News: The Braun Settlement School
Contact: Tiffiney Hill
Email: TiffineyH@email.com

THE BRAUN SETTLEMENT SCHOOL

By Charles A. Varney

Along the town line between Township 27 & 28, Range 2 West in 1880, several families had made homes in this dense timber, had small clearings. John Mabie, Frank Horn, Wm. Braun Jr. was just married. Henry Ferguson had married a Mrs. Miles who had three boys of school age. Ira Beam with one daughter, Fred Braun age 24, and one other boy whose name has been forgotten, constituted a sufficient number of scholars to organize a school district. John Mabie lived on what is now the Damerow farm, on the north side of the line, also both Brauns had been included in the Longwood district. They made application and were set over into the Braun district. Now the next thing was to build a schoolhouse. Mabie, Beam, Horn and Ferguson cleared a small spot midway between the homes, rolled up logs for the building, 12X16 feet in size, covered it, put in the floor, two windows and a door. Ira Beam made the furniture, desks and seats for pupils and teacher. For this fully equipped school they received $90 and never thought of a sit down strike. In fact were well satisfied, as the custom in those days was an honest days work for small wages.

A foot path was made running diagonally from Horns past the school house and Beams to Fergusons, and there these five children began their education, in the heavy forest, with a lady for teacher, who received a salary of $27 per month, She boarded at Fergusons and paid $1.50 per week.

Others living in the district were the Braun children, William Jr. age 30, Godfred 35, Eva 33, Fred 24, Christ 18, Christine 16, Louise 26, Louisa was Mrs. Frank Horn and had a son Will 8 years old. Michael Haley, a cripple in that one knee was stiff shortening that leg, lived 1 ½ mile south of the school house. He was a bachelor as was Charles Ferguson, a brother of Henry.

Frank Horn came in 1876, his wife Louisa came in 1878. Godfred Braun came in 1876 with Frank Horn, Wm. Jr. came in 1877. All the other Brauns came in 1879 and Godfred had a home ready for them where Henry Horn now lives. Wm. Jr. made the farm where his son Edward lives, which joined the home farm on the west. He now lives on the farm east of the old home farm. Frank Horn made the farm where Jake Speich now lives having bought the land from Harry Mead.

Henry Ferguson lived where Wm. Schlinsog now lives. Ferguson was Chairman of the Town Board of Supervisors. He started making a highway from Hemlock Dam in almost a bee line northwest to his place. Several miles were cut out four rods wide and a few places turnpiked. It crossed the present highway just south of the Braun cemetery. A short piece of turnpike was built to the top of the hill west of the creek but, it was never finished and has all been abandoned. He sold his farm to Jacob Kreissig, father of Ernest and Mrs. Lena Schlinsog.

In the early 80’s came the Joe Wilkes family. Theodore, an only son, Mary, who married Fred Braun; Lisa, who married Christ Braun and Lena, who married John Warnke who lived where Beam had lived and where Gus Horn now lives. Wilkes lived where Ed Geisler lives.

Otto Geisler and Andrew Seibold came soon after. Andrew still lives near the old home place that is occupied by his son John.

Frank Quintard lived for a few years previous to this time in a set of old camps, just north of Schlinsog’s. During that time he had the notorious fight with Charles Little at the HuntzickeR's Hotel, Dutch Georges, in which he nearly killed Little who had challenged Frank to fight. Little was in bed for several weeks nursed by Mrs. John Shanks. When Quintard moved away in 1879, my father bought his team of horses and wagon, two cows, one named Dena the same as his wife, and the other was Rosa. They were big Durhams, of milk strain, and gave 12 quarts at each milking. While watching a deer lick one night I had the misfortune to kill a cow that belonged to a neighbor, and had to give him Rosa to replace the cow that was killed. I dressed the dean cow and peddled the meat but it was quite a loss for all of that. The places, where Hubert Horn now lives, was widely known as the "Yankee Place", where Andrew (Yankee) Johnson lived until 1876 when he died as his tombstone in our cemetery shows. He married Cassie Steele in 1874, one daughter, Birdie, was born to them. Later Mrs. Johnson married Richmond Burss of Thorp. After his death she moved west and now lives in Washington.

It was with difficulty that I got these facts. Finally I appealed to a teacher that I found lived in Black River Falls and from whom I received this interesting letter, which is he reproduce.

Black River Falls, Wis. March 19, 1937

Mr. Charles Varney, Greenwood Wisconsin

Dear Mr. Varney:

In reply to your letter of March 5, I am happy to give you the following information in regard to the time I taught in the little log school-house in the Braun District many years ago.

It was on December 10, 1880, I think, that I received a letter from John Dore, County Superintendent of schools of Clark County, advising me that I could have the school in the Braun District, eight or ten mils from Greenwood, and that Henry Ferguson, the clerk of said school, would meet me at the Bagley Motel in Greenwood on Sunday, December 12th and school was to begin December 18th. Mail did not travel as fast then, as rural carriers were unheard of. After hurried preparations, like getting the horses shod for the roads were icy. Father and I left home Saturday noon staying in Neillsville that night. On arriving at Greenwood the next day, we found that Mr. Ferguson had been there and gone. We inquired the way, which was four miles north and branched off at Hemlock. It was a track just wide enough cut out to dense timber, and after many turns we came to the Ferguson home.

Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson had been married about five years, I think. She was a widow of Charles Miles and had three boys of about 12, 10 and 7 years of age. I think the name of the eldest boy was Fred. The name of the youngest boy was Bertie. I cannot recall the name of the other boy. The Fergusons had a daughter Grace, who was 4 years of age, and twins of 7 months, George and Mabel.

My pupils were the three Ferguson boys, Rosetta Beam and a Polish boy whose name I cannot recall. Frederick Braun, then 24 years old, was also a pupil. He was anxious to learn to read and write our language. He now lives in Greenwood. I taught the winter term of four months in this small log school-house. This was my first experience of being away from home, and I was 16 years of age. There had been only one teacher there before me, whose name I cannot remember.

Mr. and Mrs. Beam had eloped from Indiana, walking to Milwaukee, where they were married. I think she was only 15 when married and he was about thirty. He played the violin. Mr. and Mrs. William Braun were newly married at that time and lived a short distance from the school-house. At the next place beyond lived Mr. and Mrs. Frank Horn, young people with two small children. The father and mother of all the Brauns lived with two sons and a daughter, who were not married.

The only team in the community was owned by Michael Hawley, a single man. One time during the winter Mr. Ferguson got the team and took Mrs. Ferguson and me to Greenwood.

We got our mail from Longwood. Whenever any one of the neighbors had to go there, he brought the mail for us.

I taught the winter term of four months and went back on May 1st and taught, the summer term of three months.

On the fourth of July we had a picnic and a dance at Horns’, I think. We danced all night.

The most exciting time of my life was when Mr. Ferguson took me out to the main road when I cam home after the summer term. The wagon was drawn by an ox team, my trunk was in, and I was sitting on a board across the wagon box. Everything went fine until the oxen got into a hornets’ nest, and did they run. When they stopped, I was on my knees, hanging on the box, and Mr. Ferguson was far behind. However, they kindly waited until he caught up with us, and we finished the journey safely.

When the neighborhood celebrated the 50th anniversary of the building of the log school-house; they invited me, and I surely did enjoy meeting old friends and new.

Last summer we had the pleasure of spending a Sunday afternoon at Will Braun’s. I can hardly realize it is the same country where I taught so many years ago.

I hope this letter May be of some help to you.

Sincerely,

Bessie F. Pomroy

 

 


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