Good afternoon Forest County residents. You will notice that this blog post is being written by me, Michelle Gobert, the Director of the Crandon Public Library. Regretfully our local history clerk Amanda Flannery has taken another position in central Wisconsin and has completed her time here at the Crandon Public Library. I’m sure those of you who read this blog have thoroughly enjoyed Amanda’s devotion to documenting Forest County history one blog entry at a time. Here at the library we will miss her sense of humor, her love of literature and her dedication to making a difference in her small community.
And while Amanda has moved on, she has left with us a copy of her graduate thesis, which I will use as inspiration in my attempt at writing a weekly column focusing on local history. Here it goes:
The Oral History and Archaeology of the Keith’s Siding Site Location was submitted to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in December of 2013 as Amanda’s partial fulfillment of her Master of Science in Anthropology Degree. In the thesis abstract Amanda states that “the goal of this research was to systematically conduct oral history interviews in order to compare the information derived from those interviews with the historical documentation and archaeological data to create a richer interpretation of the Kieth’s Siding site”. (Flannery 2013)
Ironically, one of the oral history interviews that Amanda was fortunate enough to conduct was with Pauline Quade, who just this week passed away at the age of 87. Pauline was only three years old when her family left Wolfe County, Kentucky and settled five miles south of Crandon at Keith’s Siding. Pauline’s entire oral interview, and references from her own manuscript titled Keith Siding Days are used throughout Amanda’s thesis.
These two documents are both part of our Local History Collection. Both offer a glimpse into a small part of Forest County’s rich history. A history that both Amanda and Pauline chose to document. In closing her thesis Amanda states that “besides the accounts of a few wealthy lumber company owners not much is known about the lives of the ordinary citizens that settled in Forest County”. Gratefully we now have Pauline’s story, Amanda’s thesis and the collection that Amanda herself sorted, cataloged and documented as the basis of our local history room. A growing collection that tells the story of ordinary citizens that at one time called this place home. A collection that is truly “ours”.