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
(1915)

Chapter IV: stage coaching in early Wisconsin days,   pp. 17-19


Page 18

man and was one of the early taverns along the line. There was one tavern
that kept a few groceries on one side of the room; in those days all taverns
sold whisky. One day a man came in and asked if they had any crackers. Being
told that they had he called for a pound. When they were put up he asked
if he could change them for -a drink of whiskey, as he had changed his mind..
They said: "Yes, that would be all right." He drank the whiskey
and started out. On being asked to pay for the whiskey he said he had traded
the crackers for it; then the storekeeper wanted the pay for the crackers
and the man said: "Why, you have the crackers." 
After leaving Rutland the next stop was Rome Corners, later known as Oregon.
The first tavern there was kept by C. P. Mosley and was built by him in 1843.
From Rome Corners the stages went by way of Oak Hall, later by Lake View.
The 'tavern at Oak Hall was    built by  William Quivey in 1843 and kept
by him in connection with the postoffice. The next stop was Madison. 
The first couple married in the town of Union was Peter Aller and Eleanor
Temple, March 28, 1841. In 1848 Union was quite a little village, consisting
of five general stores, one hotel or tavern as they were called in those
days, jewelry shop, wagon shop, blacksmith shop, postoffice and boarding
house. Union at that time was prosperous enough to support a brass band and
an orchestra. P. T. Barnum showed there at one time. He had Tom Thumb as
one of his attractions; his big  elephant was called Hannibal. 
My folks used to go there to trade. Prices were somewhat different than now.
Eggs were four cents a dozen and butter five cents a pound; at those prices
it took four dozen eggs to buy one yard of calico, now you 
canobuy four yards of calico for one dozen eggs. Most other things were in
proportion. 
The first minister was Elder Murphy. The first church building was erected
in 1851, and dedicated in the spring of 1852. 
I think one of the merchants in Union came as near being a miser as any one
I ever saw. One day two farmers met in front of his store. One owed the other
two dollars and handed him a five dollar bill. The other could not change
it so he said he would go inside and get Smith to change it for him, and
stepping inside, he asked to  have  the  bill changed so he could pay his
neighbor two dollars. The merchant said: "You will have to buy something."
He had to buy five cents worth of candy in order to get the bill changed.
Here is another of his schemes: At that time we had silver quarters in circulation;
they had two posts or pillars on them and when they got somewhat worn they
passed for twenty cents. This man would condemn all he could of them. In
the evening before closing his store he would take out all those he had condemned
during the day and place them on a shovel and hold it over  the fire. When
heated these pillars would rise, and the next day he could pass the coins
for twenty-five cents. 
How the world has moved! Less than a century ago railroads and the telegraph
were deemed impossibilities. Alexander Wells, an old citizen of Wellsville,
Ohio, has a copy of an interesting and novel document issued by the school
board of the town of Lancaster, Ohio, in 1828. The question of steam railroads
was in its incipient stage and a club of young men had been formed for the
purpose of discussing the points at issue. They desired the use of the schoolhouse
for purposes of debate. This was looked 
-18-- 


Go up to Top of Page