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Fannie P. Lewis

1825 - 1905

 

Fannie P. Lewis Park Bobby Maas Memorial Fountain

Photo by John Hart, Watertown Daily Times

 

Park had been location of Watertown Grain Company elevator 

 

Watertown Daily Times, 11 28 1987

Fannie P. Lewis died back on Saturday, December 2, 1905

Mrs. Lewis lived and died at her residence which is located at 412 South Washington Street. She was the widow of Robert E. Lewis and was born in Windsor, Vt., on Sept. 3, 1825 and married Lewis in Glens Falls, N.Y. on Jan. 30, 1850. She came to Watertown when it was a pioneer city back in 1861 after first living in Oshkosh and Milwaukee. From 1869 to 1892 they lived in Northwood, Iowa, and then returned to Watertown. Mr. Lewis died in Watertown on Dec. 8, 1904.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Lewis took great pride in Watertown and were among its most public spirited citizens.

In memory of their son, Clifton Lewis, they contributed a memorial fountain which was erected on West Main Street at Washington Street. It was mounted by a huge figure of a Chippewa Indian and offered drinking fountain facilities.

A replica of that original was later made and was placed at Union Park which is located at Monroe and Lafayette streets. It was there for many years before it was moved to the Octagon House grounds where it remains today.

At the base of the original statue was a collection of water troughs - some for horses and others for dogs and other smaller animals. There weren't many cars, during the era that the statue graced the intersection of Main and Washington streets, and there were many a team of horses which stopped there for a drink.

The statue remained there for many years, watching over the many changes of this community's downtown. It even survived the introduction of the street car system to Watertown, and for years a track ran on both sides of it with street cars and interurban cars scooting by every hour.

Then, one night a motorist, driving up the street, happened to pass the statue just as a street car came along. The motorist's car was caught and wedged between the statue and the street car and when they got the whole thing untangled the auto resembled an accordion.

The driver escaped without injury but we can't say the same about the Indian. He was really knocked for a loop. Soon, after that accident, what remained of him was gathered up, put in boxes and carted away. The entire base was removed from the intersection and was never replaced.

It was the Watertown Common Council that some years later decided to replace the statue but in a new location - Union Park.

Mr. and Mrs. Lewis' son died in 1894, and a daughter, Hattie Lewis, died in 1868. They were the only two children of the couple.

Mr. and Mrs. Lewis also donated the huge soldiers' monument in what was known at the time as City Park and is now known as Watertown Veterans Memorial Park. The monument was originally dedicated to the men who fought in the Civil War.

That memorial was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1899 and Governor Edward Scofield was one of the speakers.

In later years Mrs. Lewis set up the Fannie P. Lewis Park Fund, with the provision that the interest from it was to be used to beautify the city's parks and provide certain other facilities for the parks.

Mrs. Lewis left a sizable bequest to Northwestern College in her will. Interest from that fund has allowed the college to provide scholarships for students.

Mr. and Mrs. Lewis also left a handsome bequest to the city of Glens Falls, N.Y., where they had been married, and it was used for endowing a home for the elderly.

Mrs. Lewis, like her husband, is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.

Today the Fannie P. Lewis Fund is governed by a three member board of trustees. Members are Attorney George Niemann, Lorraine Schatz and H. Bruce Kasten.

Attorney Niemann said the interest from fund makes several projects in the city possible, which otherwise might not be funded.

He said each year the fund pays for the, plantings which are placed in the decorative flower, pots on Main Street, the beautiful flower display on the center boulevard on Western Avenue, and participates in payment of replacement trees on the boulevards and city parks.

The issue of funding the tree replacement program came before the council this year and initially the finance committee had recommended removal of the $4,000 annual city share, for that purpose. That was later changed. Under this program, the homeowner, the city and the Fannie Lewis Fund share equally in the cost of the tree replacements.

We think that's an excellent way to insure the future beauty of Watertown. As diseased trees are removed, new ones must be replaced.

Another project undertaken in recent years by the Lewis fund is development of the Fannie P. Lewis Park. For those of you who don't know, that's the park where Klink's old ice house and beer distributorship was located on North Water Street. Today it is a beautiful little park which has sitting areas, a boat launch, parking lot, trees, shrubs and other amenities.

Attorney Niemann said there have been other projects over the years and added the fund is financially sound so that the ongoing beautification efforts will continue. The fund is in good hands.

Over the years there have been a number of Watertown residents who have contributed substantially to the overall well being of the community.

It's that kind of community spirit that makes Watertown the wonderful community that it is. Imagine, the funds this woman put in place nearly a century ago are still doing exactly what she had intended for them to do.

 

Death of Fannie Parker Lewis,

Widow of Robert E. Lewis,

12 02 1905

 

Early Saturday morning, Dec. 2, 1905, Mrs. Fannie Lewis, widow of the late Robert E. Lewis, died at her home, 412 Washington Street. Mrs. Lewis was enjoying her usual good health the day previous to her death, and retired in the evening feeling quite well. On toward morning she called to her attendant to bring her a stimulant, saying she was feeling ill but before the stimulant could be taken to her she died suddenly of paralysis of the heart.

 

Deceased was born at Windsor, Vermont, September 3, 1825, her maiden name being Fannie Parker. She was married to Mr. Lewis at Glen Falls, New York, January 30, 1850, and in 1853 located in Oshkosh; from there they removed to Milwaukee and in 1861 located in this city; in 1869 they removed to Northwood, Iowa, and in 1892 returned to this city.

 

December 8, 1904, Mr. Lewis died. Two children were born to them, Hattie, who died here in 1868 and Clifton who died in 1894.

 

Mrs. Lewis joined with her husband in bestowing charity with a lavish hand, and in a public way they contributed largely of their means, their contributions including the beautiful soldiers' monument in our city park, and the memorial fountain in West Main Street in honor of their son.

 

Funeral services were held at her late home, services being conducted by Rev. Thomas L. Thompson, Rev. M. L. Everez and Rev. Geo. C. Weis. The pallbearers were: George W. Webb, Edward J. Brandt, H. T. Eberle, Fred A. Hoffmann, Fred Schmutzler, and J. C. Harrison. The honorary pallbearers were a detail of O. D. Pease Post, No. 94 G. A. R.

 

Mayor Wertheimer and members of the city council attended in a body.

 

(It will be of interest to the public to know that Mrs. Lewis by her last will has dealt very generously with the people, both in a public and private way, her bequests including many thousands of dollars for public park and educational purposes. Her private bequests are also many and generous. For the present, the executors of her will request that the press refrain from publishing the bequests until the will is read in probate court.)

 

Fannie Lewis' Will

 

Mrs. Fannie Parker Lewis' will was filed on the probate court at Jefferson. The witnesses to the will were Frank E. Woodard, W. H. Woodard and John M. Olin, of Madison. The following were the bequests:

 

First. I will and direct that all my just debts and funeral expenses and expense of my last sickness be promptly paid out of my estate.

 

Second. I give and bequeath to the following named persons the property and articles hereinafter specified, as follows, towit: To Mrs. Henriette Parker, wife of W. H. Parker of Lawler, Iowa, all silverware not otherwise herein disposed of, and also one large hair mattress as good as there is in the house at the time of my death, to be selected by her, and also the lace curtains in the parlor of my homestead, and also the sum of one thousand dollars. To Mrs. Fannie Esther Anderson of West Union, Iowa, all silverware, marked “Fannie." To my sister, Mrs. Angie Wood, of West Randolph, Vermont, all my clothing not herein otherwise disposed of. To my niece, Mrs. Augusta Read of Griswoldville, Massachusetts, my large seal box coat. To Clifton Mason Parker, son of W. H. Parker of Lawler, Iowa, the plain gold watch formerly belonging to Clifton P. Lewis, and which I now carry. To my grandniece, Arabelle Seeley of Glens Falls, New York, my new diamond ring set with two diamonds and my long watch chain which I now wear, and also the sum of one thousand dollars. To Frank E. Woodard and his present wife the picture of my son in pastel and also one of my daughter’s portraits, to be selected by them.

 

Third. I give and devise to my four cousins, Mrs. Mary Bailey of New Hampton, Iowa, Mrs. Henrietta Martin of Lu Verne, Minnesota, Mrs. Fannie Esther Anderson and Miss E. Frankie Parker, living in the state of Iowa, all real estate owned by me in Watertown. I also give and bequeath to my said four cousins above named everything which shall be in the house located on the land above described at the time of my decease, except such as is herein otherwise disposed of, and excepting all securities and evidences of debt.

 

Fourth. I give and bequeath to Mrs. May Bailey of New Hampton, Iowa, the note of one thousand dollars which I now hold against her and signed by Mrs. A. J. Bailey.

 

Fifth. I give and bequeath to Clara Belle Read, Jennie M. Read and Bertha Read, children of my niece, Mrs. Augusta Read of Griswoldville, Massachusetts, to Harry C. Parker, son of my niece, Mrs. Hattie Parker of Winchendon, Massachusetts, and to Clifton Mason Parker, son of W. H. Parker of Lawler, Iowa, to each the sum of three thousand dollars.

 

Sixth. I give and bequesth to Cora A. Martin and Fannie M. Martin, children of Mrs. Henriette Martin, to each the sum of one thousand dollars.

 

Seventh. I give and bequeath the sum of five hundred dollars to each of the following named little friends, who were maids of honor at the unveiling of the monument erected in the city park of Watertown by my husband, towit: To Helen Whiting, Marguerite Whiting, Dorothy Quentmeyer. Ruth Nellins and Isabella Ryder: also the sum of five hundred dollars to my little friend, Phillip Quentmeyer who was color bearer at the unveiling of said monument.

 

Eighth. I give and bequeath to my friend, Mrs. Weslie Woodard, and also to her daughter, Elizabeth C. Woodard, to each the sum of five hundred dollars.

 

Ninth. I give and bequeath to Mrs. Ida Keyes the sum of five hundred dollars.

 

Tenth. I give and bequeath to my brother, Zenus Parker of Stewart, Tennessee, and to Etta Paret, his granddaughter, to each the sum of two thousand dollars.

 

Eleventh. I give and bequeath to my niece, Mrs. Mary Seeley of Brayton, New York, the sum of three thousand dollars.

 

Twelfth. I give and bequeath to Mrs. Augusta Read of Griswoldville, Massachusetts, and to Mrs. Jennie Sheldon of Weathersfield, Vermont, to each the sum of two thousand dollars.

 

Thirteenth. I give and bequeath to my sister, Mrs. Angle Wood of West Randolph, Vermont, the sum of three thousand dollars, and to Leona Kellhoffer, her granddaughter, of the same place, the sum of fifteen hundred dollars.

 

Fourteenth. I give and bequeath to my niece, Mrs. Hattie Parker of Winchendon, Massachusetts, the sum of two thousand dollars.

 

Fifteenth. I give and bequeath to my second cousin, Miss Lucy P. Moore of Ellsworth, Wis, the sum of two thousand dollars.

 

Sixteenth. I give and bequeath to Mrs. Frank Stearns and to her daughter Arline of Winchendon, Massachusetts, the sum of three thousand dollars.

 

Seventeenth.  I give and bequeath to my physician, F. C. Werner of the city of Watertown, the sum of three thousand dollars.

 

Eighteenth. I give and bequeath to my nurse, Miss Emma Kielblock, the sum of fifteen hundred dollars, and to my maid, Miss Anna Boltz, the sum of five hundred dollars.

 

Nineteenth. I give and bequeath to the said F. C. Werner of Watertown, the sum of five hundred dollars in trust, however, for the following uses and purposes: The income from said five hundred dollars, and so much of the principal as shall be necessary, shall be expended by said trustee from time to time, for the support and comfort of my servant, Edward Kunert, it being my intention that said fund shall be so managed and used as to give to said Kunert the greatest benefit therefrom.

 

Twentieth. I give and bequeath to Thomas B. Thompson, congregational minister of the city of Watertown, two thousand dollars; to George Weiss, congregational minister of the city of Waukesha, two thousand dollars; and to Morris Eversz, Methodist minister of the city of Watertown, the sum of one thousand dollars.

 

2002

08 16       The removal of an underground storage tank at Fannie P. Lewis Park will be presented to Watertown’s Common Council when it meets Tuesday night.  Two proposals were received for the work which includes removal, cleaning and disposal of the 1,000-gallon storage tank and disposal of the water/gas mixture in the tank . The Public Works Committee is recommending U.S. Petroleum Equipment and Environmental Services of Kimberly with a bid of $3,505 to complete the work.  An estimated $2,525 will be used for tank work and $980 for product disposal.

 

2003

07 10       A resolution authorizing the removal of an underground storage tank at Fannie P. Lewis Park will be presented to aldermen at Tuesday’s Watertown Common Council meeting.  Cost of the project could range from $6,200 to $21,700 depending on the amount of contamination from the 1,000-gallon fuel tank.  Pete Thompson, assistant city engineer, said the costs will be lower if just the soil has been affected and will increase if the groundwater has been impacted.

 

City staff unearthed the tank while attempting to install a fountain at the North Water Street park.  This is the first of two tanks in the city.  A second was also found on North Second Street near the M&I Bank parking lot and Bender and Levi law offices.

 

 

Lewis Fountain, Memorial Park

 

Twenty-First. I give and bequeath to the city of Watertown, to be used for the purpose of erecting a spray fountain, on the southeast corner of the present city park, the sum of one thousand dollars. In case I should erect and pay for such fountain during my lifetime then this legacy to be considered as canceled.

 

 

Schempf’s Postal Card, Hand Colored

 

Additional Lewis Fountain (Memorial Park) images at end of this file

 

Note:  Lewis Fountain (Main Street) is noted in different chapter

 

Twenty-second. I give and bequeath to the trustees of the Baptist church of Northwood, Iowa, the sum of five thousand dollars, said sum to be held by said trustees in trust, and the net annual income thereof to be used each year for the purpose of keeping in repair the church building belonging to said church or congregation.

 

Twenty-third. I give and bequeath to the Regents of the University of Wisconsin, being a body corporate by the laws of Wisconsin and herein for brevity called the Regents, and to their successors, the sum of ten thousand dollars in trust, however, and for the uses and purposes and upon the conditions as herein stated. Said fund of ten thousand dollars shall be set aside by said regents as a separate and distinct fund and shall constitute and be known as the "Fannie P. Lewis Scholarship Fund," and the net annual income from the same shall be paid each year equally to two women students in attendance upon said University, such students to be selected by the regents upon the recommendation of the faculty of the University. In making such selection there shall be taken into consideration the need of the student of financial aid and her scholarship or standing as a student. Said scholarship fund shall forever remain inviolate and be devoted to the purposes herein indicated; and if at any time by any loss the principal of said fund shall be impaired or diminished the Regents shall first apply the net income from the remaining fund to make good such loss.

 

Twenty-fourth. I give and bequeath to the Glens Falls Home of Glens Falls, New York, the sum of ten thousand dollars.

 

Twenty-fifth. I give and bequeath to the Northwestern University located at Watertown, Wisconsin, being a body corporate by the laws of Wisconsin, the sum of ten thousand dollars, in trust, however, and for the uses and purposes and upon the conditions as herein stated. Said sum shall constitute and be known as the "Fannie P. Lewis Endowment Fund," in memory of the donor, and the net amount income from the same shall be paid by said Northwestern University each year to such students as may be selected for financial aid by the faculty of said Northwestern University. In making such selection said faculty shall take into consideration the need of the person selected of financial aid and also his scholarship. Said sum shall forever remain inviolate and be devoted to the purposes herein indicated; and if at any time by any loss the principal of said fund shall be impaired or diminished, said Northwestern University shall first apply the net income from the remaining fund to make good such loss .

 

Twenty-sixth. I give and bequeath to Frank E. Woodard, James F. Prentiss and Wm. C. Stone, in trust, however, for the said city of Watertown, the sum of ten thousand dollars upon the following conditions. Said fund shall constitute and be known as the "Fannie P. Lewis Park Fund," and the net annual income from said fund shall be used toward keeping in repair, maintaining, improving, beautifying and adorning the public parks, squares, boulevards and drives now or hereafter owned or controlled by said City of Watertown or by any association or corporation acting for and on behalf of said city of Watertown. But if is not my intention that the income from said fund, or any part thereof should ever be used for the purpose of keeping in repair, maintaining or improving for the purpose of travel, the ordinary public streets located within said city of Watertown, but that the same might be used, if deemed wise, for the purpose of ornamenting the public streets within the city by the erection, for example of artistic drinking fountains, statuary or other works of public or civic art. Such fund shall forever remain inviolate and be devoted to the purposes herein indicated, and if at any time by any loss the principal of said fund shall be impaired or diminished, said trustees shall first apply the net income from the remaining fund to make good such loss.

 

Whenever for any cause, a vacancy occurs in said board of trustees, the same shall be filled by remaining trustee or trustees. If at any time there is no trustee, in that event three persons shall be appointed as trustees by the circuit court for Jefferson county, Wisconsin, or by the proper judicial tribunal, and such persons shall thereafter have the same power as to filling any vacancy that may occur as the persons above named. It is my wish that at least one of said trustees shall always be a good business man, with experience in the making of investments and the handling of funds, and that all three of said trustees should be public spirited citizens, and interested in the beauty and welfare of the city of Watertown.

 

Twenty-seventh. In case I should not have at the time of my death, sufficient property to full all the foregoing legacies then it is my will that each legatee should be paid pro rata, according to the actual value of the estate left by me.

 

Twenty-eighth. I hereby devise and bequeath unto the Glens Falls Home, of Glens Falls, New York, the Northwestern University located at Watertown, Wisconsin, and to Frank E. Woodard, James F. Prentiss and Wm. C. Stone, trustees as aforesaid, all the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both real and personal, if any, I leave at the time of my death, to each the one-third part thereof, share and share alike, the amount so coming, if any, to each of said three legatees, to be added to the principal fund hereinbefore bequeathed to said legatees respectively, and to be held by said legatees upon the same terms and conditions and to be devoted to the same uses and purposes as the specific legacies hereinbefore given to said legatees respectively.

 

Twenty-ninth. I hereby nominate and appoint Frank E. Woodard of the city of Watertown the executor of this, my last will and testament, and hereby authorize and empower him to transfer and convey, without any order of the court therefore, all or any property, real or personal not otherwise provided for herein, belonging to my estate, and to execute and deliver all necessary and usual conveyances and assignments therefore, and to collect, compromise, receipt for, pay and discharge all or any claims, for or against my estate, solely in his discretion, and I hereby provide that he shall not be liable for any error or mistake in the carrying out of my said will, provided he shall have acted honestly in the matter and in good faith.

 

I, Fanny P. Lewis, of the city of Watertown, Wisconsin being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do make, publish and declare this my codicil to my last will and testament, dated the first day of February, 1905, and comprising eight sheets, in manner following, that is to 19 say: First. I give and bequeath, in addition in what is given in the third subdivision of said will, to Mrs. Henrietta Martin of Lu Verne, Minnesota, to Mrs. Fannie Esther Anderson, and to Miss E. Frankle Parker, living in the state of Iowa, to each the sum of one thousand dollars. Also I give to Henrietta E. Martin, daughter of said Henrietta Martin, the sum of one thousand dollars.

 

Fannie Parker Lewis:  born September 3, 1825; died December 2, 1905.   Buried in Oak Hill Cemetery

_____________________________________________________________________

 

1906

    04 15 1906

 

Again, the attention of the board of public works is called to the pleasure a few benches or settees would afford in the Lewis park during the approaching warm summer afternoons and evenings. The settees might be of iron, so that they could not be carried away or broken.

 

1907

    08 28 1907

 

The Fannie P. Lewis $1000 fountain given to the city and which was recently placed in the southwest corner of the city park, will be unveiled at 3:30 o'clock next Tuesday with brief but appropriate exercises by the pupils of the public schools.  Mayor Arthur Mulberger will be present and deliver a brief address, followed by responses by the pupils of the schools.

 

1914      City Loses Park Fund Case

    01 08 1914

Judge Grimm in the Circuit Court has decided against the City of Watertown in the Fannie P. Lewis park fund case.  The city began suit against the trustees of this fund to compel them to pay over the interest annually to the city.  Following is the opinion of Judge Grimm:

 

This is an appeal from a judgment of the county court allowing the several accounts of the trustees from January 17, 1907 to December 31, 1912, approving the investment of this trust fund by the trustees, their manner of applying and distributing the annual income, and construing the will of said Fannie P. Lewis, deceased, so far as it relates to said trust.

 

The correctness of the judgment is assailed, first, in so far as it approves the investment of some of the trust funds in bonds of two private corporations, secured by a mortgage on real estate, and second, in the construction it places upon the testamentary provisions relating to the trust.  One of the investments referred to is in bonds of the Connor Land and Lumber Company to the amount of $2,000.00, and the other in bonds of the Hackley-Phelps-Bonnell Company for $5,975.00.

 

The full value of the bonds and the sufficiency of the mortgage security is not questioned; but it is contend that the law does not authorize the investment of trust funds in that class of securities; and that the fact that the county judge, by an order made in April, 1912, inferentially approved the investment in the C. and L. Company’s bonds, after it had been made, and specifically authorized the investment in the H-P-B. Co.'s bonds before it had been made should not stop the court from now disapproving those investments.

 

Whatever the effect of the advice of the county judge might be in case of loss through the securities in question upon the question of personal liability of the trustees is not here involved, for the reason that no loss has occurred but that the county court, upon appeal the circuit court, after further investigation and reaching a different conclusion would have the power to order a change in the investment, there can be no doubt.  The important question therefore, in regard to these investments, is, are they such as are authorized by law.

 

Prior to 1903 trustees were limited to investing trust funds in "real estate or government securities."  To overcome such narrow limitations the legislature began to extend the authority to invest to a large prescribed classes of other evidences of debt, until at present it embraces, under certain conditions, even railway bonds and preferred stock.  The right to invest in government and real estate securities is maintained in each of the several acts; and respondents claim that the bonds in question are properly classed as real estate securities.  In my opinion this contention is correct.  A real estate security is an evidence of debt secured by real estate.  Whether the evidence of debt be in the form of a promissory note or several notes, or in the form of a bond or several bonds, the instrument is a promise to pay . . . . .   WG

 

2001

05 11     A circulating water fountain in Fannie P. Lewis Park will be built in honor of the late Bobby Maas, a woman known for her devotion to art, culture and beautification in Watertown.  A fountain is considered a fitting tribute to Maas, who was regarded as instrumental in the installment of fountains in the Rock River near the lower dam.  The Watertown Arts Council and others in the community are raising funds to install the fountain on the south side of the park.   WDT

 

Image Portfolio

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        1909          

 

 

Cross Reference:

Riverside Park's origins began in 1910.  Charles Kiewert of Milwaukee offered what was known as the Kussel farm to the city as a gift, with the stipulation that the city must spend $300 a year on improvements for a period of 10 years.  There was some early opposition. According to newspaper accounts, the general feeling was: "What do we want that old swamp for — what should the city do with it — and we don't need a park."  But after trustees of the Fannie P. Lewis Park Fund stepped in and agreed to pay half of the cost, public opinion shifted and development came quickly.

 

 

 

 

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