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Native American Heritage Month: Rev. Cornelius Hill

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Rev. Cornelius Hill (1834-1907) is one of the most prominent figures in the Oneida Nation’s history. He is known not only for the titles he held (Chief and Reverend), but for the work he did in his community. Cornelius became Chief of the Bear Clan when he was only 13 years old but did not join the council until he was 18. Chief Hill was the last bloodline Chief of the Oneida.

In the early 1800s, the Oneida were moved to this part of the country from New York. After the Civil War, talks of movement began again with the U.S. government wanting the Oneida to move farther west past the Mississippi River. Cornelius, as a leader and council member, spoke out against this in 1864. “Progress is our motto, you who labor to deprive us of the small spot of God’s footstool will labor in vain. We will not sign your treaty; no amount of money can tempt us to sell our people…” – Rev. Cornelius Hill

In 1895, he became the first Oneida Deacon in the Episcopal Church. He also studied to become ordained and finally met that goal in 1903 at the age of 69. Cornelius is most often remembered as a strong-willed and reserved leader who was not afraid to fight for what he felt was best for the Oneida people.

Lisa Kain
Curator

Keen Bloomfield, Julia. The Oneidas, 1909.
Herbert S. Lewis, ed. Oneida Lives: Long-Lost Voices of the Wisconsin Oneidas, 2005.
Loew, Patty. Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal, 2001.

Native American Heritage Month: Dr. Rosa Minoka Hill

Tuesday, November 06, 2018
Sometimes people have a calling to do something great, something that leaves a legacy. Dr. Rosa Minoka Hill had that inner voice telling her to serve and so she did. Her work and determination to help others affected both those treated by her and by all of those around her. Dr. Hill’s renowned service and intriguing story gave her not only a special spot in Green Bay history, but also a rightful place among some of the most influential people of Brown County.

Dr. Rosa Minoka Hill was born in New Jersey in 1876 to a Mohawk mother and a Quaker physician. She earned her M.D. at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania while keeping her ties to her Native American roots. She eventually established her own medical practice in Philadelphia. She provided care at the Lincoln Institute where she met Anna Hill, an Oneida girl from Brown County. Then she met Anna’s brother, Charles, a student at the Carlisle Indian School. They married in 1905 and the newly wed Charles and Dr. Rosa Minoka Hill moved back to Charles’ home in Oneida.
 Rosa Hill and Sue Cook stand by Rosa's grandmother's head stone. The two plan to enter nurses' training after graduation in June, they will follow in the footsteps of Rosa's grandmother, Dr. Rosa Minoka Hill.
At first Dr. Rosa Minoka Hill played the expected role of farmhouse wife. She gave up her practice until she realized the medical needs of the people in her new home. She knew providing medical care was something worthwhile and worked with native medicine men. Dr. Hill was able to blend her medical practices with the tribal practices. This way, rich cultural aspects were combined with innovative technology to provide the best care possible. She had a “kitchen clinic” for many years. It was open from 7am to 10pm every day and all were welcome. Dr. Hill became known by the name Yo-da-gent, meaning “she who serves” in Oneida. * Her understanding of culture, tolerance, and willingness to serve all who needed is something we can all admire.

Charles died in 1916 leaving Rosa with six children and a mortgaged farm. These circumstances along with the Great Depression led Rosa to pursue a medical license in Wisconsin even though she already had one in Pennsylvania. She had to borrow the $100 to take the Wisconsin Medical License Exam. She passed the exam at the age of 58 and opened a practice in town. She practiced and served there for 12 years.

It is obvious that Dr. Hill had a calling to help others. She was determined to not let the expectations society had of women during that time to distract her from what she wanted to do. She was able to have a family and serve all those who needed help. She eventually had to provide for her family and found a way to do so while providing necessary medical care to others. Her passion, strength, and respect for people of all backgrounds are things we can admire today.

* Dreamers and Doers : A Project of Green Bay Area Branch American Association of University Women, 1994
* Dr. Rosa Minoka Hill Green Bay Public School, https://minokahill.gbaps.org/

Anna Denucci
Intern
St. Norbert College

Brown County's 200th Birthday

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
On October 26, 1818 Brown County’s boundary lines became the first to be established west of Lake Michigan. Crawford County was founded on the same day. However, Brown County is considered Wisconsin’s first because “b” comes before “c” in the alphabet. 

Two hundred years ago Brown County was much larger, encompassing almost half of the future state of Wisconsin. Today the county spans 530 sq. miles and is home to more than 260,000 people. Discover more about Brown County's history by visiting our special exhibit "Our Brown County!"

How did Brown County get its name?
Brown County, along with several other municipalities across the country, is named in honor of General Jacob Jennings Brown. General Brown was born to a Quaker family in Pennsylvania in 1775. He moved to New York and served as a Judge and solider in the state militia. During the War of 1812, Brown earned the rank of Major General. For his heroics, he was named Commanding General of the Army by Congress, and served in the government until his death in 1828.



Curator’s Perspective
Over the last 10 months the museum has focused on celebrating this 200 years of history. We opened “Our Brown County” the exhibit. We have participated in parades and events across the county celebrating this particular moment.

It’s a great thing- a bicentennial celebration- but what does it really mean? To me (a curator of history) it means everything. It’s all of these moments in history stacked on top of each other to create the moment we’re living in now. I love learning about the people our streets and schools are named after and the effect they had on the community that is still felt today. I respect that fact that I wouldn’t be living here without the Homestead Act or the Green Bay Packers. Both are different parts of our community’s history but both influence people lives more than they know.

Knowing our history and respecting the work of the people before us allows us to connect on a deeper level to our community and take pride in it. After all, this is the place you’ve chosen to live, work, and play. I invite you think of some of these things and participate in this special moment in Brown County's history.

Lisa Kain
Curator

Civil War Era Flag Returns

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
After months of conservation work this Civil War era flag is ready for exhibit! This important piece of Brown County history is more than 12 feet long and 8 feet high.

Flag Conservation
This flag has been at the museum since 1934. When we identified it for exhibit use last year it was clear the 157 year old flag needed some care. There was extensive shredding and areas of loss that made it difficult to exhibit and care for. To exhibit the flag safely, while also considering preservation, the piece needed conservation. A highly trained specialist worked on the flag. They supported the flag by hand stitching nylon tulle around the stripes to stabilize the fabric.

How Did We Identified the Flag?
This flag is believed to be the last flag to fly over Fort Howard. We were able to confirm this by putting together clues from different sources.
  • First was the writing on the upper left hand star: "From Major Shaylor, Old Fort Howard during the War, 1865."
  • Second, is an excerpt from History of Brown County by Deborah Martin that re-caps an event that took place at the Fort Howard in 1861. Martin mentions Mattie Underwood as the maker of the flag which matches the name in museum records. Martin also mentions Major Shaylor as “the venerable custodian of this ancient stronghold"-the same name on the flag.
  • Third is the style of the flag. The 34 stars represent the 34 states of the Union from 1861 to 1865 under President Abraham Lincoln. This canton design is in the “The Great Star” style. This pattern was used in the 1800s but died out after the Civil War. All these clues provided enough information to confirm this is the Fort Howard flag. 



What is Fort Howard? (Hint: Not a paper company)

The U.S. Army arrived on the shores of the Fox River in August 1816, two years before Brown County became a county. They established Fort Howard, changing the dynamic of the community and influencing what it is today. Fort Howard operated until 1852 when it was de-commissioned. In the following years a volunteer infantry used the site under the care of Major Shaylor. On May 3, 1861 President Lincoln made a speech calling for volunteers to join the Union Army. On May 18th, people of Green Bay and the surrounding areas put together a special event at Fort Howard. It supported Lincoln’s call and included the raising of this impressive flag. During the Civil War soldiers trained at Fort Howard before leaving for the South. Eventually, Chicago & North Western Railroad bought the land and the buildings were officially de-commissioned in 1872.

Ready for Exhibit
After all of this work on the flag and research we’re ready to share the flag with you! This remarkable artifact will be a centerpiece in the upcoming exhibit Our Brown County. Experience it for yourself starting May 29th!

Lisa Kain
Curator

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Baseball has been America’s pastime since the 1800s and Opening Day remains an annual celebration for many fans across the country. 
The Stiller team playing at the their home field at Bay Beach
Did you know?  Green Bay has its own rich baseball history.  The first club in the area was known as the “Stars” and was organized in 1866.  By the 1920s and 1930s Green Bay had several baseball teams, many of which were connected to well-known local businesses.  Each team had a home field and played on Sunday afternoons.  Games had to be played during the day because electricity wasn’t available at the ballparks.  



One of Green Bay’s teams in the 1920s and 1930s was the Stiller team which was managed, coached, and sponsored by Ernest Stiller (of the Stiller Company).  The Stiller’s star players were the Collard brothers: Arthur (first base), Norb (second base), and Clem (shortstop).  
  This uniform was worn by one of the Collard brothers around 1925 and will be on display in the upcoming exhibit Our Brown County.
Green Bay has remained a baseball city and has been home to many teams like the Green Bay Bluejays, a farm team for the Dodgers in the 1950s and 1960s, and the Green Bay Bullfrogs who have played at Joannes Stadium since 2007.  

Women of Brown County: Eveline Scheckler

Monday, March 26, 2018
African American Settlement in Nineteenth Century Brown County
Eveline Scheckler, an African American woman, lived in De Pere from 1848 until her death in 1871. Though it is not widely known today, in the nineteenth century a small but steadily growing population of African Americans made Northeast Wisconsin their home. Eveline was one member of this community. The number of African Americans living here peaked in the 1890s, and plummeted in the early twentieth century. As a historian, this demographic data identifies a story I really want to understand. I began researching the history of African Americans in Northeast Wisconsin in 2011.

Why did Eveline Scheckler Move to De Pere in 1848?

Eveline first appears in the local historical record in 1850. She lived with Rebecca Schell Loy and David Loy, early white De Pere settlers. The Loys preserved their family papers and donated them to the Neville Public Museum. Eveline appears in them regularly, which allows us knowledge of certain aspects of her life.

In Pennsylvania in 1825, Peter Schell, father of Rebecca, took in the orphaned five-year-old Eveline. Eveline and Rebecca grew up together. When Rebecca married and moved to Wisconsin in 1847, Eveline joined her a year later. The Loy papers indicate that in some ways the Loys saw Eveline as family, but the papers also indicate a far more complicated story. In language evoking a very different status, one Loy identified Eveline as “our colored maid.” Eveline lived with the Loys until her death in 1871, cooking for the family and helping to raise their sons.

 Eveline is buried with the Loy Family at Woodlawn Cemetery in Green Bay.
What don’t we know about Eveline Scheckler?
Numerous aspects of Eveline’s life remain unknown. How was she orphaned; why did she land in the Schell home? Who were her parents; what were their lives? Documentation expanding our knowledge of her early life might exist in Pennsylvania, so some of these questions may be answerable. What will probably never be found are sources giving us Eveline’s own telling of her life story. The primary sources we draw upon to understand the past reflect the American history of white supremacy and injustices. The written sources available to us are influenced by many things. Who can read and write, and thus record their experiences and perspectives? What documents are kept; which are discarded? Which make it into archives and are thus available to researchers like me? In short, whose voices get preserved, and whose voices are misrepresented or omitted? As an African American servant in the mid-nineteenth century, Eveline was one of many people who were unlikely to be able to accurately record their own lives. Our knowledge of Eveline Scheckler comes only from the perspective of those who, though they said they loved her, also ascribed her servile status.


Women’s History Month
Aspects of Eveline’s life illustrate broader elements of African American women’s history. Racism limited the jobs open to free African American women, and directed them disproportionately to domestic work. Northeast Wisconsin was no exception to this phenomenon. In a parallel to Eveline’s experience, many other African American women living here in the nineteenth century worked as servants, washerwomen, seamstresses, milliners, and hairdressers. For more on the life of Eveline visit Our Brown County {1818-2018} opening in May 2018. 

Victoria B. Tashjian
Professor of History
St. Norbert College

Women of Brown County: Alydia Braskamp

Monday, March 19, 2018

What makes someone a hero? Is it their selflessness and empathy? Their instinct to help others? If these are the requirements, Alydia Braskamp exceeded all of these characteristics. She proved her compassion and courage through her service in World War I, working as a nurse under Dr. Bellin, and the creation of the Baby Health Center.

Alydia was born in Alton, Iowa in 1883 and moved to Green Bay in 1917 when she was 34 years old; but she did not stay long. The First World War had started and she was called away to serve with the Red Cross. Alydia was stationed near Bordeaux, France. As a woman in the early 1900s, Alydia was given work as a nurse in an operating room and with ambulances. She also did some field work and documented the experience through a photo album which the Neville cares for as part of the Collection.  The photographs show devastating scenes after attacks, the morgue, ceremonies, and life at the base. In France Alydia assisted the war effort, served those on the battlefront, and documented a critical point in history. She was left with lasting sinus issues caused by sleeping on the dusty ground in France.

 

After being honorably discharged in 1919, Alydia returned to Green Bay and began working as the Assistant Supervisor of Nurses and Instructor as the Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing (now Bellin College). She eventually established the Baby Health Center which provided care for infants and advice for the new mothers in the area. 

The hardship and horrors that Alydia saw during the war made her more determined than ever to provide care and courtesy to the people around her. Her dedication on the field in France carried over to her life in Green Bay.  Alydia spent the rest of her life serving the Green Bay area and improving the quality of life for its residents.  She is just one of the many nurses whose dedication and selflessness have helped shape our community.  

Coming in 2018....

Wednesday, January 17, 2018
2018 is shaping up to be an exciting year at the Neville!  From exhibits to programming we can’t wait for our visitors to share in these exciting events!  Here’s a little preview of the upcoming year:  

#1 Our Brown County, Opens May 29, 2018

Our Brown County is a celebration of 200 years of history focusing on the stories that make Brown County the place we choose to live, work, and play. Explore these stories through 50 artifacts, 50 photographs, 50 people, and 50 places that demonstrate the complex, diverse, and rich history of Brown County.























#2 Delay of Game: Experience of African American Football Players in Titletown
Opens August 11, 2018

It has been one hundred years since the Green Bay Packers were formed but African American players have only been part of the story since 1950. These athletes made an immediate impact on the game, but what happened off the field? In this exhibit, discover how the challenges and contributions of African American players have changed our community.









#3 Holiday Memories of Downtown Green Bay
Opens November 10, 2018

Celebrate the holiday season at the Neville!  See our Snow Babies, charming “Dolls of Christmas Past,” and enchanted forest that once adorned H.C. Prange department store. Holiday Memories returns as a full gallery exhibit this year.  

Other holiday events include the Children Only Shop, and Bruce the Spruce.  Holiday Memories is a wonderful family tradition.



#4 SPARK! 

We’re proud to introduce our newest program series in 2018: SPARK! 

SPARK! is a cultural program for people with early to mid-stage memory loss and their care partners. Programs are designed to keep  participants actively engaged in their communities by providing experiences that stimulate conversations, provide peer support, and inspire creativity through engaging in museum experiences.

You can find more information about SPARK! at the Neville here. 






#5 Morbid Curiosities
, October 2018

Get your tickets early for this in-demand Halloween-time program!   Explore some of morbid and creepy artifacts in our collections, pulled for one night only. Don't miss your chance to get up close and personal with these rarely-seen objects. 

This is not your average museum tour. Come prepared to laugh, play games, experience the exhibits in a new way, and maybe even touch some stuff.

We can't wait to see you in 2018! 

Beneath the Courthouse Dome

Tuesday, November 07, 2017
Over a year ago, the few us from the Neville were invited to a behind the scenes tour of the Brown County Courthouse Dome. The county was beginning a $1.6 million project to replace the copper on the dome. We agreed and were offered an amazing look into one of the most iconic buildings in the county. A few things stood out as we walked the catwalk behind the clock face, below the copper dome.



First, hundreds of names are etched into the bricks, some dating back to the 1930s. Although it is technically graffiti, these marking are still a piece of the building’s history. It meant something to them to leave their mark in this historic place. Second was the astonishing engineering of a clock installed in 1911. The large clock face, hands, and mechanics of the special Seth Thomas Clock that still run today were mesmerizing. Another part of the project was to replace the wooden hands. When the wood gets wet they expand and become heavier which throws off the time on the face.





As work progressed we devolved a great relationship with the crew. They would call us when they pulled something they thought we might want for the museum’s collection. We now have in our possession parts of the copper dome, original wood clock hands, and a brick signed in 1937. We didn’t just collect these things to add them to our massive collection but to interpret the courthouse as a symbol and historic place in our upcoming exhibit celebrating the 200th anniversary of Brown County. Our Brown County is a celebration of two centuries of history and the people who have called it home. The courthouse has been a part of that story since 1911.

In 1908, plans and construction began for the new courthouse in downtown Green Bay on the same block as the new Federal Building. Architect, C.E. Bell was chosen. He was well known for designing grand governmental buildings. We even have his original blue prints in our collection! In 1909, the county board approved $8,000 more for the project to fund the murals that still grace the halls of the building.



As construction concluded, plans for a major unveiling of the new building were set into motion. On January 13-14, 1911 an estimated 10,000 people attended the public opening reception. The local newspaper reported that people were overwhelmed by the building’s detail and beauty.

The courthouse has gone through different renovations throughout the years including the addition of an elevator in 1940. Walls were painted over and some of the historic beauty marks of the building were lost. In 1976, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places to protect its historical nature and to honor its architectural place in Brown County history.

During the 1980s concerns over space and care of the building grew. In 1988, a $10.6 million project began that included additions to the south and west sides for Clerk of Courts, the Detention Center, and the Law Enforcement Center as well as restoration and renovation on the interior and exterior of the building. The project took more than four years to complete. In January 1993, 82 years after the first public reception, an open house was hosted for the public to view the completed project.

In 2008 and 2009 the lantern that sits on the very top of the dome was replaced. Finally this year the county finished the project replacing the copper on the dome as not just a way to invest in the key symbol of Brown County, but to help launch our 200th Anniversary where we will reflect on how far we’ve come and where we’re headed.

Lisa Kain
Curator

Vietnam Flight Suit Wins the Artifact Tournament

Monday, October 02, 2017
Voting is over and the results are in! The flight suit worn by John Evans during the Vietnam War is the winner. Thank you to everyone for participating in the artifact tournament for the upcoming exhibit Our Brown County.



Our Brown County is a celebration of 200 years of history focusing on the stories that make Brown County the place we choose to live, work, and play. Explore these stories through 50 artifacts, 50 photographs, 50 people, and 50 places that demonstrate the complex, diverse, and rich history of Brown County. Our Brown County opens May 29, 2018!



Vietnam Flight Suit, 1965-1973
The man who wore this flight suit flew high above the terrain of Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines between 1965 and 1973. John Evans volunteered for the U.S. Air Force and served as a combat aerial photographer. During the war, Evans was frequently shot at, but luckily was never shot down. After leaving the Air Force he became a lawyer and worked for Brown County and Oconto County. In 2016, Evans lost his battle with lung and brain cancer believed to have been caused by exposure to Agent Orange.

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