Oscar Shivers, Hillsboro, Wisconsin, African-American-Irish
Hazel, Stanley, Nelson, Frank, Algae and Adelin
Elsa Neuman Shivers
The Neuman's arrived in this country in 1887, settling first in New York to farm, then moving west to Wisconsin and the rural area of Cambridge. After Elsa and Oscar were married, they purchased a large two-story building, once a store on State Street that was scheduled for demolition. Oscar had a basement dug at 11 S. Murray St. before moving the store to the Greenbush neighborhood. They were proud of their new location next to Gervasi's Store as neighbors of Felicia and Tony Pullara. The home was difficult to heat due to its large rooms and high ceilings, however, warmth was generated by the children they raised there. Elsie and Oscar would remain on S. Murray St. until the 1960s when urban renewal forced them to move elsewhere.
"With soft blue eyes and long, silky, light-browned hair, she was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. She was an angel who could make boiled water taste good. Each morning she prepared oatmeal for her children. Homemade bread was served with an abundance of butter, and her German food drew raves. However, she was especially proud of her spaghetti sauce, having learned from Felicia Pullara next door. Another specialty was chicken, boiled, stewed, then served with homemade biscuits and nice thick gravy."
Dimetra Taliaferro Shivers, daughter-in-law
"my mother befriended UW students and Black semi-professional baseball players who visited Madison. Because there was no place for Blacks to stay back then, she made sure there was room at the house even though many had to sleep on the floor. She took pleasure in serving ham hocks, corn bread, green beans in season and, at a nickel a box, plenty of tapioca pudding. Years later, she'd be remembered during the holidays with cards of thanks for her kindness to them. She and Mrs. Pullara always seemed to have a bread-baking contest going on between them. When you opened the back door to either house, the aroma of bread baking drifted through the neighborhood."
Hazel Shivers Taliaferro, daughter
Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures The University Club 432 E Campus Mall Madison, WI 53706 608-262-8180