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Slinger Advancement Association (Slinger, Wisconsin) / Slinger historical album: Schleisingerville to Slinger, 125 years, 1869-1994
(1994)

History of Slinger goes back nearly 100 years,   pp. 1 ff. PDF (1.0 MB)


Page 1

 
H1iSTORY OF SLINGER GOES 
    BACK NEARLY 1oo YEARS 
        HARTFORD TIMES-PRESS, Thur., Feb. 7, 1957 
     B. Schleisinger Weil, credited by many as the founder of 
 Slinger, was a big man in more ways than one. Within this 
 huge Frenchman's frame burned an ambition so strong, that it 
 carried him from the Lower Rhine in France, across an ocean 
 and thousands of miles of unexplored wilderness in search of an 
 empire. 
     The ashes of a thousand camp fires dotted his back trail and 
 recorded his passing, and he pushed his wagon train westward 
 across the land of the Iroquois and into the land of the 
 Winnebago in 1845. It was late Indian summer of that year, 
 that this zealous Frenchman and his small caravan came 
 plodding down the old Winnebago trail, to halt with a jangle of 
 trace chains, at the junction of what is now Highways 175 and 
 144. 
     No street lights or neon signs illuminated the darkness 
 then. Only a few dim trails that the great forest soon swallowed 
 and the flickering, feeble glow of a few Indian camp fires met 
 his gaze. It is doubtful if those dancing flames of the red man 
 out there in the forest brought any feeling of assurance to this 
 tired little group of travelers. Over the miles they had heard 
 many stories of the redskins' savagery and cunning, so no doubt 
 they said their prayers with their shotguns cocked that first 
 night. 
                    Friendly Indians 
    The Winnebagos, however, were a friendly tribe and the 
black night passed uneventful into a grey October dawn. Just as 
the misty morning light spread over the frosty forest, B. 
Schleisinger Weil climbed the highest hill in the area (the Owls 
Nest) and standing among the oaks, whose leaves were turning 
from yellow to deep red, decided that this beautiful Kettle 
Moraine Valley was to be the journey's end. 
    With winter fast approaching, there was little time to be 
lost, so the party started construction of a log house on the site 
of the present Slinger State Bank. This was the first house ever 
built in Slinger. That first winter remains for the most part 
unrecorded, but the hardships were many as stocks of food and 
supplies dwindled away. 
    Out in the forest where the red man lived, they found a 
good supply of wild game. Quail, turkey and white tailed deer 
roamed through the area in large numbers in that far off day, 
and no doubt the hills rocked under the shotgun's ugly crash as 
the settlers searched for food. Upon a night the lonesome wail 
of the timber wolf would drift down from some barren ridge. 
From some distant points in the forest would come the 
answering cries, and through the night the hills echoed back the 
song of the "chase." 
                   Second House Built 
    In the summer of 1846 the second house was built in Slinger 
 on the present site of Theisen's I.G.A. Store. It was Slinger's 
 first store and all the lumber was brought from Milwaukee via 
 ox-team. 
     Pioneer Weil had planned well and located accurately on 
 sections 17 and 18, surveyed some years before by two 
 Statesmen by the names of Brink and Burk. Under his name 
 they  became   the  sections  on  which   the  village  of 
 Schleisingerville came into being. It was in 1846 that B. 
 Schleisinger Weil purchased this strip of land, three miles long 
 and one mile wide, from the United States Government. This is 
 now the original tract of the village of Slinger. 
     From 1845 to 1859 Mr. Weil contributed much to the 
 growth of his empire. During this period a tannery, a hotel, a 
 shoemaker, blacksmith, wagon maker, two taverns, two schools, 
 a flouring mill, three churches, distillery, store, grain elevator, 
 stone stable and a railroad came to Schleisingerville. It was in 
 1855 through the exertions and influence of Mr. Weil that the 
 route of the old La Crosse Railroad, now a section of the 
 Milwaukee and St. Paul, was located so as to pass through his 
 town. The occasion of its completion was celebrated in a big 
 affair furnished by Weil. 
                    Big Celebration 
     A large party came out from Milwaukee to celebrate the 
 occasion. Included in this group were Stoddard Judd, president 
 of the railroad; Judge Larabee, James B. Cross, Mayor of 
 Milwaukee; Maurice Schoeffler and Harrison Ludington. The 
 party was met and saluted by salvos of artillery. Mr. Weil 
 feasted and wined the whole party at his own expense for two 
 days in  one of the     greatest blowouts ever seen    in 
 Schleisingerville. 
    Mr. Schleisinger Weil lived in the town, which he helped to 
build, until the winter of 1859. Then with his destiny fulfilled 
he left the scene of his greatest triumph. His tired old eyes had 
seen a dream come true and a city take form, but the years had 
taken their toll. Broken in health, he headed for Milwaukee, in 
hopes that some doctor could still the pains that racked his 
aging frame. 
    One evening in autumn, about the time that the soft calls of 
the bob white came floating in over the hills in the gathering 
dusk, a blinding flash of light illuminated the little room, as the 
Black Angel came for B. Schleisinger Weil. They found the old 
pioneer dead in his chair. The fire dead out and the stew pot 
burned black. 
    They buried the old man in a little cemetery, now grown 
large ... So this is his story, a thumbnail sketch of the way it 
happened, taken from the records and diaries of folks who once 
lived along the Winnebago trail. 


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