Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
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Oconto County, Wisconsin
Mountain Memories
Pages 48 - 49

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In the fall thousands of ducks stopped to feed in the myriad lakes of the area. When I was a boy Herman and Walter Saffran, George Farlinger, Martin and Thorvald Olson enjoyed the sport of duck hunting with my father. At that time the limit of ducks was 25 and many mornings my father and his friends returned with their limit from Crooked lake.
The lakes and streams in the Town of Armstrong contained a fabulous store of fish. Black bass, northern, blue gills, and perch could be had with little prowess. Trout in abounding numbers filled the crystal clear spring fed streams. A fisherman, man or boy, could fish the small stream that runs on the outskirts of our town and in a quarter mile stretch catch 25 or more brook trout ranging in size from 8 to 18 inches.
These prodigous gifts of the forest; fish, fowl, meat and berries, supplemented the table fare that our early settlers were able to raise. A meager menu oft times became a bountiful feast.
How different our landscape looked when Sigurd Sandberg once posed with his prize of the forest! This photo is courtesy of Mrs. George Millie Johnson
The Importance of Eduducation
The vaule of education to the first settlers was evident, for although these pioneers worked from dawn until after dark and were hard pressed to find the wherewithal of a meager living, they established a 'place of learning1 for the area's children long before there was a town to be named Mountain.
A building that was part of an old lumbering camp was chosen to serve as the school house and a young girl by the name of Ella Mentor came from Omro to teach the classes held in this one room log cabin structure. Miss Mentor's brother was working in a lumber camp here so in her acceptance of this teaching position in this wilderness country of northern Oconto County, she knew she would see at -least one familiar face upon her arrival.
Her first students were the children of Thomas Me Alien; John, William, find Lizzie, and Ed Rabe whose parents lived on the Eldred farm just north of them on the Oconto River. As their young teacher set to teaching them the basic requirements in achieving an education, no school buses, janitors, nor hot lunches assisted in the daily schedule. Books were highly valued and discipline was strict, and the children truly appreciated this opportunity to attend school. The freedom from daily chores at home enlightened their spirits as they made their daily trek to school, and so becfime a place to meet new friends as the population began to grow in the next few years.
By 1887 Fred Bartz and his family had settled on the land near this school and others like the family of A.C. Frost and James Hines added to the enrollment so a new school was built on an acre of land to stand accross from H.M. Baldwins General Store site.
A picture taken of this school house reveals a building with ship lap covering with a grand cupola and bell atop the roof to signify this structure as a place of learning for here the children of this growing community were sure to receive the 3 R's of their American education.
This school built in 1887 would serve the communitj for the next 21 years to be known as the Mountain School of District No. 1 of the Town of Armstrong.