Bio: Beyerl, Elizabeth (Klawinski)

Contact: Cheryl Janowiak

Surnames: Klawinski/Klavinski, Beyerl, StengelZettler, Writz, Jockebowski, Niewolny, Jimbarski, Bloczyinski, Tambornino, Grieger

----Source: Cheryl Janowiak Scrapboock

Not much is known of the childhood of Elizabeth Klavinski Beyerl. She was born on September 6, 1884 at the farm home located one and one-half miles from Poniatowski, the second child in a family of eleven children.

Her mother was the former Rosa Stengel, who was born August 1, 1859 in Poland and died October 26, 1947 at the age of 88. Her father, Joseph Klavinski was born in 1854 in Poland and died on September 12, 1937 at the age of 83.

Names of the children and present addresses are as follows: (according to age)

Mrs. Frank Writz (sp?) (Frances) Athens, Wisconsin
Mrs. Frank Beyerl (Elizabeth) Colby, Wisconsin
Paul Klavinski died August 1946
Joseph Klavinski Edgar, Wisconsin
Mrs. Stan Jockebowski ) Milwaukee, Wisconsin
John Klavinski )twins Athens, Wisconsin
Mrs. Fred Niewolny (Rose) Athens, Wisconsin
Mrs. Leo Niewolny (Anna) Edgar, Wisconsin
Mrs. Paul Jimbarski (Lucy) Mosinee, Wisconsin
Mrs. Leo Bloczyinski (Genevieve) Marshfield, Wisconsin
Anthony Klavinski Athens, Wisconsin
Mrs. Henry Tambornino (Clare) Edgar, Wisconsin

The older children received very little education in schools as the school system apparently was not well established in that district.

Being one of the older ones, Elizabeth helped a great deal at home, missing school even when there were classes, as they were held only two or three days a week. The first teacher she remembered passed away and it was quite some time before another was obtained. The latter quit because he did not receive his salary, and so Elizabeth calculates she received approximately sixty days of classes.

Their home farm consisted of seventy two acres of land, and later it was under plow in its entirety. However, Elizabeth did her share of log-sawing with her father and brothers before this was accomplished. The house consisted of two rooms, a large kitchen and a large bedroom. The upstairs of the house was used to store grain.

Food was plentiful, especially weat (wheat?). Everything was prepared in a simple manner on the wood stove in the kitchen.

Elizabeth received religious instruction form the priest at Poniatowski and made her First Communion on May 29, 1898.

At the age of thirteen she left home to do housework. She was married on October 26, 1903 to George Zettler at the Poniatowski Catholic Church. They lived in Athens where they rented a home at the west end of Main Street. Here their sons Francis and John and Anthony were born. John died at a very early age.

George Zettler was employed in the woods as the logging business was exceptionally good in this territory. While working here at skidding logs with his team, a large limb from a tree hit him with such force it broke his neck and he died on June 4, 1909. After his death the two boys Francis and Tony were put in an orphanage while their mother went to work.

On July 31, 1911 Elizabeth was married to Adolph Grieger at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Athens, the Reverend Muehlenkemp performing the ceremony. At this time the boys were taken from the orphanage and a home was again established.

Adolph Grieger was an offspring of the early German settlers, the type of men who was not content to settle down to one job. He was always seeking something new and exciting and preferred the outdoor life.

Three children were born to Elizabeth and Adolph; Genevieve, Gilbert and Angeline.

At the age of seven, Tony contracted typhoid fever and then infantile paralysis. He was in bed for the most part of two years, and his mother gave him the best of care. At this time Frankie also contracted infantile paralysis, and unfortunately fell downstairs and lost his speech which he never fully regained. [Note: infantile paralysis=polio]

After Tony recovered from his siege of illness he accidentally fell on a scissors which punctured his abdomen. The doctor was summoned and he sutured the wound at the home. From all these incidents we know that Elizabeth, the mother, had many crosses to bear, and she bore them patiently through her prayers which gave her the courage and strength to do so.

When Tony was nine years old the family found opportunity to make money in picking ferns for the greenhouse. The ferns were packed and tied twenty-five in a bunch. Then twenty bunches were put together so they could be handled more readily. The price of ferns was forty cents a thousand. At first the family drove daily to the woods with the team of horses and delivered the ferns to the pickup station in Athens. Later when they had to go farther to find ferns they would camp out for the entire summer months. In between times in order to keep the ferns fresh, they were packed in dampened moss and delivered to the pickup station twice a week in their Model T Ford. A great distance was traveled to pick ferns; from Athens to the Antigo territory, Penni Lake, and as far north as Carter which is north of Laona.

Life was plain and simple here in the woods, and the entire family enjoyed it. They would set up a make shift shanty or use one that was abandoned. They slept on mattresses made of leaves in a burlap bag placed on the ground. A small kerosene stove was used to do the cooking.

When the weather was unfavorable for picking ferns they hunted and fished, for both recreation and a necessity in providing food for the family. The children enjoyed the woods and roamed about near the shanty, setting traps for fur-bearing animals, fishing and amusing themselves with the beauties of nature. The two older boys, Tony and Franky helped with the ferns.

In the fall they would return to Athens to live. Adolph had a Livery Service there consisting of three trotters and appropriate rigs. He also had established himself a good business of dehorning cattle at forty cents a head.

Franky, the oldest son, began working at the Athens sawmill at an early age, and through the years he became a skilled and dependable employee.

When Tony was fifteen he left home. He drove a delivery truck for a local store, delivering wholesale products from the warehouse to the retail stores in the surrounding territory. Later he worked for a farmer at Goodrich, and then as a cook in a logging camp. From here he went to Milwaukee, stopping overnight at his home in Athens to visit with his mother.

In Milwaukee he was employed at the Bridgeworks. Later he moved to Michigan and labored in the grape vineyards. After this seasonal work was finished he took a job at the foundry at Benton Harbor, Michigan. Because of his continuous moving his other knew very little of is whereabouts.

At this time the family moved to Interwald where they ran a small country store and tavern. Being located in the timber country it was supported chiefly by loggers and lumberjacks. After a few years of this they decided to move back to Athens where they built a home.

It was here on September 18, 1928 that Adolph fell down the basement garage steps and fractured his skull and died a few hours later.

And so it was here on June 26, 1929 that Elizabeth was married to Frank Beyerl, our dad, and came to make a home for him and his motherless children.

Franky was well established as a reliable employee at the Athens mills and remained in that city. Tony was at Benton Harbor working at the foundry. Jenny [Genevieve] her daughter in her teens, spent the summer with friends in Athens and joined her other in the fall.

Gilbert, who was near twelve at this time, was thrilled to be on the farm and was happy with his mother in their new home. Angeline, was three, but appeared as an infant of six months or less, being a complete invalid due to a waterhead condition. She died late in the fall and was buried in the Athens cemetery.


Elizabeth is shown in front of her mother's house ("me") with her brother, Paul KLAWINSKI , and her mother, Rose STENCIL KLAWINSKI. Date unknown.

Frank BEYERL's birthday in 1948, likely on his front lawn, both Frank and Elizabeth [KLAWINSKI] BEYERL pictured.




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