Every so often I enter “White Clover Dairy, Hollandtown” into a search engine just to see what will pop up. This time I got a surprise.
Dairy Foods Magazine’s James Carper wrote an article about Arla Foods which was published on March 8, 2017.1 I cannot comment on the accuracy of the article as it pertains to Arla’s cheese production, but I can, and will comment on his opening statement.
I have written before as to my feelings about how Arla has wiped the Fassbender family from the history of the property and the plant. And this article is no exception.
Carper opens the article with this statement: “To see how White Clover Dairy grew up [GREW UP!!!?] to become Arla Foods, it helps to look at a series of aerial photos hung in the entrance hallway to this cheese plant in Hollandtown, Wis.” [HOW did Arla get these images? Minus the one were “the house is gone,” these images are in our families possession]. He continues: “In the first image there is a farmhouse near the original plant. Later images show how expansions to the plant crept closer and closer to the house. Eventually, the plant completely surrounds the farmhouse, and in the last image, the house is gone…”
If Carper had chosen to enter “White Clover Dairy, Hollandtown” into a search engine, he would have quickly discovered that this “farmhouse” was the original owner and cheesemaker’s home.
The house built in 1916 was not a farmhouse, never hosted thrashers, and the nearest cows belonged to the farm across the street from both the house and the factory. The closest that Ida Fassbender came to feeding farmhands, was when she would feed lunch to factory workers. But these men and women did not come in from the fields, but at noon walked next door for a home-cooked meal.
Henry Fassbender purchased White Clover in 1906, and it is because of his leadership, his vision, and his passion, all of which he passed down to his children, that there was a factory in Hollandtown for Arla to purchase. I am proud of this legacy, and will continue to work to keep it alive.
Elisabeth Fassbender was admitted to Appleton’s St. Elizabeth Hospital in late March 1937. Her daughter, Anna, had passed away on February 2nd at the age of 71, and at 97, Elisabeth herself was beginning to slow down.
Monday afternoon, March 23rd, Henry and Ida drove from their home in Hollandtown, Brown County, to Appleton to visit his mother. They made the approximately 13-mile drive in the company car, a “1935 model Ford sedan, dark green, with the 1937 Wisconsin license plates No. 198-968,” registered to the Fassbender Brothers.1 Parking in the lot, they entered the hospital to spend time with Elisabeth. I would like to think that they met Henry’s sister, Elizabeth, and brother, Hubert in the room so that it was a nice family visit.
Upon leaving his mother’s bedside at approximately 8:30 p.m. they were shocked to discover that the car was missing. It had been stolen.
How did they return home that evening? A call may have been made to Elizabeth’s son, Arthur Ellenbecker. After filling out the police report, it was very late, and the 37-year-old was the perfect person to make the trek out to Hollandtown and back to Appleton.
Elisabeth was released from the hospital and returned home where she passed away peacefully on Wednesday afternoon, 14 Apr 1937. She was survived by four sons, one daughter, 34 grandchildren, and 34 great-grandchildren. The oldest grandchild was 41, and the youngest, Henry’s daughter, Rosemary, was just 11 years old.
But what about Henry’s car? What happened to it?
Tuesday afternoon, March 24th, the car was recovered at the St. Mary school grounds in Menasha, Winnebago County, by the Menasha police.2 “Apparently” the car had been taken for “transportation from Appleton to the basketball tournament under way” at St. Mary’s.3
“Four Plead Guilty Of Car Theft” read the Appleton Post-Crescent headline 26 Mar 1937. “Four youths plead guilty of operating automobiles without the owners consent.” Two of the youths 17 and 18 years of age were from Kimberly, Outagamie County. They were arraigned on two warrants, one dating February 25th, and the second being Henry’s car.
The other men, 19 year old residents of Appleton, were on probation when they drove to Menasha in the Fassbender vehicle, returning to Appleton in a second stolen car, as the previous October they had been convicted of taking two nickel slot machines from a Menasha tavern. They were arraigned on three counts of operating a car without the owners consent.
A total of eight vehicles had been stolen and used for “joy-riding about the country” by the young men; five cars from Outagamie and three from Winnebago County. One of the boys told the Outagamie county sheriff that one of the cars “was nearly new, with less than 500 miles on the speedometer. The sheriff said he boasted that he had ‘had it up to 90 miles an hour.’”4
The two 19-year-olds were charged to “three years in the state penitentiary [in Waupun] on each of the four counts on which they were arraigned. The sentences will run concurrently.”
In December a judge canceled the probation of the two younger men, and they were sentenced to serve three years in the state reformatory at Green Bay, Brown County.5 The paper doesn’t give a reason for this, but it may have had something to do with the fact that “a loaded automatic was found on” one youth’s “person when he was picked up,” and “police reported finding a revolver under the mattress” at the other youth’s home.”6
So as the newspaper reported: “The Court Closes Crime Career.” I am sure that Henry was happy to have the car returned with only a few extra miles put on the speedometer, and without being damaged.
“Report Auto Theft,” Appleton Post-Crescent, 23 Mar 1937, Tuesday Evening, p. 13, col. 4; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 4 Feb 2022).
“Car Is Recovered,” The Daily Northwestern, 25 Mar 1937, Thursday, p. 17, col. 4; digital images, NewspaperARCHIVE (www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 18 Nov 2015).
“Car is Recovered” The Daily Northwestern, 25 Mar 1937, Thursday, p. 17, col. 4; NewspaperARCHIVE (www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 18 Nov 2015).
“Youths Are Held While Car Thefts Are Investigated,” The Daily Northwestern, 23 Mar 1937, Wednesday, p. 4, col. 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 18 Feb 2022).
“Cancel Probations of Two Kimberly Youths,” Appleton Post-Crescent, 2 Dec 1937, Thursday Evening, p. 12, col. 6; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 19 Feb 2022).
“Youths Are Held While Car Thefts Are Investigated,” Wednesday, p. 4, col. 1.
Last Friday the 1950 U.S. Census was finally released for viewing, and so I decided to make a trip to Hollandtown, Brown, Wisconsin to visit my in-laws, my husband’s grandparents, and any other family members who happened to be living in this small community in April 1950.
“Heading into town” that morning, I had no idea that I would still be there a few days later. I love how the enumerator, Mrs. Margaret Farrell used St. Francis Catholic church as the departure point for her notes. The homes were unnumbered at this time, so people lived on “County Trunk D 1/2 mile church,” or “1/4 mile church,” and “near church.” She enumerated this community of 1,017 people, living in 231 dwellings between March 31, and April 21st.
What kept me in Hollandtown was the insight into the lives of people I knew, some casually, some very well, all sparking memories of days gone by. Has it really been 36 years since I first stepped foot into Van Abel’s supper club for the 40th wedding celebration of Bernard and Marie Campbell Fassbender?
Speaking of the Van Abel’s, I “ran into” them first. Living a 1/2 mile from the church on County Trunk D, was Nell Van Abel and her son, Wilfred, or Will, as we knew him. Nell had just lost her husband Bill in January, and Will would not marry Anne Duffy until 1954. Nell was enumerated as Keeping House, and Will the Proprietor of a “Tavern-Bolding.”
The 1950 census includes many chances for a person to be part of the “Sample Line,” and Will, enumerated on Line 8, was one such person. Unlike other censuses, no indication is made as to who provided the information, so it is left to our imagination as to why questions 33a-33c were left unanswered. The questions read: “If Male— (Ask each question) Did he ever serve in the U.S. Armed Forces during—World War II, World War I, any other time, including present service.” These questions were simply left unanswered. Will most definitely served during World War II and had also spent 18 months as a prisoner of war. Was the memory just too fresh to even answer with a simple, yes?
Living a 1/4 mile from the church is his brother, and partner in the tavern, Don, who was enumerated with his family, wife Bernice, 3-year-old Patricia, and 2-year-old Sue. He was also enumerated as the Proprietor of a “Tavern-Bolding.” Bolding? I have to believe that Mrs. Farrell had a weak moment, and spelled the word Bowling as Bolding, as bowling lanes had been added to the property a few years before. Both men spent long hours working in the tavern, each stating that the prior week they had worked 84 hours.
Continuing my walk with Mrs. Farrell, I finally arrive at my in-law’s household. I was surprised to see that the street was named Church Road in 1950, and delighted to see that she named their place of business White Clover Dairy rather than the expected generic “cheese factory.”
And here was a moment of Oh My Gosh. On this day, the day of Mrs. Farrell’s visit, 28-year-old Marie was eight months pregnant with her second child; her first child, Dick, was 2 years old. Dick must have been a rambunctious child if the number of photos of him that include bandaids is any indication. Mrs. Farrell asked Marie the question as to how many hours her 37-year-old husband had worked the week prior, Marie answered, 84. 84 hours. That’s a lot of hours alone, and with all chores being much more labor-intensive than they are today – imagine the laundry! Well, I don’t have to, there are pictures.
Moving two doors down to take a look at Butch’s parent’s entry, I found that 70-year-old Henry was still working as a cheesemaker, working 70 hours the week before, and his daughter, 23-year-old Rose Mary, put in 48 working in the office. Rosie would marry Victor Busse in May 1951.
It got me thinking, how many people in this small community worked at White Clover? I found 19, and some even were part of the Sample Line. Four Fassbender family members, and 15 people from the community. A newspaper article dated October 1948 states that at that time the factory employed 14 people above and beyond the Fassbender brothers, so I am fairly confident that I have captured all of the employees.
Bernard W. Fassbender, age 37, Hours worked last week: 84
Henry J. Fassbender, age 70. Hours worked last week: 70
Norbert J. Fassbender, age 38. Hours worked last week: 75
Sample Line: Weeks worked in 1949 – 52, Income earned from working in own business – $3,000
Earl Vande Hey, age 23. Hours worked last week: 65
Sample Line: Worked in Own Business in 1949
Joseph F. Nies, age 24. Hours worked last week: 77
Donald J. Hart, age 23. Hours worked last week: 63.
Sample Line: Weeks worked in 1949 – 52, wages earned $2,181
Occupation: Office Work
Mike Flynn, age 54. Hours worked last week: 40
Sample Line: Weeks worked in 1949 – 52, wages earned $1,800.00
Rose M. Fassbender, age 23. Hours worked last week: 48
Occupation: Factory Helper/Cheese Helper/Helps Make Cheese
William Verheyen, age 18. Hours worked last week: 65
Alfred A. Brochtrup, age 21. Hours worked last week: 60
Clarence R. Kelly, age 43. Hours worked last week: 56
Occupation: Waxing Cheese
Theresa Van De Loo, age 18. Hours worked last week – not reported
Noeim Clark, age 20. Hours worked last week: 45
Occupation: Wrapping Cheese
Ann Van De Loo, age 18. Hours worked last week: 48
Sample Line: Weeks worked in 1949 – 26, wages earned $600.00
Dolores M. Liebergen, age 20. Hours worked last week: 51
Eileen M. Penterman, age 20. Hours worked last week: 32
Estella A. Hagens, age 31. Hours worked last week: 40
Arlene J. Fink, age 19. Hours worked last week: 54
Occupation: Hauls Milk
Donald J. Weber, age 25. Hours worked last week: 65
To round up the rest of the Fassbender family I had to travel first to Dundas:
Occupation: Cheese Maker
Hubert Fassbender, age 31. Hours worked last week: 84
Then to Kaukauna:
Fassbender, Harold, age 41. Hours worked last week: 65
Occupation: Cheese Wrapper
Fassbender, Mary, age 42. Hours worked last week: 27
Sample Line: Weeks worked in 1949 – 39, wages earned $1,200.
There were two residents of Hollandtown that worked for South Kaukauna Dairy. Namely, Jerome D. Van Abel, age 38, (brother of Will and Don), who worked 38 hours as a Bookkeeper, and Mary B. Wall, age 23, who packed cheese. She worked 32 hours the previous week, and her Sample Line tells us that she worked 26 hours in 1949 and earned $800.00.
Also working at South Kaukauna Dairy was the husband of Mildred Fassbender, Leroy C. Gerharz, age 41. He had worked the previous week 42 hours as a Traffic Manager.
Now that I have compiled this information, I am comparing it to the company financial statements I have from this period. Also, newspaper articles provide me with additional anecdotal information. So much, that my head is spinning.
This archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” was first published 20 Apr 2014
Today is April 20th, Easter Sunday. After the winter that we all just lived through, one would have hoped for a warm and pleasant day, but it is only 52 degrees. And it is raining. Which brings to mind Easter of 1984, which was a cold, rainy, April 22nd.
Butch and Marie loved to hold Easter Egg hunts for their grandchildren. When the weather was warm and clear, they would hide the plastic eggs filled with treats in their yard and around the house. But what to do when it was cold and rainy? Five grandchildren racing around the house while Marie had the kitchen full of meal prep, was not a recipe for a relaxing and joyful Easter Sunday. Butch’s solution: head to the factory for an indoor hunt.
Early Easter morning, Butch, Gary and Dan would walk over to White Clover Dairy armed with a bag of filled plastic eggs. Heading for the basement warehouse they would hide the eggs on racks and pallets, both high and low.
Later that morning, the grandchildren would be let loose to run through the warehouse collecting the eggs. One flaw in Butch’s system. He didn’t count the number of eggs that were being hidden, nor did he track how many were found. For weeks following the Easter hunt the warehouse manager would appear in either Butch or Gary’s office delivering a missed plastic egg.
Marie’s Apple Crisp
8″ x 12″ pan or 1 1/2 recipe for a 13″ x 9″
6 apples 1 cup flour 1/2 cup butter, softened 1/2 cup brown sugar 2 Tbsp granulated sugar 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Peel and slices apples into pan.
Combine flour, brown sugar and butter until crumbly, set aside.
This archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” was first published 18 Aug 2013.
At the time that we built our home in 1993, White Clover Dairy was in the middle of an expansion, and because of this, trees that had been on the property for many years needed to be removed. We took advantage of this and moved a large crab apple tree and a maple to our property. The trees were moved in November 1993, the maple straining the size limits of the largest tree spade that the tree moving company owned. We placed the crab to the right of our driveway, positioning the “flat side,” the side that had been growing against the building, away from the street. This tree has rewarded us for the last 19 years with the most glorious blossoms each spring.
The maple was planted in the backyard with the idea that it would provide a nice dapple-shaded area for the swing set and patio. While it took a while for it to settle into its new home, we soon had a large and beautiful tree – with a history!
Gary received a 1972 Cougar XR7 as a high school graduation gift. It was blue with a white vinyl top and a blue leather interior. He loved that car. But it soon became a favorite of Marie’s, and as she did not at that time have a car of her own when she needed a vehicle and Gary’s was available she would choose the Cougar. As it happens this particular model of Cougar had a flaw, while idling in park, it would unexpectedly pop out of park and throw itself into reverse. One summer day Marie packed her eldest grandson into the car and made a quick stop at the factory to let them know she was heading to town. While she was inside letting Butch know where she was going, the car popped out of park, spun around, and rammed into the maple that had been recently been planted on the neighbor’s property near the factory office. Luckily Rich was not harmed, the car was intact, but the tree bore a scar from the impact for years. The neighbor had great concern that his tree might not survive the brutal Cougar attack, so in typical Butch fashion, he paid the man an agreed-upon value for the tree. The tree survived but the money was not returned.
Jumping forward 40 years, late Tuesday night, August 6th, six tornadoes ripped through the Fox Valley. The storm woke us up just long enough for us to close windows, comment on the strobe light lightning and the wind that was pushing harder at the side of the house than an other time in memory. Then we went back to bed. No sirens went off that night, so many of us slept safely through the storm. Looking at the damage the next day, it is amazing that no one was killed by the tornadoes. We do count ourselves one of the lucky ones, we only lost a tree.
Meatballs – From Ken’s Mary
3 lbs ground beef – I, Susan, like a mix of 90% lean and 80-84% lean
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 large eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup saltine crackers, crumbled
24 oz. chili sauce – 2-12 oz bottles
24 oz. Water – fill the chili sauce bottles
3 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp white vinegar
Combine the first 6 ingredients, and roll into balls, bake in a 350° oven till brown. Approximately 10 minutes, turning at 5 minutes.
You can freeze the meatballs at this point.
Bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil, and then simmer the browned meatballs in the sauce for 3 or more hours.
NOTE: We discovered that if you still have sauce remaining when the meatballs have disappeared, you can freeze the sauce for a later time and just add meatballs.
This is an archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” and was first published 8 Feb 2013.
On November 21, 1905 Henry John Fassbender took the plunge, and purchased the White Clover Dairy Company in Hollandtown, Brown Co., Wisconsin. Not a young man, as he would soon turn 26-years-old, he knew what it would take to keep a factory of this size running. He would have help, as on January 17, 1906, he would marry the love of his life, Ida Emma Schultz.
Henry had been working in cheese factories all of his life, as in 1887 his father had built one of the first cheese factories in Outagamie County, Wisconsin, not far from the family farm in Ellington. One factory grew to two, and these family factories were now being run by his elder brother, Hubert; their parents, Peter and Elizabeth, had retired to Appleton, Outagamie Co., Wisconsin, in 1901.
One of the tasks of a cheesemaker was to harvest enough ice to last the summer. Harvesting began as soon as the ice was thick enough, usually by mid January, and continued until the house was full. That first year it was reported in the Kaukauna Times on February 9, 1906 that: “Our hustling cheesemaker Henry Faustbender [sic] is harvesting his next summer’s ice.” A couple of years later on January 31, 1908, the entry in the Kaukauna Times reported: “The ice harvest has begun in earnest and our cheesemaker and others who store ice are busy putting up next summer’s supply.”
Reporting on January 13, 1913, the Kaukauna Times stated: “Mrs. E. Van Abel, H. J. Fassbender and Matt Becker were harvesting their ice supply.” Matt Becker was a friend, and business associate of Henry’s, and Mrs. E. Van Abel is the former Ellen Wassenberg, the 71-year-old widow of Martin Van Abel, and grandmother of Wilfred and Don Van Abel. She was harvesting ice for her “Hotel.”
As we move further into the 20th Century, gasoline motors become more readily available, making harvesting ice a much quicker and easier process.
Why am I writing this post about ice? What does it have to do with food? Many years ago I had the good fortune to sit down with Henry’s daughter Mildred (Hunce), and she told me many wonderful stories about growing up in Hollandtown. Two centered around Henry’s ice house.
Always the humanitarian looking out for the people of his community, each year Henry would open up his ice house to the people of Hollandtown. Anyone who had a need for cold storage larger than what would fit into their household ice box, could carve out a niche in the ice house as their own. As Hunce remembered it, many people took advantage of this offer, coming and going throughout the summer.
The second story occurred on Monday, May 22, 1922, when at approximately 10:30 p.m. a boiler exploded at the factory. Hunce remembered hearing her father fly out of his bedroom on the first floor, and out the side door of the house. This door led straight to the factory. Eighty years later she could still hear the shower of sparks and debris hitting the tin roof of the house. An article published in the Appleton Post-Crescent on May 23rd states: “…the farmers were powerless to do much more than prevent flying sparks from communicating with nearby dwelling houses. At one time the sparks had started a blaze on the roof of a stucco house [Henry’s] about 200 yards away, but it was quickly extinguished…” There was nothing that could be done to save the factory, the papers reported the loss at $20,000, only “partly recovered by insurance.” One can only imagine Ida’s fear as she stood helplessly by watching the factory burn to the ground, and as she tried to comfort and protect her children. At the time of the fire Harold (Fat) was 14, Laurine (Ena) was 12, Red 11, Butch 9, Hunce 7, Cub 4, and Ann (Hank) was just eight months old.
Hunce also told me that day of her memory of the ice that was left after the ice house burned to the ground. She had a clear and distinct memory of how tall the remaining ice was, and how long it took for it to melt. Her memory, again corroborated by the newspaper article: “The ice house adjoining the factory also burned to the ground leaving a tower of ice about 35 feet high.”
Work began to rebuild White Clover Dairy began that very summer.