ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin



Harry J. Boyum

1915 – 2003


Boyum's Grocery



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___ 1909 __________________

The store was purchased in 1909 by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Fischer, who was an uncle and aunt to Harry Boyum.  Owners prior to that time included an Amborn family, a Mrs. Meisner, Frank Wetter and a Druczinsky family.



___ 1942 __________________

-- --           ENTERED U.S. ARMY

Boyum started helping his uncle when he was in the seventh grade.  He helped out after school and during the summer vacation.  His uncle died in 1933 and Harry continued to help at the store, where he remained until entering the Army in 1942.



___ pre 1943 __________________

-- --           JOSEPH L FISCHER, GROCER

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Joseph L Fischer, grocer, and wife, left.  902 North Second.  Became Boyum’s neighborhood grocery



___ 1943 __________________



Hinzmann Barber Shop to close its doors Saturday          .


Edward F. Hinzmann, whose barber shop on North Second Street has been under his management for the past 22 years, will close his place of business Saturday night, bringing to an end his long career as a barber here.  He announced plans to close his shop some time ago and today he stated that Saturday will be his final day at the shop and that it will close that night.


Mr. Hinzmann took occasion to thank his patrons and the public for their generous support throughout the years he has been in business here.


He has taken over the Sixth ward neighborhood grocery store at 902 North Second Street which was operated for many years by Joseph Fischer and later by Mrs. Joseph Fischer and will operate that.     Watertown Daily Times, 02 25 1943



___ 1944 __________________

Watertown Daily Times, 6 June 1944


Pfc. Harry Boyum has been transferred from Fort Benning, Ga.  His new address is: Btry. C., 252 F.A. Bn., Camp Rucker, Ala.


Watertown Daily Times, 22 December 1944


Two brothers, Pfc. Harry Boyum and Pfc. Andrew Boyum, met in Germany.



___ 1946 __________________

In 1946 Boyum purchased the stock from the Hinzmans and has maintained the operation since that time.  In 1949 he married the former Alice Baurichter of Watertown.  It was shortly thereafter Mr. and Mrs. Boyum purchased the store from Mrs. Fischer.



___ 1977 __________________

09 28       CLOSING OCTOBER 1st

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The corner grocery store, once a common business throughout America, is gradually fading from the local scene.


Boyum's Grocery, one of the last of its type of store, is closing on Oct. 1.  Along with the demise of that family business will be the penny candy that has made children in the North Second Street area happy for decades.


"The penny candy was hard to get for a while when sugar prices were so high," said Mrs. Boyum, "but it is available again for the children."


The store, with its original heavy wooden canopy extending over the sidewalk, dates back to the turn of the century. The store was purchased in 1909 by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Fischer, who was an uncle and aunt to Harry Boyum. Owners prior to that time included an Amborn family, a Mrs. Meisner, Frank Wetter and a Druczinsky family.


Boyum started helping his uncle when he was in the seventh grade.  He helped out after school and during the summer vacation.  His uncle died in 1933 and Harry continued to help at the store, where he remained until entering the Army in 1942.


During his absence the stock of the store was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Edw. Hinzman, neighbors of the Fischers.  The store was rented from Mrs. Fischer until her nephew returned from Germany in 1946.


In 1946 Boyum purchased the stock from the Hinzmans and has maintained the operation since that time.  In 1949 he married the former Alice Baurichter of Watertown.  It was shortly thereafter Mr. and Mrs. Boyum purchased the store from Mrs. Fischer.


During the years in the grocery business the Boyums reflected on a number of changes which included switching from bulk to packaged goods.


Boyum said, "One of the reasons for the demise of the small store is that the acquisition of merchandise is limited to large amounts, the supermarkets all have their own warehouses.  They buy in truck or carload shipments.  The small wholesaler went down too, with the trend in retailing.  Some have changed to institutional suppliers.  The young people today are all geared to the supermarket method of shopping.  Business has changed and ways of shopping have changed.  People use more of the ready to eat, fast food type of merchandise."


The Boyums had purchased their food from Burlington Wholesalers until Burlington discontinued its retail division.  Now Boyum drives into Milwaukee to get the merchandise from a cash and carry department store of Associated Grocers.


Everything imaginable was sold at Boyum's including canned goods, beer, soda, bread, fresh pastries, sausages and cold cuts, jellies, jams, cereals, baking supplies, school supplies, soaps, toiletries and produce.


Mr. and Mrs. Boyum do not work the typical 40 hours a week.  The store opens at 7 a.m. and remains open until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sundays from 8 a.m. until noon.  The Boyums remained open on the holidays during the morning, with the exception of one holiday a year, Christmas Day.


Boyum said "our people" (his customers) find it easy to send the children to run a shopping errand or just to treat themselves to candy.  A number of "our people" still come in from the country to get their supplies.  On occasion someone would call to phone in their order and ask for delivery, which was promptly made.


"We have always treated 'our people' right, they were good neighbors and friends as well as customers and they have stayed with us.  We can figure out just what these people want and if we don't have it we'll get it for them as long as we can supply it."  Boyum went on to say, "These are nice people and they are wonderful to us.  We have a loyal following which is something we will never forget.  I don't know how we will ever be able to express our appreciation to these people and let them know how grateful we are to them."


The Boyums plan to do some fishing, traveling and visiting, and things they didn't seem to have enough time for before.  They plan to remain living in the apartment located behind and above the store, while the store will be rented by Mrs. Tom Maas.  Mrs. Maas plans to use the facilities at 902 North Second Street for a picture framing business.


The services the Boyums provided over the past years will be greatly missed in the neighborhood, especially by the children.  During this interview with the Boyums, the writer was invaded by numerous children whose purchases ranged from donuts and milk to candy and soda.  The glass window framing the candy display was as clean as crystal at the beginning of the interview, soon to be filled with fingerprints of small children anxiously awaiting to make their selections.


The various customers stopping in during the interview were recognized on a first name basis, something that is not often found in today's fast-moving business life.     Watertown Daily Times, 09 28 1977



___ 2003 __________________

09 24       HARRY J. BOYUM  1914-2003

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Description automatically generated  Harry J. Boyum, 87, formerly of 902 N. Second St., died Sept. 24, 2003


Funeral services were held at St. Henry Catholic Church with the Rev. Bernard Rott officiating. 


Burial, with military graveside rites by American Legion Post 189, was in the parish cemetery for this WW II veteran.


Harry was born Nov. 3, 1915, in Stoughton, the son of Andrew and Josephine Boyum.  He served during World War II in the 252 Air Artillery Unit in the European Theater. 


On July 2, 1949, he married the former Alice Baurichter at St. Henry Catholic Church.  She preceded him in death on March 15, 2001.


Harry and his wife Alice ran the former Boyum Grocery on North Second Street for many years.


I have the fondest memories of stopping there, I swear after school every night walking home, and yes for ten cents or so it seemed like I got a bag of candy!!  The Indian-whatever salted pumpkin seeds in the red and white bag, the twister hard sour candies, the sweet tarts, those dot candies on the paper strips, yes . . . that stuff !!  I can picture yet being in that store, at the counter, looking around at the candy counter to the left, the ice cream freezer to the right, all about the size of a small walk in closet [contributed memories].


He was a member of St. Henry’s Catholic Church, American Legion Post 189 and the Knights of Columbus where he served as treasurer for many years.


Survivors include two sisters-in-law, Rosemarie Boyum of Lake Mills and Lucille Boyum of Beaver Dam; nieces; nephews; great nieces and nephews; other relatives and friends.


He was further preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Andrew and Edward Boyum; and one sister, Katherine Wolff.




Sister-in-law     Rosemarie Boyum of Lake Mills

Sister-in-law     Lucille Boyum of Beaver Dam

Nieces; nephews; great nieces and nephews; other relatives and friends




Parents           Andrew and Josephine

Wife              Alice

Brother           Andrew

Brother           Edward

Sister            Katherine Wolff



___ Tributes __________________

Fond memories of going there as a kid!😊


The patience Harry had with us kids!!


Always a stop for us walking the back way home from Douglas school. Penny candy❣️


Boyum's was about two blocks from our house. Made many trips there picking up necessities for mom. Of course, the candy counter was a favorite part of the store. Harry and Alice were such nice people.


We stopped in here all the time, too. The candy, popsicles, etc. They had a lot of merchandise packed into that little space!!


They were always so kind. When my mom needed a few groceries I would ride my bike there.


Mom would give me a Dollar and send me to get 10 candy bars!


Weren’t there loaves of bread below the candy case? And there was a really narrow aisle with shelves behind the cooler case on the left of the. picture. I think there may have been school supplies on that aisle.


Great memories of walking to Harry's with my neighborhood friends.


Loved going there & they were the nicest people!


I miss them!!


Would stop there on the way home from St. Mark's School.


Every time I had two nickels to rub together, we went to Boyums!! What awesome memories!!


Went there all the time!


Harry and Alice were the best. The penny candy was great!


It was the best!! Couldn’t wait to go there!


When we were kids this was one of our ultimate favorite places to go to get all kinds of good candy


They lived behind the store. A lot of times, their kitchen smells would come in to the store. Sauerkraut, among other smells. I think Harry used to deliver groceries to my grandmother down the street at 1130 N. 2nd, unless I'm mistaken, and some other store did that.


I remember those days! Went there alot, after going to the Pool!! The good old days.


Harry & Alice knew all the kids by their first & last names. They always had a smile & a kind word. We walked or rode bikes with neighborhood kids several times a week to Boyum's. How patient Harry was as we slowly made our choices from the large selection of penny candy. I felt like the luckiest kid in WTTN to leave the store with a little paper bag with 10 pieces of candy I picked out myself.



Watertown Daily Times, 09 29 2003


Editor, Daily Times:


The death of longtime Watertown resident, Harry Boyum, marks the latest example of someone passing away from what author Tom Brokaw called "The Greatest Generation."  These individuals grew up during the Great Depression and World War II.  At a time when they should have been enjoying life, these men and women were risking their lives for the cause of freedom. Brokaw states, "They answered the call to save the world from the two most powerful and ruthless military machines ever assembled, instruments of conquest in hands of fascist maniacs."  Harry Boyum was many things to many people but he unmistakably was a veteran of WWII, with extensive first-hand exposure to the brutality of war and dictatorships in Germany and Europe.


Brokaw also states "this generation was united not only by a common purpose, but also by common values - duty, honor, economy, courage, service, love of family and country and above all responsibility for oneself."  So true for those of Harry's generation, yet much less so for those who have come after this special group of Americans.


Harry and his wife, Alice, operated a small neighborhood store on North Second Street, called Boyum's Grocery for over 30 years.  This grocery store was first opened and operated by his uncle, Joseph Fischer, in 1909.  I remember as a youngster attending St. Henry's, the thrill of racing down to Boyum's Grocery prior to school, to buy a bag of penny candy.  He loved seeing kids come into his store and had no problem with giving them more treats than what they had paid for, sometimes to the displeasure of his wife.


This neighborhood store also had their house within the same building, so they were never far away, in terms of providing a level of service that businesses today could not match.  It was not unusual either for customers to buy items at Boyum's Grocery "on a tab," with the terms of payment to be worked out later.  The remarkable thing about stores like Harry's is that they made a living doing it, and they took pride in what they were doing for a living.  Sadly, this same opportunity is not realistically available today.


Like so many others of his generation, Harry was actively involved in his community.  He served in the Knights of Columbus for 25 years, was a lifetime member of the American Legion and was an active member of St. Henry's Parish.  Until a few years ago, while Harry's wife was still living, the two of them would regularly attend Mass, at times on a daily basis, if the weather permitted.  Seeing the two of them crossing the street, at the corner of Cady and Fourth Street, was inspiring, and a bit entertaining for other members and anyone else going by.  They stopped traffic, but it did not stop them from attending church.


These virtues mentioned earlier, of community service, practicing your faith, love of country, hard work ethic and personal responsibility, are ones reflective of Harry Boyum and many of his generation, yet the same cannot be said of the Baby Boomer Generation, Generation X and those growing up in today's world.  The consequences for our nation and all local communities will be obvious and negative, unless something happens culturally to turn things around.


Ken Berg





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History of Watertown, Wisconsin