News: Hixon Township – Early Settlers


Surnames: Vater, Miller, Dresdow, Guerkee, Kappers, Cragg, Delmater, Robertson, Karow, Atkins, Kaskin, Scherf, Miller, Wood, Wenzel

----Source: Clark County Stories Book


Our grandfather on my father's side, came from Germany as a baby. The grandfather on mother's side came as a young man. He skipped the army in Germany, only to be taken into the Civil War here, where he served four years without being hurt.

They migrated to Plymouth, Wisconsin, when it was all woods. They cleared up their farms and raised their families. They carried supplies from Sheboygan through the woods.

I was born in Sheboygan in 1895 and my sister, Ruth, who was four years younger was born there too. Our father, Robert Vater, moved to Withee in 1900 when I was five years old. He bought three eighty acres of land the year before.

It was all woods with no road closer than two miles. He went by logging road to the Miller Farm about one and one-half miles through the mud in the summer time. The road went only two miles north of Withee. The land had beautiful timber.

Dad brought a new Russel sawmill and a small tractor engine which proved too small. Then he bought a twenty-five horsepower Russell skid engine. This was later sold to the Maplehurst mill and another stationary engine and boiler was installed.

He sawed lumber for the settlers but money was scarce and some saw bills weren't paid. He hauled red oak and dry lumber to Withee for eight dollars per thousand.

About 1901 or 1902, a school house was built at the site of the White School. First a small building was erected which was used about one year and used as a woodshed when the larger building was built.

The lumber for the first small building was hauled from our place to the Miller farm on the Frenchtown road to Withee and then four miles north to the spot.- We did this because there was a sink hole between our place and the school site for about a half mile. The roads came in about two years. Dad sawed the lumber for the building.

Some of the early settlers were as follows: Carl Dresdow lived one mile west of school; Guerkee lived one-half mile south of the corner at the end of the road; John Kappers lived on the corner one mile from school; and Cragg lived across the corner to the west.

On the road one mile north of the school lived Herman Karow; at the end of the road one-half mile east of school and one-half mile north lived Dell Delmater; Bill Atkins settled here in about 1902; Wm Wood and family came in 1901, coming on the tote road from Miller's Corner; Robert Robertson lived on the corner to the north; the next corner to the south was where Wm Kaskin lived; and Sam Munson lived a short distance from a road.

One mile west from the Miller farm was where Louie and Bill Scherf settled. The Miller farm was bought by the Millers about ten years before this as it was a logging company farm and had several hundred acres of cleared land. The Frank Wenzel's settled across the Black River without a road and sometimes had to carry supplies across the river.

Also about one mile north of Wenzel's was the Fred Warns farm about one-half mile east of the corner which is Clark's now. They walked up the river in winter and through the woods to Maple hurst Mill, which had a road from Medford. It took three years till they got a road from Maplehurst. They came from Milwaukee in 1905.

The Munson bridge was built on Black River in 1911, giving the Wenzel's a crossing.

I was a charter member of the White School, having a report card from 1902.

Mrs. Herman Karow held a Sunday School in the White School building for a few years.

This has indeed been a long way.

Arno Vater Route 1
Withee, Wisconsin 54498




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