Histories > Eau Claire Co. Historical Accounts
"History of Northern Wisconsin, 1881"
(-as transcribed from pages 338 - 339)
The pleasant village of Augusta is located in the town of Bridge Creek, on the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railroad. It is on a level spot, in a fertile region, regularly laid out, with the buildings detached and somewhat scattered over quite a large territory for a village of its size.
The village was platted in September, 1857.
The first white settler in the town was Andrew Thompson, who located in 1855, in what is now called Thompson's Valley.
Later in the same year, E. S. Bills, Charles Buckman, C. L. Chadbourn, W. H. Waterbury, and John F. Stone, with their families, located here. Mr. Thompson was an Englishman, and unmarried.
Buckman and Bills were farmers. Mr. Stone turned his attention to milling, and built the first saw-mill in the valley; it was completed in the Winter of 1856-7.
The next year, 1858, witnessed the building of the first store and frame dwelling in town, by William Mauss.
H. Searl and brother arrived in the Spring of 1859, bringing their families, and, buying an interest in Stone's mill property, they erected the first flouring mill in the vicinity, which still stands, doing good work. At the end of three years, seven or eight other families had settled here.
In 1862, Buckman & Ball built the Augusta House, which was burned in 1879.
There have been several additions to the village. Buckman's first addition, September, 1859; Stone & Buckman's, May, 1867; E. S. Bills', June, 1867; Buckman's second, September, 1868; John F. Stone's, May, 1867; and in April, 1870, Germantown was laid out as a detached village. In 1871, however, the whole were consolidated.
The village had a healthy and steady growth, which was retarded during the war, but the prospects of a railroad inspired its flagging energies, and the completion of the West Wisconsin to this point, rapidly developed a thriving community.
As the road, however, went through to Eau Claire, there was a waning of its business vitality to a slight extent; but it has never outgrown the country upon which it depends for support. All its business places are active.
Schools. - Augusta, not unjustly, prides itself upon its graded schools. Early in the history of the village, a large school-house was built. It was burned in 1872. In 1873, a still larger one was built. John L. Ball was the architect. The schools are under the care of Thomas Williams.
Bank. - There is a single private bank. Ira B. Bradford and Russell Hacket are the proprietors. It is a sound institution, and does a good business. It was started in 1867.
W. H. Waterbury is the present Postmaster, and H. McBain is Assistant Postmaster.
Churches. - The First Baptist Church. This society came into existence in 1857, through the efforts of A. B. Green. The first pastor was Rev. Luther Humphrey. The present structure was built in 1867. The present pastor is Rev. J. W. Fish. It has 170 members.
The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1857, Elder Clingham being the first pastor. The present edifice was erected in 1870. Rev. John Haw is pastor, and there is a present membership of 177.
There is also a Catholic Mission Church in town.
Mills. - J. L. Ball planing mill, doors, sash, blinds, etc.; run by water-power from Bridge Creek.
Finch & Plummer, flouring mill; two run of stones; run by water.
There is a saw-mill run by water on East Coon Fork, five miles from town.
There are several unimproved water privileges near the village, one with ten feet fall, another eighteen, and still another of twenty-two feet.
Newspaper. - The Augusta Eagle was started by the present proprietor, Griff. O. Jones, July 11, 1874.
Societies. - Augusta has the usual variety in this respect:
Masonic. - Augusta Lodge, No. 181. Isaac Palmer was the first Master, and S. Axtell is the present one.
Odd Fellows, No. 142, has a membership of about fifty. W. H. Waterbury was the first N. G. H. S. Baldwin now fills that chair.
A. O. U. W. Instituted in 1869. S. Axtell the first M. W. C. A. Kirkham the present M. W.
There is also a Temple of Honor, Good Templars, and a Juvenile Temple, all in good condition.
Two hotels are in the village, the Sheridan House and the Warren House.
There are two elevators at the depot, and 293,835 bushels of wheat were shipped in 1880.
The population of the village is 1,200.
There are the usual number of lawyers. One of them, Ira B. Bradford, was Speaker of the Assembly in 1881, and the youngest man ever in that chair, and the only one ever born in Wisconsin.
Of doctors there are four, representing the several schools.
An artesian well was sunk 200 feet, but the appropriation giving out, it was suspended.
The streets began to be sprinkled in 1880.
A Mr. Holcomb claims that he has discovered iron and several other minerals, on Hay Creek, in the town of Ludington, on Section 34. Examinations are taking place to learn the value of the rock found there.
Augusta must continue to grow as the country around is developed.
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