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

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

Page 28

Mill located on Hamann Creek, in Section 14. It was built in 1884 by Carl and William Hamann and
John and Henry Eggebrecht. It was destroyed by fire in 1914. The cook shanty and the bunk house
are on the right. The two ladies are cooks, (l-r) Bertha Hoernke (Later Mrs. Otto Totzke) and Tena
Mueller. Driver of the team on the left is Albert Mueller, August Mueller is standing.
e   Astoryrelatedby Carl Bielke Jr., as told to him by the Frank
1 Jahnke family that a railroad was to have been built from
o Merrill through Rib Falls, Poniatowski and entering Town of
tj Frankfort on the northeast corner going past the Swan Mill and
ir leaving Frankfort on the southwest corner through Cherokee
and down to Spencer. If this would have happened the Town of
Frankfort would not be the same today. This is also verified by
a lease attached to the deed on the Elmer Metz farm in Section
h I in the Town of Rietbrock for a right of way through his land.
The first sawmill built in Frankfort was built by Perry Swan
! who moved here with his family from Hicksville, Ohio in 1882.
a   He shipped a complete sawmill from Ohio, by railroad and
h! set it up in the northern half of the southwest quarter in Section
a 2, land now owned by Lawrence Lake and Neal Koepke. He sold
a  the lumber toJ. Healy ofNeenah, WI. He also established a Post
aI Office at his residence, which was known as the Swan P.O. and
was operated by him until the late 1800's.
In 1906, Swan sold the sawmill to George Ellenbecker Sr.
'cwho rebuilt the mill to an elevator or two story building. The
y volume, of lumber sawed by Ellenbecker was over one million
feet per season, some of it was custom sawing. They employed
n twenty to thirty people in the peak season. They received $1.50
" to $3.00 per day plus their room and board which was furnished
by Ellenbecker.
S   In early years, most of the meat came from venison so when
ehe supply ran low the mill would shut down and everyone went
reer hunting.
I   Another sawmill was built by the William and Carl Hamann,
and Henry and John Eggebrecht families. They were brothers
and brothers-in-law. The mill was built in 1894 in Section 14 on
the creek now known as Hamann Creek, on land now owned by
Leonard Ebben. In 1910 the mill burned down and was rebuilt
on a different site from the original and near the river. It was
used for storing the logs until they were sawed. The new mill
was also a two story building and had a larger capacity than the
Hamann Mill. The Hamann, Eggebrecht Mill also had a board-
ing house and a cook shanty.
Some of the cooks that worked there were Bertha Hoernke,
Mrs. Otto Totzke, Alvina Hanson and Hilda Eggebrecht. At
their peak operation they fed from 30 to 40 people.
One of the reasons that these two mills were located at the
sites was probably the large stands of pine trees along the
Hamann Creek as some of the older residents can remember.
This second mill was in operation until 1914 when it also burned
down and was never rebuilt. The balance of the season's run was
finished with a portable saw mill.
The third stationary saw mill was built some years later by
Joseph Bohman in Section 25 in the years about 1925 and was
in operation until about 1940. It was built on the bank of the
small branch of Hamann Creek in Section 25 on land now owned
by Lester Schneider Jr. This mill was small compared to the
other two, and did only custom sawing of lumber. All of these
mills furnished much needed employment for the early settlers.
Around the turn of the century there were three lathe and
shingle mills in Frankfort. One was built by Matthes Smolke in
Section 12 on the east branch of the Hamann Creek and was
powered by a water wheel. A flood washed the dam out and the
mill finished sawing with a steam engine. The three inch water
wheel shaft is still on the Jack and William Pelkey farm.
Another mill was built by Julius Hannemann in section 2 on
the Hamann Creek and was also powered by a water wheel. The
land is now owned by Erwin Schoenrock. No dates have been
established as to what years they were built or how long they
continued in operation.
The other mill was built by Peter Kyle in 1918 in Section 16
and was powered by a steam engine. It was in operation until

Go up to Top of Page