Mr. Bacon and his wife were from Massachusetts of New Hampshire, and were seemingly out of their element in the new country, among the hills and forests of Richland county. During their stay, some four years, their cabin was the stopping place of those hardy pioneers and emigrants passing up and down the river, then the only highway to the settlements on the Wisconsin river. They were the only settlers between the Rockbridge mills and Ash creek, and they seemed always glad to entertain their visitors and guests. They were people of considerably high culture, and their good cheer, together with the violin, which Mr. Bacon handled with some skill, made their cabin a pleasant resting place for the weary traveler upon the way from the mill to the river. The Pine river men of that day will bear them in remembrance with much pleasure, and no doubt often think of them, when taking a retrospect of their lives. Mr. Bacon and his wife, however, being unaccustomed to frontier life, became restless, and finally after a stay of about four years he sold out their claim to Robert Akan, and returned to their native State and Richland county knew them no more.
Elisha Bovee was the second settler in the town. A sketch of his life appears elsewhere in this volume.
A Mr. Mederis was apparently the next settler in the town, he having located on section 8, near the spring on the west side of Pine river, about 1849. His cabin stood about a mile and a half north of what is now the business portion of the village of Richland Center. He had a wife and several children, and here he resided with them for about two years, when he, too, became dissatisfied and moved on westward.
In 1850 William Farlin and his wife made a settlement in the town of Richland, but in what part is not now accessible.
In 1850 James Blundell, Richard McMahan and Luman Thompson also located claims in the town, and in May, 1851, John Waddell settled upon the northeast quarter of section 5. The latter gentlemen had come into the county the previous year, 1850, in October, but had stopped temporarily, at or near the site of the present village of Richland City. He relates that his only earthly possessions when he landed in this "neck of woods" was "seven children, a cow and calf, two pigs, a dog and twenty-five cents in silver." However he settled himself down and proceeded to hew out for himself an abiding place. He was a native of West Virginia, where he was born Feb. 23, 1811, but from a child of three years of age was raised in the State of Ohio. His endeavors toward providing himself and family with a home were crowned with success, and he yet lives upon the land on which he first located on his entrance into the town, a monument of the sturdy avant coureur of civilization, the western pioneer, who, with his ax in his hand and backed with no wealth but royal good health and indomitable courage, plunges into the western wilds and there conquers out the family roof tree and form the refuge and stay of his old age. After Mr. Waddell, the settlements were so numerous that it would be impossible to individualize.
During the fall of 1851 James Cass built a saw-mill on the site of the present one owned by W J Bowen, on section 4. A little settlement sprung up around, and in the early part of the year 1854 a postoffice was established here, the first within the limits of the town, and called Florence, and of which Mr. Cass was the first postmaster.
The population having by this time increased to such a number as to warrant such action, the board of supervisors of the county, by a resolution passed Nov. 15, 1852, ordered that the town of Richland be set off and organized as a separate township and election precinct. In accordance with this, the first election for township officers was held April 22, 1853, from which date may be dated the organization of the town. The officers elected at this time were: Asa G Sheldon, chairman, David Bovee and Ira Andrews, supervisors; John McManus, town clerk; Cornelius McCarthy, town treasurer; Hascal Haseltine, town superintendent of schools.
The election board was composed of the following gentlemen: Ira Andrews, John Waddell and Durfee Bovee.
After the announcement of the result of the election and the people had had time to settle after the arduous duties of election day, the new town officers came together, and among other ordinances passed, was one on ways and means, levying a tax of seven mills on the dollar, to be devoted to road purposes; this was the first act of the new board and was passed by them at their very first meeting. In May, 1853, the town board, feeling the need of controlling the sale of intoxicating liquors, granted a license to S H Austin, of Richland Center, allowing him to deal in the ardent spirits, but not permitting any other to do so within the town limits.
The first saw-mill erected in the town is believed to be that one erected by James Cass, in 1851, as no record exists of any prior to that date.
Among the first thing to be established by our forefathers, when planting their infant colonies in these western wilds, was the school house, and, as early as the summer of 1851, an institution of learning was opened in a room in the dwelling house of Mr. Blundell, on what is now known as the Elisha Bovee farm. This school was taught by Margaret Gillam, now Mrs. William H Joslin, of Richland Center, and was the first in the town.
The present officers of the town were elected April 3, 1883, and are as follows: B C Hallin, R A Ross and W B Brown, supervisors; Kirk W Eastland, clerk; Samuel C Hyatt, treasurer; J L McKee, assessor; John Walworth and Richard Davis, justices of the peace; J W Liek, W F Fogo and Charles Hole, constables; Jesse G Bunell, sealer of weights and measures.
In about 1855 Elder Searholt, of Reedsburg, Sauk county, organized a society at what was then known as the log school house, near William H Miller's residence. The first regular pastor of this society was Rev. Gray, and the following named were among the first members: James Snyder and family, W H Miller and family, Mrs. Marks and family, Campbell Miller and family and Thomas Snyder and wife. Rev. Gray was in turn succeeded by Revs. Martin, Colton, Hamilton, Hurd and Kidd, who is the present pastor. The society held its meetings at school houses until they erected their present church edifice, located on section 27. It is a wooden structure, 30x45 feet in size, and cost $1200. The society has been prosperous, and at one time its membership was nearly 100. The present membership is about seventy-five. There is also a good Sabbath school kept up by the society.
There is a cemetery located near the church. The ground occupied by it was donated for burial purposes by Hiram Welton. The first body interred here was Hiram Welton, who donated the land.
These mills comprise one of the most important of Richland county's industrial enterprises. The mills are located on section 4, the power being derived from Pine river. The property was first purchased by R C Field, but a man named Dart had a claim on the same. Neither of these men, however, made any improvements. In the fall of 1851 the property was purchased by James M Cass and George Pound. They improved the water power and in 1853 had a saw-mill in operation. Mr. Cass then became sole proprietor, and in 1854 sold to William J Bowen for $3100, which amount was paid in gold. Mr. Bowen soon associated himself with his brother, F P Bowen, and in 1855 the sash saw was taken out and a rotary saw put in. This was the first saw of this kind in the county. They also added a feed mill. In 1858 F P Bowen withdrew from the business, but in 1867 re-purchased a half interest, and they then erected the flour mill. It is a wooden structure, 30x50 feet in size, two and a half stories high, and basement. Three run of stone have been placed in the mill, and it does custom work. In 1872 W J Bowen again became sole proprietor, and has since operated the mill alone.
This is the shire town of Richland county. It is situated not far from the center of the county, on sections 16 and 21, in the town of Richland, on the east bank of Pine river. The Richland center branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railway connects the village with centers of commerce and affords excellent marketing facilities. The town is surrounded by some of the finest and most productive agricultural and stock raising lands in the southern part of the State, which is a guarantee of a permanent and ever-increasing trade. By all who have ever visited the place it is remarked as being an extraordinary business point, the streets being always crowded and the merchants ever busy. Besides other advantages, the Pine river, on the banks of which the town rests, furnishes a most excellent water power, which although improved to a considerable extent, has not been fully utilized. There are many substantial brick buildings to be seen upon the main thoroughfares, and the village site is dotted with many elegant dwellings, many of them costly and of considerable architectural pretensions. There are several neat church edifices, and a sufficient number of buildings for educational purposes, and county business. An abundance of shade trees adorn the streets and with the natural groves, in which each residence is embowered, add greatly to the beauty of the place. The location is exceedingly healthy, and the society is of the most refined and desirable character.
During the month of July, 1849, Ira S Hazeltine and his father, Orrin Hazeltine, arrived at Sextonville, and on horseback continued their journey to Rockbridge. The country was then unsettled and entirely roadless; but by the use of a small pocket compass they found their destination. Here they found a saw-mill which had been erected on the northwest quarter of section 10. This quarter section was the only land that had been entered within the limits now comprising the town of Rockbridge. The Hazeltines purchased the saw-mill, and then leaving their horses at the mill, by means of a slab raft they floated down Pine river in search of water powers. They soon arrived at the point just west of the present site of Richland Center. They were well pleased with the water privilege at this place, and also the prairie near by, and decided that this would be an excellent place for the site of a future city. In October, 1849, Orrin Hazeltine brought his family from Black Earth, and Ira S brought his family from Waukesha; both families settling at Rockbridge. They were accompanied by Luman Thompson and Henry Smith, with their families; the "men folks" intending to work at the mill. In the spring of 1850 Ira S Hazeltine, leaving his father at the mill, took his wife and babe and visited friends in the eastern part of the State. Sometime during the same year Ira, in company with two brothers, went to view the water power they had discovered in the present town of Richland. They viewed the place from the hill side west of the present mills, and after Ira had portrayed the beauties of the small prairie, the value of the water power, and other natural advantages, and the probability that at no far distant day a flourishing village could here be built, which, from the fact that it was near the geographical center of the county, would become the county seat, he requested his brothers to purchase the land from the government. But his brothers replied: "Ira, you are so fanatical; this country is so rough that it cannot be settled, and there can never be a town at this point." "Well," answered Ira, "If you are afraid, I will take it up and play it alone." Accordingly I S Hazeltine soon afterward purchased of the government a quarter section of land at this point. In June, 1851, he employed R C Field to survey the land into lots and blocks.
Thus were the initial steps toward the founding of Richland Center made. In 1853, Schoolcraft's addition to the village was laid out, embracing all of section 16. Ira S Hazeltine made an addition in 1856. Orrin Hazeltine made an addition later, embracing all that portion of the village lying south of the court house square.
Prior to the platting of the village a "session law" had been passed defining the boundaries and authorizing the organization of Richland county, and providing further that at the general election held in November, 1851, the votes of the people should determine the location of the county seat. At this time the county business was being transacted at Richmond, now Orion. There were four voting precincts in the county --- Richmond, Richland City, Richwood and Rockbridge. The number of votes polled at Richland City on the county seat question was 108; of which 103 were in favor of Richland Center and five scattering. At Richwood there were forty-eight votes polled, twenty-four being for Richland Center and twenty-four for Richmond; at Rockbridge sixteen votes were polled, all being in favor of Richland Center. The number of votes cast at Richmond is unknown; but it is claimed that in the whole county Richland Center received a majority of forty-eight votes. But here arose a difficulty. The session law provided that the place receiving a majority of the votes should be declared the county seat; but it did not state who should canvass the votes. However, John Rutan, clerk of the board of supervisors, by virtue of his office, called to his assistance two justices of the peace as canvassers, choosing A B Slaughter, of Richmond and O L Britton, who resided near Sextonville. These gentlemen met, and after receiving the returns from the various precincts, canvassed the vote and made the following report:
"We have received the election returns of the different precincts --- Richmond, Richland City, Richwood and Rockbridge --- and they are so informal, both in form and substance, that we cannot ascertain the true will of the people, and we hereby declare that there was no election held pursuant to law."
Such a report as this, as will be readily seen, did not please Mr. Hazeltine, so he requested John Rutan to get the returns from A B Slaughter and bring them to his residence, which he did. Mr. Hazeltine copied the returns and report of the board of canvassers in full, and had John Price, chairman, and John Rutan, clerk of the board of supervisors, certify that his copies were true and correct copies of the originals. Mr. Hazeltine then went to Madison and left his certified copies with William A Barstow, secretary of State. These were presented to the State board of canvassers, with a request that they make a statement of the result, which they did. This statement was presented to the Legislature, and an act was passed, entitled "An act to declare the county seat of Richland county." That became a law and Richland Center became the county seat. But the county supervisors, four in number, were divided in their opinion and only two could be persuaded to meet at Richland Center. As three was necessary for a quorum, no business could be transacted until a constable was sent after a third supervisor. After some delay, however, they all met and after viewing the location expressed themselves as highly pleased, and said the place had been misrepresented to them as a frog pond.
Before going to Madison, Mr. Hazeltine had made the proposition to the people that on condition that the county seat was located at Richland Center, he would deed to the county twenty-four village lots; twelve to be selected by the county and the remainder by himself. The county selected block 14, and the east half of block 13. Mr. Hazeltine selected for the county twelve lots west of the mill pond. He also agreed to furnish a building for a court house for five years, and let the county have the use of the hotel, in compliance with his proposition.
Thus the county seat question was settled, and, although for a time some show of bitter feeling and envy was apparent, this has all died out long, long years ago, and to-day, all concede that the location could not have been better.
The first store opened on the village plat was by S H Austin. He opened a stock of general merchandise in 1854 and remained in the trade about ten years. He was a good business man and was very successful.
In the fall of 1854 Charles Nelson started the second general store in the village, and remained in trade about two years.
The third store was started by A H Holden in the summer of 1855.
In the fall of 1855 G H James opened a general store which he ran for several years.
In 1856 Short & Downs opened a general store. They soon dissolved partnership and Short carried on the business for a time; then sold to August Smith. Mr. Short died shortly afterward.
The first business of any magnitude at Richland Center was established by J W Lybrand and J L McKee. They opened up in May, 1857, with a stock of general merchandise valued at $4500, which was soon increased to $6000. In 1859 they commenced dealing in ginseng, paying for the same with cash and goods. During the year 1859 they purchased upwards of 30,000 pounds. In 1860 Mr. McKee withdrew from the firm and Mr. Lybrand was joined in trade by his son, G D Lybrand. In 1861 G D Lybrand withdrew and J W Lybrand became sole proprietor. His stock of goods was increased to upwards of $40,000, and he did quite a wholesale business, supplying most of the country stores in the northern part of the county. Late in 1863 he sold to George and A H Krouskop. This firm carried on the business a few years when A H Krouskop sold to George Krouskop, but soon afterward purchased the business and carried it on alone for a number of years. Charles Craig is his present partner.
J J Shumaker started a mammoth store in 1857. He had purchased the goods on credit and after remaining to take charge of considerable money he fled to Kansas.
The first hardware store was established in 1856. The business was carried on until 1868 when it was closed out.
The second hardware store was opened in 1862 by G H James & Co. The firm afterward became James Brothers, and in November, 1881, D G James became sole proprietor and still continues the business.
D O Chandler established business in 1867 and Strang & Doudna have been in the hardware business since 1878.
The first drug store in Richland Center was opened by L D Gage. In 1858 he was succeeded by Dr. H C Priest who sold to Caleb Waggoner. In 1859 F P Bowen purchased the business and sold to D L Downs in 1861. In 1865 Mr. Bowen re-purchased a half interest and the business was carried on under the firm name of D L Downs & Co., until 1879 when F P Bowen became sole proprietor. In October, 1879, Mr. Bowen became associated with H B Allen, as partner, and in March, 1883, Mr. Allen became sole proprietor.
The drug business of Burnham & Burnham was established in 1874 by O J and W A Burnham. In October, 1881, W A Burnham withdrew from the business and in March, 1883, J W Burnham became a partner, since which time the firm has been Burnham & Burnham.
The drug business of I A Cleveland was established by him in May, 1881.
Dr. J Brimer & Sons have been engaged in the drug business since 1873.
The first millinery business was established by Mrs. D Rice in 1856. The receipts for the first two weeks were just ten cents. But Mrs. Rice did not despair and her trade soon increased to such an extent that in 1867 her purchases amounted to $5000. She continued in business until 1882.
The first wagon shop was opened in 1856 by O H Northrup, who put up the first wagon made at Richland Center.
Daniel Rice was the first man to export live stock from Richland Center. He commenced dealing in live stock in 1856, and continued for about four years.
The abstract books of Richland county were commenced in 1858 by L D Gage and A Nudd. Mr. Gage afterward owned them alone until 1864 when he sold to Smith & Laws. In 1873 they were purchased by W H Pier, who still owns them.
The first tannery was built in 1857 by Jeduthan Jones. Mr. Jones sold to other parties and it was operated about six years when it was destroyed by fire.
The second tannery at Richland Center was erected in 1860 by D L Downs and H W Fries. In 1862 Mr. Downs sold his interest to F P Bowen and subsequently H W Fries became sole proprietor. In about 1867 Mr. Fries sold to his sons, A S and J C Fries, who operated the tannery until 1876, when it was destroyed by fire. In 1877 J C Fries rebuilt, and in 1882 he became associated with L E Brewer as partner. The firm is now Fries & Brewer, and their business is the largest of the kind in the county.
The first cabinet shop at Richland Center was opened in 1858, by William Wilson. After a time A L Wilson purchased an interest, and the firm was finally succeeded by William Hill and A L Wilson. In 1884 there were three furniture stores and cabinet shops in Richland Center. Henry Toms established his business in 1865; August Larson in 1880; and the business of Dove Brothers was started in 1881 by E A Dove and J A Logan.
Pratt Brothers, in 1878, established their business of house, sign and carriage painting, paper hanging, etc. They also keep for sale, paints, oils, glass and wall paper.
William H Downs established an ashery in 1857-8, and operated it successfully for several years, manufacturing potash, etc.
D E and D G Pease established an ashery the following year, which they ran for several years.
The first brick made at Richland Center was from a kiln burned by D Rice, Sept. 20, 1856, at Richland Center, and from this small beginning has grown quite a large industry. John Waddell burned the first kiln of brick in the town.
The first brick edifice erected in the village was likewise a production of Richland Center hands, having been built in that interesting village by Samuel Wright, for his own use and occupancy, in the fall of 1857. He and a party by the name of W A Mason, laid up the walls themselves, and otherwise furnished the house, which was a small tenement. In the following year another house was erected by Mr. White.
The first celebration of the national anniversary, in Richland Center, was held July 4, 1854. The first unfurling to the breeze, in the valley, of our glorious "meteor flag," was at that date, and the first liberty pole erected in the Pine river valley was erected then that it could uphold the "banner of the free."
It has been said by one who helped to make that day's rejoicing a success, that "no fourth has seemed more grand since. A handful of people, comparatively, participated in the observances of the day; but they were nearer to each other, than now."
Among others who have been prominently identified with the business interests of Richland Center are the following: Dr. D L Downs, D E Pease, J W Lybrand, D G Pease, G H James, M C Pease, W H Downs, William Short, William Nelson, S H Austin, William Baker, N H Langdon, James Holden, A H Floten, J Jones, N W Bailey, G Hill, George Matteson, Mr. Spooner, A L and W H Wilson, Daniel Rice, Dr. H C Priest, A L Dillingham, C W Huntington, A G James, J J Shumaker, Caleb Waggoner, James H Waggoner, S B Patton, H and J C McFarland, James Myres, August Smith, F G Rodolf, Charles Lawrence, J M Waggoner, W A Frank and W S Burnham.
In 1884 the business interests of Richland Center were represented as follows:
General merchandise. --- A H Krouskop & Co., Henry T Bailey, Eichelberger & Lybrand, and M C Smith's, "Tom and Jerry store."
Dry goods and notions. --- Mrs. V L Baker and A B Weigley.
Groceries. --- R N McKay, H W Eastland & Co., and Warren Handy.
Hardware. --- D G James, D O Chandler and Strang & Doudna.
Drugs. --- H B Allen, Dr. Brimer & Sons, Burnham & Burnham and I A Cleveland.
Jewelers. --- Charles Speidel and A Bullard.
Furniture. --- Henry Toms, Dove Brothers and August Larson.
Newspapers. --- Republican Observer, Fogo & Munson; Rustic, J A Smith; Union Democrat, Flickner & Cook.
Bankers. --- George Krouskop and W H Pier.
Abstracts. --- W H Pier.
Boots and shoes. --- J L Fogo, James Bannister and E J Stiles.
Meat markets. --- F P Bowen and Hare & Farkall.
Livery. --- Frank Sanford and Obadiah Driscall.
Harness. --- D G James, John M Shireman and Walworth & Sherman.
Bakery and restaurant. --- Albert Herpel and John Boggs.
Marble dealers. --- John Heeran and B C Hallin.
Tailor. --- Thomas Brenden.
Photographer. --- W J Hillman.
Millinery. --- Mrs. F C Pennell & Co., Mrs. A L Wilson, Mrs. W H Dosch and Mrs. James Martin.
Hotels. --- Park House, S J Smith & Son; Central House, O P Peck.
Physicians. --- Drs. Jacob Brimer, George Mitchell, H J Wall, F P Casey, B F Brimmer, Moses Lovering and R L Telfair.
Lawyers. --- James H Miner, J H Berryman, T A Johnston, H A & K W Eastland, O F Black, F W Burnham and Michael Murphy.
Grain dealers. --- D O Chandler and A H Krouskop.
Lumber dealers. --- N L James, A H Krouskop and D O Chandler.
Drayman. --- V G Hyatt and H M Taylor.
Brick makers. --- V G Hyatt and J A Ferguson.
Live stock dealers. --- Isaac McCann, James Martin, F P Bowen, A D Lane, W H Dosch, G W Collins and W J Pickard.
Blacksmiths. --- James Dove, Wertz & Vreeland, Storms & Leach, B N Smith and B W Clarke.
Wagon factory. --- N L James.
Wagon makers. --- James Dove, Storms & Leach and B W Clarke.
Tannery. --- Fries & Brewer.
Flour mill. --- A C Parfrey.
Saw mills. --- N L James and A H Krouskop.
Dealer in farm products. --- H D Millard.
The second building erected on the site of the future metropolis of the county was built by the proprietor of the town, Ira S Hazeltine, and became perforce of circumstances the tavern of the district, and was christened by its landlord, Mr. Hazeltine, the American House; it became a general resort for citizens and travelers alike, and, for a long time, was the only house beneath whose roof the weary could find rest. Mr. Hazeltine continued the popular landlord of this hostelry until he was succeeded in a couple of years by A S Neff. In November, 1862, after raising the general tone of the house, and after building large additions to the primal building, Mr. Neff sold out his interest to William H Hook, of whom it is said that his vigilant watchfulness earned for the hotel and village a good name far and wide. Sept. 29, 1857, Mr. Hook was succeeded by G H Dyke and afterward by J W Smith, who removed to the newly built Park Hotel. Several changes now followed in quick succession, for, in consequence of the change in the location of the business center, and the erection of new hotels, the house ceased to be so lucrative as formerly. The name had been changed from the more pretentious American House to the more local one of Richland House. Around its hallowed walls clung many of the memories of pioneer days, and, to very many people in the county, it was the first resting place for their weary heads, the first shelter they knew, when they had newly arrived in Richland county. On the 22d of February, 1877, it was consumed by fire and then passed away one of the old landmarks of pioneer days. Mrs. Haskell was the last landlady.
In 1854 was built the Union House by Hascal Haseltine, who was its landlord for sometime. Other landlords were: Amasa Haskins, Messrs. Greene, Ingalls and Ingram Rolf. In 1867 it was kept by T C McNelly. After many vicissitudes this hotel passed into the hands of Luckey & Co., who changed the name to the Center House. In 1877 Mr. E Rolfe, the owner, repaired the building, made additions, transforming it into the building now known as the Central House. For three years after its transformation Mr. Rolfe played the part of the jolly host of this first-class hotel, and was well known throughout this and the adjoining counties. The building is large and commodious and is well fitted up for the benefit of the traveling public. In March, 1881, the present landlord, O P Peck, purchased the entire property, and is now (1884) making large additions and repairs preparatory to a thorough refitting of the whole establishment, and a stronger effort for the patronage of the commercial travelers.
In 1873 the society of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows commenced the erection of a three story building on the southeast corner of block 5. The size of the building was to be 24x50 feet. The ground floor was to be used as a store, and the upper story to be used as a lodge room. Before the building was completed it was badly damaged by a heavy wind storm and as the society was not in financial shape to refit it, the property passed into the hands of D O Chandler and W D S Ross. These gentlemen at once refitted the building, enlarged it to the size of 50x65 feet, and built it three stories high. In December, 1874, the spacious building was opened to the public for hotel purposes and christened the Park Hotel, on account of its close proximity to the court house park. The first landlord was J W Smith, who furnished the house and ran it about three years. He was succeeded by C Tryon and in May, 1883, C W Slocum became landlord. In November, 1883, S J Smith & Son took charge and are the present landlords. The property is still owned by Chandler & Ross.
The inhabitants, wishing to have proper mail facilities, petitioned the general government to that effect, and instead of the postal department sending the commission to some party then a resident of the village, Leroy D Gage, of Antioch, Ill., was appointed to the office, which was established during that year, 1854, literally "bringing the office on his back," as it has been expressed by some of the early pioneers. Mr. Gage held this position as postmaster until in the spring of 1861, when, upon the change of administration consequent upon the elevation of Abraham Lincoln to the chief magistracy, W H Downs was appointed his successor. The latter gentleman held the commission for the transaction of the postal business of the town until 1866, when G L Laws was inducted into the office and held the position until 1876. He had for his immediate successor, J H Miner, so long identified with the interests of the village, and in fact, of the county. In 1881 the present postmaster, D G James, was appointed to fill the office. The latter gentleman has now for his deputies J G Bunnell and Carrie Sherman.
During the first few years after the establishment of the village, the growth was quite slow, owing, in some respects, to the mistaken policy of the proprietor, Mr. Hazeltine.
Chandler's hall is a fine large room 24x100 feet in dimension, and fitted with stage accessories and good scenery. The building was erected by D O Chandler, finished and ready for business in November, 1866. It is kept in good repair by that progressive citizen.
Bailey's Opera House was commenced in 1883, the first brick being laid on the 15th of August. It was dedicated on the 27th of December, 1883, by the Masonic fraternity, with a festival and dance. The building is 32x126 feet in size, and the opera room is fitted with a commodious stage and convenient drawing and side rooms. Much credit is due to the proprietor, Henry T Bailey, for his energy and enterprise in carrying through the project, and giving to Richland Center an opera house second to but few in this part of the State; and the hall is justly the pride of the citizens as well as the owner.
The story of the banking institutions of Richland Center is but a short one and soon told, and commences in this wise:
The want of sufficient money in all communities has had a tendency to retard the development and growth of the country, and hamper many commercial transactions that would otherwise benefit the individual and society at large. Therefore, very early in its history the business men of the incipient city attempted to initiate a bank. Dec. 16, 1856, witnessed the organization of such an institution, with the title of the Pine River Valley Bank, and the following officers elected to effect and perfect the organization and opening of the same for business; Israel Janney, president; D B Priest, cashier; Caleb Waggoner, J J Shumaker, Leroy D Gage, Jacob Brimer, W H Downs, James H Miner and A J Straight, directors. The bank was instituted under the State laws of that date, and was to be based on real estate as security. The books for subscription were opened at the office of the cashier, who was to receive the same and issue certificates of stock, and at whose office the constitution and by-laws of the association could be seen, and information in regard to it given. The financial panic of 1857, that followed so soon after its inception, however, blighted its prospects and the whole thing was allowed to collapse, and the bank never opened its doors for business. After this no regular banking house was opened in the county seat, or, in fact, in the county, although many of the merchants and others transacted in a small degree the business usually done by banks. Thus the town was without a monetary institution until the initiation of the banking house of George Krouskop. Krouskop's bank is one of the solid institutions of the county. It is the oldest bank at Richland Center, having been established by George Krouskop in 1870. The bank is a private enterprise, being owned and operated solely by Mr. Krouskop, and has a capital of over $50,000. Its corresponding banks are: Milwaukee National Bank, of Milwaukee, and Merchants' National Bank, of Chicago.
The Richland County Bank is the outgrowth of the abstract and collection business of W H Pier, and became a fixed fact in 1883, in which year Mr. Pier erected his present bank building. This building is of brick, 28x60 feet, two stories high, and is one of the best constructed buildings in the county. The bank is still in its infancy but has good prospects. Its corresponding banks are --- Merchants National, New York; Preston, King & Co., Chicago; and Houghton Bros., Milwaukee.
In 1855 Ira S Hazeltine, who then owned the water power, built a saw mill at the point where the present mill now stands, and the same fall erected a mill to grind corn and feed and some grist, but it was but a poor affair at best. He continued the proprietor of these mills until July, 1860, when the elder Parfrey rented them of him, together with the water power, and run them until in 1863. A C Parfrey and J C Nichols purchased the property and rebuilt the grist mill and built a new saw mill. In 1870 Parfrey and his partner, Pease, who had bought out Nichols' interest, commenced the erection of a new dam, and the present fine merchant and grist mill. This is a large structure, substantially built, 50x60 feet in dimension, four stories high, with a warehouse addition of 24x50 feet, having a storage capacity of some 18,000 bushels of wheat. The mill has nine run of buhrs and three sets of rollers, and all the most modern improved machinery and has a capacity of making 1,000 barrels of flour per week. This mill cost some $26,000 to build and equip. They have also a fine saw and planing mill, which is in constant operation, and capable of making 10,000 feet of good hard wood lumber per day. The interests represented by this gentleman --- for it is entirely owned and operated by A C Parfrey, at present --- is one of the most important in the county. The flour from this mill enjoys a high reputation and the brand of "Parfrey's Choice" needs no recommendation to the careful housewife.
The first steam mill at Richland Center was that known as the Shumaker mill. It was formerly located in the town of Rockbridge. It was purchased by John Walworth and moved here in 1860. He sold an interest to Amasa Haskins, and a few years later the mill was burned to the ground. Upon the same site another mill was erected by Smith, Laws & Walworth. Hattleberg & Johnson soon afterward purchased Mr. Walworth's interest and the business was conducted under the firm name of Smith, Laws & Co. They engaged extensively in the manufacture of lumber and furniture --- principally bedsteads. They built flat boats and sent their goods to St. Louis by water. On one of these trips Mr. Laws purchased a steamboat and came back with it. Upon his arrival at Richland Center he met with a grand ovation, the citizens presenting him with a gold-headed cane, in honor of the occasion. The saw mill continued in successful operation until 1871, when it was destroyed by fire.
The saw mill on the west side of the river is now operated by Norman L James. In connection with the mill Mr. James runs an extensive wagon factory, having furnished the mill with all the necessary machinery. The establishment furnishes steady employment for about thirty hands.
In 1865 A C Parfrey erected a bedstead factory. In 1868 he associated D E Pease as partner and operated the business until 1871, when it was discontinued. The factory, while it was in operation, furnished employment to from sixteen to thirty-five hands, and was an important industry in Richland Center.
In 1873 Parfrey & Pease established a stave factory, which was operated with good success by them for about four years, when the business was discontinued.
In 1876 William Hill erected a small planing mill near his residence. This proved to be too small, and in 1880 he erected his present mill, which is 30x50 feet in size, besides engine and boiler rooms. The mill does an extensive business in planing, turning, scroll sawing and joining work.
In 1883 A H Krouskop erected a large steam saw-mill near the Parfrey mill. It is equipped with all the latest patterns of machinery, first-class engine and other accessories.
The village board, as early as 1875, agitated the question of boring an artesian well for the purpose of increasing the facilities for extinguishing fires and for the supplying of good water generally. But nothing definite was reached until February, 1876, when a contract was entered into by them with Maurice O'Connor and Daniel Canfield, of Venango, Penn., who engaged to drill a well on lot 3, in block 8; the said well to be tubed its entire length, which was not to exceed 1,000 feet; and the price agreed on and put into the contract was $3 per foot.
These gentlemen at once set to work and soon had a hold in the ground, but when they had reached the depth of 744 feet the drill encountered igneous rock, in the form of granite, and knowing that no water veins exist in that the matter was given up for the time. Water was reached long before that depth had been attained, but no flow. The well now stands with the water in it up to within a few feet of the surface, and a project is on foot to put up a system of waterworks, having for a base of supply this artesian well, as the supply of water is inexhaustible. One or two other attempts have been made in the county to get a flowing well, with like results.
In September, 1866, a movement was put on foot to secure the incorporation of Richland Center, as a village, under the statutes of the State. And was so incorporated in October of the same year. The first meeting of the trustees of the newly organized village was held Feb. 1, 1867, in the room over D L Downs' store. The officers who were present were as follows: D L Downs, president; D E Pease, G H James, C Waggoner, John Fitzgerald, C H Smith and L D Gage, trustees; after the organization of the board, they proceeded to elect Fred. H Tuttle, clerk; J L McKee, treasurer and Thomas Cholerton, marshal. The board then appointed a committee consisting of D L Downs, L D Gage and C H Smith to draft by-laws and to make a design for the village seal. The first ordinance passed by this august body was one for the prevention and extinguishment of conflagrations in the village.
1867 --- The officers elected were: D L Downs, president; G H James, C Waggoner, John Fitzgerald, C H Smith and L D Gage, trustees; Fred H Tuttle was re-appointed clerk and J L McKee, treasurer. Joseph McMurtrey was also appointed marshal and R R Hamilton, street commissioner. In October, however, Fred. H Tuttle resigning his position as clerk, and McMurtrey that of marshal, Gilbert L Laws was appointed to the former, and Peter E Brewer to the latter office. We have a report of the village finances for the year as filed by the treasurer March 23, 1868, by which we may find the following.
Cash received from various parties.........$233 80 " paid out on orders.................102 80 ------- " balance in treasury...............$131 00
1868 --- James H Miner, president; D E Pease, Caleb Waggoner, A B Weigley, W H Downs, James Tuttle and Gilbert L Laws, trustees; James H Waggoner was appointed clerk; James L McKee, treasurer; Peter E Brewer, marshal; G I Morton, street commissioner, and W H Hook, pound-master.
1869 --- Gilbert L Laws, president; Dr. A W Bickford, James Tuttle, G N Matteson, G N Mickle, M V Dustan and G H James, trustees; Samuel C Hyatt was appointed clerk; J L McKee, treasurer; J W Leik, marshal and pound-master; Seth Bayse, street commissioner. In November the village board, by resolution, declared the office of marshal vacant, and appointed Erastus Rolfe to fill the vacancy. It was this board that succeeded in instituting the present fire department, and purchased the apparatus therefore.
1870 --- Dr. A W Bickford, president; W H Downs, G N Mickle, C H Smith, James Tuttle, A Durnford and H T Bailey, trustees, who proceeded to appoint the following officers: James Fogo, marshal; W H Downs, clerk; J L McKee, treasurer; E Rolfe, pound-master.
1871 --- J L McKee, president; Norman L James, W H Pier, G N Mickle, A S Fries, W F Tuttle and H Freeman, trustees; who appointed W H Downs, clerk; N L James, treasurer; E H Liscum, marshal and G N Dyke, pound-master. During the administration of this board, a ballot was taken at the fall election whether the village should surrender its charter as an incorporated village, which was defeated by the vote of the qualified electors, there being 109 against such surrender, and sixty in favor of it.
1872 --- D G James, president; D H Burnham, H Freeman, Henry Toms, G N Mickle, George N Matteson, and A B Weigley, trustees; W H Downs was appointed clerk; Henry Toms, treasurer; A Crosby, marshal and N G Leonard, street commissioner.
1873 --- D G James, president; Henry Toms, G N Matteson, James Tuttle, Samuel C Hyatt, William F Tuttle and James Lewis, trustees; W H Downs was appointed clerk, Henry Toms, treasurer; John Boyle, marshal; Seth Bayse, street commissioner.
1874 --- D O Chandler, president; A C Parfrey, Seth Bayse, Elihu Pease, John Wertz, James Tuttle and Thomas Cholerton, trustees; Gaylord Freeman, police justice and J L Fogo, village constable. Alice Pease was appointed clerk, (this being the first instance on record of a lady holding that position); Elihu Pease made treasurer; J L Fogo, marshal, and Seth Bayse, street commissioner.
1875 --- H W Fries, president; George Krouskop, J L McKee, N W Bailey, John Walworth, George N Matteson and Warren C S Barron, trustees; E H Liscum, village constable; Kate G Downs was appointed clerk; George Krouskop, treasurer; E H Liscum, marshal and J L Sweet, street commissioner. This board, in the interests of temperance, fixed the license for saloons at $125 and for drug stores $40. Permission was also given by the board this year to the railroad company to use certain streets of the village for their tracks.
1876 --- H W Fries, president; George Krouskop, John Walworth, J L McKee, N W Bailey, George N Matteson and Warren C S Barron, trustees; James Tuttle, police justice; R D Robinson, constable. Kate G Downs was appointed clerk; George Krouskop, treasurer; E H Liscum, marshal; S C Carpenter was appointed to the office of street commissioner, but not qualifying, John Walworth was appointed in his stead.
1877 --- A G James, president; T Hart, J W Lybrand, John Wertz, A S Fries, J F Walker and James Tuttle, trustees; W H Downs, police justice; R R Hamilton, village constable. Kate G Downs was re-appointed clerk; F Walker made treasurer; E Stevens, marshal and street commissioner. During the administration of this board there was a second movement to vacate the incorporation of the village, and a resolution to submit the matter at a special election was passed by the board. In July, 1877, the election was held, in accordance with the above ordinance, and again defeated, the vote standing: For dissolution, 46; against dissolution, 137.
1878 --- Warren C S Barron, president; Jacob W Lybrand, John Brimer, D O Chandler, Aug. Schmidt, N W Bailey and John Walworth, trustees; Seth Pennell, police justice; A D Laws, village constable. William Wulfing was appointed clerk; Aug. Schmidt, treasurer; N W Bailey, street commissioner and S C Carpenter, marshal.
1879 --- D O Chandler, president; Daniel Storms, A B Weigley, J L McKee, L B Smith, J W Lybrand and M C Pease, trustees; Caleb Waggoner, police justice; Oliver G Munson, clerk; W H Pier, treasurer; G E Moody, marshal; W G Hyatt, constable.
1880 --- A G James, president; D E Pease, H L Burnham, G R Mitchell, H St. John, Daniel Storms and A G Saltsman, trustees; W H Pier, treasurer; Oliver G Munson, clerk; Wiley H Waters, marshal; G M Clark, constable.
1881 --- Henry Toms, president; W C S Barron, Norman L James, H T Bailey, A H Krouskop, G H Strang and Frank Sanford, trustees; William Wulfing, clerk; T M Hart, treasurer; W H Waters, marshal; George Jarvis, police justice; George Spangler, constable.
1882 --- Henry Toms, president; Warren C S Barron, Norman L James, G H Strang, Frank Sanford, George Krouskop and H B Allen, trustees; C C Fries, clerk; T M Hart, treasurer; George L Spangler, marshal; George Bennett, police justice; John Houston, constable. Mr. Fries not qualifying, William Wulfing was appointed in his place.
1883 --- J L McKee, president; A H Krouskop, R C Lybrand, E A Dove, James H Miner, D O Chandler and R N McKay, trustees; J H Yeaman, clerk; T M Hart, treasurer; L Leonard, police justice; G L Spangler, marshal; W F Fogo, village constable.
The contest this year was one of the most exciting that has occurred for a number of years past, on account of the element of temperance in the matter. For the past two years it seems that there has been license granted to several saloons to deal out intoxicating liquors, and the friends of temperance determined to make a strong effort and turn the scale and have no licenses granted. A strong prohibition ticket was placed in the field and elected, as given above.
The ladies were out in force, and worked from early in the morning till the polls were closed, distributing tickets and soliciting votes for the no-license ticket. The effect of their labors was manifested in the result, and they felt highly elated over the success which crowned their efforts, as victors naturally do.
The majorities for the no-license ticket ranged from sixty-seven to eighty-nine, and were by far the largest given on either side of the issue in many years. Several of the gentlemen whose names were on what was known as the license ticket, declared that they had not given consent to the use of their names, and would neither qualify nor serve if elected, and they voted the other ticket, thus swelling the majorities.
The first regular meeting of the new council was held May 14, 1883.
A petition was presented to the board, signed by a number of young men, requesting that no license be granted for the running of billiard tables, which, being read in full, was referred to the committee on judiciary, who, after a short deliberation, submitted the following report, which was adopted:
"We, the committee to whom was referred the petition and remonstrance requesting that no license be granted for keeping billiard tables, and remonstrating against such license and against the sale of intoxicating liquors, have had the same under consideration, and most respectfully report the following and recommend its adoption:
"Whereas, Considering the large majority of votes giving expression of their views at the recent election upon the issue well understood, whether license or no license should be granted, and in compliance with that expression and the large and respectable petition signed by the young men and others of the village, against the granting of license, therefore:
"Resolved, That the board grant the petitioners their request, and it is further
"Resolved, That no license be granted to any person for the keeping of billiard tables, pigeon-hole alleys or bowling saloons within this village."
At a meeting of the village board, held Aug. 16, 1869, a bill was brought up appropriating the sum of $300 for the purpose of purchasing a Babcock chemical engine for the extinguishment of fires. Although this bill was then laid upon the table, from it may be traced the present efficient fire brigade that is always on hand when the demon of destruction sweeps with fiery besom through this beautiful village.
Although the first attempt had failed, however, its friends did not falter but pressed the matter and on Nov. 23, 1869, succeeded in having the trustees pass the bill to purchase a United States chemical engine. At the next meeting thereafter held Dec. 13, 1869, the trustees, by ballot, elected Henry St. John, foreman, and William Tuttle, assistant foreman, with full power to raise and organize a fire company. At the same meeting measures were also taken that all the necessary fixtures should be purchased to run the engine and help the company in the discharge of their duty. It would seem from the records that the chemical engine was purchased and arrived, but for some reason it did not meet the wants of the community nor the wishes of the board, and it was returned.
Jan. 10, 1870, however, the village board passed a resolution to purchase as a substitute for it a second-hand Button & Blake's hand engine, in good repair, at a cost of $750, and 300 feet of hose suitable for the use of the same and also a resolution to purchase of Richards & Herbert a hook and ladder truck, at a cost of $120, and a hose reel to carry the hose to the seat of conflagration. This being done, in February, 1870, there was duly organized the Richland Center Engine Company and the Richland Center Hook and Ladder Company, and all the implements for the extinguishment of fires were placed in their hand, and for the safe keeping of which they pledged themselves and also agreed to drill in the use of the same. The town board thereupon appointed A W Bickford as chief engineer of the department and that gentleman has the honor of being the first to enjoy that dignity.
To the honor of the village board be it spoken that they took all measures to make this a most efficient department, and in furtherance of this in May, 1870, they signed a contract with M D Hankins, by which he agreed to build several cisterns at the intersection of such streets as were thought most advisable. Three were built under this contract, but it seems from some later remarks upon the records that they had not proved quite as satisfactory as was desirable, as several more were afterwards built of brick or stone, one near D O Chandler's store being let under contract to G A Tuttle for $225. This was in the summer of 1873.
In the early days of the new fire brigade the engine, trucks and reel were kept in various barns and buildings rented for that purpose but in December, 1870, and January, 1871, an engine house was built by the board for the use of the department at a cost of some $300. In 1871 and 1872, A W Bickford was re-elected to the office of chief engineer. During this latter year some more hose was purchased and the engine house was removed to lot 3 in block 8, which had been purchased for the purpose by the village board of J W Lybrand for the sum of $175.
The engine company by this time numbered some thirty members and the hook and ladder company fifteen. These were all, in consideration of their services in the fire brigade, exempt from paying poll tax or doing jury duty.
In April, 1873, the mode of choosing the officers of the department was changed, passing from the hands of the village board to that of the companies themselves, subject, however, to the confirmation of the trustees of the village. Under this rule the officers chosen were as follows: W F Tuttle, chief engineer; F M Ott, assistant engineer; H Toms, treasurer; G N Matteson, secretary.
In 1877 J M Adams was the head of the fire department.
In the year 1878 the officers of the department were as follows: David G James, chief engineer; Benjamin Brimer, assistant; Henry Toms, treasurer; W H Pier, secretary; George Jarvis, fire warden.
The year 1879 witnessed the re-election of the entire board. The officers above mentioned seemed to give such satisfaction that no change was made until 1881, when we find the following as the list of officers of the department: D G James, chief engineer; George N Matteson, assistant; F P Lawrence, secretary; H Toms, treasurer; George Jarvis, fire warden.
At the annual election in May, 1882, the following officers were elected: W H Pier, chief engineer; H T Bailey, assistant engineer; H Toms, treasurer; D G James, secretary; O G Munson, fire warden.
The department is a very efficient one and is well equipped with good apparatus and the "boys" are the pride of the village. The present officers were elected in May, 1883, and are as follows:
W H Pier, chief engineer; David G James, first assistant engineer; H R Brewer, second assistant engineer; George Jarvis, fire warden; I A Cleveland, secretary; Henry Toms, treasurer.
The village has but little cause to lament the usual large proportion of fires that occur in most communities, none that have occurred within its limits assumed any magnitude.
The first buildings burned in Richland Center were the dwelling houses belonging to Phineas Janney and Samuel Fries. They were both occupied by their families. The first fire of any importance was the burning of the court house, which occurred in April, 1859. Among other distressing fires that have occurred were the following: Burning of J Thompson's house, Jones' tannery, Walworth's steam saw-mill, Smith, Laws & Co.'s saw-mill and furniture factory, Fries' tannery, American Hotel, Jones' shoe shop, Bayles' blacksmith shop, John Heeran's marble works, engine house, the Austin building, Daniel Rice's store, the railway depot and A H Krouskop's block.
The following is an account of the two most important fires that have occurred in Richland Center, as gleaned from the newspaper accounts published at the time. The first on the list was the
About 2 o'clock in the morning of Sunday, Oct. 8, 1882, two quick reports in succession, or as nearly together as to almost seem one, and loud as a cannon's roar, awakened every sleeper and shook every building in Richland Center. The startled citizens on being so rudely torn from their peaceful slumbers, in quick haste donned their clothing and sallied forth in hot haste to inquire the cause. Ere many of them had gathered and with pallid cheek and quivering lip had asked the momentous question, the sonorous peal of the great fire bell resounding through the trembling air, told the fast gathering throng that the red fire fiend danced in their midst, and his infernal altar smoked with the incense he delights in.
Excited crowds soon filled the streets, all hastening in the direction from which the lurid flames lit up the village, and made the surrounding bluffs look like the mythical hills of brass.
It took but a short time to make the discovery that the depot of the Pine river branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad was a prey to the devouring element. In the short space of time which elapsed between the reports and the arrival of the fire brigade the flames had got under such headway, that it was impossible to arrest their mad progress and save the building or any of its contents. The safe belonging to the express company was indeed pulled from the fire, owing to the exertions of the firemen, and its contents saved, but this was about all.
Investigation showed that the reports were caused by the ignition of two kegs of gunpowder that were in the depot at the time. The roof of the building was blown off by the force of the explosion and fire thrown in all directions.
The work of the flames was swift and sure, and in an incredibly short space of time the spot where the building stood was marked only by a mass of smouldering ruins. In addition to the loss of the depot and its contents, the baggage car and one or two freight cars that stood near on the track were badly scorched and damaged before they could be removed. The passenger coach, however, escaped with but slight damage.
Between the hours of four and five o'clock in the morning of Friday, Jan. 28, 1883, the village of Richland Center was again visited by the demon of fire, which with a flaming besom swept out of existance one of the chief ornaments of the city nestled among the hills.
At the hour mentioned above, the loud clangor of the fire bell broke upon the affrighted ears of the sleeping inhabitants of the village dissipating their little remaining slumbers. The wild alarm soon brought the whole town upon the streets. It was found, on inquiry, that a fire had been discovered, shortly before, in the frame grocery store of A H Floaten, on Center street, in close proximity to A H Krouskop's mammoth brick block, and by the time the fire department had arrived on the ground the fiery element had gathered such headway that it was plainly evident to all that all effort to subdue it was in vain, and that the edifice was doomed to destruction.
The extreme cold weather had frozen the valves of the engine and some valuable time was wasted by that unfortunate circumstance, upon their arrival upon the scene of action. While the firemen were making strenuous efforts to remedy this, and straining every nerve to get the apparatus to work, the flames spread to the frame building north of the one where the fire originated, also occupied by Mr. Foaten, and thence north to the building tenanted by W H Pier, as an abstract office. The main efforts of the hook and ladder company was directed toward pulling down the Pier building that endangered the remaining portion of the row. For some time it was feared that all their efforts were unavailing, and that the flames would leap the narrow distance, to the next building, and the whole business portion of the town would be devoured by the insatiable monster.
But fortunately there was no wind to fan the fire and help it spread and this fact, added to the almost superhuman efforts of the firemen, and it might be said, the whole number of the inhabitants as well, and that the roofs of all the buildings were deeply covered with snow, kept the fire in due limits, and its further progress was arrested in that direction. All this time great volumes of flames, fed by the combustable nature of Floaten's store and stock, of which a considerable quantity of coal oil formed a part, rolled up against the side of Krouskop's block, heating the iron cornice and setting fire to the rafters underneath the roof, and joists of timbers running around back of the cornice. The engine, having by this time been put into good working order, stream after stream of water was poured directly upon the devouring element, but with very little visible effect.
Owing to the height of the building, the engine could not throw a stream up to the cornice with force enough to be effective. The fire still kept creeping insidiously onward at this point in under the roof. A number of men were inside fighting the flames with pails of water, and after the efforts of the firemen were found to be useless outside, the hose was taken up through a window in Black & Burnham's law office, and an attempt was made to reach the attic with it and turn a stream of water against the flames, but the attempt miscarried and the whole scheme abandoned.
Still being unwilling to give the matter up, the firemen went along the hall on the second story and extinguished the fire that had caught in the windows and casings, on the north side of the building. The fire in these rooms had been previously put out several times, but the heat was so intense that the wood-work rekindled almost as soon as they were cleared of the fire. Those inside finding how futile were their puny efforts against this hydra-headed giant, and seeing no possible chance of saving the building, reluctantly retired, and left the magnificent structure to its fate.
Hushed now was the clamor, and all stood spell-bound, like the sailor as he watches the fast sinking vessel he has just left, watching the gradual triumph of the element over the boasted work of man. The flames now had an unmolested chance and their progress was swift, sure and deadly. With terrible steps the invader stole downward from the attic to the second floor, stair by stair, then onward to the first floor, devouring all on its way, and then as if deeming it still not enough went still downward in its irresistable march even into the cellar. As each floor, with its timbers and contents gave way and fell crashing to the one below, the flames rolled higher and higher and danced in infernal glee over the wreck and ruin below.
By seven o'clock the element had exhausted its force, and what was a few hours before a superb building was a heap of smouldering ruins and tottering, ragged, smoke scorched walls. Parts of the latter had to be battered down as their wrecked state imperiled the passers-by and some have since blown down, leaving an unsightly wreck, a blot upon the face of the fair village.
During the progress of the conflagration, the explosion of a keg of powder in the store of A H Floaten created a lively sensation, as there were people in the building at the time engaged in carrying out goods, and the proprietor was, even then, engaged in a search for the powder and was within a few feet of it when it exploded. The glass in the windows of the buildings opposite was nearly all shattered by the concussion. Much of the goods in both buildings were saved, but in a damaged condition.
Various conjectures as to the origin of the fire were rife, at the time, but it seems to be the general opinion that it caught from a defective flue in the Floaten store. The loss can safely be put down as fully $75,000, on which there was an insurance of $48,700.
An account of this Krouskop block will not be out of place in this connection, as the structure was the pride of the citizens of the village and of the county generally, as well as of the owner, and was said to be the finest building of the kind in the State, west of Milwaukee. The block was 44x125 feet, with a wing 34x74 feet in dimension, all two stories high, and was built of pressed brick, with cut stone trimmings and handsome iron cornice. Large plate glass windows adorned and illuminated the front, and all the interior wood work was executed in hard wood, principally walnut. Mr. Krouskop commenced the erection of the edifice in 1876; the material he had been collecting for ten years previously. It was finished during the year 1877, and he moved into it in January, 1878, and occupied it at the time of its destruction.
In May, 1857, Michael Carmichael opened the first saloon in the village of Richland Center, and which was known as the "Bowling Saloon," and shortly afterwards was followed by Patrick Meehan, who opened a rum shop in the midst of the town. At the time no licenses could be or were granted to these parties, who thus commenced their business in open defiance of the law. The wildest excitement now seized upon the law abiding portion of the community. The following call for a temperance meeting was conspicuously displayed all over town on small posters, early in July:
Those ladies and gentlemen of Richland Center and vicinity, who are in favor of using all legal means to suppress the liquor traffic in said village, will meet at the court house, this (Tuesday) evening, July 14, at 7 o'clock.
We quote an account of the affair from the columns of the Richland County Observer, of that date, as better reflecting the feelings of the community, than can be shown from anything written at this distant day. Says the reporter to that paper:
"There was considerable excitement in this village on Wednesday and Thursday, of last week, on account of the continued unlicensed sales of spirituous liquors, which are constantly occurring in the Bowling Saloon, and in the house of Patrick Meehan.
"Notice had been given on Tuesday evening that there would be a meeting on Wednesday morning, for the purpose of considering what further policy should be pursued to suppress the traffic. This meeting was attended principally by women, and there was manifested by some of them a determination to do something rash, if no other means could be suggested whereby the curse could be stayed. Several gentlemen having been called to speak, and they having spoken, and contended that law only should be employed to abate the nuisance, the project of doing violence was put to rest, as in the exercise of good sense, every such notion ought to be.
"Why any body here has ever thought of mob violence, to suppress the unlawful sales of ardent spirits, is because out statute requires that the quantity and quality of the liquor sold, shall be set forth in the complaint; and the difficulty of obtaining this evidence here for the commencement of a suit is so great, that these grogeries have sold their drinks with impunity, until they have become "public nuisances, sources of filth, and causes of sickness," without exaggeration. This matter being perfectly plain to the observing mind, A C Eastland suggested that a complaint might be made to the board of health of this town, and that he thought they possessed sufficient power, by law, to remove all nuisances, which are sources of filth, or causes of sickness. This idea being perfectly reasonable to those assembled, it was determined to call a meeting of the members of the board of health and let them examine into the matter, if one other movement would not effect the desired end. And that was to adjourn until four o'clock, p.m., and then meet in the court house, from which place, it was voted, that the citizens should proceed, in procession, to the whisky shops under the direction of a marshal and assistant, headed by a lady and gentleman , who where selected to speak in behalf of the citizens. The meeting then adjourned. As a committee had been appointed to go to every house in the village to notify the inhabitants of the design of the meeting, at four o'clock, and invite them to be present, almost every body turned out, though the thermometer indicated nearly 90 degrees, Fahrenheit. After the meeting had come to order, and the object of it stated, the procession was formed and it proceeded at once to the Bowling Saloon, under the charge of W H Downs as marshal and George H James as assistant. On arriving at the saloon, Michael Carmichael, who asked them in to take something, was addressed by Mrs. Eunice Holden, and was followed by Alfred H Bush. They remonstrated against the unlawful traffic and plead in behalf of humanity, amidst constant interruption. Without effecting any thing by persuasion, the procession left, well satisfied that kind words and good reasoning were of no avail. Arriving at the house of Patrick Meehan they addressed him, and found him but little or no more susceptible to the influence than Carmichael.
"As a meeting of the board of health had been called, on Thursday morning at 10 o'clock, a great number of citizens presented a complaint against these houses as nuisances, and asked their action upon the same. These liquor shops being unlicensed, and it having been shown that the liquor dealt out was a cause of sickness and a source of filth, and that its effect produced both annoyance and damage to the citizens of the town, it was adjudged by the board, after a thorough examination, that the complaint was well grounded, and they have issued the following notice for its removal:
STATE of WISCONSIN, ] RICHLAND COUNTY, } ss. TOWN of RICHLAND. ]
Given under our hands this 9th day of July, 1857.
B R Howland, S W Pickard, E P Young, B L Jackson, Board of Health in and for the town of Richland.
"This movement may be considered as something new under the sun --- may be considered as a wrong construction of the intention of the statute; but so far as the letter of the law is concerned, it is fully in accordance with it; and, the law ought to be, henceforth, interpreted as our board of health have seen fit so to interpret it. It would then be better than the Maine law; and, on this subject the State would not soon need to have legislation for the further regulation or suppression of the traffic."
As has been said, these men were engaged in a nefarious business, without any license, and they paid no attention to the notification of the board of health. After waiting twenty-four hours for them to remove the offending liquors, the members of the board made a personal call upon the men, and made a request of them to remove them or cause them to be removed, to neither of which requests would they listen, and showed an ugly spirit of resistance. Allowing the matter to rest over night, that it might sink into their minds, and finding in the morning no signs that they were making any preparations to obey the mandates of the law, a warrant was placed in the hands of the sheriff, and on Wednesday, July 15, the town board accompanied that officer and his posse to the saloon of Carmichael, and all the liquor found therein was taken out and poured upon the ground, which soon drank it up. No riot or resistance seems to have been met at this place, but all submitted with the best grace possible to the visit of the officer of the law, who but did his duty in executing the warrant. The nuisance being abated at this place, the procession, for it had swelled to that degree, proceeded to the saloon of Patrick Meehan, but did not find the man with any peaceable intentions. On perceiving them he ran up stairs, where he had conveyed the bulk of his stock of liquor, and, standing behind a barricade at the head of the stairs with his wife, presented at the approaching officer a gun, a revolver and a single-barreled pistol, and swore with terrible oaths that he would blow out the brains of, or do other deadly injury to, the sheriff or any other man who dared to attempt to storm his castle. The sheriff, finding that it might prove a dangerous job, evidently thinking discretion the better part of valor, incontinently left with all his posse, and Meehan was left victor of this bloodless field for the time being. A warrant was now issued for the arrest of the man for resisting an officer, and put into the hands of Constable Matteson, who, watching his opportunity, found him away from his house and brought him before Justice Young. William F Crawford, who had been appointed court commissioner at the previous term of the circuit court by Judge Cothren, acted as Meehan's counsel. He demanded that his client should not be tried or examined before Justice Young, but at once offered to give a recognizance for his appearance at the next term of the circuit court. This demand being denied by 'Squire Young, who betrayed no great willingness to be ousted of his jurisdiction, Crawford repaired to his office and issued the following summons:
STATE of WISCONSIN, } RICHLAND COUNTY. }To E P Young, Justice of the Peace of Richland County, Wisconsin:
Sir: --- You are hereby notified that I have this day liberated Patrick Meehan, who was brought before you on the 16th day of July, A. D. 1857, on a charge preferred against him for resisting an officer while in the execution of serving legal process.
You are further notified to send, without unnecessary delay, the recognizance, and all the papers in the case, to the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Richland County, Wisconsin.
Given under my hand, this the 16th day of July, A. D. 1857. Wm. F Crawford, Court Commissioner Richland County, Wisconsin
But E P Young, on receiving this notice, could not find the authority for it, and therefore refused to deliver up the prisoner, and proceeded with the examination. After a hearing of the case, Meehan was required to give bail for his appearance at the next term of the circuit court. This he refused to do, and was committed to jail.
His attorney, Crawford, then sued out a writ of habeas corpus, before himself as court commissioner, for the liberation of his client, but the sheriff questioning Crawford's power or authority under the circumstances, refused to serve the writ. Crawford finding himself defeated in every move went to work writing out other mandatory documents, but met with no better success and finally seeing no better plan to liberate his friend and client, went security for his appearance himself, on which Meehan was liberated.
In the meantime it seems that the sheriff and town board, taking advantage of Meehan's absence, sent the deputy sheriff, Elmore, with a posse, some of the board going with them, to his house, to destroy the obnoxious liquors. They proceeded to the place, but on entering the premises were met by the determined opposition of Meehan's wife, who stood at the head of the stairway with a gun in her hands, declaring that she would shoot any man who had the temerity to attempt to come any further, or try to ascend the stair. Elmore commenced to parley with her, while she stood, like Helen McGregor in her fortress, defying them. Finding remonstrance and entreaties were fruitless, and goaded on by the bystanders, he made a movement forward with the intention of storming the stronghold, thinking that there was more bluster on her part than that she would really shoot. But he had "reckoned without his host," for scarcely had he taken a few steps than the amazon presented her weapon and discharged it, causing considerable confusion and a masterly retreat on the part of all the lookers-on.
Her intention to hurt was good, but in the excitement and anger of the moment, her hand trembled and she had missed hitting the officer or any one else. As soon as she saw that her aim had been futile, she snatched up another gun, seeing which Mr. Howland, one of the members of the board, called for weapons, and a rifle and revolver were handed to him. Cocking the rifle, he told her to lay down her arms and surrender or he would shoot. The woman weakened and surrendered and the officers marched in and took possession. A wagon was procured and all the liquor found in the house was taken out and placed upon it and driven to the banks of the Pine river. Here had congregated quite a number of people, of both sexes, to witness the destruction of the stuff. Barrel, keg and bottle were taken from the wagon and emptied into the swift current of the river, mingling with its waters the fiery liquid. After this had been completed, Meehan's wife was also arrested and placed under bonds to appear by the side of her husband, at the bar of the circuit court.
As soon as Meehan had recovered his liberty, he laid in a fresh supply of liquor, but was arrested and fined some $40, and the next day arrested and fined the same amount, and finding that it was likely to prove an expensive matter, he deserted the town, leaving Richland Center to enjoy the proud consciousness of having no saloon in its midst, as Carmichael had surrendered and given up his business.
In the summer of 1853 the first school in the village was taught in the court house building by Sylvia Hazeltine. Calista Hazeltine taught a term of school in the same place during the summer of 1854. In 1855 Sarah Thomas taught in a building owned by Ira S Hazeltine.
The first gentleman to teach in the village was James H Miner, who began teaching a term in December, 1855, in the same building that had been occupied by the school taught by Sarah Thomas. The building was small and inconvenient, and without any lath and plaster on its walls, and as the winter was an unusually severe one, the scholars suffered from the inclemency of the weather. Mr. Miner informs us that in the middle of the winter, the supply of wood, for the stove, gave out, and rather than abandon the school, he with his own hands chopped up the pole fence that surrounded the lot on which the school house was built, and kept up the fire in that way. And even with this the stove was always surrounded by shivering urchins, who complained, that while their face was warm their backs were freezing. In the fall of 1857 the question of building a more comfortable and commodious school house came to the front, and the contest between the high tax and low tax parties displayed more acrimony than is usual in communities over the educational matters. However, owing to the personal exertions of D B Priest, Israel Janney, J H Miner and other well-known friends of education, the town voted a tax of $3000 to erect a suitable building. This tax was assessed by the regular assessor and placed upon the tax roll, but, as it was well nigh impossible for many to raise the money to pay this tax, the building committee made arrangements to receive it in material or labor at a fixed price and their receipts were taken by the town treasurer on such tax at their face value. Under these conditions the present frame structure was erected during the year 1858. It is 36x52 feet in dimension and two stories high, and is a good substantial building, with three apartments, in which the three lower grades are taught.
Ira S Hazeltine, one of the most prominent antagonists of the measure of voting the tax, refused for a long time to pay his assessment, but finding that he would have to, came to the committee after the building was all finished, and wanted to supply lumber, this, having no further use for, they declined and the matter rested for a time, when he went before the county board, and with the assistance of the then district attorney, persuaded that body to cancel the tax certificates and charge the tax back to the school district.
In 1868, this school having been outgrown by the wants of the district, a movement was put on foot to built a larger and more commodious one. Several meetings were held and at one of these town meetings the citizens voted to levy a tax of $2000 toward building the school house, and work was at once commenced on the structure. The edifice was finished during 1869, and is a large roomy building and complete in everything except room, for the ever-increasing population make it quite necessary to have more room, although both school houses are kept running. This building cost $4500, and is in two apartments, and is under the personal supervision of H R Smith, who is the principal of all the village schools. The roll of teachers in 1883 were: H R Smith, high school; P H Fay, grammar; Mary McKay, Mary Spyker, M Lawrence and Miss Vedder. There are at present 362 children enrolled and the average attendance reaches 289, which is quite a respectable figure when we take into consideration that 152 of the scholars are quite small, being in the two lower grades.
In 1879 Miss Peck, from Milwaukee, started a kindergarten under the supervision of the school board.
In this connection it would be well to say that the schools are of a high grade and a complete course through the high school prepares the pupil for entry into the State University at Madison without any further studies.
The high school was established by vote of the qualified electors of the district, in 1875, and the first pupils to graduate therefrom were Miss B D Miner and L C Thorpe. The former was a daughter of Judge Miner, and now the wife of J H Berryman, a lawyer of Richland Center. The present board of school control is composed of D L Downs, J D McKee and O J Burnham, clerk. At a meeting held in July, 1883, it was voted that $15,000 be raised for the purpose of erecting a new school building, and a site containing five acres, located in the Schoolcraft addition, was secured.
For some years after the settlement of the village, adverse circumstances kept the erection of any church edifice from being consummated. But as early as March 27, 1857, some stir was made in the matter toward the building of a union meeting-house, where all could worship. Committees were appointed, but, for various reasons, the scheme was abandoned. In May, 1857, the Presbyterians, who had organized a society that month in the village, determined to take the matter in hand and put up a place of worship for themselves. But means were scarce, and some time was necessarily spent before the matter assumed a shape justifying the letting of the contract. But that day did at last dawn when the committee, of which Caleb Waggoner was chairman, we believe, that they could see their way clear to the end. William and A L Wilson took the contract of building the structure, which was finished during the same year, 1857.
Services were held during the fall, under the ministrations of Rev. J H Mathers, the first pastor of this little flock. At the opening of the church there were but nine members of the society, but the attendance from the first was very fair and favorable. Mr. Mathers was succeeded by Rev. J M Reid, a faithful laborer in the "vineyard of the Lord," but whose health at last broke down and he was forced to retire in 1866. For some little time after his removal the fold was without a shepherd, but a Rev. Mr. White came and took temporary charge of them for about six months. Rev. G J E Richards was installed as pastor in the summer of 1876, and remained in charge only about a year, when he, too, on account of poor health, was obliged to leave, and was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Winn for a short time. Since that time Rev. Mr. Benson has spent two years as a faithful laborer in this field, and was succeeded by Rev. Thomas Pierce, who took charge in January, 1880, and remained until January, 1883, when he terminated his connection with the society, and Rev. Mr. Winn, from Madison, supplied the pulpit until the summer 1883, when Rev. Dennison, the present pastor, took charge.
Possibly we may have made some omissions in the list of the pastors, or some little inaccuracies may have crept in, but the fault has been occasioned by the great difficulty encountered by us in our efforts in collecting the material for our facts, having mainly to rely upon the memories of those to whom we looked for the proper data. The church edifice is a neat frame structure and cost $1100, and is yet in use, and answers very well the purpose for which it was erected. When the building was erected a bell was secured through the exertions of J W Lybrand. He solicited aid from his merchant friends in the city of New York, and after raising the money, placed it in the hands of Rev. J H Mathers, who purchased the bell. It weighs 402 pounds and cost twenty-nine cents per pound.
Although the Presbyterian society were the first to erect a church edifice, still they were not the first to be organized into a society. As early as 1855 the Methodists had organized a class, and had held regular meetings, thus being the pioneer Church of the town. The first pastors were not regularly stationed ones, but were of that itinerant class, called circuit preachers, and a Mr. Wheeler is believed to be the first to exhort this little band of Christian men and women who had determined to raise a Church in the wilderness. In 1859 the first regular pastor assumed charge, the Church being then made a station of the Methodist Church, having been heretofore only supplied by circuit preachers. Among those who have preached here since are: Revs. Brainerd, Walker, Nuzum, De Lap, Cook, Hill, Chase, Brooks, Manuel, Irish, McKay, Sturgis, Burnip and J D Tull. Rev. A L Tull is the present pastor. The church edifice was commenced in 1872, and was completed early in 1873, being dedicated on the 2d of March, by the Rev. Mr. Fallow. W H Downs was the first class leader, A B Weigley is the present one.
This society was organized in 1866, and for a few years worshiped in the court house under the ministrations of the Rev. W C Wright, who was the first pastor, to whom the society owed its inception. He was an able, energetic worker in the ripe fields of the Master, and was not afraid to put his hands to the plough. This little band of Christians determined to erect a building in which to worship and in the same year set about the task, digging the excavation for the foundation walls. There were not many moneyed men in the congregation and contributions came in slowly and the work on the church was suspended from time to time for want of funds, so that it was not until the summer of 1870, that it was finished. Sunday, Nov. 1, 1870, the church was dedicated by W C Wright, formerly pastor, assisted by Revs. J W Fish, of Fox Lake, Rockwell and Phillips. Rev. G D Stevens was the pastor of this Church for some years and was instrumental in the completion of the church. The church edifice is a fine large structure, 36x60 feet in dimension, and built of brick on a foundation of stone, with a high, light and roomy basement, which is used for school purposes. Instead of having the building put up by contract, the board of trustees, the first the Church had, consisting of the following gentlemen: O W Gibbs, S B Pennell, J S Wilson, G D Stevens and G L Laws, determined to erect it themselves, which they did. The cost of the edifice was about $6000, and is the finest building of the kind in the county. The Church has been without a pastor for some time, but W S Sweet supplies the pulpit occasionally.
The first mass was said to be held at the house of Patrick Meehan, in 1858, by Father Mandeger, from Linden. Services were not held regularly, and sometimes three months passed without meetings. Father Francis Stokes, from Mazomanie, Father Murphy, form Crawford county, and Fathers Corney, Walsh and Bernard, held services at different times in private houses. In 1866 L D Gage donated ground for a church and cemetery, and soon afterward Father Bean, then pastor at Keyesville, erected a small church. In 1872 Father Francis Heller had the building enlarged to its present size. Father Heller was succeeded by Father A Mendl, Aug. 10, 1874. In November, 1874, Father Heiss became pastor, and on the 16th of January, 1878, Father Henry Koenig, the present pastor, took charge. The Church has flourished and is now in excellent condition.
In 1854 a committee, consisting of C W Huntingdon, Charles Nelson and others, was appointed to lay out a cemetery ground, and they, for some unaccountable reason, selected a piece of ground on a rocky knoll, section 16, in Schoolcraft, which was seemingly the most unsuitable place in the whole valley for that purpose. A rocky, stony soil, into which the spade could only go for some three or four feet, and that only by the severest labor; exposed to all the elements in the worst shape imaginable. The site selected did not meet the views of the people of the village, who naturally wanted a more beautiful and convenient ground. In the spring of 1856 a meeting of the citizens was called to devise means to change the location of the burial ground. This subject for a while engrossed the whole population, and much deliberation and wrangling ensued. Some half a dozen public meetings were held, and at last an organization was effected and a committee was appointed to select the spot for the future cemetery. The committee reported that they had selected block 29, in the addition to the village known as Schoolcraft's, which was adopted and the necessary improvements made to secure the grounds and beautify the last resting place. The cemetery lies on the slope of a gentle acclivity facing the west, and is most beautifully laid out, dotted with evergreen and deciduous trees, and beds of lovely plants and flowers. The first officers of the association were: Caleb Waggoner, president, and James H Miner, secretary and treasurer. The sale of lots and all business connected with the cemetery now lies in the hands of W Harry Pier, who is the present secretary and treasurer.
When in February, 1859, L D Gage gave to the Church of this communion the ground for a church, he donated sufficient land for the cemetery, which is attached and lies just north of the grounds owned by the Richland Center Cemetery Association, and is also beautifully laid out and well kept. Here in consecrated ground lie the bodies of those who have died in full accord with the Church. The cemetery is, as usual, under the control of the priest of the parish.
Richland Lodge, No. 118, was instituted at the village of Richland Center, Jan. 17, 1861, with eleven charter members, as follows: George Krouskop, D S Hamilton, F P Bowen, J H Waggoner, James H Haskins, W M Fogo, J H Harrington, Joseph B MeGrew, Henry T Bailey, Oscar F Black and A H Krouskop. George Krouskop was the first noble grand of the lodge.
The lodge now numbers fifty-two members, and is in a fine, flourishing condition. They have a hall, which is fitted up with the paraphernalia of the order, and holds a fine library belonging to the lodge. This latter is a pet hobby of W C S Barron's, the grand patriarch of the State, who is a member of this lodge, who instituted the same by soliciting the members to each donate what books they could. They all entered into the scheme and a nucleus was formed; donations were also solicited from other grand officers, who all responded freely, notably J B Ostrander and John G Clark; Hon. George C Hazleton, the ex-member of Congress from the district, has also placed the lodge under obligations for donations of books. The present officers are: George Clark, NG; A W Maly, VG; John Brimer, secretary; Seth Butler, treasurer.
Richland Encampment, No. 40, was instituted Jan. 8, 1871, with the following charter members: J M Adams, D G James, J B McGrew, G W Jarvis, N L James, W C S Barron and John Hazel. The first officers were: Norman L James, CP; J M Adams, HP; George Jarvis, SW; W C S Barron, JW; D G James, T, and J A Hazel, scribe. The encampment meets in the same hall as the lodge, as do all the lodges of the order in the village. A large average attendance and the interest betrayed in the work show a healthy state of the organization. The present officers are: A W Maly, CP; Seth Butler, HP; W Collins, SW; Monroe Vreeland, JW; J Bass, scribe; J H Van Riper, treasurer.
Brasted Uniformed Degree Camp, No. 6, was instituted Feb. 7, 1883, with the following charter members: William Collins, Seth Butler, M Vreeland, F H Tuttle, G JH Van Riper, M Brodwright, John Brimer, A G Tuttle, A W Maly, W C S Barron and J Bass. The officers are: W C S Barron, commander; G J H Van Riper, vice commander; John Brimer, officer of the guard; W Collins, secretary; Seth Butler, treasurer.
Amanda Lodge, No. 75, Rebecca degree, was organized and instituted Dec. 1, 1882. The following are the charter members; Brothers, W C S Barron, John M Hennon, George M Clark, William Collins, F C Pennell, Seth Butler, S Penoyer, J M Brimer, M Brodwright, W F Doudna and A S Hayes. Sisters, Amanda Barron, Josie Clark, Alice Collins, R Pennell, Margaret Butler, Fannie Penoyer, Nancy Brimer, Mary Doudna, Sarah Hayes and Delphinia Hennon. The officers are George Clark, NG; Fannie Penoyer, VG; Seth Butler, treasurer; Josie Clark, P secretary; S Penoyer, recording secretary.
As this is a comparatively new order, a brief account of its origin and object may not be inappropriate in this connection. On the 5th day of November, 1868, some fourteen gentlemen assembled at Meadville, Penn., and organized the first lodge of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. The motive that prompted them was a pure and unselfish one, and their plan of operations is the very best to carry out the purpose for which the order is intended --- that of "charity, hope and protection." From the date of organization the order grew slowly, until July 4, 1870, when the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was instituted at Meadville, in that State. The order then began to extend into all the different States and now is fully recognized in nearly every State and territory.
It is a benevolent order, not unlike the Odd Fellows, helping the widow and orphan and helping the sick. A distinguishing feature is the insurance, a payment of $2000 to the heirs of a deceased member at his demise. The money is raised by assessment on the members and the life insurance is thus furnished at the actual cost.
Center Lodge, No. 70, of this order, was instituted at Richland Center, in July, 1879, by A H Taisey, with the following charter members: Seth Butler, I S Hazeltine, A S Hayes, Cyrus Tryon, John Winn, Charles Speidel, B Dodge Bailey, Robert Bailey, Jr., James Jones, Arthur D Lane, James Kinney, Albert Schmidt, D B Sommers, James S Smith, M B Burtch, W C S Barron, A W Maly, Samuel C Hyatt, A G Tuttle, Homer J Clark, D L Noble, A M Stratton, A P Clayton, P S Brewer, S St. John, Albert Herple, Arthur Culver, D E O Bird, John Huston and W H Waters.
The following were elected the initial officers of the lodge: Warren C S Barron, WM; D L Noble, financier; Homer J Clark, receiver; S St. John, overseer. The present officers are: W C S Barron, PMW; A S Hayes, MW; Seth Butler, overseer; Samuel C Hyatt, financier; John Winn, receiver. Meetings are held every second and fourth Friday's of each month, and a large attendance is noted. This lodge is in a fine flourishing condition, and is growing rapidly in the estimation of the general community and already numbers among its members, many of the very best citizens of the town.
The first temperance society in Richland Center was organized in the fall of 1856, and of its institution the following has been gathered:
At a gathering of the ladies belonging to the sewing circle of that village, Mrs. Israel Sanderson, the wife of the editor of the newspaper, introduced the subject of temperance and it was discussed in all its bearings, and it was determined to form an association for the promulgation of the doctrine of total abstinence. A meeting being soon after held, a large number were present and the organization was perfected and the following officers chosen: Mrs. Israel Sanderson, president; Mrs. James H Miner, secretary. On the 26th of December the following preamble and resolutions were adopted in lieu of a constitution, which were signed by the parties whose names are appended below, as evidence of their membership:
"Whereas, We, the ladies of Richland Center, knowing well the evils that result from the sale and use of spirituous liquors, and as this demoralizing traffic is becoming so very common in our midst, and as the temperance men of this community have so far found it impossible to sustain a prosecution against the sale of liquors, without license, we consider ourselves and families in personal danger, and as we feel that something must be done, for the present and future welfare of this community; therefore, we do hereby pledge ourselves to the following resolutions, to wit:
"Resolved, That we will not, from this date, trade at any establishment which is known to be directly or indirectly engaged in the traffic of spirituous liquors, as a beverage.
"Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed, whose duty it shall be to immediately call on the town board of supervisors and the district attorney and request them to prosecute every individual, to them known, who sells intoxicating liquors in violation of law.
"Resolved, That every female of the age of fourteen and upwards, in the village, be requested to join our league and sign these resolutions.
"Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions, with our names, be published in the Richland County Observer."
Mrs. N A Hawkins, Mrs. M Sanderson, Mrs. S A Price, Mrs. E A Wilson, Mrs. M Statser, Mrs. J L McKee, Mrs. E P Young, Mrs. Sarah Straight, Mrs. Amelia Kifer, Mrs. Jane Nawthrop, Mrs. Mary Wilson, Mrs. Harriet N Pelton, Mrs. Jane Mears, Mrs. L A Nudd, Mrs. Eliza A James, Mrs. Sarah A Northrop, Mrs. B A Downs, Miss Josephine Price, Miss Sophia Garwood, Miss E M Strickland, Miss Sarah Short, Miss C Fries, Miss Margaret J Davis, Miss Emma C Wilson, Miss Cassa Farrow, Miss E J Kinney, Miss M N Letson, Miss Maria Norman, Miss M Ann Clagg, Miss Dorcas E Edson, Miss Maria Short, Miss Marian Fries, Miss Eliza E Meehan, Mrs. Laura A Bright, Mrs. Marian Thompson, Mrs. Laura Royce, Mrs. Augusta Hazeltine, Mrs. Anna M Hamilton, Mrs. M D Clagg, Mrs. L Morton, Mrs. Caroline Rose, Mrs. Phebe Hayes, Mrs. Elizabeth Fries, Mrs. Jane N Wilson, Mrs. Eliza Marshall, Mrs. Margaret Adair, Mrs. Margaret Hankins, Mrs. L E James, Mrs. S A Miner, Mrs. Barbara Davis, Mrs. Cholerton, Mrs. L Priest, Mrs. Mary J Huston, Mrs. Nancy Waggoner, Mrs. Sarah Hoge, Mrs. Mary Neff, Mrs. Eliza Huntington, Mrs. L Wright, Mrs. E C Arey, Mrs. E Janney, Mrs. H S Wood, Mrs. C D Rank, Mrs. Mary B Hawland, Mrs. Sarah A Gaston, Mrs. R Hamilton, Miss M S Kinney, Miss S Jane Clagg, Miss Nancy H Drewet, Miss Mary J Brees, Miss Pleasant J Janney and Mrs. Sarah Hamilton.
A lodge of this order was instituted at Richland Center, in February, 1857, by George Jarvis, of Richland City, acting as deputy for the district, assisted by Mr. Hawley of Madison. Dr. O H Wood was installed as worthy chief templar, and Mrs. Wood as worthy vice templar. The names of the charter members, so far as we have been able to obtain, are as follows: Mrs. Eliza James, Alonzo G James, Mrs. Sarah A Miner, Amos Nudd, Mrs. L A Nudd, Caleb Waggoner, G H James, Mrs. Eliza James, C W Huntington, B R Howland, William Wilson, Ira S Hazeltine, Augusta Hazeltine, George Young, Mrs. Nancy Waggoner and A H Bush. This lodge ran until in 1862 or 1863 and was known as Excelsior Lodge, No. 36, IOGT, it then gently expired and the town was without an organization of the order until the organization of the present one, known as Fidelity Lodge, No. 237, IOGT, and which was instituted in accordance with a charter, dated Jan. 23, 1877, with the following charter members: George Jarvis, Susan Smith, Eliza A James, Josie C Downs, Mrs. M H Shurtleff, Frank E Smith, Maggie W Lybrand, Emma Liek, Stephen J Smith, Kate G Downs, O W Gibbs, G N Mickel, Emma Tuttle, Charles F James, Mary L Bundy, F H Tuttle, Sarah Jarvis, A G James, Michael Murphy, W S Sweet, C Waggoner, C F Walker, L E James, Rosa E James, Jane Weigley, A B Weigley, Rosa E Rouse, E H Burnham, Ella L Pease, R C Lybrand, Fannie Jarvis, Edward Gibbs and W J McKay. The first officers chosen were: George Jarvis, WCT; Maggie W Lybrand, WVT; O W Gibbs, PWCT; F H Tuttle, WFS; Kate G Downs, WS; Michael Murphy, WAS; Eliza James, WT; W J McKay, WC; G W Mickel, WM; Mary L Bundy, WDM; Emma Liek, WIG; Charles F James, WOG; Susan E Smith, WRHS; Emma Tuttle, WLHS. The lodge holds its meeting each week, in what is known as Templars' Hall, which is occupied, in common, by all the temperance organizations. There is a large membership and good attendance, and no doubt helps materially in the good temperance work done in the town.
There is also a juvenile lodge of temperance known as Star of Hope Temple, No. 71, which was organized March 15, 1878, and meets in the same hall as the other temperance organizations. P H Fay was instrumental in its institution, and remains at present the superintendent. Quite a lively interest is taken by the children, in the work, and under the head of "good of the order," much pleasant amusement is brought out.
A new lodge of good templars was organized early in May, 1883, at the Pine River church, which, although not in the town of Richland Center, lies but about two miles from it, and in this township. It was named Pacific Lodge, No. 256. Meetings are held every Saturday evening and a pleasant time had. The following is a list of the officers: Edwin Glasier, WCT; Mrs. William Starkey, WVT; John Glasier, WS; Arthur Glasier, WFS; Robert Clements, WT; R Davis, WC; Ella Davis, WM; Elmer Davis, WG; Maud Miller, WS; Mrs. Phil Miller, WAS; Mrs. R Clements, WDM; Ellen Cook, WRHS; Libbie Wilkins, WLHS; James Davis, lodge deputy.
Richland Temple of Honor, No. 192, was organized Aug. 3, 1878, with the following charter members: H. St. John, S Sherman, F E Smith, M L Sherman, W H Waters, R J Wilson, C Waggoner, J M Waggoner, Frank Walworth, W W Welton, A B Weigley, J H Weigley, E A Weigley, C Weigley, Sidney Arnold, Samuel Arnold, Seth Butler, George W Barry, Daniel Barry, F W Burnham, A A Bulard, George Clark, D O Chandler, C Culver, E M Chandler, W H Cholerton, Victor Clark, H A Culver, H W Eastland, W M Fogo, O W Gibbs, E T Gibbs, J W Gibbons, H Gaston, M Healy, A S Hayes, S C Hyatt, A Hyatt, J H Houghton, M D Hankins, R R Hamilton, Henry Lewis, George Jarvis, R C Lybrand, M Lovering, F P Lawrence, J W Lybrand, J W Liek, E H Liscum, G R Mitchell, J L McKee, Oliver G Munson, A W Maly, Fred McCormick, D G Pease, Philip Rolfe, E Rolfe, W Rouse, L B Smith, S J Smith, J W Smith and C Speidel. This organization is in quite a flourishing condition, and it is but just to say, that, to the work of the order is due the present state of prohibition of the sale of intoxicating liquors in the village. A large membership gathers in the hall of meeting. The present officers are: Oliver G Munson, WCT; A J Kinney, WVT; O W Gibbs, WR; George M Clark, WAS; N H Dillingham, WFR; Charles Speidel, WT; Aaron Sharp, WU; O H Northrup, WDU; M Lovering, WG; S Porter, WS.
During the latter days of the great civil war between the States, a strong effort was made to organize a company of what was then termed "home guards," probably because they stayed at home, and Aug. 26, 1864, a company was formed and organized, under the high-sounding and euphonious name of "Richland County Union Badgers." About sixty-four were enrolled in the organization. E H Liscum was elected captain, and George Jarvis and J M McMurtrey first and second lieutenants. From all that we can gather this company did not prosper very well, and Capt. Liscum resigning, Elam Bailey was elected in his stead. After a little time, however, the organization gave up the ghost and there has been no attempt to revive it as yet.
This association was organized in June, 1882, by the ladies of Richland Center. The object of the society is, as laid down by the constitution, "to suggest and develop plans for social, intellectual, industrial, educational and philanthropic interests, to the end that we may have better homes, better health, better charities, better laws, better service for humanity and God." At the date of the organization the following officers were elected: Mrs. Julia A Bowen, president; Mrs. G N Matteson, Mrs. M McMurtrey and Mrs. Georgia James, vice presidents; Mrs. Laura James, corresponding secretary; Mrs. Victoria Layton, recording secretary. Saturday June 2, 1883, the first annual anniversary meeting and appropriate exercises were held in the Baptist church. The programme for the occasion was as follows:
Prayer --- Rev. J D Tull.
Address of Welcome --- Julia A Bowen.
Letters of Greeting --- Read by Members.
Essay, Woman in the Home --- Lucy Pier.
Select Reading, "How the Women went from Dover" --- Mrs. H B Allen.
Woman in Journalism --- Jennie Lamberson.
Song --- "New America."
Select Reading, Hagar in the Wilderness" --- Mary Vedder.
Hygiene --- Amelia Smith.
Woman's Work for Woman --- Ada Lamson.
Recitation, "Saving Mother" --- Vira Pease.
Woman in Politics --- P H Fay.
Woman in Temperance --- Emma Pilling.
"Woman before the Law --- H A Eastland.
Justice --- Laura James.
Queries and Answers --- Eva James.
Woman in the Pulpit --- S B Loomis.
Comparative Merits of Collegiate and Business Education --- Maria Fowler, Victoria Layton, Profs. Smith and Sweet.
Going to 'Lection --- Lillie Wood.
The interest in the club has continually increased and many members say that they "should not know what to do without the club."
Among the associations of the county, that of the 6th Wisconsin Battery must not be forgotten. This society was organized in its present shape Oct. 3, 1876, when the "boys of the battery held a re-union at Spring Green.
The W H Bennett Post of the Grand Army of the Republic was organized on the 26th of May, 1882, N B Hood, of Henry Dillon Post, No. 24, assisted by comrades of the same post officiating. The following named were the first officers and charter members: D G James, commander; Irvin Gribble, senior vice commander; B C Hallin, junior vice commander; George Jarvis, OD; Christian Berger, quartermaster; A J Kinney, OG; H J Wall, surgeon; John Walworth, chaplain; J G Bunnell, adjutant; M L Sherman, sergeant major; Lewis Henry, QMS; Thomas B Adams, Frank Hapgood, N L James, A Lillybridge, J W Leik, Ira Monroe, O H Northrup, G W Putnam, A S Ripley, D L Downs and A Hyatt. The following named have been mustered in since the organization: John Cassady, A W Robinson, Edwin Berry, M Gorman, Henry Pauls, Lee McMurtrey, Hiram Freeman, Chris. Burwitz, Joseph Miller, E Morris, John Akan, John Flamme, Lewis Miller, W H Waters, E Dunston, D Chismore, J W Webley, Anthony Braneman, Abram Miller, Jacob Marsh, S C Hyatt, Henry Sigrist, Isaac B Reeve, J W Smith, Henry A Culver, George W Miller, T M McCarthy, W H Joslin, Frank Patch and O Klingler. In 1883 the officers of the post were: D G James, commander; Chis. Berger, senior vice commander; B C Hallin, junior vice commander; George Jarvis, OD; John Walworth, chaplain; H J Wall, surgeon; Irvin Gribble, QM; M L Sherman, adjutant; T B Adams, OG; J W Smith, SM; Lewis Henry, QMS. The post now has a membership of fifty-four and is in good condition. Meetings are held on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month.
Henry Bennett was born Oct. 25, 1837, in the town and county of Medina, Ohio. He came with his parents in 1846 to the territory of Wisconsin, and settled in Dane county. He removed to Jefferson county in 1852 and to Richland county in 1855. In 1861 he enlisted in company H, 5th Wisconsin, as a private, from which he was promoted to the 25th for gallantry in action at the battle of Williamsburg, Va., and in McClellan's calamitous engagements in front of Richmond in 1862. His frankness, geniality and companionable qualities are well known by all his comrades and the citizens of Richland county. Mr. Bennett was one among many others who gave up his life in a southern prison that his country might be saved. It was in honor of this brave man and the kindly recollection of days gone by, that the GAR Post of Richland Center was named. The name of no comrade will be longer remembered by the boys of the post than that of W H Bennett.
Richland Lodge, No. 66, A F & A M, was organized under a dispensation; and the first lodge met at the house of D B Priest on the 27th of March, 1856. There were present: D B Priest, WM; James H Miner, SW; L D Gage, JW; Phineas Janney, SD; John Hazle, JD; William Short, treasurer; William Akan, secretary and David Barrett, tyler. The lodge was granted a charter on the 12th of June, 1856, and on the 1st of July, the first officers were installed by D L Downs, DDGM; as follows: D B Priest, WM; James H Miner, SW; and L D Gage, JW. On the 14th of August, 1856, the lodge elected the following officers: William Short, treasurer; G W Hawkins, secretary; John Hazle, SD; William Akan, JD; George Young, tyler, and W F Crawford and John Lawrence, stewards. Since the organization of the lodge the following named have served as master. D B Priest, L D Gage, James H Miner, R C Hawkins, D B Priest, D L Downs, James H Miner, D L Downs, W J Bowen, D L Downs, James H Miner, G L Laws, D L Downs, G L Laws, D L Downs, W C S Bickford, N L James, W C S Barron and Jesse G Bunnell. The lodge now has a membership of about sixty-five, and meets on the first and third Thursdays in each month. In 1883 the officers were: Jesse G Bunnell, WM; H B Allen, SW; F W Burnham, JW; W H Pier, treasurer; R Sutton, secretary; W C S Barron, SD; B F Brimer, JD; John Walworth, chaplain, and Ira Monroe, tyler.
The following report of a meeting explains itself, and will be an interesting article to all who participated, as the fact of the existence of the Hay Scales company has almost been forgotten:
"Richland Center, July 28, 1860."The following stockholders of the hay scales met at W H Downs' store, according to the notice which had been given. R C Hawkins, F P Bowen, D G Pease, W H Downs, J L McKee, H C Priest, S H Austin, W Hill, A B Weigley, John Fitzgerald and J W and G D Lybrand. The meeting organized by the election of R C Hawkins as chairman, and W H Downs, secretary, pro. Tem. It was voted that this association be called the 'Richland Center Scale Association." On motion it was voted that the officers of this association consist of one president, one secretary, one treasurer, one weighmaster, and a board of directors composed of three members of the association. Voted that we proceed to the election of officers for the ensuing year, and after balloting, the following officers were declared elected: J L McKee, president; George D Lybrand, secretary; William Hill treasurer and weighmaster; H C Priest, John Fitzgerald and F P Bowen, directors.
"Voted that the scales be located on the northwest corner of William Hill's lot, with the beam facing the south, and the scales be placed far enough back from the sidewalk to place a gutter or sluice-way between the scales and sidewalk. Mr. Hill made a proposition to act as weighmaster as long as the scales remained where located, in consideration of one equal share. He to have an equal share of the dividends, if any, and share the losses if any. The proposition was accepted. Voted that the president appoint a committee of three to draft a constitution and by-laws. The president appointed W H Downs, John Fitzgerald and G D Lybrand. Voted that the weighmaster be authorized to charge twelve and a half cents for each draft. Voted to adjourn to meet at William Hill's shop, Wednesday, Aug. 8, 1860."
R C Hawkins, President, pro. tem. W H Downs, Sec'y, pro tem."
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