Finding Aid for Fred Borm Papers, 1893-1952
The Fred Borm Papers consist of ledger books, bills, correspondence, and artifacts relating to Fred Borm’s Downsville business ventures with the following companies and groups: Downsville Co-operative Creamery Company, 1903-1945; Downsville Telephone Company, 1916-1947; Fred Borm Lumber Company, 1893-1952; Farmers & Merchants State Bank, 1926-1934; Downsville Shipping Association, 1921-1929.
Frederick Borm was born on August 1, 1864, in Belschwitz Thiergart, West Prussia, Germany. He immigrated from Germany to the United States in 1883 and came to Menomonie. He worked in the Knapp, Stout & Co., Company sawmill and then transferred to Cedar Falls as a lumber grader. In 1890, he was sent to Cumberland, back to Cedar Falls, and eventually sent to the Downsville mill site along the Red Cedar River as lumber salesman and general outside super-intendent until the Knapp, Stout & Co., Company mill closed in 1900. Borm remained with the company until 1904 to help with the clean-up. The last lumber raft went down the river in 1901. Borm purchased the retail yard of Knapp, Stout, and Co., and was “proprietor of the same, handling lumber and general builders’ supplies, such as lath, shingles, windows, doors, building paper and cement.” (Dunn County History book, 1925, p. 728). Borm married Eva Brown, of Weston, in 1894. Eva passed away in 1903. They had two children, Velma Gladys and Stanley Edwin. Borm died in 1953 at age 88. Frederick Borm was a leading citizen of Downsville and involved in many business ventures and activities: Downsville Co-operative Creamery Company The Downsville Co-operative Creamery Company was formed in 1903, and its members produced butter. Borm was elected secretary and manager of the company in 1904, a month after it opened. Documents referred to Borm interchangeably as “secretary” and “manager.” Borm was also a company stockholder. The company was still operating in the early 1960s, according to a John Russell article in the June 4, 2000, Dunn County News, and the building was renovated and opened as The Creamery Inn in 1985. Downsville Telephone Company The telephone company was organized in 1903 and combined with the Louisville Telephone Co. in 1904, to become the Wisconsin Telephone Co-op. It took in lines from Weston, Fall City, and Dunnville. It had 214 lines and had connections with Eau Galle, Elmwood, and Wisconsin Telephone Companies. Borm was elected secretary, manager, and treasurer in 1917. Downsville School District, Joint School District No. 2 Borm served as a member of the School Board from 1901-1918, and acted as the school district clerk except for three years, and director in 1899. He was treasurer of the school board for a three-year term (1922-1925) and in 1925, 1928, 1931, 1934, 1937, and 1940. Committee on Common Schools Borm was a member, 1914-1919, and elected president in 1918. It was a law for each county to have a committee, until the law was revoked in 1919. The committee issued an Annual Report to the County Board of Supervisors. They typically met five or six times a year at the office of the County Superintendent. The committee made decisions about consolidating school districts and other operational matters. Farmers & Merchants State Bank The Farmers & Merchants State bank was organized in 1916, and incorporated in 1917. Borm was a stockholder. Downsville Colony No. 286, Beavers Reserve Fund Fraternity The fraternity was incorporated in 1902 and held meetings in the upper floor of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Hall, previously the Empire in Pine Lumber Museum, and later the Downsville Community Museum. Borm served as Secretary from 1904-1916.