Counsell, Josiah Ernest (History - 1863)


Janet Schwarze





----Source: 1918 History of Clark County, Wisconsin

JOSIAH ERNEST COUNSELL, until recently engaged in agricultural pursuits on a farm in Section 17, Grant Township, but now being retired in Neillsville, was born on his parents' farm in this township, May 25, 1863. His parents were Henry and Susan Counsell, natives of England. His boyhood was spent amid pioneer surroundings. The house in which he was born was built of logs, and the Wilding District School, in which he obtained his education, was also a log structure. In his youth he also had practical experience in pioneer farming, as he had to assist his father in clearing the land.


Remaining at home until the age of 22, he then struck out for himself, going to Dakota, where he was engaged for awhile in harvesting and other farm work. On his return he invested in land on his own account, buying eighty acres of timber land in Section 29, Grant Township, which he cleared and sold, with the proceeds buying an eighty-acre farm in Section 17. There was a log house and barn on the place at the time he bought it, the previous owner having been James Foot, who had got the claim from James Wildish. Subsequently, Mr. Counsell received forty acres of hi's father's estate, thereby enlarging his farm to 120 acres. He made many improvements on it, greatly increasing its value. His water supply was formerly three-quarters of a mile away from the house, but he later dug a well nearby. He also enlarged the house--a brick structure-to seven rooms, and built a barn 36 by 60 feet, and a silo of cement blocks, 14 by 34 feet. Here he carried on general farming successfully, raising Holstein cattle, Percheron horses and Berkshire hogs.


In 1917, Mr. Counsell retired and took his residence in Neillsville on property formerly owned by his father. He is a stockholder in the Farmers Cooperative Elevator and Lumber Company of Neillsville, and in the Pleasant Ridge Creamery, which he helped to start, having also been one of its directors. On the district school board he has served as director and treasurer. His fraternal society affiliations are with the Beavers, Woodmen and F. R. A. lodges at Neillsville. On Dec. 13, 1888, Mr. Counsell was married in Grant Township, to Bertha Dettman, who was born in Washington County, Wis., Feb. 9, 1860, daughter of Charles and Johanna (Turrow) Dettman. Her parents were both natives of Germany, and were married in that country, which they left with two children for the United States, landing in this country after a four-weeks' voyage on the ocean, in a sailing vessel. Mr. Dettman, who was a farmer, settled in Washington County, Wis., where for a while he worked for other farmers, afterwards buying a farm of his own in Washington County. This was a tract of sixty-five acres, on which was a small clearing and a log building, the market being sixteen miles away. Here he lived for a number of years, breaking his land with an ox team and developing a farm, until he moved to Batavia, where he lived two years, and where his wife died at the age of 42. He had bought a farm in Sheboygan County, and after his wife's death, went to live with his son in that county, where his last days were spent.


He lived to the advanced age of 88 years. A devout member of the Evangelical Church, he aided in establishing the church of that denomination in Batavia. To him and his wife four children were born-Christine, William, Jacob and Henry. Mr. and Mrs. Counsell have had five children-Herbert Henry, now a farmer in Section 20, Grant Township Ida, who died at the age of 17 years Clarion, Nina and Irene, who reside at home. Clarion, the son, who is now on the home farm, was married April 28, 1917, to Henrietta Clements.



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