Asaph Whittlesey

Early Recollections of Ashland

by Asaph Whittlesey

Number I:

“It was among the first days of June, 1854, that George Kilburn, Jr., myself and wife and only child, Eugenia, (then some eighteen months old,) made a landing at La Pointe with a view to remain permanently in the country. Well do I remember the beautiful ‘town,’  spread before us as we merged from the ‘old log warehouse’  through which we passed in reaching the shore, while the general appearance was that of neatness and comfort.”

Number II:

“The history of Ashland as a ‘town site’ commenced with July 5th, 1854.  On that day George Kilburn and myself left La Pointe in a row boat on a tour of inspection of the bay upon which Ashland is now located; having in view a ‘town site’ on what might prove to be the most available point for a town, at or near ‘Equadon,’ which we were told meant the ‘head of the bay.'”

Number III:

“Next your attention is called to the landing of the first steamboat at Ashland, which took place in the afternoon of Sep. 7th, 1854.  Captain Moses Easterbrook, of the steamer Sam Ward, wishing to have the honor of being the first to land a steamer at the new city, extended a general invitation to the people of La Pointe to join him in the excursion, at the same time having on board some fifty or sixty barrels of freight consigned to ‘Asaph Whittlesey, Ashland, Wis.'”

Number IV:

“FIRST POST OFFICE ESTABLISHED AT ASHLAND, MARCH 12TH, 1855. As there was no opportunity for doubt as to the rapid growth of the city the establishment of a Post Office was the result of our first raid upon the general government, though for nearly one year following no provision whatsoever was made for furnishing this office with mail service, and mails were received by chance from La Pointe up to the opening of semi-monthly service, upon a new route established between La Pointe via Ashland to Chippewa Falls, and was soon after, during the winter months, supplied with weekly service upon the route from Ontonagon, Mich., to Superior, Wis. On both of these routes the mails were carried by packers and upon dog teams.”

Number V:

“I have dwelt somewhat long and in general terms upon the subject of railroads in the United States, to show to my readers that there has been no want of energy in their construction, but on the contrary the rapidity with which they have penetrated the wilderness is simply marvelous, converting Indian wilds into prosperous cities or fields of golden harvest. My own connection with the building of railroads dates no farther back then the time of my landing here in 1854, since which, I have in my way left no stone unturned looking to the introduction of railroads into this country.”

Number VI:

“I have no doubt Dr. Ellis still bears in mind how the woods at Bear Trap were made to echo the yells of the Indians as they collided with the party from Ashland on the very day agreed upon, and I think I may safely say that the citizens of Odanah and of Ashland looked upon the opening of this road as a momentous event, and one which cemented us together even more firmly as friends and neighbors, though I have no doubt many of my readers will stand ready to declare that the foot race existed not very far back.”

Number VII:

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Number IX:

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