Town of Frankfort centennial
Pioneer memories, pp. 77-110
Pioneer Memories Henry C. Eggebrecht Henry C. Eggebrecht came to this area in 1877, at the age of 13, with his parents, Mr. & Mrs. Fred Eggebrecht. They arrived inWausau May11,1877. After a two-day stop over at the county seat, they were taken to their new home in that portion of the town of Wien which is now Frankfort. The drivers on the trip were August and Fred Kickbusch. The journey was made in one day. They stopped overnight at the Carl Marquardt home and became acquainted with their first neighbors, who had settled here ten years earlier. The next day they walked to the location of their new home. They moved into an abandoned homesteader's cabin, owned at that time by Fred Barr and located on the present John Schuma- cher farm site. That summer they erected a cabin of their own and cleared what land they could. By the fall of 1877, four acres of broken ground permitted the sowing of winter wheat. In the spring of 1884 Fred Eggebrecht and Fred Hamann purchased a portable sawmill. The Eggebrecht and Hamann sons were able to man the outfit so it was turned over to them. PURCHASE PORTABLE SAWMILL It was the next spring when Fred Eggebrecht with Fred Hamann, his neighbor, purchased the portable sawmill belong- ing to a Mr. Richardson, who had brought the rig from Ohio. Mr. Richardson was willing to sell out here as he had found it hard going. The Eggebrecht boys that summer had helped Mr. Richardson and were familiar with the workings of the mill. They with the Hamann boys, William, Henry and Charles, were able to man the outfit, with little outside help. So it was that the older owners turned the work over to the younger boys who entered upon a period of successful operation. It was not as easy or as profitable as might be supposed for at that time only pine was sawed into lumber. The hardwood, of which there was an abundance, found little or no market until later. With the first mill, powered by a direct-acting engine, it was possible with a crew of 11 men to produce from 12,000 to 15,000 feet of lumber per day. This meant real work, and often they were handicapped by engine trouble. The direct-drive, 24 horsepower engine, with its butterfly valve control, was at times a perfect piece of mechanism. At other times, things did not run so smoothly. Despite the draw-backs of the old portable outfit, it was in use for 13 years when it was replaced by a new one in 1896. The second mill, located across the creek, offered ponding advantages and other helps which the first mill site did not provide. The later mill, with its crew of 30 men was capable of producing three times as much lumber in a day's operation. Its improved 80 horsepower engine, belt driven allowed for a better grade of work as well as for in- creased volume. About that time, too, the market opened for hardwood, resulting in renewed activities. The Eggebrecht- Hamann mill, which during its lifetime did an enormous amount of custom sawing, also had sizeable contracts for in- dustrial firms, including the R. Connor company, Marshfield; William Gamble, Wausau; the Campbell sash and door factory of Oshkosh; Moss Katz and others. FIRE DESTROYS MILL The operations of the Eggebrecht-Hamann mill were cut short in 1914 when, during the sawing season, a fire of unknown orgin completely demolished the plant. At the time of the fire, 300,000 logs were yet untouched. And so it was that the Eggebrecht-Hamann firm finished that last season with a portable mill belonging to John Hilger of Colby. Among Marathon county's earliest cooperative enterprises, was one in which four neighboring families of the town of Frankfort, the Eggebrechts, Lueschows, Brockmans, and Meischlers, in 1885 purchased a horse-driven threshing outfit. This was one of the first machines brought into this part of the country and, although it was primarily for the use of the four families who bought the rig, it was used by others in that vacinity. Prior to the purchase of the threshing outfit it was necessary to thresh by flail, an undertaking which greatly hindered production of wheat. Later on another partnership, in which the Eggebrechts were interested, brought in the first steam-operated threshing outfit, which they operated on a business profit basis. Mr. Henry Eggebrecht told the following stories: INDIANS AT ROZELLVILLE When asked if he could recall any Indians in the vicinity of his home, he replied: "Yes, there were Indians that I recall. They lived in the vacinity of Rozellville, and every spring would come through what is now Stratford, down past our place, following the road, such as it was, going to 'the Lord knows where' I don't I have seen as many as fifty Indians, with their ponies, papooses, and trappings, headed northward; the same group returning in the fall to take up their quarters again at Rozellville. Often, too, they would go through our woods in search of slippery elm, ground pine, used for decora- tion, and herbs that they could market or wanted for their own use. These Indians were not savages, though, nor bad, but we did find it necessary at times to put a stop to the forage of our woods. They offered no opposition, and would move when told to do so. "Animals?" Mr. Eggebrecht echoed, as the question was put to him. "Yes, there were plenty of wild animals, especially a great number of deer. Why, I recall," he continued, "one time when I had just traded for a gun, the sights did not suit me exactly, so after filing them down, I sauntered towards the woods, hoping to see a bird or something at which to shoot. Snow was on the ground, and chancing upon some fresh deer tracks, I followed them and soon came upon two deer. Of course they got wind of me and scampered across the road. I went back to the house for my father, hoping to have him help me corner them. We located them easily, and this time, dad drove them down the road towards where I was hidden behind the gate. From where I was, I could see the first deer - at close range - but did not shoot as I only had one bullet in the gun. In a moment, the mate was standing beside him, and I let go. The bullet went through both deer, neither of which got more than sixteen rods away from where they were shot. It sounds like a fish story," he concluded, "but the files of the old Colby Phonograph will attest to this fact."
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