Reminiscences and Anecdotes of early Taylor County,
author: Arthur J. Latton
published: 1947 - pages 191-192
Unlike most of the villages along this part of
Wisconsin Central Line, Stetsonville was not named after a town near
Boston, but got it's name from one of it's enterprising citizens, Isiah
F. Stetson, who built and operated it's first sawmill in 1875. Since
then, CK Butrick, W Bender, Knute Olson, HA Liberty, CK Ellingson,
Albert LaBerge, Herman and Charles Zastrow and Damm Bro. have succeeded
him, and have continued to manufacture lumber here, but not always the
beautiful clear white pine of the seventies and the eighties. And
unlike most of the other towns of Taylor county which were settles by
native Irish, Germans, Scandinavians, Bohemians and various
nationalities, this community was first settled by the French who came
here almost as soon as the railroad came through in 1872. Peter Liberty
came here in 1873, followed soon after by Frank Liberty, Jos. Bile,
Dohnes, Jos, Wenzel, Frank Pessig, Fritsches, Roy, Walter and Wm.
Collins and Matt Hoff, who according to Charles Fahrenbach, crossed the
Atlantic in a sailing vessel and because of unfavorable winds, was on
the sea 13 months, nearly starved, and at one time had to eat snakes to
Mrs. Vincent Jakel, to whom I am indebted for many of these items of
early Stetsonville history, came here in 1873 with her mother, Mrs.
Teresa Marcott, and Eli and Oliver Marcott who took up the present Geo.
Rider farm one mile west. There were no roads so they came up from near
Dorchester on the railroad. She says that her mother was an invalid,
and a structure was made of poles, just wide enough to run on the
railroad, and the men folks put her on this rig, and drew her up to 63
as Stetsonville was then called. Here they put her on a sled and drew
her through the woods to the homestead.
She states that soon
after, she attended school in a small log building on the present
school site, taught by Elizabeth Tarberry. Other later teachers were
Miss Adkins, Ella McCoy, Ella Bremmer, Ella Coyne, Anna Storch, Emma
Beinker, Emma Storch, Alma Herrick and Victoria Logan.
also recalls that Emery Fountain took the forty right near town, and
for some time, Father Ritz of Medford, used to hold church service at
his home, before the new Catholic church was built in 1885.
Others who were here then or came soon after, she said, were Ed
Phillips, who later moved to Medford; B Moss, A Parsgor, Nels Marion,
Jos. Yell, C LaFever, Lawrence Barbeau, Tafil Nichols, Oliver Amberson,
Alex Olson, Abe Jarvis, and I Newton.
Peter Liberty was the first Postmaster.
Mrs. Jakel thinks that John Herbst had the first team of horses. He
went to Fond du Lac and traded a house and lot there for the team, and
drove them through. Before that, nearly every settler had an ox team.
Other new comers were John and Isaac Gay who later went to Medford and still later, moved on to Westboro.
Pfaff Bros. and Newton had a small saw mill east, and Louis Roy had one to the southeast.
Sacred Heart Parish was established in the early eighties, and was
attended by pastors from Medford, Marshfiels, Athens and Dorchester
until January 1908, Fr. Henry Lorenz became the first resident pastor.
He was succeeded by Rev. Andrew Lehnen in the spring of 1914, and then
by Rev. Patrick Degraa, Rev. Joseph Mueller, Rev. Charles Schwab, Rev.
Joseph Betz and Rev. Joseph Gleisner. In September 1931 Rev. Jos. A.
Seiboth became resident pastor.
Mrs. Chas. Pitzke has the
distinction of being the only woman to have been a candidate for
sheriff. While she did not win, she made a very creditable showing. She
was very strong, and at our county fair and at several others,
exhibited her prowess by actually throwing a bull. She recalls that
when they came to Stetsonville, her mother worked for Mr. Stetson, the
mill owner. He had a store combined with a boarding house. She was
married to Charles Pitzke, and when they moved to their farm in Deer
Creek, some of her neighbors were Dan Larson, Ole Manus, Ed Brecke,
Thomas Thomson and Ole Limbo. In 1876, Mr. Newton went to Appleton, and
drove a cow and heifer, the first in Deer Creek.
Other early settlers were: E.O. Erickson, J.A. LaBerge, Wm. Beinker, Chas. Lindboe, Chas. Maxam and H. Stevens.
Hibbard says that he came to Stetsonville in 1879, but his father came
a year earlier, and took a homestead three miles west and only one mile
south. Every spring they made maple syrup and sugar. They had to go to
Colby to get the 8 foot pan to boil with, and they found it quite a job
to get it through the woods. Soon they were filling 2 barrels with
syrup, and each spring they were making about 500 lbs. of sugar for
which at first there was absolutely no sale. Neither was there any sale
for any of their products except white pine logs. Will recalls how
happy his mother was when they traded some hay for a cow; a new
neighbor settled near them who had four cows, and no hay to feed them.
It took quite a while dickering, but the trade was finally made much to
the joy of the large Hibbard family. The three Hibbard boys soon after,
joined the Masonic Lodge at Medford, and often walked the 7 or 8 miles
through the Brunner settlement, and then north on the railroad to