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Stratford centennial

At work in the woods,   pp. 37-46

Page 37

At Work in the Woods
Early settlers worked for the lumber
mills during the winter months. They
would leave their families and take to the
woods, living in logging camps which
may be located miles from their homes.
Summers they would spend clearing their
land of lumber and stumps getting it ready
for cultivation.
Mike Baltus Story
From the Wausau Record Herald
March 20, 1954
"At the age of 16, 1 started working for
the R. Connor Company, driving oxen on
the road and hauling logs at Aubumdale.
When they started the new town of Strat-                      Courtesy ofRonald Schuette
ford, I moved along and that reminded me
of the start my folks had at Auburndale.
"At that time all there was of Stratford
was the company store, a few taverns, and                                     j
what they called Shantytown; they were
building the sawmill. There were no
churches and on Sundays we went to the
church at Webertown, a mile and a half
northwest of Stratford, which was then
larger than Stratford.
"Well do I recall the next winter, when
the mill was running. I was driving six
oxen, hauling logs, and when I got near
the mill there would always be sawdust on
the ice road to make it pretty poor sled-
ding. Mr. W.D. Connor would usually be                      Courtesy of The Connor Family
on hand to help me herd those oxen onto
the dam where we unloaded.
"A year or two later Mr. Connor said,
'Mike, I believe you have most of our
oxen worn out now and I think I will start
you out with horses." A few years later I
think he found out I was pretty hard on
horses, too, so they put me on as foreman,
which I figured out they thought would
soon put an end to it all. But I was tougher
than they figured, I guess, so I stayed at
that job about 20 years, although I was
farming on my own some of the sum-

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