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The history of Columbia County, Wisconsin, containing an account of its settlement, growth, development and resources; an extensive and minute sketch of its cities, towns and villages--their improvements, industries, manufactories, churches, schools and societies; its war record, biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers; the whole preceded by a history of Wisconsin, statistics of the state, and an abstract of its laws and constitution and of the constitution of the United States

Chapter XIV,   pp. 796-832 PDF (18.9 MB)

Page 809

chopping wood, bringing water, and calking house, to select copy and write
editorials; cold pota-
toes and pancakes, and thoughts of deer for dinner, and, on special occasions,
a talk about'apples,
lemons, etc , for dessert-; biscuit and a little butter, and partridge drumming
for supper; twenty-
three degrees below, zero, and baby crying for sleep -all to be repeated
the next day, and so on.
But our location isbeautiful, and our home will be as neat as a pin when
we get it fixed.  Four
oak-trees hang their branches over our house like the arms of power for our
protection; the
majestic Wisconsin, catching ten thousand sunbeams, and throwing them joyously
into our win-
d ows; the rocks and hills peering up in the distance, and the thin covering
of snow sparkling in
the sunlight, like ten million eyes looking out from the spirit world-is
not such a place pleasant
for a home ?  Live in the cities if you will, but give us the wild, wild
woods, the rocks, the hills
and the-majestic river, with health and loving friends, and we are content."
     In the winter of 1855-56, the hydraulic company commenced the building
of a dam at
this place, their charter having been so amended as to authorize its construction.
Wh9n com-
pleted it was 425 feet long, with a fall of eight feet.  Considerable trouble
was experienced by
the lumbermen in running their rafts over, and a large party gathered here
in the spring of 1859
and destroyed it.
     Soon after Mr. Holly located here, J. B. Vliet, John Anderson, G. F.
Noble, James Bailey
and others came in, and the place began to assume a business-like appearance.
A considerable
number of men were employed in clearing away the trees for the streets of
the village, and others
were engaged in building houses and working on the dam.
     One of the rules of the hydraulic company was, that those who purchased
lots were to
build on them within a reasonable time, or they were to be forfeited to the
company. Although
it was not until June 10, 1856, that the plat of the village was placed upon
record, yet many
lots were previously chosen by those who were ready to comply with the terms
of sale. The
new village in the woods was now christened Kilbourn City, so named in honor
of Byron Kil-
bourn, President of the La Crosse & Milwaukee Railroad. With reference
to the selection of
this name, the Mirror, under date of June 17, 1856, says:  Under ordinary
circumstances we
should be opposed to naming a town after a person, but we think the circumstances
in this place
are such as to make it eminently proper.  Hon. Byron Kilbourn, of Milwaukee,
for public
enterprise which tells on the prosperity of the State, undoubtedly stands
first. This makes it
proper that an important central town should be named after him.  He is one
of the early set-
tlers of the State, having come to the metropolis in its infancy, and having
been instrumental
beyond any other individual in its growth and prosperity; hence there is
a propriety in fixing
his name to an enduring monument.  He is the body and soul of the La Crosse
Railroad.  On
that more than all other enterprises he has staked his reputation as a business
man, to make it
the great trunk line of the State. The present prosperity of the r6ad shows
that his success is
almost certain. Under these circumstances it seems highly fitting that some
place on the line of
the road should bear his name.   Our place is nearly central on the road,
at the place where it
crosses the largest river in the State, and we expect it to be the largest
inland town in the State.
Then what place could be named after the head man of the road with greater
propriety than this ?
In the name-itself there can be no objections. It has but two syllables and
is euphonious, conse-
quently is easily spoken and agreeable to the ear. These reasons we think
are abundantly suffi-
cient for naming our place as we have. And as the place is honored by the
name, it is expected
that the name will be honored by the place."
      The first public sale of lots was advertised to commence Monday, August
18, 1856, to be
 continued through the week. At the time specified a large number of persons
from Milwaukee,
 Madison, Portage City, and other points in this State, together with a few
from Illinois, Ohio,
 New York and other States, gathered in the "city " and just before
noon the sale began. The
 conditions of the sale were, one-quarter down, and the balance in three
equal annual payments,
 at 7 per cent interest. Twenty per cent on the price for which the lots
sold were deducted for
 payment all down.   The stock of the hydraulic company was taken in payment
at par. The sale
 was closed on Thursday, up to which time lots were disposed of amounting
to $76,235, ranging

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