Albert and Bertha Scholtz made their home in the northern part of Sherwood Forest Township, Clark County, Wisconsin. Albert was 26 years of age on the 1880 census; Bertha was 19. Bertha Christina (nee Zipfel) was born August 28, 1861, in Altenburg, Germany to George Frederick Zipfel and Johanna (Leidholt) Zipfel. The Zipfel family immigrated to America settling in the Town of Grant, Clark, about 1870.
Albert Scholtz had an interesting and somewhat mysterious background. The mysterious part came in respect to Albert’s last name, which was originally Homernick. Family stories are that Albert fled his native country of Prussia to avoid the draft. He boarded a ship headed for America and his freedom. On the ship he befriended a family named Scholtz and pretended he was one of their family. He, as the story goes, ate his draft papers while at sea to avoid being caught and returned to Prussia.
Earliest mention of Albert living in Sherwood Forest was found on a log lien on file at Clark County. Albert was working for contractor, August Wetstein, cutting pine logs on Section 24 owned by Wetstein, in the early part of 1876. On this lien document he signed his name as Albert Homernick. Sherwood town hall records show Albert’s election as town constable in 1878, along with three other men. Here his name is signed, Albert Scholtz. Albert also took part in various other town functions in the years to come such as assisting with road building.
On June 19, 1880, Albert and Bertha were married in Neillsville. Mention of Albert is made in the LaFlesh Chronicle written in 1914, by Mayme LaFlesh, daughter of Thomas LaFlesh: After a banquet we danced and someone asked John how his wife managed to dance without kicking up her skirts. The answer could have been a German, Albert Sholtz, who worked for Father, taught me to dance and it had to be smooth! .
In May of 1886, Albert Scholtz purchased the 80-acre parcel in Section 10, Sherwood Forest, for $400. from the estate of Cadwallader C. Washburn. C. C. Washburn was a lumberman and former Governor of Wisconsin from 1872-1874. Washburn had vast holdings of pinelands in Clark County and throughout Wisconsin for logging purposes. C. C. Washburn died May 14, 1882, and due to his vast enterprises it took several years to liquidate his assets in the most profitable way per his request. It is believed that in the summer of 1886, the large frame house was built on the Scholtz property, making it one of the oldest homes still standing in Sherwood today (2003).
Albert Scholtz was hardworking and somewhat prosperous in logging and farming. In a few short years Scholtz purchased several more parcels of land in Sherwood Forest; 120 acres in Section 3; 120 acres in Section 4; and 80 acres in Section 17. He and Bertha had six children; Albert Jr. born 1881; Clara born in 1883; Mayme born in 1884; Frank born in 1888; Ralph born in 1890; and Louis Scholtz born in 1893.
An untimely death came to Albert on August 3, 1893, in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Newspaper articles from Neillsville and La Crosse have shed some light into his demise
LACROSSE CHRONICLE - August 4, 1893 - MORTUARY - The death of Robert Schultze (sic), a lumberman, whose home is near Neillsville, occurred at the European house yesterday morning of brain fever. Deceased came here about two weeks ago and was not feeling well then. He is about 40 years of age, and leaves a wife and five children. The former has been telegraphed of the occurrence, and the remains will stay here until an order for their disposition is received.
LACROSSE CHRONICLE - August 5, 1893 - The man who died at the European hotel two nights ago was Albert Schultz (sic), a German 45 or 50 years old, who kept a little tavern on the road from Neillsville to Nevins. He took up land there and logged it. He also tried small contracting one or two years and had to make an assignment. Everybody on the East Fork knows him and Tom Kerns telegraphed yesterday to have the body properly cared for and somebody would come after it. Schultz was here doctoring.
NEILLSVILLE REPUBLICAN & PRESS - August 10, 1893 - Albert Sholz (sic) of the town of Sherwood Forest, died in La Crosse on Thursday, August 3rd. The immediate cause of his death was abscess on the brain. Friends were notified by telegram, and Alex Holverson set out for La Crosse Friday evening, returning with the body on the one o’clock train Saturday. It was found necessary to inter the body immediately and the funeral was held Saturday afternoon. The deceased was a farmer and had engaged quite extensively in logging. He leaves a wife and five small children. Let us hope that they will find friends who will help them in their struggle in the world. Albert is buried in an unmarked grave in the Neillsville City Cemetery.
And a struggle it was for Bertha’s remaining forty years of life in Sherwood Forest. One month after her husband’s death, she gave birth to their sixth child, Louis Scholtz. Bertha continued farming on 40 acres with the help of her children, and sold the remainder of the Scholtz land. She cooked for the employees of the Wood County Manufacturing Sawmill located just west of her home for an extra income.
On March 5, 1896, Bertha married Hans Tompson who had been employed at the sawmill. Within a few days after their marriage Hans abandoned her. Daughter, Minnie Tompson, was born in the fall of 1896. Due to desertion, Bertha filed for divorce from Hans Tompson in July of 1897.
On Oct 4, 1897, Bertha married Henry Frechette in Black River Falls, Jackson County, Wisconsin. The couple continued to farm in Section 10 in Sherwood Forest. Two children were born to Bertha and Henry; Isabelle Frechette born in 1898, (married William Tullis), and Anita Frechette, born in 1901 and died in 1903 of spinal meningitis. The marriage of Bertha and Henry also ended in divorce in 1903, shortly before the death of daughter, Anita. According to their divorce file, Henry left Bertha in the summer of 1901 and had failed to provide support or visit her since that time. In November of 1906, daughter Beulah Frechette was born to Bertha at Sherwood, completing her family. On Beulah’s birth certificate, it lists her father as Henry Frechette.
Sons, Ralph, Frank, and Louis remained at home for a time and ran the farm. Oldest son, Albert, married Theora Petrine and moved to Wausau, Wisconsin, where he died April 16, 1953. Ralph Scholtz served in WWI and married Clara Gall, a neighbor. They remained on the Scholtz homestead the remainder of their days. Frank and Louie married Sherwood schoolteachers. Frank and wife Arlene (Anderson) Scholtz relocated in Milwaukee, where Frank sought employment until Arlene’s death with the birth of their second child in 1918 who died also. Frank returned to the Neillsville and Sherwood area assisting Ralph on the family farm. Frank was notorious for his ability to locate the best blueberry patch in the area or rare trailing arbutus flowers in the spring. He loved to trap, hunt, fish, go frogging, and wasn’t happy with a backwoods drive unless he got a vehicle stuck. He never remarried. Louie Scholtz married Mary Huckstead from rural Neillsville and they made their home and farm across the highway from Mary’s parents at Pleasant Ridge, east of Neillsville. After Mary died in 1952, Louie married her widowed cousin, Florence (nee Huckstead) Counsell.
Oldest sister, Clara Scholtz married William Baker, a train conductor for the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, which traveled through Wood and Clark County. They moved to Washington State where Clara died May 26, 1962.
Minnie Tompson married John Voegli who was the Sherwood Cheese Factory owner. The Voegli’s left Sherwood moving to Cambria, Wisconsin where they continued in the cheesemaking business. Minnie died in 1976.
Mayme Scholtz married Albert Gall, brother to Ralph’s wife Clara. Mayme and Albert Gall farmed in Sherwood until selling out in the 1950’s. Mayme died June 12, 1973. She and Albert are buried in the Sherwood Forest Cemetery.
Isabelle Frechette married William Tullis. Youngest of Bertha’s children, Beulah Frechette, graduated from Neillsville High School and married Floyd Defoe. The Defoes resided in the Waukesha, Wisconsin area.
The Scholtz brothers who remained in Clark County, lived until the 1970’s. Frank died in 1971, and was buried with his wife, Arlene, at Nasonville, Wood County, Wisconsin. Louis and Ralph both died in 1976, Louis was interred in the Neillsville Cemetery, and Ralph was buried at Sherwood. The Scholtz homestead in Section 10, where Albert and Bertha made their home, remained in the family until the death of Gene Scholtz, youngest son of Ralph Scholtz, in 1997.
In conclusion of the Albert and Bertha Scholtz biography a portion of an obituary of Bertha follows. NEILLSVILLE PRESS 1933 Mrs. Bertha Frechette, an old resident of the Town of Sherwood, passed away Thursday, December 14, aged 72 years, 3 months, and 16 days. Mrs. Frechette was a lady of most admirable qualities, kind and hospitable to friends and strangers, a good wife and kindly mother. She was loved and respected by all who knew her, and will be greatly missed by her family and friends. Daughter, Anita Frechette, is buried at the Sherwood Cemetery near her mother, Bertha.
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