Werle, Philip H. (History - 1879)


Janet Schwarze





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

                            Mr. & Mrs. Phillip Werle

PHILIP H. WERLE, a farmer of Loyal Township, who came to this locality in 1879, and has since taken active and useful part among the agricultural workers of the township, was born in Washington County, Wis., Oct. 6, 1855. His parents were William and Julia (Schilling) Werle. The father, William, was born and reared in Prussia, Germany. Learning the shoemaker's trade, he remained in his native land until he was 26 years old, and before it reached Mexico.


Mr. Austin was mustered out Oct. 4, 1865, and returned home to Woodstock, and for five years was engaged in stock buying. Having decided to go into the milling business, he came to Neillsville, Wis., in 1870, and, taking over the mill that stood on the site of the mill that is now converted into a condensory, he began business as head of the firm of G. Austin Co. He soon controlled the price of grain in this section of the state, it being hauled to him from as far away as the Mississippi River. He paid a good price to the farmers and his business flourished so that it was no uncommon thing to see sixty or seventy teams standing in line at his mill. His flour was known as the Neillsville Mills brand, and commanded a good sale on the market, being of a high quality. The mill was a wooden building, and connected with it by the same power was a shingle and planing mill. Across the creek also, where the electric plant now stands, Mr. Austin had a sawmill which cut about one million feet of lumber each year.


About 1877, Mr. Austin sold his mill property and located on a farm on East Ridge, in Pine Valley Township. The farm contained eighty acres, and he devoted it to dairying, being the pioneer in that branch of industry in this county. On this farm he also built the first creamery in the county, and in addition to this he started a cheese factory on the farm, which was the second cheese factory erected in the county, but which he subsequently converted into a creamery. He kept some eighty or ninety cows, and continued farming and dairying until he sold out and retired in 1901 or 1902, at which time he took up his residence in Neillsville.


Though Mr. Austin never cared for public office, he served as chairman of the township board. While residing on his farm Mr. Austin traveled for four. or five years as a lecturer for the Farmers Institute, this being during the winter seasons, and while thus engaged he advocated the extension of dairying on the part of the farmers, and also the use of silos, he, himself, building the first silo in the state. He was the first to advocate the use of native corn for stocking the silo, and also wrote excellent articles on silage in those days for the agricultural papers and journals. His reputation as an authority on dairying and silage spread all over the state,. and his farm was often visited by Professor Babcock, the inventor of the butter test, besides other persons interested in these subjects. Mr. Austin, though long since retired from personal participation in the industries of which he was at one time at the head in Clark County, can look back over his career with a feeling of satisfaction in the part he played in laying the foundations for much of the prosperity the farmers of the county now enjoy.


In 1853, Mr. Austin was united in marriage with Marinda N. Kimball, who was born in New Hampshire, Nov, 20, 1835, daughter of Jonathan and Nancy J. (Gay) Kimball. On the maternal side she was the granddaughter of General Gay, who served in the Revolutionary War. Her father, Jonathan, removed to Illinois when she was twelve years old, and engaged in farming near Woodstock, at which place he subsequently died. He also had a military record, having served as sergeant of a company in the War of 1812-15. Mr. and Mrs. Austin have had three children-Charles E., who resides in Neillsville Mary E., a resident of Minneapolis, and widow of John Thayer, and Ida M., who is the widow of M. C. Ring. Mr. Austin is a member of the Christian Science Church, which he helped to organize in Neillsville. He also belongs to the local G. A. E. Post, to the Sons of Temperance and Temple of Honor, being active in the temperance movement, and to the Masonic order, which he joined at Woodstock, afterwards transferring his membership to the lodge in Neillsville. In this latter order he has advanced to the K. T. degree. His wife is now living at Neillsville in her 83d year. Mr. Austin passed away Feb. 23, 1917, nearly 88 years of age.



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