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Dexheimer, Florence Chambers, 1866-1925 / Sketches of Wisconsin pioneer women
([1924?] )

Daly, Grace Balderston
Sarah Janet Wood Balderston,   pp. 7-10 PDF (791.4 KB)


Page 8


    Mother told us many interesting tales of the early
days. She says there is no question about whom the
law-abiding feared most in those days-the red men or
the river men.
    The Indians were very numerous and very peaceful,
but the river men were inveterate fighters and worse
drinkers.
    She often told us that the coming of the stage was
always an event. One day it brought Thomas Scott
with two barrels of merchandise. On the corner where
the Wood Co. National Bank now stands, Thomas
emptied the barrels, put boards across them, spread out
his merchandise and went into business.
    The same Thomas Scott who later became a mon-
eyed man in Wisconsin and who founded our T. B. Scott
Public Library. In those days this was Portage County,
Plover being the county seat, and many a night the
young people drove to Plover, sixteen miles, (horse
power-not motor) to dances.
    Dances and candy pulls, sleigh rides and the Ladies'
Aid Society furnished entertainment for these peaceful
people, and the lumber-jacks furnished the thrills.
    When Sarah Janet Wood was nineteen, she was
wooed and won by William Balderston from Baltimore,
Maryland.
    The courtship was a stormy one, and on February
12, 1853, the lovers eloped. The would-be bride went
down to the "Wisconsin House", operated by George
A. Neeves and his good wife Mary, to meet the other
members of the bridal party. The groom had a team and
sleigh ready nearby, but as the wedding party crossed
the road, the irate father saw them and then trouble
began.
    The bridesmaid ran madly up "Pumpkin Hill",
pursued by the bride's father. By the time he discovered
his mistake, his daughter, in the arms of the best man,
was carried over a creek, and minus one slipper, was
taken down Third Street, then an Indian trail, to a mill
boarding house, operated by friends.
                          8


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