WILLIAM FERDINAND HARDIES, SR. - PIONEER of BELKNAP TOWNSHIP
Edward W. Hardies, (photo above) son of William Hardies Jr. Written in 1963 for presentation at a family reunion in at the parish hall of St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, Belknap Township, Presque Isle County, Michigan. Pictures William Hardies Sr. and Jr.
A biography is history of a person’s life. It is a written account of events in which a person participated. There are very few records from which I can draw information for this history. Nearly all of the material that is set down here is what I, my brothers and sisters, and Uncle Otto have heard and recalled. Uncle Otto is the only living (in 1963) member of the pioneer's 9 children. Grandfather lived the last forty-eight years of his life on the farm that he homesteaded. After his retirement from active farming he made his home on the farm with his son, William Jr. It was in this household and atmosphere where I was raised and had the unusual opportunity to hear about the life, trials, hardships and tribulations of a pioneer. Many evenings, while grandfather was incessantly smoking his pipe, his grandchildren sat and listened with awe and admiration to what he related about the life and adventures of the early settlers of the county. We received first hand information directly from a pioneer who chose to build a home in a vast wilderness. Is there a youngster who is not fascinated and held spellbound by listening to harrowing events, tales of hardships, danger, adversity, and to the display of courage and heroism? To us it was hearing the stories of the Wild West without the cowboys. It never occurred to us that personality, character and industry were being molded and built while sitting at the feet of grandfather. Education and history were implanted, not by reading books, but by listening to the words of one who made history. We gladly ran to get his pipe, tobacco and matches just for the pleasure and privilege of listening. We were so absorbed and attentive that the clouds of smoke and ill-smelling and choking fumes of the sulphur matches were not noticed. The sulphur matches have gone out of existence some fifty years ago. The unhealthy conditions caused by sulphur in the match factories were responsible for the disappearance of the large pink box matches that sold for a penny. At work grandfather carried a small metal box filled with matches to keep them dry and prevent breaking. Later, I will relate an incident about the importance of having a match and how a stub of match averted a calamity.
We in the 1960's can not visualize what this country and this place was like a century ago when grandfather came here to stake out a claim and make a home. History and geography tell us about the deep snow, bitter cold, blizzards, forests, swamps, mosquitoes, deerflies, other flies, and wild animals that were here to greet the pioneers. Unless a person has at least seen a small area of virgin forest it is impossible to imagine what the vast wilderness was like a century ago. The trees were so dense that the sunshine never fell on forest floor. You could walk for days under the tops of the trees and never see the sun. A squirrel could travel from here to the Gulf of Mexico and to the Atlantic Ocean without touching the ground. He could jump from treetop to treetop for a thousand miles. Such was the wilderness in which our ancestor carved a home and raised a family.
William Hardies was born June 24, 1838 in West Prussia, Germany near the city formally called Danzig. This territory became a part of Poland after WWII and is now, in 1963, under Russian control. Very little is known about his childhood and young manhood life in Germany. He was orphaned while a child and was forced to help support himself by doing child labor. His father died when he was four years and his mother died when he was seven years of age. He did not have the opportunity and pleasure of gaining much of a formal education. His education was acquired in "school of hard knocks". He was confirmed in the Lutheran faith. He borrowed a suit on the day of his confirmation.
I remember him saying that, when a small boy he tended or herded geese on the farm of Herman Hoeft.
(ADDED NOTE by great-grandson Robert "Bob" Zinke. My mother was a sister to Edward Hardies the writer of this story, who also was at the feet of grandfather. I heard many of his siblings state that he tended geese with Herman Hoeft. Herman Hoeft was one year older than William Hardies Sr. Ironically, Herman was also orphaned, but at age twelve. His older brother, Johann and wife Caroline Hoeft, took Herman in and raised him. Herman and William remained friends all their life. Herman shared sandwiches with boyhood friend Bill. There are more stories to tell of Herman and Bill.)
Mr. Hoeft also emigrated to Presque Isle County, and became a successful lumber and businessman in Rogers City. As grandfather grew older he took on a man's job. One of his jobs was a hod carrier for a plasterer and bricklayer. A hod is a wooden tray or trough to be carried on a man's shoulder. It may be filled or loaded with mortar for plaster and carried to the rooms where it is plastered on the walls and ceiling. When constructing a brick building the hod is filled with brick or mortar. It is necessary to carry the heavy loads up long ladders and flights of stairs. There were no elevators to do the work.
When he attained the age of twenty-one he enlisted in the army and served three years in the cavalry. His military service was between the Danish War and Franco-Prussian War. He married Louise Reu (Roy) after being mustered out of the service and later emigrated to the United States June 6, 1866 on the ship, Star of Hope, with Port of Entry at Quebec, Canada. Wars in Europe were common and almost continuous. In 1846 Ireland had a potato crop failure by a disease and late blight that caused a famine when an estimated one-quarter of the Irish population starved to death. This famine also caused a great migration of Irish to the United States. The ancestors of President Kennedy came here in 1848. The revolution in Germany in 1849 was unsuccessful. There was great turmoil and restlessness in Europe. The people wanted to get away before more wars broke out and before another famine occurred. The people heard glowing words about the "land of opportunity", the "land of gold", America. Grandfather dreamed of owning land, gaining freedom (freiheit) and become independent. A land owner (ein bauer) was considered to be a man of wealth and distinction. Land was "free" in the United States. President Lincoln had signed the Homestead Act through which a person could acquire 160 acres of land by making improvements and living on it. Who wouldn't be excited over such an opportunity to become “ein baurer”, a man of distinction, of rank and of wealth? Going to America also meant leaving behind all the quarrels of Europe. It also meant gaining freedom and independence.
It was to the country of "gold", freedom and unlimited opportunities that grandfather came in 1865 with a wife and one small child, Edward. Detroit was their first destination. His brother, Fredrick and wife, and his half-sister, Mrs Anna Baller and her husband, also came at the same time. Fredrick's wife had an uncle who was a businessman in Bloomington, Illinois who persuaded her and her husband to Illinois. Mrs. Baller and her husband, William Baller came Presque Isle County a few years after grandfather and settled two miles from him on the present day Klee Road. Uncle Otto wrote me saying that grandfather had another brother besides Frederick and a sister in West Prussia. Grandfather and Fredrick pooled their money and sent ten dollars. Ten dollars were considered to be a small fortune by him. Nothing further is known about the brother that remained in Germany.
[ADDED NOTE by Robert Zinke. My mother Bertha Hardies Zinke was a sister to the writer Edward Hardies. As uncle Ed mentioned that all of the siblings sat at grandfather’s feet to listen. My mother’s chore in this gathering was to clean out his spittoon. My mother also relates that William upon arriving in Detroit looked up his boyhood pal Herman Hoeft for help. Herman found him a place for his family and also helped him get a job. Boyhood buddies hooked up again.]
They came to a foreign country where the official language different from their mother tongue. The customs, ideals and living conditions were different from what they had left. There was no "sadness of farewell" as they embarked to travel westward. The long and slow journey across the Atlantic Ocean was made in a sail boat, the Star of Hope. It usually took four to six weeks to cross the ocean in a sailboat. Sometimes it took eight or more weeks. Jet planes can make the 3,000 mile flight in one and one half hours. It probably took a 1,000 hours for the sailboat with its cargo of anxious and hopeful passengers, to travel the 3,000 miles.
They arrived in Quebec City, Canada rather than a Port in the United States. By sailing into Quebec, Canada there were several advantages. (1) No sponsor was needed upon arrival. (2) Less chance of being sent back, due to disease, or lack of money. (3) The fare to sail to Canada was much cheaper than the fare to land in the U.S. for choosing Quebec.
In Detroit they soon became acquainted with other German speaking immigrants. They met at their clubs and exchanged ideas and planned together. It was at the German Club that Grandfather met Theodor Noffze, August, Michael and Fred Elowski/Elowsky. They soon discovered that they had much in common. They had left the country of their birth [nearby villages where the Hardies family lived] for similar reasons. The acquaintance made at the Club became cemented into friendship. This friendship lasted throughout their lives. By hard work and depriving themselves of many things they saved enough money to leave Detroit in search of the land they had dreamed about for years.
Before I continue to tell about their leaving Detroit, let me relate a misfortune that befell grandfather. In this present time we would say it was a little bad luck. To him it was a catastrophe. Grandfather was in a store making various purchases. An item was on a high shelf. He was unable to make the clerk understand what he wanted. Laying his pocketbook on the counter he stepped up to point out the article to the clerk. When he stepped down his pocketbook with twenty dollars was snatched by someone who made his disappearance. Twenty dollars was a small fortune. The loss of it was a calamity. It represented many, many hours of hard work.
Why did William Hardies, the Theodor Noffze, the August, Michael and Fred Elowski/Elowsky family choose Presque Isle County? The following will give you a background as to the reason.
A German army officer, Albert Molitor, received a military education, emigrated to the United States and fought in the Civil War. While in the service he became acquainted with William Rogers. Both settled in Presque Isle County. Rogers City is named in honor William Rogers. Albert Molitor was acquainted with the resources of Presque Isle County. He considered it a good place to establish iron works, or iron smelter. The iron ore could be brought cheaply by boat from Duluth, Minnesota or Superior, Wisconsin. Millions or Billions of tons of limestone are here and the wood for fuel seemed unlimited and inexhaustible. Molitor realized that he also needed hard working men, sturdy men, loyal and faithful men. He frequented the German Clubs in Detroit and began recruiting men for his planned adventure. He told them about the vast resources of Presque Isle County, the unlimited timber, the prospects of securing employment in his iron works, and above all land was to be had just for the asking. This appeared to be the golden opportunity, a fulfillment of dreams.
The spirit of adventure was strong. The prospect to get land free and become independent was a long sought for goal. They did not know or realize the great obstacles that had to be overcome or the great hardships that had to be endured. Independence, freedom and the aspiration of land ownership was uppermost in their minds. These were the goals of their life.
The decision was made. The friendship of William Hardies, Theo Noffze, Michael Elowsky, Fred Elowsky, and August Elowsky was now firmly cemented and never to break apart. Their families were to remain in Detroit while they would go and lay the beginnings of a permanent home. They decided to embark on the great venture. Their life’s outlook and desire were similar. Had they not left the country of their birth to seek the very things that now beckoned them to settle in Presque Isle County? Saying temporary goodbye to their families in Detroit these four men boarded a boat and set sail for Crawford’s Quarry, now called Calcite. It was October 1868 when they set foot in Presque Isle County. It is here in this County, within a mile from this St. Michael's Church Parish Hall that each of them spent the remainder of his life. Grandfather spent the last forty-eight years of his life on the land that he came to find in 1868. The graves of these four pioneer friends are in the church yard just several hundred feet to the north of St. Michael's Lutheran Church.
President Lincoln had signed the Homestead Act bill. The main purpose of this law was to get settlers on the unoccupied land of this country. A person could acquire one quarter section, 160 acres, of government land by improving, clearing, and living on it for a number of years. The state of Michigan had been surveyed and land maps were available. The quadrumvirate, a group of four men, studied the map and selected the quarter section that each would claim as a homestead. A map can be complicated and meaningless to anyone who is not acquainted with its many symbols and hieroglyphics. Certain symbols and marks aroused the curiosity of grandfather. He asked the men in the land office what certain symbols meant and was told that they represented swamp land. Being made wise to the meaning of the symbols he selected a piece of land where only half of it is swamp land and too wet for farming. The other men did not understand the meaning of the symbols and chose land containing more swamps. Here is an example where grandfather's curiosity and the asking of a question paid off.
After landing at Crawford’s Quarry, the first big problem was to find their claims in the wilderness (One corner of grandfather’s claim is just one quarter mile south from this corner from where we are). The map showed the claims to be within one mile from the "State Road". The State Road was nothing but a wide path cut through the wilderness forest from Alpena to Cheboygan. It ran almost due northwest from Alpena to Cheboygan, a distance of about sixty miles. It was built to carry mail in the winter months. During the ice-free months the mail was carried by boats. When Lake Huron was frozen over dogsleds were used to carry the mail. When the snow was too deep for the dogs to pull the sled, the mailman would strap the mailbag to his back and travel the sixty miles on snowshoes.
[ADDED INFO BY Bob Zinke It was not uncommon for the mailman to bunk in at nights with various homesteaders. He did bunk in on the Hardies Homestead. He was an Indian. The last time he stayed there he left his snowshoes. As a young boy on visits at the Hardies Homestead, I would put these snowshoes on and go traipsing in the fields.]
This, our meeting place, is a stones throw away from the State Road. It intersected the present highway at the Belknap Corner just one hundred feet to the south of this meeting place. The State Road was the eastern boundary of the Hardies Homestead that angled toward Posen. Part of the old State Road today is Angle Highway in Moltke Township some seven or eight miles northwest of this corner.
This was the untouched wilderness where strong men, sturdy men, men with will power, men with faith in themselves, men with faith in their fellowman, and men with faith in God, came to hew a home and raise a family. Such was the material that constituted William Hardies.
Now allow me to return to the subject of how they found the land that each was to claim, improve and spend the remaining years of his life. We will begin to trace their trek from where they left the boat at Crawford’s Quarry (now Calcite). They proceeded in a southerly direction for some seven or eight miles until they met the State Road about one and 1/2 miles north of the present town of Metz. This intersection was long known as Walther's or Walter's Corner. >From there they went northwest on the State Road for some five or six miles until they arrived at the intersection of the highways were we are holding our reunion. Later a mail box was erected here for the delivery and pick up of mail. It was also a feeding station for the sled dogs. The distance they traveled to find their homesteads was between twelve and sixteen miles through swamps and rivers. They now had found their homesteads but had no shelter for the night and nothing for supper. They broke branches from trees and covered them with leaves to make a bed. Other branches were stacked over their heads to make sort of a cover. This is how grandfather spent the first night on the homestead. He went to sleep on a bed of leaves and twigs without supper and arose the next morning and walked back to Crawford’s Quarry without having breakfast, a trip of about twenty-five miles.
Of course, there were no bridges crossing the rivers. The men had to wade the rivers or find a place were a tree had fallen and then use the tree trunk as a bridge. It was by this route that the men carried their provisions and their supplies. They carried them on their shoulders.
Some of us remember a barrel of flour. Flour was sold in barrels containing 196 pounds of flour. There were no five, ten, twenty, or fifty pounds sacks of flour. If you wanted flour you bought a barrel of flour. Taking a barrel of flour home today would be an easy task. We would roll the barrel on a truck and in fifteen minutes roll it off at home. Grandfather and his neighbors had no truck. Even if they would have had a truck they couldn't use it because there was no road. As we would roll the barrel on the truck, the pioneers rolled the barrel on the back of one of them. He carried it until exhausted and then rolled it onto the back of his companion. Thus by rolling the barrel from back to back it was carried to their home.
I remember grandfather telling about an unpleasant incident that took place on a trip home with a load of groceries on his back. It was in the spring time of the year when the snow had melted and the rivers were overflowing their banks. The "bridge" was the usual fallen tree. This time the tree was wet and when he was half way across he slipped and fell into the river with his load of groceries.
One time when a barrel of flour was opened it was very much alive with weevils. Lake Huron was frozen over and the shipping season was closed. No more flour could be purchased so grandmother did what she could with the weevilly flour. She sifted it thoroughly and removed many of the weevils. The weevils that could not be sifted out became part of the good bread.
Nature and the elements were not always kind to the pioneers. There was hail, sleet, snow, rain and bitter cold. Sometimes it must have appeared that there was very little sunshine in life. I have already indicated that the first log house was to be built about a mile from here. The four men occupied it for a year while building a separate house for each of the respective homesteads. The families stayed in Detroit for a year and until the houses could be built. Groceries and supplies had to be carried home from Crawford’s Quarry. Usually all four men made the trip together. It was a cold, frosty, winter evening when they arrived home with their groceries and supplies. Their hearts were filled with relief at the sight of the log house. Soon they would have a fire, dry their clothes and get the chill out of their tired aching bodies. Dry wood had been stored away, split and ready for the stove. A match would soon start up a warm cozy fire. A match! A match! Who has dry matches? No one seemed to have a match! It was a day’s trip to the nearest neighbor where they could get a match or to find live embers. The search for matches went on and on. They would freeze without a fire. The stage was set for a panic. At last the cry went up, " I have found the head of a match! "Who would bear the responsibility of starting a fire with only a match head? Dried moss and other tinder were found. No one dared to breathe while the match was struck and the tinder caught fire. The next day every dead tree and stump was set afire. Now there would always be a source of fire.
On another occasion one man stayed home while the others made the trip for the supplies. Darkness overtook them on the homeward trip as they arrived at this corner. They were only a mile from their home, but afraid of becoming lost in the dark wilderness. A consultation was held. They decided to deploy a plan. One man was to remain here at this corner while the other two would go in the direction of the home. They would shout at times and keep within hearing distance of the man who remained here. When the limit of hearing distance was reached a second man would remain there while the third and last man would continue further toward the home, but stay within shouting distance of the second man. Now there were three men separated in total darkness of the wilderness but still within shouting distance of one another. The man nearest the house kept on shouting, shouting, shouting and shouting until the man who had stayed home heard him and answered his calls. The communication system was now completed. They began to close ranks and found their way home. This was indeed a happy reunion and homecoming.
"Tell us another story, Grandpa!" He would oblige and tell about "Indian Attack". Late one night they were awakened by screeching and hooting which appeared to be less than half a mile away. Surely it must be an impending attack by Indians. What can we to protect ourselves? How badly are we outnumbered? Shall we go and engage them or remain here and await their attack? These were momentous questions. The battle plans were made. They would go out and meet the invaders away from home. As they were getting to the source of noise they observed that the noise came out of the tree tops and not from the ground. Soon they discovered that they were greatly outnumbered. Outnumbered, not by Indians, but by hundreds of owls!
"Please, Grandpa, tell us another story before we must go to bed. Tell us a story of a real Indian." Grandfather would oblige and tell us about a kind and friendly Indian who helped many white people. He was known as the " Indian Doctor." He gathered medical herbs and knew which one was helpful for different ailments. The settlers often went to him when they were sick. His hut was on the hill where the Belknap Township Hall now stands about 1/4 of a mile east of here. This is the place were you had the enjoyable dance at the 1960 reunion.
"Please, Please tell us another story about an Indian." Again he would oblige with the reminder that it was past bedtime. That story was about another friendly Indian who would travel through here in fall and spring. He always stopped at Grandfather’s home for a visit, a meal and sometimes, even spent a night there. During the trip in the spring he decided that he no longer would no longer use the snow shoes on that trip and ask if Grandfather would keep them for him until he came back next year. He left the snowshoes, but never returned. No one knew why he never came back. The snowshoes were used many, many times. I had many a fall in the deep soft snow walking with those snowshoes.
Grandfather and his three companions arrived here to build houses for their families for a year before the families came. The families came by boat to Crawford’s Quarry (Calcite) and had to walk the long hard distance to their new homes in the wilderness. They carried the children and what few possessions they had with them for a dozen or more miles on paths through swamps, forests and across rivers. Now there were three children in the family. Edward born in Germany; Amelia and Theresa born in Detroit. Grandmother and the children spent some time at the home of Harvey Parris. Mrs. Parris had died and grandmother acted as his housekeeper while her future home received the final finishing touches. The Parris farm is a mile south of Rogers City and probably was the first farm in Presque Isle County.
[ADDED NOTE by Bob Zinke. From some of the reading and oral knowledge, the Parris farm may have been the second farm, the first being the Simon farm homesteaded in 1864. In our time this farm was known as the Radka farm. In between was the Peters farm. Reason for Peters is Peters married Simon’s daughter and thus a name change. How many remember that the Radka farm was the spot where airplanes landed and took off. I recall it. The Parris farm was just south of this and may have been settled in 1865. On one occasion I spoke with a Mrs. Harvey Parris who was married to his grandson. She mentioned that after you left this Parris farm you went out into nowhere. William and Louise’s daughter, Amelia, ended up dying at the Parris farm at age fifteen. She had stayed to help on a weekend and got a fever and died. The Parris farm was an important link to these four pioneers.]
Many were the hardships that the families endured. Often they must have been lonesome and longed for old friends and acquaintances, and a few comforts of life. Now when we move from one place to another we consider the school facilities, the nearness of a church, the kind of roads, the distance to trading centers, the availability of a doctor and many other things. We want these facilities already present wherever we go. Our forebears found no such facilities. They developed and established them. They did not ask the government for help. They depended upon themselves. This was no place for weaklings. Only resolute and daring men and women would undertake such adventures. The flame of independence, for liberty and land ownership, was so intense as to overcome all obstacles.
Not all of the hardships fell on the shoulders of the men. The women worked hard and long hours. Feeding and clothing the family and caring for the children required more than just hard work. It also required planning, initiative, fortitude, perseverance and sacrifice. Much of the clothing was made by the busy, nimble and tireless fingers of the mother. Often there was no money with which to buy cloth for making dresses, shirts, trousers or any other wearing apparel. Flour bags and other bags were a valuable commodity and used to make dresses. The word 'style' was unknown. As long as clothes kept the body warm, were comfortable, and gave good service, no one asked about style. Many dresses, shirts and underwear were made from the bags in which provisions and supplies were purchased. As more land was cleared and more feed for livestock could be raised, sheep gained importance. The sheep supplied meat and valuable wool. After the sheep were shorn it was the housewife’s job to wash, card, and spin the wool into yarn. Mittens and stockings were knit for every member of the family. A spinning wheel was a necessity in every household.
Kitchen dishes and tableware were few. There were just enough for the family. Through an accident nearly a whole set of plates were broken. It was a long time before more dishes could be purchased.
Cutting down the forest, burning the logs and digging the stumps were huge tasks. No crops or vegetables would grow in the dense forest. Grandfather and his neighbors would join in work and cooperate in what they called "logging bees". The trees were felled and cut into lengths so that they could be rolled in piles and then burned. Many evenings were spent rolling the partly burned logs together that they would entirely burn up. Trees were thought of as being a nuisance and a weed. It took much hard work to get rid of them. The forest seemed inexhaustible to them. They could not believe that a time would ever come when trees would be protected and admired as a thing of beauty.
I mentioned that growing feed for the livestock was a big problem. Of course, the problem was to clear the forest and get land were crops could grow. The land survey maps showed areas of marshland. Here native grasses grew, which were cut, and dried into hay and hauled home in the winter months. One such small area is a quarter of a mile north from this meeting place. Beavers had constructed a dam across the small creek. The land was too wet for trees, but did support native grasses and sedges. This small area was known as the "beaver meadow" and a source of hay. Grandfather told about an area on the map that showed it to be a marsh. One summer day he and his neighbors started out on foot to find the marsh were they wanted to make hay. The map showed it to be about six or seven miles away. The entire distance was woods and much swampy land. It took them a whole day to find the place. What a great disappointment it was after they found it. The "marsh" turned out to be a lake. It is now known as Lost Lake located some three miles west of Hawks.
Clearing the forest and plowing the small clearing required work and power. The pioneer could not afford the luxury of a horse. This noble beast could be used for work only. A cow was much more valuable. She could be used for work, for the production of milk and later for beefsteak stew and hamburger. The cow thus served three purposes whereas the horse only one. Grandfather purchased a pair of cows in Detroit, but one of the cows was stolen. He then had to buy another one and ship them by boat. He made a yoke for them and trained them to work. Cows were his work animals for a number of years, and supplied milk for the family, and later meat. As more land was cleared, more hay and other feed was produced, and finally there was enough food so that oxen could be kept for work and later a team of horses could be fed. Some years the fields did not produce enough feed for the few cattle that he had. The winter was long and cold, the feed was nearly all gone and it was only the month of March with no green grass for at least two more months. The hard maple, or sugar maple as it is sometimes called, already had large buds in March. The buds and the young tender twigs are relished by cattle. Each day grandfather would fell large maple trees, cut down the branches so that the cows could reach them. He would have to make paths through the deep snow so that the cows could get to the cut down trees. The cattle remained alive by feeding on the sweet nutritious buds of trees.
There was no machinery to plant the grain. There was no machinery to harvest the grain, and there was no machinery to thresh the grain after it was harvested. The planting, harvesting and threshing must be done by hand. For seeding, a bag containing seed was hung on a shoulder and as the man walked over the field he would take handfuls of seed and sow or throw it in a uniform pattern on the prepared ground. When the grain was ripe it was cut with a cradle, tied in bundles, shocked and allowed to dry before threshing.
[ADDED NOTE by Bob Zinke. There may be some of you wondering what a cradle is. I will try to explain. It probably had a handle something like a shovel or fork. It had a good size sickle cutting blade attached at a ninety degree angle. Behind the blade was constructed a cradle of wooden spokes that was attached to the handle. As the farmer swung the blade through the grain, the grain would fall into the cradle and when needed it was bundled.]
Threshing was a long and hard job. Some times a flail was used to beat the kernels of grain out of the chaff. Then the grain had to be separated from the chaff. The grain and chaff were thrown into the air while the wind blows the chaff away. This is called winnowing the grain. The women always assisted in harvesting and threshing the grain. Another method of threshing was to put the bundles of grain on the floor or hard level ground and then have a horse walk round and round. The horse’s hoof would tramp the grain out in a manner similar to what is accomplished by using a flail. The grain that was shattered in the field during the harvest operation was picked up and eaten by the passenger pigeons. Thousand of the passenger pigeons would alight on the fields to feed on the wheat, oats and other grain that was shattered and left in the field. The pigeons were so thick and numerous that whenever they would fly up they would hide the sun. It was easy to shoot a bag full of pigeons in a short time. In other parts of the country hunters would shoot them by the thousands and millions and ship them to the cities. It is said that in southern Wisconsin wagon loads of passenger pigeons were killed and taken to the Chicago markets. Grandfather said that they were so plentiful that their weight would break down the tree branches they were roosting on. The passenger pigeon could not withstand living with the settlers of America and has become extinct about fifty years ago.
Cooperating and mutual helpfulness were necessary ingredients of the pioneers. They joined in various work, such as logging bees, threshing, sawing firewood, building homes and every other work where one alone could not do it. The women likewise worked with each other. They nursed sick families and helped when a baby was born. It was in these families children were born in Presque Isle County. My father, William Hardies Jr. was the first white male child born in this County.
[ADDED NOTES by Bob Zinke. Does this mean that there was a female child born ahead of him? William Hardies, Jr. was my grandfather and yes I was very close to him. After checking with Don Knopf there is evidence of female birth.]
William Hardies, Jr. was born February 20, 1871. After Grandfather's active retirement William, Jr. operated the farm. The homestead farm is now a third generation farm. Today , it is owned and operated by Elmer Hardies, a son of William Jr.
It will only be a few more years when the farm will be a "century farm" in the Hardies family. The homestead patent and grandfather's citizenship paper are prized historic documents. The original log house was replaced by a frame house in 1885. This house has been modernized and for more than three quarters of a century still stands as a monument to the pioneer. It was in this house that the wedding reception and celebration of the daughter, Theresa Hardies, was held in August, 1885. No wedding reception was considered complete without the baumkuchen (treecake). The baking of baumkuchen is an art that has become a family tradition and no wedding reception is complete unless there is a baumkuchen to adorn the table.
[ADDED INFO by Bob Zinke. Theresa married Julius Dramburg and the baumkuchen was and continues to be a tradition of this line. The fourth generation owner of the Hardies homestead is Roger Hardies. He currently still owns it but lease's out the land. The 1885 monument house was destroyed by fire. I am not sure but I believe five great-grandchildren of William Sr. were born in the 1885 house with myself being the second grandchild on March 25, 1928.]
I have already mentioned the cooperation, working together for mutual benefit was a necessary key to making a living in the uninhabited wilderness. Roads were needed, but there was no government agency to build them. The only way to get a road was to build one. This is exactly what they did. You can still hear people mention ' company road'. Go one half mile west from this corner and there you will find a road going south. This road going south is the 'company road'. The land for this public road site was donated by grandfather and the three other pioneers: Noffze, Elowsky, Sellke. They not only gave the right of way free for public use, but also built the road without pay of any kind. The 'company road' was built by a group of men who gave free the right of way and free labor to build the road. The only way to get a road was to build one.
All of you have heard the proverb 'good fences make good neighbors'. The truth of it was very evident to the pioneers. Each had a small clearing on which to raise feed for his livestock and food for his family. The fields must be fenced to keep out the cattle. The fences were made of rails or logs. The log fences consisted of logs rolled together and three or four feet high so as to make a barrier for cattle. A new settler became a neighbor of grandfather. His cattle came into his grandfather's grain fields even though there were good fences surrounding the fields. The cattle were driven out, the fence rails put back in place. The next day again the cattle were again in the field and had gotten in at the same place and the same rails were taken down from the fence. This continued for a number of days. By this time grandfather was very suspicious of his new neighbor. He suspected him of taking down the rails and permitting his cattle to cross the fence and feed on grandfather's field. Grandfather’s patience was exhausted. Early one morning he hid himself near the place where the cattle entered the field. He was ready to engage in battle with the culprit who opened the fence. It wasn't long until he saw the neighbor’s cattle coming. A large ox was leading the herd directly toward the usual entering place to the field. The herd stopped at the fence. The steer lowered his head to get his horns under the top rail, backed up and placed the rail on the ground. In like manner he took off rail after rail until the fence was low enough to step over. The guilty party was not his new neighbor, but a wise old ox.
There was no opportunity to work for wages and earn money. There was not enough cleared land on which to raise crops in order to have some for sale. The first money that grandfather earned after settling on the homestead was through the sale of cordwood. He cut the wood and hauled it to Crawford’s Quarry on a sleigh drawn by cows. The wood was sold to the boat company to be used to fire the steam boilers on the boats. There was no guaranteed price. There were no government subsidies. There was no forty hour work week. There were no social security benefits and old age pensions when men were forced to stop working because of infirmities or age. The word 'security' was not found in their vocabulary. Our ancestor longed and worked for independence and liberty. We 'bleat' for security.
William Hardies was born on June 24, 1838 in West Prussia, Germany. He married Luise Reu (Roy) and migrated to the United States in 1865 with his wife and one infant child, Edward.
[ADDED NOTE by Bob Zinke. Some data may show Edward was born 1866.]
William first settled in Detroit where two children, Amelia and Theresa, were born. In 1868 "Oct" he came to Presque Isle County to build a home for his family, which was to follow him a year later. In this new home six more children were born. William Jr., the first white male child born in this county, Albert, Theodore, Otto, [ADDED NOTE by Bob Zinke. Otto looked like a carbon copy of his brother William Jr. There are several pictures of them in the same group and yes you would think they were twins. On some pictures Otto is named in it and it is really my grandfather, William] Paul and Herman. Amelia died when a young women. [ADDED note by Bob Zinke. Amelia died at the Parris farm while working there on a weekend. She was 15 years old.] We can not visualize the hardships that were endured, and the sacrifices that were made in supplying the physical needs, spiritual guidance and education. There was no school in which to educate the children. There was no church in which to be comforted, receive spiritual guidance and religious training.
The undying spirit of the pioneers, the great desire for independence and liberty, the pursuit of happiness, hard word, perseverance and faith enabled them to overcome many seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Among the first considerations for their welfare was education and religious training. The cooperative good neighbor spirit again came to the forefront. By working together, a schoolhouse was built and a teacher hired. There was no government subsidy or aid. There was no government handout. There was no forty hour work week. They were determined to give their children the best possible education. They not only built a schoolhouse but also built a church. The first church to be built stood almost exactly on the spot where we have this fine meal and reunion. It was a log building 25 ft by 35 ft. Rev. Bohn was the circuit rider and came on horseback to conduct religious services.
[ADDED NOTE by Bob Zinke. This old church was then converted to a Lutheran School. There were occasions that I went to classes there while visiting with cousins when I had school off.]
Sadness struck the Homestead in February, 1890 when grandmother Luise was called to her eternal resting place. She was survived by her husband and eight of her nine children. Grandfather married Mrs. Pauline Stephan in August, 1891. She died in 1904 and was followed in death by Grandfather, Jan 1, 1916 at the age of 77 1/2 years. He died on the homestead on which he settled in 1868 and on which he spent nearly fifty years of his life. His grave, and those of his first wife Louise and second wife, and daughter Amelia, are in the churchyard a few hundred feet to the north of us.
[ADDED NOTE by Bob Zinke. William Hardies Jr. married Pauline Stephan. Her daughter Bertha who was living in Detroit when her mother came up to marry William Sr. She was called to come to the homestead and help her mother with house chores. William and Bertha fell in love and married in 1891. This means that both of William Hardies, Sr.'s wives are my Great-grandmothers.]
Although not rich in earthly material William Hardies left a rich heritage. He did not have the opportunity to advance far in formal education. His education was acquired through experience and hard knocks. He spoke three languages-English, German, and Polish. He loved this country and was intensely patriotic. The right and privilege was always exercised. There were indeed few elections when he did not vote. I remember seeing him walk through deep snow for almost one mile and a half to the Belknap Township Hall were he would cast his ballot. Many times the snowdrifts were too drifted for horses to get through. Grandfather would then walk to the voting place in the township hall. Independence day, Fourth of July, was a significant and meaningful day, to him. It meant more than dances, picnics, the noise of guns and of firecracker. It meant many privileges that he could enjoy as a citizen of his adopted country. To us these privileges are part of our birthright and often not appreciated. He had to acquire them. He had to leave the country of his birth and migrate to a foreign country. Independence Day is a day when he reflected upon the oppressions, hatred and regimentation of the Old World and rejoiced being a citizen of the United States.
The life of a pioneer was the life of a builder who cut a home out of the vast wilderness and left a noble heritage to his eight children and their descendants. It was not an easy life. It was a struggle with diseases, hunger, and the vicissitudes of nature. A pioneer was a rugged individualist. He possessed faith, self-reliance, perseverance and unbounded determination to succeed. There was no federal aid, there was no guaranteed price for anything, there was no minimum wage. The only roads and schools were built by themselves, and for security they did their own saving or starved. All that the pioneer had was character--all that he did was work--all that he wanted was self-respect. The sum of these three traits became America.
[ADDED NOTES by Bob Zinke. Twice Herman Hoeft was mentioned in the above story. As I heard facts about great-grandfather from my aunts and uncles and the story you just read here are some observations. A major fact is Herman and Bill were friends for a major part of their life. As related it began back in Germany. Interestingly both of these men were orphaned. Bill at seven years old and Herman at around twelve years. There are facts to prove this. Bill had no one who would take him in, Herman's older brother Johann and wife Caroline took Herman in. Herman was one year older than Bill . Bill would bunk in with anyone who would accept him and of course work was expected. Many times I heard the story how Herman Hoeft would share his sandwiches with Bill while they tended geese. Herman probably understood real well how important it was that his older brother took him in. He experienced Bill's plight.]
[In Detroit again Herman had another opportunity to help Bill. He didn't shy away from it. As I related earlier he helped Bill get a job and a place to bunk his family in. As these men would meet and talk in the German Beer Halls their friendships tightened even more. Finally, Bill and the others made the move to Presque Isle County in 1868 . Herman followed a few years later. When Herman arrived many of these people were not strangers to him. I am sure many of them welcomed competition against Molitor. Herman, I am sure did well in Detroit and was well primed for competing against Molitor. I am sure there were many friendly meeting when Bill came to town with wood for the boat.]
[Also when Herman married his second wife Bill was invited. On the old Hardies Homestead for years there was a large wedding picture of Herman and his wife.]
[When Herman Hoeft left for California in the late eighteen eighties, early nineties. He made two trips back to Rogers City. The last one was in 1909. Just before he left to go back to California he put his granddaughter Lilah Hoeft into the buggy and he was off to the Hardies Homestead for one last visit to see William Hardies Sr. My mother commented to me many times about this as she was a girl pushing six. She says she never forgot this. So this brought the end of communion of two orphans who both did well in their new country. Both became rich. The one by being a successful businessman, the other a successful farmer. Both dreams were realized. When I referred to becoming rich I meant not in money," their dream ".]
The 75th Anniversery Edition of the Presque Isle County Advance, Dec 7, 1953 contains numerous articles regarding the history of Presque Isle County, also the 100 year addition of the Advance.
William Hardies Jr.
A history by Robert "Bob" Zinke yourman "at" charter.net
Born Feb 25, 1871 in Belknap twp Michigan
Married June 25, 1891 in Hawks Michigan
Died Aug, 30, 1941 in Bay City Michigan
Father Wilhelm Ferdinand Hardies
Mother Louise Frederika Roy born 21 March 1942 Poblotz, Kreis Karthaus, West
Prussia died 17 February 1890 Belknap
Wife Bertha Stephan born Nov 2, 1861 Kalais, Kreis Dramburg,
Died Feb 9, 193 Bay City; Michigan
Father Herr Stephan
Mother Pauline Klatt
William Hardies Jr. became the next owner of the homestead. These pass on of farms to children were not something just free. In many cases it was a case of share cropping. One third would go to the parent and the rest to the new owner. I seem to recall that he eventually bought the farm outright. He was a successful farmer and did well on what his father had hewed out of the wilderness. Bigger and better barns were built and coop's were form with new homesteader in the case of threshing the grain. Groups were formed of eight to twelve. The threshing machine came into prominence and now Threshing became a big affair in August helping each other thresh their grain.
The younger men depending on your strength would catch the grain from a shoot that you could pin a sack too, and then you took it 'and most of the time with aid from another' it would be lifted to his shoulder and off to the granary he went. Some times the granary was a long distance from the threshing area. These men also play the game of who could carry the weightiest bag. Always there was tried a way to play a game with work and thus it was fun, particularly when you looked at it later in life. Other men worked were the bundles of grain had been stacked into the barn. If the bundle- mow was high, temporary tables of necessary height were available to assist to move a bundle. Men would be stationed so they could pitch "a three tine fork was used" bundles of grain from one to the other till it reached the main table next to the threshing machines mouth.
The threshing machine was a pretty good size. I don't know the length, width, or height maybe twenty feet long, six feet wide and ten feet high. The front had a fold down trough with some type of rollers. It would be placed in a lateral position to the mouth. The table platform on a level for a man to put the bundle into the trough. It would move ahead, knife blades on a shaft would chop it up and then the straw would separate and go through a blower system and out on a pile. Straw was important in bedding down the cattle and other animals kept in the barns. To make the thresher work there was a main shaft with a good size wide wheel on the shaft. A belt the width of the wheel was put on it and pulled to a good distance, maybe thirty feet, hook on a wheel on a shaft on a tractor tightened up and was the power source to turn the main shaft on the thresher. Before the tractor a steam engine was used.
Now you can't let out dinner time . There would be wash tubs with ice in it and filled with bottles of beer. Men would wash up at the hand pumps and makeshift wash basins. The younger ones such as I also grabbed a beer, in fact a man would hand one to you. "you earned it" they would say. Then inside the house to eat and of course turns would be in order. The women worked hard all morning preparing pie, making bread, green winter onions, radishes, tomatoes, peeling and mashing the potatoes, and all the other goodies. Meat for the day was pretty much the standard, good old mutton. Yes indeed and I just loved it.
To cut the grain a binder that cut the grain and even tied the bundles with binder twine was used. They would fall into a cradle maybe four bundles a cradle and then were dumped. Now came the shock up men to pick them up and set them in shocks. Six, eight, ten in a shock. They were left to dry and then the job of putting them on a wagon and hauled to the barn to be stored. Sometimes there was a snag in shocking when you ran into thistled bundles. Yes there would be patches of thistles in the grain field and picking thistles from one’ finger was no fun. To load the wagons a three pronged or tined fork was use the grab the bundle and pitch it onto the wagon. A man would be on the wagon stacking the load. Gloves were not used and before calluses were formed there always was blister trouble. This surely beat the old cradle method of great-grandfather. This is some idea of farming advances that happened when my grandfather took over the farm. Always new improvements. Going back to the thresher and the straw blowing out on a pile. Usually someone was required to go on the stack and stump down the straw. This was a good job for thirteen year old Bob Zinke. Uncle Adolph Brege, ' my dads step brother' hauled out his Redman and says "Bob, your doing a man’s job now, here take this chew of Redman tobacco and it will help you from swallowing straw. Yea, but I swallowed tobacco juice. This was the one and only time I tried chewing tobacco. Now days they have combines that cut, and thresh the grain all at the same time.
I was born March 25, 1928 on the Hardies homestead. My parents moved to Rogers City in mid 1929, but I spent much time staying on the farm especially in the summer. I grew up spending time on the homestead, the John Brege and Herman Steinke farms. Yes indeed I got a farm boys education while still living in the Rogers City. Learning how to milk cows and when achieved it was a big deal. I am not sure when electricity finally came to the rural area, but I do remember having to carry lanterns to the barns for light to milk cows when it was dark. Sometimes a favorite thing to do would be to squirt milk into a cats open and waiting mouth. Sometimes the cow would give you a good swish with its tail. This really was a love tap. When at Brege's singing was always on the agenda and Melvin and I gave all the church hymns a good going over. Melvin was three years younger than I, but he could get a pail of milk sooner then any or us. Then finally came the milk machines.
How about hay making? First the hay had to be cut and a mower with a bladed ten to twelve ft long was used. Early it was pulled with horse's and later with a tractor, the same thing in regard to grain cutting. After cutting a machine rake was used to put the hay in windrows. Then a wagon with a hay loader apparatus was clamped to the back. Now, the windrows were straddled and moving ahead the wagon was loaded. One man was at the wagons back to move hay forward and another man forward to spread it out. Early on when it was done with horses, it was my job driving the horses. While doing this I would sing to them and they practically would turn the corners by themselves knowing the routine. This back on the homestead.
Now the load of hay was taken into the barn. On the barns peak was a iron track. On this track there was a pulley type system. Pulleys here and there - so the hay could be unloaded into the haymows. The system would have ropes through the pulleys and the rope dangling down to the load with a big fork object with a jaw on the right and left of it. This was than placed into a strategic spot stomped down good, and on the bottom of each jaw a clamp would engage vertically into the hay. A safe spot on the wagon and now time for the movement to the mow. At first it was horse's and later a tractor was connected to the link at the floor pulley. Now moving forward the hay load the 'fork was able to grab went up and at the rails top switched to head down the rail for unloading in the mow. Then the floor line pulley rope is unhooked and has to be brought back to the start and of course the same for the rest of the unloading. There would be workers in the mow to move and spread the hay evenly. Then every so often plain course salt was spread around in the mow. This would go on until the mow was full. The farmers bought 100 pound bags of this and the reason for the spreading of the salt was to protect against spontaneous combustion. On occasions some barns would catch on fire because of the absence of enough salt. Bob Zinke also carried a half-inch of this salt in his pocket for use in eating green apples, rhubarb, green winter onions, radishes and tomatoes. I can't recall getting really sick doing this. I guess they referred to this as a cast iron stomach.
There were many other aspects of farming such as plowing fields with one plow first by horse, cultivating the fields and even hoeing out weeds by hand, rows of corn and potatoes. Yes we do have to tell about potatoes. In many cases last year’s potatoes that were left in the root cellars would be cut up into pieces leaving at least two eyes on the piece, preferably three eyes. In some case good new seed potatoes were bought. These pieces were then put into the potato planter holding bin. Now moving down the planting row they dropped out onto a tray that had a holed spin wheel. The potatoes would drop into the spin wheel compartments and move the potato to the hole portion opening below the wheel. Seated with the wheel in front of you the object was to make sure a proper amount of pieces went into each hole as the planter moved along the row. There also was a lot of extra care of cultivating, and hilling the row. Potatoes favor growing above ground in a hill. The other big job was spraying with pesticide for potato bugs and blight. Mixing up the spray and putting it into the spray tank wasn't a preferred job. Working with the poison wasn't pleasant. In the end the potatoes matured and than the job of picking. In my time we could get off of high school classes for two weeks to pick potatoes. The wage eventually reached five cents a bushel. Actually, I always enjoyed picking potatoes. I could zip up a pretty good count of bushels. Picking generally was done with a partner. The bushel crate would be in the opening between two rows . One would pick one row and one the other. Fill the crate and put your number on it. Grab another empty crate which were always set nearby. If you run into a quack grass spot you would be slowed down as quack had to be removed. Upon completion it was back to school and going into principal Harry Grambau's office to get a pass to get back into class. Harry would always ask me how things were going at the Elmer Hardies, John Brege, and Herman Steinke farm. Harry and I were both great-grandchildren of William and Louise Roy Hardies. He through his grandmother Theresa Hardies Dramburg and I through my grandfather William Hardies Jr. Harry and I are second cousins.
Grandfather had a taste of the virgin farming as he grew up and then saw and became a part in using all the advances. He worked hard believed strongly in education. Two of his children completed college. Edward who became a doctor of agriculture and his youngest daughter Edna became a schoolteacher and ended up marring a Doctor of Medicine. All of the family did finish the eight grade and if high school was encouraged if you went to high school you must go on to college. My mother declined this offer.
My grandfather also was engaged in Belknap Township events and served for years as Belknap Treasurer. The Hardies family always took the freedom enjoyed in America seriously. For instance I take voting seriously and the voting booth is always visited.
William Hardies Jr. married Bertha Stephan who became his stepsister when her mother Pauline Klatt Stephan married William Hardies Sr. After her mother’s marriage to Bill Sr. Pauline’s daughter was called up from Detroit to help with the house chores on the homestead. Eventually love bloomed and a marriage took place. A uncommon event took place as a result of this. Both of William Hardies Sr.’s wives are true great grandmothers to the William Hardies, Jr. grandchildren. One line through Bill Jr. back to Luise Roy and one back through Bertha Stephan to Pauline Stephan. In regard to the maiden name of Bertha Klatt Stephan, there are some who think it is Klapp.
Edward William HardiesShort History
Robert 'Bob' Zinke yourman "at" charter.net
Born: June 18, 1894 Hawks, Michigan married: July 3, 1925 Brookings, South Dakota
died: April 27, 1989 Akron, Ohio, Father: William Hardies Jr., mother: Bertha Stephan
wife: Myrtle Franzke, born: June 20, 1898 Chamberlain, South Dakota, died: March 09,
1971 Dubuque, Iowa
Donald Edward Hardies, born: April 29, 1927 Brookings, South Dakota, married: Aug 21,
1954, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, spouse: Alice Jane Ratcliffe, born: Dec 31, 1930
Edward Hardies grew up on the homestead and was six years old by 1900. What advancements the farm had taken on at that time I never heard much talk about it. I am sure he did chores and helped doing farm he had by his grandfather and parents can only be imagined. Grandfather William could have had enormous persuasion. The pioneer was all for and agriculturist. As for his first to eight grade education I hold to it happening in the Noffze School. How did he obtain his High School education. There wasn't any for him as he more than likely finish around 1913-14. His ninth and tenth grades are unaccounted for. Don Knopf has found where he did his last two years in the following information.
Eduard Wilhelm Otto Hardies was baptized 24 June 1894 by the Rev. Joel David Druckenmiller as recorded in the St. Michael's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Belknap. Eduard's godparents were Wilhelm Hardies, Sr., Otto Hardies, Marie [Elowsky] Sellke.
Eduard Wilhelm Otto Hardies was confirmed 7 June 1908 by the Rev. Heinrich Essig in the St. Michael's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Belknap. Eduard's memory verse for life is Isaiah 54:14.
Edward's last two years of High School were at Ferris Institute, Big Rapids, MI
He used the educational provision (pre G.I. Bill of Rights) for wounded WWI veterans to obtain his B.S. M.S. and PhD degrees in Agronomy at Michigan State University. At the close of his life, Dr. Edward Hardies arranged to receive his tombstone from the Veterans Administration (VA), and had it inscribed: Sgt. Edward W. Hardies. He is buried in Platteville,WI.
[ADDED INFO by Bob Zinke. I took the time to look at the Wisconsin map. I found that Dubuque, Iowa is right on its extreme northeast corner,on the Mississippi River. Cross over the bridge and a stone’s throw away is Platteville in Wisconsin. It is recorded that wife Myrtle died in Dubuque, Iowa. I believe he lived in Dubuque and traveled to the Agriculture College in Platteville. ]
[When uncle Ed died my cousin Grace Brege Duquette called me about some of us
going to his funeral. She contacted son Donald and heard the funeral was in Iowa.
We decided not to go as we probably couldn't make it in time. I believe Uncle Ed
and Aunt Myrtle were buried side by side in Dubuque.]
Added from ancestry.com
World War I Draft Registration - Dated 5 June 1917 shows Edward W. Hardies, a
farm hand, with a crippled foot and defective eyes. Well, the crippled foot and
defective eyes didn't keep him from entering the Military. 'This', and the
following is still Don Knopf information
“Henrietta Hirzel Flatter [at age 94, living in Boynton Beach, Florida in 2004] recalls the big party that the family had when Edward and Myrtle came home after their wedding in Brookings, South Dakota. Everyone assembled at the Hardies Homestead to welcome the new bride. The grannary was cleaned, the floor made nice and slick so no slivers stuck out, and much dancing took place, into the night. Henrietta had been at Lake Nettie with her mother, Hattie Kreft Lueck Hirzel; her sister, Winifred Hirzel; and her brother, Alexander Hirzel staying at the Noffze cottage. They came to the Hardies farm, and helped prepare the large amount of food for the wedding reception. A Hochzeit Baumkuchen [wedding tree cake] was prepared and made at the Julius Dramburg home. Julius was careful to "turn" the spit just right, so it turned out beautifully.”
“At age 89 in 1999, she said there was something about "an old shoe" - a dance about it - but she can't recall the complete details of that particular dance. It was a wedding reception she never forgot. Does anyone recall “an old shoe dance”?
Edward Hardies Retires: To Remain in Platteville
Dr. Edward W. Hardies, professor of crops and soils, has announced his retirement from teaching effective at the end of the current symester at which time he will have completed 17 years of service at the Pioneer State Collete of Wisconsin.
At the time he began teaching at Platteville, Dr Hardies had already accrued an enviable academic, service, and professional record. A native of Rogers City, Michigan, he was with the first contingent to leave for training camps in WWI and subsequently took part in five major battles. Hit by sniper and artillery fire, Dr Hardies still carries shrapnel in his body, A memento of his part in that world conflict. He was decorated with the Purple Heart and the Accolade of Chivalry.
In 1923, he was graduated from Michigan State University with B.S. degree, from the University of Minnesota in 1925 with the M.S.D and from Ohio State University in 1931 with the Ph.D. Degree. As an Agronomist, he work at the South Dakota State College and with the United States Department of Agriculture. His primary duties were centered around soil problems in the Great Lakes States, Great Plains States and arid South Western part of the United States. He has collected seeds of hundreds of native species of grasses from Canada to Mexico and has tested them with numerous exotic species as to their value for soil erosion control. It was on one of these seed collection journeys, Dr. Hardies recalls, that he was detained by the Mexican boarder control as a suspect of illegal entry into the United States.
Not all of his time was spent in traveling. He is the author of a number of research bulletins and a portion of one of the U.S.D.A. (United States Department of Agriculture) yearbooks of Agriculture in which he assessed the value of different species of grasses for soil erosion control.
He is listed in the American Men of Science and in Rus, a register of Agricultural leadership in the U.S. and Canada and is a non-medical member of the National Association on Standard Medical Vocabulary. His name can also be found on the membership rolls of a number of organizations among which are the Leo Kane Post of the American Legion, Raymond Eustice Barracks of WWI Veterans, Now the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Soil Conservation Society of America. He has been a Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and a Department Officer of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Among his achievements, too, can be listed at least 35 men from among his students over the years whom he has assisted in securing positions in the soil Conservation Service of the Department of Interior and the United States Department of Agriculture.
Dr. and Mrs. Hardies plan to remain in Platteville because, as Dr. Hardies explains it, "After nearly 20 years of residence here most of our friends live here, too".
[ADDED INFO by Bob Zinke. This article was copied out of the William Hardies Sr. Family Tree Book that was put together by Wilayne VanDevender in 1999. There is also a first Hardies family tree book which was assembled earlier by Nancy Collissi. It also is a statistic that Edward William Hardies was the first native of Presque Isle County to earn a Doctorate Degree. His was in Agriculture.]
Thanks are also given to Don Knopf of Fort Wayne, Indiana for some additional info. . such as: the wedding story from Henrietta Hirzil and some other facts such as the name of the ship that William Hardies came over on and the correct landing year and etc. Bob.
Edward Hardies- Later in life
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