A Historical Sketch of Popple River
by Patti Phillips Wenham.


I left Forest County when I was 13 years old but I remember a few things
about Popple River and Newald that may be of interest to you.

My father, George Phillips located the largest white pine in the area
and I believe it is still standing.

Popple River had a one room grade school in 1939 when I entered first
grade.  The school burned about 1946 and school was held in the Popple
River Town Hall.  Families with children attending school during the
time I attended were Peters, Schmidt, Rabas, Phillips, Fercey, Topping,
Howen, Conn, Chaney, Zimmer and Buckman to name a few.

The only church services held there were held in the Town Hall and the
Minister was a Lutheran.

Dairy farming was the main source of income.  Cream was shipped to Iron
River, Michigan.

My Grandfather, Charles Rock, had a logging camp with a rail road siding
on his property North of the Popple River.  When he quit logging he
turned the land into a farm, raising sheep and dairy cattle.

There was no grocery store at Popple River but there were two taverns
and a house that sold beer and soft drinks from their living room.

There was no school bus, no post office or no restaurant.

Most of the inhabitants of Popple River were German descendants and most
families still spoke German in their homes.

Newald and Long Lake were the nearest towns that had grocery stores.
Mail was picked up at the post office in Newald.

Entertainment was provided by the local musicians.  This usually
consisted of an accordion, a fiddle, a piano and possibly a drum.
Sometimes it was only a harmonica.  The whole town would attend dances
in the Town Hall.  All members of the family came.  Youngsters danced
with the adults and with each other.  Toddlers would dance by
themselves.  Grandparents taught the youngsters folk dances.  My
Grandmother was an excellent dancer and taught me to polka, schottische
and two step.  There was usually a meal served at the dance and
frequently included a hot stew cooked in a washtub.  There was also a
selection of ice cream flavors in the freezers that were carefully
packed in ice and then wrapped in burlap sacks.

Small children who grew too tired to stay awake would be placed on
makeshift beds made by putting two wooden chairs together with the seats
butted against one another and then placed against the wall with two
more chairs placed on the other open side of the chairs.  This could
hold more than one child and usually did.

When there were dances in the winter time the trip home was usually
pretty cold because it would be snowing or there would be freezing rain
and the driver couldn't see through the windshield so he/she would lean
out of the window on the driver's side and try to see the road.  They
had to get home so they would be ready to milk the cows in the morning.

Farmers grew their own hay and grain.  A threshing crew would come to
thresh the grain.  The farm women would prepare a sumptuous spread for
the crew.  All farm women vied for the best prepared meal.  Some farms
did not yield enough income to afford to feed the crew enough. The other
farm wives knew who these farmers were and would take some food to the
farm so that they could serve the crew a full meal.

My Father was the chairman of Popple River until about 1947 when he
resigned and Dan Powers became the chairman.