Machel, John (History - 1856)


Janet Schwarze





History of Clark County, Wisconsin (1918)

JOHN MACHEL, a thriving farmer of Washburn Township, is an example of what may be accomplished by industry and determination without any extraneous advantages. His career is one well worth narrating, as it is one that should prove an inspiration to any young man starting out in life without other aid than a sound body and good brain. Mr. Machel was born in Warsof, Russian-Poland, June 24, 1856, his parents being Christian and Rosalia Machel, farming people, who lived and died in their native land. They had a large family of ten children-Gottlieb, Christiana, Mary, Caroline Susan, John, Andrew, Anna, Louise and Julia. Andrew was the first of the family to emigrate to the United States, after him came Anna, then and later, Julia. Anna and Julia reside in Canada, and Andrew in Oklahoma. John Machel had no chance to acquire a broad, education, but acquired a knowledge of the German, Polish and Russ languages, to which he has later added English, so is a linquist of more than ordinary acquirements. He grew up' on the farm in Poland and was there married to Louise Wagert, continuing to reside near Warsof until 1892, when, having resolved to seek a wider field of opportunity, he set out for the United States, accompanied by his wife and four children-Rudolph, Albert, Adolph and Robert. Arriving in Chicago, Mr. Machel worked there at whatever he could find to do, not being able to get any very profitable work, however. In the hard times under the Cleveland administration he and his family came to Clark County, locating on eighty acres of land in Section 24, Washburn Township, afterwards buying eighty acres more in Section 13.

His prospects at the time were not encouraging, for he had no money, no team, and not even a cow, his only asset, aside from his strong arms, a determined spirit, and a good wife, being a large family, whose value to him, however, as a factor in success, lay chiefly in the future. The first dwelling of the family was a tent, in which they lived until he could build a log house by his own labor. He grubbed in his first crops of potatoes, beans and other garden stuff. It was in July, 1892, when he and his family arrived, the season being well advanced, and it was a year before he got his first cow. It was three years before he got one horse and a year and a half more before he was able to get another to make a team. Of course, during the earliest period he was obliged to work away from home to support his family, and found employment on the railroad, sending home money for them to buy another cow. The first year he used a grub hoe, six or seven inches wide, to harrow his land, some of it being spaded. But though he and his family suffered many hardships, they enjoyed the blessing of good health, none of them ever being sick. In time he got his place cleared, and in the meanwhile conditions improved and the family became more prosperous. His sons, too, grew up and were able to render assistance on the farm. He now has twenty-seven head of fine Holstein cattle, and has erected a basement barn, with cement floor, 36 by 60 feet in size, a silo, 12 by 26 feet, and a neat and substantial pressed-brick residence of ten rooms, each room having a closet, a convenience which every housewife will appreciate.


Mr. Machel is not only doing an excellent business as a farmer, but is also a member of the Shortville Creamery and a stockholder in the cheese factory. In addition to his cattle, in which he takes a justifiable pride, he keeps excellent horses and other good stock.


He took a leading part in the building of the Union Church, being its wealthiest member and contributing liberally to the expense. All his children have also done well, having been trained in habits of industry and frugality by their parents. In addition to the four sons, already mentioned, who were born in Poland, he and his wife had two others, William and Nathaniel, who were born in this country. They have also five daughters: Gusta, Amelia, Lydia, Amanda, who is a school teacher, and Tabita. The son, Adolph, is a member of the Farmers Co-operative Elevator and Lumber Company, of Neillsville. Such is the record of Mr. Machel and his family, one well worthy of consideration, as it illustrates in a striking manner the value of self-help, without which success can rarely, if ever, be obtained. Mr. Machel has moved to Section 33, Grant Township.




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