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Somerset, Wisconsin: 125 pioneer families and Canadian connection: 125th year
(1990?)

[Rosalie Parnell's book on Somerset, Wisconsin],   pp. 11-64 PDF (24.6 MB)


Page 18

The folks all tame from different sections of Quebec, Canada,
but all would land at Parents and double up as best they could,
thankful and happy to be in this rich land of opportunities (A
blissful haven to them) compared to over-thickly populated Canada.
In July of 1853 the following arrived. Toussaint, Francois,
Antoine and Ambrose Parent, Mrs. Thomas Parnell, Mrs Joseph Martell,
Mrs. Desire Rivard (Marie), Mrs. Paul La Liberty (Stazil), Mrs.
Ambroise Martell (Etudian), Mrs. Xavier Montbriand (Aurielle) and
Mrs. Onizime Bourbou. Also the Saint Pierre brothers and several
other single men.
The government most always included men of trades like black-
smiths, shoemakers, carpenters and tanners (important then). The
men set to work cutting down timber and putting up huts for them
to live in as soon as possible. There must have been standing
room only at Parents. From daybreak till sundown they toiled.
This was considered a days work then. The houses were all built
as close to one another as possible for safety, first of all and
also after the fashion in Canada (Narrow long pieces of land run-
ning parallel). The settlement looked like a small village. They
were constantly fearing the approach of the Indians night and day.
What horrible momentsi By being so close, contact could be made
very rapidly. We cannot begin to realize the constant fears and
horrors they were under day and night. Someone on watch at all
times. Youngsters hid. There were not any demonstrations of
savagery in this immediate locality. In a very short time each
one had his claim and a simple abode for himself and his family.
Thomas Parnell located a short distance from the Parent boys
claim on top of the cliff. A log house was very quickly put up
by all hands on Mr. Parnell's one hundred and twenty acres. A
structure of about 14 x 20 feet, one and one half stories high,the
first log house built in the area. The foundation was made of
sandstone dug out along the rocky spot along the banks of the St.
Croix River south about two miles. How they managed to bring the
sandstone to the spot of the house is almost a conundrum, as there
were no horses or tractors. But it was brought there and placed
in the wall. The basement was also sandstone and what a cool
basement it was - no need of a frigidaire. Walls were well mudded
as the saying goes. The shingles were hand made from the Parent
brothers' "factory".
This same house many years later was sided with clapboard,
green stained shutters placed at the windows and an addition added
on for a kitchen somewhat lower than the first section was. It
was not made of logs. The outside of the house was whitewashed.
A veranda was built the whole length of the front of the house
(the two sections, lower and upper). There was an outside stairway
to the cellar made of the same. Green closeable blinds were put
on and the house was kept white-washed and home-made stain on the
blinds. Wooden pegs were used throughout except in the latter
additions square steel nails were used. Talk about initiative,
they sure had it in those days.   Every effort was made later to


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