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Weekly Column

Each week a small segment of Vernon County history is published in the county papers.


For the week of 6/17/2018
by Carol Krogan, assistant curator

The Vernon County Historical Society will be again holding its annual Marcia Andrew Strawberry Shortcake Social on July 4 on the Sherry Butt House lawn at 795 N Main, Viroqua. This event has been renamed in honor of Marcia, creator and organizer of the Social, held since 1991. Strawberry Shortcake and Ice Cream will be served from 1 – 5 p.m. and entertainment will be provided by the Viroqua Community Band and the Viroqua Area Men’s Chorus, beginning at 2 p.m. Your $5.00 donation also includes a tour of the Sherry Butt House, built in 1870 by Col. Cyrus M. Butt and his wife Margaret. The second owners, Orbec and Hilda Sherry, are still remembered for their herd of Jerseys and the world famous cow, Jane of Vernon.

A special exhibit will be featured inside the home this year; the woodcarvings of Roger “Doc” and Miriam Hatlem. Roger and Miriam carved hundreds of items over the last 30 years including animals, birds and human figures. Miriam’s talent for painting is shown on the beautiful birds she carved herself and the carvings that Roger crafted. Doc took his first woodcarving class in 1991 after his retirement as Viroqua High School principal, a position he held since 1977. His first year as teacher and basketball coach at Viroqua came during the 1960 school year when their family, including son Todd, moved here from Morgan, MN. Todd’s brother Paul was born here in 1961. Miriam was an R.N. and worked for Vernon Memorial Hospital for thirty years, retiring in 1992. She was instrumental in developing the hospital’s hospice program and the annual craft show. While working at VMH, Miriam joined the National Guard, served as a nurse for 11 years and retired as a Major. She passed away in 2016.

Both Doc and Miriam taught woodcarving to others for over twenty years. Their work was also exhibited at the Vernon County Fair for many years, earning numerous blue ribbons.

We hope to see you on the Fourth on the Sherry Butt House lawn for good food, good fellowship, good music and an old-fashioned celebration.


Carved Horse
This horse carving was done by Roger Hatlem in 1995. The piece was painted by his wife Miriam.


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For the week of 6/10/2018
by Kristen Parrott, curator

The Vernon County Historical Society’s schedule for this summer presents a number of special opportunities for people of all ages.

On July 4, we’ll be holding the annual Strawberry Shortcake Social, renamed this year in memory of its creator and long-time organizer, Marcia Andrew. The social will be held from 1 to 5PM on the lawn of the Sherry-Butt House, 795 N. Main St., Viroqua. Musical entertainment begins at 2PM. Tickets are $5.

On Thursday, July 12, the monthly genealogy class will meet at the museum at 10AM. Karen Sherry will begin a series on the book, Genealogy Online for Dummies. The class is free for VCHS members and $5 for non-members.

And on Friday, July 27, we will host an archaeology class just for kids. The class will be held in the museum’s conference room from 10AM to noon. Jean Dowiasch of the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center will be the teacher. This class is suitable for children going into grades 3 through 12. Cost is $5. Contact the museum at 637-7396 to register.

Looking ahead to August, the genealogy class will meet on Thursday, August 9, at the museum at 10AM. Blaine Hedberg will be the teacher that day, providing a lesson on Norwegian genealogy.

The Vernon County Historical Society’s second annual Pork Chop Dinner will be held on the lawn at the Sherry-Butt House on Friday, August 10. Food will be served from 4 to 7PM. Tickets are $10.

New this year, the VCHS will have a booth inside the bank building at Wild West Days in Viroqua the weekend of August 17-19. Current plans for our booth include food served by costumed volunteers, and possibly a new book for sale about the history of Wisconsin stage coaches, written by an Eau Claire historian.

Stay tuned for more details on all of these upcoming events!


Bufton Family


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The previous two articles:

June 3, 2018

May 27, 2018