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The unincorporated village of Comstock, with a population of about 125, is situated in the northeast quarter of Section 34, Crystal Lake Township, on the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Northwestern railway, which is now a part of the Chicago & Northwestern railway system. It is eighteen miles northwest of Barron, the county seat, and is surrounded by an excellent farming and dairying country. The water supply is derived from wells. The first settler on the site of the village was Andrew Swamby, who arrived here in 1874. Mr. Swamby opened the first general store and in 1875 became the first postmaster of Comstock. Other early settlers here were T. N. Stebbins, R. Roberts, E. Whitcomb, Daniel Kinnil, J. Jorgenson, John Jorgenson and Frank Williams.
The logging industry was the first carried on in the vicinity and a sawmill was erected at an early date. Two of the earliest settlers at Crystal Lake, a mile northwest of the village, were S. H. Carsley, in 1872, and T. Jacobson, in 1875. Mr. Carsley is still living on the old homestead and is now 84 years old.
Mr. Swamby's successor in the postoffice was R. Corbett, and the latter was succeeded by S. Addington. Then R. E. Schmaling, who conducted a general store, became postmaster and continued as such until he sold out his business in 1905 to Christ P. Tyvoll. The latter thereupon became postmaster, and remained so for ten years or more, until Henry H. Carsley, having bought out the Lamoureaux general store in 1916, in July that year succeeded to the office and has since had charge of the mails.
The village has grown slowly, but, in the main, local enterprises have been planted on a solid foundation. One of the most successful creameries in the county is located here, and there is also a substantial bank, two general stores, well stocked with all goods demanded by a country trade, a garage and a lumber yard. Two churches one Methodist Episcopal and the other Lutheran provide opportunities for religious worship and exert a wholesome influence on the lives of the people.
The schoolhouse now in use is the third building that has been erected here for educational purposes. It was built in 1915 at a cost of $5,000 and contains two rooms, in which the usual grade studies are pursued. Two teachers are employed and about fifty pupils are enrolled.
The Comstock Co-operative Creamery was organized by the farmers and incorporated in July, 1907, with a capital stock of $3,000. The chief movers in the enterprise were W. A. Gierhart, Peter Olson, Charles Pederson, Charles Helbig, William A. Ebert and William Modersbach. A factory which had been previously operated for a while as an individual creamery, was purchased and operations begun. The new concern had a steady growth from the start, and shortly after business had started the capital stock was raised from $3,000 to $5,000, and the building had to be remodeled and enlarged. In 1917 Ernest R. Salsbury took over the management, since which time the business had considerably increased and the institution is now one of the largest and most successful of its kind in Barron County. This result has been accomplished notwithstanding the competition of two neighboring cheese factories. The following figures show the amount of business done in the year 1920; Pounds of cream received, 981,166; total amount of butter made, 354,487 pounds; total amount received for same, $188,010.19; amount paid farmers in cash, $172,231.81; amount paid farmers in butter, $3,730.01; total paid farmers, $175,961.82. The officers of the company are as follows: President and director, W. A. Gierhart, of Turtle Lake; vice president and director, Joseph Dusel, of Turtle Lake; treasurer and director, Otto A. Olson, of Comstock; other directors, T. J. Troan, of Turtle Lake, and Anton Erickson, John Howe and Gust Peterson of Comstock; secretary and manager, E. R. Salsbury; buttermaker, L. E. Leight.
The Bank of Comstock was organized and incorporated as a state bank in February, 1918, with a capital stock of $10,000 and a surplus of $1,000. The bank opened for business March 23, 1918, with P. W. Miller as president, A. H. Miller vice president, and Otto A. Olson cashier. These officers have since continued to serve and also act as directors. In 1921 Agnes J. Olson was made assistant cashier. The capital stock remains the same as at the beginning. On Dec. 31, 1921, the surplus was $7,100 and the total deposits $55,622. The institution does a general banking business.
The village of Comstock was platted July 26, 1920. The owners were Tony Dabruzzi, C. P. Tyvoll, Otto Amundson, Charles Blanch, H. H. Carsley, Frank Dabruzzi, the Comstock Co-operative Creamery Co., (W. A. Gierhart, president; E. R. Salsbury, secretary) and the Comstock Methodist Episcopal Church (William Modersbach, Frank Williams, J. M. Scribner and Benjamin Topper). The surveyor was J. A. H. Johnson.
In March, 1920, nearly one hundred enthusiastic "boosters" for Comstock held a meeting and organized the Comstock Community Club. The organization is thoroughly representative of all the various lines of activity to be found in the community, including farmers, business and professional men, bankers, clerks and laborers. The first officers were: Frank Williams, president; Frank Huser, vice president; Otto A. Olson, secretary, and Claus W. Carlson, treasurer. The officers of the club are always found working in perfect harmony with the entire membership and associates for any cause or project affecting the welfare of the community. One of the notable achievements of the club is the erection of a fine and modern community building, and by the activity of the members clean amusements and entertainments have been provided for all. This enterprise has been well supported by public sentiment and patronage, and is visible evidence that Comstock, though not yet a large village, possesses real elements of growth in the up-to-date character of its people and those in the country immediately surrounding it.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Comstock was organized Sept. 1, 1910, among the first members being Mr. and Mrs. Ben Topper, Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Scribner, Mr. and Mrs. E. Falkner, Bell Carsley, Martha Gates, G. Gates, Mrs. C. P. Houston, Hattie Williams, Frank Williams and Grover Barnes. A frame building was purchased for $700 from the Modern Woodmen of America and remodeled at a cost of $1,200 into a good church edifice. The first pastor was Rev. H. S. Goodridge. The present pastor, the Rev. Theo. Mathews, serves both this church and that at Perley. The Comstock church has now about thirty members.
Paul's German Lutheran Evangelical Church at Comstock was organized
by August H. Soltau, Gustav A. Haas
and August Croehler,
in August, 1914. The Rev. Theo. D. Martens
was the first pastor. He and the members labored together under difficult
conditions, without an edifice, trying their best to enlarge their membership,
and holding meetings wherever they could until March, 1917, when August
H. Soltau donated to the church a lot 100 feet square, on the corner of
Market and East street. On this the members erected a handsome church building.
The church has now 21 members with good prospects for future growth. The
present pastor is the Rev. H. H. Wegner,
who also serves similar congregations at Cumberland (where he resides),
Collingwood Corners, Johnstown and McKinley. He manages to give regular
services in these churches at least once every other Sunday and on holidays.
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