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Book Review: De Pere of Yesteryear by Mary Kay Milquet

By Kris Leonhardt


This book is a collection of short historical stories about the early days of De Pere and the people who have called it home.

Volume II is a follow-up to a book of the same name published in 2006 by Mary Kay and Dan Milquet.

Volume I was born out of Mary Kay’s articles in the De Pere Journal, which provided snapshots of De Pere’s history.

Her “Back in Time” newspaper series, which ran from 2003-2006, also provided a foundation for Volume II.

The book chronicles the background and forbearers of village landmarks, such as the Union Hotel and Seroogy’s.

Milquet also spotlights multiple pioneers and provides genealogical information for about 20 families, while sprinkling tidbits of some interesting events that shaped the past lives of local residents.

Among the pages are stories of struggles, opportunities and new beginnings, as well as tales of chance.

In one chapter, Lucy Williams recounts her family’s relocation to De Pere in the 1840s.

On April 1, 1847, Lucy and her husband, Dr. Abiather Buck (A.B.) Williams left Belvidere, Ill., to seek a new home.

Upon starting their trip, the couple needed to decide whether to head to Chicago or Fond du Lac.

“The advantages of the latter place were being noised abroad over the country, and the doctor was in favor of settling there. But I preferred Chicago,” her memoir stated.

“To settle the question, he decided to give the horses the rein at the junction of the two roads and let them choose the course.”

Milquet’s books will provide an entertaining read for those with ties to the city of De Pere.

Those not from the area will learn a great deal about its history and family connections.

Milquet is currently working on a third book, which she hopes to be published next year.

Bosse’s, at 107 S. Broadway, De Pere, will host a book signing with Milquet on Thursday, Aug. 3, 4-8 p.m., and Friday, Aug. 4, 4-8 p.m.

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