German Settlement Update, #7, Christmas 2007

When our founders came ashore

They stopped to purchase one thing more,

To share together this one plow,

Bring it with them from then to now.

A plow made out of wood and steel

Gave their hearts hope their hands could feel.

Twelve oxen pulled six wagons back

Along the lonely prairie track

Into Galena from Racine

To board a steamboat with  each team,

Till in Wisconsin they arrived,

In St. Croix County, where they thrived.

If that old breaking plow could talk,

It would tell us of their long walk,

And would reveal more of the tale,

As up to Hudson they set sail,

And how, after they settled here,

They plowed the land and held it dear.

          –  Anne Marie (Schwalen) Stickel

German Settlement Heritage Society Life Member


The plow was bought in Racine and used by the

1852 pioneer families who started one of the

earliest farming communities in St. Croix County,

Wisconsin.  The plow now belongs to the

German Settlement Heritage Society, Inc.



Richard Schwenk

1130 Rexford Ave.

Pasadena, CA 91107-1711


Wishing you and your family

Christmas Joy and

A Blessed New Year!

                                                                                   To Friends of the German Settlement:







Please Mark Your 2008 Calendar & Join our…

Pioneer Grove Clean-up & Tree Planting

8:30 AM & Noon lunch meeting, May 10


Weiner roast materials will be provided.


Pioneer Grove sign built by Mel McElwain

Pot Luck Family Picnic, 6:30 pm, May 15


Apple Pie & Pot Luck Picnic Meeting  at

Pioneer Nicholas Schwalen homestead

(now Schwenk place) 6:30 pm, Sept.18

Both events held at 837 County Rd. N.


A new internal road allows ample parking space.



Barn Dance Benefit, 6:30 pm, Oct. 4



at 565 County Rd. U, 6 mls. N of River Falls &

6 mls. east of Hudson at the Pioneer Barth.

Schwalen homestead (now Mike & Evonne Ganz).



Jim Schwenk, Lynn Johnson, Geo Bruhn in GS Band






Here are some newly found facts from a 1848 book by Dr. Carl De Haas a German emigrant to Wisconsin in 1847. The English translation of the book is: North America Wisconsin Hints for Emigrants.

It gives recommendations to travelers to Wisconsin. His facts are marked ** below. The * marks are facts gleaned from old reports and news articles. From this we can get a better picture of the time line in their travel, while still open to any new findings:


Back in 1852:

April 11  About 35 emigrants followed Nicholas Schwalen from Honsfeld, Bullingen, Prussia (now part of eastern Belgium). They would have traveled by train or horse drawn wagons about 130 miles to the port of Antwerp. Train is more likely.


April 15 (Thurs.)  The emigrants set sail on the SS Columbus from Antwerp.*


May 31 (Mon.)  They landed in New York City after 46 days at sea.*


June 1 (Tues.)  They would have taken a Hudson River steamer 12 hours from NYC to Albany costing only 50 cents each.**


June 2 – 3  A 2-day train ride from Albany to Buffalo saved 8 days by canal boat.**


June 4 – 11  Buffalo to Racine by steamer on the Great Lakes lasted about 7 days.**


June 12-15  Estimated time in Racine to buy oxen, wagons and a breaking plow. Friends & relatives in Racine could have helped prepare these if they sent word ahead.


June 16 to 24  Racine to Galena by oxen pulled wagons about 8 days to cover 170 miles.


June 25  Galena to Hudson by Mississippi-St. Croix river steamboat took about 2 days.

27 June (Sun) They landed in Hudson and went directly to the cabin of  Nicholas and Hely Schwalen, built in 1851, six miles east of Hudson. They would have been eager to stake claim on the land and to graze their oxen. One of their earliest projects was building a community bakery oven.*  Thus, the plow and bakery oven are symbols of our heritage.


German Settlement Heritage Society Members


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