Mr./Mrs. W. J. (50th Anniv. - 1932)
Surnames: BRILL LANG RASMUSSEN FRICKE GUENTHER HARTER UMHOEFER FASSBENDER RUNZHEIMER SMART KAUTSKY WEIX SALTER STURM HENNES WOLFE
----Sources: COLBY PHONOGRAPH (Colby, Clark County, Wis.) 20 Oct 1932
Brill, Mr./Mrs. W. J. (50th Anniv. - 17 Oct. 1932)
Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Brill Married Fifty Years; Recall Pioneer Days
Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Brill celebrated their golden wedding anniversary at the home of their son, John, Sunday. Those present were their sons and families, W. P. and Theodore of Colby, Matt of Marathon City and Father Lang of Colby. Joe Brill of Menomonee Falls was the only one of the children not able to be present. The house was beautifully decorated in gold and white for the occasion as was also a large wedding cake.
Monday was the anniversary date and that night about fifty neighbors and friends gathered to honor the aged couple. Pinochle was played and prizes were won by Mrs. Chas. Rasmussen, first; Mrs. C. F. Fricke, second; Harold Guenther, first; Harry Harter, second.
Mr. Brill will be seventy-five years of age October 27 and Mrs. Brill was seventy-three Oct. 15th. They were born in Waukesha county and their homes were but one mile apart. She later lived at Richfield and they were married at St. Bonafice church at Germantown, Washington county.
Mr. Brill owned an 80-acre parcel of land in the town of Hull which he purchased from Paul Umhoefer for $650. The land was at Rolling ridge one mile south and a quarter mile west of Cherokee and a homesteader had cleared eight acres and had built some small buildings. The site of the city of Colby was still a wilderness of stumps and there was only a trail from Colby to the homestead. Two weeks after their marriage they moved to the homestead.
Mr. Brill recalls one strenuous trip in which he spent two hours in traveling one-half mile with a team of horses between the present Emil Fassbender and Henry Runzheimer farm properties. The mud had the appearance of water and the young team went down to their bodies in the mud. Again and again, he had to unhitch and pull out the wagon with a chain. There was just a thin crust of deceptive dried out clay on top of all this mud and the wagon went down to its axles in the mire. After that trip, Mr. Brill would walk to Colby and carry his provisions in preference to using a team. This piece of road was later improved with corduroy and similar treatment was applied to the road to McMillan and to other highways.
Alfred Smart lived in that vicinity when Mr. Brill purchased his first eighty acres. Mr. Brill logged for many winters, including seven or eight winters for E. V. Kantusky, who had purchased the Paul Umhoefer and Joe Weix sawmill and for R. B. Salter of Colby. His family of boys helped him in this logging and some winters he had six to eight teams hauling for him. Most of the logging was in the town of Hull, some in the town of Frankfort.
In the spring of 1893 fire destroyed a saloon he operated at Cherokee and the following spring a fire on his farm destroyed all his possessions, and in fighting the fire Mr. Brill froze both his feet. Fire insurance was little known then and he was not protected in his fire loss. Neighbors contributed necessary clothing.
He lost his farm, but in years afterward he again became independent. Once he owned 400 acres of land, but he divided this between his children. He still owns eighty acres of wooded land of which about fifteen acres are under plow and which provides him with work as he is extremely active for his advanced age. Mrs. Brill fell down a flight of stairs at Colby twenty years ago and although she fractured her spine and was in a hospital eleven weeks, she is now able to be out and around.
They recall their many hardships and experiences and the days in which they were very happy although frequently without the necessary two cents in their home to mail a letter.
Mr. Brill served as clerk of the board of education in school district No. 2 of the town of Hull for over thirty years and for three years served on the county board and was chairman of his town. He also served three years as supervisor.
At one time he was quite a force in the American Society of Equity and was treasurer of the Cherokee local. Both Mr. and Mrs. Brill have been members of St. Mary’s Catholic congregation at Colby for fifty years. Mr. Brill and all his five sons are members of the Catholic Order of Foresters.
They have five sons, Matt of Marathon, Theodore, Will and John of the town of Hull and Joe of Menomonee Falls, and twenty-six grandchildren. Mr. and Mrs. Brill are making their home in a small cottage near the home of their son, John, and on the same parcel of land. Mr. Brill has a sister, Mrs. Mary Sturm, who lives near Stratford, and a brother, John, from near Rozelville. Mrs. Brill has a brother, Theodore Hennes, at Richfield, another brother, Matt, of Hollywood, Cal., and a sister, Mrs. Tillie Wolfe of Richfield.
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