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A History of Webertown and the Weber family, from Patti - email@example.com
WEBERTOWN and Its Founder, Christian Weber
by Patti Laessig,
On the south shore of the rivers bend, in the heart of central
Wisconsin, a Germany family migrated, becoming the first white family
known to settle on this bank of the Big Eau Pleine River. It was the late
Occasional visitors were the Indians who meandered the age-old trails of
their ancestors that eventually became the roadways between settlements.
Forests of huge pine had been harvested by Doud, Weeks, or McMillan Lumber
Companies all around. Left were the hardwoods like birch, elm, oak, maple
and hemlock. Christian Weber had purchased land in this wilderness, where
he would build a saw mill, and make a life for himself and his family, in
this new land far from his birthplace of Saarburg, near Trier Germany.
Around the year 1856, Christian came to America with his father Michael,
and Mother Elizabeth (Kaiser) Weber and his brothers and sisters. They
settled in Manitowoc County, near what is now Cleveland. In 1872 Christian
married Anna Kaiser, daughter of Andreas Kaiser and Magdelena Esslinger
Kaiser who had also immigrated from Trier. After 24 years in Ashford, Fond
du Lac County, Andreas left his eldest son Nicholas (from his first
marriage to Maria Kaiser nee Kaiser who had passed away) to carry on, while
he sought to purchase cheaper land in the north for his younger sons.
Also migrating from Cleveland, Wisconsin was Michael Wagner, whose parents
Michael and Susanna Fischbach Wagner came from Metz, Alsace Lorraine in the
late 1830s. Michael Wagner purchased land also, in what had become known
as the Weber Settlement or Webertown.
On the north bank of the river, Edward Laessig, a native of Saxony, and his
wife Jeanette Baenen Laessig of sHertogenbosch, Holland, migrated from
near Green Bay. Their daughter Augusta, became the wife of Michael Wagner.
Their son Frank married Christian Webers daughter, Mary after the death
of his first wife, Mary Sawyer, daughter of Joseph Sawyer. Daughter
Philomena "Minnie" Laessig married Henry Weber, brother of Christian who
like his brother had come to the north and built a home of logs in the
wilderness. The other children of Christian Weber and Anna Kaiser Weber
were as follows: Andrew Weber who married Amy Thompson, daughter of
Fredrick J. and Susan M. Simmons Thompson; Henry Weber who married Mary
Schmidtke, daughter of Edward and Rose Nickdem Schmidtke; Lorenz (L.B.)
Weber who married Jenny Hughes, daughter of Thomas and Hannah Fitzgerald
Hughes; Peter Weber who married Clara Krueger, daughter of Fred and Emelia
Tiemer Krueger; Johnny, Jeanette "Nettie" Weber who married Max Polege, son
of Julius and Louise Usadel Polege; Magdelena "Lena" Weber who married
DeWeine Reed, son of Ezra and Nora Phely Reed; Katherine "Katie" who
married Charles Kohl, son of John and Sarah Wallpole Kohl; and Jake who
died very young.
All the original dwellings were built of logs cut from the forest, but with
the operation of the Weber Saw and Shingle Mill, cut lumber became available.
Henry Weber, a carpenter, also helped operate a boarding house for his
brother, Christian, who held the position of Post Master. Brother-in-law,
Jacob Kaiser, a livestock dealer, was the mail carrier for the March
Express from Webertown, March and Unity, while Andrew Kaiser ran the
saloon, and another brother Lawrence was shoe maker. Joseph Sawyer was
blacksmith; V.G. Chrouser plasterer and Justice; Peter Doctor, shoemaker
and road builder; John Filen, painter; Fred Osee, carpenter and mason, Ed
Polege, brick manufacturer; Michael .B. Wagner, general store and saloon;
Edward Laessig, stone mason, farmer and first elected Town Chairman of Eau
Pleine Township when it was established in the spring of 1885. Other early
settlers included the names Boland, Brandt, Fromberger, Hazelton, Helmke,
Lawyer, Quinelle, Steiner and Walter.
Important as livelihood to the settlers was religion. After years of
meeting in private homes it was decided to build a church in 1884. Holy
Trinity, named after the home parish in Trier, was built on four acres
donated by Michael Wagner. The 24 x 60 ft. frame building and adjoining
bell tower of lumber from the Weber mill was completed in 1887. Christian
Weber and Andreas Kaiser were the first trustees. Father Ignatius Schaller
of Marshfield helped organize the parish which consisted of about 70
Catholic families, including names such as Carl, Fingstel, Hein, Hennes,
Hughes, Kieffer, Laessig, McDonald, Ross, Scheigl, Schelb, Schwartz,
Simolke, Wenzel and Wesley. Priests from Colby, Marathon City and
Rozellville came to offer mass several times each year, until the mission
affiliated with St. Andrews of Rozellville in 1893 after which regular
services were held.
On the northern side of the Big Eau Pleine, and a bit east, the Lutheran
settlers established St. Pauls Lutheran Church along what is now Highway
97. They built a 20 x 30 ft. structure in 1893. Original members include
the names Buddan, Falaskety, Ferminick, Heisdrer, Korham, Kroening,
Laessig, Leffel, Lemmer, Polege, Plautz, Radke, Richnow, Teske, Usadel,
Zettler, and Zuelke.
In 1880 a school house was built just north of the river. Mary Laessig,
who later became Mrs. Emil Ruder (of the George Ruder brewery family in
Wausau) was the first teacher. Children from both north and south of the
Big Eau Pleine attended, so a swinging footbridge was constructed by
Webertown was a thriving community until the arrival of the Chicago and
North Western Railway which attracted the young, ambitious lumberman, W. D.
Connor who in 1891 established the village of Stratford, named after his
hometown in Ontario, Canada.
Today, all that remains of Webertown are two old cemeteries, a few stone
structures obscured by the terrain, descendants of the settlers, and the
ever flowing, meandering waters of the Big Eau Pleine.
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