Smith Miller Farm, Greenwood, Eaton Twp., Clark County, WI

Property: Miller, Smith (Greenwood, Wisconsin Farm)





----Source: Family Albums



The Smith Miller Farm

Greenwood, Clark Co., Wisconsin

Posted By: Patricia A. Kay
Date: Tuesday, 13 August 2002, at 9:35 a.m.

Greenwood, Smith Miller Farm, "Winters' Evening"

The John Charles Miller Family Farm

Located a mile north of Greenwood, WI

Looking south (toward Greenwood) at the smaller barn.

The left side of this storage building was the granary.
The farm implements were stored in the garages on the right side.

The John Charles Miller Farm

A Letter out of the past, From Smitty Miller

It is noted in the current Gleaner that the farm where I was born is up for sale in three days now, lock, stock and barrel, just like we did to the same place in 1899. Only the price will surely be somewhat enhanced and the volume of equipment vastly greater.

In reading the list of machinery, I began to wonder just how we ever got the work done.... Everything then was of the armstrong variety. No electricity, no power machinery but plenty of horses to pull things.

Our haying machinery consisted of a horse drawn mower, a springtooth rake.....would rake into windrows and then either shock or next day spread out with the old pitch fork. Just ordinary wagons with hay racks--no rubber tires either. We were fortunate in haying to have hay forks to take the hay into the barns. When grain harvesting came the grains close to the edges we had to cut with old cradles. I have swung one of those things for days and then had to bind by hand--not twine either.

Self binders those days were rather expensive luxuries and were usually hired. Bundles shocked and then either put into stacks or direct to the thresher and all this in place of the combines that run with but one man.

One single plow and a two section smoothing harrow was all that had to prepare the soil for crops. And the fertilizer was spread by the old pitch fork and what a fine rig those were to develop blisters.

In the place of a gas tank we had a large hay mow that held a whale of a lot of timothy hay-fuel for the dobbins.....Well, it was hard work and now seems pretty crude but we sure felt well all the time. When we earned some money or sold bought more per buck and we didn t go through it so fast either for we knew how we got it. Even with all the lack of present pleasure facilities, we had a heap of fun that in my reasoning is greater than these kids have now.

To this day I can hear the sonorous voice at 3:00 a.m. of one John Charles Miller, my Dad, ring up that stairway, "Smith, get up!"

Editors note--The farm Mr. Miller speaks of is the George Speich farm just north of
Greenwood on 73, which was recently sold and an auction was held.

SOURCE: Greenwood Gleaner 23 APR 1959 S.H. Miller

Smitty Miller (Son of John Charles) writing from Concrete, WA about his boyhood home in Greenwood, WI.

The cold weather....prompts me to write about one of those early winter evenings in the old Wisconsin farm home.

It would be one of those very, very cold evenings and the family of six children and Father and Mother together with the hired girl and hired man and the yellow dog and tomcat all grouped around the round oak stove red way up in the stove pipe. The dog and cat laying there asleep and the dog chasing the white rabbit around the woods.

We all sat there munching popcorn and listening to Father read the news from our twice-week Milwaukee Journal that was the sole medium of news we were able to get in those times. Father would read, now here is a dispatch from Chicago. Every item of news was a Dispatch-for, I think the news items were so designated in those days. There was no news wires or other mediums except the Journal and that but twice a week. Every month we would get the Youth's Companion but no news was in that periodical. But the world was at peace so we were contented.

With the news having been read and Little Mother sat there with her knitting by the old oil lamp and listening to the hired girl tell us young folks ghost stories. And let me say she sure knew some dillies, too. Of course we sat munching popcorn listening when she finally wound up with the old poem:

Little Orphan Anne came
to our house to stay.
To wash and wipe the dishes
and brush the crumbs away.
The body of this poem is forgotten but I'll never forget the ending:
And when she went upstairs to bed
Two great big black things
were standing by her side
And they whisked her through
the ceiling.
Before she knew what it was
all about.
And the goblins will getchu
ef yu don't watch out.

That one, on top of the ghost stories, was a honey but to make it more realistic, I suppose, the hired man chimed in with his accordion with about the weirdest tune one can imagine and it synchronized perfectly with the ghosts. So we listened to Father saying the evening prayer and prepared for bed.

Now, believe me it took a lot of fortitude for this young chap to go up those dark stairs but I gritted my teeth and went greased lightning. The top of the stairs, I thought, would be a good place for those goblins but I made it past that area safely and dashed down the hall, passed some dark open doorways and piled into bed abut half undressed and covered up and listened........ For a minute or so it was real quiet but all of a sudden..... something jumped on top of me. That was IT for sure ....but it just went over the side of the bed and curled around and around and before long I heard a soft purring and then I knew that the tom cat had come gumshoeing up the stairs and jumped on the bed. So I, too, then, hit dreamland. And in that dream were all the denizens of the pine forest congregated in a beautiful area by the old river with a gorgeous moon shining on them in their kingdom of frost.
SOURCE: Puget Sound Mail clipping 27 FEB 1964 S. H. Miller (writing from Woodinville WA; one of his last stories)

The George Speich Farm

After John Charles Miller relocated his family in Washington state, this property was purchased by George Speich. We don't know if anyone owned it before him or if he ever farmed it himself because he owned several farms in Clark County. But in the Spring of 1953 he gave his son, Jake Speich, a farm he owned in Braun Settlement which was being farmed for him by Ewald Schwarze. Ewald and his family moved onto this farm and ran it for George who was retired and living in Greenwood, WI.

Ewald's son, Stan, had not quite completed second grade in the Braun Settlement School and was transferred to the grade school in town. Over 50 years had passed since Smitty Miller had lived there. Stan also recalled his boyhood days on this farm and he wrote:

My first memories of the farm were not so pleasant. We had moved from a house with running water and indoor plumbing. Having to go outside to pump water and go to the bathroom was not fun, especially at night if you drank anything before going to bed. Baths became a luxury. Warming up water on the stove and pouring it into a washtub was not something done every day. Once a week was the most we ever took a bath. The poor kids at school that had to smell me. No one ever complained, so it must not have been too bad. I think the smell of a farm was pretty familiar to most of the community.

Our Only Source of Water was this hand pump,
just outside the kitchen door.

I don't know what on earth possessed to do it, but one particularly harsh, cold day, I made the mistake so many others made before me and learned I the hard way………….don't ever try to lick ice off a pump handle! It can be a mighty painful experience.

It wasn't until the first winter that we got the shock of how cold a house with no furnace can be. We had a small oil burner which heated the dining room and a wood cook stove in the kitchen. That was the only heat we had. For those howling, Wisconsin winter nights, my folks put a bed in the downstairs hallway for the kids to sleep because the upstairs wasn't heated.

We had several dogs while living on various farms in Warner Township. However, because this farm had the house on one side of the highway and the barn on the other, ever single dog we had was eventually run over by a passing car. My favorite dog was name Bingo. We had him the longest and he was the friendliest and dedicated of the lot. It was a mighty sad day when I found him dead beside the road.

I was able to start driving tractor within a year or so after moving onto this farm, and that was a lot of fun for me. I drove for baling hay and also for preparing fields in the spring. To this day, I enjoy driving my garden tractor to mow our lawn.

One of the most enjoyable parts of living on this farm was at threshing time. The area farmers jointly owned a threshing machine, so the farmers would work together to thresh the oats in the late summer. We would move from one farm to the next and work long hours to get the job done. Once again, my job was to drive a tractor. I used it to pull one of the wagons heaped with oat bundles to be hauled to the threshing machine. I would drive from one set of shocks to the next, while the farmers loaded the bundles onto the wagon. When one was full, I moved to another tractor and wagon, while a farmer took the full load up to the threshing machine. The highlight of this community effort was the scrumptious dinners with an abundance of homemade specialties and fresh baked pies and bread. This was quite an undertaking for the women who prepared them because 15 to 20 hardworking and few boys like myself could really chow down the food!

We did not have our own corn chopper, so Frank Trampush was always hired to come in and chop corn for silo filling. That was done in the fall during school, so I only helped on weekends. We had two silos, one about 50 feet tall and the other about 40 feet. We filled both of them with chopped corn every fall. My mom shivered when I climbed them.

One of the more significant events that happened while we were living there, was the birth of a two-headed calf. It died shortly after birth, but George Speich had it stuffed. It was on display at the Speich Implement Shop for years afterward.

The west edge of the farm bordered the Black River. In the summer I would often stroll down to the banks and search for rocks or fish. It was always so peaceful and quiet there. The property also bordered the Greenwood Park on the south side, so I would meet friends and go swimming by the dam.

Sometime during the years we lived on this farm, a new foundation was built for the main barn and it was moved from the old foundation to the new, which turned it 90 degrees. We had an automated barn cleaner in the new barn. What a treat! We milked about 50 cows most of the time, but in the summer when they were calving, we only milked around 30. We were always up at 4:30 a.m. to do the milking. We usually finished by 7:00 a.m., and then I got ready for school. We milked again at 5:00 p.m. and finished by 7:15.

We moved into Greenwood in the Spring of 1959 when George Speich sold the farm to Ronald Kitzhaber. The day after the cows were sold, I got to sleep in and that is one of my most enjoyable days on the farm. We did not get up until 6:30 a.m. that morning. The next day we moved to a house right next door to my grandparents and I happily became "one of the town kids."

SOURCE: Schwarze Family Album.


On Monday, September 17, 1956, a two-headed calf was born that morning to a first calf Holstein heifer, on the George Speich farm, 2 miles north of Greenwood. The calf died in the afternoon. According to Dr. Cook, local veterinarian, this type of birth is very rare.

The animal was born with two distinct heads, joined to the body at the shoulders. Ewald Schwarze, who is employed at the farm, said both heads were identically marked and functioned separately. First one head would blatt and then the other, Ewald said. The animal was unable to stand on its legs and was fed from a bottle. Not knowing whether the body contained two digestive systems, both heads were fed and they both ate.

Although the carcass was not dissected, it is believed to have contained two sets of lungs and it appeared that a spinal column extended from each neck to the hips.

When the animal died, Ewald said one side stopped functioning and then the other. The carcass was taken to Medford for mounting.

SOURCE: Greenwood Gleaner.


    Through the years, this property passed through many hands and why the various transactions took place was not always clear. It was not obvious how some people had come to own the land. The following list of transfers was taken from the Clark County Courthouse.

    1863--Clark County sold it to C. W. Carpenter

    1871--Transferred from C. C. Merrick to C. W. Carpenter

    1873--C. C. Washburn to C. W. Carpenter

    1873--George Haner to C. W. Carpenter

    1873--B. F. French to C. W. Carpenter

    1876--Chandler Brown to Thomas Miller

    1882--Thomas & Oliva Miller & wives to Charles & Betsy Miller

    1901--John Miller to Peter Hansen

    1901--Herbert Sweet to Peter Hansen

    1902--John Miller and E. Sweet to Peter Hansen

    1902--Peter Hansen to William Worth

    1903--Peter Hansen to Heirs

    1904--Foreclosure--back to Gard Miller

    1905--Hattie Miller to Abraham Speich

    For many years it was also owned by George Speich and is now the property of Bernie Kitzhaber.

    ***If you have information to add to this message, please e-mail:
    Stan Schwarze at
    Pat Kay at



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