Madison, Dane County and surrounding towns ; being a history and guide to places of scenic beauty and historical note ... early intercourse of the settlers with the indians ... with a complete list of county supervisors and officers, and legislative members
Burnett, Clarence; Fullerton, A. J.
Black Earth, pp. 519-525 PDF (1.5 MB)
DANE COUNTY TOWNS - BLACK EARTH.. building the first house within the present township limits. It was a primitive structure, such as all of us are more or less familiar with, and such as to-day would seem impossible to class amnong what are known as residences. But in those days a house was valued more for the shelter it gave than for its comely appearance. It occupied a spot of ground just south of the present residence of Mr. John Hill. Just previous to the building of Mr. Hayden's house -about October, 1843- Mr. Henry Wilson arrived from New York, together with his family. He found himself in a strange country, almost unin- habited, and without any means of sheltering himself from the storms of the coming winter. Something must be done, and Mr. W. at once set about building , temporary abiding place. When completed it was more a wigwam than anything else, being built of such loose material as could be readily found, and covered with the dry grass of the marshes, close at hand. Here he wintered his family, cooking in the open air, and getting along with inconveniences as only pioneers can. This will explain the allusions often made to Mr. Wilson's spending his first Wisconsin winter in a hay stack. In the spring following, on the comple- tion of Mir. II ayden's house spoken of, the family were moved to it, and there remained until Mr. Wil- son's return from Milwaukee and other points, where he had gone to purchase such articles as were needed in clearing the land which he had settled upon. A start once made, the valley was rapidly settled. 520
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