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Histories:  Trempealeau Co. Historical Accounts:

"History of Trempealeau County Wisconsin, 1917":

Chapter 10:

Newcomb Valley

-As transcribed from pages 169 - 171

Newcomb Valley lies wholly in the town of Arcadia, opening into American Valley near the Penny schoolhouse, where the branches of the creek meet above the Miller and Bear pond. The valley runs east about four miles to the foot of the Preston hills.  There are a number of small valleys known as coolies on either side in which good farms are located; among them are the Erickson, Hanson and Arneson farms, while the combes or coolies on the north side are known as the Knudtson and Rud farms and neighborhood.  The main valley was settled in 1866 by Isaac Newcomb and his brother Harold, who came from Lewis Valley, La Crosse County, where they settled with their parents in 1855, emigrating from Tioga County, Pennsylvania.  (In 1868 the parents also removed to Newcomb Valley, making their home with Isaac, with whom they lived out their lives, the father dying in 1873 and the mother in 1879.)  So far as can be learned a family by the name of Van Scroch had for a short time occupied a log hut on an 85-acre tract, which Isaac Newcomb purchased through N. D. Comstock as agent, of Lot D. Rice, he getting his title from Dr. Bishop, who bought the lands from a Mrs. Hessey Vallandingham, the widow of the Kentucky soldier.  She never occupied these lands.  Mr. Newcomb homesteaded 160 acres adjoining this tract, which he improved and made into a valuable farm.

The early settlers who may be said to have been the pioneers in the valley were Isaac and Harold Newcomb, Andrew Knudtson, Arney Olson Rud, Stiner Knudtson, Lewis and Lars Hanson and a man named Rockwell.  At the close of 1866 there were no settlers in the valley except the Newcombs, nor east to where Hans Solberg lived near Lake Slough.  Solberg was known as Stocker in those early days.  James McKivergin had settled in Preston on the old McKivergin farm, and the only tract over the hills was a single plow furrow to guide the traveler to these settlers' claims.  The Knudtsons, Ruds, Ericksons and Hansons came in in 1867 and 1868, as did Mr. Scow.  After that time settlers continued to locate in the valley, so that in 1876 all the lands had been taken up and were occupied.  The Newcombs began improving their lands and in 1867 built houses and other buildings upon them.  In the fall of 1868 the Penny schoolhouse was built, a mere board shell, and the winter term in 1868-69 was taught by W. L. Cummings, who boarded around with such settlers as were able to keep him.  At some places Mr. Cummings was obliged to crawl to his bed because of the meagerness of the living and sleeping accommodations.  he boarded principally with Jerry O'Brien, Ira Penny, Isaac Newcomb and John Truman.  Other early teachers there were Kate Rudolf, Ida Smith and Eva Allen.  The schoolhouse in Newcomb Valley was built in 1875 and was first taught by Ida Smith.

When Isaac Newcomb arrived he brought with him four cows, four head of young stock and a yoke of oxen, and with these possessions and 245 acres of land was considered as a well-to-do man.

The country was mighty new and people possessed of little money, but all were stout-hearted patriots determined to "make good," which many of them did after the coming of a railroad in 1874.  About the only farm implement in the neighborhood was a dung-fork owned by Ira Penny, which he loaned with misgivings to his neighbors.  The story of these early days might be written elaborately into pages of local incidents and gossip, among the most interesting being the bear story published in the Arcadia Leader in 1874, a newspaper owned by N. D. Comstock, and published after the new village was started on the Trempealeau River bottoms, where the flourishing village of Arcadia now stands.

Newcomb Valley for many years had and now has a number of excellent farms, and its people are among the most intelligent and progressive families in the county, with comfortable homes and farm buildings, blooded stock and being well provided with all farm conveniences, showing thrift and contentment.

(By Stephen Richmond.)





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