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Histories:  Trempealeau Co. Historical Accounts:

"Trempealeau County" by Clarence J. Gamroth: 

Volume 1A:
 

Communities:  Ettrick
 

Ettrick is located on Hwy. 53 about halfway between Blair on the north and Galesville on the south.

It is said that a trapper by the name of Roque some years after the war of 1812, settled between what is now Ettrick and Galesville.

In May, 1855, John Cance settled in what is now the Township of Ettrick.  He came to America in 18__ and remained for a short time in Jersey City, New Jersey, then moved to Freeport, Illinois.  In the spring of 1855, he came to Trempealeau County.  His brother-in-law, Andrew C. Purvis came with him.  They took up land.

On July 30, 1860, a post office was established under the name of Armagh.  It was named after a small town in Northern Ireland.  Mr. Cance came from Glasgow, Scotland.

On September 21, 1860, the name was changed to Ettrick. John Cance was the first postmaster.  He was a great admirer of Walter Scott works, and in "Marmion" introduction to the second canto, appears the following couplet, "the scenes are desert and now bare where flourished once a forest fair", and again further along in the same canto, mention is made of "pathless Ettrick".  According to a footnote in "Marmion", Ettrick forest was a mountainous region anciently reserved for the pleasure of the royal chase.  The game preserve was known far and wide in Scotland as Ettrick or Ettrick Forest.  So John Cance chose this ancient Scotch name for the new post office.

When the town was organized, at the town meeting, the first one, it was held in Cance's residence April 17, 1863, the neame Ettrick was chosen.

Settlers came into the valley rapidly during the next 10 years.  Markets were distant.  Oxen were used to haul the produce.  Markets were La Crosse, Sparta and Trempealeau.  A trip to these places required several days.  In the early 1860s, land could be purchased at $5.00 an acre.  There was still some government land which could be taken by pre-emption.  Housing at firs was in dugouts and later log homes.

Game was plentiful such as deer, wolves, bear, prairie chickens, pigeons, pheasants, and quail.  Beavers were trapped in great numbers on what is called Beaver Creek.

Frenchville and French Creek names date back to the days of Roque, trapper and trader who built a cabin near Galesville in 1820.

 


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