o ut. ******************** Reminiscences by Mrs. Emma F. Rob inso n The following paper was originally writte n for a reminiscence party given at the home of Mrs. S. M. Marsh in Neillsville, and was later read at an old settlers reunion at Loyal. It contains so much of historical value that it is published in f ull: I came to Clark County , W is. in Jan., 1859, my husband, myself, and little twenty-months old b aby g ir l, now M rs. James O ’Neill. We drove through from La Crosse with a team to wh at w as t hen kno wn as W eston’ s Rapids. We were four days making the trip. There were but few settlers then in Clark county . Among them was the late James O’Neill, founder of Neillsville, Judge Dewhurst , Robt. Ross, Chauncey Blakeslee, B. F. Chase, James Hewett and S. C. Bo ar dman. Neillsville was then a m er e hamlet although the county s ea t. It w as there that I attended my first Fourth of July celebration in Clark Co. Dr . B. F. French was the orator of the day . I met Mrs. French, Mrs. A. W. Clark, and Mrs. John King for the first time, at that s mall g ath er ing of patriotic settlers. There was a dam and bridge across Black river at W eston’ s Rapids. A saw mill and grist mill were in operation there. A lar ge hotel or “tavern” as it was then called for the accommodation of the lumbermen, and several tenement houses. We lived in one of those houses nearly two years and kept the first post of fice there. We only got our mail once a week and h ad no cou nty pap er at that time; in fact all literature was very s carce in those days. The books and periodicals which we had brought from our eastern homes were gladly exchanged with our neighbors. They were read and reread, passed about fr om on e home to ano ther till when returned they w ere often in a somewhat dilapidated condition. After a time we were favored by having a very good little district library , which was greatly appreciated. Mrs. Melvin Mason, Mrs . Chandler and myself co mpo sed t he com mittee to sele ct the b ook s fo r thi s small library of 100 volume s. A Methodist church soon sprang up. It was built in Neillsville, all contributing most willingly . Its good influence was soon felt and it was a means of bringing the old settlers together oftener in a social way . Many is the church sociable we attended when our only convey was a big wagon or sleigh draw n by ox en or a span of mules. Befor e we h ad ou r litt le church our only pleasure socially were the meeting in our homes to read and discuss our well worn books and papers, and dancing. It was not considered a hardship by any means to have the big sleigh brought around right af ter s upp er and drive s ix or eight or even ten miles to a dance, gathering up or friends on the way . Mrs. Staf ford, Mrs. Blakeslee, Mrs. Clark, Judge and Mrs. Dewhust were usually along and always ready for a good time. By the way , it did not take as much to give us a good them then as at
Pioneer History , Clark County , W isconsin
4/19/201 1
http://wvls.lib.wi.us/ClarkCounty/pinevalley/history/PioneerHistory .htm