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Curtiss-Wedge, F.; Jones, Geo. O. (ed.) / History of Dunn County, Wisconsin

Chapter IX: Early settlement of Menomonie,   pp. 53-59

Page 55

HISTORY OF DUNN COUNTY                          55
all around them, and there they were inextricably fast, nothing now remained but
to wade ashore, and cautiously they followed M\r. Gilbert supporting each other,
as waist-deep in water, whirling and eddying between the smooth boulders, they
made their way to terra firma, and climbed the steep bank to the trail, and in their
wet garments, drabbling in the sand, walked on to the residence of the sick lady,
after again getting wet, by fording Gilbert's Creek.
The census reports both state and federal, -reflect the untoward conditions
existing here for settlement, up to 1860. In 1850 Chippewa County comprised
practically all of the territory at present included in Buffalo, Trempealeau, Chippe-
wa, Eau Claire, Rusk, Barron, Polk, St. Croix, Pierce, Dunn, and Pepin counties,
and vet the United States census of that year gives the population of Chippewa
County as 615. This nearly staggers belief, that less than 70 years ago the area
of these eleven counties contained but 615 inhabitants subject to census enumera-
tion. However, the state census of 1855 gr -e Du-n County only 1796 and the
federal census of 1860 only raised it to 2704. An estimate of the number of persons
at this place and in the camps in its immediate vicinity in 1850, based on the names
appearing on the account books of the company gives 150.
Elisha Brown and Levi Vance came here in the summer of 1846 and each worked
for Black and Knapp until in October of that year. They on October 28, jointly
began logging on contract for this firm under the partnership name of Brown and
Vance. It does not appear that they had had any former experience in this busi-
ness, they apparently had no capital. As might well be predicted, they did not
make money. They first established a camp at Lamb's Creek and later moved to
the South Pork of H-av River. Their business was confined to transactions with
Black and Knapp and their account shows a settlement November 21, 1847. They
were then in debt 8180.62. On September 12, 1850, there was a final settlement
with them and they were still in debt. While the fact of this showing of continuous
and ultim-ate indebtedness does not of itself show that these men did not make a
profit, yet the character of the articles shown as charges in their account against
the price of their logs indicates it. Most of the price was absorbed in charges for
supplies and equipment to be used up in camp.
There is a tradition that Jason Ball died here in the spring of 1847 and that his
widow that same year married Levi Vance, one of the partners of the firm of Brown
and Vance. By Vance she had children and some of her descendants still live in
this city. On the company's books there is some corrobative evidence of the death
of Ball and of the marriage of his widow to Vance. From legendary story, Ball's
burial place is placed by some at the bigelm near the present warehouse and by
others on the eastern bank of Wilson's Creek above the La Pointe Lumber yard.
Up to larch 10, 1847, after July 26, 1846, Ball's account shows a daily liberal
purchase of household supplies and  f articles of family domestic use. After March
10, but few entries appear. On March 23, 1847, the account is credited with,
"1 overcoat 811.50."  On April 28, "By charge to Philander Ball 83.00."  On
Philander Ball's account of the same date'is a charge "To credit of Mrs. Ball $4.00,"
and under the entry is another which does not appear on Jason Ball's account,
"To credit of Mrs. Ball 820.00."  The significance of this last entry lies in the fact
that in the account of Brown and Vance, the same year, month not shown, there
is a credit, "By Mrs. Vance, balance due her, charged to Philander Ball, $20.00."
No charge on Philander Ball's account is found as a credit to Mrs. Vance. It
seems probable that the same $20 is concerned in these two entries; that Black
and Knapp charged it to Philander Ball and gave to the widow of Jason Ball some
paper to the effect that it owed to her the amount of this charge; later that
Mrs. Ball as Mfrs. Levi Vance transferred it to Brown and Vance, that this firm
presented it to Black and Knapp and were given credit on its books for the sum
called for, 820.
Jason Ball's account was closed with the credits mentioned andonfrmJh
Vale for 81.25. These various credits seem to indicate that Jason Ball dropped out
of the life of the settlement in some way, and the form of the credits in the closing
of his account seemingly indentifying Mlrs. Ball as Mrs. Vance indicate that Jason

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