An Early Description of Stanfold Township

including the city of Rice Lake


-- From the "Historical and Biographical Album of the Chippewa Valley Wisconsin, 1891-2" pages 338 - 347.

 

Stanfold Township embraces two regulation townships, being twelve miles from east to west, and six miles in width from north to south, and containing seventy-two miles.  It is bounded on the north by the town of Oak Grove, on the south by the towns of Barron and Stanley, on the east by the town of Cedar Lake, and on the west by the town of Cumberland.  The Menomonie (Red Cedar) river flows through it from northeast to southwest.  It is also watered by several small streams and two fine lakes -- Rice lake and Lake Moontanyess.

The city of Rice Lake is located on the Chippewa Falls division of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha railway, and its site is on a slightly elevated plateau, with an easy declination to the south, on the eastern shore of Rice lake, which is more than six miles in length from north to south, and its greatest width, from east to west, is nearly three miles.  The Menomonie (Red Cedar) river flows through the city dividing it into three parts - the north, south and west sides.  It is thus furnished with an excellent natural drainage.  The city is essentially a lumber center.  A logging camp was established in this locality as early as 1868 by the Knapp, Stout & Co. Company.  So far as population and manufactories are concerned, it is the largest city in the county, but for enterprise in building up a city, Cumberland is far in advance of it.  The main street of Rice Lake is a fine wide business thoroughfare, two miles and a half in length, and the residence streets spacious, but there is a lack of handsome homes, and the conviction upon the visitor is that the profits of the many industries in successful operation here are not all expended in the city.

The first house was erected by the Knapp, Stout & Co. Company in 1874.  It was intended for the county building or court-house, Rice Lake having become the county seat by a vote of the people, but it was moved back to Barron, where it had come from, after the next general election.  The building is now occupied by F. M. Angel.  C. W. Carpenter erected a house at the same time.  It is now located on the corner of Main and Eau Claire streets.  The third building was a saloon and residence.  Daniel Dargan was the owner.  Two dwellings were also built in that year -- one by N. C. Abbott, and the other by George Anderson.  The first hotel in the settlement was erected and operated by the Knapp, Stout & Co. Company.  It was known as the lake house.  This was followed by the Pioneer house, built and managed by Auguste Boll.  Richard Gillespie was the first permanent white resident, and James C. Smith was one of the earliest settlers and pioneers of this section.  He came in 1870, and engaged in trade with the Indians.  He subsequently erected the Smith hotel, and operated it until it was burned down December 4, 1885. Soon afterward he erected the Merchants' hotel, which is now operated by R. W. Bull.  Another early settler is C. A. Gesell, who came to the city in 1877, in the service of the Knapp, Stout & Co. Company, and is now the manager of the mercantile department of their business here.  George McLeod, the contractor and builder, has been located in the city since 1875, and F. M. Angel came to reside here in that year.

The first plat of the village was made by the Knapp, Stout & Co. Company, as owners, in September, 1870.  Several changes and additions were subsequently made to it.  It was in this year that they erected a water-power saw-mill and a grist-mill.  The former was operated by them until 1890, when it was leased to the Rice Lake Lumber company for five years.  It has since been remodeled and fitted with new machinery to increase its capacity.  This association was incorporated in 1883, with a capital of $500,000, which has since been increased to $600,000.  They erected extensive saw-mills and planing works, with large lumber yards, and now occupy about sixty-two acres of ground.  Their plant consists, at the present time, of two saw-mills and two planing- mills.  The annual capacity of the former is 35,000,000 feet of lumber.  Immense quantities of lath and shingles are also manufactured.  Employment is given to 200 operatives.  The officers for 1891 are as follows:
President - O. H. Ingram, of Eau Claire
Vice-president - William Carson, of Eau Claire
Secretary - C. A. Chamberlin, of Eau Claire
Treasurer - W. K. Coffin, of Eau Claire
Assistant secretary - N. B. Noble, of Rice Lake

The grist-mill was operated by the Knapp, Stout & Co. Company until they erected a water-power flour-mill in the fall of 1879 and the following winter.  It was originally a stone mill, but was remodeled and converted into a roller mill in 1888, with five sets of rollers, giving it a capacity of 100 barrels a day.  It is known as the Rice Lake Roller Mills.  The old mill was transformed into a planing-mill, and is included in the property leased to the Rice Lake Lumber Company.  The average number of men employed by the Knapp, Stout & Co. Company is 275.  They carry on an extensive log-sled manufactory and general repair shop, and a large general store, besides an immense logging business, under the superintendence of James Bracklin.

When their logging-camp was first located here, and for some time afterward, the mail was brought to the men employed by them whenever the tow teams came up from Menomonie -- the round trip was made in a week.  In 1874 the mail came once a week from the same place, through Prairie Farm and Barron.  In the following year it was distributed twice a week.  In 1877 there was a tri-weekly delivery from Chippewa Falls, which came through in a day.  When the railway was opened for traffic in 1882 a daily mail service was inaugurated.

The first school was established in 1874, in a private house belonging to the Knapp, Stout & Co. Company, on the south side of the city, near where the brewery is now.  Miss Cheney was the first teacher.  The first school-house was built and opened in 1876, on Newton Street, where the railroad now is.  A new one, a district school, was erected in 1880, and the old one sold and converted into a dwelling-house.  In 1884 a school-house was built on the south side, and another on the west side in 1889.  The north-side institution is the free high school, with C. D. Kipp as principal and H. M. Hutton assistant principal.  There are now three graded schools of four departments each.  The average attendance of pupils is about 580, and they have twelve teachers.  P. H. Swift is the city superintendent.  The city charter was amended in 1890 to establish, among other things, a board of education for the government of the schools.  The members for 1891 are as follows:
President - J. W. Rogers
Commissioners include -
James Sims
H. H. Hillicker
M. T. Howard
Horace Drake

A local newspaper organ is one of the first undertakings to be established on the formation of a village, be its pretensions, in this respect, ever so limited.  The "Chronotype" was therefore started in 1874 by A. Carpenter, under the auspices of the Knapp, Stout & Co. Company.  It is a weekly journal devoted to republicanism.  W. P. Swift and D. M. Monteith became its proprietors in 1885.  They managed it for six months when P. H. Swift purchased it and ran it until the end of April, 1891, when his son, W. L. Swift, joined him in its publication.

In 1875 there were only five buildings here, the majority of which were occupied by the employes, mostly Scandinavians, of the pioneer company.  At this early period in the growth of the city a religious organization was established -- the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, of Rice Lake.  It was instituted July 29, 1875, by Rev. C. J. Helsem, the first pastor.  He was succeeded by Rev. H. C. Hveid in 1879, and he continued to serve until 1881, when the organization began the erection of a frame house of worship.  The pastorate was vacant until the arrival of Rev. J. E. Nord, May 20, 1883, when the church edifice was completed.  It is furnished with seats for the accommodation of 250 persons.  The membership numbers 153.  The local denominations in the different towns are all branches of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

One of the earliest industries established in the settlement was the brewery of Charles Saile.  This was in 1875.  It has passed through several hands since that time, and became the property of August Geisert in June, 1890.  In the following May he disposed of a share in the business to Anton Miller, and it is now being carried on under the firm name of Geisert & Miller.  The brew-house is twenty-four by sixty feet, and the ice-houses sixteen by twenty-four feet and twenty-four by twenty-four feet respectively.

Several Protestant Episcopalian families settled here in 1875-76, and strenuous efforts were made by them to obtain the ministrations of a priest, but it was not until March 23, 1879, that they had an opportunity of listening to a sermon by an Episcopal minister, Rev. P. B. Morrison, of Eau Claire.  The service was held in a building now known as the old city hall.  Occasional services were held in 1879 by Rev. E. R. Sweetland.  The first missionary preacher assigned to the parish was Rev. A. P. Peabody, who visited Rice Lake once a month, from 1880 to 1882.  In the fall of 1880 the primal steps were taken to obtain a lot for the erection of a church edifice.  Rt. Rev. E. R. Welles, S. D. T., third bishop of Wisconsin, made his first visit to the village May 10, 1881, and confirmed three persons.  The service was held in the old city hall building.  A mission was organized in June, 1881, and placed in charge of Rev. S. J. Yunt in July, 1882, with Rev. Charles S. Sleight as assistant.  September 21, 1883, the corner stone of the church was laid.  Bishop Welles officiating.  The first services were held in it June 3, 1884, when the Bishop conducted the services.  There were four baptisms and four confirmations.  Rev. W. H. H. Ross was assigned to Rice Lake and Shell Lake missions on July 1, 1885.  The first Episcopal visit of Rt. Rev. Clarence F. Knight, bishop of Milwaukee, was made on June 15, 1889.  The Rev. C. Harrower was, in April of the following year, appointed to succeed Mr. Ross during the summer months.  In March of the same year Rev. D. S. Thompson, of Chippewa Falls, commenced conducting services every Monday evening, and they have been continued since that time.  The church building has seating accommodations for 100 persons.

The next religious organization instituted in the village was St. Joseph's Roman Catholic church.  It was started in 1880, as a mission from Our Lady of Lourdes, Stanfold, by Rev. J. Dole.  The brick church building, the only one in the city, was erected in the same year.  The first resident pastor was Rev. M. Schoelch.  He remained eight months, when the church again became a mission of Stanfold.  This method of ministration was continued until July 9, 1889, when Rev. P. Becker was appointed rector, since which time there has been no change.  The parsonage was erected in 1889, and St. Joseph's school in 1890.  Both are of brick.  The latter is thirty by sixty feet, with two stories and basement.  The organization has a membership of 110 families, and the church edifice a seating capacity of 270.  The average number of pupils in the school is 100, and instruction is imparted to them by five sisters of St. Francis, of Silver Lake, Manitowoc county, Wis.

The Methodist Episcopal church was also established in 1880.  Services were held every alternate Sunday.  At a meeting of the members on June 28, 1884, the necessary steps were taken for the erection of a house of worship.  The Rev. James Conner was then the resident pastor, the first one.  The cornerstone of the structure was laid in 1884, and it was finished in 1885, opened in the fall of that year, and dedicated in the spring of 1886.  The successors of Mr. Conner were:
Rev. John Hall - 1886
Rev. W. Willsey - 1887
Rev. Mr. Alley - 1888
Rev. George Brown - 1889 - 1890
Rev. Edward P. Sanderson, the present pastor, was appointed to the charge in October 1890.  The church building has a seating capacity of 250.

The Rice Lake Dairy farm, an enterprise that was inaugurated in 1881, by E. J. Boddington, and is still operated by him, is located near the city, and occupies 160 acres of land, on which have been erected spacious barns, sheds, and other buildings, for the production of butter and cheese.

The oldest financial institution in the county is the Barron County Bank.  It was established in 1882, by N. W. Bailey, and he is still the proprietor.  It was originally located on the corner of Humbird and Main streets, but was removed to its present site, on Eau Claire and Main streets in 1888.  The capital employed in the business is $75,000, and A. B. Bailey is cashier.

The Presbyterian church was instituted in 1882, by Rev. W. V. Chapin.  The frame church was built in 1884.  Rev. Mr. Phoenix was the next pastor.  He remained a year, 1888.  Rev. William Omelvena had charge of the organization from December, 1888, to December, 1889, when the present pastor, Rev. Thomas S. Waller, was appointed to it. There are fifteen members, and the building has seating accommodation for 150 persons.  (It is unknown if this is the present day "United Presbyterian Church.")

The Democratic party in the city and vicinity were without an organ, and to meet the want the Rice Lake "Times" was established in 1883, by Charles W. Angel.  After conducting it a year he disposed of it to H. M. Angel, who sold it to the Times Publishing Company in 1885.  In the following year it was purchased by Charles F. Bone, its present editor and publisher.

In 1885 the works of James Meiklejohn and W. H. Hatten, trading under the firm name of Meiklejohn & Hatten, for the manufacture of barrel stock, was established here, occupying nearly ten acres of ground, and giving employment to about forty men.  The factory is forty by eighty-five feet, the engine room thirty-six by forty-five feet;  drying kiln, seventeen by ten feet, and five drying sheds, 36X260 feet each.  The proprietors of the works are non-residents, and the institution is under the management of E. Hartel, a Rice Lake citizen

The Nora cemetery of the Evangelical Lutheran church of Rice Lake was platted in November of this year.

The works of the Reuter Hub and Spoke Company were established in this city in 1886.  The business was originated in 1869 at Kaukauna, Wis., by Reuter Brothers.  After operating the plant for several years the partnership was dissolved in 1884, and an organization formed by Peter R. Reuter with the above title.  The annual output of the plant is 45,000 sets of spokes and 60,000 sets of hubs.  The factory is forty-eight by one hundred feet, to which is attached an engine room forty by forty-eight feet.  The drying kiln is sixteen by thirty-two feet, and the three spoke sheds twenty-four by one hundred and fifty feet each.  Employment is given to fifty men in the summer, and 125 during the logging season. The capital of the company is $24,000.  The officers for 1891 are:
President and treasurer - Peter Rueter
Secretary and manager - H. Rueter

Rice Lake Lodge, No. 234, F. & A. M., was chartered June 10, 1887.  The officers for 1891 were:
C. C. Kile - W. M.
E. Bassett - S. M.
E. Hartel - J. W.
O. J. Anderson - S. D.
John L. Bull - J. D.
F. H. Tuttle - Secretary
M. T. Howard - Treasurer
D. W. McClench - Tyler

Rice Lake was incorporated as a city in the spring of 1887, and the following are its representatives and officers from and including that year:

1887

OFFICE
OFFICER
Mayor
D. M. Monteith
City Clerk
F. M. Angel
Treasurer
Ole E. Wangnild
Assessor
George Colan
City Attorney
William P. Swift
Aldermen
First Ward William Boehmer
Nelse Shervey
Second Ward C. A. Gesell
H. Strehlan
Third Ward August Bull
John Schneider
Fourth Ward Henry Wilz
H. W. Drake
Supervisors
First Ward W. C. Miller
Second Ward H. M. Hilliker
Third Ward S. F. Newman
Fourth Ward A. M. Olds

1888

OFFICE
OFFICER
Mayor
H. M. Hilliker
City Clerk
S. A. Peterson
Treasurer
N. W. Bailey
Assessor
George Colan
City Attorney
C. A. Starck
Aldermen
First Ward E. Bassett
F. S. Noble
Second Ward F. I. De Mers
William Hubert
Third Ward August Boll
John Schneider
Fourth Ward Henry Wilz
Fred Scharlan
Supervisors
First Ward F. R. Conn
Second Ward Ole E. Wangnild
Third Ward S. F. Newman
Fourth Ward F. N. Van Bergen

1889

OFFICE
OFFICER
Mayor
James Bracklin
City Clerk
S. A. Peterson
Treasurer
H. Strechlan
Assessor
George Colan
City Attorney
Robert E. Bundy
Aldermen
First Ward F. S. Noble
C. A. Gesell
Second Ward William Hubert
George Anderson
Third Ward John Schneider
W. W. Bordwell
Fourth Ward Edward Smith
E. Hartel
Supervisors
First Ward C. F. Bone
Second Ward F. R. De Mers
Third Ward P. H. Swift
Fourth Ward I. C. Sargeant

1890

OFFICE
OFFICER
Mayor
C. F. Bone
City Clerk
S. A. Peterson
Treasurer
F. S. Noble
Assessor
F. R. Conn
City Attorney
C. A. Starck
Aldermen
First Ward C. A. Gesell
J. E. Horsman
Second Ward George Anderson
William Boehmer
Third Ward Robert Sykes
W. W. Bordwell
Fourth Ward Edward Smith
E. Hartel
Supervisors
First Ward C. F. Bone
Second Ward F. R. De Mers
Third Ward George H. Blystone
Fourth Ward I. C. Sargeant

1891

OFFICE
OFFICER
Mayor
James Bracklin
City Clerk
C. A. Gesell
Treasurer
S. A. Peterson
Assessor
C. A. Bunce
City Attorney
K. E. Rasmussen
Aldermen
First Ward D. W. McClench
J. C. Signor
Second Ward George Anderson
William Boehmer
Third Ward Robert Sykes
W. A. Leonard
Fourth Ward David M. Monteith
Edward Smith
Supervisors
First Ward C. F. Bone
Second Ward William P. Swift
Third Ward John Schneider
Fourth Ward Thomas Calhoun

The Rice Lake Manufacturing company was organized in 1889 for the production of hair dusters, clothes racks, fire kindlers and other novelties.  The officers of the institution for 1891 are:
President - N. B. Noble
Vice President and Secretary - A. M. Fessiton
Treasurer - E. L. Everts
General Manager - J. H. Gates

The Bank of Rice Lake was founded by E. L. Everts, in October, 1888, and organized as a state bank, in October, 1889, with a capital of $25,000, and the following officers:
President - L. S. Tainter
Vice-president - N. B. Noble
Cashier - E. L. Everts.
There has been no change in the management since that time.

The Norwegian Mission was organized in 1888, and the first church building erected in 1889.  It was destroyed by fire in 1890, when the present structure was built.  It is furnished with seats for 200 persons.  The first pastor was Rev. Ole Myrhe.  He had charge of the mission until the winter of 1890 - 1891.  Since that time the services have been irregular.

The Rice Lake Volunteer Fire Department was organized in May, 1889, with the following officers:
Chief - J. Hornby Butcher
Assistant Chief - S. S. Morrison
Secretary - F. H. Tuttle
Foreman of hose - J. P. Schaaf
Foreman of hook and ladder - Joseph Manhein
Engineer - D. W. McClench.
The equipment consists of a Watrous steamer, "Rice Lake No. 1," a hook and ladder truck, a hand hose cart, 800 feet of carbonized rubber hose, 200 feet of rubber-lined hose, and 1,000 feet of linen hose.  The officers for 1891 are
Chief - D. P. Hoag
Assistant Chief - S. S. Morrison
Foreman of hose - J. P. Schaaf
Foreman of hook and ladder - E. Hartel
Engineer - D. W. McClench
Secretary - F. H. Tuttle
Treasurer - A. A. Gabriel
There are twenty-five active members.

The population of the city in 1890 was, according to the census returns for that year, as follows:
First ward - 576
Second ward - 531
Third ward - 351
Fourth ward - 672
Total - 2,130
There was a post-office at Stanfold settlement, but it has been discontinued.

 

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