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Colby, Wisconsin centennial
(1873-1973)

Sketches of pioneers,   pp. 18-127


Page 18

SKETCHES OF
PIO NEERS
When they first came the bill of fare changed from pork
and beans to corn-dodgers and molasses. For butter, they used
a preparation of pork gravy mixed with molasses to which an
old bachelor gave the name of "buyah". In the fall when game
was plenty they had a welcome addition to their menu.
Porcupines would gnaw all nite at the buildings keeping the
weary occupants from sleep.
The greatest hardships the women had to endure was being
left alone while their husbands were miles away at work. Liv-
ing in the midst of the forest, as they did, there was danger of
trees falling during a storm, and crushing the lowly dwellings.
Amusements were few and simple, but this only added to
the pleasure they gave. There would be a sewing bee or a genu-
ine surprise party where they all did their best to have a good
time. Some played games while others danced after the music
of a single fiddle. There were sleigh rides by moonlight.
The style of dress differed from the style later. The women
wore rather short dresses of calico, sunbonnets in summer and
in winter small old-fashioned hoods. If the men were obliged
to be outside very much in the winter they wore mackinaw
suits and caps. Sometimes a sock with the foot cut off and a
string tied on one end served the purpose. Some of the farmers
living in the vicinity of Colby wore what they called "panto-
fles." These were a species of wooden shoes in which the soles
were of wood and tops of leather.
There were few horses. Those that could afford it bought
oxen, as they were more suitable for the hard work necessary
in clearing a farm. Sometimes you would see a cow hitched
up with the ox.
The roads during the first few years were in terrible condi-
tion and many places there were only narrow foot paths.
J. E. BORDEN
was born in New York in 1828, came here to
the town of Hull 1872 and took a homestead. In 1876 he was
in partnership with A. H. Booth's General Merchandise store.
The farm he owned later became the W. J. BrII farm. Borden
also had a furniture business which he sold to L. M. Cole. He
was the first town treasurer which he held for four years. He
married Sarah Jane Gilford in 1875. They had two children.
Mr. Borden lost an arm in the service at the Battle of the
Wilderness on the 5th day of May, 1864.
N. P. PETERSON
Neils Peterson, was born in jenmark,
June 10, 1840. It was there he learned the blacksmith trade,
served in the Danish navy during the war in 1864 with Ger-
many and Austria, and worked for a time as foreman at a fac-
tory belonging to his uncle. In 1867 he came to America. Mr.
Peterson came to Colby in 1872, took up a homestead, north
N. P. PETERSON-one of our sturdy pioneers. One of the last original
homesteaders in the Town of Hull to pass away.
of the village. He opened the first general blacksmith shop, of-
ten worked long after the clocks had tolled midnight. This
blacksmith shop grew into a sleigh and wagon-making estab-
lishment. By 1882, he had 9 to 10 men in his employ. A
planing and grist mill was run in connection. A new shop, pres-
ently the City garage, was erected in 1896.
Mr. Peterson, was married to Miss M. Gunderson. They had
five children. Mrs. Peterson preceded her husband in death by
aoubt 30 years. In 1898, he married Miss M. Larson. One child
was born to this union, John Peterson.
N. P. Peterson died April 14, 1927, at his farm north of the
city, to which he had retired for some years. He was a man
who took a keen interest in public affairs and devoted much
of his talent and time to the service of the public. He was a
member of the Masonic Lodge and Odd Fellow Lodge for over
25 years. He was a member of the first high school board.
Blacksmith and Wagon Shop of N. P. Peterson
-18-


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