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"Eau Claire County History, 1949"


A History of the Hay Creek School School Area

In the early spring of 1875 Philip Hammer moved to the town of Bridge Creek. Here he settled on an eighty acre farm which is located where Edwin Bethke now lives.  He came from Germany with his wife and five children.  They came in a wagon drawn by oxen.  In a few weeks the second family from Germany settled near them.  This was Herman Brunzel, Sr. and his family.  His son's wife still lives on the homestead of his father's and her great grandson is in the third grade in the Hay Creek School.

After a few years the neighborhood had increased to twenty-five or so families.  These people all came here so they could do as they liked because under the German government they didn't have this privilege.  They could also obtain a better and higher standard of living in the United States.

The first occupation of these settles was farming and wheat was the main crop.  There was an abundance of marsh hay growing along a little stream of water that flowed through the settlement and so the farmers took in cattle from the neighboring settlements and grazed them on the hay.  This is how Hay Creek received its name.

There were two roads at that time which crossed by the church.  One went from the church to Gust Zank which is about one-half mile in distance and the other was from Smith's to Ed. Hortons.

After twelve years of settlement in Hay Creek, the present day roads were built and for the past fifty-five years they have not changed.

Oxen remained the only means of transportation but in the latter part of the year 1875 Fred Smith got the first buggy.  The doctor and minister also had buggies.

In 1883 the first church was built by Haskie.  It was named St. John's First Church and Oetjen was the minister.  The congregation consisted of thirty-five members.  Then in 1899 the parish house was built.  At the present time there is no resident minister so another family lives there now.  After a while a disagreement arose among the church members and a new church, St. Zions, was built.  Now both churches have services every Sunday.  St. John's minister is Rev. Baumann from Neillsville and his congregation consisting of eight families.  St. Zion's minister comes from Fairchild and is Rev. Jank and his congregation has fifteen families.

After a few years of settlement, Abraham built the school.  The name of the first teacher and the number of pupils is not known.  This school soon became too small and was sold and the present day school was bought.  The present school consists of twenty-five pupils.

Most of the people in Hay Creek are descendants from Germany and belong to the Lutheran church.  There are only four families living in the district at the present time that are not Germans.  In the entire district there are three families who go to churches outside the district.  Two go to the Catholic Church, both at Fairchild.  One family goes to the Lutheran Church in Augusta.

Especially in the summer the banks of Hay Creek are lined with fishermen who expect to catch some fish.  This creek is supposed to be an excellent spot for catching trout.

There is an abundance of deer in the woods in Hay Creek.  They can be seen when driving through the wooded roads.



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