The Old Settlers Club 

By Lani Bartelt  

The photo below was taken at an Old settlers' picnic was held at the Borden homestead. They shared each others interests and many of the families had intermarried. Seated is Mrs. Borden wearing the checkered blouse, her husband, and Ebenezer Borden is beside her.

Source: "The Loyal Centennial" 1870 - 1970; published by "The Loyal Tribune".


 In the month of February, 1899, there was organized at Loyal, Wisconsin, what was named and known as the "Old Settlers Club." Its first officials were William Welsh  of the town of Loyal as President, George W. Barker of the same town as Secretary, and Isaac C. Gotchey as treasurer.

Mr. Geo. W. Barker has during all the years, since the existence of the Club been and still is the Secretary of the organization.

A list of the members of the society furnished by Mr. Barker, in November, 1909, is appended hereto.

It may be stated that originally, when the society was first organized, those eligible to membership, were confined to old residents living in the northern central towns, but after a few years, it became upon to membership by any old settler in Clark county.

The association has an annual meeting held at Loyal.

These gatherings are of the most delightful character. The cards of invitation that they send to each of the members or invited guests, are of any unique character, and they bear upon their face a description of the meals that are to be served, at the dinner when the society meets, with a notice upon the card of invitation, that the recipient will find a lead pencil check mark, upon his invitation card indicating the provisions he is expected to bring to the general fund, such articles as venison, bear meat, and matters of that kind, and they are rather surprising, and somewhat astonishing when checked in the invitation, addressed to the Honorary members of the society, like Judge James O’Neill, Judge of the 17th Circuit, who if he furnished venison or bear meat, would have to obtain it in the markets, and certainly not in the forest "primeval" within the jurisdiction of the game wardens.

The following is a list of the members of the old settlers society of Loyal. The names of the active members are first given, and are given in the order in point of time, at which they became members. The list of honorary members follow:

Eben Borden

D. J. Kinne

Chas. Merrill

L. M. LeRoy

Wm. Hills

Oliver Mulligan

Henry Sitts

A. E. Darton

Wm. Welsh

Daniel Homes

Bernhard Clouse

Cullen Ayer

W. W. Hutchins

Charles Clouse

I. C. Gotchy

Ern Slocum

Geo. W. Baker

S. H. Pickett

C. G. Stowe

John Salsbery

Wes Vanderhoof

H. L. Leonard

W. B McPherson

Geo. Green

J. H. Welsh

H. W. Davis

Grant Welsh

M. P. Hartford

Elias Weaver

Frank Pickett

W. W. Lyon

D. R. Davis

I. N. Allen

Fred Rossman Jr.

O. J. Smith

G. W. Allen

Gilford Smith

Geo. Huntzicker

E. W. Romaine

C. T. Haskin

Albert Welsh

Harry B. Cook

E. J. Rice

R. H. Hutchins

A. J. Smith

Charles Harden

James Armu

E. M. Darton

James Rodgers

Chas. Flaherty

W. H. Hilton

B. Christman

B. F. Nutting

Chas. Redmond

Tom B. Philpott

E. D. Bowman

B. M. Fullmer

M. W. Merrill

F. W. Lyon

Ed Kayhart

W. B. Borden

Ward Vanderhoof

Geo. Meacham

Wm. Mingle

Andrew Emerson

I N Welsh

W. H. Haines

Everett Holmes

W. S. Irvine

W. H. Mead

F. M. Darton

S. S. Stevens

Joseph H. Arms

H. W. Varney

William Wilson

Charles Fullmer

Wm. E. Darton

J. C. Rodgers

N. Waterbery

L. Leatherdale

H. J. Kinne

E. McVean

D. J. Fullmer

Arthur Darton




            Honorary Members:

A. S. Leason

Sol F. Joseph

Judge Jas. O’Neill

Robt Eunson

Hon. Robt. MacBride

F. W. Draper

Hon. S. M. Marsh

John Huntzicker

Hon. M. C. Ring

Robt. McCalvey

Oscar Fricke






1918 History of Clark Co., WI


The Old Settlers' Association of Loyal and Vicinity was organized in February, 1899. The first officers were: President, William Welsh secretary, George Baker treasurer, I. G. Gotchy. The present officers are: President, W. S. Irvine secretary, F. W. Draper treasurer, A. K. Church. Annual picnics have been held since organization, but it has now been decided to hold no more celebrations until after the war


Ada Heath Mills is the verse maker of the association. Following are two contributions of hers regarding the association, the first written in 1909, and the second in 1912.

In eighteen hundred ninety-nine,

We find, the records say,

A few men met in the town hall
On a February day.
They did not meet by accident
Each with a purpose came,
To organize an order, the
Old Settlers' Club by name.
They chose for chairman Wm. Welsh,
To business did proceed,
And when the meeting closed that day,
'Tis thus the records read
William Welsh for president, and
George Barker, secretary
I. C. Gotchy, treasurer this eighteenth
Day of February.
Resolved: That Freemont, Sherman, York,
Loyal, Beaver, Unity,
These six towns joined together shall
Our territory be
That people dwelling in these towns,
Rich or poor in station,
If in Clark County twenty years,
May join the Association.
They then adjourned till March the first,
With fourteen names enrolled
'Twas the duty of each member
To gather to the fold.
And they did their duty well, as
The records show today,
About one hundred twenty-five,
Though some have moved away,
And some have crossed the river, that
We all must cross some day.
Once a year these men did meet and
Did officers elect,
And committees of arrangements
At such times did select
For the picnics, held in June, and
Harvest festivals in fall
And to these they have invited
Old settlers one and all.
When they met in nineteen hundred,
With due consideration,
Said that any in the county could
Join the Association,
If they had in the state five and
Twenty years resided.
Then for each and every township
Vice presidents provided.
Ten times they have held election
Since they this work begun
George Barker was made secretary,
They say, each time but one.
Seven times has William Welsh held
The presidential chair--
These men must be efficient and
Their dealings just and fair.
These picnics bring pleasure and
They also give us pain,
For we know each time we gather,
Some we'll not meet again
Till we meet in that blest country
Where hardships none endure,
For our homes will all be builded
If our titles are secure.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
And friends from everywhere
A few remarks I am asked to make.'
And trust you will be fair,
For I am no public speaker,
For me it is no fun--
The good book says the women folks
Should keep silent, every one.
'Tis thirteen years the records say,
If rightly written down,
Since the first Old Settlers' picnic
Was held within our town.
Of those who gathered with us then,
Many we miss today
Some in the quiet churchyard sleep
And some have moved away.
Like veterans of the civil war,
Clark County's pioneers
Are surely passing from our sight
The labor volunteers,
Who fought with many hardships,
With crude tools tilled the soil,
And felled the giants of the wood,
These sturdy sons of toil.
And where they blazed a rugged road
Through forests dark and green,
And patient oxen drew their load,
Automobiles now are seen.
But some, thank God, of these good men,
And women, too, are blest
With length of days, and may enjoy
The autos with the rest.
Where the wild beast and the savage
Held undisputed sway,
The cattle graze, and homes of wealth
The landscape dots today.
Settlers both old and new are here:
Each face we're pleased to see,
And those who but lately joined us
Will soon old settlers be.
We have gathered for a picnic,.
To feast on cakes and pies,
And on the faces of old friends
To also feast our eyes.
A hearty handshake, or a chat
With friends of long ago,
Will linger in our memory
As we journey to and fro.
Each social gathering of old friends,
Lasting a few short hours,
Is along the path of memory
Like a bunch of wayside flowers.
Let us enjoy their fragrance
While on earth we remain,
For with these old friends and neighbors
We may not meet again.




Old Settlers Club Photo


Information on The Old Settlers Club



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