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Subj: The Beginnings of the Meuret Family by MHMT ca 1984

Date: 1/12/01 4:09:15 PM Central Standard Time

From: Bobbiegoerner

To: SDGreen715

Dear Shelley,

The old Milk Wagon (horse drawn) has been restored and is just beautiful. It was donated by Cousin Little Charlie Meuret who still lives on the homestead. His sister, Grace Anne Meuret King of Wausau also has some of the original bottles and caps and other memorablia from the Dairy. The wagon is with the Historical Society I believe and is brought out for parades. Grace Anne or Charlie would know all particulars. The Meuret Dairy was run by their father when I was a kid - probably until the 1950's.

MHMT (1905-1992) written about 1984

#5 The Beginnings of the Meuret Tribe

My Grandpa and Grandma Meuret (Catherine Gousett and John Henry P. Meuret) were born and raised in France. They met and were married there. Two children, John Globe Meuret and Mary Catherine Meuret were born to them in France. Then a group of brothers and relatives decided to come to America in 1853. They landed in New Orleans. From there they settled on farms there for a few years, One brother stayed in the area there - The rest came up the Mississippi River seeking land to settle on and begin a life anew.^

In 1855 Henry and Jacques Meuret came to Marathon Cou nty along with other French people and they all settled on land from the original Meuret farm along the Eau Claire River to Callon. This stretch of country was called "Frog Town" because all settlers were from France.^

As it was late in the season when Grandpa and Grandma and kids got the seven forties along the Eau Claire River, it was imperative to get a roof over their heads and a garden in. An old cook shanty was fixed up for their first home.^

Then Grandpa looked for a clearing in which to plant potatoes for winter use. This he found down by the Yellow Banks. He used oxen to plow this treeless space or meadow. Grandma planted the potatoes in the furrows behind the plow. So the first of their garden was in.^

A root cellar , used by the lumber camp years before Grandpa came, was again called upon to serve as storage for the wild plum jam and apple butter that Grandma made. The root cellar also held potatoes and cabbages, too. I can still remember the ruins of the old root cellar down across the railroad tracks. The wild plum trees were still blooming and bearing their sour plums when I was 10 - 12 years old in 1915.^

Grandpa cut the wild marsh hay along the river and dried it and then carried it home on his back to feed the oxen in the winter. Life was hard and cruel in those days for the pioneers. There were no luxuries.^

A house was built above the railroad tracks later. This home burned down in 1901 before I was born. Both of my Meuret Grandparents died before I was born in 1905. Another larger home was built a bit up the hill from the first one. A curious thing about this house , which is still standing as a tribute to the workmanship of our ancestors, and is still inhabited with Meurets who are direct descendents, was the fear of another fire and so Grandpa designed the home with all the closets having an opening for an escape route from any room in the house. The old cement steps from the first home are still visible and the home stands proudly on its sturdy rock basement and foundations , surrounded by lilacs, roses, and fruit trees.^

The two brother, Henry and Joseph Meuret bpth fell in love with the little German Miss, Emma Augusta Koepp. They vied for her attentions for a year and finally Emma chose Henry. Maybe because he was older and I know he was more debonair!^

So on Dec. 25, 1877 Emma and Henry Meuret were married in St. Mary’s Church. Henry had said Emma’s Dad could always have a home with them. So Emma had her father close by until he died in about 1907, I believe. She took good care of him all his remaining years.^

Emma and Henry had fourteen children born to them. All but George were born on the farm homestead. George was born in Schofield. That was one time when one of Dad’s brothers covinced Grandma Meuret (Catherine Gousett) that he could run the farm better than Henry could run it. So Dad moved to Schofield and worked iin Brooks and Ross Lumber Mill. But it wasn’t long, a year or so, when Grandma invited Dad to come back to the farm. Finally my father bought the farm from his mother, paying each brother or sister fifty ($50) dollars and stipulating to care for his Mother and bury her at last.^

My Dad loved the farm. He tried to farm a little and work full time at the Mill. But he found it was difficult. So he decided to sell milk to customers in town.^

At first he started with milk cans, a quart measure and a ladle. He drove to town with the milk on a wagon. The people came out to the wagon with a pitcher or pail and Dad ladled the milk into the quart measure and then poured the milk into whatever container was handed him. This was in the very first beginning of the milk route.^

Later on glass bottles were used, both quart and pint sizes. The name CITY DAIRY - HENRY MEURET was printed on the cap or stopper. These caps were purchased in barrel lots. (We used some for checkers when we played checkers.) Big tickets of bright red board could be purchased from Dad for milk and were used over and over again.^

Much later the name of the dairy was imprinted on the milk bottle and the tickets were used only once. These were small and made of heavy paper. All the milk we sold was raw.^

This dairy furnished the Meuret family with food, clothing, entertainment and the education of all the kids. We all milked the cows, washed the milk cans and pails 2X a dayand the bottles right after dinner each day. Hay, corn and oats were raised to feed the cows. So the farm was self-supporting.^

The dairy of olden times seems very crude by today’s standards, I know. But my folks were very particular about the handling of the milk and utensils. The milk inspectors came regularly to inspect the sanitary conditions at all the dairies.^

My folks had the dairy for forty-six years. That’s quite a long time to be in a family business. I just wanted to tell a little about how we made a living long, long ago.^

By Margaret Helen Meuret Tidd

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