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Picturesque Characters-Eventful Happenings
The sturdy pioneer settlers were an honest, peaceable, law-abiding, and religious people. They had to clear land, grub out the stumps, or make gardens between them, build homes and start farms in the midst of pine and hardwood forests. Most of the early settlers worked from fifteen to twenty years in the camps in winters, on the drive in the spring, and at home summers, clearing a small plot each year, raising hay and vegetables. The hay was cut by hand, raked with a wooden, handmade rake and often carried up for winter use on poles, the women helping with the haying and other outside work.
On arriving at their new home some first slept in booths made of brush until a pole shanty could be made, others in tents. Larry Drinkwine's first home was of logs twelve by twelve feet, and roofed with elm bark, but was large enough for himself, wife and three children. Mr. and Mrs. Harry Mead, who came in 1865, found only one house in the midst of the dense forest. The next spring they moved onto their land into a house which they built without a nail, using wooden pins and hinges, and for seven months Mrs. Mead stated, she saw only one white woman. She also said it took very little to give the settlers a good time. They made much of their own furniture and clothes, exchanged their few books, went to dances long miles afoot or with ox-teams. Mr. Mead would walk over the muddy roads to Neillsville and carry home on his back flour and other groceries; at times the mud was almost knee deep. Mrs. Mead. boarded and washed for the men in camps, saved her money and with it bought the. Hackett place which for years was known as "Mrs. Mead's dirty shirt farm". Possibly these early settlers were too busy with the problem of making homes and earning a living to "stray from the straight and narrow way". One old man of this city, when asked about the moral tone of the community in the early days replied; "The old settlers knew nothing of skulduggery until the younger generation came along." When asked who the younger generation were replied "Oh, fellows about my age" (70) and proceeded to name a dozen, which would take us back to the very earliest days of Greenwood, when doors were without locks, tools were left where last used and always found there. Travelers were welcomed into the home without a thought that they might be crooks. I can remember "Uncle George" Andrews remarking that his blacksmith shop was never locked. One eighty year old man said, "Greenwood was an honest country always (with the exception of long forties) but now everybody (?) is a thief." When some loggers had a forty to log, the forty would extend for a mile up and down the river and as far back as it was convenient to log, or when some needed lumber, logs would be taken out of the river and sawed in some mill near by.
But as the town grew the saloon entered and grew also, and a large floating population going into camps in the fall and out in the spring, would spend their hard earned money in drink, and fights were not unusual. John Hoyt built a saloon near where the North Side hall now stands and Bob Robinson ran what was called the "Icicle Saloon", because of the trimmings. It was located where the "New Deal's" saloon now stands. And these with others were places where a whole winter's wages would be drunk up. One time when the town of Eaton voted the saloon out, a saloon was opened just across the road in the town of Warner, east of the North Side hotel, and the drinkers were said to "drink in Warner and spew in Eaton". One day a "River Hog" named Jack Gorman got "stewed" and went into H. W. Hunt's store looking for trouble, and Mr. Hunt, though a peaceable, Christian man, took an ax handle and drove him out. Another day Jim Neville (who had fought in the Mexican War, and as a memento had a half moon slice out of one side of his nose), was lounging in the " Icicle Saloon" when a man entered and announced his name as "Wisconsin Jack" which Jim took as a challenge, jumped up and said "My name is Mississippi Pete" and socked him one on the jaw with his left fist. "Wisconsin Jack" left and was seen no more. One Norwegian Ole, nick-named "Ole Coleman" because he worked for Coleman, was so anxious to earn and save money that all winter he hardly bought, mittens or other clothing enough to keep warm, came out of camp in the spring and in a few days had drunk his whole winter's wages.
Not all did so, however, as in one instance, when William Vollrath was sixteen, he worked in the woods f our months f or Steve Andrews at $28.00 per month and came home in the spring with $112.00 which he spent for land, later becoming a prosperous farmer, now retired and living in Greenwood.
To offset all this drinking the Independent Order of Good Templars was organized, which was nicknamed by the wets "I Often Get Tight". Al Armstrong's father was the first Grand Templar and the organization flourished for years with as high as fifty members, among them being P. E. Peterson, Al Armstrong, P. M. Stevens, J. S. Andrews and Dave Warner. The order met in the halt" over George Andrews' blacksmith shop.
At one time Frank Quintard was urged by a group of men to give Charlie Little a lesson in fist fighting, which he proceeded to do in George Huntzicker's field. Little was so pounded and mutilated that he was taken to John Shanks' home, where he spent several weeks recuperating.
In 1856 two men, Pettengill and Page, fur traders, had a dispute with some Indians and held a grudge. Some time after, when Pettengill was stopping at George Huntzickers, who kept a "Lumberman’s Home" he was informed that one of these Indians was outside. Pettengill stepped out on the porch and from there shot the Indian dead, who lay all night where he had fallen. In the morning men dragged the body to a nearby hole made by a windfall, uprooted tree. The tree was sawed off which let the stump fall back, burying the body. Those at the "Lumberman's Home" spent a night of anxiety, fearing what the Indians might do, though nothing was done and Pettengill succeeded in eluding justice.
In 1881 a man named Jacob Bibel lived about a mile northwest of Hemlock, on what is now the Al Armstrong farm. Bibel who had come from the old country a few years previous, was a tall, homely, man with large protruding eyes and black whiskers that made him look like a monkey. He had found a wife near Milwaukee, who was seventeen years old when he married her and bore a poor reputation. She was a good worker and always helped with the outside work. One day in January 1881, while the two were hauling logs to Black River at Hemlock and while unloading, they became involved in a dispute. Mrs. Bibel drew a revolver, which she always carried, and shot him dead. She dragged the body back into the woods and left it. She returned home with the ox-team and went about her work as usual. Later she went to Harry Meads, telling them Jacob had gone away with a man and had not returned. About a week after, Joe Palmer, the miller at Hemlock, and Fred Limprecht noticed crows or ravens circling and cawing around and knew something was wrong, so went to investigate and found the body of Bibel doubled up behind a log, frozen stiff. The body was brought to town and put in Honeywell's warehouse, the building now occupied by Ed Schwarze. As some men were putting the body into a barrel of water to thaw it out. Woodie Chandler, who happened to be "about three sheets in the wind", said "Take another dive, Jacob, take another dive". For a long time after this building was a place to fear, and even adults hurried past after nightfall.
Mrs. Bibel was arrested and taken to Neillsville and while there in jail a baby boy was born to her.
She denied having murdered her husband. When court sat in March, her lawyer, Bob McBride, cleared her. She confessed, but claimed self-defense, as Jacob had come toward her threateningly with a canthook.
Another notorious case was the Dan Allen and Mrs. Wright poisoning. Allen and Mrs. Wright (who was the mother of three children) became enamored of each other. They lived southeast of town, three or four miles, on adjoining farms. A11en gave Mrs. Wright poison, which she put into cookies for Mr. Wright to eat. He became ill and she refused to give him anymore, but one day when he started to town to consult Dr. Thomas, he stopped at Allens' and asked for a drink of water into which Allen put poison, so Mr. Wright died and was buried. At the same time Mrs. Allen was ill and had a sore on her side which needed to be dressed. Her husband dressed the wound but put poison into it. She too, died and on the suspicion of neighbors, Dr. Thomas and Ernest Derby disinterred the body. The stomach was sent to Madison for examination and the poison found. Allen and Mrs. Wright were arrested and taken to Neillsville tried, but not convicted.
Much later, Zell and Dazen, neighbors, who lived three and one-half miles west of town, quarreled and fought; Dazen with a knife, witfi which he cut Zell in the face, on the hands and wrists. They were both seriously injured and were brought to the North Side Hotel, then operated by Gene Cummings. Both were put into the same room where they could glare at each other. By the doctor's orders they were to be kept in bed, but Dazen got up and started for home and the next -morning was found dead, just outside his own yard.
Drownings on the drive and other accidents have taken the lives of well-known inhabitants. Hugh Tackney of Christie was working on the drive for the Coleman Lumber Company above the dam on Rock Creek. He was riding a log which was caught in the current, carrying him, through the spillway and plunging man and log beneath the boiling flood. Two weeks later the body was found by Miles Murphy a mile or more down the creek completely buried in Edmunds' sandbar, except for two buttons on his clothes which were shining in the sun. In June 1893 Johnny Alton was drowned in Black River while on the drive. Alex McCray, another driver, was nearly drowned in Black River when Al Warner jumped in to save him, but he grabbed Al so tightly around the neck that both were in danger, when other men helped them both to shore.
Father Taylor, an old English bachelor, who lived at John Syth's, was digging a well across from John Stewart's, was overcome by death damp, and died before he could be gotten out. He was in the well about thirty-six hours, but was finally gotten out with hooks caught in his clothing. The well was filled up and never used.
In 1886 during a thunderstorm, lightening struck a windmill which was used by Bailey's Furniture and Undertaking Factory for power, and entered the building, killing Dorry Bailey, who was working there. This same day Kin Andrews claimed he had found a -meteor which had fallen across the corner from Bailey's. He called Dr. Thomas' attention to it, who on examining the stone found it still warm and noted the grass was burned where it had fallen. Later it developed that Kin with other boys was just having some fun and had heated the rock and thrown it there.
Miller Brothers owned a mill on Gile Creek where they sawed lumber several years 'but when a dam was to be built at Hatfield they moved the machinery there. Ed Miller, father of Harry J. Miller, looked after the saws, belting, etc., as he was the mill-wright, and while cleaning the boiler, was badly scalded. He was brought to his home north of Greenwood but lived only a short time. This same mill was later moved back to Eaton Center where lumber was sawed, and in 1887 an emery wheel, used for filing saws, burst, a piece striking Lou Rufinot in the chest, killing him. Ben Hyslip also was killed in this mill, being wound upon a shaft when his clothing became caught. Then in 1891 George McConnell Sr., working there, was killed. The water in the boiler got low and when the fireman noticed it, he grabbed a bucket of water and threw it into the firebox which caused an explosion, killing Mr. McConnell instantly. The mill was never repaired and later the ruins burned.
Another accident was the death of Bert Hommel, which happened in Charles Miller's camp, four miles west of town. Ole Christianson was foreman, Ed Parker cook, Bill Oelig, Charles Honeywell and Hiram Shields were teamsters. Fred Oelig, John Franklin and J. S. Andrews worked on the skidway, loading. Bert Houmel took Oelig's place as loader and Oelig drove the team. In hauling out of a branch road with a heavy down grade, Oelig stopped at a second skidway to top his load and in doing so took the team off the sleigh to finish loading. The sleigh was blocked but the jar of a log started the sleigh moving. Bert ran and grabbed the tongue, one runner struck a root and threw him to the ground and the runner passing over his neck, killed him. The camp was saddened and very quiet for a time; but by the second Sunday was hilarious again, there was singing, dancing, playing of games etc., as usual. Always in accidents or sickness. though, the men in camp took up a collection to give the unfortunate one a lift. Several years after this, Bill Hommel, a brother of Bert, while working on the Charles Miller farm, pulling stumps, was fatally injured. A chain broke and a link entered his stomach. He lived only a short time. Another accident which happened much later was the killing of Albert Stabnow and his small daughter in a railroad accident at Kelly's crossing, so near their home that the wife and mother, Alice Vine Stabnow, witnessed it.
Greenwood, being built on a hill above Rock Creek and Black River, has not been harmed by floods, and storms have done very little damage, though serious cyclones have threatened at different times. July 5, 1907, a cyclone struck south at the John Charles' farm, Ruth Larson, being injured. May 29, 1908, a tornado wrecked a number of farm buildings four miles west and south at Flagg's.
In 1887, when Black River bridge went out with a flood, the water was up to the porch of the Moses Babb home which stood near the road west of the river going north to Aaberg's. It was at this time that Stephen M. Andrews swam across the raging river to get a boat moored on the west bank. He was an excellent swimmer and taught many of Greenwood's youths to swim.
Mary Hommel Warner, who came to Greenwood before Greenwood was, in 1867, could tell -many an absorbing tale of the early days and early ways. She was well acquainted with the river and its floods, both spring freshets and the floods when the dams were opened to float logs. When she was about eighteen years old, she, with Frank Peterson, Denver Green and Addie Armstrong, was enjoying a few hours on the river bank below the present bridge, when the river raised and logs began coming down. The two boys and Addie ventured on logs in an eddy, but the rapidly rising water moved the logs quickly and the three young folks fell, into the river. Mary took a long pole and reached it to Denver Green, thus helping him to shore, then Addie had her turn to hang onto the pole and as she was towed to shore Frank came with her, he hanging onto her foot. They all felt they owed their lives to Mary. When the bridge went out in the flood of 1887 she often rowed passengers across the river, even in the nighttime, as she lived near the river. With all her hardships and worries, her family and friends never saw her any other way than smiling and cheerful. She was so willing to help the needy and those in trouble, always having a kind word for the fellow who was down.
The winter of 1858 has been known as the winter of the big snow. The stumps of trees cut that winter were about eight feet high. In 1881 snow fell four feet deep. In March 1917 a blizzard raged for three days and no train was able to get through for ten days. The mail was brought up from Neillsville by team, several teams and men going down to shovel through the drifts.
The outstanding robbery in Greenwood was that of the Greenwood State Bank, November 4, 1902. The robbers got into the bank by raising a window on the north side of the building. They took $7,102.00, $6.000.00 was gotten back from the insurance, the stockholders making good the difference. The robbers escaped west with a waiting team. Sperbeck, the cashier, received word the next week that the robbers had been captured in Chicago. The sheriff started at once for Chicago and brought the robbers to Neillsville, where they stood trial but were finally freed. Of late years, the Big Store and Picus' have been robbed several times, also the 0. & N. Lumber Company, Keiners Meat Market, North Side Service Station, and the E. J. Crane and Sons elevator. The robbers breaking into Picus' store have been captured. The others are still unknown.
The fire causing the most inconvenience and greatest loss was the fire of May 4, 1885, when eleven buildings were burned in the heart of the town, including the home of Lew Larson, where the fire started from an overheated chimney. Ole Johnson, Sam Greene, Sam Greene's Gun-shop, Frank Pfeiffer's Butcher Shop, Elias Peterson's Shoe Shop, Chris Vates' "Icicle Saloon", which had been purchased from Bob Robinson and moved to about where the little shoe shop of Mikottis’ stands, the barns of Thompson and Root, Elias Peterson, S. M. Andrews, and Christ Vates which he had just filled with hay at $25.00 per ton, and other small buildings were destroyed. There was no fire protection, not even ladders. More buildings might have been burned, but the Black River Improvement Company's crew happened to get to town about the time the fire started and helped fight it with wet blankets, buckets, etc. The, next night, May 5, 1885 it started to snow a heavy wet snow, which by morning was six inches deep, and Kate Miller, who taught school two, miles northeast of Greenwood, waded out to her school. The baby clothes of Ella Larson Crum, who was born two weeks later, were all burned in this fire, as were the clothes and household goods of many others.
A year later a forest fire started in John (Wohush Johnnie) McMahon's land am-ong old pine stumps. It spread rapidly and ran into John Bowerman’s oat field of about four acres, which it burned, spreading rapidly, northeast across what is now Dahl's, Opdycke's, and Gus Swanson's farms, causing fear and apprehension lest it get into the village. John McMahon was sued by Bowerman for setting the fire, but could not prove his charge, so he was out his crop and the cost of the trial. John Hoyt's saloon burned in 1877.
A long, low, log building, which was used as a tannery for years by Old Bue, burned in 1889. This building was built over a spring in the hollow south of Ketchpaw's home. Len Eastman's wagon and blacksmith shop burned in the eighties. Other destructive fires have been those of Mrs. Matilda, Hogue's home, Hugh Shanks' home, the Palms and Kippenhan stave mill at a loss of $12,000.00; in 1893 the Horace Weston house, where George Poole now lives; in 1897 the old red boarding house in Eaton Town; in 1895 the largest barn in Clark County, owned by Robert Schofield on which one thousand dollars insurance was collected. About this time people began to seek some form of fire protection, and every resident was requested to keep a ladder on the premises. Other fire losses have been the homes of Herman Smith; Harry Hogue; A. C. Barr; Gene McMahon; Miller's residence and saloon; Ed Klinke's garage, located where the North Side Service station is, at a considerable loss, (Mr. and Mrs. Klinke barely escaped with their lives). Art Johnson's barn; Pfunder's Drug store; Soo Depot; the Kippenhan home; the large hotel of Joe Christie in 1924, and numerous other partly burned buildings, saved from an entire loss by the Fire Department which now protects Greenwood's citizens.
Many are the tales of picturesque and interesting characters of Greenwood's early days. Sam Lambert, joint owner with Lige Eaton of a mill at the riffle on Black River, built a small home there. He and his wife boarded Lige Eaton, who was a bachelor, and in time Mrs. Olive Lambert obtained a divorce from her husband and became Mrs. Olive Eaton, her former husband now boarding with Mr. and Mrs. Eaton.
Stephen Case Honeywell, who was an outstanding character of the early days, had married Charlotte Andrews in Canada. They had four children, Mary, (who named Greenwood), Hannah, John and Priscilla. In April 1870, Mrs. Honeywell died and at her request was buried on the hill near Black River now the cemetery. Mr. Honeywell later married Mary Odgers, an aunt of Isadore Shields. They had two children, Allie and Sid. They rnoved to, Minnesota, taking up a homestead where the second Mrs. Honeywell died and Case was again married to Mrs. Fanny Warner. They came to Greenwood for their honeymoon. Case now was about sixty years old, and a crowd of the younger generation, seeking fun, got together to give him a charivari. Case started to leave town, thinking to escape the crowd, but they followed, banging their saws, cowbells, shotguns, etc. On reaching Chet Olson's dam on Rock Creek, Case sat on a log to rest. It was a fine, moonlight night and the merry-makers followed him to Loyal and back, reaching home at broad daylight and receiving nothing for their night's entertainment. Case was very fond of leeks and every spring would go to the home of John Cox for a feast of them, Mrs. Cox, a niece of his first wife, frying them. for him. One time he went to Neillsville the day after a feast and was told that if he ever came there again so perfumed they would lock him in jail. His friend, "old" John Bowerman would take a pan, some bread and a slab of salt pork, and go into the woods for a week or ten days, feeding on leeks.
In those days Loyal and Greenwood people were always quarreling about one thing or another: fishing with dip-nets, baseball, etc. Greenwood people called the village of Loyal, "Pup-town" and its inhabitants "Leek-diggers", but from the above stories this title might well apply to some of Greenwood's own citizens.
Elias Peterson's father 0. (Voddan) and mother lived with one or another of their children or grandchildren. One time he stayed at Sianon Johnson's while his wife stayed at Ole Peterson's about, one-half mile away. The old man started through the woods to see his wife, lost his way, became bewildered, wandered around and finally came to a clearing and seeing a woman outside washing, went to make inquiries as to his whereabouts, and telling of the incident afterwards said, "when I got there it was my own wife, and I hadn't known her."
Old Pike was an itinerant preacher, talking and preaching in rhyme. One time he had no money to pay railroad fare and told the conductor; "Put me through and God will take care of you." Once he came into G. C. Andrew's shop, a little worse off for liquor, and said, "I don't think it is a sin, to take a little gin, to warm -me up within." Eph. Sanford's second wife was a daughter of Old Pike.
Charles Varney, when a boy of eleven or twelve was sent horseback from La Crosse county to Hemlock so the horse might work in the woods. He walked back, alone, through dense woods with few settlers and only a blazed trail part of the way. The trip back took three days.
Tom Chadwick was an old logger and pioneer living near Christie. He accumulated a great deal of property, but lost much of it through drink. When he was sober he was tight, and when 'tight' was very free hearted. An old settler living near Humbird was asked if he knew Tom Chadwick and he replied, "We got more money than the little bays can pull up the hill." This saying of Tom's made his identity clear.
Mrs. Anna Franz, daughter of Henry Decker, was the first white child born on the West Side, in 1870. They "didn't need doctors then", was the reply to an inquiry, as to what doctor they had.
Pete Anderson, a bachelor, who had been the servant of a Norwegian prince, came to Greenwood in 1875. He had a fight with a bear while in Norway, and had killed the bear with his only weapons, a jack-knife and his fists, but was about as badly used up as the bear and was terribly scarred. From this he was nicknamed "Old Bear Pete". He obtained a piece of land west of the river and in 1876 proceeded to build a log home. He built his house and had logs rolled up for a barn, when he, went out one morning to work while his coffee boiled. He was sawing the logs out to -make a doorway, when one fell, striking and breaking his leg, and he alone with only a trail past his place with few passersby! Charles Varney, then a young lad, passed near enough to hear his cries for help, but not understanding the call, was afraid to answer, so "Old Bear Pete" lay on the ground all day. That evening when Annie Guldbrand, a neighbor, was out looking for her cow she heard someone calling and told her husband to go and see if something wrong with Pete, which he did and found him lying on the ground not far from where he had fallen. He recovered from. this, too, and was able to finish his barn, clear his land, grub out the stumps, make maple sugar, and perform all the numerous duties of a pioneer, though always very lame. He even entertained company, and one time Dorry Bailey (who had a habit of tasting everything he saw) picked up a chunk of maple sugar and ate it, which "Old Bear Pete" had been sucking on for a week. As Pete grew old he lived with his nephew, Sam Severson where he would take a chair to the woods in which to sit and chop down trees and saw them into wood. He died at Severson's in May 1915.
The Indians were friendly and did not disturb the early settlers, though many were afraid of them as the following story will prove. In 1873 Charles Hogue lived about six miles northeast of Greenwood on what was later known as the Lloyd farm. One day when Mrs. Hogue and her two small children were home alone she heard a noise at the door. When she opened it, there stood an Indian with bloody hands. She was so frightened that she grabbed the baby (Oscar) and pretended she was going to get some wood, picked up Harry, who was in the yard, and ran with the two children through the clearing into the woods to the nearest neighbor about two miles away. The Indian called to her as she ran which only frightened her more. She remained there until evening when the neighbor (who was a grandfather of Sena Hanson) fired his gun several times, and Mr. Hogue, returning home about this time knew it was a signal, and went there, found his family and brought them horne. Later this Indian told Mr. Hogue that he had killed a deer in the edge of the clearing and wanted to trade part of the meat for groceries, and that he realized Mrs. Hogue was frightened and called to reassure her.
In the very early days a man named Lincoln owned sixteen forties, running from Black River east on the south side of Rock Creek, he living in a log shanty built south and east of where J. Brauneis, Sr. now lives He was blind for many years. His second wife sued him, claiming non-support. The hearing was held in the hall over Andrew's blacksmith shop, and created much merriment. A lawyer named Monahan defended Lincoln, claiming she had seventeen different kinds of food in her, which she bitterly denied.
Robert Eggett was an old Englishman, who came to Greenwood in 1884, worked in camp many winters for Charles Miller as road monkey, where Hank Oxford, dubbed "Old Slew Foot," was foreman and Fritz Gaaretz, sawyer, keeping his files on a shelf over his bunk. One evening when the men assembled in the men's shanty, Fritz stepped on the deacon seat to put his file away, "Coom doon oot o' thot, mit your auld snawy pocks". Fritz swore at him, and Eggett said "You can Jasus and you can Dom but coom doon oot o' thot." One morning, after a heavy fall of snow, Eggett was ordered out ahead of the teams, and refused to go out so early (about two A. M.) so was given his time, when he said, "I'll gang awa up to Cy Dewey, noo." Cyrus.Dewey was the foreman in a rival camp.
In 1884 Dr. Thomas felt the need of help in his work and wrote to Rush Medical College for names of young doctors looking for a location; two names were sent, those of Drs. Buland and McCutcheon. Mrs. G. C. Andrews, on hearing the names read, said, "Dr. Buland sounds like a nice name", so Buland was invited to locate at Greenwood, which he did in February 1884, McCutcheon going to Thorp. Buland roomed and boarded at Bailey's boarding house. The same year in May, Bertha Mason and Ella Bacon, two young girls, came from Neillsville and started a millinery store in Tom Syth's building, they, too, boarding at Bailey's. The first evening they were there, Dr. Buland and Dorrence Bailey came in together, and seeing -two attractive girls Dorry said, "There are two girls for us." Dr. Buland replied, "Alright, I'll take the long, slim one", and Dorry said, "And I'll take the short, fat one," which they did, Buland being married the next December 9, 1884. Bailey and Miss Bacon married somewhat later.
August Nagle and his wife and several small children lived about four miles northeast of Greenwood in the Rudolph Hommel shanty in 1881. At that time there was only a blazed trail through the woods. Mr. Nagle, being fond of liquor, was often abusive to his family and would go off and leave them without money or supplies. One of these times Mrs. Nagle walked to town, borrowed fifty cents from Fred Eaton, bought about twenty-five pounds of flour, (all she could carry) and started back home, stopping to take off her shoes and stockings to save them, and when crossing a branch of Gile Creek on a log, east of the corner where the Trondhjem church now stands, she slipped and fell, her paper sack of flour striking the log and spilling into the water. She then went back, stopping, at Simon Johnson's, crying and telling her pitiful story. Mrs. Johnson gave her some flour, putting it into a pillowcase, the only receptacle she had. Mrs. Nagle again started for home, this time getting there without mishap.
In the fall of 1874 Ole Olson came with his wife and small son to Greenwood, driving with an ox team from, Black River Falls, where he had spent a few years working in the saw mills. He had bought a cow two miles south of there which he brought along. His deed showed that he bought eighty acres of land from R. Bowerman in 1873. There was a sugar shanty on the land so they had a home in which to live. They stopped over night at John Charles', and being caught in a heavy rain storm stopped again at Huntzicker's and spent the night in their barn, Mrs. Olson removing her outer garments and hanging them up to dry. The next morning her skirt was missing, but they came on to their future home. That fall, the oxen and cow strayed away and could not be found, so Ole walked to Black River Falls, found them near their old home and brought there back, walking home.
On September 20, 1875, a double wedding was celebrated in Elias Peterson's shoe shop. His daughter Carrie and Ole Johnson, Victor Hendrickson and Anna Johnson were married, Rev. Sampson coming from. Black River Falls to perform the ceremony. Ole and Anna were brother and sister. Ole Johnson and wife lived for a time in the village, but later obtained forty acres of land east of town and began clearing a farm. Among other drawbacks, they had to contend with wild animals for the right to earn an honest living, bears and wolves enjoying sheep, hogs, etc. One old bear was especially troublesome, and successfully evaded guns traps, etc., for some time. One evening as Ole Johnson's cattle were returning home, Mrs. Johnson noticed there was an extra animal and called Ole, who hurried out with his gun, but the bear again escaped. Another evening they heard a great commotion among the cattle, and Ole again went to investigate with a lantern and gun, and as he started to climb over the rail fence, he met the bear coming up the other side. Ole said he didn't know which was the most surprised, he or the bear, but it must have been Ole, as the bear again escaped. Many traps were set for the animal, Ole setting one near Rock Creek at the entrance to the tamarack swamp, where the bear would come into his corn field. The trap was securely fastened to a good-sized log. One day, Ole, missing the trap and log took his gun and followed the trail made by the bear, trap and log as they traveled across Rock Creek through the woods, breaking down brush and sizable poplar trees, south and east to near the Frank Pierce place, now Matt Lindner's farm. As Ole overtook the bear it reared up on its hind ready to battle, but he had met his "Waterloo." Ole shot him dead and tramped back home after his team, having bought a young team, to take the place of the oxen previously used. When he came near the bear the horses were frightened and could not be used, so he again returned home and went to Lew Larson's, who lived on the Albert Dahl farm, borrowed his oxen, and again started for the bear. By this time the news was being circulated, and Ole had plenty of help and the oxen were not so unruly, so the bear was brought home and weighed. It tipped the scales at 550 pounds. The hide was tanned, with claws, paws and head, and has been used as a rug and robe over forty-five years, and is still in good condition. The trap and hide may still be seen at the Ole Johnson farm.
George C. Andrews was another interesting character, who was a blacksmith and local preacher. He worked many nights until after midnight. In an old record book under the date of December 3, 1880, he recorded that he had earned nine dollars that evening, and in 1889 eight dollars and fortv cents one evening, several years he had shod as high as fifty yoke of oxen during the winter season. He would work hard all the week and on Sundays walk to Hemlock, Longwood, Christie or LaTart to preach the gospel which he believed and loved, without remuneration. "Uncle George" as a preacher was especially gifted and the people delighted to hear him. Whether he preached or addressed the annual memorial service or other public gatherings, nearly every early settler was indebted to him, for he had been in their homes on festive occasions, when some member of the family was joyously entering into wedded life, or prayed with them when they mourned and were comfortless.
In the spring of 1875 the narrator of the following incident was a youth of ten years. That spring his father gave him a black and white calf which he named "Buck". When Buck was three weeks old the youth's father made him another gift of a red and white calf, which he bought from Lige Eaton of Eaton Town. This one the lad named "Star". The boy went into the woods and cut a small ironwood stick and bored four holes for the bows. Next he cut two hickory sprouts for the bows. He then put the bows in place and drove a staple ring into the center. There was a small clearing around the house and a big birch stump stood back of the house. The father turned the cow into the woods, which was the custom in the early days.
The lad tied the calves to the birch stump and yoked the-m up and guided them around this stump until the cow, the another of "Buck" saw this. Then it was necessary for him to quit and run to the house as fast as he could. His father came to the rescue and loosed the calves. But the lad persevered and soon had them broken to drive, never using the rope until they were a year old. To yoke them together, he would put the yoke on the "off " one, hold up the other end and call the "nigh" one, and it would come under and take its place as well-trained oxen were taught.
That fall he went into woods and cut four small sticks for runners and made a complete set of double sled. Then, to use his own words: "I went into the pine woods in front of the house and cut small logs, loaded them on my sled and hauled them to the creek, just as big loggers did". The next summer Andrew Cramer made him a yoke of red elm, which was suitable until the calves were two years old. He could sit on the vehicle, whether sleigh or jumper, and guide them wherever he wanted them to go, for "Buck and Star" had been trained to "Haw and Gee", and to be driven without the use of the brad stick.
In the winter when this yoke of young steers was a year old, there were ox-teams hauling logs to Hemlock on the main logging road front West of the river, two and three yoke on a team. The narrator said, "I would drive my little team up the main logging road till I would meet a loaded team, then I would hitch -my little sleigh on behind their load, put my steers ahead on the lead, get up on the load and maybe I wasn't pretty big!"
The youth's father had made a long runnered jumper. The runners were about twelve feet long, and four feet apart, the front ends turned in to about two feet apart. This jumper was invariably drawn by oxen and used to go to market or for hauling any needed load. Some put on extra wooden shoes to save the main runners, these being securely fastened in place with wooden pins.
The narrator continues: "It was in the second winter that when the school teacher would like to visit at her home over the week-end, the young steers and the long runnered jumper were the convenient means of getting her home. I know we both enjoyed it, more than any ride before or since." Many other people enjoyed narrating these happenings and the teacher especially enjoyed describing thorn. The youth was Charles Varney and the teacher Libbie Andrews.
When "Buck and Star" were two years old they began to use them for work on the farm and continued to do so until they were four years old. In the fall they were sold to Niran Withee and were put into a camp on the east fork of Black River. A tree fell across them and both were killed.
In conclusion Mr. Varney said, "I spent my spare time during those years with my young steers rather than playing with other boys."
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