Bio: Nielsen, Beatrice Eleanor (Letter to G-Grandchildren -2005)

          Transcriber: Typed version of letter by:

          Surnames: Nielsen, Schwarze, Franz

        ----Source: Letter written by Beatrice E. Nielsen, provided by Berdell Nielsen -




Great-Grandma Beatrice Eleanor (Schwarze) Nielsen

Born November 16, 1929 to Harvey and Martha (Franz) Schwarze at farm home at Greenwood (Clark Co.), Wisconsin.  Delivered by a midwife. 

When I was about 3 or 4 years old my parents bought 40 acres of woodland south of Owen, Wisconsin.  We had to cut a path from the road to where we wanted to build a house, then had to clear rough land for small house, all done with axes and hand saws.  If we couldn't get bigger stumps out, we used dynamite to blow them out of the ground.  We didn't know about bulldozers.  They built a small two room house that I would call a shack, as it had no insulation in the house, just black tar paper on the outside.  Inside, in one room we had big black wood cook stove, which had a reservoir on to keep water warm for use in cooking and washing up, plus a wood burning heater. Needed this just try and keep warm.  There was just lathes on the walls.  We could see mice going up and down between walls sometimes.  They would get out and crawled outside if it was nice.

Mom didn't have much cupboard space.  She had the fry pan hanging on nails in the wall.  One time a mouse crawled under the fry pan. It was sticking out. 


My aunt was there.  She opened the stove and grabbed the tail and put it into the fire..  The other room was a bedroom that had a double bed, plus a cot for my bed, a wardrobe, plus a dresser just wide enough for to have a path for walking to the beds.

No running water.  Carried water in and dipped water out.  No bathroom, but had a pot under the bed that had to be emptied every day, a job I hated.

Mom had no washing machine.  The night before wash day, carried water to heat on the stove.  We had two wash tubs, one had warm soapy water.  We had a scrub board to wash clothes, and a wringer turned by hand to wring clothes out  and then hung them outside on the clothesline to dry.  Then had to carry wash water out.  To iron clothes we had a flat iron which was heated on wood stove until hot enough to use, then heated again.

My dad was a carpenter. If had a job at Greenwood would leave Monday morning, come home Friday night.  My mother would milk the cows by hand. Had about 8 to 10 cans.  Milk put in metal can then put that in water tank with cold water to keep cold.  In winter time put can in house so milk wouldn't freeze.  Next day milk  man came and picked up mile to take to factory


Barn was cleaned by shovel and wheel barrow.  Put in pile outside in fall.  In spring dad got manure spreader from neighbours and horse then.  Had to pitch manure with fork into spreader, then haul to the field

Also had a rooster when I was 5 or 6 years old. Every time I went to the outside toilet by myself he came and flapped his wings on my butt and it hurt.  Later he was on our dinner table.

Folks also raised pigs, 1 or 2 at a time, and then butchered them as meat.  Would make sausage and canned meat for eating.  Mom canned vegetables and fruit, baked own bread and desserts.

Made garden every year.

Mom would also work at a few neighbours, helping with housework, had no car, so she walked to and from.  One place was over a mile one way.  Got 50 cents for a week.

The grade school was close by where I went to school.  It was called North Bright.  Had all 8 grades.  One teacher taught all classes.  Was about 25 people in all.  May grade was a boy and myself..  One grade only had one person in it. I went to Owen High School.  Had busses but had to pay so much a week to ride, my last two years I worked at a restaurant after


school and Saturday, so stayed there, that way didn't pay bus fares.  Was a small place.  Only had two small rooms for living space, so I slept on davenport.  Owners went through all the time so had no privacy.

I graduated in May 1947 from high school.  That summer worked for my aunt and uncle doing housework and watching children who were about 3 and 4 years old.  That August my girlfriend got me a job in Minneapolis doing housework for widow who had 2 boys.  Worked there until March of 1949, when I came home to get ready for wedding in June.

When married, we lived on farm with Henry's folks.  He helped farm.  They remodelled the house.  His folks lived upstairs, we lived downstairs.

May 1949 we bought our own farm on double O.  Small house – 2 rooms downstairs, one large room upstairs, plus smaller room where a bed fit in another small space.  From where stairs came up nothing else there, as my dad built a cupboard on one small wall and put wooden pegs up on another place, so had storage place to hang clothes.

Harlan was born that November.  I had to help milk cows.

Henry's dad, Aage, and Henry helped each other with field work.  In the fall Aage and Henry went threshing for farmers.


I planted large garden.  Did lots of canning, did bread baking and desserts.  Sunday's usually went visiting or had company in.

Rest of children were born in years to come.  About 1954 we built onto house.  Lived in it while doing it.  What a mess.  That August my mother came one day to help can peaches.  That was the day carpenters tore out old stairway to upstairs, and put in new stairway that was in old kitchen, so really had a mess. 

That year was pregnant with David. From about October I was so sick and weak I would make meal , lay down, get up, do dishes.  Same routine day in and day out.  Only time would go out anywhere was to the doctor.  Didn't seem there was anything they could give me to feel better.

While  later I started working night shift at Marshfield at Weyerhaeuser Company.  About 4 or 5  neighbours did.  We car pooled.  We needed money to finish off inside of house.  I worked till fall of 1965, then took care of Carrie while her parents worked night shift.  David was glad when Carried was born, because when would most people used to say, Oh David is baby of family, so he figured Carried was now.

Later I was doing home care.  In 1990 bought house in Greenwood.  I moved in October.  Henry stayed at farm until David had cows of his own and didn't want to drive back and forth.  


I had a handicap lady with me.

In 1992 Henry moved to town.  We had an auction of farm.  David bought the farm.  I continued to do som part time home care.

February 2005 was told Henry had heart failure.  Could do anything more for him.  July 31, 2005 he pass away.

Larry bought our house in town in 2003.  He said we could live with him, so we did.

Written by

Beatrice E.Nielsen




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