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A History of Webertown and the Weber family, from Patti - anaquea@dwave.net

WEBERTOWN and It’s Founder, Christian Weber

by Patti Laessig,

On the south shore of the river’s 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

1870s.

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 s’Hertogenbosch, Holland, migrated from

near Green Bay. Their daughter Augusta, became the wife of Michael Wagner.

Their son Frank married Christian Weber’s 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. Andrew’s 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. Paul’s 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

Christian Weber.

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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