Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
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SURING SCHOOL DISTRICT LOCAL HISTORY
1979
Page 33
Page 34


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What is now the village of Suring was at that time nothing but a wilderness of trees, brush, and much water. A winding wagon road, closely resembling a narrow Indian trail wove through this wilderness from Hayes on out through Maple Valley and on to places farther south, the principal town in that direction being Oconto.
Joe Suring operated his store at Hayes for a number of years and most of his customers were Indians, who paid for their purchases in wild ginseng, hides, furs, skins, feathers and berries. He bought the goods for his store in Shawano and hauled them from that city with wagon team to Hayes. He also sold the hides, furs, and other products to merchants in Shawano. Such a trip took approximately five days. Mrs. Joe Suring tended the store and took care of the housework while her husband was on these trips.
Every summer during the warm weather a number of Indian families left the reservation, went through Hayes, and on out through what is now Suring. While passing through Hayes they would stop at Joe Swing's store to shop for provisions to take with them on their camping trip.
Somewhere to the east of the village, possibly Claywood, they camped for several weeks during which time they picked wild berries and dug ginseng roots. They would return to the reservation. Each small Indian pony was laden with all the camp equipment along with the Indian man who rode on its back. The papooses, tucked in birch bark cradle-boards, were strapped to the sides of the ponies while the squaws walked behind their husbands. This procession passed along in single file on its annual trek.
The dress of the Indian was interesting. The men were clad in buckskin trousers, jacket, leggings and moccasins. He was with-out headgear. The squaws were usually dressed in bright-colored clothing which consisted of a very full skirt, most times blue in color, and jackets of pink, red, yellow and other bright colors. The jackets were decorated with ornamental braid and metal discs. The squaw's legs were tightly wound with strips of black cloth about an inch or two wide. On her feet, she wore moccasins. Over her shoulder, she always wore a bright-colored blanket which dropped almost to the ground. This blanket was worn both during the summer and winter. Her hair was done up in what appeared to be braids, folded up close to the head and wrapped and wound solidly with a covering of beadwork.
Mr. and Mrs. Julius "Joe" Suring came to this community from Belle Plain in Shawano County and settled in what is now Hayes in the Town of How Mr Suring first built a small shanty dwelling, a part of which he also used as a store trading post. Later on, however, he built a larger building, the present Mrs. William Strehlow house, for his home and store.
The Henry Johnson Family in 1902. Seated in front are Mrs. Johnson holding Violet, Gladys. Henrv Johnson and Myrtle. Standing in back, left to right, are Millard, Elsie, •*ohn. and twins, Lillian and Leonard.
Joe Suring sold his store business in Hayes to Herman Hankwitz in 1882. Abstracts show that Mr. Hankwitz sold the store to H.W. Gilke in 1892. About 1910, Paul Bartz, father of Harold Bartz, took over the business. Mr. Bartz would buy calves from the local farmers and butcher them himself. To preserve the meat, he put in one of the first ice boxes around these parts, which meant they were kept busy every winter cutting and storing blocks of ice from the river. This store was typical of early general stores. Bologna came in brine and salt pork in barrels. Spices were sold in bulk. About twice a year, the salesman came in on the train and the draymen would come up from Suring to lug their sample cases to the store where Mr. Bartz would order his supplies for the whole season. Herman Bartz, an uncle of Harold Bartz, had charge of the store at one time. Sometime in the mid-1920's it served its last customer.
Joe Suring sold his home in Hayes in 1883 to Herman Hankwitz. Records show this house was owned in the late 1880's by Herman Hankwitz and was willed by his wife in 1910 to their daughters, Mrs. William < Alma) Fregel, Mrs. Alia Sorenson and Miss Rosetta Hankwitz. Next to take possession of the house was William Strehlow, Sr. who made it his home from 1917 to 1927. In 1935, his son, William, Jr., became the title holder and his family still owns the house.
Another store begun by Anna Holl's father in this pioneer period is still in business. It has been remodeled and enlarged many times. It is now operated by Larry Wetzel. A store ledger from this store dated October 29, 1891 shows some of the following customers: Herman Yakel, Robert Grignon, Jacob Holl, Gust Otto, Louis Grignon, Desire Laport, Edwin Gauthier, Robert Pethke, Gabe Houle, Wm. Schuettpelz, Ed Suring, Wm. Shessow, Henry Dicke, O.H. Huntley, Christ Wienhold, James Armstrong, Mike Ehlinger, John Kolberg, Charley Shuss, Leo. Gust. Alvin and Paul Hischke
The ledger reveals some of the grocery, hardware and clothing items and the cost of each that was sold at the Holl Store in 1891.
1 Ib. sugar .06
1 Ib. tea .50
1 Ib. coffee .28
1 bar soap .05
1 gal. syrup .50
lib. gingersnaps .10
1 Bottle Bay Rum .15
1 pocket knife .50
lib. shot .10
1 bottle Castoria .35
1 spool thread .05
Ipkg. dye .10
1 yd. gingham .09
lyd. dress goods .13
1 yd. veiling .30
Ipr. rubbers 1.25
Ipr. overalls 1.00
1 dinner pail .15 
1 lantern globe .12
1 sack flour  2 .75              
1 gal. oil .15
1Ib. rice  .08
1 Ib. pepper .30 
1 doz. eggs .18
1 Ib. raisins  .14
1 Ib. crackers .08
1 Ib. Standard tobacco .24
1 bottle linement .50
1 gal. vinegar .20
1 bottle sarsaparilla .75
1 fire shovel   .10
1 Ib. dried apples 
1 broom fio .•25
1 Ib. wire nails .04
Food came in bulk quantities in the early days. Flour came in 98 Ib. sacks or 196 Ib. barrels, molasses and vinegar in 52 gallon barrels, salt pork in 100 Ib. or 200 Ib. barrels and sugar in 100 Ib. barrels.
Herman Dieck, a native of Germany, settled in the Town of How in 1890. He was a farmer and also was in the lumbering business. Most everyone from the Suring area who ever worked in the logging camps, at one time or another, worked for Herman Dieck.
In 1879 Henry Johnson bought his homestead in the Town of How, paying $3 an acre for 200 acres of forest. His first home, a log cabin, was replaced by a large frame house that stands today and is the farm home of the Allan Dickson. Henry Johnson was state treasurer of Wisconsin from 1912 to 1922.