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"Eau Claire County History, 1949"


History of Allen School District
How did Allen get its start?  Here is part of Allen's interesting history.

Probably the earliest family to settle in this community was the Harvey Dunham family, which came in 1870, and settled on this side of Nix's in township 16, at that time a part of Otter Creek, which includes land from the McClellan house (east of Foster) to Shaw's Corner.  They broke up land (1872) and sowed wheat and got 800 bushels of wheat which sold at $1.25 per bushel.   The wheat was cut with a reaper and threshed by "tread power".  It was a practice early in the morning and at about four in the afternoon to go out with a red flag tied to a fish pole to frighten away the deer which came to feed on the grain.  Traveling was done by ox team.  A daughter was married to George Jackson and moved to the farm, where Mrs. Jackson lives at the age of 88 (1949).  The Dunham farm is now occupied by a grandson, Arthur Dunham.

Another early settler was Andrew Nix, who came in the fall of 1871, when he was twenty-one years of age.  The first fall he worked for Wynstock.  The next spring he bought some land and with his brother, John Nix, farmed the land presently owned by Jim Nix.  The silo on this farm is said to be one of the first in Eau Claire County.  Andrew and John Nix built a building which served as a store and post office.  The mail came by stagecoach which went from Sparta to St. Paul, stopping at Foster to change horses.  The mail was distributed to the different communities by people taking turns going to the McClellan house (east of Foster) to get the mail.  This was done once a week, usually on Saturday.  This was very inconvenient, so this inspired the Nix brothers to build the Post Office in 1903.  One was also built at Norseville (named because of the many Norse inhabitants).  This post office was in the house now occupied by Victor Olson.

Another early settler was Mr. Bonnot, father of Mrs. Grace Lowe.  We have definite proof of his building his home in 1878, now occupied by Harold Pornot.  The corner stone of the house bears this date.  Mr. Bonnot was a logger of the early days.  At one time he owned all the land around Allen.  Charles Allen bought the farm from Bonnot and also gave Allen its name.

Harley Hutchinson was next to settle at Dunham's Corner.  No trace of these buildings can now be seen.

As the town of Otter Creek grew, it was divided into Otter Creek and Clear Creek and part of Pleasant Valley.  As Clear Creek was gradually becoming settled by Norwegians, Germans, Irish and French, the first town meeting was held at the Pleasant Valley Town Hall in 1882.  The meetings were held there until 1892, when the people of Clear Creek hired Ed Howard to build the first Town Hall located at Nix Corner which is still in use today.

The first school consisted of a simple frame structure built by those pioneers on the Martin Olson farm, presently occupied by Otto Westphal.  Ida Williams, the first teacher, received twenty-five ($25) a month.  The ages of the children ranged from 8 to 25 years.  The older boys and girls attended during the winter months, mainly to learn to speak and write the American language.  This school was later moved to Allen and is now used as a granary on the Lester Porter farm.

A railroad was built from Fairchild to Foster in 1912, then was extended through Allen and on to Cleghorn in 1913.  Due to the change of grain farming to dairying, the railroad ran out of business.  The Allen depot now serves as a granary on the Clarence Moyer's farm.

A bank was also built in Allen, but was closed in 1923.  The building is now used as a receiving station of the Osseo Condensary.

A Shaw Telephone Co., started by Ira Ives and Charles Sequin in 1900 had its switchboard at a store at Shaw Corner owned by Nels Johnson.  This store was later sold to Ira D. Miles and was moved to Allen in 1914.  In this telephone company there were no toll charges.  The switchboard was later moved to Cleghorn store and then to its present location.  The Shaw Telephone now serves Allen and its neighboring community.



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