INTERVIEW WITH DORIS DEAN BOYDEN
Seymour Community Historical Society member Gail Dean has visited Doris Dean Boyden at the King Veteran’s Home on several occasions. Most likely, the oldest surviving native of Seymour, Doris shared a number of her recollections with Gail.
Doris Dean Boyden was born in Seymour Wis. on August 14, 1909. The house she was born in is still standing at 219 Mill Street. Doris turned 101 on August 14, 2010, and other than poor sight, she is in good health. She married Elbridge Boyden in 1955.
Father City Clerk
Her grandfather owned Dean Hardware located on Main Street. Her father owned a grocery store, which he later sold to Ed Pasch. Eventually it was demolished to make room for what is now Chase Bank. Bert Dean (Doris’s father) was the city clerk for 30 years. He worked primarily with Mayor James Veitch, (1926-1934) and Mayor Chris Groendahl, (1934-1950).
Doris has many fond memories of living in Seymour including getting a home cooked meal at Mrs. Armstrong’s boarding house for 25 cents. She remembers going to the high school prom with Fenton Muehl when she was a freshmen. Mr. Muehl came over to her house and asked her mother if Doris would go to the prom with him. Her mother told him he would have to ask Doris. Her mother made her dress. It was satin. The next year her mother died.
High School Years
She remembers attending the three-story K-12 school located on Robbins Street. The all brick building was the pride of the community when it opened in 1903 with a construction
cost of $25,000.00. Most students either walked or rode their
bikes to school. There was no bus transportation. Even though a small gym existed in the building, Doris remembers basketball games being played in the theater on the corner. The team would remove the seats and reinstall them after the game. One traumatic recollection involved fooling around with other girls in the stairwell and breaking a window. George Droeger, from the hardware store, was on the school board. He repaired the window and made sure the girls paid the $5.00 cost.
After graduating from high school in 1927, Doris attended Actual Business College in Appleton, and graduated May 27th, 1928. When asked about the Great Depression of the 1930s, she didn’t recall much since her father sent her to California to live with relatives.
Life in Seymour
Doris didn’t get married until later in life. Her husband Eldridge, along with John Bunkelman, owned and operated the hardware store in Seymour for 30 years, retiring in 1958. They lived in the Hittner Apartments on South Main Street. Art and Flora Boyden operated a general merchandise store across from city hall. At times she helped there and recalled how people would gather around the wood stove, tell stories and catch up on the latest community news. She was president of the American Legion Auxiliary from 1964-1966 and worked at the food stand at the fair every year. She had a vague recollection of Hamburger Charlie selling hamburgers. She belonged to the Eastern Star and her husband was a Mason. It was a popular organization that met in the Odd Fellows Hall located on the corner of South Main and West Wisconsin Street. Since many roads were not paved, people often took the train when traveling to Green Bay or Appleton.
Now at King
Doris worked for GTE for 13 years, then at Don’s for a couple of years. After that she moved to Green Bay where she lived with her husband from 1973 until his death in 1983. From there she moved to the veteran’s home in King where she still resides. Her husband, Elbridge, was a WWI veteran and a Commander of the American Legion Post in Seymour.