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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 57

HISTORY OF DUNN COUNTY                          57
effect rather than for historic accuracy or justice to pioneer womanhood.
Recent testimony regarding Mrs. Vale has been given by William Lemon -of
WVeston in this county, that Mrs. Vale-died at his father's house at Varney's Creek,
formerly Tainter's Creek, and that he was at home at the time. This is a small
stream that empties into the Red Cedar River on its west side about one and one-
half miles below Irvington and five miles below Menomonie. Anthony Lemon,
William's father, when he first came into this country went to Chippewa Falls,
from there to Dunnville, then to Varnev Creek, later to Gilbert's Mill and later
still to Eau Galla. In 1850 he lived at Varney Creek; William was then nine years
old. He remembers John Vale as a tall slim man of a crooked appearance and as
being a hard drinker of intoxicating liquors, but of a kindly manner and disposition,
and Mrs. Vale as mean spirited and especially vixenish in word and action toward
her husband. At this time she repelled his every advance of attentive kindness.
Perhaps this was not an inate disposition of Mrs. Vale but a shrewishness acquired
by reason of the hard condition of her life. Mr. Lemon distinctly remembers the
circumstances of irs. Vale's death but does not recollect where she was buried
but thinks it probable that she was buried on the east side of the river opposite
Yarnev Creek on the prairie. He remembers that Vale, after his wife's death staid
at Varnev Creek a short time and recollects that it was told about the camp not
long after that he had gone down the river.
Two incidents served to fix the memory of the Vales in the mind of young Lemon.
One that at the near approach of death he remembers it was said Mrs. Vale should
not die on a feather bed; that she should be put on a straw tick. Whether this
was the expression of a superstitious early day notion or merely the enforcement
of some economic or sanitary dcmestic practice the writer is unable to say. The
other incident was, that during Mrs. Vale's last sickness she gave to his mother,
Mrs. Lemon, two old fashioned heavv flatirons. One of these with the handle gone.
William Lemon now has and in a somewhat changed form uses it in the setting of
From another source, from a person who then occasionally lived at the Upper
Mill, it is learned that Mrs. Vale figured in one of the frequent Indian scares of those
times. One day word came to Captain Wilson that an Indian was assaulting
Fannie Vale. It is to be believed that Mrs. Vale was a wcman small in stature and
of spire form. The Captain went at once to her cabin, locatel near and east of the
site of the present piano factory, and found that an Indian had Mrs. Vale against
the inner wall of the cabin and was choking her. When rescued she was nearly
strangled and was black in the face. When the Captain entered the cabin he
grabbed the Indian whose blanket immediately slipped off and the Captain clutched
him by the tufts of hair on his head and pulled him to the door. There the Indian
braced himself, a hand on each side of the opening for the doer. In his determina-
tion to oust the Indian the Captain had dragged him so energetically that upon
stopping at the door the Indian's hair was pulled out. Resistance on the part of
the Indian then ceased and he went away and laid down on the nearby river bank
where members of his tribe came to see him. Rumors of dire vengeance on the
part of the Indian's friends became rife, but when the Captain met the principal
Indians and had explained how it had all come about they put away their wrath and
said the Indian was justly punished. The Indian's assault was on account of Mrs.
Vale's refusal to turn over to him all of the bread that she had baked for her own use.
The women mentioned on the company books from 1846 to 1850 are: Mrs.
Wilson, Mrs. Bullard, iMrs. Clair, (she lived with the Bullard's) Mrs. Ball, (later
Mrs. Vance,) Mrs. Vale and a certain Phebe Brown. The least is known about the
last woman mentioned. She had an account which in 1850 shows a credit by
"22~ prs. mittens 85.50 and 8 flannel shirts 82.00." The items of this account in-
dicate a habit of industry that pertains to the Caucasian race rather than .to general
savagery. What man is there who on the facts known will be so ungallant as to
assert that any of these women were near savages? Probably Phebe Brown was
the wife of Elisha Brown and she Jprobably staved at the camp of Brown and Vance
on Lamb's Creek. In an early mortgage record, in volume 2, page 624 of mort-

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