Part nine of a series
A local organization of the national anti-liquor movement, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, was founded in Caledonia on November 1, 1878, “with many of the leading ladies of the village as officers.” This was published in an 1882 History of Houston County, which included year-by-year newsworthy events during the county’s first three decades. Except for one typesetting misspelling and an editor’s note, the following preserves the original spelling and punctuation.
The year 1878
A very singular accident occurred in Caledonia on the 19th of February. A young man named Samuel Watson, employed in the stable of Ellis & Drowley, was leading two horses across the street when they suddenly shied apart, and thus strained both his arms, probably rupturing an internal hemorrhage of which he died thirty-six hours afterwards.
In the early summer a driving park was laid out and graded near Caledonia Village.
In May, the store of Larson & Aslesen, in Brownsville, was broken into and $50 worth of goods stolen. Two men asleep in the store were not awakened.
Moses Hewitt, a fireman on a freight train, was killed in August, by falling from the train near the west end of the bridge near LaCrescent.
One of the most auspicious events in this county for many years, occurred in Brownsville on Saturday, November 2nd, at the residence of Mr. George Schaller, the occasion being the celebration of the golden wedding of Mr. and Mrs., Schaller. Nearly 250 guests were invited from the various towns in the county, with perhaps thirty-five or forty from La Crosse, including a brass band and several members of the Leiderkranz Society.
Editor’s note: Leiderkranz (or Liederkranz) Societies were social clubs for prominent German-Americans, most often with an emphasis on singing.
In order to comfortably accommodate his numerous guests, Mr. Schaller erected a large addition to his house and made other arrangements which fully accommodated the immense throng, so that on the day of the golden celebration everything was in readiness, and everything passed off as smoothly as could have been desired.
For the purpose of transporting the La Crosse guests to Brownsville, Capt. Winslow’s steamer “Vigor” was chartered, and numerous vehicles were employed to bring those from town to the scene of the celebration. At about five o’clock in the evening, the golden marriage ceremony was performed by Mr. A. Steinlein, City Justice of La Crosse, after which supper was partaken of. After refreshments were served, an able and eloquent address was delivered by Mr. A Steinlein, the sentiment of which is said by those present, to have been most beautiful and pathetic, embellished as it was with scholarly rhetoric and delivered with force and feeling. Mr. Steinlein’s address being in German, and as many Americans present desired to more fully understand its sentiment, Capt. Harries was called upon to render an interpretation, which he did to the great pleasure and instruction of those who heard him.
After the Captain had finished, Mr. John Ulrich, editor of the La Crosse “Nord Stern,” made a few feeling and appropriate remarks, following which the band discoursed sweet music, and the Leiderkranz Society sang beautiful and soul stirring songs. This part of the programme being over, the spacious hall was cleared and dancing commenced, the first couple leading off being Mr. and Mrs. George Schaller, who seemed to enjoy the giddy whirl of the waltz as ardently as they did fifty years ago. Dancing continued until a late hour before the happy company broke up; and when the guests were about to return to their homes, it was the universal expression of all that the occasion was one of unalloyed pleasure, and that the golden wedding of George and Eva Marie Schaller would long be remembered as one of the most pleasurable events of their lives. The preparations made by the aged couple were extensive and elaborate, as well as liberal. Everything in the line of edibles, sweetmeats, viand, etc. were provided, and the slightest wish of the guests was gratified to the fullest extent. One of the happy features of the occasion was the collection together of the numerous relatives of the venerable couple, who comprised some of the best citizens in the county.