On December 1, 1915 a group of rural women from Fitchburg and Dunn townships met at the home of Amanda Culp with the idea of organizing a social club to break the monotony of everyday farm life. The theme of their club would be “neighborliness.” Farm women were busy, and saw little of their neighbors back then. A club would give them the opportunity to chat, share stories, help one another with their mending, make quilts for warmth, and assist the hostess in anyway they could. Fifteen women were present at that first meeting in December, and by February there were thirty!
Since the club started in the Swan Creek school district, it seemed appropriate to call it “Swan Creek Sewing Circle.” The ladies would meet the first Wednesday of each month, and that tradition has continued for 100 years. The club has done a fine job in keeping the history of the club recorded in its minutes, scrapbooks, and well written narratives by club members, from the very first meeting in 1915 to the present day – which must be a record for any organization 100 years old!
As time went on, their “neighborliness” would extend out to knitting mittens, socks, and scarves for men in the service in World War I, afghans for ill soldiers in World War II, scrapbooks to send news and photos from home to the USO, and many other charitable works. Fun, of course, was also on their agenda, and there were picnics, Maypole dances, guessing contests, making hats, and a host of other creative activities. In 1942, they joined Dane County Homemakers to keep up on the latest in good homemaking skills such as cooking and canning and even pressing suits!
The activities of Swan Creek Sewing Circle have changed over the years, but its main goal of “neighborliness” that includes socialization, reaching out to those in need and having fun is still at the heart of the club. The members gathered for dinner at Quivey’s Grove Restaurant on October 7, 2015 to celebrate the club’s 100th Anniversary. At the dinner they recognized the women with 50 years or more membership.
The City of Fitchburg mayor, Steve Arnold, presented a Proclamation on September 22, 2015 to the Swan Creek Sewing Circle in recognition of their 100 years of enduring friendship and generosity of service to their community and country. Governor Scott Walker presented a Certificate of Commendation to the Swan Creek Sewing Circle on September 30, 2015 honoring its 100-year anniversary.
Charter members of Swan Creek Sewing Circle
Mrs Percy Schou
Frances Schou (Thrun)
Mrs Ben Haight
Mrs William Blaney
Mrs J. H. Lalor