This blog will be about genealogy and history in the Wild Rose, Wisconsin area. That area consists of the Towns of Rose, Springwater, Mt. Morris, and Wautoma in Waushara County. It also includes the Town of Belmont in Portage County and the Town of Dayton in Waupaca County.
All of my most recent ancestors settled in Waushara County in the Wild Rose area. They came from the states of New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont. The immigrants came from England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Germany, Norway and France.
My Jeffers and Pease ancestors came from Rose, New York which is in Wayne County. Wild Rose is named after Rose, New York but since it was Indian Country, they called it Wild Rose. Some of the other families from Rose, New York included Jenks and Stewarts.
Wild Rose has had three people from the earlier times that you should know about. William J. Knights was one of the three founding members of the Gideons International that was organized July 1, 1899. Mr. Knights suggested the name "Gideons" for the organization after prayer. He was a salesman and later an insurance agent for Central Life. He spent the majority of his life in Wild Rose. He is buried in the Oakhill Cemetery in the Village of Wild Rose.
You probably know about the second man who was the model for the music instrument salesman who taught the people to play. James Ward Jeffers was from Wild Rose. He was usually called Ward or J. Ward Jeffers. His grandfather, Samuel Jeffers was an early settler. Ward wasn't nearly as colorful as the movie made him but he did sell the instruments and taught children and parents how to play them. His wife was not blond.
The last person, I mention today is a lady who was one of the three women elected to the Wisconsin Assembly in 1924. That is 4 years after woman got the right to vote. Hellen Merrifield was a teacher and principal in Wild Rose. She married L S Brooks from Coloma so when she ran for the Assembly her name was Hellen Merrifield Brooks.
The amazing thing about her election was that she had no primary opponent. The district was always very Republican and she ran as a Republican. She had the support of the Waushara Argus. She had three major groups that supported her. She had support from those in the education area since she had taught in a number of places. She was very active for the Red Cross during World War I. She raised money from an area not just Coloma. Her third group was the W C T U (or the Women's Christian Temperance Union) who favored prohibition.
After the primary but before the election, Hellen's husband was injured in an accident and died from the injuries. There was no foul play involved. Hellen served the district well in 1925. The legislature was not in session in 1926 so she went to New York to meet some of her deceased husband's relatives. She met Edward Shay and lived him enough to marry him and move to New York. The Waushara Argus urged her to run for reelection even after she had remarried. I am sure she would have been reelected if she had run.