History: Pioneers of Rietbrock, Wisconsin
Surnames: Aderhold, Albrecht, Auner, Balz, Becker, Belter, Benedict, Bergs, Berres, Biel, Bonin, Brady, Bramm, Braun, Brill, Brinkman, Brosseau, Brown, Bukowski, Cappel, Chesak, Chojonowski, Cichon, Dettmann, Diers, Drewek, Dvorak, Findorff, Fischer, Freking, Frydrychowicz, Gajewski, Gantner, Gara, Gargender, Gauerke, Geissler, Gesicki, Gisicki, Godina, Goldbach, Guralski, Handzlewski, Hart, Heideman, Heis, Heldt, Helinski, Herrmann, Hoffman, Hoge, Hopperdietzel, Jagodzinski, Jenkins, Jesko, Johnson, Karlen, Karlen, Kemp, Kissingler, Klimecki, Kluczkowski, Koskey, Kraft, Krahn, Kreft, Krell, Kroening, Krogulski, Kropidlowski, Kulas, Kupka, Kurek, Langer, Lapinski, Lenard, Lipinski, Literski, Lonsdorf, Mallak, Matysik, Mauer, McJimsey, Meier, Meyer, Michalski, Milkowski, Miller, Mroczenski, Muehlenkamp, Muenchow, Murkowski, Myszka, Newman, Nimmerguth, Nowicki, O'Malley, Passehl, Pauly, Pennno, Pietrowski, Punke, Redman, Reichl, Reuter, Rhode, Riehle, Rietbrock, Rietz, Rinehold, Roskos, Schaetzl, Schueller, Schwager, Schwantes, Schwebach, Sekorski, Senki, Seubert, Simmons, Skoczynski, Soczka, Sodoma, Sommer, Stencil, Stenzel, Teresinski, Trawicki, Treacy, Trucki, Urmanski, Utecht, Viegut, Wadowice, Wesley, Williams, Winiaszewski, Wirkus, Wisnewski, Wisnewskw, Witucki, Wojciechowski, Wozniak, Writz, Ziegel, Zywice
----Source: 1880 - 1980 Rietbrock, Marathon Co., Wis. Centennial Excerpts
BARN RAZING IN THE EARLY DAYS
TOWN OF RIETBROCK
THRESHING TIME MEMORIES
CREAMERY AND CHEESE FACTORIES
SCHOOLS OF RIETBROCK, WISCONSIN
RECREATION AND CLUB ORGANIZATIONS
BUSINESSES OF TODAY (1980)
CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER OF EVENTS
PIONEERS OF RIETBROCK, WISCONSIN
One hundred years ago, - ah, that was another day! Different? Yes, quite different. Our Town of Rietbrock was then but an infant, fostered and fondled by our untiring fathers - the PIONEERS. Most of our early pioneers were of European origin; they left their native country because they were dissatisfied with the German yoke and the Prussian iron rule of militarism under Bismarck. At the time they came to the United States - the land of the free - Lincoln's abolishment of slavery had just been put into effect.
After a trial, and tedious seasons of Misery, the settlers deciding whether to continue enduring their lot pioneering or whether to return to Milwaukee; they had chosen to remain a while longer. And, ultimately, they never returned; they lived in the Town of Rietbrock in quiet content, enduring their trials while trials abounded. To them, therefore, we return our gratefulness - especially for making the lumbering and the farming projects in our community a bright success. It is they who began to bring sunlight into the dense forest region, to cultivate the soil, to build roads, to introduce, establish, and maintain a local government, and to erect our schools and churches. Numerous and burdensome were their self-imposed duties and tasks, which they took upon themselves willingly - not withstanding the fact that many of them left their best opportunities behind them. To those pioneers, road building was the outstanding task; for without roads they were handicapped and lived in utmost seclusion. Who would think that to travel from Poniatowski to Rib Falls was once a whole day's job? Startling accounts have been as to how many an ox team, having started before sunrise and being goaded over the hemlock and pine network of roots which covered the marshes and the unblazed forests, never returned to the half- starving pioneer families before dusk.
It is a luxury now to ride over well-made roads, just as it is a luxury to live in comfortable homes built of materials which are transported from afar over the roads built by that unfailing pioneer strength. To those of us who know naught of the pioneer experiences, there can be in our mind no more than a mere vagueness of what once used to be. Where once mighty pines and aged oaks crowded Buttermilk Creek, and where once Indians gathered at the Potato Creek, we have prosperous farm lands today. Those old potatoes and sour milk, dumped by our pioneers into the creeks, which are distinguished accordingly, have floated somewhere; the log cabins of over one hundred years are gone, forgotten.
To the pioneers, we owe a debt of gratitude for building our roads - for uniting our little settlements with the rest of the civilized world. If they could rise, we believe they would say it was worth the struggle.
The sickle, scythe, cradle, flail, axe, hoe, besides the plow and harrow were the only implements used by our pioneer farmers. Most farmers had handmade sleighs and wagons, too. In later years improved implements and machinery were placed on the market for those who could afford them-such as the threshing machine, mower, reaper, binder, seeders, cultivators, fanning mills and more modem drags and plows.
As the horses were replacing some of the oxen, barnyard manures were carefully preserved-to be used for agriculture.
First manure loader powered by a belt driven wench. to fertilize the soil. And during the fall it was banked around the footings of barns and houses to keep out the winter winds. To keep the cattle from roaming, they built fences of split rails, stumps and stones. These fences also served as markings for boundaries and fields.
Fischer, who came to the country from near Burlington in Racine County, said neighbors laughed when he planted corn and wanted to know what "the southerner knew about raising corn up here near the north pole". He raised the two horses at the left from colts and acquired the black at the right from a fox farm.
these fences were replaced by barbed and woven wire, and stumps were blown out with dynamite.
Logs cut with a "drag saw". One man rolled logs; another operated the saw rig; another took off the wood chunks on the John Nowicki farm. Threshing, silo filling, and firewood sawing were neighborhood projects. One and two-cylinder kerosene and gasoline tractors had been used for plowing, harrowing, and threshing. Then the lighter four-cylinder Fordson and McCormick-Deering came into use for harvesting and general farm work. These had steel wheels and a speed of about 4 m.p.h.
In the late 1920's many changes were taking place. Electricity, automatic water-pumping systems, milking machines, small second tractors, and rubber-tired tractors were beginning to be used. The horses were slowly being replaced by the tractors and the five, six or eight-foot combines did away with binders and threshers. Grain elevators and blowers were used; Hauling hay the old way. Note the high wheels green and dry hay was chopped in the field and blown into the barns and silos. A lot of hay baling was also done. Later the barn cleaners came in existence and also electric fencers. Artificial insemination was also slowly introduced.
Many acres of land were converted to growing canning peas. The closest Pea Canning Factory was at Athens.
Viners were set up and farmers raising peas had access to the vines which were used as cow feed. Farmers received a portion according to the average of the yield. This also provided many summer part-time jobs but many will never forget the odor.
Tree tops were piled and cut with a circle saw. One man pushed the table; another took off pieces and the others carried the sticks to be cut. of today has attributed to better farming and the farmer's independence.
BARN RAZING IN THE EARLY DAYS
Many of our present-day youngsters have not seen-and may never see - a brand new barn taking shape before their very eyes.
The carpenter who supervised the framing of the building was a true artisan. The huge timbers were not the product of any sawmill. They were hewn by them with little braces, girts, and storm braces were razed. When they were all razed, the frame work of the structure was finished. The most dangerous job was about to take place. The perline plates with posts and braces were joined and put on top of this structure. When that was all joined and finished the Philip Myszka hewing timber to make it square timbers, laboriously scored by the axmen, and then hewn by the wielder of a broadaxe. They were works of art-perfectly straight, perfectly square, morticed, and tongued with a pair of holes drilled through.
John Kulas, Sr., drilling holes and making tenant pockets. them with hand augers to accommodate the oak pins that would be driven into them when they were lifted into their places. No product of power tools or factories were these.
The sills were laid on the stone wall or foundation which was the beginning of framework to start the building where the bottom frame work was begun. Here the "sleepers" were laid between the framework. Then the sixteen foot posts with the beams joining rafters were then put on to the perline plate which held the roof. The outside sheeting was then put on the building. When that was finished, the roof boards were put on to the rafters; and when the roof boards were finished, the wooden shingles were put on them.
The floor was then laid consisting of one layer of one-inch lumber all through the barn. The thresh floors were finished with the two-inch planks on top of one-inch for strength to hold heavy equipment. After the completion of the building a few kegs of beer were tapped, and food again was being served. If the milking and chores happened to be a little late that night, so what?
In those days everyone for miles around went to help with the raising. About 40 to 50 men were involved. The meals served at this time were something to dream about. Relatives, neighbor ladies, all helped in preparation of the meals. One had to make sure no one was left out as far as help was concerned, as hard feelings set in amongst them.
THRESHING TIME MEMORIES
The flail was the first, hand implement used in threshing done by the early settlers. This method was replaced by the horse-powered, hand-fed machine, which consisted of a main cylinder and a few sieves and bushel boxes. And finally, the steam-powered threshing machines were available. These were called "threshing rigs" and a few families owned their own, usually four individuals owned each rig. As years went by, some individuals were able to afford their very own "rig".
At threshing time, neighbors went from farm to farm to help each other until all the grain was threshed. To let the farmers know that the "rig" was on its way, the whistle was blown every quarter mile. The children watched for the puff of smoke that poured from the smokestack on the big engine that pulled the separator. The horses were driven by the "water boy", who sat on top of the wooden water tank wagon and kept the steam boiler supplied with water. Sometimes the rig came in late afternoon, after finishing at the neighboring farm. No matter when the rig arrived at the next farm, it had to be set up before the threshing could begin. It was turned around and positioned so that the separator could be pushed backwards into the barn. This was done by using a bucking -pole which was attached to the machine and engine. A rope was then tied to a short pole located on each side of the separator, so four men (two on each side) could pull or steer the separator into the barn while the engine was pushing the separator backwards. By placing a block of wood under each front wheel, the separator became a free-standing machine that would be powered by a drive-belt placed on a pulley put on the engine. The belt was tightened and a block of wood was put in back under the main drive wheel of the engine to hold the belt secure. The machine was put in motion and set to go.
Several men with pitchforks were in the mow to toss the bundles onto the platform where two spike-pitchers put the bundles in the machine. In a few minutes, the grain fell into a container that served as a scale, or talley, weighing the bushels a farmer had. The straw was blown into a mow or blown onto the ground. The blower tender's job was to start the stack in a circle as large as the farmers wanted. Atop the stack, the man with his pitchfork arranged the straw as it fell-a hat pulled down over his head, wearing, usually, a blue jacket and a red handkerchief around his neck to protect against the chaff. The sack carriers usually were younger men who could carry the grain on their shoulders to the granary. Since the granary was often a distance of great length away from the barn, as a precautionary measure in case of fire, the carriers complained of aching shoulders at the end of the day.
Much water was needed for the steam to power the engine. This was the duty of the "water boy". The horse-drawn wagon with the wooden tank on it would often haul water from about three quarters of a mile away. When the "water boy" arrived at the creek, he would lower the hose into the water, man the pump's lever handle back and forth and draw water into the tank. It took about fifteen to twenty minutes to pump the sixteen-barrel tank full. When the tank was full, the wagon made its way back to the steam engine, and the water was transferred to the boiler of the steam engine.
During threshing time, mornings and forenoons were quite hectic for the housewives. They had to make plans almost a week in advance in order to have enough cakes, cookies, pies, and meats for the customary 9 o'clock forenoon lunch and the 3:30 afternoon lunch. They had to help with the milking in the very early morning hours in order to have the men's break- fast ready when they arrived between 6:00 and 6:30 a.m. Breakfast usually consisted of fried potatoes and meat. Oftentimes "rig" crews stayed overnight at the farms. And after breakfast, the dishes, milk cans, pails, and other utensils had to be washed and put away before the 9:00 o'clock lunch.
While the men were lunching, the women were also preparing for dinner. The meats-pork, mutton, or veal-were roasting in the oven, early, so that the apple pies could be baked in time.
When dinner was ready, the engine was shut down and the men came to eat-about eighteen to twenty at one time. The "water boy" was the last to come, because he first had to unhitch his team of horses and feed, water and care for them. The cooks who labored all forenoon over hot wood-burning kitchen stoves found that food just disappeared because the crew always had healthy appetites. After their hunger was satisfied, one by one they left the table to go and rest a minute under the shade trees-until the whistle sounded to return again to work. After the crew had eaten, the table was reset, and the cooks, children, and whoever else was left, had their feast. In the meantime, two separator men oiled and greased the machine, while the engineer put chunks of wood into the firebox to raise the steam; and he, too, oiled and greased his engine. When all was in readiness, the toot of the whistle was sounded and the threshing begun. By this time, the "water boy" had his team and water wagon ready for the trip to the creek for more water.
Lunch break was due again about 3:30. Afterward, the crew threshed again until the whistle blast at 6:30 p.m. or so, ending the threshing-but not the day. Now supper was waiting for the men. Then the neighbors went home, and the threshing crew slept in the barn mow. The next morning they went through the same procedure again.
The modern combine made the old-fashioned methods obsolete, but the memories will remain.
TOWN OF RIETBROCK
Happiness depends, as Nature shows, Less on exterior things than most suppose. Older Machinery
Frank Sommer, father of George, purchased his first thresher made by J.I. Case Co. about 1947. Custom threshing was done by him and a few other company threshing crews. The first steam engine pur- chased by Frank was a J. I. Case 25 - 75 H. P. Later Frank with his son George purchased another Case Engine, a 65 H.P. Then George purchased a 36 x 58 M Case Thresher from Bill Becker.
When the combines came into existence a lot of custom threshing by companies was discontinued. George recalls having participated in and displaying his steam engine for at least four years of "Threshing Days" at Prochnow's Ballroom. He now owns an 80 H.P. Case Steam Engine, three threshers, and two clover hullers that he does work with.
The only two steam rigs left in the Township are Frank Teresinski's and George's, and these are often displayed at various display and exhibits for engines. Logging and Sawmills The settlers arriving here during the years of 1850 and 1880 found giant pines and hardwood forests untouched by the axes of men. The only trails that were made were those made by the deer and other wild animals leading to water's edge of the creek. The only sounds heard were the voices of the birds and the gurgling of water.
Fred Rietbrock, a lawyer from Milwaukee, came to Wausau in 1876 to settle an estate and had become interested in the possibilities of these large lands. To give the people work in winter to tide them over until they got enough land cleared to live on, he planned to build a sawmill around the falls of a small stream, naming it the Black Creek Falls. (Now Athens). He used the falls for waterpower. Soon several acres were cleared on the creek bank, a dam was made which created a pond to store logs, and soon the sawmill became a humming, screaming reality. The peace and quiet of the forest was destroyed by the ring of the lumberjack's axes and their cry of "Timber" as one forest giant after another crashed to the earth.
It was not easy to cut the great pines and hardwoods, as the settlers soon found out. They had no power- saws. Some trees were more then six feet in diameter at the base, so platforms were built several feet off the ground to where the trees were small toward the top. A man would stand on each side of the tree on this platform, drawing a cross-cut saw back and forth until the big top began to sway. With a warn-cry of "Timber" the men would leap to the ground, out of harms way. Sometimes the tree would catch on another and roll sideways, and too bad for the poor "jack" who couldn't get out of the way fast enough. Oxen were used to do the skidding and hauling. In about 1890 the horses replaced the oxen. As more people were arriving from Milwaukee, Rietbrock built camps to shelter them and give them jobs in the woods. With thirty thousand acres he had to keep logging or be crowded out of the business market. As the timber was getting to be further away from the mill Rietbrock hired "jobbers", and gave them contracts to haul the distant timber to the saw-mill. When it became too far away, he set up landings in the woods for his jobbers, to transport the timber to this landing, which was hauled by the steam hauler to the mill.
As the timber was getting to be further away, Rietbrock built another landing and set up another steam hauler, which hauled it to the first landing. The other then hauled it to the mill. Rietbrock loggers included the following: John Guralski, John Teresinski, Sr. Martin Trawicki, John Lee Joseph, Anton & Frank John Nowicki, nephews, Stencil Co. Tony & Joseph, & Joseph Mike & John A. Wisnewski, Philip Myszka & John Pietrowski, John Kreft, John Lake, Ignatz Drewek, Joseph Wojciechowski, Jacob & John Soczka, Myszka Bros. (Theordore & Jacob, Jr.)
In 1880 Rietbrock built a saw mill and planing mill, and also erected three dams on Black Creek, which was a respectable stream in those days, by Finishing cutting a tree. Pictured are John, Joe, Peter Nowicki and Joe Trucki.
The Rietbrock Mill
At the steam boiler exit one half mile north of Poniatowski, Cooies 91' means of which they were able to float logs down to the mill with the spring freshets and raft their lumber down from the mill to the Rib River and on to the Wisconsin and Mississippi which formed the route to the market at St. Louis.
The same year a railroad had also been built as far north as Wausau, but that was 28 miles distant. Rietbrock wanted a shorter route for his timber and lumber holdings. He applied to the North Central (later the Soo) Railroad, which ran up through Marshfield. His request was turned down, so in 1890-1891 Rietbrock built his own railroad from Abbotsford to Black Creek Falls (15 miles) with an extension of ten miles as far as Goodrich.
In 1883 Mathias Braun, and his four oldest sons, Joseph, William, John, and Anthony built and operated a saw mill and creamery, 1/2 mile north of Poniatowski in the Town of Rietbrock. In 1891 it was relocated to Black Creek Falls. A third saw mill (Chesak's) started operation that same year. It was purchased by Braun Bros. & Co., in 1914.
Nowicki Saw Mill
In 1919, a sawmill from Mr. Balsam of Goodrich, Wisconsin, was purchased by two brothers, Mike and John Nowicki and partner John Teresinski, Sr. The mill was used for custom sawing. In 1934, the partnership changed, as John Nowicki sold his share to Leo Murkowski, and John Teresinski, Sr., sold his share to his son Tony Teresinski. Peter Nowicki inherited his father's share.
In 1944, Peter Nowicki purchased Leo Murkowski's share and Tony Teresinski's share. The mill was then rebuilt, and a Waukesha gas motor was purchased to replace the steam power. Business was being managed roads. Slabs were sold to Kraft Cheese Factory at Milan, Wisconsin, as well as to local people for firewood.
Sawmill operation was and is seasonal from September to May, as most of the men hired were farmers. In 1951, a G.M. Diesel replaced the gas motor. In 1961, a lumber planer was purchased to be used for custom planeing.
In 1965, a bark peeler was installed to peel the logs, as was a wood chipper to chip the slabs. The chips were sold to paper mills: American Can Co., at Rothschild, Mosinee Paper Mill at Mosinee, and Owens-Illinois at Tomahawk. Generators powered by diesel motors were installed to produce electricity for the plant. A truck, tractor, and trailers were purchased to haul lumber,' chips, and ties. In 1966, a log turner was installed. In 1967, a new automatic carriage was purchased to replace the old manual carriage. In 1968, a live deck was added. In July 1968, the business was incorporated, which is operat- ing under the name of Nowicki Lumber & Tie, Inc.; officers of the Corporation are Peter Nowicki and wife Mary R. Nowicki.
In 1972 a new steel building was built to house the mill, which offered employment for many men during its operating season.
Ted Meier & Sons Forest Products
Ted Meier & Sons Forest Products is owned and operated by Matt, Ted, Jr. and Ted, Sr. The sawmill is located 1/2 mile north of Jct. 29 & 97 on the Meier farm. The mill started in the fall of 1973. The first winter the mill stood out in the open, and a tractor with forks was used to move the logs and load the semi-trucks. In 1974 and 1975, the mill buildings were put up and an end loader added, made sawing more convenient. In 1979, an automated mill was installed. All logs are bought and sawed into lumber or ties and sold to different companies for various uses. Even the sawdust is in great demand by paper mills and by farmers for use in their barns; and slabwood for firewood has a good market.
This family has seen its project expand into a full time business.
CREAMERY AND CHEESE FACTORIES
The first creamery in the Town of Rietbrock was located one-half mile north of Poniatowski crossroad. It was operated by Mathias Braun until he moved to Athens in 1891. A creamery and butter factory was then established at Poniatowski. It was located behind the Chesak Store and Saloon. Here, the farmers brought the cream to be separated from the milk taking the residue from the milk - whey - back to be fed to their animals. Late in years the factory was destroyed by fire and a new creamery was built facing the road, south of the saloon and store. In later years it was converted into a cheese factory. In March, 1906, a man by the name of John H. Jenkins managed and organized the Marathon County Farmers' Creamery Company with the following officers: William Riehle, president; Rinehold tire. Copies from an old picture furnished courtesy of John Gesicki.
Paersch, secretary; M.M. Schaetzl, treasurer; and John J. Jenkins, manager. The farmers then had a place to sell their products. John H. Jenkins owned eighty acres of land in the Town of Rietbrock-the land now owned by Leo Literski.
Here again, the farmers, in spite of the poor road conditions and spring sink holes, brought the milk in 10 to 12 gallon cans delivering them at the "intake". The first cheesemaker M.M. Schaetzl weighed the milk, took milk samples for butterfat content, and then the milk was transferred into the vat. Next the "starter" was added. When the milk reached a certain degree the acid content was checked, and rennent (the substance that started coagulation of the curd) was added. When completely coagulated, the curds were cut with wire curd knives and stirred with wooden rakes separating the whey from the curds. The whey would drain into a holding tank and the curds were cut into 8" slabs, separated, allowing remaining whey to continue to drain. When the curd slabs were matted down to a certain acidity content they were run through a hand operated "curd mill". Meanwhile, the factory was remodeled and a cream separator was installed; the pasteurized whey in the holding tank was separated; the cream running into ten gallon cans; and the whey running into another tank. The cream was then hauled to the creamery and the patron farmers took home the whey in the same cans their milk was brought in for hog and calf feed.
Back to the curds, after having gone through the curd mill they were spread over the vat and "forked" by hand until all excess moisture had drained. Salt was then added and curds were placed in cheese hoops, dressed with cheese bandages and placed into a cheese press overnight. It was then taken and put into the "curing room" for aging and storing and then shipped to a buyer - Pauly & Pauly and Kraft.
Each of the farmers would take his turn in hauling the finished cheese to the buyer.
M.M. Schaetzl's daughter Mary Belter recalls when- ever the price of cheese went up they would work nights to get the cheese out before the price of cheese would drop. She recalls, in the first years, cheese was made every other day during the winter months, but as the farmers increased their volume, cheesemaking became a seven-day-a-week job (no-holidays- just as the farmers). With the family cooperation M.M. Schaetzl continued making cheese until 1938; then Joe Wisnewski took over the cheesemaking until 1945, when the factory was closed. The building was sold and used as living quarters for a number of years and then razed.
Rietbrock had 4 other factories: one at Schnappsville; one in Section 18 Township 29-N Range 4-E across the road from Pioneer Bar; the Joseph Bergs cheese factory located 1-1/2 miles east of Poniatowski known as Cherry Grove and now owned by Ervin Jagodzinski; and the Clover Belt Cheese Factory, formerly the William Dvorak factory. It was purchased by Ray Goldbach and is managed and operated by Mr. Vernon Utecht. Presently the town has only the last two factories operating.
Matysik-Bonin Cheese Factory, Now Bonin Locker Plant & Store
One of the early pioneers that settled in Schnappsville was Alex Cichon and wife Martha. They purchased land from early settlers Frank Wisnewski and Fred Rietbrock. Another pioneer settling here a little later was Joseph Matysik and his wife. They had Alex, Adam, Elizabeth (Bonin) and Anna (Rhode). After his wife died he married Josephine Skoczynski and they had three children-Otilia, Leonard and Dr. John. Joseph and daughter Anna (Rhode) bought-from Alex and Martha Cichon-a tract of land, May 16, 1913, and had Frank Myszka build them a cheese factory, store and living quarters. Joseph was the first cheesemaker, making cheese with the help of his two sons Alex and Adam. Later he sold his interests to Joseph and Elizabeth (Matysik) Bonin in 1920. Bonin's had 12 children, namely; Anna, Mayme (dec.), Sylvia (Wadzinski), Marcella (Brosseau), Leonard, Leo, Eugene, Phylis (Miller), Dolores (dec.), Betty (Seubert), Joseph, Jr., and Rita. With the help of their family they continued making cheese for 18 years. After a time, the farmers began to haul milk elsewhere and Joseph Bonin and family posing for the photographer cheesemaking was discontinued and the factory was closed down. Remodeling took place and it was re-opened for business as Bonin Locker Plant & Store in the year of 1947. After his wife's death in 1950, Joseph continued living with is son Joseph, Jr., until his death in 1964.
Joseph Jr., who with his wife Irene (Kropidlowski)- whom he married in 1957-took over the Locker Plant & Store in July, 1954, and is now in operation. They have a family of three children, namely: Gail (Wendtland), Joseph Jr., and Patty Jo.
1918 Cheese Factory, Across From Heiersville (Now Pioneer Bar)
The area of farmers active in dairying was becoming quite large, so to make it more convenient for farmers to haul their milk shorter distances, a new cheese factory was built in Section 18, Township 29-N Range 4-E in 1918, by Art and Ed Becker. Living quarters for the cheesemaker was provided upstairs. The first cheesemaker was Frank Biel; he had the Cheese factory of 1918 remodeled into living quarters. Owned by Mr. and Mrs. Earl Heideman.
That was followed by Charles Hopperdietzel, Alvin Muenchow and Art Balz. For some reason the factory closed for a time. However, some years later Charles Bramm and other farmers wanted it reopened. Art Balz was hired as the cheesemaker. He had as many as forty-seven patrons, at his peak time, and that meant that patrons were hauling their milk by horse and buggy from many miles away. In 1935, Charles Pauly bought out this factory and two others in the Athens area and built one larger factory in Athens. Then milk haulers trucked the milk for the farmers to the Athens Pauly Cheese Factory.
The abandoned factory was sold to the Albert Heidman family. Albert and his wife used it as their home until their deaths. It was 1952 when Earl and Mary Heideman purchased this property, and they have lived there ever since that time.
Cherry Grove Cheese Factory
In 1881 William Bergs, Sr. came from St. Cloud, Wisconsin, and settled in the area. In 1901, William's sons, Joseph and Hubert Bergs bought this land and built a creamery. They named it Cherry Grove be- cause wild pin cherries were found growing in the and some to Grade A. A hand-fired boiler was in use in the early years for cheese-making and fuel went from wood and coal to oil and natural gas. 1954 statements show the price of milk at $3.05 per hundred weight, butter at 63 cents and aged cheese at 80 cents a pound.
Some years later Hubert married the former Adeline Schueller and left the factory business. Joe married Elizabeth Metz in 1915 and he then continued making cheese at the factory. The present Ervin Meyer bringing milk to the Cherry Grove factory.
Cherry Grove Cheese Factory and home now owned and operated by the Jagodzinski family.
Factory additions were: a cooler and a larger addition in 1962. A tubular pasteurizer, automatic cheese-making equipment, clarifier, fine saver, cream bulk tank, P N meter were added over the years to modernize the cheese-making process of today. Various cheeses were made: cheddar, barrel, Monterey Jack and Co-Jack. At present, mostly Colby cheese is made into 40 lb blocks. With two ambitious sons Dale and Darryl helping Ervin, the business has become a family affair.
Clover Belt Cheese Factory
Joseph Bergs cheese maker house was built in 1919 by Oscar Reichl. A second factory was built in 1918 and stands on the same site. Joseph operated the factory until 1948, when he re- tired to Edgar. His son, Wilfred, married the former Mary Kulas in 1949, and he operated the plant until 1954. They then sold it to Ervin Jagodzinski, and his uncle, the late Anton Knetter. In 1957 Ervin and Arleane Jagodzinski bought the plant from his uncle and have operated it for the past 25 years.
Various changes have occured in those 25 years. All milk was hauled in cans, with many farmers hauling their own milk. Farmers then converted to bulk tanks First meeting of Stockholders was held at the Anton Jagodzinski home on Oct. 10, 1927. Twenty-one original stockholders, and twenty patrons.
Officers elected for one Year: President- August Urmanski; Vice-President- John Pietrowski; Secretary- Jacoab Soczka; Treasurer - Paul Meller; Director - John Jesko.
The making of cheese began in November, 1927. Buyer- Pauly & Pauly Cheese Co. Price of cheese - 24 - 3/4 cents Price of butterfat - 59 cents Average price per 100 lbs. of milk - $1.94 The first cheesemaker was Maynard Schwantes followed by Lemke, John Wisniewski, Merrill, Wisconsin, and William E. Dvorak, the last cheesemaker from Sept.. 1929 to March, 1969. William E. Dvorak purchased the factory from the stockholders in Aug., 1933.
Lowest price of cheese - Feb. 1933 - 8-1/2 cents Lowest price of butterfat was 20 cents Average price per 100 lbs. of milk - 67 cents The Dvorak's sold the factory in 1969 to Ray Goldbach, Marathon, Wisconsin. Mr. Vernon Utecht is the present cheesemaker and manager. The factory still holds the name, as Clover Belt Cheese Factory in The Town of Rietbrock.
Many of the early pioneers came to this country by sailboats and steamships. Settling in the town of Rietbrock, their only means of transportation was by foot. Later, the oxen were used for heavy work; then railroads came into existence. After they cleared and made roads, the horses replaced the oxen. They The latter was a representative of the International Harvester Co. Copies 11120/79 from picture furnished courtesy of John Gesicki, of Poniatowski. were used to drive the surrey those days. As time advanced, the horse and carriage was replaced with that of the autos, in about 1910.
A few in the Town of Rietbrock found the trucking business a desirable occupation. Hauling milk became an asset to the trucking business. Some involved in trucking milk in cans with their own trucks those days were: Reuben and Ed Dettmann, Thomas Socha, Thomas Witucki, Albert Stencil, George Witucki, Alois Stencil, Leo Soczka, Edward Gesicki, Hoge, Leonard Miller, Art Heldt and Edwin Heldt, Tony Diers, Joseph Writz, Eddie Lenard, Joseph Trawicki, Joe Schaetzl and others. In later years most of the factories bought out the individual truckers and hired there own men. The others found interests elsewhere.
One individual milk hauler is Kenneth Reuter who bought his first can truck and route from Edwin Heldt in Feb. of 1966 and hauled the milk to Pauly Cheese at the Athens Plant. Finding it his fancy he bought a second can truck and route from Tony Diers Nov., 1967, and again hauled all this to Pauly Cheese Plant at Athens. When The Pauly Cheese Plant closed, on Oct. of 1970, he hauled the milk to Honey Bee Plant at Hamburg, Wisconsin, owned by Pauly Cheese Co.
Kenneth bought his first bulk truck and route from Pauly Cheese Co. in Oct. 1970, and in Oct. 1974, he purchased the second bulk truck, but without a route. When the milk cans became obsolete, in June of 1978, Pauly Cheese Co. quit taking can milk; and he also discontinued can hauling. At the present time, he runs two bulk trucks and the milk is delivered to Pauly Cheese Co. and Honey Bee Plant. Besides this trucking, he does occasional gravel hauling. Another phase in trucking in the town of Rietbrock involves the general, commercial and livestock haulers. They are the following:
LES GAUERKE & SONS INC. Delivery of L P Gas, Neuendorff Freight and Gravel HARVEY SOCZKA - General Gravel - Forest Products - Lumber
TED MEIER & SONS Hauler of slabwood
DREWEK BROS. Commercial trucking
PETER NOWICKI Commercial trucking
SYLVESTER LIPINSKI JR. Livestock hauler
DENNIS KROENING Livestock hauler
There are also some privately owned truckers in Rietbrock who haul their own pull. etc.
SCHOOLS OF RIETBROCK, WISCONSIN
The Town of Rietbrock had four elementary schools from grades one through eight at one time, and one parochial school. Records show that these schools were begun as early as 1878; boundaries were set up in 1880; and the last school closed its doors in 1970. People identified their schools by such names as the "green school" or the "white school". However, the districts and names of the schools were as follows: School District No. 1 (known as the Green School); School District No. 2, Hoffman School; School District No. 3, (Poniatowski White School); School District No. 4, Silver Arrow School; and Holy Family Catholic School.
The floor plans for each one-room school seemed to be the same. They were built as one large classroom. We entered from a hall where we hung our coats, scarfs and caps, and we placed our boots neatly in a line-up on the floor underneath our coats. Our lunch pails of all shapes and sizes were placed on a shelf built just for them. In one comer of this hall was a pail of water for drinking, etc., and as years passed this pail was replaced by a water bubbler.
The classroom would have an old pot-belly heater, either in the middle of the room, or to one side, which the teacher would have started early in the morning so that the children could warm themselves when they arrived. Wet clothing from the snow or rain could be hung close to the heater to dry, and mittens and wet boots were laid on the floor beneath the stove. On really cold days we would keep our coats on until the room got warm. In the earlier days during the warmer fall days some pupils even walked barefoot, as shoes were not easy to buy or some could not afford them.
Much class work was done on the large blackboards that seemed to cover much of the wall space. Above the blackboards were several wide board cases which contained large maps on rollers. These could be pulled down over the blackboards, for viewing by the students.
Classes began at nine in the morning and were dismissed between three and four in the afternoon, depending upon the season, weather, darkness, etc. Two short recesses were given-one in the mid- morning and one in mid-afternoon, each about fifteen minutes in length-and we had an hour for noon. The teacher usually had a hand bell to ring when it was time to stop playing and return to classes. It was often a reward and privilege to get to ring it-eighth graders often did it. During this time baseball kept the upper grades occupied, and the younger children jumped rope, played tag, or had games where all played together. Teachers helped the little ones get bundled up for play and for the long walk home. According to records, the Poniatowski Public School provided a hot lunch program for its children long before the Federal School Lunch Program came into being. Anna Krell Braun, who lived just a short distance from the school, would prepare large kettlefuls of soup, stew or hot noodle and meat dishes at her home. At noon two of the bigger boys would run over and fetch the hot kettleful to the school. The school board provided a two-burner kerosene stove at the school, so the teacher could prepare hot cocoa or other extras. The children usually brought their own bread or so.
Early in December we started practicing for our school Christmas program, spending weeks memorizing parts for plays. At first the teacher would skip a class or two to begin rehearsals, but the final week all the time was spent for practicing.
Valentine Day was also very special. Most of the valentines were made by hand. At school we were given paper, paste and scissors. We would then cut and fold the paper and would write verses on, and they then were ready for the valentine box. This was a large cardboard box with a slit in the top so the valentines could be slid in. Then, on Feb. 14 they were distributed. Boys or girls would giggle or blush when they received one from the opposite sex. Picnic days were a lot of fun. Although saying goodbye to our friends and our teacher was sad, in a way we were happy to be free for a few months. In the fall we would be only too glad to come back. The schools were gradually beginning to close, after years of children passing through its doors. Like all large one-room schools in Marathon County these four schools gave way to the State School district reorganization law which required all areas in the state to be a part of some high school district by July 1, 1962. Outside of District No. 4, our schools had been operating as "suspended" districts for sometime be- fore school district reorganization took place. They had a school board but no schoolhouse and the Board transported the children to either Athens or Edgar schools. This was in the 1930's and the 1940's. The school buildings were either sold to farmers or taken down. The land was used for agricultural purposes or new homes were built.
The Clerk's Record book shows that Registration of School Officers and term of offices began in 1878, of School District No. 1, known as the "Green School" from Sept. 1879, ending Aug. 31, 1880; there were 96 children over 4 and under 20 years attending.
JOINT SCHOOL DIST. NO. 1 of the Towns Rietbrock and Halsey.
Section No. I the E 1/2 of Section 2 the E 1/2 of Section 11 and Section 12 of the Town of Rietbrock and Section No. 26, 27, 34, 35, and 36 of the Town of Halsey constituted this Joint School District. This school is located on the property of Mildred Riehle in the Town of Halsey.
RIETBROCK SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 3
Poniatowski White School
Frank Wisnewski, Mike Rauen, Edward Myshka, Albert Meyer, Arnold Kaiser, Dorothy Auner, Esther Meyer, Teacher, Tina Blank. Records show in Deed Book 31, page 486 that D.W. Johnson, Electa A. Johnson, Fred Rietbrock, Helen M. Rietbrock, his wife, to School District Number three (3) of the Town of Rietbrock, Marathon County, Wisconsin. Dated February 15, 1883. Later in the year of 1884 or 1885 a school was built. The officers were:
Treasurer - Joseph Chesak ......... July 6, 1885 - July 2, 1888 Director - Mathias Braun July 5, 1886 -July 2, 1889 Treasurer - Joseph Heineman ....... July 2, 1888 - 1891
Clerk - Thomas Berres .. Nov., 1888, Vacancy of L. Findorff 1889
Treasurer - A Schwager ... May 14, 1889, Vacancy of Heineman 1889
Clerk - Thomas Berres . .. July 1, 1889 July, 1890 Treasurer - Joseph Chesak . July 1, 1889- July 1891 Director - Jacob Murkowski ........ July 1, 1889 - July, 1892
After the "court house" was destroyed in the village of Poniatowski, the school house was used as a voting place from 1887 to sometime in the 1920's. Some of the teachers who taught in this school were; John Chesak; Gorman, Helen Bowe, Edna Boew, Ruth Laabs, Tina Blank, Anna Krell, LaPoint, Marie Lonsdorf, Marie (Braun) Wozniak, Rosalia Meyer, Virginia (Cappel) Punke, Lillian (Brown) Brady, Caroline (Rauen) Kraft and Arlene (Wirkus) Krahn. According to records the school was last operated in 1934-35 school year with Arlene Krahn the last teacher. Her annual salary was $520.00. The officers from 1927-1930 were: Clerk - Albert Meyer, Treasurer - Ben Reuter Director- M.M. Schaetzl
1930-1937 Clerk - Albert Meyer Treasurer - Harry Kolpack, Director- Joseph Wisnewski Later the school was sold to Ben Miller and wife Elizabeth, then sold to Edmund and Angeline Gesicki and in 1963 to Nicholas Karlen. He has built a home and other buildings on this school site, his present residence.
SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 4, SILVER ARROW SCHOOL
This school was built somewhere around 1908 and it was the last Rietbrock public school to be closed. The first teacher was Mrs. George Rietz, Sr., followed by F. Kissingler, Koskey, L. Hopperdietzel, P. Brady, Meyer, Johnson, N. Aderhold.
The records show this was the last public school to close, operating through the 1946-1947 school year. At the time of closing, the annual salary was $1,485.00. The building was later sold to Raymond I. Murkowski and torn down. A new home was built by his son LeRoy and now owned by James Sodoma.
Holy Family Catholic School At Poniatowski
The pioneers, hoping to give their children a Catholic education, built a frame parish school in 1903. This frame structure was completed with much of the lumber coming from the original log structure church. The school soon had a large enrollment being staffed by lay male teachers, namely; Michalski, Milkowski, Winiaszewski, Kurek and Helinski. It was called the Holy Family School.
Church records reveal that during the pastorate of Father Kupka the present brick-veneered parochial school was built and dedicated July 31, 1910. This marked the time when the parish first had sisters to staff the school. For the next six years, the Sisters of Notre Dame staffed the school. In 1916 sisters from the Felician Order accepted the invitation to teach at Poniatowski and the school remained in their charge, until its closing in 1970. It was a 2-story, 3-classroom building. With a convent in the rear, the classes were divided into a 1st, 2nd, & 3rd grade group, 4th, 5th, & 6th grade group, and 7th & 8th grade group. One nun was a housekeeper, and cook, while the remaining three taught. Each school day the parish priest would conduct Mass in the lower 4th, 5th, & 6th grade classroom where there was an altar built into the wall. The nun would "pump" a portable organ while the older girls would sing in the choir for Mass. Older neighborhood citizens would attend week-day Mass and kneel on one long kneeler in the back of the class while the school children gathered closely together in the one classroom converted chapel-this forming the Christian education of today's parents. After Mass, the children all went to their respective classes until 3:00 P.M. Although there was electricity, there was only one water-font for drinking.
In 1953, the parochial school was enlarged and re- modeled. The school basement was rebuilt, modem bathrooms were installed and a new heating plant was also installed. The school had an enrollment, at first, of about 112 to 125 children, until the last few years when the enrollment went down to about 85 pupils. The last teachers were Sister Geraldine, Sister Hilda and Mrs. Sylvester (Caroline) Kraft. The school closed its door in 1970. The nuns living quarters were rented out and CCD classes are now being held in the classrooms each week. Churches
HOLY FAMILY CATHOLIC CHURCH
According to Historian James E. Noonan, "The pioneers were Catholics to a man and shortly after they had built their humble dwellings and barns, they erected a church." It was hardly more than a log chapel but it served its purpose. The 20 acre tract of land was donated by Mr. Fred Rietbrock for this purpose.
One of the earliest recorded Masses in the area was celebrated by a Father Bukowski, a priest from Stevens Point, who conducted the Sacred liturgy at the home of John Literski. (Now the James Literski Farm). Records indicate that throughout this time other priests came at various intervals from Arcadia and North Creek to hold services at the homes of the settlers. On the occasion of one of his visits in 1878, Father Bukowski set about establishing a mission church in what was then locally known as the Court House.
The occasional visits of missionary priests led to the agitation for a house of worship and a decision was reached in the fall of 1878 to proceed with the building of a church. The construction of the first church, of log construction, was completed in the fall of 1879.
Soon after the completion of the log church, the name of the community was changed from "Gmina Polska", which means Polish settlement, to "Administration of St. Joseph Parish". Completion of the log church led members of the faith to seek more regular services, and a priest was sought for the community, to come at least three times a year. To support their requests for more regular services, the parishioners built a log parish house in 1879.
Some of the earliest priests recorded serving in those days were Father Klimecki from Arcadia, who came twice a year after the church was built, and a Father Lager, who journeyed over from Medford. Historical records of the parish state that the first resident priest was Father John Monczynski, OFM, who was assigned to the parish in 1881.
During this two-year tenure, the log rectory caught fire and burned to the ground. Following Father Monczynski's departure in 1885, the early pioneers were served from time to time by Father August Krogulski, who came occasionally from Junction City. It was during this time that the parishioners succeeded in erecting a frame building to serve as their parsonage, replacing the destroyed log rectory. On September, 22, 1886, the Rev. Andrew Gara arrived to serve the congregation in response to a petition to the bishop of the diocese for the assigning of a resident priest. Father Gara was born in 1860 in Jawiszowice, Galicia, Austria. His early education was obtained in his native village, at Zywice, and the Rev. Andrew Gara Gymnasium at Wadowice. He studied at the Gregorian University in Rome where he completed the study of philosophy and theology. In 1885 Father Gara came to this country. On June 24, 1886, he was ordained at St. Francis Seminary, Milwaukee, by Archbishop Heis. Before his appointment to Poniatowski he served for two months as assistant to Father Ignatius Schaller at Marshfield. He also attended the mission at Athens from September, 1892 to July 1896. He has been credited with "putting the foundation to the Poniatowski parish" during the 12 years he remained here.
Major activities during the tenure of Father Gara included the replacing of the original log structure with the present brick-veneer church in 1890, when the name of the congregation was changed to the Holy Family Congregation. The agitation for the new church to replace the log building, which was proving too small and which was also declared unsafe, was begun in 1889. Other land improvements were made and development of the present parish cemetery was begun.
Father Gara left the parish June 29, 1898. He was succeeded by the Rev. T. Lugowski, Pine Creek, who remained until the end of the year before being succeeded by the Rev. C. Frydrychowicz. A dispute within the congregation during the tenure of Father Frydrychowicz, who remained in the parish until February 1901, resulted in the church being closed by the Bishop, some members of the Polish congregation buried their hostilities and worshipped with their German neighbors in their church. Such action merited the opening of Holy Family Parish in July, 1901, Father Biela was named successor to Father Frydrychowicz. He remained until Easter, 1902, when he was succeeded by Rev. Joseph Miller, a German. Having a German priest as pastor, parish nationalism again poked its head. Parish troubles during his tenure led to his leaving the parish in less than three years.
However, during this period of strife, the parish school - a frame structure - was completed. Succeeding Father Miller in 1905 was Rev. Ignatius Modarski, but his tenure was also short-lived. He resigned and left the parish in 1909, after his plans for a new school failed to materialize.
July 1, 1901, marked the beginning of some stability for the strife-torn parish, with the appointment Rev. Florian Kupka of Rev. Florian Kupka as pastor of Holy Family and for Holy Trinity Mission, by Bishop James Schwebach. No other pastor accomplished as much for the parish as did Father Kupka, who lived to serve the parish for 32 years.
Church records reveal that during the pastorate of Father Kupka, tie present brick-veneer parochial school was built and dedicated July 31, 1910. Throughout his tenure, firmness and fairness reigned. The congregation learned to work together once again. The church was completely redecorated, and the present rectory was constructed in 1917 at a cost of $10,000.00. Church societies such as the Ladies Altar and Rosary Societies and the Men's Society, were begun. The faith became so dominant that several girls from the parish decided to become nuns. Ill health forced Father Kupka to retire in 1941. He was succeeded by the Rev. Max. Kluczykowski, who continued the progress of the parish through 1948. During his pastorate the mission of Holy Trinity was merged with Holy Family. All that remains of the German Mission Church today is the cemetery, which is still cared for by Holy Family parishioners. The church undercroft was excavated, the interior of the church was refurbished, new pews were installed, the school basement was rebuilt, and new heating plants were installed in both the church and school.
In 1948, Rev. Stanislaus Lapinski was named pastor; stability strengthened as families intermarried and the community learned to become united. Holy Family Church & Rectory in 1918 On July 9, 1952, Father Edward Roskos was appointed pastor of Holy Family by Bishop John P. Treacy. Records indicated that during his pastorate of twenty years, Father Roskos was granted permission to enlarge and remodel the school.
Suffering from a prolonged illness, Father Roskos retired on August 17, 1972 as the second longest- term pastor in the history of the parish. His retirement was short lived, however, as he died October 8, 1972, and was buried in Holy Family Cemetery on October 11, 1972.
Father Roskos is the only pastor of the parish buried in the parish cemetery. His tombstone is located directly behind the white crucifixion scene in the center of the cemetery.
August 28, 1972, started the three-year pastorate of Father Richard J. Herrmann. He was appointed pastor by Bishop F. W. Freking. Under Father Herrmann leadership, renovations in the parish continued. On July 15, 1975, Father Herrmann resigned to accept an assignment elsewhere. His successor, Father Thomas Langer, newly named principal of Newman High School in Wausau was officially installed as pastor by the Very Rev. Hilary F. Simmons, then Dean of the Wausau Deanery, on October 1, 1975. Under the direction and leadership of Father Thomas Langer, the parish had taken on more of the new look of Vatican II.
While minor renovations of the rectory and church undercroft had been completed, emphasis had been placed on education and liturgy.
A century of faith and worship - with the first Mass in the John Literski (now James Literski) the 100th anniversary celebration of Holy Family Parish of Poniatowski - took place on Sunday, July 31, 1977, with a Mass of Thanksgiving concelebrated by Bishop F. W. Freking and other priests. A barbecued chicken dinner following the Mass was served. Booths, games, refreshments, live and old time music, were provided.
Outdoor Mass - The members of Holy Family Catholic Church in Poniatowski celebrated the American Bicentennial on Sunday with an outdoor mass and an old fashioned family picnic in the afternoon.
In summary, the history of Holy Family is perhaps not unlike that of countless in a stubborn wilderness. (The woods were so thick in the early days that settlers would frequently get lost on the trails to Edgar). The trip from Poniatowski to Edgar was often impossible during the winter months. By todays standards, those were not only hard, but they seem almost exaggerated. Though they had little of what we now consider indispensable, the people of Poniatowski did have what it takes to get things done, and they had it in abundance.
Accordian to Historian Noonan, "They had tenacity of purpose and honest Christian caliber about them that motivated the necessary sacrifice and effort to build well for the glory of God and the good of their souls.
No in its fifth generation, the faithful of Holy Family Parish continue to provide for the Church whenever asked. For one hundred years the faithful members have tested their loyalty and endurance and continue to find themselves not lacking in their love for God.
Father Langer's resignation as principal of Newman Catholic High School in Wausau was accepted as of June 8, 1979. Being also a pastor of Holy Family Parish, Poniatowski, he was granted a leave of absence from the diocese so that he could accept an assignment as principal of the Parkersburg Catholic High School, Parkersburg, WV. effective July 2, 1979. He was succeeded by our present pastor Rev. Lloyd Geissler, who was installed officially as the Pastor of Holy Dedication of Holy Trinity Mission Church August 6,1906 Records show that another Catholic Church was erected, less than a quarter mile from Holy Family Church, to serve the Catholics of German ancestry - who also were attracted to the area by Fred Rietbrock. Among the early German settlers were the names of Berres, Fischer; Meyer, Krell, Rauen, Braun and others. Their first church, a log one, was built in 1899. Later, it was replaced by a brick-veneer building in 1905. In the early days, the German speaking settlers were attended by priests who spoke German from neighboring parishes. Rev. Anthony E. Muehlenkamp, Athens, Wisconsin, was the very first priest to have said the first Mass. Later, Holy Trinity, as the German Parish was called became a Mission of Holy Family, the Polish church. The problem of language was of great importance to the Polish and German immigrants in those days. With time and intermarriages between the German and Polish people, that problem was solved.
With the appointment of Father Florian Kupka as Pastor of Holy Family, he was also appointed to serve Trinity Mission Church, by Bishop fames Schwebach. Services were held every Sunday at 9 A.M. while the Holy Family had the later Mass at 10 A.M.
The first candle holders and liturgy book stand that were used in the church were made by Thomas Berres.
At first the nuns furnished the organ music for the Trinity Mission Church; the following organist was Nora Berres. Next Lolly Krell, who later married Joseph Meyer, played for the services; and when she moved to Milwaukee, Miss Angeline Rauen, daughter of the Charles Rauens took over, at the age of 15. This was in 1925. She was the organist until the closing of the church in March of 1943. The first wedding she played 'for was that of Lydia Rauen and Lawrence Bradfish.
Father Kupka served the Trinity Mission Church until he retired in 1941, because of ill health. He was replaced by Rev. Max. Kluczkowski, and it was during his pastorate that the Holy Trinity Church was merged with Holy Family, in 1945.
A permanent marker was placed at the site of the altar of the church, by the Rev. Edward Roskos, then pastor of Holy Family Church. It was in memory of the many masses said in the church during the past years.
The pews of the church were donated to the congregation of the Holy Name Catholic Church in Wausau, and the material was used in the construction of an addition at the Holy Family Catholic School.
The brick veneer church structure was never modernized and was lighted with oil lamps, while stoves provided the heat. The church was then razed in 1954. All that remains of the German Mission today is the cemetery, which is cared for by the Holy Family parishioners.
World War I began in 1914, and in the year of 1917, the United States became involved in a war against Germany. During this time rationing of flour and sugar took place and the "flu" claimed many lives of soldiers abroad and civilians at home. This war ended in November, 1918.
After this was, the World War II outbreak began in 1939 and lasted until 1945. Food rationing, war bonds, scrap metal drives, gasoline and fuel oil rations stamps and shortages were common at home. A few years after this war ended we again ex- perienced the Korean and Vietnamese conflicts. Men and women from the Town of Rietbrock that were in Military Service during World War I, World War II, Korean, Vietnam, Army Reserves, U.S. Marines, U.S. Navy, Air Corp. and National Guards were the following:
Alphonse Gantner wounded during World War, and died as a result one year latter.  Albrecht, Peter  Bargender, John  Cichon, Frank  'Hart, George - killed in service  Jagodzinski, Joseph  Jesko, John  Klawinski, Anton  Klawinski, John  Kroll, John  Kulas, John  *Matysik, Alexander - killed in service  Mueller, Arthur  Murkowski, Joseph  Myszka, Casimir  Myszka, Philip  Riehle, Anton  Socha, George  Teresinski, Anton  Teresinski, John  Wisnewski, John A.  Wisnewski, John J.  Wisnewski, Joseph  Wisnewski, Leo  Writz, Stan  Andris, Mark  Artman, Dennis  * Belter, George - killed in service  Belter, George J.  Bergs, Victor  Bonin, Leonard  Bonin, Eugene  Bornheimer, Elmer  Bornheimer, Leo Jr.  Bradfish, Arland  Brinkman, Raymond  Brodziski, Alexander  Brodziski, Frank  Bronowicz, Edwin  Bronowicz, Henry  Chojonowski, Chester  Chojonowski, Clemens  Cichon, Alois  Cichon, Ervin  Gajewski, Alois  Gajewski, Lawrence  Gajewski, Raymond  Gajewski, Stanley  *Gantner, Alpnonse-wounded and  died as a result a year later  Gantner, Lawrence  Gantner, Wilfred  Gauerke, Bernard  Gauerke, Dale  Gauerke, Dennis  Gauerke, James  Gauerke, William  Geerdts, Brian  Gesicki, Edmund  Gesicki, John R.  Gesicki, Jerome  Gesicki, Anthony  Gesicki, Theodore  Guralski, Albert  Guralski, David  Guralski, Harvey M.  Handzlewski, Francis  Hart, John A.  Karlen, Ervin  Kemp, Gene  Kolpack, Bryce  Kolpack, Terry  Kraft, Ronald  Kropp, Alfred  Kropidlowski, Kenneth  Kulas Clarence  Kulas, George  Lee, Raymond  Lenard, Stephen  Lipinski, Joseph  Lipinski, John  Lipinski, Raymond  Literski, Alois  Literski, Edward  Literski, Michael  Lukasko, James  Mallak, Bernard A.  Mauer, Matthew  Miller, Benedict  Miller, Edward  Miller, George  Miller, Gene  Miller, John T.  Miller, Robert  Mroczenski, Dennis  Mroczenski, Edward  *Mroczenski, Joseph - killed in service  Mroczenski, Julian  Mroczenski, Leo J.  Murkowski, Anthony  Murkowski, Clemens  Murkowski, Thomas  Myszka, Andrew  Myszka, Benedict J.  Myszka, Donald L.  Myszka, James  Myszka, John A. Jr.  Myszka, Kenneth  Myszka, Louis  Myszka, Norbert T.  Myszka, Paul (  Myszka, Victor  Nimmerguth, Clarence  Nimmerguth, George Be  Nowicki, John  Nowicki, Robert  Passehl, DuWayne W  Passehl, Jerome Sr.  Passehl, Jerome Jr.  Penno, Carl  Redman, Ernest  Redman, Frederick Jr.  Redman, Robert  Reuter, Marvin  Riehle, Kenneth (  Riehle, James  Riske, Ernest M  Schaetzl, John Jr. M  Schaetzl, Richard Aj  Schueller, Andrew  Sekorski, John  Sekorski, Paul  Senki, Joseph  Sliwicki, Michael  Socha, Edward  Socha, George  Soczka, Edward  Sommer, Thomas  Stencil, Alois  Stencil Benedict  Stencil, Clarence  *Stenzel, Lawrence - killed in service  Stenzel, Luke Jr.  Switlick, Florian  Switlick, Mark  Trojanowski, Anton  Urmanski, Joseph Jr.  Urmanski, Richard  Viegut, Eugene  Wadzinski, Anton  Walters, Wallace  Waskowiak, Clarence  Waskowiak, Stanley  Waskowiak, Thomas  Wesley, Arnold  Williams, Harvey  Williams, Myron  Williams, Clifford  Wisnewski, Arthur  Wisnewski, Dale  Wisnewski, Donald  Wisnewski, Edmund  Wisnewski, George  Wisnewski, Norbert  Wisnewski, Mark  Wisnewski, Richard  Wisnewski, Robert  Witucki, George  Witucki, Lawrence  Witucki, Stanley  Witucki, Sylvester  Writz, Benjamin  Writz, Daniel  Writz, Florian  Writz, Jerome  Writz, Raymond  Writz, Stanley  Ziegel, Frank  Bergs, Mildred M. (Brill)  Bergs, Viola G (Godina)  Mauer, Marcella (O'Malley)  Mroczenski, Clara (Wirkus)  Wisnewskw, Leona (McJimsey)
an apology is requested if there is an error or an or an omission in the listing.
Youngest Resident of Town of Rietbrock in 1980
Karen, the youngest citizen of the Town of Rietbrock was born at Wausau Hospital Center at Wausau, Wisconsin on November 12, 1979. She is the daughter of Kenneth and Kathy (Langer) Lang. They moved to Poniatowski in June, 1975, from Wausau. Ken is an electrician for Murray Machinery Co. in Wausau.
Karen has a sister Kristine, who is six years old and attends kindergarten at Edgar Public School, and a brother Carl, who will be four years old in March.
Town of Rietbrock's Oldest Resident in 1980
Mrs. Frank Belter (Mary Brodziski) was born in Poland in the year of 1884. She came to this country with her parents when she was six years of age. Mary married Frank Belter in 1902. Their first home was on the former Skoczynski farm (now owned by Sylvester Lipinski, Jr.) where they resided for one and one-half years. Their next move was to the Village of Athens. After ten years there, they purchased their farm south of Athens. Although Frank passed away in 1948, Mary still resides at the farm she has called home for the past sixty-five years. Their children were as follows: Martha (Matysik) deceased, Bernard, John, dec., Joseph, Edward, George (Killed in World War II, 1943), Ervin, Leo, Frank, Irene (Machewicz) and Bernice (Jankowski). Mary is a member of the American Legion Auxillary of Athens and has been a Gold Star Mother in the Town of Rietbrock for the past thirty-six years.
Longest- Married Couple in The Town of Rietbrock (1980)
Congratulations to Robert and Dorothy (Schueller) Gantner for reaching their 63rd wedding anniversary on November 27, 1979.
Mr. Gantner was born in Belguim, Wisconsin, and came to work in Rib Falls in his young days. Dorothy was born in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, and also came to Rib Falls area in her young days. They were married in St. John's Catholic Church in Edgar, Wisconsin, on November 27, 1916.
They have lived in the Town of Rietbrock ever since their marriage. They once lived on a tract of land now owned by Charles Rauen, by Otto Gust, and on Edward Gesicki farm before buying a tract of land in Section 10, Township 29-N, Range 4-E. This farm is about one and one-half miles northwest of Poniatowski, and this is where they still live.
While they farmed here, Dorothy still found time to work at the Edgar basket factory for many years.
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Gantner Ten children blessed this marriage-five sons and five daughters. They are: Alphonse (deceased), Lawrence, Joseph, Wilfred, Claude, Germaine (Guralski), Caroline (Witucki), Lucille (Rausch), Mary Jane (Frieders), and Frances (Brodziski). Robert enjoys gardening and fishing while Dorothy also helps with the gardening and does sewing for her children and grandchildren.
From all the residents of Rietbrock, we wish you many more anniversaries.
RECREATION AND CLUB ORGANIZATIONS
In the early days when the settlers were scattered all over the woods, they had no time for recreation of any kind. Their work was too demanding to have much time left for any play. Rest was their best enjoyment.
Fish and game were very plentiful in the early days. For meat they ate mainly deer, rabbit, squirrel, partridge, wild ducks or geese. Many lacked guns, so they made traps. For fishing they made a hook and line, a trap, net and spears. From deer skins, mittens were made and usually from the bear skins they made "lap robes" to cover up. Most of the hunting those days was done with muzzle loader guns. In later years, venison and other wild meats were supplemented by other animals. Most every farm acquired pigs for their own consumption. With the help of a neighbor, a pig was butchered as needed. Most of the pork was put into a salt brine and often smoked for better taste and keeping. In those days meat grinders were not available. Men would kill, scald and cut up the animals, while the women cleaned the casings for sausages, and cut up meat for liver and blood sausages. One specialty was head- cheese. When the meat grinders became available, the "kielbasa" was made. Although today there are a lot of bow and arrow hunters, hunting with a rifle is still most popular during the week-long season in November.
Before their children grew up, the women had to take them out to the fields and attend to the wants and needs of the little ones while they helped their husbands saw down trees, cut them into logs, bum them, help in the picking of stones, and harvest. As the youngsters grew up, they then had to help with these chores. The youngsters had calves, lambs, cats and dogs for pets. Art Nowicki recalls making a harness for his two pet dogs. Prince and Sport, a team. They weighed 70 lbs. each. While a teacher was boarding and rooming at his father's home during the winter months and the roads became drifted, he would harness the dogs to his sleigh to haul their books and lunch to the Silver Arrow School. Art and the teacher followed the tracks the dogs made with the sleigh. As they arrived at the school, he un- harnessed the dogs and covered them. At noon he would feed them; they then waited until Art was ready to go back home. When the roads were very good in winter they made four miles in 25 minutes.
Those days family visits at the neighbor's home were quite common. They would meet usually on holidays and birthdays. Now days, many card clubs are held in homes. The youngsters played some games while the adults became involved in "schafskopf". Some would be high winners, others "booby" winners.
As the years progressed, a lot of granary dances were held, with two or three musicians. With no halls available, the wedding receptions were held at home. Meals were prepared and served at the bride's home. Neighbor ladies would come and help with the baking for days before the wedding. The wedding dance was usually held in the barn on the thresh floor or in the granary. It was a custom in the early days to have a "bride's dance." The gentleman had to drop a silver dollar on a plate, and if it cracked or broke he could dance with the bride. Later the custom was discontinued-either the bride or the musicians, with the continuous dancing or playing, were tired out, or to many plates were broken. When the dance halls came into existence, the wedding dances were held at the halls.
Now days, many people travel to the lakes each weekend with their campers-or they have their own cottages or have access to one - and spend their recreational time fishing, swimming, boating and water skiing.
Snowmobiling has become quite popular for all ages in the Town of Rietbrock. The clubs have organized and established trails in the township and adjoining townships.
Roller skating is enjoyed by the youngsters, while bowling is still a popular event for men, women and couples having their leagues.
Television provides many hours of entertainment for all ages. It has made a remarkable progress, inasmuch as having color television is now common in most homes; more than one TV set is found in many homes.
Greiner Bros Orchestra
Ralph and Glenn Greiner formed a seven piece Bohemian style orchestra in 1955 and rapidly became known as one of Wisconsin's finest Ole Time bands. The Greiner Brothers Orchestra has made many appearances on television and radio, including a live T.V. show on CH. 12, Rhinelander.
The band has made four albums to date, one on Northland, one on Cuca, and two on the ever popular Polkaland label.
Club Activities-- Rietbrock Extension, Homemakers Club 1937-1980
Forty-two years ago in the month of November, 1937, a group of eight women gathered to form a "Homemaker's Club". With the help of Miss Helen Pearson, then the Home Demonstration Agent of Marathon County, and Miss Eunice Wilke, now Mrs. Henry Diedrich, the group organized at the Hoffman School, town of Rietbrock.
Officers elected at this meeting were: President - Mrs. Alfred Diedrich Vice-President - Mrs. Edwin Peters Secretary - Mrs. Lester Neuens This club has steadily grown and at present there are 16 active members. Two of these are honorary members. Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at homes of the members.
A fine spirit of cooperation is noted in the many activities carried on by the club throughout the year, including the following ones:
1. Interesting reports by leaders on subjects pre- sented at leader's school meetings.
2. Donations to all worth while projects.
3. A sunshine fund from which gifts are sent to ill members.
4. A white elephant sale and an auction sale.
5. An annual card party at which husbands of the members are as guests.
6. An annual picnic in July to which the entire family is invited.
7. An attractive booth is to be set up by members in the fall at the Athens Fair.
8. A Christmas party for members and with an exchange of gifts from her "Secret Pal".
The Club has participated in many programs throughout the years, namely: A "Mother Goose Party" presented by the Rietbrock Homemakers on County Day October 6, 1949; a Stage Nite on March 16 & 17, 1950; a Stunt Nite "A Day to Remember" held 1951. Many premiums were awarded for booths at the Athens Fair in the years of 1950, 1951, bakery booths in 1952, 1953, and display of articles in 1954 and 1961.
The Rietbrock Club members celebrated their 25th Anniversary September 30, 1962, as an organization- with a dinner at Trianon Ballroom for all former members and husbands.
A special guest was Mrs. Henry Diedrich, who with Miss Helen Pearson, a former county agent, organized the club in 1937. All the first officers were present, namely: Mrs. Alfred Diedrich, president; Mrs. Edwin Peters, vice-president; Mrs. Joseph Albrecht, secretary- treasurer. Cards were played and prizes were awarded. Fall flowers graced the tables and formed the corsages that were presented to the women.
Throughout the years, Mrs. Otillie Burger and Mrs. Alex Ellenbecker Homemaker Club member's have attended a number of Conventions that were held in Hawaii, Maine, twice at Texas, Seattle Washington, Kentucky, Porto Rico, Denver, and a few times at Illinois. The last few years Mr. and Mrs. William Sprenger have also attended Conventions at Dearborn, Michigan, Florida, Virginia, and New Mexico. The club is in existence for 43 years. The present officers are:
President - Mrs. Jerome Passehl
Vice-President - Mrs. Arthur Nowicki
Secretary - Mrs. Ben Artman
Treasurer - Mrs. Gregory Hart
Sunshine Officer - Mrs. William Sprenger
Hi Neighbor-- Extension Homemakers Club
On March 17, 1949 Mrs. Clarence Meyer decided to invite ladies from the neighborhood to her home for the purpose of organizing a Homemakers Club. Only 6 ladies attended and this was disappointing. But those present proceeded to organize and elect officers - president, Mrs. Clarence Meyer; Vice- president, Mrs. Cyril Bornheimer; secretary, Mrs. Clifford Kolpack; and treasurer, Mrs. Gilbert Mauer. At the April meeting 5 new members joined. Leader lessons for the first year included: curtains and drapes, cooking with a pressure cooker, making salads, sewing skirts and making lamp shades. Leader lessons throughout the years have been varied and stimulating.
In 1950, we gave miniature banks, with each member contributing money into it, to all the new babies born to dub members. We had money making projects, proceeds which were used in the community. All members participated in a Home Nursing Course, given by a County Nurse at Kroll's recreation room. We also had special holiday parties just for the children. We still enjoy family picnics in the summer and have Christmas parties with the husbands as guests.
Through the years we donated to various needy organizations. We have enriched our lives and those of our families and community by taking advantage of and participating in Extension programs and special interest programs. At present, our 10 members still meet monthly and look forward to many more years of learning and growing both physically and mentally.
There are also other women in the Town of Rietbrock that belong to other clubs.
Rietbrock 4-H Club
A 4-H Club was organized in 1938 by N.K. Aderhold. The group was very small. They took their produce and animals to the Wausau Fair, and after one year membership it was discontinued. In 1953 - 1955 it was again organized by Mr. John (Florence) Schaetzl and Mrs. Leo (Regina) Bornheimer and called the "Poniatowski Pals". Meetings were attended by the group each month. At Fair time at Athens they usually displayed their articles and set up the Booth.
As interests were weakening and transportation was not available for some of the members to get to the meetings, it, too, slowly was discontinued.
Poniatowski-- Daredevils Snowmobile Club
The Poniatowski Daredevils is the name of the town of Rietbrock's snowmobile club. It was organized in 1975, and incorporated in December of that year. Thirty-seven members joined that year and the membership has held steady since then. The name "Daredevils" was selected after local snowmobiles practiced jumping over a Poniatowski strawstack. Presently the club maintains about 30 miles of snow- mobile trails in the area. This past year the club purchased a dragging machine called a "weasel". Members are in the process of customizing the machine and a drag to better groom the trails. The Daredevils activities include a variety of things - participating in the snowmobile safety courses, chili suppers, landowners parties, bonfires and club rides.
BUSINESSES OF TODAY (1980)
John R. Gesicki General Merchandise Store & Tavern
Records show that in 1885 thru 1887 the General Merchandise Store went under the name as Blaszka's and Chesak's Store; and in 1889 it went under Chesak, Blaszka & Co. From 1890-1899, it was Martin Chesak & Son. Thereafter Joseph kept the interests and 1905 Joseph Chesak, wife Mary and sons John and Thomas, became the Chesak Company, a corporation, on about 17 acres, subject to a lease given by the parties of the first part to the George A Kreutzer Creamery Co. of Athens, Wisconsin where the Creamery was established. Clipping taken from The Herald Focu, of 1-,,C17 Ledgers kept in Chesak's careful handwriting indicate in those early days he bought as much from his customers as he sold. Every purchase and sale was entered in a 640 page, bound, leather book. Eggs and butter were his main purchases, with the farmers bringing him as much as 285 pounds of butter at one time. He was paying 6 cents a dozen for eggs. Entries in the journal mark a sharp contrast with prices today. Some examples are: I bottle wine 50 cent: 1/8 keg beer 50 cents; 1 lb. coffee 13 cents, About 1924. Poniatowski. The John Gesicki Sr. Saloon & Store, was owned by John Gesicki, Jr.
Records show that in 1901 this was a store and Office owned by Joseph Chesak. Also was a stopover for the Wausau, Rib Athens horse drawn stage line.
John R. Gesicki, present owner, cherishes the precious historical journal.
The store hasn't lost its flavor of the old general store. It's been in the Gesicki family for sixty-eight years, ever since the Chesak Co. Corporation sold it to Leo and Joe Gesicki in 1912, (with the exception of the Creamery building and the right of way around it) and then bought by John Gesicki, Sr. They had many things going. They had one of the first locker plants in the county when the locker was opened in 1936. The cooler was enlarged to keep up with the demand for beer by-the-case. John Sr., and his brother had a franchise for International Harvester farm equipment. There are three ice house on the property, but they are no longer used. They were usually filled with ice from the pond, so that beer could be cooled in the summer time. During the threshing season, between 175 and 200 kegs of beer were sold each week. They were the only suppliers for miles with cold beer.
A large dance hall at the rear of the store, is owned by Gesickis, which was a gathering place for many dances and weddings. Another small hall south- Gesicki's small hall located south west of the store and tavern used for many occasions.
west of the store was also remodeled by them in the year of 1932 or 33. Many school programs were held and main meals were prepared for yearly church picnics, besides other activities. It was also the Town of Rietbrock's voting place until the Municipal Building was erected. Their park served as picnic grounds many years for the yearly church picnics. When John Sr., died, John, Jr., his mother, and a brother, Edward, took over the business. However, Edward gave it up in favor of farming.
Frances who died at the age of 91 was very spry and alert. She is remembered by many where she sat on her favorite chair, always ready to greet her friends who came to shop. She was noted for the front window of the store filled with a small greenhouse of flowers and plants, which is still kept up by John's wife Loretta.
Bronowicz Bros. Inc.
In 1959, Henry and Mary Bronowicz with their four children, Zenia, Hank, Edwin and Irene moved onto the place now known as Bronowicz Bros., Inc. They moved here from Bronson, Michigan, a small town near the Indiana border. Henry was a full-time tailor and part-time farmer and with the move to Wisconsin he became a full-time farmer.
In 1968, after boths sons-Hank and Ed-served in the Army, Henry sold the farm to his sons as a partnership. Hank and Ed farmed the place and in 1971 they began a sideline tractor business, with the help of a brother-in-law Dennis Bohl. By 1976, the tractor business became so successful and both businesses took more time then three people could handle; it was decided to sell out the dairy part of the business. In April, 1976, the cows were auctioned and the tractor business became a full-time business then called Reconditioned Tractors.
In February, 1978, the business incorporated and became known as "Bronowicz Bros., Inc.," with the three employees of the corporation being Hank and Ed Bronowicz and Dennis Bohl.
Ownership of Bronowicz Bros. Farm
Jan. 22, 1857 Nov. 17, 1950, Hirman T. & Hannah Ross, Hirman W. & Sarah A. Ross, Jan. 15, 1878, Fred Rietbrock & wife Helen M. &, L.W. Halsey, Nov. 21, 1884, Lawrence W. Halsey, April 1, 1910, Pierson L. Halsey, August 7, 1914, Mary Gertrude Halsey, Nov. 24, 1915, Herman F. Aderhold & wife Lela, Sept. 25, 1947, T.B. Charlton, July 1, 1950, Robert Dunkel & wife Dorothy F., Nov. 17, 1950, T.B. Charlton, Nov. 27, 1950, Francis J. Conway, Aug. 4, 1951, Glenn I. Berry & wife Irene O., May 14, 1952, Francis J. Conway, June 16, 1952, Theodore J. Papierniak & wife, Helen B., May 24, 1954, John M. Lato & wife Mary T., March 30, 1959, Henry Bronowicz & wife Mary T., March 30, 1959, Henry Bronowicz & wife Mary T., March 14, 1975, Marion A. & Edwin T. Bronowicz, Nicholas Karlen, Contracting &, Excavating, Buldozing - Excavating -, Hydra-Hammer - Scraper -, Trenching
On July 12, 1957, Nicholas &arlen started his business with a small backhoe As the years went by he replaced the old machines with used and new equipment. Since Sept., ,970, he has operated with hired help. The last too and one half years he's been running the business with four men, five machines and two truckd" with low-boy trailers. The five machines are as follows, John Deer '310' backhoe and loader, 'Case '880' backhoe on tracks, Case '1150B, buldozer with power angle blade and rippe, John Deere '750' bulldozer with power tilt blade and Cat. '613' earthmover, eleven yds. The business has done really well in the last twenty-two and one-half years. Nicholas tries to keep the machinery in good running condition and to satisfy his customers.
Ervin Karlen, Carpenter
Born and raised in the town of Rietbrock, Ervin is well known in the surrounding area for his efficient management procedures in his profession. He, with a small crew, has built countless sheds, barns and a number of new houses in the past 19 years that he has operated his own business. His son, Patrick is at present working with him.
Sylvester D. Ellenbecker, President of the company, started his block-laying business in 1968, under the name of Ellenbecker Construction. The business incorporated in 1972 and changed its name to S.D. Ellenbecker Inc. "We now do all types of industrial and commercial work and have an average of 20 to 25 employees," said Sylvester D., as he told of the activities of his corporation.
Frank Omelian & Sons, Sales & Service
The Omelians say that what started out in 1968 as a "hobby affair" has today grown beyond their expectations. Doing their overhauling and repairing of tractors lead to doing custom work for people.
Now they also do buying and selling of tractors and machinery for customers.
Bob's Welding & Repair
Bob and Janice Scheelk moved to the Town of Rietbrock on the corner at Highway 97 and 29 in 1967, and started a small welding shop. They pre- sently do tractor overhauls, make snow buckets, repair farm equipment, and do all kinds of welding jobs (etc). He also does bulldozing, farm ponds, clearing, manure pits, stumping, etc.
Country Ceramics Country Ceramics Building
Country Ceramics was officially started in October, 1976, by Beverly Stencil and Gayle Mauer, co-owners at Route 2, Edgar, Wisconsin. After attending classes, seminars, making up and selling many finished pieces of ceramics. Gayle and Beverly decided to form a partnership. They opened a small shop in Beverly's home, where they had classes teaching others to do what they themselves enjoyed doing- plus finishing gifts for other people. The manufacturing of greenware was done at Gayle Mauer's house. Today they are located in a newly-constructed 3600 square foot building, designed for all their needs. They now pour about 1500 molds, do the firings, and supply everything that goes with ceramics, including kilns. They have people coming to their shop from all over Wisconsin, as well as from other neighboring states. They have found that it was a very enjoyable hobby that turned into a full time business. It keeps the two of them very busy - keeping the shop stocked, teaching classes, waiting on people and answering questions daily.
"All the way to Wausau for a hamburger and a soft serve ice cream cone?" This is the question that probably started the thinking and eventual building of what is now the Snack Shack on the Edgar comer, Jct. H and Hwy. 29, owned and operated by Len and Shirley Lechlietner.
The Snack Shack was opened on Sept. 12, 1975, specializing in fast food service, and featuring soft serve ice cream cones, shakes and sundaes, hamburgers, fries, chicken and plate lunches. Beginning in 1977, daily specials were offered with homemade pie and rolls. Fish fries were served every Friday from 11 A.M. until 10 P.M.
It has become well known to area residents and to the many truckers who enjoy the large parking area.
Rietbrock Ready Mix
Rietbrock Ready Mix was the name chosen for the ready-mix business because of its location in this township. It sounded like an interesting name to Arlyn Stencil, owner and manager.
The business began with Arlyn purchasing a 1962 Reo mixer truck in 1972. He set up a small plant and would do concrete work on weekends and on his vacation time from a job in Wausau.
The following year he went into the ready-mix and contracting business full time. It now has worked its way up to four mixer trucks, dump trucks, backhoe and air hammer. They employ on an average of 15 men during the summer season.
They haul concrete in about a 30-mile radius. The future holds the hope of setting up a new plant to be more efficient. All this was possible because of a lot of hard work and many nice people who "gave them a chance".
Joseph Stencil in 1932 worked for his dad, Anton Stencil, in the logging business in Michigan-where he did all the road building during the summer. Later he moved to Boulder Junction, Wisconsin, where he built roads for four years with a Cat-dozer.
His life-long ambition finally came true in 1972 when he purchased his first Caterpillar D-6 dozer. Joe said "With the fine cooperation of all the good people in the area, my business has expanded to one having 5 - Bulldozers, 1 Case 980 Backhoe, 2 - 20 yard earth movers, a Brush Rake and Disc for land clearing".
Harvey Soczka-- Trucking and Dairy
With a heap of determination and ambition behind it, a new business emerged in the spring of 1971. Harvey Soczka was just reading a newspaper when he noticed an ad for an authority for sale. He laid the paper aside but sooner than he thought, the notion grabbed him and not letting go, he got in the car and picked up a friend and headed for Madison. When the authority was officially issued on April 22, 1971, the first truck he started with was a 1962 Chevrolet. Since then it has extended to many areas within the state of Wisconsin, and includes forest products from wood producers and manufactured forest products from various lumber mills, and road building materials and decomposed granite for many contractors within the state. He is now the proud operator of four trucks and tractors and five semi- trailers.
With the help of his two sons Kenneth and Arlin, he also operates a 256 acre dairy farm.
Sheds that cover and shade fields from 1/8 acre to many more acres are found in the Town of Rietbrock along with many areas throughout the Marathon County.
At one time Town of Rietbrock was also a producer of ginseng, but when the depression came many growers had discontinued the raising due to the market prices.
Today seeds are planted in fall in large gardens covered with straw, and in spring the plants come thru the straw. All weeding is done by hand. In three or four years the berries are also picked by hand and from these berries the growers get their seed. Mature ginseng (about 4 years old) is harvested in fall. After the roots are dug, they are washed and then dried until no moisture is left and then sold. Ginseng is shipped to the Orient. People in that part of the world, especially the Chinese and the Koreans, value the root for its medicinal properties. Today American companies make vitamins out of the roots, tea etc.
In the Town of Rietbrock some of our ginseng growers to mention a few are, George and Charlotte Murkowski, Dennis Nowacki, Jerome Seubert, Randall Murkowski and few other beginners.
Tony & Charlene's Tavern, Former John J. Wisnewski Tavern
Beginning at the center post of section 14 in township 29 north range 4E, thence running west on the quarter line 60 rods, thence, south 8 rods, thence 60 rods to the north and south quarter line of said section 14, thence north 8 rods to the place of beginning, said parcel being a part of northeast quarter of the southwest quarter of said section 14-29-4E containing three acres were purchased in the year of 1885 by Alois and Barbara Schwager. In 1900 it was sold to Anna Saugkuhl by the widow Schwager. She in turn sold it to Philip M. Berres and Phillip Metz that same year. In July of 1901 Albert Wisnewski acquired this property then sold it to Julius Wisnewski in 1903.
The other owners in subsequent order were: 1906 Julius Wisnewski sold to John Cier, 1910 John Cier sold to Joseph Jagodzinski. The hall was used for town meetings, voting purposes, weddings, dances, school programs and many other functions.
In February of 1932, the building was destroyed by fire; but John Wisnewski immediately rebuilt, with the exception of the hall which was discontinued. Instead, he built living quarters, tavern and a store which he and his family moved into in September of 1932. All activities were then held at the John Gesicki Hall. As a side income, John Wisnewski also built a blacksmith shop, across the road to the north from his business place. This building was demolished by Kenneth Reuter, the present owner. John made logging sleighs, repaired wagons, shrunk wagon rims, shod horses and did all sorts of repair work for the farmers. Besides, he was also doing masonary work. In the back of his shop.
1915 Joseph Jagodzinski sold to Vincent Milkowski of Athens
1917 Louis Braun took over this property from Milkowski
1921 Ruth and Earl Braun, infants thru their guardian Anna Braun sold this property to John Wisnewski.
In October of 1920, John Wisnewski, son of Anton and Mary Wisnewski, married Mary Teresinski, daughter of John and Josephine Teresinski. They purchased the business place in fall of 1920, taking up residency in 1921. They had three children.
John J. Wisnewski.
Jonn wvisnewski store & tavern now owned and operated by Tony and Charlene Zychowicz-- buyer of veal calves for Charles Barrett and later for the Edgar Packing Plant. After being in business for 26 years, they sold their interests to'John and Lillian Kroll, in 1947. After the death of John Kroll, Lillian later sold the property to Sylvester and Caroline Kraft in 1954, taking over residency in 1955. After being in business for 14 years. they sold their interests to their son and daughter-in-law, Dennis and Rose Kraft, in 1969. During their three-year tenure, some improvements were made and it was then sold to Richard and Muriel Jurek, in 1972. They, in turn, sold the property to the present owners-Tony and Charlene Zychowicz on February 1, 1975.
Alex Cichon, pioneer and owner of a part of land in the area, moved a granary from his premises, brought it to the comer of his land, and remodeled it into a saloon. One day a few pioneers were conversing with one another when one said, "What shall we call this place?" One of them was having a "Schnapps" (another name for whiskey) just then someone perked up and said, "Let's call it Schnappsville." And so it was. It is located two miles north of Highway 29 on County Trunk M. Alex purchased a sawmill, a shingle mill, and set up behind the saloon. Then came along Quaw & Schill Co. and rented a parcel of land for their landing, so they could purchased logs in the area. M.M. Schaetzl was the scaler at the time. From this landing the logs were transported to Edgar. ocnnappsviVe savern in tne . Adam Matysik holding son Myron. Little did Myron realize then, he would some day be the owner and operator of the Schnappsville Bar today.
As the farmers cleared the land and farming was increasing, Cichon and three other farmers went in company and bought a "threshing rig", so that they could thresh their grain for themselves and others. At one time or another the saloon was destroyed by fire for Cichon or Milkowski--the fact remains unknown. It was rebuilt, and Vincent Milkowski, one-time owner, sold it to Adam and wife Martha (Belter) Matysik in 1924. They operated the tavern until Adam passed away, Nov. 16, 1958, leaving his wife to take over the business. They had four children: Myron, Clarence (dec.) Elmira (Makowski) and Mary Ann (Lindstrum). After continuing the business for 15 years, Martha sold her interest to her son Myron and daughter-in-law Rita (Kropidlowski) in 1969. She then went to live with her daughter Elmira until her death.
Myron and Rita were married in 1954 and have six children, Cynthia (Karlen), Laurie, Tina, Marillee, Adam and Matthew. The tavern has been remodeled recently.
Pioneer Bar "Heiersville"
Pioneer Bar, which is located on County Trunk M about three-fourths of a mile east of Highway 97, is the only business left of what was once bustling with business and social activities and known as Heiersville. It was in 1914 that Adolph Heier purchased a tract of land with a dance hall and tavern in Section 8, Township 29-N Range 4-E, from N. Thull. He and his wife continued to operate the tavern, but they remodeled the building by making the dance hall smaller and using part of it for a general store.
This now meant that families could be closer to fresh supplies and thus the business became named Heiers- ville. The fact that a cheese factory was built across the road, in 1918, to serve area farmers helped to make the area and business more active. However, Adolf Heier was involved in a car accident, in 1939, which took his life and left his wife and small children to continue with the business. She discontinued the store and only operated the tavern until 1935, when she sold the business to William
Seven years later, in 1942, Lawrence and his wife LaVerna Bohl bought the business from William Barkow. They removed the dance hall and built on a new addition. After twenty years, they sold the tavern to Jerome and Kathleen Writz.
From 1962 until 1966 Jerome and Kathleen operated the business.
Harold Miller and wife Eleanor purchased the business in 1966 and operated Pioneer for twelve years. On April 15, 1978, Leonard Platta and wife Lena bought the business and are the present operators of the remodeled Pioneer Bar.
Dew Cum Inn Tavern
The Dew Gum Inn building was originally used for a home. It was built in 1906 by August Bothe and located 2 miles west of the Jct. of Hwy. 29 and 97 in the Town of Johnson. It was moved to its present site in 1946 by a man known as Scotty. The parcel of land on which it was moved was part of the Tony Brodziski farm. It has been operated as a tavern since 1946 and at a period of time a restaurant was also doing business there.
Fritz and Mary Bockhop purchased the business in 1960 and they operated the tavern and restaurant for two years. In 1962, they rented it to another party and the restaurant business was discontinued. Bock- hops moved back in 1964. A son, Gerald has been the manager since 1977 when Mrs. Bockhop, his mother. was killed in a traffic accident.
Gerald is also involved in the antique business since 1967 and he hauls items to and from Texas, Colorado, Iowa and Nebraska.
Living with Gerald are his father and a brother, Merlin.
In August, 1932, the Socha's moved from Kenosha and bought two acres of land from his father John Socha. On these premises Leo Socha, Sr., built an Inn and tavern.
At first only gas, cigarettes, candy and pop were sold, as this was in the prohibition days. Later, beer and liquor were added to the business. Also, three more children were added to the family-Lorraine, Leroy and Lester.
May, 1948 - Louis was electrocuted while working on the town road in Rietbrock.
July, 1961 - Leo, Sr., and Sophia retired after 32 years in business. Leo, Jr., and Leroy took over the business for one year.
July 1962 - Leo, Jr. took over the business alone and ran it until 1977.
May, 1965 - Leo Socha, Sr., died in a car accident on Highway 29, less than a mile from the tavern. He was 69 years old.
July, 1976 - Sophia Socha sold the tavern to Bob Bruegl, but Leo, Jr., continued to operate the tavern until Bob sold it in 1977, to Ftank Ziegel - the present owner.
Sophia Socha is still in good health and residing in the village of Edgar. She is presently 80 years old.
Annette & Wally's Bar
Fred Redman and wife Hazel had a tract of land SW Section 31, now at the Junction of Highways 29 & 97. They built a small gas station and later made a tavern out of it. For a time they had rented the place to Fred Bunde and then again to Scotty Johnson. Later Fred and Hazel Redman continued taking care of the business themselves until Fred's death; then Hazel continued the interests herself for awhile until she later sold the place to their son Bud. He built a new bar in 1958 and it was called Redman's Bar. After operating the business for a few years Bud and JoAnn sold their interests in 1962 to Wayne and Geri Belanger, who operated it for about nine years. They sold it to Walter Augustine in July, 1971, who named it Annette & Wally's, they continue to operate the business today.
In 1924, William and Tillie Nimmerguth bought a tract of land, situated in the NW Comer of Section 5 in the Town of Rietbrock, from Herman Habeck. William and Josie Lenhard opened up the tavern and operated the tavern business for a few years. The Nimmerguths then operated it from about 1927 until William passed away in 1935. In 1936, the top of the tavern was destroyed by fire. The remodeled one-story tavern was then rented to Ervin Habeck, Lenard Wozniak, Sylvester Schedcik, Viegut & Nietzel, Bill & Mary Boneski, Vivian Empey & Mildred Haferman, and Lester Thurs, in succession.
About 1943, Fred and Loma (Niemmerguth) Mootz purchased the place but never operated it. They sold the tavern to Allen McCory; then it was sold to Joe Jodge, Ed Mullins, Walter Klimpke, Wilfred Riehle, & Joe Handrick. The Handrick's rented it to Rick Westfall, and later it was rented to Ervin Boris. Joe Handricks sold it to Alvina Schueller; she sold the place to John Hass, and John sold it to present owners-Clarence and Rita Trzebiatowski.
CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER OF EVENTS
1878 Court House built in Poniatowski. Terms of school officers began at School District No. 1.
1879 Official charter was granted November 13, 1879. Poniatowski named after GENERAL JOZIF ANTONI PONIATOWSKI from Poland. This area was part of Stettin and Rib Falls. First "Polish Log Church" built. L. Schwager first Postmaster. First log rectory built. School District No. 2, - Hoffman School built.
1880 Town itself began functioning. Rib Falls and Rietbrock were separated. Voting was held to raise $200.00 for road tax, $250.00 for incidental funds, $50.00 for poor fund, and $100.00 for school tax. Town was divided into six Road Districts. Fred Rietbrock built a sawmill and a planeing mill. Frank Jermann applied for a town liquor license to keep a Saloon, for the sale in quantities less than one gallon of strong, spirituous malt ardent or intoxicating liquors to be drank on the premises or not to be drank on the premises. License was $25.00.
1881 Martin and Joseph Chesak received a liquor license. Joseph Chesak succeeded L. Schwager as postmaster.
1882 Supervisors of the town shall receive $1.50 per day at town meetings. Mathias Braun family moved to Poniatowski.
1883 A liquor license was now $25.00. Mathias Braun built the sawmill and the first creamery. Third sawmill built by Chesak.
1884 District School No. 3, Poniatowski White School built.
1885 Liquor license now $100.00.
1886 Motion that no town Aid should be given to any person residing in the Town of Rietbrock upon the loss of any livestock.
1887 $150.00 was raised for school purposes and $350.00 for current expenses. A request was made by the Chairman that saloon keepers close their Saloons at certain times during the whole year and also requested them to close their Saloons every time there were services in the Catholic Church in said Town to which the Saloon keeper did not consent, Therefore license was refused by the Supervisors.
1888 The Supervisors met at the Town Clerk office in the Town of Rietbrock for the purpose of granting license to the several Saloon keepers in said Town. Present Holy Family Brick- veneer church was built.
1889 Ordinance was made that no buck, boar, bulls or stallion be allowed to run at large in the Town of Rietbrock.
1890 Board of health organized with Jacob Mur- kowski as a chairman.
1891 Town Clerk was paid $90.00 a year for office work and $2.00 per day outside of the office. Mathias Braun moved his sawmill to Athens. A Creamery and butter factory was established at Poniatowski.
1892 A contract was made with W.S. Hennett & Co., Minneapolis MN to build an iron bridge with stone pieces for the sum of $1,259.00 across Black Creek on the section line between Section 2 and 3.
1893 The overseers of Highway shall receive cash for overwork in their respective road district after the regular Road tax is worked off but not to exceed $5.00 in anyone Road District.
1894 The chairman and supervisors shall receive $1.50 per day for the ensuing year for actual work in said town as Town Board.
1895 $300.00 to be raised for the purpose of surveying the whole town, and the balance for the surveying to be paid out of general fund now on hand. Long square stones to be set on section corner and 1/2 section and in center section. The town board to hire the help to survey the town with the approval of the county surveyers. The men shall not receive more than $1.00 per day. One of the Town Board to assist the surveyor and shall receive $1.50 per day.
1896 143 men voted at the annual meeting in April. Women were not allowed to vote.
1897 The town shall furnish 2" hemlock planks and spikes for a sidewalk from A. Schwager corner running south up to Chesak's Warehouse, the work shall be done by the Road District. Town purchased a town safe for treasurer for $75.00. Chairman was given a salary of $70.00 a year and Supervisors $35.00.
1898 Town Board was authorized by the voters to raise money to build a bridge on Range line between range 4 and 5.
1899 The first log German Church was built.
1900 Poll workers received $2.00 per election. Expenses for the year consisted of building roads and several bridges. 1901
1904 Cherry Grove Creamery built. Six more roads were built and several bridges. Holy Family Parish Frame School built. Every resident shall have the right to act as a poundmaster and use his own yard as a pound. Fifty cents per head must be paid by resident to retrieve impounded animal. 1905 John Cier who has a dance hall in connection with his Saloon agreed he will not have more than six dances during the year for which his license was issued.
1906 Marathon County Farmers Creamery organized.
1907 The rate on county, state and town taxes was fixed at $1.18 per $100.00 valuation. 1908 School District No. 4 - Silver Arrow School built.
1909 There was a motion to build a Town Hall in village of Poniatowski, but this did not materialize.
1910 A sidewalk was built from the Polish church running north to first corner, thence east up to German church, said sidewalk to be built rock elm planks, four feet wide. The present brick-veneer parochial school built.
1911 It was noted that Pathmasters shall look after the culvert and throw out all unnecessary culverts.
1912 Cheese making was started in the factories. The Frank Stencil road petition shall be adopted that a highway shall be laid out and cut out commencing at the corner sec. 21-22- 27 and 28 running land one half miles west and $75.00 has been raised for road.
1913 The General Town meeting was held at the School House of Dist. No. 3. Matysik Cheese factory built.
1914 Moved that the John Myszka road petition signed by 14 freeholders of same town was excepted and that $150.00 be raised for this.
1915 A letter was received by town board from a Mr. Riley (lawyer) inquiring if the town be willing to repair damages done on the buggy and harness on one of Town of Rietbrock's highways. Not allowed. Tuition paid the Athens High School $18.00 for 1914. Tuition paid the Edgar High School $36.00.
1916 Petition to make a passable highway running 2 miles west of "Schnappsville" to school house of Dist. No. 4 signed by 16 freeholders of same town duly voted and decided to be made and turnpiked on one side.
1918 Present Holy Family Rectory built. Moved that the town board should investigate gravel pits and buy some if possible. Heiersville Cheese Factory built.
1919- During the years of national prohibition.
1932 people who wanted to purchase liquor in the Town of Rietbrock found that it could be acquired quite easily. Originally it was manufactured for medicinal purposes but it turned out to be a cure all for many people. Every bottle had a label stating it was to be used for medicinal purposes only.
1920 A tractor purchased from the Case Threshing Co., a 22-40 horse power for $2,826.20. Mike Teresinski hired to operate tractor at $4.50 per day. Saloon keepers had to pay $50.00 for liquor license.
1921 Years wages for assessor $100.00 and clerks salary was $150.00.
1922 202 voters were present for annual meeting.
1923 Discussion and motion to build a machine shed 30 by 50 and 10 feet high, but no money was raised for this.
1924 The yearly report was printed and each tax payer was given a copy, but this was dropped the next year because printing was to costly.
1925 Town board renewed five liquor licenses at $35.00 each.
1926 Board was to investigate renting John Wisnewski Hall for town meetings since the school is to small for this purpose.
1927 Clover Belt Cheese Factory had first meeting of stockholders.
1928 $1,000.00 was raised to help the poor.
1930 Two pony graders were bought. A motion to hire a Caterpillar for power and not a steam engine for grading roads. It was also approved to leave the gravel hauling if it is to be with teams or trucks up to the town board as deemed best and cheapest. 1931 An assessor was hired at $5.00 a day, who should have time not to exceed 30 days for the work - furthur agreed the field book must be finished without extra pay. The assessment book to be completed the first week in August.
1932 Gas tax money now available to townships. 140 voters were present at a town meeting to hear Mr. Rogan, County Agent, talk on grasshopper poisoning. It was decided to have the poison material hauled to one place in Poniatowski and be distributed from there.
1933 Liquor licenses were issued at $30.00 each.
1934 Liquor licenses raised to $50.00 plus $25.00 for beer license. Snow removal in township big issue. By ballot vote it was 102 in favor of snow plowing and 135"against plowing snow. But all roads will be plowed in March.
1935 Moved to buy a Caterpillar and snow plow all roads.
1936 Taxpayers were sent cards showing the amount of personal and real estate tax due, it was voted to continue this type of notifying system.
1937 Moved to hire trucks for hauling gravel, giving all those that have bills, a chance to work it off. A charge of .25 cents to those who want the town snow plow to plow snow in their driveway.
1938 Due to the flood in the area a lot of damage to bridges and roads occured which now need repair. A stop sign on the prospective highway in Poniatowski in the center of section 14 on all four corners to avoid accidents. Town board met in regard to the zoning ordinance, this program was discussed and it was moved to reject zoning.
1939 School District No. 2 - Hoffman School last season of operation.
1940 It was decided to have WPA build the Black Creek Bridge.
1941 Because the snow plowing bill ran so high last winter, a motion was made that the town hire a county truck for next winter's plowing. Thus leaving our plow in the shed.
1942 Hand labor wages were raised from 25 cents an hour to 30 cents an hour. School District No. 1 known as the "Green School" closed its doors.
1943 Snow plowing crew will get 50 cents and 60 cents an hour.
1944 A stone crusher was hired to crush gravel for road work. $2500.00 was raised for graveling roads.
1945 Red Patrol Grader bought. Snow fences will no longer be put on county roads but only on town roads. The two parishes in Poniatowski merged.
1946 One mile of new snow fence was purchased. Last year of operation for School Dist. No. 4 - Silver Arrow School.
1948 Two more miles of snow fence were bought. A motion to buy a patrol grader and snow- plow was defeated but then it was voted to raise $4,000.00 to eventually buy this machinery.
1950 A 7 to 8 ton truck for snow plowing was purchased.
1951 Voters decided to purchase a medium weight Caterpillar Patrol Grader for $13,472.28.
1952 Discussion and motion that a new town shed to house the new equipment is to be built.
1953 The parochial school was enlarged. It was approved that one third of a fire run be paid by owner and two thirds of the bill be paid by the town. Lucy Myszka succeeded her late husband, Philip Myszka as an elected Town Treasurer. The first woman to hold a Town office.
1954 Holy Trinity Church was razed. Butler Steel . Shed built.
1955 The operators of the snow plow earned $1.20 an hour and the wing operator $1.00 an hour. A used Austin Ditching Grader was purchased for $500.00 plus old grader.
1957 Moved that the old town shed be offered for sale by sealed bids with a minimum of $500.00, said building to be removed from present site or arrangement made by purchaser with Thomas Myszka, owner of land. 1958 Discussion on a heating system in town shed was held.
1959 A resolution was adopted that any person who shall kill and/or, find a dead dog, not his own, shall notify the fact in writing to the town clerk or notify the board as to the disposal of same.
1960 Moved that the present system of road districts be abolished and the town chairman be super- visor of all work ordinarily done by the fore- man in these districts.
1961 It was moved that the Town of Rietbrock pay its share toward a tank truck for fire pro- tection, together with the Towns of Cassel, Emmet, Frankfort, Rib Falls, and Wien - said truck to be manned by Edgar Fire Dept.
1962 At the 81st annual meeting - Herbert Star- gardt spoke briefly to the voters to show appreciation for the work the board does rather than always throw brickbats. An Under- wood - Olivitti calculator for town purposes was purchased for $510.00. All pony graders and drags to be returned to shed.
1963 An agreement was made with the Edgar and Athens Fire Depts. as to where their border lines are. The treasurer purchased 50 lbs. of rat bait to exterminate the rats in the town dump.
1964 Hanz Trucking Co. had the low bid of $1.15 per yard for granite delivered any place in the town. The total bill was $1,269.02.
1965 Motion made and carried that two men sand comers in the township when roads are icy, with the supervision of the town board.
1966 Annual meeting held on April 4th at 8:30 p.m. instead of in the afternoon as previously. By a ballot vote of 24 yes and 8 no to help the Athens Fire Dept. purchase a Paddy Wagon fully equipped for $2,370.06 - along with the towns of Bern, Halsey, Johnson, and the village of Athens. December - C. J. Myszka, Chairman of Town of Rietbrock passed away unexpected. Both supervisors announced they would accept appointment as chairman. It was decided that a lottery could be conducted. Ray Ott, Marathon County Clerk provided a new deck of cards and the first round of drawing Florian Pawlowski and Alphonse Sommers each drew a king. Second round Florian drew a 6 and Alphonse drew a 4, thus as agreed, Florian Pawlowski became acting chairman.
1967 L.P. Gas heating system installed in town shed. A 6 foot high fence has been built around the dump and it will only be open on Saturdays. At the annual meeting a moment of silence was observed in respect to two former Town officials who passed away in the past year - Irvin T. Meyer and Casimir Myszka.
1968 Resolution making it a town ordinance whereby nobody can sell or lease any land less than in one acre parcels for residential use. It should be at least 150 feet wide. This includes stationary buildings, house trailers and mobile homes.
1969 Town of Rietbrock now has its own little National park with a Historical marker stating:
"THIS SPOT IN SECTION 14, IN THE TOWN OF RIETBROCK, MARATHON COUNTY, IS THE EXACT CENTER OF THE NORTHERN HALF OF THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE. IT IS HERE THAT THE 90TH MERIDIAN OF LONGITUDE BISECTS THE 45TH PARALLEL OF LATITUDE, MEANING IT IS EXACTLY HALF WAY BETWEEN THE NORTH POLE AND THE EQUATOR AND IS A QUARTER OF THE WAY AROUND THE EARTH FROM GREENWICH, ENGLAND."
1970 Holy Family Parochial School was closed. An ordinance requiring a permit when having an auction was passed. A $10.00 fee is required to obtain an auction permit.
1971 Discussion on using liquid chloride on town roads was held but the majority said to forget it for 1971.
1972 A new Caterpillar 14E Grader with a Wausau plow and wing installed was purchased. Kenneth Reuter had the high bid for the old town shed on the West side of the town road for $22.50.
1973 Town of Rietbrock will not pay for any fire department call or run to any brush, grass or wood fire on any property in the township which was started by the owner who had failed to obtain a burning permit.
1974 93rd town annual meeting had 42 citizens present.
1975 New FWD Truck purchased. Mary Jo Diers was appointed Clerk with the resignation of John R. Gesicki. She chose not to run at the April election. Patricia Berg was a write-in candidate and was elected as town clerk.
1976 Naming of all Town roads by the Board. 77 electors were present at a special town meeting. People present voted to build a new town hall and shed. 67, yes, 6 no; and 2 blanks. Land purchased from George Wisnewski on the NW comer in Poniatowski. The building proper was not to exceed $50,000.00. The well was drilled 355 feet. A new check- writer was purchased for $243.75. Liquid chloride will be spread in front of all businesses on gravel roads and any one else that wants it in front of their place must pay for it.
1977 Town of Rietbrock hosted the Western Towns' Association - Governor Martin Schreiber was the guest speaker, at the new Municipal Hall. A moment of silence at the Annual Meeting for Frank Sommer. Holy Family Congregation celebrated its Centennial. A complete town reassessment was done by Arrow Apraisal Firm of Green Bay, Wisconsin. February 9, an open house of the new town hall and shed was held following the caucus meeting and the budget hearing. 91 voters present. Morse case versus Town of Rietbrock had been settled for $1,000.00 for the purchase of the 1/2 acre of land where the previous shed had been built in 1954. A deed has been received.
1978 Repainting of the Black Creek Bridge. Beverly Witucki was appointed Treasurer when Ronald Mueller resigned. Seidel's Sanitation was contracted for $455.00 a month to pick up garbage.
1979 Assessor Gary Lewis resigned. Building permits are now mandatory.
1980 Board appointed Rupert Kurtzweil, Jr. as assessor for 1980.
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