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Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association / Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers' Association. Forty-seventh annual meeting, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, December 14, 1933. Forty-seventh summer convention, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, August 8, 1933

Whittlesey, S. N.
Cranberry history of the town of Cranmoor,   pp. 40-41 PDF (571.1 KB)

Page 40

S. N. WHITrLEszy, 1933
Prior to the year 1870, for some time cranberries had been raked
on the wild Wisconsin marsh lands by Indians and white men and
transported to market principally by lumber rafts floated down the
Wisconsin river to lumber market towns along the Mississippi river.
In September 1870 the Carey Brothers, a family of Irishmen, no-
toriously improvident and adventurous had gathered from their hith-
erto almost worthless swamp near Berlin, 10,000 barrels of cranber-
ries and sold them to H. P. Stanley and Sons, of South Water Street,
Chicago, for one hundred thousand dollars. The fame of this fabu-
lous fruition spread. and my father, with an ear to the ground,
bought forty acres of maish joining the Careys, and sent for me to
come and help him plant it. I was in Chicago-just twenty-one and
on my own; had my grip packed and all I possessed-eight hundred
dollars in my pocket and my purpose planned to go to Washington
Territory to get possession of some of that big timber on Puget Sound.
The habit of heeding my father's wishes prevailed and I returned to
Berlin, planted cranberry vines, boarded with a farmer named Balch,
listened to his talk and tale of thousands of acres of cranberry marsh
good as Careys that could be bought for fifty cents an acre while that
joining Careys would cost fifty dollars an acre.
The cranbery craze was catching and I caught it. Balch and I
went exploring Juneau, Jackson and Wood counties. We drove a
team and lumber wagon from Berlin west through Wautoma, Coloma
and Friendship, across the Wisconsin River at Petenwell Rock to Ne-
cedah. Here we turned north on the almost impassible winter tote
road of the Kingston Weston and Miner lumber company to Thomp-
sons Landing, then a log banking point on the Yellow River about
three miles north of where the station of Finley is now.
This part of the country was then a vast uninhabited wilderness of
level wet marsh of spongy peat of two to twenty feet depth inter-
spersed with islands of say two to twc hundred acres of higher, harder
sandy land, covered with pine, tamarack and tangled brush shading
off to spaces of open marsh where patches of wild cranberry vines
could be seen with their crop of ungathered red berries hanging on
awaiting the coming of adventurous, fortuitous pioneers such as we.
All of Thanksgiving Day, 1870, I tramped on foot these watery
wastes to find a spot on which to stake my fortune and my future. I
got separated from Balch and Thompson and was lost in that track-
less desolation. I was out all night, soaked to the waist and frozen
stiff, and hungry. Luckily, I remembered the sun rose in the east so
I turned that way-thought I could out-fame Robinson Crusoe.
In spite of this dampening dejection I bought in with Balch ten
forties, 400 acres of State swamp land near where the station of Daly
came into being in later years. The earthworks we made in 1871 are
still discernable on the J. 0. Daniels farm.
I became dissatisfied with my location and partner. After playing
the game for eight months I walked out without a cent, although the
experience gave me some additional common sense.
About that time Hank Beatty, an old surveyor and timber cruiser,
who first bought the choicest fortys of the Arpin marsh and of the
Thomas E. Nash marsh and who knew the country like a book told
me to stop snivelling over my hard luck; that he could show me cran-
berry marsh so much better than the stuff I lost that I would be glad
I lost it. He showed me to my present location in August of 1871.
The only neighbors then discernable of kindred calling-cranberrying

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