He had been born in New York in 1850 to Gottlieb and Fredricka (Schartzberger) Herold shortly after their arrival from Saxony Germany. A three year old brother had died on the way over as a result of injuries received from a falling keg on board. They traveled from New York to Milwaukee in a wagon pulled by oxen. There his father worked in a clothes pin factory. Their next move was to La Crosse where he operated the toll gate on the La Crosse River Bridge at the entrance to the plank road between the north and south side of La Crosse. The toll charges were 3 cents for a horse and rider and five cents each for a horse and buggy, a team of oxen or a team of horses and a wagon. An additional 2 cents was paid for each extra horse and 1 cent for each additional oxen. Drivers of cattle paid 1 cent for each cow and ½ cent for each pig or sheep. In 1862 Gottlieb homesteaded the farm in Chipmunk Coulee. When son Rudolph bought the farm in 1883, Gottlieb and Fredricka bought land in Mormon Coulee and started a brick yard, known in later years as the Meier Brick Yard. The original homestead which grandpa Rudolph bought was divided into three farms with sons George and Elmer each taking over one of them. My Father, George, kept the part with the original home site and Grandpa Herold lived with us until his death in 1927.

I remember him well. He was a slight man with a shock of dark hair and a mustache. I can still see him walk across the yard with his hands folded behind his back, his normal walking position. Grandpa often took my brother and me picking wild flowers near the spring. It was a cool shady place on the north side of the hill. Soon after the snow was gone the ground there was covered with Dutchman britches and blood roots. The cool spring water bubbled out of the side of the hill and formed a tiny pool. We always scooped up cupped handfuls for a refreshing drink. Water Cress grew in the pool, which we gathered in late February and March and served as a salad with a dressing of rich cream, sugar and vinegar. Dad called it spring tonic, and I’m sure it was because fresh fruits and vegetables were not available during the winter months. The spring with its steady supply of fresh cool water was undoubtedly the reason for the location of the homestead. Early settlers chose to build near a good water supply.

In the fall we went nut picking with Grandpa. Several hickory trees grew nearby and we gathered bushels of nuts. In the winter Dad would crack them by holding the nut between his thumb and forefinger on a block of wood held between his knees, then giving the nut a sharp blow with a hammer. A miss meant a painful blackened finger nail but the nut meats were delicious for cookies cakes and munching.

Next time: Grandpa Krause

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Westby Times editor

Dorothy Robson is editor of the Westby Times. Contact her at 608-637-5625.

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