THE HISTORY OF CLARK COUNTY
Chapter IX, 29 July 1909 -- Thorp Courier, Clark County, Wisconsin
Written by R. J. MacBride and transcribed by Crystal Wendt.
THREE CITIES -- MORE TOWNS AND SUNDRY VILLAGES.
"God the first garden made,
And the first city Cain."
The seventeenth town in the county known at the present time as Sherwood, was created by an order of the county board on the 8th day of January, 1874, it consisted of township 23, Range 1, East; and is the southeastern town in Clark County. It was originally called the town of Perkins, taking its name from Hugh Perkins, ones of the prominent settlers residing there. The first town meeting was held at the house of Perkins on the first Tuesday of April, 1874.
It was known as the town of Perkins for a little over two years, when the county board of supervisors changed its name from Perkins to Sherwood Forest, under which name is existed for nearly twenty years.
In 1884 Hugh Perkins became involved in an altercation with one Isaac Meddaugh, a resident of the town, at the saw mill belonging to Perkins, the quarrel resulting in the death of Meddaugh. Perkins was arrested, charged with murder. In November, 1884, when confined in the Clark county jail (not the present one) he broke jail and made his escape.
Nearly your years after in October, 1888, he was re-captured at Windsor, Ontario, opposite Detroit, Michigan. He was tried in June, 1889, and was convicted of manslaughter in the first degree. This verdict was set aside by Judge Newman, and Perkins was again tried in December, 1889, the jury finding him guilty of manslaughter in the second degree. On appeal to the supreme court this last conviction was reversed, and a new trail ordered, but nothing further was done with the case.
The name Sherwood Forest was suggested by Gov. C. C. Washburn, who had lands and logging interests in the town. It was an appropriate name, purely sentimental, but like its ancient namesake in Notthinghamshire, England, was suggestive of the tradition of Robin Hood, Little John, Frair Tuck, and Maid Marian. On the 12th of January, 1900, the county board, on the application of the chairman of the town, changed its name from Sherwood Forest to Forest.
At present the name of the town stands for nothing. It is neither fish, flesh, fowl, nor good red herring.
The town of Fremont was the eighteenth town organized in the county, and was created by the county board of supervisors on the 11th day of March, 1874. In the order describing the boundaries of the town the county board omitted to give the new town any name. It became known as Fremont, presumably named after Geníl John C. Fremont. The town consists of township No. 25, R 1 E. The first town meeting was held at the Heathville school house.
On the 13th of November, 1874, on the petition of Levi Woodbury and others, a town was created by the county board out the townships No. 31, ranges 1 east and 1 west, and was called the town of Medford. The first town meeting, was held at the house of John Bigger at the spring election in 1875.
The legislature in 1875 created the county of Taylor, and took from Clark county all the towns 30 and 31, and with it the town of Meford. This town was never represented on the county board of Clark county, for the reason that it was not fully organized until it became a part of Taylor county. The city of Medford obtained its name from the old town of Medford, created by Clark county supervisors.
The order of the board creating the town is dated Nov. 14th, 1874, and the town was dully organized and a full set of officers elected at the town meeting on the first Tuesday of April, 1875, held at the house of W. G. Begley. Warner as presently constituted consists of township No. 27, range 2 west.
Hewett consists of one congressional township, being township No. 24 north, or range 3 west. It was formed by order of the county board on the 29thd ay of November, 1874, and the town of fully organized at the annual town meeting the ensuing spring. The first town meeting was had at the hotel of James Hewett and the name Hewett was given it for the late James Hewett, who at that time had a saw mill, hotel, store houses, barns and other buildings, constituting a little village, and post office known as Hewetville. Today nothing remains of the village except the site. The town ranks as the twentieth in order of formation.
The town of Thorp, and twenty-fist town of the county, was created by order the county board of supervisors on the 21st day of January, 1876, and was duly organized by the election of town offices on the first Tuesday of April of the same year. The first town meeting was had at the school house in what was then known as District No. 4. The town was named for Joseph G. Thorp, who resided at Eau Claire, and who was President of the Eau Claire Lumber Co., a large and wealthy lumber corporation.
The town consists of township 29, range 4 west, but when first organized it embraced township 28 and 29 range 4 west, together with the six westerly sections of both 28, 3 west and 29, 3 west. The Eau Claire Lumber Company had large interests in and around the new town at that time, and had a large farm within the then territory of the town, of which Joseph Sterling was the manager.
The first chairman of the town, and by virtue of his office, a member of the county board was E. A. Boardman.
The next town to be organized was the town of Withee, the twenty-second in the county.
Some years previous to its organization strenuous efforts had been made by the settlers in township 29, ranges 3 and 4 west to secure a new town. A petition on file in the county clerkís office is given here entire partly on account of the forcible language used, but mainly for the reason that the list of the signers, is to itself a partial directory of the settlers living in the northwest corner of the county thirty-two years ago:
J. A. Douglas, Town Clerk, Thorp.
E. A. Boardman, Chín town Thorp.
F. M. Fults S. S. Warner
R. Warden George Beachwod
J. C. Smart M. Warner
N. R. Starks S. A. Warner
Peter Bellinger P. Peterson
Geo. Bahr J. S. Boardman
F. Conant M. McCaffery
P. Karney James McCaffery
B. R. Buyatt W. Buyatt
D. S. Francis J. Bunyea
Isadore Bunyea Nathan Burrington
Geo. W. Richard
Notwithstanding this appeal the county board refused to grant the petition, and it was not until June 11th, 1879, that a new town was created, consisting of township No. 29, range 3 west and all of township No. 28, range 3 west except sections 7, 18, 19, 30 and 31, which were left as a part of the town of Thorp.
The town of Withee at the present day consists of township 19, R. 3 W.
The town was named in honor of the late N. H. Withee, a prominent citizen of Clark county, and who in his life time held many offices of public honor and trust in the county, including the offices of member of assembly and county treasurer.
Perhaps no one man in the county did more to bring order out of chaos and confusion in the management of the financial affairs of the county than did Mr. Withee subsequent to the demoralization of affairs incident to the Boardman and Allen shortages in the county treasury.
The first town meeting of the town of Withee was held in April, 1880, at the house of Bernard Brown on Sec. 9 Township 28, Range 3, West.
For a period of seven years after Withee was organized no new towns were created although, it November 1879 petitions were presented, praying for a new town to be made out of 28, 1 west, to be called the town of Scott.
About the same time a petition singed by Gilbet Oleson and twenty-five, others residing in 29, 1 west, and by William Martin and twenty-five others residing in township 28, R. 1, west, was presented, asking that towns 28, 1, west and 29, 1, west, be formed into a town to be known as the town of Herman.
The petitioners stated that in case the board should deem it inexpedient to detach town 29, 1 west from the town of Mayville, that town 28, 1 west be organized as the town of Herman.
All of these petitions were indefinitely postpone.
In November 1886, the county board ordered that township 28 range 1 west should be organized as a town to be known as the town of Green Grove. The first town meeting was ordered to be held in April 1887, at the Green Grove P. O. on the S. E. S. E. of Sec. 12, town 28, R. 1 W. This town, the 23rd in the county, takes it name from the name of the post office and its name was selected by the settlers at a gathering at Wm. Zassenhausí house, near where then existed a fine grove of green trees.
Mr. Zassnebaus was the fist chairman of the town and its first representative on the county board. He is the chairman of the town at the present time, and has served as such a number of terms and also served come years as register of deeds of the county.
Hoard, the twenty-fourth town was organized in 1889. Itís first chairman was A. B. Marthias. The town consists of township No. 29 R. 1 W, and it embraces within its boundaries a thriving unincorporated village named Curtiss the southern part of this village lies in the town of Green Grove. Hoard was named for ex-Gov. W. D. Hoard.
The towns of Reseburg and Worden the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth towns of the county were created by separate orders of the county board on the same day. May 13, 1883, both were named after residents of the northwest part of the county. The town of Reseburg, being named in honor of Wm. Reseburg who had been a member of the county board, and the town of Worden was named in honor of Zephaniah Worden, an old resident. The town of Reseburg consists of township No. 28 range 3, west and its first town meeting was held at the school house on Section 16, on the first Tuesday in April, 1894.
Worden consists of township No. 28 R. 4 west and its first town meeting was held in April 1894 at the Gorman school house.
The first chairman to be elected in Reseburg was Wm. Reseburg, the gentleman for whom it was named and Ole Samuelson was the first chairman elected in the town of Worden. Mr. Samuelson, afterwards served for years as county supervisor of assessments.
The towns of Mead and Longwood were by order of the county board, formed on the same day. Nov. 16th 1895, and each of them were duly organized at the spring town meeting in 1896. Mead comprises two townships, towns 28 ranges 3 and four west, and Longwood, township 28 range 2 west.
The town of Mead, No 27 in rank, was named in honor of W. H. Mead better known throughout the county as "Harry" Mead. Mr. Mead is one of the oldest settlers on Black River, in north central Clark county, is a lumberman and farmer, and has held various offices in his town and county; at one time being chairman of the county board of supervisors of the county. In 1891 he made a close race as a candidate for member of assembly on the Democratic ticket, being defeated by only four votes, by the Republican candidate Hon. Phillip Rossman. The first town meeting in the town of Mead was held at the house of William Volrath.
The town of Longwood takes it name from the little burgh or hamlet long existing within its borders, called Longwood. The hamlet itself, presumably took its name from the long stretch of woods that grew in its immediate and adjacent vicinity. The first meeting of the town of Longwood wad held in the (then) new town hall.
Seif, The twenty-ninth town, was named for Fred Seif. It was created by order dated Nov. 17, 1900, the first town of the twentieth century. It consists of town 25, R 3 W. The first town meeting was held at the Schwamb school house in April, 1901.
The town of Dewhurst, the thirtieth and last of the towns organized, consists of township No. 23, range 3 west. It was formed by order of the county board on the 15th day of Nov., 1901.
The first town meeting was held at Primmer school house in April 1902. It was first intended to be called the town of Mound, and that name first appeared in the order forming the town, however the board amended the order by substituting the name of Dewhurst for Mound, and in that shape it finally was passed. The town was named in honor of the late Judge Richard Dewhurst of Neillsville.
In addition to the thirty towns there are three incorporated cities in Clark county, Neillsville, Colby, and Greenwood.
Neillsville was incorporated in 1882 and contained according to the census in 1905 a population of 2117.
Colby (a portion being situated in Marathon Co.) was incorporated in 1892, and has a population of 992 all told , 767 of the number being in Clark county.
Greenwood was incorporated in 1891 and at the last census had a population of 687.
There are also seven incorporated villages in the county.
The Main Street of Loyal, Wisconsin, 1907, ca.
Thorp, Withee, Abbotsford, Owen, and Dorchester in the northern part of the county, and Loyal and Unity in the central and eastern part.
The incorporated village of Thorp, Abbotsford, Loyal, each contained a population in 1905 of between eight and nine hundred, nearly equaling the population of the city of Colby, in both Marathon and Clark counties, and each of the named villages exceeded the population of the city of Greenwood by about two hundred.
There are also a number of unincorporated villages -- two of them, Humbird and Granton, have each a population in the neighborhood of four hundred, or about or nearly the population of the incorporated villages of Withee and of Dorchester, which had by the last census each a population in excess of four hundred.
There are several smaller unincorporated villages in the county, Lynn, Columbia, Curtiss, Shortville and others, but no statistics are available as to their population.
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