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

Pioneer days of Evansville and vicinity

Chapter II: Experience of Elder Phelps entering land,   pp. 9-15

Page 9

Experience of Elder Phelps Entering Land 
A Mr. Potter lived on the farm joining on the east, now owned by Mr. Reese.
Elder Phelps wanted to enter the forty on the opposite side of the road west
of his on what is now  East Main street, now   lined with beautiful homes.
It was an unwritten law that if they knew that one of their neighbors wanted
to enter a certain piece of land they would not bother him, and if anyone
did, that man had better move. This was in the month of June and Elder Phelps
had invited the neighbors to' come that afternoon to help him raise a log
barn. Now that forenoon   Mr. West was at work on his land over the fence
from where two of the Potter boys were at work, and as both parties came
near the  fence  they stopped to visit a few minutes. Mr. West asked the
boys where    their father was as he did not see him anywhere. They said
he had gone to Milwaukee. He asked them what he had gone f r and they said
they did not know. 
Mr. West thought in a moment that he had gone to enter the forty away from
Elder Phelps. He could not see as he could do anything about it. That afternoon
the nearby neighbors came and raised the barn. They got through about 5 o'clock
and all went in to supper. Then Mr. West told what the Potter boys told him,
and that he thought Potter had gone to enter this forty away from  Elder
Phelps. They were all up in arms about it. They said to Elder Phelps, "You
must go and get the land." He said, "I don't see how I can because
I have not got the money, and then, 
he has got one day the start of me." Now it was about seventy-five miles
and Mr. Potter would stay over night somewhere on the way. Ira Jones said,
"There is a lady at my house, who has the money, and I will go home
and get it and you get ready and make a start and by riding all night you
can get there before he can." The elder said he would make the trial.
He was used to riding horseback and when Mr. Jones came with the money he
mounted his horse and started on his all night ride. The elder had preached
quite a number of times twenty-five miles toward Milwaukee and was well acquainted
with the brethren there. When  he got there about ten in the evening, he
stopped at a brother's house, and told the man his errand and said he could
not make it unless he could have a fresh horse, as his could not go the whole
distance. The brother said, "Come to the stable and I will fix you out,"
and he led out a good horse, and when they had changed the saddle and bridle,
the brother told him to ride into Milwaukee by morning as he would guarantee
the horse to do the work, and the next morning he was in Milwaukee before
the land office was open. But he did not have to visit long, and when the
doors were opened he walked in and asked if such a piece of land was entered,
and they said "No." He told them he wanted it and paid the money
and got his deed.  Mr. Potter soon  after moved away. 
My sister's husband, John Rhinehart, came from La Porte, Ind., in the spring
of 1840, and took up land about 

Go up to Top of Page