St Croix River Road Ramblings

Welcome to River Road Ramblings.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

1907 in Wolf Creek WI, along the St.Croix River

Wolf  Creek Store 1907

    SELHS was given the 1907 record book for the Wolf Creek Store.  It lists all of the charges and payments for the year.  There have been many stores in Wolf Creek since the trading post of the 1840s and we are not sure which store this was.  It appears that most people bought at the store on credit and then every few months paid on their store bill or brought in something “to trade”. 

    The store was only closed on  Sundays.  Lets take a look at some of the things that were sold at this general store and who traded there 106 years ago today. 

     January 1 Tuesday 1907

A. L. Anderson           Credit by Cash   $5.00   (he paid 5 on his store bill)
A.C. Hoover               2 pairs pants $1.75, overshoes $3.75, mittens 10¢
Lawrence Fisk            2 ¼ lbs butter 54¢, Postum 25¢ soap 10¢
John Rice                    cough Balsam 25¢, candy 10¢
Joseph Blair               drawers 50¢ , calico 88¢
Amos Finch                coffee 40¢, shot powder caps 45¢, underware $2.20, calico 35¢, fleesed goods 25¢,  chimney 5¢, corsets $1.00, prunes 50¢, nails 10¢
L. W. Carns                 Purina $1.00 
H. H. Worth                broom 35¢, sugar $1.00, nails 6¢, tobacco 50¢, ax 75¢, tablet 10¢, tea 50¢, coffee 1.00, yeast 5¢, cinnamon 10¢
August Rutsch            cookies 10¢
Christ Anderson          kerosene 13¢, sausages 10¢m eggs 14¢

 Eleven more customers came in during the day and bought the following additional items:  tomatoes, corn, yarn, ax handle, fish, stamps, eggosee, rice, pepper, cheese, nutmeg, snuff, apples, matches, sorgum, crape paper, and tacks.
Wolf Creek Store
     During January the customers ranged from about 10 to 30 per day.   The names of the January customers included Rogers, Wilson, Monahan, Shambow, Booth, Evoy, Hurley, Nick, Fassit, Harris, Burch, Forsberg, Orr, Johnson, Jordan, Nevers Dam, Wolf Creek School, Barter, Peterson, Berquist, Debar, Reese, Scholisslin, Doty, Scoles, O’Neil, Legoo, Graves, Monty, Marritt, Brink, Jordan, Brenizer, Love, Mack, Hemsath, Vanhusen, Flaherty, Goff, Bennett, Seoles, Ageson, Rainey, Munson, McLinch, Bergreen, Iverson, Monahan, Smith, Frawley, Robinson, Lambert, Cain and others.
    Credit at the store was by bringing in butter (15-20¢ /lb), eggs (13¢/doz), hides, home made clothing, and by paying cash.  School kids paid 10¢ for a tablet and 5¢ for a pencil or ink.


Wolf Creek Flour Mill
     We can get an idea from the 1907 Wolf Creek Store register as to what else was going on during the year.  During February and March a lot of kerosene and the staples of lard, sugar, beans,  tobacco, pork, bacon,  eggs, salt and coffee were sold.  Occasionally some medicines like swamp root, bottle nipples, Castoria, Indian Root Pills, Liniment, Golden Relief (morphine) , quinine and soap.   What you don’t see sold at the store are potatoes and flour.  The Monty Englin mill would have sold flour.  Many farmers raised potatoes and at one time had a potato warehouse dug into the ground at the base of the hill to the west of town.

     By mid March we see a lot of people paying cash on their store bills.  This may indicate the loggers are back from the woods with some money to pay off the family accounts.  More eggs are coming in so maybe the hens are starting their spring laying.  George Booth bought some insect powder on March 28th , too early for spring flies.  Maybe he was getting rid of the lice and bedbugs that lumberjacks had to live with.  Clarence Doty paid 75¢ to have his watch repaired. 

    April shows people buying seed including clover, timothy, onions, corn, peas, tomato,  and other garden seeds as well as hats, fish hooks, lots of cloth, a cow bell, shoes and clothing.  Ed St. John, a logger, paid 30¢ for two telegram messages.  Since the store was also the post office, it is likely the mail carrier transported the telegrams too.  Linseed oil was used to make your own paint.  You could buy lemons, maple syrup, jelly, cookies, candy, crackers or cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, vinegar, pepper, calico, gingham, muslim, buttons, patterns, shelf paper.  The 15th of each month appears to be bill paying day.

Wolf Creek School 
     Summer purchases included the usual plus louse killer, brooms, cheese cloth (used for window screens), staples, nails, wash board, jars.  Mrs Jordan bought canning jar rubbers and covers and a washing machine ($4.00).  Mason Fisk  and John Hurley bought Paris Green, a poison for killing garden and orchard bugs.  J. R. Nick earned $2.00 credit by shoeing a horse.  Martha Ageson bought a scythe and sharpening stone for $1.65.  J. A Mack bought 25¢ worth of bananas.

    September through November we see lots of tar paper, fly paper, fruit jars, underwear, pencils, tablets, thread, yarn, cloth, dye, lamps, paint, cartridges, baskets, carbolic acid, vinegar, melons, window glass and other fall items.

    Christmas season includes peanuts, candy, apples, toys, nuts, caps, combs, crackers, raisins, braid, buttons, cloth, gum, cup and saucer sets, salmon, neck tie, pins etc.  Fred Hemsath bought 2 cups and saucers, shaving mug, china set, toys, lard, apples, prunes raisins, sausage, 9 handkerchiefs, more toys, pants, overalls, turn over collar, waist pattern, buttons, glove box, 2 sweaters, shoes, box paper and candy amounting to $9.38!   The wages for people who had jobs in town were mostly less than $1.00 per day at that time.  

1907 was near the end of the booming white pine logging on the St Croix.   The last log drive down the  St Croix was still 7 years ahead.   Trade River had been logged off of white pines in the 1850s and a crop of  “black jacks” jackpines and second growth white and red pines were being cut and piled along the river for the spring river drive.   

Wolf Creek would have been quiet during the winter.  The store, the mill would have been active.  The Methodist church was about 10 years old and the Wolf Creek school had an addition to the 1882 building to make it a 2 room school.  Farmers were still raising crops on the sand barrens but had also moved to the hardwood area to the east of Wolf Creek as the sand lands lost their fertility 

Although the Sterling townhall was still in West Sterling near Trade River, in 7 years it would be dragged east to match the population move off of the barrens.  The Cushing, Trade River, Sunrise, Eureka setllements had sprung up in the last decade and provided competition for the Wolf Creek store.