In this series of weekly blogs we are driving down through Crawford County, taking Highway 27, from Viroqua to Prairie du Chien. Seneca is perched in the heart of Crawford County and our Scheckel farm was 2 miles northwest of the former stagecoach stop.
We’re in Eastman right now. St. Wenceslaus Church out on the edge of Eastman. That’s where Ann and I were married 50+ years ago.
Pelock’s Gas Station was on the corner. Turn east and you’re motoring out on Shanghai Ridge, which will eventually join up with Plum Creek Road and take you right into Wauzeka, Wisconsin.
Diagonal from Pelock’s was the small house of Willard and Betty Ray. Both were teachers and very good ones. Betty Ray was my 5th and 6th grade teacher at Oak Grove School and Willard was there for my 7th and 8th grade. They raised a large family of seven kids. Will, Judy, Connie, Linda. Twins Tim and Tom were 1.5 years old when Willard died in 1961. David was born after his father passed away. He had just signed a contract to be principal at the newly built South Elementary School. They are buried in the National Cemetery on the south edge of Eastman.
The impressive brick, two story Eastman elementary school has been torn down. There’s a new handsome water tower on the site. There are no motels in Eastman, but the churches do outnumber the taverns two to one. No gas station, no grocery store, no library, no school, no airport, no trains. Eastman is a quiet town with 400+ wonderful people.
My aunt, Helen Feye, ran the Post Office in Eastman for many years. When our family went through Eastman, her husband, John Feye, could be seen sitting on the porch or steps of the Eastman Post Office. My brothers, Phillip and Bob, and I wondered out loud if he ever did anything. Stony silence from our Dad. Helen Feye was his sister.
Any famous people come out of Eastman? Barbara Bedford, actress featured in over 100 (mostly silent) films from 1920-1945, was born in Eastman. She was born as Violet May Rose in 1903 and passed away in 1981, aged 78.
For many years, Father Baer was the priest at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church. Next week, we’ll talk about St. Wenceslaus Church out on the edge of Eastman. That’s where Ann and I were married 50+ years ago. I will share all the details of our honeymoon!