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Histories:  Trempealeau Co. Historical Accounts:

"History of Northern Wisconsin, 1881":

Blair History & Biographical Sketches of Blair Residents

-As transcribed from pages 1070 - 1071


BLAIR.

This prosperous village is located on Section 16, town of Preston. The Green Bay road runs through the village. John O. Gilbert is Postmaster. The business interests of the place are well represented by B. K. Strand, general merchandise; T. J. Gilbert & Co., dry goods, groceries. etc.; Alfred Thorbus, proprietor Blair Wagon Works; Thomas Thompson. cabinet maker; William A. Young, agent for Wakefield, Trow & Co.; Gilbert & Johnson, hardware; John Mayer, meat market, and Henry Thorsgard, proprietor of Blair Flouring Mills. Even Bergseng is the village landlord; Jacob D. Stone, is the Justice. The village contains several well-to-do farmers, who have retired from the hard, active work of the farm.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

BERGSENG, Even
GILBERT, T. I.
GILBERT, John O.
JOHNSON, Andrew
MAYER, John
OVERSON, James, Capt.
STONE, Jacob D.
STRAND, B. K.
THOMPSON, Thomas
THORBUS, Alfred
THORSGARD, Henry
WELCH, William H.
YOUNG, Henry A.


EVEN BERGSENG, proprietor of Blair Hotel and Livery Stable, was born in Norway May 10, 1837. Came to America in 1865, first going to Vernon Co., Wis., where he worked on a farm, and from there to La Crosse, where he worked in the lumber business for a time, and then started a hotel known as the City Hotel. In 1873, built the first house in the village of Blair. He was married to Miss Nettie Nelson in 1869, she being also a native of Norway. They have four children - Simon, Eddie, Nicklai and Clara.

-Transcribed from the "History of Northern Wisconsin, 1881," page 1070

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T. I. GILBERT, of the firm of T. I. Gilbert & Co., dealers in dry goods and groceries, Blair, was born in Norway Feb. 6, 1843, and was one of eight children. He came with his mother to America and to Manitowoc, Wis., where he worked at farming until 1870, when he removed to Springfield, Jackson Co., and commenced merchandising. This business he has followed ever since coming to Blair, Trempealeau Co., in the fall of 1873. The firm is also engaged with Wakefield & Trow, in buying grain and hay-pressing. Mr. Gilbert enlisted in the late war, in Co. F, 15th Reg. W. V. I., October 12, 1861, and served until 1865 in the Army of the Cumberland, and was in all of the principal battles of that army. He is a member of the Lutheran Church.

-Transcribed from the "History of Northern Wisconsin, 1881," page 1070

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JOHN O. GILBERT, Postmaster, Blair, and dealer in stationery, jewelry, confectionery, etc., was born in Norway Nov. 11, 1848. In 1870 he came to America, first locating at Manitowoc, Wis., where he followed house-painting until 1874, when he moved to Baldwin, St. Croix Co., and continued at his former work for one year. He then came to Blair, and clerked for his brother. He was appointed to the position of Postmaster in 1880, and started his present business at the same time. He was Constable in Blair for one year; is a member of the Lutheran Church, and also of the I. O. O. F., Trempealeau Valley Lodge, No. 249.

-Transcribed from the "History of Northern Wisconsin, 1881," page 1070

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ANDREW JOHNSON, of the firm of Gilbert & Johnson, dealers in hardware, stoves, etc., was born in the town of Preston, Trempealeau Co., Wis., July 20, 1859, and lived there with his parents until 1877, when he moved to Blair and learned the tinner's trade with C. E. Johnson, the gentleman that he is successor to, and whom he bought out April 20, 1881, in company with Mr. Gilbert. They now do a business of $6,000 per annum.

-Transcribed from the "History of Northern Wisconsin, 1881," page 1070

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JOHN MAYER, meat market, stock-buyer and shipper, Blair, was born Sept. 6, 1852, in Indianapolis, Ind.; came to Wisconsin in 1872, first going to La Crosse, where he worked at his trade four years. After that he went to Iowa, and lived for one year, after which he came to Blair in April, 1880, and started in his present business, his being the first regular meat market in the village. He was married in 1877 to Miss Mary Marxer. They have three children - John E., Annie B., and an infant daughter.

-Transcribed from the "History of Northern Wisconsin, 1881," page 1070

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CAPT. JAMES OVERSON, farmer, was born in Norway, May 23, 1830, and came with his parents to America in 1843, first landing at Milwaukee, and from there going to Norway, Racine Co., where he remained on a farm with his parents for twenty years; he enlisted in 1861, Co. C, 15th Wis. Reg. Vol. Infantry, and served for three years; in the battle of Chickamauga, when the army was hard pressed, his Captain having fallen, he took a stand in front and encouraged his comrades to maintain their position in the fight; in this engagement he was severely wounded, and was promoted to the rank of Captain for his gallantry, said captaincy being conferred by Governor Lucius Fairchild; he moved to the Trempealeau Valley after the war, and has held the office of Chairman of Town Board of Preston, and also of Supervisor; was married in 1870 to Miss Jenette C. Welch, by whom he has two children living, Clara E. and Addie M.

-Transcribed from the "History of Northern Wisconsin, 1881," page 1070

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JACOB D. STONE, Justice of the Peace and Notary Public, Blair, was born July 30, 1829, in Connecticut. Left his native State in 1854, and went to Pennsylvania, where he engaged in the lumber business until the war broke out; in 1862 he was employed in the War Department at Washington as Civil Clerk; in 1863, at the time of the Ealy attack upon Washington, he entered the service in the Quartermaster General Brigade, and served until 1867, at which time he was mustered out and returned to Pennsylvania, where he remained but a short time; he then came West and first went to Trempealeau, Wis., where he bought a farm and lived until 1876, when he moved to Blair, his present residence; he is a member of A., F. & A. M., Decorah Lodge, No. 177, at Galesville.

-Transcribed from the "History of Northern Wisconsin, 1881," page 1070

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B. K. STRAND, general merchandise, Blair, was born in Norway, Dee. 31, 1849. Came to America in 1870, first going to Vernon Co., Wis., where he worked on a farm for one year; from there went to the Black River and worked in the lumber business four years, at which time he went to Coon Prairie, in Vernon Co., and started a store; he remained there two years, and then removed to Blair and began his present business in the fall of 1877; he is a member of the Minnesota Relief Association, and was married in 1879 to Miss Mary Kundtson, of Pigeon Falls; they have one daughter.

-Transcribed from the "History of Northern Wisconsin, 1881," pages 1070 - 1071

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THOMAS THOMPSON, furniture and cabinet-maker, and dealer in paints, oils, etc., Blair, is a native of Norway, and was born in June, 1843. Came to America in 1871, first settling in Blair, Trempealeau Co., Wis., where he worked on a farm and at carpentering and building, having learned the trade in Norway; after the big fire in Chicago, he went there and commenced work at his trade, which he followed until 1873, at which time he went to Manitowoc, Wis., and was there engaged in the employ of the Government on the light-house; here he remained until 1876, when he returned to Blair and started in his present business; Mr. Thompson was elected to the office of Town Clerk in 1879, and still acts in that capacity, being also Notary Public, having been appointed to that office by Gov. Smith, in 1880.

-Transcribed from the "History of Northern Wisconsin, 1881," page 1071

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ALFRED THORBUS, proprietor of Blair Wagon Works, was born in La Crosse, Feb. 25, 1857. Worked in Sparta, Wis., for his father and uncle until 1879, when he came to Blair and started in his present business, his being the first wagon manufactory established in that village; he is a member of the Minnesota Relief Association; he was married in January, 1880, to Miss M. P. Nelson, of Blair; they have one daughter, Martha T.

-Transcribed from the "History of Northern Wisconsin, 1881," page 1071

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HENRY THORSGARD, proprietor of Blair Flouring Mills; was born in Norway, Dec. 10, 1844, and came with his parents to America in 1855; he came to Blair in the year 1873, and in company with a Mr. Vaness, bought the mill where he now is, it being the first mill in the town of Preston. They continued to run it in partnership until 1876, when Mr. Thorsgard bought out his partner and has since continued the business alone. His mill has a capacity of 40 barrels of flour per day, and has a barley huller in connection with it, being the only one in Trempealeau, Jackson or Buffalo Counties.

-Transcribed from the "History of Northern Wisconsin, 1881," page 1071

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WILLIAM H. WELCH, retired farmer, Blair; was born in Skaneateles, N. Y., July 16, 1826. In 1832, moved to Michigan with his parents, his father buying a farm in Washtenaw County, which consisted of 80 acres; lived there with his parents until twenty years of age, when he was married to Eliza O. Armstrong, who was a native of New York. After the marriage, himself and wife went to Grand Rapids, Mich., where he bought a farm and remained until December, 1856; he removed to Trempealeau County, first going to Galesville, where he stayed during the winter, and in the spring of 1857, bought a farm of 120 acres in the Trempealeau Valley, said farm being within three miles of Blair. From the time Mr. Welch moved here, until 1873, which was the time that the Green Bay & Minnesota Railroad was constructed, he marketed his grain, either at Black River Falls, Sparta, Trempealeau or La Crosse; lived here until 1875, when he moved to the village of Blair, which has since been his home. He enlisted in Co. 1, 36th W.V. I., in 1864, and served until the close of the war, having the thumb of his right hand shot off in the battle of Petersburg. He has held the office of Town Supervisor for one year. He has a family of ten children - Laroy H.; Alice D., now Mrs. F. J. Kuni, of Minnesota; Janette C., now Mrs. J. O. Overson, of Blair; Emma E., now Mrs. R. Bliss, of Minnesota; Elvira M., Hiram L., William E., Cora A., Berton J. and Amanda M.

-Transcribed from the "History of Northern Wisconsin, 1881," page 1071

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HENRY A. YOUNG, agent for Wakefield, Trow & Co., dealers in lumber, grain, farm machinery, etc., Blair; is a native of New York, having been born in Erie County, in 1850; came to Winnebago Co., Wis., with his parents, in 1856, where he remained until 1875, when he came to Blair and engaged with the above firm. The firm of Wakefield, Gilbert, Trow & Co. was organized in the fall of 1878; they ship about 20,000 bushels of grain and 700 tons of hay per annum, having a hay-press at Blair. The subject of this sketch married Miss Mary McKivergan, who is a native of Wisconsin. They have one son - Alvin H. He is a member of Rushford Lodge, No. 121, I. O. O. F., at Eureka, Winnebago Co.

-Transcribed from the "History of Northern Wisconsin, 1881," page 1071
 



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