University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

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 XIII,   pp. 747-795 PDF (25.2 MB)


Page 747


HISTORY OF COLUMBIA COUNTY.
                                  CHAPTER XIII.
 TOWN OF FOUNTAIN PRAIRIE-VILLAGE OF FALL RIVER-TOWN OF HAMPDEN-TOWN OF LEEDS
        -TOWN OF LEWISTON-TOWN OF LODI-VILLAGE OF LODI-VILLAGE OF OKEE.
                                TOWN OF FOUNTAIN PRAIRIE.
     At a meeting of the County Commissioners, held in 1846, all of Township
11, Range 12,
together with other territory adjacent on the south, was made a voting precinct,
and elections
ordered held at the house of A. P. Birdsey ; and Asa Proctor, J. T. Lewis
and Jeremiah Drake
were appointed Judges of Election. At a further meeting of the board, held
in January, 1849,
the township was set off to itself and given the name of Fountain Prairie.
The house of A. A.
Brayton was designated as the place for holding the first election.
     Chester Bushnell was the first actual settler of the town. He arrived
here in the, spring
of 1843, and erected a board shanty on Section 33. Wayne B. Dyer came in
September of
the same year, and erected the first log house. John Brown and Benjamin Sage
Came also the
same fall and selected land, Mr. Brown remaining here and Mr. Sage returning
to Vermont
after his family. Mr. Brown built a log house upon the land he had selected
(the east half of the
northeast quarter of Section 34). In July, 1844, Mr. Sage came back, bringing
with him his
family. He erected a house upon the west half of the northeast quarter of
Section 34, being
the fourth*built in the town. During that summer and for two or three years,
a number
of settlers came in, among whom were Asa Proctor, John Boutwell, L. Pearson,.
Julius Higbe,
John Q. Adams, Enos Grout, Alison Horton, E. J. Smith, A. A. Brayton, S.
M. Smith, John
O'Brien, J. D. Bullis, Isaac Bennett, Phinneas Underwood, Edward Tripp, James
Ketchum,
John Swarthout, Nelson Swarthout, Jacob Swarthout and James C. Carr.
     In addition to those already mentioned as settling in the town in 1843,
H. W. McCafferty
made a claim, as it was called, which consisted in selecting a section for
a farm and designating
such selection by plowing a few furrows upon it, or making some slight preparations
for building
a cabin, or oftener by blazing a few trees in the timber, or setting a stake
or two on the prairie,
and placing one's initials upon them. These slight indications of intention
to settlement were
generally regarded as sacred by the early settlers, so that a claim was seldom
jumped. McCaf-
ferty's claim was on Section 21 and the adjoining sections. Mac had an eye
to a ranch of mag-
nificent proportions. He plowed a few acres and sowed it to winter wheat
in the fall of 1843;
a very fair crop was harvested, although'somewhat injured by the deer feeding
upon it. The
California gold fever breaking out soon after this, McCafferty was swept
along with it; when he
returned, part of his claim had been taken up by others and the remainder
had been despoiled
of its timber, so he abandoned it, yet his name adheres to the place, as
the high ridge of land
running through Sections 21 and 15 is known as McCafferty's Ridge.
     July 15, 1843, is the date of the first entry of land in the town. This
was made by James
C. Carr. The railway station at Fall River is upon it. Carr came from the
State of New
York and settled upon this land June, 1844. He filled the office of Justice
of the Peace for
many years, and was several times elected Chairman of the County Board of
Supervisors. He
removed to Missouri.  Wayne B. Dyer came from Ohio in August, 1843, located
on Sec-
tion 34, the farm now occupied by Mr. Kelly. October 5, 1843, Dyer entered
the north-
east quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 26, the timber land northeast
of the
cemetery, on the road to Lost Lake; this was the second entry of land in
tow'n. The
following May, Dyer sold ' his claim  and improvements to E. J. Smith, and,
anticipating
Greeley's' advice to young men, " went west" and located in the
present town of Otsego, where
he was the first settler and built the first house in town. Two of his daughters,
Mrs. Capt. M.
747


Go up to Top of Page