Badger History Bulletin - Review
Life on the Frontier: The Wade House Family in Greenbush, Wisconsin, 1844-1940
By Sally A.C. Wood. (State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, 1992) 71 pages, $12.95.
An Apron Full of Stars: The Wade House Story
(State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, 1991) VHS Video. 16 minutes 35 seconds. $20.00
Originally published in BHB Volume 2, Number 1
Sally A.C. Wood, curator of education at the Wade House Museum, has created an informative resource packet for educators about the life and times of Sylvanus Wade and his family as they built their lives in Greenbush, Wisconsin in 1844. The curriculum format provides students with short reading passages, which are filled with insights into the Wade family's struggles and joys of coming to a new area of Wisconsin, building a new life and community, and creating a lifelong dream of the Wade House Stagecoach Inn. Each reading passage is followed by a vocabulary review, questions, and activities.
The teacher is also given a wealth of information and direction about the history of the family and the museum, and an array of student activities. These range from creating a mini-museum in the classroom; to writing short research reports on the important events in Wisconsin history that relate to development of Greenbush; to replicating crafts that the Wade family might have done during that time period, such as an alphabet sampler of Patchwork Scottie Dog.
Along with the written curriculum, the video An Apron Full of Stars provides students with a brief timeline of historical events of Greenbush. Actors portray three people from Greenbush's past-Ellen Wade, Theodore Herrling, and Wesley Jung-describing how their character's families tie in with the development of this community.
Ellen Wade, speaking from a six-year-old's perspective, talks about her family's trip from Fort Atkinson through the forested areas of Fond Du Lac to the area of Greenbush. She also adds insight into the businesslike personality of her father Sylvanus, and how pleased he was with the progress and development of Greenbush.
Theodore Herrling tells about his German-born father coming to Greenbush in 1854. A sawyer by trade, Herrling's father bought the only sawmill that was built by the son-in-law of Sylvanus. This mill provided all the lumber for new homes and establishments, as well as the much needed Farmers' Highways.
Wesley Jung's father was also a German immigrant and came to Greenbush in 1854 as a wagon maker. Jung's business provided this area of Wisconsin with wagons and carriages. At one point it had eighty-five full-sized carriages in its line. As history progressed and the horseless carriage came into its own, there was no longer a need for the beautiful horsedrawn carriages. Jung's business failed, and Wesley became an accountant, but he spent nearly forty years restoring some of the carriages that his father had built. In 1968, Jung's carriages became part of the Wade House Historical site.
Each of these families were an important part of the development of this small community and their lives were connected with its success.
After reviewing this information and curriculum, I am excited to try and integrate it into the fourth-grade pioneer unit.
Mrs. Trisha Rorvig
Fox Prairie Elementary