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Curtiss-Wedge, F.; Jones, Geo. O. (ed.) / History of Dunn County, Wisconsin
(1925)

Chapter X: the Knapp Stout & Co. company,   pp. 60-70


Page 62

HISTORY OF DUNN COUNTY
and tell in simple language what he knows about the scenes, the persons and the
events that make up our aforetime history. As an aid to such a coming result I
give to you an abstract of the information that lays open at your door.
"The first location and establishment of a dam and mill in this valley was in
1822-23, on Wilson Creek, at its mouth. These were destroyed by a flood within
a few months after commencement of work and before their completion. Both
were rebuilt, but not until 1830-31. By March, 1831, 100,000 feet of lumber had
been sawed at the Wilson Creek mill, but in June of that year the dam was swept
out by a freshet and the lumber carried away and scattered. This dam at Wilson
Creek was probably on the exact site of the present dam on that stream.
"There is no definite and well authenticated account of an occupation even
temporarily on this river for any purpose before this of 1822-23. Between the
occupancy of 1822-23 and that of 1830 it is probable that some private forays were
made on the timber growing here, but no mention is found of them. Lawfully,
only those having a permit from the United States could then cut timber on this
river, and during this period it is believed no such permit was issued.
In both instances, that of 1822-23 ond that of 1830-31, James H. Lockwood
and Joseph Rolette, rival fur traders, both of Prairie du Chien, were the backers of
the enterprises. In the first venture one Hardin Perkins was interested and a man
named Armstrong was a part owner in the second. Perkins lost his services and
$1,500 and Lockwood & Rolette divided the remainder of the loss. Armstrong,
to get rid of him, was paid $500 for his interest in the business venture of 1830-31,
before the dam and mill at Wilson Creek were completed. Then an interest was
given to one Isaac Saunders.
"From August 11, 1831, until the fall of 1837 we find no mention of this mill by
any one claiming to have been here during that period. John H. Fonda, an early
resident of Prairie du Chien, in a published statement, states that he was at the
mill on the Menomonie River in the years 1837, 1838 and 1839, in all two years.
He calls the mill Lockwood's mill.
"From a statement made by James H. Lockwood, the last known owners before
1841 of the Wilson Creek mill were Lockwood and Rolette, with an interest in Isaac
Saunders, given to him to induce him to take charge of the business there. By
Fonda's statement it would appear that in 1837, 1838 and 1839, Lockwood owned
this mill. There is no evidence of a transfer of the interest of Rolette or of Saunders
in and to this mill. Yet it is probable that not only the interest of Rolette, but
that of Saunders, was, at some time, conveyed, for by a deed recorded in Crawford
County, it appears that a transfer was made of the Wilson Creek mill to James
Green by James H. Lockwood and Hiram S. Allen. This deed bears date January 8,
1841. By the same records it appears that Green, by a deed, dated May 18, 1842,
conveyed this mill to William Black. The records of the county court of Crawford
County show that William Black died in 1844 and that David Black, described in
the petition for administration of his estate as the nearest relative living in this
vicinity, became administrator of his estate. An inventory was filed which showed
only personal property. David Black asked for an got an extension of two years
in which to settle the estate, which in fact never was settled so far as the records
show. Before the two years for which the extension was given had expired, David
Black died. It is conjectured that David Black in some way acquired title to the
Wilson Creek property through these administration proceedings, for by a deed
recorded in Crawford County, dated June 16, 1846, for a consideration of 82,000,
he conveyed to John H. Knapp an undivided one-half interest therein. It was but
a few weeks after the giving of this deed that he, David Black, died.
"A partnership was formed between David Black and John H. Knapp at the
time of the sale of the one-half interest by which Mr. Knapp was to carry on a
lumber business at the mill for the firm styled " Black and Knapp" for a term of five
years.
"David Black's estate was administered through the county court of Crawford
County and the administrator thereof became authorized to and did give to Mr.
Knapp a deed of the one-half interest remaining in David Black. This deed is
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