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