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Hibbard, Benjamin Horace, 1870-1955 / The history of agriculture in Dane County, Wisconsin

Chapter V: Difficulties of early farming,   pp. 114-120 PDF (1.6 MB)

Page 116

visions: It cost two dollars per hundred weight to haul goods
from Milwaukee to Bark River Mill."63
   A  still earlier settler relates experiences much the same.64
   A writer in the Watertown Republic of July 3d, i889, speaks of
 making a sled by hand at Milwaukee, paying sixty dollars for
 three barrels of flour, eighty dollars for two barrels of pork, and
 with two yoke of oxen as the team starting westward for Water-
 town. Many instances are recorded of five dollars a barrel being
 paid for hauling flour from Milwaukee to Madison and it is little
 wonder when two yoke of cattle were required for moving ten or
 twelve hundred weight of goods. Before the road above men-
 tioned was laid out each teamster went where he pleased and he
 usually tried a new route "knowing that a change must neces-
 sarily be an improvement."
   The newcomers were almost uniformly without capital in
any form beyond a team of oxen, a wagon, and a few household
articles. Many a determined home-seeker, discouraged by busi-
ness failure or low wages in the east came to Wisconsin with
barely enough money to pay his passage, and after selecting a
farm and filing preemption papers, or quite as often, engaging
some friendly neighbor to use his influence in preventing its being
"jumped," started for the pineries and hired out as a chopper
thus earning enough to pay for a forty or two. These experi-
ences were not wholly uneventful. One Vermont youth after
walking a considerable share of the distance from Milwaukee to
Dane county, locating his claim, and making his way to a north-
ern pinery was told by the lumberman that he already had more
help than he wanted. Nothing daunted he resolved on appropri-
ating some of the free timber himself and set to work making
a raft to take to Dubuque in the spring in hopes of finding a
  "Quoted with some slight changes for the sake of brevity from Janesville
Gazette, June 24, 1886, WU. Local Hlst. Coll., XVIII.
  ""My father had raised the body of a hewn log house, which was
very nice then. His first thought was to finish that so we would be more
fortable. The boards for the floor and shingles for the roof had to be gotten
out by hand, but It was at last accomplished, and some time In January we
moved Into it. The next thought was to obtain seed for spring sowing, so
my father hewed out timber for building purposes, rafted It down the river
to Janesville where he sold It and bought potatoes, paying $5 per bushel,
beans the same. That of course did not mean many to eat, but as soon as
they could grow we had plenty."-Watertown Republic, June 26, 1889, Wie.
Hist. Coll., 11.

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