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CIhe

Vs
Waupun Mayville Horicon Hustisford
Upper and Lower Rock River Basins

WASHINGTON CO.

Map showing the Rock River as ir winds through the Upper and Lower
Rock River Basins, from Waupun to Beloit, Wisconsin (DNR image)

Cover: Horicon Marsh Main Ditch, South of One Mile Island, October 1991.
- The Rock River Runs Through Us - Introduction

Introduction
We all grow up some place. We come of age some place. And we live our lives, raise our children and finish our own
story some place. In thls book, we have attempted to document our "sense of place" explorations at the headwaters of
the Rock River including the four communities as they touch and relate to the River and the Horicon Marsh. The goal is to
share our experiences to motivate all of us to take action to protect our special place.

This book represents the efforts of volunteers from Waupun, Mayville, Horicon and Hustisford . Our Marsh Commu-
nities project, involving Waupun, Hustisford, Horicon and Mayville, was modeled on the first area Sense of Place Project
in Mayville, in 2003. Then, beginning in 2005, Waupun, Horicon and Hustiford each hosted their own Sense of Place
events. Our purpose, to examine and record in one place, aspects of the cultural histories and environmental realities of
the Horicon Marsh communities and relate them to the overall flow of the Rock River and the Horicon Marsh, was a
daunting task. Some activities were successful and others floundered. Some were never in the original plan at all!

So ... welcome to our place among the cattails and ponds, the panoply of nature, and the lessons dearly learned at the
beginnings of one of America's historic rivers.

~NATIONAL
WISCONSIN
WILDLIFE
REFUGE DEPT. OF NATURAL RESOURCES
SYSTEM

Ho1ioon Ate• roundcalion

FRIENDS

-~
The
NATIONAL BANK
of Waupun
HORICON NATIONAL
WJLDLIPE :REFUGE
HORICON BANK

3
Table of Contents
Pg3 ................... INTRO DUCTION

Pg 4 ................... TABLE OF CONTENTS

Pg 6 .. ............................ The Power of Place by Molly Stoddard

Pg9 ............ ....... OUR STOR IES


Pg I 0 ............................ Yesterday's Story

Pg 13 ................. WAUPUN
Pg 14 ............................ Then and ow
Pg 15 ............................ It Feels Like Mc - Song by Waupun Sense of Place Students & Ken Lonquist
Pg 16 ............................ Musings about the Horicon Marsh by Joann Goodlaxson
Pg 18 ............................ Living on the Edge of History by Joann Goodlaxson
Pg 20 ............................ What's Happening to Our Marsh by Joann Goodlaxson

Pg23 ................. MAYV ILLE


Pg 24 ............................ Then and Now
Pg 25 ........ ......... ........... Now and Then - Song by Mayv ille Sense of P lace Students
Pg 26 ........ .................... Growing Up on the River by Loyal Villwock
Pg 27 ........ ......... ........... One of Many of God 's Blessings by Harlan Binder
Pg 28 ................. ........... A Footbridge on the River by Jane Murray
Pg 29 ............................ A P lace of Bou nty and Blazes by Franny Pieper
Pg 29 ............................ The Fury of U1c River by Sally Kahlhamer

Pg3 1 ................. HORICON


Pg 32 ............................ Then and Now
Pg 33 ............................ The Colors of the River - Song by Mayville Sense of Place students
Pg 34 ............................ Horicon Story Teller"s Workshop
Pg4 1 ............................ Diana Shooting Club by Don Miescke
Pg 43 ............................ Tales of Trapping by Don Miescke
Pg44 ............................ Water - The Life Blood of U1c Land by Bil l Volkert

Waupun Area School District 5th


Graders with teache1; Dave Imhoff
in DNR Voyager canoe.
Waupun Mill Pond by Shaler
Memorial Park, 2004

4
- The Rock River Runs Through Us -

Pg 47 ................. HUSTISFORD
Pg 48 ............................ Then and Now
Pg 49 ............................ Tales of Us - Song by Mayville Sense of Place students
Pg 50 ........ .......... .......... Hustisford Story Teller's Workshop
Pg 55 ............................ Short Stories by Herb Neuenschwander
Pg 57 ......... ......... .......... Rock River Reflections by Mel Grulke

Pg6 1 ................. TOMORROW 'S STORI ES


Pg 62 ............................ K ids Can Lead the Way by D ave lmhotf
Pg 63 ................... ......... Children of the River - Song by Mayville Sense of Place students
Pg 63 .................. .......... Drip Drop by Thomas Lechner, Waupun M iddle School
Pg 63 ................. ........... The Rock River - Season to Season by T iffany Wiedmeyer
Pg 64 .......... ....... .. ......... My Sense of P lace by Jarid Pfalzgraf, Waupun High School
Pg 65 ............................ The Horicon Marsh Poems by Caleb Hagy, Carissa Kriehn, Brittany Buchholz, & Zach Churchill
Pg 65 ............................ Rock River Seasons by Renee Lechner, Waupun Elementary School

Pg67 ................. O UR FUTURE


Pg 68 .................... ........ The Rock River Runs Through Us by Ruth Johnson & Laura Reynolds
Pg 69 .......... .......... ........ The Same Mistake - Song by Mayville Sense of Place students
Pg 70 ................... ......... What You Can Do
Pg 72 .......... ......... ......... Lists of Organizations

Pg 74 ............................ Acknowledgements
Pg 75 ............................ Photograph Credits
Pg 76 ............................ Editorial Committee

Pg 78 . ............... fNDEX

Husti~ford 's
Old Wooden Dam.
Downtown Hustisford
in the background,
boathouses on riverbank, 1932

5
The <.RJuer of Place
By Molly Stoddard
Range1; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
We become connected to places where we deeply experience 1.ife, places where our senses take hold, our fee lings
stake a cla im, and where our humanity is sustained. We need a place from which to tell our stories. Whether you believe
it or not, each of us does have unique and mteresting stories to tell abo ut our place. Each of us is a voice for our place.
Do you remember the fi rst time you stepped into Horicon Marsh? I do. I was alone. I stood next to my car before
contmui ng on, stunned by two simple things: the quiet and the vastness of this wetland. I have traveled in Germany's
Black Forest, Iceland's lava fields, Costa Rica's rain forests, Australia's outback, Canada's Quetico, as well as our desert
southwest, redwood forests, ocean beaches, coastal wetlands, prairie potholes, Great Lakes, and southern swamps. As
far as I can tell, there is no place on Earth that looks, feels, smells, sounds, and yes, even tastes like Horicon Marsh.
I remember the first time 1 came back to work after a three month maternity leave. A bit ambivalent, at a crossroads of
smis, I might have stayed home, but I needed the job. I drove across the marsh on Highway 49 at about 7:00 am through
what seemed to be a tunnel, a continuous and dizzymg kaleidoscope of birds in flight all around me, seemingly synchronized
to beautifu l music playing in my car. A grand congratulations and welcome back. A reminder that I also need the wildlife
and spiritual connection my job at the marsh helped to provide.

I' ll never forget helping with the winter carp treatment out on the ice ... the smell of a prescribed fire and the
billowing black smoke of burning cattails ... helpmg with the waterfowl surveys from the air boat ... band mg mallards at
the crack of dawn ... discovering the long-hidden location of our third bald eagle nest. ..

Our hope is to rekindle a sense of place by re-examining the envi ronment and human history of the headwaters of
the Rock River. We hope that it will inspire you to tell your own story, so that future generations might care enough
about the Rock River to protect it from harm and improve its ecology. l believe we all want to live in a place that is
safe, clean, beautifu l, and interesting. The reality is, though, only by taking action will we guarantee the health of our
river, marsh, and communities.

Another reason for fostering a sense of place is that our Rock R.iver is shared by many others down river, to the
Mississippi and then the Gulf of Mexico. There is a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico where the Mississippi River flows
into it. There's no oxygen and nothing living in the water in this dead zone because of pollution coming down river.
Some of that pollution comes from the Rock River, and some of that comes from us, here.

The main reason you should care then is that, for better or for worse, what we do to the land and the river makes a
difference to the people and animals living down river from us, whether it be as close as Horicon Marsh and the wildlife
refuge or as far away as the Gulf of Mexico. We are all connected. We are all collectively responsible. We are all a
fami ly under one sky.

/, ~ -
The Marsh King. drawing by Anne Karsten, Waupun
6
- The Rock River Runs Through Us - lnt1;oduction

Drive aloug Rock R iv<>r. :Jfa yville, W is.

Looking North along Mayville's River Road, Present day State Road 67, c. 1900

Mill Pond, Waupun, 2007

7
Canada geese take flight

Farmland at the
east edge of the
Horicon Marsh,
2004

Trappers skinning and


stretching muskrat pelts,
early 1900s

8
~ The Rock River Runs Through Us ~ Our Stories

Our Stories

Canoeing the Rock River

USFWS Ranger Molly Stoddard with school group on Horicon Marsh.

9
Yesterday's Story By Don Miescke
Project Historian
Jim Laird
President, Waupun Historical Society
Laura Reynolds
Project Manager

The area presently known as the Horicon Marsh sits The Rock River/Horicon Marsh/Lake Sinissippi
astride the headwaters of the Rock River, which stretches system has formed a backdrop and the spirit for Life along
from its source in southeastern Wisconsin to its entry into its path. Waupun was built by European immigrants who
the Mississippi River at Moline, Illinois. Previously called found the area along the Rock's west branch to resemble
the Winnebago Marsh, the upper Rock River is located in the rivers and marshes of their homes in northern Europe.
the center of the Green Bay lobe of the last glacial period They farmed wheat, potatoes, onions and marsh hay,
and on the eastern edge of the Mississippi River watershed established mills and orchards, and built fine stone barns
area. It provided a comfortable habitat for early people, that stand to this day. Horicon was settled by upstate New
known as Woodland Indians and Mound Builders. The Yorkers after the Blackhawk War. These merchant folk
Ledge, a limestone outcropping along the eastern edge of established lumber and grist mills, breweries and even a
the Green Bay lobe, provided shelter and protection for cement block factory along the river. It was Horiconites
these earliest inhabitants of the area. that built the first dam to improve navigability in the river
and power for the mills, thus beginning the cycle of
The second wave of migration through the area destruction and rebirth that created the Horicon Marsh.
consisted of Native Americans, then Europeans. No fewer The town of Hustisford was established in 1845 near some
than five Native American nations traversed the area, of the final actions of the Blackhawk War. It became home
harvesting wild rice and game, trapping and bunting and to German immigrants, anxious to harness the power of
moving goods using the Upper Rock River and its component the river for manufacturing purposes and at one point
streams. French voyageurs worked these waters, hunting, boasted a goodly portion of Wisconsin's cheese factories.
trapping and, in some cases, joining the native peoples in
settlement. The decline of the old Wmnebago Marsh is best
summed up by " three D 's" - Damming, Dredging and
Jn the nineteenth century, Americans and the European Draining. Commercial interests created the largest man-
immigrants who followed set out to harness the wild river made lake in the world with the dam built in 1845 in
and harvest its bounty with ultimately disastrous ecological Horicon. When that dam collapsed and was rebuilt, the
results. It was out of this time of abuse that today's first of the farmers' lawsuits, protesting the loss of their
Horicon Marsh was born. land had been filed. When the dam at Horicon was finally

Dredge on the Horicon Marsh, c. 1910-1918


10
- The Rock River Runs Through Us - Our Stories

removed in l 869, a long period of decay set in. The shameful and proud. The legacy of the Native Americans
dredging and draining schemes from 1910 to 19 18 was as its conservators for millennia and the history of our
promised an agricultural boom of magnificent proportions, communities provide fine examples and cautionary tales of
but instead left the Upper Rock a potholed, peat-choked the place that the natural environment plays in the lives of
wasteland, unable to sustain even marginal crops and human society. The Rock River and its headlands marsh have
unfit for the crops that had drawn the early settlers. defined the economy and politics of the area since the fl.rst
Europeans settled here. It was, after all, local people who

Migrating geese over the Horicon Marsh area, c. 1960

The entry of the Wisconsin state government in the danuned, dredged, drained, and finally ruined the marsh. And
l 920 's and the Federal government in the 1940 's into the it was their descendants whose industry, persistence, and
restoration of the marsh marked a turning point in its inventiveness provided the leadership for reclaiming the marsh.
history - from exploitation and destruction to maintenance
for the public use. The efforts of the Wisconsin There are still experiments going on in the Horicon
Conservation Department (now the Department of Marsh. Humans are still "tinkering" with this great, watery
Natural Resources, or DNR) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife place. How we serve its welfare will determine its continued
Service (USFWS) have made possible the current uses surviva l - as well as that of our own communities that
of the marsh area as a hunting and recreational area and as a sunound it and trail along the Upper Rock River. Today, the
great national refuge. The campaign has not been without lesson has become evident. Many who live near this "Wetland
dissent and rancor - but that is also part of our story. oflnternational Importance" have deve loped ways of living
in harmony with the river, marsh and lake through land use,
Each community along the Upper Rock River has enviromnental controls and capitalizing on the tourism
settled into its.place and learned to accommodate and potential of the area. Parks and recreational facilities have
find identity in the river, marsh, and lake. Whether it is in been built near the water and zoning plans maintain the
names of businesses and streets or in local festivals and green space along the river and marsh. The industries that
celebrations, the river that runs through these communi- remain along the river are histo1ical sites or modem industries
ties and the marsh that they circle define the places that honor strict environmental guidelines. New residents
where we live and ultimately affect the type of communi- arrive yearly with their families, determined to raise their
ties we build. chi ldren in American small towns. It is these people who will
write the next chapters of our story.
The river, its marsh, and Lake Sinissippi share a past
with the communities that surround them that is at once

11
Recording Angel statue.
Left: Near completion with sculpto1; Lorado Taft, 1923
Right: Final resting place in Waupun cemetary

James Earle Fraser 's End ofthe Trail statue, (1929)


at Shaler M emorial Park in Waupun

Waupun Heritage Museum. Clarence Shaler 's The Citadel statue, (I 942)

l2
- The Rock River Runs Through Us -

Waupun

Aerial view ofSouth Branch of the Rock River


Rock River Country Club and Fond du Lac County Park, Waupun

Early aerial view of Waupun Correctional Facilities

13
Waupun
Then and Now
Then
Native Americans lived along the rivers and the marsh when the Europeans first arrived. They had lived for thousands of
years with other nations, including the French Voyageurs. They harvested game that inhabited tbe watershed and fish
and wild rice from the river. They planted crops such as corn and squash in the fert Ue valley. As tbe Wisconsin territory
was settled in the early nineteenth century, these successful stewards of the land and river were removed to the west.

Waupun was settled by immigrants in 1839. Farmers of Germans, Dutch, and Norwegian descent farmed wheat,
potatoes, onions and marsh hay, established mills and orchards and built fine stone barns. By the time Wisconsin
became a state in 1848, many area farmers had retired and moved to Waupun. Chester, later known as East Waupun,
was built a few years later.

The river was the central reason for Waupun's success as a center of agriculture and as a mill town. Waupun became
a major center for the processing of wheat. Flour and other products were shipped down river as had been the case
when the Voyageurs traveled the Rock and took furs to downstream markets. By the time the state prison was built in
1851 , railroads criss-crossed the area, providing a faster way to transport goods to Milwaukee and the east.

Now
With the decline of the Marsh in the 19th century, the river receded in importance as raUroads established connections in
Waupun, Chester and beyond. Some of the town 's ethnic heritage is reflected in the community's many Reformed
churches and vigorous parochial schools. Today, most of Waupun's economy remains based on agriculture and the state
prison that employs many citizens. Orchards and fanns dot the area on the north end of the marsh. The modern Rock
River and Horicon Marsh mainly provide recreation, including boating, hunting, fishing and birdwatching as well as an
opportunity for hands-on environmental education. Many Waupun residents volunteer at Marsh Haven Nature Center,
serve as members of the Friends of the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge and participate in the activities of the DNR's
Marsh Management Committee.

Depot al East Waupun.formerly Chester Station. Students ofMinnie Drummy, c. 1930 's
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- The Rock River Runs Through Us -

It Feels Like Me
Chorus:
I've got a feeling
The end of the road is in sight
I see the signposts of home;
Day dawning, the Marsh
And the geese taking flight
Telli ng me I belong here

Tall grass waving


Welcome home sings a whispering wind
Cattails swaying
Dragonflies I'm a child again
Living memories where I feel like me
At the Mill Pond
There's a kid with a fishing pole Girls enjoy treats from a Waupun popcorn wagon, 1920 's
Quarry beyond
Makes a mighty fine swimming hole
Splash of memories where I feel like me
(Chorus)

Old Rock River


Splashing fish winding through town
Sugar maples
Reflecting in the waters brown
Roots of memories where it feels like me

Juniper Hill. The Fawn and the Doe.


Migrating geese, life's ebb and flow
Heron and Crane. Faces I know
Friendly, familiar, it. .. feels like home

Now I'm certain


It's the End of the Trail at last
Cornfield curtains
Filtering sunlight as I go past
Backlit memories this place feels like me Waupun Dutch Kloppenfest Court -
Queen Bonnie Immel, Princesses Christina
Words and Music by Ken Lonnquist Montsma and Sara Loomans, 1995
and Waupun "Sense ofPlace" Students

Couples out for a Sunday boat ride on Harris Mill Pond, c. 1910
15
These three writings were the result ofparticipation in the Waupun "Sense ofPlace" Writing Workshop held at
the Marsh Haven in the morning of October 9, 2004. Joann Good/ax son wrote about the stories her husband had told
about his ancestors and the farm on the Marsh with a focus on the future. Area residents met at Marsh Haven Nature
Center for the first Storytelling workshop. Gerry Weinstein-Bmenig led this workshop and Minnie Drummy, Joann
Goodlaxson, Charles Osteen, Hank Snyder, Paul and Laura Reynolds were present. Discussion centered on the farming
heritage of the Waupun area and Joann Goodlaxson offered to present her vision ofthe north farming experience, as
well as summarizing concerns and hopes for the jiilure.

Jvf_usings about the Horicon Marsh


by Joann Goodlaxson

Years ago as a young mother I would often walk our


farm along Oak Center Road admiring seasonal scenery,
including the birds like the Red-tailed Hawk who seemed to
have a home in our woods. In the spring and summer I
liked looking at the wildflowers along the ditches Like the
blue chicory (which I had seen at my childhood farm). On
this quiet farm by the Marsh, I was drawn to new sounds,
new experiences. And these sounds from the Marsh, Like
the geese in the spring and fall, began to make me feel at
home.

Walking to the west, near several former farms which


were now Refuge land, I noted the smallness of remaining
building foundations and questioned how our ancestors
could have survived with agriculture on that limited scale.
I also became aware of the solitude that must have existed
in that secluded wood. As I strolled, I would often ponder
about the old days on the Horicon Marsh and wonder what
Cando goose in net trap waiting to be banded, 1950 's
the early settlers of this marsh area thought about. What
were their joys, concerns, and hopes for the future?
As the years rolled by, my family grew up and beard
Then I would think about myself and our family. Why stories about "where we were." The saga of"The Marsh"
did I come to the Marsh? How did I feel about raising my became a central part of our family and its farm. My
family on this 160 year old farm. What kept roe having husband to ld stories from his ancestors about the Marsh.
these feelings in my daily routine by the Marsh? I was We studied the land abstracts of the farm's origins, and I
finding a sense of place! made a diagram of the changes. The children explored the
creek, a beginning of the Rock River that flowed through
I found the history of our farm intriguing. I learned our farm on its way to the Marsh and beyond. The duck
that the basic shape of the farm had changed several tin1es pond, the unpastured woods, the apple tree down in the
since its founding in 1846, mainly when land was traded west field, the fox dens on an old marsh road, the lush
from deep in the marsh for some other farmland to the spring area over the Refuge fence all provided lessons for
west and the east. The marsh land, where my husband us.
went to "get the cows home" as a boy, was no longer part
of our farm, but had become part of the Refuge, high with ln the fa ll we all waited for the geese that usually
cattails. The grove land along the edge of the short-lived arrived near my mid-September birthday. It was a call to
Lake Horicon where the Indians had their encampment change - and although there were many frustrations and
also was also no longer part of our farm. How did it feel plenty of chasing geese and using scare away guns as they
for those Native Americans who had hunted and fished for sought our standing crops for their food, we tried to
centuries to be forced to move on? modify our fa rming to deal with this invasion.
16
- The Rock River Runs Through Us - Waupun Stories

We also admired them; they were smart birds. A The future is now. In doing a Rolling Reader
marked increase in their constant chattering made us program in a Waupun elementary school in recent years,
aware of a foul weather change and knowing that helped I've found that the children do care. They get excited
to make wise farming decisions. Hundreds of hunters when they hear stories about their nearby Marsh. They
came to the farm each fall and many became friends of pick up on the concepts including respect and refuge - a
the family. They, too, spoke of''the Marsh" and its call to safe place for birds and animals - and humans, all for
them to return each year, often for several generations. the betterment of the total community of this Rock River
All of my family hunted, except me, and sometimes I fe It Wate rshed.
that because of their love of hunting, they had more
opportunities to be "closer" to The Marsh. I often joined I believe that hunting and wildlife and human life
in the walks on our farm, though; including the times can co-exist - when we value the total impact of our
when we had to " hunt" for young calves born in the actions upon our habitat. The positive action comes
pasture near the meandering creek, gentle in the summer, with people of all ages. As you, I, and many others
but violent in the early spring due to the snow melt. work and play together in this present - and future Rock
River/Horicon Marsh area, can we all become pro-active
When the sandhill cranes first echoed their spooky agents for change? Why? We can all have a "sense of
call, it was a signal to new wildlife species on the marsh placer'
helping themselves to our sprouting corn. They were a
sight to behold with their courting dance and young
raised up before our eyes, another miracle of nature.
My husband said that they seemed like pterodactyls,
echoes of the past.

Our four children grew up, established lives of


their own but always expressed genuine interest in the
well-being of"the farm." That feeling of genus loci (a
sense of place) had caught them, too.

What are our attitudes about this Marsh and the


need for wetlands? Do we understand the ecolog ical
and emotional value of this Rock River headlands area?
Do our families and communities care? What are we
teaching our children? A pair of sandhill cranes stroll along a farm field

Rumley Oil Pull Tractor at Reinhold Schmidt Farm near Waupun


17
£ ivinn on the Edge of History
by Joann Goodlaxson

The Horicon Marsh has been part of my fam ily for


over l 60 years, since the early Goodlaxsons walked north
from Jefferson Prairie (near the Rock River, east of Beloit
and the earliest Norwegian Settlement in Wisconsin), to
the Horicon Marsh. They had landed as immigrants in
New York in 1843. It was 1846 by the time they chose
their final home as the third fam ily on the north edge of
the lush marsh.

Here they found water; even free-fl.owing springs, a


necessity for settlement in a new land ; trees for shelter and
warmth in their houses and barns to be; and land for their
future crops and survival as an agricultural fami ly. Over-
looking the marsh was their first simple house. A meandering
creek flowed south, through the homestead land, to the
Rock Ri ver and Marsh. By then the southern portion of
this marsh was already swelling into Lake Horicon. How
did they feel living on their new fa.rm, on the edge of this
huge marsh, witnessing it turn into a large lake?

The first farm of 40 virgin acres was tilled by our


ancestors, first Hal vor, then John, then Harold, and more
recently David and now Joel. The shape oftbe farm
changed several times. First, after the marsh was a lake for
j ust 22 years and it was drained, the land reverted back into Ole Goodlaxson, son of Halvo1;
a (mushy) marsh. Our farm was then enlarged south into immigrated from Norway in 1843 with his parents
the new marshland. This was used as pasture for the dairy and became the second g eneration of Goodlaxsons
cattle owned by the 2nd and 3rd generation farmers. The to farm on the northern edge ofthe Horicon Marsh
present house was then built closer to the road on additional
land purchased from a neighbor to the west.

Over the ensuing years, the Horicon Marsh was used


for Wlregulated recreational and commercial hunting.
There were attempts to convert it to farmland, but that plan
failed even after the notorious dredging, the drained soil
was too wet and peaty. There are many fami ly stories
about the floati11g vegetables and stuck equipment, even
freq uent peat fires in the marsh. My husband can still
point out where the dredge was placed to start digging.
However farming on the edge continued.

A more concentrated plan, headed by conservation-


minded groups followed. Farmers were "sweet-tal.ked" or
even threatened into selling lands to create the southern
state-owned marsh preserve, and then the federal wildlife David Goodlaxson Farm
North edge of Horicon Marsh, early 1950 s

18
- The Rock River Runs Through Us - Waupun Stories

refuge on the "upper 2/3" northern acres. Was this


really fair to the farmers who had worked hard building
an agricultural livelihood, providing food for others,
only to be forced to relinquish their land? The shape of
the Goodl axson Farm was further altered with more
land traded by the government to our family, west and
east of the original farm, in return for the marsh acres
which benefited the farm itself and purpose of a wild life
refuge.

More years went by with changes in our 2"d, 3rd, and


41h generations' dairy farming. A barn extension was
built, a duck pond was formed along the creek, and
grain crops were varied. Geese now found crops inviting,
especially after the federal government stopped planting
a fall corn crop, their migratory welcome mat. Thousands
of geese (and sometimes ducks) turned their attention to
area farm fields. Our family spent many hours chasing
geese and/or using scare-away guns, but dealt with this
frustrating problem w ith respect for the intelligent geese
- most of the ti.me. Yet the fall and spring migrations of
Canada geese were an exciting part of our every-day life.
We met many fine people as hunters, though some were
"problem people." I think even the cows enjoyed the
scenery; even though they no longer walked along the
creek on the way to a small grove where Native Americans
once lived.

The years flew by and now a s•hGoodlaxson


generation, our oldest son, organically farms the land. Norwegian Church, buill 1855, east of Waupun
The cattle no longer graze along the creek, which
sometimes floods into our fields in the spring or during
"monsoons" on its way to the Rock River. Many years
ago, our youngest son took a nose dive from the
machinery bridge into the cold rushing water; he saved
himself by grabbing onto a willow tree branch. The
geese still visit and new wildlife species, including
cranes. When Joel came back to the fan1il y farm, we
chose to move to a house near the marsh so we could
still see it and be visibly connected. We go back often,
to help out or to simply visit.

I enjoy seeing the wildlife, seeing our farm still


bordering the north end as I drive across State Road 49.
To us, that one remaining farm on the very north edge of
this Great Marsh is a constant reminder of the evolution
and changes over the last 160 years of connection to the
now internationally important wildlife refuge, valuable
wetlands for mankind . We have become involved in
various refuge activities to help people care and honor White-tailed deer are common in and
it. The Horicon Marsh is still part of our Goodlaxson around the Horicon Marsh
Family's sense of place. Oh yes, those faithful springs
still flow!

19
What's Happening to Ou rMarsh?
by forum Goodlaxson

"My marsh" is seemingly mired in mud! At least that's improve this huge and important marsh. Progress toward
the way the north end appears in this early fall of 2005, the better marsh management is worthy for it serves to
part that I see every time 1 drive across the marsh. It's a enhance the water quality of all that flows through it. The
sight I've never seen before! Mud, birds walking in it rather status of the marsh dete1mi11es the basic health of the Rock
than swimming, the geese now pecking grass sprouts on a River all the way downstream.
flat rather than taking off in flight from the usual water
there, the ditches empty along the nmth end of highway But, my marsh! What about today, now? The present
49. muddy marsh bothers me. It's not like it always was, even
witb the seasonal changes through the nearly 50 years of
I ponder about the recent past - the damming of the living on the edge of this marsh. Yes, l am aware of the
Marsh over 150 years ago, creating a lake with plenty of other dry periods on this marsh, seemingly a part of a
water. Communities of varied European immigrants grew natural cycle. And I am mindful of the huge ro le that God
up around the edges: Mayville, Kekoskee, Leroy, Chester, plays in this whole picture; I have faith that the rains will
Burnett and Horicon. During the Lake era, there was trade come. I also have faith that intelligent and professionally
between these early corrummities, with boats going from trained marsh management will continue to save and
Chester to the Leroy Landing (near today's National preserve this Great Marsh. The water situation will
Refuge Headquarters) and on to Horicon or over to improve, the ducks and geese will be healthier, and
Burnett. It made for easy connections and, perhaps, vegetation will be controlled. I' m not sure of the all
creating a common sense of p lace. But then what? answers here. It will take careful and guided leadership
with a passion for nature.
What lasting effect did dredging leave on "our" Horicon
Marsh after the Lake Horicon idea was abandoned? What There is an awakening of the importance of this
about the problems left behind of too wet, too dry, too marsh. It seems as though there are several people who
impossible? Then what happened? The marsh that already "walk the talk," and some who, though not
resulted after the dam was removed was different than professionally involved with the river, encourage by
before. Severe dredging altered it further. Those living on example ethical ways of conservation. This includes
the edge of the marsh were separated. Wildlife was respect for the Rock River watershed and the abundant
squandered. marsh, water-related research projects in nearby schools,
and reading programs about the marsh.
What of the struggle to re-vitalize this Marsh? After
several decades, the Horicon Marsh was slowly resurrected
to the lush cattail marsh of the present. How about the
wildlife itself in the original marsh? How did the present
habitat compare to way back even b efore the Native
Americans used it for their subsistence? What has
happened to this once virgin Horicon Marsh? Oh, dear, I
say to myself, is this situation connected in any possible
way to other parts of my countJy where there's water
problems of a much different sort?

I realize that the decision to explore the original Rock


River channel was made before 2005 's severe lack of rainfall
also conspired to make this marsh look so bleak and
abandoned. The investigation of the origin of the natural
Rock River will lead to proper river channeling and
impoundments as part of the "overall" effort to ethically
North edge of the Horicon Marsh - 160 year old
Goodlaxson Farm in background, 1960's
20
- The Rock River Runs Through Us - Waupun Stories

Many area fanners are more mindful of inappropriate


run-off from their fields into the marsh. Some, like us, are
turning to organic practices and avoiding pasturing
along those innocent streams leading to the marsh. It
takes a global view to inspire more area people to
participate and to realize that even though the Horicon
Marsh is actually a tiny part of our entire earth, it
presents an example for the proper treatment of the entire
planet.

Who will respond? Will individuals and families


assume the responsibility to engage in wise ecological
practices in their daily activities? Will the surrounding
communities and areas once again join together to help
keep the marsh, as it is now, a wildlife sanctuary? Wi ll
individual area community programs like "Sense of
Place" become joined together to emphasize their wider
sense of place - the whole Horicon Marsh? Wi 11
enough people honor the marsh and be assertive to its
continuance and its salvation?

Take heed, my fellow humans.


Geese browse line on corn crop near the Horicon Marsh

Northeast end ofHoricon Marsh - Farms along Highway 49, 1960'.s


21
Mayville Pavilion
on 1he Rock River

Moorhens are one of the many water birds


found in the Horicon Marsh

Mayville dam on the Rock River

~-------------------------------·22
- The Rock River Runs Through Us -

9V!_ayvi{{e

The Rock River flows through Mayville

Historic Audubon Inn and Restaurant - Downtown Mayville

23
1v!_ayvi[[e
~ Then and Now
Then
In 1845, the search for waterpower brought the Chester May and Alvin Foster famil ies to the east branch of the
Rock River, far from their roots in New York State. They came upon a distinct drop in the river and said, "a finer water
power cannot be found. " A sawmill was built and put into operation by December 1845. Within a year a tlounnill was
built. When Chester and his son Eli discovered some " peculiar red earth" south of town, it triggered the construction of
the fi rst charcoal furnace in Wisconsin in 1848. The smelter was located in Mayville due to the accessible waterpower.
For the 80 years that followed, this area called Mayville, became a one industry town influenced by the iron industry and
was known as "the Pittsburgh of the West." ln the ten years after its founding more than 1,000 people had settled here,
the great majority German-born. Besides those who found work in the iron industry, there were brewers, brick makers,
butchers, cigar makers, clock makers, phys icians, veterinarians, potters, saddlers, shoemakers, and weavers. By the turn
of the l 9'h century, Mayvi lle was recognized as Dodge County's most progressive city.

Now
Today the streets of Mayville retain the charm of the past. The main street was constructed extra wide in the l 850's
to allow wagons and sleds with teams of horses to park on either side and still allow two lanes of traffic. Street lights of
a I 930's vintage look, trees, flowers and benches line the street, which opens in many places to views of the Rock River.
Two dams, two auto/pedestrian bridges, and two footbridges are all within the city limits creating a friendly waLicing
environment.

Museums offer time capsules of memories of the days gone by. Many commun ity industries shadow the past, as
later generations still work in the trades that once made Mayville fl ourish, while specialty shops and services adorn the
historical downtown bui ldings. The river, no longer needed for the power it formerl y supplied the town's industries, now
unites the community as it meanders its peaceful way with scenic charm through what many call "a most romantic city."

Couple taking a boatride on the R ock River


24
~ The Rock River Runs Through Us ~

Now and Then


The ripples of the river w ill never end
You, me and history
Rolling with the river, keeping us together
A living link connecting Now and Then

One hundred fifty years of Mayville tales our elders share


From olden days when German speaking voices filled the air
Settling here ... sheltered from harm
Beneath a blue ... protective arm
They built a dam that ran a mill grinding the wheat to flour
Sense ofPlace Art on display
The day became the hub of town producing all it's power
A market place ... for battered goods
The busiest ... of neighborhoods

Families grew (and I mean GREW) some numbered 17!


Kids had to work (and I mean WORK) the dairy farm routine
Producing milk ... for making cheese
At Purity ... Cheese factory
The Ice & Cold Compru1y ran an icehouse where they' d stock
The river ice in winter carved in one hundred pound blocks
Sawdust was used ... to keep it cold
Through summe1time ... in days of old

Machine-cast pig-iron processing was first invented here


Using the iron ore from mines they burrowed far and near
Abandoned mines .. . drew countless bats
Great colonies ... great habitats
Sense ofPlace Dreamcatchers
Song written by Ken Lonnquist
with the Sense of Place Summer School Students,
School District ofMayville, 2003

Children s Choir
2S
Growing Up on the <R.f,ver by Loyal Villwock

The Rock River was defmitely part of my life when l


was growing up. My first memories of the ~ver are
probably like those of most children. We went swimming
quite a bit. Another thing we did along the river was to
gather clams. We were looking for pearls. You wou ldn't
believe how many clams we went through to find a coup le
of pearls. Sometimes we had two bushels of clams. We did
find pearls. They were not perfect, but Mom would take
them to a jeweler in Mayvi lle. I'm not sure how much she
got for them, but in those days, every little bit helped.

My grandpa, John Dohrman, would take me out to the


ri ver to spear carp. Thi s would usually be in May. Grandpa
and I wou.ld go out on a skiff on the river. We would each
have a spear and sometimes we would get more than a
washtub fu ll. We would take any extra that we didn 't need
and sell them to people at the lime works in Brownsvil le
and Mayv ille. We would get maybe 25 or 50 cents a piece.

I took advantage of the ice in the winter and went


skating. l could skate all the way down to Kekoskee pond,
and there we would have pickup games of hockey. Once in
Jee Skating on the Rock River, I 900 's
a while ift here was an ice storm, I could put my skates on
at the house and skate all the way down river. I hoped the
ice didn't melt before I went home or I would be in trouble.
I took a lot of chances in those days. Sometimes the ice
was just J/2" or l" thick. I'd get started and just keep
going, trying to stay away fro m cracks. I was lucky.

After a while we couldn't use the river as much


because it became polluted. The iron works would dump
its slag onto big piles and it would wash down river. The
slaughter houses in Mayville also put their debris in the
river and human waste ended up there fo r a time too until
sewage systems were put in. I swam in the river until about
my high schools years when I couldn't stand looking at the
sniff floating by me.

1 had a lot adventures on the water. In later years, on


the way home from checking my traps in the marsh, l
heard a big rushing sound. The ice was thinning already
and there ahead of me was a 50-foot whirlpool sucking
everything down. I was walking in water on top of the ice
and it started pulling me toward it. Tused my axe to back
away. Nobody was arotmd. I was all by myself. I would
have been a goner ifl' d gotten into that.
Mayville 's Audubon Days
canoe regatta race on the Rock River
- The Rock River Runs Through Vs - Mayville Stories

One of Many of God's

by Harlan Binder

I look at the Rock River as one of many of God's


Blessings - its beauty, its serenity and its rage. When I
was a kid I grew up along the Rock River on a back road
near Theresa. It became my place of heaven. It was a
place where Dad took us fishing with a bamboo cane
pole. It was a place where I learned to swim. It was a
place where you could co llect things such as a sun
turtle, tadpoles, frogs and snail and clam shells.

On a hot summer day we would float down the rive r


in tubes or swing on a rope that was tied to a tree
branch. It's still there today, 40 years later. You could
skip a stone and see how far it would travel before it
The rushing waters of the Rock River
would sink to the bottom. My brother Gary and T once
skipped out of chores we did for a neighboring fa rmer,
took a basket of goodies, and floated down the river.

I still live along the Rock River and as I reflect I see


changes over the years. Farmland has expanded into the
low lands. They dug out the natural creek that was the
spawning ground for some of the biggest Northern Pike
the river has ever seen. Now it is just a ditch where carp
swim. When the river floods it comes into my back yard
turning the land into a lake. I call it Vanishing Lake as it
disappears when the water recedes. It is still a place to
escape from a stressful day. I hope for future generations
to come, it will still be a refuge.

Calm reflections of the Rock River

Overlooking the Mayville dam

Tl
A Foot (Bridge on the River
by Jane Murray

My grandfather came to Mayville in the J 880's and raised a fam ily of five in a home on South Main Street on the
widest part of the upper Rock River. He had a boat house and at one time a launch that held 18 passengers, called the
Modgeska. He had v is ions of excursion trips to Theresa. One summer when the water level was especially low, he hired a
crew to clear a channel o f rocks and branches. I never knew if he reached his goal.

The river played a great part in their family life - ice skating a mil e or more up the river, shoveling the snow to
make a path, and swimm ing in summer past the Park Pavilion. I can imagine my mother in the heavy woolen swimm ing
dress swimming that distance.

Once upon a time when 1 was a little girl, 1 was confined to bed rest fo r a long, hot sum.mer. My mother wou ld drive
me out to shady spots along the creeks that fed the river. We would fold paper in special ways and make little boats to
sail through the rapids and through the calm pool under the trees along the river bed. We imagined many adventures as
make believe passengers.

Every day on my way to school I crossed a footb ridge. I grew up thinking that every town and every child had a
footbridge as part of th eir daily life. I moved away before J real ized that every town did not have a river and bridge to
make it spec ial.

Modern footb ridge spanning the Rock River in Mayville


28
~ The Rock River Runs Through Us ~ Mayville Stories

A Place of <Bounty and Blazes


by Franny Pieper

I've been on the water so much, I think I must have


webbed feet. It was flat and open like a grassy meadow.
There were a few trees and high areas, there was more
wild rice. It looked like a marsh. There were great
fires, one burned all summer. In ' 36 and '37 it was
drought...you could walk across [the] marsh without
getting wet. Then in ' 38 the rains came.

So many ducks, the sky was black. In the 30's I


hunted pintails, mallards, green and blue wing teal and
sometimes a canvasback. There were very few Canada
geese. If you caught one -you dragged it around until
the feathers fell off. I remember all the fish! Now I catch
just 2 or 3 Northern, but back then I would catch 70-80.
I remember all the muskrats. In the [60's and ?O's]
professional hunters from Canada trapped muskrat.
They trapped about 75,000. The "rats" were everywhere. Mallard drake and hen on thin ice
I remember feeding one an apple.

It's getting drier.. .l'm worried about losing bulrushes


and cattails - they're nesting sites for ducks. The
marsh is very delicate. It can change. We must treat it
with respect.

of the River
by Sally Kahlhamer

It had been a long bitterly cold winter, but overnight


it turned into spring. Then the rains came. The ice on the
river started to break up. Huge chunks of ice piled up in
back of our house near the dam. The ice chunks were 15
to 20 feet high, and when they hit together, it was like
lightning. The sparks flew. It looked like thousands of
fireflies were on the river. The noise was so loud it was
frightening. We walked down to the dam. As the ice
chunks piled up behind the dam it shook!

The Mayville Pavilion across the frozen Rock River

29
Steamboat on Lake Horicon, 1854 Canada goose being released from trap and
banded with leg band, c. 1950 :s

Native American mounds along the Rock River near Horicon

Wate1fowl land in the Horicon Marsh at sunset

30
- The Rock River Runs Through Us -

Jforicon

Horicon al the turn of the twentieth centw y looking west from Hubbard Street.

Horicon Dam on the Rock Rive1; built in 1930

31
~oricon
Then and Now
Then
The Winnebago (Ho-Chunk) nation held the southern end of the Marsh when settlers began arriving after 1842 but
as many as six other nations inhabited the area. Upstate New Yorkers and Blackhawk War veterans were the first to
claim land - and immediately subdivided and marketed lots to new settlers, establishing Horicon's preference for
entrepreneurial schemes. Irish immigrants gave Horicon its first family, its first builder, and a fine Catholic Church
named for St. Malachy. From the beginning these industrious settlers set out to build a merchant economy in "Hubbard's
Rapids." They established lumber and grist mills, breweries, and even a cement block factory along the river.
Horiconites built the first dam to improve navigability in the river and power for the mills, thus beginning the cycle of
destruction and rebirth that created the Horicon Marsh. The railroads insured the growth of an industrial economy in
Horicon and established the town as a center of commerce and point of arrival for out-of-town members of the prestigious
Diana Hunting Club. Jn 186 l, the Van Brunt brothers and their seed drill factory established Horicon's identity as a
manufacturing town. Horicon resident and Van Brunt sales manager Curley Radke, was a founder of the movement that
began the restoration of the marsh in the 1930's.

Now
Today, Horicon is the site of John Deere Horicon Works, successor to the Van Brunt Manufacturing Company. The
facility was for many years the county's largest employer. Aside from John Deere, Horicon has a modest manufacturing
base and the Wisconsin Southern Railroad has rev italized the old Northwestern line and installed a car maintenance
facility on the community's west side.

The great hunting clubs are gone, but Horicon still sees large numbers of hunters and tourists each spring and fall.
Modern day Horiconites have been leaders in establishing the Friends group of the Department of Natural Resources
International Educational Center project and participate in the DNR Marsh Management Committee. The Horicon
Chamber of Commerce has been particularly active in developing tourism activities on the south end of the marsh.
Thousands of visitors and residents participate each spring and fall in public education and activities in and around
Horicon.

Looking west along Lake Street at the Rock Rive1; I 915


D. C. Van Brunt's home is on the left at the top ofthe hill.
- The Rock River Runs Through Us -

The colors of the river are the colors of life ...

Back in the 19th century the river ran blue and green,
Reflecting the natural wonders you'd have seen.
The orange and yellow of the fall , silver clouds in the sky
Green of the rolling hills sliding by.
Looking close at the history you start to understand that

The colors of the river are the colors of life ...

Early Native Americans settled here long ago.


Hunting and gathering where the river flowed.
Colorful dyes in all their clothes, feathers and beads and furs,
The tales they to ld 'round campfires that were.
Looking close at history you start to understand that.

The colors of the river are the colors of life ...

Over the rolling ocean came people from many lands. The Marsh King, drawing by Renee Ludwig, Horicon
Building the town, the sawmill, and the dam.
Barns painted red from iron ore, smoke puffing from gunfire,
Wh ite limestone schools, churches with tall spires.

But all the colors in our history weren't bright.


We did things to the river that were just not right.
We used it as a sewer and a garbage can.
The sad brown river struggled slowly through the land.

We have a dream that things could just be like they were before,
The colors of wildlife thriving on the shore.
People living in harmony around every rock and bend.
A rainbow of color fl owing without end.
Looking to the future you start to understand that

The colors of the river are the colors of life ...

Song written by Ken Lonnquist


with the Sense ofPlace Summer School Students,
School District ofMayville, 2003

Geese taking flight off the Horicon Marsh


33
On Saturday, November 9, 2004. residents from Horicon came together lo share their thoughts about Horicon Marsh,
the Rock River and the connection ofthe river and marsh to 'home.' They talked about the marsh on fire, wildfowl they
hunted, muskrats they trapped, barley malt they could have made and Horicon as they knew it growing up.

HoriconS tory Teller's Workshop

FIRES

Palmer Miescke - Fires, that's why all the holes are there Ed Kn op - I didn't live here in the middle and late 30's. I
- the peat holes. They burnt 5-6 fee t deep. And after the was living in Fond du Lac. I haven't heard mentioned that
marsh was flooded, they were nice potholes fo r the ducks. iliere was John Deere at that time and there was a lot of
I li ved out near the marsh. Fires lasted days. They use to lumber in their lumber yard at the north end, and there was
pack hay to sell to Chicago . A lot of haystacks burnt up. a spur track that ran all the way down. If you weren' t
carefu l you would run the cars all the way down into the
Ed Miescke - A fri end of mine told me how they use to marsh . But the fires were that close that they were burning
bale hay with a team of horses to send to Chicago. Then some of that lumber.
they used a tractor. They would run o ut into the marsh
with a tractor an d run right into potholes. When that peat Orville Seide- You know, I am surprised that they didn ' t
fire would come, about 1935 or 1936, bales that were 6-7 learn to cook single malt barley whiskey in the marsh when
feet ta ll burnt, and a big lake about l 2 feet wide was they had all the fires. It's cooked with marsh peat moss like
created. in Scotland. You have the perfect fire. It's the smoke from
the peat burning that gets to the barley and that 's why
Palmer Miescke - You got the flames smoldering after they call it single malt barley whiskey.
that. With the peat undern eath , it kept on go ing. It rea lly
didn ' t flame, it smolde red.

Ed M iescke - For all d1ose years peat was burning. It


kept right on burning for 2 years. You can't put it out, until
193 8, when it was flooded out.

l ' l'f'lm ll OHICllN MA 11;;n, w1 :-;.

Firefighters digging fire breaks in the Horicon Marsh, Map showing the location ofburn holes in the northern
193 1-32 section of the Horicon Marsh, c. 1935
34
- The Rock River Runs Through Us - Horicon Stories

WILDFOWL from Milwau kee on Tuesday and two fellows from Watertown
on Thursday. 1 got $5 apiece from them. I guaranteed these
Orville S iede - I remember people going out there and men 10 birds that means 20 bi rds each time. Each one got IO
my uncle going out there and getting I 0 ducks - birds each day and I shot l 0 for myself each day. I shot over
nothing to it, you know. It didn ' t take long - an hour. 600 hundred ducks that year.
They would go out with shotguns.
Don Ger hke - Yes. Back in the late 60's, 1 hunted up there,
Palmer Miescke - They used to borrow a boat and and when it got cold up in Canada, the northern ducks would
put a pound of black powder in the back, and everything come down. They were fl ying so uth and stopped over here in
they could find even marbles. They spread feed com Horicon . Once we got the first frost, the smal ler ducks wo uld
out, wait until it got dark and then pull the trigger and pull out of here and the Northern ducks would come in here.
BOOM - 96 with one shot. When those Northern ducks came down, the word got out
and everyone was out there because it was like back in the
Ed M iesc ke - They were hunting fo r the market and 30's, it was dark. J remember some of the big ma llards up on
they used weapons like those guns. They called the m the Federal line there. I used to walk out after I got done with
punt guns, and they had to be mounted on the boat. work - that was in my younger days - and walk out with
waders on and jump shoot those ducks. Most of the time,
Lau ra Reynolds - Ed is absolutely correct. They they would be fl ying in the ai r like that circling around fo r
were commercial hunters. They came in and killed these potholes to land in. There were a lot of ducks out on
hundreds and hundreds of ducks in ao afternooo. the marsh back in the 60's.
Literally, those were cannons mounted on the boats,
and they would bring down whole flocks of ducks to New speaker - I am a residen t in Horicon area since 1963 ,
send back East, to the market. so my youth is not in Horicon. But living in the house that J
live in , the most impressive s ight that I have ever had in my
Palmer Miescke - Oh no ! That was before me. Jn life time was in the month of January and l wi ll swear that it
1938, J graduated out of high school and worked the was 20 degrees below zero. But the geese that were on the
canning factories in the summer, thi s was before I marsh were controlled by the most fantastic flight engineer
could bunt, but I hunted up there. I took two fellows that I have ever seen. Three flights of geese were the width
of the marsh. They formed a perfect "V" and there had to be
5,000 geese in eve1y " V" . They took off in 15 minute

Owen Gramme, Fond du lac wildlife artist, calling People watching wate1fowl along Highway 49, 1950's
Canada Geese with homemade caller
35
Hany Voss opening weekend of goose hunting, October 1949 Punt guns used to hunt waterfowl for market

Browse line on corn cob ji-om Canada geese Boy watching geese in field
36
~ The Rock River Runs Through Us ~ Horicon Stories

Edga r Katzenbach - I used to trap on the farm. There used to


intervals on the clock. There were 3 flights of5,000 be so many muskrat houses, and in the winter when it would
geese. It was a very clear crisp cold day, and the sun snow, there would be all white houses. But we had a guy named
was shining. It was the most beautiful sight that I have Howie Voss, and he was one of the best trappers there ever
ever seen. Today, I can look to the east and just about was. He would trap that area in the fall and in the spring, and he
every night I can see thousands of geese coming off took out 5,000 rats. And at that time, they were $8.00. I trapped
the com fields into the marsh, and it is a racket. for mink, mostly mink and for muskrats . I caught enough mink
here in one year to buy myself an automatic 35-caliber rifle.
MUSKRATS They were a good price- $24 or $25 dollars.

Roy Mellenthien - Oh, there were several thousand


when I trapped in the 70's and 80's. In the 70's and
80's there was a lot of muskrats. Top number per area
I think was about 10,000, but on the refuge and upper
2/3, in the better years, I believe the catch was around
50,000 and if you add what was caught in the state
end, you probably up around 70,000 per year. I think
there were about 20 areas on the refuge and probably
18 to 20 on the state end that was auctioned off. Now,
you won't see those numbers. I think part of the marsh
is filled up, silted in somewhat.

Ed Miescke - Max Miescke had a house that had


nails all around the attic that he hanged muskrats on
boards to dry. His wife would hang a sheet out over
the window if there was somebody around. My Dad
use to say that Max was doing something illegally for
awhile, but he was a good gardener. Dead trees in the Horicon Marsh
provide homes for wildlife

Steamboat Island - Collection of mush-at skins taken before drainage of Horicon Marsh, c. 1920 s
37
Growing Up in Horicon

Pa lme r M iescke - I think I will te ll you one thing. The


Ma in Street was all grave l, the side streets were gravel,
too. We li ved on South Hubbard Street. I remember when
the horse and buggy came down the street in the win ter
time, the farmers would bri ng the ir grain to market. They
would start up at tb e hill up here and go all the way aroun d
to where the Kwik Trip was - that was the mi ll. We would
j ump on the runners and ride along, and then ride back on
the next one.

Don Snyd er - On that hill, on the side, there was ginseng.


Everybody knows about ginseng, and it is so good fo r you.
They raised g in seng there. When my fa the r cam e to town,
he had learned about soda water maki ng. And so he started
a soda water factory here, and he called it Synder 's
Ginseng Works because he put ginseng in it. My son still
has a bottle. They first put corks in. You shake it and it still
foams.

Geri Weinstein - So how did you know that ginseng had


good properties, good things?

Don Snyder - We ll because you could go anywhere and


everyone had ginseng. You could buy it in the stores and
that. 1t was supposed to be very healthy for you.

Palmer - You talk about ginseng. ln my back yard there Ralph Miescke, age 2, admiring his dad's Northern Pike,
was a wall that went all the way around, and it bad that weight 43 pounds, 1931
latticework and we raised ginseng there. So that is where it
ca me from.

A erial view o.f modern Horicon looking north toward Horicon Marsh

38
- The Rock River Runs Through Us - Horicon Stories

Down in Beloit, they have done a lot of work on projects


Connection and Hope along the Rock River, and they know no matter how hard
they work, they can't clean up the Rock River because they
Ruth Johnson - This is our place, this is the Rock have 3700 square miles above them. So it's a sense of
River Basin in Wisconsin. The Rock River, as you community of all of us working together. That's why I am
know, continues down through Beloit into Illinois and here.
down into the Mississippi River. We are up here in
Horicon in the headwaters of this whole basin, which Orville Seide - There is an old saying "we cannot improve
is 3,700 square miles. Everybody down there counts our ancestry, we can only add to the nwnber" . And that is so
on us to take care of the Rock River and Horicon true! But my primary interest is the culture of the area, the
Marsh because most of the soil and nutrients that go Germanic culture that came here. I have been interested in
into the Rock River primarily come from the headwaters the old language that was spoken at the time the immigrants
areas. So this is a very important area. I grew up in came here from 1880 to 1920. That was the biggest influx of
the southeastern part of Wisconsin - Waukesha immigrants. I like to make up stories that use o ld German ways
County. The rivers are very sensible there; they go off speaking. They didn' t call themselves "immigrants'', they
from north to south. When I moved up here and saw called themselves "outlanders", meaning " left the land, out of
the big bend of the Rock River going north towards the land." I am working on stories about their culture - their
Watertown and then coming down - I thought that marriage rights, the way they felt about things.
was odd because rivers should flow north to south.
There are just some very interesting things about how The culture is quite unique. We have to remember all the
the glacier has affected our land up here. I think it is people that came here were peasants. Jfyou weren't an
very important that we know our place, not only in our aristocrats or a "junker", you were simply a peasant worker.
community such as Horicon, which I think is a That's why they all had to get permission before they could
beautiful town, but also our place in terms of our come to the United States from their land owners. This was
relationship to the whole way the river runs from the the land of opportunity. They heard stories from people who
start to finish. This whole Sense of P lace project here would say you could pick the money off the tree. They were
in Horicon, Mayville, Hustisford, and Waupun is to the poorest; truly they were the poorest of the poor. They
help us see how we are connected to the Horicon came with nothing and many of them, most of them in fact,
Marsh and the Rock River. We have been given a were illiterate. How they got here was that they had some
beautiful gift from the past. Ifwe don 't take care of it, dude going over there and telling them all about the wonders
then it won't be here for our children and grandchildren. of America, but he didn' t tel l them about the struggle they
That's how I look at it, and what motivates me. had to go through to become successful. Their main goal was
to own a piece of land.

Curly Radke conducts a legislators' tour of Horicon Marsh, 1939


39
Don Gehrke - People don 't realize that the water was once
lower before the dams were built. The Rock River was only up here. And why is it? Its part of the way the land was
70 feet across at the time. I think one of the neatest things formed with the drumlins. On the high land, you can see
about the marsh there was that it was made by the glacier. hawks catching the air currents, floating on the air. It's so
beautiful and there is always a breeze along the river. I
It's going to take a lot of people and a lot of work to think a lot of that comes off the land and moves through
educate people and watch what they are doing, because it into the va lley. They call it the Rock River Valley.
is a real sacred sight and when I get into these certain
areas - I am a wannabe archeologist - and I walk into I just want to preserve that. John Kennedy said, "Before
Nitschke Mounds and stuff, you can feel that it was made we can set out on the road to success, we have to know
by God and the glacier. It's a special place out there and were we are going ...and before we can know that, we must
we have had people hunting here for ten thousand years. determine where we have been in the past." And you find
The first Native Americans knew right away that it was that in life so much you look back at through family history,
special area. And in the same way, we have people the way you are and wonder why I am overweight and
coming up from Illinois every year to look at it. 1f we bald. I look back at my ancestors and I can see why,
want to preserve it, I guess we are going to have to watch though. A lot of times I think of that statement in life.
the shoreline for runoff. It kind of scares me. That late
spring we had with that high runoff into the water. There Chris Zuleger - May I j ust go on from what Don said.
are a lot of different things that have to change to make That's why I am involved in this is - being a transplant
this water clear. It may cost taxpayers. Money is tight, but over here and just loving the area. I think this is why we
somebody is going to have to look at the future or we are wanted to do something like this after reading the book
going to have a cesspool out here. from Mayvi lle. It is so that we have the younger generation
getting excited about where they live and taking responsibility
I have no Indian blood in me, but my dad was chief. He and so that they know what they have here to protect and
was chief of the Dodge County police. But my grandfather preserve. And get these stories that they are never going
was 5 generations and they always said we had a little pa1t to know if we don't put something down. And I just think it
Indian blood. There was something about the outdoors is wonderful listening to it. So that's my contribution to this.
that was such a special area. When you walk out there,
there is just a special area that the wind catches. Why do
we draw so many people up here, we also draw tornadoes

Curly Radke releasing geese into Horicon Marsh in 1935.


40
- The Rock River Runs Through Us - Horicon Stories

A Horicon Marsh £egacy the Diana Shooting Club


By Don Miescke

Nothing much remains of them now, except for In 189 1, the Upper Horicon Club ofFond du Lac obtained
maybe a few large trees and remnant bricks and mortar. control of the northern, 5,000-acre portion of the marsh, so
As the glorious days of hunting clubs on the Horicon that an area of 10,000 or more acres became a vast shooting
Marsh faded away, so too did the great hunters and the preserve. By 1893, the Diana and Horicon Clubs had merged
incredible yams they spun. into one organization. The club also built the Diana Dam a
short distance below where the east and west branches of the
The Diana Shooting Club, named for the Roman Rock River merge. This backed up the waters and provided
Goddess of the hunt, was incorporated on June 8, 1883 flooding of the area, providing more hunting opportunities.
and built its club house on Clubhouse Island on the
northeast comer of the Herman Miescke property the The Chicago hunters formed a club-within-a-club known
following year. W.A. Van Brunt, the grain drill manufacturer as the Chicago Shooting Box, where things were run in an
from Horicon, was the club's first president. He and 25 elegant fashion with dinner in courses and white caps on the
charter member friends secured for $ 100 a year a 25-year cooks and waiters. The Milwaukee and Horicon contingent
lease on 5,800 acres in the south end of the marsh from maintained a large and roomy houseboat anchored annually
the Mechanics Union Manufacturing Co., which had at the edge of the marsh, especially in large water areas. The
purchased the entire marsh at auction from the govern- exclusive shooting club members aroused deep resentment
ment at seven cents per acre. The club prided itself on from many local residents who were not permitted to hunt.
abolishing spring hunting entirely for the first time in the
marsh's history in 1883. Specimens of over 20 varieties of wild ducks were taken
continued next page

Diana Shooting Club, 1930s


41
every season. Mallards, wood ducks, blue-winged teal, Conservation Department and became part of the Horicon
widgeon, spoonbill, pintails, canvasback and redhead were Marsh Wildlife Area. Today, nothing remains except a few
the most common. When the autumn flight southward old bricks and a couple of large trees whjch probably
fairly set in, it seemed that pintails outnumbered other existed long before the clubhouse was built.
varieties.

Diana Club Keeper, John Yorgey, killed I 04 mallards


in one day in 1893. "Old Man" Miescke, whose fertile
acres and weH-kept barns are still visible beyond the
western bogs and shore, claimed to have killed 93 ducks
with one shot. The daily clubhouse average for one month
was over 30 ducks per gun in that time of lax or non-
existent bag limits.

Life on the marsh was sometimes hectic since many


promotional groups illegally sold permits to hunt the
Horicon Marsh, ignoring the lease rights of the clubs.
When the hunting season began on September 1, 1894, the
preserve was swarming with these permit holders who
were willful trespassers. At the request of the clubs,
deputy sheriffs and marshals were sworn in to make the
arrests. Thereafter, club directors pursued a more vigorous
course in protecting the clubs' domains from interlopers
and poachers. Wardens were engaged to patrol the
boundaries. Trespassers were tried in the Horicon and
Waupun courts.

The Diana Shooting Club on the Miescke property !


'/ti '
was razed in the 1930's, ending an era. In 1941, the 360-
Arndt~· Ditch, on the west side of Horicon, is the last
acre Miescke property was sold to the Wisconsin
boathouse ditch on the marsh.

Strook's Shooting Club at the turn of the centwy


42
- The Rock River Runs Through Us - Horicon Stories

Tales

A couple of years ago, my uncle, Lester Miescke, Besides Lester and his dad, brothers Frank and Wally,
described to me his father's fur farm on the marsh Merlin W. Miescke, Bert Guptill, Oscar Spittel and Burn
during the years 1924 to 1927. Max Miescke rented land Johnson worked with Max. Together they had a couple
along the marsh from Mc Williams and Norris, and thousand traps out. In one season they would take about
purchased the required fur farm license each year at an 10,000 rats.
annual price of$100.
These were sold to either Frank Bossman or Frank
Max's fur trapping boundaries extended from Burckhardt for between $2 and $3 a piece, depending on
Coleman's fence over to the east side to the marsh, then who would give them the best price. That may seem like a lot
from Quick's Point up to the north up to the west side of of money, but keep in mind it was split about six ways to help
Malzan's Bay, then way up to Clark's ditch and back support the different families. When local law enforcement
down over to the Main Ditch. suspected that Max was trapping illegally, they would
periodically investigate.
The headquarters for the farm were the tents and
wooden shanties they set up on the Four-Mile Island. The plan, however, worked like this: whenever Max
There the trappers skinned, stretched and cleaned would be up on the marsh at night and "the law" was in the
several thousand [musk]rats a year. area, Grandma Esther would place a lighted oil lantern in the
north window of the attic. The lantern light was visible as
After the marsh was opened to public hunting in the Max approached the house from trapping on the marsh. This
late I 920's, the attic at the Max Miescke house became was the signal for Max not to come home yet or to get rid of
the new " headquarters." After skinning the rats and any "evidence" he might have on hinl.
stretching them onto the proper sized boards, they were
hung on nails in the attic for drying. Hundreds of nails Believe it or not, though it no longer signals to any
in the attic rafters are still there as a reminder of where family trappers, that old oil lantern still hangs in the attic of
the stretcher boards hung. Stretchers were sometimes that house to this day!
also hung outside in the plum and cherry trees near the
house.

Pushers for the trapping boats on Steamboat Island, 1910


43
Water ,. . , The Life-blood of the Land
Bill Volkert
Wildlife Educator/Naturalist
DNR - Horicon Marsh
The rivers that flow across the land are corridors of The current state of our waterways is not the result of
life; providing habitat and transporting life-giv ing water any one contributing source, but is the cumulative result of
through the land. Our creeks, streams and river are like a the ways that a ll ofus together live on the land through
vascu lar system of the land. They are the arteries, the which flow these arteries of life. ln doing so, these vital
veins and capillaries that support the life on the land waters gather up the refuse and waste of our culture and
around them. Reaching out to capture the water that flows carry with them the end products of our modern lifestyle.
from every corner of the land, these arteries gather the And so it flows - ever downhill and downstream.
waters together and take them onward to the sea.
Horicon Marsh is at the heart of the Upper Rock
If the Rock River is the main artery of our landscape, River watershed, and it is at the receiving end of all that is
then Horicon Marsh is the heart of the land. Being pulled captured from the land above it and transported down-
on by the laws of gravity, all things flow downhi ll and stream. In a sense, we are clogging these arteries with silt,
downstream - they a ll flow on toward Horicon Marsh and, phosphorous, and toxins in the same manner that a heart
eventually, the Mississippi River to the Gu lf of Mexico. patient clogs his own arteries over a long life of poor
eating habits.
As the end less flow of water in this natural system
pulses across the land, it carries with it a tiny piece of the The course ofour Jives will be determined by the
land through which it flows. The end less process of long-tenn condition of the Horicon Marsh and its water-
erosion ever so slowly carves the land and washes away ways. This marsh will be the barometer by which we
even the largest mountains. However, as hum ans have measure our ability to live on the land and w ith the land,
come to dominate the land, our activities have accelerated or the degree to which we are unable to come to terms
this process by a thousand-fold. In doing so, we not only with the needs of nature balanced by the needs for our
a llow our soil to be carried away faster than it can form, individual lives.
but our presence on the land has also added excessive
nutrients and manmade chemicals to this mix.

Main Ditch of the Horicon Marsh. looking north, October 2001


44
- The Rock River Runs Through Us -
Horicon Stories

Today, we are taking a new look at these neglected


waterways and perhaps beginning to rea lize that we can
no longer, and maybe never shou ld have, used these life-
sustaining arteries of the land as open sewers to carry
the waste of our lives beyond the next bend in the river
and out of our sight. The cycle of the seasons and the
endless flow of water through the land will not be
stopped by any efforts we may bring to the land, but
how successfully we learn to live and care for these
waters that make our lives possible will be revealed in
the quality of the very water that flows by our front
door, across this land to our neighbors beyond.

Ducks swimming out into the Horicon Marsh Control Gate Structure being constructed
afler being released, 1935 on the Horicon Marsh, 1951

Radial Gate structure being constructed on the Horicon Marsh, 1951


45
A rest from threshing hay. c. 1890 Local farmers threshing hay stacks, c. 1890

Big Island on Lake Sinissippi, Hustisford, 2006

46
- The Rock River Runs Through Us -

Jfustis ore£

New Bridge and Dam on the Rock River in Hustisford, 1944

47
Jfustis ord
Then
Then and Now
For thousands of years various Indian tribes lived along the Rock River. About 900 A.D., the effigy mound culture
of the Woodland tribe bu ilt at least 33 ceremonial mounds in the H ustisford area. When the white man settled around the
area and started getting the land ready to plant crops, the mounds were plowed over many times, and most soon disappeared .
About 1730, long before Hustisford was settled, the area was home to the Fox Indians. In the 1830s, just before the vi llage
was founded, the area along the Rock River, which is now Hustis ford, was the dividing line between Indian tribes. The
west side of the river was covered with prair ie grass and a few burr-oak trees and was inhabited by the Winnebago
Indians. The east side of the river was heavi ly timbered with hard map les, basswoods and tamarack swamps and was
inhabited by the M enomonee Indians.

On July 18, 1832, during the Black Hawk War, General James D. Henry and Col. Heruy Dodge encamped, with
their troops and Winnebago scouts, at Hustis Rapids in search of Black Hawk and his band. They learned the Sauks,
Foxes, and Kickapoo had turned westward south of Hustisford. This was the last Indian War in the Northwest Territoty.
Despite treaties, straggling bands of Indians returned annually to fish, hunt and trap until around the turn of the century.

Husti sford founder, John Hust is, graduated from Yale College in 1833. He was admi tted to the bar in 1836, and came to
Milwaukee on November 29, 1836. A friend ofHustis, Orland o Griffith, bad al.ready surveyed much of what is now
Hustisford. Griffith turned his claim over to Hustis on April 15, 1839 for a price of $600.00 . On August 17, 1837,
Hustis staked his claim to 298 acres. He built his first shanty and lived among the Indians, furn ishing the tribes with
provisions. In L839 be purchased another L38 acres. The site of Hustisford was originally called " The Rapids" because
of so many rapids in the river. Later the name changed to Hustis Rapids an d then to Hustisford.

T he area was well known for its abundant fishing and wildlife. Lake Sinissippi was fo rmed when the dam was built
in 1845, it formerly was a swamp and marsh. At this time, John I-Justis erected a log dam and bui lt a sawmill, which ran
until 1859, and a gristmill was erected in 1850 a nd ran until 1929. The Jake bas been cal led the most picturesque Jake in
southern Wisconsin, and it was one of the best fishing ar eas in the state. Fishing was an important live lil10od in the past.
The sha llowness of the lake means it freezes over easily, cutting off the oxygen supply to desirable game fish. Carp,
however, winter we ll in the mud bottom. Fishing wi ll never be as abundant as in the earlier years.

Now
With the decline of game fish , the sport of fish ing isn' t as abundant as years ago; though below the dam, many game
fi sh are still being caught, however they aren' t as big as before. Because of all the motor ized boats, snowmobi les, jet skis
and even car racing on the ice; the fish population will never again be as abundant. Hunting of ducks and geese in fall is
still quite prevalent in the area. There also is a pair of bald eagles nesting on one of the islands in Lake Sinissippi. The
local water ski club is going strong, and the lake and river are well occupied during the stunmer months with recreational
vehicles. Even though the lake and river have changed, it's still a very picturesque place to call home, and must be
preserved for future generations.

Clubhouse paddlewheeler by Hustisford 's wooden dam, 1905 Wooden dam and iron bridge on Rock Rive1; c. 1900's

48
- The Rock River Runs Through Us -

Tales of Us
This is home ... where my people dwell
It takes more than just one tongue to tell
The tale of us all slowly becoming one
The tale of us all here where the river runs

In the wind . .. in the crackling fire


In the land, in the river choir
The tale of us all slowly becoming one
The take of us all here where the river runs

This is home ... where the river bends


And we know somewhere in the end
The history we share means more than the differences West side ofLake Street, Hustisford, 1892
The history we share closes the distances
This is home.
...
-~ --
Written by Ken Lonnquist
with the Sense ofPlace Summer School Students,
School District ofMayville, 2003

~.· .
Spearing Carp above Hustisford Dam, I 898 Koch's Mill on the Rock River, 1895

Veteran's Day Celebration, Hustisford Park


49
Hustisford

Story Teller's Workshop


"The lake is the culture of the community - lake Sinnissippi is what Hustisford has always been. " This is what Lois
Braemer believes. Lois was among a dozen area residents who came together one Saturday in October 2005 to share
their knowledge of the lakes past, their perceptions of it today and their hopes for its future. Jn age, they represented a
span ofseventy years, and included those who have lived most of their life in Hustisford, and others who are more recent
arrivals. Their involvement with Lake Sinissippi runs even deeper than the lakes waters. Ernie Frank has watched the
lake and fished its waters for thirty years. Carole Smith raised her children on Butternut Island. Herb Neuenschwander
helped his father run the hotel where the bowling alley is now. Bill Germer, Joe Gillich, Phyllis Felle1; Todd Gillich,
Lois Braemet; and Karen Fink are also long-time residents. Teny Bwge, and her JO y ear old son Josh have been here
for twelve years. Ruth Johnson, her partner Vince Pena, and Joan Pape moved to Butternut Island during the past jive
years.

Lake Sinnissippi - a Place of Memories, Stories and Hope.


F irst, they share exper iences, and perceptions of t he Lake's characte r.

Ernie Frank - I enjoy the Jake because you see beautiful when we went swimming we had to shower right away.
things in the morning. The Jake shimmers and it's clear One man stayed in so long, when he came out, we thought
like a mirror. When I bought lake property - Lot 7- in he was a monster because he was all covered in weeds. On
1964, it was mucky, but now it's beautiful. There was no New Year's Eve, we used to have a round-robin party and
one; now there are lots of people building. There are 11 visit everyone on the island, although the first year, we
islands in this lake - one is called Campers' Island My were the only ones.
favorite place to watch the lake is from my bed. I see the
lake every morning when I wake up. The sun comes up red Bill Germer - Years ago they used to make ice. My dad
- it's beautiful. At night, when the moon is up; it's really had a cutter, a one horse sled. We used to walk my father
pretty. home across the lake back from school and had to be
carefu l where they cut the ice - you could drown if you fell
Herb Neuenschwander - I've known the lake for 80 in. I remember the ice was all clear. The Lake wasn't
years. We were running the hotel which is now the much sha llower than it is now.
bowling alley. In 1923, l was on the lake for the first time;
there were no buildings on it; everything was wilderness - J oe Gillich - Why was the ice always so clear?
you felt like you were in Canada. It was very quiet and
serene. My best experience was sleeping on our boat E rnie Frank - There wasn't so much muck in winter time
overnight in the open in the midd le of Ju ly. - the soil settles on the bottom.

Carole Smith- We moved to this area in 1969. My Ter ry Burge - We've been here about 12 years. I grew up
children and I were the only ones on Butternut Island in in Pewaukee by a lake. We happen to be driving. We
winter. We would go out and walk around the island when passed the lake. It was very beautiful. You could take some
I came home from work. We had a wonderful time, ice of the most beautiful pictures of this lake. It's calendar
skating, just wandering around. In spring, we just get into material. I wanted my children to have experiences like I
a rowboat and row around the island. My kids fished a Jot. had growing up along a lake.
We had marvelous times out there. After the drawdown,

50
- The Rock River Runs Through Us - Hustisford

Joan Pape-I moved down from Eagle River a little Todd Gillich - I remember growing up on the lake when you
less than a year ago. I was on the Chain of 28 Lakes. could catch any fish.
My only requirement when I moved was to live by
water. I like to swim, and I'm a good swimmer. No Herb Neuenschwander - In 1933 , I went out at 4:00 in the
reason you can't swim now if you don't have your feet morning and counted 300 great blue herons coming off
on the bottom. The water up north had a balance, you Crane Island. I fished more than any living man I know in
could fish, boat, swim. I hope it can be like that here. my time. Once I was with a guy- we were playing hooky -
and we were catching northerns pretty fast and furious.
Phyllis Feller - My best memory was we went out to When I came back from the service in 1942, that summer, we
the 'Oxbow' every Memorial Day for a picnic. That caught 1,074 fish in the Rock River. Today the best fishennen
was fun. When I was in high school, my friend had a catch 16 in the time my dad and I used to catch 72.
boat, and we used to row around the islands
Bill Germer - My dad bought the farm in 1920, and we did
Karen Fink - I moved here in 1974 after the draw- a lot of trapping when there was a lot of marsh along the
down. I grew up in cities, and I didn 't want to live lake. We would get 60 cents per hundred, and we caught
here at first, but it totally won me over. My favorite thousands of muskrats each year. My dad use to say, that's
day is the day after Labor Day what got us through. The rats multiply real fast. They have
three litters a year. I once saw a pile of 4,000 on a truck. We
Josh Burge - If the Lake wasn't here, I'd be bored. also use to go out hunting for ducks. Within 15 minutes, we
would get ten ducks. There used to be a lot more marsh. Now
Our conversation turns to fishing, bunting and you're lucky to get 10 ducks all year.
wildlife.
Phyllis Feller - I used to fish when I was young with my
Ernie Frank - I've got lots of pictures of fish. It's mother and later with my grandkids.
great fishing - perch, bluegill, and northerns.
Ernie Frank - I remember on Horicon Marsh about two or
Josh Burge - I like fishing. 1 catch bullheads and three years ago- there were lots of pelicans. They were so
carp with my dad or my friends. We fish off the pier or beautiful flying overhead.
along the shore. It doesn't take long to catch fish -
usually ten or fifteen minutes -sometimes every two Josh Burge - In the spring, on our road at night frogs like to
minutes. One time, with my friend Tyler, we went come out and soak in the grass. We see more than 10 frogs.
fishing, and every two minutes he caught a carp or a
bullhead. Once we were fishing at the dam, he caught
the exact same fish twice, and he got the hook and
bobber back at the same time.
Ernie Frank - There used to be lots of toads, but when Terry Burge - People are moving out who had been here
you cut the lawn so short, the toads can't get away in time. forever, while people from Milwaukee have been moving
in.
Joe Gillich -The best duck season ever was in 1938. We
went out to Koch's Island and hunted off the point. There Lois Braemer - I have seen the change in residences.
was a limit of 15 ducks at that time. A flock ofbluebills They' re no longer shacks. They're fabulous homes.
circled our decoy. One of us took this bunch, another that
bunch. The boat was half full of ducks. Now the ducks are Phyllis Feller - The run down homes are now mansions.
being killed by botulism. The Lake is becoming a recreational lake. It once was a
hunting lake, and now it's a recreational lake. It's probably
Ruth Johnson - I've seen eagles nesting along the Lake. because of different lifestyles.

Terry Burge -We hadn't done anything to protect the fish,


Everyone notices change. but more people are getting more interested in a fish
management program.
Bill Germer - Up until 50 years ago, there were no geese.
Now you chase them off. There were no deer; now at Inevitably, they talk about the draw down of the Lake
night I see 6-10 deer. When we had more marsh, we had and the carp kill event in Horicon.
more birds, more otter, muskrats and mink. After the lake
drawdown, muskrats started coming back. We caught Ernie Frank - During that two year drawdown, the weeds
about 600 rats in 1975. I still see mink and otter. The grew like crazy. You could walk on the weeds. I remember
biggest change as the Lake changed was the fish. We used working the harvester in 1979. I worked it for two years to
to get more northern and perch. . remove the weeds. It was supposed to be two people, but
the guy who was with me never got up. I was alone most
Ernie Frank-There used to be few deer. Now they are of the time.
all over.

Boys fis hing below Koch 's Flour Mill, 1895


52
- The Rock River Runs Through Us - Hustisford

New development along the shores of Lake Sinissippi, 2006

Ruth Johnson -Our cabin faces west on the lake. I Carole Smith - The fire truck tried shooting water at them
remember thinking, what's that smell? Did the dog drag (bogs) to get them to move over the dam.
a dead animal under the porch. Is it already starting to
rot? I looked up the river. I see this brown smudge on Terry Burge - The water was so high, piers were under
the horizon. Then suddenly it dawns on me, it's a whole water. It was scary for people; water was coming into homes
wall of dead and rotting carp floating down the river. It and basements.
looked like hundreds of thousands.
Karen Fink - Without the wetlands that we have, we would
Karen Fink - The lake wasn't covered with carp even have had more serious problems.
though the newspaper and TV made it seem that way.
People were driving around looking for them, asking Carole Smith - There wasn't much room between the water
"Where are the carp?" But unless you knew where to and the bridge.
look for them, you could drive around the whole lake
and not see any. Joan Pape - When I saw these floating bogs I never saw
anything like the floating bogs during the floods. People told
Herb Neuenschwander - The drawdown was fine, but me they had never seen anything like this.
they shouldn't have put poison in there too. It killed a
lot more than carp. We are really polluting the lake and Each person has a vision for the Lake that will be
the geese. enjoyed by the next generation.

Karen Fink - The carp are the problem because they Josh Burge - There are lots of fish, different kinds, and you
are no big game fish. You need to control the carp to a could see through the water. It would be clear, and you can
certain extent, especially when it's out of whack. see the fish, not so much muck.

The high water of the spring of 2004 also arouses Bill Germer - The Lake District will help in cleaning up the
reaction. lake.

Terry Burge - The most amazing thing was when we Terry Burge - The lake would be clear; it would be a lake
had high water- the bogs were the size of houses. The that's manageable where you could bunt, boat, and fish.
water was so high you lost the shoreline. That was an
amazing event.

53
Ernie Frank - The lake can be all that. It is a big enough K a ren Fink - We can't get the river back the way it was,
water. but we can do something.

Herb Neuenschwander - What I want to happen, nobody Terry Burge - We have to try. Ifwe are not successful we
can afford. We need to dredge the lake. still have to try.

Joan Pape - I hope there can be a balance between Ruth Johnson - It's hard, but I don't give up.
fishing and boating, and I don't see why there can ' t be.
Maybe, there has to be some regul ations. Since fishermen Bill Germer - You never want to g ive up.
use lake in early morning, maybe you wouldn 't have jet
skis until after 9:00. People who boat do care about water
quality. I think education is important. People need to
know what happens because of certain actions. People
want to care.

Lois Braemer - The lake should be a sparkling lake


where you could go swimming, and the fishing wou ld be
better.

Bill Germer - I hope becoming a Lake District w ill help


with carp population. We should have a drawdown every
two years. It would be nice to get more marsh back, but it
probably won't happen. People don't want cattai ls by their
pier. We have to be careful though. Othe rwise we get
coontail out there need to aerate. Afternoon boat ride at the south end of Lake Sinissippi.
north of Iron Bridge on Tweedy Street, 1914
Terry Burge - You will need people who care; otherwise
the lake will die. Things don't happen overn ight. We will
need volunteers. People will need to get active, not just let
things go. They will need to actively volunteer fo r the lake
to survive. They should join the Lake Association, rather
than take the lake for granted. It could be gone. We could
lose it. Fishing has died here. It doesn't have to be.

Karen Fink - We can't tum back the clock, but we need


to go forward with what we have. I wou ld like to see the
lake more peaceful where boaters and fisherman could
coe:idst. Many people think you can't have both, but you
can. Maybe huge changes cannot be made, but not to try to
do something is wrong. We can't take the lake fo r granted.

Ruth Johnso n - First, how do we manage the carp?


Second, our whole watershed covers over 500 square
miles. How is the lake association going to change the
attitude in the who le watershed? We could work our butt
off, and it might not change except in Josh's lifetime, but
if we do nothing, it cannot get better. I've worked in the
Milwaukee River Basin where the situation was even
worse. That was 10 years ago. The Milwaukee River was
a cesspool. But ten years later, they are stocking fish there
because there was a will to clean that river up. If they can
do that in the Milwaukee River Basin which is the size of
our watershed, that inspires me to keep working, not just
for what is going to happen in my lifetime, but in my
grandchildren's lifetime
John Hus tis, founder of Hustisford
54
- The Rock River Runs Through Us - Hustisford

Herbert Neuenschwander's Short Stories


Distortion in the Fog Skating to Watertown
Hunting ducks around 1970, on Lake Sinissippi, Three times Herb attempted to ice skate to Watertown on
Herb started at Willow Bank in the fog. He couldn't the Rock River. It's 46 miles by ri ver. In one attempt he took
figure out where he was, it seemed as though someone Rue Leitzke and his sister along on Christmas Eve. The little
had moved an island there during the night. He kept girl got tired and couldn 't go very far. The ice began to sound
going in circles to the right, and ended up on the west hollow (thin) and it began to snow. So they stopped at Ixonia
side of Anthony's Island. The trees were so distorted in and called for a ride home.
the fog, they looked like giant redwoods. Once he got
his bearings, he went directly to the north point of Another time when Herb was 48 years old; he and
Koch 's Island; then to Radloff's Island and beyond, to Oliver Leitzke, and Oliver's son, Lauris, went from
hunt from his duck blind at Stone Island. Watertown to Hustisford on ice skates. Oliver broke partly
through the ice when they were nearer home, but they kept
Another time, in 1961 , Herb and Orville Zuelsdorf going unti l they got to a plowed field south of the Highway
were going duck hunting in the river marsh about a mi le 60 bridge. This was around 7:00 that night. It had taken them
south of the Highway 60 bridge. In the early morning 7 Yi hours . The fol lowing morning, at 4:00 AM Oliver 's
hours they took a south turn off Hi lltop Road; they wife, Ethel, gave birth to their youngest son.
could hear other hunters talking, waiting for starting
time. Off to the east they saw what looked like a " Ghost Rowing to Watertown
Rider in the Sky". About 20 feet above the water in the July 16, 1940, the Rock River was really h igh. Herb and
marsh, the fog so distorted the image, just before Raymond Suhr took a wooden row boat to Riverside Park in
sunrise; it turned out to be Gordon Berndt pushing a Watertown from Condons old iron bridge in Hustisford.
boat northwest with a push paddle, a fascinating, rare They slept in the park that night, it took them 9 Yi hours to
mirage. get there, and all they had to sleep on was a raincoat and boat
cushion. The grass covered ground was rock hard. Herb
woke up at 4:00AM and walked around the park watching
the animals that were found in cages at that time. Raymond 's
brother, Wilmer, had a truck and picked them up early the
next morning from the fourth street bridge and brought them
home.

Then and Now


Years ago the lake and river were used for fishing and
bunting, as there was an a bundance of fish and wild life in
the area. Too much poll ution and motorized boats and
recreation vehicles have spoiled the scenic waters for
relaxation. Sunday afternoons and evenings used to be so
peaceful and relaxing and it was a conunon site to see
someone in a row boat out on the lake and river just enjoying
the scenery and solitude, or maybe courting a girl. Those
days are long gone, but wonderful memories remain.

Herb heading out on the Rock Rive1; 1952

55
Jee sailing and skating, Neider Bay, Lake Sinissippi, December 1906

Hustisford spillway on the Rock Rive1; 1908

H erb with G Lietzke with dip net set up, 1959 Herb with one day~· catch offish, 1945

56
- The Rock River Runs Through Us - Hustisford

Rock River ~ lections of the Past


by Mel Grulke

I grew up on a farm south of Hustisford which was least one turtle who had decided to chow down on the tasty
located a mile or so from the old "Condon's Bridge" on angleworm. These turtles were always undesirable because
the Rock River on Elmwood Road. Since our farm was they could bite your finger off if you tried to extract the hook
located near the river, and TV, video games, and P.C. 's from their mouth. This always meant cutting the line and
were then not an option, the river easily provided a attaching a new hook and wonn. This fishing trip usually
wonderful source ofrecreation and fun for us children lasted most of the day and included my two brothers as well
as well as for the adults. Fishing was always a big part as Mother and Dad. Lunch involved getting to eat your
of going to the river, although we kids weren't always favorite sandwiches along with cookies and other snacks.
too serious about it because there were so many other Drinks were normally soda pop for the kids and Mother and
fun things to do there. a beer or two for Dad.

Catching bullheads was pretty much the main A few of these trips to the river included taking along an
attraction for fishing, but my father did have a rod and elderly uncle of my mother who stayed with us occasionally
reel and did use it some of the time to cast for the big for a few days and enjoyed going fishing with us. Fishing
northern. For us kids, the equipment of the day was of bullheads was not his big thing, because he instead loved to
course a cane pole and a line on which was attached a sit on a pail all day long trying to catch the elusive northern.
"cork" and a hook with an angleworm dangling from it. His equipment too consisted of a cane pole which included a
Unless the bullheads were exceptionally tiny, they were cork and a large hook from which he had attached a tasty
all kept and put into a galvanized pail with water. If you looking frog. The frogs were his choice of bait for the
were lucky to get a big catch, they were thrown into a northern and although he never seemed to catch many fish,
"gunny sack" which was placed in the water at the edge he always used up at least 5 or 6 frogs which he housed in a
of the river bank to keep the fish fresh and alive. At the small sock that he tied to a string and placed in the water to
end of the day, the bag usually included a few carp that keep the frogs alive and active. The day at the river usually
were kept also. The carp were cleaned and fried in a ended with Dad cleaning the fish at home and placing them
black frying pan along with the bullheads and were in the icebox (later a refrigerator) to be eaten the next day.
quite delicious, providing you didn't mind swallowing a
few of the hundred or so of the bones which each carp
contained. Each fishing trip to the river also produced at

Iron Bridge on Tweedy Street, Hustisford, 1897


57
Another form of recreation which also comes to mind We of course did not have our own boat or a motor in
from my childhood days likewise involves the Rock River, those days, but this was no problem since you had the
this being the section of Rock River above the dam at choice of renting wooden row boats from three different
Hustisford on the waterway known as Lake Sinissippi. The places on Lake Sinissippi. The first place was located on
river flows down from the Horicon Marsh area through the east side of the lake and was then known and is still
Lake Sinissippi wh ich was formed upon construction of a called Lone Pine. It was at that time owned by Otto Grulke
dam at the Village of Hustisford many years ago. ln its and was a favorite of the kids because it was operated as a
early days, this Jake was widely known for its abi lity to tavern and the abi lity to buy a candy bar there was a
produce excellent catches of game fish such as walleyes special treat. The second site was on the west side of the
and northern. By the time I grew up a as child in the late lake at William Genner, Sr.'s farm. This was also a fun
l 940's and early 1950's, this type of fishing bad pretty place for the kids to go fishing because it provided a large
much disappeared because the quality and depth of water picnic area to run off your heels if the fish were not biting
in the lake had deteriorated greatly. This was largely due to too well that day. I also remember when we would rent a
the infestation of carp into Lake Sinissippi and the boat on occasion at a place farther north on the lake called
drainage of silt which had come down from the Horicon Schwensow's. This was also a bar and was really exciting
Marsh over the years. Bullheads were however still very for me because it was located on a large pier on the lake
prevalent in the lake and were still sought after at the time some distance from the shore. I remember it was so "cool"
I was a young lad. to be ab le to have the lake right beneath you as you sat in
the bar drinking an orange soda pop.
For me this meant an occasional trip or two each
summer to the lake for a day of fun trying to catch these I would like to add a thought or two regarding the
bullheads. This usually involved the entire family including fishing boats that were used in those days. As noted, they
my grandfather and grandmother. The women and my were wooden boats which were certainly much smaller
younger brother would fish from the shore, while I than the modem aluminum or fiber glass boats of today.
cherished the opportunity to be able to go along out on the Anchors were home made from concrete and were usually
boat to the middle of the lake where I was to ld the " big fo rmed from two pound coffee cans. For us children, they
ones" were located. Noon time meant going back to shore were quite heavy and were certainly difficult to pull out of
to eat lunch. This lunch was prepared by Mother and the mud bottom of the lake. The boats which we rented
Grandmother, and surely tasted good back then. from Mr. Germer were somewhat different than the others

58
- The Rock River Runs Through Us - Hustisford

in that they did not use the concrete anchors which were
tied to a rope. Instead, these boats were held in place on
the water by using Jong wooden poles which were pushed
down into the bottom of the lake through a metal loop that
was attached to the outside edge of the boat. These poles
were an inch or so in diameter and usually held the boat
firmly in place at the spot you wished to fish. I recall they
were also somewhat hard to pull out of the mud bottom
when fishing on one spot for some time.

Bullheads along with carp are still in abundance on


Lake Sinissippi today. Though no longer considered to be
as desirable as other panfish, fishing bullheads is still a
source of fun and recreation for many people. When fried
properly, they can also be a very tasty meal. Unlike other
Two Matthes girls in rowboat above Hustisford Dam,
panfish and most species of game fish, these bullheads and
the carp are able to survive over winters in the shallow Fireman :S Hill in the background, 1906
water of Lake Sinissippi.

In closing I wish to note that Lake Sinissippi has


always been a source of natural beauty. The wooded
islands and the non-inhabited natural shoreline along parts
of the lake are a big reason for this desired landscape. The
lake has however changed greatly over the past 25 years
with regard to recreation and construction of home sites.
Pontoon boats andjet skis are now common on the lake in
summer, and a number of beautiful homes now overlook
the lake on all sides. The formation of sanitary districts
around the lake has been one of the primary reasons that
Lake Sinissippi continues to be a very natural resource for
the surrounding area.

Matthes Children above Hustisford dam, 1906

, '/ l~ r ..- /
/

Parade at Golden Jubilee of Hustisford Volunteer Fire Company, Looking south on Lake Street, July 23, 1933
59
Students fiwn Washington School learn
about fi"ontier life from Dick Mezera,
Waupun, 2006

Stream samples and measurements


taken by students help manage the
Rock River watersheds, 2004

A young girl takes aquatic samples at


Fond du Lac County Park in Waupun,2004
- The Rock River Runs Through Us -

Tomorrow'sStory
Young People Share Their Time and Talent

Emily Schroeder sits musing on the riverbank of the Rock Rive1:

61
'](ids Can Lead the Way on River Care

By Dave Imhoff

There are kids to be found , whatever the weather, a ll river. Citizens of any age from fi ve to ninety-five can help
along the South Fork of the West Branch of the Rock if they like. Rain gardens can be built anywhere there is a
River from Fond du Lac County Park in Waupun to the need, if you rea lly want to help, and every little bit helps.
Highway 49 wayside where it enters the Horicon Marsh. A rain garden can be built on private property, public
We only notice them more in the vicinity of Brandon, or property, by schools, businesses, and homeowners to both
Madison, or Fond du Lac Streets because more traffic help refill the aquifer and make the land more beautiful.
passes there. These kids are on the river being What's not to like about that?
environmental. .. just like the ir parents and grandparents
before them.

Some may be fishing, catching frogs, looking fo r interesting


rocks, or scouting out new locations for some other
adventures. They may h ave a rowboat, a paddleboat, or a
canoe. Could be they j ust rolled up their pant legs, took
off their shoes, and waded for a while. Nothing is
required except keeping your eyes, ears, and mind open to
the possibi liti es of a brand new day in an old familiar place.

Kids don' t reaUy learn about the environment in school.


They learn about it in life. The books just confirm what
they already feel inside about bow muddy water is bard on
fish, and all that plastic, styrofoam, and broken glass are Flood Waters Cutting a Four-foot Deep Gap North of the
both an eyesore and a hazard. When the fish they want to Rock River in Waupun. Dam in background, 2004
catch don' t appear in the ri ver anymore, they know it has
something to do with how little water flo ws over the dam The groundwater model can also help us understand the
or the thick mats of algae and duckweed that cover the movement of toxins through the aquifer. When kids see
Mill Pond. When their feet get cut on broken glass, th ey how it happens and the effort that is required to remove
are left to wonder, "What's that stuff doing in the river? the toxins, th ey realize that every effort must be made to
Who would do a thing like that?" keep poisons out of our environment. Later generations
will have to pay the cost of a llowing careless handling of
As they get older, if they care enough about this river that hazardous substances. Once we all realize that, we will
enchanted them in their youth, they may want to know more want to hold polluters to a higher standard.
about what's happening to it. Here is where environmenta l
education steps in and builds on the big truths they' ve Getting school-aged kids involved in water testing helps
already grown up with. them see that there is much more in the water than meets
the eye. By testing on a regular basis, and charting the
If students notice that river levels have dropped, science changes over time, students ca n see the hidden effects of
class is where they can come to realize the effect of our actions. Students ga in a working know ledge of the
groundwater depletion as wells draw out more water than acidity or alkalinity of the water, the dissolved oxygen
can be replaced by scant rainfall, especia lly if paved surfaces available for fish and other living things, and the macro-
keep the rain from getting through. A groundwater model in invertebrate insects that are present in our streams and
school can help make this process clear since it really is not rivers as these and many other tests are performed by kids
that obvious to us surface dwellers. But, understanding is from elementary schoo l on up. These same students can
not enough . People have to act. Students who learn about inform adults now and wil l be informed citizens later,
rain gardens that provide one possible solution can spread when, as ad ults themselves, they have to decide what is to
the word. By giving the water a place to stand and soak in be done with the river. They are j ust being environmental -
over time, it no longer skims across the surface running off just like their parents and grandparents before the m.
together with at least some of the debris that ends up in the
62
- The Rock River Runs Through Us - Tomorrows Stories

.. ~

Children of the River


I

We will find a way


We will find a way
The River's gonna run
Forever in the sun

Time w ill take us there


Time will take us there
The River's gonna run
Forever in the sun

We are children of the river


We go on and on
Gentle as a rolling river
And just as strong

There will come a day


Dave Imhoff with Waupun School District 5th Graders in
There will come a day
a DNR Voyager canoe on Mill Pond, Shaler Park, 2004
The River's gonna run
Forever in the sun

Written by Ken lonnquist


with the Sense of Place Summer School Students, The Rock River -
School District ofMayville, 2003
Season to Season
In the fall ,
the trees and bushes around the Rock River change colors,
marvelous colors.
Drip, Drop In the winter,
the ri ver water will be ice.
Drip, drop, the rain falls down and there w ill be snow on the ground.
but it doesn't give me a frown. In the spring,
I go to my rain barrel the river runs slowly,
and run to the eaves trough with fish swimming all around.
to collect all the water I can. Ln the summer,
If the rain falls too hard the river is flowing perfectly,
it will flood the yard, the trees along the shore are calm,
and the water won't be purified. and the sun reflects on the water.
So I collect the water when it rains,
and pour it on our plants and our grass when the heat is a pain Tiffany Wiedmeyer, age 9
Then the water will be purifies
and go into our drinking supply.
Ifwe didn 't do all this
the acid rain would go
into the gutters and into the river,
where it would grow tons of algae.
So by everyone helping a little we keep a nice clean river.

by Thomas Lechner
First Place Middle School,
Baby turtles can be found near the rivers and marshes
Waupun Writing Contest, 2004
63
Moense of Place
by Jarid Pfalzgraf
age Fourteen
First Place High School, Waupun Writing Contest, 2004

This morning as usual I woke up around 7 a.m. and the sweat breaking struggle of paddling our way up the
anticipating for another awesome day of being lazy on overwhelmingly strong and rapid current. Then the awesome
the banks of the Rock River. I couldn't stop pondering sense of accomplishment once we climbed our way over them
the thought of how many fish I was going to be into the calm waters to rest and catch our breath. While out on
pulling in today and how much fun I was going to be the water, we would talk about all of the crazy things we had
having. done in the river. We always had a blast, like tubing down
stream, then stopping to take a nice, cool, and refreshing swim,
As I arrived at my usual spot along the river, I or walking upstream barefoot to catch a giant snapper then let
was welcomed by the soothing sound of the water him go. One time we even biked through the river water that
flowing over the rocks sticking out of the water. I had flooded over the street.
popped my shoes off and dunked my feet and fishing
line into the water. As I sat there with the sun shining, We loved every summertime activity there was but, our
the light breeze blowing, the whistling of the willow, favorite time was winter. We would all get up early in the
the soft sound of the cool water trickling at my feet morning and meet at the river for some fun . We would use all
and watching my red and white bobber bouncing up of the strength in our body, even breaking a sweat in the cold
and down in the breeze as the small fish ate their chill of winter to drill our fishing holes. Once we had them all
lunch. drilled, we would sit and fish long cold hours trying to keep
warm. Sometimes we would even head out into the country to
After staring at my bobber my mind started floating the secluded parts of the river in the woods at one of our pal's
back in time. I remembered the first fish I'd ever house. We would hop on the snowmobiles and ride down the
caught when I was five years old. All I was using was frozen river. We would go through the marsh checking our
a branch my grandpa had pulled off the hickory tree in deer stands where we would hopefully bag a big buck during
the front yard, a loosely tied string and an old rusty deer season.
hook. I dropped my line in the water. Grandpa and I
must have sat there for an hour when we decided to I started thinking about the first deer I saw while sitting in
leave. As I slowly dragged my line back into the bank my deer stand my first year of hunting and how excited I was,
I was startled by grandpa suddenly shouting, LOOK! and then all of a sudden SPLASH! I snapped out of the trance
I glanced down and to my surprise saw a minnow I was in, and started reeling in the fish I had just hooked. He
snagged at the end of the hook. Grandpa took it off, was running away with more line than I wanted him to, this
set it in my hand, then I let it go back into the water, one wasn't giving up without a fight! I finally started gaining
and we laughed at my amazing stroke of luck the on him when he tired out, then, SNAP! My line broke.
whole way home.
Later, sitting along the river after I finally got over the big
Then I snapped out of it to check on my bobber loss, I couldn't believe I had been there all of that time
again. I had been so busy looking to the past that I had reminiscing. Even though I had been there all day I didn' t
completely forgot about fishing. I had to chuckle to catch one fish, but I did leave with one thing way more
myself as I thought "Wow, I' m sitting here using a important than any fish ... MY SENSE OF PLACE.
fancy rod, reel, strong fishing line, a bobber, even
bait! And I can't catch a thing."

Now I couldn't stop looking back at how many


great times the river had provided for me. I remembered
the first time my pals and I tried to canoe. We spent
more time under the canoe than on top of it. After we
had a handle on it though, we couldn't stop doing it.
We loved the thrilling rush of zipping over the rapids,

Young g irls enjoying flowers by Lake Sinissippi, early 1900 's


64
- The Rock River Runs Through Us - Tomorrows Stories

Rock River Seasons The Horicon Marsh


by Renee Lechner, 5ih grade
First Place Elementary and Overall Winne1; Waupun
Essay Contest, 2004 The Horicon Marsh
big, exciting
My Daddy grew up on the east side of the people exploring, fishing, birds flying
Horicon Marsh, just Y'.i mile from the Rock River. He great place for animals
remembers doing lots of things on the Rock River. National Wildlife Refuge
He said that in winter it was a great place to ice skate.
He remembers watching men cut large holes in the ice Caleb Hagy, age 9
and using a "dip net" to catch carp.

In the springtime he remembers being told to be The Horicon Marsh


very careful near the water because it was so high. As beautiful, charming
summer came and the days got hotter, the river was protecting, feeding, saving
low in many parts. He remembers the fun he had natural beauty
finding spots to cross the river and only getting wet to Freshwater Wetland
his knees. Wearing old tennis shoes, he and a friend
would go into the shallow river and hunt for fishing Carissa Kriehn, age 12
lures that were stuck on logs or rocks.

As Daddy grew up he and a friend trapped The Horicon Marsh


muskrats along the river. Then they sold them to a fur light, green
trader. At that time he said they were pretty valuable sightseeing, hiking, biking
and they would get seven dollars for a muskrat and beautiful habitat
they didn't even have to skin them. National Wildlife Refuge

When he was in high school, he liked to paddle his Brittany Buchholz, age 9
canoe up the river before school and hunt for ducks.
Before the duck season started, he and his friend built
a grass mat blind using marsh grass, a wooden mat The Horicon Marsh
maker and twine. Some mornings he would shoot two clean, healthy
ducks and then take them home and Grandma would flowing, living, quacking
clean them so he could go to school. action-packed
Refuge
When he had a snowmobile he remembers following Zach Churchill, age 9
the river out into the Horicon Marsh and then getting
on to the manmade ditches in the marsh and going to
Burnett in about fifteen minutes. By car it was a
thirty minute drive.

Now I am ten years old and I have nice memories of


growing up in Waupun and doing things on the Rock
River, too. When I was in third grade we went fishing
on the river. Sometimes when the river freezes
before it snows, Daddy takes us onto the ice. I
remember how it creaked and cracked under my
boots. When we lived closer to the Rock River we
would cross it in the winter to go sledding on Juniper
Hill.

It is important for us to respect the River and take


care of it. It is home to many fish and other wildlife Swans areft·equent visitors at the Horicon Marsh
that depend on the river.
65
A young girl models an animal pelt

A young boy stands under the poles of a tepee

Students watch an instructor take stream measurements

Mill Pond in Waupun


- The Rock River Runs Through Us -

OurPuture

Photographers view spectacular wildlife and scenery at the Horicon Marsh

67
The Rock River ~u ns Through Us ~
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

This book began as a community storytelling project. has an historical society that is rich in collection but
AJong the way, we found that the "story" of the communities which needs participants to enjoy and nurture its
at the headwaters of the Rock River is not a unified whole, treasure.
but a complex blend of peoples arriving (and some leaving).
People moved in and out for different reasons, leaving the There are active Friends groups at the Horicon
area with diverse economic histories and examples of the National Wildlife Refuge (USFWS), the Department of
worst and best things that humankind can do to its Natural Resources International Education Center and
environment, all in just a few hundred years. the privately-managed Marsh Haven Education Center.
Each group needs participants as well as contributors
The unifying element in this whole complicated story, to help care for the marsh and the river. Each spring,
though, was - and is - the Rock River and its place in the the DNR, the National Wildlife Refuge, Horicon Bird
lives of the people and communities located around the Club, Rock River Archaeology Club and Horicon,
Horicon Marsh. We are blessed to live in an area that has Mayville, Fond du Lac and Waupun Chambers of
been designated a natural wonder, a "Wetland of International Commerce sponsor Marsh Melodies, a major celebration
Importance." We are fortunate to have had people who of springtime in the marsh. There are activities serving
realized that nature could not be abused forever and that a wide variety of natural interests in these places. On a
the river and the Marsh needed their stewardship. We are governmental level, Horicon and Waupun have
graced by the presence of people who work for the historic preservation commissions. The Rock River
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish Coalition unites communities from Waupun to
and Wildlife Service who caretake the marsh and who have Janesville in efforts to preserve and protect the Rock
become vital parts of our communities. River and its natural, cultural, and historic assets. A ll
these groups need involved members.
We have entertained visitors from China and Siberia
who've come to study our marsh and the river that runs We must encourage the teaching of local history
through us. We hope that, in their scientific pursuits, they and environmental protection in our schools, to
stopped to wonder at a Blue Heron as it waded the improve relevancy of schooling. It is we who must
shallows, stealthy in its pursuit of fish; or looked up to provide the volunteer-power for these groups.
thrill at the rolling V 's of Canada Geese, darkening the sky Whether we serve on a local commission or start a rain
and filling the air with their cacophonous calls. If they garden on our "back 40", we are the conservators who
did, they sensed the spirit of this place - a spirit that has will determine the survival of the old marsh and the
triumphed over humankind's efforts to bend nature to our great river that springs from it.
will and gathered us in to be part of it.
It is a marvelous and rich place where we live and
As we look at our past, we must realize that today is it has been entrusted to our care. Let each of us do
the "past" of tomorrow. We must realize that we are the our duty and our share to present the same gift to our
stewards of this land and that our decisions regarding the children.
growth of population in our area will determine whether
the small towns we cherish are preserved in spirit or
become commercialized and indistinguishab le urban
sprawl impacting our magnificent natural area. lfwe learn
from our river's hlstory, growth can occur without destroying
the legacy left to us by nature and our predecessors.

There are those in our schools who cherish the river


and marsh system and encourage its care in their classes.
They should be encouraged, not tied to a one-size-fits-all
curriculum. On the local level, there are rain gardens
popping up, private and public. Each of our communities

Residential Rock Riverbank in Hustisford, 2006


68
- The Rock River Runs Through Us - Our Future

The Same Mistake

Don't make - don't make - don't make the same mistake!


Don't make - don't make - don't make the same mistake!

We dammed the Rock River to make a lake


We wanted those tourists to come
Spending their money to boat and fish
And commercial boats that hauled a ton
Before long the lake overflowed its banks
Farming lands were lost
Prairie vegetation was destroyed
We paid a terrible cost

The farrners demanded the dam come down


So the land could be reclaimed
Hay grew wild in the open marsh
Which really never was the same
We ruined the marsh's character
Its waters were too low
Sandy, hard and gravely
Peat fires burned below Dredge on the Horicon Marsh, c.1930's

They say that old man Mieske got 93 ducks with one shot
It doesn't seem too risky to claim that that's an awful lot
With aim like that it wasn't long till all the ducks were gone.

Dredging and draining changed the river's flow


The marsh went from green to brown
Like a vampire sucking its life away
We wasted what we found
We wish that we could turn back time
The damage we'd repair
But now the future's in your hands
Take the advice we share

Written by Ken Lonnquist


with the Sense of Place Summer School Students,
School District ofMayville, 2003

Marsh surface pockmarked with peat fire holes, c. 1930 's

(f)
What 'Yo U Can Do to Protect our River and Marsh

Do Conservation Projects, Become Educated, Support Community Action!

Rivers, Lakes and Streams


Become involved in groups, proj ects and events that protect water resources.
See list of organizations.
Join RRC Citizen Monitoring stream teams. Call the UWEX Basin Educator at
(920) 674-7295 for more information.
Install a Rain Garden on your property, your school, or public place.
Call the UWEX Basin Educator at (290) 674-7295 for rain garden information.
Urge your local government to install and maintain stormwater practices such as
streambank buffers, detention ponds, and native plant landscapes.

Groundwater
Join the Rock River Coa lition Groundwater Issue Team.
Call the UWEX Basin Educator (920) 674-7295.
Urge your local community to join the Well Head Protection Program.
Test your private well for bacteria and nitrates once a year.
Properly abandon unused wells. Never dump any improper materials down a well.

Land - wetlands, prairies, open spaces, and agriculture


Restore a prairie - in your backyard, on your fam1, school or other public land.
Share a special nature place with a child; teach them to love, appreciate and protect it.
Participate in - or start! - local partnerships that protect habitat and natural resources.
Work to protect and connect sensitive habitats in your county or township.
Urge local officials to protect sensitive habitat through wise land use planning.
Join the Drumlin Area Land Trust.

Wildlife
When landscaping, choose native plants that provide food and shelter to wildlife.
Support responsible hunting on appropriate public and private lands.
Volunteer for bird, frog or wildlife surveys in your area.

70
- The Rock River Runs Through Us - Our Future

Land Use - Agricultural


Support local and state funded best management practices for farms.
Purchase products from local farmers who practice conservation and nutrient management.
Urge farmers to use conservation tillage and buffers near alt waterways.

Land Use - City, Suburban and Rural Living


Support land use planning and zoning in your community.
Get your community to pass and enforce construction site erosion control and
stormwater management ordinances.
Test your lawn soil for nutrients needs and insects before applying fe rtil izers or pesticides.
Keep your vehicles maintained. Do your shopping and errands in one trip.
Remember - Everything that goes into a storm drain goes right into local rivers or lakes,
not the wastewater treatment plant!
Reduce, Reuse, and recycle.
Limit the use of electrical devices and turn off unused lights!

Recreation - Hiking, biking, canoeing, wildlife and bird watching


Get involved in trail and park organizations, many of whom are working to develop and
connect biking, hiking, snowmobiling, canoeing and horse rid ing trails.
Ask your local government to support recreational trail development and connections.

History and Culture


Join your local historical society!
Write your own memoirs of your Sense of P lace!

MILL DAM, WAUPUN, WIS.

Mill dam, Waupun, late 1800'.s


71
Natural Resource and Wildlife Organizations

Friends of the Horicon Marsh US Fish and Wildlife Service


N7725 Hwy28 W4279 Headquarters. Rd.
Horicon, WI 53032 Mayville, WI 53050
920-387-7877 920-387-2658
volkew@dnr.state. wi.us horicon@furs. gov
www.horiconmarsh.org www.furs.gov/midwest/Horicon

Horicon Marsh Bird Club Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources


713 Clinton St N7725 Hwy 28
Horicon, WI 53032 Horicon, WI 53032
920-385-2936 920-387-7860
pres@horiconmarshbirdclub.com www.dnr.wi.gov
www.horiconmarshbirdclub.com

Rock River Archeological Society


N7725 Hwy28
Horicon, WI 53032-9782
volkew@dnr. state. wi. us
www. dnr.state. wi. us/org/land/wildlife/reclands/horicon/index.htm

Education Centers, Historical Museums and Tours


Natura, Historical, and Cultural Places to Visit

Blue Heron Landing Mayville Limestone School Museum


Boat tours of marsh/canoe rentals N Main and Buchanan St.
Hwy 33 at Bridge Mayville, WI 53050
Box6 ! st and 3'd Sundays (May-October)
3 1IB Mill St. I :30-4:30 pm
Horicon, WI 53032-0006
blueheron@horiconmarsh.com Nitschke M ounds County P ark
www.horiconmarsh.com!
West of Horicon - W5984 Hwy E
www.co.dodge.wi.us/planning/recreation/parks nitschke.htm
Department of Natural Resource Education/Service Center
N7725 Hwy 28
Horicon, WI 53028 Satterlee Clark House Museum
920-387-7877 322 Winter St
www.dnr.wi.gov Horicon, WI 53032
2"d and 4th Sundays (May-October)
Hollenstein Wagon & Carriage Museum 1-4 pm
Bridge and German Streets
Mayville, WI 53050 USFWS Horicon National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
2•d and 4lh Sundays (May-October) W4279 Headquarters Rd.
I :30-4:30 pm and by appointment Mayville, WI 53050
920-387-2658
John Hustis House www.furs.gov/midwest/Horicon
134 N . Ridge St.
Hustisford, WI 53034 Waupun Heritage Museum
2°d and 4lh Sundays (Open summer months) 22 South Madison St.
1-3 pm Waupun, WI 53963
Open Isl and 3rd Sundays (March - November)
Marsh Haven Nature Center
WIOI 45 Hwy 49
Waupun, WI 53963
www.MarshHaven. com

72
- The Rock River Runs Through Us - Our Future

Organizational Contacts

Capitol Water Trails LTC. Mayville Historical Society


3806 Atwood Ave Box83
Madison, WI 53714-2805 Mayville, WI 53050
capwtrtrls@aol.com 920-387-2420
www.mailbag.com/users/cwt www.mayvillecity.com/organizations/historical society.html

Drumlin Area Land Trust Pheasants Forever


W 5016FlorineLane Jeff Gaska
Fort Atkinson, WI 53538 W 9947 Ghost Hill Rd.
President: David Walz Beaver Dam, WI 53916
920-568-9917 920-927-3579
Fax 920-927-3578
Ducks Unlimited, Inc. - Two Lakes
President: Ron Babros Rock River Coalition (RCC)
N10720 Howard Dr. PO Box 41
Fox Lake, WI 53933 Watertown, WI 53094
920-928-2482 920-674-7443
rriver@excel.net
Friends of Dodge County Parks www.rockrivercoalition.org
President: Jim Fredrick Issue Teams: Groundwater; Storm water; Planning the Rock.
Box72 Rain Garden Project, RRC Citizen Monitoring Project
Juneau, WI 53039
920-386-3705 Town & Country Resource, Conservation and Development
(TCRCD)
behlenbeck@co.dodge. wi. us
Diane Herman, President
www.co.dodge.wi.us/planning/recreation/parks-friends. htm
Diane Georgetta, RC&D Coordinator
333. E. Washington St. Ste 3500
Friends of the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge
West Bend, WI 53095
W4279 Headquarters Rd
262-335-4855
Mayville, WI 53050
Diane.georgetta@wi.usda.gov
920-387-2658
www.townandcount(yrcd.org
fohnwr@yahoo.com
Issue Teams: Agriculture; Energy; Urban; Water.
Parade of Farms Project
Horicon Historical Society
Box65
Waupun Historical Society
Horicon, WI 53032
22 S. Madison
Waupun, WI 53963
Horicon Marsh Management Committee
920-324-7931
N7725 Hwy 28
waupunhistorical@powercom.net
Horicon, WI 53032
920-485-3007
Wisconsin Waterfowl Association - Marshland Chapter
hillb @dnr.state.wi.us
President: Rob Monette
http://www.enjoyhoriconmarsh.com/organizations/clubs/
W 9215 Horseshoe Rd.
managementcomittee.htm
Beaver Dam, WI 53916
920-885-5860
Hustisford Historical Society
http://www.enjoyhoriconmarsh.com/organizations/clubs/
Box 12
wisconsinwaterfowl.htm
Hustisford, WI 53034
920-349-3737 or 920-349-3501
mijul@nconnect.net Wings Over Wisconsin
www.hustisford.com/hjstoric.htm Box 202
MayviUe, WI 53050
920-387-5198
office@wingsoverwisconsin.org
www.wingsoverwisconsin.org
Friends of Horicon Marsh International Education Center

73
Acknowledgements
T his project began with four workshops des igned and led by cultural geographer Geri Weinstein-Breunig. The
workshops were des igned by Ms. Weinste in-Breuni g to encourage residents to share their personal stories and to
express their vision for the future of their comm unities and the river and marsh. The fo llow ing people were this book's
earliest contri butors.

Mayville Workshop - Mayville Chamber of Co mmerce Office- (2003)


D ottie Hoy, Loyal Vilwock, Harlan Binder, Jane Murray, Franny Pieper, Sally Kahlha mer, and Ruth Johnson .

Waup un Workshop - Marsh Haven Nature Center, Waupun - October 9, 2004


Minnie Drummy, Joann Goodlaxson , Charles Osteen, Hank Snyder, Paul & Laura Reynolds, and Ruth Johnson.

Hustisford Workshop - H ustisford Public Library - October 16, 2004


Lois Braemer, Josh Burge, Terry Burge, Phyllis Feller, Karen Fink, Ernie Fink, Joe Gi ll ich, Todd Gillich,
Bill Germer, Ruth Johnson, Herb Neuenschwander, Joan Pape, Vince Pena, and Carole Smith .

Horicon Workshop - Horicon Public L ibra r y - November 6, 2004


Erv Behnke, Fern Dobbratz, Don Gehrke, Ruth Johnson, Edgar Kanzanbach, Ed Knop , Palmer Miescke,
Paul & Laura Reynolds, Orv Seide, Donald Snyder, Tony Westimeyer, Roy Zastrow, and Chris Zuleger.

T he Mar sh King Project Librarians: Shannon Barniskis (Ho1icon) and Pamelyn Garcia (Waupun)

Photographic and Documentary Contributions: Gerry Feucht, Alex Feucht, Don Miescke, Carole Smith,
Joann Goodlaxson, and Lee Wanie

Activities and involvement varied wide ly from one end of the marsh to the other. We had great turnouts for
storyte lling workshops in Horicon and Hustisfo rd, wonderful school programs in Mayv ille and Waupun, and well-
subscribed library programs in Horicon and Waupun. The result, in this book, is a mosaic rather than a canvas, w ith
each section as uni que as the communities the mselves.

The editors wish to particularly thank the c itizens who participated in the storytell ing workshops and those elders
who were kind enough to share their stories individuall y. Sincere thanks a lso to our publication sponsors, the H oricon
Area Fo undation, National Bank of Waupun, F ri ends of the Horicon National Wi ldlife R efuge and Horicon Bank.

Our project would never have been possible, w ithout the efforts of volunteer consultants and resource people. Our
thanks also to the Mayville Sense of Place committee for contributing the Ken Lonquist songs on pages 25, 49, 63 , and
69 and stories on pages 26-29, all of w hich appeared in their book, Coming Home to Mayvi lle, the Rock River and the
Horicon Marsh.

Major funding for this project was provided by grants from the Wisconsin Humanities Counci l and the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service. The Mayville project was completed w ith grants from the Wisconsin Humanities Council and Town
of Wiiliam stown Environmental Fund. The Waupun group was most school-based, using a 2 lst Century grant, Wiscon-
sin Department ofNatw·al Resource and U.S. F ish and Wildlife Service grants. T he Hustisford and Waupun groups were
mostly school-based projects, using a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Lake Planning Grant.

74
- The Rock River Runs Through Us -

Photograph Credits
Where possible, photos are credited . Many appear unattributed in a number of collections. We have attempted to
attribute as accurately as possible and apologize for any errors.

Historic graphics used in our story are used with kind permission from the following public and personal collections:

Greater Sinnissippi Historical Society: 5, l 7b, 46tl, tr, 46m, 47a,, 48a, 49a, 51 ,52, 54a, 56t, m, 57, 58, 59
Mayville Historical Socie ty : 7t, 24b, 26t, 27b
Waupun Heritage Museum Collection: l2b, 13a, 14, 15a, 71

Horicon National Wildlife Refuge: 8m,9b, 10, 16, 2la, 24, 39tl, tr, 34a, 36a, 37t, 39, 40, 45a, 64, 69a

Don Miescke: 8b, 11 (Edgar Mueller photo), 3 lb, 32, 37b, 38t, 41 , 42b, 43
David Goodlaxson Family: l 8a, 20, 31 t
Herb E. Neuenschwander: 55, 56bl, br

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: inside front cover, 38b

Interpretive consultants: Don Miescke, Paul Kruel, and Jim Laird

A number of local photographers are represented in the collections above or have directly contributed to this project.
They are:

For Coming Home to Mayville, the Rock River and the Horicon Marsh, Mayville Sense of Place Committee, 2003:
Jack Bartholmai: 8t, 22m, 65, 67, 72
Sandra Baerwald: 13b, 17m, 27m, 63b
Harlan Binder: 19b, 27t
Herman F. Bender: 8t
Dottie Hoy: 22 t, b, 23b, 26b, 28b, 29b
David Schultz: 23t

For The Rock River Runs Through Us, Horicon Marsh Communities Se nse of Place, 2007 :
Trace Frost: 29t, 33b
Dave Imhoff: 4, 60a, 61 , 62, 63t, 66 tl, tr, 66m, 70
Don Miescke: front cover, 44
Laura Reynolds: 7b, 12m, tr, l 9t, 30b, 46b, 53, 66b, 68

Original art for The Marsh King project, Horicon and Waupun Public Libraries:
Anne Karsten, Waupun: 6
Renee Ludwig, Horicon: 33t
Kathy Schneider, Horicon: 33m

Also: plate 37; Lapham, L.A. The Antiquities of Wisconsin. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institutions, 1855 : 30 and
back cover

Graphic Design and Layout: Melissa Lake and Gina Wittnebel

Key:
a = all, b = bottom, m = middle, t = top, 1= left, r =right

75
Editorial Committee
Terri Fuller, the coordinator for the initial Rock River Basin Sense of Place Project in Mayville, has been an educator in
Mayville for over 30 years. She is currently principal at Parkview Primary Learning Center, where she is busy supporting
the work of staff and students. Terri's connection to the environment started in second grade when she raised cecropia
moths from eggs to adults and inspected wasp nests. She also credits her mother whose love for wildflowers was passed
on to her daughter. Terri got involved with the Sense of Place Project because she believes that children need to actively
involve themselves in understanding their surroundings.

Joann Goodlaxson's family has farmed on the north end of the Horicon Marsh for five generations. She is a lifelong
Waupun educator, having taught Family and Consumer Education and now filling in as a substitute. She frequently
writes for the Neighbors section of the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen and some features for the Fond du Lac Reporter.
Joann is active with the Friends of the National Wildlife Refuge, and as a volunteer Marsh Reader. She has also been
active in the restoration and maintenance of the Norwegian Church, north of State Road 49 and participates in the annual
service held during the summer to commemorate the role of the Norwegian farmers in the settlement of the north marsh.
She can also show you how to get to East Waupun.

Dave Imhoff has been a fifth grade teacher at Washington Elementary School in Waupun for over 20 years. During that
time he has established an arboretum, prairie, and boulder garden play area at Washington. He has also organized the
Eco-Club where fifth graders lead environmental activities, a water-monitoring project at nine points along the Rock
River, canoeing lessons, and several canoe trips for students on a variety of rivers in the area. Dave, in Waupun, and
Terri Fuller from Mayville have been pioneers in making environmental education relevant for the students of Waupun
and Mayville, bringing the marsh into the school and the school into the marsh to share an appreciation for the wonder-
ful laboratory at our doorsteps. It will be through efforts such as theirs that school curriculum becomes a profound
personal experience for their students and a real sense of place is shared with the next generation.

Ruth Johnson worked for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for more than 20 years, many of them in the
Madison office. She has served for the last nine as Rock River Basin Watershed Planner in the Horicon office. Her area
of expertise has been groundwater policy. Her energy in advocating partnerships between agencies and citizens to
manage important resources has defined activities in the Wisconsin section of the Rock River from the Upper Rock
River all the way to Janesville. Ruth has helped give life to the Rock River Coalition, a consortium of private compa-
nies, governments, and private citizens who are studying and nurturing this grand old river. Her conviction that how we
think about our natural resources determines how we take care of them led to a Sense of Place study in Mayville. With
this book, this idea has grown to include the entire marsh community. Now that she's retired, Rock River communities
downstream may be in her sights!

Jim Laird graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Platteville in 1961. He taught math at Waupun High School
for six years, then taught at the Fox Lake Correctional Institution for 30 years. Presently he is President of the Waupun
Historical Society and Vice President of Marsh Haven Nature Center. He is a past master of the Waupun Masonic Lodge
and has been a member of other Waupun service organizations. Jim's curatorial efforts have led to one of the first digital
collections in the area.

76
~ The Rock River Runs Through Us ~

Don Miescke is a native of Horicon, whose ancestors came to this country from Pomerania (Germany) in the mid 1850s
and settled on the western edge of the Horicon Marsh, then Horicon Lake. Don graduated from Horicon High School in
1950 and joined the US Air Force in 1952. Four years later he met and married his wife Jeanez from Louisiana and returned
to Horicon. He worked for John Deere for 29 years and retired in 1986. Since then he has done much research on the
Horicon Marsh and has written many stories and articles on the history of the Horicon Marsh and Rock River. He has
been a regular contributor to the Horicon Reporter and Fond du lac Reporter.

Erin Railsback works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a Visitor Services Specialist at Horicon National
Wildlife Refuge. She is responsible for the environmental education, interpretive, and volunteer programs at the refuge.
These programs provide opportunities for numerous youth, visitors, and volunteers to learn about and connect with the
Horicon Marsh and the larger Rock River watershed.

Laura Reynolds, project manager, was fascinated by the marsh after moving to Horicon from the Chicago suburbs. The
stories she wrote about the river, marsh and the people who lived here formed the basis for our library kids' projects, The
Marsh King. She taught for fifteen years in Downers Grove, Illinois, where she also served as a founding member of both
the Health and Human Resources Commission and the DuPage County Child Welfare Consortium. During her tenure on
the HHRC, she supervised surveys in youth and elder services and in vandalism, providing the groundwork for one of the
first successful parental responsibility ordinances in Illinois. She's served in local government for twenty-five years, most
recently as founding chair of the Horicon Historic Preservation Commission and founding judge of the Horicon Municipal
court. She is an officer ofDRW and Associates, Inc. where she is research and copywriting manager.

Paul Reynolds, who's served as our production manager, comes to the task with the wealth of fifty years of print and
graphic production, first with Allstate Insurance, then on Chicago's bustling Michigan Avenue, primarily in medical
advertising. He still owns his own marketing consulting firm, DRW & Associates, Inc. but these days derives his sense of
fulfillment from substitute teaching in six area school districts, grades pre-K to 12. "Mr. R" lets the "associates" do most
of the work at DRW now but is still the ranking production manager as well as Chairman of the Board.

Carole Smith and her family moved to Butternut Island on Lake Sinissippi in June 1969. The family moved into
Hustisford in 1977. Carole and her husband Ray are very active in community clubs, societies, and sports functions. She
has been instrumental in pulling together the stories and photographs for the town ofHustisford's sense of place section.
Carole serves as clerk of session for the Hustisford Presbyterian Church and is active in the Hustisford Historical Society.

Molly Stoddard established the US Fish & Wildlife Service's educational program at the Horicon National Wildlife
Refuge and inspired children and adults alike with her programs for nine years. She was a founding member of the
Sense of Place group when it set up in Mayville in 2002 and was one of its most enthusiastic proponents. In 2005 she left
the Horicon Marsh to be the Instructional Systems Specialist at Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls, Minne-
sota.

77
Index F
A Fanning: 8, 10-11 , 14, 17-21, 27,46
Alvin Foster: 24 Fire: 34,69
Audubon Inn: 23 Fishing: 26-27, 50-59, 64-65
Fond du Lac County Park, Waupun: 13, 60, 62
Footbridge: 24, 28
B Four-mile Island: 43,
Bert Guptill: 43 Frank Miescke: 43
Big Island: 46 Franny Pieper: 29
Bill Genner: 50-54 Fred Lehman: 51
Bill Volkert: 44
Boating/Canoeing: 9, 51 -59, 63
Bogs: 53 G
Brittany Buchholz: 65 Geti Weinstein: 38-40
Bullheads: 57 Ginseng: 38
Burn Johnson: 43 Great blue heron: 51
Butternut Island: 50
H
c Harlan Binder: 27
Caleb Hagy: 65 Herb Neuenschwander: 50-56
Campers Island: 50 Horicon: 20, 30-45
Canada Geese: 8, 16, 19-21, 30, 33, 35-36, 40, 52 Horicon Marsh: 8-22, 30, 34-43, 44-45
Carissa Kriehn: 65 Horicon National Wildlife Refuge: 9, 14, 32, 68
Carole Smjth: 50-54 Hunting Clubs: 32, 41-42,
Carp: 27, 48-49, 51 , 53-59 Hunting: 34-37, 41-43, 55
Chester May: 24 Hustisford: 4, 46-59, 68
Chris Zuleger: 40
Clams:26
Clarence Shaler: 12
I
Crane Island: 51 Ice: 25-26, 29, 50,
Crops: 8, 10-11, 14, 17-21 Ice Skating: 26, 55-56

D J
Dams: 5, 10, 22, 24, 31, 40, 45-48, 58, 7 1 Jane Murray: 28
Dave Imhoff: 62 Jarid Pfalzgraf: 64
Deer: 19,52 Jim Laird: l 0
DepartmentofNatural Resources: 11, 32, 63, 68 Joan Pape: 50-54
Dick Mezera: 60 Joann Goodlaxson: 16-21
Don Gerhke: 34-40 Joel Gillich: 50-54
Don Miescke: 10, 41-43 John Dohnnan: 26
Don Snyder 38-40 John Hustis: 48, 54
Dredging: 10-11, 20, 69 Josh Burge: 50-54
Ducks: 11 , 19, 29, 34-35, 41-42,45,51-52, 55
K
E Karen Fink: 50-54
Eagles: 52 Kathy Schneider: 33
Ed Knop: 34-40 Ken Longquist: 15, 25, 33, 49, 63
Ed Mjescke: 34-40 Kloppenfest: l 5
Edgar Katzenbach: 37-40 Kochs Island: 55
Emily Schroeder: 61
Ernie Frank: 50-54

78
- The Rock River Runs Through Us -

L
Lake Horicon: I0, 16, 18, 20, 30 R
Lake Sinissippi: I I, 46-59, 64 Radloff Island: 55
Laura Reynolds: I0, 34-40 RalphMiescke: 38
Lester Miescke: 43 Raymond Suhr: 55
Lois Braemer: 50-54 Red-tailed hawk: 16
Lorado Taft: 12 Renee Lechner: 65
Louis "Curly" Radke: 39-40 Renee Ludwig: 33
Loyal Villwock: 26 Rock River: 10-11 , 13, 15, 18-29,3 1,34-40,44-59,62-63, 68
Rock River Basins: 2, 39, 44
Roy Mellenthien: 37-40
M Ruth Johnson: 39-40, 52-54
Main Dike: 45
Main Ditch: 43
Marsh King, The: 6, 33 s
Matthes: 59 Sally Kahlhamer: 29
Max Miescke: 43 Sandhill Cranes: 17,
Mayville: 7, 20, 22-29 Statues: 12
Mayville Pavilion: 22, 28-29 Steamboat lsland: 37, 43
Mel Grulke: 57-59 Steamboats: 30
Merlin Miescke: 43 Swans: 65
Mill Pond: 7, 15, 66 Swimming: 26-28, 51,
Mills: 14, 24, 32, 38, 48-49
Mink: 37
Mi.lmie Drummy: 14
T
Modgeska: 29 Terry Burge: 50-54
Molly Stoddard: 9, Thomas Lechner: 63
Muskrats: 29, 37, 43 , 51-52 Tiffany Wiedmeyer: 63
Todd Gillich: 50-54
Trapping: 8, 10, 26, 29, 37, 43
N
Native Americans: 10-11 , 14, 19-20, 30, 32-33, 48
Northern Pike: 29, 38, 51 , 58
w
Norwegian Church: 19 Wally Miescke: 43
Waterfowl: 30, 34-40
Waupun Area School: 4, 60-63, 70
0 Waupun Correctional Facilities: 13-14
Orville Siede: 34-40 Waupun Heritage Museum: 12
Oscar Spittel: 43 Waupw1:4, 6-7, 12-21 , 60-6 1, 71
Owen Gromme: 35 Wisconsin Conservation Department: 42

p z
Palmer Miescke : 34-40 Zach Churchill: 65
Pearls: 26
Pelicans: 5 I
Phyllis Feller: 50-54
Punt guns: 35-36

79
Horicon Marsh Communities Sense of Place Project