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 V: from "The old settler's series," published in The badger,   pp. 19-25


Page 24

settled by Germans  from   Racine. About four miles west I struck a farmer
and hired out to work for $11 a month. Here I worked about one-half a month.
I was anxious to get back to the Winston's. I worked for Mr. Winston a month
or more, till time to engage a school for the winter. I engaged  the school
in Union village. This was considered quite an important point on the stage
route between Janesville and Madison, Union being half way between the two
tcwns. At this place there was not a trame house in the village. My -wages
that winter were $15 a month and board around. Of course I had a jolly good
time, plenty to eat of the substantials, a good appetite and a hearty welcome.
As is the case in a new country, money was scarce. Our  money   consisted
 of state bank paper of very uncertain value, some British gold and French
and Spanish silver; very seldom we saw any American gold or silver. Farmers
settled on government land, built houses, improved their farms, raised wheat
to pay for the land at $1.25 an acre, and woe to the man who dared to jump
a claim. Cows were worth from $10 to $15 a head; a first rate yoke of oxen
were worth $40  to  $50; dressed  pork   was often  as low   as $1.50  a
 hundred; butter six to  ten  cents  a pound; eggs five to eight cents a
dozen. We all looked forward to better times. There were no  railroads; everything
for market was hauled to  Milwaukee, and   goods hauled  back  by  team.
Teamsters could get at a hotel, supper, breakfast, lodging, horses to  hay
 and whiskey thrown in, for sixty-two and one-half cents, and tavern keeping
was the best business  going. For many years farmers did their work with
oxen, including hauling grain to Milwaukee; we even went to meeting 
with them, chained the oxen up to a burr oak tree during service. We did
not mind roughing it then; I have been to Milwaukee with oxen, gone seven
days, lying under  the wagon every night and not get a meal of victuals except
what  we cooked ourselves." 
Christmas eve in 1858 there was to, be a dance and supper at the Spencer
house. The tickets were $2 each. I wanted to go but did not have the $2.
The only way I had to obtain a ticket was to cut and Laul a cord of oak wood,
which I did and secured my ticket. I have sold a  good  many cords of wood
since for more money, but I never got so much enjoyment out of any cord of
wood I ever sold as I did from the sale of this one. 
Every place seems to   have  its champion liar and story-teller; when Union
was a thriving little village it certainly had one. Peter Aller related to
me an incident that happened in Union one Monday morning. Two men started
for Stoughton; about one mile out they saw Charles Sabin coming on foot,
walking fast. One said: "Here comes Charley   now. What lie will he
have to tell this morning?" When nearly opposite   they  said: "Good
morning, Charley; why are you in such a hurry?"  He said:   "A
Mr. so and so (naming the man) is dead and I am going to town after some
things for the family." "My, we did not know that he was sick."
arxlll es  s ,. .  W.. -ct  5v Cx a little while and died last ni They were
  both  astonished started on. One of them said tc other: "Hadn't we
better drive to the house and see if we cai something for the family?"
agreed to that; it was about one out of their way. When they an at the house
they saw the woma 
-24- 


Go up to Top of Page