History: Clark County, "Census Taking (1870)"
Contact: Michelle
Email: dmeak@newnorth.net



Clark County, "Census Taking (1870)




CENSUS TAKING - - - - 1870 (the following article is part of the series of articles written and published by the editor of the "Clark County Republican" in Neillsville in 1870. The copies were found at an auction by Mrs. Genieveve Handtke of the Pleasant Ridge area. We are indebted to her for the material) "All over the County," by your Pioneer editor, Mr. Hand. "Two months and a half as a Census-Taker." We have previously intimated that something would be said of what one of the editors saw while on a census trip through Clark County in 1870. To make the subject more interesting to our readers we have endeavored to obtain the privilege go giving at the same time the statistics gathered, but this is strictly denied by the government, until it is officially promulgated from the headquarters. Now we shall try to interest all by telling of things unforbidden.


We shall speak of the several towns as visited, writing up one in each of eight issues. Wednesday, June 1st, 1870, was the day fixed for the beginning of the enumeration, the ninth census of the United States of America. Assistant Marshalls were provided with blanks comprising four schedules: Schedule I, Inhabitants Schedule II, persons who died during the year Schedule III, production of Agriculture Schedule IV, products of Industry. With sufficient number of blanks, a large pamphlet of instructions, with Mr. Henry Myers as our genial companion, seated in his buggy behind as lively a pair of little mares as ever traveled the road, we began our pilgrimage on the bright and clear morning of June's first day and wended our way to the Town of Levis. After covering Levis our nest journey took us to the Town of Lynn, which takes within its boundaries townships 24 and 25, range 1 east, forming part of the eastern line of the county. It has less inhabitants than any other town in the county, and is next to the smallest in territory. Yet it is inferior to none in the quality of the soil, the industry of its farmers and the enterprise of all classes of its inhabitants. This is shown by its few well developed farms, the labor expended on the roads, and the general thrifty aspect of affairs.


We took our departure form Neillsville for Nasonville, Wood County, a small settlement about a mile east of our county borders, on Sunday afternoon, June 5th, so as to be ready for business early Monday morning. No leaving this village and traveling east can but be favorably impressed with the delightful country. For 12 or 14 miles the road is nicely turnpiked, save once in a while a small portion neglected, but this is being attended to just as fast as circumstances will permit, and in a short time one unbroken stretch of good turnpike road will lie between Neillsville and Nasonville. Farms line the road on either side with the exception of now and then a timber rising up on one side but rarely blanks the road on both sides until you pass by Alonzo Brooks a few miles west of the Wood county line. Then we are hemmed in on either side by forests of heavy timber and after going a short distance, crossing over a good piece of turnpike and some unfinished road work, the high bushes have narrowed the thoroughfare down to a meandering, muddy wagon track. It is lonesome moving along here, but suddenly a small clearing is seen ahead, and we soon halt opposite the estate of a German name Henry Ratzlaff, who just came in last spring. To save time we believed ourselves justified in taking his name that day. The next house was a few rods beyond the county line, and nothing further interrupted our travel to the residence of our friend, Solomon Nason, where we were warmly received for the night. Time was when Mr. Nason lived here in a little low house, many miles from the nearest settlement but by the most persevering industry he has amassed considerable property, lives in an elegant and spacious frame house, on one of the most extensive farms in the country, and is rapidly bringing to his comfort all the luxuries of a wealthy independent farmer's life. Around him have gathered quite a number of settlers, who form quite a large and active neighborhood and almost at his very door is a snug and pretty appearing schoolhouse. Neillsville is the trading point for this section of country and in view of their interests being the same with that of the people of our county, it is often regretted they are not politically united to us. Mr. Nason takes considerable interest in stock rising, and he took occasion to show us a truly noble animal of purely Devonshire blood, which was brought form the east early last spring. Mr. Nason treated us with characteristic kindness during our stay with him and on Monday morning, before the sun was very high we were again in Clark County . Going a little southwest form Mr. Nason's, through the woods about two miles, we came upon the farm of Mr. George Klinesmith (Kleinschmidt) who has an extensive clearing. We passed directly through his farm, and he very kindly went a short distance to put us on the right track toward his neighbor, Mr. Solomon W. Newman, a farmer of no small pretensions.  Mr. Newman allowed us the privilege of putting our horses in his barn while we pursued our journey on foot a short walk brought us to the farm of Mr. Hiram Soper, a young man living solitary and alone in the wilderness. "Keeping back" under such circumstances we should regard as rather trying, though we never attempted it. Hand seemed to think with us, that the happiest households were seen where they greeted us with the merry laughter of several dirty faced children playing in the door yard. It looked desolate enough here, but Soper looked at us as much to say " the next time census takers come here "


We passed on a little farther, the farms of Mr. Harvey Snow and Mr. Emmet A. Webster, who live within a stone's throw of each other. The latter is a new settler, but he can show around him the gratifying results of hard toil. We retraced our steps to Mr. Newman's and while Hank "hitched up" we went to the school house close by and obtained the teacher's name, Miss Clara Chapman, whom we found busy teaching "young ideas to shoot". From Mr. Newman's we took a southwestern course and came out on the main road a short distance east of Mr. Alonzo Brook's farm, and then turned west. Bothering Alonzo for a few minutes we went on to his father s, Mr. BartemusBrooks, whose farms adjoin. The latter gentleman has lived to see the third winter beyond four score years, and the infirmaries of old age are fast creeping upon him. Our horses were well taken care of here, and we ate one of those excellent dinners that only a framer's wife knows how to get up. Mr. Archibald Yorkston, a staunch old Scotchman, is the next farmer close by and beyond him a little way, on the opposite side of the road, Mr. Frederick Sternitzke, next to him Ernst Sterniztke, and then Charles Sternitzke, all intelligent and industrious Germans. The next farm, a little ways beyond, belongs to Mr. George Ure, another Scotchman, having the characteristic trait of his countrymen, of being very agreeable and talkative. A short distance back, we follow a new road leading south, and passing by a clearing some improvements on the east side we continue on about a mile to the large and well stocked farm of Mr. Frederick Yankee, a German by birth if not in name. Across his farm, on the west side, is August Yankee's, then in a southwestern direction a mile and a half farther is a German farmer who, we were told, could not speak a word of our language. One of the Yankee boys kindly volunteered to act as our guide and interpreter, and leaving Hank, we started. The German was found, but it has always puzzled us to tell what his name is. It is spelled as we write it, Gottlieb Wiseputke (Wieschulke). Returning to Mr. Yankee's we were treated to a very nice supper, then going on to the main road and beyond Mr. Ures, not many rods, we take a road going north, while Hank goes on to find quarters for the night. A half miles tramp brought us to the farm of Mr. John Geary. It was growing dark as we wended our way back to the road. From here a short walk only was necessary to reach Mr. William Yorkston's, an intelligent and genial Scotchman. The fourth principal meridian, so Geography says. Passes just on the west side of Mr. Yorkston's house (distinguished location ) And separates Lynn from Grant township. Mr. Yorkston farms a little, keeps a small store, and is quite the literary man by the way. He writes some for papers, delivers addresses before the public occasionally, and lives as he is, a respected and happy old bachelor. South of his place a short distance is a Lutheran Church -- we did not visit it -- the only house of divine worship in the county outside of Neillsville where is located a Methodist Episcopal Church house. From here we crossed the meridian into Grant, and found Hank enjoying the hospitalities of Mr. Ely Williams. In the northern part of Lynn lives four farmers.


Owing to the distance to be traveled from where we were at this time, we did not visit them until near the close of our whole census trip. Previous to going we obtained the names of the three, viz. Horace Heath, Marvin Heath and Ira U. Robbins. One more remained, and went out one day on horseback after leaving Damon Davis , in Weston (Fremont was a part of Weston - as was York at this time) a ride of about five miles through a nice country, covered by a dense hardwood forest destitute of a house or clearing, brought us to the new place of Mr. Horace Heath's,, beside Cawley's meadow. This meadow is many miles in extent and hundreds of tons of hay are cut upon it each year to supply the demand of lumbermen. Leaving our horse at Mr. Heath's we went down to the meadow a mile and a half and came upon the farm of Mr. John Rollins. He had come here from Necedah away off to the southeast. With the names of his family Lynn was made complete on our census blanks, and we returned home, pleased with the town and pleased over the performance of our task.


Town of Grant--This town, fifth in population and the smallest in area, ranks first in agricultural development. In it are quite a number of large and well established farms of which even an older country might well be proud. Its territory comprises township 14, range 1 west, excepting the north tier of sections which belong to the town of Weston. The inhabitants are mostly Germans, whose energy and thrift as farmers is unsurpassed by any other class of people. We began the enumeration of the town on the evening of Monday, the 6th of June 1870, at Mr. Yorkston's where Mr. George Williams of Grant had stopped in for a few minutes. Opposite him, on the south side of the road, is George Riedel's farm, and joining him on the west of his brother, Mr. Ely William, Jr. At this latter place we stopped for the night. Arriving sometime after dark, we found Hank "comfortably fixed", taking a luncheon of bread and milk. We were likewise treated by our kind hostess. Mr. Ely William Sr., living here, is another one of the oldest men in Clark County, being 86 years of age. One the morning of June 7th we got an early start. Mr. Christian Moh is the first farmer west, than a little farther on is "Marsh's Corner", in which vicinity live the Marsh s. Nelson Marsh, Levi Marsh, Abraham Taylor and Thomas Hoover on separate farms. Garden Valley Post Office's located at this place, N. Marsh postmaster. Going from here we started along the road south. Mr. Fred Gerber's farm is half a mile distant than another half mile brought us to the farms of Traugott Beer, William Gaersmaehl, and Gottlib Garbush, the latter an honest, hardworking old German and the honored head of a large family of children, most of whom are boys. He asked us how many boys ere necessary in one family for the parents to receive recognition from the government, granting them certain advantages, a custom prevalent in "the old country." We confessed he was really deserving of something, and gave all the encouragement we could under the circumstances. Leaving here we go west one mile, passing by a school house, to Ferdinand Wage's. 


Here we turn a short distance, and then taking a new road west travel one and a half mile to the farm of Mr. John Riedel, an old and very nice place. On the west is Mr. George W. Dutton's farm, formerly owned by Franz Bauman. From here we went on foot north across O Neill's creek about half a mile, where we find the farms of August Riedel, Solomon Riley Charles E. Chase, and William Zugbaum. Returning, we arrived at Wage's in time for a good dinner. A well improved farm opposite them, on the west side of the road, belongs to John Garbisch, and south a half mile to where the road again turns west, lives a farmer named Jeremiah Allen.


A little ways farther brings us to Mr. Robert Howard's place. Opposite him Wilson B. Churchill has just begun a work on a small place then west of Mr. Howard's farm is that of Mr. George Brooks. We follow the windings of the road and go south again. On the east side is the farm of Mr. Arthur Hutchinson, who is the postmaster of Pleasant Ridge Office. Living with him at the time was the family of George Schummel. Half a mile from Brooks is "Rexer's Corners." This is about the center of the town. Roads leading out from here in four directions into the surrounding agricultural district, it is not strange that Christian Rexer, with ordinary foresight, should purchase here a piece of land to erect a house, keep hotel, and have in store a few necessary articles to supply the demands of the country people living about him. We stopped here the night of June 7th, and the next morning went south 2 or 3 miles (2 miles) to the house of Thomas McPherson. Putting our team in his barn we started from here on a trip to Winter's in the town of Levis (Washburn) of which we missed on our trip into Levis. In all our travels we found strawberries in great abundance, but none so large and delicious as there. Near Mr. McPherson's is the farm of Franz Baumann, and north of the latter the Deria J. McPherson.


Going west from Thomas McPherson's about two miles we come upon the farms of Samuel Kirkpatrick, H. J. Chamberlain, Horace Rockwell, and the Indian squaw, Kate Scott, whose husband, a white man, died a few years ago. The father of Mr. Rockwell, of the same name, is in his 99th year, and is the oldest person in Clark County. He was lying down when we saw him, so from observation we are unable to tell how active he is. We do not believe, however, he is able to perform the amount of work accredited to other very old men we read about. We met Mathias Lezotte, another farmer, who answered our questions without a visit to his place. Returning to McPherson's we took another course stopping at the farms of Mrs. Mary Hitchcock, Charles Handtke, Ira Benedict, and Charles Slocum's. South of Slocum's a few rods a road leads west into the farms of Perry S. Brooks, Chas. W. Sedgewick, Walter Page and Sereno Wren. Visiting them we came back, stopped a moment at the farm of Archibald Campbell, a few steps from the corner, and we were again at Rexer's for the night. Mr. Rexer, as a landlord, neglects nothing for the comfort of his guest, and is building up a good business.


We took the road running east of his place the next morning, Thursday, June 9th, 1870. It was about three miles to the furthest settlers in Grant in this direction. The first farm, that of the widow Morton (Milton) M. Cook, then the farms of Christian Diedrich, Christian Gerzmael, August Fischer, August Scholz and William Schlingsog. South of this road a half a mile are the farms of John Lautenbach and August Lautenbach. The same distance north of the road are the farms of Siegmund Kunrad, and the last one that of Ernst Lustig. We found the Germans at every place chopping and clearing land, while some were engaged in the manufacture of shingles. Leaving Christian Rexers after dinner, we went northward to the farm of William Faery, near George Brooks. A half mile beyond here lives a farmer by the name of Gottlieb Wortel (Worchel) Going west from Faery's we traveled one mile, past the farms of George Bates, Frederick Vine, John and Edmund Waterman, to the farms of Jacob J. Brown and his son Jacob Brown.


Leaving Mr. Brown's we journeyed north stopping at the residence of Mr. Edward King, where we also obtained the names of several farmers who were near by building a turnpike. Getting on to the main road again, we began working our way home. From Christian Rexer's west the road is lined with beautiful, high rolling farms. The first place opposite Rexer's, belongs to William T. Hutchinson of Neillsville village, the next to James West, then the farm of George Hill, a resident now of Texas, who has left his farm in charge of S. C. Boardman. The next place in George West's, whose son William also owns a farm in the neighborhood. Then follow John Selves, John Nichols, Thomas Huckstead, George Wilding, Henry Counsell, James Foot, Thomas Reed and the two non-residents - James Burke and George France - in Mr. Reed's care. James Billing's farm is next and the large farm of Mr. C. Blakeslee, of this village, which runs over the town line into Pine Valley, where the family farm house and buildings are erected. South of this place some distance Joseph Noyes went in last spring. Catching him out one day saved us a trip there. The same with the farm of Sid. Davis near the north line of the town, occupied this summer by Mark Covey.


In the northwestern part of the town is the farm of Abram Riley. We walked in there alone one day to find living near Mr. Riley, Josiah and Valentine Johnson, with their families. We shall not soon forget this visit, for in returning we almost came losing our way, "getting fairly mixed up," with the blackberry bushes in an old pine chopping near O Neill's creek. In this town there is but very little land not susceptible of the highest state of cultivation. It is strictly an agricultural town, having no factories in the meaning of he census law. The farmers are all doing well, and no better evidence of this is needed than the fact that nearly all are engaged in making new clearings, increasing their stock and erecting new buildings to meet the exigencies of a growing business. The expend considerable on roads and we had very little trouble in visiting the different localities of the town. We regret exceedingly that we are not permitted now to speak of the number of acres of cleared land, the amount of stock, etc., but the Government is inexorable, and we hope a brief mention of the farmers and in what part of the town they reside, will gratify in measure the interest naturally felt for full detail. We give you these statistics: number of inhabitants - 368. Number of dwelling - 78. Number of farms - 81.



History: Clark County, "Census Taking (1870)

Contact: Patty Williams
Email: larrypattywilliams@msn.com

I am researching the Charles (John) Chamberlain family of Thorp. My great Aunt Rosetta married him in the late 1800's and I am looking for any information on this family.



History: Clark County, "Census Taking (1870)"
Contact:  Marjorie (Johnson) Kelson
Email:  moonshadow81262@yahoo.com

This story is very interesting, wasn't sure I was going to find the names I was looking for, but there they were at the end of the story, Josiah and Valentine Johnson. I have been looking for further info on them and their families but have not found much. The story is a little hard to follow for me because I am not from Wisconsin. I was wondering just what town they lived in at this time? Could any one tell me if this Mr. Riley was also from Pennsylvania? Does any one know whether or not these families stayed in this area? I know that Josiah was killed prior to 1880, and that his daughter Lavina married Noble Downer. If any one could help me with more info on these families it would be greatly appreciated. They are the brothers of my G Grandfather.

Thanks Marji

Bio: Riley, Solomon (Census)

Contact: Kay Scholtz

Email: Stan@wiclarkcountyhistory.org


Surnames: Riley


----Sources: Federal Census Records


I checked the 1870 census for you today, Town of Grant. Solomon Riley was also from Penn, he was 43, a farmer, with wife, Susan Riley, age 33, from Penn. According to the birthplaces of their children they had been in Wisconsin for 7 to 8 years. Solomon Riley was at HH15, Josiah Johnson was at HH16. Josiah was 39, born Penn, wife was Susan, 42, born Penn. Josiah's children were as follows: Lavina, 14; Fernando, 13; Katy, 9; and there was also a John Johnson, 21, laborer in HH17.



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