Every month, the free regional newsletter, Voice of the River Valley, publishes my column, “Tracking Your Past.” The current column discusses what author Joan Bennett learned about her own family history while researching her book, The Mills of Iowa County. The February column begins:
Side road distractions can sometimes lead to unexpected gems. When author Joan Bennett began her research for The Mills of Iowa County, she set aside work on her own family history—as she had done for her previous book, Where Have All the Cheese Factories Gone?, published in 2009 by the Iowa County Historical Society. Yet research on nineteenth-century flour, grist, feed and other mills didn’t take her completely away from her own family history; unexpectedly, Bennett’s research led to vignettes about her ancestors she might have otherwise missed.
From court records she found in the Southwest Room at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Bennett learned her great-grandfather Henry Cassidy was involved in a murder case and that her great-great-grandfather Peter Reckenthaler once sued an Iowa County mill following a horse-drawn wagon accident on its tailrace bridge.
Read more on page 11 in the current issue at http://voiceoftherivervalley.com.