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Colby, Wisconsin centennial
(1873-1973)

Echoes of pioneer days,   pp. 5-17


Page 9

Danford Rector came to this part of the country in 1872.
He built his log house on Sect. 14 and moved in on Jan 3rd,
1873. D. C. Pierce and D. L. Kean were living there at the
time. Mr. Kean, a previous settler, and Rector were the first
in the locality to have board floors and doors. In those days
they were considered a luxury.
The settlers had difficulty maintaining their food supply.
Bears ate their meat and the 'butcher birds' (Canada Jays)
took their sausages when they hung them outside to 'keep'
and the 'porkies' gnawed holes in the pork barrel to get the
salt. The deer ate the cabbages and turnips, and looked in the
window and chased the chickens around the yard and the
settlers were forced to shoot them to preserve the crops. In
spite of the hardships, the days spent in the back woods,
in the Town of Hull, were the happiest of the pioneers'
lives.
John Prosser came here from Iowa in March, 1873 and
homesteaded on Sec. 6, TP 28 N of R. 3 E which is now the
Town of Frankfort. He built a board shanty and lived in
Colby the first year, but during the summer, cut a trail to his
homestead. On Oct, 23, 1873 he hired Wm. Stannard to go to
his place and haul logs for a house. It took them all day to
get there and 2 days to haul the logs together. The second day
it began to snow and it snowed eight inches in about as many
hours. They lived in a bark wigwam. In the winter of '73-74
Prosser hauled lumber and shingles to finish the house and in
the spring did finish it, but just a few days after that, the
iouse caught fire and burned to the ground. He later built a
small shanty to store his goods. That summer he lived in Colby
and kept the hotel that stood where N. P. Peterson's black-
3mith shop was built later. In the spring of '75 he again moved
on his homestead. His father, Jeremiah Prosser, settled here in
1874 and A. W. Prosser came in the spring of '75. These men
were the first settlers in the Town of Frankfort.
Their provisions were usually packed on their backs travel-
ing from Colby over a blazed trail. There were times when
they couldn't get provisions and then "Porky" meat was all
they had to eat in the shape of meat. Mr. Prosser's wife and
father both died in August of 1877. His mother died in
November of the following year.
0
In 1873 I. C. Gotchy and G. W. Ghoca built a warehouse
and kept flour, feed, and sash doors. During the winter of
'74-75 they dissolved partnership and Mr. Gotchy went into
the hardware business and served as assistant postmaster under
Ghoca. The first Postmaster was Ira Graves who held it for a
few months and Ghoca was appointed in his place. D. B. Hull
was the first chairman of the town named after him. Mr.
Gotchy was chairman the following year, 1874. During his
term of office, the Town of Holeton was set off from Hull
and the name "Holeton" was given in honor of one of the
first settlers.
The first 4th of July celebration was held in '74 and lawyer
H. B. Monaghan was the orator of the day and Elder Dix,
the chaplain. The picnic was held in a section of land owned
by John Riplinger. Tom Mitchell, who was a conductor of the
Wis. Central R. R. then, stopped his train opposite the picnic
grounds and took all the school children aboard and brought
JOHN PROSSER HOMESTEAD - Shown is his second wife, Mr. Prosser and three
children. The others are unknown.
-9-


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