Histories: Trempealeau Co. Historical Accounts:
"History of Trempealeau County Wisconsin, 1917":
-As transcribed from page 172
The first settler in American Valley was a man named Kenton, who came in the early sixties.
Albert Tracy came in the spring of 1865. Sydney Conant and the Messrs. Taft and Drake came in the fall of that year. The experience of Conant are typical of early life in that valley. Starting out on foot from his old home in Amsterdam he encountered Mr. Tracy, who advised him to settle near Arcadia. But upon reaching the Tamarack and finding no one who had heard of Arcadia, he decided to enquire at Bishop's settlement. Arriving at the settlement he found that he was at Arcadia itself. From there he went to the head of what has since been called American Valley and staked out a claim. He had some breaking done and cut some marsh grass, and then started a house. Some of the lumber was hauled from Amsterdam. Most of it, however, was obtained from near what is now Merrillan, Tracy and Conant going to the woods there with two yoke of oxen each, and each bringing home a large load of lumber and shingles. Conant finished the woodwork of his house, but as the plasterer was taken ill was forced to move in before the interior was completed. Then came the terrible cold. Dry oak logs were burned for fuel. The stove was heated red-hot, a small space around the stove was enclosed with blankets, within which the family huddled. As soon as the weather moderated Conant made some plaster from lime, sand and horsehair, which he had secured, and started plastering. The plaster froze solid as soon as applied. On the following Sunday, Taft and Tracy helped complete the work.
Drake was not so fortunate. On his place adjoining Conant's he had gathered hay, erected a stable and provided for his stock. Lumber had been hauled for a house, but the weather was too cold for building operations. His family was then living near Trempealeau.
The next spring more land was broken and a fair acreage of crops put in. Breaking the land was an interesting operation. It was usually done with a big Whitewater plow and four or five yoke of oxen. The sight and sound of the large "grubs" being torn from the ground was an interesting one. Often the plow would be stuck in an unusually large "grub," and this meant a delay of an hour or more. As the year passed other settlers located in the valley, but to this day it has retained its original name, given in honor of the eastern ancestry of the pioneers.
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