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The Western Historical Company
A.T. Andreas, Proprietor
This county was named in honor of President Franklin Pierce. It is
situated in the western part of the State and lied immediately south of
the forty-fifth parallel of north latitude, between ninety-two and
ninety-three degrees of longitude west from Greenwich, and is
consequently west of the fourth principal meridian. it is
triangular in shape, the hypothenuse being formed by Lake Pepin, the
Mississippi River and Lake St. Croix, which secure to the county one of
the longest navigable water fronts of any of its size in the
State. The boundaries on the north and east are St. Croix, Dunn
and Pepin counties. It embraces an area of 600 square miles or
364,583 acres, the greater part being owned by actual settlers.
About one-sixth of the land in the county belong to railroads.
The county is situated at the junction of the Mississippi River with Lake St. Croix, the lake forming its western boundary, it southern border resting on the Mississippi. Along the river, it presents the usual features of valley succeeded by bluff, broken at frequent intervals by ravines through which the stream seek communication with the "Great River." Toward the north and east, the hills become less elevated and the valleys more extensive. This gives a diversity to the scene, though less bold and grand than is found in mountainous districts, yet on strongly marked. The luxuriant sward, clothing the hill-slope to the water's edge, the steep cliff shooting up through it mural escarpments, the streams, clear as crystal, now quiet, now ruffled by a temporary rapid, now forming a romantic cascade over some terrace of rocks, trees, disposed in a manner to baffle the landscape
now crowning the height, now shading the slope, the intervening valleys
giving the picture of cultivated meadows and rich pasture lands,
irrigated and drained by frequent rivulet and stream, along which and on
the hill-side are seen the farm-house and village - scenes of wealth,
happiness and comfort - all these and many more are features of the
county. On the summit levels spread the side prairies, abounding
in flowers of the gayest hue, the long undulations stretching away till
sky and meadow mingle in the horizon. The country is sufficiently
level to allow of the highest grade of cultivation, perhaps two-fifths
of the county being in active state of agriculture. The principal
part of the farming land is in the western part of the county, which was
originally oak openings and prairies, the eastern part being timbered
land, and covered by the big woods. This is a belt of hard-wood
timber that extends from the Mississippi Rover to lake Superior.
In the limits of Pierce County the timber is of hard wood varieties,
such as the red, whit and black oaks, sugar maple and butternut, all
timber of first-class grade for the manufacture of farm and other
fish, the speckled trout, with bass, bull-heads, pike, pickerel, carp
and catfish, in the rivers. The lover of wild game, of wood or
prairie, here may gratify his taste. The elevated portions furnish
high and dry pasture lands; the bottom grounds, hay and grain leaving
little to be desired by the shepherd and stock farmer; for this reason
in later years, wool-growing and stock-raising is becoming a
considerable feature in the rural districts. The majority of the
people are engaged in agriculture, the principal crop being wheat, which
will average, from year to year, fifteen bushels (unreadable) the
acre. A fact worthy of notice is that, (unreadable) from wheat of
Pierce County took the prize at the world's fair at Paris in 1855, and
in 1860, Pierce County farmers took home the great prize banner from the
State fair at Madison. Hay, oats, corn, barley and potatoes follow
in the order of enumeration, and in 1880 the following number of acres
of each were raised: Hay, 14,608; oats, 11,105; corn, 7,897;
barley, 2,289; potatoes 796. The milling business both lumber and
flouring is a considerable industry, and as the expense is light, it is
quite remunerative. lake St. Croix, the Mississippi River and the
Hudson & River Falls Railway are the highways to market. Fruit
growing is not practicable, the climate being too severe for the pear
and peach. The apple will endure a for a few years, but eventually
succumb. The small fruits, however, both wild and domestic, yield
an abundant fruitage.
The surface of Pierce County is exceedingly diversified, presenting a succession of high ridges and deep valleys, the general course of which are south and southwest. In the western portion of the county, in the valleys of the Kinnickinnic and St. Croix rivers, traces of glacial action are very apparent. Underlying the surface soil there is a deep deposit of sand with layers of gravel, interspersed with bowlders (sic) of comparatively small size, showing that the grinding action of the ice rivers was very complete. The particles of sand and gravel indicate that the original rocks were of primeval origin, as there are large quantities of quartz, granite and trap-rocks, while pieces of copper and agates are frequently found in the moraines. On the higher lands the moraines vanish, and we find instead large deposits of large bowlders (sic), generally granite or trap. In the southwest of the county, there is a remarkable plateau, extending from a point near the mouth of the Trimbelle River to that of the Isabelle River. This table land has an average elevation above the Mississippi of about one hundred feet, and presents the appearance of having, at some date, been the bed of an expansion of the Father of Waters-similar to Lake Pepin. Indeed, it is not difficult to trace what may have then been the channel, near the base of the bluffs on the north side, there being a depression having such an appearance, extending form the northwestern part of the plateau to a point below Trenton. Between the depressions are numerous elevations of moderate height, which may have been islands when the Father of Waters formed at this point in inland sea. The soil of this tract is a sandy loam overlying a deep bed of fine sand and gravel. The soil of the mounds is a heavy, tenacious, clay loam, well adapted for grass and wheat.
In the valley of the Kinnickinnic and other streams near the northwestern line of the county, there is a rich black sand, containing a large proportion of lime, which is exceedingly fertile and produces excellent crops of grain. Underlying the loam on the mounds of the Trimbelle is found a tenacious, bluish-green clay, similar to slate in some of its characteristics, and still lower down there are strata of a sandstone in regular layers, and which afford a good building stone for the coarser grades of work. It is nearly identical with the beautiful St. Paul stone, but is yellow instead mottled blue, and cannot be found in as large masses. Under this sandstone is the Potsdam sandstone, which in this locality is an exceedingly friable stone, not being sufficiently tenacious to be of any value for building. This layer is about one hundred feet in thickness and beneath it is a tough limestone known as the Lower Magnesian limestone, which in the kiln affords an excellent brown lime, well adapted for all grades of mason work except finishing. Still lower down is anther strata of the sandrock, possessing features similar to those above the limerock. In the south part of the county along the Mississippi bluffs there is a stone which would work well under the chisel and be of considerable value if economic transportation were at hand. In that portion of the county lying west and north of the head waters of the Trimbelle, the action of glaciers and possibly icebergs is very apparent. The soil is filled in many places with large bowlders (sic) of hard trap or granite rocks, evidently rounded by the action of water or ice, while numerous moraines have changed the course of the Kinnicknic, or in other places, are piled up into hills of considerable size. In excavations in the village of River Falls, there has been found abundant evidence to show that several channels have been cut through the lime-rock underlying the present site and have in turn been filled up with deposits fo sand, gravel and soil. Back of the business portion of Prescott is a plateau composed of a coarse gravel and many feet in depth. It is a notable feature, however, that comparatively few pebbles are found in the beds of streams composed of the primitive rocks, those that form the bed of the streams being very generally similar to the ledge-rock near at hand. The surface of Pierce County is about three hundred feet above lake Michigan. The soil derived from the decomposition of the different geologic formations is always of excellent quality, rich in organic matter, as well as in the salts. This gives a rapidity of growth to plants, and a durability that enables it to withstand a long succession of crops. This fact is strongly verified in this region by fields that have returned an average of fifteen bushels of wheat per ace for the past twenty years, having deteriorated but little during that period.
As early as 1827, a company was organized at Fort Snelling, on the Mississippi, composed of the leading United States officers: Col. Plympton, Capt. Scott, Col. Thompson, Capt. Brady, Dr. Emerson and Philander Prescott, the latter being interpreter for the Government, for the purpose of securing the land at the present site of Prescott. Twelve hundred acres were claimed, and Prescott appointed to take possession.
cabin was accordingly built, and for the sale of Indian goods, a
trading-post was established. This claim was protected until 1841,
when an act was passed by Congress, denying all such organizations the
right to hold claims, but giving to any one land upon which he was
living at the date of the act. Prescott secured 1260 acres of land
under this law. The Sioux Indians ceded to the United States
Government all the lands east of the Mississippi River, and all the
islands in that stream, in 1837. The chiefs removed their bands to
the west side of the river, during the following year, 1838
This purchase, together with the St. Croix lumbering interests, drew pioneers from the States, and many attempts were made to dispossess the Fort Snelling company of their claim. Each attempt, however, proved a failure, as power in high places was too strong for the weak hand of private enterprise.
The fur company became interested bout this time and all hope of settlement, at this point, was abandoned until the Government should give titles to the lands. In the meantime, Prescott had been called to the fort in performance of his duties, as Indian interpreter, and a man by the name of Reed, a discharged soldier, held the claim for the officers of the fort.
Hilton Doe, S.J. Hodgeden, from Ohio, and J.T. Truse and J.D. McBully, from New York, arrived in 1838. In about a week, Doe was left alone. On his arrival, he found only the lone soldier, Reed, and a community of Indians and half-breeds. Doe remained only a short time, when he went below on the river, and held the position of Indian farmer for seven years, returning again in 1845.
The settlement grew very slow, a fact due to the company excluding all settlement on their claim.
William Schaser arrived in 1841, but immediately withdrew, returning again in 1845, and bringing with him his wife, the first white woman in the county. Dr. Aldrich came in 1843. The Thing brothers and the Cornelison brothers came in 1847; W. Lockwood in 1846; W. McMurphy and L. Harnsberger, in 1848; N.S. Dunbar, Lyman Smith and J.D. Freeman, in 1849; Dr. O.T. Maxon, W.J. Copp and Dr. Beardsley, in about 1850.
This county was still a portion of St. Croix County, but in 1849, the town of Elizabeth was set off, and comprised what is now the county of Pierce.
The first officers elected at the organization of this new town were Wilson Thing, Chairman of the Board; Aaron Cornelison, L.N. Harnsberger, Supervisors; Hilton Doe, Clerk; George W. McMurphy, Treasurer.
In 1851, by an act of the Legislature, the name of the town was changed to that of Prescott, in honor of Mr. Prescott.
Among the other settlers of Pierce County are: Joel Foster, in the present town of River Falls, in 1848; next to follow and settle in this place were D. McGregor, James and Walter Mapes, in 1849, Mr. Hayes W. Tozer, Mr. Penn and Ira parks, in 1850. Following them were N.N. Powell, Clark Green, O. S. Powell, Capt. Woods and C.B. Cox. In 1854, a man, named Dexter, had located on the spot later known as Bay City. Incautiously speaking of his claim, the spot attracted the attention of some speculators,
sought to obtain the tract by the summary process of jumping it before
Dexter could obtain a title, and after making the entry at the land
office, they sent down Mr. Markle, then both attorney and surveyor, to
run out the tract. Dexter was aroused by this supposed invasion of
his right and, meeting Markle, shot and killed him. Harvey Seeley
settled near the present village of Maiden Rock, in 1850; A. Chapman, in
1854; J.D. Trumbull, Amos Harris, G. H. Steele, J. Fuller, M.J. Paine
and J. A. Guitteau, in 1855. During that year the movement of
emigration was at its flood, and any attempt to mention individual names
any further, would render this sketch tedious. Could we evoke the
genius of memory, and draw from those who are passing away so rapidly
now, the reminiscences of that time, how many stories we should glean of
hairbreadth escapes in the wilds or in the waters-how the hunters
returned from the hunt laden with spoil, or of the adventures of the
land-hunters, who had found some new paradise in their wanderings over
the pathless prairies. We can imagine how, after the long days had
passed in toil, and the semi-occasional mail had come in, that those few
old settlers would gather around their respective hearthstones and, with
their pipes in their mouths, and after carefully perusing the papers,
not more than a month old, review the events of the times, and compare
notes as to progress in breaking and clearing the lands. And
especially when the shorter days of Winter came, and alone in the
wilderness a month at a time, removed from communication with friends or
relatives at their eastern homes, how the ties of western friendship
would seem to draw closer, and the gatherings come, oftener, and when
the shades of evening came, the ox-sled would be hauled up, the box
filed with a generous supply of hay, and the whole family take seats in
the bottom, and hasten to visit their neighbors, half a dozen miles
away. And then the sorrow, when some loved on was nearing the
grave, and the doctor, hastily summoned from a score of miles, gave no
hope; how the sympathies of all the country around was shown in kindly
offers - watchers coming a long distance to give their aid, and the
funeral gatherings, comprising the neighbors for miles around.
There were many bitter trials and hardships not conceivable in these
days, but they had their compensations, too, in the enlargement of the
love of humanity, in the earnest and true-hearted sympathy, and in the
unbounded hospitality. Ever house was a hotel, but it was a hotel
without money and without price, every traveler was welcome to come and
go at free will, and the thought of compensation never entered the minds
of those free-hearted dwellers in the wilds. And what was true of
the western portion of the county from '45 to '49, was equally true of
the eastern portions, until within a few years. All the change
that would be made in the picture, is of dates.
|placed, and in no way
affected the manliness of character which developed itself. It
seems, indeed, as if it were a wise provision of nature that the opening
of new countries should be attended with a renewal of the simpler life
of man, and thus introduce new blood into the world of civilization.
The first death in the county was that of John Lockwood, about 1851. He was supposed to have been buried on the point, but the body was afterward removed and deposited in the present cemetery.
The first white child born in the county was Eliza, daughter of George Schaser. The second was David, a son of John Rice.
April 24, 1848, Geo. W. McMurphy was married to Maria Antoinette, a daughter of John Rice, this being the first marriage in this county.
In 1851, Mrs. Olive opened a day school in a small building no longer standing, and instructed seven or eight pupils. This was near Prescott, and the first school taught in the county. Pierce County was organized in 1853, with full powers, there being small settlements at various points within its limits. Such was the beginning and early life of Pierce County, which from its natural resources, and from the energy and character of her early settlers, has developed and matured, till now it is one of the richest of its age in the State. It is divided into seventeen civil townships, one village and one city, the townships being organized as follows: Elizabeth, afterward Prescott, 1849; Greenwood, afterward River Falls, 1854; Martell, 1855; Isabella (sic), 1855; Trimbelle, 1855; Diamond Bluff, 1856; Clifton, 1857; Oak Grove, 1857; Perry, afterward Ellsworth, 1857; Pleasant Valley, afterward Maiden Rock, 1857; Hartland, 1857; Trenton, 1857; El Paso, 1858; Salem, 1862; Rock Elm, 1862; Spring Lake, 1868; Deerfield, afterward Gilman, 1868.
The valuation of all personal property in the county in 180, was $1,08,455, and of real estate $2,982,572. There are at present eighty-eight schools int eh county, in charge of a competent corps of teachers, and the total valuation of the school property is $47,588. In 1880, the amount of school money received was $49,382, and the amount paid out was $38,468.55. In connection with the schools in the towns of El Paso, Gilman, Hartland, River Falls and Trenton are libraries, which are doing much toward the diffusion of useful knowledge.
Pierce County was organized from St. Croix County by a special act of the Legislature, approved March 14, 1853, and organized with full powers. By the same act, the county seat was located at the village of Prescott, with liberty to change the same to any other point at any general election. The same act called for an election of county officers in November, of the same year, and made the Town Board of Prescott the County Board of Supervisors, which board was formed of Osborn Strahl, Chairman of the Board, with Silas Wright and Sylvester Moore, Supervisors. On motion, H. Teachout was appointed Clerk, pro tem. The first
meeting was held at the house of S.
Moore, November 15, 1853. The following persons were appointed as
Judges of Election: J.R. Freeman, J. Hewitt and O.T. Maxon,
Justice of the Peace. At this meeting, they proceeded to canvass
the votes of the preceding election. There were 110 votes cast,
the majority of which elected N.S. Dunbar, Sheriff; J.R. Freeman,
Treasurer; S.R. Gunn, Clerk of the Court; Henry Teachout, Clerk of the
Board; J. Oliver, Coroner; P.V. Wise, District Attorney; J.F. True,
Surveyor. At the first meeting of the County Board, held November
16, 1853, three County Superintendents of the Poor were appointed:
R.G. Thompson, Jonathan Bailey and J.R. Freeman. At the same
meeting, a license was granted to Lovejoy & Tell, to run a ferry
across the mouth of the St. Croix River, between Prescott and point
Douglas, said parties required to give bonds to the county for a
faithful fulfillment of the law in such cases required.
|delegation presented and
contended for a bill calling for an appropriation for the erection of
permanent county buildings. The Prescott faction opposed it,
wishing only those of a temporary character. No amicable
settlement could be made, and the meeting adjourned sine die.
The following year, April 1, an act was approved calling for an election
to return the seat of justice to Prescott. The effort, however,
was a failure, and the seat of government has since remained at
At a meeting of the Board held April 7, 1861, the sum of $2,000 was voted for the erection of suitable buildings for holding the courts of the county, also for a jail for the use of the said county, the buildings to be erected on the southwest quarter of Section 17, or the southeast quarter of Section 18, or the northeast quarter of Section 19, or the northwest quarter of Section 20, in Township 26, Range 17 west, on any part of said land as may be determined by the Board of Supervisors. The vote stood nine for and five against. At a meeting, July, 1861, it was voted to add $4,500 to the sum already voted. The temporary building subsequently erected, were used until 1869, when an appropriation of $30,000 was made, and building of a substantial kind were erected. During the same year, an appropriation of $3,000 was made, for the purchase of a "poor farm," which is located near Ellsworth, and affords a comfortable retreat for the poor of the county. At a meeting of the Board, held June 19, 1872, it was voted to issue bonds of the county, to the amount of $5,000 for the Normal school fund, said bonds payable March 1, 1873.
The first records of the judicial courts, held at Prescott, in 1854, were kept on sheets of foolscap paper and fastened together with wafers, such as were used to seal letters in days of yore. The first case before the court was as follows: "State of Wisconsin, Pierce County; William Woodruff, versus Charles D. Stevens, August Lochmen, and Charles Peschke. In court of said county. In equity. ON reading and filing the bill of complaint, in this case, on motion of S.J.R. McMillan and H.M. Lewis, solicitors for counsel, J.S. Foster, it is 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 of judge of said court.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 22nd day of May, A.D. 1854 (signed) Hiram Knowlton, Judge of the Sixth Judicial District."
The present officers of the county are as follows: A.H. Lord, Sheriff; Jens B. Jensen, Clerk; K.W. Lewis, Register of Deeds; F.B. White, Treasurer; J. S. Ronts, Clerk of the Court; F.A. Ross, District Attorney; H.P. Ames, Judge.
The Press - The first newspaper published in the county, was at Prescott in 1855, by C.E. Young. The first copy appeared February 14, under the title Prescott Paraclete, the editor thinking that to mean "messenger." Afterward, learning that the proper meaning of Paraclete was "Holy Ghost," he changed the title to Prescott Transcript. In 1857, The Journal was established
at River Falls, under the auspices of the
Taylor Brothers. Shortly after, Horace Taylor sold his interest to
his brother, L.A. Taylor, who continued its publication until the Fall
of 1868, when he sold it to Messrs. Flint & Weber. In June
1871, the material of the Journal office was destroyed by fire,
and the subscription list sold to Messrs. Kimball & Morse, of the Pierce
County Herald. After fifteen years of conflict with various
adverse circumstances, the Journal once again appears on the very
soil where it was first planted. This time started and published
by A. Morse & Co., Friday, August 2, 1872. November 15, of the
same year, it appears as published by A. Morse & Son. November
15, 1876, J.D. Moody purchased an interest in the Journal, and
the firm became C.R. Morse & Co., which continued until February 24,
1881, when J.H. Wilkinson purchased Mr. Moody's interest, and the firm
became Morse & Wilkinson. It is Republican in politics, and
has a large list of subscribers.
|county, it still has many
warm friends, and a fair list of subscribers, and is flourishing like a
"green bay tree."
County Agricultural Society - The Pierce County Agricultural Society was organized March 5, 1859. The officers at thte date of organization were: O.T. Maxon, president, with one vice president from each town; George M. Powell, secretary. The grounds of the society are located about one-half mile east of the city of Prescott, on the higher grounds. They are nicely finished, with a one-half mile race track, and buildings suitable for the display of products of teh county. The present officers of the society are; W.T. Bunker, president; Co. D.J. Dill, secretary. The meetings of the society are well sustained, and fine displays are made each year, with a good attendance from this and adjoining counties.
Ellsworth, the county seat of
Pierce County, is situated on Section 18 and 19, Town 26, Range 17, in
about the central part of the county, and in the edge of the "big
woods." It sprang into existence in 1861, by the selection of
that point for the county seat of Pierce County. Among the first
settlers of Ellsworth, Anthony Huddleson (Huddleston) has the honor of
being the first. He settled on Section 19, Town 26, Range 17, in the
Spring of 1855, and at once began the opening of a farm. He also
built a log-house, the first in the place. Among those who
immediately followed him and settled during that year, were David
Klingensmith, on Sectino 19, Town 26, Range 17; C.B. Bruce, on
Section 20, Town 26, Range 17; Wilson Kinney, on Section 18, Town 26,
Range 17; E.W. Bruce, on Section 18, Town 26, Range 17. These
men all brought their families with them, built log-houses, and began
clearing up the country.
HENRY P. AMES, Judge of the Probate Court of Pierce Co., Ellsworth, was born in Oxford Co., Maine, Oct. 18, 1831. After receiving a seminary education, he went to Delaware, where he commenced teaching school in 1849; followed that vocation until 1856, when he came to Wisconsin, and pre-empted a claim of 160 acres of land in Pierce County. In the Fall of 1858, located in the village of Prescott and was elected Sheriff of Prince County. In 1860, he was appointed County Treasurer, serving one term, after which, he commenced farming again, being also County Commissioner under the old system. Since 1867, he has dealt in real estate, and in 1868, erected the hotel, now known as the Keith House, which he ran for two years. he was elected to his present office in the Spring of 1877, re-elected in 1881; was married, in the Fall of 1857, to Miss Augusta C. Betts, who was born in New York.
JOHN S. BEATY, proprietor of Forest House, Ellsworth, was born in Crawford Co., Pa., Nov. 20, 1837. Came to Wisconsin in June of 1864, and settled in Pierce County, on a farm. In the Spring of 1865, he enlisted in the late war; in the 50th Wis. Vol. Inf., Co. G. serving until June of 1866 when he returned to his home on the farm, where he lived until February, 1876. He then moved to the village of Ellsworth, and started a general merchandise store, in company with B. Elliot, which he ran until 1879, when he sold out to his partner, and has since been running the stage line from Ellsworth to Prescott and Red Wing. In September of 1881, he commenced keeping hotel. He was married in 1861 to Miss Martha Mumford, of Iowa, who is also a native of Pennsylvania. Mr. Beatty was Chairman of the Town Board of Hartland in 1867, and is a member of the I.O.O.F., Ellsworth Lodge No 150.
BENTON ELLIOTT, merchant, Ellsworth, was bornin Michigan, Feb. 22, 1846, and lived there with his parents until 1861, his father R. B. Elliot, being an old settler of that State. He enlisted in the 1st Michigan Cavalry on detached service, with Sergeant D.K. Johnson, of Grand Rapids, Mich. Served for one year, and then returned to Michigan. In 1864, he went to Idaho, where he engaged at mining until the Fall of 1866. At one time, in crossing the plains, his train had a desperate encounter with the Sioux Indians. He then came to Wisconsin, locating at Ellsworth, where he started a restaurant, which he ran until 1869, when he sold out and bought some land, which he farmed for one year. In 1870, he started a general merchandise store, which business he has pursued ever since. he is a member of the F.& A.M., River Falls Lodge, No. 109. He served one term as Town Clerk of Ellsworth; was married in 1868, to Miss Emma. J. Johnson, a native of Iowa.
CORNELIUS FENTON, lawyer, Ellsworth, was born in New York, in January of 1838. He enlisted in the first three months call of 1861, and again in October of 1865, serving until the close of the war. In the Fall of 1866, came to Wisconsin, locating at River Falls, where he purchased a farm and was also engaged at teaching school until 1869; he then moved to Ellsworth, where he continued farming until 1878, then moved into the village. He has served as Town Assessor of Ellsworth for three years, also three years as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, having been Justice of the Peace for three years, still holding that position. He was appointed Court Commission by Judge Bundy, which office he now fills, and is a member of the I.O.O.F., Ellsworth Lodge, No 150. Was married, in 1870, to Miss Maggie D. Travis, a native of New York, and by whom he has four children, two sons and two daughters.
GEO. F. FLETCHER (P.O. Ellsworth), superintendent of the stave-mill of O. Eams, deceased, of Red Wing. Was born in Bloomfield, Me., May 31, 1819, and came to Wisconsin in April of 1855, locating in the town of Hartland, Pierce County, where he entered some land from the Government. In the Spring of 1856, he, in company with Joseph and Wright Sleeper, erected the first school0house in said town, situated on Sec. 15, on the Isabella Creek, near Sleeper's mill. Mr. Fletcher enlisted, in the Spring of 1865, in the 50th Wis., V.I. Co. I, of the late war, serving until four months after the close of the war; after which he returned to his farm, living there until he engaged with the above firm, which was at the time the business was established in 1874. He has served one term on the Town Board of Hartland, and was Treasurer of his school district for fourteen years. He was married, in 1844, to Miss Hannah A. Savage, who was also a native of Maine.
JENS B. JENSON, County Clerk, Ellsworth. Was born in Norway, Feb. 16, 18951. He immigrated with his parents to the United States in 1862, settling in Pierce County, where the subject of this sketch remained until the Fall of 1878, when he was elected Clerk of the Circuit Court, in Pierce County. In the Fall of 1880 he was elected County Clerk, which office he still holds. He was married, in 1879 to Miss A.M. Isaacson, who was born in Pierce County, and whose father, Jens Isaacson, was one of the first settlers in the town of Martell. Mr. Jenson served as Town Clerk of Gilmanton for two years, and both himself and wife are members of the Lutheran Church.
J.G. KEITH, proprietor of the Keith House, Ellsworth. Was born in New Brunswick, on the 20th of April, 1846. He left home in 1866, coming to Wisconsin, where he located at Trenton, Pierce County, and commenced farming. Here he resided until 1873, when he moved to the village of Ellsworth, and commenced keeping hotel, which he has run ever since, having added a large addition for an opera hall. Mr. Keith was married to Miss Annie Drake, in the year 1870, she being a daughter of John Drake, of the town of Hartland.
GEO. W. KIMBALL, proprietor of the steam saw-mill, Ellsworth, was born in the State of new Hampshire, Jan. 28, 1821, and in December of 1867 came to Wisconsin, locating at Ellsworth, where he founded the Pierce County Herald, in company with his son, Morris B. This paper was Republican in its politics, and was first published on a subscription list of 285 copies, but in 1872 had increased to a circulation of 1,472. In 1868, at the time they first edited the paper, Morris B. was the youngest editor in the State of Wisconsin, and his sister Minnie set type, when only five years old, in her father's office. Being too small to hold the stick in her hand, she used to set it on the case and call some of her older fellow-workers to space out her line. At the age of eleven years she was a good compositor and could set up an entire tax list. The subject of this sketch was married in September of 1844, in Porter, Ind., to Adelia A. Dillingham, who was born April 3, 1822, in Huron Co., Ohio, and by whom he has had six children, three of whom are living, Morris B., Martha and Minnie J. They lost one son, Monroe D., who enlisted in the war, in the 21st Ind., V.I., Co. I, and was killed in the battle of the wilderness. His son, Morris B., also served five months in the war, being only sixteen years old. He is now warrant clerk and proof-reader in the Secretary of State office, at Madison. Mr. Kimball and son rant the Pierce County Herald until 1876, when they sold out to the present proprietor. He was also in company with A. Sanderson in erecting the Ellsworth steam saw-mill, said firm existing until 1876, when Mr. Kimball bought out his partner, and it is now run under the firm name of G.W. Kimball & Son. the subject of this sketch is a member of the I.O.O.F., Ellsworth Lodge, he being greatly instrumental in organizing said lodge, although not a charter member.
WILLIAM C. KINNE, farmer, Sec. 19, P.O. Ellsworth, was born at Green Mountain, Vt. May 1, 1815. He left his native State in 1841, and came with his parents to Wisconsin and bought a farm an was among the first settlers in Rock County. Here he resided until 1860, when he moved to Pierce County and purchased the farm on which he now lives. He was one of the organizing members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Ellsworth, which society built the first church in the village, Mr. Kinne donating four lots for that purpose, himself and wife having been members of the denomination for thirty years. He was married in New York State in 1841, to Miss Lucina Jacobs, who is a native of that State, and they have now a family of six children. They lot one son, Warren O., who was a soldier in the war, having enlisted in the 20th Wis. Vol. Infty. Co. A. in July of 1862, and died in the Regimental Hospital at Missouri, on the 9th of November, 1862.
LLOYD L. LEWIS, retired farmer, Ellsworth, was born in Onondaga Col., N.Y. July 18, 1807. He came to Wisconsin in 1846, and made a claim in what is now known as Lewis Valley, in La Crosse County, moving his family there during the same year. He then commenced improving his farm, and also erected a saw-mill, which was the first one in that locality. He continued in this business until 1857, when he moved to Trempealeau, where he engaged at merchandising for one year, and in 1858 removed to Pierce County buying a farm in the town of Hartland. In May of 1881, he moved into the village of Ellsworth. he has served as Register of Deeds in Pierce County, and also Clerk of the Court, and has held various town offices. His son, Knox W. Lewis, is the present Register of Deeds in Pierce County.
J.B. MAYNARD, Jr., furniture store, Ellsworth, was born in Washington Co., Wis., Feb. 13, 1851, and lived there until 1862, when his parents removed to Pierce County, settling in the town of Ellsworth, one mile north of the village. Here the subject of this sketch lived at home until 1874, when he began work in the village at the carpenter trade, which he followed for two years, after which he started a furniture store in company with C.V. Bisell, occupying the building which now joins his store on the east. In 1878 the firm dissolved, Mr. Maynard continuing the business, and in the Fall of the same year moved into the building which he now occpuies. He was married in the following December to Miss Annis M. Beatty, who was born in Iowa. Mr. Maynard is a member of the I.O.O.F., Ellsworth Lodge, No. 150.
JOHN L. MOODY, druggist, Ellsworth, was born in Vermont in August of 1851. Remained there until 1873, when he came to Wisconsin, going to River Falls, Pierce County, where he engaged in the office of the River Falls Journal. Here he worked for one year and then commenced clerking in a drug store, at which he continued for three years, when he bought in as partner in the River Falls Journal. After engaging at this for four years, he sold out and removed to Ellsworth in the Spring of 1881, and started in his present business. He served two years as Town Clerk of River Falls, and is a member of the F. & A.M., River Falls Lodge, No. 109.
|THOMAS L. NELSON, retired
merchant, Ellsworth. Was born in Cumberland Co., Penn., on the 1st
of September, 1831. His parents moved to Monroe Co., Mich., and
the subject of this sketch came at the same time to Wisconsin, when he
pre-empted a claim in the town of Hartland, Pierce Co., in the year
1855. He started a brick-yard the same year, where the present
village of Bay City now stands, and afterward engaged at contracting and
building, at Red Wing, Minn., and worked at mining. In 1861, he
returned to Pierce County. He enlisted in the late war in Co. A.,
20th Wis. V.I., in December, 1862, serving until the close of the war,
afterward returning to his former home where he followed farming and
contracting until 1872, when he was elected Sheriff of Pierce
County. In the years 1854-55, he represented that county in the
Assembly, and in t1876 was re-elected Sheriff, and in the same year
started a hardware store at Ellsworth, which he ran until April,
1881. He is a member of the F. & A.M., River Falls Lodge No.
109, and has served as a member of the County board for three
years. Was married, in 1874, to Miss Sarah Stone, daughter of Col.
Nathan Stone, of Prescott, who became a settler of Pierce County in
JOHN PETERSON, blacksmith, Ellsworth. Was born in Norway, April 11, 1833, and in 1869 came to America, locating at Eau Claire, where he remained for some time. He afterward moved to Red Wing, Minn., where he lived until 1872. He then removed to Ellsworth and engaged to work for E.L. Davis, and in 1873 he started a shop for himself, where he still does business. In 1875, erected his present residence, and in the Fall of the same year was married to Mary A. Kile, who is a native of Pennsylvania, and by whom he has one daughter, Lizzie. They are both members of the Lutheran Church, and Mr. Peterson is a member of the I.O.O.F., Ellsworth Lodge, No. 150.
PERRY D. PIERCE, lawyer, Ellsworth. Was born in Delaware Co., N.Y., December 8, 1821. His father, Ebenezer Pierce, was born in Taunton, Mass. His mother, Martha Foster, was born in the town of Wilton, Conn. The subject of this sketch received an academic education, and afterward read law with Abraham Becker at South Worcester, N.Y., and in 1843 was admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court. He first practiced at Rensselaerville until 1854, and then came to Wisconsin, locating at Prescott, where he continued his profession, being the first practiced lawyer in Pierce County. He served as District Attorney and has continued his practice of law ever since, with the exception of four years, when he farmed in the town of Clifton. In 1870, when he took the seat of County Judge, he moved to Ellsworth, where he has made his home ever since. In the years 1864-765, Mr. Pierce was engaged with the Government on the construction corps of the Railroad Department. He was married, in 1860, to Miss Lucy E., daughter of William E. Scarsdale, at River Falls, and they have now two daughters, Lulie E., now Mrs. Frank Walsingham, and Grace A.
MARK M. SANDERSON, of the firm of Sanderson & Campbell, merchants, Ellsworth, was born in Tioga Co., Pa., on the 11th of April 1854, where he lived until 1859, when he came West with his parents first locating at Red Wing, Minn. In 1869, he came to Ellsworth, and clerked for E.L. Davis. In the Falls of 1875, went to St. Paul, Minn., engaged in the wholesale house of N.B. Harwood 7 Co.; continued in their employ until the Winter of 1877, and in June of the next year opened a store at Ellsworth, in company with his present partner, and now does a business of $12,000 per annum, being also engaged in buying and shipping stocks. Mr. Sanderson is at present Town Treasurer of Ellsworth. He was married, Nov. 6, 1879 to Miss Annie M. Schumacher, who was born in Indiana.
SELAH STRICKLAND, real estate dealer, Ellsworth, was born in Massachusetts, June 8, 1829. In 1839, he went with his parents to Portage County, Ohio, where his father Willis Strickland, still lives at eighty years of age. The subject of this sketch left home in 1850, and clerked in a warehouse until 1856, at which time he came to Pierce County. He bought a section of land in the Spring o 1857, and in company with his brother Seth, and Joseph Sleeper, erected a saw-mill on Isabella Creek. Remained there until 1860, when he sold out his interest, and in the Fall of the same year, was elected Register of Deeds in Pierce County, which office he held two years. In the Spring of 1863, he commenced to improve his land, at which he continued until 1866, when he sold his farm and went back to Ohio, remaining two years. In 1869, he returned to Wisconsin, and in 1870, settled again at Ellsworth, which has been his home ever since. He was the first Postmaster who served in the office at that place. He was married, in march of 1862, to Miss Eliza W. Woodworth, of Ohio, by whom he has one son, William W.
FRANK B. WHITE, County Treasurer of Pierce County, and of the firm of Spinney & White, general merchants, Ellsworth, was born in New York, July 19, 1845. Came to Wisconsin with his parents in 1851, locating in the town of Salem, Pierce Co., on a farm, where they resided until 1869, when they moved to the village of Maiden Rock. Here the subject of this sketch clerked for Merrill & Clifford, merchants, which occupation he followed until 1878, when he was elected County Treasurer of Pierce County, being re-elected in 1880. He has served three years as Town Clerk of maiden Rock, and is a member of the Maiden Rock Lodge, No. 196 F. & A.M.. He was married, in 1877 to Miss Mary Holbrook. L.G. Spinney, of the above firm was born in New Haven, on March, 1851 and was married in 1878 to Miss Bell Skinner of Lake City, Minn. He is a member of the F. & A.M., Lake City Lodge, No. 22.
place is in the southern part of the county, on Section 15, Town 24, Range
16. It was first settled by A. Chapman in 1854, being then a part of
the town of Prescott. In the Winter of that year J.D. Trumbull
entered all the land where Maiden Rock now is, settling there himself in
the Fall of 1855, and began the erection of a sawmill, putting in a
twenty-four horse-power engine. Among the other settlers of 1855
were Amos harris, I.H. Steele, J. Fuller, M.J. Paine and J.A. Guitteau.
Those of 1856, were J.D. Brown and family. Geo. Davis, R.W. Harvey
and G.R. Barton in 1857. Most of these men of the later date worked
in Mr. Trumbull's mill.
demand the convenience of
transportation for crossing the lake and obtaining communication with the
outside world. But the energetic disposition of Mr. Trumbull could
illy (sic) abide by those disadvantages, and so we find him, in 1857,
constructing a steamboat, to run regularly on the lake, making Maiden Rock
a regular stopping place. This was the first boat that navigated only
the waters of Lake Pepin.
AMBROSE COOK, lawyer, general collecting agent, and insurance agent, Maiden Rock, was born in Vermont on the 12 of June, 1835. He came with his parents to Wisconsin in 1845, and settled in Milwaukee. Here they lived until 1850 when they removed to Dodge County. The subject of this sketch work3d at farming for some time and then returned to Milwaukee, where he worked in a ship-yard for two years. He then went back to Dodge County where he worked at carpentering for thirteen years, giving his spare time to studying law. he then moved to Juneau County. in 1878 he came to Maiden Rock where he has practiced law ever since. He was admitted to the Bar in Juneau County, March 4, 1877, and has served one year as member of the Town Board of Maiden Rock. Mr. Cook was married, in Dodge County, March 26, 1854, to Miss Elizabeth Sampson, who was born in Rochester, N.Y. They have four children-Henry H., Alford and Alvin (twins), and Elsa S. Mr. Cook is a member of the I.O.O. F, Maiden Rock, Lodge No. 268.
JEREMIAH FULLER, meat-market and stock-buyer, Maiden Rock, was born in Washington Co., Ohio, Jan. 29, 1819. He first came to Wisconsin in 1851, settling on Rush River, about four miles north of what is now the village of maiden Rock. Here he bought a farm of 200 acres from the Government, and immediately erected a small shanty, having brought his family with him. His wife was the first white woman in that vicinity, and it was seven months before she saw anther white woman. Continued to live on this farm until 1878, when he moved into the village of Maiden Rock and started his present business. he has served no both the Town and County boards where he lives. He was married in Ohio, in 1849, to Miss Hannah K. Riley, by whom he has four children-William W., Sarah (now Mrs. A.M. Keith), John D. and Lucy H. Himself and wife have been members of the Baptist Church since 1844.
FRANK N. MCVEAN, dealer in hardware and machinery, Maiden Rock, started in his present business in 1876, being successor to J.D. Trumbull. His business in 1880 amounted to $40,000, which had only amounted to R15,000 the previous year. He also owns a farm of 160 acres in the town of Maiden Rock. He was elected Chairman of the Board of Supervisors in the Spring of 1881. He is a native of Wisconsin, and was born in 1851. He was married, in 1877, to Miss Kate Green, daughter of S.A. Green, who settled in Pierce County in 1859. Mr. McVean is a member of the I.O.O.F., Maiden Rock Lodge, No. 268, being one of the members who founded it. Is also a member of the F. & A.M. Lodge, No. 196, at that place.
ALBERT P. MERRILL, general merchandise, Maiden Rock, was born in Wyoming Co., N.Y., July 22, 1832. He remained there until 1854, when he came West to the State of Michigan, and became station agent on the Michigan Central Railroad. He afterward taught school, residing there until 163, when he removed to Pierce County, locating at Maiden Rock, where he established a general merchandise store in company with V.C. Clifford, int he building which now forms a part of his present store. It then stood a little west of what is now known as the lake View Hotel, and was the first store of the kind in the village. In 1866 he moved the building to where it now stands, and in 1869, his present store was completed. He buys and ships grain and also runs a lumber yard, doing an annual business of $35,000. He has served two years as Assessor of the town of Maiden Rock, and is a member of the Presbyterian Church at that place. He is a charter member of the A. F. & A.M., Maiden Rock Lodge, No. 186, and also of the Good Templars Lodge there. Mr. Merrill was married to his first wife, Catherine Simpson, in Michigan, in 1855. She died in April of 1857. He was married to his second wife, Miss O.A. Clifford, on the 1st of November, 1857.
HORACE RICHARDS, proprietor of the Lake View Hotel, maiden Rock, was born in New York State on the 2nd of November, 1826. He came to Wisconsin in 1869, first settled at Pepin, Pepin Co. In 1875, he was elected sheriff of that county. He then moved to Durand, where he was proprietor of the Ecklor House, and lived there until May, 1879, when he removed to Maiden Rock, and took charge of the hotel there. He is at present Constable of the town of Maiden Rock. He was married in 1853, in new York, to Miss Mary Morgan, who was a native of that State. Their family consists of six children-Porter A., Laura E., now Mrs. Geo. F. Heslin, of Frontenac, Minn.; Cora, Grant, John M. and Horace, Jr.
JOHN D. TRUMBULL, merchant and Postmaster, Maiden Rock was born in Massachusetts, Dec. 19, 1823. IN the year 1845, he engaged with the Northwestern Fur Co., and in 1846 came to Wisconsin and established a trading post at Fox Lake, Dodge Co. After remaining there one year he removed to Chicago, where he engaged as a merchant. In 1850 he went to Stillwater, Minn., where he continued as merchant for one year, and then became proprietor of the Minnesota Hotel, at that place, it being then the largest hotel in the city. Here he made his home until1856. In 1854, he entered the land where Maiden Rock village now stands, and in 1855 began to erect a saw-mill. In 1857, began surveying lots preparatory to starting a village. He built the first sail boat run on Lake Pepin for local trade, and in 1857 built a small steamer to take the place of the "Lottie Lyon," erecting during the same year a grist and shingle mill in connection with his saw-mill, that being the first mill in the town. In 1857, the village of Maiden Rock was organized, and Mr. Trumbull was a member of the Board. He has since been Justice of the Peace for seventeen years, and was School Superintendent there under the system of 1856-58. IN 1867, he represented Pierce County in the Assembly, and was a charter member of the a. F. & A.M. Maiden Rock Lodge, No. 196, organized in 1873, and also of the I.O.O.F. Lodge No. 268, organized in 1876. He was married at Batavia, Ill., to Miss Betsey Lyon, the daughter of Col. J. Lyon, an officer in the war of 1812. They have one daughter, Hattie J., now Mrs. E.J. Stevenson.
MARONI WARE, physician and surgeon, Maiden Rock, was born in Grafon Co., N.H., Feb. 9, 1843. He came to Wisconsin with his parents in 1846, his father buying a farm from the Government in Fond du Lac County, on which they resided until 1856, when they removed to Kansas, his father engaging in stock-raising and farming. The subject of this sketch afterward went to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and then returned to Eau Claire County, and in August of 1864, enlisted in the 5th Wis. Vol. I., Co. K, serving until the close of the war. He received a flesh wound in his left hip at the battle of Sailor's Creek, and after the war returned to Wisconsin and commenced to read medicine with Dr. E.O. Baker at Durand, Pepin Co. He afterward attended the Chicago Medical College, where he graduated in 1874. He first practiced at Lake City, Minn., in company with Dr. Baker, remaining there until 1876, when he moved to Maiden Rock, his present home. He was married in Eau claire County in 1872 to Miss Martha Cooley, who was born in the town of Bornston, Canada, her parents coming to Eau Claire County in 1856. Dr. Ware is a member of the Pierce County Medical Society.
Prescott is situated at the junction of Lake St. Croix, with the Mississippi. At this point the bank is eccentric in form, and the land leads back by a gentle rise forty or fifty rods from the water's edge. On this plat ground the
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