Recollections of Columbia, Wisconsin

by Mabel Schlender Jonkel

Contributed by Sarah Poertner

transcribed by Crystal Wendt & Michelle Harder.


In the early 90’s the first general store and post office was built, owned, and operated by George Heynderich who was a Frenchman from Brazil, South America. Their four children were Lelia, George, Jr., Cecil and Helen. About 1900 they sold and moved to the state of Washington. Charles Graves bought the store.

In time Columbia had two general stores, a school, a church, post office, blacksmith shop, Taylor shop, a dentist, tow boarding houses, a saloon, candy store, millenary shop, dry good store, a depot with a full time agent, a cheese


The first general store in Columbia was owned by Heynderichx and Graves.  It became a feed and hardware store after Dad Schlender bought it. He Added the facade.

Fancy, dance hall, pickle factory, newspaper and veterinary. Houses were dotted all over in the woods.

Many changes were taking places: roads were being surveyed and built in all directions; bridges were built over the stream; schools were built; and a telephone line went through. For many years the wall type crank telephone in our store was the only one which everyone used. All these projects brought in many outside workers.

Many Columbia folks worked in the gravel pit in summer and in the north woods in the winter to get ready cash for improving their farms. This left the wives and children to care for the home front. Emma Moser once remarked that the early settlers’ wives had to be brave. Her mother was alone with four children when her dad worked in the woods, when on moonlight nights the wolves would come right to the door and howl. Other women had the same experience.




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