Ida Dutcher

Hello my name is Ida Dutcher. I am not buried here but my two little girls are. I was born in Waupaca, Wisconsin to Heber and Mary Ann West in 1857 and I received my high school diploma while residing in Waupaca (Carpenter & Milbury 1914). I became a school teacher until I married a Civil War veteran, Henry Dutcher, in 1880 (Plover 1938). Henry and I moved to Forest County in 1888 where we developed one of the most profitable and beautiful farms in the region. I assisted my husband in his abstract business. Henry was the President of the Agricultural Society and Register of Deeds. We were also active in religious and community organizations in Forest County. While living in the area I gave birth to three children and buried two of them (Forest Republican).

First in March of 1895, Helen Edith, my fourteen year old daughter was stricken with scarlet fever. At first no one realized that she was ill because she attended school and seemed well and strong. But the next day she complained of a sore throat and a headache and soon she was gone. Edith had a retiring disposition, she was at home among the trees, birds, and flowers. Her strong Christian faith was the power of her life and its influence permeated her whole being making her heart so full of Christian charity that it was refreshing to be around her. She was mature beyond her years, preferring the society of older people. She was an active member of the Temperance movement. When she died Lulu Shaw, a Crandon mayor, wrote a poem for her in the Forest Republican.

Then a month later, Kate, our five year old daughter was killed by the same disease. She was always a sickly child and it only took a week for her to die of the fever. Kate was a winsome child with dark curly hair and big brown eyes who thought for herself and had her own original ideas. This was such a painful loss but it was not uncommon in those days.

We moved to California in 1901 possibly to escape a place full of sad memories. In California I maintained and operated an insurance and real estate business for thirty years. A woman owning her own business was very rare at that time. I had large impact as a Library and School trustee and a founder of the local PTA (Forest Republican).  I was one of the first pioneers in the Forest County area and a trail blazer as a woman entrepreneur but my life was not an easy journey.