SCJ

Thur, 7 May 1931

 

Mrs. Dodge: Member First White Family

 

When Mrs Mary Allender Dodge passed away Sun evening, there died, one who had much to do with history of this county, for she was the oldest living resident of Shawano, coming here when the surrounding country was nothing but a dense wilderness and Indians lived in their various settlements in what is now our city.

Mrs Dodge could have been ninety-four years old if she had lived until the 14th of May.  It was one of the dearest wishes of her heart that she could live to be a hundred.

From her experiences as she lived them among the Indians and the early white settlers, she gleaned a wonderful insight of life.  Her philosophy and beliefs were well worth considering, and she know the true significance of friendship.  Her sweetness of character and that ready spirit to be of help to other made her dear to many.  She was a very active woman for her age and never wore glasses when she was reading her newspaper and books or making carpets and doing beautiful lace work.  She took vital interest in all that concerned our city and did not only limit her interest to local affairs but was concerned with National affairs as well.  At the last presidential election she voted for the first time in her life, for President Hoover.

The Allender family of which Mary was a member, are remembered by practically every citizen in the county.  Mr Allender and Sarah his wife came to Michigan City from Ohio on foot and horseback.  From there they went to Milwaukee to open up a trading post with the Indians.  However, when they arrive there they found that the settlement had already been established.  Mr Allender stayed here for a time and kept an Inn and worked for Solomon Juneau and here Mary Allender was born, that was 1838, about the time that Milwaukee was being surveyed.  An Indian trader by the name of King urged the Allenders to come to Fond du Lac.  They made the trip on horses with Indians guides.  From there they were lured on by the Indians to the Embarrass River in Belle Plaine.  They were the only white people here and for 5 years they saw no one but Indians until a man by the name of Moshel, an English trapper came through.

The Allender family lived on game mostly, and Maryís playmates were the little Indian children.  Later white settlers came here to take up Pine Claims, when Chas. Wescott started a saw-mill in Shawano.  This attracted the white settlers and was the beginning of the great logging industry that was carried on here.  Mary Allender was not afforded the pleasure of attending school, and in 1852 Mrs Wilde asked Mary to come to Keshena, where a school had been established.  She spent some time there but returned home again.

One fourth of July the few people that were here decided to hold a celebration, but found that they were short of girls for the dance.  So they looked about the county and only 4 girls could be found, Mary Allender was one of them, the others were, Sally Maxfield, Mary Maxfield, and Mary Winans.  The dance was held at the Louis Mills Boarding house.

About 1851 the Dodge family came here to settle, when Mary was but 13 years of age.  She met Frank Dodge and their courtship together reads like something from a historic novel.  The Civil War broke out shortly after and Frank sent away and 8 years later came back and married Mary Allender.  They settled in Shawano and have lived for 50 years in the same little home in which Mrs Dodge passed away.

Mrs Dodge loved to tell her many friendsí tales of those long ago days.  She, many times told of the time her father was not able to make the trip by boat to Oshkosh for provisions and on one such occasion a baby child of 2 years of age died of starvation before Mr Allender was able to return.

When the Allender family were living at Embarrass, the Indians about there worshipped a stone in the Embarrass River, before they left for the Reservation, where they were transferred by the government.  They took this stone with them after performing a ceremony in which they roasted a black dog and ate this meat with their faces turned toward the east.

At one time it was thought that an uprising would occur among the Indians when the Menominees had placed a Chippewa Indian in a tent to leave there until he starved to death.  The whites were afraid of war and started to leave their homes, but the Chippewas came to the rescue and saved the man and perhaps the people from an Indian massacre.

Eighteen years ago Mr Dodge died, and since his death Mrs Dodge lived in her little home with her daughter, ministering to her during her illness, and after her death still continued to remain in her own home, with her daughter who came to live with her.  The children left to survive are: Charles and Frank of Minnesota; Will of Rhinelander: Dick, Bob, and Sam, of this city, and 2 daughters, Mrs Armin Krantz, of Chicago: and Mrs Robert Trumbell, who lived with her mother besides 11 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren.

The funeral was held Tue afternoon at which time people from all over the county came to pay their last respects to this beloved pioneer lady of Shawano.  The funeral was conducted at the home with Rev Plopper officiating.  The pallbearers were the 6 sons, who were pallbearers at their sisters and fatherís funeral.