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H. C. COOPER, Jr., & CO. 







Topography, 1-2; Sovereignty, 2-4; Boundaries, 4-6; First Men In, 6-8; Coming of 
the White Men, 8-9; Missionaries and Traders, 9-12; French Fur Trade, 12-14; British 
Fur Trade, 14-16. 


GEOLOGY, 17-25 

Rock Exposures, 17; Geologic Divisions, 17; Successive Stages of Formation, 19; 
the Trempealeau Bluffs, 23-24; Recapitulation, 24-25; Natural Resources, 25. 



Distribution and Character of Antiquities, 26-27; Significance and Authorship, 
27-28; Platforms, 28-33; Antiquity of Man, 33-34; Recapitulation, 34-35. 



Spain, France, England, United States, 36; Territories, States ^d Counties, 36-38; 
County Organized, 38-39. 



Tribes, 41; Winnebago, 41-43; Dakota (Sioux), 43; Wabasha, 44; Decorah, 45-47; 
Black Hawk, Tradition of Capture, 48-49; Modern Encampments, 49. 



Description of Mountain, C2; Hennepin, Accault, Auguel, 52-54; Duluth, 53-54; 
Perrot, 54-55; Le Sueur, 55; Linctot, 56; St. Pierre, 56; Marin, 57; Carver, 57-58; Pike, 
58-59; Long, 59-61; Leavenworth, Forsyth and Ft. Snelling, 60; Sawmill on Black River, 
60; Cass, Schoolcraft, Doty, 60-61; Sawmill on the Menomonee, 61; Long, Keating, 
Schoolcraft, 61; "Virginia," the First Steamboat, 61; Beltrami, 61-62; Featherston- 
haugh, Mather, Catlin, Kearney, Lea, 62. 





Joseph and Augustine Rocque, Trappers, 65-66; Louis and Augustine Grignon, 
Traders, 66; Gavin, Missionary, 66; Stram, Farmer, 66; la Bathe, Trader, 66; Doville 
and Antoine Reed, 66-67; James A. Reed, 67; Reed's Followers, 67-68; L. H. and W. B. 
Bunnell, 68; Influx Begins, 68; Routes of Travel, 68. 



Changes in Nature Wrought by Man, 70-72; Trempealeau, 72-78; Black River Val- 
ley, 78-79; Beaver Creek Valley, 79-83; Frenchville, 83; Ettrick, 83; Galesville, 83-86; 
Trempealeau Prairie, 86-87; Dodge, 87-88; Arcadia, 88-91; Bumside, Hale, Chimney 
Rock, 92; Lincoln, 92-93; Whitehall, 93-94; Pigeon, 94; Preston, 94; Albion, 94-96; Unity, 
96; Sumner, 97; Land Office Records, 97-102; Tax Records, 102-105. 



First County Board, 106; Pre-Bellum Boards and Their Doings, 106-109; Com- 
missioners and Their Doings, 109; Present System of Government Inaugurated, 112-114; 
County Seat, Courthouse and Jail, 114-116; Asylum, 116-117; Alms House (Attempted), 
116-117; Roads and Bridges, 117-118; County Officers, 118-120; County Supervisors 
Since 1872, 120-128 (Previous Boards Given Earlier in the General Text of the Chapter); 
Organization of Townships — Trempealeau (Montoville) by La Crosse County, Date 
Unknown, 106; Gale, 106; Preston, 107; Sumner, 107; Arcadia, 107; Caledonia, 107-108; 
Lincoln, 108; Chase, 108 (Vacated, 109); Ettrick, 110; Bumside, 111; Hale, 111; Albion, 
113; Dodge, 113-114; Pigeon, 113-114; Unity, 113-114; Chimney Rock, 113-114. 



Recollections of Antoine Grignon, 129-136; James Allen Reed, 136-143; Irish Set- 
tlers, 143-150; Polish and Bohemian Settlers, 150-152; Scandinavian Settlers, 152-159; 
The County in 1871, 159-162; Cruise of the Spray, 162-164; Early Trempealeau, 164-166; 
Trempealeau Prairie, 166-167; Beaver Creek Valley, 167-169; Lewis Valley, 169; New- 
comb Valley, 169-171; Holcomb Cooley, 171-172; American Valley, 172; Rainey Valley, 
172-173; Meyers Valley, 173-175; Trout Run Valley, 175-176; North Creek Valley, 176- 
177; Bill's Valley, 177; Korpal Valley, 177; The Banner Robbery, 177-178; Williams- 
burg, 178-181; McGilvray's Ferry, 181-184; A Wisconsin Pioneer, 184-196; Early Osseo, 
196-202; The Olson Lynching, 202-204; Winnebago Festivities, 204-205; Scotch Settlers 
of Glasgow and Decorah Prairie, 205-207; Wessel Lowe's Experiences, 207; James N. 
Hunter's Reminiscences, 207-208; George H. Markham's Reminiscences, 208-211; A. D. 
Tracy, 211-212; Antoine Grignon and the Indians, 212-218; Remains of a Friench Post 
Near Trempealeau, 218-222; Organization Act of Trempealeau County, 222-223. 




Population with Dates of Platting and Incorporating, 224; Arcadia, 225-231; White- 
hall, 232-237; Galesville, 237-240; Independence, 240-245; Blair, 245-248; Eleva, 248- 
250; Osseo, 250-252; Strum, 252-253; Ettrick, 253; Dodge, 253; Pigeon Creek, 253; 
Trempealeau, 254. 


NEWSPAPERS, 255-260 

Trempealeau Times, 255; Trempealeau Banner, 255; Galesville Transcript, 255-256; 
Trempealeau County Record, 256; Galesville Journal, 256; Journal and Record, 256; 
Trempealeau County Messenger, 256; Whitehall Times, 256; Whitehall Times and Blair 
Banner, 256; Whitehall, 256; Trempealeau Representative, 256; Trem- 
pealeau Coimty Republican, 256; Arcadia Leader, 256-257; Arcadia Republican and 
Leader, 256-257; Galesville Independent, 257; Trempealeau Free Press, 257; Trempea- 
leau County Democrat, 257; Galesville Republican, 257; Independence News- Wave, 258; 
Independence Weekly News, 258; Independence Wave, 258; Trempealeau Gazette, 258; 
Trempealeau Tribune, 258; Trempealeau Herald, 258-259; Arcadian, 259; Blair Press, 
259; Osseo Blade, 259; Osseo Recorder, 259; Osseo News, 259; Eleva Herald, 259; 
International Good Templar, 259; Wisconsin Good Templar, 259; Anzeiger, 259; Der 
Nord Staed, 260; Booster, 260. 



Location of Railroads, 261-262; La Crosse, Trempealeau & Prescott, 262; Chicago 
& Northwestern, 263; Galesville Branch, 263-264; Green Bay & Western, 264-265; Chi- 
cago, Burlington & Quincy, 265; Mondovi Line, 266; Ettrick & Northern, 266-267; 
Telephones, 267-269; Veitch-Luce Galesville Line, 267; The Utter Fiasco, 267; The 
Waumandee Lime, 267; Arcadia Telephone Co., 267; Trempealeau Valley Exchanges, 
268; Western Wisconsin Telephone Co., 268; Osseo Telephone Co., 268; Rural Lines, 269. 


PLACE NAMES, 270-281 

Townships, 270-271; Incorporated Villages, 271-272; Platted Vilages, 272-273; 
Trading Centers, 273-274; Principal Streams, 274-276; Lakes, 276-277; Geographical 
Landmarks, 277-279; Valleys and Cooleys, 279-281. 


BIOGRAPHY, 282-801 

(For Index, see Biographical Index in Back of This Volume) 




First Banks, 802; Bank of Arcadia, 802-803; John O. Melby & Co. Bank of White- 
hall, 803-804; Bank of Galesville, 804-805; Home Bank of Blair, 805; State Bank of 
Osseo, 805; Farmers' and Merchants' State Bank of Galesville, 805-806; Bank of Ettrick, 
806; Citizens' State Bank of Trempealeau, 806-807; Farmers' State Bank of Arcadia, 
807; First State Bank of Dodge, 807; Farmers' and Merchants' Bank of Independence, 
807-808; Farmers' Exchange Bank of Osseo, 808; First State Bank of Strum, 808-809; 
Peoples' State Bank of Whitehall, 809; First National Bank of Blair, 809-810; State 
Bank of Independence, 810; Bank of Eleva, 810. 



Story of the Growth of Dairying, 811-812; Statistics of the Individual Creameries, 
812-815; Statistics of the Cheese Factories, 815-816; Values, 816; Butter and Cheese 
Made on Farms, 816. 



The Norwegians, 817-818; Story of the Individual Congregations from Dr. O. M. 
Norlie's "Norsk Lutherske Menigheder I Amerika, 1843-1915," 818-828; French Creek, 
Tamarack, Hardie's Creek, Fagerness and South Beaver Creek Congregations by Rev. 
C. B. Bestul, 828-833; Whitehall and Pigeon Creek Congregations, by Rev. Einar B. 
Christophersen, 833-835. 



Catholics in American History, 836-838; Sacred Heart and St. Wenzeslaus' 838-839; 
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 839-843; St. Bridget's, 843-845; St. Michael's 845-846; St. 
Peter's and St. Paul's, 846-848; St. Mary's, 848-849; St. Bartholomew's 849-850; St. 
Stanislaus', 850-851; Summary, 851. 



German Evangelical Lutheran, 852; Swedish Lutheran, 852; Evangelical Associa- 
tion, 852-854; Congregational, 854-857; Presbyterian, 857-860; Methodist Episcopal, 
860-861; Baptist, 861-862; Episcopal, 862-863; Independent, 863; Union, 863. 

BENCH AND BAR, 864-866 
Judges and Lawyers of Trempealeau County. 




Preliminary Observations, 868-871; Man-Made History, 871-876; Pigeon Falls, 877- 
880; Political History, 880; General Development, 881-882., 



Trempealeau Mountain Park, 883-884; Gale College, 884-888; Arcadia in 1876, 888- 
889; Pioneer Schools, 889-890; Galesville Fair, 890-891; Agricultural Development, 
891-893; Orchard and Its Advancement, 893-895; First Meeting in Sumner, 895; Trem- 
pealeau Municipal Improvements, 896; Independence Municipal Improvements, 896-898; 
Early Burnside Records, 898-900; Early Adventures, 900; Flood of 1876, 901; Borst Val- 
ley, 901-905; Green Bay & Western Railroad, 905-908; Risberg Accounting System, 908. 


SOURCES, 910-913 

Trempealeau County Historians: George H. Squier, 910; Benjamin F. Heuston, 910; 
George Gale, 910; H. A. Anderson, 910-911; Eben D. Pierce, 911; Stephen Richmond, 
911-912; F. Curtiss-Wedge, 912; Historical Staff on Present Work, 912-913. 


(Chapters X and XIII) 

American Valley, 172. — Anderson, Margaret, Pioneer Schools, which see. — Ander- 
son, H. A., Letter from Olds, 164-166.— Arcadia in 1876, 888-889.— Banner Robbery, 
177-178. — Bishop, W. E., Agricultural Development, which see. — Beaver Creek Valley, 
167-169. — Bibby, Jemima, Scotch Settlers of Glasgow and Decorah Prairie, which see. — 
Bill's Valley, 177.— Bohemian and Polish Settlers, 150-152.— Borst Valley, 901-905.— 
Borst Virgil, Borst Valley, which see. — Brovold, E. J., Scandinavian Settlers, which see. 
— Burnside, Settlement of, Markham's Reminiscences, 208-211; Early Records of, 898- 
900. — Cleveland, E. H., the Banner Robbery, which see. — Caledonia, Old's Reminis- 
cences, 164-166; also see McGilvray's Ferry. — Decorah Prairie, Scotch Settlers of, 205- 
207. — Dorwin, Flora Luce, Galesville University, Opening Days of, which see. — Flood 
of 1876, 901. — French Post near Trempealeau, 218-222. — Gale College (Galesville Uni- 
versity), Opening Days, 194-196; History of, 884-888.— Galesville Fair, 890-891.— 
Gaveney, John C, Irish Settlers, which s,ee. — Arcadia in 1876, which see. — Gimmestad, 
Rev. L. M., Gale College, which see. — Gibbs, A. A., Trempealeau Municipal Improve- 
ments, which see. — Glasgow, Scotch Settlers of, 205-207. — Green Bay & Western Rail- 
road, 905-908. — Grignon, Antoine, Recollections of Early Trempealeau, 129-136; Indian 
Impressions, 212-218. — Grover, John, The Orchard and Its Advancement, which see. — 
Hess, Mr. and Mrs. John, Reminiscences, 167-169. — Holcomb Cooley, 171. — Horticul- 
ture, 893-895.— Hunter, James N., Early Burnside Records, which see.— Hunter, James 
N., Reminiscences, 207-208.— Hyslop, E., Early Osseo, which see.— Independence, Mu- 
nicipal Improvements, 896-898; Settlement of, Markham Reminiscences, 208-211. — 


Indian Scare, Hunter Reminiscences, 207-208, Markham's Early Adventures, 900-901. — 
Irish Settlers, 143-150. — Jackson Jacob, Independence Municipal Improvements, which 
se,e. — Jones, Mrs. Nettie F., Reminiscences of A. D. Tracy, which see. — Johnson. Peter 
H., Scandinavian Settlers, which see. — Korpal Valley, 177. — Kulig, John F., Polish and 
Bohemian Settlers, which sfee. — Latsch, John A., donor of Trempealeau Mountain Park, 
which see. — Lowe, Mr. and Mrs. Fred W., Reminiscences of Wessel Lowe, which see. — 
Lowe, Wessel, Reminiscences of, 207. — Lewis Valley, 169. — McGilvray's Ferry, Old's 
Reminiscences, 164-166; .Rankin McGilvray's Reminiscences, 181-184. — Markham, 
George H., Reminiscences, 208-211; Early Adventures, 900-901. — Markham, John A., 
Independence Municipal Improvements. — Montoville, see Trempealeau. — New City 
Brawl, Hunter's Reminiscences, 207-208. — Newcomb Valley, 169-171. — North Crleek 
Valley, 176-177.^01ds, J. D., Reminiscences, 164-166.— Olson, Hans J., Lynching of, 
202-204. — Orchard, The, and Its Advancement, 893-895. — Organization Act of County, 
222-223. — Osseo, Early, 196-202. — Perrot's Fort Near Trempealeau, Archaeological 
Sketches, 218-222. — Pierce, Eben D., Recollections of Antoine Grignon, Indian Impres- 
sions of Antoine Grignon, Life of James Allen Reed, Cruise of the Spray, Beaver Creek 
Valley, Williamsburg, McGilvray's F.erry, Winnebago Festivities, Remains of French 
Post Near Trempealeau, which see. — Pigeon Valley, Old's Reminiscences, 164-166. — 
Polish and Bohemian Settlers, 150-152. — Poultry Association, Trempealeau Valley, 891. 
— Rainey Valley, 172-175. — Rathbone, Albert R., A Wisconsin Pioneer, Story of, 184- 
194.— Reed, James A., Grignon's Recollections of, 129-136; Pierce's Life, of, 136-143.— 
Reed's Town, see Trempealeau. — Richmond, Stephen, Trempealeau County in 1871, 
Trempealeau Prairie, Lewis Valley, Newcomb Valley, Holcomb Cooley, Rainey Valley, 
Thompson Valley, Trout Run Valley, North Creek Valley, Bill's Valley, Korpal Valley, 
which see. — Risberg, P. K., Accounting System, 908-909. — Scandinavian Settlers, 152- 
159.— Schools, Pioneer, 889-890.— Scotch Settlers of Glasgow and Decorah Prairie, 205- 
207. — Seymour, Frank B., The Green Bay & Western Railroad, which see. — Spray, 
Cruise of, 162-164. — Squier, Geo. H., French Post Near Trempealeau, which see. — 
Sumner, First Town Meeting in, 895. — Trempealeau, Grignon's Recollections of Early, 
129-136; Reed's Settlement at, 136-143. Municipal Improvements, 896. — Trempealeau 
County In 1871, 159-162; Organization Act of, 222-223.— Trempealeau Prairie, Trim's 
Reminiscences, 166-167. — Trempealeau Mountain Park, 883-884. — Trempealeau Val- 
ley, at Whitehall, Old's Reminiscences, 164-166; Above Independence, Markham's Remi- 
niscences, 208-211. — Trempealeau Valley Poultry Association, 891. — Thompson Valley, 
175. — Tracy, A. D., Settlement in Tracy Valley, 211-213. — Trim, William, Interview 
Regarding Trempealeau Prairie, 166-167. — Trout Run Valley, 175-176. — Webb, Jennie 
Rathbone, Reminiscences of Albert R. Rathbone, 184-194.— Williamsburg, 178-181.— 
Winnebago Festivities, 204-205. — Wood, David, Reminiscences, 209-210. 


The hills and valleys of Trempealeau 
County have made their striking appeal 
to the human mind since the far distant 
days of prehistoric man. The venerable 
heights have witnessed the coming and 
going of successive races and unnumbered 
generations. Its crags have watched the 
building of Indian mounds in the ages now 
dark with oblivion, and have heard the 
aboriginal legends told and retold — chang- 
ing as they drifted through the centuries, 
until they have died away and been for- 
gotten. They have looked down on the 
haunt of the Indians whose hunting-ground 
abounded with game, and whose canoes 
were the only vessels on the waters of the 
Mississippi. And they have seen the early 
French explorers, driven by the restless 
spirit of adventure and the love of con- 
quest, work their way through the wilder- 
ness into the remote regions of the un- 
explored country. They have beheld the 
self-sacrificing missionaries braving the 
perils of the savage-infested regions of 
the land, for the purpose of lifting the 
barbarous mind of the Indian to a re- 
ligious plane; and they have witnessed 
the fur trader with his hunters, trappers 
and voyageurs penetrating the remote 
parts of the county in quest of furs. And 
at last they saw the coming of the pio- 
neers, who clambered up their sides and 
broke the silence of the solitude by fell- 
ing the scattered and scanty trees for 
cabin homes. These tillers of the soil 
established permanent homes, and today, 
far and wide over the surface of the 
county, are rich farms; thus has the fa- 
vorite hunting-ground of the Indian been 
transformed by the march of our Western 

Trempealeau County is in the western 
part of Wisconsin, on the Mississippi 
River. It is bounded on the east by Jack- 
son County, on the north by Eau Claire 
County, on the west by Buffalo County, 
and on the south by La Crosse County, as 
well as by Winona County across the 
Mississippi River in Minnesota. 

The area of the county is 748 miles. 

Its greatest length from north to south 
is 42 miles; its average width is 18 miles. 
The northern part is a rectangle, four 
townships (townships 21, 22, 23 and 24) 
long, and three townships (ranges 7, 8 
and 9) wide. The southern part would 
be a rectangle three townships (townships 
18, 19 and 20, ranges 7, 8 and 9) were it 
not extended on the west by the course 
of the Trempealeau River, and cut off at 
the southwest by the course of the Mis- 
sissippi River, and at the southeast by 
the course of the Black River. 

The area belongs entirely to the Mis- 
sissippi system, and is separated into 
three distinct divisions, the Trempealeau 
Prairie Region, the Trempealeau Valley 
Region and the Beef River Region. The 
Mississippi bluffs are broken at Trempea- 
leau village, and this opening stretches 
back into a fertile prairie, reacKing from 
the Black River bluffs to the Mississippi 
River bluffs, the ancient bed of the Missis- 
sippi. This prairie opens at the northeast 
into the Beaver Creek Valley, which con- 
tains the Galesville and Ettrick country. 
At the northwest, the Trempealeau Prairie 
opens into valley of the Tamarack River, 
which flows south between high ridges and 
then west across the prairie into the 
Trempealeau River a few miles from its 

The valley of the Trempealeau River 
occupies the central part of the county. 
Entering from Jackson County on the 
east, the river describes a great bend to 
the north and then flows southwardly, 
forming for a part of its course the west- 
ern boundary of the county, dividing a few 
miles north of its mouth into two branches, 
and then spreading into marshes and 
sloughs on its way to the Mississippi. The 
Trempealeau River receives two important 
tributaries from the north. Elk Creek and 
Pigeon Creek, both of which have rich and 
fertile valleys. 

In the northern part the Beef River 
flows east and west. 

The three divisions of the county are 
separated by high ridges, and all the val- 



leys have tributary valleys and cooleys 
which in turn are likewise bordered by 

The physical geography of Trempealeau 
County has been the important feature 
in its settlement. Its pioneers came first 
to Trempealeau, scattered back on the 
prairie, and up the Tamarack and Beaver 
Creek Valleys. From the ridges of Buf- 
falo County to the west and from Jackson 
County to the east, they poured into the 
Trempealeau Valley, and from that valley 
into its tributaries. From the older coun- 
ties to the east and south they poured into 
the Beef River Valley. Geographical ex- 
pediency has also located the incorporated 
villages, all being at natural trading cen- 
ters near the mouths of important valleys, 
and all being the sites of natural water- 
powers. At or near the present sites of 
all the incorporated villages, there were 
stores before the railroads were built. 
Physical geography has also been an im- 
portant part in determining the political 
destinies of the county, political divisions 
having been made with a view to geo- 
graphical convenience, and only four of 
the townships following the lines of the 
government survey. 

The county was created Jan. 24, 1854. 
The supervisors of Montoville ToviTiship 
met as the supervisors of Trempealeau 
County, March 11, 1854. Gale Township 
was created at that meeting, and the first 
regular meeting of county supervisors con- 
sisting of the chairmen of Montoville 
(Trempealeau) and Gale Townships met 
May 1, 1854. The commissioner system, 
with a commissioner from each of three 
districts, went into effect Jan. 1, 1862, and 
the supervisor system was revived Jan. 1, 
1870. The courthouse was ready for occu- 
pancy at Galesville, July 23, 1856. In 1858 
a petition was presented to the legislature 
asking for the removal of the county seat 
of Trempealeau, and in 1868 the legisla- 
ture passed a bill authorizing a vote on the 
subject. Nov. 7, 1876, the vote was taken 
by the citizens of the county, removing 
the county seat to Arcadia. A year later 
the voters removed the county seat to 
Whitehall, where the supervisors held their 
first meeting Jan. 23, 1878. A proposition 
to remove it to Blair was rejected by the 
voters in 1878, and a proposition to return 
it to Arcadia rejected in 1882. In 1883 a 
petition asking for a vote on the removal 

to Independence was declared to have too 
few signatures. 

The courthouse at Whitehall was started 
in 1883 and completed early in 1884. The 
jail was built in 1886. Courthouse and jail 
were rebuilt in 1911. The County Insane 
Asylum at Arcadia was started in 1899 
and completed in 1900. Efforts to estab- 
lish a poor farm and alms house have thus 
far failed. 

The townships of the county are: Trem- 
pealeau, created as Montoville by the 
county supervisors of La Crosse County 
before Trempealeau County was organ- 
ized, the exact date not appearing in the 
LaCrosse records; Gale, created March 
11, 1854; Preston, created Nov. 21, 1855; 
Sumner, created Nov. 20, 1856; Arcadia, 
created Nov. 20, 1856; Caledonia, created 
Nov. 11, 1857; Lincoln, created Nov. 13, 
1860; Ettrick, Dec. 16, 1862; Bumside, 
Dec. 31, 1863; Hale, Feb. 16, 1864; Albion, 
Jan. 20, 1870; Dodge, Jan. 4, 1875; Pigeon, 
Jan. 4, 1875; Unity, Nov. 20, 1877; and 
Chimney Rock, Nov. 22, 1881. 

The metropolis is Arcadia with a pop- 
ulation of some 1,400. The other villages 
are Whitehall, Trempealeau, Galesville, 
Dodge, Independence, Blair, Ettrick, Pig- 
eon Falls, Osseo, Strum and Eleva. 

The population is 22,928. The Scandina- 
vian element largely predominates. The 
German and Polish element is next in 
numbers. In 1860 the population w^ 
2,560, largely from the eastern states. In 
1870, the population was 10,732, the ratio 
of the population elements being practi- 
cally as at present. In 1880 the popula- 
tion was 17,189; in 1890 it was 18,920; in 
1900 it was 23,114. The decrease to 22,928 
in 1910 was due to the young people mov- 
ing to the cities and to the West. 

The county is entirely an agricultural 
one, all of the villages depending upon the 
people of their immediate rural district for 
their support. 

The earliest explorers of the upper Mis- 
sissippi River found Trempealeau under 
the domain of the powerful Dakota In- 
dians, who from their headquarters in the 
Mille Lacs region of northern Minnesota, 
used the great river as their route of war 
and the chase. But pressed hard by the 
Chippewa, who had secured firearms from 
the whites, the Dakota abandoned their 
ancient northern villages, and the early 
fur traders found them ranging the Mis- 



sissippi from St. Paul southward to Prairie 
du Chien, and on the prairies to the west- 
ward. The Winnebago, who, like the Da- 
kota, or Sioux proper, were members of 
the Siouan family, had held ancient sway 
of the valleys of the Rock and Fox Rivers, 
and the territory around Lake Winnebago 
and Green Bay, were met at Green Bay 
by the first explorers, and in early fur 
trading days were ranging as far west- 
ward as the Mississippi. Tradition tells 
of many a murderous foray against the 
Dakota and the Winnebago in the vicinity, 
not only by their hereditary enemies, the 
Chippewas to the northward, but also by 
the combined Sauk and Foxes to the south- 

Some time in the middle years of the 
first half of the nineteenth century. De- 
corah of the Winnebago had a village at 
what is now Decorah's Prairie, and Wa- 
basha of the , Dakotas had a village near 
Trempealeau Mountain, while Red Bird of 
the Winnebago had a village near the 
mouth of the Black River, from which he 
and his followers, as well as Winneshiek 
and his followers, ranged Trempealeau 
County. The Winnebago were allies of the 
Dakota, and the two mingled in friendly 
intercourse and even in marriage. Dakota 
dominion in Trempealeau County ended in 
1837, when the chiefs and head men signed 
a treaty relinquishing all their lands east 
of the Mississippi and the islands therein, 
and withdrew west of the river. The Win- 
nebago, however, in spite of many efforts 
at removal, persisted in staying in Trem- 
pealeau County, and some of their de- 
scendants are to be found straying here to 
this day. 

The shadowy Spanish sovereignty had 
no influence on Trempealeau County, 
where its vague substance nominally con- 
tinued until the approach of the French, 
or on the neighboring lands across the 
Mississippi River, where il continued until 
after the securing of the "Louisiana Pur- 
chase" by the United States. 

The French Period in Trempealeau 
County extended from the discovery of 
Wisconsin in 1634 until the fall of New 
France. The adventurous Father Louis 
Hennepin, in company with Accault and 
Auguel, passed the mountain with his sav- 
age captors in 1680, on that memorable 
trip which was to give to civilization its 
first knowledge of St. Anthony Falls, 

about which now centers the greatest mill- 
ing industry in the world. A few months 
later the rocks of Trempealeau heights 
beheld the historic rescue of that mission- 
ary by the gallant young Sieur du Luth. 

Nicholas Perrot was the first to actu- 
ally visit Trempealeau County. In the 
winter of 168.5-86 he built a Post and 
established his winter quarters about two 
miles above the present village of Trem- 
pealeau. Just when he abandoned this 
post is not known. At least he was in this 
region for several years thereafter. Line- 
tot reoccupied this same post in the fall 
of 1731. The site of the post is now defi- 
nitely fixed, as its ruins have been un- 
earthed and mapped. Linctot was suc- 
ceeded late in 1735 by St. Pierre, who re- 
moved the post higher up the river early 
the following spring. Other Frenchmen 
during the French period noted Trempea- 
leau Mountain, and some stopped here. 

The English period officially dawned 
with the signing of the treaties of 1762 
and 1763, but the last French garrison had 
left Wisconsin in 1760. During this period, 
Jonathan Carver, a Connecticut Yankee, 
viewed this region in 1766 and published 
the first description of Trempealeau Moun- 
tain. This description, which is fairly ac- 
curate, has been preserved in Carver's 
works to this day. British domain in real- 
ity continued from the arrival of the Eng- 
lish detachment at Green Bay in 1761 until 
the beginning of the American military oc- 
cupancy at Prairie du Chien and Green 
Bay in 1816. But in the meantime, Amer- 
ican sovereignty had been inaugurated by 
the Treaty of 1783; had been exercised by 
the passing of the Ordinance of 1787; had 
been confirmed by the Treaty of 1796; and 
had been interrupted by the British mili- 
tary occupancy during the war of 1812 and 
the hostility of the Indians immediately 
following that war. 

The dashing Lieut. Zebulon M. Pike, on 
his way up the river in 1805, camped near 
Trempealeau Mountain and spoke glow- 
ingly of the scenery. In 1817 came Major 
Stephen H. Long with his little band in a 
six-oared skiff. He climbed some of the 
hills in this region and advanced some in- 
teresting theories as to the original con- 
tour of Trempealeau Mountain and Prairie. 

With the establishment of Ft. Snelling 
at the confluence of the Minnesota and 
Mississippi rivers in 1819, Trempealeau 


County was placed within the pale of civ- 
ilization, and soldiers, traders and visitors 
were frequently passing. About the same 
time, a sawmill was built at the Falls of 
the Black River. Gen. Lewis Cass, James 
D. Doty and Henry R. Schoolcraft passed 
Trempealeau Mountain in 1820 and de- 
scribed its peculiar formation and position. 
A mill was built in 1822 on the Menomonee 
branch of the Chippewa. In 1823, Long, 
accompanied this time by the scholarly 
William H. Keating, again passed Trem- 
pealeau Mountain, and the same year the 
sleeping echoes were awakened with the 
puffing of the "Virginia," the first steam- 
boat to navigate the upper Mississippi. 
Among the distinguished people aboard 
was J. Constantine Beltrami, the famous 
Italian explorer. He wrote of Trempea- 
leau Mountain with his characteristic en- 

Trempealeau Bay continued to be the 
rendezvous of the traders. 

The first trapper and trader known to 
have actually built a cabin in Trempea- 
leaus County, after the early French ex- 
plorers of the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries, was Joseph Rocque, an early 
trader and guide. Winnebago tradition 
locates a cabin of his on Beaver Creek, in 
Trempealeau County near Galesville, 
where a branch of the stream is still 
known as French Creek. 

In 183.5 Featherstonhaugh visited the 
Trempealeau country and describes the 
view from the summit of Trempealeau 
Mountain. Catlin, as well as the Dragoons 
of the Albert Miller Lee Military Expedi- 
tion, came the same year. The following 
year Daniel Gavin, representing the Pro- 
testant Missionary Society of Basle, Swit- 
zerland, established a mission among the 
Sioux at Trempealeau Bay, and with the 
assistance of Louis Stram, a fellow coun- 
tryman, endeavored to teach the Indians 
agriculture; but Wabasha, their chief, did 
not take kindly either to the mission or 
the farming; and after the treaty of 1837, 
by which all the Sioux claim east of the 
Mississippi was ceded to the United States, 
Gavin abandoned the mission and pro- 
ceeded north to more favorable fields at 
Red Wing. Although the enterprise was 
temporary, it was the first made in the 
county in the nature of a permanent set- 
tlement, and was the first farming therein 
under the direction of a white man. 

The next attempt at settlement came 
about under the auspices of the fur trade. 
Francois la Bathe, a shrewd half-breed, 
and a near relative of Wabasha, induced 
John Doville and Antoine Reed to proceed 
to the present village of Trempealeau and 
cut cordwood on the island opposite for 
steamboats, and in so doing hold the Trem- 
pealeau River front as a landing and thus 
prevent any trade drifting away from Wa- 
basha's village, at the present city of 
Winona, the American Fur Company being 
the real factor back of this move. 

Then came the period of actual settle- 
ment, when James A. Reed brought his 
family from Prairie du Chien and located 
on the site of modern Trempealeau. Under 
his direction, Doville, his son-in-law, tilled 
the soil broken by Stram at the bay, and 
became the first Trempealeau County 
farmer, as he sowed grain and raised po- 
tatoes, while Stram had devoted himself 
to gardening only. 

During the next ten years a number of 
families moved into the new settlement 
which was known as Reed's Town, or 
Reed's Landing. These families were 
mostly of French origin, though some were 
mixed bloods, and they thrived largely by 
the fur trade, though nearly all raised 
good gardens, and those who were fortu- 
nate enough to have stock used the prairie 
as a common grazing ground. 

It was not, however, until after 1850 
that any large number of settlers came 
into Trempealeau County, and the real in- 
flux did not start until 18.5.5, but from that 
date until 1870 may be considered the real 
pioneer period in the county's history. 
Settlers poured into the new country, pene- 
trating its remotest valleys and taking up 
the choicest lands of the various sections, 
and the class of people that came to cast 
their lot in the undeveloped country were 
largely farmers of experience; and but 
few came unprepared to grapple with the 
wild forces of nature and subdue the hunt- 
ing ground of the Indian. 

However, conditions were entirely new. 
Little sawed lumber was available. Some 
of the pioneers lived in their wagons for 
a while; some built log cabins; some con- 
structed dugouts; some few went to far- 
off sawmills and obtained boards. The 
county was but little wooded, and mate- 
rial even for log cabins was scarce. Ex- 
cept on the prairies, it was not thought 



possible to sink wells, and water [for 
household and farming purposes had to 
be secured from the creeks. Horses were 
not suited to the inclement winters, the 
inferior protection of straw sheds, and the 
coarse fodder of marsh grass, and so oxen 
were the principal beasts of burden. Tools 
were few and hard to obtain. Market 
places were far distant. The people from 
the eastern states missed their convenient 
stores, the nearby schoolhouses, their vil- 
lage churches, and their cultural opportu- 
nities. The immigrants from the British 
Isles and from central Europe missed the 
day-by-day routine which their ancestors 
had for centuries followed, and were 
thrown as never before on their own re- 
sources. The Scandinavian, though in a 
more fertile land than one of which he had 
ever dreamed, missed the waterfalls and 
mountains of his native land, and was 
confronted with the necessity of entirely 
changing the methods of farming to which 
he was accustomed. These Europeans also 
missed their churches, their schools, and 
the neighborhood gatherings of childhood 

In settling along the principal streams 
of the county, the pioneer followed a law 
that has been adhered to since the race 
began; in fact, the stream may be consid- 
ered the trail leading into the interior of 
the country. 

For the first few years the valleys were 
sparsely settled. Then came more pio- 
neers, and communities were formed and 
named as a usual thing after the first set- 
tler, though sometimes they took their 
names from some home country or from a 
class of people natives of a common coun- 
try. Thus there are Reed's town, Gales- 
ville, Scotch Prairie, Bishop's Settlement 
Caledonia, Williamsburg, as instances of 
the naming of a community. The same 
holds true of the valleys which were most 
generally named in honor of the first set- 
tler, as Lewis Valley, Newcomb Valley, 
Holcomb Cooley and Latsch Valley. 

Many of these first settlements became 
the present villages, and some of the vil- 
lages will become cities in the future. 
Reed's Town became the present Trem- 
pealeau; Judge Gale's village grew into 
modern Galesville; Bishop's Settlement de- 
veloped into Arcadia; Old Whitehall 
moved a mile became Whitehall; Fields' 
Colony became Osseo. But Skillins' Cor- 

ners, later called Williamsburg, Coral City 
and New City became reverse examples of 
the settlements growing into villages, and 
today their past glory is only a memory, 
recorded on a page of local history, for 
conditions were unfavorable for the 
growth of a town in those localities. 

During the pioneer days, the first draw- 
back was the hard winter of the deep snow 
in 1856-57; the next was the financial 
crisis of 1857. Then, just when prosperity 
was davsming, came the Civil War. How- 
ever, from an economic standpoint, the in- 
creased value of agricultural products rec- 
ompensed for the loss of labor caused by 
the absence of so many men, and the 
county received no severe setbacks. In 
fact, the population increased, for there 
was a large influx of settlers from the old 
country, men who were not liable to mili- 
tary service. The Scandinavians, who had 
begun to form colonies here in 1855, came 
in increasing numbers; the Germans, who 
had started to colonize here in 1857, also 
flocked in; and during the opening years 
of the war the Polish and Bohemian set- 
tlers began to arrive. The Minnesota 
Sioux massacre of 1862 caused much un- 
rest among the settlers of Trempealeau 
County as to the attitude of the neighbor- 
ing Winnebago camps, and was the occa- 
sion of many a fright, the incidents of 
which are now told with relish, but in 
reality was of great benefit to Trempea- 
leau County, as many pioneers who had 
intended to settle on the western Minne- 
sota prairies were deterred from continu- 
ing the journey, and thus cast their for- 
tunes here. 

During the pioneer period Trempealeau 
village was a steamboat center, the great 
grain shipping point of this and neighbor- 
ing counties. The Black River and the 
Mississippi River were filled with great 
rafts of logs from the Wisconsin forests, 
and even the shallow Trempealeau was 
used as a logging highway. 

The railroad period begins with the 
building of the Northwestern into Trem- 
pealeau in 1870 and the building of the 
Green Bay through the valley of the 
Trempealeau River in 1873. The exten- 
sion of the Northwestern to Galesville in 
1883, and the building of the Burlington 
through Trempealeau in 1886, the building 
of the Omaha through the northern part 
of the county in 1887-89, and the build- 



ing of the Ettrick & Northern from Ett- 
rick to Blair in 1917 opened up new ave- 
nues of trade, but marked no particular 

From 1870 on, Trempealeau County his- 
tory becomes tinged more and more with 
modern methods and improvements. The 
railroad terminated Trempealeau's activi- 
ties as the main market town of the 
county and at the same time the steam- 
boat industry on the Mississippi received 
a most formidable rival. With the build- 
ing of the Green Bay, Whitehall, Arcadia 
and Blair became important points, Dodge 
became a trading center, and soon Inde- 
pendence was started. The county ad- 
vanced rapidly now, as the railroad made 
the markets of the world more accessible, 
and with the progress came the inevitable 
changes that have been the wonder of our 
western civilization. People quickly adapt- 
ed themselves to the new conditions and 
fell in with the trend of things. The 
farmer discarded his breaking-plow and 
rode across his fields with the modern 
sulky, while his oxen were fattened and 
sold to market to make way for well-bred 
horses. The mattock was flung into a 
comer of the tool shed to rust out its 
existence, while the stump-pulling ma- 
chine tooks its place and made grubbing 
a mechanical piece of labor rather than 
slow, plodding work. The cradle and flail 
were hung on the wall, and in their place 
came the reaper, binder and steam 
thresher. The old tallow candle that 
burned through the pioneer days was laid 
aside, and the kerosene and, still later, 
gasoline and even the electric light cast 
a glamor on the household and lighted the 
room so that grandmother could knit even 
better than she could before the old fire- 

The population increased rapidly, nearly 
7,000 by 1877. At the beginning of this 
period there were but two graded schools, 
one at Galesville and one at Whitehall, 
and but one district, that of Arcadia, 
where there were two school houses. With 
the creation of the new villages, graded 
schools became more general, and in a 
short time high school studies were intro- 
duced. New churches were established; 
old congregations built new edifices. 

But with all this prosperity, the ele- 
ments of disaster were present. The 
farmers were devoting their attention al- 

most exclusively to wheat raising. A few 
experiments were made with other crops, 
but wheat was the staple. The taking of 
rich crops off the same pieces of land year 
after year was depleting the soil. The 
cinch bugs were appearing in increasing 
numbers. Smooth-talking agents per- 
suaded farmers to purchase machinery on 
time payments. Better machinery soon 
made its appearance, and the unfortunate 
purchasers of the earlier machinery found 
themselves with inferior equipment and 
with heavy bills to pay. The price of 
wheat was going down. Many lost their 
property through inability to meet their 
notes. In 1878 came the wheat failure. 
About this time also came the rush to the 
prairies of western Minnesota and to the 
Dakotas. Many people deserted the 

But with the dawn of the eighties there 
came improved methods and increasing 
prosperity, though for ten years there was 
little increase in population. The farm- 
ers turned their attention to diversified 
crops, to stock, to swine and to sheep. 
In 1883 creameries were started at Ar- 
cadia and Galesville, and in 188.5 a co- 
operative creamery was started at Ettrick. 
Banks sprang up here and there. A small 
bank had been established in 1878 at 
Whitehall and moved to Arcadia, and be- 
fore 1890 flourishing banks were in opera- 
tion at Galesville, Whitehall, Independ- 
ence and Arcadia. Telephone connection 
was established with the outside world 
from Galesville in 1895, and soon Arcadia 
likewise secured outside connections, and 
in 1900-02 lines were built and exchanges 
opened in the Trempealeau and Beef River 

During the past ten years scientific agri- 
culture has occupied the minds of Trem- 
pealeau County farmers, stimulated 
largely by the agricultural department of 
the federal government and by the efforts 
of the agricultural department of the Uni- 
versity of Wisconsin, more particularly 
by the University Extension Division. As 
there are few new fields to subdue, the 
farmer must develop his old fields to a 
higher stage of efficiency. This he is 
doing, as the increasing acreage of alfalfa 
and the better quality of com and small 
grain show. Blooded herds and con- 
stantly developing graded herds are nu- 
merous. The automobile has come into 


wide use, and since 1907 an extensive 
system of road improvement has been con- 
ducted with state aid. The farmers from 
Illinois and Iowa have brought experience 
in tobacco raising, so that the tobacco 
industry is now an important one in the 
county. The schools have introduced the 
teaching of domestic science, agriculture 
and the manual arts. Beautiful farm 
homes with all modern improvements are 
to be seen on all sides. Silos dot the 
landscape like ancient castles, Trempea- 
leau County seed corn is widely known, 
the creameries not only add to the repu- 
tation of the county's products but give 
the farmer a goodly cash check each 
month. The present generation is reap- 
ing the fruits that have been made pos- 
sible by more than sixty years of toil by 
preceding generations. 

The year of 1917 has brought its war 
cloud. A company has been raised within 
the county, many have volunteered, the 
conscripts of the National Army have 
been called into service. The farmers 
have responded to the President's plea, 
and, though the early frost has almost 
destroyed the corn crop and the cucumber 
crop, there has been a greatly increased 
acreage and greatly increased yield of all 
other crops. 

The county having reached so great a 
prosperity, it now seems that this scien- 
tific age of agriculture should join forces 
with the electrical machinery now in the 
process of completion, and together make 
farming an ideal vocation — a vocation 
where the naturalist and scientist com- 
bine forces to vinrest from Mother Earth 
a harvest such as would satisfy the most 
sanguine dreamer. Then we shall see the 
lightning from the clouds harnessed, and 
plowing the fields, sowing the grain, and 
reaping it in harvest time, and in so doing 
it will simply be the application of natu- 
ral laws in which the human mind is the 
directing force. 

To the telling of this story of the county 
in more extended detail, the following 
pages are devoted. First is given the his- 
tory of the early days of the area that is 
now Wisconsin, and then is traced the his- 
tory of the county from its formation 
during the geologic ages, through the 
early settlement of the various localities. 
Then the county government is given, and 
the rest of the book is devoted to chap- 
ters on various topics of local interest, 
source material in the form of miscella- 
neous contributions, and biographies of the 
lives of those who have helped to make 
the county. 

E * U C L A ; R £ 





I. Physical and Political Geography 

1. Topography — In the beautiful new capital of the State of Wisconsin 
a noted artist has portrayed the commonwealth as a strong and beautiful 
woman, embraced and encircled by the guardian figures of the Mississippi 
River, Lake Superior, and Lake Michigan. Thus in symbolic form the 
painter has vividly portrayed the truth that Wisconsin's position at the 
head-waters of the two great valleys of North America — the St. 
Lawrence and the Mississippi — has been of supreme importance in the 
history of the State. To these advantages of position is due its early 
discovery, its thorough exploration and its value as a link in the penetration 
of the Old Northwest. The area of the present State is 56,066 square 
miles, somewhat larger than the whole of England. In extreme length 
from north to south it is 320 miles, with a maximum width almost as great. 
Its distance from the Atlantic coast is about a thousand miles — one-third 
of the entire distance across the continent. The eastern and northern 
portions of the State drain into the two upper Great Lakes by short streams 
with rapid courses. The larger portion of the area belongs to the 
Mississippi system, into which it drains by a series of large rivers; the 
largest and most important of these is the one from which the State takes 
its name. The Wisconsin River, rising on the northeastern boundary of the 
State, cuts across it to the southwest, making a great trough which at the 
elbow in south-central Wisconsin approaches within three-quarters of a 
mile of the eastward-flowing Fox River. The Fox, in its upper courses a 
sluggish stream, winding slowly through lakes and wide spreads of wild 
rice, after passing through Lake Winnebago, the largest lake wholly 
within the State, rushes with great force down a series of rapids into the 
upper end of Green Bay, the V-shaped western extremity of Lake Michigan. 
Thus a natural waterway crosses the State, uniting by means of a short 
portage the Atlantic waters with those of the Gulf of Mexico, and dividing 
the State into a northern and southern portion, which have had widely 
differing courses of development. 

The southeastern half of the State, with plentiful harbors on Lake 
Michigan and Green Bay, opens unobstructedly towards the south and east. 
It was therefore the first portion to be permanently settled, and has 
partaken of the civilization and progress of the Middle West. The northern 
and western part of the State faces toward the farther West, and its 
development was delayed by the tardy growth of population at the head 
of Lake Superior and along the headwaters of the Mississippi. Waterways 
connecting these two drainage systems pass through this part of Wisconsin, 
the earliest known of which was that via the Bois Brule of Lake Superior 



and the St. Croix of the Mississippi. Other streams connect with the 
headwaters of the Chippewa, the Black, and the Wisconsin. All these 
routes were explored during the early years of Wisconsin's history, but 
their rapid flow and difficult portages have made them impractical as 
commercial routes. 

The heavy forestation of the northern portion of the State has been 
until recent times the main fact in its history ; while as carriers of timber, 
and as sources of water power the rapid rivers of northwestern Wisconsin 
have played their part in the production of its wealth and prosperity. 

2. Sovereignty — Politically, Wisconsin has been included in more 
different units of government than any of its neighbors. It was first a 
part of the Spanish empire in North America, which claimed all the 
continent whose southern borders had been discovered and occupied by 
Spanish subjects. The Spanish sovereignty in Wisconsin was never more 
than a shadow, and so far as we know no one of that race ever placed foot 
upon Wisconsin soil until long after it was possessed by a rival power. 

The true history of Wisconsin begins with the coming of the French, 
who in 1634 sent their first representative to its shores. The period of 
French occupation was nominally about a century and a quarter ; in reality 
it lasted somewhat less than one hundred years, as more than twenty years 
elapsed before the first discoverer was followed by others. The real 
exercise of French sovereignty began in 1671 when St. Lusson at the 
Sault Ste. Marie took possession in the name of Louis XIV "of all other 
countries, rivers, lakes and tributaries, contiguous and adjacent thereunto 
(to the Sault and Lakes Huron and Superior), as well discovered as to be 
discovered, which are bounded on the one side by the Northern and Western 
Seas and on the other side by the South Sea including all its length and 
breadth." = 

The French domination of the area we now know as Wisconsin was 
exercised from the lower St. Lawrence Valley and was directed by the court 
at Versailles, where paternalism was the fashion, and where the smallest 
details of administration were decided by the highest powers of the 
kingdom. It may thus be said that Wisconsin during the French period 
was ruled directly by the French monarch. Every appointment of a petty 
officer of the Canadian army to command a log fort by one of Wisconsin's 
waterways had to be endorsed by the King ; every Uttle skirmish with the 
Indian tribesmen, every disagreement between soldiers and traders had 
to be reported by the Canadian authorities to the Royal Council, and await 
its dictum for settlement. Even the power of the governor of New France 
was frequently overruled by dictation from the Court of France, and orders 
for the governance of his subjects in Wisconsin were discussed in the 
presence of the greatest monarch of Europe. 

The French domination came to an abrupt end when in the course of 
the Seven Years' War, Montreal, including all the upper province of New 
France, surrendered to the arms of England. The last French garrison 
left Wisconsin in 1760 by the Fox-Wisconsin waterway, and the next year 
an English detachment took possession of Green Bay and made Wisconsin 
a constituent part of the British empire. Thus it remained until the close 


of the American Revolution. During the first years of the English 
possession, the Upper Country was ruled by the miUtary authorities at 
Fort Edward Augustus (Green Bay), and Mackinac, subject to the 
commander-in-chief of the American armies, and Superintendent of Indian 
Affairs for the Northern Department. After 1774 Wisconsin was a part 
of the Province of Quebec. 

British sovereignty in Wisconsin fell with the treaty of Paris in 1783, 
which transferred to the new American nation the land south of the Great 
Lakes and east of the Mississippi. The British government, however, 
claiming non-fulfillment of certain treaty provisions, but in reality acting 
in the interest of British fur traders, refused to deliver to the United States 
the northwestern posts. Thus the inhabitants of Wisconsin, while 
technically on American territory were practically ruled by English officers. 
In 1796 after Jay's treaty with England, the northwestern posts were 
delivered over to American garrisons, and Wisconsin became an unorganized 
portion of the Northwest Territory. On May 7, 1800, Indiana Territory 
was organized with Wisconsin a part of her vast domain. Upon the 
territorial division into counties Wisconsin became a part of St. Clair, whose 
limits extended from a line nearly opposite St. Louis to the northern 
boundary of the United States. In 1802 Gov. William Henry Harrison 
appointed two justices of the peace and three militia officers in St. Clair 
County of Indiana Territory to serve at the French-Canadian settlement 
near the mouth of Wisconsin River. The next year a third justice was 
appointed for Prairie du Chien, and another commissioned for the sister 
community at the mouth of Fox River on Green Bay. All these appointees 
were British subjects and prominent fur traders. Therefore while 
commissions were issued and writs ran in the name of the United States, 
British fur traders were in actual control of all government agencies in 

In* 1808 the United States increased the number of its representatives 
by the appointment of an Indian agent at Prairie du Chien. This agent 
was a French-Canadian by birth, formerly a British subject, who had 
become a naturalized American by residence in the French settlements 
of Illinois. By race and interests he was allied with the Franco-British 
traders of Wisconsin. 

In 1809 Illinois Territory was set off from Indiana carrying with it 
St. Clair County, in which Wisconsin was included. So far as known the 
officials appointed by the governor of Indiana for Green Bay and Prairie 
du Chien continued to act under the commissions already received. 

The outbreak of the War of 1812 made a sharp division among 
Wisconsin's few governing officers. The Indian agent was the sole official 
who maintained his American allegiance. All the other appointees 
declared for Great Britain, and actively engaged in operations for her 
benefit. The Indian agent was driven down the Mississippi, and Wisconsin 
became again a part of the territory of the British empire, guarded by 
Canadian troops and administered by British officers. In 1814 the 
Americans made an attempt to repossess themselves of the region on the 
Mississippi. A force organized at St. Louis ascended the river and built 


a post at Prairie du Chien. This American post had been held less than 
a month, however, when an overwhelming British force from Mackinac 
and Green Bay captured the new fort and expelled the American garrison. 

The Canadian authorities were eager to retain possession of Wisconsin, 
and during the negotiations for the Treaty of Ghent in 1814 made a 
determined effort to have the boundary lines redrawn so that Wisconsin 
should be made a buffer Indian region under British authority. This 
attempt failed, and in 1815 according to the terms of the Treaty of Ghent, 
the British garrisons were withdrawn from Wisconsin's soil. Nevertheless, 
so hostile were the Indian tribes to American reoccupation that not until 
eighteen months after the signing of the treaty was the American flag 
raised within the Kmits of Wisconsin. During this non-governmental 
period the British fur traders maintained, as they had done since 1761, 
an ascendancy over the tribesmen that preserved the few settlements from 
anarchy and destruction. While thus theoretically changing sovereignty 
several times from 1761 to 1816, Wisconsin was really during the entire 
period a French-Canadian settlement under British control. 

American military occupation began in 1816 when strong posts were 
built at Prairie du Chien and Gi-een Bay, the garrisons of which overawed 
the sullen tribesmen. Indian officials were appointed and American 
traders soon rivaled the operations of the French-Canadians. So bitterly 
did the latter resent the restrictions imposed upon them by American 
officers and officials that in 1818 they planned to remove in a body to some 
place under British jurisdiction, taking the Wisconsin Indians with them. 
Within a few years, however, the friction was adjusted, and the leading 
Wisconsin settlers became naturalized American citizens. 

In 1818 Illinois was admitted as a State into the Union, and Wisconsin 
was transferred to Michigan territory. The same year Wisconsin was 
organized into two counties, Brown and Crawford, justices of the peace 
were appointed and American sovereignty became operative with this 
region. In 1824 United States district courts were organized for that 
portion of Michigan Territory lying west of Lake Michigan. In 1829 
Crawford County was divided, all south of the Wisconsin River becoming 
Iowa County. In 1834 Brown County was reduced by the organization 
of its southern portion into Milwaukee County. In 1836 Michigan was 
admitted into the Union, and the Territory of Wisconsin was organized 
out of that portion of its limits that lay west of Lake Michigan. 

Wisconsin Territory was maintained for twelve years. In 1846 there 
was a movement for Statehood, but the Constitution then drawn was 
rejected by the people, so that not until 1848 did Wisconsin become the 
thirtieth State in the American Union. 

3. Boundaries — The boundaries of Wisconsin were first laid down 
in the Ordinance of 1787, which decreed that the southern boundary of 
the fifth or northwestern State of the Northwest Territory should be an 
east and west line drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake 
Michigan ; that the western boundary should be the Mississippi to its source, 
thence by a straight line to the Lake of the Woods and the international 
boundary; that the northern boundary should coincide with the 


international boundary through Lake Superior; and that the eastern 
boundary should be the meridian due north of Vincennes to the international 
line. The area of Wisconsin as outlined by this ordinance was one and a 
half times as large as at the present time. By successive measures 
Wisconsin's boundaries have since been curtailed at the southern, 
northeastern, and northwestern sides. 

The southern boundary was changed when in 1818 Illinois was 
admitted to the Union. In order to secure for that State a harbor on 
Lake Michigan, Illinois' northern boundary was shifted from the line 
due west from the. southern point of Lake Michigan, to latitude 42" 30'. 
This added to Illinois a strip of territory sixty-one miles in width, containing 
8,500 square miles, and the site of Chicago. In 1818 there was no one in 
Wisconsin to protest against this change. In 1838, however, and during 
Wisconsin's later territorial period, attempts were made to repossess the 
northern portion of Illinois on the ground that the Ordinance of 1787 was a 
solemn compact, and as such inviolable without the consent of all parties 
concerned. The matter never came before the United States Supreme 
Court, but Wisconsin's territorial legislature passed several vigorous 
resolutions on the subject to which Congress paid no attention. Strange 
to say, many Illinois inhabitants dwelling in the disputed strip would 
have preferred Wisconsin's jurisdiction ; at one time an informal referendum 
on the question in several Illinois counties resulted overwhelmingly in favor 
of Wisconsin. No official action, however, resulted, and the enabling act 
for Wisconsin in 1846, fixed its southern line 42° 30'. The eastern boundary 
as outlined by the Ordinance of 1787 was obliterated when in 1818 
Wisconsin became part of Michigan Territory. When in 1834 it became 
evident that Michigan east of Lake Michigan would soon become a State, 
it was suggested that all west of Lake Michigan be organized into a new 
territory. This would have included in Wisconsin the upper peninsula 
of Michigan, and made our State a topographical unit. 

Michigan, however, became engaged in a boundary contest with Ohio 
concerning the harbor of Toledo. Congress decided this controversy in 
favor of Ohio, but compensated Michigan by adding to her area the lands 
east of the Montreal and Menominee River boundary. Wisconsin, then 
unorganized, had no means of protest. Her northeastern boundary was 
fixed by the erection of the Territory in 1836. 

Wisconsin Territory when organized included all that portion of the 
Louisiana Purchase lying north of Missouri, and east of the Missouri and 
White Earth rivers. This vast region' embracing Iowa, and the larger 
part of the Dakotas, and Minnesota was understood to be added to Wisconsin 
for administrative purposes only. In 1838 Iowa Territory was set off, and 
Wisconsin was hmited to the western boundary as outlined in the Ordinance 
of 1787. This included within Wisconsin Territory nearly one-third of 
the present area of Minnesota. At one time it was suggested that a sixth 
State should be formed of the territory east of the upper Mississippi and 
south of Lake Superior. Later the portion west of the St. Croix and the 
St. Louis River line actually became a part of a sixth State, Minnesota, 
which was organized as a Territory in 1849 and admitted as a State in 1858. 


Wisconsin in 1848 became a State with boundaries as at present. 
Although short of her original allotment of territory, her present area 
makes her third in size of the five States of the Old Northwest.^ 

II. The Red Men and the Fur Trade 

1. First Men in Wisconsin — A large portion of the surface of 
Wisconsin is covered with small heaps of earth or mounds that are without 
doubt the work of man, and not of nature. The formation of these 
earthworks was formerly attributed to a pre-Indian race of men known 
collectively as the Mound Builders; modern archaeologists, however, have 
repudiated the theory of a prehistoric rSce, and now are certain that the 
true mound builders were none other than the Indians. A peculiar kind 
of mound occurs in southern and central Wisconsin and in the neighboring 
regions of northern Illinois, eastern Iowa, and southeastern Minfiesota, that 
is not found elsewhere in the United States. These are the effigy mounds, 
slight eminences that take the outline of deer, bears, panthers, turtles, 
various kinds of birds, and in one or two instances of man. The origin of 
these effigy mounds has been much discussed. It is now accepted by 
scientists that their makers were a tribe known to the first discoverers 
of the Northwest as the Puant or Winnebago Indians. 

The great number and extent of the mounds scattered over the surface 
of Wisconsin indicates the presence of a large Indian population in 
prehistoric times; but at what era in the world's history, or in what way 
the Winnebago reached Wisconsin we can only infer from a few scattered 
facts. The migration legends of the Siouan peoples, to which stock the 
Winnebago belong, indicate that they came from the region near the 
sources of the Ohio River. Pressed upon by neighboring Algonquian 
peoples they slowly progressed along the Ohio Valley, leaving great 
earthworks as they advanced. In the course of several centuries they 
reached the Ohio's mouth, and there divided, one large branch passing 
northward along the Mississippi River, gi-adually separating into many 
tribes that located chiefly west of the great river. Somewhere, possibly 
at the mouth of Rock River, one group of this vast horde, attracted by 
the abundant game of the pleasant valley, moved eastward and northward, 
and after occupying the valley of Rock River to its headwaters, spread 
along the Fox River and around the lake now called Winnebago, terminating 
their migration at the shores of Green Bay. From the size of the trees 
growing upon the artificial mounds, it is inferred that the settlement of 
the Winnebago in Wisconsin must have occurred some time before the 
discovery of America by Columbus. 

The Winnebago who peopled Wisconsin's valleys, and built their 
mounds along her streams and lakes were in what is known as the Stone 
Age of primitive culture. Contrary to the common belief, they were not 
a wandering, but a home-loving people, devotedly attached to the places 
of their birth, the homes of their fathers and the sites of their villages. 
These villages were so advantageously placed that the sites of most of 
Wisconsin's present cities were those once occupied by the Indians. The 
woods and streams supplied their simple needs of food, clothing, and 


shelter. From the skins of animals they fashioned their garments, by 
hunting and by harvesting wild rice they gained their food. Their lodges 
were built of slender trees covered with bark, and with mats formed of 
plaited reeds. Gradually they learned a rude form of agriculture, by 
cultivating the ground with hoes of bone and plows of wood, corn and 
pumpkins were added to their food supply. They had no domestic animals 
except dogs, which also served as an addition to their food supply. Their 
tools and implements of warfare and of chase were made of stone, flints 
chipped to a point tipped their arrows, axes and hatchets were of edged 
stone, war clubs swung a heavy stone head. The only metals known were 
lead and copper. The former mined in a crude fashion was mostly used 
for ornament. Copper, secured by intertribal trade from Lake Superior, was 
beaten by hand into ornamental shapes, and occasionally used to tip weapons 
and domestic implements. 

The change of seasons brought to Wisconsin Indians changed modes of 
living. During the winter season they left their permanent villages and 
in small groups scattered through the forests, subsisting as best they might 
on the products of the chase. They built temporary wigwams of pelts 
thrown over poles, within which fires were kindled that kept them from 
freezing. Upon the return of spring they sought their villages and corn 
fields. The summer was the time for religious rites, for council and for 
warfare. Raids upon neighboring enemy groups were a normal part of 
the Indian's life. In every village a council house was built where questions 
of war and alliance were discussed by the chiefs and elders. The religious 
rites clustered about a unit resembling a clan ; the effigy mounds were the 
symbols of the clan totems. Near to these totems burial mounds were 
placed. The sacred mysteries of the tribe and clan were there celebrated. 

Aside from warfare, intercourse was maintained with other tribes 
by means of trade. The extent and volume of intertribal trade was 
considerable. Sea shells found in Wisconsin mounds prove that they had 
passed from hand to hand among all the tribes between its inhabitants and 
the Atlantic coast. Shells, bits of metal, articles of dress and ornament, 
constituted the bulk of the exchange. Shells pierced and strung or wrought 
into belts were both the medium of exchange and the binding symbol of 
intertribal treaties and agreements. While the fate of captives taken in 
war was horrible, envoys were sacred, and treaties were observed inviolate. 

The red man's life was by no means idyllic as children of nature 
have been supposed to lead. Famine and disease stalked his footsteps ; war 
and wild animals carried away his young ; struggle and hardships made up 
his lot in life. None the less it is open to question whether the contact 
with the white man did not make the condition of the Indian worse. He 
soon became dependent upon the farmer's products for clothing, implements 
and weapons. He forgot the arts of his priniitive economy. Urged on 
by the gi-eed of traders he rapidly killed off the wild game or drove it farther 
into the wilderness, which he had to penetrate in order to secure the store 
of furs with which to purchase his necessities. Thus hunting became more 
and more important to his existence, and with increased efforts and superior 
weapons brought ever-diminishing returns. The red man became 


dependent upon the trader for the very means of life. After the French 
and Indian War when all traders of the French race were withdrawn from 
Wisconsin, the English traders who after a lapse of two years went to Lake 
Superior found naked, starving savages who in less than one hundred years 
had ceased to be self-sufficing, and could live only by means of relations 
with white men. Thus arose the fur trade, which was not only a commercial 
or an economic regime, but a system of government, a form of social life, a 
means of exploitation, and a stage in the development of the American 

2. The Coining of the White Man — For one hundred and forty years 
after the discovery of America by Columbus, Wisconsin's forests slept in 
quiet, unvexed by the presence of any but their red children. Then 
suddenly out of the east, and skirting the coasts of Green Bay in a bark 
canoe driven by strange red men, the first white man came, and " women 
and children fled at the sight of a man who carried thunder in both hands" 
— for thus they called the two pistols that he held. "He wore a grand 
robe of China damask, all strewn with flowers and birds of many colors." 
"They meet him ; they escort him, and carry all his baggage." They call 
him the Manitouriniou, the wonderful or godhke man. From all quarters 
they haste to see him until four or five thousand are assembled. "Each 
of the chief men made a feast for him, and at one of these banquets they 
served at least six score Beavers." ■• Then the mysterious stranger made 
a peace with them, under such forms and ceremonies as were customary 
in intertribal negotiations, and vanished into the east whence he had come. 

To the whites who had crossed the ocean to begin a small colony on 
the banks of the St. Lawrence, this first white stranger to visit Wisconsin 
was known as Jean Nicolet. He had come to the New World with the 
express purpose of dealing with the red men, learning their languages and 
customs, and opening a way into their country for trade and missions. 
Sent by Champlain, the founder of New France, to dwell among the forest 
inhabitants, Nicolet spent several years among the Algonquin Indians of 
the upper Ottawa River ; then he dwelt among the Huron in the peninsula 
between Lake Erie and Georgian Bay. There he heard of a far western 
tribe known as the "people of salt water," whom Nicolet supposed must 
dwell on the borders of the Western Sea and be akin to the tribes of Tartary. 
Hence the damask robe, and the hope of a new route to Cathay. Instead 
of Oriental potentates Nicolet found merely a new tribe of Indians whose 
name — the Winnebago — meant equally "people of the salt water" or "people 
of bad-smelling springs," and who were known henceforth to the French 
as the Puants or Stinkards. 

After Nicolet's advent to Wisconsin in 1634, no more of these 
mysterious white strangers disturbed the dwellers on Lake Michigan and 
Green Bay for over twenty years. Nevertheless in these far regions great 
changes were taking place, due to the widespread disturbances in Indian 
geography caused by the coming of the white man. Upon the peninsula 
of Ontario then occupied by the Huron tribesmen, the Jesuit missionaries 
some years before the voyage of Nicolet founded the largest and most 
successful of their missions. Throughout all the Huron villages they 


spread, and impelled by a desire to evangelize distant Indians, two of the 
fathers had in 1641 accompanied some of their neophytes to the shores 
of Lake Superior, and named the strait where the waters leap down from 
this mighty basin, the Sault de Ste. Marie. 

But the Huron were not long left to develop their new religion in 
peace. Suddenly from central New York appeared large bands of their 
hereditary enemies, the Iroquois; by one blow after another the Huron 
missions were destroyed, some of the Jesuits fell martyrs to their cause, 
others escaping sought refuge with the remnants of their mission children 
under the cliffs of Quebec. The remainder of the Huron fled westward, 
their alarm was communicated to the Algonquian peoples living beyond 
them, and for fear of the Iroquois whole tribes left their ancestral homes 
for shelter in the farther forests. It happened that shortly before this 
disturbance the Winnebago of southern and central Wisconsin had suffered 
a severe defeat at the hands of the Illinois tribes living to the south, wherein 
they were so reduced in numbers that but a small fragment of the former 
tribe was left in its Wisconsin home. Into this sparsely-settled land the 
fugitives from Ontario and Michigan poured both by southern and northern 
routes. They hid from the pursuing Iroquois in the swamps and marshes of 
our State, and the Winnebago being in no condition to resist, made alliances 
with the intruding tribes, and yielded to them new homes on the lakes 
and streams where their ancestors had dwelt. Thus came the Sauk and 
Foxes, the Miami, Mascouten and Kickapoo. Thus, pressed down from 
the north and the islands of Lake Michigan, came the Menominee and 
Potawatomi to mingle with the Winnebago around Green Bay; while the 
Huron and Ottawa, impelled by a more dreadful fear, sought refuge on the 
southern shores of Lake Superior and about the headwaters of Black River. 
Thus in the middle of the seventeenth century Wisconsin became crowded 
with Indian villages, and was sustaining a larger number of red inhabitants 
than at any other time throughout her history. This aggregation of 
tribesmen conditioned her discovery and exploi'ation, and made her a 
region tempting both to the French fur trader and to the Fi-ench mis- 
sionary of the cross. 

3. Missionaries and Traders 

Before the dispersion of tribes incident to the Iroquois wars the 
Huron and their neighbors had learned the value of the white man's 
goods, and had ventured as far as Three Rivers and Montreal, there to 
exchange their skins and robes for the weapons, clothing and trinkets 
that the white men had taught them to covet. Immediately there sprang 
up an intertribal trade that extended so far westward that tribes which 
had never seen a white man became famihar with his wares. The Ottawa 
Indians were especially skillful in trade, and so long acted as middlemen 
for the western tribes that all the region of the Upper Lakes was called 
by the French the Ottawa Country. 

The Iroquois wars of the middle of the seventeenth century inter- 
rupted the northwest trade, and both the colony of New France and the 
interior tribes suffered from the break in the intercourse. Of the two 


the French suffered the more, because the Indians had not yet forgotten 
their wilderness lore and were yet able to be self-sufficing. The lack of 
the annual harvest of furs from the Northwest had almost ruined the 
little French colony along the St. Lawrence, when suddenly it was 
gladdened by the arrival of a caravan of Indians at Three Rivers that 
came to exchange its hoarded treasure of peltry over northern streams 
and portages, uninfested by the dreaded Iroquois. Prosperity once more 
promised for Canada, the Indian visitors were royally treated, and when 
they embarked for their return voyage two young Canadians accompanied 
them and wandered for two years or more among the tribes of the 
Northwest, learning their customs and languages and teaching them the 
white man's arts. 

The explorations of Radisson and GrosseiUiers during the latter half 
of the sixth decade of the seventeenth century were not known to historians 
until the journals of Radisson were discovered late in the nineteenth 
century in the Bodleian library at Oxford. They were written in EngUsh 
by one unfamiliar with that language and their descriptions are so vague 
that it yet remains an open question where these explorers went and 
whether or not they were the first white men to view the Mississippi. 

Radisson and Grossilliers made a second voyage to the Ottawa Country 
two or three years after their first adventure. Upon this occasion they 
explored Lake Superior and the headwaters of the Mississippi and passed 
a desolate and famishing winter, probably on the Wisconsin shore of 
Chequamegon Bay. 

Meanwhile the first white missionary to Wisconsin had lost his life 
in her northern forests. Father Rene Menard in 1660 came to the North- 
west with a returning party of trading Indians. They abandoned him 
on the shore of Keweenaw Bay and after a wretched winter he started 
with one companion to visit the Huron fugitives, formerly members of 
the Ontario mission, then thought to be in hiding on the headwaters of 
Black River. While descending the Wisconsin in a tiny craft, the reverend 
father stepped aside at some one of its upper portages and was lost in 
the forest. Whether he was slain by beast or Indian or perished from 
starvation is not known ; no trace of his fate was ever found. 

In 1665 the colony of New France was re-enforced by a regiment of 
soldiers, the Iroquois enemies were punished and concluded a reluctant 
peace. Thereafter the wilderness waterways became safer and traders 
and missionaries sought the tribesmen in Wisconsin forests. 

Notable among the traders was Nicholas Perrot, who, in 1665, began 
a career of discovery and exploration in Wisconsin that lasted over thirty 
years. Among the missionaries Father Claude Allouez was a pioneer. 
His first mission in 1665 was on the shores of the Chequamegon Bay, 
where for two years he instructed large bands of Indians from all the 
Wisconsin region. Even the Illinois visited the good father in his northern 
home and listened for the first time to the gospel message. In 1669 
Allouez transferred his ministrations to the neighborhood of Green Bay 
where, among the Menominee, Potawatomi and Sauk of the bay shore, the 
Foxes on the Wolf, and the Miami, Mascouten and Kickapoo of the upper 


Fox Valley, he founded missions and worked with unflagging zeal for the 
conversion of their souls. The first permanent mission in Wisconsin was 
the mission of St. Francis Xavier, established in 1671 at the De Pere 
rapids of Fox River by Allouez and his fellow workers. The following 
decade was the most flourishing in the Jesuit missionary history of 
Wisconsin. After 1682 their influence and success began to wane, and by 
the close of the century was almost extinct. 

In the meantime the King of France had, in 1671, staged a pageant 
on the far shore of Sault Ste. Marie, wherein his representative, Simon 
Francois Daumont Sieur de St. Lusson took possession of all the western 
country for the French sovereignty. Nicholas Perrot was sent in advance 
to notify the Wisconsin tribesmen and persuade them to send chiefs as 
representatives on this great occasion. With wondering awe the simple 
savages watched the impressive ceremony werein priests and warriors 
chanted the praise, both of God and of the great King Louis XIV and 
declared the latter's benevolence in annexing the Indians' country to his 
own domain. All unwillingly they assented to an acknowledgment that 
made them thenceforth subjects of a foreign monarch. Some years after- 
ward Perrot was sent as governor general of the new French territory west 
of Lake Michigan. He built therein a number of French posts, most of 
them upon the Mississippi. At Fort St. Antoine upon Lake Pepin in 
1689 Perrot took possession for France of the Sioux territory lying along 
the upper waters of America's greatest river. He likewise was the first 
white man to explore the lead mines of southern Wisconsin. So long as 
he ruled in the West the French trade and influence was supreme and 
the Indians of Wisconsin were his docile instruments. 

Wisconsin's great waterway to the Mississippi River was first 
traversed in 1673 by Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette. Seven 
years later Daniel Greysolon Duluth, who had previously threaded the 
upper portage from Lake Superior to the Mississippi, came eastward by 
the Fox-Wisconsin route from the Sioux country. By these two voyages 
connection was established between Wisconsin's portage route and both 
the lower and the upper Mississippi. 

Rapid changes in the Indian geography oC Wisconsin occurred during 
the last twenty years of the seventeenth century. The population that 
had massed along the Fox-Wisconsin waterway was pressing upon the 
food supply. Moreover, in 1680 Robert Cavelier de La Salle took possession 
of the Illinois River Valley and invited the Wisconsin Indians to remove 
thither for a permanent home. The Miami, Mascouten and Kickapoo 
acceded to his request; the Potawatomi likewise moved south along the 
shore of Lake Michigan ; the Foxes ventured from Wolf River to the river 
now called by their name. The Menominee surrounded Green Bay, the 
Sauk and Foxes controlled the Fox-Wisconsin waterway, the Winnebago 
occupied the upper Rock River. The Huron and Ottawa left northern 
Wisconsin for homes on the straits of Mackinac, and all the southern shore 
of Lake Superior was abandoned to the Chippewa, who at intervals 
continued their hereditary wars upon the Sioux of the St. Croix and upper 
Mississippi valleys. 


4. The French Fur Trade — Along with the shifting of tribal homes 
grew up changes in the method of handling the fur trade. The Indian 
hunters no longer made yearly pilgrimages to Montreal to exchange their 
gathered peltry for the white man's goods. Instead the white men came 
to them offering their wares, and with tribal consent built in their country 
at convenient places little log forts, where an officer and a few soldiers 
kept order over the motley crowd of traders and coureurs des bois that 
enriched themselves by the wilderness traffic. Most of the traders were 
licensed by the government and subjected to strict rules for the conduct 
of their trade. The illegal trader, however, flourished and followed his 
Indian customers into the depths of the forest, beyond the reach of the 
orders and regulations enforced by the commandants at the wayside posts. 
These unlicensed traders carried to the red man the alcohohc liquors the 
white man had taught him to love ; and in disregard of the regulations of 
the French government, the Indian grew more and more debauched and 
degraded by his association with the whites. Radisson, who had explored 
the western forests for the French, deserted to the English government, 
and in 1670 aided in forming the Hudson's Bay Company, that greatest of 
all fur-trade monopolies, which, after nearly 250 years, is still the greatest 
fur company in the world. 

Its traders early penetrated to the north shore of Lake Superior and 
drew away many Indians who had previously contributed to the wealth of 
Canada. The English also attempted to secure the northwest fur trade by 
the route of the Great Lakes. Utilizing the Iroquois as middlemen, the 
tribes of Wisconsin were tempted to carry their wares to white men who 
paid a larger price for furs and gave better goods in return than those of 
the French merchants. 

Thus through illegal traders and foreign rivals the French fur trade 
was, by the close of the seventeenth century, so demoralized that the 
Canadian authorities, spurred thereto by the missionaries, determined upon 
drastic measures. All hcenses for traders were revoked, and in 1696 a 
decree went forth that all the Northwest posts should be evacuated and 
that missionaries should be the only white men allowed in the Ottawa 
Country. It was thought that the old custom of yearly caravans would 
be revived, thus governmental control could be exercised over the trade 
and the aborigines protected. These measures were only partially 
successful. Coureurs de bois refused to obey the summons to return to 
New France and shamelessly brought in English goods; soldiers deserted 
from the garrisons before evacuation, married among the Indian tribes and 
introduced the white man's arts. Albany and Hudson Bay traders vigorously 
pressed their advantage, and the Canadian authorities feared that the 
whole of the Northwest trade would slip from their control. 

This danger of disintegration was checked by two events that occurred 
in the first year of the eighteenth century, by which the French recovered 
their morale and resumed operations in the Northwest. The first of these 
was the founding of Detroit, a post whose position barred the Enghsh from 
the upper lakes. The second was the peace with the Iroquois, which was 
signed at Montreal after a great ceremony, and an exchange of prisoners 


among all the warring tribes. The license for the fur trade was then 
restored, the coureur des bois called in by proclaiming pardons for past 
offenses, and the policy of control by posts and garrisons was re-established 
throughout the Northwest. 

The estabhshment of Detroit caused new changes in the Indian 
geography of Wisconsin. The Miami and Mascouten entirely withdrew from 
the state and moved eastward toward the new post. The Potawatomi 
progressed southward around the bend of Lake Michigan, while the Winne- 
bago filled in the vacant territory near Lake Winnebago and along the Rock 
River Valley. In 1706 a large portion of the Fox and Sauk tribes deserted 
Wisconsin and settled in the vicinity of Detroit, whither the Ottawa and 
Huron from the neighborhood of Mackinac had preceded them. This new 
accumulation of savage peoples did not long dwell in harmony. In 1712 
a fierce intertribal quarrel broke out in which the commandant of Detroit 
took sides against the Wisconsin tribesmen. Many of the Sauk, Foxes and 
Kickapoo were slain, the remainder fled back to their former homes in 
Wisconsin, where the remnant of these tribes waged barbaric warfares 
against the French for over thirty years. This hostility closed the Fox- 
Wisconsin waterway to French traders, rendered their lives insecure on 
all the western pathways and greatly diminished French influence in the 
far Northwest. 

In the course of these Fox wars the first military invasion of Wisconsin 
occurred when, in 1716, Sieur Louvigny led a considerable army of Canadian 
soldiers, accompanied by a miscellaneous host of traders, voyageui-s and 
Indians through Green Bay to the Fox fort at Little Butte des Morts. The 
Foxes withstood for a time a considerable siege, which ended in a compro- 
mise with the invading forces. The succeeding year a French post was 
built on the site of Fort Howard, that was maintained until the fall of the 
French sovereignty in the New World. In 1718, in order to develop the 
copper mines that were thought to exist on the shores of Lake Superior, 
an official post was built at Chequamegon. From 1727 to 1750, in order to 
exploit the fur trade among the Sioux French, posts were erected unon the 
Upper Mississippi. Chequamegon and the Mississippi posts were abandoned 
during the French and Indian war. In 1743 a French post was erected on 
the Mississippi near the lead mines, where a beginning was made in devel- 
oping this industry. Thus the French found copper, lead and furs in 
Wisconsin, the most valuable of which was peltry. 

After the Fox wars were over the fur trade grew with startling 
rapidity, and the only rivals to the Canadian traders were the French 
merchants from Louisiana, whose northern boundary lay between the Rock 
and Wisconsin rivers. In 1752 the Green Bay post was leased to a relative 
of the reigning governor, who exploited it so dishonestly that the Marquis of 
Montcalm declared, "Never have theft and license gone so far." The yearly 
harvest of Wisconsin furs amounted to 500 to 600 packs valued at a quarter 
of a million dollars. 

Peculation and dishonesty led to the downfall of New France. Unpro- 
tected by rapacious officials, the lilies of France fell before the cross of 
St. George and St. Andrew, and the British replaced the French not only 


on the St. Lawrence, but along the Great Lakes and in the eastern part of 
the Mississippi Valley. 

5. Development and Decline of the Fur Trade Under the British — 

The change from French to British sovereignty in Wisconsin was not 
accompanied by any marked upheaval in the little hamlets and among the 
Indian villages of the western wilderness. Most of the French traders 
transferred their allegiance to the new sovereign with only mild regrets. 
The earliest British officers were concihatory in attitude, and the Indians 
docilely exchanged their French medals and flags for those of England. 
The British traders employed the same voyageurs and coureurs des bois as 
had served the traffic under the French reg'ime. The language most in use 
in Wisconsin's forests continued to be French. Beyond the bounds of 
Wisconsin there was much discontent, which culminated in the revolt known 
as Pontiac's Conspiracy. In this uprising Wisconsin tribesmen, almost 
alone among those of the Northwest, refused to participate. Possibly the 
old grievances against the French, repressed since the Fox wars, still 
rankled, and made Wisconsin Indians more favorable to their new British 
masters. Be that as it may, the garrison at Green Bay was escorted by 
friendly and protecting tribesmen to Mackinac, and there aided in rescuing 
the captured British officers from the hands of the hostile Chippewa and 
Ottawa. When Sir William Johnson met the Indian chiefs at Niagara in 
1764 he signalized the loyalty of the Wisconsin Menominee by presenting to 
their chief a medal and a certificate." 

With the withdrawal in 1763 of the garrison from Green Bay, Wis- 
consin's British post was permanently abandoned. Thenceforward the 
metropolis of the fur trade was at Mackinac, where each summer a great 
mart was held. Traders brought from Canada an abundance of goods for 
forest traffic and exchanged them for the peltry that had been gathered 
during the previous winter and spring at dozens of small posts throughout 
the West. 

With the growth of the trade subsidiary marts were established, and 
the one in Wisconsin at Prairie du Chien became next in importance to that 
at Mackinac. 

The first years of the British trade in Wisconsin were years of unregu- 
lated and fierce competition between rival traders and rival companies. 
Slight restraints were imposed by the post officers, who in most cases 
participated in the profits of the traffic. Therefore, this unrestricted rivalry 
wrought great havoc, both among the fur-bearing animals and their red 
hunters. Liquor became the ordinary medium of exchange. The traders' 
outfits were largely composed of kegs of beverages, and so fierce were the 
drunken orgies of the Indians that it seemed that they would soon 
exterminate themselves. The traders in like manner grew demoralized and 
employed all kinds of subterfuges to secure the advantage. Even murder 
and robbery went unpunished, and the law of force and cunning ruled the 

Excess of competition finally suggested its own remedy. In 1778 a 
representative group of Canadian merchants made at Mackinac a temporary 
combination to control the trade. Two years later the agreement was 


renewed, and became in 1783 the basis of the North West Fur Company, a 
powerful organization of Scotch merchants, who controlled the Canadian 
trade for the third of a century. About the same time the Mackinac 
Company was formed, whose operations lay farther south than those of the 
North West Company. In 1786 the Mackinac Company had a post opposite 
the mouth of the Missouri and was competing for the trade of Spanish 

Th6 Spanish strove unsuccessfully to bar the British traders from the 
trans-Mississippi. The lower Missouri trade they succeeded in possessing, 
but the waters of the upper Mississippi and the Minnesota (then called the 
St. Peter's) were practically in the hands of the Scotch from Canada, all 
supphed by means of the Fox-Wisconsin waterway. 

The headquarters of the North West Company lay on the northwest 
shore of Lake Superior; two subsidiary posts in Wisconsin — at Fond du 
Lac of the great lake, and at Madelaine Island — served the interior forts 
along the southern shore of Lake Superior. Around these posts small 
communities gradually grew up, composed chiefly of retired voyageurs and 
engagees no longer able to endure the hardships of forest wintering. These 
occupied themselves with a primitive type of agriculture and supplied the 
products to the active traders. The most important of these settlements 
was at Green Bay, where, before the close of the French regime, a few 
families had settled. Thither, after Pontiac's Conspiracy, the Langlades 
removed from Mackinac, and by their superior education and ability became 
the recognized leaders of the little community. Charles Langlade, called 
the "Father of Wisconsin," had been an officer in the French-Canadian 
army. Under the British he held a commission in the Indian Department, 
and his influence over both the white and red men of Wisconsin was 
unbounded. It was Langlade, who, during the American Revolution, rallied 
the Wisconsin Indians for participation in the defense of Canada and in 
the invation of Burgoyne. It was due to his loyalty to the British that 
George Rogers Clark's agents had so little success in detaching Wisconsin 
Indians for the American alliance. It was Langlade who was depended upon 
to protect the Wisconsin settlements against the dangers from the Spanish 
of Louisiana ; and upon his death in 1801 the French-Canadian settlements 
mourned a protector and a leader. His leadership fell into the hands of his 
descendants and relatives, the Grignons and Gautiers, who were allied to 
the better families of Green Bay and Prairie du Chien. The patriarchal 
condition of society in Wisconsin lasted until the coming of the Americans, 
who, with their democracy and energy, broke down the class system founded 
on the fur trade hierarchy, and introduced the elements of modern life into 
the trading posts and settlements that grew up during the fur trade regime. 
In the fur trade the bourgeois or master trader was all-powerful, his will 
and the exigencies of the traffic were the sole source of authority. To make 
this more binding, each voyageur and engagee was obliged before leaving 
the main trading post, to sign a contract by which he bound himself in 
consideration of a small wage and certain supplies "to serve, obey, and 
faithfully execute all that the said Sieurs, his Bourgeois * * * shall 
lawfully and honestly order him to do ; without trading on his own account, 


nor absenting himself from, nor leaving the said service." ■ This consti- 
tuted a species of peonage, which, to the honor of the fur trading fraternity, 
was seldom abused. In truth, the tie that bound master and man was not 
purely economic; it was composed of personal elements of loyalty and 
attachment. It was compounded from two loyalties — the French system of 
subordination and responsibihty, and the Scotch Highlander's attachment 
to the head of his clan, and the clan leaders' obligations therefor. 

Many of the prominent traders of Wisconsin were Scotchmen, and 
in the War of 1812 they commanded retinues of voyageurs and Indians, who 
successively captured Mackinac and Prairie du Chien and drove every 
American from the vicinity. These traders fondly hoped and loudly boasted 
that new boundaries would be drawn and the territory now Wisconsin would 
become a fur-trading preserve. Disappointed in that hope, they planned to 
adjust the exigencies of the forest trade to the demands of the American 
system. The Mackinac Company was dissolved and in its stead was organ- 
ized the American Fur Company, many of whose operators were the Scotch- 
Canadians who had been partners in the British concern. For twenty years 
after the American occupation the new company conducted a flourishing 
trade along the old lines. From 1816 to 1824 the United States sought to 
better the Indians' condition by the so-called factory system, government 
posts operated not for profit, but for benevolence toward its Indian wards. 
The factory system failed because of the powerful opposition of the Amer- 
ican Fur Company, and because the factors were unacquainted with the 
conditions of Indian trade. 

Gradually the fur trade, which for two hundred years had ruled Wis- 
consin, declined. The local traders, deeply in debt to Astor's monopoly, 
the American Fur Company, mortgaged their lands and lost them. Of 
recent years a new commerce in furs has sprung up and grows increasingly 
valuable. But the fur trade as a regime passed from Wisconsin with the 
coming of the Americans and the development of modern industries. 

1 — This chapter is adapted by permission from a manseript history ptepared by the 
State Historical Society of Wisconsin. 
2— Wis. Hist. Colls., XI, 27-28. 

3 — For the entire subject of Wisconsin Boundaries, see Ibid., 451-501. 
4— Id., XVI, 1-3. 
5— Id., XVIII, 206. 
6— Ibid., 268-269. 
7— Id., XIX, 343. 



(By George H. Squier) 

The geology of Trempealeau County is the geology of a considerable 
tract in western Wisconsin, for, in a region of undisturbed and nearly 
horizontal rocks, an area so small as a county will rarely show in its 
geological features any great diversification, and the description of one 
would apply with slight changes to its neighboring counties. 

In entering upon the consideration of this subject it must be fully 
recognized that the features of the region as we now see them are but a 
passing phase. Changeless as our hills and valleys may seem to us, never- 
theless within the long periods of which geology takes cognizance, they 
are scarcely more so than are the most ephemeral of the works of man 
compared with his own span of life. Therefore, just as the historical 
portion of this work seeks to trace the changing phases which have attended 
the human occupancy of this region, in the same manner an adequate 
treatment of the geology of the county must seek to present an outline 
sketch of the history whose record is found in the rocks. 

All the rocks exposed within the limits of this county belong to the 
upper portion of the Cambrian, and the base of the Ordovician. To a 
geologist, a condensed statement of this nature conveys much information, 
but to the reader who is not a specialist in that study, it may have but 
little meaning, and a further elucidation is needed to place the subject at 
the command of the average reader. 

In order to understand the significance of the statement that our rocks 
belong near the top of the Cambrian and base of the Ordivician, it is 
necessary to have some knowledge of the geological time scale. The scale 
here given is the one commonly accepted as the standard : 












Ordovician ] Middle 

[ Lower 

Cambrian ■{ Middle 

I Lower 


Our local rocks 


All of the periods are subdivided into numerous "formations," but in 
this list only the subdivisions are indicated that apply to the Cambrian and 
Ordovician, and only the larger subdivisions even for these. The range 
of our local rocks is also duly indicated. Since the older rocks are at the 
bottom, it wiU be seen that the Potsdam Sandstone (Cambrian) and the 
Lower Magnesian Limestone (Ordovician) are very ancient. The Lower 
and Middle Cambrian are not present in this region, consequently the Upper 
Cambrian rests directly on the Pre-Cambrian. 

It is to be understood that the Pre-Cambrian is not a period comparable 
to the others in the table. It is, indeed, properly not a name at all, but 
merely a convenient designation for all of the immense series of rocks 
antedating the Cambrian, and includes a time, perhaps, as long as all 
succeeding time. The rocks have been so extensively folded and faulted 
and so generally metamorphosed and intruded by eruptives as to constitute 
a very complex problem, and while it is evident that the long series is 
capable of subdivision into periods comparable with those given above, the 
subdivisions proposed have not been accepted with the same approach to 
unanimity as these. 

Geological history is the record of successive changes wrought by two 
sets of forces. The one, operating within the body of the earth, causes 
changes of level of the land surface in its relation to the water level, some 
being carried below, and some above that level. The other, the various 
agencies of disintegration, acting upon those surfaces raised above water 
level, tend to wear them down. This erosion of the land results in two 
complementary sets of phenomena: (a) the planing down of the land 
surface until, if sufficient time be allowed, even a mountainous region may 
be reduced to a nearly level plain but little elevated above the sea level, 
a "base plane" ; and (b) the transference of the material thus eroded from 
the land surface, mainly by running water, but to some extent by wind, 
until it comes to rest in some body of water, or at least in some basin from 
which there is no outlet, were it accumulates and may come to form deposits 
thousands of feet thick. 

In the process of transformation the material becomes more or less 
assorted, and is deposited, under varying conditions as coarse fragments- 
conglomerate, sand, or mud. In addition to the material thus removed 
from the land, the growing deposits include the remains of the sucessive 
generations of living creatures which made their home in the water in 
which the beds are accumulating, and, since there was a continuous change 
in the forms of life, we thus have furnished us a means of the greatest value 
in determining what position a particular deposit occupies in the world's 
time scale. 

It will be realized that the geological time scale does not propose to 
place events with the same exactitude as when we speak of an event as 
having occurred in a certain year and century, A. D. or B. C. It corresponds 
more nearly to our custom of dividing human events into periods character- 
ized by some noteworthy set of conditions, as, for example, the time of the 
crusades or the period of the renaissance. Geologists have given much 
study to the problem of attaining approximate equality for their divisions. 


Having thus considered the broad principles on which geological history 
is based, we may now address ourselves more specifically to the history 
of this particular region. 

As already indicated, our Potsdam Sandstones, which include some 
shales and impure limestones, and constitute a part, but probably not all, 
of the Upper Cambrian, rest directly on the Pre-Cambrian. 

While the area of the Pre-Cambrian had been more than once sub- 
merged, had received deposits of sediments of great thickness, and had also 
been intruded by enormous masses of eruptive rocks, its later nistory con- 
sisted, first, in the folding and faulting of the strata so that they formed 
mountain ranges comparable, perhaps, to the largest of our present moun- 
tains, and, second, a long period of erosion during which these were worn 
down until the region had become one of very slight relief, diversified only 
by hills of moderate elevation. 

When again the region became depressed so as to be covered by a 
shallow sea, the beds of the Upper Cambrian were deposited. These deposits 
were made not only over the region in which they are now found, but also 
over the entire state, including the areas of crystaline rocks to the north- 
ward. Not alone the Cambrian, but also Ordivician rocks (Lower Magnesian 
Limestone, St. Peter Sandstone, Trenton Limestone) overspread all, or a 
considerable portion of the region. Other beds of the Ordovician and 
Silurian which now outcrop successively further south and east, undoubtedly 
extended much further northward and westward than at present, but we 
have no means of determining how far. We may be fairly confident that 
the lower Magnesian Limestone (that forming the tops of the bluffs along 
the Mississippi) overspread the entire country. Nor is there much doubt 
that the St. Peter Limestone (not now found in the county) did so also. 
There is considerable ground for the belief that the Trenton Limestone, of 
which only a few remnants are now found north of the Wisconsin River, 
in Vernon County, also overspread at least the southern part of the county. 

While these processes were going on the region seems to have been 
affected by only shght changes of level, remaining quite near sea level 
throughout the Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Mississippian and most of 
the Pennsylvanian. But toward the end of the Pennsylvanian, or in the 
Permian, there was a period of elevation. In the eastern part of the United 
States, mountains (the Appalachians) were the result. But in Wisconsin 
there was only a moderate elevation, not sufficient to warp or disarrange 
the strata. 

The necessary result followed. The region was brought under the 
influence of eroding agents. Streams began to cut their valleys. When 
they had cut as deep a they could at the then height of the land, they 
widened them, and as they had a long time in which to work — through the 
Permian, Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous — they cut away the entire 
surface, down to base level, leaving a great plain. Only a few hills — the 
Blue Mounds, Platte Mounds and others south of the Wisconsin River — 
which were composed of more than usually resistant rocks, remain to give 
us some idea as to the thickness of the rocks thus planed away.' 


Some time during the Tertiary there was again an elevation, and the 
streams resumed their downcutting. Since the valleys which they then 
formed are those we now see, we are interested in knowing something of 
the plain as it was when they began to cut. 

If we could reconstruct the Tertiary base plain as it was before the 
streams had cut deeply into it, we should find that near the Mississippi, it 
coincided closely with the present tops of the higher bluffs — those capped 
by the Lower Magnesian Limestone — but that it rose gradually to the 
northward, so that the hills in the northern part do not reach to within 
three or four hundred feet of the old plain surface. Going northward 
beyond the county, the plain would be above the present surface of the 
crystaline rocks over the greater part of the area of the state. This plain, 
we must realize, then lay so that the surface was nowhere more than three 
or four hundred feet above the sea level. The elevation during the Tertiary 
was in the nature of a tilting, as though a board was raised at one end, 
the other remaining on the surface, the amount of elevation increasing to 
the northward. It is to be further observed that the old Pre-Cambrian 
surface on which the Cambrian rests, is in itself a tilted base plain, having 
such a slope that if it were fully exposed, streams running over it would 
have swift courses and great erosive power. 

We are to suppose the Tertiary base plain as floored with Cambrian 
or later rocks over the entire area of the state, except that included in 
Iron, Vilas, Oneida and adjoining counties, where it cut through to the 
Pre-Cambrian, also cutting some of that, making it an integral part of 
the plain and producing a surface which did not conform with the slopes 
of the surrounding Pre-Cambrian areas. The surface of these counties 
now has a nearly consistent level of about 1,600 feet, and as this surface 
was the level to which the Tertiary base plain was carried by its tilt, the 
amount of the tilt or elevation may thus be determined. 

The greater part of the present area of the state, floored by Pre- 
Cambrian, has been stripped of its Cambrian and later rock covering, since 
that time. If we attempt to visualize the Tertiary base plain and consider 
the amount of material that has been removed, we shall realize that the 
aspect of the valleys has undergone constant though slow change. 

It will be interesting here to picture the conditions just before the 
opening of the Pleistocene Period, when the valleys had reached their 
greatest depth. Of the various artesian wells from which we gain our 
knowledge of the position of the old rock bottom of the valleys, few, perhaps 
none, strike that bottom at the deepest part, but they indicate that the 
old channel of the Mississippi River was somewhere near two hundred feet 
below the present river level, or, say, three hundred feet below the present 
level of Trempealeau Prairie. That would indicate that our bluffs, which 
now rise about six hundred feet above the river, were then nearer eight 
hundred feet. The valleys were also considerably narrower and more 
canyon-like. Moreover, the thick deposits of clay that now mantle our lower 
hills and fill the coulies were then absent and only jagged ledges of rock, 
thinly covered with sandy soil, would meet the eye. The tributary valleys 
were also correspondingly deeper, and displayed the same characteristics 


in a less degree. It was a region, no doubt, of much scenic attraction, but 
rather inhospitable. 

When, with the development of geological knowledge, scientists came 
to realize that the deposits which in the early days of geology were called 
diluvial, were really made by glaciers which had overspread great areas 
in many parts of the world, it was supposed that there had been but a 
single invasion, and it was called the Glacial Period. But as the phenomena 
were more carefully studied it became evident that there had been more 
than one invasion, several, indeed, separated by periods of relative warmth, 
seemingly even warmer than the present, and for this whole succession 
the term Pleistocene came to be applied. 

These various invasions did not cover the same area, and the older 
ones seem to have been more severe ; at least they extended much further 
south than the later. One, west of the Mississippi, advanced as far as 
northeastern Kansas, and east of that stream one reached southern Illinois. 
But there was an area, mostly in Wisconsin, and, broadly speaking, including 
the portion of the state lying between the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers, 
and northward so as to embrace the larger share of Trempealeau and 
Jackson counties, which appears never to have been overspread by a 
glacier. The last — Wisconsin — glacier did not indeed advance nearly so 
far south as the limits named. There is some little doubt as yet as to 
the extreme southerly limits reached by the oldest glacier. The greater 
share of the region shows none of that modification of topography which 
is a distinctive characteristic of glacial action. 

But though the glaciers did not overspread this region, they exercised 
a notable influence over the conditions within it. This was due (a) to 
the fact that some streams bearing glacial outwash traversed the region, 
(b) to the influence of the encircling glaciers on the climate, and (c) to 
the effect of the glaciers on the water level. 

(a) Those streams, some portions of whose drainage basins were 
invaded by glaciers, received large amounts of glacial outwash — sand 
pebbles — and all such material capable of being transported by stream 
action could be carried far beyond the region of glaciation. Within the 
boundaries of Trempealeau County the Mississippi and Black rivers were 
the principal carriers of such material. It has been supposed that the 
Trempealeau Valley lay outside the glaciated region entirely. The writer 
was first to call attention to the deposits near Taylor and Blair. The 
Mississippi must have been the carrier of glacial outwash during most, if 
not all, of the glacial periods ; but the Black only for some of the earlier. 

(b) The climate of the driftless area — as the region not covered with 
glaciers is called — would have been subject to the chilling effect of the 
near-by glaciers. There is also reason to believe that the glaciers acted 
something like a mountain range in draining the air of moisture, rendering 
the region rather dry. 

(c) There are two ways in which we may conceive of a glacier as 
affecting the water level. The first is by isostatic readjustment. This 
assumes that the crust of the earth has little stiffness and yields readily, 
either upward or downward in response to any change of weight near the 


surface. As some of the glaciers attained a thickness of several thousand 
feet, they represented a great increase of weight over the surface, and as 
a consequence there was a downward warping of the crust. If, however, 
as some believe, the crust is much more resistant to such influences than 
the theory of "isostosy" supposes, the accumulation of such great masses 
of ice would, by increasing the gravitative energy of portions of the earth's 
surface relative to others, produce such a shifting of the center of gravity 
as to cause readjustment of the water level to compensate. One or the 
other of these agencies (not both, at least to the extent that the first agency 
was effective, the second was excluded) must, I think, be assumed to 
have been operative during each of the glacial periods. But other agencies 
not necessarily depending on the presence of the glaciers may have modified, 
increased or diminished, the results. It will be obvious that if a glacier 
enters a vaUey at some point below its head, leaving the upper portion free 
of ice, the result will be a dam, and the impounded water will form a lake. 
This also might operate in combination with the others, modifying the 
results. It is not possible in the present stage of the investigation to assign 
to these several agencies their proportionate share in bringing about the 
submergencies which we know from ample evidence to have affected the 
region of the upper Mississippi. 

The stage of the submergence was quite variable; it stood, however, 
for a considerable time at a point between three and four hundred feet 
above the present river level, though there is much evidence of one actually 
overtopping the bluffs. The result of the submergence was the deposition 
of thick beds of lacustine material over the foothills and lower two-thirds 
of the bluffs. It is to this deposit that we owe the fact that the foothills 
furnish many of our finest farms. Without it they would be rocky ledges, 
or steep slopes, thinly covered with sandy soil. 

Studied in detail, these deposits form an extremely complex series 
which could not even be described without filling many pages and using 
much illustrative material. 

These periods of submergence did not, however, extend through the 
Pleistocene period; there were other long periods when the Mississippi 
Valley was occupied by a stream, either one comparable in size to the 
present stream, or one of vastly greater volume, carrying away the drainage 
from the glaciers and loaded with glacial outwash. These mostly flowed 
at a higher level than the present, a level marked by the deposits of Trem- 
pealeau Prairie. On the other hand, the warm interglacial periods were 
times of down cutting, during which the river often flowed at levels below 
the present. One such has been brought to our knowledge during the 
present summer (1917) through the sinking of the piers of the Burlington 
bridge at Trempealeau Bay, showing many feet of mud deposits loaded 
with shells and wood, also marginal peat bogs, and indicating river levels 
at from forty to sixty feet or more below the present. We can also trace 
lines of cliffs marking the shore lines for some of the river stages, though 
they have been partly obscured by more recent outwash from the bluffs. 
The interrelations of these various phases are still far from having been 
fully worked out. 


It remains before bringing this article to a close, to notice that feature, 
which, because it is so conspicuous and distinctive, has attracted the atten- 
tion of all who have entered the region, Indians apparently as well as whites, 
the Trempealeau bluffs. 

It is, perhaps, generally recognized that these were at one time a 
part of the west (Minnesota) shore, but the process through which thej 
became separated is not well understood. 

In one of the recent publications of our State Geological Survey, Mr. 
Martin, who, I understood, had not personally studied the situation, gives 
an explanation which is quite incorrect — impossible, indeed.- His expla- 
nations and diagrams assume that the notch at Trempealeau Bay was the 
continuation of one of the valleys on the Minnesota side. But the valley 
in question is very much wider than the notch, and no explanation is offered 
of an adequate agency for the removal of the divide at the place where 
it is assumed to have been removed. 

To correctly understand the process, it must be remembered that when 
the streams were "young," they were flowing in narrow, gorge-Uke valleys. 
and that in the case of the Mississippi, this was probably much nearer thp 
Wisconsin than the Minnesota side of the present valley. On the Minnesota 
side several of the small streams united in one which partly paralleled the 
Mississippi, but which, in its meandering, approached it more closely for 
a stretch of its upper course than it did below. As the streams, having 
cut down to grade, proceeded to widen their valleys, the narrow divide 
between this parallel stream and the Mississippi was gradually cut away. 

It must be borne in mind that so long as the streams were running 
on the rock bottoms, this divide might be wholly removed for some distance 
above our present Trempealeau bluffs without causing the diversion of 
the Mississippi into the smaller body, because, not only would the steeper 
grade of the smaller valley have carried its bottom above that of the larger 
stream, but the greater depth of the channel required by the larger stream 
would be sufficient to control its flow even though their surfaces had been 
at the same level. When, however, the conditions had changed so that the 
Mississippi did not keep its channel cleared out, but instead became 
gradually filled, its newer course was left unobstructed. Some other 
attendant circumstances, also, would have made that its most easy and 
natural course. 

Naturally, when the large stream invaded the valley of the small one, 
there began a rapid process of erosion whereby the salient points and 
minor flexures were reduced into an adjustment to its own requirements. 
The accompanying diagramatic map is supposed to show the conditions 
while the valleys were still narrower; the consequences of the widening 
of the valleys will be readily apparent. 

The point where the Trempealeau chain of bluffs connected with the 
Minnesota shore is a matter of some interest. The projecting headland on 
the Minnesota shore which may be supposed to have marked the point of 
junction has, of course, been worn away, but it is believed that the 
long line of cliff's near Homer has resulted from such rapid wearing back 


of the shore line and marks the probable line of junction, as it is also the 
point toward which the present trend of the Trempealeau bluffs points. 

The conspicuous isolation and insular position of Trempealeau Moun- 
tain proper may call for a few remarks. 

It is obvious that not only the larger streams, but the smaller ones, and 
the torrent courses were everywhere dissecting the region. Small valleys 
similar to those now extending into our bluffs would also have existed in 
the portions now wholly removed. One who is familiar with the present 
condition of our bluffs will reahze how little erosion along their north 
side would serve to remove the low connecting ridges and leave, 
instead of a connected chain, three or four disconnected hills. The little 
valley between Trempealeau Mountain and Brady's Bluff had been cut so 
low that the flooded Mississippi was able to pass through and further rapid 
deepening was the result. 

In reviewing briefly the facts of the preparation of Trempealeau County 
for the occupancy of man, a summary of the foregoing facts may prove 
of interest. At the end of the Pre-Cambrian period, Trempealeau County 
presented a sloping surface of bare rock, comparatively level, but containing 
some hills of moderate elevation. In the Cambrian period the region was 
depressed and covered with a shallow sea. During this and succeeding 
periods various layers of sandstone (pulverized rock) and limestone 
(pulverized shells) were deposited in the bed of this shallow sea. Just 
which of these layers were laid down in Trempealeau County is somewhat 
uncertain. The Pottsdam sandstone and the Lower Magnesian limestone 
still remains, the latter being seen in the tops of the Mississippi bluffs. 
The region remained submerged during the Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, 
Mississippian and most of the Pennsylvanian period. But toward the close 
of the Pennsylvanian, or in the Permian period, the region was elevated 
above the sea level. -Streams began to cut valleys. When they had cut as 
deep as they could they began to widen these valleys. This process continued 
during the Permian, Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods until the 
region was again a great sloping level plain. This plain was surfaced with 
the Lower Magnesian limestone and coincided with the present tops of the 
Mississippi bluffs. But it rose rapidly in elevation to the northward so 
that the present hiUs in the northern part of the country are three or 
four hundred feet below what was then the surface of the plain. In the 
Tertiary period streams began cutting through this plain. A vast amount 
of material was removed and the present valleys were formed. At the 
opening of the Pleistocene Period the rock foundation of Trempealeau 
County lay practically in its present form. The valleys, however, were 
much narrower and deeper and the sides much steeper. Except for thin 
deposits of sandy soil, all the county was a region of bare and jagged rocks. 
Then came the Pleistocene Period with its glacial periods, when glaciers 
formed and were melted again several times. A larger part of Trempealeau 
County is in what is called the Driftless Area, and was probably never 
covered with a glacier. But it was to the glaciers that we owe the present 
condition of the county. During the time of the glaciers the county received 
in the Mississippi, Black and, to some extent, the Trempealeau Valley, 


sandy pebbles carried by the streams flowing away from the glaciers, and 
■during the several times that the county was submerged during this era, 
the bare valleys and foothills, lying in the bed of the muddy lakes, formed 
by the melting glaciers, received the deposits which now constitute the 
foundation of our soil. At times during the Glacial Periods the Mississippi 
bed was higher than at present and at times lower. The original bed of 
the Mississippi was probably over the Trempealeau Prairie, and the Trem- 
pealeau Bluffs are probably reaUy an extension of the Minnesota Bluffs, the 
belief being that in this region the Mississippi is now flowing in what was 
the bed of a nearly parallel tributary. In the rich deposits left by the 
glacial lakes vegetation began to grow, and the decomposing vegetation 
mingling with the deposits formed the soil as it was found by the early 

There is little to be said as to the mineral resources of the county. 
Its wealth lies in its agricultural resources. It is among the possibihties ■ 
of the future that iron may be found in the underlying Pre-Cambrian rocks. 
And while it would be difficult, under present conditions, to mine it 
profitably, it would be possible that improved mining methods and the 
exhaustion of the more easily-mined "deposits would sometimes make it 

Waterpowers have been developed at various points in the county, and 
the resulting mills have been an important factor in the economic develop- 
ment of the county. 

The watercourses and many of the ridges are heavily wooded, thus 
furnishing the farmers with plenty of fuel and building material. Contrary 
to usual conditions where the coming of the white men has resulted in 
the denuding of the forests, there was little timber here when the settlers 
came but has been allowed to grow up in the past sixty years. 

1 — It is not to be understood that the history was quite as simple as the sketch indicates. 
Even a relatively stable portion of the earth's crust is rarely wholly so for prolonged periods. 
To record the minor oscillations, even if they were always determinable, would be quite 
unpractical in an article of this character. 

2 — Martin, Physical Geography of Wisconsin, 136-197. 


(By George H. Squier) 

It is so rarely the case that our present poUtical divisions correspond 
closely with the outlines of any of the older tribal domains, or habitats, 
that when such happens to be the case, it is not only a matter of interest, 
but it furnishes a peculiarly satisfactory theme for the writer. 

The lack of correspondence between political divisions and archaelogical 
provinces is due to the fact that the latter were determined far more by 
topographic conditions than are the former, and the fact that Trempealeau 
County furnishes an exception is due to the circumstance that the Trem- 
pealeau Prairie constitutes the major portion (the adjoining portions of 
La Crosse County making up the rest) of a peculiarly compact and sharply 
defined area which we may judge to have been very attractive to the Indians. 

There are several reasons why it should have been so. It is a region 
of unusual beauty and charm. This was due not alone to the bluffs, for 
the prairie with its rolling grassy hills, free from woods or brush ; the 
park-like aspect of the "oak openings," and the picturesque outlook, all 
tended to impress themselves on the senses and enthral the imagination of 
those who came under their spell. 

There was an abundance of productive and easily cultivated soil. The 
bordering streams and lakes yielded ample supplies of fish and water fowl, 
and the back country the larger game. For them it might well have been 
a veritable "Garden of Eden," such as one of our local writers has pictured. 

Distribution and Character of the Antiquities 

Broadly speaking, the earthworks, which may be taken as indicating 
approximately the locations of the village sites, were disposed in a curving 
• band running from Marshland along the margin of the river terraces to 
Trempealeau Bay, then from Trempealeau Village along the terrace fronting 
the Mississippi to Black River, ending with a number of groups on the 
Black River below and above the mouth of Beaver Creek, and a couple 
of groups further up the latter stream near Galesville. 

These several groups have suffered from cultivation and other agencies 
of destruction in varying degrees, those along the Mississippi front, perhaps 
the most ; it is doubtful if more than one in ten of those once existing is 
now in recognizable condition. 

Those on the Black, south of Beaver Creek, have also suffered severely. 
The larger ones are still recognizable as artificial, but the forms cannot be 
determined. The best preserved are the groups along the Chicago and 
Northwestern Railroad, at what is known as Pine Creek siding, and at 
Trempealeau Bay, and the one on Black River near Decorah's Peak. The 



largest single mound still preserved intact (aside from the platforms which 

will be separately described) is that on- the farm of William Nicholls 

the largest of a group of large mounds. Distinguished as to form, the 
mounds may be classed as (a) conical, mounds having a circular or approxi- 
mately circular base. They may be of all sizes from a few feet in diameter 
and a few inches high to those a hundred feet in diameter and a dozen 
feet high. They may also vary widely in the degree of convexity. 

(b) Elongate — those that are notably longer in one direction than 
the other — two or three times as long. These also vary much in size. 

(c) True linear — those several to many times as long as wide. While 
the length of these may vary greatly from less than a hundred up to 
several hundred feet, their height and width varies but little. They are 
always as straight as the topography will permit. They are often in series, 
end to end, the intervals seeming to be often little more than passageways. 

(d) Taper Hnear — these, as the name indicates, are straight, elongate 
mounds, usually varying from a hundred to near three hundred feet in 
length, which show a regular taper from the large end to the vanishing 
point. The rate of taper is approximately the same in different examples. 
i. e., the base subtends nearly equal angles. It follows that in the larger 
examples the large end is broaded and higher than in the smaller. 

(e) Effigies — mounds made to represent various birds and animals. 
Wisconsin probably contains more of this type than all the rest of America. 
A great number of forms have been described, those most common in 
this vicinity being birds — apparently two or three species are shown — bear, 
deer, and a form rather doubtfully referred to the panther type of the 
eastern part of the state. 

Significance and Authorship 

The simple "conical" mounds have from the first been recognized as 
having been mortuary monuments, but their authorship was ascribed to 
an unknown race, while both the purpose and authorship of the more 
complex mounds were among the unsolved puzzles of a haK century ago; 
the unknown race which was assumed to have built them being conven- 
iently called "Mound Builders." The studies of the past thirty or forty 
years have, however, wrought a pretty thorough revolution in our knowledge 
of the subject. It is now definitely established, though once the contrary 
was held, that many of our Indian tribes were in the habit of building 
mounds. Articles of European manufacture have been found in some 
mounds, and even the building of mounds witnessed by whites. 

Having settled the more general question of authorship, we were 
placed in a fair way to settle the more specific ones, as to the particular 
tribes concerned, and the purpose. It has also been long recognized that 
in the effigies, linear and taper linear, Wisconsin possessed a peculiar assem- 
blage of forms but little developed elsewhere. We have also learned that 
even in Wisconsin this type was confined to a somewhat sharply defined area 
extending through the south central part of the state. When the whites 
first entered the region the area was claimed by, and in part occupied by, 
the Winnebago tribe, the members of which appear to understand the 


significance of the effigies. They are simply visible representations of the 
clan or gens totem. The gens, 'perhaps even more than the tribe, was 
the social unit which most profoundly influenced the life, not only of 
American Indians, but of barbarous races throughout the world, and the 
object, natural or imaginary, which was assumed as the guardian patron 
of the gens, was its totem. But few of the tribes made visible represen- 
tations of it. Those which our Alaskan tribes carve from wood offer 
another example. The purpose of the linears and taper linears is not as 
well determined as of the effigies. It is conjectured that the taper linears 
were conventionalized effigies, and that the linears served in some way in 
the games and rituals of the tribe. No very direct evidence seems as yet 
to be available. 

These three forms, effigies, linears, and taper Unears, are so closely 
associated that we must regard them as the work of the same tribe, and 
their distribution furnishes us a good criterion for determining the actual 
limits of the territory held by that tribe. What we may regard as the 
state south of Green Bay, exending as a narrow band down the Wisconsin, 
main body is that taking up the greater share of the eastern part of the 
but showing only slight evidences along the Mississippi until we reach the 
rich development of the Trempealeau Prairie, above which it ceased 
entirely. Both the conical and elongate mounds were built by other tribes 
besides the Winnebago, so that their distribution is far more general. 
Outside of Trempealeau Prairie, as above outhned, mounds are not 
numerous. A group once existed between Arcadia and Independence, and 
two mounds still exist at Independence. So far as I have been able to learn 
none have existed above that. But, while earthworks are lacking, artifacts, 
in the shape of arrow and spear points, also celts, have been found in 
all parts of the country, Mr. Risinger of Winona having a particularly 
fine collection, nearly all made from the county. 

The Platforms 

It might seem that in selecting these for special notice I was giving 
them undue prominence, but, when it is realized that they are by far the 
most massive earthworks in the county, and exceeded by few, if any, in 
the state, or in the Northwest ; that they embody novel features, being in 
this respect practically "sui generis" ; that neither their purpose nor author- 
ship is determined, it will, I think, be conceded that such prominence is 
not unwarranted. 

They are easily chief among the features of historic and prehistoric 
interest, of which Trempealeau is the center, although it would not be far 
wrong to say that the attention they have received from the archae- 
ologists of the country has been rather in inverse proportion to their real 
importance. Description: The group (see Fig. 1) consists of three plat- 
forms ranged along the crest of the hill, which jutting out toward the 
village, has its foot on Main street. One platform is on the extreme point, 
being partly produced by digging off a portion of the crest of the hill 
but mainly by filling. There is an interval of about seventy-five feet between 


this and the next, which is a level place produced by filling sufficiently to 
bring it to the level of the crest. The next and principal platform imme- 
diately adjoins this and is built up to a level seven feet higher than the 
crest of the hill. Owing to a certain amount of settling and wash around 
the sides, the level surface was somewhat greater than at present, appar- 
ently about sixty-five by eighty feet. The gi-eatest length is transverse 
to the direction of the hill crest, a circumstance which added very materially 
to the amount of fill required, the west base being about eighteen feet 
below the produced surface. The material of which they were constructed 
was obviously obtained, in the main, from the large holes closely adjoining 
to the northward ; however, an excavation carried down to the base revealed 
the interesting fact that at least some material had been carried up the 
hill, the nearest source of that kind of material being somewhere in the 
vicinity of Woodmen's Hall. Gravel also occurs on the corner of the 
middle platform, brought from somewhere below, either with studied design 
or else incidentally. 

I have also made numerous measurements, transverse, longitudinal and 
diagonal, and from these have calculated the cubic contents: Large plat- 
form, 93,000 feet; middle, 2,000 cubic feet; on point, 18,000 cubic feet; 
total, 113,000 cubic feet. The massive character of the construction may 
be best brought out by some comparisons. The Nicholls mound, the largest 
conical mound remaining, and at least one of the largest at any time in this 
vicinity, contains about 38,000 cubic feet. A mound of medium size, say 
40 feet in diameter and four feet high, contains some 1,800 cubic feet. One 
of the pure linear mounds may be taken as having a cross section approxi- 
mating 18 square feet. The material in the platforms would be sufficient to 
build a linear of that cross section over 6,000 feet long. These figures will, 
I think, bear out my assertion as to the pre-eminence of the platforms in 
the matter of mere size. 

Peculiarities: In the emplacement and the apparent careful co-ordi- 
nation of the platforms, they are without a known parallel in the North- 
west ; indeed, nothing quite parallel has been reported from any part of 
the country; but platforms are of somewhat frequent occurrence in the 
South and Southwest, and two occur in Wisconsin. These are both in the 
same locality, in Jefferson County, and within what appears to have been 
an enclosure, on the banks of the Crawfish River. (Two other enclosures 
with platforms on a smaller scale occur in the near vicinity.) They are 
now nearly obliterated by cultivation, but in 1850 I. A. Lapham surveyed 
them, and his plate is reproduced by G. A. West in an article in the 
Wisconsin Archaeologist (Vol. 6, No. 4, 1907, facing page 242). Of the 
two platforms one is given as sixty by sixty-five feet on the level top, the 
other supposed to be fifty-three feet. The height, unfortunately, is 
not given. The smaller platform is said to be the highest point in the 
enclosure and to averlook the wall. The wall is said to be from one to 
five feet high. The other we may pei-haps assume not to have been higher 
than the wall. I have calculated the contents on the assumption that one 
was five and the other six feet high, giving about 23,000 and 25,000 cubic 
feet respectively. These calculations have, of course, little value, but seem 


to indicate that they are considerably less massive than those at 

Purpose and Authorship — That a construction of such size and built 
at the expenditure of so much labor was intended to serve a public function 
is so self-evident that attempted proof would be superfluous ; but, whether 
this function were civil or religious, and who were the builders, are questions 
in regard to which there is a divergence of opinion. 

My own opinion, based on apparent adaptation, is that the purpose 
was religious, that of sun worship. If this view is correct it involves certain 
corollaries as to authorship. The other view, held by many who have not 
made a personal study of the remains, would assign to them a civil purpose 
and a different authorship. In any line of investigation, when other sources 
of information are lacking, apparent adaptation is regarded as important 
evidence. In the study of palaeontology, for example, it is relied on to 
determine habits of animals long since extinct, and, as is believed, with 
a good approximation to accuracy. It would seem to be equally applicable 
in the domain of archaeology. 

It may be stated as a broad generalization that it is in their religious 
constructions chiefly that the idealism, mysticism and mythology of a people 
find expression, and when we find a variety of adjustments having no 
apparent explanation from the purely utilitarian standpoint, there is justi- 
fication for the belief that they were made in conformity to some religious 
idea. When in addition we find that all the features combine to render 
the construction peculiarly suited to a certain form of religious observance, 
the presumption is greatly strengthened. Both of these suppositions find 
exemplification in the Trempealeau platforms. There are several adjust- 
ments which give evidence of careful planning and appear as though 
designed for the accommodation of a rather complicated ceremonial. If 
designed for sun worship the location was surpassingly fine, and the evident 
orientation (toward the position of the sun at the summer solstice, not 
toward due east), evidenced in the placing of the longer axis of the platform 
transverse to the hill crest, and in other features, would find its explana- 
tion. As the site of a council house, or of a chief's house, the only alternative 
function that can be suggested, they would have been isolated from the 
body of the tribe, inconvenient of access, remote from supplies, and open 
to attack. We may conceive of tribes whose government had become so 
centralized and separated from the people, that such isolation would be 
desirable, but this is not true, according to our best knowledge of any of 
the tribes found in the region when the whites first entered it. So far, 
therefore, as we may judge from adaptation, the evidence strongly indicates 
religious use and contraindicates a secular one. 

The opposition to this view rests on the belief that it conflicts with 
certain archaeological generalizations, a belief which, in my opinion, is 
based on misconceptions. I have already alluded to the fact that archae- 
ological opinion has undergone a great change in the last half century. 
The ascription of our American antiquities to an unknown, and long 
vanished race, having been quite displaced by that which ascribes them 
to tribes identical with, or at least of the same general stock, as those that 


we know. Coupled with this earher beUef were numerous rather fanciful 
hypotheses, based on careless observations which, in the light of more 
careful recent study, seem almost childish. This whole matter is treated 
at considerable length and much ability by G. A. West in an article entitled 
"Indian Authorship of American Antiquities" (Wis. Arch., Vol. 6, No. 4, 
1907). It is well worth reading by those interested in the subject. But 
in discussing the Aztalan (Wis.) remains (pp. 217-232) he reaches some 
conclusions which I do not think quite in accord with the evidence. That 
the remains at Aztalan and the other two smaller groups of similar char- 
acter near by are notable departures from the types seen elsewhere 
throughout the State is indisputable. However, Mr. West is disposed to 
place such an interpretation on them as to minimize the unlikeness. In 
doing so he very justly exposes certain inaccuracies of observation, and 
extravagances of interpretation current for a time, such as the use of brick 
in the construction of the enclosing wall, the evidences of human sacrifices, 
and the ascription of the remains to the Aztecs. Prescot's "Conquest of 
Mexico" had taken a firm hold on people's imaginations, and served to bring 
the Aztecs into many situations where they had no place. 

The two features of Aztalan which are peculiar are the encircling wall 
and the platforms. Their peculiarity is seen in the fact that while there 
are scores of mound groups showing the characteristic assemblage of 
Winnebago forms, efligies, linears, and taper linears, nothing at all similar 
to the enclosures is found outside the Aztalan region (a few small inclosures 
are reported, but they are so obviously different in aU essential respects 
that they cannot justly be placed in the same class) and nothing similar 
to the platforms save there and at Trempealeau. We are obliged to assume 
in explanation, either that there was some special reason, the seat of a 
centralized government, for example, why the tribe used a type of con- 
struction there which they deemed needless elsewhere ; that some small 
subdivision of the tribe developed a type of construction markedly different 
from the others; or that it was built by some quite distinct tribe having 
very different ideas and building requirements. 

Mr. West finds in the linear groups of mounds common in certain 
topographic situations a parallel to the enclosing wall assuming that the 
separate mounds of such a group are connected. But such connection is 
rare, so rare as to be negligible, and even if it were otherwise would fall 
short of a full explanation. He assigns to the platforms a secular function 
— the site of the chief's house, or or the council house, and cites as examples 
some described in the account of De Soto's expedition, but those which he 
encountered were certainly not used by the Winnebago, nor by any other 
tribe of the same stock, and there is some reason to believe that one in 
northern Georgia belonged to a tribe kindred to the Natchez, with whom 
the chief was both the civil and rehgious head of the tribe, and where in 
consequence the platform combined both a civil and religious function. 
Some of those noted were probably in Florida, a region where, as has been 
said, "they have hard work to keep their feet out of the water," and where 
a platform had a decidedly utilitarian purpose. 

There are a few effigies and linears at Aztalan, both within and without 


the inclosure, which are, no doubt, of Winnebago authorship. The artifacts 
found in the vicinity are also said to be of the type common in the State, 
though some of a better quahty are hinted at. Because they are indistin- 
guishably commingled all are assumed to be of the same authorship. There 
is, however, no necessity for such an assumption. If a region has been 
occupied by different races, a commingling of their artifacts and construc- 
tion must almost inevitably happen. Mingling of white and Indian 
remains is not unusual. 

However, I have been able to show that at Trempealeau a tji^e of 
pottery, almost identical with a type common south of St. Louis, but very 
rare north of that place, occurs quite unmixed with the common type 
of the region. We may say, therefore, that both the platforms and the 
pottery find their nearest counterparts in what we may broadly speak of 
as the Arkansas region. 

This fact offers at least a suggestion as to probable authorship. Mr. 
West remarks in referring to that conjecture that a colony of Mexicans 
(Aztecs) had built the inclosure and platforms, "Such conclusions are no 
longer permissible. No such colony ever penetrated to within a thousand 
miles of Wisconsin." In this assertion he is no doubt correct. There 
is to my mind nothing to suggest Aztec influence, and I have never for a 
moment entertained such an opinion. But he ignores the fact that the 
valley of the Mississippi has been entered, and for a long time occupied 
by another race, which, on the basis both of language, and their own 
traditions, has been referred to the Maya stock of Central America. These 
were the Natchez, and cognate tribes. Their wanderings had carried them 
considerably more than a thousand miles from their original seat, and to 
considerably less than a thousand miles from Wisconsin. 

There is considerable ground for the belief also that they were in their 
decadence when they first became known to the whites, and that the area 
occupied by them had become greatly restricted from what it had once 
been. That, during their expanding and aggressive stage, offshoots from 
them should have passed still further up the great river, is more in accord 
with inherent probability than that they did not. It should be noted m 
this connection that the Arkansan (from whom the state took its name), 
a tribe of the same stock as the Winnebago, is, on the basis of Indian 
tradition, assigned a rather late entry into the region, apparently about 
the last of that stock to pass into the trans-Mississippi region, and the 
curtailment of the Natchez territory might in part have been the result 
of that invasion. Among the Natchez the chief was held as a superior 
being, a child of the sun, the religious as well as the civil head of the tribe. 
The sun was the object of worship, the worship involving a complicated 
ceremonial on the platform, on which a perpetual fire was kept burning. 
The chief, as a sacred being, also had his residence on the platform. 

While we should not suppose that all the tribes had identical customs, 
we should look for strong family resemblances, and such family resem- 
blances would seem to be indicated by the remains at Trempealeau and 

The whole argument, of course, falls short of demonstration, which is 


perhaps not to be hoped for. It, however, offers a solution of the problem 
which violates no inherent probabihty or well determined fact ; is, on the 
contrary, rather probable and in accord with such facts as we know. 

Synopsis of the Argument Regarding the Platforms — 1. Their size, 
and the thought and labor bestowed on them, clearly indicated a public 
purpose. 2. That purpose, judging from adaptation, was religious — sun 
worship. 3. They do not belong to the recognized type of Winnebago 
constructions — are indeed so unhke other constructions of the Northwest 
as to constitute a type in themselves. 4. The nearest parallels are found 
in the "Aztalan" groups. 5. These groups are also rather notable depar- 
tures from the typical Winnebago type. 6. The arguments whereby it is 
sought to bring them into harmony with Winnebago types are pertinent 
as showing their Indian authorship, but not as showing their Winnebago 
authorship. 7. Disproof of their Aztec authorship was uncalled for, since 
I have never believed in such authorship. 8. A group of tribes 
of Central American origin were living on the lower Mississippi when 
whites first entered the region. Their civil and rehgious beliefs and 
customs offer a rather striking parallel to what, on the basis of adaptation, 
we should judge to have been those of the builders of the plaftorms. 9. 
The pottery found at Trempealeau is almost identical with that they are 
known to have made. 10. It is inherently rather probable that offshoots 
from these tribes should have ascended the Mississippi. 

The Antiquity of Man 

A find made at Trempealeau Bay during the past season — 1917 — 
renders it desirable that something be said on the subject. The find 
consists of a flat stone, a trifle over three inches long, somewhat under 
two wide and about one-half inch thick. It is of moderately hard sand- 
stone, unworn, save that at each end there is a carefully-made notch, as 
though to permit a cord to be fastened about it. The symmetrical position, 
and the care used in making them, places their formation by any other 
than human agency quite out of the question. It was taken out of the 
mud in which it was closely embedded. The mud had been taken from 
under the west pier of the bridge at a depth somewhere betweeen fifty-four 
and sixty feet. The mud in which it was embedded was part of an unbroken 
deposit of similar material containing an abundance of shells and vegetable 
material, and extending from fifty-four feet to the bottom at sixty-eight 
feet. From fifty-four feet upward to forty feet the mud alternated to some 
exent with sand. The deposit gives every evidence of being interglacial. 
Obviously this would indicate the existence of man anterior at least to the 
last glacial period. Yet, while the evidence seems clear, and difficult to 
invalidate, it is best to receive it with caution. 

It must be borne in mind that the antiquity of man as a denizen of 
the world is quite a distinct question from that of the date of his arrival 
on this continent. In Europe, and adjoining portions of Asia and Africa, 
evidences have been found indicating his existence practicafly throughout 
the Pleistocene period. But in America the evidences are much more 


scanty and less decisive, and there has come to be a rather sharp division 
of opinion as to the validity of such evidence as is available. 

A few examples will serve to show the nature and limitations of the 
evidence. Some half century ago a human skull was found in the auriferous 
gravels of California under a lava bed. This seemed to carry man back 
into the tertiary, but the opinion finally prevailed that the lava bed was a 
displaced mass which had slidden to its present position. Some years ago 
human remains were found along the Missouri River nearly a hundred 
feet down. But Professor Chamberlin showed that the bed of that stream 
is extremely unstable, being rapidly cut away and refilled to great depths, 
with obvious consequences. For a number of years archaeologists have 
been finding flint chips in the glacial gravels at various places, notably 
near Trenton, New Jersey, and near Washington. But it is claimed that 
these might have been produced by natural agencies, and Professor Cham- 
berlin gives cuts of two groups, one from the above sources, the other from 
a source where human agency is not presumed. I think that no one could 
pick out, with confidence, the natural from the supposed artificial group. 
More recently human remains have been discovered in Florida associated 
with the remains of extinct animals of the Pleistocene. But it appears 
that they occur in a Uttle valley which had been partly refilled with wash 
derived from the surrounding Pleistocene, whereby objects not really con- 
temporaneous are brought into apparent relationship. It will be seen, 
therefore, that the evidence thus far obtained lacks considerable of being 

In the case of Trempealeau, Professor Chamberlin, in response to my 
first letter, was disposed to apply the same explanation as in the case on 
the Missouri, scour and fill ; but, the conditions here are such as to definitely 
exclude that explanation. It may be said that the weak point in the 
evidence is that the object was not seen in its actual position in the bed. 
Still, considering that from fifty-four feet downward the material retained 
substantially the same character, and quite evidently had not been subject 
to scour and fill, the lack does not seem to seriously invaMdate the evidence. 

It is best, however, to be a little conservative in such matters, and 
reserve one's opinion until the evidence has been studied from all angles. 

1— In calculating the volume of conical mounds, I have assumed them to be cones of the 
given diameter and height, making the diameter equal to the furthest limit to which artificial 
fill can be traced. It is, of course, not strictly accurate, but gives a reasonably close approxi- 

jfote. Charles F. Brown, in the Wisconsin ArcluFologist, Vol. 5, Nos. 3-4, April to 

October, 1906, pp. 392-393, gives the following resume of the Archaelogical remains in Trem- 
pealeau County: 

Trempealeau Township.— (a) Mounds and earthwork near the Mississippi, opposite 
Homer. Reported by L. H. Bunnell, Smithsonian Seport, 1871, p. 430. Large group of mounda 
on the Gladsten property, south of Pine Creek, near Pine Creek Station. 

(b) Mound west of Mr. Booher's residence at Trempealeau. Several mounds in close 
proximity to the Baptist church at Trempealeau. (G. H. Squier says there was but one.) 

(c) Other mounds on the ridges of the bluffs not far from Trempealeau. Human bones 
and vessels found in them. Mentioned by L. H. Bunnell, Winona and Environs (Winona, 


1S07), pp. 84, 37 and 89. Oval mound on Wm. Nicholls' place at Trempealeau. Tabular mound 
on the south side of Third street at Trempealeau. (Identical with third item.) Series of three 
platforms on the crest of a hill at Trempealeau. Mounds and fireplaces near the former loca- 
tion of Fort Perrot. Scattered bones found in some of the mounds. 

(d) Group of conical mounds near the southeast corner of Mt. Trempealeau. Also single 
mounds nearby. Described and mentioned by 6. H. Squier, Wisconsin Archceologist, Vol. 4, 
No. 2 (1905), pp. 25-34. The tabular mound briefly described by L. Kessinger, History 
Buffalo County, pp. 75-76. "Pictograph" rock bearing Indian carvings, on an exposed sand- 
stone ledge on Trempealeau river, 2Vi miles northwest of Trempealeau. Described by T. H. 
Lewis, American Naturalist, September, 1889; mentioned by C. E. Brown, ll'isconsin Archeeo- 
logist, Vol. 5, No. 1 (1905). 

Gale Township. — (d) Effigy mounds at Galesville and vicinity. Mentioned by (Jeorge 
Gale, Th-e Upper Mississippi (1867), p. 14; and by L. H. Bunnell, Winona and Environs 
(1897), p. 87, also in Galesville Transcript, Nov. 25, 1860. (e) Rock shelter at Galesville, the 
sides of which are covered with carvings representing snakes, birds, mammals and men. Re- 
ported by T. H. Lewis, August, 1905; mentioned by C. E. Brown, Wisconsin Arclueologist, Vol. 
5, No. 1 (1905), p. 218. 

Caledonia Township. — (f) Group of effigy mounds on the west side of Black river, N. % 
Sec. 10, T. 18 N., E. 8 W. 

Briefly described by T. H. Lewis, Science, Vol. 13, p. 188 ; also in Tracts for Archaeology, 
Vol. 1 (1880), and figure. 

Tlie list as given is a correct bibliography of the subject as far as I am aware. I have 
indicated above such as are duplications or were based on incomplete knowledge. (G. H. S.) 

(a; 1 have made repeated inquiries as to this group, Init can learn of nothing save the 
Pine Ci-eek group, which is nearly opposite Homer. 

(b) This was originally a large conical mound like the Nicholls mound. The top was 
scraped away some time in the late fifties or early sixties, by Richard Towner, now dead. 

This, that near the Baptist church, and others of which 1 have seen traces, made up a 
considerable group once occupying the site of Trempealeau. 

(c) Although not numerous, there are mounds in several localities on the bluffs. On 
Trempealeau Mountain, Brady 's Bluff, on hill Viack of Fort Perrot, on the main bluff, and on 
a lower space of Liberty Peak. These were so scattering that they could not well be plotted, 
as was done for the Pine Creek group, those at tlie bay and others. 

(d) The mounds about Galesville have been so completely obliterated that scarcely any- 
thing can now be recognized. 

(e) Unless the one in the park from which the spring issues is intended, I do not know 
to what he refers. That Indians may have used it for shelter and left markings in it is not 
improbable, but even in the late sixties when I first visited it, these had been largely sup- 
planted by the work of the whites. 

(f) There are, or were, several groups along the west side of Black river containing 
effigies. It is not clear to which he refers. 

Judge Gale's work approached nearer to a systematic study of the archeology of the 
county than any of the others. His acquaintance was very wide. It is unfortunate that he 
left so few notes to aid in locating the features he mentions. Mr. Bunnell was a keen observer, 
but his work was only incidental. Mr. Lewis spent a few days in the vicinity, giving consider- 
able attention to the archseology. 


Jurisdiction over Trempealeau County has been claimed by four nations, 
Spain, France, England and the United States ; by the French and English 
colonial authorities ; by the territorial officials of the Northwest Territory 
and of the Territories of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin ; and by 
the officers of the counties of Crawford, La Crosse, Chippewa, Jackson and 

Spain, by virtue of the discoveries of Columbus and others, confirmed 
to her by Papal grant (that of Alexander VI, May 4, 1493), may be said 
to have been the first European owner of the entire valley of the Mississippi 
river, but she never used this claim as a ground for taking actual possession 
of this part of her domains other than was incidentally involved in De Soto's 
doings. The name of Florida was first applied to the greater part of the 
eastern half of North America, commencing at the Gulf of Mexico, and 
proceeding northward indefinitely. 

England, basing her claims on the explorations made by her subjects 
along the Atlantic coast, issued to various individuals and "companies," 
charters to vast tracts of land extending from the Atlantic westward. 

Practically, however, the upper Mississippi Valley may be considered 
as having been in the first place Canadian soil, for it was Frenchmen from 
Canada, who first visited it and traded with its natives. The names of 
Canada and New France were used interchangeably to apply to the vast 
French possessions of the American continent. The name, Louisiana, was 
invented by La Salle and appUed by him to the entire Mississippi VaUey. 
But generally speaking, the Canada or New France of the eighteenth cen- 
tury took in the upper Mississippi Valley, while the name Louisiana was 
used for the lower valley. . 

At the close of the great European conflict which found its echo in 
the so-caUed French and Indian War in America, the area that is now 
Wisconsin, became by the Treaty of Paris, signed February 10, 1763 (a 
preliminary treaty having been signed at Fontainebleau, November 3, 1762) , 

a part of the British empire.^ . .u rp ^ . 

The success of the American Revolution, resulting m the Treaty ot 
Paris = September 3, 1783, revived the claims of the coast States; but finally 
these' claims were ceded to the Federal government, in order to form a 
national domain from which to create new States and Territories.^ The 
land having been acquired by the Federal authority, many P ^ns were pro- 
posed for its government. Thomas Jefferson suggested that the tern ory 
be divided into ten States, of which the State of Michigania was to include 

'^'"^The NOTthw^st^Territory was erected by the Congress of the Confed- 




eration (the Constitution of the United States not being adopted until 
September 17, 1787) by the "Northwest Ordinance," passed July 13, 1787.'' 
Eventually there were formed from the Northwest Territory, in addition 
to Ohio," the Territories of Indiana' (May 7, 1800), Michigan* (January 
11, 1805), Illinois" (February 3, 1809) and Wisconsin'" (April 20, 1836). 
Wisconsin was a part of the Northwest Territory from July 13, 1787 to 
May 7, 1800 ; of Indiana Territory from May 7, 1800, to February 3, 1809 ; 
of Illinois Territry" from February 3, 1809, to April 18, 1818; and of 
Michigan Territory from April 18, 1818, to April 20, 1836, when the 
Territory of Wisconsin was created. 

Crawford County, erected by proclamation of Lewis Cass, governor 
of Michigan Territory, October 26, 1818, included what is now Trempealeau 
County.'- When the Territory of Wisconsin was organized, Crawford 
County still contained in its vast area the present Umits of Trempealeau 
County. The same relation continued in early Statehood days. In 1845 
the part of what is now Trempealeau County north of the Buffalo River, 
became a part of Chippewa County.'^' La Crosse County was created in 
1851, and the same year was made to include what is now Trempealeau 
County south of the Buffalo River." 

Jackson County, when created May 11, 1853, included all of what is 
now Trempealeau County south of the Buffalo River and north of the line 
between Townships 18 and 19, the tract south of that line remaining in 
La Crosse County.^* 

Buffalo County, as created July 6, 1853, included all of what is now 
Trempealeau County, west of the line between Ranges 7 and 8, south of the 
Buffalo River and north of the line between Townships 18 and 19.'" 

In 1854 Buffalo County was enlarged. Its northern boundary was 
the line between Townships 24 and 25. Its western boundary was the 
Chippewa River. Its southern boundary was the Mississippi and the line 
between Townships 18 and 19. Its western boundary was the line between 
Townships 18 and 19.'' 

Trempealeau County, then called Trempe a I'eau, was created by Act 
approved January 24, 1854. It had practically its present boundaries, with 
the exception that the southern boundary, east of where the Black River 
touches the southwest corner of Town 19, Range 7, ran due east on the 
line between Townships 18 and 19, to the line between Ranges 6 and 7, 
instead of following the Black River to the line between Ranges 6 and 7, 
as at present.'* 

In 1857 the boundaries of Trempealeau and La Crosse were defined 
with reference to the channel of the Black River, which was made the 
boundary between the two counties from the line between Townships 17 
and 18, to the line between Ranges 6 and 7.'" A few days earlier, the 
boundaries of Trempealeau and Buffalo Counties had been defined in refer- 
ence to the channel and islands of the Trempealeau and Mississippi Rivers.-" 

The story of the creation of two counties instead of one along the banks 
of the Mississippi River between La Crosse County and the Chippewa River, 
is typical of the days of townsite speculation. In the summer of 1853 
there was a flourishing settlement at what is now Trempealeau, extending 


to some extent up and down the Mississippi, and spreading out across the 
Trempealeau Prairie. Settlers had reached Beaver Creek Valley and Judge 
George Gale that year bought land on which to plat the Village of Galesville. 
There was a thriving settlement at Holmes' Landing, now Fountain City, 
and a smaller one at Twelve-Mile Bluff, now Alma. 

Marvin Pierce, who was something of a politician, lived at Montoville, 
now Trempealeau. With him were his two brothers, Wesley and James M. 
John Buehler was a citizen of Holmes' Landing. It is said that on a trip 
to his former home in Grant County, he stopped at Montoville, and inter- 
ested Marvin Pierce in the proposition of estabhshing a new county. 
According to the story told by Buehler later in life, Marvin Pierce went 
up to Holmes' Landing and secured the funds with which to lobby the 
required bill through the legislature.^' The Act was passed July 6, 1853, 
one of its provisions being the location of the county seat of the newly- 
formed Buffalo County at Sand Prairie, Lot 1, Section 1, Township ly, 
Range 12, which James M. Pierce had entered at the United States Land 
Office a few weeks previous, on June 1. 

The people of Holmes' Landing believed that their hopes of developing 
an important metropolis were about to be realized. Montoville was left 
in La Crosse County, and could never expect to rival La Crosse for county 
seat honors. The site of Judge Gale's proposed village was on the extreme 
edge of the newly-created Buffalo County, and could have no hope of 
securing county seat advantages. It is true that the people of Holmes' 
Landing were indignant that the Pierces had taken advantage of the 
situation and had secured the location of the county seat on a neighboring 
sand bar instead of actually at their village, nevertheless it was felt that 
the matter of persuading the supervisors to meet at the village instead of 
on what was practically a near-by Mississippi island, was a simple one. 
This feeling was fully justified, for the very first recorded gathering of 
the county board was held at Fountain City, and at that meeting the home 
of Henry Goerke, on Lot 6, Section 8, Township 19, was designated as the 

There seemed absolutely no possibility for the creation of another 
county between Holmes' Landing and La Crosse, for a constitutional provi- 
sion prevented the division of any county having an area of 900 acres, 
without a vote of the people." 

Judge Gale, however, was a man of considerable inventiveness and 
influence. He did not propose to see his village site shelved to the edge 
of a county. He quietly interviewed his friends who were to serve in the 
legislature, and secured their support for an ingenious plan that he had 
conceived. In pursuance with this plan the legislature first passed an Act 
enlarging Buffalo County, extending it to its present western and northern 
boundaries. Buffalo County thus containing over 900 acres, it was subject 
to division by the legislature, and immediately a second Act was passed, 
taking a tract containing Trempealeau from La Crosse County, a tier of 
townships from Jackson County, and two tiers of townships from Buffalo 
County, and naming the new county Trempealeau. The county seat was 
located on the northwest quarter of Section 33, Township 19, Range 8, on 


Beaver Creek at Galesville. An election was to be held the first Monday 
in September, 1854, to designate a county judge who was to serve three 
years from January 1, 1855. A general election was to be held in Novem- 
ber, 1854, to elect all county officers, whose term was to commence January 
1, 1855. The board of supervisors of Montoville was to act as a board of 
supervisors of the county until other towns were organized and elections 

For story of French, Spanish and English domain in this region, see : Moses M. Strong, 
Civil Government from 1512 to 1831, History of the Territory of Wisconsin (Madison, 1885), 

For story of the territories of which Trempealeau County has been a part, see: F. Cur- 
tiss-Wedge, History of Winon-a County (Chicago, 1913), 50-58. See also: Reuben Gold 
Thwaites, Boundaries of Wisconsin, Wis. Hist. Colls., XI, 451-501. 

For story of the counties of which Trempealeau County has been a part, see: Louise 
Phelps Kellogg, Organization, Boundaries and Names of Wisconsin Counties, Wis. Hist. See., 
Proceedings, 1910, 18-4 et seq. 

1 — For preliminary treaty of Nov. 3, 1762 (printed from Gentleman 's Magazine, XXXIII, 
477-479), and the Quebec Act (reprinted from British Statutes at Large — iondon, 1776. XJI, 
184-187), see: Thwaites, ed.. Important Western State Papers, Wis. Hist. Colls., XI, 36-60. 
The Proclamation of King George established four separate governments in the acquired terri- 
tory, but none included Wisconsin. The Quebec Act extended the jurisdiction of Quebec to a 
tract of land embracing Wisconsin. But Virginia, in October, 1778, after the opening of 
the Revolution, claimed authority over land northwest of the Ohio, by establishing the county 
of Illinois, embracing a vast tract which included Wisconsin (Strong, History of the Territory 
of Wisconsin — Madison, 1885, 154-155). Virginia's claim was based on the King's grant in 
1609 to the London Company, which concluded with the words "and all that Space and Circuit 
of Land Lying from the Sea-coast of the Precinct aforesaid up into the land throughout, from 
Sea to Sea, West and Northwest" — Carrie J. Smith, MaVing of Wisconsin (Chicago, 1908), 

2— For provisional articles of Nov. 30, 1782 (309-312), definite treaty of Sept. 3, 1783 
(314-318), Jay's treaty of Nov. 19, 1794 (318-335), see: Treaties and Conventions Concluded 
Between the United States of America and other Powers (Wash., 1873). 

3 — For acts of relinquishment see: Lyman J. Nash and Arthur F. Belitz, revisers, 
Wisconsin Annotations (Madison, 1914), 1776-1787. For map of conflicting claims, see: 
Smith, MaUng of Wisconsin (Chicago, 1908), 168. 

4 — For map, see: Ibid., 170. 

5 — For text, see: Federal and State Constitutions (Washington, 1877), I, 429-432, or 
Wisconsin Annotations, 1914, 1788-1791. 

6 — When Indiana was created a territory. May 7, 1800, the eastern part of the old 
Northwest Territory still retained its original name. This eastern division, with a change of 
boundary, adopted a constitution and created a state government under the name of the State 
of Ohio, Nov. 29, 1802. Feb. 19, 1803, Congress declared that Ohio had become one of the 
states of the Union. For enabling act, see: Z United Stales Statutes at Large, 173, or Wis- 
consin Annotations, 1914, 1796-1797. For recognition act see: S United States Statutes at 
Large, 201, or Wisconsin Annotations, 1914, 1798. 

7 — S U. S. Statutes at Large, 58, or Wisconsin Annotations, 1914, 1795 ; the enabling act 
was passed April 19, 1816 (5 U. S. Statutes at Large, 289, or Wisconsin Annotations, 1914, 
1801-1802) ; the admission act was passed Dec. 11, 1816 (5 U. S. Statutes at Large, 299, or 
Wi.iGonsin Annotations, 1914, 1803. 

8 — S U. S. Statutes at Large, 309, or W-isconsin Annotations, 1914, 1799. 

9 — S U. S. Statutes at Large, 514, or Wisconsin Annotations, 1914, 1800; the enabling 
act was passed April 18, 1818 (5 U. S. Statutes at Large, 428, or Wisconsin Annotations, 1914, 
1804-1805) ; the admission act was passed Dec. 3, 1818 (,? U. S. Statutes at Large, 536, or 
Wisconsin Annotations, 1914, 1806). The enabling act (Section 7) attached Wisconsin to 
Michigan territory. 


10 — 5 U. S. Statutes at Large, 10, or Wisconsin Annotations, 1914, 1807-1810; the en- 
abling act was passed Aug. 6, 1846 (S U. S. Statutes at Large, 56, or Wisconsin Annotations, 
1914, 1811-1812) ; the admission act was passed May 29, 1848 (9 V. S. Statutes at Large, 178, 
or Wisconsin Annotations, 1914, 1813-1814. 

11 — Except a part of Kewaunee and Dorr counties. 

12 — Territorial Laws of Michigan Territory, I, 327. 

13 — Laws of Wisconsin Territory, 1845, 88. 

14 — Chapters 131 and 132, Laws of 1851. 

15 — Chapter 8, General Laws of 1853. 

16 — Chapter 100, General Laws of 1853. 

17 — Chapter 1, General Laws of 1854. 

18 — Chapter 2, General Laws of 1854. 

19 — Chapter 42, General Laws of 1857. 

20— Chapter 16, General Laws of 1857. 

21 — L. Kissinger, History of Buffalo County (Alma, 1888), 277, et Beq. 

22 — Constitution of Wisconsin, See. 7, Art. 13. 

23 — B. F. Heuston (probable author), Trempealeau County, History of Northern Wis- 
consin (Chicago, 1881), 1035. 


From the days of the early fur traders, Trempealeau County seems to 
have been occupied more or less in common, by two branches of the Siouan 
family of North American Indians, the Dakota or Sioux proper, and the 
Winnebago.' The Fox, Sauk and Ojibwa (Chippewa) Indians of the 
Algonquian family, also appear to have made frequent raids here, and 
various other tribes made their rendezvous at Trempealeau Bay in fur- 
trading days. 

The Winnebago were an outlying tribe of the Siouan family, believed 
by some writers to be an older branch than the Dakota themselves. They 
were visited at Green Bay by Jean Nicolet- as early as 1634.^ He knew 
them as the Men of the Sea or the Men of the Salt Water, from the aborig- 
inal name, Ouinipegou, which appears in the modern name of Winnebago. 
Literally the word ouinipeg meant "ill-smelling or dirty water," and the early 
French called the Winnebago Puants, or "Stinkards."^ In early fur-trading- 
days Winnebago were ranging as far westward as the Mississippi River.' 

For some two centuries thereafter central Wisconsin continued to be 
their home. The treaty of Prairie du Chien, signed August 19, 1825, by 
the Chippewa, Sauk and Fox, Menominee, Iowa, Sioux, Winnebago, and a 
portion of the Ottawa, Chippewa and Potawatomi living on the Illinois, 
fixed various boundaries." The eastern line of the Sioux territory was to 
commence on the Mississippi opposite the mouth of the "loway" River, run 
back two or three miles to the bluffs, and follow the tops of the bluffs to 
the mouth of Black River, and thence to a point a short distance southwest 
of Eau Claire on the Chippewa River, "half a day's journey below the falls."'^ 

The Winnebago territory lay east of the Sioux. In defining a part of 
their western territory, the Winnebagoes claimed from the mouth of the 
Black River, up that stream to a point due west of the source of the left 
fork of the Wisconsin. Thus a part of Trempealeau County was neutral 
territory between the Winnebago and Sioux. 

By the Treaties of Butta des Morts on Fox River, August 11, 1827 ; 
of Green Bay, August 25, 1828, and of Prairie du Chien, August 1, 1829, 
the boundaries of the Winnebago were gradually curtailed, and on Septem- 
ber 15, 1832, at Ft. Armstrong, Rock Island, Illinois, they agreed to relin- 
quish their claim to all land south and east of the Wisconsin and Fox Rivers, 
and to remove to the "neuti-al ground" a tract lying west of the Mississippi 
in northeastern Iowa and southeastern Minnesota. By the treaty of Wash- 
ington, D. C, November 1, 1837, they rehnquished all their land east of the 
Mississippi,. Subsequently, by treaty of October 13, 1846, they agreed to 
cede the tract assigned them in 1832, and to accept in return a tract north 
of the Minnesota and west of the Mississippi. The larger part of the tribe 



was removed to Long Prairie, in the central part of Minnesota, in 1848, 
and small bands were moved from time to time in the years immediately 
following.' In 1855 the Winnebago agency was transferred, under the 
terms of the treaty signed February 27, and proclaimed March 23, to Blue 
Earth County, near Mankato, Minnesota, but the Sioux Massacre caused 
the whites to be apprehensive of the peaceful Winnebago, so (under an 
Act of Congress approved February 21, 1863) they were removed to Crow 
Creek, on the Missouri River, in North Dakota. In 1865 they agreed to 
move to a tract in Nebraska purchased from the Omaha Indians. The 
removal of the Winnebago to this Nebraska tract, known as the Black Bird 
Reservation, was accomplished in 1866. There a part of the tribe is still 

But the Winnebago have never been satisfied with any territory but 
the lands of central Wisconsin. Only a portion moved to the Turkey River 
country, in northeastern Iowa, under the agreement of 1832. The removal 
to Long Prairie, in Minnesota, in 1848 was accomplished under duress 
and with the aid of soldiers. In fact, upon reaching Winona, the Winnebago 
expressed their determination to go no further, and bloodshed was narrowly 
avoided. Before the trouble was ended many had slipped away and found 
their way back to their homes in Wisconsin. Others went to southeastern 
Nebraska and joined the Ottawa. The Indians who were taken to Long 
Prairie soon drifted southward in Minnesota or back to Wisconsin. Later 
others came back to Wisconsin from Blue Earth and from North Dakota. 
During the Minnesota Massacre of 1862 it was difficult for the citizens and 
volunteer soldiers to distinguish between a Dakota and a Winnebago Indian, 
so that many Winnebago who were absolutely innocent were shot without 
mercy. The Winnebago were, therefore, in danger from both the whites 
and the Dakota Indians, and many turned their faces toward the peaceful 
land of Wisconsin, and soon joined their friends on the old camping grounds. 

No sooner was the removal to the Black Bird Reservation accomplished 
in 1866, than others of the Winnebago took the trail that led to the old 
familiar haunts among the pine forests. Within two years, a large part of 
the tribe was back again in Wisconsin. 

Soon a new movement was on foot to compel them to return to 
Nebraska, and by a display of military force, hundreds were again removed 
to that region in the winter of 1873-74. During the troubles attending 
the forced removal, no less than 56 Indians were arrested in Trempealeau 

Taken to far-away Nebraska, the people of the unfortunate race still 
longed for their native woods and streams, and their thoughts wandered 
over the old hunting grounds and berry fields of Wisconsin. In the pine 
woods were the graves of their dead, which made the soil more sacred in 
their minds, and there were the camping grounds where all of their festiv- 
ities were held, and they hungered for the scenes and associations of the 
olden days. 

The homeward trail was soon thronged with the returning stragglers, 
and within a year, half of the tribe were back. This time Fate was kinder 
to them, for in 1875 the government gave them the homestead right, which 


enabled them to gain a home of their own by building houses and doing a 
certain amount of improving on their land. The larger part of the Winne- 
bago are now scattered through a territory in the Black River Valley and 
to the westward. 

The land they live on will probably never be of any particular benefit 
to them ; it is sandy, poor soil, among the scrub oaks and jack pines. Some 
little corn is raised, as well as potatoes, and a few of the Indians raise 

During the blueberry season the Indians pick berries and sell them, and 
during the cranberry season they find employment, and go in bands to the 
marshes, where they camp until the crop is gathered. 

Thus live the descendants of a race which once had at its command 
the unmeasured sweeps of nature, and the boundless wealth of forest and 
plain, lake and river. 

The Dakota, proper, who shared Trempealeau County with the Winne- 
bago, were the principal division of the Siouan family, and are more 
commonly called by their family name of Sioux, rather than by their indi- 
vidual name of Dakota. The Siouan family consisted not only of the 
Dakota, proper, but also of the Winnebago, the Assiniboin, the Minnetare 
group, and the Osage and southern kindred tribes.^" 

The word Sioux, now applied to the whole linguistic family, is a cor- 
ruption of the word Nadouessi or Nadouescioux, meaning "the snake-like 
ones," or "the enemies," the name by which the Chippewa and other Algon- 
quin Indians called the Dakotas. Dakota, variously spelled, was applied 
by this branch of the Siouan family to themselves, and means "joined 
together in friendly compact." An important division of the Dakotas was 
the M'dewakanton (commonly rendered Medawakanton) tribe. At one 
time the Medewakanton had their headquarters about the Mille Lacs region 
in northern Minnesota, hence their name, which means "The People of 
the Spirit Lake." Evidently driven out by the Chippewa, who had obtained 
arms from the whites, they established themselves in seven villages along 
the Mississippi and Minnesota.'' 

The Medawakanton relinquished their claim to all lands east of the 
Mississippi and all the islands in that river by the treaty signed at Wash- 
ington, D. C, September 29, 1837.'= Thus in 1837, Trempealeau passed 
from the dominion of both the Winnebago and the Dakota, and into the 
possession of the whites. By a treaty signed in 1851 and proclaimed in 
1853, the Medawakanton relinquished their vast possessions in Minnesota, 
and afterward were removed to a reservation on the upper Minnesota River, 
in the western part of the State of Minnesota. They took part in the 
Massacre of 1862, and fled or were removed from Minnesota. A larger 
part of Indians of that blood are now at the Santee Reservation, in 
Nebraska.'' Others are at Flandreau, South Dakota, or scattered through 

Aside from the wandering Indian bands which pitched their camp in 
Trempealeau County from the days of Perrot, three bands seem to have 
made their home in the locality at various times before the coming of the 
settlers, the Winnebago bands of Red Bird and Decorah, and the Medawa- 


kanton Dakota band of Wabasha. Since the coming of the settlers there 
have been scattering encampments. 

The chiefs of the Wabasha dynasty early became familiar with Trem- 
pealeau Mountain and Trempealeau Prairie, and Wabasha II maintained 
the home of the tribe here for several years. Wabasha I was probably born 
about 1720.^* His name is variously rendered — Ouabashas, Wapasha, 
Wapahasha and Wah-pah-hah-sha — and means red leaf, red cap, or red 
war banner. He was of mixed Sioux and Algonquian blood, his father 
having been a Dakota chief and his mother a Chippewa princess." He 
was head chief of all the Medawakanton Dakota, his own immediate band 
probably embodying the ancient Mantanton. The band was known to the 
Dakota themselves as the Ona-pe-ton or Falling Leaf Band. He appears 
to have moved his village from the Mille Lacs region in Minnesota, first to 
the lower valley of the Rum River and subsequently to the mouth of the 
Minnesota, both in the same State. Later he established himself and his 
band at the present site of Winona.'" At Winona (Ke-ox-ah) the head- 
quarters of the band seem to have been maintained until the treaty of 1851, 
though for many decades, apparently until after the time of Pike in 1805, 
the band had a village on the Upper Iowa River. Wabasha I was greatly 
honored by the British, made a number of trips to Montreal, received the 
confirmation of the authorities to his title as head chief of all the Medawa- 
kanton, was a general in the British army in the Revolutionary War, and 
led his troops in the British campaign against the Americans at St. Louis, 
St. Genevieve, Missouri, and elsewhere. In his old age he was exiled by 
jealous relatives from his chieftainship and from the Winona village, and 
probably died in Houston County, Minnesota, about 1806. Wabasha II 
succeeded him as chief, and reigned until his death in 1836. He is the 
La Feuille, The Leaf, who came in contact with all the early American 
explorers beginning with Pike in 1805. He sided with the British in the 
War of 1812. When Long came up the river in 1817, Wabasha was firmly 
established at Winona. But a short time before the Black Hawk War, 
the village was moved to Trempealeau Prairie as a precaution against the 
raids made by the Sauk of Iowa.'" The band continued, however, to hold 
its celebrations and dances at Ke-ox-ah (Winona). Wabasha II took part 
in the Black Hawk War of 1832, and assisted in exterminating many of the 
Sauk and Foxes as they were fleeing across the Mississippi River into Iowa 
after their defeat at the mouth of Bad Axe River. He died of smallpox at 
the age of about 63, in 1836. The scourge had swept his band, and the whole 
village was reduced to a few teepes. Wabasha II was highly praised by 
all the whites with whom he came in contact. In person he was of low 
stature, and his face was disfigured by having lost one eye. In character 
he was wise, prudent and brave, a friend of the whites, and what was 
unusual in those days, absolutely abstemious in his habits, and an earnest 
advocate of temperance. 

He was succeeded by Wabasha III, who after the treaty of 1837 main- 
tained his home and his tribe in Winona until the settlers arrived in 1851.^* 
Then he moved across the river into Wisconsin, and spent some time in this 
vicinity before locating in the western part of Minnesota. Wabasha III 


led his warriors in the Dakota outbreak of 1862, although he was opposed 
to it, and was one of the first to make proposals of peace to the whites, even 
while his nation was still in arms. After the Massacre he was removed 
to Missouri and finally to Santee, Nebraska, where he died April 23, 1876, 
a solitary, broken man, who had inherited the chieftainship of an empire, 
and had watched his people dwindle before the onrushing wave of a race 
that had defrauded him of his possessions. 

Red Bird, a famous Winnebago chief, is believed to have had a village 
on the Black River.'" Red Bird was born in 1788 and died in 1827. Various 
stories are told of the origin of his name, one being that he wore on each 
shoulder the plumage of a red bird, in imitation of the epaulettes which he 
had seen worn by American officers.-" He is described as being perfect 
in form, face and gesture. In height he was about six feet, straight and 
without restraint. His proportions from his head to his feet were those 
of the most exact symmetry, and even his fingers were models of beauty. 
His face was full of all the ennobling, and, at the same time, winning 
expressions ; it appeared to be a compound of grace and dignity, of firmness 
and decision, all tempered with mildness and meixy. Until the Red Bird 
outbreak he had the confidence of the whites to the extent that his presence 
at Prairie du Chien was looked upon as an assurance of protection from 
any Indian troubles. But after learning of what he believed to be the 
basest treachery and cruelty to some of his people by the officers at Fort 
Snelling, he sought the most terrible revenge. With two companions, 
We-kau and Chic-hon-sic, he went to the home of Rijeste Gagnier, two 
miles southeast from Prairie du Chien, killed Gagnier, scalped and wounded 
an infant, who afterward recovered, and killed a boarder, Solomon Lipcap. 
The same day Red Bird and his band attacked two boats on the Mississippi, 
killing a number of whites. Later Red Bird and his two companions gave 
themselves up to the authorities. Red Bird died in prison at Prairie du 
Chien, February 16, 1828. His two companions were pardoned by President 
John Quincy Adams.^^ 

The Winnebago, under One-Eyed Decorah, had a village at one time 
about a mile and a half from Decorah's Peak, on the Black River, and when 
the first white settlers arrived on the prairie the small elevations on the 
ground where the Indians had cultivated their corn fields were still to be 

Both the Prairie and Decorah's Peak were named after this one-eyed 
chief, and Winnebago tradition is concerned with a battle fought on the 
Prairie between the Winnebago and Chippewa. Decorah is said to have 
watched this battle from the peak that bears his name, and when he saw 
his followers were being defeated, fled from the scene of conflict and found 
shelter in a near-by cave, where he remained in hiding until night 
approached, when he made his way to his brother's camp on the La Crosse 

There are other versions of this tradition — one giving the Dakota as 
participating in the battle instead of the Chippewa. But as the Dakota 
and Winnebago were friendly alhed tribes of the Siouan family, and the 
Chippewa were the Winnebago's most dreaded enemy, it is altogether 


probable that the Chippewa were the ones that defeated Decorah and his 

Traditions are bound to vary, but they point to their origin in a funda- 
mental fact, and although we get them clothed in garments that have been 
added by the passing generations, we can still find the original framework 

Antoine Grignon,- - who has heard the tribesmen repeat the tradition 
of the battle of Decorah's Peak, says that the battle must have been fought 
shortly after the war of 1812, and was a bloody encounter, raging furiously 
all of one day and well into the evening, when the defeated warriors of 
Decorah fled from the darkening scent of conflict, leaving their dead strewn 
upon the field. 

After the removal of the Winnebago to Long Prairie, in central Minne- 
sota, Decorah found his way back to Wisconsin again. In 1855 he went 
with the other Winnebago to Blue Earth County, Minnesota, but when they 
were removed to North Dakota, he once more started, with his followers, 
toward Wisconsin. When the Indians, in their canoes, reached the Black 
River, they paddled up its waters until a suitable camping place was found, 
when they landed and erected their teepes once more among their native 

Decorah and his small band of followers were camped in the little Tam- 
arack in the summer of 1863, and it was there that Grignon visited him 
for the last time. "He was an old man then," said Grignon, "his long hair 
was thin and streaked with gray, and he was nearly blind. But his body 
was well preserved, and his well-developed muscular form showed what a 
powerful man he had been. In height he was a little taller than the average 
Indian, but he was stocky and solid in build. He was discouraged with the 
outlook for his people, and said that he had not been dealt with fairly by 
the government. About a year after my visit to his camp old Decorah 
died at Tunnel City, Wisconsin, in August, 1864." 

In the dingy, smoky wigwam, among a few of his loyal band, the old 
chief departed for the "happy hunting ground," leaving behind the cringing 
form of poverty that had cursed his old age, and dimmed the glory of his 
sunset. He, who once held sway over his flourishing Village, and counted 
a territory as his domain, larger than Trempealeau County, fell asleep, the 
feeble ruler of a single tepee, its very dirt and rags not his own. 

There are still lineal descendants of the old chief Uving among the 
Winnebago in this State, and over at Galesville on a point of land near the 
Arctic Springs his granddaughter, Princess Marie Nounka, is buried. 

When the first settler arrived in this county .Decorah's Peak had virtually 
been named, but not the Prairie, which was first called Scotch Prairie during 
the early fifties on account of its Scotch settlement. 

The Indians told the tradition of Decorah's Peak to the early traders, 
and the story repeated from time to time fastened the name of the Winne- 
bago chief to this prominent landmark. 

The Decorah family, which embraces in its numbers not only several 
notable Indian chiefs, but also some of the most distinguished white families 
in Wisconsin, was founded by Sabrevior De Carrie, a French officer of gentle 


blood, who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Quebec, April 28, 1760. 
This gallant adventurer married in 1729 a famous Winnebago queen, called 
Hopokoekaw, the Glory of the Moi'ning, sister of the head chief." Their 
descendants are variously called Decorah, De Carrie, DeKauray, Dakorah, 
Day Korah, and De Corrah. One of the sons was called Cha-post-kaw-kaw, 
or The Buzzard. The Buzzard established a village on La Crosse Prairie 
about 1787. He was killed in a drunken brawl by one of his sons, Mau- 
wah-re-gah. One-Eyed Decorah (Le Borgne) was another son of The 
Buzzard, and was born near the Portage on the Wisconsin River about 1772, 
receiving the name of Watch-hut-ta-kah ( Wadge-hutta-kaw) or Big Canoe.-^ 
He lived in the vicinity of La Crosse for many years and was noted for the 
part he took in the capture of Black Hawk at the close of the Black Hawk 
War. He aided in the capture of Mackenaw in 1812, was out in 1813 when 
the British attacked Fort Stephenson, and took part in Colonel William 
McKay's expedition against Prairie du Chien in 1814. He was a signer of 
the Prairie du Chien treaty in 1825. 

He possibly had his village at Gale's Landing (Ferry) on the Black 
River from before 1826 until 1842.=' It is certain that in 1832 the Winne- 
bago under Old Decorah (Schachip-ka-ka) was chief of a village on the 
La Crosse River and ranged the Mississippi in this vicinity.^" One-Eyed 
Decorah that summer was encamped at the entrance to the lower mouth 
of the Black River, while Winneshiek and Wau-mar-nar-sar hunted up the 
La Crosse and Black Rivers.^' In 1843, One-Eyed Decorah had a camp 
on Broken Gun Slough, a branch of the Black River.-** 

Black Hawk, leader of the Fox and Sauk Uprising in 1832, was captured 
near Arcadia, in Trempealeau County, according to Indian tradition. Offi- 
cial reports, however, declare that Black Hawk and his followers retreated 
to the Dalles of the Wisconsin River, and were there captured about two 
miles above Kilbourn City, by the One-Eyed Decorah and Cha-e-tar, who 
took them to Prairie du Chien, August 27, 1832, and delivered them to 
General Joseph D. Street, the Indian Agent.^" 

The tradition of the capture near Arcadia was related through Antoine 
Grignon, to Dr. E. D. Pierce, by 0-kick-chum-hak (Looking Glass), a 
medicine man, nearly eighty-five years old, and though it has no foundation 
in history, it is here given as one of the tales of the Indian lore of Trempea- 
leau County, oft repeated around the vanishing campfires of a dying race. 

"After the battle of Bad Axe, where so many of the followers of Black 
Hawk were cruelly slaughtered, the old chief and two followers fled north- 
ward, following the course of the Mississippi River, and carefully avoiding 
any trading post or trapper's cabin, until they reached the Trempealeau 
River, known by the Winnebago as the Nee-chum-ne-chum-u-kah, or 
flooding river, on account of its overflowing its banks during the spring 
season and when heavy rains occurred. The Hawk now turned his steps 
to follow the course of "The Flooding River," but he was weary with the 
effects of the hard campaign, and broken in spirits with its disastrous 
results, so he made his way but slowly through the tangled underbrush, 
and along the hills of a strange land. His sad-hearted companions, too, 
were wont to lag, and though game was plentiful, they were unable to 


secure enough to satisfy their craving appetites, which had been made 
keen by long, hard marching for many months where at one time the flesh 
of half-starved horses kept them from perishing with hunger. 

"But the Sac chief and his faithful companions struggled along up the 
river, and succeeded in reaching a well-hidden thicket along its banks, 
opposite Barn Bluff, and near the present village of Arcadia, where they 
went into camp, as it was toward evening, and they were in sore need of 
food and rest. 

"In the meantime four Winnebago braves, Ne-no-hump-e-kah, or one 
who clears the water, Ra-koo-a-e-kah, Chosh-chum-hut-ta-kah, meaning Big 
Wave, and Wa-kow-oha-pin-kar (Good Thunder), were in hot pursuit of 
Black Hawk, and since the battle of Bad Axe had been following the trail of 
the noted Sac. They traveled up the Trempealeau Valley, keeping close 
watch for any signs of the fleeing Indians, and were rewarded by finding 
fresh traces of the trail, which they pursued with savage interest. One 
day they lost the trail, and seeing a high barn-shaped bluff in the distance 
resolved to climb it, and take a look at the surrounding country in the 
hope of catching a glimpse of the hunted fugitives. It was near sunset 
when they reached the summit of Barn Bluff, on the same day that Black 
Hawk and his men went into camp in the thicket on the banks of. the 
Trempealeau River. 

"The Winnebago braves looked down on the wild country with its rough 
hills stretching away in every direction, while the river gleaming with a 
touch of the sinking sun, threaded its way silently through the valley and 
was lost from sight in the misty thicket far down below. The Indians 
scanned the horizon that seemed to touch a continuous range of hills formed 
into an immense circle. They looked up the river, and down the river, and 
then away down among the thickets one discovei'ed a thin smoke arising, 
and caught the glimpse of a campfire. 

"A council was quickly held to determine what course to pursue, in 
endeavoring to capture Black Hawk, should it prove to be his camp. It 
was decided to steal continuously down in the dusk of the evening and 
surround the camp, and when its inmates were busy eating to slip up and 
capture them, for they wanted to take Black Hawk alive. Accordingly 
as arranged, they made their way downward, guided by the light of the fire, 
and surrounded the Indians, who were peacefully eating their evening meal. 
After watching the care-worn men a short time a signal was given, at which 
the four braves rushed forward to the capture. No force was needed, how- 
ever, as Black Hawk quietly gave himself up. He was taken to the trading 
post at La Crosse and turned over to One-Eyed Decorah and Wa-kon-ah-kah 
(Snake Skin), two noted Winnebago chiefs, and they sent him a prisoner 
down the river to Prairie du Chien." 

After his capture he was sent from Prairie du Chien to Jefferson 
Barracks, Missouri, in charge of Jefferson Davis, then an officer in the 
United States army, later President of the Confederate States of America. 
In April, 1833, he was taken east, was confined for a while at Fortress 
Monroe, was taken on a tour through the cities of the East, was afterward 
released, settled on the Des Moines River, and died October 3, 1838.2" 


A Winnebago Indian village under the chief Ni-No-Humpt-Pinter, occu- 
pied considerable territory in Dodge Township when the early settlers 
arrived. The village began north of what is now Dodge Village, where 
there was a large Indian field, and extended out into Buffalo County as far 
as the Engelhart Doeille farm, where there was another large corn field. 
These Indians had substantial huts and pony stables. The huts were built 
of limbs of trees protected by bundles of grass on sides and roof, and were 
banked to a height of four feet or more with soil. The pony stables were 
constructed in much the same manner. Fences protected the growing corn 
from the ponies. These fences were of curious structure. First, crotched 
sticks were driven into the ground. These supported a single Une of rails. 
At regular intervals crossed stakes were driven, meeting just above the 
single rail, and on the crotch thus formed was laid another rail. This made 
a double-rail fence, supported by perpendicular crotched sticks, and vertical 
crossed stakes. 

The Indians were peaceable and friendly, visiting at the homes of the 
settlers at all hours of day and night. They often begged for food, but were 
generous with their own, and were not given to theft or crime of any kind. 

The men had guns and hunted and fished most of the time. Deer were 
plentiful, but the Indians did not hunt for sport, and seldom killed more 
than was needed for immediate use, and though plenty of game was to be 
obtained, the Indians never wantonly slaughtered the wild animals and 
birds, and were never wasteful. In hot weather, the squaws would dress 
and skin the deer carcass, cut it into strips, and hang it up to dry. 

These Indians reared many children, who were expert swimmers and 
canoeists, at a time when the current in the river was much swifter than 
it is now. These youngsters were good-natured, but shy, and were never 
troublesome. Their parents seemed to feel for them a deep affection, and 
their lives seemed to be a happy one. They appeared to be healthy and 
robust, and they and their elders often helped on the settlers' farms, espe- 
cially in harvest time. 

In their social life, they kept largely to themselves. The only inter- 
marriage with the whites was that of Ma-Sho-Pe-We-Ka, a sister of Black 
Hawk, with Volney Kingsley, a union to which four children were born. 

The early settlers also found other encampments in various parts of 
the county, and to this day, temporary camps may be found along the waste 
lands of the river courses. 

1 — Frederick Webb Hodge, Enndbook of American Indians, Bulletin 30, Bureau of 
Ethnology (Washington, 1907), I, 376-382, for the Dakota; I, 95S-961, for the Winnebago. 
Also consult indexes of the published "Collections" of the Wisconsin and Minnesota Historical 

2 — Reuben Gold Thwaitca, ed. French Regeme in Wisconsin (Extract from Jesuit Rela- 
tions, Cleveland issue, XXXIII, 275-279), Wis. Hist. Colls., XVI, 1-2. Also see: Ihid, 4 
(Extract from La Potherie's Eistoire de I'Amerique, printed at Paris in 1722 and again in 
1753). Also: Consul W. Butterfield, ffisiori/ of the Discovery of the Northwest by Jeam 
Nicniet (Cincinnati, 1881). Also: Henrie Juan, Jean Nicolet (Translated from the French hj 
Grace Clark), Wis. Hist. Colls., XI, 1-22. For bibliography see: Butterfield, Jbid., 23-25. 
An excellent summary of the subject, together with the extract from the Jesuit Selations, 


XXXIII, 275-279, just mentioned, is found: L. P. Kellogg, Early Narratives of the North- 
west (New York, 1917), 11-16. 

3 — Thwaites, editorial note, Jouan, Nicolet, Wis. Hist. Colls., XI, 1-2. 

4 — Juan, Nicolet, Ibid., 13, note. 

5 — Thwaites, The French E^g^me in Wisconsin, Part 2, Wis. Hist. Colls., XVII, 207. 

6 — ^Richard Peters, ed., Treaties Between the United States and the Indian Tribes, U. S. 
Statutes at Large (Boston, 1861), VII, 272. See same volume for all Indian treaties from 
1778 to 1842. 

7 — Chas. C. Royce, Indian Land Cessions, ISth Anvual Report, Bureau of Ethnology 
(Washington, 1899), II, 710-712. See same volume for all Indian Land Cessions. 

8 — Return I. Holcombe, Minnesota in Three Centuries (New York, 1908), II, 207-218. 
Also: L. H. Bunnell, Winona and Its Environs (Winona, 1897), 337-341. Also: Maj. J. E. 
Fletcher, Report, Ex. Doc, No. 1, Second Session, Thirtieth Congress. Also: Eben D. Pierce, 
Recollections of Antoine Grignon, Wis. Hist. Soc, Proceedings, 1913, 118-119. 

9 — Thwaites, The Wisconsin Winnebago, Wis. Hist. CoUs., XII, 414. (The entire arti- 
cle, — 399-433, — is a most excellent history of the Winnebagoes in Wisconsin since 1828.) 

10 — J. W. Powell, Indian Linguistic Families, 7th Annual Report, Bureau of Ethnology 
(Washington, 1891), 111-112. 

11 — N. H. Winehell, ed.. Aborigines of Minnesota (St. Paul, 1911), 541 et seq. 

12 — Peters, ed.. Treaties, U. S. Statutes at Large, VII, 538. Royce, Indian Land Cessions, 
18th Annual Report, Bureau of Ethnology, II, 766. 

13 — Holcombe, Minnesota in Three Centuries, II, 108-109. 

14 — For the story of the Wabasha dynasty, see: Winehell, Aborigines of Minnesota, 
540-558. Also: F. Curtiss- Wedge, History of Winona Cmmty (Cliicago, 1913), I, 18-31. 
Also: Bunnell, Winona and lis Environs, 151-154. Also: Hodge, Handbook of American 
Indians, II, 911. 

15 — Henry R. Schoolcraft, The American Indian, History, Conditions and Prospects 
(Rochester, 1851), 137. 

16 — For Indian myth concerning the removal of the band to this region, see: Bunnell, 
Winona and Its Environs, 111117. 

17— Ibid., 209. 

18— Curtiss-Wedge, History of Winona County, 117, 123-124, 127-128. 

19— Edward D. Neill, History of Minnesota (Minneapolis, 4th ed., 1882), 394-395. Also: 
Wm. J. Snelling (supposed author), Winnebago Outbreak of 1827, Wis. Hist. Colls., V, 143. 

20 — Hodge, Handbook of American Indians, II, 358. 

21 — For story of Red Bird troubles, see: Snelling (supposed author), Winnebago 
Outbreak of 1827, Wis. Hist. Colls., V, 143-154. Also: Moses M. Strong, Indian Wars of 
Wisconsin, Id., VIII, 254-265. Also: Col. Thos. L. McKenny, Winnebago War, Id., V, 
178-204. Also: James H. Loekwood, Early Times and Events in Wisconsin, Id., II, 156-168. 
Also: Ebenezer Childs, Recollections, Id., IV, 172-174. 

22 — In an interview with Eben D. Pierce, M. D. 

23— Jonathan Carver, Travels (Philadelphia, 1796), 20. Also: Geo. Gale, Upper Mis- 
sissippi (Chicago and New York, 1867), 81, 82, 189. Also: Mrs. John H. Kinzie, Wau Bun, 
1856), 89, 486. Also: Loctwood, Early Times and Events in Wisconsin, Wi.i. Hist. Colls., 
II, 178. Also: Lyman C. Draper's note to: Daniel Steele Durrie, Jonathan Carver and 
Carver's Grant, Id., VI, 224. Also: John T. De La Ronde, Narrative, Id., VII, 347, 
Also: Augusten Grignon, Recollections, Id., Ill, 286-289. Also: Andrew Jackson Turner, 
History of Fort Winnebago, Id., 86, note. 

24 — Lyman C. Draper 's note to : Black Hawk War, Id., V, 297. 

25 — Gale, Letter in Galesville Transcript (Galesville, Feb. 1, 1861), I, No. 46, 2. But 
Walking Ooud, Thwaites, ed.. Wis. Hist. Colls., XIII, 465, says that One Eyed Decorah was 
not a chief untU after the Bla>ck Hawk War — that it was not until after that war that Decorah 
settled on the Black River. And Burnett, in a letter to General William Clark, June 29, 1831, 
speaks of a rumor that a few days previous One Eyed Decorah had left his village at Prairie 
La Crosse, and gone down to the Sacs and Foxes (Alfred Brunson, Memoire of Thomas P. 
Burnett, Id., II, 253). 

26 — Brunson, Memoire of Burnett, Id., II, 257, 259-260. 


27— Ibid. 261. Also: Thwaites, The Wisconsin Winnebagoes, Id., XII, 430-431. 

28 — Bunnell, Winona and Its Environs, 227. 

29 — Spoon Decorah, a cousin of One Eyed Decorah, tells still another Indian tradition 
and locates the capture near the headquarters of the La Crosse River. (Thwaites, ed., Narrative 
of Spoon Decorah, Wis. Hist. Colls., XIII, 454-455.) Thwaites in a note to Walking Cloud's 
Narrative, Ibid., 465, refutes the various Indian traditions and discusses the unreliability of 
Indian tradition in general. Draper, in a note to Satterlee Clark 's Early Times at Ft. Winne- 
bago, Id., VIII, 316, mentions the various traditions of the capture aud refutes them by a 
quotation from the official report locating the capture near the Dalles of the Wisconsin. For 
various accounts of the capture see: Dc La Eonde, Narrative, Id., VII, 351. Also: John 
T. Kingston, Early Wisconsin Days, Ibid., 332. Also: Thwaites, The Black Hawk War, 
Id., XII, 261, text and note. Also: Strong, Indian Wars of Wisconsin, Id., VIII, 285. 
Also: David McBride, Capture of Black Hawk, Id., V, 293-297. 

30 — Willard Barrows, Death of Black Hawk, Id., V, 305. Also: Thwaites, The Black 
Hawk War, Id., XII, 262. 



The scenery in the vicinity of Trempealeau Mountain is perhaps as 
beautiful as any in the great Mississippi Valley. The bluffs along the river 
extend about three miles above the village, from Liberty Peak to Trempea- 
leau Mountain, and present many varieties of shape and form, from a low, 
graceful mound to a towering, rugged cUff. The highest elevation is 
Brady's Peak, which rises to a height of over five hundred feet above the 
river, and from its summit a broad view may be had of the surrounding 

Looking up the river from this peak, Trempealeau Mountain appears 
far beneath, with its wooded sides sloping towards its crest of evergreens, 
and its base washed by the waters of the bay that separates it from the 
mainland. Extending from the bay is a chain of lakes ; farther up, is Trem- 
pealeau River, winding among the woods and tall grasses; and in every 
direction from the river gleam the waters of sloughs where the wild rice 
bends above the haunts of the wild duck. Far below, gliding in solemn 
majesty, is the tawny Mississippi, bounded by ragged bluffs and dotted 
with islands of innumerable shape and size, that rest on the glassy surface 
like huge wooded rafts. Across the river rise the Minnesota bluffs, holding 
in their embrace numerous cozy valleys. The hills seem to roll like great 
green waves, breaking the land into a succession of valleys ; and reposing 
among them are many sequestered homes. 

Indian tradition early associated itself with one peculiarly situated 
mountain among the Trempealeau range. This, they believed, had been 
carried off by supernatural force from the neighborhood of a Sioux village 
on the site of modern Red Wing. When warriors of this tribe found it at 
its present location they are said to have called it Pah-hah-dah (The moved 
mountain) ; while the neighboring Winnebago gave it the appellation of 
Hay-nee-ah-chah (Soaking Mountain).' The French voyageurs translated 
these terms into La Montague qui trempe a I'eau (The mountain that is 
steeped in the water) . 

The first civilizecl men - to gaze upon the towering crags of Trempea- 
leau Mountain were probably Father Louis Hennepin, a priest of the Order 
of Recollects of St. Francis, and his two companions, Antoine du Gay 
Auguel, known from his birthplace as "le Picard," and Michel Accault.^ 
They were sent out by Robert Cavelier de La Salle from Fort Crevecoeur, 
near Lake Peoria, IlUnois, February 28, 1680. They were on their way up 
the Mississippi when they were captured by a band of Sioux warriors on 
the warpath against the Illinois and Miami nations. These Sioux took 
the white men to the Mille Lacs region, in northern Minnesota. Hennepin 
does not mention Trempealeau Mountain. He speaks of the Black River 



(R. Noire) and declares that the Sioux called the stream Cha-be-de-ba or 
Cha-ba-ou-de-ba. He is believed to have spent a night at what is now the 
site of Winona. He mentions the Buffalo River (R. de Beeuf s) , which he 
said was full of turtles. It is probable that by Buffalo River he meant the 
Chippewa River, which he possibly entered through Beef Slough.^ He 
also speaks of Lake Pepin, which he calls the Lake of Tears (Lac des 
Pleurs). After spending a while in the Mille Lacs region, Hennepin and 
Auguel leaving Accault as a hostage, were taken down the Mississippi by 
the Indians looking for supplies which La Salle was to have sent to the 
mouth of the Wisconsin. On their way down the river, guarded by a chief 
Ouasicoude (Wacoota) and a company of Indians, Hennepin and Auguel 
came to St. Anthony Falls (near Minneapolis) which Hennepin named. 
They continued down the river, and again passed Trempealeau Mountain. 
July 11, 1680, while hunting for the mouth of the Wisconsin River, the 
party was overtaken by more Indians, headed by Aquipaguetin, a Sioux 
chief who had taken Hennepin into his family as an adopted son. Some 
time was spent in hunting in the region between the Chippewa River and 
the Wisconsin River. The squaws hid meat at the mouth of the Chippewa 
and on various islands. Then the party descended the river and hunted 
over the prairies further south. July 25, 1680, while again ascending the 
river, the party encountered Du Luth and a bodyguard of French soldiers. ■ 
Daniel Greysolon, better known as the Sieur Du Luth (variously rendered), 
had started out from Montreal on September 1, 1678, explored the Lake 
Superior region and the territory westward, met the Sioux in the Mille 
Lacs region, and on July 2, 1779, set up the standard of New France at 
their village. He returned to Lake Superior from that lake the next 
summer, ascended the Brule River, made the portage to the St. Croix and 
was on his way down the Mississippi when he learned that Hennepin and 
his two companions were in slavery among the Sioux." Hastening to the 
rescue, Duluth journeyed down the Mississippi with an Indian and two 
Frenchmen, and after a canoe trip of two days and two nights, overtook 
Hennepin and about 1,000 Indians. This meeting probably took place near 
Trempealeau Mountain or possibly somewhat further south. Du Luth 
fearlessly took Hennepin in his own canoe and started up the river to the 
Mille Lacs region, which they reached August 14, 1680. There, at a council 
he upbraided the Indians in scathing terms. He told them that Hennepin 
was his brother; he denounced them for making Hennepin and the two 
companions slaves and taking away Hennepin's priestly robes ; he taunted 
them that after receiving his peace offerings and being associated with 
Frenchmen for a year, they should have kidnaped other Frenchmen on 
their way to make them a friendly visit. As a climax, Du Luth returned 
the peace calumets which the Indians gave him. The savages began to 
make excuses, but this did not deter Du Luth from his resolution to take 
Hennepin away. Hennepin himself was rebuked by Du Luth for suffering 
insult without resentment, as such conduct lowered the prestige of the 
French. Toward the end of September, Du Luth, Hennepin, and their 
party once more descended the Mississippi River and reached Canada by 
way of the Wisconsin River, the Portage, the Fox River and Green Bay. 


Thus, in the fall of 1680, Hennepin and Du Luth and their companions 
beheld for the last time the picturesque surroundings of Trempealeau 

Hennepin's account of his adventures contains many interesting 
descriptions of life on this portion of the Mississippi in that far-distant 
time. One day the Indians in the party captured and killed a deer while 
it was swimming across the Mississippi. But the weather was so hot the 
flesh spoiled in a few hours. Thus left without food, the Indians caught a 
few turtles, but the capture was difficult, Hennepin says, because the turtles 
would plunge into the water and evade capture. They caught but four 
fish and were very thankful whenever they could secure a Buffalo fish 
dropped by an eagle. Hennepin was particularly interested in the peculiar 
appearance of the Shovelnose Sturgeon. He saw one which an otter caught, 
and Auguel declared that it reminded him of a devil in the paws of an 
animal. But after frightening the otter away, they ate the fish and 
found it very good. 

The first white man to maintain a habitation beneath the shadows of 
Trempealeau Mountain was Nicolas Perrot, who for some twenty years 
was a trader and interpreter in the Northwest for the French." Perrot 
arrived at Green Bay, where he was already well known, in the late summer 
of the year 1685. He found the Indians restless and inclined to intertribal 
warfare, so that some time was spent in their pacification. It was later 
than he had planned, therefore, when he set out for the country of the 
Sioux, where he hoped to secure a great harvest of valuable furs. After 
crossing the Wisconsin portage, and proceeding down that river to its 
mouth, he turned his little fleet of canoes boldly upstream ; bur as the 
weather was growing cold and traveling difficult, they "found a place where 
there was timber, which served them for building a fort, and they took 
up their quarters at the foot of a mountain, behind which was a great 
prairie abounding in wild beasts."** To one familiar with the topography 
of this section, the description of the site of Perrot's wintering quarters 
in 1685-86 is very clearly that of the Trempealeau bluffs, because these are 
the only bluffs near the river having a large prairie in their rear, and 
Trempealeau Mountain, moreover, is a well-known landmark on the upper 

In addition to this, ruins have been discovered which clearly prove the 
existence of a post at this point at an early period.-' To connect these ruins 
with Perrot's post, there is the well-known map of Jean Baptiste Louis 
Franquelin, published in 1688, and based undoubtedly on information 
obtained from Perrot himself."' Franquelin, an engineer of repute and 
royal hydrographer, visited New France in 1683 and remained several 
years. His famous map of Louisiana in 1684, drawn to display La Salle's 
discoveries, has but few indications of upper Mississippi sites. That of 
1688, however, records with much accuracy the upper Mississippi region, 
and since we know Perrot to have been in Quebec in the autumn of 1687, 
there is every reason to suppose that he furnished Franquelin with the 
data appearing thereon. Not far above the mouth of Riviere Noire — tne 
Black River of today — there is written La Butte d' Hyvernement (the 


hill of the wintering place), which seems to be intended for Trempealeau 
Mountain, near where the commandant and his party wintered. Fort St. 
Nicolas, at the mouth of the Wisconsin, and Fort St. Antoine, above the 
Chippewa, both founded by Perrot, are likewise indicated. 

Just when Perrot left his wintering place on the Mississippi and built 
Fort St. Antoine higher up the river is not certain, but it was probably 
during the summer of 1686. He was continuously in the upper Mississippi 
region until the spring of 1687, when he was ordered to proceed eastward 
with allies and join the French in a war against certain Indians of New 
York State. In the meantime he had amassed a stock of furs worth 40,000 
livres. In his absence on the warpath these were left at the mission house 
at Green Bay, which was burned by hostile Indians, with the loss of all 
his peltry." 

In the autumn of 1687 he set out once more for the Northwest to 
retrieve his ruined fortunes. After the ice had begun to form on the 
Fox River he passed down the Wisconsin to the Mississippi and ascended 
the Mississippi to this region.'- Whether he then occupied the old 
wintering place at Trempealeau or Fort St. Antoine further up the river 
on the lake is not clear.'' At Fort St. Antoine, on May 8, 1689, he took 
possession of the Sioux country in the name of the King of France, 
annexing the Minnesota and St. Croix River districts and all headwaters 
of the Mississippi.'* 

One of the witnesses to this document was Pierre Charles le Sueur, 
an explorer and trader, whose work added to the knowledge given to the 
world by Perrot. In 1695 Le Sueur built a fort on Pelee Island ( a short 
distance above Red Wing) , which was maintained about four years, during 
his own absence in France. He later returned and conducted an expedition 
in search of copper in the Blue Earth country, Minnesota. In ascending 
the Mississippi from its mouth, he found that the remains of Fort St. 
Antoine, on Lake Pepin, and his own island fort above Red Wing, were 
plainly to be seen.'"' He passed Trempealeau Mountain on his upward 
journey between September 10 and September 14, 1700. The Red (Black) 
River, the River Paquitanettes (possibly the Buffalo), the River Bon 
Secours (Chippewa) and Lake Bon Secours (Pepin) are mentioned in the 
account of the voyage, as are the prairies extending back from the bluffs."' 
In Trempealeau County one of the party killed a deer. 

More than one-fourth of the eighteenth century passed away before 
another attempt was made to build a post on the upper Mississippi. The 
Fox Indian wars had made the Fox-Wisconsin waterway untenable, and 
any approach to the Sioux had to take the difficult route from the end of 
Lake Superior through the tangled marshes and ponds at the head of the 

In 1727, however, the French government determined to establish a 
post among the Sioux. In September of the same year the new fort was 
erected near what is now Frontenac, on the Minnesota side of Lake Pepin, 
and dedicated amid imposing ceremonies as Fort Beauharnois. The failure 
of the expedition against the Foxes the following year made this post 
untenable, however, and it was hastily abandoned by the alarmed garrison.'' 


In writing from Fort Beauharnois, May 29, 1727, Father Michel 
Guignas describes the bluffs, islands and scenery in this vicinity, but makes 
no particular mention of Trempealeau Mountain.'* 

In 1731 the Foxes, being temporarly subdued, another expedition to 
build a Sioux post was placed in charge of Rene Godefroy, sieur de Linctot. 
With him went his son, Louis Rene, Augustin Langlade, and his brother, 
Joseph Jolliet, grandson of the explorer; one Campeau, a skilled blacksmith, 
brother of the one at Detroit, and Father Michel Guignas, chaplain of the 

They arrived on the Mississippi in the autumn of 1731, and, according 
to the official report, built "a fort On the Mississippy at a Place called the 
Mountain * * * (a Montagne qui trempe dans I'Eau) * * *"'^ 
The winter did not pass without events. During the deep snows food became 
so scarce that Linctot was obliged to send his voyageurs and traders to 
winter in the camps of the Indians. One of the voyageurs, named Dorval, 
had a thrilling experience with refugee Foxes, fleeing from an attack of 
mission Iroquois and Detroit Huron. Later some of the same fugitives 
came to Linctot to beg for their lives. The Sioux began coming in large 
numbers when they learned of Linctot's presence, and a camp of Winnebago 
wintered near by. 

The succeeding years were replete with danger and difficulty for the 
officers and traders of the little Sioux post. Although the Foxes had been 
defeated and large numbers of them had been destroyed, desperate 
remnants remained scattered over the western country, and attacking 
parties of mission Indians and others allied with the French made frequent 
excursions to harass the wretched fugitives. The Sioux promised protec- 
tion to the French, but their situation among the fierce belligerents was 
almost that of prisoners. In April, 1735, one of the Jesuits wrote from 
Quebec: "We are Much afraid that father Guignas has h^pn taken and 
burned by a tribe of savages called the renards."=" The anxiety in Canada 
over his fate was allayed, however, the same summer, when Linctot finally 
arrived in the colony, bringing an immense quantity of beaver skins and 
other peltry.-' He reported that he had left Father Guignas with but six 
men at the little fort in the Sioux country, and asked for himself that he 
be relieved from command.- 

To succeed Linctot in the post of the Sioux the governor-general of 
New France chose Jacques le Gardeur, sieur de St. Pierre, sending him 
with a party of twenty-two men to make their way to the upper Mississippi. 
This small convoy reached its destination late in 1735, and early the 
following spring St. Pierre determined to remove the post twenty-five 
leagues (about sixty miles) higher up the Mississippi.^^ There for a year 
they held a hostile tribe at bay, employing every device of strategy and 
dissimulation and finally, on May 30, 1737, abandoned the post with all 
its goods and belongings in order to save their lives.=* 

The records would seem to indicate that the post near Trempealeau 
occupied by Linctot in the autumn of 1731, was maintained until the removal 
to the fort on Lake Pepin in the spring of 1736.== 

Thirteen years later, in 1750, the French government established 


anothei' Sioux post under the leadership of Captain Pierre Paul Marin, a 
well-known Wisconsin commandant.-" He was recalled two years later 
to serve on the Allegheny frontier, and his son Joseph succeeded to the 
command. The latter maintained his post for three years, but during 
the French and Indian War was obliged to withdraw the garrison and 
destroy the post — the last under French occupation upon the upper 

While of these French commanders, from 1685 to 1755, Perrot, Linctot 
and St. Pierre were probably the only ones who located in Trempealeau 
County, it is apparent that this region was familiar to all the French 
voyageurs of the upper Mississippi throughout this period of French 

French rule in the upper Mississippi Valley ended with the treaty of 
February 10, 1763, when the Mississippi, nearly to its mouth, became the 
boundary hne between the possessions of England and Spain.-'' Three 
years later, in 1766, Jonathan Carver, a native of Connecticut, set out to 
explore the new British domains in the Northwest.^" Starting from Boston 
in June, 1766, Carver traveled to the Strait of Mackinaw and Green Bay, 
and thence, by the canoe route of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, to the 
Mississippi. Then he ascended the Mississippi, accompanied by a French- 
Canadian and a Mohawk Indian. He spent the winter of 1766-67 among 
the Sioux of the Northwest. In the spring of 1767 he descended the Missis- 
sippi to the present location of Prairie du Chien in the hope of securing 
goods. Disappointed there, he ascended the Mississippi to the Chippewa 
River and reached Lake Superior by way of that stream and the upper 
tributaries of the St. Croix. It was afterward claimed that he had made 
a treaty with the Sioux, granting him a tract of land about a hundred miles 
wide along the east bank of the Mississippi, from the Falls of St. Anthony 
(at Minneapolis) to the southeastern end of Lake Pepin.^" It included 
the north half of Trempealeau County, the south line running east and 
west somewhat north of Whitehall. On the strength of this alleged treaty 
many claims were from time to time presented to the United States Govern- 
ment, but Congress has always refused to recognize the claim of Carver's 
heirs and successors. . 

Carver passed Trempealeau Mountain three times. In speaking of 
the locality he says : 

"On the first of November I arrived at Lake Pepin, which is rather 
an extended part of the River Mississippi, that the French have thus 
denominated, about two hundred miles from the Ouisconsin. The Missis- 
sippi below this lake flows with a gentle current, but the breadth of it is 
very uncertain, in some places it being upwards of a mile, in others not 
more than a quarter. This river has a range of mountains on each side 
throughout the whole of the way ; which in particular parts approach near 
to it, in others he at a greater distance. The land betwixt the mountains, 
and on their sides, is generally covered with grass, with a few groves of 
trees interspersed, near which large droves of deer and elk are frequently 
seen feeding. In many places pyramids of rocks appeared, resembhng old 
ruinous towers ; at others amazing precipices ; and what is very remarkable. 


whilst this scene presented itself on one side, the opposite side of the same 
mountain was covered with the finest herbage, which gradually ascended 
to its summit. From thence the most beautiful and extensive prospect 
that imagination can form opens to your view. Verdant plains, fruitful 
meadows, numerous islands, and all these abounding with a variety of trees 
that yield amazing quantities of fruit, without care or cultivation, such as 
the nut-tree, the maple which produces sugar, vines loaded with rich grapes 
and plum-trees bending under their blooming burdens, but above all, the 
fine river flowing gently beneath and reaching as far as the eye can extend, 
by turns attract your admiration and exci-te your wonder. 

"The lake is about twenty miles long and near six in breadth ; in some 
places it is very deep and abounds with various kinds of fish. Great numbers 
of fowl frequent also this lake and rivers adjacent, such as storks, swans, 
geese, brants, and ducks ; and in the groves are found great plenty of turkeys 
and partridges. On the plains are the largest buffaloes of any in America. 
Here I observed the ruins of a French factory, where it was said Captain 
St. Pierre resided, and carried on a very great trade with the Naudowessies. 
before the reduction of Canada. 

"About sixty miles below this lake^' is a mountain remarkably 
situated ; for it stands by itself exactly in the middle of the river, and looks 
as if it had slidden from the adjacent shore into the stream. It cannot 
be termed an island, as it rises immediately from the brink of the water 
to a considerably height. Both the Indians and the French call it the 
Mountain in the River."^- 

At the close of the Revolutionary War, the land east of the Mississippi 
became a part of the new United States by the treaty of September 3, 1783.^' 
Spain continued in possession of the land west of the Mississippi from 
1762 to October 1, 1800,'* when the tract was receded to France, which 
nation, however, did not take possession until 1804,^= at which time a formal 
transfer was made from Spain to France, in order that France might 
formally transfer the tract to the United States under the treaty of April 
30, 1803.="' 

Two years later the Government determined to send an expedition into 
the Northwest, in charge of Zebulon M. Pike. He .was given orders to 
negotiate treaties with the Indians, to secure a conformity with the laws 
of the United States by the Northwest Company and others engaged in 
the fur trade, to secure the site for a fort near the head of Mississippi 
River navigation, and to extend geographical exploration. He started from 
St. Louis August 9, 1805, with twenty soldiers, spent the winter in northern 
Minnesota, started down the river April 7, 1806, and again reached St. 
Louis the latter part of that month. On his way up the river Pike slept 
near the foot of Trempealeau Mountain, on the night of September 13. He 
speaks of the mountain as le Montaigne qui Trompe a I'Eau.^*' He reached 
the mountain in a drizzling rain and left the next morning in a dense fog. 
On April 16, 1806, he again passed Trempealeau Mountain on his way 
down the river. 

In his geographical notes Pike says : "La Montaigne qui Trompe dans 
I'Eau stands in the Mississippi near the east shore, about fifty miles below 


the Sauteauz (Chippewa) River, and is about two miles in circumference, 
with an elevation of 200 feet, covered with timber. There is a small river 
which empties into the Mississippi in the rear of the mountain, which I 
conceive once bounded the mountain on the lower side and the Mississippi 
on the upper, when the mountain was joined to the main land by a neck 
of low prairie ground, which in time was worn away by the spring freshets 
of the Mississippi, and thus formed an island of this celebrated mountain.^"* 

Major Stephen H. Long led an expedition up the Mississippi in 1817. 
The voyage was made in a six-oared skiff. The party camped near Trem- 
pealeau on the night of Friday, July 11. In his entry for July 10 Long 
says, "Passed the Black River on our right, coming in from the northeast. 
It is navigable for pirogues somewhat more than 100 miles, to where 
the navigation is obstructed by rapids. On this river is an abundance of 
pine timber of an excellent quality. Much of the pine timber used at St. 
Louis is cut here. This river has three mouths, by which it discharges 
itself into the Mississippi, the lowermost of which is passable and communi- 
cates with the Mississippi twelve or fourteen miles below the junction of 
the valleys of the two rivers. The bluffs along the river today were 
unusually interesting. They were of an exceedingly wild and romantic 
character, being divided into numerous detached fragments, some of them 
of mountain size, while others in slender conical peaks seemed to tower 
aloft till their elevation rendered them invisible. Here might the poet or 
bard indulge his fancy in the wildest extravagance, while the philosopher 
would find a rich repast in examining the numerous phenomena here pre- 
sented to his view, and in tracing the wonderful operations of nature that 
have taken place since the first formation of the world. A little above the 
mouth of the Black River, both shores of the Mississippi may be seen at 
the same time, which is the only instance of the kind we have met with 
on our way from Prairie du Chien to this place. One mile further ahead 
the bluffs on both sides approach within 800 yards of each other, and the 
river, in consequence, is narrower here than at any other place this side 
of Prairie du Chien. Notwithstanding this contraction of its channel, the 
river here imbosoms an island of considerable size. Encamped at sunset 
on a small island. 

"Saturday, July 12. Within a few yards of the island where we 
camped is another, considerably smaller, which, for the sake of bi-evity, 
I called the Bluff Island, as its former name is very long and difficult to 
pronounce. It has been accounted a great curiosity by travelers. It is 
remarkable for being the third island in the Mississippi from the Gulf of 
Mexico to this place that has a rocky formation similar to that of the 
neighboring bluffs, and nearly the same altitude. Pike, in his account of it. 
states the height of it to be about 200 feet. We lay by this morning for 
the purpose of ascertaining its altitude, which we found by a trigometrical 
calculation, which my instruments would not enable me to make with much 
accuracy, to be a Httle more than 500 feet. It is a very handsome conical 
hill, but not sufficiently large to deserve the appellation of mountain, 
although it is called by the name of the Montaigne qui trompe de I'eau, or 
the mountain that is soaked in the water."'" 


Long also describes in glowing terms the scenery from Trempealeau 
to Winona. 

The party again landed at Trempealeau on the journey down the river, 
Sunday, July 20. At their former camping place they found their axe 
which they had lost there. They ascended Trempealeau Mountain and 
from there viewed the Indian village at Winona.^" As befoi'e. Long waxed 
enthusiastic over the wonderful scenery. He discovered that the bluffs 
which he had previously supposed to be the main river bluffs were in fact 
a broken range of high bluff hills, separated from the main bluffs by the 
wide expanse of Trempealeau prairie. He advances the theory that the 
Trempealeau bluffs are in reality the eastern point of a promontory orig- 
inally extending from the Minnesota bluffs, and that the natural course 
of the river was originally between the Trempealeau bluffs and the main 
Wisconsin bluffs, Trempealeau prairie being the river's natural bed. While 
on the top of Trempealeau Mountain, Long and his companion were sum- 
moned by three Indians, one of whom had been bitten in the leg by a i-attle- 
snake. The Indians at once cut out a piece of flesh containing the wounded 
part and applied bandages above it. They refused, however, to allow Long 
to wash the wound. A short time later Long ascended Queen Bluff near 
Richmond. His observations there led him to believe that the Mississippi 
was originally a vast lake filling all the valley, to a height of many hundred 
feet above the present water level. 

With the establishment in 1819 of Fort Snelling, Trempealeau County 
was placed within the pale of civilization, and thereafter soldiers, traders 
and visitors were frequently passing. The expedition which estabhshed 
the fort, headed by Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Leavenworth and accom- 
panied by Major Thomas Forsyth, the Indian agent, reached Trempealeau 
and continued its course up the river in August, 1819. In his journal Major 
Forsyth mentions that on the night of August 12 he camped five miles 
below La Montaigne qui trempe a I'eau.^' 

That same year, on November 2, a sawmill was established on the 
falls of the Black River, "not much inferior to any in the United States." 
Seven chiefs of the Sioux nation granted the original permission to do this, 
and later Lefei (Wabasha), the head chief, made the permission perma- 
nent.''- The mill was soon destroyed by the Winnebago. 

General Lewis Cass, with his party, including Henry Rowe Schoolcraft 
and James D. Doty, passed Trempealeau Mountain in 1820. They reached 
the upper Mississippi by way of Lake Superior, and after leaving the region 
of their explorations came down the Mississippi. On this trip down the 
river, Cass and Schoolcraft and their men landed at the present site of 
Winona and camped for the night on the Minnesota bank of the Mississippi, 
some five miles west of Trempealeau Mountain. Schoolcraft, in his notes, 
gave the following description of Trempealeau Mountain: 

"A few miles below Wabasha's village an isolated mountain of singular 
appearance rises out of the center of the river to a height of four or five 
hundred feet, where it terminates in crumbling peaks of naked rock, whose 
lines of stratification and massy walls impress forcibly upon the mind the 
image of some gigantic battlement of former generations. Around its 


lower extremity the alluvion of the river has collected, forming a large 
island, covered with a heavy forest, whose deep green foliage forms a 
pleasing contrast with the barren grandeur of the impending rocks, which 
project their gothic pinnacles into the clouds and cast a sombre shadow 
over the broad and glittering bosom of the Mississippi. This singular 
feature in the topography of the country has long attracted the admiration 
and the wonder of the voyageurs of the Mississippi, who have bestowed 
upon it the appellation of The Mountain that sinks in the Water (La Mon- 
taigne qui Trompe dans I'Eau), an opinion being prevalent among them 
that it annually sinks a few feet. This island-mountain is four or five 
miles in circumference, with a mean width of half a mile, and by dividing 
the channel of the river into two equal halves, gives an immense width to 
the river, and thus increases the grandeur of the prosiJcct. It is further 
remarkable as being the only fast, or rocky island, in the whole course of 
this river, from the Falls of Peckagama, to the Mexican Gulf."*' 

A mill was built in 1822 on the Menomonee branch of the Chippewa, by 
permission of Lawrence Taliaferro, the Indian agent at Fort Snelling, and 
with the consent of the Sioux. Joseph Rolette and Judge James Lockwood, 
both of Prairie du Chien, were the financial backers of the proposition, and 
Wabasha's band of Sioux were also interested in it.''* 

On his expedition to Lake Winnipeg in 1823 Long again passed Trem- 
pealeau Mountain, accompanied by a part of his followers. From Prairie 
du Chien to Fort Snelling, a part of the expedition, under James F. Calhoun, 
made the trip on horseback along the west bank of the Mississippi. William 
H. Keating, who was with the expedition, mentions Trempealeau Mountain. 
Keating corrects many of Schoolcraft's statements and confirms some of 
Pike's observations. After giving the French term for the place as Mon- 
tagne qui trempe dans I'eau, which he declares to be but a translation of 
the Indian name for it, "the mountain which soaks in the water" — he 
states that the island mountain is only about a mile in circumference, and 
instead of dividing the river into two equal halves, is very near the east 
bank. He admits, however, that seen from a distance, it has the delusive 
appearance of standing in the middle of the river.'"* 

The first steamboat to ascend the upper Mississippi, the "Virginia," 
passed Trempealeau Mountain in May, 1823, and arrived at Fort Snelling, 
near the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. May 10. A 
number of prominent people were aboard. Steamboat traffic thus being 
opened, Trempealeau Mountain, a landmark and a point of interest to all 
travelers, became widely known. J. Constantine Beltrami, who explored 
the Red River of the North and the sources of the Mississippi River, was 
one of the passengers aboard the "Virginia" when it made its first trip 
to Fort Snelling. Of Trempealeau he says : 

"From this spot (118 miles from Prairie du Chien) a chain of moun- 
tains, whose romantic character reminds one of the valley of the Rhine, 
between Bingen and Coblentz, leads to the Mountain which dips into the 
water. This place would exhaust all my powers of expression if I had 
not seen Longue Vue. Amid a number of delightful little islands, encircled 
by the river, rises a mountain of a conical form equally isolated. You 


climb amid cedars and cypresses, strikingly contrasted with the rocks which 
intersect them, and from the summit you command a view of valleys, 
prairies, and distances in whicTi the eye loses itself. From this point I 
saw both the last and the first rays of a splendid sun gild the lovely picture. 
The western bank presents another illusion to the eye. Mountains, ruggedly 
broken into abrupt rocks, which appear cut perpendicularly into towers, 
steeples, cottages, &c., appear precisely like towns and villages."^" 

The period of exploration really ends in 1835, when this region was 
visited by George William Featherstonhaugh and William Williams Mather, 
by George Catlin, and by a military expedition under Lieutenant-Colonel 
Stephen W. Kearney, the topographer of the expedition being Albert 
Miller Lea. 

Featherstonhaugh, in his reconnaissance, mentions Trempealeau 
Mountain, and while narrating the geological history of the landmark, 
describes the view from its summit. Wabasha's brother related to him that 
"the Indians called it Minnay Chonkaha, or bluff in the water, and that 
they resorted to it at the beginning of the wild-geese season, to make 
offerings to Wakon, or the deity, for success in hunting."^' 

The mihtary expedition reached Winona overland from Iowa, entering 
the state southwest from what is now the city of Albert Lea. In July, 
1835. the soldiers camped on the west bank of the Mississippi, within sight 
of what Lea called La Montaigne qui trempe a Teau.^*" 

Catlin, the famous Indian painter, was forced to winter his boat near 
Richmond,^-' not far from Trempealeau Mountain, by reason of obstructing 
ice, late in 1835. On Catlin's Rocks, in Richmond Township, Winona 
County, he painted his name in great red letters, and the marks were to 
be plainly seen for many years thereafter. ■" 

Thus Trempealeau Mountain, which had watched the first white man 
penetrate these solitudes, was now known to the world, and the activities 
of civilization were soon to be throbbing at its feet. Frenchmen, Enghsh- 
men and Americans had examined her wonderful formations, the whistle 
and chug of the steamboat had become familiar, the rich land over which 
for so many centuries it had stood guard awaited the axe of the pioneer, 
the plow of the husbandman. 

1— L. H. Bunnell, Winan<i and Its Envirmis (Winona, 1897), 112-114, 187. 

2 — Dr. Warren Upham is of the opinion that Radisson and Grosseilliers made their head- 
quarters at Prairie Island, above Red Wing, from April or May, 1655, to June, 1656. But this 
opinion is not generally accepted. As Dr. Louise Phelps Kellogg says: "The difficulty of 
interpreting Radisson 's text, written in a language unfamiliar to himself, and several years 
after the completion of his journeys, adds to the differences of opinion with regard to the 
route and the locations described." For Upham's conclusions see: TIpham, Grosseilliers and 
Radisson, Minnesota in Three Centuries (New York, 1908), I, 127-204. Also: Same author 
and title, Minn. Eist. Colls., X, Part 2, 449-594. Dr. Reuben Gold Thwaites has reprinted 
portions of the accounts of the third and fourth voyages of these two adventurers, with copious 
notes in: Wis. Eist. Colls., XI, 64-69. Dr. Kellogg has reprinted the account of the third 
voyage, with an introduction, in: Early Narratives of tlie Northwest (New York, 1917), 
29-65. Several writers are of the opinion that Father Menard ascended the Black River on 
his way to his tragic death in 1661, and quote Perrot in supporting their contentions. See: 
Nicholas Perrot, Memoire (Memoire nur Irs viopurs, coustumes, et relligion des sauvages de 
I'Amerique Sepientrionale) , reprinted in the original French with notes and translation by 


Bev. Father Jules Tailhan (Paris, 1864), this in turn being reprinted in: Minn. Hist. Colls., 
II, Part 3, 24-30 (original edition). A reprint of the Memoire (Tailhan 's edition, 84-93), 
regarding the Flight of the Ottawa, whic-h Pcrrot says Menard followed, may be found: 
Thwaites, ed., French Regime in Wisconsin, Part 1, Wis. Hist. Colls., XVI, 14-21. But Menard's 
route is still an open qucftion. For Menard's last letter see: Edward D. Neill, Explorers and 
Pioneers of Minnesota (Minneapolis, 1882), 3-4. For extract from Menard's letter (Jemdt 
Eelaiions, XLVI, 11-13, 127-145) and Menard's labors and death (Id., XLVIII, 12, 115-143) 
see: Thwaites, ed., French Eegime in Wisconsin, Part I, Wis. Hist. Colls., XVI, 21-25. For 
life and labors of Menard see also: H. C. Campbell, Pere Rene Menard, Parkman Club Pub- 
lications, No. 11 (Milwaukee, 1897). Also see: Kellogg, Early Narratives of the North- 
west, 25, note. 

3 — Thwaites, ed., Hennepin's New Discovery (Chicago, 1903). Or John G. Shea, ed., 
A Description of Louisiana, by Father Louis Hennepin (New York, 1880). 

4 — For a discussion of the identity of Hennepin's R. de.Beeuf 's with Chippewa River, 
see: Elliott Cones, ed.. Expeditions of Zcbulon M. Pike (New York, 1895), I, 58, 65, notes. 
Also: Bunnell, Winona and Its Environs, 52-54. 

5 — Kellogg, Early Narratives of the Northwest, 325-334. Also: Shea, ed., A Descrip- 
tion of Louisiana, 374-377. 

6 — The vanity of Hennepin did not allow him to admit that he was a captive and a 
slave, the cruel sport of the Indians. He represented that he accompanied Duluth because of 
the latter 's pleasure in his society and his desire for his companionship. Se^: Thwaites, ed., 
Hennepin 's Neio Discovery, 293-305. 

7 — Kellogg, Early Narratives of the Northwest, 69-92. 

8 — E. H. Blair, Indian Tribes of the Upper Mississippi (Cleveland, 1911), I, 367. 

9 — See : Eben D. Pierce, George H. Squier and Louise Phelps Kellogg, Remains of a 
French Post Near Trempealeau, Wis. Hist. Soc, Proceedings, 1915, 111-123. - 

10 — For a reproduction of Franqiielin 's great map of 1688, see: Kellogg, Early Narra- 
tives of the Northwest, 342; also read J. Franklin Jameson's note (p. xiv) in the same volume. 
Also see account of Franquelin 's maps in: Parkman, LaSalle and the Discovery of the North- 
west (Boston, 1891), 455-458. A partial reproduction of the map may be found: Neih, 
History of Minnesota (Minneapolis, 4th edition, 1882), frontispiece. 

11 — Blair, Indian Tribes of the Upper Mississippi, II, 25. 

12 — Neill (Wis. Hist. Colls., X, 299-300) says that Perrot returning from the New York 
raid reoccupied the post where he had spent the winter of 1685-86. After writing the article, 
however, Dr. NeUl discovered that he had confused Ft. St. Antoine with Perrot 's post at 
Trempealeau (Ibid., 371). 

13 — See: Draper, Early French Forts, Ibid., 358-371. 

14 — Thwaites, ed., Important Western Papers, Perrot 's Minutes of Taking Possession, 
Id., XI, 35-36 (reprinted from the New York Colonial Documents, IX, 418). 

15 — Pierre Margry, Decouvertes et ^abl^scmtnts des Frani,-ais dans L'Am^riqnc (Paris, 
1882), V, 413. 

16 — Penicault in his Journal of Le Sueur's Expedition as reported in: Neill, Explorers 
and Pioneers of Minnesota, 41. Also: Thwaites, ed., French Regime in Wisconsin, Part 1, 
Wis. Hist. Colls., XVII, 183. See Ibid., 177, note, concerning Le Sueur's Journal, La Harpe's 
and Penicault 's versions, and Shea's and Thwaites' translations. 

17— Thwaites, ed., French Regime in Wisconsin, Part 2, Id., XVII, 10-15, 22-28, 56-59, 

18— Letter from Father Michel Guignas from the Brevort Manuscripts, printed in Shea's 
Early French Voyatics, and reprinted in Neill 's Explorers and Pioneers of Minnesota, 52; also 
in Wis. Hist. Colls., XVII, 22-28. 

19— /6td!., 151, 168, 169. 

20— Thwaites, Jesuit Selations (aeveland, 1900), LXVIII, 255. 

21— ITis. Hist. Colls., XVII, 230. 

22— Thwaites, Jesuit delations, LXVII, 281; Margry, Decouv. et Etabl., VI, 572, 573; 
Wis. Hist. Colls., XVII, 274, note. 

23— Id., XVII, 269, 270. 

24 — Ibid., 269-274. 


25— Wis. Hist. Soc, Proceedings, 1915, 122. 

26 — Wis. Hist. Colls., XVII, 315, note. 

27 — Neill, Macalester College Contributions (St. Paul, 1890), First Series, 214, 218. 
Also : Same author. Early 'Wiseonsin Explorations, Forts and Trading Posts, Wis. Hist. Colls., 
%, 304. 

28 — For preliminary treaty "of Nov. 3, 1762 (reprinted from Gentleman's Magazine, 
XXXII, 569-573), and definite treaty of peace of Feb. 10, 1763 (reprinted from Id., XXXIII, 
121-126), see: Thwaites, ed., Important Western State Papers, Wis. Hist. CoUs., XI., 36-46. 

29 — For Carver Bibliography, see: John Thomas Lee, Wis. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, 
1909, 143-183. Also see: Same author and subject. Additional Data, Id., 1912, 87-123. 

30 — For text of the Carver deed and its history, see: Carver Centenary, Minn. Hist. 
Colls., II, Part 4, 17, 19-21, original edition. Also see: Daniel Steele Durrie, Jonathan Carver 
and Carver 's Grant, Wis. Hist. Colls., VI, 221-270. 

31 — Possibly the word "Lake" was inserted in Carver's manuscript by an editor. In 
the preceding paragraph he mentions the St. Pierre ruins, on the east side of Lake Pepin, and 
he may have intended to locate Trempealeau as 60 miles below this (the ruin) rather than 60 
miles below Lake Pepin. 

32 — Jonathan Carver, Travels in North America (London, 1778), 54-56. 

33 — Treaties and Conventions Concluded Between the United States of America and 
Other Powers (Washington, 1873), 314-318. 

34 — Among the many excellent works on the subject may be mentioned: Jamse K. 
Hosmer, Tlie Louisiana Purchase (New York, 1904). 

35 — See: Walter B. Douglas, Spanish Domain of Upper Louisiana, Wis. Hist. Soc., 
Proceedings, 1913, 74-90. 

36 — Annals of Congress, 1802-1803, pp. 1006-1008. 

37— Coues, ed.. Expeditions of Zchu^on M. Pile (New York, 1895), I, 52, 53. 

38— 76 id., 307. 

39 — Stephen H. Long, Voyage in a Six Oar Skiff to the Falls of St. Anthony in 1817, 
Minn. Hist. Colls., II, Part 1, 15-17, original edition. 

40— Ibid., 47-50. 

41 — Major Thomas Forsj'th, Journal of a Voyage to the Falls of St. Anthony in 1819, 
Wis. Hist. Colls., VII, 202. 

42 — Durrie, Jonathan Carver and Carver's Grant, Id., VI, 252, 266. Also: American 
State Papers, Public Lands, IV, 22. Also: James H. Lockwood, Early Times and Events in 
Wisconsin, Wis. Hist. Colls., II, 118, text and note. Also: Col. John Shaw, Narrative, Ibid., 

43— H. R. Schoolcraft, Narrative Journal of Travels (Albany, 1821), 334-335. Also: 
Same author and title (Philadelphia, 1855), 165. 

44 — Lockwood, Early Times and Events in Wiseonsin, Wis. Hist. Colls., II, 132-141. 

45 — W. H. Keating, Narrative of Long's Expedition (Philadelphia, 1824), 271-272. 

46 — J. C. Beltrami, A Pilgrimage in Europe and America Leading to the Discovery of 
the Sources of the Mississippi and Bluodi/ Eivcr (London, 1S2S), II, 17S-179. 

47 — 6. W. Featherstonhaugh, Geological Ecconnaissance (Washington, 1836), 130. 

48 — Letter written from Corsieana, Texas, July 7, 1890, by Albert Miller Lee to H. W. 
Lathrop, librarian of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and published (October, 1890) 
under the title of Early Exploration in Iowa, Iowa Historical Hecord, vi. No. 4, 548. 

49 — Richmond was originally called Catlin in honor of the painter. Later the name was 
changed to Forest City and still lat^r to Richmond. It is situated a little below Trempealeau 
on the Minnesota side of the Mississippi. 

50 — Bunnell, Winona and Its Environs, 1S3. 

Portions of the introductory paragraphs have been copied from: Eben Douglas Pierce, 
Early Days of Trempealeau, Wis. Hist. Society, Proceedings, 1906, 246-255. 

The original sources from which Dr. Thwaites obtained his material for Vol. XVII of the 
Wis. Hist. Collections, appear with the various documents therein printed, and no attempt has 
been made to repeat them here. By consulting that volume tlie inquiring student will find 
citations of tlie original sources. 


Trempealeau County, touching, as it does, on its southwestern border 
the Mississippi River, was easily accessible for the early explorers, travelers, 
traders, and later for the pioneer settlers. 

The boundary rivers and some of the streams of the interior of the 
county afforded waterways for the canoe, and many of our valleys, such 
as the Beaver Creek and Elk Creek, were explored by hunters who canoed 
up the principal streams flowing out of these respective regions. 

Trempealeau Bay, lying about half a mile above the site of Perrot's 
post, afforded an excellent stopping place for traders and travelers during 
the fur trading regime on account of the abundance of wood and water in 
that locality and also for the protection from rough weather which the 
rugged bluffs furnished. During the sharp rivalry between the different 
fur companies the trader kept an anxious eye on the bay for the return of 
the bands of trappers from up the Trempealeau River. 

The first trapper to whom tradition ascribes a fur trading camp in 
Trempealeau County, after the early French explorers of the seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries, was Joseph Roque,' a prominent interpreter and 
officer of the Indian department in the days when the British ruled over 
Mackinac and its western dependencies. Roque was much trusted by the 
British officers, and accompanied (1780) Wabasha on his raid against St. 
Louis and the forces of George Rogers Clark in Ilhnois. He ranked as 
lieutenant in the Indian service, and at the close of the Revolution remained 
in the pay of the British government, being likewise prominent in the fur 
trade. During the War of 1812-15 he was employed by the English authori- 
ties and accompanied Colonel William McKay as lieutenant and interpreter 
on his Prairie du Chien expedition in 1814. According to Winnebago tradi- 
tion, he had a wintering ground on a branch of Beaver Creek, not far 
from Galesville, and the occupancy of this region by him and a companion 
gave to this branch its name of French Creek. 

Joseph's half-breed son, Augustin, was likewise an interpreter in the 
service of the British. With his father he accompanied McKay's Prairie 
du Chien expedition of 1814 with the rank of lieutenant. At the conclusion 
of the war Augustin took up his home with Wabasha's Indians and estab- 
lished several trading posts on the upper Mississippi. The same Winnebago 
tradition that ascribes a camp in Trempealeau County to the father, Joseph, 
also ascribes a post on Beaver Creek to the son, Augustin. The Indian name 
of Beaver Creek, Seen-tah-ro-cah, is from St. Roque, the original French 
family name of this hunter. The valley was rich in beaver and elk, and 
■hunting and trapping in this region were productive of rich results. 

In 1823 Augustin Roque accompanied Major Stephen H. Long's expe- 
dition, but his services were unsatisfactory. Some time before 1826 he 



seems to have had a trading post at the mouth of the Buffalo River. In 
1826 he moved to the present site of Wabasha. Featherstonhaugh men- 
tions this trading house on Lake Pepin in 1835 and gives his Indian name 
as Wahjustahchay, or Strawberry.^ 

The occupancy of this region by the trappers is also attested by docu- 
mentary evidence. As early as 1820 Louis Grignon had a fur trading camp 
at Trempealeau Mountain,^ and the following year Augustin Grignon had 
a camp near the mouth of Black River, to which point he moved from a 
camp four miles below the Zumbro, which had been burned by the Wabasha 
Indians at the instigation of Joseph Rolette, who worked for a British firm.-* 
In 1824 Trempealeau Mountain was recommended to the superintendent 
of Indian affairs as a suitable place for the location of an Indian agent. 
It was described as being desirable because there was plenty of firewood 
and because it was convenient to Wabasha's band of Dakota, as well as 
the place where all the Winnebago and Menominee stopped in ascending 
and descending the Mississippi.'^ 

Trempealeau Bay thus became a prominent rendezvous for trappers 
and traders, and favorite stopping place for river voyagers. 

The story of the settlement of Trempealeau County dates from 1836, 
when an attempt was made to establish a mission station at this point. 
A Protestant missionary society of Basle, Switzerland, desirous of sending 
the gospel to the North American Indians, commissioned two young Swiss 
for the work. They decided upon the field among the Dakota as the most 
promising, and proceeded to Prairie du Chien, where they spent a short 
time studying the language and learning the location of the tribes. Rev. 
Daniel Gavin concluded to settle near Wabasha's band, while his comrade, 
Samuel Denton, went on to Red Wing. 

At Prairie du Chien Gavin secured the services as interpreter and 
man of all work of a Swiss emigrant, Louis Stram. Together they proceeded 
to Trempealeau and built a loghouse east of Mountain Lake, at the site of 
a clear spring." Stram opened a farm and endeavored to teach the Indians 
agriculture, but Wabasha, their chief, did not take kindly either to the 
mission or the farming, and after the treaty of 1837, by which all the Sioux 
claim east of the Mississippi was ceded to the United States, Gavin aban- 
doned the mission and joined his confrere in Red Wing.' Although the 
enterprise was temporary, it was the first attempt made in the county in 
the nature of a permanent settlement and was the first farming therein 
under the dii-ection of a white man." 

The permanent settlement of Trempealeau County finally came about 
under the auspices of the fur trade. Francois la Bathe, a shrewd half-breed 
and a near relative of Wabasha, was confidential agent of Hercules L. 
Dousman, representative of the American Fur Company at Prairie du 
Chien. Even before the cession of 1837, La Bathe had tried to secure a 
steamboat landing site at the modern La Crosse, and as soon as the treaty 
was concluded he made similar arrangements for Trempealeau by inducing 
John Doville and Antoine Reed to proceed thither and cut cordwood for 
steamboats, while holding a stretch of river front as a landing. His 
object in this was to prevent any trade drifting away from Wabasha's 


village, at the present City of Winona." A wood yard was established at 
the head of the island opposite Trempealeau, and La Bathe vouched for 
the sale of all wood the men might cut. Doville remained at Trempealeau 
and became its first permanent settler. He cultivated the land that the 
Swiss missionaries had cleared and broke some of his own in the upper 
part of the present village. He raised stock upon a small scale and devoted 
his time to farming and cutting cordwood for steamboats. 

James A. Reed, in his journeys up and down the Mississippi in the 
interest of the fur trade, had noticed the Trempealeau Bluffs and resolved 
to stop and look the country over with a view of settling later if the place 
came up to his expectation. He climbed Liberty Peak and looked down on 
the new land and was charmed with its wild grandeur, its lavish wealth 
still undeveloped, its inviting valleys and wooded slopes. It was a delectable 
land, steeped in an alluring solitude — untouched as yet by the white settler. 
Reed decided to locate in the new country. Circumstances delayed him 
and gave to his son-in-law, Doville, the credit of being the first settler. 
In 1840, however, his plans were perfected and, bringing his family by boat 
from Prairie du Chien, he built a log cabin on the banks of the Mississippi 
River on the site of modern Trempealeau. Not long afterward his wife 
died, and he later married the widow of Amable Grignon, of Prairie du 
Chien, who was a sister of Francois La Bathe and a relative of Wabasha. 

The locality soon became known as Reed's Town. Outside of the time 
that he devoted to his duties as government farmer to Wabasha's band 
of Indians at Winona (from 1842 to 1848) Reed occupied his energies in 
tending his stock and in hunting and trapping. The Trempealeau bluffs 
and adjoining prairie offered an excellent stock range for Reed's horses, 
swine and cattle, which he brought from Prairie du Chien; and the swine 
proved to be good rattlesnake hunters, killing and eating many of the 
Winnebagoes' sacred serpents. Reed used his large log home, for a while, 
as a tavern, and many a weary traveler and homeseeker found a hospitable 
welcome at his fireside. For a while it was known as Reed's Place ; after- 
ward he sold out and it became the Washington Hotel. 

The next settlers after the family and relatives of Reed arrived at 
Trempealeau in June, 1842. The party consisted of Willard B. Bunnell and 
wife, and his brother, Lafayette H. Bunnell. They were from Detroit, and, 
seeking a location upon the upper Mississippi, had been induced at Prairie 
du Chien to settle at Trempealeau. To the younger of these two pioneers 
much of the early history of the region is due. Gifted with a good memory 
and a taste for historical studies, he has preserved many incidents of pioneer 
life that would otherwise be lost. Upon the arrival of this party at Trem- 
pealeau Reed went back from the village a few rods and shortly came in 
with a red deer to supply the family with provisions. Buffalo had disap- 
peared soon after the Black Hawk War, but elk abounded upon Trempealeau 
River, and beaver were plenty enough to give their name to one of the 
inland streams." 

A number of French families, mostly from Prairie du Chien, came up 
the river and joined Reed, but they were mostly connected with the fur 
trade and made little progress toward developing the country from an agri- 


cultural standpoint. Some of them lived at Reed's home and some built 
houses near by. Peter Rosseau, who helped Reed build his house, remained 
for a while. Charles H. Perkins, Joseph Borette, Michael Goulet and Paul 
and Antoine Grignon were among the early members of the household. 

The Bunnells lived at Trempealeau for several years, but spent the 
first two winters at what is now Fountain City. L. H. Bunnell left Trem- 
pealeau in 1847 and enlisted in the Mexican War. W. B. Bunnell and his 
wife left in 1849 and settled at Homer, in Minnesota. Soon after the arrival 
of the Bunnells, Alexander Chenevert joined the Reed settlement. In 1844 
a Frenchman named Assalin came. He was a carpenter by trade and made 
the woodwork for the first wagon in the county. He also made sleds and 
French trains. Antoine La Terreur came the same year. He was a cabinet 
maker and made much of the early furniture used in the pioneer homes of 
Trempealeau. Michael Bebault arrived in 1845 and hired out as a wood- 
chopper on the island. In 1848 Leander Bebault and John La Vigne arrived 
with their families, and about the same time Edward Winkleman settled 

It was after 1850 that the settlement of the interior of the county 
took place, and for a period of fifteen years settlers poured into the valleys 
of Trempealeau County, principally from southern and eastern Wisconsin. 
Many were from New York State originally, with a goodly number from 
the New England States. They came in all manner of ways, but steamboat, 
by stage, afoot, on horseback, with ox teams and covered wagons, with 
wagons drawn by horses, and often driving behind their caravan a herd of 
cattle, while tied to the rear of the wagon in a well-constructed box was the 
vociferous porker, proclaiming his presence at every stop. 

The routes they selected depended on the section from whence they 
hailed. Many came by way of La Crosse and thence over the rough road 
to Gordon's or McGilvray's Ferry and crossed these ferries into the county. 
Others arrived by steamboat and outfitted in La Crosse for their journey 
into the new country. Some came to Trempealeau by steamboat and then 
went by stage into the interior. Still others went to Fountain City and 
took the trail across the bluffs, over the Glencoe Ridge, and through the 
Glencoe Valley to the Trempealeau River. Some came down the Trem- 
pealeau valley from Jackson County. The northern part of the county was 
settled largely by people who drifted into the county from Black River 
Falls and vicinity. A few of the pioneers poled up Black River in flat boats 
to the falls and then took the overland trail back to Trempealeau County. 
Other settlers came across the Mississippi River from Minnesota, where 
they had settled in Pickwick or some other of the valleys that reach back 
from the river. The later settlers came into the Trempealeau County by 
the railroad, but it was not until 1870 that a railroad was built into the 

Aside from those who followed the main routes of travel, there were 
many settlers who sifted into the county from adjoining territory following 
whatever route was most convenient and striking out across the prairies 
or up the ravines to find, removed from the settled haunts of man, a plot 
of land where they might establish themselves and build their future homes. 


The best sources of authority regarding the early settlement of Trempealeau County 
previous to 1850 are Antoine Grignon and L. H. Bunnell, both of whom arrived here in the 
forties. E. D. Pierce, from stories heard from pioneers, as a boy, from interviews with Antoine 
Grignon, and conversations with descendants of early settlers, gathered the information for 
three articles on the subject, all published in the Proceedings of the Wis. Hist. Society as 
follows: Early Days of Trempealeau, 1906, 246-255; Recollections of Antoine Grignon, 1913, 
110-136; James Allen Eeed, 1914, 107-117. Dr. Bunnell's vivid recollections are found in: 
Bunnell, Winona and Its Environs (Winona, 1877), 183 et seq. 

1 — Eoque (variously spelled) is mentioned as interpreter for the Sioux, Wis. Sist. Colls., 
Ill, 229; VII, 167; XI, 134-135, 142, 156; XII, 61, 63, 81; and XII, 94, apparently fixes this 
interpreter as Joseph Eoque. Whether Joseph or Augustin is meant in XII, 125, and XIII, 
67, is uncertain. Id., IX, 264, presents a confusing problem. Among the lieutenants at Ft. 
McKay (Prairie du Chien) are given Joseph Eock, Sr., and Augustin Eock, Jr. Whether this 
is the Joseph of the earlier days is not apparent. The use of ' ' Jr. ' ' and ' ' Sr. ' ' would indi- 
cate that these two men were not father and son, that Augustin indeed was not the son of 
Joseph but of an Augustin, Sr. It is possible, however, that the use of the "Sr. " and "Jr." 
was a clerical error arising from the fact that one may have been called Eoque, Sr., and the 
other Eoque, Jr., without regard to their first names. Augustin is mentioned as an inter- 
preter. Id., IX, 254, 256, and an employe of the American Fur Co., Id., XII, 162. For a mention 
of the early activities of the Eoques in the region, see: L. H. Bunnell, Winoria and Its 
Envirmis (Winona, 1897), 69, 147, 371. "Joe" Eoque, known to the early settlers, was the 
son of Augustin and grandson of Joseph. 

2 — 6. W. Featherstonhaugh, Geological Reconnaissance (Wash., 1836), 130. 

3— Eeuben Gold Thwaites, ed., Fur Trade in Wisconsin, 1812-1825, Wis. Hist. Colls., XX, 
160-162, 241-242, 258-259. 

4— Ibid., 236. 

5— Ibid., 365. 

6 — Nearly three miles northwest of the village of Trempealeau on the Trowbridge farm. 
The cellar and stones from the chimney could be seen in 1888. The excavation can stUl be 
seen, 1917.— E. D. P. 

7 — Lyman C. Draper, Early French Forts in Western Wisconsin, Wis. Hist. CoUs., X, 
367; also note to same article, 506-507. See also: Minn. Hist. Colls., VI, 134. An official 
report in 1838 (U. S. Executive Vocwments, 1, 494) says: "Mr. D. Gavin removes this year 
from the 'Mountain in the Waters, East,' to the west with Wabasha's band of Sioux." 

8 — The land broken by Stram was afterward used by pioneer settlers, who burned the log 
house in 1842 to deprive the troublesome Indians of a shelter for themselves and stolen horses, 
Bunnell, Winona and Its Environs, 71. 

9 — Ibid., 209. Bunnell and others give the name as James Douville. His descendants 
say it was John Doville. His divorce proceedings (First Minute Book, District Court of 
Trempealeau County, 21) give his name as John Do Ville. 


When the first white man gazed upon the Trempealeau country he 
beheld a vastly different land physically than we live in today. It was 
dressed in its primitive clothes, so to speak. The bluffs, save for the 
work of the mound builder, had not been defaced by man. The contour of 
the hills and valleys was influenced only by the alluvium and the wash of 
storms, for scarcely any land was cultivated, in the modern sense of the 
word, by the Indians. 

Here and there in secluded places along the hills were forests, but 
generally the country was untimbered and covered with brush and wild 
grass, which was burned over each year by the Indians. 

The Indians, no doubt, had some particular reason for doing this, 
though it is difficult to conjecture why they deemed it necessary to burn 
over the land annually. No doubt they could travel through a burned-over 
country much easier than over one obstructed with a tangle of grass and 
brush, and traveling more swiftly mean more game. New grass grew 
better also in the burned-over places, and thus the ponies of the Indians 
had better grazing on account of this primitive method of land clearing. 

Indian trails took the place of our modern roads, and no guide board 
pointed its inartistic hand to direct the inquiring traveler. Along these 
indistinct trails many of the early settlers made their way with difficulty 
and along the wooded streams were obliged to pick their way by blazed 

There were many small lakes or sloughs in the county when the pioneer 
came that have since gone dry. On Trempealeau Prairie were a number v 
of these tiny lakes where James Reed trapped muskrat, but today we see 
no sign of the former outline of these bodies of water. Arcadia was built 
in a marshy slough which has since been filled with dirt hauled from a 
range of hillocks in the rear of the village. On the other hand, we have 
a number of lakes in our county that were not here in the early day. These 
artificial bodies of water represent our waterpower and are usually desig- 
nated by the undignified name of mill ponds. One would hardly dare apply 
that name to beautiful Lake Marinuka of Galesville, reposing in the valley 
of Beaver Creek, and possessing all the charm and reflecting qualities of 
a natural lake. 

But perhaps even greater changes have taken place in the flora and 
fauna of our county since the early day than in the physical features. In 
order to appreciate more fully these changes, let us picture the early settler 
and his wild environment ; his log cabin in the clearing of one of our secluded 
valleys, nestling at the foot of a hill where a spring trickles into a dugout 
water trough a few feet from the cabin door. Standing against the log 



barn is the yoke for the oxen, and near-by is the upturned breaking plow, 
while the mattock and ax repose on a half cut log near the woodpile. At 
the side of the cabin is the rude wash bench made from a slab of wood 
and four wooden pegs for legs. We may also see the grindstone in the 
back yard, and hanging under the rafters of the barn is the scythe, the 
cradle and the flail. And we must not overlook the lye-leach and soap 
kettle, nor the half -sled and stone-boat. 

Herds of deer can be seen grazing on the hillside, and in the spring 
and autumn days the honking of wild geese fills the air. The boom and 
hoot of prairie chickens can be heard in the early spring days, and, during 
the summer, from across the hot green fields, comes the plaintive note of 
the plover and the whistle of the gopher. The sound of the drumming 
partridge comes from the thicket near the clearing, and the whistling quail 
proclaims his presence by his far-carrying "Bob White." 

The bark and chatter of the grey and red squirrel can be heard in the 
woodlands, while at night the hoot of the owl mingles at times with the 
howl of the wolf or barking fox. 

During the spring and summer the woods ring with the songs of a 
variety of birds. From early dawn until dark the tireless songsters fill 
the air with music, and in season the whip-poor-will lashes the silence of 
the night with his rhythmic strain. 

Wild flowers grow in profusion, and many a sloping hillside blushes 
scarlet with painted cups in the May days, and in June time the wild roses 
light with a pink glow the wilderness where the pioneer came to build his 
cabin home. 

Along the hills grow blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, while 
wild plum and cherry thickets offer their fruits in many of the valleys 
and by the streams in the bottom lands. 

In June the odor of wild strawberries comes floating from some hidden 
patch — a breath of perfume that has the aroma of shortcake, and what 
a pleasant adventure to hunt out the hidden patch and gather the luscious 
berries in ruddy clusters. 

But time and change have wiped the picture out. Cultivation and 
pasturing has removed the wild touch — the rustic element — and obliterated 
many of our wild flowers, while the hunter has killed oi driven away ali 
of our big game. 

The buffalo disappeared from this region before the coming of the 
white settler, but elk were found here as late as 1865, and wild deer were 
seen in our county as late or even later than 1890. The wild pigeons disap- 
peared about forty years ago, and our decreasing wild ducks will soon be 
of the past. The beaver, the otter, the martin, lynx, the bear and panther, 
have long since disappeared from our county, and of all the larger native 
wild animals we have the woK fox and bobcat, still to be found in the wild 
recesses of the county today. 

The process of extermination is taking place among our wild flowers, 
and many of the rare varieties will soon become extinct unless some means 
is taken to preserve them. The white lady-slipper is becoming a very rare 
flower, and even the yellow lady-slipper is growing alarmingly scarce, as 


is also our painted cup that grew in such abundance in the early days ; still 
rarer is the showy orchid and other species of the orchid family. 

There seems to be an increasing demand to preserve our noble forests 
and to keep in a wild state our most beautiful mountain districts. The 
government has seen fit to establish a large number of forest reserves, 
besides maintaining its national parks. We all appreciate this, though we 
cannot all visit these national wonders of beauty, and that is the reason 
why it seems to us that each county should have its wild playground. 

In order to appreciate sweet sounds there must be silent places, and 
in order to appreciate our tame and subdued surroundings we need the 
wild touch to recuperate our blunted senses, to rest our minds and restore 
our mental poise. The natural park, with its native forests, its wild flowers 
and unsubdued grandeur offers the only relief to these conditions, and it 
also offers a solution to the problem of keeping our native flora from 

Trempealeau — Reed's Town in the forties consisted of about half a 
dozen log cabins scattered along the river front near James Reed's large 
log house, and occupied by French families, most of whom had moved 
into the new settlement from Prairie du Chien. Beside these there were 
a few French-Canadians, and after 1846 a few American families joined 
the community. 

The fur trade and the Indian trade furnished the principal industries, 
though some farming was done on a small scale, and the inhabitants kept 
their stock (cattle, hogs, and horses) on a common range which extended 
across Trempealeau Prairie and included the Trempealeau Bluffs. 

Life in the Fi'ench settlement was filled with adventures of the back- 
woods type, and the hunter and trapper matched his skill of woodcraft 
with the Indian. With an abundance of fish and game and wild berrier 
and plums, and with the vast expanse of wild grass lands for grazing, there 
was little need of food shortage. 

John Doville, who maintained a wood camp on the island opposite 
Reedstown, had the first farm in Trempealeau. He sowed oats, wheat, 
flaxseed, potatoes and beans. 

Stram broke the first land in the county, but he used the ground for 
garden purposes only, while Doville extended his agricultural pursuits to 
grain raising, and has the honor of being the first Trempealeau County 
farmer. Though Doville worked on the island and had a temporary camp 
there, at the woodyard, he found it necessary, on account of high water, 
to erect a permanent cabin on the main land near the river and not far 
from the lower end of the present main street. He afterwards built a 
house on the site, used later for Melchoir's brewery. 

In 1842 James Reed found employment in the Government Indian 
service at Winona, where he was engaged as farmer and storekeeper for 
Wabasha's band of Sioux. A few years later he was joined by John Doville 
and Charles H. Perkins, who likewise entered the Indian service. They 
still kept in touch with Reed's Settlement, however, and when their contract 
with the Government expired returned to their Trempealeau homes and 
became permanent settlers in the county. 


Intermarriage between these early inhabitants of Trempealeau and 
the Indians took place as in other frontier settlements, with a resultant 
mixed blood offspring, whose descendants can be traced down to the present 

But few family records of this period remain, though one has been 
preserved of the Willard B. Bunnell family, which discloses the fact that 
his son, David Porter Bunnell, who was boi-n in November, 1843, was the 
first white child born in the territory of Trempealeau County. His daughter, 
Louise, born in 1848, was also the first white girl born in this locality. 
Bunnell located on land about a mile above the present village of Trem- 
pealeau, which later became the Jack McCarty farm. 

The Americanization of Reed's Town came about rather slowly, and 
it was not until after 1850 that the influx of Americans began. 

Travelers and traders journeying up and down the Mississippi often 
stopped at Reed's hospitable log tavern, and on their departure carried to 
the outer world rather glowing accounts of the new country, but the town- 
site speculator had not' visited as yet the locality, and little thought was 
given by the frontiersmen to the future possibilities of the place, and they 
looked with aversion on the increasing settlers as a hindrance to their wild, 
free life of hunting and trapping. 

In the fall of 1851 there arrived at Reed's Town a man who grasped 
at once the possibihties of the location for a town site. This was Benjamm 
F. Heuston, and it did not take him long to interest Ira Hammond and 
James Reed in a project to found a village. In partnership with Mr. 
Hammond, he began the erection of a warehouse on the river front, which 
was completed the following summer. 

Others who came in the fall of 1851 were A. A. Angell, Charles 
Cameron, N. B. Grover, Horace E. Owen and Elizur Smith. 

On April 5, 1852, William Hood, as surveyor, made a plat of Reed's 
Landing, with B. F. Heuston, Ira Hammond and James Reed as proprietors. 
The new village was formally named Montoville, but almost before the 
ink on the plat became dry another survey was completed under the direc- 
tion of Timothy Burns, F. M. Rublee and Benjamin B. Healy, and the 
name Trempealeau, the terminal of the sentence which the French 
voyageurs gave to Trempealeau Mountain, was adopted for the doubly 
named village. 

Montoville-Trempealeau thrived for a few weeks, and though over- 
burdened with new names, it was still known as Reed's Town or Settlement 
by the inhabitants, and as Reed's Landing by the rivermen. 

On May 9, 1852, according to the i-ecords of the Post Office Department 
at Washington, a post office was estabUshed at Trempealeau, with B. F. 
Heuston as postmaster. On January 15, 1853, the name of the office was 
changed to Montville, but on July 17, 1856, the name of the office was again 
changed to Trempealeau. 

For a period of fifteen years Trempealeau remained the only settlement 
in the territory comprising Trempealeau County. The first ten years of 
this period was devoted almost entirely to the fur trade. Then came the 
land seeker, tradesman, speculator and adventurer, and with the rapid influx 


of settlers from 1854 to 1856, new portions of the county were opened for 
settlement, and Trempealeau history thereby became limited to one section 
of the county. 

When B. F. Heuston came here he secured a residence by purchasing 
the house of John Doville, a small story and a half building, standing on 
Front street, below what is now the Burlington station. Thus possessed 
of a permanent location, he prepared to erect a warehouse designed as a 
steamboat shipping point for the agricultural produce which the promoters 
believed would result from the rapid influx of settlers and the consequent 
development of the rich valleys and prairies adjacent to the proposed village. 
Before winter set in he had completed the stone foundations. In the mean- 
time he procured lumber at Black River Falls, floated it down the stream 
to the mouth of Beaver Creek, carted it over to the building site, and in 
the spring completed a warehouse, 24 by 50 feet, two stories high, located 
on Front street, two or three rods east of what was afterward the site of 
the Utter House. In the fall James A. Reed, as justice of the peace, married 
his daughter, Madeline, to his stepson, Paul Grignon. 

Early in February, 1852, N. B. Grover, who had previously traded 
here, came up from La Crosse and opened a shoe shop opposite the later 
site of the Utter Hotel. In this store he sold notions and a few dry goods, 
thus establishing the first store in the county. In May of this year George 
Batchelder and his wife made their appearance and put up a house below 
the Hammond & Heuston warehouse. Later they opened a hotel, but not 
before the wife of Charles Cameron had arrived and established a boarding 
house in the residence which Mr. Heuston had purchased from John Doville. 
Thomas Marshall came in that spring and put up a house above the Big 
Spring. Israel Noyes came about the same time. He boarded with the 
Camerons until October, when he was joined by his wife, and went to live 
in the second story of the Hammond & Heuston warehouse, where shortly 
afterward a child was born to them. Marvin and James Pierce came and 
built a small house on the north side of Front street, above what afterward 
became the site of Melchoir's brewery. Ira E. Moore and Alvin Carter 
built a residence near the present location of Hoberton's blacksmith shop. 
About the same time Alexander McMillan came up from La Crosse and 
put up a blacksmith shop, the first in the village. These, with Alexander 
McGilvray, C. S. Seymour, B. B. Healy, Robert Farrington, William Cram, 
Charles Holmes, Mary .Huff, Catherine Davidson, A. M. Brandenburg, Rev. 
Mr. Watts, and possibly a few others, constituted the list of arrivals in 1852. 

There were two interesting social events this year. One was the 
opening of the Trempealeau House, at which was served a banquet which 
was long remembered by the old settlers, Mrs. Batchelder, the landlady, 
having secured many dainties from points further down the river. The 
Fourth of July celebration was another important event. It was held in 
the upper story of the Hammond & Heuston building. Mr. Heuston read 
the Declaration, and talks were made by several citizens. 

"In 1852," says Mary Brandenburg, "when the Brandenburgs landed 
in Trempealeau, then called Montoville, they found among other settlers 
James Reed in a log house on the river bank at about the Barney McGraw 


place. Other settlers were George Batchelder, the first merchant, first 
school teacher, first store keeper and first hotel keeper; Isaac Noyes, the 
first postmaster, and Alexander McGilvray, who afterward ran the first 
ferry boat, and N. B. Grover, an Indian trader, and his brother, Archelaus, 
both single men, and B. B. Healy. These were most of the early settlers." 

In 1853, 1854 and 1855 the arrivals were not numerous. La Crosse 
was a thriving village and attracted those who desired to grow up with 
a future metropolis, while the Black River country, with its timber, its 
springs, and its open meadows, attracted those who were seeking farm 
lands and rural homesteads. Among the arrivals of these years were J. D. 
Olds, who had selected a claim in 1851 ; A. P. Webb, Patrick Drugan, Thomas 
Drugan, Aaron Houghton, Joseph Gale, Patrick Lowry, Gilbert Gibbs, Oscar 
Beardsley, Lewis Huttenhow, William Olds, Frank Feeney, Hiram Brown, 
and others. Some settled in the village, others scattered back on the 

The real influx of population began in 1856. In this year the pioneer 
mill of the county was erected. That spring, the Messrs. Bredenthal and 
King,- with the determination of establishing a mill in the Black River 
country, shipped some machinery to the mouth of that river, and made 
inquiries at La Crosse as to a suitable location. Meeting J. M. Barrett, 
they persuaded him to join them in their venture, and the three called on 
S. D. Hastings, who was the La Crosse representative of the townsite 
proprietors of Trempealeau. Mr. Hastings, in the name of his employers, 
offered a free site for the new mill south of the village. At that time the 
river was unusually high, and the location seemed a most suitable one. But 
while it was in the progress of construction, the water subsided, and the 
owners of the mill began to realize that their venture was not likely to prove 
profitable. When they began to operate, these apprehensions were fully 
verified. Access to the mill was diflScult, and the expense of hauling was 
great. After a while the venture was abandoned, the mill was sold and 
moved elsewhere, and of the proprietors, only Mr. Barrett remained in 

But the mill was the cause of a rapid growth for the village. Property 
advanced in value and importance. Many eastern people were at that 
time seeking in the West opportunities for investment which they believed 
would bring them large returns. The village was filled with new settlers, 
houses, cabins and shanties were put up, and the incomers began to buy 
land in all directions. 

This demand created the utmost excitement, and the price of lots 
appreciated so rapidly that no one was able to predict a possible value in 
advance. In the spring, the most desirable lots could have been purchased 
for from $40 to $50. In May, when the building of the mill was arranged 
for, double this price was demanded, and when the mill was completed, as 
high as $1,000 was refused for the same pieces of property that could not 
have found a purchaser a year previous. As an instance, it may be stated 
that while this scale of prices was maintained, $2,100 was offered for lots 
on the river bank opposite what was afterward the Melchior Brewery, and 
it was declined. They could not now be sold at anything like that figure. 


Among the prominent arrivals for 1856, were 0. S. Bates, S. D. 
Hastings and family, Noah Payne and family, W. T. Booker, J. H. Crossen, 
J. P. Israel and family, S. F. Harris and family, Thomas Van Zant, William 
Held, A. W. Hickox, C. W. Thomas, John Smith, Dennis Smith, D. W. Gil- 
fillan, D. B. Phelps, C. C. Crane, and many others. The improvements 
consisted in part of the mill and a large house adjoining for the accommo- 
dation of hands employed therein ; the Congregational Church put up under 
a contract with C. C. Crane, and numerous private buildings for residence 
and commercial purposes. Gilfillan built a hotel. Hastings erected a resi- 
dence opposite the public square. Robert Jones, a brick residence on Third 
street, the first brick house in the village, and the Rev. Mr. Hayes put up a 
frame house on the hill. In addition to Gilfillan's tavern, C. S. Seymour 
was proprietor of the Trempealeau House, built in 1852, by A. A. Angell, 
and Frederick Harth occupied the old log house of James Reed, as the 
Washington Hotel. Jasper Kingsley maintained the only saloon in the 
village, and the commercial and river interests were divided between J. P. 
Israel, W. T. Booker, Mills & Van Zant and N. B. Grover. 

J. A. Parker came in this year. He was the first lawyer in the village. 
Dr. Alson Atwood also came in and built a house, and is claimed by some 
as the first physician to settle in Trempealeau, though it is contended by 
others that this honor legitimately belongs to Dr. E. R. Utter. Lafayette H. 
Bunnell, who settled here in the forties, was not a physician until later in 
life. Money was plenty, it is said, and times unprecedentedly prosperous. 
Almost every steamer bore hither, as passengers, people who were out 
prospecting, ready to avail themselves of any opportunity that presented 
itself for purchase. The Fourth of July was celebrated with unusual 
pomp, the Baptist Society was organized, and a terrible cyclone passed over 
the village in August, doing great damage. 

A pioneer, John H. Crosen, arriving in Trempealeau on November 13, 
1856, has this to say of the village in those days : "There were three stores 
on Front street, and a few frame residences, with here and there a log house. 
Further back on Second and Third streets were other residences, perhaps 
thirty all told, very much scattered. People were coming and going con- 
stantly. Each boat brought a new crowd of prospective settlers, and took 
away some that had looked the country over and gotten their fill, so to 
speak, and had made up their minds to look elsewhere for locations. And 
so it went, coming and going, hei-e today and gone tomorrow, although, of 
course, some remained and became permanent settlers in the village. 

"But the steamboat was not the only means of bringing people to 
Trempealeau. Many came overland in covered wagons. During 1856-57 
a number of caravans of settlers passed through here and were ferried 
across the river to Minnesota, where they took the road leading up thi 
Pickwick Valley onto the Minnesota prairie. I have seen the old ferry 
owned by Wilson Johnson busy a week steady ferrying teams across the 
river. This ferry was a horse tread power, and it carried many a prairie 
schooner over the river. 

"These long strings of covered wagons made a picturesque sight 
winding along the road with their white tops showing against the greei 


landscape, always reaching towards the west— the land of the setting sun— 
and many of the occupants of these prairie schooners became the sturdy 
pioneers of Minnesota. 

"During the wheat times, Trempealeau was surely a lively place. I 
have seen wagons loaded with wheat reaching from the loading dock down 
Front street and part way up the hill, waiting for their turn to be unloaded 
—a procession half a mile long, composed mostly of ox-teams, with a few 
teams of horses. At night you would see fires out on Trempealeau Prairie 
where the wheat haulers were camped for the night. Every idle man in 
Trempealeau could find employment there loading wheat on the steam- 
boats, and I have seen two and three boats loading at a time, and steamboat 
men scouring the town for more help. The flush wheat times lasted until 
a few years after the Civil War." 

With the opening of the river in 1857, the hopes of the villagers ran 
high. Every steamboat was bringing new arrivals, new buildings were 
being erected, the prairie was being settled, the county was growing. But 
In the midst of this busy activity came the financial crash, nation-wide in 
its scope. Provisions became scarce and rapidly rose in price. Flour 
jumped to $12 a barrel, pork to $10 a hundred pounds, and other commodi- 
ties in proportion. Wild game became an important article of food, and 
kept many of the settlers from starvation. Elk and deer, which even 
at this late date were to be found herded in the brush of the bluffs, supplied 
the absence of meat. 

However, great faith was still maintained in the future of Trempealeau, 
and many strangers attempted to take advantage of the situation to secure 
land at a low price. But the people of Trempealeau, with dogged perse- 
verance, stuck to the high prices that had been maintained during the 
"boom" years. The result was that many desirable citizens who would 
have located here and helped to build a metropolis, secured cheaper land in 
La Crosse, Winona, Red Wing, St. Paul and other places, and the advantage 
of their money and enthusiasm was lost to the little village in the shadow 
of the mountain. This short-sighted pohcy, together with the money 
stringency, retarded the growth of Trempealeau, and though with returning 
prosperity, the village was an important shipping point until the coming 
of the railroad, those who had demanded such high prices for their land 
never saw their hopes realized, and values of village property gradually 

Among those who settled here in 1857 were W. P. Heuston, R. W. 
Russell, N. W. Allen, Harvey Bowles, F. A. Utter and others, including 
Wilson Johnston, who established the first ferry from Trempealeau Village 
to the Minnesota shore. 

A good crop of wheat was raised in 1858, and much of it was purchased 
at Trempealeau for shipment to various points down the river. Fully 1,000 
bushels of wheat were shipped this year, and prosperity was revived. The 
absence of railroads in the interior, and the fact that Trempealeau was the 
most accessible point for the farmers of this region to merchant their 
produce, brought the pioneer agriculturists here in such numbers that the 


streets lining the river were often packed for hours with teamsters waitinp 
for a chance to unload. 

A later settler (Stephen Richmond) arriving September 8, 1870, a year 
before the opening of the railroad, has said of the village : 

"Its one main street extending along the river from Melchior's hotel 
and brewery and Octave Batchelor's hotel, running east with the then 
numerous warehouses and business places crowding close together, and 
its neat homes nestling in sunshine on the hillsides and down to the foot of 
the Trempealeau Bluffs which appeared as mountains of moderate elevation 
— the town itself facing the Mississippi River, its streets filled with farmers 
and lined with farm teams of one hundred or more, a majority of the teams 
being oxen with wagons loaded with grain for the market, or with goods 
and supplies for the farmers' homes ; and the most disconcerting and puz- 
zling condition to me was the language spoken by many of the people — 
languages with which I was not then familiar, many persons speaking the 
German, the Polish, the Bohemian and Scandinavian, this talk being 
coupled with the oddity of the dress of many and the general inter-social 
manner of the people and their truly democratic manners and customs, no 
notice appeared to be taken of dilTerence in nationality. Even the half- 
breed and the Indian were kindly recognized. I counted 98 teams along 
Main street loaded with grain, waiting for a turn to unload at the ware- 
houses, then under the management of Solomon Becker, Christ Reimin- 
schneider, and Paul Kribs." 

The village trade increased in volume until the completion of the 
railroad in August, 1871. Farmers came here with their wheat not only 
from this county, but also from adjoining counties, and during the last few 
years before 1871 it is said that the shipments sometimes averaged 5,000 
bushels a day fi-om the opening of the harvest season until the closing of 
the river in the early winter. A vast amount of money was thus put into 

The village, however, did not grow materially. A few stores were 
put up, a few business houses opened, and a few residences constructed, 
but the men who would have contributed so materially to its prosperity 
had been frightened away by the high values at which the village proprie- 
tors held their property. When the railroad from the east was completed 
to La Crosse, Trempealeau's importance as a shipping point was increased, 
and La Crosse grew rapidly. It was therefore felt that with the building 
of the La Crosse, Trempealeau & Prescott Railroad, Trempealeau would 
retain its standing as a steamboat point, and grow to great importance as 
a railroad point. But when the railroad was put in operation it tapped 
many points that had hitherto been tributary to Trempealeau, and the hopes 
of the promoters were blasted forever. 

In recent years, however, a group of active young business men of 
another generation are making the village a busy and important little center 
and the recent creation of Trempealeau Mountain as a State park has 
revived its former importance. 

The Black River Valley in Trempealeau County embraces the eastern 
part of Caledonia Township, and Decorah Prairie in Gale Township. Tradi- 


tion ascribes Indian village sites to Decorah and Red Bird, Winnebago chiefs, 
in this immediate region. The first white settlers were sturdy Scotchmen. 

Caledonia early received settlers in that portion lying along the Missis- 
sippi adjacent to Trempealeau. James D. Olds was the first to take a claim 
in that portion lying properly in the Black River Valley. He came to 
Trempealeau on May 6, 1851, and walking out on Caledonia Prairie, selected 
a claim in Section 7, in what is now Caledonia Township. He cut logs, 
rolled them up for the body of a cabin, and marked out a claim, cutting the 
name and date on the log. 

The first man actually to settle in the locality was William Cram, who 
started building a cabin south of the Olds claim, in May, 1852. 

In 1853 came Joshua Rhodes, accompanied by William Hanson, who 
lived with him for a while. During the same year came Rufus Comstock, 
who settled on the claim of James D. Olds. The same year William Olds 
came in and purchased William Cram's place. Alexander McGilvray, who 
had reached Trempealeau in 1852, moved his family to the banks of the 
Black River. 

Bostwick Beardsley led the vanguard in 1854 by settling on Section 28. 
There were numerous other arrivals about the same time. He found in 
the neighborhood, John, Richard and William NichoUs, Charles Holmes, 
B. B. Healy and Alexander McGilvray. 

This year marked the opening of McGilvray ferry. The ferry was 
started by Alexander McGilvray. In the summer of 1854, J. D. Olds pur- 
chased property at the ford, and built a store and blacksmith shop, and 
opened a farm. 

From this settlement, the pioneers spread onto Decorah Prairie further 
up the river, where a flourishing Scotch settlement was founded. 

Beaver Creek Valley. According to Winnebago tradition, Joseph 
Roque, a famous Indian guide and trapper, erected a cabin on Beaver Creek 
near the present village of Galesville, possibly soon after the War of 1812. 
His son, Augustin, likewise a guide and trapper, is said to have built a cabin 
and spent a winter hunting in the same locality about 1820. 

But to Americans Beaver Creek Valley was not opened for settlement 
until after the purchase of the Indian rights to all this territory, in 1837, 
and even then it was several years before an actual settlement took place. 

James A. Reed, the first permanent settler in Trempealeau County, 
hunted and trapped along Beaver Creek as far back as 1840, and in 1843, in 
company with Willard Bunnell and Antoine Grignon, explored the head- 
waters of the valley. 

While the fur trade played an important role in the opening of Trempea- 
leau County for settlement, but few of the trappers remained to till the soil 
after the fur had been gathered, but pushed on westward to the unsubdued 

The agriculturist who came to find a permanent home in the fertile 
valleys of Trempealeau County was the natural successor of the fur trader, 
for here there was no pinery to bring the lumberman, as in other portions 

of the State. 

The autumn of 1851 saw the first Beaver Creek settler arrive in the 

80 HISTORY OF tre:\ipealeau county 

person of Abram Trepena, who came up from Racine County to look for a 
Homestead. Mr. Trepena came from Oswego, New York, to Racine in 1848, 
and had resided in the southern part of the State since that time. 

There was a vast amount of unoccupied land in this section in that 
early day, and the homeseeker could take his choice of locations. After 
looking over the country thoroughly Mr. Trepena finally selected a quarter- 
section of land in the Beaver Creek Valley about a mile and a half southwest 
of the present village of Galesville. He then returned to Racine and in the 
fall of 1852 in company with his family and John Hess came north. They 
drove two yoke of oxen and carried all of their household goods in two immi- 
grant wagons. On the night of October 11 they arrived at their destination 
and went into camp, but before they had hardly settled for the night a snow 
storm of unusual severity came up and continued with unabated fury until 
morning, and when the new settlers awoke they found the ground covered to 
a depth of ten inches with freshly-fallen snow. This was indeed a wintry 
greeting for the pioneers, but with dauntless courage they went to work and 
arranged their camp for the winter; protecting it with wagon boxes, and 
making as comfortable a home as a tent could afford. 

In the spring the men began the construction of a log house which 
was completed and occupied by the first of May. They also cleared and 
broke eight acres of land, and the crop raised during the season indicated 
the fertility of the Beaver Creek soil. 

In 1853 Judge George Gale of La Crosse purchased about two thousand 
acres of land, including the present location of Galesville, with the water 
power on Beaver Creek ; and, in January, 1854, he procured from the state 
legislature, the organization of the new county of Trempealeau, with the 
location of the county seat at Galesville, and at the same time obtained a 
charter for a university, to be located at that place. In June of the same 
year the village plot of Galvesville was laid out, and subsequently the flour 
mills were erected. A. H. Armstrong was the first man to put up a building 
in the new village and Ryland Parker opened the first grocery store, keeping 
it in conjunction with a hotel. 

One of the first to settle in the township of Gale after Galesville was 
conceived was B. F. Heuston, who had settled in Trempealeau in 1851. 
During the winter of 1853 he moved into a house which he had built about 
half a mile south of what afterward became the site of the county court- 
house at Gale. In the fall of 1853, or early in 1854, Peter and George Uhle 
settled in Crystal Valley, three miles from Galesville. John Dettinger also 
settled near-by in that year. 

Galesville grew rapidly, and in a short time new settlers were turning 
their eyes to the upper Beaver Creek region. The land seekers were looking 
for a farming section, and it is not strange that the rolling lands of this 
fertile valley attracted their attention. 

As early as May, 1855, John Cance settled in what is now the town 
of Ettrick. Cance came from Glasgow, Scotland, to America in 1854, and 
remained in Jersey City, N. J., a short time, when he decided to move west 
to Freeport, 111. He remained in Freeport all winter, and in the spring 
of 1855 he started for Trempealeau County, Wisconsin, and on May 25 


arrived at Beaver Creek. His brother-in-law, Andrew C. Purvis came with 
him, and the two men took up land and selected suitable building place 
within a few days of their arrival. 

In 1856 Charley White and Mike Cullity settled in the valley, and in 
1857-58 Robert Cance and Alexander Cance arrived and located land adjoin- 
ing their brother's farm. During the next few years Dan Kennedy, Thomas 
Wall, John Mahony, Darby Whalen, John Lynch and James Corcoran joined 
the Beaver Creek settlers. 

The first settlers in what is now known as North Beaver Creek were 
Iver Orianson (Torblaa) and Iver Knutson (Syse), who came in 1857. 

In 1858 K. K. Hallanger, Amund Olsen, R. Richelson, Thomas and 
Nels Herreid, Ole Skaar, Simon Nelson, T. R. Thompson, N. B. Henderson, 
Lars Hanson, Ole Ellingson, Orians Torblaa, Ole Dale, Erick Tronsen and 
Nels Oakland came. Anve Olsen, Arne Arneson, Torkel Gunderson and 
Torkel Halderson came in 1859, and Knudt Hagestad in 1860. 

The first settlers in the French Creek district were Peter A. Hogden, 
John A. Hogden and Andrew A. Hogen, who came in 1859. Ole Gilbertson 
came in 1860, and the same year Gilbert Nelson and Hans Johnson moved 
into the South Beaver Creek region. 

When a postoffice was established in the new settlement and John 
Cance received the appointment of postmaster, he turned to his native land 
for an appropriate name for the office. He was a great admirer of Scott's 
works, and in Marmion introduction to canto second appears the following 
couplet : 

"The scenes are desert now and bare. 
Where flourished once a forest fair," 

and again, further along in the same canto, mention is made of "pathless 
Ettrick." According to a foot note in Marmion, Ettrick Forest was a 
mountainous region anciently reserved for the pleasure of the royal chase. 
The game preserve was known far and wide throughout Scotland as Ettrick 
Forest or Ettrick. And so John Cance chose this ancient Scotch name for 
the new postoffice, and when the town was organized at the first town 
meeting held in Cance's residence April 17, 1863, the name Ettrick was 
again chosen. 

Settlers poured into the valley rapidly during the next ten years, and 
though markets were distant, the slow, but sure, ox team hauled the farm 
produce that brought a harvest of gold to the hardy pioneers. 

L. L. Grinde of Galesville many years afterward recalled many inci- 
dents of pioneer life in upper Beaver Creek, where he settled in the fall 
of 1860. Speaking of that period, he said, "Many of the early settlers lived 
in dug-outs — just holes burrowed in the side of a hill or bank, and they 
remained in these cave dwellings until they were able to buikt log houses. 
Often two families would work together on a log structure and when it 
was completed would occupy it jointly until circumstances were such that 
another log cabin could be built. Markets at that time were La Crosse, 
Sparta and Trempealeau, and it took sevei'al days to make the round trip. 
What was called speculator land could be bought in the valley then for five 


dollars an acre, and there was still considerable government land which 
could be taken by pre-emption." 

Cornelius Lynch of Ettrick told of his first visit to Beaver Creek in 
1859. "A number of settlers were living here then," said Lynch, "in their 
log houses, but a comparatively small amount of land was being cultivated. 
There was an abundance of game here at that time, such as deer, wolves 
and bear and the prairie chickens, pigeons, native pheasants and quail." 

Nora Cullity, who was born in Galesville September 22, 1855, and 
reputed to be the first child born in Beaver Creek Valley related experiences 
of the early settlers. Our nearest neighbors, she said, were John Cance and 
Dan Kennedy, and neighbors were appreciated in the sparsely settled 
country, for it was sometimes necessary for a family to borrow flour suflfi- 
cient to last until they could get to the distant market. It was customary to 
change work in the pioneer day, and people turned out to help at a house 
or barn raising or in threshing time the men generally helped each other 
and the women were as eager to lend a hand at the quilting bee. 

"I have often heard mother tell of watching the wolves on the hills 
through the chinks in the log house as she sat knitting by the fireside, and 
their howl often broke the white silence of a wintry night with a startling 

What changes have taken place in this valley in the last sixty years, 
The dugout was soon obliterated and the log house that took its place, 
though it stood for years, has long since faded into oblivion and made way 
for the frame house, which in turn has been succeeded by the modern 
pressed brick residence. There are some of the old-time frame houses left 
in the valley, but no log cabin remains to mark the pioneer epoch — np log 
school house lingers by the way. No savage war cry has echoed from 
these hills since the days of Decorah, but of a summer evening one can 
hear the farmer boy calling the cattle home, and the wildest sound in all 
the broad valley is the bay of the watch dog. 

The large valley, whose length is approximately thirty-five miles, has 
some of the most progressive farmers in the state. One may find plenty 
of farms with registered stock, and with modern dwelling houses that would 
grace the residence section of any city, and then the splendid barns and 
other farm buildings are in accord with the dwellings. And one will be 
surprised with the equipment, which is the best that money can obtain, and 
consists of electric lights, water works, sanitary feeding stalls, the silo and 
all of the very best and latest farm machinery. 

What early settler ever dreamed of all these modern improvements? 
They had not even the shadow of a dream that approached the reality. 

Looking over the names in this locahty one is struck with varied human 
activities, remote and present, which they suggest : The trappers' paradise, 
Beaver Creek, so named on account of abundance of beaver in its waters 
in former times ; French Creek and Frenchville, names that point back to 
the days of Rocque, the trapper and trader, who built a cabin near the 
present Galesville in 1820 ; Iduna, a name taken from one of the characters 
in Norse mythology; Ettrick, the ancient Scotch name, and Hegg, which 
brings to mind the fame of our state in the Civil War ; Galesville, which 


suggests the sturdy character of that man whose brain felt into the future ; 
the sentinel peak, Decorah, named from an Indian chief with a corrupted 
French name. 

Over a century ago the Winnebago and Dakotas divided hunting ground 
in the Beaver Creek territory. A century has fled since Decorah stood on 
his famous peak and watched his braves battle with the Chippewa, and 
sixty-one years have passed since John Cance came into the valley and 
built his log cabin, thatching the roof with wild grass so that it resembled 
the low thatched cottages of far away Scotland. 

In the years to come no period of American history will be filled with 
more romance and hardy adventure than the heroic pioneer age, nor fraught 
with greater interest, for on this rough hewn foundation our national 
character has been developed. 

Frenchville had its first store in 1867, when Iver Federson and Ole 
Scow came from Coon Valley, La Crosse County, and opened a general 
mercantile establishment. In 1870 Mr. Federson sold out to Mrs. Ole Scow 
and moved to Ettrick. 

Ettrick had its first store in 1870, when Iver Federson came here from 
Frenchville. Seven years later he laid out the village plot of Ettrick, and 
thenceforth this Beaver Creek settlement took its place among the progres- 
sive Trempealeau County villages. Mr. Federson's enterprise and business 
capacity were soon revealed in the growth of the new village. As new 
methods were advanced he adopted them, and before many years had 
elapsed his business eye saw the need of a flour mill in Ettrick. With 
characteristic energy, he turned his attention to this new industry, and 
in 1884 completed a flouring mill having a capacity of seventy-five barrels 
per day. He was also instrumental in establishing the woolen mills and 
creamery at Ettrick and was one of the promoters of the Ettrick Bank, of 
which institution he was president. 

Ettrick and the upper Beaver Creek country, though somewhat distant 
from a railway, has made its disadvantage its opportunity, and instead of 
hauling large quantities of grain to market, the dairy feature of farming 
was developed to a high degree, and produce from this source proved to 
be not only more profitable, but much more conveniently handled than bulky 
grain, potatoes and hay. 

Galesville was founded by Judge George Gale, jurist, educator and 
author. Unable to enthuse the people of La Crosse with the idea of securing 
for that place an institution of higher learning, he determined to establish 
somewhere in the vicinity a university city. After looking about for a 
while, he selected a beautiful spot in the Beaver Creek most admirably 
suited to his purpose. Here, amid a picturesque stretch of hill and dale, 
lay two tables or plateaus, separated by a wide depression or flat, and 
watered by the meandering course of the creek, whose gorge-like bed seemed 
especially designed for the building of a dam and the creation of an artificial 
lake. The land was unsettled and cheap, and Judge Gale had no difficulty 
in securing 2,000 acres in the vicinity of his chosen site. 

His duties at La Crosse prevented his moving at once to his new 
possessions, so in 1854 he sent Augustus H. Armstrong to start operations 


in inaugurating the future village. Mr. Armstrong erected a residence on 
what is now known as the lower or courthouse table, and as soon as the 
weather of the late spring permitted, superintended the construction of a 
mill and dam, the stone and the timber being obtained from the gorge itself. 

Dr. William M. Young, a brother of Mrs. Gale, arrived a short time 
later, followed by Michael Cullity, who erected a shanty on the lower table 
on the south side of what is now Allen street, between Ridge and Main 
streets. An interesting example of conditions in those days is seen in the 
fact that Dr. Young and Mr. Cullity started out at sunrise to obtain the 
material for this shanty, and before night had it ready for occupancy by 
the Cullity family. Ryland Parker opened a small store east of the south- 
east corner of the public square on the present site of the Bank of Galesville. 
He started a hotel on the corner of Main and Allen streets, lot 2, block 3, 
original plat. Captain Finch started a home northeast of the northeast 
corner of the public square, but later sold out to Captain Alexander A. 
Arnold. Work on the mill progressed slowly. The dam proved inadequate 
and the harnessed waters soon broke their bonds. Judge Gale therefore 
secured the services of William 0. Clark as builder and Ebenezer Batchelder 
as millwright, and under their auspices the dam was repaired and sawing 
started. The grist mill, obtaining power from the same dam, was not 
put into operation until later. 

While the lower table, now the business district, was thus the scene 
of pioneer activity in 1854, the upper table, now the residence district, 
was receiving its first settlers. Isaac Clark established his home near the 
west end of what is now the north side of Clark street, and John French 
located on the west side of what is now French street. A Mr. Crawford 
came in about the same time, accompanied by his sister, and lived here a 
while in their pioneer wagon. The sister was a strong-minded woman, a 
follower of Lucy Stone, and wore a bloomer suit instead of the conven- 
tional feminine attire, thus provoking much satirical and sometimes cruel 
comment on the part of the other settlers. A. R. Wyman ei'ected a house 
on the upper table, but later moved onto a farm, leaving his original home 
to be used for many years as a boarding house for university students. 
The village was platted on both tables April 22, 1854. 

The population of both tables probably did not number thirty people 
on New Year's Day, 1855. A few settlers arrived during that year. Early 
in 1856 J. W. Armstrong, then registrar of deeds, occupied a house on 
Ridge street ; Ryland Parker was a merchant on the corner of Allen street 
and the square; Daniel McKeith had a primitive home; WiUiam P. Clark 
was engaged with Judge George Gale and Ebenezer Batchelder in building 
a grist mill and operating a sawmill ; Franklin Gilbert resided down on the 
flats upon what afterward became Mill street; A. R. W^mian resided on 
Ridge street ; Isaac Clark on Clark street, and J. C. French on French street. 
The hotel, of which Ellsworth was landlord, corner of Allen and Main streets. 
was finished, and in the full flush of success. The improvements completed 
included among others the courthouse and a schoolhouse. The schoolhouse 
was on the site of the present high school. The courthouse was still standing 
as a west part of the building north of the west corner of the public square. 


Later in the year the village saw a considerable growth. J. W. Canter- 
bury opened the first blacksmith shop. C. E. Perkins, afterward a promi- 
nent county officer, erected a residence on Free street ; W. H. Wyman on 
Elizabeth street ; George W. Swift on Clark street ; R. B. Cooper on Ridge 
street, and G. H. Burnham on Allen street. C. C. Averill, Nathaniel Stearns, 
who had been to Gales.ville in 1855, and George W. Stearns located here, and 
the latter two moved into the Armstrong house on Allen street. The Rev. 
D. D. Van Slyke, organizer of the Methodist church in the village, also 
built a house. Captain Bartlet completed a house in which the postoffice 
was this year opened, with Dr. William M. Young as postmaster. Several 
of the pioneer shanties were replaced with frame houses. 

With this beginning, the village experienced a quick growth, enjoying 
a heyday of prosperity until the close of the Civil War. The panic of 1857 
apparently did not retard the progress. In 1859 an attempt was made to 
transfer some of the business from the lower to the upper table. J. M. 
Dodge built a store on Ridge street and soon sold to R. A. Odell, who con- 
ducted it for several years. This was the only store ever started on the 
upper table. 

Work on Gale College, on the upper table, was started in 1858, the 
preparatory department opened in the courthouse in the summer of 1859 
and the collegiate department opened in the fall of 1861. The first county 
fair was held in the fall of 1859. The Galesville Transcript was established 
in 1860. 

During this period of prosperity many houses were erected, several 
church societies perfected their organizations, and the Rev. John Frothing- 
ham, first Presbyterian minister to be settled in the county, took charge 
of his work. 

. On June 2, 1866, the dam went out, and destruction and desolation 
marked the rush of waters. The hotel on the flat, put up in 1857 ; the saw 
and grist mills and other improvements were swept away in an hour, 
entailing a loss of not less than $10,000. The next spring Webster Davis 
purchased the water power privileges and the debris left by the flood, and 
began the construction of a new dam and mill on the present site several 
rods above the old location. 

Of Galesville, in the fall of 1870, Stephen Richmond has said: 

"It was a beautiful, thriving and famed little city, nestling in the 
shade of the mighty cliff, which then as now, forms the east bank of Beaver 
Creek, under the shadow of which towered the granite walls of the Davis 
Flouring Mill, the whir and busy trundle of which bespoke an active 
industry. Galesville University stood near the western boundary or out- 
skirts of the village after the fashion of southern colleges and was then 
a flourishing school under the presidency of Professor Gilliland and a corps 
of strong, active teachers. The public square in the center of the business 
part of the village on the lower table was also a reminder of southern cities 
and villages, on the north side of which stood the courthouse, the remainder 
of the square being built about by business places, all active with bustle 
and an air of successful local commerce, presenting a scene and fixing in 
my memory a very pleasant remembrance of that day, then bespeaking 


the intelligence, business ability and financial foresight of a community of 
people able to cope successfully with all municipal problems. It was a sight 
not to be in all the years since effaced from my memory. 

"On the day of which I try to sketch my mental picture, the public 
square, the streets, and along the bank of the creek were many teams 
from the country, and many of the active, hardy, intelligent fai'mers, their 
wives and children, who were tributary to Galesville, as their market place, 
were present. Good order was manifest everywhere, and the democracy 
of which so many have spoken and written was surely there. Away to 
the north spread in a sheen of golden ripple lay the Davis mill pond looking 
in all respects like a lake formed by the handiwork of Providence, whil 
to the southwest could be seen the mighty bluffs and rugged hills in Minne- 
sota ranged along the western side of the Mississippi River. Every line 
of local municipal activity now present in, and the boast of modern days, 
appeared to be actively and intelligently represented. The ragged edge of 
the frontier town and the far-western outpost were absent, and there was 
an air of permanency, tradition and stability usually lacking in new towns." 

Trempealeau Prairie lies in the southern part of Trempealeau County, 
about fifteen miles long and from three to five miles wide. Over this 
prairie all the early settlers of the county hauled their grain to market. 
There were three main routes from the Trempealeau Valley after the ridge 
was crossed. The Beaver Creek Valley and the Tamarack Valley route 
joins at Centerville, then called Martin's Corners. The Pine Creek route 
reached the prairie at Wright's Corners. After the hills, sloughs and log 
ways were passed, the early settlers were assured of a safe, steady passage 
to Trempealeau, situated on the south edge of the prairie on the Mississippi 
River, then the great highway of commerce. 

Settlers began to locate on the prairie surrounding Trempealeau at 
an early date. Their story has been told in connection with the history 
of the village. Not long afterward a populous settlement sprang up a+ 
what is known as West Prairie. The first permanent settler on West Prairie 
was HoUister Wright, who located in 1853 at what was afterward known 
as Wright's Corners. He bought out an earlier claimant who had selected 
a location and planted potatoes. It is said that Wright was walking over 
the prairie, met a man digging potatoes, and bought him out after a five- 
minute conversation. In 1854 came W. A. Cram, D. A. Segar, 0. Whitcomb 
and William Lee. These four, with Wright, all had their crops harvested 
when D. 0. Van Slyke arrived in November of that year. 

About 1855 settlers came in large numbers, mostly i/i wagon trains 
drawn by oxen. They crossed Black River at McGilvray's Ferry on a flat 
boat propelled by poles and held in place by a rope stretched from one bank 
to the other. The oxen were often the cause of a great deal of trouble, 
for, after being turned loose on the prairie at night to feed, it often took 
all the forenoon to round them up ready to move on. 

On the east bank of the Trempealeau settled Isaac Nash, who, with 
his large family, were well adapted to a new country, because they were 
versed in the use of the natural resources of the land. From the woods 
they secured logs for a house and fuel for their stove, while the river 


abounded in fish and the land in small game. With the family came Jacob 
Holbrook, also a man of resource. With an ax and auger he could fashion 
a bob-sled or an ax-yoke. He operated the first miU and made sorgum syrup. 

Among the first settlers were Avery Wellington (he was called "Duke," 
and the street on which he lived bears that name), William Burns, Seba 
Atwood and Amos Whiting, educator and leader in pubhc affairs. One 
of the interesting characters of the time was Dow Ladd, a down-east 
Yankee, who served as justice of the peace. He was full of whims, and a 
bitter feud existed between him and the boys of the neighborhood, who 
often raided his melon patch and annoyed him in other ways. 

John Gillies and family, Alex Stevens and family, and John and George 
Brewin arrived in June, 1855, and settled on South Prairie. No lumber 
could be obtained at Trempealeau, and John GiUies and Alex McGilvray 
went to Douglass Mill, near Melrose, and rafted timber down to McGilvray's 
Ferry, whence it was carted to the prairie. 

Many others came this year and the years immediately following, and 
the prairie was soon thickly settled. 

The early settlers were for the most part New Englanders, and, coming 
from a hilly and rocky country, were attracted by the easy turning of the 
soil and its quick production. 

Often on Sunday evenings the people gathered at some home for kindly 
greeting and mutual comfort. By common impulse their thoughts turned 
to far-off New England, with its religious atmosphere, and as their 
memories lingered on the familiar scenes and places of the past, there floated 
out on the evening air the hymns and songs of other days — to the boys 
and girls evenings never to be forgotten. 

The first schoolhouse on what is known as West Prairie was built east 
of the present brick structure as the result of the work of Amos Whiting. 
The building was later replaced on the present site by a large building 
which more recently gave place to the brick structure. A Union Sunday 
school has been held there almost continuously since 1858. 

In 1863 a cemetery was laid out on the corner of the farm of I. D. 
Carhart, under the direction of Amos Whiting, whose daughter was the 
first to be buried there. The land was given by Mr. Carhart. The cemetery 
in charge of an association, has been several times enlarged and is now 
permanently fenced. An artistic pagoda has been erected and a permanent 
fund provided for its maintenance. 

From Trempealeau Prairie the settlers gradually penetrated the Little 
and Big Tamarack, and slowly working up that valley, settled in Holcomb 
Cooley, Thompson Valley, Norway Cooley, and in numerous other branching 
cooleys and valleys. 

Dodge was settled in the middle fifties from Trempealeau, Trempealeau 
Prairie and the Tamarack Valley. The poi'tion first settled was that lying 
tributary to Tamarack Valley and that lying in the Trempealeau River 
flats and small cooleys adjacent to West Prairie. In 1855 Martin Whistler 
crossed Whistler Pass and settled in the Pine Creek Valley, and within 
a year Ichabod Wood had settled in section 14. Other early English and 
American settlers in the vicinity of Whistler Pass were John L. Sanderson, 


Almon A. Johnson, Joseph Utter and Charles Keith. The first Polish settler 
in Dodge was Michael Chisin, of Winona, who, in the spring of 1862, settled 
on the abandoned claim of John Banner. 

It was probably about 1862 when the PoUsh people began to settle in 
Pine Creek. They were induced to locate here by John Schmangle, a man 
who spoke English, German and Polish. The first six families were those 
of Paul Libera, Paul Leishman, Paul Rudnick, Joseph Zabrinsky, Anton 
Zabrinsky and Felix Kamarowski. These Polish families were living in 
the valley when Mathias Brom, a native of Bohemia, settled there in 1863. 

In 1863 there were no improved roads into Pine Creek. The market 
points were Trempealeau Village and Fountain City all the year around, 
and Winona when the river was frozen. With no improved road over the 
ridge communication with Arcadia was most difficult. 

A mill was built on Pine Creek in the sixties. It was washed out by 
a flood in 1872 and was not rebuilt. 

The fii'st German settler in the Trempealeau Valley in Dodge township 
was George F. Staflin, who settled in section 11, east of the present village, 
on March 10, 1857. About the same time came Casper Walwand, the first 
settler in the immediate vicinity of the present village. 

Above Dodge one of the first settlers was John Latsch, afterward a 
prominent wholesale grocer of Winona. He came here in 1856 and settled 
near a creek at the mouth of the valley that now bears his name. In 1865 
Frank Pellowski settled in the same valley, and in the next five years there 
arrived so many settlers from Hungary that the valley came to be called 
Hungary Valley. The name of Latsch Valley is being gradually resumed, 
especially for that part of the valley near its mouth." 

Arcadia, the first settlement in the Trempealeau Valley above Trem- 
pealeau Prairie, had its beginning in 1855. Soon after the Indians relin- 
quished their rights to this region, in 1837, James Reed, the first perma- 
nent settler of Trempealeau County, made several journeys up the Ti-em- 
pealeau River in search of furs. The Bunnells, Willard B. and Lafayette 
H., came to Trempealeau in 1842. Willard B. Bunnell hunted and trapped 
on some of the tributaries of the Trempealeau in the autumn of the same 
year, naming Elk and Pigeon creeks because of his successful hunts there- 
upon. In the autumn of 1843 the two brothers Bunnell, in company with 
Thomas A. Holmes and William Smothers, ascended the Trempealeau as 
far as the present village of Independence, where the party camped and 
spent several days hunting elk in the surrounding country. 

The valley had been a favorite hunting ground of the Indians long 
before the coming of white hunters, and tradition concerns itself with some 
of the principal landmarks, such as Barn Bluff ; but the occasional hunters 
and trappers who penetrated into the interior, enjoying their wild life of 
adventure, had no purpose to settle the country, and little dreamed the 
low marshy grounds along the Trempealeau River would ever afford a site 
for a village such as Arcadia is at the present day. 

When the first settlers arrived at Arcadia they found a defense of 
breastworks, proving that some time soldiers had visited the place. The 
apparent age of the excavations at that time indicated they had been built 


several years before. Julius Hensel, a veteran of the War of Secession 
and an early settler in Ai-cadia, reports that the Indians claimed that a 
company of soldiers came up the valley shortly after the Black Hawk War, 
and near the present village of Arcadia met a band of Indians. No hostilities 
occurred, but the soldiers deemed it prudent to be prepared in case any 
evidence of enmity on the part of the tribesmen should be shown, and 
therefore erected breastworks. Where the soldiers were going or what their 
mission may have been has never been ascertained, and any effort to gain 
more information concerning their movements has thus far been futile. 

The first permanent settlement of Arcadia came about in the autumn 
of 1855, when four men came up from southern Wisconsin by way of La 
Crosse, with a drove of cattle. They crossed the Black River at McGilvray's 
Ferry and made their way across country to Fountain City. The few people 
they met had much to say of the Trempealeau Valley, a region as yet little 
frequented except by hunters and trappers. 

These men were Colhns Bishop, George Dewey, George Shelley and 
James Broughton. Having reached Fountain City and disposed of their 
stock, they started out one bright autumn morning to see for themselves 
whether the Trempealeau Valley was a suitable location for their future 
homes, for they were actuated by no other motive than home-building. 

They had lived for several years previous to this time in Dodge County, 
where the stone was so numerous in the fields that the only sales of land 
were made when the snow was deep. They spent so much time in looking 
over the country as they came along that they only got as far as George 
Cowie's that day, where they stayed all night, and the next morning resumed 
their journey to the river. Arriving there, they drew cuts to see who 
should cross and find a suitable fording place. This was soon found, and 
they crossed the river near the site of the present bridge. For several years 
all the travel to Fountain City was through this ford. 

After passing through the river they followed an Indian trail east to 
the table land over nearly the same ground now occupied by Main street. 
Upon reaching the hill they looked around for some mark to indicate a 
section corner, and about a half mile due east from there saw two burr oak 
trees standing close together. 

These trees were at that time about six inches in diameter at their 
base, and proved to be witness trees, or, as the pioneers sometimes called 
them, "bearing trees," so the settlers had no difficulty in establishing 
section lines with these for a starting point. They located four homesteads, 
now owned by W. E. Bishop, George Schmidt, J. I. Dewey and M. N. 
Lehnerts, respectively. 

The settlers returned to Mr. Cowie's for the night, and the next day 
came back and completed their preparations for entering the land, and 
picked out building spots. They were well satisfied with the appearance 
of the soil, and while the distant hillsides were covered with brush through 
which a team could make its way anywhere, they did not doubt that when 
prairie fires were no longer allowed to run, there would be a sufl[icient growth 
of timber for all their needs. The manner of choosing those homesteads 
was so unique that a brief mention may be of interest. 


They agreed to draw cuts for choice of quarter-sections, and the man 
A'ho had first choice paid $100 into a common fund, the second paid $90, the 
third $75, and the fourth $60, and then the whole amount was divided 
equally between them. 

They returned to Fountain City, and late the same autumn Collins 
Bishop hired James Broughton and a Mr. Davis to build a house on his land. 
They erected this near the bearing trees, using logs mostly, and boards 
for the roof. This was the first house built in Arcadia, and some of the 
boards are still doing service in a barn on the place, built a few years later. 

One of the trees was used for firewood the following winter when the 
snow fell to the depth of four feet on the level, but the other still stands, 
having now a circumference of twelve feet at its base, and is a fitting emblem 
of the lives and character of the pioneers who first reposed beneath its 

The next spring Collins Bishop took possession of his new home and 
broke several acres of land, which he planted to corn and potatoes. 

In 1856 the settlers petitioned the county board that Preston township 
be divided and a new town formed. Then it became necessary to decide 
upon a name. Hitherto the neighborhood had been known either as Bishop's 
Settlement, in honor of its founder, or as Barntown, on account of the 
number of barns erected by the early settlers. The petition regarding the 
formation of a new town was granted, and so, one winter day, the pioneer 
neighbors met at Bishop's cabin to name the town. The families repre- 
sented were those of James Broughton, George Shelly, David Bishop, Collins 
Bishop, Mrs. Annie B. Bishop, Jessie Penny and Noah D. Comstock. To 
the women was accorded the privilege of selecting the name. Mi's. David 
Bishop, afterward Mrs. Chai'les Mercer, offei-ed the name of Arcadia, which 
had been suggested by Noah D. Comstock. 

Mr. Comstock was a man of varied experience and possessed a broad 
and practical mind. He had crossed the continent in quest of gold in the 
excitement of the days of "Forty-Nine," but he saw in the quiet valleys 
of Arcadia a richer promise of gold than in the mountain regions of Cali- 
fornia. As he gazed on the numerous ranges of hills and the nestling 
valleys, he was thrilled with the grandeur of the scene. Its pastoral beauty 
appealed to him, and he saw the agi'icultural possibilities of the rough land 
and thought of the rugged mountain region in faraway Greece, the old home 
of the Arcadian peasants, who led a life of simple contentment amidst their 
wild surroundings. From Mr. Bishop's window the pioneers looked out 
on the New Arcadia, and on their way homeward admired with a new 
pleasure the scenes of their daily life. Rising above the low range of hills 
that skii-t the western horizon was "Barn Bluff," its clear-cut sides white 
with snow and with the little round peak contrasting sharply with the 
smooth contour of the distant hills. Toward the southeast rose "Noah's 
Bluff," and in every direction were ranges of hills encircling the lower 
basin, where stood the new-born town. And in among those hills were 
valleys, indented nooks and cooleys, with here and there a flat table land. 
Winding along among the low bushy bottom lands was the Trempealeau 


Eiver, draining the broad fertile valley that as yet was scarcely disturbed 
by the hand of man. 

Until this time it had been known as Bishop's Settlement. In 1857 
Daniel C. Dewey and Dr. I. A. Briggs moved to Arcadia. The good doctor 
not only attended to his medical practice, but found time to cultivate more 
or less land, and one summer, a few years later, it was noised around that 
he had a fine watermelon patch. They were not all old settlers in Arcadia 
by this time, and some of the young settlers started out one pleasant after- 
noon to investigate the truth of the report, supposing the doctor to be far 
away. They had no difficulty in finding the melons, but, unless all signs 
failed, there were no ripe ones. Just at the moment when they were 
busiest thumping on the melons and hunting for one that might do, they 
were startled by a slight sound from the fence alongside the patch. They 
looked up to see the doctor's blue eyes beaming on them in kindly humor as 
he said, "Well, well, boys, better wait till they are a little riper." 

In the spring of 1857 George Shelley began keeping store at his home 
on the present site of the George Schmidt residence. The first town meeting 
was held this spring, and Collins Bishop was elected chairman. The school 
system of Arcadia dates back to 1857 when District No. 1 of the town 
of Arcadia was established and Sarah MacMaster installed as teacher. 
The schoolhouse, which afterwards occupied three or four different sites 
and was used in turn as courthouse, printing office, feed mill and dwelling 
house, was originally located just across the street from John Danuser's 
residence in East Arcadia. It was built by James Warren, with lumber 
rafted down the river to Fountain City and hauled from there with ox 
teams. But such lumber can scarcely be found today. 

Two-by-fours were two inches by four inches, and generally a little 
more, and the builders had the privilege of throwing out any board found 
having a knot in it. The next year Albro C. Matterson started a blacksmith 
shop, and near it stood a frame for shoeing oxen. 

In 1860 Dr. Briggs and David Massuere undertook to build a flouring 
mill, but on account of the Civil War breaking out, were unable to complete 
it until five years later. In the meantime it was used as a residence until 
1865, when the machinery was installed, and the settlers were no longer 
obliged to make the long trips to Trempealeau or Pickwick for flour. The 
same year Gay T. Storm erected a store with lumber hauled from Trem- 
pealeau, and two or three years later built a brick store building, which 
still stands. That fall D. C. Dewey, with Dr. Isaac Briggs, opened a store 
at Dewey's Corners, now called Old Arcadia. 

Up to the outbreak of the war the arrivals, while not by any means 
unusually large, were fairly numerous and were composed of a superior 
class. With the advent of that calamity immigration entirely ceased. From 
1860 to 1867 times were dull and little improvement of anj^ kind was under- 
taken. During the war the Federal Congress passed a Homestead Bill that 
attracted a large foreign element which was distributed over the country 
tributory to the village, and furnished the means of developing the agri- 
cultural resources of the vicinity to a wonderful extent. From 1867 times 
began to improve, and considerable progress was made in all lines, increasing 


with each year and culminating in 1873 with the completion of the Green 
Bay & Minnesota Railroad. The lower town was built up at once, and many 
buildings from the upper town or "Old Arcadia" were removed to the new 

In looking over the Arcadia of today, we see the dreams of the pioneers 
more than realized. Since the day they waded the river and looked for 
the first time on the Trempealeau Valley, Arcadia has changed from a 
favorite hunting ground of the Indian to a productive agricultural land; 
from the home of wild fowl to a populous community, where instead of 
hills and valleys in a wild state of nature, we have all the evidences of an 
advanced civilization which is doing its part to "make two blades of grass 
grow where one grew before." 

Bishop's Settlement became the center for travelers looking for land, 
and in time the valleys leading into Trempealeau Valley received their first 

Burnside was first settled in 1856. Located as it was at the mouth 
of Elk Creek (Pleasant) Valley, it was a natural center, and its bottom 
lands near the junction of Elk Creek and Trempealeau River presented an 
attractive site. The first settlers were members of the Markham family. 
The story is told in full elsewhere. 

Hale. The first settler in Pleasant valley above Burnside was George 
Hale, the pioneer of the township that now bears his name. He came in 
1858 and settled nine miles up Elk Creek. Other early families in Hale 
were: Allen, Barry, Bruce, Christianson, Donley, ElUs, Heath, Mallery, 
Maloney, Lockman, Michaels, McFarlin, Olson, Scott, Spaulding, Lally, 
Smith, Stewart, Tull, Teller, Tallman, Van Tassel and Weeks. 

Chimney Rock Township, owing to the nature of its surface was not 
settled until after the other townships in the county. The first permanent 
settler was Daniel Borst, who brought his family here in 1865. About the 
same time Hans Herbjornson settled in Bennett Valley. He was followjid 
by Austin Gunderson, Halvor Austinson, Aslak Torgerson and Gudmund 
Knudson, all of whom settled in the same valley. A few years later there 
came an influx of Scandinavian settlers, until the township is now almost 
entirely peopled by that nationahty. 

Lincoln Township was settled in 1856 by men who came down the 
Trempealeau Valley from older parts of the state, men for the most part 
of English or New England birth. The first were Deacon Alvah Wood, 
Moses Ingalls and his two sons, Moses D. and Francis W., and Hiram and 
Albert Stratton. 

The Galesville Transcript of September 28, 1860, describes a visit to 
these pioneers. The first house encountered in the valley after coming up 
over the ridge from French Creek was that of Henry Lake, the pioneer 
of Lake Cooley. Lake had arrived from Walworth County New York, in 
1855 with 100 head of cattle. In 1860 he already had a large farm, with 
130 acres of small grain, 80 acres of clover and 14 acres of peas. He had 
adopted the plan of sowing timothy with his small grain and thus had 
pasturage for his stock just at the time the prairie grass failed in the 
fall. In section 7, Preston, was S. S. Rice, who likewise had a fine farm. 


Then came the farms of James Hopkins and Wessel Lowe, in sections 6 
and 7, Preston. Wilham Van Sickle was near-by in section 31, Preston. 
D. W. Wade was in section 36, Lincoln Township. Next down the Trem- 
pealeau Valley, in section 25, Lincoln, was Deacon Alvah Wood, upon 
whose farm was one of the first pieces of land cultivated in this region. 
A few farms had been opened between the Deacon Wood farm and the 
home of A. L. Sherwood, in section 21. Mr. Sherwood, whose home was 
on the bank of the Trempealeau, had beautified his place with a fine lawn 
shaded with many native trees. Not far away was Hiram Stratton, in 
section 15, and E. F. Wade, in section 28. Near-by, too, was the home of 
Frank W. and Moses D. Ingalls and their venerable father. Rev. Moses 
Ingalls. On the farm was a good field of sorghum, a good acreage of potatoes, 
a field of large onions, and many roses and other flowers. The people of 
the valley were doing their trading at Sparta, owing to the fact that there 
was no good wagon road to Galesville, Trempealeau, La Crosse or Fountain 
City. A little later, when the roads were improved, Trempealeau became 
the shipping and trading point for these pioneers. 

Whitehall was started in 1860 or 1861 in the locality now known as 
Old Whitehall, about a mile from the present village, by Ole Knudtson. His 
biography in the custody of the Trempealeau County Historical Society 
states that he was born in Norway in 1819, came to Chicago in 1844, located 
at Woodstock, McHenry County, Illinois, four months later, and in 1859 
settled at Mineral Springs in Jackson County. He came to Whitehall June 
25, 1860, and opened a hotel and blacksmith shop. 

The proprietors of the town site were Benjamin Wing and 

Georges. The plat was recorded May 23, 1862. 

Soon after the village was started some 200 Indians camped along the 
flats in the vicinity, and Georges did a flourishing business selling them 
whiskey. To prevent this, Mr. Knudtson bought him out, on condition 
that he leave the region. 

Of the origin of Whitehall, the Galesville Transcript of September 13, 
1861, says: 

"The people of Trempealeau Valley in the vicinity of Pigeon Valley 
have long felt the need of a market for their wheat and a business center 
in their midst. To this end they are now engaged in erecting a new village 
and making the waters of the Trempealeau River serviceable in carrying 
off their produce to the Mississippi. Last week a meeting was called by 
the citizens to enquire into the practicability of making use of the river for 
flatboats, and the opinion was confidently expressed by those acquainted 
with the stream that by laying out $1,000 in removing obsti'uctions, boats 
carrying from 15 to 30 tons could be made to run the river. A committee 
of three was appointed to examine the river and report. If their report 
is favoi'able, it is proposed to organize a company, obtain a charter, and 
raise funds for clearing the channel. 

"The site of the new town (which has received the name of Whitehall) 
is on the bank of Pigeon Creek, one half mile from its confluence with the 
Trempealeau. As respects its situation for building a town, it cannot be 


surpassed. It contains within its limits an excellent waterpower. Arrange- 
ments are to be made for the erection of a gi-ist mill early next season. 

"Mr. Knudtson has nearly completed his new dwelling — the first in 
the place. He is a blacksmith by trade, and is now situated to look after 
the wants of the people in this line. Messrs. Wing and Georges, proprietors 
of the town site, are building a store. It will be completed and filled with 
goods before winter. They have the assurance that several families will 
come to settle in the place next spring. They are selling lots on very reason- 
able terms to those who intend to build on them." 

Pigeon Township lies largely in Pigeon Valley, branching from the 
Trempealeau Valley near Whitehall. It was first settled about 1860 or 
1861 by Edwin Cummings, who located in section 19. Joshua D. South- 
worth was the second. In 1863 came Phineas Wright, who opened the mill 
at Coral City. At this point a flourishing village sprang up. 

The vanguard of the sturdy Scandinavian element which now peoples 
the valley arrived in 1864 in the persons of Ole Anderson Aga and Hans 
Ole Nielson, who came with ox teams from Dane County. 

Preston Township was settled in 1855. There were two distinct groups, 
one group consisting of men of some means from the Eastern States, and 
the other group consisting of a Scandinavian colony from older Wisconsin 
counties. Among the Americans were Ebenezer Thurston, Robert Thomp- 
son, E. M. Reynolds, John B. Dunning, Simon S. Rice, John Hopkins and 
others. Richard Porter, by some believed to have been the first settler in 
the township, died a few weeks after his arrival, before his cabin was 
erected, as a result, it is said, of an encounter with a band of wolves. In 
the Scandinavian colony were GuUick Olson, Sivert Johnson, Lars Olson, 
Bjorgo Olson, Sigbjurne EUickson, Peder Pederson, Gullick A. Storlee, Bengt 
Danielson, Nels Halverson, Jacob Tenneson and others. Family traditions 
and family Bibles differ considerably as to the date of the arrival of these 
pioneers. Some place Gullick Olson's arrival the year previous, and give 
him the credit of being the first settler. Others declare that Sivert Johnson 
and not Gullick Olson was the one who arrived in 1854. 

Albion, lying in the Beef River Valley, was settled in 1856, in which 
year William Moon, Burden Cross, David Chase and A. U. Gibson arrived 
with their families. Moon, Cross and Chase settled in the eastern part of 
the township, south of the Beef River, in the vicinity of what afterward 
was known as Hamlin. Gibson settled some three miles back from the river 
in the western part of the township adjoining what afterward became the 
village of Norden. Preparations were at once made for the coming winter. 
On July 3 Moon broke the virgin soil, put in potatoes the following day, 
and in the fall gathered a fair quantity, the first crop in the township. 

The experience of the Gibsons is a typical one. The family arrived 
October 7, 1856, from Argyle, Lafayette County, where Mr. Gibson had 
settled in 1839, and where he had gained a thorough knowledge of coping 
with the difficulties of pioneer life. Upon coming to Albion with their yoke 
of oxen, their goods and their stock, the family set to work erecting a home. 
It was made of tamarack logs, chinked on the inside with moss from near-by 
swamps and sodded over from the ground up. There was no floor and no 


windows, and only one room. A little wild grass was cut for hay, but 
after being dried proved inadequate for feeding purposes. While planning 
their life here the Gibsons had shipped a great quantity of flour, pork, beans 
and other provisions from Galena to Fountain City. But before these provi- 
sions could be moved to the cabin home the winter came on, a winter more 
severe than has since been experienced. Snow started to fall on November 
7, 1856, and continued for three days and three nights. When the calm 
came at last the snow lay seven feet deep on the level and was heaped in 
great drifts against the hillsides and in the valleys. 

The Gibsons, thus shut off from the rest of the world, were miles from 
their neighbors. To the north, five miles in Eau Claire County, was the 
Gunn family. To the west, in Buff'alo County, Mondovi was seven miles 
away, and the family of George Rosman was the only one to be found on 
the trail. Sam Cook, of Dover, ten miles away, was the nearest neighbor 
to the south. Five miles to the east were the three families at Hamhn. 

The Gibson family nearly starved, and all of their stock except the 
oxen died. The family was kept alive by purchasing a few bushels of seed 
wheat from the Moon family at Hamlin, carting it five miles over the crust 
on a hand-sled, and grinding it in a coffee-mill to make coarse flour for 
bread. A little hay was secured from the same source and transported in 
the same way. In March, 1857, a child was born to the Moon family. In 
order to be in attendance, Mrs. Gibson had her two sons take her over 
the snow five miles on the hand sled, which on the return trip was utilized 
for carrying a load of hay for the oxen. 

An interesting story is told of De Lorma Gibson, a fourteen-year-old 
boy, and William Morton, a member of the Gibson household. In March, 
1857, the man and the boy were hunting, when they came across some bear 
tracks. Following the dog along the trail, they encountered an unusually 
large black bear. The man lost his courage, but the plucky Ijoy took the 
gun, and with one shot broke the bear's neck and cut his throat. With 
the assistance of Mr. and Mrs. John Gibson, who were summoned, the 
bear was taken home, where he furnished food for many days to come. 

When spring came, Moon, discouraged at the privations of the winter, 
determined to leave the county. He accordingly traded his 400-acre claim 
at Hamlin for an 80-acre tract in Dane County, on which a mortgage of $500 
had been placed. Russell Bowers, with whom he traded, arrived in Albion 
toward the end of June, 1857. His sons are still in the township. At the 
Bowers home the Hamlin postofRce was established. 

Cross, after remaining a few years, became discouraged, and returned 
to Dane County, from whence he came. Chase enlisted in the Civil War 
and was killed. Gibson spent the remainder of his life in this vicinity. 
He lives in history as the one who gave the township its name, Albion, the 
ancient title of Britain, a word for which he had a great fondness. 

M. B. Gibson, a son of A. U., is now the sole authority on early Albion 
history. He arrived June 9, 1857, bringing the remainder of the family 
belongings, together with some cattle and a pig. The trip of 200 miles 
was made with a team of horses, the first horses owned in the township. 
A stray pig, also the first of his kind in the township, followed the team 


all the way, arrived in good condition, and furnished the family with pork 
the following winter. A flag which Mr. Gibson brought with him was 
hoisted near Norden July 4, 1857, probably the first time that the stars 
and stripes had been flung to the breeze in Beef River Valley. 

Soon after the arrival of M. B. Gibson a trip was made to Fountain City 
for the provisions which had reached there the previous autumn. This 
food did not last to harvest, so later another trip to Fountain City was made. 
There corn was obtained. But no milling facilities, so a long trip had to 
be made to Eau Claire, to have the corn ground into meal. On this meal, 
with such wild game as deer, elk, bear and rabbit, the family subsisted. 
Tea, coffee and sugar were almost unknown luxuries. A beverage which 
was used as a substitute for coffee was made from parched corn and toasted 
bread crusts. After a few years sugar and syrup were obtained by tapping 
the trees on the Chippewa River, a considerable distance away. 

In 1857 the crops were good, though only a small acreage was planted, 
and the agricultural equipment was meager. Owing to the lateness of the 
arrival of the Bowers, the Gibson family rented the 20 acres which Moore 
had broken, and in the fall the first corn grown in the township was har- 
vested from this tract. The first wheat was raised this year by Barden 
Cross. The method of threshing was most primitive. A wide circle of 
ground was cleared, several shocks of wheat laid thereon, and the oxen 
driven back and forth over it until the grain was all threshed out. The first 
threshing machine in the neighborhood was a two-horse tread-power owned 
by George Cole, near Augusta. 

An interesting feature of pioneer life was the presence of the Indians 
in 1857. A band of Sioux and Winnebago camped a short distance below 
Norden. One day they killed three elk on Beef River. Bear, wolf, deer 
and elk were then plentiful, and an elk was killed by Russell Bowers as late 
at 1865. In the fall of 1857 the Indians, about 100 in number, moved to a 
site just below the present village of Eleva. From there they had trails 
all over the country, through the most accessible, and over the most con- 
venient crossings of the rivers and creeks. These trails remained for 
many years thereafter. 

The Indians were peaceable and friendly and often called at the Gibson 
home, where they were never turned away unfed. 

Unity Township was not settled until after the two townships on either 
side. A number of claims were taken in 1856, but so far as is known, none 
of the claimants were living here at that time. Nearly all the first settlers 
have moved away. Probably the first two settlers were Dennis Lawler, who 
settled south of the Buffalo River in the eastern part of the township, and 
P. B. Williams, who settled in the central part of the township and had land 
on both sides of the river. These settlers came about 1859. It was not 
until 1870 that the real influx of settlement came to this township. Among 
the pioneers may be mentioned Esten Johnson, Ole E. Johnson, Engebret 
Pederson, Anders Larson, Even Evenson, Martin E. Rognlien, Simon Rise, 
John Rise, Ole Svendson, Simon Olson, Peder Inislund, Ole Dahl, Paul 
Christopherson, Nels Kleven, Peder H. Bjornstad, Ole Thomasgaard, John 
Christianson, Hans Paulson, Martin Olson and Andrew Call. 


Sumner was settled in 1856 in the vicinity of the present village of 
Osseo. The first settlers were E. M. Sexton and W. A. Woodward. A year 
later a postoffice was established at Beef River Station, a mile from the 
present village, and George Silkworth appointed postmaster. The present 
village had its beginning in 1858, when W. H. and C. G. Thomas built and 
operated the first store. Excellent articles on the subject are found else- 
where in this volume. 

Land Office Records. The land office records are of but little value in 
determining the names of the early settlers. Many people filed on land 
which they had never seen and which they never occupied, others who were 
early settlers filed on land a year or more before their arrival, while on the 
other hand there were those who did not file until they had occupied their 
land for a considerable period. The list is, however, here appended, as it 
gives the names of the first land claimants, resident and otherwise, of the 
various townships in Trempealeau County. 

Township 18, range 7. 1852— Feb. 21, Charles F. Legate, 5. 1853— 
Dec. 29, Charles G. Hanscome, 6, 5. 1854 — Aug. 10, Richard Grant, 4. 

Township 19, range 7. 1852— June 28, Henry A. Wiltse, 26, 25. 1853 
—Dec. 13, John Irvine, 30; Dec. 23, William B. Hanscome, 31, 32; July 22, 
William W. Patrick, Jr., 31. 1854— Oct. 25, Dan Kennedy, Jr., 7 ; Oct. 25, 
Michael Cullity, 7; June 16, Frederick Hearth, 19, 30; March 7, Richard 
Bibby, 27 ; July 22, Christian Niemeier, 28 ; Aug. 7, JuUus Edwards, 29 ; July 
17, Jacob Pass, 30, 31 ; July 22, David Grant, 31, 32, 34 ; Feb. 23, William 
Patrick, Jr., 31 ; July 29, Charles V. Spiegel, 32 ; July 29, John Stellpflug, 33. 

Township 20, range 7. 1855 — Aug. 6, Robert Thompson, 6; July 18, 
Richard Porter, 6 ; Nov. 22, Edward W. Estabrook, 10, 15 ; July 19, Mary W. 
Woodward, 14 ; Aug. 11, George Gale, 14 ; Sept. 4, Charles Pike, 17, 20, 29 ; 
June 14, George B. Newell, 17, 20 ; June 14, Thomas Wall, 19, 20, 29, 30 ; Oct. 
10, Nathaniel Stearns, 30; July 19, William G. Bliss, 30; Nov. 1, Thomas H. 
Judd, 31 ; May 10, Albert J. Gary, 31 ; May 18, Franz Hoeppner, 32. 1856— 
June 4, George Gale, 11, 13, 14, 15 ; April 3, Mary N. Woodward, 13 ; May 26, 
William H. Wyman, 30; Jan. 2, Theo. Simonds, 31; Dec. 25, Thomas E, 
Woods, 1 ; Aug. 8, Franz Hoeppner, 32. 

Township 21, range 7. 1854— Oct. 30, Bircher Olson. 13. 1855— June 
29, Lars Olsen, 1 ; June 19, Syver Johnson, 1, 12 ; Nov. 14, Peder Pederson, 
1, 12 ; Aug. 17, Henry H. Steinburg, 7 ; June 27, Simon S. Rice, 7 ; June 21, 
George Coburn, 7; June 21, John J. Scrafford, 7, 8; July 19, Mary A. 
Woodward, 7, 18; Dec. 17, Albe Upham, 7, 15, 31; Sept. 14, Ebenezer 
Thurston, 8, 9, 17, 31 ; June 14, Sam A. Beckman, 11, 12 ; Aug. 3, Robert 
Thompson, 11, 15; June 11, Juhus Edwards, 12; April 14, Gullick Olson 
Storlee, 13 ; May 23, Birchard Olsen, 13 ; Nov. 14, Bert Danielson, 13 ; Oct. 
29, Ninian E. Primm, 13 ; Sept. 19, William H. Conger, 14, 20, 21, 23, 28, 29 ; 
April 14, Niels Halverson, 14; April 14, Jacob Tennerson, 14, 23; Oct. 30, 
Hiram Walker, 14, 15, 23, 24; Aug. 18, John Fitch, 14; July 2, Richard 
Porter, 15, 22; Aug. 24, Ann Porter, 15; June 27, Chester Beswick, 17; 
Sept. 17, Lysander P. Armstrong, 17, 20, 28, 31, 32 ; Aug. 13, Frederick A. 
Moore, 17; Aug. 8, Robert A. Lake, 18, 19, 21, 22, 28, 30; Nov. 15, Edwin 
M. Jones, 18 ; Oct. 1, George W. Mallory, 20, 21 ; June 27, Susan H. Reynolds, 


21, 32; Sept. 18, Daniel Webster, 22; Nov. 7, Alex L. Collins, 24; April 16, 
Romanzo Bunn, 28. 

Township 22, range 7. 1855 — April 5, Fred Boardman, 10; July 12, 
Julius Edwards, 13 ; Aug. 8, Dougald 0. Cameron, 18 ; Nov. 13, Bent Peder- 
son, 23; May 18, Gunder Anderson, 23, 25; May 23, Niels Halverson, 24; 
June 19, Lars Olson, 24; Feb. 6, Cornelius Griswold, 29; Nov. 13, Ransom 
Steel, 30 ; June 26, Dan Williams, 36. 1856— May 30, William B. Winston, 
3 ; June 3, George Gale, 3 ; May 20, William H. Bailey, 3 ; May 30, Stephen 
T. Owen, 4, 9; April 23, Sam D. Hastings, 8, 9; May 2, John Larson, 8; 
May 31, William C. Butts, 9; April 19, Thomas Williams, 17, 18, 19; April 
26, Richard C. Washburn, 18; May 20, Francis W. Newland, 18; June 3, 
George Gale, 19; April 3, Mary N. Woodward, 29; May 30, Leander G. 
Merrill, 30, 31 ; April 10, Cyrus H. Hine, 31 ; May 27, William H. H. Bailey, 
36 ; May 18, Allen Overbaugh, 36. 

Township 23, range 7. 1855— Dec. 12, Ezra L. Northup, 1 ; Dec. 12, 
George W. Parker, 1. 1856— May 31, Stephen T. Owen, 25; May 30, W. E. 
Fales, 25, 26, 34, 36; May 29, George Gale, 34, 35; May 30, William B. 
Winston, 34, 35. 1858 — April 6, Chester Stoddard, 8 ; April 5, George Moyer, 
20 ; April 5, William Moyer, 20 ; April 5, John M. Jones, 20 ; April 9, Lucius 
M. Sheldon, 22, 36 ; April 5, Ruth Hamilton, 26 ; April 5, Celinda A. Bliss, 
26 ; April 5, Loren L. Knox, 26 ; April 16, Henry D. Aglesworth, 28. 

Township 24, range 7. 1855 — April 15, Charles W. McCormick and 
J. Rily, 1; Nov. 15, Charles McCormick, 1; Dec. 12, Ezra Northup, 1, 2; 
Dec. 5, Hiram Hill, 1 ; Dec. 12, Garwood Green, 2 ; Dec. 12, William Starr, 
2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11; Nov. 20, Mortimer C. Caskey, 3, 10; Dec. 12, George W. 
Parker, 14, 15. 1856 — Jan. 8, Andrew McCorkle, 1, 9, 10; Jan. 8, Ebenezer 
M. Saxton, 1, 2, 21 ; Jan. 23, Charles W. McCormick, 1 ; Jan. 8, Nathaniel 
W. Dean, 1, 4, 7, 9; Jan. 15, William E. Keafer, 2, 8; Jan. 19, Garwood 
Green, 2 ; Feb. 22, Andrew Billings, 2 ; April 26, Levi C. Fay and Prosper 
Merrill, 3, 10, 11; Jan. 11, Robert B. Griswold, 3; April 11, Jeremiah D. 
Jones, 3; May 24, William H. Chapman, 7; June 4, M. L. Strickland, 7; 
June 4, Harvey Cooney, 8; June 4, John Dunning, 8, 10, 15; Jan. 8, Linda 
Linsdale, 10; April 21, Charles F. Taggart, 10; April 15, Lorenzo and 
Jackson McCauley, 12 ; April 23, Thomas A. Tomlinson, 13, 14 ; April 23, 
Cyrus Woodman, 13 ; June 3, Edward L. Pierce, 14 ; April 9, Ezra L. Northup, 
15; May 8, David Lewis, 17; May 8, Rowland Rice, 17, 20; June 2, Seth 
Baker, 20 ; May 7, William Morgan, 20. 

Township 18, range 8. 1851— Nov. 10, Charlotte Vose, 1. 1852— 
Dec. 10, WiUiam J. Barney, 5 ; March 9, Stephen Hopkinson, 5, 6 ; March 9, 
Benning Hooper, 5, 6 ; March 9, Jacob Meyers, 6 ; Nov. 30, Thomas Smith, 
7 ; June 26, Barnabus Snow, 7 ; Dec. 30, Parley Eaton, 7 ; Dec. 1, John M. 
Levey, 7 ; Feb. 20, William Wakefield, 7 ; March 31, Salmon Moore, 8 ; March 
31, John Warner, 9; March 31, Richard Hall, 9; March 31, Francis Stone, 
9 ; Jan. 31, Lewis Washburn, 18 ; March 31, Cornell Howland, 29 ; March 6, 
Abraham C. Meyers, 30; March 2, William Knox, 31; March 2, William 
H. Brooks, 31 ; March 31, William B. Murray, 31 ; May 10, Jacob T. Holmes, 
31. 1853 — Oct. 26, Absolom Gary, 1; Dec. 13, William B. Hanscome, 1; 
Nov. 12, George Gale, 5, 6, 10; March 24, Ira M. Moore, 7; Oct. 18, John 


Morris, 7 ; Oct. 12, Albert M. Olds, 8 ; June 24, William A. Cram, 8 ; July 
9, Warren Adams, 8; Oct. 31, Theo. B. Edwards, 8; Jan. 15, Eli B. Richard- 
son, 17; June 6, Jacob T. Holmes, 30; Oct. 21, William Gray, 32; Oct. 9, 
Benjamin B. Healey, 32. 

Township 19, range 8. 1852— Oct. 16, Parley Eaton, 7; May 3, 
Bartholomew C. Smith, 19 ; Jan. 1, Henry P. George, 29, 33 ; May 3, Preston 
Dugbe, 29; May 3, David French, 29; May 3, David Breed, 32; Feb. 27, 
Henry Stillson, 32 ; June 22, Elihu B. Washburn, 33 ; June 1, James Babcock, 
35; Sept. 29, Charles T. Janson, 35; May 3, John Hulling, Jr., 21. 1853— 
Nov. 10, Juhus Edwards, 8, 9 ; June 28, Joseph B. Tolhngham, 21 ; Oct. 26, 
William Dick, 25; Aug. 26, Homer H. Benson, 28; Jan. 10, Edward I. 
Lidgeerwood, 29, 30; Nov. 21, Robert Bruce, 29; Nov. 12, Theo. B. Edwards, 

29, 35; June 6, George Gale, 31, 32; Jan. 10, David Flynn, 31; Aug. 1, 
William A. Woodward, 32; June 28, Benjamin F. Heuston, 33; Oct. 26, 
Richard Collins, 35 ; Aug. 22, John Moore, 36 ; July 22, William W. Patrick, 
Jr., 36; Nov. 19, David J. Monroe, 36; July 9, Charles G. Hanscome, 36; 
Oct. 26, Sarah D. Monroe, 36 ; Nov. 12, George Shohat, 36 ; Oct. 26, Absolom 
Gary, 36. 

Township 20, range 8. 1854 — Oct. 25, Daniel Kennedy, Jr., 35 ; Oct. 

25, Michael CuUity, 36. 1855— Sept. 17, William H. Congor, 1, 36; Nov. 

30, George Coburn and John J. Scrafford, 2 ; July 19, Mary A. Woodward, 

26, 27; May 21, William V. Clymer, 27, 34; July 2, Welcome A. Johnson, 
34; July 7, Mary A. Roddy, 34; May 7, David W. Chenoweth, 34; July 7, 
Mary A. Rodolf, 34; July 14, Daniel Kennedy, 35; May 10, Albert J. Gary, 
36; May 14, George Gale, 36. 1856— Aug. 9, Edmund M. Reynolds, 1; 
May 14, George Gale, 2, 34; May 20, Franklin B. Hawes, 22, 23, 27, 33; 
Dec. 25, Peter Dufficy, 25; Jan. 21, John Cance, 36. 1857— July 27, John 
Good, 26. 1858— July 2, Walter Webb, 14, 23 ; June 21, Morgan A. White, 
15 ; Nov. 16, Theo. B. Edwards, 35 ; April 5, Cornehus Kennedy, 35. 

Township 21, range 9. 1855— Nov. 17, Peter Dunning, 24; Oct. 4, 
Welcome A. Johnston, 35; Oct. 4. William Congior, 36; Oct. 1, Samuel 
Mallory, 36. 1856— April 10, Cyrus H. Hine, 1 ; Feb. 13, Angen Adams, 1 ; 
July 9, John Hopkins, 1, 12 ; March 31, T. S. West, 16 ; April 22, Herman 
Synder, 25; Aug. 8, Robert 0. Lake, 24, 25. 1857-1858— Sept. 18, Collins 
Bishop, 31. 1859— June 22, Thomas W. Fuller, 12. 1860— April 24, Sophia 
Hopkins, 12. 

Township 22, range 8. 1855— Oct. 31, Charles C. and William E. Crane, 
11, 29; Oct. 31, Moses D. and Francis W. Ingalls, 11, 28; Sept. 21, Alvah 
Wood, 11, 17, 20, 21, 25 ; Sept. 21, Nathan Wood, 11 ; Oct. 31, Isaac H. Soule, 
14, 15; Sept. 14, Hiram Stanton, 15; Oct. 29, Norman E. Primm, 21, 22; 
Sept. 27, James T. Banks, 21 ; Nov. 12, Warren H. Ellis, 21, 22 ; Oct. 31, 
Hiram Walker, 22, 25, 30, 36; Nov. 13, Edwin M. Jones, 22, 26; Oct. 4, 
Welcome A. Johnston, 23; Nov. 2, George Gale, 24; Aug. 11, William E. 
Cramer, 24; Aug. 27, Royal Taylor, 24; Oct. 31, Robert H. Wade, 26; Sept. 
29, Niman E. Prim, 29 ; Oct. 31, WiUiam and Lyman Smith, 30, 31 ; Oct. 31, 
David W. Wade, 36; Oct. 31, Richardson Reeves, 36. 

Township 23, range 8. 1856 — June 4, John B. Ayer, 30 ; June 2, Oscar 
H. Young, 30, 31; May 30, Enoch L. Cummins, 31, 32. 1857-1858— April 


5, Ebenezer M. Sexton, 14, 24 ; April 5, Rufus Watson, 24 ; April 5, David 
S. Watson, 24 ; April 5, Albert W. Knowlton, 26 ; April 9, Peter Filkins, 26 ; 
April 5, Jesse T. Paul, 26; May 21, John Smith, 28; April 6, Frederick C. 
Moyer, 28; Sept. 11, Patrick Casey, 30; April 5, Christian E. Wyrick, 32; 
Sept. 8, Welcome A. Johnston, 32; Oct. 2, George H. Hale, 32; June 2, 
Leroy Stanton, 32; May 15, Seth Clark, 34; Sept. 29, Edward Brown, 34; 
April 5, Rosea Horsington, 34; May 14, Winchel Stafford, 34; April 6, 
Benjamin Watson, 36; April 5, Frederick Boardman, 36. 

.Township 24, range 8. 1856— April 24, William N. Olson, 11; May 9, 
Daniel Learning, 12; April 24, John Lawske, 12, 13; May 12, Albert F. 
Kellogg, 13, 20, 21, 22 ; May 12, Walter W. Wetmore, 13, 15, 17 ; April 19, 
Erastus Taylor, 13 ; April 19, Mary Rogers, 14 ; April 24, William N. Wilson, 
14 ; May 9, Ebenezer T. Prentice, 14, 15 ; June 4, Thomas McTie, 17 ; June 4, 
Luther Irish, 17; April 28, John Evrens, 18, 19; April 28, James Power, 
18, 19; June 4, Dan C. Barnum, 18, 29; April 28, Edward Scanlan, 18, 19; 
April 21, Charles G. Brown, 20; April 28, James Dwyer, 20; May 31, William 
P. Morse, 21 ; June 2, Luther M. Bates, 23. 

Township 18. range 9. 1849— July 9, Edward Winkelman, 26, 27, 28; 
June 16, James Reed, 27. 1850 — Nov. 25, Leander Beebe, 27. 1851 — Dec. 
23, Jonathan Jackson, 20, 21 ; Nov. 24, William Roberts, 22 ; Dec. 16, Fred- 
erick Eberhart, 22; Nov. 13, Mitchell Stover, 22; Nov. 18, Charles A. 
Stevens, 22, 23, 26, 27, 34, 35 ; Nov. 4, William Nichols, 25 ; Nov. 18, John 
Johnson, 25; Nov. 13, Andrew Constick, 26; Nov. 18, Chase A. Stevens, 
Francis M. Ruble and Timothy Burns, 27; Dec. 10, Cyrus Woodman, 36; 
Dec. 18, John Johnson, 36. 1852— July 31, John C. Higgins, 1; Jan. 7, 
John Henley, 1 ; Jan. 7, WiUiam Hyer, 1 ; Jan. 7, Richard Rosecranse, 1 ; 
Feb. 9, James Metcalf , 2 ; May 5, Frederick Andres. 4 ; Feb. 29, Jonathan 
Willey, 4; May 29, Mary A. Bright, 4; March 25, Jlary Ann Norman, 5; 
July 2, John E. Lewis, 5; March 24, Sophia Blake, 6; Jan. 1, James Charles, 
8; Jan. 1, Volney French, 8; Aug. 2, Dianthe K. Martindale, 9; Aug. 20, 
Elizabeth Baker, 9 ; July 2, Cyrus Woodman, 9, 13, 15, 22, 23, 26 ; May 4, 
Thomas Willse, 11; Jan. 7, John Wilkins, 12; March 3, John Thurston, 12; 
March 3, John Brickford, 12; March 3, Moses Young, 12; March 3, Mark 
Lucias, 12; March 3, John Nichols, 12; May 5, James Himes, 13; May 5, 
Peter Van Buren, 13; May 5, Horace Stow. 14; Feb. 20, Eliza Stevens, 14; 
Feb. 27, Henry P. George, 14 ; March 24, Alfred Earle, 15 ; June 22, Lucius 
G. Fisher, 15; May 3, Obadiah Bernis, 15; Feb. 19, Lewis Reneo, 17; June 
11, James B. Gray, 20; May 4. Benjamin H. Buckingham, 20; July 14, 
Francis W. Woodward, 21, 22 ; Jan. 1, Francis M. Ruble, 21 ; Feb. 26, Stephen 
Bean, 21; April 17, William Campbell, 21; May 10, Charles F. Legate, 22; 
Sept. 30, David Flynn. 22 ; Jan. 28, John Quint, 22 ; June 26, Edmund Gondy, 
23; Feb. 21, James Kun, Jr., 23; Sept. 25, Joshua Rhodes, 24; March 1, 
Samuel Payne, 25 ; May 19, Alfred Bruson, 26, 35 ; July 21, Mary Saunders, 
26 ; Feb. 26, V/illiam Plaisted, 27 ; March 1, WiUiam Cheever, 36 ; March 1, 
Jason Ellis, 36. 

Township 19, range 9. 1852 — March 8, Lewis Cornell, 25; March 6, 
Soloman Leonard, 25; March 8, Joseph Hegeman. 25; March 6, Josephine 
Coffin, 26; March 6, Joseph Weeks, 26; March 25, John M. Johnson, 28; 


March 25, James Coyine, 31 ; April 5, Timothy Harris, 31 ; July 19, Francis 
Daniels, 31 ; March 25, Mary A. Norman, 32 ; July 19, William Higbee, 33 ; 
April 5, Thomas Scott, 33 ; March 6, John Fay, 33 ; March 6, Daniel Morrison, 
33 ; March 6, Nathaniel Sanborn, 33 ; March 6, George Frost, 33 ; Feb. 26, 
Jonathan Willey, 33 ; March 1, Rachael Oilman, 34 ; July 19, William Higbee, 
34; March 1, Mehitable Thompson, 34; Oct. 11, Peter Cochien, 35; Aug. 

25, Wayne Clark, 35; Jan. 13, Richard H. Coolidge, 35. 1853— June 15, 
Hollister M. Wright, 29, 32; July 27, James Reed, 34, 35; Nov. 1, Loretta 
Woodworth, 35 ; June 17, Michael Bibeaux, 35 ; July 13, Charles Cameron, 35. 

Township 20, range 9. 1855— Nov. 20, Porter Smith, 3; Nov. 12, 
David H. Sherman, 5, 6; Oct. 8, Noah D. Comstock, 5, 6; May 24, Jacob 
Handel, 19. 1856 — April 11, Jesse Penny, 3; May 7, Harmon G. Tracey, 
3 ; April 11, Phebe Penny, 4 ; Feb. 22, Charles Marshall, 4, 5 ; Feb. 22, 'James 
Broughton, 4; April 11, Walter D. Dewey, 4; Feb. 5, George Shelly, 5; Aug. 
8, James 0. Reiley, 6, 8; April 15, Nathan Corwith, 6, 7; Oct. 21, Noah D. 
Comstock, 7 ; April 7, Annie D. Bishop, 18 ; March 24, Colhns Bishop, 18 ; 
March 31, F. S. West, 16. 1857— July 1, Phillip Hartman, 7. 1858— July 
30, Stephen R. Roath, 1 ; May 3, Isaac Wesley Hull, 1, 12 ; April 7, Harmon 
G. Tracy, 2; May 17, Simeon Palmer, 4, 21, 22, 27; May 3, Christian Berry, 
5; April 8, Narcissa T. Robertson, 6; April 7, Nicholas Meyer, 7, 8; May 3, 
Jeremiah Biddison, 9 ; May 3, George W. Hall, 11 ; June 23, Amassa Simons, 
11; April 7, Noah D. Comstock, 8, 12; April 5, Clark Averill, 22; April 10, 
William E. Greene, 23; April 5, Ebenezer Holmes, 23; April 5, Frederick 
C. Goff, 23, 24 ; April 10, Giddings W. Keyes, 27 ; April 13, Ann E. Clark, 28. 

Township 21, range 9. 1855— Nov. 12, Dennison K. Smith, 2, 3, 22; 
Nov. 13, Edwin W. Jones, 3, 11, 32; Nov. 13, Charles R. Steele, 11, 14, 15; 
Nov. 12, Warren H. Ellis, 22, 27 ; Nov. 13, Ransom Steele, 26, 27 ; Nov. 12, 
David H. Sherman, 28, .32, 33; Nov. 12, Charles H. Fox, 29, 32; July 19, 
Herman B. Merchant, 31, 32; Dec. 11, George Shelly, 33; Dec. 11, Collins 
Bishop, 33, 34. 1856— April 15, Milton Barlow, 14 ; June 3, William Abbott, 

21, 28; May 31, William Smith, 21; June 2, Henry D. Elmer, 24; May 30, 
William Hollenbaugh, 27 ; July 19, Hiram B. Merchant, 31 ; March 24, Abner 
B. Bishop, 34 ; April 7, Rhoda Shelly, 35 ; June 2, Owen Roberts. 

Township 22, range 9. 1855— Nov. 13, William B. Werden, 24, 25; 
Oct. 31, WilHam and Lyman D. Smith, 25, 36; Nov. 13, Warren H. Ellis, 26. 
1856— May 30, Enoch L. Cummings, 1; May 21, Walter W. Wetmore, 11; 
June 3, Statira C. Lakin, 12; June 3, George W. Lakin, 13, 24; May 8, 
Horace Young, 17 ; May 8, Sherman B. Look, 17, 21 ; May 7, Joshua Travis, 

22. 1857— Sept. 22, Charles Lyne. 1858— Oct. 2, Giles Cripps, 12; June 

26, Alfred L. Wright, 14 ; May 19, Moses S. Johnson, 18 ; April 28, Caleb F. 
Gates, 22 ; Sept. 29, Daniel Cameron, 24 ; Sept. 21, William E. Montazae, 34. 
1859— March 22, John McBurney, 36. 

Township 23, range 9. 1858— April 8, John Allen, 2, 24; May 19, 
Lucius M. Sheldon, 28, 32. 1866— Nov. 24, Martin W. Borst, 34. 1867— 
July 5, C. Moser and G. Hunner, 28; Nov. 26, Martin W. Borst, 32, 33; 
May 23, George Meigs, 34. 1868— June 18, John A. Hunner, 19 ; June 10, 
Martin W. Borst, 28, 33, 35. 1869— July 27, Virgil Borst, 32. 1870— 
March 21, Guri Herbransdatter, 4; Sept. 5, Timothy Brown, 10; July 27, 


William Z. Barnhart, 31. 1871— July 12, Osten Gonnufsen, 18; May 2, 
Petter Petterson, 18 ; May 24, Merit Petterson, 18 ; May 29, Virgil Borst, 28. 

Township 24, range 9. 1856 — June 4, Levi Beebe, 2; June 2, Elliot 
D. Barnard, 3, 13, 14; June 2, Harrison Stebbins, 3, 9; June 2, Sylvanus 
Morse, 6, 14; June 4, Horace Dickenson, 7; June 3, Richard B. Chandler, 
8, 15 ; June 2, Jerome A. Smith, 8, 10, 22 ; June 4, Dan C. Barnum, 9 ; June 4, 
Hugh Henri, 10; June 4, Wilham Maxwell, 10; June 4, Almon Steel, 11, 14; 
June 3, David R. Chase, 22 ; June 3, William Moon, 23 ; June 4, Frances E. 
Wolstenholm, 24. 1857— May 30, Richard B. Chandler, 23. 1859— May 11, 
Walter W. Wetmore, 24. 

Township 18, range 9. 1852 — June 26, Robert S. Haywood, 2 ; March 
15, Abel M. Bryant, 5 ; March 13, John R. Tancill, 8 ; March 13, John Under- 
wood, 8 ; March 13, Charles F. Legate, 8. 1854— Oct. 27, Abzana A. Whiting, 
1 ; Sept. 4, Elizah Brown, 1, 2 ; Nov. 13, Lawrence Rioney, 1 ; Oct. 27, Newell 
Whiting, 12. 1855 — June 2, Caroline Atwood, 1 ; June 2, WiUiam F. Burns, 
1, 12; May 11, Lawrence Rioney, 2; June 2, Sela Atwood, 12. 1856 — May 
28, Walter W. Wetmore, 1 ; May 13 Joseph A. Chase, 1 ; June 4, Simon 
Palmer, 2, 11, 12; Jan. 5, Lornhannah Marshall, 7; Jan. 4, George Gale, 17. 

Township 19, range 10. 1852— Jan. 1, John Lynch, 36 ; Feb. 20, Charles 
F. Legate, 36 ; April 5, Timothy Harris, 10. 1853— July 16, Reese Whisler, 
14. 1854— Nov. 8, Isaac Thompson, 12 ; May 20, Ira B. and Eli D. Hewett, 
14; April 8, Benedict B. Utter, 24; April 10, Isaac Nash, 35; May 20, 
Jonathan W. Nash, 36. 1855— May 16, Giles R. Montague, 2, 11 ; Oct. 12, 
Constantine Blodgett, 12 ; Dec. 18, Isaac Thompson, 12 ; June 20, George 
W. Brewin, 25. 1856 — Jan. 5, Isaac Thompson, 2 ; Jan. 5, Constantine 
Blodgett, 11; May 8, Samuel Whiting, 11; May 19, Joseph M. Hayes, 13; 
April 14, Milton Barlow, 13, 24 ; April 15, Henry Corwith, 14, 24 ; May 7, 
William Sutter, Jr., 24; May 19, Francis W. Newland, 25; Feb. 8, Katherine 
A. Wood, 25. 

Township 20, range 10. 1854— April 28, Julius Edwards, 29. 1855 — 
May 24, Jacob Handel, 14, 24 ; Oct. 18, Edward McFadden, 21 ; May 24, John 
Grozinger, 22 ; May 24, Christopher Grozinger, 23, 24 ; July 5, Dougald D. 
Cameron. 28. 1856 — April 7, Sarah McMaster, 1 ; March 24, John Gleason, 
10, 11, 12; March 24, Cornelius Gleason, 11, 12, 13, 14; April 19, Dan D. 
Lightner, 15 ; April 29, Michael Welsh, 33. 1857— May 27, William Hyde, 
2 ; Aug. 28, Noah D. Comstock, 2 ; May 27, Augustus Hensel, 3 ; May 28, 
William Johnson, 9 ; May 27, Thomas A. Simpson, 10 ; Aug. 28, David Bishop, 
10; July 6, Phillip Hartman, 12; Sept. 9, Hans Olsen, 35. 1858— May 3, 
Peter Case, 1; April 5, Thomas A. Simpson, 10; Dec. 1, Harvey M. Tucker, 
15; Nov. 17, James Bingham, 21; June 18, Theo. B. Edwards, 23; April 8, 
Mahalia Waller, 25 ; Feb. 29, Franziska Kuck, 25 ; April 7, Lucius M. Sheldon, 
26; May 19, Rudolph Siequist, 26; Sept. 30, John M. Kline, 27, 34; Aug. 6, 
Timothy Kirk, 28. 

Tax Records. The early tax records, to a certain, are valuable in fixing 
the earlj^ settlers in the various townships. Their insufficiency, however, 
as a foundation in compiling the story of the early settlers lies first, the 
fact that "resident owner" on the tax books often meant resident of the 
county rather than resident of the township; second, in the fact that no 


effort was made by the assessors to secure a correct spelling of names, 
and, third, to the fact that many of the actual settlers were not payers of 
real estate taxes. 

Township 19, range 7. 1854 — John Irvine, section 31. 1855 

Kennedy, 7 ; Alex. Valence, 23 ; Richard Bibby, 27 ; David Cook, 24 ; Christian 
Neimeier, 28 ; Henry Fakka, 29 ; John Stellpflug, 29, 33 ; Jacob Poss, 30, 31 ; 
John Irvine, 30, 31 ; Robert Summerville, 31 ; Rob. Oliver, 31 ; David Grant, 
31, 32, 33; Richard Grant, 32. 

Township 20, range 7. 1855 — Franz Hoeppner, 32. 1857 — Franz Hoepp- 
ner, 32; C. Smith, 31; A. Purvis, 31; John Cockran, 32; University, 11, 13, 
14, 15 ; 0. Olson, 12 ; T. Wall, 19, 20 ; J. Knudson, 24 ; J. Quinn, 30 ; N. Stearns, 
30. 31 ; J. Mahoney, 30 ; T. B. Edwards, 30, 31 ; M. Purvis, 31 ; R. Cance, 31 ; 
S. McAvoy, 31 ; J. Cockran, 32 ; Franz Hoeppner, 32 ; D. Whalen, 32. 

Township 21, range 7. 1859— E. M. Reynolds, 16 ; Ebenezer Thurston, 
16; Lars Olson, 1; Sign Huson, 1; Peter Peterson, 1, 12; C. H. Hine, 6, 8, 
17 ; Jas. Hopkins, 6 ; James E. Weeks, 6 ; Wessel Lowe, 6 ; Herman Snyder, 
7; S. S. Rice, 7; J. R. Nourse, 8, 9; Robert Thompson, 10, 11, 15; Henry 
Shepard, 12; Syvert Johnson, 12; Turah Johnson, 12; Gullick Olson, 13; 
Birchard Olson, 13; Nels Halvorson, 14; Peter Tennerson, 14; Jacob 
Tennerson, 14, 25; Mrs. Ann Porter, 12, 22; Ebenezer Thurston, 17, 31; 
Chester Beswick, 17 ; L. P. Armstrong, 17 ; Henry Lake, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 
28, 30 ; Ernst Rosen, 18 ; William H. Welch, 28, 29 ; Bennet & Quinn, 20, 21 ; 
John B. Dunning, 11, 12, 20, 21 ; E. K. Reynolds, 21, 28, 32. 

Township 22, range 7. 1858— N. Halvorson, 24 ; William Van Sickle, 
30; Nels Anderson, 25; Syvert Johnson, 26. 1859— Lars Olson, 24; Nels 
Anderson, 25, 36; Syvert Johnson, 26; William Van Sickle, 31; A. 
Swenson, 36. 

Township 23, range 7. 1863—1. E. Grant, 8 ; I. E. Sutton, 20 ; Wm. 
Elison, 25 ; Ruth Hamilton, 26 ; Edwin Flint, 26 ; L. Knox, 26, 34 ; Wm. E. 
Fales, 26, 35, 36 ; C. W. Russell, 28 ; W. L. Wilson, 35 ; A. D. Curtis, 35 ; 
G. W. Fortellett, 35. 

Township 24, range 7. 1859— F. Bowen, 1 ; E. W. Sexton, 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 
9, 21; Geo. Silkworth, 2; F. Coppel, 2; Wm. A. Woodward, 2, 8, 9, 10, 15; 
Levi Decker, 3 ; Wm. McCorkle, 7 ; W. H. Thomas, 10, 15 ; L. D. McCauley, 
12 ; S. Brown, 13 ; A. B. Ayers, 24 ; Field, 16. 

Township 18, range 8. 1855 — Charles Pickering, 5; Abram Terpena, 
5 ; John Salsman, 6 ; Jas. D. Olds, 7 ; Roswell Bigelow, 7 ; John C. Laird, 7 ; 
■Theo. Simmonds, 7 ; Wm. Olds, 8, 16 ; Moore & Carter, 8, 30 ; Warren Adams, 
8 ; Pardon Wakefield, 8 ; Wm. Adams, 8 ; F. B. Clark, 18 ; Rufus Comstock, 
18 ; T. B. Edwards, 18 ; Joseph Dale, 20, 21 ; A. McGilvray, 21 ; Gilbert Gibbs, 
29 ; Bostwick Beardsley, 29 ; Dr. Lorna Brooks, 30, 31 ; Adams & Barnard, 
30 ; J. T. Holmes, 31, 30 ; B. B. Heuber, 31 ; James Adams, 30 ; Edw. Barnard, 
30; Wm. Bright, 16; Geo. Batchelder, 16; C. A. Stevens, 16. 

Township 19, range 8. 1854— G. H. Smith, 8, 9; T. B. Edwards, 8, 

9. 17; J. B. Tottingham, 21; Benson, 28; G. Gale, 30, 31, 33; J. Hefs, 

31 ; Isaac Noyes, 32 ; B. F. Heuston, 33 ; L. Hunter, 33, 35 ; William Dick, 34 ; 
John Irvine, 34; L. Cook, 34, 25, 26; Douglas Hunter, 35; Richard Collins, 
35 ; Chas. Boyce, 35 ; W. W. Patrick, 36. 1855— Daniel Kennedy, 2 ; Cham- 


berlain & Browning, 6, 7 ; G. H. Smith, 8, 9, 22 ; Doty, 8 ; Bidwell, 

9; C. Prefer, 14; John Martin, 23; Peter Ohls, 23; Terrance O'Neal, 20; 
John Hunter, 25, 35; William Dick, 25, 34, 36; David Cook, 25, 34, 36; 
John Thomas, 32 ; B. F. Heuston, 33 ; Douglas Hunter, 33, 34 ; John Irvine, 
34; John Hunter, Jr., 35, 36; Richard Collins, 35; C. J. Boyce, 35; John 
Davidson, 36; Rob. Oliver, 36; George Shonat, 36. 

Township 20, range 8. 1859— T. Dufficy, 25 ; P. Anderson, 27 ; B. 
Richardson, 33 ; University, 34 ; A. A. Arnold, 34 ; G. Y. Freeman, 34 ; C. 
Kennedy, 35; Daniel Kennedy, 35; John Cance, 36; George Gale, 36; M. 
Casey, 36 ; Martin Cullity, 36. 

TowTiship 21, range 8. 1859 — Minard Allen, 1; .John Hopkins, 1, 12; 
S. S. Rice, 1; Henry Lake, 24, 25; C. H. Hine, 25; H. Snyder, 25; I. B. 
Dunning, 24. 

Township 22, range 8. 1858 — Henry Stratton, 15; Hiram Stratton, 15; 

J. D. Sherwood, 21 ; A. S. Sherwood, 21 ; Banks, 21 ; Clark S. Allen, 15; 

Alvah Wood, 11, 17, 20, 25; D. W. Wade, 2, 25, 36; F. W. & M. D. IngaUs, 

11, 28; Ed. Wade, 28; Nathan Wood, 11, 26. 1861— D. W. Wade, 2, 25, 36; 
M. 0. IngaUs, 2, 11, 21; Henrj' 0. Gill, 2, 21; A. Wood, 11, 25; Cripps & 
Erwin, 11; L. D. McNitt, 14; H. C. Stratton, 15; Henr>' Freeman, 15; D. 

Wood, 17, 20; A. L. Sherwood, 20, 21; J. D. Sherwood, 21; Prevear, 

23; N. D. Comstock, 23; B. F. Wing, 24, 25; Oley Knudtson, 24; James 

Erwin, 26; Dowd, 26; E. F. Wade, 28; M. D. & F. W. IngalLs, 28; 

F. L. Dunbar, 30 ; C. C. Crane, 29, 16. 

Township 23, range 8. 1861— George H. Hale, 32; C. S. Allen, 32. 

Township 24, range 8. 1859— W. W. Wetmore, 13, 15, 17; J. IL 
Campbell, 1. 

Township 18, range 9. 1855 — William A. Cram, 1 ; Ryland Parker, 2 ; 
L. T. Kniffen, 2; D. B. Thompson, 2; Alex Hart, 2, 3; 0. Whitcomb, 3; Wm. 
McDonah, 3 ; T. B. Edwards, 4, 11 ; Hollister Wright, 4 ; Mar>' A. Bright, 4 ; 

B. B. Healy, 5, 6, 9, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 35, 36 ; Davil Monel, 
5 ; Washburn & Woodman, 6, 13, 14, 23 ; Amos Whiting. 6, 13 ; A. Stevens, 7; 
D. 0. Van Slyke, 9; ilartindale, 9; George Gale, 9; Ira Jones, 9, 10, 

15, 22; Barney , 10, 11, 14, 35; Jonathan Ramsden, 12; Joshua Rhodes, 

12, 24; Ware & Belden, 12, 14; R. R. Worth, 13, 24; Aaron Houghton, 13; 

C. F. Legate, 14 ; Horace Stone, 14 ; John Phillips, 15 ; Wm. Hanson, 15 ; Ran- 

some Jones, 15 ; Dean, 15 ; Ellis, 15 ; E. R. Utter, 18 ; David Fbrun, 

22 ; C. A. Stevens, 16, 22 ; Healy & others, 22, 23, 26, 27, 34 ; Geo. Batchelder, 

16, 22, 26; C. S. Sejnnour, 23, 24, 25; B. H. Stewart, 24; J. P. James, 24; 
A. W. Shepard, 25; Francis Drugan, 25; Wm. .lohn Nicholls, 25; Jacob T. 
Holmes, 25; T. W. Hill, 26; E. Winkelman, 26, 27; N. Brown, 26, 35; Isaac 
Noyes, 16, 26; Chas. Utter, 27; J. H. Hammond, 27; B. F. Heuston, 27; 
A. M. Weeks, 27 ; J. M. Levy, 27 ; Avery Wellington, 27 ; Moore & Carter, 35 ; 
Wm. & John Nicholls, 36. 

Township 19, range 9. 1855— J. Knox, 19 ; A. Rhodes, 20, 21 ; John 
Rhodes, 21, 28, 29, 30; Hollister Wright, 21, 28, 33; Thomp.son & Hart, 23; 
0. Whitcomb, 23; B. B. Healy, 25, 32; M. Beboe, 26; Joseph Holmes, 26; 
A. Grover, 26; W. W. Nash, 31; Alva Wood, 31; Edmond Nash, 31; Wash- 
bum & Woodman, 31 ; Ryland Parker, 31 ; Moses Clark, 32 ; Jas. Wright, 


32, 33 ; D. A. Segur, 33, 34 ; W. Higbie, 33, 34 ; Parker Warren, 33 ; Justin 
Lee, 34 ; E. R. Utter, 34 ; James Reed, 34, 35 ; Chas. Perkins, 35 ; Michael 
Bebeau, 35; Chas. Cameron, 35; Leander Bebeau, 35. 

Township 20, range 9. 1859— H. G. Tracy, 2 ; Jesse Penny, 3, 4 ; Jas. 
Broughton, 4 ; Walter Dewey, 4 ; R. C. Shelly, 5 ; George D. Dewey, 5 ; Collins 
Bishop, 5; Emily Bishop, 5; James Gaveney, 5; N. D. Comstock, 5, 7; R. L. 
Robertson, 6; Philip Hartman, 7; Nicholas Meyers, 7; Frank Zeller, 17; 
A. B. Bishop, 18; Shelly & Co., 18; A. M. Holcomb, 36. 1860— H. G. Tracy, 
2, 3 ; Jesse Penny, 3, 4 ; Jas. Broughton, 4 ; Walter Dewey, 4 ; R. C. Shelly, 
4, 5; George D. Dewey, 5; Collins Bishop, 5; Emily Bishop, 5; James 
Gaveney, 5; N. D. Comstock, 5, 6, 7; R. L. Robertson, 6; John Gage, 6; 
Phillip Hartman, 7 ; Nicholas Meyers, 7, 8 ; Casper Meyers, 8 ; Carl Zeller, 
17 ; Frank Zeller, 17 ; A. B. Bishop, 18 ; Shelly & Co., 18 ; A. M. Holcomb, 36 ; 
A. C. Matterson, 4. 

Township 21, range 9. 1857 — Lyman Carpenter, 15; L. F. Griffin, 15; 
William Johnson, 28 ; R. Weller, 29. 1859— John Gage, 32 ; John Busby, 22 ; 
Thomas Busby, 22. 

Township 22, range 9. 1864— Walter W. Wetmore, 11, 12 ; Giles Cripps, 
12 ; Lawrence Bautch, 13, 24 ; Geo. Markham, 24 ; Chas. Lyne, 25. 

Township 23, range 9. 1867— Daniel Borst, 33; Martin Borst, 34. 
1868— John Zuza, 23 ; Daniel Borst, 33 ; Jeremiah Borst, 33. 1870— Gunn 
Heaterandett, 4; John Hunter, 19, 28, 30; EHzabeth N. Brooks, 24; John 
Allen, 24 ; Lucius M. Seldon, 28 ; Martin W. Borst, .28, 32, 33, 34 ; J. W. 
Borst, 33 ; 0. A. Osgood, 33 ; Jas. Gaveney, 16. 

Township 24, range 9. 1858— Wm. Henry, 10; Wm. Maxwell, 10; 

Albert Taylor, 11, 14 ; Smith, 13, 22 ; James Chase, 14 ; Russell Bowers, 

14, 23 ; David R. Chase, 22 ; Barden Cross, 23 ; Wolsterhoon, 24. 

Township 18, range 10. 1856 — Avery Wellington, 1 ; Amos Whiting, 
1; Seba Atwood, 1, 12; Wm. Y. Burns, 1, 12; Silvester Wellington, 1; B. B. 
Healy, 1 ; Lawrence Rooney, 1, 2 ; Chas. Smith, 12 ; Jonathan Nash, 2. 

Township 19, range 10. 1856— G. W. & John Brewin, 25 ; B. B. Healy, 
25, 36; Jonathan Nash, 36; Edmund Nash, 36; Isaac Nash, 35; Amos 
Whiting, 36 ; Jacob Holbrook, 36. 

Township 20, range 10. 1859— Sarah McMaster, 1 ; John Bigham, 1, 
2; Caleb Case, 1; John Gleason, 10, 11, 13; Thomas Simpson, 10; Phillip 
Hartman, 12 ; J. Kelly, 14 ; Ludwig Hensel, 14, 23 ; W. Kickhofer, 14, 23, 24 ; 
Milton Tucker, 15; Jas. Bigham, 21; Wm. Harlow, 22; Chas. Olbrecht, 23; 
R. L. Robertson, 1 ; Geo. D. Dewey, 1 ; N. D. Comstock, 2 ; David Bishop, 
2, 10 ; Wm. Hyde, 2 ; Aug. Hensel, 3 ; Wm. Johnson, 9 ; A. Finkelnburg, 32. 

Village of Montoville. 1855— Ira H. Hammond, block 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 
12 ; B. F. Heuston, 11, 12 ; Geo. Gale, 9.; N. B. Grover, 8 ; A. M. Brandenburg, 
8; Geo. Batchelder, 5, 9; Jas. Reed, 3, 8; B. B. Healy, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. 
Thos. Marshall, 3 ; Chas. Utter, 2 ; Healy & others, 4 ; Alex McGilvray, 1 ; 
John Salsman, 1; Isaac Noyes, 5; Hiley Cameron, 5. 

Village of Trempealeau. 1855— B. B. Healy, block 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 
9, 10, 11, 12; Moore & Carter, 7, 3; Jas. Harris, 6; Geo. Batchelder, 1. 3, 6, 
8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13; B. I. Stewart, 12; Joshua Rhodes, 12; Chas. Utter, 1, 2, 
11, 13; Geo. W. Kenworthy, 9. 



Trempealeau County was created by the legislature January 24, 1854, 
and a provision included in the act constituting the board of supervisors 
of Montoville, the board of supervisors of Trempealeau County until other 
towns should be created and town officers duly elected therein.^ Conse- 
quently, on March 11, 1854, the town board of Montoville, sitting as a board 
of supervisors of Trempealeau County, convened at Trempealeau, with 
Horace F. Owen as chairman and Isaac Noyes and Wilham Nicholls as the 
other supervisors, and with Charles Cameron as clerk.^ At this meeting 
the town of Gale was set off, with practically all of the present area of 
Gale and northward to the county line. The first town election was ordered 
held at the home of Benjamin F. Heuston, on April 4, following. All of 
the county not included in Gale remained in Montoville, which thus consti- 
tuted the present towns of Caledonia and Trempealeau and the west part 
of the county, north to the county line. 

On September 12, 1854, B. F. Heuston was elected county judge, 
receiving 26 votes in Montoville and 8 in Gale. George Batchelder received 
11 in Montoville and 12 in Gale. In November the following county officers 
were elected : Charles Utter, district attorney ; Ira E. Moore, sheriff ; George 
H. Smith, clerk of the court; Charles Utter, clerk of the board; A. W. 
Armstrong, registrar ; Hollister Wright, treasurer ; George J. Turton, sur- 
veyor, and William Adams, coroner. There were 44 votes cast, 36 in Monto- 
ville and 8 in Gale. George H. Smith appointed William M. Young deputy 
clerk and Hollister Wright made John Nicholls his clerk as deputy county 

Gale township having been created and a chairman elected, the new 
board of county supervisors, consisting of George Batchelder, chairman of 
Montoville and B. F. Heuston, chairman of Gale, met at Montoville May 1, 
1854. George Batchelder was chosen chairman and William M. Young clerk. 
Charles Utter was appointed county treasurer. Mr. Utter was also appointed 
to act with the commissioner from Jackson County to lay out roads from 
Montoville to Black River Falls by way of Trempealeau Valley and Beaver 
Creek, and one to Douglass Mills, now North Bend, in Jackson County. 
May 29, 1854, the boundary between Montoville and Gale was slightly 
readjusted. November 14, 1854, a meeting was held at the home of B. F. 
Heuston in Gale, but at once adjourned to Montoville. November 20, 1854, 
John Nicholls was appointed clerk in place of William M. Young, resigned. 
It would appear that George Batchelder was then looking after the criminal 
interests of the county, as on November 27, 1854, he was voted S16.50 
for the prosecution, guarding and deposition of "Geo. the Murderer." 

In the spring of 1855 B. F. Heuston was re-elected chairman of (iale 



Township and was accordingly continued as a member of the county board. 
William A. Cram took his seat as the member from Montoville. John 
Nicholls continued as clerk, being appointed in place of Charles Utter, who 
did not qualify. During the first two years of county government the board 
met sometimes at Montoville and sometimes in Gale Township or in Gales- 
ville. The county officials maintained their offices in their residences or 
their places of business. June 26, 1856, the clerk of the board was author- 
ized to have his office at his residence in MontoviUe, and the sheriff, clerk 
of court, registrar and treasurer were ordered to file with the clerk a 
statement of where their headquarters were to be found. The need of a 
courthouse, however, was apparent, and on June 11, 1855, the board, meeting 
at the home of William A. Cram, decided that a courthouse should be built 
at Galesville as soon as possible, and ordered the clerk to prepare plans 
for the inspection of the public, and to advertise for bids for a building 
28 by 36 feet, two stories high. June 28, 1855, Isaac Noyes and Amassa 
P. Webb, of Montoville, were awarded the contract at $1,000, and the 
county appropriated $250 for the purchase of material. The work was to 
be finished on April 28, 1856, but when that date approached it was found 
that the building would not be completed within the time limit. Lumber 
had been hard to obtain, and some that had been carted to the site had 
been stolen. Accordingly, the contractors were awarded damages of $25 
and the time extended to July 28. 

The first meeting of the board in the new courthouse was held July 23, 
1856. B. F. Heuston of Gale was still a member of the board. WilUam 
Adams succeeded William A. Cram of Trempealeau. In the meantime the 
town of Preston had been created, November 21, 1855, consisting of all of 
the county north of the line between Townships 19 and 20, except that part 
in what is now Ettrick, west of the range line between Ranges 9 and 10 ; 
and the first town meeting had been held at the home of Ed. Reynolds, April 
1, 1856. The first representative of the town on the county board was 
Simon S. Rice. John Nicholls continued to serve as clerk of the board. 
November 11, 1856, the board voted to allow the people of Galesville to use 
the courtroom as a schoolroom. 

In the spring of 1857 the new board consisted of B. F. Heuston of 
Gale, Simon S. Rice of Preston and William Adams of Trempealeau. The 
previous board, on November 20, 1856, had created two new townships, 
Arcadia and Sumner. Sumner consisted of all of Township 24, Ranges 7, 
8 and 9. The first town meeting was ordered held at Beef River Station 
April 7, 1857. Arcadia consisted of all the present town of Arcadia, except 
the strip in Township 20, range 8, and everything north of the present town- 
ship to the south line of Township 24. The first town meeting was to be 
held at home of David Bishop, April 7, 1857. The meeting at David 
Bishop's was conducted as ordered, but the one at Beef River Station was 
not held, and the board ordered a meeting for April, 1858. In the fall of 
1857 the board consisted of J. R. Penney of Arcadia, A. R. Wyman of Gale, 
J. B. Dunning of Preston and Sam D. Hastings of Trempealeau. This board 
created the town of Caledonia, November 11, 1857, and ordered the first 
town meeting to be held at the home of Alexander McGilvray in April, 1858. 


The town consisted of all of the present town of Caledonia except the tier 
of sections in Township 18, Range 9. This action was rescinded March 
2, 1858. 

November 9, 1858, the board consisted of James M. Barrett of Trem- 
pealeau, A. R. Wyman of Gale, J. H. Chase of Sumner, in place of William 
Harmon ; A. L. Sherwood of Preston and James Broughton of Arcadia. This 
board was informed by District Attorney Romanzo Bunn that the action 
of the board in rescinding the creation of Caledonia was illegal. But the 
town having failed to organize, a new date, the first Tuesday in March, 
1859, was set as the time for the first town meeting. As early as November 
13, 1858, the need of an almshouse was felt, and a committee consisting 
of James M. Barrett, A. L. Sherwood and John Nicholls was appointed to 
correspond with officials of various counties of the state in regard to 
methods of caring for the needy in a proper and economical manner. At 
the February meeting in 1859 W. H. Thomas sat as the member from 
Sumner. The board authorized the board of trustees of Galesville Uni- 
versity to use the upper story of the courthouse for classroom purposes for 
the summer term of 1859 in case the seminary building should not be com- 

At this meeting the people of Trempealeau Village were reprimanded 
by the board for petitioning the legislature to submit to the voters the 
question of removing the county seat to that hamlet. The supervisors 
expressed the opinion that if the county seat were to be removed at all, it 
should be to some point near the geographical center of the county, and 
further stated that the agitation of the question at that time would create 
a great deal of needless trouble, expense and ill feeling. 

Six townships being in existence in the fall of 1859, the board consisted 
of six members: J. T. Holmes of Caledonia, Ben. B. Healy of Trempealeau. 
Collins Bishop of Arcadia, A. A. Arnold of Gale, Ebenezer Thurston of 
Preston and W. H. Thomas of Sumner. November 15, 1859, A. P. Ford was 
appointed county drainage commissioner under the provisions of the general 
laws of 1858. This board did not authorize any new townships, and the 
board for 1860 therefore consisted of six members: George D. Dewey of 
Arcadia, J. T. Holmes of Caledonia, Henry French of Gale, Chester Bost- 
wick of Preston, William Silkworth of Sumner and James M. Barrett of 
Trempealeau. November 13, 1860, Chase and Lincoln Townships were 
created. Chase was to consist of all the present town of Albion and the 
west half of Unity. The first town meeting was to be held at the home of 
David Chase in April, 1861. Lincoln was to consist of Townships 22 and 23. 
Range 8, and Township 23, Range 9. This embraced nearly all of what 
is now Lincoln, all of what is now Chimney Rock, a small strip of Burnside 
and the western part of Hale. The first town meeting was to be held at 
the home of Alvah Wood, the first Tuesday in April. 

These townships being duly organized and the election held, the board 
for 1861 consisted of eight members: George R. Davey, Chase; M. D. 
Ingalls, Lincoln ; D. C. Dewey, Arcadia ; Eben Batchelder, Caledonia ; A. A. 
Arnold, Gale ; E. M. Reynolds, Preston ; R. C. Fields, Sumner, and Delavan 
Bunn, Trempealeau. 


With this board the pre-bellum period came to a close. From one 
township, in 1854, the county had increased to eight. Settlements were 
springing up here and there, and farmhouses were dotting the landscape 
in every direction. Without exception, the members of the board had been 
men of ability. All had been men from the eastern states, with good district 
school educations, who had brought with them all the traditions of the 
New England town meeting, and who fully realized their responsibility as 
the founders of a future important county. The knowledge that they were 
laying a foundation for future years is everywhere apparent, and in many 
of the resolutions is actually expressed. John NichoUs, who was county 
clerk during this period, was a man of orderly mind, an excellent penman 
and possessed of considerable legal knowledge, so that the affairs of the 
county were well conducted and the records kept in an adequate manner. 
The successive boards had met with many problems. Taxes had to be 
laid on a people struggling with poverty in a new country, bills had to be 
paid out of a slender treasury, and every account was pared to its utmost 
limit, roads had to be laid out along routes which would reach the greatest 
number of the scattered settlements, bridges had to be constructed to 
accommodate the travels of the inhabitants of the county, and also to 
facilitate immigration. Towns had to be created, and the nature of the 
ridges and valleys made it necessary that frequent changes be made in 
townships already created, in order that the people who were geographically 
related might be placed also in convenient pohtical units. Even at this 
early date there were poor who must be cared for, and the successive boards 
had been divided in their opinions as to whether this should be done with 
a township or a county system. 

Strangers were constantly passing through the county, and many of 
these travelers were of an unsavory character. Unidentified bodies of 
murdered men were frequently found along the highways, and corpses werp 
often washed up at Trempealeau, a mute testimony to the grim sternness 
of life on the Mississippi in those early days. The expense of disposing of 
these bodies had to be met by the appropriations of the county board. 

Struggling as they were, with pioneer conditions, many of the settlers 
were unable to pay their taxes, claims were frequently deserted by restless 
pioneers who found it more convenient to seek their fortunes further than 
to meet their obligations here, and the problem of disposing of unredeemed 
tax titles was constantly before the board. The question of drainage was 
also an important one and was frequently considered. 

But these farmers met all these situations with clear brains and good 
common sense, and the affairs of the county were in a satisfactory condition 
at the close of this period in its history. 

The new system of county government in Wisconsin went into effect 
January 1, 1862, and it was under this system that Trempealeau County 
underwent the great stress of the Civil War. The new board convened 
January 13, 1862, George Batchelder of Trempealeau representing the 
First District, A. R. Wyman of GalesviUe the Second and Henry Lake of 
Preston the Third. Batchelder had served on the first county' board in 
1854. Wyman had served in 1857 and 1858. Lake was a pioneer who had 


settled at the mouth of Lake Cooley in Preston Township and had abeady 
become prominent in township affairs. This board had to defend the exist- 
ence of Trempealeau County as a county. At its first meeting William A. 
Cram, the sheriff, reported to the board that he had been summoned before 
the Superior Court of Wisconsin to show cause why he had illegally per- 
formed the duties of sheriff in certain townships, George F. Haswell, repre- 
senting Buffalo County, alleging that Trempealeau County had been 
illegally created, and that a larger part of its townships were therefore 
still a part of Buffalo County. The board placed the matter in the hands 
of George Gale, through whose efforts the county was created, and in due 
time the organization of the county was confirmed by the Supreme Court.* 

The Civil War occupied the attention of the board for the next few 
years. Fortunately, during these years a considerable sum was realized 
from the sale of tax titles, and in spite of the numerous bounties paid to 
war volunteers, the financial standing of the county was not impaired. 
November 12, 1862, the county board voted to raise $3,000 as a part of 
the general tax fund, for a Soldiers' Bounty Fund, for soldiers from this 
county, and their families. December 16, 1862, it was decided to pay $4 
a month for seven months to the wives and families of all non-commissioned 
officers, musicians and privates enhsting from this county. At the Decem- 
ber meeting the first bounties were voted. With this begmning, the board 
continued to grant $4 a month to families of volunteers throughout the war. 

An ambrotype of the company of volunteers raised in Trempealeau 
County having been taken, the board on December 20, 1862, voted to present 
the picture to Galesville University. 

Ettrick was created on December 16, 1862, and the first town meeting 
called for April 7, 1863, at the home of John Cance, in Section 36, Township 
20, Range 8. This made nine townships in the county. 

The board for 1863 was the same as the previous year. War-time 
problems increased. The bounty of $4 a month to families of volunteers 
was continued. November 10, 1863, it was voted to pay a bounty to each 
volunteer (or heirs) who had enlisted in the military service of the United 
States from this county during the Rebellion, and who should die in service 
or be honorably discharged. Later it was determined that in case the 
monthly bounty had been paid, that the amount of the monthly bounty 
should be deducted from the enlistment bounty. The first to receive this 
enlistment bounty was F. J. Miller, honoi-ably discharged from the First 
Wisconsin Battery. 

The unemotional records, with their lists of bounties paid to the rela- 
tives of those who died in battle, give to present generations a glimpse of 
the stress and tragedy of those days. 

While the young men were fighting for the preservation of the Union 
at the front, those at home were gradually increasing the agricultural acre- 
age of the county. The board, realizing the importance of raising sufficient 
food, and appreciating the vital part played in the war by the farms, voted 
on December 23, 1863, to contribute $50 to the work of the Trempealeau 
County Agricultural Society. 


Burnside was created as a township December 29, 1863. It consisted 
of Townships 22 and 23, Range 9, the west half of Township 23, Range 8, 
and Sections 4, 5, 6, in Township 22, Range 8. This embraced all of what 
is now Burnside, except the little strip in Township 22, Rang6 8, all of Chim- 
ney Rock, all that is now Hale west of the line that equally divides Range 8, 
and a small tract that is now the southwest corner of Lincoln. The first 
meeting was to be held in April, 1864, at the home of Giles Cripps. 

The board for 1864 consisted of E. Wilcox from the First District, Alex 
McGilvray from the Second District, and W. H. Thomas from the Third 
District. February 3 this board created Hale Township, embracing practi- 
cally the entire present township of that name, with the exception of some 
shght variations along the northwestern line of Pigeon Township. The 
first town meeting was to be held in April, 1865, at the home of D. S. Watson, 
Section 24, Township 23, Range 8. The bounty question continued to be a 
problem. At the time of the recruiting of Company C, Thirtieth Wisconsin 
Volunteer Infantry, it had been generally understood throughout the county 
that every volunteer was to receive a bounty of $50. At the first meeting in 
1864 the board therefore determined that the finances of the county were 
such as to justify a payment on account of $25 to all who had not already 
received that amount, either in person or through their families. The 
families that had received money in monthly payments amounting in all 
to less than $25 could receive the balance in cash, or request to have their 
$4 a month continued. Later in the year it was decided that widows of 
certain deceased volunteers should receive a monthly bounty of $4, just 
the same as though their husbands were still alive and serving at the front. 
November 15, 1865, 115 bounty claims were adjusted. It was during the 
administration of this board that the organization of the township of Chase 
was vacated, and the territory added to Sumner. The same board served 
in 1865, A. R. Wyman succeeding John Nicholls as clerk. 

George Dewey from the First District, George H. Smith from the 
Second, and Edward F. Wade from the Third, constituted the board for 1866. 
This board attempted to construct a jail. Crime was increasing with the 
growth in population and the augmentation of travel, and the cost of remov- 
ing prisoners to the jail at La Crosse was a serious drain on the county's 
resources. November 15, 1866, it was therefore voted to raise $1,500 for 
the erection of a jail at Gales ville. 

The next board, J. M. Barrett of the First District, George H. Smith of 
the Second District, and Charles C. Crane of the Third District, took office 
January 8, 1867, and on that date authorized Charles C. Crane to draw 
plans for the jail. B. F. Heuston succeeded A. R. Wyman as clerk. In the 
summer time this board ordered a tract index prepared for use in the office 
of the register of deeds. November 14, a final readjustment was made of 
the bounty matter. Many who declared themselves to have claims had 
assigned these claims to other persons for small sums, and the holders were 
pressing the county for payment. The board found that in most instances 
these claims were of men who had not enlisted from this county, or else of 
men whose families had already received in monthly payments more than 
the volunteer was entitled to receive. As an incentive toward good roads. 


the county decided to construct a pile driver to be loaned to the various 

James M. Barrett from the First District, Robert Cance from the 
Second, and C.'C. Crane from the Third, made up the board for 1868. Steps 
were taken toward erecting an almshouse. The distribution of the care of 
the poor between the county and townships had not proven satisfactory. 
Therefore it was determined that the proceeds of all lands that had been 
sold for taxes and bid in for iive successive years by the county and 
appraised and sold before the annual meeting of 1869, should be turned in 
to the poor fund, and an unimproved farm bought for not more than $1,000, 
or an improved farm for not more than $3,000, and that the county assume 
sole charge of the poor after January 1, 1870. 

In 1869 the board consisted of Noah D. Comstock from the First Dis- 
trict, Robert Cance from the Second District, and N. P. Bruce from the 
Third District. This board decided to abandon the plans for building a 
jail, and to accept the offer of the village of Trempealeau for the free use 
of the jail in that village. 

The last board under this regime convened February 15, 1870, and 
consisted of Noah D. Comstock from the First District, A. R. Wyman from 
the Second District, and N. P. Bruce from the Third District. 

Under the direct system of county government, the three supervisors 
each year had borne the brunt of the problems arising from the domestic 
aspects of the Civil War. They had continued the internal work of their 
predecessors in such matters as road and bridge building, and had attended 
to the routine business of the county in an efficient manner, and at a much 
less expense than that incident to the cumbersome system of township and 
village representation. Bounties had been voted to encourage enlistments, 
families of absent volunteers had been looked after, and the finances of the 
county kept in a satisfactory condition. An attempt had been made to erect 
a county jail and a county almshouse, and the necessity of depending on 
La Crosse for jail service had been lessened by the pressing into service of 
the village lock-up at Trempealeau, though prisoners after conviction con- 
tinued to be sent to La Crosse. While the various nationality elements, 
afterward prominent in the county, such as the Scandinavian, the German 
and the Polish, had already begun to settle in the county and to establish 
communities almost exclusively composed of their own nationalities, the 
administration of county affairs remained in the hands of men who were 
of English, Irish or Scotch birth or descent. 

The new board of supervisors met May 23, 1870. Chase having been 
vacated, and Ettrick, Burnside and Hale having been created, the board 
consisted of ten members: John D. Lewis of Arcadia, Warren Post of 
Burnside, Joshua Rhodes of Caledonia, Robert Cance of Ettrick, Robert 
Oliver in place of Wilham P. Clark of Gale, D. S. Watson of Hale, W. H. 
Thomas of Sumner, Benjamin B. Healy of Trempealeau, and Gullick Olson 
of Preston. Mr. Olson was the first representative of the Scandinavian race 
to sit on the board. Mr. Healy was made chairman. This board devoted 
a greater part of its attention to the question of unredeemed tax lands. 
The land was coming more and more in demand, and the county found that 


the tracts that it had bid in at tax sales in previous years found a ready 
market. During this administration, the treasurer, Edward F. Wade, 
alleged that $1,498.18 had been stolen from his safe. The board ordered a 
rigid investigation, and finally, after considering all aspects of the case, 
ordered the district attorney to prosecute the treasurer's bondsmen for 
full payment of the amount missing, with interest. Judgment being 
obtained, the money was turned over to the county by the bondsmen and a 
release signed by the board November 19, 1872. June 20, 1870, the town 
of Albion was set off in response to a petition previously presented request- 
ing the creation of a town to be named Logan. As created, Albion consisted 
of its present area. The first meeting was ordered held at the schoolhouse 
in District Three, in April, 1871. 

D. S. Watson of Hale was the chairman of the county board in 1871. 
The other members were Noah D. Comstock of Arcadia, Michael White of 
Burnside, Robert Cance of Ettrick, James Overson of Preston, Benjamin B. 
Healy of Trempealeau (place filled March 20, 1871, by D. S. Watson) , George 
0. Babcock of Albion, Joshua Rhodes of Caledonia, WiUiam P. Clark of Gale, 
David Wood of Lincoln, J. W. McKay of Sumner, and George Batchelder of 
Trempealeau Village. The modern system of county government in Trem- 
pealeau County dates from this board. The previous board had inaugurated 
the new system under the State law, and had paved the way for the per- 
fected organization. But the board of 1871 established the procedure by 
which the affairs of the county have since been conducted. The rules 
adopted November 14, 1871, for the meetings of the board are those which, 
with a few minor changes, have since been in force. That these rules have 
proved adequate for nearly fifty years shows the foresightedness of those 
who invented them. The present system of the division of the labors of 
the board among the members was also adopted at that time. Previous 
to this adoption, such special committees as were needed were appointed 
from time to time, but most of the business now done by the committees 
was transacted by the full board. This board of 1871 established a regular 
system of committees. These committees, with some shght readjustments, 
were the same as at present, with the exception that the work of the what 
was then the committee on jury lists is now done by the clerk of court, and 
a committee on county property has been added. 

Since the days of this board the work of the county supervisors has 
been largely of a routine nature, not differing materially from the work of 
neighboring counties of the State. Several matters, however, have been of 
special historic significance, and among these are the creation of four addi- 
tional townships, the county seat struggle, the erection of the courthouse 
and jail, the creation of an insane asylum, attempts at establishing a poor 
farm, and in recent years the work that has arisen in connection with the 
State aid system in the construction of roads and bridges. 

Dodge and Pigeon were created January 4, 1875 ; Unity on November 
20, 1877, and Chimney Rock on November 22, 1881. All were created with 
their boundaries as at present constituted, except that the northwest line 
of Pigeon has since been readjusted. The first meeting in Dodge was held 
in the schoolhouse in District 2, Section 12, Township 19, Range 10, in April, 


1875, the first meeting in Pigeon was held on the same date, the first meeting 
in Unity was held in April, 1878, at the schoolhouse in Section 22, Township 
24, Range 8, and the first meeting in Chimney Rock was held at the school- 
house in Section 11, Township 23, Range 9, in April, 1882. The question of 
the division of Lincoln and the creation of Pigeon was submitted to the 
voters, the only instance in the history of the county where such a provision 
was made. 

The county having been ci'eated through the influence and clever plan- 
ning of Judge Gale, the county seat was placed at his proposed village of 
Galesville. In the years that immediately followed, Trempealeau occasion- 
ally expressed its aspirations, and once went so far as to prepare a petition 
to the legislature for a vote on the question of removing the county seat 
there. The petition was accepted by the legislature and an Act passed 
March 5, 1868, authorizing the election. The voters rejected the proposi- 
tion. To the majority of the people of the county the division of honors 
between the two villages seemed an equitable one. Galesville was the seat 
of learning as the home of Gale College, it was the source of government 
by reason of the location of the county seat, and it was the center of consid- 
erable influence as the residence of several prominent men. Trempealeau 
possessed the advantage of being on the Mississippi, and as aU of the exports 
of the county were shipped from there, it naturally became the commercial 

But the growth of the county in the decade following the Civil War, the 
building of the railroad through the center of the county in 1873, and the 
increasing importance of the villages along its line in the Trempealeau Val- 
ley caused a growing discontent with the location of the courthouse in the 
southeast corner of the county. Judge Gale was dead, the prestige of the 
name no longer upheld Galesville, Trempealeau had ceased to be the shipping 
point of the county, the balance of power had shifted from the southern 
townships. Whitehall, Arcadia, Independence and Blair were all ambitious, 
and the people of the northern part of the county naturally joined with the 
people of the central part against those in the southern part. 

In order to establish their grip on the county seat, the people of Gales- 
ville caused to be introduced at the board meeting of November 13, 1875, a 
motion to spend $500 in repairing the courthouse, repairs which in fact were 
needed, as the building was becoming inadequate for the demands upon it. 
That motion being defeated, a proposition was made to erect a new court- 
house at a cost of $15,000. This was hkewise defeated. 

A year later, at the election of November 7, 1876, the voters of the 
county decided in favor of removing the county seat to Arcadia, whcih had 
become the metropolis of the county. The people of Gale, however, did 
not propose to let their advantages slip from their grasp without a fight, and 
on November 18, 1876, John McKeith of Gale proposed to the county board 
that the county oflSces and meeting place of the board should remain at 
Galesville until the next annual meeting, or until otherwise ordered by the 
board. The proposition was defeated, being favored only by the members 
from Gale, Caledonia and Ettrick, who hoped to keep the county seat in the 
southern part of the county, and by the member from Lincoln, who desired 


Arcadia to secure no advantages. John D. Lewis led the fight for Arcadia, 
and on the final proposition of seUing the property at Galesville he had only- 
two opponents, the members from Gale and Trempealeau. November 21, 
1876, a committee was appointed to supervise the removal to Arcadia. 
January 2, 1877, the board met in the schoolhouse at that place. 

Whitehall now entered the fight in earnest. Galesville, strongly 
entrenched in historic tradition, had been defeated, and it was believed that 
Arcadia would prove a less formidable foe. Presenting the argument that 
Arcadia was on the western edge of the county and Whitehall in the 
geographical center, the people of the latter village had circulated a petition, 
and securing the necessary number of signatures, asked the board on 
January 3, 1877, to call for an election on the question. Mr. Lewis alleged 
that many names had been secured by misrepresentation, and that most of 
the signers thought the petition was one requesting that no county tax be 
laid for erecting county buildings. He demanded for Arcadia the right 
to be represented by an attorney and witnesses before the county board. 
But he was denied that privilege and the election was ordered to be held 
in the fall. However, in spite of this coming contest, the board appointed 
a committee to draw plans for the erection of a $20,000 building at Arcadia. 

At the election held November 6, 1877, the voters decided by about 600 
majority to move the county seat to Whitehall. The citizens of Arcadia 
alleged fraud and secured an injunction, but in the end were unsuccessful in 
their contentions. 

January 23, 1878, the board met at Scott's Hall, at the southwest corner 
of Main and Scranton streets, in Whitehall, and after considerable jockeying 
passed a resolution condemning the people of Arcadia for their attitude, 
accused them of stirring up strife, or engendering animosities which would 
take years to overcome, and wrongfully putting on the county the cost of 
expensive litigation. In the same resolution S. W. Button was authorized 
to employ Judge Thomas Wilson of Winona to defend the board in the 
injunction proceedings brought by Arcadia. On the final vote, the only 
members opposing the resolution were the ones from Arcadia and its 
adjoining town of Dodge, and the two southern towns of Caledonia and 

Blair now appeared as an aspirant for county seat honors, but on 
November 5, 1878, the voters again declared in favor of Whitehall. 

The people of Arcadia continued to feel that not only was Arcadia the 
logical place for the county seat, but that they had in fact been defrauded 
out of it. The necessary number of names being secured to a petition, the 
question of removing the county seat to Arcadia came before the voters 
November 7, 1882, and was defeated by a count of 1,874 to 1,454. 

Thus for the third time, the people had declared in favor of Whitehall. 
The fight had been long and bitter, the newspapers had been filled with 
recriminations, the quarrel had been the chief subject of conversation for 
years, the ill feeling engendered was long to remain, but the people of 
Arcadia accepted the situation cheerfully and set- about to maintain the 
position of that village as a metropolis of the county, even though its 


geographical position had defeated its county seat aspirations. The ques- 
tion was now practically dead, though the people of Independence prepared 
a petition and endeavored to secure an election in the fall of 1883 on the 
proposition of removing the county seat to Independence. It was found, 
however, that the number of votes cast at the previous election was 2,013 
of which two-thirds was 1,342. Of the 1,493 names on the petition, 1,318 
were on the poll lists and 162 were not. The status of 16 names was in 
doubt. The petition thus fell short of the necessary 1,342 and no similar 
petition has since been attempted. 

November 15, 1882, 0. J. Allen of Lincoln, moved before the county 
board that the courthouse be erected in Whitehall. The proposition carried 
by a vote of 12 to 5, the opposing votes being those of the members of 
Arcadia township and village, and their neighbor Dodge, of Burnside where 
the people had aspirations for Independence, and of Preston were the people 
had aspirations for Blair. A building committee was appointed consisting 
of A. H. Gary, J.D. Olds, M. J. Warner, H. Hoberton and John McKeith. A 
large lot was presented by the town of Lincoln, and that town also paid 
$5,000 toward the construction of the building. Work was started in the 
spring of 1883, and the building was completed late that year at a cost of 
about $20,000, being occupied early in January, 1884. 

November 11, 1885, money was appropriated for a jail, and work was 
commenced the following spring in charge of a building committee consist- 
ing of H. Hoberton, E. H. Warner and Peter Ekern. It was accepted 
November 1, 1886, having cost about $8,000. 

The courthouse and jail proved adequate for more than thirty years. 
In 1910 the need of improvement was apparent, and on November 16, 1910, 
after preUminary investigation and due consultation with the State Board 
of Control, it was decided to rebuild the jail, and at the same time to build 
an addition to the courthouse which would nearly double its capacity. The 
first set of bids was rejected, and on January 10, 1911, the contracts were 
let. The work on the courthouse and jail was completed late in the fall 
of 1911 at a cost of nearly $30,000, the committee in charge consisting of 
James N. Hunter, chairman; E. F. Hensel, secretary; E. F. Clark, C. Q. 
Gage and F. A. Hotchkiss. 

The courthouse and jail are surrounded by beautiful wooded lawns 
which stretch across the schoolhouse property and merge in the public park, 
which in turn extends to the village cemetery, this giving the people a 
beautiful sweep of public property scarcely to be equaled in western 

From the earliest days the care of the poor has been an important part 
of the work of the county board. Some members have favored putting the 
entire burden on the townships ; some have favored putting the entire 
burden on the county, and some have favored a division of responsibility 
between the county and the townships. The various systems have been 
tried with varying success. At present the townships are responsible for 
the care of their own poor, while the county looks after the poor whose 
actual residence in any particular township cannot be proven. 

Plans for the establishment of a poor farm and almshouse have several 


times been set on foot. Once a poor farm was bought and sold again, and 
once the foundation of an almshouse was constructed but later abandoned. 

November 11, 1885, at the same meeting which voted to erect a jail, 
a motion was passed authorizing the purchase of a poor farm, the erection 
of an almshouse and the purchase of equipment, $2,000 to be levied for the 
purpose that year and $4,000 the following year. The farm was to consist 
of between 80 and 160 acres and was to be located in the Trempealeau 
Valley, not more than four miles from a railroad. The work was to be com- 
pleted November 1, 1886, at which time the county system of caring for 
the poor was to go into full effect. A poor commission was appointed, con- 
sisting of W. A. Johnson of Gale, Thomas Thompson of Independence and 
Charles Johnson of Blair. But evidently at the time of passing the vote 
the board had misgivings, for a motion was at once introduced to reconsider. 
The misgivings continued, and at a special meeting held June 15, 1886, it 
was decided to adopt the township system of caring for the poor, to dispose 
of the farm in Burnside which the commissioners had tentatively purchased, 
and to abandon all the work that had been done in preparation for inaugu- 
rating the county system. On the final vote the supervisors who still 
favored the county system were the representatives from Burnside, Inde- 
pendence, Preston, Sumner and Trempealeau Village. 

In the years that followed, the matter of building institutions for the 
care of the poor and of the insane was discussed at various meetings. On 
January 2, 1899, O. E. Gibbs, E. J. Matchett and D. L. Holcombe rendered 
an extensive report on the subject and recommended that an insane asylum 
and almshouse be built, as a measure of economy, efficiency and humanity. 
The report was accepted and the three men named as a committee to carry 
out their recommendations. Later G. H. Neperud, D. Wood, Stener Hanson 
and E. F. Clark were added to the committee. Land was purchased west 
of Arcadia and work was started in the spring of 1899, complicated some- 
what by an injunction obtained by Martin T. Babbit, who claimed that the 
powers of the committee expired when the old board went out of office 
in March. The injunction was served May 4 and dissolved May 12. 

The work on the almshouse was suspended permanently after the foun- 
dations were nearly finished. The asylum was practically completed Jan- 
uary 25, 1900. The first trustees were D. L. Holcombe, president, of Arcadia ; 
F. M. Smith, secretary, of Osseo, and Thomas Thompson of Whitehall. J. A. 
Johnson was the first superintendent. He was followed in March, 1901, 
by P. H. Johnson, who was succeeded in January, 1911, by John McKivergin, 
the present superintendent. The farm consists of 405 acres at the asylum 
west of Whitehall and three forty-acre tracts of woodland elsewhere. The 
farm is well improved and equipped and the institution is regarded as a 
model of its kind. The establishment has not only supported itself, but 
has already paid nearly one-half of the original cost of $90,000. A part 
of the income consists of a certain sum received each year from the state. 
The first nine patients were received April 6, 1900, and the number was 
increased to forty-six before the end of the month. The capacity is now 
nearly 150 patients. 

Road and bridge matters have constituted much of the heavy work 


of the successive county boards. The early roads in Trempealeau County 
followed the river courses. The trail along the Mississippi and the trail 
dovi^n the Beef River Valley early became much frequented highways. Beef 
River Valley, Trempealeau Valley and its two gi-eat northern branches, 
Pigeon Creek and Elk Creek (Pleasant) Valleys ; and its eastern branch, 
the Big Tamarack Valley ; Bruce, Chimney Rock and Borst Valleys, tribu- 
tary to Pleasant Valley ; Beaver Creek Valley and its tributary, French 
Creek Valley, are all natural lines of travel, while the Trempealeau Prairie 
affords routes west and south from Galesville and north and east from 

The greatest difficulty in road building in the county is in crossing 
the ridges which separate the valleys. None of the roads of the county 
follow the crest of the ridges for any considerable distance, the longest ridge 
road being one of several miles between Pigeon Valley and Osseo. The 
southern part of the county abounds in rock, but in the northern part of 
the county rock for road building must be shipped in. 

The territorial and early state assemblies designated certain routes 
as state roads ; the early county boards co-operated with various other 
counties in laying out roads which would connect the widely separated 
pioneer hamlets, and also laid out such roads as extended across more than 
one township. The care of the roads and the laying out of short roads was 
left with the townships. Bridges were built in whole or in part by the 
county when it appeared that the construction of such bridges would impose 
too great a hardship on the individual towns. 

Modern road building in Trempealeau County was inaugurated under 
the laws of 1907. In that year the county board outlined a series of 
"proposed county highways" covering the natural routes of communication 
within the county. E. J. Matchett was appointed county highway commis- 
sioner. Under this system the county was to pay one-half for the construc- 
tion of county roads and the township one-half. Under the laws of 1911 
the state pays one-third, the county one-third and the town one-third. The 
state money available, however, has not thus far been sufficient to meet 
the entire one-third, so in reahty the county and township are paying 
considerably more than their respective thirds. 

Trempealeau County was one of the first counties in the state to build 
roads under the laws of 1907. In 1912 macadamizing was started on the 
Arcadia-Dodge and the Galesville-Ettrick roads. The work of macadamizing, 
grading and surfacing has since continued until something like $400,000 
has been spent within the county. The heaviest piece of relocation work 
in the state was done on the so-called Decorah Peak cut, near Galesville, 
where something like 35,000 cubic yards of earth were moved in a stretch 
of a little more than a mile, at a cost of about $25,000. The new road 
considerably modifies the grade and eliminates many dangerous curves. 
In 1916 Emil F. Rotering was appointed county highway commissioner, and 
under his able supervision, with the co-operation of the county board 
committee, the highways of the county are being gradually improved and 
the system extended. 

County Officers. William M. Young, the first county clerk of Ti-empea- 


leau County, was appointed as clerk of the county board at its first meeting, 
May 1, 1854. John Nicholls was appointed November 20, 1854. Charles 
Utter was elected in the fall of 1854, but did not qualify, and on February 3, 
1855, John Nicholls was again appointed. He was elected in the fall of 1856. 
Since then the clerks have been : 

1865, Allen R. Wyman; 1867, B. F. Heuston; 1871, Allen R. Wyman 
(died in office) ; 1880, Charles E. Perkins (appointed November 9) ; 1883, 
E. N. Trowbridge; 1891, L. H. Whitney; 1893, H. A. Towner; 1897, P. H. 
Johnson; 1901, Oluf Ihle (died in office) ; 1904, H. A. Towner (appointed 
November 15, 1904) ; 1905, John P. Hanson ; 1909, Paudor K. Risberg. 

A. A. Arnold became county superintendent of schools December 5, 
1861. At the same time George Batchelder, A. R. Wyman and Henry Lake 
were appointed examiners. Mr. Arnold resigned September 1, 1862, and 
was followed by D. W. GilfiUan. Following him came : 1865, S. S. Luce ; 
1870, Amos Whiting; 1874, J. B. Thompson; 1876, Amos Whiting; 1878, 
Mary Brandenberg ; 1880, Stephen Richmond ; 1882, W. J. Showers ; 1885, 
W. L. Cummings; 1893, T. C. Salt; 1899, L. S. Keith; 1907, Cornelia (Camp- 
bell) Remington; 1909, Dan P. Gibson; 1917, Helen Berg. Beginning with 
1905, the school superintendents have been elected in April and have taken 
office the first Monday in July, to conform with the school year. 

Augustus W. Armstrong was elected register of deeds of Trempealeau 
County in the fall of 1854. John Nicholls succeeded him January 1, 1857. 
Since then the registers have been: 1859, Charles E. Perkins; 1861, 
Edward Barnard; 1863, Charles E. Perkins; 1867, David W. Wade; 1871, 
H. L. Bunn; 1875, John Olson Melby; 1887, Simon Olson; 1893, T. R. 
Phillips; 1895, H. N. Halvorson; 1901, Christian F. Ringlee; 1907, Juhus E. 
Wilberg; 1913, Morris Hanson. 

The first treasurer of Trempealeau County was Charles Utter, who was 
appointed May 1, 1854. His successors have been: 1855, HoUister 
Wright; 1857, George H. Smith; 1859, Samuel F. Harris; 1861, Noah D. 
Comstock; 1867, Edward F. Wade; 1871, Douglass Arnold; 1875, David 
Kribs; 1883, Henry French; 1887, Henry Thorsgaard; 1891, L. L. Grinde; 
1895, O. E. Larson ; 1899, Henry French (died in office) ; 1899, M. E. Ladd 
(appointed May 8) ; 1903, Charles N. Webster; 1907, Nels L. Fredrickson; 
1911, John F. Hager; 1915, Ole 0. Hovre; 1917, F. D. Hopkins. 

George H. Smith was the first clerk of court of Trempealeau County. 
The other clerks have been : 1857, John Nicholls ; 1865, Allen R. Wyman ; 
1867, B. F. Heuston; 1871, Charles E. Perkins; 1875, H. L. Bunn; 1877, 
R. A. Odell; 1887, E. Bratberg (resigned) ; 1888, Ohver A. Hegg (appointed 
April 2) ; 1893, Harry H. Scott; 1899, "F. E. Beach; 1905, Eugene F. Kidder. 

Romanzo Bunn was probably the first man to serve Trempealeau County 
as district attorney. He took office January 1, 1857, and resigned Septem- 
ber 28, 1857, being followed by A. A. Arnold. Mr. Arnold resigned May 13, 

1858, and Mr. Bunn was appointed in his place. Following him came: 

1859, John A. Daniels; 1861, C. E. Turner; 1863, G. Y. Freeman; 1867, A. W. 
Newman; 1871, J. E. Robinson; 1873, A. W. Newman; 1877, S. W. Button; 
1879, Michael Milhgan ; 1881, Sam S. Miller; 1887, E. Q. Nye; 1890, Hans A. 
Anderson ; 1891, G. Y. Freeman ; 1893, J. C. Button ; 1895, Herman L. Ekern ; 


1899, Robert S. Cowie. Judge Cowie resigned late in 1903, and Robert 
Christianson was appointed. Mr. Christianson died after a few months, 
and Earl F. Hensel was appointed. He served until the close of 1908. John 
A. Markham then served until the close of 1912, when Judge Hensel again 
took office, being succeeded January 1, 1915, by Elmer E. Barlow. 

When the first term of court was held on April 28, 1856, A. M. Branden- 
berg was the sheriff of Trempealeau County. Following him the sheriffs 
have been: 1857, William Clark; 1859, Robert E. Jones; 1861, WiUiam A. 
Cram ; 1863, J. W. Marsh ; 1865, Ulysses Button ; 1867, Edward Elkins ; 1869, 
John C. McCoy; 1871, David W. Wade; 1873, Charles F. Holmes; 1875. 
Joseph Kellogg; 1877, E. S. Hotchkiss; 1879, Daniel K. Hagestad; 1881, 
Nels L. Tolvstad; 1883, Ed Elstad; 1885, John McKeith; 1887, Ed Elstad; 
1889, John Boynton; 1891, John McKeith; 1893, Nels L. Fredrickson; 1895, 
John Durisch; 1897, Joseph L. Jensen; 1899, G. F. Steig; 1901, Elmer L. 
Immell; 1903, Arthur A. Holmes; 1905, Nels J. Nelson; 1907, Mathias T. 
Pederson; 1909, Phineas A. Van Horn; 1911, Paul E. Van Horn; 1913, Carl 
Jahr; 1915, Edward Torgerson; 1917, Ed Erickson. 

The first surveyor of Trempealeau County was George J. Turton. His 
successors have been: 1857, Daniel Trowbridge; 1863, Alfred P. Ford; 
1865, Isaac Zeller; 1867, Alfred P. Ford; 1875, William Coates; 1877, Paul 
Heyse ; 1879, H. B. Merchant ; 1881, Thomas G. Cox ; 1883, A. P. Ford ; 1885, 
Thomas G. Cox; 1889, H. B. Merchant; 1891, Thomas G. Cox; 1899, Hans B. 
Raa (appointed November 17) ; 1901, A. A. Arnold; 1907, G. D. Arnold; 
1911, J. C. Van Tassel; 1913, G. D. Arnold; 1915, C. J. Van Tassel; 1917, 
G. D. Arnold. 

The first coroner of Trempealeau County was William Adams. He was 
foUowed by: 1857, Isaac Clark; 1859, D. W. Gilfillan; 1863, George 
Batchelder; 1865, Henry Lake; 1867, Charles C. Crane. Crane served as 
coroner the greater part of the time until 1889, though during that period 
F. E. Booth, Robert Cance and Ed. Borwell served one or more terms. C. E. 
Scott served from 1889 until the appointment of H. A. Towner, February 6, 
1901. W. E. Parker served until 1911. Then C. L. Storey and S. F. 
Hutchins each served a term, followed by M. C. Crane. 

Ten men have served as county judges of Trempealeau County. Ben- 
jamin F. Heuston was elected in 1854. He has been followed by: 1860, 
A. W. Newman (appointed April 10) ; 1867, S. W. Button ; 1873, Charles E. 
Perkins ; 1880, Seth Mills (appointed December 2) ; 1882, M. Mulligan ; 1888, 
R. A. Odell (appointed January 10) ; 1906, Robert S. Cowie ; 1909, Earl F. 
Hensel (appointed July 3) ; 1910, Hans A. Anderson. 

County Boards. 1872 : Albion, Ed Borwell ; Arcadia, N. D. Comstock ; 
Burnside, Michael White ; Caledonia, Joshua Rhodes ; Ettrick, Robert Cance ; 
Gale, John McKeith ; Hale, D. S. Watson (chairman) ; Lincoln, L. D. McNitt; 
Preston, Synest Johnson ; Sumner, R. C. Field ; Trempealeau, B. B. Healey 
(S. E. Heuston sat at the May meeting in 1873) ; Trempealeau Village, F. H. 

1873: Albion, George 0. Babcock; Arcadia, 0. A. Hegg; Burnside, 
Michael White; Caledonia, Joshua Rhodes; Ettrick, Robert Cance; Gale, 
John McKeith; Hale, James Thompson; Lincoln, David Wood; Preston, 


James Hopkins ; Sumner, Elias Gay ; Trempealeau, B. B. Healy ; Trempealeau 
Village, F. H. Krebs, chairman. 

1874: Albion, George 0. Babcock; Arcadia, A. Rathburn; Burnside, 
George H. Markham; Caledonia, Edward Barnard; Ettrick, Robert Cance 
(C. J. Beach sat at January meeting, 1875) ; Gale, George H. Smith; Hale, 
D. S. Watson (S. P. Solberg sat at January meeting, 1875) ; Lincoln, D. W. 
Wade (Lyman McNitt sat at January meeting, 1875) ; Preston, James 
Hopkins; Sumner, T. G. Cox; Trempealeau, Paul Krebs; Trempealeau 
Village, F. H. Krebs, chairman. 

1875: Albion, George Babcock; Arcadia, N. N. Comstock; Burnside, 
D. C. Cilley ; Caledonia, T. M. Holmes ; Dodge, Charles Keith ; Ettrick, C. G. 
Beach ; Gale, John McKeith ; Hale, M. J. Warner ; Lincoln, David W. Wade ; 
Pigeon, Peter Ekern ; Preston, James Hopkins ; Sumner, T. A. Cox ; Trem- 
pealeau, B. B. Healy; Trempealeau Village, F. H. Krebs, chairman. 

1876 : Albion, George Babcock ; Arcadia, J. D. Lewis ; Burnside, D. C. 
Cilley; Caledonia, T. M. Holmes (R. C. Towner sat at fall meeting) ; Dodge, 
Anton Pehler ; Ettrick, C. G. Beach ; Gale, John Keith ; Hale, M. J. Warner ; 
Lincoln, David Wood ; Pigeon, Peter Ekern ; Preston, B. Olson ; Sumner, J. V. 
Tracy; Trempealeau, B. B. Healy; Trempealeau Village, F. H Krebs, chair- 

1877 : Albion, James W. Grant ; Arcadia, J. D. Lewis ; Burnside, James 
Reid; Caledonia, Gilbert Gibbs (T. M. Holmes sat at January meeting, 
1878) ; Dodge, Mathias Brom ; Ettrick, K. K. Hagestad ; Gale, John McKeith ; 
Hale, M. J. Warner; Lincoln, L. H. Earle; Pigeon, Peter Ekern; Preston, 
Stener Hanson (Richard Olson sat at January meeting, 1878) ; Sumner, 
P. B. Williams; Trempealeau, B. B. Healy (D. C. Wasson sat at January 
meeting, 1878) ; Trempealeau Village, T. H. Krebs. chairman. 

1878: Albion, J. W. Grant; Arcadia, Seth Putnam; Burnside, Giles 
Cripps; Caledonia, Gilbert Gibbs; Dodge, Mathias Brom; Ettrick, K. K. 
Hagestad ; Gale, John McKeith ; Hale, M. J. Warner ; Lincoln, S. H. Earle ; 
Pigeon, Peter Ekern; Preston, J. G. Hanson; Sumner, J. T. Linderman (E. 
Holbrook sat at January meeting, 1879) ; Trempealeau, B. B. Healy; Unity, 
P. B. Williams ; Trempealeau Village, F. H. Krebs, chairman. 

1879 : Albion, H. Helgerson ; Arcadia, W. Barnes ; Burnside, E. Elstad ; 
Caledonia, T. M. Holmes ; Dodge, Aug. Bambenick ; Ettrick, N. T. Tolvstad ; 
Gale, John McKeith ; Hale, A. H. Lewis ; Lincoln, T. H. Earle ; Pigeon, Peter 
Ekern; Preston, B. Olson; Sumner, D. L. Remington; Trempealeau, A. H. 
Carey ; Unity, P. B. Williams ; Arcadia Village, Seth Putnam ; Trempealeau 
Village, F. H. Krebs, chairman. 

1880: Albion, Ed. Borwell; Arcadia, W. W. Barnes; Burnside, E. 
Elstad; Caledonia, Joshua Rhodes; Dodge, Mathias Brom; Ettrick, N. T. 
Tolvstad (K. K. Hagestad sat at January meeting, 1881) ; Gale, John 
McKeith; Hale, A. H. Lewis; Lincoln, T. A. Earle; Pigeon, Peter Ekern; 
Preston, Charles Johnson; Sumner, D. L. Remington; Trempealeau, A. H. 
Carey; Unity, E. Everson; Arcadia Village, Seth Putnam; Trempealeau 
Village, F. H. Krebs, chairman. 

1881 : Albion, Ed. Borwell (George 0. Babcock sat at special meeting 
in March, 1881) ; Arcadia, W. W. Barnes; Burnside, E. Elstad; Caledonia, 


Charles Pickering ; Dodge, Mathias Brom ; Ettrick, K. K. Hagestad ; Gale, 
John McKeith ; Hale, A. H. Lewis ; Lincoln, 0. J. Allen ; Pigeon, J. D. Olds ; 
Preston, Charles Johnson; Sumner, W. J. Shores; Trempealeau, William 
McDonah; Unity, Ole Thomasgaard; Arcadia, Seth Putnam, chairman; 
Trempealeau Village, H. Hoberton. 

1882: Albion, George 0. Babcock; Arcadia, W. W. Barnes; Burnside, 
E. Elstad (W. R. Turnbull sat in January, 1883) ; Caledonia, Charles Pick- 
ering; Chimney Rock, John Haakenson; Dodge, Frank Brom; Ettrick, L. L. 
Grinde; Gale, John McKeith; Hale, M. J. Warner; Lincoln, 0. J. Allen; 
Pigeon, J. D. Olds; Preston, B. K. Strand; Sumner, D. L. Remington; 
Trempealeau, A. H. Carey; Unity, P. B. Williams; Arcadia Village, Seth 
Putnam, chairman ; Trempealeau Village, H. Hoberton. 

1883 : Albion, J. W. Grant ; Arcadia, W. W. Barnes ; Burnside, Giles 
Cripps ; Caledonia, Charles Pickering ; Chimney Rock, Peter Nelton ; Dodge, 
Aug. Mondry ; Ettrick, Even 0. Gilbertson ; Gale, Isaac Galloway ; Hale, 
M. J. Warner ; Lincoln, T. H. Earle, chairman ; Pigeon, J. D. Olds ; Preston, 
Stener Hanson ; Sumner, Stoddard Field ; Trempealeau, A. H. Carey ; Unity, 
P. B. Williams; Arcadia Village, S. Richmond; Trempealeau Village, H. 

1884 : Albion, W. J. Boyd ; Arcadia, A. Rathbone ; Burnside, L. N. Lee 
(for Giles Cripps); Caledonia, Charles Pickering; Chimney Rock, John 
Haakenson ; Dodge, A. Mondry ; Ettrick, E. 0. Gilbertson ; Gale, A. Arnold ; 
Hale, M. J. Warner; Lincoln, E. H. Warner; Pigeon, Peter Ekern; Preston, 
Henry Thorsgaard; Sumner, Curtis Buzzle (for Stoddard Field) ; Trempea- 
leau, N. H. Carhart; Unity, Ole Thomasgaard; Arcadia Village, W. W. 
Barnes (for N. Lehrbach) ; Trempealeau Village, H. Hoberton, chairman. 

1885 : Albion, W. J. Boyd ; Arcadia, Thomas Simpson ; Burnside, W. R. 
Allison; Caledonia, Charles Pickering; Chimney Rock, John Haakenson; 
Dodge, A. Mondry ; Ettrick, E. 0. Gilbertson ; Gale, A. A. Arnold ; Hale, J. O. 
Van Tassel ; Lincoln, E. H. Warner ; Pigeon, Peter Ekern ; Preston, Stener 
Hanson; Sumner, L. L. Cox; Trempealeau, N. H. Carhart; Unity, Ole 
Thomasgaard; Arcadia Village, 0. 0. Peterson; Trempealeau Village, H. 
Hoberton, chairman. 

1886: Albion, G. H. Snoyenbos; Arcadia, L. A. Simpson; Burnside, 
John Sprecher; Caledonia, Charles Pickering, chairman; Chimney Rock, 
John Haakenson ; Dodge, Frank Brom ; Ettrick ; L. L. Grinde ; Gale, Thomas 
Hunter ; Hale, M. J. Warner ; Lincoln, P. A. Williams ; Pigeon, Peter Ekern ; 
Preston, F. Thompson ; Sumner, L. L. Cox ; Trempealeau, William McDonah ; 
Unity, Ole Thomasgaard; Arcadia Village, J. Farlin; Independence, L. E. 
Danuser ; Trempealeau Village, H. Hoberton. 

1887: Albion, Knud Jensen; Arcadia, L. A. Simpson; Burnside, L. E. 
Danuser; Caledonia, Charles Pickering, chairman; Chimney Rock, John 
Haakenson; Dodge, Frank Brom; Ettrick, L. L. Grinde; Gale, Thomas 
Hunter ; Hale, F. A. George ; Lincoln, D. Wood ; Pigeon, P. Ekern ; Preston, 
G. H. Short ; Sumner, L. L. Cox ; Trempealeau, William McDonah ; Unity, Ole 
Thomasgaard; Arcadia Village, J. Farlin; Galesville, W. Davis; Inde- 
pendence, L. Thomas ; Trempealeau Village, J. M. Barrett ; Whitehall, C. E. 


1888: Albion, Knud Jenson; Arcadia, D. Bigham; Burnside, L. E. 
Danuser; Caledonia, Charles Pickering, chairman; Chimney Rock, John 
Haakenson ; Dodge, Frank Brom ; Ettrick, L. L. Grinde ; Gale, A. A. Al-nold ; 
Hale, A. H. Lewis ; Lincoln, D. Wood ; Pigeon, Peter Ekern ; Preston, Stener 
Hanson ; Sumner, E. J. Matchett ; Trempealeau, William McDonah ; Unity, 
Otto Langerfield ; Arcadia Village, J. Farlin ; Galesville, F. H. Krebs ; Inde- 
pendence, E. S. Hotchkiss ; Trempealeau Village, J. M. Barrett ; Whitehall, 
C. E. Scott. 

1889 : Albion, G. H. Snoyenbos ; Arcadia, D. Bigham ; Bui-nside, L. E. 
Danuser; Caledonia, W. P. Bigelow; Chimney Rock, John Haakenson; 
Dodge, Frank Brom ; Ettrick, K. K. Hagestad ; Gale, A. A. Arnold, chairman ; 
Hale, M. J. Warner; Lincoln, J. E. Lamberson; Pigeon, 0. E. Larson; 
Preston, James Hopkins; Sumner, J. H. McKenny; Trempealeau, M. H. Car- 
hart; Unity, Ole Thomasgaard; Arcadia Village, S. Richmond; Galesville, 
L. L. Odell; Independence, E. S. Hotchkiss; Trempealeau Village, J. M. 
Barrett ; Whitehall, Joseph Sherwood. 

1890: Albion, M. B. Gibson; Arcadia, D. Bigham; Burnside, A. J. 
Bautch ; Caledonia, W. P. Bigelow ; Chimney Rock, C. E. Kittleson ; Dodge, 
Louis Leterski ; Ettrick, C. N. Ashley ; Gale, E. F. Clark ; Hale, M. J. Warner ; 
Lincoln, J. C. Lamberson ; Pigeon, 0. E. Larson ; Preston, James Hopkins ; 
Sumner, E. J. Matchett ; Trempealeau, 0. E. Gibbs ; Unity, Otto Langerfield ; 
Arcadia, John Maurer; Galesville, G. Y. Freeman; Independence, E. S. 
Hotchkiss, chairman ; Trempealeau Village, R. Hoberton ; Whitehall, A. G. 

1891: Albion, M. B. Gibson; Arcadia, D. Bigham; Burnside, A. J. 
Bautch ; Caledonia, W. P. Bigelow ; Chimney Rock, C. E. Kittleson ; Dodge, 
Louis Leterski ; Ettrick, C. N. Ashley ; Gale, E. F. Clark ; Hale, M. J. Warner ; 
Lincoln, J. E. Lamerson; Pigeon, 0. E. Larson; Preston, James Hopkins; 
Sumner, E. J. Matchett ; Trempealeau, 0. E. Gibbs ; Unity, Otto Langerfield ; 
Arcadia Village, John Maurer; Galesville, G. Y. Freeman; Independence, 
E. S. Hotchkiss, chairman; Trempealeau Village, H. Hoberton; Whitehall, 
A. G. Bucholz. 

1892: Albion, C. Meyer (for M. B. Gibson) ; Arcadia, D. L. Holcomb; 
Burnside, A. J. Bautch; Caledonia, Charles Pickering; Chimney Rock, C. E. 
Kittleson ; Dodge, Frank Brom ; Ettrick, K. K. Hagestad ; Gale, E. F. Clark ; 
Hale, Robert Warner; Lincoln, J. C. Lamberson; Pigeon, 0. E. Larson; 
Preston, F. M. Immell; Sumner, J. A. McKenny (G. Halvorson sat in 
January, 1894) ; Trempealeau, 0. E. Gibbs ; Unity, Otto Langerfield ; Arcadia 
Village, Casper Wohlgenaut; Galesville, F. H. Krebs, chairman; Independ- 
ence, J. C. Taylor ; Trempealeau Village, H. Hoberton; Whitehall, C. E. Scott. 

1893: Albion, M. B. Gibson; Arcadia, D. Bingham; Burnside, A. J. 
Bautch; Caledonia, Charles Pickering, chairman; Chimney Rock, P. J. 
Skogstad ; Dodge, Frank Brom ; Ettrick, K. K. Hagestad ; Gale, E. F. Clark ; 
Hale, Robert Warner; Lincoln, J. C. Lamberson; Pigeon, G. H. Neperud; 
Preston, Stener Hanson ; Sumner, A. N. Freng ; Trempealeau, 0. E. Gibbs ; 
Unity, Otto Langerfield ; Arcadia Village, C. Wohlgenaut ; Galesville, John 
McKeith ; Independence, L. E. Danuser ; Osseo, E. J. Matchett ; Trempealeau 
Village, H. Hoberton ; Whitehall, H. A. Anderson. 


1894: Albion, M. B. Gibson; Arcadia, H. E. Simpson; Burnside, A. J 
Bautch; Caledonia, Charles Pickering; Chimney Rock, P. J. Skogstad 
Dodge, Frank Brom ; Ettrick, K. K. Hagestad, chairman ; Gale, E. F. Clark 
Hale, Robert Warner; Lincoln, J. M. Ingalls; Pigeon, G. H. Neperud 
Preston, Stener Hanson ; Sumner, A. N. Freng ; Trempealeau, 0. E. Gibbs 
Unity, Otto Langerfield; Arcadia Village, S. Richmond; Blair, Morris 
Hanson; Galesville, L. L. Odell; Independence, L. E. Danuser; Osseo, E. J. 
Matchett ; Trempealeau Village, H. Hoberton ; Whitehall, Simon Olson. 

1895 : Albion, J. H. Grant ; Arcadia, H. E. Simpson ; Burnside, John P. 
Johnson ; Caledonia, M. E. Ladd ; Chimney Rock, P. J. Skogstad ; Dodge, 
Frank Brom ; Ettrick, E. 0. Gilbertson ; Gale, E. F. Clark ; Hale, A. H. Lewis ; 
Lincoln, J. M. Ingalls; Pigeon, G. H. Neperud; Preston, Stener Hanson; 
Sumner, A. N. Freng; Trempealeau, 0. E. Gibbs; Unity, Ole Thomasgaard; 
Arcadia Village , George N. Hidershide ; Blair, F. M. Immell ; Galesville, L. L. 
Odell; Independence, J. C. Taylor; Osseo, E. J. Matchett; Trempealeau Vil- 
lage, H. Hoberton, chairman ; Whitehall, C. E. Scott. 

1896: Albion, J. W. Grant; Arcadia, H. E. Simpson; Burnside, A. J. 
Bautch ; Caledonia, M. E. Ladd ; Chimney Rock, Peter Nelson ; Dodge, Jacob 
Kaldunski ; Ettrick, E. 0. Gilbertson ; Gale, E. F. Clark ; Hale, A. H. Lewis ; 
Lincoln, J. M. Ingalls; Pigeon, G. H. Neperud; Preston, Stener Hanson; 
Sumner, John Ring; Trempealeau, 0. E. Gibbs; Unity, Ole Thomasgaard; 
Arcadia Village, A. F. Hensel; Blair, Thomas Herreid; Galesville, L. L. 
Odell ; Independence, J. C. Taylor, chairman ; Osseo, 0. H. Shores (for James 
Mclntyre) ; Trempealeau Village, H. Hoberton ; Whitehall, P. A. Van Horn. 

1897 : Albion, Chris Meyers ; Arcadia, D. L. Holcomb ; Burnside, A. J. 
Bautch ; Caledonia, M. E. Ladd ; Chimney Rock, Peter Nelton ; Dodge, Frank 
Brom ; Ettrick, L. L. Grinde ; Gale, Henry French ; Hale, G. F. Steig ; Lincoln, 

D. Wood; Pigeon, G. H. Neperud; Preston, Stener Hanson; Sumner, John 
Ring; Trempealeau, 0. E. Gibbs; Unity, L. J. Dahl; Arcadia Village, A. F. 
Hensel; Blair, Thomas Herreid; Galesville, L. L. Odell; Independence, 
Thomas Thompson; Osseo, J. H. McKenny; Trempealeau, John Boynton; 
Whitehall, H. A. Anderson, chairman. 

1898 : Albion, M. B. Gibson ; Arcadia, D. L. Holcomb ; Burnside, James 
M. Hunter; Caledonia, M. E. Ladd; Chimney Rock, Peter Nelton; Dodge, 
Frank Brom ; Ettrick, L. L. Grinde ; Gale, Henry French (at fall meeting) , 

E. F. Clark (at January meeting) ; Hale, H. H. Lewis (in place of J. Van 
Tassel) ; Lincoln, D. Wood ; Pigeon, G. H. Neperud ; Preston, Stener Hanson ; 
Sumner, John Ring ; Trempealeau, 0. E. Gibbs, chairman ; Unity, L. J. Dahl ; 
Arcadia Village, F. C. Richmond ; Blair, Thomas Herreid ; Galesville, John 
McKeith ; Independence, G. E. Danuser ; Osseo, E. J. Matchett ; Trempealeau 
Village, H. Hoberton ; Whitehall, P. A. Van Horn. 

1899 : Albion, M. B. Gibson ; Arcadia, J. 0. Dewey ; Burnside, James N. 
Hunter ; Caledonia, J. C. Polyblank ; Chimney Rock, Peter Nelton ; Dodge, 
Frank Brom ; Ettrick, L. L. Grinde ; Gale, A. A. Arnold ; Hale, H. H. Lewis ; 
Lincoln, D. Wood ; Pigeon, G. H. Neperud ; Preston, Stener Hanson ; Sumner, 
John Ring ; Trempealeau, 0. E. Gibbs, chairman ; Unity, L. J. Dahl ; Arcadia 
Village, F. C. Richmond ; Blair, Thomas Herreid ; Galesville, John McKeith ; 


Independence, A. W. Liver ; Ossco, E. J. Matchett ; Trempealeau Village, 
H. G. Gibbs ; Whitehall, H. A. Anderson! 

1890 : Albion, W. J. Boyd ; Arcadia, J. L. Dewey ; Burnside, James N. 
Hunter; Caledonia, Frank Bender; Chimney Rock, Peter Nelton; Dodge, 
Frank Brom ; Ettrick, K. S. Knudtson ; Gale, A. A. Arnold ; Hale, M. J. War- 
ner ; Lincoln, D. Wood ; Pigeon, N. J. Agneberg ; Preston, John McKivergin ; 
Sumner, John Ring; Trempealeau, H. S. Gibbs; Unity, M. P. Imnislund; 
Arcadia Village, F. C. Richmond, chairman; Blair, L. L. Grinde; Galesville, 
John McKeith ; Independence, A. W. Liver ; Osseo, G. 0. Linderman ; Trem- 
pealeau Village, J. C. Utter ; Whitehall, H. A. Anderson. 

1901: Albion, N. I. Gilbert; Arcadia, J. I. Dewey (at fall meeting, 
1901), Frank Thomas (at January meeting, 1902); Burnside, James N. 
Hunter; Caledonia, Frank Bender; Chimney Rock, Peter Nelton; Dodge, 
Frank Brom; Ettrick, K. S. Knudtson; Gale, A. A. Arnold; Hale, M. J. 
Warner; Lincoln, William McKivergin; Pigeon, N. J. Agneberg; Preston, 
F. D. Hopkins; Sumner, A. N. Freng; Trempealeau, H. G. Gibbs; Unity, 
M. P. Imnislund; Arcadia, F. C. Richmond, chairman; Blair, L. L. Grinde; 
Galesville, John McKeith ; Independence, A. W. Liver ; Osseo, G. 0. Linder- 
man (sat at fall meeting) ; E. J. Matchett (sat at January meeting) ; Trem- 
pealeau Village, Thomas Bohen ; Whitehall, P. A. Van Horn. 

1902: Albion, Anton Ronglien; Arcadia, George Schmidt; Burnside, 
James N. Hunter ; Caledonia, D. E. Campbell ; Chimney Rock, Peter Nelton ; 
Dodge, John Brom ; Ettrick, K. K. Hagestad ; Gale, A. A. Arnold ; Hale, F. A. 
George; Lincoln, William McKivergin; Pigeon, N. J. Agneberg; Preston, 
F. D. Hopkins ; Sumner, A. N. Freng ; Trempealeau, J. L. Saunderson ; Unity, 
M. P. Imnislund ; Arcadia Village, F. C. Richmond, chairman ; Blair, L. L. 
Grinde ; Eleva, N. I. Gilbert ; Galesville, John McKeith ; Independence, A. W. 
Liver ; Osseo, E. W. Carter ; Trempealeau, Thomas Bohen ; Whitehall, P. A. 
Van Horn. 

1903: Albion, Anton Ronglien; Arcadia, George Schmidt; Burnside, 
James N. Hunter ; Caledonia, D. E. Chappell ; Chimney Rock, Peter Nelton ; 
Dodge, John Brom ; Ettrick, K. K. Hagestad ; Gale, A. A. Arnold ; Hale, F. A. 
George; Lincoln, D. Wood; Pigeon, N. J. Gilbert; Galesville, E. F. Clark; 
Independence, A. W. Liver ; Osseo, G. 0. Linderman ; Trempealeau Village, 
H. Hoberton ; Whitehall, P. A. Van Horn. 

1904 : Albion, Anton Ronglien ; Arcadia, George Schmidt (at fall meet- 
ing, 1904), J. I. Dewey (at spi'ing meeting, 1905) ; Burnside, James N. 
Hunter; Caledonia, D. E. Chappell; Chimney Rock, Peter Nelton; Dodge, 
Paul Jereskie; Ettrick, K. K. Hagestad; Gale, A. A. Arnold; Hale, F. A. 
George; Lincoln, D. Wood; Pigeon, N. J. Agneberg; Preston, F. D. Hopkins; 
Sumner, A. N. Freng; Trempealeau, N. H. Carhart; Unity, Ole Thomas- 
gaard; Arcadia Village, F. C. Richmond, chairman; Blair, L. L. Grinde; 
Eleva, N. I. Gilbert; Galesville, E. F. Clark; Independence, A. W. Liver; 
Osseo, G. 0. Linderman; Trempealeau Village, H. Hoberton; Whitehall, 
P. A. Van Horn. 

1905 : Albion, Anton Ronglien ; Arcadia, J. I. Dewey ; Burnside, James 
N. Hunter; Caledonia, D. E. Chappell; Chimney Rock, P. K. Risberg; Dodge, 


Paul Jereskie; Ettrick, A. P. Ofsdahl; Gale, A. A. Arnold; Hale, F. A. 
George; Lincoln, D. Wood; Pigeon, G. H. Neperud; Preston, Ole Sylfest; 
Sumner, A. N. Freng; Trempealeau, H. G. Gibbs; Unity, Ole Thomasgaard; 
Arcadia Village, F. C. Richmond; Blair, K. S. Knutson; Eleva, N. L Gilbert; 
Galesville, E. F. Clark; Independence, A. W. Liver; Osseo, G. 0. Linderman, 
chairman ; Trempealeau Village, H. Hoberton ; Whitehall, G. F. Steig. 

1906 : Albion, Anton Ronghen ; Arcadia, J. L Dewey ; Burnside, James 
N. Hunter; Caledonia, Frank Bender; Chimney Rock, P. K. Risberg; Dodge, 
Paul Jereskie; Ettrick, A. P. Ofsdahl; Gale, A. A. Arnold; Hale. F. A. 
George ; Lincoln, C. Q. Gage ; Pigeon, G. H. Neperud ; Preston, F. D. Hopkins ; 
Sumner, A. N. Freng; Trempealeau, H. G. Gibbs; Unity. Ole Thomasgaard; 
Arcadia Village, F. C. Richmond ; Blair. K. S. Knutson ; Eleva, N. L Gilbert ; 
Galesville, E. F. Clark ; Independence, A. W. Liver ; Osseo, G. 0. Linderman, 
chairman; Trempealeau Village, A. A. Holmes; Whitehall. A. E. Wing. 

1907 : Albion, Anton Ronglien ; Arcadia, J. I. Dewey ; Burnside, James 
N. Hunter; Caledonia, Frank Bender; Chimney Rock, P. K. Risberg; Dodge, 
Joe Leterski ; Ettrick, A. P. Ofsdahl ; Gale, A. A. Arnold ; Hale, F. A. George ; 
Lincoln, C. Q. Gage; Pigeon. G. H. Neperud; Preston, F. D. Hopkins, M. M. 
Skyrud; Sumner, A. N. Freng; Trempealeau, H. G. Gibbs; Unity, Ole 
Thomasgaard ; Arcadia Village, F. C. Richmond ; Blair, K. S. Knutson ; Eleva, 
N. I. Gilbert; Galesville, E. F. Clark; Independence, F. A. Hotchkiss; Osseo, 
G. 0. Linderman. chairman; Trempealeau, H. Hoberton; Whitehall, A. E. 

1908: Albion, Anton Ronglien; Arcadia, L. K. Strand; Burnside. 
James N. Hunter, chairman ; Caledonia, Frank Bender ; Chimney Rock, P. K. 
Risberg ; Dodge, Ignatz Rudnik ; Ettrick, A. P. Ofsdahl ; Gale, H. F. Claus- 
sen; Hale, N. J. Nelson; Lincoln, C. Q. Gage; Pigeon, G. H. Neperud (at 
spring meeting), M. Everson (at fall meeting); Preston, Ole Sylfest; 
Sumner, John Ring; Trempealeau, Henry Kopp (sat at fall meeting), H. G. 
Gibbs (sat at spring meeting) ; Unity, Ole Thomasgaard ; Arcadia Village, 
F. C. Richmond; Blair, W. J. Hyslop; Eleva, N. I. Gilbert; Galesville, E. F. 
Clark ; Independence, F. A. Hotchkiss ; Osseo, G. 0. Linderman (sat at fall 
meeting) , C. W. Lewis (sat at spring meeting) ; Trempealeau Village, A. A. 
Holmes ; Whitehall, H. A. Anderson. 

1909 : Albion, W. J. Boyd ; Arcadia, L. K. Strand ; Burnside, James N. 
Hunter, chairman; Caledonia, Frank Bender; Chimney Rock, S. P. Solfest; 
Dodge, Ignatz Rudnik ; Ettrick, A. P. Ofsdahl ; Gale, H. F. Claussen ; Hale, 
N. J. Nelson; Lincoln, C. Q. Gage; Pigeon, G. H. N-eperud; Preston, Ole 
Sylfest; Sumner, John Ring; Trempealeau, Henry Kopp; Unity, C. 0. Dahl; 
Arcadia Village, F. C. Richmond ; Blair, K. S. Knutson ; Eleva, P. J. Skog- 
stad ; Galesville. E. F. Clark ; Independence, F. A. Hotchkiss ; Osseo, G. O. 
Linderman ; Trempealeau Village, A. A. Holmes ; Whitehall, John Hager (sat 
at fall meeting), E. F. Hensel. 

1910 : Albion, W. J. Boyd ; Arcadia, L. K. Strand ; Burnside, James N. 
Hunter, chairman ; Caledonia, Frank Bender ; Chimney Rock, Peter Nelton ; 
Dodge, J. F. Brom ; Ettrick, A. J. Ekern ; Gale, H. F. Claussen ; Hale, F. A. 
George ; Lincoln, C. Q. Gage ; Pigeon, G. H. Neperud ; Preston, A. N. Nelson ; 
Sumner, John Ring; Trempealeau, Henry Kopp; Unity, C. O. Dahl; Arcadia 


Village, F. C. Richmond, Morris Hanson (did not qualif jO , H. T. Thompson 
(sat at fall meeting), L. L. Grinde (sat at spring meeting) ; Eleva, P. J. Skog- 
stad; Galesville, E. F. Clark; Independence, F. A. Hotchkiss; Osseo, C. M. 
Lewis (sat at fall meeting), G. 0. Linderman. (sat at spring meeting) ; 
Trempealeau Village, H. Hoberton; Whitehall, E. F. Hensel (sat at fall 
meeting) , John Hager (sat at spring meeting) . 

1911 : Albion, W. J. Boyd ; Arcadia, L. K. Strand ; Burnside, James N. 
Hunter, chairman ; Caledonia, Frank Bender ; Chimney Rock, S. P. Solf est ; 
Dodge, Ignatz Rudnik; Ettrick, A. J. Ekern; Gale, H. F. Claussen; Hale, 
F. A. George; Lincoln, C. Q. Gage; Pigeon, E. E. Hegge; Preston, A. N. 
Nelson; Sumner, John Ring; Trempealeau, I. R. Barr; Unity, C. O. Dahl; 
Arcadia Village, J. A. Palmer; Blair, A. B. Peterson; Eleva, N. I. Gilbert; 
Galesville, E. F. Clark; Independence, F. A. Hotchkiss; Osseo, G. 0. Linder- 
man ; Trempealeau Village, H. Hoberton ; Whitehall, E. F. Hensel. 

1912. Albion, W. J. Boyd; Arcadia, M. T. Stelmach; Burnside, 
James N. Hunter, chairman ; Caledonia, D. E. Chappell ; Chimney Rock, S. P. 
Solfest ; Dodge, M. D. Brown ; Ettrick, E. J. Brovold (at fall meeting) , J. A. 
Knudtson (at spring meeting) ; Gale, L. L. Grinde ; Hale, F. A. George ; Lin- 
coln, C. Q. Gage ; Pigeon, E. A. Hegge ; Preston, Ole Sylfest ; Sumner, John 
Ring; Trempealeau, I. R. Barr; Unity, C. 0. Dahl; Arcadia Village, J. A. 
Palmer; Blair, A. B. Peterson; Eleva, N. I. Gilbert; Galesville, E. F. Clark; 
Independence, F. A. Hotchkiss ; Osseo, G. 0. Linderman ; Trempealeau Vil- 
lage, H. Hoberton ; Whitehall, E. F. Hensel. 

1913: Albion, W. J. Boyd; Arcadia, M. T. Stelmach; Burnside, James 
N. Hunter; Caledonia, D. E. Chappell; Chimney Rock, Peter Nelton; Dodge, 
M. D. Brom ; Ettrick, G. W. Smith ; Gale, Phillip Uhle ; Hale, G. H. Conrow ; 
Lincoln, C. Q. Gage ; Pigeon, E. A. Hegge ; Preston, Ole Sylfest ; Sumner, A. 
Ihle (sat at fall meeting) , Lars N. Seesan (sat at spring meeting) ; Trempea- 
leau, Henry Kopp; Unity, C. 0. Dahl (sat at fall meeting), D. G. Williams 
(sat at spring meeting) ; Arcadia Village, J. A. Palmer ; Blair, A. B. Peter- 
son ; Eleva, P. J. Skogstad ; Galesville, E. F. Clark, chairman ; Independence, 

F. A. Hotchkiss; Osseo, C. M. Lewis; Trempealeau, H. Hoberton (died April 
4, 1914) ; Whitehall, C. L. Storey. 

1914 : Albion, W. J. Boyd ; Arcadia, Ed. B. McWeeny ; Burnside, James 
N. Hunter ; Caledonia, Frank Bender ; Chimney Rock, Peter Nelton ; Dodge, 
M. D. Brown ; Ettrick, A. W. Smith ; Gale, L. L. Grinde ; Hale, G. H. Conrow ; 
Lincoln, C. H. Anderson ; Pigeon, E. A. Hegge ; Preston, Ole Sylfest ; Sumner, 
A. Ihle; Trempealeau, I. R. Barr; Unity, C. O. Dahl; Arcadia Village, J. A. 
Palmer ; Blair, A. B. Peterson ; Eleva, P. J. Skogstad ; Galesville, E. F. Clark, 
chairman ; Independence, F. A. Hotchkiss ; Osseo, E. Hagen ; Trempealeau, 

G. G. Gibbs ; Whitehall, N. L. Fredrickson. 

1915: Albion, Fred Bowers; Arcadia, Ed. B. McWeeny; Burnside, 
James N. Hunter ; Caledonia, Frank Bender ; Chimney Rock, Peter Nelton ; 
Dodge, M. D. Brown ; Ettrick, G. W. Smith ; Gale, L. L. Grinde ; Hale, G. H. 
Conrow; Lincoln, C. H. Anderson; Pigeon, G. H. Neperud; Preston, Ole 
Sylfest; Sumner, A. Ihle; Trempealeau, I. H. Barr; Unity, C. 0. Dahl; 
Arcadia Village, J. A. Palmer; Blair, C. J. Gibson (sat at spring meeting), 
Stener Hanson (sat at fall meeting) ; Eleva, C. P. Larson ; Galesville, E. F. 


Clark ; Independence, F. A. Hotchkiss, chairman ; Osseo, E. Hagen ; Trempea- 
leau Village, G. G. Gibbs ; Whitehall, N. L. Fredrickson. 

1916: Albion, Ole T. Miland (at fall meeting), Fred Bowers (at spring 
meeting) ; Arcadia, Ed. B. McWeeny ; Burnside, James N. Hunter ; Caledonia, 
William NichoUs; Chimney Rock, Peter Nelton; Dodge, M. D. Brown; 
Ettrick, J. A. Knutson; Gale, L. L. Grinde; Hale, G. H. Conrow; Lincoln, 
C. H. Anderson; Pigeon, E. A. Hegge; Preston, Ole Sylfest; Sumner, E. J. 
Henry (sat at fall meeting), E. H. Remington (sat at spring meeting) ; 
Trempealeau, Henry Kopp; Unity, C. 0. Dahl; Arcadia Village, J. A. 
Palmer ; Blair, K. S. Knutson (in place of Stener Hanson) ; Eleva, C. P. 
Larson; Galesville, E. F. Clark; Independence, F. A. Hotchkiss, chairman; 
Osseo, E. Hagen; Trempealeau Village, E. D. Smith (sat at fall meeting), 
G. G. Gibbs (sat at spring meeting) ; Whitehall, N. L. Fredrickson. 

1 — General Laws of 1854, Chapter 2. 

2 — All the proceedings of the successive boards mentioned in this chapter are found in 
the Minutes, which are in the custody of the County Clerk. The list of officers which appears 
in this chapter is secured from the election returns, from the oaths of office filed, and from the 

3 — This list appears on p. 1035 in the History of Western Wisc07isin (Chicago, 1881), 
and is supposedly from the pen of B. F. Heuston. The election of the clerk of court, clerk of 
the board, register and treasurer are confirmed by the records. The name of Ira E. Moore 
apjicars nowhere in the records, and A. M. Brandenburg apparently served as sheriff in 1855-.56. 
Tlie records show that George J. Turton was appointed surveyor June 26, 1855. No other 
mention of Charles Utter as district attorney can be found. He was not a lawyer. Hollister 
Wright filed his bond as treasurer Jan. 19, 1855, but on March 9, 1856, George Batchelder was 
paid for services as treasurer. No confirmation appears of the election of William Adams as 

4 — The State ex rel. Geo. F. Haswell vs. William A. Cram, 16 Wis. 343-344. 


The Trempealeau County Historical Society is in possession of a number 
of historical papers relating to the settlement of various minor valleys and 
cooleys in the county, and incidents of the early days, as well as to the 
personality of many of the pioneers. These papers are for the most part 
still in manuscript, and they are here printed to add interest to the general 
story of the pioneer period that has already been told. The collection is 
increasing, and in time the society will doubtless possess the history of every 
locality in the county. The papers already preserved are largely from the 
pens of Hon. H. A. Anderson, Hon. Stephen Richmond and Dr. E. D. Pierce. 
In addition to these, many papers have been gathered especially for this 

Recollections of Antoine Grignon.' (Eben D. Pierce, Wis. Hist. Soe. 
Proceedings, 1913, 110-136.) I was born at old Fort Crawford, Prairie du 
Chien, January 9, 1828.- My father, Amable Grignon, who was of French 
and Winnebago descent, was born at Portage, Wisconsin;' my mother, 
Archange La Bathe, was born at Prairie du Chien, of a French father and 
Sioux mother, being a cousin of Wabashaw, the Sioux chief whose village 
was located on the site of Winona, Minnesota.* She was a sister of Francois 
La Bathe, the noted trader, long a trusted employee of the American Fur 
Company. ■ Amable Grignon acted as interpreter for the Federal Govern- 
ment on various occasions, and was stationed for a number of years at Fort 
Crawford as interpi-eter for its comman'dant. Colonel Zachary Taylor." 

There were three children in the family, Paul, Archange, and myself, 
and although our parents had but a limited education, they determined to 
give their children the best opportunities within their reach. So I was 
taken to Col. Zachary Taylor, who permitted me to attend the school con- 
ducted in the garrison, thus laying the foundation for an education. 

I next went for two terms to a private school conducted by a Mr. Cady 
[Cadle],' then John Haney became my teacher. There were no public 
schools in that day at Prairie du Chien, and the parents of the pupils in the 
private schools paid the teacher a certain amount each month for their 
instruction. I remember, too, my French teacher, a Mr. Gibault, who also 
taught English, and a lady by the name of Mrs. Crosby, who held school in 
her home. 

When I was a little past twelve years of age I went to school to Rev. 
Joseph Cretin, a Catholic clergyman, who afterwards became bishop of St. 
Paul.** By the time I was fifteen years of age I had a fair education in the 
common branches of English" and was ready to go out into the world better 
equipped than most French Canadian boys of my time. 

When I was fifteen years old I went to work for the American Fur Com- 



pany under a sub-agent named Alexis P. Bailly, of Wabasha, Minnesota.'" 
I was sent out to Turkey River, Iowa. We went by wagon, fifty miles south- 
west of Prairie du Chien, where a store building was erected and trade 
opened among the Winnebago. A few months later I came back to Prairie 
du Chien, and went by the steamboat "Otter" up the Mississippi to Trempea- 
leau, which was then known as Reed's Landing or Reed's Town. James 
Reed had married my widowed mother and I visited her at his home, a large 
log house near the river." 

There were but a few families in Reed's Town. John B. Doville'- and 
family were living there. He had been conducting a wood yard over on the 
island opposite Trempealeau for a few years, having been sent in 1838 by 
Francois La Bathe to occupy the island and furnish cord-wood for the steam- 
boats passing up and down the river. Joseph Reed, a French Canadian, 
accompanied him. 

The real object in holding the island was to secure the fur trade, and 
to keep Wabashaw's band of Sioux from giving their trade to rival com- 

Doville was quite an agriculturist; he cultivated the land formerly 
broken by Louis Stram at the Swiss mission,'^ and also broke up more on the 
flat near where the city park is now located. He sowed oats, wheat, flax- 
seed, potatoes, and beans. He has the honor, I think, of being the first 
farmer in Trempealeau County. Stram broke the first land, but did not sow 
any seed except for garden purposes. 

Alexander Chenevert" was hving upon the site that afterwards became 
the old Grant place. Farther up the river near Fred Ford's present resi- 
dence, lived the Bunnells — Willard and Lafayette. Willard lived here until 
1848, when he moved across into Minnesota. Lafayette Bunnell had moved 
to Minnesota a couple of years before his brother Willard.'^ There was 
another Frenchman here at that time by the name of Michael Goulet, who 
chopped wood for Reed, and worked at odd jobs whenever opportunity 
offered. He did not remain long, a few years perhaps, and then went 
farther north.'" 

I worked for Mr. Reed, who was farmer for Wabashaw's band of Sioux 
at Winona, and as he could get home only occasionally I helped look after his 
stock, and built some pole fences for him in the fall of 1843, on what after- 
wards became the Van Engen farm. This was the first fence built in the 
county. Reed had considerable stock, several head of cattle, a bunch of 
ponies, and some blooded horses. They grazed on the hills, and out on 
Trempealeau Prairie, and required little attention summer or winter, 
although we always put up some wild hay for them in case deep snow should 
make the grazing difficult. Cattle suffered more during the deep snow than 
the horses, who could more easily paw the snow away. 

In 1844 a Frenchman, Assalin, came to Reed's Town. He was a car- 
penter by trade, and manufactured for Mr. Reed the first wagon in the 
county, that is, he made the woodwork, but the iron had to be shipped up 
from Prairie du Chien. Besides carpenter work and wagon-making Assalin 
manufactured sleds and French trains. 

In speaking of these early French settlers I must not forget to mention 


Peter Rousseau, who helped Reed build his house. Rousseau was an expert 
with a broad-ax, and hewed the logs for Reed's house. This had two stories, 
was large and roomy, and served well its purpose as an old-fashioned back- 
woods inn. 

Reed kept a bar, and I have often seen travelers sleeping on the floor 
rolled up in their blankets. Beds were a luxury seldom indulged in at that 
period. Around the old-fashioned fireplace in Reed's inn was often gathered 
a strange and varied company — traders, surveyors, trappers, and hunters, 
and a few blanketed Indians. As they sat smoking by the blazing fire in 
the evening, you might have heard stories of adventure that would thrill 
the heart of the dullest listener. 

About the same year, 1844, there came to Trempealeau (Reed's Town) 
a Frenchman by the name of Antoine La Terreur, who was a cabinet-maker. 
He manufactured chairs, bureaus, chests, and other furniture, and was the 
first in our county to do work of that kind. Some of the chairs he manufac- 
tured are still, or were a few years ago, in the possession of La Vigne in 
Cedar Valley, Minnesota. 

In 1845, Michel Bebault came here and hired out as a wood-chopper 
over on the island at the steamboat wood yard. He was about the best 
wood-chopper I ever saw at work. Three years later Leander Bebault and 
John La Vigne'' came with their families to settle in Trempealeau. La 
Vigne bought a little piece of land up in the tamarack, but had not lived 
there long when he decided to move across the river into Minnesota, where 
he settled in Cedar Valley. 

Joseph Reed became a mail-carrier, and I think it worth while to relate 
some of the hardships he underwent in performing his duty. His route lay 
along the Mississippi from Prairie du Chien to Wabashaw's village at 
Winona. At the latter place he met the mail-carrier from Fort Snelling, 
near St. Paul, and after exchanging mails the two returned to their respec- 
tive starting points. The trip was made by canoe in summer, and by 
French train on the river ice in winter, and by pony with saddle-bags at 
times when neither canoe nor French train could be used. 

One year, in the latter part of winter, early in March, I think, Joseph 
Reed started from Prairie du Chien with the government mail bound for 
Winona. When he arrived the carrier from St. Paul was not there. It was 
mild weather, so Reed concluded to proceed on his journey until he met his 
partner from up river. By the time he reached Holmes' Landing,'^ the 
weather had grown considerably warmer, and the ice showed signs of 
breaking up. Still he pushed on, and urging his pony over the ice, sped 
away towards the north. On nearing Minneiska'-' he heard the ice begin 
to give way — groan, crack, and move ; looking about he saw that an island 
in the river offered his only place of escape from drowning, as the ice was 
fast breaking up. He made his way thither, and arriving in safety started 
to explore his new quarters. He had gone but a short distance when he 
ran across the St. Paul mail-carrier, who had likewise made the island in 
safety. By this time the ice in the river was moving fast, and before another 
day had nearly cleared. So there they were with little provision, shut 
off from mainland by a wide channel. 


After their provisions gave out, they subsisted on rose-apples; they 
halloed in vain for help, but it was a sparsely-settled region at that time and 
no one heard them. After living on the island nearly two weeks, they were 
rescued by a party of Sioux who were coming down the river in canoes. The 
Sioux took the two mail-carriers into their canoes and left them at Holmes' 
Landing, where after two weeks of recuperation they resumed their routes. 
They were weak, emaciated, and nearly starved to death. 

I remained in Trempealeau until the year before the Mexican War 
broke out, when I returned to Prairie du Chien and went to work in a black- 
smith shop. When war with Mexico was declared, I enlisted in Governor 
Dodge's regiment of home guards, serving therein for a year. We did 
not go out of the State, but were held in readiness in case we should be 
needed.-" While in service at Prairie du Chien during the winter of 1846-47, 
a report came to our commander that the Indians were massacring the 
whites in the locality where Vernon County now is. We were ordered out 
and with great difficulty marched up through the deep snow to the sup- 
posed scene of murder. When we arrived we found the report was false; 
the whites had not been disturbed in the least, and no Indians had been 
seen in that region for a number of weeks. So we returned ingloriously 
to our quarters at Prairie du Chien. 

After getting my discharge I went to work as clerk for the American 
Fur Company in their store at Prairie du Chien under B. N. Brisbois."^ 
I remained in their employ until June, 1849, when I decided to go north and 
took the steamboat, "Lady Franklin," for St. Paul. 

I soon secured employment at Fort Snelhng, helping to get up hay for 
the cavalry stationed there at the time. I drove team and helped stack for 
a few weeks, when a man from St. Paul came and asked if I would run a 
boarding-house and bar for him at that place. I complied with his request, 
and worked for him for two months ; at the end of this time I went down 
the river in one of A. P. Bailly's boats as far as Wabasha, where I went 
to work for Bailly. He was postmaster, and I carried the mail to and from 
the boats and also worked in the store as clerk. While there I was appointed 
deputy sheriff, and served papers on a man who was accused of stealing 
goods from my employer. I had a search warrant and went and looked 
over the man's house, but found none of the stolen goods in his possession. 

In the winter of 1849 Bailly fixed me up a big load of goods on a French 
train, with a pony to haul it down the river ; I took my departure for the 
site of Fountain City, where there was a large camp of Sioux. I traded 
among them until the spring of 1850, when I loaded my goods in a canoe 
and made my way down the river and through the sloughs to the present 
site of Marshland, where there was also a Sioux camp. I sold my pony 
and train to the Indians and bought a canoe of them, and traded with them 
for a number of weeks. They had been trapping up Trempealeau River, 
and had a fine lot of beaver, otter, marten, mink, and muskrat pelts. I had 
for my store a Sioux hut made out of buffalo hides — as comfortable as one 
could wish. After the spring hunting and trapping was over I returned 
to Wabasha, but not until I had an opportunity of attending a medicine 
dance at Minneowah, not far above the present town of Homer, Minnesota. 


In the early fifties I assisted H. M. Rice, S. B. Lowry and David Olm- 
sted in removing two bands of Winnebagoes from a point near Sugar Loaf, 
Winona, and a point on French Island, a few miles above La Crosse, to the 
Long Prairie reservation in central Minnesota. A few months later I 
secured employment with the Hudson Bay Co. at Long Prairie. 

In 1854, I returned to Trempealeau and remained at home with my 
family until 1856. In the latter year Nathan Myrick, the pioneer settler 
of La Crosse,- ■ wrote me a letter asking me to take charge as interpreter 
of his store at Blue Earth, Minnesota. Accordingly I went to Blue Earth 
and began work for Myrick. The Winnebago had meanwhile been removed 
from Long Prairie to the Blue Earth agency,-'' and Myrick opened a store at 
the latter place secure their trade. Myrick told me to trust all Indians 
that were honest, but to look out for the rascals, and said, "You have traded 
with them a long time and know them well and so you know the good ones 
from the bad ones." I trusted them to the amount of over $3,000, and when 
they received their government annuity I got all the money they owed me, 
or very nearly all ; I think I lost less than ten dollars in dealing with them. 

I remained at Blue Earth until winter and then returned home to 
Trempealeau. I did not like the Prairie country and I wanted to be with 
my family, although Myrick offered to fix up a place where my family could 
stay at Blue Earth. 

In 1850, I married Mary Christine de La Ronde, a girl from Portage, 
Wisconsin.-' Fourteen children were born to us, six of whom are still living, 
three boys and three girls.-* The girls when they were young ladies were 
noted in this part of the country for their singing; one of them became a 
school teacher and was very successful in her work. 

In 1881, Major Halleck came from Washington, D. C, to enumerate 
the Winnebago, and wrote for me to assist him in the work.^" We went to 
Eland Junction and enumerated Big Black Hawk's band,^" and then pro- 
ceeded to Black River Falls ; after completing the work there, we went to 
Portage and Kilbourn, and wherever we could locate a camp of this tribe. 
Next spring I went with Major Halleck to Stevens Point to make a payment 
to the Indians and was with him a year, and whenever a payment was made 
I helped to locate and get the names of the Indians on the pay-roll. I also 
helped survey the land above Black River Falls, and assisted in locating 
the Indians on their homesteads. I have acted as interpreter on various 
occasions for the Federal Government, and on matters of business have 
helped the Indians whenever I could. I have lived here most of the time 
since I quit work for Myrick, and have always made my home in Trem- 
pealeau, being away only on business for short intervals. I live in the same 
house that I bought in 1857. 

I would like to say a word about James Reed. He was a remarkable 
man for his time, when just such a man was needed. I first saw Reed in 
Prairie du Chien when I was a boy and he was keeping tavern there. He 
was not a tall man, medium in height but thick-set, with a deep chest. He 
had bluish-gray eyes and a sandy or florid complexion. He was a good 
shot, one of the best I ever saw, and the Indians far and wide were aware 
of his skill with the rifle. I have seen him kill eleven prairie chicken in 


twelve shots, in the trees on the island across from Trempealeau. He was 
several rods away from the game when he shot. I have also seen him shoot 
the head from a partridge at a good distance. 

One day a merchant from Rock Island, Illinois, who had advanced sup- 
pUes to some lumbermen at Black River Falls, called at Reed's inn and asked 
the ways to the Falls. Reed inquired if the man intended to go alone, and 
he answered he did. "You will find it difficult to make your way," replied 
the old hunter, "there are no roads and the trails are unmarked and hard 
to find unless you are acquainted with the country." The man said he had 
a compass and thought he could find his way all right. He remained all 
night, and in the morning Reed and I accompanied him on ponies to Beaver 
Creek, and saw him safely across the stream before we took our departure 
for home. One afternoon a week later the man came crawling into Reed's 
inn almost exhausted. He had lost his way and wandered about in the 
neighborhood of Decorah's Peak for a number of days, subsisting on roots 
and berries. He was scratched about the face and hands, his clothing was 
in shreds, and when he reached Trempealeau Prairie, he was so exhausted 
that he had to crawl for three or four miles on his hands and knees. He 
remained at Reed's cabin about two weeks and then went home without 
attempting to visit the lumbermen at Black River Falls. 

Reed could speak several Indian dialects and was as well acquainted 
with Indian character as any man I ever knew. He was of a kind disposition 
and generally used mild measures in his dealings with the Indians ; but 
when diplomacy failed, he was a different man and his temper once aroused, 
he feared nothing, and could bring his rifle into play as handily as any 
backwoodsman I ever saw. He was noted for his fearlessness as well as for 
his expert marksmanship. 

1 — This aged pioneer died at Trempealeau, July 24, 1913. He was one of the few 
survivors of the fur-trading regime in Wisconsin, and his recollections were secured by his 
fellow townsman. Dr. Eben D. Pierce. The transcriber writes, ' ' I have written most of this 
narrative just as Grignon told it to me. In some places I have not used his exact words, but 
have tried to convey his meaning in language of my own construction." The interview was 
written in the shape it is here presented in December, 1912, and January, 1913. — Ed. 

2 — The record of Antoine's baptism is preserved in the Prairie du Chien Register. He 
was, in fact, born Jan. 9, 1829, and baptized Jan. 17 by Father F. V. Badin. His godfather 
was Francois La Bathe, represented in his absence by Denys Cherrier, and his godmother was 
Virginie Fisher. A copy of the Megister, the original of which is in Montreal, is in the Wis- 
consin Historical Library. — Ed. 

3 — For a brief sketch of this person, see Wis. Hist. Colls., xx, p. 157, note 21. Antoine, 
in an interview in 1909 with Charles E. Brown, of the Society's staff, stated that in 1825 or 
1826 his father had a trading post on the site of the present Dakota, Minn, — Ed. 

4 — For this chief, see Wis. Hist. Colls., xvii, p, 323, note 1 ; also Id., xx, pajisim. — Ed. 

5 — See note on this trader in Wis. Hist. Soe, Proceedings, 1906, p. 252. — Ed. 

6 — Col. Zachary Taylor came to Prairie du Chien in 1829 as commandant of Fort Crawford ; 
the same year he determined to remove the fort to higher ground, and began the new fort, 
finished in 1831. He continued in command until 1836. — Ed. 

7 — Rev, Richard Cadle had been in charge from 1827 to 1836 of an Episcopal mission 
school at Green Bay (see Wis. Hist. Colls., xiv, passim). The latter year he resigned, and was 
soon after appointed chaplain at Fort Crawford, where he remained until 1841. He was prob- 
ably the teacher to wliom the writer refers. — Ed. 

8 — Joseph Cretin was born in 1800 in France, came to America as a missionary priest, 
being stationed in 1839 at Dubuque, There in 1844 he began a school for Winnebago children, 


wliicli T\as next year discontinued by the governor of Iowa. Grignon does not say the school 
he attended was at Prairie du Chien, and it is possible he went to the mission school at 
Dubuque. Cretin continued at that place until the see of St. Paul (Minn.) was erected (1850), 
whose first bishop he became, dying there Feb. 22, 1857. — Ed. 

9 — Grignon told C. E. Brown in the interview referred to, ante, note 3, that he attended 
for a time the mission school at Yellow Elver, Iowa, of which Eev. David Lowry had charge. 
For an account of this school, see Wis. Hist. Colls., xii, p. 405. — Ed. 

10 — For a sketch of this trader, whose name was frequently anglicized into Bailey, see 
Id., XX, p. 197, note 55. — Ed. 

11 — See an account of the founding of Trempealeau in Wis. Hist. Soc. Proceedings, 1906, 
pp. 246-255.— Ed. 

12 — John Doville (spoken of as James Douville in Id., p. 252) was a son-in-law of 
James Eeed, and the first permanent settler of Trempealeau. His companion, Joseph (also 
called Antoine) Eeed, was a French Canadian, not related to James Eeed.- — Ed. 

13 — For an account of this mission, see Wis. Hist. Colls., x, pp. 367, 506, 507; Proceedings, 
1906, pp. 251, 252. 

14 — According to the Prairie du Chien Register, Alexander Chenever, son of Francois 
Chenever and Marie Louise Giard, was born at that place Jan. 10, 1827, and baptized Aug. 16 
of the same year. He married a daughter of James Eeed. — Ed. 

15 — WUIard B. Bunnell was born in 1814 at Homer, N. Y. He ran away and sailed 
upon the Great Lakes as pilot until 1832, when he settled at Detroit and there married, in 1837, 
Matilda Desnoyer. Having entered the fur trade, he spent the winter of 1841-42 at the site 
of Escanaba, Mich.; then removed West, arriving in Trempealeau, July, 1842. In 1848 he 
made arrangements to remove to the Minnesota side of the river, where he occupied in 1849, 
by permission of the chief, Wabashaw, the site of the village of Homer. There he died in 
1861. His brother, Lafayette Houghton, was born in 1824, removed to Detroit in 1832, and 
accompanied his brother to Wisconsin in 1841-42. He enlisted in the Mexican War, sought 
for gold in California, and after studying medicine, enlisted as surgeon of the 36th Wisconsin 
Infantry, and in 1865 served in the same capacity in the 1st Minnesota Battalion. He was 
fte historian of Winona, Minn., where he died in 1903. — Ed. 

16 — For an account of Goulet and his tragic death, see L. H. Bunnell, Winona and Its 
Environs (Winona, Minn., 1897), p. 210. — Ed. 

17 — Jean Baptiste Lavigne was an early settler of Green Bay, see Wis. Hist. Colls., xx, 
p. 159, note 22. Probably the Trempealeau settler was his son. Louis Bibeau (Bebault) was 
an early Hlinois trader, possibly the progenitor of these pioneers of Trempealeau. — Ed. 

IS — Holmes's Landing was near the site of the present Fountain City, Buffalo County, 
and was settled in 1839 by Thomas A. Holmes, previously of Milwaukee and Eoek County. It 
was a well-known port of call on the upper Mississippi. — Ed. 

19 — Minnciska is on the Minnesota side, in the southeastern angle of Wabasha County. 

20 — Grignon later drew a pension as a Mexican War veteran. — Ed. 

21— See the "Becollections" of this pioneer in Wis. Hist. Colls., ix, pp. 282-302. — Ed. 

22 — H. M. Eice (1816-94) came from Vermont to Minnesota in 1839, where he engaged 
in the fur trade. In 1853-57 he was territorial delegate, and later first senator from the new 
state (1858-63).— Ed. 

2.3 — Syvanus B. Lowry and David Olnvstead were both American Indian traders. The 
former had a post near the present Brockway, Minn.; was adjutant-general of the territory in 
1853; laid out the town of St. Cloud, and died there in 1861. Olmstead (1822-61) came from 
Vermont to establish a trading post at Long Prairie; was president of the first territorial 
legislature, and first mayor of St. Paul. — Ed. 

24 — The Long Prairie agency seems to have been near the present town of that name in 
Todd County, Minnesota. — Ed. 

25 — Nathan Myrick (1822-1903), founder of La Crosse, came there in 1841 from West- 
port, N. Y. In 1848 he sold out his landed interests and removed to St. Paul, but continued 
to traiie at several places on the Mississippi. He celebrated liis golden wedding, 1893, in St. 
Paul, and died there ten years later. — Ed. 

26 — In 1.S55, the Winnebagos sold their Long Prairie reservation to the government. 


and were assigned to one in Blue Earth County, Minnesota, which they retained until removed 
(1863) to a reservation in Nebraska. — Ed. 

27 — For her father, see Wis. Hist. Colls., vii, pp. 345-365; his obituary is in Id., ix, p. 
431. According to an article in the Trempealeau Herald, Dec. 17, 1909, Mary Christin de La 
Eonde Grignon was born at Portage, Christmas day, 1835, married at Long Prairie, Feb. 4, 
1851, and diod at Trempealeau, Dec. 8, 1909. She was at the time of her death one of the 
oldest settlers of the town. — Ed. 

28 — The newspaper article mentioned in the preceding note gives the names of these chil- 
dren as follows: Ralph J. Grignon, of St. Paul; Alexander Grignon, of Oshkosh; Guy A. 
Grignon, of Glen Flora, Wis.; Mrs. Mary Jebb, of PaynesvUle, Minn.; Mrs. Camilla Dederich, 
of Sandusky, Wis.; Mrs. Nettie Coyle, of Trempealeau. — Ed. 

29 — Jan. 18, 1881, Congress passed an "Act for the relief of the Wisconsin Winnebago," 
one of the provisions of which was that a complete census of the members of that tribe, scat- 
tered throughout the northern woods, should be taken, and their share of the Winnebago trust 
funds allotted to them: also that they should have titles to their lands assigned them in per- 
petuity. Maj. Walter F. Halleck, a retired army officer, was appointed special agent to take 
this census. Grignon appears to have been in his employ until 1884, when Halleck retired from 
the agency. Transcripts of several letters from Halleck to Grignon, showing appreciation of 
the latter 's services, are in the Society 's Library. — Ed. 

30 — For an account of this chief, see Wis. Hist. Colls., xii, p. 430. — Ed. 

James Allen Reed. (Eben D. Pierce, Wis. Hist. Soc. Proceedings, 1914, 
107-117.) Among the restless Scotch-Irish pioneers that Kentucky, in the 
early day, sent into Wisconsin and the Northwest, there are few with a 
life so picturesque and full of interesting incidents as James Reed. Born 
in Kentucky in 1798, he early became part of the rough, hardy life of the 
frontier. As a child he heard with eager delight the stirring tales related 
by Indian fighters, trappers, and traders who enjoyed the hospitality of 
his father's fireside ; tales of thrilling encounters and hair-breadth escapes 
from the wild beasts and still wilder red men of the forest. Like most 
boys of the frontier he was unlearned in the lore of books, though he could 
read and write, but in the school of nature he early became an adept. To 
him the great, deep forest stretching away to the unexplored westland, was 
an open book ; and he could follow a trail, wield the hunting knife, or throw 
the tomahawk with more cunning than the native Indians, while as a rifle 
shot he acquired, even on the western frontier where every man is an 
expert, wide renown. 

When a mere stripling Reed resolved on a military career, and the 
War of 1812 furnished his fighting blood and martial spirit an outlet, some 
claiming that youthful as he was he saw service in the latter part of that 
war. Some time after the close of the War of 1812 Reed enhsted in the 
regular army, and was sent to Fort Crawford at Prairie du Chien. Here 
his skill with the rifle, his knowledge of woodcraft and Indian customs, and 
his utility as a scout, interpreter, and courier quickly attracted the atten- 
tion of his superior, and before his term of enlistment had expired he had 
risen to the rank of sergeant. Although Reed was an excellent soldier, his 
greatest service to the government was in the capacity of scout, and long 
after his term of enlistment was over he was employed by the commander 
at Fort Crawford to conduct bodies of soldiers through the wilderness on 
expeditions against the Indians. 

During his army life Reed married a Potawatomi woman, by whom 


he had five children, Elizabeth, Joseph, Mary, Madeline, and James. Upon 
her death in 1830 he was married a second time to a Menominee mixed blood, 
widow of the trader, Russell Farnham. Two children, Margaret and John, 
resulted from this union. He later married the widow of Amable Grignon. 
whose son Antoine was the chief source of this biography. 

While in the United States army service at Fort Crawford Reed learned 
the carpenter trade and helped in the construction of some of the frame 
buildings of Prairie due Chien. He found plenty of work both in the army 
and outside, but he had planned to become a fur trader. Accordingly, after 
getting his discharge, he entered the employ of the American Fur Com- 
pany, devoting his time to hunting, trapping, and trading with the Indians. 
He was stationed for over a year at Red Cedar, Iowa, where he opened a 
trading post among the Indians, sending his accumulated furs overland 
by cart to Prairie du Chien. During the absence of his cart-train he had 
but a single companion, a Sioux boy about sixteen years old. One morning 
while this boy was alone a band of fifteen Sauk warriors passing by mur- 
dered him, and were in the act of scalping him when Reed appeared on 
the scene. Angered at the brutal murder of his helpless Indian boy he 
turned his rifle on the fleeing band of Sauks, and fired, kiUing one of the 
warriors. He then called out to the Indians, daring them to return and 
fight like braves, in loud and angry tones naming them cowards and mur- 
derers. They continued their flight, however, over a distant ridge, being 
fully convinced that the trapper not only was in earnest but was an excel- 
lent shot as well. Reed, expecting the Sauks to return that night and give 
him trouble, prepared everything for a surprise, sleeping with his loaded 
rifle on his arm ready for instant use. For weeks afterwards he was 
entirely alone at the trading post. Years later he told Grignon it was the 
most lonely and hazardous position of all his life, living in constant expecta- 
tion of hostile Indians, and traveling on perilous expeditions through the 
surrounding territory in quest of furs. He had no further trouble with 
the Indians while at Red Cedar, but after remaining a year he decided to 
return to Prairie du Chien, where he again entered the government service. 
During the Black Hawk War he was engaged to help take a keel boat up 
the Mississippi to Bad Axe. Returning to Prairie du Chien he vi^as sent as 
a courier with important messages to the army, which was nearing Bad 
Axe. He traveled the distance on a pony and arrived in time to witness 
the battle that ensued. = 

Although in the government service, Reed always denounced the cruel, 
unrelenting slaughter of the half-starved, dispirited Indians, who had 
tried in vain to surrender to the army opposing them, and were peaceably 
withdrawing with their wives and children to the west side of the Missis- 
sippi. During the battle Reed saw two Indian maidens embrace each other 
and jump into the river, and as they rose to the surface of the water the 
soldiers fired on them and the crimson streaks of blood mingling with the 
tawny waters showed where their lifeless bodies sank from sight. It was 
a pitiful sight to watch the slaughter of the helpless women and children 
of the unfortunate Sauks, and what added to the horror was the appearance 
of the Sioux, who had been notified of the coming conflict, on the opposite 


side of the river, finishing the slaughter by shooting, tomahawking, and 
scalping the poor, bedraggled Indians as they landed on the Minnesota shore. 

When the struggle was over Reed started on his pony for Prairie du 
Chien, and while riding through the woods he came upon a lone Sauk 
woman, who had made her escape from the soldiers and ill-fated Indians 
and was hiding in the woods in a half-starved condition. Reed spoke kindly 
to her, assuring her of his protection, and dismounting gave her a portion 
of food from his saddlebags. After she had eaten he helped her into the 
saddle, and with his rifle in hand led the way along the homeward trail. 
They took turn about riding and walking until they reached Prairie du 
Chien, stopping only at night to camp, and at intervals for refreshments. 
When their destination was reached Reed turned his captive over to the 
military authorities, who in turn sent her to join her people in Iowa. 

After the Black Hawk War Reed was sent among the Iowa Indians 
on business for the government. He started on his French train, which 
consisted of a sled made of oak hewn from the tree, and fastened together 
with wooden pegs. The sled, about three feet wide and seven feet long, 
was just wide enough to seat a man comfortably. It had hewn slabs 
fastened from runner to runner, on which was placed a pair of blankets 
rolled up in a tanned buckskin. Two poles were attached to the front top 
of the runners and to these the Indian pony was hitched by means of a 
harness made of buckskin straps, sewed with deer sinews ; the whippletree 
was fastened with the same material. "I started on my train," said Reed, 
"taking my old flintlock rifle and ammunition to last the trip, for I was 
expected to kill game enough for my living. On my way I chanced to kill 
a big, fat bear, and when I reached the Indian camp and exhibited my 
game a howl of joy went up among the redskins. We dressed and cooked 
the bear Indian fashion, making soup of him, which I ate with the natives 
in their manner, and in order to show my appreciation I ate the last drop 
of soup and then licked the dish as the Indians did. That Mck gained for 
me and the government our point without a thought of bloodshed, and 
after shaking hands with my Indian friends I took my departure on my 
French train for Prairie du Chien." 

The next three years after his return from Iowa Reed occupied him- 
self as tavern keeper in Prairie du Chien. His reputation as a fearless 
hunter and Indian trader, and the many hardy adventures he had experi- 
enced, equipped him with a fund of frontier stories as thriUing as the varied 
life of that day afforded. He could speak sevei-al Indian dialects, and his 
long association with the French at the Prairie settlement enabled him 
to acquire a fair command of their language. To the French he was known 
as Reed I'Americain; while by many, on account of his military record, 
he was called Captain Reed. 

Around the fireplace in his tavern was often gathered an interesting 
throng of hunters, trappers, traders, and Indians, and the usual town 
loafers. Many strange tales of frontier life and backwoods lore were told, 
and wanderers from far up the Mississippi brought glowing accounts of 
the northern country, where game and fur-bearing animals abounded, and 
where Indians roamed wild and undisturbed by white settlers. The long- 


ing for the wild, free life of the trapper caused Reed to abandon tavern 
keeping and resume his employ with the American Fur Company. While 
on his journeys up and down the Mississippi in the interests of the fur 
company, as well as when in the government service, he had remarked the 
beauty of the situation of Trempealeau and had decided to locate there 
whenever a favorable opportunity should offer. Circumstances delayed 
him until 1840, and gave his son-in-law, John Doville, the credit of being 
the first settler. However, Reed had chosen the site for a town and had 
in view plans for its future settlement some time before Doville came. 
In the summer of 1840 he built a log house on his well-selected site a few 
rods from the banks of the Mississippi and hither he brought his family, 
resolved to make this his permanent home. One day while hewing logs 
with his broadax for the construction of his building a drunken Sioux by 
the name of Face-on-Fire came along and began to abuse him. Reed said 
very little but at last, the taunting continuing, his temper gave way, and 
raising his broadax he threw it at the Indian. It came so dangerously near 
the Sioux that he was frightened and left, not daring to show himself 
again for days. 

Reed, after finishing his log house, followed his favorite vocation of 
hunting and trapping in the Trempealeau valley. A few months after his 
arrival his wife died, and within two years he married the widow Grignon, 
who was a relative of the Sioux chief Wabashaw. Her relationship with 
the noted chief gave Reed great prestige among this band of Sioux, which 
together with his experience with the Indians while in the government 
service secured for him the position of government farmer for Wabashaw's 
band of Indians, who were then living on the site of Winona, Minnesota. 
He entered on his new occupation as government farmer and storekeeper 
some time in October, 1842, and two years later with the help of L. H. 
Bunnell, erected the first house built in Winona. This was a government 
storehouse, constructed of white ash logs. Reed retained his appointment 
until the signing of the Ti-eaty of 1851. 

In May, 1844, an incident occurred at Winona which illustrates the 
fearlessness of Reed in a "crisis. He had learned from the trader La Bathe.^" 
an eye witness, of the murder of an old friend, Sheriff Lester, by a Sioux 
of Little Crow's band named 0-mah-haugh-tay. Chancing to be in the 
tent of his relative, Wabashaw, when the murderer dropped in for a visit, 
he was angered at the consideration with which the fellow was received, 
and declined the courtesy of smoking the pipe which was offered him. The 
murderer, emboldened by the success of his crime, seized the pipe and 
himself presented it to Reed, with unfeigned malignity in his eye. Reed, 
whose resentment was kindled into flame by this fresh act of audacity, 
dashed the pipe to the ground, and denouncing the Sioux as a dog, informed 
him there was one white man who did not fear him. It was the gravest 
insult that could be offered to an Indian, but 0-mah-haugh-tay was cowed, 
and soon after took his departure from the village. 

At the first town election held April, 1851, at La Crosse, James Reed 
was elected justice. Trempealeau was then included in La Crosse County. 
Whether there were any cases for the justice court during Reed's term of 


office is doubtful. Differences were likely to be settled in the more primi- 
tive way of hand to hand encounters, and if this failed an appeal to the 
higher court of firearms was taken. 

While in Trempealeau Captain Reed had occasional differences with 
the Indians. He burned the old mission house^ at Trempealeau Bay to 
keep the Winnebago from catching and riding his horses which gathered in 
its shelter, thus galling their backs with heavy loads. 

One autumn day in the early fifties a number of Indians came to Trem- 
pealeau to do some trading, and brought along the usual number of dogs. 
Reed had some hogs running loose near his house ; the dogs began to chase 
them and succeeded in killing one of their number and injuring several 
others. When Reed saw the Indians coming he took down his rifle and, 
walking into the yard, shot seven of the dogs; this done he returned to 
the house, reloaded his gun, and waited results. Nothing more was heard 
of the Indians that day, but the next morning about fifteen of their number 
returned and began grumbling about their dogs being killed and demanded 
pay for them. Reed listened a while to their complaints, then becoming 
angry he took down his rifle and pointed into the muzzle, saying : "I have 
something in here which I will give you as pay if you don't all clear out of 
here at once." Without waiting for the contents of the well-known rifle 
the redskins fled, knowing the old trapper was in earnest. As a result of 
this trouble one of the Winnebago, named Hakah, plotted to kill Reed, and 
went so far as to hide in ambush behind a pine tree along the trail where 
Reed came after his horses every evening towards sundown. When Reed 
appeared the Indian noticed the well-known rifle slung across his shoulder, 
which so unnerved Hakah, that he kept in his hiding place until his enemy 
had passed, not wishing to take a chance of missing Reed and being killed 
for his pains. 

In 1853 Reed sold his Trempealeau property to Benjamin B. Healy and 
moved with his family onto a piece of government land in the Little Tama- 
rack. This was in some respects a better situation for one of his tempera- 
ment, as it was in closer proximity to the most desirable hunting ground. 
From here he took the trail over the bluff on many a long hunting expedition. 

When George Luce, formerly of Galesville, was a boy he went on a 
hunting trip up the Trempealeau valley with Captain Reed. They camped 
in one of the valleys near the present town of Acadia, and as several hunt- 
ing parties of Indians were in the immediate vicinity Reed deemed it 
advisable to take precautions against surprise, inasmuch as the Indians 
looked upon the white hunter with jealous eyes. Therefore the men set 
to work digging a hole in the ground for their night's camp fire. After 
completing this they cooked their supper, and enjoyed it smoking hot 
from the fire. 

After nightfall the sound of howling wolves disturbed the hunters, 
and as the night wore on the howling became louder and more hideous; 
apparently the campers were surrounded by wolves, but Reed began to 
mistrust the origin of the sounds and called out loudly in the Winnebago 
language: "If you want our scalps come and get them." At this the 
howling stopped. Reed and Luce sat up all night with their rifles across 


their knees, expecting the Winnebago wolves to return, but no more dis- 
turbance occurred, and after finishing their hunt the men returned home 
in safety. Luce told of Reed's skill as a hunter and said the old trapper 
always rode with his rifle across the pommel of his saddle Indian fashion. 
At the time of the New Ulm massacre in Minnesota during the early 
part of the Civil War, the people of Trempealeau and vicinity were one day 
thrown into a panic of fear by the announcement that a large party of 
hostile Sioux was advancing from Black River upon Trempealeau. With 
one impulse the settlers turned to Reed for protection, and the wary old 
trapper responded with energy. He knew the cunning savage and did not 
proposed to be taken by a night surprise. All night long he patrolled Trem- 
pealeau Prairie, mounted on his favorite pony and carrying his trusty rifle 
ready for instant use, but it turned out that the report was false and no 
Indians came to disturb the frightened settlers. 

Reed's numerous journeys throughout the Trempealeau country in 
quest of furs made him familiar with all of its streams, its ranges of hills, 
its numerous valleys as well as its woodland haunts and expanses of roll- 
ing wild grassland and marshes. Indeed he learned the country as thor- 
oughly as a Mississippi River pilot learns the river, and was able to make 
serviceable use of his knowledge of the trails, the short cuts, the passes, 
and the divides. 

"We were following along a range of hills one day mounted on our 
ponies," said Antoine Grignon, "Reed, his son John, and myself. It was 
past noon and we were getting mighty hungry. As we came over a hog's 
back and neared a rocky peak. Reed pointed down a valley and said, 'Boys, 
this is the nearest way to Beaver Creek, where we can go and catch some 
trout for dinner.' We gladly turned our ponies towards the valley, and in 
a short time came to the creek. Reed cut a small pole and took from his 
pocket a fishline and hook and after catching some grasshoppers for bait 
started to fish. Inside of half an hour we had all the trout we needed for 
dinner, and cutting some forked sticks to hold them, we built a fire and 
broiled them. It was a splendid meal, and I believe that is the best way to 
cook fish — all you want is a little salt." 

As a trapper Reed could not be excelled. He caught all varieties of the 
fur-bearing animals which at that time abounded in this region, such as 
the muskrat, mink, marten, otter, raccoon, and beaver, but made a special 
effort to get beaver. 

Late one afternoon in 1863 Reed came to my father's house on foot 
and said his pony was mired in a marsh just over the hill from our place. 
My father secured the help of two neighbors, and in company with Reed 
went over the hill to help extricate it. The men worked hard for nearly 
an hour, and succeeded in getting the pony out without injuring it. On the 
pony's back was a large pack of beaver pelts and traps. When, the men 
reached our home it was dark and Reed remained all night. My father 
offered him a bed, but he preferred to sleep on the floor, with his pack of 
furs for a pillow and a blanket spread over him. Early in the morning 
he departed for his home in the Little Tamarack. 

Throughout the upper Trempealeau valley at this time Reed was 


known as Trapper Reed, and often the remote settler would see his solitary 
figure, mounted on his pony, winding along the hills or threading his way 
through some woody solitude over the unblazed trail to the haunts of the 

While living in the Little Tamarack Reed had two hunting dogs of 
which he was very fond. One day while hunting with them near the present 
town of Dodge they came upon a panther and chased it into the bluffs, 
where it turned and offered fight. The dogs flew at it, and although they 
fought furiously, the panther seemed to be getting the best of them, and 
had one of the dogs nearly disabled when Reed came up. He did not dare 
use his rifle for fear of wounding his dogs and yet he was bound to help 
them ; so, drawing his tomahawk he entered the fray, working his way into 
the fighting mass as best he could, and at length by a well directed blow 
succeeded in killing the panther. The wounded dog recovered and lived 
to join in many a subsequent hunt. 

James Reed was a man of medium height, with bi'oad shoulders and 
a large chest; his complexion was florid, and his hair light brown, almost 
a sandy hue, while his eyes were a grayish blue. He was a quick, active 
man, alert and ready for any emergency. He often dressed like the Indians 
with a blanket thrown over his shoulders and fastened around his waist 
with a belt. In disposition he was kind and genial and he was an accom- 
modating and friendly neighbor. 

After the death of his wife Reed lived alone in his log cabin in the 
Little Tamarack. He still made journeys on his pony up the Trempealeau 
valley on hunting and trapping expeditions, and continued his backwoods 
hfe until a year before his death, when the increasing infirmities of age 
caused him to abandon his favorite vocation. He then lived with his son 
John for a time, and during his last illness stayed at the home of his old 
friend and neighbor, Charles H. Perkins, where he died in June, 1873. 

He had been such a man as the frontier demanded ; he understood the 
Indians, and dealt with' them kindly or severely as occasion demanded; 
while his firmness and fairness won for him the respect of all his associates. 

Perhaps a future generation will build a monument to this romantic 
character. If so I hope it will be erected on old Liberty Peak, and will 
represent Reed mounted on his pony, with his rifle across the pommel of 
his saddle, looking out upon the peaceful bosom of the Mississippi, where 
the scenes of his eventful life were enacted. Such a monument, expressive 
of the pioneer hunter and instinct with the spirit of a departed age, would 
fittingly grace the noble crest of Trempealeau's venerable bluff. 

1 — The material for the following sketeh «as furnished largely by Antoinc Grignon, who 
was a stepson of Eeed, and had a longer acquaintance ^^-ith him than any person now living. 
For Grignon 's " Reeolleetions," see Wisconsin Historical Society Proceedings, 1913, 110. 
Others who 'have furnished recollections of Reed are : John Perkins and Mrs. Mary House, 
children of Eeed 's friend, Cliarles H. Perkins, Sr., and Mrs. Charles H. Perkins, Jr., a 
daughter-in-law; Mrs. John Eeed, daughter-in-law of the pioneer; and Mary Brandenberg, who 
wrote down at his own dictation the account of E<>ed's trip into Iowa on a I'rench train. 
C. R. McGilvray, whom Reed taught to trap beaver, furnished many interesting incidents; also 
S. D. Noyes, William Huttenow, William Bennett, Mrs. Charles Cleveland. Mrs. Louise Wilson 
kindly lent me a daguerreotype of Reed, the only picture of the old pioneer known to be extant. 


Among references in print that have been consulted are the volumes of the Wisconsin 
HistorU-til. CoUcctions, and L. H. Buniioll, Winona and Its Environs on the Mississipi/i in An- 
cient and Modem Days (Winona, Minn., 1897). Data concerning Eeed's career as a soldier 
and a farmer for the Siou.x at Winona have been furnished by the War Department, and the 
Bureau of Indian Affairs at Washington. 

2— See account in Wis. Hist. Colls., XII, 257-261. 

3^ — For a brief account of this trader, see Wis. His. Soc. Proceedings, 1906, 2.53. 

4^Ibid., 251, 252. 

Irish Settlers. The Irish settlers of Trempealeau County have not 
been very numerous, although there are some among them who have taken 
a prominent part in the development and history of the county. There 
are only live sections of the county where they have settled, and, with the 
exception of Beaver Creek, the number who have settled in these sections 
are very few. 

Thomas Drugan was perhaps the first Irish settler in Trempealeau 
County. He came to Trempealeau in 1853 and settled on a farm in the town 
of Trempealeau. At that time Trempealeau was a part of La Crosse County. 

Patrick Lowery and Patrick Drugan, the latter a brother of Thomas 
Drugan, came to Trempealeau in 1855. Lowery settled on the place which 
had been previously occupied by one Winkleman in 1848, and which is now 
known as "The Old Grant Place," while Patrick Drugan settled in the town 
of Trempealeau on the place now owned by Patrick Lowery. The Drugans 
came from the county of Tyrone in the North of Ireland and lived some 
five years in Illinois before coming to Trempealeau. 

Frank Feeney settled in Trempealeau in 1855 and bought a place near 
the old Ed Elkins home. Daniel Gallagn came to Trempealeau in 1856 and 
settled on the place where John Reid now lives. In 1858 James Brady 
settled under the Bluff which bears his name, and in 1859 Sullivan settled 
on the place now owned by Fred Ford. 

About this time McCarthy, who was quite a character in his way, 
settled on a farm lying west of the village of Trempealeau along the Mis- 
sissippi. McCarthy was a man who took great pride in his physical prowess, 
and on many occasions attempted to settle his diff'erences with others 
without the intervention of the law. When under the influence of liquor 
there was always something doing when Jack McCarthy was around, and 
yet withal he was generous to a fault and had many qualities that com- 
mend him to the admiration of people. 

These men were all typical Irishmen, and were the earliest Irish set- 
tlers in Trempealeau County. They cultivated the soil in a small way, 
accumulated but a small amount of this world's goods, and were not very 
active factors in the organized movement of their local communities. 

J. H. Pierson came to Trempealeau in 1860, but did not take up his 
residence there until 1861. He came from Dublin, Ireland, and was in the 
constabulary service in that city before coming to America. He had been 
trained as a druggist in Canada and worked in the drug store at Trem- 
pealeau until 1871, and later bought a stock of drugs and opened a drug 
store of his own. The store is still run and known as "The Pierson Phar- 
macy." He was the father of James and Charles Pierson, who are resi- 
dents of Trempealeau, and of Fred Pierson and Lottie Pierson, who have 


moved out of the county. He was a fine type of an Irish gentleman, refined, 
law-abiding in all respects, and left a deep impression upon all with whom 
he came in contact. He died at a ripe old age in Trempealeau in 1911. 

James Dolan came to Trempealeau and settled in the town of Caledonia 
in 1857. A typical Irishman who came to Trempealeau in 1867 is Barney 
McGraw, who still resides there. McGraw can tell you more of Irish lore 
than any other Irishman in the county, unless it be Dennis Lawler, of 
whom something will be said hereafter. The greatest regret of Barney 
is that although every inch an Irishman, he was born in New York City 
instead of Ireland. 

A few, but prominent, Irish settlers lived in the town of Hale. The 
first Irish settler there was Robert Warner, who came to Trempealeau 
County in 1863. He raised a family of ten children, five boys and five 
girls, all of whom are now living except his oldest son John. Two of his 
gii-ls are now living in the towns of Unity and Albion, one Mrs. Margaret 
Wingad, and the other Mrs. Catharine Wingad. One son, Robert, is a 
Methodist preacher, and two of his sons, Raymond and Rufus, are living 
with their mother on the homestead in the town of Hale. Robert Warner 
died February 10th, 1908, and is buried in the Hale cemetery. He was 
a prominent, successful and respected resident of the county, and had 
much to do within his sphere in the development of his community. 

Another Irish settler in the town of Hale is Honorable M. J. Warner, 
who moved to Hale in 1861 and took up a homestead of one hundred sixty 
acres in Section 33, Township 23, Range 8 West, where he still resides. He 
was born in Ireland, February 15th, 1842, emigrated with his mother to 
Massachusetts in 1854, moved with his brother Robert and mother to 
Adams County. Wisconsin, in 1856, enlisted as a member of Co. K, 25th 
Wisconsin Infantry at Friendship, Adams County, August 15th, 1862, 
and was discharged in September, 1863, on account of disabilities con- 
tracted in the line of duty. He was married to Sarah Risk, November 
17th, 1868, and became the father of five children, four boys and one 
girl, all of whom are still living. M. J. Warner has been one of the 
most active and prominent citizens in Trempealeau County. He has been 
an oracle of Democratic wisdom, has served his state in the Legislature, 
and has a great many times served the town of Hale on the county board. 
He is one of the very strong characters who has had much to do, not only 
with the pioneer development of the county, but in its more recent history. 

Another early Irish settler who had much to do with the development 
of the town of Hale was David Maloney, who moved there in 1866 and took 
up a homestead on Section 28, Township 33, Range 8 West. He raised -x 
family of seven children, all of whom were a credit to his name, five girls 
and two boys. Of the girls, two, Mrs. Catharine Bucholz and Nellie, who 
died at the age of four years, are laid to rest in the Hale cemetery. IMary 
Rorabeck is living at Ryegate. Montana; Maggie Harrington in Liberty, 
Canada: Mrs. Esther Elsom at Britton, South Dakota: James, the oldest son. 
is living on the old homestead and cultivating as many acres as any farmer 
in Trempealeau County, while the youngest son, David, lives at Ladysmith 
and is the County Judge of Rusk County. David IMaloney and his wife are 


both dead and buried in the Hale cemetery. Mr. Maloney, although deprived 
of the opportunities of an early education, was a great reader and became 
a man of wide information and very set in his convictions. 

This trio of Irishmen had as much, if not more, to do with the early 
development and history of the town of Hale than any other set of more 
numerous individuals who could be selected, and were all types of the better 
and more prosperous class of Irish. 

The next Irish settler of the town of Hale was Charles Donnelly, who 
settled on a homestead in Section 30, Township 23, Range 7 West, in the 
year 1867. His early experience coincided with that of most of the 
pioneers of Trempealeau County. He came to Hale without a dollar, but 
in a few years, by industry and thrift, he became the owner of a com- 
fortable home. He died about thirty years ago and was buried in the Hale 
cemetery, where a few years later his wife was laid to rest. 

The difficulties to be overcome were hard enough in the pioneer days 
for men to face, but how much more discouraging was the work for a 
woman, yet there came to the town of Hale in 1866 an Irish woman by the 
name of Mary Bryan, with seven small children, four girls and three boys, 
who took up an undeveloped homestead in Section 30, Township 23, Range 8 
West, proved up, broke and cultivated it, and continued to live there until 
the children married. Mrs. Bryan died and was buried in the Hale cemetery 
about three years ago. Her son Thomas now lives on a farm near Eleva. 

This constitutes, I believe, all the Irish settlers who have lived in the 
town of Hale. 

In the town of Preston there have lived only two Irish settlers of 
whom I have knowledge. One was a strong character and left behind a 
family of strong individuals who have had much to do with the develop- 
ment of this county. I refer to James McKivergin, who was born near 
Belfast, Ireland, February 13th, 1818, and who was married to Annie 
Conway, who was born at Limerick, Ireland, June 20th, 1830. Mr. McKiver- 
gin came to Grant County, Wisconsin, in 1845, and worked in the lead 
mines there two years, when he moved to Troy, Walworth County, Wis- 
consin, where he engaged in milling. He moved to the town of Preston in 
1862, where he continued to live until he died, August 15th, 1886. At the 
time he came to Trempealeau County there was no railroad nearer than 
La Crosse. Henry Lake then drove a stage from La Crosse to Osseo and 
carried passengers and baggage. Mr. and Mrs. McKivergin and their six 
children, and what baggage they possessed, went by stage with Mr. Lake 
from La Crosse to the log hut of Mr. Carpenter's near the present McKiver- 
gin homestead. As soon as the Homestead Law was passed in 1863, Mr. 
McKivergin homesteaded the farm now occupied, in the town of Preston, 
by his wife and son Edward. In the early days their markets were Sparta, 
Trempealeau and La Crosse, with no conveyance except by oxen. There 
is now surviving him and residing in Trempealeau County his widow and 
seven children, Edwai'd McKivergin, William McKivergin, Mary Young, 
Rose A. Immell, Alice McKivergin, John McKivergin and Maggie Immell. 
Mrs. McKivergin's father, John Conway, came to Trempealeau County in 
1864 and lived with Mr. McKivergin until he died in 1886. 


Another Irish settler in the town of Preston was Patrick Bennett, who 
settled on what is now known as the Densmore farm about 1856 or 1857, 
who continued to reside there until 1864. 

A number of Irish have resided at or near Arcadia. The first Irish 
settler at Arcadia was James Gaveney, who came there in the Fall of 1856. 
He was born at Balla Bay, Monaghan County, Ireland, April 25th, 1825. At 
the age of 20 he entered the constabulary of the city of Dublin and served 
for three years. In 1848 he came to America and worked in the lead 
mines at Mineral Point for two years, and in 1850 crossed the plains to 
the gold mines of California, where he became acquainted with a man, 
though not Irish, who had very much to do with the pioneer history of 
Trempealeau County — Noah D. Comstock. He settled at Arcadia in 1856 
upon a farm, which is now part of the village limits of the village, where 
he continued to reside until the time of his death, June 18th, 1889. He 
was engaged quite extensively in farming at Arcadia and in the town of 
Burnside, and also in milling and in the lumber business at Independence. 

Among the Irish settlers in the town of Arcadia are J. H. Gleason, 
Michael Arrigan, Patrick, John and James Manning, Edward Creeley, 
Michael Gleason, James Gibbons, Jerry O'Brien, Thomas Moriarity, Daniel 
English and Phillip English. 

A strong character among them was Daniel English, who was born in 
Tipperary, Ireland, and came to America in the latter '50s. He was 
engaged for some time in the construction of the Vermont Central Rail- 
road and of the Chicago & North Western Railroad, and settled in the 
town of Arcadia about eight miles south of the present village in 1861. He 
was a fine type of an Irishman, who made the most out of life without hav- 
ing any of the advantages of an early education. He cleared a 
farm of heavily timbered lands into one of the fertile and most 
valuable farms of the town, and raised a family of four boys 
and one girl, two of whom, Michael English and John H. English, 
now reside at Arcadia. He was the father of Dr. William E. 
English, who died some years ago at Winona, and also of Edward G. English, 
who is one of the wealthy lumbermen of the State of Washington. No 
finer example of the possibilities of this county can be found than in the 
history of this family. Although the father and mother came to the county 
with httle book education and with practically none of this world's goods, 
they raised and educated, some with college educations, a family of five 
children, and left besides an accumulation of several thousands of dollars. 

The three Mannings, John, Patrick and Michael, were all good citizens, 
but men of no marked characteristics. John was born in Limerick, Ireland, 
June 12, 1835, and died March 19, 1895. He emigrated from Ireland in 
1855 and settled at Arcadia in 1862 on a farm two miles south of the village. 
Patrick Manning also was born at Limerick, Ireland, in 1838, came to 
America in 1858, and located at Arcadia in 1863, and Michael Manning, who 
was born at Limerick, Ireland, in 1840, came to America in 1863 and located 
at Arcadia in 1864. They all raised respected families, some of whom are 
railroading and others farming. 

Edward Creeley was another early Irish settler of the town of Arcadia. 


He located on a farm about two miles south of Arcadia in the latter '60s, 
where he continued to live until about ten years ago, when he moved to the 
village of Arcadia. Besides being a farmer, he was an engineer, and put 
in part of his time working for different railroads. He was, in some 
respects, an eccentric character, with a genius for machinery. He patented 
several devices for locomotives, none of which ever proved of practical 
utility. He is survived by his widow and three children, two of whom now 
reside at Arcadia. 

Michael Gleason was also an unusual personage — a marked character 
for a novel. He was politeness personified. He homesteaded a farm in 
Bills Valley, three miles south of Arcadia, in 1866, which is now owned by 
the family. His wife was Mary A. Cashel, a sister of Michael Cashel, a very 
strong and active character who had much to do with the development of 
Buffalo County. He leaves his widow and several children, who are now 
farmers in Trempealeau and Buffalo counties. 

Another marked character was John H. Gleason, who was born in Tip- 
perary, Ireland, May 18, 1818, and came to America in 1848. He purchased 
land from the government in 1856 four miles south of Arcadia, and settled 
on this land in 1857. The log house which he built first is now used as an 
ice house on the farm. He died May 19, 1894. His wife was an unusual 
woman, whose predominating characteristics were friendliness and gener- 
osity. She was born in Tipperary in 1826 and came to America in 1849. 
She died July 11, 1910. They left a family of one boy and four girls, none 
of whom are now residents of the county, although the homestead is still 
owned by the family. 

Another Irishman who located in the town of Arcadia was Phillip 
English, a native of Tipperary, Ireland, and whose wife was a native of Gal- 
way, Ireland. He came to America in 1850 and settled in Trout Run in 1872. 

Jerry O'Brien, a native of the County of Cork, Ireland, located at 
Arcadia, July 4, 1864, and homesteaded a farm two miles east of Arcadia. 
His wife was Catharine Higgins, who was born in the County of Cary, Ire- 
land. He left a family of three children, one girl, Catharine O'Brien, who 
married Edson Morgan, a well-known character in Trempealeau County 
during the '70s, and Michael O'Brien and Francis O'Brien, none of whom 
reside in the county. Mr. O'Brien was an impulsive, decisive character who 
took an active part in the affairs of his town in the earlier days and was 
in all respects a good citizen. The farm he developed is now one of the 
leading dairy farms in the town. 

Another Irishman who prided himself on his Irish ancestry, and who 
was a very marked character, is Thomas Barry, long a resident of Arcadia. 
He came to Arcadia in 1867 and peddled books through Trempealeau and 
Buffalo counties. He afterwards was in the implement business and was 
known over a wide area as a successful auctioneer. 

One of the early settlers was James Bigham, who located in Buffalo 
County in 1855 and moved to Trempealeau County on a farm eight miles 
south of Arcadia in 1858. He died in 1874. He left behind several children, 
three of whom are well known in Trempealeau County, Daniel and John 
Bigham of Arcadia, and Mrs. C. W. Thomas of Trempealeau. 


Another Irish character particularly worthy of mention is Dennis 
Lawler, who is now living in the northern end of the county, at a ripe old age. 
Anyone who has ever met Mr. Lawler will recall him as one of marked 
characteristics. He is a man of many ideas and of strong memory for 
details. He was born in the County of DubUn, September 25, 1823. He 
was married to Catharine Brown in 1846, and started for America in 1850. 
when he was shipwrecked and returned again to Ireland. Seven years later 
crossed the ocean and landed at La Crosse, which was then a very small 
place. From La Crosse he went to Black River Falls by stage, and from 
there to the Beef River Valley, where he settled on Section 24, Township 23. 
Range 8. At that time there were no neighbors within twelve miles. He 
squatted upon the land. When war broke out he enlisted, and after his 
return homesteaded his farm. It is a matter of pride to Mr. Lawler that 
his grandfather was a chum of the noted Robert Emmet, and is buried in the 
same churchyard. Mr. Lawler is now living with his son, at a ripe old age, 
in the town of Sumner. 

Another Irishman of marked character who has had much to do with 
the development of Trempealeau County and Northern Wisconsin is E. J. 
Matchett. He came to Trempealeau County in 1866 and settled at Osseo. 
He came to America in 1862 and for several years followed the business of 
railroad construction. He has held many local offices and has always been 
an active man of affairs. Few men have impressed themselves as strongly 
upon Trempealeau County as has Mr. Matchett. In his day he made much 
money and lost much, but whichever way the tide of fortune turns, he has 
always been the same persevering, plodding worker. It is needless to say 
that such a character will never rust out. Time only can wear him out. 

An early Irish settler of the northern part of the county was William 
Henry, who settled in the town of Sumner in 1854. He is now alive and 
living with his son, E. J. Henry. Michael Merty settled in the town of 
Sumner in 1859, and died about 1884. Another Irishman of Osseo was 
Charles Shores, who was well known by the people of the county during 
the '70s and '80s. He ran a store for some time in the village of Osseo. 

This article has now grown to such length that I can barely mention 
the Irish settlers of the town of Ettrick. They are the most numerous 
lot that settled in any section of Trempealeau County. Among them was 
John Mahoney and Dennis Mahoney, John and Daniel Kennedy, Thomas and 
Andrew Bierne, Peter and Timothy Dufficy, Daniel Nefficy and Patrick 
McCormick, all of whom are now dead ; Michael Connolly, who is yet hving 
on a farm ; Pat Cain and Henry Whelan, who now lives at Mankato, Minne- 
sota ; James Connors, who left the county years ago ; Cornelius Lynch, who 
came to Wisconsin in 1859, but did not settle in Trempealeau County until 
1869. The older people will remember him as the one-armed school teacher 
who for a number of years was a marked character among the school 
teachers of Trempealeau County. James Quinn, who died last year and is 
now succeeded by his son, WiUiam ; James McLaughlin, who is dead a long 
time and who left no children behind him ; John O'Neil, who was a Civil 
War veteran and who is succeeded by a son ; Peter Crogan, who has now 
moved to Galesville; Hugh Crogan, now succeeded by his son Henry, and 


Thomas Crogan, who is now dead and is succeeded by his son Wilham; 
Timothy Lane, who is now dead and whose farm is now owned by strangers ; 
Ed Rielly, now of La Crosse ; Owen Thomas and Patrick Mulligan, who left 
no inheritors ; Daniel McGiUindy, who was a Civil War veteran, and Michael 
McGillindy, whose son Wallace now lives on the farm he occupied ; Jeremiah 
McGillindy, who is now dead, but whose sons reside on the farm; James 
McCarthy, a marked character and excellent type of an Irish citizen ; Sylves- 
ter McAvoy; Dennis Cavanaugh, who served in the army under General 
Miles and gave his life for his country; Daniel Cullity, also a Civil War 
veteran ; Thomas and Michael Cullity, both of whom are now dead ; Darby 
Whelan and his father, Thomas Whelan, who lived upon the homestead 
now occupied by Darby's son ; John Harmon ; James and John Corcoran ; 
Thomas Wall and Walter Wall, who also served in the Civil War; Patrick 
Wall, John Wall; John, James and Richard Cantlon, all of whom are now 
dead, excepting Richard ; Thomas Sheehy, whose boys now occupy his farm ; 
Daniel Cahill and Bernhard Brady, now succeeded by his son, Thomas Brady. 
I should also mention Maurice Casey, a sucessf ul farmer whose land is now 
owned and occupied by his son and who was a nephew of John and Daniel 
Kennedy of Ettrick ; James Larkin of Crystal Valley, who is now succeeded 
by his two sons, Michael and Fred ; James Dolan, who years ago moved to 
St. Paul; John Bierne, John Hunt of Crystal Valley, also Thomas Roach, 
John Dolan of Galesville and Thomas Shaw of Crystal Valley. 

All these were early Irish settlers in the towns of Ettrick and Gale. 
The data of their lives and work should be gathered and preserved before 
it is too late, but the hmits of this article are such that I cannot now attempt 
it. It is worthy of mention that these men established the only Irish 
Catholic church in Trempealeau County, which was built in 1872 and is 
known as St. Bridget's Church. 

A number of the Irish settlers in the county who should have been 
mentioned have perhaps been omitted. It is safe to say, however, that all 
told there has not resided in Trempealeau County to exceed one hundred 
Irish families. Perhaps no other nationality has had among its numbers 
more men of marked personality, when we consider the number from which 
to choose. 

As a rule they have been good citizens. Some may have been impulsive, 
some may have been improvident, and it may be possible that some may have 
been deceitful, yet I venture to say there has been a chord in the make-up o^' 
nearly every one which, when touched, vibrated into harmony with the 
higher and better elements of human character. No two have been alike. 
Every one has had an individuahty that separated him from all others. 
Very few have seen the clouds — they look more for the sunshine — upon 
the more optimistic side of life. Every situation to the average Irish settler 
in this county has had its sunny side, its humorous side. They have mainly 
lived in an atmosphere of good nature, and they should not be censured too 
severely if sometimes some of them have taken artificial means to bring it 

They have been typical in their race. Their friends have been all the 
people, their faith their own. No climate has been so cold as will not 


produce a shamrock, no soil so barren as will not grow a shillalah. They 
have been foremost at a fight, at a frolic and at a funeral, where their 
generous nature has always found a blow for the bad, a smile for the glad 
and a tear for the sad. (Written at Arcadia, November 12, 1912, by John C. 

Polish and Bohemian Settlers. It is impossible to obtain the exact 
date of the day, or even month of the year, when the first Polish or Bohe- 
mian people came to this county, for the reason that there cannot be found 
anyone that kept any kind of data, and there are only three left in this 
county of the very first ones that came here — two men and one woman. 
Those that are alive are all past the age of eighty and their memory is 
beginning to fail noticeably, and what information I was able to gather is 
such as these people were able to give me from recollection only, except in 
one instance, that of the woman I just mentioned. She fixes the dates of 
their arrival by the age of one of her daughters. She has the names of 
all her children and the date on which they were born written down on the 
inside cover of a prayer book, and she seems to be sure that the age of the 
girl I mentioned was three weeks. 

It seems that the Polish and one Bohemian family settled in two locali- 
ties in this county at about the same time, and as near as I have been able 
to learn, they did not know of the existence of each other at the time, nor 
for a good many years after — the length of time no one seems to be able 
to tell. 

During the winter of 1862 and 1863, there came to what is now known 
as Pine Creek, in the town of Dodge, several Polish famihes, as follows: 
Paul Lessman, Paul Libera, Mike Lessman, Frank Weyer, Joseph Lubinski, 
Joseph Wnuk, and some others whose names I did not get. Of these, all 
but Paul Libera are now dead. With them came one Bohemian family, 
that of Math Brom. He is still living, although past eighty years of age 
and quite feeble. All of these people came from the city of Winona, Minne- 

You notice that there were several famihes that came at the same time, 
and they settled in close proximity and formed a colony of their own. They 
claim the distinction of having the second oldest colony in Wisconsin, one 
in Polonia, Wisconsin, being older, and they claim their colony as the third 
oldest in the United States, one in St. Mary's, Texas, being first. 

The other settlement that took place, which I mentioned before, was in 
the Town of Arcadia, what is now known as North Creek, and in what is 
now known as the Town of Burnside. 

Here is the history of the settlement in the Town of Arcadia and Burn- 
side as was told to me by the lone survivor, Mrs. Albert Bautch, Sr. The 
lady is also past the age of eighty, and although her memory is failing, and 
faihng noticeably, yet after a little conversation with her she recalled quite 
vividly some of the hardships of pioneer life, and recalled a good deal of its 

She told me that her daughter Johanna was three weeks old when they 
came to this county, and, from the entry on the inside of the cover of the 


prayer book I mentioned before showed by her to me, it appears that the 
girl was born on March 19, 1863. 

With Mr. Bautch and his family came his brother Lawrence and his 
family, and Peter Sura and his family. Those three famihes came together 
from New Lisbon, Wisconsin, where they had lived seven years prior to 
their coming to this county. Albert Bautch, Sr., settled with his family in 
the town of Arcadia, what is now known as North Creek, and Lawrence 
Bautch and Peter Sura settled with their families in what is now known 
as the Town of Burnside. As near as she could remember, no other Polish 
or Bohemian families came over to this county, to her knowledge, until 
about two years later, when several families came over from the State of 

All those speaking the Polish language settled in the different locahties 
I have mentioned, and came originally from the German Empire, what was 
formerly Poland. They all came from agricultural districts and quickly 
adapted themselves to this country. They proved themselves to be sturdy, 
hard-working and thrifty fellows, and they have greatly assisted in improv- 
ing the localities in the colonies that they settled in, and the great majority 
of them have accumulated considerable property. 

You may have wondered why I speak of the Polish people and do not 
have much to say about the Bohemian race. This is the reason. There 
are now, as near as I have been able to learn, only about a dozen Bohemian 
families in this county, and those, particularly the younger generation, 
after living among the Polish people and associating with them, have all, 
without any exception, learned to talk, read and write the Polish language. 
They belong to and attend the same church, send their children to the same 
school, and to all intents and purposes have practically become Polish them- 

They have in this county four Polish churches, four Polish parochial 
schools. The combined wealth of their churches, church furnishings, school 
buildings, real estate, and other buildings belonging to said churches is 
estimated at about $200,000.00. The largest church is located at Independ- 
ence, the largest colony of Polish is in the vicinity of Independence, and the 
total number of all Polish people in this county is about 3,700. 

The principal business of the Polish and Bohemian people is farming. 
There are a few engaged in mercantile affairs, but only a few. The great 
majority of them, especially the early settlers, were accustomd to farming, 
and, being poor, came here looking for an opportunity to better their 
conditions, jumped at the opportunity this country offered them in the 
shape of homesteads, and went to farming as best they knew how. 

Some strong men were found among the early settlers. For example, 
take Math Brom, the sole survivor of the Bohemian early settlers, a giant 
in stature, a pleasant, lovable fellow to meet, well balanced intellectually, 
of sturdy character, honest and upright in all his dealings, a true and 
loving husband and father, a true man, and respected by all who know him. 

Another striking character was Albert Bautch, Sr., a big man in stature, 
a kind, loving husband, father and neighbor, a man who was absolutely true 
to the principles of American citizenship, a hard worker. He rapidly accu- 


mulated considerable property — a big-hearted fellow who was always ready 
to advise and assist his fellowmen in so far as was in his power to do so. 

There were other of the early settlers who possessed- strong character- 
istics and who became prominent in developing this county, but time limit 
does not permit me to dwell on the individual cases. It stands as the undis- 
puted fact that the Polish and Bohemian people of this county have prove 
themselves to be worthy men and women, have done their share in the 
development of this county, have taken pride in and have learned to love 
this country, and although a great many, especially the younger generation, 
some years ago went West seeking to better their condition and find cheaper 
lands, yet as they become older you will find, by going back with me tc 
some of their localities, that after a number of years of absence and after 
accumulating some property, they come back and settle in Trempealeau 
County in their declining days. Only the other day I met one who is not 
very old yet who has returned from the Dakotas and bought a farm in this 
county, and intends to live here permanently. I asked him: "What is 
the matter? Why did you come back?" "Ah," he said, "this is where I 
was born. I love those trees and those hiUs, and I wish to spend the rest 
of my life here and be buried here." 

Although they, the early settlers, mostly all came from the German 
Empire, they came from different provinces. Those living near Pine Creek 
came mostly from the Province of Posen and Pomerania, and those near 
Arcadia and Burnside came from the Province of Silesia. They all speak 
the Polish language, but the dialect is decidedly different. The great 
majority of them are of the Catholic faith. One of the strong character- 
istics of the race is they are cheerful givers to churches. Another is that 
they are hard losers and do not readily forget when some harm has been 
done them, and they frequently carry their animosities to their death bed. 
One other 'prominent characteristic they possess, and that is dancing. 
Not only the young, but in a great many instances men and women past 
middle age, derive a great deal of pleasure and enjoyment out of dancing. 
(Written at Independence, November 12, 1912, by John F. Kulig.) 

Scandinavian Settlers. The Scandinavian landseekers usually had 
three things in view, wood, water and hay, as necessary to the establishment 
of a home. Where any of these essentials were lacking or the soil too sandy, 
it was ordinarily considered undesirable. Therefore we find them among 
the hills, if they had a choice. 

Gulick Olson was one of a company that came up from the Bad Axe 
country in Vernon County and settled three miles east of what is now Blair, 
in 1855. He was the first Scandinavian settler in Trempealeau County. 
Ebert Olson, his son, now marshal in Blair, is the first child born in Trempea- 
leau County of Norwegian parents. 

About the same time came Bjorgo Olson, Jacob, Peter and Salve Tonne- 
son and Nils Halvorson. A little later Ole Teppen, Syver and Iver Iverson 
came from Oleana, Ole Bull's renowned colony. Teppen Coulee is named in 
honor of this Ole Teppen. In 1858 Terjan Thompson, 1859 Tosten Torrison 
Forkerud and Helge Opland settled in Tromps Coulee. Settlers continued 
coming in from older settlements and direct from Scandinavia, mostly from 


Solor, in Norway, and spread in all directions till this settlement has the 
distinction of being the largest Soiling settlement in America. 

The Trempealeau Valley congregation was organized by Rev. H. A. Stub 
in 1857. But a church was not built until 1868. 

North Branch Beaver Creek received its first Scandinavian settlers in 
1857, when Iver Knutson Syse and his son Orias Torblaa settled there, com- 
ing from Kosh Konong. Torblaa, however, located just across the line in 
Jackson County. In 1858 many others followed, among them Knut and 
Paul Hallenger, Amund Olson Haaheim, Knut Rocholson, Thomas and Nels 
Herreid, Ole Nilson Skaar, Tosten T. Ringven, Nels Henderson, Lars Hanson, 
Ole EHingson, Ole Iverson Dale, Erick Grer and Nils Okland. Rev. Nils 
Brandt organized a congregation here in 1858, and a church was built in 
1861. The congregation paid Ole Olson, a Swede in South Branch, who 
had some fine timber, $4.00 for the privilege of cutting the necessary mate- 
rial for their meeting house. The whole congregation came together, cut 
and hauled the logs and put up a structure 30 by 24 by 12. This church was 
built just across the line in Jackson County, and was the first Scandinaviar 
church in Western Wisconsin. This old historical structure is now occupied 
by Baard 0. Herried as residence. Among later arrivals are D. 0. Hage- 
stad, the first chairman of the town of Ettrick, Henrick Swendson, Arne 
Arneson, Torkel Gunderson, Berge Torkelson and his sons, Iver and Haldor, 
who came in 1859. K. K. Hagestad came in 1860. Many of the above 
came from the vicinity of Lodi, Wisconsin. This settlement is mostly by 
people originally from Hardanger, Norway. 

Another distinct Norwegian settlement is French Creek Valley, where 
Peter Anderson Hogden located in 1859. He came from Halfway Creek to 
Trempealeau Valley, where he lived a short time before coming to French 
Creek. He was the first Scandinavian in this valley. The same year his 
two brothers, John and Andrew Hogden, also settled in this valley. Ole E. 
Gilbertson, with a large family, arrived in 1860. Among other early set- 
tlers can be mentioned Ole 0. Onsrud, James Emerson, Anders Skundberg, 
Peter Olson, Lars Tolvstad, Iver Engehagen, Peder Ofsdahl, Christian 
Iverson, Andred Onsrud, Ole Smehaugen, Lars and Martin Larson, Ole 
Hovre, Fredrick Svern, Andrew Linrud, Peter and Ole Nilsestuen, Gilbert 
Jacobson, Hans Madson, Lars and Olaus Thompson, Nils Olson, Marcus P. 
Benrud, Tobias Olson, Ole Engelien, Ole Schie, Hans and Andrew Mustad. 
This is a very rich valley and one of the most prosperous settlements in 
the county. A good church was built in the early '70s, which was enlarged 
and remodeled about 20 years later. 

The next Norwegian settlement in point of time is a little prosperous 
valley in the town of Gale that bears the name of that sturdy Scotchman, 
James Hardie, or Hardie's Creek Valley. Christian Larson Hoff and Gilbert 
Emerson Ekern came across the Black River from Lewis Valley and settled 
here in 1860. They were the first Norwegians there. Shortly afterward 
we hear such names as Andrew Ekern, M. J. Scarseth, Ole J. Hemma, Amund 
Quisselstuen, Anders Trondson, Amund Bjornstad, Peter Amundson, 
Andrew Larson (Hovensholm), Michael Michaelson, Lars Syverson, Mathew 
Larson, Otto 0. Rindahl, Ole 0. Semb, Nils 0. Sagen, Bernt Everson, Anders 


C. Haugstad, Mikkel Hanson, Hans Anderkvern and Even Fredrickson. La 
Crosse County contributed the most of these settlers, and a large majority 
of them came from Biri, Norway, originally. 

Pushing across the ridge northward from Hardie's Creek into South 
Branch Beaver Creek, another Norwegian settlement was formed. Peter 
Larson came up from Coon Valley and located there in June, 1861, the first 
Norwegian in that valley. In the fall of the same year came Even Swenson 
and Gilbert Nelson, shortly thereafter Christian Olson Syljuberget, Lars 
Anderson Osley, Ole 0. Brendhaugen, Peder Johnson Bratstiengen, Svend 
Larson Bergum, and others. 

In 1862 we find Ole Gutormson locating in Tamarack Valley, the first 
Norwegian in what shortly became a very extensive Norwegian settlement. 
The following year arrived Tollef Egilson, Sigurd and Berger Bergerson, 
John Gunderson, Knut Leofsen Strand, Egil Mikkelson, Trond Osovsen, 
John Hanson, John Hendrickson, Hendrick Olson and Hans C. Olson. 
Others among early arrivals are Andrew Amundson, John Nilsestuen, Ole 
Olson, Lars Amundson, Ole Dove, Hans Hagen, Ole Heram, Ole Lindem, 
Lars Christianson, Christian Brennom, and the list could be continued to a 
great length. 

Hans Herbjornson settled near that natural monument called Chimney 
Rock in 1865. Soon after him came H. Kjentvet, Mr. Brynjulson and 
others, until this whole town, which derives its name from this peculiar 
rock, is largely Scandinavian. 

The large and beautiful valley of the Pigeon Creek, which now no doubt 
is the finest in the county, was for a long time shunned by the early land- 
seekers on account of its scarcity of wood and hay, and distance from 
market. It was not until 1867 that any Scandinavian located there, when 
Erick Larson from La Crosse County, who, as near as I have been able to 
learn, was the first Scandinavian to locate in this valley. Then came P. 
Pederson, Mikkel Hagen, Mathias Tuv, and the list of prominent Scandina- 
vians who have settled here would be so long that I shall not attempt to 
mention later arrivals. These settlers located mostly on land claimed by 
the Wisconsin Western Railroad Company, but this land had not come into 
market, and on account of its distance from the tracks it was thought 
the railway company could not hold it, and that the land would revert to 
the government and become homestead land. The settlers selected their 
claims and sat on them awaiting the outcome. 

One Anders Christianson, locally called "Ringerikingen," a man of 
rather extravagant ideas, claimed a whole section. His neighbor, Mr. 
Elsom, who had bought an eighty of State school land just across the road 
from "Ringerikingen," wanted a forty out of the section claimed by "R" 
adjoining his own, and conceived the idea to build on that forty, and com- 
menced operations with a view of crowding "Ringerikingen" off. This 
happened to be one of the forties that would eventually be "Ringerikingen's" 
homestead. He, of course, felt aggrieved, his neighbors viewed such pro- 
ceedings with alarm, as under such rule no one would be safe from invaders. 
Several neighbors got together for the purpose of visiting Mr. Elsom to 
see if a little moral suasion would not induce him to withdraw from his 


neighbor's claim. When they came to the place Mr. Elsom was absent, 
but Mrs. Elsom, a beautiful young woman of considerable fortitude very 
much in evidence, was informed of the purpose of their visit — namely, 
to move what had been done toward a building back to her own side of the 
road. Mrs. Elsom objected in very unmistakable terms, and to emphasize 
her objections brought out a double-barreled shotgun and promised to put 
a hole through the first one that laid hands on her property. This did not 
put any more ambition in the house movers, as no one knew what she 
might do. 

G. F. Steig, always resourceful, was among the company, saw that 
something had to be done, approached her jokingly and said: "What do 
you want of that gun? You daren't fire it off, and if you did you could not 
hit the side of that big bluff." She contended she could hit any mark they 
would give her. They wanted the gun discharged and she was anxious to 
show her marksmanship. So E. Larson, another member of this company, 
hung his hat on a bush a fair distance away. She brought the gun to her 
face. Bang ! Lo and behold, the hat was so full of holes it hardly made a 
shadow. But there was still one charge in the gun and the gun in the 
hands of a marksman of proved ability. It would suit the visitors better 
if this also was out. Steig insisted this was an accidental hit. She vowed 
she shot like that every time. Just then a woodpecker lit on a little tree a 
few rods distant. Steig said: "Bring him down and we will admit you 
have made your claim good. Thinking that another hit would be still more 
awe-inspiring, and she had plenty of ammunition, she placed the gun again 
to cheek, pulled the trigger, and down came the bird fluttering to the ground. 
"Now, boys," said Mr. Steig, "to the task, and hurry before the gun is 
reloaded." Several men on each corner of the just-commenced building 
picked it up and carried it across the road and set it on Elsom's own land. 
This was done so quickly that she, in her astonishment, did not attempt, 
nor found time, to reload. Seeing how she had been outgeneraled, she did 
not further molest the men, who fixed up the building in the new location 
with cornerstones and excavations precisely as it was found. When Mr. 
Elsom came on the scene, after the first impulse of wrath had subsided, 
he took it philosophically and admitted the rule was just and the action of 
these men was as binding as a decision by a jury. Thus was established 
the rule no one should molest another on these loose titles. As is usual, the 
railway company secured extensions and additional grants, got title to these 
lands, and the settlers each bought his claim. 

I have been told the first Scandinavian in the town of Sumner was Mrs. 
Silkworth. She came up from Richland County to work for Green & Silk- 
worth at Beef River Station in 1855. She afterward married Mr. Silkworth. 
I have been unable to learn her maiden name. JohnChristianson located in 
the vicinity of Eleva, Anders Skei, A. Staa, Gunder Johnson, Anders Tvet, 
Nils Larson, John Larson, Halyren Torbjorn and Ole Knutson. 

In 1874 the first Scandinavians came to Plum Creek. They were Lars 
Davidson, Ole, Tom and John Jackson. In 1875 Knut Everson, Oliver A. 
Hegg, Syver Amundson and Bennet Anderson, and shortly thereafter Ole 
Thompson, Ole Narveson and Andy Anderson came. 


The early Scandinavians, like most other emigrants, were poor, came 
here to get cheap land and build themselves homes, some at first living in 
dug-outs with sod for walls, marsh hay for thatch, and kind Mother Earth 
for floor. Others, yes, a large majority, had small and hastily-constructed 
log huts chinked and plastered between the logs with clay. Their farming 
implements were wood-beam plow, a drag, Morgan cradle, snath and scythe, 
hand-rake and two-tined fork, wagon with wooden skein and lynch pin, 
spring seat of two sapplings, rear ends of which were fastened to a cross 
piece under the wagon box, resting on a cross piece on top of the wagon box, 
the front ends extending to which was nailed a board for the seat. Oxen, 
their faithful beast of burden, and their beef when too old for work. They 
tilled the early settler's soil, marketed his produce and took the family to 
church. This condition, however, was not peculiar to the Scandinavians 
alone, but to all early settlers. 

Perhaps these glimpses into pioneer life portray a condition full of 
poverty, misery, sorrow and hopelessness. But such was not the case. 
True, the early Scandinavians, like most all other new settlers in this 
county, had little of property and much of poverty, often misery and priva- 
tions. But they did have a fund of good cheer and hope, and a hospitality 
that is unknown at this day prevailed. If one had little it was freely divided 
with one less fortunate. Lodging and board were given the traveler out 
of such scantiness as the house afforded, style and fashion never mentioned 
or thought of, the spare bedroom was always in order in the mansion which 
consisted of one room and perhaps an attic, a sociability and neighborly 
feeling there prevailed that does not exist today. Religious meetings, socia 
gatherings and dancing parties were had in these small and simple but 
happy homes. There were discussed the political affairs, county and town 
matters, church and domestic problems, agriculture and markets. 

The early Scandinavians of this county were religiously inclined. 
Therefore, as soon as so many had located in a locality as to deserve the 
name of "settlement," the first work of a social nature was usually to per- 
fect a church organization. Literary societies, debating clubs and singing 
schools were also common. The Scandinavians of Trempealeau County 
have now 27 churches, though nearly all are modest structures, they are 
all neat, comfortable and sufficient for the needs in their respective locali- 
ties, and represent considerable money outlay. They have, to my knowl- 
edge, three parochial school houses, possibly more, one college, one Scandi- 
navian insurance company which was organized in 1877 mainly by the 
efforts of Jens K. Hagestad, who became its first president, N. L. Tolvstad 
its first secretary, and Iver P. Enghagen its first treasurer, which office he 
has held continually and still holds. At its last annual meeting this com- 
pany carried $5,058,376.00 in risks and had the neat little sum of $20,445.37 
in its treasury. 

As before mentioned, the Scandinavians who left their mother country 
to seek new homes were of the laboring class. So were the Scandinavian 
pioneers of this county. Labor was their only asset. Strong and willing 
hands, industrious and frugal habits, honest and cheerful hearts, perse- 
verance and undaunted courage, was all they brought with them. These 


are worthy characteristics and made the Scandinavians a powerful factor in 
the development of this county. Labor was an absolute necessity in the 
building of homes and transforming the wild country into productive farms. 
Being honest and steady workers, they were sought by the older settlers 
as farm hands, artisans, salesmen, and so on, and they eagerly availed them- 
selves of the opportunities when not needed on their claims. 

Compared with their English, Scotch and Irish fellow pioneers, they 
were at a decided disadvantage, not being conversant with the language of 
their adopted country. Consequently, very few of them held public office 
or clerical positions — at any rate out of all proportion to their numbers or 
natural abilities. They were, however, well equipped in their own language, 
they could all read, most of them write and cipher, and many enjoyed higher 
education. Weekly newspapers were soon found in every home, and they 
were as well posted on current events as their English-speaking brethren. 
Therefore, though not foremost on the public rostrum, they were an intel- 
ligent and safe factor in the settlement of all public questions. Their 
patriotism and loyalty to the land of their adoption is evidenced by the 
number of volunteers that went forth from among them to save the Union 
during the dark days of the Rebellion, and their record for valor is second 
to none. 

Of the manual labor that has gone into the development of this county, 
no nationality has contributed so much as the Scandinavians. Go where 
you will throughout this county and see the fertile, well-fenced farms, with 
their comfortable homes, spacious and well-painted barns and other farm 
buildings, good roads and substantial bridges, fine public buildings and 
parks, business houses and manufacturing estabhshments, it would be hard 
to point to that which has not some of the Scandinavian brain or brawn in 
its make-up, for which the pioneer directly or indirectly deserves credit. 

Taken collectively, they had their faults as well as their virtues, but 
their good traits outweighed their bad ones, leaving the balance in their 
favor. This is the heritage they left to the cosmopolitan population of 
Trempealeau County of today. (By Peter H. Johnson.) 

Scandinavian Settlers. In the spring of the year 1854, there was a 
large number of immigrants that left their native home, Hardanger, Nor- 
way, for the United States. Most of them settled temporarily in Dane and 
Columbia counties, this State. 

At that time government lands that seemed to be of any value in these 
counties were taken up by settlers and speculators. These sturdy young 
men and women, without any means to buy the higher-priced lands held by 
speculators, and desiring to procure a home of their own without running 
too much in debt, began to look around for cheaper lands. 

In 1855 the first immigration of Norwegians began in Trempealeau 
Valley, and the rumors of the fertile villages of Trempealeau and Jackson 
counties began to spread. 

In 1857, Iver K. Syse, Iver and his son Orjans Torblaa arrived into 
North Beaver Creek. Mr. Syse settled in Trempealeau and the two Tor- 
blaas across the line in Jackson County. 

In 1858 the following arrived : K. K. Hallanger, Knut Richelson, the 


two brothers, Thomas and Nels Herreid, the latter the father of C. N. 
Herreid, once Governor of South Dakota, Ole N. Skaar, Tosten R. Thompson, 
Nels B. Henderson, Lars Hanson, Ole Ellingson and Ole L Dale. 

In 1859, Simon Nelson, Torkel Gunderson, Arne Arneson, Torkel Hal- 
dorson, Haldor and Iver Torkelson and Anve 0. Saed and several others 
arrived. These settled in the valley east and west of the county line in the 
vicinity of what was formerly known as Hegg Postoffice. The largest part 
of these settlers arrived on the same ship in 1854, including Knut K. Hage- 
stad, Sr., and family. 

The first settlers in Bear Creek Valley in 1858 were aforesaid Ole 
Ellingson, Lars Knutson, from Nummedahl, and Helge Knutson from Hal- 
lingdal. He served in the army and died in a Southern hospital in 1864. 
His brother, Anders Knutson, arrived three years later. 

In 1860, Knut K. Hagestad, Sr., Lars Grinde, the two brothers Lars B. 
and Gullick Johnson, D. 0. Hagestad, Lasse Olson and several others arrived. 

The Brovold and Instenes families, Jens K. Hagestad, Hendrick Sven- 
son, Halvor Skjeie, and five brothers of Thomas and Nels Herreid, with 
numerous others, arrived and settled in the valley in the '60s. 

The first Norwegian Lutheran church organization was perfected in 
1858. In 1859 the congregation decided to build a church, as the primitive 
farm dwellings were very inconvenient for religious gatherings. A large 
part of the dwellings were dug-outs in the side-hills, with Mother Earth for 
floors and walls, and poles, marsh hay and sod for roofing. Those that were 
more able built log houses 12 by 12 or 12 by 14, and the more pretentious 
structures were 16 by 16 by 10 feet high. The roofing consisted mostly of 
shakes cut out of oak logs with straight grain in 2-foot lengths and split 
similar to shingles with a broad ax for cleaver, and evened off to proper 
thickness with a hand ax. 

After they had decided to build the church, every male member of the 
congregation that was able to swing an ax joined together and went south 
over the hills into South Beaver Creek to cut logs for the building. They 
were allowed for the sum of $4.00 to cut the logs that were needed for the 
structure 24 by 30 by 12 feet high on the lands of Ole Olson, a Swede. The 
logs were hewed in the woods and hauled in the winter of 1859-60, and the 
church was built likewise by the members in 1860-61. There was no money 
to spare to hire carpenters to do the work, but most of them were handy 
with tools, and all were wilhng to do their share of the work. This was 
the first Norwegian Lutheran church built in Western Wisconsin. 

The old log church was superseded by a more modern frame structure 
in the early '70s. After the new church was completed, the old church 
was sold to Baard 0. Herreid, who moved it onto his farm one and one-half 
miles north of Hegg, and it is now used for a dwelling house. 

The first School District of the North Branch of Beaver Creek was 
organized in 1861, now known as the Hegg district, and the Bear Creek 
District was organized in 1862. 

The main promoter and organizer of the Ettrick Scandinavian Mutual 
Insurance Company was Jens K. Hagestad, who came into the valley in 1867 
and bought the Iver K. Syse farm in 1868. The company was incorporated 


under the laws of the State February 16, 1877, and commenced business 
April 4, 1877, with the following oificers: Jens K. Hagestad, President; 
N. L. Tolvstad, Secretary, and Iver P. Engehagen, Treasurer, who has served 
the company as Treasurer up to the present time. (By E. J. Brovold.) 

The County in 1871. At the close of school in March, 1871, I knew 
little of Trempealeau County personally, outside of Trempealeau Village, 
Galesville and the Prairie. The county was generally spoken of as the 
Tamarack, the Openings, Caledonia, Black River, Decorah Prairie, Hardy 
Creek, Beaver Creek, French Creek, Lake Cooley, Over the Pass, Holcomb 
Cooley, Over the Ridge, Square Bluff, American Valley, Travis Valley, 
Chimney Rock, Elk Creek, Bruce Valley, and the Beef River Valley. The 
county was localized in these terms, but the territory was not definite, as 
each overlapped the others nearby. The postoffices, as I recall them, were 
Trempealeau, Galesville, Ettrick, Arcadia, Pigeon Falls, Chimney Rock, 
Osseo, and Hamhn. The natural objects in the county were Trempealeau 
Mountain, Trempealeau Lake, Trempealeau Bluffs, Decorah Peak, Whistler 
Pass, Barn Bluff, Square Bluff and Chimney Rock. They no doubt will 
remain a monument to the Almighty power to whom all nature responds. 

I had then been no farther north than the one trip to Arcadia Christmas 
Eve, but I knew of Caledonia as the home of Donald and Alex McGilvray, 
Joshua Rhodes, Charles Holmes, D. D. Chappell, Pussy WiUiams, John 
Bohrnstedt, Christian Schmidt, Thomas Hayter, John Arntz, William Suttie, 
Frank Bender, Ira Ramsden, John Hess, R. C. Towner, John Towner, Gilbert 
Gibbs, Al Gibbs, William Post, Moses Ladd, Charles Pickering, J. C. Poly- 
blank, C. C. Bigelow and Mr. Beardsley. 

Over the Pass — Dodge, not then organized, as the home of Mat Brom, 
R. Baumgartner, Charles Keith, Jake Schaffner, Joe Pellowski, Paul Rud- 
neck, J. L. Sanderson, Joseph Utter, Frank Rushka, John Wier, Andrew 
Losinski, John Wicke, Peter Pellowski and Charles Cleveland. 

Ettrick as the home of Iver Pederson, C. G. Beach, Robert Cance, Con 
Lynch, Maurice Casey and James McCarthy. 

Burnside as the home of George H. Markham, A. A. Markham, Giles 
Cripps, Martin W. Borst, Lee Hutchins, William Russell, D. C. Cilley, John 
Haakenson and James Reid. 

Arcadia as the home of Dr. I. A. Briggs, N. D. Comstock, CoHins Bishop, 
Gay T. Storm, D. C. Dewey, John D. Lewis, H. B. Slerchant, Douglas Arnold, 
Jerry O'Brien, James Gaveney, David Massuere, Daniel Bigham, John Big- 
ham, Thomas Simpson, Carl Ei-nst, George Webb, Isaac Newcomb, D. L. 
Holcomb, Frank Zeller, Carl Zeller, Phillip and Henry Hartman, William 
Bohman, Christian and John Haines, J. W. Ducker, Henry Pierce, J. B. 
Gorton. Joseph Kellogg, Louis and Simon Wojczik, Andrew Pietrick, 
Ole 0. Peterson, Joseph Stahoski, Wilham Robertson, George Dewey, 
Henry Dewey, Sidney Conant, Alexander Bautch, Ole A. Hegg, John 
Wool, Nic, Casper and Peter Meyers, Emory M. Stanford, Thomas Busby, 
Jonathan Busby, Ira Penny, John Truman, Herman Tracy, Dr. G. N. Hider- 
shide, Dan English, A. F. Hensel, Frank Pellowski, John Tuschner, P. TI. 
Varney, Charles Mercer, J. H. Gleason, P. Tucker, Peter Case and William 


Lincoln as the home of Thomas Lake, David Wade, Henry Stratton, 
Henry Freeman, F. W. Ingalls, Moses B. Ingalls, David Wood, Alvah Wood, 
G. M. Follette and Mr. Irving. 

Preston as the home of Henry Lake, James McKivergin, Gullick Olsen 
and Henry Carpenter. 

Hale as the home of M. J. Warner, David Maloney, Robert Warner, Silas 
Parker, D. S. Watson and Charles Wagoner. 

Pigeon as the home of Peter Ekern, J. D. Olds, George Olds and H. A. 

Albion as the home of D. J. Odell, M. B. Gibson, R. P. Goddard, Ed. 
Borw^ell, Henry Teeple, A. and D. Wingad and Mr. Englesby. 

Sumner and Beef River Valley as the home of R. C. Field, J. L. Linder- 
man, Ed. Matchette, Charles Shores, V. A. Gates, William Henry, Otto 
Langerfield, W. F. Carter, Alex, and John Tracy, W. H. Thomas, P. B. 
WiUiams, D. J. Lyon, Ben Webster, James Rice, Dennis Lawler, D. L. Rem- 
ington, Thomas Cox, V. W. Campbell, James King, Hezekia Hyslop, Scott 
Hotchkiss, Elias Gay, F. Fuller, John Lovesey, William Lindsay, James 
Mclntyre, Henry Gilbert, John Carter, William Boyd, Zeb, John and Cosle 
Jones, James W. Grant and William Tomlinson and Robert Bowers. 

There are other names which deserve mention and a place on this list 
that do not come to my memory after forty-one years of active busy life of 
responsibility and cares. I trust no person or family will feel disappointed 
or slighted in the omission of names from these lists. There has been no 
wish or purpose to leave any name off these lists ; and if names are not cor- 
rectly spelled such errors were unintentional and unavoidable. To prepare 
such lists after a long span of years is not an easy task. 

At the time of which I write, Whistler Pass, a fall or dent in the bluff 
above the farm of James Field, over which the highway was built from the 
Prairie and the Tamarack Valley into the Trempealeau Valley, now in the 
town of Dodge, was a term of frequent mention, and much of the travel from 
the western part of the territory over the ridge was on that highway. The 
Pass attracted my attention through curiosity, no doubt, and led me to make 
an early visit to it. From Martin's Corners the Pass was plainly seen to the 
north. Whistler Pass remains, but has lost much of its frequent mention, 
and of its early notoriety. 

Many Winnebago Indians were then camped and lived much of the year 
along the river above Trempealeau Village, and one village near Trempealeau 
Lake was said to number 800 or more people, a portion of whom were of 
mixed blood. Several "half-breed" families lived in Trempealeau Village, 
the men generally being strong, fine-looking fellows, the most distinguished 
among them being Antoine Grignon, and some of his descendants, with 
those of the Bibault family, have been and are residents of the county, and 
on the whole have been good citizens. Thede Booher was styled "The Big 
Indian," a name generally applied to him about the county to the time of 
his decease. 

Trempealeau Village, in the fall of 1870, was a thriving, busy place, 
its streets and market-places full of teams, and its business places full to 


overflowing with country people, farmers who came to market produce and 
purchase farm and home supplies. They came from Decorah Prairie and 
beyond Black River ; from the head of Beaver Creek Valley nearly to Black 
River Falls ; from the head of the Trempealeau Valley nearly to Merrilan ; 
from Pigeon Creek northeast into Jackson County; from the Elk Creek 
valleys and over the ridge in Beef River Valley ; they came from Chimney 
Rock Valley, and the Traverse Valley away out in the Mondovi country. 
Many came to the Trempealeau market 30, 40, 50 and 60 miles. Before this 
I had not seen so busy a mart, emporium, entrepot, or place of traffic as 
was the beautiful village of Trempealeau nestling at the foot of Trempealeau 
Bluffs, and fronting on the Mississippi River, with its teeming activity of 
soil pi'oducts and human freight carried by the then wonderful Mississippi 
River steamers, with skow bottom, and of ponderous width. 

The most frequently mentioned as wealthy people in the county, as I 
recall, were Ben Healy, John Rhodes, W. A. Johnston, Isaac Clark, Wilson 
Davis, George H. Markham, and R. C. Field. The most popular politicians 
in the county, that is, the most likely to be elected when candidates for office, 
were N. D. Comstock, A. A. Arnold and A. W. Newman. The most noted 
horsemen were Moses King and Lee Hutchins. The wittiest lawyer was 
Frank Utter. Among the jolliest men were Ralph Martin, Pussy Williams, 
Marvin Babbit, Sr., Thomas Sutchff, Jimmy Field and Henry Teeple. The 
most popular man with the women was Gay T. Storm. The most frequently 
mentioned clei'gymen were James Squier and D. 0. Van Slyke. The most 
powerful men were Jack McCarthy, Aaron Kribs and John Bugbee. The 
only brewer was Jacob Melchoir ; the leading miller was Wilson Davis, and 
the best known butcher was Bill Blume. The noted Indians were old 
Chief Black Hawk and "Big Indian," Thede Booher. The most skillful 
blacksmith was J. B. Ingalls, while the greatest threshers were Jim Merwin 
and Ike Wright. The leading saloonkeeper was Pete Eichman, and the most 
dead-sure rifle shot was Bob Nibs. The great mule-driver was Philo Beard, 
and the best known stage-driver was Jerry Webber. It is my impression 
the most noted singers were the Grignon sisters. Others, no doubt, deserve 
mention, but memory fails me. 

Some of the pioneer women of Trempealeau County had been delicately 
reared, most of them had known the com.forts of life, all had left associa- 
tions which were dear to them. The sundering of these ties was not easy, 
nor was it a condition to be sought. It is but natural that they were 
strongly attached to their old homes, friends and comforts. Ties of kindred 
and friendship were to be broken; comfortable homes left behind; friends 
of a lifetime to be parted with, when with their husbands they set their 
faces westward for a new life and new homes, they knew not where. All 
beyond the city of Buffalo was then the West, Detroit was in the West, and 
Chicago and Milwaukee were in the far West. In many instances they 
knew it must be among strangers, and that privations, and even e.xtieme 
dangers, were to be met and mastered — at least endured. These pioneer 
women shared in all the toils of weary journeys, in sunshine and in storm, 
ever westward. They did not grumble of the coarse faro and humole, 
oftentimes rude, accommodations of wagon and roadside ; the canal-boat 


and tfte open stage, the log tavern, and at times the open-air bivouac. These 
women were always the brave members of the family or the party. Often 
late in autumn, or in the early spring, not infrequently in the cold storms, 
the discouraging sleet and mist and the complaining chilly winds, they 
went bravely on to the very outposts of civilization, over long, lonely and far- 
reaching prairies, the gloomy forests, dismal roads, often mere trails beset 
with stumps, quagmire, and where no sign of civilization or human habita- 
tion was to be seen, except the wigwam and hut of the then dangerous 
savage. They traveled largely through a country without settlers or any 
evidence of civihzation, at times even making roads upon which to travel. 

Can we picture the trials that came to their brave hearts, in hours of 
bitterness and loneliness, thus removed from the homes and kindred they 
had left behind — remembrances which must have risen up before them 
often and often, and how extremely bitter must have been those recollec- 
tions, and yet, through their tears which must have silently flowed, they 
stood brave sentinels to their little ones who clung to them for comforting 
words and care. A word picture fails to give the full facts. Such feelings 
were natural and nurtured in their hearts ; yet they bore these and other 
burdens as bravely as did the renowned "mothers of ancient Sparta." 
Who will, I ask, who can pay these pioneer women of the West, and of 
Trempealeau County, the full measure of praise they so richly deserve? 

The many sports and pleasures for the pioneer man, such as hunting 
the deer, the wolf, the wild fowls and other game; the sport of fishing, 
and the pleasure of roaming at will, all suitable to the rougher nature and 
coarser tastes of man were denied to these women, who with their chil- 
dren were shut up in log cabins or rude huts, often without floors, doors, 
or windows, — often filled with smoke and into which the chill of winter 
whistled, and the stars at night looked down upon those faithful women 
and mothers and their sleeping children; often with no furniture except 
the rudest kind, and without kitchen utensils save kettle and frying-pan, 
and almost totally destitute of crockery, — seldom even with tinware, they 
made that dearest condition of life, the home, possible and a positive fact. 
For weeks, for months and even for years in a continued struggle with- 
out modern-day conveniences and helps, they struggled and they won ; and 
these pioneer women helped make Trempealeau County what it is today. 
— (By Stephen Richmond.) 

Cruise of the Spray. One day during the latter part of April in 1866 
the little steamboat Spray swung up to the river front landing at Trem- 
pealeau and stopped for refreshments and supplies for the crew. "She 
was a trim little boat," said the old riverman, "about 30 feet long and 10 
feet wide, and was a flat-bottomed craft with a stern paddle wheel." 

The crew remained in town about an hour when the boat pulled out 
for its journey up the Trempealeau River. Arrived at the Trempealeau 
navigation became impeded by snags and leaning trees, and a gang of 
men was kept busy removing these obstacles. Saws and axes were brought 
into play, and now and then a headline was run out and fastened to a tree 
and the capstan used to drag the boat over a shoal. Two men stood on the 
forward deck with pike-poles to shove the boat away from the bank in 


sharp bends of the river, or where shallow water was encountered to take 

Thus the steamboat struggled slowly along up the river, clearing its 
way as it went, but of all the difficulties met with the wooden wagon bridge 
was the most formidable, for settlers living along the river hearing of the 
approaching steamboat where on hand to protest against the damaging 
of their bridges. However, in every case except one, the officers of the 
boat persuaded the people who resisted them that the establishment of 
navigation on the river meant more to them than the loss of a portion of 
their bridge. Some of the settlers hailed the coming of the boat with joy, 
taking it as a messenger of progress come to open an easy way to the 
world's markets, while others cursed the audacious little "Spray" as 
"another freak endeavoring to establish an impossibility," the navigability 
of the river. Still others took the steamboat venture as a joke and laughed 
at the idea of navigating a stream that a boy could wade when the water 
was at its normal stage. But still they must have looked at the coming of 
a steamboat more as a novelty than anything else, and made the most of 
it by being on hand to feast their eyes upon the wayward little craft. 

Here and there along the route a few of the settlers would get aboard 
the Spray, to enjoy a ride on the Trempealeau River. Among these was 
Daniel Bigham of Arcadia, who boarded the boat down near the old Dan 
Enghsh place and rode nearly to the present site of Arcadia. Dan was 
interested in watching the boat navigate the river, but says if he had been 
in a hurry he would have made better time walking. "It took a good deal 
of time to cut out the snags and trees that obstructed the channel," said 
Dan, "and when we grounded the engine would stop and wait for the water 
to wash the sand from under the boat. They destroyed all of the bridges 
in the town of Arcadia," continued Mr. Bigham, "and it caused considerable 
commotion among the settlers, for in that day with but few sawmills and 
a scarcity of lumber it was difficult to build a bridge." 

The news that a real live steamboat was actually navigating the modest 
little Treampealeau traveled so much faster than the boat itself that the 
up-river people were on hand to welcome the strange visitor when it arrived. 

When the Williamsburg settlers heard the shrill whistle of the boat 
they flocked down to the landing on the Baker place, and as the gangplank 
touched shore many felt that the marvelous day of prosperity was at hand. 
In fact a market landed in the burg that day, for the captain of the boat 
bought bread and eggs from the inhabitants and paid the expectant farmers 
for it in clean cash. 

On the 2nd day of May, 1866, George H. Markham made record in his 
diary of the passage up the Trempealeau River of the steamboat Spray. 
The Markhams settled in the Trempealeau valley not far from the site of 
the present village of Independence in 1856, and Mrs. Geo. H. Markham 
distinctly remembers seeing the boat on its journey up the river. 

The Spray continued on its course up the river until the wagon bridge 
located three miles below Whitehall was reached, when it was met by 
David Wade and David Wood, representing the town of Lincoln, who refused 
it further passage on account of necessitating the destruction of the bridge. 


The people of Lincoln had heard of the approaching steamboat and of 
its wanton destruction of bridges on the lower river, and had decided not 
to allow such destruction in their territory. They were practical men and 
had no rosy dreams of the future steamboat activity on the river, and con- 
sidered their bridge worth more than the vague possibilities of a future 
waterway market. 

And so the adventurous rivermen turned back, and on the journey 
down stream they stopped at Arcadia to take on a shipment of flour from 
the Massuere Company mill. 

On account of the current and the river being free of snags and trees 
the return run was much faster and easier than the up-river trip. At 
Marshland the boat was laid up for some time, but it finally resumed its 
course into the Mississippi and completed its round trip at LaCrosse. 

Why such a trip was undertaken is somewhat of a mystery. Some say 
that the Northwestern Railroad Company gave the owners of the boat 
a bonus for not compelling the road to maintain a draw bridge across the 
river at Marshland. Others say the journey was made to determine the 
navigability of the Trempealeau River. Whatever the motive it certainly 
established the fact that the river was not a suitable stream for navigation. 
— (By Eben D. Pierce.) 

Early Trempealeau. I left the State of New York in the spring of 
1851 for the West, traveling by rail, by stage, and on foot, and by steam- 
boat, arriving at Montoville, now Trempealeau, Wisconsin, on May 6, 1851. 
As this place I found James Reed. He lived in a log cabin. His business 
was buying furs from the Indians for the Prairie du Chien Fur Company. 
While here for a short time I went out each day in different directions 
exploring the country, going on one trip north to the Trempealeau River 
near where the village of Blair now stands, finding the country everywhere 
swarming with wild deer and game of all kinds, and many large or small 
camps of Indians. The soil appeared to be of good quality, — some prairie, 
some burr oak openings, some rolling, and high bluffs and deep valleys, 
with plenty of good pure water, springs, creeks and rivers. After being 
out several days I returned to Mr. Reed's and then procured an axe of 
Mr. Reed and went northeast into the burr oak openings, and I selected 
a claim of 160 acres of land and cut logs and rolled up the body of a cabin, 
and marked out my claim, cutting name and date on the logs of the cabin, 
then returned to Mr. Reed's, after having made the first claim known to 
me in Trempealeau County. I then took the boat up the Mississippi River 
to look for work, .arriving at the mouth of Chippewa River and going up 
that river to the falls I obtained work for one year at good wages. During 
the year I wrote many letters to my father and friends in the East, describ- 
ing the country about Montoville and urging them to come and settle there, 
and at the end of the year, the last of May, 1852, I returned to Montoville 
to look after my claim, and finding there a most wonderful change, new 
buildings along the river, and here and there out on the prairie. Mr. Reed 
was still there in business. I went out to see my claim and found one, 
Wilham Cram, had bought the land on the south and adjoining my claim, 
and was building a log house. I then did a little work on my claim, and 


then to keep my promise to work for the company another year I went back 
to Chippewa Falls, where I worked one year and seven montihs. Then in 
January, 1854, I returned to Montoville, then finding that a more wonder- 
ful change had taken place. Hotels, stores, shops and other business places, 
churches, school houses and farms scattered here and there in all direc- 
tions, and going out to my claim I found that my father, with all of his 
family, had bought out William Cram, the place adjoining my claim, and 
that a man had jumped my claim and had made some improvements, for 
which he would not give up except upon the payment of fifty dollars, which 
I paid and took possession. Later I sold it to Charles Pickering. 

In the spring of 1854 Alexander McGilvray settled on Black River 
and ran a ferry boat across the river, instead of fording as before. The 
place then became known as McGilvray's Ferry. In the summer I bought 
property there and built a store, blacksmith shop, and also opened a farm, 
and early in 1855 our settlers found the need for a school and rented the 
front room of my house for one year and employed Cecelia Segar to teach 
the first school at McGilvray's Ferry. A new school house was built for 
the second term, and Fanny A. Olds was employed as teacher, and here in 
this school house at the first term was organized the first debating school 
in the county. Our people all became so deeply interested that they came 
from far and near and took part in the debates, and established a weekly 
newspaper called the "Singinezia," to be edited by the members and read 
at each meeting. These schools were kept up for a number of years, dis- 
cussing many great and important questions to the lasting benefit of all 
that took part in them. Mr. McGilvray, the grand old Scotchman, being 
the first settler here, named the place Caledonia, after his native place in 
Scotland. Soon after Trempealeau County was organized and the county 
seat was established at Galesville, a beautiful young town on the banks 
of Beaver creek. Our early settlers were a very intelligent, industrious 
and progressive people. Thus school houses, churches, villages, hotels, 
stores, grist mills, saw mills, and all kinds of public improvements was the 
order of the day from the beginning of our early settlement. Always 
manifesting the highest degree of intelligent progression, thus changing 
a land that was once the home of the Indian and wild beasts of the forest to 
a land that now stands upon the highest pinnacle of American civihzation. 
Thus we mention but a small part of the events of our pioneer days from 
1851 to 1861. 

From 1861 to the spring of 1864 I kept my place at McGilvray's Ferry, 
and in the month of May, 1864, Benjamin Oliver and I went north to look 
for land to homestead. We found a few settlers in Trempealeau valley 
near the mouth of Pigeon Creek. The settlement was called Whitehall. 
From there we went up Pigeon Creek about six miles. There we found 
Hely Fitch, his mother and sister, who told us that they had settled there 
the year before, and that Mr. Fitch froze to death in the winter of the 
deep snow ; that the old man had to go up into the cooley about three miles 
to cut and stack hay to winter his oxen on, and that the snow got so deep 
that he could not driver the oxen there after hay, and to keep them alive 
he would go on his snowshoes every day and bring a bundle of hay on his 


back. The weather turned very cold and he went for a bundle and came 
back about half way and fell with his hay, where they found him next day 
froze solid. Through the snow being so deep they could not walk through 
it and had to shovel and break a path to get to him, but they got him home 
late that night. Thus that cooley was named Fitch's Cooley. After hear- 
ing their heartrending story, we went on up the creek about four miles into 
a cooley southeast of Pigeon Falls, where Mr. Oliver selected his homestead. 
We then went north over the bluffs about one mile. There I selected my 
homestead. This Fitch family were the only settlers up in Pigeon valley 
in Trempealeau County. Mr. Oliver and myself moved onto our land in 
August, 1864, and George H. Olds and James Phillips moved in one month 
later. Then in the spring Wm. Olds and L. B. Man and H. Smith, P. Peter- 
son, L. Larson, Phineas Wright, C. H. Hines, Andrew Peterson and Mr. 
Richardson, and some others, moved in during the summer of 1865. 

In the faU of 1864 and early winter 1865, Mr. Oliver, Mr. Phillip, G. H. 
Olds and myself bought and hauled lumber from Merrilan and built a 
school house, and employed Mary Nott to teach the first term of school in 
Pigeon Valley, beginning with twelve scholars, but having some more at 
the close of the term. The second term was taught by Jane A. Olds, and 
the third term by Marilda Lyons. In these early days our people organized 
debating schools, where some of the most profound questions affecting the 
weal or woe of our people were discussed, and to this day we can see and 
realize the benefits from the food for thought that was brought out in 
those old debating schools, and I am happy to know that some of those 
lights that shone so brightly in those early days have not all gone out yet 
in 1912, and I hope that other and brighter lights will continue to shine 
until the end of time. 

Among the many early settlers of Pigeon Valley was one, Mr. Fuller, 
who settled in a cooley northwest of Pigeon Falls about one mile, where 
he had built a small farm house, and during a heavy thunder storm had 
laid down with his wife upon a bed that stood with its head near a south 
window. Mr. Fuller lay on the bed, his head in line with the window, his 
wife lying back of him, when a bolt of lightning passed through the window, 
striking him on top of the head and passing the length of his body and 
from his feet to the floor and out through the side of the house and to the 
ground, thus killing him instantly, while his wife was unharmed except a 
slight shock. Thus this cooley was called Fuller's Cooley. A year or two 
after his body was taken up from his farm and was found to be petrified, 
and required five or six persons to take it out of the grave. — (J. D. Olds in 
letters to Hon. H. A. Anderson, Feb. 14 to Feb. 17, 1912.) 

Trempealeau Prairie. William Trim has seen all the changes come 
to the county from its really wild state to its present condition of wealth 
and comfort, having resided in it since the fifteenth day of October, 1858, 
to this time, except during the three years that he was in the army. He 
saw the red schoolhouse built at Wright's Corners in 1862 by Al Holcomb ; 
saw the mill and dam put in by the Holcombs and Mr. Grant in 1860 ; knew 
the first teacher in the red schoolhouse, a Miss Sumara Grant, afterward 
Mrs. Carsely, her term being in 1862 and 1863. Mr. Carsely ran the saw- 


mill above Bortles, built by Mr. Grant when he and Holcomb dissolved 
partnership in the prairie mill. Abe Holcomb and Mr. Grant came to the 
prairie in the winter of 1860, Al Holcomb coming in the spring of that 
year. Hollister Wright was on his old farm when Mr. Trim settled in the 
vicinity in 1855. Elder Cook came in 1860, Ralph Martin in 1862. Trem- 
pealeau was a small village in October, 1858. Harvey Bowls kept a hotel, 
as also did Frank Utter. Thede Booher and Mr. Paine kept stores, and 
N. B. Grover a warehouse, to which he helped Mr. Wai'e haul corn in the 
winter of 1858-59 at 25 cents a bushel shelled. He attended the town meet- 
ing in the spring of 1859 at Trempealeau, the first meeting of that kind 
he ever attended, and there became acquainted with Mr. Sutcliffe and John 
Rhodes, Samuel Barr and others, who all lived in the Big Tamarack. He 
says a man by the name Whistler was an early settler over the Pass — 
being the first one — and that the Pass was named after him. The two 
sons of the man became homesick and traveled back to Dodge County, and 
Mr. Whistler and his wife soon abandoned the place and in an ox team 
returned to Dodge County. Thomas Knox was an early pioneer over the 
Pass and sold their claim to a Mr. Rudnick, who was the first Pole to settle 
in Pine Creek, in 1859 or 1860. This man and his wife paid Knox in half- 
dollar pieces the sum of $800 she had earned in Winona washing. Knox put 
the half dollars in a sack to carry on foot to Galesville, but at the Lee bridge 
over the Tamarack Creek he hid half of the money, finding the whole 
amount too heavy to carry at one time to Galesville, afterward returning 
for the half that he had hidden. In 1860 four Germans located north of 
Vernons, in the valley that has since been called German Valley. There 
were Koop, Pfefer, Were and Dopp. In 1858 the settlers in the Tamarack 
were Bortle, Cook and Vernon. On the west side of the prairie were Seby 
and Darwin Atwood, two Nashes and A. A. Whiting. In the south part 
were Stevens, Gillies, Brewins and Steadman. On the east toward Gales- 
ville were Anson Bell, Mr. King and a Mr. Hartz on the Isaac Wright farm, 
Thompson on old farm. A bai'n was built on the Thompson farm in 1859 ; 
the shingles were rived by Stark Butman from logs. Many of these shingles 
are now sound and good. William McDonough then lived on the old Martin 
farm, William Lee on the Chase Wasson farm. Later came Shaw and 
Howe above the Vernon farm. Castleman, a half -negro, lived on the Walsky 
farm. — (Interview with Stephen Richmond.) 

Beaver Creek Valley. John Hess settled in Beaver Creek Valley in 
the fall of 1852. "There were very few families in this part of the country 
at that time," said Mr. Hess. "James Reed was living at Trempealeau or 
Reed's Landing, as it was called then, and he was the first white man I 
saw after coming here. The second season we were here I had a good crop 
of winter wheat, which had to be threshed with a flail. It was difficult to 
get it clean without a fanning-mill, and so I went down to Prairie du Chien 
to buy one and had it shipped to Trempealeau by boat. It was the only 
fanning-mill for miles around and I used to loan it to farmers up at Foun- 
tain City and across Black River in La Crosse County. 

"Flour was hard to get, and one day when I was debating in my mind 
where I could get the next sack of flour, for we were out, James Reed came 


along and told me there was a mill over in Lewis Valley in La Crosse County, 
and described the trail leading to the valley so that I would have no trouble 
in following it. The next morning I got up at three o'clock and started 
over the trail for the mill, my wife accompanying me as far as Heuston's 
near Galesville. I found my way to Luther Lewis's mill, bought a fifty- 
pound sack of flour, and walked home with it on my shoulder, having 
traveled between 25 and 30 miles. 

"Pork was a luxury in those days and I remember walking up to North 
Bend to buy some of it of Thomas Douglass, who operated a sawmill on 
Black River. When I got there I found Mr. Douglass at work repairing 
a breakdown in the mill, and when I told him my errand he said he could 
let me have the pork, and as he was very much in need of help in repairing 
the mill he suggested that I pay for it in work. 

"I worked for him five days for a hundred pounds of pork, and when 
I was ready to start home I built a raft of kant timbers, and loading my 
cargo onto it, started down river. I landed at the mouth of Beaver Creek 
and hid my pork in the woods and set out afoot for home to get an ox to 
'pack' the meat with, but, as luck would have it, I came across my oxen 
feeding in the edge of a wood less than half a mile from where I landed. I 
drove one of the oxen down to the river and tied the pack of meat on his 
back with my suspenders and then drove him home. 

"I'll tell you how we got our blacksmithing done the first few years 
after we came to Beaver Creek. We drove with an ox team to Trem- 
pealeau and then borrowed a skiff" and rowed across the river to Richmond, 
Minnesota, where there was a blacksmith shop. Sometimes it would take 
two days to make the trip, for if the smith had work ahead we would 
have to wait. 

"Along in 1856-57 I bought a threshing machine. I went to Racine 
and bought a horse-power machine of the J. I. Case Company and paid 
$725 for it, and they shipped it to Chicago and thence to Dubuque, and 
from there it was shipped by boat to Trempealeau. It was the first thresh- 
ing machine in this county, and I used to go many miles over mighty rough 
roads to do threshing. I went over to Arcadia and threshed for Noah Com- 
stock, James Gaveney and Collins Bishop." 

Mrs. Hess also has told in her quaint and pleasing way stories of pioneer 
experiences. She says: "The first few years we lived here our nearest 
neighbor was Charles H. Perkins, who lived over in the Tamarack, and as 
there was no road to their place from our home we used to go back and 
forth visiting, over a trail that lead across the bluffs. Mother was a great 
hand to knit and always took her knitting along when she went visiting, 
and that is how we happened to get our first chickens. You see we hadn't 
any chickens and had almost forgotten what an egg looked like, but Perkins' 
folks had a flock of chickens, though they didn't care to sell any. Well, 
mother was at their place one day and was just finishing a pair of stock- 
ings she was knitting when Mrs. Perkins asked her if she would sell a pair 
or two of them. Mother said no, she would not sell them, but would trade 
for some hens and offered to knit two pairs for four hens. The trade was 
agreed to and when mother completed her knitting contract she took the 


stockings over to Mrs. Perkins and brought the four hens home across the 
hills in her apron. To complete the flock father went to Treampealeau and 
succeeded in buying a rooster from Mr. Reed. 

"Hogs were difficult to get, and the first one we were able to procure 
after we settled in our new home Mr. Hess got of James Reed in exchange 
for work. He cut nine cords of wood over on the island opposite Trem- 
pealeau for a sow, and was well pleased with the bargain. 

"There were no churches anywhere near our place at that time, and 
it was a great treat when a preacher happened to come along and stay 
over Sunday with us. The neighbors would gather at our log house to hold 
religious services and after the meeting was over they would stay and visit. 

"La Crosse was only a little country village then, with one hotel, a 
half dozen small stores, a blacksmith shop and a burned-down mill with 
the brick chimney left standing." 

This was pioneering with all of its varied phases. There were hard- 
ships but joys as well, and it is hardship that gives zest to pleasure. There 
was a backwoods adventurous spirit in the rough life of that age and the 
pioneer will tell you that he took real comfort in his cabin home. And so 
we look back and see the log cabin dreaming in the solitude where the wild 
roses bloom in profusion, and the ox team and the breaking-plow creep 
slowly across the clearing, while the sunlight streaming through the valley 
turns the old grub-piles intoheaps of gold.-;-(By E. D. Pierce.) 

Lewis Valley. In 1857 Lewis Niffin took up a quarter section of land 
about four miles above Arcadia, on a small creek that has since borne his 
name, being the first settler to locate directly above Arcadia. He erected 
a log hut near the creek, a few rods towards the Trempealeau River, from 
what is now the main road, between Arcadia and Independence. Mr. Niffin 
remained on his claim less than a year, when he abandoned it and left the 
country. In 1861 Richard Rook, an Englishman, came and picked out a 
location near Niffin's abandoned claim and put up a small building, but he 
was not favorably impressed with his new home and forsook it in a few 
months for a more suitable locality. Then came Alonzo Baker (about 1862) 
and took up a homestead in one of the branch coolies of Lewis Valley. But 
it remained for Capt. John D. Lewis to become the first settler in the main 
valley. In May, 1866, shortly after getting his discharge from the army, 
he took up the land now known as the Lewis farm and during the summer 
built a house and broke some land. The following summer, 1867, J. B. 
Gorton and Jonathan Busby moved into the valley. — (By Stephen Rich- 

Newcomb Valley lies wholly in the town of Arcadia, opening into 
American Valley near the Penny schoolhouse, where the branches of the 
creek meet above the Miller and Bear pond. The valley runs east about 
four miles to the foot of the Preston hills. There are a number of small 
valleys known as coolies on either side in which good farms are located; 
among them are the Erickson, Hanson and Arneson farms, while the combes 
or coolies on the north side are known as the Knudtson and Rud farms and 
neighborhood. The main valley was settled in 1866 by Isaac Newcomb and 


his brother Harold, who came from Lewis Valley, La Crosse County, where 
they settled with their parents in 1855, emigrating from Tioga County, 
Pennsylvania. (In 1868 the parents also removed to Newcomb Valley, 
making their home with Isaac, with whom they hved out their lives, the 
father dying in 1873 and the mother in 1879.) So far as can be learned a 
family by the name of Van Scroch had for a short time occupied a log hut 
on an 85-acre tract, which Isaac Newcomb purchased through N. D. Com- 
stock as agent, of Lot D. Rice, he getting his title from Dr. Bishop, who 
bought the lands from a Mrs. Hessey Vallandingham, the widow of a Ken- 
tucky soldier. She never occupied these lands. Mr. Newcomb home- 
steaded 160 acres adjoining this tract, which he improved and made into a 
valuable farm. 

The early settlers who may be said to have been the pioneers in the 
valley were Isaac and Harold Newcomb, Andrew Knudtson, Arney Olson 
Rud, Stiner Knudtson, Lewis and Lars Hanson and a man named Rock- 
well. At the close of 1866 there were no settlers in the valley except the 
Newcombs, nor east to where Hans Solberg lived near Lake Slough. Sol- 
berg was known as Stocker in those early days. James McKivergin had 
settled in Preston on the old McKivergin farm, and the only tract over the 
hills was a single plow furrow to guide the traveler to these settlers' claims. 
The Knudtsons, Ruds, Ericksons and Hansons came in in 1867 and 1868, as 
did Mr. Scow. After that time settlers continued to locate in the valley, 
so that in 1876 all the lands had been taken up and were occupied. The 
Newcombs began improving their lands and in 1867 built houses and other 
buildings upon them. In the fall of 1868 the Penny schoolhouse was built, 
a mere board shell, and the winter term in 1868-69 was taught by W. L. 
Cummings, who boarded around with such settlers as were able to keep 
him. At some places Mr. Cummings was obliged to crawl to his bed because ' 

of the meagerness of the living and sleeping accommodations. He boarded 
principally with Jerry O'Brien, Ira Penny, Isaac Newcomb and John 
Truman. Other early teachers there were Kate Rudolf, Ida Smith and Eva 
Allen. The schoolhouse in Newcomb Valley was built in 1875 and was fir? 
taught by Ida Smith. 

When Isaac Newcomb arrived he brought with him four cows, four 
head of young stock and a yoke of oxen, and with these possessions and 
245 acres of land was considered as a well-to-do man. 

The country was mighty new and people possessed of little money, but 
all were stout-hearted patriots determined to "make good," which many 
of them did after the coming of the railroad in 1874. About the only farm 
implement in the neighborhood was a dung-fork owned by Ira Penny, ■ 

which he loaned with misgivings to his neighbors. The story of these early |j 

days might be written elaborately into pages of local incidents and gossip, 
among the most interesting being the bear story published in the Arcadia 
Leader in 1874, a newspaper owned by N. D. Comstock, and published after 
the new village was started on the Trempealeau River bottoms, where the 
flourishing village of Arcadia now stands. 

Newcomb Valley for many years had and now has a number of excel- 1 1 

lent farms, and its people are among the most intelligent and progressive 


families in the county, with comfortable homes and farm buildings, blooded 
stock, and being well provided with all farm conveniences, showing thrift 
and contentment.— (By Stephen Richmond.) 

Holcomb Cooley lies partly in the town of Trempealeau, the greater 
part being in the town of Arcadia, and is in townships 19 and 20 north of 
range 8 west, opening into the Tamarack Valley, or running back east and 
northeast about two to three miles in width and footing up against French 
Creek and the Galesville hills more than three miles from the Tamarack 
Valley. Near the center it is widest. On the south side are several small 
valleys or coolies in the hills, with much the same conditions as on the 
north side, where in the early pioneer days stood dense forests of tamarack 
timber. Al and Abe Holcomb, brothers, who had settled on West Prairie 
and who had put in a dam in the Tamarack Creek, in section 5, township 
18 north of range 9 west, and erected a saw mill, filed claims on much of 
the land in this cooley and, taking possession, began to cut and carry to 
their mills saw logs which were cut into lumber for use by the settlers. 
Hence the name Holcomb Valley, or Cooley, was given to the region by 
early settlers and has not been changed, though the men after whom the 
valley was named have been long dead. In 1870 the saw mill did little 
work, and about 1875 the mill and power were converted into a grist mill 
by Square A. Picket, who had come into possession of it, and who later sold 
it to other parties, who continued to operate it till 1885. 

Much of the land in and about the region of the Tamarack Valley was 
marshy, and to reach the cooley when the ground was frozen was an almost 
impossible task, except by way of the French Creek Valley, until a series 
of corduroy roads was built over the marsh places. The Holcombs also 
built and for a number of years operated a windlass on the hills to facilitate 
transportation. The teams were unhitched from the vehicles and driven 
singly up the bluff and the loads dragged up by the windlass. In fact, teams 
descending could not be driven down the bluff side hitched to a wagon 
This was in operation as late as 1868 or 1869. It is a fact almost forgotten 
by the oldest living pioneer today, though familiar to all of them at the time. 
The first settlers to permanently locate and improve lands in the cooley 
were Wenzel Brom, known as Big Wenzel, and his cousin, Wenzel Brom, 
known as Little Wenzel, and John Holemy, Bohemians, who had immigrated 
m 1859 with Mathias Brom, who later settled in Pine Creek in what is now 
a part of the town of Dodge ; also Ole 0. Chestleson, still living in the cooley 
on the land he homesteaded or pre-empted; John Johnson, who later 
removed to the State of Nebraska; Oluff Olson, Hendrick Olson, Mat Olson 
and perhaps one or two other families. These settlers came in at various 
dates from 1861 to 1865. John Brom later than 1868 homesteaded lands 
in the cooley. Among those who came before 1869. not mentioned above 
were Hans Hanson, John Hanson and Easton Hoverson. 

In 1868 a log schoolhouse was built in the cooley on the site of the 
present one, and the first school taught in the winter of 1868-69 The 
nearest business place was Old Arcadia, where Gay T. Storm conducter' 
a store and David Masseure owned and operated a grist mill in 1868 The 
road over the ridge to this store and mill was a rough unimproved tract 


Frank Brom first visited these business places in the late fall of 1868 with 
Matthias Olson, they going to mill with two yoke of oxen and a cart, having 
to lead the oxen up and down the steep hillsides, and then it was a dan- 
gerous journey to make. The country was indeed wild and desolate in that 
late fall day, being a series of hills and bluffs on all sides, with scarcely a 
settler anywhere in sight till they trundled down into Arcadia. — (By 
Stephen Richmond.) 

American Valley. The first settler in American Valley was a man 
named Kenton, who came in the early sixties. 

Albert Tracy came in the spring of 1865. Sydney Conant and the 
Messrs. Taft and Drake came in the fall of that year. The experiences 
of Conant are typical of early life in that valley. Starting out on foot from 
his old home in Amsterdam he encountered Mr. Tracy, who advised him 
to settle near Arcadia. But upon reaching the Tamarack and finding no 
one who had heard of Arcadia, he decided to enquire at Bishop's settle- 
ment. Arriving at the settlement he found that he was at Arcadia itself. 
From there he went to the head of what has since been called American 
Valley and staked out a claim. He had some breaking done and cut some 
marsh grass, and then started a house. Some of the lumber was hauled 
from Amsterdam. Most of it, however, was obtained from near what is 
now Merrillan, Tracy and Conant going to the woods there with two yoke 
of oxen each, and each bringing home a large load of lumber and shingles. 
Conant finished the woodwork of his house, but as the plasterer was taken 
ill was forced to move in before the interior was completed. Then came the 
terrible cold. Dry oak logs were burned for fuel. The stove was heated 
red-hot, a small space around the stove was enclosed with blankets, within 
which the family huddled. As soon as the weather moderated Conant 
made some plaster from lime, sand and horsehair, which he had secured, 
and started plastering. The plaster froze solid as soon as applied. On the 
following Sunday, Taft and Tracy helped complete the work. 

Drake was not so fortunate. On his place adjoining Conant's he had 
gathered hay, erected a stable and provided for his stock. Lumber had 
been hauled for a house, but the weather was too cold for building opera- 
tions. His family was then living near Trempealeau. 

The Conants opened their home to them and the two families spent 
the winter in the one-roomed house, every inch of the floor space being 
occupied entirely by beds. 

The next spring more land was broken and a fair acreage of crops 
put in. Breaking the land was an interesting operation. It was usually 
done with a big Whitewater plow and four or five yoke of oxen. The sight 
and sound of the large "grubs" being torn from the ground was an inter- 
esting one. Often the plow would be stuck in an unusually large "grub," 
and this meant a delay of an hour or more. As the year passed other 
settlers located in the valley, but to this day it has retained its original 
name, given in honor of the eastern ancestry of the pioneers. 

Rainey Valley. In 1865 John Rainey, with his wife, settled on lands 
in sections 19, 21 and 9; James Hunter, a son-in-law, settled on lands in 


sections 20, 21 and 9 ; John Berner on lands in sections 29, 19 and 9 ; and 
Truman Brie on lands in 19 and 30, 19-9 west. They were the pioneers in 
the valley. 

The valley is about two miles long, and branching in section 20 runs 
westerly one and a half miles into section 19. Later these lands all changed 
hands; John D. Rainey soon became the owner of lands settled by John 
Earner, and Samuel Rainey, James Pringle and others settled in the valley, 
and numerous parties took up the hill and bluff lands. The valley and the 
hill farms became valuable and have long been some of the most desirable 
about the village of Arcadia. 

In 1865 David Bennett and his brother William Bennett settled across 
the river, northeast of Arcadia, and were also pioneers. John Weaver 
may be said to have been an early settler, as may also Casper Smith. John 
Rainey, James Hunter, John D. Rainey and Samuel Rainey were the most 
prominent of the pioneers and early settlers in the valley. Mrs. Catherine 
Hunter, later known as Catherine J. Beveridge, took an active part in the 
interests of the valley in early days. — (By Stephen Richmond.) 

Meyers Valley is wholly in the town of Arcadia, and lies about one 
and a half miles south of the village of Arcadia. It is really a series of 
short pocket valleys with a rich black loam soil, and long has been one of 
the choice farm localities in the town, and perhaps in the county. Grain 
growing was long the chief industry, but stock raising, grass and corn 
has all along had much attention, and in recent years dairying has flourished 
among the people of the valley. It is a natural locality for diversified or 
intensive farming, and its people were really always well-to-do when the 
exclusively grain growing neighborhoods were poor and almost destitute 
of money. The first settlers in Meyers Valley were Frank J. and Carl 
Zeller and Nic and Caspar Meyers. The Zellers met the Meyers at Rox- 
bury in Dane County, Wisconsin, and they soon formed plans to come to 
Trempealeau County, the Meyers furnishing ox team and wagon, by which 
they traveled. Arriving in Trempealeau Village, they were directed to 
go by way of the prairie and Whistler Pass to Arcadia, the route being 
little else than a trail. However, they completed the journey to the Bishop 
settlement, and partook of their first meal at the home of David Bishop, 
it being cooked and served by Mrs. Bishop, who, after the death of Mr. 
Bishop, married Charles Mercer, and who is the person who gave to 
Arcadia territory, town and village the name now and for long so well 
known. At that time there were but few settlers, among them being 
Collins and David Bishop and families, George Dewey and family, James 
Broiighton and family, George Shelley and family, Ira Penny and family, 
Carl Ernst and family, John McMaster with his family, Phillip Hartman 
and family, J. H. Gleason and family and N. D. Comstock, unmarried. The 
two Zellers and Nic and Caspar Meyers selected lands upon which they made 
some improvements with the intention of pre-empting them later, which 
they did. Frank J. Zeller located 120 acres and with his brother built a log 
house. Later he returned by ox team to Roxbury, Dane County, where, 
Nov. 26, 1856, he was married. All remained at Roxbury the winter of 
1856 and 1857, returning to Arcadia in the spring of 1857, settling upon 


the lands they had located the previous summer, and which they later 
purchased of the Government and opened and improved into valuable farms. 

In the summer of 1857 many settlers came and they continued to 
arrive until in 1876 the territory was practically occupied. Among the 
early arrivals were Christian and John Haines, Peter Meyers, George Cain, 
Theodore Tsherhardt, John Well, John Bill, Sr., John and Dan Bigham, 
James Gaveney, Dr. I. A. Briggs, David Massuere, Dan C. Dewey and 
Henry Dewey, Gay T. Storm and Casper Whifller. 

During the early years of life in the valley, and up to the time of the 
Indian massacre in Minnesota in 1862, many Indians lived about Arcadia 
and were frequent or almost daily visitors at the homes of the settlers, 
being very industrious beggars, but committing no crimes upon the white 
people. The Indian troubles in Minnesota in 1862 were the occasion of 
much anxiety and great prudence on the part of the settlers of Arcadia. 
Every man was armed and equipped to do battle, if necessary, for the 
protection of family and home. However, no occasion arose necessitating 
bloodshed. In pioneer days at Arcadia Indians often remained at the 
homes of settlers until late into the night, visiting and being social in their 
ways. The market points for many years were Trempealeau and Fountain 
City in all seasons, and Winona during such time as the Mississippi river 
was frozen in winters. 

Bill's Valley is a branch of Meyers Valley, as is Woll Valley and Hart- 
man Valley. 

In the early days a society known as the St. Joseph Catholic Congre- 
gation, built a frame church near where the highway divides to go to the 
Hartman Valley, and to turn into the main valley and over the Pine Creek 
Ridge and down over the country by way of Whistler Pass to Trempealeau, 
where services were held until the congregation was merged into the new 
society at Arcadia in 1883. The cemetery remains and is the silent resting- 
place of many of the early pioneers of not only Meyers Valley, but that 
whole vicinity. 

The St. Joseph Church stands in the southeast corner of the southeast 
quarter of the southwest quarter, section 6-20-9; and the cemetery is in 
the southwest corner of the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter, 
section 6-20-9. 

Meyers Valley proper, in which the Zeller farm is, has a creek that 
flows out of the northwest side of section 17-20-9, crossing sections 17, 8 and 
7 in the same town ; while the Bill Valley may be said to be confined to sec- 
tions 11, 12, 13 and 14 in 20-10 west. 

The original trail out of Arcadia came up out of Pine Creek onto the 
Pine Creek ridge above these valleys and Trout Run, following these valleys 
to the Trempealeau River, and centered in early times at Old Arcadia, or 
Dewey's Corners, as it was by many known. Later Massuere's Mill became 
a landmark and point of pubhc interest. 

The first white man to die in the Meyers Valley was Phillip Hartman, 
Sr., and the first to die in Arcadia was David Bishop, who was killed by a 
bolt of hghtning during a storm in 1868. The public school at the mouth 


of Meyer's Valley was organized in 1870, and the first teacher was Ferdi- 
nand Robertson. — (By Stephen Richmond.) 

Thompson Valley is wholly in the town of Arcadia and runs south from 
American Valley, into which it opens near the upper end of the Miller 
and Bear mill pond. The valley is about three and a half miles long, foot- 
ing up against the ridge which separates it from Norway Cooley. The first 
settler in the valley, so far as is known, was a man who took a claim but 
went to the war and was never more heard of. His claim was later filed 
upon by Thove Thompson, who occupied it, proved up his claim and devel- 
oped it into a valuable farm, on which his widow and his two sons, Alex 
and Martin, now reside. At the time Thove Thompson settled in the 
valley, his brothers, Knut and Tolf, settled on lands they homesteaded and 
erected buildings on, and where they resided until their death. This was 
in May, 1865. These brothers came from Telemarken, Norway, in April, 
1861, and settled in Iowa, where they remained until coming to the valley. 
— (By Stephen Richmond.) 

Trout Run Valley is wholly in the town of Arcadia and is one of the 
early settled parts of Arcadia and of the county north of the ridge. It is 
a locality of fertile lands in which all the early pioneers were Germans, and 
is still their home and that of their children. The creek commences on the 
north side of the Pine Creek ridge, running in a northwesterly direction 
to the Trempealeau River a distance of four and a half miles. The valley 
includes the following sections, or the great part of them, namely: 9, 10, 
14, 15, 23 and 24 in township 20, range 10, and 19 and 30 in township 20, 
range 9. The soil is a rich clay sand loam, highly productive of tame 
grasses, grains and vegetables. 

The very early pioneers were Ludwig Hansel and family, Frederick 
Kiekhoefer and family, Charles Ulbrech and family and William Kiek- 
hoefer and family. They settled in June, 1857, emigrating from Milwaukee 
and were four weeks on the journey, which was made with ox teams. 
William and Gust Garby located in the valley in 1859, making their home 
there during the remainder of their lives. Patrick and James Gibbons 
settled in the valley in 1862, Patrick later selling his lands and moving to 
Missouri. James Gibbons died on the old farm a few years ago. A. F. 
Hensel, who had lived in Buffalo County on the John Memietz farm a num- 
ber of years, and who kept a small store there, and who located all the 
early settlers in the valley, settled in the valley in 1862. Jacob PeUowski 
settled on the Brownlie farm in 1862, as did Charles Fisher, whose widow 
sold the Fisher farm to Fred Kiekhoefer in 1866. 

The Trempealeau Valley, north and south, is really a part of Trout 
Run Valley, in history at least. Among those who settled in the Trem- 
pealeau Valley in that vicinity were Thomas A. Simpson, in 1856, being 
then unmarried ; Milton Tucker and Sumner S. Tucker in 1858, Martin Man- 
ning in 1860, Joe Hausfair and Charles Sexhour in 1862, John Miller, Simon 
Jegi, Frank Knittle and Dan and Phil English in 1862. 

The school district was organized and the schoolhouse built in 1865, 
and John McMaster was the first teacher. Jack Scond, Fannie Simpson 
and D. L. Holcomb were the succeeding teachers. T. A. Simpson was the 


first school clerk. The first school meeting was held in the home of Ludwig 
Hensel. The first schoolhouse was a log house built of logs cut in the 
valley and was built on the line between Fred Kiekhoefer's and T. A. 
Simpson's farms. The present schoolhouse is on a diiferent site or location. 

The German settlers were Evangelical Methodists, and in 1869 they 
erected a church near where the present schoolhouse stands, in which 
religious services have since been held. The society has a cemetery grounds 
near the church, in which many of the old settlers are bui'ied. The first 
clergyman to hold services in the valley was from Winona, who came there 
occasionally on Sundays. The people were industrious, thrifty and thor- 
oughly American, and have always been among the good citizens of the 
county. Nearly all of the early settlers were prosperous and for many 
years only ox teams were used. There were no roads, no bridges and no 

A. W. Hensel, to whom we are indebted for many of the above facts, 
was born in Prussia, at Nougart, on November 7, 1840. He is a son of 
Ludwig Hensel and was past 16 years of age when he came to the valley. 
He served in Company F, 25th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers, and was 
married in 1866 to Mary Wagoner. His father settled on and pre-empted 
160 acres in section 23, township 20, range 10 west. Frederick Kiekhoefer 
pre-empted 160 acres in section 14, township 20, range 10 west, and Charles 
Ulbrech pre-empted 80 acres in section 23, township 20, range 10 west. 
These were the first farms opened in the valley. The valley was named 
Trout Run, because of the large numbei's of trout in the creek at the time 
this settlement was made. Mr. Hensel soon visited the Bishop settlement, 
and for many years took grists to the Masseure mill, trading at the stores 
kept by Briggs & Dewey and by Gay T. Storm. There was much timber 
in the valley when settled, a considerable quantity of it being large enough 
to be squared into 6 by 6, 30 feet long. There was plenty of oak timber 
for building fences and fuel. The locality was long known as Tucker's 
Corners. Later a postoffice was established at the home of T. A. Simpson 
and the name Home was given the locality. The first postoffice was estab- 
hshed Nov. 28, 1865, and Seth Tucker was postmaster to June 12, 1868; 
Adam Bartch to June 30, 1868 ; Thomas A. Simpson to April 11, 1870 ; Peter 
Scholidon to April 21, 1871; Caroline Tucker to June 28, 1875, and Denton 
Tucker, April 4, 1891, to June 18, 1895, when the ofiice was discontinued. — 
(By Stephen Richmond.) 

North Creek Valley lies wholly in the town of Arcadia and has its 
head in section 16, township 21, range 8, running southwesterly to the 
Trempealeau River in section 28, township 21, range 9, a distance of five 
and a half miles. The valley may be said to be embraced in sections 16, 
17, 19 and 20 in 21-9, and sections 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28 in 21-9. The name 
came to be applied in this way : In the early pioneer days the valley was 
north from the Bishop settlement and hence was called North Creek. Its 
very first settlers were Polish families — those of Albert Bautsch, Joseph 
Stanoskey, and a man named Weaver, who settled there in 1867, and who 
were soon followed by Louis Wojczik and others in 1868, 1869 and 1870. 
Thereafter, up to 1875, Polish families continued to come in and the valley 


became the very first Polish settlement north of the ridge in the county. 
It has remained a settlement of these families and those of their nationality, 
industrious people, patriotic and intensely American. 

The public school was built on the north half of the northeast quarter 
of 26-21-9, and a church was built nearby on the south half of said quarter. 
It has remained a place of pubUc worship since and a cemetery was at the 
same time located near the church. 

The valley has good soil and its people have made substantial progress 
in all matters of farm improvements, homes and outbuildings, horses, stock 
and diversified farming, and rank among the best farmers in the county. 
The young people who were born there and have grown up in the valley are 
among the best people in the county, and are so Americanized that they 
may be said to be real "Yankees" in language, dress and the usual charac- 
teristics of our people. — (By Stephen Richmond.) 

Bill's Valley is wholly in the town of Arcadia and may be said to cover 
or include sections 11, 12, 13 and 14 in 20-10. The valley is more of a 
depression than a valley, as it has no real creek or watercourse. It was 
settled in 1860 by John Bill, Sr., and soon others came, making it an early 
or pioneer community, principally of German families, though later many 
of the settlers were Irish. The soil in the valley is good and the farms 
valuable. In all ways the progress of the people has kept pace with that of 
the best settlements in the county. While it has been more or less a mixed 
community, its people have been good citizens and have taken an activ- 
interest in public matters affecting the welfare of the town, county and 
State. — (By Stephen Richmond.) 

Korpal Valley lies wholly in the town of Arcadia and may be said to 
be wholly within sections 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 in 21-9, and the Korpal 
Valley Creek runs west from a spring in the southwest quarter of the 
southeast quarter of 12-21-9, through sections 12, 13, 14 and 15, a distance 
of two and a half miles to the Trempealeau River. The first settler was 
James Fassett, the second a man by the name of Zabrota. Soon after 
this there arrived John Korpal, who with Louis Norwitzki settled in the 
valley, they becoming the first permanent settlers. Others soon followed 
and the valley and ridges in the vicinity were all settled prior to 1876. The 
people were industrious and the community has made good progress. The 
soil is rich and the value of the lands there has risen equally with other 
parts of Arcadia and the county. The valley and vicinity cannot be said 
to have been a Polish neighborhood, as many families, American born and 
Norwegian born, have all along owned and occupied farms there. In early 
days grain raising was the chief farm industry, but since 1882 the people 
have gone successfully into diversified farming and have made it as much 
of a success as any nearby community.— (By Stephen Richmond.) 

The Banner Robbery. In the spring of 1860 there arrived in the Big 
Tamarack Valley an Enghshman who called himself John Banner. He 
seemed to have means and bought for cash eighty acres of land described 
as the south half of the southeast quarter of section five, township num- 
bered nineteen, range nine (S. Uj of S. E. i/j. 5-19-9). For this he received 
a deed which he confided to the care of a neighbor. On this land he built 


a shanty and ox-shed, hired some breaking done, planted sod, corn and 
potatoes, bought a yoke of oxen and a cart, plow and a few other imple- 
ments and tools. In the fall of 1860 he sowed six acres of winter wheat. 
Mr. Banner passed the winter of 1860-61 in the neighborhood, getting 
acquainted with the settlers, having a good time and being a good fellow 
generally. In the spring of 1861 he prepared to plant corn and make 
further improvements on his farm. About the middle of May, 1861, 
another Englishman, calling himself Nathan Mitchell, came on from Eng- 
land to visit his friend Banner, and, incidentally, to invest a few "sover- 
eigns" in American unimproved real estate. 

Mr. Mitchell arrived at Mr. Banner's on Friday. Saturday and Sunday 
Mr. Banner entertained his friend by walking with him from farm to farm 
and introducing him to the neighbors as "My especial friend, Mr. Mitchell, 
direct from Liverpool, looking for land," etc. On Monday morning Mr. 
Banner proposed to initiate his visitor into the American art of planting 
"maize," and, after getting started and working a while, asked to be excused 
"while he went to a neighbor's for some seed potatoes." 

Mr. Mitchell worked away at his new job until hunger and thirst 
warned him that the mid-day lunch ought to be due. On going to the 
shanty the first thing he saw was his carpet-bag with the side cut open, 
and, lying near, was his "friend's" razor with lint on the edge. A hasty 
examination showed that a package containing one hundred and thirteen 
gold "sovereigns" had been taken, and that it was very evident that his 
friend Banner was the robber. After "a nine days' wonder" and unavail- 
ing efforts to trace the missing appropriator of his coin, Mr. Mitchell took 
legal process against Banner's personal belongings that were left behind, 
such as the oxen, cart, plow, cooking stove, shotgun, grindstone, bedding, 
etc., including the growing crop of winter wheat, sold the whole at sheriff's 
sale, pocketed his loss, shook the Big Tamarack dust from his square-toed 
gaiters and returned to Old England. 

Thus closed the John Banner-Nathan Mitchell "tragedy." 

The first Polish settler in Dodge, Michael Chisin of Winona, was, in the 
spring of 1862, piloted to the John Banner farm by Charles J. Cleveland. 
To that farm he brought his bride, there his children were born, there he 
passed the rest of his life, and there he died. Several other Poles came 
into the Tamarack in the fall of 1862 and later. One of the later arrivals 
was also named "Michael" (Kolodsey or "Collins") and, as everybody was 
called by the person's given name, to distinguish the two "Mikes," Mrs. 
Chas. Cleveland gave Chisin the nickname of "Tamarack Mike" and 
Kolodsey was called "Winona Mike." The two men were very proud of 
their American names, announcing themselves to English speaking 
strangers always thus. — (By E. H. Cleveland.) 

Williamsburg. The next settler after Lewis Niffin to locate directly 
up the Trempealeau Valley above Arcadia was Carl Ernst, a native of 
Germany. Ernst settled on a homestead about three miles above Arcadia, 
a shoi't distance from the state road, in 1859. The next year Moses Skillins, 
a native of Connecticut, came up from Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and 
settled on a piece of state land about four and one-half miles above Arcadia, 


on the state road. This was the beginning of the Williamsburg settlement. 
In 1862 Hiram Skillins, a Baptist preacher, and a brother of Moses Skillins, 
came from Winnecone, Wisconsin, and bought some state land about half a 
mile up the Trempealeau River from his brother's place. 

We have noticed how customary it was for a new settlement to take its 
name from the original settler as instances. Reed's Landing, Bishop's Settle- 
ment, Lewis Valley. And so the Williamsburg settlement was first known 
as Skillins' Corners, and the small creek which flowed through Hiram's place 
was called Skillins' Creek. 

Moses Skilhns had broken seven acres of land and erected a log shanty 
where he was "baching" when his brother arrived. But pioneering and 
"baching" were not to his taste, and he sold his right to his brother and 
returned to Connecticut. 

Henry E. Pierce was the next Williamsburg settler to arrive. He was a 
native of New York State, and came from Sparta, Wisconsin, in May, 1863, 
and bought the Moses Skillins place from Hiram Skilhns and took the 140 
acres of homestead land adjoining it. In June, the same year, William 
Eastman, another New York Stater, came and selected a homestead about 
a quarter of a mile above Skilhns' Corners, in Wickham Valley, and in 
August, James Wickham, arrived from New York State and picked out a 
homestead a few miles up the Wickham Valley for his son Andrew. 

The next spring (1864) Douglas Arnold arrived and bought some State 
land and took up some government land, and in the fall his brother came and 
settled at Skillins' Corners. These two brothers were also from New York 
State. The same year William Boorman bought out the Skillins place, and 
Andrew T. Wickham moved onto his homestead in Wickham Valley. 

The Williamsburg farmers were soon raising large crops of wheat, and 
getting war prices for it ; there was an abundance of wild grass for their 
herds, and the only drawback was the long distance to market. They 
hauled their wheat to Fountain City, Trempealeau, and in the winter when 
the Mississippi was frozen over they hauled the grain to the Pickwick mills, 
in Minnesota. 

A postoffice was established in 1866, and thereafter the place was called 
Williamsburg. It had been known before this as Skillins' Corners, or simply 
the Corners. 

W. B. Arnold has the honor of giving this name to the community, 
which was a very appropriate name on account of the three Williams, Arnold, 
Eastman and Boorman, all of whom lived near the Corners. 

William Arnold was appointed postmaster at Williamsburg and held the 
office until it was discontinued in January, 1876. The first mail to Williams- 
burg was carried on horseback over the route from Minneska, Minnesota, to 
Black River Falls. Later it was carried by stage, and horseback when roads 
were bad from Trempealeau on the Trempealeau Elk Creek route. Perry 
Rumsy was mail carrier for years. 

The same year the postoffice was established a schoolhouse was built 
about twenty rods above the Pierce home on the main road, and near the 
south corner of Douglas Arnold's place. The first school was taught by 
Miss Francis Lewis, a sister of Captain John D. Lewis, of Lewis Valley. 


Things moved along rapidly now. The valleys tributary to Williamsburg 
vi'ere being taken up, and cultivated fields soon took the place of the rolling 
waste of wild grass, and the woodland hillsides resounded with the ax of 
the wood chopper. 

A woodyard was opened, and soon the peddler's wagon found its way 
into the new settlement with shining new wares to attract the thrifty house- 
wife. Occasionally the schoolhouse was utilized as a church, and on such 
Sundays the neighbors would gather from the country round about and hold 
rehgious services, and it would sometimes happen that on a pleasant summer 
Sabbath, some farmer who had been repairing pasture fences would loiter 
along the deserted road towards the old schoolhouse, and have his vision of 
rich golden harvest fields suddenly interrupted by the sound of the itinerant 
preacher's voice coming in sanctimonious quavers from the open windows 
of the schoolhouse; or perchance the lagging farmer would be stirred by 
the sound of the music, as out on the fragrant summer air there floated the 
strains of "The Sweet Bye and Bye." 

Then one day from the Trempealeau River came the thrilling whistle of 
a steamboat. The peaceful quiet of the country was broken, and the inhab- 
itants were stirred with excitement at this undreamed-of occurrence and 
people flocked down to the river to feast their eyes on a real live steamboat 
actually navigating the modest little Trempealeau River. A landing was 
made, the gangplank touched shore, and every inhabitant of Williamsburg 
felt his property rise in value so fast that it was necessary to hold onto the 
trees to keep from sliding downhill. 

The steamboat men wanted to buy some eggs from the Williamsburg 
farmers, and William Eastman, eager to secure the trade of the boatmen, 
hurried home and in a short time returned with a basket of eggs. But, alas ! 
Mr. Eastman was more accustomed to walking the wide country roads than 
a narrow gangplank, and when he had taken a few steps on the plank he 
slipped and fell, but like the boy who tumbled out of the barn loft and clung 
to his pail of nails to keep them from spilling. Bill froze to his backet of eggs, 
and regained his foothold with but a few of them broken, and the captain of 
the boat paid him for the original number of eggs, and Mr. Eastman walked 
home the crowned monarch of the rural market, and the first and last Will- 
iamsburg settler to trade with a Trempealeau River steamboat. 

The new community grew rapidly and prospered, for they were thrifty 
society should not be forgotten in Williamsburg history. In the winter time 
every other Friday night was given to the literary society or spelling school, 
and people would come from neighboring districts to attend. There was a 
great deal of rivalry between contending districts in these spelling school 
matches, and the pupils were kept in good trim for the contest. Then on a 
winter's night when the chores were done, there would be a merry jingle of 
sleigh bells vibrating along the road to the schoolhouse and by 8 o'clock in 
the evening the strains of some well-known school song would announce the 
opening of the exercises. And if you would listen in the course of an hour 
you would hear the droning of words as the teacher pronounced them to the 
pupils lined along the walls of the schoolroom eager for the spelling-down 
contest. It is surprising what large words some of those bright little 


country maidens would wade through — woi'ds that would give one a kink 
in the neck to pronounce were consumed as easily and greedily as a robin 
devours an angleworm. 

The new community grew rapidly and prospered, for they were thrifty 
farmers, and brought from the Empire State a wealth of dairy experience 
and agricultural knowledge that proved useful in opening up the new 

In the summer there was the school picnic, which was worth while to a 
hungry bunch of children. There under the green shade trees, near the 
limpid brook, where the blue violets bloomed in profusion we would enjoy a 
picnic dinner with tablecloths spread out on the ground and covered with, 
Oh, my, what good things to eat ! not to forget the blueberry pie. 

The railroad went through the valley, and by 1876, Wilhamsburg had 
two markets, Arcadia and Independence. 

There is not an original settler or a descendant of one left in Williams- 
burg. You hardly ever hear the name any more, except among a few of the 
old settlers who still tell of the days when there was good deer hunting in 
Wickham Valley, and elk horns were picked up on the hillside back of the old 
SkiUins place. (By Eben D. Pierce.) 

McGilvray's Ferry, located on the Black River, in Caledonia Township, 
occupied an important place in Trempealeau County history for nearly four 
decades, from 1854 to 1892. Many of the early settlers passed into the 
county over this ferry, and the route of which it was a part is still an 
important thoroughfare, the ferry being now replaced by a neat bridge. 

Alexander McGilvray, from whom the ferry took its name, located in 
Trempealeau (Reed's Landing) in 1852, and the following year moved his 
family to a homestead. 

At that time people desiring to go to La Crosse, overland, went by way 
of the ford at what was afterward Gordon's ferry. The need of a ferry 
to shorten the route was imperative. Therefore in March, 1854, with the 
assistance of Charles Utter, Mr. McGilvray built a scow in the streets of 
Trempealeau, and later in the spring hauled it with teams to McGilvray's 
place, where it was launched and poled across Black River with Mr. Utter's 
team as its first cargo. The ferry was a reality now, and the first wagon 
road was opened into the south end of the county. 

Poles to push the boat across the river were used only for a short time, 
when they were supplanted by an ordinary rope cable which was used one 
season, and was then replaced by a three-quarter-inch iron rod put together 
in sections. This was used until the wire cable took its place when the new 
cable was utilized until the ferry was discontinued. 

The first ferryboat lasted two years, when a new one was constructed. 
In all five boats were built, the last one by G. O. McGilvray (now of Canyon- 
ville, Oregon), in 1890 and was run until the McGilvray bridge was com- 
pleted February 22, 1892, when it was sold up the river to Decorah Prairie 
for Gordon's Ferry. 

The rates charged for ferrying across the river were 25 cents for a 
team ; 35 cents for a four-horse wagon and 10 cents for a foot passenger. 

The tide of settlers increased with the drifting years, and the traffic 


along the river assumed larger proportions. Stage lines, and freight lines 
were established, and in the winter when the steamboats were frozen in, the 
travel was entirely by team and horseback, and by French train. Four- 
horse freight wagons were commonlj- used, and the stages often used two 
teams on their coaches when the roads were heavy. 

McGilvray's place assumed a busy aspect at times with the long line of 
freight wagons and stage coaches on the river bank waiting for their turn to 
be ferried over the river. Many of the travelers remained all night at 
McGilvray's, and the country inn, or tavern, was hurry and bustle on days of 
hea\'y travel. Here were congregated at times a rough and hardy lot of 
characters, and around the evening fire were told wild and fascinating 
stories of pioneer life, filled with thrilling adventure, and the comedy and 
tragedy of the backwoodsman's career, whose nearest neighbor lived miles 
away, and whose skill with the rifle furnished his rough-hewn table with 
plenty of savory venison, and made the wary Indian reluctant to disturb 
his cabin home. 

The stage driver told of his wonderful feats of driving, and of his 
narrow escapes from robbers in attempted hold-ups ; and of the perilous risk 
he took of being thrown down some rocky embankment on mirky night 
drives. The trapper told of his long journeys alone into the pathless wilder- 
ness in quest of furs ; and the freighter was ready with his tales of hardy 
endurance, and of the miraculous journej's made with ponderous loads, up 
almost impassable roads, through snowdrifts or mud, until his destination 
was reached and he was a hero in his own mind, as well as the minds of some 
of his feUow listeners. The hunter and trader swapped yarns and mixed 
lies almost as strong as the rum in the freighter's wagon. 

Alexander McGilvray entertained his guests occasionally with music on 
his bagpipe, an instrument he had brought from Inverness, Scotland, and 
the weary traveler would be stirred by the strains of "A Hundred pipers 
and a'," and would beat time to the Highland Fling as the piper weaved to 
and fro by the glowing fireside. 

Rankin McGilvray was at this time a youth. In speaking of the early 
days in after years he said: "When the Civil War broke out, we began to 
caiTy soldiers across the ferry. Hardly a day went by until the close of the 
war that we did not carry some of the boys, and along at first they were all 
going one way. bound for La Crosse, and from there to ^ladison or Milwau- 
kee, and then to the fi'ont. But after the first battle of Bull Run the 
wounded soldiers began to return, and then we were carrying soldiers both 
ways until the war ended. Y'ou could always tell one of the wounded ones, 
for they were bandaged, and crippled; a great many had their arms in 
slings, and others were walking with crutches ; while some had bandaged 
heads. I recollect one fellow who came back nearly shot to pieces. He 
was the most dilapidated looking soldier I ever saw. He was lame and 
his right arm was in a sMng and he had been hit in the face, and lost one eye, 
and couldn't see very well out of the other one, and was sour and cranky, 
and rather discouraged and I didn't blame him. Father kept him all night, 
and had one of the boys drive him to Trempealeau the next day. Father 
never charged the soldiers anything for carrying them across the ferry 


or for board and lodging and although he could not go to the war, he did 
this patriotic service for his country. My chances for going to the war 
were spoiled on account of the ferry. I was on fire to go all right, but 
instead of going to the front and dying for my country, I had to stay at 
home and bail the water out of the ferry boat and help run it." 

Along in the early sixties logging began to interfere with the ferry. 
Sometimes teams would be compelled to wait for hours until a log jam was 
cleared. Usually the logs bothered only a few weeks in the spring or for a 
few hours only but occasionally the ferry was laid up a week or two on 
account of the jams, and in 1885 the logs extended in a solid mass from 
Lytles to the head of Decoras Prairie, about 200,000,000 feet in the jam, 
and in the summer of 1890 the ferry was blockaded for five months. This 
was done for the convenience of the logging companies by putting a jack 
boom across the river half a mile above Lytles and letting just enough logs 
go through to handle during the day, thus saving the company from em- 
ploying the men to do the work the current did, when the river was kept 
open from Lytles to Onalaska. 

After Alexander McGilvray's death in 1878, his son, G. 0. McGihTay 
operated the ferry until the bridge was erected, with the exception of one 
or two seasons when it was rented to William Kribbs. 

Referring to the ice stopping the ferry, G. 0. McGilvray once wrote, 
"On November 6, 1868, five or six West Prairie farmers drove to Onalaska 
for lumber. The river was open and the ferry running. The next day the 
men returned and found the river had been closed twelve hours. The horses 
were unhitched and the wagons loaded with a thousand feet of lumber were 
run across the ice by hand and the horses led over in safety. That was 
closing in rather suddenly." 

WTien one turns and looks backward at the changeless past, what 
strange visions come floating through the brain. One can see the long 
procession winding down the road and passing in grand review along the 
old ferry at Black River. The foot-sore land seeker walking along the 
blazed trail and dreaming of the land where he can find a free home in the 
unsettled wilderness; and following in his footsteps comes the prairie 
schooner drawn by a yoke of oxen, and headed toward the new settlement 
where lies the richest land that the sun ever shown on, almost unmarked 
by the plow share. And then the stream of pioneers increases, and the 
stage coach comes into view, and the long train of freight wagons, and 
the trader, and lumberman mingle with the varied throng. And now we 
see a line of blue creep into the procession as on it moves and we feel a 
patriotic pride as our soldier boys slowly cross the river, facing the grim 
reality of war where death stalks abroad. And we see the wounded return 
with empty sleeves and wan lips and take their way homeward. Onward 
the procession moves until on every vacant piece of land there rises a 
home, and the subdued soil blossoms with cultivated fields, where once the 
wild deer ranged. And anon the procession changes, the French-train and 
stage coach fade away, and in their place comes the lumber wagon filled 
with golden grain for the market while the hum of our commercial age 
makes the very hills tremble ; and the slow old ferry of long ago retreats up 


the river to sleep where old Chief Decorah once looked out upon his peaceful 
village of smoking wigwams. — (By Eben D. Pierce.) 

A Wisconsin Pioneer. Albert Rouse Rathbone was one of the remark- 
able figures of early days in Trempealeau County. In many ways, the 
experiences of himself and his family were typical of hundreds of pioneers 
who found their way to this region and assisted in its development. His 
story, written with loving sympathy and understanding by his daughter, 
Mrs. Jennie Rathbone Webb. 

My father, Albert Rouse Rathbone (properly bun but changed by mis- 
take in the war records) was born June 28, 1838, at the old Rathbun 
homestead on Amity Hill near Wattsburg, Penn. His father was an 
itinerant doctor carrying among his pills and liniments, kerosene oil, a 
great new cure for colds and throat trouble. When Lincoln called for men 
my father enlisted in the 145th Pennsylvania Volunteers, and being soon 
ordered to the front, he married Adeline White, and left her with his 
widowed mother upon the homestead where mother tended her flock of 
sheep and did tailoring. Father saw most of the Wilderness Campaign, 
was taken prisoner at Chancellorsville, held in Libby prison eleven days, 
after which he was exchanged. Wounded in the arm by a minnie ball at 
Spottsylvania Courthouse as he raised his sword in sign for his men to 
charge the breastworks, he returned home after hospital treatment at 
Annapolis with a wound that prevented further army service. 

Grandfather had procured his kerosene medicine from the surface of 
pools, but now they were deriving it from wells. Father bought a partner- 
ship in the Titusville Wells, but having little faith in the business, sold 
mother's sheep, a goodly flock, packed up their few belongings, took mother 
and the four-months-old baby, waved goodby to a tall form at the homestead 
bars, and was off to try his fortunes among the pioneers of Western 

Their baggage was light. Clothing cost much in "Wartimes," muslin, 
coarse, unbleached stuff, sold at seventy-five cents per yard. People had no 
machines by means of which they could turn off two or three garments a 
day. I imagine most of the space in that leathern trunk which bore the 
misuse of travel right up to and including father last move, was taken up 
with keepsakes. 

Time, prodded by boat, stage, and a hired ox team on the last lap. 
landed them, in the spring of 1866, the new cook stove, the precious baggage 
intact, upon their possessions at the mouth of Black River some fifteen miles 
from La Crosse near the old McGilvray ferry. The little log cabin but 
recently vacated containing its rough hand-made furniture was clean. The 
new stove in position, mother stored the provisions, conspicuously at the 
front a jar of Pennsylvania blackberry jam blatantly labeled, hung the 
dimity curtains, wound and set the clock, while father at a near neighbor's 
filled the tick with bright oat straw, brought home the cow which had been 
included in the purchase, a rangy, long-haired creature jangling a bell but 
a trifle smaller and every bit as badly cracked as that one of 1776 fame, 
and another home venture was launched. 

In this settlement were some thrifty farmers. Though father still 


carried his arm in a sling, he earned enough that summer driving teams 
for the farmers to pay for three good milch cows. Mother, by holding 
boards up to be nailed, and down to be sawed, helped put a small milk house 
over the spring. Mother made prime butter bringing war prices. On a 
Sunday might have been seen an odd couple — a tall, soldiery young man, 
his baby bundled at his back in a scarlet shawl, true Indian fashion, and 
a puffy short woman trudging along the lovely river paths, off to spend the 
day with a congenial neighbor. This during the cool days of May, then it 
turned warm, and oh, the mosquitoes! And oh dear, for the resultant 
smudges ! There was a smudge under the table while they ate, one under 
the baby's cradle all the time, another for the cow when milked, and yet 
the mosquitoes nearly ate them alive. Mother ran slapping to right and 
left with a switch from house to milk room. Father, his one arm useless, 
defenseless against their onslaughts, tied down his coat sleeves, wore a 
veil and a heavy coat for protection. The creatures followed one in a black 
cloud. Up out of the bottoms the cattle rushed, tearing like mad through 
the brush. 

Father was surprised one morning to find a stray ox at the barn. 
Inquiry among the neighbors established father's title thereto. It was Jim, 
the ox that had been included in the trade. He had a bad lump on his jaw, 
but it didn't hinder his working. He was shy but gentle and took quite 
philosophically to the most outlandish harness beast ever wore in man's 
remembrance. How father chuckled as he attempted to fit the contrap- 
tion, trying it fore and aft, right side and wrong side before getting it 
properly adjusted to those particular parts of Jim's anatomy for which it 
had been intended. It had the merit of strength, and it resembled hustling 
to see father hauling great cart loads of wood behind Jim instead of lugging 
it up on his own back. 

The summer passed, and, best of all, the mosquitoes went with it. Fall 
on Black River. Did you ever gather plums there ? Burbank may keep his 
hybrids, the flavor of those wild goose plums can never be improved. Did 
you ever struggle in a thicket for black haws, high bush cranberries or fox 
grapes after Jack Frost had performed his magic? Yet over all the glory 
hung the memory of those mosquitoes. 

So, when, during the winter father had an opportunity to sell, they 
concluded one summer there was enough, bought a mate for Jim, packed 
a few belongings into the sled and drove over the ridge into Trempealeau 
Valley. It took two days, but mother and the baby were cozy in the sled box, 
and father kept his blood up gee-hawing the oxen through the drifts. 
They located a few miles from Arcadia in the lower part of American 
Valley on the Harmon Tracey place. Here the third child was born, a 
fragile babe, and, only sixteen months later ere this one had vacated the 
maternal arms, hardly able to sit alone, I was born. You mothers with 
every convenience, steam-heated rooms, hot and cold water on tap, and 
perhaps one child, consider this pioneer woman's part. A child of three 
years, a weakling of sixteen months (whom I over a year later helped learn 
to walk) , and here a hvely lusty youngster demanding her share of atten- 
tion, a fireplace for warmth, melted snow to wash in. 


As I read the few notes my mother, now a woman of nearly four 
score, pioneering in the wilds of Washington, has furnished me, for this 
sketch, it seems their married life was a series of broken advances and 
retreats, halting in their migrations for one of two or both reasons, to-wit : 
to trade horses, or receive the stork. That we left Trempealeau County only 
to hop the more gingerly back in again. And so if at the time my tale is 
a trifle overcharged with baby, horse, or vagabondage, — oh well, if you 
love the three as I do, nothing I may write will prejudice you against the 
book containing other articles most charmingly handled by experienced 

We advanced a step in civilization here — had horses to drive. Mother 
did most of the marketing. She tied me into the seat beside her, put the 
two older.girls on the floor of the hack (I believe they called it the democrat 
wagon) with a foot upon each one's skirts, father stepped from the heads 
of the wild young team and away we flew. Mother declares if it hadn't 
been up-grade after each down hill plunge she never could have brought 
them to a halt in front of Storm's store in East Arcadia. Long years after 
I saw her drive our vicious coach stallion in South Dakota and I am fully 
persuaded she gloried in those wild pioneer dashes. Father didn't enjoy 
renting. The next year he bought a place and in March, 1868, moved over 
into Travis Valley where our regular feathered guest got in two paying 
visits before we could pack and resume the broken march over Wisconsin, 
which, in spite of a very rapidly increasing family calling for an extra board 
seat across the wagon box every halt, ceased only when the thirteen child 
was born the thirteenth day of June, the birthday of the first babe, had 
broken the charm. 

That father was a financier goes unchallenged. He shod and provided 
books for a family where it was not unusual to meet nine at a time plodding 
a mile and a half to school, sister Kate, that most to be pitied being, the 
oldest, bringing up the rear with the peck basket of lunch. That he was 
a true blue farmer is proved by the fact that the twelve grew up stron.e 
healthy men and women (though Kate in making her first dress declared in 
a flood of tears that she was one-sided from carrying that basket, to find 
later that she had left out an under arm piece) ere one of the number 
dropped out, and he grew the food that fed them, and most of the clothing 
to keep them warm. Recent dietitians would probably exclaim at the rich 
diet so generously larded with pink and white ham, and great prints of 
butter. How many fleeces from his flocks were exchanged with the Bangar 
Woolen Mill wagon (maybe you remember that curly horse) for bolts of 
flannel that so stimulated the circulation of blood and gave us a bran new 
epidermis daily if scratching counted. What tear blurred scenes each fall 
to get brother Virgil properly clothed for a cold Wisconsin winter. How, 
after he had been coaxed and shoved into those home-made domestic flan- 
nels he'd watch his chance to hide them in the haymow only to be betrayed 
by shivering and obliged to go all through the coercing again and again until 
the tender, outraged hide had thickened itself against its aggravator. 
Consider, too, the excruciating sensation from wearing one of father's 
heaviest red flannel shirts in a hot summer all afternoon, next your thin 


summer skin, in punishment for risking a pleasant suicide wading the 
freshet up to your chin. 

.But to our sidetracked story. The last of October, 1871, as soon as 
these last little ones could sit, one between father and mother on the 
spring seat, the other in mother's arms, we packed the leather trunk 
in the back of the wagon, emptied the ticks, rolled up the bedding and 
clothing, and with us three girls down in the wagon bed on a pile of hay, 
for three days bumped and lurched across the hills, to a farm father bought, 
as so many did in those days of slow transit, with no real estate man to 
whirl you out in a super six, without first seeing the place. Lunch on the 
first day was eaten at Ettick, a small Scandinavian settlement, and early 
that afternoon we reached Melrose, spending two nights with Aunt Nan, 
to rest mother's arms a bit. With a dawn start and steady driving, we made 
the Wisconsin River at dark, where we camped out, the baby crying, it 
seemed, all night. I was divided between the fear of wolves devouring us, 
and hunters shooting us for panthers on account of it, but the baby, unmind- 
ful of these dangers, gave vent to its troubles in its own noisy way. We 
crossed on a small ferry near where Germantown now stands just as the 
sun rose, and hurried on again as nearly due east as the roads permitted. 
Those moves must have been keenest torture to mother, but I never heard 
her complain. The nearest to it being when late that day as the sun plunged 
into his cloudy bed, we looked down upon our eighty acres of sand, unfenced, 
un almost everything, she turned her tired face to father, asking pleadingly, 
"Isn't there some mistake, Albert?" "Yes," father returned in his char- 
acteristic, quiet way, taking the blame upon his own shoulders, "I have 
made the mistake of trusting one man too many." 

Indeed, it would have taken a Chinese wall to keep realty in bounds 
there. The wailing fall wind seemed never to weary of carrying sand 
from one spot to another, piling it against the scant clumps of grass, level- 
ing it, and shaping a mound farther on. Over and over again it piled and 
leveled monotonously. We drove through the creek bounding one side, 
where, as the horses drank, we sat in wearied silence, up to the tiny house 
standing on a knoll in a small grove .of oaks. It was banked to the window 
sills. From a broken pane of the attic window a bit of white rag waved 
and beckoned. "The peace signal, Adeline," father said, smiling whim- 
sically. We had traded even up everything except the team, wagon and 
what it held. Here we found rude furniture not unlike we had left behind. 
Mother, it is true, complained that the milk crocks were seamed and cracked, 
and what a boiling and scrubbing in home-made soft soap suds they did 
get. She found bedbugs, too, but they were soon routed through her per- 
sistent deluge of boiling brine. A pecuhar hardness of atmosphere foretold 
snow. Mother made up a good hot supper, we girls ransacked our future 
room, the attic, and father, after stabhng the jaded team, brought in the 
rest of the load, filled, as usual, the bed ticks, and we were again ready to 
receive. However, we missed the periodic visit of our most constant guest. 
Either it didn't look for orphanages in this outlandish country or had mercy 
because of its barrenness. In a few days the snow had covered the bleak 


It puzzles me how it was managed, but we never lacked comfort. Our 
homes, though plain, were always clean, our table provided with whole- 
some food, and our beds neat and inviting. I love to remember that snow- 
bound winter. Up in the attic you could hear the wind moan in the flue, 
and rattle the dead oak leaves. Then there were the lovely cracks of gold 
in the floor telling of father up hours before chore time, reading and study- 
ing by lamplight those precious books that never were left behind. Hugh 
Miller's "Old Red Sandstone" seems a part of him. It was the first book I 
noticed — from it I learned my letters. It gave one a fine inteflectual feeling 
to read the A B C's from father's book, standing straight beside his chair, 
enunciating each letter with bravado. As far back as my memory reaches, 
he was taking the Atlantic Monthly. The first "piece" I spoke was a pre- 
lude to some lengthy article in it, taught me by father, and so like his own 
sayings — "It is not all in bringing up. Let folks say what they will. To 
silver scour a pewter cup, It will be pewter still." Housekeeping wasn't so 
complicated those days, and, in spite of its lack of conveniences, mother 
found many hours in which to help father teach us. She was an early 
Montessori. " 

The only real rushing business of this locality was horse stealing among 
the outlaws. And although a moral consciousness precluded father's adop- 
tion of the profession, he did quite innocently become possessed of one of 
their thefts, a black Morgan mare, balky to such a degree I doubt not her 
owner considered himself well rid of her — of which more later. Occa- 
sionally scraps of talk about these raids reached us, furnishing a little 
healthy excitement. 

As the last snow was vanishing, father took the sack of cloverseed 
down from the rafters and sowed it upon the most favorable ground along 
the creek bank. Then the waiting and the watching through unseasonable 
heat, freezes and snow flurries. I am reminded of Old Goody Blake dowr 
on her knees blowing up the faint embers of the poor little fire she obtained 
by filching handf uls of Harry Gill's brushwood. During a dry spell, assisted 
by mother and every toddler that could carry a bucket, however small, I 
distinctly remember my part in it, and of sounding the depths of the creek 
coming up with the tip top of my new shaker plastered with mud — father 
kept the patch moist. He said the Sahara might be reclaimed if clover 
could be started upon it. It was his creed and he spread its gospel wher- 
ever he farmed. Nature couldn't turn a deaf ear to such prayers, it grew 
and flourished. That fall it was a great temptation to cut it for Bossie, but 
father had mowed some fine-bladed marsh grass while it was young and 
tender, dried it beneath the bleaching sheets, salted it down in the mow, 
and she performed as well or better than most cows of those days ; that is, 
she didn't give milk during the five winter months, but kept in good con- 
dition and brought us twin heifer calves early the next spring. 

Father was gone off and on most of the summer at work for the more 
prosperous farmers in the adjoining valleys. Once when mother was there 
with only us children, a band of Indians trailed by, the men sitting erect 
and dignified on their shaggy ponies, the squaws so humble and browbeaten, 
trudging afoot, loaded nearly double with great bundles at their backs. 


carried by means of broad leathern straps across the chest and forehead, 
httle girls and boys innocent of clothes scampered along in the cloud of 
dust. Papooses dangled from every budget. Cur dogs with red lolling 
tongues darted out and in among them. As we stood at the gate one big 
fellow stopped, and thrusting his dirty fingers in our cat's fat sides, asked 
tersely, "How much?" And for a minute we children held our breath, 
certain our lives were to be spared at the sacrifice of pussy's. Then, seeing 
the fowls, they wanted chickens, "You so much, me, one," they pleaded. But 
mother, knowing their tricks, was firm; one meant that many for every 
Indian able to beg. The long line of perhaps two or three hundred ended 
at last. They forded the creek and camped less than a half-mile distant 
in a grove of oaks. Toward evening one of the neighbors riding by cau- 
tioned mother to be on the lookout, the Indian had liquor. While she was 
not abashed at the nearness of Indians pure and simple, she knew there were 
good reasons to be afraid of the best of them, no matter how civilized, when 
mixed with firewater. So with all of us children hanging to her, her face 
to the foe, she set out to find the chief, who assured her most solemnly that 
she had nothing to fear, and pointed out a number of yelling braves tied to 
trees while they sobered off. We visited the camp several times and were 
unmolested except that they begged for everything in sight. 

As before mentioned, it was here that father bought, unwittingly, the 
stolen mare, Doll. She was jet black with a blazing white star in her fore- 
head, an exact match for the colt obtained during our stay at Travis 
Valley. As father led Doll behind him in the barn, the very day of her 
purchase, she kicked out in play, hitting father a terrific blow in the side 
that laid him up for a long time. During the two and a half years of our 
sojourn here father had used all the barn fertilizer he could get from the 
horse dealers (?) and our own stable to enrich his ground. The patch of 
clover was now several acres, the corn and grain in splendid trim, when 
Mr. Mattison, of spirit rapping fame in Arcadia, passed by and fell in 
love with the place. Before he left he owned it and father received in 
exchange an eighty in (of course) Trempealeau County. In his anxiety to 
get back, the start was made before father was at all fit for even a short 
journey, mother driving the stallion and his mate on the wagon holding 
a few household articles and four little ones, father following in the buggy 
drawn by Doll, with the oldest, a child of eight, to watch over and care for 
him. All went well until we reached the foot of Waushara Hill, a hard, 
sandy climb enough to discourage any horse. Doll was completely overcome. 
She stopped short, letting one hip drop in a resting posture, her delicate 
ear radiating toward the rear to catch the verbal abuse her former owners 
had subjected her to. Except to chirrup a time or two, father said nothing. 
He was so sick nothing really mattered. He sat and waited, placing all the 
responsibility of action on Doll. Somehow, somewhere, while yet young 
he learned the value of patience, that attribute needed first and usually 
gained last. He was not a hustler ; violence of any kind was foreign to his 
nature, but his tender, watchful endurance was godlike. It was his win- 
ning card in every game. Through his own remarkable self control, he 
governed others without visible effort. It seemed so cheerfully right to do 


anything father suggested. He never antagonized one. His influence was 
always soothing. It soothed and conquered Doll. With an indescribable 
gesture of exasperated patience that melted into puzzled incomprehension 
and crystallized into life lasting confidence, she gave father a long, studied 
look, then with a soft, blubbery sigh, pushed out gently on the bit, starting 
up the first of many, many long hills that in her life of over twenty years 
in our service she climbed with never an untrue move. 

For years father was associated in business with that most canny 
Scotch horse dealer, James Low, of Baraboo, buying and selling largely 
and constantly, but never to find Doll's equal in intelligence or trustworthi- 
ness. To my knowledge no one outside the immediate family was ever 
allowed to drive her but once. It was threshing time with its accompanying 
hustle. In those days people did not grow enough grain to pay them to 
invest in high-priced threshers. They engaged a tramp horsepower ma- 
chine that passed from one setting of stacks to another. At our place one 
horse took sick and father, driven to it, put in Doll. The noise excited her, 
yet she did fairly well until the driver became loud and profane in his 
exhortations. Doll stopped and appeared to be recalling similar scenes. 
The driver let out a half-rod of whip lash that shot in sinuous, snakelike 
coils and cracked immediately over her sensitive ears. She not only hesi- 
tated now, she balked stifl" with ears pinched flat, her distended nostrils 
blood red, a perfect fury. Had mother been struck it could not have incensed 
us children more. We popped up and down like mad Dervishes, and the yell 
of bloody murder passed down the line like water in a bucket brigade. 
Father was there before anything worse happened, and Doll was quickly and 
quietly led out of the traces and inside the barn. How the crew managed, 
I do not remember, we were too busy loving our outraged old bonnie to 
notice small matters. Once father drove her and a mate into Humbird, 
traded the mate for a great white Durham cow, Lily White, an imported 
animal that, refusing to breed, had been worked in the lumber camps with 
oxen, and came driving back with horse and cow hitched together. It 
must have been humiliating to Doll, but father required it of her, that was 

The Mattison home, to which we moved in 1872, adjoined the south 
side of the Arcadia burying ground, the house so near the line you could 
toss a pebble from the back door to the nearest graves. You could look 
through the window on the other side and occasionally see deer among the 
oak thickets of the barn yard. Once we shot a bear in the crotch of a tree 
over the path leading to the pasture, when we had discovered why the 
cows kept turning back at that point. At another time we saw Mrs. Bruin 
and two cubs taking their constitutional across a field, headed for Barn 
Bluff", upon whose sandy summit grew the earliest sweetest wind flowers. It 
was at this place we had a fearful siege of typhoid, every one being stricken 
except father and sister Kate, who maintains she underwent worse suffer- 
ing than the fever victims. No professional nurses on tap then. Dr. Lewis 
spent all his spare time assisting, but upon father fell the hardship of 
nursing night and day, napping occasionally in his chair between the 
rows of suft"erers. Worn out at last he was persuaded to lie down while 


Mr. and Mrs. Conant watched. To his horror upon awakening he discovered 
that through a mistake in the bottles I, who lay at death's door, had been 
given a spoonful of turpentine. I estabUshed my reputation then and 
there of being contrary by mending at once. Father brought us all through, 
bald-headed skeletons, but alive, thanks to his untiring care. 

Several families from the old Pennsylvania district came out and set- 
tled near. One woman brought a peck of peach pits. Father carefully 
cracked and planted his handful in boxes. Several sprouted and grew 
amazingly. He kept them in wooden tubs, moving them into the cellar the 
first two winters, when they became pot bound and were placed in the 
open ground. In the fall father dug up one side of the roots, weighted the 
trees to the ground, covering them with dirt, coarse litter and rails. After 
danger of frost in the spring they were straightened. In their fourth year 
they bore fruit. True, it had a decidedly vegetable flavor, but none the 
less home grown peaches. In much the same manner he grew our first 
grapes. He planted a small orchard of hardy apples, which thrived and 
bore when others thought it useless to try. His pear tree seemed always 
beckoning for succor. Like homesick women in a foreign land, it refused 
to bear. Its influence was so saddening that it was replaced by a more 
cheerful pioneer. We popped corn over its burning twigs, the only real, 
spirited, happy time of its existence. 

Two new names for the census taker were added here. 

We were moving less often now. We remained on the three hundred 
and sixty-acre Humbird farm, which now became our home, from 1877 
to 1881, nearly five years, perhaps because it took that much longer to 
overcome the desecrations of man. Nature had been lavish in her bestowal 
of beauty, but man apparently had worked with extraordinary ingenuity 
to upset her plans. What a place ! Dead cattle lying unburied in the barn- 
yard upon which great, gaunt, hairy hogs were eating, dead fowls under 
the perches, a new barn erected above the carcasses of several sheep, half 
the pickets fallen from the front fence, buildings unpainted, the windows 
of the big house stuffed with rags, worn out fields. Father put the full 
force of men and teams to clearing the premises. The dead were buried 
in a pit after covering them with lime. Tons and tons of fertilizer were 
hauled from the yards and stables to a worked-out forty, as level as the 
floor, but too poor to raise a row. He bought at a dollar a load all the 
manure at the Humbird livery stable, and how the neighbors laughed to 
see a man pay, actually pay, for manure. He grew a crop of clover knee 
deep on it and turned that back to the land. The neighbors shook their 
heads and called him crazy. You should have seen the crop of corn fol- 
lowing! Its like was never seen there before. On other depleted fields 
similarly treated the heavy-headed oats stood shoulder high. A lover of 
good stock he paid one hundred and fifty dollars for a Short-horn bull, an 
unheard of price in those days when cows and chickens were a much 
sUghted side issue. 

Fences were straightened, buildings painted, a great barn built with 
old-fashioned driveway between two immense mows. He flailed some 
grain with the jointed rod of long ago on that barn floor. And winter 


evenings, the horses and cattle watching from their stanchions, the sheep 
from their pens, we husked long ears of yellow corn there. Had I been 
gifted with the pen of a Whittier my snow bound might read as pregnant 
with Hfe as his, I sensed it all in a dumb ecstasy. 

Our land extending into two districts entitled us to entrance at both 
the town school at Humbird and the rural school at Houghtenberg. We 
took the full year of the former and the summer term of the latter, for 
father placed great faith in schooling. He helped us evenings. I cannot 
remember a home without its blackboard and night sessions. Father 
wished us to be teachers and ten of us fulfilled his desires. 

The instant you crossed the long puncheon bridge to the east you 
were in a forest of pines, and upon a carpet of pigeon vines and winter 
green. If it were spring the vines were fuU of puffy red berries, and you 
could hear the drumming partridge from every direction. Once at the 
bridge's approach a neighbor came face to face with a great shambling 
bear, as large as a two-year-old heifer. We often saw them in the slash- 
ings, where we gathered blueberries with wooden box rakes, and buckets 
of juicy blackberries. At dusk from the open country to the west came 
the prairie chickens' boom, "Man's a fool !" with its peculiar up and do%vn 
inflection. Such winters of snow! How the sleighbells jingled to and from 
school ! Fences completely hidden ! Doll and Dido, their breasts frost 
white, would come racing into the back yard from the clearing, the sled 
piled high with alder pole wood, icicles hanging to father's mustache, his 
nose white. Then mother would rush out with a pan of steaming dough- 
nuts to regale father while he rubbed the blood back into his nose and 
ears, and she stroked Doll's soft muzzle. 

Often he engaged strolling bands of Indians to cut wood and clear land. 
When they came to the house to engage hay for their ponies, an armful at 
a time, if invited in, as they usually were, at the risk of our catching 
undesirable things, they squatted about the stove in stolid silence except to 
answer a direct question in short guttural notes ; so unlike the musical tones 
used in their own language, when their high-pitched voices rose and fell 
like the wailing wind in the pine tops. And of course they begged. One 
old half-frozen squaw, so wrinkled she looked less than human, asked for 
milk. She held her mouth full for a moment, then fumbling in the front 
of her dirty blouse drew out a very young puppy that placed to her lips 
avidly sucked out the warmed milk. A young squaw, evidently the belle, 
had earl lobes stretched nearly to her shoulder from the weight of ear 
ornaments made up of dimes, half dimes, and quarters, amounting to at 
least five dollars, connected by silver rings. A very tall straight young 
buck, when asked his name, replied promptly, "Paul, P-A-U-L," proud of 
his schooling, and stalking across the room to the organ drummed "out 
with one hand, "Home, sweet home," a strange tune for a wandering Red 
man. At another time an old chief and his squaw arrived just as we had 
finished dinner. When asked they readily went to the table. Before seat- 
ing himself the chief reached the table's length to get a large dish of boiled 
Irish potatoes. He divided them with great exactness between his and the 
squaw's plates, adding first to one then to the other, then satisfied they 


were evenly filled, gave a grunt of contentment and finished the pile in 
no time. They seemed always like happy, irresponsible children. We 
destroyed an ideal existence when we took their lands. 

A rather perplexing thing happened once. It was during an exceed- 
ingly cold spell, boards snapping, snow squeaking under foot, the pump 
almost freezing between trips to the kitchen with water, windows furred 
thick with frost, when just at dark an Indian and a young squaw nearly 
overcome with cold stopped for the night. They were exceptionally clean. 
We had a bed in the wood house attic kept purposely to accommodate the 
many looking for work who passed up and down the railroad track that 
cut our farm and lay a few rods from the house. Instead of sending them 
to the barn we let them sleep in this attic, which was warmer. In the 
morning something the Indian said about his squaw that didn't seem to 
apply to the one with him caused father to ask, motioning to the two, 
"You married?" "By 'n bye," was the laconic answer, which left us to 
wonder about their ideas of white man morality. 

Our next move in 1881 to the George Dewey place, across the road 
from his shrewd Yankee brother. Uncle Dan Dewey, at Arcadia, was 
father's last investment in Wisconsin land. The house of three stories was 
not too large, for, during those years at Humbird, we had prospered in more 
than wealth. The stork had blessed our home with four visits, two of 
them a half hour apart. One room on the third flooi held long rows of 
rich yellow home made cheese, the rest were play rooms, where paper men 
and women and every description of animal, with some even beyond describ- 
ing, were manufactured as fast as the limited supply of scissors allowed. 
While we lived here farm institutes were held yearly in the old Mineral 
Springs Hotel. Father always attended, eager to get new ideas, admiring 
Governor Hoard, whether he talked dairying or broke the monotony of 
farm discussions by singing "Finnegan's Wake," or reciting the pathetic 
"Johnnie Kunkerpod." Most of the farmers took to dairying. Father did, 
and sold cream at so much an inch — a little more than enough to pay for 
the cows' salt now. You all remember how George Kelley used to fly around 
in the mud with his wild team gathering up cream for the creamery, and 
spilling it occasionally, too. Our place was rich and grew wonderful crops 
of corn and clover. We were near good schools. It was a pity to sell. 

The thirteenth baby was born here, the thirteenth day of June, 1884. 
Counting cribbage style the figures in the year make two more thirteens — 
an awful assemblage of that most unlucky number. Whether that was 
responsible for father's ankle being broken twice that year, each time by 
stumbhng mules, I can't say, but it did look as if bad luck had us by the 
collar to see father hobbling about on crutches the next March in a cold, 
drizzly rain, and Tom Barry pegging around on his wooden leg, using all 
his Irish wit to auction off the personal property. Mother, as usual doing 
her share, kept pots of boiling coft'ee and trays of ham sandwiches on hand 
to cheer the crowd. Yet every one felt it was a sad move. What wasn't 
sold was given away or packed in the freight car with the bees, Virgil's 
pup, the Shorthorn stock, the stallion Frank, old Doll's last grandchild and 
Doll, too, would have been there had not mother, misunderstanding father, 


caused her to be shot. Faithful old creature, it hurts yet to remember 
coming from school and rushing out to learn why she lay so still beside 
the fence, discover the bullet wound in the blood-stained star in her fore- 
head. I ought to think now, after all these years, that perhaps it was best, 
that it may have saved her a lingering, suffering death. I can't do it. I 
can't forgive the lack of gratitude for a dumb animal living for our comfort 
and profit, nor an unkindness to a child for whose being it is not responsible 
any more than my father could. 

Leaving the two married girls in April of 1885, we made that most 
unfortunate move into the Ozarks, mother and the ten children by passen- 
ger train. 

Space is too limited to tell you of the wild life there in the woods filled 
with flowers, nuts and fruits ; the raids of the Bald Knobbers and our 
constant fear, father being a northern man, he should suffer the resent- 
ment of these ignorant people, still bitter over the Civil War ; of a winter 
not as open as the natives vouched for, we with stock and no hay, how- 
father kept some of the cattle alive by feeding them great lengths of 
pickled side pork; of little Frank traded for land, starved to death by his 
owner, and father unable to save him. No space left to picture the lives 
of these mountain children, often four generations living in a single miser- 
able hovel, of the little log school house with its broken windows, dropped 
chinking, backless puncheon benches, ruled over by an asthmatic old teacher, 
who spent the noon hour smoking his pipe and his asthma over a fire in a 
hole in the ground; of the precipitate move, amounting almost to flight, 
away from these degrading social conditions to the open prairies of South 
Dakota, with its droughts, hail storms, cyclones — every force of nature 
turned against success, just at the outbreak of the Rosebud Indian Agency 
in 1891. 

Nor shall I offend my father's memory by dwelling with unnecessary 
words upon his last sad illness, the result of that Waushara injury, so 
patiently borne throughout the intense heat of the summer of 1901 ; the 
misunderstandings, apparently wrong medical treatments; his life need- 
lessly lost at the age of sixty-six. The big bays, the team 
he loved, carried him on the first relay back to the little cemetery at 
Arcadia in the beautiful Trempealeau Valley that had ever beckoned his 
return. In the lonely days that followed, how, by loving those creatures 
he had made his tender care, we tried to feel him near; not forgetting 
the King birds, that having built in the tool box of a cultivator, rather 
than cause them grief through the destruction of their home, he worked 
longer hours with one machine that the other might stand idle until the 
little birds could fly. Some comfort came at last, and I could feel, as he 
would wish, that he was but a little way ahead, beyond a turn in the road, 
at the summit of a hard climb, with dear faithful old Doll treking on. 

Galesville University. It was a pleasant May morning that a child 
stepped across the threshold of the assembly room in the old court house 
at Galesville. 

Rude wooden benches filled the main floor; the judge's desk was at 
the opposite end ; connected with this was a long narrow desk, inclosing a 


square space, with an entrance, middle front; within the inclosure a pine 

The few young people present sat at the long desk. Beside the table 
sat Samuel Fallows, a young man of brilliant promise, secured to take charge 
of instruction in the new institution. 

School had commenced the day before. There was a recitation in 
Latin. The professor turned to the child repeating the questions he had 
just asked of the class. His kindly manner brought reply, for every word 
had been indelibly impressed. 

He took the new books — National Fifth Reader, Davies' Arithmetic, 
Clark's English, and Andrew's and Stoddard's Latin Grammar — writing 
within her name and the date. May 18, 1859. 

That Latin Grammar, solid and hard, was quite unlike the modern 
"Easy Lessons," but the children sang the declensions and conjugations 
about their play and received no permanent injury, wondering at the greater 
difficulty experienced by those older. 

An accurate list of those attending the first term nas not been obtained. 
We have always recalled the number as sixteen. Of this number were Addie 
Marsh Kneeland and Geo. Gale, yet residing at Galesville. 

Those were the days of "flowing" sleeves, "low neck" and ample 
crinoline. The hair drooped low over the ears in "basket" braids, and 
twenty strands were announced as a triumph one morning. No bandeaux 
or jewels, but graceful sprays of wild flowers. They were pretty girls. 

Elvina Swift, later Mrs. Farrington of Mondovi, and Emma Clark 
(Mrs. R. A. Odell) were sweet singers, alto and soprano. Their voices, 
hushed long years ago, I can hear yet trilling the "Rain Upon the Roof." 

One beautiful autumn day in the second term, rooms having been made 
ready, we marched in a body the length of the village to the permanent 

One can remember many things with amusement. So has the world 
always looked back, as it will to the end of time. The jokes that pleased 
our grandfathers grace as new the pages of the latest college journals. 
Professor Fallows, questioned at the close of the first day, is said to have 
remarked : "We have done better than old Harvard at its beginning." 

Of Bishop Fallows we all know. In this year of 1912, strong and 
magnetic in humor or in pathos, he moves his audience as of old. The 
inspiration of such a personality was of more worth than many text books. 

The new country contained individuals rarely endowed in intellect and 
thoroughly trained. Shabby as to clothes, and roughened by the hard- 
ships of pioneering, they were, nevertheless, an able resource when there 
was need. 

Professor Kottinger, author of books in use in the schools of his native 
Switzerland, was most proficient in Hebrew, as well as several o^her 
languages, while his hands could draw rare harmony from piano or violin. 

Professor Cheney, of Middlebury, Vt., after driving a breaking team 
of oxen all day, could help many a student over the hard places, perfectly 
conversant with classic, science or mathematics. 

Meager as were the advantages, no one can estimate what they meant 


to the new country. Older men came to make good as best they might that 
the advance of civihzation should not find them wanting. That the child 
of ten should be classmates of the man of forty years was only example 
of the wide range that sought instruction. 

Numbers and influence were steadily increasing when the Civil War 
bade all stand still, and the boys hastened bravely to their country's defense. 

In later years, when the older colleges began to consider co-education, 
we realized upon what progressive ideas our training had been founded. 

We girls were always welcomed to the boys' ball games. Those who 
wished were privileged to take part in oration or debate. Fine courtesy 
toward each other prevailed. 

The Indian trails were well worn, their corn fields deserted at the com- 
ing of the white man yet well marked. The surroundings were not like those 
left in Eastern homes, but I can recall no expression of ill-natured com- 

The life record of many is already complete, and across its page has 
been written success. Light-hearted and happy, as youth ought to be, I 
think an unusual earnestness pervaded that htle band; upon them, the 
impress of responsibility, that they were in the making of a future for 
others, as well as directing their own lives. Over all, the spirit of the 
pioneer. — (Written at Durand, Wisconsin, Nov. 8, 1912, by Flora Luce 

Early Osseo. The site of the now busy and thriving village of Osseo 
was surveyed and platted Sept. 22, 1857, by a company, W. A. Woodward 
of the state of New York, C. R. Field and W. H. Thomas of Richland 
County, Wisconsin, and they commenced the improvements — W. H. Thomas 
and a company of men, including our first blacksmith. Dye Ellis. Mr. 
Thomas and family boarded at Green & Silkworth's Station until the barn 
was built, when they moved into it and used it for a dwelling until the 
hotel was erected. They then moved into the hotel, where they lived until 
Mr. Field and company arrived and took possession in 1859, at which time 
Mr. Thomas moved into his house, which had been completed at the same 
time as the hotel. 

The arrival of these new immigrants from Richland County took place 
October 14, the party consisting of the Hon. C. R. Field and family, J. D. 
Tracy and family, E. Hyslop and family, with a few young men and others, 
E. S. Hotchkiss, W. S. Hine, Freem Coats, and some others who did not 
come to stay. Mr. Thomas and crew had arrived in the fall of 1857. 

At the time the Field party arrived Osseo consisted of a few scattered 
buildings. The principal building was the hotel. Next in importance was 
the residence of W. H. Thomas. That house is now a part of the residence 
of Erick Nelson and stands west of Hume's blacksmith shop. A shanty 
occupied the present site of the Congregational church. Dye Ellis had 
erected the frame of what is now the dwelling of Mrs. Newman, and a 
little east of the frame stood his blacksmith shop. The shop consisted of 
a few pieces of jack pine trees arranged to form a forge with some kind 
of a cover over them, his anvil being outside. When Mr. Ellis got a job 
of work to do he went out into the pines and gathered pine knots and such- 


like material to make a fire of. Such was Osseo's first blacksmith shop and 

On our arrival there were probably only about half a dozen famiUes at 
the old Beef River Station of Green & Silkworth. About the same number 
were over in the South Valley, Jim King, from whom the creek takes its 
name ; H. G. Daniels and family, Jefferson Gorden and family and a young 
man, John Spaulding ; James Mclntyre and family, with whom were William 
and Mary Lindsay, brother and sister to Mrs. Mclntyre. William Henry 
had taken his first crop that summer of 1859, but did not build a home until 
1860. East of Osseo, on the farm now owned by James Crawford, Austin 
Ayers and family lived. On section 8, a little below the Linderman mill, 
Dennis Lawler lived for a time before taking up his later home. 

The postoffice (Sumner postoffice) was at the Beef River Station, 
owned by Green & Silkworth, with Mr. Silkworth as postmaster. The 
postoffice was in a barroom of the old log house, the letters being kept 
in a little box, or desk rather, where their account books were — a desk 
probably about eighteen inches or maybe two feet square, which anyone 
had access to. Beef River Station was on the stage road from Sparta and 
Black River Falls to Eau Claire and Menominee. Although we were few 
in number in those days there was lots of fun and amusement for all who 
wished to enjoy it. 

After the arrival of those immigrants there was a school meeting 
called to organize a school district, and it was voted to build a schoolhouse, 
so there were bids called for, R. C. Field and Mr. Silkworth being the only 
bidders. Their bids were $500 each and to get the contract Mr. Field prom- 
ised to put on a belfry without extra charge. 

At that time there was a small store kept in the house of W. H. 
Thomas and owned by him. In the other end of the house a Mrs. Bucklen, 
afterwards better known as Mrs. Barber, taught the first school in Osseo, 
a school of four scholars — two Lawler girls and Delia and Julia Thomas. 
After our arrival the next school was kept in the barroom of the station and 
taught by Ruth Griswold, who had arrived in our company from Rich- 
land County. Then there were a few new scholars. The next school was 
kept in that shanty spoken of and taught by Hattie Field, afterwards Mrs. 
E. S. Hotchkiss of Independence. 

At the time of building the school house in Osseo the school house in 
South Valley was built, Mr. Silkworth having the contract. The work was 
done by Mr. Smith, then of South Valley. 

In the summer of 1859 Mr. Field contracted to have a lot of marsh 
hay put up on what was then called the "big marsh," just beyond what is 
now called the Stillman farm. In the fall there was a prairie fire coming 
over from the west and to save that hay Mr. Field hired a lot of us to go 
down and fight the fire, which was done successfully. 

One day during the same fall, or it may have been winter, hay was 
needed at the hotel, so Stoddard Field hitched up "Buck" and "Booch," and 
another team of the same kind, and he and I went down to the big marsh 
for a load. He drew up alongside of a real nice stack or rick and I went 


onto the rick to fork the hay onto the load. I had not got much off before 
I went right down through. That nice rick of hay was quite hollow-hearted. 
for under a covering of hay there were two tamarack stumps, supportmg 
poles against which brush had been piled. Mr. Field had contracted with 
a man to put up twenty tons of hay on that marsh, and W. II. Thomas was 
to estimate the amount of hay in each stack, each to abide by his estimate. 
This particular stack had been highly estimated. "Billy" Hines says that 
man was a preacher and Mrs. Field says so, too. In those days there were 
more preachers than there was good preaching. 

I will relate another little true story of two or three years after. An 
Irishman came in to Osseo — Mike Murty by name. He had an ox team 
and the settlers needed hay. One day Mike came to me and asked me 
to go with him down onto what was called Lawler's Creek, where there 
was real nice marsh grass to cut for hay. So on Sunday we went down 
and cut hay. On a Sunday after we went and stacked it. In the fall, to save 
the hay from prairie fires, I went one Sunday and ploughed two furrows a 
little apart around the stack and then set fire between the furrows so as 
not to let it run over the prairie. When we had got almost around the fire 
leaped over our firebreak on the other side and into the stack of hay, which 
all went up in smoke. On Sunday, too! Well, some people will say, "So 
much for working on Sunday ;" but in pioneer days we had to do and work 
every way to make a living. As for Mike, that was about all the hay he 
had for winter fodder, and seemingly it almost broke his heart. I had a 
good deal of hay on other marshes, so I gave Mike a stack on one of them 
to help tide him over. He left Osseo and I never knew what became of him. 

In 1860 the Second National Republican Convention was held and 
men around Osseo were anxious to get the news of the convention. Mr. 
Field was an enthusiastic Seward man. Maybe partly because he was 
a New York man himself, and it seemed to be sure that Seward would be 
the man. In due time after the convention I went up to the postoffice to 
get the weekly newspaper. On coming back to Osseo I met Mr. Field. 
"Well, who's it?" said he. "Who do you think?" "Seward?" "No." 
"Chase?" "No." The others he named I do not remember. "Well, who 
is it?" "Lincoln." "Lincoln, Lincoln, Lincoln, who is Lincoln, anyway?" 
"Don't you remember Lincoln stumping the state of Illinois against 
Douglass two years ago?" "Oh, yes." And he went to get his paper to 
read the news of the convention. Although he did not get Seward, he 
did not go back on Lincoln. 

On the first call for troops there left three young men to walk all the 
way to Sparta to enlist. These three young men were F. N. Thomas, W. S. 
Hine and Hank Robbins. In my mind I can see them yet take the road. 
Road ? No, the wagon track. We had no roads in those days ; did not need 
them. Those men served Uncle Sam faithfully during the war, Mr. Thomas 
being sorely afflicted, Billy Hine coming back safe and Hank Robbins setthng 
in some part of the state east. 

In December, 1859, there occurred the birth of the first white child 
born in the village of Osseo. That child is now Mrs. Barbara Mclntyre, and 
she is here yet. True, they went to Seattle once to make a home, but on 


account of poor health there, or perhaps because they were too far from 
Osseo, they came back to stay. 

The old blacksmith, Mr. Ellis, was a character in his way — he and his 
old horse Jimmie. That old horse was the slowest horse that ever stood. 
Trot? No, he didn't know how. (Oh, now, Hyslop, be easy on old Jim. 
You must remember how you used to like to get him and the old cart when 
you wanted to take your family in a buggy riding over to the South Valley.) 
A whip was of little use, but he did not like a stick with a brick tied on the 
end of it. Ellis was a widower, I suppose, at least he lived by himself here 
at first. In about a year or two he had an addition to his household, a step- 
son, two daughters and a son coming to keep him company. 

I had bought a claim on land of C. R. Nelson, on the east half of 15. 
There were 15 acres broken on it, but I had no way of putting it into crop. 
Mr. Ellis had his horse, this old Jim, and another he had got some way, and 
his boy, Ruff. So I let the 15 acres to Mr. Ellis. He rigged up an old plow 
and sent Ruff to plow the land for the crop. But the plow would not work, 
or Ruff thought so. In fact he would rather that it would not. So he 
brought it down to the shop. Mr. Field had had before this a shop erected 
about where the furniture store now is. Mr. Ellis was busy working and 
poor Ruff had to take it. When he got the job done at which he had been 
at work: "Now we will just see whether that plow will work or not," took 
the team and plow onto the prairie on the south side ; he took hold of the 
plow and Ruff had to drive the team. It was probably the old man's 
emphatic and picturesque language that frightened the horses, but they 
went at it and that old plow did turn over a furrow or two. "That's as 
good a plow as ever God made," said he, so Ruff had to go back to his 

In those early days Mrs. Delia Field, then Delia Thomas, used to ride 
horseback up to the station and get the mail from the Sumner postoffice. 
One day the mare, who had a colt, got in too much of a hurry to see the 
colt, jumped over the fence or bars rather, with Delia on her back, but 
Delia kept her seat just the same. She was gritty in those days, though a 
young girl. 

Now why did we all come up here from Richland County? Well, just 
to see if we could find better openings. Variety is the one thing needful, 
and the way of the world generally always has been so and always will be. 
Probably another matter which had an influence was that there was a 
prospect of what is now the C, St. P., M. & 0. Railroad being built down 
Beef River Valley. But the projectors thought there was a better prospect 
for them to go further north and did so, leaving Osseo in the lurch. Then 
the Augustaites could lord it over Osseo and often laughed at us Osseoites. 
Oh, Osseo was nowhere, and the prospects were quite poor for a good many 
years. But they don't laugh quite so much nowadays, and we are all real 
good friends and neighbors. 

In Richland County there was no land to be got by the moneyless. 
But Uncle Sam had lots of land up this way that he was anxious to give — 
no, not quite give yet, for the homestead bill did not pass until 1862 — but 
he was anxious to dispose of it ; so land was some inducement, too. Oh yes, 


there was land to be had, nothing but land, save that already taken up by 
the few scattered settlers, and, oh, there was water. Yes it was a well- 
watered country. One Sunday I went over the ridge and down onto Elk 
Creek to look for land. Yes, the land was there and nothing else. For 
the time being I was monarch of all I surveyed, but I believe there was some 
one away down near Elk Creek who would dispute with me the monarchy. 
That was too far from Osseo, so I came back and let Mr. Hale have it all. 
In course of time the Norwegians and other Scandinavians began to arrive 
and take up* the land. 

In 1861 two men came to Osseo from Eau Claire with the purpose of 
building a mill. They located the site of the proposed mill below the forks 
of the river, near where the railroad crosses it, but had some trouble get- 
ting the right of water-power from the owners of the land — the state land, 
I think — and before that could be accomplished the war started and they 
packed up their tools and took themselves back to Eau Claire. That put 
an end to the building of a mill in Osseo until 1867, when it was started 
again by W. L. Fuller, a miller fi-om Black River Falls, W. H. Thomas and 
E. S. Hotchkiss going in as partners, the mill being that now owned by 
Lee & Sons. In 1873 and 1874, I think, the Linderman mill was built by 
J. L. Linderman of Eau Claire and E. S. Hotchkiss. 

In 1861 I had built a house for myself and family on the lots now 
owned, I believe, by H. P. Williams, formerly the Gates property. In 1863 
I got up a bee of ox teams and moved it onto my then claim on section 15. 
I presume it is still there and used as a dwelling. We had quite a time 
taking it up onto the prairie, on the way from the bridge and up the side, 
breaking two or three neck yokes. The first house erected in Osseo after 
our arrival was the front part of the house now owned by Ellis Johnson 
and then owned by Mr. Field ; that was built in 1860. All timber for build- 
ings had to be sawed out of jack pines. I have my old saw now. I wish 
some of those carpenters would buy it and go to work again. 

The first garden on Osseo was on the block now owned by Messrs. 
Harris and Smith, where Mr. Field had his garden in 1860, and where it 
was supposed he would build his residence. But "the best laid schemes of 
mice and men gang aft agley," so instead of building in Osseo he built on 
the farm. In 1866 Thomas Love and family arrived from California, where 
he and his newly wedded wife went to from New York in 1853, during the 
golden days of California. He built that part of the house now owned 
by E. Remington, where Mr. Carpenter now lives. 

In 1865 and 1866 the postofiice was moved from the Beef River Station 
to Osseo and the name changed from Sumner postoffice to Osseo, with, I 
think, W. H. Thomas as postmaster. The stage then came down on the 
south side through Osseo to Eau Claire, the road, or track rather, being over 
the high land of Olson farm on over the ridge to Otter Creek and on to 

In one of those early years A. B. Ayers moved from the farm now 
owned by J. Crawford and started a store in the building now owned by 
Frank Smith, on the corner by the big tree, afterwards building the house 


now owned by Mr. Nessa. He afterwards built a shoe shop near where 
the livery barn is, and Mr. Shurtleff moved into it as shoemaker. 

In 1861, I think, R. C. Field donated one acre of land on what is now 
cemetery hill for a cemetery, and that, with other land acquired by pur- 
chase, now comprises the Osseo cemetery. It was Dr. Dickie, who died 
while living with his stepson, John Spaulding, in South Valley, on what 
used to be the WiUiam Anderson farm, who was the first to be interred in 
the cemetery. I made the coffin and W. H. Thomas and I took it over there 
on the day of the funeral. The room was so constructed that the coffin 
had to be put in at the window and the remains taken out the same way. 
You will see that we had no undertakers and fine caskets in which to lay 
the dead away. 

As for the roads in those days, they were anywhere, and as for 
bridges, if we had good corduroy bridges, that was enough. Oh no, no 
steel bridges, and only corduroy roads now and then. And pasture for 
the flock, that was everywhere — north, south, east and west! the great 
thing was to find the cows at night, when they failed to come up. Many 
had to search all over for miles around. 

Now we will do a little breaking up of land. On Mr. Field's arrival 
in Osseo he had a number of yokes of cattle. Those, or at least part of 
them, he disposed of to men to do breaking ; that helped men to own cattle 
and him to get his breaking done on section 16. If I remember right, I 
think the bouts of breaking were about a mile long, so there was not so 
much turning. The land being all what was called grub land, there was a 
good deal of grubbing to do, the grubs being used for firewood. The first 
breaking of land in what is now called Tracy Valley was done by the writer 
on what is now the Yarnall farm on section 20, near that fine spring of 
water near the south section line. Being a carpenter, I gave two days' 
work for an acre of breaking, Mr. Mclntyre getting ten acres broken for 
me in that way; John R. Brown, then of Thompson Valley, another ten — 
twenty in all, I stopping there and doing the grubbing when necessary and 
serving the victuals which my wife brought over from Osseo every day. 
That breaking was done in 1861. 

About that time A. D. Tracy got what is now the Paul Christopherson 
farm, bought in on a tax deed from, I think, William Silkworth, if I am not 
mistaken, the price for the quarter section being $50. 

Here is a little incident that has just come to my memory. John Wells' 
father had come on a visit, while, I think, John was still working for Mr. 
Field. One day he was sitting in the store then owned by Thomas & 
Hotchkiss, writing a letter, and while writing was talking politics. I 
remember that I stood looking at him talking pohtics and writing a letter, 
too. This talk was to the effect that every American citizen should vote 
one way or another, for or against a candidate. 

In speaking of building operations, just think of a carpenter going 
out into the jack plains and cutting down trees to be hewed by hand for 
barns or houses, and then of lumber and siding all to be dressed by hand, 
and the doors and sashes made by hand, as we had to do in those days. 

In 1859 David Chase at the Twelve-mile-settlement was having a barn 


built. There not being enough men in the settlement to raise the barn — 
an old-fashioned timber frame barn — Mr. Field took a few of us from 
Osseo to help raise it, which was done successfully. Mr. Chase afterwards 
enlisted in the Civil War and was killed, I believe, by a cannon ball taking 
off his head. A real fine man was David Chase, who among thousands 
gave his life to save the Union of the United States. 

After the organization of the town of Sumner the voters at the settle- 
ment had come to Osseo to vote. At a town meeting the men of the settle- 
ment asserted their right to share in the town meeting, which was fair. 
So in, I forget what year, a vote was taken, the west town meeting in the 
school house at the settlement, and carried. Accordingly, in either 1862 
or 1863, the town meeting was held at the settlement. All went off well, 
though the proceedings were rather monotonous, there being so few voters, 
until the annual business meeting was called, when a quarrel arose between 
two men about, I think, some road work. From words they came to blows 
in the school house, but were ordered outside. So they went at it there. 
These two men were Sam Brown and a Mr. Davis, both quarrelsome men. 
Davis afterwards was sent to the penitentiary for killing a man. Brown 
got Davis down and was trying to put his eyes out when Mr. Thomas 
stopped that. So both got up and Davis acknowledged that Brown was 
the better man. That was the first and last fight I ever saw at a town 

How many of those "old timers," previously mentioned, are still left? 
Mr. Henry and Mr. Lawler, who were here ahead of us, have both recently 
passed over. Mrs. Delia Field and Mrs. Julia Shores, who were then little 
girls playing around, are still with us, and long, long may they remain. 
(They came to these parts in the fall of 1857.) Of our com- 
pany from Richland County there are Mr. and Mrs. E. S. Hotchkiss, of 
Independence; Stoddard Field, of Osseo, and Mrs. P. J. Linderman and 
Mrs. Nettie Jones, of the Tracy family; E. Hyslop, one son Robert, Mrs. 
Mclntyre increasing the family that,, winter; Billy Hine, of Bellevue, and 
James Mclntyre, who was then a little boy. So far as I can remember, 
all the rest have gone to the great beyond. Such is hfe. For a few years 
Mr. Lawler, Mr. Henry and E. Hyslop were the three oldest settlers, being 
all over 80 years. The two former are gone and I am left, for how long, 
who knows? Being now in my eighty-fifth year my time will necessarily 
be short. 

"Oh Death ! the poor man's dearest friend. 

The kindest and the best. 
Welcome the time my aged limbs 
Are laid with thee at rest." 

— (By E. Hyslop in the Osseo News, Jan. 29 and Feb. 5, 1914. 

The Olson Lynching. Hans Jacob Olson was lynched at his home about 
three miles from Blair on the night of Nov. 24, 1889. Olson, on June 8, 1885, 
was convicted of setting fire to the building of B. K. Strand, a Blair mer- 
chant, on Dec. 29, 1883, by loading a stump with blasting powder, the stump 
being afterward conveyed to Mr. Strand, who put it in his stove, where it 


exploded. Rumor had it that Olson did not take the stump to the mer- 
chant's woodpile personally, but furnished it at the request of another 
person and left it at a place agreed. Olson was sentenced to five years in 
State's Prison. He was released in the spring of 1889 and almost imme- 
diately, upon the testimony of his wife and son, was put under bonds to 
keep the peace. Unable to furnish bonds he was sent to jail, where he 
served some six months. The term expired in November. Of the events 
which followed, it has been said : 

"The hanging took place at his home on the 24th day of November, 
1889. He lived in a small log house and a few feet from one of the windows 
was a burr oak tree with a branch sticking out from the tree almost hori- 
zontal, and on this tree he was hung. The day was Sunday and word had 
been quietly given out in the neighborhood for the people to come to a 
certain place near Charles Johnson's farm where there was a vacant house 
at that time. The place of meeting was about one mile from Olson's house. 
Charles Johnson was the instigator and leader, and had encouraged the 
men who went with him by telling them that if they could get together a 
mob of forty or sixty men, that no jury would ever be found to convict 
them. Most of the men who followed Johnson had the idea that the pur- 
pose was to drive Olson out of the country, but Johnson probably knew 
what would be the result from the beginning, for at this vacant house 
they provided themselves with two ropes, one a heavy well rope and the 
other a smaller rope, probably taken for the purpose of tying him, as they 
knew Olson to be a man of extraordinary strength and a very determined 
man. At the place that the mob met, a son of Olson's met with them, and 
after going within sixty rods of the house the mob sent Olson's son to 
reconnoiter. He went to the house and found his father asleep and came 
back and reported the fact to the mob. The mob went to the house and 
I think four men went in and took him from the bed and called him out 
under this tree. He refused to go and they put the rope around his neck 
and pulled him up, held him a short time suspended, then let him down and 
renewed their demand. Then they strung him up again, this time keeping 
him suspended so long that when they let him down they found he was 
not able to stand, so they carried him into the house, laid him on the 
floor until he revived. Someone in the crowd asked his wife what they 
should do with him and she told them to take him away. They then took 
him out in front of the house barefooted on the frozen ground, and asked 
him to leave the country. His reply was this: 'This is my home, and I 
will not leave it till God takes me away.' He was then strung up the third 
time and left hanging until morning. During the whole time he never 
resisted. His strength was such that probably no two or three men, or 
even more, would have been able to handle him had he made resistance. 
Whether his courage was moral courage or simply animal courage, it is 
difficult to say, but certainly the courage shown was of the highest kind 
in its class. After the hanging the mob dispersed, with the exception of 
two members who remained all night with the wife and children and to 
screen the window so that the corpse would not be visible, the woman hung 
up a blanket, and twice during the night made coffee for the men who 


stayed. Early the next day an inquest jury was summoned, and Charles 
Johnson was foreman of that jury, and the decision of the jury was that 
Olson had come to his death by hanging by persons unknown to the jury. 

"The same day the district attorney issued a warrant for the arrest 
of Johnson and some thirty others on the charge of riot. Johnson went 
to the district attorney's home at midnight and made dire threats, but in 
spite of this, warrants were issued charging Johnson, the widow, the son, 
and a neighbor with murder. Charles Johnson, Bertha M. Olson (widow), 
Ole J. Hanson (son) , and Ole J. Sletto were convicted of murder in the first 
degree and sentenced to life. More than fifty others who took part were 
convicted of riot. Most of them paid their fines. All four were pardoned 
by Governor Peck after having been in prison for something over five years. 
The people who took part in this killing were most, if not all, good, peaceable, 
law-abiding citizens, and some were men of excellent character. Mr. 
Johnson, who was the leader, claimed to be afraid of Olson — afraid that 
he would burn his pi'operty or injure his family. Johnson was a man of 
acute intelligence, had been chairman of his town several times, was presi- 
dent of a Farmers' Trading Association, and in fact a leader in all municipal 
affairs in his neighborhood. Johnson, after his return from prison, stayed 
in and about Blair for several years." 

Winnebago Festivities. The festivities among the Dakotas and Winne- 
bagoes consist of dancing, singing, feasting and speech-making, and are 
held several times a year. 

The peace jubilee, or autumn festival, is celebrated by the Winnebagoes 
after the cranberry season is over, usually some time in October. This 
jubilee includes the "medicine" or "magic" dance. Invitations are sent 
out four days before the dance, and an immense tepee is erected on the 
ground where the celebration is to be held. This structure is about 110 
feet long and 12 feet wide, and is covered with boughs and canvas. The 
invited guests are each supposed to make a present of four blankets to the 
person getting up the entertainment. On the evening of the pow-wow 
the Indians assemble, and after building large fires, start the celebration 
with a chant. Then the young squaws and bucks begin the dance, and the 
tum-tum is kept going continuously, all night long. As the enthusiasm 
kindles, the older Indians join in, and finally the children. The surging 
mass of dusty humanity grows hilarious, and shouts and songs ring through 
the air while the tum-tum beats its savage music until the very lodge poles 
seem to dance. In the glare of the great fire, the scene grows weird, and the 
forms look more hideous, the faces grow inhuman and shrieks stab the 
night air. The demons of the night, as it were, are turned loose, and in 
their frenzy slaughter the peaceful harmonies that brood in the darkness 
over the streams and forests. A feast is prepared and when the guests 
are hungry and weary of the dance they assemble in circles and enjoy the 
soup and meat that is placed in big bowls before them. Day dawns, but 
the dance goes on, and the feasting continues, and not until another night 
does the ceremony end. 

One of the Indians is made a medicine man during the jubilee. The 
secret work of conferring the degree on the candidate has been handed 


down through the ages. After being initiated, the candidate makes a 
speech, and thereafter is a full-fledged member of the secret society. 

When the entertainment breaks up, the person makes each guest a 
pi'esent of a blanket, and keeps the rest for himself. 

The buffalo dance is the source of a great deal of amusement among the 
Winnebago Indians. The place is chosen and the tepee is erected and cov- 
ered the same as in the medicine dance. Each one who participates is 
dressed to imitate a buffalo and then they gather on the grounds, build fires 
and wait for the herd to make its appearance. 

A bowl is put in a hole in the ground and filled with maple sugar and 
syrup. The old buffalo leader comes out and is followed by the herd, con- 
sisting of calves and young and full grown bisons. The tum-tum begins 
and the dance is on. Around the maple sugar bowl they swarm and shout 
and sing and bellow. The old buffalo leader stoops down and sticks his head 
in the bowl and eats — then he gives way and the rest follow — they keep 
on dancing and eating until the sugar is all gone. Then the great fun 
begins. The old buffalo must hook the bowl out of the ground without 
using his hands. If he is unable to do this he is the laughing stock of the 
whole crowd the rest of the night, but he generally manages to hook the 
bowl out after a great deal of hard work on his part and a continuous roar 
of laughing and shouting from the participants and assembled guests. 
When his task is accomplished all join in a feast and then smoke, and lie 
around until morning. 

Scotch Settlers of Glasgow and Decorah Prairie. The early Scotch 
settlers who founded the settlement known as Glasgow — the postoffice so 
named because the people were mostly Scotch — came as a rule from the 
mining districts of Scotland to follow the occupation of mining in this 
country. Wages in Scotland were low and the coal pi'etty well mined in 
many of the old localities, so they set out for America to improve their 
condition, settling in Maryland, Kentucky and other States where coal is 
mined. After saving money and hearing of homestead lands awaiting 
settlement in Wisconsin and other Western States, they came farther West 
and, locating in Trempealeau County, proceeded to open up to civilization 
a new country, much as others under similar circumstances had done, until 
success came their way. Their farming methods at first were crude, and 
for years they suffered the hardships incident to pioneer life, but with 
Scotch tenacity they stuck to the work until they had established com- 
fortable homes and were deriving a good living from the soil. The early 
settlers of Glasgow were James Hardie, Richard Bibby, John Bibby, Joshua 
Bibby, Peter Faulds, Andrew Gatherer, John McMillan, and also the 
parents of the McMillans — these with their wives formed the little Scotch 
settlement of Glasgow at its origin. They were nearly all related, Mrs. 
James Hardie's maiden name being Margaret Bibby — a sister of the three 
men named above. Mrs. Richard Bibby was Mary Faulds, a daughter of 
Peter and Mary Faulds. Mrs. John Bibby was Mary McMillan, a sister of 
John and Niel McMillan. Mrs. Joshua Bibby had no blood relations in 
America at that time ; all were left in Scotland. It is no wonder she often 
used to sigh for the old home across the sea, and to sing, "0, why left I 


my hame," when memories proved too strong; but that was just for a 
time. She loved America the best at last. The Gatherers were related 
to the Faulds. The McMillans were natives of the Highlands of Scotland, 
while the others came from Lanarkshire or thereabouts. All were devoted 
Presbyterians and all worshiped God on the Sabbath. No matter how 
hard they worked through the week nor how much remained to be done, all 
work was dropped on Saturday night ; the Bible was read and prayers said, 
as described by Burns in "The Cotter's Saturday Night." Sabbath school 
was held in the schoolhouse every Sabbath, Richard Bibby or Joshua Bibby 
taking charge. Before the Presbyterian church at North Bend was built, 
of which later they were all members, services were held in the schoolhouse, 
a pastor from Galesville filhng the pulpit. Visiting among themselves 
was practically all the amusement there was in those days. Quiltings were 
favorite pastimes for the women, and were profitable as well as pleasant, as 
the quilts were, as a rule, always needed. The late Joshua Bibby, the 
youngest man in the colony, and a half-brother of Richard and John Bibby 
— the elder Bibby being married twice — was a lover of music and poetry, 
and a great reader. He used to read and recite Burns, was a member of 
the Burns Club, and loved a game of "curling" on the ice — an old Scotch 
game. He was a genial, winning man. who radiated good cheer wherever 
he went. The others took little interest in Burns and rarely attended Burns 

Alexander Vallens was another old Scotch settler whose name must not 
be omitted. He, with his good wife, occupied the farm adjoining Joshua 
Bibby's. "Sandy" was a hot-tempered, although kindly man, whose "dour" 
disposition and queer ways led him to leave his farm and go back to Scot- 
land, never to return. He refused for some reason to pay his taxes, and 
the result was too much for his sense of right — hence his decision. All 
these farms join and form one continuous whole. 

The Decorah Prairie settlers were mostly from the mining districts of 
Scotland, also, having left fheir native land for the same reasons that 
influenced those of the Glasgow settlement — to improve their condition as 
miners, but eventually drifting father West and settling on homesteads. 
Among the first to settle there were James Sampson, John Davidson, 
Thomas Hunter, Robert Oliver, William Dick, David Cook, Duncan Grant, 
Robert Grant, Collins Irving, Robert Sommerville and Robert Oliver, a 
relative of the one above mentioned. Decorah Prairie is fine farming land, 
and these hardy Scots waxed prosperous thereon. They built even in the 
early days handsome homes, and all were, as a rule, well-to-do. They were, 
as a class, genial and fond of company. Dances amused them often, many 
being musicians of no mean ability, so an orchestra could be extemporized 
on the spot. The Scotch songs were sung at all their merry-makings with 
a vim and heartiness that showed they came from the heart. The good 
old Scotch brogue was there in abundance, and no one was ashamed of it 
either, God bless them. The Galesville Burns Club originated with them, 
and to these good old Scotch folk belongs the honor of it for all time. Of 
course the years have improved it, as most good things improve with time, 
but in the midst of it in all its glory let us not forget those old Scots who 


founded it in the early days and did their best to keep aUve the memory 
of Robert Burns, the much loved poet of dear old Scotland. — (By Jemima 

Wessel Lowe and his wife, accompanied by their three sons, William, 
Ira and Rufus, left the State of New York in April, 1853, and migrated 
to Belvidere, 111. The following summer was spent in that locality, the 
two younger sons dying before winter. Before the next spring they moved 
north to Brooklyn, Green Lake County, Wis., where they lived until the 
spring of 1856. In company with a friend, Herman Snyder, Wessel Lowe 
set out afoot for Trempealeau County and reached the town of Preston 
in April, 1856, his wife and son William following in October with an 
ox-team, a cow and calf, some meat and flour. The first year the family 
lived in Preston. They broke ten acres and sowed to wheat, buckwheat, 
corn and potatoes. This was cut with a cradle, hauled together with an 
ox-team, and threshed with a flail. A fanning mill from near the east 
county line was hired to separate the grain from the chaff. William Van 
Sickle and Cyrus Hine settled in the town of Preston about the same time. 
The first town meeting was held in Reynold's log house, less than 20 
votes being cast. The following is a list of voters : Henry Lake, Chester 
Beswick, Simon Rice, John Hopkins, Robert Thompson, Henry Sheppard, 
Jacob and Peter Tenneson, Nels Halvorsen, Burch Olson, GuUick Olson, 

Knudt Storley, Ed Weeks, Stearns, Wessel Lowe, Cyrus Hine, 

Ebenezer Thurston and Herman Snyder. Money hired in those days cost 
50 per cent in interest. A later reduction to 20 per cent was hailed with 
great rejoicing, though the debtor was obliged to work it out at the rate 
of 75 cents per day. After the War of the Rebellion broke out the son 
Wifliam enlisted and from the meager salary of $13 a month paid the 
debt of $150 and saved the homestead. Galesville, Black River Falls, 
Squaw Creek and Sechlerville were the nearest milling places. Mail was 
gotten at Black River Falls. Later a postoffice known as South Bend 
was located on what is now Paul Thompson's farm. All mail during the 
Civil War to these parts was directed to South Bend, Trempealeau County, 
Wis. This postofiice remained here until the building of the Green Bay 
Railroad in 1873. After the war, in the winter of 1865-66, Wilham Lowe 
hauled lumber from the sawmill at Merrilan and the East Fork of Black 
River, called Mead's Mill, with an ox-team, and began preparations for the 
building of the new home in 1866. This house is still standing on the old 
farm now owned by Hans C. Johnson of Preston. Game was plentiful in 
those days and deer were often shot from the windows of the home with- 
out the exertion or pleasure of "going hunting." Grandfather died in 
October, 1905. Father Lowe is still living and makes his home with his son 
Ward near Blair. Grandmother Lowe died in October, 1891. — (By Mr. and 
Mrs. F. W. Lowe.) 

James N. Hunter, many years connected with the county board, has 
many an interesting story to relate of life in the vicinity of Independence 
in the early days. 

An especially interesing story is that of tht Indian scare. Little 
Beaver, one summer in the early seventies, was camped with a large num- 


ber of his Winnebagos near the mouth of Elk Creek, and aside from the 
carousals which they held among themselves and their habit of begging 
they gave little trouble. 

But one day a well known character of those times came to his home 
with a companion, both somewhat under the influence of intoxicants, and 
exhibited a badly cut head, with the story that the Indians had attacked 
and tried to scalp him. 

With the Massacre of 1862 still fresh in their minds, some of the citi- 
zens wished to attack the camp and exterminate the Indians at once with- 
out warning. But wiser advice prevailed and it was decided to first inves- 
tigate the matter. 

Little Beaver met the accusation with a request to see the men so 
savagely attacked, and further inquiry brought to light that the two men 
had not even seen the Indians, but that the wounded man's cuts were 
received from falling into a grain cradle. 

Another favorite story of Mr. Hunter's has to do with early days at 
New City. Fugina's tavern was then the gathering place of many a 
roisterer, and also of many a Polish farmer who came here to take his joys 
more quietly, and to talk over affairs in their native land. 

One day the fun was waxing furious, when the men on mischief bent, 
took some dry goods that were hanging on a line in Fugina's store. The 
Polish people informed Mr. Fugina, and a race riot ensued. One of the 
men even fired shots into the crowd from outside the window, injuring 
one of the participants in the affair. 

Order was finaly restored and wholesale arrests were made. The 
hearing was held one winter night at the Cripps school house, before 
George W. Parsons, a justice of the peace. The prisoners were defended 
by G. Y. Freeman of Galesville, while Edward Lees of Buffalo County 
looked after Mr. Fugina's interests. A number of the prisoners were bound 
over, but were later acquitted by the Circuit Court. 

So interested had the spectators become in the trial that they had 
not observed the heavily falling snow, and when they started home after 
midnight they had to find their way to their distant homes through snow 
which was above their knees. 

George H. Markham is one of the oldest settlers in Trempealeau 
County. He came to Independence with the Markham party in 1856, and 
has since continued to take an active part in local affairs. His diary is 
replete with interesting incidents of the early days, and his memory of 
those far-distant times is most vivid. 

The family, then consisting of John Markham and wife and two sons, 
George H. and Arthur A., accompanied by Walter Maule, a retainer, and 
Charles F. D. Lyne, the tutor of the two sons, came to America in 1856, 
embarking from Southampton. In originally planning their trip they 
had purposed going to Canada, but had changed their destination upon 
the advice of Rev. William Davis, whom members of the family had met 
in France. 

They landed in New York, went to Chicago by rail, thence to Mil- 
waukee by boat, thence to Watertown by train, and from there to Columbus 


by stage. At Columbus they were joined by Mr. Davis. There also they 
were met by David Wood, who offered to guide them to Trempealeau 
Valley, where homesteads were awaiting. 

Consequently, leaving John Markham and his wife and Arthur A. 
Markham at Columbus, the remainder of the party, consisting of George 
H. Markham, Walter Maule, Charles F. D. E. Line, William Davis, Mrs. 
Davis and two children, started out to seek a new home, guided by David 
Wood, still a resident of the county. The trip, which was made with an 
ox team, was filled with interesting adventures. Through Portage, Mauston 
and Sparta they found their way to Billings Ferry, over the Black River, 
passing near the present site of the city of Melrose, and thence entering the 
Trempealeau Valley near the present site of Blair. The first settler encoun- 
tered in the valley was WiUiam Thompson. The first night in the valley was 
spent at the home of Edmond Reynolds. A short stop was made at the 
home of Alvah Wood, where David Wood remained. They found a poor 
bridge across Pigeon Creek, and continued on to Hiram Stratton's, where a 
short stop was made. Stratton accompanied them down the valley to the 
mouth of Elk Creek, and assisted them in selecting a location. He also 
assisted them in procuring some poplar logs near his place, and with these 
logs they erected a cabin, 24 by 24, a few hundred feet south of what has 
since been known as the Markham or English castle. A shed for the cattle 
was built of poles thatched over with marsh grass. Some marsh grass was 
also cut for the use of the cattle. 

The remainder of the month of October soon passed, and before long 
came the famous winter of the deep snow. Miles from the nearest habita- 
tion, unaccustomed to the rigors of pioneer life, and with only the crudest 
of equipment, the little party spent the long hard winter. Both oxen 
died as a result of the poor food and inclement weather. The people them- 
selves would have perished had it not been for two trips which George 
Markham took to Black River Falls with a hand sled. On one of these 
trips, when the snow was four feet deep, he stopped at the home of Gullick 
Olson, near the present town of Blair, obtained there a pair of snow shoes, 
and within a short time learned their use. 

Mr. Markham remembers distinctly those settlers living along the 
Trempealeau River between Independence and the Jackson County line 
with whom he was acquainted. First came the home of Elder Moses 
Ingalls and his two sons, Francis W. and Moses D. They were south of 
the river. North of the river not far away was Hiram Stratton. Above 
the present village of Whitehall was Alvah Wood south of the river, then 
came William Van Sickle, Ed. Weeks, Cyrus Hines, John Debow and Wessel 
Lowe north of the river, and then John Hopkins, Simon S. Rice, Henry Lake, 
Herman Snyder, Chester Beswick, John B. Dunning, Edmond M. Reynolds, 
WiUiam Welch and Gullick Olson, all south of the river. Ebenezer Thurs- 
ton was north of the river. Then came Robert Thompson and Severt John- 
son south of the river. Messrs. Stirling and Culver were north of the river 
over the line in Jackson County. 

To this list David Wood, who accompanied Mr. Markham on his first 
trip to the county, has made a number of interesting additions. The Ingalls 


family, Hiram Stratton and brother Albert, and Alvah Wood, father of 
David, settled in what is now Lincoln in 1856. 

Of those in what is now Preston Mr. Wood believes Sivert Johnson to 
have been the first in 1854, followed in 1855 by Gullick Olson, Lars Olson 
Bjorgo Olson, Sigbjurne Ellickson, Peder Pederson, Gullick A. Storlee, 
Bengt Danielson, Nels Halverson and Jacob Tenneson. 

Ebenezer Thurston, Robert Thompson, Edmond M. Reynolds, John B. 
Dunning, Henry Lake, Simon S. Rice and John Hopkins, with his sixteen- 
year-old son James, arrived in 1855, and Wessel Lowe, Herman Snyder, 
Chester Beswick and probably William Welch came in 1856. 

Others who took land in 1855 and became residents here were William 
A. Conger, Hiram Walker, Isander P. Armstrong, George W. Malory 
and Richard Porter, the last named of whom died a short time after his 

While the little Markham colony was spending the winter of 1856-57 
at Independence, John Markham and his wife and son Arthur A. had 
moved to Black River Falls. In the spring they hired a team there and 
started for their new location. They were met at Stirling's, near the 
county line, by George H. Markham. Near the Culver home, with the 
assistance of Culver, they built a raft and thus made their way down the 
Trempealeau River to the mouth of Elk Creek. The next summer was spent 
in breaking the land, but no crops were raised except vegetables. 

Settlers came in but slowly. In the summer of 1857 Giles Cripps and 
family arrived and settled three miles up Elk Creek, the first settlers in 
that valley. No more settlers arrived that year. 

In 1858, George Hale, accompanied by a friend, arrived at the Mark- 
ham home on April 30. On their trip up the river they had lost their guns. 
The Markhams took them ten miles down the river in boats and they 
recovered the missing firearms. In the fall George Hale brought his 
mother and located nine miles up the valley, being the first settler in the 
township which now bears his name. It was this year that George H. 
Markham and Charles F. D. Lyne blazed the first trail between Indepen- 
dence and Arcadia along practically the route of the present wagon road, 
the trip being made for the purpose of allowing Mr. Markham to cast his 
first vote. The river and creeks were swollen and had to be crossed in 
several places. In order to accomplish the passage it was necessary to 
construct temporary bridges across which the oxen were led and across 
which the wagon was carried after being taken apart. 

In 1859 came David Watson, who settled still further up the valley 
near the present site of Pleasantville. In 1860 came a great influx of 

Of these first settlers John Markham and his wife died here and are 
here laid to rest. George H. and Arthur Markham have since continued 
to live here. Charles F. D. Lyne first took a claim nearby, then left for 
Missouri and for many years was assistant rector of St. Joseph's Parish, 
St. Joseph, in that State. Walter Maule never married. He took a claim 
near the mouth of the cooley which has since borne his name, and spent 


the rest of his life here. He died in 1898 and is here laid to rest. His 
brother George is still here. 

Giles Cripps died here and is here buried. George Hale moved to Car- 
rington, N. D. David Watson stayed a dozen years or so and then went 
to Michigan. 

Before the war there was a large settlement in Burnside Town- 
ship. Peter Sura and Lawrence Bautch, the first of the Polish people, 
arrived, and soon influenced many of their countrymen to settle in the 
same locality. About the same time came George Parsons, Talcott Moore, 
James Reid, John Reid, Reuben Meggs, George Meggs, William Cramer, 
Hamlet Warring, Dr. James Kelly and his two sons, John and James, 
Lowell Fay and his two sons, Henry and Aaron, Thomas Bennett, George 
Bach, D. C. Cilley, H. W. Rumsey, H. P. Rumsey, E. A. Bently, Michael 
White, George Bartlett, Robert Brookings, William Nichols and others 
and obtained farms. 

Alfred and Harrison Rogers, and Abraham and Samuel Coy, settled 
near New City, and up Travis Valley settled Dr. Joshua Travis, an Indian 
herb doctor ; Jessie Kidder, Lovell Kidder, Albert Spaulding, Elias Spauld- 

ing, Frank and L. D. Tubbs, Theodore Hutchins, John Raymond and 

Vance with his two sons, Irving and Washington. There also lived Elder 
Isaac Hickey, of the Mormon faith, around whom was gathered a scattered 
settlement of his own belief. 

Martin Borst, an early settler in the Borst Valley, soon acquired a 
large tract of some 1,600 acres of the best land in that valley. 

A. D. Tracy is one of the pioneers whose name is preserved among 
the place-names of the county, Tracy Valley being a locality which has 
been known by its present designation since he first settled there, and 
which will bear his name as long as the early history of the county is 
honored and remembered. Mrs. Nettie F. Jones has written an article 
regarding her father and his times, which is a valuable contribution to 
early history. She writes: "My father, A. D. Tracy, for whom Tracy 
Valley is named, moved here in the summer of 1858, with my mother, 
two brothers, Frank and Anfred, now dead, and sister, Stella (Mrs. P. J. 
Linderman), from Lone Rock, Richland County. They lived the first win- 
ter in a log house on what is now known as the Bert Field farm. In the 
spring of 1859 he built a shanty on the land in Tracy Valley, now owned 
by Paul Christopherson. Henry or Hank Robbins and Will Hine did the 
first breaking for him with their ox-team. Robbins owned the land lying 
west of it and built a log house, which was afterwards occupied by Mike 
Murty and P. B. WiUiams. 

"This log house was converted into a school house, with long benches 
and rude mammoth desks, one row all around the outer edge of the room. 
One of the first teachers was Sallie French of Eau Claire. Another was 
Hannah Gordon. I think my first teacher was Mary Cox, sister to A. G. 
Cox. She is Mrs. F. N. Thomas and lives now in Berkeley, Cal., and has a 
very bright mind and pleasing manner yet. Other teachers there were 
Mrs. Lucinda Stone (sister of Mrs. John McKenney), Jerry Marvin, Mag- 
gie Anderson, Anna Streeton, Alice Muzzy, Emma and Ada Martin. 


"A. D. Tracy's brother John came soon after and settled on the farm 
south, which is now owned by Hans Void. The only living member of this 
family is Glenn Tracy, who lives in Seattle, Wash. For some time the 
only house between A. D. Tracy and Osseo was a log one built by James 
Mclntyre's father, located a little north of what was afterwards the 
Wm. Maxwell place, now owned by Alex. Gjestvang. The people who 
lived there were named Sumner. Possibly it was from them the township 
of Sumner derived its name. 

"One day when Stella Tracy was a little over three years old she started 
out (unknown to her mother) to call on Mrs. Sumner. When she reached 
there she was afi'aid to go in on account of the dog and after she had 
passed she was afraid to go back past the house, so she decided to go to 
Osseo. She went the whole distance alone through the woods three and 
one-half miles and reached the "tavern" kept by R. C. Field, Sr., and when 
they asked her where her folks were she said they were home of course, 
and she had come to play with Lizzie. They sent Hiram Field back on a 
pony to tell the folks where she was. 

"At that time teachers' examinations were conducted by township 
examiners. I don't know what they were called, but my father served in 
the town of Sumner at that time and I have heard him tell how one of the 
teachers rode over on a pony, and he had her spell a few words, read aloud, 
do a few "sums" in mental arithmetic and locate a few places on the map, 
and he gave her a license to teach. 

"Wm. Lindsay was one of the pioneers of Tracy Valley, settling on the 
farm now owned by Esley Thompson. He and John Tracy served in the 
Civil War. Wm. Buzzell, John Lovesee, Sam Bunn, Valorus Campbell, 
Dennis Lawler and John Ross were residents of the Valley at one time and 
each in turn planted for others to reap." 

Antoine Grignon has made history his debtor for much of its knowl- 
edge concerning the Indians of this vicinity. Of the Dakota and Winne- 
bago Indians Mr. Grignon has said : 

"Beginning with the soil, the first work was agriculture. The women 
were very industrious and would begin in the spring to spade up their 
ground for corn planting. They raised what was known as squaw corn, 
which is a flint corn, and also raised pumpkins, and any other vegetables, 
seed of which had found its way into their camp from the fur traders. 
But pumpkins and corn were the principal crops raised. The corn was 
cultivated with hoes — big clumsy implements that weighed as much as 
three or four of our common garden hoes. It was principally eaten hulled, 
also in meal after being ground up in a wooden bowl with a large wooden 
pounder. This was their crude mill. This meal they baked into corn 
bread, or made it into porridge. They also used gi-een corn as roasting 
ears, and dried it in the following fashion : They dug a hole in the ground 
and heated large stones ; on these heated stones they thi-ew husks, and on 
the husks laid the green corn on cobs ; over this corn they threw more 
husks, and then covered it up and let it cook. When it was thoroughly 
cooked the corn was cut from the cob and put out on mats in the sun to dry. 
This dried corn was used to make soup, and could be kept for years. 


"Wigwams, before canvas was introduced, were made of woven grass ; 
long grass called foxtail was utilized for this purpose. Mats made from 
grasses were about four to six feet in width and twelve or sixteen feet in 
length. A wooden rod was put at the end of the wigwam mat, and twine 
made of basswood bark was used to tie the mat to the rod. Several of 
these mats were used to construct a wigwam, and they would shed rain as 
readily as canvas does. Both twine and mats were made by hand ; it was 
a long piece of work for the squaw to make matting for a wigwam, but once 
completed it lasted for years and was always kept in repair. The matting 
was light and very easily carried either on ponies or in canoes. In making 
this wigwam matting the Indians worked together, several squaws con- 
gregating and working until the wigwam was completed, just as pioneer 
women gathered at quilting bees. Mats were also used as carpets in the 
wigwam, and were made for trading purposes as well, for the whites often 
bought them for use in their houses. The women in the Indian camp also 
prepared the meat, made the pemmican and jerked the fresh venison. This 
kept well though no salt whatever was used. The women also made moc- 
casins and tanned skins of animals for use as clothing. Bags were made 
out of tanned skin and woven out of wild grasses. These bags were used 
to carry cooking utensils, clothing and implements used about the wigwam. 

"The Winnebago were noted for mat weaving, basket making, orna- 
menting skins and making wooden brooms. They dug out canoes, bowls 
and other dishes from wood. These wooden vessels were made by the men 
and were oi'namented with the heads of deer and bears, or of some other 
animal. They also made wooden ladles with handles ornamented with the 
head of a fish or a bird. The men also made the reed, a musical instrument 
like a flute. This reed was used in wooing ; a brave would play on his reed 
in front of the wigwam where resided his lady love. He would play his 
love tune, and if he was a welcome caller he would be invited in to see the 
maid for whom he was playing. If he was not welcome, no notice was taken 
of him, and he would take his departure. Sometimes he would return and 
play night after night until the reluctant father of the Indian maid would 
invite him in, but sometimes the father would drive the young wooer away. 

"Another instrument of a musical character was the drum, made of a 
hollow chunk of wood with a piece of rawhide stretched over it. This was 
called the "tum-tum" and was used at all their dancing. 

"Another article of manufacture was the bucket. This was made of 
birch bark and sewed together with twine from basswood bark, while to 
keep the bucket from leaking a glue, made from cherry sap or gum and from 
the backbone of a sturgeon, was used. These birch bark pails were used 
to catch sap. This was collected in a storage trough made of a log dug out 
and burned so it would hold several barrels. In former years the women 
did their sewing with sinew from the deer and elk and used bone needles. 

"The Dakotas were noted for their leather articles. First was the 
wigwam made of tanned buffalo hides, sewed together in the shape of a 
tepee, which made a very warm dwelling. The hair was removed from 
the buffalo skin in making these wigwams, but for blankets and carpets 
the hides were tanned with the hair left on. These wigwams were deco- 


rated with bi'ight paint. As a rule buffalo, deer, elk, horses and birds 
were painted on the buffalo hide, but now and then you would see the 
human figure on a tent, and I have seen a few where a scene with hills, 
river and woods ornamented the wigwam. 

"The Dakotas were the most ingenious of the western Indians in mak- 
ing ornaments. They decorated their clothing with beads and shells. Por- 
cupine quills stained with different colors were used to adorn their arrow 
quivers, while the arrows were colored, that is, the feather was stained 
some gaudy color. The bow was made of buffalo sinew and the arrows of 
wood. The Dakotas were likewise expert pipe makers. They used pipe- 
stone, with a reed that grows in marshy places, for a stem. The pipe was 
decorated with bird claws, and tufts of fur from the weasel or mink. I 
have seen some of the most beautiful pipes among the Dakotas that could 
be imagined. 

"The Chippewas were noted for their birch bark canoes. These were 
made of sheets of birch bark sewed together with sinew and watap root, 
and sealed with tamarack and pine pitch to keep them from leaking. These 
canoes would carry more weight than one would suppose. 

"Indian children usually have a happy time. The child is put into a 
straight-back little cradle with sides and a bow handle. It is flat and has 
no rocker, for none is needed. The young Indian babe seldom cries, because 
it is seldom sick. It is a breast-fed baby, and gets along a great deal better 
than the average white child. Two saplings are used to make a swing for 
the baby. They are sharpened on one end and stuck in the ground about 
seven feet apart. A cord made of basswood bark is tied to the cradle and 
the babe is given a swing by tying the cord to the saplings. There the little 
one is swung back and forth or jounced up and down. Little trinkets are 
placed on the bow of the cradle for the baby's amusement, and it will lie 
by the hour and play with these trinkets. 

"The principal game of the Indian in this part of the country was 
lacrosse. This game was often played as a sacred game, to redeem the 
bereaved from their long mourning period. They were obliged by custom 
to mourn a stated length of time, but could make a sacrifice instead, that 
is, give away a certain amount of furs, blankets, or ponies ; and these were 
played for in the lacrosse game. Two parties were formed, from a dozen to 
fifteen on a side, and these parties played the game for the goods as a stake, 
the winners taking the mourners' sacrifice. After the game the mourning 
was at an end. The game was played with a ball and lacrosse sticks. The 
ball must not be touched except with the lacrosse stick. 

"Among the Indian children games are indulged in; one something 
like shinny is played on the ice, and in another the players throw a twisted 
hickory stick on the ice; this is driven towards a goal, the one coming 
nearest the goal winning. Among the children sliding down hill is enjoyed. 
They use basswood and elm bark in making sleds for coasting. They always 
ride standing, and hold on to a string fastened to the front of their toboggan. 
They also play on the glaring ice. One game or sport was to take a small 
round niggerhead stone and spin it on the ice, then take a willow whip and 


whip it over the ice as fast as they could go. They had tops to spin also, 
made of wood and set in motion with a string. 

"The marriage ceremony among the Indians was very simple. The 
young buck would call at the wigwam where resided the Indian maid he 
wished for a wife. If the mother of the girl was pleased with the young 
brave she would not stir the fire in the least, but would sit quietly before 
the glimmering light of the ground hearth. If, however, she was not 
pleased with the young suitor, she would stir the fire again and again until 
the wooer took his departure and would emphasize her disgust by spitting 
into the fire at times. Another custom was for the young buck to bring 
presents to the parents of the girl he desired, and if these presents, such 
as ponies, furs and silver trinkets, were accepted, he would take the girl 
for his wife. 

"The Indians believed in 'maunhoonah,' meaning the Great Spirit or 
Creator of Earth. They believed in the hereafter, and that in order to get 
to the happy hunting ground they had to be good Indians. They had a 
Grand Medicine Society, in its form allied to the Free Mason orders. Not 
all could join this society, but a certain number were taken in each year. 
Application was made for membership, and the names taken up in council, 
and if elected to become a member the candidate was initiated into the 
order, providing, of course, he could furnish the necessary fee of furs, 
blankets, ponies, or goods of any kind. After being initiated the new mem- 
ber was given a medicine bag made of the skin of some animal, such as the 
coon, squirrel, otter or beaver. 

"The medicine man who looks after the bodily ailments of the tribe is 
not to be confounded with the medicine man who is a member of the Great 
Medicine Lodge. The former is usually above the average intelligence, 
and gifted with the power of impressing his superiority upon the Indians, 
that is, in deahng with disease. This power of dispelling disease is sup- 
posed to be given him by the Great Spirit. In treating a patient, the medi- 
cine man goes through certain incantations and rattles a gourd, which has 
seed or shot in it. He also uses roots and herbs for the treatment of the 
sick. A great deal of ginseng is used, and the bark of poplar trees, man- 
drake or May apple root and sweet flag. The list of herbs would be a long 
one, and some of the medicine men obtained very good results from these 
herbs, which they used as a tea, after steeping them over a fire in a kettle 
containing a sufficient amount of water. Some of these Indian doctors 
became noted even among the whites, and were able in a limited number 
of diseases to give relief and obtain cures. They also practiced surgery, 
setting bones, opening abscesses and treating wounds of various kinds. 
Their instruments were crude and were made mostly of bone and iron. 

"At the burial or funeral ceremony, some member of the tribe was 
appointed to speak at the grave of the departed Indian. The mourners 
passed around the head of the grave in single file and scattered tobacco 
over the open grave. The funeral orator gave an oration on the life of the 
departed and pictured his journey into the land of the hereafter. Food 
was left on the grave sufficient to carry him on his journey, and a supply 
of tobacco, so that he could take comfort on the way to the happy hunting 


ground. On the death of a member of the tribe, the survivors had a wake ; 
friends and mourners met at the home where a death occurred, a speech 
was made, after which all except the mourners joined in a feast. This 
wake was the beginning of mourning, and the mourners observed the cus- 
tom of fasting for at least three days. If a woman lost her husband, she 
remained with her husband's relatives for a number of months and was 
compelled to do their work without a murmur. She was not allowed to 
comb her hair for a number of months, or to ornament herself in any way, 
but went ragged and dirty with her hair unkempt and was forced to do the 
bidding of her husband's relatives. At the end of the mourning period she 
was liberated to go where she pleased and do as she pleased ; she frequently 

"When I was at Long Prairie, I was much interested in a custom among 
the Winnebago of making morning speeches. Early each morning when 
the weather would permit, one of the orators would appear in front of his 
wigwam and give an address of a religious nature to the Indians, who would 
assemble to hear the exhorter. He usually spoke in a kindly way, offering 
advice and telling the tribesmen to carry themselves in a manner befitting 
good, true men and women. I suppose such a person among the whites 
would be called an evangehst. 

"Among the noted orators and chiefs that I have known were Winno- 
shiek, Black Hawk, Decorah, Wah-pa-sha, Little Creek, Little Priest, Snake 
Hide, Little Hill, Short Wing, and many others whose names I cannot recall. 
Big Fire was a noted astronomer. He studied the heavens and was familiar 
with the principal groups of stars. 

"The Indians had the heavens mapped out into constellations and were 
familiar with all the changes of the moon. They often studied the stars 
on cold nights when the light from the constellations was most brilliant. A 
month was called a moon and a year of time designated a winter. 

"Legends and traditions of the tribes were passed down from one gener- 
ation to another by means of 'word passers.' A number of young Indians, 
say eight or ten, were chosen on account of their good memories to. study, 
and learn lessons from the older 'word passers.' These young Indians were 
drilled in the legends, history, and traditions of the tribe. They were 
required to repeat them over and over again, omitting no detail, until they 
knew them by heart ; and when the old 'word passers' died, another gener- 
ation of young men was selected and instructed by their predecessors. Thus 
dates and incidents were passed on from generation to generation, and a 
living history was kept. An old Winnebago chief, Decorah, had a very 
interesting cane that he showed me one day, when I visited him in his 
wigwam. On this cane were carved many figures, a sort of hieroglyphics. 
It had been handed down from father to son and was in reality a record 
which old Decorah could read. It was a crude history of the tribe covering 
a good many years, and if I could remember some of the accounts Decorah 
gave me as recorded on the cane, they would be worth hearing. 

"The Dakotas were fond of decorating themselves with quills, furs, 
and feathers ; but I think they had one custom which is worth noting. A 
brave, or more particularly a warrior, used a war-eagle feather to adorn 


his hair. This long feather in the hair of a warrior was a mark of distinc- 
tion, and it was acquired on merit, for no brave could wear one who did not 
merit it. On the feather notches were cut if the warrior had been success- 
ful in war. Each notch on one side of the feather represented a scalp 
taken from an enemy. The notches on the other side signified the number 
of times the brave had been on the war-path. This made it easy for one 
to tell what kind of a war record a brave had. If a warrior had a well- 
notched feather he was looked up to and envied and praised by his tribes- 
men; he felt his superiority, too, and carried himself with a distinguished 
air. War-eagles were scarce and it was sometimes hard to get feathers. 
I remember one time seeing an Indian trade a pony for a war-eagle feather. 
Hunting parties from Wabashaw's village used to go out in search for the 
war-eagle, and a favorite resting-place for these eagles was among the hills 
of Waumandee. Waumandee means in the Dakota tongue 'the land of the 

"Another peculiar custom which I recollect is the method of inviting a 
party of Indians to attend a dance, feast, or other gathering. One day 
while I was camped with a band of Sioux near the site of what is now Marsh- 
land, an Indian came into camp who was from another camp near Homer 
(Minnesota). He had crossed the Mississippi in a canoe, and came to 
invite several of the Indians over to his camp to attend a medicine dance. 
He would enter a tent and pass around some small sticks, and explain his 
object and depart. He must have had at least fifty sticks answering the 
purpose of invitation cards, which he distributed. 

"One August day in the '50s we went up the tamarack pluming, for 
the place was noted for its wild plums. We had started to gather plums, and 
were intent on our work, when all of a sudden the stillness of the summer 
solitude was broken by a yell, a war-cry uttered in its wild, blood-curdling 
manner. On looking up I saw our party completely surrounded by a- band 
of Sioux warriors. It was a war party out after Chippewa ; they mistook 
us for their enemies, but soon saw their mistake and went peaceably away. 
We gathered our plums in safety and returned home, but we never forgot 
the surprise we received by the Sioux warriors. 

"In cases of murder in the tribe the guilty party was given a trial. 
Witnesses were called to testify and speakers were chosen for and against 
the defendant. If the accused person was found guilty, a council was held 
to determine the punishment. They usually ordered the murderer killed 
in the same manner he used in slaying his victim — death by shooting, 
stabbing, or tomahawking as the case might be. In some cases the accused 
would redeem himself by furnishing enough goods such as ponies, furs, or 
weapons, to secure his liberty ; these goods which were distributed among 
the dead person's immediate relatives, prevented retaliation on their part. 

"The Indians as I knew them were as a general thing peaceable. They 
loved their native haunts and their families and may be called a happy 
people. They had plenty. Game abounded ; there was an abundance of fur- 
bearing animals ; and the streams were full of fish. There was no need of 
poverty, for with plenty of corn and wild meat and with fur enough to 
buy ammunition, traps, and knives, there was little else needed to make 


their lot an easy and comfortable one. They were not a stolid people, but 
were fond of fun. There was a humorous side to the Indian and a genial 
friendship when once you came to know him, and I have no respect for 
that unnatural picture so often made of him — the word picture of the 
novehst that shows him devoid of sentiment and emotion, a cold, cruel, 
unfeeling stoic, whose face is never rippled with a smile or stained with a 
tear. I think there is a truer picture of the Indian, as a natural human 
being with a heart that feels pain and pleasure, with a mind that appre- 
ciates the good and bad, the true and false, with a spirit that enjoys home 
and companions and friendship, with a life that throbs with love and senti- 
ment. The Indian I know loved and laughed with his children, visited 
his neighbor, had warm personal friendships, and loved the life of peaceful 
contentment he was living, a life near to nature. 

"I have often visited the Dakota and Winnebago and passed long, 
pleasant hours in their wigwams, talking with them on various subjects 
as we sat circled about the glowing fire. I have heard the laugh of their 
children and seen them frolic about as happy as any young ones I ever saw. 
I have seen them play games and join in sports, and they were as interesting 
to watch as other children. Of course, there were some whose barbarous 
nature was revealed. There are some white people also whose barbarous 
natuVe gets the upper hand of them. But take the Indian, all in all, he 
was a happy creature during the fur-trading days." (See Eben D. Pierce, 
Recollections of Antoine Gregnon, Wis. Hist. Soc. Proceedings, 1913, pp. 

Remains of a French Post Near Trempealeau.. I — Archaeological 
Sketch by Eben D. Pierce. In the early '80s Dr. Lyman C. Draper, then 
secretary of the State Historical Society, received a request from the French 
Academy of History for information regarding the location of Perrot's post, 
as indicated on Franquelin's map of 1688, a few miles above the mouth of 
Black River on the east bank of the Mississippi. Doctor Draper sought 
the assistance of A. W. Newman, of Trempealeau, later justice of Wisconsin 
Supreme Court, who was much interested in local history. He enlisted 
the services of Judge B. F. Heuston, then at work on a history of Trempea- 
leau, who took up the work with enthusiasm and carefully searched the 
riverside of the bluffs for some mark of the ancient fort. He made several 
journeys to Trempealeau Bay in the vain effort to find some trace of the 
early post, as the bay would seem to have afforded an excellent site for 
wintering quarters. 

Meanwhile, some of the workmen engaged in grading the Chicago, 
Burhngton & Northern Railway along the river discovered, about two miles 
above the village, the remains of fireplaces or hearths. Judge Heuston, 
hearing of these finds, decided to visit the place and investigate. He 
selected George H. Squier to assist him and accompanied by Antoine Grignon 
and W. A. Finkelnburg, of Winona, they went to the place where the fire- 
places had been uncovered and began excavations. The next spring. Judge 
Newman having communicated these facts to the State Historical Society, 
Reuben G. Thwaites, then the newly-elected secretary of the Society, came 
to Trempealeau and on April 18, accompanied by W. A. Finkelnburg and the 


local historians, made a historical pilgrimage to the site of the post that 
had been found, and continued the excavations. 

The first fireplace had already been laid bare, and Mr. Squier had suc- 
ceeded in tracing by a line of charcoal the former wall of the building. The 
dimensions of the building were about 20 by 30 feet; the fireplace was 2V2 
feet in depth and 4 feet long with enclosing walls at back and sides. The 
chimney had undoubtedly been a wooden structure made of small logs with 
clay daubing, as there was not enough stone found to indicate a stone 

A blacksmith's forge was also unearthed, together with some scrap 
iron, and a pile of charcoal which had evidently been used in a smelter. A 
pile of slag, some 16 feet in diameter, was found, showing that the occu- 
pants of the post had attempted smelting. The slag consisted of a mixture 
of iron ore and limestone. The remains of the smelting furnace were also 
found. Other relics discovered included some hand-wrought nails, buff'alo 
bones, an old-fashioned flintlock pistol, a gun barrel, and an auger. The 
pistol was of excellent make, which led Mr. Squier to believe that the ex- 
plorers had excavated the officers' quarters. Seven of the original build- 
ings were unearthed in all ; one was left undisturbed. 

James Reed, the first settler in this county, said that when he first came 
to Trempealeau in 1840, he had noticed the elevated foundations at this 
place, where part of the fireplace protruded above the sod, but as the region 
abounded in Indian mounds of various types, he had attached no especial 
significance to this particular elevation. There was, however, a lingering 
tradition among the Indians of the locality concerning a French fort near 
the sacred Trempealeau Mountain. 

In the summer of 1912 George H. Squier, Antoine Grignon, and the 
writer did some excavating at this site. By a cross-sectional excavation 
we were able to pick up the charcoal line of the main building and follow it 
several feet, and from this it was possible to verify Mr. Squier's early 
estimate of its dimensions. We also found, besides charcoal, numerous 
bones, among which were the jawbone of a beaver, the toe bones and claw of 
a bear, and some large bones either of elk or buffalo. 

The place was well selected for wintering quarters. It lay near the 
head of a slough which, setting back from the Mississippi, afforded a quiet 
harbor free from the menace of floating ice. Springs exist in the side of 
Brady's and Sullivan's peaks a quarter of a mile away, but the river water 
was drinkable, and there was an abundance of firewood. The bluffs pro- 
tected the post from the cold north and east winds. 

II. Additional Archaeological Details : by George H. Squier. It is now 
nearly 30 years since the French post at Trempealeau was first discovered, 
and those who had part in that discovery have nearly all pased away. As it 
chanced the writer was the first to uncover any portion of the remains, and 
it was also his fortune that this first site explored was that of the most 
important and best constructed of the group and afforded a key to the 
construction plan and the identity of the remains. To the brief account 
given in the tenth volume of the Wisconsin Historical Collections, the writer 


is the only one alive who is able to add from first-hand knowledge, details 
that were noted but not recorded at the time the post was first laid bare. 

In describing the remains one basic fact must be borne in mind, namely, 
that they show t\vo distinct periods of occupancy, the earlier of which was 
probably that of Perrot, the latter with little doubt represented by Linctot. 
Most of the descriptions, therefore, must apply to the latter rather than to 
the earlier post. The only portion of the remains which can confidently 
be ascribed to the earlier period is the lower of two hearths occupying 
the same site. If there were any other remains of this earlier period, they 
were indistinguishably mingled with those of the latter. This earlier 
hearth was less carefully constructed than the latter, hence we may conjec- 
ture that Perrot's accommodations were cruder than those of Linctot. So 
far as the character of the construction could be judged from the remains, 
it by no means equaled the average squatter's cabin in solidity and per- 
manence, and there was nothing whatever to indicate any attempt at 
defensive construction. 

Of the hearths other than the largest one, which was the first to be 
uncovered, it is believed there were five, two of which were removed in 
grading the railway. In comparison with the first, these five were much 
inferior in construction, the hearthstones being very irregular" in form 
with no indications of backs or chimneys. As this would indicate that the 
smoke escaped through the roof, it would point to structures very little 
removed from Indian tepees slightly modified for white occupancy. Their 
true positions with reference to Number 1 and to each other were not 
determined, but their distribution was rather irregular. 

In front of the supposed officers' quarters were two constructions 
representing the industrial equipment of the post. One of these was the 
blacksmith's forge. The excavations about this were conducted by the 
owner of a private museum at St. Paul, Minn., assisted by Antoine Grignon. 
As was to be expected, this furnished the greater portion of the metal rehcs. 
Among them I remember a pistol, an auger, a staple, some nails, and several 
bits of scrap iron. The other construction, which was explored by myself, 
undoubtedly represented an attempt to reduce our local iron ores by the 
open-hearth process. There were the remains of a large pile of charcoal 
several feet in diameter, and a considerable pile of the resultant slag, 
representing material in all stages of fusion from the glassy to that showing 
unfused fragments of the ore and limestone intimately commingled. That 
this ore, a residual from the decay of limestone and usually associated with 
flint, is not now very abundant about the Trempealeau bluff's is believed 
to be in part due to the fact that it was largely gathered up by the occupants 
of this post, since it occurs in considerable abundance in many other Missis- 
sippi River bluffs. 

It seems probable that Linctot's occupancy was something more than 
temporary, and represented a tentative attempt to establish a permanent 
post, which, however, was soon abandoned. There are evidences that the 
French scoured the region for a considerable distance around the post — 
an ax of the period having been recovered from a shallow pond three miles 


The relation these remains bear to Indian antiquities is worthy of 
notice. A considerable group of mounds occurs only a few rods west of 
the site, and a single mound appears on the rather prominent stony point 
in front of the post. There are some pecuhar features, not found elsewhere 
in this region, in the manner of disposal and burning of the skeletons 
covered by this mound ; while conspicuously different from the usual Indian 
methods they are much like primitive methods practiced in Europe. It 
seems reasonable to suppose that the French were in some way concerned 
in these burials. It may be noted that the lower of the two hearths on 
the supposed site of the officers' quarters was itself built over an Indian 
bake hole in which ashes and bones were found. 

Before the uncovering of the site there was nothing in any way resem- 
bhng a tumulus. Indeed, the surface was more even than it is now, for in 
the process of excavation the dirt was heaped up in places. At the largest 
hearth the clay with which the chimney had been plastered formed a cover- 
ing a few inches thick over the natural surface, but the rise was so small 
and the slope so gentle that it was scarcely recognizable. The one feature 
noted by James Reed and Antoine Grignon, which led to the final discovery 
of the place was that the sides and back of the hearth, formed of small flat 
stones, projected an inch or two above the surface. The construction was 
so rude, however, that Judge Heuston, W. A. Finkelnburg, and Antoine 
Grignon, who preceded me to the place, after examining some of the top 
stones concluded that it was not artificial and went on to the bay. Coming 
up after they had left, there seemed to me something in the arrangement 
not quite natural, and working around carefully with a garden trowel I 
quickly exposed the outlines, and by the time they returned from the bay 
the hearth was fully exposed. The hearth proper was about 2 by 4 feet in 
dimensions, while the outside dimensions of the chimney were probably 
about twice as large. The sides and back were built of small flat stones laid 
in clay to a height somewhere between one and two feet, above which the 
chimney construction must have been of small logs plastered with clay, in 
which a considerable amount of grass was mixed for better binding. The 
hearths themselves were of such flat stones as could be found in the vicinity, 
the best of them being used in this hearth at the officers' quarters. With 
the possible exception of some slight trimming of the edges no tool work had 
been given them. But this and the underlying hearth were covered by 
several inches of ashes with which were mingled numerous fragments of 
bones of birds and small animals. The larger bones were thrown out back 
of the hearth which was evidently at the western end of the principal 

It is probable that the stone construction did not extend much more 
than a foot above the hearth and that these stones were mostly in place 
when the remains were discovered. Very few stones were found mingled 
with the debris around the hearth, which could hardly have been the case 
had any considerable height of such construction fallen down. It is prob- 
able that the log enclosure was built up from the ground of sufficient size to 
permit a protective interlining, which at the bottom was of stones laid in 
clay. After the supply of stones gave out the construction was continued 


of clay alone as high as needed. Used in this way the stones were added 
as fillers, much as we do in concrete constructions, with little eflfort to 
arrange them in orderly sequence. 

According to cross-sectional excavations made in the summer of 1912 
the dimensions of this building were 20 by 30 feet; but these figures are 
to be looked upon as merely a conjectural estimate. There was nothing 
whatever to determine the position of the south wall, and the evidence 
concerning the location of the east wall was very slight. The distance from 
the northwest corner to the south side of the hearth was about 10 feet. 
Five or six feet should be allowed for a door, which there is reason to 
believe existed on the west side south of the hearth, so that an estimate 
of 20 feet for the width of the building can not be regarded as excessive. 
As far as traced, the north wall was a straight, even, sharply-defined line 
of charcoal, perhaps ten inches wide. Nothing which could be regarded 
as its counterpart was found on the east side. (See Wisconsin Historical 
Society, Proceedings, 1915, pp. 111-123.) 

Organization of County. AN Act to organize the County of Trempe a 
I'eau. Published, Jan. 30, 1854. 

The people of the State of Wisconsin, represented in Senate and Assem- 
bly, do enact as follows : 

1. All that portion of country embraced in the following boundaries, 
is hereby set off into a separate county to be called and known as the County 
of Trempe a I'eau, to-wit: Beginning at the point on the Mississippi River 
where the line between townships 17 and 18 north, strikes said river ; thence 
running east on said line to the main channel of Black River ; thence up the 
main channel of Black River to the line between townships 18 and 19 north ; 
thence east on said line to the range line between ranges 6 and 7 west; 
thence north on said range line to the line between townships 24 and 25 
north ; thence west on said line and to the range line between ranges 9 and 10 
west ; thence south on said range line to Trempe a I'eau River ; thence down 
the main channel of the Trempe a I'eau River to the Mississippi River; 
thence down the main channel of the Mississippi River to the place of 

2. There shall be an election held in said county on the first Monday 
of September, 1854, for the election of a suitable person for county judge of 
said county, which election shall be conducted and the returns thereof made 
as now required by law for the election of county judges; and the judge so 
elected shall hold his office for the term of three years from and after the 
1st day of January, 1855, and until his successor is elected and qualified. 

3. At the general election to be held in the month of November, 1854, 
there shall be elected in said county, all proper county officers ; which officers 
shall qualify as now provided by law, and enter upon the duties of their 
several offices the 1st day of January, 1855. 

4. The board of supervisors of the Town of Monteville, in said county, 
shall have power to act as the board of supervisors of said county until 
other towns in said county shall be organized and elections therein held lor 
town officers as now provided by law. 


5. The seat of justice in said county shall be, and the same is hereby 
located, on the northwest quarter of section 33, in township 19 north, of 
range 8 west. 

6. The said County of Trempe a I'eau is hereby attached to the County 
of La Crosse for judicial purposes, until the 1st day of January, 1855, after 
which time the said county shall be fully organized for judicial purposes 
and shall be attached to the sixth judicial circuit. 

7. The county court for said County of Trempe a I'eau shall be held 
at the county seat thereof, on the first Monday of March, the first Monday of 
June, the first Monday of September, and the first Monday of December in 
each year, after said county is organized for judicial purposes as provided in 
this Act. 

8. This Act shall take effect from and after its passage. 

Approved, Jan. 27, 1854. (Chap. 2, General Laws — State of Wis- 



Trempealeau County has eight incorporated villages. Trempealeau, 
Galesville, Osseo and Eleva were started on their present sites with their 
present names before they were supplied with railroads. Before Arcadia 
was started, Old Arcadia, a mile away, was a thriving village, at that time 
the third in importance in the county. Before Whitehall was started. Old 
Whitehall, a mile away, was a thriving hamlet. Before Blair was started, 
there was a store and a postoffice not far away. 

Trempealeau was platted April 21, 22 and 23, 1852 (as Montoville, April 
7, 1852), was incorporated nearly two decades later and reincorporated 
March 10, 1900. Galesville was platted April 22, 1854, and incorporated 
June 13, 1887. Arcadia was platted Jan. 27, 1874, and incorporated Dec. 
17, 1878. Whitehall was platted Jan. 20, 1874, and incorporated June 14, 
1887. Eleva was platted Sept. 10, 1877, and incorporated Jan. 14, 1902. 
Osseo was platted Sept. 22, 1857, and incorporated Sept. 4, 1893. Inde- 
pendence was platted May 13, 1876, and was incorporated Dec. 16, 1885. 
Blair was platted April 16, 1877 (as Porterville, Sept. 2 and 3, 1873), and 
was incorporated Sept. 6, 1894. 

The census of 1910 shows the population of the villages as follows: 
Arcadia, 1,212; Galesville, 873; Whitehall, 703; Independence, 664; 
Trempealeau, 535; Osseo, 548; Blair, 486; Eleva, 319. 

The census of 1900 shows this population: Arcadia, 1,273; Galesville, 
862 ; Trempealeau, 609 ; Independence, 630 ; Whitehall, 600 ; Blair, 438. 

The census of 1890 shows this population: Arcadia, 659; Galesville, 
537 ; Independence, 382 ; Whitehall, 304. 

The census of 1880 shows this population: Arcadia, 720; Galesville, 
410 ; Independence, 365 ; Whitehall, 267. 

Dodge, Pigeon Falls, Ettrick and Strum are thriving places of between 
150 and 300 population each. Dodge was platted Feb. 20, 1874 ; Ettrick, June 
30, 1877 ; Pigeon Falls, May 30, 1894 ; and Strum, Sept. 26, 1898. Pleasant 
Valley is a trading center platted Feb. 16, 17, 19, 1877. Caledonia, platted 
Sept. 14, 1855, is now merely a neighborhood center. At Coral City, platted 
on May 28, 1864, there is a mill, a mill dam and a number of houses. At 
Old Whitehall, platted May 23, 1862, there are two or three houses and a 
cemetery. East Arcadia, platted April 23 and 24, 1874, and West Arcadia, 
platted Aug. 15, 1874, adjoin the village of Arcadia. West Prairie is a com- 
munity center, with a cemetery, a church, a band stand, a mill and a school- 
house. Other places, such as Elk Creek, Tamarack, Centerville, French- 
ville, Hegg, Iduna, Norden, Pine Creek, and Russell, are community or 
trading centers. 




Arcadia is the metropolis of Trempealeau County. It is situated in 
the western part of the county on the banks of Trempealeau River. Rail- 
road facilities are furnished by the Green Bay & Western. The flats east 
and west of the river furnish a well-shaded and well-laid-out residence 
section in which are many beautiful buildings. The business section is 
situated on the flats east of the river. Circling this section is a plateau 
with handsome residences. The street from the business section to Old 
Arcadia is also lined with sightly homes. The commanding churches, the 
new high school, the Carnegie Library, the macadamized streets, the spread- 
ing lawns and magnificent shrubbery all go to make up as pretty a village 
as is to be found in Western Wisconsin. 

The village has two banks, a newspaper, two creameries, a brewery, 
two mills, three elevators and a stock yard. The principal shipments are 
cattle, hogs, sheep and grain. 

There are six churches in Arcadia — the Church of Our Lady of Per- 
petual Help, St. Stanislaus church, St. John's German Evangelical Lutheran, 
St. John's Christ German Evangelical Lutheran, the Methodist Episcopal, 
and the Evangelical Association. The little church on the hill, first the 
Baptist church, then a People's church, and then a Unitarian church, is 
now unoccupied. 

Arcadia was platted Jan. 27, 1874, on land owned by H. Ketchum, D. M. 
Kelly, George Hiles and I. A. Briggs. 

Late in the fall of 1878 a movement was started looking to the incor- 
poration and organization of the village. A census was taken therein by 

D. B. Stitt on Oct. 30 and 31, and the proposed Hmits were found to contain 
710 people. A survey of the territory was made Oct. 31, 1878, by Hiram B. 
Merchant, who was a practical surveyor and who made a map thereof. On 
Dec. 9, 1878, E. A. Morgan, 4. F. Hensel, J. P. Mallinger, Otto Gazal and 
J. C. Muir petitioned the court that an order be made incorporating the 
village of Arcadia. The order was duly issued Dec. 17, 1878, by Hon. A. W. 
Newman, judge. On Feb. 18, 1879, an election resulted in the choice of 

E. C. Higbee as president, W. W. Barnes, Seth Putnam, Otto Gazal, J. C. 
Muir, -John Maurer and J. Martin Fertig as trustees ; John N. Stariha as 
clerk; A. F. Hensel as treasurer; Dr. F. L. Lewis as supervisor; Math 
Danuser as marshal; George Schneller as constable; Douglas Arnold as 
justice of the peace, and C. M. Mercer as pohce justice, all for three months. 
The first annual village election was held May 6, 1879. Mr. Higbee was 
elected president ; Messrs. Barnes, Fertig, Mueller, Mergerner, Putnam and 
Jacob Schneller were elected trustees ; John N. Stariha, clerk ; A. F. Hensel, 
treasurer; C. M. Mercer, police justice; Douglas Arnold, justice; Math 
Danuser, marshal; George Schneller, constable; Dr. F. L. Lewis, supervisor. 

The present officers of Arcadia are : President, John Roesch ; trustees, 
E. G. Bigham, A. C. Foster, William Knoop, J. F. Muir, F. Steinhauser and 
George Weisenberger ; clerk, Robert Barlow; assessor, J. K. Cysweski; jus- 
tice, John F. Beon ; supervisor. Dr. J. A. Palmer ; marshal, William Hogan ; 
health oflficer, Dr. G. N. Hidershide. 


The municipal improvements of Arcadia consist of an electric light 
plant, a waterworks system, a fire department, a village hall, a village clock, 
a Carnegie Library, a high school, a public park, macadamized roads, and 
several bridges. 

Street lighting had its beginning Oct. 9, 1891, when the village council 
voted to purchase twelve oil street lamps, and made arrangements for their 
lighting and care. Electric lighting had its inception June 19, 1893, when 
W. R. Wolfe was given a franchise to erect an electric light plant and place 
poles in the streets. After considerable discussion of the question, the 
Arcadia Electric Light Plant, with John Grover (president), W. R. Wolfe 
(treasurer) and Louis Hohnmann as owners, was given a contract to supply 
the streets with arc lights for four years. But, owing to restrictions 
placed upon the company, the streets were never hghted under this con- 
tract. Mr. Wolfe, however, put in a plant and furnished the leading busi- 
ness houses with electricity for some six months before he sold to Benton 
& Son, who removed the plant. The next move made toward street lighting 
was on Jan. 10, 1896, when a franchise was granted the Arcadia Milling 
Company. A contract for street lighting was made Jan. 17, 1896, and 
several months later the first street lights were installed. The village 
purchased the plant Oct. 16, 1903, practically renewed the system, and 
connected it with the power plant at the waterworks. 

Fire protection in the early days was furnished by a volunteer bucket 
company and a hand pump. May 20, 1891, it was voted to buy a fire engine 
and bell. In the fall the engine arrived, wells were dug, and additional 
equipment was purchased. On Oct. 30, 1891, the fire ordinance was passed 
and a few days later, on Nov. 3, 1891, the fire company was organized with 
the following officers: Secretary, Charles J. Larson; treasurer, Archie 
Hunter ; chief, John .Durisch ; trustees, C. Wohlgenant, C. W. Lubs, J. P. 
Runkel and Joseph Hild. The company now consists of forty-two volun- 
teers, and is well equipped with modern apparatus. The village bell is in 
the village hall, and the fire whistle is at the village power plant. The 
village clock is in the belfry of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 
and was installed in the spring of 1903, under a contract signed May 15 of 
that year. 

The village hall was erected in 1893-94 at a cost of about $4,000. The 
lot was purchased from the Board of Trade Feb. 10, 1893, a special election 
to vote bonds was held June 9, 1893, and work was started in the fall. It 
was occupied in the spring, being officially accepted April 20, 1894. The 
lower floor is devoted to the fire department, jail, council chambers anc 
clerk's office, while the upper floor is used for lodge purposes. 

The first macadamizing in Arcadia was done in 1895, bonds of $5,000 
for that purpose being voted on March 22 of that year. A stone crusher 
was purchased and operations commenced on an extensive scale. The vil- 
lage now has a macadamized street extending from the Buffalo County 
line through the village to the "Two Mile Corner," so called, beyond the mill. 
The road to the Arcadia Mineral Spring is also macadamized, as are several 
of the cross streets. 

The waterworks plant consists of an artesian well, a pumping station 


at which is also located the electric light plant, and the reservoir on Barnes 
Bluff. The mains cover the principal streets of the village. Bonds of 
$15,000 were voted Dec. 17, 1901, the ordinance was passed Dec. 19, 1902, and 
the residences of the village were supplied with water the following spring. 

The village park was purchased from J. R. P. Hiles Feb. 20, 1909, and 
consists of sixteen acres of land. It has been improved by voluntary work, 
and is used largely as a ball ground, the young men of the village having 
erected a grand stand thereon. One of the beauty spots of the village is 
a private park owned by J. M. Fertig. This park, located along the river 
fi'ont, is kept in its natural condition, and is stocked with a number of native 
deer, the admiration of travelers from near and far. 

The iron bridge across the Trempealeau at Arcadia was built in 1899, 
the vote being passed March 10. This replaced a wooden bridge, on the 
same site, the wooden bridge, in turn, taking the place of the ford a little 
further down the river. In the early days there were two other fords 
further up the river, and the "Three Mile Bridge" was built as a wooden 
structure some years before the railroad came through. 

A school district comprising the whole town of Arcadia was organized 
May 24, 1857, and a meeting held at the home of David Bishop in May. 
School was opened soon thereafter in a log building, with Sarah Bishop 
McMasters as first teacher. In June, 1860, a frame structure was erected 
on the same site. After the railroad came through an annex was estab- 
lished in a private residence. When the railroad came through the building 
was moved to the near village, where in time it became the county court- 
house. The graded brick school on the hill was built with four departments 
in 1875, and later two more departments were added. The present sightly 
high school structure was erected in 1915. The new building, which was 
erected at a cost of nearly $45,000, is regarded as a model of its kind. It 
has a large and beautiful auditorium, with stage. There are English, 
mathematics, history, foreign language, commercial, teachers' training, 
domestic science, manual training, agriculture and library rooms, besides a 
large gymnasium in the basement. The lighting and ventilation are per- 
fect, the heating is the most modern system of direct and indirect radiation, 
and the temperature is regulated automatically. The equipment is good 
and is being constantly improved. 

The beautiful Carnegie Library was erected in 1906. March 29, 1905, 
the village council voted an annual appropriation of $500 for this library. 
That sum has also been given annually to support the public library for some 
years previous. 

The Arcadia Board of Trade was organized Aug. 11, 1885, among those 
interested being R. L. Dickens, 0. 0. Peterson, Nic. Lehrbach, Stephen 
Richmond, J. M. Fertig, George N. Hidershide, F. F. Morgan, John Maurer, 
W. P. Massuere, Emil Maurer, J. D. Rainey and R. W. Wheeler. After a 
time the association went into the grain buying business in order to estab- 
lish equitable rates for the farmers. Business was suspended in the sum- 
mer of 1898. The land owned by the board was sold to the village and is 
now used as a village hall. 


The Arcadia Brewery has long occupied a leading position in Arcadia 
business life. It was established in 1874 or 1875 by Nick Mergner. In 
1876 Bion & Co. erected an imposing structure which is a part of the present 

The woolen industry was at one time numbered among the industries 
of the village. In the early '70s Philander Allen started a woolen mill. He 
sold to Dr. Isaac A. Briggs. The Arcadia Woolen Mills were built in 1876 
by Dyke, Allen & Co. and were in operation for several years. The produc- 
tion of wool has increased in volume and importance, but the raw wool is 
now shipped to other places. 

The Arcadia Mineral Springs are among the pleasant features of 
Arcadia life. In 1878 a hotel was built at the springs by George Hiles, a 
race track was laid out, and preparations made for an extensive summer 
resort. But the hotel was burned before it was completed in 1879, and the 
place abandoned. The spring is now permanently arched with cement, and 
presents an inviting appearance to the traveler, but is not now used for 
commercial purposes. The water has highly medicinal qualities, and con- 
stitutes one of the natural resources of the village yet to be developed and 

Arcadia had its beginning with the settlement of Old Arcadia in 1855. 

The first store in Old Arcadia was opened in 1857 by George Shelly, 
in his residence on the present site of the home of George Schmidt. The 
house was a crude pioneer structure, boarded roughly up and down. The 
next was opened in a lean-to addition to the home of Daniel C. Dewey bj- 
Mr. Dewey and Dr. Isaac A. Briggs. The next store was that of Gay D. 
Storm. Before long quite a settlement sprang up at the "Corners." 

When the railroad came through in the fall of 1873, Old Arcadia was 
the scene of busy activity. At the northeast corner of the crossroads was 
the hotel and store of George Dewey. North of this was the home of P. H. 
Varney, justice of the peace, and north of him lived Gus Quinn and his aged 

At the northwest corner of the crossroads was the store of Campbell & 
Geislin, afterward owned by Ole Peterson and Thom Thompson. West of 
Campbell & Geislin's store was the brick store and residence of John D. 
Rainey. West of the Rainey store was the harness shop of Ed. DeLay. 
Between the Rainey and DeLay locations there had early stood the Quinn 
cabin in which the postoffice had been opened. Then came the residence of 
Daniel C. Dewey, in the lean-to of which one of the earliest stores had been 
kept. Next came the brick residence of Ervin J. Gorton, and next the resi- 
dence of Ed Gorton. West of this Isaac Ball had at one time kept a blacK- 
smith shop. Then came the postofhce in the residence of Charles Mercer, 
in the upper story of which was a public hall, in which justice court was 
sometimes held. Mrs. Mercer was the widow of David Bishop, the pioneer, 
who had been killed by lightning. Then came the old schoolhouse. West 
of the schoolhouse had once lived Albro Matterson. His straw barn was a 
conspicuous landmark. Further along were the residences of John Penny. 
J. R. Penny and Benjamin F. Holcomb. 


At the southwest corner of the crossroads was an empty lot. Pre- 
viously on the site there had stood a log house originally used as a school- 
house, and moved from the school lot to this location to be used as a drug 
store by Dr. George. Next west of this vacant corner was the drug store 
and residence of Dr. Franlt L. Lewis. West of this store was a hotel and 
saloon on the place originally occupied by George Dewey. When Mr. Dewey 
moved, John P. Mallinger, better known as "Hans Pete," conducted a hotel 
and saloon there, followed by George Motchenbacker, who was there when 
the railroad came. Next to the west was the blacksmith shop of Edward 
Nichols, in the upper story of which was a hall, the scene of many a famous 
gathering. Next was the blacksmith shop of Albro Matterson. West of 
this was a vacant building put up and used as a store by Charles Mercer, 
who had previously clerked for Gay T. Storm. It passed into other hands 
and was opened as a saloon. Under the operation of a man named Williams, 
the place became so obnoxious that the good ladies of the community 
wrecked the place and destroyed the intoxicants. West of this was the 
furniture store of E. J. Tracy. Next came the brick store of E. J. Gorton. 
This was the famous Storm store. Early settlers tell of the gatherings of 
Winnebago Indians held near this place, and the famous pow-wows in 
which they participated. The brick for the Storm store, the Rainey store 
and the E. J. Gorton residence were made nearby, probably at the brick 
kiln of Dr. I. A. Briggs, which flourished for some years thereafter. The 
arrival of the itinerant tintype photographer was also an important event 
for several seasons, and in their tents they did a flourishing business. Next 
to the Gorton store was a building which had been occupied by Michael 
Mochenbacher as a shoe shop. This had been built as a shoe shop by 
John D. Rainey. Mochenbacher made and repaired boots and shoes, some- 
times using his own leather, but sometimes taking a piece of cowhide fur- 
nished by a settler, and making it into fitted boots for the whole family. 
Next to the shop was the Mochenbacher residence. 

East of the southeast corner of the crossroads was the residence of 
Henry Dewey, in which George Shelly had opened the first store. The 
corner lot was vacant. 

East of Old- Arcadia was the residence of Joseph Kellogg and his 'sister 
Jane. With them also lived another sister and Joseph Farber, an itinerant 
evangelist and school teacher. Next east was the residence of James 
Broughton south of the road, and Broughton's Mill north of the road. At 
the pond of this mill, in 1857, Eugene Broughton, a son of James Broughton, 
was drowned while swimming. Further east the road branched to North 
Creek, and still further east to American, Thompson and Newcomb valleys. 

To the north of Old Arcadia, the first house was that of David L. Hol- 
combe, on the west side of the road leading across the river bridge to Inde- 

To the south of Old Arcadia, the first house was Charles Fisher and his 
father, the Elder. 

The road leading along the highlands east and south of the present 
village was well occupied. West was the Benjamin F. Holcombe place, 
already mentioned in connection with Old Arcadia. Then came the Alonzo 


Kenyon residence. From across the street from the Kenyon residence, a 
foot-path led southwest toward the Gaveney residence, skirting a natural 
pond which then stood in a depression in the fields, but which has since been 
drained. West of the Kenyon residence was the Henry Proctor residence. 
West of this was the road which led north to the mill pond and mill owned by 
David Massuere, and thence across the ford to the Independence road. Near 
the mill was the residence of Louis Massuere. From the mill a track 
led westward to the home of Elliott Van Valkenberg. At the Briggs' Cor- 
ners lived Dr. I. A. Briggs in a brick house still standing. Dr. Briggs was a 
self-educated homeopath. Being the only physician in the locality, his 
practice extended from Fountain City to Coral City. From Briggs' Corners, 
on the line between sections 32 and 33, a trail led north to the home of 
David Massuere, beyond which was a river ford. From the Corners, a 
trail also led through a gate down through the present village, following 
the high land formed by the sand thrown up by the creek, and crossing the 
river at a ford a few rods down the river from the present bridge. Across 
the ford on the south side of the road was the house of Simon Wojczik, while 
Peter Case lived on the north side. Further up the river toward Independ- 
ence were Bragg, William Bennett, David Bennett and Charles 

Richardson. In the other direction, over the line in Buffalo County, Glencoe 
was well settled. At Glencoe village, Thomas Courtney had a tavern and 
store, and George Cowie kept the postoffice. 

The main road led south from Briggs' Corners, following a zig-zag 
line. The first house along the road southwest of Dr. Briggs' was the 
residence of James Gaveney, over the line in township 20, range 9. South 
of the next turn in the road was the house built by Noah Comstock, but 
occupied by Ole B. Canutson. The next house on the west side of the road 
was that of Noah Comstock, and west of this stood the pioneer cheese 
factory owned by Noah Comstock and James Gaveney. Further along the 
road, this same farm several years later was the scene of the pioneer 
sorghum operators in the county. 

At the center of section 6, a branch road led west. On the north side 
of this road lived A. L. Robinson, while south of it lived Daniel Bigham, 
and west of him John Bigham. 

East of where the road turned was the home built by John Dennis. 
Further south, at the point where the main road met the south line of 
section 6, stood the schoolhouse and the Catholic church, the church being 
east of the road and the schoolhouse west. There the road branched east 
and west to Meyers Valley and Bill's Valley. On the road to Bill's Valley 
the first house was that of J. P. Hartman. 

With the coming of the railroad, the village of Old Arcadia gradually 
dwindled away. The drug store of Dr. F. L. Lewis, the blacksmith shop 
of Ed. Nichols, the schoolhouse, and later the mill, were moved to the newer 
village, other buildings were moved to other locations and converted to 
other uses, some of the structures were left on the same location and con- 
verted into residences. The famous Gay T. Storm store was vacated and 
is still standing, a notable relic of the past. The only store now at Old 
Arcadia is that of James Brownlie, who occupies the old John D. Rainey 


store. Mr. Brownlie is the town clerk, and a wooden addition has been 
built to the building for the purposes of a town hall. 

The railroad reached Arcadia in the fall of 1873, and the depot was 
constructed on the present location. Southwest of it along the right of 
way, in the rear of the present village hall, Canterbury & Smith built a 
warehouse, and still further along Elmore & Kelley, of Green Bay, built a 
warehouse. The Elmore & Kelley warehouse was a unique structure, with 
high sloping runways, up which teams were driven to enable the pouring of 
grain into the flathouse. 

Considerable bitterness followed the building of the railroad, and it 
was not until the following spring that a village was platted. The people of 
Old Arcadia, who had believed that the railroad would pass through their 
village, were determined to keep the business at the old site, regardless 
of the railroad. Others were reconciled to the site of the depot, as one 
large village at the depot seemed better than two small villages. 

Consequently, in 1874, after the village was started, the business 
houses began to spring up. The land was a swamp, no grades had been 
established, the houses were built on piles, and the sidewalks on stilts, 
"while the customers wallowed through mire and pools. 

Probably the first business house to go up was the hotel of James 
Alexander, afterward operated by John Eckel, the saloon being conducted 
by John Gaugler. Many business houses followed, and the sound of build- 
ing was heard on every side. 

Two Fountain City concerns, realizing that much of the Waumandee, 
Glencoe and Montana trade would be turned in the new direction, estab- 
lished branch stores here, Bohri Brothers & Hensel, with Charles Hensel 
as manager, moving into a building erected by A. F. Hensel, and Fugina 
Brothers & Fertig, with J. M. Fertig as manager, moving into a store 
erected by Edson A. Morgan, who had previously lived at Old Arcadia and 
vended patent medicines throughout the region. The W. P. Massuere 
Company had its beginning the same year in a building erected by John D. 
Rainey, who had been a merchant of the old town. For a time E. J. Geis- 
lin and Milo Campbell, also merchants at Old Arcadia, were interested with 
Mr. Massuere in the venture. The Bryan drug store, with a stock of 
drugs, paints and oils and notions, was also opened. 

J. C. Muir, from Glencoe, who had assisted in building the bridge acrosr 
the river that spring, formed a partnership with G. H. Krumdick and 
erected a flathouse for the buying of grain. He also dealt in hides and 
farm produce. C. N. Paine & Co., of Oshkosh, with C. E. Hollenbeck as 
manager, opened a lumber yard. A year later they erected an office building 
on Main Street. 

Several saloons were opened, the first being that of Matt Danuser. 

A number of residences went up the same year. 

The village grew in 1875, and when the flood came in the spring of 1875, 
the flats already contained a village of considerable size, the business houses 
being scattered along Main Street both sides of the track, and down Com- 
mercial (Grant) Street. 



Whitehall, the county seat of Trempealeau County, is located at the 
geographical center of the county, within the northernmost bend of the 
Trempealeau River. Platted on the river bottoms, the village is almost 
entirely level, but is almost entirely surrounded with picturesque hills and 
bluffs, broken here and there by cooleys and valleys which lead into some 
of the richest farming lands in the county, notable among which is the 
Pigeon Valley region, known far and wide for its prosperity and fertility. 
The Trempealeau River, dammed a short distance below where it receives 
Pigeon Creek, forms a picturesque artificial lake, excellent for boating and 
fishing. The public bathhouse and the city light plant are located below 
the dam. 

The business section of the village is located north of the Green Bay 
tracks. This section is surrounded by a portion of the residence district. 
Many of the principal residences, however, are located on the two principal 
streets south of the tracks, one of the streets being at right angles to the 
tracks, and the other parallel with the tracks. 

In the south portion of the village are the courthouse, the jail, the high 
school, the hospital, the village hall, the public library, the town hall, and 
the churches, as well as the public park and the cemetery. 

Among the leading business industries of the village are the tobacco 
warehouse, the creamery, the pickling station, the mill, three elevators, two 
banks and the newspaper. The principal shipments are tobacco, butter, 
grain, eggs and potatoes. 

Especially beautiful is the park system. Beginning at the railroad 
tracks, a small park north of the village hall is ornamented with numerous 
flower beds and a cement bandstand erected by the ladies of the Chautauqua 
Circle in 1915. Southwest from the village hall, the courthouse yard begins, 
with its spreading lawns and magnificent trees. The courthouse and jail 
are of yellow brick, and the schoolhouse, west of these buildings, is of the 
same material. Without interruption, the courthouse grounds and the 
school playgrounds merge into the John 0. Melby Park, and this in turn 
stretches to the sightly public cemetery, and likewise faces the community 
hospital. On the hill above towers the reservoir of the watei'works system. 

The waterworks system was originally inaugurated in 1895. A large 
tank, on a nearby ridge, gives ample pressure, and the system covers the 
principal streets. On Feb. 23, 1895, the village voted bonds for the installa- 
tion of a waterworks system, and on May 31, 1895, the first contract was 
awarded for about $6,500. The original sewer system was installed 
in the spring of 1902, bonds of $2,500 being voted for the purpose. Addi- 
tions to the water and sewer system have since been made, and an elaborate 
extension is now planned in the north and west part of the village at a 
cost of some $12,000, bonds of $8,000 having been voted. 

The electric light current is furnished by the mill. It gives an every- 
night service from twilight until midnight, and also furnishes power for 
domestic purposes on Tuesday foi-enoons. Bonds of $2,000 were voted 


for electric light service on Oct. 21, 1897, and the lights were first turned 
on Oct. 21, of that year. 

The village hall is a sightly brick structure, which houses the fire 
department, the public library and the council chamber, and provides a large 
audience chamber for theatrical entertainments and public meetings. The 
hall cost about $18,000. Bonds of $12,000 were voted Dec. 8, 1911, the 
hall was opened late in December, 1912, and the first council meeting was 
held therein on January 13, 1913. Elections are still held in the town hall 
of Lincoln, half a block south of the village hall. 

The town hall was built in 1877, in anticipation of securing the county 
seat. It is of frame, originally designed to be one story high. But the 
Odd Fellows subscribed $600 and the original plan was changed to make the 
building two stories high. It cost a total of $1,200. For a time before the 
courthouse was built it was used for county offices. 

The principal streets were macadamized in 1915 and 1916 at a cost of 
about $8,000. 

Whitehall was incorporated in 1887. The census of April 15, 1887, 
having shown a population of 318, application was made to the circuit judge, 
who on April 26 ordered an election to be held on July 8. The election was 
duly held in charge of C. E. Scott, L. L. Solsrud and C. A. Adams, resulting 
in a vote of 47 to 25 in favor of incorporating. The first election of officers 
was held Aug. 12, and resulted as follows: President, H. E. Getts; trus- 
tees, J. S. Tull, Even Ekern, John Porter, M. C. Olson, Joseph Sherwood and 
A. T. Tucker ; clerk, F. M. Scott ; treasurer, L. L. Solsrud ; supervisor, C. E. 
Scott ; constable, William Duer ; justice, R. A. Odell ; police justice, A. Tuttle. 
The officers for 1917 are : President, Ludvig Hammerstad ; trustees, Anton 
0. Melby, A. E. Wood, E. A. Sorenson, C. A. Adams, George Larson and Ed. 
Scott ; clerk, F. N. Larson ; treasurer, J. E. Wilberg ; assessor, 0. F. Harlow ; 
supervisor, N. L. Fredrickson; justices, F. N. Larson and Henry Hundt. 

The Whitehall Community Hospital was started in 1916, and will be 
completed late in 1917. It is a beautiful structure, constructed along the 
most modern lines, and occupies a most commanding position facing the 
John 0. Melby Park. No less than 843 citizens are shareholders in the 
venture, and the rooms are being furnished by various local organizations. 
The officers are : President, Ludwig Solsrud ; vice-president, Ole J. Eggum ; 
secretary, Cxcorge Larson ; treasurer, S. N. Hegge ; directors, Ludwig Sols- 
rud, Richard H. Holtan, Claude Everson, F. W. Lowe, Gilbert Peterson, A. E. 
Wood and Ole J. Eggum. 

The John 0. Melby Park is to be developed into one of the beauty spots 
of Whitehall. Already it is beautified by a boulevard and a number of 
shade trees. It is devoted at present largely to athletic purposes. The 
original gift was made by Mr. and Mrs. John 0. Melby, Sept. 28, 1906, and 
at the same time the village acquired an additional tract by purchase. Mr. 
and Mrs. Melby's dedication of the park declares that its purpose is to 
promote the comfort, enjoyment and well being of the people of Whitehall. 
The park borders on the cemetery, the community hospital, the courthouse, 
the jail, the high school and several churches. 

Music has been an important factor in the life of Whitehall since the 


earliest days. The Whitehall Concert Band, which enjoys a wide fame, 
was established some thirty-five years ago. The present officers are: 
President, Joel Haugh ; vice-president, Herbert Holtan ; treasurer, A. P. Tall- 
man ; secretary, Ralph H. Wiezorek. The leader is Leo Haesle. The White- 
hall Ladies' Band is a notable organization that has won extensive praise 
wherever it has appeared. It was organized in 1913, composed of the 
leading ladies of the town, and is an important social as well as musical 
organization. The officers are: President, Mrs. Ted Harnden; vice- 
president, Mrs. Ward Lowe ; secretary, Miss Mabel Larson ; treasurer, Mrs. 
Eugene Sorenson ; leader, Leo Haesle. 

The Whitehall Free Library is one of the vital educational features of 
the village. In early days, the idea of a free library had been growing in 
the minds of the citizens of Whitehall, and in May, 1881, we find from the 
Whitehall Times, a dime entertainment was given to start a fund for estab- 
lishing a public library. 

In June of that year, a library association having been formed, the first 
order of books was made from Holmes, Hawthorne, Bryant, Longfellow, 
Dickens and Scott. Maple sugar parties and other forms of entertainment 
helped until in 1883, the "Ladies Athenaeum," a reading club being founded, 
they began immediately to incite more interest, so that at the end of that 
year 152 volumes were in the library, as reported by J. 0. Melby. The old 
bookcase in which the books were stored can still be seen in the Whitehall 
Times-Banner office. The checking system was very primitive. 

In March, 1899, the village president, Charles Harnden, called a meeting 
of the village board to consider the proposition of a free library in Whitehall. 
It carried and he appointed Messrs. F. E. Beach, E. Berg, A. M. Dake, H. L. 
Ekern, J. 0. Melby, Ludwig Solsrud, Mesdames W. J. Webb (who has served 
continuously to present time) , O. Rogan, W. H. Stallings and Professor 
C. F. Huleatt as ex-officio member from the public school. Five hundred 
dollars was appropriated. "Whitehall was the first village in Trempealeau 
County to vote an appropriation for such a cause." Besides the village, 
the town of Lincoln gave $100, with promise of further support. J. 0. 
Melby donated a lot, and private individuals increased the amount until at 
the first meeting of the library board, April 9, it was decided to build. 

The building was dedicated Sept. 14, 1899. The formal exercises were 
held in the afternoon, Judge R. A. Odell presiding. R. S. Cowie gave the 
address of welcome. H. L. Ekern, who was entitled to more credit than any 
one other person, gave a history of the movement. L. H. Withee, of La 
Crosse, and Senator Stout, of Menomonie, both had been very helpful and 
were present, with about 500 out-of-town visitors. A social evening session 
closed the day. 

The library has grown from 450 volumes at dedication to about 3,000. 
The last year's report gave the borrowers as 615, and reading room attend- 
ance as 9,295. 

The village appropriation is at present $300 annually, $200 for library 
board, $100 on librarian's salary. 

The present library board is : President, C. B. Melby ; vice-president, 
Mrs. W. J. Webb ; secretary, S. N. Hegge ; Miss Minnie Barron, 0. J. Eggum, 


D. P. Gibson, Mrs. C. F. Huleatt; P. K. Risberg and A. E. Wood, with 
Principal F. C. Martin as ex-ol!icio member. 

At the beginning of each school year, the librarian meets the high 
school and eighth grade pupils to explain the working use of the library. 
Each teacher is given a special card on which they may draw as many books 
and keep as long as they need. The Whitehall Free Library is depository 
for county traveling library system, which at present has fifteen boxes in 
different parts of the county. 

A Chautauqua course has been given at Whitehall every year beginning 
with 1913. The work had its beginning in April, 1910, when 20 ladies ■ 
gathered as a Whitehall Lecture Course committee. At the second meet- 
ing but six ladies were present, and these six — the Mesdames R. S. Cowie, 
O. J. Eggum, E. F. Hensel, J. F. Hager, C. B. Melby and J. M. Ingalls — have 
since constituted the entire committee. In the winter of 1910-11 a four- 
number lecture course was given, the talent being furnished by the Central 
Lyceum Bureau. In 1911-12 no hall was available. In 1913-14 and 1914-15 
the University Extension Lecture Course was given. Then the lecture 
field was left in the hands of the high school. The Chautauqua is given 
under the direction of the Travers-Wick system. In 1913 the committee 
purchased the piano which now stands in the village hall. In 1915 the 
ladies, at a cost of $700, erected a cement bandstand which now ornaments 
the village park. They are at present planning to furnish a room in the neW 
hospital. The officers are: Chairman, Mrs. R. S. Cowie; secretary, Mrs. 
0. J. Eggum ; treasurer, Mrs. E. F. Hensel. 

The Trempealeau County Industrial, Agricultural and Driving Park 
Association held a county fair in Whitehall for several years, beginning with 
1887, maintaining grounds and a race track on the south side of Dewey 
Street near the west limits of the village. 

The vicinity of Whitehall has a history dating back to 1855, when the 
first settlers arrived in this vicinity. The railroad came through late in 
1873, and at that time the future site of the village was yielding a rich 
harvest of wheat. Up and down the Trempealeau Valley, and spreading 
into the tributary cooleys and valleys, many a prosperous farm could be 

A mile up Pigeon Creek was located Old Whitehall, platted on May 23, 
1862, by Alex. A. Arnold for Benjamin F. Wing. Another mile further up 
that creek was Coral City, platted May 28, 1868, by George Hodgkin for 
Phineas Wright. Both of these hamlets were flourishing trading points. 

For a time it appeared that the railroad was to go westward from Blair 
to Arcadia, without following the northern loop of the river, but the present 
route was finally decided upon, and a village near this point assured. 

The tracks were laid through the wheat field that is now Whitehall, on 
Sept. 2, 1873. Charles Adams, now a leading Whitehall merchant, was one 
of the crew. Where the courthouse now stands, the harvesters were gath- 
ering wheat. 

In November, 1873, Theodore H. Earle arrived and selected the site for 
a dwelling. He was the son-in-law of Henry Ketchum, for several years 
president of the railroad, and his purpose was to establish a town in the 


interests of Mr. Ketchiim and C. M. Kelley, a Green Bay grain capitalist 
and one of the backers of the Green Bay road. 

On New Year's Day, 1874, the first passenger train passed Whitehall 
on regular schedule. That same day the lumber was unloaded for the 
first depot, and a section crew in charge of Charles Adams started putting 
in the, sidetrack and switch. Jan. 4, C. J. Lambert purchased the first load 
of wheat at $1.00 a bushel. Jan. 6, Daniel C. Camp arrived as station agent 
and grain buyer for Elmore & Kelley. Jan. 20, the village was platted by 
T. H. Earle, C. M. Kelly and Henry Ketchum. 

During the winter two grain houses went up, one owned by Elmore & 
Kelley, of Green Bay, and one by T. H. Earle and C. J. Lambert, who came 
here to make their homes. Mr. Earle's interest was soon acquired by H. E. 

The first residence started was that of T. H. Earle, the second that of 
George Olds. 

During the spring and summer of 1874, the village presented a scene of 
busy activity. Hotels, business houses and residences went up here and 
there, and before fall a flourishing hamlet had been established. 

The first hotel was the Empire House, erected by Henry Stratton. The 
Alexander Hotel, owned by S. L. Alexander, and the Whitehall House, 
moved in part from Coral City by M. V. Allen, soon followed. 

H. E. Getts built the first store. August Cook and Nelson Comstock 
started hardware stores, but before they could open the tornado demolished 
their buildings, and they never opened for business. The general store of 
L. H. Whitney was also swept by the tornado, but he at once rebuilt, and 
put in a stock of goods. 

D. L. Camp put up a double block, and opened a general store in one 
-side, while T. C. McDermott opened a hardware store in the other. C. E. 
Scott put up a building and opened a general store. Benjamin F. Wing, 
the original proprietor of Old Whitehall, moved in and erected a general 
store. John Rogerson and C. H. Warner opened a hardware store and Melby 
& Johnson a tailor shop. 

The first carpenters to locate permanently in the new village were 
William Blodgett, Joseph Augustine, A. J. Roscoe and James Hiner. A 
year or two later came William Scott, also a carpenter, and Alonzo Tucker. 
a mason. 

The first physician was Dr. R. G. Floyd. 

Charles Adams thus describes the village in the late fall of 1874 : 

South of the track and east of the street was the store of B. F. Wing. 

North of the track and east of the street on the present site of the 
Model Store was the Alexander Hotel. North of what is now the John 0. 
Melby & Co. Bank was the store of H. E. Getts, the building being stil' 
standing. D. L. Camp and T. C. McDermott were on the present site of 
the Solsrud Mercantile Co., Camp occupying the side farthest north. 

East of the present site of the Solsrud building was the tailor shop of 
Melby & Johnson. East of this was L. H. Whitney, east of this were the 
foundations of the stores of August Cook and Nelson Comstock. 

North of the ti'ack and west of the street north of the present location 


of the Huleatt Mercantile Company was the home of George Olds, the second 
residence in the village. North of this was the Rogerson & Warner store. 
On the northeast corner of the block was the store of C. E. Scott. The 
building is still standing. In this block, the first term of Circuit Court in 
Whitehall was held. 

The Empire Hotel was on the present site of the American House. 
The Whitehall House, now called Hotel Allen, is still standing and is 
operated by Mrs. M. V. Allen. 

The Earle House was a block east of the present site of the Model. 

Various other residences were scattered about the plat. 

The Trempealeau Messenger had already been started, Bert E. Clark 
having purchased the Galesville Journal and Recorder from George S. Luce 
and moved the material here. 

A schoolhouse had been moved from its location a half mile east, and a 
new building, still standing but not now in use, had been built west of what 
is now the 0. P. Larson residence. 

The wisdom of the establishment of the village was shown by the fact 
that during the year there were shipped from Whitehall 225,000 bushels 
of wheat in addition to quantities of oats, barley and corn. 

The village was now well established, the various lines of industry were 
satisfactorily represented, and during the next two years there were but 
few new business houses erected, though there were many additions to the 
number of residences. The schoolhouse was completed in 1875, and the 
Baptist and Methodist churches erected. In that and the succeeding year 
the new business houses were the grocery store of A. J. Cady, the tailor 
shop of M. C. Olson, the harness shop of Edward Romander, the general 
store of Decker & Lawton, the general store of Melvin Johnson, the lumbei: 
yards of A. S. Trow & Co. and T. H. Earle Company, and the liveries of 
Eugene Webster and J. R. King. 


Galesville, situated in the Beaver Creek Valley on the banks of Lake 
Marinuka, a beautiful artificial body of water, is one of the most picturesque 
villages in Western Wisconsin. The site of the village is divided into an 
upper table, the residence section, and the lower table and flats, which 
constitute the business section, most of the stores being located about the 
Public Square or the street immediately adjoining. An extensive park 
system adds to the beauty of the village, and numerous mineral springs 
attract tourists. The village is equipped with electric lights, waterworks, 
sewer system, village hall, fire department and high school. Two telephone 
systems furnish excellent service. The two banks reflect the financial 
stability of the surrounding country. A public library is well patronized, 
and a modern newspaper chronicles the weekly life of the neighborhood. 

The Norwegian Lutherans have two churches, and the Presbyterian, 
Catholic and Methodist denominations each one. A band adds to desira- 
bihty of life here. The annual celebration of the Burns Club and the annual 
county fair bring visitors from near and far. The Commercial Club has 
taken an active interest in the civic development of the village. The leading 


industries are the mill, the creamery, the elevators and the stock yards. 
Gale College is one of the oldest in the State, having opened its first classes 
in 1859. Galesville is connected with the outside world with a branch of 
the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, and by an excellent system of im- 
proved highways. 

Founded, settled and platted in 1854, Galesville soon assumed substan- 
tial propoi'tions as the county seat and the home of Gale College, enjoying 
its greatest growth from 1856 until the year following the Civil War. It 
was not materially affected by the railroad which was built in the southern 
part of the county in 1870, or by the railroad built through the Trempealeau 
Valley in 1873. The loss of the county seat late in 1876 took away some 
of the hotel and legal business, and possibly a little of the mercantile trade. 

With the coming of the railroad in 1883, the village took on new life 
and soon assumed an importance which it still retains as a shipping and 
trading center. 

In that year efforts were made to incorporate the village. A census 
taken on Oct. 16, 1883, having shown a population of 439 persons, an appli- 
cation was presented to the district court asking for the incorporation. A 
remonstrance was presented at the same time. Accordingly on Dec. 16, 
1883, Judge A. W. Newman appointed Hugh Cameron, of La Crosse, as a 
referee to hear the testimony in the matter. Mr. Cameron failed to act 
and the application continued in abeyance for several years. In 1887 the 
proposition was revived, and on June 13 of that year Judge Newman ap- 
pointed Isaac Clark, George H. Smith and Moses King inspectors of an 
election to be held to decide the matter. July 2, 18S7, Gustavus Holmberg 
was appointed in place of Moses King. The election held Aug. 1, 1887, 
with H. L. Bunn and Charles T. Silk as clerks, favored the proposition by 
a vote of 80 to 32. The first election was held on Aug. 20, 1887, and resulted 
as follows : President, G. Y. Freeman ; trustees, C. B. Thrall, 0. N. Sagen, 
A. Kribs, A. H. Czepull, G. F. Myhre and F. Langenohl ; clerk, H. L. Bunn ; 
treasurer, A. Tibbitts ; supervisor, Wilson Davis ; constable, William Ray- 
mond; justice, A. Tower. The first meeting of the council was held Sept. 
5, 1887". 

The present officers are: President, A. T. Twesme; trustees, Carl 
McKeeth, I. G. Herried, R. H. Ashley, R. E. James, W. F. Plummer and 
J. A. Berg; clerk, O. D. Witherbee; treasurer. Nils Lund; assessor, J. A. 
Kellman ; supervisor, Ben W. Davis. 

The village government has been most admirably conducted. Water- 
works and a sewer system have been installed and extended, the streets 
have been improved and excellently cared for, a city hall has been built, a 
good fire department maintained, the business center has been paved, and 
considerable attention has been given to the extensive park system and to 
public health and recreation, in addition to the usual routine village main- 

The park system is in charge of a commission which was created in 
1915, and now consists of A. T. Twesme, 0. D. Witherbee, J. F. Cance, 
Rev. L. M. Gimmestad, Bert A. Gipple, Emil Francar and Charles Bortle. 
City beautiful plans have been prepared by John H. Forrer, of La Crosse, 


and are being gradually worked out by the commission. The plans include 
public and private property and will make the village one of the beauty 
spots of the Northwest. The Upper Table Park and the Public Square 
on the lower table were platted with the village and were donated by George 
Gale, the founder of the village. The wide streets which enclose the Public 
Square were paved in 1912, and soon afterward a cement bandstand erected 
at a cost of nearly $1,000 raised by public subscription. The Upper Table 
Park is well shaded with old trees and is also supplied with a bandstand. 
Reception Park, originally called Riverside Park, was acquired from C. E. 
Perkins in the summer of 1889. At once upon its purchase the property 
was turned over to William C. Pierce, who agreed to pay Mr. Perkins for 
the property, to keep the park open to the public except when in use for 
baseball, horse racing or fair purposes, and at the end of ten years to sell 
to the village at a fair valuation. Two years after, Mr. Pierce disposed of 
all his interest to the village. In 1892 extensive plans were made for the 
advertising of Galesville as a summer resort. A landing platform was 
erected at Reception Park for the convenience of railroad excursionists, a 
pavilion was built, an excursion steamer was purchased, lights were installed 
in Reception and High Cliff parks, and the weeds were cleared from the 
lake. Efforts were made to have the railroad move its station to the lake 
front. But the depot was not moved and in a few years the steamboat was 
sold, owing to lack of patronage. In December, 1902, a curling rink was 
erected in the park by the Galesville Curling and Burns Club. The park 
consists of a little over 11 acres lying along the banks of Beaver Creek. It 
is well shaded and in addition to the pavilion, curling rink and landing 
platform already mentioned, has an excellent baseball field and an artesian 
well 600 feet deep. The High Cliff Park consists of a narrow strip of 
land having Beaver Creek on one side and high, perpendicular water-worn 
cliffs on the other. It is covered with native foliage and has several springs 
and caves. The park is open to the public through the courtesy of Ben W. 
Davis. East Side Park is on the lake shore and is made up of groves of 
native trees. It is open to the public through the generosity of the heirs of 
Captain A. A. Arnold. On the flat above the East Side Park are the grounds 
of the Trempealeau County Agricultural Society, purchased in 1892. At 
the head of the lake are the Arctic Springs, which will also soon be sur- 
rounded with a park. The waters of the spring are widely known for their 
purity and health-giving qualities, and a company has been formed for 
exploiting and developing this important asset. In connection with the 
beauty spots, the public cemetery deserves special mention. The Associa- 
tion was organized in 1861 with Isaac Clark as president and A. A. Arnold 
as secretary, and eight acres of land obtained from George Gale. The Asso- 
ciation has continued to be maintained, and the cemetery is being constantly 

The village waterworks were inaugurated in the summer of 1888, when 
the village contracted with Wilson Davis to extend his mill waterworks 
to protect all the property on the lower table, to put in hydrants and to 
furnish hose for the use of the fire company, the hose and hosecart to be 
kept in repair by the village. This contract was renewed until the present 


water and sewer system was put in operation in 1899. Aug. 5, 1898, the 
citizens voted bonds of $3,000 which were used to construct a reservoir 
on the property of Charles BouUn. Technical difficulties stood in the way of 
voting sufficient bonds for the construction of the entire system, so a number 
of citizens organized a temporary lirm known as the Galesville Waterworks 
Co., and engaged John P. Dales, of the Western Engineering & Construction 
Co., as contractor. The contract price was $20,000, to be paid by the village 
at the rate of $1,000 a year under the guise of a hydrant rental. 

The electric light system was installed in the fall of 1889 by T. P. and 
W. W. Benton under the firm name of T. P. Benton & Co. Since then the 
system has been continuous, and is now operated by the Davis Mill Company. 

Local telephone service was started in the fall of 1895 by W. P. Veitch 
and George S. Luce. 

The city hall was erected in 1896 and opened Oct. 9 of that year. It 
houses the opera house, the fire department, village offices and the jail. 

The splendid high school building was erected in 1908, replacing the 
earlier building erected in 1873-74. In addition to the usual classical and 
English courses, work is given in domestic science and manual training, and 
special attention is paid to music, oratory, debating, athletics and general 
community endeavor. 

The public library is supported by the village, the building having been 
donated by the will of Ellen Burchard Burdick, who died Oct. 9, 1913. 

The Galesville Commercial Club, whose name was changed from the 
Galesville Business Men's Association on Nov. 18, 1916, was organized Sept. 
16, 1899, 'the first directors being G. 0. Gilbertson, L. N. Hammer, E. F. 
Clark, F. A. KeUman, Ben W. Davis, Henry Yeoman, W. S. Wadleigh, R. H. 
Robertson and George Rail. The present officers are : President, J. A. Berg ; 
vice-president, Carl McKeeth ; secretary, Emil Fi'ancar, and E. F. Clark. 


Independence is a thriving village located at the junction of Elk Creek 
and the Trempealeau River, on the line of the Green Bay & Western, and at 
the mouth of the far-reaching Pleasant Valley. It is an important shipping 
point for stock, poultry, butter, eggs, cheese and pickles, and aside from 
the usual business activities, has four elevators, two banks, a creamery, 
a mill, two stock yards, a pickling station, and a newspaper. Municipal 
improvements include the village hall, electric lights, waterworks and sewer 
systems, and a public library. There are three churches, the Catholic and 
the Norwegian Lutheran, and one which is used in common by the Metho- 
dists and the Evangelical Association. The streets of the village are paved 
with petrified brick, and macadam roads extend in all directions. 

There are a number of beauty spots in the village. The railroad right 
of way south of the track has been parked, furnishing a beautiful approach 
to some sightly houses which parallel the track. Elk Creek, dammed at 
this village, forms a beautiful artificial lake, admirably suited for bathing, 
boating and fishing. A bath house was erected in the summer of 1917 by 
popular subscription, and the beach is being impi'oved. 

Independence was incorporated in 188.5. A survey having been made 


May 5, 6 and 7, by H. B. Merchant, a census was taken Oct. 21, 1885, by J. 
C. Taylor, showing a population of 350. A petition was accordingly pre- 
sented to the court by E. S. Hotchkiss, J. C. Taylor, P. Husom, J. A. John- 
son, A. W. Liver and John Sprecher. Judge A. W. Newman, on Dec. 16, 
1885, granted the petition, and appointed an election. This election was 
held at the lumber office of E. S. Hotchkiss Jan. 22, 1886, in charge of L. E. 
Danuser, J. W. Runkel and E. S. Hotchkiss (clerk) , and resulted in a favor- 
able vote of 49 to 29. Officers were chosen Feb. 26, 1886 as follows : Presi- 
dent, M. Mulhgan; trustees, Thomas Thompson, J. -C. Taylor, Edward 
Linse, John Sprecher, E. S. Hotchkiss and Frank Tubbs; clerk, W. B. 
Faulds; treasurer, George H. Markham; supervisor, J. A. Johnson; con- 
stable, Daniel Garlick; justice of the peace, B. M. Johnson; police justice, 
A. W. Liver. 

The Independence Public Library was organized some time in 1907, 
under the auspices of the Wisconsin Library Commission. The first board 
consisted of George A. Markham (president), and Dr. C. F. Peterson (secre- 
tary), and Anton Senty. When the village hall was built, provision was 
made for a library, so, upon organization of the board, $500 appropriated 
by the board was wisely spent in buying books, and the library opened, 
with Edna Elstad as librarian. The village appropriates some $200 or 
$300 annually, and the library is open three evenings a week, in charge of 
Mrs. Minnie Cole and daughter, Sadie Cole. The present board consists of 
Dr. C. F. Peterson (chairman), Mrs. George A. Markham (secretary), and 
Mrs. E. E. Runkel. 

The first village hall was a two-story wooden building, purchased 
from John Sprecher June 21, 1886. Later the need of a larger and modern 
building was apparent, and accordingly on May 5, 1902, the village voted 
bonds of $8,000 for a village hall and electric light system, the vote being 
a close one of 98 to 79. The hall is a sightly, two-story building fully ade- 
quate for all purposes. It houses the public library, the council chambers, 
the fire apparatus, the jail and the opera house. A splendid clock adorns 
the stately tower of the building. The hall was partly demolished by the 
cyclone of 1903 and was not completely rebuilt until 1906. In 1903 the 
electric light system was installed, separate bonds having been voted. 

The village has an excellent system of waterworks and sewer, consist- 
ing of six wells, a pumping station, and a reservoir at the top of the neigh- 
boring bluff. The elevation of 176 feet gives adequate fire protection for 
all needs, a volunteer fire department being well equipped with all neces- 
sary apparatus. The first waterworks consisted of wrought iron mains 
covering about three blocks, and a pump which the village put in at the 
mill. Water was obtained from the pond. This system was inaugurated 
in 1886. In 1895 the system was extended, an artesian well drilled and a 
reservoir built. In 1898 a shallow filtration well was dug. 

On June 22, 1909, a special election was held to determine the issuing 
of bonds for putting in a complete sewer and water system. The proposi- 
tion was rejected by a vote of 65 to 54. But in the meantime, the old sys- 
tem was condemned by the State Board of Health and on April 25, 1911, 
sewer and waterworks bonds were authorized by a vote of 93 to 37. 


A system of street grades was established Aug. 5, 1908. Oct. 20, 1915, 
the village voted $1,000 tax for highway purposes, and with this beginning 
some 12,000 square yards of petrified brick have been laid. There are also 
some two miles of limestone macadam in the village limits. Two miles are 
macadamized west to New City, a short link being missing. South, the 
macadam extends a mile. North the macadam extends up Elk Creek four 
miles, one mile being in the village and three in the township. In 1916 the 
business men subscribed $1,000 to help build a macadam road east from the 
road to the town limits of Lincoln. The permanent street improvements 
for the two years cost the village $2,500 without creating any bonded 

The new High school building, erected at a cost of some $40,000, is one 
of the finest in the state, and is constructed along the latest improved lines. 
It was first occupied in January, 1916. The building is of brick. It is ex- 
cellently equipped, and surrounded by spacious grounds. Aside from the 
usual graded and High school studies, there are special courses in domestic 
science, agriculture and the manual arts. The school history of Independ- 
ence is a most interesting one. The district was organized in July, 1876. 
In the fall, school was opened in Taylor's Hall. A storehouse on Adams 
street was next used. In 1880, a brick schoolhouse was erected on a tract 
of land donated by D. M. KeUey, the village proprietor. Two additions 
were later erected. In 1914, the agitation for a new schoolhouse was 
started, and a bitter controversy ensued, resulting finally, however, in the 
decision to build the new structure. Frank Tubbs and B. L. Hutchins, who 
had just platted a new addition, made the village what was considered an 
excellent offer of 24 lots, most of them 50 by 120 feet, on the most advan- 
tageous terms. A committee was appointed, consisting of John A. Mark- 
ham, August A. Mish, John F. Kulig, Frank A. Hotchkiss, C. J. Peterson, 
H. 0. Carthus and Peter C. Schrock, to consider suitable plans. The com- 
mittee decided upon the present model, and the decision has since met with 
general favor. The old school is still used for several phases of the school 
work, the original donor not having yet cancelled the clause in his dedica- 
tion of the property, which provided for the revision of the property to him 
in case its use for school purposes would be abandoned. 

Independence had its beginning in 1876, and received its name from 
the fact that the Centennial celebration of American Independence fell on 
that year. The agitation for a village at this point started in 1873, when 
it became certain that the Green Bay & Lake Pepin, now the Green Bay 
& Western, was to build a railroad down Trempealeau Valley, and a propo- 
sition was made that the town of Burnside aid the company by voting bonds 
of $20,000. But at a special election held for that purpose, May 3, 1873, 
the result was 9 for and 93 against the proposition, with one vote deficient. 

During the summer of 1873 the question of a depot was strongly agi- 
tated. The railroad agreed to build a depot in the town if given a bonus of 
$5,000, and a special election was held Nov. 10 to vote on the question of 
granting bonds to that amount. The vote stood 29 for and 53 against. 
The vote resulted from the agitation over the location of the depot rather 
than from opposition to voting the bonds. At that time the present town 


of Chimney Rock was a part of Burnside. Those living in the north part of 
the town wanted the depot on the northeast side of Elk Creek, while those 
in the southern part of the town wanted the depot about a mile south of 
Elk Creek at New City. 

New City was quite a flourishing hamlet. It had been started about 
1869, when Elliott J. Carpenter came to the mouth of Travis Creek and 
constructed a dam and a mill, also opening a small store. He was followed 
by Michael Fugina, who opened a store and saloon, and by Peter Eichman, 
who opened a tavern and saloon. Henry Gibson opened a small store and 
was appointed postmaster. Carpenter sold the mill to Albert Bautch and 
Gibson sold his store to David Garlick, who succeeded him as postmaster. 

A man named Fancher had a blacksmith shop there, also. 

At the Corners, half way between New City and the present site of 
Independence, Ed Gorton erected a store, and across the road from him, 
Ernest Walthers erected a small tavern and saloon. 

In the fall of 1875 the question of a depot was again strongly agitated. 
J. C. Noteman, at that time station agent at Dodge, took up the matter with 
the officers of the railroad with the result that the railroad agreed that if 
the people would raise $5,000 by subscription, giving their notes for that 
amount, the request would be granted. It was finally agreed that the de- 
pot was to be located between Elk and Travis Creek, and that George H. 
Markham was to hold the notes until the railroad company should fulfil 
its part of the contract. If the railroad failed to build the depot the notes 
were to be returned to the makers. The full amount was subscribed, and 
the depot was erected at its present site in the spring of 1876. 

At this time the present site of the village was a wheat field, oper- 
ated by Lawrence Pampuch. David M. Kelly secured a tract of land here, 
and on May 13, 1876, had John Stewart lay out a town. The letter which 
Mr. Kelly wrote to George H. Markham, thanking him for his hospitality 
at that time, is now preserved by the Trempealeau County Historical So- 
ciety. Lots in Independence were offered for sale on May 25, the first to 
purchase being David Garlick, Edward Elstad and J. C. Taylor. 

Then came an influx from New City, Gorton, Walthers, Fugina and 
Garlick all moving in. Gorton moved his stone building to the southeast 
corner of block 2, at the corner of Third and Washington streets. Walthers 
moved his tavern building to lot 6, block 1, on the east side of Second street, 
between Washington and Adams streets. This building is now occupied 
by the Farmers & Merchants Bank. Later, north of this building. Walthers 
erected a large structure, with rooms for a saloon and store on the first floor, 
and with a public hall on the second floor. This hall was the social cen- 
ter of Independence for many years. Fugina moved his store to the north- 
west corner of block 2, at the corner of Third and Adams streets. Later 
he erected another building to the east. Garlick erected a building east of 
the Fugina buildings, on the south side of Adams street, between Second 
and Third streets. In the lower front room of this place he kept the post 
office and a small store. Mrs. Garlick was the first lady to take up her resi- 
dence in the village. 

J. C. Taylor erected a drug store at the southeast corner of block 1, on 


First street, between Washington and Adams streets. Block 1 was irregu- 
larly shaped, the southeast corner being cut off. When Mr. Taylor's build- 
ing burned, he succeeded in having the village abandon a part of the alley, 
so that the present building covers what was originally the alley south of 
his first building. 

Cyrus J. Lambert and 0. P. Larson opened a store in the Walthers 
building, and also started buying grain. Later this firm erected a large 
building on the southeast corner of block 2, at the corner of Second and 
Washington streets, the present location of the Lambert Brothers, who now 
conduct a general store as the successors of their father, Benjamin F. Lam- 
bert, who entered business here April 9, 1879. 

E. H. Warner erected a hardware store on the north side of block 2, 
between Second and Third streets. The history of this store is most in- 
teresting. Christ Meuli bought the store in 1877, and A. W. Liver entered 
his employ. Meuli later took in L. F. Danuser as a partner, and the com- 
pany became Meuli & Danuser. Then Meuli sold to Ferdinand Horst and 
the firm became Danuser & Horst. In the meantime, since 1883, A. W. 
Liver has been conducting a place of his own. In 1888 he bought out Horst 
and the firm became Danuser & Liver. In 1894 Christ Torgerson bought 
out Danuser and the firm has since been Liver & Torgerson. The Lang 
Brothers opened a harness shop on the present site of Paul Sura's place of 
business on the west side of Second street. Nick Theisen opened a shoe 
shop on Washington street. Later he erected a brick building and moved 
into it. 

Ira Smith opened a lumber yard for White & Emery, on the site of the 
present lumber yard. The same year Artemus Emery himself came and 
took charge. Years later he sold to E. S. Hotchkiss. George Hiles opened a 
lumber yard and sent George Hibbard here to conduct it. The Payne Lum- 
ber Company, of Oshkosh, opened a lumber yard where the present stock- 
yards are located. Charles Hallenbeck was the general manager of the 
Payne interests in this region, but confined his attentions largely to Ar- 
cadia, while Charles E. Davis conducted the yard here. J. C. Noteman was 
the first station agent and the first elevator man. Giles Cripps, Noah Corn- 
stock and Mr. Noteman erected a warehouse, the one now used by John 
Sprecher & Son. For several years all the grain bought in Independence 
by the different firms went through this warehouse. Noteman lived in the 
station until his home was completed. John Sprecher came here as the 
representative of Krumdick & Muir, implement dealers and grain buyers, of 
Arcadia, where he previously worked. In 1878 he bought out Krumdick, 
and a year later bought out Muir. In 1897 Mr. Sprecher sold a half interest 
of the implement business to William Steiner, and the firm became Sprecher 
& Steiner. In 1897 Mr. Sprecher sold his remaining interest to Mr. Steiner. 
He still retains his grain business under the name of John Sprecher & 
son. Nathaniel Nichols, a lawyer, came over from New City. Dr. W. R. 
Allison located here, and Drs. Lewis and Brandt, of Arcadia, opened a 
branch oflice here, Dr. Brandt attending to most of the practice. 

J. W. McKay opened a hotel on the south side of Washington street, 
across from Gorton's store, which he called the Tremont House. While 


the building was being erected he had kept boarders in a nearby shack. The 
following year he sold to Wilham R. Trumbull, who put on an addition, and 
changed the name to the Trumbull House. Later the name was changed 
to the Welcome House. 

Edward Elstad built a saloon about the middle of the south side of 
block 2, on Washington street, between Second and Third streets. Later he 
erected a store where the firm of Elstad Brothers was established. Hans 
Melgard opened a saloon at the northeast corner of block 2, at the corner 
of Second and Adams, where the Sura garage is now located. Andrew 
Anderson opened a saloon east of the Walthers building on the south side 
of Adams street, between First and Second streets. Eugene Webster opened 
a livery on the west side of Second street, where the warehouse addition 
to the Lambert Brothers' store is now located. West Snow opened a liv- 
ery east of the Tremont House. 

Thus the business of the village started. In addition to the places of 
business many residences have been put up. Among them were two build- 
ings north of the present business section, which were intended as hotels. 
The main road then skirted the foot of the hills west of the village, and 
crossing Elk Creek, continued eastward along the present road to Whitehall. 
But this route was soon abandoned for one passing through the center of 
the village and the hotels were never opened as such. 

In 1877 a number of important enterprises were started. S. M. New- 
ton erected the dam and mill at a cost of about $22,000. Later this mill 
came into possession of Noah Comstock and James Gaveney, of Arcadia, 
bought the mill and controlled it the remainder of their lives. Ira Smith 
put up the Merchants Hotel at the foot of Washington street. Previously 
he had operated a small hotel on the north side of Washington street, just 
north of the present Lambert Brothers' store. John W. Runkle started a 
furniture store and undertaking establishment. It was this year that Ar- 
temas Emery erected the residence south of the tract which has since been 
a landmark. 

The village gradually grew, the business section stretching from the 
depot north and west. The residence section stretches north and west 
of the business section west of the artificial lake, north from the bridge 
east of the lake, and south and west of the depot. 


The village of Blair is one of the best shipping towns of its size in the 
state. The village has about 500 people within its borders, but there are 
twenty families living just outside the corporate limits in the town of 

It is situated in the east central part of the county and is surrounded 
by some excellent stock farms. The farmers are enterprising and a big 
majority of them have fine herds of full-blooded stock. 

Blair can well feel proud of its municipal improvements. The electric 
light and waterworks systems are municipally owned and the power for op- 
eration is both water and steam. The main streets are macadamized and 
it has recently purchased a large market square. 


There is a credited High school, two large Lutheran churches and a 
Baptist church ; a large village hall ; two banks ; a newspaper ; a flour mill ; a 
creamery, and the usual stores, garages and other places of business. 

In 1894 an apphcation was made to the circuit court for Trempealeau 
county for incorporation. The territory embraced was the southeast quar- 
ter and south half of the northeast quarter of 16-21-7, and comprised 241.68 
acres. The application was signed by E. L. Immell, T. I. Gilbert, L. S. 
Fenny, G. A. Slye, J. W. Dalton, J. E. Mayer, Ole 0. Moe, H. Thorsgaard, J. 
0. Gilbert, J. Leasum and E. 0. Gilfillan. The survey was made by Geo. M. 
Adams. The census, taken by Oscar T. Gilbert, gave the proposed village 
324 residents. The judgment was entered on September 6, by O. B. Wyman, 
circuit judge, and a vote was taken on October 16, which resulted as fol- 
lows : 50 for incorporation and 43 against. 

At the first village election held on October 30, 1894, the following of- 
ficers were chosen : Village president, M. A. Peterson ; trustees, E. Berg- 
seng, J. E. Thorstad, Lars Hanson, H. Knutson, O. H. Benrud, G. O. Hanson ; 
supervisor, Morris Hanson ; clerk, S. H. Neperud ; treasurer, H. T. Thomp- 
son; marshal, W. H. Welch; justices of the peace, 0. A. Brekke, H. N. Hal- 
vorson; police justice, F. M. Immell; constable, Lars Hanson. The question 
of issuing corporate bonds in the sum of $3,000 for the purpose of construct- 
ing a waterworks system for the village was submitted to the electors at a 
special election held May 28, 1898. There were 68 votes cast, of which 64 
favored the proposition and 4 opposed. 

The electric light system was constructed through private subscrip- 
tion together with moneys in the general fund, the village having been 
bonded almost to the constitutional limitation. The lights were installed in 
the early part of 1901, and the shares owned by the individuals were grad- 
ually taken over by the village in the following five years. 

On Sept. 8, 1911, an election was held for the purpose of authorizing 
the village board to borrow $10,000 from the trust funds for building a 
village hall. At the election there were 45 in favor and 39 against. The 
matter was protested before the trust board and the loan held up until 
the middle of the year 1913, when it was granted. On August 29 of that 
year the village board let the contract for its construction for the sum of 
$11,850, and the building was completed and opened for use in February, 

A movement was made in the spring of 1917 for the extension of the 
corporate limits of the village so as to include a number of families of the 
town of Preston, living east of Blair, but the proposition was defeated by a 
vote of the people. 

There is no village park, but the High school has ample grounds and 
the magnificent grove of Thomas Hogan near the banks of the Ti-empealeau 
is used for picnic and recreation purposes. 

Following is a list of the present officers of the village: President, J. 
O. Knutson ; trustees, A. E. Bratland, E. C. Hanson, A. L. Thompson, A. S. 
Fenney, G. W. Metzgar, E. L. Immell ; village clerk, A. J. Sather ; treasurer, 
O. B. Borsheim; assessor, C. O. Grinde; supervisor, K. S. Knutson; justice 


of the peace, K. H. Skaar; police justice, Ebert Olson; constable and mar- 
shal, Sid Jacques. 

The vicinity of what is now the village of Blair was a center of travel 
long before the railroad was projected through Trempealeau Valley. From 
further down the main valley, from many a vale and cooley, and from over 
the ridges, came the travel into the older Jackson County region, especially 
to Merrillan, where the pioneers of the eastern Trempealeau County sold 
their wheat and where they secured lumber to build their houses and barns. 
One of the principal routes came up from Bear Creek over the ridge, led 
north through Reynolds Cooley, joined the Trempealeau Valley road as at 
present, just west of what is now the Ettrick & Northern right-of-way, ran 
east on the section line a quarter of a mile, turned north on the dividing line 
of section 16, past what is now the United Lutheran church, thence across 
the Trempealeau River on a bridge some distance west from what is now 
the mill bridge, and then eastward up the Trempealeau Valley, north of the 

A few rods west of where the Reynolds Cooley road joins the main 
road, lived Martin Hanson. Just north of the north end of the Reynolds 
Cooley road lived Carl 0. Strum. This farm was a famous stopping place, 
where the settlers arriving in the evening on their return journey from Mer- 
rillan, found it convenient to rest before undertaking the slow and toilsome 
trip over the ridge. Many a night found the house filled to overflowing 
with drivers and the barns and yard crowded with teams and vehicles. 
Just east of where the Reynolds Cooley road joins the main road, T. L Gil- 
bert, about 1870, opened a small store, moving to that location from Mound 
Spring, four miles east. Ole Strum lived a short distance south of what 
is now the United Lutheran church. On the east edge of what is now the 
village was the house of Duke Porter, while his mother and her family 
lived still further east. North of the river, west of where the road after 
crossing the bridge, turned east toward Jackson county, was the South Bend 
postofRce at the home of Ebenezer Thurston, "Yankee" Thurston, as he was 
called by his foreign-born neighbors. 

Early in 1873, the railroad being assured, and a station at this point 
having already been decided upon, John Van Ness, Orrin Van Ness and 
Henry Thorsgaard came over the ridge from Ettrick and selected on the 
snow-covered flats the location for a mill. These men had all been active- 
ly interested in the milling industry in western Wisconsin for several 
years, and at the time of this trip, Mr. Thorsgaard was employed by John 
Van Ness in the mill which Orrin Van Ness had built at Ettrick, Orrin Van 
Ness himself being in charge of a mill near West Salem. Mr. Thorsgaard 
became the active factor in the Blair mill and in a few years bought out 
the Van Ness interests. He rebuilt the mill after it was burned in 1880, 
sold it in 1883, and is now actively engaged in the grain business. 

As soon as the snow was off the ground in the spring of 1873, active op- 
erations were commenced. Two forty-acre tracts were purchased from 
Ebenezer Thurston for a mill and pond, lumber was hauled from Merrillan, 
and men put to work on the dam, the mill, the bridge and a dweUing for 
Mr. Thorsgaard. At the same time the tracks for the railroad were being 


laid, and every farmhouse along the line was crowded with workmen. 
While the work w-as in progress, a farmer named John Thinbacken broke 
through the old bridge with a yoke of oxen, and the mill bridge received all 
the traffic. Soon afterward a road was established from the mill south 
to the main highway. 

The depot was erected not far from the mill. Two warehouses and a 
lumber yard were opened in the same neighborhood. The business cen- 
ter developed on higher ground several blocks south of the mill. Even Ber- 
seng opened a hotel, the first business establishment in the new village. 
Three years later an addition was built. This hotel was an important fea- 
ture in the village life until it bui-ned in 1916. In the hall on the second floor 
were held dances, public meetings and theatrical entertainments, and many 
an entertainer since famous played behind its oil footlights in the seventies 
and eighties. 

Some time during the summer of 1873, T. I. Gilbert & Co. moved from 
Strum's Corners to the new site, and within a short time other places of 
business had started, including C. C. Hanson's general store, John E. John- 
son's hardware store and John Hanson's drug store. 

In the meantime Ebenezer Thurston had given forty acres to the rail- 
road, and on a part of the Porter estate, Duke Porter had platted a village 
which he called Porterville. The Hiles & Ketchum plat of Blair, the rail- 
road plat, was filed April 16, 1877. Later the land was the subject of con- 
sidei'able litigation, and the title to some of the best land in the village re- 
mained long in dispute, some of the railroad officials claiming that the plat 
belonged to them personally instead of to the railroad as a company. 

In 1891 the business section of the village was entirely wiped out by 
fire. The conflagration took place at about noon on July 27, and rapidly 
destroyed several blocks, leaving on the east and west a blacksmith shop, 
on the north the hotel, and nothing else but blackened ruins. 

Undaunted the citizens started to make plans for rebuilding. For a 
time there was considerable talk of remodeling the village plat and estab- 
lishing a public square around which the business houses would be grouped, 
but the owners were unable to agree upon a satisfactory plan, for the stores 
were eventually rebuilt on their former sites. 


Eleva is a popular trading center in the northern part of the county on 
the Mondovi branch of the Omaha. It is located on the north bank of the 
Beef River, and is intersected by the Big Creek. Trout Creek comes in from 
the south a short distance east. The mill pond is north of the village. The 
business section is west of the creek, while the area east of the creek is, ex- 
cept for the creamery entirely devoted to residences. 

The churches are of the Norwegian Lutheran and Methodist Episco- 
pal faith. The sightly brick school building of four rooms covers twelve 
grades of school study. 

The bank, mill and creamery, the two elevators and a lumber yard are 
in flourishing condition, and the usual business houses are well patronized. 


A private park consisting of a two-acre grove east of the mill pond fur- 
nishes health and recreation. 

The electric light service was inaugurated in December, 1914. The vil- 
lage furnished the plant and Heni-y Rusehng erected the building. The 
power is furnished from the Ruseling mill. 

Eleva was incorporated in 1902. November 29, 1901, Alex A. Arnold 
made the survey under the direction of N. I. Gilbert, M. C. Whipple, Even 
Bratberg, A. C. Danuser, Ole Halverson, F. J. Hartman and F. E. Brown. 
The next day, F. J. Hartman took the census and found a population of 314 
persons. A petition was duly presented to the court by N. E. Bersing, Ole 
Halverson, Even Bratberg, 0. A. Breakey, Ole Void, A. C. Danuser, F. J. 
Hartman, J. Void, J. B. Rice, E. S. Englesby, H. H. McNish, F. E. Brown, 
K. Jenson, N. Gregerson, N. B. Nelson, Carl Voss, Peter Steen, N. I. Gil- 
bert, A. P. Davis, Wm. Jackson, Martin Olson and C. H. Elkinton. The court 
granted the petition January 14, 1902, and ordered an election to be held 
February 11, 1902. The election resulted in 53 votes for the proposition 
and 11 against it. 

The first election of officers was held March 11, 1902, and resulted as 
follows: President, F. J. Hartman; trustees, N. Gregerson, Andrew Olson, 
F. E. Brown, Ole Void, K. Jenson and William Cleasby; clerk, G. H. Snoyen- 
bos ; treasurer, N. E. Bersing ; assessor, Sever Nicholson ; supervisor, Henry 
Rusehng; constable, A. C. Danuser; police justice, N. I. Gilbert; justice of 
the peace, H. H. McNish and F. Mason. 

Situated on the broad flats of the Beef River Valley, Eleva, like nearly 
all the other villages of Trempealeau County, is situated at a natural center 
of travel. A long stretch of the Beef River Valley, and the fertile expanses 
of Big Creek and Trout Creek are immediately tributary to it. Through 
this point in the early days, passed the stage lines from Fairchild to Mon- 
dovi, and from Eau Claire to Independence and Whitehall in the Trem- 
pealeau Valley. 

In this locaUty, probably about 1876, Philo Englesby erected a hotel on 
a small hill overlooking Big Creek, the present site of the home of H. H. 
McNish. Jan. 20, 1877, Geo. 0. Babcock platted the village on land of E. J. 
Carpenter and R. P. Goddard. About this time Mr. Carpenter built the 
dam and the grist mill, since replaced by the mill of Henry Ruseling. Mr. 
Goddard put up a store on what is now the northwest corner of Main and 
Mondovi streets, the present site of the Fogland Brothers' store. In his 
store the postofiice was kept. In the year that followed, a number of busi- 
ness houses went up. John Redfield put up a blacksmith shop. A. C. Hal- 
langer built a large store, Knute Jenson a blacksmith shop, Martin Olson a 
hardware store, W. W. Wyman a drug store, Thomas Olson a confection- 
ery store, Ole Halverson a meat shop, Henry Moxen and John Cook a board- 
ing house. The Methodist church was also erected. 

The railroad came through late in 1889, and on Dec. 13, 1889, an ex- 
cursion was given to celebrate the installation of the first passenger service. 
The first mail arrived by train Feb. 18, 1890. 

Dec. 30, 1889, Henry Ruseling, who owned a mill there, shipped the 


first load of flour sent on the railroad, and Gilbert & Hallanger shipped the 
first load of stock and grain. 

At that time, as at present, the center of the village was at the inter- 
section of Mondovi and Main streets. The arrival of the railroad brought 
sevei-al additions to the business life of the village. Gilbert and Hallanger 
put up an elevator, an outside concern put up another elevator, N. C. Foster 
opened a lumber yard, and Knute Jenson and David Odell opened hotels. 


Osseo is a thriving village on the Mondovi line of the Omaha. Its busi- 
ness section parallels the Beef River, and a dam provides a pretty artificial 
lake for bathing and boating. The residences are sightly and commodious, 
and reflect in their architecture and surroundings the New England country 
from which many of the pioneers hailed. 

The principal municipal improvement is the beautiful and thoroughly 
modern high school completed in the spring of 1917 at a cost of about $35,- 
000. Electric lights have been furnished for several years by the Lee & Son 
mill. The old schoolhouse has been refurnished and refitted as a village hall. 

The chief industries consist of the mill at the village, the mill a short- 
distance away, a cheese factory and a creamery. Two banks and a newspa- 
per are in a flourishing condition. 

Osseo was not materially affected by the arrival of the railroad. Started 
in the fifties (see account of H. Hyslop elsewhere in this work), the village 
on June 20, 1887, when the railroad was completed, was already a flourishing 
hamlet, and the business houses were but little changed by the introduc- 
tion of railroad transportation. 

Among the business industries at that time were the Osseo and Sumner 
mills, the general stores operated by F. E. Field & Co. and C. H. Shores & Co., 
drug stores operated by Dr. A. L. Wooster and Hotchkiss (E. S.) & Bewell 
(George) ; blacksmith and wagon shop operated by John 0. Christenson & 
Co., and blacksmith and machine works by Errick Nelson & Co. 

To this list, D. L. Remington adds: J. H. McKenney, hotel and meat 
market ; Fred Smith, harness shop ; Valorus Campbell, livery ; Montgomery 
Reynolds, photographer; J. Huntington, hardware, and Matt Johnson, shoe- 
maker. E. J. Matchett adds to the original list : Anderson Brothers, general 
stoi-e; Hewett & Foster, hardware; Smith Brothers, hardware; William 
Henry, cheese factory; Hiram Field, dealer in stock and horses, Arthur 
Gates, dealer in machinery, and the Osseo Creamery Co. 

An important part of the business section was destroyed by fire on 
May 29, 1891, but was at once rebuilt with larger and better buildings. 

Osseo was platted in September, 1857, by J. E. Irish, county sur- 
veyor of Richland County, on land of W. A. Woodward, A. McCorkle, Caro- 
line E. Sexton and Willard H. Thomas. It embraced 116 blocks of 8 lots 
each, many of which have since been abandoned. 

The village was incorporated in 1893. A survey having been made 
Feb. 23, 1893 by Thomas G. Cox, a census was taken July 3, 1893, by A. C. 
Gates and E. A. Olson, resulting in a numbering of 305 persons. Aug. 31, 
1893, a petition was signed by E. J. Matchett, F. A. Smith, C. H. Shores, A. 


C. Gates, A. L. Wooster, George F. Newell and E. A. Olson, M. D., asking 
for the incorporation of the village. The petition was granted by the dis- 
trict court Sept. 4, 1893, and E. J. Matchett, Dr. E. A. Olson and George F. 
Newell appointed inspectors of election. The election, duly held on Oct. 9, 
1893, resulted in a vote of 33 to 8 in favor of the proposition. 

The first election of officers was held Nov. 2, 1893, and resulted as fol- 
lows: President, Dr. E. A. Olson; trustees, W. K. Lewis, J. H. LeBarron, C. 
H. Shores, F. M. Smith, Thomas Fox and James Mclntyre; treasurer, 
George Newell; clerk, J. W. Smith; supervisor, E. J. Matchett (J. H. Mc- 
Kenney, who was tied, lost on a drawing of cuts) ; constable, A. H. Rogers; 
police justice, A. C. Gates. 

About the year 1859, the first school in Osseo was held in the house 
now occupied by Eric Nelson ; at that time it was owned by W. H. Thomas, 
who used the front part of the building as a general store, and in the rear 
were rooms used as a dwelling and occupied by Mrs. Buckley, later better 
known as Mrs. Barber. In one of these rooms school was held and taught 
by her. There were only four pupils at that time, consisting of the two 
daughters of W. H. Thomas, now Mrs. Delia Field, and Julia Shores, and 
Kate and Fannie, daughters of Dennis Lawler. 

Later school was held in the barroom of a hotel erected by Mr. Thomas 
on the spot where Bert Humes' blacksmith shop now stands, and still later 
in an old building located just north of the church where Mr. Horgan's 
house has since been erected. 

As the children grew in number it was deemed necessary to build a 
schoolhouse, which was done in 1860. It was a one-room building and locat- 
ed on the site as the present graded school building. 

As years passed the number of pupils outgrew the capacity of this build- 
ing and it was moved across the street where it still stands and is known as 
the Town Hall, being occupied by the Sixth and Seventh grades, taught by 
Miss Mabel Hagen. A two-story frame building was erected in its place in 
1881. Miss Nettie Tracy, now Mrs. Nettie Jones, was the first teacher and 
for six weeks had charge of all the pupils in the district, then numbering 59, 
as the upper room was not completed at the beginning of the school year. 

Malcolm McPhail was the first teacher in this room when finished. 

In October, 1881, the people voted to have a graded school and admit 
tuition pupils from outside the district. The result was that the number 
of pupils increased so rapidly that again the rooms were over-crowded and 
in the fall of 1892 there were 83 pupils seated in what is the lower north 
room of the present building, taught by Agnes Hyslop, now Mrs. A. Mc- 
Kenney. At Christmas time it was decided to hire another teacher and 
use the Town Hall. Lottie Field taught during the two months' winter term, 
and in the spring it was decided to use the recitation room instead of the 
Town Hall, and Agnes Walsh of Fairchild was hired as assistant. Frank 
Robinson was principal at that time. 

In 1894 an addition was annexed to the south side of the schoolhouse 
to correspond with that on the north. 

The building is surrounded by beautiful trees, planted by children and 


teachers. David Isom also took great interest in the planting and caring 
for them. 

Again the building fails to accommodate the number of pupils which 
have increased from 59 in 1881, to 220, and the corps of teachers from one 
to seven, and we are compelled to vacate its walls for one more modern and 

In 1916 the people voted to have a High school and to build a new build- 
ing which is now, 1917, completed, and is a beautiful, modern, one-story 
brick building, known as Lincoln High school, located in the northeastern 
part of the village on a sightly spot known as Lincoln Hill. 

It is a structure of which the village of Osseo may well be proud as it 
ranks as one of the best in the state. 


Strum is a busy ti-ading center in the Beef River valley on the Mondovi 
line of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway. Like many 
of the villages in Trempealeau county the village is located at a natural cen- 
ter of traffic and stores were in existence here long before the coming of the 

The pioneer merchant was Thomas E. Holden, who came here about 
1884 and erected a small store north of the river, and just west of where 
the road turns east toward Osseo. About 1885 came Ole Kittleson. He 
opened a store north of the river a few rods east of Holden's store. Situ- 
ated as he was in the western part of the Unity township, he received con- 
siderable ti'ade from that town and from Albion as well. In connection 
with his store business he bought home-made butter, and in 1888 he and the 
farmers organized the Strum Creamery Association. 

In 1887 the railroad reached Osseo, and plans were made for continu- 
ing the line west to Mondovi through Strum. A switch was laid at Strum in 
1889. The depot was not built until 1892. An elevator and lumber yard 
were built near the depot. 

Mr. Kittleson then moved his store to the street leading from the de- 
pot to the river, and thus established the location for the future business 
of the village, all the stores now being located along this street. The mill 
was also built on the river bank near the same street. 

The growth of the village has since been steady and satisfactorJ^ 
The original mill, erected by Samuel Hogue, has been replaced with a large 
structure several rods east of the depot. The original creamery has be- 
come the flourishing Unity Co-operative Creamery, located on the railroad 
right-of-way. Two sightly churches have been built, a bank with a most 
satisfactory amount of deposits is well housed, and the Woodman Hall fur- 
nishes an adequate place for public meetings and theatrical entertainments. 
The school, first occupied in 1914, is a subject of considerable pride to the 
citizens, and furnishes excellent instruction in the usual grade studies. 

The fire of Christmas, 1915, which swept the east side of the principal 
street, did not retard the growth of the village, but rather gave it new life, 
for a number of larger and substantial business houses soon replaced those 


Although Strum is one of the youngest villages in the county, none of 
the first settlers are now here, and in the neighborhood there are but few of 
the pioneers of the county. But the newcomers have brought prosperity, 
and with the constantly increasing improvement of the farms, and the grad- 
ual development of the county highway system, the hamlet is designed to 
be a point of stiU greater importance. 


Ettrick is the terminus of the new Ettrick & Northern railroad, and evi- 
dences of the prosperity and growth which is to follow the opening of that 
line is already seen. Outside companies are purchasing building lots, and 
many new business houses are being projected. At the present time the vil- 
lage has a creamery, a flour mill, a woolen mill, and a new bank and hotel. 

It is situated in the valley of the Beaver Creek in the midst of one 
of the finest farming regions in western Wisconsin. 

Ettrick had its beginning in 1870, when Iver Pederson came over from 
Frenchville, and erected a store here. Later the dam was put in, the two 
mills built and the creamery started. Gradually a small village grew up at 
the point. June 20, 1877, the village was platted by Alfred P. Ford on land 
of James Corcoran, P. J. Huff, Iver Knudson, Hans Christiansen and Iver 


Dodge Village is located at a point which has been a center of traffic 
since the earliest days. Just above the present village was the old Indian 
ford over the Trempealeau River. At the same ford, was the crossing of the 
old stage line from Fountain City to Arcadia and Trempealeau. The rail- 
road came through in 1873, the village was platted Feb. 20, 1874, on land 
of August Bambenek, and business started that year. Nick Lehrback 
opened the first store. Fred Hoesley opened the first hotel and restaurant 
John Noteman, the first grain buyer, was also the first station agent. The 
first blacksmith was James Tandutschy. The village is not incorporated, but 
is a busy trading center, and is located in a region of fertile farms and rich 
farmers. It has a good bank and creamery and several good stores. 

Pigeon Creek 

Pigeon Creek is the trading center of Pigeon Valley. It is the only vil- 
lage of any importance in the county, aside from Ettrick, not supplied with 
railroad service. The village was started in 1867 when Cyrus H. Hine pur- 
chased a tract of land from George Hale and erected a mill. Shortly after- 
ward Johnson & Olson put up a store. Peter Ekern came here in 1875, pur- 
chased the mill and store, and established the varied activities of the place. 
The estate now owns a large store, the creamery and the mill. In addition 
to this there ai-e a number of other stores. There are hkewise two churches. 
Good roads extend in various directions, and the village is a most attractive 
little hamlet with many advantages. 



Trempealeau is located in the southern part of the county, and spreads 
along the banks of the Mississippi under the shadows of the overhanging 
bluffs and back a mile across the prairie to the depot of the Northwestern 
Railroad, which with the Burlington supplies its railroad service. 

The story of the village since its settlement in 1842 has already been 

Trempealeau now has a village hall, electric light service, a village park, 
a bank, a newspaper, a public librai'y, and several elevators. 

The shipments are farm products, fish and lime. 

The present organization of the village dates from March 10, 1900, 
when the old pioneer village government was reincorporated along modern 


ThP WbHTiTr'''"'^'''''''" *^' •'^"^^"stic field in Trempealeau County. 

TranlVnf f .'T^'^fo^T ^'''''' ''' ^'''''^ ^''^''^y ^o the Galesvilfe 
Transcript founded m 1860, and indirectly to the Trempealeau Times is- 
sued ,n 1858. The Arcadia Leader dates back to the Trempealeau County 
Republican established at Trempealeau in 1873. The Galesville Republican 
Itself established in 1897, has absorbed the Galesville Independent which 
was started in 1874. The Independence News-Wave had its beginning with 

! !, . f "'^'"'' ^"'^'^ ^"^' ^" 1^^8- The Trempealeau Herald was es- 
tablKshed in 1885. The Osseo News dates from the Osseo Recorder, 
established in 1890. The Blair Press was established in 1898 

For the most part, the papers of Trempealeau County have been 
started as commercial ventures. Support of the labor movement has been 
the motive underlying the establishment of at least two, and some have 
had the prohibtion cause as their sponsors. Civic pride also entered into 
the establishment of several of the papers, and the county seat controversies 
caused the inauguration or change of location of a number of the publica- 
tions. Two foreign papers flourished for a while. 

The first paper published in the county was the Trempealeau Times 
issued m the spring of 1858 by Charles and Francis A. Utter who had 
brought type and a printing press from Elkhorn, Wis., and got out four is- 
sues for the purpose of publishing the Buffalo County tax list. 

The printing material was used in the publication of the Trempealeau 
Banner, established Oct. 8, 1858, by J. Ketchum Averill. Averill remained 
m Trempealeau a short time and then went to Tomah, where he established 
the Tomah Chief. 

The Utters, who still held a mortgage on the plant, foreclosed and 
sold out, a portion being taken to Galesville for the printing of the Gales 
ville Transcript. The Transcript was the most notable paper ever issued 
in Trempealeau County. Fortunately its early files have been preserved 
A bound volume of the first two years is in the possession of the Trem- 
pealeau County Historical Society. The same society, and also Bert Gipple 
ot the Galesville Republican, are in possession of a large number of unbound 
issues. "Devoted to home improvements," the paper made its first appear- 
ance March 16, 1860, with Samuel S. Luce as editor. An important feature 
was the department of "Law Intelligence," giving in full the proceedings of 
the Circuit Court of the district. George Gale was the corresponding editor 
The paper contains many historical and literary contributions, and was 
remarkable for the quality of its contributions. Charles A. Leith suc- 
ceeded Judge Gale as part owner of the paper. In October, 1865, Leith and 
H. R. Gale became the owners. It continued in Galesville until November, 



1867, when Leith and A. F. Booth, who had purchased an interest, caused 
its removal to Trempealeau, where it was pubhshed under the name of 
Trempealeau County Record. In August, 1869, Mr. Leith sold his interest 
in the paper to his partner, Mr. Booth. For a short time A. Atwood was a 
partner and A. W. Newman editor. Then T. D. Stone purchased a half 
interest. In January, 1873, Stone and Booth disposed of the paper, the 
printing materials being taken to Madison to print the Wisconsin Good 
Templar, and the good will going to Geo. S. Luce, who merged the paper 
in the Galesville Journal under the title of Journal and Record. He con- 
tinued to print a column or more of Trempealeau news. Geo. S. Luce sold 
the Journal and Record in August, 1874, to B. E. Clark, who removed the 
paper to Whitehall under the name of Trempealeau County Messenger. A 
committee of citizens under the name of the Whitehall Px'inting Association 
took over the paper in June, 1875, and placed Dan A. Camp in the editor's 
chair. Geo. Eads bought the paper in September, 1876, and in July, 1878, 
sold to F. B. Wagner, who in September, 1879, sold to B. F. Wing and Dan 
Camp. In January, 1880, the Messenger (which name it retained as a 
sub-title until January, 1882), was purchased by Fred E. Beach and the 
name changed to the Whitehall Times, Camp still being retained as editor. 
In December, 1880, J. B. Beach became a partner and in 1887 the sole owner. 
Nov. 5, 1891, the Blair department of the paper had developed to the extent 
that the paper appeared with the caption, "Whitehall Times and Blair 
Banner." Jan. 27, 1916, the title Whitehall Times-Banner was adopted. 
After the death of J. B. Beach in 1915 the paper was leased by Fred E. 
and Z. T. Beach. 

The Trempealeau Representative was founded in August, 1859, and 
was conducted by Francis W. Newland and S. D. Hastings, until suspended 
in 1861. 

The Galesville Journal was established in May, 1870, by Geo. S. Luce, 
with J. H. Powers as a partner. Powers sold his interest to H. L. Bunn in 
May, 1871, Bunn to H. F. Burt in February, 1873, and Burt in June, 1873, 
to his partner Luce, who thus became the sole owner. Julius C. Chandler 
was employed as editor from January to April, 1871, and Samuel S. Luce 
from April, 1871, to May, 1872. In January, 1873, upon the absorption 
of the Trempealeau County Record, the paper became the Journal and 

The Trempealeau County Republican was established in March, 1873, 

hy Charles A. Leith at Trempealeau. In July, 1875, Hackston 

and C. E. Hollenbeck started the Arcadia Leader. In April, 1876, Mr. 
Hackston sold to Noah D. Comstock and the firm became C. E. Hollenbeck 
& Co. A year later Mr. Comstock assumed the entii-e ownership. Later 
in 1877 the Trempealeau County RepubUcan and the Arcadia Leader were 
combined and issued at Arcadia, Mr. Leith being the editor and Mr. Com- 
stock the corresponding editor. H. F. Pond had charge of the Trempealeau 
department. During January, 1881, the name was shortened to Republican 
Leader of Trempealeau County, and was next styled the Arcadia Repub- 
lican and Leader. Following Mr. Leith the editors were : F. F. and E. A. 
Morgan, January to May, 1884 ; F. F. Morgan, May, 1884, to January, 1887 ; 


Morgan and Truman F. Ball, three months; Ball alone, March, 1887, to 
June, 1888 ; George Z. Heuston, six months ; George and Leonard Mathys, 
1889. The Mathys Brothers changed the politics from Republican to 
Democratic, and in January, 1890, shortened the name to Arcadia Leader. 
Then came George Mathys and J. G. Faulds, January, 1890, to July, 1891 ; 
Faulds and A. J. Cowie, July, 1891, to August, 1893; Faulds alone until 
February, 1894 ; Peter J. and L. G. Barth till April, 1896 ; Peter Barth, 
April, 1896, to November, 1902 (except March to June, 1901, by W. G. 
Cameron) ; John Maloney and Henry F. Theuver, November, 1902, January, 
1904, when it was sold to Albert Hess, who conducted it alone until Jan. 15, 
1914, since when Christ Fuoter associated himself with Mr. Hess as busi- 
ness manager. 

The Galesville Independent was established in October, 1874, by the 
Galesville Printing Association, and was edited by Cunningham and Luce 
till October, 1875 ; by W. M. Doty, November, 1875, to March, 1877, and by 
S. S. Luce till May, 1881. It was then purchased by Luce and his son, W. S. ; 
conducted by them till 1889. Afterward came T. F. Ball, succeeded by 
Frank Huntley and then by H. L. Vandervort, who sold the paper to W. A. 
Tower in January, 1895. Tower was publisher till 1898, when he sold to 
Bunsen Brothers, who conducted the paper until 1907, when it was sold to 
Richard E. Smith and Carl C. Gwynne. In 1908 it was absorbed by the 
Galesville Republican. 

Newton P. Tucker established a small paper called the Free Press in 
1878 at Trempealeau, where it was published for about one year, when its 
materials were removed to Galesville for the purpose of setting up the 
Trempealeau County Democrat. A year later the Trempealeau County 
Democrat was removed to Arcadia, where it was suspended in the fall 
of 1880. 

The Galesville Republican is the outgrowth of a small job printing 
plant established by Bert A. Gipple in February, 1897. Mr. Gipple entered 
the office of the Galesville Independent as an apprentice in 1890 and was 
with that paper much of the time during the seven years following. He 
sought to lease or purchase the Independent plant in 1896, but was unsuc- 
cessful, and the job shop was the outcome of the movement. The first 
issue of The Republican appeared in September, 1897. It was a four-column 
quarto, printed on a job press. The little paper found favor from the 
start. A few months later its form was changed to a five-column folio, 
all home print, and thus it continued until 1907, when larger quarters were 
secured and a cylinder press installed. A year later The Republican Print- 
ing Company was organized and the Galesville Independent was merged 
with The Republican, which was then, as now, issued as a six-column 
weekly, with from eight to twelve pages. From the beginning Mr. Gipple 
held a majority of shares of stock in the new company, and has continued 
as editor and manager. The Republican was launched as a Repubhcan 
newspaper, but with no political backing. This was at a time before the 
split came in the Republican party in Wisconsin. A few years later LaFol- 
letteism spread and political lines were drawn on this issue. The Repub- 
lican has always been known as anti-LaFollette. 


The Independence Weekly News was established March 9, 1878, by 
Geo. E. Gilkey. The Blair Bulletin was absorbed in April, 1879, and for a 
time the paper was called the Weekly News Bulletin, the original name, 
however, being soon resumed. In December, 1879, Gilkey sold to W. R. 
Allison, who conducted it until April, 1880, followed by H. I. TurnbuU four 
months. Then J. R. and W. P. Faulds at intervals, alone or in partnership, 
owned the paper until 1888. Then came George A. Markham, who in 
April, 1892, united it with the Independence Wave. Since then it has been 
styled the Independence News- Wave. It was conducted by George A. and 
Ada R. Markham until the former's death in July, 1909. Since then Mrs. 
Markham has been the editor. 

The Independence Wave was established about May, 1888, by A. A. 
Mclntyre, and edited by George A. Markham. In March, 1889, it absorbed 
the Eau Claire Progress (founded October, 1887), and a few weeks later 
became the property of Markham, who conducted it, assisted by C. G. 
Simpson, April, 1889, to April, 1891 ; by 0. G. Briggs, until January, 1892, 
and then by Ada R. Markham. It was united with the News April, 1892. Its 
politics were Prohibitionist. 

The Trempealeau Gazette was founded in 1890. In that year Clarence 
S. Utter, who had been publishing the Sunday Morning Gazette in Winona, 
moved his printing outfit to Trempealeau, occupying the old Ford building, 
now known as the New Hotel. He published the Sunday Morning Gazette, 
and during the winter F. C. Utter and C. S. Ford joined him in partnership. 
"We had an old wooden reel pi'ess," said one of the firm, "and we used to 
fill the reel with sand for ballast, and when we run out the paper the 
machinery made as much noise as a bean thrasher." The following spring 
the partnership was dissolved, and the editor paid F. C. Utter and C. S. 
Ford a five dollar gold piece each for their share of the dividend. C. S. 
Utter then leased his equipment to Chas. Morrison, who ran the Gate City 
Review in La Crosse for a year, when Utter bought the lease and returned 
to Trempealeau with his outfit and revised the Gazette as a campaign sheet. 
But in 1894 he sold out to A. A. Gibson and brother, and they remained 
a year in the newspaper field, when Utter bought them out and resumed 
the pubhcation of the Trempealeau Gazette. In June, 1903, Thomas Bohen 
bought the Gazette and published it until 1909. Then F. J. Pearson con- 
ducted the paper for a year, after which it was suspended. Shortly after 
Bohen bought the Gazette he opened up with virile attacks on the former 
owner of the paper, and in self-defense Utter soon launched the Trem- 
pealeau Tribune, thus making three newspapers running in Trempealeau 
at one time. The first few issues of the Tribune were type-set and printed 
at St. Paul and then sent here for mailing. Later Utter ran the paper with 
a small outfit of his own. It was suspended for a time and again picked up 
and run until the fall of 1904, when the outfit was destroyed by fire and the 
paper ceased. 

The Trempealeau Herald was founded in December, 1884. Jacob 
Tenney conducted it as a labor organ. He sold to Cecil Stewart, a fire- 
man on the steamboat Belle of Bellevue. Stewart knew nothing whatever 
about the newspaper business ; moreover, lacking an education he appeared 


to be sadly equipped for the new undertaking. But he secured competent 
assistants, and with their aid he began his career as a printer. He was an 
apt pupil and by applying himself under a qualified tutor he soon was able 
with his typo and printers' devil to turn out a good sheet. Later he held 
cases on the Milwaukee Sentinel and was classed as a successful printer. 
Elbert Newton Goodhue purchased the Trempealeau Herald in 1888 and 
edited the paper October, 1897, and then sold out to his sister, Aletta D. 
Goodhue, the present owner and publisher. 

The Arcadian was established May, 1895, by E. G. Farlin. It was con- 
ducted by S. G. Wheeler from 1898 to 1900 ; by David Stevens from 1900 to 
1907, and then moved to Beacher, 111. 

The Blair Press was started about March 1, 1878, by W. A. Asmues, 
who sold to Henry Russell. Simon Berseng, who was employed by Russell, 
next took over the paper and after conducting it for a while sold to 0. B. 
Borsheim and Earl F. Hensel. The next owners were A. O. 
Likken and Sneider Stout. Then the creditors took over the paper and 
subsequently it was conducted by Martin Amundson and his son, Omar 
Amundson. A. H. York was the next proprietor. On Sept. 1, 1915, he sold 
to the present owner, H. C. Kirkpatrick. 

The Osseo Blade. The railroad reached Osseo June 20, 1887, and on 
July 4 Daniel A. Camp started the Osseo Blade. Later it passed into the 
hands of W. C. Thomas. Henry E. Browne became the editor in 1890. The 
plant was burned in May, 1891, but within a few months resumed publi- 

The Osseo Recorder was established about Dec. 29, 1893. In January, 
1912, E. J. Matchett purchased an equity in the paper from E. E. Carpenter, 
who had bought it from W. S. Gilpin, but who had defaulted in his pay- 
ments. Mr. Matchett changed the name to the Trempealeau County 
Farmer. Jan. 21, 1915, the paper was consolidated with the Osseo News. 

The Osseo News was estabhshed May 3, 1912, with W. S. Gilpin as 
editor, and with Mr. and Mrs. Gilpin as proprietors. It absorbed the Trem- 
pealeau County Farmer, formerly the Osseo Recorder, on Jan. 21, 1915. 

The Eleva Herald was published in 1915. 

The International Good Templar, a sixty-page magazine devoted to 
the interests of Good Templary throughout the world, was founded at 
London, Canada, in 1888, was published at Independence from January, 
1906, to January, 1909, with G. A. Markham as publisher and B. F. Parker 
of Milwaukee, supreme secretary of the order, as editor. In 1909, because 
of a change in secretary, it was moved to Glasgow, Scotland. 

The Wisconsin Good Templar, a temperance paper devoted wholly to 
the interests of the Good Templar order in the State of Wisconsin, was 
established in November, 1891, and was published by George A. Markham, 
with Ada R. Markham as managing editor. With the death of Mr. Mark- 
ham in 1909 Mrs. Markham became publisher as well as editor. The paper 
was suspended in 1912. 

The Anzeiger was founded in December, 1899, by John Uttermoehl. 
He sold to Napoleon Cramolini, who in turn sold to Emil Schulze. The 
paper terminated with the sudden death of Mr. Schulze on Feb. 8, 1916. 


Der Nord Staed, a Norwegian paper, was published in Whitehall in 1877. 

The Booster was established in 1908 by Dan P. Gibson, superintendent 
of schools for the county, the publication being authorized by the county 
board and the expense being met by the county. Its purpose was educa- 
tional and to furnish a better means of communication between the superin- 
tendent and the teachers and school boards. With the change in county 
superintendent in 1917 it has been discontinued for a time at least. 


Trempealeau County owes much of its development to its railroads, 
which, crossing its northern, central and southern portions, give the best" 
of shipping facilities within easy distance of nearly every farm, and have 
been the means of the upbuilding of many a thriving village. The pro- 
jected line from Blair to Ettrick will tap another rich region, and give still 
further impetus to the agricultural life of the county. 

One village, however, suffered from the coming of the raih'oads. 
Trempealeau in 1870 was a great wheat market, and its river shipping 
business brought to its river front the farm produce of a vast region, 
extending as far as fifty miles to the interior. The railroad weakened the 
steamboat industry, and diverted much of the agricultural produce to 
crossroads shipping points, while much of the shipping trade of this region 
was diverted to La Crosse and Winona. 

Four railroads operate in Trempealeau County : the Chicago & North- 
western Railway, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, the Green 
Bay & Western Railroad and the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha 
Railway. A fifth, the Ettrick & Northern Railroad, is in the process of 

The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy crosses the southwestern part of 
the county, through the towns of Trempealeau and Caledonia. It has a 
station on the river front at Trempealeau and nearly parallels the Mis- 

The Chicago & Northwestern also crosses the southwestern part of 
the county, through the towns of Trempealeau and Caledonia. It has a 
station at Trempealeau about half a mile back from the river front. Unlike 
the Burlington, it does not follow the river between Trempealeau and 
Winona, but extends back to the bluffs and runs along their foot. A branch 
line also reaches from Trempealeau to Galesville. By an agreement made 
a number of years ago the Green Bay uses the Northwestern tracks from 
La Crosse to Marshland. 

The Green Bay & Western follows the valley of the Trempealeau River 
through the central part of the county, crossing the townships of Dodge, 
Arcadia, Burnside, Lincoln and Preston. Its stations in this county are 
at Dodge, Arcadia, Independence, Whitehall and Blair. 

The Mondovi branch of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha 
follows the course of the Buffalo River in the northern pai't of the county, 
crossing the townships of Albion, Unity and Sumner. Its stations in this 
county are at Eleva, Strum and Osseo. 

The Ettrick & Northern is being projected from Ettrick to Blair, a 



distance of twelve miles. It has been proposed to extend the road fifty 
miles to Onalaska, thus making connections with La Crosse. 

The project which resulted in the building of the first railroad in Trem- 
pealeau County had its beginning March 6, 1857 (Chapter 280, Private 
Laws of 1857), when the Wisconsin legislature granted a charter to a 
company called the La Crosse, Trempealeau & Prescott Railroad Company 
(also known as the La Crosse, Trempealeau, Lake Pepin & Prescott Rail- 
road Company), to locate and build a line along the east bank of the Mis- 
sissippi from La Crosse to Prescott, Wis., by way of Trempealeau and 
Fountain City. The first board of directors consisted of P. V. Wise, 0. T. 
•Maxon, T. B. Wilson, David Noggle, Charles McClure, Edmond Bishop, 
Henry D. Huff, Samuel D. Hastings, George Batchelder, George Gale and 
D. D. Cameron. With the financial crisis of that year interest in the project 
was allowed to lag. 

But a year later the project was revived with much fervor. Winona 
at that time bid fair to be an important railroad point, as the eastern 
terminus of the Transit Railroad (now succeeded by the Chicago & North- 
western) and the Minnesota & Pacific (now succeeded by the Chicago, 
Milwaukee & St. Paul) . La Crosse also had aspirations toward becoming a 
railroad center, that city being the western terminal of the La Crosse & 
Milwaukee (now succeeded by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul), over 
which through connection with the east had been established by the open- 
ing of the road Oct. 14, 1858. 

Winona and La Crosse were bitter rivals. No one believed that more 
than one railroad would ever cross the Mississippi in this region. The 
Winona people believed that if they could bridge the river at that city, and 
connect with the Milwaukee & La Crosse at some point east of La Crosse, 
Winona would be a gi-eat center for the eastern and northern connections, 
and that La Crosse would be left at the blind end of a little used stub. 

In the winter of 1858-59 three well known Winona men started out 
to look for a practical route from Winona to a point east of La Crosse on 
the recently built Milwaukee & La Crosse. At that time the people of 
Winona knew but little about the interior of Trempealeau County. The 
three men cut their way through the swamps from Altoona, now Blufli" 
Siding, to the Trempealeau River, at what is now Marshland. Continuing 
southeast fi'om that point they were overtaken by darkness and camped 
all night in a tract of timber, suffering severely from the cold and lack of 
warm food. The next morning, after eating frozen bread and meat for 
breakfast, they proceeded on their way, and in half an hour came out on a 
prairie covered with fenced fields and good farm houses. They had spent 
the arctic night in what they had supposed was a wild country, when in 
reality they were in the midst of a settled community of comfort and plenty. 
Continuing on their way the prospectors completed a tentative route and 
returned to Winona. In the spring the people of Winona, having some- 
what modified their ambitions, decided to include La Crosse in their plans 
and made a preliminary survey of a route which is practically the present 
line of the Northwestern. But even with this change of heart on the part 
of the Winonans, the people of La Crosse did not look favorably on the 


project, and threatened, if possible, to prevent the granting of a charter by 
the Wisconsin legislature. 

Facing this opposition, the Winona people enlisted the aid of prom- 
inent Trempealeau County citizens, determined to reorganize under the 
old La Crosse, Trempealeau & Prescott charter. Possession of the old 
charter was obtained and a reorganization perfected with eleven directors, 
five of whom were from Ti'empealeau. Galesville had endeavored to be 
included in the route, and had prepared a line from Marshland over the 
prairie to that village, thus cutting Trempealeau off entirely. But their 
plans did not succeed. Thomas Simpson was elected president; A. W. 
Webster, vice-president; J. H. Newland, secretary, and Thomas E. Bennett, 
treasurer. The company with the aid of N. F. Hilbert as chief engineer, 
who was to be paid whenever the company could secure any money, 
started at once to survey the line, obtain the right of way and perfect other 
plans, in order to secure vested rights before the legislature could convene 
and revoke the charter. 

Gradually the opposition of the La Crosse people died away. The 
charter was amended April 4, 1864. In time a majority of the stock was 
acquired by D. N. Barney & Co. and was by them sold to the Chicago «fe 
Northwestern, Oct. 31, 1867. Late in 1870 the road was completd from 
Winona to Winona Junction, originally called Trempealeau Junction, near 
La Crosse, a distance of 29 miles. Through railroad connection was thus 
established between Trempealeau County and the East. A few days after 
the completion of the road to a point opposite Winona, the bridge to that 
city was completed, Dec. 29, 1870. At that time Winona had railroad con- 
nections to the westward with Janesville and to the northwest with Weaver. 
Aug. 15, 1871, railroad communication was established between Winona 
and St. Paul, thus connecting Trempealeau County with the Northwest. 
The La Crosse, Trempealeau & Prescott Railroad was consolidated with the 
Chicago & Northwestern June 6, 1877. 

The Galesville branch of the Chicago & Northwestern, extending from 
Trempealeau to Galesville, was put in operation in the summer of 1883. 
In 1882 a number of public spirited citizens approached the Chicago & 
Northwestern officials on the subject and were told that if the people of 
Galesville would secure a right-of-way and grade the roadbed the rail- 
road would lay the ties and rail and put the branch in operation. Prepara- 
tions were accordingly made, the Galesville-Mississippi Railroad Company 
was organized March 1, 1882, a subscription was taken, and the town voted 
bonds of $12,000. The company consisted of: President, A. A. Arnold; 
vice-president, Isaac Clark; treasurer, A. H. Kneeland; secretary, G. Y. 
Freeman; H. Birchard, Geo. H. Smith and David Kennedy. The light in 
which some of the farmers regarded railroads even as late as the eighties 
is seen in the communications in the newspapers of the time, in which the 
noise and odor of the railroad were prophesied as great evils, and the pre- 
diction made that the road would take ^11 the business away from the vil- 
lage. But those in favor of the proposition persisted in their efforts, and 
at great personal sacrifice completed their labors. The grading was in 
charge of Isaac Clark and David Kennedy and was nearly completed when 


winter set in. The faith of the promoters was more than justified, for 
Galesville at once became an important business and trading center. 

The Green Bay & Western Railroad has been one of the principal 
factors in the development of central Trempealeau County. The company 
was organized Feb. 7, 1866, and chartered as the Green Bay & Lake Pepin 
Railway Company, with Wabasha as its objective western terminal. Four 
miles were graded in 1869 and 30 miles in 1870. Track laying was com- 
menced in the fall of 1871, and completed 39 miles from Gi'een Bay to 
New London, Dec. 20, 1871. Four days later the first passengers were 
carried by special train. During the summer of 1872, 110 miles between 
New London and Merrillan Junction in Jackson County were graded and 
the tracks laid. The whole work was completed at 5 o'clock on the after- 
noon of Dec. 24, 1872. During the summer and fall of 1873 the tracks 
were graded and iron laid from Merrillan Junction to Marshland, where 
connections were made with the old La Crosse, Trempealeau & Prescott 
Railroad, now the Madison division of the Chicago & Northwestern. The 
first passenger service between Green Bay and Winona was inaugurated 
Dec. 18, 1873. The first train ran on regular schedule Jan. 1, 1874. Sept. 
5, 1873, the name was changed to the Green Bay & Minnesota Railroad. At 
that time it was believed that the road would be consolidated with the 
Winona & St. Peter, John I. Blair being a large stockholder in both roads. 
But the Chicago & Northwestern absorbed the Winona & St. Peter, and 
the Green Bay was left to its own devices. The struggle was a severe one. 
Running through 209 miles of a new and sparsely settled country, the 
receipts were not sufficient to maintain it. Early in 1878 it went into 
the hands of a receiver. June 20, 1881, it was sold at a foreclosure sale and 
reorganized as the Green Bay, Winona & St. Paul Railway Company. June 
10, 1896, it was again sold under foreclosure and the name changed to 
the Green Bay & Western Railroad Company. In 1891 a spur track was 
completed from Marshland to East Winona, and the Winona tei-minal was 
established at the Burlington station instead of at the Northwestern station. 
Of the selection of the route through Whitehall, Stephen Richmond 
has said : "Arcadia was offered and had within reach an opportunity such 
as comes to few localities indeed when the Green Bay Railroad was pro- 
jecting its line across the state and pointing to the Trempealeau Valley 
in the winter of 1872. The line of the road had early been definitely decided 
upon from Green Bay to Merrillan, where a junctional point was to be made. 
Black River Falls was practically inaccessible because of the difficulty of 
crossing Black River at that point. Had this not been so the road no doubt 
would have been built to that city and thence down the Black River Valley 
to Melrose, and thence across country to Trempealeau Village, or down 
the Black River to La Crosse. The complete history of the location of 
the Green Bay Hne would be an interesting story. It may never be written. 
The parties behind the road were poor and the question of cost of right 
of way and construction were pressing matters in fixing its location from 
the junction point at Merrillan, and were largely the elements which were 
most influential. Trempealeau Valley offered a great saving in these 
elements. The valley to Blair was an easy proposition and solved itself 


in offering cheap right of way and inexpensive construction in the river 
bottoms, but at Blair the conditions differed in the turn in the course of 
the valley from southwesterly to an abrupt northwesterly, and then a 
westerly course, adding at least seven miles to the length of the line over 
a southwesterly course from Blair to Arcadia ; but this shorter course 
necessitated an added expense in construction, to cross the Preston ridge, 
or hills, between the head of Welch Cooley, in Preston, and Newcomb Valley 
in Arcadia. The extra cost in construction was estimated or fixed at 
$75,000, and the town of Preston and Arcadia were asked to bond for such 
sum, Preston for $25,000 and Arcadia for $50,000. Men in these towns 
clearly saw in such construction the advantage to local business interests 
and supported the proposition, so that each town voted bonds. So far 
wisdom was manifested, but thereafter a want of prudence followed in 
delivering the bonds without a clearly and definitely fixed obligation on 
the part of the road to build directly southwest from Blair to Arcadia Vil- 
lage (Old Arcadia). However, the bonds were delivered unconditionally, 
and without a binding obligation to construct the road as it had been pre- 
viously located, between Blair and Arcadia Village, and hence Arcadia lost 
and forfeited its first great opportunity, for the road was afterward con- 
structed in the valley from Blair by way of Whitehall and Independence to 
Arcadia, and thence to Marshland. One cannot fail to see the loss of ter- 
ritory which otherwise would have been tributary to Arcadia and the large 
market opportunity and trade cut off, and to which she believed herself 
entitled for the bonds delivered. With the road built as originally planned 
the village would have remained at the old and early location on the table- 
land, where every advantage would have been given by .nature for good 
streets, easily obtained drainage and desirability, which no one can say 
would not have made the town an important city long ago, with a population 
of many thousands." 

The Chicago, Burlington & Northern, which on June 1, 1899, became 
the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, built its Hne through Trempealeau 
County in 1886. In March of that year Alexander A. Arnold of Galesville, 
D. D. Chappell of Caledonia, and Andrew R. Carhart of Trempealeau were 
appointed a commission to appraise and condemn necessary land that had 
not been already secured for the right of way. Track laying was com- 
pleted through Trempealeau County and to a point opposite Winona, April 
24, 1886. The first train from St. Paul to Prairie du Chien was sent over 
the line Aug. 9, 1886. July 4, 1891, the drawbridge at Winona was com- 
pleted, thus giving Trempealeau County three raih'oad connections with 
that city. 

The Mondovi line of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Rail- 
way Company was built through the northern part of the county in the 
late eighties, reaching Osseo June 20, 1887, and Eleva late in 1889. The 
Fairchild & Mississippi Railway Company was organized in 1886 to build 
and operate a line of railroad from Fairchild, Wis., to some point on the 
line of the Burlington & Northern Railroad in Buffalo County, with a branch 
line from Fairchild to some point on the line of the Wisconsin Central 
Railroad in Clark or Marathon County. 


Articles of incorporation were executed March 27, 1886, and filed in 
the office of secretary of State, and patent issued March 29, 1886. On 
May 7, 1887, a resolution was adopted at stockholders' meeting of the com- 
pany, changing the name to the Sault Ste. Marie & Southwestern Railway 
Company, which resolution was filed in the office of secretary of state on 
July 16, 1887. 

On April 1, 1891, the line was acquired by the Chicago, St. Paul, Minne- 
apolis & Omaha Railway Company by acquisition of the outstanding stock, 
and was operated by that company from that date, and on June 3, 1893, 
was conveyed to it. As ah-eady stated, the road reached Osseo, 14.21 miles 
from Fairchild, on June 20, 1887. After a httle delay it was pushed west- 
ward. At Strum, then called Tilden, a switch was constructed in the fall 
of 1889. Eleva, 12.89 miles from Osseo, was reached late in 1889, the 
opening being celebrated by an excursion Dec. 13, 1889. The depot was 
complete in February, 1890. A little later work was started on the line 
toward Mondovi, 9.65 miles away, and was soon completed. The depot at 
Strum was put up in the fall of 1892 and the first station agent started 
work in 1893. 

The Ettrick & Northern Railroad Company had its inception in the 
minds of H. F. Claussen, banker; M. P. Pederson, former sheriff, agricul- 
turist and well contractor, and John Raichle, road contractor. These gen- 
tlemen interviewed former Senator John C. Gaveney of Arcadia and inter- 
ested him in the proposition of furnishing railroad facilities for the vast 
region tributary to Ettrick. In this region there were 170 square miles, 
occupied by some of the richest farms in western Wisconsin, absolutely 
without raih'oad facilities. The neai'est shipping points were Galesville, 
Blair, West Salem and Sparta. Money and time spent in reaching these 
points gi'eatly increased the cost of producing and marketing products of 
the farms in the Ettrick region. 

One solution of the problem was the extension of the Northwestern 
from Galesville, but that proposition not receiving favorable response from 
the Northwestern officials, a unique plan was conceived of building a rail- 
road as a co-operative effort of the farmer to be served, and with all costs 
of promotion absolutely eliminated. 

Accordingly, subscriptions were solicited, and on June 5, 1915, a com- 
pany incorporated with John C. Gaveney, president ; M. P. Pederson, vice- 
president; H. F. Claussen, secretary and treasurer; T. A. Whalen, A. G. 
Hagestad, A. J. Ekern, Ed. Quammen, Fred FilLner and Peter Corcoran as 
the incorporators. A route was selected from Ettrick to Blair, where con- 
nection will be made with the Green Bay & Western. 

The contract for constructing the line was let to Ed. J. Matchett and 
John Raichle. Work was started in the fall of 1916 at Blair. At the 
present writing, in the fall of 1917, the road is graded to within a mile of 
Ettrick, the "cut," a remarkable feat of excavating through one of the 
main hills of the "ridge," is nearly done, all the bridges are completed, the 
ties and rails are at Blair, and track laying has commenced at that village. 
The town of Ettrick has voted bonds of $75,000, the railroad has issued its 
own bonds of $50,000, and over 400 farmers in the territory to be served 


have subscribed to the stock. While there is every indication that the road 
itself will prove a profitable investment, its principal object is the develop- 
ment of the country, and the improvement of the market facilities in the 
region in which its stockholders live. The traffic manager, L. J. Trexler, 
has already arranged rates with all the leading railroads of the country 


Telephone service in Trempealeau County is extensive and adequate, 
supplied by the Western Wisconsin Telephone Company, with exchanges 
in the leading villages, by the Osseo Telephone Company with an exchange 
at Osseo, and by numerous farmers' telephone companies which operate 
rural lines and maintain exchanges in several of the villages. 

Probably the first telephone in Trempealeau County was that of Dr. 
G. N. Hidershide, who in April, 1894, strung a wire between his office and 
residence in Arcadia. 

The first telephone exchange in the county was put in opei'ation in the 
fall of 1895 by W. P. Veitch and Geo. S. Luce at Galesville. The switch 
was a crude afl'air manufactured by Mr. Luce himself. A single wire was 
strung to Winona, thus giving connection with the outside world. 

The first telephone company organized in Trempealeau County was the 
Bluff City Telephone Company, incorporated at Trempealeau, Nov. 12, 1895, 
by Clarence S. Utter and B. A. Cornelle at Trempealeau for the purpose 
of building a telephone line from Trempealeau to CenterviUe. Acting 
under this charter Clarence S. Utter erected tamarack poles at irregular 
intervals from Trempealeau to CenterviUe, and thence to the village limits 
of Arcadia. 

At this time a telephone line had been established from Waumandee 
to Fountain City. Through this line the people at Fountain City were 
receiving much trade from the rich Waumandee valley and from the Mon- 
tana region. Senator John C. Gaveney, with keen foresight, realized that 
Arcadia's opportunity had come. He consulted with Emil Maurer, J. M. 
Fertig and W. P. Masseure, local merchants, and these gentlemen, with 
Dr. G. N. Hidershide, constructed a telephone line between Montana and 
Arcadia, with intermediate stations at Glencoe and Waumandee. But con- 
nection with Fountain City was refused at Waumandee, and the men turned 
their attention southward to the line which Clarence S. Utter had projected. 
For $200 they purchased the rights of Clarence S. Utter, A. W. McCuUom 
and H. Carrey in the Trempeaieau-Centei'ville-Arcadia pi'ojected line and 
proceeded to organize a company. 

The Arcadia Telephone Company was incorporated June 5, 1896, the 
officers, on motion of John C. Gaveney, being: J. M. Fertig, president; 
G. N. Hidershide, vice-president; Emil Maurer, secretary, and Geo. A. 
Schneller (representing W. P. Massuere) , ti^easurer. The company acquired 
the interests of its individual members in the line to Waumandee and the 
projected line to Trempealeau. A conference at Winona resulted in a 
promise from the Independent companies at La Crosse and Winona to 
build connecting lines to Trempealeau. Mr. Gaveney then went to Inde- 
pendence, Whitehall and Blair and raised funds by selling coupon books to 


be used after the Valley line was in operation. The line was built up the 
valley in 1906 and put in operation at once, Independence and WTiitehall 
securing service in the winter and Blair in the spring. Then the line to 
Trempealeau was completed. 

In 1900 an exchange was opened at Whitehall, and the same year the 
hnes were extended up Elk Creek and up Pigeon Valley. In 1901 the Gales- 
ville line was purchased, giving connection with the Galesville and Ettrick 
region, connections were made at Osseo giving access to the Beef River 
country, and an exchange was opened at Independence. An exchange 
was opened at Blair in the spring of 1902. 

In the meantime many farms were connected with the various lines, 
and to make the company a truly community endeavor it was decided to 
reorganize with the stock distributed among the farmers. 

The Western Wisconsin Telephone Company, a reorganization of the 
Arcadia Telephone Company, was incorporated May 19, 1902, with thirty- 
seven stockholders. An exchange was at once established at Centerville. 
In March, 1903, the lines of the Trempealeau & Buffalo County Telephone 
Company and its line to Mondovi were purchased. Soon afterward the 
Winona Telephone Company turned over to the Western Wisconsin Tele- 
phone Company all its holdings in western Wisconsin, and in 1904 the 
exchange at Pigeon Falls was established. Later this exchange w^as aban- 
doned. The company covers the greater part of the county, and the 
southeastern part of Buffalo County, and crossing the Black River at 
Hunter's Ridge covers a considerable territory in the northern part of 
La Crosse County. It has adequate connections at La Crosse and Winona. 
Besides operating extensive rui'al lines it has exchanges at Arcadia, Cen- 
terville, Galesville, Trempealeau, Blair, Whitehall, Independence and 
Ettrick, and makes connection not only, with the local exchange of the 
Osseo Telephone Company at Osseo, but also with the farmers' local 
exchanges at Ettrick, Galesville and Blair. 

The officers are: President, John C. Gaveney; vice-president, G. N. 
Hidershide; treasurer, G. A. Schneller; secretary, Emil Maurer; general 
manager, J. I. Dewey; superintendent, Thomas Cummings; directors, Frank 
A. Kellman, Galesville; 0. B. Borsheim, Blair; Frank C. Richmond, Arcadia; 
George Bohrnstedt, Arcadia ; Emil Maurer, Arcadia ; K. K. Hagestad, 
Ettrick; David Wood, Whitehall; John Sprecher, Independence; Geo. A. 
Schneller, Arcadia; G. N. Hidershide, Arcadia; John C. Gaveney, Arcadia. 

Underground wires are maintained at Arcadia, Galesville and Indepen- 
dence, and conduits for that purpose have been laid at Whitehall. 

The Osseo Telephone Company was organized May 3, 1900, and incor- 
porated May 15, 1900, by J. L. Linderman, Dr. E. A. Olson, Charles F. 
Trager and F. M. Smith. The first officers were : F. A. Smith, president ; 
C. F. Trager, vice-president, and H. L. Smith, secretary and treasurer. 
The capital stock at beginning was $4,500, which was subsequently increased 
to $10,000 and later to $25,000. The present officers are : A. G. Cox, presi- 
dent ; C. I. Fields, vice-president; D. L. Remington, secretary and manager; 
F. M. Smith, assistant manager; T. J. Thompson, treasurer. The exchange 
at Osseo was opened in July, 1900, the one at Eleva in June, 1901. The 


exchange at Mondovi was purchased the same year and in 1904 was sold to 
the Mondovi business men. In 1901 a hne was built to Eau Claire from 
Eleva and later was sold to Chas. Sequni of Shaw. The Eleva exchange 
was sold to the Eleva Farmers' Telephone Company of Eleva in February, 
1913. At the present time the Osseo exchange furnishes service to nearly 
500 subscribers. 

The first farmers' companies in Trempealeau County were at Whitehall 
and Blair. The dates of organization of the various farmers' 'phones are 
as foUows: 

The Lincoln Telephone Company (with local exchange at Whitehall), 
organized April 4, 1905. 

The Preston Telephone Company (with local exchange at Blair) , organ- 
ized July 25, 1905. 

The Tamarack Telephone Company (in which is included the New- 
comb Valley Telephone Company, organized April 4, 1906) , organized March 
14, 1906. 

The Ettriclc Telephone Company (with local exchanges at Galesville 
and Ettrick) , organized Jan. 8, 1906. 

The Beef River Valley Telephone Company (with a short line east of 
Osseo), organized Sept. 16, 1906. 

The Strum Telephone Company, organized Sept. 13, 1907. 

The Pigeon Valley Farmers' Telephone Company, organized March 
31, 1908. 

The Independence Telephone Company (with local exchange at Inde- 
pendence), organized June 18, 1908. 

The Pleasant Valley Telephone Company, organized March 26, 1909. 

The Eleva Farmers' Telephone Company, organized April 13, 1909. 

The Elk Creek Telephone Company, organized Dec. 22, 1910. 


Trempealeau County is rich in place names. Some are picturesque 
and original, others are commonplace and duplicates of those found in 
other localities. Some are the names of national heroes, some perpetuate 
historic incidents, some are fanciful and poetic, some are descriptive, and 
hundreds bear the names of early settlers. Some were chosen dehberately, 
and some are the result of natural growth. Some are very old, dating back 
to the explorers and fur traders, while others are very recent, and have 
not yet become entirely fixed. For the most part the origin of the names 
is known, though there is yet much research to be done to determine 
who applied the names, and when and under what circumstances they were 
first applied. The following list is a brief summary of the subject, its 
purpose being to form a basis for future study and investigation : 


Albion is the ancient name for England, still applied in poetry. 

Arcadia is the name given to the township by Mrs. David Bishop, 
who was afterward Mrs. Sarah Mercer. It was suggested by Noah Com- 
stock from the real or fancied resemblance of the valley to the state of 
Arcadia in ancient Greece, a beautiful locality, the inhabitants of which, 
according to the ancient poets, enjoyed a peaceful and happy life. 

Burnside was named after Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside (born 1824, died 
1881), for a short time commander of the Army of the Potomac in the 
Civil War. 

Chimney Rock is named from a conspicuous landmark within its 

Caledonia is the Latin name for Scotland. It was applied to the present 
township by Alex, and Donald McGilvray, and other early Scotch settlers. 

Dodge was named from William E. Dodge, philanthropist ; a prominent 
financier for many years in New York. He was associated with John I. 
Blair, Moses Taylor, Joseph H. Scranton, E. F. Hatfield and others in the 
construction of the Green Bay & Western Railroad and was also connected 
with many philanthropic institutions and at one time was the treasurer of 
the Protestant Syrian College at Constantinople, Turkey. 

Ettrick was named from Ettrick Forest in Scotland, as described in 
Scott's Marmion. It was given by John Cance. 

Gale and Galesville took their names from Judge George Gale, who 
also gave his name to Gale College. 

Hale is named from George Hale, its first settler. He was born in 
Glastenbury, Conn., and came to Trempealeau County in 1858, settling 
about nine miles above what is now Independence. 



Lincoln is named from the martyred president. 

Pigeon Township and Pigeon Falls took their name from Pigeon Creek. 

Preston was named from Susan H. Reynolds, the wife of Edmond M. 
Reynolds, one of the earliest settlers of Preston Township. Mrs. Reynolds 
came of the old New England family of Prestons, and at the first town 
meetings Mr. Reynolds proposed that the town be named in her honor. 

Sumner Township was named after the distinguished American senator 
and statesman, Charles Sumner (born in 1811, died 1874), who was one 
of the leaders of the abolition party and a confidential advisor to President 
Lincoln during the Civil War. 

Trempealeau is a corrupted form of the French phrase, La Montagne 
Qui Trempe Dans L'Eau, meaning the Mountain that is Steeped in Water. 
This name was applied as early as 1731 and possibly earlier. It was the 
French translation of the Winnebago word, Hay-nee-ah-chah, the Soaking 
Mountain. The Sioux name was Pah-hah-dah, the Moved Mountain. 

Unity. When this township was organized Dennis Lawler felt that 
he was entitled to the honor of having it named after him, but P. B. 
Williams, another early settler, wished to call it Unity, which was the name 
of the town in Maine from which he had come. Upon the suggestion of 
Noah Comstock the matter was decided by lot, and Mr. Williams drawing 
the longest "cut" named the town Unit. 

Incorporated Villages 

Galesville and Arcadia are names of the same origin as those of the 
townships in which they are located. 

Blair was named from John Insley Blair of Blairstown, N. J., a 
stockholder in the Green Bay & Western. During the Civil War he 
advanced the Federal government over $1,000,000. He presented $6,000 
to endow an academy in his home town ; he assisted in the building of Grin- 
nell College, Grinnell, Iowa, and he was a large contributor to Princeton 
University and Lafayette College. He also built more than a hundred 
churches throughout the western states. Mr. Blair died at his home in 1899 
at the age of 97 years. The village of Blair was originally platted as Por- 

Eleva was named by R. P. Goddard of Mondovi, Wis., on the sugges- 
tion of Mr. Gates, who formerly lived there. The origin of the name is 
unknown to Mr. Goddard, but he thinks that Mr. Gates found a place of 
that name in France. 

Independence was so named because it was platted during the year 
of the Centennial celebration of American Independence. It is thought that 
Giles Cripps first suggested the name. 

Osseo was started in 1856, and was named by Robert C. Field, one 
legend says from the Spanish word oso, meaning bear, while another says 
it came from an Indian word ossi, meaning stone or stony place or stone 
on stone or having relation to river and stone. The name is used by Long- 
fellow in his Song of Hiawatha. He called Osseo the Son of the Evening 
Star, and has him, when apparently a very old man, turned into a very 
handsome and attractive young man. Where Longfellow got the name is 


not now known. A fanciful explanation given by some of the early settlers 
is that an Indian, seeing the improvements made by the white men, 
exclaimed. Oh ! See ! Oh ! thus giving the name Osseo. 

Trempealeau Village is named from Trempealeau Mountain. James 
A. Reed settled here in 1840 and opened his cabin as a tavern. The name 
Reed's Town or Reed's Landing came to be applied to the place. When 
the village was platted in 1852 it was called Montoville, the significance 
being Mountain ViUe. 

Whitehall was probably named by Benjamin F. Wing, who platted Old 
Whitehall. Probably it was named from Whitehall in New York, though 
it may have been named from a hall painted white. It is possible, also, that 

the name was given by Ole Knudtson, or by Georges, co-partner 

with Mr. Wing in the townsite. 

Platted ViUages 

The names of Caledonia, Dodge, Ettrick and Pigeon Falls have the 
same origin as those of the townships in which they are located. 

Coral City was at one time a flourishing hamlet located in section 18, 
Pigeon Township. The construction of the Green Bay & Western Rail- 
road in 1873 blasted its hopes of future greatness. At one time Coral City 
had its Main street. State street. Public square and prospects of a pros- 
perous future. It had several general stores, shops, hotels, saloons, a good 
hiiU; in brief, all the equipments for a lively, busy country village. But 
later its business was absorbed by the I'ailroad towns. The Wright brothers, 
Phineas and Benjamin, may be credited with beginning the town. They 
built a flouring mill in the summer of 1863, and other places of business 
soon followed. Egbert Carpenter, C. E. Scott, Andrew Olson, Ryland 
Parker, Dr. Shelden and Seneca Johnson are well remembered names of 
some of its business men. Granville McFarland, one of the men employed 
in building the dam for the mill, is probably more responsible for the name 
given to this place than anyone else. While digging dirt on the north 
side of the creek for the dam some queer-looking rock was found. McFar- 
land, it appears, made Pheaneas Wright, who headed the enterprise for 
building the mill, believe that the rock was coral. Mr. Wright, who was 
one of the best and most straightforward men in the country, not know- 
ing he had been imposed upon by a practical joker, platted the village and 
called it "Coral City." The village was noted in the early days for its 
law suits, which served not only to settle disputes, but also afl:orded highly 
seasoned amusement. Some of the trials in the justice court there lasted 
for over a week. The noted flood in March, 1876, entirely destroyed the 
mill built by the Wrights, but the following summer another mill took its 
place. This mill and some sightly houses are now all that remains of a 
once flourishing settlement. 

Montoville was the name under which Trempealeau Village was orig- 
inally platted. It means the Mountain ville. 

Porterville, the name under which Blair was originally platted, was 
named for Richard Porter, who settled on land now occupied in part by the 
village, June, 1855, and died July 26, of the same year, as the result of an 


encounter with a band of wolves near Galesville. His son, Duke Porter, 
platted the village in 1873, and gave it the name of Porterville. But when 
the railroad established a station near his plat, they gave it the name of 

Strum was named by Congressman William T. Price for his friend, 
Louis Strum, of Eau Claire, Wis. Under the first Cleveland administration 
the hamlet was called Tilden, for Samuel J. Tilden, the statesman, but on 
Jan. 1, 1890, was again changed to Strum. 

Trading Centers 

Tamarack, Elk Creek and Pine Creek take their names from the streams 
on which they are located. 

Centei'ville is named from its geographical location on Trempealeau 
Prairie. It was originally called Martin's Corners from an early settler. 

Dooney's Siding was named from James B. Dooney, present general 
agent of the Green Bay. It has a wood yard, a stock yard, and a railroad 
platform and switch. It is an important shipping point for wood and stock, 
and considerable lime and the like is shipped in. 

Dewey's Corners was the name applied to Old Arcadia, from the family 
of that name prominently identified with its early history. J. I. Dewey, 
son and nephew of the original Deweys, is still a resident there. 

Frenchville takes its name from its location on French Creek. 

Glasgow was named by reason of the numerous hardy Scots who made 
their new home there. 

Hegg is in the upper Beaver Creek country, which was naturally settled 
later than the lower valley. As late as 1871 a postoffice was established 
in K. K. Hallanger's residence, and Mr. Hallanger was appointed postmaster. 
The name chosen for the postoffice was Hegg, in honor of Colonel Hegg, 
commander of the Fifteenth Wisconsin Norwegian Regiment in the Civil 
War. A short time after this a general merchandise store was opened at 
Hegg, which is still doing a thriving business. 

Iduna. This was the name of the post office established in French Creek 
Valley in 1899 and which flourished for a short time under the management 
of John Hovre as postmaster, but ceased to exist when rural routes were 
established in the vicinity. As Mr. Hovre is still conducting a general mer- 
cantile business where the postoffice was located, it is quite probable the 
name will continue to live, notwithstanding Uncle Sam has shut up shop 
at that particular place. The tendency to invent a fictitious origin where 
the true origin is unknown, is well illustrated by a current legend which 
by some has been accepted as truth. The legend is this : That after the 
petition for the establishment of a postoffice had been granted, the Postoffice 
Department sent Mr. Hovre a blank asking him to suggest three names for 
the postoffice to be established. Hovre, being short on inventing names, 
and likewise on grammar and spelling, decided to let the government select 
the name, and wrote across the blank, "I-dono," and sent the paper back 
to Washington. Whether the department officials misread the final vowels 
or for the sake of euphony changed them, the legend does not state, but 


it informs us that the government practically adopted Mr. Hovre's negative 
reply as the name of the postofRce. Legends properly embalmed by time 
and fii'mly established in the affections of mankind, unless harmful, ought 
not to be ruthlessly destroyed. But this particular legend is of too modern 
birth to have acquired any special sanctity and as the writer is familiar 
with the true origin of the name, he feels in duty bound to dispel the 
romantic illusions created by it. When the government blank, already 
mentioned, was received by Mr. Hovre, it was sent to A. H. Anderson, 
who had assisted in getting the government's consent to the proposed 
postoffice. Knowing that this is a big country, with an almost unlimited 
use for new names, the writer at once turned to his Norse Mythology, and 
selected three names and sent them to the PostofRce Department. Among 
fhese was the name "Iduna." According to our Northern Mythology. 
Iduna was the custodian of the apples of immortality which the gods tasted 
from time to time to perpetuate their youth. Loki, the spirit of evil, 
once stole the golden apples, which caused great grief in Valhalla. Iduna's 
husband was Bragi, the divine bard. 

Martin's Corners was the original name of Centerville. 

Pleasantville is named from its location in Pleasant Valley. Who gave 
the name of Pleasant Valley to the valley of Elk Creek is not known. 

Russell was named from William Russell, who came to the county in 
1864 and located in Burnside. When the postoffice was opened in Burnside 
Township there was considerable controversy over the name. About 20 
years ago the office was moved to Chimney Rock Township, where mail was 
received three times a week until the office was discontinued by reason of 
the establishment of the rural delivery system. The school district is still 
known as the Russell district. 

Rhodes Station, in Caledonia Township, was named from Joshua 
Rhodes, who settled in that locality in 1853. 

Scotia was a postoffice which flourished for a while in section 7, 
Caledonia. The name indicates the nationality of the eai'ly settlers of that 

Skillins' Corners. In 1860 Moses Skillins settled about five miles 
above Ai-cadia. In 1862 came his brother, Hiram Skillins, a Baptist 
clergyman. The creek flowing through his farm was called Skillins' Creek 
and the vicinity came to be called Skillins' Corners. When the postoffice 
was established the name was changed to WiUiamsburg. 

Williamsburg was a name given when a postoffice was established at 
Skillins' Corners in 1866 with William B. Arnold as postmaster. Mr. Arnold 
suggested the name for the fact that three WiUiams, himself, William 
Eastman and William Boorman, all lived in the vicinity. 

Wright's Corners was named from HoUister M. Wright, who settled 
there in 1853. 

Principal Streams 

The Beef or Buffalo River in the days of the French explorers took the 
name that Hennepin in 1680 applied to the Chippewa River. "Beef" is a 
corruption of "Beeuf ," the designation applied by the early French explorers 


to the American buffalo. The R. de Beeufs appears on the earliest maps, 
though in some of them it is evident that the Chippewa River is meant. 

The Black River was called R. Noire, by Hennepin in 1680, and has 
since borne the English translation of that word. Hennepin says that the 
Sioux called the river, Cha-be-de-ba or Cha-ba-on-de-ba. The modern Sioux, 
however, called it Wat-pah-zappa or Minne-sap-pah, meaning Black Water 
or Black River. 

Beaver Creek. Tradition says that two Frenchmen (probably the same 
Joseph Rocque and companion from whom French Creek was named) win- 
tered on Beaver Creek above Galesville in the days of the trappers, and there 
caught a large number of beavers. Willard B. Bunnell and James Reed 
also caught many beavers there and gave the creek its name. 

Cedar Creek was named by Willard B. Bunnell and James Reed. In 
the early days it was the haunt of many deer. The creek was named 
because of the abundance of dry red cedar used by Mr. Bunnell and Mr. 
Reed in "fire hunting." 

Elk Creek was named in 1842 by Willard B. Bunnell and William 
Smothers while on a hunting expedition. The valley of Elk Creek is usually 
called Pleasant Valley. 

French Creek, according to Winnebago tradition, was so called from the 
fact that Joseph Rocque, the father of Augustine Rocque, once maintained 
his wintering ground in that vicinity while hunting and trapping in the 
Beaver Creek Valley. 

Hardie's Creek was named from James Hardie, an early settler and 
sturdy Scotchman. 

Pigeon Creek was named by Willard B. Bunnell and William Smothers 
while on a hunting trip. Bunnell then lived at Reed's Town (Trempealeau) 
and Smothers at Holmes' Landing (Fountain City). Of the great flocks of 
pigeons that frequented this vicinity in the early days L. H. Bunnell says : 
"I was returning in a canoe from a trip up the river (in 1842) and as I 
came in sight of the oak timber then growing on the Wisconsin side below 
the site of the lower bridge, I saw clouds of pigeons settling to roost, when 
crash, would fall an oak limb, and then a noise would follow like the letting 
off of steam. It did not occur to me at first, what it was that made the latter 
noise, but as I approached nearer, and saw limb after limb fall, some of 
them very large size, and then heard the increased noise, I saw, and heai'd, 
that it was numberless pigeons breaking down the limbs and chattering in 
glee at their having overloaded and broken them down. Some of the young 
Sioux were watching the 'roost,' to see if any had commenced laying, for 
some were already building nests, and when I told James Reed of the Indians 
being there and not a shot fired at the pigeons, he told me that the Indians 
never disturbed pigeons or ducks by shooting at them when nesting, and 
that the life of a man doing so would not be safe among the Sioux, as the 
whole tribe would feast upon the squabs as soon as big enough. The pigeon 
roost extended for 25 miles below La Crosse, as reported to us by up-coming 
steamboats, and where there was heavy timber, the same scenes were 
repeated that I had witnessed — the whole length of the roost being about 


45 miles. Pigeons are easily disturbed and driven away when they com- 
mence nesting, but when they begin to set, they are not so easily scared." 

Pine Creek was named after the towering scattered pines which grew in 
abundance in that vicinity, some of which stand today, one being utilized 
by a farmer as a tower for his windmill, a little south of the Pine Creek 
church, the central building in Pine Creek village. 

The Big and Little Tamarack creeks were named from the abundance 
of tamarack timber grown along their banks and in the bottom lands and 
adjoining. Al and Abe Holcomb, two early settlers, built a sawmill on the 
prairie near their homes to manufacture this timber into lumber for building 
and fence purposes. The old mill was doing business in 1870 and remained 
many years later to serve a very useful purpose, when its site and building 
were put to use as a grist mill by Squire A. Pickett, later purchased by 
John Bonum and Stephen Richmond, and Bonum's interest conveyed to 
Blackhawk Johnson, who in 1878 purchased the whole property and con- 
tinued the milling business a number of years. The mill and power are in 
recent years nearly unknown. 

Trempealeau River received its name from Trempealeau Mountain and 
Bay. It was called by the Winnebagoes Ne-chann-ne-shan-ah-ga, or over- 
flowing stream, and by the Sioux Wat-pah-dah, the moving stream. 

Trout Creek or Trout River was named by Willard B. Bunnell. As the 
Sioux seldom fished, but confined their activities in this line to spearing 
large fish with a spear, the spring creeks were filled with trout of good 
size. In the early '40s Mr. Bunnell once caught six dozen trout in Trout 
Creek in a few hours. The larger trout were caught in the main stream, 
but they did most of their spawning in Little Trout Creek. 


There are no natural lakes in Trempealeau County, but the streams are 
dammed in many places, forming artificial lakes. Trempealeau Lake, so 
called, is merely a portion of the Mississippi River. 

Marinuka Lake is an artificial body of water formed by the mill dam 
at Galesville. Charles E. Freeman (letter to Stephen Richmond, Jan. 21, 
1912, now in the possession of the Trempealeau County Historical Society) 
says: "At the head of the lake at Galesville, on the property known as 
the Arctic Springs, is the headstone that marks the resting place of Marie 
Nounka, a granddaughter of One-Eyed Decorah. She died in 1884, and 
in the old Galesville Independent for the week beginning Oct. 5, 1884, 
there appeared the following notice: 'Death of an Indian Princess — The 
Princess Marie Nunka, granddaughter of the great chief Decorah, died on 
the morning of Oct. 4, 1884, at the Arctic Springs, and was buried at 
midnight of the same day on a point of land belonging to the springs 
property. An impressive ceremony was performed with only the light of 
the moon to shadow forth the dusky figures of the red men and the few 
spectators present. Wallace Parker, John Sheely and Charles E. Freeman 
prepared the grave, as the relatives are not allowed to help in this part of 
the cei-emony. G. Y. Freeman wishes to state that any desecration of the 
grave will be resented by him to the full extent of the law.' A good head- 


stone was placed at the head of the grave and the facts of her genealogy 
engraved upon it. In the summer of 1911 the body was removed across the 
little creek and is now resting about a rod south of the road. Mr. Gardner 
and son, Bert Gipple, Dr. Mailer and myself, with one or two others, assisted 
in the transfer of the body to its new resting place. A few years after 
her death, on motion of A. A. Arnold at a meeting of the village board, it 
was decided to christen the little lake at the edge of the village Marinuka, 
which is an abbreviation of the woman's full name, Marie Nounka. Byron 
Olds has written and pubhshed a song entitled, 'By Marinuka's Moonlit 
Shore.' " 

Geographical Landmarks 

Chapultepec Peak is named from Mount Chapultepec, Mexico, at whose 
base, two miles from the City of Mexico, the Battle of Chapultepec was 
fought Sept. 12 and 13, 1847. Charles J. Cleveland, whose father was a 
veteran of that battle, was an early settler of Big Tamarac. In the spring 
of 1856 he located at Big Bend, in charge of the lumber and rafting business 
of Thomas Douglas. In one of his trips to La Crosse in 1856, he purchased 
a rifle, and instead of returning home by the usual route, he sent his team 
by a hired man, and returned by way of McGilvray's Ferry, traveled 
through Galesville, up along Beaver Creek, and crossed the divide into 
Trempealeau Valley. He observed a mountain on the top of that valley, 
which appeared to him to resemble the description of the Mexican mountain 
described by his father. He therefore called it by the name of Chapultepec. 

Chimney Rock is a towering, ragged pile, caused, as other similar 
formations in Western Wisconsin, by the erosive action of the wind, snow, 
frost and rain, wearing away the surrounding formations and leaving the 
rock in its present shape and condition. The work of erosion is still 
going on. The rock is the highest point in the vicinity. It was originally 
called Devil's Chimney and was a landmark to guide the traveler of the 
early days. The rock is now obscured by trees. 

Decorah Peak was named from the Indian dynasty of Decorah, of 
which extended mention is made in the Indian chapter in this work. The 
name is variously spelled, the form "Decora" being possibly in more general 
use in Trempealeau County than the form "Decorah" used in this history. 
Charles E. Freeman writing to Stephen Richmond on Jan. 21, 1912 (manu- 
script in the library of the Trempealeau County Historical Society) says: 
"I remember quite distinctly a visit my parents made to Decorah's encamp- 
ment at the mouth of the Little Tamarack, when I was very small. My 
father saw him and tells me that he was lying down, resting upon his elbow. 
He was naked to the waist, and was the finest specimen of manhood he ever 
saw, tall, big-muscled and having the appearance of a bronze statue. He 
was nearly blind and was very old. There is a legend that a battle was 
fought on the Black River, just south of Decorah's Peak, and that after 
Decorah's warriors were beaten he hid himself in a cave of the peak until 
it was safe for him to make his v/^ay to Prairie du Chien. In confirmation 
of this, Bert Gipple, editor of the Galesville Repubhcan, tells me that when 
a boy attending Gale College, he, with several others, accompanied a man 


from Washington, D. C, over to the Peak and was there shown a place 
where Indians had been buried. The boys dug into the mound and found a 
confused mass of many skeletons in a very mouldy and decomposed con- 
dition. One skull, however, was well preserved. This they took home and 
gave it to the Winona High School to place in their museum. This mound is 
about 40 rods south of the Peak. Mr. Gipple says he looked for the mound 
some years after this and found it only with the greatest difficulty." The 
Prairie was originally called Scotch Prairie, but gradually assumed the name 
of the Peak. 

Oak Openings, or The Openings, was the name applied by the early 
settlers to a stretch of land embracing parts of Caledonia and Trempealeau 
townships. The name is self-explanatory. The fall and spring fires since 
the earliest time had swept down the valleys and the bluff's and over the 
Prairie from the northwest, dying out when they reached the southern 
part of the Prairie, where they encountered the region of sun-dried and 
wind-swept sands. Thus safe from fires, and protected by the Mississippi 
and Black rivers, the timber made a struggle for life in what was a small 
desert, converting it into a desirable tract for agricultural endeavor. 

Trempealeau Prairie is one of the distinctive geological features of the 
county. The causes that have made the Prairie are explained by George 
H. Squier elsewhere in that work. 

Whistler Pass is one of the remarkable geographical formations of the 
county. The winds from the northwest sweep through it with great force, 
and with a whistling sound that has caused many to make an incorrect guess 
as to the origin of the name. It has been said that Selfus Spain, an early 
settler of Cross Township, in Buffalo County, and later a resident of Foun- 
tain City, gave the name. He and his family crossed the pass in 1856, 
having to chain all the wheels to get his wagon down the bluff. He camped 
at the foot of the bluff on the north side, and during the night noted the 
moaning and whistling of the wind in the depression of the hill over which 
he had just passed. However, the name of W^histler's Pass had been given 
some time previous. Reese Whistler had filed on a claim in section 14 in 
1853, but so far as is known did not then settle there. In 1855 Martin 
Whistler settled in Pine Creek Valley and opened a trail over the hills into 
a branch of Tamarack Valley to meet the road leading to Trempealeau, his 
market-place. This trail became the main road into the upper part of 
Pine Creek Valley and later was the main road from Trempealeau to 
Arcadia. The portion over the divide toward Whistler's place was known 
as Whistler's Pass. Ichabod Wood, also an Englishman, came and settled 
near Whistler within about a year. Of the unusual scenery in this vicinity 
Dr. Pierce has said : "Last August we drove up the west side of Tamarack 
Valley and over Whistler's Pass. It was a lovely day, cool and refreshing, 
and breezy, and the farmers were busy in the spreadiflg harvest fields cut- 
ting grain. From Whistler's Pass it was a beautiful sight down the Tama- 
rack, and off on Trempealeau Prairie. Field after field of yellow grain 
spread out over the country and here and there the grain was shocked. On 
the stubble fields the red wild buckwheat showed its gaudy color. Far 
across the prairie the Trempealeau bluffs loomed green against the blue 


sky. Then we turned and on the other side of the Pass, in Pine Creek 
Valley, a new panorama opened to view with broad fields of golden grain 
and green meadow lands. What scenes one encounters along the country 
road, among our cozy Wisconsin hills in the summer time. Strange-shaped 
bluffs peering down with their green slopes adorned with grazing herds of 
cattle, rocky peaks with their white limestone, and then the little valleys, 
the woodland haunts and waving grain and rustling cornfields." 

Valleys and Cooleys 

Trempealeau County is filled with valleys and cooleys, all bearing a local 
name, usually the name of the first or most prominent settler in the locality. 
The names of hundreds of these vales are yet to be gathered by the earnest 
historian of future years. The origin of a few of the typical names is here 
presented : 

Abraham's Cooley, six miles north of Galesville, is named from Abra- 
ham Madson, a native of Norway, who came to Trempealeau County from 
Coon Valley, Vernon County, in the spring of 1863 and here spent the re- 
mainder of his life. Following Mr. Madson the early settlers in the valley 
were Andrew Anstensen, Ole Olson Sorgendahl, Johanes Nelson Berge, 
Andrew Lebakken and Christian Breningen. 

Bill Valley was named after one of its earliest settlers. 

Bruce Valley is named for Nathaniel P. Bruce, who settled in the valley 
in the fall of 1867. 

Borst Valley was named after Martin W. Borst, who located several 
sections of land there at an early date and opened up hundreds of acres 
of this choice soil to grain and tame grass. 

Crystal Valley, situated several miles from Galesville, was settled in 
1854 by John Marten. It was named by H. W. Maughmer. 

Fitch Cooley was named from Joseph Fitch, who was frozen to death 
while carrying hay to his oxen in that cooley in the winter of 1863-64. 

Fuller Cooley is so called from a man of that name who settled in the 
cooley and was killed by lightning. 

German Valley was named from several German settlers, among them 
the Coop and Berkanauer families. 

Holcomb Cooley was named after Al and Abe Holcomb, who purchased 
or by homestead claim took up lands there from which they removed the 
timber to their sawmill on the Prairie. A son of Abe Holcomb, Henry 
Hibbard, lived on these lands in the fall of 1870 and for several years 

Hungary Valley, also called Latsch Valley, takes its name from the 
large number of Hungarian Poles who settled in the valley from 1865 to 
1870, the first to come being Frank Pellowski, whose sons, Jake, Frank and 
Barney, are all prominent men in the county. 

Korpal Valley was named from John Korpal, an early settler. 

King Valley was named from James King, long its most prominent 

Lake Cooley is named from Henry Lake, who settled there in 1856 and 
secured extensive tracts of land. He was widely noted for his hospitality, 


keeping open house for all the travelers coming up over the ridge from 
French Creek. 

Latsch Valley was named in honor of John Latsch, a native of Switzer- 
land, who in 1856 settled near the creek at the mouth of the valley which is 
located a few miles above the present village of Dodge. He later became 
founder of the firm of Latsch & Son, wholesale grocers at Winona. From 
1865 to 1870 a number of Polish and Hungarian settlers located in the 
main valley, and the name Hungary Valley came to be applied. By some 
the whole valley is called Hungary Valley, by some it is called Latsch 
Valley, while others apply the name of Latsch Valley to the region where 
Mr. Latsch settled, and the name Hungary Valley to the main portion of 
the vallej'. 

Lewis Valley is named from Captain John D. Lewis, a veteran of the 
Civil War and of the Colorado Indian campaign, who settled in the valley 
that now bears his name, in May, 1866. He lived in the valley the remainder 
of his life and became one of the county's leading men. 

Meyers Valley was named after Nic, Casper and Peter Meyers, who 
settled on farms there in 1856. 

Newcomb Valley was named from Isaac and Harold Newcomb, who 
settled in the main valley in 1866. 

Niffin Cooley, the valley of Niffin Creek, which flows into Lewis Valley, 
is named from Lewis Niffin, who took a claim on the creek, four miles above 
Arcadia, and remained there about a year. 

Niphon Valley was the name originally applied to Lewis Valley. 

Norway Cooley was so named because all its early settlers were of the 
Norwegian race. The first to arrive was Knudt Leofson Strand, who is 
still living there on his old homestead. Mr. Strand, who came to America 
with his wife and one child in 1861, had located in Vernon County, Wiscon- 
sin, where he heard such favorable reports of Trempealeau County that he 
resolved to investigate them. With a friend named John Gunderson he 
came to the county in the summer of 1863 and, selecting a pleasant location 
in Holcomb Cooley, the two men began cutting hay. But hearing of good 
land to the northward they started out on a further trip of exploration and 
after a long tramp reached the mouth of one of the most beautiful cooleys 
they had ever seen. Here Mr. Strand determined to locate, and accord- 
ingly went to La Crosse and filed claims. In the following spring he came 
back and built a hut, also a shed as shelter for some stock he had brough' 
with him. In June of the same year, 1864, he brought his family and began 
in earnest the task of developing a farm. 

Reynolds Cooley, Preston Township, was named from Edmond M. Rey- 
nolds, an early settler. The ridge over which the early settlers came into 
this valley from the Ettrick country is now pierced by a great "cut" to 
allow the passage of the Ettrick & Northern Raib-oad. 

Travis Valley is named from Joshua Travis, an Indian herb doctor who 
settled in the valley at an early date. The valley is often incorrectly called 
Traverse Valley, but the man's own signature shows the correct spelling. 

Tappen Cooley is named from Ole 0. Tappen, who settled in the valley 
in 1857. 


Tracy Valley was named from A. D. Tracy, a distinguished early 
pioneer who arrived in 1858, and settled in the valley in 1859. 

Tromp Cooley is named from John Von Tromp, a carpenter by trade, 
who in 1855 settled on what is now the Bernt Peterson farm. He afterward 
sold and secured a farm across the Trempealeau River at the mouth of the 
valley which has since been called in his honor. He afterward moved to 

Thompson Valley was named after three brothers by the name of 
Thompson, who settled there and opened large farms now the homes of 
their children. 

Vosse Cooley is in the southeastern corner of Trempealeau County. 
Nels Anderson Evangorhougen settled in the valley in 1856. He was known 
as Vosse Nels and the valley took his name. 

West Prairie received its name from its geographical position in regard 
to the Trempealeau Prairie. 

Wickham Valley was named after James Wickham, long its most promi- 
nent settler. 

Zabrinski Valley was named from Joseph and Anton Zabrinski, who 
settled there in 1865. 


The intimate life of the community is best told in the personal stories 
of its citizens. Biographical facts not only provide permanent geneological 
material for the families of which they treat, and valuable information for 
the historical investigator, but also furnish inspiration for worthy emula- 
tion. In so new a county as Trempealeau there are few men who have not 
started as poor boys and attained their success by their own efforts. The 
story of their equipment for the struggle by birth, training, environment 
and experience is of vital significance. So, too, is the story of the men of 
the younger generation, who with better preparation and under more 
favorable circumstances, have taken up the work which their fathers have 
laid down. 

Therefore in supplementing the general county history, the publishers 
of this volume and their staff have gathered biographical data from some 
eight hundred leading families of the county. The list is comprehensive 
and thoi'oughly representative. The research involved in collecting the 
material has extended over a period of two years, and during that time the 
opportunity has been opened to all of those who desired their family story 
thus recorded and preserved. 

It is manifestly impossible to include every family of the past and 
present ; such a task would be beyond human ability. The criticism that 
in such a work many worthy families are omitted is of little force; the 
scope of the book might be trebled, yet still omit many a family whom some 
one would like to see thus honored. And while the story of many of those 
here included is no more worthy of preservation than the story of many 
who are omitted, those here printed are thoroughly typical and represent 
every phase of the county's citizenship. 

These biographical and geneological sketches have been gathered from 
personal interviews, from records and from newspapers. They have all 
been submitted to some member of the family most concerned. While it 
is believed that a high degree of accuracy has been maintained, the respon- 
sibility rests with the families themselves and not with the publishers. 
In a few cases sketches submitted for correction have not been returned. 
In such instances the duplicate has been printed, containing the facts as 
originally gathered. 

The difficulties of gathering such a vast amount of material are many. 
Even brothers and sisters often give widely varying accounts, not only of 
the facts and dates concerning their parents, but even of the rendering of 
their parents' names. In a few instances, where an agreement was impossi- 
ble, both versions are here given. 

All personal estimates of life, character, accomplishments, worth, 



influence and ability have been added by the board of editors, constrained 
by a desire throughout to avoid extravagant laudations, though in many 
instances such laudations would be most thoroughly deserved. 

John O. Melby, for many years a leader in the business, political and 
financial integrity of Trempealeau County, was born Oct. 15, 1845, at 
Askim, Smaalenenes Amt, Norway. He was reared to farm pursuits and 
received a common school education. As a young man he was employed 
for five years in a clerical position in Christiania, and during this period 
attracted the favorable attention of several prominent citizens. But at 
the advice of his friends, who saw in the young clerk those talents which 
in after years were to be the foundation of his success, he determined to 
seek the wider opportunities of the new world. Accordingly, bidding fare- 
well to his old associates, he embarked for America in 1869, and found 
his way to Omaha, Neb., where he remained but a short time. Thence 
he came to La Crosse, Wis., where he was employed for a short time in 
the saw mills. It was in 1870 that he came to Ettrick, in this county, and 
secured work as a clerk in the general store of Iver Pederson, in whose 
employment he remained for five years. While a resident of that town he 
was elected to the office of town treasurer, a position he held for four years. 
His character as a man, his ability as an official, and his willingness to 
render services to his fellowmen whenever needed made him well known 
throughout the county, and in 1874 he was elected registrar of deeds of 
Trempealeau County, which office he held continuously until 1887. He 
was a conscientious official, and discharged the duties of his office with 
dignity and ability. Especially was his influence marked among his fellow 
countrymen, who, finding themselves in a new land with new laws and cus- 
toms, constantly sought his competent advice. From 1887 to 1888 he was 
cashier of the Bank of Galesville, and it was upon retiring from this office 
that he entered upon his notable career as near the end of the latter year 
he began the operation of a private bank, at Whitehall, which he conducted 
as such until 1894. In 1894 he organized a stock company and incor- 
porated this as a state bank under the name of John 0. Melby & Co. Bank. 
In 1906 the charter of this bank was extended and the capital stock 
increased to $50,000. He was president of this institution from its crea- 
tion to the date of his death, June 12, 1909. The Times Banner, in summing 
up his life and work after his death said of him : "In the death of Mr. 
Melby, Trempealeau County loses one of its leading citizens and White- 
hall its most lofty type of a Christian gentleman. For almost a quarter 
of a century he has been identified with the business, political and social 
life of the county, and perhaps no man in all its history has enjoyed such 
a wide cricle of personal friends as he. From every section of the county 
people came to him with their problems and troubles, and this is especially 
true of those of his own nativity, whose inability to speak the English 
language or whose lack of knowledge concerning our laws made them hesi- 
tate to confide in others. To those he gave his time and the benefit of his 
intimate business knowledge with a patience and kindly interest that early 
in life endeared him to all who knew him. How much of his time he has 
thus devoted gratuitously to others will never be known, nor can we ever 


estimate what his advice and help thus taken from his busy hfe has done 
for the peace of communities, the tranquilHty of homes, and the upbuilding 
of characters in the county and even beyond its borders. With a modesty 
becoming his generous nature, these are all closed incidents for which he 
made no charge and kept no record. Only once has he held public oi^ice, 
that of registrar of deeds of Trempealeau County, and his services in that 
capacity were so highly appreciated that it was with difficulty that he could 
retire at the end of twelve years of continuous service. Time and again 
in later life he refused the offers of high political honors to devote his time 
to his business and his family. Perhaps no stronger testimonial of his 
clean and rugged character could be written than the record of the birth 
and steady growth of the banking institution that bears his name. For 
twenty-one years this institution has been almost the sole depository for 
the wealth of the county seat and the surrounding territory. During all 
those years it has stood with the strength of a Gibraltar. Whether the 
financial tide ran high or low, the people's faith in this bank never faltered, 
chiefly because of their unquestioned faith in the man at its head. He 
died possessed of a comfortable fortune, and always gave with a liberal 
hand to every worthy charity and to every cause looking to the improve- 
ment of the social and educational conditions in the village of Whitehall. 
In his boyhood he joined the United Lutheran Church of Norway, and 
has always been an earnest Christian worker, giving liberally to the aid of 
church work, regardless of denominations. The Methodist Episcopal 
Church of Whitehall owes much to his enthusiastic work and hberal sup- 
port. The best epitome of the life and character of John 0. Melby was 
his request, as the end drew near, for a simple Christian burial, and his 
acceptance without fear and with quiet resignation of the infinite decree. 
John 0. Melby is gone, and the light of his kindly presence on the streets 
of Whitehall is dimmed by death, but the influence of his upright Christian 
life will remain with us to cheer and guide the generations yet to come." 
Such encomiums but briefly skim the surface of the real depths of his 
character, his worth and the meaning his life had on the community. He 
furnished backing for several financial and business institutions through- 
out the county ; he encouraged many a worthy business enterprise that had 
a part in the upbuilding of Trempealeau County villages. In Whitehall there 
was scarcely any phase of the village's activity in which he did not have a 
part. His benefactions were widespread, his hand was ever open. The 
blessings which the people of Whitehall will receive from the park which 
he and his wife presented to the village will increase yearly. Mr. Melby was 
especially happy in his domestic life, and in his home and family he took 
his greatest pride. At the beginning of his career Nov. 3, 1875, he married 
Jennie L. Beach, at Ettrick, and her influence and encouragement were 
important factors in his success. Their home was brightened by five chil- 
dren. Two died in infancy. Kathryn F. is the wife of Judge Robert S. 
Cowie of Whitehall, Charles B. is cashier of the John 0. Melby & Co. Bank 
of Whitehall, Marie A. is the wife of Harold W. Dawdy of Onalaska, Wis. 
Jennie L. Melby, the inspiration and companion of her husband in all 
his efforts, was born at Charlotte, Vt., Oct. 9, 1847, daughter of Charles 




Grant Beach and Caroline Barnes Beach. In 1854 the family moved to 
North Ferrisburg, Vt., where she attended the common school. In 1859 
she attended the seminary at Charlotte, and in 1864 the select school at the 
Hollow, in North Ferrisburg. In 1866 she entered the female seminary 
at Middleburg, Vt., remaining there, however, only one year, as her parents 
then left for Wisconsin, where Mr. Beach owned a farm near Ettrick. 
Shortly after coming west she began a term of school in the settlement 
now known as Hegg. The following winter she taught in what was then 
known as the lower district of Scotch Prairie ; then the next two terms in 
Ettrick, and finally a term of school in what is known as the Beach dis- 
trict. At the close of the term she returned to Vermont, where she 
remained about a year, returning to Wisconsin in 1872. On Nov. 3, 1875, 
she was married to John 0. Melby, at Ettrick, Wis. In 1876 they moved 
to Galesville, where they remained until the county seat was moved to 
Arcadia, leaving Galesville in the fall of 1876 for Arcadia, where they 
resided until the fall of 1877. At that time the county seat was moved 
to Whitehall, to which place they came to remain until the present time. 
Mrs. Melby was always active in community endeavors wherever she was 
located, especially in the work of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which 
she is a leading member. Being deeply interested in music, and possessing 
an unusually sweet voice, she was prominent in all musical organizations 
until late years. She was a charter member of the local Woman's Chris- 
tian Temperance Union and its first president. She was also an active 
member of Ivy Chapter, No. 115, 0. E. S. 

Charles B. Melby, financier and man of affairs, is one of the leading 
citizens of Trempealeau County. His wide experience has admirably fitted 
him for the onerous duties of the position he occupies in the community, 
and his influence has ever been used in behaK of progress of development. 
Every movement that has for its object the betterment of the county finds 
in him a warm friend, and busy though he is with his numerous business 
activities, he is finding time for considerable public service. Born in the 
village where he now lives, March 1, 1883, only son of John 0. and Jennie 
L. (Beach) Melby, he was reared with the special end in view of some time 
assuming control of the extensive Melby holdings. He passed through the 
graded schools, and was graduated froin the Whitehall high 'school with 
the Class of 1899 at the age of sixteen years. Then he attended Lawrence 
University at Appleton, Wis., for three years. In 1905 he became chief 
page in the House of Representatives at Washington, D. C, in which 
capacity he met nearly all of the men prominent in American public life. In 
the meantime he studied law at the George Washington University, gradu- 
ating in 1907 with the degree of LL.B. Upon being admitted to the bar he 
took up the practice of his profession at Washington. April 1, 1909, he 
was called home to take the position of assistant cashier in his father's 
bank. In July, 1911, he was promoted to the oflSce of cashier, which he 
still retains. In addition to his work in this connection he is vice-president 
of the Bank of Eleva, and treasurer of the Central Trading Association of 
Whitehall. His financial holdings include stock in the new Ettrick & 
Northern Railroad Company, of which he has been an enthusiastic and loyal 


supportex". His public work has included service as a member of the school 
board and of the library board. War activities in the county have given 
him an unusual opportunity for effective help. The sale of the first Liberty 
Bond issue found in him an enthusiastic promotor, and the Defense League 
counts him among its most useful members. His decisions as a member 
of the exemption board have been marked by a discretion which has realized 
the full need of the government, and yet which has taken into due considera- 
tion all angles of local needs and local conditions. Of a fraternal disposi- 
tion, he was a popular member of the Phi Delta Phi while at college, and 
in the Masonic order he has passed through the chairs of the local lodge 
and has also joined the Chapter. Mr. Melby was married April 26, 1W9, ) 
to Frances Gunby Bethune of Washington, D. C, born in Warrentown, Va., 
May 1, 1887, daughter of James A. Bethune, a Washington pharmacist, 
and of Narcissa Garrett Bethune. Mr. and Mrs. Melby have two childi'en : 
John Bethune, born April 5, 1912, and Natalie Grayson, born Jan. 16, 1915. 

Anton O. Melby, president of the John 0. Melby & Co. Bank, White- 
hall, is one of the substantial figures in the financial stabihty of Trem- 
pealeau County. Connected with his present institution since 1888, he has 
worked his way to the top, and his personality and ability have been impor- 
tant factors in its success. He was born in Askim, Norway, Jan. 1, 1858, 
the son of Ole Christianson and his good wife, Maria Olson, farming people, 
the former of whom died in 1871 and the latter in 1896. Of the six children 
in the family three came to the United States and found their way directly 
to Ettrick, in Trempealeau County, John 0. arriving in 1869, Edward in 
1871 and Anton O. in 1873. Upon reaching Ettrick Anton 0. secured 
employment in the store of Iver Pederson, with whom he remained nearly 
six years. Then he spent nine years traveling. In January, 1888, he came 
to Whitehall. In the fall of that year, when his brother, John 0. opened 
his bank, Anton O. became assistant cashier. In 1894 he was made cashier, 
and in 1911 he was elevated to the duties of his present position. With aU 
his busy life, he has found time for considerable- public work, and has 
given excellent service as a member of the village council since 1894. He 
has been a member of the Odd Fellows since 1888. His religious affiliation 
is with the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he is a member of the 
official board as a trustee. Mr. Melby was married July 26, 1893, to Delia 
E. Hazard, a school teacher of North Ferrisburg, Vt., who was born in 1865 
and died in 1899, the daughter of Ezra and Caroline (Williams) Hazard. 
This union was blessed with three children: William H., who is engaged 
in the lumber business at De Smet, S. D. ; Sylvia M., who was graduated 
from the La Crosse normal school in 1916, and is now teaching at Norwalk, 
Wis., and Edward C, who lives at North Ferrisburg, Vt. June 11, 1903, Mr. 
Melby married Mrs. Mary E. (McKay) Shane of Modena, Wis. 

Robert S. Cowie, attorney of Whitehall, is one of the best known citi- 
zens in Western Wisconsin, and for many years has taken an active and 
influential part in public affairs. He has held national, state and county 
appointments, and as an attorney has participated in many of the most 
important cases that have been tried in the courts of the Sixth Judicial 
Circuit. He was born in Glencoe, Buffalo County, this state, April 18, 1872, 










son of George and Margaret (Faulds) Cowie, was educated in the public 
schools, and while still a youth became a teacher. By this means he was 
enabled to enter the law department of the University of Wisconsin, from 
which he was graduated with the degree of LL.B. in 1894. While in the 
university he took a deep interest in all student activities, and was espe- 
cially prominent in the Columbia Literary Society. In the fall of 1894 he 
located at Arcadia, as a partner of Attorney John C. Gaveney. There he 
successfully practiced until Jan. 1, 1898, when he became district attorney, 
a position in which he did the county most efficient service. While serving 
his second term he resigned to accept an appointment by President Theo- 
dore Roosevelt as deputy auditor in the United States Navy Department, 
in which position he served from 1903 to 1905, when he resigned. In the 
spring of 1905 he was elected county judge, and served with much dis- 
tinction from Jan. 1, 1906, to July, 1909, when he was appointed a member 
of the State Board of Control by Gov. James O. Davidson. At the expiration 
of his term he established himself at Whitehall, where he has since been 
in practice. His business holdings include stock in the John 0. Melby & 
Co. Bank at Whitehall, the Central Trading Association of Whitehall and 
the Farmers & Merchants Bank of Independence. His fraternal associa- 
tions are with the Masonic, Elk and Odd Fellow lodges. Judge Cowie was 
married Dec. 25, 1897, to Kathryn F. Melby, born in Arcadia, April 1, 1878, 
daughter of John O. and Jennie (Beach) Melby. This union has been 
blessed with one daughter, Janice M., born Dec. 31, 1900. 

George Cowie, an early settler of Buffalo County, Glencoe Township, 
was born near Edinburgh, Scotland, Aug. 25, 1828, son of George Cowie, Sr., 
and Janet (McDonald) Cowie, both of ancient Scotch Highland ancestry. 
George Cowie was I'eared to the occupation of iron and coal mining in his 
native land, and in 1848, at the age of nineteen years, came to America. 
Landing in Nova Scotia, he engaged in mining there for a time, and then 
went to Pottsville, Pa., where he engaged in the same occupation. Going 
thence to the city of New York, he left that port on Jan. 5, 1850, for Cali- 
fornia. Going via the Isthmus, he landed at Aspinwall, and thence went 
across the Isthmus on foot to Panama on the Pacific side. At that place 
he took the steamer Winfield Scott for San Francisco. This proved a most 
eventful voyage. The vessel was an old one, and both yellow fever and 
cholera broke out on board. The vessel was crowded with 1,000 passengers, 
300 of whom were sick, and seventy-five died before the vessel reached 
the port of San Francisco, and were buried in the sea. On reaching 
California Mr. Cowie went to Nevada County, where he engaged in gold 
mining, and remained on the Pacific coast for about one year, when he 
returned to his home in Pottsville via the Nicaragua route. Soon after 
his return home he removed to Lonaconing, Alleghany County, Md., where 
he engaged in mining. In the spring of 1855 he started for Wisconsin, 
going by rail to West Virginia, thence- by the Ohio River to Cairo, and 
thence by steamer to Fountain City (then known as Holmes' Landing) , an 
Indian trading post. That, it will be remembered, was 62 years ago. 
La Crosse at that time was but a village, and the existence of Winona had 
scarcely begun. Mr. Cowie made his present settlement at once, purchas- 


ipg government land at $1.25 per acre. Mr. Cowie was prominently iden- 
tified with the growth and development of Buffalo County, and was called 
upon to serve in many public positions. He was the first postmaster of 
Glencoe, filling that office very efficiently for twenty-seven successive 
years, and gave the name to the office, which was established in 1862. He 
gave the name Glencoe to his town in honor of a valley in the highlands 
of Scotland called Glencoe, which was the home of the McDonalds, from 
which clan he is descended. He also served as chairman of the town for 
six years, and held nearly all other local offices, and was largely instru- 
mental in the organization of the town of Glencoe. He served in the 
legislature in the sessions of 1871-72, and has the honor of being the first 
Democrat elected to the legislature from Buffalo County. In November, 
1894, Mr. Cowie reluctantly retired from the old farm home and with his 
wife moved to Arcadia, Trempealeau County, where they resided until his 
death. He died on Feb. 17, 1904, while visiting his daughter, Mrs. F. P. 
Taft, at Longmont, Cal. His wife died May 29, 1913, at her old home in 
the town of Glencoe. Mr. Cowie was married at Pottsville, Pa., to Mar- 
garet Faulds, daughter of James Faulds, who, with his son and daughter, 
John and Elizabeth Faulds, came to Wisconsin with the Cowie family. Mr. 
and Mrs. Cowie had twelve children: David, Frank, Nettie, Anna, George 
and Louis (deceased), and James F., George M., Allan J., Albert E., 
Robert S. and Margaret M. 

Eugene F. Clark, legislator, financier and man of affairs, is one of the 
leading citizens of Galesville, where his interests and influence extend to 
almost every phase of village and rural life. As president of the Bank of 
Galesville he has been an important factor in the standing which that 
institution has maintained in the community, and as secretary of the 
Trempealeau County Insurance Company his able administration of affairs 
has made that organization a model of its kind in every particular. For 
twenty-two years his work as clerk of the board of education assisted in 
shaping the careers of several generations of Galesville youth, and his 
voice was ever raised in behalf of progress and efficiency in educational 
and administrative methods. For twenty-three years he helped to guide 
the destinies of the county as a member of the board of supervisors. In 
1916, with a splendid previous record in the assembly, he was elected to 
the state senate from this district, and has by his notable work in that 
body not only increased his popularity in his district, but also won the 
admiration and applause of his colleagues, and the people of the state at 
large. His stand on every public question has been on the side of stauncher 
patriotism, and for a wider helpfulness and benefit to the people in state 
affairs. Desiring to do his share toward every business proposition that 
has for its object the upbuilding of Galesville and vicinity, he has become 
a stockholder in the Davis Mill Company, the Maxwell-Davis Lumber Com- 
pany and the Western Wisconsin Telephone Company. With all his busy 
public activities he has been regularly faithful to his church duties, and 
has been a valued member of the Methodist Episcopal choir for a period of 
some forty years, 

The career that has brought Mr. Clark to these vai'ied activities has 

■.vxr'i'^.'^^: '..■j!»:i^^si 


been a most interesting one. Descended from distinguished New England 
ancestry, he first saw the hght of day in the home of his parents, Isaac 
and Emily (French) Clark, at the quaint old hamlet of Kingfield, Maine, 
Aug. 14, 1850. As a small boy he was brought to Wisconsin, living a year 
in Monroe, Green County, before coming to Galesville, Trempealeau County. 
Here he was reared to manhood, learning farming from his father and 
receiving a good education first in the pubKc schools and later at Gale 
College, and at the La Crosse Business College. After his marriage in 
1876 he took up his home on a farm of 100 acres, one mile from Galesville, 
which he had purchased in 1871. In 1895, a few months after his father's 
death, he succeeded him as president of the Bank of Galesville, and dis- 
posing of his own place moved back to the parental farm. That same 
year he began his first term in the assembly. In 1902, while serving a 
second term in the assembly, he sold the family farm and moved to Gales- 
ville. There he has since resided, spending, however, some of his winters 
in the South or West. 

Senator Clark was married Dec. 24, 1876, to Emily Crouch, who was 
born Jan. 13, 1851, in Green Lake County, Wisconsin, daughter of William 
and Susan (Frizzelle) Crouch. This union has been blessed with three 
children : Emily Blanche, Susan Mildred and Ethel Grace. Emily Blanche 
passed through the graded and high schools of Galesville, was graduated 
from the University of Wisconsin with the class of 1901, and for two 
years was assistant principal of the Galesville high school. She was mar- 
ried on Oct. 21, 1903, to Earl E. Hunner, a mining man of Duluth, Minn. 
Susan Mildred passed through the graded and high schools of Galesville, 
took a course in the Columbia College of Music at Chicago became super- 
visor of music at Hibbing, Minn., for two years, also at Marinette, Wis., for 
two years, and then became a music supervisor at Missoula, Mont., hav- 
ing ten schools under her supervision. She was married on Aug. 29, 1916, 
to Leonard Larson, assistant cashier of the Trust and Savings Bank of 
Missoula, Mont. Ethel Grace passed through the graded and high schools 
of Galesville and attended Milwaukee Downer College for two years. She 
then went to Appleton, Wis., where she graduated from both the Con- 
servatory of Music and Lawrence University. After this she taught 
English and music for three years in the schools of Evansville, Wis., and 
a private school near Milwaukee, Wis. She was married on Aug. 29, 1916, 
to George C. Nixon, a business man of Milwaukee. 

Isaac Clark, one of the early settlers in this region, and one of the 
sturdy group of men who had in their hands the shaping of the early 
history of Galesville, was born in Maine, of English descent, Jan. 21, 1826, 
and was there reared, receiving such educational training as the neighbor- 
hood aflforded. Growing to manhood's years, he was married, and settled 
down to quiet New England farm life. But the blood of pioneers was in 
his veins, and in 1854 he brought his family to Wisconsin, to seek the 
wider opportunities of a newer country. For a year they lived at Monroe, 
in Green County. Then leaving his family there he came to Galesville, 
and secured a farm within what are now the corporate limits of the vil- 
lage. On this place a small frame dwelling was standing, and to this house 


he brought his family. Here he made his home for the remainder of his 
days, and followed the occupation of a farmer, taking an interest also in 
many other ventures. In 1883 he organized the Bank of Galesville and was 
its first president. He also organized the creamery company and was 
largely instrumental in having the railroad constructed to Galesville. 
Another important enterprise which he helped to found was the Trem- 
pealeau Farmers' Mutual Insurance Company, of which he was secretary 
for a number of years. He was also actively interested for many years 
in the Trempealeau County Agricultural Society, serving as its treasurer 
and general superintendent. In short, Isaac Clark was one of those men 
of far-sighted enterprise and energy who are the leading factors in advanc- 
ing any community in which they may cast their lot. He saw opportunities 
where other men passed them by and having once started in any enterprise 
he worked hard until it was established upon a sure footing. He was a 
member of the town board in 1861, 1862 and 1863, and served in the state 
assembly in 1870. After a long and useful life he died Sept. 24, 1894, 
widely honored, beloved and mourned. His name will live in the story of 
the institutions he helped to found, and in the hearts of the friends whom 
his sterling worth drew to his side. In 1893 he built the M. E. Church and 
presented it to the M. E. Society. 

Mr. Clark was married in Maine, July 9, 1848, to Emily French, a 
native of that state. She died in 1865, leaving Eugene F., Florence M. and 
Genevieve. By his second marriage, Mr. Clark had two children, Wilford 
and Leslie, and by his third marriage he had one child, who died in infancy. 

William Crouch, a pioneer, spent his interesting life in four states, 
and was a useful and substantial citizen of every locality in which he made 
his home. He was born near Lockport, N. Y., May 3, 1828, of English 
descent, spent his boyhood in much the same manner as other boys of his 
age and period, and as a young man became a miner. Later he came to 
Wisconsin and took up farming at Big Creek, near Sparta, in Monroe 
County. Subsequently he moved to South Dakota and later made his home 
at Ballaton, Minn. He died there Sept. 24, 1908. His wife was Susan 
Frizzelle, of English and French descent, who was born Dec. 31, 1828, and 
died March 7, 1883, on the farm at Sparta, Monroe County, this state. 

Alexander A. Arnold was born in Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, N. Y., 
Oct. 20, 1833, son of Archibald H. R. and Catherine M. E. Schultz. After 
mastering his primary studies he was sent to Starkey Academy and later 
to an institution known as the Nine Brothers Boarding School. This was 
supplemented with a business course at a college in Poughkeepsie. Thus 
equipped he started out as a teacher, but this profession did not appeal to 
him and he entered the Ohio Law School at Poland, from which he gradu- 
ated in 1855. Fresh from college he added to his knowledge of the law 
and acquainted himself with actual practice in the office of Hon. Theodore 
Miller, then a prominent lawyer of Hudson, N. Y. Six months later he was 
admitted to practice before the supreme courts of that state and Ohio. 
The tide was flowing westward and the young man saw his future in that 
direction. Early in 1857 he set out for Wisconsin, and having relatives at 
Elkhorn that was his first place of residence. Elkhorn also was the scene 


of his first case as a trial lawyer. Having two cousins located at Gales- 
ville, Mr. Arnold decided to visit them before fixing a permanent location, 
and later in the year 1857 found him in the settlement, which was then 
in its third year and was known as Galesville. There was little demand 
for a lawyer, but there were thousands of acres of land to be entered and 
new settlers were arriving. The prospects looked good to the young lawyer 
and he cast his lot with Galesville, which was destined to be his home to 
the end of his days. There were few frame buildings at this time, and 
one of these (still a part of the W. A. Tower house) had just been com- 
pleted by a Captain Finch. This building was purchased by Mr. Arnold 
and his lawyer's sign was swung to the breeze. The building was small, but 
it provided ample room for his desk and a few books, besides space for the 
postoffice. The late Dr. William M. Young was postmaster. There was 
little mail, and as the doctor was a busy man in his practice the lawyer 
attended to the office most of the time. In 1859 Mr. Arnold returned to 
New York and was married to Hattie E. Tripp, returning with his bride 
to Wisconsin soon after. The young wife died two years later, leaving a 
daughter Blanche. The child died at about three years of age. When the 
Civil War broke out, in 1861, Galesville, along with the rest of the country, 
caught the martial spirit. In August, 1862, the Thirtieth Wisconsin Volun- 
teer Infantry was organized and Mr. Arnold enlisted in Company C and 
was chosen captain. He was so commissioned by Governor Lewis. The 
service of this regiment the first year was largely in this state. The second 
year it was stationed on the Indian frontier in the Dakotas. Not until 
the third year was the regiment sent south, and then its operations were 
confined to Kentucky. At the close of the war Captain Arnold returned to 
Galesville. He did not resume his law practice, but turned his attention 
to agricultural pursuits. He had, on his first arrival here, purchased eighty 
acres of land. After the war he added 160 acres to this and continued to 
increase the tract to the 400 acres which make up the present Arnold 
properties. The Arnold place has for years been one of the finest farm 
homes in the state. Farming fifty years ago was carried on on a much 
smaller scale than at the present time, and Captain Arnold found ample 
time to assist in shaping the affairs of the community and to study politics. 
His college education had included a practical knowledge of surveying, and 
few of the original stakes set in this section of the county were not placed 
by him. He held the office of county surveyor many years. He was also 
one of the early district attorneys and was once county superintendent of 
schools. His first prominence in politics was gained in 1870, when he was 
elected to the state legislature. From 1878 to 1880 he served his district 
as state senator. In 1880 he was again sent to the assembly and was 
elected speaker of that body. As an advanced farmer and breeder of pure- 
bred stock Captain Arnold has been known throughout this and in other 
states for forty years. He was one of the organizers of the Trempealeau 
County Agricultural Society in 1859, and served as president and as secre- 
tary at different periods. He was a member of the executive board of the 
State Agricultural Society for a time, and during a long period was one of 
the state's farmers' institute conductors. He commenced the breeding of 


Shorthorn cattle when there was not a pure-bred animal in this part of 
the state outside of those on his farm. The breeding of this particular 
strain has gone on for more than forty years and is continued by his sons. 
Captain Arnold was made a Mason in Trempealeau Lodge fifty-seven years 
ago. When Decora Lodge was organized he was one of its charter members. 
He was a past master of the lodge and one of its faithful patrons to the end. 
He was president of the Trempealeau County Historical Society and vice- 
president of the Bank of Galesville at the time of his death. As one of 
the organizers of the Charles H. Ford Post, G. A. R., he was ever active in 
that body. Captain Arnold was again married Feb. 1, 1869, to Miss Mary 
Douglas of Melrose. The bride came from a family then prominent in 
Jackson County, and was the oldest of five children. She was educated in 
the district schools and at Galesville University, first attending when 
Bishop Fallows was president, and then taking another course of two years 
seven years later. For many years she was president of the Woman's 
Christian Temperance Union, of which she is still a member. 

Seven children were born to Captain and Mrs. Arnold: Archibald H., 
Roy D., Kittle H., MoUie D., Gerald D., Alex. W. and Beulah. Archibald H. 
is a fruit grower, resid