Histories: Trempealeau Co. Historical Accounts:
"History of Trempealeau County Wisconsin, 1917":
-As transcribed from pages 93 - 94
Whitehall was started in 1860 or 1861 in the locality now known as Old Whitehall, about a mile from the present village, by Ole Knudtson. His biography in the custody of the Trempealeau County Historical Society states that he was born in Norway in 1819, came to Chicago in 1844, located at Woodstock, McHenry County, Illinois, four months later, and in 1859 settled at Mineral Springs in Jackson County. He came to Whitehall June 25, 1860, and opened a hotel and blacksmith shop.
The proprietors of the town site were Benjamin Wing and _____ Georges. The plat was recorded May 23, 1862.
Soon after the village was started some 200 Indians camped along the flats in the vicinity, and Georges did a flourishing business selling them whiskey. To prevent this, Mr. Knudtson bought him out, on condition that he leave the region.
Of the origin of Whitehall, the Galesville Transcript of September 13, 1861, says:
"The people of Trempealeau Valley in the vicinity of Pigeon Valley have long felt the need of a market for their wheat and a business center in their midst. To this end they are now engaged in erecting a new village and making the waters of the Trempealeau River serviceable in carrying off their produce to the Mississippi. Last week a meeting was called by the citizens to enquire into the practicability of making use of the river for flatboats, and the opinion was confidently expressed by those acquainted with the stream that by laying out $1,000 in removing obstructions, boats carrying from 15 to 30 tons could be made to run the river. A committee of three was appointed to examine the river and report. If their report is favorable, it is proposed to organize a company, obtain a charter, and raise funds for clearing the channel.
"The site of the new town (which has received the name of Whitehall) is on the bank of Pigeon Creek, one half mile from its confluence with the Trempealeau. As respects its situation for building a town, it cannot be surpassed. It contains within its limits an excellent waterpower. Arrangements are to be made for the erection of a grist mill early next season.
"Mr. Knudtson has nearly completed his new dwelling - the first in the place. He is a blacksmith by trade, and is now situated to look after the wants of the people in this line. Messrs. Wing and Georges, proprietors of the town site, are building a store. It will be completed and filled with goods before winter. They have the assurance that several families will come to settle in the place next spring. They are selling lots on very reasonable terms to those who intend to build on them."
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