Stories from the Grave

Anna Borremans:1877-1947

Posted June 9, 2020

Saturday, June 6, the 103rd season of the Farmers’ Market began on South Washington St. in downtown Green Bay. Oh My, how it has changed from the many years I was a market gardener!

Why, the gardeners now must be 10 feet apart, with the shoppers counted and controlled for numbers! Shoppers and gardeners are asked to wear face covering and to leave their children at home. It seems there is some kind of a pandemic, similar to the flu that raged through the country in 1918.

My name is Anna Borremans and I was a market gardener, as were my parents, my husband’s parents and many who immigrated to America from Belgium in the 1870s. Many of us settled in Fort Howard in our own little Belgian community bordered by Broadway on the east, Platten on the west, Dousman on the south and Mather on the west.

I married at 17 to Alphonse Borremans and we continued the market gardening tradition that our parents had enjoyed. We were successful for the time, accumulating 40 acres of land, six head of cattle and three horses.

Unfortunately Alphonse died of Typhoid Fever when he was only 42. He may have contracted the disease from tainted ground water from emptying the chamber pot out the window or he could have eaten food that was contaminated according to Dr. Minahan, his attending physician.

I was left with 7 very young children, 40 acres, cows and a gardening business. Through hard work, a helpful family and good fortune, I was able to make a comfortable living for myself and children selling produce and butter.

I suffered a stoke and passed away at age 70 feeling very fortunate. All seven of my children were alive and living near me and I had 16 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.

While visiting Fort Howard cemetery, please stop at my family plot and view our family monument.