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"Eau Claire County History, 1949"

History of Progress School Area

If you had lived in the Town of Wilson sixty years ago, you would have seen a very different Wilson than the one you see today.
There were no bridges across the creeks.  The few settlers who lived here forded the creeks when they wished to cross them.  Roads were poor.  Remains of old corduroy roads can still be seen in places.

The land was covered with a good stand of virgin pine.  If you walk through the woods today, you can still see some of the remains -- huge stumps and big logs that were cut and left in the woods because they were not number one timber.

Where the Wilson store now stands the Northwestern Lumber Company built one of its logging camps.  About a mile and a half down the creek was another camp.  A dam was built on Muskrat just back of the Wilson Store.  Down the creek about two miles is the dam now called 'Burnt Dam' and on down the creek another two miles farther was the Randall Dam.

The white pine was cut during the winter months and piled on the creek bank.  When the ice went out in the spring, the dams were opened and the logs were floated down Muskrat to the Eau Claire River and on into Eau Claire to be sawed into lumber.

Arthur Macomber, who still lives in the town of Wilson is one of the men who worked on the drive when the logs were floated down the creek to the river.

One of the sources of income of the early settler was the making of grub pins used in the rafting of lumber down the river.  In making a raft of lumber, several planks were placed crosswise on the bottom.  The lumber was then piled on the planks.  On the top several other planks were placed crosswise to match those on the bottom.  Holes were bored in the planks, the grub pins were placed in the holes.  Wedges were then put in the grub pins to hold the lumber in place.  The rafts were thrown into the river and floated to their destination.

A first the grub pins were made from the roots of young trees.  The trees were dug out and the long tapering roots were used as grub pins.  Later on grub pin mills were built and the grub pins were turned out on lathes.


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