Wednesday, November 30, 2011


John Feest
John Feest, a well known agriculturist of Somers Township, owns and operated an excellently improved farm of one hundred and twenty-five acres on Section 12.  His birth occurred in Racine, Wisconsin, on the 4th of September 1856, his parents being Frank Mat and Frances (Hammer) Feest.  The father, who was born in Baden, Germany in 1819, attended the common schools until fourteen years of age and in 1844, when a young man of twenty-five years, crossed the Atlantic to the United States.  He resided in Toledo, Ohio, for a few years and subsequently made his way to Racine County, Wisconsin, spending the remainder of his life there and in Kenosha County.  For several years he was employed in the lumber yard of Murray & Kelley at Racine.  Though empty handed when he arrived in the new world, he wisely utilized his opportunities and eventually became a substantial and well to do citizen.  He gave his political allegiance to the democracy and attended Mt. Mary's Church in Racine.  His demise occurred on the 5th of May 1903, while his wife was called to her final rest on the 17th of February, 1907.  To them were born nine children, three of whom are deceased.  The surviving members of the family are Theresa, Katherine, Caroline, John, Frank, and Joseph.

John Feest was a pupil in the common schools until fourteen years of age but had begun work when a youth of about twelve.  In the winter time he frequently walked six miles from Racine in order to clear the brush and stumps from his father's farm.  General agricultural pursuits have claimed his time and energies throughout his entire business career and he now owns and cultivates a farm of one hundred and twenty-five acres in Section 12, Somers Township, which he has improved in a most creditable manner.  The well tilled fields annually yield golden harvests as a reward for the care and labor which he bestows upon them, and his present prosperity is the direct result of his industry, energy and perseverance.

On the 5th of May, 1885 Mr. Feest was united in marriage to Miss Magdalena Lotz, daughter of George Lotz and Maria Anna Mueller Lotz.  This union had five sons, namely: Frank, George, Sylvester, Joseph and Raymond.  Mr. Feest gives his political allegiance to the democracy and has served for one term as a member of the school board and has also been Pathmaster.  He is a devout communicant of St. George's Catholic Church.  His entire life has been spent in this part of the state and he has long enjoyed an enviable reputation as one of the substantial agriculturists and representative citizen of his community.
(Source:  Kenosha City and County Wisconsin Record of Settlement by Frank h. Lyman, Vol. II, Chicago, S.J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1916)

1880 Federal U.S. Census
Home in 1880:  Somers
Mathias Feest:  Born about 1819
Birthplace:  Baden, Germany
Spouse Name:  Frances
Son:  John born about 1856
Son:  Frank born about 1857

1900 Federal U.S. Census
Home in 1900:  Somers
Head of Household:  John Feest born about 1857
Spouse Name:  Magdalina born about 1865
Son: Frank M. Feest, born about 1890
Son: George H. Feest, born about 1893
Son: Sylvester J., born about 1894
Son: Joseph L., born about 1897
Son: Raymond J., born about 1900
Mathias and Frances (father and mother) lived with family in 1900.

More About the Feest Family
Frank Matthias Feest, aged 84 years, died at his home in the Town of Somers, Kenosha County, where he had resided 32 years.  Before that, he lived in Racine twenty-five years, and occupied what was known as the Feest vegetable gardens on the north side of the river.  He was born in Germany, and was of the very earliest German residents.  There survives him four daughters and three sons.  The funeral will take place from St. Mary's Church at 10 o'clock Wednesday morning.
(Source:  Racine Journal publication date May 3, 1904)

One of the oldest residents of southeastern Wisconsin, Mrs. Francesca Feest, of Somers, passed away at her home in Kenosha County yesterday, aged 87 years.  Mrs. Feest came to Racine over fifty years ago, living for some time in this city, although then but a small cluster of houses marked the present site of Racine.  Later they moved to Kenosha County where she has since resided.  Deceased leaves three sons and four daughters, all well known residents of this community.  The funeral will be held at 10 o'clock Wednesday morning from St. Mary's Church.
(Source:  Racine Daily publication date February 17, 1908)

Mr. and Mrs. John Feest of Somers are celebrating their silver wedding day today.  Twenty-five years ago they were married at the St. Mary's Church of Racine by Rev. Father Alberts.  The young couple immediately left for Somers where they have lived ever since.  They are among the best known people in the county.  Mr. Feest is a progressive farmer and owns one of the finest farms in this section of the country.  Friends from Chicago, Milwaukee, Kenosha and Racine are assembled at the cozy farm house to assist in making the occasion one long to be remembered.  Many beautiful silver presents were given to the happy couple by their many friends.  Mr. and Mrs. Feest are still hale and hearty and confidently expect to be able to celebrate their golden wedding in twenty five years.
(Source:  Racine Daily publication date May 5, 1910)

"The George Feest family have sold their home on Berryville Road and bought a farm on Highway 43.  A farewell party was given by a number of neighbors.  A pot luck lunch was served a gift was given."
(Source:  Racine Journal Dec. 24, 1945)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


1927 Map of Somers Township, Kenosha County
Section 12
J. Huck has two parcels
Click map for larger view
 Joseph Huck
Among the well-to-do and progressive farmers of Somers Township is Joseph Huck, whose birth occurred in Kenosha on the 21st of June, 1857.  His father, August Huck, was born in Alsace-Lorraine, then a part of France, on the 18th of August, 1829.  He received his education in the common schools and after putting aside his textbooks continued to reside in his native land for some time but in 1851 emigrated to Canada.
A year later he located in Kenosha, and for sixteen years he engaged in teaming in the city of Kenosha.  For six years he superintended the Mincenberger farm and at the end of that time purchased one hundred and thirty-four acres in Somers Township, where he has since resided.  He has carefully conserved the fertility of the soil, has made many  improvements upon the place and has kept everything in excellent condition, and the farm is one of the most valuable properties of his locality.  He has reached the advance age of eighty seven years but still enjoys good health.  He was married in 1854, to Miss Mary Klingler, also a native of Alsace-Lorraine.
Joseph Huck entered St. George's Catholic School of Kenosha at the usual age and continued his education there until he was thirteen years old, when he became a pupil in the country schools in Pleasant Prairie Township.  Three years later he put aside his textbooks and from that time until he was forty years of age he worked with his father, August.  In 1895 he purchased fifty acres of good land on Section 12 on which he has since resided.  He has made all of the improvements upon the place and has brought it to a high state of development.
Mr. Huck was married on the 16th of February 1880 to Miss Mary Schackamuth, a daughter of Nicholas Schackamuth (Section 24 Somers Township).  Three children have been born to this union, namely:  Mamie, who is Mrs. Frank Lichter; William, who is assisting in the operation of the home farm; and Alexander, also at home.
(Source:  City and County Kenosha, Wisconsin Record of Settlement by Frank H. Lyman, Vol. II, Chicago, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1916)

About August Huck
August J. Huck, living on Section 24,  Somers Township, is a representative of one of the old families of Kenosha County.  His birth occurred in Pleasant Prairie Township, March 3, 1872.  His father, August Huck, was born in Alsace-Lorraine in 1829 and acquired a common school education.  When twenty-one years of age he resolved to try his fortune in the new world and, crossing the Atlantic on one of the old-time sailing vessels, landed in Canada, where he remained for a year.  The succeeding year was spent in the state of New York and in 1851 he arrived in Kenosha County, where he secured the position of teamster with John Bullen, who was the first settler in Southport.  He occupied that position of five years.  His entire life has been characterized by indefatigable industry and he has used every opportunity that would enable him to work his way upward.  In 1876, with the capital acquired through industry and frugality. He purchased one hundred and thirty-four acres of land on Section 24, Somers Township, and upon that farm has since resided.  His labors wrought marked changes in the appearance of the place, which he converted into a highly productive farm, adding thereto many modern improvements.
In 1860 Mr. Huck was joined i wedlock to Miss Mary Anna Klingler, by whom he had seven children, as follows:  Joe; Mary; Michael, who is deceased; Margaret; Annie, who has also passed away; Katie; and August.  There are also three grandchildren.  Mrs. Huck passed away in 1913 and was laid to rest in St. George Cemetery in Kenosha.  Mr. Huck came to the United States empty-handed, possessing as his capital only industry and perseverance and the hope that he might win success here.  His progress in due entirely to his own efforts and his prosperity proves what may be accomplished when energy and perseverance lead the way.  His son and namesake, August J. Huck, now has charge of the home far, which he is carefully and systematically cultivating, thereby winning deserved success.

Section 24 Township of Somers
August Huck parcel


Peter M. Anderson
Peter M. Anderson was engaged in the buying and selling of produce in the Village of Somers as a member of the Somers Produce Company, of which he was the organizer, was born in Denmark, September 22, 1868, a son of Hans Peter and Anna Marie Anderson.  Peter Anderson did not believe the business advantages and opportunities there offered were equal to those that he might secure in the new world and at the age of 18 years he came to the U.S. and penetrated into the interior of the country, reaching Racine county.
For 3 years he was employed as a farm hand, (census reports show he worked for local farmers, Braid and Hansche who owned parcels in the Berryville neighborhood of Somers) after which he rented 80 acres, continuing its cultivation for 2 years.  He afterward rented more land, upon which he lived for 3 years.  All during these periods he had the desire of owning a farm and he carefully saved his earnings until his industry and frugality had brought him sufficient capital to enable him to purchase 80 acres.  He invested in a tract east of Corliss (Sturtevant) where he lived and then sold out.  He then bought 80 acres near Somers and engaged in farming for 8 years.  Subsequently he built a fine home in Somers where he lived for 7 years.  During this period he engaged in buying cabbage and other produce and organized the Somers Produce Company with M.A. Rasmussen and J.J. Barrows.
On January 13, 1891 he married Miss Henrietta Felske.  They had 3 children: Lawrence who was station agent at Franksville, Wisconsin, Lillian who married L.J. Gould of Somers, and Myrtle.
Mr. Anderson’s name is on the membership of the Woodmen camp at Somers, in which he held most of the offices.  He was also involved with the Royal Neighbors Lodge at Somers the Masonic fraternity in Kenosha.  He advanced to the Knights Templar degree.  He served for one term as Somers Town Treasurer in addition to the local school board.
He landed in Racine with only fifty cents in his pocket and paid that to a liveryman to take him into the country.  Thus he literally began life here empty-handed, but energy and determination stood him in good stead and served as the capital on which he built his later success.
(Source: Kenosha City and County Record of Settlement by Frank h. Lyman, Vol II, Chicago, S.J. Clark Publishing Co. 1916)

More about Peter M. Anderson
1.  See posting of "Houses of Somers" and "Barns of Somers" in this blog.
2.  The house of Peter M. Anderson was built by B.F. Yule.  See Yule posting in this blog.
3.  The house of Peter M. Anderson is currently owned and beautifully restored by Mr. Yule's family.
4.  The 1930 U.S. Census shows the Peter M. Anderson family lived in California.  Peter M. Anderson died November 27, 1944 in Burbank, California and is buried at Grandview Cemetery in Glendale, California.
5.  See posting of "Village" on this blog to locate Anderson house.  Take note that Gould's were neighbors.
6.  P.M. Anderson sold his business at Corliss to Bauman & Murphy of Racine.  (Source:  Racine Journal January 25, 1910).

Gross and Rapp

William F. Gross
William F. Gross was born in Saxe-Meiningen, Germany.  He was the son of Casper and Christina (Turk) Gross, who left their native country and came to America in 1866.  They located in Racine and the father secured a position in a lumberyard there, which he held until his demise in September of that year.  He is buried in Racine.  He was survived for four decades by his wife, who died in 1906, and was buried in Minnesota.  They were the parents of William F. of this review; and Ernest, who is deceased.  The parents were German Lutherans and in their daily lives tried to exemplify the teachings of the church.
William F. Gross entered public schools in Germany and studied until his family emigrated to the new world in 1866.  He continued his education in Berryville, for three seasons gaining a thorough command of English.  His mother remarried as his father died the year they arrived in America and William remained at his stepfather's home until he was seventeen years of age when he began working in Kenosha.  He was employed there during the summers for seven years, while in the winters he went to the lumber woods in the northern part of the state.  Following his marriage he purchased twenty acres of land near Berryville, and for thirty-six years cultivated his land intensively gaining a good return from his labors.  He then sold his place to the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad and purchased eighty-one acres in Somers Township, known as the Gibson farm.  In 1906 he added to his holdings by the purchase of a seventy-two acre tract, but subsequently he sold sixty-nine acres of his farm to his son.  He has erected an attractive home on his place on Section 18, Somers Township, and all of the other improvements are modern and in good condition.
Mr. Gross was married on the 8th of January, 1879, to Miss Annie Fleischmann, a daughter of Teronimus Fleischmann.  To this union have been born six children of whom Ernest is deceased, the others being:  Fred, who is married and has two sons, Alfons and George; William, who is married and lives near Berryville; Agnes, a resident of St. Paul, Minnesota; Aloys, who is a member of Coast Battery, No. 169, and is stationed at Fortress Monroe, Virginia; and Madeline, who is employed at Pfennig's grocery.
Mr. Gross is an adherent of the Republican party and for three or four terms has served as a member of the school board.  he is connected with the Woodmen at Somers and in religious faith is a Roman Catholic.  When he began his independent career he had no capital but was willing to work and possessed sound judgment.  As years have passed his industry and good management have brought their reward and he is now in comfortable circumstances.
(Source:  City and Kenosha County Record of Settlement by Frank H. Lyman, Vol. !!, Chicago, S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1916)

1880, 1900, 1920, U.S. Federal Census and U.S. Naturalization Records
William Gross (same as William F. Gross)
Born about July 1854 in Germany/Saxony
Spouse:  Annie (Anna) Gross was born about 1856 in Bavaria
Marriage Year:  1880
Immigration Year:  William arrived June 15, 1866 at Port of New York
Naturalization Date:  William, June 18, 1919
Household Members:
Annie Gross, spouse, born about 1853 or 1856
Frederick Gross, son, born about January 1883
William J., son, born about 1885
Alois (Aloys), son, born about June 1887
Agnes, daughter, born about February 1890
Madeline, daughter, born about May 1895
Christina, mother, born about 1832, divorced and lived with William and family in 1880 Census as well as Charles, listed as a half brother.

About Christina Turk Gross Rapp
Christina Turk was born in Saxony, Germany.  Her parents names according to her marriage licence were Michael and Sophia T(u)erk.  She cam to America in 1866 with her husband, Caspar Gross and two children:  William and Ernest.  They settled in Racine, Wisconsin area and joined the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Racine where Christian Rapp and his sisters went.  Caspar died in September 1866.  She married Christian Rapp in November 1866.  She lost her son Ernest; and a baby girl, Christina Barbara; and a baby boy named Christian by the year 1869.  She had two more children: Christian and Matthias.  A few years later, she another baby boy, Charles out of wedlock.  By 1879 Christian had left her with his two sons and his mother Anna to settle in Arlington, South Dakota.
(Source:  kaybriggs53 public site at

Christina Gross
(Source:  Photo by kaybriggs53 at public site of

About William J. Gross, son of William and Anna Gross
William Gross, well known farmer of the Town of Somers and a deputy sheriff of the county, is sleeping with his full brace of revolvers under his pillow just at present and he is keeping his home pretty well guarded during the day light hours.  All of this is being done on account of a threatening letter recently received by Gross which is now in the hands of the sheriff.
In the letter a demand was made on Gross that he place $50 in money under a stone at the foot of a designated telephone pole along the Lake Shore road.  The penalty of refusal was a threat to take the life of Gross and the members of his family and burn his home and other possession.  Gross has been waiting some ten days for things to happen.  There was not signature to the letter beyond a significant "skull and cross bones."  It was mailed in Kenosha and delivered to Gross by a rural carrier.
Gross was inclined to take the letter as a joke.  It reached him just a little while after he had been instrumental in recovering a bunch of stolen goods which had been taken from the Wilson store at the north end of Milwaukee Avenue.  After he turned it over to the district attorney Gross began to get frightened.  The attorney ordered an investigation.  A roll of money was placed under the stone in question at the foot of the post and just after midnight the men who had been set to watch the stone saw an automobile come near the corner.  Then some one made a break  and coughed.  The man driving the automobile turned into a side road and managed to get away before the bungling deputy who had coughed could get the number of the machine.
Since that time the police and the sheriff have been making almost nightly trips into Somers to make an effort to get some new clew to the identity of the men who have sent the letters to gross.  A half a dozen automobile owners have been called before the district attorney and the sheriff for examination in connection with the investigation of the death threat, but none of them have been able to give any real information.
(Source:  Racine Journal publication date November 6, 1915)
The funeral of William J. Gross was held on Monday morning from his late home on Lake Shore Road. Mr. Gross was born on the Berryville Road on the farm now owned by Henry Schmunck on March 23, 1884. He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Frances Gross, one daughter Madeline, his mother Mrs. Anna Gross, one brother, Fred; and a sister, Mrs. Richard Gehl of Milwaukee. His father preceded him in death 18 months ago. A large number of members of the Knights of Columbus have been in attendance different times as the body lay at the home.(Source:  Racine Journal publication date September 23, 1932)

About Frederick Gross, son of William and Anna
Mr. Fred Gross rented one of his father’s farms, better known as the Gypsen place.
(Source:  Racine Journal publication date April 3, 1913)

Mrs. Fred C. Gross and child disappeared from home at Berryville last Thursday afternoon.  Mysterious disappearance of Mrs. Fred C. Gross and her two year old son, from her home on a farm near Berryville, has alarmed her husband, and the police departments of Racine and Kenosha, also Chicago, have been requested to locate her, and the boy if possible.
Mrs. Gross started from home on Thursday, march 20 accompanied by the little boy, to take a Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light company car for Kenosha for the purpose of attending church.  The day wore on and the husband, busy with his farm work, did not notice that she was not home until night came on and then he became alarmed.
Making inquiries, he ascertained that no one had seen her take the electric car, she had not been in Kenosha, and did not attend church.  Previous to marriage, her home was in Chicago and he thought perhaps she might have decided to visit her parents and other relatives in that city, but a trip to Chicago convinced him that no one had seen her in that city.
Then he came to this city and notified the police department and offers a reward of from $50 to $100 for information leading to her whereabouts.  Mr. Gross said that his wife, before he married her, was an only daughter and resided in Chicago.  Following their marriage he bought a farm at Berryville and they came there to live.
There was no trouble between him and his wife and he says that she was always a loving and dutiful helpmate and was fond of her home, seldom going way.  At the time she left, so far as he could discern, she was in good health and mind and made no complaints.
Mrs. Gross is described as a woman about 22 years old.  Her weight 124.  She wore a light shirt waist and short black coat and a large black hat.  Mr. Gross admits that he is greatly alarmed and fears that his wife may have suddenly suffered a derangement of the mind and wandered off.  Careful search of this city and Kenosha  police departments fails to reveal any trace of the woman and child.
(Source:  Racine Journal publication date March 24, 1913)

1908 Partial Map for Somers Township, Kenosha County
Willliam Gross, 72 acres in Section 18 on Lake Michigan
William Gross, 20 acres in Section 7 on Berryville Road
More parcels owned by William Gross
The 1908 map of Somers townships shows the following owned by W. Gross
50 acres in Section 11
5 acres in Section 11
28 acres in Section 12
Note:  Section 11 and 12 are now part of Petrifying Spring Park. See tab at top of blog for additional information and photos about the park.

Christian and Christina Gross Rapp
1870 U.S. Census, Township of Somers
Christian Rapp
Born about 1822 in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
Spouse: Christina Gross Rapp
Son: William Rapp born about 1855 in Saxony
Son: Ernest O. Rapp, born about 1861 in Saxony
Son: Christian Rapp, born about 1870 in Wisconsin
Mother:  Anna Rapp, mother of Christian, age 73, living with her son.  Anna born in Prussia.

1861 Partial Map of Somers Township, Berryville neighborhood
C. Rapp parcel, Section 6 on Berryville Road
Kenosha County Land Records stated Samuel Hale sold acres to Chris Rapp March 18, 1967.

Anna Rapp
(Source:  Photo  by kaybriggs53 public site at

Sunday, November 27, 2011


1924 Map of the Village of Somers
Fred Heddle parcel north side of Highway E or Somers Road.

Frederick W. Heddle
Frederick W. Heddle was born in 1863 in Illinois.  He was the son of David and Mary Yule Heddle.  David Heddle was born July 24, 1827 in Shapinshav, Orkney, Scotland.  He came to America June 2, 1855 and first settled for a short itme in Millburn, Illinois where he met upon the Yule family, some of which moved to Somers Township from Millburn, Illinois.  David Heddle married Mary Yule, July 1861 in Somers Township.  Mary was born Feb. 16, 1836 in Aberdeen, Scotland and is the daughter of Alexander Yule and Jane Watson Yule.
David and Mary lived in Somers until 1863 when they moved to Newport, Lake County, Illinois
Children of David and Mary:
Frederick W. born in Illinois about 1863.  Lived in Somers and worked as a carpenter.  Died October 26, 1925.
Cora Jane born in Illinois about 1866 (also seen Aug 4, 1965) and died June 3, 1891
Margaret Eleanor born in Illinois 1870.  Married John Connell.
David born about 1871 and died Aug. 14, 1872.
Marion/MaryAnn/Mollie (have seen all three names in census reports) born about 1877.
After the death of David Heddle on November 12, 1880,  Mary Yule Heddle moved back to Somers with her son Frederick W. and daughter Marion/MaryAnn/Mollie.  Fred Heddle lived in the village of Somers.
(Source:  Partial information from the Historic Millburn Community Assoc., Inc.)

More About Heddle
"Judge and Mrs. D.H. Flett of Racine and Dr. Charles Flett of Waterford spent Sunday with Mrs. Mary Heddle."
(Source:  Racine Daily Journal publication date Aug. 22, 1902)

"Mrs. Mary Heddle and Miss Annie Yule have been very ill at Millburn, Illinois but are reported better."
(Source:  Racine Journal publication date April 3, 1903)

There are seven vacncies in the public schools.  Normal school training is now required of all applicants for positions.  Mollie Heddle, Somers, Kenosha County, Graduate of rochester Academy and Whitewater Normal."
(Source:  Racine Daily Journal, publication date June 1, 1905)

"Mr. Fred Heddle has returned from a trip to Denver, Colorado.  Mr. Heddle has been selected as Director of the Stamp springs Mining Co., Denver, Colorado."
(Source:  Racine Journal News, publication date Sept. 28, 1909).

More About Mary Yule Heddle
"Mrs. Mary Heddle, age 76, widow of the late David Heddle and one of the best known of the pioneer residents of the Town of Somers, was found dead in bed at  her home just after 6 o'clock Wednesday morning.  Death came during the night but it came so peacefully that the other members of the household did not know that Mrs. Heddle had been ill until her son Fred went to her room to call her for breakfast and found her dead.  Mrs. Heddle had been in the best of health as of Tuesday and after the big rain of Tuesday afternoon had walked more than a half mile to the house of a neighbor where she had made a social visit.  When she returned she did not complain of any illness.  The deceased was a daughter of the late Alexander Yule, one of the first settlers of the Town of Somers.  She was born Feb. 16, 1836 and spent much of her time in Somers Township.  She is survived by one son, Fred of Somers, and two daughters Mrs. John Connell of Russell, Illinois and Mrs. Ira Burgess of Kellogg's Corners and also by six brothers.  Mrs. Heddle was a half sister of George H.Yule and John T. Yule of this city.
Mrs. Heddle was united in marriage to David Heddle in 1861.  Mr. Heddle died 31 years ago.
The remains of Mrs. Heddle were taken to Millburn, Illinois where a short service was conducted by Rev. Safford. A quartet from Milburn sang a number of favorite songs.  Interment beside her husband and daughter in the family plot in the Millburn, Illinois cemetery.
(Source:  Racine Journal News, publication date May 30, 1912)


Partial 1887 Map, Somers Township, Kenosha County
A. Thom parcels
Section 1:  22 acres, 30 acres, and another parcel 80 acres
Section 2: 5 acres

Also:  Mrs. J. Thom owned 75 acres in Section 11 but it is not clear if this person is related to A. Thom.

Click on the map for a larger view.

Alexander Thom

Alexander Thom
NORTH BEND, September 12, 1928
"This community was shocked Wednesday morning to hear that one of her foremost citizens, Alex Thom, has passed away at 1:45 following a sudden heart attack.
Mr. Thom was in his usual good health on Tuesday and had accompanied Mrs. Thom in the car to the post office for the evening mail.  His attack came on in the middle of the night and he passed away despite medical attention.
For many years Alex Thom has been prominent in business and politics of North Bend and had been elected Mayor for four terms.  He came to North Bend in 1882 when he associated himself with Smith & Mallon, a firm engaged in handling imported horses.   His specialty was of raising blooded Clydesdale horses and Chester White swine.  Four years later he purchased a farm and turned his attention vigorously to general farming and stock raising until 1892, when he retired and again became a citizen of North Bend.  He was a staunch churchman having been a lifelong member of the United Presbyterian Church and was one of the country's leading prohibitionists and elected Mayor on a dry ticket.
He was one of the organizers and the president of the First State Bank of North Bend but had retired and severed his connections with it several years ago.
Alexander Thom was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, September 25, 1847 and would have been 81 years old this month.  He was afforded the advantages of the schools of his native land and was associated with farm enterprises.  In 1877 he came to this country and settled in Wisconsin, where for five years, he was the foreman of an estate owned by Henry B. Sherman in Dodge County, Wisconsin.
The deceased has been married three times.  His first wife was Margaret Agen of Illinois who died in 1892.  For his second wife he married Anna Colllins, who died a few years later.  On April 15, 1913 he married Laura Miller of North Bend, who survives him with one daughter, Mrs. Andrew Harvey of Fremont.  Mr. Thom was the last member of his family.
Mr. Thom was held in high esteem by everyone who knew him and he had a large acquaintance over Dodge County.  He was recognized as a radical prohibitionist and was zealous in the furtherance of the national observance.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been completed but it will probably be held from the family home Saturday afternoon at 2:30 with burial in Woodlawn Cemetery.

More About Alexander Thom
Alexander Thom  was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, September 25, 1847, and is the son of William and Christina (Chalmers) Thom.  William Thom was a farmer by vocation and both he and his wife were zealous members of the Free Church of Scotland.  Of the six children of William and Christina, three came to the United States:  William became a resident of Nebraska and whose death occurred in a hospital at Omaha, December 13, 1919; Isabelle who was the wife of James Thain of Illinois, and Alexander.  Of the other three children, James and George died in Scotland and Andrew was pastor of a church in Stirlingshire as a representative clergyman of the Free Church of Scotland.

More About Alexander Thom and B.F. Yule
Thom Barn Centennial Celebration - July 9, 1988
By Donald Harvey
Dodge County Historical Society

"For one hundred years, the candy striped barn north of North Bend, Nebraska has been a landmark for local residents and is listed as one of the historic sites and points of interest in Dodge county.
The barn was constructed during 1888 for Alexander Thom, my grandfather, by Benjamin Franklin (B.F.) Yule, a friend and master barn builder from Somers, Wisconsin.
My favorite stories during my boyhood involved this barn.  My mother, Mabel Thom Harvey, who was Alexander Thom's only child, was born in what is now the dining room of the farm house on October 8, 1888, the same year Frank Yule built the barn.  How I loved the stories of her childhood, the animals and the barn.
Alexander Thom emigrated to America in 1877, spending five years in Wisconsin.  In 1882, he came to North bend to manage the horse importing business of the firm of Smith and Mallon.  In 1886, he bought 160 acres of land, lying on the hill overlooking the Platte valley.
In March 1888, Alex Thom wrote a letter to B. Frank Yule, in Wisconsin, asking him to design a barn for the hillside, with dimensions to accommodate his Clydesdale stock and an upstairs drive-in loft.  he also requested him to figure a bill for lumber.
The original structure was built without nails and, if you look at the beams inside, you will see they are held in place by the oak "pins" which Frank Yule spent the winter of 1888 making.  Through the years I have been intrigued by the beams, supports, pegs and the angles made by them.
Following the standard practice of the time, the wall skeleton was assembled on the ground and teams of horses were used to raise the sides, or "bents" as they were called.  One newspaper account said "it took 50 teams of horses and a lot of men to pull the sides up and pin them together with pegs."
Mr. Yule's wages for the job included $191.75 cash and his fare from Millburn and Wisconsin to North Bend and his return home.  B. Frank Yule was the father of Blanche Thom, wife of Dr. James Thom of North Bend, Dr. James Thom was a nephew of Alex Thom.
The walnut mallet and broad ax used by Yule during the construction are on display at the barn.  These are a gift of his granddaughter, Mrs. Katherine Thom Knox of Lincoln.  They were given to her by her uncle, Earl Yule of Wisconsin.  Earl Yule told Katherine that his father always stood on his head stop the framework of the barn after it was all in place and that Benjamin Franklin Yule was of slight build, 5'9" in height.
Since I was only three years old when my grandfather died in 1928, I don't have many tales to tell.  There are no surviving records of the building of the barn or records of the Clydesdale importing and breeding business.
We do have two silver medals granted in 1882 and 1883 by the Nebraska Board of Agriculture.  The legend engraved on them states they were awarded for the best mare and best stallion of any age shown at the state fair during those years.
In 1893 or 1894, Alex Thom moved to North Bend and was one of the organizers and president of the First State Bank (1907).  he was also Mayor of North Bend for four different terms.  Most of the family stories seem to be centered around his North Bend life rather than the farm.
In 1935, major repairs were begun on the barn.  It needed a new foundation, shingles and was painted in 1937, but the painters left the barn red with no white stripes.  It was not until 1964 that the barn was again painted and the white stripes were added once more.  The barn was painted again in 1976 and this past year Joe Woita has restored and painted the barn for its centennial.
In 1979 Dr. Andre Harvey, my father and son-in-law of Alex Thom, gave use of the barn to the Dodge County Historical Society for the display of agricultural items.  He wished future generations to see the horse drawn equipment he knew in his youth.

Somers Dredge and Ditch

Morrow & Paramore of Indiana, contractors, have their floating dredge set up and work has commenced on the big Somers ditch and canal.
This ditch, when completed, will redeem hundreds of acres of farm land.  The length is seven miles, average depth is 6 feet and width at the top from 16-24 feet.  The cost is estimated at about $12,000.00.  This floating dredge is constructed that the machinery is on a large scow, and back of that is another scow on which is the house where the men have their quarters.
(Source:  Racine Journal News, publication date May 4, 1909)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

For Sale-Farms

The following "for sale" entries relating to Somers Township  land, homes, and miscellaneous items may be of historical significance.  The entry postings below were all found in the Racine Journal newspapers.  The date in the parenthesis represent the date the entry was published in the newspaper.  Although not a complete listing, it is a fair representation of the activity during the late 1800's and early 1900's.

Anderson/Bush (02-16-1906) "P.M. Anderson purchased 1-1/2 acres of land in the village from Mr. William Bush recently, and will erect a modern house."

Anderson (11-19-1898) "For Sale - choice property on South Street in Somers.  See Jacob Anderson."

Bailey (March 30, 1906) Mrs. and Mrs. A.P. Bailey have moved into their new home in the village."

Bain (12-02-1902) "W.E. Bain's new barn in near completion.  B.F. Yule is doing the work."

Barrows/Bush (03-30-1906) "Mr. Hiram Barrows purchased 45 acres of land from Miss Delia Bishop.  Consideration $4,500.00."

Barrows (08-28-1916) "Jacob J. Barrows has purchased 45 acres of land from William Wendtlandt."

Barrows (12-06-1899) "Jacob Barrows sold his farm and moved to Racine."

Barrows (11-10-1906) "For Sale - 20 acre farm just northwest of Berryville.  H. Barrows, Somers"

Biehn/Longmore (04-05-1899) "Jake Biehn sold his farm to Albert Longmore for $75 an acre."

Biehn/Garratt (05-10-1910) "A party of surveyers were out from Kenosha on Saturday morning and surveyed a portion of Jacob Biehn's farm, which was purchased by Alfred Garratt, a year ago."

Bishop (03-23-1906) "For Sale - My farm of 81 acres, 1/2 mile from Somers, good barns, good 12 room house, orchard, good wells, cistern.  Delia Bishop.  Somers Village."

Bishop (12-14-1898) "I.T. Bishop sold his west forty to Milwaukee parties last week for $70 an acre."

Bishop (12-26-1894) "Isaac T. Bishop sold his farm of 160 acres to Chicago parties for $50 per acre."

Bohm/Stetler (10-19-1916) "August Bohm, who has purchased the Stetler property in the Village, expects to move onto it the first of the month."

Bohm (05-11-1899) "The mason has commenced work on the foundation of August Bohm's new house."

Bose (05-14-1906) "For Sale - Variety of Strawberry plants.  Ed Bose, Berryville."

Buswell/Lichter (03-21-1900 "The Buswell farm has been sold to George Lichter of Minnesota."

Stonebraker (12-06-1899) "The Stonebraker property has been purchased, house and three acres by Mrs. Joseph Bishop."

Burgess/Flett (01-09-1903) "George Burgess is moving to the Flett farm which he will work the coming year."

Burgess (05-25-1906) "For Sale - to close the Estate of the late W.E. Burgess, 200 plus acres of choice farm land one half mile from Somers Station.  Will divide."

Cook/Bullamore (06-20-1899) "Mr. and Mrs. Lafayette Cook have sold their proerty in the Village to Mr. J.H. Bullamore of Spring Bluff, Illinois.  Mr. Bullamore will take possession in about two months."

Cook/Bush (09-23-1903) "Mr. Elliott Cook has sold his house and lot to William B. Bush and will move with his family to Kenosha."

Corbett/Feest (03-02-1909) "Thomas Corbett, Jr. has purchased 15 acres of land from John Feest."

Donsing/Christensen (11-06-1913) "Fred Donsing has sold his farm to Lawrence Christensen and expects to hold an auction."

Felch/Schuster (04-06-1906) "Mr. Frank N. Felch recently sold 40 acres to John and Adoph Schuster."

Felch (10-30-1906) "Frank Felch will hold an auction sale Thursday of this week.  He and family are moving to Racine."

Fink/Biehn (08-17-1899) "Last week John Fink sold his farm to Jacob Biehn for $50 an acre."

Fink/Herzog (02-21-1902) "John W. Fink has sold his farm of 120 acres to John Herzog, the transfer being made last week."

Fitzgerald/Bishop (11-21-1905) "The latest deal in real estate is the purchased of the Fitzgerald property by Albert Bishop who will take possession December 1st.  Mr. Fitzgerald who has been a resident of the Village for anumber of years and will hold an auction sale on Tuesday and then he will move to Milwaukee, his former home."

Gardinier (05-24-1900) "Ellsworth Gardiniere has purchased a cabbage planter."

Gascoigne/Christensen (02-25-1913) "Thomas Gascoigne has sold his farm to Chris Christensen of Racine."

Gascoigne (08-17-1899) "William Gascoigne sold his property to his son, Fred."

Gascoigne/Soens (11-16-1906) "Mr. Joseph Gascoigne and family moved on the Soens farm."

Grimshaw (12-15-1905) "Mrs. Grimshaw sold her farm to Andrew Nelson."

Haigh (10-10-1902) "Enoch Haigh has bought the Porter farm for $80 per acre."

Hansche (04-03-1913) "Mr. and Mrs. Hansche has sold their farm.  They expect to make their home in Racine."

Hansche (07-03-1908) "For Sale - Good bay farm horse.  1,300 pounds.  Inquire at Lawrence Hansche farm, west from Piper's Park, Berryville."

Hansche/Piper (12-09-1902) "Mr. F.J. Hansche has purchased the farm of F. Piper situated one mile west of Berryville.  Mr. Hansche and wife iwll move to their new home the first part of next week."

Heide/Strong (11-06-1913) "Chris Heide who has rented the George Strong farm for some years will hold an auction this week.  Mr. Heide has purchased a 40 acre farm in Pleasant Prairie and will move onto it in the near future.  Clarence Strong of North Dakota will move onto his father's farm this fall."

Helding (12-02-1913) "Nels Helding sold his farm and will have an auction."

Helding (09-21-1948) "A family from New York state has purchased Mr. and Mrs. Fred Helding's home in the Village.  Mr. and Mrs. Helding have gone to live in the Danish Old People's Home in Racine."

Klapproth (04-29-1916) For Sale - 50,000 Glen Mary strawberry plants. $2.00 per 1,000.  Henry Klapproth, Berryville.

Klapproth (07-02-1917) "For Sale - 50,000 Cabbage plants.  H. Klapproth, Berryville.

Klapproth (11-08-1912) "For Sale - Good Milch cows.  Rt #4 Box 31, H. Klapproth, Berryville."

Klapproth (1915) "Henry Klapproth and Catharine Klapproth purchased a 30 acre parcel and a 5 acres parcel from Lawrence and Mary Hansche."

Klinkhammer/Biehn (08-15-1911) "John Klinkhammer has purchased J. Biehn's farm of about 95 acres."

Knudsen (11-15-1902) "Miller & Case have sold a 75 acres farm near Somers to Hans Knudsen."

Lauer/Donsing (08-27-1907) "It is reported that William Lauer has purchased 40 acres of land from Mr. Donsing and will erect a new house upon it in the near future."

Lauer/Thompson (1-23-1902) "Another important real estate deal has been closed within the last few days in the village, Frank Lauer having purchased the property of Frank Thompson, which consists of 37-1/2 acres of land and the buildings, located on the east side of the railroad tracks.  It is said that Mr. lauer will open up a meat market and probably a hotel in the near future."

Longmore/Biehn (04-05-1899) "Albert Longmore sold his property in the Village to his father and purchased Jacob Biehn's farm."

Longmore/Barrows (10-10-1902) "Albert Longmore had sold his farm to Jacob Barrows of Berryville at $83-1/2 per acre."

Longwell/Rasmussen (04-10-1901) "Matt Rasmussen purchased the John Longwell farm, containing 60 acres."

Longwell/Fink (11-09-1906) "Harry Jones, who a few years ago bought the place known as the Longwell farm, and having sold out to Eugene Fink of Mt. Pleasant, has moved to Mygatt's Corners."

Lotz (08-23-1913) "For Sale - Cheap - 60 acre farm 2-1/2 miles west of Berryville.  Owner, Joseph Lotz"

Lytle (02-07-1893) "The feed mill at somers which was built and operated by Hughes Bros. for several years, and which was purchased by Mr. Allen Williams of Milwaukee, has again changed hands and is now the property of Mr. Henry Lytle of this place.  He is well known to all and deserves the patronage of every farmer."

Ozanne (05-28-1896) "Seed potatoes, Rural New yorkers No. 2, good quality and heavy yield.  Price 25 cents a bushel.  L.E. Ozanne."

Perry (11-16-1899) "Joseph Perry sold his 40 acre farm for $50 an acre."

Piper (02-25-1900) "For Sale - Farm of 70 acres.  Three miles south of Racine and one mile from Berryville.  F.K. Piper."

Piper (03-22-1899) "Thomas Piper purchased the Blodgett farm."

Piper/Jackon (03-29-1904) "For Sale - 41 acre farm known as the Jackson farm.  Thomas Piper in Berryville, seller."

Rasmussen/Jones (09-07-1906) "M.A. Rasmussen purchased the Harry Jones farm."

Reece (03-06-1884) "D.W. Reece will sell at public auction on his farm situated two miles north of Somers Station and two miles south of Western union Junction, on Thursday, March 13, 1884, the following property: eleven cows, three head of fat cattle, one Cooly Creamer containing 6 cans, a lot of butter jars, milk pans, one butter worker, 200 bushels of Scotch seed barley, eight bushels of seed buskwheat, one seed garden drill, one buggy."

Reidenbach/Bishop (12-02-1913) "Mr. John Reidenbach will have an auction.  He purchased 40 acres of land from Isaac T. Bishop."

Reiter/Moran (04-04-1893) "At the auction sale of the Reiter farm in Somers, James Moran, of Somers, bought 15 acres for $1,500 and C.H. Gonnermann bought more acres for $5,700.00."

Scheckler (12-16-1912) "The farm of the late John G. Scheckler one mile west of Berryville, Wisconsin consisting of 107 acres, will be sold in three parcels to the highest bidder, at the north door of the Kenosha Court House at 1 p.m. on the 21st day of December 21st by order of the circuit court."

Scheckler (12-31-1912) "The farm of Mr. Scheckler was bought by his two sons.  It went very cheap."

Schoolhouse No. 7 (09-05-1905) B.F. Yule was awarded the contract for building the new school house No. 7 has the foundation well under ways and the carpenter work will begin soon."

Smith (02-24-1921) "Frank Smith has rented his farm to his brother and will hold an auction sale of his stock and machinery on Tuesday March 1.  Frank Smith has purchased the house and lot in the Village owned by August Monteen of Kenosha."

Somers Creamery (July 1913) "Louis Fenske, the former owner of the Somers Creamery, has again purchased the property."

Sorenson (Nov. 13, 1907)  "Otto Sorensen, who sold his farm recently, will have an auction.  Mr. and mrs. Soreson will move to Racine."

Swartz (04-01-1897) "For Sale - Apple trees at 6 foot.  Strawberryy plants $1.75 to $4.00 per 1,000 according to variety.  J.F. Swartz, Berryville."

Thelen/Sherwood (01-12-1899) "Mr. and Mrs. Sherwood have sold their farm to Mr. Nicholas Thelen, and moved to Racine last week."

Uhlemberg/Palleson (01-12-1935) "George Palleson purchased the farm formerly owned by the late Henry Uhlemberg."

Yonk (04-12-1900) "Mr. and Mrs. John Yonk and family are moving onto their farm they recently purchased."

Yule (02-25-1907) "Mr. B.F. Yule has purchased ten acres of land from Mr. A.C. Ozanne.  Consideration $800."

Wells Drilled

One way we can document the settlement of Somers Township is knowing when our pioneers built houses and barns. Drilling wells was not only important, and a convenience, to the household but most farmers had wells drilled or hand-dug for the barn area.  It was not uncommon for a farm to have several wells.  The list below is not complete but it answers the question of "when" did farmers pay for this feature.  All entries below were found in the Racine Journal New.  The date in parenthesis represents the newspaper publication date for that entry.  For fiurther informationn please research other postings for "Barns of Somers" and "Houses of Somers" in this blog.

Abresch (04-10-1914) "John Abresch had a well drilled last week."

Anderson (01-06-1905) "John Dosing is drilling a well for Peter Anderson near the village."

Anderson (07-27-1906) "Fred Donsing struck water at a depth of 183 feet for P.M. Anderson."

Bailey (12-26-1905) "Mr. John Donsing struck water at a depth of 180 feet for Mr. A.P. Bailey last week."

Birch (10-31-1911) "The Zion City Well Drilling Co. is making a well for William Birch."

Bohm (06-23-1916) "John Kemp & Co. of Union Grove reached water at a depth of 184 feet at August Bohm's last week."

Corbett (12-08-1908) "Mr. Boles of Franksville struck water at Mr. Thomas Corbett's at a depth of 160 feet last week."

DeLine (04-27-1899) "John Kemp & Co. reached water at a depth of 140 feet at Frank DeLine's last week."

Fink (08-27-1896) "James H. Fink has succeeded in getting water at a depth of 170 feet and has put up a windmill."

Gascoigne (03-27-1907) "John Donsing struck a good flow of water at a depth of 20 feet at Thomas Gascoigne's Saturday."

Gitzlaff (10-11-1900) "John Donsing is digging a well for August Gitzlaff."

Grimshaw (02-23-1899) "John Kemp & Co. reached water at a depth of 125 feet on Mrs. Grimshaw's farm on Tuesday after four days' work."

Hansche (09-09-1901) "James Janson in engaged drilling a well for Will Hansche of Berryville.  Mr. Hanson states that he has work engaged ahead to last him until late in the fall."

Hanson (03-27-1903) "James Hanson reached water at a depth of 180 feet on the farm of Knud Hansen.

Huck (10-17-1911) "Joseph Huck is having a well bored."

Paulson (11-18-1923) "Martin Jensen, the well driller, struck a fiine flow of water at a depth of 24 feet for Hans Paulson."

Sorensen (03-27-1903) "James Jansen is presently drilling at F.J. Sorensen's/

Spence (04-15-1914) "John Donsing is putting in a water system for Misses Harriet and Annie Spence."

Strong (08-15-1905) "John Donsing drilled a well for L. Strong last week."

Piper (11-17-1921) "The well drillers are still at work at the Russell Piper farm.  They have reached a depth of 900 feet and no water.  Water finally struck at 918 feet.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Partial 1887 map of Somers Township, Kenosha County
Section 2, Corbett parcel
Also note that Corbett parcel is located on "Corbett Road"
Click on map for detail view.

Thomas H. Corbett
Thomas H. Corbett, living on Section 2, Somers Township, where he is systematically and successfully engaged in general farming, was born on the isle of Guernsey, September 12, 1858, a son of Thomas and Margaret (Dorey) Corbett, who were also natives of that place. There they resided until 1870, when they south the opportunities offered in the new world and crossed the Atlantic to the United States. For three years they were residents of Racine County and then came to Kenosha County. The father started here with ten acres of land and at the time he retired from active business he was the owner of eighty-one and a quarter acres of valuable land, constituting a rich and productive property. Mr. Corbett exercised his right of franchise in support of the man and measures of the Republican party and in his religious faith was a Methodist.
Thomas J. Corbett, an only child, acquired his education in the public schools of Racine and after putting aside his textbooks began working with his father and has since concentrated his energies upon the task of keeping the farm up to a high standard. He works diligently in cultivating and improving the fields, and everything about the place indicates his careful supervision and practical methods.
On the 12th of April, 1891, Mr. Corbett was married to Miss Ada Brache, a daughter of Thomas and Julia (Bichard) Brache. They have become the parents of a son, Everett Thomas, who married Louise Hendrickson, a daughter of John Hendrickson, of Racine. Mr. and Mrs. Corbett have recently celebrated their silver wedding and the pleasant occasion was attended by people from Chicago and Racine, as well as from the surrounding country. There were the recipients of a number of most beautiful presents and the affair was one long to be remembered. They occupy a beautiful little home which is the abode of warm-hearted hospitality, its doors being ever open for the reception of their many friends.
Mr. Corbett gives his political allegiance to the Republican party, and both he and his wife attend the Methodist church, supporting all those principles and teachings which work for the uplift of the individual and promote the recognition of his duties and obligations to his fellowmen
(Source: City and County of Kenosha, Wisconsin, A Record of Settlement, Vol. II, pages 536-537, Frank H. Lyman, Chicago, The S.J. Clark Publishing Co. 1916.)

"Tom Corbett, Jr. has purchased 15 acres of land from John Feest."
(Source:  Racine Journal, Mar. 2, 1909)

"James Due, of Racine, is building the foundation for Thomas Corbett's new barn."
(Source:  Racine Journal, Sept. 15, 1914


Partial map 1908 of Somers Township, Kenosha County, Berryville area
John Gehring parcel, Section 7

 John Gehring
One of the excellent citizens whom Germany has given to Kenosha County is John W. Gehring, a retired farmer living in Somers Township. His birth occurred in the fatherland on the 3d of January 1834, and his parents were John W. and Dora Gehring. He was reared in Germany and is indebted for his education to the public schools of that country. However, in 1854, when twenty years of age, he emigrated to the United States with his parents, and the family located at Hartford, Wisconsin. The father and mother both died in 1869 and are buried at St. Lawrence, this state. They were communicants of the Catholic church and the father was a Democrat in his political allegiance.

John W. Gehring became a resident of Kenosha County, Wisconsin, in 1858 and for ten years worked as a teamster in the City of Kenosha. During that time he carefully saved his earnings with a view of purchased land and in 1868 bought a forty acre tract, which he cultivated until 1896, when he sold the place to his son. For eight years he rented fifteen acres and at the end of that time rented eighty acres on Section 18, Somers Township, where he still lives. He was very successful as a farmer, being energetic and practical, and in time he accumulated a competence which now enables him to enjoy the comforts of like without further labor.

Mr. Gehring was united in marriage on the 14th of February, 1869, to Miss Annie Oberst, a daughter of Henry and Elizabeth Oberst. To this union were born eleven children, all of whom are deceased but one son, John Henry, who married Mary Miller and has five children, John M.; Gertrude, Frank, William and George. They also adopted a daughter, Anna, who married William Krause and had three children. She is now deceased.

Mr. Gehring is independent in the exercise of his right of franchise, supporting the men whom he deems best fitted for the office regardless of his party affiliation. In religious faith he is a Roman Catholic and holds membership in the church in Kenosha. He found in this country excellent opportunities for advancement and as he was not afraid of hard work, he gained a gratifying measure of success although he had no capital when he began his independent career. He is one of the substantial residents of his locality, and personally he is highly esteemed.
(Source: City and County of Kenosha, Wisconsin, A Record of Settlement, Col. II, pages 334 and 337 and photo on 335, Frank H. Lyman, Chicago, The S.J. Clark Publishing Co. 1916.)

More About Gehring
"Frankie Gehring of Berryville called on his cousin, Mathias Mueller, last Saturday."
(Source:  Racine Journal News, publication date May 23, 1911)

Mrs. Anna Kraus, wife of William Kraus, died on Tuesday morning, December 1, 1914, after a lingering illness.  The deceased was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John W. Gehring of Berryville and was born in the Township of Somers on September 9, 1881.  She has lived in this locality her entire life and was a woman of noble characteristics.  She was beloved and highly respected by all who knew her.  A husband, three little children and a host of friends mourn her departure. Funeral services were held from St. George's Church in Kenosha.
(Source:  Racine Journal News, publication date Dec. 1, 1914)

The wedding of Miss Anne Gehring, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Gehring, Kenosha, and Frank William Drummond, son of Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Drummond of this city, took place at 10 o'clock Saturday morning at the St. Thomas church, Kenosha, the Rev. Father W.D. Malone officiating.  Palms formed the decoration of the church.
The bride wore silk embroidered net over white satin and a bridal veil and carried a shower bouquet of sweet peas and roses.  She was given away by her brother, John M. Gehring, of Kenosha.  Miss Gertrude Miller, of the city, a cousin of the bride, was the bridesmaid and wore yellow crepe de chine and carried tea roses.  John M. Gerhring was best man and John M. Miller and Frank Miller, of this city, cousins of the bride, were the ushers.
A reception was held after the ceremony at the home of the bride's parents, which was prettily decorated in yellow and white, and dinner was served.  There were about fifty guests.  Later in the day, Mr. and Mrs. Drummond left for Lake Geneva.  They will be at home after July 16 at Spring Valley farm, Racine County.  The bride was formerly a stenographer for the Cooper Company, Kenosha.
(Source:  Racine Journal News, publication date July 3, 1917)


1908 Partial Map of Somers Township, Kenosha County
Section 7, Bisher parcel

John Bisher
John Bisher, who is one of the most esteemed residents of Somers Township, has reached the advanced age of eighty-seven years and can look back upon a long life of honorable and useful activity. He followed the carpenter’s trade for twenty-five years and was known as a skilled and conscientious worker. He is also entitled to mention as a veteran of the Civil War, having served throughout the entire conflict.

Mr. Bisher was born on the isle of Guernsey, in the English Channel, in April, 1829, a son of Peter and Mary Bisher. He received a common school education there but when fourteen years of age came to the United States and located in Kenosha County, Wisconsin. For a number of years he worked as a farm hand, but in 1861 he proved his loyalty to his adopted country by enlisting in the Union Army, becoming a member of Company B, Seventeenth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He was at the front with that command for four years and took part in a great deal of hard fighting. After being mustered out of the Army he returned to Kenosha County and for a quarter of a century he worked at carpentering. He erected many residences in the County, and as he managed his business affairs well., his capital grew steadily. At length he retired from active life and is now residing on twenty-two acres of land which he owns in Somers Township and is enjoying a well deserved leisure.

In 1876 Mr. Bisher married Miss Annie Lawson. He supports the Republican party at the polls and is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, whose teachings have guided his life. He began providing for hi own support at an early age and throughout his active career was dependent entirely upon his own efforts for success. He is widely known and the honor in which he is held is fully deserved as he has measured up to high standards of morality in all relations of life.
(Source: City and County of Kenosha, Wisconsin, A Record of Settlement, Vol. II, pages 394 and 397, photo also page 395, Frank H. Lyman, Chicago, The S.J. Clark Publishing Co. 1916.)

More About Bisher
Anna Bisher was born about 1831 in Sweden.
Immigration Year for John Bisher is 1846
Immigration Year for Anna Bisher is 1866
(Source:  June 1905 Census)

Houses of Somers

One way we can document the settlement of Somers Township is knowing when our pioneers built houses and barns. We know by the biographical sketches I have provided in this blog, settlers in the early 1830's built log cabins and lean shelters as their first homes and shelters. These structures provided temporary shelter while our first settlers cleared the land so planting could begin. Once the pioneer became settled and earned money, a more modern and permanent house and barn were constructed.

When were the homes in Somers Township built?
To answer that question I researched the "Neighborhood News" columns, published by the Racine Journal News or Racine Daily Journal. The "Neighborhood News" column was written by Minnie Ozanne, the news reporter that represented Somers. This list represents information I could find - not a complete list. The date in parenthesis represents the date the post was published in the newspaper.

Who built the homes?
Most of the houses in this area were built by Mr. Lauer or Mr. Yule. They also were Somers pioneers and you may find their biographical sketches in this blog of interest.

What makes old farmhouses so appealing?
The front porches are welcoming.  The homes, most simple and unassuming, represented pride in achieving the American dream of most European settlers.  The farmhouse is a structure, as study as the people who built and lived in them, that withstood all four Wisconsin seasons.  Farmhouses bring memories of large family gatherings, picnics on Sunday, and a busy life where neighbors still had time to help out when needed.  It was a time when men operated their farms in addition to volunteering to serve in the Civil War, the School Board, or a Town Board position.  The ladies were quite creative at raising money for the church with card parties and oyster pie suppers and although they had a long day, they kept the social calendar busy!  The farmhouse was where life took place for our pioneers.

Somers Houses

Breckenridge (10-03-1894) "The appearance of our town is being improved by the erecting of Mr. Breckenridge's new house."

Herzog (06-04-1912) "John Herzog hauled lumber from Kenosha for an addition he will build to his tenant house."

Mitchell (11-22-1906) "William Jones and family have moved into Mrs. Fannie Mitchell's house in the village."

Krueger (06-23-1934) "Axel Mikkelson and family are occupying the Herman Krueger home."

Leet (08-24-1906) "George and Fred Leet built a fine cement walk at their house."

Longmore (11-30-1898) "Albert Longmore is moving into his new home in Somers this week."

Anderson (12-10-1901) "Mr. Anderson has received a car load of brick and one of lumber for his new house on the farm."

Anderson (03-09-1906) "P.M. Anderson received a carload of brick the first of the week for his new house in the village.  B.F. Yule was secured the contract."

Anderson (05-11-1906) "The masons are building the foundation for P.M. Anderson's new house."

Anderson (11-09-1906) "Peter Anderson rented his farm and will move to the village in about two weeks, where he built a fine residence."

Bailey (03-30-1906) "Mr. and Mrs. A.P. Bailey have moved into their new home in the Village."

Barrows (08-15-1905) "B.F. Yule secured the contract for the building of Jacob Barrow's new house at a cost of about $l,850.00."

Barrows (10-17-1905) "J.J. Barrows' very find new home which will compare favorably with any, is being pushed ahead as rapidly as the contractors can."

Biehn (08-08-1900) "Wm. Lauer began on J. Biehn's house Monday morning.  Mr. Biehn's house is being remodeled."

Biehn (08-31-1906) "Jacob Biehn is breaking ground for a fine new residence."

Biehn (03-15-1907) "Jacob Biehn moved into his new home Monday afternoon."

Birch (07-10-1945) "Mr. and Mrs. Chris Birch, who have been occupying Mrs. Corbett's home for some time, have moved into their new house in Somers."

Bishop (11-21-1900) "Mr. Joseph Bishop and family will move into the Village in the near future."

Boelter (06-07-1901) "Herman Boelter is building a fine new residence.  B.F. Yule is doing the carpenter work."

Bohm (01-18-1899) "August Bohm is preparing for building a new house in the spring."

Bohm (05-11-1899) "The mason has commenced work on the foundation of August Bohm's new house."

Bohm (05-23-1917) "August Bohm is  making extensive improvements about his home in the Village.  William Lauer is doing the work."

Bose (08-02-1900) "Carpenters began work last week to erect a new residence for Mr. William Bose."

Bullamore (09-30-1914) "Grant Bullamore will build a new house this fall.  William Lauer has the contract for the carpenter work."

Cook and Bailey (10-17-1905)  "Elliott Cook and Price Bailey have the material on the ground for new houses in the western part of the Village.  At present, the Cook's are occupying the Bain homestead.  Mr. Bain's family will make their home in Racine in the future."

Cook (12-15-1905) "Mr. M.E. Cook received a car load of lumber Monday for his new house."

Corbett (09-09-1901) "Thomas Corbett, Jr. is building an addition to his home.  William Lauer is doing the work."

DeLine (04-16-1912) "Frank DeLine will have hs house remodeled this spring."

Fink (10-03-1894) "Mr. Eugene Fink is building a new house."

Gascoigne (04-16-1907) "B.F. Yule and his gang of carpenters began work on Thomas Gascoigne's

Gascoigne (05-05-1908) "Lumber was hauled for Mrs. Mary Gascoigne's new house Monday.  William Lauer has the contract for the building."

Gehring (04-25-1912) "John Gehring is creating a handsome residence.  Will Lauer and men are doing the carpenter work."

Gibbon (03-02-1909) "Mrs. Gibbon is arranging to put up a new residence on the lot she recently purchased from Otto Sorenson, east of the William Bush residence."

Gibbon (08-27-1909) "B.F. Yule and Fred Heddle are building Mrs. Elsie Gibbon's new house."

Gibbon (08-31-1909) "Mrs. Elsie Gibbon and daughters have moved into their new home in the Village."

Gould (05-03-1916) "Roman Griffith of Union Grove is doing the concrete work for L. Jay Gould's new residence and garage in the Village."

Gould (06-23-1916) "Gould's handsome garage of concrete block is almost completed and the foundation is built for his bungalow."

Grimshaw (09-20-1900) "Wm. Lauer began work on Mrs. Grimshaw's house this week."

Hamilton (03-02-1909) "George Hamilton, our mail carrier, expects to build a residence on his property and many others near here will also add improvements.  William Lauer has the contract."

Hansche (03-30-1907) "The Miner U. Halverson Architectural Company have prepared plans and specifications for a very tastily designed residence which will be created by Mr. Ernest R. Hansche on his farm three miles south of Racine at Berryville.  The architect plans call for all conveniences found in the modern city home."

Hansche (05-03-1907) "John Anderson was yesterday awarded the contract for the erection of a $6,000 residence for Ernest Hansche at Berryville."

Ingrouille (03-27-1895) "Peter T. Ingrouille's house in nearing completion."

Kelley (02-20-1901)  "Another carload of brick arrived for Thomas Kelley last week.  Mr. Kelley will build a new dwellinghouse, a creamery, and other buildings in the spring."

Lichter (05-02-1911) "John Lichter is building a new residence."

Longmore (10-22-1896) "Mr. and Mrs. George Longmore moved into their house west of the Village last week.  Mr. Longmore having purchased the farm, will make Somers their home."

Longmore (03-10-1908) "Material is drawn for the new house to be erected by Edward Longmore."

Miller (08-06-1912) "F.M. Miller had a drawing bee on Saturday morning when a large quantity of sand and gravel was drawn from the lake to be used in the building of a new house."

Miller (12-17-1912) "F.M. Miller and family have moved into their new home.  He put a telephone in his new residence."

Ozanne (08-22-1900) "The carpenters began work on E.G. Ozanne's house Monday morning."

Piper (01-27-1922)  "The beautiful new home erected at Piper's Park for A.J. Piper and family will be ready for occupancy in a short while."

Piper (03-29-1922) "Mr. and Mrs. A.J. Piper and family have moved to their new home at Piper's Park."

Piper (05-16-1899) "Gus J. Piper is havinghis house remodeled in Berryville."

Rasmussen (03-02-1909) "M.A. Rasmussen has begun work on a $1,000 green house.  he also has the plans made and the lumber purchased for a dwelling house which he will erect just east of his barn."

Rasmussen (03-30-1906) "Mr. M.A. Rasmussen is drawing the material for a new house to be built on the farm he recently purchased."

Rasmussen (06-09-1905) "B.F. Yule and his men have commenced work on the M.A. Rasmussen new house."

Rasmussen (10-17-1905) "M.A. Rasmussen's $4,500 residence is nearing completion."

Rice (09-17-1898) "Adam Rice is building his cellar wall and the house will be put up as soon as possible."

Schaffer (05-03-1900) "The mason's have commenced work for the foundation of Jacob Schaffer's new house."

Schaffer (05-24-1900) "B.F. Yule, F. Heddle, and Jacob Drissel are at work on Jacob Schaffer's new house."

Spencer (06-07-1901) "James E. Spencer is having his house remodeled."

Strong (12-14-1898) "Wm. Lauer has completed the addition to S.S. Strong's house."

Yule (09-30-1914) "B.F. Yule is making considerable improvements on his house."

Barns of Somers

The Nicholas Thomas Barn
Wood Road, unpaved, in front of barn.
(Source:  Original photo courtesy of the Robert Thomas Family)

One way we can document the settlement of Somers Township is knowing when our pioneers built houses and barns.  We know by the biographical sketches I have provided in this blog, settlers in the early 1830's built log cabins and lean shelters as their first homes and shelters.  These structures provided temporary shelter while our first settlers cleared the land so planting could begin.  Once the pioneer became settled and earned money, a more modern and permanent house and barn were constructed.
When were the barns in Somers Township built? 
To answer that question I researched the "Neighborhood News" columns, published by the Racine Journal News or Racine Daily Journal.  The "Neighborhood News" column was written by Minnie Ozanne, the news reporter that represented Somers. This list represents information I could find - not a complete list.  The date in parenthesis represents the date the post was published in the newspaper.

Who built the barns?
Most of the barns in this area were built by Mr. Lauer or Mr. Yule. They also were Somers pioneers and you may find their biographical sketches in this blog of interest.

What makes old barns so appealing?
Could it be that it represents a hardworking, gritty way of life.  A visit inside an old barn immediately draws you in and captures a way of life that no longer exists.  The hand hewn timbers, the smell, the odds and ends that have been hanging on a old nail for the past eighty years all peak the interest of those who visit a barn.  Somers Township, still today, has some fine examples of old barns.

I would welcome an invitation to take photographs of some of our old pioneer barns still standing, inside and out. This is the perfect place to preserve and share history.

Somers Barns

Anderson (05-05-1908) "M.A. Anderson received a car load of lumber for a new barn. William Lauer will do the carpenter work."

Anderson (04-18-1911) "M.A. Anderson had a large barn raising Monday morning.  This barn, when completed, will be one of the largest in this section of the county.  Mr. and Mrs. Rasmussen served dinner to about 40 men."

Barrows (01-06-1905) "Jacob Barrows has received a car load of brick for a basement under his barn."

Biehn (03-15-1907) "Jacob Biehn is unloading brick at Somers for the foundation of his new barn."

Boelter (03-02-1906) "Mr. Herman Boelter has received his lumber for a new barn he will build in the spring."

Bohm (03-29-1904) "August Bohm is drawing sand from Kenosha for the foundation of his new barn."

Bush (03-21-1901) "Emory Bush received two car loads of  lumber last week for his new barn."

Bush (05-30-1901) "Emory Bush's barn was raised Thursday afternoon."

Chaffee (06-13-1900) "William Miller is drawing stone from Mr. Chaffe's farm for the foundation of his new barn."

Christensen (05-23-1917) "A barn dance will be held at Theodore Christensen's new barn on Saturday evening."

Corbett (09-15-1914) "James Due of Racine is building the foundation of Thomas Corbett's new barn."

Drew (09-21-1909) "Eric Jensen met with a distressing accident Monday afternoon while at work on William Drew's new barn. It seems while he, with other carpenters, were moving a barrel of oil which slipped and his hand was caught between the building and barrel. Two fingers were badly crushed. Dr. Belting put four stitches in one finger and three in another."

Fink (02-24-1921) "Edward Fink expects to build another new barn."

Fink (10-31-1911) "Edward Fink is building a new barn.  William Lauer and his force of carpenters are doing the work on the County Line Road."

Gitzlaff (03-27-1907) "Mr. August Gitzlaff received a car load of lumber last week for his new barn.  The barn will be 30 x 70.  B.F. Yule has the contract for the building."

Gross (04-06-1909) "William Lauer and his carpenters are building a barn for William Gross."

Hamilton (08-16-1909)  "William Lauer and George Hamilton visited Chicago recently where Mr. Hamilton will purchase lumber for his new house."

Hansche (05-16-1899) "Carpenters are at work at the Hansche Bros. storehouse."

Hughes (02-08-1911) "Marvin Hughes had a large barn raising Tuesday afternoon.  William Lauer and his carpenters are doing the work.  Mr. Hughes will build an addition to his house this spring."

Jensen (05-07-1914) "Chris A. Jensen had a barn raising on Saturday afternoon.  About 35 of his neighbors and friends were there to assist.  A bountiful dinner was served after the raising.  Erick Jensen is doing the carpenter work."

Knudsen (03-27-1903) "Hans Knudsen has completed his barn and as soon as the weather permits he will begin building his new house."

Leet Bros. (09-07-1910) "The Leet Bros. are hauling lumber from Racine for anew barn they expect to build this spring.  B.F. Yule and Fred Heddle have the contract for carpenter work."

Lichter (10-9-1912) "George Lichter is going to build a new barn on the farm he recently purchased, known as the Soens farm.  William Lauer has the contract on the carpenter work."

Mutchie (05-10-1910) "John Mutchie had a big barn raising Thursday forenoon.  About 75 men was present and assisted in the raising.  At noon a bounteous repast was served.  Mr. Mutchie will have one of the largest and most convenient barns in this vicinity when it is finished."

Newman (06-30-1898) "A large company of men aided at the barn raising at Mrs. Marcia Newman's on Monday afternoon.  Tables were set and a bountiful supper was served."

Pedley (02-21-1902) "John Pedley is hauling lumber from Racine for a new cattle barn."

Porter (11-06-1898)  "The barn on the Porter farm is undergoing repairs.  B.F. Yule is doing the work."

Rhodes (01-05-1909) "Mr. Jay Rhodes had a barn raising Wednesday."

Lavin (04-13-1906) "Mr. Lavin is drawing lumber from Racine for a new barn."

Lee (12-21-1906) "Rollie Lee expects a barn raising Friday afternoon."

Leet (06-07-1901 "Mrs. Jessie Leet had her barn raising Saturday."

Leet (04-06-1909) "The Leet Bros. are hauling lumber from Racine for a new barn they expect to build in the spring. B.F. Yule and Fred Headie have the contract for the carpenter work."

Lichter (04-10-1914) "Mr. Frank Lichter built a new barn.  Will Lauer and his men did the carpenter work."

Miller (05-31-1900) "Wm. Miller received two car loads of lumber for his new barn last week."

Miller (06-27-1900) "Dan Pedley began work on Wm. Miller's new barn Tuesday. B.F. Yule and F. Heddle are building a large barn at Milburn, Illinois."

Miller (07-17-1900) "Wm. Miller barn raising will happen today."

Mutchie (05-10-1910) "John Mutchie had a big barn raising Thursday afternoon.  About 75 men were present and assisted in the raising.  At noon, a bouteous repast was served.  Mr. Mutchie will have one of the largest and most convenient barns in this vicinity when it is finished."

Ozanne (06-16-1905) "Pierre and L.E. Ozanne received a car load of lumber for their new barn last week.  B.F. Yule will do the carpenter work."

Ozanne (07-04-1895) "Perhaps it would be a little interesting to the readers of this journal, especially to those of the eastern part of Kenosha County to know that the first barn ever built in the Town of Somers was until recently, still in existence.  The barn was built about the year 1838, and now owned by E.G. Ozanne, who has taken it down, using some of the hard wood timbers for a new building.  On June 18, 1842, James Ozanne and family arrived at Racine from the Isle of Guernsey and on July 4th following, purchased the farm of 335 acres, on which the barn stood.  The farm was afterward's divided up into three."

Rasmussen (02-25-1907) "Matt Rasmussen received a carload of lumber on Monday morning for a new barn to be erected on farm No. 2.  The building is to be 54 x 40.  William Lauer will do the work."

Rasmussen (07-29-1920) "William Lauer and his force of carptenters are building a barn on the M.A. Rasmussen north farm."

Rasmussen (12-08-1905) "Mr. Martin Rasmussen is building an addition to his barn.  William Lauer is doing the carpenter work."

Smith (05-02-1911) "Samuel Smith is building a new barn iin which a large dance will be held next month."

Spencer (09-15-1910) "James E. Spencer received a car load of crushed stone last week for the concrete work in the new barn he recently built."

Spencer (10-27-1910) "James E. Spencer is having concrete floors built in his barn."

Swartz (07-18-1911) "William Lauer and his carpenters will soon begin work on a barn for Jacob Swartz."

Thompson (06-23-1916) "Thompson Bros. are building a large barn.  William Lauer and his force of carpenters are doing the work."

Woodward (06-10-1914) "Woodward Bros. are hauling gravel for their new barn."

Yonk (02-24-1921) "John Yonk is installing a water system in his dairy barn."