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Histories:  Trempealeau County Historical Accounts:

"History of Trempealeau County Wisconsin, 1917":

Chapter 14:


Incorporated Villages
 
-As transcribed from pages 271 - 272


Galesville and Arcadia are names of the same origin as those of the townships in which they are located. 

Blair was named from John Insley Blair of Blairstown, J. J., a stockholder in the Green Bay & Western.  During the Civil War he advanced the Federal government over $1,000,000.  He presented $6,000 to endow an academy in his home town; he assisted in the building of Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, and he was a large contributor to Princeton University and Lafayette College.  He also built more than a hundred churches throughout the western states.  Mr. Blair died at his home in 1899 at the age of 97 years.   The village of Blair was originally platted as Porterville.

Eleva was named by R. P. Goddard of Mondovi, Wis., on the suggestion of Mr. Gates, who formerly lived there.  The origin of the name is unknown to Mr. Goddard, but he thinks that Mr. Gates found a place of that name in France.

Independence was so named because it was platted during the year of the Centennial celebration of American Independence.  It is thought that Giles Cripps first suggested the name.

Osseo was started in 1856, and was named by Robert C. Field, one legend says from the Spanish word oso, meaning bear, while another says it came from an Indian word ossi, meaning stone or stony place or stone on stone or having relation to river and stone.  The name is used by Longfellow in his Song of Hiawatha.  He called Osseo the Son of the Evening Star, and has him, when apparently a very old man, turned into a very handsome and attractive young man.  Where Longfellow got the name is not now known.  A fanciful explanation given by some of the early settlers is that an Indian, seeing the improvements made by the white man, exclaimed, Oh!  See!  Oh! thus giving the name Osseo.

Trempealeau Village is named from Trempealeau Mountain.  James A. Reed settled here in 1840 and opened his cabin as a tavern.  The name Reed's Town or Reed's Landing came to be applied to the place.  When the village was platted in 1852 it was called Montoville, the significance being Mountain Ville.

Whitehall was probably named by Benjamin F. Wing, who platted Old Whitehall.  Probably it was named from Whitehall in New York, though it may have been named from a hall painted white.  It is possible, also, that the name was given by Ole Knudtson, or by ? Georges, co-partner with Mr. Wing in the townsite.




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