Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mayville/ Shawano Connection

This past weekend we went on our annual cemetery visits up north from Ellington to DePere, Shawano, Unity and Marshfield. On the way I found some notes and maps I had put in my genealogy notebook (one of three or four at this point) a few months ago and had promptly forgotten about. It was pictures of two houses I believed were around Shawano and which Collin Mayville and family had lived in.

Back when said maps etc were printed I had gone through the Shawano census of 1920 and figured out a possible approximate location of where they lived, and hoped that if I went to look for a house, it would be one of the two (most probably a particular house that has a distinct outer design which I felt I could easily recognise).

So, in any event, we decided to add a house search to our cemetery plans and headed to South Franklin St. in Shawano around midday. It didn't take too long to find.. just a few blocks. It was about a block further than my census studies had indicated (I used the same strategy in locating the Tice house in Marshfield), but as soon as I saw aforementioned distinct outer design, I knew it was the right house, despite it sadly lacking the front wraparound porch that the family had swarmed around in all of the pictures we had.

In any event, when I saw the house, our car came to a screeching halt, startling a woman who was in the front yard of the house gardening with a small dog (Natasha). We parked and showed Brandy the ca. 1920s picture of her house. She immediately said she had the abstracts, and came out with a stack of papers dating from 1854 to present. It was pretty amazing and we were basically able to surmise that in general, Collin did not own the LAND the house was on, and probably the family rented the house.

This led to a tour of the interior which has much of the original walls, wood floors, etc. The original front door was still there as was the original bell... its this little thing on the door down by the mail slot which you press and it rings then pops back up. Apparently pretty rare to find. The front door's hinges were really prettily detailed as well.

In doors there are two staircases, the front leading to two large bedrooms and the back which was apparently servants quarters when the house was first built. There were some smaller rooms up there.

Brandy is planning on restoring the house, and has already started small bits of the process. I offered to help this summer if she's interested; she's going to be taking the siding off and restoring it. Ironically, she also had been thinking of adding a front porch on but once she saw it originally had one, she's decided its going back for sure. I'm excited to be involved and to see how it ends up looking.

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