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Albert, An Old Shacker Who Lived Near Paulding, Michigan, Chats With Friends

Albert was an old “shacker” who lived in the north woods near Bruce’s Crossing.  He was not a total recluse but was somewhat of a hermit who went fishing with Carl Senior and his friends quite often.  They used to stay in a cabin down the road from Albert’s place.  Once Albert invited Esther and Carl into his little shack, and Esther was not favorably impressed with his housekeeping skills (or should I say lack of them?).  She said his pillow looked like leather it was so dirty and crusted over.  That was the first and last time she ever went into his place.

UPPER PHOTO: (Left to right) Carl Krieser, Sr., Albert, Ed Murdo, Esther and a fellow in riding pants and boots.

MIDDLE PHOTO:  That was one of the rental cabins at Paulding.  Once Esther was sitting on the couch in the cabin, chatting with the men when suddenly a little mouse came scampering along the back of the couch right behind her.  Everybody but Esther saw it but they were all very quiet about it.  They probably didn’t want to scare the poor mouse--not to mention Esther!  She never saw it but after a bit they told her about it.  By then it was too late to react, but they all had a good laugh from it.  In the photo Carl Jr. and Carl Sr. stand in front with Jippy sitting on a stump.

BOTTOM PHOTO:  Carl Jr. and Carl Sr. standing with Albert.  His shack can be seen in the background to the left.  This photo was taken about 1946.  Sometimes Carl Sr. would take Junior with him for a week when he went back to work from Kimberly.  They stayed above a variety store and Junior would go to work with him, doing little odd jobs.  After work, they’d go fishing together.  Junior actually learned how to drive during one of those trips.  He drove from Bessemer to Kimberly on old 45, gravel and all.

All of these photos were taken in the summer.  During the 1942 winter, when the family lived there, they had 173.5 total inches of snowfall at Ironwood.  That’s just a stone’s-throw from Bessemer.  And it didn’t melt until spring.  Wow!

The Kriesers Spend a Year in Bessemer, Michigan

C.R. Krieser was a train dispatcher at Bessemer, Michigan for several summers , both before and after 1942.  Iron mining at Bessemer was usually seasonal because Lake Superior froze over and the ore could not be shipped out.  Because this was the first year of World War II, they kept working the mines through the winter to help with the war effort.  Iron was very much in demand for ship building as well as for the many other industrial needs during the war. 

TOP:  This post card shows the huge open-pit iron mine at Bessemer.  The old steam engine pulled the ore form the mine to the ships during the summer.  That winter they just stockpiled it.

BOTTOM:  C.R. moved his family to Bessemer that year so they could be together.  When they got the car all packed up to move, there was one tiny little spot left open on the back seat.  Jippy spotted it and jumped right in.  He wasn’t going to be left behind!  This post card shows the junior high school that Carl Junior attended that year.  He was in 7th grade and it was the only year that he was able to attend a junior high school because Kiberly’s grade school went from kindergarten through 8th grade.  Kimberly hadn’t adopted the junior high concept.

LEFT:  Before the family moved to Michigan for a year, Carl Sr. was working in Michigan as a train dispatcher and coming home to Kimberly on the weekends.  That summer he would occasionally take Carl Jr. with him to Michigan for short periods of time.  This postcard was sent by Carl Junior to his mother who was still back in Kimberly.  It says, “Dear mom, we ate up here in Ironwood.  We had a swell tripe and saw a lot of minds on the way.  Carl Krieser”.  When he addressed the card, however, he sent it to Mr. and Mrs. Carl Kreiser, Kimberly, Wis., misspelling the last name.  Hum??  This one is an open pit mine.

RIGHT:  This postcard had Esther Krieser’s handwriting on the back but no date.  It said, “Deepest iron mine in the U.S.A.  2800 ft. deep.  Eureka Mine.”  This one is a shaft mine.

In 1942, when Carl R. Krieser was working at Bessemer, Michigan, he was through working by about mid-afternoon.  Then he’d take his fly rod out to one of the many small streams that ran through the area.  Wakefield, where these photos were taken, was just east of Bessemer.  He’d catch a few trout, clean them and take them home for supper.  Although Esther didn’t like fish, she would fry them up for him and Carl Junior.  Then they’d feast on crisp fried trout complimented with fresh Italian bread because they had a wonderful Italian bakery in town.  Sometimes he’d go berry picking and they would have berries to eat, or Esther would put them up into jam.  Delicious!  He spent many pleasurable hours out in the north woods when they lived there.  Ruth was working at Lakeview in Neenah then, so she was still living in their Kimberly, Wisconsin home.  It was a good arrangement for all of them.  She could continue to live at home while she worked and the house was not left vacant.

Home, Sweet Home In God’s Country

Carl and Esther left their very comfortable home in Kimberly to live in Bessemer, Michigan for a year during World War II.  This was their “new home” for that year.  This proves that “Home Is Where the Heart Is”, and Esther’s heart was with her husband.  Junior went with them and they all enjoyed the year very much.  [Now may I include a personal note?  About 6 months after Carl Junior and I were married, we took a short vacation in that country.  He was looking into a job at White Pine Mine while we were there.  This was 25 or 30 miles NE of Bessemer just off Lake Superior.  It was indeed God’s country but as far as I was concerned, God could keep it until man had fulfilled his duty to “replenish” and “subdue” it a bit more.  It was a lovely place to visit, but I had grave doubts about living there.  It might have been God’s country, but I couldn’t imagine where I’d go to church.  Wausau had a 6-family branch I was attending, but that was about 170 miles away.  Quite a Sunday drive!  At any rate, Carl decided against the job, so I didn’t have to worry abut it.  JGK]  The man standing on the log bridge was Ed Murdow, a good friend of Carl Senior’s.  Carl Senior is casting for trout in the wilds of Michigan.

Mystery Photographs

These photos were glued in Carl Senior’s scrapbook and nobody knows anything about them.  Carl Junior looked at the first three photos and didn’t recognize any of the men.  Then I mentioned that there was one more that was with them but it was glued in so tightly that it was torn when I tried to get it out.  When I showed that one to him he said, “I wouldn’t want to say for sure but the fellow by the deer in that photo looks a little like my dad.  Now that’s just a maybe, folks--not a for sure.  That’s the only one he’s on, so he must have taken the other three photos.  We were wondering how Dad Krieser got them, so that would explain if he took them.  At any rate, he thought enough of them to glue them into his scrapbook.  He’s long gone now, so we can’t ask him.  And besides, the great-grandchildren and 2nd and 3rd greats (etc.) need something to perk their interest in these family histories so this can be their mystery!  Is the middle man in the bottom right photo Great Grandpa Krieser or not?  If not, how did he get these photos?  And why would he glue them into his scrapbook?  You’ll each have to decide for yourselves how to end this mystery.  We don’t know!  Now, I do have to apologize for ripping the most important photo up.  I didn’t mean to but he used too much glue on it.  Or maybe the glue was just too good.  But I think it was the same glue that he used on the others.  Maybe he just wanted to be darn good and sure that it didn’t get lost so he used extra glue???  JGK

Bessemer, Michigan