Butchers

As I was researching meat markets for this issue of the newsletter, I was struck by a couple of interesting qualities shared by many of the butchers of Morrison County. For one, butchering was a family affair, generally passed from one generation to the next. This happened with the Pierz/Genola trio of Thielen’s, Meyer’s, and Gruber’s markets, as well as with Psyck’s in Bowlus, and Moeglein’s, Erdrich’s and Wilczek’s markets in Little Falls.

Of course, there were exceptions to this rule. Clarence Psyck, Sr. got his start in the butchering business by purchasing Mr. and Mrs. Fred Schmidt’s meat market. Clarence learned the trade from Fred. Louis Drellack worked with John Wilczek and John Ziemkowski and learned butchering from them. He and his cousin, Joe, operated Drellack & Drellack Meat Market in Little Falls. They sold the business to Jake Mrozik in 1906 and Louis bought Sam Trebby’s ice business and renamed it Drellack Ice Company. In 1918, he sold the ice business and started another meat market, which only lasted about a year. He went on to other jobs after this.

Another curious quality of butchers is the amount of community service they have given to the county. Nick Meyer, who started the Meyer Meat Market in Pierz, served as a Pierz Village Councilman for six years and as a Pierz firefighter for forty years. Franklin Pierce Farrow, who owned a butcher shop in Royalton and then built the Columbia Hotel in Little Falls, served as police chief. George Moeglein, Sr. served on the Little Falls City Council for twenty years, became mayor for five years, and then served on the council for another sixteen years. His sons, Charles, Joseph, and George, Jr., all contributed to society in various ways. Charles was on the Little Falls City Council and was president of the Water Utilities Department and chair of the Airport Committee. George, Jr. served on the school board and was a member “of the old water board.” Joseph was state auditor. In the Wilczek family, Peter served on the Little Falls City Council for twelve years. His son, Clarence, was a volunteer firefighter for forty years.

I thought that I had found a break in the chain of community service when I interviewed Butch Psyck. He told me that his father, Clarence, didn’t believe in mixing community service with business and, because Clarence had lost an eye, it would have been difficult for him to take on this extra work. Continuity of my observation of butchers as community servants returned when Butch continued. He said that he had served for years on the Bowlus City Council, was mayor of Bowlus for four years, and served on the fire department for twenty-six years, currently as fire chief. The chain remains unbroken.

by Mary Warner
Copyright 2003, Morrison County Historical Society

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