Follow the River.......
Historical Recollections by Lula Mae Stewart
Contributed by the Greenwood Public Library, Transcribed by Janet Schwarze
There were also dance pavilions in the old days. These could only be used in summer as they only had a dance floor and a roof over them. Since there were no orchestras in those days some of the settlers who could play instruments would get together and play for the dances. From what I heard tell some good times were had by all.
There were still Indians living here when my father was a boy. He told me about many of them, they were friendly Indians. They showed the white man where the best fishing was and how to dry berries and corn for their winters supply of food. They camped on the banks of Black River. My father told me the names of the Indians... there was a Paul Whitefish and a Mr. Blow Snake and a Mr. Thunder Cloud.
Some of the wealthy lumber men built large houses in the area and their wives and families came here to live. Some of the local girls were employed by them as maids. They truly lived in elegant style. They brought their clothes with them from the cities, the likes of such folks around these parts had never seen. They mostly stayed to themselves, I don't know why. Their lifestyle was so different from the women in the area they probably didn't have anything in common.
I believe the Spring Valley Cemetery was the first cemetery in the area. When I went there with my father as a small child, my sisters and I picked wild flowers and put them on graves of old loggers who were buried there. He knew where they were buried, they had no families and so there were no markers.
Most of the girls married local boys, as travel wag restricted to a certain extent. They didn't have a chance to get out and meet other people. I wouldn't say they were all happy as some of the men drank heavily and some of them mistreated their families but there was no place to go and divorces were almost unheard of. The women had no other choice but to raise their families as best they could.
The men worked in logging camps in winter and when they got to town in the spring a bath was a real luxury. Sometimes the food wasn't too good as they had men cooks and not much to cook with. There was no refrigeration. If they had fresh meat or fish it had to be packed in snow and kept outside. Their menus consisted of salt pork, navy beans, potatoes which sometimes were partially frozen before they got to the camp, cornmeal, sour dough pancakes and bread and dried fruit. Some of the men who cooked in the camps were good cooks and some were not, but after working in the woods all day they were so hungry that almost any food tasted good. In these days people ate because they were hungry not because they liked something.
One of the stories my grandfather told me that I liked the best and always remembered was how he used to haul supplies to the camps. He usually tried to reach camp before darkness fell as at this time the forests were full of wild animals. The most feared were the wolves and the lynx. On this particular day the supplies did not come on time so grandfather was late loading and getting started so he didn't reach camp before darkness fell. The wolves ran in packs and would attack a team of horses. He stopped to light his lantern hoping the light would keep the wolves away. But they followed and began to circle the team, this meant the wolves were getting ready to attack. On his sleigh were three barrels of pork which he was taking to the camp. He decided to open the barrel and throw some of the meat to the wolves, as he threw the pork to the wolves they would stop to eat. While they were eating the meat he would whip the horses to make them run as fast as they could go to gain distance between himself and the pack. By the time he arrived at camp about half of the meat was gone and grandfather and the horses were safe. After staying over night in the camp he returned home the following day, but all his future trips were made by daylight.
In these days there were few doctors and sometimes it was impossible for them to reach remote places and camps in time for emergencies. When this happened the men had to help each other as best they could, they knew how to use a tourniquet to stop bleeding if one of the loggers accidentally cut themselves. They treated themselves with mustard plasters for colds, this didn't always help as some of them died from pneumonia. But they did the best they could under the circumstances. There were also few dentists in the rural areas. Sometimes when one of the loggers had a toothache that became unbearable and couldn't get to the dentist to have it pulled, the loggers would give the patient lots of whiskey to kill the pain and proceed to pull the aching tooth with a pair of pliers. This sounds crude but that is the way it was back then. These men worked hard, so when they came out of the woods in the spring after a long lonesome winter, most of the married men headed for their homes and families, while the single men headed for the nearest saloon for their favorite saloon girl. Most saloons had saloon girls. They came in on the train to Abbotsford and hired someone to drive them with horse and buggy to what ever saloon they were going to work at. They were very pretty with their fan- cy hair dos and beautiful dresses. They were the same as prostitutes are now only they worked the saloons instead of the streets.
The men never mentioned these women in their conversation, but I heard the women discussing them. They called them painted hussies. In these days respectful women did not enter a saloon. These places were for men only. Some of these girls got tired of the life they were living and married a logger and settled down but these occasions were rare. Those who did marry and try to make a new life for themselves had a hard time of it. The other women in the community refused to accept them. The other women had been properly raised and there was no room among them for a woman with a past.
When the loggers got together story telling was a favorite pastime. There were many stories about Paul Bunyan a legendary lumberman stories about him was a favorite among the loggers. I heard the old timers tell Paul Bunyan stories. I can only remember one. They said that it was so cold in the logging camps that when the cook flipped the pancakes he was frying they froze in the air.
Sometimes fights broke out among some of the loggers when they became intoxicated. The other men just stood around and watched and let the best man win. After they sobered up they would shake hands and become good friends again working side by side. In these days very few people held grudges. They knew they had to work together. There were differences but they were overcome by talking things over. But there was always one bully in every camp. The rest of the loggers made it so disagreeable for them they moved on.
This is how I remember Longwood. I was born at Longwood in 1914. I grew up there and attended the State Graded school there. Longwood hasn't changed much since I lived there. The old school house is still there. The church across from the school was there when I was a child although it has been remodeled. As a child I went there every year to the Christmas program. We also attended funerals and weddings there. The Methodist church that stood just east of the town hall, is where we attended church and Sunday school. It has been torn down. We got up early every Sunday morning and dressed in our best dresses and walked two miles to Sunday school.
The house on the corner, where the people who operated the cheese factory lived, is still there. It has had tender lov- ing care over the years, and looks as good or better than it did them. These stately old houses were well built. The store building is still there although it hasn't been used for that purpose for a number of years now. When we lived in Longwood it was owned and operated by Melvin and Stella Erickson. It was a general store, they had groceries, footwear, dress materials, jackets, gloves and some hardware. As the roads were not plowed in winter, trips to town were few but we could buy anything we needed at the store.
How we loved to go to the store, as Mr. and Mrs. Erickson loved children and were always so nice to us they always made us feel special. I am sure they didn't make any profit on the candy they sold, as they knew we didn't have much money and put in extra candy to make us happy. They had two children a boy named Emery and a daughter named Elizabeth. Betty as we called her loved to come out to the farm and play. Riding on the wagon load of hay and playing in the creek that ran through our pasture and we loved to have her come. The cheese factory is still there although it is no longer used as a factory. The old town hall is still standing. The feed mill is larger now. Most of t 'he farm buildings that dot the country side were there when I was a child.
These buildings were built from the timber cut from the forests and were built to last for many years. Our home was small, it sat in a clearing with woods all around, there were fields but they were farther away. Father loved the woods and the trees. In these days there was no plumbing, water was carried from a well. The thing we disliked the most were the trips to the outside privy in the winter. But this was a way of life in the old days. There also was no bathroom tissue, the Sears catalog and old newspaper was used. Little House on the Prairie reminds me so much of the way we lived back then. That is why I enjoy watching it on television. I think we had something that money can't buy. We felt so safe and secure in our small community. There was such loving and caring in families and among neighbors, we read about robberies and crimes being committed, but these things seemed far away from us. It was like we lived in a small world all our own. Then World War One broke out. Our small community was sad to see many of the young men drafted.
Krueger War a Local Highlight in World War One
The Krueger family were hard working honest people and good neighbors. They were highly respected by all who knew them. They surprised everyone by refusing to register for the draft. One early fall day in 1919 a posse was sent to the Krueger farm to bring the boys in. They knew the law would send some one out to get them so they were prepared. A battle ensued and two people were killed an three others were wounded.
Ennis Krueger was killed when he tried to escape the battle scene at the Krueger farm one and one half miles south of Withee by hiding in a haystack. The other man killed was Harry Hansen, Withee Agent, for whose murder Frank and Leslie Krueger stood trial in Neillsville, and were convicted. Tried with them was their mother, Mrs. Caroline Krueger matriarch of the close knit family. She was acquitted of the murder charge by a circuit court jury.
Today the Krueger sons probably would have been considered conscientious objectors, for they with the urging ( their mother became entangled in the draft laws of World War One on religious grounds. Louis registered for the first draft and Leslie registered also, only to desert and return I his home just before the Krueger war. He hid out in the barn. Louis made his way to the Dakotas where he was when the skirmish took place.
In the afternoon of September 14, 1918 two United States marshals arrived in Owen on the afternoon train. They carried with them warrants for the arrest of Frank and Ennis Krueger, charging them with failure to register for the draft. The federal marshals, a man named Joseph Ganz and or named John F. LaMonte did not know the location of the Krueger farm, nor did they know what Frank or Ennis Krueger looked like. So they contacted Peter Rassmussen, who was then the marshal for the village of Owen, he agreed to accompany them to the Krueger farm. They got Earl Kidd to drive them to the farm in his automobile, the group left Owen at about 4:15.
They drove into the yard at the Krueger farm and the two marshals got out of the car and rapped on the front door ( the farm house. Mrs. Krueger the mother of the boys answering the summons inquired what they wanted, and told them both Frank and Ennis were husking corn in a field north of the house. Which the car had passed as it approached the house. The field was about 80 rods north of the house. The marshals climbed back into the car and set out in the direction of Withee. When the car got as far as the corn field they stopped. The Marshals and Rassmussen got out and walked to the fence. They shouted at Frank and Ennis, who were three or four rods from the road working the field.
Frank whose name was called, asked them what the wanted and Ganz told him they were federal officers with warrant for his arrest. Ennis advised Frank not to go to them and pulled a revolver from his pocket and fired over the heads of the three men. Ennis and Frank then turned and ran toward the house. Then the shooting began with bullets whistling through the air. When the first shooting began the three marshals and Earl Kidd took shelter behind the car and in the road ditch.
In the ditch the marshals struggled to get their own revolvers out of their pockets, and as the two Krueger boys crossed the 80 rods of pasture land and ran for the house, Ennis turned around and fired another shot in the direction of the marshals. Finally Rassmussen retrieved his revolve where it had some how gotten through a hole and rested the lining of his coat. He stood up and emptied the chambers at the Kruegers. The federal marshals also fire at the retreating Kruegers. No one was hit in this first exchange of fire, feeling they were in for a sticky mess men from Withee and Owen and surrounding neighborhoods were called in to help prevent the Kruegers from escaping.
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