May 21 – 27 (847 miles)

MarieLife on the RoadLeave a Comment

Family research, visiting a friend, crossing the Mackinac Bridge, enjoying the backroads in Michigan, Ft. Wayne (more family research!)

May 21 – 27 (847 miles)

A. Baraboo, WI – Finding Gr-Gr-Gr-Grandfather

We spent 5 nights in Baraboo; the stay was extended because we had to wait for a FedEx package to be delivered.  It was pretty relaxing most of the time!

Marie spent two days at the Baraboo Library and the Sauk County Historical Society doing research, during which time she found:

  • Great-great-great grandfather, Loren (Lorenzo?) Cowles settled in Sauk County in 1843 and was the first Judge. He died in 1846.
  • Great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Hulbert Cowles (Loren’s wife), died in Kalamazoo, MI in 1833 after being hit by a tree during a tornado.
  • Great-great grandfather, Dr. Charles Cowles, setted in Sauk County in May 1848 and was the first Doctor in Baraboo.
  • Great-great grandmother, Mary Cowles, was a participant in the Baraboo Whisky Rebellion in 1854 during which the womenfolk of the town raided the three taverns and dumped all the alcohol out on the street. She was arrested, possibly spent time in jail, and ended up having to pay a fine of $30.

Dr. Charles Cowles
Image courtesy of Sauk County Historical Society

On Sunday, we took a very pleasant drive to Walnut Hill Cemetery where Dr. Charles, his wife and three of their children who died young are buried. They have a large family marker with lots of information on it (a genealogist’s dream). The marker is made of zinc metal so there is no corrosion, moss or other damage after standing for over a century.

Cowles Family Marker, Walnut Hill Cemetery, Baraboo, WI

Dr. Chas. Cowles
Born in Geneva, Ashtabula Co, Ohio, October 5, 1816. Moved to Baraboo, Wis. May 1848, where he died Feb. 17, 1887.
He had a tender Heart.

B. Tricia at Scentability in Tomahawk, WI

[May 25] Our route passed exactly through Tomahawk, Wisconsin, where it turns out a long-time soapmaking friend of Marie’s has a shop.  We dropped in unexpectedly and surprised the bejeesus out of her! I also got to stock up on some great soap and other handcrafted products.

Tricia – Scentability, Tomahawk, WI

C. Cunard Wayside Park

[May 25] Spent the night in a lovely little wayside park off Highway 8.

Route 8, Northern Wisconsin. Beautiful!

D. Lake Michigan and the Mackinac Bridge

We’re from the west coast, where the “big water” is the Pacific Ocean. Seeing a body of water that goes to the horizon, has beaches and waves, but is FRESH water is such an oddity! Lake Michigan is BIG … Really. Really. Big.

Lake Michigan – Water – fresh water – as far as the eye can see.

The Mackinac Bridge, connecting the Michigan Upper Peninsula with the lower half of the state — what a wonder!  Apparently it’s known as “Big Mac” or “Mighty Mac” and opened in 1957. It is 4.995 miles long, the deck 155 feet above the water in the middle of the bridge and the water is 250 feet deep!

Mackinac Bridge – View from Scenic Overlook

We crossed during heavy winds, which meant that we (and all the other “high profile” vehicles) had to go across with an escort car leading the way. It think it was primarily to keep the speed down (like 20 mph). There was some construction to make matters a little more interesting as well.

Crossing the Mackinac – our escort car way in the distance.

E. Backroads of Michigan

After crossing the bridge, we went over the the Charlevoix region (highly recommended by our friend, Kee, who spent summers there as a young person). Very beautiful, on the lake, nice little towns with old, well-maintained lake houses. It was (and probably still is) a prosperous area.

[May 26] We had a short day because Marie had to prepare for a online class she was doing that evening. We stayed in the back parking lot of the Turtle Creek Resort & Casino just outside Williamsburg, MI.  Casinos are usually very generous and gracious about letting RV’ers stay overnight in their back parking lots. That night there was a frost warning, so we had to dig out the heavy blankets again.  In late May!

Central Michigan

After leaving the casino, we spent a leisurely day heading south through Michigan, down Route 66 (not THE Route 66) from Kalaska to Battle Creek. Definitely a “back road” – two lane most of the way through farmland and small towns. Central Michigan is beautiful. A place we could probably live – if it weren’t for the very, very cold winters!

Central Michigan – Beautiful!

F. Johnny Appleseed Park, Ft. Wayne, IN

[May 27] Arrived early at Johnny Appleseed Park, where we are staying for several days while Marie does some more family research. We were lucky to find a spot for Thursday and Friday nights over Memorial Day weekend.


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