Clark County Press, Neillsville
January 23, 1993, Page 28
and an excerpt of January 28, 1993, Page 24
Transcribed by Sharon Schulte
Index of "Good Old Days" Articles
A SHORT HISTORY OF MY LIFE
By Dee Zimmerman
By Henry C. Winter
Henry C. Winter was born in the Town of Sherman, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, on the 4th day of June, 1869, on a farm two miles north of Random Lake, son of Charles and Ann (Nee Hillert) Winter. His grandparents were Fred and Elizabeth (Nee Hillger) Winter and George and Elizabeth (Nee Schmecht) Hillert.
There were nine children in our family; namely Louise, myself, Edward, Otto, Ida, Robert who died the same day when born, Fred, Clara and Charles Jr.
I attended public school in a log schoolhouse two miles northeast of our place and also attended German parochial school, also a log building, two miles northwest from home.
(Click to enlarge)
The Henry C. Winter farm as it appeared during the 1940s. It was located two miles east of Hwy. 10 on Hill road (or three miles southeast of Granton.)
Father’s farm was not any of the best. There was too much marsh and the rest of it was hills and very stony.
Mother was sickly, so Louise and I had to start working quite young. When I was seven years old I had to load hay. I did as good as I could and when the load got too peaked, father came up and helped me to level it off. After I was through school, I helped at home and whenever I had a chance I worked out a few days here and there. When I was fifteen years old I worked in the winter time on the ice at Random Lake for Mike Orth. He had three big ice houses, sixty feet by one hundred sixty feet. He filled them every winter and besides this, he shipped about fifteen hundred car loads to Milwaukee every winter. I worked there for six winters, and one dollar per day and had to board myself. I boarded at home and had to walk two miles every morning and night. We worked ten hours a day.
On March 2, 1887, I started to work for Mrs. Hartwig, a widow, on a one hundred twenty acre farm for twelve dollars and fifty cents per month. I did all the farm work alone and in haying, her two girls helped with the hauling. I had to pitch it all by hand and had to mow a lot by hand. That was the way I spent my young years, all hard work.
The following year, 1888, in the spring, I worked in Milwaukee for the Blatz Brewing Co. for awhile, but times being hard, work scarce, wages poor, I left the city and worked on a farm near Onion River for Clark Mead at eighteen dollars per month. The same year, on September 20th, my sister Ida died of Typhoid Fever at the age of thirteen years and three months. Then, I stayed home for awhile to help out. The same year, in October, and November, I worked for Fred Sauter, Town of Scott, Sheboygan County. That is where I got acquainted with their daughter, Lydia, who years later, became my wife. Starting in the Spring of 1889 and in 1890, I worked part time in the saw and planning mill for Dick Butler at Ellis Junction, Wisconsin, and part of the time I helped father out on the farm, through haying and harvesting. I was the oldest of the boys. Edward worked in a cheese factory to learn the trade and the rest of the boys were too young to help.
On September 17, 1891, I bought my eighty acre farm in the Town of Lynn, Clark County, Wisconsin, from Daniel Riedel for $2100. There was a small frame house eighteen by twenty four by twelve and a frame barn thirty six by fifty, no basement on it, but a log stable.
There were about thirty five acres cleared, of course all stumps and brush around them. That same fall, I worked at Ellis Junction yet for three months and in winter I worked on the ice again.
On January 3, 1892, my mother died at the age of forty-four years, six months and twenty seven days.
In the spring of 1892, I worked at the St. Paul Freight Depot at Milwaukee for several months. On July 1, 1892, I hired a car (railroad freight car) from Random Lake to Marshfield for fifty-three dollars. I arrived at my destination July 2nd, in the evening. It rained very hard all the way up, so I stayed in Marshfield overnight. The next morning, July 3rd, Sunday, I hired a man to help me unload and put the lumber wagon together. We loaded my little belongings on the wagon, the top buggy, trunk, and the smoothing drag. I tied the cow and heifer behind the wagon and started out to the farm but had some time all alone. The horses were fast and wild so the cattle tied behind could not keep up. That broke all my ropes so I had to tie the horses to a fence and splice the ropes. I tied the cow to the wagon again and let the heifer go, but as good luck was with me, the heifer followed all the way to the farm. I left Marshfield at eight o’clock in the morning and arrived at four o’clock in the afternoon at the farm. The cow and heifer were played out. They layed down in the big grass and I don’t think they got up before midnight to eat a little. I unloaded, put the buggy together, hitched the team on the rig and drove two miles farther west to my Uncle David Hillert’s place. That is where I stayed the balance of the year. I drove back and forth, most every day to the farm.
1892 was an awfully wet year. It rained very hard almost every other day. I had about twenty-five acres of hay to cut among the stumps and had to cut it all by hand. Uncle and I exchanged help as he had a hired man and when ever he did not need him, I hired him. The coming winter, I sold the hay for four dollars per ton.
On January 15, 1893, I united in marriage to Lydia Sauter, Town of Mosel, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin.
On January 20th, we settled down on our farm and we started farming. We had lots of work ahead of us as we had a $1600 debt on the place. There was a very poor income under Grover Clevelands’ Administration. Eggs were six cents per dozen and butter was nine cents per pound. Basswood logs were five dollars per thousand for No. 1 and three dollars per thousand for No. 2. Red oak logs were eight dollars per thousand. As I did not want to disgrace our family and lose the place, I learned to keep every cent together in order to reduce the mortgage as much as I possibly could, in order to hold the place. On March 10, 1893, we joined the Zion Lutheran Church, Rev. H. Fischer was the pastor at that time.
In July 1893, I cut twenty five acres of hay all alone, by hand, among the stumps. I got up every morning at four o’clock and mowed until breakfast and after breakfast, as long as the dew was on the grass. In the afternoon, my wife and I raked together the hay that I cut the day before, and hauled it in. It took us about one month to finish haying. In August, we cut our grain with the cradle and bound it by hand, sometimes by moonlight. Whenever I had spare time, I cut logs and bolts. That is the way I spent my first years on the farm, improving and paying off on the debts.
On the 12th of February 1894, Ida was born and on the 25th of August, 1895, Walter was born and on January 2, 1896, Walter died. My wife was called to Sheboygan County to see her father who was very ill at that time. Walter caught a cold and died while down there. On January 1st, 1897, Della was born. In the spring of that same year, we built our barn, thirty-six by eighty-two, with basement. Then my wife and I had a hard summer’s work. There was lots of rain every other day. That made it so hard to make the stone wall. The same year I had to sell my oats to make room, as I had some stored up from previous years expecting better prices. I sold one thousand six hundred bushels, loaded in the boxcar at Granton, for thirteen cents per bushel. The first years farming, I did not keep much stock as we did not have cheese factories in this vicinity. I sold the hay which I had left, to the lumber camp, a distance of ten miles. I hauled two loads every week, as long as the hay lasted.
January 26, 1893, we received the sad news that my brother Otto was killed from a railroad snowplow, two miles south of Waukegan, Illinois, at the age of twenty four years, two months and twenty-three days. December 13, 1898, Louis was born and on October 13, 1902, Elenora was born. That same year, I bought forty acres of wood land in the Town of Grand, one and a half miles south west of my home farm. On August 31, 1905, Norman was born. March 15, 1907, Arno was born. May 30, 1909, Celon was born. Ruth was born on March 14, 1914, and that was our family of nine children. In 1899-1900, I was assessor in the Town of Lynn. In 1910, we built our new house, eighteen by thirty, eighteen by twenty, by eighteen feet high.
In 1912, I bought the James Yankee farm, Section 8, Town of Lynn, seventy acres, one mile east from the home place. At that time, we had a good cheese factory in Lynn, so we kept twenty-two milk cows and commenced farming on a bigger scale. Times got better. The children were growing up. Louis was confirmed the same year, so we had some help. In 1914, the first World War started and prices got better. In 1915, we sold two thousand dollars worth of grain and three thousand dollars worth of milk.
In 1911, we built our first silo, fourteen by thirty, a double wall frame (Sheboygan Falls Silo). I got to be an agent and sold silos; my territory was Clark, Marathon and Wood Counties. I sold over three hundred silos during the time I was agent.
On August 15, 1913, our oldest daughter, Ida, was united in Marriage to Herman Gluck, Town of Grant. On April 15, 1915, our first grandchild, Irene Gluck was born.
On January 15, 1918, we celebrated our Silver Wedding anniversary. All our relation in Clark County, our friends and neighbors attended the celebration; a very happy day. Looking back over the twenty-five years of our married life, it was not all sunshine, some dark and dreary days and hard work. We thought that from now on, we could take it a little easier as we had our new buildings all up and the farm in good shape. But, God, in his unsearchable wisdom, as his thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways not our ways, took my beloved wife and mother to his heavenly home. On the 20th day of December, of the same year, she died at the age of fifty years, one month and twenty-three days. She was sick only one week. On the 24th day of December, she was put to rest in the grave. This was a very sorrowful Christmas for me and my eight children, as Ruth was only four years old. That time, I shall never forget in all my life. The first year Delia kept house for us and after that Elenora was our housekeeper. We got along as good as could be expected. In the year of 1920, Elenora caught a very bad cold from which she never fully recovered and later turned out to be tuberculosis. On the 15th day of August, 1923, Della was united in marriage to George L. Borchert. They made their home in Milwaukee near Lincoln Park. Elenora was maid of honor on her wedding and from that time on, she got weaker and suffered a lot. On December 12, 1923, she was called out of her earthly life to her heavenly home above at the age of twenty-one years, one month and twenty-nine days. This was also a very sad occasion for me and my family. Norma then took over the household duties.
In the spring of 1923, I was elected Town Chairman of the Town of Lynn and was a member of the County Board, which office I held for eight years. I was also director of the Farmers’ State Bank at Granton Wisconsin, until it closed in 1929.
On June 11, 1924, Louis was united in marriage to Lydia Sternitzky, Town of Fremont. He took over the James Yankee farm, which I had purchased in 1912. May 20, 1925, Norma was united in marriage to Albert Marg of Neillsville. This is where they made their future home. This made our family smaller; Arno, Celon and Ruth who was eleven years old at that time. She had to do the housework and go to school at the same time, which did not work so good. We bought our bread and Arno did the washing. After Ruth was confirmed, she went to High School at Neillsville. She made her home with Norma. This left us alone without a housekeeper. Part of the time, Arno, Celon and I worked on the road, hauling gravel. I had to conduct the job. Help by hand was hard to get, especially to help load gravel at the pit. I had from twelve to fifteen teams hauling. In the mornings, we did our milking and at seven o’clock we were at the pit on the job. We did our own cooking and prepared our own meals.
On March 4, 1926, my father died at Plymouth, Wisconsin, at the age of eighty-two years, eight months and ten days. He lived at Plymouth the past fifteen years after he retired from his farm at Random Lake, Wisconsin. He was born in Milwaukee, June 22, 1843. At the age of nineteen years, in 1862, he served his country in the Civil War.
On February 22, 1928, Arno was united in marriage to Nina Stoker of Owen, Wisconsin. Arno worked for me two years and his wife kept house for us. After that, he took over the David Garbisch farm which I had bought some years ago.
In 1931, I was alone most of the time on the place. That did not work out so good; doing the farm and house work. That was too much for me at my age without a housekeeper. On May 2, 1931, I was united in marriage to Miss Emma Thiede. I appreciated it very much to have a real home again.
In 1929, I was elected director of the Lynn Mutual Insurance Company. For the last ten years, I served as President of the Lynn Mutual Cyclone Insurance Co. which office I still hold at this present time. During the period of my fifty-four years of farming, I bought seven farms. Two years ago, my health was so poor that I did not expect to live much longer. Then, I sold my home farm to Arno and retired. Here, I intend to stay until God calls me out of this life to His Heavenly Home above.
Dated August 15, 1947
As I was a member of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Town of Grant, I was elected Deacon January 1, 1902, which office I held for thirty-nine years. I also served as Secretary about thirty years and Treasurer for fifteen years.. At that time, it was customary, by absence of the pastor, for the deacon to conduct the church service and read the sermon. During the period of my time in office, I read from five hundred fifty to six hundred sermons. How much good it did, I do not know, but if it saved one soul, it would have been time well spent. Jesus said “One Soul gained for Him is worth more than the whole world.”
August 18, 1951
Henry C. Winter
Even though Mr. Winter was busy with his farm work, he found time to take on the responsibility of serving in local government, as Town Chairman and County Board Member.
Judge O.W. Schoengarth and Henry Winter became friends during the time Henry served on the Clark County Board.
Also, he served as Deacon and offices on the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church Board during his many years of membership there.
Mr. Winter’s wife, Emma, passed away in July of 1951 and he passed away in July of 1952, at age 83.
(At the time of this writing in 1993), Of his nine children, one still survives, Norma Marg in Neillsville. Three of his grandchildren live in the Neillsville area. Mrs. Donald (Irene) Braatz, Mrs. Bill (Ginny) Meier and Elaine (Marge) Free. Thanks to Elaine for providing the photos and information.
One of Henry C. Winter’s wishes was that a descendent would be a minister. That wish was realized when a grandson, Edward Winter, entered the ministry. Edward was ordained two years after his grandfather’s death at the home congregation, Zion American Lutheran Church near Granton.
The following was run in the April 30, 1932 issued of the Clark County Press:
“WHEN WINTER TURNS TO SPRING”
County Board Supervisor to Wed
Neillsville, April 30, 1932 “When summer Comes, Can Winter be Far Behind?” Perhaps that isn’t the way you’ve heard it, but that’s how they sing it in Clark County. Henry Winter, supervisor from the Town of Lynn, decided that it would be a good time to marry in the spring, tra la, and took out a license while the county board was in session.
Marriage, like murder, will out, and certain supervisors, learning of Mr. Winter’s proposed thawing out, asked county Judge O.W. Schoengarth to draw up a resolution regarding the matter for presentation before the county board.
Judge Schoengarth, whose reputation for kissing brides is envied by dozens of less fortunate persons, has had enough experience with such cases, to bring out the romantic in his nature, and rapidly evolved the following, entitled “When Winter Turns to Spring”:
“When our thoughts turn toward Spring
And the birdies begin to sing;
When the balmy breezes blow
And it’s time the grain to sow;
When the grass turns to green,
And love wanders on the scene;
When the robin builds its nest
And our Henry looks his best;
It is then fair Emma makes a date,
And seeks to entice a worldly mate;
It is then love doth appear,
To take advantage of Leap Year;
And she puts forth her womanly charms,
And our Henry moves from her arms;
As he heaves a quiet sigh
With his loved one sitting nigh;
It is then man forgets his all,
And his soul takes a great fall;
All he sees is this fair Miss,
And a life of heavenly bliss;
It is then Winter presents a ring,
And surrenders to the call of Spring.”
Be it resolved that this county board hereby extends to our honorable member, Henry Winter of the Town of Lynn, our hearty congratulations.
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