great desire to have
their children educated in the language of this their new country. This brought
the Moody school into existence in 1897.
The Moody school is located two miles south of Withee on Highway 73. Its name
was derived from J.C. Moody who donated the acre of land on which the school
stands. The school building is 26 x 32’ brick veneer with attached wood shed 2k
x 20 and bell tower. The facilities for both boys and girls were located in the
woodshed. The acre of ground was brushed off and put in shape for a playground.
The school furniture consisted of desks for 20-odd pupils with two recitation
benches and a desk for the teacher. There was an entrance with coat closets on
either side, one for girls and one for boys. A porch was attached to the west
side which was sheathed during the winter months. The foundation was made of
granite cut and shaped with hammer and chisel.
Teachers were young women and discipline was a problem as the boys in the eighth
grade were usually big husky- boys who had no interest in education and were
just marking tine during the winter months when help at home was not urgent. It
was finally decided to try a man teacher but his discipline problems were even
worse and the ladies took over again. Attendance was quite large for this size
school because of the size of the district. Many of the pupils had to walk over
two miles, and adverse weather conditions had effect on attendance. The teachers
boarded on farms as close to the school as possible and in the summer some of
them rode bicycles to and from school.
In the beginning all the children were of foreign extraction and many of them
could speak no English as only their native tongue was used in their homes. Not
many of the eighth grade graduates continued on to higher education and those
who did either took a “short oourse” in agriculture or qualified as rural
teachers after completing one year at a teacher’s normal college. The 8th grade
graduate boys would either stay home and help on the farm or leave home and seek
employment as unskilled labor in near by cities. The girls would seek domestic
employment also in nearby cities.
The Louis Krueger family became notorious during World War I but the family was
highly regarded and respected in the community prior to this tine and were
aggressive hard working people; above average in their varied interests. They
operated their farm, had large timber holdings and did a great deal of custom
work. Their buildings were the best in the area and the new home, barely
complete by World War I, was ultra modern. The Louis Krueger estate consisted of
three eighties of land in this school district.
The school through redistricting was considered obsolete and our district was
absorbed by the Owen— Withee School District and consequently the school was put
up for sale. Mary Ammentorp’s bid of $k25.OO was final and accepted. The
building was offered by her to the State Historical Society but they stated it
was not old enough to have historical value. It was decided to tear it down and
use the site for other purposes. In demolishing it it was found that the frame
was #2 and better white pine lumber and the supporting joists and center beam 2
x 12 #1 white pine. Some of the old text books and many of the desks were
salvaged. Slate black boards covered the entire north, east and south walls with
the exception of window and door openings. A 1898 edition of the New York Tines
was found in the walls, also an empty whiskey bottle , and a wild bee hive which
furnished about 15 quarts of honey.
Old timers recall a “cyclone” which destroyed a home near the school in 1912.
Another severe windstorm on Friday June 13, 1930 damaged the farm of Charles
Anderson north of Frenchtown and across Co. Trunk T in the Owen Melin area.
Other storms are mentioned in these stories. The latest devastations occurred in
June 1958——passing south of Withee through the Dewey Williams and Vic Jessen
farms, and several severe windstorms in June of 1962, damaging many farms in
THE DANES IN WITHEE
Mrs. V. A. Hansen
Wisconsin, a land of tall trees and quiet waters became the challenge for a
handful of daring Danish people who were seeking a place in the New World. Mr.
Spaulding of Black River Falls offered for sale to the Danes, some of his partly
cleared out-over land. This was at a church meeting in Waupaca. At this time new
settlements were being organized as part of the church expansion program. A
committee of five reported favorably on the land, though the huge stumps, muddy
roads and little station at Withee were not too encouraging for city folks. To
help the cause, Mr. Spaulding offered free land for the minister and for the
church buildings, as well as money for the buildings.
Rev. A. S. Nielsen was in favor of a colony for the Danes in Clark County and
left his parish, the Trinity Lutheran Church of Chicago, to establish a
congregation where they could worship in their mother tongue and sing the songs
dear to their hearts.
In the first part of April 1893, Rev. Nielsen, Peter Frost, J. Jorgenson and Mr.
Levin got off at the station at Withee. On the 9th of July 1893, a congregation
was formed in the colony. There were difficulties when spirits were low. Many
adjustments had to be made. Housing facilities were poor and crowded, customs
and skins were different, winters were long and cold. But by pooling efforts
progress was on its way. There was work to be had in the lumber camps and saw
mills. Stores accepted milk, butter, and eggs in exchange for groceries. Later a
creamery was built which helped the pioneers to build their dreams of cozy
little farms as those in their Motherland.