Washburn Co. WIGenWeb


A letter sent from Mrs. Mercer to Mrs. Barber telling about
 Casey Township People and Happenings
(written about 1931)

Dear Mrs. Barber and Family,

Your letter came as a pleasant surprise. Mother wanted me to answer it for her. She is in fairly good health, busy every day. Is 70 1/2 years old, erect, hair almost white, short & stout in body.

You would be surprised at the appearance of your place now. The old log cabin still stands, but in a sinking condition. But if front - north - is a large 2 story cement house: 4 large rooms, pantry & store room on first floor. 2nd floor has 4 rooms & hallways. A large well kept lawn is on 3 sides of the house sloping down to the lake. Trees, shrubs & flower beds beautiful (sic) the grounds. To the right, near the lake, are 3 nice two room housekeeping cottages which we rent to summer tourists. We rent 7 boats also. The general surroundings are very attractive, restful & inviting. Some years we do good business but the last 2 years were poor ones. Tourist season begins in May and last until Oct. 

My father died 4 years ago, July 9th. He had a paraletic (sic) the day after the 4th. & lingered until the 9th. All the children were home before he died. Dave was in New York but he managed to get here by the 8th. We had a family picture taken right after the funeral as it was the first time since we were children that we were all home at one time. In a few days all were gone except Herbert, the youngest and myself, and we are still on the farm with mother. The others visit us occasionally.

Dave is in Seely, Texas looking after an oil well proposition. His wife is in Eau Claire, Wis. with her folks. They have no children.

Frank (Ishmael) is married and lives in Superior, Wis. Has no children. He is yard master in the Great Northern R.R. yards. A good, steady paying job.

George is married, no children, lives in Chicago. They both work. He has a job as salesman & tester in a big Cadelac (sic) garage. Mother spent 3 months with them last winter in their pretty flat. But she wouldn't go this winter, does not like t be so shut in and is afraid of the rapid city traffic. Country life suits her better.

Will is married, has 8 children, lives in Winona, Minn. Oldest is 19, youngest isn't a year old. The 2 oldest, girls, work out. Rest are at home. Will is a painter and paper hanger. Good trade for much of the year.

Hazel (Mrs. Joe Sutter) lives in the old Burmeister place, just south of us. Marh Peterson used to live there years ago. Hazel & family moved there just recently. She has 5 children, 4 boys & 1 girl. The girl is the oldest & is away attending an Adventist boarding school at Bethel Wis. (age 15) Hazel's youngest is 6 years old. All are Adventist in this family. Will's family are Adventists. George & Dave used to be but they are not now.

Jim is married, has a 7 mo. son, & lives in Spooner. He is a brakeman on the R.R. but has been out of work for a year. He is sexton for the Protestant cemetery for the present & does odd jobs, anything whenever that he can. Is a good worker & gets many calls for short jobs. Has been married 3 years & already has had hospital & doctor bills over 1000 dollars. Nearly lost his wife & baby. Everybody well now.

Herb & I are the single ones and stay at home. He used to run an oil station, auto wash & grease station, also worked at auto repair in a garage. I am a trained or graduate nurse. I graduated in 1917. I was doing social service in Chicago when Dad became sickly. I came home just 3 weeks before he died. I've done some nursing since I gave up my city work, near home. Last spring I spent 2 months in Chicago. But I'm needed at home. Mother cannot do all of the work that must be done, so here I'll stay for a while.

In the summer besides the tourist business, we raise chickens for the market. We keep none through the winter. For the few eggs we use, it does not pay to feed chickens all winter. Eggs are very cheap here.

We have an Adventist church in Spooner (?? the Baptist Church), have a membership of 29. I am Sabbath School Supt. & teach a primary class and am the leader of the Y.P. meetings. So I keep busy during the week preparing church work.

We take the "Review", "Present Truth" "Liberty" "Life & Health" Lake Union Herald, Madison Survey & "Sabbath School Worker" & many others (secular papers)

Times are hard here, many out of work. Winter so far has been mild. Had a foot of snow last week. Now that is about all melted away. Colder again tonight.

No one lives on the Oberg place, Ogrens live on the old Leanon place. Platzs still live on their farm. (Rerou ??) is married & lives just south of them. Has 2 nice children. The Burnmeister batchelors (sic) (2) live on your old {Look Lake} place. It is nicely built up and well kept. Another brother lives north of them on Big Casey Lake. They rent 2 cabins to tourists.

Will Peterson is still our mail carrier. His married son Leon lives on his farm & runs the place. One married daughter lives on the John Peterson farm (across the road from Henry Peterson farm). Will Peterson lives on the west side of Spooner. They had 9 children, all are married but 2 (youngest) & they are at home.
There are 2 families living on the south side of Dunn Lake. Only one on Island Lake. He owns the land all around that lake & rents cottages to tourists & boards them in his lodge.
Mr. Ackley died this past fall. He was over 90 years old. They lived in Trego. She and Cal live together now. He is simple. Mrs. A is over 80 years old. Mr. Ackley had been an invalid for several years. Mind was about gone. Mrs. A was about worn out nursing him. She had hired help doing housework and helping her take care of him. He drew a soldier's pension.

Mrs. Platz has diabetes & is in poor health. Has to keep on a diet. Faye is married and lives N.W. of Dulth (sic) and lives near Virginia. Kenneth is about 21 years old, home part of the time but is no help. Likes the gay life too well to amount to much

Roy Orberg & his big family live away back in the wilds near Big MacKinzy mound. Their children have almost 4 miles to go to school. Walk it part of the time. Use a pony & cart when they have it to use. A shed at the school grounds shelters the ponies the children drive.

Mrs. Bill Thompson is dead. The girls are married & live out west somewhere. Mrs. Charley Stuart died a year ago. Mrs. Stuart is living with her married daughter.

Last spring forest fires burned over nearly all of our Casey township. There were fires everywhere. Just a few miles around us escaped the fires. Some were set on purpose & others were through carelessness. The last 2 summers were extremely dry & hot. The days were relentless in their steady heat mounting to 112 in the shade & often hung for days at 100. We thin folks stood the heat better than the fleshy folks. Our lawn turned brown & many garden stuff died. But last fall rains revived the grass & ripened the late crops. No killing frosts until nearly November. Had a long mild fall. Had no snow until Thanksgiving time 7 at Xmas & again New Years & a week later. Each time it soon melted. Frost came out of the ground the last few days. Anyway the melted snow washed away. Very little left to freeze tonight.

The lake is a glare of ice, all of the foot of snow melted. Now the young folks will have skating again. Won't be long before time to put up ice for summer use. Last summer heat melted more than we used. Prospects of another summer.

We may look for queer weather from now on as we near the end of this world's history. The terrible heat we had the late summers is a fair warning of what is coming when the sun will scorch men as with fire. It surely will be a mercy during or before those troublesome times. There are so many things around us happening as a warning to prepare for the Great Day but so little attention is paid to them. The cares of this life absorb so much time that there seems so little for meditation & prayer. It is hurry, hurry all the year around. Lately I've made out a daily program to follow & it surely helps to take or have a regular time for spiritual improvement. I really get more done by putting the Lord first.

We have the teacher boarding with us this winter. She is a Lutheran. I keep literature in her room but I doubt if she ever opens one of the books. She likes the other kind best judging from what she does take time to read. I've had a few good talks with her. Is a fine teacher & friend in every way.
Mother often talked about making a trip out to the coast but I doubt if we can ever afford to go by train or car. We own a touring Dodge (glass windows) with heater. Used a car all last winter & so far this winter. We have a good radio "Fada", an organ, & phonograph, a heatrola stove, an Aladdin table lamp, cream separator, besides the ordinary house furnishings. Of stock: 2 cows, 2 heifers, 1 calf, 2 horses, 2 cats. So we are not much on farming in this line. We haven't time for much either. The tourists require much of Herb's time in guiding. And it keeps me on the hump doing housework, laundry, garden, lawn, flowers & cottage work & chickens. Mother does the cooking & baking & mending & that about tires her out. We serve meals also. I often wish that we were out of this public work which gives us no time for religious work & little time for spiritual life.
Must close. Mother would be glad to hear from you again. This is her letter even though I wrote it. Good-bye - Greeting to the family.
From Mrs. Mercer - Keturah & Herbert


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