School: Town of Fremont, Cozy Corner School
Contact: Michelle Harder
----Source: Granton Community Memories (1856 - 1976)
SCHMIDTKE, ESTHER (BILL)
William was born in the town of Fremont, Clark County in 1894, one of 12 children of Herman and Augusta Schmidtke. He lived at home until entering the US army in 1917, serving in France in WWI and returning home in 1918. In 1922 he married Esther Welch the daughter of Anson Welch and Mabel (Stevens) Welch of Spencer, Wis. She was a former teacher in Clark County schools.
They made their home in Granton where he operated a bulk oil station for 17 years. William served on the Village board for several years after which he was treasurer for 15 years. Bill was Insurance agent for Northwestern (Nat.) Casualty Co. for many years. This Co. was started in 1941 by George Wilson, who continued in Insurance, real estate and auctions until his death in 1950. Bill and Esther were both active int he Granton Untied Methodist Church. Esther served on the Granton School Board for 25 years and is a charter member of the Granton Women's Civic club and Royal Neighbors of America. William died in 1973 and Esther is still a resident of Granton.
Her property was owned by the US Government until 1856, released to early settlers taking up war claims. Some of the early owners were Chas Renne, John Wright, Fred Davis and Tom Wage. In 1890 the land was sold by Tom Wage to the Minneapolis and St. Paul Railroad. After that the Village of Granton came into existence. At one time, a large building stood on this location and was used as a furniture store by Mr. Hammler. About 1935 the place was sold to Alvin Sternitztky and he built the house that now stands there. Soon after, Mr. Wm.. and Mrs. George Wilson moved into the house and lived there until 1950, when Mr. Wilson passed away. After owning the place until 1954, Mrs. Wilson sold the place to Mr. and Mrs. William Schmidtke.
in the year 1890, Herman Schmidtkes, Bills parents, came to the US bringing with them their oldest son, Gustav, and daughter, Mrs. Joe Madler (Augusta). They made their home at her sister's on what is known as the Wm. Wagner farm in the town of Lynn. Otto and Henry joined the family. Then they moved to a farm in Fremont and established a home there. They cleared the land and built a brick house. During this time, these children were born: William, Clara (Schmidtke) Murrell, Ernest, Paul, Ella (Schmidtke) Dumas, Caroline (Schmidtke) Mulvey, Herman and Mae (Schmidtke) Dankemeyer. Only Ernest, Ella and Herman survive. In 1907 Mr. Herman Schmidtke was killed by a runaway team of horses. Mrs. Schmidtke lived on the farm which was enlarged to 100 acres. Later, she made her home with her daughter, Mrs. Leo Dankemeyer, until her death in 1935. The farm in located in Fremont Township of which Paul was the last Schmidtke to own it and it was sold to Ed York in 1956.
Mr. and Mrs. Lon Stevens (Esther's grandparents) came to the Town of Sherman form Sheboygan County. They homesteaded a piece of land in the Sherman township. They lived in his place until 1916, when they moved to Granton to make their home. Mr. Stevens was born in Maine and came to Sheboygan with his mother after the death of his father in 1859. Lon died in 1926 in Granton. Mrs. Stevens was born in Sheboygan County and died at the home of a daughter, Mrs. Elmer Knickle in 1931.
Their family consisted of Elizabeth Renne, Chauncey Stevens, Mabel Austin, Edward Stevens, Ruel Stevens, Verna Gourlie and Ollie Knickle, all deceased."
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