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Jacob (Jake) Holl Jr.  
1859 - 1941

Peter Holl 
c: 1881 Tin-Type
(picture is printed in reverse)
Minnie Holl - Gene Heezen Collection

Jacob Holl Jr. was born in Bay Settlement, Brown County, Wisconsin March 22, 1859. He was the second child and son of Jacob and Margaret (Dollar) Holl and was was baptised at St. Francis Xavior Cathedral in Green Bay.  He moved to the Holl Family homestead with his parents and older brother in 1860. There he learned both homestead farming and lumbering as he grew to manhood. 

Jacob grew up with facing the realities of life. Mothers tended to have large numbers of children in a short span of years, and rural life was notoriously hard work for them. A substantial number died young, so any help they could get gave them a better chance of survival. Having many children was the goal for couples. Children were needed for the work they provided, since it often made the difference between success and failure in farming. Without a doubt, even with what family history tells us were loving and nurturing parents, Jacob had to take on the responsibilities of chores, caring for younger siblings, and attending the nearby lof school at an early age. Education was one of the chief concerns of his parents. In the Europe his parents were born, education was available only to a few males, and often meant the difference between constant struggle for basic needs, and being able to prosper. Jacob Sr. and Margaret were determined that all their children, male and female, would learn. They worked with neighbors to help build the public rural log school and eventually gave some of their land for a replacement as families grew. 

Jacob Holl  1816-1880
Margaret Dollar 1838-1908

Marriages and Children:
Clara Prinz  1864-1900 (m. 27 Nov 1883)
  1. Peter Paul Holl 1884-1884
2. Jacob A Holl 1887-1950
  3. Bernard Holl 1889-1968
  4. George Holl 1891-1965
  5. Maria Clara Holl 1893-1985
  6. Barbara Holl 1894-1963
  7. Edward Holl 1898-1856
  8. Christine Elizabeth Holl 1900-1946
Emma Augusta Rusch 1880-1965 (m. 1 Jun 1905)
  9. Adeline M Holl 1903-1980
 10. Fredrick J Holl  1905-1987
 11. Caroline K Holl 1907-1967
 12. Clara Holl 1909-1910
 13. Clarence M. Holl 1911-1974
 14. Harold Michael Holl 1913-1991
 15. Velora Grtrude Holl 1916-2010

The family fled the flames of the Great Peshtigo Fire on the night of October 8, 1871, but survived to return and rebuild from the damage. Jake was 12 years old when he helped his father and brothers repair and rebuild the home and barns while his mother and younger children filled a large sack Margaret had sewn from burned scraps of material, with leaves, partially burned sticks,  straw and grass; anything that could be used for food and bedding for the stock. Survival depended on everyone's efforts.

In close succession Peter, Henry. Margaret, Joseph and Catherine had been added to the clan by 1872, an average of one birth every other year. Along with the other older children in the family, Jake experienced his first real loss with the death of his sister Gertrude in 1874. She was only days away from her 10th birthday. Anna then Matthew came along and by this time Jake was 15 years old. 

Opportunities were opening up for the oldest children of immigrant families by this time.  Jake had claimed a homestead in neighboring Oconto County wilderness in 1879, soon followed by brother John in 1880. At the time, they were all in town of How. In coming years that township was subdivided and Jake's homestead was to be in town of Underhill. To be awarded ownership of the property by the Federal Government, certain improvements were required within a specific length of time, usually 5 years. These improvements usually included the building of a house of minimum specification in measurement and accommodation; potable water well; barn of certain specifications; acreage cleared and planted sufficient to financially support residency and various other needs. This was a serious commitment for a young "would be" homesteader, but well worth the effort for the opportunity to own the farmland that was literally carved out of the wilderness. 

Family history tells us that Jake walked the virgin wilderness along the Oconto River in the newly Jake came to Oconto County in 1879, when he was 19 years old. Family history tells us that Jake walked the virgin wilderness along the Oconto River in the newly formed township of How.    When he had found the parcel that best suited him, he slept under a tree that night, walked to the town offices, filed a homestead claim and purchased a down payment with money he had earned working in logging. Jake then returned to his land with only an ax, building a simple lean-to of branches and cedar bows. This was his home each summer until he had cleared enough land for crops and built a simple wooden home. He continued to improve the homestead buildings and lived on the same farm until the time of his death. The Federal Census of the Spring of 1880 shows he was living in Brown County on the Holl homestead helping put in the crops and tend the cattle after his father's death that Winter. His mother had just given birth to youngest brother Edward three months after his father's death. 

Jake and Clara (Prinz) Holl 
with their first 6 surviving children. Christine Elizabeth was born after this photograph in 1900.
Jim Holl Collection

Jake met Clara Prinz in Preble, Wisconsin as a young man.  Her father was a Civil War veteran, successful local land owner, farmer and sawmill owner, Adam Prinz, who had also immigrated from what is now Germany before the war. She was the sister of Elizabeth Prinz, who married his younger brother Peter in 1885.

Clara and Jake were married November 27,1883 in Preble, Brown County, at Holy Martyrs of Gorcum parish and the couple settled on Jake's homestead the following Spring. Jake worked the farm and had acquired additional wooded property nearby which he owned until the 1930's. He logged this property during the winter months and started a portable sawmill, which allowed him to move in later years, doing considerable logging in the woods at Blackwell and Crandon

Jake's sister Maggie passed away in April 1887 from Typhoid Fever while in Marinette at the age of 20 years weeks before her schedued wedding to Jake's friend Nick Ehlinger. 

The year following their marriage Clara and Jake lost their first born infant child, Peter Paul. After the loss of their first child, the family grew rapidly. The couple was busy raising seven children on the homestead with the birth of their last child in 1898. Jake was kept busy in those years. He was very active in social and civic affairs, having held many offices. Land from his farm was used for a new brick public school named Linzy Creek. Jake been the postmaster at Linzy Creek settlement for many years, as well as coroner, and held several commissioners positions for years

Remains, in 2003, of the abandoned brick Linzy Creek public school built by Jake Holl on land that he donated. The school was closed in the 1960s when all rural education in Wisconsin was consolidated.

While expecting their last child, Clara began to feel increased weakness and had difficulty breathing. She was diagnosed with "Consumption," the old term for Tuberculosis of the lungs. The contagious disease was entering the epidemic stages in the area and more often than not, in this time before antibiotics treatment, the Tuberculosis bascillus was often fatal. Jake stood by helplessly as Lizzie continued to fail.

Heirloom charcoal portrait of Elizabeth Prinz Holl commissioned by the family after her death.

In this rural area, often Tuberculosis infected people who drank unpasturized milk. Science now tells us that the wild deer population carried the illness, leaving it on the cow pastures where they grazed with local herds. The cows became infected, grazing where the deer had been, and transmitted the disease in their milk to humans. There was little available to treat the disease before .. antibiotics. It grew to epidemic proportions in rural Wisconsin, especially in the dairy areas. The invention of the pasteurization process, years later, helped bring and end to the epidemic.

Clara Prinz Holl passed away December 29, 1900 from Consumption at the farm on, leaving the Holl and Prinz families among the hundreds of grief stricken community members wjose families were devistated by that disease. She was 36 years, 4 months and 17 days old. Her death certificate states that she had the illness “for nearly three years.” Clara is buried at St. Michael Cemetery, town of How.

To help with raising his family, Jake hired a young local Underhill woman, Emma Augusta Rusch. Emma was the daughter of Christian Ludwig (Louis) Rusch and his wife Johanna Friederika Jaeger who farmed in the area. The family had immigrated from Dorow, Nordvorpommern, Mecklenburg (now in Germany) in 1878,  two years before Emma's birth in Wisconsin. Emma took charge of 7 young children and running a household at the age of 20 years.

Emma Rusch Holl.

Emma is shown on June 16, 1947, holding a wedding cake she had made and decorated for a family wedding.
On May 4,1903 Jake Holl was married to Miss Emma Rusch. This was also Emma’s 23rd birthday.  The couple added 7 more children to the household, and a large brick Victorian house was built. For decades, the main bam on the Jake Holl farm was the largest in Oconto County. The house remains but the bam is gone. In 1921 Jake sold his logging outfit and retired from logging.
The county newspaper later reported the celebration of their 25th wedding anniversary in 1928.

Jakes mother Margaret died in 1908 while living at the homestead farm of his brother John Holl. She had remarried but the marriage had not been a happy one. She separated from her second husband and moved to Oconto County with her two youngest sons.

Jake and Emma lost a daughter, Clara, in 1910.

On August 14, 1941 Jake Holl passed away at his home at Death was attributed to stroke at age 82. The Death Certificate gives the cause as Apoplexy (Stroke) of 7 days duration. Dr. Dougherty signed the death certificate. Jake Holl is buried in St Michael Cemetery in town of How with several of his children.

Emma Rusch Holl lived on the family farm with sons Fred and Harold Holl.  On May 1, 1965 Emma passed away at age 84, just three days before her 85th birthday. She is buried at  Christ Lutheran Church Cemetery at Hintz, Oconto County, Wisconsin.

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