A Short History of Barron Township

and the community of Barron

-- From the "Historical and Biographical Album of the Chippewa Valley Wisconsin, 1891-2" pages 315 - 322

 

Barron Township is of regulation size, containing thirty-six square miles, and is bounded on the north by the town of Stanfold, on the south by the town of Maple Grove, on the east by the town of Stanley, and on the west by the town of Clinton.  The Yellow river runs through it in a devious course from the northwest to the southeast.  Quaderer's creek traverses it in a south-easterly direction until it empties itself into the Yellow river; and part of the southern border is watered by a tributary of the Menomonie (Red Cedar).

The city of Barron is located at the confluence of the Yellow River and Quaderer's creek, so named after John Quaderer, and on the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie railway.  He came here in 1860 to a logging camp, and was the first white settler, building a frame shanty of rough boards on the south bank of the creek, which stands there yet.  It was then the logging headquarters for miles around.  He came to this country from Germany, when a boy, and landed in New Orleans.  From thence he worked his way northward until he reached Menomonie, where he was employed by Knapp, Stout & Co.  They sent him, in 1854, to a logging-camp on the Hay river, in the southwest part of what is now this county.  In 1856 he commenced lumbering on the Menomonie (Red Cedar), and has followed that business ever since.  He has the reputation of having superintended the banking of more logs on that river than any other man.  His unostentatious charity is well known, and the evidence of his public spirit is recorded in the fact that he donated the ground on which the court-house stands, the mill site of ten acres, where the  mill and dam of the Parr Manufacturing company is built, and forty acres of land almost in the heart of the city, to the railway company.

The first post-office was established here in 1868.  It was in a shanty, the only one in the place besides that already mentioned.  James Bracklin, superintendent for Knapp, Stout & Co., used to carry the mail to and from Menomonie.  S. P. Berger was the first postmaster.  He held the position four years, and then John Quaderer was appointed.  He retained it for six years.

Just east of and three miles from the city, on the east bank of the Menomonie (Red Cedar), is a lonely grave in which lies all that is left of the first white woman -- Miss Philander Ball -- who died in Barron county in 1859.  She came from Michigan, and the general belief is that her death was caused by poison administered to her by some squaws, who were jealous of her charms.

The birth of the first white child in the settlement occurred in 1865.  She was the daughter of Michael Jones.

The Barron County "Shield," a weekly republican organ and the second oldest paper in the county, was established October 6, 1876, by A. Dewy.  It was originally a six-column folio, but was afterward enlarged to a six-column quarto.  It became the property of Walter Speed & Co. in 1880, and since 1882 Senator C. S. Taylor has been the proprietor of it.

The first schoolhouse was erected in 1877, and Miss Margaret Clark was the first teacher.  It was located a mile from the camp, and was burned down in 1881.  Another one was erected in its place in 1882.  It is located on Franklin street.  In the fall of 1884 it was made a district school, with two departments.  Since that time three departments have been added to it.  It was made a free high school in 1886.  The schoolhouse on La Salle street was erected in 1889.  They are included in joint school district No. 1 of the city and town of Barron, under the district school system of the state.  The pupils average 200 in number, and there are five teachers.  The principal is F. F. Wood.

The Barron Methodist Episcopal church was organized in 1876 by Rev. F. A. Fillmore.  It was part of the Rice Lake circuit at that time, and remained so until 1884.  A Barron circuit was then organized, including the towns of Barron and Chetek, and in 1888 Barron was made a station.  The church, a frame building, was erected in 1884, at a cost of about $2,000.  Mr. Fillmore remained one year.  His successors were as follows in the order named:
Rev. M. Taylor
Rev. James H. McManus
Rev. W. E. Robinson
Rev. James Conner
Rev. John Hall
Rev. Moses Allen
The present pastor, Rev. G. W. Pepper, was appointed to the charge in 1887.  The organization has 100 members, and the seating capacity of the church is 300.

The pioneer merchants of Barron were J. J. Smith and John Conner.  They came from Shell Rock, in the fall of 1878, and opened a store in the only available place in the settlement.  It was a seven by nine feet building.  A suitable structure was erected by them shortly afterward, and this was twice enlarged to accommodate their trade.  The firm name was Smith & Conner.  Later on they build a commodious store on La Salle street.  Mr. Conner was appointed postmaster in 1881, with Mr. Smith as his assistant.  They retained these positions until a change in the administration caused their retirement.

The first manufacturing plant located here was the water, saw, shingle and planing-mill of George Parr, John Post and S. J. Parr, trading under the firm name of Parr, Post & Co.  This mill was originally built on Yellow river by J. J. Smith and N. Carpenter in 1878.  They sold it a year or two later to the Speed Brothers, and they disposed of it to Parr, Post & Co.  The mill was entirely rebuilt, new water wheels and new machinery furnished and the dam reconstructed.  This work was done under the supervision of Mr. Post, with the millwright work in charge of his father, James Post.  The plant consisted of a double rotary, with a capacity of 30,000 feet a day, a shingle mill of 35,000 production, a planer, lath and picket machines, a re-saw for the manufacturing of siding, and a turning lathe for both wood and iron.  Thomas W. Parr purchased John Post's interest in the property in 1882, and the firm became George Parr & Son.  In 1884 the latter retired and went into the drug business, and in May, 1889, the firm became merged in the Parr Manufacturing Company.  The mill property was reduced to ashes September 17, 1890, when the company bought the entire machinery and fittings of the steam saw-mill at Turtle Lake, formerly belonging to Joel Richardson, and set it up near the site of the old mill.  The new plant has a capacity of 40,000 feet a day, and employment is given to about thirty men.  The company also purchased, in the spring of 1891, the shingle mill of J. W. Stone, of Turtle Lake, and erected it in close proximity to their other mill.  It has a capacity of 40,000 shingles a day.  The officers for 1891 are:  President, George Parr; vice-president and treasurer, S. J. Parr; secretary, L. C. Tansley.

In the estimation of John Quaderer, the owner, the settlement had grown sufficiently to warrant him in having it surveyed and platted as a village.  This was accomplished in November, 1880.

Barron Lodge No. 220, F. & A.M., was organized June 7, 1881.  The officers for 1891 are:
J. F. Coe - W. M.
W. H. Ellis - S. W.
C. D. Coe - J. W.
J. W. Stone - S. D
L. J. Wetzell - J. D.
H. Radermacher - secy.
Ed C. Coleman - treas.

A Presbyterian mission was formed here, in 1881, by Rev. Mr. Smith.  He conducted the services until 1886, when a church was organized by his successor, Rev. Mr. Chapin.  He continued to minister to this church, and the one at Chetek, until the fall of 1887.  From that time the pastorate has been vacant.

The Rev. J. Waage, of Prairie Farm, a pastor of the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church used, previous to 1882, to occasionally hold services in the village.  In that year Rev. T. O. Jude came to reside here, and organized the First Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Barron in the following year.  The site for a church building, on the corner of La Salle and West streets was purchased by him in 1884, and he continued to conduct the services until 1888.  In the spring of 1890 Rev. Mr. Orke, of Chetek, commenced holding meetings once a month, and has so continued up to the present time.  They have heretofore been held in the Methodist church building, but the Lutheran church structure has just been erected, and the organization has now its own home of worship.  Ten families belong to it, but the attendance is much larger.

The construction of the track of the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie railway was initiated at Turtle Lake in the spring of 1884, and carried forward to Rhinelander, to which point the road was completed in 1886.  The first forty-six miles of the road was opened for traffic in 1884, and then the village of Barron began to grow.  Up to this time it was nothing more than a logging camp, but, with this impetus given to it, it advanced with rapid strides.  Manufactories and business houses sprang into existence in quick succession.

The next manufacturing institution inaugurated was the flour-mill of J. W. Taylor.  It had previously been in operation at Cameron, and was moved here and rebuilt in the fall of 1884, and started on January 1, 1885.  Its capacity is seventy-five barrels a day.  This plant is worked by water-power furnished by a dam constructed jointly by Mr. Taylor and his brother, Charles S. Taylor, on Yellow river, about one mile and a half, by the course of the stream below the mill of the Parr Manufacturing company.  The dam was built in 1884.  It provides a head of eight feet, and furnishes ample power for the flour and a woolen mill.  A log chute is provided for the passage through this dam, as is also that of the company, of the ten or a dozen million feet of pine logs which the Knapp, Stout & Co. Company annually run down the Yellow river.  Both are furnished with the celebrated Parker gate, which enables a boy to open and close a water chute twenty feet wide with an eight-foot flow of water.

The works of the Barron Woolen Mills company are operated by the same power as the flour-mill.  They were begun in 1884 and completed in 1887.  The building is forty-two by sixty feet, one story and a half in height, with a basement under a portion of the structure, and a separate dye-house and boiler-house.  The capacity of the mill is from 7,000 to 8,000 yards a month.  The product consists of cassimeres, flannels, dress goods, mackinaws, blankets, hosiery, yarns, etc.  From twenty-five to thirty operatives are employed.  The organization was incorporated in February 1884, with a capital of $50,000.  The present officers are:  President, Charles S. Taylor, secretary and treasurer, L. Taylor.

A two-story building was erected by T. W. Parr, in 1885, which he occupied as a drug and stationery store.  The Quaderer house, the principal hotel in the city, was built by John Quaderer and Simon Christerson, in this year, on the corner of La Salle and Seventh streets.  It is now owned and operated by the latter.  The Bank of Barron was also established in the same year by J. F. Coe, his brother, C. D. Coe, from Dixon, Ill., and F. J. and W. C. McLean, of Menomonie.  It was operated as a private bank until May 2, 1887, when it was incorporated as a state institution, with the name of the Bank of Barron. It has a paid-up capital of $50,000.  The officers for 1891 are:
President - F. J. McLean
Vice-president - W. C. McLean
Cashier - C. D. Coe
Assistant cashier - J. F. Coe

In 1886 W. B. Judd erected a large saw and stave-mill.  Its capacity is about 40,000 thousand feet a day, largely of hardwood.  The stave and heading factory of J. W. McKesson was established by him in the same year.  It is operated by steam, and cuts about 25,000 staves and 10,000 headings a day.  Twenty men are employed.  The theater hall, on the corner of Third and Division streets was also built in this year by N. Carpenter, who still owns and operates it.  It is fitted with a commodious stage and handsome scenery.

So much progress had been made in developing the village into a manufacturing and business center, with a corresponding increase in its population, that a city charter was applied for and obtained in March, 1887.  The city comprises "all that district of country known and described as the northeast quarter of section twenty-six, sections twenty-seven and twenty-eight, township thirty-four, range twelve, in the town of Barron."  It is, by the charter, divided into four wards, to be known as the First, Second, Third and Fourth wards, which are limited and bounded as follows:  "All that portion of said city south of the center of La Salle street, as designated on the recorded city plat of the village of Barron, and the several additions thereto, and east of the center line of Second street, as designated in said plats, shall constitute the First ward.  All that portion of said city north of the center of La Salle street, and east of the center of Third street, as designated on said plats, shall constitute the Second ward.  All that portion of said city north of the center of Division street, as designated on said plats, and west of the center of Third street, shall constitute the Third ward, and that portion of the city not included in the First, Second and Third wards, shall constitute the Fourth ward."

The first election of officers took place in April, 1887.  They are as follows from that time to, and including 1891:

1887

OFFICE
OFFICER
Mayor Ed. C. Coleman
City Clerk Henry Olson
Treasurer J. J. Smith
Assessor A. M. Blodgett
Justice of the Peace Fred. B. Kinsley
City Attorney J. F. Coe
Marshal C. T. Webster
Aldermen and supervisors First Ward - John Quaderer
Second Ward - John Conner
Third Ward - George Parr
Fourth Ward - De Witt Post

1888

OFFICE
OFFICER
Mayor John Quaderer
City Clerk Henry Olson
Treasurer C. D. Coe
Assessor A. M. Blodgett
Justice of the Peace Fred. B. Kinsley
City Attorney J. F. Coe
Marshal C. T. Webster
Aldermen and supervisors First Ward - Simon Christerson
Second Ward - W. F. Grover
Third Ward - W. H. Dodge
Fourth Ward - W. H. Smith

1889

OFFICE
OFFICER
Mayor C. D. Coe
City Clerk Henry Olson
Treasurer John Post
Assessor C. A. Doe
Justice of the Peace Fred B. Kinsley
City Attorney  J. F. Coe
Marshal C. T. McKee
Aldermen and supervisors First Ward - Simon Christerson
Second Ward - D. McKee
Third Ward - George Parr
Fourth Ward - C. S. Taylor
Supervisor - W. H. Smith, Alderman

1890

OFFICE
OFFICER
Mayor C. D. Coe
City Clerk Henry Olson
Treasurer John Post
Assessor C. A. Doe
Justice of the Peace Fred. B. Kinsley
City Attorney J. F. Coe
Marshal E.W. Pierce
Aldermen First Ward - Simon Christerson
Second Ward - D. McKee
Supervisor - S. R. Wiley, Alderman
Third Ward - Ed. C. Coleman
Fourth Ward - C. S. Taylor

1891

OFFICE
OFFICER
Mayor J. W. Stone
City Clerk Henry Olson
Treasurer C. D. Coe
Assessor C. A. Doe
Justice of the Peace Fred. B. Kinsley
City Attorney no appointment
Marshal E. W. Pierce
Aldermen First Ward - Simon Christerson
Second Ward - S. R. Wiley
Third Ward - George Parr
Fourth Ward - C. S. Taylor

The Barron Opera Company was incorporated in 1889, with a capital of $3,000, and the opera hall on the corner of La Salle and Fifth streets erected in the same year.  It has seating capacity of 400, and is fitted up with a spacious stage and pretty scenery.  The officers for 1891 are:  President, John Post; secretary, Fred B. Kinsley; treasurer, C. D. Coe.

The Barron County "Republican" was started in May, 1890, by J. H. Williams & Son.  It is a weekly paper, devoted to the republican party, and is meeting with good success.

The population of the city, according to the census returns of 1890, was 829, and that of the township 400.
 

 
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