The Project Gutenberg EBook of Fifty Years In The Northwest, by 
William Henry Carman Folsom

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: Fifty Years In The Northwest
       With An Introduction And Appendix Containing Reminiscences,
              Incidents And Notes

Author: William Henry Carman Folsom

Release Date: June 11, 2011 [EBook #36375]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Mark C. Orton, Nathan Gibson, Josephine Paolucci
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at










[Pg v]


At the age of nineteen years, I landed on the banks of the Upper Mississippi, pitching my tent at Prairie du Chien, then (1836) a military post known as Fort Crawford. I kept memoranda of my various changes, and of many of the events transpiring. Subsequently, not, however, with any intention of publishing them in book form until 1876, when, reflecting that fifty years spent amidst the early and first white settlements, and continuing till the period of civilization and prosperity, itemized by an observer and participant in the stirring scenes and incidents depicted, might furnish material for an interesting volume, valuable to those who should come after me, I concluded to gather up the items and compile them in a convenient form.

As a matter of interest to personal friends, and as also tending to throw additional light upon my relation to the events here narrated, I have prefixed an account of my own early life for the nineteen years preceding my removal to the West, thus giving to the work a somewhat autobiographical form. It may be claimed that a work thus written in the form of a life history of a single individual, with observations from his own personal standpoint, will be more connected, clear and systematic in its narration of events than if it were written impersonally.

The period included in these sketches is one of remarkable transitions, and, reaching backward, in the liberty accorded to the historian, to the time of the first explorations by the Jesuits, the first English, French and American traders, is a period of transformation and progress that has been paralleled only on the shores of the New World. We have the transition from barbarism to civilization; we have the subjugation of the wilderness by the first settlers; the organization of territorial and state[Pg vi] governments; an era of progress from the rude habits of the pioneer and trapper, to the culture and refinement of civilized states; from the wilderness, yet unmapped, and traversed only by the hardy pioneer in birch barks or dog sledges, to the cultivated fields, cobwebbed by railways and streams furrowed by steamers. It is something to have witnessed a part, even, of this wonderful transformation, and it is a privilege and a pleasure to record, even in part, its history.

I have quoted from the most correct histories within my reach, but the greater part of my work, or of that pertaining to the fifty years just passed, has been written from personal observation and from information obtained directly by interview with, or by written communications from, persons identified in some way with the history of the country. To those persons who have so freely and generously assisted me in the collection of material for this work, I hereby express my thanks. I have relied sparingly on traditions, and, where I have used them, have referred to them as such.

[Pg vii]


While genealogical tables are of interest chiefly to the families and individuals whose names are therein preserved, I still deem it not amiss to insert here a brief account of my ancestry. Among the emigrants from England to the New World in 1638, came John Foulsham, then twenty-three or twenty-four years of age, and his wife, to whom he had been married about a year and a half. They came from Hingham, England, to Hingham, Mass., with a colony that probably named the settlement in loving remembrance of the town they had left. They came on account of certain ecclesiastical troubles; their rector, with whom they sympathized, having torn down the altar rails and leveled the altar, an act of irreverence that called down upon them the wrath of their superior, Bishop Wren, and resulted in rector and people selling out their real estate at half its value and emigrating to America. John received a grant of land consisting of four acres and built himself a house, the frame being constructed of sawed oak timber. This house, built in 1640, stood until 1875, two hundred and thirty-five years, when it was taken down and manufactured into canes and chairs, which were distributed as relics to the American descendants of the family. The family, however, had increased so greatly that the supply was not equal to the demand.

The wife of John Foulsham was Mary Gilman. From this couple the American Folsoms and their allies from marriages with the female descendants of the family have sprung. The ancestors of John Foulsham may be traced backward a period of near six hundred years, and many of the family have honorable mention in English history. The earliest mention is concerning John Foulsham of Foulsham, prior of a Carmelite monastery in Norwich, and "præses provincialis" of all England.[Pg viii] This Foulsham is spoken of in Bayle's catalogue of eminent worthies as "no mean proficient in controversial theology, knowing how, by means of syllogystic tricks, to turn white into black and men into donkeys." He died in the great plague at Norwich in 1348.

A certain John de Foulsham is spoken of in Blomefield's History of Norfolk as an "eloquent, unflinching opponent of the corruptions of the times." It is possible that this may be the Carmelite prior above mentioned, though the prefix de leaves the matter somewhat in doubt.

As to the original derivation of the family name, Hon. George Folsom, of Philadelphia, in one of the manuscripts left by him, says: "It arose upon the adoption of surnames in England, from the town of Foulsham, a village in the county of Norfolk, six or eight miles north of Hingham, in which county the family was seated for many centuries, possessing estates in fifteen different places." Thus John de, or John of Foulsham, became John Foulsham.

The orthography and pronunciation of the name have varied in the family itself, as well as among those writing and pronouncing it. The first Anglo-American bearing the name spelled it "Foulsham." His son, Deacon John, spelled it "Fullsam" in 1709, and it is signed "Foullsam" in his last will—1715. In one instance, in the Hingham town records, it is spelled "Fulsham," but always afterward, "Foulsham." In the Exeter records it is written uniformly "Folsom" with but one exception, when it is written by the town clerk "Foulshame." In the records of the first parish, Haverhill, Massachusetts, it is written "Foulsham," "Foulsam," "Folsham" and "Fulsom." Originally it was doubtless spelled "Foulshame," its etymological significance being the fowls' home, a breeding place or mart. It was probably at first written with a hyphen, as Fouls-hame, but the final syllable was eventually shortened. Everywhere it is now written Folsom by those having the name, and is pronounced like wholesome.

The characteristics of the family have been quite uniform. Far as known they were a religious family, and prominent as such in both Catholic and Protestant circles, with a strong disposition toward dissent from the established order of things. Thus John de Foulsham wrote a treatise quite at variance with[Pg ix] the doctrines of the church, advocating the marriage of priests. John Foulsham, the Anglo-American, left England on account of his dissent, preferring a home in the wilderness with freedom to worship God, to dwelling under the rule of a haughty and tyrannical bishop. Many of the family espoused the doctrines of Whitfield. Many of them became Baptists, becoming such at a time when the Baptists were most unpopular, and afterward becoming Free Will Baptists, in which communion more of the family may to-day be found than in any other.

The occupations of the family were mostly, in the early days, mechanical. Many were joiners and millwrights. The children and grandchildren were farmers, landholders and lumbermen. Of the many who removed to Maine, after the Revolution, most engaged in lumbering, but turned their attention also to milling and storekeeping.

The family have also shown a military tendency, and during the various wars visited upon the country since the early colonial times, this family has borne its full share of the dangers, toils and expense.

My father, Jeremiah Folsom, was born in Tamworth, New Hampshire, Sept. 16, 1780, and was married to Octavia Howe, April 5, 1805. My mother was born in Machias, Maine, Oct. 12, 1786. My father was a prominent business man, and was engaged in shipping and mercantile pursuits, he owning vessels that plied from St. Johns to Machias and other American ports. To facilitate his business, St. Johns was his home four years, during which time he was associated with William Henry Carman. This temporary residence and business association account for my being born on British soil, and for the names by which I was christened. According to the record in the old family Bible, I was born at St. Johns, New Brunswick, June 22, 1817. When I was six months old my parents moved to Bangor, Maine, thence to Foxcroft, Maine, thence to Ascot, Lower Canada.

When I was five years old my parents moved to Tamworth, New Hampshire. Young as I was, I am still able to recall events that occurred while I lived in Canada. I remember falling into a well and being badly bruised. I remember also an adventure with a bear. My parents had gone to church, leaving me at home, greatly against my will. I attempted to follow, but missed the road and wandered off into a wood, perhaps three miles[Pg x] away. When my parents returned they were much alarmed, and parties immediately went in pursuit. When I knew I was lost I set up a vigorous screaming, which had the effect of attracting attention from two very different parties. The first was a huge bear in quest of food, and doubtless delighted at the prospect before him. The second was one of the rescuing parties in quest of the lost boy. Both simultaneously approached the screaming youngster and Bruin fought stubbornly for his prey, but was vanquished by the clubs of my rescuers, and I was carried home in triumph. I do not clearly recall all the incidents of this scene, and, strangely enough, do not remember seeing the bear. Perhaps the terror of being lost drove out every other impression. An excuse for the narration of this apparently trifling incident may be found in the fact that but for the prompt arrival of the rescuing party, this history would never have been written.

When I was ten years of age my parents removed to Bloomfield, Maine. While in Tamworth I had excellent opportunities of attending school, which I improved to the utmost. After leaving Tamworth my school privileges were well nigh ended, as I never received from that time more than six months' schooling. My father followed lumbering on the Kennebec river. During the first winter in Maine, he took me to the logging camp as camp boy. During the second winter he hired me to Matthew and Lewis Dunbar as a cook for their wood camp. I cooked for six men and received five dollars a month. I was used very kindly by the Dunbars, but that winter in the woods seemed a long, long winter. The only book in camp was the Bible. There were, however, newspapers and playing cards. In the spring my father used the fifteen dollars received for my three months' work to purchase a cow. I served the Dunbars the third winter, as cook, for six dollars a month, and worked the ensuing summer on farms at about twenty-five cents per day. During the fourth winter I worked for the Dunbars and Timothy Snow at seven dollars per month, and the summer following worked on a farm for Benjamin Cayford at seven dollars. Cayford was a merciless tyrant, and sometimes compelled his men to work in the field till nine o'clock at night. These details of wages paid and work done, uninteresting in themselves, serve to show the value of a boy's work (I was not yet fifteen) and[Pg xi] what was expected of the average boy, for mine was no exceptional case nor was my father more exacting than others in his station in life. He was in poor health, and had a large family of boys. We were eight in number, and of these I was one of the most robust and able to assist in the support of the family.

This year I persuaded my father to sell me my time, which amounted to five years, which he reluctantly did, accepting two hundred and fifty dollars as an equivalent. It was my ambition to go West. Horace Greeley had not uttered the talismanic words, "Go West, young man," but I believed that by going West I would be better able to advance my own interests and assist my parents. My father signed the necessary paper relinquishing my time, which was printed in the Skowhegan Clarion. From this time until I was nineteen years old I worked on the river and on farms, worked continuously and beyond my strength. I worked another summer for Cayford, but have no pleasant recollections of him, for on his farm I was sadly overworked, being often called to work before sunrise and kept at work after sunset. I worked two winters cooking in the woods for Capt. Asa Steward, of Bloomfield, one of the best men I ever served, a kind hearted, honest Christian. He gave me good counsel and good wages besides. In the fall of 1835 I went into the woods to work for Capt. Eb. Snow, of Madison. Like Cayford, he was a merciless tyrant and abusive to his men. I left his camp before my engagement closed, not being able to endure his abuse longer. This is the only time in which I failed to keep a labor engagement. I finished the winter with Capt. Asa Steward, but my eyes became so inflamed from the smoke of the camp that I was obliged to abandon cooking.

During this winter occurred an incident that came near having a serious and even fatal termination. There were three of us, Simeon Goodrich, Jimmie Able and myself, who went down the Kennebec to the Forks, a distance of twelve miles from camp. A deep, damp snow had fallen the night previous, and through this snow, reaching above our knees, we trudged wearily till Able gave out. We carried him a short distance, but becoming exhausted ourselves, laid him down in the snow. To remain with him would be to imperil the lives of all; by hurrying on we might be able to send a party to bring him in. We carefully[Pg xii] made for him a bed of fir boughs and placed loose garments over him and under him, and as he was sick, weak and faint, gave him a draught of liquid opodeldoc, and leaving the bottle with him, hurried on. We traveled the last mile through an opening. Snow drifted deeply. We dragged our bodies through the drifts in the direction of a glimmering light, which proved to be Sturgis' hotel, which we reached at 11 o'clock p. m. A team was sent back immediately for the lost Able by a road of which we knew nothing. The rescuing party met him trudging along with all his baggage. The opodeldoc had revived him, and he had traveled a full mile when he met the rescuing party. At two o'clock the team returned bringing the lost wayfarer.

Another adventure terminated more disastrously than this. In the spring of 1835 I was employed in taking logs across Moosehead lake. The logs were in booms, and were moved by a capstan and rope. This was before the days of steamboats, and the moving of the booms was no light task. On this occasion a gale of wind struck us and drifted us across the lake. We threw out an anchor, hoping to check the course of the boom and swing it into Cowan's bay. In one of our throws the anchor tripped, or caught fast, and suddenly tightened the line. Our whole crew were in an instant hurled headlong. Some were thrown into the water. One man (Butler) had his ribs broken. All were more or less injured. The capstan went overboard. The old boom swung on and on, and, passing Spencer's bay, broke and went to pieces on the shore. The logs were with great difficulty regathered, but were finally brought to the outlet of the lake July 4th, the last raft of the season.

After river driving in the spring of 1835, I went to the Penobscot river and found employment at twenty dollars a month at East Great Works, building a dam. John Mills, our superintendent, was a good man. There was a lyceum here, the first I ever attended. In December I returned to the Kennebec, and in the spring of 1836 went to Dead river to drive, but an attack of the measles and general ill health, with symptoms of pulmonary derangement, compelled me to abandon the work. I had lived nine years on the Kennebec, years of hard labor and exertion beyond my strength, and in that time had earned enough to pay my father two hundred and fifty dollars. I had been able to purchase a small library, and had two hundred dollars in cash to defray my expenses to the West.[Pg xiii]

Reminiscences.—He that leaves the home of his youth for a strange land carries with him memories, pleasant to recall, of scenes and incidents, the influence of which he feels to the latest hour of life. There are some things he can not forget. They may not be an essential part of his own life history, but still they have found a place in his mind and seem a part of himself, and he recurs to them again and again with ever increasing delight. There are other things, may be, not so pleasant to dwell upon, which still have a place in his memory and may be profitably recalled. No one who has ever lived in Maine can forget its dark pine forests, its rugged hills, its rushing streams, cold and clear as crystal, its broad lakes, the abundant game of its forests and the fish in its waters. The Minnesota and Wisconsin pioneers, who with the author of this book claim Maine as an early home, will not object to the insertion in this chapter of a few of these reminiscences.

Moosehead Lake.—My first visit to Moosehead lake was in the early winter of 1834. At that time it was still in the wilderness, only two settlers having found their way to its shores. We were going with a six ox team to a camp on the Brasua and our road led us across the frozen lake. Emerging from a beech and maple grove on the margin near Haskell's, our sled plunged downward, and in a moment we found ourselves on the gray ice of the lake, with a wonderful panorama spread out before us. The distant islands and the shores, hilly and mountainous, stood out plainly between the winter sky and the ice covered lake. The mirage added its finishing touches to the picture, increasing the brightness and apparent size of distant objects, or lending them brilliant hues, the whole scene sparkling in the frosty sunlit air, making a vision of beauty that could not fade. On we trudged over the ice, the sled creaking, the ice emitting a roaring sound, not unlike the discharge of a park of artillery, sounds produced by the expansion of the ice. We trudged on past islands and craggy, rock-bound shores, passed Burnt Jacket, Squaw and Moxey mountains in the east, Lily and Spencer bays at the southeast, Misery and other mountains in the west, while far away to the north of east towered white old Katahdin. Before us loomed up the flint rock Kinneo, its perpendicular face fronting west, on the lake; at the base a beautiful maple interval extending toward Spencer bay.[Pg xiv]

The following spring our boom lay wind-bound at the base of Kinneo, and we seized the opportunity of climbing the vast pile of flinty rocks composing it, and obtained thence a view of unparalleled beauty, including the broad, bright lake, fairy islands, mountains and hills and vast stretches of pine forests. The tourist might seek far and wide, vainly, for a landscape rivaling this.

Moose Hunting.—The lake and surrounding country offer unrivaled attractions to the sportsman. The lake abounds in fish, of which the lake trout is the most abundant in number and delicious in flavor. Specimens are frequently taken weighing from ten to fifteen pounds. The forests at that time abounded in wild animals, chief of which was the moose, the largest and the homeliest of the deer family. With his long, narrow head, small eyes, donkey-like ears, pendant lips, the upper one curling like a small proboscis, with his high shoulders and giraffe-like hips, with his short, round body, long and clumsy legs, he is as distinguished for his want of grace and comeliness as the red deer is for its presence. No animal is better adapted for its own home and mode of life. Their heavy coat of hair adapts them to high latitudes. With their curved upper lip they take hold of the branches of the trees, and with their strong teeth and paws they are able to peel off the tender bark of saplings and small trees. The moose, when attacked, is fierce, resolute, defiant, and defends himself in a masterly manner, striking with his fore legs with such precision that the hunter is obliged to keep at a respectful distance. The male moose wears a remarkable pair of horns of annual growth, to which each year a prong is added. The home of the moose is the northern part of the North Temperate Zone.

Moose hunting is a healthy though laborious pastime. The hunter must be an expert, and it requires years of practice to become skillful. He must build his camp in the wilderness, packing thither his food, blankets, camp utensils and gun. With his pack of dogs he starts out in search of a moose yard. This is generally in some well timbered district. The snow in winter is generally from three to six feet deep, but the moose has broken paths through this to facilitate his movements through the forest, and here he roams about in fancied security, browsing on the young shrubs, but the hunter finds his hiding place. In such case he conceals himself in the snow near one of these[Pg xv] paths and waits patiently till the moose passes, when he fires upon him. If the moose is killed at once the hunter waits patiently in his hiding place till another and another comes up to share a like fate. If the moose is only wounded he starts off as rapidly through the snow as his long legs will carry him, pursued by the hunter and his dogs. The hunter has all the advantages of the position, being mounted on snowshoes, thus being able to move with comparative swiftness, while the moose plunges heavily through the snow, and at last, weakened by loss of blood, he is overtaken and easily killed.

Mount Bigelow.—This is a noble, grand, historical mountain, situated on the south side of Dead river, in Franklin county. For years it had been my strong desire to make the ascent, and in May, 1833, the desire was gratified. With six others, I left camp, and by evening reached Green's hotel, where we obtained lodgings for the evening. At early dawn, having supplied ourselves with lunch, tin cup and hatchet, we began the ascent on the northeast side. We soon passed the thrifty timber and aided our ascent of the craggy sides of the mountain by clinging to the shrubs that found roothold in the crevices of the rocks. It may not be amiss to say that we rested, that we rested frequently, for mountain climbing is no light work for those unaccustomed to it. While toiling wearily upward we found ourselves enveloped in mist, or a cloud, from which we soon emerged to find the heavens above us clear and bright, while leaden clouds shut out the landscape below. At twelve o'clock, noon, we were on the summit. By this time the clouds had been dispersed. The air was clear and cold and beneath us lay, as in a beautiful panorama, the lands and lakes of Maine. There are two peaks, about half a mile apart, between which is a valley and a small lake. From the highest of these peaks the view was magnificent. In the far north we imagined we saw Canada. The vast, northern expanse was all unoccupied save by a few farms at the foot of the mountain, and by a few camps of lumbermen, hunters and trappers. Looking to the northeast, we saw in the blue distance, glittering with snow drifts, Mount Katahdin. A little north of the divide line to Katahdin lay Moosehead lake, the largest, most beautiful lake in Maine.

At this season of the year the snow had disappeared from the valleys and hills, but the summits of the mountains were still[Pg xvi] white. In all directions the scene was grand and inspiring. We could trace the Kennebec river in its windings to the sea and fancied we could see in the dim distance the blue Atlantic. To the southwest mountains seemed piled on mountains, while here and there in intermediate vales bright lakes reflected the blue of the upper deep. In this direction there were farms, but they looked like mere dots on the face of the earth. Lake Umbagog lay coiled in the shade of distant mountains in the southwest. We fancied that we could see the ragged crest of the white mountain still further beyond. The scene had also its historical associations. Along the base of this mountain, on the northwestern side, ere his name had been sullied by the foulest treason in our country's history, Benedict Arnold bravely led the Colonial troops in the campaign against Canada. With him, as an aid, was Col. Bigelow, whose name is given to the mountain. The gallant little army halted on the banks of Dead river at the base of the mountain, and made their camp. While the army was resting at this camp Lieut. Col. Bigelow ascended the mountain and planted his country's flag upon the highest peak, doubtless the first white man who made the ascent, and the mountain is his monument to-day. Around the site of the camp was planted the colony of Flagstaff.

While we were gazing on the magnificent scene, musing upon its varied beauties and recalling its historical associations, the sun set, and reluctantly we set out on our return, a descent the more perilous because it was growing dark. Extreme caution was necessary; nevertheless we made good headway, as we found ourselves sometimes sliding and even rolling down the path that we had ascended with so much difficulty in the forenoon. It was long after nightfall that, tired and hungry, we reached Wyman's hotel on the banks of Dead river.

Lumbering in Maine.—The practical lumberman did not usually start his teams for the pineries until snowfall and the freezing of the lakes and rivers. The first thing was to select a place for operations. This was done in the open season. When the winter had fairly set in the lumberman, with his ox teams, generally six oxen to a sled, the sleds laden with camp plunder, would start for the pineries. The slow ox teams would consume many days making the journey. The crew of men employed for the winter generally met the teams in camp. The snow would[Pg xvii] be cleared away for the camp, and a fire built. The cook would prepare a supper of fried pork, fritters or pancakes, tea, syrup and New England apple sauce, the crew meanwhile cutting boughs, wood, etc., and preparing for permanent camp. Supper over, the cattle were tied to trees and fed. Water was secured for evening use only. A glowing fire would be kept up, around which the crew would gather to spend the evening in talking over the adventures of the day, discussing plans for the morrow or singing camp songs. Thus the evening would pass merrily and swiftly. At the hour for retiring parties of two would spread their blankets on a couch of fir or cedar boughs, and lie down to rest. Next morning the cook would rise at four o'clock to prepare breakfast, which over, as soon as it was light enough the crew would commence the work of the day. Every man goes to his assigned duties, the boss in charge having the general oversight.

The life of a lumberman is one of exposure to the elements, yet it is not necessarily unfriendly to the development of character. With a well ordered camp and gentlemanly crew the winter may pass away pleasantly, and the young man engaged in the comparatively hard toil of the camp, may, with books and papers and cheerful converse with the more thoughtful of his elders, improve the long evenings spent around the camp fire. Many a Maine boy has received here the greater part of his training for the duties of after life.

Sunday was usually occupied in reading, singing, and doing some of the lighter work of camp, such as repairing sleds, shoeing oxen and making axe helves or visiting neighboring camps. It was a day of rest only so far as the heavier work of the camp was suspended. Sanctuary privileges there were none. The work would often close in the sunny days of March. The men would mostly depart for home. A few would remain to drive the logs with the first water from the melting of the snows late in April.

Driving logs in the rapid waters of Maine is hazardous work. Scarcely a day passes without imminent risk to life and limb of the hardy and venturesome men engaged in the work of breaking log landings and jams, and running boats. Men are exposed to wet and cold from dawn till dark. This work requires active and vigorous men, constitutionally fitted and carefully trained[Pg xviii] to the work. They are usually sociable, lively and wide awake, these qualities enabling them to endure, and even to enjoy, the life of hardship which they lead, and to which they become so accustomed that they are unwilling to leave it until worn out by its inevitable hardship.[Pg xx]


W. H. C. Folsom Frontispiece

James S. Anderson opp 55

Martin Mower 60

John McKusick opp 68

Edward White Durant 74

William M. Blanding 114

Reuben F. Little 121

Oliver Wendell Holmes Hospital 157

John Comstock opp 170

Hans B. Warner opp 207

Rev. Wm. T. Boutwell 273

Devil's Chair 301

Frank N. Peterson 320

Rev. E. E. Edwards 348

Smith Ellison 351

Isaac Staples opp 413

Jacob Bean 416

Louis Hospes 418

Fort Snelling 498

William D. Washburn opp 517

John S. Pillsbury opp 528

St. Anthony Falls 531

Birdseye View of St. Paul opp 536

Henry H. Sibley opp 553

Alex. Ramsey opp 555

Henry M. Rice opp 558

Edmund Rice opp 560

Wm. Rainey Marshall opp 568

Wm. H. Fisher 571

John B. Sanborn opp 577

H. P. Hall 589

Hon. G. W. Le Duc 594

Lucius F. Hubbard opp 597

Home of the Author 614

State Seal 658

Seal of Old Settlers Association 732

[Pg xxi]



Genealogy of the American Folsoms VII

Parentage IX
Time and Place of Birth IX
Earliest Recollections IX
Removal to Bloomfield, Maine X
First Essay at Logging X
Commencing Life XI
Lost in the Snow XIII
Adventure on Moosehead Lake XII
On the Penobscot XII
Reminiscences of Maine XIII
Moosehead Lake XIII
Ascent of Kinneo Mountain XIV
Moose Hunting XIV
Mount Bigelow XV
Lumbering in Maine XVI


Going West. 1
Lakes Huron and Michigan 3
Chicago and Milwaukee 5
On Foot to Galena 6
The Northwestern Territory 7
Arrival at Dubuque 7
Reminiscences of Dubuque 8
Arrival at Prairie du Chien 9
Early History of Prairie du Chien 9
Ancient Document 10
Forts Shelby—McKay—Crawford 11
First Commissioners at Prairie du Chien 11
Organization of Crawford County 12
Indian Troubles 12
Running the Gauntlet 13
Fort Crawford Robbed 13
Early Justice 14
A Southward Journey 15
New Orleans, Vicksburg 15
Return to Prairie du Chien 16
Privations 16
A Perilous Journey 17
Return to Maine—Mountains of New Hampshire 17
Marriage 18
Prairie du Chien in 1837 18
American Residents 19

James Duane Doty 19
James H. Lockwood 20
Indian Troubles 21
John S. Lockwood 22
Samuel Gilbert 23
Michael Brisbois 23
Pierre La Point 24
Joseph Rolette 24
Hercules Dousman 24
Rev. David Lowry 25
Chief Justice Charles Dunn 25
[Pg xxii]Rev. Alfred Brunson 26
Ira Brunson 27
John H. Folsom 28
Ezekiel Tainter 28
Judge Wyram Knowlton 29
Robert Lester 29
Thomas Pendleton Burnett 30
General Henry Dodge 30
General George W. Jones 31
S. G. and S. L. Tainter, John Thomas 31



From Prairie du Chien to Stillwater 32
Stillwater in 1845 33
St. Croix County 33
First Settlement in 1838 34
Dismemberment of St. Croix Valley from Crawford County 34
Judge Irwin's Court in 1840 35
Events in 1840, First Commissioners' Meeting 35
Election Precincts in 1841 36
Early History of Stillwater 37
The First Saw Mill 37
Copy of Agreement of Mill Company 38
Agreement of Land Claims 40
Bateau Voyage up the St. Croix 41
Indian Drunks 42
Skiff Voyage to Prairie du Chien 42
Mail Carrying 43
Claim and Mill at Arcola 43
Stillwater in 1846, Events 44
Overland Trip to Prairie du Chien 44
Return, Adventure 45
A Pioneer Cat 45
Stillwater in 1847 46
Territorial Election 46
Arrest of Nodin and Ne-she-ke-o-ge-ma 46
Visit to Sunrise, Connor's Camp 47
Murder of Henry Rust 47
Funeral, Indignation Meeting 48
First District Court in Stillwater 48
Nodin and Ne-she-ke-o-ge-ma Acquitted 49
Steamer War Eagle and Raft 49
Society Ball in Stillwater 49
Stillwater in 1848 50



Joseph Renshaw Brown 52
Paul Carli 53
Dr. Christopher Carli 53
Lydia Ann Carli 54
Phineas Lawrence 54
Jacob Fisher 55
James S. Anderson 55
Emanuel D. Farmer 56
Col. John Greely 56
Mrs. Hannah Greely 57
Elam Greely 57
Himan Greely 57
Aquilla Greely 58
Elias McKean 58
Calvin F. Leach 58
Socrates Nelson 58
Mrs. Socrates Nelson 59
[Pg xxiii]Edward Blake 59
Walter R Vail 59
John E Mower 60
Martin Mower 61
William Willim 61
Albert Harris 61
Cornelius Lyman 62
David B Loomis 62
William E Cove 63
John Smith 63
John Morgan 63
Anson Northrup 63
Robert Kennedy 64
Harvey Wilson 65
Andrew Jackson Short 65
James D McComb 65
William Rutherford 66
Albion Masterman 66
Joseph N Masterman 66
Mahlon Black 66
Morton S Wilkinson 67
William Stanchfield 67
Thomas Ramsdell 68
Charles Macey 68
Jonathan E McKusick 68
John McKusick 68
William McKusick 69
Noah McKusick 69
Royal McKusick 69
Ivory E McKusick 69
Charles E Leonard 69
Daniel McLean 70
Robert Simpson 70
William H Hooper 70
James H Spencer 71
John T Blackburn 71
Joseph T Blackburn 71
Horace McKinstry 71
Seth M Sawyer 71
Henry Sawyer 72
Alvah D Heaton 72
John McKenzie 72
George McKenzie 72
Henry Kattenberg 72
Julius F Brunswick 73
Henry McLean 73
Hugh Burns 73
Sylvanus Trask 73
Ariel Eldridge 73
Edward White Durant 74
Oliver Parsons 75
Albert Stimson 75
Abraham Van Voorhees 75
Michael E Owens 76
Joseph Bonin 77
Marcel Gagnon 77
Sebastian Marty 77
John Marty 77
Adam Marty 77
Michael McHale 77
George Watson 78
Rev Eleazer A Greenleaf 78
J B Covey 78
John Shaesby 78
John S Proctor 78
Barron Proctor 79
Henry Westing 79
Thomas Dunn 79
Charles J Gardiner 79
Samuel Staples 79
Josiah Staples 80
Joel M Darling 80
Early River Pilots 80
Joe Perro 80
James McPhail 80
John Cormack 81
John Hanford 81
John Leach 81
Stephen B Hanks 81
Samuel S Hanks 81



Description and History 82
Franklin Steele, the First Pioneer 82
His Account of the Settlement 83
The St Croix Falls Lumbering Company 83
Organization and History 83
[Pg xxiv]St Croix River, Origin of Name 84
Treaty and Purchase of 1838 85
History of Polk County 85
County Seat located at St. Croix Falls 86
First Election County Officers 86
First Happenings 87
The Liquor Traffic 87
Melancholy Results 88
Death of Hall and Livingston 88
Indian "Jamboree." 88
Frontier Justice 89
Balsam Lake Murders 89
Execution of an Indian 89
Population of St. Croix Falls in 1848 90
Natural Language 90
Drowning of H. H. Perkins 90
A Quailtown Murder 90
Mineral Permits 91
Marriage under Difficulties 91
An Indian Scare 92
The First Fire Canoe 92
Mill Building 92
More Indian Murders 93
Indian Battle of Stillwater 96
The First Loggers 96
The First Rafting 97
An Indian Payment 98
Indian Dancing and Theft 99
Other Thefts 99
Hard Times 100
Puzzled Indians, "Ugh! Ugh!" 101
Mrs. Worth and Muckatice 101



Gov. William Holcombe 103
William S. Hungerford 104
Caleb Cushing 104
Judge Henry D. Barron 105
George W. Brownell 107
Col. Robert C. Murphy 108
Edward Worth 109
Mrs. Mary C. Worth 109
Maurice M. Samuels 109
Joseph B. Churchill 110
John McLean 110
Gilman Jewell 110
Elisha Creech 110
James W. McGlothlin 110
Andrew L. Tuttle 110
John Weymouth 111
B. W. Reynolds 111
Augustus Gaylord 111
James D. Reymert 111
William J. Vincent 112
Thompson Brothers 112
William Amery 112
Lewis Barlow 113
Levi W. Stratton 113
Elma M. Blanding 113
Blanding Family 113
Frederick G. Bartlett 114
Michael Field 115
Alden 115
Rev. A. B. Peabody 115
V. M. Babcock 117
Apple River 117
Balsam Lake 117
Beaver 118
Black Brook 118
Clam Falls 119
Daniel F. Smith 119
Clayton 120
Reuben F. Little 120
Clear Lake 122
Pineville 123
Frank M. Nye 123
Eureka 123
Charles Nevers 123
Farmington 124
Harmon Crandall 125
Samuel Wall 125
William Ramsey 125
[Pg xxv]Hiram R. Nason 126
Joel F. Nason 126
John McAdams 126
Charles Tea 126
Garfield 126
Georgetown 127
A Double Murder 127
George P. Anderson 128
Laketown 128
Lincoln 128
William Wilson 129
Loraine 129
William W. Gallespie 130
Luck 130
William H. Foster 130
Milltown 130
Patrick Lillis 131
Osceola 131
Scenery 132
First Happenings 132
Change of Name 133
Osceola Village 134
Daniel Mears 134
Nelson McCarty 134
William O. Mahony 135
Richard Arnold 135
William Kent, Sr. 135
Robert Kent 135
Andrew Kent 135
William, James, Thomas, and John Kent 136
Samuel Close 136
Ebenezer Ayres 136
Dr. Carmi P. Garlick 137
John S. Godfrey 137
William A. Talboys 137
Charles H. Staples 138
J. W. Peake 138
George Wilson 138
Samuel B. Dresser 138
Frederic A. Dresser 139
Oscar A. Clark 139
Oscar F. Knapp 139
Mrs. Elisabeth B. Hayes 140
Cyrus G. Bradley 140
W. Hale 141
Edgar C. Treadwell 141
St. Croix Falls 141
St. Croix Falls Village 141
West Sweden 142
Sterling 142
Dr. Samuel Deneen 143
William W. Trimmer 143
Arnold Densmore 143



Organization, 1840 144
Division, 1848 144
County Seat Located at Buena Vista 145
First Election 145
Division of the County, 1853 146
Present Limits 146
General Description 146
Monument Rock 147
Towns and Date of Organization 148
St. Croix County Agricultural Society 148
Pomona Grange 148
Agricultural Statistics 148
Manufactures 149
St. Croix Poor Farm 149
First Tax Roll of County, 1848 149
Hudson City 152
Original Claimants 153
First Survey, etc. 153
First Deed Recorded 154
City Government 155
Mayors of the City 155
[Pg xxvi]City Schools 155
Military Institute 156
Mills and Manufactories 156
Banks 156
Oliver Wendell Holmes Hospital 157
Water Works 158
Hotels, the Great Fire, 1866 158
Social and Benevolent Organizations 159

Louis Massey 159
Peter Bouchea 160
William Steets 160
Capt. John B. Page 160
Dr. Philip Aldrich 160
The Nobles Family 161
James Purinton 161
Ammah Andrews 162
James Walstow 162
James Sanders 162
J. W. Stone 162
Joseph Bowron 163
Moses Perin 163
John O. Henning 163
Moses S. Gibson 164
Col. James Hughes 164
Daniel Anderson 165
Alfred Day 165
Dr. Otis Hoyt 165
S. S. N. Fuller 166
Miles H. Van Meter 166
Philip B. Jewell 166
John Tobin 166
Horace A. Taylor 167
Jeremiah Whaley 167
Simon Hunt 167
John S. Moffatt 167
James H. Childs 168
William Dwelley 168
James M. Fulton 168
Marcus A. Fulton 168
David C. Fulton 168
N. S. Holden 168
William H. Semmes 169
Sterling Jones 169
D. R. Bailey 169
Henry C. Baker 169
Mert Herrick 169
D. A. Baldwin 170
John Comstock 170
Lucius P. Wetherby 170
John C. Spooner 170
Thomas Porter 171
Herman L. Humphrey 171
Theodore Cogswell 172
Frank P. Catlin 172
Charles Y. Denniston 173
A. E. Jefferson 173
Samuel C. Symonds 173
John E. Glover 173
Lemuel North 173
Edgar Nye 173
William T. Price 173
E. B. Bundy 174

Towns and Biographies.
Baldwin 174
Baldwin Village 174
Woodville Village 175
Cady 175
Cylon 175
Eau Galle 176
Emerald 176
Erin Prairie 176
Forest 177
Glenwood 177
Hammond 177
Hammond Village 178
John Thayer 178
Rev. William Egbert 178
Hudson 178
James Kelly 178
Daniel Coit 179
James Virtue 179
Theodore M. Bradley 179
William Dailey 179
Robert and Wm. McDiarmid 179
William Martin 179
Paschal Aldrich 180
Kinnikinic 180
Duncan McGregor 180
W. B. and James A. Mapes 181
Pleasant Valley 182
Richmond 182
[Pg xxvii]Boardman Village 183
Gridley Village 183
New Richmond Village 183
New Richmond City 183
Bank, High School 184
Benjamin B.C. Foster 184
Robert Philbrick 185
Linden Coombs 185
Eben Quinby 185
Lewis Oaks 185
Henry Russell 185
Joseph D. Johnson 185
Joel Bartlett 185
Francis W. Bartlett 186
George C. Hough 186
Silas Staples 186
Dr. Henry Murdock 187
Steven N. Hawkins 187
Rush River 188
Somerset 188
Somerset Village 189
Gen. Samuel Harriman 189
St. Joseph 190
Houlton Village 191
Burkhardt Village 191
Springfield 191
Hersey Village 191
Wilson Village 192
Stanton 192
Star Prairie 192
Huntington Village 192
Star Prairie Village 192
Hon. R. K. Fay 192
Troy 193
James Chinnock 193
William L. Perrin 193
Warren 194
James Hill 194
Village Plats 195



Descriptive 196
History, First Events 197
County Seat Changed to Ellsworth 198
Railroads 199
Miscellaneous Statistics 199
Village Plats 199
Organization of Towns 200
Clifton 200
George W. McMurphy 201
Osborne Strahl 201
Charles B. Cox 201
Ephraim Harnsberger 201
Diamond Bluff 202
Capt. John Paine 202
John Day 202
Sarah A. Vance 203
Allen R. Wilson 203
E. S. Coulter 203
James Bamber 203
Jacob Mead 203
Charles Walbridge 203
Charles F. Hoyt 203
Enoch Quinby 203
The First Settler 203
El Paso 204
Ellsworth 205
Ellsworth Village 205
Anthony Huddleston 206
Perry D. Pierce 206
Hans B. Warner 207
Gilman 207
Hartland 208
Isabelle 208
Maiden Rock 209
Christopher L. Taylor 209
Martell 209
Oak Grove 210
Lewis M. Harnsberger 210
Prescott City 210
History 211
[Pg xxviii]Platted in 1857 212
First Official Board 212
Statistics, First Events 212
Churches 212
Fair Grounds 213
Cemetery 213
Destructive Fires 213
Philander Prescott 214
George Schaser 214
William S. Lockwood 215
James Monroe Bailey 215
Adolph Werkman 215
Joseph Manese 215
Hilton Doe 215
Lute A. Taylor 215
John Huitt 216
John M. Rice 216
An Indian Battle 216
River Falls 217
First Happenings 217
Water Powers 217
Schools at River Falls 218
River Falls Academy 218
Churches 219
Associations 219
Bank, Railroad 220
Fires 220
River Falls City, Organization 220
Falls of Kinnikinic 220
The Cave Cabin 221
The Fourth State Normal School 221
Joel Foster 224
Jesse B. Thayer 224
A. D. Andrews 224
Joseph A. Short 225
Prof. Allen H. Weld 225
Allen P. Weld 225
George W. Nichols 225
W. D. Parker 226
William Powell 226
Lyman Powell 226
Nathaniel N. Powell 226
Oliver S. Powell 226
Nils P. Haugen 227
H. L. Wadsworth 227
Rock Elm 227
Salem 227
Spring Lake 228
Trenton 228
Trimbelle 229
M. B. Williams 229
Union 229



Burnett County.
Location and Description 230
Organization 231
Pine Barrens 231
Murders 232
Old Geezhic 233
The First Mission 234
The Chippewas of Wood Lake 236
Grantsburg 237
Canute Anderson 237
The Hickerson Family 238
The Anderson Family 238
Robert A. Doty 238
The Cranberry Marshes 239
Washburn County.
Description, Town Organization 240
First Events 240
Shell Lake, Summit Lake 241
First Board of County Officers 241
Shell Lake Lumber Company 241
Sawyer Creek 242
Spooner Station 242
Veazie Village 242
Sawyer County.
Organization, Description 242
County Indebtedness 243
Town of Hayward 243
[Pg xxix]Village of Hayward 243
First Events, Schools, Churches, etc. 244
Bank, Lumber Company 244
Malcomb Dobie 245
Milton V. Stratton 245
Barron County.
Description, Organization 245
Turtle Lake, Town and Village 245
Barron, Perley Village 246
Cumberland Village 246
Sprague 246
Comstock and Barronett Villages 247
Charles Simeon Taylor 247



Ashland County.
History, Location, Description 248
Isles of the Apostles 248
Claude Allouez at Madeline Island 249
Early History of La Pointe 249
Remarkable Epitaph 249
La Pointe County Election 249
John W. Bell 250
Ashland 250
History, First Events 250
Asaph Whittlesey 251
J. P. T. Haskell 251
G. S. Vaughn 251
Dr. Edwin Ellis 252
Martin Beaser 252
Hon. Sam S. Fifield 252
Bayfield County.
Location and History 253
Bayfield Village 253
Washburn, Drummond, etc. 254
Douglas County.
Description and History 254
First Election 254
Superior City 255
History 255
Early Speculation 256
Period of Depression 257
West Superior 258
The Bardon Brothers 258
William H. Newton 258
Judge Solon H. Clough 258
Vincent Roy 259
D. George Morrison 259
August Zachau 259



History 260
Description 260
First Events 261
Finances, Railroads 261
Losses by Fire 262
Pokegama Lake and Mission 262
Thomas Conner's Trading Post 262
Presbyterian Mission 263
Mushk-de-winini 263
Battle of Pokegama 264
Cannibalism 265
A Noble Chief 267
Frank Confessions 267
A Cowardly Deed 268
An Unjust Accusation 268
Indian Magnanimity 269
Rev. Frederic Ayer 269
Rev. William T. Boutwell 272
Discovery of Itasca 274
[Pg xxx]Mrs. Hester C. Boutwell 276
Chengwatana 276
First Settlers 276
Chengwatana Village Platted 277
Chengwatana Town Organized 277
Louis Ayd 277
Duane Porter 277
S. A. Hutchinson 277
Hinckley, Town of 278
Hinckley, Village of 278
James Morrison 278
Sandstone Village and Quarries 279
Wm. H. Grant, Sr. 279
Kettle River, Town of 279
John C. Hanley 280
Mission Creek 280
Pine City, Town of 280
Pine City, Village of 281
Richard G. Robinson 281
Hiram Brackett 281
Randall K. Burrows 281
John S. Ferson 282
Samuel Millet 282
Rock Creek 282
Enoch Horton 282
Royalton 282
Windermere 283
Neshodana, Fortuna, St. John's 283
A Rock Creek Murder 283
Burning of a Jail 283
A Disfigured Family 284
Indian Faith Cure 284
Indian Graves 284
Indian Stoicism 285
Old Batice 285
An Indian Dance 285



Kanabec County.
History, Boundaries, etc. 286
Description 286
First Settlers, First Election 287
First Events 287
Arthur 288
Mora, Village of 288
Stephen L. Danforth 288
N. H. Danforth 288
Alvah J. Conger 288
Ira Conger 288
Bronson, Village of 288
Brunswick, Town of 289
Brunswick, Village of 289
Ground House City 289
James Pennington 289
George L. Staples 289
Daniel Gordon 290
Grass Lake, Town of 290
Isanti County.
Organization 290
Cambridge 291
North Branch, Town of 291
Oxford, Town of 291
Stephen Hewson 291
George W. Nesbit 292
Rensselaer Grant 292
Mille Lacs County.
Description 292
Mille Lacs Reservation 293
County Organization in 1860 293
First Election and Officers 293
Milacca, Village of 294
Bridgman, Village of 294
Princeton, Village of 294
Samuel Ross 296
Joseph L. Cater 296
M. V. B. Cater 296
Edwin Allen 296
John H. Allen 296
A. B. Damon 296
[Pg xxxi]C. H. Chadbourne 296



Location, Surface, Scenery 298
Chisago Lake 298
Dalles of the St. Croix 299
Origin of the Formation 300
The Devil's Chair 300
The Wells 301
Settlement and Organization 302
Joe R. Brown to the Front 303
Prehistoric Remains 303
Robinet in Possession 303
Robinet Bought Off, First Improvements 304
Death of B. F. Baker 304
The First Log House Built 305
First Crops Raised 305
First Election 305
Chisago County Named 306
First Commissioners 307
County Seat Located at Taylor's Falls 307
Removed to Centre City 307
Amador 307
First Supervisors 308
Thornton Bishop 308
William Holmes 308
James M. Martin 309
Branch 309
North Branch Station 309
Henry L. Ingalls 310
Mrs. Lavina L. Ingalls 310
Chisago Lake, First Settlers 310
First Crops 311
Swedish Lutheran Church 311
Centre City 312
Andrew Swenson 312
John S. Van Rensselaer 312
Axel Dahliam 313
Nels Nord 313
Join A. Hallberg 314
Charles A. Bush 313
Lars Johan Stark 313
Frank Mobeck 313
Robert Currie 314
Andrew N. Holm 313
Cemetery and other Associations 314
Incorporation 314
Indian Dance 314
Lindstrom Village 314
Daniel Lindstrom 315
Magnus S. Shaleen 315
Chisago City 315
Otto Wallmark 316
Andrew Wallmark 316
Fish Lake 316
Peter Berg 317
Benjamin Franklin 317
Franconia 317
Franconia Village 318
Ansel Smith 318
Henry F. and Leonard P. Day 318
Henry Wills 318
The Clark Brothers 319
David Smith 319
Jonas Lindall 319
William Peaslee 319
Charles Vitalis 319
August J. Anderson 320
Frank N. Peterson 320
Harris 321
Harris Village 321
Lent 322
Nessell 322
Robert Nessell 323
Stephen B. Clark 323
Rush Seba 323
Rush City 323
Thomas Flynn 324
Patrick Flynn 324
Rufus Crocker 324
Frank H. Pratt 324
Voloro D. Eddy 325
F. S. Christianson 326
Shafer 326
Jacob Shafer 326
Peter Wickland 327
[Pg xxxii]Tuver Walmarson 327
Andros Anderson 327
Eric Byland 327
Jacob Peterson 327
Ambrose C. Seavey 327
Sunrise 328
Sunrise Village 328
Kost Village 329
Chippewa 329
Dronthiem 329
Nashua 330
Washington 330
John A. Brown 330
Patten W. Davis 330
James F. Harvey 330
Floyd S. Bates 330
Isaac H. Warner 331
Charles F. Lowe 331
Wells Farr 331
John G. Mold 331
George L. Blood 331
Joel G. Ryder 332
John Dean 332
Taylor's Falls 332
First Post Office and Mail Service 332
Mills, First Events 333
Religious Organizations 333
Bridge Company 334
Banks, Mining Companies 334



Jesse Taylor 336
Joshua L. Taylor 336
Nathan C. D. Taylor 337
Thomas F. Morton 337
Henry N. Setzer 337
Patrick Fox 338
William F. Colby 339
Oscar Roos 339
Samuel Thomson 339
Susan Thomson Mears 339
George De Attly 340
Jacob Markley 340
John Dobney 340
William Dobney 340
Henry H. Newbury 340
Emil Munch 340
A. M. Wilmarth 341
Lucius K. Stannard 341
James W. Mullen 342
David Caneday 342
George B. Folsom 343
Aaron M. Chase 343
Peter Abear 343
Levi W. Folsom 344
Eddington Knowles 344
Dr. Lucius B. Smith 344
William Comer 344
E. Whiting and Brothers 345
Frederic Tang, Sr. 346
Ward W. Folsom 346
George W. Seymour 346
James A. Woolley 346
Patrick Carroll 347
Joseph Carroll 347
E. E. Edwards 347
Stephen J. Merrill 348
Noah Marcus Humphrey 348
Royal C. Gray 349
John P. Owens 349
Andrew Clendenning 350
Smith Ellison 350
Wyoming—Settlement and Organization 350
Wyoming Village 352
Deer Garden 352
L. O. Tombler 352
Dr. John Woolman Comfort 353
Isaac Markley 353
Joel Wright 353
Randall Wright 353
Frederic Tepel 353
[Pg xxxiii]Charles Henry Sauer 354



Organization in 1849 355
First Board of Officers 355
Afton 356
Afton Village 357
South Afton 357
Valley Creek 357
St. Mary Village 357
Joseph Haskell 358
Lemuel Bolles 358
Taylor F. Randolph 358
Elijah Bissell 358
Andrew Mackey 358
Baytown Settlement 359
Baytown Village 359
Bangor 360
Middletown 360
South Stillwater 360
Mills, etc. 360
Docks, Factories, Cemeteries 360
Cottage Grove 361
Cottage Grove Village 361
Langdon 362
Joseph W. Furber 362
Samuel W. Furber 362
Theodore Furber 363
James S. Norris 363
Lewis Hill 363
Jacob Moshier 363
William Ferguson 363
John Atkinson 363
Denmark 364
Point Douglas 364
Levi Hertzell 365
Oscar Burris 365
David Hone 365
William B. Dibble 366
George Harris 366
Harley D. White 367
Thomas Hetherington 367
James Shearer 367
Simon Shingledecker 367
Caleb Truax 367
Abraham Truax 368
George W. Campbell 368
Forest Lake, History of 368
Captain Michael Marsh 369
Forest Lake Village 369
Grant, History of 369
Dellwood 370
Eagle City 370
Mahtomedi 370
Wildwood 370
William Elliott 371
Frederick Lamb 371
James Rutherford 371
Jesse H. Soule 371
Lakeland, Description and History of 372
Lakeland Village 372
Henry W. Crosby 373
Reuben H. Sanderson 373
Newton McKusick 373
Captain John Oliver 373
Captain Asa Barlow Green 374
L. A. Huntoon 374
Marine, Origin of Settlement 374
First Settlers 375
The Mill Completed 375
Marine Mills Village 376
First Lawsuit 376
Churches, Improvements 377
Losses by Fire 378
Vasa Village 378
Orange Walker 378
Lewis Walker 379
Samuel Burkelo 379
Asa S. Parker 379
Hiram Berkey 380
George B. Judd 380
James Hale 380
John Holt 380
George Holt 381
William Town 381
Matthias Welshance 381
Benj. T. Otis 382
William Clark 382
James R. Meredith 382
[Pg xxxiv]John D. and Thomas E. Ward 382
Samuel Judd 382
Frederic W. Lammers 382
James R. M. Gaskill 382
Newport, Town of 383
Isle Pelee 383
Red Rock 383
Mission at Red Rock 384
Gray Cloud City 385
Newport Village 385
John Holton 385
John A. Ford 385
Daniel Hopkins, Sr. 385
William R. Brown 386
William Fowler 386
Oakdale, Town of 386
Lake Elmo Village 387
E. C. Gray 387
Arthur Stephens 388
Oneka, Town of 388
Oneka Station 389
Shady Side Village 389
Daniel Hopkins, Jr. 389
Stillwater, Town of 389
Oak Park 390
David P. Lyman 390
Henry A. Jackman 390
Frederic J. Curtis 391
David Cover 391
John Parker 391
Woodbury, Town of 391
Jacob Folstrom 392
Alexander McHattie 393
John McHattie 393
The Middleton Family 393
Newington Gilbert 394
Ebenezer Ayers 394



City of Stillwater.
Stillwater in 1850 396
The Freshet of 1850 397
A Real Estate Movement 397
Incorporation of Stillwater 398
List of Marshals 398
Post Office, Mail Routes 398
Statistics 399
Hotels 399
City Banks 400
Board of Trade, Water Company 402
Fire Department 402
Gas Light, Telegraph, Telephone 403
Elevator, Express Companies, Bridge 403
Lumbering Interests, Flour Mills 404
Manufactories 404
Building Association 405
Churches, etc. 406
Public Buildings 408
Societies, etc. 409
Cemeteries 410
Agricultural Society 410
State Prison 410
Fires, Bonds, Indebtedness 412
Isaac Staples 413
Samuel F. Hersey & Sons 415
Jacob Bean 416
Charles Bean 416
Rudolph Lehmicke 417
Hollis R. Murdock 417
George M. Seymour 417
Frank A. Seymour 418
Louis Hospes 418
David Tozer 419
David Bronson 420
John Maloy 420
Mrs. Susannah Tepass 420
William E. Thorne 420
Edmund J. Butts 420
A. B. Easton 421
Edwin A. Folsom 421
John B. H. Mitchell 421
[Pg xxxv]Joseph Schupp 422
Clifford A. Bennett 422
Samuel Mathews 422
John and James Mathews 423
Peter Jourdain 423
James Rooney 423
James N. Castle 423
Abraham L. Gallespie 423
John C. Gardiner 423
V. C. Seward 424
Ralph Wheeler 424
Edward S. Brown 424
William Lowell 424
Albert Lowell 425
Nelson H. Van Voorhes 425
Andrew J. Van Voorhes 425
Henry C. Van Voorhes 425
C. A. Bromley 426
Charles J. Butler 426
Levi E. Thompson 427
George Davis 427
William M. McCluer 427
John N. Ahl 427
Samuel M. Register 428
J. A. Johnson 428
Gold T. Curtis 429
Harley D. Curtis 429
Francis R. Delano 429
Henry W. Cannon 430
Dwight M. Sabin 430



Stearns County.
Organization and History of 432
St. Cloud 434
Newspapers and Post Office 435
Village and City Organization 435
Land Office, Expenditures 435
The St. Cloud Dam, Improvements 436
Banks, Public Buildings 436
St. John's University 437
La Sauk, Town of 438
Peter Schaeler 438
John L. Wilson 438
Charles T. Stearns 438
Henry G. Fillmore 438
Nathaniel Getchell 438
James Keough 438
Loren W. Collins 438
Henry C. Waite 439
Gen. S. B. Lowry 439
A. and Joseph Edelbrock 439
John Rengel 440
Louis A. Evans 440
Ambrose Freeman 440
Nathan F. Barnes 440
Nehemiah P. Clark 441
Oscar E. Garrison 441
Charles A. Gilman 441
Other Citizens 442
Anoka County.
Organization 442
First Settlers, Commissioners 443
Anoka, Town of 443
Anoka, City of 443
Incorporation 444
Fires, Public Buildings 445
Manufactures, Banks 445
Bethel, Town of 446
Blaine, Town of 446
Burns, Town of 446
Centreville, Town of 446
Centreville Village 446
Columbus, Town of 447
Fridley, Town of 447
John Banfil 448
Grow, Town of 448
Ham Lake, Town of 448
Linwood, Town of 448
L. S. Arnold 449
S. Ridge 449
J. G. Green 449
S. W. Haskell 449
M. M. Ryan 449
[Pg xxxvi]Hurley Family 449
Oak Grove, Town of 449
Ramsey, Town of 449
St. Francis, Town of 450
An Indian Riot 450
Jared Benson 451
James C. Frost 451
A. J. McKenney 451
John Henry Batzle 452
John R. Bean 452
A. McC. Fridley 452
William Staples 452
Capt. James Starkey 453
Sherburne County.
Description 453
Organization 453
Towns of Sherburne County 454
Villages of Sherburne County 455
Orono, Elk River 455
East St. Cloud 456
Clear Lake 456
Becker 456
Big Lake 456
J. Q. A. Nickerson 456
Henry Bittner 456
Francis DeLille 457
Mrs. F. DeLille 457
Howard M. Atkins 457
B. F. Hildreth 458
Samuel Hayden 458
Joseph Jerome 458
Joshua O. Cater 458
J. F. Bean 458
J. H. Felch 458
James Brady 458
Joshua Briggs 458
Robert Orrock 458
John G. Jamieson 458
A. B. Heath 458
Dr. B. R. Palmer 459
Judge Moses Sherburne 459
Charles F. George 459
Royal George 459
W. L. Babcock 459



Benton County.
Description 460
First Settlers, Organization 461
Towns of Benton County 461
Villages 461
Sauk Rapids, Incorporation 461
Dam and Public Buildings 462
The Cyclone of 1886 462
Watab Village 462
Philip Beaupre 462
David Gilman 463
James Beatty 463
Ellis Kling 463
George W. Benedict 464
J. Q. A. Wood 464
William H. Wood 464
Mrs. Wm. H. Wood 465
A. DeLacy Wood 465
P. H. Wood 465
Rev. Sherman Hall 465
Jeremiah Russell 466
Edgar O. Hamlin 467
Morrison County.
Description 468
History 468
Indian Feuds 469
Organization 469
Winnebago Indiana 470
Towns of Morrison County 471
Little Falls Village 471
Little Falls Water Power 472
Incorporation 473
Schools and Churches 473
Royalton Village 473
Incorporation, First Officers 473
Peter Roy 473
William Sturgis 474
James Fergus 474
Nathan Richardson 475
[Pg xxxvii]Moses La Fond 475
O. A. Churchill 475
John M. Kidder 476
Warren Kobe 476
Ola K. Black 476
Ira W. Bouch 476
Robert Russell 476
Peter A. Green 476
Rodolphus D. Kinney 476
John D. Logan 476
Crow Wing County.
Description 477
First Settlers 477
Organization 478
Reorganization 478
Murderers Lynched 478
Brainerd 478
First Settlers 479
Northern Pacific Sanitarium 480
The Kindred Dam 480
L. P. White 480
Allen Morrison 480
Charles F. Kindred 481



Aitkin County.
Description 482
Organization, Officers 482
Aitkin Village 483
William A. Aitkin 483
Alfred Aitkin 483
Nathaniel Tibbett 484
Carlton County.
History and Organization 484
Towns of Carlton County 485
Thomson Village 485
Cloquet Village 485
Moose Lake Station 485
Barnum Station 486
Mahtowa Station 486
North Pacific Junction 486
Francis A. Watkins 486
St. Louis County.
Description 486
Picturesque Scenery 487
Commissioners' Meetings 487
List of Commissioners 488
Duluth, Early History 488
Growth, Population 489
Mills, Warehouses, Shipments 489
Duluth Harbor 490
Fish Commission 490
Fond du Lac Village 491
Oneota Village 492
Clifton Village 492
Portland Village 492
Endion Village 492
Middleton Village 492
Montezuma Village 492
Buchanan Village 492
St. Louis Falls Village 492
Fremont Island 493
Tower 493
George R. Stuntz 494
George E. Stone 494
Charles H. Graves 494
Ozro P. Stearns 494
Lake County.
Description 495
Two Harbors 496
Cook County.
History and Organization 496



Organization and History, Towns 497
Fort Snelling 497
Treaty of 1837 499
First Land Claims, 1838 499
Cheever's Tower 500
St. Anthony Village Platted 500
First Marriage in the Territory 500
[Pg xxxviii]First Courts, School, Post Office 501
Church Organizations 501
The Suspension Bridge Built 502
St. Anthony Incorporated 1855 502
Annexation to Minneapolis, 1872 502
St. Anthony Falls 502
La Salle's Description 502
Minneapolis, Early Settlers 502
Early Land Claims 504
Business Enterprises 505
Mills Erected 505
St. Anthony Water Power Company 506
Minneapolis Named, Land Office 506
Incorporation as a City, 1867 506
Annexation of St. Anthony 506
List of Mayors 507
Water vs. Steam 507
Terrific Explosion at the Flour Mills 508
Suburban Resorts 508
List of Public Buildings 509
Post Office Statistics 510
Lumber Manufactured 511
Bonded Debt, Taxes, Expenses 511
West Minneapolis 511
Calvin A. Tuttle 512
Cyrus Aldrich 512
Dr. Alfred E. Ames 514
Dr. Albert A. Ames 514
Jesse Ames 515
Cadwallader C. Washburn 515
William D. Washburn 517
Joseph C. Whitney 517
Charles Hoag 518
Franklin Steele 518
Roswell P. Russell 519
Horatio P. Van Cleve 520
Charlotte O. Van Cleve 520
Ard Godfrey 520
Richard Chute 521
Lucius N. Parker 521
Captain John Rollins 521
John G. Lennon 521
John H. Stevens 522
Caleb D. Dorr 522
Rev. Edward D. Neill 522
John Wensignor 523
Robert H. Hasty 524
Stephen Pratt 524
Capt. John Tapper 524
R. W. Cummings 524
Elias H. Conner 524
C. F. Stimson 524
William Dugas 524
David Gorham 525
Edwin Hedderly 525
Louis Neudeck 525
Andrew J. Foster 525
A. D. Foster 525
Charles E. Vanderburgh 525
Dorillius Morrison 526
H. G. O. Morrison 526
F. R. E. Cornell 526
Gen. A. B. Nettleton 527
Isaac Atwater 527
Rev. David Brooks 527
Prof. Jabez Brooks 527
John S. Pillsbury 528
Henry T. Welles 528
David Blakely 528
William Lochren 528
Eugene M. Wilson 528
R. B. Langdon 529
William M. Bracket 529
Thos. B. and Platt B. Walker 529
Austin H. Young 530
Henry G. Hicks 530
John P. Rea 530
John Martin 520
John Dudley 531



Organization, First Officers 532
St. Paul in 1840, Known as Pig's Eye 532
First Settlers 532
Father Ravoux, 1841 533
Henry Jackson Established a Trading Post 533
[Pg xxxix]Accessions of 1843 533
Accessions of 1844 534
First Deed 534
Accessions of 1845 534
First School 535
Second Deed, Phalen's Tract 535
Accessions of 1846 535
Reminiscences 536
Accessions in 1847 536
St. Paul Platted 537
Miss Bishop's School 537
First Steamboat Line 537
Accessions of 1848 538
Progress in 1849 539
St. Paul Made the Capital of the State 539
The First Newspapers 539
Early Items and Advertisements 540
Pioneers of 1849 540
Some Comparisons 541
Statistics of Population, Schools, Buildings 542
List of Mayors 543
West St. Paul 544
Towns of Ramsey County 544
White Bear 545
First Settlers 545
Indian Battle Ground 546
Town Organization 547
White Bear Lake Village 548
Hotels and Cottages 548
Daniel Getty 549
South St. Paul 549
North St. Paul 550
Population of St Paul 550
Post Office History 551



Henry Hastings Sibley 553
Alexander Ramsey 556
William H. Forbes 557
Henry M. Rice 558
Edmund Rice 560
Louis Robert 561
Auguste L. Larpenteur 562
William H. Nobles 562
Simeon P. Folsom 563
Jacob W. Bass 563
Benjamin W. Brunson 564
Abram S. and Chas. D. Elfelt 564
D. A. J. Baker 565
Benjamin F. Hoyt 565
John Fletcher Williams 566
Dr. John H. Murphy 566
William H. Tinker 567
George P. Jacobs 567
Lyman Dayton 567
Henry L. Moss 567
William Rainey Marshall 568
David Cooper 569
Bushrod W. Lott 570
W. F. Davidson 570
Wm. H. Fisher 571
Charles H. Oakes 572
C. W. W. Borup 572
Capt. Russell Blakely 573
Rensselaer R. Nelson 573
George L. Becker 574
Aaron Goodrich 575
Nathan Myrick 575
John Melvin Gilman 576
Charles E. Flandrau 576
John B. Sanborn 577
John R. Irvine 579
Horace R. Bigelow 580
Cushman K. Davis 580
S. J. R. McMillan 581
Willis A. Gorman 581
John D. Ludden 582
Elias F. Drake 582
Norman W. Kittson 583
Hascal R. Brill 583
Ward W. Folsom 584
[Pg xl]Gordon E. Cole 584
James Smith, Jr. 584
William P. Murray 585
Henry Hale 585
James Gilfillan 585
Charles Duncan Gilfillan 586
Alexander Wilkin 586
Westcott Wilkin 587
S. C. Whitcher 587
T. M. Newson 587
Alvaren Allen 588
Harlan P. Hall 589
Stephen Miller 589



Dakota County.
Description 591
Hastings 591
Farmington 591
Ignatius Donnelly 591
Francis M. Crosby 592
G. W. Le Duc 593
Goodhue County.
Red Wing, Barn Bluff 595
Cannon Falls 595
Indian Burying Ground 596
Hans Mattson 596
Lucius F. Hubbard 597
William Colville 599
Martin S. Chandler 599
Charles McClure 600
Horace B. Wilson 600
Wabasha County.
Wabasha Village 601
Bailey and Sons 602
Nathaniel S. Tefft 602
James Wells 602
Winona County.
Scenery 602
Winona City 603
Daniel S. Norton 603
William Windom 603
Charles H. Berry 604
Thomas Wilson 604
Thomas Simpson 605
Wm. H. Yale 605



Pierre Bottineau 606
Andrew G. Chatfield 606
Hazen Mooers 607
John McDonough Berry 607
Mark H. Dunnell 608
James H. Baker 608
Horace B. Strait 609
Judson Wade Bishop 610
John L. McDonald 610
Thomas H. Armstrong 611
Augustus Armstrong 611
Moses K. Armstrong 611
James B. Wakefield 611
William Wallace Braden 611
Reuben Butters 612
Michael Doran 612
Andrew McCrea 613
John W. Blake 613
Knute Nelson 613
[Pg xli]William R. Denny 613



Brief History of the Northwest Territory 616
Spanish Claims 616
French Claims 617
Louisiana in 1711 618
Settlement of Marietta, Ohio 618
Ohio Territory 619
Statistics 619
Boundary Question 625
Wisconsin Constitutional Convention, 1846 625
Wisconsin Constitutional Convention, 1847 626
Some Resolutions 627
Under What Government? 628
H. H. Sibley Elected Congressional Delegate 628
Queries 629
Minnesota Territory Created 629
Land Office at Stillwater 629
Indian Treaties 629
Treaty with the Sioux (Mendota) 1805 629
Treaty with the Chippewas (Mendota) 1837 630
Treaty with the Sioux (Washington) 1837 630
Treaty with the Winnebagoes (Washington) 1837 631
Treaty with the Chippewas (Fond du Lac) 1847 631
Treaty with the Pillager Band (Leech Lake) 1847 632
Treaty with the Sioux (Traverse des Sioux) 1851 632
Treaty with the Sioux (Mendota) 1851 632
Treaty with the Chippewas (La Pointe) 1854 634
Treaty with the Pillagers (Washington) 1855 634
Treaty with the Chippewas (Red Lake River) 1863 634
Gen. Pike and the Indians 635
Treaty of 1805 636
Pike's Address to the Council 636
Details of Treaty 636
Pike Hospitably Entertained 637
United States Surveys in the Northwest 637
Establishment of Land Offices 638
Establishment of the Present System of Surveys 638
The First Surveyor General's Office at Marietta, O 638
United States Land Offices in the Northwest 639
List of Registers and Receivers, Wisconsin 639
First Entries 640
First Auction Sale of Land 641
List of Registers and Receivers, Minnesota 641
List of Wisconsin Territorial and State Officers, Governors, Senators, and Representatives from St. Croix Valley 641
Legislative Representation 642
First and Second Constitutional Conventions 643
Governors of Wisconsin 643
United States Senators 643
United States Representatives 644
[Pg xlii]District Judges 644
State Legislature 644
List of Minnesota Territorial and State Officers 647
Census of the Territory in 1849 647
First Territorial Legislature 648
First Prohibition Law 649
Constitutional Convention 649
List of State Officers and Judicial 649
Senators and Representatives 650
Minnesota State Legislatures 651
Constitutional Convention of 1857 654
Division of Convention 654
Union of Conventions on a Constitution 656
Have We a Constitution 656
First, Minnesota State Legislature 657
Protests Against Legislation 657
Five Million Bill Passed and Adopted 657
State Seal Adopted 658
State Seal Design 659
Adjourned Session of Legislature 660
Protests Against Recognizing Gov. Medary 660
Reports on Protests 661
Land Grants—Railroad Surveys and Construction 665
Northern Pacific Railroad 665
Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railroad 667
St. Paul & Duluth Railroad 668
Minnesota & Manitoba Railroad 669
Stillwater, White Bear & St. Paul Railroad 670
St. Paul, Stillwater & Taylor's Falls Railroad 671
Wisconsin Central Railroad 671
Taylor's Falls & Lake Superior Railroad 672
Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad 672
A Memorial for "Soo" Railroad 673
Organization of Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie & Atlantic Railroad 674
Mileage of Railroads Centring in St. Paul and Minneapolis 675
Chicago, Burlington & Northern Railroad 675
Congressional Appropriations 675
Inland Navigation 676
George R. Stuntz on Lake Superior and St. Croix Canal 680
Waterways Convention, 1885 682
E. W. Durant's Valuable Statistics 683
Resolution for St. Croix and Superior Canal 685
Early Steamboat Navigation 686
Steamboat Accommodations 687
First Mississippi Steamboat Officers 689
First Mississippi Steamboat Organizations 689
List of Steamboats 690
Later Navigation on Northwest Rivers 691
Steamboating on the St. Croix 692
Ice Boats 693
James W. Mullen's Reminiscences, 1846 694
St. Croix Boom Company 696
Surveyors General of Logs 696
Organization 696
Conflict over State Boundary 697
Language of Logs 698
Logs Cut from 1837 to 1888 700
Chartered Dams 701
Lumbering and Lumbermen in 1845 702
Lumbering and Lumbermen in 1887 705
St. Croix Dalles Log Jams 706
Population of Northwest Territory in 1790 709
Population of Wisconsin Territory in 1836 709
Subsequent Census 709
Population of Minnesota in 1849 709
[Pg xliii]Minnesota State Capitol 710
Burning of State House 711
Selkirk Visitors 712
Cyclones 713
Isanti and Chisago Cyclone 713
Cottage Grove and Lake Elmo Cyclone 715
Washington County and Wisconsin Cyclone 717
St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids Cyclone 718
Curious Lightning Freaks 721
Asiatic Cholera on the Royal Arch 721
First Decree of Minnesota Citizenship 722
International Hotel, St. Paul, Burned 723
Grasshoppers 723
Ancient Mounds 724
Lake Itasca, Schoolcraft and Boutwell Form the Name Itasca.
Description of Itasca 726
Elk and Boutwell Lakes 727
Capt. Glazier's False Claim 727
Copper Mining on St. Croix 728
Rev. Julius S. Webber; Reminiscences 729
Judge Hamlin—Amusing Incident 730
Minnesota Old Settlers Association 731
St. Croix Valley Old Settlers Association 740
Newspaper History 741
Gen. Scott, Maj. Anderson, and Jeff. Davis 752
Jeff. Davis' Marriage at Fort Crawford 753
Dred Scott at Fort Snelling 754
Incidents in Dred Scott's History 755
Old Betz and Descendants 757
Military History of the Rebellion, 1861 to 1865 759
Gov. Alex. Ramsey's Address to Loyal Legion 759
Thirty-eighth and Thirty-ninth Legislative Sessions of Wisconsin 762

[Pg xliv]


[Transcriber's note: Errata corrected in the text.]

Chapter II, page 32, read Stillwater and St. Croix County, instead of Counties.

Page 140, read Cyrus G. Bradley, instead of Cyrus Q.

Page 166, read Philip B. Jewell, instead of Philip P.

Page 422, read Clifford A. Bennett, instead of Clifton.

Page 432, read Stearns, Anoka and Sherburne Counties, instead of Stearns, Anoka and Morrison Counties.

Page 420, read Edmund J. Butts, instead of Edward J. Butts.

[Pg 1]


Going West.—In June, 1836, I again visited the Penobscot in quest of employment, in which I was unsuccessful. At Stillwater, above Bangor, I met my kind friend Simeon Goodrich, also out of employment. After mature deliberation we concluded to go West. Returning to Bloomfield, I collected the money held for me by Capt. Ruel Weston and was soon in readiness for the journey. But a few days before the time agreed upon for leaving, I received a letter from Simeon Goodrich, which contained the unpleasant information that he could not collect the amount due him and could not go with me. Truly this was a disappointment. I was obliged to set out alone, no light undertaking at that early day, for as yet there were no long lines of railroad between Maine and the Mississippi river. The day at last arrived for me to start. My companions and acquaintances chaffed me as to the perils of the journey before me. My mother gave me her parting words, "William, always respect yourself in order to be respected." These words, accompanied with her farewell kiss, were long remembered, and, I doubt not, often kept me from evil associations.

The stage took us directly to the steamboat at Gardiner. The steam was up and the boat was soon under way. It was the New England, the first boat of the kind I had ever seen. I felt strangely unfamiliar with the ways of the traveling world, but observed what others did, and asked no questions, and so fancied that my ignorance of traveling customs would not be exposed. It was sunset as we floated out into the wide expanse of the Atlantic. The western horizon was tinged with fiery hues, the shores grew fainter and receded from view and the eye could rest at last only upon the watery expanse. All[Pg 2] things seemed new and strange. Next morning a heavy fog hung over the scene. The vessel was at anchor in Boston harbor and we were soon on shore and threading the crooked streets of the capital of Massachusetts. I was not lost in the wilderness maze of streets, as I had feared I should be, but on leaving Boston on the evening train I took the wrong car and found myself uncomfortably situated in a second or third class car, crowded and reeking with vile odors, from which the conductor rescued me, taking me to the pleasant and elegant car to which my first class ticket entitled me. On arriving at Providence I followed the crowd to the landing and embarked on the steamer President for New York, in which city we remained a day, stopping at the City Hotel on Broadway. I was greatly impressed with the beauty of part of the city, and the desolate appearance of the Burnt District, concerning the burning of which we had read in our winter camp. I was not a little puzzled with the arrangement of the hotel tables and the printed bills of fare, but closely watched the deportment of others and came through without any serious or mortifying blunder. Next morning I left New York on the steamer Robert L. Stevens for Albany, and on the evening of the same day went to Schenectady by railroad. Some of the way cars were hauled by horses up hills and inclined planes. There were then only three short lines of railroad in the United States, and I had traveled on two of them. At Schenectady I took passage on a canal boat to Buffalo. I had read about "De Witt Clinton's Ditch," and now greatly enjoyed the slow but safe passage it afforded, and the rich prospect of cities, villages and cultivated fields through which we passed. At Buffalo we remained but one day. We there exchanged eastern paper for western, the former not being current in localities further west. At Buffalo I caught my first glimpse of Lake Erie. I stood upon a projecting pier and recalled, in imagination, the brave Commodore Perry, gallantly defending his country's flag in one of the most brilliant engagements of the war, the fame whereof had long been familiar to the whole country and the thrilling incidents of which were the theme of story and song even in the wilderness camps of Maine.

The steamer Oliver Newberry bore me from Buffalo to Detroit. From Detroit to Mt. Clemens, Michigan, I went by stage and stopped at the last named place until October 14th, when, being[Pg 3] satisfied that the climate was unhealthy, fever and ague being very prevalent, I returned to Detroit, and on the fifteenth of the same month took passage on the brig Indiana, as steamers had quit running for the season. The brig was aground two days and nights on the St. Clair flats. A south wind gave us a splendid sail up the Detroit river into Lake Huron. We landed for a short time at Fort Gratiot, at the outlet of the lake, just as the sun was setting. The fort was built of stone, and presented an impressive appearance. The gaily uniformed officers, the blue-coated soldiers, moving with the precision of machines, the whole scene—the fort, the waving flags, the movement of the troops seen in the mellow sunset light—was impressive to one who had never looked upon the like before. A favorable breeze springing up, we sped gaily out into the blue Lake Huron. At Saginaw bay the pleasant part of the voyage ended. The weather became rough. A strong gale blew from the bay outward, and baffled all the captain's skill in making the proper direction. Profane beyond degree was Capt. McKenzie, but his free-flowing curses availed him nothing. The brig at one time was so nearly capsized that her deck load had rolled to one side and held her in an inclined position. The captain ordered most of the deck load, which consisted chiefly of Chicago liquors, thrown overboard. Unfortunately, several barrels were saved, two of which stood on deck, with open heads. This liquor was free to all. The vessel, lightened of a great part of her load, no longer careened, but stood steady against the waves and before the wind. It is a pity that the same could not be said of captain, crew and passengers, who henceforth did the careening. They dipped the liquor up in pails and drank it out of handled dippers. They got ingloriously drunk; they rolled unsteadily across the deck; they quarreled, they fought, they behaved like Bedlamites, and how near shipwreck was the goodly brig from that day's drunken debauch on Chicago free liquor will never be known. The vessel toiled, the men were incapacitated for work, but notwithstanding the tempest of profanity and the high winds, the wrangling of crew and captain, we at last passed Saginaw bay. The winds were more favorable. Thence to Mackinaw the sky was clear and bright, the air cold. The night before reaching Mackinaw an unusual disturbance occurred above resulting from the abundance of free liquor. The cook, being[Pg 4] drunk, had not provided the usual midnight supper for the sailors. The key of the caboose was lost; the caboose was broken open, and the mate in the morning was emulating the captain in the use of profane words. The negro cook answered in the same style, being as drunk as his superior. This cook was a stout, well built man, with a forbidding countenance and, at his best, when sober, was a saucy, ill-natured and impertinent fellow. When threat after threat had been hurled back and forth, the negro jumped at the mate and knocked him down. The sailors, as by a common impetus, seized the negro, bound him tightly and lashed him to a capstan. On searching him they found two loaded pistols. These the mate placed close to each ear of the bound man, and fired them off. They next whipped him on the naked back with a rope. His trunk was then examined and several parcels of poison were found. Another whipping was administered, and this time the shrieks and groans of the victim were piteous. Before he had not even winced. The monster had prepared himself to deal death alike to crew and passengers, and we all felt a great sense of relief when Capt. McKenzie delivered him to the authorities at Mackinaw.

Antique Mackinaw was a French and half-breed town. The houses were built of logs and had steep roofs. Trading posts and whisky shops were well barred. The government fort, neatly built and trim, towered up above the lake on a rocky cliff and overlooked the town, the whole forming a picturesque scene. We remained but a few hours at Mackinaw. There were ten cabin passengers, and these, with two exceptions, had imbibed freely of the Chicago free liquor. They were also continually gambling. Capt. McKenzie had fought a fist fight with a deadhead passenger, Capt. Fox, bruising him badly. What with his violence and profanity, the brutality of the mate and the drunken reveling of crew and passengers, the two sober passengers had but a sorry time, but the safe old brig, badly officered, badly managed, held steadily on its course, and October 30th, fifteen days from Detroit, safely landed us in Chicago.

After being so long on the deck of a tossing vessel, I experienced a strange sensation when first on shore. I had become accustomed to the motion of the vessel, and had managed to hold myself steady. On shore the pitching and tossing movement seemed to continue, only it seemed transferred to my head,[Pg 5] which grew dizzy, and so produced the illusion that I was still trying to balance myself on the unsteady deck of the ship.

Chicago, since become a great city, had at that time the appearance of an active, growing village. Thence I proceeded, November 1st and 2d, by stage to Milwaukee, which appeared also as a village, but somewhat overgrown. Idle men were numerous, hundreds not being able to obtain employment. Here I remained a couple of weeks, stopping at the Belleview House. After which I chopped wood a few days for Daniel Wells. Not finding suitable employment, I started west with a Mr. Rogers, December 2d. There being no other means of conveyance, we traveled on foot. On the evening of the second we stopped at Prairie Village, now known as Waukesha. On the evening of the third we stopped at Meacham's Prairie, and on the fifth reached Rock River, where I stopped with a Mr. St. John. The evening following we stopped at an Irish house, where the surroundings did not conduce to comfort or to a feeling of security. Several drunken men kept up a continuous row. We hid our money in a haystack, and took our turn sleeping and keeping watch. We ate an early breakfast, and were glad to get away before the men who had created such a disturbance during the night were up. We moved onward on the seventh to Blue Mound, where we found a cheerful resting place at Brigham's. The eighth brought us to Dodgeville, where we stopped at Morrison's. On the ninth we reached Mineral Point, the locality of the lead mines, where I afterward lost much time in prospecting. Mineral Point was then a rude mining town. The night of our arrival was one of excitement and hilarity in the place. The first legislature of the territory of Wisconsin had been in session at Belmont, near Mineral Point, had organized the new government and closed its session on that day. To celebrate this event and their emancipation from the government of Michigan and the location of the capital at Madison, the people from the Point, and all the region round about, had met and prepared a banquet for the retiring members of the legislature. Madison was at that time a paper town, in the wilderness, but beautifully located on Cat Fish lake, and at the head of Rock river. The location had been accomplished by legislative tact, and a compromise between the extremes. In view of the almost certain division of the Territory, with the Mississippi river as a[Pg 6] boundary, at no very distant day, it was agreed that Madison should be the permanent capital, while Burlington, now in Iowa, should be used temporarily. Milwaukee and Green Bay had both aspired to the honor of being chosen as the seat of government. Mineral Point, with her rich mines, had also aspirations, as had Cassville, which latter named village had even built a great hotel for the accommodation of the members of the assembly. Dubuque put in a claim, but all in vain. Madison was chosen, and wisely, and she has ever since succeeded in maintaining the supremacy then thrust upon her.

In my boyhood, at school, I had read of the great Northwest Territory. It seemed to me then far away, at the world's end, but I had positively told my comrades that I should one day go there. I found myself at last on the soil, and at a period or crisis important in its history. The great Northwest Territory, ceded by Virginia to the United States in 1787, was no more. The immense territory had been carved and sliced into states and territories, and now the last remaining fragment, under the name of Wisconsin, had assumed territorial prerogatives, organized its government, and, with direct reference to a future division of territory, had selected its future capital, for as yet, except in name, Madison was not. In assuming territorial powers, the boundaries had been enlarged so as to include part of New Louisiana, and the first legislature had virtually bartered away this part of her domain, of which Burlington, temporary capital of Wisconsin, was to be the future capital.

Two more days of foot plodding brought us to Galena, the city of lead. The greeting on our entering the city was the ringing of bells, the clattering of tin pans, the tooting of ox horns, sounds earthly and unearthly,—sounds no man can describe. What could it be? Was it for the benefit of two humble, footsore pedestrians that all this uproar was produced? We gave it up for the time, but learned subsequently that it was what is known as a charivari, an unmusical and disorderly serenade, generally gotten up for the benefit of some newly married couple, whose nuptials had not met with popular approval.

At Galena I parted with Mr. Rogers, my traveling companion, who went south. On the fifteenth of December I traveled to Dubuque on foot. When I came to the Mississippi river I sat down on its banks and recalled the humorous description of old[Pg 7] Mr. Carson, my neighbor, to which I had listened wonderingly when a small boy. "It was," he said, "a river so wide you could scarcely see across it. The turtles in it were big as barn doors, and their shells would make good ferryboats if they could only be kept above water." Sure enough, here was the big river, but covered with ice, scarcely safe to venture on. Several persons desiring to cross, we made a portable bridge of boards, sliding them along with us till we were safe on the opposite bank. I was now at the end of my journey, on the west bank of the Mississippi, beyond which stretched a vast and but little known region, inhabited by Indians and wild beasts.

As I review the incidents of my journey in 1836, I can not but contrast the conditions of that era and the present. How great the change in half a century! The journey then required thirty days. It now requires but three. I had passed over but two short lines of railroad, and had made the journey by canal boat, by steamer, by stage, and a large portion of it on foot. There were few regularly established lines of travel. From Michigan to the Mississippi there were no stages nor were there any regular southern routes. Travelers to the centre of the continent, in those days, came either by the water route, via New Orleans or the Fox and Wisconsin river route, or followed Indian trails or blazed lines from one settlement to another. The homes of the settlers were rude—were built principally of logs. In forest regions the farms consisted of clearings or square patches of open ground, well dotted with stumps and surrounded by a dense growth of timber. The prairies, except around the margins or along certain belts of timber following the course of streams, were without inhabitants. Hotels were few and far between, and, when found, not much superior to the cabins of the settlers; but the traveler was always and at all places hospitably entertained.


Dubuque was a town of about three hundred inhabitants, attracted thither by the lead mines. The people were principally of the mining class. The prevailing elements amongst them were Catholic and Orange Irish. These two parties were antagonistic and would quarrel on the streets or wherever brought in contact. Sundays were especially days of strife, and Main[Pg 8] street was generally the field of combat. Women even participated. There was no law, there were no police to enforce order. The fight went on, the participants pulling hair, gouging, biting, pummeling with fists or pounding with sticks, till one or the other party was victorious. These combats were also accompanied with volleys of profanity, and unlimited supplies of bad whisky served as fuel to the flame of discord. Dubuque was certainly the worst town in the West, and, in a small way, the worst in the whole country. The entire country west of the Mississippi was without law, the government of Wisconsin Territory not yet being extended to it. Justice, such as it was, was administered by Judge Lynch and the mob.

My first employment was working a hand furnace for smelting lead ore for a man named Kelly, a miner and a miser. He lived alone in a miserable hovel, and on the scantiest fare. In January I contracted to deliver fifty cords of wood at Price's brickyard. I cut the wood from the island in front of the present city of Dubuque, and hired a team to deliver it.

While in Dubuque I received my first letter from home in seven months. What a relief it was, after a period of long suspense, spent in tediously traveling over an almost wilderness country,—amidst unpleasant surroundings, amongst strangers, many of them of the baser sort, drinking, card playing, gambling and quarreling,—what a relief it was to receive a letter from home with assurances of affectionate regard from those I most esteemed.

Truly the lines had not fallen to me in pleasant places, and I was sometimes exposed to perils from the lawless characters by whom I was surrounded. On one occasion a dissolute and desperate miner, named Gilbert, came to Cannon's hotel, which was my boarding house while in Dubuque. He usually came over from the east side of the river once a week for a spree. On this occasion, being very drunk, he was more than usually offensive and commenced abusing Cannon, the landlord, applying to him some contemptuous epithet. I thoughtlessly remarked to Cannon, "You have a new name," upon which Gilbert cocked his pistol and aiming at me was about to fire when Cannon, quick as thought, struck at his arm and so destroyed his aim that the bullet went over my head. The report of the pistol brought others to the room and a general melee ensued in which the bar[Pg 9] was demolished, the stove broken and Gilbert unmercifully whipped. Gilbert was afterward shot in a drunken brawl.

I formed some genial acquaintances in Dubuque, amongst them Gen. Booth, Messrs. Brownell, Wilson and others, since well known in the history of the country. Price, the wood contractor, never paid me for my work. I invested what money I had left for lots in Madison, all of which I lost, and had, in addition, to pay a note I had given on the lots.

On February 11th I went to Cassville, journeying thither on the ice. This village had flourished greatly, in the expectation of becoming the territorial and state capital, expectations doomed, as we have seen, to disappointment. It is romantically situated amidst picturesque bluffs, some of which tower aloft like the walls and turrets of an ancient castle, a characteristic that attaches to much of the bluff scenery along this point.


I reached this old French town on the twelfth of February. The town and settlement adjacent extended over a prairie nine miles long, and from one to two miles broad, a beautiful plateau of land, somewhat sandy, but for many years abundantly productive, furnishing supplies to traders and to the military post established there. It also furnished two cargoes of grain to be used as seed by the starving settlement at Selkirk, which were conveyed thither by way of the Mississippi, St. Peter and Red rivers. The earliest authentic mention of the place refers to the establishment of a post called St. Nicholas, on the east bank of the Mississippi, at the mouth of the Wisconsin, by Gov. De La Barre, who, in 1683, sent Nicholas Perrot with a garrison of twenty men to hold the post. The first official document laying claim to the country on the Upper Mississippi, issued in 1689, has mention of the fort. This document we transcribe entire:

"Nicholas Perrot, commanding for the king, at the post of the Nadouessioux, commissioned by the Marquis Denonville, governor and lieutenant governor of all New France, to manage the interests of commerce amongst the Indian tribes and people of the Bay des Puants (Green Bay), Nadouessioux (Dakotahs), Maseontins, and other western nations of the Upper Mississippi, and to take possession in the king's name of all the places where he has heretofore been, and whither he will go.[Pg 10]

"We, this day, the eighth of May, one thousand six hundred and eighty-nine, do, in the presence of the Reverend Father Marest, of the Society of Jesus, missionary among the Nadouessioux; of Monsieur de Borieguillot (or Boisguillot), commanding the French in the neighborhood of the Ouiskonche (Wisconsin), on the Mississippi; Augustin Le Gardeur, Esq., Sieur de Caurnont, and of Messeurs Le Sueur, Hibert, Lemire and Blein:

"Declare to all whom it may concern, that, being come from the Bay des Puants, and to the lake of the Ouiskonches, and to river Mississippi, we did transport ourselves to the country of the Nadouessioux, on the border of the river St. Croix, and at the mouth of the river St. Pierre (Minnesota), on the bank of which were the Mantantans; and further up to the interior to the northeast of the Mississippi, as far as the Menchokatoux, with whom dwell the majority of the Songeskitens, and other Nadouessioux, who are to the northeast of the Mississippi, to take possession for, and in the name of, the king of the countries and rivers inhabited by the said tribes, and of which they are proprietors. The present act done in our presence, signed with our hand and subscribed."

Then follow the names of the persons mentioned. The document was drawn up at Green Bay.

There is little doubt that this post was held continuously by the French as a military post until 1696, when the French authorities at Quebec withdrew all their troops from Wisconsin, and as a trader's post or settlement, until the surrender in 1763 to the British of all French claims east of the Mississippi. It was probably garrisoned near the close of the latter period. It remained in the possession of the French some time, as the English, thinking it impossible to compete for the commerce of the Indian tribes with the French traders who had intermarried with them, and so acquired great influence, did not take actual possession until many years later.

The post is occasionally mentioned by the early voyageurs, and the prairie which it commanded was known as the "Prairie du Chien," or praire of the dog, as early as 1763, and is so mentioned by Carver. It was not formally taken possession of by the United States until 1814, when Gov. Clarke with two hundred men came up from St. Louis to Prairie du Chien, then under[Pg 11] English rule, to build a fort and protect American interests at the village. At that time there were about fifty families, descended chiefly from the old French settlers. These were engaged chiefly in farming, owning a common field four miles long by a half mile wide. They had outside of this three separate farms and twelve horse mills to manufacture their produce. The fort, held by a few British troops under Capt. Deace, surrendered without resistance, but soon after the British traders at Mackinaw sent an expedition under Joe Rolette, Sr., to recapture the post, which they did after a siege of three days, the defenders being allowed to withdraw with their private property on parole. They were followed by the Indians as far as Rock Island. Meanwhile, Lieut. Campbell, with reinforcements on his way from St. Louis, was attacked, part were captured and the remainder of his troops driven back to St. Louis. Late in 1814 Maj. Zachary Taylor proceeded with gunboats to chastize the Indians for their attack on Campbell, but was himself met and driven back. The following year, on the declaration of peace between Great Britain and America, the post at Prairie du Chien was evacuated. The garrison fired the fort as they withdrew from it.

The fort erected by the Americans under Gen. Clarke in 1814 was called Fort Shelby. The British, on capturing it, changed the name to Fort McKay. The Americans, on assuming possession and rebuilding it, named it Fort Crawford. It stood on the bank of the river at the north end of St. Friole, the old French village occupied in 1876 by the Dousmans. In 1833 the new Fort Crawford was built on an elevated site about midway in the prairie. It was a strong military post and was commanded at this time by Gen. Zachary Taylor. Many officers, who subsequently won distinction in the Florida Indian, Mexican, and late Civil War, were stationed here from time to time. Within a time included in my own recollections of the post, Jefferson Davis spirited away the daughter of his commanding officer, Gen. Taylor, and married her, the "rough and ready" general being averse to the match.

Prairie du Chien derived its name from a French family known as du Chien, in English "The Dog." By this name the Prairie was known long prior to the establishment of the French stockade and post. By that name it has been known and recognized[Pg 12] ever since. It has been successively under the French, English and United States governments, and lying originally in the great Northwestern Territory, in the subsequent divisions of that immense domain, it has been included within the bounds of the territories of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Gov. Wm. H. Harrison, of Indiana Territory, recognized Prairie du Chien by issuing commissions to Henry M. Fisher and —— Campbell as justices of the peace, the first civil commissions issued for the American government in the entire district of country including West Wisconsin and Minnesota east of the Mississippi. Prior to this time, about 1819, the inhabitants had been chiefly under military rule. In 1819 the county of Crawford was organized as a part of Michigan Territory, and blank commissions were issued to Nicholas Boilvin, Esq., with authority to appoint and install the officers of the new county government. Gov. Lewis Cass established by proclamation the county seat at Prairie du Chien, and John W. Johnson was installed as chief justice of the county court. The entire corps of officers were qualified. In January, 1823, Congress passed an act providing for circuit courts in the counties west and north of Lake Michigan, and James Duane Doty was appointed judge for the district composed of Brown, Mackinaw and Crawford counties, and a May term was held in Prairie du Chien the same year.

Indian Troubles.—There were some Indian troubles, an account of which is given in the biographical sketch of J. H. Lockwood. There were other incidents which may be worthy of separate mention. In 1827 an entire family, named Methode, were murdered, as is supposed, by the Indians, though the murderers were never identified. The great incentive to violence and rapine with the Indians was whisky. An intelligent Winnebago, aged about sixty years, told me that "paganini," "firewater" (whisky), was killing the great majority of his people, and making fools and cripples of those that were left; that before the pale faces came to the big river his people were good hunters and had plenty to eat; that now they were drunken, lazy and hungry; that they once wore elk or deer skins, that now they were clad in blankets or went naked. This Indian I had never seen drunk. The American Fur Company had huts or open houses where the Indians might drink and revel.

At an Indian payment a young, smart looking Indian got[Pg 13] drunk and in a quarrel killed his antagonist. The friends of the murdered Indian held a council and determined that the murderer should have an opportunity of running for his life. The friends of the murdered Indian formed in a line, at the head of which was stationed the brother of the dead man, who was to lead in the pursuit. At a signal the bands of the prisoner were cut, and with a demoniacal yell he bounded forward, the entire line in swift and furious pursuit. Should he outrun his pursuers, he would be free; should they overtake and capture him, they were to determine the mode of his death. He ran nearly a mile when he tripped and fell. The brother of the dead Indian, heading the pursuit, pounced upon him and instantly killed him with a knife.

Considering the fact that the Indians were gathered together under the guns of a United States fort, and under the protection of a law expressly forbidding the sale of intoxicating liquors to them, the people of the United States were certainly justified in expecting better results, not only in regard to the protection of the frontier settlers but for that of the Indians themselves. All came to naught because of the non-enforcement of law. Liquors were shamelessly sold to the Indians and they were encouraged to drunken revelry and orgies by the very men who should have protected and restrained them.

The prosperity of Prairie du Chien depended upon the Indian trade, and upon government contracts which the presence of a military force rendered necessary. The Indians gathered here in great numbers.

Here the Winnebagoes, part of the Menomonies and some Chippewas received their annuities, and here centred also an immense trade from the American Fur Company, the depot being a large stone building on the banks of the Mississippi, under the charge of Hercules Dousman.


Two discharged soldiers (Thompson and Evans) living at Patch Grove, thirteen miles away, visited the fort often. On a morning after one of their visits a soldier on guard noticed a heap of fresh earth near the magazine. An alarm was given, an examination made, and it was found that the magazine had been burst open with bars and sledge hammers, entrance having been[Pg 14] obtained by digging under the corner picket. Three kegs of silver, each containing $5,000, were missing. The kegs had been passed through the excavation underneath the picket. One keg had burst open near the picket, and the silver was found buried in the sand. The second keg burst on the bank of the Mississippi, and all the money was found buried there except about six hundred dollars. The third keg was found months after by John Brinkman, in the bottom of the river, two miles below the fort. He was spearing fish by torchlight, when he chanced to find the keg. The keg he delivered at the fort and received a small reward. On opening the keg it was found to contain coin of a different kind from that advertised as stolen. Brinkman, however, made no claims on account of errors. Thompson, Evans, and a man named Shields were arrested by the civil authorities on suspicion; their trial was continued from term to term and they were at last dismissed. One man, who had seen the silver in the sand during the day and gone back at night to fill his pockets, was seized by a soldier on guard, imprisoned for a year, and discharged.


A Frenchman shot and killed a couple of tame geese belonging to a neighbor, supposing them to be wild. Discovering his mistake, he brought the geese to the owner, a Dutchman, who flew into a great rage, but took the geese and used them for his own table, in addition to which he had the goose-killer arrested and tried before Martin Savall, a justice of the peace. The defendant admitted the killing of the geese, the plaintiff admitted receiving them and using them for food, nevertheless the justice gave judgment in favor of plaintiff by the novel ruling that these geese, if not killed, would have laid eggs and hatched about eight goslings. The defendant was therefore fined three dollars for the geese killed, and eight dollars for the goslings that might have been hatched if the geese had been permitted to live, and costs besides. Plaintiff appealed to the district court which reversed the decision on the ground that plaintiff had eaten his geese, and the goslings, not being hatched, did not exist. Plaintiff paid the costs of the suit, forty-nine dollars, remarking that a Dutchman had no chance in this country; that he would go back to Germany. The judge remarked that it would be the best thing he could do.[Pg 15]


My original plan on leaving Maine was to make a prospecting tour through the West and South. I had been in Prairie du Chien for a season, and as soon as my contract to cut hay for the fort and my harvesting work was done. I started, with two of my comrades, in a birch bark canoe for New Orleans. This mode of traveling proving slow and tedious, after two days, on our arrival at Dubuque, we sold our canoe and took passage on the steamer Smelter for St. Louis, which place we reached on the seventeenth of October. We remained five days, stopping at the Union Hotel. St. Louis was by far the finest and largest city I had yet seen in the West. Its levee was crowded with drays and other vehicles and lined with steamers and barges. Its general appearance betokened prosperity. On the twenty-second, I left on the steamer George Collier for New Orleans, but the yellow fever being reported in that city, I remained several days at Baton Rouge. On the second of November I re-embarked for New Orleans, where I found a lodging at the Conti Street Hotel. New Orleans was even then a large and beautiful city. Its levee and streets were remarkable for their cleanness, but seemed almost deserted. Owing to a recent visitation of the yellow fever and the financial crisis of 1837, business was almost suspended. These were hard times in New Orleans. Hundreds of men were seeking employment, and many of them were without money or friends. It was soon very evident to me that I had come to a poor place to better my fortunes. After a thorough canvass, I found but one situation vacant, and that was in a drinking saloon, and was not thought of for an instant. I remained fifteen days, my money gradually diminishing, when I concluded to try the interior. I took steamer for Vicksburg, and thence passed up the Yazoo to Manchester, where I spent two days in the vain search for employment, offering to do any kind of work. I was in the South, where the labor was chiefly done by negroes. I was friendless and without letters of recommendation, and for a man under such circumstances to be asking for employment was in itself a suspicious circumstance. I encountered everywhere coldness and distrust. I returned to Vicksburg, and, fortunately, had still enough money left to secure a deck passage to the North, but was obliged to[Pg 16] live sparingly, and sleep without bedding. I kept myself somewhat aloof from the crew and passengers. The captain and clerk commented on my appearance, and were, as I learned from a conversation that I could not help but overhear, keeping a close eye upon me for being so quiet and restrained. It was true that the western rivers were infested with desperate characters, gamblers and thieves such as the Murrell gang. Might I not be one of them. I was truly glad when, on the fifth of December, we landed at St. Louis. It seemed nearer my own country; but finding no employment there, I embarked on the steamer Motto for Hennepin, Illinois, where I found occasional employment cutting timber. There was much talk here of the Murrell gang, then terrorizing the country; and I have good reason to believe that some of them at that time were in Hennepin. After remaining about two months, I left, on foot, valise in hand or strapped upon my back, with J. Simpson, for Galena, which place we reached in four days. Finding here Mr. Putnam, with a team, I went up with him on the ice to Prairie du Chien, where, after an absence of five months of anxiety, suspense and positive hardships, I was glad to find myself once more among friends.

During the summer of 1838 I cultivated a farm. I had also a hay contract for the fort. My partner was James C. Bunker. I had worked hard and succeeded in raising a good crop, but found myself in the fall the victim of bilious fever and ague. I continued farming in 1839 and furnishing hay to the fort, but continued to suffer with chills and fever. Myself and partner were both affected, and at times could scarcely take care of ourselves. Help could not be obtained, but ague comes so regularly to torture its victims that, knowing the exact hour of its approach, we could prepare in advance for it, and have our water, gruel, boneset and quinine ready and within reach. We knew when we would shake, but not the degree of fever which would follow. The delirium of the fever would fill our minds with strange fancies. On one occasion I came home with the ague fit upon me, hitched my horses with wagon attached to a post and went into the house. Banker had passed the shaking stage, and was delirious. I threw myself on the bed, and the fever soon following, I knew nothing till morning, when I found the team still hitched to the post, and, in their hunger, eating it.[Pg 17]

In November of this year I made a somewhat perilous trip with team to Fort Winnebago, at the portage of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers. The weather was cold and the military road, much of the distance, covered with snow. There was scarcely a trail over the rolling prairie to guide me. Exposure brought on the chills as I was returning. Fatigued, sick and suffering, I coiled myself on the top of the load. The second day, as the sun was setting, I came in sight of Parish's Grove, but the horses were unwilling to obey my guidance. Coming to a fork in the road they insisted on going to the right. I pulled them to the left. Had I been guided by their "horse sense" they would have brought me in a few moments to the door of Parish's hotel. As it was, I drove on until far in the night, when we came to a steep hill, two steep for descent in the wagon. I unhitched the team, loaded them with the portable things in the wagon to keep them from the wolves that were howling around, mounted one of the horses and descended the hill and found myself at Parish's door, the very place I had been trying to find for a day and a night. Lieut. Caldwell, quartermaster at Fort Crawford, received the load, and learning something of the perils of the journey, gave me eighty dollars instead of the forty he had promised.


During the spring and summer of 1840, I fulfilled heavy hay and wood contracts for the fort, and in the autumn of that year concluded to revisit my early home in Maine. I set out September 23d, and reached Chicago in seven days, traveling with a team. I traveled thence by steamer to Buffalo, by canal boat to Rochester, by railroad and stage to Albany and Boston, by railroad to Lowell, and by stage to Tamworth, New Hampshire. After spending four years amidst the prairies of the West it was indeed a pleasure to look again upon the grand ranges of mountains in this part of New England. When eleven years of age I had lived where I could look upon these mountains, and now to their grandeur was added the charm of old association. I looked with pleasure once more upon "Old Ossipee," Coroway Peak, and White Face. Time had written no changes upon these rugged mountains. There were cottages and farms on the mountain side. Sparkling rivulets gleamed in the sunlight,[Pg 18] as they found their way, leaping from rock to rock, to the valleys beneath. Tamworth is situated on beautiful ridges amongst these mountain ranges. Near this place is the old family burying ground containing the graves of my grand parents and other near relatives. These mountain peaks seemed to stand as sentinels over their last resting place. I remained at Tamworth a short time, visited the graves of my kindred, and on October 20th pursued my journey to Bloomfield, Maine, my old home. I found great changes. Some kind friends remained, but others were gone. The old home was changed and I felt that I could not make my future home here. The great West seemed more than ever attractive. There would I build my home, and seek my fortune. I found here one who was willing to share that home and whatever fortune awaited me in the West. On January 1st I was married to Mary J. Wyman, by Rev. Arthur Drinkwater, who gave us good counsel on the eve of our departure to a new and still wilderness country. On February 16th we bade adieu to our friends in Maine, visited awhile at Tamworth, and March 20th reached Prairie du Chien, having traveled by private conveyance, stage and steamer, passing through New Haven, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Frederick City, Maryland, over the National road to Wheeling, Virginia, by steamer down the Ohio and up the Mississippi to our destination. Here we made our home until the autumn of 1845, I continuing in the business in which I had been previously engaged. At this time a failure in my wife's health rendered a change of climate necessary.


Our history of Fifty Years in the Northwest commences properly at Prairie du Chien in the years 1836-37. The entire country west and north was at that time but little better than a wilderness. Prairie du Chien was an outpost of civilization. A few adventurous traders and missionaries had penetrated the country above, planting a few stations here and there, and some little effort had been made at settlement, but the country, for the most part, was the home of roving tribes of Indians, and he who adventured among them at any distance from posts or settlements did so at considerable peril. Prairie du Chien, as we have[Pg 19] shown, had been for an indefinite period under various governments, at first a French, and later an American settlement, generally under the protection of a military force. It was a primitive looking village. The houses were built for the most part of upright timber posts and puncheons, and were surrounded by pickets. There was no effort at display. Every thing was arranged for comfort and protection.


There were living at Prairie du Chien in 1837 the following Americans with their families: Alfred Brunson, Thomas P. Burnett, Joseph M. and Thomas P. Street, Ezekiel Tainter, John Thomas, Milo Richards, John H. Fonday, Samuel Gilbert, and William Wilson. The following were unmarried: James B. Dallam, Ira B. Brunson, William S. Lockwood, and Hercules Dousman. In addition to these were perhaps near a hundred French families, old residents. Among the more noted were the Brisbois, La Chapelle, Rolette and Bruno families.

We include in the following biographical sketches some names of non-residents, prominent in the early territorial history, and others who came to Prairie du Chien later than 1837.


James Duane Doty.—The life of this eminent citizen is so interwoven with the history of Wisconsin that it might well claim more space than is here allotted to it. The plan of this work forbids more than a brief mention, and we therefore give only the principal events in his life. Mr. Doty was born in Salem, Washington county, New York, where he spent his early days. After receiving a thorough literary education he studied law, and in 1818 located at Detroit, Michigan. In 1820, in company with Gov. Cass, he made a canoe voyage of exploration through Lakes Huron and Michigan. On this voyage they negotiated treaties with the Indians, and returning made a report on the comparatively unexplored region which they had traversed. Under his appointment as judge for the counties of Michigan west of the lake, which appointment he held for nine years, he first made his home at Prairie du Chien, where he resided one year, thence removing to Green Bay for the remainder[Pg 20] of his term of office, at which place he continued to reside for a period of twenty years. In 1830 he was appointed one of the commissioners to locate military routes from Green Bay to Chicago and Prairie du Chien. In 1834 he represented the counties west of the lake in the Michigan legislative council at Detroit, at which council the first legislative action was taken affecting these counties. At that session he introduced a bill to create the state of Michigan, which was adopted. The result of this action was the creation of the territory of Wisconsin in 1836. In 1838 Mr. Doty was chosen territorial delegate to Congress from Wisconsin, in which capacity he served four years, when he was appointed governor. He served as governor three years. He acted as commissioner in negotiating Indian treaties. In 1846 he was a member of the first constitutional convention. In 1848 he was elected member of Congress, and was re-elected in 1851.

Somewhere in the '50s he built a log house on an island in Fox river, just above Butte des Mortes, and lived there with his family many years. There he gathered ancient curiosities, consisting of Indian implements, and relics of the mound builders. This log house still stands and is kept intact with the curiosities gathered there by the present owner, John Roberts, to whom they were presented by Mrs. Fitzgerald, a daughter of Gov. Doty, in 1877. The cabin overlooks the cities of Menasha and Neenah, and the old council ground at the outlet of Lake Winnebago, where the Fox and Sioux Indians held annual councils, also the old battle ground where the Fox Indians routed the Sioux in one of the hardest fought battles on record.

In 1861 Judge Doty was appointed superintendent of Indian affairs, and subsequently was appointed governor of Utah Territory, which place he held until his death in 1865. Wisconsin had no truer friend nor more faithful and efficient servant. His aims were exalted, and he deservedly held a high place in the affections of his fellow citizens.

James H. Lockwood.—Mr. Lockwood was the only practicing lawyer at the organization of Judge Doty's court. He was the pioneer lawyer in Prairie du Chien, and the first lawyer admitted to the bar in what is now Wisconsin. He practiced in Crawford, Brown and Mackinaw counties. He was born in Peru, Clinton county, New York, Dec. 7, 1793. He married Julia Warren in 1822. She died at Prairie du Chien in 1827.[Pg 21] He married his second wife, Sarah A. Wright, in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1834. She died at Prairie du Chien in 1877, much esteemed as one of the pioneer women of the Upper Mississippi, and respected as a devout Christian, whose faith was proven by her works. The early years of Mr. Lockwood were spent on a farm. He had not the privileges of a classical education, and he may be said to be self educated. In 1810 he commenced the study of law. In 1814 he was sutler in the United States army, and in 1815 at the post at Mackinaw. From 1816 to 1819 he was an Indian trader, his home being at Prairie du Chien. In 1826 orders came to abandon the fort at Prairie du Chien. The soldiers were transferred to Fort Snelling, but arms and ammunition were left in charge of John Marsh, sub-Indian agent. Mr. Lockwood's family was the only American family at the post. On June 25th of the ensuing year he left for New York by the Wisconsin River route, Mrs. Lockwood remaining at home. The Winnebagoes were a little troublesome at this time, the more so as the soldiers were removed from the post, but no serious disturbance was anticipated. The first night after leaving Prairie du Chien Mr. L. met some Winnebagoes, and all camped together for the night; but the Indians, under their chief, Red Bird, left the camp stealthily before morning, and, proceeding to Prairie du Chien, entered the house of Mr. Lockwood with loaded rifles. Mrs. L., greatly frightened, fled to the store, then in charge of Duncan Graham, an old English trader. The Indians followed Mrs. L. into the store. Graham counseled with them and they left. As they were acting suspiciously a messenger was sent after Mr. Lockwood in haste. He returned on the twenty-seventh and found the inhabitants assembled, but without ammunition or means of defense. The Indians told the people not to go into the fort, as they would destroy it. As the day passed pickets and embankments were built around an old tavern. About sundown a keelboat came down the river and landed, bearing three dead bodies and several wounded. The sides of the boat had been riddled by bullets. This ghastly arrival increased the panic. Mr. Lockwood urged organization for defense. He was selected as captain but declined, and Thomas McNair was chosen, who ordered an immediate removal to the fort. Repairs were made and preparations for successful defense. On the day the fighting commenced[Pg 22] Red Bird and his companions shot and killed Gagner and Lipcap. Mrs. Gagner, with rifle in hand, held Red Bird at bay till she escaped with one child into the rushes, whence she was rescued by a soldier on patrol duty. The soldier went to the house, where he found Gagner and Lipcap lying dead upon the floor, and an infant child, scalped and with its throat cut, lying under the bed. Gov. Cass, of Michigan, arrived on the fourth of July, greatly to the relief of the besieged garrison, which he mustered into the service of the United States, appointing Mr. Lockwood quartermaster. Another company, under Capt. Abner Field, was sent from Galena to their relief. Mr. Lockwood sent a messenger to Col. Snelling at Fort Snelling, who promptly sent down a company in a keelboat. The force thus concentrated at the fort was sufficient to overcome the Indians, who were in no plight to engage in a war with the United States. As the result of a council held by the Winnebagoes in the presence of the officers of the garrison, the Indians agreed to surrender Red Bird and Kee-Waw to Maj. Whistler, the Indians asking that the prisoners should not be ironed or harshly treated. Maj. Whistler promised that they should be treated with consideration, and Red Bird, rising from the ground, said, "I am ready," and was marched off with his accomplice, Kee-Waw, to a tent in the rear and placed under guard. The prisoners were handed over to Gen. Atkinson, and given into the hands of the civil authorities. They were chained and imprisoned, which so chafed the proud spirit of Red Bird that he drooped and soon died of a broken heart. Kee-Waw was afterward pardoned by the president of the United States. For this and other outrages perpetrated upon the settlers, not a single Indian suffered the penalty of death, excepting Red Bird, whose pride may be said to have been his executioner.

Mr. Lockwood continued in mercantile business at Prairie du Chien many years. He held many positions of honor and trust, acquitting himself with credit. He built the first saw mill north of the Wisconsin river, on the Menomonie river. The famous Menomonie mills now occupy the same site. A small mill had been commenced prior to this on Black river, but the Indians had burned this mill before it was completed. Mr. Lockwood died at his home, Aug. 24, 1867.

John S. Lockwood.—John S., the brother of James H. Lockwood,[Pg 23] was born in 1796 in New York; came to Prairie du Chien in 1838, and thereafter engaged in merchandising. He was a man of exemplary habits and a member of the Presbyterian church most of his life. He raised an interesting family. He died at his home at Prairie du Chien in 1858.

Samuel Gilbert settled at Prairie du Chien in 1830. He was of Kentucky birth, a blacksmith by trade, and a model man in habits. Mr. Gilbert, in 1842, became one of the proprietors of the Chippewa Falls mill. He afterward lived at Albany. He followed Mississippi river piloting, removed to Burlington, Iowa, and died in 1878. Mr. Gilbert left four sons, Oliver, lumberman in Dunn county, Wisconsin, John and I. Dallam, lumber merchants at Burlington, Iowa, and Samuel.

Michael Brisbois.—We find the names of Brisbois and some others mentioned in the proceedings of the commission held by Col. Isaac Lee in 1820, to adjust claims to land in Prairie du Chien and vicinity. Michael Brisbois testified that he had been a resident of the Prairie thirty-nine years, which would date his settlement as far back as 1781. Mr. Brisbois lived a stirring and eventful life. He died in 1837, leaving several children. Joseph, the oldest, became a man of prominence and held many offices in state and church. Charles, the second son, while yet a boy went to McKenzie river, British possessions, in the employ of the Northwestern Fur Company, where he lived thirty years beyond the Arctic circle, and raised a large family. In 1842 he returned to Prairie du Chien, but his children, reared in the cold climate of the frozen zone, soon after his return sickened, and most of them died, unable to endure the change to a climate so much milder. Bernard W., a third son, was born at Prairie du Chien, Oct. 4, 1808. He was well educated and grew up a leading and influential citizen. As a child he had witnessed the taking of Fort Shelby by the British in 1814, and its recapture as Fort McKay by the United States troops in 1815. During the Red Bird Indian war he served as second lieutenant, and for several years was stationed at Fort Crawford. He was also a prominent agent or confidential adviser in the fur company which had its headquarters at Prairie du Chien. He was sheriff of Crawford county and held the office of county treasurer and other positions of trust. In 1872 President Grant appointed him consul to Vernier, Belgium, but ill health compelled an early[Pg 24] return. Mr. Brisbois married into the La Chapelle family. He died in 1885, leaving an interesting family.

Pierre Lapoint was also before the commission of Col. Lee as an early resident, having lived at the Prairie since 1782. The testimony of these early citizens served to establish the ancient tenure of the lands by French settlers, a tenure so ancient that no one could definitely give a date for its commencement. Mr. Lapoint was a farmer. He reared a large family of children, and died about 1845.

Joseph Rolette.—Joseph Rolette was at one time chief justice of the county court of Crawford county. He was of French descent and was born in Quebec, L. C., in 1787. He was educated for the Catholic priesthood. In 1804 he came to Prairie du Chien. In the early part of his mature life he was an active and successful trader with the Indians on the Upper Mississippi. He was a man of keen perceptions and considerable ambition. He joined the British at the siege of Detroit, and was an officer at the capture of Mackinaw. He was in command of a company in the campaign of the British from Mackinaw to Prairie du Chien, and aided in taking the American stockade. His early education and associations inclined him to espouse the British cause during the war of 1812, which he did with all the ardor and enthusiasm of his nature. To his family he was kind and indulgent, giving his children the best education possible. One daughter, married to Capt. Hoe, of the United States army, was a very superior woman. One son, Joseph, received all the aid that money could give, and might have risen to distinction, but he early contracted intemperate habits which became in later life tenaciously fixed. This son was at one time a member of the Minnesota legislature. Joseph Rolette, Sr., died at Prairie du Chien in 1842.

Hercules Dousman.—The leading Indian trader of the Upper Mississippi, the prominent adviser at Indian treaties and payments and the trusted agent of the American Fur Company, was Hercules Dousman, a keen, shrewd man, and universally influential with the Indians, with whom it might be said his word was law. He understood all the intricacies involved in the Indian treaty and the half-breed annuities and payments. His extended favors and credits to the Indians, properly proven, of course, would be recognized and paid at the regular payments.[Pg 25] He accumulated through these agencies great wealth, which he retained to his dying day. He came to Prairie du Chien, in the employ of Joseph Rolette, in 1828. He afterward married the widow of Rolette. He died in Prairie du Chien in 1878.

Rev. David Lowry.—A noble, big hearted Kentuckian, a minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, he was located by the government as farmer and teacher of the Indians on Yellow river, near Prairie du Chien, in 1833. For years this good man labored with unquestioned zeal for the welfare of the untutored Indian. Mr. Lowry informed me, while at his post, that he was fearful that all his labor was labor lost, or worse than useless. The Indian pupil learned just enough to fit him for the worst vices. The introduction of whisky was a corrupting agency, in itself capable of neutralizing every effort for the moral and intellectual advancement of the Indian, with whom intoxication produces insanity. He felt quite disheartened as to the prospect of accomplishing any good. He died at St. Cloud some time in the '50s.

Chief Justice Charles Dunn.—When Wisconsin Territory was organized in 1836, Charles Dunn was appointed chief justice. He served as judge until Wisconsin became a state in 1848. He was of Irish descent and was born in Kentucky in 1799. He studied law in Kentucky and Illinois, and was admitted to practice in 1820 at Jonesboro, Illinois. He was chief clerk of the Illinois house of representatives five years. He was one of the commissioners of the Illinois and Michigan canal. In 1829 he was one of a party which surveyed and platted the first town of Chicago, and superintended the first sale of town lots there. He was captain of a company during the Black Hawk War in 1832, and was severely wounded through mistake by a sentinel on duty. In 1835 he was a member of the Illinois house of representatives. In 1837, as judge, he held his first court in Crawford county. In this court, in 1838, indictments were found against certain individuals for selling liquor to whites and Indians contrary to law, when, by evasions, continuances and technicalities, the suits would go by the board. In one case the charge given to the jury by this dignified and courteous Judge Dunn was as follows: "Gentlemen of the Jury: Unless you are satisfied that the defendants in this case did deal out, in clear, unadulterated quantities, intoxicating drinks, it is your imperative duty to discharge[Pg 26] them." The jury, of course, discharged the defendants. Aside from his drinking habits, which interfered much with his usefulness, he was a genial gentleman and regarded by his associates as an eminent jurist. He sometimes kept the court waiting till he should become sober, and on one occasion came near losing his life in a drunken spree. He jumped through an upper window of Tainter's hotel, and escaped with only a broken leg. Judge Dunn was a member of the second Wisconsin constitutional convention. He was state senator in 1853-4-5 and 6. He died at Mineral Point, April 7, 1872.

Rev. Alfred Brunson, a distinguished pioneer preacher in the West, was born in Connecticut, 1793, and received there a common school education. His father died while he was yet a minor, and with commendable zeal and filial love he devoted himself to providing for his mother and her bereaved family, working at the trade of a shoemaker till he was seventeen years of age, when he enlisted as a soldier under Gen. Harrison and served under him until the peace of 1815, when he entered the Methodist ministry, in which, by industry and close application, he became quite learned and eminent as a divine. His active ministry extended to the long period of sixty-seven years. He was the first Methodist minister north of the Wisconsin river. In 1837 he established a mission at Kaposia and thence removed to Red Rock (Newport), in Washington county, Minnesota. In 1840 he was a member of the Wisconsin legislature. In 1842 he was Indian agent at Lapointe, on Lake Superior. Mr. Brunson was very prominent in the councils of his own church, having represented his conference several times in the general conference of that body. He is also the author of many essays and other publications, among them "The Western Pioneer," in two volumes, a most entertaining and instructive account of life in the West.

Mr. Brunson was married to Eunice Burr, a relative of the famous Aaron Burr. She was a woman of great intelligence and of excellent qualities of heart as well as mind. Her heart overflowed with sympathy for the sick and distressed, and she won by her care for them the affectionate title of "Mother Brunson." She died in 1847.

Rev. Alfred Brunson, though an itinerant, was so favored in his various fields of labor that he was able to have his permanent[Pg 27] home at Prairie du Chien, where he lived from 1835 until the time of his death in 1882.

Many incidents in Mr. Brunson's career are worthy of permanent record. He was among the most hardy and daring of the pioneers. He came down the Ohio and up the Mississippi in a barge to Prairie du Chien in 1835, the barge laden with household furniture and the material for a frame building which, on landing, he proceeded immediately to erect. This house, which he and his family occupied till his death, is still standing.

When he established his mission at Kaposia he was greatly in need of an interpreter. An officer at Fort Snelling owned a negro slave who had been a Methodist before going into the army in the service of his master. Afterward he had married a Dakota woman and by associating with the Indians had learned their language. This young negro, James Thompson, was a slave, and Mr. Brunson could only secure his services by purchasing him outright, which he did, paying the price of $1,200, the money for which was raised by subscription in Ohio. "Jim" was presented with his "free papers," and was soon interpreting the Gospel to the Indians at Kaposia. This is the only instance on record of a slave being sold on Minnesota soil. It will be remembered, however, that the historical "Dred Scott" was also the property of an officer at the Fort, Surgeon Emerson. James Thompson resided in St. Paul in the later years of his life, and died there in 1884.

Ira Brunson.—Ira, the eldest son of Rev. A. Brunson, was born in Ohio in 1815, and came to Prairie du Chien in 1836. He was a member of the legislature during the years 1837-38-39 and 40. He was also postmaster many years. He was continuously in office in Crawford county until his death in 1884. In 1840 he was appointed special deputy United States marshal for the purpose of removing the settlers from the Fort Snelling reservation. These settlers were mostly from Selkirk, Manitoba. They had been driven out by the grasshoppers and, fleeing southward, had settled about Fort Snelling to be under the protection of the Fort. The government, however, considered them intruders and ordered Mr. Brunson to remove them outside the reservation, and to destroy all their dwellings and farm improvements, which disagreeable duty he performed as well, perhaps, as it could be performed; he, as he afterward told me, being[Pg 28] satisfied in his own mind that the removal would be for their ultimate good, the influences of the Fort and of the associations of the motley crowd of hangers on around it being somewhat demoralizing. At any rate the eviction of these western Acadians has never aroused the sympathies of the poet and sentimentalist as did that of the Acadians of the East.

John H. Folsom, brother of W. H. C. Folsom, was born in Machias, Maine, Dec. 27, 1813. He was engaged during his youth in clerking. In 1835 he made a voyage as supercargo of a vessel to the Congo coast. In 1836 he came to Michigan, and in 1837 to Prairie du Chien, where he has since continuously resided. He was married in 1839 to Angelica Pion, who died in 1878, leaving no children. He has a very retentive memory, and is quoted as an authority in the local history of Prairie du Chien. The writer is indebted to him for many particulars referring to the early history of that city.

Ezekiel Tainter.—Mr. Tainter came to Prairie du Chien in 1833 from Vermont. He had at first fort contracts, but afterward engaged in merchandising, farming and hotel keeping. He also served as sheriff. He was eccentric and original in his methods, and some amusing stories are told of his prowess in arresting criminals. On one occasion he was about to arrest a criminal. Having summoned his posse, he followed the man until he took refuge in a cabin with one door and two windows. Stationing his men before the door, he thus addressed them: "Brave boys, I am about to go through this door. If I fall, as I undoubtedly will, you must rush over my dead body and seize the ruffian." Giving the word of command, he plunged through the door and captured the criminal, apparently much astonished at finding himself still alive. At his tavern, one morning, a boarder announced that he had been robbed. Uncle Zeke quieted him, and, quickly examining his rooms, found one boarder missing. It was gray twilight. He ordered all to retire but the man who had been robbed. The two sat quietly down as they saw a man approaching the house from the bluffs. To their surprise it was the absentee approaching. As he stepped on the piazza, Uncle Zeke dexterously tripped him up with his stiff leg, and seizing him by the throat, shouted to the astonished miscreant: "Where is the money you stole? Tell me at once, or you will never get up." The prostrate culprit, thoroughly frightened, tremblingly[Pg 29] answered, "I hid it in the bluff." They marched him to the spot, recovered the money and generously allowed the thief his freedom on the condition of his leaving the country. Uncle Zeke lived to a good old age, and died at the residence of his son Andrew, in Menomonie, Wisconsin.

Wyram Knowlton.—Mr. Knowlton was born in Chenango county, New York, in 1816, came to Wisconsin in 1837, and commenced the study of law. He was admitted to practice in Platteville, and in 1840 came to Prairie du Chien and opened a law office. In 1846 he enlisted and served in the Mexican War, after which he resumed practice. In 1850 he was appointed judge of the Sixth Judicial district of Wisconsin, and served six years. He held the first court in Pierce county in 1854. He was a man of fine ability. He died in the north part of the State in 1873.

Robert Lester.—A melancholy interest attaches to the memory of this man on account of his early tragical death. He had come to Prairie du Chien in 1840, and in 1842 had been elected sheriff. Next year his official duties called him to the Menomonie and Chippewa valleys. On his return he had left Lockwood's mills on the Menomonie, and had passed through Trempealeau and was coasting along the west shore, when an Indian hailed him, calling for bread. Lester passed on without responding. As he reached a point of land the Indian ran across the point and, awaiting his approach, shot him through the heart. Lester rose as the ball struck him, and fell overboard. Mr. Jean Bruno, proprietor of the Chippewa mills, was on his way up river in a canoe, and witnessed the whole transaction. Mr. Bruno described the whole tragic scene. Popular excitement ran high at Prairie du Chien. A party of men volunteered to search for Lester's body, which was found at the place of the murder and brought back for interment at Prairie du Chien. The Indian, a Sioux, was arrested and kept in jail a long time, and although he had acknowledged to some of his Indian friends that he had killed Lester, he was acquitted. It was a cold blooded and atrocious murder, and the proof of the Indian's guilt was overwhelming, as he was, by his own confession, the murderer; still he was not punished. In this case the prisoner did not languish and die in jail of a broken heart as did Red Bird, the murderer of Gagner and Lipcap. As a rule the courts dealt very leniently with Indian criminals.[Pg 30]

Thomas Pendleton Burnett was born in Virginia in 1800. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in Paris, Kentucky. He was appointed sub-Indian agent under J. M. Street, in 1829. He came to Prairie du Chien in 1830 and entered upon the duties of the agency. He also practiced law. In 1835 he was a member of the Michigan territorial council and its president. In 1836, after his term of office expired, he married a daughter of Alfred Brunson and, continuing the practice of law, became quite eminent for his skill, and acquired an extensive practice. He was a fluent speaker, well skilled in the management of the cases intrusted to his care. In 1840 he removed to a farm at Patch Grove, Grant county. He was a member of the Wisconsin constitutional convention which met in 1846. He served but a few weeks when he was called home by the death of his mother and the sickness of his wife. The fatigue of a twenty-four hours' ride of eighty-five miles in a rude lumber wagon was too much for his not very rugged constitution, and four days after his mother's death he followed her to the world of spirits. His devoted wife survived him but three hours. Under circumstances of such unusual sadness did this brilliant and promising lawyer and citizen take his departure from earth. His death created a profound sensation throughout the entire Northwest, where he was so well and favorably known.

Henry Dodge, the first governor of Wisconsin Territory, was born in Vincennes, Indiana, Oct. 12, 1782. He came to the lead mines of Wisconsin in 1828. In 1832 he took part in the Black Hawk War, an uprising of the Sac and Fox Indians against the United States government. Mr. Dodge participated as a general at the battle of Bad Axe, his regiment occupying the front rank in that battle. April 30, 1836, he was appointed governor of Wisconsin by President Andrew Jackson, reappointed in 1839 by President Van Buren, and by President Polk in 1845, serving three terms. From 1841 to 1845, during the presidency of Harrison and his successor (Tyler), he served as territorial delegate to Congress. In 1848 he was elected United States senator for the short term, and re-elected in 1851, Senator Walker being his colleague. On the occasion of the motion to admit California, the Wisconsin senators were instructed by the legislature to vote against the measure. Senator Walker disregarded the instruction and voted for the measure. Senator Dodge, although extremely ill at the[Pg 31] time, had himself carried to the senate chamber that he might record his vote adversely to the bill. Gov. Dodge rose to the highest position in his State, and chiefly by his own unaided efforts. As a soldier he was brave and efficient, as a governor, congressional delegate and senator he was clear headed, cautious and wise, and altogether a citizen of whom the State might justly be proud. He died in Burlington, Iowa, June 19, 1867.

George W. Jones was born in Vincennes, Indiana. He graduated at Transylvania University, Kentucky, in 1825. He was educated for the law, but ill health prevented him from practicing. He, however, served as clerk of the United States district court in Missouri in 1826, and during the Black Hawk War served as aid-de-camp to Gen. Dodge. In 1832 he was appointed colonel of militia, and was promoted to a major generalship. After the war he served as judge of a county court. In 1835 he was elected delegate to Congress from the territory of Michigan, or from that part of it lying west of Lake Michigan, and remained a delegate until the formation of Wisconsin Territory, in 1836, when he was elected delegate from the new territory. In 1839 he was appointed surveyor general for Wisconsin. He was removed in 1841, but reappointed by President Polk, and continued in office until elected senator from the state of Iowa, which position he held for six years, and was then appointed by President Buchanan minister to New Granada. During the Civil War his sympathies were with the South and he was imprisoned for awhile at Fort Warren under a charge of disloyalty. He has resided in Dubuque, Iowa, since the formation of Iowa Territory. He still lives, a hale and hearty old gentleman, and served as a delegate to the waterways convention held in St. Paul, September, 1880.

S. G. and S. L. Tainter and John Thomas (father of Hon. Ormsby Thomas, representative from Wisconsin in the Congress of 1887-88) with their families came to Prairie du Chien in 1837. The Messrs. Tainter and Thomas died many years ago.

[Pg 32]



In September, 1844, reluctantly I bade adieu to Prairie du Chien with its picturesque bluffs and historic associations, and embarked on the steamer Highland Mary, Capt. Atchison, to seek a home and more salubrious climate further north. The voyage was without incident worthy of note, till we reached St. Croix lake, in the midst of a crashing thunder storm and a deluge of rain, which did not prevent us from eagerly scanning the scenery of the lake. The shores were as yet almost without inhabitants. The home of Paul Carli, a two story house at the mouth of Bolles creek, was the first dwelling above Prescott, on the west side of the lake. A few French residences were to be seen above on the west side. On the east bank, below the mouth of Willow river, where Hudson is now situated, were three log houses owned by Peter Bouchea, Joseph Manesse, and Louis Massey. On the high hill west, nearly opposite Willow river, stood the farm house of Elam Greely, and on the same side, on the point, in full view of Stillwater, stood the farm house of John Allen. With the exception of these few dwellings, the shores of the lake were untouched by the hand of man, and spread before us in all their primitive beauty. There were gently rounded hills sloping to the water's edge, and crowned with groves of shrubby oak, amidst which, especially at the outlet of streams into the lake, the darker pines stood out boldly against the sky. We passed on over the clear, blue expanse of water on which was no floating thing save our boat and the wild fowl which were scared and flew away at our approach, till we reached the head of the lake at Stillwater, the end of our journey. November 30th my family arrived on the steamer Cecilia, Capt. Throckmorton.[Pg 33]


We landed just in front of the store of nelson & co. just below the landing was a clear, cold spring, bubbling out of the earth, or the rock rather. It was walled in and pretty well filled with speckled trout. On the opposite side of the street Walter R. Vail had a house and store; north of Vail's store the house and store of Socrates Nelson. Up Main street, west side, stood Anson Northrup's hotel and Greely & Blake's post office and store. One street back was the residence of John E. Mower, and north of this the mill boarding house, and in the rear the shanty store of the mill company, where the Sawyer House now stands. Up a ravine stood the shanty residence of John Smith. In a ravine next to Nelson & Co.'s store was the residence of Wm. Cove. On Main street, opposite Greely & Blake's store, was the residence of Albert Harris. On the shore of the lake, north of Chestnut street, was John McKusick's saw mill. Sylvester Stateler's blacksmith shop stood just south of the mill. In Brown's Dakotah, now Schulenberg's addition, near the old log court house, was a log hotel, kept by Robert Kennedy. This was Stillwater in 1845.


From 1819 to 1836 this valley was under the jurisdiction of Crawford county, Michigan, there being no white inhabitants save Indian traders. There was no law dispensed in this region, excepting the law that might makes right. In 1836 the territory of Wisconsin, comprising all of Michigan west of the great lakes; also all that portion of Missouri Territory out of which was formed the state of Iowa, which was organized as a territory in 1838, and admitted as a state in 1846; also that portion of Minnesota which lies west of the present state—yet unorganized—known as Dakota, was organized.

The year 1837 forms a new era in our history. Gov. Henry Dodge, of Wisconsin, on the part of the national government, was appointed to negotiate with the Ojibways. They met at Fort Snelling. A treaty was made, the Indians ceding to the United States all their lands east of the Mississippi, to near the headwaters of the St. Croix and Chippewa rivers.[Pg 34]

A deputation of Dakotas at Washington, the same year, ceded all their lands east of the Mississippi to the parent government, thus opening to settlement all this portion of Minnesota and Wisconsin. But few adventurers made their way into this far off region, however, for many years. A steamer once in two months was the only mode of travel, excepting by birch canoe.

In October, 1837, at Prairie du Chien, I met a party who had ascended the Mississippi and the St. Croix as far as St. Croix Falls. According to their account they had found the place where creation ended, where a large river, capable of bearing a steamer, burst out of a rock like that which Moses smote. They had seen "the elephant with his quills erect," and were returning satisfied to their New England home. They had entered the since famous Dalles of the St. Croix, located at the head of navigation on that river.

In the year 1838, being the year succeeding the purchase of the lands bordering on the St. Croix river and a portion of her tributaries, may be dated the commencement of the settlement of the St. Croix valley; but with the exception of the Hon. Joseph R. Brown, the parties that I shall enumerate as opening business, came here for the purpose of lumbering, and in no instance as permanent settlers. The valley was considered too far north and the soil too sterile for cultivation, but many of those who came here in 1838 found out their mistake and made choice of the valley for their permanent homes. They were afterward abundantly satisfied with the healthfulness of the climate and the fertility of the soil. Several companies were formed this year for the ostensible purpose of lumbering, many members of which became permanent settlers.

The first dismemberment of the St. Croix valley from Crawford county was by the organization of the county of St. Croix. Joseph R. Brown was elected representative to the legislature, from the north part of Crawford county. His residence at that time was Gray Cloud, now in Washington county. Mr. Brown introduced the bill for the organization of St. Croix county, which passed and was approved by the governor of Wisconsin, Jan. 9, 1840. The writer of these sketches was employed by Messrs. Brown and Brunson (the representatives from this district), in December, 1839, to take them with a team from Prairie du Chien to Madison. One of the indispensable requirements[Pg 35] for traveling in those days was a large "Black Betty," which was the butt of much wit and humor. Mr. Brown said the contents of Old Betty must establish a new county away up in the Northwest. The deed was done—the act did pass. I don't know whether Old Betty came back to assist in organizing the county or not. It is well to say Mr. Brown acquitted himself with honor to his constituents, and was successful in the one great object for which he sought the election. This was the precursor to coming events—a shadow cast before. For it was under this organization that Northwest Wisconsin and Minnesota first obeyed the mandates of law and order.

Under the provision of the act of organization, Hazen Mooers, of Gray Cloud, Samuel Burkelo, of Marine, and Joseph R. Brown, of Dakotah, were constituted a board of county commissioners with county seat located at Dakotah.

This town was located at the head of Lake St. Croix, on the west side, on unsurveyed government lands, known as "Joe Brown's Claim." When the Wisconsin legislature of 1840 made this the county seat of St. Croix county it was named Dakotah.


The first district court north of Prairie du Chien was called at Dakotah, St. Croix county. This county had been assigned to Judge Irwin's district (Green Bay). The time assigned for the court was June, 1840. Judge Irwin wended his way up Fox river to the portage, down the Wisconsin to Prairie du Chien, up the Mississippi to St. Paul, and across from St. Paul to Dakotah with guides. At Dakotah the regular officers were all absent, but he found at the court house two young men named Brown and six Frenchmen from St. Paul and Little Canada, summoned as jurors by Sheriff Lawrence. Judge Irwin remained one night, slept in deer skins in the county building, subsisting meanwhile on venison and bear steak. No calendar was to be found and the judge and jurors left for home.

The first commissioners' meeting was held Oct. 5, 1840. At this meeting much important work was done. An acre of ground at the county seat was selected for county buildings. A contract to erect a court house according to specifications was let to J. R. Brown, he to receive for the same eight hundred dollars.[Pg 36] The parties agreed upon a deed or conveyance of ground, a synopsis of which we append. The conveyance cites and reiterates a Wisconsin legislative law establishing St. Croix county, giving to the people the right to locate the county seat by vote and to the county commissioners power to erect county buildings, the selected location to be the permanent seat of justice of said county. It further provides that the county commissioners shall carry into effect the law of Congress of the United States, entitled "An act granting to counties or parishes, in which public lands are situate, the right of pre-emption to one-fourth section of land, for seats of justice within the same." Approved May 20, 1824. It then cites the vote taken Aug. 5, 1840, locating the county seat at "Brown's warehouse, at the head of Lake St. Croix." Further conditions are set forth in compliance with the law, confirming the location on Joseph R. Brown's land claim. This is the first recorded deed in St. Croix county.

Thirty dollars was allowed to J. R. Brown and W. B. Dibble, each, for carrying election returns to Prairie du Chien. The first abstract of votes polled in St. Croix county was for delegate to Congress and for county officers. For delegate to Congress the following vote was cast: Henry Dodge, seventeen; Jonathan E. Arnold, ten. Samuel Burkelo, Hazen Mooers and W. B. Dibble were elected county commissioners; William Holcombe, county treasurer and register of deeds; Phineas Lawrence, sheriff; J. R. Brown, county clerk and clerk of court, and Philander Prescott, assessor.

The first recorded deed of property in Stillwater was from Walter R. Vail to Rufus S. King, transferring for a consideration of $1,550 a tract bounded east by Lake St. Croix and south and north by lands owned by Churchill and Nelson.

Three election precincts had been established in this portion of Crawford county prior to the organization of St. Croix county: Caw-caw-baw-kank, embracing the county adjacent to St. Croix Falls; Dakotah, the county at the head of Lake St. Croix, and Chan-wak-an the Gray Cloud settlement, on the Mississippi.

On July 5, 1841, the commissioners held a meeting and established voting precincts as follows:

Gray Cloud—Judges of election, Hazen Mooers, David Howe, Joseph Haskell.[Pg 37]

Mouth of St. Croix Lake—Judges of election, P. Prescott, Oscar P. Burris, John Burke.

Marine Mills—Judges of election, Asa Parker, Samuel Burkelo, T. Harrington.

Falls of St. Croix—Judges of election, Joseph W. Furber, Joshua L. Taylor, Jesse Taylor.

Pokegama—Judges of election, Jeremiah Russell, E. Myers, E. L. Ely.

Feb. 2, 1844, St. Paul and Stillwater were made election precincts by the Wisconsin legislature, and Stillwater was made the county seat. The constituted authorities were not successful in making out assessments and collecting county revenues. The first estimate of expenditures for the county was for 1842, and amounted to $482. This included the estimate for holding one term of court. Up to the time of changing the county seat to Stillwater much dissatisfaction existed as to the manner in which the county finances had been managed, and there was a general revolt, a refusal to pay taxes. In consequence, the county building at Dakotah remained unfinished and was finally abandoned by the county authorities. J. R. Brown lost on his contract on account of this failure and abandonment. The first successful collection of taxes in St. Croix county, considered legal, was in 1845. Capt. Wm. Holcombe acted during this period as clerk of the commissioners, and register of deeds. In 1846 he deputized W. H. C. Folsom as deputy clerk and register of deeds, and transmitted the records from St. Croix Falls to Stillwater.


In the spring of 1843 Jacob Fisher made a claim on unsurveyed lands at the head of Lake St. Croix, immediately south of Dakotah, spotting and blazing the trees to mark the limits of his claim. Mr. Fisher thought it a good site for a saw mill, and made an offer to Elias McKean and Calvin F. Leach of the entire claim on condition that they would build a mill. McKusick and Greely were looking for a mill site; Mr. Fisher referred them to McKean and Leach. It was agreed that the four should take the[Pg 38] claim and erect the mill. Greely improved and held the claim, while McKusick went to St. Louis and procured mill irons and supplies. McKean and Leach operated in the pinery. By April 1, 1844, the mill was finished and in operation. This was the first frame building erected in Stillwater. It stood on the lake shore, east of Main street, lot 8, block 18. The second frame building was McKusick's boarding house, west of Main street, on block 18. John Allen's family was the first to locate in Stillwater. Mr. Allen came in the spring of 1844, and subsequently removed to California. The second family was that of Anson Northrup coming soon after. Mr. Northrup built a public house on the west side of Main street, just north of Nelson's alley. Soon afterward came widow Edwards and family from Ohio, relatives of the Northrups; Mrs. Northrup being a daughter of widow Edwards. Socrates Nelson came about this time and built the first store in Stillwater. His family joined him soon afterward. The first marriage was that of Jesse Taylor and Abbie Edwards, J. W. Furber, Esq., officiating justice. The second marriage was that of William Cove to Nancy Edwards in May, 1845. The first white child born was Willie Taylor, son of Jesse Taylor, in 1845. A daughter, Maud Maria, was born to Mr. and Mrs. Paul Carli in Dakotah (Schulenburg's addition to Stillwater), in 1843.

Stillwater derives its name from its appropriate location on the banks of the still waters of Lake St. Croix. A post office was established in 1845, and Elam Greely was appointed postmaster. The first business partnership was that of the saw mill company, already noted. We give here in full the articles of agreement as the first written and the oldest on record in Washington county. This document is important not only as fixing a date for the origin or founding of Stillwater, but as an important event, as it thus early laid the foundation of the future prosperity of the city, and indicated the direction in which its energies should be chiefly turned:

[Copy of Agreement.]

This agreement, made and entered into this twenty-sixth day of October, Anno Domini eighteen hundred and forty-three, by the following named individuals, viz.: John McKusick, Elias McKean, Elam Greely, and Calvin F. Leach, for the purpose of[Pg 39] building a saw mill near the head of Lake St. Croix, Wisconsin Territory, and for carrying on the lumbering business in all its various branches.

Article first—It is understood by this agreement, that the heretofore named individuals form themselves into a company to continue and exist by the name of the Stillwater Lumber Company.

Article second—It is agreed to by the heretofore named individuals, that the whole amount of property owned and business done by the aforesaid company shall be included in fifteen shares, and to be divided and owned by each individual of the aforesaid company as follows, viz.: John McKusick, five-fifteenths; Elias McKean, three-fifteenths; Elam Greely, four-fifteenths; and Calvin F. Leach, three-fifteenths.

Article third—It is furthermore understood, that each proprietor of the aforesaid company shall pay his proportion of all the expenses arising from all the business done or transacted by the aforesaid company, and to continue the same ratio, so long a time as said company shall exist and continue to do business under the present form, and likewise any gain or loss, arising or accruing from any or all of the business done by the aforesaid company, shall be shared or sustained by each proprietor of the aforesaid company, in the same ratio as above named, in proportion to each above named proprietor's share of stock owned in the aforesaid company.

Article fourth—It is furthermore agreed to, that the whole amount of money or property that each or either of the proprietors of the aforesaid company shall invest, advance, or pay for the benefit or use of the aforesaid company, the same amount shall be credited to the separate credit of the proprietor or either of the proprietors of the aforesaid company making such investments, on the books of accounts kept by the aforesaid company.

Article fifth—It is furthermore understood, that for the amount of money or property that any one of the proprietors of the aforesaid company shall invest, advance, or pay for the benefit or use of the aforesaid company, more than his proportional share of the whole amount of money or property invested by the aforesaid company, the same amount of money, with interest, shall be paid or refunded back to said proprietor by the aforesaid[Pg 40] company, out of the first proceeds arising from the business done by the company aforesaid.

Article sixth—It is furthermore understood, that in case any one of the aforesaid proprietors should at any time hereafter be disposed to sell, transfer or dispose of his share of stock owned in the aforesaid company, he shall first pay to said company all the liabilities or indebtedness of said share of stock, and then give said company the preference of purchasing and owning said share of stock, at the same rates by which said proprietor may have an opportunity to sell said shares of stock.

Article seventh—It is furthermore understood that the proprietors of the aforesaid company, individually, shall have no right, or power, to sign any obligation or due bill, make any contract, or transact any business of importance in the name of, or binding on, the aforesaid company, except some one proprietor of the aforesaid company should hereafter be fully authorized by the aforesaid company to act and transact business as agent for the aforesaid company.

In testimony whereof, we hereunto set our hands and seals this twenty-sixth day of October, Anno Domini eighteen hundred and forty-three.

John Mckusick,
Elam Greely,
Elias Mckean,
C. F. Leach.

Attest: C. Simonds.

This agreement and dates are taken from the original book of records in the possession of John McKusick.

After this agreement was signed, until Mr. McKusick became the sole owner, the business was conducted by mutual agreement, there being no constituted agent, except in case of an emergency.

The mill boarding house, a two story building, erected in 1845, was burned in 1846, and immediately rebuilt. In 1846 J. H. Brewster built a small store. McKusick's store was built the same year, on the southwest corner of Main and Myrtle streets. Some smaller buildings were erected this year.

In 1845 a verbal agreement was made with regard to land claims, by which Brown's claim was recognized as extending along the lake shore north of Battle Hollow, where the Minnesota[Pg 41] state prison now stands. South of Battle Hollow, along the lake shore to Nelson, extending three-fourths of a mile west, was the claim of the mill company, originally held by Fisher. South of Nelson's alley, one-half mile down the lake, three-fourths of a mile west, was S. Nelson's claim. When the government survey was made these claims and lines were amicably adjusted and confirmed. A congressional law was in existence making provisions for villages and cities built on unsurveyed lands, that such lands should be equitably divided and surveyed into lots, and the actual settler or occupant should be protected in his rights.

In May, 1846, a desire was expressed by citizens of St. Paul and Stillwater for the opening of new roads between these cities. The traveled road up to that time was by Haskell's and Bissell's Mounds. Louis Roberts and the writer examined a route by White Bear lake. A road was established south of this route in June.

In July I started up the St. Croix river with Joseph Brewster, in a batteau, to put up hay for Elam Greely on Kanabec river. We poled our batteau with outfit and camped where now stands the village of Franconia. The next morning early we entered the picturesque Dalles of the St. Croix, then cordelled our boat over Baker's falls, and landed at the village of St. Croix Falls. This village, the first American settlement on the St. Croix, had one large mill with six saws. The water power was utilized by means of a permanent dam with massive piers. A warehouse was perched in a romantic situation amidst the cliffs of the Dalles and furnished with a tramway or wooden railway extending to the summit of the cliffs, for the transportation of goods. A boarding house dubbed the "Barlow House," another the "Soap Grease Exchange," and a few small tenement houses, constituted the village. The leading business men were James Purinton, Wm. Holcombe, Joseph Bowron and Lewis Barlow. We spent half a day in making a portage around the St. Croix falls. The wind being fair, on the third day we sailed as far as Sunrise island. At Wolf creek we passed an Indian trading post. In front of Sunrise island and on the west side of the St. Croix river, a little below the mouth of Sunrise river, stood the trading post of Maurice M. Samuels, long known as one of the most remarkable and notorious men on the frontier. He was a Jew, but had[Pg 42] married a Chippewa woman, claiming that he had married one of his own people, the Indians being, according to his theory, descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel.

On the sixth day we came to the farm of Jeremiah Russell, on Pokegama lake. We found him a pleasant gentleman, engaged as an Indian farmer. We paddled across the lake to the Presbyterian mission. Mr. Boutwell, the superintendent, was absent. The mission was pleasantly located, the management was excellent, the crops were in fair condition, and well cultivated. Everything about the mission betokened good management. Next day we went to a hay meadow opposite the mouth of Ground House creek, where we put up on this and adjacent meadows sixty tons of hay. We left on the twenty-fourth, camping the first night at Chengwatana. On the morning of the twenty-fifth, while passing down Kanabec river, our ears were greeted with some most horrible and unearthly noises. On turning a bend in the river we saw a large body of Indians cutting indescribable antics, in the river and on the shore, chasing each other, reeling and staggering to and fro, yelling and firing guns. They seemed a lot of Bedlamites turned out as if to dispute our passage down the river. Pass them now we must. It was too late to retreat. Our batteau was light. I was in the bow, Brewster was in the stern. The yelling and uproar grew each moment more horrible. Brewster said: "Keep the bow in the best water and pass them in a hurry." He was of great strength; every set of his pole would almost lift the boat from the water. While we were passing several guns were leveled at us, but such was the noise that if any were fired we did not hear them. We were glad when we passed out of range and hearing. While passing we caught a glimpse of the cause of the unusual disturbance, some whisky barrels, and drunken savages around them, staggering, fighting or lying on the ground in drunken stupor. Landing at Samuels' camp, we learned of him that one Myers had hidden a couple of barrels of whisky on Kanabec river, that the Indians had found them, and the jollification we had witnessed would last till the whisky was all gone. We arrived at Stillwater without further adventure.

In July I made another visit to Prairie du Chien. The mail packet for Fort Snelling, on which I expected to return, broke her shaft and returned to St. Louis for repairs. The postmaster[Pg 43] at Prairie du Chien offered me seventy dollars to carry the mail to the Fort, which offer I accepted. I bought a skiff, blankets and provisions, hired one man and started. We poled, paddled and rowed against a strong current, the low water compelling us to keep near the centre of the river. We arrived at Bully Wells' on Lake Pepin on the fifth evening and politely asked the privilege of stopping with him and were promptly refused. It was raining very hard at the time. We drew our skiff up on the shore, turned it over for a shelter, and crawled beneath it with the mail. As it was a cold, wet night, we suffered severely. As we were passing an island above Red Wing, the day following, we saw some Sioux Indian wigwams, and, as we had no firewater and no food to spare we kept close to the opposite shore. We were, however, observed. An Indian appeared on the shore near the wigwams and beckoned to us to cross over. We made no reply but kept steadily on our course, observing, meanwhile, that the Indian, with his gun, was skulking along through the brush, apparently bent on overtaking and waylaying us. We kept a respectful distance, and fortunately were able to increase it, but not till we were beyond rifle shot did we dare to pause for rest. That night we camped without striking a light, and next day arrived at Point Douglas. I went no further. The hardship and exposure of this trip brought on a severe illness. Mr. David Hone, at whose house I remained for two weeks, under the care of Dr. Carli, of Stillwater, took the mail to Fort Snelling. Soon as able I returned to Stillwater.

In May of this year I had made a claim of government unsurveyed land, covering springs sufficient for a water power. While I was sick at Point Douglas, Joseph Brewster, Martin Mower and David B. Loomis formed a company to build a mill and carry on a logging business. They had agreed upon me as a fourth partner and to build on my claim; Mower and Loomis to attend to getting logs, Brewster and Folsom to build the mill. We moved to our claim Oct. 6, 1846, and went to work in earnest. We agreed upon the name of Arcola for the new settlement. The mill was not finished until April 3, 1847, at which time Brewster and Folsom sold out their interest and returned to Stillwater.[Pg 44]


Living in Stillwater, Jan. 1, 1846, were the following married men: Cornelius Lyman, Socrates Nelson, Walter R. Vail, Robert Kennedy, Anson Northrup, Albert Harris, John E. Mower, William E. Cove, John Smith, and W. H. C. Folsom. Among the unmarried men were: John McKusick, C. Carli, Jacob Fisher, Elam Greely, Edward Blake, Elias McKean, Calvin F. Leach, Martin Mower, David B. Loomis, Albion Masterman, John Morgan, Phineas Lawrence, Joseph Brewster, John Carlton, Thomas Ramsdell, William Rutherford, William Willim, Charles Macey, and Lemuel Bolles.

Here follows a list of the pioneers of the St. Croix valley, in 1846, not mentioned elsewhere: Nelson Goodenough, who became a river pilot and settled at Montrose, Iowa; James Patten, Hugh McFadden, Edwin Phillips, a millwright, an ingenious, eccentric man, who left the valley in 1848; Joseph Brewster, who left in 1848, and settled in Earlville, Illinois; Sylvester Stateler, blacksmith, who removed to Crow Wing county, Minnesota, and O. H. Blair, who followed lumbering, a man of talent, but eccentric. He died in 1878. The first school was taught in 1846, by Mrs. Ariel Eldridge, formerly Sarah Louisa Judd. The second school was taught in 1847, by Mrs. Greenleaf; the third in 1848, by Wm. McKusick. A school house was built in 1848. Rev. W. T. Boutwell, a Presbyterian minister, preached occasionally in the reception room of Northrup's hotel. Rev. Eleazer Greenleaf, an Episcopalian, came the next summer and established regular services. Prior to the organization of Stillwater, Rev. J. Hurlbut, a Methodist minister, had preached in Dakotah, St. Croix Falls and Marine, but organized no societies.

The winter of 1845-46 was very open. All teaming business was done on wheels, except for a few days in December, in which there was snow enough for sledding. A new feature in the trade of the valley this year was the rafting and running of logs to St. Louis.

In December, 1845, Dr. Borup, of La Pointe, and others went by ice and overland with teams to Prairie du Chien, I accompanying them. The first day we came to Point Douglas, at the confluence of the St. Croix and the Mississippi. Between Stillwater[Pg 45] and Point Douglas, on the route we followed, some distance west of the lake, we found but one settler, Joseph Haskell. At Point Douglas there were David Hone, a hotel keeper; Hertzell & Burris, merchants, and Wm. B. Dibble, farmer. We reached Red Wing the second day. At this place lived the famous Jack Frazier, a Sioux half-breed and Indian trader, one Presbyterian missionary, Rev. —— Denton, and a man named Bush. James Wells, more familiarly known as "Bully Wells," lived with an Indian squaw on the west shore of Lake Pepin, where stands the town of Frontenac. On the third day we went as far as Wabasha, on the west side, three miles below Lake Pepin, where we found several French families. We stopped at Cratt's hotel. On the fourth day we reached Holmes' Landing, now Fountain City. There were then but two houses, both unoccupied. About noon we passed Wabasha prairie, now the site of Winona. It was then covered with Indian tepees. At Trempealeau, in the evening of the fifth day, we found two French families. On the next day we reached La Crosse and found there two American families. Two days more brought us to Prairie du Chien. On the way we passed a few French families, and these, with those previously named, constituted the entire white population between Stillwater and Prairie du Chien.

We started on our return with four two horse teams. We took the river road, passing over the ice. In our company was one Tibbetts, from Fort Crawford, and Jonathan E. McKusick, emigrating from Maine to St. Croix valley. They were a social, jovial pair. At Capilaux bluff, Dibble's team was ahead, and my team second. At this place all halted to allow the thirsty an opportunity of liquoring up, which was done at the rear team. Dibble, in going back, left his team unfastened, and while he was "smiling" with his jovial companions the team ran away. The horses soon broke loose from the sled. One horse made for the shore, the other plunged into an air hole in the ice. The entire company rushed to the rescue, and with ropes and poles managed, at last, to float the horse upon the ice in an unconscious condition. All the whisky left by the "smiling" throng was poured down the horse's throat, but in vain. The animal was dead. No other event of interest occurred except some difficulties experienced in the transportation of the first cat ever brought to Stillwater. "Tom" was caged in a narrow[Pg 46] box, and the confinement so chafed his proud spirit that he sickened and at one time was reported dead. At the inquest held over his remains by Capt. McKusick, signs of life were discovered, and by liberal blood-letting the cat was restored to consciousness and lived several years afterward, a terror to the rats in Stillwater.


For about a year the writer had been officiating as justice of the peace with but little official business, but now and then a marriage to celebrate. On one occasion I walked to Marine to marry W. C. Penny to Jane McCauslin. The marriage was celebrated at Burkelo's boarding house. The wedding supper consisted of cold water and cold pork and beans. The following morning I did not wait for breakfast but returned to Stillwater as I had come, on foot. Another day I rode to Bissell's Mounds and united in marriage John Kenny and a mulatto woman. Friend Kennedy threatened to disown me for thus aiding miscegenation. "Such things are intolerable," he said, but from aught I have ever known to the contrary the couple were well assorted.


On the sixth day of April an election was held for the ratification or rejection of the constitution adopted by the late territorial convention for the anticipated state government; also a resolution relative to negro suffrage, and an election was ordered for sheriff. The vote resulted as follows:

For the constitution, 65; against, 61. For equal suffrage to colored persons, 1; against, 126. For sheriff, Walter R. Vail, 58; W. H. C. Folsom, 72.

There were five precincts that held elections—Stillwater, St. Paul, Gray Cloud, Marine, and St. Croix Falls.

I immediately gave bonds and qualified as sheriff, and the same day took charge of two criminals, Chippewa Indians, who had been committed by me for murder, while acting as justice. I had previously deputized Ham Gates to take care of them. While in Stillwater they were confined in the basement of the post office building. Their names were Nodin and Ne-she-ke-o-ge-ma.[Pg 47] The latter was the son-in-law of Nodin. They were very obedient and tractable, and I treated them kindly, for which Nodin repeatedly told me he would show me a copper mine on Kanabec river. Nodin died not long after his trial, and before he could redeem his promise. The copper mine is yet undiscovered. Fort Snelling was, at that time, the receptacle for criminals in this region, and to the Fort I carried these prisoners with a team,—Ham Gates being driver,—unshackled, unbound, my only weapon a pistol without a lock. In May I summoned jurors and visited Kanabec river to procure witnesses in the case against Nodin and Ne-she-ke-o-ge-ma for the murder of Henry Rust. The first night I stopped with B. F. Otis, on the St. Croix, where Taylors Falls is now situated. On the second day I crossed the river and proceeded up the east side to Wolf creek, thence crossing to the west side, up as far as Sunrise river. There was no inhabitant, Samuels having vacated his shanty. I crossed the river with great difficulty. The water was high, the current was strong and swift, and I could not swim. I found a fallen tree, partly under water, cut a pole, waded out as far as I could into the current, and then by the aid of the pole floated down some distance, until by pawing and splashing I was able to reach the other shore. That night I stopped with an old Indian trader, Mr. Connor, who, with his Indian wife, welcomed me to his bark shanty, divided into rooms by handsome mats, and made me quite comfortable. He had plenty of good food, and entertained me besides by a fund of anecdotes, incidents in Indian history, and adventures of traders, trappers and missionaries in the Lake Superior and St. Croix region. He was a very intelligent and genial man. Next day I went to Russell's farm, paddled a canoe to Ground House river, and traveled thence on foot to Ann river, where I found the parties of whom I was in quest, Greely, Colby, Otis and others, a jolly log driving crew, with whom I spent a very pleasant evening. On the return journey, about two miles above the mouth of Ground House river, I saw the ruins of the trading house in which Henry Rust was killed. Rust, at the time of his murder, was selling whisky for Jack Drake. Rev. W. T. Boutwell gives the following account of the murder: "In the winter of '46 and '47 I visited the camps of Kent & True and Greely & Blake. On one occasion I met Rust, and asked him to come[Pg 48] and hear me preach. He did not attend. On this day I preached at three camps. On the following night, at Greely's camp, came a midnight visitor with word that Rust had been shot. Seventy-five men armed themselves with all kinds of weapons, proceeded to the scene of the tragedy, removed the body of Rust and all valuables from the house, knocked out the heads of two whisky barrels and fired the house, the whisky greatly aiding the combustion. I removed the body to Pokegama and buried it there. Forty men attended the funeral. They held a meeting and resolved to clear the country of whisky. They commenced by destroying two barrels of it for Jarvis. He begged hard for his whisky, saying he was a poor man, and in debt to Frank Steele at Fort Snelling. The response was, 'Out with your whisky,' and it was destroyed before his eyes. The whisky of two other trading stations followed. For a brief period there was peace, but the whisky soon put in an appearance again."

The first term of district court held in Minnesota, then Wisconsin, was convened in Stillwater, the county seat of St. Croix county, June 1st. It was held in the upper story of John McKusick's store, southwest corner of Maine and Myrtle streets, Hon. Charles Dunn presiding. The session lasted one week. The bounds of St. Croix county then included Crawford county, Wisconsin, on the south, Brown county, Wisconsin, and the Lake Superior country on the east, the region as far as the British possessions on the north, and to the Mississippi river on the west. The jurors were found within a circuit of a hundred miles.

The grand jury was composed of the following gentlemen:

Jonathan McKusick, J. W. Furber, J. L. Taylor, W. R. Brown, Chas. Cavalier, J. A. Ford, Hazen Mooers, C. Lyman, C. A. Tuttle, Hilton Doe, Elam Greely, Martin Mower, Jr., Edward Blake, W. B. Dibble, Harmon Crandall, Jerry Ross, James Saunders, Joseph Brown, J. R. Irving, J. W. Simpson, John Holton, Pascal Aldrich, and Albert Harris.

Joseph R. Brown acted as clerk of court, Jonathan E. McKusick as foreman of the grand jury, and Morton S. Wilkinson as prosecuting attorney.

The attorneys present were: M. S. Wilkinson, of Stillwater; A. Brunson, of Prairie du Chien; Ben C Eastman, of Platteville, Crawford and Frank Dunn, of Mineral Point. There were[Pg 49] but few civil cases. Nodin and Ne-she-ke-o-ge-ma were indicted for murder, tried and acquitted on the ground that the killing was the result of a drunken brawl.

This season, in addition to attending to my duties as sheriff, I went to St. Louis with a raft of logs. The steamer War Eagle, Capt. Smith Harris, towed through the two lakes, St. Croix and Pepin, a fleet containing ten acres of logs. During the winter of 1847-8, I was engaged in logging. It was difficult to get supplies to the pineries before the swamps were frozen over. This season my goods were taken by batteaus from Stillwater to Clam lake.


A writer in the Stillwater Lumberman, April 23, 1877, gives a sketchy account of an old time ball, from which we select a few items:

Anson Northrup kept what we called a first class hotel. If a man had blankets he could spread them upon the floor and sleep till the bell rang. If he had none he spread himself on the floor and paid for his lodging by tending stove and keeping the dogs from fighting. It was one of the aristocratic rules of the house that a man who slept in blankets was not to be disturbed by dogs.

At one time our popular landlord got up a ball. He sent round a copper colored card,—a half-breed Indian boy,—to tell all the folks to come. Everybody was invited. At the appointed hour they began to assemble. Soon all in town arrived except one Smith. Frequent inquiries were made for Smith, and at last a deputation was sent to inquire the cause of his absence; when it transpired that he had broken his leg. He said he was helping the landlord roll a barrel of whisky from the landing when the barrel slipped, and, rolling back on his leg, broke it. Northrup said that he had bet him one gallon of whisky that he could not lift the barrel to his lips and drink from the bung. In attempting to do this the barrel had slipped from his grasp with the result before mentioned. The wife regretted the accident very much, and said that if it had not been for that barrel of whisky, or some other whisky, they might have both attended the dance. She could have put out the fire, locked up the house,[Pg 50] tied up the dog and taken her nine days' old baby with her. "There would be younger babies at the dance," she said.

Everything was ready. The ball opened with three "French fours," or two over. They danced a French two, the music consisting of one old violin with three strings, played by a half-breed from St. Croix Falls. He played but one tune and called it, "Off she goes to Miramachee." This carried a "French four" well enough, but when we danced a cotillion or hornpipe there was a great deal of rolling around instead of dancing. We often called for a new tune. "Oh, yes, gentlemen, you shall have him," but when we got him it was the same old "Off she goes." He worked hard to please the company and the sweat rolled down his manly cheeks like the droppings from the eaves of a saw mill; but all this would not do; it was the same old "Off she goes." There were twenty-four couples at the ball. The ladies brought with them their babies, fourteen in number, and ranging from six weeks to six months old. The night passed merrily, uproariously, but without tragic incident. The fiddler became at last so tipsy that he could no longer play "Off she goes to Miramachee," and staggered off to that locality himself. The only thing direful occurred at the breaking up, about five o'clock in the morning. The fourteen babies had been laid to sleep on a bed, but some malevolent genius during the dance mixed them up and changed their wraps, so that the mothers, in the hurry of their departure, gathered and took home with them each one some other mother's darling, and this deponent saith not that the snarl has ever been untangled and the babies restored to their rightful mothers.

With the year 1848 a new era dawned upon Stillwater and the valley of the St. Croix. Great changes had taken place in the little town. There were many new citizens, new buildings had been erected and the streets were much improved. Slabs had been placed over the quagmires on Main street. A stage route had been established to St. Paul, on which stages ran regularly. This was the first stage route in Minnesota.

The correction lines of the government survey had been run in 1846-7, chiefly in the latter year. Township, range and section lines were run in 1847, and in the early part of 1848. Prior to this claims had been made and were held subject to the limitations of the first legal survey. The creation of the new state of[Pg 51] Wisconsin and the prospective organization of Minnesota Territory, the development of the lumbering business and the formal opening of the government lands to entry, gave an impetus to immigration. Stillwater profited largely by this immigration, it being an objective point. Population increased. The village was regularly surveyed and platted in the fall of 1848, Harvey Wilson, surveyor. Stillwater, although it never aspired to be the future capital of the Territory, became a headquarters for political characters and a place for public meetings for the discussions of territorial and other public questions. It was convenient of access, and contained up to that time a greater population than was to be found in St. Paul, and it seemed likely to become the commercial metropolis of the Territory.


[A] For the facts in this history I am indebted to John McKusick, Jacob Fisher, Elias McKean, and Elam Greely.

[Pg 52]



Joseph Renshaw Brown, one of the best known of the pioneers, came to Dakotah, Schulenberg's addition, in 1839. For items in his history I am personally indebted to him. He was born in 1805, and, when old enough, apprenticed to a printer. On account of ill treatment he ran away and enlisted in the United States army at the age of fourteen years, serving as a drummer boy. He came with the army to the Northwest Territory in 1819. After enlistment he made his first home at Gray Cloud on the Mississippi, where he married a half-breed woman. Wisconsin history says she was the daughter of Robert Dickson, Indian trader and friend of the English in 1812. He learned and spoke the Chippewa and Sioux languages fluently. In 1839 he founded the town of Dakotah, at the head of Lake St. Croix, and erected some log buildings. Through his influence, in part, St. Croix county was organized, and the county seat located in Dakotah.

He built here a two story log court house, which, the county failing to pay for, was left upon his hands. He kept a trading station, was clerk of the county court and county commissioner. He filled several offices of trust and was by far the most important and universally serviceable man in the new county of St. Croix. In 1843 he left Dakotah, and returning to Gray Cloud, continued his Indian trade at that point and further west by means of branch houses. He was a member of the territorial Wisconsin legislature two sessions at Madison. He returned to Stillwater in 1848, left again in 1849, and in 1850 removed to St. Paul, where, in 1852, he purchased of Mr. Goodhue the Pioneer, then the leading Democratic paper of the Territory. Mr.[Pg 53] Brown was chief clerk in the Minnesota territorial legislature during the sessions of 1849, 1850 and 1851. In 1854 and 1855 he was a member of the territorial council. In 1857 he was a member of the Democratic wing of the constitutional convention. During his residence in St. Paul he was interested in building up the town of Henderson, to which place he ran a stage line from St. Paul. About this time, also, he busied himself with the invention of a steam wagon, calculated to traverse the western plains and drag after it trains of cars. Financial and other difficulties prevented the completion of his design, which, however, he never entirely abandoned during the remainder of his life. In fact he went East in 1870 expressly to get his invention perfected, but from this journey he never returned. He died somewhat suddenly in New York in that year.

Mr. Brown was a man of iron will and muscular frame. He owed but little to schools, but was a close observer of men and of the times in which he lived. He was a genial companion and true friend, and a man of honorable principles. His was a rugged but generous nature. He was public spirited, far seeing and far reaching in his plans. He believed in the great Northwest. He predicted its future greatness as a wheat growing and agricultural country, and, as far back as 1839, predicted that a great city would rise at the head of Lake St. Croix or at the Falls of St. Anthony. Yet so little schooled was he in the wisdom of the speculator that he sold the property in St. Paul now known as Kittson's addition, and worth several millions of dollars, for one hundred and fifty dollars, and a lot on Third street, now valued at $25,000, for a box of cigars.

Paul Carli.—Mr. Carli was of German and Italian descent. He was born in Italy, July 25, 1805. His father was a merchant. He was married in Chicago, in 1834, to a sister of Joseph R. Brown, and moved in 1841 to the outlet of Bolles creek, on the west side of Lake St. Croix, to a place near the site of Afton. In 1846 he was accidentally drowned in the lake, within sight of his dwelling. His children, Joseph R. and Maria, are residents of Stillwater.

Christopher Carli, brother of Paul, was born at Frankfort-on-the-Main, Germany, Dec. 7, 1811. The youth of Christopher was devoted to study. He was educated at Heidelberg University, and studied medicine. He came to America in[Pg 54] February, 1832. The March following he located in Buffalo, where he practiced medicine three years, and returned to Europe where he remained two years. Returning to America, he practiced a year in Chicago, a year in New Orleans and another year in Chicago. He came to Dakotah, St. Croix valley, May 24, 1841. March 12, 1847, he was married to the widow of Paul Carli, Joseph R. Brown officiating as magistrate. He was the first practicing physician north of Prairie du Chien. His home was at Dakotah until the organization of Stillwater. He opened his first office on the west side of Lower Main street, block 28. His practice extended from Lake Pepin to Lake Superior and from Menomonie Mills, Wisconsin, to the Mississippi river. His mode of travel was by birch canoe, on horseback, on skates and on foot. He was a member of the first city council in Stillwater and has been city and county physician. He opened the first bank in Stillwater when fractional currency was in demand. His floating scrip was all redeemed. Two children, Christopher and Socrates N., are married and residents of Stillwater. Dr. Carli died Nov. 6, 1887.

Lydia Ann Carli.—Mrs. Carli has passed through many stirring scenes, and is one of the first female settlers in the St. Croix valley. A fluent and interesting talker, her recitals of early incidents and adventures are heart enlivening. Lydia Ann Brown was born in Lancaster, Penn., March 18, 1818. In 1834 she came with friends to Chicago, where in 1839 she was married to Paul Carli. She came to Dakotah in 1841, and lived there until 1844. The village was surrounded by Indians and there was no white woman nearer than Marine, twelve miles distant. In 1844 the Carlis removed to the mouth of Bolles creek, near Afton, on Lake St. Croix, where they built themselves a two story house commanding a picturesque view of the lake and the adjacent prairies and hills. It was a lone tenement, midway between Prescott and Stillwater. Mrs. Carli having lost her husband as before narrated, in 1847 was married to his brother, Dr. Christopher Carli.

James S. Anderson

[Pg 55]

Phineas Lawrence.—But little is known of the early life of Mr. Lawrence. He had been a river pilot. He was the first sheriff elected in the St. Croix valley, or northwest of Prairie du Chien. He was elected and qualified in 1841. On serving the first and only summons he was ever called upon to serve, he approached the party summoned, holding up to view the documents, and exclaimed: "I, Phineas Lawrence, high sheriff of St. Croix county, in the name of the United States and of the Immaculate God, command you to surrender." He was a robust, fleshy, cheerful man, and felt in all their force the responsibilities of the position in which he was placed. His name has been given to a creek in Chisago county, where he once logged. He died in Stillwater in 1847.

Jacob Fisher.—Jacob Fisher, a millwright, came to St. Croix Falls in 1842, and being a skilled mechanic found employment at once on the old mill at the Falls. He made the first land claim and framed the first building in Stillwater. The building framed was the mill of which mention has been made. This establishes his claim to priority as the first white man who made a movement toward the settlement of Stillwater. Others were before him in the settlement of Dakotah or Schulenberg's addition. Mr. Fisher is a plain, frank, outspoken man, who has no trouble in making his hearers understand exactly what he means. He was born in Canada in 1813, and still resides in Stillwater. He has a wife and one son in California.

James S. Anderson was born at Marshalltown, West Virginia, on the fourth of February, 1826. When he was twelve years old his parents removed with him to Burlington, Iowa, where he lived for eight years. He came to Stillwater in 1846, where he has since resided. In 1852 he was married to Miss Harriet T. McDonald, at St. Louis, by whom he has had four children, three of whom are now living—Robert M. Anderson, prominently known in lumber circles, and Misses Sibella S. and Ella P. Anderson. Upon Mr. Anderson's arrival at Stillwater, he engaged in the employ of Elias McKean, then a prominent lumberman, now a resident of Washington county. In 1869 Mr. Anderson formed a partnership with William McKusick, John A. Nelson and Alexander Johnson, under the firm name of McKusick, Anderson & Co., which firm built and operated the large saw mill opposite Stillwater. Four years ago Mr. McKusick retired from the firm, since which time the firm has been J. S. Anderson & Co. In 1874 Mr. Anderson became the senior member of a heavy logging firm known as Anderson & O'Brien, of which the other members were the well known lumbermen J. S. and John O'Brien. In connection with his other business interests[Pg 56] Mr. Anderson was a heavy owner of pine lands, and a stockholder and director in the Lumberman's National Bank. There were two other well known lumber firms of ancient date with which he was connected, and these were McComb, Simpson & Co., organized in 1850, and also Delano, McKusick & Co., organized in 1857. From 1857 to 1869 he was also a heavy logger alone. Mr. Anderson died May 8, 1885. His death resulted from a mill accident, his rubber coat having caught in the belting of a shaft revolving at a rapid rate. His body was frightfully mangled, but he survived two days, exhibiting, under the circumstances, the most remarkable composure, dictating his will and arranging his business matters as calmly as he might have done on an ordinary occasion.

Emanuel Dixon Farmer was born in Tennessee in 1828, and came to Stillwater in 1845, where he has resided ever since, engaged in the lumbering and saloon business. He was married to Parmelia A. Collier, in Stillwater, 1848.

Col. John Greely.—Col. Greely was sixty years of age when he came to the West, and although a strong, active and enterprising man in the earlier part of his life, owing to advancing years and ill health was rather a spectator than an active participant in the stirring scenes of his new home. He was born at Southampton, Massachusetts, April, 1777. He was married to Hannah Greely, a second cousin, at Hopkinton, New Hampshire, Oct. 5, 1801. He followed the lumbering business on the Merrimac river in early life. He furnished the timber used in erecting the first factory in Lowell, Massachusetts, cut on the mountains of North New Hampshire. In after life he moved to the west end of Sebec lake, Maine, where he founded the town at first named Greely, but afterward Willimantic, now the site of extensive manufactories where the famous Willimantic thread is made. Col. Greely came to Stillwater in 1847.

Born during the Revolutionary struggle, he lived to witness the marvelous growth and prosperity of his country and died during the first year of the war of the Rebellion. Aged as he was, having entered upon his eighty-fifth year, he was intensely interested in the issue of that struggle, and ardently desired to live long enough to witness the triumph of his country's cause. It was not to be. He sank peacefully to rest, Oct. 30, 1861, dying as he had lived, an honest man, his memory revered by[Pg 57] all who knew him, and cherished by three generations of descendants. His children were three sons and five daughters—Sarah, Mrs. Blake, Mrs. Greenleaf, and Phebe and Servia, wives of John McKusick. Miss Sarah alone survives.

Mrs. Hannah Greely.—Mrs. Greely, the wife of Col. John Greely, was born in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, October, 1787, came to Stillwater in 1847 and died May, 1878, at the advanced age of ninety years. For sixty years she and her husband walked side by side. She survived him seventeen years, and, after a life well spent, resignedly folded her hands and sank to her last repose.

Elam Greely.—Elam, son of Col. John Greely, was born in Salisbury, New Hampshire, Aug. 13, 1818, and, with his parents, moved to Maine, where they made their home on Sebec lake. In 1840 Mr. Greely came to St. Croix Falls, where he was employed by the St. Croix Falls Company the greater part of the time until 1843, when he became a settler at the head of Lake St. Croix. He was one of the original owners of the first mill at Stillwater. In 1844 he sold his interest to John McKusick. The same year he was appointed postmaster at Stillwater. The office was located at the southwest corner of Main and Chestnut streets.

Mr. Greely filled many offices of honor and trust meritoriously. He was a member of the third and fourth Minnesota territorial councils. In 1845, in company with Edward Blake, he did an extensive pine log business, running the logs to St. Louis, in which business he continued until the death of Mr. Blake in 1848.

Mr. Greely early identified himself with the interests of Stillwater, of which he was one of the founders, and which owes much of its prosperity to his efforts. He was married in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1850, to Hannah P. Hinman, who, with three children, a son and two daughters, survives him. His oldest son died Oct. 21, 1876. Mr. Greely had many severe reverses in business, but by indomitable energy recovered from them, and was able not only to care for his aged parents, to bring them from Maine and keep them with him until separated by death, but to leave his family well provided for. He died suddenly away from home, Sept. 14, 1883. His body was brought to Stillwater for burial.

Himan Greely.—Himan, son of Col. John Greely, was born[Pg 58] in Franklin, New Hampshire, October, 1828. He came to Stillwater in 1846, where he followed the business of lumbering. In 1850 he was married to Lucia Darling. After a brief residence in Stillwater, he removed to Beauford, Blue Earth county, where he remained until his death in 1882. His wife survived him but a few months. The bodies of both were removed and buried in Fairview cemetery, Stillwater. Mr. Greely applied himself closely to business, and was an honest, upright and intelligent man. His education was derived chiefly from reading and observation. He left two sons.

Aquilla Greely.—Aquilla, the youngest son of Col. Greely, was born in Greely, Maine, June, 1831. During his youth he spent several years with friends in Canada, where he learned the art of surveying. He came to Minnesota in 1849, and followed surveying and lumbering. He died in Stillwater, April 25, 1857.

Elias McKean.—A thorough business man, an eccentric man, notably so, an apt man, ready in reply, somewhat harsh, if irritated, but kind in heart and forgiving in spirit, is Elias McKean. He was born in Bradford county, Pennsylvania, June 30, 1817, and received a practical education. His father was a man of some note, and for twenty-eight years a circuit judge in Pennsylvania. Elias McKean came to St. Croix Falls in 1841, and for a year was in the employ of the Falls Company, but afterward engaged successfully in business for himself. He was one of the original proprietors of the Stillwater mill, and one of the founders of Stillwater. In 1850 he settled on a farm on the west side of Lake St. Croix. In 1855 he was married to the widow of Calvin F. Leach, and a family of six sons has grown up around them.

Calvin F. Leach.—We are not able to give date or place of birth. Mr. Leach came to St. Croix Falls in 1842 and soon after came to the head of Lake St. Croix, and became one of the original owners of the mill, and a founder of the city of Stillwater. In 1850 he was married to Miss —— Smith, of St. Anthony. He died in St. Louis in 1853. He was modest and retiring in his demeanor, correct in his deportment and respected by all his acquaintances.

Socrates Nelson.—Mr. Nelson was born in Conway, Massachusetts, Jan. 11, 1814, received an academic education, was married[Pg 59] to Mrs. Bertha D. Bartlett in 1844, at Hennepin, Ill., and the same year came to Stillwater, and engaged in selling goods. Previous to his removal to Stillwater he engaged in merchandising in Illinois, in 1839, and in St. Louis from 1840 to 1844, where he established a trading post on the Mississippi nearly opposite Reed's Landing, at a place since known as Nelson's Landing. Mr. Nelson was the first merchant in Stillwater. His store stood on Main street. He built a substantial dwelling and lived in it until his death, May 6, 1867. He filled many public positions, was territorial auditor from 1853 to 1857, and was a senator in the second state legislature. As a merchant he was very successful, being fitted by nature for commercial pursuits. In 1853, he, with others, built a saw mill in South Stillwater and engaged in lumbering. He was of a free and generous disposition in all his relations of life. He conveyed, as a donation to Washington county, a half interest in the block of land on which the court house stands. His liberality and public spirit did much for the prosperity of Stillwater. His wife and one daughter, Mrs. Fayette Marsh, survived him, but Mrs. Marsh died in 1880. She was a woman of great sweetness of disposition, and beloved by all who knew her. His widow died in 1885.

Mrs. Socrates Nelson.—Bertha D. was born at Conway, Franklin county, Massachusetts, Sept. 6, 1813. She was married to Geo. A. Bartlett, of Conway, in 1838, and removed with him to Knoxville, Illinois, where he died. She returned to her parents in Massachusetts, and removed with them to Hennepin, Illinois. In the fall of 1844 she was married to Socrates Nelson, and came with him to Stillwater. She died Oct. 8, 1885. She was the last of her family, husband and daughter having preceded her to the world of spirits. The large attendance of old settlers from Washington county and elsewhere at her funeral, and the beautiful floral tributes contributed by her friends, attested but partially the respect and veneration in which she was held.

Edward Blake.—Of Mr. Blake's early history we have no data. He came to the St. Croix valley in company with Elam Greely in 1840, engaged in lumbering, and died in 1849.

Walter R. Vail.—Mr. Vail, the second merchant in Stillwater,[Pg 60] came West in 1844. He built a store, with dwelling attached, just south of Socrates Nelson's store, which buildings are still standing and occupied (1886). Mr. Vail was not successful in business and moved away in 1848.


John E. Mower.—Mr. Mower was born in Bangor, Maine, Sept. 15, 1815. He was married to Gratia Remick, in Keokuk, Iowa, in 1842, and removed to St. Croix Falls, where he entered the employ of the Falls Lumbering Company. Two years later he removed to Stillwater, where he built the second frame dwelling, still standing. Mr. Mower was a millwright and carpenter, but was engaged in lumbering most of his time. He purchased an interest in the mill property at Arcola, in 1847, which place he made his home until his death, which occurred June 11, 1879. He left a widow and three daughters, Helen, wife of the late Louis Torinus; Emily, wife of Henry Van Voorhees; and Mary,[Pg 61] wife of —— Richardson. One son died after arriving at manhood. Mr. Mower was a pleasant, reliable man, a kind husband and loving father. He was honored by his fellow citizens with an election to the fifth and sixth territorial councils, and to the seventeenth state legislature (house). The territorial legislature affixed his name to a county.

Martin Mower.—Martin, brother of John E. Mower, came to St. Croix Falls in 1842, and worked in the employ of the Falls Company. Afterward he engaged in lumbering and became one of the original proprietors of the Arcola mill. He was also engaged in manufacturing and merchandising in Stillwater. He built a fine block of buildings on Chestnut street, recently burned down and rebuilt on a larger scale. He has been one of the managing owners of the St. Croix Boom Company from its origin. His business interests have been divided between Stillwater and Arcola, but he has made the latter place his home since 1846. As a business man he is capable and shrewd, giving close attention to his business; in his manner somewhat eccentric. He has done in much to improve the farming and other interests of the country.

William Willim.—A firm, consistent, worthy citizen and true friend of his adopted country is William Willim. He was born in the parish of Woolhope, Herefordshire, England, June 26, 1821; came to America in 1838, and to Stillwater in 1844. He was married in 1847 to Clara G. Haskell, and, after her death in 1850, to Joanna W. Hinman. Mr. Willim is a stonemason, plasterer and contractor. He was a member of the sixth Minnesota territorial legislature, and has filled many responsible positions in Stillwater. Mr. Willim's was the first naturalization that occurred in the limits of Minnesota. The oath of allegiance, a somewhat unique and original document of its kind, bears date of June 18, 1847, Stillwater, St. Croix county, Wisconsin Territory, and is signed by Joseph R. Brown.

Albert Harris.—Mr. Harris was a native of Maine. He was born in 1815 and married to Miss Greenleaf in 1841, who died in 1853. He came to Stillwater in 1845, where he died in 1856, leaving one daughter, wife of the late Levi Thompson, attorney at law in Stillwater, and one son in California. Mr. Harris was a house carpenter and much respected by his neighbors.[Pg 62]

Cornelius Lyman.—Mr. Lyman is of the seventh generation of the Lyman family that came over from England in 1631. He was born in Brookfield, Vermont, Aug. 11, 1792. He was married in Brookfield to Betsey Cushman and came to Illinois at an early date, whence he removed to Marine Mills, in 1842, where he kept a boarding house until 1844, when he removed to Stillwater, where he kept a boarding house until 1848. He then removed to his farm three miles above Stillwater, where, by industry and economy, aided by his faithful wife, he was able to build a comfortable home, in which they continued to live until at a good old age they were removed by death, which claimed them in the same year, the husband dying January, 1864, and the wife in April. They were members of the Presbyterian church from early life, and respected as citizens, honored as Christians. Mrs. Lyman was one of the excellent of the earth. Mr. Lyman had an inexhaustible fund of humor, and was rather fond of practical joking. Many of his jokes were of the rarest description. They left two sons, Cornelius Storrs and David Pride.

David B. Loomis.—Few men have been more active in business and public life than David B. Loomis. He was born in Wilmington, Connecticut, April 17, 1817. In 1830 he came with his parents to Alton, Illinois, where, at the age of fifteen, he engaged as clerk in a store and served in that capacity five years. Mr. Loomis was in the building in Alton in which Lovejoy was shot and killed for the expression of sentiments which the nation has since been compelled to adopt. In 1843 he came to the St. Croix valley and engaged in lumbering. In 1846 he was one of the four original owners of the Arcola mill, but in 1849 sold his interest to Mr. Mower, and for four succeeding years was in charge of the St. Croix boom. In 1847 he was surveyor general of logs and lumber. In 1851 he was a member of the Minnesota territorial council, and was re-elected in 1853, serving in all four years, during one of which he was president of the council. In 1853 he was one of a company that built a mill in South Stillwater. He sold out in 1859. In 1861 he entered the army as lieutenant, Company F, Second Minnesota Volunteers, and was promoted to a captaincy. He served three and a half years. Stillwater has been his home since the war. In 1873 he represented Washington county in the legislature.[Pg 63]

William E. Cove.—The year of Mr. Cove's birth is not known. He came to Stillwater in 1844. His marriage to Nancy Edwards, elsewhere noted, was the second marriage in the village. He was by trade a house carpenter. He removed to Minneapolis in 1864.

John Smith.—Of the eight first families, that of John Smith was one. Of this particular "John Smith" little is known, except that he was sober and industrious, and, in 1848, moved to parts unknown.

John Morgan.—We have no account of the early days of Mr. Morgan, except that he was a native of Pennsylvania. He was living in Stillwater in 1845, in the employ of Churchill & Nelson. In 1848 he was elected sheriff of St. Croix county, Wisconsin. In the same year he was married to Hannah Harnish. He settled on a farm and kept a "half way house" on the road from Stillwater to St. Paul, when the pioneer stages of Willoughby & Power were placed on this route. In 1848 he obtained a charter from the Wisconsin legislature for a ferry across Lake St. Croix at Stillwater. This ferry changed ownership repeatedly and was discontinued when the bridge was built.

Anson Northrup.—This gentleman, whose name was borne by the first steamboat ever launched on the Red River of the North, and who brought the first drove of cattle through from Illinois to St. Croix Falls, deserves a conspicuous place in the annals of the Northwest. He was born in Conewango, Cataraugus county, New York, Jan. 4, 1817. His education was limited, but he was a man of more than ordinary native ability and energy. He lived in Ohio some years, and came West in 1838. In 1839 he drove the first herd of cattle through a wilderness country from the Wisconsin river to the St. Croix. In 1841 he removed his family from Ohio to St. Croix Falls. He came by way of St. Louis, from that point embarking on the steamer Indian Queen for the Falls. The steamer was three weeks making the trip. Above Prairie du Chien crew and passengers were obliged to cut wood to run the boat. Mr. Northrup had married Betsey Edwards, daughter of widow Edwards, one of the pioneers of Stillwater. Charles H., their eldest son, was the first white child born at St. Croix Falls. In the spring of 1844 he moved to Stillwater, where he built and kept the first hotel in that place. From 1847 to 1848 he was part owner of the[Pg 64] Osceola saw mill along with Mahony and Kent. In 1849 he removed to St. Paul, and built the American Hotel on Third street, east from Seven Corners. In 1851 he removed to St. Anthony Falls and built there the St. Charles Hotel. In 1853 he removed to Minneapolis, and built the Bushnell House, the first brick building in the city. Subsequently he became a resident at Long Prairie, Swan River and Duluth. Although Mr. Northrup's genius tended chiefly in the direction of hotel building, his abilites in other directions were beyond question. With equal facility he turned his hand to lumbering, steamboating and statesmanship. His great steamboat enterprise was the attempted transfer of the steamer North Star by water from the Mississippi to the Red River of the North. The boat was one hundred feet long by twenty wide, and of light draught. Starting from St. Cloud in the spring of 1859 he performed the wonderful feat of ascending the Mississippi as far as Pokegama Falls, hoping to ascend further, and during a high stage of water to float the boat over the height of land into some of the tributaries of the Red river. The water was not sufficiently high. The winter following he took the boat to pieces, and removed it by land to Red river, opposite the mouth of the Cheyenne, where it was reconstructed and launched, taken to Fort Garry and afterward sold to Mr. Burbank. This boat, its name being changed to Anson Northrup, was the first steamboat on the waters of Red river.

Mr. Northrup's political career commenced and closed with the first Minnesota legislature, 1857-58, he representing the counties of Morrison, Crow Wing and Mille Lacs in the senate.

During the Rebellion he served as wagon master. He lived in Texas three years, returned to St. Paul, where he lived in 1874-75-76, and now lives in Bismarck, Dakota.

Robert Kennedy.—Mr. Kennedy, in 1839, located at Holmes' Landing, now Fountain City, on the banks of the Mississippi, above Winona. In 1844 he removed to Dakotah, where he kept a hotel in the old tamarack court house, built by Joseph R. Brown. In 1846 he kept a hotel in the Northrup House, Stillwater; in 1848 he kept the American Hotel, Shakopee. Subsequently he returned to St. Paul and kept a boarding house, and for three years the hotel known as "Moffett's Castle." Afterward he kept the Snelling House, and last the Bernard House.[Pg 65] From 1853 to 1856 he was collector of customs for the port of St. Paul, and during that time the fees amounted to the enormous sum of forty six dollars and forty-two cents. Mr. Kennedy spent about thirty years as a landlord, in which capacity he was very popular.

Harvey Wilson.—Mr. Wilson was born in Corinth, Saratoga county, New York, December, 1815. He resided in his native county twenty-five years, then removed to St. Louis, where, for three years, he engaged in surveying. He came to St. Croix Falls in 1843 and to Stillwater in 1847. He acted as J. R. Brown's deputy clerk of court, June term, 1847. He was appointed clerk of the first Minnesota territorial term of court, Aug. 13, 1849, in which office he continued until his death, Nov. 3, 1876. Mr. Wilson was married in 1851 to widow Mary Stanchfield.

Andrew Jackson Short.—Mr. Short was born in St. Clair county, Illinois, in 1818. He came thence to the St. Croix valley and located at Marine in 1843, and commenced running rafts with W. B. Dibble. In 1857 and 1858 he gathered logs as agent in Lake St. Croix, rafted and run them below, but lost heavily and was in fact financially wrecked. He afterward engaged in the logging and hardware business in Stillwater. In 1868 he built the famous Dudley mills at Point Douglas, at a cost of $35,000. Mr. Short made Stillwater his home until 1862, when he removed to Hastings. Much credit is due him for what he has accomplished. When he came to the St. Croix valley he could neither read nor write, but by energy, industry and native force of character, notwithstanding a few reverses, he has done far more than many other men in his position could have done. As a man he is genial and social.

James D. McComb.—Mr. McComb was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, Feb. 13, 1827, came to Stillwater June 10, 1846, and engaged in mercantile business with John H. Brewster three years, when he entered the firm of Anderson, McComb & Co., Robert Simpson being the third member. They did an extensive business for years. They built the large stone store on the corner of Main and Myrtle streets. Mr. McComb in 1860 became clerk in the surveyor general's office, which position he held ten years. He was surveyor general of logs and lumber four years, his accurate knowledge of the various marks used admirably fitting him for the position. He served as deputy sheriff in 1846 under[Pg 66] James Fisher, of Prairie du Chien, and in 1847 under W. H. C. Folsom, of Stillwater. Mr. McComb has passed all the degrees in Odd Fellowship. He was married to Eliza T. McKusick in Stillwater, March 4, 1851. Mrs. McComb died in Stillwater Sept. 17, 1885.

William Rutherford.—Mr. Rutherford was born in 1823, in Stanton county, New York, and came to Stillwater in 1844. He married Christina J. Holcombe, at Jackson, Mississippi, in 1849. In 1848 he removed to his farm near Stillwater, where he has since lived. He has been quite successful as a farmer. Mr. Rutherford died March 15, 1888. His name will be remembered with honor.

Albion Masterson.—Mr. Masterman has also prospered as a farmer. He was born in Franklin county, Maine, in 1823; received a common school education; was married to Eliza Middleton in 1848; came to Stillwater in 1844, and in 1850 removed thence to his farm, where he died, Aug. 8, 1886. Mr. Masterman's life has been an industrious and exemplary one.

Joseph N. Masterman.—Mr. Masterman came to Stillwater, September, 1848. He engaged in lumbering and scaling continuously. He was born in Franklin county, Maine, in 1814, and spent his youth at home, but his education was somewhat limited. At the age of sixteen years he moved to Schoodic, lived there fourteen years, when he married Alice M. Prescott, and four years later came to Stillwater. His two sons, Wellington and Joseph P., reside in Stillwater. Wellington is auditor of Washington county.

Mahlon Black.—Mr. Black is of Scotch descent. His grandfather was a naval officer during the war of the Revolution, and a soldier in the war of 1812. Mahlon Black was born in Hamilton county, Ohio, Oct. 4, 1820. He spent his youth on his father's farm, and received a common school and academic education. When seventeen years of age he began the study of medicine in Cincinnati Medical College, but did not complete the course. In 1842 he came to Menomonie Mills, Wisconsin, and engaged in lumbering until 1846. In 1847 he was connected with government surveys, and the same year located in Stillwater. He was a representative in the first, third, and last territorial legislature, also a member of the extra session in 1857. He was mayor of Stillwater in 1860-61. In 1862 he enlisted in[Pg 67] a company of sharpshooters, which was assigned to the Army of the Potomac. He was promoted to be captain, and provost marshal in the second division of the Second Army Corps, and one of Gen. Gibbon's staff officers. He was in fifty-four battles and skirmishes, in some of which over 100,000 men were engaged on each side. He was wounded four times, once severely, by a bayonet thrust received in a charge at the battle of Petersburgh. He served until the close of the war, and received a special and honorable discharge from his commander, Gen. Smyth, on the face of which are recorded the names of the battles in which he participated. In 1867 he removed from Stillwater to Minneapolis, where he has held the positions of land examiner and auditor of Hennepin county. He has the distinction of being the first Odd Fellow initiated in Minnesota. Sept. 21, 1850, he was married to Jane M. Stough, of Pennsylvania.

Morton S. Wilkinson.—The record of Mr. Wilkinson, though brief, is brilliant. He was born in Skaneateles, Onondaga county, New York, June 22, 1819; received an academic education in his native town; read law; was admitted to the bar at Syracuse, New York, in 1842; commenced practice in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, and in 1847 came to Stillwater. Mr. Wilkinson was the first practicing lawyer northwest of Prairie du Chien, was the prosecuting attorney at Judge Dunn's court in Stillwater, June, 1847, and was a member from Washington county of the first territorial legislature in 1849. He removed to St. Paul in 1850, to Mankato in 1857, and in 1859 was elected United States senator. In 1860 he was one of the commissioners to compile the state statutes. In 1868 he was elected representative to Congress and at the close of the term was re-elected. From 1874 to 1877, inclusive, he served as state senator from Blue Earth county. Mr. Wilkinson is an eloquent and forcible speaker, and a man of unusual ability, a sound and logical reasoner, and withal fluent. He has been twice married. His first wife was a daughter of Rev. Lemuel Nobles, of Michigan. Mrs. Wilkinson died in Michigan. He married a second wife before coming West. They reside in Wells, Minnesota.

William Stanchfield.—Mr. Stanchfield was a native of Maine, born in the year 1820, was married to Mary Jackins, in Bangor, Maine, in 1840, and came to Stillwater in 1846, where he engaged in keeping a hotel on Main street, which was burned[Pg 68] while he was in charge. Mr. Stanchfield died in 1850, leaving a widow who subsequently married Harvey Wilson, and an infant daughter, who became, years after, the wife of George Davis.

Thomas Ramsdell.—Mr. Ramsdell was born at Falmouth, England, Dec. 28, 1820. He married in England and came to this country with his wife in 1843. He settled in Stillwater in 1844, and removed to his farm in 1846, where he has been successful in raising apples and smaller fruits. His wife died in 1851. His second wife was Jane Willey. Mr. Ramsdell has been a quiet, good citizen, reliable and trustworthy.

Charles Macy.—An orphan at thirteen years of age, Mr. Macy's early life was full of changes, adventures and vicissitudes. He was born in Canada East in 1821. He lived a somewhat wandering life until 1845, when he came to Fort Snelling, and shortly after to Stillwater, where, in 1846, he made a claim which became his permanent home. He was married in 1854.

Jonathan E. McKusick.—There was no more genial, pleasant, off-hand man than Jonathan E. McKusick. He was the life of public gatherings. His remarks, full of wit and sentiment, would keep his audience in a pleasant frame of mind. At old settlers' meetings his fund of anecdotes, historical incidents and reminiscences were in the highest degree interesting and entertaining. Mr. McKusick was born in Cornish, Maine, in 1812; was married to Minerva King in 1836, and came up the Mississippi on the ice, in December, 1845, to Stillwater, which he made his home until his death, which occurred Aug. 21, 1876. He took an active interest in the welfare of the city and held many offices of trust. He served his country during the war of the Rebellion, and in 1863 was appointed quartermaster with the rank of captain, which position he held until mustered out at the close of the war.

John McKusick.—Prominent amongst the pioneers of the St. Croix valley, and deserving of special mention for his enterprise and public spirit, is the subject of this sketch. He was born in Cornish, Maine, in 1815; received a common school education; came to Illinois in 1839, and to St. Croix Falls in 1840, where he engaged in the lumbering business, getting logs to the Falls mill, and sawing them. Through industry and economy he saved enough to enable him to become part owner and builder of the first mill in Stillwater. He has held many positions of trust. He served as state senator in 1863-64-65 and 66. He was active in aiding to secure the land grant to build railroads into Stillwater, in the welfare of which city he has ever manifested the deepest interest. He has been one of the largest proprietors, and most liberal in improving and adorning the city, has encouraged a sound system of finances, and has steadily opposed the bonding system. Mr. McKusick was married to Phebe Greely in 1847, who soon afterward died. He married his second wife, Servia Greely, in November, 1849. He has three children living, Newton, Chester and Ella. Mrs. McKusick died Feb. 18, 1887.

John McKusick

[Pg 69]

William McKusick, a younger brother of Jonathan E. and John McKusick, came to Stillwater in 1847, and engaged in lumbering. He was a member of the fifth territorial house, and a senator in the second, sixteenth and seventeenth state legislatures. In 1870, with the firm of McKusick, Anderson & Co., he built the large saw mill at Houlton, opposite Stillwater. In 1882 he made his home upon a farm at Big Stone Lake.

Noah McKusick, another brother, came to Stillwater in 1847, followed lumbering some years, removed to Oregon, and died there in 1886.

Royal McKusick came to the valley in 1848, and died a few years later, leaving a large and respectable family.

Ivory E. McKusick.—Ivory E., brother of John and J. E. McKusick, was born in Maine, July 2, 1827. In 1847 he came to Stillwater, with which city he has since been permanently identified. He spent two years working in the old mill, the first built at Stillwater, and then engaged in lumbering until 1859. In 1862 he was appointed prison guard, and served two years. In 1864 he was in the service of the government, and helped build Fort Wadsworth, Dakota. He served as surveyor general several years, and later has engaged in the forwarding and commission business. He was married to Sophia A. Jewell, Feb. 9, 1854. He is a man of probity and merit.

Charles E. Leonard.—The subject of this sketch was born Feb. 25, 1810, at Worthington, Massachusetts. His father died when he was four years old. In his early life he experienced some vicissitudes. He tried farming and hotel keeping, but owing to poor health was obliged to give up these employments. He started West in 1846, remained awhile in Hancock county, Illinois, and in 1847 came to Stillwater, where he engaged in[Pg 70] mercantile pursuits. He removed to St. Anthony in 1850, to St. Paul in 1855, to Point Douglas in 1866, to Sioux City in 1880, and to Princeton, Mille Lacs county, in 1881. Mr. Leonard has held several official positions. In 1852 he was appointed territorial treasurer, and in 1857, serving four years; was a member of the Democratic wing of the constitutional convention. He did some military service during the Indian outbreak in 1862. He was married to Catherine Yendes, of Rodman, New York, January, 1835.

Daniel McLean.—Mr. McLean was born in the north of Ireland in 1800 and came to America in his youth with his brothers. He lived successively in Philadelphia, Indianapolis and St. Louis, whence he embarked for St. Croix Falls in 1839, in the employ of the Falls Manufacturing Company. He came to Stillwater in 1848. Through industry and economy he accumulated a handsome fortune, which, at his death, he left to his heirs in Stillwater. He was an upright christian man. He died in Stillwater in 1873.

Robert Simpson.—Mr. Simpson was born in Sussex, England, in 1815. He married Mary Ann Shelley in 1840 and came the same year to the United States. After spending two years in New York and other places, he came to St. Croix Falls in 1842, where he followed lumbering until 1850, when he came to Stillwater. He belonged to the firm of Simpson, Anderson & McComb, lumbering and merchandising, and engaged in other branches of business. He was a member from Stillwater of the first state legislature. He is a quiet, unobtrusive gentleman, greatly esteemed by those who know him. Mrs. Simpson and an only child died in Stillwater in 1856.

William H. Hooper.—This gentleman attained considerable notoriety in later life as an influential Mormon and a delegate to Congress from Utah from 1859 to 1868. He was a man of unquestioned ability and an eloquent speaker. His plea for "religious liberty," made against the Cullom bill, is said to have been one of the most eloquent speeches ever delivered in Congress. Mr. Hooper was born in Warwick Manor, Maryland, Dec. 25, 1813. In 1835 he moved to Galena and engaged in mercantile business. In the panic of 1838 Mr. Hooper and his partner failed to the amount of $200,000, but, after years of struggling, the debt was entirely paid. In 1843 Mr. Hooper engaged in[Pg 71] steamboating as clerk on the steamer Otter, on the Upper Mississippi and its tributaries, and was well known at Stillwater. His boat in 1843 landed the mill irons for McKusick & Co.'s mill. In 1844 he built the steamer Lynx and several other boats, the last being known as the Alex. Hamilton, of which he was part owner. This was burned at St. Louis in 1849, which left him again penniless. In 1850 he emigrated to Salt Lake and there in his business enterprises greatly prospered. Although he espoused Mormonism and became one of its leaders, he was opposed to polygamy. He died in Salt Lake City.

James H. Spencer.—James H. Spencer came to Stillwater in 1845, a boy of sixteen. His educational privileges had been limited, but he was ambitious and studious, and by his own unaided exertions acquired a practical business education. He followed lumbering and exploring, and was employed as state timber agent for fifteen years. He was born in Boone county, Missouri, in 1829, and was married to Rose M. Winters, in Stillwater, in 1869.

John T. Blackburn.—The brothers Blackburn were born in Cincinnati, Ohio, John, the elder, in 1823. He came to Stillwater in 1844, and has since been actively engaged in lumbering. His home has been at Stillwater, Marine, Taylor's Falls, and Shell Lake, where he now resides.

Joseph T. Blackburn.—Joseph, the younger brother, was born in 1834, and in 1847 came to Stillwater. He has followed lumbering and Indian trading. He has made his home at Stillwater, at Taylor's Falls, and, since 1860, on Totogatic river, in Douglas county, Wisconsin, ten miles from Gordon. Mr. Blackburn enjoys wilderness life, is eccentric in manner, and attends strictly to his own business.

Horace K. McKinstry.—We have no data of Mr. McKinstry's early life. He came to Stillwater in 1846. His family consisted of his wife, three daughters, and son, John, who afterward married the eldest daughter of Anson Northrup. Mr. McKinstry was a justice of the peace in 1847 and 1848, and was engaged in mercantile business the two succeeding years. He removed to Maiden Rock, Wisconsin, a year or two after and died there March 12, 1884.

Seth M. Sawyer.—Mr. Sawyer was born in Skowhegan, Maine, in 1822. He came to Stillwater in 1846, followed lumbering,[Pg 72] and afterward engaged in building a saw mill in the firm name of Sawyer & Heaton. In 1850 he was married to Eliza McKinstry. Mr. Sawyer left Minnesota in 1866 for an extended sojourn in the Southern States, and engaged in business there, but nothing is known positively of his present whereabouts.

Henry Sawyer.—Henry, the younger brother of Seth, came from Skowhegan to Stillwater in 1849, and engaged in mercantile pursuits for two years in partnership with Horace McKinstry. In 1856 he built the first stone block in Stillwater, on lot 2, block 27. In 1857 he built the Sawyer House, a four story hotel. Mr. Sawyer married Lucy Noyes. He died in Stillwater, Dec. 27, 1865, and his remains were buried in the Kah-ba-kong cemetery, at Taylor's Falls.

Alvah D. Heaton.—Mr. Heaton was the partner of Seth Sawyer in building the second saw mill in Stillwater. He came to St. Croix in 1847 and worked at the Osceola mills some time. He was a partner in logging with O. H. Blair and afterward with Wm. Kent. He was a brother-in-law to Hon. Cyrus Aldrich, representative in Congress from Minnesota. In after years he removed to Idaho.

John McKinzie.—Mr. McKinzie was born at Inverness, Scotland, in 1818, and came to America in 1841. He located in Stillwater in 1846, and followed lumbering until 1856, when he removed to a farm in the Lyman settlement. He married Rose Carlton in 1872 and removed to Miles City, Montana, in 1879.

George McKinzie, a younger brother of John, came to Stillwater in 1851, and engaged in lumbering and exploring. In 1885 he was adjudged insane and sent to the St. Peter's hospital, from which he was soon released. He afterward visited California, where he was drowned in San Francisco bay. He was unmarried.

Henry Kattenberg.—Mr. Kattenberg was born in Prussia in 1821, and married to Arnebia C. Silova, at Kemper, on the banks of the Rhine, in 1844. He came to America in June, 1847, and to Stillwater in 1848. Mr. Kattenberg opened a shop and engaged in the tailoring business. By industry and close application to business, he prospered and secured a pleasant home. By liberality and kindness in extending credits, and an unfortunate venture in lumbering, he lost $14,000, which effectually closed his business operations. With characteristic honesty, he[Pg 73] turned over to his creditors his homestead and all he had to meet his liabilities. In 1880 he removed to Taylor's Falls and commenced keeping hotel at the Falls House, on Bench street. In October, 1886, he purchased the Dalles House of Mrs. C. B. Whiting.

Julius F. Brunswick.—Mr. Brunswick was born in Switzerland in 1826; came to this country in 1846, remained a year in Illinois, and came to Stillwater in 1848, where he engaged in lumbering, farming, merchandising, and dealing in pine lands. Mr. Brunswick applied himself closely to business and was successful. Feb. 29, 1859, he married Margaret Darms, of Stillwater. He died at his home in Stillwater in 1874, leaving a widow and seven children.

Henry McLean.—Mr. McLean was born in Washington county, Maine, in 1828, and in 1848 came to Stillwater, which has since been his home. He is engaged in lumbering. In 1851 he married Caroline Cover.

Hugh Burns.—Hugh Burns came from Ireland to America in 1830, when he was but eight years of age, lived in the province of New Brunswick until 1848, when he came to Stillwater, where he has since been engaged in lumbering and farming. In 1850 he removed to St. Anthony, in 1855 to St. Paul, and in 1856 to Stillwater.

Sylvanus Trask.—Mr. Trask was born in Otsego county, New York, Nov. 16, 1811. He secured a liberal education, and taught school several years in the state of New York. He came to Stillwater in 1848, and in 1852 was married to Euphenia Turner, of St. Paul. He represented the Stillwater district in the first and second territorial legislatures, 1849-51. For many years he has been a surveyor and scaler of logs.

Ariel Eldridge.—Mr. Eldridge was born in Hartford, Vermont, June 10, 1815. He was reared during his minority by an uncle, at Cambridge, New York. In 1844 he came to the Wisconsin lead mines, at Platteville, and in 1848 to Stillwater, where he worked afterward at his trade of house carpenter until 1862, when he opened a book and stationery store. He has held several city and county offices. In 1849 he was married[Pg 74] to Sarah L. Judd. Mrs. Eldridge died in Stillwater, Oct. 12, 1886, aged eighty-four years. Mrs. Eldridge taught the first school in Stillwater.


Edward White Durant.—Mr. Durant is of Huguenot descent. During the eighteenth century his ancestors lived in Massachusetts and were active participants in the agitation against English oppression. Edward Durant, Jr., an ancestor five generations from the present, was a delegate to the Provincial Congress of 1774 and 1775, and chairman of the committee on commercial correspondence. He died in 1782. Others of the family filled prominent places, and were noted for their whole-souled patriotism.

Mr. Durant was born at Roxbury, Massachusetts, April 8, 1829. He received a common school education, and a year in the academy. He came to Cincinnati in 1838, and in 1844 we[Pg 75] find him with his parents in Albany, Illinois. In 1848 he left his parents and came to Stillwater, where he worked three seasons on the river, running logs. He then became a pilot on the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers and continued in this business about sixteen years. He acted as salesman for Hersey, Staples & Co. some years. He has been since then engaged in lumbering and a portion of the time as a member of the firm of Durant, Wheeler & Co. The annual sales of this firm amount to over half a million dollars. In 1874 he was a candidate on the Democratic ticket for lieutenant governor and in 1876 was president of the state Democratic convention. He represented his district in the fifteenth, seventeenth and twenty-fourth state legislatures. He was several years grand master of the Masons of Minnesota. He has served as mayor of Stillwater, and often as a member of the council. Mr. Durant, as his record shows him, is one of the most industrious men of the time, and possessed of good executive and business abilities. Mr. Durant was married Dec. 29, 1853, to Henrietta Pease, of Albany, Illinois.

Oliver Parsons.—Mr. Parsons was born in South Paris, Maine, and is also descended from Revolutionary stock. He came to Stillwater in 1848, where he engaged in merchandising and farming. He removed to Minneapolis in 1876, where he is at present engaged in selling goods. He was married to C. Jewell, April, 1855. Mr. Parsons has ever been an exemplary man.

Albert Stimson.—A native of York county, Maine, Mr. Stimson spent there his early life, and, after a few years in New Brunswick, came to Stillwater in 1849. He followed lumbering in his native state and on the St. Croix. He served as surveyor general of the First district, Minnesota, three years. He was a member of the Minnesota territorial councils of 1854 and 1855 and a member of the house in 1853. He was mayor of Stillwater one year, alderman two years, and was also a supervisor of Washington county. From 1870 to 1872 Mr. Stimson was a citizen of Kanabec county, which county he helped organize, and of which he was one of the first commissioners. His present residence is Anoka.

Abraham van Voorhees.—Mr. Van Voorhees' ancestors were patriots during the Revolution, and lived in New York and New Jersey. He was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, Dec. 2, 1793. He was reared as a farmer. His school privileges[Pg 76] were limited. "The Major," as he was familiarly styled, once told me that the educational advantages he had received in youth were very few, and that his desires and ambitions were far beyond his means to satisfy and fulfill, and he remarked with justifiable pride: "And what I am now, if I amount to anything, I owe to strong nerves and will power; God has always sustained me, and I have always acknowledged allegiance to Him." The major had an ingenious and inventive mind. Being studious and industrious, he accomplished much without scholastic training, and became well versed in the sciences, and an acute reasoner. In 1832 he removed to Athens county, Ohio, where for five years he devoted himself to mechanical pursuits and the study of the sciences. In 1837 he removed to Athens, and became editor and proprietor of the Hocking Valley Gazette, and retained the editorship six years. While living in Ohio, he served as county treasurer, county surveyor, member of the legislature, and state senator. In the latter position he served four years. In 1849 he was appointed by President Taylor register of the United States land office at Stillwater, which place he held until 1853. In 1852 Gov. Ramsey appointed him territorial auditor. He was a representative in the territorial legislature of 1856 and of the state legislature of 1859-60. He was one of the commissioners for locating the capitol and university lands. He was postmaster in Stillwater many years, and when he was eighty years of age acted as surveyor of Washington county. Such is a brief record of an unusually active and useful life. Maj. Van Voorhees was a thoroughly good citizen and christian gentleman. In politics he was Whig and Republican. His church membership was in the Presbyterian church, of which he became a member in 1832. In 1817 he was married to Mary Workman Voorhees. He died at his home in Stillwater, Jan. 24, 1879, aged eighty-six years, and was buried with christian and masonic honors.

Michael E. Ames, an attorney from Boston, came to Stillwater in 1849, and became one of the leading lawyers of the Territory. He was urbane and dignified, both in society and at the bar. He was a charming conversationalist, and such a ready and fluent speaker that it was a pleasure to listen to him. Many of his witty sayings will long be remembered. He was twice married, but his domestic life was by no means a happy one. He died in St. Paul in 1861, his life, no doubt, shortened by[Pg 77] intemperate habits, but he was polite and genial and witty to the last.

Joseph Bonin is of French descent. He was born in Montreal, Canada, Aug. 26, 1820. He was married to Margaret Bruce in 1851. The writer first met Mr. Bonin in Stillwater in 1845. He was then in the employ of John McKusick. He had spent much of his life on the frontier as an employe of the fur companies, and could relate many stirring incidents and perilous adventures. Mr. Bonin located at Baytown at an early day. During the Rebellion he was a member of Company B, First Minnesota Heavy Artillery.

Marcel Gagnon.—Mr. Gagnon was born in Lower Canada, Aug. 17, 1825. On arriving at manhood he came to the United States, and was an employe of the American Fur Company several years. He removed to Stillwater in 1845, engaging in lumbering. In 1863 he enlisted in the Minnesota Volunteer Independent Battalion, and served three years. Mr. Gagnon is a polite, pleasant, hard working and independent man.

Sebastian Marty was born in Switzerland in 1809, came to America in 1836, to Stillwater in 1845, and located on a farm in section 32, town of Stillwater, now known as the Jackman homestead. In 1850 he made his home in section 30, town of Lakeland, where he resided until his death, Nov. 3, 1885. His widow was formerly Christine Mamsche. He was a quiet, unobtrusive, thoroughly honest and reliable man.

John Marty was born in Switzerland in 1823. He learned the art of manufacturing straw goods in France. He came to America in 1846, to Stillwater in 1848 and not long after settled on his farm in Baytown. He was married to Anna M. Henry, in St. Paul, 1852.

Adam Marty.—Mr. Marty was born in Switzerland in 1839. In 1846 he came with his grandparents to America and located at St. Louis. In 1849 he came to Stillwater and learned the printer's trade. He was employed one year by John McKusick. He enlisted April 29, 1861, in Company B, First Minnesota Volunteers, was severely wounded at the battle of Gettysburg, and honorably discharged. He resides in Stillwater, where he has held responsible positions, and has taken a deep interest in the Grand Army of the Republic, of which he has been post commander.

Michael McHale.—Mr. McHale came from Ireland in 1836;[Pg 78] located first in Quincy, Illinois; then, 1840, in Galena; in 1842 in Potosi, Wisconsin, and in 1849 at Stillwater. He was interested in a saw mill (McHale & Johnson's), and operated also as a contractor in prison work. He was married to Rosanna McDermott in Wisconsin, 1847. She died in 1856.

George Watson.—Mr. Watson is, in common parlance, a self-made man. Left alone in the world and dependent entirely on his own exertions for a livelihood, he learned the carpenter's trade, learned it well, and followed it industriously through life. Mr. Watson was born in Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, Sept. 13, 1823, and came to the St. Croix valley in 1849. He lived a few years in Hudson, and then removed to Stillwater, where he has the credit of building many fine structures. He was married in 1860 to Frances Lyman, of Stillwater.

Rev. Eleazer A. Greenleaf was educated at Bangor Theological Seminary. He came to Stillwater in 1846, and became pastor of the first Protestant Episcopal church organized north of Prairie du Chien, excepting at Fort Snelling and some Indian mission charges. Mr. Greenleaf was married to Susan P. Greely, of Williamsburg, Maine, in 1838. He became a great sufferer in the later years of his life. He died in Stillwater in 1878. Mrs. Greenleaf died in Minneapolis in 1881.

J. B. Covey.—Dr. J. B. Covey came to Stillwater in 1844. He was born in Duchess county, New York, in 1784. He practiced medicine many years in Missouri. He died in Stillwater in 1851.

John Shaesby was born in Warwick, England, in 1811; came to America in 1836, to Stillwater in 1848; removed to St. Croix county in 1850, thence to St. Joseph, to Rush River and to Baldwin in 1874, where he died in 1880, leaving two children and his widow in comfortable circumstances. His eldest daughter was the wife of Capt. Isaac Gray.

John S. Proctor.—Mr. Proctor is of English descent, and was born in Cavendish, Windsor county, Vermont, Feb. 26, 1826. He was favored with a common school education. In 1846 he came to St. Louis, Missouri, and served as mercantile clerk until 1849, when he came to Stillwater and engaged in lumbering and mercantile pursuits. He was a member of the firm of Short, Proctor & Co., hardware merchants. In 1860 he was appointed warden of the Minnesota state prison, which office he[Pg 79] held until 1868. In 1860 he was also appointed secretary and treasurer of the St. Croix Boom Company. He performed the duties of both positions, but continued to serve the boom company twenty years. His experience and reliability made him almost the umpire of this company. He was appointed surveyor general for the years 1881 to 1884, inclusive. Mr. Proctor was married to Caroline Lockwood, daughter of John Lockwood, of Prairie du Chien, in 1854. They have one son, Levi.

Barron Proctor, brother of John S. Proctor, came to Stillwater when a young man, but after a few years removed to New Orleans, whence he returned to Stillwater, and in 1873 engaged in flour manufacturing as one of the firm of Cahill, Townshend & Co. He disposed of his interest in 1880. Mr. Proctor was married to Hettie Carson, adopted daughter of Socrates Nelson and widow of John A. Hanford. He lives in St. Paul.

Henry Westing is a native of Hanover. He emigrated to America in 1840 and came to Stillwater in 1848. He commenced his business career as a day laborer and by industry, perseverance and tact, rose to a position of wealth and influence. He died in Stillwater, Feb. 26, 1885, much esteemed by his associates for his sterling qualities of character.

Thomas Dunn was born in 1823, in Queens county, Ireland. He emigrated to America in 1826, locating at Miramachi, on the northeast coast of New Brunswick. He came thence to Maine, where he spent two years. He came to the St. Croix valley in 1846, located in Stillwater, where he has since lived and been engaged in lumbering. He is the owner of a valuable land property at Yellow Lake, Burnett county, Wisconsin. He has been a member of the Catholic church since infancy.

Charles J. Gardiner was born at Charlotte, Maine, in 1826, and came to Stillwater in 1849, where he followed lumbering and farming. He served as surveyor of the First Minnesota district five years. He was married in 1853 to Pamela Jackman. They have five children.

Samuel Staples was born in Topsham, Maine, September, 1805. He came west from Brunswick, Maine, in 1854, and located in Stillwater, where he died, Dec. 26, 1887. He is the elder brother of Isaac, Silas and Winslow Staples. He leaves a widow (his second wife), two daughters, Mrs. E. A. Folsom and Mrs. G. M. Stickney, and two sons, Josiah and Winslow, besides a step-son, William Langly.[Pg 80]

Josiah Staples, son of Samuel, was born in Brunswick, Maine, June 20, 1826. He received a good common school education. At the age of thirteen his family removed to Penobscot county, and later to the province of New Brunswick, but returned to Maine in 1840. In 1848 he came to Stillwater, and has since been continuously engaged in milling and lumbering operations, and, latterly, in steamboating. He was married to Lydia McGlaughlin in 1853. His children are six sons and one daughter.

Joel M. Darling was born in Madison county, New York, in 1842. He came to Galena, Illinois, in 1840, and to Stillwater in 1848, where he engaged in farming. He served three years during the Civil War in Company F, Seventh Minnesota, and has since been pensioned for disabilities incurred in the service. He is unmarried. He lives in South Stillwater.


Joe Perro.—"Big Joe" as he was familiarly called, was large of frame and big-hearted as well, honest, manly, of good report for courage and honesty. He was fearless and prompt in taking the part of the weak and oppressed. We were once passing together up Broadway, St. Louis, when we passed a peanut stand. A small negro boy was crying piteously and begging the peanut vender to give him back his money, to which appeal the peanut vender was obdurate. We halted. Joe Perro organized a court, heard the testimony of man and boy, and satisfied himself that in making change the man had wrongfully withheld a dime due the boy. Joe decided in favor of the boy and ordered the vender of peanuts to pay him the ten cents. He replied insolently: "It is none of your d——d business." That was enough to kindle the magazine of Joe's wrath. A sudden blow of his fist, and the man was prostrate on the sidewalk and his peanuts and apples scattered. The last seen of the discomfited street merchant he was on his hands and knees scrambling with the boys for the possession of his scattered fruits, and casting an occasional vengeful glance at the towering form of "Big Joe" departing slowly from the scene of conflict. Mr. Perro is of French parentage, and a native of Kaskaskia, Illinois. He has been a resident of Stillwater since 1844.

James McPhail.—Mr. McPhail, as his name indicates, is of Scotch parentage. He was born in Inverness, Scotland, in[Pg 81] 1824, and came to America in early life. He was one of the first log pilots on the waters of the Mississippi and St. Croix. He settled in Stillwater in 1848, was married to Eliza Purinton in 1849, and died in St. Louis in 1857. Mrs. McPhail died in Stillwater in 1885. They left no children.

John Cormack.—Mr. Cormack commenced piloting on the St. Croix in 1845. He was married in 1860 to Miss Jackins. He made his home in Stillwater continuously for thirty years, during which time he served as pilot. He died at Princeton, Mille Lacs county, in 1885.

John Hanford.—Mr. Hanford was a St. Croix river pilot in the '40s. He married an adopted daughter of Socrates Nelson, of Stillwater. He died at Stillwater. Mrs. Hanford subsequently married Barron Proctor.

John Leach.—Mr. Leach made his home at Marine many years, during which time he engaged in piloting on the St. Croix; subsequently he removed to Stillwater. In the later years of his life he has been blind.

Stephen B. Hanks.—Mr. Stephen B. Hanks, formerly of Albany, Illinois, piloted the first raft from St. Croix Falls to St. Louis in 1842. He followed piloting rafts and steamboats until 1885.

Samuel S. Hanks.—Samuel, a brother of Stephen B., commenced piloting in the '40s, and is still active.

Among the early pilots on the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers were Antoine Lapoint, Augustus Barlow, Richard Whiting, James Hickman, George M. Penny, and Daniel McLean.

[Pg 82]



Polk county contains 700,000 acres of land, well diversified with timber and prairie, uplands and valleys, rivers and lakes, and fertile enough to sustain a large population. The county was established by the Wisconsin legislature in 1853, and originally included much more territory than it now contains, new counties having been formed north and east of its present domain. Indian traders had visited it at an earlier period, but the first permanent white settlement was made in 1837, and the first pioneer who came with the serious intention of making permanent improvements was Franklin Steele. As Mr. Steele's history is in a great part the history of the early settlement, we insert it here, and very nearly in the language of Mr. Steele himself, as he communicated it to the writer some years since:

"I came to the Northwest in 1837, a young man, healthy and ambitious, to dare the perils of an almost unexplored region, inhabited by savages. I sought Fort Snelling (which was at that time an active United States fort) as a point from which to start. In September, 1837, immediately after the treaty was made ceding the St. Croix valley to the government, accompanied by Dr. Fitch, of Bloomington, Iowa, we started from Fort Snelling in a bark canoe, also a scow loaded with tools, supplies and laborers, descended the Mississippi river and ascended the St. Croix to the Dalles. We clambered over the rocks to the Falls, where we made two land claims, covering the Falls on the east side and the approach to it in the Dalles. We built a log cabin at the Falls, where the Upper Copper trap range crosses the river and where the old mill was afterward erected. A second log house we[Pg 83] built in the ravine at the head of navigation. Whilst building, four other parties arrived to make claim to this power. I found the veritable Joe Brown on the west side of the St. Croix, trading with the Indians, a few rods from where Baker & Taylor built their mill (near the end of the present toll bridge). Brown had also cut pine logs, part of which, in 1838, were used by Baker & Taylor, but most of them were burned by forest fires on the ground where they were felled. In February, 1838, I made a trip to the Falls with a dog team for the relief of one Boyce, who was cutting logs at the mouth of Snake river, and had had some trouble with the Indians. I helped him until he left the country. Peshick, a chief of the Chippewas, said, 'We have no money for logs; we have no money for land. Logs can not go.' He said he could not control his young men and would not be responsible for their acts.

"In the spring of 1838, from Fort Snelling we descended the Mississippi river to Prairie du Chien in bark canoes, thence by steamer to St. Louis, Missouri, where a co-partnership was formed by Messrs. Fitch, of Muscatine, Iowa, Libbey, of Alton, Illinois, Hungerford and Livingston, of St. Louis, Hill and Holcombe, of Quincy, Illinois, and myself. We chartered the steamer Palmyra, loaded her with all the materials with which to build a saw mill, including mechanics to do the work, and started for the scene of operations. Plans for procedure, rules and by-laws were discussed and adopted during the journey on the steamer, and the new organization was christened the St. Croix Falls Lumbering Company. Calvin A. Tuttle was the millwright."

The trip was made in safety, our immediate plans executed, and the Palmyra was the first steamboat that ever sailed the St. Croix river and lake. Mr. Steele made an estimate for the construction of the mill and dam at $20,000, which he submitted to the company. It was accepted, and Calvin A. Tuttle, a millwright, was placed in charge of the work, but Mr. Steele sold his interest to the company before the mill was completed. On examination of the records we find that W. Libbey was the first agent of the company. We find also from the same record that Libbey knew little or nothing of the business he had undertaken. With a few barrels of whisky and one of beads he busied himself trading with the Indians. This was the first whisky sold in the valley, and it was sold in defiance of government law.[Pg 84]

Much could be written about this old pioneer company of the Northwest, and its history, could it be truly written, would contain many thrilling incidents and scenes worthy of remembrance; but much is already forgotten and many of the most prominent actors have passed away, leaving no record of their lives. The company, as a corporation, passed through many changes of name and ownership. Its history would be a history of litigations, of wranglings and feuds, of losses and gains, of mistakes, of blunders and of wrongs. In the first place, the mill was planned by men practically unfitted for such work, inexperienced in lumbering and unacquainted with the vast expenditures requisite for the opening up of a new country, hundreds of miles from labor and the supplies needed for manufacturing. There were three requisites present, a splendid water power, abundance of timber at convenient distances and a healthful climate; but these alone did not and could not make the enterprise a success. Had practical, experienced lumbermen been employed the result might have been different, but impractical methods, enormous expenses, with no profits or dividends, caused most of the company to withdraw, forfeiting their stock in preference to continuing with the prospect of total bankruptcy. Goods were brought annually, at great expense, from St. Louis by the large steamers which then controlled the trade of the Mississippi and the St. Croix. The navigation of the St. Croix grew annually more difficult, the immense number of logs floated down since 1838 wearing away the banks and increasing the number and area of sand bars and not infrequently obstructing the channel with jams.

It is not known exactly how or when the name of St. Croix came to be applied to the beautiful river bearing it, but La Harpe, in his "Louisiana," gives the most plausible account of its origin: "This name is not ecclesiastical in its associations, but named after Monsieur St. Croix, who was drowned at its mouth." Le Sueur, who explored the Upper Mississippi in 1683, says he left a large river on the east side, named St. Croix, because a Frenchman of that name was drowned at its mouth. As Duluth was the first white man to embark in the waters of the St. Croix, descending it in canoes, from near Lake Superior, which he did in 1680; and as Hennepin and La Salle ascended the Mississippi the same year, the name could not have had an earlier origin, but may be fixed as given sometime between 1680[Pg 85] and 1683. An old map in my possession, one hundred and twenty-five years old, gives the present name of the river and lake. The St. Croix valley embraces an area of territory from 20 to 90 miles in width, and about 120 miles in length. Its northern water, Upper Lake St. Croix, is about 20 miles from Lake Superior. The southern portion is a rich prairie country, interspersed with groves of hardwood timber. The more northern portion is interspersed with groves of pine, tamarack, cedar, balsam and hardwoods. The whole district, with a small exception, is a cereal country. It abounds in wild meadows, and much of the swampy portion will ultimately be utilized by ditching, which will transform it all into a good stock raising country. About eight-tenths of this entire valley is fitted by nature for agriculture.

Wheat, the leading cereal, averages ten to thirty bushels per acre; the growth of tame grasses can not be excelled; vegetables grow to wonderful size; native wild fruits abound; cultivated fruits are being successfully introduced; cranberries are being cultivated in the northern part. Wheat, stock, and pine lumber are the principal articles of export. The southern portion is well watered by the St. Croix and its tributaries—Kinnikinic, Willow, Apple, Sunrise, and smaller streams, lakes and springs. The northern portion is abundantly watered by the St. Croix and tributaries—Wolf, Trade, Wood, Clam, Yellow, Namakagan, Rush, Kanabec and Kettle rivers. Small streams and lakes are numerous, of which only the largest are named on the maps. The valley is abundantly supplied with water power, capable of running enough manufactories to work up all the products of the country. The soil is, as a general thing, dry and arable. April and May are the seeding months. Crops mature, and are seldom injured by frosts. The whole country adjacent to this valley will answer to this general description.

On the twenty-ninth day of July, 1837, our government purchased the valley of the St. Croix of the Indians at a treaty held at Fort Snelling, Gov. Henry Dodge and Gen. Wm. R. Smith acting as commissioners. The purchase was ratified in Congress in the spring of 1838. Polk county, originally a part of Crawford, in 1840 became a part of St. Croix, and in 1853 received its present organization and name, the latter in honor of James K. Polk, eleventh president of the United States. This[Pg 86] country occupies the eastern part of the valley of the St. Croix lying between Burnett and St. Croix counties on the north and south, and Barron on the east, the St. Croix river forming its western boundary. The surface is agreeably diversified with forest and prairie land, and is supplied with excellent springs, rivers and lakes. Most of the underlying rock is sandstone. This rock crops out along the banks of the St. Croix and is extensively used for building purposes. Lime rock is also found along the river banks, some of which is of a superior grade, notably that below Osceola, which is manufactured into lime and exported. The natural scenery can scarcely be surpassed in the West. The towering, precipitous bluffs along the St. Croix, the picturesque trap rocks of the Dalles, and the bright clear lakes of the interior have long been an attraction to the tourist. The lakes and smaller streams abound in fish, and the latter are famous for their abundance of brook trout.

The county seat at the organization of the county was located at St. Croix Falls. The first election held in the limits of the present county of Polk, prior to its organization, was at St. Croix Falls, then a voting precinct, known as Caw-caw-baw-kang, a Chippewa name, meaning waterfall. The returns of this election were made to Prairie du Chien. I was present at the canvassing of these returns. They were found to be accurate. Annually since then elections were held at this point and returns made, first to Prairie du Chien, Crawford county, then to Stillwater, St. Croix county, to Hudson, St. Croix county, and to Osceola Mills, Polk county. By an election held in Polk county just after its organization the county seat was removed to Osceola Mills, by a unanimous vote. The records of the first elections can not be found, they having been stolen from the safe in 1864. The following county officers were elected in 1853: Isaac Freeland, clerk of court and register of deeds; E. C. Treadwell, sheriff; Oscar A. Clark, surveyor; Wm. Kent, county treasurer; Harmon Crandall, coroner; Nelson McCarty, district attorney; J. Freeland, clerk of board of supervisors. The first meeting of the board of supervisors was held in Osceola, in Isaac Freeland's building, where the offices were located for many years. The first court was held in the school house, Wyram Knowlton presiding. Both petit and grand juries were in attendance. Isaac Freeland was the first attorney admitted to[Pg 87] practice. Isaac W. Hale was the first county judge. The first marriage was that of Lewis Barlow to —— ——, at St. Croix Falls. The first birth in the county was that of Charles Northrup, son of Anson Northrup, at St. Croix Falls (1844). The first death was that of John Kelly, by drowning (1839), at St. Croix Falls. The first school in the county was established at St. Croix Falls by Miss Tainter, from Prairie du Chien, in 1848. The first school house was built in Osceola in 1852, the second at St. Croix Falls in 1861. The first mail, established in 1840, was carried up the St. Croix river by batteaus in summer and by sleds over the ice in winter. The mail was weekly; the carrier was Dr. Philip Aldrich. The first land mail route was in 1847, from Willow River to St. Croix Falls. The mail was carried by Dr. Aldrich through the woods. The first stage route was established in 1855. The first deed we find of Polk county property is recorded at Prairie du Chien Sept. 2, 1845, from James Purinton to John Witherell, of St. Louis, Missouri, for $4,933,—a deed of trust covering a saw mill at St. Croix Falls. The second deed is from Benj. T. Otis to Edmond Johnson, conveying an undivided interest in a pre-emption claim, known as the Northrup or Jerusalem claim, about one mile east of St. Croix Falls, for $200. The first deed recorded in the county of old St. Croix was Sept. 29, 1845, from James Purinton, of St. Croix Falls, to John H. Ferguson, of the city of St. Louis, Missouri,—consideration $1,552,—of St. Croix Falls water power property. The first store was built in St. Croix Falls in 1839 and stocked with goods by the St. Croix Falls Company. The first blacksmith shop and the first hotel were built at St. Croix Falls. The first grist mill was built at Osceola in 1853. The first crops were raised at "Jerusalem," the first farm in the county, in 1839. "Jerusalem" was the farm now owned by Wm. Blanding, and was early noted as a resort for pleasure seekers, as a place for picnics and base ball games. The first pre-emption and entry of land was made in 1848, by Harmon Crandall, of Farmington. Settlers came into the county slowly until about 1866, since which time the population has more rapidly increased.


Undoubtedly the greatest curse to the pioneers of a new settlement, and to the aborigines as well, is the liquor traffic.[Pg 88] The Indians, under the influence of whisky, became infuriated and were capable of committing any atrocity; the effects upon the whites were not so violent but just as surely demoralizing, and in time as fatal. Among dealers in the vile fluid there was no one more persistent and unscrupulous than Capt. M. M. Samuels. During the summers of 1848 and 1849 there was no other whisky selling house at the Falls. The character of the whisky sold was vile beyond description. Mrs. H—— and son informed me that they were employed by Samuels during the summer in compounding various roots with tobacco and boiling them, for the manufacture of a strong drink that was sold for whisky. Many, both whites and Indians, were poisoned by this compound. As an emphatic evidence against the vileness of the liquor, I append some of the blighting results:

A talented young lawyer, Hall by name, from Philadelphia, became infatuated with the peculiar whisky furnished by Samuels, and when insane from its effects ran from Barlow's boarding house to a high rock overhanging the St. Croix river, just below the falls, plunged in and was drowned.

Another, named Douglas, under the same influence, tried repeatedly to drown himself, when his friends bound him securely with cords. He then managed to stab himself.

Alexander Livingston, a man who in youth had had excellent advantages, became himself a dealer in whisky, at the mouth of Wolf creek, in a drunken melee in his own store was shot and killed by Robido, a half-breed. Robido was arrested but managed to escape justice.

Livingston, once, when on his way from Wolf creek to Clam falls, sought refuge in my camp, having with him two kegs of whisky. The Indians soon collected at the camp in fighting trim and sung and danced madly about the door of the cabin, and clamored for scoot-a-wa-bo (whisky). I refused to allow any whisky to be issued. The Indians were furious. Livingston cowered with fear. Foreseeing trouble I ordered Nat Tibbetts and Jonathan Brawn to take the kegs and follow me. The Indians stopped their gymnastic performances and gazed intently. With an axe and with a single blow on each keg I knocked in the heads, and the whisky was soon swallowed up in the snow. The Indians sprang forward with demoniac yells and commenced licking up the saturated snow, after which they danced around me,[Pg 89] calling me "Oge-ma" (captain). I gave them food and they went away sober and apparently satisfied.


In the spring of 1848 there were two rival whisky sellers at or near Balsam lake. Miles Tornell, a Norwegian, was located midway between the lake and the Falls. Miller, a German, had his post at the lake. Miller was an older trader, and claimed exclusive rights. A bitter feeling sprang up between them, which resulted, as the testimony afterward proved, in the murder of Tornell. His house was burned, and his body found concealed in a coal pit. One McLaughlin, who was stopping with Tornell, was also murdered. An investigation was set on foot. Samuels and Fields acted as detectives, and fixed the crime upon an Indian, whom they arrested on an island in Blake's lake, and brought to the Falls for trial. H. H. Perkins acted as judge, a jury of good men was impaneled, and the trial was held in Daniel Mears' store. A prosecuting attorney and counsel for the accused were appointed. The Indian frankly confessed the killing, and said that he had been hired to do the bloody work by Miller. Another Indian testified to being present on the occasion of the murder. After brief remarks by the lawyers, the jury brought in a verdict of guilty. There was no formal sentence. The Indian was kept under guard till next morning, when, by the unanimous consent of all present, he was hanged to a tree, since blighted, that stood near the old burying ground (later Louisiana street), and was hanged, Samuels officiating as sheriff. The Indians present were permitted to take the body, which they buried with Indian rites. Toward Miller, who ought to have been held as principal, the crowd were unexpectedly lenient. Instead of being hanged upon the same tree, he was merely lashed to it, and flogged, Pat Collins administering fifteen strokes on the bare back with a beech withe. He was then placed on a steamboat and ordered to leave the country, never to return. Of the more active participants in the hanging, Pat Collins, who officiated as hangman, and who flogged Miller, was undeniably a hard citizen. He had a bitter grudge against Miller, and administered the strokes with a will. He was himself hanged some years later in California for highway robbery. Chas. F. Rowley, who assisted in the hanging, lived for some years on a farm at[Pg 90] Wolf creek, enlisted in 1861 in the Union army, and was killed in battle.


The following heads of families resided in St. Croix Falls in 1848: H. H. Perkins, Edward Worth, G. W. Brownell, Otis Hoyt, J. Saunders, R. Arnold, L. Barlow, A. L. Tuttle, M. M. Samuels, Geo. De Attley, Moses Perin, and W. H. C. Folsom.

The following single men claimed this as their home: D. Mears, J. L. and N. C. D. Taylor, P. Kelly, A. Romain, J. and W. R. Marshall, W. F. Colby, Dr. De Witt, W. J. Vincent, C. Dexter, A. Youle, H. H. Newberry, J. and O. Weymouth, Geo. Field, W. W. Folsom, J. H. Tuller, J. Dobney, J. Paine, and some others whose names I can not readily recall.


The Indians, when unable to talk English, nevertheless managed to express themselves intelligibly by gestures, picture writing, and vocal utterances, imitating the sounds which they wished to describe. A kind old Chippewa occasionally visited my camp. He would sit by the camp fire and mark out in the ashes the outlines of lakes and streams. In tracing South Clam river, at a certain point he drew a line across the stream, and blew his breath between his teeth and lips in such a way as to perfectly imitate the sound of falling water. Sometime afterward, in exploring Clam river, on rounding a curve I heard the sound of falling water, and found the fall just as he had located it.


Mr. Perkins had been in the village since 1847, acting as agent for the Falls company until the winter of 1850-51, when he was accidentally drowned while attending to his duties. He was engaged in repairing the dam, and was standing on a block of ice. In an unguarded moment he lost his foothold and was carried by the swift current under the ice. It was two days before his body was recovered. His family left the valley, taking the body with them.


[Pg 91]St. Croix Falls. The buildings consisted of a dwelling house, whisky shop, bowling alley, Indian house and stable, the whole inappropriately styled Quailtown, as the name was a gross slander upon the innocent birds. The quails in this "Partridge" nest were evil birds. The resort was noted for its riotous disorder. The worst classes met there for revelry and midnight orgies. In the summer of 1849 Alfred Romain and Patrick Kelly met at Quailtown, disputed, fought, were parted, and the neat day met by agreement to continue the fight with pistols. They were to meet at sunrise in front of Daniel Mears' store. An attempt was made to pacify them, but in vain. Only Romain appeared at the appointed place, and not finding Kelly, hunted through the village for him. About 9 o'clock a. m. he found him at the house of Kimball, a mulatto man. Romain shot him at sight, fatally. At the inquest, held by Dr. Hoyt, it was proven that Romain fired four shots into the body of Kelly, each taking effect, and then crushed his skull with the pistol, and that Kelly fired one shot at Romain. Romain was held for murder, but was never brought to trial. After two years' confinement he escaped from the jail at Prairie du Chien.

Romain afterward removed to St. Louis, reformed his mode of life and became a steady and respectable man. Kelly was a native of Ireland, and at the time of his death was engaged to be married to an estimable lady, one of the corps of teachers sent out by Gov. Slade.


In 1846 a party of speculators, composed of Caleb Cushing, Rufus Choate, Robert Rantoul, and others, located a mineral permit, one mile square, covering part of the site of the two towns of St. Croix and Taylor's Falls, with the water power as the centre. Their permit was filed in the general land office at Washington. They located another permit at or near the mouth of Kettle river. As no money was ever expended in improving them, these permits were never respected. Subsequently the government resurveyed the lands and sold them. The present title to these lands is perfectly good.


In the olden time officers could not always readily be found to execute the laws. Parties desiring to be married, being unable[Pg 92] to secure the services of a minister or justice of the peace, would seek for an officer on the other side of the river, get on a raft or boat, cast off the fastenings and under the concurrent jurisdiction of the state and territorial authorities, would be pronounced "man and wife." Parties have had the same rite performed in the winter season while standing on the ice of the St. Croix midway between the two shores.


During the excitement following the Indian outbreak, there was a general feeling of insecurity and alarm. The half-breeds were especially apprehensive of some kind of violence. One bright moonlight evening, at St. Croix, a surveyor was taking some observations, and as his instrument glittered brightly in the moonlight, the half-breeds saw it and fled, badly frightened, fancying a Sioux behind every bush. The whites seeing them running, as if for their lives, caught the panic, and fled over to the Minnesota side. The Taylor's Falls people were aroused from their peaceful slumbers to find, soon after, that it was a false alarm. Some of the fugitives hid underneath the bridge and clung to the trestle work till morning.


I am indebted to Calvin A. Tuttle for the following reminiscence: In July, 1838, the steamer Palmyra, Capt. Middleton, of Hannibal, Missouri, in command, the first steamer on St. Croix waters, brought me to St. Croix Falls, landing in the Dalles, east side, opposite Angle Rock. The snorting of the Palmyra brought many curiosity seeking Indians to the Dalles. They gathered on the pinnacles of the trap rock, peered curiously over and jumped back, trembling with fright at the "Scota Cheman" or "fire canoe," the first that had ever floated on the placid waters of the St. Croix. I had been employed as millwright to erect mills in the new, and, as yet, almost unknown settlement. On the Palmyra came the proprietors, Steele, Fitch, Hungerford, Libbey, Livingston, Hill, and Russell, with mill irons, tools and provisions for the enterprise.


After climbing over the cragged rocks we came to an Indian trail which led to the Falls, where we found two men, Lagoo and[Pg 93] Denire holding the claim for Steele. The fanciful scheme of building a mill up in the wild land looked now like a reality. The men lived in a log cabin just below the Falls, in a small clearing in the timber, near a copper rock range. Boyce and his men had been driven in by Indians from above. Andrew Mackey and others of Boyce's men went to work with us. Thirty-six men had come from St. Louis on the steamer Palmyra. We moved our machinery from the Dalles to the Falls by water and commenced work immediately. Steele's men had been hindered by the Indians from procuring timber for the building of the mill. We obtained a supply from Kanabec river, which arrived September 15th. Building the mill and blasting the rock occupied our attention during the winter. The mill was soon completed and running. During this period the work was often interrupted and the men were greatly demoralized by the threatening behavior of the Indians. Many of them were frightened into leaving the settlement, but their places were supplied by the company whenever practicable. During 1840 we received some reliable accessions, among them J. L. Taylor, John McKusick, Joseph Haskell, Elam Greely, J. W. Furber and A. McHattie. Some frame houses were built near the mill. Washington Libbey was our first agent, Darnes our second (1839), Capt. W. Frazer our third (1840), Capt. Wm. Holcombe our fourth (1841). The first death was of a man drowned in 1840. The first white woman who visited the Falls was Mrs. David Hone. Rev. Boutwell preached here in 1839. A. Northrup and family came in 1840.


In 1840 Jeremiah Russell, the Indian farmer at Pokegama, Pine county, Minnesota, sent two Chippewa Indians to St. Croix Falls for supplies, who arrived in safety. A band of fifty Sioux Indians were concealed at this (St. Croix Falls) settlement for some days. Within an hour after the arrival of the two Chippewas, the settlement was surrounded by these Sioux. The whites, seeing that trouble was brewing, secreted the Chippewas for two days, the Sioux closely watching. The white men were restless, and afraid to go to work. Capt. Frazer, Rev. Ayers and myself held a council and explained the situation to the Chippewas, who replied that they would not expose the whites to trouble. They resolved on leaving and started in open day north over the trap[Pg 94] rock ridge, thence through the bushes, where they discovered two Sioux. The Chippewas were armed and fired on the Sioux, killing them instantly. The Chippewas then started to run. The report of the guns brought squads of Sioux immediately in pursuit, who, firing on the Chippewas, killed one. The two dead Sioux were sons of Little Crow. They were placed by the Sioux in a sitting posture, with backs to a tree, facing the enemy's country, on the second bench near where the mill dam was subsequently built, a double barreled gun standing on the ground between them. They decorated the corpses with war paint, ribbons and mosses. The two Chippewas who killed Little Crow's sons bore the titles Julius and Wezhaymah. The Sioux in pursuit killed Julius, and his head was hung up in a kettle before those he had slain. His body was chopped in pieces and scattered to the four winds.

From an historical letter, written by Mrs. E. T. Ayer, who lives at Belle Prairie, Minnesota, and whom we have elsewhere mentioned, we have the following description of the death of the sons of Little Crow:

"Julius was of medium height, stout build, very neat, and when in full dress very few Indians would favorably compare with him. Being a good hunter he had the means of gratifying his taste. His hair was long and abundant, and was kept clean and shining by the frequent use of comb and brush, with the help of a little marrow or bear's oil. Three or four of his numerous long braids, studded with silver brooches, hung gracefully on both sides of his face and over his arms—the rest of his dress in a manner corresponding. His hair, like Absalom's, did not save him from his enemies. The Dakotas may dance around it for generations and never see its equal.

"Wezhaymah made his appearance at Pokegama. As he drew near the houses he gave a salute from his double barreled gun. The Ojibways were much frightened. They believed the Sioux had returned to make another trial for scalps and plunder. The first impulse of the women was to hide. The chief's wife and oldest daughter being at the mission house, went through a trap door into a dark cellar. But when the supposed dead stood before them, alive and well, there was great rejoicing.

"Wezhaymah said that Julius killed both of Little Crow's sons; that the Sioux followed him but a short distance, then all[Pg 95] turned after Julius. He took a circuitous route home, traveling in the night and hiding in the day. Julius' parents, Joseph and Eunice, and other members of their family, were members of the mission church. He and his wife made no profession, though they sometimes attended religious worship."

About twenty days after, about one hundred Sioux came from little Crow's band at Red Rock for the bodies of their dead comrades and the gun, having first, by means of spies, satisfied themselves that there were no Chippewas in the vicinity. One morning, as the whites were going to work, they were surprised by the sudden appearance of these Indians, who rushed suddenly down upon them from different trails, gorgeously painted and without blankets. Their movements were so sudden that the whites were completely surprised, and at the mercy of the Indians, who, however, satisfied themselves with searching the camp and appropriating all the victuals they could find, ostensibly searching for the gun which was not to be found where they had left it. Complaining bitterly of its loss, they withdrew to a trap rock ledge near by, where they formed a circle, danced, sung and fired several guns into the air. They then asked to see "Oge-ma," the agent, and formally demanded the gun. Everyone in camp denied any knowledge whatever of the missing article. The Indians were at first much dissatisfied, but finally Little Crow advanced, smoked a pipe and offered it to. Capt. Frazer, shook hands and withdrew, apparently in peace.

As it is not the custom for Indians to molest the dead, they firmly believed a white man had taken the gun. Little Crow applied to Maj. Plympton at Fort Snelling, charging the theft upon the whites. The major in turn wrote to Capt. Frazer at the Falls to make an investigation, as a result of which the gun was found in a tool chest belonging to Lewis Barlow, concealed under a false bottom. Barlow professed entire innocence and ignorance of the matter, suggesting that his brother must have placed the gun there. Capt. Frazer severely reprimanded him for imperiling the lives of all the whites in the settlement by his foolish and thievish act. The gun was sent to Maj. Plympton, who wrote to Capt. Frazer cautioning him to be on his guard, as the Indians were much irritated. Barlow had earned the contempt and dislike of his fellow workmen.[Pg 96]


Mr. Tuttle was at the Falls at the time of the famous battle between the Sioux and Chippewas, which was fought in the ravine where the Minnesota state prison now stands, July 3, 1839, and has given me the following account:

The Chippewas of the St. Croix had been invited by the officer in command at Fort Snelling to a council, the object of which was to effect a treaty of peace. Two hundred and fifty or three hundred Chippewas, including their women and children, passed down the St. Croix in canoes, rested in fancied security in the ravine near the present site of Stillwater, and made a portage thence to Fort Snelling, where, under protection of government soldiers, the council was held. The pipe of peace had been smoked and the Chippewas were quietly returning home, and had encamped a second time in the ravine, expecting to re-embark the next morning on the waters of the St. Croix. Just at the dawn of the ensuing day, and while they were still asleep, a large body of Sioux, who had stealthily followed them, fell upon them suddenly, and with wild yells commenced an indiscriminate slaughter. The Chippewas rallying, drove the Sioux from the ground, thereby retaining possession of their dead, to the number of about thirty. After the smoke of peace at Fort Snelling it was reported that a Sioux had been killed. This incensed them so that they followed in two parties, one party pursuing the St. Croix band and another the Mille Lacs band up Rum river. The latter party overtook the Chippewas at the point where Princeton is now located, and slew sixty of their number. It was afterward ascertained that the Sioux killed near Fort Snelling was killed by a Pillager of the Upper Mississippi, an Indian of a band that was not in the council. The Sioux and Chippewas, it is true, are bitter, relentless, hereditary foes, but this slaughter occurred through a grievous mistake. The Chippewas, on their return, rested at the Falls. Capt. Frazer gave them medicine, dressed their wounds and fed them. The Indians gave way to the wildest grief at their losses, and when they heard of the sixty killed of the Mille Lacs band, their mourning cries and moans baffled description.


The first logs were cut by J. R. Brown on the Taylor's Falls flat in the winter of 1836-37, but the first regular outfit and[Pg 97] camp was that of John Boyce, who came up in a mackinaw boat from St. Louis with eleven men and six oxen, landing at St. Croix Falls late in the fall of 1837. Mr. Andrew Mackey, who was in his party, has furnished me with some items regarding this adventure. The boat was cordelled over the rapids, and, with poles and lines, taken as far as the mouth of Kanabec river, where a camp was established. Boyce had considerable trouble with the Indians. Little Six, a Chippewa chief, came to the camp with two hundred warriors in a defiant, blustering manner, telling him to "go away," to "go back where they came from." Boyce proceeded to the Indian mission at Lake Pokegama and invoked the aid of Rev. Mr. Boutwell, Ely, Ayers and Seymour, who came back with him to the camp and had a "talk" with Little Six, who claimed that the whites had paid no money. Mr. Seymour explained to them the provisions of the treaty, of which they would soon hear; that under its provisions the whites had a right to the timber; that they were not usurpers, that they would live peaceably and not disturb their game. The Indians granted assent, but refused to allow the whites to remove any of their chingwack (pine). Mr. Seymour, apprehending trouble, advised Mr. Boyce to leave. He determined to remain. The Indians being still troublesome, Mr. Boyce descended the river to the falls, the Indians following. On going over the falls the boat filled and Mr. Boyce lost nearly all he had. The Palmyra shortly after broke the silence of the Dalles with its shrill whistle and brought the news of the ratification of the treaty by Congress. Boyce sent his boat down the river, built small boats and made haste to return to his camp on Kanabec river, where he remained through the fall and winter cutting logs.


In April and May of 1839, Boyce rafted his logs with poles and ropes made of basswood strings. The high water swept them away. He gathered from the broken rafts enough for one raft, made it as strong as possible, and continued the descent. The raft struck upon the first island and went to pieces. Boyce saved the canoe and a part of the provisions. Boyce was by this time in a furious rage at his want of success, but tried a third time to make a raft. The crew, tired and hungry, refused to work. A new contract was made and written on a slate, there being no[Pg 98] paper. The logs were left in the river. Some of them floated down and were sold to the Falls company and to the company at Marine. Boyce lost all his labor and investment; the men got but little for their work. Frank Steele had assisted in supplying provisions and clothing for the men, the value of which he never received. Boyce was disgusted and left the country.


Levi W. Stratton, who came up on the Palmyra, July, 1838, gives a few reminiscences from which we select an account of a payment made to the Chippewa Indians the year of his arrival. The crew and passengers of the Palmyra had been greatly annoyed by the Indians, who expected their first payment in July, and besieged the boat in great numbers, demanding it at the hands of the first whites who had come up the river, unable to understand the difference between the regularly constituted authorities and those immigrants who had nothing to do with the payments. It was not until the first week of November that their goods came for payment. The place where Stillwater now stands was selected as the place where they should assemble.

The old stern wheel Gipsey brought the goods and landed them on the beach. The Chippewas came there to the number of 1,100 in their canoes, nearly starved by waiting for their payment. While there receiving it the river and lake froze up, and a deep snow came on; thus all their supplies, including one hundred barrels of flour, twenty-five of pork, kegs of tobacco, bales of blankets, guns and ammunition, casks of Mexican dollars, etc., all were sacrificed except what they could carry off on their backs through the snow hundreds of miles away. Their fleet of birch canoes they destroyed before leaving, lest the Sioux might have the satisfaction of doing the same after they left.

Many of the old as well as the young died from overeating, they being nearly starved. Thus their first payment became a curse rather than a blessing to them, for their supplies soon gave out, the season for hunting was past, they were away from home and had no means of getting there, except by wading through deep snow. Many perished in the attempt. As is usual in such cases, I suppose, no one was to blame, but the poor Indians had to suffer the consequences of somebody's neglect. The old Gipsey had scarcely time to get through the lake before the ice formed.[Pg 99]


In the rough log cabin at St. Croix Falls were three females, the wives of Messrs. Orr and Sackett, employes of the company, and Miss Young, daughter of a widower of that name. Life in that cabin was by no means a dream of bliss, for in consequence of the mosquitoes, more relentless persecutors than the Indians, a smudge had to be kept burning night and day, or at least by day when the sun was not shining. The old cabin served for a kitchen, while an arbor was improvised outside for a dining room. Shortly after the arrival of the immigrants, and before they had learned all the peculiarities of Indian character, they were visited by a party of fifteen or twenty braves, who set about adorning themselves, and spent the forenoon in painting and getting themselves up in gorgeous rig, regardless of expense, preparatory to giving a free entertainment. Just before dinner was called, they arranged themselves near the table and gave a dance, which was very much applauded, after which they were given presents of bread and meat, and dismissed, apparently highly pleased with the success of their exhibition. The household gathered about the table to enjoy their repast, but to their consternation, not a knife, fork or spoon could be found. While the majority of the Indians were riveting the attention of the new comers by their extraordinary antics, the remainder were quietly abstracting the tableware. They were afterward charged with the theft, but protested innocence. The missing articles were never heard of again. A pig of lead, left outside, disappeared at the same time. The poor Indians denied ever having seen the lead. Mr. Stratton remarked, however, that all their war clubs, pipes and gun stocks had been lately and elaborately ornamented with molten lead.


At another time, shortly before payment, when the Indians were unusually hungry and troublesome, two barrels of pork and one of butter mysteriously disappeared. The pork barrels were found empty in the river, and also the butter barrel with one-third of the contents missing. The Indians lay all day in camp sick, but protested their innocence. Nevertheless, at payment day a claim of two hundred dollars for the pork and one hundred and fifty for the butter was allowed and kept back.[Pg 100] They made no objections to paying for the pork, but protested against paying for the butter, as it did them no good and made them all sick.

In September, an old Indian came to the cabin, begging for something to eat. The agent went to the pork barrel and held up a fine piece of pork weighing about twelve pounds, to which the tail was still attached. At sight of this his countenance fell and he went away silently and sullenly.

Shortly afterward a yoke of oxen was missing. They had been driven off over some bare ledges of trap to break the trail. An Indian was hired to hunt for them. He found that this same beggar who had been so disgusted with the offer of a piece of pork with the tail attached had driven them off and slaughtered them. Payment day made all right, and the Indians were compelled to pay a good price for rather poor beef.


Mrs. Mary C. Worth communicated to the writer the following incidents, illustrating some of the vicissitudes of the early settlers:

It was in the fall of 1842. There were about two hundred people in the village, most of them in the employ of James Purinton, company agent. They were already short of provisions and the winter was rapidly coming on, and the expected boat, with its cargo of provisions for the winter supply, was long delayed. September passed, October came and nearly passed, and still no boat. Snow covered the ground, and thin ice the river. The ice, in finely broken pieces, floated down the rapids and was beginning to gorge in the Dalles, and still no boat. Provisions were allotted to the resident families, and the gloomiest anticipations filled all minds at the prospect of the long, dreary winter without food; when, on the twenty-eighth of October, the long expected whistle was heard from the coming steamer. The people rushed frantically down to the old warehouse, but the ice was so gorged in the Dalles that no boat could make the landing. No boat was in sight, nor was the whistle heard again. Had it all been an illusion? The eager throng were again in despair. Another night of cold would blockade the river. Just then the voices of white men were heard from the rocks of the Dalles, and to their great joy they perceived[Pg 101] the boat's officers and passengers clambering down from the rocks, with the glad tidings that the boat had reached the landing, half a mile below, and was then unloading her cargo. The boat, as soon as unloaded, hurriedly departed to avoid being frozen in. The winter passed merrily enough, but clouds and darkness gathered in the spring. Provisions were again short, and had to be apportioned sparingly and equally. Occasionally a deer or a fish eked out the supply, but starvation was again imminent. On this occasion they were relieved by the reception of condemned pork from Fort Snelling. The St. Louis proprietors sent up another boat load of supplies after the opening of navigation, and all seemed well, when, during the prevalence of high water, the boom and mill race gave way and the logs, their main dependence, were swept down the river and beyond their control. This important occurrence, as it then seemed to be, opened up for the company and people a new trade from the valley below, which has been a source of immense profit. It suggested the idea of booming and rafting their logs for points down the river, and led to the building of the first saw mill at Stillwater.


Mr. Purinton at one time invited a few noted Indians who were begging for food to be seated at his table. He politely asked them if they would have tea or coffee. "Ugh! Ugh!" (equivalent to yes, yes) replied the whole party. So Mr. Purinton mixed their tea and coffee.


Muckatice, a Chippewa chief, heard that a barrel of whisky had been stored for safe keeping in the cellar of Mrs. Worth, at Balsam Lake. Muckatice forced himself into the house and attempted to raise the cellar trap door. Mrs. Worth forbade him and placed herself upon the door. Muckatice roughly pushed her aside. He raised the trap door, and, while in the act of descending, fell. While falling Mrs. Worth suddenly shut the trap door upon him, by which one of his legs was caught. Mrs. Worth held the door tightly down. When at last Muckatice was released, gathering a crowd of Indians he returned and demanded the whisky. Thayer, with ropes, managed to get the barrel out[Pg 102] of the cellar and out upon the ground, and seeing the peril of giving so much whisky to the Indians, knocked in both heads of the barrel with an axe, and the earth drank the poisonous fluid. Muckatice then shook hands with Mrs. Worth, called her very brave, and departed.

[Pg 103]



The biographical histories of the early settlers of Polk county considerably antedate the organization of the towns to which they would be referred as at present belonging, and we therefore group together those earliest identified with the history of the valley, and its first settlement at St. Croix Falls, referring also some, such as Joseph R. Brown, Gov. W. R. Marshall and Frank Steele, to localities in which they had been more intimately connected.

Gov. Wm. Holcombe was one of the active resident proprietors and agent of the St. Croix Falls Lumber Company from 1838 to 1845. He was born at Lambertville, New Jersey, in 1804; left home when a boy; went to Utica, New York, where he learned the wheelwright trade. He married Martha Wilson, of Utica; moved to Columbus, Ohio, and was successful in business, but lost all by fire, when he moved to Cincinnati, and from thence to Galena. While in Galena he embarked in steamboating on the Mississippi. Mrs. Holcombe died in Galena. From Galena he came to St. Croix Falls, where he devoted his time as agent to selling lumber and keeping books. Mr. Holcombe took a deep interest in opening the valley to public notice and improvement. He traveled over the wilderness country from Prairie du Chien to St. Croix Falls before there was a blazed path, driving horses and cattle. He helped locate the two first roads in the valley from the mouth of St. Croix lake, via Marine, to St. Croix Falls and from St. Croix Falls, via Sunrise and Rush lakes, to Russell's farm, on Pokegama lake. He supervised the cultivation of the first crops raised in Polk county, at Jerusalem. He[Pg 104] settled in Stillwater in 1846, where he became an active worker in behalf of education, and did much to establish the present excellent system of schools. In 1846 he was a member of the first constitutional convention of Wisconsin Territory, representing this valley and all the country north of Crawford county. He was a faithful worker on the boundary question, and effected a change from the St. Croix to a point fifteen miles due east, from the most easterly point on Lake St. Croix, from thence south to the Mississippi river and north to the waters of Lake Superior. His course was approved by his constituents. In 1848 he took an active part in the formation of Minnesota Territory, and was secretary of the first convention called for that purpose in Stillwater. He was receiver of the United States land office at Stillwater four years. He was a member of the Democratic wing of the constitutional convention for Minnesota in 1857, and was honored by being elected first lieutenant governor of Minnesota in 1857. The name of Gov. Holcombe will long be remembered in the valley of the St. Croix. He died in Stillwater, Sept. 5, 1870, and was buried with masonic honors. He left two sons, William W. and Edward Van Buren, by his first wife. He married a second wife in Galena, in 1847, who died in 1880.

William S. Hungerford was born in Connecticut, Aug. 12, 1805. He was married to Lucinda Hart, at Farmington, Connecticut, in 1827. He came to St. Louis, Missouri, at an early age and engaged in mercantile pursuits in the firm of Hungerford & Livingston. In 1838 he became one of the original proprietors of the St. Croix Falls Lumbering Company, and gave his time and talents to its welfare. He was of a hopeful temperament, and even in the darkest hour of the enterprise in which he had embarked, cherished a most cheerful faith in its ultimate success.

Hon. Caleb Cushing, whose name was to be associated intimately with that of Mr. Hungerford in the future history and litigation of the company, recognizing St. Croix Falls as a point promising unrivaled attractions to the manufacturer, in 1846 purchased an interest in the company, which was at once reorganized with Cushing and Hungerford as principal stockholders. The acute mind of Gen. Cushing recognized not only the prospective advantages of the water power, but the probability of the division of Wisconsin Territory, which might result in making[Pg 105] St. Croix Falls the capital of the new territory, and formed plans for the development of the company enterprise, which might have resulted advantageously had not he been called away to take part in the Mexican War and thence to go on a political mission to China. During his absence there was a complete neglect of his American inland projects and the enterprise at St. Croix suffered greatly; the new company accomplished but little that was agreed upon in the consolidation. Cushing had inexperienced agents, unfitted to attend to his interest. He furnished money sufficient, if judiciously handled, to have made a permanent, useful property here. Conflicting questions arose between Hungerford and Cushing's agents, which terminated in lawsuits. The first suit was in 1848, Hungerford, plaintiff. Different suits followed, one after another, for over twenty years, which cursed the property more than a mildew or blight. During this time the parties alternated in use and possession, by order of court. Hungerford, during these trials, pre-empted the land when it came in market. For this he was arrested on complaint of perjury. Hungerford, by order of court, was, on his arrest, taken away in chains. He was soon after released. Hungerford was an indefatigable worker. The labor of his life was invested in the improvements of the company. Cushing, being a man of talent and influence, could fight the battle at a distance. He employed the best legal talent in the land; he met Hungerford at every turn, and Hungerford became a foe worthy of his steel. They unitedly accomplished the ruin of their town. Mr. Hungerford had an excellent family, making their home at the Falls during all their perplexities. On the occasion of his arrest he was manacled in presence of his family, who bore it with a fortitude worthy the name and reputation of the father and husband. The litigation ended only with the death of the principal actors. The perishable part of the property, mills and other buildings, has gone to ruin. The whole history is a sad comment on the folly of attempting to manage great enterprises without harmony of action and purpose. Mr. Hungerford died in Monticello, Illinois, in 1874. Mrs. Hungerford died in Connecticut in 1880. Mr. Cushing died in 1876.

Hon. Henry D. Barron.—Henry Danforth Barron was born in Saratoga county, New York, April 10, 1832. He received a common school education, studied law, and graduated from the[Pg 106] law school at Ballston Spa, New York. He came to Wisconsin in 1851; learned the printer's trade, and was afterward editor of the Waukesha Democrat. In 1857 he removed to Pepin, Wisconsin, and in 1860 received the appointment of circuit judge of the Eighth district.

In September, 1861, he came to St. Croix Falls, as agent for Caleb Cushing and the St. Croix Manufacturing and Improvement Company.

He was elected to the lower house of the Wisconsin legislature in 1862, and served as assemblyman continuously from 1862 to 1869, and for the years 1872 and 1873. During the sessions of 1866 and 1873 he was speaker of the assembly. A portion of this time he held the responsible position of regent of the State University, and was also a special agent of the treasury department. In 1869 President Grant appointed him chief justice of Dakota, which honor was declined. The same year he was appointed fifth auditor in the treasury department, which office he resigned in 1872 to take a more active part in advancing the interests of his State. He was chosen a presidential elector in 1868, and again in 1872, and served as state senator during the sessions of 1874, 1875 and 1876, and was at one time president pro tem. of the senate. In 1876 he was elected judge of the Eleventh Judicial circuit. During his service as judge he was highly gratified that so few appeals were taken from his decisions, and that his decisions were seldom reversed in higher courts. He had also held the offices of postmaster, county attorney, county judge, and county superintendent of schools.

Although formerly a Democrat, at the outbreak of the Rebellion he became a Republican. Of late years he was a pronounced stalwart. Throughout his life he never received any profit, pecuniarily, from the prominent positions in which he was placed, his only endeavor seeming to be to advance the interests, influence, worth and ability of the younger men with whom he was associated, and hundreds who to-day hold positions of prominence and responsibility, owe their success and advancement to his teachings and advice. Of a disposition kind, courteous and generous, he was possessed of a remarkably retentive memory, which, with his intimate associations with leading men, and familiarity with public life, legislative and judicial, afforded a fund of personal sketches, anecdotes and biographies, at once entertaining, amusing and instructive.[Pg 107]

The judge was twice married, his first wife having died at Waukesha, leaving him an only son, Henry H. Barron, who was with him at the time of his death. His second marriage was to Ellen K. Kellogg, at Pepin, in 1860. For some time she has made her home with her mother in California, on account of ill health. At the time of his death, which occurred at St. Croix Falls, Jan. 22, 1882, he was judge of the Eleventh Judicial circuit. His remains were buried at Waukesha.

George W. Brownell.—Mr. Brownell, though not among the earliest of the pioneers of St. Croix valley, yet deserves special mention on account of his scientific attainments, his high character as a man, and the fact that he was an influential member, from the St. Croix district, of the Wisconsin territorial constitutional convention, he having been elected over Bowron on the question of establishing the new state line east of the St. Croix.

Mr. Brownell was born in Onondago, New York, and when a youth lived in Syracuse, where he learned the trade of a carriage maker. He was a resident of Galena, Illinois, over thirty years, where he engaged in mining and geological pursuits. He spent two years in the lead mines of Wisconsin. He was connected with the Galena Gazette some years. In 1846 he visited the Superior copper mining region for a Boston company. He formed the acquaintance of Caleb Cushing, Rufus Choate, Horace Rantoul, and others, and located for them mineral permits at St. Croix Falls and Kettle river, and became, this year, a resident of St. Croix Falls. In 1847 he was married to Mrs. Duncan, of Galena. He was elected this year to the constitutional convention. In 1851 he returned to Galena and engaged in the grain trade and cotton planting near Vicksburg, Mississippi, in which he was not successful. In 1865 he visited Colorado and made investments there. When on a trip to Colorado, in 1866, the stage was attacked by Indians. Brownell and another passenger alighted to resist the attack. He was armed with a rifle, and, if properly supported, would probably have been saved; but most of the passengers remained in the stage. The driver, getting scared, whipped his horses and drove rapidly away, leaving Brownell and companion, who were overpowered and killed. Their bodies were recovered, shockingly mutilated. His remains were forwarded to Galena for burial. Mr. Brownell had[Pg 108] a scientific mind, and passed much of his life in scientific studies and practical experiments. He attained a good knowledge of geology, mineralogy and chemistry. The foresight of Mr. Brownell on the Wisconsin boundary, and in other public matters, has been, in time, generally recognized. He was a good neighbor and kind friend.

Col. Robert C. Murphy.—Col. Murphy, a man of fine address and admirable social qualities, made his home at St. Croix Falls in 1860-61 and 62, during which time he was in charge of the Cushing interest and property, which position he left to accept the colonelcy of the Eighth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. His military career was not fortunate and its abrupt termination was a sad disappointment to himself and friends. An article in the Milwaukee Weekly Telegraph, from the pen of one who knew Col. Murphy well, thus sums up some of the salient points in his character and career. We make a few extracts:

"Col. Murphy was educated and accomplished. He had been instructed in the Patridge Military School, and was possessed of some experience in Indian fights on the plains with Burnside, bearing scars of that experience, and a recommendation of skill and courage from Gen. Burnside to Gov. Randall. His great intuitiveness, his ready manner, his cultivation of mind, gained for him the respect and charity of his superiors, and brought him the respect and confidence of his regiment. His father, a native of Ireland, was a successful practicing lawyer and politician in Ohio, without much education; a man of strong natural talent and integrity. Upon his son he showered all his earnings, in the form of that which the father lacked the most—books, schooling and polish. Judge Murphy (the father) was the bearer of important dispatches to Texas from the Tyler and Polk administrations in connection with the annexation of that republic to this country, and is referred to in Benton's 'Thirty Years' as Tyler's 'midnight messenger.' Young Murphy was appointed by President Pierce American consul in China, while Gen. Caleb Cushing was minister to that country, and he discharged important consular and judicial duties there with credit to himself and his government. Upon his return Gen. Cushing selected him to take charge of the Cushing interest and property at St. Croix Falls, in this State. From there he went 'to the front,' and his military career was cut short by his failure at[Pg 109] Iuka and Holly Springs. Gen. Grant dismissed him in brief, terse words, but was willing afterward that he should be heard by a board of army officers detailed for that purpose. Stanton was inexorable and refused."

After his dismissal from the army he removed to Washington and accepted a clerkship in the post office department where he still remains. It is due to him to say that his own version of his military troubles is ingenious and plausible, and would, if sustained, quite exonerate him from the charges that have pressed so heavily upon him.

Edward Worth.—Mr. Worth came to St. Croix Falls from New York State in 1842, where he continued to reside the remainder of his life, experiencing the vicissitudes of pioneer life to their fullest extent. He died in 1863, leaving a widow, an only son (Henry) and two daughters, Myra, wife of W. T. Vincent, and Sarah, wife of John Blanding.

Mrs. Mary C. Worth.—Mrs. Worth was born Oct. 14, 1812, was married to Edward Worth, Dec. 24, 1835, and came to St. Croix Falls in 1842, where she lived till Jan. 12, 1886, when she peacefully passed away. She was a woman of rare mental ability, untiring industry and skill in managing her household affairs, and unquestioned courage, as many incidents in her St. Croix experience will evidence. She was a member of the Episcopal church and went to her grave with the respect and admiration of all who knew her.

Maurice Mordecai Samuels, better known as Capt. Samuels, was born in London, of Jewish parentage. It is not known exactly when he came to this country. I first met him in 1844, at Prairie du Chien, at which time he was a traveling peddler. In 1846 I found him in the Chippewa country, living with an Indian woman and trading with the Indians at the mouth of Sunrise river. In 1847 he established a ball alley and trading post at St. Croix Falls, where he lived until 1861, when he raised a company (the St. Croix Rifles) for the United States service, received a commission and served till the close of the war. After the war he became a citizen of New Orleans, and in 1880 changed his residence to Winfield, Kansas. While in St. Croix he reared a family of half-breed children. He was a shrewd man and an inveterate dealer in Indian whisky. Capt. Samuels was sent as a government agent to the Chippewas of St. Croix valley and the[Pg 110] southern shore of Lake Superior, in 1862, to ascertain and report their sentiment in regard to the Sioux war. It may be said of Capt. Samuels that, however unprincipled he may have been, he was no dissembler, but outspoken in his sentiments, however repellant they may have been to the moral sense of the community. He died at Winfield, Kansas, in 1884.

Joseph B. Churchill was born in New York in 1820; was married in New York to Eliza Turnbull, and came to St. Croix Falls in 1854. He has filled various offices creditably, and has the respect and confidence of his acquaintances. His oldest daughter is the wife of Phineas G. Lacy, of Hudson. His second daughter is the wife of Joseph Rogers. He has one son living.

John McLean.—Mr. McLean was born 1819, in Vermont; was married in 1844 to Sarah Turnbull and settled on his farm near St. Croix Falls in 1850. Through untiring industry and honorable dealing he has secured a sufficiency for life, a handsome farm and good buildings. A large family has grown up around him, and have settled in the county.

Gilman Jewell came from New Hampshire; was married in New Hampshire and came to the West in 1847. He settled on a farm near St. Croix Falls. He died in 1869. Mrs. Jewell died January, 1888. One son, Philip, resides on the homestead. Ezra, another son, resides at the Falls. The other members of the family have moved elsewhere.

Elisha Creech was born in West Virginia, 1831. He came to St. Croix Falls in 1849, and was married to Mary M. Seeds in 1863. They have four children. Mr. Creech has been engaged much of his life in lumbering. Through industry and temperate habits he has made a good farm and a pleasant home.

James W. McGlothlin was born in Kentucky; came to St. Croix Falls in 1846, and engaged successfully in sawing lumber at the St. Croix mill in 1846 and 1847, but in 1848 rented the mill, being sustained by Waples & Co., of Dubuque, Iowa, but by reason of bad management, he failed and left the valley in 1849. He afterward went to California, where he met a tragic fate, having been murdered by his teamster.

Andrew L. Tuttle.—Mr. Tuttle came to St. Croix Falls in 1849, and was engaged many years as a lumberman and as keeper of a boardinghouse. He settled on his farm at Big Rock in 1856, where he made himself a comfortable home. He went to Montana[Pg 111] in 1865, and died there in 1873. Mrs. Tuttle still resides at the homestead, an amiable woman, who has acted well her part in life. One of her daughters is married to Wm. M. Blanding. One son, Eli, died in 1883, another son, Henry, died in Montana. Perly, John and Warren are settled near the homestead.

John Weymouth was born at Clinton, Maine, in 1815, and came to St. Croix Falls in 1846, where he followed lumbering and made himself a beautiful home on the high hill overlooking the two villages of St. Croix Falls and Taylor's Falls. By frugality and industry Mr. Weymouth has accumulated a competence. He was married in St. Croix Falls in 1850, to Mary McHugh. One son, John, is married to Miss Ramsey, of Osceola, and a daughter, Mary J., is married to Samuel Harvey, of St. Croix Falls.

B. W. Reynolds, a tall, thin, stoop-shouldered man of eccentric manners, was receiver at the St. Croix land office from 1861 to 1864. He was a native of South Carolina, and a graduate of Middlebury College, Vermont. He had studied for the ministry, and, if we mistake not, had devoted some years of his life to pastoral work, but devoted later years to secular pursuits. At the close of the war he returned to South Carolina as a reconstructionist, but in two or three years came North, and located at La Crosse, Wisconsin, where he edited the La Crosse Star. He died at La Crosse Aug. 17, 1877.

Augustus Gaylord.—Mr. Gaylord was a merchant in St. Croix Falls prior to the Rebellion. In 1861 Gov. Harvey appointed him adjutant general of the State. In this office he acquitted himself well. He was an efficient public officer and in private life a high minded, honorable gentleman.

James D. Reymert.—Mr. Reymert was born in Norway in 1821, and came to America and settled in Racine in 1845. He was a practical printer, and editor of the first Norwegian paper west of the lakes, if not the first in America, and was a man of recognized literary ability. He was a member of the second Wisconsin constitutional convention, 1847, from Racine. In 1849 he was a member of the Wisconsin assembly. He came to St. Croix Falls in 1859, and served two years as agent of the St. Croix Falls Company. He was the organizer of a company in New York City, known as "The Great European-American Land Company," in which Count Taub, of Norway, took an[Pg 112] active part. This noted company claimed to have purchased the Cushing property, a claim true only so far as the preliminary steps of a purchase were concerned. For a time there was considerable activity. The town of St. Croix Falls was resurveyed, new streets were opened, and magnificent improvements planned, but failing to consummate the purchase, the company failed, leaving a beggarly account of unpaid debts.

William J. Vincent.—Mr. Vincent is of Irish descent. He was born June 10, 1830, and came West when a youth. In 1846, at the age of sixteen, he enlisted in Company H, Mounted Rifles, and served through the Mexican War. In 1848 he came to St. Croix Falls, where he followed lumbering and clerking. He was married to Myra Worth in 1855. In 1861 he enlisted in Company F, First Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, of which company he was appointed second lieutenant. He resigned in 1862. He has held the office of county commissioner eleven years, that of county clerk seven years, that of state timber agent four years. In 1879 he served as representative in the Wisconsin assembly. In 1880 he commenced selling goods with his son-in-law, under the firm name of Vincent & Stevenson. He erected the first brick store building in St. Croix Falls in 1884.

Thompson Brothers.—Thomas Thompson was born in Lower Canada, Nov. 11, 1833, and was married to Eliza Clendenning in 1861. James Thompson was born in Lower Canada, Nov. 11, 1840, and was married to Mary A. Gray in 1871. The brothers came to the Falls in 1856 and engaged in lumbering about ten years, and then in merchandising, jointly, but in 1868 formed separate firms. Thomas built the first brick dwelling house in St. Croix in 1882. Mrs. Thomas Thompson died in 1886. James erected a large flour mill in 1879.

William Amery was born in London, England, in 1831. He learned the carpenter's trade in London and came to America in 1851, locating at first in Stillwater, but the ensuing year removing to St. Croix Falls. He pre-empted the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter of section 31, township 34, range 18, and adjoining lands in 1853, and this has been his continuous home since. He has served as county treasurer four years and held many town offices. He was married to Sarah Hackett in 1855. The town of Amery is named in honor of this respected man. Mr. Amery died Sept. 4, 1887, leaving a widow, two sons and three daughters.[Pg 113]

Lewis Barlow.—Among the first immigrants to St. Croix Falls was Lewis Barlow, an eccentric, sensitive man. He was a millwright, and, being of an unhappy disposition, led a troubled life. He was the first man married at the Falls. In 1847 he moved to the Minnesota side, where he owned considerable land. He lived here until 1852 when his family left him. He sold his interests and followed and reunited them at Rock Island, Illinois. Here he suffered much and became blind. He traveled with a panorama and so earned a scanty livelihood. In later life he revisited his old home at the Falls, but broken and dejected in spirit. He died at Rock Island in 1872.

Levi W. Stratton.—Mr. Stratton was one of the passengers of the Palmyra in 1838. He worked for the St. Croix Company two years. After leaving the Falls, he changed his residence several times, and finally settled at Excelsior, Hennepin county, Minnesota, where he died in 1884. Mr. Stratton wrote for the Minneapolis papers many interesting reminiscences of pioneer life on the St. Croix.

Elma M. Blanding.—Mr. Blanding was born in Harford, Susquehanna county, New York, Feb. 14, 1800. He was married to Eliza Tuttle in 1826. He settled on a farm near St. Croix Falls in 1856, where he died, Sept. 16, 1871. Father Blanding, as he was affectionately called in the later years of his life, was a man of exemplary habits, of strong religious convictions, and a consistent member of the Presbyterian church. He left a widow, five sons and three daughters. Mrs. Eliza Blanding died Jan. 18, 1887. Wm. M. Blanding, the oldest son, owns a fine farm near the Falls, formerly known as "Jerusalem." He is a surveyor, lumberman and farmer, and a prominent citizen. He was married to Eliza Tuttle. A family of thirteen children has grown up around him. In 1887 he was appointed receiver in the St. Croix land office. John, the second son, is also a farmer in St. Croix Falls. He was married to Sarah, daughter of Edward and Mary C. Worth. Eugene E. is engaged in the drug business at Taylors Falls, and is also surveyor and express agent. He married Joanna Ring, of Taylors Falls, in 1871. Fred, the fourth son, was married in 1885 to Emma Sly. He was appointed United States land receiver at St. Croix Falls in 1887. He died in California, Jan. 30, 1888. Frank, the youngest son, was married to Annie McCourt, and lives on the homestead.[Pg 114] Josephine, the oldest daughter, is the wife of Wm. Longfellow, and resides in Machias, Maine. Flavilla, the widow of Charles B. Whiting, lives at St. Paul, Minnesota. Her husband died in 1868. Mrs. Whiting was executrix of the will of Dr. E. D. Whiting, and successfully controlled a property valued at about $80,000. Mary, wife of Wm. McCourt, died in 1880.


Frederick K. Bartlett was a native of New England. He came to St. Croix Falls in 1849, as attorney and land agent for Caleb Cushing. He was candidate for judge of the district court in 1850, but was defeated. He subsequently settled in Stillwater, and later in Hudson, where he died in 1857, leaving a wife and one son, who became a civil engineer and died in St. Paul in 1885, and one daughter, Helen, who achieved some reputation as a writer for periodicals.[Pg 115]

Michael Field was born June 8, 1806. He came from a New England family, his father and mother having resided in Connecticut. In early life he removed to New York and resided awhile at Rochester. He engaged principally in transportation business. The earliest work he ever did was on the Erie canal. He was married in 1833 to Miss Reynolds, who died in 1874. His children are Capt. Silas Wright Field (mortally wounded at Shiloh), Norton, a resident of Racine, Wisconsin, Mrs. Fanny Nason, wife of Hon. Joel F. Nason, Phebe and Mary, unmarried and resident in Brooklyn. Mr. Field was married to his second wife, Mrs. Harriet Lee Bracken, in 1882. He was appointed register of the land office at St. Croix Falls by President Lincoln in 1861, and served twenty-six years. Though over eighty years of age he retains his faculties and general health, and his mind is a store house of the early history of the country.


The town of Alden embraces township 32, range 17, and twenty-four sections of range 18. It has both prairie and timber land, and is abundantly supplied with water. Apple river traverses it from northeast to southwest. There are many tributary small streams, and a large number of small lakes, of which Cedar lake is the largest. This lies only partially in Alden. The surface is gently undulating.

The town of Alden was organized in 1857. The first board of supervisors were Stephen Williams, William Folsom and H. Sawyer. The first post office was established at Wagon Landing in 1862, V. M. Babcock, postmaster. The first settlers were Wm. Folsom, V. M. Babcock, V. B. Kittel, I. L. Bridgman, Charles Vassau, Jr., and Humphrey Sawyer, in 1856. Mr. Bridgman raised the first crops in 1857. The first marriage was C. Vassau to Alma Kittel, in 1858, by Rev. A. Burton Peabody. The first white child born in Alden was P. B. Peabody, July 28, 1856. The first death was that of a child, Nicholas W. Gordon, June 10, 1857. Alden has two post towns, Little Falls and Alden.

Rev. A. Burton Peabody was born May 22, 1823, in Andover, Windsor county, Vermont. He was the youngest of four minor children, and was left fatherless at eight years of age, and motherless at fifteen. He obtained a good English education[Pg 116] in the common schools, and at Chester and Black River academies. The winter terms he spent in teaching. In 1844 he came to Janesville, Wisconsin, where he spent two years, partly on a farm and partly in a law office, as a student and clerk. In 1847 he went to Iowa county, and taught school through the winter at Mineral Point. The next year he went to Clarence, Green county, Wisconsin, where he spent four years in teaching. In 1852 he entered the Nashotah Theological Seminary, where he completed the course, and was ordained deacon in the Protestant Episcopal church, June 3, 1855, by the Rev. Bishop Kemper, and took temporary charge of Grace church, Sheboygan. He was married to Charity Esther Kittel, Sept. 22, 1855, at Clarence, by the Rev. Wm. Ruger. In November of the same year he removed to Mississippi, spending the winter at Jackson. In February he went to Middleton, Mississippi, to take charge of a mission work, including several appointments. He came, the June following, to Polk county, Wisconsin, and spent the summer at Wagon Landing, on Apple river, where his wife's friends had made a settlement, but in the winter returned to his mission work in the South, and there remained until 1857. Owing to the troubled political condition of the South, he did not deem it advisable to remove his family thither, and so returned to Wagon Landing and obtained mission work, visiting at intervals Foster's Mills, now New Richmond, Huntington, Cedar Valley, and St. Croix Falls. The intervening country was, much of it, an unbroken wilderness, and he was obliged to make his journeys not infrequently on foot, to cross the swollen streams and dare all the perils of the winter storm. In 1859 Mr. Peabody accepted a call to the rectorship of St. Paul's church, Plymouth, Sheboygan county, but in 1862 returned to the valley of the St. Croix, and settled on a farm, undertaking meanwhile ministerial work at Prescott and other points, in a line extending as far north as St. Croix Falls. Three years later Prescott and River Falls were made independent, another man taking charge. In 1879 Mr. Peabody undertook additional work on the North Wisconsin railroad, including a large number of places, to be visited monthly. In 1882 his railroad work was limited to Clayton, Cumberland and Hayward. He still has charge, as rector, of Star Prairie and Wagon Landing. Few men have led more laborious lives or been more useful in their calling. He has witnessed the erection[Pg 117] of eight churches on the field in which he labored, though concerned directly in the building of only four. Mr. Peabody's family consists of seven sons and seven daughters. One of the latter died in infancy.

V. M. Babcock settled at Wagon Landing, town of Alden, in 1856. He was born in Rensselaer county, New York; married his first wife in New York and his second wife at Somerset, St. Croix county, Wisconsin. They have four children. He has held town offices ever since the organization of the town. He has been sheriff, and was county superintendent of schools for seven years.


The town of Apple River includes township 34, range 16, and derives its name from its principal river. The town is well watered by Apple river and its tributaries, and it also has numerous lakes, the most considerable of which is White Ash lake. The surface of the town is gently undulating, and was originally covered with pine, interspersed with hardwood groves. There is good wheat soil, and natural meadows are found in some parts. The town was organized Jan. 22, 1876, having been set off from Balsam Lake. There are two post offices, Apple River on the west, and Shiloh on the east town line.


The town of Balsam Lake embraces township 34, range 17, and takes its name from a lake within its bounds. It has an undulating surface, covered with heavy oak, pine, and maple timber principally. Balsam creek, the outlet of Balsam lake, flows through it in a southerly direction, affording fine water powers. About one-sixth of the surface is covered with lakes. The largest of these, Balsam lake, in the Indian language An-in-on-duc-a-gon, or evergreen place, gives name to the town. Deer, Long, Wild Goose, and Mud lakes are fine bodies of water with bold, timbered shores, and abundance of fish. The town is near the geographical centre of the county. The first white man, prior to the organization of the town, to locate within its present bounds was a disreputable trader named Miller, who in 1848 built a shanty on Balsam lake, from which he dispensed whisky to the Indians. This man was not long afterward driven out of the country. (See history of St. Croix Falls.) The town was organized[Pg 118] in 1869. The first board of supervisors consisted of Geo. P. Anderson, Wright Haskins, and Joseph Loveless. The clerk was H. J. Fall; the treasurer, F. R. Loveless. The first school was taught by Jane Husband. Aaron M. Chase built a shingle mill at the outlet of Balsam lake in 1850, and he seems to have been the first actual settler or the first man to make improvements. As he had neither oxen nor horses, the timbers for the mill were hauled by man power with the aid of yokes and ropes. Other persons came to the mill and lived there awhile, but the first permanent settlers came in in 1856. They were J. Shepherd, Joseph Loveless, Joseph Ravett, and John M. Rogers. Mr. Rogers raised the first crops in the town; Joseph Ravett was the first postmaster. The first marriage was that of J. K. Adams to Miss L. A. Millerman, by W. H. Skinner. The first white child born was a daughter to R. S. Haskins. The first death, that of a child, occurred in 1870. A first class flouring mill has been erected at the outlet of Balsam lake. It is owned by Herman Corning; a saw mill is also in operation at this point. A Methodist church, 30 × 40 feet ground plan, was erected at Balsam Lake by the Methodist society in 1886.


The town of Beaver includes township 34, range 15. It was set off from Apple River and organized Nov. 15, 1885. The name was suggested as being appropriate from the work of the beaver in past ages. Beaver dams are numerous on all the creeks. These ancient works will mostly disappear with the progress of agriculture. The town is drained by streams flowing into Apple river. Horseshoe lake, in the northeast corner, is three miles in length.


The town of Black Brook includes township 32, range 16. Apple river, with its tributaries, supplies it with abundant water privileges. Black Brook, the principal tributary, gives the town its name, and drains the southern portion. There are many small lakes. The surface is undulating and most of the soil good. The post office of Black Brook is in section 32. The North Wisconsin railroad passes through sections 25, 35 and 36. This town was originally a part of Alden, but was organized and[Pg 119] set off as a new town Aug. 5, 1867. J. C. Nelson and G. H. Goodrich were the first supervisors. The first settlers (1863) were John Gorsuch, John Reed and Jacob Polwer; the first postmaster was —— Gates; the first school teacher, Tina Starkweather; the first marriage that of S. D. Starkweather and Mary Danforth; the first death that of Mrs. Ben Gilman.


Clam Falls comprises township 37, range 16, and derives its name from the falls on Clam river. The surface is rolling and timbered with hardwood and pine. It is well watered by South Clam creek and its tributaries. Somers' lake, in section 27, is the only lake. An upheaval of trap rock on Clam creek has caused the waterfall from which the town has taken its name. It is a fine water power. A dam for collecting tolls on saw logs has been placed just above the Falls. Good specimens of copper ore are found in the trap. The town was set off from Luck and organized Nov. 15, 1876. The first town meeting was held April, 1877. The first supervisors were Daniel F. Smith, John Almquist and John Bjornson. D. F. Smith was the first settler, built the first saw mill, and raised the first crops.

Daniel F. Smith, a peculiar and eccentric man, was born in Chautauqua county, New York, in 1813; emigrated to Michigan in 1834, where he married Eliza Green the following year, and moved to Racine county, Wisconsin. In 1842 he engaged in lumbering on the Wisconsin river, his home being at Stevens Point. He was of the firms of Smith & Bloomer and Smith & Fellows. Mr. Bloomer was accidentally killed, on which account the business of these firms was closed, Mr. Smith removing to Galena to facilitate the settlement of their affairs. In 1852 he removed to St. Louis; in 1853 to Memphis, Tennessee, where he engaged in the wholesale grocery business, losing heavily, in fact all the accumulations of his life. In the spring of 1855 he leased the St. Croix Falls saw mill, and operated it for two years, when trouble arose and litigation ensued, in which Smith obtained a judgment against Cushing for $1,000. In 1860 he removed to Clinton, Iowa, and thence in the same year to California. He traveled much, visiting mines. He spent some time in mining, and also manufactured shingles. In 1862 he returned to St. Croix Falls and engaged in lumbering for three years. In 1868 he built[Pg 120] a saw mill at Butternut Lake, Wisconsin. He did much to open that country to settlement. He was the founder of a town which he called "Luck." In 1872 he was the first settler at Clam Falls, where he built a saw mill with but one man to assist, and around that mill has sprung up a flourishing settlement. Dan Smith, with undaunted perseverance, has battled his way through life, and has come out victorious over difficulties and opposition that would have discouraged and turned back other men. Mr. Smith is a plain, direct, outspoken man; a man of energy and ability. He has ably and satisfactorily filled many places of trust. For many years he has been a commissioner of Polk county.


Clayton includes township 33, range 15. The town was set off from Black Brook. The surface of a great part of the town is level and was originally marshy, but these marshes have been gradually drained, and fine farms and hay meadows have taken their place. The town was organized Nov. 10, 1875. The first supervisors were Morris De'Golier, Worthy Prentice and H. D. West. The first homestead entries were made in 1865 by Peter Bouchea and John McKay, a Frenchman, both Indian traders, who established a post at Marsh lake, but in six months abandoned it and never returned. The next settlers were Vandyke, Morehouse and Tanner, near the west line of the town, about 1870. The first improvements were made by Elam Greely in 1862, who dug a canal into Marsh lake to get water to float logs out of Beaver brook, thereby draining great tracts of swamp land. The laying of the North Wisconsin railroad track gave a fresh impetus to business, and conduced greatly to the building of the village of Clayton in section 24. The first sermon in the town of Clayton was preached by Rev. W. W. Ames, a Baptist; the first school was taught by S. M. De'Golier; the first store was opened by A. M. Wilcox, 1874. D. A. Humbird was the first postmaster. The North Wisconsin railway passes through the southeast part and the Minneapolis, Soo & Atlantic passes from the west side to the northeast corner of the town, and has a station, Gregory, in the west part.

Reuben F. Little was born June 13, 1839, in Topsham, Devonshire county, England. At ten years of age he began to care for himself, working for sixpence per week, carrying pottery[Pg 121] in a moulding house. Before leaving England his wages had increased to three shillings per week. In the spring of 1853 he had saved three pounds sterling, and his grandfather gave him two pounds sterling. This five pounds paid his passage to Quebec and Montreal, where he got four dollars per month. Soon after he apprenticed himself for five years to learn the baker's and confectioner's trade at London, Upper Canada. Subsequently he took a homestead from the British government at Trading Lake, Upper Canada.


In the spring of 1861, at Detroit, Michigan, he enlisted in the United States infantry, regular army, and was promoted successively to first sergeant, to sergeant major, to second lieutenant, to first lieutenant. He resigned in September, 1865. During the war he served continuously in Gen. George H. Thomas' division, and took part in all the engagements under him, from Miles Springs, Kentucky, to Nashville, Tennessee. On the twenty-second of September, 1863, Mr. Little had the honor of being the last man to leave the Rossville Gap in front of Chattanooga after the disastrous fight of Chickamauga. He was wounded in the battle of Hoover's Gap and Smyrna, and at the siege of Corinth.

Mr. Little was married in 1865, and divorced in 1869, and re-married in St. Paul in 1878. He lost his Canada homestead, and[Pg 122] took another homestead in Lincoln, Polk county, Wisconsin, in 1866. Afterward he went to St. Paul and became one of the firm of Little & Berrisford in the wholesale confectionery business. In 1879 he returned to Clayton, formerly part of Lincoln, and reclaimed a swamp of over six hundred acres, making it a productive meadow and tillage farm. Mr. Little has served several years as Clayton's town supervisor.


Clear Lake embraces township 32, range 15. It derives its name from a beautiful clear lake on the western boundary near Clear Lake village. The west part of the town is timbered principally with hardwood, and is good farming land. The eastern part is more diversified, and there are some large groves of pine. Willow river runs through the town. The North Wisconsin railroad traverses the town diagonally from northeast to southwest: The town was organized June 20, 1877; S. D. Mann, J. C. Gates, and W. R. Ingalls, supervisors. The first settlers were John Hale, L. P. Nash, S. D. Starkweather, and Perry Clark. Lawrence O'Connor was first postmaster; Mr. Starkweather carried the mail on foot. Israel Graves, in 1875, built the first saw mill in Clear Lake village and the first house. There is now at the village a stave mill owned by Symme & Co. Jewett Bros. own a saw mill on Willow river, three miles from the village, which has a capacity of 8,000,000 feet. The lumber is delivered to the railway at the village by a wooden tramway. The lots for the village were purchased from the government by A. Boody and A. Coventry, in 1856. The plat was made by Symme, Glover & Co. The survey was made by G. W. Cooley. Thomas T. McGee was the first settler (1875), and Stephen H. Whitcomb the second. The first school house was built in 1875, and the first school was taught by Clara Davis in the same year. The village has now a good graded school with three departments, Charles Irle, principal. Its two church buildings, Congregational and Methodist, were destroyed by the cyclone of 1884, but are being rebuilt. The Swedish Lutherans have a church a mile from the village. Chas. Decker was the first postmaster; A. Symme & Co. were the first merchants; P. Gates, M.D., the first practicing physician; F. M. Nye the first lawyer. The first marriage was that of John C. Gates and Ella Scovill. The first birth was Chas. W. Whitcomb, and the first death that of a child of Hans Johnson.[Pg 123]


The town of Pineville, a railroad station and village in section 9, is a lumbering centre. The Pineville Lumbering Company have here a saw mill with a capacity of 7,000,000 feet. The logs are brought on wooden railways three to ten miles. P. B. Lacy & Co., of Hudson, are the proprietors.

Frank M. Nye was born in Shirley, Piscataquis county, Maine, in 1852. His parents removed to Wisconsin in 1854. He was educated at the common schools and at River Falls Academy. He came to Clear Lake in 1879, and was elected district attorney for Polk county in 1880, and representative in the Wisconsin assembly in 1885. He removed to Minneapolis in 1887.


Eureka embraces township 35, range 18 and a fractional part of range 19. The west part is somewhat broken by the St. Croix bluffs; the remainder is undulating and capable of agricultural improvement. There are many good farms in this town. There are a few small lakes in the eastern part. Eureka was set off from St. Croix Falls, and organized Dec. 16, 1877. The first supervisors were Lucius A. Harper, Jens Welling and William Booth. The first settlers were L. A. Harper, John C. Beede, Henry Cole and others. There are three post offices in the town,—Harper, Cushing and North Valley. At the mouth of Wolf creek, in the extreme northwestern section of this town, J. R. Brown had a trading house in the '30s, and Louis Roberts in the '40s. At this place Alex. Livingston, another trader, was killed by Indians in 1849. Livingston had built him a comfortable home, which he made a stopping place for the weary traveler, whom he fed on wild rice, maple sugar, venison, bear meat, muskrats, wild fowl and flour bread, all decently prepared by his Indian wife. Mr. Livingston was killed by an Indian in 1849.

In 1855 Carma P. Garlick surveyed a quarter section here and laid it off into town lots, and had lithograph maps published, calling the prospective village Sebatanna, an Indian town signifying "Water Village."

Charles Nevers settled here about 1860, and has now a fine farm and good buildings.[Pg 124]


Farmington was organized as a town in 1858. It contains forty-two sections of land, in township 32, ranges 18 and 19, with some fractions of sections on the St. Croix. It is a rich agricultural town, well diversified with prairie and timber land. Its western portion, along the St. Croix, has the picturesque bluffs common to that river, with some unusually beautiful cascades and hillside springs, of which the most notable are the well known mineral spring and the springs at the lime kiln. The mineral spring is situated on the St. Croix river, at the base of the bluff, and about one mile and a half below Osceola Mills. A beautiful hotel was built in 1876 on the cliff above, at a cost of about $20,000, which became quite a popular place of resort until 1885, when it was burned. It has not been rebuilt. The property was improved by Currant & Stevens, but afterward sold.

The following analysis shows the chemical constituents of a gallon of the water of the spring:

Chloride of sodium.053
Sulphate of soda.524
Bicarbonate of soda.799
Bicarbonate of lime11.193
Bicarbonate of magnesia7.248
Iron and alumina.492
Organic mattera trace

South Farmington Corners has a prosperous cheese factory, owned and operated by Koch Brothers, erected in 1883, turning out in 1884 sixteen tons of cheese and in 1885 over twenty tons. South Farmington has a Catholic church building.

The first crops in Farmington were raised by Wm. Kent on a farm near Osceola in 1846, and the same year Harmon Crandall and Richard Arnold improved land and raised crops not far from the present village of Farmington. Here, owing to the sandy nature of the soil, well digging proved rather perilous to the two farmers. Mr. Arnold attempted to dig a well in a depression, a sinkhole, in the prairie. As he dug deeper the sides of the well caved in, almost burying him. He managed[Pg 125] by his own utmost exertions and those of his friend Crandall to escape, but left his boots deeply imbedded in prairie soil.

In 1887 the Soo Railroad Company bridged the St. Croix, at the cedar bend at the south point of the leaning cedars, and extended their grade along the base of the precipice overlooking the river above, and commanding an extensive view of bold, picturesque and beautiful scenery.


Harmon Crandall.—The Crandall family were the first to settle in Osceola Prairie, in the town of Farmington. Mr. Crandall moved to his farm in 1846, and lived there many years; sold out and removed to Hudson, where, in later life, he became blind. He had three sons born in Farmington. In 1882 he moved to Shell Lake, Washburn county, where he died, Aug. 8, 1886. Mrs. Crandall died May 11, 1888.

Samuel Wall.—Mr. Wall was born in 1824, in Shropshire, England; went as a British soldier to the West Indies in 1840; two years later came to New York City; one year later to St. Louis; in 1844 to St. Paul and in 1846 to the St. Croix valley, where he made a permanent home at the lime kiln, which he bought of William Willim. He was married to Anna Maria Moore in 1857. They had been educated as Episcopalians, but are now Catholics and have educated their children in that faith in the schools at St. Paul. Mr. Wall served five years in the British army for thirteen pence a day, but West India rum was cheap, only ten pence per gallon, and this, Mr. Wall pathetically remarked, "was an unfortunate element for the lime-kiln man." After twenty-six years of struggle Mr. Wall came out victorious and now strongly advises all young men to "touch not, taste not, handle not," anything that can intoxicate. The writer trusts he may stand firm.

William Ramsey was born in Ireland in 1814, and came to America with his parents in his youth, first settling in Nova Scotia. In 1834 he came to Washington county, Maine. In 1839 he was married to Sarah Stevens, at Crawford, Maine. In 1849 he went to California. In 1850 he returned, and located on his farm in Farmington, Polk county, where he still resides, an efficient citizen, who has borne his full part in the organization of town and county, and filled various offices.[Pg 126]

Hiram W. Nason.—Mr. Nason was born in Waterville, Maine, in 1792. When of age he settled in Crawford, Maine. In 1852 he was married. He came to Polk county, and settled in Farmington in 1853. Mr. Nason died in 1859. Mrs. Nason died some years later. They were members of the Baptist church. Their children are Joel F., Levi, Merrill, Crocker, Albert, James, Maria, wife of Thos. Ford, of Farmington, and Frances, wife of Moses Peaselee, of Farmington. Mr. Ford died in 1880. He was a well to do farmer. Mr. Peaselee, also a farmer, has served as sheriff of Polk county.

Joel F. Nason.—Mr. Nason was born Aug. 31, 1828, in Washington county, Maine. He was married to Bertha Hanscomb, of Crawford, Maine, in July, 1851. Their children are Everett, Fred, Louisa, wife of Albert Thompson, and Bertha. Mrs. Nason died in 1862. Mr. Nason was married to Mary Ann Godfrey, of Osceola, in 1867. Mrs. Nason died February, 1885. He was married to Miss Fanny Field, of St. Croix Falls, in 1887. Mr. Nason settled in Farmington in 1852. He engaged in lumbering many years, and was called by his fellow citizens to fill several important offices. He served eight years as county clerk. He was appointed receiver of the United States land office at St. Croix Falls in 1871, which office he resigned in 1884, when he was elected state senator.

John McAdams was born in Tennessee in 1808. He was employed for many years on the Louisville (Ky.) canal. He was married to Eliza Robinson in 1840. Mrs. McAdams died in 1844, leaving one son, Melville, born 1842, who came with his father to the St. Croix valley in 1849. He first located at Osceola, but in 1854 removed to Farmington, where he died in 1883. Mr. McAdams was a mineralogist of some ability.

Charles Tea was born in Pennsylvania in 1817; came into the St. Croix valley in 1849; was married in 1850 to Mary McAdams, sister of John McAdams, and in the same year settled on a farm in Farmington. In 1880 he removed to Southern Iowa.


Garfield includes thirty sections of range 17, and six sections of range 18, township 33. It is well watered and has many small lakes, while Sucker lake, a lake of considerable size, is about equally divided between its own territory and that of Lincoln.[Pg 127] Garfield was organized in 1886. The first supervisors were Abraham Sylvester, James T. Montgomery and Martin Hanson. In 1887 the Minneapolis, Soo & Atlantic railway built through the town from west to southeast and established one station, Deronda, in the southeast corner of the town. The post office of El Salem is in Garfield.


Georgetown comprises township 35, ranges 15 and 16. This town is abundantly supplied with water by Apple river and its tributaries, and numerous lakes, some of them of considerable size. The largest are Bone, Blake, Powder and Pipe. The timber is hardwood and pine intermingled. Immense quantities of pine have been taken from this town, and still much remains. Wild meadows are plentiful. Georgetown was set off from Milltown and organized Nov. 15, 1879. The first supervisors were David H. Smith, Elisha E. Drake and August Larbell. George P. Anderson was the first settler (1873), and his christian name was affixed to the town. The first school was taught in 1874 by John Burns. A post office was established in 1881 at Bunyan, G. P. Anderson, postmaster. The first sermon was preached by Rev. C. D. Scott, a Methodist. The first birth was that of Lucy Anderson; the first marriage that of Henry King to Etta Clark. The first death was that of August Larbell.


Oliver Grover and Harry Knight, two prominent lumbermen of Stillwater, on July 2, 1864, were exploring for timber and hay on Pipe lake, section 10, in Georgetown. Not returning to their camp, two miles distant, the watchman at the camp, after waiting two days, went to St. Croix Falls and gave the alarm. Many parties went in pursuit of the lost men. Some traces of their presence were discovered on the shore of this lake, but the search was finally abandoned. After some months the Indians confessed that two of their young men shot the two men, disemboweled them, burned the entrails and sunk the bodies in the lake. Their bodies were never found. We append the following newspaper clipping:

"Finale.—The friends of the two Indians that shot Grover and Knight, last Tuesday delivered to P. B. Lacy, of St. Croix[Pg 128] Falls, the valuables that were taken from the bodies of the murdered men. They consisted of $113 in gold, $282.05 in greenbacks, $160 in silver, one silver watch, one wallet and one pocket knife. This is probably the closing act of the bloody tragedy which cost two innocent men their lives at the hands of Indians steeped in liquor, and who, fearing the vengeance of the white man, committed suicide."

The two murderers had confessed the crime and shot themselves.

George P. Anderson.—Mr. Anderson was born in Fulvana county, Virginia, 1825; was educated in the common schools; lived in Ohio eighteen and in Indiana fifteen years, and came to Balsam Lake in 1866. Few men have been more active in the opening up of a new settlement. Mr. Anderson has been several times elected to office in the new county, and was a principal actor in the establishment of the Polk County Agricultural Society in 1886. He has a family of fifteen children living.


Laketown includes township 36, range 18. It is named from the lakes that dot almost every section in the town. Trade lake, with its tributary from Butternut lake, are the principal streams. The town was set off from Sterling and organized April 6, 1875. The first supervisors were L. Bell; S. P. Heard and N. Fornell. The town was settled largely by Swedes, Norwegians, Danes and Alabamians. The latter settled in the northwestern part of the town. In 1869 Caleb Cushing bought the agricultural college lands in the town to the amount of 7,200 acres. The first school house was built in 1870, in section 8. P. Tierney taught the first school. Lindsey McKee was the first settler. He was also the first to sell out and leave. Daniel Swensbarger, a German, bought him out, and a number of his countrymen settled near him. Jacob Swensbarger started a store. N. Grondund built the first blacksmith shop. Peter Olsen built the first saw mill, at the foot of Long lake, in 1875. The first marriage was that of L. McKee and Mary Addington, by L. Bell, Esq.


Lincoln includes township 33, range 16, and the eastern tier of sections of township 33, range 17. It is abundantly watered by Apple river and its tributaries, and has numerous lakes of[Pg 129] which Sucker lake is the largest. The soil is well adapted to the culture of wheat. There are many fine farms in this township. The surface, originally covered with timber, is undulating. The town was organized in 1860, being set off from Osceola. The first town meeting was held April, 1861. A. A. Heald, M. C. Lane and John Hurness were the first supervisors. The post town is at Lincoln Centre. The Polk county poor farm is pleasantly situated on a lake in Lincoln, and has been well managed for a series of years by Capt. Wilkie.

Amery village is located on Apple river, at the crossing of the "Soo Line" railway. It has two saw mills and a stave factory. The Minneapolis, Soo & Atlantic railway passes through Lincoln from southwest to east, and has a station at Apple River crossing, named Amery, in honor of William Amery, one of Polk county's best citizens.

Wm. Wilson was born in 1828, at Armagh county, Ireland. At four years of age he came to America with his parents, who located at Canada West, where he learned the baker's trade. In 1849 he came to Osceola and followed lumbering eight years. He was married at Osceola to Leah Moody and located on his homestead in Lincoln in 1870. He has three sons. Mr. Wilson has been a useful citizen and has done his full share of pioneer work.


Loraine includes townships 36 and 37, range 15. It is a heavily timbered district, with hardwood and pine interspersed. The surface is undulating and the soil is much of it good. It is well watered by South Clam creek and tributaries, and has a multitude of small lakes. There are some fine farms in the northern part of the township. Loraine was organized Nov. 14, 1872. The first town meeting was held April, 1873. The first supervisors were, Frank J. Williams, George Phelps and John Klinch. Wm. Gallespie built the first hotel and opened it in 1873. The first school was taught by Georgia Lacy. The first marriage was that of James Lago and Almeda Johnson. The first white child was George Phillips; the first death that of a child of J. L. Ellis.

The first settler was C. Loraine Ruggles. He was somewhat eccentric. He published a book embodying his own adventures during the Rebellion, which he called "The Great American Spy." The town was named after him. N. B. Bull and Chas. Anderson were the next settlers.[Pg 130]

Wm. Wallace Gallespie was born in Louisville, Kentucky; lived in his youth in Illinois and came to Marine Mills in 1844. In 1851 he married Cecilia M. Ring, widow of Charles Turner, of Taylor's Falls. In 1878 he moved to his homestead in Loraine, where he has a good farm and hotel. He has two sons and one daughter.


Luck includes township 36, ranges 16 and 17. It is a good agricultural region and contains already many valuable farms. The eastern half of the town was originally a rich pine wood region. Much of the timber is yet standing. The town is well watered by Upper Trade and Straight rivers and has many beautiful lakes, the principal of which are Butternut and North. Luck was organized as a town Nov. 9, 1869. The first supervisors were Wm. H. Foster, M. C. Pederson and J. J. Bille. The first settlers were Wm. W. Gallespie, W. H. Foster and D. F. Smith (1857). The first marriage was that of W. H. Foster, and his oldest child was the first white child born in Luck. Wm. Gallespie raised the first crops. D. F. Smith built the first saw mill. W. H. Foster was first postmaster. At present there are two post offices, one at the village of Luck, the other at West Denmark. Laura Jones taught the first school in Luck. The town has been settled chiefly by Danes, mostly direct from Denmark. A Danish high school was established in 1884, K. Noregaad, principal, at which different languages are taught. The building cost $3,000. It is beautifully located on Butternut lake. The Lutherans have three flourishing church organizations in this town.

William H. Foster was born in Bangor, Maine, in 1828; came to St. Croix valley in 1844; settled in Luck in 1857 and engaged in farming and lumbering. He served in the army during the Rebellion, and was postmaster at Luck for eighteen years. His father, Daniel Foster, came with him to the St. Croix valley in 1844 and died in 1876. His native place was New Hampshire.


Milltown includes township 35, range 17. It is a good agricultural and stock growing town. It is watered by the small streams flowing into Balsam, Half Moon and other lakes. The[Pg 131] timber is mostly hardwood. There is pine in the eastern part. The Patterson post office is located in section 7, Milltown in section 36. Milltown was set off from St. Croix Falls Dec. 20, 1869. The first town meeting was held Jan. 8, 1870. The first supervisors were John Lynch, M. Fitzgerald, Sr., and John Hurley. The Roman Catholic church was organized here in 1864. Their new house of worship was built in 1870. The first settlers were James and John Rogers. The first school (1865) was taught by Maggie Crawford. The first school house was built in 1866. A grange was organized in 1884. The town has now a good brick school house and a saw and flour mill.

Patrick Lillis was born in Ireland in 1807. He came to Polk county in 1856, and, with his amiable wife and enterprising sons, made a claim on what was afterward styled Milltown, an inappropriate name, but given by Mr. Lillis himself, as he humorously remarked, "because there was not a stream large enough for a mill site in the town," and Milltown it remains to this day. Mr. Lillis prospered and made himself a good home. He died Feb. 26, 1886. Mrs. Lillis died December, 1885. They left six sons. John C. is in Greene county, Texas, Simon C. is in Southern California, and Richard is in Memphis, Tennessee. Henry, the youngest, aged twenty-nine years, has for the past six years been a resident of Tacoma, Washington Territory. The residence of Martin and James is not known.


Osceola contains all of township 33, range 18, except the eastern tier of sections, and ten whole sections and some fractions of range 19, made somewhat irregular by the St. Croix river boundary, and the obtrusion of three sections of Farmington in the southwestern part. It is a rich agricultural town, consisting chiefly of prairie, the whole forming a tableland, terminating westward on the precipitous bluffs of the St. Croix. It has a good steamboat landing and two good water powers, Osceola and Close's creeks. These are both fine trout brooks. The bluffs overlooking the St. Croix are bold and high, and, for a great part, precipitous. Most conspicuous of these bluffs is the promontory known as Eagle Point, situated just below the Osceola landing. An escarpment of limestone, about two hundred feet above the river, projects over its base, not much unlike the celebrated[Pg 132] table rock at Niagara Falls. A tall and solitary pine tree stands upon the extreme verge of this rock, the whole forming a conspicuous landmark, visible to a distance of several miles down the river. The cascade on Osceola creek, a few rods above its mouth, has scarcely a rival amongst the waterfalls of the West. It has sometimes been called the Minnehaha of Wisconsin, but while it resembles somewhat in the lower part of its descent that celebrated cascade, the scenery around it is much wilder, perpendicular rocks towering over it to a great height, while the upper part of the fall is over an inclined plain, broken into steps. It is a favorite haunt for artists and photographers. There are several minor waterfalls of great beauty in the vicinity. The trap rock formation crops out in the eastern and northern parts of the town, rich in specimens of copper and silver. Silver is also found in ledges at East Lake.

The first land claim in the town, made May 14, 1844, by Milton V. Nobles and Lucius N. S. Parker, included the cascade and the present site of the village. The claim was made with the intention of building a saw mill at the outlet of Osceola creek. The mill company, organized in 1841, consisted of M. V. and W. H. Nobles, Wm. Kent, Wm. O. Mahony and Harvey Walker. Mr. Nobles sold his interest and removed to Willow River; Wm. Parker removed to St. Anthony. The mill commenced cutting timber in 1845. It was run at first with a small flutter wheel, which was replaced by a an overshot wheel, 30 feet; that by another, 45 feet, and that by one 50 feet in diameter. In 1845 the company built a two story boarding house, also a shop and office, near the mill. After the completion of the mill Walker withdrew from the firm and Anson Northrup was for a short time a member. Kent & Mahony for a number of years operated the mill, selling lumber in Galena and St. Louis. Mahony left for California in 1852. Around this mill, as a nucleus, the settlement of Osceola and the village were built up. The mill, with its immense water wheel, for so many years a conspicuous object on the river, has long since disappeared.

Osceola has had many enterprising business men engaged in merchandising and manufacturing. The first flouring mill was built by Kent Brothers in 1853, just above the cascade. This mill changed owners several times, and was burned in 1880. It was rebuilt by Lovejoy & Sutton in 1883. Its present capacity[Pg 133] is one hundred barrels per day. The second flouring mill was built by Dresser & Wilson in 1867. It is situated on the same stream, a few rods above the first. It has also changed owners several times. Its capacity is fifty barrels per day. The first merchants were Wyckoff and Stevenson, in 1856. These have been succeeded by Rice, Webb, Clark Brothers, Armstrong & Co., Talboys & Staples, Dresser & Wilson, Lacy & Johnson, W. A. Talboys, Gridley & Co., Heald & Thing, Dresser Brothers, and others. Dr. Gray was the first practicing physician. After him, at different periods, came Drs. Hilton, Brooks, Gaskill, Garlick, Marshall, Searles, Cornbacker and Clark. The first deed recorded of Osceola property was a quitclaim from Wm. H. Nobles to Anson Northrup, consideration $3,250, in 1847. The first lawyer settled here was I. P. Freeland. His successors were Button, Dowling, Dyke, McDill, and others. The first sermon preached in Osceola was by Rev. Lemuel Nobles, a Methodist minister, in 1851. There are two church organizations; each has respectable church buildings. The first Baptist preacher was Rev. S. T. Catlin, in 1854. The Baptists built the first church in the county in Osceola, 1856. The first log house in the town was built by Richard Arnold in the locality of the famous Drake Troutmere springs. This house was built in 1848. Mr. Arnold raised the first crops in the town of Osceola. The first school house was built in 1852. A high school building was erected in 1868. W. A. Talboys taught the first public school in 1852. Until 1861 the schools were under the town system. In 1875 a free high school was established. The first post office was established in 1854, and W. C. Guild was postmaster for twenty years. The first town election was held April 5, 1853, when the following supervisors were elected: Wm. Ramsey, chairman; Nelson McCarty and W. C. Guild. At this meeting the town voted a tax of thirty dollars for school and fifty dollars for town expenses. The first Sunday-school was organized by W. A. Talboys in 1852.

The first marriage, that of John Buckley to Elizabeth Godfrey, was in 1853. The first white child born was John Francis, in 1847. The first death was that of Leroy Hubble, by accident, in 1845.


The name of the town was originally Leroy, in honor of Mr. Hubble above mentioned. It is to be regretted that this name[Pg 134] was not retained, inasmuch as Osceola, though the name of one of the most celebrated Indians in American history, is shared by a post town in the eastern part of the State. It was therefore necessary to call this post town Osceola Mills, a distinction that correspondents and postmasters are not always careful to note. Osceola village remained unorganized until Aug. 10, 1887. The first officers were: President, H. B. Dyke; trustees, W. C. Reilly, R. S. Sutton, G. W. De Long, H. E. Cornbacker, Paul Filzen, S. C. Benjamin; clerk, S. Rowcliff; treasurer, C. W. Staples; supervisor, G. D. McDill; justice of the peace, George Wilson; police justice, T. Post. The village has a splendid situation upon the bluffs overlooking the river, and communicates with points on the river by boat, and with overland points by the Minneapolis, Soo & Atlantic railway, completed to this place Aug. 21, 1887. There is also a branch road from Dresser's station to St. Croix Falls. The village was visited by destructive fires at various times. Most prominent of these was the burning of the Freeland Hotel in 1857, the Western Hotel in 1878, and the first flouring mill in 1880.


Daniel Mears.—Mr. Mears was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1819. His first wife, Emeline Mendon, died in 1850, leaving three sons, Charles, David, and Daniel. In 1852 he was married to Susan Thompson. They have one daughter, Lulu, now Mrs. Wheeler, of Stillwater. Mr. Mears came West in 1848, and sold goods one year at Taylor's Place (since Taylor's Falls). In 1849 he removed his store to St. Croix Falls, where he continued merchandising and lumbering until 1852, when he went to Willow River as agent in building the first saw mill in what is now Hudson. In 1860 he made himself a permanent home on a farm near Osceola. He served as state senator from the Twenty-eighth district in 1858-59, and as state timber agent in 1874-75. As an officer Mr. Mears acquitted himself well. In politics he is a Democrat, and while in the senate took an active part in debates. The oldest son, Charles, is editor and proprietor of the Polk County Press. The three sons are married.

Nelson McCarty.—Mr. McCarty was born July 4, 1819, in Pike county, Pennsylvania; in 1834 was married to Mary McKune, and came to St. Croix valley in 1846, where he engaged in[Pg 135] piloting and lumbering. In 1847 he made him a farm on Osceola prairie. He died in 1856. His brother Philip came to Osceola in 1850, and settled on Osceola prairie.

William O. Mahony, a native of Ireland, born about 1810, came to America while he was yet a minor, and to St. Croix Falls in 1843. He had learned the trade of a baker, but in 1844 became one of the proprietors of the saw mill at Osceola, and sold his interest in 1860. He was a man of original and eccentric mind. He went to California in 1862, and died there in 1866.

Richard Arnold is of Illinois birth. He came to Osceola in 1845, and moved to his farm near the village in 1848. In 1852 he removed to Taylor's Falls and built the Cascade House. In 1855 he was the first farmer in the town of Amador, Chisago county. In 1859 he left the valley for Pike's Peak, Colorado.

Wm. Kent Sr., was born in Scotland sometime in 1790. He was married in Scotland, and, with his wife and two eldest children, came to America in 1823. He seems to have lived awhile in New Brunswick, probably till 1829 or 30, when he removed to Eddington, Maine, whence he removed to the West and made his home at Osceola in 1852, where he and his wife died at an advanced age, honored by all who knew them. His family of six sons and five daughters all grew to mature age, and, except Andrew, who located in Farmington, had homes in Osceola The daughters are Anna, wife of Curtis Guild; Agnes (deceased), wife of I. W. Freeland; Jane, wife of Jerry Mudget; Mary (deceased), wife of Chapin Kimball; and Eva, wife of Henry C. Goodwin.

Robert Kent, oldest son of Wm. Kent, Sr., was born in Scotland in 1819; came to Galena, Illinois, in 1840, and to Osceola in 1848, where he has filled many responsible public positions. His first wife, to whom he was married in Galena in 1841, died in 1847, leaving four children. In 1859 Mr. Kent was married to Susan Babb, of Osceola.

Andrew Kent was born in Scotland in 1821. He was married in New Brunswick in 1838, but his wife died soon after. He came to Osceola in 1852 and was married to Esther Hill, of Osceola, in 1855. Mr. Kent followed lumbering for many years but finally settled on a beautiful farm in Farmington, where he still resides, an industrious, thrifty farmer.[Pg 136]

William Kent, Jr., was born in New Brunswick in 1824; came to Galena in 1843 and to St. Croix Falls in 1844. He was one of the original owners and builders of the first mill at Osceola. From time to time he purchased the interests of other partners until he became sole owner of mill and town site. In 1853 he sold the mill to B. H. Campbell, of Galena. Mr. Kent engaged in steamboating for many years and was a popular commander. He built the Nellie Kent, the Helen Mar and Maggie Reany. Of late years he has been engaged in mercantile pursuits. He was married to Nellie Kidder in 1855. They have no children. Mr. Kent is an influential member of the masonic order, and has filled many positions of public trust.

James Kent was born in Frederickton, New Brunswick, in 1826; came to Wisconsin in 1850; and was married to Mary Jane Wilson at Osceola in 1858. In 1874 he removed to Ashland, Wisconsin, where he died in 1878, leaving a wife and five children.

Thomas Kent was born in Richmond, New Brunswick, in 1828. He came to Osceola in 1849 and was married in 1856 to Achsah Hale. He was a practical lumberman and a very active man. He was accidentally killed in 1847, while breaking a jam of logs in Clam river. He left a wife and one child.

John Kent was born in Eddington, Maine, in 1831. He came to Wisconsin with his parents in 1852. He was married to Jennie Kidder in 1866. He was a house carpenter. Lived in Duluth some years but returned and settled in Osceola.

Samuel Close in 1845 made a land claim for a mill at the falls of Close creek. Shortly after he abandoned the claim and left the country, leaving his name to the creek and slough.

Ebenezer Ayres came from Maine to the St. Croix valley in 1850, and settled on a farm in Osceola, where he made his home during the remainder of his active life. During his last years he became very feeble and partially insane, and his friends placed him in the asylum at Madison, where he died, Aug. 20, 1876. His wife, familiarly known in later years as "Mother Ayres," and greatly esteemed for her excellence of character, died two years later. They reared a family of four sons and seven daughters. The sons Charles, Seth and Andrew are farmers on typo for Osceola prairie. Warren, a fourth son, died in Iowa. The daughters were married—Elizabeth to Ambrose Sevey, Ruth to[Pg 137] Walter Carrier, Mary (deceased) to Frank S. Eddy, Sarah to E. R. St. Clair, and to a second husband, H. H. Newberry, all of Taylor's Falls; Abigail to Wm. E. Doe, and to a second husband, the distinguished phrenologist, O. S. Fowler, of New York; Almena to —— Clough, of Osceola prairie, and, after his decease, to Wallace, of Osceola; and Emma to Charles P. Fenlason, of Pipestone, Minnesota.

Carmi P. Garlick was born in Erie county, Pennsylvania, in 1818; was married in 1842 to Elizabeth Thompson, of Ohio, and come to Amador, Chisago county, Minnesota, in 1854, where he built a saw mill. Not succeeding as he had expected, he betook himself to farming and to the practice of medicine while in Amador. In 1858 he removed to Osceola, where he practiced medicine until he entered the United States service as surgeon during the war of the Rebellion. He died at Milwaukee, Jan. 12, 1864, while in the United States service. He was educated in Columbus (Ohio) Medical College. He left a wife, one son (Louis), and one daughter, wife of Henry Jones, of Osceola.

John S. Godfrey was born in Sackville, Halifax county, Nova Scotia, Dec. 18, 1809; was married to Sarah Wright, in Stonnich, Nova Scotia, in 1832; came to Easton, Wisconsin, in 1849, to Taylor's Falls in 1851, and to their beautiful homestead in Osceola in 1852, where he still lives, respected and honored by all his neighbors as an honest, worthy and industrious man. He has sometimes engaged in lumbering, but his chief success has been as a farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Godfrey are members of the Baptist church. They have four sons and five daughters. Of his sons, George died in 1872. Of his daughters, Mary Ann, wife of Joel F. Nason, died in 1885. John, the youngest son, was married to Mamie Maxwell, and died January, 1888. The daughters are married—Elizabeth to John Buckley, Charlotte to S. B. Dresser, Eunice to George Clark, and Sarah to Joseph A. Brown. The two oldest sons are married—James to M. Fenlason, Arthur to Mary J. Daniel.

William A. Talboys was born in Bristol, England; was married to Mary Rowcliff, in London, in 1845; came to America in 1845, and to Osceola in 1851, where for some years he clerked for Kent Brothers. He taught the first school in Osceola and served four years as county treasurer. He has held many positions of trust. For many years he has been engaged in[Pg 138] lumbering and merchandising. In 1874 he built an elevator for handling wheat. Mr. Talboys and his wife are members of the Methodist church. They have three children living. The oldest, W. E., is editor of the Grantsburg Sentinel, Burnett county. Frederic C. is in St. Paul. Adelaide E. was married to Benj. Knapp, captain of the steamboat Cleon. Her husband died in 1887.

Charles H. Staples.—Mr. Staples was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1824. In 1848 he came to Bunker Hill, Illinois, and in the same year was married to Hannah Garland. He was engaged seven years in the milling business, and in 1856 came to Osceola, where he engaged in lumbering, selling goods and medicines. He has filled several county offices. Of their four children, Charles W. was married to May Foster, of Osceola, in 1878, Eva is married to H. B. Dyke, and Frank to Ella Fiske.

J. W. Peake was born Dec. 2, 1822, in Schoharie county, New York. At the age of twenty-one he settled near La Salle, Illinois, and kept a hotel. He came to Osceola in 1854, and settled on a farm. On July 15, 1862, he enlisted in the Tenth Wisconsin Battery, and served till the close of the war. He served several years as town supervisor and assessor. He died at his home, March 13, 1886.

George Wilson was born in Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, in 1836. His privileges for education were good. He taught school in Pennsylvania; came to Osceola in 1857; followed clerking and teaching school; was nine years in flouring mill and merchandising; was two years register of deeds, and has filled minor offices. He was married to Emma R. Fiske in 1854, at Osceola. They have two sons and two daughters, one the wife of Capt. George Knapp.

Samuel B. Dresser.—Mr. Dresser was born in Buxton, Maine, in 1832. During his youth he lived with his parents, chiefly at Bangor, where he received the rudiments of a good education in the common schools, and in Kent Seminary at Readfield. He came to Taylor's Falls in 1851, and followed lumbering and merchandising until 1862, when he settled on his farm homestead on Osceola prairie. Mr. Dresser was a member of the Twenty-third Wisconsin assembly. He was married to Charlotte M. Godfrey, June 23, 1859. They have one daughter,[Pg 139] Helen A., and six sons, Elma T., William A., Lester B., Wyman H., Mark S., and Frank E.

Frederic A. Dresser, brother of Samuel B., was born at Moscow, Maine, Nov. 2, 1841, came to Taylor's Falls, Minnesota, in 1858, and remained some years, when he removed to Osceola. He served three years during the Civil War in the Thirtieth Wisconsin Infantry, and left the service with the rank of quartermaster. After the war he was married to Mary E. Thoms, of Biddeford, Maine. During his subsequent residence in Osceola he engaged in mercantile pursuits, served as county treasurer four years and as register of deeds five years, which office he held at the time of his death which occurred Oct. 23, 1886.

Oscar A. Clark came to Taylor's Falls in 1881, settled on a farm in Osceola in 1852, and brought hither his parents from Vermont, both of whom have since died. Oscar was a surveyor. He engaged also in the lumbering and commercial business. He was of the firm of Clark Brothers. He enlisted in a Wisconsin regiment during the Rebellion, and served till mustered out, but never returned to his home, and as nothing has since been heard from him, his friends have concluded that he must have been murdered after his discharge, possibly on the way home. Cornelius, a brother, lives at the Clark homestead; George, a brother, married a daughter, of John S. Godfrey. He died in 1873. The widow was subsequently married to Cornelius. Leman, a brother, settled on a farm in Osceola, and died in 1879, leaving a large family. Andrew, another brother, of the firm of Clark Brothers, died in Osceola.

Oscar F. Knapp.—Capt. Knapp has been conspicuous as a steamboat maker, owner and captain for the last thirty years. He was born in Clinton county, New York, in 1831. At the age of fifteen years he came West and located in Delavan, Wisconsin. In 1852 he removed to Osceola, Wisconsin, where he engaged in lumbering for about four years. In 1856 he was married to Miss Angeline Hayes, of Osceola. In the same year he engaged in the business of steamboating, with which he has been since identified more or less. His first steamboat was the H. S. Allen, which, in company with E. B. Strong, he bought of H. S. Allen, of Chippewa Falls, in 1856, for $5,000. In 1862 he built the Enterprise, a small but serviceable boat of light draft and fair speed. In 1864 Capt. Knapp built the Viola, owned by a stock[Pg 140] company. In 1866 he built the G. B. Knapp, in 1879 the Jennie Hayes, and ran these two boats fourteen years. In 1877 he entered the employment of the United States government, improving the navigation of the St. Croix river, in which work he is still engaged. His two sons, Ben and George, succeeded him in the steamboat business. Ben, the oldest son, was born in Osceola in 1857; George, the second son, in 1859. These two boys spent their childhood and youth on the river, and have grown up to be expert pilots and captains, and inherit their father's popularity as river men. Ben was married to Addie Talboys, June, 1880; George to Claribel Wilson, in 1883. Capt. Knapp has two other children, Viola, now Mrs. Arthur Johnson, and Guy, still a minor. Mrs. Angeline Knapp died at her home in Osceola, March 6, 1883, respected and lamented by all who knew her. Capt. Ben Knapp died Oct. 5, 1887, leaving a wife and two children.

Mrs. Elisabeth B. Hayes.—Mrs. Hayes was born in 1811, in Dundee, Yates county, New York. In 1854 she removed with her husband to Missouri. After his death, in the fall of the same year, she came with her children to Osceola, where she built the Osceola House, which she kept a number of years. The daughters were Angeline B. (Mrs. O. F. Knapp), Mrs. Hubbell and Mrs. Milroy, of New York, and Mrs. Truman Foster, widow, since the wife of Capt. C. G. Bradley. Her sons were George, Frank and David. Capt. George Hayes followed piloting and steamboating, excepting during the Rebellion, when he served as a soldier in the Fourth Wisconsin Volunteers. In the latter part of the war he served as a scout for Gen. Canby. At the present time he has the appointment of steamboat inspector, with office in St. Paul. David has been prominent as a steamboat captain. He now resides in Iowa.

Cyrus G. Bradley was born in Kaskaskia, Illinois, in 1825. In 1845 he came to the lead mines in Wisconsin and to Osceola in 1848. He was married in 1846 to the widow of Truman Foster, of Osceola. Mr. Bradley engaged in lumbering, became a river pilot, running rafts to St. Louis, with stems and blades, called oars and sweeps, before steamboat towing was in vogue. When steamboats became useful in running rafts, he built two steamers especially for raft towing. He had much to do in introducing the steamboat towing business. Mr. Bradley moved to his farm near Osceola in 1874, where he still resides.[Pg 141]

W. Hale.—Judge Hale's early life was spent on a farm. He commenced lumbering in 1822, and followed that business and piloting on the Ohio and Alleghany rivers until 1851, when he came to Osceola prairie and opened a farm. Mr. Hale was the first county judge of Polk county, and held the position eight years. He has also served as county superintendent of schools. He was born in Harmony, Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, in 1802; was married to Nancy McKeene, of Orange county, New York, in 1826. They have four sons, John, Isaac, Silas F., and Reuben W., and three daughters, Esther (Mrs. Treadwell), Malvina (Mrs. Merrick), and Achsah (Mrs. Thomas Kent).

Edgar C. Treadwell was born March 29, 1832, in Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania. He came with a team from Pennsylvania to Osceola in 1846, where he engaged in lumbering and piloting until 1863, when he enlisted in Company D, Second Wisconsin Cavalry. He was wounded at Yazoo river. He returned to Osceola in 1865 and was married to Esther Hale in 1866. Mr. Treadwell was the first sheriff of Polk county, and has filled other places of trust. Since the war he has resided on his farm.


Extended mention has already been made of the village of St. Croix Falls in the general history of the first settlement of the county. The town includes township 34, range 18, and two partial sections of range 19. It was organized in 1854, but unfortunately no records of its organization can be obtained. The surface is agreeably diversified by hill and plain, and is supplied with many species of timber, including maple, elm, and several varieties of oak. The St. Croix river forms its western boundary, and presents here some of its wildest and most beautiful scenery, including the trap rock ledges of the Dalles.


The buildings of the Falls company formed the nucleus of a village which took the name of the Falls. Its history has been given somewhat at length in the history of the settlement, and in "Reminiscences." It is situated on the east bank of the river, between the upper and lower falls. It contains one first class flouring mill, owned by James Thompson, one wagon and plow factory, owned by Comer Brothers, one agricultural warehouse,[Pg 142] two livery stables (Harvey & Co., and Lillis & Co.), two excellent hotels (J. W. Mullen, and C. C. Fiske), one United States land office, one church building (Presbyterian), costing about $2,500, one graded school building, costing $6,000, one town hall and several commodious stores and dwellings. The village was platted in 1857, by Marion T. Chandler. The post office was established in 1844. Harvey Wilson was the first postmaster. The Minneapolis, Soo & Atlantic Railway Company have a branch road extending to this place from Dresser's station, a distance of three miles. The village was incorporated Feb. 21, 1888, with the following board of officers: President, J. H. McCourt; trustees, John Comer, Jacob Berger, George Thompson, Charles Amery, Barney O'Neal, Sidney Wall; clerk, Thomas Peck; treasurer, A. Hoagland; assessor, P. B. Jewell; supervisor, S. W. Blanding; constable, Hoover Christopher; justice of the peace, W. B. Bull; police justice, Thomas Peck. St. Croix village has suffered from fires. The heaviest losses were without insurance. The flouring mill was burned April 30, 1863; loss, $8,000. The company's hotel was burned May, 1880; loss, $3,000. Fiske's hotel was burned Sept. 16, 1885; loss, $6,000.


West Sweden embraces township 37, range 17. This is almost exclusively a hardwood timbered district, with some pine in the north. The soil is rich and well watered with Spirit creek and Upper Wood river. The surface is undulating. The north part has numerous lakes and meadows. There is an upheaval of trap rock in section 2 and copper specimens abound. The principal settlers are Swedes. The town was organized Nov. 10, 1875. The first supervisors were N. C. Johnson, A. Larson and A. Dolberg.


The town of Sterling is composed of township 36, ranges 19 and 20. The east part is heavy hardwood timber land, with rich soil suitable for wheat; the west portion is very sandy and covered with a few scattering oaks and black pines. The whole town is well supplied with hay meadows, which afford great advantages to the stock raiser. The first actual settlers were Samuel Deneen and William Trimmer, who came in the fall of 1855. The year following William Lowell, from Stillwater, entered three hundred[Pg 143] and twenty acres in sections 14 and 15, range 19, and made extensive improvements. Daniel F. Smith took up the same amount of land in section 9, same town and range, and made improvements. The first white child born was the son of James Cragin, August, 1858. The first white couple married was John Berry and Emily Stout, in 1859. The first death was that of Mrs. Dunlap, sister of William Trimmer, in 1859.

The town was organized in 1855. The first town meeting was held at the residence of William Lowell, and Samuel Deneen was the first chairman of the town. The town was called Moscow, which name was changed one year after to that of Sterling. It was the largest town in the county then. It was organized into two school districts, but District No. 1 not being able to build a good school house, an old log shanty was fixed up for school purposes, and in this Miss Fanny Trimmer taught the first school. The first saw and grist mill was built by Dr. Deneen. Olaf Strandburg established the first blacksmith shop and with it a gun shop. In 1849 Charles F. Rowley built a "stopping place," so called in those days, on the banks of Wolf creek, at the old crossing, half a mile west of Deneen's, and cultivated a few acres of land. This house was burned one night by a lot of teamsters in a drunken orgie.

Dr. Samuel Deneen, the first white settler in Sterling, was born Dec. 27, 1801, in Youngstown, Ohio. He was married in 1825 to Margaret Conly. He studied medicine in Michigan, and came to Wisconsin in 1854, and to Sterling in 1855. Dr. Deneen practiced his profession, made him a farm, built a saw and grist mill on Wolf creek, established a post office and took an active part in the interests of the new settlement. He and his wife still live on the homestead which they have held for the past thirty years. Mrs. Deneen was born in 1800.

William W. Trimmer came to Sterling in 1855 and made a home, building and occupying what was for many years known as "Trimmer's Hotel." Mr. Trimmer died in St. Croix Falls in 1874.

Arnold Densmore was born in Nova Scotia, in 1822; was married to Matilda Wallace in 1845, and came to Sterling in 1867, where he died, Jan. 20, 1886, much respected as a neighbor, citizen and Christian.

[Pg 144]



Jan. 9, 1840, the Wisconsin legislature created a new county out of Crawford county, including territory west of the Chippewa river, extending northward to the British possessions, and named it St. Croix. By the same act, a day was designated for an election, at which a county seat was to be chosen and county officers elected. "Mouth of St. Croix," now Prescott, and Caw-caw-baw-kang, now St. Croix Falls, were designated as voting places. Two places only were voted for, "Mouth of St. Croix," and Dakotah, Brown's claim, now Schulenberg's addition to Stillwater. Dakotah was chosen by a vote of forty-five to thirteen. The returns were made to Prairie du Chien, county seat of Crawford county, and certificates issued to the county officers elected by C. J. Leonard, clerk of Crawford county. The legislature had at the time of creating the new county made it a probate district, Philip Aldrich being appointed judge.

The history of the county until 1848 has been given elsewhere, as connected with the early history of Stillwater.

The admission of Wisconsin Territory as a state in 1848 divided the county, giving it the St. Croix river and state line as its western boundary. The Wisconsin portion of the old county was consequently left without a county seat, while the portion west of the St. Croix had a county seat, but was without state or territorial jurisdiction. Congress, however, declared Wisconsin territorial laws to be still in force in the excluded territory, and they so remained until the organization of Minnesota Territory. Soon after the admission of Wisconsin, that part of St. Croix county within its limits was reorganized for county and judicial purposes, and a new county seat chosen, located in section[Pg 145] 24, township 29, range 19, at the mouth of Willow river. This county seat was at first called Buena Vista. On Sept. 9, 1848, the county commissioners, under the law creating the county, held their first meeting at the county seat, in the house of Philip Aldrich. The commissioners present were Ammah Andrews, chairman; W. H. Morse, and W. R. Anderson, clerk. Philip Aldrich was appointed treasurer. Four voting precincts were established, Mouth of St. Croix, Willow River or Buena Vista, Osceola, and Falls of St. Croix. These early commissioners performed duties of the most varied character incident to the government of a new county. There was as yet no county seal, and they were required to draw with the pen upon legal documents a scroll representing a seal, and to use other forms, appliances and devices without legal precedent.

At the second meeting of the county commissioners Osceola was represented by Harmon Crandall, he having been absent at the first meeting of the board. Moses Perin was appointed collector. License for selling intoxicating liquors was fixed at twenty dollars per annum. The rate of taxation was fixed at seven mills on the dollar. The first state election in the county was held at Buena Vista, Nov. 7, 1848. One hundred and fifteen votes were the whole number cast in the county. The following officers were elected: Senator, James Fisher, of Crawford county; representative, Joseph Bowron, Buena Vista; county commissioners, Wm. H. Morse, Ammah Andrews, Harmon Crandall, Buena Vista; county clerk, W. Richardson, Buena Vista; register of deeds, W. R. Anderson, Buena Vista; judge of probate court, Alvah D. Heaton, Osceola; county treasurer, Philip Aldrich, Buena Vista; coroner, Wm. O. Mahony, Osceola; surveyor, Alex. S. Youle, St. Croix Falls.

At the commissioners' meeting, Feb. 28, 1849, the county was divided into the following towns: St. Croix Falls, Buena Vista, and Elisabeth. At an election held Sept. 3, 1849, Hamlet H. Perkins received forty-nine votes for judge, and Joel Foster forty-one. Mr. Perkins was drowned at St. Croix Falls soon after, and the governor appointed Mr. Foster to fill the vacancy. Judge Foster held his first court at Buena Vista. Daniel Noble Johnson was appointed prosecuting attorney in 1849. James Hughes was appointed in 1850. The first district court was held in August, 1850.[Pg 146]

At a special meeting of the commissioners in 1849, James Hughes and J. M. Bailey were appointed a building committee to make estimates for the erection of a courthouse and jail. At the special meeting of the commissioners, Jan. 15, 1851, the town of Kinnikinic was organized. They had also under consideration the erection of county buildings, and appointed Ammah Andrews to erect the same. Otis Hoyt, for non-attendance at this meeting of the board, was fined fifty dollars, but the fine was subsequently remitted. The legislature of 1851 changed the name of the town of Buena Vista to Willow River, also of the town of Elisabeth to Prescott. At a subsequent meeting the contract with Ammah Andrews to erect public buildings was rescinded, and Daniel Mears was made special agent to build a jail, and three hundred and fifty dollars was appropriated for that purpose. The town of Rush River was organized Nov. 13, 1851. At the request of petitioners, the town of Leroy (now Osceola) was organized Nov. 9, 1852. A day was fixed in 1852 to vote on the change of name, Willow River to Hudson. The name Hudson was adopted by a two-thirds majority. The legislature of 1853 created from the territory of St. Croix county the counties of Polk, St. Croix and Pierce, Polk being located on the north, Pierce on the south, and St. Croix occupying the central portion of the original St. Croix county, and retaining the county seat.

St. Croix county, as at present constituted, lies on the east bank of the river and Lake St. Croix, forming, but for slight irregularities on the western line, a parallelogram. It includes townships 28 to 31, and ranges 15 to 19, with fractions of range 20 on the west. The surface varies from gently undulating to hilly. The bluffs along the lake are not precipitous, as on the Upper St. Croix, but are even and continuous, with gently rounded slopes. From the river, eastward, the country is broken and somewhat hilly; the central portions are rolling prairies on which are fine farms, and the eastern portions are level and originally heavily timbered. The eastern tier of townships is covered by a heavy growth of timber known as the Big Woods. The timber is composed of basswood, maple, butternut, several species of oak, and a sprinkling of white pine. The soil is a rich clayey loam and well adapted for grass, grain and root crops. Good building and limestone crop out in places. The county is well drained[Pg 147] by the St. Croix and its tributaries, Apple, Willow and Kinnikinic on the west and Rush river on the east. Of these tributaries Apple river is the largest. It rises in Polk county, where it is supplied by numerous lakes, enters St. Croix county and passes diagonally across the northwest corner and empties into the St. Croix river a few miles above Stillwater. Willow river rises in Cylon township and empties into St. Croix lake, just above Hudson. This river passes through a deep gorge in the limestone rock, a few miles above its mouth, falling in its passage over several ledges of rock, producing falls famed far and near for their wildness and grandeur. Kinnikinic river in the south part of the county is famed also for the beauty of its scenery and for its waterfalls. It passes into Pierce county and then, uniting with its southern branch, flows into Lake St. Croix. Rush river rises in Eau Galle, and turns and flows thence to Lake Pepin. These streams have unfailing supplies from springs and small lakes. There is a remarkable formation in the Kinnikinic valley about seven miles above River Falls, called the Monument. It is a ledge of pure white sandstone rock, nearly circular, and rising to a height of sixty feet. It stands on a natural elevation far above the level of the valley and so forms a very conspicuous and curious object. The base is forty or fifty feet wide, and the summit is a turret-shaped mass of rock about fifteen feet wide and as many high. The part upon which the turret rests is dome-shaped, its sides worn by the rains into deep furrows. Years ago a tree grew upon the summit. The soft sandstone is being gradually worn away by the winds and rains.


Philip Aldrich was appointed commissioner in 1848 to locate the state school lands in St. Croix county, at that time including Polk and Pierce counties. It is said that Dr. Aldrich would climb to the summits of the highest mounds, and, casting his eyes east, west, north or south, would proclaim such and such numbers or sections as school lands. Where all were so arable and fertile there was no use in discriminating. At the division of the county in 1853 the part designated as St. Croix county was subdivided into three towns, Buena Vista or Hudson, Willow River and Kinnikinic or Troy. As the population increased these towns were divided and subdivided until they numbered[Pg 148] twenty-three. We append their names and dates of organization. Where more than one name is given the last is the present name:

Buena Vista, Willow River, Hudson1849
Malone, Troy1851
Rush River1851
Pleasant Valley1851
Star Prairie1856
Dayton, Malone, Kinnikinic1857
Cold Spring, Richmond1857
Erin Prairie1858
Brookville, Eau Galle1858
St. Joseph1858

Some changes were also made in the boundaries of the towns. No progress was made in the erection of county buildings until 1856, when a contract was made by the commissioners with Ammah Andrews to build a court house for $14,300 on the ground originally purchased of Moses Perin. The final cost was $20,045.


An important event to the county was the organization of the St. Croix Agricultural Society, in 1857. Beautiful grounds were chosen on the bluffs one-half mile south of the city of Hudson. The annual fairs of this association, formerly held in rotation at various points in the county, now limited to the grounds south of the city, have always been well patronized and successful.


The Pomona Grange of St. Croix county holds quarterly meetings at various points, alternately. There are subordinate granges at Hudson, Richmond, Hammond, and Warren. There is a co-operative store in the city of Hudson which is well sustained. These granges are in a flourishing condition.


At the taking of the last census there were 2,289 farms in St. Croix county, containing 202,588 acres of improved land, valued at $7,015,198. The farm implements were then placed at a valuation of $346,374; live stock, at $810,525; and all soil products at[Pg 149] $1,815,266. The stock numbered 6,272 horses, 319 mules, 442 oxen, 5,624 cows, and 6,149 other cattle.

The average yield of products throughout the county can be fairly placed at these figures: Wheat, 1,375,000 bushels; oats, 800,000 bushels; rye and barley, 35,000 bushels; corn, 200,000 bushels; potatoes, 150,000 bushels; hay, 20,000 tons; cheese, 180,000 pounds; butter, 350,000 pounds.

During the past few years agriculture has steadily increased while rapid strides have been made in manufactures, so that the totals would be quite materially enlarged now over those of 1885.


In manufactures the statisticians have the county down for 112 establishments with a capital of $740,197, utilizing materials to the amount of $1,105,203, evolving products to the sum of $1,488,192, and paying $107,469 in wages per annum.

As to manufactures, in round numbers there is produced in the county: Lumber, 50,000,000 feet; shingles, 18,000,000: laths, 7,000,000; furniture, $120,000; barrels, 125,000; flour, 160,000 barrels.


Is located in the northwest part of Kinnikinic, section 11, on each side of the Kinnikinic river. It was purchased in 1870 for $1,000, and the probable present value is $10,000.



John McKusick $1,500.00 $10.50
Leach & McKean 5,400.00 37.80
Edward Johnson 1,115.00 .81
Falls of St. Croix Company 59,700.00 417.90
Dexter & Harrington 2,585.00 18.09
A. W. Russell 405.00 2.83
Edward Worth 199.00 1.39
Peter Lombair 40.00 .28
Serno Jonava 75.00 .52
J. McLanglin 2,204.00 15.43
[Pg 150]Wm. Town 144.00 1.01
J. Cornelison 75.00 .52
George De Attley 50.00 .35
S. Partridge 418.00 3.37
Dan Foster 30.00 .21
A. Livingston & Kelly 185.00 1.29
John Powers 21.00 .14
Thos. Foster 10.00 .08
George Field 45.00 .31
Adam Sebert 240.00 1.68
Weymouth & Brother 130.00 .91
S. S. Crowell 150.00 1.05
Lewis Barlow 103.00 .72
I. S. Kimball 30.00 .21
Philip B. Jewell 7,235.00 50.64
Kent & Mahoney 3,631.00 25.42
H. Crandall 219.00 1.53
Daniel Coite 85.00 .57
M. M. Samuels 375.00 2.62
W. H. C. Folsom 800.00 5.60
W. W. Folsom 210.00 1.47
J. Sanders 207.00 1.45
G. W. Brownell 1,755.00 12.28
Richard Arnold 205.00 1.45
Wm. R. Marshall 15.00 .10
Dr. Palmer 10.00 .07
Joseph Lagroo 25.00 .17
J. Bascan 25.00 .17
B. Cheever 1,100.00 7.70
H. H. Perkins 2,000.00 14.00
Levi Lagoo 50.00 .35
M. Shults 2,000.00 14.00
    Total $94,801.00 $1,642.72

[Pg 151]


James Purinton $800.00 $5.60
Wm. R. Anderson 75.00 .52
Samuel Clift 15.00 .10
Joseph Kelner 15.00 .10
P. D. Aldrich 195.00 1.36
Moses Perin 240.00 1.68
Ammah Andrews 409.00 2.86
John B. Page 1,128.00 7.89
Lewis Massey 185.00 1.29
Joseph Lagrew 190.00 1.33
Wm. H. Nobles 299.00 2.10
Lemuel Nobles 40.00 .28
Milton E. Nobles 339.00 2.37
John Collier 125.00 .87
Philip Aldrich 361.00 2.52
Peter F. Bouchea 136.00 .96
A. Smith 105.00 .73
McKnight 149.00 1.03
Wm. Steets 143.00 .79
Joseph Abear 38.00 .24
    Total $4,949.00 $38.71

[Pg 152]


Thomas M. Finch $176.00 $1.23
Mrs. Lockwood 1,181.00 8.27
Freeman, Larpenteur & Co 300.00 2.10
Frank Trudell 50.00 .35
Louis Barlow 600.00 4.20
Fog & Crownenbald 2,625.00 18.39
I. L. Minox 183.00 1.26
J. R. Rice 545.00 2.81
G. W. McMurphy 425.00 2.97
H. Doe 340.00 2.38
Wm. Kimbrough 60.00 .42
W. H. Morse 135.00 .61
Wilson Thing 385.00 2.69
W. C. Copley 50.00 .35
Willard Thing 164.00 1.15
George Shagor 1,000.00 7.00
George Barron 180.00 1.26
Joseph Monjon 235.00 1.64
Joseph Monjon, Jr. 60.00 42.00
Henry Thaxter 75.00 .52
Aaron Cornelison 325.00 2.27
James Cornelison 265.00 1.85
Lewis Harnsberger 75.00 .52
    Totals $9,434.00 $68.91

The above roll was published in pamphlet form, certified to by Wm. R. Anderson, clerk of board of county commissioners, and an order issued to Moses Perin to collect such taxes, and pay over to the treasurer of St. Croix county. The amounts were duly collected.


The first settlement in St. Croix county was made on the present site of Hudson city in 1838 by Peter Bouchea, Louis Massey, Wm. Steets and Joseph Lagroo, Frenchmen, who subsisted chiefly by hunting and fishing, but who also raised garden crops of corn, beans and other vegetables. These people were contented and jovial, fond of dancing and social enjoyment. Beyond the mere pleasure of living they seemed to have but[Pg 153] little care and were without enterprise or ambition. More enterprising and industrious people followed them to the new settlement, and as the public lands were not open for entry until 1848, settled upon the lands and made some improvements, awaiting patiently the time when they could acquire a legal title. The original claimants of the town of Buena Vista in 1848 were Peter Bouchea, Louis Massey, Wm. Steets, Joseph Lagroo, Joseph Lenavil, —— Revere, Ammah Andrews, W. H. and M. V. Nobles, John B. Page, Philip Aldrich, and W. R. Anderson. These parties, after the survey and prior to the entry of the land, made an equitable division of their claims. Peter Bouchea and Louis Massey were then delegated to purchase the lands, which they did, Bouchea purchasing the southwest quarter of southeast quarter of section 24, township 29, range 20, and Massey, the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 24, township 29, range 20. Deeds were then made to the various claimants according to the original agreement. The first individual survey of lots was made on Massey's entry, Harvey Wilson, of Stillwater, being the surveyor. The village thus platted was at first called Buena Vista, but some confusion arising as to the title of lots in 1851, the legislature changed the name of the town and village to Willow River, which, by vote of the people in 1852, was changed to Hudson. The original proprietors of the village of Buena Vista were Paschal Aldrich, James Sanders, Moses Perin, James R. Patten and Joseph Abear. Additions were surveyed in 1849 and 1850 by Gibson, Henning and others. To avoid confusion we shall discard the earlier names applied to what has since become the city of Hudson and speak of it solely by its later and better known name.

In 1840 the locality, as seen from a passing steamer, seemed a wilderness of orchard oaks and maples, filling the valley of Willow river, and clothing the slopes of the hills. A closer view might have revealed an occasional shanty, a cabin of the first French settlers, with small gardens, the whole inclosed by high picket fences as a protection against strolling Indians. Seven years later loggers were at work on Willow river under Capt. J. B. Page. The same year a couple of frame houses appeared in the oak openings. The first was built by W. H. Nobles, which is still standing and is occupied by Mrs. Col. James Hughes. The second was built by Ammah Andrews and is now occupied[Pg 154] by Horace Champlin. In 1848 James Purinton commenced a saw mill and dam at the mouth of Willow river, which were not, completed until 1850. In 1848 Wm. H. Nobles started a ferry over the lake. James Purinton opened a store and Moses Perin built a hotel and boarding house, which stood opposite Champlin's present livery stable. In 1849 Miss Richards, from Prairie du Chien, taught the first school. Mrs. A. M. Richardson, the wife of the Methodist minister, the second. A school house was not built until 1855. John G. Putman built the Buckeye House, corner of First and Buckeye streets. Horace Barlow built a residence. Mr. Stone also put up a store building. The first attorneys, Daniel Noble Johnson and Col. James Hughes, commenced practice in Hudson in 1849. The first public building stood on the lot now occupied by the Methodist church. It burned down in the spring of 1851, and an account of the fire, as published at that time, stated that the "court house, Methodist, Baptist, Congregational and Episcopal churches, together with the high school buildings, were all consumed." It is but fair to say that there were no regular church organizations at this time, but occasional services by local and transient ministers. Rev. Lemuel Nobles, a Methodist minister, preached the first sermon in 1847. The first society organization was that of the Baptists, Rev. S. T. Catlin, pastor, in 1852. In the same year Rev. A. M. Richardson was regularly appointed as pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church. In 1855 the First Presbyterian church was organized under the pastorate of Rev. Chas. Thayer, and Rev. Wilcoxson became the first rector of the Episcopal church. In 1856 Rev. Father McGee took charge of the Catholic church. In 1857 Rev. C. H. Marshall was called to the pastorate of the Congregational church. A Norwegian Lutheran church was organized in 1876. All of these church organizations have good church buildings, and the Catholic church has a flourishing school connected with it. School interests were not neglected by the early settlers. A good school house was built in 1855 and graded. The first deed recorded covering Hudson property was by Louis Massey and Frances, his wife, to Wm. H. Nobles; warranty; consideration, $67.18; situate in east half of southwest quarter of section 24, township 29, range 20.[Pg 155]


Hudson was incorporated as a city in 1857, and the first municipal election was held in April of that year. The city was divided into three wards. A. D. Gay was the first mayor. The following were the first aldermen: First ward, James B. Gray, Milton V. Nobles, J. M. Fulton; Second ward, Alfred Day, R. A. Gridley, Chas. E. Dexter; Third ward, Chas. Thayer, N. P. Lester, N. Perry. The remaining city officers were: City clerk, O. Bell; city attorney, Cyrus L. Hall; surveyor, Michael Lynch. At the first meeting of the city council, after the appointment of committees on by-laws, bond sales, salaries, etc., license for selling intoxicating liquors was fixed at fifty dollars per annum for hotel keepers, two hundred dollars for wholesale dealers, with various grades for retail saloons. The first license issued was to John Cyphers, for keeping saloon and billiard hall.


1. A. D. Gray,
2. Alfred Day,
3. Silas Staples,
4. John Comstock,
5. S. N. Clough,
6. A. D. Richardson,
7. C. R. Coon,
8. H. L. Humphrey,
9. J. H. Brown,
10. Simon Hunt,
11. Lemuel North,
12. C. H. Lewis,
13. H. A. Wilson,
14. A. J. Goss,
15. P. Q. Boyden,
16. D. C. Fulton,
17. M. A. Fulton,
18. Samuel Hyslop,
19. Sam. C. Johnson, M. D.
20. Wm. H. Phipps.


Graded schools were established in 1859. They have ever maintained an excellent reputation. In 1860 Charlotte Mann was chosen principal, and taught the eight ensuing years. A new school building was completed in 1887 at a cost of $25,000. This building is devoted to high school purposes. The schools of the city are graded. There are eleven departments and twelve teachers. Each ward of the city has a separate building. The school fund amounts to about $5,000 per annum. The schools are under the control of six commissioners.[Pg 156]


Was organized at River Falls by Prof. J. R. Hinckley, and shortly afterward removed to Hudson, and a building worth $7,000 erected for its accommodation. In 1880 it was purchased by the Catholics, and it is now known as St. Marys Academy.


The first saw mill, as already noted, was completed in 1850. It was known as Purinton's saw mill. Other saw mills were built, but destroyed by fire. We have no record of ownership and losses, but estimate the aggregate of the latter as near $100,000. The Willow River mills, built in 1867, consist of two flouring mills, with a capacity of four hundred barrels per day. Connected with these are a large elevator and cooper shop. The present proprietors are Cooper, Clark & Co. The invested capital is $150,000. The Hudson Lumber Company, in 1883, built a saw mill, below the steamboat landing. This mill has a capacity of 18,000,000 feet per annum, and has a planing mill attached. It is complete in all its departments, manufacturing all classes of lumber, from timber to mouldings. The capital stock amounts to $100,000. The officers are H. A. Taylor, president; C. R. Coon, vice president; M. Herrick, secretary; F. D. Harding, treasurer; S. W. Pierce, superintendent. The Hudson Foundry and Machine Shop was established in 1870. The North Hudson Foundry and Car Shops are doing a fine business. The Hudson Carriage Works were established in 1885, and the Hudson Furniture Manufactory in 1883. The amount invested in this enterprise is $180,000, and it furnishes employment to one hundred men. C. R. Coon is president of the company. There are two breweries—Moctreman's, established in 1857, and Yoerg's in 1870.


The St. Croix Valley Bank was organized in 1855. It was a bank of issue, payable at Gordon, Wisconsin. It closed in 1857. The Hudson City Bank, organized Sept. 10, 1856, went into operation under the general law of Wisconsin, capital stock $25,000, secured by Michigan and Missouri state stocks. J. O. Henning was president and M. S. Gibson, cashier. It soon closed. The Farmers and Mechanics Bank, a state bank, went into operation[Pg 157] in 1857 and closed the following year. The Hudson First National Bank was organized in 1863, with a capital of $50,000. The first officers were John Comstock, president; Alfred J. Goss, cashier. The officers in 1888 are John Comstock, president; A. E. Jefferson, cashier. The surplus fund is $53,000. The directors are H. A. Taylor, H. L. Humphrey, John C. Spooner, A. L. Clark, F. D. Harding, A. T. Goss, and W. H. Crowe. The Hudson Savings Bank was organized in 1870, with a capital stock of $50,000. Alfred Goss, president; A. J. Goss, cashier. Alfred Goss died in 187—, but the bank is in successful operation, the son still retaining his father's name as head of the firm.



The beautiful private hospital which takes the name of America's popular poet, Oliver Wendell Holmes, was opened June 7, 1887. The credit of this hospital scheme is entirely due to Dr. Irving D. Wiltrout, of Hudson, who for some years has been assiduously at work maturing the plans. The owners are Dr. Wiltrout and the Johnston Brothers, of Boardman. The site is[Pg 158] upon a beautiful wooded slope of Willow river, about a mile from its mouth, overlooking Lake Mallalieu, an expanse of the river, and a broad sweep of the St. Croix with its undulating banks, commanding the most delightful and extensive views. The building is lighted by the Mather self regulating, incandescent system of electricity. The dynamo, engine and boilers are located in a fireproof brick structure, some distance from the building proper, communicating with the hospital by an underground passageway. The hospital is under the direction of the following board: President, A. J. Goss; first vice president, John Comstock; second vice president, John E. Glover; secretary, Thomas Hughes; treasurer, Rev. M. Benson.


The Hudson water works, supplied from Lake St. Croix, are situated upon Liberty Hill, in the rear of the southern part of the city. They are owned by W. S. Evans. The hill is two hundred and seventeen feet above the lake, and commands a magnificent view of the surrounding country. The summit is easily accessible. The city is also well supplied with water from artesian wells, which were sunk to a depth of five hundred feet, and afford a flow of two hundred gallons per minute.


The principal hotels are the Chapin House, first built in 1867, but twice destroyed by fire. The last structure was erected in 1879, by H. A. Taylor. The Tracy House was built in 1867, the Seely House in 1873, the Commercial Hotel in 1875, and the Central House in 1876.


May 19, 1866, Hudson city was visited with a destructive conflagration. Sixty-four business houses and twenty-five residences were destroyed. It was probably the result of accident or carelessness. It commenced in the rear of H. A. Taylor's furniture rooms and printing office, and spread with such rapidity that it was with the greatest difficulty that merchants and others were able to save their valuable papers. The wind blew a gale and the flames spread and caught in every direction. The fire occurred fortunately in the daytime or it might have been attended with a frightful loss of life. As it was, there were many[Pg 159] narrow escapes. The total losses from this fire were $325,000, on which there was but $75,000 insurance. A destructive fire occurred in 1872, destroying the Chapin Hall House, valued at $50,000, and other property to the value of $35,000, on which there was but $15,000 insurance. During the same year another fire occurred, destroying 30,000 bushels of wheat and the furniture of the Chapin Hall House, which had been saved from the previous fire. The loss was estimated at $60,000 with $16,355 insurance.


St. Croix Lodge, A. F. and A. M., founded 1855; Colfax Lodge, No. 85, I. O. O. F., founded 1856; Hudson City Lodge, No. 486, I. O. G. T., founded 1867; Ladies' Library Association, founded 1868; St. Croix R. A. Chapter, founded 1874; Y. M. C. A., founded 1875; Nash Lodge, I. O. G. T., founded 1877; Temple of Honor, founded 1877; St. Croix Commandery, founded 1879; St. Croix Lodge, A. O. U. W., founded 1880; Equitable Union, founded 1880. In addition to the foregoing there is a volunteer fire company, a boat club, an old settlers' club, a bible society, a building and loan association, and a cemetery association.


Louis Massey came of a long-lived French-Canadian family. His father lived to the age of one hundred and seven and his mother to one hundred and five and he himself lived to the age of ninety-nine years. He was born in Canada, near Montreal, in 1788. In 1805 he left home to enter the service of the British fur traders at Detroit. In his eventful life he had many adventures and passed through many perils. He was once arrested with his employer by the American authorities and once made prisoner by the Indians. In 1812 he entered the employ of the notorious Col. Dickson, and, while with him, made a trip from Detroit by way of Mackinaw, Green Bay, Fox and Wisconsin rivers to Prairie du Chien in a birch canoe. He made two trips in mackinaw boats from Prairie du Chien to New Orleans and return. In one trip he was four months making his way from New Orleans to St. Louis. He made one voyage in a birch canoe from Montreal via Ottawa river, Georgian bay, Lake Huron, St. Marie's river and Lake Superior to Fond du Lac, at the mouth of St. Louis river, via Sandy lake and the Mississippi[Pg 160] river to Lake Winnibagoshish, and another from Fond du Lac to Brule river, across to St. Croix river, thence to the Mississippi, and by way of St. Peter's river to Lake Traverse by canoe. In 1818 he entered the service of the American Fur Company, and lived at Fond du Lac, the headquarters of the company, for ten years. There he was married to a sister of Peter Bouchea. In 1828 he settled on the reservation near Fort Snelling, where he was held in such estimation that, on the expulsion of the settlers, the officers of the Fort assisted him in his removal to Willow River, whither he came in 1838 with Peter Bouchea. Wm. Steets and Joseph Lagroo soon followed them. These four were the first settlers in Hudson. Mr. Massey lived at his old home with a son-in-law, Richard Picard, until his death, Oct. 14, 1887. His only child living is Mrs. Picard.

Peter Bouchea was born at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, about 1815. He spent his early life in the neighborhood of Lake Superior, was married to a daughter of —— Bruce, and came to the mouth of Willow river in 1838. Mr. Bouchea had been educated for the Catholic priesthood. He was a truthful, intelligent, reliable man and filled some positions of responsibility. He had many stirring adventures and was once wounded by Indians and cared for by Gov. Cass, of Michigan, at Detroit and Fort Gratiot. He died in 1875, at Fort Edward, on the north shore of Lake Superior.

William Streets came to Willow River in 1838, a refugee from the Fort Snelling reservation. He was frozen to death in the winter of 1851.

Capt. John B. Page came from Piscataquis county, Maine, to the St. Croix valley in 1844, and engaged for awhile in cutting pine logs on Willow river. While rafting on the Mississippi he met, and after a brief courtship married, a woman who returned with him to his home on Willow river and who survives him. Mrs. Page had some reputation as a (Thomsonian) physician. They made their home in Hudson in 1847. Their daughter Abigail was the first white child of American descent born in Hudson. Abigail married George Bailey, and their sons, George W. and David, were for a long time residents of Hudson, and have but lately deceased. Mr. Page died Feb. 11, 1865.

Dr. Philip Aldrich, although not a permanent settler till 1847, was an occasional or transient visitor, and had made a[Pg 161] land claim in section 24. He took a deep interest in the affairs of the pioneer settlement, and at his house many of the public gatherings, political and social, were held. He was the first postmaster, and, in the exigencies of the service, sometimes carried the mail on foot. While a resident of St. Croix Falls in 1844, he was appointed probate judge. In 1848 he was appointed treasurer of the county of St. Croix, and at the election in November of the same year, elected to that office. Dr. Aldrich was born in New York in 1792, and died at his home in Hudson, March 16, 1858.

The Nobles Family settled in Hudson in 1847. Rev. Lemuel Nobles, the father, was a Methodist local minister, and in 1847 preached the first sermon at the mouth of Willow river. He came originally from New York, lived a few years in the valley and removed to Michigan, where he died. His children were William H., Milton V., John, Mrs. Battles and Mrs. Morton S. Wilkinson, deceased. Wm. H. became a resident of Minnesota and a noted man. His biography is given elsewhere.

Milton V. Nobles was born in New York in 1818; removed to Michigan; was married to Matilda Edwards, Sept. 2, 1846, in Stillwater, and came to Hudson in 1847, where he followed lumbering until 1860, when he returned to New York and located at Elmira, where he resided until his death. While at Elmira he became an inventor and took out several valuable patents. His fortunes varied, and as is frequently the case with inventors, at one time he was wretchedly poor. In the midst of his galling poverty he sold one of his patents for a beautiful homestead in Elmira. Mrs. Nobles had not been informed of the transaction, but with her husband had visited the occupants of the homestead. Mrs. Nobles could not but contrast this pleasant home with her own poverty stricken surroundings, and in inviting her entertainers to return the call, told them plainly that she lived in a very humble home, and feared she could not make a visit pleasant to them. At this point the host stepped forward, and, by a preconcerted arrangement, presented her a deed to the mansion and grounds—a joyful surprise.

John Nobles, the youngest son, returned to Michigan and New York, where he became a Methodist minister. Some time subsequently he removed to Colorado, where he died.

James Purinton was born in 1797, in Tamworth, New Hampshire.[Pg 162] He was married to Mary Mann, in Sandwich, New Hampshire. He afterward removed to Maine. He came to St. Croix Falls in 1842, and leased the St. Croix mills, and some time after became part owner. This venture not being successful, he removed to Willow River in 1847, where he built a large dam across the river, and with others erected a saw mill on the point of land between the lake and river. This venture was not successful and the mill property passed into other hands. Mr. Purinton was an experienced lumberman and an active, energetic man. The north side of Willow River, in which he was so much interested, became afterward quite valuable on account of the centralization of shops, depots and business of the West Wisconsin and North Wisconsin railroads. Mr. Purinton died in Hudson in 1849, leaving two married daughters—Mrs. ----Graves and Mrs. James McPhail.

Ammah Andrews was born in Herkimer county, New York, in 1801, and passed his early life in that place. In 1829 he was married to Laura Andrews, and in the same year moved to Michigan. He came to Hudson in 1847. Mr. Andrews was a carpenter and took some important building contracts. He was one of the first commissioners of St. Croix county under the state government, and also one of the first school directors. He has been an active and influential member of the Methodist Episcopal church the greater part of his life. He has three sons, now living in Nebraska, and one daughter, the wife of F. D. Harding, of Hudson, Wisconsin. Mr. Andrews died Jan. 5, 1888.

James Walstow.—Mr. Walstow was born in Nottingham, England, in 1815; was married there, and came to Hudson in 1849. He removed to Nebraska in 1863.

James Sanders was born in Devonshire, England, in 1818; came to America in 1841, and lived for years in New York. In 1844 he married Mary Walstow, removed to St. Croix Falls in 1845 and to Hudson in 1850, where he opened and improved the first farm in the present St. Croix county. Mrs. Sanders died in 1873. She left two sons, William and Walstow. Mr. Sanders removed to Osceola in 1880.

J. W. Stone was born in Connecticut in 1800. He came to Hudson in 1849 and opened the first store the same year. He died in 1860.[Pg 163]

Joseph Bowron was born Aug. 1, 1809, in Essex county, New York. His parents were from Newcastle on the Tyne, England. His mother was a member of the Society of Friends. She died when Joseph was five years old, and he was reared by his aunt until nineteen years of age, when he engaged in business for himself in Lower Canada. Some time afterward he removed to the United States and obtained work on the Illinois canal. He next removed to St. Louis, and from thence, in 1841, to St. Croix Falls, where he acted as clerk, scaler of logs and mill superintendent. He was a member of the first state legislature of Wisconsin, in 1848. W. R. Marshall had received the certificate of election, but Mr. Bowron successfully contested the election. Mr. Bowron removed in 1848 to Hudson, where he attended to general collections, and served as justice of the peace. In 1849 Mr. Bowron was married to Celia Partridge, of Columbia county, Wisconsin, who died three years later. In 1854 he was married to Rosanna Partridge, who died in 1863. Mr. Bowron died April 10, 1868, leaving two children, who now reside in Kansas.

Moses Perin was born in 1815; came to St. Croix Falls in 1847 and to Hudson in 1849. He was the first collector of St. Croix county. In 1853 he built a warehouse and saw mill at Lakeland, Minnesota. The warehouse was burned, and the saw mill removed. In 1847 Mr. Perin removed to San Diego, California.

John O. Henning was born at Bellefonte, Centre county, Pennsylvania, in 1819. His great grandfather was the first settler in that county. In 1825 his father removed to Ithaca, New York, and there the youthful Henning received his education at the academy. During the excitement of the Jackson administration he became an ardent Democrat, and, that he might enter more fully into the political strife of the day, learned the printer's trade and devoted himself more or less to newspaper work. He visited the Mississippi valley in 1838, remained some time at St. Louis, Missouri, Springfield, Illinois, Burlington, Iowa, and some other places. In 1846 he established the Journal at Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and in 1849 removed to Hudson, Wisconsin, where he still resides. He served eight years as register of the United States land office at that place. He represented St. Croix county in the assembly of the Fourth Wisconsin legislature and[Pg 164] has held many other positions of trust. Mr. Henning was married, Jan. 29, 1840, to Fidelia Bennet. Mrs. Henning died June 27, 1886, aged sixty-six years.

Moses S. Gibson was born in 1816, in Livingston county, New York. He received the rudiments of a common school education. He was engaged in mercantile pursuits a large portion of his life. He settled at Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in 1844, but afterward moved to Fond du Lac. He represented Fond du Lac county in the constitutional convention in 1847. He was appointed receiver of the United States land office at Hudson in 1849. In 1856 he was married to Carrie F. Gilman. During the Rebellion he acted as paymaster, United States army, and was assigned to the department of Missouri, with headquarters at St. Louis. In 1878 he was appointed assistant in the sixth auditor's office, Washington, District of Columbia. Mr. Gibson has led a busy and useful life and has acquitted himself well in the various positions of responsibility to which he has been called.

Col. James Hughes.—Col. Hughes was born in Prince Edwards county, Virginia, Oct. 12, 1805. He received a classical education at Hampdon-Sydney College, Virginia, studied law, and was admitted to practice in Virginia. He came to Ohio in 1835, and was elected to the legislature in 1838 and 1839. He was married in 1839 to Elisabeth Mather, in Jackson county. He remained in Ohio until 1849, publishing successively the Jackson Standard and the Meigs County Telegraph, both Whig papers. In 1849 he came to St. Paul and brought with him the first printing press and outfit in that city, and established the Minnesota Chronicle, which subsequently united with the Register. The first number bears the date June 1, 1849. In November of the same year he sold his interest in the Chronicle and Register and removed to Hudson, where he established the St. Croix Banner, the first paper printed and issued in the St. Croix valley. Mrs. Hughes was associated with him in its management. They subsequently published the Hudson Republican. Mr. Hughes died at Hudson in 1873, leaving a widow and eleven children, seven sons and four daughters. Of the sons, Eleazer is a farmer in St. Croix county; Geo. R. is engaged in the real estate business in St. Paul; Edward P. is a lawyer in Anoka; James S., a surveyor; Chas. V. is manager of the Western Telegraph Company; and Lucius A. is a telegraph operator in St. Paul.[Pg 165]

Daniel Anderson was born in 1806, in New York; received a common school education, and removed with his parents to Macoupin county, Illinois, in 1820; was married in 1831 to Eliza Hoxsey; lived in Dubuque in 1847 and 1848, and moved to Hudson in 1849, where he followed merchandising until 1876. He was county treasurer in 1877 and part of the year following. He died July 1, 1878: Mrs. Anderson died in September of the same year, leaving a daughter, Medora, wife of Alfred Day, of Hudson, and one son, Jarret, now a resident in Montana.

Alfred Day was born in 1824, in Vermont, and came to Hudson in 1849, where he engaged in the real estate, farming and livery business. Mr. Day was married in Hudson, to a daughter of Daniel Anderson. He died in St. Paul, Nov. 18, 1880, leaving a widow, three sons and two daughters.

Dr. Otis Hoyt.—Dr. Hoyt was born in Sandwich, New Hampshire, Dec. 3, 1812. His parents were George and Mary Hoyt. Both grandfathers were soldiers in the war of the Revolution. He received a common school education; prepared for college in the academy at Fryburg, Maine; graduated at Dartmouth in 1833, and from Jefferson Medical College, at Philadelphia, in 1836. He practiced his profession at Mason, New Hampshire, and Framingham, Massachusetts, until 1846, when he entered the service as surgeon in the United States army during the Mexican War. In 1849 he came to St. Croix Falls, and practiced medicine. In 1852 he removed to Hudson. The same year he was elected to the Fifth Wisconsin legislature, as assemblyman. In 1862 he entered the United States service as surgeon of the Thirtieth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, but was on detached service most of the time. For awhile he had charge of the hospital at Camp Randall, Madison, Wisconsin. He was examining surgeon of 11,000 recruits, and was medical director at Bowling Green and Louisville, Kentucky. He was eminent in his profession, yet public spirited, and engaged at times, successfully, in real estate and railroad enterprises. As a physician, it is said, to his credit, that he was impartial to the last degree, and as prompt and punctilious in visiting the log cabin of the poor man as the parlor of a state or government official. He was married in 1837 to Mary King. Two children were born to them, Charles and Mary (Mrs. H. A. Wilson, deceased). Mrs. Hoyt died at Framingham. In 1843 Dr. Hoyt was married to[Pg 166] Eliza B. King, sister of his first wife. Their children are Ella Frances, married to Dr. Chas. F. King, Hudson; Annie, married to Dr. Eppley, of New Richmond; Hattie, married to —— Wyard, Crookston, Minnesota; Ida, a teacher at Stillwater, and Lizzie, married to Rev. W. R. Reynolds, of Hudson. Dr. Hoyt died at his home in Hudson, Nov. 12, 1885. Mrs. Hoyt died Oct. 1, 1886, in Boston, Massachusetts. Her remains were brought to Hudson for burial.

S. S. N. Fuller.—Mr. Fuller was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts, in 1814. He removed to Harford, Pennsylvania, with his parents when six years of age. He was educated at Harford. He studied law and was admitted to practice at Montrose. He practiced at Great Bend, Pennsylvania. He came to Fond du Lac county, Wisconsin, in 1844, where he was seven years district attorney. He came to Hudson in 1857, removed to Iowa in 1865 and died at Logan, Harrison county, Iowa, in 1851. He was married to Clarissa A. Day in 1841, who with one son and four daughters, all married and resident in Iowa, survives him. He was district judge some years for the St. Croix Valley district.

Miles H. Van Meter was born in Kentucky in 1810. He received a common school education and learned the trade of a builder. He was married to Mary P. Litsey, in Kentucky, in 1830, moved to Illinois in 1836 and to Hudson in 1850. He has six sons and two daughters. Abe C. is editor of the St. Croix Republican at New Richmond. Two of his sons are in Illinois, three in Dakota. Mrs. Van Meter died in 1875.

Philip B. Jewell was born in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, Oct. 25, 1816; was raised on a farm; obtained a common school education; in 1841 was married to Hannah J. Fuller, and in 1847 came to St. Croix Falls, where he lived until 1851, when he removed to Hudson. He engaged in lumbering and piloting on the St. Croix. At the beginning of the late war he enlisted in the Twelfth Wisconsin Infantry and served during the war. In 1874 he was appointed inspector of logs and lumber of the Fourth district. Mrs. Jewell died in 1875. He married, as his second wife, Ellen Restiaux.

John Tobin.—Mr. Tobin was born in Ireland in 1818. His father died in 1830, and he came with an uncle to this country. He settled at Marine in 1842, and in 1853 came to St. Joseph's[Pg 167] township, where he resided until his death, Jan. 22, 1880. He was married in Illinois in 1848 and his widow still lives at the old homestead. Of twelve children seven are now living.

Horace A. Taylor, son of Rev. Adolphus Taylor, of Norfolk, New York, was born in 1837. His father died in 1842. At the age of ten years Horace was earning his living on a farm. At thirteen he came to River Falls. Some time after he returned East and spent four years on a farm. Returning to Wisconsin he established a stage line between Prescott and Hudson. In 1857, with his brother Lute A., he established the River Falls Journal, and, in 1860, purchased the Hudson Chronicle and changed its name to the Hudson Times. Four years later the Times and the North Star were consolidated under the title of the Star and Times. Mr. Taylor is a man of energy and enterprise and has engaged in real estate transactions on a large scale. He is a man of quick perceptions and of ready wit and has been honored with some important public positions. He was for some time state agent of railroad lands. He was appointed consul to Marseilles by President Garfield in 1881, but resigned the position in 1884. In 1860 he was married to Lizzie Madden, of Chicago.

Jeremiah Whaley was born in 1818, in Castile, New York. His father dying he aided in caring for his widowed mother. He was married in Pike county, New York, in 1839, and came to Hudson in 1851, where he engaged in the mercantile and real estate business and acted as postmaster. Mr. Whaley died in Hudson in 1884, leaving a widow, two sons in Michigan, one in Pipestone, Minnesota, and four daughters.

Simon Hunt was born in Camden, Maine, in 1826. He lived at home until seventeen years old; acquired a common school and academic education; served an apprenticeship of five years at boot and shoe making in Georgetown, Massachusetts, and came to Hudson in 1851. He was married to Jane C. Arcy in Maine in 1854. Mr. Hunt has served as mayor of Hudson and was for several years superintendent of schools. Mrs. Hunt died in 1880.

John S. Moffatt was born in Tompkins county, New York, in 1814. He received a common school and academic education. In 1844 he was married to Nancy Bennett. He removed to Hudson in 1854, and was in the land office several years. He is a[Pg 168] lawyer by profession; has served thirteen years as police justice, and eight years as county judge.

James H. Childs was born in Montear county, Pennsylvania, in 1825; came to Wisconsin in 1848; settled in Hudson in 1849, and engaged in the real estate and lumbering business. He was married to Elisabeth McCartney, in Hudson, 1860.

William Dwelley was born in Foxcroft, Maine, in 1816; came to the St. Croix valley in 1850, and settled in Hudson in 1854. Mr. Dwelley was an explorer, scaler of logs, and surveyor. He died April 8, 1885.

James M. Fulton—The ancestors of Mr. Fulton came from Scotland and settled in New York about 1770. His father served in the army during the war of 1812 and died while in the service. James M. Fulton with his family came to Hudson in 1854, where he died, March 30, 1858, aged about forty-six. Mrs. Fulton still lives in Hudson.

Marcus A. Fulton, oldest son of James M. Fulton, was born in Bethel, Sullivan county, New York, in 1826. He came with his parents to Hudson in 1854, and engaged with his brother in the mercantile and real estate business. He was elected to the state senate in 1866 and 1867. In 1878 he was elected mayor of Hudson. He has also served on the board of education, and as alderman. He was married in 1863 to Augusta Ainsley, who died in 1876. In 1877 he was married to Adelia Frances Ainsley.

David C. Fulton, second son of James M. Fulton, was born in New York, February, 1838. He came to Hudson with his parents, and, after completing a common school and academic education, engaged in mercantile and real estate business. Mr. Fulton has been elected to various important positions. He was mayor of Hudson one term, supervisor of St. Croix county three years, member of the board of education, alderman, and member of the state assembly (1873). He served three years during the Civil War as captain in the Thirtieth Wisconsin Infantry, and was promoted to position of major. Since the war, he served six years as one of the board of managers of the National Home for Disabled Soldiers, and is now serving, by appointment of President Cleveland, as United States marshal for Western Wisconsin. Mr. Fulton was married in 1866 to Minnie Champlin.

N. S. Holden was born in 1822; was one of the early settlers of the St. Croix valley, and for many years a citizen of Hudson.[Pg 169] He followed surveying and scaling. He died suddenly, July 4, 1882. He left a widow, two sons and four daughters.

William H. Semmes was born in Alexandria, Virginia. He came to Hudson in 1851, and practiced law, as a partner of Judge McMillan, in Stillwater. He was a young man of great promise, but died early and much lamented, Sept. 13, 1854.

Sterling Jones was born in Steuben county, New York, in 1812. He removed to Indiana in 1833, and in 1835 was married to Elisabeth Sines. They removed to Beloit, Wisconsin, in 1847, and to Hudson in 1850. Mr. Jones died in 1874. Mrs. Jones, five sons and two daughters are still living. Edwin B. married a daughter of Rev. W. T. Boutwell. Jerome B. married a daughter of Rev. Wm. Egbert, of Hammond, and resides in Hudson. He has been sheriff and treasurer of St. Croix county and has held town and city offices. The remaining sons, George R., Henry B. and Harvey J., and the daughters, Eunice M. and Sarah E., are married and reside in Hudson.

D. R. Bailey was born April 27, 1833, in Vermont. He attended Oberlin College, Ohio, and graduated in law at Albany Law School, in 1859. He was collector of customs at Highgate, Vermont, from 1860 to 1864. He practiced law at St. Albans, Vermont, ten years, and was state representative in 1866 and 1867. He was a delegate to the Republican National convention in 1878, and a member of the Vermont senate from 1870 to 1872. He made his residence in St. Croix county in 1877, where he resided till 1883, when he removed to Sioux Falls, Dakota. While in St. Croix county he engaged in farming, lumbering and manufacturing.

Henry C. Baker was born in 1831, in Genesee county, New York; graduated at Albany University, New York, in 1854, and was admitted to the bar in 1858, and came to Hudson in 1859. He has practiced law continuously since; has also held many town and county offices; has been attorney of the various railroads centring in Hudson, and is now attorney of the Minneapolis, Soo St. Marie & Atlantic railroad. He was married in 1860 to Ellen M. Brewster.

Mert Herrick was born in Orleans county, New York, in 1834. He received a common school education. He came to St. Croix in 1857; was married in 1859 to Lois P. Willard; enlisted at the beginning of the Civil War in the Thirtieth and later[Pg 170] in the Fortieth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and served during the war. He has held the office of treasurer of St. Croix county for six years. He is at present a member of the Hudson Lumber Company.

D. A. Baldwin, president of the West Wisconsin railroad, built a fine residence on the shore of the lake, north of Willow river, in the latter part of the '50s, and did much to promote the interests of North Hudson, which he surveyed into village lots in 1873. D. A. and H. A. Baldwin erected a commodious hotel in North Hudson in 1873. The hotel was subsequently sold to H. A. Taylor and removed to Hudson, where it was known as the Chapin Hall House. Mr. Baldwin removed from Hudson when the West Wisconsin railroad passed into other hands.

John Comstock was born in Cayuga county, New York, in 1813. When he was twelve years old his parents removed to Pontiac, Michigan. He here served an apprenticeship of three years to a millwright, and afterward engaged in business at Pontiac until 1851. He came to Hudson in 1856, and was city contractor six years. In 1863 he founded the First National Bank of Hudson, in which he has ever since been a director. Mr. Comstock has been engaged in many public enterprises and has been uniformly successful. He is one of the most reliable and substantial of the business men of Hudson. He was married in 1844.

Lucius P. Wetherby was born in Onondago county, New York, October, 1827. At eighteen years of age, he went to Weston, New York, where he studied law with Martin Grover and W. J. Angell. He was married in 1849 to Sophia Antremont, and in 1856 removed to Hudson. In 1860 he was elected judge of the Eighth district, Wisconsin, and served six years.

John C. Spooner.—Mr. Spooner was born in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, Jan. 6, 1843. He was educated at the district schools until 1859, when his father, Judge Spooner, removed to Madison, Wisconsin. This removal afforded the son an opportunity of entering upon a course of classical instruction in the State University, which he would have completed but for the Civil War. In 1864 he enlisted as a private in the Fortieth Wisconsin Infantry. He did honorable duty at the front until compelled by sickness to retire from the army. After having served a short time as assistant state librarian, and having been restored to health, he raised a company which was attached to the Fiftieth Wisconsin Regiment, and became its captain. His regiment was sent to the Missouri river to do service among the Indians, and was stationed at Fort Rice, Dakota. In July, 1866, it was mustered out of the service. He then returned to Madison and commenced the study of law.

John Comstock

[Pg 171]

When Gen. Lucius Fairchild was elected governor, Mr. Spooner was chosen as his private and military secretary. He held this position for eighteen months, when he resigned and entered the office of the attorney general of the State as assistant. In 1870 he removed to Hudson and began a general law practice. The following year he was elected a member of the state legislature. While a member of this body he vigorously championed the State University, which institution was at that time in sore trouble. His service in this matter was afterward recognized by the governor, who appointed him a member of the board of regents of the university, which position he still retains. He was for twelve years general solicitor of the West Wisconsin Railroad Company and the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Company. In May, 1884, he resigned. Mr. Spooner stands deservedly high in his profession, and has acquired eminence also as a political speaker.

The Wisconsin legislature elected him to the United States Senate, January, 1885, and he at once took rank among the most eloquent and able members of that body. He is of small physique, not weighing over one hundred and twenty-five or one hundred and thirty pounds, has a dark complexion and a smoothly shaven face, and is possessed of great bodily as well as mental energy.

Thomas Porter.—Mr. Porter was born in Tyrone, Ireland, in 1830; received a common school education, and learned the trade of wagonmaker. He came to America in 1855; served three years during the Civil War as a private in Company A., Thirtieth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers; moved to Hudson in 1871, and represented St. Croix county in the assembly in 1885.

Herman L. Humphrey was born at Candor, Tioga county, New York, March 14, 1830; received a public school education, with the addition of one year in Cortland Academy; became a merchant's clerk at the age of sixteen, in Ithaca, New York, and remained there for several years; studied law in the office of[Pg 172] Walbridge & Finch, was admitted to the bar in July, 1854, and removed to Hudson, Wisconsin, where he commenced practice in January, 1855; was soon after appointed district attorney of St. Croix county, to fill a vacancy; was appointed by the governor county judge of St. Croix county, to fill a vacancy, in the fall of 1860, and in the spring of 1861 was elected for the full term of four years from the following January; was elected to the state senate for two years, and in February, 1862, resigned the office of county judge; was elected mayor of Hudson for one year; was elected in the spring of 1866 judge of the Eighth Judicial circuit, and was re-elected in 1872, serving from January, 1867, until March, 1877. He was elected a representative from Wisconsin in the Forty-fifth Congress as a Republican, and was re-elected to the Forty-sixth Congress. During the past three years he has devoted himself to his profession in Hudson. Mr. Humphrey has been twice married. In June, 1855, he was married to Jennie A. Cross, in Dixon, Illinois. Mrs. Humphrey died in January, 1880, leaving two sons, Herman L., Jr., and William H., and three daughters, Fanny S., Mary A., and Grace J. Mr. Humphrey was married to Mrs. Elvira Dove, at Oswego, New York, October 1881. In 1887 he served again as a member of the assembly.

Theodore Cogswell was born in 1819, at Whitehall, New York. He received a common school education and learned the trade of a painter. He removed to Stillwater in 1848 and to Hudson in 1861 and to St. Paul in 1882. He was married to Augusta B. Kelly in 1855. His son was for many years editor of the Hudson Republican.

Frank P. Catlin is of Revolutionary and Connecticut stock. His father entered the war of the Revolution at eleven years of age as a musician. He served seven years. His discharge is signed by George Washington. Mr. Frank P. Catlin is the youngest of fourteen children. He was born in Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, in 1815. He was married in 1840 to Elizabeth Dubois, who died in 1852, leaving three sons, Charles L., Frank E. and Fred. Mr. Catlin was married to his second wife in 1857, who died in 1872, leaving one son, William W. Mr. Catlin moved to Green Bay in 1840, to Green Lake in 1844, and to Hudson in 1849, having been commissioned by President Taylor as register of the Willow River land office. This position[Pg 173] he held four years. Mr. Catlin spent some time traveling in foreign lands. In 1868 he removed to Ripon, Wisconsin, but returned in 1870 to Hudson, where he still lives.

Charles Y. Denniston was born in Orange county, New York, in 1832; graduated at University of Vermont in 1852; studied law in Iowa in 1853-54, and came to Hudson in 1855, where he engaged in real estate and insurance business, in which he has been quite successful. He was married in 1856 to Maria A. Coit, of Hudson. Mrs. Denniston died Aug. 31, 1886.

A. E. Jefferson.—Mr. Jefferson came from Genesee county, New York, to Hudson in 1859. For the past fifteen years he has officiated as cashier of the Hudson First National Bank.

Samuel C. Symonds was born in 1831, in Hooksett, New Hampshire. He graduated at the University of Vermont in 1852 and the ensuing year came to Hudson, where he taught school and studied law for three years and afterward engaged in the real estate business and subsequently officiated as county judge four years. He was married in 1860 to Mary C. Bloomer. In 1886 he was commissioned postmaster of the city of Hudson by President Cleveland.

John E. Glover, an old citizen and successful lawyer of Hudson, has gained a prominent position amongst the solid business men of the city by his untiring industry, combined with rare judgment and knowledge of men. In addition to his law business he is an extensive operator in real estate, flouring and lumber mills.

Lemuel North, a reliable merchant of Hudson, a public spirited citizen and a kind hearted man, merits the respect which his townsmen accord him. He has been successful in business.

Edgar Nye, much better known under his nom de plume "Bill Nye," was born in 1846. When a boy he came West with his parents to the Kinnikinic valley. Mr. Nye studied law and practiced some years in Laramie City, Wyoming Territory, where he obtained a national reputation as a wit from his connection with the Laramie newspaper known as the Boomerang. Mr. Nye's mirth-provoking sketches have been published in book form. His parents still live at River Falls.

William Thompson Price.—Mr. Price was born in Barre, Huntington county, Pennsylvania, June 17, 1824. After receiving a fair education, he came West, and in 1845 settled in Black[Pg 174] River Falls, Wisconsin, where he at once entered upon the occupation of a lumberman. In 1851 he was elected to the assembly as a Democrat, but on the organization of the Republican party in 1854, he united with the organization, with which he remained during the balance of his life. In 1853 and 1854 he was judge of Jackson county; in 1855 he was under sheriff. He was a member of the state senate in 1858, 1870, 1878, 1879, 1880, and 1881; a member of the assembly in 1882; was collector of internal revenue from 1863 to 1865, and held many local offices in his county. For many years he was president of the Jackson County Bank. In 1882 he was elected to the Forty-eighth Congress; was re-elected in 1884 to the Forty-ninth, and in 1886 to the Fiftieth. He died at his home at Black River Falls, Dec. 6, 1886. He was a man of immense energy and endurance; and was ever ready to do his full share of labor in all places. As a public man he acquitted himself well. In addition to business tact and energy, and practical common sense, he was a public speaker of unusual readiness and ability. In private life he was a generous hearted man, strongly attached to his friends, and greatly respected for his sterling qualities of character.

E. B. Bundy.—Judge Bundy was born in Broome county, New York, in 1833. He received a common school and academic education and attended one year at Hamilton College. He came to Dunn county, Wisconsin, where he practiced law until 1877, when he was elected judge of the Eighth Judicial circuit, to which position he was re-elected and is still serving. He stands high in the estimation of his associates and the people as a judge, and not less high in social life.


This town is coextensive with township 29, range 16. It was set off from the township of Springfield and organized Dec. 3, 1872. Wm. Whewell was chairman of the first board of supervisors.


Located on the West Wisconsin railroad, on the west boundary of the township, has a population of eight hundred, about evenly divided between the Norwegian and American elements, the latter being principally from Vermont. The Bulletin, a lively weekly paper, established in 1873, is published by B. Peachman.[Pg 175] The graded school has three departments, with two hundred and twenty-five scholars, under the control of Prof. J. E. Brainard. The school building cost $4,000. A state bank, organized in 1883, has a capital stock of $25,000, and a surplus of $12,500. F. A. Decker is cashier. Baldwin has one elevator, of 750,000 bushels capacity, two flour mills—one with a capacity of two hundred and fifty barrels per day, built at a cost of $55,000; the other of one hundred and twenty-five barrels, at a cost of $20,000; one creamery, one cheese factory, one tannery, a good town hall, capable of seating six hundred persons, four good church buildings—Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopal and Congregational—and over thirty stores or shops. The water supply is ample, the village being furnished with public cisterns and wells, and having an excellent fire department, with hook and ladder company. The village is surrounded by a rich agricultural country.


Is situated four miles east of Baldwin, on the West Wisconsin railroad, at the junction of a branch road extending into Pierce county. It is the centre of heavy lumbering operations, and is a flourishing village. It has one church.


Cady is the southeastern township in St. Croix county, and occupies township 29, range 15. It is drained by Eau Galle waters. Amongst the first settlers were Irving Gray, Charles, John, and Brazer Bailey. A post office was established near the centre of the town in 1860. D.C. Davis was first postmaster. A branch railroad traverses the town from northwest to southeast. There are two lumber mills. The town was organized in 1870. The supervisors were William Holman, Charles Palmer and Mead Bailey. The village of Brookville is on the west line of the town.


Including township 31, range 16, lies on Willow river. It is a rich and populous township, consisting originally of mixed prairie and timber lands. The first settlement in this town was made in 1855. The early settlers were Otto Natges, J. Smith, H. Fouks, E. Johnson, George Goodrich, S. W. Beel, and J.[Pg 176] Tomlinson. The town was organized in 1859. The supervisors were C. A. Hall, chairman; John Sweet and John Gibson. A post office was established in 1861, Mrs. John B. Gibson, postmistress. The Wisconsin Central railroad passes through the southwest, and the North Wisconsin through the northwest part of the township. There are four church buildings, one on section 18, one near Cylon post office, and two in Deer Park village. This village, a station located on the North Wisconsin railroad, is a wheat buying centre of considerable importance, and has several business houses. The school house is one of the best buildings in the county outside of Hudson. The Catholics and Methodists have churches here.


Township 28, range 16, is drained by the Eau Galle and Rush rivers. We have not the date of the first settlement, but it was amongst the earliest in the county. The first settlers were William Holman, Andrew Dickey, Joseph Barnish, and Uriah Briggs. The town was organized in 1858, with the following as supervisors: Wm. Holman, —— Babcock, and ---- McCartney. A post office was established in 1853, of which W. Holman was postmaster. Mr. Holman built a saw mill the same year, the first in the region. There are now six, mostly lumber mills. The township is traversed from north to south by a branch of the West Wisconsin railroad. Wildwood, a thriving station on this road is the headquarters of the St. Croix Land and Lumber Company, a stock company with a capital of $300,000. The town of Eau Galle has one church building belonging to the evangelical society.


Includes township 30, range 16. It is drained by the waters of Willow and Menomonie rivers, and was originally covered with pine and hardwood timber. It was organized in 1861. The Wisconsin Central railroad passes through the northeast part of the township and has one station, Emerald. A high mound is a conspicuous object near the centre of the township.


Erin Prairie, township 30, range 17, lies on Willow river. John Casey entered the first land in 1854. The first house was[Pg 177] built on section 17, in May, 1855, by John Ring. Among the settlers of 1855, of whom there were about twenty families, we have the names of Michael Hughes, Peter Queenan and James, Michael and Thomas McNamara. The town was organized in 1858, with the following board of supervisors: Richard Joyce, chairman; Alexander Stevens and Peter Queenan, and Wm. McNally, clerk. Richard Joyce was first school teacher and first postmaster.

There are now two post offices, one at Erin Centre village, and the other at Jewett's Mills, two and a half miles apart. There are at Erin Centre one store, one wagon shop, one blacksmith shop, and a Catholic church; at Jewett's Mills a store, a saw, a planing and a flour mill, all run by water. There are six good school houses in the township. It is traversed by the Wisconsin Central railroad.


Embracing township 31, range 15, occupies the northeast corner of the county. It is heavily timbered with pine and hardwoods, is a new town and is fast being converted into an agricultural district. Willow river has its sources in this town. It was organized Dec. 10, 1881, with S. D. Love as chairman of the first board of supervisors.


Set off from the town of Emerald at its organization in 1885, embraces township 30, range 15. It was originally a pine and hardwood region. Its waters flow eastward into the Menomonie. The Wisconsin Central railroad crosses the township from east to west. Its only station is Glenwood. It is being rapidly settled and has already some good farms and several saw mills. H. J. Baldwin was the chairman of the first board of supervisors.


Includes township 29, range 17. It is drained by tributaries of the Rush river. Of the first settlers were the Peabodys, James R. Ismon, Rev. Wm. Egbert, Rev. George Spalding, Mert Herrick, John Thayer, Mrs. Adams, John Nelson, and Thomas Byrnes. The town was organized Sept. 16, 1856, with A. G. Peabody as chairman of supervisors and John G. Peabody, clerk. It is now a prosperous farming town. The West Wisconsin railroad passes through the south part of the township.[Pg 178]


Located on the line of this road, in sections 27 and 28, has seven hundred inhabitants. It is situated on a commanding elevation, giving an extended view of the rich farming country surrounding it. It has a school house, built at a cost of $2,500, with rooms for three grades, and one hundred and seventy-five scholars, one elevator of 20,000 bushels capacity, one first class hotel, the Gardiner House, Odd Fellows', Good Templars' and Grangers' halls, and three church buildings, with parsonages—the Catholic, Congregational and Methodist. The village contains about twenty-five stores and shops. The water supply, on account of the elevation, is from wells and cisterns. Rev. George Spalding preached the first sermon and was the first merchant in the village. Hammond was incorporated Sept. 20, 1880, with J. B. Fithian as president of supervisors and John W. Owen, clerk.

John Thayer was born in 1809, in Worcester county, Massachusetts, from which place he moved to Ohio, and, after residing there fifteen years, came to Wisconsin and settled at Hammond village. He has been twice married, his second wife still living, and has one son, Andrew P. The father and son are engaged in merchandising in Hammond.

Rev. Wm. Egbert was born in 1815, in Oneida county, New York. He obtained a common school and academic education. He spent his early life in New York City; came to Indiana in 1837 and to Hammond, Wisconsin, in 1856. The first trial in Hammond was before Mr. Egbert, as justice of the peace, in 1856. He has been for forty-one years a local minister in the Methodist Episcopal church. He has been twice married, his second wife still living. He has four children.


Hudson includes sections 7 to 36, inclusive, of township 29, range 19. Willow river flows through the northwest part. The North Wisconsin and West Wisconsin railroads pass through the township. It is one of the handsomest and richest farming townships in the State. It was organized as a town in 1849. Its history is given in that of the county of St. Croix and in the biographies of its early inhabitants.

James Kelly was born at Osnabruck, Ireland, where he grew to manhood. In 1850 he came to Hudson and located[Pg 179] on a farm, where he prospered, and became an honored citizen. In 1857 he married Catherine, daughter of Wm. Dailey. He died at Turtle Lake, Barron county, Wisconsin, of injuries received from a rolling log, Feb. 19, 1888, leaving a widow, three sons and one daughter.

Daniel Coit was born in Vermont in 1801. He learned the trade of a house carpenter; came West as far as Galena, Illinois, in 1845, to St. Croix Valley in 1848, and to Hudson in 1850. He died in Baldwin in 1884. He was a man of eccentric manners, but upright life.

James Virtue came to Willow River Mill in 1849, settled in the town of Hudson, and died in 1874.

Theodore M. Bradley was born in 1831, in Jackson county, Illinois. He lived three years in Lafayette county, Wisconsin; came to Osceola Mills in 1850, and to Hudson in 1867. He has engaged chiefly in farming. In 1857 he was married to Margaret Wilson. They have two sons and three daughters. Mr. Bradley died in 1887.

William Dailey was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1800; came to America in 1819, and settled in Hudson in 1849, where he lived, a successful farmer, until his death in 1867. He left five sons—William, Guy W., Jacob, Edward, and Asa, all farmers, industrious and prosperous, all good citizens, and church members, all married and settled in St. Croix county. Guy W. represented St. Croix county in the state assembly of 1877. In 1866 he was president of the St. Croix Agricultural Society.

Robert and William McDiarmid, brothers, came from St. Stevens, New Brunswick, and settled in Hudson in 1851, on a farm in sections 10 and 14. By industry and perseverance they have become independent, and own fine farms, with blooded stock, improved agricultural implements, and all the appliances for successful farming. Robert married in 1857, and has three sons and three daughters. William married Laura Rabold, in 1860, and has three sons and four daughters. William has been chairman of the county board of supervisors several years.

William Martin was born in Vermont, in 1800. In 1846 he moved to Janesville, Wisconsin, and in 1851 to Hudson, where he engaged in farming. He was an exemplary christian man, and a member of the Baptist church. His son, Geo. W. Martin, succeeds him on the farm. He died in 1885.[Pg 180]

Paschal Aldrich was born in the state of New York, in 1820; came to Illinois with his parents in 1826; was married in Illinois, to Martha Harnsberger, in 1841, and came to Marine in the same year. He returned, for a short time, to Illinois, and again moved to the valley of the St. Croix, settling at Hudson in 1846, where he died in 1860, leaving three sons and five daughters.


Originally included nine towns of townships 27 and 28, from St. Croix lake east. By the setting off of Pierce county from St. Croix, the towns in township 27 were stricken off, and the territory has since been reduced until comprised in township 28, range 18. It is a wealthy agricultural township. Its surface is agreeably diversified with undulating prairies and high hills. The Kinnikinic, a beautiful and clear winding stream, drains it from the northeast. The famous Monument Rock, an outlying sandstone formation, is in the centre of this township. From the summit a magnificent view may be obtained of this fine farming region. The farmers have fine dwellings and barns, and the town has numerous school houses; one church is located on section 15. The history of the town, as far as we were able to obtain it, may be found in the biographies of the Mapes brothers.

Duncan McGregor was born in Perth, Scotland, in 1821. His educational advantages were limited. He emigrated to Canada while yet a youth, served seven years in the British Army, and was one year in Canada during the Papineau Rebellion. He was married to Jane Morse, in Canada, Jan. 31, 1848, and in 1849 removed to the United States and settled at River Falls, where he still lives on the homestead which he pre-empted. Mrs. McGregor was the first resident white woman, and Mr. McGregor the second person who settled at the Falls.

His mother, an aged lady living with him at the Falls, at one time found the house surrounded by over a hundred Sioux Indians, who commenced plundering the garden of everything eatable. Mrs. McGregor bravely confronted and drove them away. The only crops in the valley at the time were those of Messrs. Foster and McGregor.

Mr. McGregor learned in early life the trade of a mason. While a resident of River Falls he followed farming except during a few years in which he kept a hardware store. He was three[Pg 181] years county commissioner of St. Croix county. He has three children living, Roderick, Malcolm and Neville.

W. B. and Jas. A. Mapes, brothers, from Elmira, New York, landed at Willow River Sept. 7, 1849. They proceeded at once with an ox team and cart, on which last was placed all their worldly goods, to the valley of the Kinnikinic. Having selected a claim and erected a temporary shanty, William B. returned by river as far as Galena, for a breaking team, wagon and plow, and other farm furniture and provisions, while James remained to make hay. After the brother's return, a substantial winter cabin was built. The ensuing spring they broke ground and raised a fair crop, consisting of 80 bushels of oats, 200 of buckwheat, 100 of corn and 100 of potatoes. The winter of their arrival, Duncan McGregor came to the settlement and spent the winter with Judge Foster. In the fall of 1850 came Ira Parks and family, and settled on lands adjoining the Mapes farm. This family and others were entertained by the Mapes brothers, with genuine frontier hospitality. Among the families coming in at this time were those of Dr. Whipple, Mrs. Sprague, Lorenzo Daggett, and the widow of Josephus Medley, of Stillwater. This year came also the Pomeroy brothers, Luke and Frank, from New York State, and J. G. Crowns, James Penn, and William Tozer, from Illinois. During 1851 several families settled in the valley, among them James Chinnoch and Elisha Walden, from Ohio; Alanson Day and John Scott, from Pennsylvania; the brothers W. L. and J. E. Perrin, single men, from New York State, and Mrs. Lynch, from Illinois. Previous to the settlement of these families there were no young ladies in the town. The arrival of fifteen young ladies, mostly marriageable, produced a flutter of excitement among the lonesome bachelors of the colony, and the services of Rev. S. T. Catlin were soon called into requisition. The first couple married was James A. Mapes and Eunice E. Walden, in 1852. The next year W. B. Mapes and Catherine Scott were married. In 1852 J. W. Mapes, a younger brother, joined the colony. In 1857 G. W. Mapes located a Mexican War land warrant on adjoining laud. W. B., J. A. and C. W. Mapes had also Mexican War land warrants.

In 1860 J. W. Mapes sold his farm and returned to New York, enlisted in the One Hundred and First Pennsylvania Volunteers, and served through the Peninsular Campaign under McClellan,[Pg 182] and afterward in North Carolina, where he was captured at Plymouth, April 23, 1864, and taken to Andersonville, where he died, June 30, 1864. W. B. Mapes sold his farm to Chas. Davies and removed to Macon county, Mississippi, in 1866, at which place he died in 1877. His widow and five children still reside there. C. W. Mapes sold his farm to G. I. Ap Roberts, and kept store for awhile in the village, and in 1879 removed to Sussex county, Virginia, where he still resides. He has four children living. Jas. A. Mapes still resides on the old homestead. Mr. Mapes was honored with an election to the office of treasurer for St. Croix county in 1883 and 1884.


Pleasant Valley includes the west half of township 28, range 17. It is drained by the headwaters of the Kinnikinic. The first settlement was made Sept. 19, 1856. Among the first settlers were Sheldon Gray, Asa Gray, S. W. Mattison, and Allen Webster. The town was organized March 30, 1857, with Peleg Burdick as chairman of supervisors. The first school was taught in 1857, by Miss Mary Munson. A post office was established in 1866 with Peter Hawkins as postmaster.


Richmond is a rich agricultural township, consisting chiefly of undulating prairie land. It is included in township 30, range 18. Willow river flows diagonally through it from northeast to southwest. The following persons settled within the present limits of the town prior to 1855: Eben Quinby, Lewis Oaks, James Taylor, Harvey Law, Norman Hooper, J. J. Smith, A. S. Kinnie, W. R. Anderson, Francis Kelly, Clinton Boardman, S. L. Beebe, the Beal brothers, E. P. Jacobs and E. W. Darnley.

The town of Richmond was organized in 1857, with the following officers: Supervisors, Robert Philbrick, chairman; C. A. Boardman and Harvey Law; clerk, W. M. Densmore; assessor, W. R. Anderson; treasurer, G. W. Law. The first post office was established at the house of Joel Bartlett, who served as postmaster. This post office was known as the Richmond post office. It was a small affair. The first mail, brought on a mule's back from Maiden Rock, contained but one letter. The first quarter's commission amounted to but one dollar and fifty-nine[Pg 183] cents. The post office case contained but four boxes, five by six inches in size. This case is preserved at the Republican office, as an interesting relic. Small as was the office, and meagre as were the receipts, the postmaster was able to employ a deputy, F. W. Bartlett. By way of agreeable contrast we give the commission for the first quarter of 1886 as $674.89.


Is located on the east bank of Willow river and near the western boundary of Richmond. It is a flourishing village. Its public buildings are a Methodist church and a large school house. Boardman has a good flour mill. Everything in the village bespeaks enterprise and thrift.


Was platted by Gridley & Day in 1857, and, together with Fremont village, platted by Henry Russell, was incorporated in the village of


in 1878. The first officers of the new village were: President, F. W. Bartlett; trustees, B. C. B. Foster, Wellington Pierce, Thos. Porter, Peter Schore, S. M. Bixby, Geo. C. Hough.


Was incorporated in 1884. It includes the northwest quarter of section 2 and the northeast quarter of section 3 of township 30, range 18, and the south half of section 36, township 31, range 18. This latter half section originally belonged to Star Prairie, but is now attached to New Richmond. The first election was held April 8, 1884, at which the following officers were elected: President, Ward S. Williams; aldermen, First ward, F. W. Bartlett, Geo. A. Gault, Th. Gaskell; Second ward, A. L. Greaton, A. H. Stevens, J. C. Sabine; Third ward, John Halversen, D. H. Dodge, H. F. Fall; treasurer, L. Taft; clerk, W. F. McNally; assessor, D. A. Kennedy.

The city is beautifully located on a level prairie. The streets are from eighty to one hundred feet wide and bordered with maple, elm and boxwood trees. The city lots and grounds attached to the residences are beautifully adorned with shrubbery and flowers and are without fences. The commons and unoccupied[Pg 184] spaces in the city are covered with a luxuriant growth of white and red clover, filling the air with its pleasant odor, and suggesting the title of "Clover City." It has many fine business buildings and tasteful residences. It is in the midst of a fine farming country, on the banks of a beautiful stream, Willow river, and two railroads, the North Wisconsin and Wisconsin Central, furnish abundant means of communication with the outer world. It has one steam saw mill with a capacity of 60,000 feet per day, and a water power flour mill with a capacity of one hundred barrels per day.

The Bank of New Richmond was organized in 1878, with a paid up capital of $35,000. In 1885 the bank did a business of about $8,000,000. The bank had a surplus in 1886 of $9,000. It has an extensive agency in flour, wheat and other agricultural products, also in lumber and real estate. The officers are: President, F. W. Bartlett; vice president, Mathias Frisk; cashier, John W. McCoy. The annual business of the city amounts to $12,000,000.

The city has a high school, established in 1884, with six departments. The building cost $12,000. The Baptists, Catholics, Congregationalists, Episcopalians, and Methodists have church buildings.

There are several fraternities here, including the Masonic, the Odd Fellows, Good Templars, Women's Christian Temperance Union and Catholic Knights of St. John. There are also a hook and ladder company and a library association. There are two cemeteries, one belonging to the masonic order.


Benjamin B. C. Foster was born in New Portland, Maine, in 1816. When seventeen years of age he bought his time of his father and commenced life for himself. He lived eight years in Atkinson, Maine, where he taught school and engaged in farming. In 1842 he was married to Charlotte S. Gilman. In 1852 he went to California where he remained three years. He came to New Richmond in 1855 and built a saw mill and dam, and a board shanty in which he lived with his wife and two children. Around the mill has since grown up the beautiful city of New Richmond. The first school taught in New Richmond was taught at the house of Mr. Foster by Amanda Dayton. In his house[Pg 185] was organized the first Sunday-school, the first sermon was preached in it and the first school meeting was held there.

Robert Philbrick was born in Old Town, Maine, in 1814. He learned the trade of a millwright, and in 1847 moved to North Hudson. He was married in 1851 to Frances Cook. They stood on a raft, afloat in the St. Croix river, just below the Falls, while Ansel Smith, of Taylor's Falls, performed the ceremony. Mr. Philbrick removed to New Richmond and built a frame house in 1855. The house is still standing. One daughter of Mr. Philbrick is the wife of D. L. Nye. Amaziah, a son by his first wife, is a stonemason. Alice M., daughter by his first wife, is married to John McGregor. Mr. Philbrick died prior to 1865.

Linden Coombs came to New Richmond in 1855, built the first hotel in 1856, and some years later moved away.

Eben Quinby was born in Lisbon, New Hampshire, in 1809, and came to New Richmond in 1849, where he has since continuously been engaged in farming. In 1865 he was married to Mrs. Philbrick, widow of Robert Philbrick.

Lewis Oaks was born in Sangerville, Maine, in 1826; came West in 1846 and to New Richmond in 1854. He is a farmer.

Henry Russell was born in Vermont in 1801. His ancestors took part in the Revolution. He was married in Vermont, lived seventeen years in New York, came to Hudson in 1853, and to New Richmond in 1857, where he bought the pre-emption made by Robert Philbrick, and had it surveyed and platted as the village of Fremont. He died in 1878. Mrs. Russell survives him and is now (1886) eighty-five years of age. Their sons Alexander and Austin are prominent citizens of New Richmond.

Joseph D. Johnson was born in Huron county, Ohio, May 12, 1829. From eight years of age he was thrown upon his own resources. The greater part of his youth was spent in Michigan. In 1848 he removed to Winnebago, Illinois, where he married Marcella L. Russell. He settled at New Richmond in 1853. One son, Ezra O., is editor of the Northwestern News, at Hayward, Wisconsin, and one daughter is married to Frank F. Bigelow.

Joel Bartlett was born in Hebron, Maine, in 1804. He received an academic education and became a teacher. He was principal of a high school in Bath, Maine, before he was twenty-one years of age. In 1825 he went to Harmony, Maine, where he was engaged in lumbering until 1848. In 1830 he was a member[Pg 186] of the Maine legislature; in 1849 and 1850 he followed lumbering in Fairfield, Maine, and then removed to New York where he lived six years. In 1858 he came to New Richmond, where he has since led an active business life. Mr. Bartlett was married in Maine in 1826. One of his sons, J. A., is a Presbyterian clergyman in Centreville, Iowa. He graduated at Waterville College, Maine, and practiced law three years in New York City before entering the ministry.

Francis W. Bartlett, the second son of Joel Bartlett, was born in Maine in 1837. He received an academic education, and has been an active and successful business man. He came to New Richmond in 1858, and served as register of the land office at Bayfield from 1861 to 1867. He was married in 1867 to Mary J. Stewart, of Pennsylvania. He was engaged in the coal trade in Milwaukee three years, and two years at Detroit and Toledo, but returned to New Richmond and is now president of the New Richmond Bank, and dealer in furniture, hardware, etc.

George C. Hough was born in Fairfax county, Virginia, in ——. He has led a somewhat adventurous life. He served awhile as a soldier in the Black Hawk War under Gen. Dodge. Afterward he went to Missouri, graduated at the State University, and engaged in lead mining and prospecting. He went to California in 1862, where he practiced law. He returned in 1876, and located in Richmond where he still resides.

Silas Staples was born in Lisbon, Maine, Sept. 18, 1814. He came to Hudson, Wisconsin, in 1854, took charge of the Willow River mills, buying a quarter interest at $20,000, including 5,000 acres of land on Willow river. In 1856 he sold his interest to Jewell and Bodie, of Maine, for $55,000, and for three years carried on a banking business in Hudson. In the winter of 1859-60 he removed to New Richmond. In 1861 he returned to Hudson and put up a shingle and lath addition to his saw mill. He built a flouring mill at New Richmond in 1864. He built large dams on Willow river for driving logs, and carried on lumbering operations until 1868, when he removed to Canada and carried on milling and lumbering enterprises four years, at Collins' Inlet, Georgian bay. In 1872 he returned to Hudson and to a farm, and was also engaged with Mr. Gibson in mercantile business. In 1873 he returned to New Richmond, and, buying a[Pg 187] half interest in the mill, took charge of it for one year, then removed to Stillwater and took charge of his brother's (Isaac Staples) saw mill.

In 1875 he removed to Elk River, Minnesota, and took charge of a farm. The next year he returned to New Richmond, where he settled his family and bought a half interest in a saw and grist mill at Jeweltown. He also built an elevator there with a capacity of 20,000 bushels.

Mr. Staples was married in 1837 to Hannah Williams, of Bowdoinham, Maine, who died in 1838. He was married in 1841 to Abigail Ann Rogers of Oldtown, Maine, who died in the spring of 1845. He was married in the fall of 1846 to Nancy D. Gilman, who died in 1873. He was married to Mrs. Nancy B. Jamison in the fall of 1874. He has six children, Charles A., Silas G., Nellie B., Nettie, Edward P, and Lizzie G.

Henry M. Murdock.—Dr. Murdock was born at Antwerp, New York, in October, 1823. His father, Dr. Hiram Murdock, moved to Gunning, at which place the son attended school till he was fifteen years of age. The father moved to Pulaski, New York. Henry studied medicine with his father until he was nineteen years of age, then attended medical lectures at Castleton, Virginia, where he graduated at the age of twenty-one. After practicing three years at Dexter, and after a co-partnership of seven years with his father in a drug store at Pulaski, he came West and settled in Stillwater, where he bought the drug store and business of Dr. Carli. In 1858 he went to Taylor's Falls and practiced medicine until the spring of 1860, when he removed to Hudson and formed a partnership with Dr. Hoyt. In the fall of 1861 he accepted the position of assistant surgeon of the Eighth Wisconsin, and served during the war, having been promoted meanwhile to the position of brigade surgeon. In 1866 he removed to New Richmond, where he has since resided, having now retired from business. He was twice married, in 1845 to Cornelia A. Sandford, who died childless, and in 1865 to Sarah J. Allan. His children are Cornelia A. and Henry A.

Steven N. Hawkins was born in Galway, Ireland, Dec. 26, 1846, but while he was a mere child his parents emigrated to America; remained a few years in Connecticut; came West in 1855, and made their home in Pleasant Valley, St. Croix county. His early life was marked by the usual vicissitudes of life in a[Pg 188] new country. He tried for a time various occupations—farm work, rafting, sawing lumber, teaching, and, during the later months of the war, was a volunteer soldier. He managed to secure a good education in the common schools and at the River Falls Academy. He studied medicine and surgery a few months, but devoted himself chiefly to teaching until 1872, when he engaged in a mercantile enterprise at which he continued four years, but at the close of that period found himself obliged to suspend, with an aggregate of $5,000 against him. This he afterward paid, but he concluded, perhaps wisely, to change his occupation. He studied law, and was admitted to the bar, July, 1876. In this profession he has achieved an enviable success. In 1872 he was married to Margaret Early, of Alleghany county, New York. They have had four children, the first of which died in infancy.


Occupies the east half of township 28, range 17. The first settlement was made in 1850. The following came in 1850-51: Daniel McCartney, Amos Babcock, Joseph King, Stephen Claggitt and Z. Travis. The town was set off from Kinnikinic and organized in 1851, with Daniel McCartney as chairman of the board of supervisors. At his house was held the first election.

Woodside has one church and several buildings, is near the centre of the town, and New Centreville in the southern part. The date of settlement is second to that of Hudson. It was traversed by the old Hudson and Prairie du Chien stage route. It was originally a mixed timber and prairie district.


Occupies sections 1 to 18, inclusive, of township 30, range 19, two sections of township 30, range 20, and all of township 31, range 19, lying east of the St. Croix river. The surface is generally undulating, but along the St. Croix and Apple rivers abrupt and hilly. The first settlers were French colonists at Apple River Falls in 1851. They built a school house and Catholic church upon the bluffs below the falls. The latter is a conspicuous object as seen from the St. Croix river. The falls of Apple river, about one and a half miles above its junction with the St. Croix, is one of the finest of the Wisconsin waterfalls. Apple river traverses the county from northeast to southwest.[Pg 189] The Wisconsin Central railroad crosses the southern part. The town of Somerset was organized Sept. 19, 1856, with Thomas J. Chappell as chairman of supervisors. Mr. Chappell was also appointed postmaster in 1854 at Apple River Falls.


Located about three miles above the Falls, has a good improved water power, a flour mill with a capacity of one hundred and fifty barrels per day, and a saw mill, built and owned by Gen. Sam Harriman, the founder of the village. In 1856 a church and school house were erected at a cost of about $12,000.

Samuel Harriman.—Gen. Harriman was born in Orland, Maine. He spent four years in California, engaged in mining and lumbering, and dug the second canal in the State for sluicing purposes. He came to Somerset in 1859, and has ever since made it his residence. He is one of the founders and platters of the village, and built most of the houses, including the hotel and two stores on the east side of Apple river, and all the dwelling houses on the west side. He has been remarkably successful in the various pursuits to which he has turned his attention, and may well be considered a man of remarkable executive ability. He has a farm of five hundred and fifty-five acres, and his agricultural and stock products are second to none. As a lumberman he has cut 3,000,000 feet per year. He has a rotary saw mill with a planing, lath and shingle mill attached, and under the same roof he has a flouring mill and six run of stone; he has a large store in which he keeps a general stock of merchandise; he has also a cooper shop, where he makes his own barrels, a warehouse and a blacksmith shop. He has also an excellent stone quarry on his premises.

We look in vain for his name in the Wisconsin blue book, or among the list of office holders. He has been too busy to turn aside in quest of political preferment. We believe, however, that he was commissioned as notary public by Govs. Taylor and Smith. When men were needed for the defense of the country he left his interests to enlist as a private. His military record is brilliant. He enlisted in Company A, Thirtieth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, June 10, 1862, was made captain on the organization of the company, which position he held till Feb. 16, 1864, when he was commissioned colonel of the Thirty-seventh[Pg 190] Wisconsin Infantry. This regiment was recruited by Col. Harriman, he having been commissioned for that purpose. Its services on many a hard fought field, and especially about Petersburg, is a matter of well known history. Its most memorable action occurred on the thirtieth of July, just after the explosion of the mine under the enemy's fort. Col. Harriman, with the Thirty-seventh Wisconsin, was ordered to occupy the dismantled fort, which he did under a heavy fire, and the walls had been so leveled as to afford but slight protection from the enemy's batteries. While in possession they repelled all attempts to dislodge them until four o'clock the next morning, when, receiving no support, the Thirty-seventh Regiment,

"All that was left of them,"

fell back to the line. At roll call that evening, of two hundred and fifty men that answered to their names before the action, only ninety-five responded. The remnant of the regiment was attached to a new brigade, of which Col. Harriman was commissioned commander. On the tenth of September, the war having ended, the tattered flag of the Thirty-seventh was returned to the governor of the State and Brig. Gen. Harriman returned to private life and his business enterprises.

The general is a genial, kind hearted man, fond of a good joke and story, even though they are at his own expense. He narrates of himself, that when mustered out of the service at Washington he was addressed as General Harriman; on his way home he was saluted as colonel; when nearing Wisconsin, he was hailed as major; in the State, as captain; in St. Croix county and at home as Mr. Harriman; when met by the boys, they greeted him with "Hello, Sam."


Includes the three lower tiers of sections of township 30, range 19, fractions of range 20, and the six upper sections of township 29, range 19. Willow river traverses the southeast corner. The surface varies from undulating to hilly. In the eastern part of the town is Balsam lake, a picturesque body of water two miles in length. There are also two high elevations of land, or ridges, that serve as conspicuous landmarks. The earliest settlers came in 1850, and located on farms in different parts of the town. St. Joseph was organized in 1858. The North Wisconsin railroad passes through the southeast corner of the town.[Pg 191]


Opposite Stillwater, on the shore of the lake, is a platted village known as Houlton, which has improved much during the last few years. J. S. Anderson & Co. built a large saw mill at this place, which has changed ownership several times. The residences of the village are on the high bluffs overlooking the lake, and commanding from a point two hundred feet above the level of the water a most magnificent view, including Stillwater, Hudson and Lakeland.


Is situated upon Willow river, just above the Falls. Joseph Bowron and others built a mill here in 1851. The mill property changed hands many times, and finally passed into the hands of Burkhardt. In March, 1887, the mill was consumed, with a loss to Mr. Burkhardt of $100,000, an immense loss, representing the earnings of a lifetime; but with tireless energy Mr. Burkhardt went to work rebuilding, and, it is to be hoped, will soon re-establish his thriving business. There is one church near Burkhardt.


At its organization in 1860, embraced its own territory and that of Baldwin, set off in 1872. It now includes township 29, range 15. It was originally covered with pine and hardwood timber. Within the last few years it has been improved and much of the timber land is used for farming. It is drained by the headwaters and tributaries of Rush and Menomonie rivers. The West Wisconsin railroad passes through the southern tier of sections, and a branch road, leading southward into a pine district, has a junction at Hersey. Most of the early settlers were Union soldiers. Among them were S. T. Adams, Thomas Ross, Isaac Burgitt and Capt. Rogers. Springfield was organized Nov. 15, 1860, with J. R. Ismon as chairman, and Perrin and Hall as supervisors.


The village of Hersey, located on section 28, is a station on the West Wisconsin and branch railroad, has a lumber mill, and is a flourishing village.[Pg 192]


Section 35, is also a station on the West Wisconsin road, and an important manufacturing place. The village is owned and controlled by the Wilson Manufacturing Company, which has a capital stock of $150,000. There is one church in the village.


Was set off from Star Prairie and organized Dec. 30, 1870, with Trueworthy Jewell as chairman of supervisors. It is a rich prairie town, well drained by the waters of Apple and Willow rivers, and well cultivated. The North Wisconsin railroad passes southwest to northeast through this town. Star Prairie village lies partly in this town and partly in the town of Star Prairie. There are two church buildings in the town of Stanton.


Township 31, range 18, was organized Jan. 28, 1856. At its organization it included township 31, ranges 17 and 18, and north half of township 30, ranges 17 and 18. The first election was held at the house of B. C. B. Foster, in New Richmond. Apple river flows through the town from northeast to southwest. Cedar lake, in the northeast part, furnishes at its outlet a good water power. Among the first settlers were the Jewell brothers, Ridder and sons.


Is located near the outlet of Cedar lake and on the stream by which the waters of the lake are borne to Apple river. It has a large flouring mill.


Lying partially in sections 1 and 12 and partially in Stanton, has a saw and flouring mill, a hotel, a school house and two churches, with some fine residences.

Hon. R. K. Fay, born in 1822, came from New York to Wisconsin in 1849, locating at Princeton, where he resided for nine years, most of the time engaged as the principal of the high school at that place. He was a man of sterling character, who is remembered as an able teacher and public spirited citizen. He has been assemblyman from Adams and St. Croix counties, and a county superintendent of schools, and has taught school[Pg 193] forty-nine terms. When a member from St. Croix county, he introduced the bill requiring the constitutions of the United States and of Wisconsin to be taught in the common schools. He died at his home in Star Prairie, Jan 5, 1888. Five sons and five daughters survive him. His wife died about three years ago.


Township 28, range 19, and fractional township 28, range 19, consisting of about three sections, lying along the shore of Lake St. Croix, has a fine frontage of bluffs overlooking the lake, with rich, level prairie lands stretching away eastward. The Kinnikinic river flows through the southeast corner of the township. It was organized in 1851 as Malone, the name having been chosen by the Perrin brothers, who came from Malone, New York, in 1851. The name, some years later, was changed to Troy. The Hudson & Ellsworth railroad passes diagonally through the township from northwest to southeast.

The village of Glenmont, section 25, township 28, range 20, lies on the shore of Lake St. Croix. It contains a large saw mill, built by the Lord brothers. It has since changed hands.

The village of East Troy, in section 36, has recently been annexed by legislative enactment to the city of River Falls.

James Chinnock, the first settler in Troy, was born in Somersetshire, England, in 1810. He officiated twelve years at Bristol Harbor, England, as superintendent of docks and vessels. He was married in England to Harriet Owens; came to America in 1841, lived in Ohio until 1850, when he came to Hudson and immediately located a claim within the present limits of Troy. He raised the first crop in the town, and built the first house, of stone, for greater protection from the Indians. Mr. Chinnock made his home upon this farm until his death in 1870. He left a widow and four sons, three of them farmers in Troy. One son, James T., has been register of deeds for St. Croix county from 1885 to 1888.

William Lewis Perrin was born in 1825, and with his brother came to Troy in 1851, where he has since lived. He has been a successful farmer and public spirited citizen, and has filled offices in the town organization. He was married in 1855 to Julia F. Loring. They have three sons and one daughter.[Pg 194]


Township 29, range 18, is a rich prairie town, drained by the tributaries of Kinnikinic and Willow river. George Longworth and family, of Waukegan, Illinois, settled here in October, 1855. In the year following, Lyman and David Sanford, brothers, came from Ohio, and made their home here. Mr. Longworth, in 1856, broke the first ground on land now within the limits of Hudson. Henry M. Sanford came in the spring of 1857.

Warren was organized as a town in 1860, with the following supervisors: Beach Sanford, George Frissell and Seth Colbeth; L. J. Sanford, clerk. A post office was established in 1860, and Mrs. Beach Sanford was appointed postmistress, at Warren village, now Roberts. The village of Roberts is located on the West Wisconsin railroad, which traverses sections 19 to 24, inclusive, of this town. It contains one elevator, one storage house, one feed mill, one cheese factory, one machine shop, one syrup mill, several stores and shops, one hotel, one school house, one public hall, and one church building belonging to the Congregationalists.

No intoxicants are sold in the village. The first school was taught in 1859, by Jane Sanford.

James Hill was born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, Feb. 15, 1825, and settled in Warren, St. Croix county, in 1863, where he engaged in farming and dealing in grain. He represented St. Croix county in the Wisconsin assembly of 1878-79-80.[Pg 195]


Buena VistaHudson In 1849 Harvey WilsonLouis Massey & Co.
New CentrevilleRush River Mch. 26, 1856 Geo. StrongDaniel McCartney.
HammondHammond July 15, 1856 A. W. MillerHammond & Spaulding.
De SotoHudson Aug. 15, 1857Aptemards Burkhart.
SomersetSomerset Aug. 28, 1857Geo. StrongHarriman & Reed.
GlenmontTroy Jan. 5, 1858C. N. BatesM. Bank, Lake St. Cx.
HuntingtonStar Prairie Sept. 24, 1858E. W. McClureJohn Brown.
Gridley, New Richmond and FremontRichmond 1857Gridley & Day.
TroyTroy Dec. 29, 1859J. A. ShortCox & Powell.
BoardmanRichmond July 5, 1866W. R. AndersonBeebe & Boardman.
Star PrairieStar Prairie June 15, 1870John McClureSimonds & Millard.
BaldwinBaldwin Mch. 14, 1873H. J. BaldwinD. R. Bailey.
RobertsWarren Jan. 4, 1875Geo. StrongComstock, Platt & Co.
Deer ParkCylon Jan. 25, 1879J. W. RemmingtonJ. A. Humbird.
New Saratoga SpringsStanton Sept. 17, 1878John McClureA. P. Muggey.
HerseySpringfield Dec. 24, 1880Geo. StrongL. T. Adams.
CylonCylon Sept. 16, 1884Alfred PierceBeebe & McNarama.
EmeraldEmerald July 13, 1885Alfred PierceHurd Brothers.
GlenwoodGlenwood Jan. 2, 1886H. J. BaldwinGlenwood Manf. Co.
WilsonSpringfield 1886West Wis. Manf. Co.
WoodvilleBaldwin 1886Woodville Lumber Co.
WildwoodEau Galle 1886St. Cx. L. & Manf. Co.
BrookvilleEau Galle 1886Wood & Decker.
HoultonSt. Joseph Not recorded

[Pg 196]



This county, named in honor of President Pierce, was separated from St. Croix county in 1853, and organized by the same act that created Polk county, and gave to St. Croix its present limits. It contains about six hundred square miles of territory, lying east of the Mississippi river and Lake St. Croix. It is somewhat triangular in shape, the river and lake forming the hypotenuse, and St. Croix, Dunn and Pepin bounding it by right lines on the north and east, Pepin also forming a small part of its southern boundary.

The scenery is picturesque and varied. Along the river and lake is a series of limestone bluffs, broken at intervals by ravines and valleys, and leaving the impression upon the mind of the traveler on the Mississippi of a rough, broken and inhospitable country, than which nothing could be further from the truth. Beyond these rugged escarpments of limestone and out of sight of the traveler, the country stretches away toward the interior as an undulating prairie, with meadows and rich pasturelands, with occasional forests, the whole watered and drained by an intricate network of streams tributary to the lake and river, and the three larger streams, the Kinnikinic, which empties into the St. Croix and Big rivers, Trimbelle and Rush, that empty into the Mississippi. Some branches of the Chippewa also take their rise in this county. These streams uniformly have their source in springs and their waters are consequently pure, cold and invigorating, flowing over beds of white sand or pebbles, and in their downward course forming many ripples, rapids, cascades and some beautiful waterfalls. Their[Pg 197] total descent to the bed of the Mississippi is about four hundred feet. Pierce county has no inland lakes within its limits, nor any indications of their previous existence. The soil is formed chiefly from decomposed rocks or ledges worn down by the abrading forces of water and wind, of frost and heat. The rivers in their downward course have excavated broad valleys, having originally precipitous bluffs on either side, and even bluffs once islands in the midst of the streams. These, by later agencies, have been smoothed to gentle slopes and rounded into graceful mounds, towering sometimes as much as eighty feet above the valley or plains. In some places mere outlines of sandstone or limestone rock are left, turret-like, on the summit of a mound, as monuments on which the geologist may read the record of ages gone. As the character of the soil of a country depends upon the composition of the rocks underlying it, and those removed from the surface, reduced to soil and widely distributed, we give what may be considered as the section of any one of the mounds near Prescott in the order of the superposition of strata:

At the base—Lower magnesian limestone250 feet.
Above the plain—Upper sandstone50 feet.
On the summit—Trenton, or shell limestone30 feet.

Over a great part of the county the Trenton and limestone are worn almost entirely away, and their former existence is attested only by a few mounds, bluffs and outlines. Drift is not often met with. The soil may be considered as formed out of drift, now removed from its original position, and out of the sandstone and limestone. It is, therefore, soil of the richest quality.

By the same act that created the county of Pierce, passed March 14, 1853, Prescott was declared the county seat. The town board of Prescott was constituted the county board. The commissioners were Osborn Strahl, chairman; Silas Wright and Sylvester Moore. At the first county election, Nov. 15, 1853, one hundred and ten votes were cast. The following were the officers elected: County judge, W. J. Copp; sheriff, N. S. Dunbar; treasurer, J. R. Freeman; clerk of court, S. R. Gunn; clerk of board, Henry Teachout; coroner, J. Olive; district attorney, P. V. Wise; surveyor, J. True; register of deeds, J. M. Whipple. Mr. Whipple was authorized to transcribe the records of St. Croix county up to date of the organization of Pierce.[Pg 198]

The first assessment in the county, in 1853, amounted to $24,452. At the meeting of the supervisors, Jan. 18, 1854, the district attorney was allowed forty dollars per annum as salary. Courts were held wherever suitable buildings could be obtained. During this year Judge Wyram Knowlton, of Prairie du Chien, held the first district court at Prescott. The first records of the court were kept on sheets of foolscap paper, and fastened together with wafers. The first case before the court was that of "The State of Wisconsin, Pierce County, Wm. Woodruff vs. Chas. D. Stevens, August Lochmen, and Chas. Peschke, in Court of said County. In Equity." On reading and filing the bill in complaint, in this case, on motion of S. J. R. McMillan and H. M. Lewis, solicitors for counsel, J. S. Foster, it was ordered that a writ of injunction be issued in the case, pursuant to the prayer of said bill, upon said complainant. Some one, in his behalf, filed with the clerk of said court, a bond for damages and costs in the sum of $1,700, with surety to be approved by the clerk or judge of said court. The first document recorded in the county is an agreement between Philander Prescott and Philip Aldrich, wherein Aldrich agrees to occupy lands adjoining Prescott's, at the mouth of St. Croix lake on the west, and David Hone on the east. The second document is a deed, conveying a tract of three hundred and twenty acres of land from Francis Chevalier to Joseph R. Brown, the land lying near the mouth of Lake St. Croix, and marked by stakes planted in the ground, and adjoining Francis Gamelle's claim, dated July 20, 1840.

In 1857 County Treasurer Ayers became a defaulter to the county in the sum of $2,287.76, and to the Prescott Bank, $4,000. In 1861, by act of the legislature, the question of changing the county seat from Prescott to Ellsworth was submitted to the people. The vote as declared was six hundred for removal and three hundred and seventy-three against it. Technical objections having been raised as to the legality of the vote, the subject was submitted to the people a second time in 1862. The vote for removal was confirmed. In 1863 the district system was adopted and three districts were established by legislative enactment, but in 1870 the county returned to the original system by which the board of supervisors was made to consist of a chairman from each one of the town boards. A poor farm was established near Ellsworth in 1869, at a cost of $3,600. The county[Pg 199] board also appropriated $31,000 for county buildings at Ellsworth.

The finances of the county have been admirably managed. In 1885 there was no indebtedness, and a surplus in the treasury of $5,000. The educational interests are well cared for. There are over one hundred school districts in the county, with well conducted schools, and generally with good substantial buildings. The school lands of St. Croix, then including Pierce county, were appraised in 1852 by Dr. Otis Hoyt, —— Denniston and James Bailey, and the lands at once offered for sale. Settlers' rights were respected. The county issued $5,000 in bonds to aid in establishing the normal school at River Falls.


River Falls has direct communication with Hudson by a branch of the Chicago & St. Paul railroad. In 1885 the Burlington & Northern railroad route was surveyed and established, entering the county on the shore of Lake Pepin, and running nearly parallel with lake and river to Prescott, where it crosses Lake St. Croix near its mouth, on a bridge, the total length of which is 520.5 feet, with one draw span 367.5 feet in length, and one piled span of 153 feet. This bridge was completed, and the first train entered Prescott, May 31, 1886. The grade of this road does not exceed fifteen feet to the mile.


The Grand Army of the Republic have posts at the following places:

No. 72, A. W. Howard PostRock Elm.
No. 117, I. M. Nichols PostRiver Falls.
No. 118, Ellsworth PostEllsworth.
No. 189, R. P. Converse PostPrescott.
No. 204, U. S. Grant PostMaiden Rock.
No. 209, Plum City PostPlum City.

The following are the village plats of Pierce county, with date of survey and location:

Prescott, town of Prescott1853
Kinnikinic, town of River Falls1854
Monte Diamond (Diamond Bluff), town of Diamond Bluff1854
Saratoga, town of Isabelle1855
[Pg 200]
River Falls (Greenwood and Fremont), town of River Falls1856
Maiden Rock, town of Maiden Rock1856
Warren, town of Maiden Rock1856
Trimbelle, town of Trimbelle1856
Franklin, town of Trimbelle1856
Martell (Rising Sun), town of Martell1856
Beldenville, town of Trimbelle1857
Trenton, town of Trenton1857
Plum City, town of Union1858
El Paso, town of El Paso1858
Esdaile, town of Hartland1870
Rock Elm, town of Rock Elm Centre1876
Hogan, town of Trenton1886
Bay City, town of Isabelle1887


The following is the chronological order in which the towns of Pierce county were organized:

Greenwood (now River Falls)1854
Diamond Bluff1855
Oak Grove1856
Perry (Ellsworth)1856
Spring Valley (Maiden Rock)1857
El Paso1858
Rock Elm1862
Deerfield (Gilman)1868
Spring Lake1868


Situated in the northwestern part of the county, contains a little over thirty full sections of land, those on the St. Croix having a somewhat irregular boundary. The surface is somewhat broken where traversed by the Kinnikinic and its tributaries. It includes twenty-four sections on the west side of township 27, range 19, and fractional township 27, range 20. It was established in 1855. Its first board of officers were: Supervisors—Geo. W. McMurphy, chairman; Osborne Strahl and G. W. Teachout. C. B. Cox was the first postmaster, in 1852, at a place called Clifton Mills, from which the town afterward derived its name. This post town is situated on the Kinnikinic,[Pg 201] in section 18, township 27, range 18 west. It has one grist mill and two saw mills, belonging to Cox, King & Goodsall. No intoxicants are sold here. The Glenwood saw mills, having a capacity of 3,000,000 feet, are located on the lake shore. In 1868 a limestone quarry was opened on the lake shore, by Oakley & Nichols. In 1881 the firm became Oakley & Hall. They have a patent kiln and good machinery, and some seasons have manufactured as much as 5,000 barrels of lime.

George W. McMurphy was born at Newcastle, Delaware, in 1821. In 1845 he came to St. Croix Falls, and in 1848 to Clifton, where he pre-empted the beautiful homestead which he still holds, and where he has successfully followed the business of farming. He has been repeatedly elected to town and county offices. In 1848 he was married to Maria A. Rice. Their children are Augustus (resident of St. Paul), George (a physician living in Ortonville, Minnesota), James A., Robert, Albert and Edward, and two married daughters. Mr. McMurphy is a member of the Congregational church.

Osborne Strahl was born in Belmont county, Ohio, in 1818; came to Galena, Illinois, in 1838, in 1845 to Mauston and Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and to Chippewa Falls in 1847. During these years he followed lumbering. In 1850 he came to the town of Elisabeth, St. Croix county, which on subsequent division of towns and counties left Mr. Strahl in Clifton, where he has been engaged in farming. He was married in 1860 to Rebecca McDonald. They have two sons, Wm. Day, living in Dakota, Howard P., in River Falls; three daughters, Mabel, wife of Joseph M. Smith, banker at River Falls, and two daughters unmarried. Mr. Strahl filled various town and county offices.

Charles B. Cox was born June 25, 1810, in Chenango county, New York. He learned the trade of a miller, lived in Ohio seventeen years and came to Clifton in 1849. He built at Clifton the first saw and grist mill in the Kinnikinic valley, in 1850. He changed his residence to River Falls in 1854, where he lived till 1874, when he removed to California. During the year 1851 he ground three hundred bushels of wheat, the sole product of the valley.

Ephraim Harnsberger was born in Kentucky, Nov. 21, 1824, moved with his parents to Illinois in 1832, and to Prescott in 1847, where he pre-empted a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres. He was married at Alton, Illinois, in 1858, to Lizzie Johnson. Their children are Charles, Sarah Etta, and Jennie.[Pg 202]


Is a triangular shaped town, the hypotenuse being formed by the Mississippi river. It contains ten sections and three fractional sections in town 25, range 18, and five sections and five fractional sections in town 25, range 19. It is traversed in the eastern part by Trimbelle river. The town was established in 1857, and the first town meeting was held that year at the home of David Comstock. The town board consisted of: Supervisors—James Akers, chairman; Wilson Thing and C. F. Hoyt; justice, S. Hunter. Susan Rogers taught the first school. This town has the honor of claiming the first white settler, aside from traders, in the Upper Mississippi valley. He came to the site of the present village of Diamond Bluff in 1800, and named it Monte Diamond. We give elsewhere a somewhat extended account of this ancient pioneer, with some speculations concerning him and his descendants that are plausible enough to warrant their insertion. In historic times a post office was established here in 1854, called at the time, Hoytstown, from C.F. Hoyt, the first postmaster.

On the organization of the town the name was changed to Diamond Bluff. Quite a village has since grown up around it. The first frame house was built in 1855, by Enoch Quinby. The first sermon was preached by Rev. J. W. Hancock, a Presbyterian minister, for some years a missionary among the Indians. The first birth was that of Mary Day, in 1851, and the first death that of Daniel Crappers, in 1854.

Capt. John Paine.—Jack Paine, as he is familiarly called, was born in England, and for the greater part of his life has been a seafaring man. For the past thirty years he has been a steamboat man on the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri rivers. He has been married three times: first in Rhode Island, second to Mrs. La Blond, of St. Louis, and last to Miss Ressue, of Diamond Bluff. He came to Diamond Bluff in 1848, with four children of his first wife, his second wife having died childless. He is now living with his third wife in La Crosse. They have three children.

John Day was born in Martinsburg, Virginia. In 1850 he and his wife and three children, with Allen B. Wilson and his wife, came to Diamond Bluff. Mr. Day is well known as a fearless and enthusiastic hunter. In 1852 he had a close encounter with a large black bear, which, after a desperate struggle, he killed with an axe. The Indians considered Mr. Day as "waukon,"[Pg 203] supernatural, averring that their bravest warriors would not have attacked singly so large an animal.

Sarah A. Vance, the wife of Mr. Day, was born in Kentucky. The Vance family were famous pioneers, and some of them were noted Methodist preachers. Miss Vance's first marriage was to John R. Shores, by whom she had two children, one of whom, Isabella, became the wife of A. R. Wilson.

Allen R. Wilson.—Mr. Wilson was born in Kentucky; spent his early boyhood in Shawneetown, Illinois; was married to Miss Shores at Potosi, Wisconsin, April 16, 1848, and in 1850 came to Diamond Bluff. Mr. Wilson took great interest in politics, was an ardent Republican, and was among the first to volunteer his services for the suppression of the Rebellion in 1861. He enlisted in Company B, Sixth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers, and fell in battle, Sept. 14, 1862, at South Mountain. Mr. Wilson was well informed, a close observer of political events at home and abroad, and was a brave and efficient soldier. He left five children.

E. S. Coulter.—Mr. Coulter is a Virginian by birth. In early manhood he traveled extensively as a book agent, and finally settled at Diamond Bluff, where he successfully engaged in farming and dealing in wheat and merchandise.

James Bamber, ex-musician in the British and United States armies.

Jacob Mead, ex-shoemaker, ex-soldier and miner, a man of superior natural and acquired talent.

Charles Walbridge came to Diamond Bluff in 1852.

Jacob Mead died in 1884, leaving a large property.

Charles F. Hoyt, with his wife and one child, came to Diamond Bluff from Illinois, in 1853.

Enoch Quinby was born at Sandwich, New Hampshire; was married to Matilda Leighton, originally from Athens, Maine. Mr. Quinby and his wife came from Pittsfield, Illinois, to Diamond Bluff in 1854.


There is a pretty well grounded tradition that the first white man who found his way to Diamond Bluff was a French Vendean loyalist of the army of Jacques Cathelineau; that he fled from France in 1793 or 1794, landed at Quebec, and was traced by his enemies to Mackinaw and Chicago, where they lost his[Pg 204] trail. He came to Diamond Bluff in 1800, and named it "Monte Diamond." He had for his housekeeper the daughter of an Indian chief. He died here about 1824. After his death the Indians always called the place the "Old White Man's Prairie." E. Quinby, of Diamond Bluff, to whom we are indebted for this account, adds: "All the additional evidence I can give in regard to this pioneer is that prior to 1793 his wife died, leaving him one daughter, who was deformed. A former friend of his had a beautiful daughter of about the same age of his own. After the uprising and defeat of the Vendeans, they became enemies, and he, to save his life, took his former friend's daughter, instead of his own, and fled to this country. The father pursued them as far as Chicago, where he saw his daughter in company with some Indian girls, and having on her person some ornaments once worn by her mother. He at once seized her and carried her back with him to France, and the old Frenchman found his way to Diamond Bluff." Faribault's son,[C] now living somewhere in Minnesota, wrote me a few years since, inquiring about the old Frenchman, saying that his grandmother claimed that her husband was a French nobleman, and that he lived near Lake Pepin. He believed the old Frenchman was his grandfather. The above statements were communicated to the late Capt. Orin Smith, of Galena, Illinois, Allen B. Wilson and myself, in 1854, or in 1855, by an old Frenchman then residing at Potosi, Wisconsin, who claimed to have seen and gathered these facts from the old man himself. Capt. Smith was well acquainted with the Frenchman at Potosi, and gave the fullest credence to his account.


Occupies township 26, range 16. It is drained chiefly by Rush river and its tributary, Lost creek, on the west. The two post villages in this town are, El Paso, located in section 5, and Lost Creek, in section 3. George P. Walker was the first settler. He built the first house and raised the first crop; Thomas T. Magee came in 1855. In 1860 the town was organized, Thomas Hurley and Geo. P. Walker being supervisors. In 1862 Mr. Magee built a saw and flour mill in section 5, and platted the village of El Paso. In 1875 he removed to Clear Lake, Polk county, of[Pg 205] which town he was the first settler. Clara Green taught the first school in El Paso, in 1861. There is one Catholic and one Lutheran church in the village. The name El Paso signifying a crossing, is of somewhat obscure derivation.


Was organized under the name of Perry, March 3, 1857, but in 1862 it received its present name. It occupies a central position in the county and includes township 26, range 17. This is a rich farming town, originally timbered with hardwood. The surface is elevated and gently undulating. It is drained on the east by the tributaries of Rush river, but has no large or important streams. The first supervisors were: P. M. Simons, chairman; Caleb Bruce and Wilson Kinnie. The first settler was Anthony Huddleston, who came April 23, 1856, and pre-empted the southeast quarter of section 20. On November 26th, of the same year, came Caleb, Elihu W. and Eli T. Bruce, who pre-empted farms on sections 18 and 19. During the same year Wilson and Norris Kinnie and David Klingensmith pre-empted farms in sections 18 and 19. Lilly, Miscen, Russ, and Campbell came also in 1855. The first log house in the town was built by Anthony Huddleston in 1855. Norris Kinnie built the first in what was afterward the village of Ellsworth. The first school house, a log building, built was in 1857, and Mary Filkins, now Mrs. G. H. Sargeant, of Minnesota, taught the first school. The first marriage was that of Charles Stannard and Mary Leonard, in 1855. The first birth, that of the twin children of Wilson. Both died. The first death of an adult was that of Mrs. Jacob Youngman in the winter of 1855. The post office was opened in 1860, with Seely Strickland as postmaster.


The original owners of the southern half of section 18, and the northern half of 19, Norris Kinnie, Eli T. Bruce, Henry P. Ames, and Wm. Crippin laid out and platted the village of Ellsworth in 1862. Wm. Crippin, built a frame hotel there in 1860. C. S. Dunbar opened a store in 1861. The prospect of Ellsworth becoming the county seat gave a great impetus to business enterprises. This was decided by a popular vote in 1861, but owing to some technical defects was resubmitted to the people of the[Pg 206] county in 1862, and then definitely decided. In the year 1862 the citizens of Ellsworth built a log house in which the first terms of court were held; meanwhile the county officers had their offices in the basement of Crippin's hotel. The permanent county buildings were not erected until 1869. They are built of stone and cost $60,000. In 1863 a frame schoolhouse took the place of the old log structure, and in 1874 a commodious brick building was erected, at a cost of $5,000.

The Methodists, Lutherans and Catholics have church buildings. There is one newspaper, the Pierce County Herald, edited by E. F. Case and E. S. Doolittle. The Barnes saw mill built in 1867, burned down and rebuilt, has a capacity of about 5,000 feet per day. A branch railroad, built from Hudson to River Falls, was extended to Ellsworth in 1885. The depot is one mile from the village. The Pierce County Central fair grounds, containing seventeen acres, are located near the village. The grounds are inclosed and are covered with a fine maple grove, in the midst of which is a large flowing spring. D. W. Woodworth was first president of the fair association. Ellsworth has two handsome cemeteries, Maplewood and the Catholic.

The village itself is beautifully situated on an elevated plateau originally covered with hardwood timber. The streets are tastefully adorned with maple trees.

Anthony Huddleston.—Mr. Huddleston is of Irish descent. He was born in West Virginia in 1804; had but limited educational privileges; lived for a part of his life in Ohio and Indiana, and settled in Ellsworth in 1855, being the first settler in the town. He was a house carpenter for over sixty years. He was a member of the Dunkard church sixty-two years. He was married in 1826, in Ripley, Indiana, to Susannah Whetstone. They have three sons and six daughters living.

Perry D. Pierce was born in Harpersfield, Delaware county, New York. He traces his lineage to ancestors who came across in the Mayflower and landed at Plymouth Rock. He received an academic education, studied law with A. Reckor, Oswego, New York, and was admitted to practice at Cooperstown in 1843, practiced in Albany three years, and in 1854 came to the St. Croix valley, locating first at Prescott, where he served as district attorney for four years, and county judge eight years. He was married in 1860, to Lua E. Searsdall. He is now a resident of Ellsworth.

Very Respectfully Hans B. Warner[Pg 207

[Pg 207]Hans B. Warner, of Ellsworth, Pierce county, was born at Gulbrandsdalen, Norway, July 12, 1844; received a common school education; is by occupation a farmer; emigrated and settled in Dodge county, Wisconsin, in 1853, and thence removed to Pierce county in 1855, where he has since resided. He enlisted in March, 1864, as a private, in Company G, Thirty-seventh Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry; was wounded and captured in front of Petersburg, Virginia, July 30, 1864, and was held a prisoner of war in Danville and Libby prisons until paroled, September, 1864; was discharged from service on account of wounds received in battle July 18, 1865. He has held various local offices, and the position of county clerk of Pierce county from January, 1869, to Dec. 21, 1877, when he resigned, to assume the duties of secretary of state, to which office he was elected in 1877, and was re-elected in 1879, serving in all four years. He was elected to the state senate in 1882 and served until 1886. His home business is farming and real estate. He was married in 1866, to Julia E. Hudson.


The town of Gilman includes township 27, range 16. The postal villages are Gilman, section 10, and Olivet, section 36. Gilman was organized as the town of Deerfield, in 1868, but in 1869 the name was changed to Gilman. The first supervisors were Oliver Purdy, Caleb Coon, Bardon Jensen. The first school was taught in 1870, by M. L. Maxgood. A Norwegian Lutheran church was built in 1883, at a cost of $1,500. There are six school houses with an aggregate cost of $2,000. The first marriage was that of Caleb Coon and Cenith Preston, in 1867. The first birth was a child of this married couple. The first death was that of Mrs. Rufus Preston. The first post office was at Gilman, U. F. Hals, postmaster. The first settlers were B. F. Gilman, in 1859, still a resident; N. B. Lawrence, soon after, now removed; Rufus Preston and family; Joseph and Caleb Coon and families, in 1865, still resident. J. R. Maxgood, B. Jensen and son, E. B. Jensen, the Matthieson brothers, Z. Sigursen, H. Bredahl, S. J. Goodell, Nels Gulikson, M. O. Grinde, Albert Martin, P. Vanosse, and T. B. Forgenbakke are among the oldest citizens.[Pg 208]


Hartland occupies township 25, range 17. It has one post village, Esdaile. It has one saw mill and a factory for the manufacture of hubs and bent wood work, operated by Charles Betcher, of Red Wing, Minnesota, which gives employment to seventy-five men and ten teams the year round. The village of Esdaile has also two general merchandise stores and a hotel. Hartland was organized in 1859. The first supervisors were A. Harris, chairman; Joseph Sleeper and R. M. Sproul. Amongst the first settlers were Augustus E. Hodgman, section 24, 1854; James Buckingham, section 28, 1854; Lewis Buckmaster, section 1, 1853. The first school was taught in 1858, by Mary Ann Stonio. The first post office was at Esdaile, Hiram Patch, postmaster. There are three church organizations, Presbyterian, Methodist and Lutheran (Norwegian), with buildings valued at from $700 to $1,000. There are nine school houses, ranging in cost from $500 to $1,400. The Good Templars have an organization.


Isabelle consists of the two upper tiers of section 7, township 24, range 17, the lower tier being much broken in outline by Lake Pepin on the south. It contains also fractions of sections in the third tier. Bay City, on the shore of the lake, is the postal town. It was organized in 1855. In 1869 it was annexed to Hartland, but in 1871 it was re-established. The first chairman of supervisors was John Buckingham. The election was held at the house of Abner Brown. Charles R. Tyler and Lorenzo D. Philips settled here in 1854, and built a saw mill where now stands the thriving village of Bay City. Saratoga plat was laid out upon this ground in 1856, by A. C. Morton. A. J. Dexter was the original claimant of the land. Mr. Morton purchased the land which covered a part of Bay City from the government. A surveyor named Markle was employed by Morton to run the lines, which Mr. Dexter considered an intrusion upon his rights, and he shot Markle. Dexter was tried before Judge S. S. N. Fuller, in 1855, was convicted, and sentenced to prison for life. After a few years he was pardoned by Gov. Barstow.[Pg 209]


Maiden Rock occupies the four upper tiers of sections of township 24, ranges 15 and 16, except such portions on the southwestern corner as are cut off by Lake Pepin. It contains about forty sections. The town was organized under the name of Spring Valley, in 1857. Its postal villages are Maiden Rock, on the lake shore, section 15, range 15, and Warren, also on the lake shore, section 7, range 15. The site of Maiden Rock village was purchased from the government in 1853, by Albert Harris and J. D. Trumbull. In 1855 they erected the first house, and in 1856 built a saw and shingle mill. J. D. Trumbull platted the village in 1857, and christened it Maiden Rock, from the celebrated rock of that name a few miles further down the lake. Among the first settlers in the village were J. H. Steel, J. D. Brown, John Foster, and Joseph B. Hull.

The first hotel was run by G. R. Barton, in a house built by J. D. Trumbull. This hotel has since been enlarged and is now the Lake View House. The first marriage was that of A. J. Smith and Corinda Eatinger, in 1857; the first birth was that of Ida Trumbull, in 1858, and the first death that of William Trumbull, in 1858. The first school was taught by Lottie Isabel, of Batavia, Illinois. The first sermon was preached by Rev. James Gurley, a Methodist preacher from North Pepin.

A post office was established in 1856, of which J. D. Trumbull was postmaster. The receipts the first year were eleven dollars, the expenses, fifty dollars, paid by the postmaster. The town of Maiden Rock has six school houses, one saw and one grist mill.

Christopher L. Taylor was born in Oneida county, New York, in 1829; came to Chicago at an early day, and to Maiden Rock in 1868, where he engaged in manufacturing. He served as county supervisor for eight years, and as member of the Wisconsin legislature in 1876. He removed to St. Paul in 1880, where he still resides. He is a dealer in real estate.


Martell occupies township 27, range 17. Joseph Martell, John Dee, Louis Lepau and Xerxes Jock, Frenchmen, were the first settlers. They located here in 1847, and remained till 1860, when they moved further west, allured by the attractions of frontier[Pg 210] life. Martell was organized in 1854, with the following supervisors: Amos Bonesteel, chairman; M. Statten and R.J. Thompson. The first school was taught in 1857, by W. Bewel. Martell is the postal village. The first postmaster was O. Rasmunson. There are two evangelical Lutheran churches in the town, built at a cost of $3,500 and $5,000. There is also a good town hall, valued at $600. The Martell Mutual Insurance Company is in successful operation.


Oak Grove includes township 26, range 19 (with the exception of section 31 and parts of 30 and 32), and six sections of range 20, in all about forty sections. It is drained by Big river. It was set off from Clifton in 1856. Hart Broughton was the first chairman of supervisors. It contains a flouring mill on Big river; Catholic, Lutheran, and Methodist church buildings; that of the Catholic cost $4,000, and has a school attached. There are seven school houses. Big River is the postal village. John Berry was first postmaster. The first settlers were (1848) the Thing brothers, the Harnsberger brothers, the Cornelius brothers, Rice, Schaser, McMurphy, Rissue, and the Miner brothers.

Lewis M. Harnsberger was born in Kentucky, April 18, 1822, and moved with his parents to Illinois, where he lived nine years. He came to Prescott in 1846, and pre-empted a farm in Oak Grove, where he has since continuously resided. He has filled many public positions creditably. He was married to Annie Jeffreys, of Illinois, in 1860. Their sons are Ephraim, Lewis and John.


Is beautifully located at the junction of the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers. The business portion of the city is on a terrace at the base of the bluff, and between it and the river and lake. The public buildings, churches, school house and residences are chiefly on the upper terrace, or bluff, and command an extensive view of the valley of the two rivers, the whole forming a landscape of unrivaled beauty. The advantages of the position are by no means limited to its picturesque surroundings. Prescott, from its position at the junction of the two rivers, was early recognized as an important point for the reshipping of freight and[Pg 211] re-embarkation of passengers. The St. Croix, which comes in from the north, rises within a few miles of Lake Superior, and after running a course of two hundred miles, empties its waters into Lake St. Croix, twenty-four miles above its outlet. The lake is navigable at all times to Stillwater and to Taylor's Falls at the Dalles. The Mississippi comes in from the northwest, and is navigable to St. Paul, a distance of thirty miles. The two channels at the junction are each about 1,000 feet wide, with an average depth of fifteen feet, and the banks slope to the water's edge, or stand in some places in vertical ledges, thus forming a natural quay along the entire front of the city. The quay, or landing, is semicircular in shape, the upper terrace, or bench, about one hundred feet in height, is likewise semicircular, the convexity being toward the river and lake. The crest of the terrace is worn down by the rains into ravines, leaving rounded points, or promontories, on the summit of which the ancient mound builders have left traces of their peculiar art. The first settlement of Prescott was made by Philander Prescott, Col. Thompson, Dr. Emerson, and Capt. Scott, the three last named being army officers at Fort Snelling. Mr. Prescott, acting as agent for the others, made the claim in 1836, remaining three years to hold it, when it was left in the care of Joseph Mosier until 1851.

In 1837 seven acres were broken and fenced, constituting the entire landed improvements within the present bounds of Pierce county. In 1849 one hundred and fifty acres were improved. Geo. Schaser and H. Doe were the first resident farmers. From 1838 to 1849 a trading post for Indian supplies was kept by persons holding the claim. W. S. Lockwood opened a store in 1842, and other improvements were made. As the army officers were called to other fields of labor, Mr. Prescott soon found himself in sole possession of the original claim, he purchasing their interests, and in 1849, when the lands had been surveyed by the government, he entered sixty-one acres. In 1853 Dr. O. T. Maxon and W. J. Copp purchased a greater part of the town site and surveyed and platted it as the city of Prescott. A charter was obtained in 1857. A post office had been established here in 1840, called the "Mouth of St. Croix," but it was removed across the lake and named Point Douglas. The post office was re-established at Prescott in 1852. Dr. O. T. Maxon was first postmaster. The number of persons who came that year to Prescott[Pg 212] is estimated at about one hundred and fifty.[D] Mr. Schaser platted an addition to the city of sixty-one acres in 1855. When the city received its charter the following officers were elected: Mayor, J. R. Freeman; aldermen, First ward, N. S. Dunbar, Thomas Dickerson and Seth Ticknor; Second ward, Hilton Doe, George W. Oakley, N. A. Miller; president of the council, Seth Ticknor; justices of the peace, I. T. Foster, O. Edwards; city attorney, P. V. Wise; city surveyor, Wm. Howes; superintendent of schools, Thomas Dickerson.

Wm. Schaser built the first frame house, and Mrs. Wm. Schaser was the first white woman. Their daughter Eliza was the first white child born in the new settlement. The first marriage was that of G. W. McMurphy to a daughter of Mr. Rice, April 24, 1848. The first death was that of W. S. Lockwood, in 1847.

When the county of Pierce was organized Prescott was designated as the county seat, and so remained until 1862, when, by popular election, Ellsworth was chosen.

In 1856 Messrs. Silverthorn & Dudley started a saw mill, which they operated until 1861, when Mr. Dudley purchased his partner's interest, and erected a flouring and saw mill.

A wagon and carriage manufactory was established by F. Menicke, in 1862, the Prescott brewery in 1866, by N. P. Husting, and the Prescott machine shops in 1876, by H. B. Failing. The City Bank of Prescott was organized in 1858, Charles Miller, president; W. P. Westfall, cashier; capital stock, $50,000. It closed in 1862. The National Bank was established in 1877, by W. S. Miller. The first school in Pierce county was taught by a missionary named Denton, at Prescott, in 1843. In 1851 Miss Oliver taught a private school. In 1853 the first district school was established. The school board were: Directors, M. Craig, George W. McMurphy; treasurer, N. S. Dunbar; clerk, Dr. O. T. Maxon; teacher, Miss Matthews. The first school house was built in 1854. A building for a graded school was erected in 1859. A high school building was erected in 1847, at a cost of $20,000.

The first religious society was that of the Methodists, organized in 1853, under the labors of Rev. Norris Hobart. Their[Pg 213] first building was erected in 1856. Its dimensions were 20 × 32 feet, ground plan. In 1868 they erected a building 40 × 70 feet, ground plan, at a cost of $4,000.

In 1854 the Baptist church was organized by Rev. E. W. Cressy.

In 1854 the Congregationalists organized, with Rev. P. Hall as pastor, and in 1855 built a brick church, 40 × 50 feet, ground plan.

In 1855 the Presbyterians organized, and in 1866 built a church.

The Lutheran church was organized in 1865, by Rev. C. Thayer.

Under the preaching of Rev. M. Guild the Episcopal church was organized in 1872. Previous to this date Revs. Breck, Wilcoxson and Peabody had labored from time to time. The Catholic church was organized by Rev. Father Vervais in 1860. In 1868 a church edifice was built.

The following social and benevolent orders have organizations in Prescott:

Northwestern Lodge, A. F. and A. Morganized1856
Prescott Lodge, I. O. O. F"1868
Lodge No. 319, I. O. G. T"1876
Prescott Juvenile Temple, No. 108"1877
Prescott Temple of Honor"1878
Converse Post, G. A. R."1884
Pierce County Agricultural Society, O. T. Maxon, president"1859

The Agricultural Society has fair grounds just east of the city, well arranged, with a half mile race track, and buildings in good condition. Fairs are held annually. Pine Glen cemetery is situated on the bluff half a mile below the city. It was established in 1856. Nature has done much for the site. The view of the Mississippi valley is unobstructed for a distance of from twelve to twenty miles on the south, and to the bend of the river bluffs above Hastings. The grounds are handsomely laid out and adorned with shrubbery.


Prescott has suffered severely from fires. The following is a partial list of losses:

Lowry & Co., saw millloss$3,500
Todd & Horton's mill"2,000
[Pg 214]
Stevens, Lechner & Co. (1854)"3,000
Fire on Main street (1871)loss $22,000
Fire on Main street (1872)"12,000
Fire on Main street (1874)"12,000
Redman, Cross & Co., flour mills (1877)"40,000

The latter was insured for $20,000. Total loss, nearly $75,000.


Philander Prescott was born in 1801, at Phelpstown, Ontario county, New York. Late in the year 1819 he came to Fort Snelling and remained there, or in the vicinity, the greater part of his life. From his constant association with the Indians, especially with the Sioux, he learned to speak their language. He was also related to them by his marriage with a Sioux woman. This fact, added to his influence among them, and being a man not only of a high character for integrity, but well educated and intelligent, he was able to render the officers of the Fort much service. He made a translation into the Sioux dialect of a number of English and French hymns for the use of the mission schools near Prescott. He gave his children an English education. In 1835, while acting as Indian interpreter, he came to the present site of Prescott, and in conjunction with several officers of the Fort, he acting as their agent, laid claim to considerable territory, and made some improvements in the shape of log buildings. When the army officers were sent to other posts, Mr. Prescott purchased their interests and held the claim. In 1849, after the government survey, he pre-empted sixty-one acres and laid out what he called the city of Prescott. He resided here and at the Fort alternately until his death, which occurred in 1862. He had been sent by the government on a peace mission to the Indians in rebellion, met them at a point near Mankato, and was cruelly assassinated by those to whom he had ever proven a true friend, and whom he had every reason to suppose friendly to him.

George Schaser is a native of Austria, and came to the mouth of the St. Croix in 1841. In 1842 he returned to St. Louis and married Christine Bucher. Mrs. Schaser was the first white woman resident in Prescott. Mr. Schaser built the first frame house in the settlement, in 1844. This house was regarded for many years as the finest house between Prairie du Chien and St. Paul. In 1855 Mr. Schaser surveyed an addition to Prescott on[Pg 215] land he had pre-empted in 1849. In 1858 he built the brick hotel known as the St. Nicholas. Mr. Schaser died May 3, 1884, leaving a widow, three sons and one daughter. His sons are Henry, Edward and George A. His daughter Emma was married to Capt. John E. Ball (deceased 1881). An older daughter, Eliza, the first child born in Pierce county, was married to E. W. Haviland, and died in 1880, near New Orleans.

William S. Lockwood, a native of New York State, came to Prairie du Chien in 1833, and to Prescott in 1842. The year following his family followed. Mr. Lockwood died in 1847. His widow, Georgiana Barton, was married to Orange B. Walker, of Marine Mills, and died at Marine, Oct. 9, 1885.

James Monroe Bailey was born in 1824, in Sullivan county, New York, where his youthful days were passed. He came to Prescott in 1849, where he has since been engaged in farming, mercantile and real estate business. He was married in 1856, in Prescott, to Nettie Crippin. They have one son, Victor, and two daughters, Myrtle, wife of E. L. Meacham, of Prescott, and Jessamine. Mr. Bailey has a very pleasant home in Prescott. He has filled various offices, among them that of treasurer and clerk of St. Croix county, prior to the organization of Pierce.

Adolph Werkman was born in Germany in 1826; came to America in 1847, and to Prescott in 1848. He was married at Prescott in 1856.

Joseph Manese (alias Joseph Abear) was of French extraction and a native of Lower Canada. While yet a youth he came into the Lake Superior region, where he was employed most of his time in hunting and trapping by the fur companies. His history, if written in full, would abound in stirring incidents and adventures. He was a man of unusual strength and activity, and in disposition light hearted, vivacious and gay even to hilarity. He died in Prescott in 1884.

Hilton Doe was a native of New York State, and came to Red Wing, as Indian farmer, about 1840. He settled in Prescott in 1844, in sections 9 and 10, pre-emptions subsequently surveyed into town lots. Mr. Doe married Miss Daily, in Illinois, in 1844. Mrs. Doe died in 1860, Mr. Doe in 1884.

Lute A. Taylor, a young man of decided talent, a good classical scholar, a brilliant writer and humorist, came to River Falls in 1856, and in 1857, with his brother Horace, established the[Pg 216] River Falls Journal, which they continued to publish jointly for three years, when Horace removed to Hudson and established the Times. Lute A. removed to Prescott, taking with him the material of the Journal office, and established the Prescott Journal, which he edited and published until 1869, when he removed to La Crosse and published the La Crosse Leader until his death, which occurred in 1872.

Mr. Taylor was a correspondent of various papers and an entertaining lecturer. As a conversationalist and wit, he was without a rival. A slight impediment in his speech, if anything, added to the humorous effect of his pithy sayings. He is well remembered in the valley of the St. Croix. A volume containing his biography and some characteristic sketches has been published since his death.

John Huitt, a Canadian, came to Prescott in 1847, and erected the first blacksmith shop in the village. He was married in Prescott to a daughter of Joseph Mosier, and subsequently pre-empted a quarter section of land on Prescott prairie. He built a saw and planing mill on Trimbelle river. He died at Trimbelle in 1873.

John M. Rice was born in Sudbury, Massachusetts, in 1805; was married in 1828, in Massachusetts, to Mary A. Goodenough; came in 1837 to Marine, Illinois, and in 1847 to Prescott. Mr. Rice was a house carpenter, but followed also the business of farming. He was an upright man and a member of the Congregational church. He died in 1878, leaving one son, David O., living in Prescott; a daughter, Maria A., wife of G. W. McMurphy, of Prescott, and a daughter in Illinois.


The feud between the Sioux and Chippewas originated in prehistoric times and from causes not now known. It has been a tribal vendetta, continuous and relentless, with the advantages in favor of the Chippewas, who, in the course of time, have steadily forced the Sioux westward from the Sault Ste. Marie to the Mississippi at Prescott. We give the following account of one of their battles, being an Indian version, translated and written out by Philander Prescott. This fight occurred in 1711, on the site of the city of Prescott. As the Indians had been supplied by the French with firearms as early as 1700, there is nothing[Pg 217] improbable in their alleged use on this occasion. But for the story:

"The Chippewas, a thousand strong, attacked a camp of eighteen Sioux lodges by night and killed most of the warriors. The women and children fled to the canoes, and, jumping in, pushed from the shore, but, in their hurry, without paddles. A large eddy in the river carried the canoes round and round, and, as they swept near the shore, the Chippewas seized them, pulled them to the shore and butchered the women and children. A few Sioux warriors had fled up the bank of the lake, where they hid in crevices and caves of the rocks. The Chippewas discovered their hiding places and killed all but one, who rushed from his retreat, and, diving again and again in the lake, swam for the opposite shore. As often as his head appeared above the water the Chippewas fired a volley of bullets, which fell around like hail, but harmlessly. The bold swimmer finally reached the opposite shore unharmed, when he gave a whoop of joy and disappeared in the thicket. The Chippewas, filled with admiration at his daring exploit, returned his farewell whoop with interest."


Occupies township 27, range 18, and a tier of two sections from range 19. Trimbelle river drains the eastern portion and the Kinnikinic the northwest. Its early history is identified with the history of River Falls city, its first settlement. It was organized in 1854, as Greenwood, but in 1858 the name was changed to River Falls. As River Falls city was not incorporated until 1885, we shall give its early history in connection with that of the town.

The first settler was Joel Foster, in the fall of 1848. In 1849, came D. McGregor, James and Walter Mapes; in 1850, Messrs. Hayes, Tozer, Penn and Parks, and not long after the Powells and Clark Green. These early settlers chose locations at, or near, the present site of River Falls city, and along the banks of the Kinnikinic, which here, owing to its numerous waterfalls, offered unusual facilities for milling and manufacturing. The first crop was raised by Joel Foster, in 1849. The first saw mill was built in 1851 by the brothers N. N. and O. S. Powell, just below the site of the present Greenwood mill. This was burned in 1876. In 1854 the Powell brothers platted the village[Pg 218] of River Falls, called at first, Kinnikinic, setting apart for that purpose two hundred acres of land. This plat included the upper waterfalls within the present city limits. The largest water power they donated to C. B. Cox as a mill site, to encourage settlement in the village. The brothers co-operated in building up the village, amongst other things building a frame store and stocking it with goods. This was the first store in the Kinnikinic valley. They dealt also in real estate and lumber. The name of River Falls, as applied to the village, dates from the establishment of the first post office, in 1854. Charles Hutchinson was the first postmaster, and the office was held in this pioneer store. J. S. Rounce, in 1870, built the first foundry in Pierce county.

The water powers of River Falls have been extensively utilized, many saw and flouring mills having been erected at various times on the Kinnikinic. Of these, in 1886, the more notable are, the Junction mills, owned by Freeman, Rhyder & Co., with a capacity of 400 barrels daily, and a barrel manufactory attached, which gives employment to 40 men and turns off from 300 to 400 barrels daily. The Greenwood mills, owned by Geo. Fortune & Co., capacity 50 barrels; the Cascade mills, owned by the Baker estate, capacity 50 barrels; the Prairie mill, built by C. B. Cox in 1858, and now owned by J. D. Putnam, capacity 150 barrels.

In educational matters River Falls has taken and maintained an advanced position. The first school house was built in 1854, by seven men, at a cost of five hundred dollars. Helen Flint taught the first school. In 1856 a joint stock association was incorporated as "The River Falls Academy." A building was erected, 36 × 66 feet, ground plan, and two stories in height. Prof. Wilcox was the first principal. This school was maintained as an academy until 1860, at which time it was superseded by the free schools. In the fall of 1879 the building was destroyed by fire. Subsequently a commodious brick structure was erected in its place at a cost of $15,000. Excellent private schools were maintained by Hinckley, Cody and Baker, for five years during the '60s. The State Normal School, of which a more extended account is given elsewhere, was established here, and a building erected in 1874, at a cost of about $65,000, the people of River Falls and other towns contributing to this fund $25,000,[Pg 219] with private subscriptions to the amount of $12,000, and a donation of ten acres of land. Of the $25,000 River Falls gave $10,000, Troy $4,000, Clifton $3,000, while Pierce county contributed $5,000, and Kinnikinic, St. Croix county, gave $3,000. The building, a handsome brick, four stories high, including the basement, stands on an elevated plat of ground in the southeastern part of the city. The first board of instruction consisted of W. D. Parker, president, with the following assistants: J. B. Thayer, conductor of teachers' institute; A. Earthman, history, geography, music; Lucy E. Foot, English literature, reading, spelling; Julia A. McFarlan, mathematics; Margaret Hosford, Latin and English literature. Model department, Ellen C. Jones, teacher, grammar grade; Mary A. Kelley, teacher, intermediate grade; Lizzie J. Curtis, teacher, primary grade.

The following are the churches of River Falls, with date of establishment and name of first pastor when known: Congregational, 1855, Rev. James Stirratt; Baptist, 1857, Rev. A. Gibson; Methodist, 1858; Episcopal, 1871, Rev. Chas. Thorpe; Catholic, 1875, Rev. Father Connelly; Seventh Day Adventist, 1881.

With the exception of the last named, these church organizations have good buildings. The Congregational church building erected in 1857 was superseded by a building in 1867 that cost $10,000. This was destroyed by a tornado in 1868, but has since been rebuilt at the cost of the building destroyed, and a parsonage has been added at a cost of $2,000.

A Sunday-school was established in River Falls in 1853, and the first sermon was preached, in 1850 or 1851, by Rev. Julius S. Webber, a Baptist missionary. Rev. John Wilcoxson, an Episcopalian, held occasional services as early as 1859.


The following are the social and benevolent associations of River Falls, with dates of organization: Masonic Lodge, June, 1859; I. O. O. F., 1872; I. O. G. T., March 15, 1877; Juvenile Temple of Honor, March 15, 1877; Temple of Honor, March 31, 1878; A. O. U. W., 1878. The hall, fixtures and charter of the Odd Fellows Lodge was destroyed in the fire of 1876, but the lodge was rechartered the same year.[Pg 220]


Was organized Jan. 1, 1874. —— Bartlett, president; Joseph M. Smith, cashier. Capital, $15,000. It was reorganized in 1883, under state law, R. S. Burhyte, president; W. D. Parker, vice president; J. M. Smith, cashier. Capital stock, $35,000. Total business in 1885, $5,770,733.98.


This road was built in 1878, the people of River Falls contributing $60,000 to its construction. The road is ten miles in length. In 1885 it was extended to Ellsworth, a distance of twelve miles.


Was established in 1884. A. D. Andrews, president; C. H. Keys, secretary.


In 1875 the Metropolitan Hotel, costing $15,000, and other buildings were burned; loss $30,000. The insurance was light. In 1876 a large portion of the town was destroyed by fire.


River Falls was incorporated as a city in 1885. At the first election for city officers, held April 7th, three hundred and nineteen votes were cast, and the following persons were declared duly elected to the positions named: Mayor, A. A. Andrews; treasurer, G. E. Pratt; assessor, E. H. Daniel; aldermen, First ward, W. W. Wadsworth; Second ward, L. M. Rosenquist; Third ward, R. N. Jenson; Fourth ward, L. Styles; marshal, R. N. Bevens; city clerk, Allen H. Weld. The license for the sale of intoxicants was fixed at $200. The population of River Falls in 1886 was 1,700. It is a lively, prosperous city, planned on a liberal scale, with wide streets, well shaded with ornamental trees. The mills have reservations by which they are separated from the business part of the city. The beauty of the original waterfalls is somewhat marred by the mills and their debris. Originally they were very beautiful and picturesque, and were widely celebrated, and much visited by the lovers of Nature. Of these falls there are four, two on the south branch, one on the north[Pg 221] branch, and one some rods below the junction of the two streams. The falls were not noted for their grandeur, but rather for their quiet beauty, the water falling over ledges but a few feet in height, and so broken in two of them as to present the general appearance of a succession of stairs, or steps, of unequal elevation, over which the water falls. An interesting feature at the junction of the two rivers is the cave in which the pioneer settler, Judge Joel Foster, with his negro boy, spent the winter of 1848-49. From his cave cabin he had full view of the falls on the two streams, no less beautiful in their winter dress of gleaming icicles, with the frost-whitened boughs of the willow and alder drooping over them, than in their summer brightness. The judge has told me that he loved, almost worshiped, this spot. The cave cabin stood about one hundred feet from the sparkling stream. There, in the early morning, he could cast his line, and have for his regal breakfast the speckled trout. Above him towered a precipice crowned with evergreen trees, and around him, on the borders of the streams, were the elm and maple, and an undergrowth of alder and birch. There certainly could have been no fairer scene in the West. To-day no traces remain of the old cave cabin. The Junction mills have effaced the more beautiful and poetic features of the scene. The judge has passed away, and found a grave on an elevation overlooking his old home and the scenes he loved so well. The judge, although a friend to progress, and active in advancing the material interests of the locality in which he lived, was unalterably opposed to the movement to incorporate River Falls, and did all he could to defeat the measure. When the incorporative act had been passed, he moved outside of the city limits, declaring that he would neither live nor die within them; but having been fatally injured by an accident, he was brought back to his old home, and died within the city.


The constitution of the State, adopted in 1848, provides "that the revenue of the school fund shall be exclusively applied to the following objects:

"First—To the support and maintenance of common schools in each school district, and the purchase of suitable libraries and appurtenances therefor.[Pg 222]

"Second—That the residue of the income of the school fund shall be appropriated to the support of academies and normal schools, and suitable libraries and appurtenances therefor."

No effort was made to take advantage of this provision of the constitution for the endowment of normal schools until 1857, when an act was passed providing "that the income of twenty-five per cent of the proceeds arising from the sale of swamp and overflowed lands should be appropriated to normal institutes and academies, under the supervision and direction of a 'board of regents of normal schools,'" who were to be appointed in pursuance of the provisions of that act. Under this law, the income placed at the disposal of the regents was distributed for several years to such colleges, academies and high schools as maintained a normal class, and in proportion to the number of pupils in the class who passed satisfactory examinations, conducted by an agent of the board.

The law under which these schools are organized provides that "the exclusive purpose of each normal school shall be the instruction and training of persons, both male and female, in the theory and art of teaching, and in all the various branches that pertain to a good common school education, and in all subjects needful to qualify for teaching in the public schools; also to give instruction in the fundamental laws of the United States and of this State, and in what regards the rights and duties of citizens."


Tuition is free to all students who are admitted to these normal schools under the following regulations of the board of regents:

First—Each assembly district in the State shall be entitled to eight representatives in the normal schools, and in case vacancies exist in the representation to which any assembly district is entitled, such vacancies may be filled by the president and secretary of the board of regents.

Second—Candidates for admission shall be nominated by the superintendent of the county (or if the county superintendent has not jurisdiction, then the nomination shall be made by the city superintendent) in which such candidate may reside, and shall be at least sixteen years of age, of sound bodily health and good moral character. Each person so nominated shall receive a certificate setting forth his name, age, health and character.[Pg 223]

Third—Upon the presentation of such certificate to the president of a normal school, the candidate shall be examined, under the direction of said president, in the branches required by law for a third grade certificate, except history, theory and practice of teaching, and if found qualified to enter the normal school in respect to learning, he may be admitted after furnishing such evidence as the president may require of good health and good moral character, and after subscribing to the following declaration:

I, —— ——, do hereby declare that my purpose in entering this State Normal School is to fit myself for the profession of teaching, and that it is my intention to engage in teaching in the schools of the State.

Fourth—No person shall be entitled to a diploma who has not been a member of the school in which such diploma is granted, at least one year, nor who is less than nineteen years of age; a certificate of attendance may be granted by the president of a normal school to any person who shall have been a member of such school for one term; provided, that in his judgment such certificate is deserved.

As an addition to the work of the normal schools, the board of regents are authorized to expend a sum not exceeding $5,000 annually, to sustain teachers' institutes, and may employ an agent for that purpose. Institutes are regarded as important auxiliaries and feeders to the normal schools. At present one professor from each normal school is employed conducting institutes every spring and fall.

The normal school fund now amounts to over $1,250,000, and yields an annual income of about $100,000. It will be increased by the further sale of swamp lands, and will prove ample for the objects for which it is set apart.

In 1865 the legislature divided the swamp lands and swamp land fund into two equal parts, one for drainage purposes, the other to constitute a normal school fund. The income of the latter was to be applied to establishing, supporting and maintaining normal schools, under the direction and management of the board of regents of normal schools, with a proviso that one-fourth of such income should be transferred to the common school fund, until the annual income of that fund should reach $200,000. During the same year, proposals were invited for extending[Pg 224] aid in establishment of a normal school, and propositions were received from various places.

In 1866 the board of regents was incorporated by the legislature.

Joel Foster.—Judge Foster was born at Meriden, Connecticut, Dec. 15, 1814. He was liberally educated. He came to Edwardsville, Illinois, in 1830, and to Hudson, then known as Buena Vista, in 1848. After a careful exploration of the country he made choice of the valley of the Kinnikinic, and made him a home in the fall of 1848, at the junction of the two branches of that stream, and within sound of its beautiful cascades. He was the pioneer settler of the River Falls of to-day. He built the first dwelling house, raised the first crops, and ever proved himself a worthy citizen, first in every good work and enterprise. He was a man of far more than ordinary intelligence and moral worth, was temperate, industrious, public spirited, sagacious and independent. He has filled many positions of responsibility, amongst them that of judge of St. Croix county. During the Mexican War he served as a quartermaster in Col. Bissell's Second Illinois Regiment. Judge Foster was married at Chicago in 1856 to Charlotte Porch. He died at his home in River Falls, Aug. 9, 1885.

Jesse B. Thayer was born Oct. 11, 1845, in Janesville, Wisconsin; was educated at Milton College in 1870, and is by profession a teacher. During the Rebellion he served in the Fortieth and Forty-ninth Wisconsin Volunteers as a private. He served five years as principal of the public schools in Menomonie, and since 1875 has been connected with the State Normal School at River Falls as conductor of institutes. In 1885 he was elected to represent Pierce county in the state assembly.

A. D. Andrews.—Dr. A. D. Andrews was born in Lowell, Maine, Sept. 21, 1830. He graduated at the Chicago Medical College in 1860, and in 1861 was commissioned assistant surgeon of the Sixth Wisconsin Infantry, of the famous Iron Brigade, with which he served up to the battle of Gettysburg. After retiring from the army he came to River Falls and engaged in milling, in which business he successfully continued until 1880, when he retired. He was elected state senator in 1878. He was appointed a regent of the Fourth State Normal School in 1877. He died at his home an River Falls, after a short illness,[Pg 225] July 23, 1885. He was mayor of the city at the time of his death.

Joseph A. Short.—Mr. Short was born in Madison county, New York, April 16, 1806. He learned the trade of a millwright. He visited the East and West Indies. He came to Milwaukee in 1842. In 1849 he went to California, but returned in 1854, and settled in River Falls, where he built a saw and planing mill, laid out an addition to the village and in various ways promoted the interests of the settlement. Mr. Short was a member of the Methodist church sixty years, and of the Masonic fraternity fifty years. He was married Aug. 25, 1831, in New York, to Olive Prossen. He died at his home, May 6, 1886, aged eighty years, leaving a son and three daughters.

Allen H. Weld.—Prof. A. H. Weld, widely known as a pioneer educator, and as the author of an excellent grammar, was born in Vermont in 1810. He graduated at Yale College. He came to River Falls in 1858 and taught the first graded school in the village. For two years he was principal of the high school at Hudson, and for six years was superintendent of schools in St. Croix county. He was a member of the state board of regents nine years, and was prime mover in securing the location of the State Normal School at River Falls. The excellent character of the schools in St. Croix county, and the high educational position of River Falls, are due to his untiring effort and wise direction. Mr. Weld was a member of the Congregational church and a consistent Christian as well as a progressive, public spirited man. He died in 1882, at his home in River Falls, leaving a widow and one son, Allen P.

Allen P. Weld was born in North Yarmouth, Maine, in 1839. In 1859 he graduated at Dartmouth College. He studied law and was admitted to practice in 1867, at Albany, New York. He taught school at Albany three years, and came to River Falls in 1859, where he is a dealer in real estate. He was married in 1872 to Alice Powell, daughter of Lyman Powell.

George W. Nichols was born in 1795, at Braintree, Vermont. His father was a soldier in the Revolution. At the age of seventeen he enlisted and served in the war of 1812. He lived in Vermont fifty years, in Massachusetts ten years, and in 1855 came to River Falls, where he engaged in farming until he was eighty years of age. He was married in Vermont to Deborah Hobart,[Pg 226] who died in 1874. His sons George H. and William H. reside in River Falls. They were soldiers during the war of the Rebellion. His son Isaac N. was a member of Capt. Samuels' company, and was killed at Perrysville, Kentucky. The Grand Army of the Republic post at River Falls has his name. He died in 1887.

W. D. Parker—Prof. Parker was born in Bradford, Orange county, Vermont, in 1839. He received a common school and academic education. At the age of sixteen years he entered the Janesville High School, and four years later graduated. He taught two years in Janesville, four years at Delavan, and one year in Monroe, Green county, Wisconsin. In 1867 he visited Europe, after which he taught two years at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. He was superintendent of schools five years at Janesville. In 1875 he was elected to the presidency of the Fourth State Normal School at River Falls. In 1886 he was elected state superintendent of public instruction. Prof. Parker was married to Justine B. Hewes, of Chicago, in 1869.

The Powell Family.—William Powell, the father, came to River Falls in 1849, where he lived with his sons until his death, Nov. 30, 1865. His second wife was the widow of —— Taylor, and the mother of Horace and Lute Taylor, the well known journalists. Mrs. Powell died in July, 1884.

Lyman Powell came to River Falls with his family in 1855. He was married to Lucinda Taylor, sister of Horace and Lute Taylor. Mr. Powell died at River Falls, Nov. 9, 1872, leaving a wife, two sons and five daughters.

Nathaniel N. Powell, the second son, born May 11, 1827, in St. Lawrence county, New York, came to River Falls in 1849, and pre-empted the northeast quarter of section 1, now a part of the site of River Falls city. He was married to Martha Ann Hart, Sept. 28, 1842, at Hudson. He died at River Falls, Sept. 28, 1862, leaving one son and one daughter.

Oliver S. Powell, the youngest son, was born June 19, 1831, and came to Hancock county, Illinois, in 1843, where he lived eight years. He had no great opportunities for gaining an education. He came to Stillwater in 1849, bringing with him the first threshing machine north of Prairie du Chien. He threshed the first grain threshed in the county in the fall of that year, for Fiske, on a farm three miles below Stillwater. In November,[Pg 227] 1849, he located in River Falls, pre-empting the south half of the southeast quarter of section 36, town 28, range 19, lands lying just north of those claimed by his brother, and which afterward became a part of River Falls. Mr. Powell was a representative in the state assembly in 1870-71-72, and was a county commissioner many years. He was married in 1860 to Elmira Nichols. They have three sons, Harvey C., Newell N. and Lyman T., and four daughters, Lucy M., Sarah H., Amy E., and Miriam.

Nils P. Haugen was born in Norway in 1849; came to America in 1853 and to River Falls in 1854. He graduated in the law department of Michigan State University in 1874. Mr. Haugen was phonographic reporter of the Eighth and Eleventh Judicial circuits for several years, and a member of the assembly from Pierce county in 1879 and 80. He was elected railroad commissioner for Wisconsin in 1881, and re-elected in 1884. In 1886 he was elected representative to Congress.

H. L. Wadsworth was born July 10, 1821, in Erie county, New York. He learned the trade of a shoemaker, came West in 1846, and settled at River Falls some time in the '50s, and engaged in farming. He has filled many positions of trust in the St. Croix valley, and in 1867 represented St. Croix county in the assembly. In 1841 he was married to Miss A. R. Baldwin. Eight children have been born to them.


Includes township 26, range 15. It was organized as a town Nov. 16, 1866. The first town meeting was held at the house of J. Prickett. The first commissioner was Sylvester Fox, chairman. The post offices are at Rock Elm, on the western line of the town, section 19, and Rock Elm Centre, sections 16 and 17. At the latter place is located Rock Elm Institute, a school of high grade, founded in 1880. Harrison Lowater is the principal. The town is well supplied with schools, there being as many as nine within its limits. Among its first settlers were Loomis Kellogg, Charles A. Hawn and Sylvester Fox.


Salem occupies township 25, range 16. It is drained by Rush river. It was organized as a town Jan. 13, 1862. First[Pg 228] board of supervisors, C. C. Carpenter, Eben White and J. H. Shults. The first school was taught in 1857, by Thompson McCleary. The first marriage was that of Harvey Seeley and Kate McKinstry. The first child born was Sarah Fuller. The first death was that of John McCleary, Sept. 2, 1863. The first post office was established at Rush River, May 1860, Joseph Seeley, postmaster. The first settlers were Jeremiah Fuller, from Ohio, and W. Wells, 1846; Harvey Seeley, 1848; Thomas Boyle and James White, 1854; John F. Davis from Ireland, 1856 (town clerk twenty years); John H. Brasington, from Pennsylvania (town treasurer fifteen years); Eben White, James Walsingham, John Strong, H. M. Hicks, from Pennsylvania, 1858; John Foley and brothers, from Ireland, 1856; James H. Shults, Joseph Seeley, H. C. Brown, John McClure, from Ireland; C. C. and Ira W. Carpenter, from Connecticut, 1858.

Mrs. Fuller, the wife of the pioneer, was here over six months, during which time she did not see a white woman.


Is the extreme northeastern town of the county, occupying township 27, range 15. The post offices are Oak Ridge and Spring Valley. The town was organized Nov. 10, 1868. The first town meeting was held at the house of A. M. Wilcox. The first supervisors were: W. D. Akers, chairman; Jonas Nebb; Levi Hess, clerk. The first school was taught in 1866, by Agnes Harriman. The Methodist and Baptist churches have organizations, and the Methodists have a building worth five hundred dollars. The first marriage was that of H. M. Wilcox to Mrs. Kate Rice, of Lake City, by W. D. Akers, justice of the peace. The first child born was a daughter of Ole P. Gardner. The first death was that of Leota Wilcox, in 1864. The first postmaster was B. H. Preston, 1871. The first settlers in the order of their coming were James Gilmore, O. P. Gardner, George Wilcox, John Francisco and W. D. Akers.


Trenton contains about twenty-eight sections, those on the Mississippi having very irregular boundaries. Twenty-four whole sections lie in township 25, range 18, and the remainder in township 24, range 18. Trenton, in section 33, township 25, is its post village. Trenton was organized in 1857; James Akers,[Pg 229] chairman of supervisors. Wilson Thing, the pioneer settler, came in 1848.


Trimbelle includes township 26, range 18. Its post villages are Trimbelle and Beldenville. It was organized March 2, 1855. Its supervisors were F. Otis, chairman, and Aaron Cornelison. Among its earliest settlers were the Cornelisons, F. Otis and M. B. Williams. It has four saw mills and one flouring mill, five school houses and one church (Methodist).

Martin B. Williams was born in New York in 1812. He received a common school education, and at the age of sixteen years was thrown upon his own resources. He learned the trade of blacksmith. He was married in New York, and has four sons, Clark M., Frank T., G. Glen and A. Judd. Mr. Williams is one of the pioneer settlers of Trimbelle, and has held many public town and county positions. He served as treasurer of Pierce county four years. He has been a local preacher in the Methodist Episcopal church for over thirty years.


Union consists of township 25, range 15. It is drained by Plum creek. It has two post offices, Plum Creek, in section 24, and Ono, section 6. It was organized Aug. 15, 1863. Among its first settlers were Eleazer Holt, Hiram N. Wood, and Capt. Horst, who made their homes here in the early '50s.


[B] In 1849 the town of Elisabeth was organized by St. Croix county, and included what is now Pierce county. The first board of supervisors were William Thing, chairman; Aaron Cornelius, and L. M. Harnsberger; clerk, Hilton Doe; treasurer, Geo. W. McMurphy. In 1851, by legislative enactment, the name Elisabeth was changed to Prescott.

[C] A member of the well known Faribault family, after whom the town of Faribault has been named.

[D] Note.—When I touched at Prescott in 1845, it was generally known as the "Mouth of St. Croix," though by some called "Prescott's Landing." The residents were Hilton Doe, a farmer; Geo. Schaser, boarding house keeper; W. S. Lockwood, merchant; Joseph Mosier, an Indian trader or storekeeper. The principal trade was with Indians.

[Pg 230]




Burnett county was named in honor of a genial, kind hearted and eccentric lawyer, Thomas Pendleton Burnett, of Prairie du Chien. It is somewhat irregular in outline, and is bounded on the north by Douglas, on the east by Barron, on the south by Polk and Barron counties, and on the west by the St. Croix river. It includes townships 37 to 42, range 14; from 38 to 42, range 15; from 38 to 41, ranges 16 and 17; from 37 to 40, ranges 18 and 19; from 37 to 38, range 20. Seven of these townships bordering on the St. Croix are fractional. Much of the soil of the county is a sandy loam admirably suited to cereals and vegetables. Some townships in the southeast are first class wheat lands. The timber is mostly a thicket-like growth of small pines, constituting what is called pine barrens. The southeast portion of the county is timbered with hardwoods. It is drained by the St. Croix, Trade, Wood, Clam, Yellow, and Namakagon rivers, with their tributaries, and with the Wood lakes (Big and Little), Mud Hen, Trade, Yellow, Spirit, and numerous other lakes. There are besides many thousand acres of marsh land. These marsh lands are by no means valueless, as they have given rise to a very important industry—the growing of cranberries. There are fine deposits of iron. Large tracts of bog ore are found in townships 38 to 41, ranges 16 to 19. There is an abundance of wild meadow land, easily drained and profitable to stock growers.

The settlers of this county are, for the greater part, Swedish and Norwegian emigrants, an intelligent, moral and religious class of people who, while they cherish the traditions, manners,[Pg 231] customs and language of their native country, still readily adapt themselves to American institutions, taking kindly to our common school system and to other distinctive features of their adopted country. A liberal spirit has characterized these people in building roads, bridges, school houses, churches, and making other public improvements. They have succeeded well also in their private enterprises, the cultivation of farms and the building of homes.


The county, originally a part of Polk, was set off March 1, 1856, and included also at that time, and till the year 1877, the present county of Washburn. It was organized in 1865. The first county officers, appointed by the governor, were: Judge, Nimrod H. Hickerson; clerk of court, Canute Anderson; register of deeds, Peter Anderson; treasurer, S. Thompson; sheriff, Martin B. Johnson; district attorney, Jacob Larson. Grantsburg was selected as the county seat. The first county supervisors, consisting of Michael Jenson, chairman, Thore Ingebritson and Peter Anderson, met Jan. 24, 1865. The first election was held at the house of Nimrod H. Hickerson, Nov. 7, 1865. The first frame house in the county was built at Grantsburg in 1865, by W. H. Peck. The first crops were raised in township 39, range 18, by Charles Ayer. The finances of the county have been managed discreetly. The state drainage fund was judiciously expended. The first deed recorded in Burnett county was a tax deed from Polk county to Simon Estonson, of the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter of section 35, township 38, range 19. It bears date Jan. 20, 1866.


So prominent a feature in Burnett and other counties in Northwest Wisconsin, consist of sandy stretches of undulating, though sometimes of level lands, sparsely covered with a growth of young pines, generally of the Black Prince variety. In some places, where the trees are crowded thickly together, they are not unlike immense cane-brakes. The trees, from their proximity, have grown very tall and slender. The lateral branches, crowded together and deprived of sunshine, have perished early and the growth of the young trees is chiefly vertical. The lower dead limbs remaining attached to the trunks give the young[Pg 232] forest a peculiarly ragged and tangled appearance. There is abundant evidence to prove the existence of ancient pine forests where these pine barrens are now the only growth. In fact some of the larger trees are still standing, and the charred trunks and decaying remnants of others. The gradations from the younger to the older growth may be very plainly seen. Fire is undoubtedly the efficient cause of the stunted and irregular growth of the pine barrens. The matured forests are destroyed by fire, and are succeeded by the young pines which are further reduced and injured by annual fires. It is a mistake to suppose that the soil of these barrens is necessarily poor. Many of them have a black, sandy soil, capable of producing fine crops. In most of them there is a dense undergrowth of blueberry bushes, producing annually millions and millions of bushels of their small but luscious fruit.


Burnett county is not without the traditions of lawlessness and murder that tarnish so many frontier settlements, and here, as elsewhere, the primal cause of most of such crimes is whisky. Whisky maddens the brain and nerves the arm of the assassin. Whisky hardens the heart and blinds the eyes to what is right, and the sale of whisky on the frontier, authorized or unauthorized, in nearly all cases the latter, is the bartering of the human life for gold. The money received for it is the price of blood, although in some instances the seller himself may be the victim. It is whisky that does the work.

Jack Drake, a whisky seller at Wood Lake, whose outfit was supplied by Samuels & Partridge, naturally of a quarrelsome disposition, was especially so when under the influence of liquor. On one of these occasions he was killed by a half-breed known as Robideau, and his body was buried on the shores of Little Wood lake. Robideau was imprisoned a short time at St. Croix Falls, but being carelessly guarded, easily made his escape and was not heard of afterward. What did it matter? It was only the result of a drunken row.

The body of a murdered stranger was found by a crew of men working on Little Wood river, in the spring of 1843. He had left Superior City with an Indian guide for St. Paul, and was not afterward seen alive. His land warrants and watch, which had been taken from him, were afterward recovered, and the Indian[Pg 233] who had been his guide was himself mysteriously assassinated the following spring.

Geezhic.—At Wood Lake, Burnett county, Wisconsin, lived in 1874 an aged and blind Indian woman who calculated her pilgrimage on earth by moons. All traces of her traditional beauty as an Indian maiden had long since departed. Shriveled, decrepit, bent, she was the impersonation of all that is unlovely and repulsive in age. Taciturn and sullen, her mind lethargic and dull, she seemed but little more than half alive, and could not easily be aroused to the comprehension of passing events, or to the recognition of those around her. She must have been very old. When aroused to consciousness, which was but seldom, she would talk of things long past. A light would come into her sightless eyes as she recounted the traditions, or described the manners and customs of her people, and spoke with evident pride of their ancient power and prowess when her people planted their tepees on the shores of the "Shining Big Sea Water" (Lake Superior) and drove their enemies, the Dakotahs, before them. Her people wore blankets made from the skins of the moose; elk and buffalo, with caps from the skins of the otter and beaver. There was then an abundance of "kego" (fish) and "wash-kish" (deer). There were no pale faces then in all the land to drive them from their tepees and take their hunting grounds. Of course there had been occasional whites, hunters, trappers and missionaries, but the formidable movements of the now dominant race had not fairly commenced. Counting the years of her life on her fingers, so many moons representing a year, she must have numbered a score beyond a century, and she had consequently witnessed, before her eyes were dimmed, the complete spoliation of her people's ancestral domain.

The physical features of the country have undergone a change. The towering pines have decayed or been leveled by the woodman's axe. Some of the small lakes have receded, and tall grasses wave and willows grow where once the "kego" sported in the clear blue waters. "The sun drew the waters up into the heavens," but the old shores may still be traced, by the fresh water shells that are crushed by the foot of the explorer, and by the ineffaceable mark of the water breaking upon the beach and undermining the rocky ledges.

A few Indians still linger on the old hunting grounds and[Pg 234] about the graves of their fathers, but as a race they are doomed, and the time is not far distant when their only memorials will be the printed or striped rocks that are found along the streams and lakes, and here and there the sunken graves of the vanquished race.


In the autumn of the year 1833 the first mission was established in the St. Croix valley, at the outlet of Yellow lake, in Burnett county. This may be considered the first actual movement in opening the way for white settlements in the St. Croix valley. The good and indefatigable laborers, who came away into these western wilds, spent many years in this valley endeavoring to improve the benighted aborigines. Their labors were successful, until the bane of the human family—alcoholic drinks—was introduced by the corrupt border traders. Rev. Fred Ayer (since a resident of Belle Prairie, Minnesota, and a member of the convention that framed our constitution), Mrs. Ayer, with Miss Crooks (afterward Mrs. Boutwell) as teacher, arrived at Yellow Lake Sept. 16, 1833. Miss Crooks opened her school on the twenty-fourth, with eight scholars. This was evidently the first school in the St. Croix valley. This mission was under the patronage of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Thirty or forty Indians came to the trading house, a mile from the mission, for the purpose of obtaining ammunition and moccasins for making what is called the fall hunt. During their visit at the traders', Mr. Ayer had the opportunity of explaining the object of his mission—schooling their children, and aiding them in agriculture, planting their gardens, and furnishing them with seeds. To the objects of the mission all listened with interest, but, as the chiefs were not present, no reply was made to Mr. Ayer. After obtaining their supplies from the traders, they dispersed for their fall hunt. The school in the meantime progressed, and frequent opportunities occurred for giving religious instructions to adults during the winter. In April some twenty-five families encamped near the mission; many were interested in the objects which the mission proposed. In the spring of 1834 four families made gardens by the mission and schooled their children; three of the families belonged to the influential in the band. One of these, the chief who visited Washington during the administration of Adams, was Gis-kil-a-way, or "Cat Ear."[Pg 235]

The Indian mind is suspicious of the white man. Waiingas, "The Wolf," another chief of considerable note, was prejudicing the minds of his friends against the whites. He openly declared that if the Indians would join him, he would burn the mission house and drive the teachers from his country. On one occasion a party of Indians, including this hostile chief, passed the evening at Mr. Ayer's. The chief closed his speech at midnight with these words: "The Indians are troubled in mind about your staying here, and you must go—you shall go; not only I say so, but all here present say so!" The next morning all the Indians assembled. The trader, the late Dr. Borup, and his wife were present. The Wolf and his party were determined to expel all the whites. The friend of the white man, Cat Ear, took the floor and shaking hands with Dr. Borup and Mr. Ayer, began a speech of half an hour's length. Pointing to The Wolf and to two other chiefs sitting side by side, he says: "I speak for them. Look at them. To them belong this land. Since last evening we have considered this subject. We have changed our minds. The Great Spirit made us all—made us red—you white. He gave you your religion, manners and customs—he gave us ours. Before we saw white man we dressed in skins and cooked with stones. You found our land on the map and come—since then you have clothed and provided for us. Why should we send you away? We only should be the sufferers—all of us tell you to stay—again we say, stay. We do not wish you to go; no, no—we say to you all, stay; you may plant and build, but the land is ours. Our Great Father has sent you here—we are glad—we will tell you why we fear the whites—we fear you will get our land away. If this room were full of goods we would not exchange our lands for them. This land is ours and our children's; it is all we have."

The mission at Yellow Lake had been in progress two years. Several families had listened with glowing interest to religious instruction, schooled their children, and cultivated gardens near the mission, when Mr. Ayer visited the band of Indians at Pokegama. Here were some thirty-five or forty families in the year 1835. The chief and two or three families expressed to him a desire to settle down and school their children. They requested him to come and bring all with him who wished to come from Yellow Lake. The reasons that induced him to Pokegama were,[Pg 236] first, the means of subsistence were more abundant, both for the Indians and the mission family—wild rice and fish in particular; this being the case the Indians could be more stationary and send their children to school. Second, the soil for agricultural purposes was superior to that of Yellow Lake. As one of the leading objects of the mission was to induce the Indians to settle down and adopt habits of civilization, this object could be better attained at this place than at Yellow Lake, where it was comparatively sterile and sandy. A third object gained would be to locate in the midst of a larger number of Indians, with whom we could come in more frequent contact, and last, but not least, put the mission in a nearer point of communication with St. Peter, from whence all the family necessaries were obtained at that day. These reasons, together with the solicitation of one of the chiefs, and his permission to build on his land, and use his wood, water and fish, led Mr. Ayer, in the fall of 1835, to remove to Pokegama.

For the continued history of this mission the reader is referred to the history of Pine county.

Chippewas of Wood Lake.—A small band of Chippewas, as late as 1870, lingered about Big Wood lake, unwilling to leave their old hunting grounds. Though brought directly in contact with civilization, they adopted its vices, otherwise remaining savages, taking no part in cultivating the soil or educating their children, contented to live and die in the old fashion of their race. They subsist, as far as possible, by hunting and fishing, and are by no means above begging when occasion may offer. They retain their annual dances and festivals, at the occurrence of which other bands join them from a distance. A dance with its accompanying feasts occupies generally about ten days, and is conducted according to rigid formulas. These dances are intended as representations of hunting, fishing or fighting, and are honored accordingly. They are accompanied with music upon rude instruments, and a weird chant in guttural and nasal tones, which may be understood as a poetic recital of their deeds or expression of their feelings. Their dead are buried in conspicuous places. The graves are decorated with splints of timber. A pole with rags and trinkets is planted near the graves. There is nothing that can long mark their resting places or keep them from being desecrated by the share of the plowman.[Pg 237]


Was founded by Canute Anderson, in 1865, in section 14, town 38, range 19. He built a flour and saw mill, the first in the county, a good hotel, and opened a store. It became the centre of trade for the county, prospered continuously, and now (in 1886) contains a good court house, built at a cost of $7,000 (burned December, 1887), a school house, four churches, two hotels, five stores and numerous shops and dwellings. There are two resident lawyers and one physician. Grantsburg is the terminus of the St. Paul & Duluth (branch) railroad, completed in 1884. The scheme of building a branch road to connect with the St. Paul & Duluth railroad at Rush City was long cherished by Canute Anderson, and through his efforts the road was finally built. The county voted $20,000 bonds, at seven per cent interest, which bonds the state of Wisconsin cashed. The road was graded from Grantsburg to the St. Croix river in 1878, from Rush City to St. Croix in 1882. The St. Paul & Duluth Railroad Company built the railroad and assumed the bonded indebtedness, payable in fifteen annual installments. Cars ran to the St. Croix river in 1883. The bridge over the St. Croix, completed in 1883, cost $20,000. The road was opened to Grantsburg Jan. 22, 1884. At this opening over a thousand persons were present, five hundred of whom came in on the train. Canute Anderson made an address of welcome, followed by James Smith, president of the road. Congratulatory letters were read from Hons. S. S. Fifield, Henry M. Rice, and W. H. C. Folsom, the tenor of which was highly complimentary to Mr. Anderson, and full of hope for the future of the railroad and its terminus.

Canute Anderson was born in Norway, 1830. He came to America in 1851, and three years later settled in the northeast quarter of section 2, township 37, range 19, making a large stock farm, part of it being a fine natural meadow, with running stream. In 1858 the first post office in the county (called Anderson) was established at his house, and he was appointed postmaster. In 1878 he represented Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, and Polk counties in the legislature. He is and ever has been a master spirit in his county, using all his influence to further the interests of his adopted home. Many of the early settlers were poor,—strangers in a strange land,—and for them Mr. Anderson's house was ever a resort. It was also[Pg 238] an intelligence office, where the inquiring immigrant could obtain reliable information as to the country and its resources, and facilities to the settler. In 1860 Mr. Anderson was married to Catharine Nelson, daughter of Magnus Nelson, one of Burnett county's first settlers.

The Hickerson Family came from Ohio to Wisconsin. Nimrod H., the oldest brother, settled on Wood river in 1859, built a saw mill, kept a hotel and established a post office on the St. Paul and Bayfield stage route in 1860. Mr. Hickerson went to California in 1875, and died there. Joel, the second brother, is a merchant at Grantsburg. He served during the later years of the Civil War as a soldier, Company C, Seventh Minnesota Volunteers, and was pensioned for disabilities. He was married in 1868 to Mary Anderson. Perry D., the third brother, keeps a hotel in Grantsburg. He was also a member of Company C, Seventh Minnesota Volunteers, and with his brother was mustered out at the close of the war, and has received a pension for disabilities. He was married to Ellen M. Anderson, daughter of Peter Anderson. They have eleven children. Newton, the fourth son, lives in Grantsburg. He was a soldier in Company D, Twenty-first Ohio, during the war. Was wounded and totally disabled. He has no pension. He is unmarried.

The Anderson Family.—The four brothers, Peter, George, Hans and Martin, with their aged parents, came from Norway and settled in Grantsburg in 1883. The father but recently died. The mother is still living, having reached the extreme age of ninety-seven years. During the last six years she has been blind. Peter Anderson was married in Norway in 1846. His wife died in 1877, leaving three sons and four daughters. He was married to his second wife in 1878. Peter has served as county supervisor, and filled other offices. The brothers have been active in promoting the interests of their town and county.

Robert A. Doty was born in Niagara county, New York; lived some years in Genesee county, Michigan, and settled in Sterling, Polk county, in 1865. He subsequently became the first settler in the town of Marshfield, Burnett county. He was accidentally killed in 1879 by being thrown from his wagon. His widow and two sons live in Grantsburg. John H., the oldest son, resides on the old homestead in Sterling.[Pg 239]


The cultivation of the cranberry is an important industry in Burnett county. The berry is raised chiefly in townships 38 and 39, ranges 17 and 18. The writer of these sketches visited the localities named in 1873, and although there have been many changes and improvements since then, the description quoted from an essay read before the Horticultural Society will still be generally applicable:

"The scene on approaching these marshes, where the native cranberry was found, before the white man had commenced to improve them, was picturesque in the extreme to those who have a taste for Nature's handiwork. There are extensive tracts of land covering thousands of acres, dotted here and there with islands of young pine and points of highland projecting in various shapes into the marshes. It reminded me of an ocean bay, in a calm, only changing the ocean water color to endless green. There are in these marshes somewhere from one to two townships of land, on which cranberries were then growing, or susceptible of being improved so that cranberries can be raised thereon. One township contains 23,040 acres. The parties operating on the marshes I visited already have some 30 or 40 miles of ditch made, averaging 5 feet at the top, 3 feet at the bottom, with an average depth of 4 feet, at a cost of about 75 cents per rod. These ditches are to drain the water from the marshes when desired. They have dams across these ditches, to flood the marshes when desired. The flooding of the marshes aids in subduing the wild grasses and other incumbrances, also is essential to the growth of the berries. On these marshes, wherever the flowage is killing the grass, the vine is rapidly spreading, without transplanting. Undoubtedly they would yield a quicker return by transplanting. Large tracts of these lands, which, at this time have no vines, are bought by companies, mostly from the cranberry lands in Eastern Wisconsin, who are experienced in this business, and know what they are doing. They openly declare that vines can be grown on these marshes, where sufficient water can be obtained and controlled to flow the lands. Mr. Irvine informed me that this flooding process, and the manner in which it was controlled, was the key to success. I examined the effect which one year alone had accomplished, as these companies commenced operations in 1872. It surprised me when I saw the mode, and heard it explained,[Pg 240] that so little was generally known of this business. After the marshes are subdued, dams and ditches built, there is comparatively small cost in raising the fruit until the harvest, when men, women and children flock in from the farming countries to pick, to pack, to store, to dry, to box, and convey to market. An expert will pick from five to ten bushels per day by hand, no rakes being allowed. In 1873 these marshes had an abundant yield. These companies paid to outsiders one dollar and fifty cents per bushel. There are several companies operating in Burnett county. They have made and are making substantial improvements, in building roads, dry houses, dwelling houses, etc. The past year a saw mill was erected for sawing staves for barrels, lumber for boxes, etc. These marshes are about twenty miles east of the Superior railroad."


Washburn county was organized in 1883, and embraces townships 37 to 42, inclusive, and ranges 10 to 13, inclusive, a total of 24 townships. It is drained by St. Croix waters with the exception of the southeast corner, which is drained by a branch of the Chippewa river. It has been a rich timbered region and large forests of pine still remain. The greater part of the county is adapted to agriculture, and is settling rapidly. Two lines of railway traverse the county, one from south to north, and the other from southwest to northeast, giving the county excellent facilities for transportation and marketing of products. The county is divided into two towns, Bashaw in the south and Veasie in the north. These towns were organized in 1877, while Washburn was a part of Burnett county. The first supervisors of Bashaw were: L. E. Thomas, chairman; John Arbuckle and John McMullen. The town of Bashaw was the first settled. John McMullen settled in township 38, range 13, in 1872, in Bashaw valley. He married a member of the Hart family, old settlers of the town. He died in 1878. L. E. Thomas was the second settler in Bashaw and in Washburn county, and has been officially connected with the town and county organization. He is a native of Michigan, and has followed lumbering and farming. L. E. Thomas built the first house. Nellie Raberge taught the first school in Bashaw, in 1881. Miss Raberge has since become the wife of Milton Stratton. The first post office was[Pg 241] established in 1880, Mrs. Malcolm Dobie, postmistress. The first sermon was preached by Rev. Ellingwood. G. P. Pearly was the first physician; A. L. Bugbee, the first lawyer. Messrs. Hart, Baker, Gardner and others have large farms in Bashaw valley. By the act organizing the county,


was made the county seat. It is beautifully located on the shores of Summit lake. It has a court house, built at a cost of $11,000, in 1885, one of the most tasteful buildings of the kind in the St. Croix valley. The town is built on railroad lands, purchased by the Shell Lake Lumber Company, and by them surveyed into lots. The streets are from sixty-six to eighty feet wide. A restriction in the deeds to the lots and lands against the sale of alcoholic drinks has been continuously violated. In 1883 the town board fixed license at five hundred dollars, a plain violation of the original agreement.

A fine school building with four apartments was built in 1885, at a cost of $5,000. Prof. Halphyde is principal of the schools. The Episcopalians and Catholics have church buildings. The Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans and Presbyterians have church organizations. The Masons, Good Templars and Knights of Labor have organizations.

Summit lake, on the west bank of which the town is situated, is about two and a half miles broad by three and a half long. It has bold, gravelly shores. The water is deep, clear and pure. The slopes surrounding it are covered with evergreen, and hardwood timber. One small steamer floats upon its waters.

The first board of county officers was as follows: Treasurer, Leander E. Thomas; clerk, Frank B. Nelson; sheriff, James Wynne; attorney, Frank Gudette; register of deeds, Albert L. Bugbee; judge, L. H. Mead; clerk of court, A. Gibson; superintendent of schools, Clara Stratton; surveyor, Patrick Kelly. The first circuit court was held in June, 1883, Hon. S. S. Clough, presiding. The county has two court terms for the year, in June and December.

The Shell Lake Lumber Company was organized in 1880, under Iowa laws. It is composed of C. Lamb and David Joice and sons, of Clinton, Iowa; Laird, Norton & Co., of Winona; Weyerhauser & Dinkeman, of Rock Island, Illinois; S. T. McKnight,[Pg 242] of Hannibal, Missouri; D. R. Moore, Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Their mills are located on the northwest side of Summit lake. They have a capacity of 50,000,000 feet per year. The capital stock amounts to $500,000. Employment is furnished to 250 men. In 1880 the hour system of labor was adopted. A narrow gauge railroad, twelve miles long, supplied with two locomotives and fifty cars, is used for bringing logs to mill. This road has a steel track and 3,000 feet of piling. The refuse burner of the mill is 20 feet in diameter and 102 in height. There are 63 tenement houses to accommodate the laborers. A. H. Earle superintends this vast concern.

Sawyer creek obtained its name from Seth M. Sawyer, of Stillwater. This stream flows into Yellow river, five miles from Summit lake. It rises from springs three hundred feet from the lake, and one hundred feet lower down, and may be considered its subterranean outlet, as visible outlet there is none. The lake, literally a summit lake, the receding and descending slopes, the springs uniting to form a larger stream, form a peculiar landscape, quite park-like in some of its features, and worthy of being converted into a park.


In the township of Veazie, on the north branch of the Yellow river, township 39, range 12, is a dinner station on the North Wisconsin railroad. The railroad company have fitted up an elegant eating house, and a few neat buildings, the nucleus of a much larger village, cluster around it.


Is in township 41, range 10, and has a post office. The town of Veazie, occupying the northern part of the county, was organized in 1877. Millions of feet of pine timber have been gathered and marketed from this town, and it is estimated that 150,000,600 feet still remain. Ames and Sinnot station are in the township of Veazie.


Sawyer county was organized March 9, 1883. It is comprised of townships 37 to 42, and ranges 5 to 9, inclusive. Of these townships twenty-five are drained by Chippewa waters and five by Namakagon river. The county is heavily timbered[Pg 243] with pine, though vast quantities have been taken and marketed. The county seat was located at Hayward in the bill organizing the county. The county officers, appointed by Gov. Rusk, were: Sheriff, A. Blaisdell; clerk, C. H. Clapperton; register of deeds, H. E. Ticknor; treasurer, R. L. McCormack; county judge, H. W. Hart; attorney, N. E. Ticknor; superintendent of schools, Miss M. Mears; surveyor, W. J. Moulton; coroner, E. G. Gregg.

The court house was built in 1885, at a cost of $18,000. The county at its organization assumed the following indebtedness:

To Ashland county$25,000
To town of Ashland, Ashland county1,870
To town of Butternut, Ashland county2,050
To Chippewa county1,900
To town of Flambeau, Chippewa county (disputed claim)5,000
To town of Big Bend, Chippewa county3,000
To town of Sigel, Chippewa county2,000
Outside indebtedness, total$40,820

All this indebtedness, with the exception of the unsettled claim of Flambeau, Chippewa county, has been paid. Since its organization the county has expended $30,000 on roads to Chippewa waters. This, added to the cost of the court house, $18,000, a school house for the town of Hayward, $6,500, town hall for Hayward $5,000, makes a total of expenditures for the county within the past three years of $106,420, a remarkable sum for a new county with so sparse a population to pay, but not so remarkable when we take into account the immense value of its lumber products and standing timber.

Hayward is the only town in the county. Its first board of supervisors were: A. J. Hayward, chairman; Thos. Manwarin and Michael Jordan. A. L. McCormack was first treasurer, and C. C. Claghorn, clerk. The village is situated in sections 21 and 22, township 41, range 9, upon a level pine plateau on the north side of Namakagon river, a tributary of the St. Croix. The village was platted in 1883, but a post office had been established the year before, C. H. Clapperton being the first postmaster. The first marriage in the town of Hayward and county of Sawyer was that of Fred Emmons and Mary Lindmark, in 1883. The first birth was that of a daughter to Al. Blaisdell. The first death was that of Nels J. Eggin. Rev. A. Safford preached the first sermon. Anna Shafer taught the first school. E. G. Gregg[Pg 244] opened the first store. H. E. Ticknor was the first lawyer and J. B. Trowbridge the first physician.

The first school house, built at a cost of $5,000, was burned. There was an insurance of $4,500. A new building was erected at a cost of $6,000, with three departments, and with steam heating apparatus. Prof. F. A. Nichols was the principal.

The Congregational church at Hayward is one of the finest church buildings in the Northwest. It is built in the Queen Anne style, with circular seats, the whole finished in exquisite taste. Senator Sawyer, after whom the county was named, contributed a town clock and bell worth $1,000. The Catholics have a church here, and the Lutherans an organization. The Odd Fellows and Knights of Labor have organizations.

The Sawyer County Bank was organized March 9, 1884, with a capital stock of $200,000, divided equally between three stockholders, R. L. McCormack, A. J. Hayward and E. H. Halbert, the latter being general manager and cashier. The bank deals in real estate, abstracts, insurance and general monetary business. The business transacted for the year ending June 6, 1886, amounted to $3,000,000. The bank building is a substantial brick. The Hayward Lumber Company has a mill on the Namakagon river. The water power has a fall of eighteen feet and a flowage of about three miles. A sixty foot channel has been left through the flowage for slucing logs. The saw mill has a capacity of 35,000,000 feet per annum. It has a planing mill attached. The company is composed of T. F. Robinson, Weyerhauser & Dinkeman and R. L. McCormack. Mr. Weyerhauser is president of the company. Mr. Weyerhauser is also president of the Rock Island Lumber Company and of Weyerhauser, Dinkeman & Co., of Rock Island, and is a stockholder in Renwick, Crosset & Co., Cloquet, Minnesota, Shell Lake, Barronett, Masons, White River, and Chippewa Falls Lumber companies, and is president of the Beef Slough Boom and Chippewa and Mississippi Logging companies. Mr. Weyerhauser is the most extensive holder and owner of unoperated pine lands in the West, or probably on the continent. The stockholders of the Hayward Lumber Company are all men of wealth accumulated by their own industry. Mr. R. L. McCormack, the resident stockholder and manager, is admirably adapted for the position he holds. Mr. McCormack was a citizen of Minnesota for fourteen[Pg 245] years, and a member of the Minnesota legislature in 1881. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1847.

Dobie & Stratton, contractors for pine stumpage on the Lac Oreilles Indian reservation, reside in Hayward. They cut 28,000,000 feet of logs in the winter of 1885-86.

Malcomb Dobie, of this firm, is a native of Canada. He came to the St. Croix valley in 1864, and was married to Harriet Stratton, at St. Croix Falls, in 1874.

Milton V. Stratton, brother of Mrs. Dobie, was raised at St. Croix Falls, and engaged in business with Mr. Dobie. In 1886, his health failing, he removed to California.


Barron county was formerly a heavily timbered tract of country, but is now being rapidly cleared and settled. It is well watered by the Red Cedar and its tributaries, and has many beautiful lakes, among them Turtle, Beaver, Chetek, Red Cedar, Rice, Bear, and Long lakes. The county was first established as Dallas county, in 1859, and attached to Polk for judicial purposes. In 1868 it was organized for county and judicial purposes, and the county seat was changed from Manhattan to Barron, section 26, township 34, range 12. By act of legislature in 1869, the name of the county was changed to Barron, and the county seat was called by the same name, in honor of Hon. Henry D. Barron, then judge of the Eleventh circuit. It comprises townships 32 to 36, inclusive, and ranges 10 to 14, in all 25 townships. Barron county has three railroads, on the lines of which thriving settlements have sprung up. The railroads are three, the North Wisconsin, a branch line of the Omaha, and the Minneapolis, Soo Ste. Marie & Atlantic. The North Wisconsin railroad passes through the northwestern part of the county. The Chippewa Falls & Superior City branch of the Omaha enters the southeast corner, and traverses the county in a direction west of north. The Minneapolis, Soo Ste. Marie & Atlantic passes through the middle of the county in a direction from east to west.


Was organized in 1879. The village of Turtle Lake is situated in sections 30 and 31, township 34, range 14. It contains a large[Pg 246] saw mill with a capacity of 40,000,000 feet per annum; a union depot, used by the North Wisconsin, and Minneapolis, Soo Ste. Marie & Atlantic railroads, and stores, shops and dwellings, all new. The Minneapolis, Soo Ste. Marie & Atlantic railroad was built through the county in 1885, and completed in 1887.


The county seat, is a growing lumber town, with farming lands to the south. It has a population of over 1,000. The "Soo Line" railway has a station here.


Is located also in Turtle Lake town, in section 8, township 34, range 14, and on the line of the North Wisconsin railroad. It has a large saw mill with a capacity of 16,000,000 feet per annum. The village is beautifully located on Horse Shoe lake.


Is situated in the town of Cumberland, section 7, township 35, range 15, on Beaver Dam lake. It is pleasantly situated, and is the largest village on the line of the Northwestern railroad. Its appearance gives evidence of enterprise and thrift on the part of its citizens. The Beaver Dam Lumber Company have here a saw mill with a capacity of 24,000,000 feet per annum. Cook & Co. have a saw mill (burned and rebuilt) with a capacity of 6,000,000 feet. The village has a bank and one newspaper, the Cumberland Advocate, first issued in 1880 as the Herald.

Cumberland was organized as a village in 1881, and organized under a city charter in 1885. The population is now about 1,700. The mercantile business will aggregate about $500,000 annually. The aggregate output of lumber is 30,000,000 feet, while other industries aggregate $200,000 per annum. There are four churches, one graded school of five departments in which students are prepared to enter college. There is here one banking house.


Is a village in Cumberland, on the Northwestern railroad. It has a saw mill with a capacity of about 15,000,000 feet per annum.[Pg 247]


In Cumberland, on the Northwestern railroad, has a shingle mill and saw mill, the latter having a capacity of about 5,000,000 feet.


In Cumberland, is located in township 36, range 13, in the midst of a well timbered region. Its saw mill, directly on the county line, has a capacity of 25,000,000 feet. M. Bowron has a farm adjoining the village of 250 acres, improved and yielding tame grass.

De Graw and Granite Lake Mills are also located on the Northwestern railroad.

Turtle Lake, Scott's Siding, Cosgrove, Barron, the county seat, Cameron and Canton, are on the Minneapolis, Soo Ste. Marie & Atlantic railroad.

Chetek, Cameron Junction, Rice Lake and Bear Creek are located on the Omaha branch.

Charles Simeon Taylor.—Mr. Taylor was born in Geneva, Wisconsin, October, 1851; graduated at the Wisconsin State University; studied law and settled at Barron, Barron county, in 1876, where he practices his profession and edits the Barron County Shield. He was elected member of the Thirty-seventh Wisconsin assembly in 1885-86 and represented the counties of Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, and Washburn.

[Pg 248]




Ashland was originally a part of Crawford county, afterward of St. Croix and La Pointe, and was set off from the latter March 27, 1860. It is bounded on the north by Lake Superior and Montreal river, on the east by Oneida, on the south by Price and Chippewa, and on the west by Bayfield and Chippewa counties. It includes townships 41 to 47, ranges 1, 2, and 3 east of the fourth principal meridian, and townships 41 to 48 west of the same; the northern towns bordering on Montreal river and Lake Superior are fractional. The group of Apostle islands belongs to this county. The surface is generally level except where broken by the iron and copper ranges in the middle and southern part of the county. The Gogebic range, southeast of Ashland, is especially rich in iron. A railroad along this range connects Ashland with the Michigan roads. The soil is somewhat varied, ranging from sandy loam in the interior, to red clay on the lake shore. The county is drained by Bad, White and Montreal rivers and their tributaries, and the headwaters of the Chippewa. The timber is pine, fir, birch, etc.

The Apostle islands, situated in Lake Superior at the mouth of Chequamegon bay, form a fine natural harbor. The group consists of twenty-two islands, the most considerable of which are Madeline, Oatez, Oak, Hemlock, Rice, Basswood, Presque, Bear, Sand, and Michigan. The islands range in area from a very few acres up to 14,804. They are heavily timbered with hardwood, have fertile soil, and are well adapted to farm and garden[Pg 249] culture. The largest of these islands is Madeline, situated directly at the entrance to Chequamegon bay, and noted as containing the oldest settlement on the lake. Claude Allouez, a Jesuit missionary, landed at Madeline island Oct. 1, 1665, and erected a bark chapel at the place now known as La Pointe, and commenced instructing the Indians of the Algonquin and Huron tribes. Since that time the island has been held by missionaries and trading companies, with some pretty long intervals of abandonment. In 1800, M. Cadot, a French trader, came to La Pointe, erected fortified dwellings and lived here till his death, in 1837. At the commencement of the present century the American Fur Company made its headquarters on the southern part of the island, and occupied a post there until 1835, when they removed to La Pointe. Rev. Sherman Hall, of the Presbyterian church, established a mission here in 1830. In 1835 Rev. Father Baraga, a Catholic missionary, arrived, and built a church which he occupied until 1841, when he built a better one, which still stands in the inclosure of an ancient burying ground. This church contains a painting said to be over two hundred years old. Some of the graves are quite ancient, and have quaint inscriptions upon their tombstones. One that has often been copied and commented on by tourists is as follows:


These islands are becoming a fashionable resort for tourists, and many of them have been utilized as pleasant summer residences. Some of them are occupied by lighthouses of which there are five in all. The islands abound in brown stone, which is being quarried extensively for building purposes. The stone for the Milwaukee court house was taken from the quarries on Basswood island.

La Pointe County Election.—In 1848 La Pointe county was set off from St. Croix county, and at an election held Nov. 10, 1848, John H. Wells and Leonard Wheeler were elected justices of the peace, and J. F. Hughes was elected clerk of the board of county commissioners. Returns of their election and that of[Pg 250] members of the legislature were made to Hudson, county seat of St. Croix county.

Hon. John W. Bell, born in New York City in 1805, in his eighth year went to Canada with his parents, learned to be a watchmaker, a ship builder and a cooper, and came to La Pointe in 1835, where he has since resided. He carried on the coopering business first, for the American Fur Company, and then for himself established a trading post, became interested in mining stocks, and filled various county offices, having served as county judge and register of deeds a great many years. In later life he was postmaster at La Pointe. He was married in 1837 to Miss Margaret Brahant, in the Catholic chapel, by Bishop Baraga. He died in 1888.


Is situated on a plateau of about thirty feet elevation, on the south shore and near the head of Chequamegon bay. The first house, a cabin, was built in 1854. Other cabins were added the same year. In the cabin erected by Mr. Asaph Whittlesey, in the winter of 1854-55, was preached the first sermon in Ashland by Rev. L. H. Wheeler, of the Odanah mission. A post office was established in March, 1855, Mr. Whittlesey, postmaster. The first American child born was the second daughter of Asaph Whittlesey. The name of Ashland was conferred upon the town by Martin Beaser, an ardent admirer of Henry Clay, it being the name of Mr. Clay's homestead. The village and post office was first known as Whittlesey, but on the organization of the county in 1860, the name of Ashland was applied to both. The new town was not destined to immediate and continuous prosperity, and at one time, in 1863, had decreased so much in population that its post office was discontinued for a period of nine years. After that date it entered upon an era of prosperity.

Julia Wheeler taught the first school in 1859. The Methodists organized the first Protestant society in 1872. The Catholics commenced a church building in 1873. In 1872 the first newspaper in Ashland, the Press, was established by Sam S. and Hank O. Fifield, under whose charge it remained until 1874, when S. S. Fifield bought his brother's interest in the paper and has since published it continuously, and in 1888 established a daily.[Pg 251]

In 1872 the Wisconsin Central railroad commenced work at the bay, and the outlay for improvements that year amounted to $244,800. The Wisconsin Central railroad built the Hotel Chequamegon in 1877. It is built in the form of an L, 120 feet front and 80 feet deep with 400 feet of veranda, and accommodations for 100 guests. There are numerous other hotels in the city, and several boarding houses receive guests during the summer season. Ashland has vast lumber interests. The Ashland Lumber Company built the first mill, in 1872, which had a capacity of about 15,000,000 feet per annum. The Union mill, built in 1878, has a capacity of about 18,000,000 feet. Mueller & Richie's mill, built in 1881, has a capacity of about 20,000,000 feet. There is also a planing mill belonging to Geo. White. Ashland has become a railroad centre. The Wisconsin Central, St. Paul & Omaha, Milwaukee & Lake Shore and Northern Pacific concentrate a heavy freight for their elevators and lake docks. The largest dock in the world was built in Ashland in 1887. It was built almost expressly for iron ore shipments from Penoka and Gogebic ranges.

Asaph Whittlesey selected the site of Ashland in 1854, and in conjunction with George Kilborn built the first dwelling. He was the first postmaster. He was appointed in 1855. He represented Ashland, Burnett, Douglas, La Pointe, Polk, and St. Croix in the Wisconsin assembly in 1860.

J. P. T. Haskell was the second settler in Ashland. He came with his wife, Nov. 2, 1854, but did not long remain.

S. S. Vaughn was born in Cuyahoga county, Ohio, Sept. 2, 1830. He came with his brother to La Pointe in 1852, and engaged in the fishing and fur trade until 1855, when he returned to Ohio. After taking a course in a commercial college, he returned to Wisconsin in 1856, took a claim of one hundred and sixty acres at Ashland and opened a store at Bayfield. In 1856 he surveyed and platted what is known as Vaughn's addition to Ashland. In 1871 he represented Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, and Polk counties in the Wisconsin assembly. At Ashland he built docks, warehouses and a store, and in later years dealt largely in iron mines and in lumber. He was married to Miss E. Patrick, of Ohio, in 1864. He died at Ashland, February, 1886. He induced the Wisconsin Central Railroad Company to make Ashland their lake terminus. He did more for that city than any other man.[Pg 252]

Edwin Ellis, M.D., was born in Oxford county, Maine; was educated in Farmington Academy, Colby University and Bowdoin College, where he graduated and afterward completed a medical course at the University of New York. He came West in 1854, and located first at St. Paul, but in 1855 removed to Ashland where he made a claim, which, in part, became in 1873 Ellis' addition to Ashland. He practiced his profession at Ashland and Ontonagon, Michigan. He was married in 1850 to Martha B. Baker, of Sharon, Maine.

Martin Beaser, one of the pre-emptors of the site of Ashland, was born in Erie county, New York, Oct. 22, 1822. For many years he was a seafaring man. He spent seven years in whaling, at the close of which time he came to Ontonagon in a sailing vessel, and thence with three companions in a dog sledge to Ashland, arriving February, 1856. Here he pre-empted land, and assisted in laying out the village. He engaged in the mercantile business. He was drowned in November, 1866, while trying to cross Chequamegon bay in an open boat during a storm. Mr. Beaser was a public spirited man and freely used his wealth in attempting to build up Ashland. He never lost faith in the ultimate prosperity of his adopted home.

Hon. Sam S. Fifield was born in Corinna, Penobscot county, Maine, June 24, 1839. His early days were spent in Bangor, and he had but limited school privileges. He was early thrown upon his own resources and learned lessons in the rough school of life. He spent his time variously, as errand boy, hotel clerk, night watch on a steamboat, toll keeper; but finally, having served a brief apprenticeship in a printing office, he became the proprietor of the Polk County Press in 1862. In 1872 he and his brother Hank O. established the Ashland Press, of which he is now sole editor and publisher. Mr. Fifield entered the political arena as a Republican and has been remarkably successful. His record from the Wisconsin blue book is as follows:

1868-69—Assembly proof-reader and assistant sergeant-at-arms.
1871-72—Assembly sergeant-at-arms.
1874-75-76—Member of assembly from Ashland, Barron, Burnett, Douglas, and Polk counties.
1876—Speaker of the assembly.
[Pg 253]1877—Member of the senate.
1880-81—Member of the senate.
1882-86—Lieutenant governor.

Mr. Fifield was married to Stella Grimes, at Prescott, 1863. Considering the disadvantageous circumstances of his youth, Mr. Fifield's career has been a notable one.


Bayfield county includes townships 43 to 52, except as affected by the irregular outline of its lake boundary on the north, and ranges 5 to 9. It has seventy-five miles of lake shore, with some fine harbors, the finest of which are those in the shelter of the Apostle islands, on the northeast. The country is covered with dense growths of evergreen and hardwood timber. Numerous streams flow into the lake on the north, and into the tributaries of the St. Croix on the south. The Chippewa Indians formerly occupied the country. The Red Cliff Indian reservation is located at Buffalo Bay, a short distance north of Bayfield City. The territory of Bayfield county has been successively in the bounds of Crawford, St. Croix and La Pointe. By subsequent subdivisions Douglas and Ashland counties were set off from La Pointe, and the Apostle islands given to Ashland, and the remaining part of La Pointe was organized as Bayfield county, with the county seat at Bayfield, in 1868. Aside from traders and adventurers and the occasional advent of a missionary, the first settler was Elisha Pike, who came with his family in 1855, and settled in section 21, township 50, range 4, not far from Bayfield. Bayfield was named in honor of Admiral Bayfield of the British Navy, who made a survey of Lake Superior in 1822-23.


The village of Bayfield was platted in 1856, by H. M. Rice. It has since been incorporated. It is beautifully situated. The site slopes gently from high timbered regions to the shores of the bay. The waters of the bay are deep, clear, and, from the shelter afforded by the Apostle islands, almost unruffled. The harbor thus afforded is among the best on the lake. Bayfield was made a port of entry in 1858. The city is well supplied with stores, mills, hotels, school houses, and churches. There are many pleasant homes, with fountains playing in front, lawns, shade trees and ornamental shrubs. The landscape, especially to those residing[Pg 254] in the rear of the city on the higher grounds, is exquisitely beautiful. There are many beautiful trout brooks and ponds in the suburbs. As a summer resort Bayfield is becoming every year better appreciated. The Bayfield Press, established in 1874, is the local newspaper. It is edited and published by Currie C. Bell.


Is a new town on the west side of Chequamegon bay. It is the lake terminus of the Omaha railroad. It has a fine harbor, large mills and other enterprises that mark it as a growing town.


Are prosperous manufacturing villages, with large saw mills, located on White river, on the line of the North Wisconsin railroad.


On the railroad, in township 43, range 7, contains about a dozen buildings. Mathews, Olson & Co. are working a silver mine near Cable which yields twenty-three dollars per ton. There are several other villages and stations on the line of the two railroads passing through this county.


This county occupies the extreme northwestern corner of the State, having a frontage of six townships on the lake by six on the Minnesota state line, making a total of thirty-six whole townships and five fractional, the latter lying along the lake. The northern part of the county is drained by the tributaries of St. Louis river and Lake Superior, the principal streams being the Nemadji, Middle and Brule rivers. The southern part is drained by the St. Croix and tributaries. The Omaha railroad intersects the county from south to north, having its northern terminus at West Superior. The Northern Pacific crosses the upper tier of towns, having its principal station at Superior. Thriving villages are growing up along these lines of railroad, and the county is being rapidly settled. It was organized as a county in February, 1854, from territory originally belonging successively to Crawford, St. Croix and La Pointe counties.

The first election was held Nov. 7, 1854. The following officers[Pg 255] were elected: County judge, J. A. Markland; sheriff, Asa A. Parker; district attorney, R. R. Nelson; register of deeds, F. A. Whitaker; county treasurer, Bradley Salter; supervisors, Frank Perfect, Chas. H. Kimball and Alexander Paul; supervisors' clerk, C. H. Kingsbury; superintendent of schools, J. J. Post; coroner, R. H. Barrett. Judge J. A. Markland held the first term of court, June 4, 1854. The first deed filed in the county was from William Herbert to Geo. L. Becker, being a warranty in section 14, township 47, range 14. Consideration, $250. The deed was recorded February, 1854. At the organization of the county, Superior was made the county seat.


The site is on a beautiful plateau originally covered with pine, lying on the southern shore of Lake Superior, separated, however, from it by the waters of Superior bay, a fine natural harbor shut in from the lake by tongues of land called Minnesota and Wisconsin Points. These approach within a half mile of each other, the space thus left being the original outlet of the bay. Between Wisconsin Point and the main land lie the waters of Allouez bay, extending in length a distance of three miles, and in width in its widest part about one mile. The Nemadji river flows into Superior bay near its outlet. The bay of St. Louis finds an outlet into Superior bay between Rice's Point and a tongue of land a mile or more in length, projecting from the Wisconsin main land. Minnesota Point, which separates Superior bay from Superior lake, is a strip of land seven miles in length, with an average width of seven hundred feet, beautifully fringed with pines. At the outlet of Superior bay two piers have been constructed, extending into the lake three-fourths of a mile. On one of these piers is a forty-day lighthouse, constructed by the government. The bay forms one of the finest harbors in the world.

The plateau on which Superior City is located is about thirty-five feet above the waters of the bay. The site occupies the triangular space lying between St. Louis bay and the bays of Allouez and Superior, and has at least eleven miles of frontage on these bays, along which numerous docks and piers have been built and projected, some of them costing as much as $200,000. The government surveys were made in 1853, by George R. Stuntz.[Pg 256] In July of the same year J. Addison Bulmer made a location on Allouez Point. In August, John T. Morgan settled at the mouth of the Nemadji river. They were followed by Wm. H. Newton, George E. Nettleton, Benjamin Thompson, Col. D. A. Robertson, R. R. Nelson, and D. A. J. Baker, of St. Paul. In September the Roy brothers and —— Cadott came. The same autumn Frank Roy, Abraham Emmuit and Louis Souvenard made pre-emptions of frontage on Superior bay. Several buildings were erected. Mr. Roy and others give to Col. Robertson the honor of building the first house in Superior. It is still standing.

In the fall of 1853 mineral explorations were made, and mines were worked during the ensuing winter. An Indian trail was widened and a road opened into the St. Croix valley by which supplies were brought from St. Paul. This road was not wide enough for wagons, but was traveled during the winter in dog sledges and on snowshoes. The winter following the opening of the road, Messrs. Robertson, Nelson and Baker went over it to St. Paul on foot. In the spring of 1854 Newton and others made additional surveys of the town site of Superior City, and the same was recorded Nov. 6, 1854. Settlers came in rapidly. O. K. Hall built a hotel. At the organization of Douglas county, in 1854, Superior was made the county seat, the proprietors donating twelve acres of land for county buildings. Two lots for every eight blocks were donated for schools, twenty lots for churches, and a square for a park. A weekly mail to and from St. Paul was established in July of that year. A saw mill was erected. A land office was established at Superior that year. Rev. David Brooks, a pioneer Methodist minister, preached the first sermon, using a carpenter's shop as an audience room.

An old settlers' association was organized September, 1855, known as the Fond du Lac Historical Society. Its officers were: R. B. Carlton, president; W. H. Norton and E. F. Ely, vice presidents; E. W. Perry, secretary. The Superior Chronicle issued its first number June 12, 1855. It was the first newspaper published at the head of Lake Superior. Ashton & Wise were the publishers. The second number contained the announcement of the opening of the Ste. Marie canal and the passage through it of the first boat, the steamer Illinois. It contained also the astonishing announcement, from the St. Anthony Express, that a salt lake had been discovered by W. H. Ingersoll, one hundred and[Pg 257] fifty miles west of St. Cloud. The salt was said to be of good quality, and in such quantity that it could be gathered by the bushel. Large beds of coal had also been discovered near the lake. The Chronicle was discontinued in 1863 and succeeded by the Superior Gazette in 1864. The Gazette has been succeeded by the Superior Times, now edited by J. Lute, Thomas Bardon, proprietor.

Superior City has passed through periods of depression as well as of advancement. At an early period speculators were lured to the spot by the manifest advantages it presented for the building of a great city. The favorable site attracted attention throughout the Union. Wealthy men and men prominent in the political history of the country invested largely. Amongst these we find the names of W. W. Corcoran, of Washington; Robert J. Walker, of New York; G. W. Cass, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Horace S. Walbridge, of Toledo, Ohio; the Breckenridges of Kentucky; the Rice brothers, of St. Paul; and James Stinson, of Chicago. With the influence of these names, and the means furnished, the new city had a rapid, if not healthy growth. The prosperity was short lived. The adjacent country was not sufficiently developed, the shipping interests languished, and those who had been attracted hither by dreams of becoming suddenly rich, were discouraged and moved away, till, in 1858, the city was half deserted. The period of depression continued through the Civil War, and for years afterward, until, by the building of railroads and the consequent development of the country, the claims of Superior as a centre of trade were again acknowledged, and the tide of emigration was turned back. With Allouez, Superior and Duluth bays for its harbor, with its railroads already built, building or projected, its enterprising people are ready to contest with Duluth for the sovereignty of the Unsalted Seas.

Superior, being a combination of Old Superior and West Superior under one municipality, was organized as a village Aug. 27, 1887, and held her first village election Sept. 24, 1887, with a population of 6,000 people. It was organized with the following officers: President, L. F. Johnston; trustees, Wm. Munro, Neil Smith, L. G. Moran, A. Lederman, A. A. Cross, and Howard Thomas.[Pg 258]


Was platted in 1884. The first buildings were erected in October of the same year. The city has now a population of 3,000. It has excellent graded schools, under the supervision of Prof. G. Glen Williams. The Catholics, Presbyterians and Congregationalists have church buildings, and the Methodists are about to build. A hotel is in process of building that will cost when completed $100,000. West Superior is supplied with water works, the electric light, extensive coal docks and elevators, and has three newspapers, the Superior Inter-Ocean, established June 3, 1886; the West Superior News, established June 24, 1886; and the Sunday Morning Call, established July, 1887.

The Bardon Brothers.—James, Thomas and John A. Bardon came early to Superior City and upheld her doubtful fortunes in the days of trial, never losing faith in her prospective greatness. They have not toiled and watched and waited in vain. The expected railways have been built; the improved harbor, with dredge boats, well built piers and lighthouse, has been completed. Surveys and terminal approaches of other roads insure the commercial prosperity of the city. Thomas has for some years been a resident of Ashland, Wisconsin.

Wm. H. Newton, an early citizen of Superior City, is among those who have never lost faith in its future prosperity, believing the head of the lake to be the natural terminus of European trade and a centre of American commerce. He is an engineer, surveyor, real estate dealer, and is interested in some of the converging lines of railroad at Superior City.

Solon H. Clough.—Mr. Clough was born in Madison county, New York, Aug. 31, 1828; was educated at Fulton Academy, since known as Falley Seminary, Oswego county, New York. He attended for a short time Hamilton College, New York, studied law, and was admitted to the bar at Syracuse in 1851. He came to Hudson, Wisconsin, in the fall of 1857; in 1861 was elected mayor of Hudson; in 1864, judge of the Eleventh circuit, and removed to Osceola. In 1869 he removed to Superior City; in 1876 returned to Hudson, but removed again to Superior in 1881, where he still resides. He was re-elected circuit judge in 1870, and in 1882 was appointed by Gov. Rusk to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Judge Barron. At the conclusion of his term he was re-elected for the ensuing term. Judge Clough was married in 1851 to Kate Taylor, of New York.[Pg 259]

Vincent Roy, a brother of Peter Roy, well known among the pioneers of the Northwest, was born in Fort Francis in 1825; came to La Pointe in 1839; attended school a few terms, and engaged in the fur trade. In 1854 he came to Superior, where he still resides, and is an active, enterprising merchant.

D. George Morrison, a son of William Morrison, the discoverer of the source of the Mississippi, resides at Superior City, where he has served as register of deeds for Douglas county since 1856, a period of thirty-one years. He came to Superior an 1854.

August Zachau came to Superior in 1852, from Chicago, where he had been for three years, working at the carpenter's trade. He was then twenty-seven years of age, and a Prussian by birth. He was engaged by the Superior Town Site Company to superintend the building improvements going on at what is now the East End. When he came up, no Ste. Marie canal had been dug, and a portage was necessary between Lakes Superior and Huron, involving a change in the line of vessels. He built the first hotel in Superior, the old Pioneer House, which burned in 1857, and also the present Nicollet House, which was built of logs, cut on what is now Tower Slip. He also built the Quebec pier, the first dock ever built at the head of Lake Superior. He also assisted in cutting the old government trail through to the St. Croix river. He was an active participant in the defense of the town site people in their battles with the claim jumping pre-emptioners, who had settled on the lands adjoining, and who filed contests on much of the town site as soon as the plats were returned to the land office at Willow River, now known as Hudson. In cutting the sixty miles of trail to the St. Croix, every able-bodied man turned out, except enough to guard the homes and cut kindling wood. The axemen ground their axes at Fond du Lac, the only trading station of importance at that time on the St. Louis river. He pre-empted, in the interest of his fellow sufferers on the town site, eighty acres of land, now part of Superior. He has always led a quiet, laborious life; now runs a small general store at the East End, and does a little general contracting for ties and bridge timbers and dock piling. He has a family of five boys and one girl now living, all in Superior.

Among the first settlers were Judge Hiram Hayes, —— Ritchie and —— Gates.

[Pg 260]



Prior to the organization of Minnesota Territory, in 1849, Pine county was included within the limits of St. Croix county, Wisconsin. Until the organization of Chisago county, in 1852, it was within the limits of Ramsey, and from thence until 1854, within the limits of Chisago, when it was organized under its present name. Until 1858 it included the territory of the present counties of Kanabec and Carlton. It is bounded on the north by Carlton county, on the east by the St. Croix river and the state line, and on the west by Aitkin and Kanabec counties. It is well watered by the St. Croix, Kettle and Kanabec rivers with their numerous tributaries. There are many fine lakes within its borders. The finest of these are Cross, Pokegama, Pine and Sturgeon lakes. This county was originally heavily timbered with pine, from which fact it derived its name. Though immense quantities have been removed, the supply is still great enough to make this region a lumberman's paradise for years to come.

The facilities for floating logs to the St. Croix are scarce equaled elsewhere. Since 1837 the Kanabec river has been a principal feeder to the lumber trade of the St. Croix valley. In some of the forests a new growth has succeeded the old, and should the land be not otherwise used, the lumberman may yet reap successive harvests in periods ranging from eight to fifteen years. Much of the land in this county is well adapted for agriculture. The soil is chiefly a sandy loam with clay subsoil. Much of the county will eventually become a good grazing and cereal growing region. The southern townships are heavily timbered with hardwood and are rapidly being converted into good wheat farms. A large quantity of cordwood, piles and[Pg 261] ties is annually marketed by means of the railroad. Kanabec river is navigable from Chengwatana and Pine City to Brunswick, in Kanabec county. The same steamboat that since 1881 has navigated the Kanabec, also makes trips, six miles up the Rice and Pokegama rivers. The first crops raised in the county, except those raised by traders and missionaries, were raised on the Greeley farm, Kanabec river, near the western limits of the county, by Royal C. Gray.

At the organization of the county, Herman Trott, George W. Staples and Royal C. Gray were appointed commissioners. The county was attached for judicial purposes to Chisago until 1872, at which date the county seat, located at Chengwatana by legislative enactment, was changed by a popular vote to Pine City. The first district court was held in October, 1872, Judge Crosby, presiding; John D. Wilcox, clerk; Edward Jackson, sheriff.

The first marriage license, issued in 1872, was to John Kelsey and Mary Hoffman. The first board of county officers, after the removal of the county seat, were: Commissioners, Hiram Brackett, George Goodwin and Edward Jackson; auditor, Adolph Munch; register of deeds, Don Willard; county attorney, treasurer and superintendent of schools, John D. Wilcox. The first article recorded by the register of Pine county was a military land warrant, No. 12702, in the name of Prudence Rockwell, located by William Orrin Baker upon the southeast quarter of section 32, township 38, range 20, subject to forty days' pre-emption, dated Stillwater, June 19, 1855; T. M. Fullerton, register. Assigned, June 14, 1856, to Enos Jones. The second record is of a warranty deed from John F. Bradford to W. A. Van Slyke, of Ramsey county, of the west half of the northwest quarter of section 30, township 39, range 19, and the west half of the northwest quarter of the same section.

The finances of the county were in good condition until 1872, from which time, owing to heavy expenditures for new roads, with possibly injudicious management, and two defalcations of county auditors, considerable embarrassment ensued. In 1876 the state legislature bonded the county indebtedness of $10,000, in ten year bonds, at ten per cent interest. These bonds were readily received by the creditors, and the county is now free from debt. During the last year a bridge 800 feet long was built across the Kanabec river near Pine City, at a cost of $3,350, for which the State appropriated $1,500 and the county $1,850.[Pg 262]

The Lake Superior & Mississippi railroad was completed to Kanabec river in 1868, and in 1869 extended northwest to the county line. The building of this road was speedily followed by the erection of numerous mills along its line, a list of which is appended, with the very remarkable statistics of the losses by fire, from which but four of these mills were exempt:

North Branch, Swenson & Co., flour mill; burned; loss, $8,000.

Rush City, Taylor & Co., capacity 1,000,000 feet yearly; burned; loss, $3,000.

Rock Creek, Edgerton & Co., capacity 2,000,000 feet yearly; burned; loss, $8,000; rebuilt.

Rock Creek, Strong & Co., capacity 1,000,000 feet yearly; burned; loss, $1,500; rebuilt.

Rock Creek, Long & Co., capacity 1,000,000 feet yearly; removed.

Pine City, Ferson & Co., capacity 10,000,000 feet yearly; burned; loss, $50,000; rebuilt.

Pine City, Ferson & Co., capacity 10,000,000 feet yearly; burned; loss, $25,000; rebuilt.

Pine City, Munch & Burrows, stave mill; burned; loss, $10,000.

Pine City, Brackett & Co., capacity 3,000,000 feet yearly.

Mission Creek, Taylor & Co., capacity 3,000,000 feet yearly; burned; loss, $12,500; rebuilt.

Mission Creek, Taylor & Co., capacity 3,000,000 feet yearly; burned; loss, $12,500.

Hinckley, Grant & Co., capacity 1,000,000 feet yearly; burned; loss, $3,000.

Hinckley, McKean & Butler, capacity 3,000,000 feet yearly; burned; loss, $7,000; rebuilt.

Miller Station, Robie & Co., shingle mill; burned; loss, $3,000.

Kettle River, S. S. Griggs & Co., capacity 3,000,000 feet yearly; never operated; loss, $5,000.

Moose Lake, McArthur & Co., capacity 2,000,000 feet yearly; burned; loss, $30,000.

Barnum, Cooley & Co., capacity 1,000,000 feet yearly; burned; loss, $5,000.

Barnum, Bliss & Co., capacity 10,000,000 feet yearly.

Northern Pacific Junction, Payne & Co., two mills burned; loss, $50,000; rebuilt the third time.


This beautiful lake lies in township 39, range 22. It is about five miles in length by one in breadth and finds an outlet in Kanabec river. It is celebrated for its historical associations. Thomas Conner, an old trader, informed the writer of these sketches, in 1847, that he had had a trading post on the banks of this lake thirty years before, or about the year 1816. This was before Fort Snelling was built. Mr. Conner said that there was[Pg 263] a French trading post at Pokegama long before he went there. It was in the spring of 1847, after a wearisome day's tramp, that I made his acquaintance and shared his unstinted hospitality. His post, at that time, was located at the mouth of Goose creek, Chisago county, on the banks of the St. Croix. His rude, portable house was built of bark, subdivided with mats and skins into different apartments. Although at an advanced period in life, his mind was clear and he conversed with a degree of intelligence which caused me to ask him why he lived thus secluded, away from all the privileges of a civilized life. His reasons, some of them, were forcible; he liked the quiet of the wilderness, away from the turmoils of the envious white race. I learned from him many interesting facts connected with travelers, traders and explorers of our St. Croix valley. This was the last season he spent on the river.

In 1847, when I visited Pokegama, Jeremiah Russell, an Indian farmer, had a very pretty farm on a point of land on the southwest side of the lake, and between the lake and the river. A Frenchman, Jarvis, lived a short distance from Russell. Across the lake from Russell's were the neat and tasteful log buildings and gardens of the Presbyterian mission. The mission was established in the spring of 1836, by Rev. Frederic Ayer and his associates, under the auspicies of the American Board of Foreign Missions. Mr. Ayer had been laboring at Yellow Lake mission, but, owing to the growing unfriendliness of the Indians, had been removed to Pokegama. Much pertaining to the mission work, both at Pokegama and elsewhere, will be found in the biographies of the principal missionaries. We mention here only such incidents as may be of more general interest. For many of these incidents we are indebted to Mrs. Elisabeth J. Ayer, of Belle Prairie, the widow of Rev. Frederic Ayer, for a long time missionary to the Ojibways. This estimable lady has passed her eighty-fifth year, but her mind is still clear and her hand steady, her manuscript having the appearance of the work of a precise young schoolmistress. She mentions an old Canadian, who had been in the country sixty years, and for seven or eight years had been entirely blind. He was known as Mushk-de-winini (The-old-blind-prairie-man), also the old trader, Thomas Conner, the remains of whose mud chimney and foundation of the old trading house may still be seen on the southern shore of the lake.[Pg 264]

Franklin Steele was the first white man to visit the mission. In the spring of 1837 the mission aided three or four families in building. February, 1837, Rev. Mr. Hall, of the La Pointe mission, visited Pokegama, and organized a church of seven members,—three of whom were natives,—administered the ordinance of baptism to eight persons, and solemnized two marriages, probably the first in the valley of the St. Croix. Revs. Boutwell and Ely came to the mission in 1837. A school had been opened, some Indian houses built, and gardens enlarged, and the future of the mission seemed assured. Mrs. Ayer relates the following account of the


In 1811 the Sioux selected this settlement as the place to avenge the wrongs of the Ojibways—some of recent date; the principal of which was the killing of two sons of Little Crow (done in self defense) between Pokegama and the falls of the St. Croix. The Sioux arrived at Pokegama in the night, and stopped on the opposite side of the lake, two miles from the mission. The main body went to the main settlement, and, after examining the ground where they intended to operate, hid among the trees and brush back of the Indian gardens, with orders that all keep quiet on both sides of the lake till a given signal, when the Indians were busy in their gardens, and then make quick work. But their plans failed. Most of the Ojibways of the settlement had, from fear of the Sioux, slept on an island half a mile out in the lake (I mean the women and children), and were late to their gardens. In the meantime a loaded canoe was nearing the opposite shore and the few Sioux who had remained there to dispatch any who, in time of battle, might attempt to escape by crossing over, fired prematurely. This gave the alarm, and saved the Ojibways. The chief ran to Mr. Ayer's door and said, expressively: "The Sioux are upon us," and was off. The Indians seemed at once to understand that the main body of the enemy was at hand. The missionaries stepped out of the door and had just time to see a great splashing of water across the lake when bullets came whizzing about their ears, and they went in. The Sioux had left their hiding place and the battle commenced in earnest. Most of the women and children of the settlement were yet on the island. The house of the chief was well barricaded[Pg 265] and most of the men gathered in there. The remainder took refuge in a house more exposed, at the other end of the village. The enemy drew up very near and fired in at the window. One gun was made useless, being indented by a ball. The owner retired to a corner and spent the time in prayer. The mother of the house, with her small children, was on her way to the island under a shower of bullets, calling aloud on God for help.

The missionaries seeing from their windows quantities of bloody flesh upon stumps in the battle field, thought surely that several of their friends had fallen. It proved to be a cow and calf of an Ojibway. The mission children were much frightened and asked many questions, and for apparent safety went up stairs and were put behind some well filled barrels. In the heat of battle two Ojibways came from the island and landed in front of Mr. Ayer's house. They drew their canoe ashore and secreted themselves as well as the surroundings would permit. Not long after three Sioux ran down the hill and toward the canoe. They were fired upon and one fell dead. The other two ran for help but before they could return the Ojibways were on the way back to the island. Not having time to take the scalp of their enemy, they hastily cut the powder horn strap from his breast, dripping with blood, as a trophy of victory. The Sioux drew the dead body up the hill and back to the place of fighting. The noise ceased. The battle was over. The missionaries soon heard the joyful words, quietly spoken: "We still live." Not a warrior had fallen. The two school girls who were in the canoe at the first firing in the morning were the only ones killed, though half the men and boys in the fight were wounded. The Sioux women and boys who had come with their warriors to carry away the spoils had the chagrin of returning as empty as they came.

The Ojibways were careful that no canoe should be left within reach of the Sioux. From necessity they took a canoe, made by Mr. Ely, and removed their dead two miles up the river, dressed them (seemingly) in the best the party could furnish, with each a double barreled gun, a tomahawk and scalping knife, set them up against some large trees and went on their way. Some of these articles, including their head-dresses, were sent to the museum of the American board, in Boston.[Pg 266]

In the closing scene the missionaries had the opportunity of seeing the difference between those Indians who had listened to instruction and those who had not. The second day after the battle the pagan party brought back to the island the dead bodies of their enemies, cut in pieces, and distributed parts to such Ojibways as had at any time lost friends by the hands of the Sioux. One woman, whose daughter was killed and mutilated on that memorable morning, when she saw the canoes coming, with a head raised high in the air on a long pole, waded out into the water, grabbed it like a hungry dog and dashed it repeatedly on the stones with savage fierceness. Others of the pagans conducted themselves in a similar manner. They even cooked some of the flesh that night in their kettles of rice. Eunice (as she was named at her baptism) was offered an arm. At first she hesitated; but for reasons, sufficient in her own mind, thought best to take it. Her daughter-in-law, widow of her son who had recently been killed and chopped into pieces by the Sioux, took another, and they went into their lodge. Eunice said: "My daughter, we must not do as some of our friends are doing. We have been taught better," and taking some white cloths from her sack they wrapped the arms in them, offered a prayer, and gave them a decent burial. About this time a Mr. Kirkland was sent from Quincy, Illinois, by a party who wished to plant a colony not far from the mission station. He arrived at Pokegama very soon after the battle. Notwithstanding what had happened he selected a location on Cross lake, just where a railroad has now been in operation for some years. He worked vigorously for two or three weeks, and then went to consult the Indian agent and the military at Fort Snelling. They gave him no encouragement that the two tribes would ever live in peace; and he went home. The Ojibways lived in constant fear, and the place was soon deserted. This was a great trial to the missionaries; but they did not urge them to stay. They separated into small parties and went where they could get a living for the present and be out of danger. The teachers remained at their post, occasionally visiting the Indians in their retreat, hoping they might soon think it safe to return to their homes. In this they were disappointed. These visits were not always very safe. On one of these trips Mr. Ayer was lost, and from cold and hunger came near perishing. Not finding the party he sought,[Pg 267] he wandered about for a day or two. In the meantime the weather became much colder. Not expecting to camp out he took only one blanket and food enough for one meal. In crossing Kettle river on a self-made conveyance, and there being ice on the opposite shore, he got wet. The Indians, anticipating his visit, had sent a young man to the mission station to guide him to, their new locality. He returned in haste, fell on Mr. Ayer's track, and a light sprinkle of snow enabled him to follow it until he was found.

Mrs. Ayer relates several incidents illustrative of Indian character. As her husband had been stationed at Yellow Lake, and afterward at Red Lake, these incidents are not necessarily located at Pokegama:


The Red Lake Indians were a noble band—they had a noble chief. In civilization he led the way, in religion he did not oppose. He shouldered a heavy axe, and could be seen chopping on one side of a large tree, in perspiration, while his wife was on the other side, helping all she could with her hatchet. This chief was also an advocate of temperance. Not that he didn't love whisky, but he hated the effect of it on his band. He dictated a letter to the president, begging him not to let the white faces bring any more firewater to his people, giving as one reason that they had teachers among them who must be protected, and if they had whisky he did not know what might happen.


In the church there was much childish simplicity. Once when Mr. Ayer was lecturing on the eighth commandment, he paused, and without expecting an answer, said: "Now who is there among you who has not stolen?" One woman began to confess—another followed, then another. One thought she had stolen about seven times. Another entered more into particulars, mentioning the things she had stolen, till the scene was quite amusing. Another rose to confess, but was cut short by her husband, who said: "Who knows how many times he has stolen? We are a nation of thieves." And with a few remarks the meeting closed.[Pg 268]


After a medicine dance, according to Indian custom, they proposed a feast, but there was nothing on which to feast. There was a large company and all were hungry. Mr. Ayer's cow was in the barnyard near. Three daring fellows sitting by themselves began to taunt each other in regard to their comparative prowess. After an excitement was created, one of them, to show his bravery, shot the cow. Mr. Ayer was in his garden and witnessed the performance. Two or three of the leading men in this pagan party came immediately to Mr. Ayer to learn whether he would take the cow for his own use. While they were talking (perhaps twenty minutes) the cow was cut in pieces, and in the Indians' kettles preparatory to a good time. After the Indians had sold their land they paid for the cow.


Indians are said to be revengeful. They are. So are white men. They fight for their rights. So do white men. They are thieves and liars. So are white men. Quarrelsome, envious, jealous. So are white men. Experience teaches that according to their knowledge they compare favorably with Anglo-Saxons. Sin is none the better, nor less mischievous, for being civilized.

A missionary, a good man, too, he was, accused an innocent woman of stealing his shirts that were laid out on the snow to whiten. His wife, not remembering that she had brought them in early in the morning, asked him to go out and get them. But they were not to be found! "Who has been here this morning?" was asked. "Ekwazans; I don't remember any other." "Well, she shan't have those shirts. I'll overtake her before she gets home." He followed her four miles, determined to have his shirts. The woman declared her innocence, and told him to search the wigwam. He did so, but said himself that it was done rather roughly. In the meantime the wife espied the shirts just where she had put them. This affair was ever after a source of regret to them.

Some of the Indians laughed heartily; others made remarks rather sarcastic. The woman herself felt disgraced by the accusation, but never manifested signs of wanting to "pay back," or in any way to avenge the wrong.[Pg 269]


An employe of the American Fur Company, a "green hand," was crossing a portage. The load on his back was topped off with a bag of flour. The hill was steep and long. Steps were cut in it like a flight of stairs. As he reached the top a mischievous Indian touched the bag, and it went tumbling to the foot of the hill. The Frenchman immediately sent the Indian tumbling after it. Some of the company advised the Frenchman to run away, for the Indian might kill him. He told them boldly that he would not run away. The Indian gathered himself up, came to the top of the hill, told the Frenchman he had done just right, offered his hand and they were firm friends. Magnanimous had it been a white man.

Rev. Frederic Ayer was born in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in 1803. When he was two years old the family moved to Central New York. His father was a Presbyterian minister, and they intended that their son should follow the same profession; but before he was prepared his health failed and he turned his attention to other business.

He commenced his labors for the Indians in 1829, by teaching the mission school at Mackinaw, under the superintendency of Rev. M. Ferry. The pupils of this school were not all Ojibways but were from many different tribes, and spoke different languages. Mackinaw was then a general depot of the North American fur traders. They brought not only their own children to the school but such others as parents among whom they were trading wished to send. They were gathered from Lake Winnipeg, British America north, to Prairie du Chien and the head of Lake Michigan south. They were taught in English only.

In the summer of 1830 Mr. Ayer went to La Pointe, Lake Superior, with Mr. Warren, opened a school and commenced the study of the Ojibway language. In 1831 he met at Mackinaw, Revs. Hall and Boutwell, who were sent out by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to the Indians, and he returned with Mr. and Mrs. Hall and their interpreter to spend another winter at La Pointe.

The next year, 1832, Mr. Ayer wintered with another trader at Sandy Lake. He opened a school there and completed a little[Pg 270] Ojibway spelling book which was commenced at La Pointe. In the spring of 1833 he left Sandy Lake for Utica, New York, to get the book printed. Mr. Aitkin, with whom he had wintered, gave him eighty dollars, and with a pack on his back and an experienced guide, he started on his journey. Before they reached Sault Ste. Marie the ice on Lake Superior was so weak that Mr. Ayer broke through and was saved only by carrying horizontally in his hands a long pole to prevent his sinking.

Mr. Ayer hastened on to complete the object of his journey, that he might return to Mackinaw in time to go up Lake Superior with the traders. Mr. Ayer, hitherto an independent worker, now put himself under the direction of the "American Board," and was sent to Yellow Lake, within the present bounds of Burnett county, Wisconsin. Miss Delia Cooke, whose name should never be forgotten among the early missionaries of the American board to the Indians, and Miss Hester Crooks, a girl educated at Mackinaw, and who had some experience in teaching, were among the number who coasted up Lake Superior in a Mackinaw boat; the former to La Pointe mission, the latter to Yellow Lake with Mr. and Mrs. Ayer. They wintered in Dr. Borup's family. Mrs. Borup also had, for some years, been a pupil at Mackinaw. The next year Miss Crooks married Rev. Mr. Boutwell and went to Leech lake, and J. L. Seymour and Miss Sabrian Stevens, also Henry Blatchford, an interpreter from Mackinaw, were added to Yellow Lake mission. When Mr. Ayer told the Indians his object in coming among them, they gave him a welcome. But six months later, seeing two or three log houses in process of building, they were much troubled, and met in a body to request him to go away. A Menomonie from the region of Green Bay had stirred them up, not against the missionaries, but against the general government.

The speaker said: "It makes the Indians sad to see the white man's house go up on their land. We don't want you to stay; you must go." Further on he said: "You shall go!" Mr. Ayer answered him. The party left at midnight, and the missionaries went to bed with heavy hearts, thinking they might be thurst out almost immediately. But before sunrise the next morning about two-thirds of the same party returned, and said they had come to take back what they said the night before. The war chief was speaker, but his words were mild. "Why," said he,[Pg 271] "should we turn these teachers away before they have done us any harm?" They would like to have us stay, he said, but added that they did not want any more to come, for the result might be the loss of their lands. We might use whatever their country afforded, but they would not give us any land, or sell us any. "For," said the speaker, "if we should sell our land where would our children play?"

Mr. Ayer finished his school house, and went on with his work as though nothing had happened. But evidently things were not as they should be. The chief seemed to "sit on the fence," ready to jump either way. The war chief was always friendly, but he had not so much control over what concerned us. He did what he could without giving offense, and was anxious that his daughter of fourteen years should be taken into the mission family. Mr. Ayer remained two years longer at Yellow Lake. In the meantime the chief of the Snake River band sent messages inviting the teachers to come and live among them. Accordingly in the spring of 1836 the mission was removed to Pokegama lake, eighteen miles up the river. The chief did all he had promised, and showed himself a man. Nothing was said here to remind the missionaries that they were using the Indians' wood, water and fish. On the contrary, when they sold their land, it was urged that the teachers' children should be enrolled for annual payment, the same as their own. The chief said that as they were born on the land it was no more than right, and he wished it might be done.

In 1842 Mr. Ayer went with his family to the States; and in Oberlin was ordained preacher to the Ojibways. He soon returned to the Indian country, and David Brainard Spencer, an Oberlin student, with him. They spent the winter of 1842-3 in traveling from one trading post to another, selecting locations for missionary labor. For their own field they chose Red Lake. When Mrs. Ayer, with her two little boys, six and eight years old, went to join her husband at the new station, Alonzo Barnard and wife and S. G. Wright, all of Oberlin College, went with her. Other missionaries soon followed, and that station was for many years supplied with efficient laborers. More recently the work there was assigned to Bishop Whipple, and is still carried on.

Mr. and Mrs. Ayer, in 1865, offered their services to the freed-men of the South and were employed at Atlanta, Georgia.[Pg 272]

Mr. Ayer organized a Congregational church and a baptistry connected with the house of worship, that he might baptise by immersion or otherwise, according to the wishes of the candidate. He also formed a temperance society, which some months before his death numbered more than six hundred members.

There was great grief at his death amongst all classes. An aged man, who had lost a small fortune in his devotion to the Confederacy, embraced the corpse, and said: "If he had not holpen me, I should have before gone him." Many others, in word or action, expressed a similar feeling. All classes of people were represented at his funeral. His remains were buried in the Atlanta cemetery, Oct. 1, 1867. Thus passed away one who had spent a life for the benefit of others.

Mr. and Mrs. Ayer in some instances taught three generations of Ojibway blood, and North and South, they were, in the course of their labors, associated for a longer or shorter time, with more than eighty different missionaries,—a noble band,—with few exceptions worthy the name they bore. Most of them have passed away, and their graves are scattered here and there from British America to Georgia.

Rev. William T. Boutwell, who figures so prominently in the history of the early missions in the St. Croix valley, was born in Hillsborough county, New Hampshire, Feb. 4, 1803. He was educated at Dartmouth and Andover colleges, and in 1831, the year of his graduation at Andover, he came to the Northwest as a Presbyterian missionary. He spent one year at Mackinaw, learning the Chippewa language, under the instruction of Rev. W. M. Ferry, father of Senator Ferry, of Michigan.

In 1832 our government sent an embassy of thirty men, under the control of the Indian agent at Ste. Marie, Henry R. Schoolcraft, to tranquilize the tribes and effect some advantageous treaties. The embassy was accompanied by an outfit of soldiers under the command of Lieut. Allen, Dr. Houghton, physician, George Johnson, interpreter, and Mr. Boutwell. The embassy had a liberal outfit of provisions, equipages and trinkets for the Indians, and was conveyed in a large bateau of several tons capacity, and some birch canoes, the largest of which was thirty feet long, and capable of containing nine persons. On arriving at Fond du Lac, the head of navigation on the St. Louis river, Mr. Boutwell wrote as follows to the missionary board:[Pg 273]


"On arriving here I was not a little surprised to find four hundred souls, half-breeds and white men. The scene at our landing was such as I never before witnessed, and enough to fill one, unaccustomed to the like as myself, with wonder, if not with fear. The yelling of Indians, barking of dogs, crying of children, running of the multitude, discharge of musketry, and flourish of flags, was noise in the extreme. At ten o'clock I preached to about forty in English, the first sermon ever preached here, and at 4 p. m. I addressed, through Mr. Johnson, more than twice that number of French, half-breeds and Indians; many of the latter of whom for the first time listened to the word of Life. All listened with attention and interest. My interpreter sat on my right, while a chief occupied a seat at my left. Around and below me, on the floor, sat his men, women and children, in a state of almost entire nudity, many of whom had no more than a cloth about the loins, and a blanket, but some of the children not even a blanket,—all with their pipes and tobacco pouches, painted with all the variety of figures that can be imagined."[Pg 274]

From Fond du Lac he proceeded with the expedition up the St. Louis river, crossing the falls by a portage, and ascending to the point nearest Sandy lake, which was reached by a portage. The expedition proceeded up the Mississippi to Leech lake. Learning from the Indians at this point that Cass lake, the reputed source of the Mississippi, was not the real source, the expedition proceeded, under the guidance of a chief and a number of his tribe, to ascend the river further. When they reached the lake, now known as Itasca, five of the party, Lieut. Allen, Schoolcraft, Houghton, Johnson, and Boutwell, were sent in canoes with Indian guides to explore the shores of the lake. No inlet being found the party came to the conclusion that this was, as the Indians claimed, the true source of the Mississippi river. Mr. Schoolcraft being satisfied as to the correctness of the observations, landed his party on an island near the middle of the lake.

He was puzzled to know what name to give the lake, and asked Mr. Boutwell if he knew of any word that would express the term "true head of the river." Mr. Boutwell said he could think of no single word that would express it, but there were two Latin words that would answer the purpose, and those were veritas—true, and caput—head. Mr. Schoolcraft immediately wrote on a piece of paper the two words, and then erasing the first syllable of the first word and the last syllable of the latter, joined the remaining syllables. He then planted the stars and stripes on a little eminence, and formally christened the lake "Itasca." They then proceeded to descend the Mississippi. "As we were passing through the outlet of the lake," said Mr. Boutwell, "I stopped my canoe on the shore and jumped across the Mississippi. I considered that a great thing to relate in after years."

The party with their own boats descended the Mississippi, distributing tobacco, medals and flags to Indians on their way.[E] "When I see the great cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul now," said Mr. Boutwell, "I have to reflect that when we made our memorable trip down the river in 1832 we stopped at St. Anthony falls, and I stood on the east bank and looked across the[Pg 275] river in profound admiration of the most beautiful landscape I had ever seen, with only a few head of government cattle belonging at Fort Snelling grazing upon it. The whole country on both sides of the river was as God had made it. When we passed the locality of St. Paul there was not even an Indian tepee to be seen."

The party halted at a Sioux Indian village at Kaposia, a few miles below St. Paul, and after a short consultation proceeded to the mouth of the St. Croix, and ascending the St. Croix to its source, made a portage of two miles to the source of the Burnt Wood river, which they descended to Lake Superior, and thence returned to their starting place. In the following year Mr. Boutwell established a mission at Leech lake. In giving an account of his reception by the Indians, he says: "When I arrived the men, with a few exceptions, were making their fall hunts, while their families remained at the lake and its vicinity to gather their corn and make rice. A few lodges were encamped quite near. These I began to visit, for the purpose of reading, singing, etc., in order to interest the children and awaken in them the desire for instruction. I told them about the children at Mackinaw, the Sault, and at La Pointe, who could read, write and sing. To this they would listen attentively, while the mother would often reply: 'My children are poor and ignorant.' To a person unaccustomed to Indian manners and Indian wildness it would have been amusing to have seen the little ones, as I approached their lodge, running and screaming, more terrified, if possible, than if they had met a bear robbed of her whelps. It was not long, however, before most of them overcame their fears; and in a few days my dwelling, a lodge which I occupied for three or four weeks, was frequented from morning till evening by an interesting group of boys, all desirous to learn to read, sing, etc. To have seen them hanging, some on one knee, others on my shoulder, reading and singing, while others, whether from shame or fear I know not, who dared not venture within, were peeping in through the sides of the cottage, or lying flat upon the ground and looking under the bottom, might have provoked a smile; especially to have seen them as they caught a glance of my eye, springing upon their feet and running like so many wild asses colts. The rain, cold and snow were alike to them, in which they would come, day after day, many of them clad merely[Pg 276] with a blanket and a narrow strip of cloth about the loins. The men at length returned, and an opportunity was presented me for reading to them. The greater part listened attentively. Some would come back and ask me to read more. Others laughed, and aimed to make sport of both me and my mission."

He continued to labor here until 1837, when the Indians becoming troublesome, and having murdered Aitkin, an agent of the fur company, he deemed it advisable to remove the mission to Pokegama lake. He labored here faithfully, much respected by the Indians for his firmness and christian devotion. In 1847 he removed to Stillwater and settled on a farm near the city, where he is spending the remainder of his days, cared for by his affectionate daughter Kate and her kind husband, ——Jones. Though infirm in body on account of advanced age his mind is clear and his memory retentive. He enjoys the respect accorded to venerable age, and that which pertains to an early and middle life spent in unusual toils and hardships in the noblest work intrusted to the hands of man.

Mrs. Hester Crooks Boutwell deserves honorable mention as the early companion of the devoted missionary. She was the daughter of Ramsey Crooks, of New York, an Indian trader. Her mother was a half-breed Ojibway woman. Hester Crooks was born on Drummond island, Lake Huron, May 30, 1817. Her father gave her a superior education at Mackinaw mission. She was a woman of tall and commanding figure, her black hair and eyes indicating her Indian origin. She was a fluent conversationalist, and careful and tidy in her personal appearance. She died in Stillwater in 1853, leaving a family of seven children.


This town derived its name from the Chippewa words, "cheng-wa" (pine) and "tana" (city), applied to an Indian village which from time immemorial had been located near the mouth of Cross lake. This locality had long been a rallying point for Indians and traders. When the writer visited it, in 1846, it had the appearance of an ancient place of resort. Half-breeds and whites with Indian wives settled here, and in 1852 there were several log houses, and a hotel kept by one Ebenezer Ayer. There was also a dam built for sluicing logs. Among the early settlers were Duane Porter, George Goodwin, Herman Trott, John G. Randall,[Pg 277] Emil, Gustave and Adolph Munch. Mr. Trott built a fine residence on the shore of Cross lake, afterward the home of S. A. Hutchinson. The Munch brothers built a store and made other improvements. John G. Randall, in 1856-7-8, manufactured lumber, ran it down the Kanabec and St. Croix rivers to Rush Seba, Sunrise and Taylor's Falls. In 1852, and soon after the building of the government road to Superior City, a post office and a stage route from St. Paul to Superior City were established. The dam, to which reference has been made, was built in 1848, by Elam Greely. It is at the outlet of Cross lake and has ten feet head. The flowage covers many thousands of acres. The ownership has changed several times. The tolls levied amount to from ten to fifteen cents per thousand feet. The chartered operators control the flowage completely, opening and shutting gates at their pleasure. Many of the first settlers removed to other localities. Mr. Trott and the Munch brothers to St. Paul, J. G. Randall to Colorado, and Louis Ayd to Taylor's Falls.

In 1856 an effort was made to found a village on the site of the old Indian town of Chengwatana. Judd, Walker & Co. and Daniel A. Robertson surveyed and platted the village of Alhambra, but the name was not generally accepted, and the old Indian name of Chengwatana superseded it. The town of Chengwatana was organized in 1874. The first supervisors were Duane Porter, Resin Denman and Ferdinand Blank.

Louis Ayd was born in Germany in 1840; came to America in 1852 and settled in Chengwatana. He served three and a half years as a soldier during the Rebellion, and was seriously injured in the service. On his return he settled in Taylor's Falls. He is a well-to-do farmer and dealer in live stock for the meat market. He has been a member of the Roman Catholic church from childhood. He was married to Rosabella Hoffman, of Hudson, Wisconsin, in 1871.

Duane Porter, the son of a surgeon in the United States Army in the war of 1812, was born in Washington county, New York, in 1825; came West as far as Illinois in 1852, and to St. Croix Falls in 1844. He was married in 1848 to Mary Lapraire, and in the same year located at Chengwatama. His occupation is that of an explorer and lumberman. He has ten children living.

S. A. Hutchinson.—Mr. Hutchinson was a native of Maine,[Pg 278] and while yet a youth came to the valley of the St. Croix, and located at Chengwatana, where he married a Chippewa woman, and raised a family of half-breed children. "Gus" Hutchinson, as he was familiarly called, had many noble traits of character and was very popular with his associates. He had a well trained mind; was skilled as a lumberman and explorer, and was of a genial disposition, honest in heart and true in his friendships. He was elected sheriff of Pine county, and served four years. On the night of Aug. 16, 1880, he was found in a sitting posture on his bed, lifeless, a rifle ball having pierced his heart. It appeared, on investigation, that his oldest son wanted to marry an Indian girl, to which his father objected. On the night after the murder the marriage took place in Indian style. Suspicion pointing strongly toward mother and son, they were arrested, and an indictment found by the grand jury against the son. He was tried and acquitted.


The township of Hinckley was organized in 1872. It includes a large area of land; heavily timbered with pine and hardwood. The soil is varied, consisting of black and yellow sand loam with clay subsoil. It abounds in meadows, marshes, tamarack swamps, pine and hardwood ridges, and is capable of cultivation.


Lies midway between St. Paul and Duluth, on the St. Paul & Daluth railroad. It was founded soon after the completion of the road. The Manitoba railroad passes through the village, running from St. Cloud to Superior. It was incorporated in 1885. The following were the first officers: President, James J. Brennan; recorder, S. W. Anderson; trustees, James Morrison, Nels Parson, John Perry; treasurer, John Burke; justices of the peace, John Brennan, A. B. Clinch; constable, Andrew Stone. Prior to this incorporation, Hinckley had suffered considerably from the lawlessness of its occasional or transient residents and visitors, and the large majority of the vote in favor of incorporation is justly considered as a triumph of law and order. The village has a saw mill doing a large business, a good depot, round house, four hotels, several stores, shops, and fine residences, a commodious school house, and two churches—a Lutheran and Catholic. The Minneapolis & Manitoba railroad connects[Pg 279] here with the St. Paul & Duluth railroad, and is being extended to Superior.

James Morrison was born on Cape Breton island in 1840. Mr. Morrison was one of the first settlers of Hinckley, having come to the settlement in 1869, in the employ of the St. Paul & Duluth railroad. He has followed farming and hotel keeping. He is an active and industrious man, the proprietor of a large hotel, and a member of the Presbyterian church.


Is located in the northwest quarter of section 15, township 42, range 20. It contains about forty dwellings, three large boarding houses, two stores, one hotel and a stone saw mill with diamond-toothed saw, built by Ring & Tobin, at a cost of $30,000. The stone quarries of the Kettle River & Sandstone Company are located on sections 3, 10 and 15, in township 42, range 20, and extend two and three-quarters miles on each side of Kettle river. The first work in opening the quarries was done Aug. 22, 1885. The village plat was surveyed in June, 1887, and a post office established there the February preceding, W. H. Grant, Jr., being the first postmaster. The saw mill and the quarries give employment to about four hundred men. Sandstone is located on the old site of Fortuna. The Kettle River railroad was built to the quarries in 1886, from the St. Paul & Duluth railroad, a distance of five miles. The Manitoba railroad, running to Superior, passes through the village.

William H. Grant, Sr., one of the founders of Hinckley, and the proprietor and founder of the Sandstone enterprise, was born Dec. 23, 1829, at Lyndborough, New Hampshire. He received his education at Hancock Academy, New Hampshire, and Yates Academy, Orleans county, New York. He studied law and was admitted to practice in 1854 at Hillsborough, New Hampshire. He came to St. Paul in 1859, where he still resides, his property interests at Sandstone being immediately under the super vision of his son, W. H. Grant, Jr. He sold his interest in May, 1888, for $100,000. He was married to Martha McKean in New Hampshire, January, 1855.


The town of Kettle River, including townships 43 and 44, lying on the west line of the county, was organized in 1874. S. S.[Pg 280] Griggs was chairman of the first board of supervisors. The town contains but one school district. The first settler was S. S. Griggs, who, in company with John S. Prince, of St. Paul, built a saw mill at the St. Paul & Duluth railroad crossing on Kettle river, in 1871-72. This was not a successful venture. A post office was established at the mill, and S. S. Griggs was appointed postmaster. The Manitoba and St. Paul & Duluth railroads pass through the town from south to north. The township now has no settlement except about twenty-four families at the station and village. It is heavily timbered with pine and hardwood. There are meadows, marshes and tamarack swamps, fine streams and beautiful lakes, and much excellent farming land besides. The Pine lakes in township 43, range 21, are beautiful sheets of water. There are no good roads or public improvements.

John C. Hanley was born in Covington, Kentucky, and was educated at Oxford College, Ohio. He came to St. Paul in 1849, as a machinist and millwright. He was married in 1853, at St. Anthony, to Sophia Ramsdale. In 1862 he enlisted in Company M, Minnesota Mounted Cavalry, a company recruited principally at Sunrise, Chisago county, by Capt. James Starkey. He was commissioned second lieutenant and was with Gen. Sibleys expedition against the Sioux. Subsequently he received a captain's commission, and recruited Company M, Second Minnesota Cavalry, stationed on the frontier. He was mustered out in 1865. He resides at Kettle River.


Was organized as a town in 1880. The first supervisors were M. Thomas, T. Johnson, Wm. McKean; Messrs. H. A. Taylor and Philip Riley & Co., of St. Paul, were the first operators here. They built a saw mill with a capacity of 3,000,000 feet per annum. This property has changed owners, and is now held by the John Martin Lumber Company, of St. Paul. It was burned down in 1885, but was immediately rebuilt.


The town of Pine City was organized in 1874. The first supervisors were Hiram Brackett, H. B. Hoffman and James Griffith. The village of Pine City was platted in 1869. The original proprietors were James and Stephen H. Petrie, Catherine Sloan and[Pg 281] Luther Mendenhall. The survey was made by B. W. Brunson. Wm. Branch acted as attorney and the acknowledgment was made by J. J. Egan, notary public, of St. Louis county. The village was organized in 1881, but the officers did not qualify until the following year.

The oldest settler was probably a Mr. Kirkland, of Quincy, Illinois, who worked for some time on the banks of Cross lake, on the present site of Pine City, hoping to be able to plant a colony there, but, according to the testimony of Mrs. E. T. Ayer, the missionary became disheartened by the Indian troubles, and left in 1841, abandoning his scheme. The completion of the railroad which crosses the Kanabec river at this point gave a great impetus to the prosperity of the village and neighborhood. It now contains a fine court house, built at a cost of $8,000, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and Lutheran churches, good buildings for graded and common schools, and three hotels. Pine City has besides a pleasant park, the gift of Capt. Richard G. Robinson, which has been adorned and embellished and named after the donor, "Robinson Park."

Richard G. Robinson was born in Jackson county, Iowa, in 1829; he moved thence with his parents to Illinois, and to St. Croix Falls in 1848, where he followed lumbering, scaling, surveying and exploring. He lived at St. Croix and Taylor's Falls until 1872, when he received the appointment of land examiner for the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad Company. He was in the employ of the company twelve years, making his home at Pine City, where he still lives, engaged in lumbering and real estate. He was married to Catharine A. Fullenwider, of Iowa. Mrs. Robinson died at Pine City in 1885.

Hiram Brackett was born in 1817, in China, Maine, and came to Pine City in 1868 from Aroostook county, Maine. He was among the first to make improvements. He built a hotel and was the first postmaster in the town. He died in 1883, leaving an estimable widow, three sons, John, Albert and Frank, and two daughters, Emily, married to Henry A. Linn, of Milwaukee, and Louise, married to Henry D. Crohurst, of Pine City.

Randall K. Burrows, a native of Connecticut, came to Pine City in 1869, and, with Adolph Munch, built a large stave mill on the shores of Cross lake. This proved an unfortunate investment, resulting in litigation, during the progress of which the[Pg 282] mill was destroyed by fire, in 1878. Mr. Burrows was an active, enthusiastic man, and worked hard for the interests of Pine City, filling many positions of trust. He was elected to the state senate from the Twenty-eighth district, in 1874. His seat was contested by John Hallburg, of Centre City. The Senate referred the question to the people, but in the election that followed (1875) he was defeated. In 1879 he removed to Dakota, where he died three years later.

John S. Ferson came from Michigan to Pine City in 1869. During that and the succeeding year he was principal in building a first class steam saw mill. It was located on a bay in the western part of the city. This mill was burned in 1872, rebuilt and burned again. Mr. Ferson has since removed to Dakota.

Samuel Millet settled in Pine City in 1869, and in 1870 erected the Bay View House, on an elevated plateau commanding a fine view of Cross lake and Kanabec river. Mr. Millet died in 1879, leaving a widow, two sons and three daughters.


Was organized March, 1874. The first supervisors were Enoch Horton, Frank England, and S. M. Hewson. Obadiah Hewsom was town clerk. Enoch Horton and C. W. Gill were justices of the peace. Mr. Horton was the first settler, he having come to the county in 1872. The year following he raised the first crop. Mr. Horton was from Colchester, New York. He was born in 1811, and came to Minnesota in 1862. He was the first postmaster at Rock Creek. Other settlers came in slowly. Edgerton, Gill & Co. built a saw mill in 1873, with a capacity of 3,000,000 feet. This property has changed hands several times.

Capt. Enoch Horton commenced official life at the age of twenty-two years, in New York, where he served twenty-eight years as justice of the peace and county judge. He served during the Rebellion as captain of a company of sharpshooters.


Was organized in 1880. The first supervisors were Edward Peterson, Alexis Kain and Joseph Heiniger. It is a good farming township with many good farms. The first settlement was made by Elam Greely, in 1849, who made a farm and built a large barn, hauling the lumber from Marine Mills, a distance of[Pg 283] seventy miles. The town was named in honor of Royal C. Gray, who located on the Greely farm in 1854, in the northwest quarter of section 15, township 38, range 22, on the banks of the Kanabec river.


Was organized as a town Jan. 3, 1882. The first supervisors were August Schog, William Champlain and Frank Bloomquist.

The towns of Kettle River, Hinckley and Pine City were organized, and Chengwatana reorganized by special act of the legislature in 1874, and at that time embraced all the territory in the county. Since 1874, Mission Creek, Rock Creek and Royalton have been set off from Pine City and Windermere from Kettle River.

The following villages were platted at the dates named: Neshodana, by Clark, Cowell & Foster, in townships 41 and 42, ranges 15 and 16, in 1856; Fortuna, by W. A. Porter, surveyor, at the crossing of Kettle river and the military road, January, 1857; St. John's, by M. L. Benson, surveyor, in section 26, township 41, range 17, October, 1857; Midway, by Frank B. and Julia L. Lewis, proprietors, in the northwest quarter of section 34, township 40, range 21, September, 1855.


A man passing under the name of Harris had been arrested for stealing horses. George Hathaway started with the prisoner to Sunrise. Five days afterward Hathaway's dead body was found, and the inquest decided that he probably met his death by stabbing or shooting at the hands of his prisoner, who made his escape, and was never again heard from. Hathaway was a native of Passadumkeag, Maine.


March 22, 1884, a couple of young men, John Cope and William Leonard, were arrested for drunkenness and disorderly conduct, and confined in the Pine City jail, a wooden structure. About three o'clock the next morning the jail was found to be on fire. All efforts to extinguish the flames or rescue the unhappy prisoners were unavailing. The fire originated from within, in all probability from the careless action of the[Pg 284] prisoners themselves in striking matches, either for the purpose of smoking or of exploring their cells.


Mr. Redman, the agent at the Kettle River railroad station, called my attention to the fact that old Batice is singularly disfigured. He was born without thumbs or big toes. The fingers and remaining toes resemble birds' claws. Two of the fingers of each hand and two of the toes on each foot are united to the tips but have distinct nails. Of his four children three are disfigured like the father. His grandchildren are many of them worse than himself, one having but one finger.


A woman at Pokegama was badly burned by the explosion of gunpowder while she was putting it in a flask. Her face became terribly swollen and black. The missionaries did what they could for her, but thought she must die. After two days the Indian doctors held a medicine dance for her benefit. After they had gone through with their magic arts the woman arose, and, without any assistance, walked around distributing presents to the performers of the ceremony. It was truly wonderful. She recovered rapidly.


The Chippewas bury their dead much as the whites do. The body is deposited in a grave and covered with earth. A low wooden covering, somewhat like the roof of a house, is reared above it, the gables resting on the ground. The roof is covered with white or bleached muslin, and surmounted by a board cross. An aperture about six inches square is left in each end of the structure. The head of the grave is toward the west, and here are deposited offerings of fruits and trinkets of various kinds. We found at one grave a broken saucer, an oyster can filled with blueberries, a large red apple, and a pair of old shoes. Friends of the deceased visit the graves for one or two years, renewing their tributes of affection, and bringing offerings of fruit according to the season, and various foods, from acorns to dried venison, but in time these visits are discontinued and the graves are neglected and forgotten.[Pg 285]


On the banks of the Kettle river a five-year-old boy burned his hand badly. The mother, after examining the wound, decided that it was incurable, ordered the boy to place his hand upon a block, and by a single blow from a common hatchet severed it from the wrist. The boy endured the suffering without flinching.

Old Batice, alias "Kettle," lived on Kettle river in 1880. Counting by moons he claims to have lived there ninety-nine years. He is certainly very old. He says that he has always been a friend to the whites, and that in the Sioux outbreak of 1862 he counseled his people to remain quiet; that he was the enemy of the Sioux, three of whom he had killed and scalped. To commemorate his warlike deeds in slaughtering his enemies, he wore three large eagle feathers in his gray hair. He claims to be half French.


In June, 1880, the Indians were practicing a new dance near the Kettle River railroad station, part of which it was my privilege to witness. The dance house was a rudely constructed pole frame covered with birch bark, fastened down with willow twigs. About thirty dancers, male and female, and of all ages, were crowded in the dance house, sweating, grunting, hopping and bounding at the tap of a deer skin drumhead, and the "chi-yi-chi-yi-chi-hoo" of a quartette of boys and girls, squatted in a corner of the bark house. The din was incessant, the chant of the singers, or howlers, monotonous and wearisome, yet the dancers stepped and bounded to their rude music as readily as do civilized dancers to the more exquisite music of stringed instruments. This dance was the same that so frightened the Burnett county people, and required at least ten days for its complete performance. A few minutes' observation amply satisfied us, and we gladly withdrew.


[E] Several years prior to this William Morrison had a trading station upon the shores of this lake, and is probably the first white man who visited it, but it does not appear that he identified it as the source of the Mississippi.

[Pg 286]



Kanabec county, prior to 1849, was included in St. Croix county, Wisconsin; thence until 1852 it was a part of Ramsey county, Minnesota; until 1854 a part of Chisago county; and thence until its organization in 1859, a part of Pine county. It was attached for judicial purposes at various times to Chisago, Isanti and Pine counties. In 1882 it was organized for judicial purposes, Judge Crosby holding the first term of court at Brunswick. The second term was held at Mora in 1884, in the new court house.

The writer, when a member of the Minnesota senate in 1858, selected the name and introduced the bill for the formation of the county. Its boundaries are Aitkin county on the north, Pine on the east, Isanti on the south, and Mille Lacs on the west. It is well watered and drained by the Kanabec and its tributaries. This river is navigable to Brunswick, and one of its tributaries, Rice river, is navigable six miles from its mouth to Rice lake. The soil is a rich, sandy loam, deep, strong and productive. One-fifth of the entire surface was originally covered with pines. About 25,000 acres are natural meadows, while much of the remainder is covered with hardwood, and a small portion is brush prairie, which can be easily rendered fit for cultivation. The best crops are wheat, oats and potatoes, but Indian corn can be grown profitably as compared with other localities in Minnesota. Small fruits, wild and cultivated, grow luxuriantly. Cranberries have been shipped in considerable quantities. Redtop, clover, and timothy grow rank, and are profitably cultivated. Upward of 5,000 tons of hay are cured annually. The lumbering interests are still important, about 75,000,000 feet of logs[Pg 287] being annually driven to the Stillwater boom. This county is spotted with lakes and abounds in streams capable of being utilized as water powers. Good building granite is found on the Kanabec river above Mora, which will eventually be quarried and exported.

The first permanent settlers were George L. Staples and James Pennington, who came in 1855. They were followed by Stephen W. Tolman, Alvin De Wolf, John L. Spence and others. Gov. Sibley appointed the following as the first board of officers, June 10, 1859: County commissioners, Geo. L. Staples, chairman; Daniel Gordon, Benj. L. Gifford; clerk and register of deeds, James C. Morrison; treasurer, Alvah Lougee; sheriff, Benj. L. Gifford. The first election was held in October, 1859. The following were elected county officers: County commissioners, Geo. L. Staples, chairman; James Pennington, Geo. Morrison; auditor, Benj. Bill.

In the bill organizing the county, Brunswick was designated as the county seat, and so remained until 1882, when by popular vote Mora was selected. In 1883 the county built a court house at a cost of $5,000, and a jail costing $2,000. In 1874 the county built a bridge across the Kanabec at Brunswick, the bridge and its approaches being 1,300 feet in length, at a cost of $5,000. In 1879 the county built a bridge across the Kanabec at Grass Lake at a cost of $4,000. As this bridge obstructed navigation in 1884, the county, at a cost of $4,000, rebuilt it in such a way that steamers could pass underneath. In 1883 another bridge was built across the Kanabec in the town of Arthur at a cost of $4,000.

The first post office was established at Brunswick in 1859, Geo. L. Staples, postmaster. The first mail was from Anoka via Cambridge to Brunswick. In 1847 Rev. W. S. Boutwell preached the first sermon within the present limits of the county. The first deed recorded was a warranty deed from Ralph Potter to John A. Snyder, both of Illinois, in June, 1857, conveying lands in sections 3 and 10, township 38, range 25. The second deed recorded was from David Bagley to Hersey, Hall, Whitney and Fenno, of Boston, and Isaac Staples of Stillwater, conveying the northeast quarter of section 1, township 38, range 24, and other lands.[Pg 288]


The town of Arthur includes township 39, ranges 23, 24 and 25. It was organized in 1883. The first supervisors were: Ira A. Conger, Andrew E. Westling and Charles A. Staples; clerk, Stanton D. Seavey. The village of Mora was the first settlement. Anna C. Larson was the first child born in the town. The first marriage was that of Frederick G. Turner and Edith Perkins. The first death was that of Henry Rust, in 1847, killed by Indians. There is one house of worship, at what is known as the Swedish mission.


A village, platted in 1882, is located in section 11, township 39, range 24, on the Hinckley branch of the Manitoba railroad. Myron R. Kent, owner of the town plat, made the first improvements, building a hotel and post office, of which he became postmaster. Alvah J. Conger opened the first store in 1882. The village now contains a court house, school house, two hotels, five stores, three saloons, and many fine residences. Lake Mora, a lovely sheet of deep, blue water, about one hundred and fifty acres in extent, is located within the village limits. The village is beautifully situated on a plateau on the east side of Kanabec river.

Stephen L. Danforth lived in the county of Kanabec during the '70s. His occupation was that of a farmer or lumberman. He died in Stillwater in 1884.

N. H. Danforth, brother of S. L., also settled here in the '70s, and still resides here, an active business man.

Alvah J. and Ira Conger are cousins. They came from Maine to Minnesota in 1850. Alvah J. kept the Tombler House in Wyoming. Subsequently he removed to Cambridge, where he kept a hotel and store, and thence removed to Pine City, where he kept a store until 1882, when he moved to Mora. He was married to Charlotte Pennington. They have no children. Ira Conger has been actively engaged in business at Cambridge and other places, and moved to Mora in 1883, where he is proprietor of a hotel and store. His oldest son, John, has charge of his business interests.


This village is yet unplatted. It is located in section 21, range 24, on the line of the Manitoba railroad. A post office was established[Pg 289] here in 1884, of which Frank P. Burleigh is postmaster. Adjoining and including this village is the large farm of Isaac Staples, including 2,000 acres, of which six hundred and fifty acres are under cultivation. The improvements on the farm are two large barns, one store, one blacksmith shop, one wood working shop, and commodious dwellings for employes. This farm is headquarters for the lumbering interests of Mr. Staples in Kanabec county.


Includes township 38, ranges 24 and 25. The town was organized in 1883. The first supervisors were Eric Hokansen, John Rines and Haquin Ekman. The first school was taught by Charlotte Pennington, in 1856. The first death was that of —— Cowan, killed accidentally, in 1857. There are two church organizations, Swedish Baptist and Swedish Lutheran. Stephen E. Tallman built a saw mill in 1870, and a flour mill in 1879. The village of Brunswick is located in the southwest quarter of section 1, township 38; range 24. It was platted in 1856, by Isaac and George Staples. It was originally designated as the county seat.


Was platted by Isaac Staples for Hersey, Staples & Co., Jan 17, 1857, in section 7, township 38, range 24.

James Pennington was born in Queensborough, New Brunswick, in 1799. He lived in Houlton, Maine, fifteen years, and came to Kanabec county in 1854 with his family, who were the first permanent settlers in the county. Mr. Pennington farmed and lumbered. He died in December, 1887. Mrs. Pennington died in 1878. Six sons and three daughters are living. The sons are residents of Minnesota. The daughters are married as follows: Elisabeth to —— Grant, of Detroit, Minnesota; Charlotte to A. J. Conger, of Mora, Minnesota; Augusta to B. C. Newport, of Pipestone, Minnesota.

George L. Staples settled in section 1, township 38, range 24, in 1855. He lived there eight years and filled various responsible offices. He was an upright, conscientious man, much respected by all who knew him. In 1863 he removed to Monticello, Minnesota, and died in 1877, leaving a widow, five sons and a daughter. Mr. Staples raised the first crop in the county,[Pg 290] opened the first store, and gave the name of Brunswick to the town. Isaac Edwin Staples, son of George, was the first white child born in the county. He was clerk of court in Morrison county in 1887.

Daniel Gordon was born in Readfield, Maine, in 1809. In 1856 he settled in the southeast quarter of section 1, township 38, range 24. He was married to widow Tallman in Brunswick. This was the first marriage in the town. Mrs. Gordon died in June, 1885.


Includes township 38, range 23. It was organized in 1883. It is thickly settled, mostly by Swedes. They have good farms, roads and schools. The first settler was Solomon Anderson; the second, Benjamin Norton; both were farmers. There are in this town three houses of worship, two belonging to the Swedish mission, and one to the Baptists. There are five school houses.

The remainder of the county, consisting mostly of pine lands, and including nine townships, is without organization or township government. It is divided into three assessment districts over which the county exercises jurisdiction, making levies and collecting taxes.


Isanti county lies directly west of Chisago and south of Kanabec. It is bounded on the west and south by Sherburne, Mille Lacs and Anoka counties, and contains about fourteen towns. The soil is well adapted for agriculture. The county has no large lakes, but is well watered by tributaries of Rum and Sunrise rivers. It is well timbered in the north with sugar maple. The settlers are chiefly Scandinavians, who, by their industry, have made the plains and oak ridges to blossom with clover and the cereals. The county was organized Feb. 13, 1857. It took its name from a tribe of Indians who some time ago occupied the country about Mille Lacs. The first board of county commissioners consisted of Oscar Smith, Hugh Wylie and Elbridge G. Clough. The first county officers were: William Tubbs, auditor; F. H. Moon, treasurer; G. G. Griswold, register of deeds; Stephen Hewson, judge of probate; H. M. Davis, clerk; George L. Henderson, sheriff. The first court was held by Judge C. E. Vanderburgh in October, 1871. Prior to this time Isanti had been attached to Auoka county for judicial purposes.[Pg 291]


The county seat of Isanti, was incorporated as a village in 1876. It is pleasantly located on the west side of Rum river. It has one flouring mill, a newspaper office, and several stores, shops, dwellings and churches. The county buildings are neat and convenient. The new court house cost $7,000. It is worthy of mention that B. A. Latta, as county treasurer, paid the first money into the hands of the state treasurer for war purposes. The first postmasters in the county were Van Vliet Ainsley, of Spencer Brook, and G. G. Griswold, in 1858.


Lies on the headwaters of the Sunrise river. It was settled, as early as 1855, by John P. Owens, W. A. Hobbs, B. T. Huntley, and John Schinler. It was organized as a town in 1858, John P. Owens being chairman of the first board of supervisors. John Schinler raised the first crop, in 1857. Schools were established in 1860.


Rensselaer Grant, M. Hurley and Stephen Hewson settled within the present limits of this town in 1855. At that time the town was not organized. In 1865 it was included within the limits of North Branch, but in 1878 the town of Oxford was set off as now defined. The first supervisors were John Bachelor, P. Lillygrin and P. Berg. Stephen Hewson was town clerk, and has retained the office ever since. A post office was established in 1863. Stephen Hewson was postmaster, and has held the office continuously ever since. The town is well settled by farmers. In 1870 a cyclone passed through the town, destroying everything in its track, which was about twenty rods wide. Not a building was left on the homestead of Mr. Hewson. His fine large barn was torn to pieces and the fragments scattered for the distance of a mile.

Stephen Hewson is a native of England, which he left in 1844. He resided in Canada a few years, then came to Chicago, and later to Minnesota. He was for awhile a partner in the publishing firm of E. S. Goodrich & Co., then proprietors of the St. Paul Pioneer. He made his present home in Oxford in 1855, and has since that time been intimately identified with its history[Pg 292] and that of the county of Isanti. He was a representative from the Fourth district in the legislature of 1865. He has filled the offices of county auditor, county commissioner and judge of probate court. As an ordained minister of the Methodist church he takes an active interest in religious matters, serving as superintendent of the Sunday-school, and occasionally filling the pulpit. Five of his daughters are school teachers, one of whom, Mary, in 1870, taught the first school in Oxford. He remains hale and hearty in his seventy-seventh year.

George W. Nesbit was born in 1828, in Delaware county, New York. He received an academic education. He came in 1856 to St. Francis, Anoka county, Minnesota, and in 1863 to Isanti county. He has been engaged in farming and selling goods, and is an energetic, busy man. He made the first pre-emption timber claim on the Mille Lacs reservation, which was rejected. Mr. Nesbit was married in New York and has a family of six children.

Rensselaer Grant was born in New York in 1816. His father was a native of Scotland but emigrated to the United States and took part in the war of 1812. Mr. Grant was married in Saratoga county, New York, in 1837, to Libiah Mitchell. The Grants moved to Illinois in 1850, and to Isanti county in 1856. Mr. and Mrs. Grant died at North Branch, in 1886, leaving, three married sons, two living in Isanti county, and one at Rush City, and three daughters, the eldest married to J. W. Delamater, the second to W. H. Hobbs, the third living in St. Paul.


This county is bounded on the north by Mille Lacs lake and Aitkin county, on the east by Isanti, Kanabec and Aitkin, on the south by Sherburne and on the west by Morrison and Benton counties, and includes about 17 townships extending from south to north a distance of 48 miles, and having a breadth of 12 miles, excepting the two upper series of towns, which have a width of 18 miles. It is, excepting two agricultural towns in the south, heavily timbered, chiefly with pine. It is well watered by Rum river and its tributaries, and by the body of water known as Mille Lacs, a large picturesque lake, which covers over one hundred and five sections of Aitkin, Crow Wing and Mille Lacs counties. The tributaries of the[Pg 293] St. Croix also drain the northeastern part of the county. The southern townships consist of prairies and oak openings, the northern and central parts being covered with hardwood and pine. Immense quantities have been already marketed. The hardwood ridges and flats offer good farming lands, and the wild meadows, scattered over the county, excellent hay and pasturage.

Mille Lacs lake, the largest inland lake in Minnesota, is a beautiful and picturesque sheet of water, with receding wooded shores, with but little low land adjoining. The waters are deep and clear and abundantly supplied with fish. This lake, when reached by railways, will be one of the most pleasant summer resorts in the Northwest. It already attracts the attention of the tourist. A steamer built in 1885 floats upon its waters. The lake is about eighteen miles long by from twelve to fifteen wide, and covers about six townships. Three small islands gem its surface, one of which, from its columnar appearance, seems to be of volcanic or igneous formation.

The Mille Lacs reservation covers about four fractional towns, bordering the southern shore of the lake. Since the treaty these lands have been covered by pre-emptions, soldiers' warrants and half-breed scrip, but are held by a doubtful tenure owing to the uncertain and various rulings of the land department. Under the provisions of the treaty, the Indians, a band of Chippewas, were allowed to retain possession until ordered to remove. In anticipation of this order settlements have been made at various periods, and patents have been issued to the pre emptors in a few cases, but in many cases refused. Half-breed scrip has been laid upon thousands of acres under one administration at Washington, the permission to be countermanded by another. Meanwhile the Indians, not having received the order for removal, claim to be the owners of the land, and with some show of justice. In 1882 the Manitoba Railroad Company built a road through the county from east to west, through township 40, ranges 26 and 27.

In the early divisions of Minnesota into counties, the territory of Mille Lacs was included in Ramsey and Benton counties. Prior to its present organization, a county called Monroe, covering the territory of Mille Lacs, was established but never organized. By legislative enactment in 1857 Mille Lacs county was[Pg 294] established and organized by the people in 1860, the counties of which its territory was originally a part concurring, and Princeton was made the county seat. In 1859 there had been effected the organization of one town in the county, known as Princeton. This has since been subdivided into Princeton Greenbush, and Milo. The officers of the town organization in 1859 were: Supervisors, C. W. Houston, Charles Pratt, Joseph L. Cater. The first county election, held April, 1860, resulted in the election of the following officers: County commissioners, Joseph L. Cater, chairman; Samuel Orton, C. S. Moses; auditor and register of deeds, W. W. Payne; clerk of court, S. M. Byers; treasurer, E. J. Whitney; sheriff, Wm. McCauley; probate judge, Samuel Ross. The first term of court was held June 3, 1861, E. C. Vanderburgh, presiding judge. The first recorded deed was from E. J. Whitney to Isaac Staples, and bears date Aug. 4, 1854.


Has a pleasant site on the Manitoba railroad, on the banks of Rum river at the crossing of the Manitoba & Superior and the junction of the Elk River & Princeton railroad. The Manitoba Company have a good saw mill here, with a capacity of 125,000 feet per day, built at a cost of $50,000. A planing mill is attached. There is a good three story hotel, well kept, here.

The village was surveyed and platted March 24, 1886; Chas. Keith, surveyor; James J. Hill, president of the Mille Lacs Lumber Company, proprietor. It is located in the town of Greenbush.


Located in the town of Milo, has a steam saw mill, spoke and hub factory, around which are several residences.


The village of Princeton is located at the junction of the two branches of the Rum river, on a beautiful prairie, surrounded by rich prairie and timber lands. The first log house was built in 1849, and kept as a stopping place by a mulatto known as "Banjo Bill." This house is still standing. The first permanent settlers were A. B. Damon, O. E. Garrison, C. H. Chadbourne, Edwin Allen, John W. Allen, Chas. Whitcomb, Joseph L. Cater, W. F. Dunham, and Samuel Ross. They were also[Pg 295] the first settlers in the county, and came in 1853-7. In 1855 Messrs. Damon and Allen farmed on the present site of the village. The village was surveyed and platted Feb. 11, 1859, by S. Ross & Co. S. Ross also built a hotel where the North Star Hotel now stands. This year the first frame building was erected and used as a store. W. F. Dunham built a steam saw mill. The first school house was built, although school organization was not effected until 1858. James M. Dayton taught the first school. A post office was established with O. E. Garrison as postmaster. Samuel Ross brought the mail once a week from Anoka. A Congregational church was established, of which Rev. Royal Twichell was chosen as pastor. The Methodists organized a society the following year.

The village was incorporated March 13, 1877, by legislative enactment. The commissioners appointed under the organic act were E. C. Giles, H. B. Cowles, C. H. Rines, B. F. Whiting, and Charles Keith. At the election ordered by them the following officers were chosen: President, C. H. Rines; trustees. F. M. Campbell, Isaiah S. Mudgett, Thomas F. Caly; recorder, Silas L. Staples; treasurer, D. H. Murray; justices of the peace, Scott M. Justice, Charles Keith. The Princeton Appeal was established by Rev. John Quigley in 1873, but discontinued in 1875. In December, 1876, Robert C. Dunn started the Princeton Union, which he still publishes.

The Manitoba branch railroad from Elk River to Milacca village passes through Princeton. The first train arrived Nov. 30, 1880. The county contributed $47,000 in bonds at five per cent interest for twenty years, to aid in building the road. The St. Paul, Mille Lacs, Brainerd, Leech Lake & Crookston railroad will, when completed, pass through Princeton. An excellent school building was erected in 1885, at a cost of about $7,000. Guy Ewing is principal of the school, which is graded. The Grand Army of the Republic have a post here known as the Wallace Rines post. The Masons have an organization, with a splendid hall. A three story hotel, built by Samuel Ross, is kept by his only daughter, Mrs. Barker. A two story brick hotel, the Commercial House, Henry Newbert, proprietor, a handsome structure, was built in 1887. The Mille Lacs County Bank, located here, has a paid up capital of $20,000. Charles Erickson is president; L. P. Hyberg, vice president; Frank[Pg 296] Hewse, clerk. Princeton has one steam saw mill, two flouring mills, one feed mill, two elevators with a capacity of 60,000 bushels, and one brewery. A court house and jail are in process of erection at an estimated cost of $10,000.


Samuel Ross was born Aug. 22, 1812. He attended Western Reserve College, but through ill health did not graduate. He came to Iowa in 1839, where he was married to Mary Vaughn in 1841. He came to Princeton in 1855, where he took an active part in building up the town and county, filled many prominent and responsible positions in the village and county, and served as representative of the first state legislature. Mrs. Ross died in 1851; Mr. Ross died in 1881, leaving an only daughter, Olive R., widow of A. P. Barker, who was a prominent lawyer of Princeton. Mrs. Barker was elected superintendent of schools in 1880, to which position she has been re-elected and is at present filling the office efficiently. She was the first female superintendent elected in Minnesota.

Joseph L. Cater was born in Strafford county, New Hampshire, in 1828. He came to Princeton in 1855 and engaged in farming. His name appears in all the original organizations of town and county. M. V. B. Cater and sons have also been active and prominent citizens of Princeton. M. V. B. Cater died some years since.

Edwin Allen, originally from Welton, Maine, came to Princeton in 1855 and engaged in farming.

John H. Allen came from Maine to Princeton in 1854, engaged in farming and became prominent as a public spirited citizen. He held various positions of trust in the county and was appointed receiver of the land office at Fergus Falls by President Hayes, and resides there.

A. B. Damon came from Maine to Princeton in 1853 and made the first claim on the town site.

C. H. Chadbourne was born at Lexington, Massachusetts. At the age of sixteen he embarked in a seafaring life in which he continued nine years. Mr. Chadbourne, wishing to abandon his seafaring ways, and to put himself beyond danger of resuming them, came to the centre of the continent and located on a farm near Princeton in 1856. He has since followed farming[Pg 297] continuously. His farm consists of 900 acres under cultivation, 500 of which is devoted to tame grass and pasturage, on which he feeds 150 head of blooded stock. He has a large dairy which nets him $1,200 annually. He was a member of the state legislatures of 1874-5 and was seven years county commissioner of Sherburne county. Mr. Chadbourne was married in 1852 to Deborah Crowell. They have three sons and two daughters.

[Pg 298]




Chisago county, located on the west bank of the St. Croix river, between the counties of Pine on the north and Washington on the south, the St. Croix river on the east and the counties of Isanti and Anoka on the west, presents an agreeable variety of surface, upland and generally undulating, covered with hard and soft wood timber, well watered by lakes and streams. Its principal streams are the St. Croix and its tributaries, Rush and Sunrise rivers and Goose creek, and its principal lakes are Chisago, Sunrise, Green, Rush, and Goose lakes. Its lake scenery is unsurpassed in beauty. The county takes the name of its largest and most beautiful lake. In its original, or rather aboriginal, form it was Ki-chi-sago, from two Chippewa words meaning "kichi," large, and "saga," fair or lovely. For euphonic considerations the first syllable was dropped.


This lake is conspicuous for its size, the clearness of its waters, its winding shore and islands, its bays, peninsulas, capes, and promontories. It has fully fifty miles of meandering shore line. Its shores and islands are well timbered with maple and other hard woods. It has no waste swamps, or marsh borders. When the writer first came to Taylor's Falls, this beautiful lake was unknown to fame. No one had seen it or could point out its location. Indians brought fish and maple sugar from a lake which they called Ki-chi-sago Sagi-a-gan, or "large and lovely lake." This lake, they said, abounded with "kego," fish.[Pg 299]

In 1851 the writer, with Bart Emery, made a visit to this beautiful sheet of water. We found it what its Indian name imports, "fair and lovely water." The government had, the year before, completed a survey of the lake, and it was high time that it should be given a name by which it should be designated on the map and recognized by civilized visitors. What name more beautiful and appropriate than that which the Indians had already given it. That name we at once recognized and used all our influence to perpetuate under somewhat adverse influences; for Swedish emigrants having settled in its neighborhood, a strong effort was made to christen it "Swede Lake," but the lake is to-day known as Chisago, and Chisago it is likely to remain. We believe in the policy of retaining the old Indian names whenever possible. As a rule they are far more musical and appropriate than any we can apply. The Indians have left us their lands, their lakes, their streams; let us accept with them the names by which they were known. Some have been translated into English and appear on the maps as Goose, Elk, Beaver and Snake. By all means let us retranslate them in memory of the race that once owned them.


Chisago county shares with Polk county in the ownership of the wildest and most peculiar scenery in the valley of the St. Croix. At Taylor's Falls, the head of navigation, the river flows between ledges of trap rock, varying in height from fifty to two hundred and fifty feet, for the most part perpendicular, but wildly irregular, as is common in trap rock formations. These ledges are crowned with pine trees and a dense undergrowth of bushes and vines. The prevailing color of the rock is a cold or bluish gray, but broken occasionally by brilliant patches of coloring, red, yellow or green, as they may be stained by oxides of the metals, or covered with lichens and mosses. This formation is known as "The Dalles," sometimes improperly styled "Dells." The rocks composing it are porphyritic trap, an igneous rock forced upward from the interior of the earth through crevices in the crust while still in a liquid state and then solidifying in masses, sometimes prismatic but oftener in irregular polygons, and broken by parallel lines of cleavage. Some geological experts claim that these rocks are "in place"[Pg 300] as forming a part of the original crust of the earth, but the balance of evidence seems to be in favor of their having been erupted at a comparatively modern period. This is evidenced by the presence of water-worn boulders and pebbles, imbedded in the trap, somewhat like plums in a pudding, while it was yet plastic; and now forming a species of conglomerate as hard and compact as the trap itself. These rocks are supposed to be rich in copper and silver, and miners have spent much time in prospecting for these metals.

Whatever the origin of the rocks, it is conceded that they were once plastic, at which time this region could not have been a safe or pleasant dwelling place for such beings as now inhabit the world. The theory of a comparatively recent eruption of these rocks is not a pleasant one, for the suggestion forces itself upon the mind that that which has been, at least in recent times, may occur again. The occasional recurrence of earthquakes on our western coast, and the recent severe disturbances in South Carolina and Georgia, raise the query whether this region may not again be visited with an outburst and overflow of trap, terrible and destructive as the first. The foundations, however, seem firm enough to last forever. The rocks are of unusual hardness, and the crust of the earth is probably as solid and thick here as elsewhere. The Dalles proper are about one mile in length. The river, in its passage through them, varies in width from one hundred and fifty to three hundred feet. It was formerly reported unfathomable, but in recent years, owing to a filling up process caused by the debris of the log drivers, it is found to be not more than a hundred feet in its deepest place. The river makes an abrupt bend about a bold promontory of trap known as Angle or Elbow Rock. To the first voyageurs this seemed to be the end of the river, and gave rise to the story that at this point the river burst out of the rocks. Much of the frontage of the rocks upon the river is smooth and perpendicular, and stained with oxides of iron and copper. In places it is broken. The upper rocks are disintegrated by the action of rain and frost, and, where far enough from the river, have fallen so as to form a talus or slope of angular fragments to the water's edge.[Pg 301]



There are some instances in which, by the breaking away and falling of smaller rocks, larger rocks have been left standing in the form of columns. Most notable of these are the "Devil's Pulpit," and the "Devil's Chair." The former, owing to surrounding shrubbery, is not easily seen. The latter is a conspicuous object on the western shore of the river a few rods below the lower landing. It stands on the slope formed by the debris of a precipice that rises here about 120 feet above the river. Its base is about 40 feet above low water mark; the column itself reaches 45 feet higher. It is composed of many angular pieces of trap, the upper portion bearing a rude resemblance to a chair. It is considered quite a feat to climb to the summit. The face of the rocks is disfigured by the names of ambitious and undeserving persons. The nuisance of names and advertisements painted upon the most prominent rocks in the Dalles is one that every lover of Nature will wish to have abated. To spend an hour climbing amongst these precipices to find in some conspicuous place the advertisement of a quack medicine, illustrates[Pg 302] the adage: "There is but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous."


A more remarkable curiosity may be found on that bench or middle plateau of the Dalles, lying between the upper and the lower Taylor's Falls landings, in what has been not inaptly styled "The Wells." These are openings, or pits, not much unlike wells, in places where the trap is not more than 50 feet above water level, varying in width from a few inches to 30 or 40 feet, the deepest being from 20 to 25 feet. These seem to have been formed by the action of water upon pebbles or boulders, much as "pot holes" are now being formed in the rocky bottoms of running streams. The water falls upon the pebbles or boulders in such a way as to cause them to revolve and act as a drill, boring holes in the rock proportioned to the force of the agencies employed. Some of these boulders and pebbles, worn to a spherical shape, were originally found at the bottoms of these wells, but have been mostly carried away by the curious. Some of the wells are cut through solid pieces of trap. The walls of others are seamed and jointed; in some cases fragments have fallen out, and in others the entire side of the wells has been violently disrupted and partly filled with debris. The extreme hardness of the trap rock militates somewhat against the theory of formation above given. It is, however, not improbable that this hardness was acquired after long exposure to the air.


In the history of St. Croix Falls mention has been made of some of the pioneers of Chisago county. St. Croix Falls and Taylor's Falls, the pioneer settlement of Chisago county, though a river divides them which is also the boundary line of two states, have much that is common in their early history. The inhabitants were always greatly interested in what was going on over the river. We may add, that although they now stand in the attitude of rival cities, their interests are still identical, and we believe that, but for the unwise policy of making St. Croix river a state line, they might be to-day under one city government, and as compact and harmonious as though no St. Croix river rolled between them. The river is their joint property;[Pg 303] both have the same heritage of trap rocks and pines, the same milling privileges, the same lumbering interests, and, it must be confessed, they remain up to the present time about equally mated. J. R. Brown was unquestionably the pioneer of the settlement. Frank Steele says he found J. R. Brown trading, in 1837, on the spot now the site of Taylor's Falls.

He was not, however, the first white man upon the soil. There is some documentary evidence of the establishment by the French of a fort forty leagues up the St. Croix some time between the years 1700 and 1703. This fort was in all probability erected on the plateau below the Dalles, the distance given, forty leagues, being exaggerated after the fashion of the early voyageurs. It was called Fort St. Croix. There was also a prehistoric settlement, the ruins of which the writer noted as early as 1851, on the school land addition to Taylor's Falls. These were the foundations of nine houses, plainly visible. Over some of them trees two feet in diameter were growing. The rock foundations ranged in size from twenty to thirty feet, with the hearth containing ashes underlying the debris of ages, on smooth hearthstones showing years of service, being apparently a century old. These were the homes, undoubtedly, of a civilized people, and we may claim for Taylor's Falls, Chisago county, one of the first improvements made by whites in the limits of Minnesota.

During the last half of the last century a prominent trading post was established and maintained for many years on the St. Croix river, which was founded by Pierre Grinow, and during the close of the last century it was in the charge of one James Perlier, who afterward became one of the most useful citizens of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Lawrence Barth was also here in 1793. The evidence of the existence of this trading post rests upon traditions and the ruins referred to. Recurring to the pioneer Brown, the most irrepressible of all the advance guard of civilization, we find him only a transient inhabitant. He stayed long enough to cut 200,000 feet of pine logs from the present site of Taylor's Falls, when the neighborhood lost its attractions. These were the first pine saw logs cut in the St. Croix valley.

In 1838 a French trader, Robinet, was located at the same place, but in the summer of the same year came Mr. Jesse Taylor from Fort Snelling where he had been following the business[Pg 304] of a stonemason. He had heard of the ratification of the Indian treaty by Congress, and he greatly coveted some of the rich lands brought into market by that treaty. Mr. Taylor, with an Indian guide, came to the Dalles of the St. Croix. As Mr. Steele had already claimed the east side, Mr. Taylor concluded that he would claim the west side. Returning to Fort Snelling he reported to an associate, Benjamin F. Baker, formed a partnership and returned with men, boats, provisions and building material, but on his return to the falls he found Robinet, the trader, in a bark shanty (at the present junction of Bridge and River streets). Robinet was in actual possession of the coveted acres. Robinet having no other function than that of a trader, and consequently having no serious designs on the lands was easily bought off, and Baker & Taylor, in August, 1838, commenced improvements, building a log house, a blacksmith shop, a mill, and commencing a mill race which had to be blasted. They also built piers and a wing dam just above the present location of the bridge. The mill was located at what has since become the upper steamboat landing. Mr. Taylor named the lower falls Baker's falls, and the settlement, Taylor's Place. When the town was platted, in 1850, it was called Taylor's Falls. The name came also to be applied to the lower falls.

The mill enterprise was a melancholy failure. The builders were not practical mill men. The improvements were expensive. The work of blasting rock and building made slow progress. There was no income as long as the mill was in process of building. In the midst of these embarrassments, in 1840, Mr. Baker died. Mr. Taylor took entire possession with no other right than that of a squatter sovereign. In 1843 Mr. Taylor sold the unfinished mill to parties in Osceola, and in 1844 everything movable was transferred to that place. The double log cabin remained, and there Mr. Taylor lived for eight years on the proceeds of the sale, performing in all that time no work more worthy of the historian's notice than fixing his name upon the settlement and falls. Many of the later residents query as to why it was ever called Taylor's Falls. It takes a keen eye to discover any fall in the river at the point named. The falls indeed were once far more conspicuous than they are now, owing to the fact that a large rock rose above the water at the ordinary stage, around which the crowded waters roared and swirled. That rock, never[Pg 305] visible in later days, was called Death Rock, because three hapless mariners in a skiff were hurled against it by the swift current and drowned.

The old log house, the sole remnant of the Baker and Taylor project, if we may except some holes in the rock made by blasting, and some submerged ruins of the wing dam and pier, has passed through various changes. It has been used as a store, as a boarding house, as a warehouse, as a church, as a school house, and as a stable. Part of it still remains and is habitable. It is located on lot 18, block 15. In 1846 Jesse Taylor sold his claim to Joshua L. Taylor for two hundred dollars. This claim, like most of the claims made prior to the survey of government lands, was not accurately defined. It included, however, all the lands, on the west side of the river, extending northward to the St. Croix Company's claim, at the upper falls, and including the present site of Taylor's Falls.

Aside from mill building, nothing was done in the way of improvements until 1846, when Jerry Ross and Benjamin F. Otis commenced farming on what was subsequently known as the Morton and Colby farms. Both raised potatoes and garden vegetables and built houses. This was the first cultivation of the soil in Chisago county. In 1847 Mr. Otis sold his improvements to Wm. F. Colby, who, in that year, raised the first corn grown by white men in the county. In 1846 Thornton Bishop commenced improvements on a farm at the head of the rapids, six miles above Taylor's Falls. J. L. Taylor, in 1848, built a pre-emption shanty midway between the upper and lower falls. In 1849 he proved up his pre-emption to lots 5, 6 and 7, section 30, township 34, range 18. N. C. D. Taylor pre-empted the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section 25, and the west half of the same quarter section; also lot 1, section 36, township 34, range 19.

In 1849 Lewis Barlow and Wm. E. Bush became citizens. An abstract of the canvassed returns of an election held November 26th shows but six votes in the settlement. In 1850 W. F. Colby pre-empted the northeast quarter of section 25, township 34, range 19, and W. H. C. Folsom the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of the same.

At a regular meeting of the St. Croix county board, held at Stillwater, April 2, 1850, the following judges of election were[Pg 306] appointed within the present limits of Chisago county: St. Croix Falls precinct, Wm. F. Colby, Wm. Holmes, N. C. D. Taylor; Rush Lake precinct, Levi Clark, Walter Carrier and Richard Arnold. At a meeting, held Oct. 7, 1850, the petition of Lewis Barlow and ten others, of St. Croix Falls precinct, was presented, asking for a special election, to elect two justices of the peace. Their petition was granted. The poll was: Wm. E. Bush, one vote; John H. Reid, six votes; Ansel Smith, five votes. Reid and Smith were declared elected. The first survey of town lots was made in 1851, by Theodore E. Parker, of Stillwater, and under this survey the village was legally established as Taylor's Falls. The first deeds recorded in Chisago county were transcripts from Washington county of lands consisting of town site property, dated 1851, conveyed to W. H. C. Folsom by J. L. and N. C. D. Taylor.

The movement for the organization of a new county from the northern part of Washington commenced in the winter of 1851-52. A formidable petition to the legislature to make such organization, drawn up and circulated by Hon. Ansel Smith, of Franconia, and the writer, was duly forwarded, presented and acquiesced in by that body. The writer had been selected to visit the capital in the interest of the petitioners. Some difficulty arose as to the name. The writer had proposed "Chi-sa-ga." This Indian name was ridiculed, and Hamilton, Jackson, Franklin and Jefferson were in turn proposed. The committee of the whole finally reported in favor of the name, Chisaga, but the legislature, in passing the bill for our county organization, by clerical or typographical error changed the last "a" in "saga" to "o," which, having become the law, has not been changed.

The eastern boundary of the county was fixed as the St. Croix river; the southern boundary, the line between townships 32 and 33; the western, the line between ranges 21 and 22, for three townships south, and the line between ranges 22 and 23 for the remaining townships north. To show how little was known of the geography of the section we refer to the record of the county commissioners of Washington county, dated Dec. 15, 1848, at which St. Croix district, the present Chisago county, was established as "bounded on the north by Sunrise river and on the west by line between ranges 21 and 22"—an utter impossibility, as the Sunrise river flows in a northerly direction[Pg 307] entirely through the county and at its nearest point does not come within three miles of the range line mentioned.

The election for the first board of county officers was held at the Chisago House, Oct. 14, 1851. Twenty-three votes were polled at this election. The following officers were elected: Commissioners, Samuel Thomson, chairman; N. C. D. Taylor, Thomas F. Morton; clerk of board and register of deeds, F. W. Abbott; treasurer, W. H. C. Folsom. The bill establishing the county provided that "the seat of justice of the county of Chisago shall be at such point in said county as the first board of commissioners elected in said county shall determine." In accordance with this law, at the first meeting of the commissioners, held at the office of N. C. D. Taylor in Taylor's Falls, Jan. 5, 1852, the town of Taylor's Falls was chosen as the county seat, "agreeable to the Revised Statutes, chapter 1st, section 14th."

As the population of the county increased the project of moving the county seat to a more nearly central position was agitated. In 1858 a vote was taken which resulted in favor of its removal to Centre City. The matter of the legality of the vote was referred to the court, and decided by Judge Welch adversely, on the ground that a majority of the voters of the county had not voted. The county seat consequently remained at Taylor's Falls. In 1861 another vote was taken by which the county seat was removed to Chisago City, and there it remained under somewhat adverse circumstances. Chisago City having but a small population and no conveniences for such a purpose, and being for several years without even a post office, repeated efforts were made for another removal, until in 1875 a vote to remove it to Centre City carried. In January, 1876, the records were removed. The county authorities issued $5,000 bonds for a court house which was erected on a point of land extending into Chisago lake, a beautiful situation. The bonds have been paid and the county is without indebtedness, and has a surplus of about $10,000.

The town of Amador comprises two eastern tiers of sections of township 35, range 20, and two fractional sections of township 36, range 20, fractional township 35, range 19, and one fractional section of township 36, range 19. The St. Croix river forms its boundary on the north and east. The surface is undulating. The western and southern part is covered with hardwood[Pg 308] timber and has rich soil. The northern part has oak openings and prairie, with soil somewhat varied, in some places more or less sandy. It is well watered and drained. Thornton Bishop, the first settler, came in 1846, and located a farm on the banks of the St. Croix, at the head of the rapids, in section 34. Richard Arnold settled on Amador prairie in 1854, and was followed by James P. Martin, Carmi P. Garlick and others. Garlick was a practicing physician, but engaged in other work. He built a steam saw mill and made many other improvements, among them laying out the village of Amador in section 9, township 35, range 20. H. N. Newbury, surveyor, not succeeding in his undertaking, issued the prospectus of a paper to be called the St. Croix Eagle and to be published at Taylor's Falls. This failing he removed to Osceola.

Amador was organized in 1858. The first supervisors were C. P. Garlick, R. Arnold and James Martin. A post office was established in 1857; Henry Bush, postmaster. Mr. Bush had a small farm at the mouth of Deer creek, where he built a large public house, two stories high. This house burned down. He established a ferry across the St. Croix. He had a large family of boys who roamed the woods freely until one of their number was lost. The other boys came home as usual but of one they could give no account. Parties were organized for the search, which at last was given up as unsuccessful. A year afterward the bones of the missing boy were found some miles away, by the side of a log, where the little wanderer had doubtless perished of starvation and exposure. Mr. Bishop raised the first crops of the town. The first marriage was that of Charles S. Nevers and Mary Snell, by John Winans, Esq., Feb. 23, 1860.

Thornton Bishop was a native of Indiana. He came to St. Croix Falls in 1841 and was married to Delia Wolf in 1842, by Rev. W. D. Boutwell, at the Pokegama mission. This wife was a well educated half-breed. They raised a large family of children. He came to Amador in 1846 and farmed for some time at the head of the rapids, when he sold his farm and moved to Sunrise. In 1880 he removed to Kettle River station. In 1883-84-85-86 he served as commissioner for Pine county.

William Holmes came to Amador and settled on a farm at the head of the rapids in 1848. The farm is now held by John Dabney. Mr. Holmes married a sister of Mrs. Thornton[Pg 309] Bishop. She was educated at Pokegama mission. They raised a large family of children. In 1852 Mr. Holmes removed to Sunrise and thence to Trade River, Wisconsin, in 1875, where he sickened. His brother-in-law, Bishop, came to his relief, removed him to his own home and cared for him till he died, May, 1876.

James M. Martin was one of the first settlers in Amador. He came originally from Missouri, where he was married. He died July 17, 1887; Mrs. Martin dying some years prior. Their sons are James M., Harvey, Charles, Isaac, and Theodore. Their daughters are Mrs. Cowan, Mrs. Wilkes, Mrs. Nordine and Mrs. Lanon.


The town of Branch, occupying township 35, range 21, was set off from Sunrise, and organized in 1872. The first supervisors were William Winston, Peter Delamater and Frank Knight. A post office was established in 1869; Geo. W. Flanders, postmaster. The surface is mostly undulating, and the soil a sandy loam. There are oak openings, and along the course of the north branch of the Sunrise river, which flows through the town from west to east, there are many excellent wild meadows. The north part originally contained pine forests; about 5,000,000 feet have been cut away. Branch contains some pretty and well cultivated farms. The St. Paul & Duluth railroad traverses the town from south to north.


The only village in the town of Branch was platted in January, 1870, the proprietors being the Western Land Association, L. Mendenhall, agent. The plat includes the north half of the northwest quarter of section 21, and the northeast quarter of section 20, township 35, range 21. The first settler was G. M. Flanders, who opened a store here in 1868, which was burned in 1869. Henry L. Ingalls erected a good hotel and other buildings. In 1870 Gurley & Bros. established a store; B. F. Wilkes built a hotel; Winston, Long & Co. established a store. In 1874 J. F. F. Swanson built a flouring mill, which was burned in 1878. The loss was about $6,000, with but little insurance. The village now contains two elevators, three hotels, six stores and the usual proportion of dwellings. There are two churches, the Episcopalian[Pg 310] building, erected in 1883; and the Congregational, in 1884. There is also a good school house. The village was incorporated in 1882. In December, 1884, the store of Singleton & Bonnafon was burned; loss estimated at $15,000, with but little insurance.

Henry L. Ingalls was born in Abingdon, Connecticut, in 1804. In 1832 he was married to Lavina L. Child, of Woodstock, Connecticut, and with his wife and younger brother emigrated to Illinois, settling at Chandler, Cass county. There he remained seventeen years, when, his impaired health necessitating a change, with his son Henry he went to California. In 1853 he returned and settled on Sunrise prairie, then an unbroken wilderness. For seventeen years he lived on his farm and kept a popular country hotel. In 1870 he removed to North Branch and built a large frame residence, where he lived until his death, which occurred Sept. 2, 1876. Mr. Ingalls left three sons, Ephraim, Henry and Van Rensselaer.

Mrs. Lavina L. Ingalls, whose maiden name was Childs, was born in Connecticut in 1806; was married as above stated in 1832, from which time she cheerfully and uncomplainingly shared the fortunes of her husband in the West, undergoing the usual toils and privations of the pioneer. While at Sunrise, during part of the time she had no neighbors nearer than Taylor's Falls. The first post office in Chisago county north of Taylor's Falls was at her house, and was known as Muscotink. She and her husband, during the later years of their lives, were Spiritualists, and derived great comfort from their peculiar phase of belief. Mrs. Ingalls was a talented and kind hearted woman, charitable in act and beloved by her associates. She died Dec. 29, 1879.


The town of Chisago Lake includes the four western tiers of sections of township 33, range 20, and township 34, range 20. A permanent characteristic of this town is its unrivaled lake scenery, rendering it not only attractive for residences but a favorite resort of visitors. Its principal lake has already been described. The first settler was John S. Van Rensselaer, who located on an island opposite the present site of Centre City in the spring of 1851, and raised a crop of corn and vegetables. He built him a cabin and lived there three years. Eric Norberg, a prominent Swede, came to the lake from Bishop's Hill,[Pg 311] Illinois, in April, 1851, and being pleased with the locality, came back with a colony of Swedes, including Peter Berg, Andrew Swenson, Peter Anderson, Peter Shaline, Daniel Rattick, and others. They came by steamboat, landed at Taylor's Falls June 24, 1851, cut a road to Chisago lake and took undisputed possession of its shores, finding no trace of human occupancy save some deserted Indian tepees and the claim cabin of Mr. Van Rensselaer on the island. Mr. Berg settled on the west part of lot 3, section 35, and southwest quarter of southwest quarter of section 26, township 34, range 20. Peter Anderson on the east part of lot 3, and northwest quarter of northeast quarter of section 35, township 34, range 20. Andrew Swenson on lot 5, section 27, township 34, range 20. Mr. Norberg had come first to the country at the invitation of Miles Tornell, who was murdered in 1848, near St. Croix Falls, by some Indian assassins, hired to commit the deed by one Miller, a whisky seller. Mr. Norberg originally intended to make his home at Chisago Lake, but died at Bishop's Hill, Illinois, while on a visit in 1853.

The colony in 1852 raised the first rye, barley and flax in the county. They also raised potatoes, green corn and vegetables, cut out roads, cleared timber, and made other improvements. Peter Berg raised flax and made linen thread in 1852, the first made in Minnesota. Settlers came in rapidly. Among the arrivals in 1852 and soon after were the Petersons, Strands, Johnsons, Frank Mobeck, Dahliam, Porter, and others. A post office was established in 1858; A. Nelson, postmaster. The town was organized in 1858. The first supervisors were: Ephraim C. Ingalls, chairman; Frank Mobeck and Daniel Lindstrom.

The first church organization in the county was that of the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran, in 1854. Here was built the first church edifice in 1855, a frame structure subsequently enlarged, but in 1882 superseded by a fine brick building, costing $30,000. Its dimensions are 116 × 66 feet, ground plan, and the spire is 135 feet in height. A fine organ was purchased at a cost of $1,500. This church building is an ornament to the town and the State, and would be creditable even to our great cities. The first pastor was Rev. P. A. Cedarstam. His successors are Revs. C. A. Hedengrand and John J. Frodeen, the present incumbent. The communicants number about 1,300.

In 1880 the St. Paul & Duluth railroad extended a branch[Pg 312] road from Wyoming to Taylor's Falls. This passes through the town of Chisago Lake, from west to east, crossing three arms of the lake. To secure this road the town gave $10,000 in twenty year bonds. It obtains in exchange an outlet for the products of its farms and forests. The bridge across Chisago lake was built in 1857, at a cost of $1,500. It has since been made an embankment bridge at an additional cost of $1,600. Of this the State furnished $1,000 and the county $600.


The county seat of Chisago county, was platted May, 1857, on lot 5, section 27, township 34, range 20; Andrew Swenson, proprietor; Alex. Cairns, surveyor. It is located on a peninsula midway on the east shore of Chisago lake. Few villages are more beautifully situated. It contains two hotels, three stores, a saw and feed mill, two church buildings, a Swedish Lutheran and Swedish Methodist, a school house and many pleasant residences. The court house was built in 1876, at a cost of $5,000, on a promontory commanding a fine view of the lake. The depot of the branch of the St. Paul & Duluth railroad is located half a mile south of the village. Summer excursionists assemble here in goodly numbers, and the location bids fair to become very attractive as a summer resort. During the Indian outbreak in 1862, and the period of uncertainty as to the probable attitude of the Chippewa Indians, the people of Chisago Lake built breastworks for protection, on the isthmus connecting Centre City with the mainland, and planted cannon upon them for defense. The remains of these old fortifications may still be seen.

Andrew Swenson.—Mr. Swenson, the founder of Centre City, came to the shores of the lake in 1851, and made his home on the present site of the city. He was born in Sweden in 1817; came to America in 1850, and remained a short time in New Orleans before coming to Minnesota. He was a farmer and a member of the Methodist church. He was married to Catharine Peterson in 1838. He died in July, 1887, leaving two sons and two daughters.

John S. Van Rensselaer came to Chisago Lake in the spring of 1851, and settled on an island, where he lived three years in hermit-like seclusion, raising corn and vegetables. His cabin, always neat and tasteful, was furnished with a choice library.[Pg 313] In 1854 he removed to Sunrise Lake, where he lived fifteen years, engaged in farming. He removed thence to Sunrise City. Mr. Van Rensselaer was the founder of the first cheese factories in the county, at Sunrise City and Centre City. He is an honorable and upright man, whose high aim is to exemplify the golden rule in his life and deportment.

Axel Dahliam settled on the west shore of East Chisago lake in 1852. Mr. Dahliam had been an officer in the Swedish Army. He was a cultivated gentleman. He died in 1869.

Nels Nord was born in Lindhopsing, Sweden, in 1819. In his eighteenth year he enlisted in the Swedish Army and served twelve years. He came to America in 1855 and located on Chisago lake, in the northeast quarter of section 32, township 34, range 20. He was married in Sweden to Lisa Anderson. They have one son, John P., who has been for seven years the popular and efficient auditor of Chisago county. He was married in 1878 to Hildah, daughter of Rev. C. A. Hedengrand. They have one daughter.

John A. Hallberg was born at Smolland, Sweden, in 1830. He came to America in 1853 and to Centre City in 1854. In 1872 he purchased a saw and feed mill of Shogren Brothers. In 1876 he built a hotel. He has held the office of justice of the peace many years and has served four years as county commissioner. He was married to Matilda E. Carlson in 1870.

Chas. A. Bush is of German descent. His father, Wm. H. Bush, lived in Wyoming. His great grandfather came to this country in 1765 and fought on the side of the colonies. Chas. A. came to Minnesota in 1869 from Pennsylvania. He has served as treasurer of Chisago county four years.

Lars Johan Stark was born in Sweden in 1826; came to America in 1850, and settled at Chisago Lake in 1852. He was married in 1865, and again in 1870. He has eleven children living. In Sweden he served as clerk ten years. In his American home he has followed farming chiefly. He has served as justice of the peace and county commissioner, and has filled some town offices. He was engrossing clerk of the house of representatives in 1864. He was a member of the house in the sessions of 1865 and 1875. In 1868 he moved to the town of Fish Lake, and in 1877 to Harris.

Frank Mobeck was born in Sweden in 1814. He came to[Pg 314] America in 1851, and in 1853 to Chisago Lake, where he settled on lot 5, section 34, township 34, range 20. His home is on a beautiful elevation, on a point of land projecting into the lake. Mr. Mobeck served in the Swedish Army seventeen years. He has raised a large family of children, all of whom are good citizens.

Robert Currie was born in Ayrshire, Scotland. After reaching manhood he was employed many years as superintendent of a fancy manufacturing company. He was married in Scotland. In 1854, after the death of his wife