This is a folder of the Rib Lake Historical Society, LLC, Robert P. Rusch, manager. Its purpose is to collect data regarding Rib Lake and environs from Taylor County newspaper sources other than the Rib Lake Herald. Currently, extant copes of The Rib Lake Herald begin in 1902. The initial sources will be on older newspapers, such as the Taylor County News, Taylor County Star & News, and Taylor County Star News.
This document will utilize a template having four columns. Column 1 will identify the date of publication. Column 2 will indicate the newspaper. Column 3 will provide the text, i.e., a quote of the article. Column 4 contains comments that RPR may wish to make, for example, cross references to other documents.
This document is begun on September 28, 2011, under the skilled scrutiny of Cindy A. Sommer, and will be on laptop computer 6.
ABBREVIATIONS: Taylor County News = TCN
Star & News= S/N
Taylor County Star & News= TC STAR & NEWS
RPR = Robert P. Rusch
WC = Wisconsin Central Railroad or Railway
HEADINGS: The capitalized headings at the start of the article were not in the original. Such headings were created by RPR.
UNDERLINING: Unless indicated by “emphasis in original,” all underlining was created by Robert P. Rusch.
[Note by R.P. Rusch. This is the first extant edition of the Taylor County News, a newspaper at Medford. Taylor County was created on 4/3/1875.]
The masthead says this is volume 1 number 2---what happened to number 1? “Ogden Brothers publishers.” The 11/29/1884 Taylor County News edition reported that Taylor County’s first newspaper was the “Taylor County News.” Its first edition was dated 3/31/1875 “by J. A. Ogden.”
WESTBORO -- Westboro, April 10, 1875 - Editors of The News, GENTLEMEN: We have received and read, with pleasure, the first and second numbers of your paper, and pronounce them complete in most respects: complete, as a neat and handsomely got up newspaper, and we feel highly complimented that we have such active young men at the head of a paper in our new County, but we would surely have appreciated the paper much more, had we found our little village of Westboro mentioned in its columns.
Were you aware that there was such a place as Westboro? If not, I would inform you that we claim to have the smartest little town on the Wisconsin Central Railroad, not excepting the County seat. We are 13 miles north of Medford, in Taylor County, on Silver Creek. The place commenced its growth last fall, if I am not mistaken, in November. We have a lumber company, Duncan, Richey [Ritchie] &Co.; that put up one of the best mills on the line all ready for business. They have in about five million feet of logs. We have one hotel, the Palmer House, kept by C. C. Palmer and his most agreeable wife. Travelers can not help but feel at home while stopping with them. We claim it the largest and best hotel north of Milwaukee, at least. We can feed and lodge more people than any other. Nothing uncommon for them to have eighty-five and one hundred quests over night. We have the large wholesale and retail grocery and provision house kept by E. P. Warren, a real stirring business man , just the man for the place, always ready to accommodate his customers by keeping what they want and selling cheap.
The P. O, Department has been kind to us and has established a post office at this place, Ed. Williams, Postmaster.
We have one wholesale liquor house kept by Peter Campbell, not what you would call a saloon, it being so well conducted.
Our restaurant, kept by N. Saloo (sic) a genuine, lively Frenchman, where you can get lobsters, sardines, oysters, and I don’t know but with bull-frogs now that the pond is open.
Rhinholdt was to open a millinery shop; had his building set up, but failed to get the milliners, and has sold out to a German, who will soon open up a beer garden.
We also have a first-class freight depot, managed by Mr. Cone and his worthy assistant, the Grand Duke, both very obliging gentlemen.
There are many other items I could speak of that, perhaps, would be interesting to the outside world, but for fear I am taxing you too much, will speak of them some future time. Yours, Skiff
The Wisconsin Central Railroad (later a part of the “Soo Line,”) platted the Village of Westboro soon after it constructed the railroad there in 1873. The Wisconsin Central Railroad sold a beautifully located sawmill site in Westboro to John Duncan, William S.Taylor and James Ritchie. You may see both the plat and sawmill contract, for example, by consulting the photo and document collection at www.riblakehistory.com
GOVERNOR WILLIAM R. TAYLOR -- The Democratic party will undoubtedly re-nominate William R. Taylor for Governor…
Taylor County was named for him. Governor William Robert Taylor is not to be confused with William S. Taylor, one of the owners of the Westboro sawmill.
TAYLOR COUNTYNEWS -- (Advertisement) Taylor County News, the only newspaper in Taylor County.
The currently published Star News is the result of a merger of the News and Star about the turn of the century
WISCONSIN CENTRAL TIME TABLE
The time table reveals one train per day passed through Medford going north at 6:15 p.m. This train was scheduled to reach Dedham (Ogema) at 8:30 and Worcester at 10:00 p.m. where the tracks ended.
The south bound train left Medford at 9:00 a.m. and arrived in Milwaukee the next morning at 6:45 a.m.
POPULATION BOOM -- Taylor County is rapidly increasing in population; in the village of Westboro, now containing over one hundred inhabitants, there were seven births last week. Where is there a place of that size that can do a better?
CHELSEA -- Mr. Colby of the Wisconsin Central Railroad has donated to the people of Chelsea two lots: one for school buildings and the other for a church. Mr. Colby is doing the faith thing with our County.
The railroad platted the village of Colby at the time it was constructed there, i.e., 1873. Mr. Gardner Colby was then the president of the Wisconsin Central Railroad. Chelsea is named for Chelsea, Massachusetts.
COUNTY BOARD – C.C. Palmer, resident of Westboro and proprietor of the Palmer House hotel there, is on the Taylor County Board of supervisors.
This was the first Taylor county board formed after the creation of the county on March 4, 1875; Palmer was one of three members; the others were Isaac Biscornet, Medford businessman, and G.W. Adams, chairman, a Medford attorney.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE FIRST SCHOOL MEETING OF DISTRICT NO. 2 -- Chelsea, May 3, 1875 “Meeting called to order by S. Barry. G. W. Adams, of Medford, was introduced to the meeting. C. H. Gearhart was appointed secretary of the meeting. School law read by G. W. Adams.
Alfred Margatroy was chosen as district clerk and Daniel Shay as treasurer. It was decided to have five months of school.
Two hundred dollars was the amount decided upon to be raised for teacher wages, and one hundred dollars to be raised for incidental expenses; four hundred dollar to be raised to build a school house.
The supervision of school house building is left to the school board. The generous offer of the railroad Company for school house lot accepted, The Board was instructed to purchase a lot adjacent to the one donated by the Company.
All who wish to attend school, residing inside or outside the district, are admitted free.
A vote of thanks was tendered Mr. Adams for his kind attendance at our first meeting. /s/ Charles H. Gearhart, Secretary
G. W. Adams was the chairman of the County Board and a Medford attorney practicing in the firm of “Ogden & Adams, attorneys & counselors at law.” They ran a weekly ad in the News providing “Collections promptly attended to. Office in the NEWS building.”
Note that school was scheduled to run for five months and be free of charge.
CHELSEA ITEMS -- The Indians are bringing in large quantities of fish from the lakes east of Chelsea; they are selling them for five cents per pound.
Mr. Gearhart’s new hotel is erected and enclosed.
Gearhart’s impressive 3 story hotel on the west side of the railroad tracks served Chelsea for many years; you can see a photo of it in the photo & document collection at www.riblakehistory.com
CHELSEA -- [Letter to the Editor] Chelsea, May 10, 1875 …In December last, with the exception of the railroad line depot and a couple of homestead residences, this place was a wilderness. Since that date a site has been opened up for a town. A new mill of the capacity of 23,000 ft. of lumber and 40,000 shingles daily) erected by A. [Abrams] Taylor Esq., a large boarding house and several other buildings put up; a dam built, and C. H. Gearhart’s new hotel is fast approaching completion. Eight homesteaders are now residing in the vicinity busily engaged clearing for cultivation; and most every acre of land for miles around has been entered. A school district organized, lots acquired, and in a few weeks we shall have the juveniles assembled under some efficient person in training for future usefulness. Our scholars arrived ready for business, many of them grown up…
The site of our town will compare favorably with any along the railroad line: a level plateau with mills mill pond, dam and three million feet of first class logs to the south; on the east a tract extending over six miles to Rib Lake of excellent pine and farming lands, interceded by creeks, and dotted over with beautiful lakes abounding with fish of the choicest king, such as bass, pickerel, perch, sun fish and muscalange (sic).
Homesteads have been entered on several of those lakes, and within two miles of the railroad line, on Black Lake, Mr. John Worthington, the pioneer of civilization in that quarter, has a neat, comfortable house overlooking the lake [Wellington Lake, originally called Worthington] with a clearing extending to its banks, which he is now busy putting in readiness for cropping. To the north and east there are many homesteads of excellent land, which are fast being settled.
On the west, and within less than a quarter of a mile, lies the first of the beautiful Chelsea lakes, surrounded by high sloping banks, with the clearest of crystal waters (an unusual thing in this country as most of the waters are dark colored) well stocked with fish; between the lake and the railroad line runs the West Branch of the Black River, whereas the waters of the nearest lake run north towards Westboro and form what is generally termed Silver creek. Within an area of one and a half miles we have seven lakes; in fact almost every homesteader is located on some one of them.
During the last few weeks several families from the south end of the state have moved up here and Mr. [Abram] Taylor is having houses up as fast as possible to accommodate several more coming in within a few days. While speaking of buildings, we had almost the fact that four lots were sold her yesterday, and the parties intend building at once. Our nearest farmer here is the veteran Charles H. McNaughton, the oldest settler who has two men hard at work on his land and plant several acres this spring.
Without much pretentions of notoriety, we still wish to keep up with our neighbors, and our mill under the superintendence of Mr. Lockleiter is in full blast, sawing the clearest of pine, is shipping daily several [railroad] cars of lumber and shingles. Hotels and houses being built; families flocking in; homesteaders busy crossing; the country being cleared with the riches of pine, and the advantages of good farming land, combined with the natural attractions of our many and picturesque lakes, we hope through the every one of our people and their determination to progress, to do our share towards the advancement of their young and wealthy county of Taylor. /s/ Chelsea
I believe the author’s reference to John Wellington’s home and farm on Black Lake is in error; His place was located on the north shore of Wellington Lake—known originally as Worthington Lake.
Note the author’s accurate observation that most Taylor County lake water is dark colored.
THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS THE FIRST MENTION OF RIB LAKE WITHIN THE TCN.
STOLEN LOGS -- NOTICE OF SALE -- The pine saw logs herein described are to be sold having been wrongfully cut and taken from land the legal title of which is in the United States [a list of over 1,000,000 feet of logs follows listing sections in Township 32 Range 1 East as the origin]
100,000 se nw & ne sw
section 4 T 31 1 E
250,000 s ½ se ¼
section 29 T 32 1 E
483,000 w ½ se ¼
section 4 T 32 1 E
100.000 w ½ se ¼
section 14 T 31 1 E
150,000 ne ¼ se ¼
100,000 nw ¼ se ¼
200,000 Lots 9,10,11, 12, 15, 16
section 18 T 31 1E
60,000 nw ¼ sw ¼
section 22 ditto
60,000 s ½ ne ¼
section 34 ditto
100/000 e ½ se ¼
section 14 ditto
150,000 e ½ sw ¼
section 14 ditto
150,000 w ½ se ¼ &se ¼ se ¼
section 22 T 32 1 E
70,000 Lots 13, 14, 23, 24
section 18 T 31 1E
section 20 ditto
…all of which said logs are marked with the letters “R. W.” [Roberts & Whelen Lumber Co Medford] stamped in the end of said log and are now with other logs of a like mark wrongfully intermixed and are in the Black River above and near Roberts and Whelen’s saw mill which is situated at the village of Medford…
The article goes on to says that the stolen pine saw logs will be sold at public auction on June 10, 1875, at the booms of Roberts and Whelen in the Black River where the logs now are. Terms; Cash. Signed “United States Land Office, Eau Claire, Wis.”
FIRST MEDFORD STORE -- Mr. J. A. King, formerly of Fond du Lac, Wis., was the first man to start [a] business [in Medford], if such you could call it… coming on about the first of Nov. 1874. He was located at Colby when the railroad reached Medford, and having an eye to business he bought a few thousand feet of lumber, loaded it on the [railroad] cars himself and started out, determined as he was to have a shanty up and open a small grocery store as soon as possible. The railroad company had freight and passenger depot and [water] tank up at this time, which comprised the entire town. Mr. King stuck stakes just below the depot. The village plot was then covered with standing timber and the first thing to be done was to clear grounds for the shanty….
Arthur J. Latton credits Mr. A.E. Harder for establishing the first home in Medford in 1872.
MEDFORD -- The mill firm of Roberts & Whelen underwent quite a change last week. Jr. Roberts sold his interest to D [David] McCartney of Fort Howard. Business under the new managers will run under the name of McCartney & Whelen. Mr. Roberts left for his home in Oshkosh, soon after the consummation of the trade.
I suspect the US Government seizure and sale of the stolen pine logs on June 10, 1875, played into this. RPR
WISCONSIN CENTRAL -- Tuesday morning, Gardner Colby, President of the Wisconsin Central Railroad, and Charles Colby, his son, Vice-President, Phillips, Bacon and Moses Taylor of New York, and other capitalists, went up the [railroad] line as far as Westboro for the purpose of looking over the road with the intention of extending the same if the capitalists would loan the necessary funds to carry the work along. They returned the same morning.
For 19 months construction of the line was stopped for lack of funds. During those 18 months, tracks ended at Worcester, Price County and Glidden [then called Chippewa Crossing] in Ashland County.
Passengers were taken by stage coach between those points.
This is the first mention of Westboro in the Taylor County News.
PLANS AND SPECIFICATIONS OF A COUNTY BRIDGE TO BE BUILT OVER SILVER CREEK, ON SEC 7, T 33 R 2 E, 556 FT NORTH OF SOUTH LINE OF SEC. 7 -- Detailed specs given for a wooden bridge 82 feet long and 9 ½ feet above bed of Silver Creek topped with 3 inch pine or hemlock planking, “The said bridge is to be built and completed on or before Dec 1, 1875. The bridge is to be paid for when accepted by the County Board of Supervisors. Bids will be received on the grounds October 5, 1875.”
At the same time the County advertises for a bridge to be built across the Little Black River.
COUNTY BOARD PROCEEDINGS 9/3/1875 -- The meeting was called order by G. W. Adams, chairman, and the following towns were then set off from the town of Medford… [The Towns of Little Black, Chelsea and Westboro were created.]
The first election of said Town of Westboro shall be held at C.C. Palmer’s hotel on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in April, 1876.
[The first election for the Town of Chelsea was schedule in an identical fashion to be held at Charles H. Gearhart’s hotel “in the village of Chelsea.”]
The Town of Rib Lake was, in 1885, set off from the Town of Westboro by act of the Wisconsin Legislature at the urging of John J. Kennedy. The Village of Rib Lake was incorporated in May, 1902.
WESTBORO -- Duncan & Taylor of Westboro are building a store building besides making other improvements around their [saw] mill.
The same edition of the News reported that the company owning the Little Black saw mill was building a company store.
WISCONSIN CENTRAL RAILROAD -- One reads in the newspapers that the Wisconsin Central Company is pushing its [rail] road through the woods from Worchester (sic), 101 miles north of Stevens Point to Penoka, a distance of fifty-five miles; but how few realize the magnitude of this work…
For 18 months the northward construction of the railroad had stalled at Worcester in southern Price County; the end of the track there was referred to as mile post 101.
WESTBORO AREA PINE CUT -- It is reported that about 75,000,000 feet of logs will be cut at Westboro this winter.
I surmise that the majority of such a large cut were driven down Silver Creek to the Jump River, thence to the Chippewa River. A host of large sawmills lined the Chippewa in cities like Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire. The “Duncan” sawmill in Westboro was in operation but I estimate its annual capacity was about 2,000,000 board feet. RPR
NEW STORE -- A new store has been started at Westboro by Otto H Hogs & Co.
MILL MATTERS -- The firm of Duncan, Ritchie & Co., which owned the splendid new saw mill at Westboro, on the Wisconsin Central Railroad, has changed hands.
Mr. [James] Ritchie is retiring, and [the mill] will hereafter be known as Duncan and Taylor. The mill, which has been shut down, will go into operation again about January 1st. It is one of the very best on the line of that [rail] road. ---Green Bay Advocate.
You can view many of the company records at the photo & document collection at www.riblakehistory.com; for example, that collection contains the November 11, 1874 contract by James Ritchie, John Duncan and William S. Taylor with the Wisconsin Central Railroad; those three partners bought extensive white pine in Town 33 Ranges 1 & 2 East and contracted to build a sawmill in Westboro. The 12/23/1875 News also reported that the Duncan and Taylor Foundry at Fort Howard, Wis., was manufacturing a steam engine and other substantial machinery for the Wisconsin Central Railroad shops at Stevens Point, Wis.
RAILROAD OFFICIALS -- The railroad officials of the Wisconsin Central in company with Gov. William R. Taylor went up to the end of the railroad last night in an extra and passed down the line this morning.
In January, 1876, Governor William Robert Taylor would leave office; he had lost his race for reelection to Ludington who would be inaugurated the first week of January.
WESTBORO -- Mr. [John] Duncan and lady, of Fort Howard, one of the proprietors of the Westboro mill, passed down through town [Medford] last Monday enroute to Westboro.