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"Eau Claire County History, 1949"
History of Elbow School District
by Ruth Nelson
The road, which is now highway 53, was once an Indian trail from Sparta to Eau Claire. Eau Claire was, at that time, a very small town with no bridges across the rivers. The people had to cross on ferries. A great deal of the land along highway 53 was swampy.
The United States sold a very large piece of land to Lyman Austin on July 24, 1855. Mr. Austin lived here for a while and then sold it the same year to John Hobbs, an Englishman, who came to Eau Claire in a covered wagon drawn by oxen. Mr. Hobbs then broke the land and prepared it for farming. Mr. Ed. Bennett purchased this farm from John Hobbs and people from this same family are living on it now.
This farm and the McClellan farm were noted as stopping places where stagecoach drivers stopped to eat and water their horses.
Some of the early settlers, who lived in this school district, besides Mr. Austin, Mr. Hobbs and Ed. Bennett, were William Brown, Joseph Hobbs, Martin and Nathan Turner, Avery Pierce, Valentine Mayer, Mr. Siewert, Wheeler Robins, Manum Olin, Tom Barlins and Mr. Ward.
The first school was built where Bruno Bleichrodt now lives. The first teacher was Miss Emma Clay. Som fo the pupils she taught in the new school was Miss Dean.
In 1886, Rev. McKillop, a Baptist minister, began church services and Sunday school in the town hall.
The present Washington Baptist Church was built by the members of the community and dedicated August 20, 1892. Rev. McKillop was the first pastor.
This church was built in an ideal spot to represent the four freedoms. The church for freedom of worship, the Town Hall for freedom of speech, the farms and homes for the freedoms from want and fear.
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