Knapp's creek enters Richwood by way of section 6 and traverses the entire length of the town on its way to the Wisconsin river. It furnishes numerous water priveleges, several of which have been improved. The creek derived its name from a trapper of that name, who had a cabin a few miles from the mouth of the creek, and followed hunting and trapping through this region before the territory was inhabited by permanent settlers. He returned to the county once, after John Coumbe had settled within the limits of Richwood, for the purpose of getting some traps that he had buried on a former visit. This is about all that is known of the man. No one knew from whence he came or whither he went. Byrd's creek traverses the eastern portion of the town. These streams, with their numerous spring tributaries, furnish an abundant supply of water for farming and household purposes, as well as power for driving a vast amount of machinery.
The first settler within the limits now comprising the town of Richwood was John Coumbe, the first actual settler in Richland county. Mr. Coumbe first came to the county in 1838 and erected a log cabin on section 35, town 9, range 2 west, but as the Indians were rather numerous and as Mr. Coumbe did not admire them as his only neighbors he returned to the south side of the Wisconsin river, and again the territory which now comprises Richland county was uninhabited by any white person. In 1840, however, Mr. Coumbe again crossed the river and took up his abode in the cabin he had erected two years previously, and here gave his attention to agricultural pursuits until the time of his death. He was a good neighbor and an honored citizen.
Edward Coumbe came to the county shortly after his brother, John, and settled on Sand Prairie. He remained there until 1848, when he traded his property to Thomas Elliott, and returned to Grant county. He was elected a delegate from Richland county to the first State convention, called to draft a constitution for the State of Wisconsin, which assembled at Madison on the 5th of October, 1846.
John McKinney came in 1841 and selected land on section 27, bringing his family in the fall of the same year. Mr. McKinney was a valuable citizen and neighbor; for instead of hunting, fishing and trapping, he at once commenced improving his land and raising food upon which to subsist. He obtained a small set of buhrs, with which, by means of a horse power, he ground not only his own corn, but also that of his neighbors. He was a native of Virginia, and came of an industrious and honest race, but he was an unsuccessful manager or poor financier. He resided in the county about eight years, then moved to the south side of the river for the purpose of educating his children. He afterwards returned to the county; but his death occurred at Muscoda in February, 1882.
Peter Kinder, a native of Kentucky, came here in 1844 and located on section 26, where he lived until the time of his death. He was a successful farmer, a good neighbor and gained a large circle of friends as well as the respect of all who knew him. In early days he was noted as a public benefactor. No one in need ever went to him in vain, and his uniform kindness and feeling for others became almost proverbial.
Adam Byrd was also one of the first settlers in the town. He was an Ohio man. He located on section 28 near the creek which bears his name, and erected the first saw-mill in the town of Richwood. He remained here about twelve years when he removed to Oregon.
Vincent B Morgan and George C White also came at a very early day. Morgan was a native of Georgia, and was a good natured, whole-souled fellow, weighing about 225 pounds. He took a claim on section 34, but never did much farming, preferring to hunt and fish. He died here in 1853.
George C White was a Pennsylvania German, and had the usual good qualities of that class of people, industry and good management. He located on section 34, where he lived until the war broke out, when he and his only son enlisted in the 11th Wisconsin regiment and both fill soldier's graves. Mr. White was one of the first to fill the office of sheriff for Richland county.
D M Shore settled in Richland county on the 30th of August, 1846, and one year later came to the town of Richwood and settled on section 26. Here he lived, following farming, until his death, which occurred in 1883. He was born in Kentucky in 1816; moved with his parents to Illinois, where he was married to Nancy J Parker, and from thence came to this county as stated.
E Ash came here in 1848 (or 1849) and located on the northwest quarter of section 27. He resided here about seven years when he removed to Iowa. He only improved about twenty acres of his farm here.
George Rea came at about the same time and lived with O Carson until 1851, when he purchased the northeast quarter of section 20. This was his home for about thirty years when he removed to Kansas. He now lives at Springfield, Mo.
Rev. William H Hoskins was the first minister of the gospel to settle in Richland county. He represented the United Brethren denomination. In 1853 he came here and settled on Sand Prairie and preached at Crow Hollow, Sand Prairie, Spring Green, Lone Rock and Pea Ridge (now Sandusky), a circuit of sixty miles in length. He traveled on horseback, making each appointment every two weeks. In 1854 he purchased forty acres of land on section 17, erected a saw mill and thus laid the foundation of Excelsior. Later he became superanuated as a preacher and engaged in farming . Mr. Hoskins was born in Onondaga Co., NY, Sept. 11, 1817. In 1838 he was married to Mary Winton, came to Wisconsin and settled in Dane county, coming to Richland county in 1853, as stated.
After this time the settlement was more rapid. Many more of the old settlers are treated at length in other connections.
The first death in the town was that of the wife of James Moore. Her remains were buried on the southeast quarter of section 33, on land afterward owned by G M Clark.
The first marriage in the town was that of Daniel Byrd to Harriet Parker.
The first religious services in the town were held at the house of Edward Ash on section 27. Rev. William Kanoyer, a United Brethren, officiated.
The first birth that occurred in the town was that of Melinda Morgan, whose nativity in April, 1843, entitles her to the laurels of being the first child born in the county as well as town.
The second marriage in the county also occurred here on this pioneer ground. This was the marriage of W G Parker to Emily McKinney, in the spring of 1848.
The first frame barn in the town was erected by Myron Whitcomb in 1852. The lumber was sawed at Rockbridge and the shingles were shaved and nearly one half an inch in thickness. New siding was put on the barn in 1883 but the roof was still in good condition. The barn is 40x50 feet in size with 16 feet post. The timber was framed by Noah Titus and consisted solely of pine.
The first house erected in the territory which now comprises the town of Richwood, was also the first in the county. It was the log cabin erected by John Coumbe, in 1838, on section 35.
The first horse team brought into the county were brought into the town of Richwood, in 1841, by Thomas Andrews.
The first brick residence in the town of Richwood was erected in 1855 by Henry Miller, on section 26. This building was enlarged in 1879, by S B Marsh, to a two story building, and in 1883 it was the only brick residence in the town.
The first mill in the town was built by Adam Byrd, on Byrd's creek. Its history will be found elsewhere in this volume.
The first postoffice in the town was established on Sand Prairie, in 1848-9, with Johnston Young as first postmaster. Several years later the office was removed to Port Andrews, and Dr. R M Miller was commissioned as postmaster. He was succeeded by William Harper, L Janney, R L Carver and J R Carver, the latter being the present incumbent. Mail is received tri-weekly from Muscoda.
The first orchard in Richland county was set out by Myron Whitcomb, in this town, in 1851. The trees were purchased from Henry Conner, who had brought them from Indiana. This first orchard numbered fifty apple trees, but they soon withered and died. But Mr. Whitcomb did not despair, and the next year he purchased 800 trees, 100 of which he set out himself and the balance he sold to the neighbors. The majority of these set out by him lived and he now has a good orchard.
The first chestnut trees were set out by Edward Clark.
Knapp's creek, on its passage through section 20, furnishes an excellent water privilege; eight feet head of water. Alonzo Carson was the first to utilize and improve this power. He purchased the property in 1855 and erected a saw-mill. In April, 1866, a freshet washed the mill away, and he at once rebuilt. In 1868 or 1869 he sold to Avery & Langdon, and in 1870, A H Avery became sole proprietor. In 1871 he built a grist-mill, at a cost of about $5000, equipping it with two run of buhrs. Mr. Avery died in 1879, and the property was soon afterward purchased by B F Washburn. Samuel Yeager owned an interest in this property for several years and operated a chair factory in connection.
The Ellsworth Mills are located on section 6. They were erected by J S Ellsworth in 1856, and are still his property, but since 1876 they have been operated by his son, M D Ellsworth. The mills do general sawing, planing, matching, and band-sawing, the principal products being material for wagons and agricultural implements.
In 1867 Thomas J Ellsworth erected a tannery near Ellsworth mills, and operated the same for about ten years.
In 1848 Melendeth Whit settled on Byrd's creek, and put in shape a device for crushing hominy. It was so arranged that by the use of a water-wheel a weight would be raised and let fall into a wooden mortar. In the mortar about a peck of corn could be placed, and this would be crushed to meal in a day's time. The only trouble Mr. Whit complained of was that the crows would occasionally carry off the corn before it was ground.
Adam Byrd came to Richland county in 1844 and settled on section 25, in the town of Richwood, near the creek which bears his name. He erected the first saw-mill in the town, and had the same in operation in 1845. The property subsequently passed into the hands of John Coumbe, who in turn sold to Coleman & Carver. These gentlemen erected a new mill, but as they became somewhat financially embarrassed, John Coumbe again became owner of the property. In 1865 David Dewey, in company with two other gentlemen, purchased the property, but Mr. Dewey soon became sole proprietor. In 1875 he built a steam mill, using some of the machinery that had been used in the old water mill, which is now in disuse. The steam mill was driven by a twenty-horse power engine.
The first buhrs for grinding corn in the county were brought into the town of Richwood, in May, 1846, by John McKinney. They were run by horse power.
In 1879 H B Ellsworth leased the water privilege which Knapp's creek furnishes on section 17, and set a carding mill in operation. He afterward added a saw-mill and general woodworking department, manufacturing broom handles, table legs, sled runners, etc.
The Christian Church was organized at the school house of district No. 4, in 1878, with Revs. M Sheffield and Jacob Felton, officiating. Among the first members were S B Marsh, wife and child; William Ritchie and wife; J W Jones and wife; Mrs. Jane Shores, D Field, Emma Richardson and Mrs. Howland. The church is in good condition, the pastors have been: Revs. Lewis, Hines, Martin and Buroker.
The Norwegian M E Church is located on section 12. It is a log building which was erected in 1862, but the society was organized sometime previous to that time. Among the first members were: H G Collier and family, George Sheldon and family, Andrew Anderson and family, Ole Paulson and family, Ole Johnson and family, A Bergam and family and John Olson and family. The first pastor was Abe Knudtson.
The first cemetery in the town was laid out on the southwest quarter of section 35, the land being donated by John Coumbe. The first body interred here was that of James Carson, whose death took place in 1851. The coffin was made by James Jones, or, as he was usually called, by English Jones.
Wright's cemetery is located on section 24, upon land which was donated by I J Wright.
Sand Prairie cemetery is located on section 34. The land was donated by Edmund Clark.
Shore's cemetery is located on section 36. Coates' burial ground is located on section 5. There is also one burial ground on section 5, one on section 2, one on section 11, and another on section 29.
The first school board elected in the county consisted of J R Smith, Thomas Matthews and Jackson Darnell, who, in 1848, took steps to erect a log school house at Orion. Mr. Darnell started out in search of a teacher and soon employed Mary F Mulamphy, now Mrs. Joseph Elliott, of Highland, Iowa county, to teach a term of three months at $23 per month. She, on the 5th of June, of said year, came to the county. The school house was not yet completed, but as it was necessary to commence immediately in order to receive the public money, Miss Mulamphy opened school at the house of J R Smith. In a few weeks, however, the school house was completed, and the school then had more room. As the new building had seats around the edge of the room and the desks consisted of boards laid on pins driven into the wall, so that when the students were writing they were obliged to face the wall and thus turn their backs to the teacher; but the school progressed finely and the students, twenty-five in number, were greatly benefited by attending. The teacher gave good satisfaction and was thus employed to teach the second term in 1849.
The first school in this town was taught at the house of Peter Kinder in 1848-9. This was a subscription school. William Durren was the teacher.
The first public school in the town was taught during the same season in a log school house located on the northeast corner of section 35. Elizabeth Conner was the teacher.
At an early day a man named Hunter taught a subscription school on Sand Prairie.
In 1857 Richwood had four schools.
In 1884 there were ten schools in the town, all in successful operation, having comfortable school buildings. One of these is a free high school at Port Andrew.
The first election in this region was held at the house of Matthew Alexander in 1847, to choose delegates to the constitutional convention. There were thirty-eight votes cast, there being scarcely any restriction upon the right of suffrage.
On April 2, 1850, was held the first election for town officers in Richwood, it having just been organized as a separate town and election precinct. The meeting was held at the house of Peter Kinder and resulted in the choice of the following officers: Adam Byrd, William Kincannon and Samuel Fleck, supervisors; Johnston Young, clerk; Myron Whitcomb, treasurer; George C White, superintendent of town schools; W R Kincannon, assessor; V B Morgan, overseer of the poor. Johnson Young, Alvin B Slaughter and Mark A Byrd were elected justices of the peace, but only Young qualified and gave bond of $500, having for sureties G C White and V B Morgan. At the same election Alonzo Cave and John Coumbe were chosen constables. Although no record exists of the number of votes cast at this election, at the ballot taken June 4, same year, we find twenty-six votes taken.
The present officers of the town, elected in the spring of 1883, are: Supervisors, L M Thorp, chairman, W R Garner and Chris. Peterson; clerk, E J Langdon; treasurer, John Brown; assessor, James Appleby; justices, Henry Conner, C J Moore, W H Haskins and N B Miller; constables, T C Wallace, Thomas Ellsworth and Orrin Jones. Since the organization nothing has occurred to mar the tranquility of Richwood's official career. Good men have been chosen to fill the offices and public matters have been efficiently cared for. Among those who have been prominent in town affairs and have filled town offices are the following: Thomas Ewing, Henry Conner, H F Coates, Levi Persinger, I J Wright, I N Miller, J D Dosch, Nathan Winton, L M Thorpe, R S Carver, John Coumbe, S B Marsh, J H Tilley, J W Jones, H J Clark, R N Young, J S Ellsworth, Robert Buchanan, B F Washburn, J S Clark and W R Garner.
This village was named in honor of Capt. Thomas Andrews, who settled on the southeast corner of section 35 in 1841. He afterward kept a small store and succeeded in having the postoffice moved to this place from Sand Prairie. In 1850 he laid out four blocks of village lots. On the 14th of November, 1854, the plat was enlarged by what was known as the Andrews & Miller addition, which contained fourteen blocks, some of which, however, were fractional. In 1856 Port Andrews had grown to be a flourishing, wide-awake village, with several stores, shops, groceries, saloons, schools, churches, etc; but the railroad was built on the south side of the river, steamboats ceased to ply the river, and the place gradually ran down, until in 1884 the place had almost become a thing of the past, containing only two stores, a blacksmith shop, shoe shop, high school and church.
The first school at Port Andrews was kept by Thomas Andrews.
The second store was opened in 1850 by R M and I N Miller in a small building which had been erected by William Kincannon.
The third general store was kept by Palmer & McClure.
The first blacksmith here was Hardin Morse.
In an early day every house was open to strangers and travelers. The first hotel was opened by Mr. Isham. He sold to Joseph Elliott.
The first school house in Port Andrews was erected in 1854.
The first religious society organized at Port Andrews was the Methodist Episcopal, which denomination effected an organization in 1854. Meetings were held in the school house.
Thomas Andrews, usually called Capt. Andrews, was born near Quincy, Ill., in 1823. His parents were natives of Ireland but were reared in South Carolina. The father died and the mother married again, and in 1830 came to Wisconsin and settled near Mineral Point. Here Thomas followed mining until 1841, when he crossed the Wisconsin river and settled at the port which afterward took his name. Capt. Andrews served as pilot on the river and afterward purchased the boat Wisconsin. He next built the Zouave, which he traded for the Minnehaha. He spent the most of his time upon the river until the time of his death, March 22, 1880. He was a man of but little education, and in after life often regretted the fact. He was a good citizen and was respected by all. On the 4th of June, 1848, he was married to Charlotta Coumbe, a sister of John Coumbe. They reared three children --- Mary, Christa and Elizabeth S.
The first man to cut brush for the purpose of improving in the vicinity of Excelsior was W H Haskins. In 1854 he purchased the southwest quarter of section 16, at which place Knapp's creek furnished an excellent water power, and here he erected a saw-mill. The place was named by W H Coates on the same day on which the frame work of the grist mill was erected. A postoffice was established in 1857 and Knowlton & Coates kept a general store, but there was not much of an impetus given to the growth of the place until 1867, in which year the village was platted. Myron Whitcomb and Samuel Noble laid out four blocks on the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 16, and C C Whitcomb and J M Craigo laid out eight blocks on the southeast quarter of section 17. C C Whitcomb subsequently made an addition of two blocks. The village is pleasantly situated on the west side of Knapp's creek, which furnished two excellent water privileges at this point. It is surrounded by a good farming country, and its growth, although not remarkably rapid, has been steady. In 1884 the village contained four general stores, one grocery store, one drug store, one grist mill, one saw-mill, one carding mill, one harness shop, one shoe shop, two blacksmith and wagon shops, one furniture store, postoffice, public school, one hotel, one millinery store, lodges of IOOF, IOGT and GAR and a Methodist Episcopal Church organization.
The first store at Excelsior was opened by Knowlton & Coates.
R P & W Matthews opened a store in 1866 and closed out in 1868.
William McKitrick opened a store in November, 1866. The year following he sold to Henry Henthorn, who closed out in 1869.
The first furniture dealer here was William Howell. He established business in 1881, and in 1882 was succeeded by John S McKinney.
The first blacksmith at Excelsior was William Haskins, who opened a shop here in 1867. Henry Couey opened a shop in 1869. C J Moore opened a wagon and carriage shop here in 1879.
The first harness shop was opened by R Buchanan, Jr., in 1870.
B F Washburn established a general merchandise business in September, 1870, T P Logan being his partner for about four months.
The general merchandise business of Logan & Coumbe was established by T P Logan and J Robert Coumbe, in 1878. They are thorough business men and have a large trade.
J J Brown engaged in the general merchandise business in 1871.
In February, 1883, E Dosh purchased the dry goods department of B F Washburn's store, and established business.
Dr. J T Coates was the first to open a store devoted exclusively to drugs. In February, 1882, he sold to D M & O F David. The firm is now David & Co.
B F Washburn opened a wagon shop in 1873 and employed men to run it. In 1876 he sold to Coney & Pearson. The shop is now owned by B F Washburn.
In 1878 a newspaper was started at this village by Ira D Hurlburt. This paper was greenback in proclivities and was called The Excelsior Press. It was not a successful venture, and collapsed after running along for about ten months' time. Mr. Hurlburt is now connected with the Prairie du Chien Union.
In 1870 C C Whitcomb erected a dwelling, which he afterwards enlarged and opened it to the public as the Excelsior Hotel. This was the first regular hotel in the village, although this was not upon the village plat. Mr. Whitcomb was landlord for some time, then leased the property. In 1883 L E Atkinson was landlord.
The first school in the village of Excelsior was taught by Elder Harvey in the winter of 1867-8, in C C Whitcomb's hall. William Durren was the teacher. The following summer the first school house in the village was erected. Annie Fay was the first teacher in this house.
In 1880 the people of Excelsior, needing more school room, erected a two-story school house at a cost of over $1000, and have since employed two teachers. The first principal was Prof. Keys. He was succeeded in turn by Profs. Clark, Jacobs and Huff.
The postoffice at Excelsior was established in 1857, with D C Stewart as the first postmaster. Mail was received once each week from Orion. Mr. Stewart was in turn succeeded by William Coates, H F Coates, George Powell, Daniel Noble, R P Matthews, L J Harvey, B F Washburn and T P Logan. The latter is the present postmaster. The office became a money order office in August, 1882. The first order was drawn Aug. 9, 1882, by Robert Buchanan, Jr., in favor of Benjamin Young & Son, of Milwaukee, for $20. The first order paid was to S M Buchanan. During the year ending Aug. 1, 1883, there were 234 orders issued and thirty-nine were paid. The income of the office was about $200. Mail is received three times each week from Muscoda, and once a week from Sugar Grove.
In 1854 W H Haskins purchased the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of section 16, at which point Knapp's creek furnishes an excellent water power. Here Mr. Haskins erected a saw-mill, equipping it with an old-fashioned sash saw. He sold the property to Rouse & Chapman, and they sold to Knowlton & Coates. In 1856 and 1857 these gentlemen erected a grist-mill, and on the day the frame was raised Mr. Coates suggested "Excelsior" as the name by which the place should be known in the future. In 1864 Myron Whitcomb and Samuel Noble purchased the property and operated the same until 1871, when Mr. Whitcomb sold his interest to W G Moshier, who, in January, 1873, became sole proprietor. In November, 1881, Mr. Moshier sold to A M Stratton, who improved the property so as to make it the best in this part of the county. The saw-mill is also owned and operated by Mr. Stratton. The old sash saw has been superseded by a rotary saw, and the machinery is in good order. The grist-mill has two run of stone, and is run as a custom and merchant mill.
Richwood Lodge, No. 276, IOOF, was organized March 5, 1878, with the following officers and charter members: James Lewis, NG; James Bachtenkircher, VG; A H Avery, secretary; Levi Persinger, treasurer; H F Coates and W B Grass. The following members have served as noble grands: James Lewis, A H Avery, James Bachtenkircher, B F Washburn, R Buchanan, Jr., J C Thorp, H F Coates, W M Buchanan and G W Buchanan. Those who have served as vice-grands are: James Bachtenkircher, B F Washburn, R Buchanan, Jr., J C Thorp, H F Coates, E J Langdon, H C Kyger and G W Buchanan. The secretaries have been: A H Avery, B F Washburn, R Buchanan, Jr., J C Thorp, W M Buchanan, J T Coates, H C Kyger, G W Buchanan and J Brown. The treasurers have been: Levi Persinger and Robert Buchanan, Sr. The total membership of the lodge from its organization to Nov. 1, 1883, was sixty-one. The present membership is about forty-five. The lodge meets every Saturday night and is in good working condition.
William Wright Post, No. 51, of the Grand Army of the Republic, at Excelsior, was organized Oct. 27, 1882; but previous to this time there was a meeting held for the purpose of taking steps to secure the organization of a post at this place. The following named were present at this meeting: Malon W Lewis, company G, 19th Wisconsin Volunteers; E W Pearson, company B, 25th Wisconsin Volunteers; J W Garner, company G, 57th Indiana Volunteers; Ira T Dilley, company K, 12th Wisconsin Volunteers; Craton Kincannon, company B, 49th Wisconsin Volunteers; H S Brown, company H, 11th Wisconsin Volunteers; A Brennaman, company K, 3d Wisconsin Volunteers; Alex B Faith, company H, 44th Wisconsin Volunteers; W J Owens, company F, 44th Wisconsin Volunteers; Edward Haskins, company A, 59th Wisconsin Volunteers; Henry Gray, 4th Wisconsin Battery; Thomas Davis, company G, 33d Wisconsin Volunteers; W S Dyer, company A, 116th Ohio Volunteers; Thomas Elliott, company B, 49th Wisconsin Volunteers. The following names appear upon the charter: B F Washburn, A M Stratton, C J Moore, Samuel Yeager, William E Morgan, D G Watters, H S Brown, Edward Smith, David Clark, A B Shannon, Lewis Craigo, William Gulliford, Edward Dosch and Alonzo Packer. The first officers were: C J Moore, commander; Lewis Craigo, senior vice commander; Edward Smith, junior vice commander; Edward Dosch, adjutant; H S Brown, surgeon; A Shannon, chaplain; A M Stratton, quartermaster; William Morgan, officer of the day; William Gulliford, officer of the guard; David Clark, quartermaster-sergeant; Alonzo Packer, sergeant-major. The post in November, 1883, had a membership of fifty-three, and held its meetings on the first and third Saturday evenings of each month. William Wright, the gallant young soldier in whose honor the post was named, was a son of I J Wright, and was born in the State of Ohio. He came with his parents to Richland county and assisted in tilling the soil. When the Civil War broke out he enlisted in company B, 25th regiment, Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and served until mustered out of service. Returning home, he attended school at Sextonville. He united in marriage with Mary Barnes, and was subsequently engaged in farming until his death. Mr. Wright was a whole souled, good hearted fellow, surrounded by a large circle of friends. His name was chosen as the name of Post No. 51, at the suggestion of Edward Dosch, who was his "chum" in early life.
The Excelsior Cornet Band was organized Aug. 25, 1881. The following are the members thereof: C S Hamilton, E flat and leader; George Hamilton, 2d E flat; Myron Noble, B flat; Oscar David, alto; Myron Brown, alto; Homer Winton, baritone; Harry Ellsworth, tuba; J Pierson, tenor drum; Velours Coates, bass drum.
The Pioneer Silver Cornet Band, of Sand Prairie, was organized Oct. 21, 1879, and is a live institution. The roster is as follows: J S Clark, E flat and leader; Luther Appleby, 2d E flat; V Hubanks, 1st B flat and musical director; W R Gamer, 1st alto; Peter Eaton, 2d alto and treasurer; L Brown, tenor; A Hubanks, baritone; J M Appleby, E flat bass and secretary; Theodore Kincannon, tenor drum; C Atkinson, bass drum.
In giving biographical sketches of the early settlers and prominent citizens of Richland county, we find none more deserving of special mention than the following well known citizens of Richwood:
C C Whitcomb, son of Myron Whitcomb, was born in Jo Daviess Co., Ill., Oct. 2, 1843. When only a year old, he came with his parents to the town of Richwood, Richland county. His early life was spent assisting his father to till the soil, and afterwards in learning the trades of carpenter and wheelwright. He was considered a good mechanic. In 1863 he enlisted in the United States service and served in the quartermaster's department until May 1, 1864, at which date he was discharged, on account of sickness. Returning home, he, in partnership with J M Craigo, purchased the southeast quarter of section 17, a portion of which they afterwards laid out in town lots, that now constitute the site of Excelsior. They were also engaged in merchandising from 1867 to 1868. Mr. Whitcomb then purchased his partner's interest, and closed out the merchandise in 1869, to Thomas Andrews. In 1874 he built the Excelsior House, and kept hotel until June, 1882, then leased the property. He afterwards traveled in the west for about a year. He was married Dec. 25, 1868, to Mahala Engert. They had two children, both of whom died in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Whitcomb live in Excelsior at the present time.
Peter Kinder deserves particular mention among the pioneers of Richland county, for no man was more beloved and respected than he. His home was ever a welcome retreat for the weary stranger, and many a settler has had occasion to thank him for kindly service in time of need. Strong and resolute himself, he seemed to impart those characteristics to persons with whom he came in contact, not only giving them encouragement by words of cheer, but without money or charge, assisting them in cutting roads, building cabins, securing food and attending to their every want. It may be truly said of him that he was entirely free from selfish motives in these acts of kindness. He came here at a time when some more selfish persons took advantage of the situation to assist themselves, when an opportunity offered, and might have made money through the misfortunes of others; but any such action was entirely foreign to his nature, and his life was one of unbounded liberality and kindness, extending not only among his neighbors and friends, but to all whom he might render assistance, in times of poverty, danger or affliction. He was a native of Kentucky, born near Louisville, Feb. 7, 1799. His father was a farmer, but he commenced active life as an engineer on boats, on the lower Mississippi river. He was married to Mrs. Sarah (Parker) Hartwell, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, and then followed farming in his native State, whence he removed to Indiana, and one year later, to Jo Daviess Co., Ill., where he was engaged in mining until 1845, in the spring of which year, with his family, consisting of wife and two children, he came to Richland county and purchased a claim on section 26, Richwood town, and was here engaged in farming until the time of his death, which occurred Feb. 7, 1873. Peter Kinder was twice married, first, to a Miss Meek, who died leaving five children. His second wife died in June, 1875, leaving two children --- Julia, now Mrs. J W Jones, and Solomon, who was born in Jo Daviess Co., Ill., Nov. 17, 1844, but as his parents came to this county in 1845, he may be called a Wisconsin boy. He lived with his parents until their death and now may be found at the old homestead. He was married Dec. 10, 1863, to Mary E Elder, a daughter of Frank Elder. They have had six children --- William, Lissie, Alice and Ida, now living; Mary J and Ora deceased.
Myron Whitcomb, in 1844, came to the county and soon selected land on sections 26 and 35, which was claimed by another man whom he had to pay $150 to release his claim. In January, 1845, he brought his family, wife and three children. His personal property consisted of an old horse, an old cow, an old sow and three pigs and twenty-five cents in cash; thus he started his pioneer life. He was a good shot with a rifle, and in tramping over the hills he became well acquainted with the country, so that he proved a valuable assistant to newcomers who wished to enter land. The first year he raised five acres of corn, a few potatoes and a small amount of other eatables. He gave his principal attention to farming and as he was industrious and economical, he soon found himself in moderate circumstances. But this required toil and he was obliged to withstand numerous privations. June 12, 1852, he raised his barn, which was the first frame barn erected in the county. From 1864 to 1870 he owned a half interest in the Excelsior mills and is now one of the well-to-do farmers of the county. Mr. Whitcomb was born in Onandaga Co., NY, Aug. 30, 1817. At eighteen years of age he bid his parents good by and for several years traveled in various parts of the United States. He hewed the first stick of timber for the capitol building of the State of Texas. In 1840, in Tippecanoe Co., Ind., he united in marriage with Margaret Ann Carson. He then followed farming one year in Jo Daviess Co., Ill., then came to Iowa Co., Wis., from whence he came to this county. In 1870 he visited his native State, which he had left thirty-six years previous. He is a democrat in politics and has served as township treasurer. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and a man who does strictly as he agrees. He is not a large man, but well developed, strong and very active. He was one of the appraisers of the school lands in the county. Mr. and Mrs. Whitcomb have nine children --- Margaret A, Charles C, Alonzo L, Rebecca, familiarly called Doll, Sarah E, Delia A, John M, George W and William G.
William M Kincannon was one of the early pioneers of Richland Co., Wis. He was born in Washington Co., Va., in the year 1800. When eleven years old his parents moved to Tennessee, where he learned the tanner's trade. He was united in marriage to Lucy B Collinsworth of Knoxville, Tenn. He then moved to Alabama where he was engaged in the tanning business four years. He then moved to Frankfort, Ill., where he was engaged at his trade for eleven years. He removed from there to Alton, where he engaged in coal mining several years. He removed from Alton to Lafayette Co., Wis., in 1841, and followed mining for lead till 1847. He removed to the town of Richwood, Richland Co., Wis., where he intended to erect a tan yard, but finding the bark of an inferior quality, he abandoned the project and engaged in farming till the time of his death, which occurred Nov. 27, 1857. Mrs. Kincannon was born in Tennessee, in 1803, and in 1884 resided in Richwood town. They reared ten sons --- George C, who preceded his father to Richland one year, went to California in 1849, and died in Placerville, Cal., in 1850; one son died when three years old; Louis C died in 1855, aged twenty-two; Andrew I died in 1858; James C, M Crayton, Marion M and the twins are still living, with the exception of James, in Wisconsin. William K went to California in 1852, came back to Wisconsin in 1856, returned to California in 1857, was last heard from in Idaho in 1864. The Kincannon boy's grandfather's were both in the Revolutionary War.
Marion M Kincannon was born in Alton, Ill., in 1839, and came with his parents to Richland county, in 1847, and has since resided in the town of Richwood. He is a farmer by occupation. In 1870 he was married to Ellen Stelle. They have five children --- Calvin, George C, Manie, Archibald and William. In 1865 Mr. Kincannon enlisted in company B, 49th Wisconsin, and served until June 24, when he was discharged on account of sickness. He is a musician and often plays for dancing.
Joseph Elliott, a representative and prominent citizen of Richland county, was born in Sangamon Co., Ill., Nov. 1, 1829. In 1835 he removed to Lancaster, Grant Co., Wis. He came with his parents, Thomas and Sarah Elliott, to Richland county, in 1848, where he has since resided. In 1851 he was married to Mary Mulamphy. In 1859 he engaged in general merchandising at Port Andrews, which he continued until 1874, then settled on his farm, which contained 240 acres. His improvements are the best in the town. His residence is large and convenient, and surrounded by a natural grove of oak. He is engaged mainly in stock farming. He is a democrat in politics, but takes no interest farther than to vote. He would make a good public officer, but never places himself in the way of anything of that character. Of the eleven children, seven are still living --- Jennie, Caddie, Adelia, Kansar, Gilbert A, Alice and Charles Elden. Mr. Elliott is a man who has the respect of his fellow-men to a remarkable degree. His reputation for honesty and integrity are undisputed and he has many friends.
Randolph Elliott was born in western Tennessee, Sept. 14, 1827. He came with his parents, in 1836, to Wisconsin, and in 1848 was married in Grant county, to Moramie Sperry. Then he came to Richland county, and settled on what is called Sand Prairie. In 1850 he removed to Crawford county and lived in the town of Scott twelve years. Returning to Richland county, he resided in the town of Richwood until 1874, then with his family emigrated to California and remained three years, then again returned to this town. The children are --- William D, Ella, Mary Etta, Joseph W, Francis M, Gilmour W and Reuben F, who was born in California in 1874.
H B Ellsworth is a son of J S Ellsworth, and was born in Licking Co., Ohio, in 1850. When quite young he came to this county with his parents. Exhibiting considerable ingenuity, he run his father's mill several years, when he went to La Crosse and took charge of a saw in a mill which he run two years. In 1879 he leased a power on section 17, and built a mill in which he is running a carding machine, saw-mill and general woodwork. He is also the inventor of the combination Ellsworth clothes rack, crib and table. Mr. Ellsworth has been married three times. His first wife died leaving two children --- Amy and Cora. His second wife left no children. His third wife was formerly Maggie Winton. They have two children --- Verne and Carrol.
Alonzo Carson, deceased, became a resident of Wisconsin about 1845. He lived about two years on the south side of the river, then came with his father to Richland county and purchased land, but soon returned to Indiana. In 1850 he came back to Wisconsin and settled on section 34, Richwood. In 1851 Eliza J Armstrong became his wife. In 1855 he purchased a water-power on Knapp's creek and built a saw-mill which he operated about five years; he then leased the property. The mill was afterwards washed away by the floods, but Mr. Carson at once rebuilt and sold it to Mr. Langdon. He then returned to his farm, but two years later moved to Boscobel, where he died in 1876. Mr. Carson was born in Ohio, Dec. 6, 1822. When five years old he moved with his parents, Lott and Margaret Carson, to Indiana, and resided in Tippecanoe county, from whence he came to Wisconsin. Mrs. Carson was a daughter of John and Elizabeth Armstrong. She was born in Muscoda, Grant Co., Wis., April 1, 1832, and came to Richland county in 1848. Mr. and Mrs. Carson were the parents of seven children --- Carrie C, wife of Lysander Matthews; Maggie E, who died at the age of twenty-six years; Sarah, the wife of John Stoddard; Rebecca I, George L, Addie M and Hubert K. Soon after Mr. Carson's death, the family returned to the homestead, where they now reside. Mr. Carson was a good citizen, enterprising, honest in his dealings, and respected by his neighbors. He left his family in good circumstances.
Nels Hanson was one of the first Norwegians to settle in the county, and as he has kept pace with the times, he is now one of the leading and influential men among the people of his nationality. He came here in 1850, and purchased forty acres of land on section 2, Richwood, erected a log cabin and a small shop in which to work at blacksmithing. He was the first and only blacksmith who located in this vicinity for many years. He was industrious and economical, and so was able, from time to time, to add acres to his farm until he now has 220, with first-class improvements. His religious connections are with the Lutheran Church. He donated land and it was through his efforts that a church of that denomination was erected. Mr. Hanson was born March 23, 1818. He learned his trade and followed the same in his own country until 1849, when he emigrated to the United States, leaving Norway June 9, and arriving in New York August 8. He immediately came on to Wisconsin, arriving at Highland October 8. He united in marriage with Carrie Larson. They have four children --- Magnus, Nettie, Guss and Charles.
Henry Miller (deceased) was a native of Kentucky. He united in marriage with Margaret Sharp, and in 1828 removed to Tippecanoe Co., Ind. He was a farmer by occupation. He came to Richland county in 1851, becoming one of its pioneers. He settled on section 26, where he died in 1860. Mrs. Miller died Oct. 10, 1883. They were the parents of seven children, four of whom are living --- Mary Jane, wife of L M Thorp; Martha Ann, wife of Rev. J J Wright; Rebecca, wife of S B Marsh, and Andrew J. Mr. Miller was a consistent Christian, having been a member of the Presbyterian Church for thirty years. He was a charitable, industrious and honest man.
Hon. Henry Conner was the first man elected to represent Richland county in the State Assembly. He was the candidate of the democratic party, and his opponent was Sexton. He served the people one term and gave good satisfaction, but has since had but little to do with politics. He has, however, held the office of justice of the peace almost continually for thirty years, also served as chairman of the town board. Mr. Connor was born in Virginia in 1798, learned the tanner's trade, and in 1827 united in marriage with Jane Colton. In 1832 he moved to Ohio and one year later to Johnston Co., Ind., from whence he came to Wisconsin and has since been engaged in farming in the town of Richwood. He is a Presbyterian in his religious views, and a man who has the esteem of all who know him. His wife died Oct. 23, 1878. She had given birth to nine children, five of whom survived her in life --- William H, Mary E, Margaret S, Rebecca C and Nancy A.
L M Thorp first visited Richland county during the month of May, 1849, and spent a little time looking over the country. On the 2d day of June following he entered 160 acres on section 24, Richwood town, so that he was among the pioneers in making selection of a location. He then returned to Indiana. In 1851 he brought his family, consisting of a wife and three children, and settled on the land he had entered, making the trip with teams. In 1854 he removed to section 6, where he accumulated a large body of land and became a well-to-do farmer. Upon his arrival in the county his earthly possessions consisted of one team and wagon, and $100 in cash, so it may be concluded he was an industrious man and a good manager. After securing his provisions for the winter he found himself with but $5 in money, and nothing coming in, as is always the case in a new country the first year, so he taught school and spent what time he could upon the farm, and thus made a start in life. At one time he was extensively engaged in the culture of hops, which promised large returns, but prices unexpectedly declined to such an extent as to involve him in serious loss. Discouraging as was the result of this enterprise, he did not falter or spend any unnecessary time in complaint, but with characteristic energy pushed forward and recovered himself from pecuniary difficulty. Mr. Thorp was a member of the first republican convention held in the county, and was prominently identified with that party until 1878. Being a man who thinks for himself, he was among those who could not be held by party ties, and since that time, governed by high and honorable motives, he has acted independently of party. He has held from time to time positions of trust, and in 1856 was elected county sheriff, and again elected to the same office in 1862. He was a candidate on the greenback ticket, in 1878, for member of the Assembly, and made a good canvass, polling a strong vote, but was nevertheless defeated with the rest of that ticket. The subject of this sketch was born in Connecticut, Dec. 24, 1816, where he received a good education and taught school thirty-nine terms. In 1840 he went to Indiana, where in 1847 he was married to Mary Jane Miller, a daughter of Henry Miller, who settled in that county in 1852. Mr. and Mrs. Thorp have reared eleven children --- Janette, Julius C, Henry M, Lawrence M, who died at the age of twenty-four years; Mary J, who died at the age of twenty-two years; Octavia, who married A H Floaten; James A, Louisa, Levina, Ida M and Florence. In addition to other good qualities, Mr. Thorp is a temperance worker and a woman's rights man. He is not a narrow minded bigot. A man of his calibre and thought could not well be such, and his religious views are liberal. When the county seat removal question was agitated, Mr. Thorp, feeling that Richland Center was the proper and desirable place, worked for its location at that point, and through his influence one-half the vote of the town was cast in favor of such removal.
Levi Persinger settled in the county in 1851 and soon purchased land on section 17, where he made improvements, and in 1858 located on the same. He continued farming and now owns 240 acres. From 1861 to 1883 he acted as mail carrier, and although the country was rough and the roads bad, yet he never missed having the mail reach its destination at the appointed time. Mr. Persinger was born in Virginia, in 1816; moved with his parents to Cincinnati when nine years of age. From Ohio he went to Indiana and in Johnston county, in 1838, Christena Brunnemer became his wife. The children are --- Margaret, Levi, died at the age of thirty-five years; Catharine, died at the age of thirty-three years; William, Joseph and Mary. Politically he is a republican. Mr. Persinger is a member of the IOOF.
J S Ellsworth was a native of Vermont, born in August, 1808. He learned the shoemaker's trade, moved to Ohio and thence, in 1852, came to Wisconsin and settled in this county, and followed farming, also kept a small store at Independence, between Lone Rock and Richland City. In 1856 he purchased a water power on Knapp's creek and built the Ellsworth mills and operated the same until 1882, then moved to Benton Co., Mo. He was twice married, first to Didama Buxton. She died in Ohio leaving two children --- Diana and Oliver. He then married Amy B Stockwell, and by this union reared three children --- Thomas J, M D and H B. Politically he is a democrat.
M D Ellsworth was born in Ohio in 1847 and came with his parents to this county. He assisted his father on the farm and about the mill until 1876, since which he has operated the Ellsworth mills, of which mention is made elsewhere in this book. In 1875 he was married to Miss A L Hodgins. They have three children --- Fannie, Lelia and Mabel.
Thomas J Ellsworth was born at Johnstown, Licking Co., Ohio, April 20, 1842. He came to Richland county with his parents in the spring of 1851. He remained with his father until the summer of 1859, when he left home to seek his fortune elsewhere, taking the advice of Horace Greeley to "go west, young man." He brought up in Kansas and was at Fort Scott at the breaking out of the Civil War, engaged in carrying the mail from Fort Scott to Greenfield, Mo. He enlisted in August, 1861, in company B, 6th regiment, Kansas Home Guards. The company was mustered out of the service March 7, 1862, and on the 9th of the same month he enlisted in company F, of the 2d Ohio Cavalry, for three years or during the war. Becoming disabled in the right knee, while drilling on horseback, he was discharged at Columbus, Ohio, where the regiment had been sent to remount. He then came home, sick and a cripple, and with little hopes of getting well, but thanks to a good constitution not broken down by bad habits, and plenty of the article called grit, he did get well enough to be drafted in the fall of 1864, but he had broken his leg a few weeks before, while engaged in getting out saw logs for his father. As soon as the bone was healed sufficient to pass muster he again enlisted, this time in company H, 44th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, Capt. Houtz's company, in which he served as corporal and was detailed as company clerk, but before he had served one month another accident overtook him and his leg was once more broken, this time in a playful scuffle with a comrade, and he was again sent to the hospital where the surrender of Lee at Appomatax found him, and he was sent home under the general order discharging all men in hospital. In the year 1867 he started a tannery in the town of Richwood, in which he was fairly successful, but failing health forced him to quit hard labor so he quit the business, having by honesty, industry and fair dealing acquired sufficient of this world's good to be comfortably situated at present. In the year 1875, on the 30th of May, he was married to Mrs. Ellen (Cosgrove) Burns, by whom he has one child --- Ada Augusta, aged eight years. In politics he is independent, having taken quite an active part in both the democratic and greenback parties, and in 1880 was the candidate on the tickets of both those parties for county clerk, but party spirit run very high and he could not overcome the large republican majority in the county; yet he had the satisfaction of running ahead of his ticket in both his own town and that of his opponent. He favors free trade, free schools, free religion and free men, and plenty of greenback legal tender money. In religion he is a pronounced materialist; his motto, "do good."
Jeremiah Dingman is another early pioneer, he having chosen Richland county as his residence in 1853. He was an unmarried man, and thus worked for various parties until 1861. He then enlisted in company H, 11th Wisconsin, and served three years and three months. Returning home, he purchased eighty acres on section 25, and in 1866 united in matrimony with Permelia Bergham, and has since followed farming as an occupation. The children are --- Emmett F, Pearl and Edmund C. Mr. Dingmam is a member of the GAR.
A M Stratton, on first coming to the county, located at Cazenovia, where he was connected with the mill for one year. He then had charge of the mill at Sextonville four years, and Bowen's mill six years, after which he came to Excelsior, purchased the mill property and operated both grist and saw-mills. Mr. Stratton was born in Wayne Co., NY, July 8, 1843, and came with his parents to Berlin, Wis., in 1854. He enlisted in 1862, in company G, 32d Wisconsin, and served until the regiment was mustered out of service. Returning home, he, with H Searles, raised a part of a company, which was assigned to the 50th Wisconsin, and served until June, 1866. After the war he engaged in milling at Lemonware, Wis., where he remained three years, then spent a short time in Iowa, after which he came to Richland county. Mr. Stratton was married in 1865 to Jestinie Buck, and about a week afterwards returned to the ranks of his regiment. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Stratton are --- Ella G, Cassius M, May Belle, Robert T and Guy L. Mr. Stratton is a good business man, courteous to all, and highly respected.
David Dewey, one of the pioneers of 1854, settled on section 2, town of Richwood, where he entered eighty acres. One year later he removed to Sheboygan county and there engaged in operating saw-mills about three years, then went to the State of Ohio and continued in the same business. In 1860 he returned to Richland county and lived for a short time on the land he had entered, then removed to Port Andrews and served as engineer on river boats until 1865, when he purchased the mill property on Byrd's creek, of which mention is made elsewhere. Mr. Dewey was born in Rutland Co., Vt., May 5, 1833. When he was very young the family moved to Ohio. At the age of sixteen years he left his father's farm and commenced work in a saw-mill. He also served as fireman of a railroad engine. In 1854 he went to Iowa, and there was married to Ann Dudgeon. The same year he came to this county. Mr. and Mrs. Dewey have had three children, two of whom are living --- Lydia and Zilpha. Mr. Dewey is politically a republican, and has held local office. He is a member of the IOOF.
E D Clark was born in Sullivan Co., NY, Oct. 12, 1813, and the winter following removed with his parents to Berkshire Co., Mass., where he lived until he was sixteen years old, when he moved to Steuben Co., NY. He was a natural mechanic and always performed his own carpenter work. Dec. 28, 1834, Mary Ann Clark became his wife. He came to Wisconsin in 1855 and soon purchased land on section 33, Richwood town, and turned his attention to farming, in which he met with moderate success. He is a man with many friends. Mr. and Mrs. Clark had three sons --- Ansel H, who died at the age of twenty-seven years; George and Joseph S.
J S Clark was born in Steuben Co., NY, Sept. 17, 1848, and in the year 1855 removed with his parents to Richland Co., Wis., where he was raised on a farm, receiving a common school education. He is a natural mechanic, having inherited it from his father. March 28, 1868, he was married to Ellen S Elliott, and in the following winter gave up farming entirely, and commenced learning the jeweler's trade in the village of Excelsior, but found that the man he was learning from was not thoroughly posted in all the intricacies of this trade, so the following winter went to St. Paul, Minn., and there took a thorough course of instruction in watch repairing, and the manufacturing of jewelry. After leaving St. Paul Mr. Clark went to Lansing, Iowa, and there took more thorough instruction in the art of making jewelry, and Oct. 12, 1871, he moved back to Richland county, where he now lives, and has established a business second to none in the county, for the repairing of watches, and manufacture of jewelry. He has all the work he can do, orders coming from a circuit of twenty-five miles around. Mr. and Mrs. Clark had seven children, five boys and two girls, four of which are now living --- Emory J, Roy E, Myrtle E and Glen; the other three died when quite small. Mr. Clark's social standing is good, having a wide circle of friends, and he has been frequently honored with the small local offices, and is a member of De Molai Commandery, No. 15, Knights Templars, Boscobel, Wis.
J Robert Coumbe, of the firm of Logan & Coumbe, is a son of John Coumbe. He was born in 1855. He received a common school education and helped till the soil until 1878, when he engaged in the general merchandise business. On Oct. 31, 1883, he was married to a daughter of George Krouskop.
Warrington Jones, in the spring of 1853, purchased land on section 7, but did not move till the spring of 1855, and thus became the first settler on the west branch of Knapp's creek. He engaged in farming, and continued the occupation. He was born in Georgia, May 14, 1811. He went to Tennessee, where he was married to Minerva Howard, and in 1847 came to Wisconsin. He first engaged in mining, after which he came to this county. His wife died in 1874. She had reared seven children, all of which are living at this time --- Hannah, Sarah, James W, Miranda, Felix, John D and Martha. He is a member of the Christian Church and of the IOOF. He is strictly temperate in all of his habits; not using intoxicants, or tobacco in any shape. He is liberal in all his views.
J W Jones, son of Warrington and Minerva Jones, came with his parents to this county in 1855. In 1856 he was married to Julia A Kinder, daughter of Peter Kinder. Mr. Jones was born in Tennessee, Nov. 3, 1836, came to Wisconsin in 1847, and followed mining until he came to this county. He is now a successful farmer, resides on section 27, and owns over 300 acres of land. His politics are democratic and although his party was greatly in the minority, he has been often elected to local office. He is a member of the Christian Church and of the IOOF.
John D Jones was born in Iowa Co., Wis., near Mineral Point, Nov. 4, 1849. He came to Richland county with his parents, Warrington and Minerva Jones, in 1855, and has lived here ever since. In 1870 he was married to Libbie Turk, daughter of James and Sarah Turk, of Crawford county. This union has been blessed with four children --- Charley P, Frank J, Sadie E and John E. Mr. and Mrs. Jones are members of the Christian Church and of the IOGT.
S B Marsh arrived in the county May 18, 1855, and as he was yet an unmarried man, he worked for other parties. Aug. 3, 1855, he chose Rebecca Miller, daughter of Henry Miller, as his wife. He then removed to land previously purchased on section 30, town of Eagle, where he resided until 1861, then purchased the estate of Henry Miller, located on section 26, town of Richwood, and he now owns 220 acres. He is a successful farmer and a highly respected citizen, ranking for honesty and integrity among the best. Mr. Marsh is a native of Indiana, born Dec. 8, 1830, and resided in his native State until he came to Wisconsin. Politically he is a republican. He is a member of the Christian Church and the IOOF. Mr. and Mrs. Marsh have had six children, five of whom are living --- James A, Lenora, Mary, Maggie and Albert. Alvin H was born July 29, 1875, and died Aug. 29, 1876. Mr. Marsh received a limited education in the district school; attending school during the winter months and working on the farm in summer. He raises some stock, but his attention is principally given to grain farming.
Edmund Clark came to Richland county in the fall of 1856, and in the spring of 1857 settled on section 34, where he had purchased eighty acres of land. He was industrious, and soon his log cabin gave way to a large frame residence, and he increased his real estate to several hundred acres. He gave his entire attention to farming, and thus made a success of life. He is a native of Massachusetts, born May 12, 1817. When fourteen years of age he moved with his parents to Schuyler Co., NY, where, on Oct. 11, 1845, he was married to Sally Benson. They reared three children, one of whom is living --- Homer J. His wife died, and in 1854 he was married to Rosetta Ann Benson. By this union one child was born, but died in infancy. Mr. Clark is unpretentious in his appearance, honorable in his dealings, hospitable to strangers, and highly esteemed.
Nathan Winton, settled in the town of Richwood in 1856, and first purchased land on section 21. He continued farming in the town, and in 1875 settled on section 17. His residence was destroyed by fire in August, 1880, which was a severe blow to Mr. Winton, as he was carrying no insurance. Mr. Winton was born in Crawford Co., Penn., June 17, 1818. His father owned a saw mill about which young Winton assisted, also taught school. In 1846 he started for the far west, visited Iowa, and in 1847 came to Wisconsin and first stopped in Dane county. In 1848 he married Mary Otto. He afterwards resided near Reedsburg about three years, then came to this county. Mr. Winton is a good citizen, served as town superintendent of schools, town clerk, assessor and justice of the peace. Mr. and Mrs. Winton have six children --- Viola, Omer E, David, Dora, John and Maggie.
H F Coates was born in Canada, Jan. 1, 1835, moved with his parents to Ohio in 1837, and to Grant Co., Wis., in 1851, from whence in 1856 he came to Richland county, and for thirteen years spent most of his time operating saw-mills. In 1859 he was married to Nancy Connor, daughter of Hon. Henry Connor. In 1860 he settled on section 18, where he at first purchased eighty acres, but has since made additions, until his farm now contains over 400 acres. He is engaged in raising stock. Mr. and Mrs. Coates have reared the following named children --- Vellorus, Frank, Adny, Elmer, Nora, Myrtie, Clara and Lester. Mr. Coates acts with the republican party, has held local offices, and for a number of years was postmaster at Excelsior. He is a member of the IOOF.
W H Coates, in 1855, formed a partnership with S W Knowlton and purchased the water power and mill property of William Haskins. They soon erected a grist-mill, and on the day they raised the mill Mr. Coates named the place "Excelsior," a full history of which appears elsewhere. He was instrumental in having the postoffice established, an active temperance worker, and an enterprising and influential citizen. In 1864 he sold out, moved to Iowa, and engaged in hardware and agricultural implement trade. Mr. Coates was a brother of Dr. J T Coates. He was born in Canada. His wife was a daughter of S W Knowlton.
J T Coates, MD, is native of Trumball Co., Ohio, born June 18, 1840. His father, Francis Coates, was a native of England, and his mother, Eunice E (Harvey) Coates, was born in Canada. In 1854 the family came to Wisconsin and settled in Grant county, where the father died in 1858. J T Coates first came to Richland county in 1857, and for some time had charge of the postoffice, also assisted his brother, W H Coates, about the mill. In 1861 he enlisted in the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry and served three months. He then re-enlisted and was mustered into service with the 2d Minnesota Sharp Shooters. He was wounded at the battle of Antietam, which disabled him so that he was discharged in February, 1863. He afterwards served as first lieutenant of a company stationed in the northwest to ward off the Indians, but resigned his commission and returned to Excelsior. He soon went to Iowa and engaged in mercantile trade, which did not seem congenial to his tastes, he having from early boyhood had a desire to study medicine. He first entered the university at Iowa City, and afterwards graduated in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, at Keokuk. He commenced practice in 1871 at Excelsior, was afterwards at Muscoda and Montfort, but in 1883 returned to Excelsior. In 1876 Sarah S Kite became his wife. They have one son --- J Floyd. Dr. Coates is a democrat in politics, a member of the IOOF, the IOGT, the GAR, the State Medical Society and the Southwestern Wisconsin Medical Association.
L E Atkinson was born in Minnesota, Jan. 22, 1858, and came with his parents to this county in 1859. At the age of twelve years he commenced work at the blacksmith trade, which he followed most of the time, until 1883. In April of that year he leased the Excelsior House and engaged in hotel keeping. Oct. 6, 1882, Rebecca J Whitcomb became his wife. She is a daughter of Myron Whitcomb. Mr. Atkinson is a member of the IOOF.
George H Hillberry, son of George and Catharine (Roberts) Hillberry, was born in Huntingdon Co., Penn., Aug. 25, 1836. His parents moved to Virginia, when he was very young, and afterwards to Monroe Co., Ohio, where he attained his education in the common school. He came to Richland county with his parents, with whom he lived until 1863. In November of that year he was married to Mary, daughter of George W. and Sarah (Johnson) Waller. In the spring of 1864 they went to Colorado, and were absent from Richland county until the fall of 1865, then returned and purchased land in the town of Richwood, the southwest of the northeast and the northwest of the southeast of section 25. He erected a log house and began clearing. He lived there five years and improved quite a tract of land. He then purchased the northeast of the northeast of the same section, on which was a small log house. One year later he purchased the southeast of the southeast of section 24. He improved a farm and lived here six years. At the end of that time he bought the farm on which he now lives, on section 24. There was a frame house on this place, located on the northeast of the southwest quarter. He has since moved it to the southwest of the same quarter, and built an addition. In 1883 he erected a frame barn, 32x50 feet, with a stone basement. He is considered one of the best farmers in the town, and is largely engaged in raising stock and grain. His farm now contains 425 acres, and is located on sections 23, 24 and 25. Mr. and Mrs. Hillberry are the parents of five children --- David W, Sarah M, Philip A, John H and Wade H.
James Logan was born in Knox Co., Tenn., and resided in his native State until after his marriage with Margaret McComas. He then removed to Ohio, thence to Illinois, and from there to Wisconsin, and settled in Rock county. In 1864 he came to Richland county and engaged in farming on Willow creek, in the town of Ithaca. His wife died Oct. 21, 1869, and he died July 23, 1875. Mr. and Mrs. Logan were earnest Christians, and consistent members of the Baptist Church for many years. They reared twelve children, eight surviving them in life.
T P Logan was born in Illinois, Sept. 12, 1844. He came with his parents, James and Margaret Logan, to this county in 1864. He was educated at Sextonville and subsequently followed teaching. In 1870 he commenced mercantile life as clerk, and was afterwards in partnership with B F Washburn for a short time. In 1878 he became associated with J R Coumbe as partner, and established the business of Logan & Coumbe. Mr. Logan is a good business man, active in the cause of temperance, and a member of the IOGT. He was married Dec. 23, 1874, to Elizabeth Andrews, daughter of Thomas Andrews. They have two children --- Alta Lula and Clyde R. Mr. Logan was appointed postmaster in 1880, and has served as town treasurer.
Robert Buchanan is a native of Ireland, born Sept. 2, 1809. He emigrated to Canada in 1832, on account of cholera in the old country. He did not remain long in Canada, but went to Otsego Co., NY, and in 1835 to New York city, where he served an apprenticeship to learn the trade of mason, which he followed in the cities of New York and Brooklyn about twenty years. In 1855 he moved to Schoharie county, and three years later to McHenry Co., Ill., where he engaged in farming. In 1864 he came to Wisconsin and became a resident of Richland county, settling on section 8, of Richwood, where he accumulated 400 acres of land. Mr. Buchanan is a republican in politics; has served as chairman four years, and treasurer two years, of his town. He was a member of the fraternity of Odd Fellows over forty years, always taking an active interest in the work of the society. He was married in 1838. His wife, formerly Mary Shannon, was a native of the north of Ireland. They reared nine children --- William M, Mary A, Robert Jr., Sarah J, James T, Samuel M, John, George W and Edward H.
Robert Buchanan, Jr., the first man to engage in the harness trade in Excelsior, was born in Brooklyn, NY, Sept. 6, 1843. He resided with his parents until 1862, when he enlisted in company C, 95th Illinois. He was wounded at the battle of Vicksburg by a piece of shell striking him on the forhead, and also one year later at the battle of Yellow Bayou, where he received a gun-shot wound in the right arm. He served, however, until the regiment was mustered out of service. After the war he learned the harness maker's trade, and in 1869 established business at Excelsior. He was united in marriage in 1873 with Belle Hawkins. Their children are --- Ella B, Frank and Albert. Mr. Buchanan is a member of the IOOF, AOUW and IOGT.
Samuel Noble arrived in the town of Richwood May 23, 1864, and soon afterwards purchased property of Stephen Knowlton, located on section 16, where he settled on the 16th day of July following. He also purchased a one-half interest in the Excelsior mills, which property he held until January, 1873, when he gave attention to farming and dealing in real estate. He served as town treasurer ten years, but takes little interest in politics, aside from casting his vote according to his own judgment. Mr. Noble is a native of Ohio, born Nov. 2, 1830. His parents were natives of the same State his grandfather having settled in Washington county in 1798. He was married in 1861 to Miranda Ackley, and followed farming until he came to Wisconsin. They have three children --- Myron, Rebecca and Maria.
The first physician to locate at Excelsior was Dr. O Ross. He was born in Lawrence Co., Penn., March 17, 1834. His father was a farmer and civil engineer. In 1837 the family moved into the State of Ohio, when, at the age of fifteen, the subject of this sketch commenced the study of medicine. During the winter of 1851-2 he attended school at Hiram, with James A Garfield as school-mate. In 1856 he graduated at the Ohio State Medical School at Cincinnati, and in 1857 commenced practice in Hancock county of said State, but on account of poor health he afterwards located on a farm, and for two years dealt in live stock. In 1860 he resumed practice in Van Wert county, from whence, in 1864, he came to Excelsior, where he has since continued to reside, with the exception of one year, which he spent in the State of Missouri. Dr. Ross has had a large practice, in which he has treated a large number of cases of small pox, and is able to say that he never lost a patient by that disease, so much dreaded. The date of his marriage is 1853, in which year he chose as his companion for life Amanda Agin, and by this union nine children were born, six of whom are now living --- Ransford, Milissa, Charlie, Levi B, Isaac M and Emery H. Politically, Dr. Ross is a democrat, and has frequently stumped his district for other persons, but has never sought office himself. He is an active temperance worker, being a member of the IOGT.
Edward Smith, the only man engaged in general merchandising at Port Andrew, in 1883, is a son of William and Matilda Smith, and was born in Jo Daviess Co., Ill., June 23, 1845. His father owned property in Port Andrew, where the family resided a portion of the time, and the remainder in Illinois. In 1858 the father died, and his mother afterward married T J Howland, and now resides in the town of Richwood. In 1864 Edward Smith enlisted in company F, 33d Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and served until July 17, 1865. He afterward dealt in live stock and followed farming until he engaged in merchandising at Port Andrew. He has been twice married, March 22, 1866, to Matilda Elder, who died leaving two children --- Ann Nettie and Edward. Jan. 18, 1874, Maria Toney became his wife. They have four children --- William T, George C, Fred C and Ella M. Hie is a member of the GAR.
J W Garner was born in Delaware Co., Ind., Jan. 10, 1840. In April, 1861, he enlisted in company D, 6th Indiana regiment, and served three months, after which he re-enlisted in the 57th Indiana, with which he served until January, 1866. Mr. Garner participated in thirty-seven hard fought battles, and was never wounded, but of the 109 in company D, in which he first enlisted, only nine lived to return home. He was taken prisoner at Johnsonville, Tenn. He was a brave soldier, and his record one of which he may be justly proud. Returning home, on the 1st day of January, 1866, he was married to Mary Endicotte. He then came to Wisconsin, and has since followed farming in Richland county. His residence is on section 33, Richwood, where he owns 160 acres. Mr. and Mrs. Garner are the parents of the following named children --- Nora, Laura, Becca, Emma, who died in infancy; Gertie, Luella and Carrie. Mr. Garner is a republican, politically, and a member of the GAR.
B F Washburn, in the month of March, 1869, purchased six lots on block 7, and Sept. 12, 1870, he established a general mercantile business. He had a partner for a few months, after which he continued alone. Mr. Washburn was born in Lake Co., Ill., Oct. 15, 1842. His father bore the same name and was a native of the State of Vermont. He was a farmer by occupation, and when the Civil War broke out he enlisted in company C, 20th Wisconsin. He was wounded at the battle of Prairie Grove so as to cause death soon afterwards. His mother, Elizabeth (Ruth) Washburn, was a native of Pennsylvania. After the death of her husband she came to Richland county, and became the wife of Dempsey Field. The subject of this sketch came with his parents to Grant Co., Wis., in 1857. He resided on the farm until seventeen years of age, then went to Minnesota and clerked at Mazeppa for two years. He then returned to Grant county, where, in 1864, he enlisted in company I, 17th Wisconsin, and served until mustered out of service. Returning to Grant county in August, 1865, he united in marriage with Miss M J Hawkins. He was there engaged in farming until he came to Excelsior. Mr. Washburn is a thorough business man and the largest real estate owner in the town of Richwood. He is a strict republican in politics, served as postmaster at Excelsior for several years, and in 1875 represented his district in the Assembly. He is a member of the IOOF, the IOGT, and the GAR.
C J Moore, commander of William Wright Post, No. 51, is a native of Erie Co., NY, born July 30, 1840. His early life was spent on a farm, during which time he received a good common school education, and afterward taught school. He enlisted in 1862 in the 27th New York Independent Battery, and served nearly three years. Returning to his native State, he resumed teaching school and also read law, but his health failing, he was obliged to abandon his studies. In 1869 he went to Indiana, and two years later came to Wisconsin. He at first lived in Grant county and there, in 1877, he was married to Sophrona Sabins. He then came to Richland county, located in Excelsior, and has since followed the trade of carriage and wagon-maker. Mr. Moore is a believer in the Christian religion, and was formerly a member of the Baptist Church. He is a republican in politics and a member of the fraternity of Good Templars. In 1883 he was elected a justice of the peace.
O F David was born in Grant county, Nov. 26, 1858. His parents were Isaac F and Cicelia (Rewark) David. His early life was spent on his father's farm and attending district schools. When sixteen years of age he entered the high school department at Muscoda, where he took a four years' course. He then followed civil engineering in Dakota two years, after which, in February, 1882, with his brother, D M David, as partner, he established a drug business at Excelsior, the firm name being D M & O F David, which, in July, 1883, was changed to David & Co. Mr. David is a member of the fraternity of Odd Fellows, and is well qualified for the business in which he is engaged. Nov. 24, 1883, he was united in matrimony with Maria Noble. She is a daughter of Samuel Noble.
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