[Memory Trails Index]


Janet Schwarze

First settlers carried groceries from Withee. It was a 2 day trip as they traveled by Black River-— directly west of Redville. There was only a trail to Stetsonville through thick woods. F. Sapetta Sr. traveled this with horses. Herman Peters had an oxen team and later an ox and a horse for a team.  When Kegel first came there he would carry a sack of flour on his back from Stetsonville. It took a couple of days for the trip.

A. E. Sapetta went into the lumber business and hauled logs to Amber (Clark) on iced roads. He made about L trips a day and changed teams each trip. Logs were loaded on flat cars and picked up by the “Scoot” In 1920 Sapetta started a portable saw mill. He cut and planed lumber in various parts of Clark and Taylor Counties until his death in 1957.

In 1912 the Heading Mill went bankrupt and ended Redville’s business for a while. More farmers came and gradually cleared land. There was need for a school--so a small, one room frame building was erected on the site where the present school stands. In 1915 there were 13 pupils from 8 families in attendance.

In l9l4. Anton Stryk of Thorp started a vegetable box factory. This product was shipped to Chicago from Withee. Horses pulled wagons or sleighs and made 2 trips a day. Later he got a steam Casey tractor and 3 wagons and made 3 or 1 trips a day. About 1919 he bought a Diamond T which burned fuel oil. Alex Royeski operated the store and farm until 1916, then sold it to L. Christensen.  Buigrins started an American Cheese factory in the old boarding house. They remodeled the back for living quarters. Christensens lived above the store. Mr. Wilson, better known as “Major WilsonT bought the farm and operated it for a number of years. John Grescimer Sr. rented it for many years until sold to Donald Hutnani Sr. Stanley Bednarczyk is the present owner.

The store was purchased in 1921 by Mr. Shepski. Mike Stewart and son Arthur T. bought the factory in 1919. Christenseris and Buigrins moved to Owen. Wilbur Stewart bought the store in 1927 from Blain Kennedy and operated it until 19L5. He then moved to Greenwood. Art Stewart took over the factory from his Dad and operated it until l9k6 when the business was moved to Greenwood. Italian cheese was made and needed more room for making and storing. More water was needed and more convenient shipping facilities closer to
a railroad had to be found.

The Box Factory was sold by A. Stryk to his son Stanley in 1919. Stanley operated it until raw material was hard to get and vegetable growers started to use bushel baskets. Stanley had an auction and went to Milwaukee. Ralph Larsen bought the land with Mr. and Mrs. Wencel Melizva buying the house. S. Bednarczyk is now the owner of this property.

Mr. Free, the first mail carrier started in 1913 and retired in l9l3. He changed horses at Maplehurst every day. About 1920 he used a Model T car for summer delivery. The route increased as the country got settled. Roads improved, cars came in and electricity was brought in by R.E.A. in 1933. The only virgin forest left is on Kegels’ land just east of Redville.

There were no roads beyond Sapetta’s Homestead when Purgetts came in. They made a road and forded the Trapper’s Creek--as there was no bridge. Mail was not delivered any farther than Redville. Farmers like Sam Thorson, George Putnam, the Sapettas, Purgetts, Chase, Konik, Tony Olson and many, many more had a mail box in front of the store. Sam Thorson’s lived at the dead end road north of Redville.
A brick school was built in early 1900 on Putnam’s farm. It still is in use and consolidated with Owen-Withee in 1957.

The September 21, l921. tornado passed west of Redville destroying many farms and causing 5 deaths.

By Wallace Wood with data from his daily record

It was a bright spring morning in May of 1903 when my mother, brother Boyd and I left Salem, Wisconsin by train for Withee. My father (Wm. Wood) met us at the depot with horse and buggy. As we drove along Frenchtown road we looked at the huge pine stumps which we had not seen in Kenosha County.

We spent our first night at the S. M. Munson home. They and my father had come earlier in the year and built small homes. The next day we followed an old tote road along the edge of Polley Meadow to our new home built on the site of a logging camp of the 1870’s and 80’s. In the ruins of the blacksmith shop we found relics of old logging days such as axes, wedges and oxen shoes. Oxen and horses skid the logs to Black River where they were scaled and stamped on the ends with an iron stamping hammer that had the log buyer’s individual mark on it. The logs were floated down stream to saw mills when spring floods came.

Our barn had logs for the side walls with poles across the top. These poles were covered with brush and heavy layers of marsh hay. Log buildings were a common home for the pioneers of this area. They were comfortable and many of these log buildings are in use today.
After a few months a road was built north of Munson’s corner. The swamp had to be corduroyed with logs and brush and covered with dirt and gravel. One sink hole has kept sinking every year and requires more building up with gravel. From 1903 to 1962 it has sunk at least 30 feet.


[Memory Trails Index]




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