Township of Chelsea
A civil town in Taylor County, Wisconsin at
latitude 451440N and longitude 0902207W
created
Sept. 3, 1875
The unincorporated communities of Chelsea and Whittlesey are located in the township.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The six by seven mile square that would become Chelsea was first surveyed in 1861 by a crew working for the U.S. government.
Then in April of 1862 another crew marked all the section corners in the township, walking through the woods and swamps, measuring with chain and compass. When done, the deputy surveyor filed this general description:

The Surface of this Township is generally rolling and considerably Swampy. Timber principally Hemlock mixed with Birch, Sugar, Spruce, Tamarac, Cedar and White Pine. 
It is watered by numerous Small Streams which unite and form two of considerable size one running in a Southerly direction and and the other running NW and becoming
a tributary of Chipewa river. The Township on the whole would not be very well adapted to agricultural purposes.

the town has a total area of 40.9 square miles, of which, 40.4 square miles is land and 0.5 square miles is water. Most of Chelsea is hilly, with small glacial lakes. It lies within the Perkinstown terminal moraine.

In 1933 much of the northwest quarter of Chelsea was designated part of the Chequamegon National Forest.


Some Chelsea and Whittlsey History
Chelsea was named by President Colby of the Wisconsin Central R.R. Co. after a town of that name near Boston, Mass. and he seemed to take a considerable interest in the new settlement. At one time it was one of the leading towns in what is now Taylor county. It was settled in 1874, and for quit a while there was considerable rivalry between it and Medford. When the division was given to Chelsea, Medford tried to get it, and went so far as to have a "Bee," when they even constructed a turn table south of the former F.J. Hartwig furniture store, but nothing came of it. The division stayed at Chelsea, and President Colby continued to help by turning over railroad business to the little town to the north, bridge timber, etc. Free lots were given to anyone who would start a business or build a house.

Among the earliest settlers were Abram Taylor, C.H. McNaughton, Mr. Tuttle, Ed Gerow, J.T. Fredon, C. Hibbard, Adolphus Perry, Roy and Leon King, Wm. A. Taylor, A. Jadoine and W.P. Smith.

In 1874, C.H. Gearhart built the Central House, and a few years later L.A. Burbey put up the Star Hotel. A. Taylor, J.B. Anderson, Woodward and Morris, and L.M. Morris were among the first merchants. W. Haight and Chas. Schwoch were early blacksmiths; Christ Wolleson was the first builder, Geo. Staples an early mason. Wm. A. Taylor built the first mill, and was the first postmaster, in 1877. Schriener and company had the first boot and shoe store. Ole Lee taught the first school where the Catholic church is now located.

David Montour came in 1876, after living in Little Black for two years. James and Andrew Hanson, John Welch and Clement Hubert soon followed.

The mill cut about 40,000 feet of pine lumber a day, besides shingles. Telegraph poles, ties and hemlock bark were also shipped. J.T. Crosby was the first station agent. In 1879, Wellinton Haight's house was destroyed by fire, he was badly burned while trying to save one of his children. He carried the scars on his face all his life.

Martin Imbach who came in 1883, says that Highway 13 was then cut through to Medford, but instead of cement it was largely corduroy. When he went to town, it was by horseback, or he would often walk. Creeks were then usually full of water the year round, and there were frosts every month of the year. One Fourth of July his potatoes froze, and in winter sometimes his thermometer froze, but in the forest we did not feel even that severe cold very much because of the protection of the tall trees. He thinks there were more deer, wolves, partridges and porcupines in those days, and fewer bears. There were robins, blackbirds and other birds like wild geese, wild ducks and pigeons. He recalls that the big Taylor county fire traveled from west of Whittlesey to east of Chelsea in about two hours, driven by a south west wind, burning out many settlers including Fred Gadau, Andrew Hanson, Sam Williams, John Welch, August Zemke and others.

Gust Willis also told of tis fire. The pine embers were carried by the wind two or three miles ahead, and everything was so dry that a fire was immediately started. Thinking that a settler was burning out near Whittlesey, he started down on horseback. When  he was not far from that village, he found that the fire had crossed the road so that he could not get back home. Soon the flying fiery embers had set fire to the Hanson buildings, and were threatening his own. They were saved by the folks at home covering them with wet blankets.

Katherine Coyne was probably the first to teach in the new building erected on the present site. She was followed by Anna LeMere, Carrie Hubert, Ella Coyne, Belle Scott, Nellie Ures, Anna Hull, Emma Walty, Anna Burbey, Martha Hanson, Marcella Hanson, Clyde DeGroat, Lumira Wais, Henry Polley, Miss Wiesse, Peter Kleist, Henry Behlow, Ada Welch, Lizzie and Katie burbey, Herbert Francis, Gordon Smith, Lois Smith and Henrietta Peterson.

Frank Trojahn whose father came to Chelsea in 1891, tells of someone being killed by walking into a set gun near the Rindt settlement about this time. He does not recall the man's name, but the man on whose land it was set, left immediately, and was never heard from again. These guns were placed on deer runways, and were discharged when the deer hit the wire stretched across the runway. Unfortunately it would kill any animal or man touching the wire. Of course, it was an easy method by which a settler could get venison, but every little while, a settler or hunter was shot, and this was soon forbidden by law.

The Methodists started the first church, but after a few years discontinued services here. They were followed by the Catholics, and later by the Lutherans.

According to Frank Smith, in 1900 Chelsea had an excellent band. Wm, Tobey was the leader.

Among other early settlers were Christ and Andrew Peterson, Chas. Kickbush, August Young, Bob and Gaylord Keyes and John Orlander.

Dr. T.M. Miller and Dr. Williams were pioneer physicians.

Kretzer and Smith and Rouseau and Shepard were also among the early mill owners.

source:
Reminiscences and Anecdotes of early Taylor County
,  by: Arthur J. Latton
published 1947,  pages 184-185

1880 Federal Census 1895 & 1905 Wis. State Census
1900 Federal Census 1910 Federal Census
1920 Federal Census 1930 Federal Census
1942 Draft Registration

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