Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Romance of Wisconsin Place Names

On a radio call-in show this morning, a person from Waupaca, WI called in. “How do you pronounce that place,” the radio host asked.

The person replied “Wa-pack-a,” which is of course correct.

The Wisconsin Historical Society Press recently published a new edition of Robert Gard’s book, THE ROMANCE OF WISCONSIN PLACE NAMES.  I wrote the foreword to this new edition.

The book includes a collection of Wisconsin place names, with a bit of history about each.  No doubt about it, our state has a great diversity of place names, many reflecting our Native-American, French, New-England settlers, and immigrant histories.

My favorites include:

 “ Butte des Morts,” (Winnebago County) sometimes pronounced “But-dis-morts.”  But correctly pronounced “Bue-de-more.” It means “hill of the dead.”

“Lac Courts Oreilles,” (Sawyer County).  The name supposedly means “Short Ears,” and is pronounced, “La-coo-due-ray.”

“Oconomowoc,” (Waukesha).  It means “Place where the river falls,”
 Or”river of lakes.”  This name is one that is regularly mangled by radio and TV people new to Wisconsin, who get all tangled up with the five “Os”.  It is correctly pronounced, “Oh-con-no-mo-walk.”

“Chequamegon,” (Ashland County).  Several meanings including “low land.”  Pronounced, “She-quam-again.”

“Mazomanie,” (Dane County) Comes from an Indian word, may also refer to a former Ho-Chunk chief.  Pronounced, “Ma-zo-may-nee.”

“Weyauwega,” (Waupaca County). Named after an Indian village once located there and means “Here we rest.”  Pronounced. “Why-a-wiga.”

I must also mention my hometown of Wild Rose, not difficult to pronounce, but a little confusion about its history.  One version, a less than upstanding young woman named Rose, once lived there.  Another, many wild roses grow in the area.  Or, and the one that is likely true, Wild Rose is named after Rose, Wayne County, New York.  Many of the early settlers in this part of Waushara Country came from Rose, New York.



February 23, 7:00 p.m. Phillips Center for the Arts, 109 Locust Street, Hudson, WI. Part of Wisconsin Historical Society Tour program.  Stories From the Land.

March 2, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Necedah public schools

March 5, 11:00 a.m. Women in Agriculture, Keynote talk. Marriott Hotel, Middleton.

March 9, 7:00 p.m.  THE LAND WITH JERRY APPS, hour-long documentary to be aired on Wisconsin Public TV stations throughout Wisconsin.

March 10, 7:30 p.m., Wisconsin agricultural consultants. Keynote talk, Wis Dels

March 12, 11:00-2:00, McFarlane’s Sauk City.  Book Signing.

March 19, Gathering of the Green, Davenport, IA.  Banquet keynote speaker.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them): 

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs, Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps and Jerry Apps a Farm Story. Coming soon, The Land With Jerry Apps, which is based on the book Whispers and Shadows.

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including The Quiet Season (on which the DVD A Farm Winter is based), as well as Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm, (which are related to the DVD Jerry Apps a Farm Story).Also available is Jerry’s new novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County as well as Whispers and Shadows and his newest nonfiction book, Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984

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