Not a lot is known about Aunt Ethel, but the following is what we have been able to piece together…


Aunt Ethel was born July 4, 1843 in New York. She never spoke about her family, but it’s believed she came from affluence. Her speech was said to be perfect “Queen’s English” which was exclusive to the privileged class of the era.


In 1861, the Confederate States of America seceded from the Union resulting in the American Civil War. Aunt Ethel left home and joined the Union Army posing as a man. Under the name Eli Adams, she was wounded and captured by the Rebel Army at the Battle of Buffington Island (Morgan’s Raid, July 19, 1863, Ohio*). When they discovered she was female, Ethel was released by the Rebels.


With her identity exposed, Aunt Ethel moved to Wisconsin and ran a tavern in the Red Banks area (near Modern Green Bay*). Sometime in the 1870’s, she arrived in the Village of West De Pere, once again setting up in the tavern business. In 1889, the cities of De Pere and West De Pere began talks of consolidation. Aunt Ethel was a vocal opponent of the consolidation. Legend has it that while attending a meeting about the proposed merger she pulled a Derringer, shot twice into the ceiling and left town never to be seen again.

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