Bio: Halsey, Pierson Loveridge (1871 - 1914)
Surnames: Schrieber, Gesicki, Poniatowski, Narlock, Buck, Ringle, Johnson, Ody, Lukowicz, Blaszka, Jermann, Chesak, Wisnewiski
----Source: Rietbrock Centennial (1880 - 1980)
Surnames: Halsey, Loveridge, Bronowicz
Pierson L. Halsey (5 Feb 1871, Oshkosh, WI - 18 Jul 1914, Athens, WI)
Pierson L. Halsey, who was a Justice of the Peace in the Town of Rietbrock, was the owner of 600 acres of valuable land here. For a number of years he was well-known in the County as an able attorney, practicing in the state and federal courts and in the United States Supreme Court. He was born February 5, 1871, at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and is a son of Lawrence and Mary I. (Loveridge) Halsey. On June 10, 1908, Mr. Halsey married Miss Grace L. (Loveridge) Greenwood, who was the daughter of Rev. John W. & Gertrude (Loveridge) Greenwood, the former being rector of the Episcopal church at Oshkosh. Mr. & Mrs. Pierson Halsey had one daughter, Mary Gertrude.
He bought land two and one-half miles south of Athens for his stock and dairy farm of 135 acres, and here he made a specialty of raising Berkshire hogs, Guernsey cattle and chickens. The land is now owned by Bronowicz Bros.
When Pierson and wife Grace moved on this 135 acre farm, he knew very little about farming. He wouldn't let the cook use any of the eggs the hen laid, but wanted to keep a record of how many they laid daily; so he dated each egg and stored them in the pantry. Mary, the maid, finally had to dispose of them because of the strong odor of rotten eggs. Pierson would buy eggs in town for domestic use. He couldn't understand why the hens weren't laying in winter, when the hen-house was so cold the hens' feet and combs were almost frozen.
To his wife's Grace discomfort and problems, their frame house burned to the ground, with all their possessions. Her wealthy father-in-law soon built them a spacious brick mansion, with all modem conveniences available to farmers at that time, including a lovely marble fireplace in the living room. There was indoor plumbing and carbide lights, with a lovely pond nearby.
Grace's life was very lonely. She spent most of her time sewing. Not having the opportunity to go shopping for new clothing, she remodeled her own gowns. She could rip apart an old dress and have it re-styled in a few days. When her little daughter was born, Grace spent many hours sewing for Mary Gertrude and her dolls. Grace, her husband, and little Mary Gertrude always dressed for dinner and ate in the dining room. The maid and hired help ate in the kitchen. Occasionally Grace drove a horse and buggy into Athens to shop or visit friends.
One of Grace's problems was finding furnishings for her new home. She decided to furnish the bed- rooms for the maid and hired men with used beds and dressers. She didn't know that the beds she bought were infested with bed-bugs, until the hired men came downstairs one morning with lumps. The pests moved into the master bedroom also. However, at that time the only way to deal with them was to spray gasoline in the cracks of the bed, which was dangerous because it could ignite and bum the house down. They tried this, and almost did set the house on fire. Mary, the maid, found that Pierson had been sticking pins into them on a board. This was quite an achievement, because the pests vanished as soon as a light was turned on. Mary and Grace used quarts of kerosene, sprayed in cracks of the bed and comers of the mattresses, to get rid of the bugs.
Pierson did make use of his legal ability. He served as Justice of the Peace in the Town of Rietbrock, where he lived. His father owned more than six hundred acres of woodland, which he sold to settlers coming into the community.
Though Halsey did pioneer in Rietbrock and contribute a part to our township, our adjoining township is named for this pioneer.
*Pierson Loveridge Halsey died in Athens, Wisconsin, 18 Jul 1914.
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