area’s earliest settlers found their final resting place in what is now known as Woodlawn Cemetery on Ripon’s west side. Some of these early residents were featured during the Society’s cemetery walk on June 24. About 30 people participated in the walk and learned about Ripon’s past through the experiences of farmers, soldiers, homemakers and businessmen. “Every grave tells a story,” said Lara Grant, organizer of this year’s walk. “Woodlawn Cemetery is especially interesting because of the connection to the Ceresco settlement. When these folks came to this area there was nothing but wilderness.” Warren Chase, leader of the Wisconsin Phalanx group, purchased five acres of land in 1845 near the Ceresco settlement for use as a cemetery.
Gary Wetzel strikes a pose as one of the area’s early farmers.

Originally called “Ceresco Cemetery,” the first person buried there in 1845 was a woman named Caroline Dank. The cemetery was renamed in 1902 and became a part of the Ripon Cemetery Association. The Wisconsin Phalanx came to the area in 1844 and formed a community called Ceresco. This group adhered to the teaching of French Social philosopher Charles Fourier. Known as “Fourierites,” one of the distinctive traits of the group was their belief in communal living. The Fourierites disbanded in 1850 and Ceresco was absorbed into Ripon. Many thanks to the volunteers and visitors who helped make the cemetery walk a success.
Lara Grant portrays Lois Hitchcock who died in 1861 at age 93.


Tracy O’Brien joins Ripon Historical Society board By Betsy Stanfield Many who grew up in Ripon remember “Mr. O’Brien” as a teacher and athletic coach. Tracy O’Brien recently retired from teaching and has taken on the new role of board member for the Ripon Historical Society. He is also serving on the Society’s Education Committee. A lifetime Ripon resident, he has a wealth of local knowledge and the desire and skill to share this knowledge with others. Welcome to the team, Tracy!

A new and (very!) easy way to give By Norm Loomer You can give financial support to the Ripon Historical Society, and it won’t cost you a cent! It’s true! If you shop online at Amazon, Audible, Best Buy, Coldwater Creek, or hundreds of other stores, a percentage of your purchases — sometimes more than 10% — can go to the Ripon Historical Society. Here’s how you do it:  Go to  Register (the first time) or log in (thereafter).  Choose a museum to support (Ripon Historical Society, of course).  Select a store and start shopping. You will see a long list of online stores, and next to each you will see the percentage of your purchases that will be paid to the Ripon Historical Society. It’s painless, and it benefits the Society. Give it a try! The museum is almost ready! By Betsy Stanfield The Interiors Committee continues to make excellent progress and the new museum could be finished and ready for a grand opening as early as September. Some of the big tasks that still need doing include straightening and organizing the kitchen and the parlor. Kudos and congratulations to everyone who has worked to make this transformation a success. Watch for the grand opening and be sure to join us for the celebration!


Artifacts Corner By Carol Sachen Donations to the Society in the last six months include prints of Chicago and Northwestern railroad depot and Oakwood Lodge, Ripon coin banks, Welcome Wagon 1965 gavel, holiday- and birthday-themed Naylor figurines, two Brownie cameras, two buttonhooks advertising Ripon businesses, Horner library table and chairs, Pedrick-Lawson House furnishings, WWII gunner’s pouch, Ripon Hardware sign, Cream of the Crop WWII National Guard roster, and five Eve Faustman watercolors. Thank you to donors Betty Armstrong, Bruce Buslaff, Diane Christenson, Ann Fallon, Tony Frommelt, Jeff Hunger, George Miller estate, Steve Riemer, Marty Valasek, Brian Wood, and Bill Woolley for adding to the Society’s collection. May Program: Steinbring details Ripon’s military history By Jeff Bumby On Thursday evening May 17th, Jack Steinbring spoke to approximately 20 society and community members about Ripon’s military history up to WWII. With his usual good humor and enthusiasm, he followed our history beginning with the Civil War. Jack pointed out that Ripon responded almost immediately following the firing on Ft. Sumter in 1861 with a number of volunteer units; the “Ripon Rifles,” the “Ripon Guards” and the “Rough and Readies.” A number of other units would be raised later on in 1862 and 1863. Infantry regiments that had a number of Ripon soldiers were the 4th. and the 20th. The 4th. Wisconsin eventually became mounted cavalry. Three companies of the 1st. Wisconsin Cavalry were initially camped at Ripon College and later at Kenosha. All of Ripon’s soldiers, with a few exceptions, fought in the war’s western theater. Jack focused on the parallel lives of two officers from the Ripon area; O.O. La Grange and Edward Daniels. These two men had very similar and outstanding lives which Jack detailed. Jack spoke of Ripon’s reaction to the Spanish American War of 1898 and the First World War 1914-1918 with the Jack Steinbring shares his extensive knowledge of US entry coming late in the fighting in 1917. Jack gave Ripon’s military history. brief biographies of three soldiers who had distinguished careers in the fighting of WWI; Frank A. Brown who was killed, Major E. G. Prellwitz and Captain A. R. Bucholz who would die as a result of wounds years later. On another interesting note… Jack presented the Society with a copy of a novel his daughter Amelia wrote titled “Ceresco.” See our story on the cemetery walk for more information about the Ceresco settlement. We congratulate Amelia on her work and look forward to reading it! And there are more interesting programs on the way…  On Thursday, Sept. 20, Roberta Walker will share the history of the National Forensic League. Did you know this national competitive speech organization is headquartered in Ripon?  Thursday, Oct. 18, Betsy Stanfield will re-introduce us to Harvey Grant, Ripon’s first mayor and describe her efforts to rehabilitate the Grant family plot at Hillside Cemetery.  In November, the Society will hold its annual business meeting. The date has not yet been decided. -3-

Ripon Historical Society 508 Watson Street PO Box 274 Ripon, WI 54971 USA

Mark Your Calendar! All events will be held in the Society’s Meeting Room at 508 Watson Street Sept. 20, 7 p.m. History of the National Forensic League Oct. 18, 7 p.m. Rediscovering Harvey Grant, Ripon’s first mayor November, date TBD Ripon Historical Society annual business meeting