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100 Years Ago

Glimpses of life in Viroqua from the Vernon County Censor:


DEC. 28, 1917

Good bye old year.

Help the Red Cross beat the iron Cross.

Shortest day of the year – last Friday.

Jacob Potts of LaFarge, is helping in the management of the corner grocery store, now owned by Joe Parker.

Health Officer George Bakken tells the censor that contagion is cleared up in the town of Jefferson, and all places are out of quarantine.

Steve Denning will hold a big sale of personal property on Belgium Ridge Thursday, January 3.

Friday evening, December 14, a fire visited our sister village of Ontario and destroyed the Opera house, furniture store and a meat market building. We understand that the structure [meat market] was empty. The furniture store building and Opera house were owned by Mike Gates of Norwalk and we are told that no insurance was carried. Arthur Luedke occupied the building with a stock of furniture and managed to get most of his goods out, although, considerable damage to stock resulted. The building was a large frame structure, formerly owned by C.B. Day, we glean from the Cashton Record.

The fuel situation is getting so serious all over the country that steps are being taken to conserve fuel in every way. In consequence an order has been sent out for two lightless nights a week – Thursday and Sunday – when every outside light possible to get along without is to be suppressed. White ways, electric signs and other lights must be dispensed with on those days when saving will effect the fuel situation.

This is a positive and official injunction from federal and state fuel administration.


DEC. 21, 1917

Christmas shoppers are more numerous than hairs on a rabbit.

Weather of yesterday and today makes us think of tobacco and the hustle and jungle of hard coin that goes with it. It has been growing mild and soft and indications are that there will be sufficient of it to put hanging weed in case.

House of representatives on Monday passed the constitutional prohibition amendment by a decisive vote.

Onions, per bushel $1.45 at Roman’s Grocery.

On the seventh instant the beloved wife of L.W. Swain died at their Readstown home. A suitable tribute to her worth and life will appear next week.

Fancy navel oranges, 25c per dozen at Roman’s Grocery.

Merchant and Postmaster Allen Halverson of West Prairie, was in the city, yesterday.

War Notes – Hamburg town, although more distinctly German-American than any other section of the county, has sent more men to the service than any other place, except possibly Viroqua.

Cashier John W. Lowe of Chaseburg bank, was among first to be drawn in the government lottery. He declined to ask exemption, but his young wife made such claim and he was exempted. Mrs. Lowe at that time wrote the exemption board that if circumstances shaped themselves she would not press her rightful claim. On a late day she withdrew her request and said she would, with government aid and assistance of her relatives be able to maintain herself and two young children, so that Mr. Lowe will be among those next to go to the front from this county. One of the finest examples of womanly loyalty Wisconsin will be able to produce.


DEC. 12, 1917

Prepare for Merry Christmas.

Roads are fine.

Ouch, it’s cold.

Show your love for country by buying Red Cross stamps.

Gilbert Olson is now catering to customers in the Henry grocery store.

Morrison Brothers wish to announce that they will not make sorghum this winter.

The brothers and sisters of the late Cora Edwards-Solberg came some of them from long distances to the old home to pay a tearful farewell to a devoted sister, and assist in laying her remains in the family lot where parents were deposited.

Everything is going well with we soldiers in France, a healthy bunch and most of them good soldiers. Many of them are young fellows from good families, who came out of school to fight, so you see there is plenty of good company. The weather had been very disagreeable the last month. Rain most every day and mud is pretty bad in places, but we make the best of it.

Don’t know how our boys will stand the winter, for a lot of them are Southern boys and are not used to cold weather.

War Notes – Fay Weavill writes home folks that the government made a double quick with him and big consignment of soldiers from Seattle to Long Island, New York. It is very cold and they expect to be sent south or across the water.

From Saturday to Tuesday this section had stinging weather, with penetrating wind, mercury ranging from five to twenty-five degrees below zero on different mornings. It has moderated, and as the Censor goes to press snow is falling fast, betokening Christmas sleighing.


DEC. 5, 1917


First month of winter.

Time to think of “resolves” for the new year.

Toys, Ivory goods, jewelery, handkerchiefs, dolls, sweaters, and neckwear, at M.J. Felix’.

Carl O. Johnson has again become station agent for the C.M. & St. Paul Company at Westby, succeeding W.G. Reinders who has been agent there signed to join the service of Uncle Sam, joining the signal corps at Waco, Texas.

Hillsboro, Nov. 21, - Indian summer is still with us. Everybody enjoying it and taking advantage of it.

Many farmers finished digging potatoes and some are still plowing.

Max Wheeler had a surveyor from Madison to survey the marsh on his farm. He intends to lay tile to drain same next spring.

Thos. Peterson and Mr. Myre were in from Newton. The latter just finished a new barn on his farm to replace the one burned a few weeks since.

The soldiers at Camp Grant, and doubtless in every other government cantonment fared sumptuously on Thanksgiving day, seems certain. Home friends and relatives received dinner menus from the boys at Camp Grant, the Censor one from Sergeant Geo. H. Hauge, telling what they had. Here is a list of the good things spread on the government tables: Chicken celery soup, olives, celery, turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, lettuce, mayonnaise dressing, mince pie, fruit cake, strawberry ice cream, cheese, crackers, coffee, cigars, cigarettes. What else could the most fastidious demand?

Married at Hauge’s parsonage by Pastor Jacobson, November 28 Mr. Theodore A. Erickson of Viroqua town, and Miss Mary Fladhammer, of Franklin.


November, 1917