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

Chapter XX: unincorporated villages and place names,   pp. 202-226

Page 209

Scme reminiscences of Downsville in early days, written by Mrs. Thomas Huev,
max- be found in Chapter XXI of this volume.
Dunnville, the first county seat of Dunn County, and a former point of opera-
tions of Knapp, Stout & Co., but which as a village passed out of existence many
years ago, and is now a place of no importance except for the stone quarries in its
vicinity, was situated on the Red Cedar River about a mile and a half above where
it enters into the Chippewa. It was named in honor of Judge Dunn. Today the
Menomonie branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway passes through
the site of this former village, of which some 70 years ago mucht was hoped and
As early as 1840 the first house was built on the site bv a man named Lamb,
who conducted it as a tavern, enjoying a considerable patronage from the rough
class of lumbermen and hunters who passed this way. It is said that Lamb was
an old soldier-doubtless of the War of 1912-15 with Great Britain- also that he
was so dissipated as to be unfit to attend to business. He had married Margaret
Demarie, an adopted daughter of Louis Demarie, a resident of what was then
known as French Town. In a former history of this county was printed a story of
a murder committed at Lamb's place, which is here repeated, as there are probably
many people of Dunn County now living who have never heard of it, and also be-
cause, in a work which aims chiefly to present the better side of human nature and
to record worthy actions, it raises the veil for a moment by way of contrast, on
scenes and actions of a different kind, which were not uncommon in pioneer days
in this region, when the conditions of life were rough, and whiskey was cheap and
almost universally consumed, often to excess.
"In 1848 Lamb disposed of his business to his brother-in-law, Arthur McCann,
who had come to the Chippewa River in the previous year with his brothers, Stephen
and Dan IcCann, and had recently married Rosalie Demairie, a sister cf Mrs.
H. S. Allen. He had in partnership with J. C. Thomas commenced in 1843, and
nearly completed, the "Blue Mill," now (1892) known as the Badger State Mills,
the former remaining at hcme. They had employed on the work a man named
Sawyer, who, when his time was up, came to McCann for a settlement. The busi-
ness part of the meeting disposed of, Sawyer was invited by the former to a game of
cards. The play went on until evening, the men drinking freely, when a dispute
arose and hot words ensued. McCann threw a scale weight at Sawyer, when the
the latter at once repaired to the cabin of Philo Stone nearby, loaded his rifle,
returned to the door of McCann's house and called him. When he came to the
door Sawyer took deliberate aim and shot him dead. The murderer made good his
escape and was never afterwards heard of, though a large reward was offered for his
apprehension. The young widow then returned to her parents and afterwards
married George P. Warren, the first county clerk of Chippewa County. Philo
Stone took possession of the tavern. His wife was a full-blooded Chippewa squaw
and proved to be a good housekeeper." (See also Chapter II, p. 18).
The same historian relates that Dunnville was first called Colburn's, after
another early settler, who put up a frame building which he called a hotel, and which
was conducted from 1856 to 1858 by Charles S. Curtiss. In 1843 John Macaulev
came to reside here. Dana Heller, who came to the county in 1856, kept a hotel in
Dunnville, and also practiced dentistry and operated a farm. He was elected
county treasurer in 1866. A large farm was owned in the vicinity of Dunnville
by Dr. Walter Crocker and operated by him and his relatives, the Curtisses. It
may also be mentioned that one of the early creameries in the county was built
here and operated for some time.
Dunnvilie was the county seat of Dunn County from the formation of the
county in 1854 to the setting off of Pepin County in 1858. In September, 1856, a
plat of 42 blocks was surveyed by A. W. Miller for John H. Knapp, Henry L. Stout,
Eveline Stout and others, =but was not filed for record until Feb. 28, 1859. All of
this plat except four blocks was vacated by order of the county board in November,
1869. An addition of 10 blocks, called "Bundy's Addition to Dunnville," was
surveyed in February, 1859. The first election for county, officers took place in

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