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The speaker is a 50-year-old White woman with a college education from Polar, a small village near Antigo, Wisconsin; she was recorded in 1968.
3:43-5:35; 6:40-9:30


County: Langlade
State: WI

Commentary:
Like other northeastern Wisconsin communities, Polar relied on timber and wood product industries for a large part of its economy. In addition, however, agricultural industries such as dairying and potato production played a significant role. In recent years, tourism has become important, with fishing, water sports, and skiing providing attractions for visitors year-round. In the two segments below, the speaker shares her appreciation for the woods and the natural environment.
Inf: One of the interesting things that, uh, is a story that came from my mom and dad's early years, was the account of how they picked ginseng, or in the common terms in this area, "gingsheng." It's a plant that grows possibly eight to ten or twelve inches tall. The uh, leaves are three-lobed, as I recall. And, it has uh, a red berry that is oftentimes picked by those who gather it and re-planted in the area where they have gathered it. The roots are shaped in various ways, but the name originated, the Chinese gave the name. It is to represent a man. The roots were picked and dried, and then sold. The uh rate as I recall, when I was a small child, was possibly six or eight dollars a pound. It was used for medicinal purposes and much of it was shipped to China. The um, plant was also grown commercially by a local man who had long sheds that were made of slats permitting both uh, the entrance of light and sunshine, and then there were these slats that also covered these long sheds. They possibly were, oh forty or more feet long, and approximately four to six feet tall.

And, I think he [father] passed this love of the woods on to each of the children in our family because we do enjoy getting out and learning of the things that nature has in store for us. In my own life, it has ri-, enriched my life and many times when I have a problem that is particularly pressing, if I can get out in the woods and hike, I find that it does help to solve the problem, and not only that but I do believe that the presence of God can be felt very much in God's out-of-doors, as well as in a church. And, um, then, too, the many lessons that I've learned from nature: the animals that one can observe, the, for instance, a muskrat swimming in the lake and building its home, and the eating of food that it does, and then the um, birds, the many species that we have native to our area, watching them in their natural habitat, and listening to their songs, and learning more about their life has been a, a great pleasure, and it's also been a way of alleviating the cares that one has.

Also, the uh treasured experiences that one has, and companionship with others who are interested in the same thing; I recall one evening, a niece who shares the love of outdoors just as much as I do, uh we were down to a local little trout stream and a little lake that we often went to, the evergreens hang close over the lake, the the lake is not very deep. It's fairly shallow, but it is an area where trout are. And, as we were sitting on a large cedar log that goes over the stream -- its roots are deeply embedded on one side of the stream, and then one can cross over to the other side on the log with the branches sheltering one overhead. About five or six little, uh, weasels, scooted out from their covering, and following one another, went down into the, the little place amongst the roots, under the cedar tree. This was the first time we had ever seen this many at one time, and it was late in the summer, so they had not yet gotten their white coats for winter, but they were most interesting little creatures.


The speaker is an 80-year-old White man with a college education from Antigo, Wisconsin; he was recorded in 1968.
0:25-4:40


County: Langlade
State: WI

Commentary:
Known as "The Gateway to Wisconsin's Northwoods," Antigo is situated in a rich timber region that has shaped its history since its founding in 1878. The lumbering activities that spurred its growth required oxen to transport logs from the woods, which helped to spur another industry, farming. The timber industry also required railroad facilities, and Antigo became a local hub for shipping both timber and agricultural products. In recent years, recreation activities such as camping, boating, fishing, hunting, and snowmobiling have become important parts of the economy. The speaker remembers the old days of the logging industry and here recalls some typical lumberjacks.
Inf: Well anyone that has lived in this area like I have all my life, uh, knows something about the lumberjack as he was, uh, during the uh, latter part of the last century. That is, in other words, uh, the early uh 1900's, say nineteen hundred and six or ten, uh, the old lumberjack uh more or less had migrated . . .he left here. Uh, the reason was, he just couldn't get along with a lot of these men that they brought in, who they said were lumberjacks. Uh, they were mostly young farm boys, looking for work, and they hired 'em because the uh, there was a scarcity of the real old lumberjack as we knew him. Uh, he was, the old uh jack, as we called him, uh he was really a breed.

Uh, the old lumberjack as uh we had in this uh area, of northern Wisconsin on up in Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Uh, most of 'em originally came from uh, um New England States and up in uh Canada, a lot of Canadians, see. And that was uh, that was a life that they, they just loved that life. They didn't make a lot of money. They got about a dollar a day and board, and course the board was good. It was, had good cooks, and uh, if they didn't have good cooks, uh that's one thing they never would complain, only they wanted good food and lots of it. Otherwise, they were just liable to say, "We're all leaving. We're through. We don't have anything" and they meant it, they'd just pull out. So they, they had to have good cooks. And lots of good food, and well-cooked, it was really fabulous.

Uh, I got to know the the lumberjacks, as I may have said before, through my dad as he made trips uh, into the logging camps to sell watches. Those ol' lumberjacks, they all wanted a good watch. Uh, they had no way of spending their money except on whiskey, and uh, the clothes they wore, and always wanted a good watch. Uh, the reason they wanted a, a good watch, they'd spend uh, maybe a month's salary on one. They knew that uh, sooner or later they'd probably land up in uh Antigo or Rhinelander or some other town and the, when the camps were through in the spring, and uh, when their money that they had worked hard for all winter, and even darned their socks and scrimped and scrimped, and then go out in about three days they would be broke. Didn't have a plugged nickel.

Uh, they didn't drink up that much uh, uh whiskey, that impossibility. But, uh their money was uh, often taken away from 'em by a unscrupulous bartender. He wa- he was out to get the money and if he figured a fella was a little bit intoxicated, didn't know what the score was, he'd hand him a ten-dollar bill, maybe for fifty cents worth of drinks, maybe he'd give him back two dollars. Well, he'd go broke, and then, but he always had that wa- good watch that he could take to a pawn shop. He might have paid uh thirty-five, forty dollars at that time for it. But eh, he'd take whatever they ga-, gave him. Might be a five- dollar bill. And soon that would be gone. Well, then, then he'd have to head back to the woods again.


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