University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Town of Frankfort centennial
(1890-1990)

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


Page 35

1903 built the tractor called Hart Parr. Later they sold out to the
Oliver Corporation.
The first tractor in Frankfort was probably owned by Carl
Hoernke, a Waterloo Boy about 1917-18. This tractor ended up
with a tragedy when a son, George Hoernke, was run over by it
while working beneath it.
Most farmers in Frankfort started farming on 80 acres or
less. Farms with over 80 acres were very few in the 1920's.
During 1930-35 there were more individual farms in Frankfort
that at any other time, a total of 220 land owners nearly all
engaged in farming. Today there are less than 75 actual
farmers. Marathon County had its highest number of farmers
in 1935 with 7,039 farmers, today it is down to 3,740 farmers.
The population count in Frankfortin this period was also the
highest up to this time.
The assessor's description of personal property read as
follows:
1910 - 709 cattle - 510 sheep - 228 swine - 209 horses
1920 -2323 cattle - 124 sheep - 615 swine - 474 horses
1930 -2782 cattle - 160 sheep - 334 swine - 364 horses
You can see the trend in livestock changes in the 30 year
period.
Economic depressions of the nation were also felt in Frankfort
In the teen years and the 20's and 30's many farmers lost their
farms by foreclosure, by not being able to make their payments
The depression lasted until the second world war. Man
families and young people who had left the farm in the lat(
1920's to work in the cities, lost their jobs and returned to livi
at home.
The depression also hurt agriculture prices. Milk in som
areas was sold as low as 70v per cwt. Eggs were 8j? per dozer
Cattle and hogs only brought a few cents per pound. Somre
farmers recall getting a freight bill for shipping a cow when th
price received did not even pay for the shipping charges.
With the election of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932
the Federal Government initiated some programs such as th
Works Progress Administration called the WPA where peopjr
who needed help to support their families could work for th
Township.
Another program called the CCC, Civilian Conservatio
Corp, gave young boys a chance to work in Conservation Camps
Both of these programs helped many families to survive th
depression.
Many will remember when President Roosevelt closed all th
banks for a short time and many of the weaker banks, withou
enough assets, never reopened and the depositors received on]
a percentage of their money back.
Working Together
Many things about farming have changed dramatically over the years. However, the spirit of
working together has remained the same over the years. Barn raisings in the 1910's & the 1950's
brought neighbors, friends and relatives together. The men helped build the barn and the women
cooked mountains of food to feed the hungry workers.
r     4
Barn raising on the August Giese farm in 1913.
Standing (l-r) Minnie Giese, Anna Petri, Annie Zenk, Frieda Giese Hoernke, Helen Bielke, Elsie
Bielke, Irene Giese, Olga Bobert, Mrs. Zenk, Mrs. Dorfschmidt, Adeline Bobert, Mrs. August Giese,
August Giese Sr. and Anton Schmirler. August Giese Jr. was driving the horses. Conrad Hamann was
the carpenter boss. Others on the picture are: Henry Jahnke, Herman Neitzel, Eugene Rahn, Art
Schmirler, William Hass, Walter Neitzel, Hugo Bobert and Gust Ballerstein.
35


Go up to Top of Page