Histories: Trempealeau Co. Historical Accounts:
"History of Trempealeau County Wisconsin, 1917":
-As transcribed from pages 173 - 175
Meyers Valley is wholly in the town of Arcadia, and lies about one and a half miles south of the village of Arcadia. It is really a series of short pocket valleys with a rich black loam soil, and long has been one of the choice farm localities in the town, and perhaps in the county. Grain growing was long the chief industry, but stock raising, grass and corn has all along had much attention, and in recent years dairying has flourished among the people of the valley. It is a natural locality for diversified or intensive farming, and its people were really always well-to-do when the exclusively grain growing neighborhoods were poor and almost destitute of money. The first settlers in Meyers Valley were Frank J. and Carl Zeller and Nic and Caspar Meyers. The Zellers met the Meyers at Roxbury in Dane County, Wisconsin, and they soon formed plans to come to Trempealeau County, the Meyers furnishing ox team and wagon, by which they traveled. Arriving in Trempealeau Village, they were directed to go by way of the prairie and Whistler Pass to Arcadia, the route being little else than a trail. However, they completed the journey to the Bishop settlement, and partook of their first meal at the home of David Bishop, it being cooked and served by Mrs. Bishop, who, after the death of Mr. Bishop, married Charles Mercer, and who is the person who gave to Arcadia territory, town and village the name now and for long so well known. At that time there were but few settlers, among them being Collins and David Bishop and families, George Dewey and family, James Broughton and family, George Shelley and family, Ira Penny and family, Carl Ernst and family, John McMaster with his family, Phillip Hartman and family, J. H. Gleason and family and N. D. Comstock, unmarried. The two Zellers and Nic and Caspar Meyers selected lands upon which they made some improvements with the intention of pre-empting them later, which they did. Frank J. Zeller located 120 acres and with his brother built a log house. Later he returned by ox team to Roxbury, Dane County, where, Nov. 26, 1856, he was married. All remained at Roxbury the winter of 1856 and 1857, returning to Arcadia in the spring of 1857, settling upon the lands they had located the previous summer, and which they later purchased of the Government and opened and improved into valuable farms.
In the summer of 1857 many settlers came and they continued to arrive until in 1876 the territory was practically occupied. Among the early arrivals were Christian and John Haines, Peter Meyers, George Cain, Theodore Tsherhardt, John Woll, John Bill, Sr., John and Dan Bigham, James Gaveney, Dr. I. A. Briggs, David Massuere, Dan C. Dewey and Henry Dewey, Gay T. Storm and Casper Whiffler.
During the early years of life in the valley, and up to the time of the Indian massacre in Minnesota in 1862, many Indians lived about Arcadia and were frequent or almost daily visitors at the homes of the settlers, being very industrious beggars, but committing no crimes upon the white people. The Indian troubles in Minnesota in 1862 were the occasion of much anxiety and great prudence on the part of the settlers of Arcadia. Every man was armed and equipped to do battle, if necessary, for the protection of family and home. However, no occasion arose necessitating bloodshed. In pioneer days at Arcadia Indians often remained at the homes of settlers until late into the night, visiting and being social in their ways. The market points for many years were Trempealeau and Fountain City in all seasons, and Winona during such time as the Mississippi river was frozen in winters.
Bill's Valley is a branch of Meyers Valley, as is Woll Valley and Hartman Valley.
In the early days a society known as the St. Joseph Catholic Congregation, built a frame church near where the highway divides to go to the Hartman Valley, and to turn into the main valley and over the Pine Creek Ridge and own over the country by way of Whistler Pass to Trempealeau, where services were held until the congregation was merged into the new society at Arcadia in 1883. The cemetery remains and is the silent resting-place of many of the early pioneers of not only Meyers Valley, but that whole vicinity.
The St. Joseph Church stands in the southeast corner of the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter, section 6-20-9; and the cemetery is in the southwest corner of the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter, section 6-20-9.
Meyers Valley proper, in which the Zeller farm is, has a creek that flows out of the northwest side of section 17-20-9, crossing sections 17, 8 and 7 in the same town; while the Bill Valley may be said to be confined to sections 11, 12, 13 and 14 in 20-10 west.
The original trail out of Arcadia came up out of Pine Creek onto the Pine Creek ridge above these valleys and Trout Run, following these valleys to the Trempealeau River, and centered in early times at Old Arcadia, or Dewey's Corners, as it was by many known. Later Massuere's Mill became a landmark and point of public interest.
The first white man to die in the Meyers Valley was Phillip Hartman, Sr., and the first to die in Arcadia was David Bishop, who was killed by a bolt of lightning during a storm in 1868. The public school at the mouth of Meyer's Valley was organized in 1870, and the first teacher was Ferdinand Robertson.
(By Stephen Richmond.)
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