History: Spencer Carpenters
Surnames: Street, Wirt, Saunders, Ring, Neils, Dygart, Crowell, Schwantes, Sundell, Manthe, Pickett, Prehn, Johnston, Damon, Affolter, Gustman, Bruesewitz, Bord, Fenner, Willner, Kobs, Paddock, Seefeldt, Nelson, Mellenthin, Beidel, Buse, Dickman, Kerksieck
----Source: Spencer Centennial Book, 1874 – 1974 (Spencer, Marathon County, Wis.) page 79
A poem published in 1892 entitled “The Settler” by Alfred B. Street recalls to mind the cutting of trees before they were used by the carpenter with these words: “His echoing axe the settler swung amid the sea-like solitude and pushing, thundering down were flung the Titans of the wood.”
Spencer was fortunate to have many carpenters and the village was built very quickly.
One of the first was S. H. Wirt, who married a Mrs. Saunders, sister of the first homesteader west of town, Reuben Ring. Other carpenters, who were also called builders, were the Neils Brothers, Lou Dygart, Hoel (Dad) Crowell, and William Schwantes, whose home is now occupied by the Sundells, Frank Manthe, Eli Pickett, Herman Prehn and son, Roland, E. A. Johnston and sons, Allan and Edgar, and Faye Damon were also carpenters.
In December 1881, John Affolter opened a cabinet shop, put in a stock of cabinet ware and built cabinets to specifications.
Art Gustman has built many homes in the village, beginning in the early 1900’s, with his specialty being cabinetmaking. Since his retirement he has done limited work including indoor remodeling for many Spencer residents.
As the years and village progresses, there were numerous other carpenters such as A. C. Bruesewitz Builders, Robert Bruesewitz, Jacob Bord, building barns and doing cement work; George Schwantes, Bill Willner, Dan Kobs, and Larry Paddock.
Present day carpenters in the area are Lester Bruesewitz Builders, Wayne Seefeldt, Kobs Construction, Weister Construction, Gerald Nelson, Wilbur (Pete) Mellenthin, James and Gene Beidel, and Wilber Buse.
Spencer has been fortunate to have many public spirited and enterprising citizens like Ed Dickman and Fred Kerksieck, who have bought and remodeled old business places and homes, thus helping our fast growing community.
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