BRACKER PUMP & WELL COMPANY HISTORY/OVERVIEW:
In 1844 little Ben's great grandfather (Albertus John Kerkman 1813-1900*) arrived in Wisconsin and started a farm in Wheatland of Racine county. He left West Germany and his loved ones where crop failures resulted in famine. Also religious and political conditions are likely to have played a role. It is note worthy that he would play his banjo and lead in singing as they waited for the Burlington priest and preach the sermon and lead the group in recitation and prayer when the priest couldn't make it. He served as constable (1849) and supervisor (9 years). As all residents of the area helping the surrounding families was a way of life, such as walking to Milwaukee for food and necessities for his and neighboring families.* Being one of the first and oldest homesteaders, a god fearing man, you well know he and his sons were there to help with the neighbors wells and water supply, farms and harvesting, barn and house risings, as was customary in those days. In 1848 Wisconsin became a state. And in 1950 Racine was divided up making Kenosha county. So along with one of his sons (John A. KerKman*) he became one of the founding fathers of the state of Wisconsin and counties of Racine and Kenosha.
Henry Bracker is little Ben's Grandfather born in 1861(-1928*), and his was grandmother Anna Catherine Kerman(1870-1916*). Henry was a Black Smith and died after being kicked by a mule in the head while shoeing him. To stubborn to quit working it took three days for death to over take him, most likely an aneurysm is thought today.** Being a Black Smith had to be very useful back in those days for making parts and necessities. Like parts for wells to supply water and other farm yard tools and equipment. (But its was said he hardly left the farm as he got older due to his irritability.**) So you can Imagine the work he and his sons did to do help keep the areas farms working.
So as you can guess, his son Bernard William (Ben) Bracker (1895-1967*) naturally went to help those in need. He worked on many wells; driving points and installing hand pumps with tools that were Smith made. Like earth drills on pipe that could be used manually to open a hole for easily pounding well points. Which helped to checking for water, while avoiding large rocks, and save time and lining material which was hard to get and expensive in the early 1900's (Not legal since 1936). (Little Ben remembers playing with these tools after his fathers death, drilling holes in the farm yard easily to about 8feet. There where sets of them for many sizes of point wells liners and Pump Dogs(Rancher's Pipe Holder), a vise that only held things in one direction-that being down.) He remembered his father putting in points and pumps at Lake Puckaway, WI where they had a cabin when little Ben was a boy. Since they were in his play area(Baby sitters and close neighbors and friends) he got to be around and watch. His father was a farmer, butcher, business man, and jack of all trades as many men in those days. He went from farm to farm in the old days buying cattle, hogs, and sheep, chickens, etc...,(His Butcher and processing License was sold to Harry Hansen) making friends where ever he went. He learn to speak many Languages (possibly 8, reading and writing in 4 or 5 and thinking in as many according to his wife Ruby) so he could converse with his friends and customers. Of course, like his grand father helping his neighbors was a way of life, and with his travels his friends were many. Later in his life, Mrs. Olley (Hwy 38) was telling us of her memory of Big Ben's repairing their family farm water well when she was a older girl.
One of the friends Big Ben made was quite younger. John*** was a boy who would come to the butcher shop for his mother. Big Ben would take him to the stock yards in Chicago, IL for company after getting permission from the boys mother. Where he would buy the boy ice cream, which was very scarce due to the need for ice in those days. But the area yards had it saved up for ice boxes. (It was cut out of the ice in the Winter and stored.) It was an all day trip, leaving earily before light, and coming home well after dark in Big Ben's stock truck. (This was one of a many story's that old John*** would tell little Ben as he taught little Ben, as they worked, ate, and conversed.) Later he and Big Ben worked together at the local farm machinery yard and of course became drinking buddys at the local taverns.
CURRENT BEN BRACKER's BOYHOOD/John SR***
One day while nine years old Little Ben found a man taking down the next door neighbors house. Ester(the neighbor) was a good place to go and drink milk and eat cookies. She had told him she was leaving but it was hard to believe seeing she was there all his life. But low and behold this man(John***) was taking down the house. (They put in a subdivision) At first little Ben gave John much trouble over it. Threatening to call the police. But when John found out who Little Ben was, he told of the stories of Big Ben(pasted away 3 years before) and him. And Ben Knew it was true as John knew to much so the two became fast friends and Ben helped him with the demo. They saved everything they could, even the cement block of the foundation they pulled and cleaned of Mortar.
But Johns wife and children became a little worried that something might happen to little Ben so they thought they shouldn't work together because of the Liability. So it was decided by John and his wife that if Ben's mother gave permission it was OK. (Just like John's mother gave permission all those years ago.) When they asked his mother she said;"If that's what he wants to do.", and Ben did. But Ma, (Johns wife) had one condition herself; which was they had to be home by her at noon every day, as a growing boy needed to eat, and she cooked a meal fit for Kings every day! And of course John paid his hired man...:-)
Over the next nine years as John was Sim-retired (As John liked put it, calling them- "Do less and see more"-for fun.) Ben worked Springs and Summers with John learning many things as they took down buildings, scraped metals and old equipment, sold tools and equipment, worked with his sons, helped out friends and customers. (During this time he work with Jack(John)Peterson at "Jacks Auto Service" in the Fall and Winter until becoming Jacks first Asst. Manager-another story...)
CURRENT BEN BRACKER's BOYHOOD/John JR****
From mid to late 70's to be Continued...
*Taken from 'The John Kerman Family' by Joan M. (Kerman) Ziccarelli 1985.
**Taken from Ruby(Kidd)Bracker(1939-1998), Mrs Olley, Frank Bracker(1919-2008), and Pearl Bracker(1918-2009) amoung others.
***The Master Plumber, Well Driller, Pump Installer who began little Ben's training.
**** JR Plumber,Well Driller,Pump Installer,Welder,Boiler Maker,Civil Engineer.
In early 1980 "Bracker Pump and Well" was started out of "Bracker Brothers Enterprizes". Which in turn started in 1978 by Ben Bracker with John Bracker soon coming aboard to help. Starting out in Franksville Wisconsin, with a "National Truck Mounted Crane" which Ben worked over and mounted in CAlIFORNIA. He and his wife Shawn, and brother John pulled together to make "Bracker Pump & Well Service" the most well equipped, reliable, dependable, informed and well liked "Well and Pump" service East of I-94 in Racine and Kenosha counties.
Soon after they added another 'service and pulling truck' with a "Smeal Pulling Rig" and a portable unit called an "Up-z-dazy" which pulls most well pumps and is the size of a 'wheel barrow'. Also having a 2 ton "International" 'dump truck', a "CASE 580C" 'loader backhoe', a few trailers, a "Ford 841 Power Master" tractor, along with their large parts & pump inventory and other major necessities to 'provide help " for all of your water well needs". To this time John and Ben had acquired over 55 years experience between them in the field. Plus Shawn's years of holding down the office.
In early 1999 they branched out once again into the "municipal sewer and water services" area, having worked on these in the past, they have decided to make it a regular part of their services. Now they regularly service Racine, Kenosha, and Milwaukee counties. Occasionally going to Walworth and Waukesha counties. Serving with 'Emergency Well Pump Replacement and Repair'. While also providing a complete well service, including: Pressure tank replacement, Low water pressure systems repaired, Water leak repairs and replacement, New complete water systems, Well pits upgraded, well abandonment's and other well code work. And now "Municipal Sewer and Water Laterals " and mains, including drainage water, sump tiling and repair. With 'Underground Boring'. Continued...
"Bracker Pump and Well Service" is the company to get your job done right the first time.