A visiting couple traveled from Missouri to Manitowoc to attend a family reunion with some of the woman’s cousins. One of the cousins had died in a car crash in 1975. The crash occurred near Kiel in Calumet County. Two drunken teenagers failed to stop at a stop sign at Irish and Kiel Roads. They hit the cousin’s car, crumpling the front and driving it into a corn field. The cousin, age 26, her two sons, ages 2 and 7, and a 17-year-old passenger from the other vehicle died. The cousin’s husband, her 6-year-old son, and the 16-year-old driver of the other car survived their injuries. It was Calumet County’s worst accident up to that point in time.
Our visitor wanted newspaper articles related to the accident. The last time she was at Manitowoc Public Library was in the early 2000’s. On that visit, she spent hours absorbed in microfilm research. She looked at microfilm for so long she got seasick. On this visit, we used both microfilm of the Herald Times Reporter newspaper for local articles and the online database Newspaper Archive for articles published in Stevens Point and Sheboygan papers. Even though the accident did not occur in those cities, newspapers there covered the story. Back then, newspapers offered more comprehensive coverage of local and regional events. We located and printed out the materials she needed.
Some of the cousins hadn’t seen each other since the 70’s. The reunion was scheduled to take place later in the evening on the day of her visit. After stopping at the Library the couple planned to visit the cousin’s grave. Our visitor was clearly interested in family origins and local history. She added the printouts to her large, neatly organized binder full of family history documents. She said the newspaper articles would bring extra meaning to the reunion. Story Submitted by Nissa Enos.