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Histories:  Trempealeau Co. Historical Accounts:

"Trempealeau County" by Clarence J. Gamroth: 

Volume 1A:

Biographies:  John L. Bautch

John L. Bautch, An Early Settler

by Margaret Kulig, 1947

In 1833, John L. Bautch was born in Poppeleau, Christopal, Germany.  At 2 years of age, he was brought to America by his parents, Albert and Josephine (Skrzypietz) Bautch. The voyage was made on a small sailboat requiring 63 days to cross.  They landed at Quebec, Canada and from there went to New York, then Chicago and settled for one year in Milwaukee where Albert built a wagon factory and a large tenement apartment house.  The family then moved to Watertown and there engaged in the sawmill business, which they built there.  They sold the business and in 1857 settled on a farm in New Lisbon, Juneau County where they stayed for 6 years.

In May, 1863, with all their household goods in a covered wagon and driving their cattle, they migrated to North Creek Township of Arcadia, Trempealeau County.  This was a strenuous trip as roads were mere trails.  In North Creek, the family bought 520 acres of farmland.  In 1870, they sold the farm and moved to New City, southwest of the future site of Independence and bought the New City Grist Mill from Ed Carpenter.  This they operated for a long time and also operated the farm on which the mill was located.  This mill was located across a creek from the buildings on the farm where Jerome Bautch lives.

In June 1877, Albert's son, John L., married Frances Pietrek of Arcadia.  They farmed for a while in North Creek and after renting the farm, they moved to Independence where they engaged for about 4 years in the hotel and tavern business with his brother Albert J. Bautch.

In 1896, he bought the farm and mill which he operated with the help of his sons.  Many interesting incidents occurred during the years he ran the mill.  There were many gypsies around and they often visited the mill stealing food and money.  Also there were floods which occurred in the Spring.  A flood once took out the mill, but it was rebuilt.

John and his sons continued to operate the mill until 1917 (the mill was discontinued many years before that - comment by Clarence Gamroth) the work at the mill was a day and night job.  Flour and feed were ground during the day and bagged at night and sold the next day in Independence.

The son, John T., married and leased the farm.  John L. Bautch moved his family just east of the farm to a small place now occupied by Emil Gruntzel.  In 1918, during the flu epidemic, son Peter died and John L. was forced to take over the farm in Wickham Valley.  After leasing the farm to another son, Louis, he moved to Independence to a home which he had built across the street from the Catholic school.  He died in 1942.


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