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"Eau Claire County History, 1949"


History of Pleasant View School Area

As we unfold the pages of history it reveals to us things that took place almost a century ago.  The early pioneers who left their kith and kin back in their homeland across the sea, endured much hardship and suffering to help mold the early settlement of our community.

The portion of history that is of special interest and value to us is our own Eau Claire County whose name was derived from the Indian word "Clear Water River", a name given to the Eau Claire River in the eighteenth century by the Indians.

This region at the time was being occupied by Indians, especially the Chippewa and Sioux tribes.

What is now Eau Claire County had formed as a part of Chippewa County in 1845.  In this year the first permanent settlement was made by Stephen McCann and Jeremiah Thomas.

Reverend Tom Barland settled the first permanent farm.  He was the first pioneer to appreciate the climate, and value this land.  Mr. Barland came from Illinois in 1864 and settled a 200 acre farm two and a half miles southeast of Eau Claire.  His first neighbors were E. W. Robbins and David Wyman.

In the early development of this county, the nearest post office was located at Prairie du Chien.  It was brought by private conveyance to Eau Claire.

On October 6, 1856, by an act of the State Legislature, Eau Claire County was separated from Chippewa County and then organized its own government.

From 1857 to 1915 Eau Claire County was gradually platted into townships.  The township of Half Moon Lake was first and the township of Wilson was last to organize.  Of the seventeen townships platted, thirteen are remaining.  The township of Washington became organized in this period.

The earliest settler known to live in the town of Washington came in 1854.  He was Wheeler Robbins.  Mr. Robbins had been a native of New York, having been born there in 1821.  After his arrival here he married Laura Pond and supported his family by working in a woolen mill operated in this township.

Another of the early pioneers was Cyrus Pease.  He was born in Michigan and moved with his father and mother to Wisconsin in 1846.  He was one of twelve in this family.  They established a farm in Eau Claire County comprising 900 acres.  When Cyrus grew up he settled a 100 acre farm in this community.

W. H. H. Bee came from Vermont and moved to Wisconsin in 1856.  During his first years in this community he served his country during the Civil War.  He was one of the many men to march with General Sherman when he made his famous "march to the sea."  After the war Mr. Bee married Emma Neill and settled in the town of Washington where he became first town treasurer.

The most interesting settler that migrated to this community was John Hobbs.  He was born in County Kent, England in 1822.  While in England he worked as a machinist, carpenter and builder.  In 1844 he was united in marriage to Georgina Wahl in Dover, England.  They sailed from Dover, England in 1857 and came to the United States where  they first settled at Marquette.  Later he established a farm here, where a tragedy befell him when his wife died.  A few years later he married Celia Wahl, his first wife's sister.

These are a few of the early men and women that helped develop our township and farm the community in which we live.

The predominating nationality in this community is German, but a few other nationalities are represented, also such as John Finlayson,who is a native of Scotland.

At the age of twelve, John Finlayson and his fourteen year old sister, came to Canada on a steamship. Here they stayed with relatives until he was seventeen.  Mr. Finlayson then left his relatives and came to the United States where he shifted doing odd jobs to earn a living.  His most interesting experiences took place up near Rice Lake and Wauboo in the lumber camps.  Here in the camps he and several men of the crew spent the summer pulling hay frome the swamps to feed the horses.  In September and October the other men arrived, ready to cut the logs.  In the spring these logs were floated down stream.  Mr. Finlayson was their chief cook.  One of his favorite dishes served was plum pudding.  To this day Mr. Finlayson makes his favorite plum pudding at Christmas.

When Mr. Finlayson settle here fifty-two years ago, he bought a piece of wild land from Mr. Rasmussen.  All the buildings on the farm are original, with the exception of the barn.

Another early settler in this community is Mrs. Gertrude Wiese.  Mrs. Wiese grew up in this community.  In relating her experiences she told about the tragedy that befell her family when one brother and two sisters died within one month from the dreaded "Diphtheria".  At that time Mrs. Wiese was three years old.

William Prill, another pioneer settler in our community, came with his family in 1888.  They settled at Altoona near their kinfolk.  He worked at odd jobs until he had earned enough to buy the farm he lives on at present.

Thus, the community gradually grew into a settled area of farms.

There were but few entertainments to interrupt the daily routine of farm life, except house parties with dancing to the music furnished by some fiddler.  Then, too, the annual circus seldom failed to come to Eau Claire with its clowns and pink lemonade.  Mrs. Wiese related that the day was never complete without a glass of pink lemonade.  Fishing, then as now, was a favorite sport.  An ideal fishing spot then was a trout pond located on the James Smith farm which is the present John Backstrom property.  It's importance was so renown that it was listed on the early county maps as "Smith's Trout Pond."

Early mail service was meager, inasmuch, as there were only two postal stations, located at Altoona and Eau Claire.  An occasional trip to town served a dual purpose, that of getting mail and trading.  The latter became an interesting  affair known as "bartering."  It was a necessity because money was scarce.  Many farmers traded homemade butter and cheese for staple foods and other necessities.

As the population increased it became necessary to educate the children of the community.  Early records revealed that the school district of Pleasant View became organized in 1869 on the eighth day of March by the board of supervisors.  On April 2, the voters held their first school meeting at the home of Maynard Pond.  At this meetng Joseph Banister was appointed chairman and the following school board was elected:  Clerk -- George Banister, to serve a term of one year; Levi Rowland, treasurer, for a term of two years; and B. Meservey, director, for a term of three years.

It was voted to locate the schoolhouse on the hill on the present Fred Schumacher farm.  The structure was to be sixteen feet by twenty four feet.  They agreed to raise one hundred and fifty dollars to pay for the building of the schoolhouse.

It is interesting to know that one of the teachers that taught at that time in the school, still lives in the vicinity.  She is Mrs. William Brown residing in Altoona.

The school building was heated by a box stove in which they burned wood.  At first the fuel was obtained by each family donating a cord of wood to the school, but later it was purchased for two dollars a cord.

The school was a small one room building.  In the interiro was a blackboard across one end.  There were double-seated desks for the children.  Books were scarce and for writing materials the children used slates and slate pencils.  The subjects taught were reading, writing, spelling, arithmetic, phonics, English and the Constitution.  The children ranged in age from six to fifteen but often older children attended to learn the English language.  The water supply was furnished by a neighbor.  The children took turns getting the water for several years, then this job was given to the lowest bidder at the school meeting.  Records showed that one year water was carried for one dollar per month if the amount didn't exceed four pails per day.

Int his period of pioneer education there were three terms of school, a fall, winter and spring term during which the boys only, attended the winter term.

Mrs. Brown, one of the early pioneer teachers of Pleasant View School, related that she received a salary of twenty-five dollars a month of which two dollars were paid for room and board.  Many of the teachers boarded with the Albert Bishop family at that time.

More people chose to make their homes in this community, until due to the shift of population, it was necessary to consider moving the school site.  The school house was moved onto a piece of land donated by Albert Bishop, which is the place where the present school building stands.  It has been remodeled but the structure is the same.

Today, twenty-five pupils are enrolled with Mrs. Bernice Klick as the teacher.  We, as a part of the community will strive to make it a better and more prosperous community so that the future generations may enjoy its blessings.

By Mrs. Bernice Klick, teacher

  

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