Anybody seen my cows?

Story by Larry Chabot

Somebody’s cows were missing. A Negaunee-area farmer scanning his fields no longer saw the animals, which had been mooing and munching on pasture goodies. Almost everybody in town knew where the cows were and what they were doing: ambling through neighborhoods, scarfing up shrubbery, flower beds, gardens, even the high school lawn.

Driven off their pasture by millions of grasshoppers, they had headed for the city where the chow was plentiful and grasshopper-free. On Lincoln Street, a resident grieved the loss of dozens of cabbage and cauliflower heads, of corn and beets trampled into mush by hooves. Reports poured in daily to new police chief Thomas Moffat, who successfully warned the owners to fetch their animals and see that they were “properly pastured.” The crime wave was over.

So it went in the summer of 1920, a time of unusually goofy goings-on, combined with flagrant law-breaking and unspeakable tragedies.

Another scenario, known as the Cookie Crate War, unfolded in downtown Marquette. W. S. Parker, an agent for the Sanitary Food Company of St. Paul, Minnesota, squared off against the Home Cafe. Parker demanded the return of a food crate which had arrived full of Sanitary Food Company cookies but was trashed by neighborhood kids. He wanted it back. The cafe manager was sorry, it had been wrecked, whereupon Parker cursed and punched the manager, which led to a warrant for his arrest. Parker told the cops he wanted his crate back, or $10. All he got was jail time…

To read the full story, please pick up a copy of this months Marquette Monthly at one of our distribution outlets.

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