Howard-Suamico Historical Society

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Duck Creek is a creek originating in the Burma Swamp located in Outagamie County and flows through Hobart and Howard townships. Early trappers settled the area and named it Duck Creek because of the number of ducks along the bank in spring. The town of Howard was established in 1835. The site of Duck Creek is now part of the Village of Howard. It had been a Menominee Indian Village and the French were the first Europeans to settle there. With intermarriage between the French and Indians, a new group called the French Creoles developed. In 1840, more than thirty families were in Duck Creek. This number doubled by 1850 with a high percentage of French ancestry. This percentage decreased as other European families settled there. Early settlers included Marston, Brunette, Athey, Rioux, Hussin, Rodaer, Delaney, and Ryan.

Inhabitants were drawn by the access to the Duck Creek River and ample food supply. Transportation was by water and the old Indian trail. Fur trading, quarrying, lumbering and brick making were early occupations. Early products shipped from Duck Creek included quarried stone, lumber, Durham boats, bricks, shingles and charcoal. The construction of Fort Howard Military Post brought the need for more products from Duck Creek such as lumber and food.
Brown County, formally established as part of the MIchigan territory in 1818, comprised the entire eastern half of the State of Wisconsin. It was named for Major General Jacob Brown, one of the successful military leaders of the War of 1812 and subsequently General-In-Chief of the United States Army. Fort Howard was named for Brig. General Benjamin Howard, an otherwise undistinguished soldier, who died while in command in the West during the war. With the establishment of a town system, the Town of Howard was very large but by the Civil War, it was reduced down to it's current size when other cities, towns and counties were created from sections.
The village of Howard was established in 1959. The population in 2010 was 17,399.

Majority of this information came from Early Duck Creek History by Jeanne and Lester Rentmeester.

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August Kahler, WWI soldier was a Howard resident

Construction of the St. John the Baptist Church
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Around 1913
Ambrose Reinhard with Clyde & Roger Van Hemelryk
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In the driveway of the "Green Meadow Cabins" which were on Velp Avenue. 1946

DUCK CREEK QUARRY INFORMATION

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The church was built with quarry stone from a local quarry.

THE EARLY ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST CHURCHES

Sixty acres of land lying to the south of Glendle Avenue and west of the Duck Creek River was bought by Antoine Languedoc (Londo) when the land was put up for sale by the government in 1845. The Londos settled at the foot of the hill west of the Duck Creek River. Father Brennelle, and other missionaries would say Mass in the area on an infrequent basis and in 1849, a log church was built there in anticipation of having a permanent pastor installed. The church was built by volunteers with logs and timber from the Arndt sawmill, at the urging of Bonduel, who preached the first sermon in the new chapel.

The wooden chapel burned down right after the Civil war at about the same time that the Arndt sawmill across the road also was destroyed by fire. Until the new church was built, mass was celebrated in the Oryall house (which was the priest’s rectory) just to the south of the church property.

Reverend Charles Beyerle was pastor when the brick church was completed in 1877 at a site one and one-half miles west of the first location. This brick church was located slightly to the south of the church on the corner of Glendale Avenue and Cardinal Lane and had a west-side entrance.

The stone church which was built around 1913 and served the community for so many years (on the corner of Glendale Avenue and Cardinal Lane) with almost all of the stone and labor donated by the parishioners. The stone was donated by Agathe Rioux Perrault, and the stone-cutters from her quarry donated their time and skill.

From: Jeanne and Lester Rentmeester. Memoirs of old Duck Creek. Howard, Wisconsin: n.p., 1984. pp. 167-169.

OLD DUCK CREEK CEMETERY

It appears the first burial was of Julia Robichaud (Robichaw); the stone marking the grave says she died July 10 1826. Because French traders and settlers had been living there among the Menominees since the Revolutionary War days, many of them could be buried on the site with only wooden markers for identification. Those wooden plaques or crosses generally disappeared after fifty years of Wisconsin winters and summers. Use of wood for grave identification was the rule rather than the exception.

The last burial in the cemetery occurred around 1891 and a new cemetery was started several miles of the new church. The grass grew wild in the old burial place, tombstones fell over in broken disarray and trash littered the area. This condition of neglect was finally corrected by a committee of citizens who instituted a clean-up of the area and the building of a memorial on the site. The group found that 1936 WPA project during the Great Depression had located and identified the graves of twelve Civil War veterans.

A committee headed by Ray Rodaer provided the supervision for locating 102 graves, placing 80 stones in the memorial topped by a 7-foot crucifix, cleaning the one and one-half acre plot, reseeding it, and arranging for perpetual care.

Jeanne and Lester Rentmeester. Memoirs of old Duck Creek. Howard, Wisconsin: n.p. , 1984. pp. 169-170.

Birdseye Dairy Farm Truck. About 1926/28
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Mills Center Baseball Team of 1910
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Copyright 2006 Howard-Suamico Historical Society