Vernon County Wisconsin
History of the Town of Bergen
[Source: pgs. 477 - 479, "History of Vernon County, Wisconsin, Together with
Sketches of its towns, villages and townships, educational, civil, military and political history; Portraits of
prominent persons, and Biographies of representative citizens."
Springfield, ILL. Union Publishing Company, 1884]
Submitted to Genealogy Trails by Diana Morse
Town of Bergen
This territory is located in the western part of Vernon county, and is bounded on the north by the county of La Crosse; on the east by the towns of Hamburg and Harmony; on the south by the town of Genoa, and on the west by the Mississippi river. The town comprises forty-five full congressional sections of land, and nine parts of sections, containing altogether about 30,000 acres.
The Mississippi river washes the western line of the town, and along its entire length, and inland for two or three miles. Innumerable sloughs and water courses are seen, all finding an outlet in the mighty "Father o' waters." These sloughs are called Coon, Mormon, Middle, etc., and some are navigable, as Warner's Lauding is located on one of the larger ones, just north of Bergen postoffice. The Coon river enters the town on the northeast quarter of section 25, and takes a westerly course through sections 26, 27, 28 and 33, emptying into Coon slough on section 32. The northeastern and southeastern portions of the town are not as well supplied with water courses as the central and western parts, but furnishes to the settlers an abundant supply of good spring water.
In 1852 two natives of Norway, coming to this western country, met by chance, and both concluded to locate in what is now the town of Bergen. Halver Jorgenson selected his future home on the south side of Coon river, on section 26, and has since resided there. The other, Andrew Emberson, settled on section 33, where he now lives.
They were followed the same year by Christian Allison, also a native of Norway, who located on section 13, and lived there till his death, in 1868.
In 1853 there were three new-comers in the town, all natives of Norway. Peter Olson settled on section 14, where he died in 1873; William Nelson located on section 26 and died some years ago; John Peterson made his home on section 22, where he still resides.
A year later (1854), S. C. Stetson and family, natives of Otsego Co., N. Y., located on section 11, town 13, range 7 west-in the southern portion of the town, where Mr. Stetson was engaged in farming until 1880, the date of his death. Mr. and Mrs. Stetson were the parents of one child- Huldah -who is now postmistress at the Rest postoffice.
Great Britain also furnished a settler in 1855. Samuel Sims, who resides on section 10, was born in Derbyshire, England, in 1821. In 1847, when he had arrived at the age of manhood, he came to the United States and first settled in New York. In 1851 he went to New Jersey; and in 1853 he went to Pennsylvania, and in 1855 came to the town of Harmony, entering eighty acres of land on section 6. In 1863 Mr. Sims enlisted in the United States navy, and was assigned to duty on the gunboat Shamrock, where he served until his discharge in 1864. He was married in 1848 to Mary Egal. Three children were given them-Elizabeth, wife of Samuel McKown, John W., who married Miss Estella Henry, and Theodore. Mrs. Sims departed this life May 7, 1883, since which time Mr. Sims has made his home with his son, John W.
Joel F. Outcelt settled in the town in 1855, on sections 22 and 23, town 13, range 7. In 1868 he moved to the town of Harmony.
Engrebret Engh made a settlement in the same year. Engrebret Engh, who located here in 1855, was born in Norway in 1817. He came to the United States in 1853, and first settled in the eastern part of this State, In 1855 he came to Vernon county with his family and purchased from the government a farm of forty acres, which he has since increased to 120 acres, located on sections 26 and 27. He devotes the greater part of his time to his farm, and takes especial pride in the raising of good grain. In 1848 he married Martha Hanson, and four children have been born to them-Isaac, who married Thea Rorerud, and is a clerk in the postoffice at La Crosse; Hagbarth, who is a minister by profession. He graduated from Luther College, at Decorah, Iowa, in 1878; from the University of Christiana, in Norway in 1882, and from Luther Seminary, Madison, Wis., in 1883. In 1884 he will take charge of the Lutheran church, at Portland, Oregon. John M. married Lena Rindal, and at present is treasurer of the town of Bergen. Emma is the fourth and youngest child.
Austria followed in the footsteps of Norway, and in 1856 gave to Vernon county a sturdy pioneer. Frank Parsch, one of the most prosperous farmers in the town of Bergen, was born in Austria, in 1831. In 1856 he came to America, and the same year followed the tide of emigration to Wisconsin. He came into Vernon county and bought a farm of eighty acres on section 11, which he has since increased to 100 acres. Mr. Parsch is an intelligent and enterprising
citizen, and for eight continuous years was selected by his neighbors and friends to serve them in the capacity of town treasurer. He was married in 1861 to Frances Heikel. Six children have been sent to bless this union -Amelia, wife of Peter Graw ; Charles, Gustave, Henry, Anna and John.
Among the settlers of 1856 was A. Davis, who came from Columbia county and located on section 14, town 13, range 7, where he was still living in 1883.
In 1860 and 1861 several new comers made their appearance, and the following named settlers have made energetic farmers and highly respected citizens :
Joseph Lisso, who resides on section 14, was born in 1846, in Germany, and when ten years of age his parents came to the United States, and first settled at Cleveland, Ohio, where they remained but two years. In 1858 they removed to LaCrosse, Wis., where they remained two years, and then came to Vernon county and settled on section 14, of Bergen town, where the father entered 120 acres of land. The father died a few years later, and the farm was given to Joseph, which he has increased to 200 acres. Mr. Lisso was married, in 1869, to Elizabeth Dengeline, by whom he has four children - Elizabeth, Mary, Anna and Emma. Mr. Lisso's mother and step-father, Mr. and Mrs. Dettove, are now residing with him. Mr. Lisso is one of the wide awake, enterprising and accommodating farmers of Bergen town.
John Zink, a prominent German farmer, of the town of Bergen, was born in Germany in 1843. He received a very fair education, and in 1861 emigrated to the United States, and to this town in the same year. He entered forty acres of land on section 33, but left his farm in 1864 to join the 7th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He served till the close of the Rebellion, when he received an honorable discharge. He returned home and has since been engaged in agricultural pursuits. His farm has been increased to 160 acres and he has lately erected thereon a commodious and substantial dwelling house, at a cost of about $1,500. Mr. Zink was united in marriage, in 1863, to Mary Kissell, of Vernon county. Nine children were born to them -John, Joe, Sarah, Mary, George, Rhoda, Frank, Charles and Anna. Mrs. Zink departed this life in 1882.
Reinhold Bay, who resides on section 23, was born in Prussia, in 1838. In 1861, when but twenty-three years of age, he came to America, and the westward tide bore him to the State of Wisconsin. He founded a new home in the town of Bergen, where he purchased 117 acres of land. This has been increased to 177 acres, and Mr. Bay is known as one of the leading farmers of this town. In 1872 he was elected to the office of school clerk, and at present is clerk of Bergen town. In 1864 he married Huldah Will, and the result of this union has been the birth of ten children - Emil, August, Reinhold, Matilda, Emma, Theodore, Gustave, Ida, Bertha, and Albert.
The first settlers were Halver Jorgenson and Andrew Emberson, who located in 1852.
The first school was taught on section 12, by Polly Sprague.
The first marriage was Peter Olson to Martha Olson, in 1854, Rev. Sylbrant performing the ceremony.
The first person that died was Ellen, daughter of Christian and Caroline Olson.
The first school house was built on section 12, in 1850.
The first religious services were held at Britt's landing in 1857, by Revs. Smith and Nuzum.
The first postoffice was at Bergen; established in 1856.
In 1853 the board of county commissioners granted permission to organize a new town, to be known as the town of Bergen, nine miles long, from north to south, and six miles wide at its widest part, from east to west. The first election was held at the residence of John Warner, and the following oflicers were chosen conduct the affairs of the new town for the ensuing year : Chairman, Orin Calkins; assistants, Philander Bartlett and Ransom Burnett; clerk, J. P. Harkness; superintendent of schools, John Raywait; assessor, Lafayette Everson. The present officers of the town are as follows:
Chairman of the board of supervisors, Wesley Pulver; assistants, Mathias Bryn and Peter Grow; clerk, Reinold Bay; treasurer, John Engh; assessor, Torger Olson.
There are located in the town of Bergen, three postoffices. Bergen postofiice was located, in 1856, on section 4 and John Warner was the first postmaster. He was succeeded by the present postmaster, John Cumniings. The second ofFice established was on section 21, and called Stoddard. Mr. Bochee was the first postmaster, and subsequently Peter Wandenskie, the present incumbent. Rest postoffice was first opened in 1873, on section 11, and S. E. Stetson was made postmaster. At his death his daughter Huldah was appointed to fill the vacancy. The settlers of the town of Bergen are a steady, industrious and unassuming class of citizens, consequently the history of the town is as yet of a rather limited character. It will increase, both in volume and interest in the years to come.
In 1883 there were two religious societies within the town of Bergen-the Methodist Episcopal and German Lutheran. The former was organized by a class of twelve members, in 1860, and have always held their services at the Dudley school house, on section 25. The German Lutheran Church was organized in 1867 by Rev. Barts, who was succeeded by Rev. Rhine, and the latter by Rev. Ording, the present pastor. Some twenty members constituted the organizing congregation, and since then the membership has been increased to thirty-five.
There are six school houses in the town of Bergen, with an aggregate valuation of $1,325. About 356 children attend these schools.
The oldest burying ground in the town is the one in the southwest part of the town, near the German church, on section 16. There are also several small private cemeteries throughout the the town.
[Source: pgs. 477 - 479, "History of Vernon County, Wisconsin, Together with Sketches of its towns, villages and townships, educational, civil, military and political history; Portraits of prominent persons, and Biographies of representative citizens."
Springfield, ILL. Union Publishing Company, 1884 - Submitted by Diana Morse]
Town of Webster
page 720 to 723
This portion of Vernon county is bounded on the north by the town of Christiana, on the east by the town of Stark, on the south by the town of Liberty, and on the west by the town of Viroqua. The town is square in size, comprising 36 sections. There is only one stream of any importance within its limits, with the exception of the main branch of the Kickapoo river, which flows through the eastern half of section 36. The west branch of the Kickapoo river enters the town on section 6, and takes a southerly course through sections 5, 7, 18, 19, 30, 29 and 32, leaving the town on the southwestern part of section 33. Besides the streams mentioned, there are various tributaries which form a net work of water courses throughout the town, making the land valuable for both stock and agricultural purposes. The surface of the territory is very rolling, and along the banks of both branches of the Kickapoo river, the bluffs greatly resemble those on the Mississippi.
In 1852 two brothers, R P. and A. W. Gillett, came into the present boundary of this town and entered land on section 18. The former now resides in Monroe Co., Wis., and the latter in Anoca, Minn.
William Jobe came the same year, but now resides in Kansas. In 1853 John Snider came into the town, entered land on section 19. After Snider came the following settlers, all of whom are now deceased: John Graham located forty acres on section 19; Lemuel Joseph settled on section 28; John Richardson, on section 21; Sol Richardson, on section 17, and John Pottson section 21. Isaac Glenn and his son Isaiah came from Ohio to Webster town in 1853. The former died here in 1862. Mordecai Adams is a native of Morgan Co., Ohio, and came to Vernon county in 1853, and to this town in 1855.
Joshua Selby was a bachelor from the good State of Maryland in 1854. In 1859 he married Rebecca Stanaford. By being industrious and economical, Mr. Selby has accumulated a handsome competence.
James Allen is a native of Athens Co., Ohio, where he was born in 1807. He came to this town in 1854, and purchased eighty acres of land on section 4. He was the first chairman of the board of supervisors, and held that honorable position for six years. He was married in Ohio, in 1831, to Amanda Gardner, who bore him nine children- Rodney D., Augusta E., Charles A., Arthur P., Calista C, Oscar P (who died at Pittsburg Landing in 1862), Harvey M., Edwin P. and Albert G. Four of these sons were in the Union army-Rodney, Perry, Oscar and Harvey. Mrs. Allen departed this life May 4, 1882, and Mr. Allen was again married July 25, 1883, to Mrs. Albina Hugbert, who is now seventy years of age.
James Oliver came in 1854 and settled forty acres of land on section 5, where he still resides.
William Staniford located on section 28, in 1854, and Wesley Potts settled on section 17, where he now lives.
Jesse Appleton settled here in 1855, and now owns about 1,300 acres of land. He has been twice married. His present wife was Mary McMichael.
John Lyons is a native of Columbiana Co., Ohio, and in 1851 came to Vernon Co., Wis. He located 160 acres of land in this town, which he still owns. He was married in 1852 to Catharine Cowden.
Isaiah Glenn, one of the honored pioneer settlers of this town, was born in Columbiana Co., Ohio, in 1832, and in 1854, accompanied his parents to Vernon Co., Wis. He pre-empted eighty acres of land, which he sold in 1865. When he located in Webster town, there were only three families living within its borders, and Mr. Glenn taught the first school. In 1856 he married Elizabeth Teal, and two children were given them-Laura J., wife of George Fulton, and Clarence. Mr. Glenn suffered the loss of his wife in 1859, and was again united in marriage, in 1865, to Mary Criss, who is the mother of seven cliildren. Minnie, Theophilus, Preston, Rosetta, George, Anna M. and Minnie B. Mr. Glenn's father, Isaac, was born in Ohio in 1806, and was fifty six years of age at the time of his death.
On the 7th day of April, in the year 1856, a band of hardy pioneers and early settlers gathered together at the house of Sol Richardson to perfect the organization of a new town. It was called Webster, after the great American Statesman. The general affairs of the town have surely been conducted in a manner creditable to the name of that illustrious man, as is fully substantiated by the general prosperity of the settlers and thrifty appearance of the land at the present time.
After officers of election were appointed and approved, the following were selected by the thirty-five voting, to first conduct the affairs of the new town: Chairman of the board of supervisors, James Allen; clerk, John Richardson; side board, James Oliver and William Huntington; assessor and treasurer, Isaac Glenn. The present officers of the town are: Chairman, William Hayes; clerk, Isaiah Glenn; treasurer, John Snider; side board, Abner Silbaugh and Lewis Shown; assessor, C. Didrickson.
The first white child born in the town was to R. P. Gillett and wife, in 1855.
The first couple married in the town of Webster was R. P. Gillett to Rebecca Smith, in 1854.
The first religious services were held at the village of Avalanche, by Rev. Munion, in 1854.
The first white person who died in the town was Edward Post, in 1855.
The first school in the town was taught by Isaiah Glenn, in a log building on section S, in 1855. This building had been erected for a dwelling house.
The first school house was built of logs, and erected on section 18, in 1857.
The first election was held at the house of John Richardson, on section 21, in 1856.
The first postoffice established in the town was at Avalanche, in 1868, and Robert Welch was the first postmaster.
The number of school buildings in the town is six. They are mostly of wood, and their aggregate value is about $1,020. The school population of the town number 442.
Mount Zion Church, located on section 26, was organized in 1869 by Rev. D. K. Young, with a membership of forty persons. Soon after the organization the congregation went to work and secured the funds necessary to the erection of a neat frame structure, 20x30 feet in size, and at a cost of about $300. In 1879 a rather serious misunderstanding took place among the different members on some subject pertaining to Church matters, and a large portion of the congregation withdrew from the Church. In addition to this regretful affair, a great many of the members have removed to other climes, and the present membership numbers only ten.
The Advent Church was organized in 1867, on section 15, by Rev. Huff. The congregation first met for worship at the school house in the village of Avalanche, and continued their services there until 1875, when they erected a substantial frame structure, 24x40 feet in size, at a cost of $1,000. The organization was disbanded in 1881 for want of funds to meet expenses.
The first postoffice in the town of Webster was established at the village of Avalanche, in 1868, and Robert Welch was duly commissioned by "Uncle Sam" as its first postmaster. He was succeeded by Daniel Busbee, E. Enochson, August Sweger and the present postmistress, Mary Sweger.
The office above mentioned is in the extreme western portion of the town, and rather inconvenient to settlers in the eastern, northeastern and southeastern parts. As the town settled it was thought necessary to have another office in the eastern part, and Otter Vale postoffice was established on section 14, in 1878, with William S. Marshall as postmaster. He was succeeded by E. Marshall, the present incumbent.
There are located in different parts of the town, mostly along the banks of the west branch of the Kickapoo river, three saw mills, one grist mill and one grist and saw mill combined, and one woolen mill.
VILLAGE OF AVALANCHE.
This place is situated in the extreme western part of the town. It was laid out and platted in fourteen blocks or squares on the center of section 18, by Cyrus F. Gillett, in 1854. The village takes its singular name from the formation of the earth immediately east of the place, which resembles a gigantic landslide or avalanche suddenly stopped in its destructive course.
The first store in the village was opened by its founder, C. F. Gillett, the same year it was laid out. In 1858 a wagon maker, William Cummings, first commenced working at his trade in the embryo village.
The first saw mill in the village was operated by R. P. and A. W. Gillett, in a building on the west branch of the Kickapoo river, which had been built in 1852.
The school house was erected in 1855, and Miss Stricker was the name of the first teacher.
In 1854, the Rev. Mr. Munion came into the neighborhood, and preached the first sermon at the residence of Cyrus F. Gillett.
The first flouring mill in Avalanche was erected in 1860, by Busbee & Piper, with three run of buhrs, on the mill race to the west of the village.
The following is a business directory of the village at the present time :
The grist or flouring mill is owned by Enoch Enochson. It contains three run of stones, and is run by water power, with a capacity of thirty barrels per day. The mill and machinery is valued at about $10,000.
Enoch Enochson was born in Norway, in 1826, and came to the United States in 1851. He subsequently came to Wisconsin, and located on Coon Prairie, where he remained until 1862, the date of his removal to the village of Avalanche. Mr. Enochson is the owner of 200 acres of land on section 18, of this town, and 156 acres on Coon Prairie, in the town of Viroqua. He has been a steady, industrious farmer, and has served his fellow-citizens as chairman of the town board, its treasurer for four years, and as a member of the side board for six years. He was united in marriage, in 1854, to Sarah Olson, who departed this life in 1872. Seven children were born to this union-Helen, wife of Lars L. Ramstead, Elizabeth, wife of William Garrett, Olena, Edward, Martin, John and Anna.
Thomas P. DeWitt, a well known farmer of Webster town, came to Vernon county in 1857. He first located in Viroqua, and remained there till 1860. He then purchased 133 acres of land in this town, where he has since resided and devoted his time and attention to agricultural pursuits. He was born of good parents in Athens Co., Ohio, in 1825. In 1853 he removed to Boone Co., Ind., and in 1854, located in Union Co., Ohio. He came west in 1857. Mr. DeWitt married Catharine Lattimer, and nine children have blessed their union-John, who married Frankie Shell, Hannah, wife of Levi Calkins, James, Delia, wife of Allan Starke, Colonel, Arvilla, Grant, Eva and Levi. In 1864 Mr. DeWitt enlisted in the 42d regiment, Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and served until he was honorably discharged in 1865.
Hans Larson, who located here in 1860, was born in Norway in 1834. He emigrated to these United States in 1857, and in 1860 entered forty acres of land on section 18, of Webster town, which he has since increased to 120 acres, valued at $800. In 1864 he enlisted in the 17th regiment Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and manfully upheld the cause of the Union until his discharge in 1865. He was a member of the side board for many years, and has held other offices in the town. Mr. Larson was married in 1857 to Anna Hanson. They have six children-Lewis, Hans, Gustavo, Ida, Anna and John. Mrs. Larson departed this life July 14, 1878.
William P. Brown, who came to Vernon county from Ohio, in 1865, was born at Beverly, Ohio, in 1842. He received a liberal education, and lived in his native place until 1861, when he enlisted in the 18th regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, serving four years and seven months. He participated in eighteen different engagements, and shared in all the victories and defeats that fell to the lot of the armies of the Ohio and the Cumberland. From the first inception to the close of the war he was in active service, with the exception of two months spent in the hospital at Chattanooga, Tenn., recovering from wounds received in the battle of Chickamauga. At the close of the Rebellion he removed to Wisconsin, and located at Star, in this county. In 1875 he sold out his property at that place, and came into this town, buying an interest in a saw mill on the west branch of the Kickapoo river, one half mile south of Avalanche. In connection with the saw mill Mr. Brown also operates a woolen mill, for custom work. He was married, in 1865, to Laurana Bacon. Clarence P. and Charles S. are the fruits of this union. Mr. Brown's father now resides on section 19 of this town. Although somewhat advanced in years, he still continues to manage the affairs of a large farm, and is, in connection with his son, in the mill business.
John Spencer, who has lately become a resident here, was born in Iowa Co., Wis., in 1847. He attended the common schools, and resided in his native place until 1874, when he removed to Richland Co., Wis., and there worked at his trade of a mason, and carried on a farm until 1882. He then removed to Webster town, and bought ninety-four acres of land on sections 32 and 33, where he has since resided. He was united in marriage, in 1877, to Lucy F. Colbine, of Richland Co., Wis. They have three children -Eleanor, Miriam and Eva E. In 1865 Mr. Spencer enlisted in the 28th regiment, Nebraska Volunteer Infantry, and was wounded in the right thigh at the battle of Plum Creek. He was discharged the same year.
"History of Vernon County, Wisconsin", Together with Sketches of its towns, villages and townships, educationa, civil, military and political history; Portraits of prominent persons, and Biographies of representative citizens.
History of Wisconsin, Embracing accounts of the pre-historic races, and a brief account of its territorial and state governments. ILLUSTRATED; Springfield, ILL. Union Publishing Company 1884 - Submitted by Diana Morse
THE TOWN OF HAMBURG
This town, like that of Webster, is six miles square, comprising township 14, range 6 west. It is bounded on the north by the county of La-Crosse; on the east by the town of Coon; on the south by the town of Harmony; and on the west by the town of Bergen.
The town is watered by one river, which is fed by a large number of small tributaries. The Coon river is formed by three or four small streams in the northeast part of the town, and takes its course through sections 12, 13, 24, 23 and 27, and on the southeast quarter of section 28 flows into quite a large basin. From this it continues its course northerly, then westerly through sections 28, 20 and 29, and leaves the town on the northwest quarter of section 30.
The surface of the country is very rolling and hilly, but in the valleys and on the bluffs is found soil that when fully cultivated will produce bountiful crops.
The first settler in the town was Ole Peterson Gullord, a native of Norway, who came to this country in 1848, and to this town two years later (1850). He entered eighty acres of land on section 13, which he has since increased to 200 acres. In 1854 he married Caroline Evenson, and four children have been born to them-Peter, Amiel, Charles and Joel. Mr. Gullord was followed in the same year by Mathias Larson, who located where he still resides.
In 1851 Nels Erickson became a member of the pioneer band, and took up a homestead of eighty acres. Close after Mr. Erickson came the present county treasurer, Ole Johnson, who traveled nearly 6,000 miles to find a home in the town of Hamburg.
Andrew Evenson arrived early in 1852. He is now deceased.
Peter Oleson Brye made his home here for a short time, but was induced by the settlers of the town of Coon to pitch his camp in their midst, that they might have the benefit of his educational facilities.
Even Egleston came into the town in 1853, and was the first to erect a house in the vicinity of Chaseburg. He was born in Norway, in 18?5, and was here married, the same year he settled, to Gena Olson. They have eight children -Belle, Thomas, Eiel, Anna, Ole, Hannah, Eleas and Halvor. Mr. Egleston entered 100 acres of land on section 33, where he still resides.
Knudt Olson joined his brother and fellow countrymen here in 1855. He entered 100 acres of land on section 12, and has since increased his land to 200 acres. He was born in Norway, in 1827, and came to America in 1849. At the age of thirty he married Rachel Sarson, who has borne him six children. Three are living-Lewis O., Elizabeth S. and Olus M. The deceased are Albert A., Lewis O. and Anna. Mr. Olson has been a member of the town board of supervisors for the past eight years.
This town was set apart early in 1858, and the first town meeting held at a school house near where Chaseburg now stands, April 6, 1858, when the following officers were elected: J. W. Chaney, chairman, A. F. Ellertson and George Gemanhardt, side board; A. Lamprecht, clerk; Ole Johnson, treasurer; Ole Johnson, assesssor; J. W. Chaney superintendent of schools. The present officers of the town are as follows: J. W. Hoyt, chairman of the board, Ole Nelson and George Stroel, assistants, S. C. Steinburg, clerk; G. M. Vincent treasurer.
The larger part of the settlers of this region are Norwegians, and those that reside in the Coon valley, and along the Coon river, and its ridges on either side, through the towns of Bergen, Hamburg and Coon, and from the town of Coon and northeast into La Crosse county, (a population of about 1,400 souls) are members of the Coon Valley Norwegian Lutheran congregations. These people worship at three different churches, known as the Upper Coon Valley, Middle Coon Valley and Lower Coon Valley. These three congregations, previous to 1874, together with that at Fish Creek, in the town of Monroe, La Crosse county, were connected with the Coon Prairie parish. Their ministers were: Rev. H. A. Stub, who officiated about six years ; Rev. A. C. Preus, about nine years, and subsequently the Rev. H. Halvarson who still preaches at Coon Prairie, Viroqua, and other points. In 1874 the four congregations previously mentioned, were formed into a separate parish, and their first minister was Rev. A. S. Meling. Since July, 1882, Rev. E. Jensen, formerly of Jefferson Prairie, Wis., has been in charge of the parish.
The Middle Coon Valley congregation is the oily one of the three located in the town of Hamburg. It was organized in 1854, by the Rev. H. A. Stub, with the following named members: Ole Johnson, Anders Olson Thalong, Even Eielsen, Hans Kongelstad, Erik Marstuen, Anders Nilsen Klomsten, Nils Eriksen Marking, and others. The first services were held at the residence of Ole Johnson. The church is of logs, 30x24 feet in size, and was erected in 1859, at a cost of $500. The present membermembership is about 250, and the Church is in a good financial condition. The present trustees are: Christian Nilson, Stephen Nilson and John Hagen. A parochial, or weekly religious school is under the auspices of the Church, and held for about sixty days each year, under Harold Hoff, the teacher.
Hamburg has always had a good class of public schools. In 1884 the town was divided into seven districts, each being provided with a fair building. The school population was at this date one half Norwegian and the other half made up about equally of German and American children.
There are three organized cemeteries within the town. One located in the village of Chaseburg, and the other two on sections 3 and 19.
THE VILLAGE OF CHASEBURG
This village is located on section 28, on the east side of Coon river. It was laid out and platted by George Swain and George Little, on June 4, 1866, and was named in honor of Henry Chase, who had been instrumental in founding the village. The original plat comprised twelve blocks or squares, and the first dwelling house was erected by George Swain.
The first saw mill was built and put in running order by Henry Chase, in 1862.
Mr. Chase and George Little erected the first flouring mill, in 1863.
The first store was opened, in 1863, by Hon. J. W. Hoyt, and he now enjoys the largest trade in the village.
Joseph W. Hoyt is also postmaster of Chaseburg, and owns 190 acres of land in this town. In 1861 he enlisted in the 1st regiment, Vermont Cavalry, but was discharged a little later, on account of sickness. He was chairman of the board of Hamburg town for five years, also chairman of the county board for two years. In 1870-71, he represented the county of Vernon in the State Legislature. He was married, in 1863, to Elizabeth Isham, and three children have been born to them-Russell, Nina and Harry.
The first sermon in the village of Chaseburg, was preached in 1863, by Rev. H. A. Stub, in the house of Henry Chase.
The first blacksmith shop was erected by a Mr. Cogswell, in 1864.
The first school was taught in the village school house by Miss Spence, in 1865.
The first birth was Nellie, daughter of George Swain and wife.
The first hotel was erected by George W. Swain, who has since conducted it in a manner highly satisfactory to the traveling public.
Tlie first shoemaker in the village was Mathias Peterson.
The first physician was Dr. Rusk.
It is not known who was the first person deceased, or the first couple married.
Dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes-J. W. Hoyt, L. C. Steinburg; hardware-J. W. Hoyt and Thomas Parkin; saw mill-George Swain; grist mill-Granville Akin; harness- August Getting; blacksmiths-J. C. Markle and Thomas Lattimer; hardwood lumber-George Swain; veterinary surgeon-Monroe Vincent; manufacturer of shoes-Andrew Peterson.
The census of 1880, gives the population of Chaseburg as 125.
A prominent man of this village was Henry Chase, who came from Vermont in 1862, and after a short stay in Dane county, came to this place, and was instrumental in building up the village which bears his name. He was elected a member of the State Assembly in 1868. He, in company with George A. Lyttle, owned the Coon River Mills at this point. Mr. Chase died in March 1872, leaving a wife and three children. After his death, Mr. Lyttle took Mr. Chase's interest in the mill.
Peter O. Brye, is a native of Norway, and came to Racine Co., Wis., in August, 1849. He remained there one year, and then moved westward to Bad Ax (now Vernon) county, in the fall of 1850. He passed over the present site of Viroqua on the 31st of October, and from there went straight to the Kickapoo timber. He worked there the following winter, and in the spring rafted the logs down the Kickapoo and Mississippi rivers as far south as Quincy, Ill. He made his home in the town of Viroqua until June 27, 1857, when he joined his brother in Hamburg town. He lived there until the spring of 1859, when he was persuaded to move over the line into what is now the town of Coon, for the purpose of assisting in the organization of the new town. The inhabitants were mostly Norwegians, and did not understand English, and Mr. Brye enjoying the knowledge of that tongue, was elected to the most important town offices, in April, 1859. He was re-elected to the same offices each succeeding year until 1867. In the fall of 1866, he resigned his offices, and rejoined his brother Knudt Olson, in Hamburg town, with whom he has since made his home. Mr. Brye devotes his attention and money to the selling of lands.
Lars Finstad was born in Norway in 1823, and emigrated to the United States in the year 1853, and settled in Hamburg on section 28. That same year he entered eighty acres, which he has since increased to 150 acres. Mr. Finstad was married in 1845, to Hellena Scholl, by whom he has had eleven children, five of whom are now living-Hans, Christian, Edward, Mebin B. and Jane. Christian is now married to Ella Johnson, and three children have been given to them.
Hon. George W. Swain, who located in the town of Hamburg in 1863, was born in the Granite State, in 1824. He there received a good common school education, and in 1845, removed to the adjoining State of Vermont, where he resided for eight years. In 1853, he came west to Dane Co., Wis., and ten years later settled in this town. He purchased a saw-mill and 240 acres of land, lying on sections 28, 14 and 6, from Messrs. Chase and Lyttle, and in 1866, surveyed and platted the village of Chaseburg. Mr. Swain was in 1870 a county supervisor. He is a strong republican in politics, and in 1878 was the nominee of his party for State senator, against A. D. Chase, the candidate of both the democratic and greenback parties. Mr. Swain was elected by a handsome majority. He still owns the saw-mill and carries on a large business in getting out wagon and plow stuff and hard-wood lumber. He also owns the only hotel in the village. Mr. Swain was united in marriage, in 1849, to Hannah Chase. They have reared four children-Josiah B., who married Mary Lattimer, Cora E., wife of Frank E. Aiken, Allie L. and Nellie J. Mrs Swain was born in New Hampshire, in 1825, and when five years of age accompanied her parents to Vermont. Sbe was there married to our subject, and in 1863, came to the town of Hamburg with the honor of being the first American woman in the town. Her daughter Nellie was the first American child born in the town.
J. C. Markle was born in Wayne Co., Ohio, in 1839, and when he was two years old his parents removed to Putnam Co., Ind., where they remained till 1851, when they moved to LaCrosse Co., Wis., and setled in what is called the "Ramsey Cooley," where Mr. Markle remained until he was called to defend his country in 1861. He then enlisted in the 2d regiment Wisconsin Volunteers, company B, and was discharged in 1864. Mr. Markle was wounded at the battle of South Mountain in the left arm and at the battle of the wilderness was wounded in the right arm. In 1867, Mr. Markle came to the village of Chaseburg, where he has carried on the business of blacksmithing and manufacturing wagons, and now owns sixty-two acres of land on section 28, also a house and three lots and a smith wagon and paint shop in the village of Chaseburg. Mr. Markle was married in 1869, to Neoma J. Maxwell, of Vernon county, who has borne him four children-Berthier E., Claud O. and Cora B. Charles died in 1883. Mr. Markle's father, George Markle, was born in Pennsylvania in 1818, and now resides in LaCrosse Co., Wis. His mother, Elizabeth Markle, is also a native of Pennsylvania, born in 1818, and is now living in LaCrosse Co., Wis.
[History of Vernon County, Wisconsin Together with Sketches of its towns, villages and townships, educationa, civil, military and political history; Portraits of prominent persons, and Biographies of representative citizens. History of Wisconsin Embracing accounts of t he pre-historic races, and a brief account of its territorial and state governments. ILLUSTRATED Springfield, ILL. Union Publishing Company 1884]
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