We spent a few weeks hanging around Seneca, so now we continue our journey down through Crawford County and on to Prairie du Chien, Wi using Highway 27. The Scheckel farm was a couple miles NNW of Seneca out on Oak Grove Ridge. I grew up on that farm-from 1945 to 1960.
We pass the stockyards, then the O’Shaughnessy farm. Good Irish Catholics, my Dad would say. Big white frame house, farmstead in pristine condition. We pass the George Zach farm on the right. They went to our St. Patrick’s Church also. Donald Zach was in high school with me and also attended religion classes. A quiet kid and hard worker. I believe I heard that Mr. Zach lived to be over 100.
We’ll just go past the turnoff to Oak Grove Ridge, which would be County Hiway E, or Dixon Ridge as it is known. If you would take County Trunk E, you would go about 5 miles and drop down into the valley to the village of Lynxville along the Mississippi River.
But as we pass that County Highway E turnoff, let’s glance to the right to glimpse the Cora (mother) and Marcella (daughter) Reed farm. Small 40 acre farm with white barn with one of those rounded roofs. She was in my older brother, Ed’s class, never married and drove a small Allis Chalmers tractor and milked a few Holsteins.
About a mile more and we come to the “Poor Farm” on Highway 27. Many counties in Wisconsin had such a place where poor, old, slightly mentally deficient could be taken care of. It was an actual farm, people were expected to work if they were capable, and it had a huge house. In documents it was listed as the “Home for the Feeble Minded”.
In the 1950’s, many of these farms were discontinued as county institutions and sold at public auctions. The Sobecks bought the farm. The buildings were in terrible shape and they all needed painting. Rumor had it that part of the house was used as a pig pen. Ronnie Sobeck was in my class at Seneca High School. A very fine congenial fellow who later got a few PopTarts ahead.
When I was about ten years old, Dad and I went over to Sobeck in our old green Chevy farm pickup. “Old man Sobeck” came out from behind the house to greet us, “come over here, look at the litter”.
There were about five or six long legged brown mutts, about three to four months old, yapping and dancing. I looked them over. I chose one that looked healthy and looked right at me as if to say “I want to come and live with you”. At least, that is how I interpreted dog talk.
So I picked out a puppy. With its long legs, the dog seems full grown to me. We climbed into our pickup and headed back to the farm, a five minute drive, puppy squirming on my lap. Dad said, “That’s your dog, give it a name and take care of it.” I think Browser was my “therapy dog”. I was having a few rough spots getting along with people at the time.
Next week we continue heading south to the village of Eastman.