History: Bloomer, Wisconsin (1881)
Contact: Janet Schwarze
---Source: 1881 History of Northern Wisconsin, pg. 221.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF BLOOMER, WISCONSIN
This is a thriving village in the town of the same name, twelve miles from the Falls. It has 400 inhabitants. J. W. Williams, Postmaster. There is a saw-mill and grist-mill, owned by J. W. Smith. The planing, door, sash and blind mill is owned by George Brooks. These mills run by water, which seldom fails. There are six stores with general merchandise, two drug stores and two confectionery stores; three saloons, which pay a license of $50 each; three churchesóCongregationalist, Methodist and Catholic. The Lutherans also have a missionary station there.
The oldest settler in town is Mr. Van Loon. J. H. Brown is the present Town Clerk.
It is in the midst of a good farming region. Good crops of wheat, barley, oats and hay are raised, with potatoes and other vegetables.
A newspaper, the Bloomer Workman is printed here, and edited by Mrs. Jenny Jones. C. T. Tillinghast, the School Superintendent, resides here; there is one other lawyer, and one doctor.
The town has just voted $25,000 in aid of the Chippewa Falls & Northern Railway.
In July, 1857, Sylvester Van Loon pre-empted the northeast quarter of Section 8, Town 30, Range 9 west, embracing the mill site and the present village of Bloomer. Mr. William Priddy came up with him. They came up on foot, and went home in the same way. After finishing up harvesting in Sauk County, they returned with teams, in September, erected a log house, 14x36, about eight feet high, with shingle-board roof, and cut a quantity of hay. Mr. Van Loon returned with a team for his family, leaving Mr. Priddy to look after things. Mr. Van Loon came with his family and set up housekeeping late in the Fall, with a full stock of flour and pork; but a prairie fire had burned all their hay. He sold one yoke of his oxen, and let out another yoke, and was obliged to purchase hay at a high price to feed several head of cows and young stock. The Winter following was noted for the remarkable depth of snow and excessive cold weather, making travel almost an impossibility. Deer could not run, and a great many were knocked down with clubs. Any man, equipped with a pair of snow-shoes and a club, could kill as many as he desired. Settlers replenished their larders in that manner.
John A. Smith, John McCarity, John Ogden and Boun Ogden, the same year, but a little earlier, settled about three miles further up Duncan's Creek. Settlers were obliged to go to Eau Claire to do their trading. S. H. Allen had then a small grist-mill at Chippewa Falls, a great convenience to the early settlers. At this time, they got their mail at Chippewa City, where Stephen McCann kept a sort of post-office on his own account, though he was appointed Postmaster. On the 12th day of August, 1863, Mr. Van Loon was appointed Postmaster at Vanilla (afterwards called Bloomer), and he kept the office in his store, on the east side, near the bridge, until 1871, when J. I. Brooks was appointed; then it was removed to the mill company's store. Mr. Andrew Jackson was appointed deputy, and served during most of Mr. Van Loon's administration. In 1866, the village of Bloomer was platted. July 28, 1865, Messrs. W. B. Gage and Andrew Jackson opened a small store of general merchandise. Mr. Gage soon after died, and the business was suspended for a time. The same season, Messrs. Sylvester Van Loon and Leonard Barneshen erected a store, and were in business together about two years, when Mr. Barneshen sold out his interest to J. G. Wadsworth A year and a half later, Mr. Van Loon sold out his goods and retired from mercantile life. In 1858, Mr. Van Loon got out some timber, intending to erect a mill on the present site, which he owned, but abandoned it. Subsequently he ceded the mill privilege to Messrs. Goodrich & Smith, conditionally, and they went to work in 1865, erecting the mill, but before completing the structure, they sold out to Judson Smith, who completed it, adding a run of mill-stones. Subsequently, Messrs. J. I. Brooks and J. P. Macauley were taken in as partners At one time. Rev. I. Phillips owned an interest in the mill, which he sold to Mr. Macauley. The property has since been divided up, including a planing mill.
The Congregational Society erected a church in 1872. PastoróRev. Horace Wenty; trustees, J. W. Smith and W. M. Cobban. The Temple of Honor have an organization, organized in 1878.
A grist-mill with four run of stones was erected a few years ago, to which power is supplied from the saw-mill and planing-mill dam, an excellent water-power made from Duncan Creek, which runs through the village. The town is supplied with two hotels, the Detloff House and Smith Hotel. The former is managed by Mr. Charles Detloff, one of the pioneers of the place; the latter, by Mrs. Smith, widow of the founder of the house. The village has several well-filled stores, prominent among which are the hardware and furniture store of P. G. McMartin & Co , and Fred Becker, who are doing a thriving and growing trade. Prominent among the general merchandise establishments is that of Fred Adler, and that of F. W. Stees & Co. It has also the usual accompaniment of blacksmith and other shops.
The Bloomer Workman, published by George L. Jones, a very well conducted local sheet, of Greenback proclivities, first stepped into the arena of journalism in July, 1880. Mrs. Jenny Jones, for many years familiar with the editorial duties of newspaper work, takes an active part in its publication The village of Bloomer, located in the town of Bloomer, in a good farming country, has a daily mail, and is having a railroad well under way.
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