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by W.H.C. Folsom
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.
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 limestone..................................250 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.
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 fasted together with waters. 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 i 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 documents 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.
appropriated $31,000 for county buildings at Ellsworth.
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 count 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 on 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:
The following are the village plats of Pierce county with date of survey and location:
Prescott, town of
Maiden Rock, town
ORGANIZATION OF TOWNS
The following is the chronological order in which the towns of Pierce County were organized:
Spring Valley (Maiden Rock).....................1857
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 is situated on the Kinnikinic,
*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.
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. In1881 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.
GEO. W. MCMURPHY was born in Newcastle, Delaware, in 1821. In 1845 he came to St. Croix Falls, and in 1848 to Clifton, where he pre-empted he 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 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, Ms. 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 married at Alton, Illinois, in 1858, to Lizzie Johnson. Their children are Charles, Sarah Etta, and Jennie.
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 house of David Comstock. The town board consisted
of: Supervisors-James Akers, chairman; Wilson Thing and C.F. Hoyt;
justice, B. 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.
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 scond 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,"
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 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 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.
THE FIRST SETTLER
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
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 "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,* 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, 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
*A member of the well known Faribault family, after whom the town of Faribault has been named.
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 cent4ral 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, was a log building, built 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. Crippen 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
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 school house took the place of the old log structure, and in 1874 a
commodious brick building was erected, at a cost of $5,000.
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 eights years. He was married in 1860, to Lua E. Searsdall. He is now a resident of Ellsworth.
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 1862 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.
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, post master. 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 in the south. It contains also fractions of sections i 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 Lorezo 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.
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.
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 i 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 i 1847, and remained until 1860, when they moved further west, allured by the attractions of frontier
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 $4,000. 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 the 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 it position at the junction of the two rivers, was early recognized as an important point for the reshipping of freight and
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 firs 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.
is estimated at
about one hundred and fifty.* 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
*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 osier, an Indian trader or storekeeper. The principal trade was with Indians.
first building was
erected in 1856. Its dimensions were 20x32 feet, ground plan.
In 1868 they erected a building 40x70 feet, ground plan, at a cost of
A.F. and A.M.....................................organized 1856
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 mill...................................................loss $3,500
Fire on Main Street
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 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 begin 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. 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 i 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
land he 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 133, 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
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 hid death, which occurred in 1872.
JOHN HUITT, a Canadian, came to Prescott in 1847, and erected the firs 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.
AN INDIAN BATTLE
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
improbable in their
alleged use on this occasion. But for the story:
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 names 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.
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