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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 XIV,   pp. 796-832 PDF (18.9 MB)


Page 807


HISTORY OF COLUMBIA COUNTY.
of another line had been made, with the object of crossing the riveir about
two miles above,
their fears and anger were unbounded.   The further growth of the village
was at once
checked.
     While it was said by those in authority that the road would, in all
probability, cross at
Newport, all confidence in their assurances was lost. Communication was entered
into between
the citizens and the railroad company and with the hydraulic company, but
no satisfaction
was given. The latter company were asked to again enter into bonds or to
restore the land and
dam privileges, to all of which they turned a deaf ear. As will readily be
seen, neither
the original owners of the land, the first incorporators of the dam or the
citizens of the village
who had made investments therein, with the understanding that the railroad
should cross the
river here, had any recourse in law.
     When these facts Were fully impressed upon the minds of all, and when
known to a cer-
tainty that the railroad would cross the river about two miles above, on
Section 4, a panic
ensued among the holders of real estate. Nearly every one wished to sell
and few desired t-6
buy. Property began fo depreciate very rapidly, and, in the spring of 1857,
when the rail-
road was completed through the 'village of Kilbourn City, lots that, two
year's previous, were
held at $1,000, could readily be purchased for $100. Every. day, there were
some leaving for
other and more favorable localities. Good dwelling-houses, on which there
were small mort-
gages, were abandoned or willingly surrendered to the mortgagees. Notwithstanding
all this,
there were still a few who were determined not to give up without a further
struggle for life.
     In the winter of 1857, a petition, numerously signed by the ci'tizens
of Newport, was pr2e-
 sented to the railroad company, praying for the location of a depot at a
point on the road near-
 est their. village. As an inducement to the company to grant their request,
the citizens' obli-
 gated themselves to build an'd keep in good order a ferry across the river,
and to carry free all
 freight intended for the village of Delton, Baraboo or other point on the
west side. As the
 Chicago & Northwestern Railroad was not built at this time, this would
be a favorable arrange-
 ment for citizens of the places mentioned, as well as for the railroad company.
A favorable
 response to their appeal was made on condition that Newport would erect
a suitable station-
 house and pay the expense of such additional track as might be necessary
for the convenient
 transaction of all business. This the citizens willingly agreed to do.
      When the depot was built and an agent placed in charge, Newport held
a large mass-meet-
 ing, to celebrate its "resurrection." Speeches were made, toasts
drank and a general season of
 rejoicing indulged in. It was now believed that the village would again
become as prosperous
 as formerly, and all their fond anticipations.realized.
      A year passed, and these brikht visions faded away. It was now clearly
seen that they
 were fighting against the inevitable-the village was doomed to die. At this
time, the popula-
 tion had lessened fully one-half, and those remaining endeavored to make
a change as.quickly
 and quietly as possible. A number of buildings were removed bodily; others
were torn down
 and the material taken away for erection elsewhere. Merchants that had been
doing a business
 of $20,000 to $100,000 a year could not sell enough goods to pay expenses,
and, one by one,
 they boxed up their effects and sent them to other parts, until, in the
summer of 1860, but one
 firm remained. In October following, Freeman Longley quietly followed the
example of others,
 and the village of Newport was--dead.
                                 VILLAGE OF KILBOURN CITY.
     It has already been stated that the Wisconsin River Hydraulic Company,
in the summer
 of 1855, purchased the land on which the village of Kilbourn City was* afterward
located.  At
 this point the table-land lies about eighty feet .above the Wi sconsin River,
the perpendicular,
 rocky banks, of which are occasionally, broken byeasy ravines running thirty,
forty. or fifty rods
 back. These table-lands extend northeast, east, and southeast, to aft indefinite
extent, and to the
 south about three-quarters of a mile, where they become more broken by bluffs
and hills. Some
810T


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