Recollections of Columbia, Wisconsin

by Mabel Schlender Jonkel

Contributed by Sarah Poertner

transcribed by Crystal Wendt & Michelle Harder.

*Mr. And Mrs. John Sollberger, Sr., were born in Switzerland and were married in 1883. In 1885 they came to Monroe where he was a cheese maker. In 1889 they came to Columbia to homestead land two miles north. Here they lived thirty-eight years, developing a fine dairy farm. He was active in community affairs holding the office of the town supervisor for twenty-eight consecutive years.

They had ten children. Two sons and one daughter died in infancy. Seven lived in Columbia. The oldest, Elizabeth, married to Orle Beck of Merrillan and they lived in Merrill for many years. She passed on in Chicago in 1932 while visiting her sister, Frieda. John, Jr., did carpenter work on several dams throughout the states and Canada. He married Emma Beulow of Hewettville. When his father retired, he took over the home farm. There were two daughters, Alice and Frances, both becoming teachers. Frieda married Frank Baumel of Columbia. They moved to Chicago where Frank was in the printing business and later became supervisor in the main post office in Chicago.

 Young ladies of Columbia

Frieda, Bertha and Elizabeth Sollberger

Their one daughter, June, was a very talented musician. Bertha married Leslie Sherman of Merrillan. One season he managed the Columbia pickle factory. Their home was in Merrillan where he taught school and was a rural carrier. Later he owned a gas service station. Of their two children, Ruth passed on as a young girl. Harvey worked in his fatherís service station after he had returned from service. He worked in Eau Claire after his father passed on. His wife is the former Bertha Laager of Columbia, the widow of George


Poertner. Albert, the fourth son of John, Sr., upon his return form service worked in the Chicago post office for a short period. When he returned home he became an employee of the Wisconsin Northern States Power Company retiring in 1958. He married Frances Poertner of Columbia and they lived in Neillsville. Their three children were John who passed on at the age of one years. Leonard (Micky) was in service and later became employed by the Wisconsin Northern States Power Company. He never married. Helen married Gavin Upton of Black River Falls. He was a band Director. There were two children.

William helped on the farm. He married Irma Ackerman who taught in Columbia. Details are in another item. Ernest helped his father on the farm and alter moved to Athens where he and his wife, Isabel, live. They have on daughter in Minneapolis, now Joan Spears.

*Mr. And Mrs. Sollberger, Sr., retired in town of Columbia in the former residence of Dr. Scherman, which their son, Albert had bought. The Sr. Sollbergers were buried in the Neillsville cemetery, he in 1933 and she in 1939.

*Mr. And Mrs. Fred Moser, Sr., was born in Switzerland where they were married in 1882. Two years later they came to the states, settling in Green County where he was a cheese maker for ten years. In 1895 they came to Columbia settling on the edge of the town site along Five Mile Creek. A long cabin was built and eighty acres were cleared. In later years the cabin burned and was replac3ed by a new framed home. Mr. Moser was very musically inclined, playing three instruments (violin, clairnet, zither), equally well. At a moments notice he would often play his violin for us young people to dance.

Of their five children one son pass on in infancy. Robert was married to Nora Hill of Columbia. First they lived in Chicago and then moved to Neillsville where he was a railroad section foreman. Their four children were: John, Mary, Edwin and Dorothy. He passed on in 1933. Mary married Fred Meitzke of White Creek. He was one of Columbiaís cheese makers and then managed the Columbia, Merrillan and Hewettville cheese factories for several years. They moved to the state of Oregon were one son, Rolan, was born; Fred, Jr., or Fritz, as he was always called, helped his father on the farm and also drove a Columbia school bus. He married Anna Larson, a Columbia gril, in March of 1912. They moved to Neillsville where he worked in the condensary several years. They had two children, Edna and a son who passed on in infancy. Later they moved to Rockford, Illinois. Fritz passed on in 1946 and his wife in 1957. Emma was the first girl born in Columbia in 1885. She married August Resong of Neillsville. He made cheese in Columbia for two seasons. Then they moved to Neillsville where he worked in the condensary. He passed on in 1921. In 1925 she married Arthur Christen of Humbird. He had lived in Columbia. They were on a farm and were parents of a son, Edwin, who lived in Black River Falls.

The Mosers sold the farm to Ward Lockman in 1919 and moved to Cloverdale, Oregon, where they lived for two years. They retired to Neillsville where


He passed on in 1932 at the age of 79 years. They had celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary a few months before. She lived with the daughter Emma in Humbird until her passing in 1936. They were buried in the Humbird cemetery.

Fritz and Emma Moser




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