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"Eau Claire County History, 1949"
History of Diamond Valley School Area
The history of our school district follows under definite headings as it was written by pupils of the school.
The free hand map (see below) tells where the first settlers lived and who lives on those farms today (1949). We were not able to find out just who the very first settlers were.
Most of the early settlers in Diamond Valley originated from Germany. Some came from Watertown, Wisconsin.
The early farms were smaller than they are today. Some of the present farms in the valley are made up of two or three pioneer farms. A few of the old farms have been discontinued for public use, but are still used by the farmers with their teams when exchanging help at harvesting time.
The valley ws first called "Know Nothing Valley" but later the people in the valley signed a petition to have the name changed to "Diamond Valley" in honor of one of the early pioneers.
We especially want to thank Mr. J. H. Zank for his information. The time he spent talking to us made it possible for the boys and girls to write this school history.
The Diamond Valley School was built between the years 1871 to 1873. When it was first built they had all double seats at that time, there were about 50 children going to this school. Two pupils sat at each desk. The double seats that were used in this school are used in the St. John's Church in Hay Creek for Sunday School now.
They just had blackboards in the back of the school, and now we have 7 blackboards in the front of the room and 2 on the sides. The windows were the same as they are now, only they did not have screens then. The stove was in the same corner as we have it, only they had what we call a jacket stove.
The children wrote on slates instead of paper as we do now. The first and second graders read from charts. Only the upper six grades had reading books.
Diamond Valley was originally covered with white pine trees. The logs that were cut down here were sent to the lumber mill called Kemptons Mill. Some logs were also sent to Groves Mill and the Foster Mill at Fairchild. Ball and Culverson owned the Kempton Mill, Bennet owned the Groves Mill, the Foster Mill was owned by Foster. They build a wooden railroad to haul the logs to the mill. This railroad ran through part of our valley. A team pulled this early train.
The Diamond Valley Creamery was built in 1890. It stood on what is now Harry Ricks place. It was a cheese factory about 8 years. Then later it was a creamery for 12 to 15 years. It was a co-operative creamery. They sold cheese for 8½¢ a pound or less. It was hard to sell. They went as far as Fall Creek to sell their cheese. Then later they tore the factory down.
When people first came to Diamond Valley, wheat was the only crop that was raised. Wheat was sown by hand and when it was ready to cut they used a cradle.
At that time when wheat was sown it had to be dragged or covered right away because there were pigeons that migrated. When the wheat was not covered they would eat it all.
The first reaper and harvester took two men to do the binding. The first binder used wire and took three men to work it. The first binder cost $365.
The first threshing machine was run by horses. The horses went around in a circle that kept it running. It took from 10 to 12 horses.
Wheat was the most important crop. Maybe 7 or 8 acres of oats were sown. A few potatoes were planted for the family use.
Finally a steam engine thresher was made. Russell Hacket had the first one in this valley. After that more wheat and oats were raised because they could thresh it quicker and easier.
Transportation in Diamond Valley
The first settlers in Diamond Valley used oxen to pull their lumber wagons and do their farm work. Later horses were used with a buckboard wagon. The buckboard had a board spring and was supposed to be more comfortable
Fred Smith was the first man in the valley to own a Democrat Buggy. About sixty years ago two seated buggies with a hood were used by some.
In 1914 the Foster railroad was built through the valley. It ran between Fairchild and Foster.
The first steam automobile around here was owned by Foster in Fairchild. The first car in Diamond Valley was a Ford. The roads were just trails through the brush.
As mentioned at the beginning of this history, a free-hand map was drawn up to show where the first settlers farms were and who lived on these farms in 1949. The starred names (*) are the first settlers, while the other names are the 1949 owners. If there is only one name it is a farm that was passed down from generation to generation. Diamond Valley is located off County Road M, south of Augusta.
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