Excerpt from Lloyd D. Pickering's Family History (pg. 28 - 58)

(This is a copyrighted work and the following is presented with the author's permission, given prior to death)


Part [1]  [2]  [3]  [4]




  Sometimes we go back in retrospect and wonder what might have been.  Now the story begins of two people whose lives were meant to join just as surely as two rivers in the same valley, winding their various ways to the sea, finally reach a place in their courses where they become one.  That is the story of David and Eda.


Eda, Martha, Ella, Emma, Louie, Emilie, Mathida

Albert, William & Clara Ketel


Eda was the slender, auburn haired, third daughter of Wilhelm and Matilda Mueller Ketel.  There were eight lively children and the place where they lived in Neillsville was known as Ketel hollow.  Eda graduated as valedictorian of her class.  The evening of her graduation on June 11, 1897 she presented her valedictorian speech titled “The Will and the Way.”  She was presented with a certificate authorizing her to attend the University of Wisconsin, but there was no way that the family could afford for her to attend.  She did take violin lessons that summer from Albert Wagner, her sister Martha’s husband. 


At that time a high school graduate who passed a satisfactory examination was qualified to teach at the time of graduation and that is how Eda came to be the teacher at Nevins.  That decision made all the difference in her future life. 


Nevins, Wisconsin Schoolhouse


 Byron was the school clerk when Eda applied at Nevins for her first job.  The four boys were still at home, but Edith and Helen were gone so there was an extra room for the teacher.  Eda roomed and boarded at the Pickering home.  It was a good place to be.  She told years later of the salt pork, which was always on the table.  There was always plenty of substantial food and bread was baked daily.  The family was delighted to take advantage of Eda’s musical talents and she played the violin for the community and church programs.  Myron accompanied her on the organ. 


David Pickering, age 20 yrs.


Dave was one of her pupils the first term.  He had been in school very little because schooling was not compulsory and was not available all of the time.  He finished his fifth grade studies that fall term of 1897.  Dave was an apt pupil, but he surely felt out of place in a schoolroom at almost 18 years of age.  He did not return to school.


In those days a teacher was hired by the fall or spring term.  When the fall term closed, Eda returned home for the extended spring vacation.  Dave wrote his first letter to her while she was at Neillsville.  It is dated March 16, 1898.  His letter was a newsy one about the family, but in one paragraph he said, “I have studied most of the time when I was around the house.”  Eda had given him some informal assignments, particularly in arithmetic and spelling.  Dave was far ahead of what country schools had to offer and he wrote a beautiful hand in penmanship. 


Unknown, Hannah, Jessie, George, Helen, Bernice, Cy


The spring term began in April.  Eda was 17 years old.  When she arrived at Nevins again, she wrote to her family:


 Dear Papa and All,

When I got to the station at Granton, Mr. Pickering wasn’t there so I walked over to the Stockwells and waited for him there.  Helen knew me at once when she opened the door.   It was a dreadful ride back to Nevins with mud so deep the horse could barely get through and once the buggy almost tipped over.  I got downstairs this morning at half past six.  Only the boys and children were up.  I sat in the kitchen by the stove for half an hour and then thought I’d write a little so I went back upstairs to my room.

  Last night I asked Mrs. Pickering if I could board here.  She laughed and said they had wanted to be alone this spring, but she didn’t know of any other place. It is Sunday evening.  After supper I played the violin and Myron accompanied me with chords on the organ.  After we got through playing, Mr. St. Germain and Dan Messing came to talk over my contract.  Nothing definite about my salary yet, but school will start tomorrow morning anyway.


Bye-bye and a kiss to all, Eda


Four Generations

Helen, Hannah, James Sparks, George

Helen, Bernice, Cy & George Wilson


By the summer of 1899, Dave and Eda were corresponding rather frequently and occasionally Dave would make the trip to Neillsville with the horse and buggy to call at the Ketel home.  That same summer Dave was working in the sawmill at Granton as night watchman and staying with his sister, Helen, and her husband, Cy Stockwell.  Helen and Cy had now been married about seven years.  Their son, George, was three years old and daughter, Bernice, was seven months.  Dave started out one night to make the trip from the Granton home to Nevins on his bicycle and said he made it in one hour and ten minutes.  Dave was happy to tell Eda that he cleared $6.72 a week as night watchman.


Elizabeth "Bessie" Borgers


On June 19 of that summer, Myron’s wife, Elizabeth Jane, died. Myron wrote of the marriage and death many years later.  “My first and comparatively brief marriage experience was with as lovely and pure a young Christian school teacher as ever lived, with whom I was permitted to live a little over a year when she was taken to be with the Lord.  Those were precious days spent on a rented farm near Granton, Wisconsin, where my brother-in-law and sister had lived.  Bess passed away after a short illness at my parents’ home, twelve miles from Granton, where the funeral was held.  We grieve not as others, who have no hope.  As she lay dying, a strange thing happened. A pure white dove came in the open window near her bed and stayed there until she passed away.  Then it flew away.  The thing that made this special to us was the fact that there were no doves native to our community.  After her passing I was very lonely, but a few weeks later she came back in a dream, which was so real that it cured my grief.”  








© Every submission is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.


Show your appreciation of this freely provided information by not copying it to any other site without our permission.


Become a Clark County History Buff


Report Broken Links

A site created and maintained by the Clark County History Buffs
and supported by your generous donations.


Webmasters: Leon Konieczny, Tanya Paschke,

Janet & Stan Schwarze, James W. Sternitzky,

Crystal Wendt & Al Wessel