Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Santa comes early - what a gift!

I've been a good genea-blogger this year, Santa, and thank you so much for my early surprise!

I posted last year about an ancestral home in Dodge County, Wisconsin - here and here. An inn (hotel) was built by my 3rd-great-grandfather, Ranslow Smith (Della (Smith) Carringer's grandfather) in the 1850's in Burnett township in Dodge County, Wisconsin. From an email correspondent, I learned that this inn had been preserved and transferred to Old World Wisconsin (OWW - located in southeastern Wisconsin) as part of a living history display.

After contacting OWW, I received an email saying that the inn was there, had been preserved and refurbished to 1870 conditions, and we have a report describing the inn's history. And, by the way, Ranslow Smith's parents were Russell and Esther Smith. The latter was great news for me! The report was promised forthwith, and I waited several months before contacting them again when it didn't arrive even sixthwith. I emailed the fellow several more times over the last year, and received the report in the mail yesterday. It was worth the wait!

The report is titled "The Four-Mile House of Rolling Prairie, Dodge Co., Wisconsin: A Village Hotel in Transition," by Allen F. Johnson, April 30, 1983. This is a report of over 80 pages with contents:

* Introduction -- page i

* Biographical History of the Ranslow Smith Family - I -- page 1

* Biographical History of the Peter Worthy Family - II -- page 24

* A Smalltown Hotel of 1870, and its Evolution as a Type - III -- page 42

* A Historical Overview of Rolling Prairie, Wisconsin, 1841-1890 - IV -- page 61

* Nineteenth Century English Immigration and Settlement in Wisconsin - V -- page 70.

They sent along pages 1 through page 23, then pages 42 through 60, but this beggar can't be a chooser, can he? It's free, and someone has done a lot of work to find out the history of this old house.

The report reads like a college student's term paper, but is probably not a Master's thesis. It has footnotes that provide sources and additional information. There is a recommended reading section at the end of Section IV. The information provided by OWW said that they commissioned to have this report written. My guess is that they commissioned reports for all of the buildings that they brought to Old World Wisconsin.

I will write several more posts about this over the next weeks because the details are interesting (at least to me, perhaps to you), we can all learn from reports like these that may be found in local repositories, and we can all learn from the sources used to compile this type of family and house history document.

I'm still reading it carefully ... I'll be back later!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Allen F. Johnson, Director
Midwest Office
MacRostie Historic Advisors LLC
53 West Jackson Boulevard, Suite 1357
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 786-1700