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OCONTO COUNTY SCHOOLS
photo below for a larger view.
Spruce School Building
by: Jill Gondeck 2010
by Larry Grady
(transcribed from news article below)
of the improvements at the
graded school is the modern cafeteria set up in the school basement.
About to be served their lunch by the school's cook, Martha Pawlak, are
from left to right, Allen Palishok, Mariana Hanek, Eugene Wosiey and
History of District No. 3 Spruce
first settlers of this district
were Mr. William Morrison and Mr. Turtlette (sic; Tourtilotte -
Tourtillot) who came
from Oconto by way of the logging road as far as Johnson's Corners.
There they built rafts and came down the little river and settled here
on homesteads in 1870. Mr. Morrison
settled on the farm Mr. Kralovetz now lives on, and Mr. Turtlett
(Tourtilotte) settled where Mr. Deresinski now lives.
The first thing they had to do was build houses which they made of logs
which were abundant here. Then they took these logs and cut notches in
them and laid them one on another until they had the walls up. They had
no lumbdf and could get none sawed, so they had to use logs. They took
the logs and hollowed then out and laid then side by side and then they
took another hallowed log and laid it over the edge. They called these
roofs scoops. The floors of their houses were also made of logs which
were hewed square on one side so as to make their floors level. As
there were many kinds of game, it was not hard for them to
food. Most of theif homesteads were one hundred and sixty acres. They
had to lice on these five years, and make improvements before they
could prove up. They had to clear land so as to raise crops.
Their nearest trading station was about fourteen miles, where a man
named Mr. Lee kept a store. Then the government surveyed a road from
Oconto, and the job was gicen to Mr. Morrison to clear so they could
travel to Oconto to get lumber and supplies. After they built the road
from Oconto, this town was settled fast.
The first school was kept
Morrison's house. Some of the first pupils wore Claude McLean, Agnes
McLean, Amelia Schweiberg, John Terosinski, Wallace Rifle, Lizzie Bode
and May McLean. They had only a few books, not near as many as we have,
and they only had a few studies such as Arithetic (sic; Arithmetic),
Spelling. Reading and Geography.
had poor roads and no bridges
across the river. They built booms in order to get across. Sometimes
the river would rise and take these booms away and the people could not
get across for many days. After they kept school in Mr, Morrison's
house for awhile, they built a schoolhouse where the school now stands.
They didn't have any seats like ours. They only had benches
and a small blackboard.
Soon alter the road was
railroad was built into Lena, which also helped in increase the
settlements. The roads were not very good, and in the wet seasons they
could not be traveled.
next settlers after Mr. Morrison
and Mr. Turtlette (sic: Tourtilotte), were Mrs. Babka, Mr. Rifle, Mr.
Schweiberg and Mrs. McLean.
After it got pretty well
town was set off, Maple Valley which consisted of five
Three townships were set off in 1892, which were Brazeau,
Maple Valley. They divided because they had some trouble over roads and
taxes. This town had not name when it was set off so the people met and
selected the name Spruce because there were a lot of Spruce trees here.
They held their first election in the spring of 1893. The officers
which were elected at the first election were:chairman, Mr.
supervisors, Mr. St. Mary, Mr. McLean; clerk. Mr. Tracy; assessor, Mr.
McDougald; treasurer. Mr. Prausa; justice. Mr. Flynn, Mr.
constable, Mr. Kadlec.
Soon after the
town was set
organized the school district. It was organized by Mr. Turtlett
(Tourtilotte), Mr. Morrison, Mr. Millard. Mr. Rode, Mr. Steere, Mr.
McLean, Mr.Schweiberg and Mr.
Morrison. The teacher's monthly
salary was then twenty-five dollars.
The first church in this
organized by r. Teresinski, Mr. Neta, Mr. Pytleski, Mr. Slupiniski, Mr.
owalchi (sic) in 1892. It was built in 1893 about a mile and three
quarters from Spruce.
a year later the first cheese
factory was built in the village of Spruce by Mr. Kumbra. The first
cheesemaker was Mr. (missing)...........
Since the early settlers of 1870. the country was changed a great deal.
The early settlers used oxen and home made wagons. They didn't have
good machinery such as seeders, binders, hay loaders, mowers, and many
other kinds which have lately come into use. At the time this district
was organized, there were about twenty families. Now the population is
about three hundred people. The early settlers had log barns. Now they
have large basement barns and silos to keep their corn in. The same
farmers that used to have two and three cows, now have
twenty and more. Their homes are made
comfortable with bathrooms and water works. They have coal stoves and some have furnaces.
The old houses
which they used to live in have been discarded long ago, and have been
nade into work (missing)....................
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