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Oconto County, Wisconsin
Mountain Memories
Pages  - 86 & 87

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Page 88 - 89 

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.Mountain settlers it looked like the years of prosperity and growth in this area had come to a final end.
This harvest of logs from the forests of the Town of Armstrong were never to be seen again as the years of 'trees of plenty' came to a close by the 1930's. This photo taken during the great logging era of our history depicts the harvest of the lumberjack and the daily work load of the Log Hauler when it traversed the woodlands of Mountain.
In the 1930's Mountain was a community of small dairy farms with many of the men finding work in the lumber camps for the winter months, though they traveled further north in order to find such employment.
The lumbering operations still continued north of the town of Townsend and all the way up to the Wisconsin -Michigan border during these dry years for this area, so between working in the logging camps and cash cropping on the farms in the summer, the families continued to make a living, though today one wonders how they ever survived these hard times. The farmers really began feeling the pinch in 1932 when their crops were not only affected by the drought, but prices plummeted due to the depression.
Men who had previously made a decent wage in the lumber camps were now working for their room and board, an occasional pair of overalls and a couple bucks extra a month for tobacco and other sundries.
Very few could afford license for their cars, so when they came to town, they would park off the main street. When the speed cop stopped to inquire about these vehicles. . .no one ever knew who they belonged to ! He of course, was aware of what was going on, but realized the straits of the car owners and left well enough alone.
One source of income available in spring and fall was fighting fires. The State paid 35<t an hour and the fire fighters tended to keep the fires more or less 'under control1 than extinguishing them completely, thus assuring themselves a few extra dollars.
The wells in the area began going dry as the years of the drought continued and soon, one after the other, the farmers began stopping at the Town Pump in front of the Hotel to get their cooking and drinking water. The milk cans that had previously hauled the mainstay of their livelihoods, now were filled with the precious drops of water "as their eyes scanned the horizon for a rain cloud in the sky.
The waters flowing in the Town Creek became the waters of survival as the farmers came to fill their barrels in order to keep their livestock from perishing. The entire town watched these hard working farmers as the families came to replenish their supply, a daily struggle in their refusal to simply 'give up1.
That old Town Pump gave its free water to most of us living in town during those Dry Years, and probably supplied 20 farmers from the outlying area as well, but it never went dry.
Somehow we made it through those years of depression and hardship, the Town Pump definitely holds an honorable place in the history of the Mountain area. When the new Highway 32/64 came through the center of our town in 1986. . . the old pump stood in the way of progress and so was removed.  We all miss it because that pump played a role in all of our lives, and now when we look back, it sure was a pain to have to haul those buckets of water !