By Amorin Mello

The Ashland Weekly Press became the Ashland Daily Press.

January 5, 1878.

The Survey of the Penoka Range and Incidents Connected with its Early History.

Number VII.

The “great commercial storm” was the Panic of 1857; a precursor to the American Civil War.  It had dramatic impacts across the United States including Milwaukee and the south shore of Lake Superior.
“Cream City” refers to Milwaukee and its manufacturing of bricks made with light yellow-colored clay from the Menomonie River Valley.

Upon the arrival of Gen. Cutler and myself at Milwaukee, December 25th, 1857, we found that the affairs of the Wisconsin & Lake Superior Mining and Smelting Company were in a very different condition, financially, from what they were when we left home, nearly eight months before. The great commercial storm, that, like a tidal wave, had swept over the country that year from Maine to California, had left its mark in wrecking many of the best business men of the “Cream City,” as well as elsewhere. Among these were some of the original stock holders of our company, who, unable to stand their assessments any longer, had, previous to our arrival, given place to others as green as they were originally themselves. Even some of the new stock holders were also subsequently compelled to sell out to other parties, not being any better able to respond when the call for more money was made upon them, than had their illustrious predecessors, thereby losing not only all they had invested, but what they had in prospect to make, as well.

Dr. Henry Harrison Button’s wife was a distant cousin of Thomas A. Greene.  The two men signed a partnership agreement on October 1, 1848 to operate a wholesale and retail drug business in Milwaukee and remained in business together for the rest of their lives. Greene was an amateur geologist who collected 75,000 specimens of fossils and minerals.
John W. Pixley was a merchant and land speculator in Milwaukee.
Simeon N. Small and John B.D. Coggswell were introduced in Numbers III and IV of this series.
R.B. Bell & Co. was a wholesale merchant of alcohol and tobacco in Milwaukee.

Among those who stepped into the trap at this time and who remained in to the end were Messrs. Green & Button, who yet hold stock, John W. Pixley, Simeon N. Small, J.B.D. Coggswell and R.B. Bell, a one-horse banker who came to our city about that time. The outs being John Lockwood, who, in imagination, had been a large capitalist, and worth at least two hundred thousand dollars; but whose liabilities so far exceeded his ability to pay when brought to the front as to make him a hopeless bankrupt, was, with Palmer, Greves and Cummings, compelled to retire.

The amount of money expended up to this time, in order to obtain possession of this imaginary bonanza had not only floored these gentlemen, leaving them high and dry upon the shoals of commercial bankruptcy, but had so far exceeded the amount originally contemplated, as to make those of us who remained fear the wrath to come in view of the stringency of the money market, as well as the general stagnation of business, particularly, as from past experience, it was not possible to calculate with certainty what further amounts would be required, in order to insure success. A large force was still upon the Range, neither could it be withdrawn until the lands were entered, except at the risk of losing all that had been done. These men were to be paid as well as fed during the winter, which would of itself, require no inconsiderable sum; besides we must pay the Government for the land. Money must be raised, consequently, to go back was impossible; to go forward, equally so. But to go ahead was our motto, and the amount necessary for these purposes was at once raised by assessment upon those of us who were yet solvent, and the “pot kept a boiling.”

Wheelock townsite claim at Ballou Gap in the Iron Range with sugar maples, springs, and useless compasses. (Detail of Stuntz survey from May of 1858)

Wheelock’s unmarked townsite claim at Ballou Gap in the Iron Range with sugar bushes, artesian springs, and useless compasses. (Detail of Stuntz’s survey during September of 1857)

According to the July 8th, 1871 issue of the Bayfield Press, only “a few hundred pounds” were ever extracted by the Wisconsin & Lake Superior Mining and Smelting Company.  This means they extracted more maple sugar than iron from the Penokee Mountains.

During the winter the improvements upon the Range spoken of as contemplated were pushed steadily forward under the skillful management of A.B. Wheelock, who was in every way, the man for the place, as in addition to completing the two block houses in good shape, twelve hundred pounds of sugar and forty gallons of molasses were made under his direction during the spring. The tubs for holding the sugar and syrup were all made during the winter at Penoka, by that Jack of all trades, Steve Sanborn, who could do almost as good work with a hatchet, knife, saw, auger and draw shave, as half the coopers and carpenters in the country, with a full set of tools.

Perhaps a short sketch of this singular mortal, so well known to many of Ashland’s early men, may not be uninteresting to your readers.

Steven Sanborn was introduced in the Number VI of this series.
Pike’s Peak is located among the copper ranges south of Superior City.  However, this Pike’s Peak could be a reference to Mount Ashwabay in the Pikes Creek watershed southwest of Bayfield.

In height he was about five feet six inches, broad shoulders, arms long and sinewy, head large and wide; dark complexion, long, dark brown hair, blue eyes, face smooth and beardless, high cheek bones, long, wide, projecting chin, that was always getting up a muss with his nose, which was also long, and slightly hooked. He walked heavily, his knees usually about six inches in advance of his toes, giving his legs, which were bowed, the shape of an obtuse angle. Such was his personale. His conversational powers were not of the highest order – in fact he seldom spoke to any one; was fond of hunting and trapping, a vocation he usually followed every winter, remaining out alone for weeks together, at the Marengo, living upon mink, martin, muskrat, or any other kind of rat. He was always restless and uneasy, and could get outside of more bean soup and shanty bread at a sitting than any two men upon the Range. Such are my recollections of Stephen Sanborn. The last known of him was at Pike’s Peak, where, if living, he is no doubt following the same hermit life he loved so well upon Lake Superior.

The General Land Office in Superior City was the epicenter of scandals that received nationwide media coverage.  The topics of the Superior office and the boys’ “little affidavits” will be featured on this blog in the future.
Abandoning the Gogebic Iron Range with implies that the company obtained fraudulent preemption claims.

At length, after a winter of unusual mildness, similar to what the present one promises to be, gentle spring once more showed her smiling face, a signal to us to hurry up and complete our work; and as the returns of the survey were now all made, and the lands subject to entry, the necessary funds for entering them were placed in my hands, with which I returned to the Range, took the boys to Superior City, where they made their little affidavits, got their duplicates, and returned with me to La Pointe, where we met the General, who had followed me from Milwaukee, where the work of transferring the titles to the company was at once commenced and completed successfully with all except A.S. Stacy, who traitor-like, (to use a commercial term), “laid down” on us, refusing to convey, unless paid a bonus of one thousand dollars, which, if my memory is correct, and I’ll bet it is, he never got. The duplicates once in our possession, the patents were soon forthcoming, through influence brought to bear at Washington, after which, there being no prospect of doing anything with the lands at present, owing to the financial condition of the country, as well as the almost total prostration of the iron interest. The personal property was placed in store at Sibley’s and other points, until again wanted, and the Range abandoned about July 1, 1858. This abandonment, however, which was at the time supposed to be only temporary, proved in the end, to us at least, eternal. The fruits of our labors are not enjoyed by others. “We shook the bush and they caught the bird.” Notwithstanding that a railroad,- the Ashland and Iron Mountain, of which I, with others, was a corporator, was chartered in 1859, it was, as is well known, never built. We were finally compelled, after all, to see this whole thing, upon which we had spent so much money, and suffered so many hardships, slip from our grasp, and pass into the hands of those who had not labored for it. But so it is ever; one planeth, and another gathereth.

Such, Mr. Editor, is the history in brief, of the way, as well as by whom, the Penoka Range was first surveyed and located, and although we underwent much hardship and privation, yet I look back today upon that summer, as the pleasantest, in many respects, that I ever spent in Wisconsin. Neither would I hesitate, even now, to undertake the same again, and would like very much to see the old cabin at Penoka, which I am told is yet standing, in which I spent so many happy days in 1857.

The history of the Range from that time to the present is as well known to you as to me, and need not be dwelt upon further than to say that its possession did not make millionaires of any of us.

Increase A. Lapham surveyed the Penokee Iron Range on behalf of the Wisconsin & Lake Superior Mining and Smelting Company during 1858.

Increase A. Lapham surveyed the Penokee Iron Range on behalf of the Wisconsin & Lake Superior Mining and Smelting Company during 1858.

But what a change have these twenty years brought to the members, as well as the employees of the old company! Of the company, Palmer, Gen. Cutler, H. Hill, Sidebotham, Pixley, J.B.D. Cogswell, Small and Ripley have passed from earth. Lockwood and Harris are in New Orleans; J.F. Hill, J. Cummings and myself in Milwaukee, and Greves in California. Of the others I have no knowledge. Of the employees, Wheelock is upon a farm in Dakota; J.C. Cutler, at his home in Dexter, Maine; Whitcomb is in Milwaukee; Valliant, Stevens and Chase were killed in the late unpleasantness, and H.C. Palmer died in Milwaukee. Of the others I know not.

The “late unpleasantness” is a folk name for the American Civil War.
Asaph Whittlesey’s spiel about Augustus Barber’s death was featured in Numbers III and V.

There are, however, many yet living with whom I became acquainted at that time, in Ashland and vicinity, for whom I have ever cherished the warmest personal friendship. If these sketches and reminiscences of long long ago have interested or amused them, I am glad. The writing of them has brought to mind many scenes and faces, that were almost forgotten, but which are as vivid now as though occurring yesterday. I hope, the coming season to see you all, and talk over old times, and make a trip to the Range over the old trail, every foot of which is accurately mapped in my eye. And now, as my task is done, at least for the present, I will bid the Press readers good-bye, and

Let Brother Whittlesey “spiel” it a while.
About that wonderful siege of Barlile.

J.S. Buck
Milwaukee, Dec. 18, 1877.

By Amorin Mello

The Ashland Weekly Press became the Ashland Daily Press.

December 1, 1877

The Survey of the Penoka Range and Incidents Connected with its Early History.

Number III.

Julius Austrian‘s warehouse was the epicenter of La Pointe during the 1850s.
“There was a strip of ice all along the south shore, from thirty to forty miles wide, as far as Marquette; encountered ice again twenty-five miles west of Ontonagon, extending through to La Pointe and Bayfield. Many pieces of this ice were as much as twenty feet thick and were as dangerous to encounter as icebergs at sea. These pieces had been formed by drifts of ledges, one upon another.”
Detroit Free Press, June 5, 1857
(MarinetimeHistoryoftheGreatLakes.ca)
The first La Pointe Light was built in 1857 on Michigan Island and was rejected for not “in conformity to the terms of the contract,” and “discontinued in 1857.”  It should have been located on Long Island, where the second La Pointe Light was built in 1858.  This blunder was attributed to bureaucratic errors, but it could have been due to the ice conditions of 1857.

Friend Fifield:- Upon the first arrival of Mr. Sidebotham and myself at La Pointe, in May, ’57, as previously stated, we took lodging at the Hotel Angus,” the hospitalities of which we were forced to enjoy until some means could be found to communicate with Gen. Cutler. The Bay, as well as the Lake, was full of ice. In fact, we had been compelled to fight out way from the Sault to La Pointe, through heavy masses of ice, nearly the whole distance – and while upon this subject, I will say, that incredible as the statement may appear to many, yes it is a fact, that ice bergs were aground in front of Austrian’s Warehouse, at La Pointe, on the 4th day of July, 1857, in 36 feet of water, while at the same time a field of floating ice was visible from the Range, beyond which, no water could be seen. I verily believe that the lake was not wholly free from ice that summer.

“La Pointe residents began to cross to Bayfield for supplies and services. The establishment of commercial transportation service between these points was immediate. The enterprising Morrin brothers of La Pointe, ferried people and freight across the channel in their bateau — a large, flat-bottomed rowboat. Captain John Angus operated his sailboat, the Jane, between Ashland, Bayfield and La Pointe as early as 1857.”
~ Madeline Island Ferry Line

At length, after remaining at the hotel some eight or ten days, during which Mrs. Angus made us as happy as she could by her kindness and attention, Gen. Cutler came, accompanied by Mr. Herbert. This was the first time that either of us had ever seen Gen. Cutler, but on being informed who we were, he seemed overjoyed to see us, and at once made the proposition to me to take charge of the work, and let him return to Milwaukee, so thoroughly disgusted had he become with the whole thing. To this, however, I would not consent, whereupon he decided to remain, and at once directed Mr. Herbert, who was at that time still in our employ, to return at once to Ironton, taking a part of the supplies, which came up with us, of which they were in great need, Mr. Sidebotham accompanying him, leaving the General and myself at La Pointe. After a long consultation, the General decided to go below, after men and money, wherewith to complete the work; which he did, I following Mr. Sidebotham to Ironton, which place I reached in time to join Mr. Herbert’s party, just starting for the Range, which we reached the second day after leaving Ironton.

“The [1856] organization of the Township of Bayport was maintained for about ten years, until about the year 1867, when the settlers, for various reasons, became so reduced in number that the organization failed, and LaPointe again embraced the Township of Bayport — which ten years before had set up a municipality of its own.
During its existence the taxable real estate in the Town of Bayport had increased from nothing to several hundred thousand dollars, principally through entry of pine lands in the south and western portions of the township and also by extensive entries of mineral properties on the Iron Range.”
~ The Lake Superior Country in History and in Story by Guy M Burnham, pg. 179

Omission was made in the list of stockholders given in my first chapter, of Mr. Herbert, whom name should have been included. His stock was, however, by special agreement, unassessable, as it was through his instrumentality, in part, that the existence of this most wonderful metallic deposit was first brought to the knowledge of the Company, and the work of surveying and locating is undertaken. It was this, together with the knowledge that his long residence in the country was supposed to give him, as to the best mode of conducting such an enterprise, that procured for him this aqucession, as well as the appointment of Agent. In justice, however, to Mr. Herbert, it is proper to state, that besides the work done, and money spent at Ironton, the place selected by him as the future shipping point for the iron, (50,000 tons of which he contemplated bringing there that season, at least he stated) considerable work had also been done upon the range during his administration; mostly, however, at Penoka, where a log cabin, yet standing, had been erected, and some thirty acres cleared, the timber being cut into cordwood, to be used in the manufacture of charcoal iron, for the making of which it was contemplated to erect the proper furnaces in the near future. Neither is it any injustice to say, that although perhaps he did the best he could, situated as he was, yet the work did not progress as fast as the company thought it should, the force, while under his control had became badly demoralized. The idea had obtained, if not with him it had with them, that they were working for a company of bloated bondholders,- had a soft thing, and meant to make the most of it; but with the advent of Gen. Cutler, a change came over the spirit of their dreams. Order was quickly brought out of chaos, and the discovery made that a master hand held the reins. Up to this time, May, ’57, the Range had never been visited by any of the company except Messrs. Palmer, Greves and Ripley, those visiting ’56 was one of exploration only, and as Gen. Cutler, Mr. Sidebotham and myself were the only ones that went up there in ’57, or who, in fact, over performed any work there, a short sketch of them will perhaps not be inappropriate in this connection, while awaiting, metaphorically speaking, the arrival of the expected reinforcements from below. And first of Gen. Cutler:

Lysander Cutler of Wisc. (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print)

Lysander Cutler of Wisc. (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.)

“The First Election
The Order of the County Board creating the Town of Bayport was made March 11, 1856, and the store of Schuyler Goff, in Bay City (Ellis Division) was designated as the place for holding the first election for town officers, the election to be held Tuesday, April 1, 1856.
The Town of Bayport comprised all that portion of LaPointe county (since changed to Ashland County) lying south of the north line of Town 48 North; in all over sixty-eight Townships, including the Bad River reservation, which was, on the 8th day of November, 1859, made a precinct by itself.
At the first election held April 1, 1856, there were 24 votes cast — resulting as follows; for Chairman of the Town Board, Schuyler Goff (later appointed County Judge, an office he held for a year or more).  The other members of the town board being J.T. Welton and Asaph Whittlesey.  Schuyler Goff, chairman elect, was the first officer to qualify, his oath of office being administered by Asaph Whittlesey, Justice of the Peace.”
~ The Lake Superior Country in History and in Story by Guy M. Burnham, pg. 179
Ed Hall, Schuyler Goff, Homer Goff, Edwin Ellis, Junius T. Welton and Asaph Whittlesey  are listed in the 1855 Census of La Pointe.
In 1854, S.R. Marston failed to pay taxes, charges and interest to redeem a land claim in Grant County.
Sioux Scrip were a legal mechanism for dispossessing preemption land claims and reaping the profits.

Gen. Lysander L. Cutler was, in many respects, a remarkable man. In person he was rather above the medium height, large head, large, dark eyes, heavy eyebrows, a sure indication of a good memory, as well as firmness, dark hair, inclined to stand erect; walked, usually with a slow and dignified step, with his eyes apparently fixed upon the ground, as if in deep thought, leading an observer to suppose that he was not cognizant of what was being enacted around him. This, however, was a mistake; nothing escaped his observation. In fact, he seemed to know your very thoughts; neither could anyone be in his presence ten minutes without feeling the magnetic influence of his iron will. Was any dangerous work to be undertaken, he would, if within call, be the first one consulted, and appointed to take charge of it. He was a born leader. He was not only one of the best business men I ever knew, but he was also a leader in politics. A good judge of men, sharp and keen, and who ever undertook to circumvent him was sure to some grief, as some of the people who went about the Range did that summer, have no doubt, an abiding recollection. I refer now to Hall, of St. Paul, Minnesota, who undertook, with the assistance of S.R. Marston, a treacherous employee of the Company, and Schuyler Goff, of Racine, at that time a resident of La Pointe, to beat us out of our rights, by entering the lands upon the Range with Sioux Scrip, in which nefarious attempt they would no doubt have succeeded, but for him. He was more than a match for all of them, and they finally retired from the contest in disgrace. Such was Gen. L.L. Cutler, a firm friend, but an uncompromising enemy. Never will the writer forget the happy days spent with him upon the Range in the summer of 1857. We were like brothers, and our friendship was never interrupted by even a passing cloud. We fraternized at once upon our first meeting, and fought the battle for the possession of the Range together, never doubting our ultimately winning the prize. He has gone to his reward, in that bright world beyond the River; yet “in memory’s ever sleepless eye” he is often present with me.

John Sidebotham’s English mannerisms did not fare well with his employees.
James Smith Buck’s surname is an anglicized identity for the Buchanan clan from the Scottish Wars of Independence.
Simeon N. Small and his family purchased controlling stocks from the Wisconsin & Lake Superior Mining and Smelting Co.
Later in life, John Sidebotham was brutally murdered.

Mr. Sidebotham, however, who was by birth an Englishman, and by occupation a cabinet maker, was of a different mould, and although an honest man, was by his habits of life, wholly unfitted for such an undertaking, and of no practical use whatever, and although not constantly at the Range, he was while there, an actual incumbrance, some one having to remain with him constantly; he could not accustom himself to the woods and its annoyance; was always complaining of his food, which of course soon brought him into contempt with the men. One of his peculiarities was a great fondness for sugar, particularly in his tea, which he could not, or thought he could not, drink without it, and as this was an article not always plenty, the boys would sometimes hide it, in order to see him hunt for it, which he would do most persistently until he found it. I remember on one occasion they hid it in a tree, and as he could not climb or chip, although in plain sight he could not get it. They had, as they expressed it, the “dead wood” on him that time.  He finally became so afflicted with boils, on account of his sedentary habits and change of food, that it was with the utmost difficulty we were able to get him from the Range to Ashland, in December, where he remained until sufficiently recovered to be able to travel, after which he reached home in safety. He was the last to sell his stock, which, however, he finally did, to the late Simeon N. Small, claiming that as it was through much tribulation he had obtained it, he would not part with it except at his own price, which I believe he got. This purchase, although it gave Mr. Small a controlling interest in the stock, was ultimately the cause of his financial ruin.       J.S.B.


[from same issue of The Ashland Press]

Whittlesey on Early Times in Ashland.

The laziness of Lazarus and Sibley was revealed in Penokee Survey Incidents: Number II.
John Beck and his family arrived at the Town of Bayport in 1856.
“The first settlement on the spot where Ashland now stands was made, in 1854, by Asaph Whittlesey and George Kilborn, both natives of the Western Reserve, Ohio. The lands were not as yet surveyed, so that they could not pre-empt them, and there was as yet no Homestead law. For this reason they, with Martin Beaser, then living in Ontonagon, Michigan, laid claim, under the “Town Site” law, to about three hundred acres, embracing their log houses and small clearing. They platted this into town lots in 1855, and subsequently were allowed to enter their lands as claimed, and in due course received their title. In February, 1855, Edwin Ellis, a graduate in medicine, in the University of the City of New York, of the class of 1846, came on foot through the woods from St. Paul to the bay.”
~ The Monthly Magazine; A Monthly Journal of American History, Volume 9, 1888, pg. 18

Editor Ashland Press.- In your last issue of the 24th inst., your correspondent “J.S.B.,” in his Early Recollections of Ashland, makes very portient reference to two of Ashland’s prominent citizens of early days, known as “Sibley” and “Lazarus,” stating that in laziness they were competitors for the belt. My own recollection tells me that of this same Sibley had gained some notoriety for telling big yarns, but in this I think he ultimately gave way to John Beck. On one occasion, Sibley arrived in town on foot and alone, and entering a crowd of the boys, addressing himself to Lazarus, said: “Lazarus, I want you to go and help me get my team into town. It now stands in the mud near the head of Main St.” to which Lazarus replied, “I’ll go, if you will first tell us the biggest lie you ever told.” Sibley responded, “Lazarus, I don’t lie.” Lazarus says, “That will do, I’ll go and help you.” I am personally knowing to the fact that this same Lazarus has been known at several different times when he was “keeping back” in cold winters, to remain in beds two nights and the intervening day, to avoid the necessity of cutting wood and cooking a meal; nevertheless, “George E.,” as Lazarus was otherwise known, was a man of much more than usual ability, and was a surveyor had few superiors. We were all glad to have him show himself, and to witness his alacrity in getting upon the “off side” of any proposition that might be submitted.

The Siege of Carlisle was a conflict in the first of the Scottish Wars of Independence.
Whittlesey’s Siege of Barlisle appears to be a reference to the dark circumstances of Augustus Barber’s death.

I hope that brother “J.S.B.” may be heard from again, and that he may tell us more in regard to the crowd of pre-emptors imported by himself and others, (modesty forbids me to mention who,) tending almost invariably to bankruptcy. You, sir, were at the head of some “noble boys,” and you, too, had your share of tough cases. Should I sufficiently recover my strength to enable me to do so, I may hereafter open out on my “Early Recollections” of the place, and if I do attempt it, let all “stand from under,” for “At the siege of Barlisle, I was there all the while.”

W.

Bayfield, Wis., Nov. 24, 1877.

By Amorin Mello

The Ashland Weekly Press became the Ashland Daily Press.

The Ashland Weekly Press is now the Ashland Daily Press.

November 10, 1877
For the Ashland Press

The Survey of the Penoka Iron Range and Incidents Connected With Its Early History.

Samuel S. Fifield served on the Wisconsin State Assembly (1874-6) and the State Senate (1876-81); and was the 14th Lieutenant Governor (1882-5).
James-S-Buck

James Smith Buck (1812-92) “For 19 years, Buck was a building contractor, erecting many of the city’s earliest structures. He is best known for his writings on early Milwaukee history. From 1876 to 1886, he published a four-volume History of Milwaukee, filled with pioneer biographies and reminiscences.” (Forest Home Cemetery)

Friend Fifield:- Being one of the patrons and readers of your valuable paper, and having within the past year noticed several very interesting and well written articles entitled “Early Recollections of Ashland” in its columns, and more particularly one from a Milwaukee correspondent, in a recent number, in which my name, with others, was mentioned as having done some pioneer work in connection with your young city, I thought that a few lines in the way of a “Reminiscence” from me as to how and by whom the Penoka Range was first surveyed and located, might be interesting to some of your readers,- if you think so, please give this a place in your paper and oblige.
Truly Yours,
J.S. Buck.

Edwin Palmer was a master carpenter at Palmer & Bingham in Milwaukee.
Horatio Hill and James F. Hill were brothers from Maine and commission merchants in Milwaukee.
Dr. James P. Greves investigated animal magnetism and was a bad egg.
John Lockwood later became a Postmaster in Milwaukee.
John L. Harris may have been a builder or realtor in Milwaukee.
John Sidebotham was an Englishman and cabinet maker in Milwaukee.
Franklin J. Ripley was an investor from Massachusetts.
William Herbert (born in Wales, United Kingdom) signed the 1855 LaPoint Agreement to stop whiskey trade.  Although he was deemed eligible for a mixed-blood allotment he never received one; however he did purchase many land claims in Douglas/Bayfield/Ashland/Iron Counties.

I first visited Lake Superior in the month of May, 1857, in the interest of the Wisconsin and Lake Superior Mining and Smelting Co., a charter for the organization of which had been procured the previous winter.– This company was composed of the following gentlemen: Edwin Palmer, Gen. Lysander Cutler, Horatio Hill, Jas. F. Hill, Dr. J.P. Greves, John Lockwood, John L. Harris, John Sidebotham, Franklin J. Ripley and myself. Edwin Palmer, President, J. F. Hill, Secretary – with a capital of (I think) $60,000. Our first agent was Mr. Milliam Herbert, with headquarters at Ironton, where some five thousand dollars of the company’s money was invested in the erection of a block-house and a couple of cribs intended as a nucleus for a pier – and in other ways – all of which was subsequently abandoned and lost – the place having no natural advantages, or unnatural either, for that matter.– But so it is ever with the first and often with the second installments that such greenies as we were, invest in a new country; for so little did we know of the way work was done in that country that we actually supposed the whole thing would be completed in three months and the lands in our possession. But what we lacked in wisdom, we made up in pluck — neither did we “lay down the shubble and de hoe,” until the goal was reached and the Penoka Iron Range secured – costing us over two years time and $25,000 in money.

The company not being satisfied with Mr. Herbert as agent, he was removed and Gen. Cutler appointed in his place, who quickly selected Ashland as headquarters, to which place all the personal property, consisting of merchandise principally, was removed during the summer by myself upon Gen. C.’s order – and Ironton abandoned to its fate.

Hon. Henry M. Rice had “and to Bayfield” inserted into the language of the St. Croix & Lake Superior Land Grant Act passed by Congress on June 3rd, 1856 to bypass Ashland as a destination.
“This Bayfield Townsite Company was organized with Hon. Henry M. Rice of St. Paul at the head and some very enterprising men from Washington D.C. Major McABoy arrived here about the first of March [1856] and made his headquarters with Julius Austrian of LaPointe. Julius Austrian in those days being the Governor General of all that part of the country west of Ontonagon to Superior; Ashland and Duluth being too small to count.  The major spent probably two weeks at LaPointe going back and forth to Bayfield with a team of large bay horses owned by Julius Austrian, being the only team of horses in the country.”
~ Captain Robinson Derling Pike (Bayfield 50th anniversary celebrations)

The company at this time having become not only aware of the magnitude of the work they had undertaken, but were also satisfied that Ashland was the most feasible point from which to reach the Range, as well as the place where the future Metropolis of the Lake Superior country must surely be — notwithstanding the and to Bayfield clause in that wonderful charter of H.M. Rice.

The cost of getting provisions to the Range was enormous – it being for the first season all carried by packers – every pound transported from Ashland to the Range costing from five to eight cents as freight.

Samuel Stuart Vaughn was an early businessman in the Chequamegon Bay area.

This was my first experience at surveying as well as Mr. Sidebotham’s, and although I took to it easily and enjoyed it, he never could. He was no woodsman; could not travel easily, while on the other hand I could outwalk any white man except S.S. Vaughn in the country. He was then in his prime and one of the most vigorous and muscular men I ever met; but I think he will tell you that in me he found his match.

Albert Conrad Stuntz kept diaries of his government land surveys between Bayfield and St. Paul.
No record found for Frank Gale or Matthew Ward.  If you know what they were notorious for, please let us know in a comment below.

By our contract with Albert Stuntz we were not only to pay him a bonus equal to what he received per mile from Government, but we were also to furnish men for the work and see him through. In accordance with this agreement some eighteen men and boys, to be used as axemen and chainmen, were brought up from Milwaukee who were as “green as gaugers” and as the sequel proved, about as honest. A nice looking lot they were, when landed upon the dock at La Pointe, out of which to make woodsmen. I think I see them now, shining boots,– plug hats, with plug ugly heads in them, (at least some of them had), the notorious Frank Gale, Mat. Ward and one or two other noted characters being of the number. Their pranks astonished the good people of La Pointe not a little, but they astonished Stuntz more. One half day in the woods satisfied them – they were afraid of getting lost. In less than two weeks they had nearly all deserted and the work had to be delayed until a new squad could be obtained from below.

But I must close. In my next I will give you an account of my life on the Range.      J.S.B.