Bridgeport was included in the town of Prairie du Chien till 1872, when it was given a separate organization. The surface of the town is rough and broken by a series of ridges and valleys so common to all the county. The soil too, is of a similar nature to the other towns; it being of clay on the ridge and in the valleys. In the latter, however it consists more of a loam mixture than on the ridges. All kinds of crops, including grass and vegetables are produced here with as large a yield as in any part of Crawford county.
The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad runs through the southern part of the town, and there is a station at the village of Bridgeport, where a wagon bridge crosses the Wisconsin river into Grant county.
James and Samuel Gilbert, two brothers, were the first settlers in the town of Bridgeport. They came in 1826. James located on section 10, on the place now known as the Fairfield place, and his brother Samuel on the place afterward owned by George Ward. The Gilberts remained about six years, when they left the county.
In April, 1838, a party embarked in a keel-boat at Wellsville, Ohio, some distance below Pittsburg, Penn., their objective point being Crawford Co., Wis. This party consisted of Elisha, and Elihu Warner, brothers, William Curts, Christopher Bowen, Jerrid Warner, Jackson Foster, and a man named Ravel. These men were all married, and had their families with them. Elias Bowen, Joseph Curley, James Foster, son of Jackson Foster, and Richard Lane, were the young unmarried men of the company, together with three others, named Carr, Wickersham and Tyler. The party started down the Ohio river; but when not far from the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, finding their progress too slow, a bargain was made with the steamer, Nashville to tow them to St. Louis. From there to Prairie du Chien, they were towed by the steamer Burlington. After resting a day or two, they commenced the laborious task of ascending the Wisconsin river, by poling and fastening cables to trees on the bank, and thus pulling the boat against the strong current. One week of faithful toil in this way, brought them to Millville, on the south bank of the stream, in Grant county, where the party left the keel-boat, Kickapoo, (a name given it before leaving Wellsville, Ohio,) except one family, that of C. Bowens, who remained on the boat a few weeks, until Mr. Bowen erected a house in what was afterward the town of Wauzeka.
Elihu Warner and his sons, remained at Millville and there built a mill, the same year, 1838. William Curts left the boat at a point later known as Wright's Ferry, and moved his family into a vacant house, on what is now called the Fairfield farm, in the town of Bridgeport. Elisha Warner remained at Millville, the point of landing, for about ten days, when he also moved into the same house.
Jackson Foster lived at Millville a year or more, and then settled in Grand Gris valley, in what is now the town of Wauzeka, where both he and his wife died a few years later. The remainder of their family all left soon after except Jackson, Jr., who was, years afterward, in company with Ralph Smith, in the milling business at Wauzeka, but in 1882, moved to Dakota Territory. Mr. Ravel remained at Millville, until the winter of 1838-9, and then located a short distance from the present site of Bridgeport. He died in that village in 1859, his wife having died in 1853. Carr and Wickersham built C. Bowen's stone house in the summer and fall of 1838, and then returned to Ohio. Mr. Bowen occupied this house until his death in August, 1840. Elias, son of C. Bowen, married a few years later, and settled on the farm now, (1884), owned by A. J. Beesecker. Joseph Curley married a daughter of C. Bowen and lived in Bridgeport about twenty years, and then moved to Iowa. Richard Lane married the widow of John Ward, one of the early settlers of Bridgeport. He died in 1878. Tyler only remained a year or two. At the date of this band of pioneer's coming, the only settlers in this town, as now bounded, were the families of Seth Hill, and Francis Lapoint, who were then engaged in operating a pole ferry, on the Wisconsin river, at the crossing of the military road, where the village of Bridgeport now stands. John Brunet came in some time during 1838, and made a settlement.
The following is an amusing incident in regard to the above mentioned party, who came in on the keel-boat Kickapoo:
While the fatigued party were resting at Prairie du Chien, some of the sharp ones (specimens of whom can be found in all new countries) espying the name of the boat, Kickapoo, supposed they knew the destination of the party; accordingly two or three of them, with their grub sacks, started post haste for the banks of the Kickapoo river, looking for the most desirable points at which a large company might settle. They marked such spots as "squatter's claims" by hanging a pole on two forked sticks, a tree or two cut down and other sham work of improvement. Here these sharps settled down to eat their rations and watch for the pioneer keel-boat, Kickapoo but alas! like many another well laid scheme nothing came of it.1
The first marriage was that of William Keith and Emaline Craw, in 1841.
The first death was a child of John Allen's, in 1839.
The first school in the town was taught by Delia Bowen, in a log building on the site of the present brick school house in district No. 5, in 1841.
Elisha Warner preached in 1838 the first sermon, holding services every Sunday for some time.
Prior to 1872 the territory embraced within the town of Bridgeport was included in the town of Prairie du Chien. It was at this date that the city of Prairie du Chien became an incorporated city and owing to dissatisfaction in regard to taxes, the people of the southern part of the town of Prairie du Chien, petitioned the county board to be set off into a separate town; accordingly, in November of that year, 1872, this was done. The first election under the new town organization occurred April 3, 1873. John B. Davis, Charles Kahler, Lyman King, D. F. Haskins, and J. B. Davis, clerks. The following officers were elected:
Joseph Atherton, D. F. Haskins and John Bunders, supervisors; Chancey Blancher, clerk; H. C. King, treasurer; Henry Barretta, assessor; John B. Davis, W. B. Hicklin and Sylvester Ault, justices of the peace.
Officers acting in 1883: H. C. King, George Ward and Lewis Kenyon, supervisors; Henry Barretta, treasurer; Charles Kahler, clerk; William Curts, assessor; Terry Fairfield, O. E. Miller and Charles Kahler, justices of the peace.
In 1884, the town of Bridgeport had two full and two joint school districts.
District No. 1, had a brick school house, on section 10, town 6, range 6 west, valued at $245. Number of pupils, sixty-six.
District No. 2, had a log building situated on section 6, town 6, range 5 west, valued at $30. Number of pupils, fifty.
Joint district No. 5, with town of Prairie du Chien, had a frame building situated on section 33, town 7, range 6 west, valued at $275. Number of pupils, forty.
Joint district No. 6, with the town of Prairie du Chien, also, was provided with a house in the last named town. Number of pupils from the town of Bridgeport, twenty-one.
About fourteen sections of the town were at this date attached to the independent district of the city of Prairie du Chien, for school purposes.
The town has but one cemetery; this is situated on section 10, town 6, range 6 west, and was established in 1839.
The town of Bridgeport has never had a regular Church organization. In 1838, Elisha Warner, one of the party who came on the keel boat Kickapoo, from Ohio, preached the first Gospel sermon listened to in the town. He preached from time to time at various places, wherever a few could be found, who wanted to be taught in divine things. He was a man who exercised a positive influence for good over the people of Bridgeport. H was a christian by precept and practice. His kind heart made all men friends. It is said of him, "the children all loved him," and one says "even the dogs liked him." He was the pioneer preacher of the town; was always ready to conduct religious services wherever and whenever people would meet for that purpose. His wife died in 1858, aged sixty-four years. Mr. Warner died in 1875, from apoplexy. Elder Brunson, who had officiated at the funeral services of Mrs. Warner seventeen years previous, performed the same services for Mr. Warner, and feelingly announced the same hymn: "There will be no more sorrow there," at closing services at the grave. The memory of Elisha Warner and his good wife is fondly cherished by all the old settlers of Bridgeport.
One of the most extensive stone quarries of this part of the State, is found in the northwest corner of section 15, town 6, range 6, on land originally owned by H. L. Dousman, but after a number of changes, finally came into the hands of Thomas Marsden, Sr., who began developing the same, in 1863, for the purpose of supplying stone for the State House at Madison. In 1882 the property was owned by Thomas Marsden, Jr., his father having died. Mr. Marsden, in company with Mike Menges, of Prairie du Chien, commenced to work this quarry on a very extensive scale, in 1883; the proceeds from the sale of stone during two years, amounting to $20,000, large amounts being used in the capitol at Madison, and in the famous archwork railroad bridge at Minneapolis, Minn. The proprietors of this celebrated quarry, employ the most improved methods for quarrying, loading and shipping; they use large derricks, cables and cars, by which they convey the stone on an iron track to the line of the C. M. & St. P. R. R. A large number of men are constantly employed at a shop built for the purpose, in cutting and dressing stone for shipment, on orders for finished work, which goes to all the cities and towns of the northwest.
The stone found in this quarry is a magnesian limestone, a mixture of lime and sandstone, which, upon exposure to the elements, becomes exceedingly hard, thus rendering it a most valuable building material.
By an act of the Legislature in 1854 or 1855, a bridge company was organized and incorporated. E. W. Pelton was chosen president; William E. Parish, vice president; B. F. Fay, secretary; I. P. P. Gentil, treasurer; E. W. Pelton, W. E. Parish, H. L. Dousman, B. W. Brisbois and Alfred Brunson, directors. This bridge was completed in the fall of 1857. It passed into the hands of James Hall, under a trust deed, about 1865, and from him to George M. Dickinson and John Lawler. To aid in the building of this bridge, the town of Prairie du Chien took stock to the amount of $10,000, for which bonds were issued. The original capital of the bridge company was $30,000, of which $27,000 was paid up, including the bonds issued by Prairie du Chien. Upon the completion of this bridge the ferry at this point was abandoned.
Bridgeport is situated on the line of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, near the Wisconsin river, on section 11, in town 6, of range 6 west. The land upon which the village stands was originally owned by H. L. Dousman, who, in 1839, sold 300 acres to Peter Barretta, Sr. Thomas Calanan, who was the first settler on the site of the village, erected the first house, in 1855. A ferry was established in 1835, by John Brunet. In the spring of 1857, when the railroad was built to this point, George M. Dickinson opened a general store. Shortly after this he sold to William Snell. The same year, 1857, L. O. King, B. F. Lay and George M. Dickinson, erected large warehouses and did an immense grain business. In 1863, B. F. Fay built an elevator, which he sold to W. B. Hunt and it finally came into the hands of John Bidwell.
H. C. King, of King & Barretta, built an elevator in 1868, on the site of their old warehouse; this burned in 1874 and was rebuilt the same year.
In 1861 Anton Schmidt opened a hotel, which was burned the following year.
Another hotel was built in 1865 by John B. Davis, who sold to Frank Bacon about 1871. Bacon operated the house a year and sold to C. A. Mathews. He sold to Walter Hicklin and he in 1874 to Moses Barretta, who run it till 1881 and sold to George W. Keye, who a year later sold to William P. Hill and he to A. J. Beesecker, who was operating it in 1884.
Moses Barretta opened a saloon in 1860, which in 1866 he sold to Henry Barretta, who after ten years sold to Frank Bacon. In 1881 Bacon sold to Thomas Nugent.
As before stated, George M. Dickinson opened the first store of the village. He sold to William Snell, who, in 1866 was succeeded by Coleman Brothers and they by King & Kenyon in July, 1872. Six months later Mr. King bought Kenyon out and the same year removed the stock to a new building; and in 1875 sold the building and goods to Joseph Atherton, who the next year sold to C. A. Mathews. Mrs. Carrie Mathews owned and operated the store in 1884.
In 1876 H. C. King opened a general store and in the spring of that year became associated with Henry Barretta, who in 1884 sold back to Mr. King.
"Con" Snell built a good store building and opened up a fine general stock in 1868, on the site afterwards occupied by King & Barretta. In 1872 he sold out to his brother William. This store together with the goods was destroyed by the same fire which burned the elevator and other property in the village on March 14, 1874. Mr. Snell rebuilt the same year, but went out of trade the following year, 1875.
Thomas Neill started a blacksmith shop in 1870, continuing until 1881.
A postoffice was established at Bridgeport in the autumn of 1857. B. F. Fay was the first post master; he was succeeded by the following in their proper order: L. O. King, T. D. Coleman, John B. Davis and H. C. King.
When the railroad was built through the village in the spring of 1857, the place became a flag station, and remained as such till 1867. The depot was destroyed by the disasterous fire that occurred on March 14, 1874, and was rebuilt the same year. The trestle work of the railroad bridge was all destroyed at the same time.
Jan. 15, 1884, the business interests of the place were as follows: H. C. King and Mrs. Carrie Matthews, general dealers; A. J. Beesecker, hotel; H. C. King, grain dealer; Thomas Nugent, saloon; H. C. King, post master.
Bridgeport has been one of the heaviest shipping points along the line of the C. M. & St. Paul railroad, between the Mississippi and Milwaukee. Especially is this true of live stock, large amounts of which come from Grant county, over the wagon bridge, across the Wisconsin river, at this point. During the year 1883, it was no uncommon occurrence to see twelve car loads shipped per day, from this point.
Peter Barrette, senior, was born in Montreal, Canada, January 1800. In 1816, he came by the lakes, Green Bay, Fox and Wisconsin rivers to Prairie du Chien, and for five years worked for fur traders and others. In 1821 he married Theresa La Point, daughter of Charles La Point. (For further notice see recollections of Mrs. Theresa Barrette). He was a farmer at the time of his marriage and followed farming for some years afterwards. In 1835 he took the government contract for mail carrying from Prairie du Chien to Plattville and return, three times a week. At this time he moved out from the village and locating, established a pole ferry on the Wisconsin river, about two miles below the present village of Bridgeport.
There were no highways at this time, and mail was carried on horse back. Indian trails were followed until open country was reached, then the nearest "cross the country" route taken. In 1839 this ferry was abandoned, and he bought 300 acres of land of H. L. Dousman, and the ferry property in sections 11 and 12, town 6, range 6, now town of Bridgeport. The village of Bridgeport stands on part of this purchase. He changed his mail route, and operating the ferry, put on the route passenger wagons, and extras, and operated the same until 1854, when he went out of the mail service. He had previously (in 1845,) bought a horse ferry boat at a cost of $750, in and operated the same until 1857, when the Bridgeport bridge was built. He then sold the ferry to parties at Boydtown, where it was run a short time. His residence since 1839 was on the Dousman purchase, where he had a fine farm, and where he lived until his death, Aug. 5, 1863. His widow still lives on the old homestead with her grandson Samuel, son of Lewis Barrette. Their residence is a substantial, heavy walled stone house, the walls of which were made by John Brunette and the building completed by Mr. Barrette after his purchase of H. L. Dousman of the property. The house stands on an elevation, giving a fine view of the opening of the Wisconsin valley into the Mississippi valley, and the Iowa bluffs beyond. In the family room stands a heating stove, in good condition, bought of Joseph Rolette's family in 1839. It had then been in use ten or more years. Peter Barrette, Sr., has left a long line of descendents. He had eight sons and four daughters. Susan, born Jan. 18, 1822, died in infancy; Louis, born Feb. 29, 1824, of Minneapolis; Charles, born Feb. 26, 1826, of Bridgeport; Peter, born March 7, 1829, of Prairie du Chien; Antoine, born May 20, 1831, of Prairie du Chien; Julia, born June 25, 1833, died in infancy; Moses, born Aug. 10, 1835, of Waterton, Dak.; Paul, born Sept. 22, 1836, of Prairie du Chien; Samuel, born Jan. 30, 1838, died in infancy; Henry, born July 20, 1841, of Bridgeport; Margaret, born March 5, 1844, died April 17, 1864; Philaman, born Aug. 12, 1846, died Dec. 20, 1857.
Charles Barrette is the son of Peter Barrette, Sr. He was born Feb. 26, 1826, in Prairie du Chien. He owns and resides on the Samuel Gilbert claim made about 1826. He has one of the best improved farms in the town, with good buildings. In 1849 he married Emily J., daughter of H. L. Dousman, and lived with his father the first two years after his marriage. In 1852 he moved into what is known as the mill farm of H. L. Dousman, and lived there eighteen years. In 1870 he moved to his present residence. His wife died April 8, 1874. They have had born to them eight children --- Virginia, born Sept. 20, 1850, wife of Thomas Ward. Theresa, born September, 1852, wife of Exis Brothers, and died Aug. 15, 1877; Jane, born Dec. 7, 1858, wife of Chas. Brandes, of Wauzeka; Minnie, born December, 1860, of Nashua, Iowa; Susan, born in 1862, died in 1864; Mattie, born Feb. 9, 1864; May, born Dec. 15, 1865; Charles L., born in 1867, died in 1875.
Henry Barrette is the son of Peter Barrette, Sr. He was born July 20, 1841. He married Anna M. Kane, Jan. 3, 1864. She was the daughter of Bernard Kane, of Pittsburg, Penn. She was born Sept. 24th, 1841. They have eight children --- Lizzie O., born Nov. 14, 1864, Jennie May, born May 1, 1866; George W., born Feb. 22, 1868; Walter H., born July 28, 1870; Louis B., born Sept. 6, 1872; Willie E., born and died Sept. 27, 1874; Annie V., born Oct. 9, 1876; Mary Josephine, born May 16, 1878. Mr. Barrette is a prominent citizen of Bridgeport village, has been a long time in the mercantile trade. He has held the office of town treasurer since 1878, was the town assessor five years previous, elected first term 1873, and ten years was a member of the school board.
"I was born in Prairie du Chien, in the year 1805. My father was Charles La Point, my mother was Susan Antaya; they were married in 1803, at Prairie du Chien. My father was born in Montreal, Canada, in 1775. In 1797, he came with two brothers, Francis and Peter La Point, by way of the St. Lawrence river, the lakes, Green bay and Fox and Wisconsin rivers, to Prairie du Chien, and for a few years following was in the employ of the American Fur Company. In their employ, father made several trips to Green Bay. The winters he spent in traffic with Indian settlements, and exchanged Indian goods for peltries, etc.; but after his marriage he went to farming. In those days, when they wanted land, all they did was to take possession of it. From that time, farming was his principal occupation, though being able to handle most all kinds of tools, and do almost any kind of work needed on the frontier, he worked a portion of the time at carpentering, and other mechanical pursuits. My mother was born the same year of my father (1775), in St. Louis. Her father Michael Antaya, in 1785, with his wife and three daughters, Susan (my mother), Josephine and Mary embarked at St. Louis in a canoe destined for Prairie du Chien. In passing the lower rapids, their canoe was upset, and only for the timely assistance of a party of Fox Indians, who fortunately were near, the whole family would have drowned. My mother's sister, Josephine, married Sandy Simson. After his death, she married Augustus Crochier, a native of Montreal, and with whom she returned to Canada, and died there. Mary married Francis La Point (my father's brother), whose death in Prairie du Chien left her with a family of eight children. She married Michael La Point, in 1822 (he was no kin to my father and uncles), who came from the Red river of the north, was a laborer, and much of the time in the employ of the American Fur Company. By this marriage, four children were born, one of whom is now (1884) living, Mrs. Madeline Lariviere. I was the first born of my mother. My sister, Louisa, widow of Joseph Dechamp, was born in 1807. She lives in Prairie du Chien (1884). Her first marriage was to Edmund Ronche in 1823. One child, Louisa, was born to them in 1824; she is now living, the wife of Alexander Paquette, in Benton, La Fayette Co., Wis. Edmund Ronche, died in Prairie du Chien in 1826. My sister married Dechamp in 1828, who died in 1862. They had nine children; five are living: Joseph in Minneapolis, Amuable lives in Chippewa Falls, Theresa, wife of Moses Duquette Edmund, lives in Texas, Frederick lives in Mineral Point. I married Peter Barrette, Sr., in 1821, who died Aug. 5, 1863.
From my earliest recollection, I remember Pierre La Point. He was born in Canada, about 1747, and came to Prairie du Chien in 1782. He was grand-uncle to my father, and my uncles Francis and Peter La Point. About 1784, he took an Indian maid for a wife, and to them were born four daughters: Palazee, Victorie, Susan and Theresa. Palazee married a trader, named Crawford; they had two children, one son (what became of him I don't know), and a daughter named Sophie, who married an Indian trader, named Mitchell, and went to Mackinaw, never returning. Palazee seperated from her first husband, Crawford, and about 1817, married Antoine La Chappelle. By this marriage, she had seven children, Theresa, Theophilus, Peter, Bernard, Frederick, Pauline, and Antoine. Theresa married B. W. Brisbois, of Prairie du Chien. Theopilus, if living, is in the Madison Insane Asylum. He was a brilliant man, and made insane by hard study. Peter lived and died in Prairie du Chien. Bernard committed suicide at the age of thirty years. Frederick is now living at Wabasha, Minn. Pauline is living at Atlanta, Ga., the widow of Dr. Beach, formerly of Prairie du Chien. Antoine is living at Winnebago agency, Blue Earth Co., Minn. To return to the other daughters of Pierre La Point, Victoria married Edward Beezan. Susan died young. Theresa married an officer stationed at Fort Crawford. Pierre La Point was physically an athletic, strong man; tall, straight, well-formed, and very active; he never made money fast, was always employed by others. Instead of giving employment, he worked much of the time for the American Fur Company, and independent traders. He disliked farming, but always made maple sugar, in its season. He died at Prairie du Chien, in 1829. Myself and my sister Louisa Dechamp are the two oldest persons living in Crawford Co., who were born within its limits."
As one of the first born of Prairie du Chien, Mrs. Barrette has seen this country pass from barbarism to civilization, the wilderness converted into lands teeming with corn and grain. The rude "dug out," give way to floating palaces on our river. Indian trails converted into steel roadways crowded with commerce, and the few score of civilized people, in the northwest swelled into millions, and to this she has contributed her full share, for, over two scores of living people of this day carry her blood in their veins, seven children, thirty-one grand children and six great-grand children.
Samuel Barrette was the son of Lewis Barrette. He was born in 1849, is one of the family of nine children --- Rosanna, wife of Joseph Rule, John, Adeline wife of Frank Dunn, Louisa, Peter and Henry all of Minneapolis. Samuel Barrette was married May 30, 1883 to Adaline Hartgag, daughter of Flora Hartgag. They are living on the old homestead of Peter Barrette, Sr., with his grand mother, Theresa Barrette.
Harvey Bassett and his wife, his mother, Mrs. Catherine Craw, (widowed by the death of her second husband, Samuel Craw,) with two half sisters, Minerva and Alicia Craw, and Isaac Hill, left Fairfield, Vt., May 22, 1838, destined for Crawford Co., Wis. The outfit consisted of three two horse teams and wagons, considerable household furniture, provision, etc. Seth Hill, brother of Isaac Hill, had settled in Bridgeport town a year or two previous. His representations induced the emigration of this party. They were met in Michigan by Seth Hill, who returned to this town with the party. In Illinois they were joined by Samuel Bassett, a brother of Harvey, also by another half sister, Emiline Craw. Harvey Bassett, was born in Easton, N. Y., June 8, 1808. He lived previous to coming west in Fairfield, Vt., where he married Clarrissa Warren, in 1833. His wife was born in that town, March 5, 1811. In 1838, they came to Bridgeport, and settled on section 9, town 6, range 6 west, making a very fine farm, with valuable improvements. Mr. and Mrs. Bassett had two children --- Jane Ann, born July 4, 1840, and died at the age of sixteen years, and Victoria Augusta, born Dec. 1, 1846, and married, Feb. 19, 1873, to William B. Hickean. Mr. Hickean died April 30, 1881. Mr. Bassett died June 3, 1867, and his widow is still in vigorous health, and is living with her widowed daughter on the old homestead where they settled in 1838. Isaac Hill died about two years after coming here. Seth Hill lived in the county until after the war, when his wife having died, he moved to Illinois. Grandma Craw died in 1859, Emiline Craw married William Keith, and went to Missouri and there died. Minerva is living in Illinois, and is the wife of Elias S. Bowen, Alicia died in Bridgeport town, about 1863. Samuel Barrett, lived in Bridgeport many years, but died in Minneapolis, Minn., in 1872.
Joseph Atherton was born in Chesterfield, N. H., in 1813. In his early manhood he was engaged in teaching school. He came to the west in 1838, and settled in Crawford Co., Wis., in 1840. On the 8th of December, 1844, he was married to Lydia Warner, the adopted daughter of Elisha Warner, (now deceased) since which date he was chiefly engaged in farming near Bridgeport. He was often entrusted with public business for his town and county, and uniformly discharged his duties with ability and fidelity. He was a close thinker, a careful reader, and a thorough student of passing events. In his intercourse and dealings with his fellowmen he was governed by the strictest honesty and integrity. Not bigoted in any of the "isms," he was the advocate of equity and justice in public, as well as private matters. Mr. Atherton was a kind and affectionate husband and father, a faithful friend, and an excellent citizen. His exit beyond the dark confines of earth, left a sorrowing family; and threw a pall of sadness over a large circle of friends and neighbors, with whom his greetings were always warm and heartfelt. In his death, the last of the early settlers in the Bridgeport district has gone. His early neighbors in pioneer life were Elisha Warner, Theodore Warner, S. G. Basset, Elias Bowen, William Wright, Seth and Loren Hill, Peter Barrette, Sr., Samuel and James Gilbert, Joseph Curdy, J. P. Hall, William Curts, Lyman Frost, H. Brandes and Hiram Delap, with most of whom he is now testing the realities of eternity. Mr. and Mrs. Atherton formerly resided on the fine farm now owned by H. C. King. They were the parents of seven children, three of whom are living --- Mrs. Carrie A. Matthews, Emma, wife of Fred J. Bowman, of La Beau, D. T., and Joseph, residing on the home farm with his mother. The deceased children were --- Martha, wife of Chancy Blancher, of Prairie du Chien, who died in September, 1870, George, who died in 1864, aged fifteen years, and Charles H. and Joseph (twins), who died in 1864, aged ten months. Mrs. Atherton is a native of Trumbull Co., Ohio, born in 1828, and accompanied her adopted father, Elisha Warner, to Prairie du Chien, in 1838, arriving in the keel boat Kickapoo. Mrs. Carrie A. Matthews owns and personally conducts a general merchandise store in the village of Bridgeport, and is a woman possessed of fine business qualifications. She is the mother of one child --- Emma, born Oct. 18, 1872. Mr. Atherton died at his residence in Bridgeport, on the morning of the 6th of January, 1880, of paralysis, by which he was attacked on the 31st of December previous.
John Burrell, son of John and Catharine Burrell, was born in Cassville, Grant Co., Wis., in 1839. In 1841 he came with his parents to Crawford county, his father engaging in the manufacture of brick on section 8. In 1866 he purchased 161 acres of land on section 10, town 6, range 6 west, Bridgeport town, where he now resides. Mr. Burrell married Theresa Comeskey, a native of Canada. They have seven children, four sons and three daughters.
Mrs. Philena Anns resides on section 3, town 6, range 6 west, Bridgeport town. She is the widow of Justus Anns, a native of Genesee Co., N. Y., and born in 1814. When young he removed with his parents to Cattaraugus county, where his parents resided until their decease. Mr. Anns received a good education, especially in mathematics, of which he was very fond, and was reared to the occupation of a farmer. In 1838 he went to Indiana and engaged in teaching. He was there married, in 1839, to his present widow, then Philena Scott. In 1849 Mr. Anns came to this town, and in 1852, settled on section 3, taking 120 acres of the government, and adding forty acres at a subsequent time. He died at the homestead quite suddenly, March 13, 1876. Mr. and Mrs. Anns had ten children, seven of whom are living --- John R., William H., Dewitt C., Albert A., Louisan M., Richard Roy and Jessie Jannett. Those deceased are --- Martha Jane, Sarah Emeline and Ellen E.
Charles Fritsche, resides on section 9, town 6, range 6 west. Mr. Fritsche was born in Prussia, in 1836, where his father died. In 1854, his mother, with the family, emigrated to the United States coming directly to Prairie du Chien. There were four children in the family, --- two sons and two daughters, Caroline, who became the wife of Antoine Brenner, and died in May, 1883, in the town of Prairie du Chien, Minnie, Charles and Henry. In 1861, the brothers purchased a tract of land of Lucius Johnson, and lived together and worked in common for a period of ten years. In 1871, they agreed to make a division of the land and since that time have owned and occupied different farms adjoining each other. They are both successful and prosperous farmers. The farm of Charles contains 180 acres; his brother has 160 acres. The farms are in a good state of cultivation; all improvements have been made by them. Charles enlisted, in 1863, as a recruit in the 1st regiment Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. In 1864, he was transferred to the 21st regiment, where he served till the close of the war. He participated in a number of important engagements of the war, among which were the seige of Atlanta, and Sherman's march to the sea. Charles married Susan, a step-daughter of Berrard Herrold, one of the old settlers of the town of Wauzeka. She is a native of Louisville, Ky. Mr. and Mrs. Fritsche have five children, --- Carrie, William, Robert, Andrew and Emma. Mrs. Fritsche has four children by a former marriage. Her first husband, Charles Kuchenbacker, was also in the army; he and Mr. Fritsche enlisted at the same time, and served together till the close of the war. He died Dec. 15, 1873, of injuries received from being thrown from a wagon.
Charles Kahler, one of the pioneers of Prairie du Chien of 1856, and for many years one of the county officers of Crawford county, was born in Prussia, March 11, 1833, and is the son of William and Christiana Kahler. He was educated in his native country, and emigrated to the United States in 1855, disembarking at New Orleans, La. In the spring of 1856, he came to Prairie du Chien, and moved his family to this place the following October. For several years after coming to this city, he was engaged in the boot and shoe business. He was chosen a member of the town board for 1865-6, and was elected county clerk for the term of 1867-8, and re-elected for the years 1871-2-3-4. In 1870, for the benefit of the health of his family he removed to his fine farm of 240 acres, situated three miles southeast of the city, in the town of Bridgeport. Since a resident of this town, he has served as chairman of the town board, and is the present town clerk. Mr. Kahler was married on the eve of leaving Germany for the United States in 1855, to Eulalie A. C. Lenz. They have two sons and one daughter --- Arno A., Franklin G. and Eulalie M.
George Fairfield was born Sept. 10, 1839, in Fulton Co., Ohio. He left his home for Wisconsin, on the 28th, of May, 1857, in company with his brother-in-law, George Chapman, making the entire journey with teams. They arrived in Crawford county, June 21, 1857. Mr. Fairfield enlisted in Prairie du Chien, April 27, 1861, in company C, 6th regiment Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. His record in the army is an honorable one, and proves him to have been a brave and faithful soldier. He was known throughout the brigade as a leading spirit of personal adventure. He participated in many important battles among which were: Gainesville, second battle of Bull Run, South Mountain, Fredericksburg, the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, North Anna River and others. He was in front of Petersburg during the first part of the siege of that city. He was promoted to corporal, May 29, 1862, and by request of Gen. Bragg, for bravery at the battle of Fredericksburg, he was promoted Feb. 1, 1863, to sergeant. He twice refused to be nominated for a commission, and on the 29th of April, 1864, refused the position of sergeant-major of Camp Randall, under Maj. Dill, preferring to go to his regiment, where he received the compliments of his captain. He received a gunshot wound in the head, at the battle of South Mountain, which carried away the saggital suture down to the cerebrum. From the effects of this wound he was confined two months in the hospital at Washington City. At Gettysburg, his canteen, filled with water, was struck by a minnie ball, while his regiment was making a charge on the 2d Mississippi. The canteen of water resisting, to some extent, the force of the ball, and diverting it from its course, doubtless saved his life. At Petersburg he was struck by the fragment of a shell, which fractured the left temporal bone. He was struck five times while in the service, with ball and shell. Soon after his last wound, he was discharged, his term of service having expired. In the military history of Wisconsin, by E. B. Quiner, Esq., the following acknowledgment is made: "To Sergt. George Fairfield, of company C, 6th Wisconsin Infantry, we are indebted for the loan of a well kept diary, from July, 1861, to the battle of South Mountain, where he was severely wounded, and during the Wilderness campaign to the assault at Petersburg, June 18, 1864, where he was again wounded." At the close of the war, Mr. Fairfield returned to Seneca, Crawford county, where he taught school for one term. On the 2d day of March, 1874, he purchased of J. F. Haskins, 100 acres of land on section 10 town 6, range 6 west, where he now resides. His farm is well stocked and in a good state of cultivation. Mr. Fairfield has been twice married. He was first married to Elnora J. Haskins, April 9, 1865. She died Feb. 18, 1880, leaving five children --- Willard, Laverne, Jennie V., Lizzie L., and George E. Mr. Fairfield subsequently married Eliza J. Allen, Dec. 23, 1882, with whom he is now living.
Henry C. Maynard resides on section 1, town 6, range 6 west, where he has lived since February, 1868. He is a native of Vermont, born in 1830. When quite young he removed with his parents, Dr. David S. and Lydia A. Maynard, to Ohio. In 1859 he moved to Grant Co., Wis., his usual occupation being farming, but he was for a short time engaged in the insurance business. He married Ellen A. Hill, a native of Barre, Orleans Co., N. Y. Mr. and Mrs. Maynard have had three children, two of them are living --- Frank A. and Carl H. Their eldest child, Marium, died aged three years. Mr. Maynard's farm contains 200 acres of land.
William Curts, Jr., son of William and Mary Jane Curts, was born on the homestead where he now resides, on section 10, town 6, range 6 west, Sept. 5, 1859. His father settled on this place in 1839. He married Eva Poff, born in Indiana in 1858. Her father, John Poff, settled in the town of Haney, and resided at Bell Centre at the time of his death. His widow lives in Readstown. Mr. Curts' father died April 4, 1861; his mother died June 21, 1862. Mr. and Mrs. Curts have one son --- Marion Edward.
Lyman King with his family came from Trumbull Co., Ohio, and settled at Port Andrew, Richland Co., Wis. in 1856. He there buried his wife Nov. 28, 1857. Mr. King came to Bridgeport town in 1860, and lived with his son L. O. King, until the death of the latter which occured in 1868. He then lived with a younger son, Theodore, until 1879. He then bought of his son, Henry C. King, forty acres of land, and built a house in which he has since resided with his only living daughter, Mrs. Jane Fitzsimmons. Mr. King is now (1884) eighty-two years of age, in good health, vigorous, strong, good memory and strong mind. His son L. O. King died in Prairie du Chien Dec. 24, 1878. He was master of the Masonic lodge and buried with masonic orders, Odd Fellows and United Workman lodges participating. Lyman King has had eleven children, George F. born 1826, Elisabeth, born 1827, died in Ohio, 1842, Jane, born 1829, Lyman O. born 1832, died Dec. 24, 1878, Henry C. born 1834, Theodore, born 1845, Sally, born 1855, wife of Franklin Bacon, died in Bridgeport 1872. Four children, in Ohio, died in infancy.
Henry C. King, is a resident of Bridgeport town and a prominent business man of Bridgeport village. Mr. King was born in Trumbull Co., Ohio, Jan. 16, 1834. In 1851 at the age of seventeen he started out in life on his own account, having a brother older, George F. King, living in Mobile, Ala. He went to him, and with him remained until the spring, of 1854, learning the trade of carpenter and joiner. He then went to Galveston, Texas, and went into business as contractor, for general building, doing quite an extensive business. On the outbreak of the civil war, business was suspended. Mr. King being a northern man by birth was loyal, but by adoption and business interests was indentified with the south. His situation was a trying one to him, his loyalty was perhaps divided, but he always believed that the appeal to arms was unnecessary; that the ballot box could and should have settled all differences between the two sections. In 1862 under the Confederate government conscription act, Mr. King was drafted into the confederate army, and placed in the 24th Cavalry (Texas Rangers) and the regiment was placed in drill school at Shreveport, La., in July. The regiment made part of a confederate force of 10,000 men under orders for Little Rock, Ark. Later his regiment, was dismounted and the force ordered to Arkansas Post, there going into winter quarters. In January 1863 when Gen. McClernand and Shermans forces made their attack upon the post, he was in the line of battle outside the fort. During the engagement which preceded the capitulation, Mr. King had a slight wound in his head, which caused permanent deafness in one ear. His chum was killed by his side by the same shell that injured him. After the surrender, while in line, marching to the transport of the Union fleet, hardly able to walk, he thought of the fine revolver his comrade had on his person. Leaving the line he obtained it. Soon after returning, noticing a fine looking Union officer nearing him he hailed him and sold the revolver to him for a five dollar greenback, which, in his penniless condition, was a fortune. He was taken by way of Alton to Camp Butler, Ill. The severity of the weather, and change of climate brought him very low and the sickness following, with prison hospital care, came very near being his last. In March, being a little improved in health but still suffering by inward trouble in his head, caused by the wound, he began to study upon the future and concluded to take the oath of allegiance. This he did and in his old rebel uniform and the greenback in his pocket he made his way to Springfield, Ill. His health improved rapidly and he was soon at his old trade. In the meantime, by correspondence, Mr. King learned in May, that his father, Lyman King, had moved, in 1856, from Ohio to Wisconsin and was then living in Bridgeport, Crawford county. He immediately joined them and has from that time resided in this town. Mr. King owns a very fine farm, the old Atherton place, about one and one half miles from the village. His residence is upon this farm. He was married in 1869 to Mary Seaman. Four children have been born to them, only one of whom is living --- Tudney V. born September, 1870, died September, 1871, Nellie, born December 1873, died March 1882, Ruba P. born April 1877, Hurley C. born April 1879, died March 1880. Mr. King is one of the prominent men of the county, is serving now (1884) as chairman of the town board. He has served five years as town treasurer --- 1873 to 1878.
Andrew Bailey, is the son of Henry H. and Eliza S. Bailey. He was born June 27, 1850. He was married Feb. 8, 1881, to Carrie, daughter of John D. Harp, of Cassville, Grant county. She was born June 16, 1856. Mr. Bailey is an active, wide-awake business man, is now (1884) in the employ of Henry C. King, in charge of Mr. King's general merchandise store. Mrs. Eliza S. Bailey lives in Bridgeport village. She was the daughter of Christopher and Mary Bowen, and part of her family came from Pennsylvania in the keel boat Kickapoo, in 1838. Besides herself there were two sisters and two brothers in her father's family --- Elias S., of Illinois; Alfred A., died in Bridgeport, April, 1880; Delia, married Joseph Curley, and lives in Iowa; Barbara, married John Sane; she died in Illinois, June 27, 1874. Mrs. Bailey, formerly Eliza S. Bowen, married Henry H. Bailey Jan. 1, 1845. To them six children were born --- Arnold, born Dec. 20, 1845, died Aug. 15, 1847; Charles, born Feb. 28, 1848, of Grant county; Andrew, born June 27, 1850, of Bridgeport; Ara, born March 25, 1854, of Grant county; Benjamin, born Oct. 16, 1857, died in infancy; Delia, born June 19, 1859, wife of Dante Poole. A few years after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Bailey moved to Vernon county, and lived near Viroqua two years, then moved to Prairie du Chien, there remaining about four years; and after two years' residence in Batwice, this county, he came to Bridgeport, remaining a short time. In 1865, they moved to Taylor's Falls, on the St. Croix river in Minnesota, and lived there about five years; returning to Prairie du Chien, and buying a place, lived there seven years. He then sold out and bought a farm in this town where he has lived most of the time since. Mr. Bailey died in this town, March 17, 1878. Mrs. Bailey is living with her son-in-law, Dante Poole. Mr. and Mrs. Poole have one child --- Charlie, born March 24, 1882.
Charles A., son of Henry H. and Eliza S. Bailey, was born Feb. 28, 1848. He was married, March 27, 1872, to Annie M. Whiteside, step-daughter of John D. Harp, of Cassville, Grant Co., Wis. His wife died April 6, 1875. To them were given two children --- Harry, born Aug. 13, 1874, and Glendon, born March 29, 1875. At the time of his wife's death, Mr. Bailey was a clerk in a dry goods establishment, at Prairie du Chien, and at present is engaged in farming in Grant Co., Wis. Ara W. was married January 14, 1880, to Hannah J. Ladd, daughter of Lemuel Ladd, of Grant Co., Wis., where he resides at present.
Thomas Marsden, owner of the Bridgeport stone quarry, is the son of Thomas Marsden, Sr., who began developing the quarry in 1863, for the purpose of obtaining stone for the capitol at Madison. The land on which the quarry is located was originally owned H. L. Dousman. It changed hands a number of times before coming into the possession of Thomas Marsden Sr., (1868,) who had been connected with the working of the same, since 1863. A description of the quarry will be found elsewhere in this work.
Thomas Marsden, Sr., was born in Lancashire, England, in 1812. He emigrated to New York in 1849, and was engaged in the marble and limestone trade at Albany, N. Y., for some time, in fact, during the greater part of his life, he was connected with quarrying and stone-cutting. He married, in England, Isabella Morrow. He died here April 20, 1874. There are three surviving sons --- Thomas, James, who resides at Barraboo, Wis., and William, of Tombstone, Arizona Territory.
Thomas Marsden, Jr., was born at Liverpool, England, in Oct., 1848. He enlisted in 1861, when but thirteen years of age, in the 3d regiment, New York Volunteer Infantry, and served until the close of the war; he participated in the battle of Big Bethel, one of the early battles of the war, and served under Maj-Gen. Butler for a considerable length of time. He participated in Gen. Grant's Virginia campaign; was in Butler's unsuccessful attack on Fort Fisher, and subsequently Gen. Terry's successful attack on that confederate stronghold. In the storming of Fort Fisher by the forces under Gen. Terry, his regiment, the 3d New York, lost every officer, commissioned and non-commissioned, and a private commanded what was left of the regiment, at the end of the fight. After the close of the war, he engaged in the business of marble and stone-cutting. He worked at various places --- Rock Island, Duluth, LaCrosse, etc. He succeeded his father in the ownership of the quarry. His wife was Catharine Donahue. They have four children --- Thomas, Mary Isabella, Winefred C. and Charles A.
Andrew J. Beesecker, was born in Monroe Co., Penn., Oct. 17, 1831, and was the son of a farmer. While young he attended school in winters and worked on the farm during the other seasons. In his twentieth year, July 4, 1851, he married Elizabeth Postens, born in the same county, Oct. 1, 1832. They made their home in that county and followed farming until 1865, in which year they came to Crawford Co., Wis., and bought a farm on section 6, town 7, range 5 west. His farm contains 188 acres, and was occupied by him, since his residence in town, until 1882, when he rented it and bought the Bridgeport hotel property and is now doing a successful business as hotel keeper. Mr. and Mrs. Beesecker have had ten children, eight now living. Alfred, born Sept. 27, 1852; Ellen J., wife of D. Valmer, born June 23, 1854; Rachel A., wife of M. Feely, born Jan. 1, 1856; Mary C., born Oct. 27, 1860; Susan, wife of Chas. Bean, born Jan. 27, 1863, Sarah, born Jan. 22, 1866; Amanda, born Nov. 3, 1868; and Lewis, born Aug. 23, 1872. The two deceased children are Reuben, born Jan. 25, 1858; died in Pennsylvania, June 28, 1871, and Elizabeth, born April 8, 1871, and died June 28, 1871.
Thomas Nugent was born in Ireland, March 12, 1859. In 1864 his father, with the family, came to America. They lived in Poughkeepsie, N. Y., about one year. In 1865 they came to Crawford county, settling in Eastman, where he has made a farm and now resides. His father had ten children, five boys and five girls: Eliza, Thomas, Mary, Ann, John, William Barney, Ellen, Bridget, Maggy and James. Thomas Nugent was married in Seneca by the Catholic priest, Rev. J. J. Burns, to Mary Litner, April 23, 1883. Mr. Nugent is now conducting an orderly saloon in Bridgeport village, and is a good citizen.
Jacob Strayer was born in Crawford Co., Penn., in 1823. In 1855 he moved to La Fayette Co., Wis.; and in 1858 to Grant county. In 1865 he came to Crawford county, settling in Bridgeport and engaged in work on the bridge which crosses the Wisconsin at that place. In 1879 he purchased a lot of three and a quarter acres of William Snell, on section 9, where he now resides. Mr. Strayer married in Pennsylvania, Sarah Lindsey. She died in Crawford county, in 1873. He subsequently married Susan (Mitchell) Miles, a native of Vermont. She has seven children by her first husband, two sons and five daughters. Mr. Strayer has three children by his former marriage --- George, John H. and Mary E. He is republican in politics and a strong temperance man, believing in total abstinence. By occupation Mr. S. is a mechanic and repairs all kinds of farm implements in the wood line.
Fred E. Collins is in the employ of the C. M. & St. P. R. R., as agent at Bridgeport station. He has held his present position since October 1881. Mr. Collins has been a resident of Crawford county , since 1868. He learned telegraphy in the railroad company's office at Prairie du Chien. Mr. Collins is a very energetic, capable young man, and popular with those doing business through the station in his charge.
Lewis Kenyon resides on section 1, town 6, range 6 west. He purchased his farm of E. B. Richardson. A portion of this farm, 121 1/2 acres, was entered by Hiram Delap in 1841, and the remainder by E. W. Pelton, in 1853. The first improvements on the farm were made by Mr. Pelton. About nineteen transfers have been made of the whole or a part of this place, since the entry by Mr. Delap.
Mr. Kenyon was born in Clayton Co., Iowa, in 1849. He removed to Minnesota with his parents when a child, where the family resided 12 years. They came to Prairie du Chien in 1868. The first farm owned by Mr. Kenyon was also on sec. 1, which he purchased of his father, and sold to the present owner, Frank Garrow. He married Lovina Garrow, a daughter of John Garrow; her mother is now Mrs. Daniel Thompson, of this town. Mr. and Mrs. Kenyon have two children, Herbert Edgar and Myrtle May.