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Holand, Hjalmar Rued, 1872-1963 / Wisconsin's Belgian community : an account of the early events in the Belgian settlement in northeastern Wisconsin with particular reference to the Belgians in Door County

Chapter V: The Great Fire of 1871,   pp. [58]-68 PDF (2.6 MB)

Page 59

               THE GREAT FIRE OF 1871                59
the company to go down-state every fall and buy up several
herds of cattle which were driven to Red River. The cows
and calves were butchered to feed the hungry mill hands,
and the bulls were used for skidding logs. Oxen were bet-
ter for this work than horses, but they unsually lasted only
one winter. Almost daily a schooner would take its load of
unplaned pine planks and shingles and sail off to Milwau-
kee and Chicago.
    The Scofield Company had a smaller mill on the west
side of the waterfall about a mile southwest of Dyckesville.
Here, too, most of the employees were Belgians. In 1872
or '73 a remarkable accident happened at this mill. The
big boiler suddenly exploded, dividing itself in two. One
part shot lengthwise through the mill killing nine persons
and, flying through the woods, cut down the treetops like
a huge cannonball.
    The busiest of these mill centers was Little Sturgeon
Bay in me norm ena of tne setlement. Tvr. r reeiano 'ard-
ner came here a year or two before the Belgians and bought
up thousands of acres of good timber land scattered all
through the settlement. He started one enterprise after
another, such as saw mill, gristmill, shipyard, lime kilns and
ice houses, and gave employment to hundreds of men. The
grist mill, built about at the beginning of the Civil War,
was the first grist mill in the county and was a great boon
to the pioneers. Sometimes fifty or sixty farmers would be
there waiting their turn after having creaked all night over
corduroy roads with their wagons pulled by oxen from Red
River, Rosiere or Maplewood. There they met farmers
from Liberty Grove and Washington Island who brought
I No vestige of this village now remains, but a part of the
pier remains.

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