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Margaret Meriweather Towles Blesch: 1861-1949

Posted December 1, 2020

My name is Margaret Meriweather Towles Blesch. My husband is Francis, or Frank, Blesch. Frank and I were 41 years old when we were wed. We both had satisfying careers. Frank as a retailer with his brother-in-law John Jorgensen and I as a faculty member and head of the Home Economics department at Lewis Institute in Chicago.

Because of our age when we wed, we both decided, rather than have children of our own, Green Bay would be our “child.” We were passionate about civic responsibility and giving back to the community. I was very involved in the private organization Associated Charities. As one of the first case-workers for the organization, I attempted to restore as much self sufficiency and responsibility as an individual could manage. I believed that giving out charity without investigating the problems behind the charity created
a class of citizens that would always depend on alms giving. The association became public and was renamed the Public Welfare Association in 1946.

I was also active in the Green Bay Women’s Club and as a member of the building committee, helped in the execution of the plans for both remodeling and furnishing of the old Morrow home on South Adams Street for our organization. While a member of the organization, on the State level, I chaired the Indian Welfare unit and Thrift organization during the 1st World War.

I was a lifelong member of the Brown County Historical Society, a member of the Antiquarian Society and a member of the Brown County library board. I was also involved in the Daughters of the American Revolution. Acting as Regent, I was one of the women instrumental with the restoration of some of the old Green Bay buildings, such as the Otto Tank cottage, Fort Howard hospital and the Cotton home. Largely through my efforts, Jesse Buchanan and Ella Neville, these three “shrines” of the city were renovated and became seasonal museums for the public.

Frank passed away in 1938 and I was a widow for 11 more years. I remained active in my many organizations up until a few weeks before my passing. I was 88 when I left this world to join Frank.