Throwback Thursday: Susie the Deer

Willennar Genealogy Center’s collection is full of Throwback Thursday potential, so let’s get our #TBT on!

Forget Bambi—in the 1970s, the city of Butler had its own special deer: a doe named Susie.

Throwback ThursdayIn 1971, a mother deer was injured by construction machinery at the Butler Sewage Plant and died, leaving behind two little fawns. Hungry and not knowing where else to go, the fawns begged food from the construction crew, who fed them out of their lunch boxes.

When the construction was complete, the fawns wandered around town, looking for other sources of food. One fawn appeared in Charles and Wilma Capps’ backyard, where she was befriended by some neighborhood children—and given her first bowl of Frosted Flakes.

Soon, the two were showing up in the local schoolyard. The children shared their lunches with the deer and dubbed them “Susie” and “Becky.”

Susie 2Becky disappeared after a while, but Susie quickly became the “town pet.” She loved to play with the children and could be fed and petted as well. She was so well-loved that signs were posted on the edge of town that read:

“Butler City Limits. Susie our pet deer lives here. Please drive carefully.”

Even so, she ran into trouble.

When Susie was about two years old, she was found with an arrow in her jaw. Although no one was able to remove the arrow, it eventually fell out on its own, leaving behind a scar that Susie had for the rest of her life.

When Susie started having fawns, she would bring them along on her walks into town. Though the fawns never became quite as friendly as their mother, they shared her love of snacks: if you threw a cookie their way, they would stop to eat it.Susie 3

In 1976, Susie suddenly disappeared. No one knew where she’d gone until the Butler police got a call from Paulding, Ohio, saying someone had found a friendly deer with a scar on her jaw. Sure enough, it was Susie. An attempt was made to bring her home to Butler, but she got spooked by curious onlookers and ran off.

Everyone was sure that was the last of Susie, but she surprised everyone by showing up in Butler one week later. She’d found her way back home.

Susie was last seen on December 26, 1981, in the Capps’ backyard.

Want to see more local history? Click here to search our online photo database, or head on over to the Genealogy Center’s official Facebook page.


About Chelsea

I've been working at Willennar Genealogy Center for over two years now, and I've loved every minute of getting to learn more about the stories of DeKalb County and the surrounding area. I'm interested in all kinds of history, but I'm especially fond of the early film industry, old letters and journals, the DeKalb County Fair, and the Interurban line.
This entry was posted in Throwback Thursday, What's Up At Willennar and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Throwback Thursday: Susie the Deer

  1. Jane henry says:

    We have pictures from 1976 and 1977 with susie.

    • Chelsea says:

      That’s really great! If you’re ever interested in bringing them by the Willennar Genealogy Center, we would love to see them.

  2. Pingback: Throwback Thursday: Happy New Year! | Charlie Chat

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