FOUR CHILDREN SHIPPED TO CITYSON SEEKS TO TRACE HISTORY OF FATHER'S DISCARDED VIOLIN
[Racine Sunday Bulletin, Sunday, August 15, 1948]
MEDFORD, Wis.—'UP' — Before his health gave out, old Frank Behling was considered the finest fiddle player in Taylor County, Wisconsin.
He was in constant demand to play at barn dances where his fast-moving bow scraped out the old favorites to the chant of the caller. The fine old fiddle he played was pitched just right.
Found in Shed.
Frank was proud of that violin. He had bought it from a neighboring farmer by the name of Fricke in 1900. He and the fiddle had turned out a lot of sweet music for Taylor County folks. When he became ill three years ago, however, the fiddle was put away. Once in awhile the family wondered what had become of it.
A few days ago. Frank's son, Henry, was rummaging around in the machine shed of the family farm and unearthed the battered old instrument. Since his father couldn't play any more, the son decided to sell it. He took it out of the shed to look it over. The outside was age worn but showed no cracks. But inside, a scrap of paper was glued to the wood. He turned the violin over for better light and read the inscription:
"Antonus Stradivarius Cremonenfis" "Faciebat Anno 17R7."
The label also bore a symbol, that of a circle enclosing the letters " A " a n d " S " on" either side of a cross.
Behling headed for the nearest encyclopedia. There he learned that Antonio Stradivari, the Italian violin maker, had lived in the Italian city of Cremona.
The encyclopedia said that Stradivari had died in 1737. however, 50 years before the date of the label. Behling thinks that point is accounted for by the fact that the last three numerals on the date are written in ink, rather than being printed like the rest of the label. He thinks someone may have tried to make the fading letters stand out more clearly and inadvertently put in a " 8 " for a " 3 . "
But Stradivarius or not, he knows it's a good fiddle. He's heard it on " Turkey in the Straw ."
[The Daily Northwestern, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Evening, December 1, 1931]
Consignment to Milwaukee from Taylor County Made Owing to Absence of Money Milwaukee - (AP) - Four small children last night made a journey alone on a Soo Line train from Jump River, near Ladysmith, to Milwaukee. They were "consigned" to the juvenile Court of Milwaukee, and were delivered by bewildered trainmen to the police department. The children, the oldest a 7-year-old girl and the youngest a boy of 3, were the center of interest when several hundred officers lined up for roll call.
The children are Helen Coe, 7, and her sisters and brother, Betty Jane, 6, Alice, 5, and Billy, 3. A letter which Helen carried explained their long ride. Signed by William Brunschmid, chairman of the town of Jump River, it read: "By order of the Taylor county district attorney, T. W. Andresen of Medford, Wis., the four children, all minors of William Coe of Milwaukee, Wis., are sent by the undersigned to the juvenile court of Milwaukee.
Born in Milwaukee
"These children were born in the city of Milwaukee, as far as we are informed, and were brought into Taylor county by others than parents, by people not related to the children at all and without any means whatsoever.
"They became public charges and are being sent back for this reason. The father most likely lives in Milwaukee and was employed during the summer by the city on some kind of street work.
"N.B.—These children would be taken back by the families if Milwaukee pays $15 per month each."
The youngsters were taken to the detention home and a search was started for their parents. Police records reveal that a Marybelle Coe, alias Brown, was arrested in Sheboygan in May on a charge of abandonment. Tried in Milwaukee, the action was dismissed. Since then the woman had dropped from sight.
CHILDS DEATH FROM BURNS REPORTED HERE
[The Eau Claire Leader, Eau Claire, Wis., Tues. July 31, 1923]
Infant daughter of Mr. and Mrs Charles Adam of Polley scalded in auto accident
News was received here yesterday of the death of a three months old baby, daughter of Mr. and Mrs Charles Adams of Polley, as a result of burns received when the child was hurled under the radiator of an automobile in a head on collision in Gilman, Sunday evening.
The child's parents, in the front seat of the car, were thrown out when their auto crashed against one driven by Carl Keuhnie of Boyd. The mother, who was holding the child, was thrown with the baby through the windshield. The baby landed under the radiator and was scalded. The mother had an artery in one wrist cut and other injuries.
Three members of the Adams family were in the back seat of the car and Walter Keuhnie and the Misses Margaret Bernplau and Nellie Feidling, who were riding in the Boyd car were not injured.
Dr. S. T. Mice of Thorpe was called and gave first aid.
The crash occurred within the city limits of Gilman, and is believed to have resulted from the heavy traffic on the road, as the annual Catholic picnic was held in Gilman Sunday. None of the participants in the accident attended the picnic.
A North Wisconsin Town That has Never Seen Hard Times
[The Waukesha Freeman, 10-17-1901, page 3, by Burton C. Ingersoll]
Medford, the county seat of Taylor County, is on the Wisconsin Central Railroad, and has a population of over two thousand. The picturesque Black River winds through the town, adding to the beauty of the scenery.
The United States Leather Co., has a tannery here that uses 12,000 cords of hemlock bark every year, paying for it $3.75 to $4.50 per cord. In addition to this it pays in the neighborhood cf $50,000.00 a year for labor. The town also has a large saw-mill that turns out millions of feet of lumber annually, and employs a large force of men. If there had been no other resources than the lumber and tan-bark, these two industries alone would have kept hard times from entering Taylor County.
Back in the nineties when many less favored localities were rarely blessed with the sight of a dollar, the farmers in the vicinity of Medford were peeling their tan-bark and selling it for $4.00 and more a cord. The peeling logs they sold for lumber, and where they are not larger than six or eight inches in diameter they sold them for pulp wood, getting about $2.75 a cord for it, thus making a profit out of the entire tree. And the farmers are selling tan-bark and pulp wood today, and will continue to sell them for years to come. It is a great source of revenue to them, and material help in developing their farms.
And when the hemlock and pine are cut away there is something better to come in their place - grass. This little plant is destined to do more for prosperity and renown of Northern Wisconsin than has been done by all its stately pines and towering hemlocks, for it will make this region celebrated for its juicy beef and tender mutton, its golden butter and its full cream cheese. Think of these tiny, humble blades of green that we trample beneath our feet, and yet, insignificant as they seem to be, they have put the soft, deep carpets, the marble fireplaces, the polished pianos into tens of thousands of aristocrats homes, and made millions of men rich.
In every place in Taylor County where the forest has been cut away nature has covered herself with this mantle of green. Between the stumps, and among the slashings, in the thickets, everywhere, the tinkle of the cow-bell is heard, and cattle and sheep are getting a fat living. And the fine thing about it is, this branch of farming can be carried on before taking a single stump. Therefore it may be readily seen how the settler in parts like Taylor, Price, and Ashland counties has an income at the very start from his sheep, cattle, tan-bark, logs, pulp wood, cord wood, etc., which furnishes him with money to build fences and clear land for potatoes, corn, and the smaller grains.
Many years ago the early settler in Waukesha County cut down fine trees, and hauled big, sound logs into piles and burnt them in order to clear his land. today in Northern Wisconsin the settler turns his logs into gold.
Potatoes in Medford bring 50 cents a bushel, other products in proportion. Farms around Medford have increased one hundred percent in value in the last few years. Improved farms within two or three miles of town are worth from $20.00 to $30.00 an acre, farms five or six miles further back bring $8.00 to $10.00 an acre, while the Wisconsin Central Railroad Co., has very desirable unimproved lands, covered with valuable timber, which it is offering still cheaper than these figures. The hotels in Medford are crowded all the time, which is a good sign of prosperity, and scattered all over the town, are many pretty and cozy homes, in nearly everyone of which in an elegant piano, and that is another sign of prosperity and refinement.
THE WISCONSIN CENTRAL
[The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, Oshkosh, Wis., March 8, 1876]
A word from a farmer up in the county of Taylor. What he says about the mismanagement of the road. Reasons why it should not be exempted from taxation for a further period of five years. Some important points.
(To the Editor of the Sentinel)
Taylor County, Feb. 13. - I have been a reader of The Sentinel for several years, and naturally have become an admirer of the course taken on many different subjects, in being frank and outspoken. I admire the article in your issue of the 11th inst., on the railroad exemptions, and having lived in this county when the Wisconsin Central railroad passed through it, I have thought to give you a few items which might be of use to you. I am safe in making the statement that the people of the whole county would ask God's blessing upon you if you fight the measure to the bitter end.
It requires but little to show that this railroad company have not tried in any instance to fulfill any of their many obligations; that they have not tried to make the road a paying investment; that many of their former managers have worked to their own interests, and left the road "well heeled." Are any of the old managers poor? Is there a man in the employ of the road but what makes money - I mean head men or managers? No one has lost but the original stockholders, and I don't know that they are losing. We are told that Mr. Colby has given the boys his interest - who knows but the matter has been run so as to bring this about? I claim the whole trouble has been brought upon them by bad management, and not because of hard times or bad investments, and this bad management was pointed out to them, so they are doubly to blame. They have held their lands at $5 per acre all the time. They have asked $2 per M for all pine timber and charged exorbitant freights to carry the lumber to market. If they had put freights at a reasonable price, put their lands at $2.50 per acre and a price on pine that manufacturers could afford to pay, and not have to given all to them for freight and stumpage, had they given the merchant a fair freight on goods shipped in, I claim they could have had three times the work to do, and this road would have been in good shape, and the most of these good lands settled. Where they have gained one dollar be these high rates and prices, they could have had five from the business men and settlers. They say to us, "We give as cheap rates as any road with no opposition." I ask, is it any sign because Jones cuts his own throat that another man should do so? None but the rich should put on such dignity. This road is pleading poverty and should use every means to get settlers and business men into the country to buy their timber and lands. They could better afford to carry them in free. But let me tell you that when a business man comes here, as we have had them, and looks over matters and finds that it costs him as much again to get twelve barrels of sugar from Amherst Junction to Medford as it does from New York City to Amherst Junction, all by rail, or when he finds our merchants are charged forty cents per hundred from New York City to Milwaukee, and $1 per hundred from Milwaukee to Medford, as we have had to pay, or when he finds our poor farmers who are trying to make a little something out of bark-peeling in the clearing of their lands, and he finds we have to pay $38 to $45 a car to Milwaukee, and our mill men who ship lumber to all parts of the State are taxed about the same rates, and only one road which he must fight against, he in almost every case, will leave the county in disgust. They promise everything to get you to invest, but rarely live up to their word.
We are told and know that these are the reasons why we do not have other investments started; Tanneries, wagon shops, saw mills, grist mills, etc. We are told and believe it to be a fact that the company has killed three mill firms within ten miles of Medford - one at Dorchester, one at Stetsonville, and one at Little Black.I see no reason why it would not have been better to have kept these mills running which they could have done by giving them living rates and lived up to their agreements with them, which if they had done there would not have been a foot of land or timber for sale within ten miles of the road there. Where there are 200 farmers, there would now be 600 or more.
You ask them to do some thing to help settlement along and you are answered by the words of Mr. Phillips: "Its only a question of time, gentlemen. You must come to our prices." The God send to us was not in the railroad but in the mill men we have left, being men of means, who could hold their lumber until they get a price they could live at, thereby throwing the freight onto the consumer, which of course drives many buyers away from us, knowing he has to pay too high rates on this road.
Those who have means can do as they wish. But we do not feel as though this road, after operating so much to our disadvantage - after we have done so much in the way of improvements upon and through their land - should now come begging for exemption, begging for the poor men of the county to pay their debts. we are not to blame for their mismanagements, not to blame because they have not made speculation pay. Every man must look for himself in this world. The poor mill men that they have ruined do not come to us or any one for help. They have got to stand it or sell out to those who can.
The tax has been levied and the county has paid the State taxes each year because law compels us to do so, and now if this company is not compelled to pay, it seems to us there is injustice. If the Legislature exempts them we should have everything returned to us. Vast amounts of county orders and bonds have been issued, resulting more to their benefit than to anyone else, and now the county and towns are being sued because of their nonpayment. Is it right that they should shirk out.
I know of my own personal knowledge of miles of road that have been cut through their lands. One in particular that has cost this county over $30,000; the courthouse $8000; jail $2500; county safes and records $8000 more - all on to their benefit as much so as to any of us, and we who live here and try to build up and be honest and pay our taxes, are now asked to bear their burdens also.
When the tax roll is made up each man, great and small, rich and poor, has his proportion set off to him, and we, like men, have paid ours, and in the name of God, we ask, is our Legislature going to allow these sharks who are sapping the very life-blood from this county, to come in and get another exemption for five years upon some poverty plea? No, no. It would be too unjust to the poor people along this line who are trying to make homes. If they get it, it will not be by fair means. It will be by false representation, strong lobbying, etc. I venture the assertion that the money they have paid out for that purpose, furnishing free lunches, free passes, etc., would relieve them of their present great embarrassment. Just think of the thing once - the grand excursions every other day over the whole length of the road. They say the passenger trade over the road don't amount to anything, but it's false. It's because they carry people free, big-bugs whom they want to use for this very purpose of exemption. A man who takes a free ride over the road from Milwaukee to Ashland and back two or three times in a season will be apt to vote for them every time. Do the poor farmers along the line, whose influence to them is of no account, get any of these luxuries? Not a bit of it. Money is what they want from us, and they get it on unreasonable rates. One poor fellow I know personally paid $75 on a car of household goods from Fond Du Lac to Medford. His neighbor writes that he can't come because he can't get the money to pay so much freight.
Another great drawback to the poor people along the line from this railroad company is that they employ the most heartless men they can find, in some branches of their business. For instance, in settling their lands, there are men employed who will misrepresent anything to get a man's money and tell him the railroad company will give him free tickets and freights for his whole family, and again will misrepresent one section of the county for the purpose of getting them located in another. Such men are in their employ and board their trains at different stations every day. It may be right to hunt for settlers, but they should not lie to change a man from his desired destination.
Again we have found it almost an impossibility for a person outside of the railroad ring to take a contract for wood, ties, bark, cedar posts, telegraph poles, etc. You can't get living rates to ship them, or business might be very lively along this line. These contracts are kept for a certain few who are in the ring, who are located somewhere near the headquarters of the company, and who get such rates as they want, and I have heard it intimated that for all such transportation the railroad company does not get a dollar. If such are the facts is it any wonder the company is hard up and can't pay their taxes. I am told these things as facts, and I know many of them are facts. The settlers say the country has been cursed by this sort of thing and by mismanagement long enough, and the sooner the road is forced into the hands of other men the better it will be for us. We are asked what we would do without the road. We answer by asking what would the road do without us. We should work together, and could be of much help to each other.
(signed) A Farmer
MURDER SUICUDE IN TAYLOR COUNTY
Farmer in Taylor County Kills Wife And Takes Own Life
[Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, published April 21, 1945]
Coroner Earl Ruesch of Taylor county said today that Ed Blazek, 60, town of Cleveland farmer, shot and killed his wife, Mellie, 56, and then took his own life at their farm home near Hannibal yesterday.
Blazek left a note which read: ""I did the shooting myself," Ruesch said.
A telephone operator directed Constable Roland Johnson to the Blazek home after receiving a call from Blazek. Johnson said he found Mrs. Blazek's body on a bed, a bullet wound from a .38 caliber revolver in her head. Blazek was lying on the floor in a hallway adjoining the bedroom a bullet wound from a 30-30 rifle in his temple. He died shortly after the constable arrived.
Taylor County Man Slays Wife, Takes Own Life
[The Sheboygan Press, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, April 21, 1945]
Marshfield, Wis.— (AP) — Acting Coroner Earl Ruesch of Taylor county said today that Ed Blazek, 60, town of Cleveland farmer, shot and killed his wife, Nellie, 56, and then took his own life at their farm home near Hannibal yesterday.
Blazek left a note which read: "I did the shooting myself," Ruesch said.
A telephone operator directed Constable Roland Johnson to the Blazek home after receiving a call from Blazek. Johnson said he found Mrs. Blazek's body on a bed, a bullet wound from a .38 caliber revolver in her head, Blazek was lying on the floor in a hallway adjoining the bedroom, a bullet wound from a 30-30 rifle in his temple. He died shortly after the constable arrived.
Ruesch said the Blazek's had sold their personal property, including livestock, recently, and had planned to move to Milwaukee to live with a son, Arthur. A letter which Blazek apparently had received yesterday from the son indicated that he was having difficulty finding living quarters for his parents in Milwaukee, Ruesch added. Another son, Lavern, resides in the town of Cleveland.
Ruesch said the Hannibal telephone operator told him that Blazek asked only that the constable be sent to his home as soon as possible.
PROBE ELECTION FEUDS AS CAUSE MEDFORD DEATH
Man on trial for murder maintains he mistook his victim for bear.
[Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, published March 17, 1927]
Medford.-Wis., March ' 17—P— Old election feuds in Taylor county are being revived by the state in its efforts to convict Jack Welsh of the murder of John Amandus Kauss, chairman of the town of Grover, and the father of twelve children, who was shot to death October 7.
Welsh Takes Stand
Welsh, presenting the picturesque appearance of a Kentucky mountaineer, took the stand Wednesday in his own defense at the murder trial, and testified that he mistook Kauss for a bear, when he fired the shot which killed the town chairman last October, while he was picking ground pine in the woods three miles south of. Perkinstown. "I believe my bullet killed Johnnie Kauss but it was done unintentionally," Welsh testified Wednesday, on the second day of his trial. "I mistook him for a bear." At the coroner's inquest' Welsh had testified he shot at a partridge and that a stray bullet might have reached Kauss. The state is attempting to prove first degree murder through the introduction of testimony indicating animosity of Welsh towards Kauss engendered by old election feuds in the township.
District Attorney T. W. Andresen is placing much reliance upon the testimony of two witnesses that Welsh twice threatened to "get Kauss." Barton Lamberton. a former constable of Grover, testified that three years ago Welsh threatened Kauss, asserting "I'll get the ____ some day. I'll put a bullet through him." Mrs. Oscar Johnson testified that Welsh promised to "get him yet."
Dramatic incidents have marked the trial in which much interest has been aroused, as Kauss was widely known.
One of the important witnesses for the state Wednesday was Herbert, 14 year old son of the slain man, who was with his father when he fell while picking the foliage on land owned by the State Historical Society. Describing the slaying, the youth said that as his father was felled, Welsh jumped up on the bank towards them, and ran away as the boy yelled, "Hey, you shot my pa." My father said 'I'm shot, who shot me?' and pointed to his shoulder. I told him Jack Welsh had shot him, and said. I'll run for help.' He only mumbled in reply before he died."
Call 37 Witnesses
Thirty-seven witnesses had been called when the second day of the trial closed Wednesday. Welsh who admittedly was hunting deer out of season when Kauss was killed, is being defended by W. E. Wagener of Sturgeon Bay and Attorney Hugh Haight of Loyal. Last November Welsh was taken to Washburn to plead guilty to second degree murder, but Judge Risjord refused to accept the plea when Welsh stated he had shot Kauss unintentionally.
FIRE AT MEDFORD
[The Daily Northwestern, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, published January 16, 1883]
Special Dispatch to the Northwestern.
Medford, Wis., Jan. 15, 1883 - A fire broke out here about five o'clock yesterday afternoon, destroying the Central House, and saloon in the basement, the
abstract and land office building, occupied as a shoe shop on the second floor, John Casson's meat market and dwelling overhead, and Phelp's drug store
The building was torn down to prevent the fire from spreading any further that way. All the goods were removed from Brown's store and meat market, and the contents of the post office next to Brown's was also removed with but slight damage. J. Norton next to the post office packed all of his goods ready for removal. The fire was quite a big one for Medford, and great excitement prevailed during its progress.
INDEBTED NAVY CALLS
[THE RACINE JOURNAL-TIMES, MONDAY AFTERNOON, DECEMBER 9, 1940]
Youth Who Demanded $22 Is Hastily Recruited
MILWAUKEE, Dec. 9.—(U.P)—A Wisconsin farm youth who billed the U. S. navy for $22 because he was not called for service as soon as officials had promised was under orders today to report for duty immediately as a naval recruit.
Chief Boatswain's Mate I. A. De Roo, navy enlisting officer, said the youth had sent a letter from Rib Lake, Taylor county, in north central Wisconsin, claiming that the writer had been informed he would be called for naval training within 12 days or less, but that the time limit had expired.
"Therefore," said the letter, "I am placing a charge of $22 against the Milwaukee recruiting office, $12 for wages that I would have earned if at my last position and $10 for board and room to pay." The writer concludes with a note of lenience as a creditor. He said he considered his demand no more than fair, but would forget the bill if he were called for duty at once.
De Roo wired the youth to report immediately. He had been trying to find the recruit to notify him he had been accepted in spite of the fact that he was slightly under the minimum height.
IN THE EARLY DAYS
By H.M. McCumber, Westboro, Wisconsin
[Medford Star Times, Medford, Wis., July 21, 1905]
We were very much interested in "Recollections" by Pat Mullaley. The article recalled an incident in the early days of Westboro, which will doubtless be of interest to some of your readers.
One bright morning in the early eighties we started out to visit relatives who lived in the eastern part of the town.
The oxen received an extra grooming and our ox-cart was resplendent with a brand new box made from newly sawed lumber from Duncan's mill. In our new "dimities," and with good will to God and man in our hearts we felt we were just too nice for anything.
However, the conceit was taken out of us in short order.
When we reached the village the boss of the outfit took it into his head he must have the mail and left us on the corner while he went to the post office, which was then in Duncan's store.
A party of heavy sports from Medford on their way to Harper's Lake were walking down Front Street, and as they espied our conveyance they shouted "Hurrah for the band wagon" and called to their companions, " Come down and see the band wagon."
Mike Mullen, then Deputy Sheriff, was one of the party and as he came along he greeted us courteously and sharply rebuked his companions, telling them they would hear from it and so forth, but Westboro whiskey was always noted for its exhilarating effects, and they continued to shout and wave their hats. Mike endeavored to quiet them, telling them we were white, could understand the English language and probably knew who was president of these United States.
As Mike predicted, they heard from it. In the week's issue of the Taylor County Star, the following article appeared:
"The Prohibition delegates visited our village this week and gave a temperance lecture on the open street. It was eloquent; we never remember to have listened to one more convincing; after which the band wagon was brought out and placed at the north-east corner of Hanover Square, while the delegates passed by with uncovered heads; and judging from the ear-splitting cheers which issued from their throats they must have enjoyed their reception." They went on to say, "If we ever indulge in the luxury of a good drunk we will certainly perform the feat where people are acquainted with us in our sober walks of life, for we never see an acquaintance the worse for liquor of heart or mind, which he possesses and we are ready to excuse him; but, when we see a stranger go howling through the streets under the influence of bug juice, well, the following saying recurs to our mind: "Whiskey will make a fool of any man." and we at once jump to the conclusion that in the present instance nature had performed the work so admirably that it took but little whiskey to complete the job.
On their return from Harper's Lake the article was shown them and the liquids they had to furnish would doubtless have floated all the fish they caught, and Mike's "I told you so" did not add one iota to their comfort.
One of the party said in an aggrieved tone that they saw McCumber at Harper's Lake and gave him the finest fish they caught to keep him quiet; right here comes in the joke. The only resemblance between McCumber and the man who got the fish was that they both wore their whiskers red.
The wrong man got the fish, but the right one got the free ad.
Times have changed since then. The horns have fallen off the oxen; the band wagon has been supplied with springs, but Prohibition delegates still make their annual pilgrimages to Harper's Lake as in ye olden times. and so the world goes on.
LARGE DEAL IN PINE LANDS
[The Daily Inter Ocean, published August 19, 1896]
Browning tract in Taylor County, Wisconsin is sold.
Madison, Wis., Aug 18. - A pine-land deal involving 7,000 acres, was consummated here today, the purchasers being the Weeks Lumber Company of Stevens Point, and Oliver Darwin of Black River Falls, who secured from Pedro A, Merino of London the Browning tract, near Medford, Taylor County. The Weeks Lumber Company paid $40,000 for the pine and hemlock on the land, and Darwin will, it is said, pay $11,500 for the land after it is cleared. The land was purchased from the state in 1870, by P. Browning of New York for $1.25 per acre. Browning did not pay the State in full, and no patent to the land was issued. Soon afterward he transferred the property, and some time ago Pedro A. Marino of London got possession of the contracts to the land. Today the state issued patents for the land in the name of Mr. Merino.
HOW THE LAW IS FLOUTED IN TAYLOR COUNTY
[The Capital Times, Madison, Wis., August 19, 1941]
THE CAPITAL TIMES has been furnished with some correspondence from Taylor county which is illuminating as illustrating the attitude of mind of a considerable number of district attorneys and sheriffs in the state of Wisconsin. Under date of July 11, Peter J, Mengel, a resident of Jump River, Taylor county, wrote a letter to Paul W. Griesser, district attorney of Taylor county, telling of the presence of slot machines in the Jump River area.
Instead of thanking Mr. Mengel, a procedure one should expect from an official charged with the responsibility of enforcing the law, Mr. Griesser proceeded to send Mr. Mengel a scurrilous letter denouncing Mr. Mengel for suggesting that the district attorney should do his duty.
Here is the letter which Mr. Griesser sent to Mr. Mengel:
Mr. Peter J. Mengel,
Jump River, Wisconsin
This is to acknowledge receipt of your letter to me dated July 11, 1941 and of a previous communication you received from Mr. Carl M. Nelson
a week or so ago. In which letters reference is made to the presence of slot machines in certain taverns located in your part of the county and information is requested as to whom complaint should be made concerning such machines.
It is my unequivocal and emphatic answer to you and to anyone else who is interested that if you now or at anytime have any complaint to make regarding the illegal presence of slot machines in any taverns or elsewhere, you need only come to my office and swear out a criminal complaint against such person and you can rest assured that a criminal warrant will be issued, regardless of the person complained against, and I want to further assure you that the matter will receive the same swift and direct action that other criminal matters have received from this office.
I also wish to state, Mr. Mengel, that I am fully aware of the duties of my office and that I hardly need any advice from you as to what they may constitute. It is enough to say that under my concepts of them, they do not include "snooping." for if they did, you yourself would have been under considerable scrutiny and investigation in connection with the suspicious circumstances under which you obtained possession of the Beagle dog you now own.
The question of slot machines received some attention at the state-wide meeting of district attorneys called by the attorney general at Madison last February. The attorney general, aware of the illegitimate character of slot machines and similar devices, held that this was inherently a local matter and of local control to be handled by local officers according to their sound judgment and discretion. That is why the majority of northern counties, being admittedly in the resort section and catering to the tourist trade, are given more leeway in this respect than is permitted in the southern counties of the state.
Furthermore, in my opinion the question of slot machines in this county was settled by the large majority of voters in the election last fall. At that time my opponent chose to make slot machines the major issue of the campaign for the office of district attorney, and the voters of this county, either by indifference or design, decided overwhelmingly in my favor and I intend to abide by their decision.
I am personally opposed to the presence and operation of slot machines in the county, but I am fair-minded and open-minded enough to overlook my personal feelings in the matter to give effect to the will of the majority of voters. However, if I ever hear of minors or persons on relief or intoxicated persons playing or being permitted to play slot machines, I will personally prosecute such tavern owner or other person to the fullest extent of the law, for in my opinion such practice constitutes the lowest form of human greed.
I trust, Mr. Mengel, that I have fully explained my position with reference to this matter, I want to repeat my statement made above that if you or any person wish to make complaint regarding the illegal presence of slot machines in any tavern or elsewhere, you need only come to my office and swear out a criminal complaint against such person and I assure you that the matter will receive the full and complete co-operation of this office.
I have purposely gone into rather full detail as to my position in this matter and the reasons therefor, in order to avoid any future misunderstanding. If you have any other or further question concerning this matter, feel free to write to me at any time and you may rest assured that it will receive prompt and courteous attention.
Very truly yours,
Paul W. Griesser,
* * *
MR. GRIESSER starts out with the strange doctrine that if there are residents of Taylor county who believe that the law should be enforced, the initiative for the enforcement of the law should be taken by the citizens and not by the public officials whom the citizens have elected to enforce the law.
Mr. Griesser's letter indicates that the Taylor county district attorney has no desire to act against slot machines. This attitude is typical of the district attorneys in many counties of Wisconsin where the slot machines are clicking daily.
As an alibi for his point of view, Mr Griesser states that at a state-wide meeting of district attorneys called by the attorney-general in Madison last February, it was decided that the enforcement of the law against slot machines is a matter of local discretion. In other words, the district attorneys of Wisconsin are to determine what laws passed by the legislature are to be enforced and what are not to be enforced.
Here we have open admission of a practice which, if continued, will cause the breakdown of government and give us a government by men instead of a government by law.
The irritability brought on by Mr. Mengel's letter caused Mr. Griesser to take a despicable slap at Mr. Mengel by insinuating that Mr. Mengel had stolen a dog and, therefore, it might be better for him to keep silent on the slot machine question.
If Mr. Mengel is guilty of such a crime, why doesn't District Attorney Griesser proceed against him in accordance with law rather than to use it as a club to silence an embarrassing citizen? We are informed that Mr. Mengel has challenged Mr. Griesser to produce any evidence to substantiate his charge.
'The Griesser letter should form an illuminating contribution to the disinclination of Wisconsin district attorneys to do their duty. Further, the manner in which slot machines are clicking daily; all over Wisconsin is significant.
EDITORIAL IN MEDFORD LEADER
[Medford Leader, Medford, Wisconsin, published July 24, 1924]
Next year is the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of Taylor County, the year Taylor was governor of Wisconsin after whom the county was named. In the spring of 1875 the first election ever held in Taylor County was held here in Medford. Two of the officers elected at that time are still living in this county; G.W. Adams, elected chairman, and Peter Liberty, elected assessor. One of our first teacher's (Miss Stella Hanifin, later Mrs. Doyle), home is in this city. We still have a number living in the county who were here at the time among whom are: Peter Anderson, one of the first settlers to locate here coming in the year 1874 before the railroad was built; M.W. Ryan, John Peterson and members of his family; Mrs. Frank Wocelka, Sr. and children; Mrs. C.A. Anderson and members of her family; Bert Gearhart, Mr. and Mrs. Frank McCumber, members of the Manney family and others. There are a large number who came here in the 70's and many, many more who came here before the big fire in 1885.
Shall we celebrate this 50th anniversary by a "Home Coming?" We but voice the sentiments of our settlers by a unanimous YES.
Algoma, a city the size of Medford, celebrated three days this year and it is estimated that there were 6000 persons there from every part of the U.S. during the celebration, some had not been back for over forty years. Four from Medford; Mr. and Mrs. August Pflughoeft and Mr. and Mrs. Mraz, were there from this city. Mr. Mraz on his return said "I met old school mates whom I had not seen since I was a school boy and it was one of the most enjoyable affairs I ever attended and would not have missed being there for a great deal." Such is the verdict if all of those we have talked to who have attended "Home Comings."
In a few more years our first settlers will be gone and if the people of Taylor County ever intend to have a "Home Coming" next year is the time.
The first move we old settlers should make is the organizing of an "Old Settlers Club" every resident on the county for a quarter of a century should be eligible and those who were here in 1875 should be honorary members.
Here is a program planned for one celebration to be held the last of the month to last two days. This is a yearly event held by the Old Settlers Club.
8:30 - 10 A.M. - Reception of Old Settlers. Registration.
10 A.M. Annual parade
12 - Picnic. Bring your basket. "Boyah", bread, coffee, cream and sugar furnished by the Association free. After dinner, sports of all kinds.
6:30 - Annual banquet for old settlers and families. $1.00 per plate.
Friday- Visiting and renewing old friendships. Ball in the evening at the Park.
At another :Home Coming" in a city this size, the Main Street in the city was roped off and no cars were allowed on this street during the celebration. A band was stationed in the center of the street and played during the day. Free attractions were also given on the street for the entertainment of the visitors. Everyone promenaded up one side of the street and down the other greeting everyone they met and all had a very happy time. Dancing at the City Park, which was free, was indulged in during the afternoon and evening. A reception committee composed of old settlers had a place arranged for them along the street and everyone was asked to report, register and greet the committee at this place and in this way would learn where they could find old friends in the city. Here the American Legion assisted by the Legion Auxiliary had charge of the affair.
Would it be possible to hold such a celebration in Medford? We know it would, but in order to make it a success, we must commence now to plan for it so as to get in touch with our former Taylor County residents so they may have ample time to make arrangements and plan to be be here at that time. We know of several who's homes are at a distance, who have already signified their intentions of being here should the people of Medford have a "Home Coming,"
It will not cost the city much if planned right, and will be worth our efforts and our time to have a "Home Coming" and make it one that will be long remembered. We will all be that much happier for having had it.
MRS. B. SKIDMORE WRITES OF YEAR 1878
Compares It With 1921, Holway Pioneer's Philosophy of Life Well Worth Reading
December 28th, 1921
W. H. Conrad, Editor
Taylor County Star-News
As the year 1921 is now drawing to a close, thoughts come of the time forty three years past, when I was living in a small log house - just myself and my children, as my husband had to remain in Milwaukee to work for wages while I came onto the homestead. Our little house was built right in the thick forest, great trees right close to the sides of the house all around. There were no roads made; we had to follow the blazes on trees to get through. We had to get supplies in when the snow was good and deep, and keep a good sharp ax along all the time to chop down a tree now and then, when the oxen or the jumper got stuck, which happened very often. When the snow was gone I used to go out to Dorchester afoot and carry in supplies. Had to watch closely for the trees that had been blazed or notched. Wolves and various wild animals were very thick. Very seldom saw any people around except Indians, who had their wigwams just a little ways from our log cabin. I was more afraid of the Indians than anything else, for they used to come into my house wanting food. I treated them kindly and they never molested me, but I was much afraid of them, as I was alone with my children.
I cleared land around the house with the help of the children. Most of them were too young to work. I had a nice garden the first year. It was February when I came. I never felt lonesome, i was so busy all the time, no time to get lonesome. Settlers were few and far between; most of them got discouraged and soon pulled out. They tried to persuade me to give it up - said I was killing myself working so. I said "No I shall stop; I came here intending to make a home, and I am going to make a home, or die trying." I have stuck to that purpose and here I am today. I have a good home and I am in good health for a woman of my age. I work right along and thank God for the way he helps me from day to day. I shall be 79 next month, so the hardship has not hurt me so much as the folks said it was going to.
Beginnings are always interesting, providing we can look back on a well spent life and can say conscientiously "Come what will, I haves aimed to do the very best I could." Thank God I have that comfort. Now in my old age, it is good to take the teachings of Jesus Christ for our guide, "Do unto others as ye would that others should do unto you." The good that is done by us in the corner of our environment will be felt when we have passed away to the great beyond,, where everyone will be rewarded according to his work.
Peace which passeth all understanding; it is peace which the world cannot give, neither can world take it away. I have many friends scattered around the county and some who have gone to other states who read your paper; I am sure they would be interested to see this from their old friend, Mrs. Skidmore. I have heard that many think I am dead. I'd like to send New Year's good wishes to all. Times like these cause many to get much put out when failure seems threatening, when money is scarce and taxes and other payments are due, but it is well to consider how much we have to be thankful for. Most people are living in luxury, considering what it used to be years ago in the pioneer days. Trials are good discipline. It sets many to thinking that most people spend money too freely on things that profiteth not. Such may learn much from this time of scarcity of money and employment. Many will be more fitted for the duties of life after this trying time. The strength of a vessel is tested when the winds are contrary; these times test what material we are made of. Jesus should be our great example, he became poor that we , through his poverty, might be rich. All the vain things in this world will soon pass away, the all important thing is to get right with God, and that is the privilege of every person. What is most needed at this time is a great revival of true religion. That would do more good for the world than all peace conferences. How many multitudes are under sorrow at this time, hence so much suicide and giving way to despondency, which only makes matters worse. If only these poor sorrowing ones, these disconsolate ones, could be led to think about Jesus, the sinner's truest friend! The first step is to feel need of such a friend, and come to him just as we are. He never turns one empty away. He says "Son give me thine heart, and I will give thee a kingdom." It gives I know it from my own experience. I don't think I could have endured all the trials I have passed through without his divine help. I have always found him to be a very present help in every time of need. I just tell it to Jesus; I couldn't bear such sorrow alone.
Think of what it meant to have to walk eleven miles to get a letter or to mail one - twenty two miles the round trip, which I frequently did. People who live around these parts now don't begin to know what real hardships mean; and still there is much grumbling and dissatisfaction and wanting to get away. This is about the best place that can be found, that is my honest opinion, if people are willing to work their way up ; but if people intend to live by scheming, this is not a suitable place for such. It suits me; I wish to end my days in my dear old home, in the town of Holway, Taylor County, Wisconsin.
Mrs. B. Skidmore
NO LYNCH LAWS IN WISCONSIN PHILIPPS SAYS
[The Capital Times, Madison, Wis., April 17, 1918]
Jump River Farmer Says He Was Threatened With Hanging by Officer
Executive Declares Order Will Prevail and All Citizens Will be Protected Lawfully
There will be no lynching bees in Wisconsin. Governor Philipp says he will enforce the laws to the letter. Law and order will prevail.
These statements were made as a result of a letter received from a poor farmer at Jump River, who said that he had been referred to as pro-German and that threats have been made that some night they would be hung.
The farmer pointed out that he was raised in the United States and has two nephews in the army.
The threats against this citizen are alleged to have been made by a deputy sheriff.
"If you have a deputy sheriff who makes statements of that kind wish you to advise me at once and I will deal with him as the law provides," says the governor in his letter to the complainant. "No sheriff or other officer in the state of Wisconsin has any right to threaten to hang anyone."
Letter of Farmer
Following is the farmer's letter to
the executive and his replies:
Jump River, April 15.
Dear Sir: I am only a poor farmer and-our Deputy Sheriff Kelley calls us Pro-German. I am born and raised in U. S.; am for United States and have two nephews in the army. He make his threats to come up here and hang us, you being our Governor I am now asking for you to protect our lives and if we don't get no protection we will have to protect ourself.
Hoping you will tend to this matter at once.
Reply of Governor
April 16, 1918
Mr. John Schief
Jump River, Wisconsin
My Dear Sir:
I have your letter of the 15th.
You should give yourself no concern about any statement that is made by a sheriff or anyone else that threatens to hang you. It would be a sorry day for either a sheriff or any other person who attempted to hang anyone in the state of Wisconsin. I will see to it that no harm is done you by any public officer. If you have been disloyal to our country you must expect to be punished for it. However, such disloyalty must be proven and the punishment will be given to you by the court and not by the sheriff. I hope, however, that your statement that you are a good and loyal citizen is true, and in that event no harm will come to you.
I have written to the sheriff.
Yours very truly,
E. L. Philipp,
Notice to Sheriff
Mr. W. E. Hibbard, Sheriff.
My dear Mr. Hibbard:
I enclose herewith a copy of a letter which I have today received from ones John Schief of Jump River.
You will note that Schief is under the impression that your deputy, Kelley, will commit some act of violence upon him —in fact, he says that he was threatened with hanging.
I do not know Mr. Schief, nor do I know anything of his reputation, and I will assume that he is mistaken about the threats made by your deputy. If, however, you have a deputy who makes statements of that kind I wish you to advise me at once and I will deal with him as the law provides. No sheriff or other officer in the state of Wisconsin has any right to threaten to hang anyone. If Schief is disloyal to our country we can punish him by the orderly method provided by law.
I will ask you for a prompt reply.
Yours very truly,
E. L. Philipp
BONNEVILLE TELLS OF OLD TIMES IN RIB LAKE
[The Mauston Star, Mauston, Wisconsin, February 15, 1925]
A visit with Alphonse Bonneville, who is probably the oldest citizen of Rib Lake in point of residence, prompted the editor of the Rib lake Herald to write the following reminiscences of earlier days:
"Alphonse Bonneville, in point of years of actual residence, the oldest citizen of Rib Lake, has not been feeling very well of late. We called on him the other day to see how he is and that brought old memories back to him and he told us many things we never heard before.
Mr, Bonneville is 81 years old and has lived in Rib Lake 47 years, coming here in 1877, when Rib Lake was a part of Westboro and Rib Lake voters went to Westboro on election day to vote.
There were two trails through the woods that led to Rib Lake.
J.J. Kennedy was logging at Ogema and the Curtis brothers made him a proposition to come to Rib Lake and log and saw the logs into lumber. J.J. Kennedy and his brothers, Angus and Will came with him. The first mill was built in 1877.
Mr. Bonneville's brother Peter and "Big Mac" McDonald built the first "go-Devil" to haul the steam boiler in from Chelsea. It took them two days with a four-horse team to do it.
The first house J.J. Kennedy built here is the one which Mr. and Mrs. Thomas. Korns occupy at present. The first mill had a capacity of 50,000 feet. It was torn down for a larger one which had a capacity of 150,000 feet, but it cost $1.00 per 1,000 more to cut lumber in this than it did in the first mill. This mill burned down and a smaller one was built in 1897, capacity of about 75,000, which was sold to the Rib Lake Lumber Company and when destroyed by fire some years ago, was replaced by the present one.
The first two years the lumber was hauled to Chelsea and piled in a yard just across the track from Bert Aitken's farm north of Chelsea. The third year J.J. Kennedy cut and turn piked the road bed to Chelsea, the Wisconsin Central Furnished the ties and steel, and as soon as a mile of track was laid it was deeded to the Wisconsin Central. After Rib Lake was connected with the main line with a railroad, things moved better. The railroad company furnished an old boxcar for a depot, sent an agent and conductor up here, and the train was operated by the conductor, engineer and fireman. The conductor was paid by the Wisconsin Central, the engineer and fireman by J.J. Kennedy and J.J. Kennedy also owned the locomotive and furnished the slabs used for it's fuel.
The engine used to run a pay car on the portage branch. It used slabs for fuel and spit firebrands all the way from a few inched to a foot long. Those were great old days when we could get a special train any old time without any guarantee. The passenger coach was an old one, with the seats replaced with wooden benches. However, it must be mentioned that this was not the first train service. The first few years the only train was the way-freight, which would cone in and go out any old time.
J.J.Kennedy gave land and a carload of lumber to Fayette Shaw to come to Rib Lake to build a tannery here. He also gave a carload of lumber to build the Winchester hotel at Medford.
The lake was full of fish. You could throw in your hook and line ten minutes before breakfast and have all the fish you could eat your meal. Some muskellunge weighed 35 pounds and of other fish there was no limit.
J.J. Kennedy built one of the finest horse-tracks in this part of the state. He was a horseflesh fancier. Bill Kennedy, Angus Kennedy, Sam Hagen, Mr. Bonneville and others had horse races. This track he sold to A.C. McComb of Oshkosh who platted it into what is known as "McComb's Racing Park Addition to the Village of Rib Lake." Mr. Kennedy built the largest hotel in the county and for years it had all it could house. There were about 125 rooms in it. Rib Lake had one of the biggest Fourth of July celebrations in the county in the summer of 1897. There were about 1,000 visitors here, which was a large crowd when one considers that the only means of transportation in those days was the rail and the horse.
At one time Mr. Kennedy was offered $100,000 in cash to quit. The proposition was worth half a million and Mr. Kennedy decided to stay.
Mr. Bonneville was the first assessor after Rib Lake was set aside as a town and held the office three terms.
PIONEERS DESIRE TO FORM ORGANIZATION
[Medford Star-News, Medford, Wisconsin , published January 3, 1925]
A number of the pioneers of Taylor County have recently expressed a desire to form an organization of the old timers. The purpose would be to get together once in a while to talk over the old days.
The exact nature of the organization or it's limit in membership is yet a matter of discussion, but in the minds of some it should be for the pioneers alone rather than for their children and grandchildren. It is suggested that membership should be limited to people who came here prior to some specific date, say 1895, which is back thirty years.
Whether or not such a pioneer body is organized will depend upon the number of old timers who take an interest in the proposal. All those who are interested are asked to drop a line to the court house, addressed to the clerk of court, M.W. Truax, or call in person at his office.
There are quite a number remaining who were in Taylor County forty years ago, and there are a few whose residence in this section covers a period close to fifty years.
The Star-News will be glad to express your opinions on the subject of such an organization. Write to us about it.
POSSUM AND BEAR WAR
[Eau Claire Leader, Eau Claire, Wis., published March 18, 1909]
President's Followers In Roosevelt, Wis., Want To Change Name To Taft, get Bill Through House.
Madison, Wis., March 17, 1909 - Teddy Bear and "Billy Possum are at war in Taylor county, and at present Billy has Teddy on his back and squalling for mercy.
The trouble is all because about two-thirds of the town of Roosevelt have withdrawn their allegiance from the militant colonel of Sagamore Hill, since his retirement from the White House, and want to divide the town and call it Taft. They presented a bill in the Wisconsin legislature asking for permission to do this, and won a victory today when the lower house passed the measure. Followers of the Teddy Bear are now pinning their faith to the senate and promise to continue the fight there until there is not a square inch of fur left on their opponent.
Children In Fierce War.
Seventy-five sturdy settlers compose the voting population of the town of Roosevelt. Seventy-five wives and some five hundred children, more or less, make up the remainder, and it is among the latter that the warfare is most bitter. The Teddy Bear and the Billy Possum are the emblems of the opposing factions. Tie children—those who can get them—-carry their emblems to school, and more than one fierce class rush has been caused by the efforts to destroy a toy bear or possum.
For twenty years the custom has prevailed in Taylor County to name one of its townships after the last president, elected. Following this custom the settlers in the western part of the town of Roosevelt, all being admirers of the new president, determined to honor him by having their part of the town detached and made into an independent one, to be known by the name of Taft. Then the residents of the eastern part, who are strong Roosevelt men. objected, saying the division of the town would be an insult to the retiring president. Residents of the village of Thorp and the City of Stanley, rival markets of the town of Roosevelt, took a hand in the contest. If the township were divided, the City of Stanley would get the trade of the new town, and if not, most of it would continue to go to Thorpe.
Appeal to Solon's
Swayed by these political and commercial reasons, the two factions have been exerting every influence on the legislature for and against the bill. Assemblyman Culbertson, who resides at Stanley, fathered the bill, and the opposition retained Attorney George Parkhill of Thorpe to oppose it. After several hearings the assembly committee on towns and counties decided to recommend the bill for passage. When the bill came up in the lower house today Assemblyman Culbertson succeeded in having it passed under suspension of the rules. The opponents of the bill will now carry the fight to the senate. If the town is divided forty of the settlers will be in the new town and thirty-five in the old town.
Taylor county began its custom of naming towns for presidents in 1890. At that time it named one Grover and another Cleveland. Four years later when the Democrats were ousted from the White House at Washington, Taylor county created a new town and named it McKinley. Four years ago it created another new town and named it Roosevelt. It is last town that the Taft settlers insist on having: divided and part of it named for him.
A RANK INJUSTICE
[Stanley Republican, Stanley, Wis., January 23, 1877]
Unjust Treatment of Settlers in Taylor County
At the annual meeting of the county board of Taylor county a petition was presented asking for the formation of a new town in the southwest corner of the county, but for some reason, not explained, the board denied the petition. The new town was to comprise township 30, range 3 and 4 west, now a part of Holway, and township 31, range 4 west, a part of Molitor. It is hard to understand why the board refused to grant the request as the petition carried the requisite number of signers, and it was clearly proven by affidavits, that the territory contained the number of inhabitants required by law. This part of Taylor county is improving rapidly, and fast settling up with home seekers who can only be induced to make it their home by having all the advantages of setters in other parts of the county.
The territory is now penetrated by the main line of the new S. M. & P. Ry. and a new town on this line would surely be of great benefit to the county and seems sure to come anyway, and one cannot see why the people of Taylor county are not all in favor of the formation of such a town. The voters of this section are separated from the balance of the town by a wilderness of ten or twelve miles in extent through which there are few settlers. In order to vote at town meetings, they are compelled to come to Stanley, and go from there to Medford by rail, and then drive from twelve to twenty miles to their voting precinct, or if possible, to make a trip of two days through this wilderness with compass, for the glory of casting a ballot at the town meeting. It would seem to a disinterested outsider, that the petitioners were asking for only justice and fair play in this matter. Some of the settlers in this part of Taylor county have lived there for twenty years, and have cleared up as fine farms as can be found in any part of Taylor county. This they have done while laboring under great disadvantages in having to build their own roads. Not a dollar of public money has been expended by the different towns for the opening up and constructing of public highways through this territory but the money derived from the highway taxes of this part of the town has been expended to help construct roads and bridges for the convenience of people in other parts of the town, to the disadvantage of those residing in the southwest part of the county. When the task falls upon the home seeker alone to build roads through this vast forest, very few, if any, care to take up a home under these disadvantages. It is a great undertaking at the best, for a home seeker to clear a farm in this county, without having personally to bear the additional expense of building roads and bridges, to be able to get to market, or even vote. The extending of the S. M. &P. Ry. to the north, and the building up of towns along it's line will be of inestimable value to the County of Taylor and it is strange that the county board and the people of Taylor county do not appreciate this fact, and do all they can to foster this growth and improvement. It seems to us as though, if this subject were better understood by the taxpayers and all good citizens who are interested in the building up an improvement of Taylor county, tiny would be heart and hand in helping along any project which would help all parts of Taylor county. It is currently reported that an appeal from the action of the board will be taken to the legislature for the formation of a new town and there can be little doubt if this is done, it will be successful as it will undoubtedly be endorsed by an overwhelming majority of the people of the county, and as both the senator and assemblymen representing the county are men fully (1/2 line is unreadable) interests of their constituents they will undoubtedly support it which will insure it's success.
RECOLLECTIONS BY HON. A. J. PERKINS
[Star News, Medford, Wis., June 23, 1905]
The Editor of the Star-News is pleased to announce that a series of historical articles is started in this issue. These articles will be written by the earliest settlers in this locality. Many of the pioneers of Taylor county have passed away or have moved to other states, and in all the years no attempt has ever been made to print a story of the early days. Medford, a city of 2,000 people, is built on ground that was part of northern Wisconsin's wilderness within memory of some of the first settlers. the forest have been cut-away for villages, and many beautiful farms tell the story of the pioneer's struggles to obtain a comfortable home. the article that will be published in the Star-News will be well worth preservation, by old residents and the new generation as well. Hon. A. J. Perkins writes the first article dealing wholly with the history of 1873 to 1876. He will have other papers on later years within a few weeks.
Mr. Perkins has been a resident of Medford for twenty-nine years. He is a native of Windsor county, Vermont, having been born there December 27, 1830. He and his wife came to Wisconsin in !853 and located in Jefferson count, where he taught school. In 1859 he was Superintendent of Schools in the township of Jefferson for one year. A little later he went to Waupaca county and ran a saw mill from 1865 to 1874. He was elected clerk of Waupaca county in 1874 and served two terms. In 1876 he came to Medford and engaged in the real estate and abstract business, continuing until 1884, when he was elected County Clerk, and he re-elected two years later. At the expiration of his second term he engaged in the flour and feed business with his son Frank, and has been in that business continuously since, Mr. Perkins has the honor of being the first mayor of the city of Medford, being elected in April, 1880, and re-elected a year later. He was a member of the state legislature in the session of 1892 - 3, representing the assembly district comprising Taylor, Oneida, Price and Vilas counties. He refused to run for a second term. The people seem never to have failed to elect Mr. Perkins for a second term in any office when they could secure his consent. Although he is five years past the milestone of "three score years and ten," Mr. Perkins makes regular trips every day to the place of business and takes an interest in business affairs in spite of physical infirmities.
Events of the Seventies in Taylor County, The Beginnings by the Pioneers.
Taylor county was organized by the Legislature on the 4th day of March, A. D. 1875. The territory was taken from Chippewa, Clark, Lincoln and Marathon counties. The county was organized as one township, Medford, at which place the county seat was located. The first officers of the county were appointed by the Governor, Wm. E. Taylor, and were: E. R. Prink, Judge; F. A. Healy, County Treasurer; Alfred Dodge, County Clerk; W. B. Jeffers, Register of Deeds; W. E. Lockerby, Clerk of the Circuit Court; J. K. Parish, District Attorney; E. C. Thomas, Sheriff; O. N. Lee, Superintendent of Schools, and A. D. Lunt, Surveyor.
The first entry of government land in the territory belonging to Taylor county was made by Henry Corwith, of Chicago, at the Eau Claire land Office, June 1, 1867.
The Wisconsin Central R. R. was built through the county in 1873 and 1874. As soon as the road was completed there were saw mills at Stetsonville, Little Black, Medford, Whittlesey, Chelsea and Westboro. In all probability if the road had not been built the county would be a wilderness today.
The first house built in the county was a log house by A. E. Harder on the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of section thirty-four, township thirty-one, range one east. He left the county in the spring of 1877 with his family for Black Hills.
John Turner built a hotel about the same time at Little Black, out of hemlock bark. It was a transient hotel and went along with the railroad construction.
The first store was built by J. A. King from Fond du Lac, formerly from Rhode Island.
The first saw mill was built at Medford by James Semple from Oshkosh, who soon afterwards took in T. C. Whelen, from Ft. Howard, as a partner. Semple died in September, 1874. T. C. Wheelen died in September, 1876. Stetson built the mill in Stetsonville; Watermelon at Little Black; A. Taylor at Chelsea, and John Duncan at Westboro.
The first child born in Medford was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Jeffers. She only lived about four weeks. This also was the first death. The first marriage was between Geo. F. Matterson and Mary E. Carr, both of the town of Medford, by Judge Prink, on the 3rd day of April, 1875. The first school taught was a private school by W. E. Lockerby. The first sermon was preached in a boarding house at the saw mill of James Semple, by Mrs. Pitcher, from Colby, Methodist. The first religious society formed was Methodist, at the village of Medford. The first regular preacher was the Rev. Mr. Woodley, Methodist. The first church edifice erected was the Catholic, in the village of Medford, in 1877. Their first priest located at Medford was Father Schutelhoffer. The first law firm was Ogden & Adams. They were from Waupaca, followed by J. K. Parish and Chas. Cleaveland. The first newspaper published was the Taylor County News, by John A. Ogden, located at Medford and issued March 31, 1875.The next was the Taylor County Star, by Geo. A. Loope, published also at Medford; first issue March 18, 1876, Mr. Loope selling out to E. R. Prink, May 23, 1876.
Prior to the organization of the county the railroad company had platted and recorded in Chippewa and Clark counties, the villages of Medford, Chelsea and Westboro.
The town officers of Medford appointed by the Governor were: G. W. Adams, C. C. Palmer, Isaac Biscornet, who were the County Board. Their first meeting was held April 13, 1875. G. W. Adams, Chairman; Alfred Dodge, Clerk.
The board fixed the bonds of the county officers as follows: F. A. Healy, County Treasurer, $10,000.00; Alfred Dodge, County Clerk, $2,000.00.
Salaries fixed by the board: County Treasurer $250.00; County Clerk $250.00; Superintendent of Schools $150.00; County Judge $200.00; District Attorney $300.00.
At this time the question was upon the location of the court house. The railroad company offered the site where the court house now stands, and T. C. Whelen the block north of the school house on the west side of the river. The County Board accepted the site offered by the railroad company, block 5, as per plat of the city of Medford. This was on May 31, 1875. The contract for clearing the grounds was let C. Danielson for $300.00.
September 30th they organized the towns of Westboro, Chelsea and Little Black and authorized them to hold their town elections on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in April, 1876. October 5, 1875, the board let the contract for building the first bridge in the county, which was across Silver Creek in the newly organized town of Westboro, to M. E. Coe for $395.00. First payment on the contract was $125.00 out of the drainage fund.
At the judicial election in April, 1875, there were 185 votes cast.G. S. Park received 52; J. O. Raymond 133.
At the general election 1875, 183 votes were cast. Wm. R. Taylor for Governor received 93; Harrison Ludington 90.
County officers elected were: Henry Grant, Sheriff; W. B. Jeffers, Register of Deeds; F. A. Healy, County Treasured; J. K. Parish, District Attorney; Alfred Dodge, County Clerk; T. G. Jeffers, Clerk of Circuit Court; H. Ripley, Surveyor; R. Peterson, Coroner.
RECOLLECTIONS BY PAT H. MULLALEY
[Medford Star-Times, Medford, Wisconsin, July 14, 1905]
Mr. Mullaley was born on county Meath, Ireland, September 17, 1848, and came with his parents to America in 1849. They lived for a while in Lockport, N. Y. , coming to Wisconsin in 1856. They located for a while in Horicon, Wis., and then moved to Oshkosh in 1858.
He is a veteran of the Civil War. He with his father and brother served on Company C, 17th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers. He saw a great deal of active service and after the war located in Fond Du Lac, Wis. He came to Medford in September 1873, with G. W. Norton, who had a contract to furnish ties for the W. C. Ry. Co. His tie camp was four miles north of Medford.
Mr. Mullaley was married in Fond Du Lac to Miss Mary A. Coyne, a school teacher in that place, on May 18, 1876.
In the early days he used to do considerable lumbering, but of late years he has given all his attention to his farm which joins the city on the north. He is one of Taylor county's prosperous dairy farmers. Medford has been his home for thirty-two years.
He has spent very little of his time in politics. In 1876 he was deputy sheriff, under Henry Grant. A few years ago he ran for sheriff as an independent Democrat, but did not succeed in pulling down the plum.
Events of the Seventies in Taylor County, The Beginnings by the Pioneers.
When I came to Medford in 1873 all there was of the present city was a sign-board and a water tank; on the sign-board was written "Medford, Sec. 67." 67 miles north of Stevens Point. The railroad at that time was complete as far as Chelsea.
The first public school taught in Medford was by Mr. Maurice Murphy, of Winneconne.
The first clothing store was started by J. Shapiro & Blumberg.
The first meat market by Sam Allen,but it did not last long, for wild game and porkies were too plenty. The first hotel built in Medford was built by Silas Bussell, February, 1874. It was the first building I ever saw sided with shingles. It was called the Black River House. The first saloon was kept by Paddy Miles on the hill back of Carsten's block. At that time the R. R. Co. would not give a deed of a lot for saloon purposes or carry any liquor if they knew it. It was situated among wind-falls and slashings, and it was very inconvenient for the boys to get there; but it was more inconvenient for some of them to get back.
The first barber shop was started by Jim Houston, better known as "Nigger Jim, the barber." The first doctor that came to Medford came on a special train from Grand Rapids to see a Mrs. Bigger, who was very ill. The first one located here was Dr. S. B. Hubbell from Fon Du Lac.
The first shoe-makers shop was started in Charley LaClair's saloon, by Nick Schaffer. There Nick made my wedding boots _ the reason I know so well, it cost me more to wet the boots than it did for making the. It was not long until Nick had a building of his own, where he did a flourishing business.
The first Circuit Court in Medford was held in LaClair's hall over the saloon. It was built on the ground now occupied by Nick Bauer's saloon. It was presided over by Judge Parks, of Stevens Point.
The first criminal case tried in Medford was a change of venue from Clark county to Taylor county, two men being charged with burning a barn. At that time there was no jail in the county, so the prisoners were shackled and chained together and kept in a hotel when not in court. One was convicted, the other acquitted. I had charge of them during the trial, so when the trial was over I took them to the engine room of the saw mill and Engineer Jim Shannon cut the chain, and the link he cut is in my possession now. Sheriff Henry Grant took one convict to state's prison and the other went his way. The first suit tried in Medford for assault and battery was John Brietzmann, plaintiff, and E. R. Prink, defendant.
The first man arrested in Medford for stealing was a stranger that came to town one evening and stole a pair of boots from Dodge & Healy's store. It was late in the evening when he was arrested, so the trial was put off until next morning. Constable Mike Hurley took him in charge until morning; took him to his room that night for safe keeping. When Mike woke up in the morning, his prisoner, trousers, watch and boots were gone, so Mike wrapped a quilt around himself, went down to the foot of the stairs and made known to the landlord what had happened. As soon as he could procure the necessary outfit he took to the woods and did not return until his friends had partly forgotten his misfortune.
The first special election held in Taylor county was in 1875. At that time there was a dispute among the people where the Court House should be located. The R. R. Co. donated the present site and T. C. Whelen, the man who owned the mill, donated the block opposite the White school house on the west side.
To settle the dispute there was a special election called to decide on which place it should be built. It was carried by a big majority to have it built on the block donated by T. C. Whelen. The building was started and the frame was up when an injunction was served on the builders and the work stopped, and for some reason against the will of the majority of the voters it was built on the present site.
The next special election shortly after was to bond or give a bonus for thirty thousand dollars to help build a railroad from Chippewa Falls running east through Medford. It was carried by a large majority but the railroad was never built.
The first public meeting that I attended in Medford was in June, 1874. It was called for the purpose of petitioning the government for a post office and post master. We met on a flat car that was standing on the side track and Silas Bussell was chairman of the meeting. He called the meeting to order and told us what it was for, so we all signed the petition and it took effect.
Before we had a post office we would post our letters wherever we were working along the line on the railroad track. About train time any of the boys who had a letter to mail would go out and cut a stick about 6 feet long, split the end of it and insert the letter in the stick, and when the train came along we would get close to the track, hold up the stick with the letter on it and some of the train men would reach out and grab the stick, and away went the letter, stick and all. The mail would be addressed: "Wisconsin Central, Sec. 71, via Stevens Point." Sec. 71 was 4 miles north of Medford where we had our camp. When there was a depot built at Medford and a station agent there we would have our mail come to Medford, Sec. 67. Every mile from Stevens Point was numbered.
The first religious meeting I attended in Medford was in June, 1874, in the waiting room of the depot. The minister was from the southern part of the state _ Methodist. After meeting we all went back to our boarding house resolved to be better boys.
The first fire company was organized in 1875, and was known as the bucket brigade. We used buckets instead of hose. Mike Ryan was captain, Frank Healy Chief Engineer. The first house burned was owned by Mike Cranny; that was before the bucket brigade was organized.
The first man who died in Medford was a Mr. Bravere, and as we had no cemetery then, E. R. Prink gave us the privilege of burying him on his land, which is now known as the City Farm, north of Medford. There being no traveled roads we took the remains on a push car half a mile north on the track and then carried him a half mile east through the woods and buried him on the southeast corner of the farm.
The first engineer that pulled the train through Medford was Abe Gilbert, of Oshkosh, in July, 1873.
The first frame barn was erected in Medford was by A. J. Perkins on his farm now part of the city.
The first brass band that came to Medford came with a show in June, 1877; on that evening my wife and I were sitting outside watching the dog and cat play. At the sound of the music the dog and cat took to the woods. The former stayed away two days and the cat never returned _ no doubt she is going yet. The first circus came to town about the same time. Their tent was on the lots back of the Manitowoc House. We all took in the circus and had a good time, except a few of the boys who were roped in on the soap trick.
The first dance held in Medford was in 1874 on the Fourth of July, held in John Bigger's building, now known as the Bodle House. There were two girls and three married women; boys were substituted by tying a handkerchief around the boy's arms. We all had a jolly time and went home with the girls in the morning. On the Fourth of July, 1876, we held our first picnic in the woods on Broadway on the corner near the Sprague property. Hoe I remember this so well, Mrs. A. A. Gearhart, then Miss Coyne, was teaching in Chelsea and came down to spend the Fourth with us. Mr. A. A. Gearhart came down the next day to take Miss Coyne to the picnic. The road being in poor condition for pedestrians we decided to take the only conveyance we had, so I yoked up Buck and Bright, hitched onto the jumper and away we went rejoicing. We got about half way when the hind spring of the jumper broke and hay wire being unknown in this country then we tied the spring up with leather wood and got to the picnic without further accident. I noticed that they were all having a good time especially our young lawyer J. K. Parish, who was cutting quite a swell among the ladies.
Frank Brodowsky was treating the ladies to lemonade and if I am not mistaken Mike Ryan was floor manager and if I remember right A. J. Perkins was prompter. billy Fry furnished the music with a violin. Billy used to pay for all the big dances and John Razor Strap for the little shin digs. John had one tune he could play perfectly and that was 'Old Dan Tucker" _ would play the same tune all night for a change.
[The Taylor County Leader, Medford, Wisconsin, Thursday, April 26, 1923]
Following are reminiscences written by Mr. Pat Mullaley many years ago and published at that time. Before the death of Mr. Mullaley we asked him to write his reminiscences for us which he agreed to do. His illness and death prevented him from fulfilling his promise and in response to this request Mrs. Mullaley handed us the following which is of interest to us old timers as well as to the later generation of young people and we are more than glad to have the opportunity of placing before our readers these reminiscences pertaining to the history of the county. We would suggest that the history of the county which we are publishing from time to time be kept in a scrap book for future reference.
" When I came to Medford in 1873 all there was of the present city was a signboard and a water tank; on the signboard was written "Medford, Sec. 67 miles north of Stevens Point". The railroad at that time was completed as far as Chelsea.
The first public school taught in Medford was by Mr. Maurice Murphy of Winneconne. The first clothing store was started by Sam Allen, but it did not last long for wild game and porkies were to plenty.
The first hotel built in Medford was built by Silas Bussell, February, 1874. It was the first building I had ever seen sides with shingles. It was called the Black River House. The first saloon was kept by Paddy Miles on the hill back of Carsten's Block. At that time the railroad company would not give a deed to a lot for saloon purposes or carry any liquor if they knew it. It was situated among the windfalls and slashings, and it was very inconvenient for the boys to get there; but it was more inconvenient for them to get back.
The first barber shop was started by Jim Houston, better known as "Nigger Jim, the barber". The first doctor that came to Medford came on a special train from Grand Rapids to see Mrs. Bigger, who was very ill. The first one to locate here was Dr. S.B. Hubbel from Fond du Lac.
The first shoemakers shop was started in Charley LeClair's saloon by Nick Schaffer. There Nick made my wedding boots - the reason I know so well it cost me more to wet the boots than it did for making them. It was not long before Nick had a building of his own, where he did a flourishing business.
The first circuit Court in Medford was held in LeClair's hall over the saloon. It was built on the ground now occupied by Nick Bauer's saloon (this building is now occupied by the Stimm Bros. as a barber shop). It was presided over by Judge Parks of Stevens Point. The first criminal case tried in Medford was a change of venue from Clark County, two men being charged with burning a barn. At that time there was no jail in the county, so the prisoners were shackled together and kept in a hotel when not in court. One was convicted, the other acquitted. I had charge of them during the trial, so when the trial was over I took them to the engine room of the saw mill and engineer Jim Shannon cut the chain, and the link he cut is still in my possession. Sheriff Henry Grant took the convicted man to state's prison and the other went his way. The first suit tried in Medford for assault and battery was John Breitzman, plaintiff, and E. Prink, defendant. The first man arrested was a stranger that came into town one evening and stole a pair of boots from Dodge and Healy's store. It was late in the evening when he was arrested, so the trial was put off until morning. Constable Mike Hurley, took him to his room that night for safe keeping. When Mike woke up in the morning, his prisoner, trousers, watch and boots were gone, so Mike wrapped a quilt around himself, went down to the foot of the stairs and made known to the landlord what had happened. As soon as he could procure the necessary outfit he took to the woods and did not return until his friends had partly forgotten his misfortune.
The first special election held in Taylor county was in 1875. At that time there was a dispute among the people where the court house should be located. The railroad company donated the present site and T.C. Wheelen, the man who owned the mill, donated the block opposite the white school house on the west side of the river.
To settle the dispute there was a special election called to decide on which place it should be built. It was carried by a big majority to have it built on the block donated by Mr. Wheelen. The building was started and the frame up when an injunction was served on the builders and the work stopped, and for some reason against the will of the voters it was built on the present site.
The next special election shortly after was to bond or give a bonus for thirty thousand dollars to help build a railroad from Chippewa Falls running east through Medford. It was carried by a large majority but the railroad was never built.
The first public meeting that I attended in Medford was in June, 1874. It was called for the purpose of petitioning the government for a post office and postmaster. We met on a flat car that was standing on the side track and Silas Bussell was the chairman of the meeting. He called the meeting to order and told us what it was for, so we signed the petition and it took effect.
Before we had a post office we would post our letters wherever we were working along the line on the railroad track. About train time any of the boys who had a letter to mail would cut a stick about 6 feet long, split the end of it and insert the letter in the stick, and when the train came along we would get close to the track, hold up the stick with the letter on it and some of the train men would reach out and grab the stick and away went the letter, stick and all. The mail would be addressed, "Wisconsin Central, Sec. 71, via Stevens Point." Sec. 71 was 4 miles north of Medford where we had our camp. When there was a depot built at Medford and a station agent there we would have our mail come to Medford Sec. 67. Every mile from Stevens Point was numbered.
The first religious meeting I attended in Medford was in June, 1874, in the waiting room of the depot. The minister was from the southern part of the state and was a Methodist. After the meeting we all went back to our boarding house resolved to be better boys.
The first fire company was organized in 1875, it was known as the bucket brigade. We used buckets instead of hose. Mike Ryan was captain, Frank Healy Chief Engineer. The first house burned was owned by Mike Cranny. That was before the bucket brigade was organized.
The first man who died in Medford was a Mr. Bravere, and as we had no cemetery then, E.R. Prink gave us the privilege of burying him on his land which is now known as the City Farm, north of the city. There being no traveled roads we took the remains on a push cart half a mile on the track and then carried him half a mile east through the woods and buried him on the southeast corner of the farm.
The first engineer that pulled the train through Medford was Abe Gilbert, of Oshkosh, in July, 1873.
The first frame barn was erected in Medford by A.J. Perkins, on his farm now a part of the city.
The first brass band that came to Medford came with a show in June, 1877; on that evening my wife and I were sitting outside watching the dog and cat play. At the sound of the music the dog and the cat took to the woods. The former stayed away two days and the cat never returned, no doubt she is going yet. The first circus that came to town was about the same time. Their tent was on the lots back of the Manitowoc House. We all took in the circus and had a good time except a few of the boys who were roped in on the soap trick.
The first dance held in Medford was in 1874 on the Fourth of July, in John Bigger's building, now known as the Bodle House. There were two girls and three married women; girls were substituted by tying a handkerchief around the boys arms. We all had a jolly time and went home with the girls in the morning. On the Fourth of July, 1876, we held our first picnic on Broadway on the corner near the Sprague property. How I remember this so well, Mrs. A.A. Gearhart, then Miss Coyne, was teaching in Chelsea and came down to spend the Fourth with us. Mr. A.A. Gearhart came down the next day to take Miss Coyne to the picnic. The road being in poor condition for pedestrians we decided to take the only conveyance we had, so I yoked up Buck and Bright, hitched onto a jumper and away we went rejoicing. We got about half way when the spring of the jumper broke and hay wire being unknown in this country we tied the spring up with leather wood and got to the picnic without further accident. I noticed that they were all having a good time especially our young lawyer, J.K. Parish, who was cutting quite a swell among the ladies.
Frank Browdosky was treating the ladies to lemonade and if I am not mistaken, Mike Ryan was the floor manager and A.J. Perkins was prompter. Billy Fry used to play for all the big dances and John Razor Strop for the shin dings. John had one tune he could play perfectly and that was "Old Dan Tucker" and would play the same tune all night for a change.
The first drug store started in Medford was by Dr. S.B. Hubbell and George Phelps.
The first furniture store was by W.D. Smith. There he made the coffin that the first man who died in Medford was buried in - Mr. Bravere. Also from him I bought my furniture to go housekeeping when I got married.
I always remember the mill company's old log boarding house which was built south of the well in the mill yard. In the summer of 1875 I boarded there and a finer and jollier crew of men I never got acquainted with. There were comic singers , sentimental singers, clog and jig dancers. Many were the pleasant evenings we spent sitting on the benches in front of the building singing songs, telling stories, while others were inside dancing jigs and clog dancing and others out in the saw dust wrestling and jumping. We were sometimes joined by the section men, whose camp was a short distance south of us. Among them was the late Jerry Haggerty. Haggerty took a leading part in the singing. Mike Ryan at that time was head sawer at the mill and was leader of the singers. Jim Geraty had charge of the jig and clog dancers. Pete Doyle was our millwright and lent his part in the entertainment by a good story now and then of times in Canada. Ed Wheelock looked after the shingle packers and he used to help to entertain the crowd as an orator. Sunday was our longest and busiest day. As we had no laundry here then there would be some of the crew washing, some mending their clothes, some writing to their sweethearts, others hunting and fishing, etc. At that time the late Joseph Morrow and his wife had charge of the boarding house. Their hospitality and geniality were unequaled, and they were held in high esteem by all the boarders.
The first time the Stars and Stripes floated over Medford was from a flag pole nailed to the gable end of the saw mill and lowered at half mast in honor of T.C. Wheelen, the man who owned the mill, whose funeral took place in Green Bay on that day, September 15, 1876. It was a dark day for Medford for it had lost one of its best citizens. He was a man who had the welfare of Medford and its people at heart. He was a man of ability and energy, and was very public spirited and took great interest in public affairs pertaining to Taylor County and Medford.
I might say the same of James Semple, who came to Medford on the 10th of March, 1874, with his crew from Oshkosh. With 3 feet of snow on the ground the men broke ground for the first mill in Taylor County. He died that same year and that was also a big loss to Medford.
The first horse race held in Taylor County was at Medford between Gray Eagle, owned by Chas. Squires, and Plowboy, owned by myself, on Main St., from Mike Grad's corner (now owned by Drost's Bros.) to Shapiro's corner. Charley Beebe rode Gray Eagle and Johnny McCarthy rode Plowboy. It was a close race, and Gray Eagle was gaining when McCarthy reigned Plowboy in close to Gray Eagle and ran her against the railing of the town pump, which was then in front of what is now Newberg's store. Plowboy won the race and Squires said it was an Irish trick, but the judges said it was alright.
The first bear that I remember being killed in Taylor County was killed by John McCarty, Martin Van Hougel and Fred Norton. While looking over some timber near Whittlesey, they discovered the bear in an old camp. As none of them had a gun they held a council of war, and it was agreed that John and Martin would go inside ands give battle while Fred remained outside to keep the door barred until they killed the bear. So each one got a club and stepped inside and the battle raged fearful for half an hour when McCarty got in a right and broke his front leg and Martin soon after got in a left and broke the other, thus disabling the bear so the battle was easily finished, but none too soon for the assailants were nearly exhausted. It was then Fred opened the door and the heroes came forth.
FOUND A SON
[The Daily Huronite, Huron South Dakota, April 28, 1893, page 3]
Sequel to an Indian Kidnapping In Wisconsin
Manitowoc, Wis., April 28.—About 10 years ago the two young children of Thomas Schleiss, a well-to-do farmer residing near Medford, a boy and girl aged 5 and 7 years respectively, were lost while on their way after the cows. Searching parties were sent out, but no trace of the little ones could be discovered. It seems now, however, that they had been stolen by Indians, as the boy has turned up a few miles north of the village of Meshicott, this county, where he has been working on a farm. The farmer, who was acquainted with the case at the time, learned through a conversation who the boy was. He speaks fluently in the Indian language, but very poor English. His parents, who stilled reside near Medford, have been notified of the discovery of their long lost son. The young man cannot remember what became of his sister.
SETTLERS IN COUNTY IN EARLY SEVENTIES
[The Taylor County Leader, Medford, Wis., September 10, 1925]
The following is the list of names of those of our early settlers who came here in the 70's and are still living in the county and who registered at headquarters.
Peter Liberty, one of our earliest pioneers and one of the county's first officers (elected assessor at the first election held in Taylor County in 1875) unfortunately, was unable to be with us on account of illness. Since coming to Taylor county this county has always been home and for 50 years he has lived on the homestead which is still his home. Mr. Liberty has looked forward with much pleasure to this Home Coming and it was very much of a disappointment not only to him but all our "old timers" that he could not be with us.
Peter Liberty, 1874
P.C. Anderson, 1873
August Anderson, 1875
Mrs. Mary Erickson, 1876
Anna Hull, 1876
John Peterson, 1872
Mrs. Julius Hurtienne, 1877
F. X. Bauer, 1879
Mrs.Chas. Fahrenbach, 1879
Frank Herbst, 1876
Mrs. J. B. Rankin, 1873
Mrs. John Cullen, 1875
James Peterson, 1878
Mrs. Joseph. Hibbard, 1875
Mrs. R. Rudolph (Louisa Claviter), 1875
Ella Underhill Coldbath, 1879
Fred Harris, 1876
Joe Hirsch, 1878
V. J. Hirsch, 1878
John Herbst, 1875
Frank W. Smith, 1879
Mrs. S. F. Harris, 1876
Nick Kleutsch, Sr., 1879
Joana Estella Hanifin Doyle, 1876
James Wocelka, 1874
Mrs. Frank Wocelka, 1875
Gust Lupinsky, 1878
Mrs. Louise Cullen, 1876
M. W. Ryan, 1874
Joseph. Forst, 1875
Mr. and Mrs. T.H. Fredricks, 1878
Peter Annen, 1875
Frank Wocelka, 1875 (born here)
Mrs. C. A. Andresen, 1875
H. M. McCumber, 1879
F. McCumber, 1879
Margaret M. Ryan, 1875
Mrs. G. W. Adams, 1877
Mrs. Pat Mullaley, 1872
G. W. Adams, 1874
A. A. Gearhart, 1874
Mrs. Mary Brown, 1874
K. J. Urquhart, 1876
Geo. Hamm, 1878
Mrs. John Holzman, 1877
Mrs. John Welch, Chelsea, 1875
Mrs. Carrie J. Hebert, Chelsea, 1875
Mrs. Minnie Smith Ferdon, 1879
Hattie L. Perkins, 1878
Mrs. Laura E. Stimm, 1876
Mrs. Mamie Taggart Simerson, 1878
Edward. Faude, 1875
J. M. Zenner, 1879
Mrs. Lawrence Johnson, 1874
Mrs. John Kuse, 1878
Mrs. Adam Christman, 1876
Mrs. John J. Kuse, 1876
F. W. Zelke, 1879
Mrs. F. W. Zielke, 1877
E. F. Hull, 1876
E. L. Urquhart, 1876
W. E. Hibbard, 1879
Edwin Murray, 1879
Emery Fountaine, 1877
Elizabeth Schaefer Grant, 1879
Joseph Schaefer, 1876
J. C. Hoffman, 1877
Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Boeckler, 1878
A. J. Emmett, Westboro, 1873
Mrs. Laura Anderson, 1876
Mrs. Nick Bauer, 1878
Earl Packard, 1879
Mr. and Mrs. Otto Nelson, 1875
Lionel L. Urquhart, 1878
Oscar N. Nystum, 1876
Mrs. Johanna Billings, 1874
Mrs. Nick Gustafson, 1874
Wm. Allmann, 1878
Aug. J. Ruesch, 1877
Wm. Hull, 1876
Peter J. Olson, 1878
May Pitzke, 1878
Wm. Johnson, 1879
Adam Allman, 1878
Mrs. Gust Lupinsky, 1878
Mrs. Raymond Kuenne, 1879
Mrs. Minnie Brodowsky, 1876
Wm. Smith, 1879
John Raths, 1878
Phillip Schupp, 1875
Herman Salzwedel, 1877
Olga Andresen, 1875
J. W. Allman, 1878
E. F. Schief, 1879
Aurelius J. Adams, 1874
Frank Zuleger, 1879
Aurelius J. Adams, Jr., 1877
Mrs. M. Zimmerman, 1879
Mrs. T. Brost, 1875
F. W. Ziehlke, 1879
Mrs. Fred Ramm, 1876
Otto Zuleger, 1875
John Riemer, 1879
Mrs. E. E. Campbell, Westboro, 1879
Mrs. E. Fountain, 1879
Mrs. W. Hibbard, 1879
Frank X. Brodowsky, 1876
Mrs. Vincent Hirsch, Sr., 1874
Elizabeth Hoff Adams, Curtiss, 1878
Mrs. Louise Fredricks, Tonne, 1879
Mrs. J. E. Johnson, 1878
Frank Adams, 1874
Adam Christman, 1875
Mrs. Carrie Johnson Winther, 1874
E. L. Urquhart, 1878
Mrs. F. H. Draeger, 1874
Albert Bundick, 1878
Chas. Feske, 1877
John Fleishmann, 1876
Ernest Feske, 1877
Louis Anderson, 1879
Jac Frischman, 1878
Mrs. Thomas Lavin, 1878
Andrew Mann, 1876
John Steffick, Rib Lake, 1876
G. F. Bidwell, Westboro, 1877
John Slais, 1878
Francis Cullen, 1876
Henry Hempel, 1879
Mrs. John Frey, 1878
Mrs. Frank Shadrich, 1878
James Hansen, Chelsea, 1872
Wm. Frey, 1879
SOME TAYLOR COUNTY HISTORY BY E. L. URQUHART
[Published January 24, 1908 in the Medford Star News, Medford, Wisconsin]
E.L. Urquhart says that the winter of 1877-78 was just such a winter as this. He was living in Westboro and was employed by Duncan & Taylor as superintendent of logging, or as the title is in the woods, as "walking boss." Of course they were logging pine exclusively. When the snow failed to put in it's appearance, the company experimented with ice roads for the first time, and got in the logs from one of the three camps over the ice road. Original methods were used in making it. The men chopped ice out of the pond to a depth of 6 or 8 inches, not going down to the water. The ice was shoveled into boxes on sleighs and hauled to the logging roads and dumped. it was broken into fine pieces in the tracks for the sleigh runners. Then a water tank was run over the road. This tank was a big box on a logging sleigh. A 2-inch hole had been bored into the front of each rear runner. When they wanted the water to run they pulled the plugs from the holes. It was cold enough that the water froze every night. However, not a very big supply of logs was brought in that winter.
At the other two camps the logs were held on skids waiting for snow, which did not come. In the summer following a tramway was built and the logs within a mile and a half of the pond were hauled on that. Tram cars on concave wheels ran over a track made of 12 inch to 8 inch logs laid end to end and supported by ties.
The preceding winter there was snow until January, but none after that.
Mr. Urquhart was one of the earliest settlers in the county, having located in Westboro in 1876. He came from Oconto with his wife and one son Kenneth, (now a partner of E.H. Schweppe in law practice.) For six years Mr. Urquhart had been employed in the vicinity of Oconto by the Chicago and Northwestern Ry. Co., looking after their timber in regard to trespassers, etc. From 1865 (the year he came West) to 1870 he worked on the Muskegan river in Michigan. His marriage was in June 1874, at Fort Howard, Wis.
Camp living in the seventies was very common. Mr. Urquhart says. The camp buildings were of logs, of course, and the roofs were usually of scooped logs. The hours were very long. The teamsters were up between 3 and 4 a.m. and did not usually get in until 10 p.m. The wages ranged from $16 to $30. No money was paid during the winter except on very urgent occasion. The Westboro company paid its men off in money on April 1, or when camps broke up. It was custom on the Chippewa river to pay one-half the wages when camps broke, and time check for the other half which was payable on September 1. On the Black river the time checks for one-half were payable June 1 or July 1. The woodsmen did not fare so well at the camp boarding houses as they do now.
In 1880 Mr. Urquhart changed his place of residence from Westboro to Medford to become sheriff of Taylor county to which office he had been elected. The candidates on the democratic ticket were M.W. Ryan. Wm Seeger ran as an independent republican. Mr. Seeger was in the city for a visit last week.
Other public offices Mr. Urquhart has held are: Supervisor of the town of Westboro two years. In 1879, the second year, he was chairman of the county board. In 1889 he was elected to represent the city, and was chairman in the years 1890-1-2-3-4-5. Then he was off the board until 1898, and was again chairman in 1899-0-1. The three following years he was not a member of the board. When he again represented his ward in 1905 he was elected chairman again and has held the office to the present time. In 1890 he received the appointment of postmaster in Medford and served in that capacity for a four year term. He has been a member of the school board continuously since 1893. He was also mayor of the city for one term, from 1904 to 1906.
When Mr. Urquhart became a member of the county board in 1878 there were just four members to constitute that body: Himself representing the town of Westboro; T.B. McCourt, who was chairman and represented to town of Medford; Vincent Hirsch from Little Black; and H.C. Shearer from Chelsea. Each of these towns extended the full length of the county from east to west. The west end of the county had no settlers except three or four homesteaders in the town of Medford located near the Chippewa county line. Of these Cole McMaster is the only one who still lives there. Walter Bickmore, who was entitled to the distinction of being the only democrat in that part of the county for years, died there three or four years ago. His family still lives there. Others located in that vicinity in the 70's have since left the county.
At that time , in 1878, the following men held the county offices: Clerk, Peter Doyle; treasurer, W.W. Fry; district attorney, J.K. Parish; register of deeds, T.G. Jeffers; clerk of court, Peter McCourt; sheriff, Dennis W. Nedham; county judge, George Phelps; coroner, Rasmus Peterson; under sheriff, M.W. Ryan.
From 1866 to 1890 Mr. Urquhart's principal business was cruising, surveying and estimating timber, always falling back to that vocation when other business became quiet.After locating in Medford, he occasionally went back to Westboro to do woods work, the last being 1889. For a few years he was engaged in the saw mill business at Little Black with Peter Doyle and others, but the business did not prove profitable. From 1880 to 1884 he was a partner of T.G. Jeffers in the abstract business. Since 1890 his attention has been given principally to the real estate and abstract work.
Mr. Urquhart describes Westboro as being a town of two hotels, three saloons, a company store, a mill, a depot, two or three residences and a school house, in 1876. W.H.Haight and C.C. Palmer kept the hotels. The two saloons not connected with the hotels were kept by Nelson Salvo and Peter Campbell. Duncan & Taylor owned the mill and the store. Of those buildings there still remain the old store, Campbell's saloon and a residence then owned by Mrs. Emmett, now Mrs. Allen. The other buildings have burned or were torn down. Of the people still living in Westboro who were there in 1879 there are : Antoine Fournie, Mrs. Sarah Allen and son, Alfred Emmet, the Alvin Pierce family, the Fred Mundt family and Frank Bonneville.
Mr. Urquhart first set foot upon Taylor county soil in August, 1870, but stayed only a short time. He came from Michigan in 1879 with other cruisers to estimate the Rust tract of timber in and about Westboro. They went in canoes up the Wisconsin river. Thence on the Spirit river till they were directly east of their destination. Then they left the half breed Indians who had pulled their canoe, and went afoot through the woods to Westboro. After finishing their work there, they started south, and camped at what was later known as Brown's spring, where the Medford Tannery is now located. At that time there was not a mark or blaze in this vicinity except the government survey made in 1885. The Wisconsin Central railway survey from Stevens Point to Spencer was made in 1871 and the following year it was surveyed through here and as far north as Worcester, Price county.
TAYLOR COUNTY TRAGEDY
[The Stevens Point Journal, Stevens Point, Wis., Sat, March 24, 1906]
Woodsman Shot With Winchester and Killed
Men returning from the woods, says the Chippewa Herald, report a cold blooded tragedy that happened in Taylor county Sunday evening. From logging camps three miles north of the Jump river in Taylor county several men went to a resort several miles distant and arrived about seven o'clock that evening. After awhile one of the woodsmen, McGowan by name, got into an altercation with the proprietor. They fought and McGowan had the best of the fight when the proprietor drew a gun and shot off two of McGowan 's fingers.
The loggers then fled and two of them never stopped till they reached camp. After McGowan got a few rods away he saw he had left his cap and coat. He declared he would return and get them. But one of his companions attempted to dissuade him from it. Fearlessly McGowan retraced his steps to the door of the resort and demanded his hat and coat, requesting that the owner throw them out and he would go away. Just then the door opened.
The proprietor with an oath demanded, "Is that you, McGowan?" Upon receiving an affirmative reply he leveled a Winchester rifle and fired three times, hitting McGowan in the head and breast. The victim staggered back and dropped dead. His companions ran to camp and spread the news of the cold blooded deed. A crowd of excited woodsman was soon collected and went to the scene. McGowan was found dead in his tracks. The place was deserted for the proprietor and his supposed wife had fled to Ingram and taken the train for Ladysmith.
The pair were apprehended at Ladysmith Monday morning and jailed. The dead one was left lying where he was shot from 9:30 Sunday night till Monday night until a coroner's inquest could be held by the Taylor county authorities. Ladysmith people were greatly stirred by the happening and numerous threats of lynching were made at that place. Tho officers and cooler councils prevailed and kept the peace. McGowan is from Hudson, and was about 35 years of age.
[Eau Claire, Wisconsin, published April 1, 1896]
They that live there consider it as destined to become the future garden spot of Wisconsin. This may be putting it a little strong, but the fine character of the land and the there, give promise of Taylor county being certainly one of the most prosperous of the new farming sections. Already the dairy industry has been established there. Fine wheat is raised; barley is made a specialty of, and oats and rye are produced in abundance. The astonishing thing about Taylor county is, that it is only within the last few years that the strength of the hemlock lands and the general fertility of the timber land has come to be appreciated. Those who have lived in Taylor county, and in any of the northern counties, have understood this; but so completely has the timber belt of Wisconsin been dominated by the pine lumber industry that little or no attention has been paid to the possibilities of the soil.
Taylor county is situated in what may be termed the northern central portion of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Central railroad passes through the center of it, from north to south. The larger part of the farmers who have settled there have located very naturally within ten or twelve miles of the railway but during the last three or four years the tan bark industry developed by the establishment of tanneries has built up several active and prosperous settlement a greater distance west from the railway, and now good farms with large clearings can be found as far as twenty miles west of the railroad.
The growth of Taylor county has not been of the boom kind. It has developed very steadily, and almost the entire increase is in the farming element. In 1885, the population of the county was something over 5,000. The last state census shows the population to be now about 8,500, At least three-fourths of the increase is in the farming element, there being very little disposition to settle in the towns.
There are a number of prosperous settlements along the railroad, including Stetsonville, Little Black, Whittlesey, Chelsea and Westboro. Medford is the county seat, and has a population of 1,600, and is a modern, enterprising little city. They have a large tannery, two saw-mills and an excelsior factory. The high school building and the court-house would reflect credit on many older and larger towns, while a magnificent hotel has just been completed that cannot be surpassed in but few cities in the state.
The town of Rib Lake, which is situated about seven miles to the east (on a spur-track) of the main line of the railroad, is a very thrifty and prosperous town, which was built up originally around the large lumber industry of J. J. Kennedy. A few years ago the Shaw Leather Co., which owns and operates half a dozen tanneries in Taylor and Price counties, established a tannery at Rib Lake, and this tannery and the lumber industry support a population of about 1,200, while settlers are opening small farms in the vicinity by the score.
Some of the most remarkable development of what was known as swamp land in the timber section of Wisconsin has been made in the neighborhood of Rib Lake, where tamarack swamps have been revolutionized in a few years into the richest grain fields.
Taylor county is known as the, great hemlock county of the state. Nowhere else in the state can so much hemlock of so fine a quality be found; and every acre of this hemlock land is fertile and capable of producing fine crops of all the small grains, as well as the best of root crops.
Every farmer in the county secures a ready cash market for every log of hemlock lumber and every cord of bark as well as for all the hemlock ties he can furnish, and at the sawmills, of which there are many, for all the hardwood logs he can produce.
Taylor county is comparatively level. It contains some swamp land, but there is hardly any of this but what can be improved. It is absolutely free from barren hills and mud swamps. The soil is generally heavy loam, with clay subsoil, the loam being, on the average, over six inches deep. This character of soil, as all know who have worked it, retains moisture well, so that such a thing as failure of crops from drought has never been known in Taylor county.
The drainage of the county consists of the Rib river, which empties into the Wisconsin; the Jump, Yellow and Fisher rivers, the Black river and Silver creek. These streams drain more or less directly into the Mississippi.
All cereals are produced in large quantities in Taylor county, but the root crops seem to excel all others. Potatoes yield enormously. The ease with which new grasses can be raised throughout the entire county, and fodder of all kinds, marks the county as a great future dairy center. Thousands of tons of timothy are cut every year from land which has never seen the plow; and, in fact, many farmers raise their first two or three crops without using the plow at all, simply clearing the land, sow the grain or plant their root crops, and the yield is quick and enormous.
The people of Taylor county pride themselves on their schools. There are in the county almost seventy-five public schools, besides a large number of Lutheran and Catholic parochial schools. The whole number of children between the ages of four and twenty in the county, according to recent census, is something over 3,000
STATE DEATH LIST IN TORNADOES CUT TO 45
[Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, September 24, 1924, page 1 (by Associated Press)]
Red Cross Joins With Local Communities In Providing Aid For Injured And Homeless.
St. Paul, Minn., Sept 24 - Revision of the death list in the tornadoes of Sunday in Wisconsin cut the number of deaths today from 54 to 45.
Confusion in the spelling of foreign names and the temporary disappearance of some members of families caused the number of dead in Clark and Taylor counties to be placed at 28 while the actual death list shrank to 19 when verified reports were received.
Many Calls For Help
Chicago, Sept. 24 - Red Cross workers are extending relief in the Wisconsin district and many requests for help have been received, the Red Cross announced today.
Relief Is Rushed
Milwaukee, Sept. 24 - Money, food, doctors and relief workers went to the rescue of victims of the storm area in northern Wisconsin today where 45 persons lost their lives in a tornado last Sunday. Conservative estimates place property damage within a range of $1,500,000 to $2,000,000.
The American Red Cross headquarters at Washington, D.C. yesterday forwarded $3,000 to be used in relief work with the Eau Claire chapter of the same organization sending $600 to the area for emergency general relief. A drive for additional funds was underway at that place and in other cities of the affected area.
The central divisional headquarters of the Red Cross at Chicago has charge of the relief work in the storm area and is being fully cooperated with by chapters of Wisconsin and adjoining territory.
Medford Sends Help
Medford, Wis. - Medford relief work for the tornado stricken areas of Taylor county was underway here Tuesday under the joint supervision of Sheriff Frank Bauer, Mayor C.F. Luepka of Medford and the Taylor County Humane society.
Several automobiles loaded with clothing, foodstuffs and other necessities were dispatched throughout the county.
The death toll in Taylor county Tuesday morning was estimated by officials at 13, with the injured list running over 50.
While the tornado of Sunday cut a diagonal path across the county, it fortunately selected the least populous portion, or Taylor counties death rate might have been appalling.
Business men of Medford, led by the sheriff and the mayor, in six automobiles set out at daylight Monday to hew their way through blockaded roads following the path of the storm and calling on every farm house in the wake of the storm. Six persons were found injured and brought to Medford hospital.
The Medford men made arrangements with neighbors to take care of the property of families where none was left. Four extra nurses were procured for the hospital to care for the sudden influx of injured. The hospital, filled to overflowing, was compelled to rent rooms in hotels to accommodate the less seriously injured.
THE TRAIL OF A TRAMP
(The Daily Northwestern, published September 2, 1913)
Farmers Come from Kansas and Other States to Settle in Taylor County, Wisconsin.
(By The Northwestern's Man on the road.)
While hiking through the settled portions of Taylor county. The Tramp heard of a family that had recently moved from Kansan, and he decided to call upon this party and find out why people were coming from Kansas to Taylor county, Wis.
Going in the direction of the location of this party, The Tramp came to a mail box upon which was the name "A. Luther." The box was stationed along the road-side at a corner and the road penetrating the surrounding woods indicated that Mr. Luther's farm was some distance from the main road. Following the highway for a quarter of a mile, the tramp came to a good sized farm, having upwards of eighty acres of level land free from stumps and stones with woods surrounding on all sides.
The family was at home. The Tramp asked for a handout. "Sure you can have it," replied the lady of the house, and it being then nearly dinner time. The Tramp proceeded to interview Mr. Luther, whom he found to be a gentleman of perhaps forty years of age, by nationality a Swiss but born on the Island of Java, where his father held a position as surgeon in the government employ.
Mr. Luther was educated in the schools of Switzerland, and coming to America with a friend, located In Barber county, Kansas, about fifteen years ago, where he met with success in breeding horses, although in 1907 his entire property was swept away by a Kansas cyclone. But it was the heat of Kansas — 118 degrees In the shade — which finally determined Mr. Luther to change locations, and selling out his 180 acre farm In Kansas in the fall of 1912 he and Mrs, Luther, who Is evidently an American, took a trip to Switzerland where they spent the winter. Then, returning to America, he traveled over the greater part of Wisconsin and finally decided that Taylor county was an ideal county to live in and the farm which he had purchased was an ideal place, for it was located so far away from any neighbors that there was no trouble feared from the trespass of each other's stock, and so Mr. Luther purchased this farm and shipped his stock of horses from Kansas. and he is going to vary the dairy Industry of Taylor county by establishing a first class stud farm.
The farm is now equipped with fairly good farm buildings, but Mr. Luther contemplates repairing and enlarging all of them at once. Mr. Luther is a very intelligent and up-to-date farmer who can see the advantages of this part of the country, and he is not slow in saying that the farmers of Taylor county are twenty-five years behind the times.
The Tramp found Mr. and Mrs. Luther very hospitable and if more like them were to come to Wisconsin and develop the farms that are waiting to be developed, not only in Taylor county but in hundreds of other parts of the state, Wisconsin would soon become one of the most up-to-date agricultural states in the union.
Thanking Mr. and Mrs. Luther for their generous entertainment The Tramp proceeded on his way and found in other parts of the county settlers of all nationalities who have come within the last few months from all parts of the county and all satisfied with what they have found in Taylor county. There were families from Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, upper Michigan, southern Wisconsin, Indiana and other states, and through them others are going to come, and it won't be many years before the cheap lands of Taylor county all will be developed into the finest of farms.
Today It is safe to say that there are hundreds of farmers there who have been there for years, who are ready, willing and anxious to sell, and the prices asked are extremely reasonable considering the improvements included with their offerings. The trouble with them is that they do not appreciate what they have and if they sell and expect to better themselves in any part of the country they will find themselves greatly mistaken. but mankind is a discontented animal, and perhaps it is best that such is the case for otherwise he would settle down and never know what is going on in the world and finally become a fossilized fixture.
The Tramp did not go into Taylor county for the purpose of advertising Taylor county or any part of it. but after spending several days visiting all the principal towns in the county, he is pleased to say for the benefit of his fellow Tramps who are seeking to locate in some desirable part of the earth where it does not take a fortune to procure a home that they can do no better than to follow in the footsteps of —The Tramp.
BOAT TIPS, TWO LITTLE GIRLS DROWN
[The Sheboygan Press, Sheboygan, Wis., September 7, 1960]
Joan Baker, 7, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Baker, Route, 3, Tripoli, and her cousin, Sharon Madlon, 6, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leo Madlon, Jump River, drowned Tuesday in Pier Lake about 14 miles north of Tripoli in western Oneida County.
Joan and Sharon were playing in an old-flat bottomed boat with five other children after they had returned home from school. Sheriff Penny Drivas said the children were about 70 feet off shore when one of the other girls in the boat jumped into the water for a swim. When she attempted to climb back into the boat, Sheriff Drivas said, she caused it to tip and ship water. The boat then overturned.
Michael Baker, 12, tried to help his sister and Sharon to shore but lost them. Rene Baker, 3, was rescued by her sister, Linda, 13. The other children, who were not identified, swam to shore. Sheriff Drivas said the boat drifted ashore at the Baker home two days ago.
The bodies of Joan and Sharon were recovered.
UP THE CENTRAL
(The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, Oshkosh, Wis., March 8, 1876)
Taylor County and the Improvements in it, The County fast developing and New Villages Springing up
Taylor County is composed of twenty-eight towns taken from Chippewa, Marathon, and Lincoln counties, and was organized in March, 1875, containing as fine a tract of country as can be found in Northern Wisconsin; is well watered by numerous lakes and rivers, and possesses every facility for transportation. It ranks among the first in the northwest. The Wisconsin Central railroad runs nearly through the center, north and south, thus opening a great thoroughfare for transportation of lumber and farming produce. Roads are being cut at the expense of the county in various parts, thus enabling those settling in the interior access to the railroads and villages along the line. The timber consists of maple, beech, basswood, oak, pine, etc., such as usually found in our northern country. The soil is deep and rich, being a sandy loam, with clay subsoil. Vegetation of all kinds is forward in growth. The soil being warm and quick, all kinds of grain can be raised to good advantage, yielding abundantly. This county is very productive of grass, thus making it a good country for stock raising. All farm produce finds a ready market and a good price. Laboring men find plenty of employment, summer and winter. Although this county has but a short time been open to settlers, the rapidity with which villages have sprung up and lands been cleared, bespeaks for the county a prosperous future. The prices at which these lands are held, and the time upon which such lands can be purchased, bring them within reach of all. Among the fine villages along the line of the Wisconsin Central R.R. in Taylor county are Dorchester, Medford, Chelsea and Westboro. Medford, the county seat , is situated on Black River, 67 miles north of Stevens Point; is surrounded by a good farming country, and is rapidly increasing in population.
Medford, the county seat of Taylor county, is located near the center of the county, on Wisconsin Central Railroad, and on the east and west side of Black River. and upon a rolling tract of land, thus making it a pleasant and desirable place in which to locate. The lumbering interests of this town are represented by McCartney & Whelen, who have erected at this point a large sawmill, capable of cutting about 8,000,000 feet of lumber and 30,000,000 shingles during the season; also a large planing mill in connection with their sawmill.
The dry goods and grocery trade is represented by Dodge & Healy, McCarthy & Whelen, J.A. King, A. King, J. Donelson, Wheeler & Mildman, C.N. Lee & C0.; two shoe shops represented by E.W. Boyer and N. Shaffer.
The traveling community is accommodated at the First National, Messrs. La Claire & Fry, proprietors; and at the Central House by Wm. Sager, Proprietor.
The Taylor county News, a six column sheet, is published here weekly by Mr. John Ogden. This is a lively little sheet and is a credit to the proprietor.
The legal business is promptly attended by J.K. Parish, District Attorney, C.W. Cleveland, Ogden & Adams and S. Corning.
We have a fine school house, containing two departments, beautifully located. A large courthouse is being erected at this place. The town is already platted, containing large and commodious lots, which are held at reasonable prices and favorable terms. Building material convenient, and prices moderate. In fact, every inducement is offered to make it to the advantage of all to locate here.
This village is situated twelve miles north of Medford, on the Wisconsin Central railroad, in the vicinity of good farming lands, and surrounded by an excellent quality and large quantity of timber. At this place various branches of business are represented. A. Taylor has a commodious sawmill. Here dry goods and grocery stores, hotels, etc., are represented.
This is a new village among the rest, and is in a prosperous condition. It also has a fine saw mill, run by Evans & Co., who do a large business in the lumber trade. They have a mill at this place with a capacity to cut 200 M shingles and about 45,000 feet of lumber per day. There are a number of stores here, and almost every branch of business is represented. The lands in the vicinity of this town are good for farming purposes, and are being fast taken up and cleared.
UTOPIA IN WISCONSIN
Colonization Scheme Started In Taylor County, Forty Persons Settled On Tract Of Wild Land
Under the leadership of G. B. De Bernardi of Independence, Mo. They have constructed a large general camp - land covered with hemlock timber from which they expect to realize large returns - Bernardi explains the movement and the prospects of the new settlement.
Stetsonville, Wis., July 12 - In the township of Deer Creek, Taylor county, along the Wisconsin Central railway, about six miles from this place, there was recently located a colony of unemployed which proposes to work along the cooperative lines similar to those purposed by Eugene V. Debs and his associates. This colony numbers about forty members of different nationalities, a part of whom are married and have families. They have acquired about 200 acres of wild land and, as a family, have begun to work it with the ultimate object of one day possessing comfortable homes. They possess no religious ideas in common, each member being free to worship as he pleases. At present the colony is engaged in felling the hemlock timber and stripping it of it's bark, which is readily salable at the sole leather tannery at Medford, twelve miles away. Though they have been organized about six weeks and have been on the property only three weeks, they have erected a comfortable log camp house and generally provide for their comfort in living in so new a territory.
Followers of De Bernardi
The members of the colony are advocates and followers of the social ideas of G.B. De Bernardi of Independence, Mo., and their organization is known as branch No. 222 of the National Labor Exchange association of which De Bernardi is the founder and promoter. While the colony will follow the plan of De Bernardi in the main essential, it intends to depart from it wherever conditions require or where changes and alterations will contribute more to it's happiness or prosperity. The Bernardi cooperative scheme is said to possess followers in twenty-four states and that in these states there are 225 different colonies at work or being organized. It is the strongest in California. The first branch of the labor exchange was located in Milwaukee and the second Wisconsin colony near Stetsonville. Other colonies are in the process of formation near the Stetsonville people, while Douglas county advocates of the plan are considering the advisability of giving it a trial in that county.
Was organized on the quiet.
In Taylor county there are many farmers and business men who possess social ideas or one kind and another. In the same county some unemployed men were found and some of the ,ore progressive leaders conceived the idea of colonizing these unemployed men, or as many of them as were willing to enter such an arrangement as would be proposed, and put onto effect some of the social and cooperative ideas which they hold. The result was that recent meetings were held and out of them came the effort described. The formation of the colony was kept quiet because promoters and the members as well were uncertain as to how it would work and they did not care to give to the public the details of an association which in a short time might prove a failure. F.A. Beintker, an implement dealer at Stetsonville, was elected president of the colony and Vincent Storck, a farmer who resides near the village and the clerk of the town of Little Black, in Taylor county, was chosen secretary. The government to a certain extent rests in the hands of these two men. Beintker and Storck with others arranged for the purchase of the 200-acre tract of land, for which about $5 per acre was paid and turned it over to the colony. From the earnings of the colony these men will ultimately take back as much of the original capital subscribed to get the colony started as they care to, leaving a substantial interest in the association to their credit.
Under the rules of the Cooperative Labor exchange or society, money, labor, provisions or anything else required by the colonists may be contributed by any member. The advantage held out to the laborer is that under this arrangement the man who works secures an equal show in the final ownership of the colony assets as those who put in their money or who subscribe provisions.
They have their own money.
The colonists have their own money which circulates freely among them. Several storekeepers have arranged to take this paper in payment for provisions and there is within the social organization about all of the interests that are necessary to bring about a healthy colony, unless internal dissension or some other causes intervene to disturb it's workings. On the land is a large amount of hemlock, the bark of which is readily salable at $3.50 to $4 a cord. At these figures it is thought that the land will yield about $600 to $800 worth of hemlock bark all of which will be available early in the coming winter when the roads are so that the stuff can be taken to market. The timber afterward will yield a good cash return and by having removed this timber from the land the soil will be doubled in value. Taylor county possesses some of the richest lands for agricultural purposes in Wisconsin and the tract selected, which the colony proposes to enlarge as soon as it can, is a part of this rich agricultural section.
Will have all he produces.
President Beintker in explaining the monetary system of the colony said, "Our monetary system will mark a new era in human affairs to my mind. It is evident that if we surround a man with material wealth he will not be at a loss to find enjoyment and happiness , especially if his neighbors are similarly circumstanced. The first of these results is that the laborer will own all he produces which is the highest wages obtainable. Nature gives man what he makes out of the material she has provided him with and our organization, aims to do the same thing. If a person works for the exchange we pay him or her the accustom wages in our checks. If goods are deposited we pay the accustom prices for them in checks also. Then when these persons purchase anything from the exchange we charge accustomed price and cancel the checks which are in the form of money and run in denominations from 1 cent up to $5. In the economic world of plunder in which we live when these two operations have been performed with money, the workers and depositors become debarred from any further interest in their own productions. Money is final payment. The check given by us on the contrary is only partial payment. It applies to consumable articles alone. The un-consumables wealth of the colony including it's lands and buildings will belong to the persons who help to produce it in proportion to their several efforts and contributions. In order to maintain equality among the members the society will charge rent for the use of the permanent wealth of the colony and such charges cancel outstanding checks without impairing the capital. It will result in the assets exceeding and continuing to rise above the liabilities. Under the legal tender money system as we have it today this excess of assets passes into the hands of the so called investor of money and sets him and his free from the necessity of laboring, while at the same time it turns out the real investors, the workers and builders, poor and burdened though they may be. The cooperative labor plan we have adopted will reserve this iniquitous system.
Thinks it will work harmoniously.
"To arrive at the interest the member may have in the association, after having spent all of his checks, we have but to inventory the assets of the colony, subtract from the total the value of the outstanding checks and apportion the balance to the various members in accordance to the amount they have contributed which is not difficult to arrive at as a record is kept of their work and other contributions.
"I believe that our plan will work harmoniously and in a successful manner and that in the course of a few years we will have one of the most prosperous colonies to be found anywhere. In dealing with the outside world we will be compelled to use legal tender money. If a member cares to drop out after accumulating a certain interest in the general assets of the colony he can do so and when the apportioning day comes around he will be paid for his possessions in whatever form of money he chooses. it is our intention, however, to have no one drop out. On the other hand we hope the colony will continue to enlarge until it is one of the strongest cooperative organizations in this country. We started in with twenty-three and now have forty members. The families of the married men have not gone on the new land as yet. That part of the plan will be arranged later."
THEY BROKE THEIR FAITH
People in Taylor county say the Wisconsin central did it and they propose to take some action on the thing - the provisions of the previous exemption law and how they have been violated.
(To the Editor of The Sentinel)
Medford, Wis., Feb. 21. - The farmers and laboring men along the line of the Wisconsin Central Railroad are gratified by knowing that in The Sentinel they have an avenue through which they can at least reach the reflecting portion of the people of Wisconsin, if not their representatives. It is said there is a point in some issues where patience ceases to be a virtue. We in this part of the country think we have long since reached that point, and we have no hesitation in saying so and stating the case plainly. Our people were much pleased with an article over the signature of "Farmer," which appeared in The Sentinel of February 17, and strong as the facts were made to appear, it does not do the subject justice. I think all that is necessary is to submit facts to a candid people to convince them that the Wisconsin Central Railroad Company has in its dealings with the people along the line been extortionate and unjust. People have been induced to settle in the country on promise of fair dealing on part of the railroad and have been deceived, and they will Neither Be Bought, Bullyed Nor Driven in this contest. It is well known that by an act approved Mat 5, 1864, the lands of the company were exempt from taxation for ten years. Failing to finish the road, as stipulated in their charter, they appeared in the person of Charles L. Colby before the Legislature in the winter of 1877, pleading poverty as an excuse for failing to complete the road, and begging for further exemption of three years. Whether their plea was true or not is foreign to the issue. In face of remonstrances and appeals from the people immediately interested, the Legislature on the 17th day of February, 1877, enacted that "the exemption of said lands are hereby extended for a period of three years". Section four of the act provides that the act shall not apply to any lands which have been assessed or any lands which have been or may hereafter be platted or laid out in village or town lots, or to any permanent improvements made on such lands. And to make it so plain that the wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err, the legislature further enacted in section six of the bill that the provisions of the act should be null and void if the said railroad company shall neglect or refuse to comply with any of the provisions of the act.
Now let us see how Mr. Colby and company have kept faith with the State in this matter. Have they in a single instance paid any attention to the requirements of the law? Not in the least. Having thrown the burden of taxation for three years more as they supposed upon those least able to bear them, they retired to their den in Milwaukee to Gloat Over The Spoils Obtained in this transaction, and when asked by the officers of the counties through which their road run to pay their taxes they treat them with silent contempt. Having failed to fulfill their part of the contract with the State I hold that the act exempting them is null and void. And with this fact in view we in Taylor County have assessed their lands for the year 1878, and propose if necessary to carry the case to the highest tribunal known to law, and ascertain if it is the privilege of railroads alone to repudiate a solemn compact made with the State.
If they had intended to act in good faith with the people they would have come up and paid their taxes. If facts were fully known to the people of the State Mr. Colby would not dare to appear before the Legislature asking for a further exemption of five years, making an exemption of eighteen years in the aggregate, which this cheeky company are seeking to obtain. We have in Taylor County about 622,000 acres of land in round numbers. Of this amount the railroad company owned about 150,000 acres three years ago. Take it for granted that they have in the past three years sold 15,000 acres and we have a total of 135,000 acres owned by the company on which no taxes are paid. Add to this about 120,000 acres belonging to the government and you have a grand total of 255,000 acres of land in the county on which no taxes are paid, leaving The Whole Burden Of Taxation to be borne by the owners of 367,000 acres. It is to be wondered at that men who own large tracts of land in the county should indignantly refuse to pay their taxes year after year, with such startling facts staring them in the face? Our taxes this year amount to about five percent of the valuation on 367,000 acres. If the company was compelled to pay their taxes it would be about three and one half percent. Now admitting they have sold 15,000 acres in two years the amount of taxes due our county would be about $27,000 which would give us an excess of $10,000 in our treasury over and above our immediate liabilities. We have today $50,000 in tax certificates in the hands of our treasurer, the greater portion of which are on railroad lands.
One of the small fry who may be found occasionally in and about Dorchester in Clark County, and whose business it is to groom the officers of the road when they condescend to permit him to do so, came up to Medford a few days since, as is supposed in search of "Farmer." He found a man answering his idea of him and pitched in, but in a very short time beat a hasty retreat carrying his prominent nose with him with the impression no doubt on his mind that Taylor County was a bad place for railroad sharks and their satellites.
DETAILS OF TRIPLE TRAGEDY
Relatives of Mrs. Marion Meeter of Hawarden Met Instant Death
Mrs. Marion Meeter returned Saturday from Medford, Wis., where she was called by the tragic death, of three relatives, a sister, a nephew and the wife of another nephew, who were killed in a car-train crash Saturday March 9th.
The following account of the tragedy is taken from the issue of March 14, 1940 of the Taylor County Star News, Medford, Wis.:
"Services for the three persons who were victims of the tragic automobile train mishap occurring last 'Saturday morning near Vesper, were held in Medford Tuesday. Two others seriously injured at the time, are reported to be recovering as well as can be expected at the Riverview hospital in Wisconsin Rapids where they were taken immediately following the accident. "Those killed were Mrs. L. D. Russell, 51, Mrs. Frank Perkins, 21, and Elias Urquhart, 19, all of Medford The injured are Miss Nancy Russell, 25, and Miss Catherine Perkins, 24, also of Medford.
"A late report yesterday made by Miss Harriet Perkins, sister of Catherine Perkins, stated that the two girls who were injured in the accident are much improved, according to word from Riverview hospital in Wisconsin Rapids. X-rays revealed that Catherine had suffered only one broken rib instead of two as had previously been reported. Miss Russell suffered fractures of the pelvis, collar bone and ribs.
"Final rites for Mrs. Perkins were held at Holy Rosary Catholic church" in Medford at 9 o'clock. Services were held for Mrs. Russell and the Urquhart youth at the Medford Funeral home at 2 p. m.
"The accident took place about 8:30 Saturday morning on the county trunk M, about one mile northwest of Vesper. The party was riding south in a 1940 model coach, owned by Mrs. Russell and driven by young Urquhart. They had left Medford about 7 o'clock and expected to visit Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Simons at Elroy.
"The car was struck by a southeast bound motor-powered North Western passenger train at the crossing with the trunk line. The highway and the railroad meet at an angle at this point, but the railroad is visible either way for nearly half a mile.
The latter fact led authorities to believe that the party did not see the train, perhaps because of the steamed over condition of the car windows. When the car, which was hurled nearly 100 feet, was up righted, the radio began playing. It was thought possible that the sound of the radio had drowned out the peculiar whistle of the train.
"The vehicle was nearly across the track when struck, as the impact showed just in front of the right rear fender. The train threw the machine against a telephone pole, which snapped off at the butt and was carried about 60 feet. The pole was found atop of the car when rescuers appeared on the scene.
"Ray Brayback, highway commissioner of Wood county, said he was about a mile behind the Russell car and heard the warning whistle of the train. The crossing is not marked by a wig-wag signal.
"Andrew Busema, a farmer living about a quarter of a mile from the crossing, said he heard the crash. He said the three victims were dead by the time he arrived.
Toys in the car, believed at first to have belonged to an infant passenger, were intended for the baby of Mr. and Mrs. Simon of Elroy. Mrs. Simon before her marriage was Miss Margaret Perkins, sister of Miss Catherine Perkins.
"Rescuers said that the bodies of the two dead women were clear of the car. Urquhart's body was also out of the car with his feet resting inside. "Miss Russell stated at the Wisconsin Rapids hospital that she felt just before the accident they were clear of the tracks and that she did not see the train. She also declared that she was the only one in the car after the vehicle came to rest, except for Urquhart whose feet, she said, were near her face. She stated her own feet were outside the driver's side of the car and that she was lying on the bottom between the front and back seats. "The top of the car was crushed in by the pole falling upon it. The right side was extensively damaged, as was the left front end.
"All five occupants of the car were related. Mrs. Russell was the mother of Nancy, the aunt of Urquhart and Catherine. Mrs. Perkins was the wife of Mrs. Russell's nephew.
"Surviving Mrs. Russell are her husband, four children, Mrs. Elizabeth Jane Mills, Union Grove; the Misses Nancy Ruth, Ursula Helen and Catherine Ann Russell, all of Medford; three sisters, Mrs. Marion Meeter, Hawarden, Iowa; Mrs. Albert Perkins, Centralia, 111.; and Mrs. Anna Beeson, Fargo, N. D.; three brothers, L. L. Urquhart, N. A. Urquhart and E. A. Urquhart, all of Medford; and three grandchildren, the children of Rev. Donald and Elizabeth Jane Mills.
"Surviving Mrs., Perkins are her husband, her mother, Mrs. Lena Amo, a brother James, all of Medford; and six sisters, Mrs. Ed Loertscher, Medford; Mrs. Lawrence Etten, Dorchester; Fern and Norma of Milwaukee; Odele and Edith of Medford.
"Survivors of Elias Urquhart are his mother and father. A brother, Russell James, died in infancy in 1922. He had no sisters."
[Hawarden Independent, Hawarden, Iowa, Thursday, March 21, 1940]
Two Unsuccessful Efforts Made Near Stetsonville
Sunday morning, says the Medford Republican, an unsuccessful attempt was made to wreck both the south bound passenger and the north bound passenger trains. Some miscreant placed a pile of ties on the track in front of the south bound train near Stetsonville. This obstruction was removed after considerable delay without damage and the train passed On to Abbotsford.
When the north bound train reached the Liberty crossing about two miles south of Stetsonville it also encountered a pile of ties on the track. One of them struck the cow catcher and was thrown a considerable distance and the train passed on. When the train arrived at Medford, Marshall Winthers discovered a tie under the engine and reported it to the engineer who at once took means to take it out. After considerable work the engine was raised from the track and the tie taken out. Had the tie not been discovered it might have been the means of wrecking the train after leaving this station.
[The Stevens Point Journal, Stevens Point, Wis., May 26, 1900]
TO AIR FATAL FAMILY FEUD
STEVE KAHAN ON TRIAL AT MEDFORD NEXT WEEK FOR SHOOTING TO DEATH STEVE SCHEWZYK, JAN 22
Medford, Wis., Mar. 17—A family feud which culminated in the slaying of Steve Shewczyk will be aired in the circuit court here next week when the murder trial of Steve Kahan opens before Circuit Judge G. N. Risjord of Ashland.
The shooting of Shewczyk was the culmination, the state charges, of bitter enmity that developed last summer between the two Taylor county families. Kahan is asking freedom, claiming self defense, Shewczyk was shot January 22.
The feud between the two families resulted, it is charged, from an incident last summer when Mrs. Kahan is said to have made some slighting remark concerning one of Shewczyk's daughters. It flared up again at a neighbor's christening party January 22. The two men met later on the road while they wre driving to their homes near Lublin.
The events of the meeting are not clear. Shewczyk's wife and 11-year old son were with him and have claimed that Kahan stopped their sleigh and shot Shewczyk four times without any argument.
Kahan, who had left the party and, it is charged by the state, had gone home for his revolver, maintains that the man he killed attacked him and that he shot to save himself.
The scene of the shooting was on Taylor county trunk road F, 2 1/2 miles northeast of Lublin. The two families came to Taylor county from Ukrainia 15 years ago.
[Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune | Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin | Saturday, March 17, 1928 | Page 1]NO VIGILANTE PLANS FOR TAYLOR COUNTY
Medford—The Taylor county board has rejected a proposal to foster, an organization for protection against bank raids in the county. The proposal was submitted by the Taylor County Bankers' association and called for the purchase of guns nnd ammunition for combatting bank robbers. The expense was to have been defrayed jointly by the county and the Bankers' association.
[Stevens Point Daily Journal | Stevens Point, Wisconsin | Wednesday, May 18, 1927 | Page 3]
CLARK AND TAYLOR CO, BANKS TO USE VIGILANTES DEPUTIES APPOINTED TO BE ARMED WITH LATEST BANDIT REPELLING PARAPHERNALIA
Neillsville, Dec. 26.—During the past week, a vigilante group has been organized in Clark and Taylor counties for the purpose of protecting the banks of the two counties against bank robbers. The Clark and Taylor county boards at the fall sessions appropriated money and the banks of the two counties raised an additional fund with which to purchase equipment such as rifles, sawed-off shot guns, ammunition, pistols, and other necessities. The two counties are organizing as units, but will be in a position to co-operate with each other whenever emergency arises.
Fifteen banks in Clark county are represented in the vigilante movement and deputies have been sworn in to act as minute-men in case a Clark county bank is robbed. Each deputy is equipped with a rifle, sawed-off shot gun, pistol, and ammunition and has authority to make arrests and to shoot if necessary. Neillsville has five deputies, Owen four, and the other Clark county communities have three.
The deputies were instructed by district Attorney Victor W. Nehs, by Sheriff William Bradford, and by Circuit Judge E. W. Crosby The Clark County Bankers' association sponsored the vigilante organization and called the Clark county meeting which was held at Neillsville.
Taylor county has taken similar steps and now has a roster of deputies sworn in to give protection against bank robbers in the several Taylor county communities.
If a bank robbery occurs in either Taylor or Clark county, the vigilante group of both counties will take up the chase as a unit.
This step has been taken because bank robberies have become so numerous and robbers have become so bold and it is hoped that the organization will be able to give the needed protection when emergency arises. Similar groups have been and are being organized throughout various Wisconsin counties
[Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune | Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin | Thursday, December 26, 1929 | Page 3]
HER ACT COST 3 LIVES
[By Associated Press.]
Medford, Wis.—Charged with setting fire to the barn at the farm home near Lublin in which her child and two step-children were burned to death, Mrs. John Kascielny entered a plea of guilty when arraigned for preliminary hearing this morning.
She had previously confessed to District Attorney Andresen of Taylor county, it was stated.
Lublin, Wis— District Attorney L. N. Andresen of Taylor county announced late Tuesday night that Mrs. John Kascielny confessed to setting fire to the barn on their farm home, near here, in which her three children burned to death.
The confession is claimed to have been the result of an investigation conducted Tuesday morning by Andresen and Charles Good, state fire marshal.
The victims were:
Elenora Kascielny, 13 years old.
Katie Kascielny, 12 years old.
John Kascielny, 8 years old.
According to District Attorney Andresen, Mrs. Kascielny declared family troubles prompted her act and that she told him she had intended to kill herself.
(The United Press)
Medford—Mrs. Kascielny, who has confessed to killing her three children, this morning told the following story to the district attorney in the presence of Coroner Hartwig of Taylor county:
"I intended throwing myself in the flames but afterward changed my mind. When I started the fire this was my plan, but later I believed that the children would be able to get to safety and so I altered my plans. Eleanor aged 13, Kate aged 12, and John aged 8, had been sleeping in the hay mow all summer, having a bed in the center with the hay banked up on either side.
Sunday night after they were sleeping I went out took down the ladder so they could not get down from the mow and then after touching a match to the hay locked the barn door. It was only a few minutes when the whole barn was in flames."
Mrs. Kascielny told her story as though it was an every day occurance, and it is the general belief that she is insane. Starting her confession she declared that she wanted to "make it as unpleasant for him as I could," referring to her husband.
[Sheboygan Press, The | Sheboygan, Wisconsin | Wednesday, August 31, 1921 | Page 1]
STORTECKY RELATED DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF STORY
PHILLIPS (UP) — Steve Stortecky told several different versions of the death of his wife Julia, witnesses at the Taylor County farmer's first degree murder trial said Thursday.
John Boyce, Stanley, a police officer, said the 43-year-old man told him that the gun went off as he sat on a living room davenort. Taylor County Sheriff Marlin Curran said Stortecky told him he was sitting in the kitchen at the time the gun went off and fatally wounded the 37-year old woman. Curran said Stortecky later changed his story and said he must have jumped to his feet after the gun fired the first of several shots. The sheriff said Stortecky also told him he must have been standing when both the first and second shots which struck his wife were fired.
Curran told the court Stortecky told him that the gun had a "hair trigger," explaining the number of shots that were fired. But Walter Hougas of the State Crime Laboratory told the court that the gun did not have a hair trigger.
The sheriff also said he heard Stortecky tell his nine-year old son, Stanley, to call the shooting an accident or the boy might go to the reformatory.
Stanley was the first state witness at the opening day of the trial, testifying for four hours. The boy testified his father told his mother. "I'd rather shoot you and sit the rest of my life in jail."
Others who testified before the state rested its case at 3:39 p.m., Thursday, were Milton Behling, Taylor County undersheriff; Harry Lencz, grocery store operator; Mary Gajda, tavern operator; Mike Ustinowski, a friend of Mrs. Stortecky s brother. who was along when they went to the hospital, and Joseph C. Wilimovsky of the state crime laboratory.
The defense started to present its case shortly after the state rested.
[Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune | Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin | Saturday, March 17, 1928 | Page 1]
SUSPECT DISPUTES SLAYINGS EVIDENCE
MEDFORD — The attorney defending a former Medford man charged in the double slaying of a Taylor County couple says there is no evidence linking his client to the crime.
Public defender James Rogers commented at a circuit court hearing for Charles A. Hoffman, 37. Hoffman is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the June 1985 shootings of Sherri Piater, 21, of Sussex, and Michael Heier, 22, of Medford, whose bullet-riddled bodies were found in the Chequamegon National Forest.
The criminal complaint said a gun owned by Hoffman was used to kill Piater and Heier. But Rogers said there is no evidence that Hoffman had the gun when the slayings occurred.
However, Taylor County District Attorney Allen Brey said ballistics tests showed slugs removed from the bodies were fired from Hoffman's gun, which he sold after the slayings.
Taylor County Circuit Judge Gary Carlson found Hoffman indigent at an initial court appearance Tuesday. A preliminary hearing was scheduled Feb. 28 for Hoffman, who remained in the Taylor County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail.
Hoffman was arrested at his home north of Gainesville, Fla., in October after the television show "America's Most Wanted" featured a segment on the killings. He returned to Wisconsin last month after waiving extradition from Florida.
Rogers also said he would file a motion challenging the murder charges because Hoffman was not charged for years after the slayings.
[Wisconsin State Journal | Madison, Wisconsin | Friday, January 18, 1991 | Page 30]
MAN ABSOLVED OF CHILDS DEATH, WIFE FACES TRIAL
Man Absolved Of Child's Death Wife Now Faces Trial on Charge of Neglecting Daughter
WAUSAU, Wis., May 14 (U.P)
Frederick Aebischer, 47-year-old Stetsonville stock farmer and former Calumet county district attorney, was free today of first degree manslaughter charges based on the death of his 2-year-old daughter, Gloria.
Circuit Judge Claire B. Bird granted a defense motion for dismissal of the case late yesterday. Aebischer and his wife, Esther, were accused by Taylor county officers of being intoxicated and of failing to make sure that their daughter was brought into the house at the Aebischer farm the night of Feb . 23, 1941.
The infant was found dead of exposure in the farmyard the following morning. Taylor county officers testified that the parents appeared to be still under the influence of liquor when the child's death was investigated on Feb . 24.
State Law Different
Judge Bird explained the dismissal by saying, " I see nothing in the intoxication of the defendant under these circumstances to evince an utter and wanton disregard for the rights of others ." The court further explained that Wisconsin's law differed from those of other states in that no degree of inadvertent action can be used as a basis to support a charge of first degree manslaughter in this state.
A first degree manslaughter charge still was pending against Aebischer's wife, Esther. She remained at liberty under $5,000 bond but Dist. Atty. Paul Griesser of Taylor county asserted that he would go through with her trial. It was carried over to the next term of court in November.
[Racine Journal Times | Racine, Wisconsin | Thursday, May 14, 1942 | Page 3]
GERALD LARSON CHARGED WITH FIRST-DEGREE MURDER
MEDFORD — A Taylor County man, Gerald Larson, 45, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a man whose decomposed body was found in Marquette County by a hunter Dec. 1.
Larson is charged in the death of Herbert Heintz, 60, of rural Rib Lake in Taylor County.
A Taylor County Sheriff's Dept. spokesman said Larson is accused of murdering Heintz about Dec. 23, 1974. Larson lived at Heintz' address, the spokesman said.
Larson is believed to have taken the body to Marquette County and left it in a wooded area, the spokesman added. The body was identified by the State Crime Laboratory in Madison after the hunter made the discovery and called the Marquette County Sheriff's Dept. Larson is being held in the Taylor County jail in Medford.
[Wisconsin State Journal | Madison, Wisconsin | Saturday, January 03, 1976 | Page 33]
TAYLOR COUNTY PIONEERS PASS WITH IN A FEW HOURS OF EACH OTHER
Michael Ryan, 80, and Peter Liberty, 84, northern Wisconsin pioneers and veterans of the civil war, died with in a few hours of each other in Taylor county. Ryan once engaged in a gun fight against Jesse James and his gang at Lexington, Mo., in which Jesse was wounded. Ryan served a term as treasurer of Taylor county. Liberty was a prisoner in Libby, Blue Islands, and Andersonville prisons during the war. He was Taylor county's first assessor.
[Manitowoc Herald News - January 10, 1927, Manitowoc, Wisconsin]
Former Taylor County Treasurer Suicides
Medford, Wis.- Irvin McCumber, 62, former Taylor county treasurer, plunged to is death from a second story window at the Taylor county farm here Thursday. He was Taylor county treasurer from 1908 to 1912, and clerk of circuit court from 1912 to 1921.
[La Crosse Tribune And Leader-Press, The | La Crosse, Wisconsin | Friday, May 07, 1937 | Page 5]
J.H DEIKMAN OF SHELDON VISITS
J H. Deickman of Sheldon, Wisconsin has been here a week or two visiting relatives. He has visited with the Doeges, at Woden and with other relatives in that vicinity. He is now the guests of Nick Heesch and family who are old time friends of the Deickman family.
J. H. told the Topic man that he lived on the Jump River In Wisconsin two stations south of Ladysmith, the home of Emmons, the writer and agricultural farmer, former resident of Titouka
The river runs thru his land and many big muskies have been taken from its waters. Mr. Dieckman was for several years a business man of Titonku and for many years conducted a restaurant in the city. He Is well known and kindly remembered by many of the old settlers of this community.
He is farming now, looking about the same as he did fifteen years ago and hasn't changed a bit in his actions and general make-up. A mighty fine fellow he is.
[Titonka Topic - Thursday, November 17, 1927, Titonka, Iowa]
BEARDS, BONNETS AND BUGGIES
Amish Move Into Amherst Area
The women wear ankle length, dark flowing dresses and black bonnets. The men wear broad-brimmed black hats and beards. Their children resemble miniature adults, alike in their dress.
Blue cloth curtains shroud their windows instead of shades or blinds.
When the family "goes to town" they drive in horsedrawn, old-fashioned carriages
About all of them, there is an aura of tranquility and good-natured friendliness. They are hard-working people and their neighbors call them honest.
They are the Amish, and three families from the Taylor County Amish settlement have recently moved into the Amherst area, where they have purchased two farms and rented another farm house.
Sam Schrock, his wife and their 10 children have settled on the Harold Peteison farm, off County Trunk A south of Amherst. Further up the same road, the next farm has been purchased by the Henry Miller family. Mr. and Mrs. William Schrock, the parents of Sam Schrock, have rented a nearby farm house where they can be close to their oldest son and his family.
Often referred to as Quakers, Mennonites or Mormons, their rightful title is North Old Order of Amish (pronounced AHmish) Church, or Old Order Amish, of whom there are over 17,000 in the United States.
The Miller and Schrock families come from Taylor County, where some 65-70 families are settled, mainly in the Medford and Town of Holway areas, and operate over 7,000 acres of farm land.
High land prices in Kansas brought the first Amish to Taylor County in 1922, and by 1938 there were 23 families in the area, with the number increasing yearly.
Called "House Amish" because they worship in homes rather than in churches, the Old Order Amish are the strictest of the various Amish sects. They believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible, hold to separation of church and state, baptism of believers instead of infants, immediate inspiration and excommunication (shunning) of those who break the rules
Largely of German descent, they took the name Mennonites from Menno Simons, a former priest, at the time of the Reformation in 1536, and the name Amish from Jacob Ammon, a Swiss, who felt that the Mennonites did not "shun" enough, and whose followers were called Ammon's Men. and later, Amishmen.
The first American Amish colony settled in Germantown, Pa., in 1683. and other pioneer groups arrived later and settled in Virginia. Ohio, Indiana and New Mexico.
They are most widely known for their doctrine of non-resistance, which caused some strife during World Wars I and II, due to their refusal to bear arms. Pacifists, the Bible says "Love thy neighbor," and this is their creed.
More recently, the Amish have been in the public eye because of their run-ins with school officials over various states' compulsory school attendance laws.
Because when one Amish family moves into an area, others usually follow, the recent arrival of the three Amish families is bound to have an impact on the small Amherst community of 596 people.
Education is one area where friction may arise between the Amish parents and Amherst school officials.
Traditionally, Amish children attend school only to the compulsory legal 16 year age limit. As a rule, the day an Amish child reaches his 16th birthday is the very last day he attends school. Quite often an Amish parent will keep his child out of school as long as possible, so that by the time the child reaches the 16-year age limit, he is still usually in grade school.
The Amish believe that an elementary school education, with emphasis on the three R's — reading, writing and arithmetic — is enough schooling for their sons and daughters, who don't need "booklearning" to raise a family or to farm.
State officials think otherwise.
Recently, in Hazeltown, Iowa, Amish parents urged their children to run and hide in cornfields and behind barns rather than attend public schools when school officials ordered the Amish to hire a certified teacher for their parochial school, taught by an Amish woman with only an eighth-grade education.
In New Glarus, Wis., an Amish father's refusal to permit his grade school age children to participate in gymnasium classes, and to change and take showers after the classes, put him at odds with the New Glarus school board.
The situation has been temporarily salved by the father's reluctant permission to allow his children to comply. But because this is a school board ruling and not a state law, it is a moot question whether the edict could be enforced in the future, in the case of a more stubborn Amish parent.
The Taylor County community has had its share of strife with school authorities also. In 1958, four school districts in the area decided to consolidate. The Amish protested, looking upon consolidated schools as lesser versions of high schools. Although they usually avoid local elections and government activity, the Amish turned out in numbers to vote against consolidation, which was finally approved.
In I960, the Parent-Teachers Association of the consolidated Holway School near Medford, which most of the Amish youth attended, gave the school a sound movie projector, to be used for educational films.
The Amish protested violently to their children being exposed to "graven images," and during the squabble two Amish children were suspended and eight expelled.
The Amish elders appealed, asking reinstatement of the students on the basis of religious conviction, but ultimately set up their own grade schools and withdrew their children from the Holway School.
For those children who finish grade school and are not yet 16, there is a one-room "high school" with no electric lights or running water or toilet facilities, all of which the Amish disapprove of.
Medford School Superintendent Orvus Dodsworth is hopeful that the education problem has aired itself out in the area.
"Since school district reorganization, there has been no trouble," Dodsworth said.
"There are a few Amish children attending the local public schools, but these generally are the children of Amish farmers living in isolated areas, where it is impossible to transport their children to an Amish school.
"Friction has been less than it might have been because of the lenient state laws regarding private schools." Dodsworth commented. "Teacher qualifications are minimal for private schools and classes can be run pretty much the way the teacher wishes."
Amherst school authorities are optimistic about their future relations with the new Amish families.
"We don't anticipate any trouble," commented Walter Bohman. Amherst High School principal and Tomorrow River Schools administrator, who went out to the farms and talked to the Miller and Schrock parents about their plans for educating their children.
Both Schrock and Miller indicated they would try to set up their own Amish school in the Amherst area. If this proves impossible, Schrock's six school-age children and Miller's two school-age children will attend the Amherst public grade school.
As do their Taylor County neighbors, the Schrocks and Millers object to their children viewing motion pictures, for educational purposes or otherwise.
However, unlike some Amish, they do not object to transporting their children to and from school by buses. Neither would they object to their youngsters participating in physical education classes, Sam Schrock said.
Neither the Schrocks nor Millers have any high school age children, so until their children reach high school age, or new Amish families with high school age children move into the Amherst area, this touchy area will cause no problems, as it has elsewhere.
Economically, the Amish families, particularly if they begin arriving in large numbers, may have an impact on the Amherst community.
Unfortunately, there are those who say their arrival frequently heralds an economic dip for a community.
An Amish man's own property value frequently slides greatly because of his lack of scientific farming methods and refusal to use modern machinery.
An Amish farmer's help is in his children; all must pitch in and help. The larger an Amish man's family, the better his chances for bigger and better crops. An Amish farmer's wealth can often be counted by the number of children he has.
A farm home owned by an Amish man also quickly loses its value — because of his religious beliefs, plumbing is ripped out, electricity and telephone service removed, and few believe in painting their homes and barns or making other "frivolous" repairs.
Consequently their home and farm land values may drop, and so may that of their neighbors. And as Frank Hirsch, editor of the Medford Star News, a newspaper that serves the Taylor County area, says. "There's the rub."
Usually any bigotry that exists against the Amish exists because of this economic factor, not because of their religious beliefs, he stated.
It is not only their farming practices and often run-down condition of their homes that affect their neighbors. The Amish buy little from local merchants — usually only flour, sugar, cloth, seed and other staples. The women make all their family's clothes, and the Amish spend almost nothing on entertainment or recreation, as any local theater owner, bowling lane, tavern or dance hall proprietor can testify. Their contribution to a city's general prosperity is hence almost nil
The Amish use the roads and highways, often contributing to hazardous driving conditions by the refusal of some to use anything brighter than a gasoline lantern to light up their carriages at night. The horse hoofs, manure, and jagged ruts and holes made by their cumbersome wagon and carriage wheels can cause more damage to a road than a semi-truck, claim the critics
The Amish accept absolutely no government aid of any kind, and hence refuse to pay any social security taxes. When an Amish family or individual needs help, the rest of the community pitches in. Funds often come from an Amish insurance program to which many subscribe.
"But what do you say to these people when they want to move into your area?" posed Hirsch. "Editorially, you can't say "We don't want you Amish to move into our community because you'll hurt us economically." It may be true, but it's not Christian. These people are entitled to their beliefs."
In the Town of Holway, an area of high Amish concentration in Taylor County, the assessed town evaluation has risen from $946,542 in 1922, the year Amish families first arrived in the area, to $2,093,355 in 1965, little more than doubling in 43 years.
Yet, "that town is not going to increase in total value unless more land and property improvements are made." commented the county treasurer at Medford.
"It's just not moving ahead like some other nearby towns But they pay their taxes on time." he added quickly.
What the situation will be in the Amherst community is open to conjecture. But already the frugality of the Amish has been noticed by some Amherst residents and store owners
The only ones who are going to benefit from these folks are the sparrows and the street cleaner," quipped one Amherst man, referring to the horsedrawn carriages the Amish use on their trips to town.
Ironically, while they refuse to own an automobile, the Amish are quick to accept a ride in a neighbor's or friend's, and will often hire an automobile for long trips or visits. It is the possession, not the use, of many modern devices to which they object.
Economically, educationally and otherwise, what the future holds for the Amish in the Amherst community is an open question.
Watching the Amish in horsedrawn carriages clop down the main street of the small village even now is becoming a familiar sight.
"They just take a little getting used to." summed up one Amherst resident.
[Stevens Point Daily Journal | Stevens Point, Wisconsin | Friday, June 03, 1966 | Page 10 & 11]
Medford Branch Concerns Regents
The Board of Regents has asked the Taylor County Board to take a long look before investing in a new building for Stevens Point State University's Medford Branch Campus.
The regents, who met Thursday in Madison, expressed concern about enrollments.
About a year and a half ago, they said they would approve the new building if the campus enrollment exceeded 200. It did last fall, but in the second semester it dropped to 180. This includes part-time students — the full-time equivalent is about 155.
Medford Dean Russell Oliver told the regents the enrollment next fall is expected to be about what it is now, or perhaps a little higher.
The new building, a science hall and library, would cost an estimated $441,000, including land, construction, equipment, site improvements and all related expenses. It is to go out for bids in June
A $100.000 federal grant may be available, but the rest would be financed by Taylor County through a long-term loan, with the interest held to three per cent by a federal subsidy.
Regent Mary Williams of Stevens Point said she and other members of the board are concerned about the enrollments University enrollments are declining in Wisconsin, she noted, because of economic conditions, the loss of draft deferments and the growth of vocational-technical schools.
At Medford, because the enrollment at the two-year school is already small, the decline is particularly serious.
Mrs. Williams said the regents "want the people of Taylor County to understand the financial obligation they are taking on in the building and maintenance of this building." Taylor County, she said, has the second lowest income level in the state.
In other state communities with branch campuses, said Mrs. Williams, some resistance has developed to supporting other forms of education, apparently because of the tax load. "A high school bond issue has been voted down in Richland Center six times," she said.
The Medford campus now occupies the old Taylor County Teachers College building. Science students use the laboratories at Medford High School.
"Dean Oliver is optimistic that there is the potential in the area, and that better facilities will improve the enrollment picture," said Mrs. Williams. "Others argue that it will be improved, but not that much."
The regents were somewhat reluctant to create the Medford campus, which opened two years ago, but Mrs. Williams said they have not discussed closing it, even if the new building isn't constructed. Nor, she said, was there any suggestion that the Taylor County Board be told not to build the building. "It's their money," she commented.
Her own feeling, said Mrs Williams, is that the Coordinating Council for Higher Education and the Board of Regents have a moral commitment to the people of Taylor Couniy which they should keep.
But if it weren't for this commitment, she said, she would prefer to see the money the state is spending on operation of the branch campus used for financial aids to students from that area to go to whatever school they chose.
[Stevens Point Daily Journal | Stevens Point, Wisconsin | Friday, May 21, 1971 | Page 1
FORTY CASES COME BEFORE U.S. COURT
Third Day's Session Brings Numerous Fines and Jail Sentences To Defendents, Wednesday
One Alleged Violation Of Drug Act Is Called
Two Women Acquitted on Charges of Violation of Liquor Statutes
POVERTY-STRICKEN people haled Into U. S; district court here from Taylor, Clark, Dunn and Price counties Wednesday were given Christmas presents of fines and Jail terms by. Judge Charles E. Woodward, Chicago,
Practically every one of the thirty-five prohibition law violators arraigned to enter pleas of guilty declared they were forced into the illicit racket because of destitute circumstances.
Many had been out of work for long periods of time, while women declared they sold, the intoxicating beverages, principally moonshine whiskey and beer, to support themselves and children as well as their unemployed husbands.
Attorneys from Menomonie, Dunn county, declared many of the residents of that place were unable to eke out a living otherwise, because many of the principal factories and places of employment had been closed because of the existing depression.
Makes No Exceptions
Judge Woodward declared he could make no exceptions in instances where proprietors of speakeasies and roadhouses were apprehended, giving the. majority of them house of correction sentences as well as fines. On many possession counts he levied only small fines.
The morning's liquor case dispoitions, defendants in each entering pleas of guilty, were:
John Doctor, Stetsonville, Taylor county, sale, house of correction for three months and fined $150;
Tom Mollack, Colby, Marathon county, sale, house of correction for three month's and fined $150
Frank Brodbeck, Medford, Taylor county possession, fined $50;
John H. McQuillen, Medford, Taylor county possession, fined $300;
John Brzycke,. Westboro, Taylor county sale, house of correction for three months and fined $150;
H. J. Cornelia, Abbotsford, Clark county sale, fined $50.
Archie Clendenning, Rib Lake Taylor county, sale, house of correction for three months and fined $150;
August Dittner, Green Grove Clark county, sale, house of correction for three months and fined $150;
Henry Heilmeier, Medford Taylor county, sale, sixty days and fined $25O;
Oscar Miller, Abbots ford, Clark county, house of correction for three months and fined $150;
Roy H.Armstrong, Perkinstown, Taylor county, three counts of sale and possession, fined $200;
Mrs. Christine. N. Armstrong, Perkinstown, Taylor county, three counts of sale and possession, fined $50.
Two Counts Charged
Frank Brahmer, Medford, Taylor county, arrested on two warrants one charging possession and the other sale, given three months in the house of correction and fined $350;
Mrs. Othelia E. Succow, Menomonie, Dunn county, possession, fined $10;
Fred Galoff, Menomonie, Dunn county, sale and possession, Jailed 30 days' and fined $100.
Raymond H. Suckow and Leonard C, Kochendorfer, Menomonie, Dunn county, sale and possession, each jailed 60 days and, fined $250;
Raymond Kipp Hanger, Baraboo, Sauk county, two counts of sale and possession, jailed 60 days, and fined $250.
Jessie J. Droullard, Lancaster, Dunn county, sale, fined $150;
John Johns, Cuba 'City, Grant county, two counts of sale; Jailed 60 days and fined $100;
Louie Fish, Mauston, Juneau county, possession, fined $150;
Mrs. Amy La Belle, Stetsonville, Taylor county, sale, fined $100;
Mrs. Ida Kochendorfer, Menomonie, Dunn county, sale and possession, 30 days and fined $100, sentence suspended and paroled for two years;
George C.Kochendorfer, Menomonie, Dunn county, sale and possession, jailed 60 days and fined $250.
James Cummings, Wyocena, Columbia county, sale, charge nolled;
Mrs. Joe Hoffman, Chelsea,Taylor county, sale, fined $250;
Mrs. Henry Schmittfranz, Chelsea, Taylor county, sale, fined $250;
Jack Woods, Little Black, Taylor county, sale, house of correction for four months and fined $150.
David L. Carlson, Mediord, Taylor county, nuisance, house of correction for three months and fined $150;
Louis Mohn, Greenwood, TayTor county, sale, house of correction for three months and fined $150;
Mrs. Christopher and Mrs. Owen Christopher, Lowville, Columbia county, sale and possession, each fined $50.
Raymond A. Washatak, Park Falls, Price county, was fined $100 for violation of the national food and drug act. It was charged he shipped butter not containing the proper amount of butterfat to Chicago markets.
[La Crosse Tribune and Leader Press | La Crosse, Wisconsin | Wednesday, November 11, 1931, pages 1 & 6]