Bio: Kleinschmidt, Carl - The Kleinschmidt Story (26 June 1974)

Merrill Shopper & Foto News (Merrill, Lincoln Co., Wis.) June 26, 1974

Transcribed by: Crystal Wendt


I Remember When

Mr. & Mrs. Carl Kleinschmidt

The Kleinschmidt Story – A Story of Early Lincoln Co.  

The following is an excerpt from the Merrill Advocate of July 13, 1897. 

“Carl Kleinschmidt settled in 1858 on his homestead about 14 miles southwest of Jenny. During the first year and a half that the family came here, they were very poor. They had no cook stove. They kept a fire in an open place in the log house and during all that time, they had no other cooking utensil than a kettle that hung over the open fire. After a while they save money enough to buy a stove. Then Carl Kleinschmidt – not as we knew him, two or three years ago, but in the strength of his stalwart frame and his youth – joyously and as proud, as a king came to the hamlet which our city then was, to buy a cook stove. Luckily he found one held in stock, bought it, and paid for it in cash.

“Pete Plumer, of Wausau, now deceased, was then in Jenny. There was no bridges across the Wisconsin, so Mr. Kleinschmidt asked Pete Plumer to take him and his stove across the Wisconsin. Both men took hold of the stove and carried it up to a log. On this log Carl Kleinschmidt sat down, straddling, while Pete Plumer, with a rope, tied the stove to the broad back of Kleinschmidt. Then Kleinschmidt started for home on a path through the woods.”

“He was happier on that day than on almost any day of his life. They were to have a cook stove. No continual mush eating. They were to have bread. Not that which in their pleasant dreams they dreamed of, but actual real bread. So he trudged on. However, after reaching Snow Hill – about four miles from Jenny – Kleinschmidt found that the stove was stronger than he, and that it was over-powering him. He sank down exhausted in the grass, and cut the rope which tied him and the store together. Then he walked home.

The next day, in the morning, he hitched his faithful ox team to a ‘go-devil,’ and then driving to where he had left the stove, loaded it on his ‘go-devil’ and brought it home in triumph. What a family fete that stove occasioned! Good, nice bread the faithful housewife baked, and it tasted to those who had not had bread baked in an oven for more than a year, better than angel food.

At this early day, it was impossible to sell logs but later timber and logs became valuable and the father erected a sawmill in 1889 on Devil’s Creek between sections 20 & 21. Albert, the son, operated the sawmill for the father. A boarding house was built which accommodated a crew of 15 to 20 men. Besides cutting their own timber, the Kleinschmidt’s did custom sawing for others living in that community. Much of the lumber was hauled to Merrill and Wausau and was used in the erection of buildings and homes. The mill included in its equipment, a rotary, and edger, trimmer and a slab slasher.

The Kleinschmidt mill was operated for many years. The father, Carl Kleinschmidt, was born on January 22, 1827 and died March 18, 1895. Johanne, his wife was born February 23, 1836 and died September 14, 1905.


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