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Histories:  Trempealeau Co. Historical Accounts:

"History of Trempealeau County Wisconsin, 1917":

Chapter 9:

Present System of Government Inaugurated

-As transcribed from pages 112 - 114

Under the direct system of county government, the three supervisors each year had borne the brunt of the problems arising from the domestic aspects of the Civil War.  They had continued the internal work of their predecessors in such matters as road and bridge building, and had attended to the routine business of the county in an efficient manner, and at a much less expense than that incident to the cumbersome system of township and village representation.  Bounties had been voted to encourage enlistments, families of absent volunteers had been looked after, and the finances of the county kept in a satisfactory condition.  An attempt had been made to erect a county jail and a county almshouse, and the necessity of depending on La Crosse for jail service had been lessened by the pressing into service of the village lock-up at Trempealeau, though prisoners after conviction continued to be sent to La Crosse.  While the various nationality elements, afterward prominent in the county, such as the Scandinavian, the German and the Polish, had already begun to settle in the county and to establish communities  almost exclusively composed of their own nationalities, the administration of county affairs remained in the hands of men who were of English, Irish or Scotch birth or descent.

The new board of supervisors met May 23, 1870.  Chase having been vacated, and Ettrick, Burnside and Hale having been created, the board consisted of ten members:  John D. Lewis of Arcadia, Warren Post of Burnside, Joshua Rhodes of Caledonia, Robert Cance of Ettrick, Robert Oliver in place of William P. Clark of Gale, D. S. Watson of Hale, W. H. Thomas of Sumner, Benjamin B. Healy of Trempealeau, and Gullick Olson of Preston.  Mr. Olson was the first representative of the Scandinavian race to sit on the board.  Mr. Healy was made chairman.  This board devoted a greater part of its attention to the question of unredeemed tax lands.  The land was coming more and more in demand, and the county found that the tracts that it had bid in at tax sales in previous years found a ready market.  During this administration, the treasurer, Edward F. Wade, alleged that $1,498.18 had been stolen from his safe.  The board ordered a rigid investigation, and finally, after considering all aspects of the case, ordered the district attorney to prosecute the treasurer's bondsmen for full payment of the amount missing, with interest.  Judgment being obtained, the money was turned over to the county by the bondsmen and a release signed by the board November 19, 1872.  June 20, 1870, the town of Albion was set off in response to a petition previously presented requesting the creation of a town to be named Logan.  As created, Albion consisted of its present area.  The first meeting was ordered held at the schoolhouse in District Three, in April, 1871.

D. S. Watson of Hale was the chairman of the county board in 1871.  The other members were Noah D. Comstock of Arcadia, Michael White of Burnside, Robert Cance of Ettrick, James Overson of Preston, Benjamin B. Healy of Trempealeau (place filled March 20, 1871, by D. S. Watson), George O. Babcock of Albion, Joshua Rhodes of Caledonia, William P. Clark of Gale, David Wood of Lincoln, J. W. McKay of Sumner, and George Batchelder of Trempealeau Village.  The modern system of county government in Trempealeau County dates from this board.  The previous board had inaugurated the new system under the State law, and had paved the way for the perfected organization.  But the board of 1871 established the procedure by which the affairs of the county have since been conducted.  The rules adopted November 14, 1871, for the meetings of the board are those which, with a few minor changes, have since been in force.  That these rules have proved adequate for nearly fifty years shows the foresightedness of those who invented them.  The present system of the division of the labors of the board among the members was also adopted at that time.  Previous to this adoption, such special committees as were needed were appointed from time to time, but most of the business now done by the committees was transacted by the full board.  This board of 1871 established a regular system of committees.  These committees, with some slight readjustments, were the same as at present, with the exception that the work of the what was then the committee on jury lists is now done by the clerk of court, and a committee on county property has been added.

Since the days of this board the work of the county supervisors has been largely of a routine nature, not differing materially from the work of neighboring counties of the State.  Several matters, however, have been of special historic significance, and among these are the creation of four additional townships, the county seat struggle, the erection of the courthouse and jail, the creation of an insane asylum, attempts at establishing a poor farm, and in recent years the work that has arisen in connection with the State aid system in the construction of roads and bridges..

Dodge and Pigeon were created January 4, 1875; Unity on November 20, 1877, and Chimney Rock on November 22, 1881.  All were created with their boundaries as at present constituted, except that the northwest line of Pigeon has since been readjusted.  The first meeting in Dodge was held in the schoolhouse in District 2, Section 12, Township 19, Range 10, in April, 1875, the first meeting in Pigeon was held on the same date, the first meeting in Unity was held in April, 1878, at the schoolhouse in Section 22, township 24, Range 8, and the first meeting in Chimney Rock was held at the schoolhouse in Section 11, Township 23, Range 9, in April, 1882.  The question of the division of Lincoln and the creation of Pigeon was submitted to the voters, the only instance in the history of the county where such a provision was made.





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