The Stinking Bay
“Now, more than ever, I am convinced in the power of story as way for people to gain understanding of other that leads to acceptance”-Mary Hogan Bencini
Abelard Louis Donat Duchateau
(My Great-great-great Grandfather)
After its long voyage, an immigrant ship reaches port. The green shimmering water strikes the boat and an odd odor, produced by the distinctive green algae, strikes everyone’s noses. The ship has just reached La Baie des Puants (French for the Stinking Bay).
It is better know as Green Bay. Fresh off the boat the year is 1853, Abelard Duchateau sets foot on American soil, completing his journey from Oud-Heverlee, Belgium. Abelard came to America, like many other Belgians, searching for a better life and a new beginning. At the time, Belgium was facing economic crises, famine, and political upheaval. Abelard and his family traveled on the Great Lakes to reach Green Bay.
Abelard started the American hustle with his wife, Felicite Duchateau, as a tailor in Door County, Wisconsin. Ten years later, Abelard and his brother started Duchateau & Brothers, a liquor producer in Green Bay. The business was located on the corner of Main & Washington Street. Over the years Duchateau & Bro expanded into the largest distributor in Green Bay. Along the way, Abelard and Felicite expanded their family as well — together they had eight children.
Frank Jean Baptiste Duchateau
Frank Jean Baptiste Duchateau was born on September 25th, 1868 in Green Bay, growing up around his father’s prosperous liquor business. He lived on the west side of Green Bay with “The Dirty Irish”. At an early age, Frank would spend his days digging and searching for Native American artifacts. Frank would go on to excavate around 12,000 artifacts.
By the age of 16, Frank left school to learn his father’s business. He started out as a book keeper and was managing the company by the time he was 29. Shortly after his father Abelards’ death, he took control of the company and renamed it A. Duchateau Company.
Frank was married to his first wife for only three short years. She gave birth to a baby girl, named Olive Felicite, but passed away just months later. A tragic love life, Frank was married three times and all three wives died young. He did not marry again after the death of his third wife, and instead focused on Olive and his community. Frank was embedded deeply into Green Bay. He was the head of many social clubs and very involved in local politics. During World War I, Frank was awarded the King Albert Medal for his contribution to Belgian relief efforts. Shortly after World War I, prohibition came into effect. The liquor company was closed down and Frank applied his business knowledge to banking and investment. Later in life, Frank helped found the Neville Public Museum and donated his 12,000 artifacts for it’s first exhibit. In his will, Frank left $2,000 to the museum. Frank passed away in 1954, leaving his wealth to his beloved daughter, Olive, and her sons, James and Richard Hogan.
Richard Duchateau Hogan
The Family Man
On a cold December day in 1923, Olive Duchateau was rushed to the hospital where she gave birth to her son, Richard Duchateau Hogan. When Richard was seven, his little brother James was born. Early in his life, Richard’s dad divorced and left the family.
Richard grew even closer with his little brother, always watching out for him. In his teenage years, Richard studied at a seminary, but an unstoppable force in Europe put his education on hold.
Richard enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1943, serving in the European theater. What he saw and experienced in World War II stayed with him, but he never spoke of it to his family. He was released six months after VE day and headed back to Green Bay. After his release, Richard traveled to Kansas City to visit his father. While in Kansas City, he came across a burning cross; a mark made by the Ku Klux Klan. This was a pivotal moment for Richard in which he became more understanding and open-minded, learning to live without judgement or prejudice.
Months passed and Richard met Joan Calaway, a farmers daughter, who worked as a typist. Richard and Joan married, and the following day they took a train to Kansas City to see his absent father Clarence. Richard was business savvy, just as his Grandpa Frank was. He found work in real estate and banking, owning many businesses such as a paint store, an apartment complex (co-owned with Vince Lombardi), and other properties. Richard and Joan had eight children: Mary, Kathy, Bob, Julie, Mark, Sara, Amy, and Molly.
Family was very important to Richard. Because he experienced life without his father, he vowed to never let his family feel that pain. Another significant aspect of Richard’s life was his devotion to God. Most of the Catholic families lived on the west side of Green Bay. The people of west side were often called “the dirty Irish”. All eight children attended catholic schools, and on Sundays they went to church as a family. He always found time to help any member of the church in need. When school was on break, the nuns of the catholic school would stay at the family cottage on Point Comfort. Unfortunately, Richard inherited poor heart conditions and eventually had his first heart attack on November 4th, 1979 — the same day the Iran hostage crisis began. Richard’s death came at the early of 63, in 1986, caused by another heart attack.
Sara Hogan Meier
Sara Ann Hogan was born on October 15th 1956. She grew up in Green Bay during the golden years of the Packers. Sara was always busy with her school work and the seven other siblings around her. The Hogan house resided at 1043 Reed St and was a beautiful custom built victorian home. The cheers from Lambeau Field could be heard through the back doors on any football Sunday. A fond memory she has of the Packers is her neighbor who would always say how mean her dad’s boss was. Her father was Jack Vanisi, a famous Packer scout who was instrumental in bringing Vince Lombardi to Green Bay. Sara attended an all girls catholic high school with aspirations to be a teacher. After graduating from high school Sara left a familiar city to teach english in an unfamiliar city. Sara moved to Mexico City and lived with high ranking government officials. If she were to leave the house with the family, they’d travel in armor cars. Through out her time in Mexico she immersed herself in their culture. Learning the language fluently and eating the food, she considered the place familiar to her now. As time went on she grew home sick of her real home, Green Bay. Like her ancestor Abelard, she embarked on a journey to that funky smelling bay.
After returning home from Mexico, Sara found work in a bank as a teller. Coincidentally her bank was close to an electronic store where she met her future husband Roger. The two tied the knot and moved started their life together. They have four children: Emily, John, Ellen, and Daniel (HEY! Thats me!). Today Sara works at Sweet Apple Elementary as the book keeper and principals secretary. Her father’s work ethic and compassion can be seen in her everyday.
So whats the point of this?
In this project, I will be exploring my family’s roots and routes. I will be interviewing my mom, Sara Meier. By interviewing her, I hope to find out more information about her childhood and about my grandfather Richard Hogan. I never had the chance to meet him but I feel closer to him as I write and search for more information. I will be dedicating this project to my late Aunt Mary, who passed in 2012, she was the historical keeper of the Hogan family. Her passing was similar to the fire of Library of Alexandria,countless untold stories lost. I’ve learned so much through Ancestry.com about my great-great-great grandfather Abelard Duchateau and hope to learn more about the Duchateau past.
- What was an early memory you have of Green Bay?
- Of the 8 siblings, who were you closets to growing up?
- What was dinner time like with so many people? Did everyone eat together?
- What did you hate about the city?
- Who was the trouble maker of the family
- What is your fondest memory of your dad?
- What was it like knowing your dad was in business with Vince Lombardi?
- Did you notice the difference between cultures in Green Bay?
- Were you afraid of leaving Green Bay for Mexico?
- Tell me about the penny and Grandpa?
- “Those Pre-Pro Whiskey Men!” : The Historic Legacy of Green Bay’s Frank Duchateau. N.p., Aug.-Sept. 2014. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.
2. “History of Green Bay.” History of Green Bay. N.p., 01 Jan. 2008. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.
3. “History: The Ice Bowl.” History: The Ice Bowl. Pro Football HOF, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.
4. “Frank Jean Baptiste Duchateau (1868–1954) — Find A Grave Memorial.”Frank Jean Baptiste Duchateau (1868–1954) — Find A Grave Memorial. Find A Grave, n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2015.