Pine Valley Township

Clark County, Wisconsin

Clark County Republican

July 20, 1870

Clark County Republican

July 6, 1870

Staffordville was a small community located about one mile north of Neillsville along what is now State Highway 73.  It was named after Leonard R. Stafford, an early settler of Clark County.


Leonard Stafford was born about 1823 in Maine.  He married the former Merribah W. Elliot in 1848.  She was born in Hartland, Maine on May 21, 1833.  After Leonard died in August 1871, Merribah married James H. Reddan on August 9, 1873.  Merribah died later in Neillsville on July 26, 1886.  James Reddan died on September 19, 1900.


The 1850 Census indicates that a Leonard Stafford (27) was living with his wife, Merriby (18) and daughter, Abby (1) in Hartland, Somerset County, Maine.  The 1860 Census shows Leonard Stafford (36) residing in Pine Valley Township, Clark County, Wisconsin with his wife, Merribah (27), daughter, Albest (11) and two sons, Albion (7) and James (4).  Therefore, it is probable that Leonard Stafford and his family relocated from Maine to Wisconsin in the late 1850s.


Specifically, Staffordville was located in Section 11 of Pine Valley Township.  A sale notice in the December 6, 1888 issue of the Republican and Press newspaper reads as follows:


      FARM FOR SALE.  The farm known as the Staffordville place adjoining the city of Neillsville, Clark county, Wis., containing 132 acres, about 100 acres cleared with dwelling house, barns and wells, will be sold reasonable.  Also the property in the city of Neillsville, known as the Reddan House.  The latter will be sold cheap or exchanged for improved farm property in Clark county.  For further information write or call on J.H. Reddan or R.F. Kountz.  Neillsville, Clark Co., Wis.


The farm that the sale notice was referring to was most likely the land that was formerly owned by his deceased wife, M. W. Reddan, who again was the widow of Leonard Stafford.  The excerpt of the 1880 Pine Valley Township plat map at the top of this page shows a M.W. Reddan owning two parcels of land in Section 11.  In addition, this 1880 plat map excerpt shows about four buildings still existing in a location where the corners of these two parcels intersect.  The intersection of these parcels is probably where Staffordville was located.   The arrow in the title of this page points to that location.


Staffordville probably emerged as a community in the late 1860s as the lumbering industry grew in southern Clark County.  The data from the 1870 Census for that area of Clark County indicates it was a location that provided supplies and services for the people that participated in that industry.  More specifically, that same 1870 Census shows Leonard Stafford (46) living with his wife, Merribah (36), and son James (13).  It also lists Leonard Stafford as a farmer, hotel keeper, livery stable owner and lumberman having real estate valued at $100,000.  In addition to Leonard Stafford's immediate family, the Census has many additional people listed under his dwelling including:  1 housekeeper, 1 store clerk, 5 domestic servants, 4 farm workers, 1 cook, 3 teamsters, 1 barber, 2 hotel clerks/workers, 1 wagon maker, 1 land agent, 13 pinery workers, 1 millwright, 1 harness maker, 1 blacksmith, 1 livery stable keeper, 1 carpenter, 1 saloon keeper and 1 stage driver.  Incidentally, one of the pinery workers named was James H. Reddan (26), the 2nd husband of Merribah Stafford-Reddan.


Therefore, based on Census data and also the Clark County Republican advertisement (on the left), Staffordville probably consisted of a hotel (with a barber shop), a general merchandise store, a wagon/blacksmith shop, a harness shop, and a saloon; anything and everything for the wants and needs of a 19th century lumberman.


It is also speculated that Leonard Stafford was in some way related to the Turner family, who also came from Maine and also settled that same area of Pine Valley Township in the late 1850s.  Past Census listings and Clark County plat maps show that several Turner families lived in the Staffordville area or close by.  They include the families of Ghorman Turner, Abel Turner, Samuel Way (Mrs. Way was formerly Angeline Turner) and David Hosely (Mrs. Hosely was the former Syrena S. Turner).  Ghorman Turner, Abel Turner, Angeline Way and Syrena Hosely were siblings to each other.  During the 1870s, Abel Turner relocated his family to York Township and was one of the first settlers of that township.


The obituary for William H. Turner (aka Pint Turner), one of Abel's sons, actually mentions Staffordville.  The first two lines of his obituary read:


     William Henry Turner died at his home in York at 2 o'clock Friday morning of influenza. He was born at Staffordville, Clark County, on March 20, 1858.  He was united in marriage to Miss Ida M. Lawrence...


William Turner's wife, Ida, was accidentally shot and killed by his cousin, Seward Way, in 1881 on the Way farm which was located adjacent to Staffordville.  More information regarding this tragedy is located at the York Township web pages.


According to WPHS Bulletin #23, the Staffordsville Post Office began as Weston Rapids on July 20, 1858 with Harris Searl as first postmaster, and was discontinued September 19, 1859.  It was re-established as Weston Rapids on September 20, 1862 with David Robinson as postmaster.  The name of the post office was changed to Staffordsville on March 25, 1868 with William Race as postmaster, and was finally discontinued on November 18, 1872.


It is unknown why the existence of Staffordville came to an end.  The death of its founder, Leonard Stafford, in 1871, was probably one of the main factors.  Other reasons could have been the migration of the lumber industry to areas further from the Neillsville area, e.g. to Heintown in northern York Township.


Most of the above information about the Staffords and Staffordville was obtained from past Census records, past Clark County plat maps, and past correspondence from descendants or relatives of Leonard Stafford, Ghorman Turner and Abel Turner.


Contributed by Steven Lavey.




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