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Histories:  Trempealeau Co. Historical Accounts:

"History of Trempealeau County Wisconsin, 1917":

Chapter 4:


County Organized

-As transcribed from pages 38 - 39


Marvin Pierce, who was something of a politician, lived at Montoville, now Trempealeau. With him were his two brothers, Wesley and James M.  John Buehler was a citizen of Holmes' Landing. It is said that on a trip to his former home in Grant County, he stopped at Montoville, and interested Marvin Pierce in the proposition of establishing a new county.  According to the story told by Buehler later in life, Marvin Pierce went up to Holmes' Landing and secured the funds with which to lobby the required bill through the legislature.21 The Act was passed July 6, 1853, one of its provisions being the location of the county seat of the newly formed Buffalo County at Sand Prairie, Lot 1, Section 1, Township 19, Range 12, which James M. Pierce had entered at the United States Land Office a few weeks previous, on June 1.

The people of Holmes' Landing believed that their hopes of developing an important metropolis were about to be realized. Montoville was left in La Crosse County, and could never expect to rival La Crosse for county seat honors. The site of Judge Gale's proposed village was on the extreme edge of the newly-created Buffalo County, and could have no hope of securing county seat advantages. It is true that the people of Holmes' Landing were indignant that the Pierces had taken advantage of the situation and had secured the location of the county seat on a neighboring sand bar instead of actually at their village, nevertheless it was felt that the matter .of persuading the supervisors to meet at the village instead of on what was practically a near-by Mississippi island, was a simple one. This feeling was fully justified, for the very first recorded gathering of the county board was held at Fountain City, and at that meeting the home of Henry Goerke, on Lot 6, Section 8, Township 19, was designated as the courthouse.

There seemed absolutely no possibility for the creation of another county between Holmes' Landing and La Crosse, for a constitutional provision prevented the division of any county having an area of 900 acres, without a vote of the people.22

Judge Gale, however, was a man of considerable inventiveness and influence. He did not propose to see his village site shelved to the edge of a county. He quietly interviewed his friends who were to serve in the legislature, and secured their support for an ingenious plan that he had conceived. In pursuance with this plan the legislature first passed an Act enlarging Buffalo County, extending it to its present western and northern boundaries. Buffalo County thus containing over 900 acres, it was subject to division by the legislature, and immediately a second Act was passed, taking a tract containing Trempealeau from La Crosse County, a tier of townships from Jackson County, and two tiers of townships from Buffalo County, and naming the new county Trempealeau. The county seat was located on the northwest quarter of Section 33, Township 19, Range 8, on Beaver Creek at Galesville. An election was to be held the first Monday in September, 1854, to designate a county judge who was to serve three years from January 1, 1855. A general election was to be held in November, 1854, to elect all county officers, whose term was to commence January 1, 1855. The board of supervisors of Montoville was to act as a board of supervisors of the county until other towns were organized and elections held.23


Resources for the above information:

For story of the counties of which Trempealeau County has been a part, see: Louise Phelps Kellogg, Organization, Boundaries and Names of Wisconsin Counties, Wis. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, 1910, 184 et seq.

21 - L. Kissinger, History of Buffalo County (Alma, 1888), 277, et seq.

22 - Constitution of Wisconsin, Sec. 7, Art. 13,

23 - B. F. Heuston (probable author), Trempealeau County, History of Northern Wisconsin (Chicago, 1881), 1035.




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