Bio: Hein, Mr./Mrs. William F. (Oldest Residents – 1969)
Surnames: Hein, Schmidt, Phillips, Perry, Creviston
---------Source: Eau Claire Leader (Eau Claire, Wis.) 09/24/1969
HUMBIRD (Special) – Mr. and Mrs. William F. Hein will be honored as the oldest residents of Humbird (Clark Co., Wis.) when that village celebrates its centennial Sept. 27 and 28, 1969.
Hein was born in Humbird Dec. 21, 1882, to Mr. and Mrs. Valintin Hein. The elder Hein and his father-in-law, William Schmidt, were among the earliest businessmen in Humbird, arriving in 1870 and building the Humbird Roller Mills. Hein and Schmidt had learned the milling trade in Germany. The two men acquired 52 acres of land in Humbird, through which a small creek ran and plans were made to build a dam on the stream which formed a lake, later named Lake Emerson, after a family who lived along the lake.
At the age of eight William began assisting his father and grandfather at the mill and with his brother Oscar, joined their father in a partnership following the death of Schmidt.
Destroyed by Fire
The first four mill was destroyed by fire in 1890 and a new one was built at once, opening for business on Oct. 5, 1890. The mill was expanded in 1896 to meet the expansion of farming and stock raising in the area, and at this time buckwheat flour was introduced.
William became interested in telegraphy at the Humbird Depot and began working there before finishing his eight years of formal education. Within eight months he discovered telegraphy would not be his life work and took a job as a clerk in his brother-in-law's store, "The Brandstedter Store."
He bought his first camera at age 12 and began a long association with photography. He purchased the photo equipment of Herbert Perry and built a studio on King Street. He and his wife Kittie spent many long evenings developing film taken at the studio and washed the negatives all night long in a spring which ran through their property.
No Big Profit
"We certainly didn't make a big profit in thos days because picture only sold for five cents each," said Mrs. Hein.
The studio later moved to their property overlooking Lake Emerson and eventually sold to a party from Augusta. Hein still operates a darkroom in his home and is often seen taking pictures in the Humbird area.
Hein became a rural mail carrier on July 1, 1911, and continued until his retirement in 1943. He replaced Charles Creviston who was the first carrier for Humbird, receiving his appointment in 1904. Hein served under four postmasters and covered approximately 228,820 miles.
He started with a horse and buggy, used ten horses, a dozen cars and four motorcycles. He also tried making the route on horseback, walking and skiing.
I really didn't have any out of the ordinary experiences, except one day I hit a dog with my motorcycle and I and the cycle went en-over-end. Mail was spilled all over and I had a time picking it up," said Hein.
Hein built the first radio in Humbird in 1922 and invited the business men over to listen to it. "They wouldn't believe it was a radio. They thought I had the instrument hooked up to the telephone."
Hein was married to Kittie Phillips of Humbird on Oct. 2, 1907, at the unheard of hour of 6 a.m., at the Merrillan Methodist parsonage. They plan to celebrate their 62nd anniversary in October.
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