Grant County, Wisconsin on Genealogy Trails
Source: History of Grant County, Wisconsin (1881); submitted by Mary Saggio
TOWN OF BLOOMINGTON.
This township is bounded on the north by Wyalusing and Patch Grove, on the east by Little Grant and Beetown, on the south by Beetown and Glen Haven and on the west extends to the Mississippi River, being in form one of the most irregular townships in the county. It contains within its limits 24,787 acres of land, something over one-
The lands of the township are mostly high uplands, interspersed irregularly by “hollows,” in one of which the village of Bloomington is located. In the north portion of the township the prairie predominates, and, as a consequence, these portions are highly arable, producing an ample variety of crops, including wheat, oats, corn, rye, barley, flax, hops and potatoes.
The first person to settle in this section, and from whom the broad plateau took its name, was Page Blake, who came about 1831, or possibly a year earlier, and built his cabin on what is now Section 17, Township 5, Range 5. From him the country about took the name of “Blake’s Prairie,” which appellation it has in a measure retained until the present day.
The first settler on the site of the present village was Mr. Enos P. Finn, who built a cabin on the land afterward covered by the waters of the mill-
The presence of the mill, furnishing as it did a ready market for the grain raised in the country adjoining, pushed the new village along with rapid strides when compared with the tortoise growth which usually was the characteristic of towns dependent solely upon the products of the soil for support. In 1859, William H. Brown moved his store from Patch Grove to its newly-
In this same year, Prof. M. T. Allen, by birth a South Carolinian, commenced the agitation of a project that in after-
The first election and town meeting was ordered to be held at the “red schoolhouse;” and here, in the spring of 1860, the following officers were elected: Supervisors, B. F. Hilton, Chairman, William Whellan and Horace J. Lord; Town Clerk, Dr. R. Brooks; Treasurer, Isaac L. Benham; Assessor, A. C. Stiles; Town Superintendent of Schools, Cyrus Sargeant; Justices, Samuel Tracy, Robert A. Lumpkin, William Halford; Constables, Sargent Brasee, Jeff. Handy, Albert Francis.
The growth of the village continued to be steady, even if at times somewhat slow. The mill property had passed into the hands of Cyrus Sargeant, and through him under the management of Woodhouse & Thomas. Under the charge of these gentlemen, it became a valuable adjunct to the growth of the village by making a ready market for the large amount of grain then being grown in the township. Trade naturally flowed into this direction, and new business houses sprang up one after another, nearly all of which remain till the present time.
Of accidents or visits from the scourges that had made such havoc in other section, Bloomington, or Tafton, as it was then known, was comparatively free. Of the former class, there had been two examples in the early days of the town. The first, which started the steady-
The second affair of the kind followed only a short time later, at a donation party given to Elder Lewis, in the “mill-
During the years of the war, the town seemed to show no signs of standing still, but, on the contrary, appeared to put on new life. In the years succeeding the war, when the prices of farm products began to decline, bringing as it did disastrous consequences to those who had not been wise enough to foresee the inevitable result, and so trim their sails as to not feel the full effects of the blow, Bloomington, for the first time since its first settlement, showed signs of going backward. With the re-
As regards this steady progress, with hardly a perceptible drawback, the history of Bloomington is somewhat peculiar. Probably no town in the southwestern portion of the State can show so spontaneous a growth. This is due in a great measure to the fertile country that surrounds it on every side, possessed of a soil which will rank in productiveness with that of any portion of the State. Bloomington is in the center of a gold mine, but the precious metal lies on the top of the ground, and not underneath. Bloomington at present contains four general merchandise stores, one co-
Up to the year 1880, Bloomington had remained unincorporated. In the fall of that year, a meeting was held in the Record office, for the purpose of considering the question of incorporating the village. Mr. Samuel Woodhouse was chosen Chairman, and Mr. Jesse Brooks Secretary. After some desultory talk, a committee of five was appointed to take the initiatory steps toward incorporation. A petition was prepared and forwarded to Judge Cothern, Judge of the District, and a charter was granted by him. The first election was held under this charter November 22, 1880. Below is given a list of town and village officers, from the organization of the town to the present time:
1860 – Supervisors, B. F. Hilton, Chairman, William, Whellan, Horace Lord; Clerk, Roswell Brooks; Treasurer, J. L. Benham; Assessor, A. C. Stiles; Superintendent of Schools, Cyrus Sargeant; Justices of the Peace, Samuel Tracy, P. A. Simpkin, William Holford, Isaac Lander; Constables, S. Breeze, Jeff. Handy, A. Frances, J. W. Brackett.
1861 – Supervisors, J. L. Murphy, Chairman, H. Lord, William Whellan; Clerk, R. Brooks; Treasurer, J. W. Brackett; Assessor, George Hazard; Superintendent of Schools, C. C. Tobie; Justices of the Peace, William Holford, S. A. Taylor, I. C. Lander, to fill a vacancy; Constables, S. Breeze, James Wellware, George Wellware.
1862 – Supervisors, J. T. Murphy, Chairman, G. W. Harger, G. W. Fennel; Clerk, S. A. Campbell; Treasurer, A. Francis; Assessor, Henry Lord; Justices of the Peace, William Whellans, A. C. Stiles, G. H. Chambers, to fill vacancy; Constables, A. Breeze, J. Burton, G. Batie.
1863 – Supervisors, William Whellans, Chairman, G. W. Fennel, I. C. Turner; Clerk, S. A. Campbell; Treasurer, A. Francis; Assessor, Samuel Tracy; Justices of the Peace, G. H. Chambers, George Engle; Constables, T. Osborne, G. Balie, J. Handy.
1864 – Supervisors, J. T. Murphy, Chairman, Henry Ford, M. Woods; Clerk, G. H. Chambers; Treasurer, George Engle; Assessor, A. C. Stiles; Justices of the Peace, George Engle, G. H. Chambers; Constables, T. Osborne, William Johnston, J. Handy.
1865 – Supervisors, J. L. Murphy, chairman, H. Ford, M. Woods; Clerk, G. H. Chambers; Treasurer, George Engle; Assessor, A. C. Stiles; Justices of the Peace, George Engle, G. H. Chambers; Constables, T. Osborne, William Johnston, J. Handy.
1866 – Supervisors, G. Harger, Chairman, A. Francis, W. B. Slocum; Clerk, L. Brown; Treasurer, J. Woodhouse; Assessor, A. C. Stiles; Justices of the Peace, G. W. Chambers, L. R. Bingham (A. C. Stiles, to fill vacancy); Constables, T. Osborne, A. Green, J. Burton.
1867 – Supervisors, J. T. Murphy, Chairman, H. Lord, A. Francis; Clerk, Levi Brown; Treasurer, James Woodhouse; Assessor, A. C. Stiles; Justices of the Peace, George Chambers, D. E. Wilson, George Fennel; Constables, T. Osborne, J. Handy, George Lee.
1868 – Supervisors, Henry Lord, Chairman, George Fennel, A. Francis; Clerk, Jesse Brooks; Treasurer, James Woodhouse; Assessor, George Harger; Justices of the Peace, Horace Lord, J. C. Orr; Constables, T. Osborne, J. Burton, E. Briggs.
1869 – Supervisors, Henry Lord, Chairman, A. Francis, George Fennel; Clerk, A. S. Osborne; Treasurer, D. F. Brown; Assessor, J. W. Brackett; Justices of the Peace, Jesse Brooks, James Kenyon; Constables, J. Batie, D. R. Allen, J. Stone.
1870 – Supervisors, G. H. Chambers, Chairman, W. H. Harvey; Clerk, A. C. Morse; Treasurer, George Nevins; Assessor, George Hazard; Justices of the Peace, G. H. Chambers, J. T. Murphy; Constables, B. Ellidge, James Burton.
1871 – Supervisors, Henry Lord, Chairman, Charles Thomas, James Kenyon; Clerk, A. C. Morse; Treasurer, D. D. Brown; Assessor, George A. Hazard; Justices of the Peace, Jesse Brooks, James Kenyon (George Fennel, to fill vacancy); Constables, B. Ellidge, G. Lumpkins, E. Merrill, A. M. Cilley.
1872 – Supervisors, Henry Lord, Chairman, George H. Greer, George Fennel; Clerk, A. C. Morse; Treasurer, D. F. Brown; Assessor, George Hazard; Justices of the Peace, J. W. Brackett, Homer Beardsley (J. T. Murphy, to fill vacancy); Constables, L. Sawyer, William Bennetts, William Peck.
1873 – Supervisors, D. F. Brown, Chairman, A. Handy, James Kenyon; Clerk, C. M. Morse; Treasurer, F. L. Green; Assessor, J. W. Brackett; Justices of the Peace, Jesse Brooks, J. F. Murphy; Constables, L. Sawyer, T. Osborne, M. Scott, W. Peck.
1874 – Supervisors, D. F. Brown, Chairman, James Kenyon, A. Handy; Clerk, C. N. Holford; Treasurer, F. Greer; Justices of the Peace, E. S. Tubbs, L. D. Holford; Constables, J. R. Carroll, J. Dodge, William Peck, Charles Stone.
1875 – Supervisors, G. W. Fennel, Chairman, William Howard, James Kenyon; Clerk, Jesse Brooks; Treasurer, A. Johnston; Assessor, J. C. Orr; Justices of the Peace, William Batie, J. W. Graves; Constables, M. V. Bennetts, J. R. Carroll, C. J. Woodan, William Peck.
1876 – Supervisors, W. B. Clark, Chairman, James Kenyon, J. Schreiner; Clerk, Jesse Brooks; Treasurer, L. Woodhouse; Assessor, A. Osborne; Justices of the Peace, Jesse Brooks, C. J. Wood, two years; E. J. Tubbs, James Kenyon, one year; Constables, L. Sawyer, F. Murphy, J. R. Carroll.
1877 – Supervisors, W. B. Clark, Chairman, William Whellan, Charles W. Wheeler; Clerk, Jesse Brooks; Treasurer, L. Woodhouse; Assessor, Henry Lord; Justices of the Peace, F. Vanderhoff, A. C. Tubbs; Constables, J. R. Carroll, F. Handy, E. P. Finney.
1878 – Supervisors, W. B. Clark, Chairman, James Kenyon, Henry Lord; Clerk, Jesse Brooks, Treasurer, L. Woodhouse; Assessor, John Brackett; Justices of the Peace, Jesse Brooks, C. J. Wood (John Beely, to fill vacancy); Constables, L. Sawyer, J. R. Carroll, F. Handy.
1879 – Supervisors, W. B. Clark, Chairman, Henry Lord, James Kenyon; Clerk, Jesse Brooks, Treasurer, L. Woodhouse; Assessor, George A. Hazard; Justices of the Peace, F. Vanderhoff, George W. Fennel; Constables, F. Hill, J. R. Carroll, L. Sawyer.
1880 – Supervisors, W. B. Clark, Chairman, James Kenyon, Henry Lord; Clark, Jesse Brooks, long term, Charles Stone, E. D. Orr, short term; Constables, J. R. Carroll, L. G. Sawyer, W. Lee.
1881 – Supervisors, George W. Fennel, Chairman, Henry Lord, James Kenyon; Clerk, Jesse Brooks; Treasurer, W. E. Brown; Assessor, J. P. Jenkins; Justices of the Peace, C. W. Stone, George Miller; Constables, D. Meuer, L. Sawyer, J. R. Carroll.
Officers elected November 22, 1880 – President, William Batie; Trustees, C. M. Morse, U. F. Briggs, George Mount, L. Hoskins, D. F. Brown, F. Greer; Treasurer, Herman Enke; Clerk, G. B. Sprague; Police Justice, C. J. Woodward; Justice of the Peace, George Chambers; Marshal, J. Sawyer; Constable, Henry Heiner; Supervisor, W. B. Clark.
1881 – President, William Batie; Trustees, D. F. Brown, Linn Hoskins, George Chambers, U. F. Briggs, G. N. Nevins, George Hazard; Clerk, George Sprague; Treasurer, Herman Enke; Police Justice, C. J. Woodward; Justice of the Peace, Otis Weld; Marshal James Sprague; Constable, Charles Briggs; Supervisor, P. Bartley.
The first school district in what is now the township of Bloomington was organized in the year 1844. The first schoolhouse built in the township was built in District No. 4, and was a log structure. The building at this point was afterward known, and is yet, as the “old red schoolhouse,” and could its old walls speak they would have many a weird tale to pass in slow procession before the astonished listener. The first teacher to hold rule on the wooden throne and deal out “birchings” and learning with impartial hand was D. Angerlist. The schoolhouse first used by the children of the young village was located about three-
Tafton Collegiate Seminary. – As has been seen, the higher institution of learning at Bloomington was Blake’s Prairie Institute, opened by Rev. M. T. Allen, M. A., in the early part of January, 1857. The school afterward passed under the charge of Prof. Parsons and Mrs. Parsons, both of whom had achieved a high reputation as educators. The school was first held in the Cole Building, on Congress street. The Trustees of the school, however, did not allow it to remain here for any great length of time, but, recognizing the advantages that would undoubtedly accrue to the village by the establishment of such a seat of learning as was plainly possible with Prof. Parsons, as its guiding spirit, commenced the erection of a two-
First Congregational Church – This church was organized on the 10th of April, 1847, at Patch Grove, in the house of Hugh Garside, consisting of fourteen members. The organizers were the Revs. O. Littlefield and J. D. Stevens. Mr. Littlefield became the first Pastor, preaching half the time in Beetown. He remained until February, 1849. During the months next following, the church was without a Pastor, but in November the church extended an invitation to Rev. C. W. Monroe, of Boston, a young man in the ministry; December 25, he was ordained. A parsonage was in process of construction, but the building went so slow that Mr. Monroe took it into his own hands and held it as his own property. Rev. Mr. Monroe left in 1850, and for about a year the church was without a Pastor. During this interval, the Rev. S. W. Eaton, of Lancaster, looked after the spiritual needs of the little flock. In October, 1851, Rev. Ira Tracy became Pastor at a salary of $400. Mr. Tracy first preached at Patch Grove and the “Red Schoolhouse” alternately, but afterward changed so as to include other points. In 1855, the question of erecting a church building was taken up and a site selected a mile and a half south of the present village of Bloomington. The congregation was aided by private subscriptions and supplies from the Congregational Building Fund, the cost of the building being $1,400. April, 1856, Rev. Mr. Tracy took his departure, going to Spring Valley, Minn., where he remained until his health failed. August of the same year Rev. A. M. Dixon commenced his pastorate, the church membership at this time being about fifty. During the nine years of Mr. Dixon’s stay, this membership was doubled. Following Rev. Mr. Dixon came Revs. George Smith, William A. Lyman, Julian Dixon and A. E. Tracy. Nine members of the church entered the army; seven returned; two, Charles Bingham and Ira Tracy, Jr., remained behind awaiting the great reveille. Rev. Mr. Dixon’s efforts were heartily seconded by faithful workers, and during his pastorate, Sabbath schools were established at Beetown, Patch Grove and Glen Haven.
During the winter of 1865-
At its first organization, the church had been called the First Presbyterian, but this name had soon after been changed to Blake’s Prairie Congregational Church. During the pastorate of Mr. Young, the name was again changed to the First Congregational Church of Tafton. Rev. Mr. Young closed his labors May 20, 1871, and the church was without a Pastor for a little over a year. In June, 1872, the Rev. David Wirt received a unanimous call, which was accepted, and the reverend gentleman remained one year as Pastor. During this year, it was determined that the well-
Mr. Norton remained six months, during which time ten members joined the church. In June, 1876, Rev. R. L. Cheney came and was ordained in the October following, and has since remained in the pastorate of this church. The present officiary of the church is as follows: Pastor, Rev. R. L. Cheney; Deacons, J. A. Kilbourn, L. C. Newcomb, J. W. Stone, William R. Newcomb, S. McIvor, B. Beardsley, M. Scott; Clerk, C. R. Newcomb.
Baptist Church. – As the Beetown and Bloomington Baptist Churches are one and the same, the early history of the church and its beginning will be found in another place connected with the Beetown history. This organization was effected June 21, 1845, and it continued as a branch church until January 2, 1847, when a council was convened at Beetown, of which Elder J. P. Parsons was Moderator, and Elder William Stillwell was Clerk. The church organized as a separate church, with Elder Chapin as Pastor. Elder Chapin continued to divide his time between Beetown and Lancaster until November 30, 1850, when he accepted a call to devote his whole labor to the newer organization. He remained until the close of the following year, when he tendered his resignation, which was accepted with much regret. During his pastorate, meetings had been held alternately between Beetown and the “Red Schoolhouse.” In 1852, Rev. D. Matlock preached alternately at Lancaster and at Beetown, and at the close of his labors Elder Miles preached for the church six months. He was followed by Rev. William Wallace. In May, 1855, Rev. E. M. Lewis was called to preach one-
The present officers of the church are as follows: Pastor, G. D. Stevens; Deacons, James L. Woodruff, Homer Beardsley, Peter N. Thornton; Clerk, Homer Beardsley. The Deacons also act as Trustees of the Church.
Methodist Episcopal Church. – The first Methodist class was organized in the fall of 1857, and consisted of H. K. Wells, Mrs. Wells, Jeremiah Gee, Mrs. Gee, Mr. and Mrs. L. S. Osborne, Miss Annette Wilson, Miss Minnie Gordon, Mrs. N. Wilder, Luke Parsons and William Crosley. H. K. Wells was class leader. Service was held every two weeks, the new organization being attached to Patch Grove. The ministers having the little flock under their care were the Rev. W. F. DeLapp and Rev. Knibbs, who were associated together on the circuit. Mr. De Lapp was followed by Rev. C. Cook in the spring of 1859, who had associated with him Rev. Alfred Brunson, followed in the fall of the same year by Rev. C. P. Hackney. In the fall of 1860, Rev. R. R. Wood succeeded Rev. Mr. Cook, and was, in 1862, followed by Rev. W. F. De Lapp, who returned for a second time. He remained two years, and was succeeded, in 1864, by Rev. E. S. Bunce. In 1866, Z. S. Hurd came to the circuit, remaining one year, when he was succeeded by Rev. W. H. Kellogg. Rev. C. Bushby took charge of the circuit in 1868. Up to this time, the congregation had been without a church. The first meetings had been held in the old schoolhouse, and, after the erection of the Baptist Church, service had been held there for a few times, and afterward Brown’s Hall had been leased for the use of the church. In 1868, however, the present church building was erected, and the congregation, after numerous vicissitudes, at last was vouchsafed a permanent abiding-
Bloomington Record. – The initial number of the Record was printed July 15, 1880, Mr. C. J. Glasier being the editor and proprietor. The paper was issued as an eight-
In conjunction with the Bloomington press must be mentioned the West Grant Advocate, which was started at Bloomington some years ago, and then transferred to Lancaster, where it ended its existence with the new year of 1877. The type and other material, after many changes and vicissitudes, now assist in heralding the news to Bloomingtonians through the columns of the Record.
This institution first opened its doors as a financial agency for the people of Bloomington and surrounding country in 1871. The bank was then located over Greer’s store, in the building now occupied by Mr. Stanley. Humphrey & Clark, William Humphrey and W. B. Clark, were the incorporators. In 1873, a more suitable and commodious building was erected on Canal street, into which the bank was moved the same year. In this building it has since remained. A simple private banking business is all that the proprietors aspire to at present, and in the line chosen they have been eminently successful, commanding the respect and confidence of all their numerous patrons.
Bloomington Lodge, No. 159, I. O. O. F. – Was instituted December 9, 1868. The charter members were T. J. Brooks, E. Mount, Jesse Brooks, F. F. Grant, George W. Nevins and Alonzo Wilson. The lodge was instituted by D. D. G. M. H. Favor, of Boscobel. The first initiates were Brothers S. Woodhouse, D. L. Riley, I. McWilliams, G. W. Harger, C. R. Thomas, Robert Hicks and L. Hoskins. As ancients, Alfred Green, John Woodhouse, H. N. Johnson, M. Hadley and J. H. Sneelode. Of the first elective officers, T. J. Brooks has ceased to be a member. Brother Mount has long since slept the sleep that knows no waking. Brother F. F. Grant remains and also Mr. Jesse Brooks. Of the first initiates three have ceased to be members, but all are living. Of those who first joined as A. O., Brother John Woodhouse has joined that lodge whose Master’s rulings have no mistakes. Brothers Grant, Kidd and Nevins were the first on whom degrees were conferred; Brothers Grant, Hadley and Riley constituted the first committee to draft a constitution and by-
One of the most pleasant and profitable features of the institution has been the Rebecca meetings. The tact and taste of the Daughters of Rebecca in the management of these social gatherings, together with the intellectual treats occasionally given by them, will long be remembered by those present.
Thus, from small beginning, has Lodge No. 159 raised itself to a commanding position morally, socially, numerically and pecuniarily. The lodge has at present sixty-
The first lodge of Good Templars was organized in Bloomington, or Tafton, as it was then known, December 9, 1859. During the continuance of the “Academy,” the lodge prospered and flourished, having a strong membership, and exerted a powerful influence for good. Upon the downfall of the institution of learning, the lodge also felt the blighting influences, and about ten years after its first organization, yielded up the ghost. An effort was made some time after to resuscitate it, and for nearly a year the lodge struggled on, but the powers that were proved in the end too strong, and it was numbered among the things of the past. A lodge of the Sons of Temperance followed in course of time, but it had no stable foundation, and in turn succumbed. The present lodge was organized August 29, 1879, when the following officers were installed: R. W. C., Rev. Alfred Charles; W. V., E. J. M. Newcomb; W. C., Rev. R. L. Cheney; F. S., Mary Halford; Rec. Sec., L. S. Osborne; Asst., W. L. Osborne; Treas., Mrs. Mary Clayton; W. M., Harry Grant; J. G., Nellie Osborne; Sent., Thomas Smith; Lodge Deputy, William Burnetts. At the same date, a lodge of Juvenile Templars was started, with a goodly membership. The present officers of the lodge (May, 1881) are R. W. C., Rev. R. L. Cheney; W. V., Mrs. Mary Clayton; W. C., Mrs. Grant; Sec., M. M. Osborne; F. Sec., J. D. Clayton; Marshal, Minor Perrin; J. G., Mrs. Sabin; Lodge Deputy, L. S. Osborne.
August 1, 1868, a meeting was held at Brown’s Hall, to consider the advisibility of organizing a fair association. Mr. George Ballentine was chosen Chairman, and Mr. Jesse Brooks, Secretary. After appointing a committee to draft a constitution and by-
Resolved, That we deem it advisable to organize an agricultural society, and to hold an industrial fair the coming fall; to open books for membership at one dollar annually, or ten dollars for life, and that the name thereof be called “The Blake’s Prairie Agricultural Society,” the first fair to be held in the village of Bloomington, on the 16th and 17th days of September.
Officers were then elected as follows: President, William Humphrey; Vice Presidents, James Milner, John Batie; Treasurer, D. F. Brown; Cor. Secretary, Jesse Brooks; Executive Committee, J. M. Hickok, R. Glenn, R. Newman, L. M. Okey, A. A. Bennett. The society, since its organization, has held an annual fair, having leased a tract of ground immediately adjacent to the village. The present officers are: president, James Kenyon; Vice Presidents, N. Austin, J. A. Davis; Secretary, F. Greer; Treasurer, G. Sprague; Executive Committee, P. Thornton, W. Howard, J. M. Kilborn, George Whiteside, J. Honefal, J. S. Moore, A. M. Cilley, R. A. Welsh, A. B. Gates, H. F. Young.
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