Bio: Metz, Michael (1833 - 1896)
Surnames: Metz, Hanke, Berres, Wojeski, Wiesner, Gauerke, Erdmann, Heinemann
Michael Metz (3 Jun 1833 - 18 Oct 1896)
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Michael Metz came to Rietbrock from Kewaskum, Wisconsin, during the fall of 1879 to search for land. for his family. He chose a parcel of land having a spring and located beside the Black Creek. Then he returned to Kewaskum to spend the winter with his family. Today this two-hundred-one-acre plot of land is bordered by East Town Line Road, on the north, and by County Highway H, on the east. Ninety of these acres have been in the Metz family name for the past century.
When spring came, Michael and his four teenage children-three sons and a daughter-put their family's possessions in a horse-drawn wagon and moved to their chosen land in the Town of Rietbrock. The sons were named Christian, Philip and Mike, and the daughter was named Maggie. It is not known as to what happened to the mother and why she was not now with the family.
Immediately the trees were cut and a log house was built. As time went on the family was involved in farming, and other farm buildings were built. Later a well was dug so that the family used the well and he cattle use the spring. The deed to this property was recorded on December 8, 1880.
As the sons began to marry, the father divided his land among them. He sold each of his three sons sixty acres and kept the remaining twenty-one, below the Hanke farm, for himself. Christian purchased his sixty acres for $200.00, and it is this land which is part of the homestead.
Maggie Berres married Christian and they built a log house on the north side of Black Creek. There was no Town Line Road as yet, and the creek was used to follow to a trail on "H" when the family went shopping. The small part of Black Creek was built up with logs to serve as a bridge when the water was high and they wanted to get to the trail. It is the logs from this house that he used to build a pig house when he built Maggie her new home on Town Line Road, and which Elmer used for pigs, or for chickens at the present time.
Hardship and tragedy seemed to follow Christian and Maggie. When typhoid fever struck the family in 1896, it was feared that the whole family might be wiped-out; however, all survived but two members of the family-an infant daughter and a small son named Johnny. Two years later Christian began to build a new house, beside Town Line Road, for his Maggie; however, she died in childbirth before the house was completed in 1898.
Christian then moved his family of four girls and two sons (one of whom was William) into their new house and ten-year-old Kate assumed the role of mother. Christian continued to farm here until 1916 when his son William bought the sixty acres and another thirty acres from his Uncle Philip, who was a logger and not interested in farming. This accounts for the ninety- acre homestead.
Daughter Kate married and went with her husband to homestead in Canada. She visited in this area about in 1975, shortly before her death at the age of eighty. William married Theresa Eder and had four children: Elmer (Leona Erdmann), Virginia Gauerke (Lester), Josephine Wiesner (Ludwig), and Carl (Louetta Wojeski). Virginia and Elmer are Town of Rietbrock residents.
Elmer purchased the homestead in 1948, and he and Leona continue to farm there at the present time. Among the records given to Elmer with his deed was a lease that was attached to the deed and dated April 18, 1874. This lease gives the Wisconsin Central Railroad Company the right to build a track from Spencer to Rib Falls, with the right-of-way through the Metz' land. The lease was given to the railroad by Fred Rietbrock, stayed with the deed and passed to the purchaser of the land, Christian Metz, and still is on Elmer's deed. No railroad was, or is ever expected to be, built, however.
With the building of roads in the early 1900's, travel was made easier. It also meant that bands of gypsies would be traveling these roads, and they were feared by residents who called them "Oklahoma Indians". Elmer recalls that his father warned that if they wanted chickens, you better give them some. "First you sold them five and the next day, somehow, they stole five." said Elmer's father. No one ever gave them milk, but they always seemed to have some. When farmers saw a string of horses coming, they watched their farms to make sure nothing would disappear with the gypsies, who would quite mysteriously disappear during the night. This made for some excitement for the Metz Family and a memory of bygone days.
William and Theresa did not move too far away from their first home, as they built their retirement home across the road (in the Town of Halsey) from Elmer on the homestead, which will have been in the Metz name for 100 years on December 8, 1980. However, this land was bargained for in 1879 and cleared in the spring of 1880 for the house that was built at that time.
1870 Federal Census, Kewaskum, Washington Co., Wisconsin, United States, pg. 13
Christian Metz, white farmer
Estate: $800, personal: $200
Michael Metz M 37y (1833) Hesse Darmstadt
Cathrina Metz F 38y Hesse Darmstadt
Christian Metz M 11y Wisconsin
Elisabeth Metz F 8y Wisconsin
Maria Metz F 7y Wisconsin
Michael Metz M 5y Wisconsin
William Metz M 3y Wisconsin
1880 Federal Census, Kewaskum, Washington, Wisconsin, United States, pg. 441
Michael Metz, married American male farmer
spouse's birthplace : Germany
father's birthplace : Germany
mother's birthplace : Germany
self Michael Metz M 47 Germany
wife Katherine Metz F 48 Germany
son Christian Metz M 21 Wisconsin, United States
daughter Elizabeth Metz F 19 Wisconsin, United States
son Michael Metz M 15 Wisconsin, United States
son Philip Metz M 7 Wisconsin, United States
daughter Margaret Metz F 5 Wisconsin, United States
Wisconsin Death Records
death date: 23 Sep 1899
death place: Athens, Marathon, Wisconsin
birth date: 29 Aug 1861
marital status: Married
spouse's name: William Heinemann
father's name: Michael Metz
father's birthplace: Germany
mother's name: Katherine
mother's birthplace: Germany
Civil War Soldiers Index
rank in: Private
rank out: Eighth Corporal
state (or origin): Wisconsin
military unit: 51st Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry
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