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Historically speaking

Republic launches major initiative

Beulah Pascoe is pictured. Photo courtesy of the Negaunee Historical Society)

NEGAUNEE — This week’s article focuses on the Republic Historical Society’s major initiative and has been provided by Nancy Forsberg,Jim Kippola and Olga Williams.

The Society has operated the Pascoe Museum in South Republic since 2003. In 2014 the historic Beulah Pascoe house located next door to the museum was gifted to the Society by Kara Stahl in memory of her father, Patrick Stahl. Based on a plan at the time of acquisition, it will become a Cultural Learning Center.

The Republic Mine development in the late 1800’s brought an influx of mine workers and businesses from Northern and Western Europe, and the settlement of Republic became home to a mix of nationalities.

Soon, ethnic neighborhoods sprung up like Frenchtown, Swedetown and Finntown (Park City). These places may no longer exist but the Society strives to preserve the history of all cultures that made up the community. The Beulah House is named after Beulah Pascoe, a teacher and principal of the Republic Central School during the first half of the last century. She was the daughter of Peter W. Pascoe, an early captain of the mine in Republic.

So, who were the Pascoes? Peter Pascoe was born in Cornwall, England in 1831. In 1853, he married Jane Terrill in Cornwall.

They emigrated to the United States and found their way to the Upper Peninsula via New Jersey, Pennsylvania, CopperCountry and Humboldt. In 1870, they moved to what would become the settlement of Republic.

Mr. Pascoe set about improving the road from Humboldt and started work on establishing the new mine and building a new community. Peter and jane raised a family of ten children and were the first occupants in what we now refer to as the Beulah House.

In 1882, Peter was widowed when Jane died at the age of 46. Two years later he married Jane Mitchell Phillip. He was active in all areas of local government, serving as Justice of the Peace and Township Supervisor for many years. relinquishing his role as Captain of the Republic Mine, he left to serve two terms in the Michigan Senate from 1893-1896. Captain Pascoe’s son Peter Jr was born in Republic in 1878.

He began working in the mine at an early age and died in a mine fire at age 23. Capt. Pascoe died of natural causes in 1897. His funeral was attended by large crowds of people.

The Methodist Episcopal services were held in St. Peter’s Cathedral in Marquette after which the body and mourners were transported by train to Republic. Stops along the way picked up passengers to attend the burial in the Republic cemetery.Peter W. Pascoe was born in Cornwall, England and is thought to be a nephew of Captain Peter Pascoe. He emigrated to the United States in 1868 and in 1875 moved to Republic.

He was underground captain of the mine until 184 and became Captain after his uncle’s death. Continuing in the family tradition of community involvement, he served as township clerk and township treasurer. in 1897, at the age of 73, he lost his life as a result of a fall from a mine shaft ladder.

His daughter’s, Beulah and Ethel were the last Pascoes to live in the house the Society is now renovating. Peter B. Pascoe Jr. was born in Republic in 1880 and died there in 1950.

He was appointed Captain of the Republic Mine after his father’s death. He and Octavia Brockman raised a family of four girls in the home that is now the Pascoe House Museum. During the 1950s both of the Pascoe houses were moved from Mine Street in North Republic to their current location on Cedar Street in South Republic to accommodate the development of the Open Pit Mine.

It took some time after receiving the second Pascoe home for the Republic Historical Society to clarify its purpose and value. Society President, Olga Williams describes it this way:”The idea of renovating the second Pascoe house in Republic as a learning center seemed like a pipe dream, a project too impossible for a small group of aging active members to take on.

Yet we realized that our focus as a non- profit dedicated to serving the public had to be on the future. At that time, as now that future was being determined by the limited space in the museum.

We decided to take stock of our assets:1) Even though small as a group, we are committed to the work of the society. 2) As currently unstable as it is,we do own this second historic house, we must do something with it or not keep it. 3) We are in a supportive community not devoid of energetic volunteers.

Concentrating on our assets, setting the goal, and keeping our eyes on the vision would surely make it a reality. Progress with permits and approvals followed months of preliminary design prior to the COVID epidemic. Renovation began this past winter and with the Beulah House now safe structurally, the project moves to its final phase. Challenges remain, but so does the focus: a renovated Beulah House. RAHS has a long history of sponsoring events of historic interest to the Republic community. The Learning Center will make such events bigger and better. The food service area will help! There will be comfortable space to pursue our archives not available in any other convenient location.

The plan includes a loom room for teaching rag rug weaving and space for cultural material to be properly displayed. Historically related experiences can be offered to students at all levels.

All of this above and beyond the vital expansion of artifact storage space. if you are interested in learning more or participating in our initiative, the Society can be reached as follows:

Website www.republicarea.com

Facebook page: Republic Mi Area Historical Society

Email: rahsrepublic@gmail.com

Telephone: LaVerne 906-376-2258 Olga 906-376-2130

Meetings: 2 p.m. Town Hall Third Tuesdays (March-November)

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