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Ingram, Orrin Henry, 1830-1918 / Autobiography, Orrin Henry Ingram : May, 1830--December, 1912

An Eau Claire breeze,   pp. 39-42 PDF (881.5 KB)

Page 40

The talk impressed him so favorably that he took an option on
the mill and a mill-site and came back to Ottawa and reported
to me what he had found. I again had the western fever and
decided I would investigate, and on the strength of Mr. Dole's
report, and the fact of his having an option on a portable mill,
I arranged to come out here. That was in the winter of 1856
or 1857. Mr. Kennedy was, I thought, a good millwright,
working for the Gilmore Co. on a small salary-less than I
thought he earned-and I told him I would try to find some-
body to take his place at the Blaunch mills if he wanted to
come here and look over this place with me; and I thought it
could be done in about three weeks, or perhaps a little longer.
He was anxious to do it, and I got a man to take his place and
gave Mr. Gilmore notice that I would want to leave in about
three months to go into business for myself. I had agreed
with Gilmore & Co. to give three months notice if I desired to
leave them at any time. Mr. Kennedy knew a handy man he
thought he would like to have with him if he was coming
here to build a mill, and the man could pay his own fare and
take the chance of finding a job, so we arranged to leave for
Eau Claire very soon. We were able to reach a point eight
miles east of Portage by rail, by coming around by way of Og-
densburg to Watertown, N. Y. When we reached the end of the
road we hired a man and team to bring us to Eau Claire. That
was in February. Mr. Randall was able to make us believe
this was one of the best points in the world for a saw mill, that
there was an endless amount of pine timber above here, on the
Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers, and that we were soon to have
a dam across the river at the Dells that would make Eau Claire
one of the best manufacturing towns in this country. We
found a good many transients here, and a small hotel known
as the Eau Claire House, where it was necessary to have a bed
on the floor, on a straw tick, the first night. After another
day, looking around, I went with Mr. Randall to see some of
the timber on the Eau Claire, where he and some others had a

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