"[History is] a cyclic poem written by time upon the memories of man." -Percy Bysshe Shelley

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Carl's Postcard

"Carl Christensen, Victim of Eight Bullets in Dillinger Raid, April 22, 1934"
Our regular readers will remember that Carl, newly elected as town constable, went to investigate the Dillinger shooting at Little Bohemia. Baby-Face Nelson shot him eight times in the back, chest, hip and foot! Here is a postcard where he displays the coat he was wearing, showing the bullet holes.

Carl Goes Dancing

In another reflection, Carl Christensen recalls how the Northwoods community would get together to organize dances and activities in the shoulder season. Read on for his tongue-in-cheek description of classic northern Wisconsin fun...

After the season was over, the women could all get together and they would organize our card club. And then once a month they would go from one place to another place and they’d play cards and spend an afternoon and enjoy themselves.

Then they would organize parties. Every once in a while, some birthday or something would come on, they’d have a party. We’d have it in the town hall and everybody was invited. We’d all chip in about fifty cents apiece to buy half a barrel of beer and the women would all bring something for pot luck and we’d get together and we’d have a dance.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

the story of dan devine

Back in May, we posted some photos and information about Danny Devine, who was killed by a mysterious gunshot off of Hwy K. The perhaps less than politically correct Carl Christensen fills in some of the missing pieces of the story. Read on...

Ann and I had a couple of Indian friends that lived on the shore of Clear Lake by the name of Mary and Tommy Haskin. Mary was one of the Devines from Danny Devine’s children, he had several children there. He lived on that shore there and Danny Devine was a trapper and also a guide and worked in the camps, lumber camps. He was married to a full-blooded Indian squaw [sic]. How they got the land and that I don’t know because Mary could never tell. She used to tell a lot of things about when she was a little girl, about what things were around the lakes in those days. She was up close to her fifties when she was telling those things.

So we would sit in the [kitchen], they would come and visit us and especially in the winter time when things were slow. ... Mary would tell us about all the different things. How the lakes were years and years back when she was a little girl. So one time I asked her, I says, Mary, I says, was you born here on the lake? She says no, she says, I don’t know where I was born because we were on a trapping trip, my father was on a trapping trip when I was born. So she says I can’t tell you where I was born. And that was the same way with one of the other ones because when I was working for Ilg he had some litigations to take care of, and one of them was Tommy Devine, who was one of the older ones. He asked him where he was born and that was the same thing, he was born on the trapping trip. So that’s way back in the early, early days of the timber industry in Wisconsin.

Mary would tell about how they would pull the lakes down so low sometimes that there would hardly be any water in them. She said at times we could walk across from the north side of the dam where we used to pick up our food before the bridge was in over the dam over the lake between the north and south end of the road. They could almost walk across the bottom of the bay over to Nash’s island on the other side of the lake (Rest Lake – Fox Island), where the donut king had built his big fancy home years back.

And other things she would tell about, the Manito Island on Manitowish Lake. She says there was an Indian chief died on that island and was supposed to have been buried there. And the same way, where Deer Park Lodge was on that point, there was an Indian stopping place when they were traveling on the lakes. When they were fishing and coming through there traveling. Those days, you know, they just traveled with the seasons. There was a lot of other things she used to tell about how that country was and so forth. How they made their living hunting and fishing and everything else. Her father was a big trapper. His name was Danny Devine and he was a red-headed Irishman.

He had a son that lived on the lakes too by the name of Danny Devine. He was a guide and [trapper] because at that time there was fur to be gotten yet, beaver and things of that kind. In the deer seasons and that Danny would be one of the biggest guides that you could get up there. He had a party that he was guiding up around Winchester. He came out on the main roads, on W, going on the road to Winegar, and they were all gathered together there and they were going to make another drive. Danny was talking to the men and he lifted his left arm up to make a point, and as he did that, he dropped down. They checked him out and he was dead.

So when they got down to Pat Gaffrey’s (sp?) undertaking parlor in Eagle River they had a post mortem on him, an autopsy. They checked him over to find out what it was. And what happened as he raised his arm up – a bullet hit him in the arm pit, went down through his heart, killed him instantly. No one heard the shot. They never found out where that came from or anything else. They found the bullet – it was a thirty six bullet, a high powered rifle bullet. They never knew where that ever came from. That was the end of poor Danny Devine.