Jahr, Oscar F. (History - 2876)


Janet Schwarze





----Source: 1918 History of Clark County, Wisconsin

OSCAR F. JAHR, a prominent farmer of Section 25, York Township, is a native of Clark County, having been born in Grant Township, July 23, 1876, son of Bernard and Augusta (Drescher) Jahr. The father was born in Saxony, Germany, Aug. 30, 1849, and his wife in the same German state or province, July 3, 1851. Bernard came to the United States at the age of 2 years with his parents, the father was Christian Jahr, they settling in Washington County, Wis. Their voyage to America was made in a sailing vessel and lasted six weeks. Locating in the woods, the father built a log house and barn and began to make improvements, having at first nothing but his hands to work with. They were in Trenton Township, and Milwaukee was the nearest market, to which they often walked for supplies. Bernard Jahr left there for Clark County in 1871, and after arriving here worked out for a year or so, finally buying a piece of land in Section 21, York Township, the tract consisting of eighty acres. His father, Christian, remained in Washington County. The latter was twice married, Bernard being a child of the first marriage, of which the other children were Emil, Lena and Alfred. By the second wife there were seven children. There were no roads to the place on which Bernard settled. Before his marriage he erected a log shanty of two rooms, 18 by 26 feet in size, into which he later moved with his wife, Augusta, who had come from Germany with her parents, Herman and Anna Drescher, at the age of 19 years, they locating in southern Wisconsin in the vicinity of some of Mr. Drescher's relations. Afterwards they came to Grant Township, Clark County, where Mr. And Mrs. Drescher made their permanent home. When Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Jahr began domestic life on the farm they had neither implements nor stock, and it was a year or more before they got an ox team. Accordingly, he had to grub in his first crops, and like most of the other early settlers, he worked in the woods in the winter, clearing his farm in the summer. He had to walk to and from Humbird, Neillsville and Marshfield, carrying supplies on his back. That place was his home for the rest of his life, except for a few years which he spent in York Township with his son, Oscar, where he died at the age of 63. He had cleared and otherwise improved his eighty-acre farm and for a number of years was a prominent man in his township, serving as assessor several times and as school clerk several years.


In religion he was a German Methodist, and in early days church services were often held at his log house after the church was built he was one of its trustees.


His wife, who is still living, resides at Granton, being born July 30, 1851. Their children, all of whom are living, are: Oscar, Frank, Lena, Edwin, Wesley, Clara and Albert. Oscar F. Jahr in his boyhood attended district school in Grant Township, and grew to manhood on his parents' farm. Later, he worked out on farms by the month and in the woods in winter. He also learned the mason and carpenter trades, and worked at them when he could find employment. After some years thus spent, he bought his present place, an eighty-acre tract in Section 25, York Township, and, building a part of the present residence, lived a bachelor's life here for five years, during which time he also put up some other small buildings. The land when he moved onto it was all wild, and a road was cut only a part of the way, he having to cut a trail to his building site. He had an ax, which had been thrown in as a part of the bargain when he bought the land, but before he married he got a horse team and one cow.


The event referred to-Mr. Jahr's marriage-took place May 19, 1904, and united him with Mary Schaeffner, who was born in Neillsville, Wis., daughter of Edward and Paulina (Zipfel) Schaeffner. Her father was born in Frankfort, Germany, and her mother in Saxony, that country, they being married in Milwaukee. Mr. Schaeffner had come to America when a young man, and for some time worked in a general store, Milwaukee, later becoming its owner. He also became manager of a large farm. There his first wife died and he subsequently contracted a second marriage in Milwaukee.


Coming to Clark County, he settled on a small farm near Loyal, where he died at the venerable age of 91 years. His second wife still resides in Loyal. They had eight children: Edward, Mary, Hannah, William, Martha, Charles, Clara and Helen, all of whom are living. As Mr. Jahr prospered he built a good house of ten rooms and a basement barn, 36 by 60 feet, and his farm is now well improved. He is engaged in raising Guernsey and Durham cattle, a good grade of horses and Poland-China hogs, besides White Leghorn chickens. All the farm, except a small wood lot, has been cleared by his own labor, and he, himself, with his father, did all the carpenter and mason work on the place. He and his wife have three children: Ernest, Esther and Wesley.


Family Photos


[Hollister Album]  [Schaeffner Album]  [Schaeffner, Irma (Art Work)]  [Schaeffner, Carl (Photos)]  [Schaeffner, Eduard (Photos)]


Family Notes


Reading this biography, I found myself back in some of the most pleasant times of my childhood.  Grandpa Charlie Schaeffner purchased this farm around 1944 after he sold his place to Selma, his daughter, and Herb Fensome.  I was there several times.  I can place the time frame because I was there when Joe Eysnogle died and my uncle Wilbur Schaeffner was home on furlough in WW II.  The log shanty mentioned was still there, behind the house, being used as a storage facility.  What treasures were in that shanty.  Brass carriage or automobile lamps, a sheep treadmill and other things to excite a boy's imagination.  The barn was built on a field stone foundation.  Under the hay in the mow was found a half case of dynamite.  Grandpa and dad set off half a stick to see if it was still good.  It was.  Better than the Fourth of July.  The property was fenced in front with split rail.  The back was fenced with wire.  A creek ran through and along side the property.  At the bridge was a pool about 6-8 feet deep with trout.  Further down bass could be found.  A stand of Maple was there which grandpa used to sugar off in the spring.  I got very ill from eating too much maple sugar candy.  I went back in 2003,  the barn is gone, the shanty gone, The house is there and well groomed and maintained.  The place was not electrified when I was there as a kid.  Coleman and kerosene lamps were the lighting sources.  Grandpa had a battery radio.  When they got the place it was for everything in it.  The occupants went out the back and grandpa and grandma went in the front and settled in.  That history also shed new light on Great Grandpa Schaeffner and his time in Milwaukee.  The family stories were that he had "moonlighted" as an accountant and paymaster for a lumber co. in Milwaukee and one day the payroll didn't come through and he paid the men out of his own pocket.  The lumber co. went bankrupt, grandpa went to court to get his money back and lost most of what he had in lawers fees. thence moving to Clark Co.  He lived in a log shanty for a while until a family inheritance came through from Germany.  It was then he got the property out of Loyal.  I remember the smells after a rain, walking through the woods and smelling the leaf mould.  I can smell it to this day. Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of this farm.


Thanks for this site, it brings back so many pleasant memories.  Carl Hollister.



© 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