Cardinal Family History

This is written in 1979 by Alton Lyle Cardinal to record information about our family. It consists of recollections of things told me through the years by my parents and other relatives. I did not do any research (except for grave markers in cemeteries in Green Bay and Oconto.) It is intended for my son Peter Bruce Cardinal, primarily, but some of the cousins may find it of interest, too. All readers are asked to contribute corrections and additional information.

I know nothing further back than my great-grandparents, and not much about them; so that is where this begins.

Joseph Cardinal was married to Josephine Des Cornia, and they lived near Detroit, Michigan (at least part of their lives). My cousin, Myron Cardinal, heard from his father that Josephine was one-half Indian, but my father never told me that (he considered his father to be French — or French-Canadian). [Cousin Mern Clark Burkland heard that she was ¼ Indian.] At any rate, Josephine was a strong woman; after giving birth to 21 children, she could still lift a 100 pound sack of flour from the ground into a farm wagon. Among the children were two Catholic nuns who served in Marquette, Michigan, Uncle Frank who had a club foot, and my grandfather who also was named Joseph.

Joseph Cardinal (October 17, 1830 - August 21, 1913) said he was born at Detroit-Windsor; so we are not sure whether he was born in Michigan or Ontario, but the family later lived in Michigan so it probably was also the state of his birth. As a young man, he left home and the Catholic Church. He worked at the S.S. Johnston brickyard in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and boarded with the Johnston family. It was there he met and married Mary Ann Johnston who waited on table. They lived in the Town of Glenmore, City of De Pere, City of Green Bay, and Town of Suamico (all in Brown County, Wisconsin), Town of Oconto, and after retirement, in the City of Oconto (Oconto County, Wisconsin). He served in the U.S. Army cavalry during the Civil War. A picture shows him mounted, in uniform, and wearing a full beard. I have a dagger he took from a dead Confedrate.

Joseph Cardinal [+] Joseph and Mary Ann Cardinal, 1909 [-]
Joseph and Mary Ann photo [↗] album

Joseph was of short or moderate height, had a dark complexion, and wore a trimmed full black beard which became [white] to match his hair which looks to be full-head on the picture taken on his 82nd birthday. While living in Green Bay, he worked at the Britton [cooperage or] shingle mill near East River. Once he cut off a finger while operating a power saw; he picked up the finger and took it [to] a doctor [who] sewed it back on successfully, although it remained stiff.

When his son, Gilbert, was a baby creeping on the floor, Joseph kicked him out of the way; he never again took a drink! Once somebody placed a log boom across the Suamico River. Considering it to be an encroachment on his boating rights, he took his axe in his boat and cut the boom when he came to it.

One time while farming he decided to remove a stump on the morning of Thanksgiving Day. When the oxen pulled, the stump broke loose and hit him, breaking his leg. He remained in charge, giving orders to his sons. One was sent to the house for a bed sheet. One went for wood to make splints. Two removed a door from the barn and carried it back. He was put on the door where he held himself while Sam (the oldest and strongest) pulled the father's foot until the bone was set and held in place with splints and torn bed sheet. Then the sons carried their father to the house on the door. That family never again worked on a holiday!

Joseph never learned to read or write (except his name), but his ability in handling money was highly respected. He was able as a woodworker; Peter now has a well constructed round table with turned legs which he made. (I remember the table as being dark colored, and I know of two coats of paint – black covered by the present gray.)

Joseph enjoyed teasing and pinching others and liked to hold babies, especially grandchildren. He refused to eat salted butter – but he couldn't tell the difference when served without his knowledge.

Joseph Cardinal died in Oconto at age 82 and is buried there in Evergreen Cemetery with his wife and three of their children.

S.S. Johnston (1805 or 1806 - March 2, 1886) was born in Ireland. He came to this country (I have the chest in which his clothes were packed) and became a professional soldier in the US Army, serving in the Mexican War. He also served in the Civil War as a member of Co. H, 12 Reg't, Wis. Vol. During the Civil War he was a sergeant training troops at Camp Randall in Madison, Wisconsin, using peavey stocks instead of rifles. (Regimental designations are engraved in the stone memorial arch at Camp Randall.)

As a young soldier he met Mary Langril who also was from Ireland and worked as a maid in the household of an army officer. They married and eventually had four children. After the War with Mexico he moved his family from Jefferson Barracks (near St. Louis), Missouri, to Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he operated a brickyard. He was a good provider for his family, but he was also a heavy drinker. It is reported that he went down town with $200 in his pocket and didn't come home until the money had been drunk up. A grandson, Gilbert Cardinal, was afraid to visit his grandmother because the grandfather might be at home drunk. Sargt S.S. Johnston died March 2, 1886, aged 80 years, and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Mary Langril (April 10, 1810 - January 22, 1890) was born in Ireland. She came to this country and became employed in the home of an army officer. She married a soldier, S.S. Johnston, and at least some of their four children were born in army quarters. After moving to Green Bay, she helped her husband's business by boarding the brickyard employees. The children in order of age were: George, Mary Ann (Cardinal), Henry, and Sarah (Miller). Henry was for many years conductor on Green Bay and Western Railroad passenger trains. The children were brought up Methodist. All of the children lived to be 80 years or older.

Mary (Langril) wife of S.S. Johnston died January 22, 1890,and is buried beside her husband in Woodlawn Cemetery, Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Children of George and Vi Johnston were: Eugene, Ed, Cora (Martin), and Mabel. Mabel Johnston is still very active, attends church and other activities, keeps up her six room house where she lives alone – at age 95 years! Henry had no children. Sarah Miller had one or more sons whom I never knew and two daughters: Vesta (Joire) and May (Louis Wohfeil).

Mary Ann Johnston (Cardinal) (April 10, 1842 - December 3, 1935) was born on her mother's thirty-second birthday at Jefferson Barracks (near St. Louis), Missouri. When she was a young girl the family moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin, traveling overland (probably following the military road) with two wagons. One carried the family and was drawn by a span of horses. The other carried the household furnishings and was drawn by a yoke of oxen. Because the horses traveled faster, the family had to frequently stop and wait until the oxen could catch up.

Mary Ann with Alton [+] Mary Cardinal with grandson Alton at 4 years, 1917 [-] [album]

In Green Bay her [father] operated a brickyard and she helped to wait on table for the employees. In that way she met Joseph Cardinal (one of the employees) who became her husband. In 1862 she saw the first railroad train come into De Pere (Chicago and North Western Ry). She never attended school, but she learned to read and write very well. One of her regrets was that she did not go to school when her son Sam started; she said that she could have.

While living on the farm west of Oconto, she boarded some of the workmen who were building on of the railroads nearby (Milwaukee Road, I think). Family friends included the Clark family, and two of the Cardinal girls married Clark boys.

She was brought up Methodist, and her children grew up in that faith. I remember the joy she found in reading the large-print New Testament and Psalms, even when she needed a magnifying glass and bright sunlight to make it out because of cataracts in her eyes.

She gave birth to ten children during a twenty year period. Several of them were afflicted with the "night blindness" and had very poor vision all their lives. (Sam, Archie, Chet, Josie.) On the other hand, Mont and Gilbert had exceptionally good vision.

alt spec
[+] Mary Ann Cardinal, date unknown (from Doncheck family)

Mary Ann and Joseph visited in the State of Georgia when their son and daughter-in-law (Archie and Dora) lived there. They visited a Negro church and talked with Negro people. (One man explained that, "When I cut my hand the red blood comes.") Mary Ann was 71 years old when her husband died. For the next 22 years she lived with her children, moving from one to another, including several train trips to the State of Washington and back, alone. Mary Ann (Johnston) Cardinal died in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, on December 2, 1935, at age 93, and [is] buried beside her husband in Evergreen Cemetery, Oconto, Wisconsin.

The children of Joseph and Mary Ann Cardinal are listed below, along with their children (the grandchildren). (The full names and dates were given to me by my cousin, Mern Clark Burkland.)

Vesta Minniette – "Minnie" (Al Cady, Abe Frei) Sept. 30, 1860 - April 15, 1955
– Evan (Robinson), Laura (Weaver)
[+] Samuel Joseph – "Sam" Oct. 9, 1862 -
– Earl, Dean
George Stephen – Feb. 11, 1866 - June 6, 1866
Julia Sarah Ella – "Pet" (Rudolph "Dolph" Clark) Mar. 16, 1867 - July 10, 1941
– Mern (Art Burkland), Pearl (Weaver), Guy, Forrest[, Earl (eldest)]
Mont Clemons – Jan. 6, 1869 - Oct. 17, 1891
Archibald Ceil – "Archie" Mar. 2, 1872 - 1948
– Oie, Ruby (Fred Valley), Clyde (LaVern ?), Joseph
William – Oct. 3, 1873 - Oct. 6, 1873
Gilbert Henry – "Gil" Jan. 31, 1875 - Dec. 3, 1941
– Alton
[+] Chester Earl – July 15, 1877 - May , 1963
– Belda (Larson), Edith (Leonard Baumgart), Margaret ([Harry] Whiting, Myron
Josephine May – "Josie" or "Jo" (Lucius Clark) April 7, 1880 - Nov. 16, 1963
– Gordon, Eva (Cain ?), Orton, [Mildred] (  ?), Mabel (Victor Doncheck)
{See the email from D. Cain and from Phillip Doncheck for additional clarification and memories.}

Gilbert Henry Cardinal (January 31, 1875 - December 3, 1941) was born in a house on East Walnut Street in Green Bay, Wisconsin, to Joseph and Mary Ann Cardinal. He played on the "commons", now a city park named Whitney Commons, and visited his Grandma and Grandpa Johnston who lived somewhere near. When he was 8 years old, the family moved to a farm on the north bank of the Suamico River in the Town of Suamico, Brown County. The farm was on the road now named Sunset Beach Road, in the section between USH 41 and CTH "J". They didn't live there long before moving to a farm just west of the City of Oconto in the Town of Oconto, Oconto County. The location is north of the Oconto River, near the river but not on it, near the former crossing of the C&NW Ry and Milwaukee Road tracks, a short distance west of the cemetery, about 2 or 2½ miles from USH 41. This is where he grew up, and the place he always called home. He attended the one-room Comstock School. (He once showed me the location of the farm – buildings were gone even then – and the school which was then still in use. I didn't identify either site on a recent trip to Oconto. The Milwaukee Road track was removed several years ago.)

He performed the usual farm chores (His father insisted that the barn yard be kept clean by immediately picking up with a shovel all droppings as they occurred. The family was cleaner than many of their neighbors, in care of food, house, clothes, bodies, etc.) and peddling vegetables door-to-door in Oconto.

He enjoyed ice skating on the Oconto River between Oconto and Stiles and in the City of Oconto; once a group skated from Oconto to Green Bay on the bay ice and returned on the train. He rode the bull around the barn yard until the bull tired of the fun and brushed him off by running beside the straw stack. One year he trained two bull calves to work in a yoke and took them to the county fair. When 16 years old he went to work in a logging camp for the winter. The others rode to camp in a sleigh, but he was to drive 6 or 8 oxen from Oconto to the camp. He was told to follow the road, "you can't miss it", but in November it gets dark early in the woods and the darker it got the faster he went. When he reached camp the foreman put his hand on the hot animals and said, "You'll do!" He spent several seasons in the camps. The first as cookee (cook's helper); one spring he worked on the drive, on the Pine River, I think.

From the farm to Oconto they usually walked along the railroad track; sometimes two of them walked on the rails holding a stick between them for balance. Because of the night-blindness in the family, Gilbert and Mont had to guide their brothers when walking home in the evening. One year several logging crew members walked all night to get home for Christmas Day; then they walked all the next night to get back to camp for work. In addition to farm work and the logging camp, he sometimes did other things; once he helped load lumber onto a barge in the Oconto harbor.

The family was related to the Oconto Methodist Episcopal Church, and the young people were active in the Epworth League. I have a pocket-sized New Testament and Psalms inscribed: "Presented to Gilbert H. Cardinal by the Epworth League of the Oconto M.E. Church, June 19, 1898. Look Up, Lift Up" which was given to him after he enlisted in the army at the time of the Spanish-American War.

Gilbert was 5′-8″ tall and weighed about 150 pounds. His slender build and erect carriage made him appear taller than he actually was. He always walked briskly with head up. A lifetime of hard outdoor work help to keep his posture youthful. He had light wavy hair which became darker and later gradually turned gray, blue eyes, and fair complexion; some said he looked Irish. In his early forties the hair thinned some and formed a small round bald spot. I remember him sitting on the floor while his wife combed or massaged his head; it must have helped because the spot remained small and became covered with a light fuzz. His hands and feet were small (size 8 shoe) as was the rest of his body (hat size 6 ¾).

Ponce, Pr
[+] Encamped at Ponce during the Spanish-American War. [-]
[↗] Photo album

He enlisted and served with Company N {M}, 2nd Wisconsin Infantry, in the Spanish-American War (1898). When the troop train stopped in Rutledge, Georgia, he spotted a pretty little girl and tossed his name and address weighted with a button; by the time he got home she was corresponding with his brother Archie who married the girl (Dora). (Archie was 6 feet tall and Dora could walk under his outstretched arm. Some of their children were tall and some were short.)

Company N {M} served in Puerto Rico in the vicinity of Ponce, but did not get into any real fight. They came back to New York by ship and to Oconto by train. Gilbert incurred an ear infection which he blamed on bathing in a river while in the army. The infection resulted in complete loss of hearing in his right ear and periodic outbreaks of the infection which he treated night and morning with hydrogen peroxide until it cleared up. (This continued all his life.)

Timme Farm [+] The farmstead at Timme in 1904.

For awhile he and a brother ran a small restaurant in Oconto. (I still have a scale used to weigh candy, etc., in that operation.) Gilbert's sister, Minnie, who lived in the area of eastern Washington and northern Idaho, was urging him to go west; but his mother wanted him to stay near home. In an attempt to influence his decision, she invited Lillie Strahl of Suamico to be a houseguest. (The two families were acquainted, but Gilbert and Lillie had never met.) The ruse worked. Gilbert Henry Cardinal and Lillie Minnie Strahl were married by the Rev. D.O. Sanborn at Suamico, Wisconsin, on April 24, 1901. After a brief stay in Oconto, the couple moved to Timme, Wisconsin, where they cleared land to make a farm and a home. (Timme no longer exists as a place name. It was located near the line between the present Town of Bagely and Town of Brazeau on CTH "Z" in Oconto County. The road ended then near Wescott Lake. The place had a one-room school, a post office, and a saloon; a little to the east Oscar St. Marie had a store.)

At first, they lived in a one-room log cabin. After a year or so an additional room was built; then they began to provide room and board for the school teacher. The first teacher they had was called "Topsy"; they enjoyed her very much. Among their activities was ice skating; I have his lever skates.

The western call persisted, and they went west about 1906. They were involved in many things such as timber claims, mining claims, homesteading, and managing farms. In most of the activities, they were related in some way to the brother-in-law, Abe Frei. Place names I heard about are Moscow, Lenville, Genesee, and Bonners Ferry, Idaho; Curlew, Indian Prairie, and Spokane, Washington. Names of people include: Mr. Strefellow (?), John and Tessie Frei, Archie Cardinal, Chet Cardinal, Abe and Minnie Frei, Eve Cady Robinson, Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln.

They moved frequently. Once they came in to a depot on a train with all their belongings, including a wagon. Everything was unloaded onto the platform in the rain (depot was closed) where it stood while Gil and the man who met them put the wagon together. Then the wagon was loaded and the waiting horses hitched and they drove to the vacant house where they were to live. Windows were broken and house was dirty; but it had a stove in usable condition so they could cook supper and dry bedding.

Another time they moved into a log house with dirt floor which sloped so steeply that they put one end of the bed spring on the ground and the other on a packing box for the first night.

[In 1908 Mern and Pearl Clark lived with them for 7 months (to attend school) on Abe Frei's farm at Lenville, Idaho.]

Once Gil and Archie went to buy a team of horses and a cow. The horses were named Pete and Edith; both were trained for harness and saddle. The seller saddled the horses, tied the cow with a rope to Pete's saddle, and told them that Pete will take care of the cow. So the men (who were not riders) mounted, and Pete took them home.

The Kootenai River is green in color. (I just learned this year that all glacier fed streams are green.)

[In 1910 Gil took up a homestead joining those of Archie Cardinal, Dolph Clark, and John Frei near (5 miles) Curlew, Washington. Proved up in 1912, then moved to Indian Prairie.]

alt spec [+] Gilbert with Alton at 4 months [-]

In 1912 or 1913 they moved to Indian Prairie, just a few miles northwest of Spokane, to manage a wheat ranch for Abe Frei. While they lived there their only child was born and named Alton Lyle. The horses there were Major (driven on the right) and Queen (driven on the left). A third horse, owned by Abe Frei, was called Flo. (The three children chairs in our basement are called Major, Queen, and Flo.)

The next year year there was a move to a nearby ranch, then back to the Frei ranch again. In 1916, while Lillie and Alton were visiting in Wisconsin, Gil sold out and moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin (fall of the year).

One winter working in a paper mill and living on North Broadway (east side of the street just north of of Hubbard Street, where Fairmont Food Co. building stands, then move again. This time to a farm at Oneida (ten miles southwest of Green Bay) located on a lane from present CTH "E" just south of its junction with CTH "U". The farm buildings are gone as is the house where Joe Swamp family lived, but the house up the hill toward the road where Laban Baird lived with his family still stands and is occupied [by] some of the Baird family.

The next year (1918), Gilbert {moved} his family to the community of Oneida to a house which still stands on one acre of land on CTH "J" near CTH "U" in Brown County. He began working in the railroad section crew at Oneida (Section 2 of the Green Bay and Western R.R.). He really intended to make that his home, I think; he planted apple trees, added a room for the use of his mother. He had a cow named Nora, pigs and chickens. But in the fall of 1919 the family moved again to an old rented house about a mile towards Green Bay on the same road, where they stayed till spring of 1920.

He continued on the railroad. One day the four man crew was heading west at the Duck Creek bridge (then called Sullivan's Flats, now Pamperin Park). They stopped the handcar to listen for a train on the curve; not hearing one they proceeded across the bridge when a train came coasting down the grade. The managed to get across, jumped clear, and pushed the handcar back in the direction the train was going. The car was derailed at the road crossing with some damage to dinner pails, etc., but they picked up tools and personal items and pumped the car on home to Oneida. As a result, Gilbert had to buy a new dinner pail – one of the new ones with a Thermos bottle.

In the spring of 1920, he transferred employment to Section 1 in Green Bay and moved to a house on two acres of land at 132 South Oneida Street, Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he lived the rest of his life. When they moved there, Oneida Street was about at the edge of the built up section of the city with farms beyond. Gilbert had a cow, chickens, and a large vegetable garden in which the year's supply of potatoes, corn, car{r}ots, beets, and berries was grown. The neighbors had similar arrangments; some had horses. Some one was hired to plow the garden with a team of horses, and occassionally some cultivating was done with a hired horse, but most of the work was done by hand.

Cooking was done on a wood burning range (at first heating came from wood, too) fed with slab wood delivered to the house by horse-drawn wagon from the Diamond Match mill on the south side of town (State Street). The larger pieces were split by hand with a double-bitted axe (which I still use). {The axe was later stolen.} Some times free wood in the form of used timbers from the railroad was available; in that case the wood was sawed to length on a saw buck using a two-man crosscut saw usually operated by Gil alone.

Probably in 1922, the house was set on a concrete foundation with full basement and enlarged by the addition of a living room and bedroom to the front of the house. At the same time the street was paved, sewer and water installed, and electric lights added. Telephone came earlier.

Also at about that time Gilbert got a better paying job as material handler in the store department of the Chicago and North Western Ry. The work involved unloading and loading heavy timbers and crossties used in building and repairing bridges, etc., also car wheels and locomotive drive wheel tires. Most of the work was done manually by a crew of three or four men. For many years the crew included Bill Walters, Mike Van Caster, and Gil Cardinal; the foreman was Jim Elder.

The men were members of the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks. Section crew members belonged to the Maintenance of Way union. Wage was in the neighborhood of 53 or 54 cents per hour which yielded a check for about $54 on the first and fifteenth of each month, depending on the number of working days. Section men received about 35 to 40 cents per hour.

Gilbert was always proud of his ability to chop with an axe both right-hand and left-hand; (he used a garden hoe on both sides, too) he was good with a two-man crosscut saw; he was a good employee, always working steadily and effectively "an hour's work for an hour's pay".

Although he was proud of his work and was better off financially as an employee, he always seemed to be a farmer at heart; his idea of a Sunday afternoon drive was to ride through the country admiring the well kept farms (and criticizing the others). He liked farm animals – cattle, pigs, dogs, cats, chickens, and especially horses. While he did not have the patience to be a trainer, he was a good teamster and admired well-trained horses.

As a young man he drove team at the Diamond Match sawmill in Green Bay; as teamster he was responsible for the care of the company owned team. When the foreman told him one day that the team must work that night, Gil said that, "If the team works, I will, too." So he put in a full 24 hours on the job that day. Years later when he managed a ranch in the west, he insisted that the hired teamsters walk up hill when plowing with the gang plow to make it easier for the horses. Also to make it easier for the horses, he once tried alone to hold up a wagon pole with one hand while inserting a wooden pin with the other. (The pin was intended to support the weight of the pole instead of letting it hang from the horse's necks.) The result was injury to Gil's back which made him crawl on hands and knees to the house and into bed.

When using a grind stone to sharpen an axe or scythe, he did not bear down on the tool like many other people did; that made it easier for the person turning the stone. Once he offered to go from Green Bay to Madison to give blood for a transfusion; it was not needed, but it indicated his willingness to help others. When speaking of people, he always used the full name, both first and last, thus avoiding all possibility of confusion. The distinction between right and wrong was clear, and a particular act was chosen "because it's right".


{Documentation of Gil's [↗] railroad retirement.}

During the depression of the 1930's the railway found it necessary to reduce payroll; the crew agreed to work only 5 days a week rather than to have one man laid off. But in spite of that, Gil was laid off when he was 60 years old (during Alton's last year in the University). He was called back in June of 1935 and continued to work until retirement at age 65 in 1940.

He and Lillie visited Alton in Little Rock, Arkansas, in early 1940.

Gilbert died on Wednesday, December 3, 1941, from a self-inflicted handgun shot to the head. He had gotten up early and left a note warning Lillie not to go to the "little coop" (a small outbuilding not then in use for chickens). She called the police (after first calling her brother August Strahl), and an officer (Bill Maes) came in time to hear the shot. Gil spoke to the officer, calling him "Bill" (apparently thinking is was Bill Walters, an officer he knew through working with his father). He was taken to the hospital where he died within a few hours. The funeral was on Saturday morning, December 6, 1941 (the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor), and he was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery at Green Bay, Wisconsin.

[Gilbert Cardinal was a member of the United Spanish American War Veterans post in Green Bay. Representatives of that group participated in grave-side services at his funeral.]


Name Unknown, mother of Lillie Roy. Presume that her first husband died early. She later married Mr. (Hermann ?) Moritz. Because of the French background, it seems likely that the weddings were performed in the French language Catholic Church (St. John's) in Green Bay. Mr. Moritz owned land (on which they lived) located along the south side of Wolf River Road (Shawano Road or Shawano Avenue) from the present Twelfth Avenue to Yale Street and extending back to Howard Street, probably. The lane to the house occupied the narrow (15 feet) strip of land on which a business building now stands [927 Shawano Ave] {later removed}) about 100′ west of Twelfth Avenue. The lane went as far as the present Christiana Street where the house stood. (The house may still stand. {It would be 927 Christiana St.}) Mr. Moritz was employed as a blacksmith at the Green Bay & Western roundhouse and walked to work through the woods on a path where Twelfth Avenue is now. One of their children was Herman Moritz who lived much of his life in a house on Shawano Avenue near Yale Street on a part of the original property. Grandma Moritz enjoyed her grandchildren and they liked her. It was her custom to slice bread at the table as needed; if one wanted half a slice, she would cut off only that much and leave the other half on the loaf.

{See also the transcription of the Strahl-Roy marriage license provided by a relative.}

Lillie Roy (or Roi) was born in 1860, probably in Fort Howard, Wisconsin. When she was "almost 14 years old" she married Hermann Strahl who was then 43 years of age. They had three children:

Lillie Roi [+] Lillie Roi Strahl Whipple

Herman; Lillie Minnie (Cardinal); and August.

At age 19 she was left a widow with three children. Fortunately, her husband owned property, including their house, which was inherited by her and the children. Because she was a minor, the estate was administered by the court. When the courthouse burned, some records were lost, but there was not serious permanent difficulty.

She later married Frank Whipple [Wedding of Lillie Strahl to Frank W. Whipple April 23, 1881, at First M.E. Church, Fort Howard] and had two more children: Myrtle (Glasset) and Minerva (Hayden). While living in the Town of Suamico, she helped out as a sort of practical nurse when people were ill or having a baby. Her ethnic background was French, and her religious background Roman Catholic. Sometime while her children were young she began to attend the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Fort Howard (now St. Paul's United Methodist Church of Green Bay) and became a member at the same time as her daughter, Lillie, in 1889.

The family lived in a small house on North Ashland Avenue in Fort Howard [Cedar Street then] which had been owned by her first husband, until moving to Suamico in 1900. They then lived on a farm there for several years until the children were grown. By 1916 she was living in a house she owned on Shawano Avenue in Green Bay with the family of her son August Strahl. About 1918 the Strahl family moved out to their new house on Twelfth Avenue and her daughter Minerva and her family (Frank Hayden) moved in to take care of her until her death in 1921. The house then became the property of the Hayden family. It still stands directly across the street from the fire station at 884 Shawano Avenue. {It was torn down and replaced by a new structure in 2004.}

Strahl women [+] The Whipple/Strahl Women: Myrtle, Minerva, Lillie, and Lillie [-]

Lillie (Roy) (Strahl) Whipple died in 1921 in Green Bay, Wisconsin and is buried beside her second husband, Frank W. Whipple, in the Whipple family plot in Fort Howard Cemetery, Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The children are listed below, along with their chidren (the grandchildren) as far as I can remember.

Herman Strahl – (married to [+]Ina[-] Reynolds) (buried Presbyerian churchyard rural Wilson, Michigan)
– Lillie (John Pirlot), Howard, Harold
Lillie Minnie Strahl Cardinal – (married to Gilbert Henry Cardinal)
– Alton Lyle
[+] August Strahl – (married to Esther Glasset) [-]
– George, Mildred (Franc) [(Mrs. Harvey Franc)], [Margaret (Peters) (Mrs. Norman J. Peters, Sr.)]
Myrtle Whipple – (married to Alvin Glasset)
– Roy (died as a child), Glenn, Hazel, Donald, Ruth, Robert
Minerva Whipple – (married to Frank Hayden)
– Minalta (Frank Crabbe), a twin who died in infancy
Whipple Show [+] The Whipple Travelling Show

Frank Whipple in {the} early years of their marriage had a traveling show, and the family went along; she sold tickets, etc. (we have the little leather satchel used for money and the wooden drawer for making change). At one time a young cousin lived with them who [had] badly bowed legs; through persistent careful massage over a period of time she was able to straighten the legs.

Hermann Strahl (April 30, 1830 - January 1, 1880) was born in Halle, Prussia, in Europe. On January 30, 1874, he was married to Lillie Roy of Fort Howard, Wisconsin, at the (East Side) Moravian Church on Moravian Street in Green Bay, Wisconsin, by Pastor J.J. Detterer. {The church building was later moved to Heritage Hill State Park.} They had three children: Herman, Lillie, and August. He owned and operated the New York Saloon on Broadway, Fort Howard. He owned and lived in a house on the west side of Ashland Avenue [Cedar St then] just south of Hubbard Street in Fort Howard. The house later became the property of the Whipple family. His religious background is assumed to be Lutheran; the ethnic background was German (Prussian). He served as a soldier during the Civil War. On New Year's Day in 1880 he died suddenly at his place of business (probably a heart attack). His wife was with him when he died. (I have some of the coins which were in his pocket when he died.) Hermann Strahl died at age 49 years in Fort Howard, Wisconsin, and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Lillie Roi [+] Lillie Cardinal

Lillie Minnie Strahl (Cardinal) (June 12, 1877 - November 21, 1948) was born in Fort Howard, Wisconsin, where she lived on North Ashland Avenue until after completing the seventh grade at age 13. She was baptized in St. Patrick's Catholic church, but attended Sunday School at First Methodist Episcopal Church where she became a church member in 1889 at age 12 years. Her mother, Lillie Whipple, and best friend and future sister-in-law, Ina Reynolds, were also members. Her father, Hermann Strahl, died on New Year's Day when she was two years old. All her life she treasured the doll, doll furniture and dishes, and doll trunk which he had given her for Christmas. She asked us to give them to her granddaughter, Phyllis, when she reached the age of two. We still have the gifts. {They were given to a Strahl relative in 2004.}

Lillie became responsible for house work at an early age. She washed dishes with the dishpan on a chair when she was not tall enough to use the table. She prepared dinner for guests in the absence of her mother when she was nine years old and Joseph and Mary Ann Cardinal came unexpectedly. (Mrs. Cardinal told about this many years later; Lillie didn't remember, it was routine for her.) Once when cooking on the stove top a small fire started which she extinguished some way. When her mother came home and suggested that she could have used water from the tea kettle, Lillie was surprised; "would hot water put out a fire?"

Lillie was the envy of the small girls on her block because she had a play house. It was only a packing box, but it was hers. She attended Dousman School (where Fort Howard School now stands) and McCartney School (on South Ashland Ave where First Presbyterian Church is located) in Fort Howard and a one room country school (later called White Pine) in the Town of Suamico. She completed seventh grade at the city schools and attended country school for at least three years. She enjoyed school and was especially fond of arithmetic; she even got in to algebra in rural school. One of her teachers suggested that she become a teacher, but she never did. However, her sister, Myrtle, taught; Lillie helped her with preparation at home.

Suamico Farm Roi [+] The Whipple farm in Suamico [-]

In 1{8}90, the family consisting of her mother, step father (Frank W. W{h}ipple), two brothers (Herman and August), herself, and two half sisters (Myrtle and Minerva) moved to a farm in the Town of Suamico, Brown County, Wisconsin. The remodeled house still stands on the west side of the old road (now called Cardinal Lane in the Village of Howard) and a short distance south of Milwaukee Road railroad crossing. To go to school they walked along the main road that short distance to the track, then followed the track to the first road, and went west on the road about one mile to the school.

She was active in the Epworth League of the Suamico M.E. Church and took part in other activities there, but her church membership remained in the church in the City of Fort Howard which became St. Paul's M.E. Church of Green Bay when the cities united in 1{8}95 (St. Paul's United Methodist now). At that time the Suamico church was part of a three point charge with the churches at Flintville and Mill Center. All three churches were closed later, but the Suamico church reopened in the 1930's at the original location and in the same building where it continues now (with some building remodeling). A small plaque on an interior wall in memory of the Whipple and Cardinal families indicates the relationship between the families and with the church; although the families were acquainted and related to the church they were not there at the same time.

On the farm was a pony which enjoyed running around the pasture to avoid being caught. After wearing themselves out chasing the pony, the boys would come to the house and ask Lillie to call him. When she called, "Here, Tige.", the pony came to the fence and permitted himself to be tied and harnessed; he knew that a little sugar or a piece of apple would be his along with the pat.

Once when a strong wind storm came up suddenly, Herman ran out, picked up a small child in the yard and handed her to Lillie at the door, then went on to close the barn door. As he handed the child to her, a ladder fell between them breaking Lillie's foot but not harming the child.

The young people enjoyed growing up in the Suamico area – there were church functions, parties, singing around the organ, school programs, and other good times, as well as work. Herman courted Ina Reynolds of Green Bay, whose parents wouldn't let her go with him unless Lillie went along; they married and lived at Suamico for awhile before moving to a farm at Indian Town, Michigan, which was between Wilson and Bark River. August married Esther Glasset, and Myrtle married Alvin Glasset (sister and brother), and Minerva married Frank Hayden, all local people.

Gilbert and Lillie [+] Gilbert and Lillie Cardinal, 1901 [-]

Gilbert Henry Cardinal and Lillie Minnie Strahl were married by the Rev.D.O. Sanborn at Suamico, Wisconsin, on April 24, 1901. (Please refer to the section about Gilbert Cardinal for locations, moves, and experiences.)

Lillie was small (about 5′3″) with blonde hair and blue eyes; she looked very much like her mother. Her complexsion was fair. She had small bones; wrists, hands, and feet were small and well shaped. Once a nurse commented on her "beautiful feet". From childhood she had a small section of gray hair.

She had migraine headaches from childhood. Those "sick" headaches were often very bad. At irregular, unpredictable intervals, several times in a year she would wake up with a headache which would last approximately 24 hours. Usually she would get Dad off to work and me to school without letting us know. Then she would lie down and try to rest. Sometimes when I came in at noon I could smell it when I came in the door. We put cold cloths on her forehead to cool it, but by the time we could get back from the kitchen with another cold cloth it would be hot again. She did not want to take drugs, but when the condition was especially severe Dad called the doctor who gave an injection of morphine. It was all he could do. In later years she took medicine in capsules which was sup{p}osed to reduce the severity of the attacks. When she was young a doctor told her that she would outgrow it. She laughed about that after thirty or forty years, but in her late fifties the headaches became less severe. Then she developed heart trouble. Other than that her health had been good.

She was a good walker, but too slow for her husband. When living on Oneida Street in Green Bay she often went down town sometimes as far as Main and Monroe. During the time that Gilbert was in Bellin Hospital, she walked over there and back each afternoon. {This was when Gilbert had his appendix removed shortly after moving to Green Bay, perhaps 1919 or 1920.}

She never bent down to put on overshoes, balancing on one foot was easier.

She never seemed to be afraid. When picking blackberries as a child she met a black bear also picking berries; the bear ran and Lillie finished filling her pail before telling others about it. Once when living in the woods she heard a noise at the window and looked up to see a moose looking in at her. Once on a farm in the west she saw an Indian man coming toward the house; she met him at the door and found out what he wanted, apples to eat.

When she was a child the family went to Sullivan's Flats (now Pamperin Park in Brown County, Wisconsin) where the children waded in the water of Duck Creek at the road ford. That was the main road to Shawano which came out of Fort Howard (present Shawano Ave) through the Seventh Day Adventist settlement, crossing the Green Bay & Western track twice, to the ford. Immediately west of the creek the road formed a "T"; to the left the road led under the railroad bridge to Oneida; to the right it led to the Elm Tree Corner (intersection of CTH "J" and CTH "C") and on through Mill Center to Shawano. While wading in the creek, Lillie stepped on a black snake; she went one way and the snake the other. She always killed snakes when she could, but she was not afraid of them. The first snake she killed died when she ground its head under her heel.

One year when living in Suamico, the family ate Christmas dinner with relatives in Green Bay; when returning in the afternoon they found the road to be so muddy that they got out of the wagon at Cormier Station (Duck Creek) and walked home on the railroad (Milwaukee) to relieve the horses. [Driver and horses followed the road, of course.]

cow [+] The cow at Green Bay in 1924, a month before it died. [-]

As was customary among farm wives, she cared for chickens, watered the cow, hoed in the vegetable garden, canned fruit and vegtables and somtimes meats, churned butter, made cottage cheese, and did other things about the house and yard. But Gilbert never taught her to milk the cow; he was afraid that she might hurt the cow.

She made butter for sale to a store in Spokane, picked berries and currents and vegetables to sell to neighbors, dressed chickens and sold them ready to cook. She also raised flowers and house plants, but not for sale – "flowers are to give away."

She was always careful not to waste anything. She never had a garbage can; left-over food was used at a following meal, scraps were fed to the chickens and cats, rags were used for patches or quilts or rugs or sold to the rag man, wrapping paper was folded and saved for reuse, dirty paper and broken boxes were burned in stove or furnace, bottles were used for catsup, glasses for jelly. Finally, ashes, manure, leaves, and all inedible vegetable matter was plowed into the garden soil.

Spokane [+] 812 York Avenue, Spokane, Washington [-]

When she was ready to have her child, she planned to go to a hospital, but relatives talked her out of that idea on the grounds that babies sometimes got mixed up there. So the baby was born in the home of her sister-in-law (Abe and Min Frei) 812 York Ave, Spokane, Washington. Minnie's daughter, Eva Cady Robinson, was a nurse and helped the doctor. Although Lillie never was employed outside the home, she did nearly all the buying for the family, took care of the banking, paid the taxes, washed and mended clothing, and did much of the work both outside and inside the house. She did not consider herself to be good at sewing, knitting, or cooking; but she patched and darned so well that the mends were nearly invisible, mittens and socks were knitted to perfect fit (using new or old yarn – when stocking feet wore out the legs were unraveled and the yarn reused), her pies could not be beat and "plain" food of all kinds was very good. It was only "fancy" things which she didn't try.

After moving to Green Bay she got Alton started in Sunday School and then she became active as a Sunday School teacher and in Ladies Aid work. Her interest in those activities and church worship services continued for the rest of her life.

After Gilbert died, she continued to live in the house on Oneida Street alone through the years of World War II. Mrs. Cass watched for her kitchen window shade to go up in the morning and came to the door frequently to be sure that she was all right. Other neighbors also checked on her – Mrs. C.W. Lomas (across the street), the Wagners (next door north), Mr. and Mrs. Les Andrews (down the street [south]). In the fall of 1945, Alton came home from the war and lived with her until his marriage in the fall of 1946. Then Oliver Jeffcott lived there as a room-and-boarder for awhile. After that a live-in housekeeper stayed with her until her death.

Her heart condition required her to reduce her activities during the last couple years, although she was able [to] move about the house in a normal way if she did not exert herself. Lillie lived to see and enjoy her granddaughter, Phyllis, as a baby.

Lillie Strahl Cardinal died in bed at her home at 132 South Oneida Street, Green Bay, Wisconsin, on November 21, 1948, and is buried beside her husband and near her father and her brother in Woodlawn Cemetery, Green Bay, Wisconsin

[Lillie Cardinal was a member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and of the United Spanish War Veterans Auxillary.]


Written in 1979 by Alton Cardinal with later [amendments by the author] indicated by square brackets.

Formatted for the web in April, 2005, by Peter Cardinal with {editorial corrections and additions} indicated by curly braces.
Additional photos added January, 2006.
Doncheck photos added April, 2014.


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