News: Humbird - 150th Celebration (10 Aug2019)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Humbird, Wilson, Alderman, Hurl, Webster, Stiles, King, Miller, Carter, Whitcomb, Bump, Schmidt, Andrews, Freeman, Cross, McElhose, Whipple, Edwards, Cole, Gore, Hoyner, Travis, Sloan, Clark, Tripp, Holbrook, Bull, Hickox, Robfax, Fowler, France, Rector, Shaw, Tracy, Halstead, Wilson

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 7/31/2019

Humbird’s Birthday Celebration Aug. 10 (150th – 2019)

By JoDee Brooke

Humbird is celebrating its 150th birthday this year. The town’s residents are hosting a 150th birthday celebration Saturday, Aug. 10. The day will include the dedication of its recently recovered and restored bell tower from the town hall, built in 1890. Volunteers recently placed the bell tower next to the Mentor Town Hall.

The day will welcome special guests and speakers who will be sharing memories of Humbird. A pie and ice cream social picnic will be held at Emerson Lake Park, also known and referred to by many as the “Humbird Pond” in the Rod & Gun Club.

Other events include a beard contest, lumberjack demonstration, old-time games (stick-horse race) and a best dressed contest. It is requested people dress in period dress, if possible.

Humbird residents, current and past, have been providing old photographs that share the lives of those who called the area home for many years.

The community has been working to raise funds for the event for several months, selling hats and pins and holding raffles. Donations are also being accepted to help with costs for the anniversary and to repair and properly place the bell tower.

According to Clark County history, Humbird is situated in the southwest portion of the county, on the line of the West Wisconsin Railroad. It took its name from Jacob Humbird, a railroad contractor.

“The earliest settlers in this part of the county were Orvin Wilson, a Mr. Alderman, who owned the land on which the village was laid out, Elisha, Isaac and Elijah Hurl, Ashael Webster, E. Webster, Horace Stiles, George W. King and Charles Miller,” according to History of Clark County.

“In 1869, Mr. Alderman laid off 40 acres for a village site, caused the same to be surveyed and platted, and now known as Humbird, occupied by graded streets, bordered by fine buildings, was then covered with heavy timber, where deer and wild animals wandered at-will. At that time, the railroad had not been completed; still, a spirit of the enterprise was manifested by those already on the ground and, of adventure, by the comparatively frequent arrivals of settlers, many of who became permanent. The first building erected after the survey was the Rocky Mound House, which was erected by George W. King, and used as a hotel. F. D. Carter and F. W. Whitcomb were among early arrivals. They built residences and opened the first store in Humbird. A man named Bump came about this time from Black River Falls and opened a store, also. The arrivals between 1870-73 were quite numerous, and the village assumed an appearance of age, while it was yet young, with its mill, brewery, hotels, stores, shops, all commodious and neatly painted. Among these was William Schmidt, who built the flouring mill; Michael Andrews, who erected the brewery; Edward Freeman, Isaac Cross, Robert McElhose, Biswell Alderman, Mr. Whipple, the first carpenter, E. Edwards, the first wagon-maker; George Cole, Joshua Gore, David Hoyner, E. D. Travis and Lawrence Sloan, all of whom engaged in business and have contributed to the welfare and prosperity of their adopted home.”

In the fall of 1873, the village was overtaken by visitation of the smallpox, which created a havoc among the inhabitants. In the previous year, the railroad had been completed, and Humbird had become a prominent point for the shipment of grain and lumber from the surrounding country. In a brief period, this was summarily checked, and for ensuing two years, the shipments were comparatively light. About 25 residents died during the continuance of the scourge, the corpses being buried at night; business was suspended, and trains rushed by the station as if fleeing from the wrath in pursuit. All the winter of 1873-74 was one of desolation, indescribable; nor did the spring bring encouragement to the afflicted residents. As the year advanced, business, however, began to revive, and occasional travelers would come in and decide to remain, and with the dawn of the Centennial year of American Independence, Humbird had fully recovered from the effects of this temporary paralysis. The new arrivals of that period, and since, include, among others, Henry Clark, O. G. Tripp, A. E. Holbrook, J. Q. A. Bull, Mr. Hickox, Frederick Robfax, C. Fowler, Peter Frances, Christopher Rector, R. D. Shaw, D. A. Tracy, L. D. Halstead, Peter Wilson and others.”

These also projected and completed improvements and have identified themselves with the growth and advancement of the village. Humbird cannot help being a permanent and thriving town, situated, as it is, with large pineries on one side and on the other, a rich farming country, leading even into Minnesota, from which large amounts of produce are hauled by farmers to this place and exchanged for manufactured lumber. In addition to the lumber trade, there are extensive growths of pine timber north and east, manufactured at these points and either shipped to Humbird or pass through, enroute to Minnesota. The village, like many other thriving villages of the west, enjoys the residence of enterprising citizens whose courage, ambition and attention to business area a valuable guarantee of the future prosperity of the place.”

“The first school opened in the vicinity of the village was taught in a small frame, which stood opposite the Webster House, and was continued in that locality until 1870. In the latter year, the number of pupils was so in excess of accommodations that it was decided to establish a graded school, and the present edifice was erected at a cost of $2,500.”

The post office was established in Humbird about 1871, when it was moved from Garden Valley. D. B. Travis was appointed postmaster. Mail was received twice daily – from east and west.



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