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Town of Frankfort centennial

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

Page 38

The Soil Conservation Program was started in Marathon
County in 1942. Some of the early Frankfort Cooperators were
Adolph Bornowski, Otto Hoernke, Ray Bandle, Elmer Mueller,
Art Giese, Fred Neitzel, Henry Grieser, Roland Reel, Rueben
Syring, Louis Bohman, Tony Stack and Loddie Loskot.
The Town of Frankfort may have been slower in developing
its farms, which may have been due to the distance from any
town. This made it difficult to send their children to high school
or college in the early years.
Some of the first more progressive farmers in the early years
were Joseph Sazama in Section 7 who always had a large
operation and good high producing herd of holstein cows.
Walter Wurthman also in Section 7 had a high producing
herd of holstein cattle that produced over 400 lbs. of butterfat in
1920. This was considered high for those years.
Henry Dvorak in Section 11 also had a good producing herd
of holstein cattle. As a foundation for his herd, he purchased a
registered holstein for $400, an unheard of price before 1920.
When this cow freshened, she was milked three times a day, also
t unheard of then.
Ii There were more good farmers such as the Hoernkes, Totzkes,
k Fred Neitzel and others.
Herds of over 20 cows were a large operation when milking
was done by hand. That is when pa and ma and all the kids
milked. In the summertime, cows were sometimes milked in the
cow yard without being tied. You had to talk pretty good to old
bossy or she would let you sit.
Farming in Frankfort has come a long way since 1920, with
the milking machines coming about 1918. The first one was
owned by Henry Dvorak.
With todays modern machinery and technology the small
farmer is slowly phasing out and being taken over by the large
operator. Farms with over 500 acres and 150 head of livestock,
producing over 700 lbs. of butterfat are not uncommon today.
The largest operator in Frankfortin 1976 was Merlin Kilty, with
over 200 head.
Another first in Frankfort was a registered cow sold by
Edward Mielke Jr. in Section 11 for $44,000, the highest price
paid for a cow from Marathon County. She produced over 900
lbs. of butterfat and 19,000 lbs. of milk. He has a highly bred
herd of registered holstein cows, specializing in genetic mating
and embryo transplants, something new in this field.
Large dairy operations do not always spell success, nor do
small farms mean failure. An example of this was seen in a farm
owned by Lawrence Smolke in Section 12. He operated an 80
acre farm with only 65 acres under plow. He put all three of his
children through college.
Frankfort did have one farmer who did not modernize. He
was Herman Borchardt in Section 13. He farmed with horses
and horse machinery. He had no electricity and no modern con-
veniences on the place when he sold it in 1970.
The first county agent to be hired in Marathon County was
F. G. Swoboda in May 1919. Following him was William Rogan
in 1921, C. J. McAleavy in 1952, I. J. Corey in 1960 and George
Hartman in 1972.
The first Home Agent was Mary Brady in 1918. The first 4-
H Agent was C. J. McAleavy in 1927. He stayed on for 25 years.
The present University of Wisconsin - Extension staff is: Mary
Crave, office Chair/Home Economist; Jean Erickson, 4-H &
Youth Agent, Mike Wildeck, Dairy & Livestock Agent; Leo J.
Martin, Agricultural & Farm Management Agent; Therese
Fitzsimmons, Resource Development Agent.
The early settlers who owned cows milked them in the
summer during the pasture season only, unless they had enough
feed for winter, if not, they sold them in fall and purchased more
the next spring. Cutting down hay with a scythe in between
stumps and open spaces was quite a task to feed any amount of
cows. It was not until more land was cleared and the hay mower
was available that livestock began to increase in numbers.
The raising and storing of enough feed for livestock for the
winter months was a major problem, especially for dairy farm-
ers. This is why the silo came into use in Wisconsin at an early
The first silo in Frankfort was built by Fred Passehl about
1910 in Section 23 on the farm now owned by Robert Borchardt.
It was a stone wall silo built partly underground.
Another first silo was built by Ferdinand Gartman abut the
same time in Section 15 on the farm now owned by William
Giese. This was a wood stave silo. Ernest Hoernke also had one
of the first stone silos. There may have been other silos built a
year or two later.
In 1914 there were two clay tile silos built, one by Matt
Dvorak in Section 11 now owned by Arthur Hoesly and in
Section 10 now owned by Loddie Loskot. Both of these two silos
are still standing.
An elevator was used to elevate the silage into the silo and
three or four men were used to keep the silage tramped down
while filling.
The corn was cut with a corn binder, dropped on the ground,
loaded by hand on wagons and fed into a silo filler by hand.
Neighbors usually got together for a silo filling bee. In a real wet
season corn had to be cut by hand and hauled off the field on a
stone boat.
The field forage chopper and the self-unloading chopper box
came in the early 1940's, and the harvesting of grass haylage in
about 1945.
With the increase in dairy cows and mechanization of har-
vesting, the use of silos increased every year. There are many
silos in Frankfort, all styles, sizes and heights. The glass lined
silo came in around 1949. In 1966, Albert Totzke owned the
largest silo in the town of Frankfort. The first Harvestor was
purchased by Joe Sazama in 1949.

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