History of Clark County included in the "History of Northern Wisconsin:" An Account of It's Settlement, Growth, Development and Resources; An Extensive Sketch of Its Counties, Cities, Towns and Villages. Publ. 1881

Cities, Towns and Villages


   This is in Clark County, at the junction of the Chippewa Falls Railroad with the Wisconsin central, which was completed in the Fall of 1880. It is 3 miles north of Colby, 218 miles from Milwaukee, and 132 from Ashland, the northern terminus of the Central.
    It is in the midst of a dense forest, with a wide variety of timber. Several hundred acres at this point have been cleared, and a village laid out on the east of the railroad, to the Marathon County line, a few blocks away. the streets, at right angles with the railroad, are named, beginning at the north, Pine, Maple, Cedar, Oak, Birch, Spruce; parallel with the railroad, the streets are called, First, Second, Third and Division streets.
    One year old, the village has a depot, with an eating house seating 136, and with twenty-one sleeping rooms, and about twenty other buildings.
    William Livingston has a good hotel on Second street nearly opposite the depot. S.A. Cook has a store with general merchandise. Then there are three saloons and one restaurant. John Johnson keeps the railroad hotel, called the Abbot Hotel. Charles Partridge is Postmaster. Roads are constructing, and a lumber yard is already located here, and when the line from Wausau reaches the place, as is contemplated, it must become the center of an active hardwood manufacturing interest, and ultimately of a farming one.


   This thriving town is on the Wisconsin Central Railroad, which is here located on the line between Marathon County on the east and Clark County on the west. On the one side it is Hull, Marathon Co.; on the other, Colby, Clark Co. and on account of this political bi-section of the village, there is a want of harmony and unity of purpose which conspires to prevent concord of action. A village organization in the near future will correct this incongruity, and Colby will spring into a neat and well-appointed village, with a modern character.
   Colby is a develpment of the Wisconsin Central Railroad, whose first business is to work up the pine and hard wood timber on every hand. It is near the Big Eau Plaine, which is a prominent tributary of the Wisconsin.
   The first white man to penetrate this northern, almost impenetrable woods, was Ira S. Graves, who, with his brother Leroy, built a mill a mile or so below the present site of Colby. N.J.White was associated with them in the lumber business.
   In 1873, the railroad reached this point, and the place must be dated from this time. Mr. Levi Wooddberry was an early settler. The place received regular accessions until, in February, 1876, Griffin & Co. started a newspaper the 'Enterprise'. After a while, J.A.Parkhurst alone managed the concern, and, at the end of two years, having been elected County Clerk, or Clerk of the Court, the people of Colby suffered him to remove the paper to Neillsville, where it soon died of nostalgia.
   In 1878, on the 18th of September, Samuel J. and Joel J. Schafer started the 'Phonograph', a live newspaper, which still lives to speculate upon and chronicle passing events.
   In October, 1879, the citizens undertook to build a town hall, which should be a public utility and contain a library. B.R.Colby, in whose honor the town was named, offered $500 towards the expense, and the members of the Presbyterian Church, who had a frame standing, offered to relinquish their claim upon it. So work was begun upon it, and it is in progress as a public building.
   In December, 1879, a literary association was formed, with George J.Walbridge, president: Mrs. D.S.Bullock, vice-president; Ch.F.Grove, librarian; J.B.Carpenter, treasurer.
   On Friday, June 17, 1880, Lars Jacobson was accidentally killed in Potter & Ferguson Bros.'s mill.
   The business in Colby is divided as follows:
   Lumber-mill--Potter & Ferguson Bros.
   Planing-mill--E.Decker & Co., A.La Mont being the other member of the firm.
   Saw, shingle and broom-handle factory--west of the village; J.D.Thomas
   North of the village is a lumber and shingle mill, built by Mr.P.R.Edminster, and owned by Rogers Bros., of Milwaukee, which is not running.
   Two miles below the village is the saw and shingle mill of E.Decker & Co.
   A mill was built by Mr. Stevens, in 1876. it was burned the next season.
   A flouring-mill was built by Reynolds & Bryant, in 1879, and has two run of stones; a wagon, carriage and sleigh works is by N.P.Peterman; blacksmithing by Charles Holtzhousen, Fred. Roth; "pop" manufacturer, M. Kramer; shoemakers, A Becherer and Frank Farnstahl; cabinet shops, C.R. Taylor and C.P. Bahl; general merchandise, Andrew Flaig, Frank Brott, Fred Bredemyer and B.B.Walker; hardware, G.J.Walbridge and D.J.Etsell drug stores, Henry Seigrist and B.A. wilms; millinery, Miss Annie Davis and sister; tailor, William Risch; saloons -- one billiard hall and four other saloons.
   The churches have not yet secured a very firm footing in Colby. The Catholics have a mission here, supplied from Medford, Taylor Co, having brought the old schoolhouse as a nucleus for future operations.
   A Presbyterian organization was effected in 1874, and the Rev. R.A.Fuller preached here in the school-house until 1877.
   The Methodists and Baptists also have organizations but have not yet accumulated strenght sufficient to go alone.
   Lawyers--Charles R. Grow, R.B.Salter
   Potter & Ferguson Bros's mill was twice burned, and had a boiler explosion, but, Phoenix like, it arose from its ashes.
   Fraternal--Masonic--Colby Lodge, No. 204. N.J.White, W.M.; D.R. Freeman, secretary.
   Odd Fellows--Colby Lodge, No. 234. Oliver Yerks, N.G.; F.H. Darling, R.S.
Good Templars--Forest Lodge, No. 253. W.E.Collins, W.C.T.; W.H.Bartell, R.S.
   Railroad Business.--The transactions at the depot in Colby is $2,400 a month, on an average. F.L.Dille is the station agent.
   Post-Office--G.J.Walbridge, Postmaster; E. Merritt, assistant. Seventy-five dollars a month in stamps sold.
   Colby House--G.W.Ghoea, proprietor.
   Brehm's Hotel--Herman Brehm, proprietor; Paul Zollic, office clerk.
   There is around Colby, for miles, large quantities of lumber, pine and hard wood, and with farms opening up on all sides, it is destined to be a village of large proportions.


This is one of the towns springing up the line of the Wisconsin Cental railway. It is three miles north of Abbotsford, in the midst of a dense hard-wood region, interspersed with pine, which is rapidly disappearing. The region is good farming land, a clayey loam.
   The Eau Pleine river is three miles east, and the Poplar three miles west; the one running into the Wisconsin, the other into the Black River. there are at present, perhaps, 400 people in the village.
   B.G.Miltmore is Postmaster, with John Miltmore as assistant; $70 a month is received for stamps.
   R.P.Ruling is station agent. Amount of receipts for freight forwarded, per month, $1,394; freight received, $500; passenger fares, $220.
   The American Express Company and the Western Union Telegraph Company have offices here.
   The place was first settled in 1874.
   Sumner Hugaboom started to build a hotel right in the wilderness. Hosea Hugaboom, Silas and George Shepard, Peter Ruben, L.N. Robbins, were among the earliest comers.
   In the future, however, all those who are here now and are mentioned as in business, will be considered as the pioneers of Dorchester.
   The saw-mill was built by R.C.Evans. It afterwards was in the hands of the Wisconsin Central Railroad Company. Its cost was $50,000, and was for a time in charge of E.L.Swarthout. It was burned and rebuilt in the winter of 1880-1, and in the first season cut six million feet into lumber, shingle and lath. The mill has a double rotary, with planer and other dressing machinery.
   General Merchandise Dealers.--Miltimore Bros., H.Laborris, Pomplitz Bros., A.F.Sumner, Larson & ulnen, O.D. Vandurn & Co.
   Shoe Shop--N. Reddig
   Butcher--A. Mezier
   Land-Agent--E.L. Swarthout
   Two hotels, Central House, Sumner Hugaboom, proprietor; Donnelly House, Michael Donnelly, proprietor.
   Religious.--There are as yet no church buildings but the Catholics, German Lutheran, Methodists and Presbyterians have adherents and the place is considered missionary ground, to be supplied from the neighboring towns.
   Schools.--The educational interests of the town are well provided for. The school-house was built in 1876. Their are 100 enrolled pupils. W.C.Mason is the principal, and Mrs. Florence May, assistant.
   A lodge of Good Templars is in town, and a division of the Sons of Temperance.
   Logs have to be hauled from two to five miles, that is the pine; the hard-wood is hardly encroached upon at all.
   The village is well laid out, and certainly has a promising future.

Cities, Towns & Villages continued on Page 2

Transcribed and Contributed to this site by Judy Groh

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Floral Bouquet © Copyright: All files on this site are copyrighted by their creator and/or contributor. They may be linked to but may not be reproduced on another site without specific permission from Clark County Coordinator Judy Groh, the State Coordinator, Tina Vickery and/or their contributor. My very special thanks to Holly Timm for the creation of the WIGenWeb Clark County graphic. The use of the Penny Postcard in the title graphic is used with permission of the Penny Post Cards a USGenWeb Archives Web Site.

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