ELMER (Ernest) FAMILY FARM HISTORY, Greenwood, Eaton Twp., Clark Co., WI

Bio: Elmer Family Farm
Contact: Stan

----Source: By Allen Hicks and transcribed by Barbara O'Reilly, Greenwood Gleaner; April 2, 1964, Number 14

Surnames: Elmer, Steimberg



Greenwood, Clark County, Wisconsin



GREENWOOD - A Greenwood family has established a legacy of dairy farming spanning 100 years and four generations.


The farm will be honored for its longevity on Aug. 5 at the Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis, and on Sunday the Elmer family will celebrate the day in 1902 when Ernest A. Elmer and his wife, Fredericka, decided to purchase the farm for $2,250. 


After acquiring the land, Elmer left his farm in the southeastern part of the state for new territory in Greenwood - filled with tree stumps.


Thomas Elmer, 73, Greenwood, remembers his grandfather telling him that there wasn't enough land cleared to support a garden.  With some work, Ernest A. was able to sustain a dairy farm and later sold it to his son Ernest O., according to Thomas.


Although his father and grandfather had set a precedent, Thomas decided he was more interested in working with airplanes.  He eventually enlisted as a aviation mechanic in the U.S. Air Force, where he stayed for four years.


Thomas later left the Air Force to work at a commercial airline, but he wasn't satisfied with the job, especially when he was working plenty of nights.


"Well that didn't go over too well with me at the time." Thomas said.


When his dad told him a milk route was opening, Thomas jumped, at the opportunity.  The decision directed him down a familiar path. "So that just led right into the farming part of it." said Thomas, who eventually bought the farm from his father.


Thomas' son Bruce took a similar route, and his father and grandfather didn't try to persuade him to stick with farming.



"There was no pressure that way," said Bruce, 44, who left the farm and worked as a diesel service technician for eight years.


However, the allure of becoming his own boss was too strong, and he, too, ended up buying the family dairy farm.


"He's a top-grade mechanic, but he decided he wanted to farm instead," Thomas said.  "we all more or less left the farm to do something else."  He added that it isn't surprising that he and his son both decided to return to their roots.


Owning a farm gave Bruce more time to pursue another interest - Snowmobiling.


"When there's work to do, you do it, and when there isn't you can go off and play while everyone else works," he said of winters on the farm.


The 180-acre farm now has about 100 animals, including 50 milking cows, according to Bruce's wife Joann.


Bruce doesn't regret his decision to return to farming, but "it's a lot more time consuming," he said.


Although he no longer owns the farm, Thomas stays involved.


"I enjoyed farming.  I enjoyed working with animals," he said, adding that his children and wife, Marlene, were a big part of the farm's success.


Thomas still helps with the chores, much like his father did for him.  "So I'm still getting the benefits of it, " he said.


Bruce isn't sure if any of his five children will take over the farm when he retires.  He knows they have to find their own paths, so he won't pressure them into that decision.


Regardless of how long the family continues it dairy tradition, Bruce said he will always feel a sense of pride about farming.


"You have to, when you've been at it this long," he said.


Note: The original sale to Ernest A. Elmer was on September 6, 1902 for 80 acres. Bruce Elmer took over the farm in 1985.



Source: Marshfield News Herald, Saturday July 23, 2002 p A3



Another Version of the Elmer Farm History

By Ernest Elmer and transcribed by Barbara O'Reilly


E. A. Elmer and family came to Greenwood from Columbus, Wis., from Columbus, Wis., on October 15, 1902 and bought a farm from Charles Steimberg (Steinberg?), 2 miles East and 2 miles North of Greenwood. Mr. Elmer's grandson Thomas Elmer and family now operate this farm.


The above picture was submitted, for publication by Ernest Elmer and it shows the farm in its present state.  The small picture, in the corner, was taken in 1910 and show all the family except Ervin and Walter who were working in Montana that summer.  There was about eight acres of woods chopped off the farm, the rest was hardwood timber which meant lots of sawing and hauling wood to Greenwood and Loyal for $1.25 per cord for body maple, less for the rest.


My father hauled most of the wood but I can remember of hitching the team to the sleigh which had been loaded the night before, and pulled up in the yard on sticks of wood so the team could get the load started, which would have been frozen down otherwise.  The team was so used to hauling loads So I hung the lines up and walked behind the sleigh.  When I got to the Farmers' Store I walked in to get Mr. Barkley to measure the load, he said, "What are you down here for this morning, don't you know it is just 40 below zero?"  The Farmers' Store bought wood and delivered it around town as the people needed it.  Some of us boys can remember of going to the woods and sawing wood for an hour or so before we went to school in the morning.  There was about 5 acres of hay ground and that was among the stumps so it had to be cut with the scythe.  For a few years we went out and put up hay on halves.  We would drive around between the stumps with a dump rake, put it up in small piles, then the man that could put the whole Cock of hay on the wagon at once had something to crow about, especially if he could brake the fork handle.  That would be to slow for these times.


I am sure no one would want to go back to the horse and buggy days, although they did leave a few good memories.  We boys did quite a lot of custom work, especially my brother Ervin.  We sawed wood, filled silos, thrashed grain and sawed lumber for many years.  In the spring of 1938 my parents left the farm and moved to town and my wife and I and two sons Thomas and Lester took over the farm.  One of the first things we did was to wire the buildings for electricity.  A new hen house was built. In 1949 we started building again. The boys and I hauled all the gravel from Black River with the tractor and wagons for the barn.


The picture shows the rest of the buildings that were added on, the last was the 48 foot addition to the barn which was built in 1959.


As far as I know the Greenwood Gleaner has been received at that farm all through the years.  I am a firm believer of the Family size farm, and do all the trading you can in your home town.


Greenwood Gleaner; April 2, 1964, Number 14


BioA: Elmer, E. A. (1888-1938)

BioA: Elmer, Ervin & Wife

BioM: Elmer, Edna M. (1945)

Obit: Elmer, Ernest (1895 -1987)



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