History of Badger - History

History of Badger - History


(ScStr: dp. 4784, 1. 329'7", b. 4S'3"; dr. 18'6"; s. 16 k.;
cpl. 235; a. ~ 5")

The first Badger, an auxiliary cruiser, was built in 1889 by John Roach and Sons, Chester, Pa,, as Yumuri; purchased 19 April 1898, converted to an auxiliary cruiser at New York Navy Yard, commissioned 25 April 1898, Commander A. S. Snow in command; and joined the North Patrol Squadron.

From 1 July to 18 August 1898 Badger served on the blockade of Cuba. On 26 July 1898, off the Dry Tortugas, she Seized a Spanish tug with two vessels in tow, each with a quarantine Hag hoisted. They were given medical assistance, provisioned, and kept in port until 3 August when a prize crew was put.aboard the tug to sail her to New York. The other two vessels with 399 prisoners of war were sent to Havana.

Badger left Guantanamo Bay 18 August 1898 with a contingent of Army troops, landing them at Montauk Point, N. Y., 24 August. Badger remained on the east coast until 26 December 1898 when she sailed to the Pacific, arriving at San Francisco 15 April 1899. From there she carried the Joint High Commission to Sumoa (26 April-13 May 1899) and then cruised in Samoan waters. Following her return to Mare Island Navy Yard 14 August 1899, she cruised along the Pacific coast until 6 October 1899 with the Oregon and California Naval Militia. Decommissioned 31 October 1899, Badger was transferred to the War Department 7 April 1900.


In 1969, pictures of protests covered the front pages of almost every newspaper in the nation. In Madison, four students sat at the Brathaus on State Street arguing over how to better record and combat the protests run-amok on campus.

The idea was to create an alternative voice on a campus, a voice that would cast the protests in another light and challenge common ideology.

Gathered in the back of the Brathaus, the Herald’s founders, Patrick S. Korten, Nick Loniello, Mike Kelly and Wade Smith, debated late into the night about how to establish such a voice.

“How about revitalizing Insight and Outlook [a student magazine that had died in the early ’60s]?”

No, they decided, that would be too boring. After the sixth beer, their vision became surprisingly clear:

“How about starting a weekly newspaper? A newspaper that would focus on Madison and issues facing UW students?”

After several months of fundraising, scrounging for desks and typewriters, and renting offices where the Sunroom Café now stands (above Steve and Barry’s on State Street), the first issue of The Badger Herald was published Sept. 10, 1969. In the mid-1970s, the Herald moved to 550 State St. (above the current Qdoba). When the Herald moved to its present-day offices at 326 W. Gorham St. in 1998, the editors kept much of the furniture, including the original desks and homemade light board.

“This newspaper is an experiment. We are attempting to do what has never been done before,” Korten, the paper’s first editor in chief, wrote. (Korten went on to work as a congressional journalist and staffer and is now a public relations consultant at Rowan & Blewitt in Washington, D.C.)

In the early years, keeping a conservative newspaper afloat in liberal Madison was a moment-by-moment ordeal. Reporters sent out to cover the riots would sometimes come back bloodied. With tear gas shrouding the streets, editors were occasionally forced to wear gas masks while laying out the week’s paper. Staff members even put chicken wire on the Herald’s windows to discourage Molotov cocktails and other missiles.

“It was fully expected to go out of business in a year, ” Loniello, a Herald contributor for 10 years and current attorney at Loneillo, Johnson and Simonini in Madison, said.

Against odds, the Herald did survive. It picked up State Street merchants, regional businesses and eventually even national corporations as advertisers. The Herald attracted writers and readers from a variety of backgrounds and philosophies.

In 1971, the Herald was on the brink of bankruptcy. Needing cash badly, the Herald hosted a fundraising dinner and managed to lure conservative author William F. Buckley to speak on the paper’s behalf. The fundraiser was a success and the Herald survived, eventually becoming a daily newspaper in the 1980s.

Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, the Herald flourished, at one point reaching a circulation of 20,000, a circulation that proved bigger than the audience. Today, the Herald boasts a daily circulation of 16,000.

As the Herald grew in size and importance, its content became more closely watched and criticized. The Herald was no longer a fledgling conservative rag free to consistently offend whomever it pleased without community reaction.

In 1993, the Herald was criticized for printing a cartoon in which the Cleveland Indians mascot, Chief Wahoo, was equated with Sambo. While some found the satire racist, the Herald argued that the cartoon was an attempt to attack racism rather than promote it.

In 1999, the Herald was attacked after printing another controversial cartoon, this one involving a student of color being shocked that Ward Connerly, an anti-affirmative action activist, was African-American. This time, the Herald’s editor in chief capitulated, offering an apology and a retraction on the front page. The Opinion editor quit the Herald, convinced the leadership had forgotten the paper’s ideological roots.

In 2001, the Herald published a national advertisement by conservative author David Horowitz that argued against giving African-Americans reparations for slavery. In the weeks that followed, the Herald weathered threats and protests. Its distribution was disrupted. While many newspapers capitulated, the Herald stood firm. The editors refused to concede that the Herald was a “racist propaganda machine ” and did not apologize for publishing the advertisement.

The Herald’s position was lauded in Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the Wisconsin State Journal. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorialized that the Herald is “living proof that the Constitution is a living document.”

In the three decades since its birth, the Herald has grown from a weekly conservative rag to the nation’s largest fully independent student daily and the most award-winning student newspaper in Wisconsin.

Today, the Herald’s founders look with pride and astonishment at the paper’s continued editorial and financial success. At the Herald’s 30th anniversary bash, the founders and hundreds of former editors and contributors reunited to celebrate the UW’s independent student newspaper. One of the founders said the Herald’s ongoing success was one of his proudest achievements.

“The satisfaction now is in knowing that students come after you and give their time as well,” Loniello said. “I’m really glad that it’s still around.”


200 West Front Street
P.O. Box 149
Peshtigo, Wisconsin 54157

Telephone: (715) 582-4551
Fax: (715) 582-4853


Public Company
Incorporated: 1929
Employees: 435
Sales: $73.6 million (1994)
Stock Exchanges: NASDAQ
SICs: 2621 Paper Mills

Badger Paper Mills, Inc. is a leading producer of plain, printed, and waxed papers for the flexible packaging industry. Badger makes about two-thirds of the government butter wrap used in the United States and makes the specialty wrapping paper for many well-known products, including Tootsie Rolls, Dentyne gum, Nestle's candies, and Bit-O-Honey candy bars. Badger also produces soap wrappers, other candy wrappers, gum wrap, meat packaging, and fast food sandwich packaging. The company has been manufacturing bread wrapping since the 1930s. Badger also produces computer paper, copier paper and other writing and printing papers, marketed under the brand names Ta-Non-Ka, Copyrite, BPM, Envirographic, and Northern Brights. Badger Paper Mills additionally specializes in custom papers developed to suit such unique customer needs as odd sizes and colors, specially perforated or punched paper, or other custom designs. The company sells its writing papers through wholesale paper merchants and operates a direct sales force to market its packaging and specialty papers. The company manages about 17,000 acres of forest land and produces about 60 percent of its own pulp. Badger also operates a subsidiary, Plas-Techs, Inc. in Oconto Falls, Wisconsin, to print and process plastic and paper substrates.

Badger Paper Mills, Inc. was founded in 1929 by a group of investors who had taken over a failing mill called the Peshtigo Paper Company. The town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin, was the site of one of the nation's most horrific forest fires in 1871. Gale-force winds whipped flames through woods covering six counties of northeastern Wisconsin, and more than 800 people were killed in the fire. Overshadowed by the Great Chicago Fire, which occurred at the same time, the considerably more lethal Peshtigo fire left the town completely ruined. It was subsequently rebuilt, and because of its proximity to timberland and its ample waterway, the Peshtigo river, the area served as home to several paper mills. The Peshtigo Fibre Company was built in 1917, and the Peshtigo Pulp and Paper Company was built in 1918. These two were combined into the Peshtigo Paper Company in 1922, but Peshtigo Paper never did well. It was operating at only half capacity most of the time, and in November 1928, the company went bankrupt and shut down. The town of Peshtigo too was languishing. Unemployment was high, and homes were being sold for only a fraction of their value.

The failing mill was taken over in January 1929, by a group of seven entrepreneurs from Menasha, Wisconsin, led by Edwin A. Meyer. They purchased Peshtigo Paper for $250,000 and renamed the company Badger Paper Mills. Meyer and his group had expertise in the paper industry, and they believed they could revive the old plant. Meyer himself had been in the paper business for twenty years when he bought Peshtigo, and he brought with him investors experienced in every aspect of running a paper mill. When they arrived in Peshtigo, they found their newly acquired property in less than prime condition. Several carloads of obsolete equipment had to be thrown out. The tunnel crossing the river between the sulphite mill on the east side of the river and the paper mill on the west side needed to be reinforced, and up-to-date equipment had to be installed. However, the group from Menasha pooled their skills and came up with a viable plan to return the company to profitability.

Several members of the group had backgrounds in paper manufacturing equipment, and they oversaw the installation of new machinery. Badger decided to make waxed paper, and a wax machine and rewinder were installed immediately. In 1930, what had been the old boiler house was remade into the wax department, and the first wax paper printing press was installed. The company's Fourdrinier paper machine was redesigned and rebuilt in 1931, and a second printing press was purchased in 1935. Badger improved its facilities year by year throughout the 1930s. Despite the nationwide depression that had begun in the year Badger was founded, the company prospered. Badger was able to turn a profit in its very first year.

Badger's success was due in part to the quality products its new equipment put out, but the company was able to find buyers for its products largely because its new owners had considerable marketing skill. From the beginning, the company set up a Sales and Advertising department, which was headed by Clarence Hoeper. In addition, company president Edwin Meyer had a wide acquaintance with the heads of paper distributing companies in Wisconsin and across the country. Meyer, Hoeper, and their associates traveled tirelessly to attract buyers for Badger paper products. Commercial bread baking had become big business beginning in the 1920s, when the development of bread wrapping and slicing machines made large-scale distribution possible. Badger Paper Mills marketed its waxed paper bread wrapper to this growing industry. Because Badger's work force was unionized, the company was allowed to print the "union label" on its wrapping. This apparently gave Badger's product a marketing edge. Bread wrap remained one of the company's leading products for over fifty years.

Badger's new owners also installed a cost accounting control system for the new corporation. Sales grew as new orders came in. The company was able to continue to make improvements to its facilities, constructing a new warehouse in 1938 and digging new wells in 1941 and 1948. Badger introduced a waxed paper called FRESHrap and installed special automatic equipment for this product in 1949 and 1950.

Over the ensuing years, Badger packaging papers were used for such nationally distributed brand foods as Red Star yeast, Pepperidge Farm bread, Pillsbury Space Food Sticks, Dream Whip, Pop Tarts, Hamburger Helper, Hall's cough drops, Sugar Daddy candy, Tootsie Pops, and myriad others. Fast food restaurants also used Badger papers to wrap and package their foods. Burger King used Badger paper to wrap its burgers, and Arby's purchased Badger pouch containers for its french fries. The company also sold many brands of imprinted butter wrap. In its fine paper division, Badger made several grades of copier paper, printing and writing paper, and mimeo paper.

Badger's customers were unusually loyal, and the company made a profit every year for its first fifty years. Labor relations were stable, and the company also had a good relationship with the town of Peshtigo, supplying the town's water until the 1960s. Badger completely rebuilt its Fourdrinier machine, which produced its fine grade papers, in 1964, then again in 1985. Major equipment improvements kept Badger's products competitive, and efficient marketing too paid off. Badger cultivated niche markets, offering special size and color paper, for example. Because Badger procured most of its pulp from its own trees, the company exercised a high degree of control over its product through each step of the manufacturing process. Badger was able to adapt quickly to customer needs, and could add or drop products with more flexibility than some of its larger competitors.

Badger decided to enter the fanfold computer paper market in 1983. Within a few years, its SHARPrint brand computer paper comprised 20 percent of its production. Badger's sales rose sharply in the 1980s, from $48 million in 1984 to over $72 million in 1988. The company also made a significant overhaul of its plant in the 1980s, prompted in part by air pollution problems identified by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Inspectors from the DNR discovered emergency levels of sulphur dioxide downwind from Badger's wood pulp digesters in August 1983. The emissions were the highest ever recorded in Wisconsin at the time, and eventually the DNR filed suit against the company. Through a loan from the city of Peshtigo and an industrial development bond issue, Badger raised $14.5 million for new construction. Twelve million dollars went to rebuild its Fourdrinier machine. The company also installed a new wet scrubber system and a continuous computer monitor to take care of the sulphur dioxide emission problem, at a cost of close to $1 million.

Sales in 1990 hit a record high of over $76 million. Badger expanded by acquiring a subsidiary, Plas-Techs, Inc., in 1991. Plas-Techs, located in Oconto Falls, Wisconsin, provided additional printing capabilities for Badger's flexible packaging papers. This market continued to improve for Badger. Badger had long made specialty papers for the fast food industry. Environmental concerns turned more and more of these companies away from polystyrene containers, to paper or paper laminate packaging, and Badger benefitted from this trend. Environmental concerns also made recycled papers increasingly popular, and Badger introduced a new line of recycled printing and writing papers under the Envirographic brand label.

The company made another acquisition in 1992, buying the Howard Paper Mill in Dayton, Ohio. The Howard Mill was able to produce higher grade printing and writing papers than Badger's Peshtigo plant. Badger intended to develop niche markets for high-grade papers, and the company designed more than 70 new products at the Dayton plant in the year following the acquisition. None of this paid off, however. Poor market conditions and high costs kept the Howard Mill from profitability, and Badger sold it off again in 1993. Badger continued to look for niche markets. It began operating a computerized color control system that allowed Badger to produce as many as 90 different colors, according to customer specifications. With this new technology in place, Badger was able to attract new customers and increase its share of the custom color paper market. Nevertheless, a depressed market in 1993 held down the company's profits and led to a loss at year-end of over $4 million.

The paper industry experienced erratic changes in 1994. The cost of paper fiber increased 90 percent over the year, though the price of standard uncoated free-sheet paper remained extremely depressed. Badger's packaging paper division had strong sales, but the company ended 1994 with another loss of net earnings, this time of just over $2.5 million. In August 1994, Badger sold its SHARPrint computer papers product line to an Illinois company, CST Office Products. Though computer papers had made up a large proportion of the company's sales in the 1980s, by 1994 Badger was refocused on its principal products, packaging and printing grade papers. By the end of 1994, the industry depression seemed to be ending, and demand for paper was on the rise again. Badger expected improved business conditions to help return the company to profitability. The company instituted an early retirement program to try to curb overstaffing and made improvements to various manufacturing processes to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Badger also made changes and improvements to some of its waste processing facilities. It redirected the waste water effluents from its mills from a settling lagoon into the city of Peshtigo waste water treatment facility. The company jointly operated this treatment facility with the city. The redirection actually resulted in less release of waste water, and Badger made plans to close its lagoon, as well as a landfill, in compliance with Department of Natural Resources regulations.

Principal Subsidiaries: Plas-Techs, Inc.

Principal Divisions: Fine Paper Division MG Flexible Packaging Division.

"DNR Says Paper Mill Violated Pollution Laws," Capital Times, April 9, 1984.
Fifty Years of Progress, 1929-1979, Peshtigo, Wisc.: Badger Paper Mills, Inc., 1979.
"Management Shuffled by Paper Firm," Milwaukee Journal, April 22, 1976.
"Net Down, Sales Up at Paper Firm," Milwaukee Journal, February 16, 1976.
"Paper Mill Faces Pollution Suit," Wall Street Journal, June 30, 1984.
"Peshtigo Firm Starts Expansion Project," Capital Times, April 17, 1985.
Rooks, Alan, "Badger Paper: Small Town Story with a Happy Ending," PIMA Magazine, August 1989.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories , Vol. 15. St. James Press, 1996.


The S.S. Badger is the last coal-fired passenger steamship in operation in the United States. She has provided a fun, reliable and affordable shortcut across beautiful Lake Michigan for more than 60 years and has transported millions of passengers since her re-birth in 1992. In 2016 she received the nation&rsquos highest historic honor when the Department of Interior officially designated the Badger as a National Historic Landmark.

Additionally, the Badger is extremely unique in that she is an NHL that moves. The 410ft. S.S. BADGER can accommodate 600 passengers and 180 vehicles, including RVs, motorcycles, motor coaches, and commercial trucks during her sailing season. Originally designed primarily to transport railroad cars, this grand ship and the people who serve her have successfully adapted to the changing world since she first entered service in 1953.

Her unique and bold character takes you back to a period of time when things were simpler &ndash offering valuable time to slow down, relax&hellipand reconnect with those you love. She is the continuation of a unique and vital maritime tradition, and we celebrate that heritage on board in fun ways that educate, and entertain. Her mission has changed from the days of carrying railroad cars 365 days a year, and the Badger&rsquos role in the hearts of the areas she serves has not.

The Badger&rsquos commitment to a fun experience offers traditional favorites including free Badger Bingo, free movies and satellite television, lounge areas, a toddler play area free limited Wi-Fi, onboard gift shop, an arcade, private staterooms, two separate food service areas, two bars, and sprawling outside decks for lounging or walking. Perhaps a romantic night crossing is more fitting for your style with spectacular sunsets and sparkling constellations for stargazers - making the Badger experience extra special.

A trip aboard the S.S. Badger offers passengers fun & treasured memories. Professional travelers have shared their experiences aboard the Badger with the world and this grand ship has received great praise. The Badger was awarded in 2015 & 2016 a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor and has a five star rating with Travelocity!

The Badger experience allows a rare opportunity to explore a little history - and a lot of fun by taking a step back into the past on a journey that&rsquos as important as the destination!

From mid-May to mid-October the Badger sails daily between Manitowoc, WI and Ludington, MI Located about an hour from Milwaukee, WI and Muskegon, MI.

On the Supreme Court

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She served there until she was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, selected to fill the seat vacated by Justice Byron White. 

President Clinton wanted a replacement with the intellect and political skills to deal with the more conservative members of the Court. The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings were unusually friendly, despite frustration expressed by some senators over Ginsburg’s evasive answers to hypothetical situations.

Several expressed concern over how she could transition from social advocate to Supreme Court Justice. In the end, she was easily confirmed by the Senate, 96-3. Ginsburg became the court&aposs second female justice as well as the first Jewish female justice. 

As a judge, Ginsburg was considered part of the Supreme Court’s moderate-liberal bloc, presenting a strong voice in favor of gender equality, the rights of workers and the separation of church and state.

In 1996, Ginsburg wrote the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in United States v. Virginia, which held that the state-supported Virginia Military Institute could not refuse to admit women. In 1999, she won the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award for her contributions to gender equality and civil rights.

What did your Badger ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Laborer and Housekeeper were the top reported jobs for men and women in the US named Badger. 19% of Badger men worked as a Laborer and 10% of Badger women worked as a Housekeeper. Some less common occupations for Americans named Badger were Truck Driver and Maid .

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations in 1940

Top Female Occupations in 1940

Our History

Badger Globe Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial cooperative that was formed in Kimberly-Clark’s first paper manufacturing facility, Badger-Globe Mill, in Neenah, WI. In 1947, employees of the Badger-Globe Mill were receiving financial services at a local credit union that was off-site. Since this location was somewhat inconvenient, three employees decided to form the “Badger-Globe Credit Union Committee” to see if Badger-Globe employees were interested in having a credit union of their own. In July of 1947, the committee passed out ballots to the mill employees and an overwhelming 96% of employees who voted supported the idea of starting their own credit union.

The committee called an organizational meeting on August 12, 1947. On this evening, nine employees of various departments of the Badger-Globe Mill contributed $1.00 each and became the charter members of our credit union. The credit union was officially incorporated on August 25, 1947 when the Articles of Incorporation were approved by the state banking department. The first directors meeting was called the next month, where a code of regulations was adopted, and credit committee were elected.

Operations began on November 1, 1947, with office hours of 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Fridays only. During the first month, ten loans totaling over $850.00 were disbursed. Interest in the new credit union grew quickly and by year-end, deposits totaled over $6,000.00, outstanding loans totaled nearly $5000.00, and the membership had grown to 193.

Deposits and personal loans continued to grow over the years, as did our services. By 1954, the credit union began providing real estate loans. In 1957, a remodeling project was completed which allowed more room and gave members more privacy while conducting their business.

After many years of continued steady growth in membership and financial strength, security measures at the Badger-Globe Mill made remaining at the mill impossible. Due to this, in March of 1979, the credit union office was moved to the lower level of the Briggs Building at 151 E. Forest Avenue Neenah, WI. We began to offer share draft accounts, credit cards, and other products to meet our members’ growing needs. In 1983 we were able to secure office space on the ground level of the Briggs Building, so we moved upstairs to have more room and offer our members more convenient access.

In the summer of 1988, we joined forces with another financially strong credit union in Neenah. Earlier that year, Neenah Paper Credit Union held a special membership meeting and voted to merge with Badger Globe Credit Union. After we combined credit unions, we passed the $10 million asset threshold and grew to the size of 2400 members. Merging with Neenah Paper enabled us to continue offering superior service, excellent savings rates, and low loan rates to our members.

By 1990, we were ready for a larger facility. We purchased land in Neenah (within close proximity to several Kimberly-Clark plants) and started construction on our new 4,000 square foot building. The location of our new office would not only be more convenient for members to transact their business, but it also gave us the opportunity to offer new services like drive-up lanes and safe deposit boxes. On August 21, 1990, we officially opened our doors and welcomed members to our new home at 260 N. Green Bay Road Neenah, WI.

Badger Globe Credit Union experienced record growth during the mid-90’s. Our membership increased by 25% and our assets nearly doubled since moving to the new location. We expanded our line of services and products even more, built an addition to our office to provide more room for staff, and installed an ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) to accommodate our growing membership.

During this time, we also experienced a change in leadership. Robert Linskens, our second President/Manager, retired after nearly 40 years of service to Badger Globe. Robert started working at the credit union in 1954 when the office was located behind the guardhouse at the Badger-Globe Mill. His dedication to running the credit union for the good of all members and his commitment to providing members the very best set the standards for Badger Globe’s future operations.

In 1994, Carla Watson was given the opportunity to become Badger Globe’s third President. When Carla took office, she turned a new focus on meeting members’ needs. She not only ensured that members received the standard benefits of credit union membership, like offering low loan rates and low-cost financial services, and paying competitive dividends on savings accounts, but she went above and beyond by giving our members the most personalized service, the latest products, technologies and services. Her vision, to help members reach their financial dreams, is what still inspires us to give every member our very best, every day.

2019 saw our second merger. The Labor Credit Union, serving union members in the Fox Valley since 1984, voted to merge with Badger Globe. Taking effect December 1, 2019, this combination provided us an opportunity to offer our services to The Labor’s members, as well as open our membership up to a new demographic.

Our mission is to exceed our members’ expectations through exceptional service. We take pride in being owned by our members and make it our top priority to fully invest in them. Badger Globe Credit Union is the only financial institution in Wisconsin exclusively serving Kimberly-Clark employees, retirees, and their families so we feel honored to serve them, as it is their loyalty and confidence in us that has allowed us to stand strong for over 70 years.

What began with just $9.00 and a desire to provide Kimberly-Clark employees financial services while pursuing common financial interests in 1947 grew into an extraordinary credit union. Today, we have over $40 million in assets, serve more than 2,700 members, and employ 10 full time employees. We’d like to say “Thanks” to our members, who we sincerely attribute our success to. It’s been a privilege to serve you all these years and we look forward to serving you for many more!

History of Badger - History

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Badger has its origin in the Old English language of the Anglo-Saxons. It has no connection with the mammal, spelled similarly: as late as the 1870s, the alternative spelling Bagsore was current. [2] The late Margaret Gelling, a specialist in Midland toponyms, formerly based at the University of Birmingham separates it into two separate elements:

  • The first element in the name, Bæcg, is an Anglo-Saxon personal name – perhaps one of the Angles who came to settle in the evolving kingdom of Mercia, and shared with Beckbury.
  • The second element, ofer signifies a hill spur. [3] In a detailed discussion of this latter term, [4] Gelling admits that it is a conjectural reconstruction of a word that never occurs separately, but is a common part of place-names, with the main concentration being in Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire and Herefordshire. It has often been construed simply as a hill or ridge, but Gelling's detailed examination of sites suggests a more precise significance: that the place is on or close to a long, narrow ridge, perhaps jutting from a larger ridge. At Badger, "the settlement lies to the E. of an appropriate hill-spur.". [5] There is indeed a spur, rising up behind Badger Farm, with a slope to the south-east enfolding the village and running down to the Dingle, while the western slope descends to the River Worfe.

Location and boundaries Edit

The village of Badger is located in the angle created by the confluence of the River Worfe, also known as the Cosford Brook, and one of its tributaries, known as the Batch, the Heath or the Snowdon Brook. The Snowdon Brook approximately defines the eastern and southern borders of the parish, and the western boundary runs close to the River Worfe: presumably the streams were the exact boundaries before deliberate diversion, as well as natural shift, moved their courses slightly. The Worfe and the Snowdon drain part of the much larger River Severn catchment: the Worfe flows south and then west to join the Severn from its left, just above Bridgnorth.

The village is at about 65m above sea level, but the spur to the west, which probably gives the village its name, rises to about 95m. It is about halfway along the southern edge of the parish, which is about 2.5 km east to west, and 2 km north to south, an area of 374 hectares or 924 acres.

Geology Edit

The village and the area to its north stand on Upper Mottled Sandstone, a Triassic deposit found in many parts of the West Midlands. This has been used extensively for building in the village, including St. Giles church. It is very evident in the Dingle, along the Snowdon Brook, where there are outcrops, cliffs and caves, artfully exposed and enhanced in the 18th century landscaping of the valley. The eastern side of the parish lies on boulder clay, sand and gravel, or till, glacial deposits from the ice ages. [6]

Communications Edit

The village has always relied on road communications. Historically, the most important road ran south from Beckbury and turned sharply at Badger to run east to Pattingham. This has now been reshaped so that the priority lies with traffic turning south to Stableford, where the minor road joins a B-road connecting Telford with the Black Country. The First Series of the Ordnance Survey [7] shows that until Victorian times a road also used to run across the Dingle directly to Ackleton, but this has dwindled into a footpath.

The parish of Badger is part of the unitary authority of Shropshire Council. This was formed by the merger of several existing district councils with Shropshire County Council.

Before the merger, Badger was part of Bridgnorth District from 1974 to 2009, in a two-tier system with the County Council as the top tier. Previously it had been part of Shifnal Rural District since 1894.

There is also a parish council. This has a long history and originated in the old parish vestry, although civil and ecclesiastical functions were separated in the Victorian period. Today it has five elected members.

Medieval origins Edit

As its name suggests, the origins of the village of Badger seem to lie in the Anglo-Saxon period. The first real evidence comes from the Domesday survey of 1086, which compared the situation at that point with that before the Norman Conquest. The entry translates:

"Osbern, son of Richard, holds BADGER from Earl Roger, and Robert from him. Bruning held it he was a free man. 1/2 hide which pays tax. Land for 2 ploughs. In lordship 1 plough 4 smallholders with 1 plough. Woodland for fattening 30 pigs. The value was 7s now 10s."

So the pre-Conquest Anglo-Saxon owner was Bruning, who got 10s. a year from it. It had since fallen in value, like most northern and Midland villages, and belonged to Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury. Osbern fitz Richard, baron of Richard's Castle, was one of Roger's vassals and held it as a fief. However, he let it to someone called Robert.

To the four smallholders or bordars, their families must be added, but the population was obviously very small. A hide had been a unit of area, but by this stage it was simply a way of expressing liability to tax. Half a hide is a very small assessment. Badger was a long way down the territorial scale, its manor run by a man two levels below the regional magnate, Earl Roger.

A little later, in the early 12th century, under Henry I, we find that Earl Roger's son, Robert, has lost his earldom and the barons of Richard's castle are at the top of the pyramid (beneath the king, of course). The history of the lordship is rather convoluted, but by the end of the 12th century, the immediate overlord was the Prior of Wenlock.

The history of the actual occupiers or "terre tenants" of the manor is a little less complicated. William de Badger was the tenant in the mid-12th century, and he sold up to one Philip, who is soon also known as de Badger. After that it passed from father to son for nearly two centuries, until 1349, and stayed within the same family until 1402, when Alice, widow of John de Badger, died without issue. Thereafter there was a complex situation of shares in the manor held by members of the Elmbridge family, until Dorothy Kynnersley née Elmbridge conveyed it to her son, Thomas Kynnersley, in 1560. [8]

The medieval village was probably surrounded by open fields, although there is no direct evidence of them until the 17th century, on the eve of their enclosure. At that point the fields were called Batch and Middle fields and Uppsfield. [9] It was surrounded by woods to the west and north and heathland to the east. The layout was probably very similar to the modern pattern. The church, rectory and hall form a group, and the rest of the village is strung along the road to the south of them. [10]

The village probably acquired a church and a priest in the mid-12th century. By 1246, the living was known as a rectory. The lord of the manor, that is the terre tenant, had the right to nominate his choice of priest to the Prior of Wenlock, although he had to pay the prior 3s. 4d. a year for the right. However, Wenlock was a Cluniac house and so classed as an alien priory, the daughter house of an abbey in France. Hence it was constantly seized by the Crown during the Hundred Years War, so nominations were actually sent to the Crown for most of the 14th century. Because of the Wenlock connection, Badger and the neighbouring parish of Beckbury formed an exclave of the Diocese of Hereford – an anomaly that persisted until 1905, when it was transferred to the Diocese of Lichfield. Several of the early incumbents seem to have been sons of the lord of the manor or of the lords of Beckbury. The rector lived on tithes and Easter offerings, and also had an area of glebe land and, for some centuries, the rent of a house inhabited by the Blakemans. [11]

Early modern Badger Edit

Under the Kynnersleys, the manor again stayed in the same family for more than two centuries. An early challenge to their control came in the form of a royal appointment to the rectory. Since the Dissolution of the Monasteries, advowson or the right to present an incumbent had technically belonged to the Crown, but the old arrangement, by which the lord of the manor made the initial nomination, still held. Indeed, the Elmbridges and the Kynnersleys alike had continued to pay their annual dues to preserve it. In 1614, James I presented Richard Froysall to the rectory, without consulting the lord of the manor, Francis Kynnersley. Francis fought back. First he tried to stop Froysall entering the church and ordered the parishioners not to attend. Then he cut off economic support, seizing Froysall's tithes and planting trees on the glebe. He swore he would cut off the Froysall's head and throw it in Badger pool. He managed to get the rector imprisoned at Shrewsbury. However, Froysall apparently had some supporters, and they made off with some of Francis's oxen. [12]

Francis seems to have done enough to vindicate his claims. The Kynnersley lords slowly crept up the social scale, serving their locality in various capacities. Thomas Kynnersley was High Sheriff of Staffordshire and later High Sheriff of Shropshire under the Commonwealth, and his grandson John was High Sheriff of Shropshire under George I. Around 1719, John Kynnersley demolished the old timber-framed manor house and built a new hall, a substantial but unpretentious building with six ground floor rooms, just to the north of the old site.

Starting in 1662, the whole agricultural organisation of Badger was transformed. Firstly a large part of the east of the parish was hived off as a separate estate: Badger Heath. [13] and for more than a century was farmed by the Taylor family, before being sold to the Greens in 1796. Then a large area of common land was divided up among the cultivators. Some time after this the open field system was abandoned and the land enclosed. Heathland was cleared and ploughed up: by 1748, even the Heath estate was half arable and had only 3% heathland. [14] This set the pattern which has persisted to this day. Despite concentration of holdings, Badger's landscape remains mainly one of farms, predominantly arable but with considerable pasturage.

The population of Badger evidently remained small. In the mid-17th century the adult population seems to have been less than 50. [15] With such a small population, most of the rectors decided they need devote only a small part of their time to the parish. In most cases, they chose to live elsewhere and combined Badger with other posts of greater profit. Thomas Hartshorn was rector from 1759 to 1780. For most of that time he also held two prebends under the peculiar jurisdiction of St. Peter's Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton: Hatherton, near Cannock and Monmore, near Wolverhampton. [16]

John Kynnersley died without issue and passed the manor to his unmarried brother, Clement, who died in 1758. It then passed to his nephew, also called Clement, of Loxley. Both Clements had their own property near Uttoxeter and neither lived in Badger. They rented the manor house to an ironmaster, William Ferriday. So, for many years, both the lords of the manor and the rectors were absentees, rarely seen in the village. The second Clement decided to sell Badger in 1774. [17]

Making of the modern village Edit

The buyer was Isaac Hawkins Browne, a Derbyshire industrialist and a Tory politician. Returning from the Grand Tour, Browne set about living the life of a country gentleman on his Shropshire estates at Badger and at Malinslee, near Dawley. He worked on his father's writings, helping to get his poetry recognised.

Browne spent heavily on the Hall. Between 1779 and 1783, he had it greatly extended, to a design by James Wyatt, with a museum, library, and conservatory, elaborate plasterwork by Joseph Rose, and paintings by Robert Smirke. Browne then turned his attention to the landscape. However, it was in his work on the landscape that Browne made his biggest and most permanent mark on the appearance of the village and its surroundings. He had the dell along the Batch Brook, on the south edge of the village, improved to a plan by William Emes and probably his pupil, John Webb. This reshaped Badger Dingle was a notable example of the picturesque style in landscaping. It had two miles of walks, with a walk linking it to Badger Hall from its east end, cascades created by damming the brook, a "temple" and other architectural features. [18] It seems that the pools in the village itself, which drain into the Dingle, were enlarged and reshaped at this time. [19]

Browne ingratiated himself with the local gentry, serving as High Sheriff from 1783 and as Member of Parliament for pocket borough of Bridgnorth, a fiefdom of the Whitmore family of Dudmaston Hall from 1784 until 1812. He spoke rarely and briefly in the House of Commons, with only 11 recorded interventions in debates. [20] He was a great admirer of William Pitt the Younger and rose to pay a handsome tribute to him when the House was debating funeral honours for the recently deceased Prime Minister. This was his longest recorded speech and it was interrupted by loud coughing. [21]

In general, Browne was either opposed to reform or, at best, equivocal. In 1807 he tried to delay the passing of the Slave Trade Act 1807, although he professed himself opposed to the trade. [22] A few weeks later, he observed, in a debate on a bill to allow Roman Catholics to serve in the armed forces, that "it had been the wisdom of our ancestors to restrain the executive power from conferring the highest offices upon Roman Catholics,and we ought to revere their memories, and also to do justice to posterity, by maintaining the fences which our ancestors had erected." [23] In 1809 he denounced John Curwen's Reform Bill, which would prohibit the selling of seats in the House of Commons, "because it would have the effect of excluding a great portion of the wisdom and talents it possessed from that house." [24]

However, Browne was a generous landlord and employer, instituting coal allowances for the villagers and help for the poor. It was probably he who initiated and financed the main village school: this was paid for by the lords of the manor and provided primary education for the village children and others, until 1933. [25]

Browne was also keen to ensure that the parish was better served spiritually. None of the rectors had actually lived in the parish for at least a century and communion was celebrated only four or five times a year. This was an issue that clearly troubled Browne for many years: one of his rare parliamentary speeches was in favour of compelling absent clergy to pay for replacement curates. [26] Dr. James Chelsum, a minor scholar, was the rector from 1780. He contrived to combine his benefice at Badger with the rectory of Droxford in Hampshire from 1782, and a chaplaincy at Lathbury in Buckinghamshire. Although Browne must initially have trusted Chelsum, he clearly became disenchanted and arranged for his departure in 1795. Chelsum retained his other benefices until he died insane in 1801. [27] In Chelsum's place Browne nominated William Smith, who proved a conscientious minister for 42 years. Smith was never absent from the parish for more than two weeks in the whole of his incumbency. Browne must have valued Smith greatly, as he bequeathed him the right to nominate his own successor. In the event, Smith sold the right back to Browne's widow in 1820 for £1200. [28]

Brown's first wife was Henrietta Hay, daughter of Edward Hay, a career diplomat, and granddaughter of George Hay, 8th Earl of Kinnoull. In 1802 she died and, the following year, he married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Boddington, a notorious apologist for the slave trade. When he died in 1818, he left a lifetime's interest in the hall to his wife, who lived for another 21 years. [29] She continued Brown's benefactions, making sure the school continued. She also contributed the greater part of the cost of rebuilding the parish church, dedicated to St. Giles. In 1833, work began on the rebuilding, to a design by Francis Halley of Shifnal. The chancel and nave were reconstructed without division, under a single pitched roof, while a tower stood at the western end, above the entrance. The old materials were used where possible, although more sandstone was quarried on the estate to complete the work. [30] Five years later, a new rectory completed the rebuilding. However, when William Smith died in 1837, Elizabeth nominated a relative, Thomas F. Boddington, as his successor. He lived for at least part of his incumbency at Shifnal.

General view of the church from the south east, showing the single pitched roof construction of chancel and nave.

OBJECT HISTORY: Badger Wheelmen Pin

During the 1880s bicycling became very popular, and many cycling clubs opened across America. The Badger Wheelmen was a cycling club based in Milwaukee. In clubs, cycling fans could meet and share their love for bicycles. In that era, many people joined social clubs to improve themselves or the world around them. Members wore pins like this one to show they belonged to a club. Badger Wheelmen wanted more people in Wisconsin to like cycling. One way they shared their love for cycling was by holding bicycle races.

A men’s cycling club riding through the streets of Minneapolis in the 1890s. Image courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society, image ID 107667.

Kids could also join the Badger Wheelmen club. Often, their fathers were in the club too. The kid’s cycling club had two earlier names: Little Push and the Junior Cycling Club. Their clubhouse was in Milwaukee at the corner of Wells and 22 nd Street.

To join the Badger Wheelmen’s club, a man needed two active members to vote “yes.” It cost 50 cents to become a member of the club, and after that members had to pay $6.00 each year to stay a member. The Badger Wheelmen did not let women or African Americans become members of their club, even though many women and African Americans also loved to cycle.

A group of women from Tomahawk, WI posing with their bicycles in 1900. Image courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society, image ID 98616.

Members of the Badger Wheelmen wore a special logo pin. The logo has a bike wheel with a red five-pointed star. A badger sits on top of the wheel. The badger is the Wisconsin state animal. Attached to the red star is a set of wings. The wings in the logo were common in other Milwaukee cycling social clubs like the Milwaukee Wheelmen. Owning and wearing the Badger Wheelmen Pin was an honor. People today wear pins to honor groups they support. What pins do you have?

Terry Andrea poses with his bike racing medals in 1892. Image courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society, image ID 100846.

In 1895, the Badger Wheelmen held a cycling race. The first prize for was a bike from Julius Andrea and Sons Bicycle Shop. The best racers of the Badger Wheelmen rode bikes made by Julius Andrea and his sons. Julius made the best bicycles in part because he was also a cyclist. He competed in cycling races across the Midwest. Peopled called Julius the “Flying Badger.”

Thanks to cycling clubs, bicycle races, and a special bike called the Sterling Safety bike, people across Wisconsin caught wheel fever! Some people even built their own bikes from wood and farm tools. These clubs helped make Wisconsin a leader for cycling in the United States.

Listen to Wisconsin Life’s short story about the bike that everyone wanted: the Sterling Safety Bike. (transcripts available on Wisconsin Life page)