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Somerset, Wisconsin: 125 pioneer families and Canadian connection: 125th year

[From book "History of the St. Croix Valley" published by Easton, printed in 1909],   pp. 67-79 PDF (7.4 MB)

Page 76

Picture added - not in book
Mrs Bibeau and
Mrs Alfred Belisle (Mary Labonne)
Somerset township occupies sections 1 to 18 inclusive of town-
ship 30, range 19, two sections of township 30, range 20, and all
of township 31, range 19, lying east of the St. Croix river. It is
the largest township in the county, covering no less than 31,866
square acres with an average valuation of $15.32. It is the most
northwestern of the townships of the county and is bounded by
Star Prairie, Richmond and St. Joseph townships, Polk county
and the St. Croix river. It is drained by Apple river and small
creeks flowing into the St. Croix.. The surface is generally undu-
lating but along the St. Croix and Apple rivers abrupt and hilly.
The first settlers were French colonists at Apple River Falls, in
1851. They built a schoolhouse and a Catholic church upon the
bluffs below the falls. The falls of the Apple river, about one
and a half miles above its junction with the St. Croix, is one of
the finest of the Wisconsin waterfalls. The township was organ-
ized September 19, 1856, with Thomas J. Chappell as chairman
of supervisors. Mr. Chappell was also appointed postmaster
at Apple River Falls in 1854. The township is crossed by a rail-
road in the southern part. Its village, Somerset village, is located
in the central part. The people of Somerset township have 495
horses, valued at $29,700; 2,390 cattle, valued at $33.460; 810
sheep and lambs, valued at $2,430; 370 swine, valued at $1,850.
HISTORY OF THE ST. CROIX VALLEY                913
The real estate is valued at $516,500; personal property at $507,-
700, making a total valuation of $1,024,200. Following is the
acreage devoted to the various crops in Somerset township in
1908: Wheat, 347; corn, 1,148; oats, 4,970; barley, 512; rye, 727;
flaxseed, 2632; potatoes, 90; hay, 2,287.
Somerset village, located on Apple river, contains a popula-
tion of 428; has a Catholic church, two general stores, two black-
smith shops, a wagon-maker, one drug store, one grocery, one
hotel, with saloon attachment; and another saloon, one millinery
store, one feed mill and a restaurant, with saloon attached.
Father Eugene Caron is a typical young village priest, loved
by the members of his parish and revered and respected by the
members of other denominations. He has fought his own way
in the world, and has now won a position where the responsi-
bilities are such that they are usually given to a much older and
more experienced man. The success that he has achieved and the
friends that he has made are entirely due to his hard work, his
winning personality, and above all, his devotion to the cause
to which he has consecrated his life. Father Caron was born in
Kankakee county, Illinois, in December, 1879, a son of George
and Georgians (Fraser) Caron, who were of French-Canadian ex-
traction. They went to Kankakee in the early days and con-
tinued farming there until the time of their death. Father
Caron attended the primary schools of Kankakee and later
entered St. Viateur's college at Bourbonnais, Ill., where he fin-
ished in 1902. He studied one year at the St. Francis seminary
at Milwaukee, Wis., and then took a three years' theological
course at the Grand Seminary at Montreal, Canada. The con-
summation of his efforts was realized June 24, 1906, when he
was ordained a priest of God, by the Right Rev. A. F. Schinner;
D. D., at Superior, Wis. During his studies Father Caron had
to work his own way through the various schools, he being left
an orphan at an early age. Before entering college he worked
for a time in a drug store in Chicago, for the purpose of raising
funds to help him in obtaining the education that he so much
desired. His first parish was at Bruce, Wis., where he was pastor
of St. Mary's church and its dependent missions. One year later
he took charge of St. Ann's Roman Catholic church at Somerset,
St. Croix county, Wis., a position that has never before been
given to so young a man. The parish consists of about 200 fami-
lies. Father Caron is a man of scholarly attainments and at the
same time is progressive and well abreast of the trend of mod-
ern thought. In the pulpit he is eloquent and in his intimate
parish work he is a wise counselor and sympathetic friend. His
work in the parish has been blessed with success, and the field has
prospered under his pastorate.

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