The Naming of Yolo

Fremont Township, Clark County, Wisconsin




The Yolo Charcoal Kilns, Fremont Township, Clark Co., WI


Contributed by Kenneth Wood


I have been doing some checking on the origin of the name Yolo. According to "The Romance of Wisconsin Place Names" by Robert E. Gard "This small hamlet was named after a county in California. The word was originally an Indian word meaning "abounding in rushes". I also checked with George Winkler, local railroad buff and he agreed but added that he has also seen it as a family name.


I checked my WI geology books, which are a bit old, and they say that there could be deposits of copper in the area but they are buried deep beneath either the glacial drift or the dolomite layers in central and southwestern WI.  There have been finds of rock containing copper in the glacial drift.  A farmer near my parents in Shawano Co has a big boulder with a wide vein of copper in his front yard.  The glacier moved a lot of material down from Michigan.  Also some diamonds found in SE WI in the drift in the late 1800's.

I didn't find any references to copper mines in Fremont, Township, but Yolo, WI was listed as one of the areas that had burning pits for making charcoal that was then shipped north to use in the iron smelting industry.  There were two or three other sites in Clark County that were charcoal pits.


Kenneth Wood, Reference Librarian/Marshfield, WI


Clark Co. Copper


Copper brings up some old conversations that my brother and I had when he was into radio/TV repair in the 1950's.

His theory was that a deep vein runs under Clark County because of the terrible radio/TV reception in the Northeastern part of the county,
and pilots (from his Air Force days) that flew over the region had difficulties in navigational matters.

Again, according to his theory, because of the granite of Rib Mountain and the granite pits around Marathon, granite and copper are suppose
to go hand in hand in the formation of the earths crust. Don't know about that as it was his theory, not mine!!

Also from my father (when he was in a talkative mood), said that some farmer near us in the Twp. of Green Grove ruined his plow shears
when he hit a large chunk of the substance (copper). Never did hear anymore stories about the farmer and his plow.

It makes me wonder now because of the large copper/gold mine that was done in Rusk County and is now closed.

Seeing as I am not a geologist......., I don't know if there is any truth to any of what I have just written.

Also, from doing the Colby & Curtiss Centennial Books, it was mentioned that the Curtiss charcoal works were in operation as long as lumbering
was king in the area. They supplied the smelters in the Ashland area. When the hardwood source ran out, they dismantled then and shipped
the hardware North to areas that the forests were still being cut.

Robert Lipprandt

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about the naming of Yolo, WI



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