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TOWN OF BOSCOBEL.
EARLY SETTLEMENT – THE FIRST FIRE – THE WAR – MUNICIPAL MATTERS – TOWN OFFICERS – VILLAGE OFFICERS – CITY OFFICERS – FIRE DEPARTMENT – WISCONSIN RIVER BRIDGE – ARTESIAN WELL – SCHOOLS – POST OFFICE – THE PRESS – CHURCHES – HOTELS – MASON ORDERS – I. O. O.F. – A. O .U. W. – TEMPERANCE ORGANIZATIONS – CEMETERY – BOSCOBEL AGRICULTURAL AND DRIVING ASSOCIATION – BAND – MANUFACTURERS – BRICK YARDS – ELEVATORS - TROUT
submitted by Mary Saggio
The ancient Norman nobility of England were wont to refer to the peers and nobles created by Edward IV and his predecessor as the “new men.” The same appellation might have been applied to this city by some of the old settled towns of the county; but, to carry the application further, as the “new men” of “Merrie England,” despite the sneers and contemptuous frowns of their older brethren, continued to grow and flourish, until, among the “bows and bills” of Barnet, the older chivalry went down under the flashing swords, amid the cries “make way for the new men,” so the “new village” has not only distanced the majority of its competitors, but has, as it rose higher in reputation, population and business prosperity, witnessed the decay and almost living death of those which at its birth were themselves flourishing and prosperous towns.
The first actual resident in the present town, at least so far as known, was one Thomas Sanders, who came to this portion of the county from Galena, Ill. In 1846, and built him a hut on what is now Block 6, of Boscobel proper. This he occupied with a partner named Asa Wood, and together they engaged in getting out logs on the river bottom adjoining, which they afterward rafted down the river to the mills below. The name of Sanders is kept prominently before the citizens of the town by the little stream that careers and gurgles through the city, furnishing a constant supply of living water. The first actual settler is not so easily ascertained. Among those here at an early date were John Newberry and a widow lady named Powell. The former occupied the place afterward purchased in 1878 by Mr. W. McCord, while Mrs. Powell had located on the southwest quarter of Section 35. In 1847, a settler by the name of Waynes came in, but, as there is no record of him later, it is probably he did not remain very long. In March, 1848, Mr. McCord and family came and located on their present farm. The succeeding spring Joshua Brindley arrived with his family and settled a short distance from McCord. He, two years later, bought the claim of Charles Bailey, on Section 35, half a mile southeast of the town, upon which he moved within the limits embraced in the present city. A. E. Hall had a claim, situated near the site of the present depot, and was the first actual settler on the site of the present city.
At this time, and for a half-score of years later, what afterward became Boscobel was a part of Marion, and was a wild plain, given over mainly to the forest denizens and their aboriginal companions, whenever the latter saw fit to wander in this direction. Even as late as 1855 and 1856, deer, in droves of a dozen or more, would cross the river and stray with wondering eyes, to the edge of the new settlement, probably puzzling over this unwonted activity, ready to fly upon the slightest provocation to the shaded hillside coverts. This north country was at that time hovering between two poles of prosperity and semi-oblivion. The problem of its future existence was finally solved, as has been many , by those linked bands of iron and steel which have, for the past half-century, solved so many of a similar nature. The Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad, as first designed, would have left Boscobel nameless and undisturbed to fight out alone its destiny. But the guiding spirits of the enterprise saw fit to change their plans, and the future of Boscobel was assured.
In 1853, previous to the advent of the road, the following families were living in the limits of the present town: A. E. Hall, Joshua Brindley, Mrs. S. Powell, W. McCord, all living on land as given above; Matt Ward on Section 35; George W. Crandall, on the southeast quarter of Section 36; Mrs. Craig, on the southwest quarter of Section 24, and Abner Petty on the south half of Section 13.
The greater portion of the land in this vicinity was then Government property, which afterward, under the graduation established by the Government, became subject to entry at 50 cents per acre. The roads were few, little traveled, and in that condition so peculiar to all new countries, which renders the life of the traveler anything but comfortable as he progresses over them.
A saw-mill of limited capacity, erected by Mr. Bull, was in existence, located on Crooked Creek – a stream whose erratic wanderings suggested its distinctive title – three-fourths of a mile below McCord’s; but of grist-mills there were none within the proverbial “Sabbath-day’s journey.” As a means of crossing the river a ferry had been established, operated by M. Woodard and D. Thompson, opposite Section 14, to Georgetown, now without ferry or building, and those not caring to avail themselves of this means were obliged to traverse eight miles of sandy, snaggy roads in reaching Boydtown.
The land on which the city stands was purchased in 1854, by C. K. Dean, Adam E. Ray, Henry M. Ray and E. H. Brodhead, and the station located the same year. At this time the site was occupied by a beautiful grove of oak trees. A party of railroad magnates, with their friends, came over the road on a tour of inspection, during the year, and took carriages from Muscoda, proceeding by these conveyances to Prairie du Chien, returning in the same manner. Among the party was Gen. Rufus King, then editor of the Milwaukee Sentinel. Upon his return, Mr. King referred in the most flattering terms to the new station, speaking of it as Boscobel, the name being said to have its derivation from the words “bosc,” wood, and “belle,” beautiful. However this may be, the name, once given was accepted, and retained to the present day. In this year, Dr. Blanchard and Moors Rice figure among the prominent additions to the population of the embryo town, and the year immediately succeeding, C. K. Dean, John Mortimer and William S. Coates, with their families, settled in what was to be their future home. In the latter part of this year, the near approach of the railroad drew attention to the town, and several parties came in to stay, among them Mr. John Ruka, who put up a board shanty and built a blacksmith-shop, where he practiced his trade, just west of the present residence of Dr. Carley. James Dickerson had already put up a small frame building, in which a limited stock of goods served to dignify the institution by the name of store. Mr. Dickerson had been omitted among the early arrivals, as had also Mr. Horace Watkins, who came probably as early as 1855 and took up a claim on the river bottom, on which his dwelling is still standing.
Boscobel was platted early in 1856, and lots put on sale this year.
The site, now so densely populated, was originally a portion of farms owned by Joshua Brindley and A. E. Hall, and did duty as a corn-field, the street now known as Wisconsin avenue having been laid out through it in 1856. Even up to the very settlement of the town, the golden ears hung thick in the fields.
Among the arrivals for 1856 were Dr. J. O. Beals, who dealt out quinine and blue pills to the inhabitants; J. C. Stevenson, Charles Contoit, Elder Moorehouse (who opened a small, very small, drug store), J. R. Muffley, and others, whose names have drifted away into the great Lethean sea.
The advent of the snorting, puffing, sizzling iron horse, as the old year was wrapping itself in its furry mantle of snow, gave Boscobel a heavy impetus which soon developed its good results by the rapid influx which characterized the following years. The first agent of the company at this point was John Mortimer.
By 1858, village lots that a few years before had been wild prairie land, purchasable at 50 cents per acre, were selling readily at $100 and $200 each. The town, as originally projected would have occupied the ground northwest of the railroad track, but, with the usual perversity of new settlements, it persisted in overlapping the original boundary line, and stretching away to the south and east, where four-fifths of the city lies to-day.
THE FIRST FIRE.
In April of this year (1858) occurred the first fire in the village, the Barnett House, occupying the present site of the Betts House, going up in smoke. This hostelry, which had been erected late in 1856, by Mr. Andrew Barnett, had become so important a part of the village comity that its loss was severely felt. Preparations were immediately made for the erection of another in its place, which, upon its completion, was occupied by Mr. Barnett.
During the years 1858, 1859 and 1860, the village advanced with strides only equaled by the gigantic “seven-leagued boots” of nursery tales. Up to this time, the village and adjacent country had formed a constituent part of Marion town, but, in 1859, it had been set off into a separate town, to be called Boscobel, the first town officers being elected in the spring of 1860. Hardly had the young town settled its new honors upon its shoulders, before it was called upon, with other corporate bodies throughout the county, to deal with the war fiend, whose loathesome wings were flapping with a fierce threatening throughout the land.
On April 16, 1861, a call for volunteers was circulated by C. K. Dean, while in the other portions of the county there was “hurrying to and fro,” all of which resulted in the organization in the main street of Boscobel, on the morning of April 21, of two companies of volunteers, the first to be organized in Grant County. During the long, weary years of the war, Boscobel stood nobly for the preservation of the Union. The history of these dark days has been written elsewhere. It is sufficient that representatives of the village were to be found on every field, pouring out their blood like water in the defense of that star-flecked banner, whose folds guaranteed liberty and equal rights to all.
Full well did she respond to all calls for funds, either to make comfortable those who had been left as precious legacy by father or husband who had gone down in the mad rush of battle, or to pay bounties to those volunteering for the preservation of the country so dearly loved by all. The amount of money raised during these years, for war purposes, by Boscobel, was about $8,000.
During these years the town continued to advance, steadily, if not as rapidly as its most ardent supporters might have wished. In the year 1864, village honors were conferred upon the thriving burg by the Legislature, a charter being granted at that time. The population at this period numbered about twelve hundred.
When the return of peace had brought back to the thriving village the many brawny arms and stout hearts whose place for four years had been at the front, business industries once more livened up, the busy hum resounded from every workshop, and the village took a sudden and well-sustained stride on the road of commercial prosperity. The years from 1867 to 1870 witnessed many improvements in the way of handsome business blocks and substantial buildings. Many, in fact the most, of the buildings now ornamenting the main artery of Boscobel – Wisconsin avenue – with their architectural proportions, date their conception and execution back to these years. The panic years of 1873-77 were felt, with their depressing effects, in Boscobel as well as in other cities in the country. Yet, notwithstanding these influences, the little municipality did not hesitate to take upon itself the burden of debt which, in prosperous times, might well have made an older and wealthier community hold back in doubt, fearful of the consequences. Yet, without flinching, Boscobel went sturdily forward with the construction of a bridge across the Wisconsin River, which was to cost, as time rolled on, the sum of nearly $45,000. In order to enable them to do this, the citizens petitioned the Legislature for a city charter, which was accorded them by the Legislature of 1873.
The flood tide in population of the village was reached in 1875, when the number of inhabitants allotted to the city by the census of that year was something over sixteen hundred souls. The census of 1880 showed a slight diminution in this number.
Whatever might be the characteristic of the population, the business interests of the city, owing to the public-spirited, enlightened, and far-seeing policy adopted by the municipality from the beginning, showed no signs of falling off; on the contrary, the horizon was brightening with each succeeding year. The large extent of territory on the opposite side of the river, the trade of which is brought not only figuratively but literally to the doors of Boscobel’s merchants, by means of the link whose wooden spans connect the north and south shores of the bread Wisconsin.
The city itself is one of the handsomest places in the county, if not in the State. Embowered in trees, it lies on the broad plain encircled in a loving embrace by the beautiful bluffs, a priceless jewel in an emerald setting.
The Boscobel of to-day contains among its business interests three general stores, carrying heavy stocks; one clothing and shoe store, four hardware stores, two drug stores, two grocery stores, distinctively such; four restaurants, five millinery establishments, three tailors, four shoemaker shops, three harness shops, three butcher shops, six hotels, ten saloons, and three dress-making establishments. Besides the list as given above, there are three wagon and carriage manufacturers, one brick-yard, one carding and spinning establishment, the latter manufacturing an excellent article of yarn that finds a ready sale; one flouring-mill, one cigar factory, two furniture stores, three livery stables, one cooper shop, two stave factories, two banks, one photograph gallery, three jewelry stores and one lumber yard, operated by J. H. Sarles, and doing a heavy business, having branches at Muscoda, Woodman and Fennimore.
In the professional branches are found six law firms and three physicians.
Among other industries which add to the wealth of the city is the “bee business” which occupies the attention of three different operators, strained honey being the principal article of export. This, with the addition of three elevator firms, whose warehouses have a combined capacity of 25,000 or 30,000 bushels, completes the complement of the city’s industries.
As has been stated, Boscobel was set off from the town of Marion in the month of November, 1859, by the County Board. The first town meeting was held at the Walker House, April 8, 1860, at which time and place occurred the first election of town officers. The first meeting of the Town Board was held April 10, at the office of George Hartshorn.
The rapid growth of the settlement early brought about a wish for incorporation as a village, as conducive to the best interests of all concerned. In the Legislature of 1864, a petition for incorporation was presented by a member from this district, the petitioners’ cry for incorporation being granted in an act passed in the following March. The corporate limits of the village embraced Section 22, the west half of Section 26, all of the east half of Section 27 that lies in Grant County, the northeast quarter of Section 34, and the northwest quarter of Section 35, or about one-fourth part of the town of Boscobel.
This charter, with its attending powers, which were quite ample, was deemed sufficient until it was found necessary, in order to complete the bridge across the Wisconsin, to assume a bonded indebtedness. This, however, could only be done in a corporate capacity under a city charter. A charter was accordingly drawn, and through the efforts of John Monteith in the office of Hazelton & Provis, Boscobel was incorporated as a city, by the Legislature of 1873, the act bearing date March 15. This charter continued the boundaries in force under the old village charter, provided for the division of the city into four wards, for the election of Mayor, four Aldermen, Assessor, Treasurer, Clerk, two Justices of the Peace, one Constable or Marshal, and such other officers as the Mayor and Aldermen should ordain. By an amendment of 1880, the Clerk was appointed by the Council. The charter is quite ample in its powers, as was the village charter before it.
Under this charter the city has continued its corporate existence up to the present time. Below is given a list of town, village and city officers from the first organization of the town:
1860 – Supervisors, J. A. Houghtaling, Chairman, William S. Coates, Francis McSpaden; Clerk, George Han; Treasurer, R. J. Hildebrand; Assessor, George B. Shipley; Superintendent of Schools, A. S. Sampson; Justices of the Peace, Mark Bailey, Ephraim Moody; Constables, George L. Bowen, H. B. Gleason, Richard Frankland.
1861 – Supervisors, John Pepper, Chairman, Gustavius Guentzel, Conrad Fritz; Clerk, J. W. Quackenbosh; Treasurer, R. j. Hildebrand; Assessor, A. W. Ray; Superintendent of Schools, Albert Sampson; Justices of the Peace, Andrew McFall, Martin DeWitt, Peter Rae (to fill vacancy); Constables, G. L. Bowen, J. J. Button, Jonathan Walker.
1862 – Supervisors, Conrad Fritz, Chairman, Joseph Molle, E. Halloran; Clerk, William F. Crawford; Treasurer, John F. Shipley; Assessor, J. A. Houghtaling; Justices of the Peace, Peter Rae, George Cole; Constables, George W. Kendall, J. J. Button, Charles Contoit.
1863 – Supervisors, D. T. Parker, Chairman, J. H. Sarles, James Barnett; Clerk, I. M. Richmond; Treasurer, John Pepper; Assessor, Asa W. Ray; Justices of the Peace, L. J. Woolley, O. M. Graves; Constables, W. W. Watkins, Robert P. Clyde, Martin DeWitt.
Election held second Monday of March, 1864.
1864 – President, D. T. Parker; Trustees, A. Ransom, J. R. Muffley, D. G. Seaton; Police Justice, G. W. Limbocker. (Clerk, Constable, Treasurer and Street Commissioner were appointed by the board.) Clerk, George C. Hazelton; Treasurer, G. Guentzel; Constable, Seth D. Curry; Street Commissioner, S. F. Watkins.
1865 – President, John H. Sarles; Trustees, Alfred Palmer, T. Carrier, G. W. Cowan; Police Justice, Martin DeWitt; Clerk, G. C. Hazelton; Treasurer, G. Guentzel; Constable, W. W. Watkins.
1866 – President, E. DeLap; Trustees, L. Anshutz, John Kelty, O. W. Graves; Police Justice, G. Scott; Clerk, L. J. Wooley, Treasurer, ____________ ___________; Constable, A. A. Petty.
1867 – President, G. C. Hazelton; Trustees, Terrence Carrier, G. Guentzel, John Pepper; Police Justice, J. D. Meeker; Clerk G. W. Limbocker; Treasurer, J. D. Meeker; Marshal, Arnold Petty.
1868 – President, John H. Sarles; Trustees, G. W. Cowan, M. A. Sawyer, G. Guentzel; Police Justice, G. W. Limbocker; Clerk, G. W. Limbocker; Treasurer, J. D. Meeker; Marshal, , ____________ ___________.
1869 – President, John Pepper; Trustees, E. M. Meyer, T. Carrier, G. W. Parker; Police Justice, G. W. Limbocker; Clerk, G. W. Limbocker; Treasuer, J. D. Meeker; Marshal, A. A. Petty.
1870 – (Election May 2) – President, Terrance Carrier; Trustees, E. Meyer, R. S. Lathrop, D. W. Carley, L. G. Armstrong; Marshal, John Kelty; Clerk, G. W. Limbocker; Treasurer, J. D. Meeker; Supervisor, W. W. Field.
1871 – President, Alfred Palmer; Trustees, C. J. Molle, G. W. Cowan, Austin Ransom, J. P. Willis; Marshal, John Kelty; Supervisor, W. W. Field; Clerk, G. W. Limbocker; Treasurer, J. D. Meeker.
1872 – President, James Barnett; Trustees, Harvey Clark, Austin Dexter, R. S. Lathrop, Josiah Thompson; Marshal, S. D. Curry; Supervisor, B. M. Coates; Clerk, G. W. Limbocker; Treasurer, J. D. Meeker.
1873 – City incorporated March 12, 1873.
1873 – Mayor, James Bennett; Alderman, First Ward, Charles McWilliams; Second Ward, Henry Taylor; Third Ward, Henry Nelson; Fourth Ward, John Pepper; Marshal, John Kelty; Treasurer, J. D. Meeker; Assessor, M. F. Crouch; Justices of the Peace, Jacob McLaughlin, Benjamin Shearer; Clerk (appointed), C. H. Contoit.
First meeting of the City Council was held at the city hall on Friday evening, April 4.
1874 – Mayor, G. W. Parker; Alderman, First Ward, Gustave Meyer; Second Ward, J. P. Willis; Third Ward, A. McKinney; Fourth Ward, L. Ruka; Marshal, S. D. Curry; Treasurer, L. P. Lesler; Assessor, G. R. Frank; Clerk, C. H. Contoit.
1875 – Mayor, James Barnett; Alderman, First Ward, Harvey Clark; Second Ward, J. R. Muffley; Third Ward, G. W. Cowan; Fourth Ward, L. Ruka; Justices of the Peace, M. DeWitt, J. McLaughlin; Treasurer, John Pepper; Marshal, John Kelty; Clerk, C. H. Contoit; Street Commissioner, O. P. Knowlton.
1876 – Mayor, G. Meyer; Alderman, First Ward, G. F. Hildebrand; Second Ward, George Cannon; Third Ward, A. M. McKinney; Fourth Ward, M. Ableiter; Treasurer, William Thompson; Marshal, J. P. Willis; Clerk, C. H. Contoit; Street Commissioner, O. P. Knowlton; City Attorney, A. Provis.
1877 – Mayor, B. M. Coates; Aldermen, First Ward, W. Thompson; Second Ward, George Cannon; Third Ward, Com. Rogers; Fourth Ward, M. Ableiter; Treasurer, T. Kronshage; Marshall, John Kelty; Justices of the Peace, M. DeWitt, J. McLaughlin; Clerk, H. W. Favor; Street Commissioner, S. F. Watkins; City Attorney, A. Provis; Bridge Commissioner, E. C. Meyer.
1878 – Mayor, John H. Sarles; Aldermen, First Ward, M. B. Pitman; Second Ward, John Kelty; Third Ward, Henry Nelson; Fourth Ward, Leo Anshutz; Treasurer, T. Kronshage; Marshal, D. C. Perigo; Clerk, H. W. Favor; Street Commissioner, John Kelty; Bridge Commissioner, A. Dexter.
1879 – Mayor, T. N. Hubbell; Aldermen, First Ward, O. P. Knowlton; Second Ward, William Stoddart; Third Ward, C. Parce; Fourth Ward, G. Guentzel; Treasurer, T. Krongshage; Marshal, J. F. Woodard; Justices of the Peace, M. De Witt, J. McLaughlin; Clerk, H. W. Favor; City Attorney, William Dutcher; Street Commissioner, John Kelty; Bridge Commissioner, A. Dexter.
1880 – Mayor, T. N. Hubbell; Aldermen, First Ward, William Thompson, 1 year; Harvey Clark, 2 years; Second Ward, F. Scheinpflug, 2 years; Edwin Pike, 1 year; Third Ward, D. Lenahan, 2 years; C. Parce, 1 year; Fourth Ward, J. Ruka, 2 years; A. J. Pipkin, 1 year; Treasurer, T. Kronshage; Marshal, John Kelty; Clerk, H. W. Favor; Street Commissioner, John Kelty; Bridge Commissioner, A. Dexter; City Attorney, John D. Wilson.
1881 – Mayor, T. N. Hubbell; Aldermen, First Ward, T. J. Brooks; Second Ward, E. Pike; Third Ward, C. Parce; Fourth Ward, M. Ableiter; Treasurer, T. Kronshage; Marshal, John Kelty; Clerk, H. W. Favor; Street Commissioner, John Kelty; Bridge Commissioner, A. Dexter; City Attorney, John D. Wilson; Justices of the Peace, J. C. Richardson, J. McLaughlin.
Numerous fires, at an early date, had brought the citizens of Boscobel to such a realizing sense of their need for protection against this destroying element, that when, in 1867, parties at Madison offered the village a good hand-engine at an extremely low figure, Mr. G. W. Cowan was authorized to go to Madison, examine the machine, and if in good shape to buy it. Under these instructions, the engine was purchased at a cost of $300. Quite a little history attached to this fire queller. It had originally been brought from Fortress Monroe to Madison and stationed at Camp Randall. Upon the breaking-up of this post at the close of the war, the engine, with other Government property was sold at public sale and bought by the parties who sold it to this village. Public expectation was considerably disappointed in the appearance of their new protector, and for the year succeeding the purchase, the engine was allowed to lie neglected and disused. In the year 1868, the village authorities put in hydrants along the race running through the city and prepared for any emergency that might arise. The burning of the Catlin House and the brewery in this year, and within several months of each other, gave the friends of the abused engine a chance to show its powers, the result being a slight rise in opinions as to its merits. In January, 1869, three buildings standing just north of the Carrier House went up in smoke. Had it not been for the services rendered by the much-abused engine, the Carrier House and adjacent buildings would, undoubtedly, have followed suit. The erstwhile disgraced machine was now in high favor, and steps were immediately taken for the organization of companies for protection against the fire-fiend. The ruins were still smoldering, when, on Monday evening, January 25, a meeting was held at McSpaden’s Hall, preparatory to organizing an Engine and Hook and Ladder Company. Mr. Ed Meyer was chosen Chairman, and J. T. Shipley, Secretary. After it had been “moved and carried to form engine and hook and ladder companies,” F. McSpaden was elected Foreman of the former, and A. Bobel of the latter. A committee was then appointed to draft constitution and by-laws, when the companies adjourned; the engine company to January 27, and the hook and ladder company to January 28.
At the first-named date, the engine company met and appointed a committee of three to “procure a name” for the company. Their report was made at a subsequent meeting, the name fixed upon being “Protection Engine Company No. 1.” The officers elected at the meeting of January 27 were as follows: Foreman, W. H. Rose; First Assistant Foreman, Capt. Farquharson; Second Assistant Foreman, W. W. Watkins; Secretary, O. E. Comstock; Treasurer, J. H. Sarles. The present officers of this company are: Foreman, W. H. Rose; First Assistant Foreman, Theo. Kronshage; Second Assistant Foreman, E. Brookens; Secretary, H. W. Favor; Treasurer, Leo Anshutz.
Hook and Ladder Company. – At the adjourned meeting held January 28, this company finished its formal organization, by electing officers as follows: First Assistant Foreman, George Scripture; Second Assistant Foreman, John Kelty; Secretary, L. G. Armstrong; Treasurer, Robert Anderson. Twenty-eight members formed the company at this time. At an adjourned meeting held February 4, the name of Boscobel Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 was adopted, and the number of members fixed at thirty, as a maximum. This limit has since been abolished, there being at present no restriction to the membership. The officers are: Foreman, A. Bobel; First Assistant Foreman, C. P. Flinn; Second Assistant Foreman, N. Ellingsen; Secretary, L. B. Ruka; Treasurer, G. Meyer; Hose Captain, A. McKinney; Assistant, D. Ricks.
Soon after the organization of the department, or in the summer of 1869, a second-hand engine, somewhat larger than their first purchase, was offered to Boscobel authorities by parties who had purchased it at a foreclosure sale in Guttenberg, Iowa. This engine, like its mate, had come from Madison, from which city it had been sold to the Guttenberg authorities with the result as above. The engine, with hose, hook and ladder cart and appurtenances, was offered to Boscobel for the sum of $500. The offer was accepted and Boscobel thus placed in possession of two first-class engines of their kind. The new purchase was handed over to the company then organized, and was afterward known as Engine No. 1. It was made in Providence, R. I., and has a ten-inch pump. The old engine was laid up in ordinary until the organization of the second fire company, when it was transferred to them. It has a seven-inch pump, and was manufactured in Rochester, N. Y.
During the summer of 1869, No. 1 Engine House was erected. On the first floor of this structure, Engine No. 1 and the hook and ladder trucks – each in separate apartments – find lodgment. The upper story is used as a city hall, while the basement serves for the purpose of a city “bastille.”
Rough and Ready, No. 2. – In accordance with a call issued by G. W. Cowan and J. W. Watson, a meeting was held September 8, 1870, for the organization of a second engine company. Eighteen names were attached to the company’s rolls, the officers being: Foreman, G. W. Cowan; First Assistant Foreman, J. W. Watson; Second Assistant Foreman, A. M. McKinney; Treasurer, Austin Dexter; Secretary, John Classon. The name chosen for the company was “Rough and Ready Engine Company, No. 2.” October 30, 1876, a hose company was organized from the members of the organization, A. M. McKinney being elected Captain and John Ricks, Assistant. The present officers are: Foreman, Thomas Crinklow; First Assistant Foreman, Charles Ricks; Second Assistant Foreman, T. Cliff; Secretary, S. Bartholomew. No. 2’s engine house was erected in the fall of 1870, soon after the organization of the company, upon Lot 4, of Block 30, being just north of Mr. Cowan’s machine shop. In 1879, it was removed to its present location on Superior street.
The department was formally organized as such under an ordinance passed in January, 1874, creating and regulating this branch of the city government. Mr. G. W. Cowan was elected the first Chief Engineer under this ordinance, serving two years, when he was followed by Gustave Meyer, who served a few months, when he was elected Mayor, and T. N. Hubbell was elected to fill the vacancy. He was re-elected, serving until 1879, when he took the Mayor’s chair, and was succeeded by T. M. Wells, the present Chief.
Although residing in comparatively a small city, the fire department of Boscobel have ample facilities for proving their efficiency and the metal of which they were made. The result has been most satisfactory, but few towns in the State being possessed of a better organized or more willing band of fire-fighters.
In April, 1858, the inhabitants of the then growing village first formed the acquaintance of the red destroyer, who made his first visitation upon Barnett’s Hotel, standing on the present site of the Carrier House. The work was thorough, the house proving a total loss. The next fire of any importance was the burning of the house of Mr. Frank Lewis, in 1863.
The village then had a rest from any disastrous blazes until 1868, when, ere the year had come to an end, three fires had told the inhabitants that they were yet at the mercy of the destroyer. By the first of these, the Catlin House, together with its barns, was burned. At this fire, the old No. 2 engine was used for the first time. A few months later, Ziegelmair & Biederman’s brewery burned to the ground.
These fires were succeeded by the conflagration of January, 1869, mentioned in another place, which resulted in the organization of an efficient fire department. The next great fire came with the burning of the depot August 30, 1870, when, besides this building, Palmer’s warehouse, with a large amount of grain, was licked up by the flames. Several other buildings narrowly escaped destruction, being saved only through the strenuous exertions of the department.
From this date, although often called out by small blazes, and once to quell the flames at Ziegelmair’s brewery, the city was visited by no very damaging fire until July 7, 1877, when McSpaden’s elevator took fire, and, despite all exertions of the firemen burned to the ground. September 22 of the same year, the Heim stave factory went up in smoke.
The following year, “Thompson’s Corner,” Oak street and Wisconsin avenue, was visited by the touch of the fire fiend, and two buildings, with their contents, totally destroyed. During 1880, a large barn and contents, belonging to Parker, Hilderbrand & Co., was consumed. The last ravages of the fire fiend showed themselves January 7, 1881, when the Central House, located in the center of the city, caught fire from causes unknown, and before the fire was under control the house had been completely gutted. Owing to the severe cold weather, the water froze in the couplings and rendered the engines, after a short time, perfectly useless. This closes the list of conflagrations up to the present time.
The fire department, at present, consists of about 100 men; they having, vide the last report of the Chief Engineer, 1,000 feet of hose, for which they have two hose carts. Two engines, both hand, and a hook and ladder truck, well supplied with saving appurtenances, complete the outfit.
WISCONSIN RIVER BRIDGE.
Among the many improvements which Boscobel views with a just pride, none occupy so prominent a place in the minds of the city’s inhabitants as the bridge spanning the Wisconsin opposite this city and connecting the trade of that adjoining section with the commercial interests of this place. The situation of Boscobel upon the extreme northern edge of the county, and lying adjacent to a large and growing section of country in Crawford County, forced upon Boscobel’s citizens at an early date the necessity of providing a ready means of crossing the river, in order to attract trade from that direction. The war-trumpet had hardly ceased to sound before plans were on foot looking to a consummation of this object. In 1868, a long roadway leading across what is known as “the slew” was built, consisting of earthwork and piling. A good avenue was thus furnished to the river, the crossing of which was effected by means of a ferry. This, however, was seen to be but an imperfect solution of the problem. Constant agitation soon brought the minds of the tax-payers to a feeling that nothing but a bridge would suffice. In 1871, a commissioner was appointed to confer with towns on the other side of the river to see what could be done, but nothing seems to have come of the conference. The stubborn fact was finally forced upon the thenvillage that if a bridge was to be built, Boscobel would have to build it. In order, however, to build the wished-for bridge, it was necessary to have money, and to raise this most effectually and easily, bonds were necessary. Only cities could assume bonded indebtedness, hence Boscobel must become a city. Accordingly, in 1873, the appropriate charter was granted by the Legislature, and at the same time an act was passed granting a new city authority to build a bridge across the Wisconsin and providing for the issuing of bonds in payment of the same. Bonds were afterward issued to the amount of $30,000, and the contract for a good substantial structure across the river let to a Mr. Pertell, of Milwaukee, for the sum of $22,000, work being soon after commenced. This was a heavy debt for a city of something over 1,000 inhabitants to assume, but true grit and business shrewdness were back of the movement. Not only was the contract price absorbed in the erection, but extras to the amount of between $3,000 and $4,000 were allowed. The cost of the original “dump” had been $12,000, making the total cost of the structure and avenues nearly $38,000. The bonds in payment for the bridge were for five, ten and fifteen years. The five-year bonds were promptly met and accruing interest paid as soon as due. The revenues, which became from the first an important feature, furnished each year a respectable sum to be used in payment of interest or bonds.
The Dial of April 10, 1874, speaking of the completion of the structure, says: “The new bridge across the Wisconsin River at this place is now completed, although the time allowed in the contract has some time yet to run. It is 700 feet in length, and is supported by close piling covered with plank and filled with rock. Huge ice-breakers protect it from damage in the spring. Near the north end is the draw, which is 150 feet in length. Its capacity is 78,000 pounds to the moving foot, though to break it would require six times that weight. The lumber used on this bridge is from Green Bay, while the iron is from Pittsburgh. The total cost of the structure is $26,000 in city bonds, issued through the First National Bank of this city. In regard to toll, we copy a section of the law authorizing the city of Boscobel to bridge the Wisconsin River:
SECTION 4. All funds arising from tolls or from the use of said bridge shall be paid over to the Treasurer of the city of Boscobel, at least once in each month, and shall be kept by him separate and apart from all other funds, and shall not be paid out except upon orders drawn upon that specific fund. The funds arising from the toll or the use of such bridge, after paying for the care and maintenance thereof, shall be applied as follows: First, to pay the interest upon said city bonds, and thereafter to redeem said bonds as fast as said funds will allow.”
The bridge is 655 feet in length, comprising draw 150 feet, covered bridge 405 feet, and approaches 100 feet. During 1879-80, much of the piling across “the slew” was replaced with earth and a substantial bridge put in over this stagnant arm of the river, leaving this portion of the work 477 feet in length. The “dump” proper is 2,025 feet in length, making all told 4,157 feet as the total length of the bridge and approaches. These last improvements cost the city about $6,500, making the whole cost foot up in the neighborhood of $45,000, exclusive of interest paid on the bridge bonds, which in itself amounts to no inconsiderable sum. The result in a business point of view has been eminently satisfactory.
Desiring to reach a spot from which a constant supply of living, sparkling water could be safely counted on at all times, an association was organized to attempt the consummation of this wish through the means of an artesian well. The organization took on the semblance of a stock company, with shares at $10 each. In 1876, work was commenced, and carried forward during this year and the succeeding one, when, at a depth of nearly 1,000 feet, a flinty rock was struck that put a stop to further operations, water, at the close of the work, coming to within fourteen feet of the surface. In 1881, the stockholders turned the ground over to the city, upon the condition that it should be devoted to park purposes.
The original and earliest seat of educational interests in this section was a log building standing near Bull’s saw-mill, and, in fact, forming one of the mill annexes, serving as a school-room during the day, and a lodging place at night. The ruler best remembered in this little kingdom was a female pedagogue, by the name Lucinda Beaudine. The educational advantages offered were of the most limited kind, owing to numerous causes, prominent among which were the somnolent qualities developed by the lady. These qualities were the result of too much of what is known in olden times as “sparkin’.” Girls, it is explained by one of the early attendants at this pioneer school, were scarce in those times, and Lucinda was, as a consequence, in great demand, first with one of the country beaux and then another. Midnight vigils and early rising are certain in time to produce a greater or less degree of somnolence, and the present was no exception to the rule. Therefore, while Miss Beaudine slumbered, her young pupils availed themselves of the opportunity afforded, and indulged their propensities for immoderate bathing or other congenial pursuits, until the sharp rat-a-tat on the door-casing told that a spirit of wakefulness obtained in the school-room, when a resumption of duties would follow. How long this school was continued is not known, probably only for a short time, as early in 1851, a small frame building, originally intended for a dwelling-house, standing near the present residence of Mr. Bachmann, was made to do duty as a seat of learning under the rule of Mrs. Ed Rogers, who, in consequence of certain difficulties with Mr. Rogers, had separated from him, and took up the role of teacher to provide the necessities of life. If the tales told of the different modes by which this “pedagogues” enforced discipline in her little realm are true, her rule ought, in the interests of humanity, to have been a short one.
The school was, however, soon after transferred to an old log structure, standing on a hall near Dennis’ Mill, which also had been built for a dwelling; but, at the time at which we have arrived, was used promiscuously as a schoolhouse and church. Upon its vacancy by the educational and religious interest, the building was diverted to its original purpose, and occupied by Jacob Ostrander as a residence. The first building erected for the sole purpose of being used for school purposes was a log structure put up in 1852 or 1853, still remembered by those who came in at an early date, and standing near the present cemetery gates, as one authority has it, or included within the outer limits of the fair ground, according to the evidence ofanother. While the exact spot hallowed by its presence may not be exactly ascertainable, it is sufficient for present purposes that the building was there, and takes rank as the first regularly built schoolhouse in this section. Here Mrs. Richards, Miss Ann Partlow, Mr. John Dougherty and others held rule until the erection of other buildings in the village better adapted for the use intended.
The first school building to be erected in the present city was the one familiarly known as the “Belfry School,” which was put up in 1858 or 1859. The first “wielder of the birch” in this structure was a Mr. Glazier, followed by Major Frank. A few years after, the front portion of the present “High School” building was erected, which formed the entire school establishment until 1867, when the old Methodist Church was purchased, at a cost of $800, and used as a primary schoolhouse. In 1876 and 1877, other additions were made to the building by extending the high school building to double its original length and erecting a small frame structure, similar in size to the original primary building. And the buildings, as thus remodeled and added to, form the present school buildings of the district.
Boscobel town and city are included in one district, which also takes in a slice from the northern portion of the town of Marion. The amount raised annually for school purposes approximates $3,000. The school is graded into seven departments, namely, First, Second and Third Primary; First and Second Intermediate, Grammar grades and High School. The grades below the high school have each one teacher. The high school is under the immediate charge of the Principal, who has one assistant. The higher branch was established under the high school law of 1875, Prof. John Brindley being the first Principal. The first class graduated the following year, the graduating exercises being held in Ruka’s Hall, June 22, 1876. The class numbered eight, and the following programme was presented: Music. Prayer by Dr. Stoddart. Essay, “Sunshine and Shadow,” Laura B. Pepper. Essay, “Electricity,” Kate M. Sarles. Music. Essay, “Mental Culture,” Alice A. Simpkins. Oration, “The Men we Need,” Herbert L. Partridge. Essay, “Tears,” Alice Carrier. Music. Essay, “Past, Present and Future,” Lillian A. Limbocker. Essay, “Deeds not Words,” Jennie Chandler. Oration, “Young America,” Fred Carley. Music. Presentation of Diplomas. Benediction. The number of pupils in attendance in all departments was, a few years ago, as high 700, but, from various causes, this number has been greatly scaled down since that time. The schools are under the charge of a School Board consisting of three members, those at present serving in that capacity being T. J. Brooks, Director; G. W. Parker, Treasurer; T. Kronshage, Clerk. The graduating class for 1881 consisted of six, this being the third class which has been graduated since the organization of the High School Department.
The first official distributor of Uncle Sam’s mail matter known to Boscobel was Mr. James M. Dickerson, who was duly commissioned as Postmaster in 1855, the office being established at his store, then situated near the present site of N. B. Miller’s premises on Block 34. For the two years succeeding, Mr. Dickerson continued to act in this capacity. He was followed in 1857, by Mr. O. P. Knowlton. The latter was continued in the position of Postmaster during Buchanan’s administration. May 1, 1861, Mr. J. M. Dickerson was again commissioned as Postmaster, the office then being located in the building now used by F. G. Eisfelder. He continued to fill the office from this time until his death, in November, 1875, in a manner that gave universal satisfaction. After the decease of Mr. Dickerson, Mrs. Dickerson was continued as Postmistress, her commission bearing date from January, 1876. Early in 1880, the office passed into the hands of William E. De Lap, the present Postmaster, who was commissioned January 13 of that year.
The branch of governmental economy has, from the first, evinced a decidedly roving and unsettled propensity, that prevented it from remaining at rest any great period of time. Judging from the list of places enumerated, it must be as free from moss as the “rolling stone” of the old proverb. Prominent among the sites occupied, besides those already enumerated, were McSpaden’s block, Ruka’s building, the “Rock” building (now occupied by J. T. Shipley), not to mention several other less prominent places. In March, 1881, the office was removed to the commodious and comfortable room in Bobel’s block, where it is at present located.
The earliest record of a newspaper in Boscobel is in 1859. In December of that year, George W. Limbocher and A. J. Partridge established the Boscobel Democrat, as editors and proprietors. In politics, it advocated the principles of the party whose name it bore, although it was not “peculiarly a Democratic paper,” but as the publishers said in their introductory: “We do not believe in little country papers dabbling in politics. The citizens of Grant County want a good, local paper, and such it will be our aim to make the Democrat.” The prospectus of the Boscobel Democrat contained the following: “Five years ago, the place where Boscobel now stands, was but little better than a howling wilderness. At that time, there were but three houses within a circuit of three miles. The bear and deer ranged free. Now we have a number of taverns, stores and artisan shops of nearly every trade, which go to make up a prosperous and thriving village.” The paper had a hard time of it until May, 1860, when it was announced that it would be suspended temporarily, and resume publication at Lancaster. The proprietors changed their minds, however, and disposed of the materials in the office to Messrs. J. P. Hubbard and S. P. Dempsey who established the Boscobel Express. The Express was a six-column paper, Republican in politics. Adversity followed this enterprise, and within a year and one month, Mr. Hubbard retired from the concern, Mr. Horace Norton succeeding, the firm name then becoming Norton & Dempsey. In the issue of the Express for December 26, 1861, an announcement appeared that Mr. Dempsey had retired and Mr. Norton would continue the paper. The last number of the Boscobel Express was published January 2, 1862. December 18, 1862, appeared the National Broad Axe, by L. R. Train, a seven-column folio, Republican in politics and bearing as its platform “The Star Spangled Banner.” Conforming himself to the feeling of the times, the editor of the Broad Axe in his first issue said: “The Broad Axe will be a champion of law and order. The law of the hell-hounds of secession is FORCE, which breeds disorder.” This was issued as a specimen number, and from January 8, 1863, the paper was issued regularly. In the following April, Mr. L. M. Andrews became associated with the Broad Axe, and the firm name was Train & Andrews, which firm continued until March 10, 1864, when N. B. Moody purchased Andrews’ interest. August 10, 1864, Mr. Train retired from the paper and Mr. Moody assumed sole control of the same. On the 24th day of the same month, Mr. Moody enlisted, and, on leaving for the front, left the paper with S. S. Train, who attended to the business until December 21, 1865, when he became sole proprietor. From a lack of support, the Broad Axe closed its existence May 31, 1866.
Boscobel Argus. – Mr. C. Lahman commenced the publication of the Argus February 24, 1863. The sheet was a seven-column folio, Democratic in politics. The paper had a precarious career of about nine months, when like many others, it had to succumb to the inevitable. The Appeal was first published January 1, 1867, W. H. Bennett editor and proprietor. First started as a six-column folio, Republican in politics, and enlarged to seven columns January 29, 1868, with “patent insides.” On October 24, 1868, Mr. Bennett retired from the Appeal, being succeeded by the Appeal Printing Company. In February, 1868, the name of the paper was changed to the Boscobel Journal, the Journal Printing Company publishers, and W. H. H. Beadle as editor. Beadle withdrew April 24, 1869, and was succeeded by Mr. T. W. Bishop, December 14, 1869, who continued the publication of the Journal until August, 1870, when the material of the office was purchased by R. B. Rice and T. W. Bishop and removed to Lancaster. Upon the suspension of the Journal, Boscobel was left without a newspaper until December 25, 1872, when the Boscobel Dial was issued by Messrs. Walworth & Son, C. B. Walworth, publisher. The Dial was a seven-column folio, Republican in politics, published on the auxiliary plan. Walworth & Son continued the Dial until January 2, 1874, when Mr. C. Burton purchased the business and carried it on until September 10, 1875, when it passed into the hands of the present proprietor Capt. H. D. Farguharson. The Dial was enlarged to an eight-column folio, December 24, 1875.
Congregational Church. – This church was organized August 2, 1857, in the old Milwaukee & Mississippi depot, through the efforts of Rev. A. A. Overton. The following persons were united by letter in its organization: Moses Rice, John Tyler, A. D. Allen, William Beals, Clarisa P. Rice, Myra A. Rice, Lucy M. Rice, Marcia Carley and Betsey Kellogg. At this meeting, Moses Rice was appointed as a delegate to the Congregational Convention of the State. The earlier meetings of the congregation were held at the depot. The church grew stronger with years, and August 5, 1860, notice having been previously given according to the statute of the State, the church met and elected the following persons as Trustees: Hezekiah Kellogg, for the term of three years; Job Leffley, for two years, and James Lucas for one year. The gentlemen forming the first Board of Trustees for the young society.
Up to the middle of the year 1863, the congregation were without a church home. With this fact in view, their Pastor, the Rev. Mr. Overton, assisted by some of the members, proceeded with the work of soliciting subscriptions for the purpose of erecting a house of worship. So far, and with such success had their labors progressed, that by 1863, enough was in hand to warrant a commencement. The lots on which the church was afterward erected were donated to the society by Mr. John Mortimer. The church – the same with some enlargements is still standing – was first opened for public worship July 12, 1863, the sermon on this day being delivered by the Rev. D. Cleary, of Beloit. The new edifice was not dedicated until in January, 1864, when the dedicatory sermon was by the Rev. Mr. Taylor, of Madison. From the founding of the church until this time, Rev. Mr. Overton had ministered to the spiritual wants of the congregation, devoting one-half of his time to Boscobel, and the remaining portion to Avoca. Mr. Overton was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Melvin. This Pastor was the first engaged exclusively by the church, whose growing needs demanded the whole time of a Pastor. Mr. Melvin remained one year, when he was succeeded by Rev. B. King, who took up his labors with the church in 1864, and continued as Pastor until 1866. For the year succeeding his departure, the congregation was without a spiritual guide. In 1867, the deficiency was supplied, and Rev. William Stoddart, Sr., commenced his labors with the congregation in the relation of Pastor, a connection that remained unbroken during thirteen years.
The church, as originally built, was 40x32, but as years rolled on, it was found too small for the growing needs of the society, and in 1867 or 1868, was enlarged to its present size, 60x32, twenty-five feet having been added to the rear. In July, 1879, during the prevalence of a heavy thunder shower, the church was struck by lightning, and damaged to the extent of about $200. The repairing of the damages inflicted caused an interval of nearly six months to intervene ere regular church services could again be holden in the building. Dr. Stoddart severed his connection as Pastor of the congregation in 1880. The same year, Rev. E. C. Steckel received an invitation to assume Pastoral charge of the church, which invitation was accepted, and his labors have continued up the present date.
At different times in the history of the church, a burden of debt has seemed to paralyze for a time the energies of all, but these incumbrances have been successfully and successively removed, and to-day, the church stands free from all debt. In connection with the church, there is a flourishing Sunday school of over two hundred scholars, divided into twenty-three classes. The school has a membership in the Home Missionary Society, and enjoys the enviable pleasure of being out of debt and having money in the treasury.
The present value of the church property is $2,000. The officiary being as follows: Deacons, J. R. Muffley and J. B. Ricks; Clerk and Treasurer, Mrs. L. G. Armstrong; Pastor, E. C. Steckel. The total number of members received into the church since its organization is 202, of which eighteen have passed over the shining river to the world beyond, and fifty-seven have been letters to other churches, leaving a present membership of about one hundred and twenty active members.
Methodist Episcopal Church. – Early in the year 1855, the few members of this faith then residing in Boscobel or contiguous sections gathered together at the residence of Mr. James M. Dickerson, where they listened to the principles of Christianity as they were inculcated by the Rev. Mr. Buck, the minister who at that time included Boscobel in his circuit. The following year, the little class held their meetings in the depot. Upon the organization of the Congregational congregation in 1857, the two societies used the depot on alternate Sundays. In the meantime, the Rev. Mr. McMullen had succeeded Mr. Buck. During the pastorate of Rev. Mr. Irish, a year later, the Methodist society held services in the old log schoolhouse, standing near the present cemetery. Rev. C. Cook followed Mr. Irish as Pastor of the young church, preaching a few times in the old schoolhouse, when the church building in process of erection was completed, and the society was no longer homeless. This was in 1861. Among the earlier members of the church were Mrs. Susan Dickerson, who was prominently connected with the church from its organization until the time of her death; A. Ransom, Eliza Ransom, George Hall and Mrs. Hall, “Father” Irish and Mrs. Irish.
The house of worship was used for the six years next succeeding, when the necessity of a larger church was forced prominently upon the minds of the members, and steps were accordingly taken to erect a structure in accordance with the needs of the society. A church edifice, 30x60, was erected during 1867, at a cost of about $3,000. Of this amount some $1,000 was raised by subscription, while the old church building was sold to the city for school purposes, the consideration being $800. Other sources furnished additional sums, so that upon the dedication of the structure, the debt had been scaled down to $350. In the meantime, Rev. Mr. Cook had been succeeded by other Pastors – Rev. Z. S. Hurd being the Pastor at the time the new church was completed, and remained in charge one year. The church records are sadly lacking in statistical matter, there being an entire absence of anything in the shape of records for several years, but the following list of Pastors is in the main correct from Mr. Hurd’s pastorate, following whom came Rev. Mr. Buck for eighteen months; Rev. Mr. Cooley, several months; Rev. C. P. Hackney, three years; W. W Wheaton, one year; George W. Nuzam, two years; George Haigh, who remained a few months; John Allison, one year and eight months; and the present Pastor, who has been in charge one year.
During its existence, the church has suffered much from removals of members, but at present has a membership of sixty, is free from debt and in a prosperous condition. Connected with the church work is a flourishing Sunday school, numbering sixty scholars. The present church officiary is as follows: Pastor, T. M. Evans; Trustees, Joel Cramer, G. A. Christ, H. Hummel and M. D. Tillotson. The estimated value of the church property is $2,000.
Baptist Church. – The organization of this church was effected in 1869, with a membership of seven as follows: J. Flint, Alethed Flint, Deacon, and Mrs. Bailey, Lewis Cobb, Mrs. Carpenter and Clara Jones. During the succeeding year, a protracted meeting held in Pittman’s Hall, by Elder Phillips, added quite a number to the young organization. Soon after, Rev. Mr. Prouty was invited to the pastorate, and commenced his labors. During Rev. Prouty’s pastorate, the church still standing on Mary street was built at a cost of about $1,500. Of this amount, $500 had been contributed by the Missionary Society located in New York, and an equal amount had been raised by subscription. A debt of about $500 was therefore left hanging over the congregation, which continued clinging to the organization. Rev. Prouty’s pastorate extended over a period of seven years. Upon his departure, the Missionary Society of Chicago sent out Rev. Mr. Rermott to take charge of the little flock. This gentleman remained about a year and a half, during which period, by strenuous exertions, the incumbrances on the church property were lifted, and the congregation stood forth free from debt. At present, the church is without a Pastor. The membership is in the neighborhood of forty, the present Trustees being O. A. Rice, Frank Davidson and L. J. Woolley. From its organization, the church has kept up with punctual regularity its weekly prayer-meetings and covenant meetings once a month. A flourishing Sunday school furnishes a means of inculcating Christian doctrines to the younger members of the church, and testifies to the interest taken in church matters by old and young alike.
Lutheran Church.–Through the efforts of Rev. E. Wachtel and other prominent members of the Lutheran faith in Boscobel, the Lutheran congregation was organized February 23, 1867. The original members were as follows: Leo Anschutz, John Ruka, Louis Ruka, G. Guentzel, Phillip Hirchmann, John C. Kruel, George A. Kruel, Adam Kruel, John Sanger, Fritz Scheinpfluge, John Martin, John Boldt and William Seaman. The first officers of the society were: President, J. C. Kruel; Secretary, Leo Anschutz; Treasurer, G. Guentzel. Phillip Hirchmann was elected Elder. Steps were immediately taken for the erection of a house of worship, and a building 24x40 feet, standing on the corner of Mary and Church streets, was soon after completed at a cost of $1,300. One lot of the ground occupied by the church property was donated to the society by Dwight T. Parker, Sr., the remaining lot was afterward purchased of Mrs. Dwight T. Parker. A parsonage was also erected at a cost of $1,500; and, in 1880, a small school building was added at a cost of $250, making the value of the church property at present about $3,000. Rev. Wachtel remained as Pastor only a few months, and was succeeded later by Rev. John List, whose pastorate extended over the succeeding four years. Rev. Hirchmann took charge of the congregation upon the retirement of Rev. List and remained one year, when he was followed by Rev. Helbig, who began his work with this congregation in 1874, continuing six years, endearing himself to the church, and doing a good work for the Master. His successor was the Rev. Muchmann, who still continues to serve in the pastoral office. The present officiary of the church is: Pastor, Rev. Muchmann; Trustees, G. Guentzel, John Boldt, Ed Weideranders. The membership is 126.
Catholic Church. – The first meetings of this society were held in an old log cabin situated just north of the railroad. From this time on, services were held at various houses until 1872, when the church now standing was erected. The cost of this building was to be in the neighborhood of $2,300, had the original plans been carried out. The church, however, was never completed as originally provided. The lots on which the building stands were obtained from the late deceased Hon. J. Allen Barber. The first Pastor to officiate in the new church was Rev. Father Cleary, who remained in charge of the church for a short time. His successors have been Rev. Fathers McMahon, Steele, and the present Pastor, Father Schroudenbach. The exact dates of the arrivals and departures of the different Pastors is non-obtainable, owing to a deficiency in the records. Owing to general financial difficulties, the organization has been seriously handicapped in their work, but it is hoped that the future will be brighter than the past.
The first institution having for its avowed object the sustenance of the inner man was opened by one Curtis, in the year 1856. The site of this first hotel was the second story of a warehouse building put up by Florence Liscum that year. The lower floor was meant for ordinary warehouse purposes. This for the time being was the only “hotel” of which the new settlement could boast, and continued to furnish food to the hungry and rest to the weary traveler for some six months, when “mine host” Curtis retired to the walks of private life. Succeeding this crude attempt came the Barnett House in the latter part of 1856, where, under the regime of “Andy” Barnett, most genial of landlords, the stranger was taken in and cared for in a manner that soon raised the reputation of this caravansary to the highest rounds of the ladder of famous county inns. In April, 1858, this house caught fire, and, despite all exertions, burned to the ground. For the time being, the Philbrick House, occupying the building still standing on the corner of Wisconsin avenue and La Belle street, and kept by a widow lady of the above name, caught the diverted channel of boarders and guests who had formerly made the “Barnett” their headquarters, and did a thriving business until the completion of the new building, erected upon the ruins of the burned hotel. The new structure was somewhat enlarged in size, and was opened again in 1859 by Mr. Barnett & Son, the latter selling out to Mr. John Pepper. They disposed of it, after a short time to other parties, the business finally falling into the hands of Mr. James Barnett, under whose regime the “Barnett” acquired a reputation that was State rather than local. After Mr. Barnett’s retirement, the caravansary passed through different hands until it finally came under the supervision of Mr. Carrier, by whom the building was raised and one story added underneath, the name at the same time being changed to the “Carrier House,” by which appellation it was known for many years. The house is at present in the hands of Mrs. J. A. Betts, and ranks among the first of Boscobel’s hotels.
Prominent among the hotels of a later date, is the Central, which was erected in 1873 by Mr. A. Bobel, and opened the same year by Mr. James Barnett, who continued as landlord for the succeeding five years, when Mr. Bobel himself took the house, and ran it until January 7, 1881, when it was destroyed by fire, the interior being completely gutted, only the huge stone walls having been left standing. With an energy deserving of the highest commendation, Mr. Bobel immediately set to work clearing away the debris preparatory to rebuilding. The new Central was completed by spring, and re-opened after being refurnished and refitted in the most approved style. The house is under the charge of Mr. Bobel himself, and takes a high rank among the hotels of Southwestern Wisconsin.
Among the other hotels to which Boscobel has at various times fallen heir is the Boscobel House, on the corner of Wisconsin avenue and Bluff street, which was erected in 1857 by Hall Brothers. Its immediate predecessor was a building in process of erection for tavern purposes, the material being a compressed brick made of lime and sand, of which the patentees expected great things. But the floods descended and the winds blew and beat upon that house, the result being that the structure was soon progressing in a thick, mortary stream down the street, carrying with it the air castles of the founders. The Boscobel House still remains standing and in use as a hotel, being at present under the proprietorship of J. Crowley.
The Muffly House, on Oak street, was erected during the war period, or rather, started then and constructed piecemeal by future owners. It came into the hands of the present owner in 1873, by whom the name was changed as above.
The City Hotel, kept by D. Lennahan west of the depot, is a farmers’ hotel of moderate capacity, that does a thriving business in its particular line.
The Catlin House, standing near the present City Hall bullding, was, during the war period, a prominent candidate for public favor, but disappeared in smoke during 1868, and was not again rebuilt. Other and smaller houses of entertainment there may have been, but the comparatively unimportant part they played in the development of the city has not marked them for special notice.
The first lodge of Masons to be organized in Boscobel, was Beautiful Grove Lodge, No. 101, which was instituted during the year. The first workings of the lodge was under a dispensation, the charter not being granted until some time after. This early organization included such names as those of Messrs. Palmer, Grey, Wayne, Hartshorn, Stephenson, Mortimer Limbocker, R. J. Hildebrand and others, whose names have escaped the memories of those still present as residents of the city. Owing to internal difficulties, the lodge charter was surrendered December 23, 1863. The meetings had been held over the store of Fetle Meyer & Co., occupying the building now used by Sawyer & Favor’s drug store. The Masters of the lodge so far as can be recalled, were Mr. John Mortimer, George Hall, Jehial Stephenson, George Hartshorn.
For the three years succeeding the suspension of operations by the Beautiful Grove Lodge, Masonry at Boscobel was at a stand still. Late in the year 1866, endeavors were made to organize a second lodge, the prime mover in the work being Charles F. Kimball, through whose exertions and those of others, a dispensation was granted, and a lodge gotten in running order early in the spring following. The lodge charter was not received until June 11, 1867, the charter members being C. F. Kimball, G. W. Cowan, L. G. Armstrong, M. A. Sawyer, Charles McWilliams, M. B. Pittman, Joel Cramer, J. M. Calloway, P. S. Dusenbery, Lewis Kimball, Jr., and Theodore Kirkpatrick. Of this list, Mr. C. F. Kimball is now a resident of Pontiac, Mich.; Messrs. Cowan, Armstrong, Sawyer, McWilliams, Pittman and Cramer are residents of Boscobel; J. M. Calloway is located at Millet, Wis., and the abiding place of Messrs. Dusenbery, Lewis, Kimball and Kirckpatrick is unknown. The name of this lodge was Grant Lodge, No. 169, the name being taken from the county cognomen. The first meetings were held in rooms over Knowlton & McLaughlin’s store. In the fall of 1867, Mr. McSpaden built the block still standing near the Betts House, and the lodge secured rooms in the third story of this building. Here they remained for some years, when a desire was expressed on the part of a majority of the members to coalesce with the Odd Fellows Lodge, and jointly occupy one lodge-room. This was done, and for five years, the lodge meetings were held over Shieipfluge’s store, at the end of this time, it was decided to return to their former hall in the McSpaden Block, where they at present occupy a fine suite of rooms on the third floor.
The first lodge officers were W. M., C. F. Kimball; S. W., G. W. Cowan; J. W., L. G. Armstrong. The list of Masters from that time to the present contains the names of Cowan, Armstrong, Limbocher, Rice, Hubbell, Adams and Willoughby. The membership at present is sixty-two, with the following list of officers: W. M., S. R. Willoughby; S. W., W. E. De Lap; J. W., J. D. Wilson; Treas., M. A. Sawyer; Sec., T. N. Hubbell; S. D., F. C. Muffley; J. D., H. W.; Tiler, A. Alden.
Royal Arch Masons. – Boscobel Chapter No. 52, was instituted March 3, 1877, and the first regular meeting held March 13. The charter members were S. J. Brooks, F. B. Burdick, Charles McWilliams, D. C. Perigo, W. E. Gates, A. J. McCarn, S. C. McDonald, V. Millet and G. W. Nuzam. The first officers elected were H. P., S. J. Brooks; K., T. B. Burdick; S., C. McWilliams. The present membership of the chapter is thirty-six, meetings being held the second and fourth Fridays of each month in the Masonic Hall. The officers are P., M. A. Sawyer; K., D. C. Perigo; S., G. W. Parker.
Knights Templar, Commandery No. 15. – The dispensation for this order was granted February 7, 1880, to S. J. Brooks, L. F. S. Viele, Thomas McWilliams, L. G. Armstrong, M. A. Sawyer, S. R. Willoughby, J. C. Richardson, William McWilliams, M. B. Pittman, S. C. McDonald, N. L. James, O. P. Underwood, H. E. Lindsay and J. Pugh. The Commandery was instituted by John W. Woodhull , Grand Commander, assisted by the Grand Commandery of Wisconsin, November 10, 1880, under charter dated October 21, 1880. The first list of officers was as follows; T. J. Brooks, E. C.; L. F. S. Viele. Gen.; Thomas McWilliams, C. G.; William McWilliams, Prelate; M. A. Sawyer, S. W.; Sr. R. Willoughby, J. W.; C. McWilliams, Rec.; W. E. De Lap, Treas.; J. C. Richardson, Std. B.; L. G. Armstrong, Sd. B.; M. B. Pittman, Warder; J. H. Clark, Jr., Sent.; Guards, Ed Meyer, G. W. Parker, O. P. Underwood. The same list of officers obtained under the dispensation. The Commandery then numbering twenty members attended the Grand Triennial Conclave held at Chicago in August, 1880. This is the only Commandery with the confines of the county, and, in fact, with the exception of the Commandery established at Mineral Point, the only one within the southwestern portion of the State. The limits of the territory over which the Commandery wields authority in its particular sphere is defined by a mean line between Boscobel and La Crosse, Madison and Mineral Point on the north, east and south, while on the west it is bounded by the Mississippi River. The present membership is thirty-five. Regular meetings being held on the first and third Fridays of each month at the Masonic Hall.
Council. – Boscobel Council, No. 51, was organized February 24, 1881. It has a present membership of thirty, with the following officers; M. A. Sawyer, T. J. M.; D. C. Perigo, D. M.; George W. Parker, P. C. W.
The number of thirty-second degree members is six, as follows: T. J. Brooks, Thomas McWilliams, L. F. S. Viele, C. S. Williams, M. B. Pittman, William McWilliams. To this list many other names are shortly to be added.
I. O. O. F.
Beautiful Grove Lodge, No. 122. – This lodge was instituted February 26, 1867, as the result of the direct efforts of H. W. Favor and George P. Smith. Grand Master C. C. Cheney, of Janesville, assisted by members from the Mississippi Valley Lodge, No. 86, of Lancaster, assisted at the christening ceremonies of this new addition to the great family of Odd Fellowship. The charter members were as follows: William Northey, Philip Kelts, James Kelts, John Pepper and George P. Smith. H. W. Favor was debarred the pleasure of being enrolled as one of the charter members, owing to non-arrival of his card from the New Hampshire Lodge to which he had formerly belonged. The first officers elected were N. G. Philip Kelts; V. C., G. P. Smith; R. S., Jacob McLaughlin; Treasurer, John Pepper; W., H. W. Favor; Conductor, G. C. Hazelton; I. G., R. E. Kimball.
Beautiful Grove Lodge grew and flourished apace, and in time became the fountain-head of many lodges instituted in different parts of the country. Lincoln Lodge, No. 176, of Mount Hope; Bloomington Lodge, No. 159, of Bloomington; Harmonia Lodge, of Boscobel, now merged again into the parent lodge, and Richwood Lodge, of Richwood, were each and all instituted by members of Beautiful Grove Lodge, bearing cards from the same.
The number of members admitted since the organization is 167. Of this membership ten have been removed by death, eighty-five have withdrawn by card or been dropped, while seventy-two still remain to continue the good work inculcated by the teachings of the lodge.
The different degrees have received the following recognition: Initiatory degree, eight; Degree of Friendship, twelve; Brotherly Love, seven; Degree of Truth, twenty-three; number of Past Grands, twenty-two. The lodge at present is in a flourishing condition with a surplus of $525 in the treasury.
The officers for the term ending June 30, 1881, are N. G., George W. Kendall; V. G., J. W. Fritz; Secretary, Nels Ellenson; Treasurer, H. W. Favor; W., Jacob Christ; Conductor, Frank A. Rowe; I. G., Philip Kelts, O. G., L. M. Wells; District Deputy G. M., H. W. Favor. Trustees, Andrew Olsen, Philip Kelts, John Pepper. The regular night of meeting is Tuesday of each week, the hall of the society being situated in Walker’s Block opposite the Betts House.
A. O. U. W.
Charity Lodge, No. 9 – Instituted May 11, 1877, by J. I. M. Chrissinger, Deputy G. M., of Wisconsin, assisted by William Stoddart, Jr., of Anamosa, Iowa. The charter members were L. G. Armstrong, H. W. Favor, L. P. Lesler, J. D. Wilson, R. J. Arthur, R. C. Stephens, Henry Walter, J. P. Miller, B. Kronshage, T. M. Crinklaw, A. G. Meyer, S. D. Curry, H. R. Flory, William Wagner, John Pepper and A. T. Phillips. The first officers were H. W. Favor, P. M. W.; J. D. Wilson, M. W.; S. D. Curry, G. F.; T. M. Crinklaw, O.; A. G. Meyer, G.; H. Walter, Recorder; B. Kronshage, Financier; M. A. Sawyer, Receiver; William Wagner, I. W.; H. R. Flory, O. W. Trustees, J. P. Miller, L. G. Armstrong, L. P. Lesler. First Lodge Deputy, H. W. Favor. The lodge has, since its beginning, received forty- one members, of these six have withdrawn, leaving a present membership of thirty-five. The officers for the term ending June 30, are as follows: Trustees, H. R. Flory, W. J. F. Nanert, M. Ableiter; P. M. W., W. J. F. Nanert; M. W., Anton Rieren; G. F., S. Anderson; O. S. D. Curry; G., A. Case; Recorder, H. W. Favor; Financier, R. J. Arthur; Receiver, T. N. Hubbell; I. W., H. R. Flory; O. W., G. Guentzel; Lodge Deputy, H. W. Favor.
Temple of Honor. – The present lodge of this order was instituted February 16, 1877, by R. B. Rice, Deputy G. C. T. The charter members were J. H. Sarles, O. E. Miller, Dwight F. Parker, Jr., C. Barnett, William Muffley, B. S. Burdick, Henry Walter, Frank Parker, Peter Miller, S. R. Willoughby, Rev. George Nuzam, Alex Provis, H. D. Farquharson, D. G. Bliss, C. Cook, F. Rowe, C. J. Dickerson, A. Nixon, H. W. Hubbell, D. O. Pickard, George Rice, M. E. Rice, A. N. Cook, James Bailey, William Parnell and J. E. Duncan. Following the organization, the following officers were elected: W. C. T., J. H. Sarles; V. T., O. E. Miller; R. S., D. T. Parker, Jr.; Assistant Recorder, C. Barnett; Financial Recorder, B. B. Surdick; Usher, Henry Watter; Deputy Usher, Frank Parker; W. G., P. Miller; W. S., S. R. Willoughby; P. C. T., George Nuzam; Temple Deputy, Alex Provis. The total number of members received within the lodge since its organization has been 150. The lodge, although it has suffered somewhat in time past from various causes, is at present in a prosperous condition. The list of officers now serving is W. C. T., V. J. Kratochwill; W. V. T., F. Stephens; Worthy Recorder, C. R. Garrett; Worthy Assistant Recorder, J. Benoy; Treasurer, A. Dexter; Chaplain, F. M. Evans; Usher, George Sanger; Deputy Usher, M. E. Crouch; W. G., H. Hummel; W. S., F. Reiger; Temple Deputy, R. C. Stephens. The lodge holds regular weekly meetings in their hall, corner of Wisconsin avenue and Bluff street.
Independent Order of Good Templars. – Forest City Lodge, 303, was instituted February 10, 1875, with thirty-seven charter members, by Hon. James Ross, of Madison, Wis. The officers first chosen were, W. C. T., Henry Reynolds; V. T., Mrs. J. P. Willis; Rec. Sec., J. L. Stuart; Asst. Sec., Mamie Rice; Fin. Sec., Frank Fish; Treas., Debbie Sarles; M., Arthur Hixon; Asst. M., Mattie Barnett; I. G., Kate Sarles; O. G., Abner Clark; Lodge Deputy, Andrew McFall.
The lodge has received over two hundred members since its organization, but the present list of active members is much below this number, owing to withdrawals and the violation of the pledge by some of the members. The lodge at the present time is out of debt and in a prosperous condition. The officiary is as follows: W. C. T., R. C. Stephens; W. V. T., Debbie Sarles; Chaplain, Mrs. Wadsworth; Sec., Rev. T. M. Evans; Fin. Sec., G. A. Christ; Treasurer, Mrs. R. C. Stephens; Marshal, T. D. Wadsworth; Asst. Marshal, Jennie Chandler; I. G., Mamie Davy; O. C., Pearl Devoe; Lodge Deputy, Kate M. Curry.
December 31, 1875, the Boscobel Juvenile Temple was instituted under the auspices of the Good Templar Lodge, Lillie Robinson, G. W. J. S., officiating at the initiatory services. This band of young Templars has continued up to the present time. Its condition is as flourishing as its most earnest supporters could wish, and is doing a good work in inculcating, at an early age, the principles of soberness and temperance upon the little folks of the city.
Other societies were organized for the benefit of the javenile portion of the population, some even bearing date previous to those already mentioned. The first of these, called the Band of Hope, was organized, April 24, 1866, with Rev. M. Morehouse as Superintendent; Mrs. M. M. Jones, Assistant Superintendent, and Miss Emma Smith, Secretary; and had a membership of over one hundred. Another society, called the “Gem Temperance Army,” was organized December, 1872, with twenty-two charter members, but was afterward merged into a second Band of Hope, and as such continued for a time. Ribbon Lodges have also seen a fleeting life, but the principal and effective organizations are as above.
To the southeast of the city, occupying a slightly position on a spur of the bluffs surrounding it, and the white shafts standing forth in harmonious contrast to the green slopes above and beyond lies the final resting-place of those who have passed over in hope.
The northern portion of this burial plot was purchased in the fall of 1856, from Mr. Joshua Brindley, who is now numbered among its quiet residents. This original tract comprised five acres, the price paid being $50. It was platted the following spring into lots 20x22 feet. An additional tract of four acres just adjoining it on the south was secured, the compensation being $00. This, too, was platted, and made ready for sale.
The original purchase had been made by the Town Board of Marion, and upon the separation of the two towns, in 1859, the cemetery was transferred to the Town Board of Boscobel, with whom all control is at present, and has been from the first, vested. The amounts received for the sale of lots is employed in the improvement and beautifying of the cemetery, although the small amount received prohibits any extensive work in this direction. Beautifully situated, it needs but little of man’s art to add to its natural gifts. Calm and quiet, it stands with kindly arms silently guarding the precious clay intrusted to the cool and sheltering beds within its gates.
BOSCOBEL AGRICULTURAL AND DRIVING ASSOCIATION.
This association, whose fine annual exhibitions reflect upon the stockholders primarily, and incidentally upon the city, was organized in 1874. In May of that year, a meeting was held to take into consideration the advisability of forming an association of this nature, ending in Messrs. John Pepper, G. F. Hilderbrand and Ed Meyer being appointed as a committee to solicit subscriptions to stock.
June 17, a second meeting was held, when the committee made a report, the result being so satisfactory that it was decided to go on with the movement, and, as a first stop, those present formally organized as a society and elected the following officers: President, B. M. Coates; Vice President, George C. Hazleton; Secretary, T. J. Brooks; Treasurer, John Pepper. An Executive Committee was appointed, consisting of Ed Meyer, G. F. Hilderbrand and Charles McWilliams, with the President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer as ex officio members. The articles of incorporation were not adopted until August 26, the incorporators being B. M. Coates, George C. Hazelton, F. J. Brooks, John Pepper, Ed Meyer, C. McWilliams, M. B. Pitman, J. H. Sarles, H. Dunkleff, G. F. Hilderbrand, J. N. Comstock, John Buka, A. Bobel, N. P. Miller, Henry Bugbee.
In the meantime, the association had purchased a tract of land just south of the city, containing thirty-six acres, and known as the Powell estate. Around this they erect a high board fence, and commenced the work of preparing a track, erection of suitable buildings, etc. The track, when finished, was pronounced the best half-mile track in the State by competent judges, and horsemen generally have indorsed this opinion. The first fair under the auspices of the association was held October 7-9 of the same year, and was an immense success, giving the society a good “send-off” from the first. This tidal wave of prosperity has continued, with slight drawbacks, up to the present, placing the society upon a foundation most enviable as far as regards stability and sound financial footing. No organization of this kind in the State has been so liberal in premiums and inducements for exhibitors, the consequence being that each class is always well filled, while the races attract some of the best trotting stock in the country. The present officers of the association are – President, George F. Hilderbrand; Vice President, Thomas Tormey; Secretary, T. J. Brooks; Treasurer, Theodore Kronshage; Executive Committee, George F. Hilderbrand, Thomas Tormey, Theodore Kronshage, T. J. Brooks, Ed Meyer, Jacob Scott, Myron Whitcomb. During 1880, the society disposed of eight acres of land lying on the south side of their original purchase, the buyer being Mr. A. Bobel, and the consideration $400. This leaves them with twenty-eight acres lying contiguous to the city, easy of access by pedestrians as well as others, and in such shape as to be best adapted for the needs and designs of the association.
BOSCOBEL LIGHT GUARD BAND.
This organization came into existence May 7, 1879. Previous to this time, other bands had been organized, breathed their brief existence, and then succumbed to disintegrating influences. The present organization numbers twelve members, and has a musical reputation which many older societies might envy. In September, 1880, a tasty and beautiful uniform was procured by the band, which adds much to their appearance when on the street. This expense was met without trouble, as have all other expenses. The society is now, as it has been from the first, in an extremely prosperous condition.
Boscobel Hoop Pole Company. – This company was organized in 1872, and included the firms of Hilderbrand & Co, Meyer Brothers and M. B. Pittman. The principal articles manufactured by the firm are tight-barrel staves and hoops, although the dealings of the firm extends to hoop poles, railroad ties and cordwood. The business of the firm is quite extensive, furnishing employment for twenty-five men. The number of hoop-poles received averages 2,500,000 annually, while the railroad ties number 75,000. Tight-barrel staves are manufactured at the rate of 200,000 per year, the most improved machinery being used in the works of the company. The business of the company is under the charge of William Rose, who has occupied the position of Superintendent since the commencement of business in 1872.
Carriage and Wagon Manufactory. – These extensive works, operated by Ruka Brothers, were opened in the year 1879. In connection with the business is a foundry and machine shop. The firm manufactures everything in the shape of wheeled vihicles, from a hand-barrow to a fine carriage. The establishment occupies the services of from thirteen to seventeen hands, and the works are under the immediate superintendence of Mr. John Ruka. The manufactory proper occupies a building 130x60 feet in extent, two stories high, and work has already commenced on a large warehouse for finished work that will be completed during the summer, and will cover a ground area 60x60 feet, and will be 24 feet in height. New and improved machinery has been lately introduced for bending woodwork, which is profitable employed not only in material designed for the firm, but outside parties as well. The different rooms are as follows: Foundry, 40x28; blacksmith shop, 40x50; wagon shop, 22x50; paint room, 22x50; machine room 40x50. In addition are two dry-houses, one 28x40, and the other 40x50. A ready market is found for the manufactures of the firm, the annual production averaging about two hundred wheeled vehicles, beside other smaller productions. The business is on the increase, and bids fair to soon become one of the largest establishments of the kind in Western Wisconsin.
Stave Factory. – This factory, established by Mr. William McWilliams in 1877, is situated just across the river from the city. The factory proper was a two-story building, 46x24 in size, with an engine room adjoining 12x40 feet.
In January, 1879, the factory was destroyed by fire, supposed to be the work of an incendiary. The loss estimated at $5,100, on which was an insurance of $3,270. With characteristic energy, the proprietor commenced clearing away the debris, preparatory to rebuilding, ere the ruins had ceased smoking. In six weeks the buildings were again up, and work again resumed. The Dial, speaking of this establishment at this time, says, speaking of the new and improved machinery in use: “The heading saw is a Trevor machine, Law’s patent, capable of sawing twenty-one cords of bolts per day of ten hours. The stave machine is the improved Champion, manufactured by Gerlach & Co., Cleveland, and has a forty-six inch cut, with a capacity of eleven cords of bolts per day. The superiority of these saws consists in that the bolts do not have to be put through the steaming process. The boiler used is of forty-horse power, and the engine of twenty-horse power.”
Night and day gangs keep the mill in constant operation, thirty-two men and two teams being necessary for the operating of the factory. About 1,000,000 staves and headings were manufactured last year. A car is loaded daily from this factory. All kinds of tight-barrel cooperage are manufactured by Mr. McWilliams.
Comstock’s. – The first brick yard to be opened in Boscobel was started by Hiram Comstock, on the farm now owned by Mrs. Patrick Enright, on Sander’s Creek, as early as 1854. This yard was in operation until 1867. From eight to ten workmen found employment here during the season. The last year of Mr. Comstock’s proprietorship, about two hundred thousand brick were made in the yard. J. L. Taylor run the yard for the two years succeeding Mr. Comstock’s withdrawal, employing eight men, but was finally obliged to suspend operations, owing to a fall in the market and consequent lack of sales. The first brick house erected in Bascobel was built by Alvan Wood, from brick furnished by this yard. The house is still standing, as the residence of Mr. George Smith, Sr.
Bell’s. – During the year 1867, Mr. Bell operated a yard south of J. L. Taylor’s residence. During the year in which it was in operation, some three hundred thousand brick were manufactured, but becoming involved in financial difficulties, the proprietor was obliged to discontinue work.
Taylor’s. – Orton Taylor started a brick yard in 1874, on land now owned by J. B. Ricks, which closed its work after a two years’ trial, during which some five hundred thousand brick were manufactured.
Ruka Bros. – The only yard now in operation is that of Messrs. Louis and John Ruka, situated just south of the city. This yard was opened in 1879, with a capacity of two hundred thousand brick annually. From year to year the yard has been enlarged and the force increased until now the product could be easily forced up to more than nominal amount, should the occasion require. The bed of clay in which they are working is found from eighteen to thirty inches under the surface, but rather shallow, there being according to best estimates a fear that a few years longer will cause it to disappear altogether in this particular locality. Yet there is no danger of scarcity of raw material as a clayey range is said to extend around the bench of land south of the city.
Thompson Bros. – The elevator now used by this firm was originally built by Asa Rae, about the year 1858, for a mill and chair factory. It was purchased by the present proprietors in 1869, and has since been operated by them. The building is 30x50 feet, thirty in height with a capacity of 10,000 bushels.
Parker, Hilderbrand & Co. – This elevator was built in 1863, by D. T. Parker, Sr., and two years later passed into the hands of the above firm, by whom it has been run since that time. The elevator proper is a building 34x46, and has a capacity of 10,000 bushels, the power for elevating purposes being furnished by a six-horse power engine.
Meyer Bros. – The building now used by this firm was built by Fette, Meyer & Co, about 1856, is 20x30 feet and twenty feet high, and has a copacity of about six thousand bushels. The power for operating this warehouse is furnished as is the case with the establishment of Thompson Bros., by horses.
Among the numerous industries to which Boscobel has fallen heir, one remains, the mention of which has a peculiar fascination to a vast majority of readers. The short monosyllabic word, “trout,” has a magic effect upon the representative of the male sex, be he young or old. Artificial breeding of trout has been among the most prominent of the latter industries now coming to the front, and the trout ponds of Mr. A. Palmer at this point are possessed of a reputation hardly bounded by State or sectional lines. Mr. Palmer is an ardent pisciculturist, having been engaged in the breeding of trout so early as 1864, when he started a trout pond on Sander’s Creek. This venture did not realize expectations, owing to a scarcity of water, and was soon after given up. In 1866, Mr. Palmer built his present pond on Crooked Creek, one mile south of the city. Here, with a constant supply of living water and the experience which each year adds to, he has brought to a successful and satisfactory issue what was at one time an interesting experiment, namely, the question as to the feasibility of raising these speckled beauties with profit. The pond was stocked at starting with three hundred breeding trout, from which the proprietor succeeded in raising about five thousand young trout the first year. This successful beginning has been followed by other moves equally successful. Mr. Palmer has turned in every spring from 10,000 to 20,000 fry, while his animal sales for food has averaged 2,000 pounds.
The usual hatch is about two hundred thousand trout in a season; of these, some are sold, and those remaining, which are not wanted to stock the pond, are put in different brooks. Eggs have been sold from this pond to almost every State and Territory in the Northwest, and in addition a large quantity have been sent to the Sandwich Islands. The largest shipment of eggs amounted to 50,000. Of this large number thus shipped, about ninety per cent are found to hatch out in good shape.
During the years in which Mr. Palmer has been engaged in pisciculture he has experimented with various other kinds of fish, including land-locked Atlantic and Pacific salmon, but found that the result was not commensurate to the time and trouble expended. About $5,000 has been expended upon the present pond, chiefly in experimental tests as to the best methods of raising this much-called-for representative of the finny tribe.
On the subject of trout-raising, Mr. Palmer gives his testimony that “the farmer can raise trout in proportion to the spring water he has, and can raise them cheaper than any other meat food, as a limited number of trout will live in pure water on the insects breeding in it.” In the meantime, the brooks and water-ways of Grant County have been stocked and re-stocked, much to the pleasure of the ardent disciples of Isaac Walton.
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