Clipped From Kossuth County Advance

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 - By Esther Charlotte Smith Charles City, la, „...
By Esther Charlotte Smith Charles City, la, „ Memories of a former resident of the recently defunct village of Seneca were .stirred toy the Advance's story of the hamlet's early days. Mrs, Mame Bolllg Lentsch, whose recollections of Seneca reach back 75 years, has sent an account of those days, She and her parents and brothers and sisters came in 1895 to a farm northwest of the Village, At that time, she recalls most of the town wag on the north side of the road which constituted its one street. It included the co-operative creamery, the creamery's ice house where ice from the nearby Des Moines river was stored, and a long shed, open on one side, where creamery patrons could hitch their horses hooked to sleds, wagons of buggies. , There was a co-operative store managed by a couple named Brortson and a dwelling house where the buttermaker lived. (August Johnson wa's buttermaker for many years bul there had been others before him,) Harry Bliss' blacksmitf shop and one dwelling house were the Only buildings on the south side of the street. -The postoffice was in the cooperative store and there was a telephone line running from the store to Bancroft, later ex- tended to Ringsted. (Some of the 'young bloods' of that day used to. spend their evenings in the store 'listening in'on the telephone line*»that,was before the days of radio or TV,) ' Somewhere near Where the consolidated school was later built stood the one-room schoolhouse* A THE SCHOOL had its biggest attendance during the winter .months, when older farm boys attended after fall work was over. Then there were often 30 pupils in attendance. (The late Mrs, Bertha Smith Eckholm, mother of Mrs. Paul Hilbert of Algona, taught the school around the turn of the century and paid Carl Boilig twenty-five cents a week from her meager salary if he would have a good fire going in the big wood- burning heater when the other pupils arrived.) This was before, the days of Rural Free Delivery, so farmers went to the postoffice in the Seneca store to pick up their mail. This mail was brought out from Bancroft, 10 miles by William Dixon, driving a small team of grey ponies hitched to a one-seated topless buggy. He arrived about 2 p.m., having taken the mail from the Chicago Northwestern northbound train which arrived at Bancroft about 9:00 aan. Mud and snow often made his trip a slow one, and other weather conditions occasionally made it even dangerous. "YOU COULD almost set your clock by him, he was always so prompt," writes Mrs. Lentsch," six days a week, rain or shine, snow or sleet. Much credit to his memory* One time he got as far as the Des Moines river bridge (five miles east or southeast of Seneca) where the previous day a flash flood had almost washed the bridge away. He laid a plank over the gap, tied one pony to the buggy and left it, took the mail sack on his back, led the other pony behind him across the plank, and rode horseback the rest of the way into Seneca—and went back the same way." About 1907 the mail route from Fenton took over delivering mail to Seneca and surrounding territory, and still does. A few more buildings appeared on the south side of the street about the time Don Adams bought the north-side store from the creamery company. He used that store to live in and built a larger store across the street. John Jensen later built a store just west of Adams' and at various times the postoffice was in each of those stores. Methodist services had been held in the schoolhouse for some years, then the group built a church just east of the north- south road at the east side of the village. MRS, LENTSCH well recalls how the rural schoolhouse was the center of activity for the young people b£ ..^ „. days. Weekly Meetings of the Literary Society progri plays, debates, music and lectures by the #*tn£p^&$l box socials helped to raise money for a cabto "' kind now avidly sought by antique-huntevs) and the school's belfry. This school was,replaced in 1917 .. ---„--,-.- #» school, the laying of whose cornerstone Mrs. LentJchfai-,;-^ tended. Her late brother Julis Boilig was oil the SOard of Education of that school for 23 years and presented, school diplomas to each of his 10 children at graduation exercises. ' , f ," % > Now tiie consolidated school is no more and children from Seneca and several other townships are transported to Sentral school west of Lone Rock. The old Boilig farm northwest of Seneca is still in family ownership and the Boilig brothers also own a tract of land including what was once the south part of the village' of Seneca. Mrs. Lentsch, widow of Henry Lentsch of the Swea City area, now lives with a daughter at New Ulm, Minn., and is well remembered in the Seneca-Bancroft community. '$, ;X I s:*:::*: : : : :::m^^

Clipped from
  1. Kossuth County Advance,
  2. 08 Dec 1969, Mon,
  3. Page 1

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