How did the “MooseYard” get it’s name? Yes, that question has been asked several hundred times and there have been as many different answers; But the real story was revealed by a pioneer farmer in the town of Wescott. The name resulted from the uncouth actions of a gentle, but intelligent mule named “Moose”.
The “MooseYard” is known as the area north of the Shawano Lake Creek and South of the Menominee Indian Reservation in the town of Wescott.
The story goes back to the summer of 1886 just north of Shawano to the homestead of an Englishman, Bill Wilkes, the owner of “Moose”. The mule was used as a riding pony for Wilkes’ daughters Lily and Sarah, and was everything but the usual phrase popular to a mule. Moose was more like a pet and followed the children around like a dog. He couldn’t be beat as a riding pony and was quick to respond to commands. It was the only known mule in the area that could single-foot, a rare accomplishment in those days for regular saddle horses.
The Wilkes farmyard was surrounded with a six-foot-high fence and it was his practice to let Moose roam the yard at night. During the vegetable season, Mr. Wilkes started receiving complaints from his neighbors that his mule was eating the vegetables from their gardens and asked him to be fenced up at night. Mr. Wilkes told them time and time again that Moose was not responsible for their losses because he was fenced in at night, but the neighbors still insisted the mule was to blame.
Finally, the neighbors, St. Claire Skirk, Charles, Tom and Henry Ainsworth and Fred Wirth went to the Town Board with the problem. Further investigation of the case revealed that the mule would jump the six-foot farmyard fence at night, fill up on choice vegetables from the neighbors’ gardens and jump back into his own yard as if nothing happened.
Mr. Wilkes was finally convinced that Moose was guilty and agreed with the Town Board’s directive to keep the mule in the farmyard in the daytime and locked in the barn at night to avoid further thefts. He was tracked down by the tell-tale imprint of his hoofs made in the soft ground and, being the only animal of its kind in the area, was found guilty.