EARLY DAYS IN ADAMS COUNTY


As Told by Mrs. S. W. Ferris


From the Adams County Times, Friday September 20, 1929, Page 1


My parents came to White Creek in June, 1856. At that tome what is now Juneau County was 
a part of Adams county and Quincy was the County seat. There was no railroad near here. 
The boats came up the Wisconsin River to Portage, and if supplies gave out, a team was 
sent to Portage, and sometimes to Milwaukee. In 1858 the St. Paul company built their 
line of railroad crossing the river at what now is Kilbourn, but there was no settlement 
there at that time. Kilbourn soon came into existence, and the town of Newport, on the 
west side of the river, a few miles below Kilbourn, moved buildings and all to the new 
town. Where Newport was then, there is now a manmade lake called Lake Delton.

When the Dells Were Not Attractive
There were miles of lumber going down the river in rafts, during these early days. "The Dells" as an attraction were unknown, but as a dangerous passage for the rafts of lumber passing through there were well known.None of the rafts went through the 'Narrows' without a pilot. About that time, Adams county was divided and the county seat was moved from Quincy to Friendship. Previously there had been no town at that point but the town of Preston, a few miles east of there. The buildings at Preston were mostly moved to Friendship, to help build the new town. The old Thompson House, that burned several years ago, was moved from Preston, and a part of the old Wright House, or the Fuller House, in later years, was a school house moved from Preston. This building was also burned.
Seth Thompson Builds a Sawmill
The first settler at White Creek was Seth Thompson, a miller from the southern part of the state. This part of the state was then called the Indian Lands. Mr. Thompson drove here in a covered wagon, and had his family with him. When he reached this point he discovered a natural waterfall in the creek flowing through here, and he told his wife this was the place for him to stop, and he did not need to go any farther to seek a home. His first residence was a log house on the east side and at the south end of what is now known as the Mill bridge. The first mil was a sawmill, as there were no settlers here to raise grain. This was about the year 1850.Afterwards he built a frame house a little south of the old log house, the one where Fred Witt, Sr., lived for many years. The log house was then sold for $10 to D. C. French, stepfather of Wm. Twist. The house was moved to what was later known as the "Drinkwater 40." The road at that time was diagonally across that piece of land, so the house was placed in the middle of it. Later the house was again moved to what is now known as the Tabbert farm, on Frank L. Some of the logs were taken out of the lower house. In fact, it was only a few years ago that it was finally discarded.
First Death was That of a Child
The first death in the little village, was a young son of Seth Thompson, who fell into White Creek and was drowned. As there was no cemetery, he was buried on land that belonged to Wm. Barker, Sr., the grandfather of the child. A short distance south of where the White Creek schoolhouse now stands. Mr. Thompson at first named the little town and post office, Cascade, but it was soon learned that there was another town and post office near Sheboygan with the same name, so the name was changed to White Creek.
Names of Some Early Settlers
At the time that Mr. Thompson settled here, there were but few settlers here about. The Colby's of Easton, father and mother of Warren Colby; Mr. Fairfield, of the Jackson district; Mr. Anderson, who had a log house and blacksmith shop near the northeast corner of Anderson bluff, and a few settlers at Quincy. However, settlers came in fast, in these early years. A dam was built and a mill put in at Easton, also a store, but there was no post office at that place until about the close of the Civil War. The people of Easton got their mail at White Creek. My father had the post office at White Creek during a part of the Civil War, and I well remember the crowd of people who gathered in front of our house when the mail came. There was a stage line from Quincy to Kilbourn that brought the mail here at that time, and we received the mail twice a week. In those days the postmasters called the names of those receiving letters or papers, as he handled them, and the people were so eager for news from those who had gone from here as soldiers, that letters were taken from the postmasters hands, when someone in the back would call "Here," and passed from the hands of one to another until they reached the person they belonged to. A. H. Greenwood's parents came to Quincy from Maine in 1855. His grandparents were already settled at that place. Captain Wood, a relative of the Greenwood's and a sea captain, came there at about the same time, also Mr. Kingsbury, who later was a captain in the Civil War. Bill Sprain was a prominent figure in the doings of the county in those days. The public house, when Quincy was the county seat was known as the Robert's House, and in later years was moved to White Creek. In those early days, the mail came to Quincy by a stage line from Portage. This was before Kilbourn came into existence.
An Early Educational Plant
The school, known as Bransen's Institute, was built by the Methodist Society, some two or three miles south of White Creek., at the bend in the river and a thriving village, known as Point Bluff was built up around it. Later the school building was moved to Kilbourn and Point Bluff was soon deserted. No trace of it now remains. The removal of the school wa s agreat blow to the settlers. Indians were numerous in those days, at the time of the Indian Massacre in Minnesota (1862), the rumor spread through Wisconsin that the Indians were about to slaughter the people of this state, too. The settlers outside of our village were called in, and the streets were patrolled by guards for several nights. The first store built in White Creek was built by Elijah and Jerry Bacon, sons of U. B. Bacon, the first hotel by Andrew Jackson. The first doctor to settle here was Dr. Garrison and the first minister was Elder Fisher, a Baptist minister, who preached occasionally at Necedah, too. The first schoolhouse was a small frame building that stood where Mr. Greenwood's barn now stands. These memories cover many years. Many of those who took part and were interested in the doings of those days, lie in the little cemetery, just south of our village. ---Mrs. S. W. Ferris


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