Tales of our Beginnings
Cadott • Cornell • Lake Holcombe areas
Earl and Evah Craker
One winter, in his mid-30s, Earl Barrett Craker rode a train to the Holcombe area, bringing along his horses to do some logging. He went back to Reedsburg in Sauk County, and returned with his wife, Evah (Greenwood), and children, to make Holcombe their new home in 1918.
They purchased 40 acres on the corner of County Hwy. W and what is now State Hwy. 27. They drove up in a car called a “baby grand,” while three of the sons rode the train with the horses and machinery.
The family moved into a small log cabin just north of their property, living there until their new home was built. That house is still standing, and is known as the Happy Horse Bed & Breakfast.
A barn was built in 1922, holding 26 dairy cows, which at that time, was a lot of milking done by hand. Another 80 acres behind the original 40 was purchased, as well as a 160-acre farm 3/4 of a mile west of the Crakers’ farm. That parcel was eventually owned by one of their sons.
Earl and Evah had nine sons – Victor, Vinton, Marvin, Max, Manley, Arlie, Warren, Lee and Marlow, and six daughters – Crystal, Lorraine, Shirley, Juanita, Gladys and Marian. The children all attended Enterprise Grade School and Holcombe High School, with over half of them heading on to college.
Times were tough in the 1920s and 1930s, so picking berries, harvesting hazelnuts, making maple syrup and finding an occasional honey tree was common to help support the family. A large garden was a necessity and raccoon was common fare at the dinner table.
Evah passed away in 1950, and Earl continued living on the farm until he was 100. He died in 1986, at the age of 104. Their final resting place is in a small cemetery adjacent to their farm.
Generations from this large farm family continue to live in the Holcombe area. (Courtesy of the Holcombe Centennial 1905-2005)