Sheboygan Pioneer Monthly Supplement
Brief History Of Waldo
By Mable Harling
(Note: The first two installments were in the wrong chronological order in The Sheboygan Press. I have put them in the right order here)
(Editors Note: - The following historical sketch of Onion River, written and submitted together with the ms. of her Brief History of Waldo, the first installment of which appeared in these columns last month, was by Mrs. Harling intended to serve as a preface to the latter, for Onion River was the first settlement of the two, merging with Waldo later, after the railroad from Milwaukee to Green Bay was built east of the first settlement. To hold proper chronological order, this Onion River sketch should have prefaced last month's first installment of Mrs. Harling's Brief History of Waldo, the second installment of which will appear next month. The chronological mixup was, of course, due to the haste inevitable in making up a big daily newspaper like the Sheboygan Press, and ye editor hopes this explanation will be acceptable to his readers as well as it is to Mrs. Harling, who has already assured him to that effect.)
As the printed page in after years becomes history, we will try to give an accurate account of some of the early history of the Onion River settlement, and this part of the Town of Lyndon, and the names of some of those venturesome pioneers who saw visions of the future, and who took the first steps toward the development of this great western territory. Also some of the events leading up to the beginning of Waldo.
Although we do not know the exact date, tradition tells us that Dr. J. Mallory was the first settler on what is now the Mrs. Joe Oosterhous farm in sections 23 and 24, and that Dr. Mallory named Lyndon for his native town. As Wm. G. Mallory settled in section 14 in 1844, Dr. Mallory must have come prior to that date.
In 1836 Congress passed an act to establish a road from Chicago to Green Bay. This was intended for a government military road, but it was never completed. Men were sent through, who cleared a roadway four rods in width by felling trees each way. As the U.S. land office was at Green Bay, all settlers had to go there to enter their land, and they usually went on this road, many going on foot. This is now highway 42 and still called the Green Bay road.
In looking up early history of this settlement, many interesting documents may have come to light.
We find U.S. land patents issued and signed by President James K. Polk during his administration before Wisconsin became a state, and J. K. Stephens, secretary, and these and other documents signed by S. H. Laughton recorder of the general land office. These were issued to Dr. J. Mallory, Wm. G. Mallory, Andrew Mallory and others locating land at that time. South of the corner we find that Joseph Wilcox, Wentworth Barber, F. G. Manney, Abraham Vanivie and a Mr. Webster entered land in 1845. (The Wilcox farm is still in possession of the Wilcox family).
Three generations of Hutchinsons, Enoch, Anson and Hanford, were among the first settlers on the east side of the road. The Pollard farm was the Hutchinson homestead. The E. Chaplin farms was also owned by the Hutchinsons, later transferred to a son-in-law of Anson Hutchinson, Levi Brigham. Besides the Malloys, Wm. G. Andrew, Joseph and Lemuel on section 14, we find the names of Abraham Vinivir (sic?), Zachariah Holbrook, William S. Merritt, Joseph Lepper, Charles Lawson, Matthew Champlain, Henry Hobbs, John Auckland, Simon Smith and Charles Tyler, on deeds and legal documents.
The first marriage in the Town of Lyndon was that of Charles Tyler and Ruth Smith in 1847, at Onion River, by Justice of the Peace Anson Hutchinson. Smith and Tyler deeded their property to Robert Fritts in 1853, who kept what was then called a "tavern stand" on the corner.
The Jonah Phelps family came from New York state in 1847 and settled on the farm now occupied by Mrs. Meliza Shaw Sibley and Miss Josephine Shaw. The U.S. land patent signed by President Polk, and other documents in the transfer of this property, are very interesting documents in the possession of Mrs. Sibley.
Here the Onion River post office was established in 1849. This also established the name of the settlement. The Onion River was so named by government surveyors who found quantities of wild onions growing on its banks.
Jonah Phelps was the first postmaster. The mail was brought by carrier on horseback from Sheboygan once a week, on Saturdays. People came for miles around the Phelps home to get their mail and the news from "back east."
Aden Easton, a brother of Mrs. Joseph Wilcox, first had the farm that is now the Staley farm. Later the Pieter family came from Massachusetts, having emigrated from Germany a few years previous and bought this farm in the early 50's. They kept open house for travelers. This was called "Social Hall," and before the Civil war it was well patronized. People from the western part of the county who hauled their produce to Sheboygan, called it the "Half-Way House." The six Pieter sisters eventually married and settled nearby, Henrietta married Joseph Staley, who was an early day blacksmith here; Mr. and Mrs. Staley both lived to a great old age in the same locality. The Sibley family came in 1847 and settled on the next farm east (now Waldo Canning Co. farm No. 3). Fred Walter came in 1850, A.I. Lee came from North Caroline in 1857 and settled on a farm east from the corner.
To the north we find, among the first settlers, the Shadbolts and Watsons. Then in the 50's came Minck, Hausknecht, Beeckler and Douglass.
Robert Lawson and family came from England in 1846 and located on the farm now owned by Wm. Ubbelohde. Mr. Lawson and sons, Abraham, Charles and Thomas, acquired much land in the two sections.
Henry Horniman had a store on the corner formerly occupied by Robert Fritts, in 1859. Previous to this, Dr. Mallory had kept a few supplies to accommodate the settlers. The Horniman and Hobbs families came from England several years previous and settled in the Town of Sherman before coming to Onion River. The Horniman store was burned. In restoring one wall prepatory to re-building for the third time, a box containing papers, coins, etc., was found. One document reads as follows:
"Wisconsin, Onion River, June 14, 1866.
"This day this wall was finished by C. Wilson, Leonard Rood and James Green, for me. I started business on these corners in 1859. My store has been blessed so that I feel daily that I am my Lord's steward, and to gain eternal life I have to be able at that Great Day to return the talents with their increase.
This paper had been in the wall nearly thirty years and through two fires.
Mr. Horniman succeeded Mr. Phelps as postmaster. Wm. H. Pierce was next owner of the store, the Hornimans going to Sheboygan Falls and subsequently returning to England.
In the first deed in the possession of Mrs. Sibley, a reservation was made of 3 acres or more, if it should be needed, and waterpower of the Onion River, if it should be so used. This reservation had been acquired by Robert Fritts from Andrew Mallory in 1853. In 1856 this was transferred to Mark and Alonzo Martin, who also received a grant to build a dam across the Onion River. The next year the dam was built, and also a saw mill. Abner Heald built a grist mill. Abner Heald was the first soldier from this neighborhood to lay down his life for his country in the Civil war. He went as 1st Lieut. of Co. I, 1st Reg., and afterward was made captain. Captain Heald was killed in action in the battle of Chicamanga in Sept. 1863. Funeral services were held in the unfinished Baptist church.
This mill property passed through many hands, Seyforth and Mey, Harmon and McIntyre and others, before coming into the possession of the father of the present owners, Siewert E. Wierman, 1893, Seth Robinson and S. D. Hubbard were proprietors of the Onion River store at one time. The Whiffen brothers, Fred and Andrew, had a store in 1869, first in a little building that is still standing east of the Tracy store, and later in the Horniman store. Geo. W. Beeckler succeeded the Whiffens.
The Meades, Shaws and Robinsons had much to do with the early history and development of Onion River. Major Meade and family came in 1849 and settled in Town Sherman, on land bought from Solomon Juneau, Mr. Meade going to Milwaukee on horseback to make the purchase. This was Indian land, one the site of an Indian village. There was also an Indian burying ground on the place. Some years later Mr. Meade came to Onion River and bought the Dr. Mallory place, that had come into the possession of Edmond Smalley. In Oct., 1854, Edmond Smalley and Fanny, his wife, "Linden," Sheboygan Co., deeded same to Major Meade, land in sections 22, 23 and 24, 200 acres, for the consideration of $3,000. A. H. Vanwie was notary public; Chas. Adolphi, Register of Deeds, Sheboygan, Wis. Later Mr. and Mrs. Meade retired to a home across from the store, where they spent their last days. Mrs. Mead lived to be 92 years old. The sons Clark and Smith were worthy and prominent citizens of the community, Smith occupying the homestead, and Clark a farm east of Onion River. The daughters were Mrs. Chas. Butters, Mrs. Chas. Wright and Mrs. W. D. Welles. After the passing of the Major Meades, the Abraham Robinsons came into the possession of the place. Mrs. Robinson disposed of same a few years ago and is now living in Vienna, Va. This house was built in the early years by Benj. Heald.
Albert Shaw came to Sheboygan county in 1847. He secured a tract of 200 acres of land in Towns Sherman and Lyndon. His father, Abel Shaw, came later in the same year and later owned the Manney farm (later the Wentworth Barber farm and now Waldo Canning Co. farm #2). Albert Shaw owned other farms in Town Lyndon. He came to Onion River in 1869 and bought the fine home then just completed by Mark Martin, where Mrs. S. E. Wierman now lives. Mr. Shaw was a livestock buyer and shipper for many years. He acquired the Onion River farm from his brother, Major Shaw, where his daughters Mrs. Meliza Shaw Sibley and Miss Josephine Shaw now live.
One of the first duties of our forefathers and foremothers, after they had established themselves, was looking to the instruction and education of their children, and a school house was built, a crude affair of logs chinked with clay and furnished with slab benches, and desks built against the walls. This building was on land owned by Robert Lawson, where Henry Harling's residence now stands. The first teacher was Harriet Jackson, who lived near Cascade. This school house was used for six or seven years, when it burned. A frame school house was built in 1856 where the Tracy store now stands. This was a very good school house for the times. Miss Caroline Phelps was the first teacher. Other early-day teachers were Abner Heald, Miss Mellis, Jane Rublee, Agnes Fyfe, Hanford Hutchinson, Josephine Shaw. This building was put on the retired list in 1887, was moved away and ended its days as a horse barn, and eventually went up in smoke. About this time George Boedecker and Fred Schreiber built a store on the corner where the school house stood. This is now the Tracy store, Mrs. Maude Welles the present proprietor.
The Methodist church was started in 1869 and finished in 1871. This was the outcome of the first "meeting" held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. James Stone, Lyndon Pioneers of 1846.
About this time Andrew Dye built the first cheese factory. George W. A(rn)old owned property in the 60's and had a harness shop.
While they were not among the earliest settlers, the history of Onion River would not be complete without mentioning "Uncle Joel" and Aunt Persis" Wright, who were early Lyndon pioneers and who spent their declining years in a little home across from the church so beloved by them. They were a couple much loved and revered by all. As a young man once said, "I never meet "Uncle Joel" but what I feel like saluting him with uncovered head."
In the old part of the cemetery on the hill above the river, many tombstones bear names long since forgotten, and there are many unmarked graves with no record in existence. The march of progress during the 90 or more years proves a record and a lasting and enduring monument to those early pioneers who blazed the trail.
Sheboygan Pioneer Monthly Supplement
History Of Waldo Part Ii
In 1870 rumors of a proposed railroad from Milwaukee to Green Bay were current. Meetings were held to interest people of the community in the benefits of a railroad. These meetings were held in the unfinished Methodist church. O. H. Waldo, a prominent lawyer of Milwaukee, E. D. Holton and a Mr. Hilbert, all of Milwaukee, were the speakers to promote the enterprise. The result was that the town of Lyndon voted a bond issue of $15,000 to aid the project. The right-of-way was secured and work began at once, and in the fall of 1871 trains began running on what was then called the Milwaukee and Northern road. Soon after that time it was taken over by the Wisconsin Central, and later it became a part of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad system. (The writer saw the first train go through but does not know the exact date.)
The same year N. C. Harmon and son-in-law Eugene McIntyre, bought eighty acres of T. Frihart, formerly owned by Abraham Lawson, and has it platted. Lemual Tibbitts of Hingham was the surveyor. The original plat called the new village Lora. Later the railroad company named it Lyndon Station, but as this became confused with another Lyndon in the state, the named was changed to Waldo, named after one of the promoters.
The first building was put up by T. Frihart for a boarding house and saloon. The next was built by Leonard Rood for a railroad hotel. E. McIntyre and family occupied the original farm house. A Mr. Canfield had a railroad blacksmith shop and had a temporary home built. This was on the present Minch site. Building operations went on rapidly. John Jordan built the first store on the corner where the Buelke store now stands. Henry Jordan built a hotel and saloon, afterwards adding a hall. On the present Grusch location Harmon & McIntyre built an elevator and warehouse, thus establishing a market for the surrounding country. This was before the dairy interests had begun to any extent, and much grain was raised and hauled to the Sheboygan market. An item taken from a county paper in 1875 states that "shipments from the Waldo station the previous year aggregated 500 carloads, and the shipments in 1875 will exceed those figures." This business was carried on for years until Mr. McIntyre retired in 1918. The firm name was kept up after the death of Mr. Harmon in 1909.
The reader will pardon this digression, but as one of the founders of Waldo, N. C. Harmon should be given more then a passing notice. Mr. Harmon was a Lyndon pioneer of 1844 who took his part in the strenuous life as one of the builders of a new civilization. Mr. Harmon was identified for 65 years with the life of Sheboygan county. During this time he was prominent in public affairs in town and county. A man of exemplary character, sterling integrity and endowed with sound common sense and judgment. With his knowledge of men and affairs he was much sought as an able counselor and advisor. To us of the younger generation he leaves the richest of legacies, the memory of a noble and upright life.
Mr. and Mrs. McIntyre, from the beginning through the 53 years of their life in Waldo, took a leading part in every enterprise pertaining to the welfare of the community. The McIntyre home was a home of culture, and it excelled in hospitality. It was the center of social affairs, especially of the young people, in whom Mrs. McIntyre always took a great interest. She had a wonderful personality, and her leadership was never questioned or excelled. Mr. McIntyre was a man of public affairs and of unusual business ability. Although a lawyer and admitted to the bar he never practiced his profession, but was always an able counselor and attended to all legal affairs. Mr. McIntyre died in Plymouth in March, 1929. Mrs. McIntyre survived him until June, 1931.
Robert Lawson built a store in 1873. This was first operated under the name of Whitney & Lawson. James Darling was also associated with this enterprise. Mr. Lawson became sole owner the next year and continued in business until his death in 1921.
C. L. Sibley, a pioneer of 1847, who owned a farm east of Onion River, and later lived in Onion River, was one of the first men to become interested in the building of the new village. Mr. Sibley was a carpenter and with his son, Charles, built many of the first houses in Waldo. In 1873 Mr. Sibley built a fine family residence. He early established a lumber yard, built a cabinet and machine shop with a hall above, and also carried a small stock of furniture. This hall was used for meetings of the Grange, and by the I.O.O.F. and Good Templars.
For all social affairs and religious services, Mr. Sibley gave the use of the hall, warmed and lighted, absolutely free of charge. Mr. McIntyre subsequently sold his lumber interests to Harmon & McIntyre and engaged in the coal business, which was later continued by his son, Charles Sibley. Mr. and Mrs. Sibley, who by their public spirit and personal interest in the younger members of the new community, are entitled to be called the father and mother of Waldo, passed away, Mr. Sibley in 1908, Mrs. Sibley in 1909.
Henry Atkin built a hardware store in 1874. The upper part was used by the I.O.O.F. This building is now the village hall. Atkin & Lawson also had a lumber yard in 1876. John Seegar had a harness shop, P. Canfield a shoe shop, James Hayden a blacksmith shop. M. H. O'Brien had a stock of hardware in the Jordan store. Mrs. John Jordan later had a stock of millinery in the store.
The first millinery shop was conducted by Miss Olive Brainard. The Brainards lived in the Canfield house and Mr. Brainard was the first constable.
Millard McDonald built a wagon shop and residence. John ever, a tailor of Sheboygan Falls, had a branch shop, with Charles Smith in charge. Among those who built the first homes were James Hayden, Fred Harling, Silas Johnston, Proctor brothers, Bert Mellin, John O'Hearn and John Frazier, who was the first station agent. A. Chamberlain built a furniture store and did cabinet work to order, and also built coffins. Amenzo Piper built a residence and barber shop. S. J. Ogle took over the Hayden blacksmith shop in 1875, which he operated until 1881, when H. O. Ogle succeeded him and is still on the job. John Rood started a meat market. This was purchased in 1877 by Henry Harling, who continued in the business for years, also engaging in buying and shipping livestock until he retired a few years ago. The building last occupied by W. Hickenbotham that was razed recently, was built in 1878 by Milan Meade for a residence and meat market.
The Misses Kate and Lucy Beeckler had a millinery business about this time and Mrs. Robert Lawson also had a millinery in the 80's. The Whiffen brothers, who had a store in Onion River, put in a stock of dry goods and groceries in the John Jordan store, and Charles Whiffen went into business for himself and built a more commodious store. His successor was W. T. Armstrong. St.Sures of Sheboygan then put in a stock of drugs in the store vacated by the Whiffens and Ferd. Thieman, also of Sheboygan, was in charge. W. H. Barragar built a drug store in 1880. Dwight McGlachlin was the next proprietor of the Waldo hotel, succeeding F. Frihart. Mr. McGlachlin was also an auctioneer. This hotel became very popular when operate by the Wards of the late 70's and 80's. Traveling men made this their headquarters, as there was a good livery stable in connection with the hotel. Isaac Miller and "Jim" Johnston had a livery stable in connection with the Jordan hotel at one time. Adam Gates also had a livery stable, conducted a hotel, and engaged in several occupations in the early years. James Slyfield also came in the 70's. He built a fine residence, and was a cheese buyer. E. A. Kennedy was also an early day cheese man.
Sheboygan Pioneer Monthly Supplement
History Of Waldo Part III
The first resident physician was Dr. Levi H. Pelton, who came in 1874. He was succeeded by Dr. Earnest Vesey. After Dr. Vesey's death, Dr. Collier of Hingham looked after the health of the Waldoites for several years. Then came Drs. Mollard, Drennem, Ross, Rae, before Dr. C. B. Richards came in 1910.
In 1881 a little church was built by the Society of Bible Christians organized by the Rev. F. O. C. Jones. In 1885, the "Young Men's Beneficial Association" was organized. The members were E. McIntyre, W. A. Barber, Henry Harling, Adam Gates, W. H. Barragar, Charles Harmon, Oscar ogle, Elarida Robinson, Amenzo Piper, David Armstrong and George Beeckler. This association purchased the church property, as the society no longer functioned, and built a commodious hall with stage, dressing rooms, dining room and kitchen. This was known as the Y.M.B.A. hall. This hall served the community for many years and enjoyed extreme popularity. Many fine entertainments of various characters were held here. The Waldo Dramatic Club was very popular and produced many plays worthy of professionals. This building was sold in 1921, moved, and added to the H. W. Grohskopf store. The fine I.O.O.F. temple, built in 1927, now occupies the site.
The Lyndon Baptist church was built in 1863. After services were discontinued in this church, the Baptist society held service in the Y.M.B.A. hall for some years.
About 1900 John Buelke bought a small building and had it fitted up for church purposes. This was acquired by the society soon after, and has served its purpose well. Rev. C.D. Mayhew, pastor of the Sheboygan Falls First Baptist church, also officiates in the Waldo Baptist church.
The Methodist church, built in 1870, has in later years been re-modeled and re-decorated, and a fine parsonage has been built. Rev. D. C. McTavish is resident pastor in charge of the Waldo circuit.
When Waldo came into existence, the post office was at Onion River, and the Onion Riverites were loath to give it up, to surrender their birthright, as it were. It was not until April, 1877, that the post office was moved to Waldo and the Onion River post office lost its identity. Robert Lawson was the first postmaster. For a long time the Onion River mail was carried down and distributed from the old boxes in the Whiffen store.
In 1886, Joseph Peck sold his cheese factory in Onion River that he had operated for years to W. S. Leroy and moved to Waldo, where Dr. Pelton first located.
Others who were engaged in business in the early years were James Darling, "Cooper" Clark, W. T. Armstrong, R. B. Wedemeyer and later, V.R. Grooms, G. L. Dahurst, Sell Bros., Finnegans, G. W. Corbett, David Peck, Chas. Grooms, Chas. Connel, Wesley Very, M.D. Martin, H.W. Timmer, H. W. Grohskopf. Others not previously mentioned who came in the 70's were Charles Bear, Mark Butchelder (sic?), M. O'Malia, the Dille brothers, Charles Goodell.
In 1887 the new school house was built, "Queen Anne." A graded school was established there with Dr. A. T. Blackburn and Miss Mina Briggs as teachers. During the principalship of H. W. Leverenz in 1890, a high school was established with a three-year course. D. O. Williams was the first principal, and Misses Ada Chandler and Mary Meade, the other teachers. The reign of "Queen Anne" was short, 17 years. She had outgrown her capacity, and in 1904, the present high school was built and another year added to the course.
In 1888 Henry Jordan sold his hotel to Thomas Alcox and built a hotel and elevator across from the railway track.
In 1908, the Waldo Canning Co. was incorporated, building erected and the pea canning industry begun.
The Waldo State Bank was built in 1903, E. McIntyre was first president, succeeded by W. A. Barber, Henry W. Timmer was cashier.
In 1923 Waldo became an incorporated village and Onion River ceased to exist, as it was taken into the Waldo corporation limits. Wm. Petersen was the first president, E. A. Barber succeeding him.
W. A. Barber was identified with the early history of Waldo. While living at his farm, he took a prominent part and lively interest in all enterprises pertaining to the Waldo community. Mr. Barber became a resident of Waldo in 1907, building a fine residence. He was business manager and vice president of the Waldo Canning Co., and president of the Waldo State Bank until his death in 1930. Few men in the county were more widely popular or more generally prominent in business and social circles. He was endowed with a sterling character and a faithfulness which characterized his business efforts through life. Highly respected and dearly beloved, Mr. Barber's passing was a blow to the community. Mrs. Barber survives him.
In 1926 a stock company was formed and a community hall built. This was dedicated to the soldiers of the World war as Memorial Hall.
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Harling, who have been an integral part of Waldo for more than 54 years, are among those now living a retired life in Waldo.
Others are Mrs. Meliza Shaw Sibley and Miss Josephine Shaw, daughters of the earliest pioneers. Miss Shaw has a knowledge and a remarkable memory of things in the early days, and has supplied many dates and interesting items for this history.
The parents of Mr. and Mrs. Emory Wilcox and Miss Lizzie Wilcox were among the earliest pioneers of Lyndon township. Miss Wilcox has in her possession the U.S. land patent signed by President Polk to the Wilcox farm. Joseph Wilcox came in 1843. Miss Wilcox has also given dates and early day notes.
We also mention Mrs. Clara Tyler Garvin, whose parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Tyler, were the first couple married in the town of Lyndon at Onion River, in 1874, and Mrs. Frances Sibley Oosterhous, a daughter of one of the founders of Waldo, who occupied the original Sibley home, modernized.
This history would not be complete without mentioning those who have been residents of the community for 50 years or more.
It is significant that the Abraham Lawsons came to Waldo about 30 years ago and bought the Slyfield hone that was built on land formerly owned by Mr. Lawson. Mrs. Lawson is still living at the age of 91 near where she came as a bride 66 years ago.
Of those of the earlier years who are still with us are Mr. and Mrs. Henry Atkin, who are living a retired life in their pleasant home. Mr. Atkin, who has been here since 1874, until a few years ago took an active part in the affairs of Waldo, engaging in various lines of business through the years.
Mr. and Mrs. H. O. Ogle, much respected citizens, are numbered among the early day settlers. Mr. Ogle came in 1881.
We must also mention the G. B. Ogles. G. B. May be called a Waldo pioneer as he worked with his father in the blacksmith shop in the 70's before locating in Sheboygan Falls. He returned to Waldo in 1899 to take charge of the general store which he operated until 1929, when he disposed of it to E. B. Donath and retired.
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Peck are the oldest residents in years, Mr. Peck carries his almost 91 years well and is still enjoying life. He was a prominent cheese man from the earliest days of the cheese industry. Mr. Peck is the only surviving Civil war veteran in Waldo.
Mrs. Robert Lawson has been a resident since 1876. Mrs. Alfred Procter came to Waldo nearly 50 years ago. Fred Green and sister, Alice, have been life-long residents of Waldo and vicinity. Their father, James Green, was a Lyndon pioneer.
Waldo has ever been a haven for retired farmers and others who have tarried with us for a time and passed on.
Many new homes have been built and substantial improvements made from year to year, keeping pace with the times.
Taking it all in all, with its many changing vicissitudes, we have found our 54 years' of residence in Waldo full of interest, the people good to live with, and feel that it is a good place to spend our declining years.
There are but few of us left of the old Waldo foundation, and night will soon come for us, so, while history will be of interest to our readers and preserved as a record, I now lay down my pen, and leave the rest to the present and future generations to "carry on."
Copyright 1997 - 2005 by Debie Blindauer
All Rights reserved
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