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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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This Story was transcribed & Contributed by: Laurie Broetzmann

Twin Sisters

By Milton Goldammer

In the days when this great country of ours was being settled, everything was one vast wilderness. In order that the new comers could make a living, the woods had to be cleared away so that they could raise their crops.

The settlers usually came in groups, started small towns, which were, in most cases, named for their leader, such as Jamestown, Graftson, Louisville and Vicksburg.

It was a warm, spring day; the sun was just in the middle of the horizon, when a man and a woman came riding up a dusty road in a small wagon. On this wagon they had loaded their different belongings, a stove, different kitchen utensils a few chairs and many other smaller things. They drove to the side of the road and stopped. The man got out of the wagon, to walk around and see if he could find a suitable place in the woods where he could build his future home. The woman, or rather the man's wife, staid on the wagon and began to worry because her husband did return as soon as she had expected him to. But, however, he returned soon and said, "Come on over here, I think I have found as good as we can expect." The horse was taken into the woods a little way and tied to a tree. They then walked on and soon came to the place; it was a small, cleared place in the woods.

"Don't you think this will be a good place?" said the man. "Yes, I think this will be fine," said the woman, "altho it is a little way from the road." "Oh, that doesn't matter; we can make a road leading to the main road and will clear away the wood near the road," was the reply.

They at once took their axes which they had taken with them and chopped down the trees to make logs, and in a few days they built a small log hut.

Perhaps it will interest you more to know the settler's name. His name was James Harksaw. Mr. Harksaw worked hard and soon had a nice stretch of cleared land.

One day Mr. and Mrs. Harksaw were overjoyed when twin daughters were brought into their family. After a few weeks the little girls were babtized; one was given the name of Jane and the other the name of Julia. The babes were brought up with good care, and were soon young girls. The girls were educated by their parents, because there were no schools around there, and hence could only attain such knowledge as their parents had. They loved to roam around in the woods but were not allowed to go far unless one of their parents was with them.

One day Jane asked her mother if they could go out into the woods to gather flowers. Her mother said that they could go. The girls were soon out in the woods gathering flowers, such as marsh marigolds and yellow and blue violets. "I think we ought to go home," said Julia, "because it is getting dark." "Yes, I will go right away," replied Jane, "I only want to pick some more of these blue violets; it is just full of them here."

By this time it was dark, and their parents were very much worried at home because their twin daughters had not returned. "I think you ought to go out and look for Jane and Julia, James;" said Mrs. Harksaw. "I wish they were home." Mr. Harksaw set out at once, but he was yet near the hut when he met the girls.

"Hello papa," said both Jane and Julia, as soon as they could recognize him in the dark.

"Hello girls," replied the father, "How does it happen that you are out so late?" "I will tell you as soon we get home," said Jane.

As soon as they entered the hut they gave their mother a kiss. Their mother also asked them why they came home so late. Jane then told her parents that it was her fault. "But," she said, "I wanted to have these blue violets."

For many days after this incident the girls did not leave their father's farm. But one day after each had dressed herself in a new white dress, which their mother had made for them, they asked permission to go to a little creek, which was about a mile from the hut. They were given permission to go and after each had given their parents a kiss, which was their custom upon arriving and leaving, they started to walk toward the creek, and that was the last time the parents saw their twin daughters.

About a month later, their father who had gone out in search of his daughters again and again, found two little pieces of white cloth under a little bush with small white flowers, on the bank of the creek. Mr. Harksaw picked up the two little pieces of cloth, while doing this the tears came into his eyes. He looked at the bush and then at the pieces of cloth, and walked up and down on the sides of the creek but no traces of his twin daughters could be found. He took the bush home to show his wife, so that she could see where the two pieces of cloth had lain. When he reached home he examined the flowers closely and saw that the flowers were in pairs. This reminded the parents of their twin daughters, because when last seen they wore white dresses and were walking hand in hand, so they named the bush the "Twin Sisters" in honor of their twin daughters, and planted it in front of their hut. Since then this bush has always been called the "Twin Sisters."

{Note: This story was included in the booklet, Origin of Flowers, which was written in June 1906 - Milton was born in 1890 and died in 1923.}

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