Histories: Trempealeau Co. Historical Accounts:
"History of Trempealeau County Wisconsin, 1917":
Pre-Bellum Boards and Their Doings
-As transcribed from pages 106 - 109
Gale township having been created and a chairman elected, the new board of county supervisors, consisting of George Batchelder, chairman of Montoville and B. F. Heuston, chairman of Gale, met at Montoville May 1, 1854. George Batchelder was chosen chairman and William M. Young clerk. Charles Utter was appointed county treasurer. Mr. Utter was also appointed to act with the commissioner from Jackson County to lay out roads from Montoville to Black River Falls by way of Trempealeau Valley and Beaver Creek, and one to Douglass Mills, now North Bend, in Jackson County. May 29, 1854, the boundary between Montoville and Gale was slightly readjusted. November 14, 1854, a meeting was held at the home of B. F. Heuston in Gale, but at once adjourned to Montoville. November 20, 1854, John Nicholls was appointed clerk in place of William M. Young, resigned. It would appear that George Batchelder was then looking after the criminal interest of the county, as on November 27, 1854, he was voted $16.50 for the prosecution, guarding and deposition of "Geo. the Murderer."
In the spring of 1855 B. F. Heuston was re-elected chairman of Gale Township and was accordingly continued as a member of the county board. William A. Cram took his seat as the member from Montoville. John Nicholls continued as clerk, being appointed in place of Charles Utter, who did not qualify. During the first two years of county government the board met sometimes at Montoville and sometimes in Gale Township or in Galesville. The county officials maintained their offices in their residences or their places of business. June 26, 1856, the clerk of the board was authorized to have his office at his residence in Montoville, and the sheriff, clerk of court, registrar and treasurer were ordered to file with the clerk a statement of where their headquarters were to be found. The need of a courthouse, however, was apparent, and on June 11, 1855, the board, meeting at the home of William A. Cram, decided that a courthouse should be built at Galesville as soon as possible, and ordered the clerk to prepare plans for the inspection of the public, and to advertise for bids for a building 28 by 36 feet, two stories high. June 28, 1855, Isaac Noyes and Amassa P. Webb, of Montoville, were awarded the contract at $1,000, and the county appropriated $250 for the purchase of material. The work was to be finished on April 28, 1856, but when that date approached it was found that the building would not be completed within the time limit. Lumber had been hard to obtain, and some that had been carted to the site had been stolen. Accordingly, the contractors were awarded damages of $25 and the time extended to July 28.
The first meeting of the board in the new courthouse was held July 23, 1856. B. F. Heuston of Gale was still a member of the board. William Adams succeeded William A. Cram of Trempealeau. In the meantime the town of Preston had been created, November 21, 1855, consisting of all of the county north of the line between Townships 19 and 20, except that part in what is now Ettrick, west of the range line between Ranges 9 and 10; and the first town meeting had been held at the home of Ed. Reynolds, April 1, 1856. The first representative of the town on the county board was Simon S. Rice. John Nicholls continued to serve as clerk of the board. November 11, 1856, the board voted to allow the people of Galesville to use the courtroom as a schoolroom.
In the spring of 1857 the new board consisted of B. F. Heuston of Gale, Simon S. Rice of Preston and William Adams of Trempealeau. The previous board, on November 20, 1856, had created two new townships, Arcadia and Sumner. Sumner consisted of all of Township 24, Ranges 7, 8 and 9. The first town meeting was ordered held at Beef River Station April 7, 1857. Arcadia consisted of all the present town of Arcadia, except the strip in Township 20, range 8, and everything north of the present township to the south line of Township 24. The first town meeting was to be held at home of David Bishop, April 7, 1857. The meeting at David Bishop's was conducted as ordered, but the one at Beef River Station was not held, and the board ordered a meeting for April, 1858. In the fall of 1857 the board consisted of J. R. Penney of Arcadia, A. R. Wyman of Gale, J. B. Dunning of Preston and Sam D. Hastings of Trempealeau. This board created the town of Caledonia, November 11, 1857, and ordered the first town meeting to be held at the home of Alexander McGilvray in April, 1858. The town consisted of all of the present town of Caledonia except the tier of sections in Township 18, Range 9. This action was rescinded March 2, 1858.
November 9, 1858, the board consisted of James M. Barrett of Trempealeau, A. R. Wyman of Gale, J. H. Chase of Sumner, in place of William Harmon; A. L. Sherwood of Preston and James Broughton of Arcadia. The board was informed by District Attorney Romanzo Bunn that the action of the board in rescinding the creation of Caledonia was illegal. But the town having failed to organize, a new date, the first Tuesday in March 1859, was set as the time for the first town meeting. As early as November 13, 1858, the need of an almshouse was felt, and a committee consisting of James M. Barrett, A. L. Sherwood and John Nicholls was appointed to correspond with officials of various counties of the state in regard to methods of caring for the needy in a proper and economical manner. At the February meeting in 1859 W. H. Thomas sat as the member from Sumner. The board authorized the board of trustees of Galesville University to use the upper story of the courthouse for classroom purposes for the summer term of 1859 in case the seminary building should not be completed.
At this meeting the people of Trempealeau Village were reprimanded by the board for petitioning the legislature to submit to the voters the question of removing the county seat to that hamlet. The supervisors expressed the opinion that if the county seat were to be removed at all, it should be to some point near the geographical center of the county, and further stated that the agitation of the question at that time would create a great deal of needless trouble, expense and ill feeling.
Six townships being in existence in the fall of 1859, the board consisted of six members: J. T. Holmes of Caledonia, Ben. B. Healy of Trempealeau, Collins Bishop of Arcadia, A. A. Arnold of Gale, Ebenezer Thurston of Preston and W. H. Thomas of Sumner. November 15, 1859, A. P. Ford was appointed county drainage commissioner under the provisions of the general laws of 1858. This board did not authorize any new townships, and the board for 1860 therefore consisted of six members: George D. Dewey of Arcadia, J. T. Holmes of Caledonia, Henry French of Gale, Chester Bostwick of Preston, William Silkworth of Sumner and James M. Barrett of Trempealeau. November 13, 1860, Chase and Lincoln Townships were created. Chase was to consist of all the present town of Albion and the west half of Unity. The first town meeting was to be held at the home of David Chase in April, 1861. Lincoln was to consist of Townships 22 and 23, Range 8, and Township 23, Range 9. This embraced nearly all of what is now Lincoln, all of what is now Chimney Rock, a small strip of Burnside and the western part of Hale. The first town meeting was to be held at the home of Alvah Wood, the first Tuesday in April.
These townships being duly organized and the election held, the board for 1861 consisted of eight members: George R. Davey, Chase; M. D. Ingalls, Lincoln; D. C. Dewey, Arcadia; Eben Batchelder, Caledonia; A. A. Arnold, Gale; E. M. Reynolds, Preston; R. C. Fields, Sumner, and Delavan Bunn, Trempealeau.
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