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The history of Columbia County, Wisconsin, containing an account of its settlement, growth, development and resources; an extensive and minute sketch of its cities, towns and villages--their improvements, industries, manufactories, churches, schools and societies; its war record, biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers; the whole preceded by a history of Wisconsin, statistics of the state, and an abstract of its laws and constitution and of the constitution of the United States
(1880)

Chapter XI,   pp. 665-697 PDF (18.3 MB)


Page 684


HISTORY OF COLUMBIA COUNTY.
thrown open to receive the reverend father. Masses were said in the log cabins
of the parish-
ioners with all the profound impressiveness that now characterizes the more
attractive service
from gilt and draped altars, which echo back the notes of solemn-toned organs.
A common tin
pan then served as a baptismal font, and a gourd of water from the Crawfish
River, properly
blessed, removed the stain of sin from the finger-tips of devout believers.
Early in the spring
of 1856, work was commenced upon the foundation of a church edifice, on a
lot donated- for the
purpose by A. P. Birdsey, and in June of that year the corner-stone was laid.
For want of
sufficient means, no further progress was made till 1864, when work was resumed,
and, in 1866,
during the pastorate and under the supervision of the Rev. E. McGuirk, the
present substantial
house of worship was completed. In the mean time, a temporary wooden structure
had been
built and occupied. Father Kundig's successors and McGuirk's predecessors
were the Revs.
Downey and Purcell. The first resident Pastor was the Rev. James O'Keefe,
who succeeded to
the charge in September, 1868. In that year, the red brick parsonage was
purchased for $1,400.
Father O'Keefe remained until May, 1870, being followed-by Father McGuirk,
who found both
the affairs of the church and the spiritual condition of the parishioners
much more satisfactory
than when he had previously visited the place as a missionary. The fruits
of his earlier labors
were fast ripening. His stay was brief, however, being succeeded by the Rev.
E. Gray, who,
in December, 1872, retired in favor of the Rev. Henry Roche, the present
incumbent. A much-
needed addition was made to the church in 1879, making the total cost of
the building about
$5,000. The size of the parish is given at eighty families.
      The Universalists.--The Rev. Dudley Tyng will be remembered by the
people of Columbus
 as having presided over a society of Universalists a quarter of a century
ago.  This society went
 out of existence, and in February, 1866, a new one was organized from the
fragments of the
 former society, by the Rev..M. G. Todd. The church was organized in September,
1869, and
 a church edifice erected that year at a cost of $7,000. Mr. Todd continued
as Pastor until
 November, 1878, when he resigned and was succeeded by the Rev. Edgar Leavitt,
the
 incumbent. The first officers of the present society were: John Hasey, President
of the Board
 of Trustees; A. Chapman, Treasurer; Deacons, Rev. Dudley Tyng and L. H.
Bingham. The
 present officers are the same, with the exception of the Rev. Mr. Tyng,
who is now deceased.
      The -Episcopalians.--Luther Gregory was the first Rector, and the parish
was organized
 over twenty years ago. The church edifice was built in 1871, at a cost of
$3,000. S. S.
 Burleson is the present Rector. His circuit includes Beaver Dam, Fox Lake,
Juneau, Doylestown
 and Columbus.
                                 MANUFACTURING INTERESTS.
     The first piece of machinery put in motion in Columbus was the rude
attachment to Maj.
 Dickason's "up-and-down" saw. This earliest of all early Columbus
pioneers built the
 first dam on the Crawfish River. It was he who first taught the stream to
leap forth in
 the morning to its toil, and to glide away at evening to its rest. The Major
put in a
 run of stones soon after getting his saw into operation, and thus he became
the only
 miller for many miles around. In 1843, he was compelled to turn over the
mill to Jere-
 miah Drake, who came as the agent and manager of Lewis Ludington. The grinding
of grain
 was then madethe leading feature. Another run of stones was added, but even
this increase of
 facilities could not cope with the accumulating grists. People came from
Madison, Stevens
 Point and other remote settlements to the Columbus mill.  The various grists
were numbered
 and had to "take their turn,:' many of them lying over for two weeks
at a time. This was a
 serious condition of things when bread was short.  One of the pioneers of
Columbus relates with
 apparent amusement, having gone to the mill with a few bags of wheat at
a time when there
 " wasn't a crust in the house." He found so many ahead of him
that, had he taken his place
 in the hungry procession, he-could not have reached home until late on the
following day. The
 lamentable condition in which he had left his family urged him to use a
little strategy; so, the
 miller's back being turned about the time the hopper became empty, he quietly
turned his grist
684


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