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"History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914, Past and Present"
Chapter 20 - Eau Claire Prior to Its Incorporation as a City in 1872
Description of the City of Eau Claire
(-as transcribed from pages 349 - 361)
We premise this part of our history of Eau Claire by the statement that originally and before the city of Eau Claire was incorporated, that what was generally spoken of as Eau Claire comprised a part of three separate towns, Eau Claire, West Eau Claire or Oak Grove and North Eau Claire. The Eau Claire river at or near its confluence with the Chippewa river was the dividing line between the towns of Eau Claire and North Eau Claire, while the Chippewa river was the dividing line between the towns of West Eau Claire and Eau Claire and North Eau Claire. The settlements in each town were on and near the banks of these rivers. Therefore when we speak of Eau Claire generally, it is meant to include the three settlements or portions of the three towns. When special mention is made to either subdivision, it is to be designated either as the north, east or west side. In 1868 or 1869, a portion of the west side was incorporated as a village under the corporate name of Eau Claire City, and so remained as a separate corporate entity until the incorporation of all Eau Claire as a city. It should also be noted that all the mills on the Eau Claire river were located on the north side, and all those on the Chippewa river were located on the west side, except the Eddy Mill and that of the Wilkin's Island Mill Company which was located on the north side.
An old Wisconsin history says that two French trappers, one named LeDuc, had a post in 1784 at the lower rapids of the Chippewa. As they treated (traded?) with the Chippewas who came from up the river, their post must have been at the head of the rapids where is now the log reservoir. They got into trouble with the Chippewas and went down the river to trade with the Sioux, taking with them two Chippewa scalps as the best method of introducing themselves to the Sioux. This is the first record of any white man living at Eau Claire. There was then an Indian village on the high land opposite the paper mill, and one also at the head of the Dells rapids opposite Mt. Simon.
Previous to any settlement being made on the land on either side of the Chippewa river at or near the mouth of the Eau Claire river, or the land on either side of that stream, there was a rank growth of brush in nearly every direction. The whole country as far as the eye could see was in a wild state of nature. Not even a track made by man was to be found, nor the rudest hut for a resting place. Yet this spot was to attract hundreds of pioneers in a very few years from the time of the arrival of the first settler.
In the summer of 1845, Stephen S. McCann, from Spring Creek, named from a tributary of the Menomonie river, near Menomonie, and Jeremiah C. Thomas entered into a partnership and erected a plain shanty near the site of what was afterward the Eau Claire Lumber Company's water mill on the Eau Claire river. Stephen S. McCann also built a cabin near the confluence of the Eau Claire with the Chippewa, which he designed as a warehouse, and another on the site of what was subsequently the American House. These structures were erected for the express purpose of establishing the right of the settler to an uncertain quantity of government land. McCann transformed the last-named cabin into a home for his family and moved into it. Thus it will be seen that Stephen S. McCann and Jeremiah Thomas were the first actual settlers in this region. The main object of this firm in locating at this place was to build a sawmill and manufacture lumber from the logs obtained from the pine forests on the Eau Claire river and its tributaries. The product could be easily and inexpensively floated down t he Chippewa to markets on the Mississippi river. They had not, however, the adequate means to launch such an enterprise, but were successful in starting two logging camps on the Eau Claire for the winter's work. In the following year, Simon and George W. Randall secured a half interest in the claim of McCann & Thomas at the mouth of the Eau Claire. They associated themselves together under the firm name of McCann, Randall & Thomas. The construction of a dam and sawmill was at once begun by them on the site of what was later on the Eau Claire Lumber Company's waterpower mill. The dam was completed in October, 1846.
Thomas E. Randall conducted the first religious services here. They
were started in September of this year at the residence of S. S. McCann, and were continued each alternate Sunday until the setting in of winter, when a severe illness prevented the continuation of them. The first wedding in Eau Claire took place in the fall of the same year. The parties to it were George W. Randall and Miss Mary LaPoint, of Prairie du Chien. The ceremony was performed at the home (a very comfortable dwelling in those primitive times) of Mr. and Mrs. McCann by Jacob W. Bass, of Chippewa Falls, who had received from the governor of the territory a commission as justice of the peace. The marriage was looked upon as a notable event in those days, and was made the occasion of unusual festivities. The bridegroom's brother, Simon Randall, found it desirable to go and do likewise in the same winter. He chose for his bride one of the Indian maidens of the forest, but however securely the nuptial knot was tied, they were not long to remain untied. Death stepped in and claimed the young wife for its own a few months afterward. The funeral services were performed by Thomas E. Randall, and this was the first funeral that occurred in the settlement.
In the fall of 1845, the first preliminary step was taken to construct a dam and improve the "Lower Dell" of the Chippewa, a short distance north of its confluence with the Eau Claire. H. S. Allen and G. S. Branham were at that time associated in business on Wilson's creek, in close proximity to the now city of Menomonie. They had by their lumbering operations accumulated considerable capital, and in the following winter prospected with the view to investing it in some more extensive enterprise than they had been engaged in. They associated with themselves Simon and George W. Randall under the firm name of Allen, Branham & Randall. After a thorough examination of all the numerous eligible locations, they fixed upon the lower dells as the best place on the river where logs could be safely handled in all stages of the river. There plan of operation was to erect a dam half the distance across the river, thence a side or wing dam near the raft channel to the head or upper reef of rocks on the dells, and by a low dam across to the opposite bank, raise a sufficient head of water without interrupting navigation for boats and rafts. Every arrangement was made to carry the undertaking to completion. Timber was got out near the Half Moon lake for the construction of a large sawmill there. Having proceeded thus far, the parties, who had personal interests to look after, separated to do so. Work was suspended on the supposition that it would be resumed in the spring. The first news, however, that came up the river when that time came was that the whole project had been abandoned; that the firm had dissolved and that Mr. Allen, who was the head of it, had associated himself with Mr. Bass at the falls.
The winter of 1846-47 was long remembered by the few residents of the embryo village, owing to the intensely cold weather. Scarcely any snow fell, but the rivers were frozen to their beds. The spring was quite as remarkable for lack of rain, especially during the months of April and May. The evening of June 5 was, however, visited by one of the most terrible thunderstorms on record in the valley. The rain came down in torrents until the following morning was well advanced toward noon, accompanied by vivid lightning and heavy peals of thunder. The storm was reported by eye-witnesses to have been fearful. The Chippewa rose twelve feet and was covered with driftwood, logs and the debris of piers and booms from the falls. Thomas E. Randall, in his history of the Chippewa valley, says: "In my endeavors to save part of my boom, I was taken into the wild and surging current on it as it floated away. I have been on many log drives and often placed in positions of extreme peril, but never has death stared me more directly in the face than while afloat on the frail boom -- bent, crushed and broken, between masses of logs and driftwood. I could do nothing with it, and on and on it went, with the rapidity of a railway train, passing repeatedly under the branches of reclining trees. I lay flat on my face and clung to those strained timbers, well knowing that once in that boiling flood, no skill in the art of swimming could save me from a watery grave; but as the fates would have it, my rickety craft shot like an arrow out of the current and went ashore at the eddy where Sherman's mill was afterward built."
By noon of that day every log, pier and boom on the Eau Claire was swept away by the fast swelling flood. In another hour the new double sawmill that had just been erected and was ready to be operated was borne almost bodily away by the resistless current. The results of the labor and savings of years were gone forever, and the firm of McCann, Randall & Thomas, with liabilities to meet, found themselves in a bankrupt condition. A dissolution of the partnership was the result. J. C. Thomas went back to the Blue Mill, and S. S. McCann engaged in farming on Eagle prairie above the falls. George W. and Simon Randall entered into co-partnership with Philo Stone and H. Cady. They built the mill on the Eau Claire in the winter of 1847-48.
Philo Stone and his brother Roswell Stone came from Vermont in 1838 and engaged in hunting on the river and adjacent country. The former was turbulent, but brave to a degree, small in stature and quick as lightning; he never avoided a contest, being always victorious. He had a full-blooded squaw for a housekeeper whom he trained to considerable domestic usefulness. Such a course was quite common among the early white settlers. He had for a while operated a tavern at Dunnville, previously belonging to Arthur McCann. New settlers were steadily arriving, and among them were J. J. Gage, James Reed and Captain Dix. They purchased the lower mill site and built a dam and mill where the Eau Claire Lumber Company's flouring mill afterward stood.
Mrs. J. P. Stein, who lives about one mile north of the village of Cochrane, Wisconsin, it seems, was the first white woman who had permanent residence and settled within the present limits or site of the city of Eau Claire, and her son, John A. Stein, who resides in this vicinity, is probably the first white child born there.
Mrs. J. P. Stein (nee Ann Elizabeth Bock) was born in the village of Rasdorf, near the city of Fulda Cur Hessia, Germany, April 17, 1818, where she obtained a fairly good common school education. In 1844, when 26 years of age, she decided to leave the fatherland, and landed in New York city the same year, going from there via the Erie canal to Buffalo, New York, the trip taking one week on the canal boat. Here she received a position as cook for the family of Captain Day, an army physician, stationed at Detroit, Michigan, and later going with this family to Allegheny Arsenal, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Here she made the acquaintance of J. P. Stein, who was a blacksmith holding the position in the United States arsenal there.
When the Mexican war broke out, Mr. Day was ordered to the front, and not wishing to accompany him, she quit her position, and in company with Mr. Stein went west, located in Fort Madison, Iowa, where they were married. This was early in the spring of 1848. They moved from Fort Madison to Galena, Illinois, and here they met a Mr. Knapp from Fort Madison, to whom Mr. Stein hired out and at once started north with him, Mrs. Stein remaining in Galena. They landed at Nelson, Wisconsin, where Mr. Gilbert kept a stopping place or hotel. Here Mr. Stein met a Mr. Cady, who was in search of a blacksmith to work for a company which was erecting a small sawmill a short distance above the junction of the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers, where later the water-mill of the Eau Claire Lumber Company was constructed. The company consisted of Captain Dix, who was at the head of it; Messrs. Cady, Gage, Swimm, Philo Stone, George and Simon Randall. Mr. Stein at once hired out to this company, he as a blacksmith and mechanic, and his wife to do the cooking for the members of the company who were not married, one of the Randalls being married to a half-breed woman. Mr. Stein at once returned to Galena; started by steamboat for their destination, landing at Nelson, Wisconsin, stopping with Gilbert until the company came down with the keel boat after them, in taking several days to make the trip up the Chippewa to the junction. The company had built many log cabins, one of which they occupied. They landed on the seventh day of May, 1848, she doing the cooking, and Mr. Stein the blacksmith work for the company. During the first summer, however, they built their own cabin and moved into it in the fall, and in this cabin their eldest son, John A., was born. His birth occurred November 1, 1848, and he, Mrs. Stein thinks, was the first white child born in the city of Eau Claire. She remembers no other settlements on the Chippewa at this time excepting one about twelve miles north of the then called "Allen's Mills" (the present site of Chippewa Falls). Mr. H. S. Allen then operated a sawmill where Menomonie now is. Four men from Prairie du Chien had built the mill at Chippewa Falls, and a Frenchman by the name of Brunat operated it. Mr. and Mrs. Stein, while living on the Eau Claire, acquired the Chippewa and Sioux languages, and did a lot of trading with the Indians, thereby making good money. They lived here until the fall of 1850, when they decided to give up their positions with the company and move to Wabasha, Minnesota. The company being unable to pay them any money, they took their pay in lumber, which was rafted, and they, in company with a half-breed Indian by the name of Peter Ortobee, piloted a raft to Galena, Illinois, where they sold the lumber and came back to Wabasha, built a cabin and lived the winter of 1850 and '51, in the spring moving to the farm where she now resides and has lived ever since. Mrs. Stein relates many thrilling experiences during her two and a half years' residence in Eau Claire, especially with the Indians, the Sioux and Chippewas being constantly at war with each other. She remembers well when, in the fall of 1849, the two tribes had a peace conference at Eau Claire, the tribes being engaged in great festivities, during which both chiefs left their headdress in her care. Although 96 years of age, Mrs. Stein's memory is very good now (1914), and she would be willing to answer any questions asked her in connection with her residence there. She says she has never met any of that company except Mr. Swimm, who visited them some time in the sixties, he then being a farmer somewhere between Mondovi and Eau Claire. [The above is principally taken from Mrs. Stein's own story of her experiences.]
The lumbering business continued to gradually increase, but there was no communication with the outside world, except by water or private conveyance, until 1850, when a mail route was ordered by Congress from Prairie du Chien, and a post-office shortly afterward established in the village. This was an important event in its history, and gave an impetus to its early progress. From this time to 1854, nothing of general public interest occurred in the settlement. Some changes, however, took place in regard tot he ownership of the mill property. H. Cady sold out his interest in the mill on the Eau Claire to a young man named Swimm, and Simon Randall parted with his share to Mr. Pope and purchased that of Captain Dix in the mill on the lower dam. These new firms carried on business under the respective names of Gage, Reed & Randall and Stone, Swimm & Co. Like all other lumbering firms, these men were compelled to seek credit for merchandise, etc., during the winter months, while trade was at a standstill with them. Among others who furnished them with goods was a Mr. Sincere, of Galena, then the center of lumbermen's supplies. He had exacted the promise that his account should be liquidated out of the proceeds of the first raft that went down the river in the spring. Several other creditors held similar claims, and Mr. Swimm found it necessary to ask Mr. Sincere to wait for payment until the second raft went down. Instead of complying with this request, he procured a warrant under the laws then existing in Illinois, and lodged his debtor in prison, although no fraud had been attempted. There he remained until his partners secured his release.
The Rev. Thomas Barland, a Congregationalist, who had settled on a farm two miles from the village in the fall of 1849, was the first man to conduct a regular Protestant church service in Eau Claire. The meetings were held in Gage & Reed's boarding house (the site of the Eau Claire Grocery Company's building on Eau Claire Street) during the winter of 1852-53. The same thing had been attempted by a Methodist minister named Mayne in the previous summer. A Catholic mission was, however, established on what was afterward known as the North Side, in 1850, a part of which was, a little later on, laid out and platted by Augustus Huysen and W. T. Galloway. The mission flourished and developed into St. Patrick's Church. This was the first sacred edifice built in Eau Claire.
In 1855, W. H. Gleason and R. F. Wilson negotiated with the owners, J. J. Gage and James Reed, for, and obtained, a half interest in the town plat of Eau Claire known as East Eau Claire. By agreement, it was immediately surveyed by the first named parties and recorded at Chippewa Falls, the then county seat, as the village of Eau Claire, the first in the valley, with the names of W. H. Gleason, R. F. Wilson, J. J. Gage and James Reed as proprietors. Congress had, in March, 1856, passed an act donating all the alternate sections of land embraced within certain parallels along the lines of certain proposed railroads therein described in trust to the state of Wisconsin. One of these roads, commencing at Portage City, was to extend to Tomah, and thence to St. Croix county. This branch was designated in the charter of 1857 as the Western Wisconsin Railroad. Ten years was the time fixed upon within which it was to be completed. The valley had to be crossed at some point, and speculators were everywhere on the alert to know where that particular point was to be, especially as the general supposition was that the road would be constructed forthwith. Some of the wildest and most visionary schemes ever generated in the mind of man owed their birth to this land grant, which was conferred upon an organization known as the Milwaukee & LaCrosse Railroad Company, at the head of which was Byron Kilbourne, of Milwaukee. Stock was issued to the extent of several thousand dollars. The undertaking was boomed to the utmost extent. Various routes for the road were considered, some crossing the Chippewa from above and others below the falls. Reports were circulated that surveys were being made in several sections, and speculation was rife.
Early in the summer of this year, Stone, Swimm & Co., sold the mill owned and operated by them to Carson, Eaton & Downs, of Eau Galle. They immediately repaired and remodeled it, putting in the latest improved sawmill machinery, and invested liberally in pine lands on the streams tributary to Eau Claire. At this period there was not a dry-goods store, nor even a blacksmith shop, nor any business, in fact, outside the manufacturing of lumber, existing in the locality. The population was estimated at one hundred. Two houses only were owned in the village and the whole volume of capital invested there did not exceed $20,000. Adin Randall came from Madison and began the erection of the Eau Claire House. E. E. Shaw and Henry Huntington started a store on a small scale, afterward the American House, and latterly the Hart House, and Chapin M. Seely erected a residence house, all on the east side. It was finished for occupation the following spring, and was the first plastered building in Eau Claire. The first death and burial of a white man, William Reed, occurred in June, 1855.
The year 1856 was quite an eventful one, and the new village, proud of its position, began to show unmistakable signs of prosperity. New settlers came in, and there was a general movement forward. An added impetus was created when the legislature, having this year created the county of Eau Claire, selected this village as the county seat. According to the provisions of the act for the organization of the county, an election of officers was held on the last Tuesday of December, 1856, and the town board of the town of Eau Claire was constituted the county board until the next annual election. The town board was represented by C. M. Seeley, chairman; E. W. Robbins and M. A. Page, supervisors. The officers elected were: treasurer, Adin Randall; county clerk, C. F. Babcock; register of deeds, C. H. Howard; clerk of the circuit court, Mr. Olin.
Gage & Reed disposed of their entire interest in the mills, pine lands and half the village plat to Chapman & Thorp, who, during the first year, entrusted the whole business to Gilbert E. Porter, of Michigan, a young man full of energy and capacity, who afterward became a prominent citizen. The Eau Claire House as completed by Adin Randall and opened for business. The first bank was started under the free banking law with the title of the Bank of Eau Claire. W. H. Gleason was president, and C. H. Gleason cashier. Its principal manager was C. M. Seeley, who had had considerable experience in the matter of finance, and was to all appearance cautious and conservative in his business methods. As a consequence confidence was inspired in the institution.
Daniel Shaw located a sawmill at what was called Shawtown on the west side. He soon proved himself to be an important accession to Eau Claire, and his operations were among the first incentives to the growth of the west side to its present dimensions and popularity as a residence location. Ingram, Kennedy & Dole purchased the site for their first mill at this time, and a small mill was put up by Adin Randall. He had the west side platted in August of this years (1856) by Frank Moore and W. W. Spear, and recorded it as Eau Claire City, but it was more familiarly known as Randall Town for a number of years. The land was covered with brush at this time, without a finished building on it. By the fall of the following year about thirty houses had been erected, but further progress in this direction was ultimately checked for some time when it was discovered that Adin Randall had executed a mortgage on the whole of the land, and no title could be given to intending purchasers. Mr. Thomas E. Randall, in his story, says of him that he was "a strange composition of reckless energy, of daring enterprise, with want of punctuality, or an adaptation of means to end. With many good business traits, he lacked some element of success that made him always unsafe, and lost to him the confidence of the business community."
Permission was give to Adin Randall by the board of supervisors in the following March to operate a ferry across the Chippewa river between the east and west sides of the city. Reed's Hall, which became famous by reason of the meetings held in it, was erected in 1857 and opened on September 15 of that year. It was burned down in April, 1869. The following winter, 1857-58, a school was opened in what is now the second ward. This building was afterward known as the Universalist Church. The seed of the first Methodist Episcopal Church was sown on the east side in the fall of 1858, which also has to its record the arrival of the first Norwegian settler, S. A. Lund. The Eau Claire "Times" was started in August, 1857, and the Eau Claire "Free Press" in the following October. A number of efforts were made to establish similar enterprises about that time, but they lacked support. Another bank came into existence this year, that of Hall 7 Brother, who were non-residents. Its manager was D. R. Moon. This and the one previously mentioned were banks of issue. The terrible convulsions in the financial and commercial world that set in this year came with a crushing effect on these institutions, and they were forced into liquidation. W. H. Gleason, who was president of the Eau Claire Bank, and R. F. Wilson were proprietors of half the village on the east side. Flushed with success of their speculations during the previous eighteen months, they were ambitious for fresh operations. Unfortunately for them and their connections, they acted precipitately on an unverified report that the Tomah and St. Croix Railroad would cross the Chippewa at O'Neil's creek, and invested $20,000 in lands at that point. A village plat had been laid out and recorded at Chippewa city, a few lots sold, a saloon or two started and a state bank. That was all. Byron Kilbourne's organization vanished into air, and like the baseless fabric of a vision left not a cent behind. The bank of Mr. Gleason, it was claimed was compelled to suspend mainly by reason of the withdrawal of deposits to embark in Chippewa city property.
The firm of Chapman & Thorp had, early in the season of 1857, purchased the entire interest of Carson & Eaton in the Eau Claire mill, pine lands, power, etc., for $125,000, and began the construction of a steam mill on the site of their lower mill. The subsequent tightness of the money market forced them into pecuniary difficulties, and they were only saved from bankruptcy through the temporary assistance of friends in the East. The first shipment of wheat from this point occurred this year. It is true that it was only a few hundred bushels, but in 1861 it had increased to 150,000 bushels.
A bill was introduced in Congress this year by C. C. Washburn for the creation of a new land district in and in close proximity to the valley, with Chippewa Falls as its headquarters. Just before its final passage, Eau Claire was offered as a substitute. A strong fight was made by the respective partisans of each village. Ultimately it was agreed to refer the point to the President of the United States, who decided in favor of Eau Claire. Dr. W. T. Galloway was appointed registrar, and N. B. Boyden receiver. The Methodist Episcopal Church inaugurated a school on the west side in 1857 known as the Methodist Institute, and erected the necessary building, aided by a local subscription and a contribution from an eastern educational fund. It was conducted with considerable ability for several years, and did a large amount of good. The introduction of the public graded school system superseded its usefulness, and it was ultimately sold to the city and was occupied temporarily by the high school of Eau Claire.
Among the settlers in the village in 1857 were the Rev. A. Kidder and family, Joseph G. Thorp and family, Peter Wyckoff, the Jackson brothers, John Wilson, George A. Buffington, Dr. F. R. Skinner, W. P. Bartlett and Alex. Meggett. During the winter of 1857-58 many of the villagers had to mutually assist each other, owing to the depressed condition of the money market and commercial interests. Credit was, temporarily, an unknown quantity.
The lands of the Fox River Improvement Company were in the market to a limited extent in 1859, and the business of disposing of some of them was transacted at the land office on Eau Claire street. By the terms of the grant, the lands could not be pre-empted by actual settlers, but could be covered by land warrants, which was issued in great quantities. N. B. Boyden was the receiver at this period. One night near the time the returns were due at Washington, the office was broken into by burglars, the safe blown open and a large sum of money taken. The loss fell upon the government. A stage route was established in this year between Eau Claire and Wabasha, and the first graded school opened on the west side. The second Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1861, located on the west side. What is now the Eau Claire National Bank was organized by C. C. Spafford in this year.
Reference has already been made to the grant of land by Congress in 1856 for the construction of a railroad from Portage City to the Mississippi at LaCrosse, with a branch from Tomah to the St. Croix river. The scheme collapsed. In March, 1863, several business men of St. Croix, Dunn, Chippewa, Eau Claire and Jackson counties, among whom were D. A. Baldwin, Capt. William Wilson, J. G. Thorp, H. S. Allen and W. T. Price, promoted a new organization to construct that part of the road from Tomah to the St. Croix. It was incorporated under legislative act at the date named with the title of the Tomah & St. Croix Railway Company. The first meeting was held at Durand on July 9 of that year. At the next session of the legislature, the land grant was conferred upon the company with the right of way and the privilege of locating the line on its present course, except that its terminus was to be at Tomah. Subsequently, the line was changed, leaving the original line at Warrens and running to Camp Douglas on the Milwaukee road. It was determined by the course that the terminus could not be thus changed, and settlement, however, was finally made by which the change became legalized. The grant was renewed and the land exempted from taxes until 1870. The preliminary expenses in surveying the route, etc., were $20,000. D. A. Baldwin, of Hudson, had sufficient confidence in the success of the undertaking to advance the money. The work was done and the necessary maps prepared in 1864-65. The next step was to find capitalists who would invest the requisite funds to construct and equip the road. Mr. Baldwin was selected by the directors of the company to carry on the negotiations in this direction. After trips had been made to the principal eastern cities, and the Atlantic twice crossed, Mr. Baldwin's efforts were, after the labor of two years, crowned with success. Mr. Jacob Humbird, of Cumberland, Maryland, a prosperous railroad contractor, furnished the entire funds to complete the first thirty-two miles of track to Black River Falls, the payment of which, and all other sums for contract work, was secured by first mortgage on the roadbed. Before commencing operations, the name of the company had been changed to the West Wisconsin Railway by an act of the legislature. The road was completed to Augusta early in 1870, and in the following August the then welcome sound of the locomotive which connected it with the East was heard in Eau Claire. It was made the occasion of such rejoicing as has never been equaled in Eau Claire. A meeting of citizens was held at Marston's Hall on the evening of July 25, 1870, when the subject was discussed, and the following committee appointed with full power to make all necessary arrangements to celebrate the event in a proper manner: Alexander Meggett, H. P. Graham, Daniel Shaw, Martin Daniels, George A. Buffington, John Wordsworth Nelson, Texas Angel, Orrin H. Ingram, D. E. Brown, Ole Bruden and Matthias Leinenkugel. The reception and entertainment took place in the public park on the west side. Provisions were made for free entertainment by private hospitality of not less than 300 persons for not less than two days. The amount raised by voluntary subscription was $1,500, and was sufficient to defray the entire expense for the occasion. Not less than 3,000 guests were provided for and dined in a sumptuous manner, ladies presiding at the tables.
The electors of the county had voted in aid of this road the sum of $60,000 in bonds. By a trick, the wording of the resolution was made to read, "the county may issue bonds" to that amount, instead of "shall." Judge Mead and W. P. Bartlett each claim the credit for this deception. This aid was voted to secure the location of the road at Eau Claire instead of Chippewa Falls. The court decided that under the particular phraseology, the county board had an option either to issue or refuse to issue the bonds. The county board, after the road was secured at Eau Claire, refused to issue the bonds, a clear case of repudiation.
The first congregation of the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran church was organized in 1864, and the Second district school was established this year on Farwell street. It became well known as the Bartlett high school.
A destructive flood occurred in 1866 on the Chippewa river. Jams of ice, logs and driftwood came down in such force that booms, piers and all other obstructions to the irresistible waters were carried away. Many thousand logs were deposited on the islands of the Mississippi.
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