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Town of Frankfort centennial

Settling the township: early life in the Town of Frankfort,   pp. 27-39

Page 31

They built a new Band Sawmill, a General Company Store,
a boarding house and post office, a telephone line plus other
businesses and homes. They also built their own railroad called
the Marathon County Railroad. One spur running east to
Halder and the other north and west to their lumber camps in
Cleveland and Frankfort. The railroad entered Frankforton the
southeast corner in Section 35,just east of Hamann Creek, west
of the Harold Custer farm going northwest to what is now the
Jacob Bohman farm where they built Camp No. 18.
From there going northwest through Section 34 through
Section 28 into the northwest corner of Section 21 now owned by
Albert Mielke where they built Camp No. 14. The railroad con-
tinued into Section 20 and Section 17 up as far as the land now
owned by Richard Grammer where the line ended with a
landing at this end.
They also built a spur branching off the main line in Section
34 running west to the southwest corner of Frankfort and
beyond into the Town ofEau Pleine and Hull where landing No.
20 was stationed.
The Connor operation in Frankfort started in 1917 and
lasted until about 1930 when they discontinued. Their opera-
tions in Frankfort gave local farmers and the young men much
needed employment to supplement their meager farm income,
although wages were still around one dollar a day from daylight
to dark.
The cutover land of Connor's was purchased by local farmers
and developed into farms. In the meantime, many pails of
raspberries were picked in between the brush in the 1920's.
The Connor Company, looking ahead to staying in the
lumber business have been purchasing timberland in northern
Wisconsin since 1896. After closing their operation in Stratford
they moved to Leona, WI in Forest County where they still are
located, and have a logging museum.
The forests and timber lands were always vulnerable to fires,
and Frankfort was no exception.
In the years of1917-1918, Federal Timber Cruisers searched
this area looking for tall large rock elm and oak trees, some as
long as 60 feet or more which they purchased. These were hand
hewn in the woods, skidded out and hauled to the railroad
station, loaded on flat cars and shipped to ship yards where they
were used for building war ships.
Ernest Hoernke Sr. operated a logging camp for Doud and
Sons of March Rapids in about 1912 in Section 23 across from
the Win. Stendel farm.
Sawing firewood with a circular saw on the Art Giese
farm. This was a familiar scene during the 1920's.
August Giese started sawing wood during 1917.
After the stationary sawmills ceased operation due to lack
volume, the portable sawmills became popular. Several port
able owners from out of Frankfort came in to saw.
Arnold Zettler and William Gaiser of Johnson and Bet
Weigel of Eau Pleine all sawed in the early 1930's. In 1940
Herman Christiansen purchased a portable mill and operatedi
for about two years. Arthur Giese bought out ChristianseniI
share in 1942 and operated it for about twenty years selling i
in 1965. Most of the work was custom sawing for farmers wh
were building barns and machine sheds.
Elmerd Schemenauer operated a portable mill on his farm il
Section 4 sometime in 1945 and continued for about 15 years
He sold his first mill and purchased another one discontinuin1
in 1960.
Martin Mielke also operated a portable mill from abut 1951
to 1960 on his farm in Section 1.
Herbert Nienow in Section 10 purchased a sawmill in 194
and did custom work for farmers besides his own. He did this fi
about five years.
Sawmills can be dangerous as it was in this case, when on,
of his helpers, Elton Kallien, became injured by the sawmill. I
was then he sold his sawmill in 1950.
William Schilling of Stratford also had a portable sawmi,
that he used to saw the timber from what was known in this are
as "The Three Forties." This land is now owned by Lawreno
Bargender. After that operation he set the mill up on his Ian
in Section 16 where he did custom sawing until 1956.
He then moved his sawmill to Thorp and operated it unt
1959. He then moved to Milladore and here his brother Ka.
Schilling had the misfortune of losing his life by a sawmi
Arthur Giese with his portable sawmill at the George Writz am:
Loddie Loskot wood lot in 1959. (l-r): Sebastian Christianser
Arthur Giese and William Giese.
Although there are no sawmills in Frankfort as of now, it i
amazing how many sawmills there are in Marathon County th 1
do a large volume of sawing. The logs are much smaller an)
come from small farm wood lots and from timberland farthe
north. Besides the sawing of lumber, they saw railroad ties
pallets and ginseng garden shade lumber.
Joseph Bohman operated a sawmill in section 25 from 192
to 1936.

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