Westover, Ruth / Waukau, a history
Tom Brogden's dogs, p. 69
Tom Brogden's Dogs From the time his father bought him his first hunting dog, Thomas Brodgen always liked dogs. He fondly remembered his boyhood hunts at Preacher's Bend at Omro, near his Poygan home. Brogden's activities with dogs were told in 1978 by his daughter, Dorothy (Mrs. Minor Harris). "In his early years of marriage my father raised dachshunds and often told the story of the dach- shund he sold to a bomber crew in World War Two. The crew always kept in touch with him until they were sent overseas. He never heard from them again. "Brogden became the originator of a newly registered breed of dogs when he purchased 'Rush Lake Navigator' and his mate 'Brown Bear.' He sent the pair to a Mr. Wilson in the north- western part of the state to be trained and shown. "This pair passed rigid tests and were finally registered by the American Kennel Club as 'Ameri- can Brown Spaniels.' Father said of his dogs with their curly brown hair and heavily boned frames, 'Beauty is as beauty does.' He was called a practical hunting man and his dogs were classed as utility hunting dogs. "Father never had less than 20 breeding females and his cham- pion stud was 'Storm King.' "His kennels were always scrubbed and sprayed and the dogs dipped. Eventually he placed an ultra-violet light in each kennel to kill germs and eliminate dust -- like an operating room. The place smelled clean. "The American Browns were excellent waterbird dogs. They were sold all over the county and there were even orders from South America. Dorothy Harris continued, "My folks were in the dog bus- iness from 1925 to 1958 when Mother died and Father could not carry on alone. Mother always worked right along with Father to tend the dogs. Sometimes she cared for 150 pupppies at one time. It was one of her jobs to wash the puppy dishes every day and to keep records and corres- pondence in a filing system. She started out all the pups on Pablum and cared for them like babies. "When they sold a dog -- and they sold over 1,000 of them -- they always included a leaflet that explained how to care for and train the animal. "Alongwith the dogs they raised Angora goats, nine varieties of sheep, and a silver-black breed of rabbits. With Fred Alger, who showed chickens, rabbits, ducks, and honey, Brogden took in many a fair. The two men brought home a lot of blue ribbons. Mother sent along her prize apples and some corn from the field to collect a few ribbons herself." The Brogdens lived on a 75- acre farm on the north shore of Rush Lake. They often told of times the Indians came there to shoot ducks, net fish, and then smoke the meat in the tops of their tepees for winter food. They also gathered wild rice by knock- ing it into their canoes. When the wild rice was plenti- ful, the Brogden cows would go out into the lake as the waters dried up in summer, and eat wild rice till they couldn't hold any more. Wild rice is a thing of the past on Rush Lake. Thomas Brogden Brogden and Navigator Thomas Brogden had his American Broum stud pose for his picture in 1937. The champion dog was named Rush Lake Navigator. [Courtesy of Dorothy Brogden Harris, Mrs. Minor] p __________ The Annual Autumn Parties When Granddad Charles Steele died in 1947, his daughter-in- law missed the open house parties she always held for him on his Oc- tober birthdays. He lived with his son Glen and Jennie in the home built by David R. Bean, next door to the Methodist Church on the south. So Jennie Nelson Steele (Mrs. Glen) decided to invite all the women of the Waukau area who were over 60 years old to a gather- ing she named "The Autumn Par- ty." These autumn affairs provided -69- an opportunity for women of the vicinity to share mementoes and pictures of old times in Waukau. They always had a light lunch served by the hostess and reveled in the reviving of old memories. In 1956 the group invited the students of Waukau State Graded School who had formed a Junior Historians Club. The "Autumn Ladies" wanted to help the young people gather as much history of Waukau as possible.
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