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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 41

-were Theodore Bearss, a Berlin man of high ideals, located a mile
south of me and Ralph Smith, a collegian, lawyer and secluded gentle-
man two miles north of me.
There were no railroads, no wagon roads, and the walking was ter-
rible. We had heard there was a place on the map somewhere called
Grand Rapids but we had never seen it. We knew Necedah, but we
did not know it was our most inaccessible point.
Early in 1872 people began to filter in hunting the cranberry El-
dorado. William Skeel from Pine River and the Warner boys, broth-
ers of Mat Bearss, Dayton R. Burr, Biggest and McNish and Kendell
and Blackstone, from Berlin-the plague center.
Arthur Bennett, a freckled faced boy just out of school at Appleton,
and his illustrious sire with Cape Cod information and perhaps ex-
perience, had started a transformation in the sage brush and moss
just south of Ralph Smith in 1880, and heralded A. C. Bennett and
son. M. 0. Potter, a slender scion of those early days has outstrip-
ped most of us as his early purpose planned. The Gaynors succeeded
or supplanted Biggest and McNish and Blackstone and Kendall. J. J.
Emmerick grew up with the Gaynors. Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Scott were
early settlers, so were the Rezins, Robert, Richard and Dan. The
Searles brothers were pioneers and their shadow never grew less.
In 1873, H. W. Remington, who dispensed the destinies of the com-
munity on the Yellow River, a few miles west of us, came in from
Tomah with the Wisconsin Valley Railroad, almost by our door. We
got a side track and station. They named it Bearss, in honor of our
leading citizen. Later years Mrs. W. H. Fitch disliked the name be-
cause wits and wags persisted in writing an extra vowel in the word
where it would do the most mischief. Mrs. Fitch persuaded the Rail-
road and the post office department to change the name to Cranmoor.
John Arpin the venerable could drive a horse drawn vehicle from
his city home to Pine Lodge, my log house, then he must walk a mile
or two to his marsh. He used to leave his two little boys, Dan and
Ermon with Mrs. Whittlesey, and she would play the piano for them
while the father was gone. They said they had never seen a piano
before. Will wonders never cease?
Railroad rivalry was rife and first we knew the Green Bay and
Western had built a line across our cranberry kingdom from east to
One day the writer, being still young and unencumbered, assayed
to walk to the county seat, via Ralph Smith's wooden railroad built on
stilts and the Green Bay and Western railways. At a domicile be-
side the track we met Andrew Searles, who apologized for not inviting
us in to eat because a girl baby had just arrived, and not yet been
given audience with strangers, but had been given the name of Mayme
Searles. It must have pleased her for we have never heard that she
ever found one that pleased her better.
To you looking forward it may look a long way from youth to old
age, but looking back it seems too brief. On the whole. it is good, as
good generally as we choose to make it. Co-operation helps a lot.
Cranberry growing in Wisconsin is not a snap. I have been at it
for nearly 63 years. I have found it necessary to put back into the
plantation for upkeep and improvements all the returns I get over a
very modest living. Most of us are still in debt, and without our very
efficient marketing organization that every grower is in duty bound
to join, we could not even live.

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