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Histories:  Trempealeau Co. Historical Accounts:

"History of Trempealeau County Wisconsin, 1917":

Chapter 10:

Wessel Lowe's Experiences

-As transcribed from page 207


Wessel Lowe and his wife, accompanied by their three sons, William, Ira and Rufus, left the State of New York in April, 1853, and migrated to Belvidere, Ill. The following summer was spent in that locality, the two younger sons dying before winter.  Before the next spring they moved north to Brooklyn, Green Lake County, Wis., where they lived until the spring of 1856.  In company with a friend, Herman Snyder, Wessel Lowe set out afoot for Trempealeau County and reached the town of Preston in April, 1856, his wife and son William following in October with an ox-team, a cow and calf, some meat and flour. The first year the family lived in Preston.  They broke ten acres and sowed to wheat, buckwheat, corn and potatoes.  This was cut with a cradle, hauled together with an ox-team, and threshed with a flail.  A fanning mill from near the east county line was hired to separate the grain from the chaff.  William Van Sickle and Cyrus Hine settled in the town of Preston about the same time.  The first town meeting was held in Reynold's log house, less than 20 votes being cast.  The following is a list of voters:  Henry Lake, Chester Beswick, Simon Rice, John Hopkins, Robert Thompson, Henry Sheppard, Jacob and Peter Tenneson, Nels Halvorsen, Burch Olson, Gullick Olson, Knudt Storley, Ed Weeks, _____ Stearns, Wessel Lowe, Cyrus Hine, Ebenezer Thurston and Herman Snyder.  Money hired in those days cost 50 per cent interest.  A later reduction to 20 per cent was hailed with great rejoicing, though the debtor was obliged to work it out at the rate of 75 cents per day.  After the War of the Rebellion broke out the son William enlisted and from the meager salary of $13 a month paid the debt of $150 and saved the homestead.  Galesville, Black River Falls, Squaw Creek and Sechlerville were the nearest milling places.  Mail was gotten at Black River Falls.  Later a postoffice known as South Bend was located on what is now Paul Thompson's farm.  All mail during the Civil War to these parts was directed to South Bend, Trempealeau County, Wis.  This postoffice remained here until the building of the Green Bay Railroad in 1873.  After the war, in the winter of 1865-66, William Lowe hauled lumber from the sawmill at Merrilan and the East Fork of Black River, called Mead's Mill, with an ox-team, and began preparations for the building of the new home in 1866.  This house is still standing on the old farm now owned by Hans C. Johnson of Preston.  Game was plentiful in those days and deer were often shot from the windows of the home without the exertion or pleasure of "going hunting."  Grandfather died in October, 1905.  Father Lowe is still living and makes his home with his son Ward near Blair.  Grandmother Lowe died in October, 1891.

(By Mr. and Mrs. F. W. Lowe.)





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