History, Rietbrock, Marathon Co., Wis. Pioneers (1880 - 1980)
Surnames: Rethka, Myszka, Wisnewski, Lewandowski, Knaczenski, Rzepinski, Wojciechowski, Nowicki, Waskowiak, Schwittlick, Szczepaniak, Poznanski, Haesle, Halkovitz, Rux, Tessmer, Bloczynski, Magdan, Slewicki;, Myszka
----Source: 1880 - 1980 Rietbrock, Marathon Co., Wis. Centennial, pg. 41 - 42
In the second group of Rietbrock, Wisconsin pioneers were the families of Stephen Rethka, Simon Myszka, Frank Wisnewski, Theodore Lewandowski, Nick Knaczenski and Anton Rzepinski. A year later followed Peter Wojciechowski, Martin Nowicki, Joseph Waskowiak, Adam Schwittlick, Jospeh Szczepaniak, and Anton Poznanski. The pioneers lived far apart, separated by miles of forests and marshes. They were, indeed, very lonely. But soon, news reached the farmers of Rib Falls and Marathon city about the Rietbrock pioneers. That was when they had to pay their first taxes to the Town of Rib Falls, as the pioneer land were still under the jurisdiction of that town. Among the many neighboring settlers who exchanged visits with the newcomers were the Haesle, Halkovitz, Rux, and Tessmer families. As soon as the colonists knew that they had some fine neighbors on the other side of the marsh, they did not wish to return to their old homes in Milwaukee; the mighty spirit of Kosciuszko was moulded in them; they were eager to sacrifice everything in order to help their neighbors. Whatever pecuniary aid they could give to their neighbors, they gave it gladly, even if they themselves were not harvesting any money in that far-away forest country. Satisfaction is not always complete in money alone, for money in a wilderness has little value. The tales of the pioneers confirm this point of view. Most of those pioneers had savings and money with which to buy food, but it meant a sacrifice of long hours and difficult labor, to furnish it to their homes. A day, and even longer, was the time schedule to Marathon City, as those very early trips could be made by foot only. Each "schopper" brought home just the little bundle which he could carry under his arm, or upon his shoulder. We must remember that there were yet no roads for wagons; and there were no horses, even for several years. After forest lanes were chopped through the treachererous swamps, Jan Bloczynski was the first to request Mr. Magdans-a farmer east of Rib Falls, who had an ox team-to deliver a load of food stuffs. When the farmer received the twenty-dollar gold piece for his produce, he exclaimed, "Mein lieben Gott, ich habe so vas nicht geschehen fur eine lange, lange zeit." (My loving God, I have not had this happen to me for a long, long time.) It is apparent that money, then, was quite scarce. The farmers saw very little of it. But even our pioneers who had money were not so pleasingly cheerful about it, when they had no roads or bridges over which they could travel to transport the necessary provisions.
Jan had four sons by his previous marriage, namely: Mike, John, Stan, and Leo; and with his second wife Viktorya, they had Alex, who married Elizabeth Slewicki; Anna, wife of Jacob Myszka, and Dominica (Sister Christine), who as a young girl from the area went to the convent. She was a member of the Franciscan Order of La Crosse. She celebrated her 60th Anniversary as a nun at Holy Family Church at Poniatowski, August of 1942, Sister Christina died at the age of 98, being in her 80th year of her religious profession.
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