By Amorin Mello

The Ashland press 1877

Originally published in the February 23rd, 1878, issue of The Ashland Press.  Transcribed with permission from Ashland Narratives by K. Wallin and published in 2013 by Straddle Creek Co.

… continued from Number I.

Early Recollections of Ashland: Number II

by Asaph Whittlesey

As the sole survivor of those who first settled upon the “town site” of Ashland, I have long felt it a duty I owe to myself and wife, and to those then associated with me, whose voices can no longer be heard; as well as a duty I owe to coming generations to add to the record already made, a mention of events of Ashland’s earlier days, overlooked, or perhaps not known to those who have heretorfore generously undertaken to write up the history of the place.  And inasmuch as acts of my own, will form a conspicuous part of this record, I desire the public to charitably overlook what might otherwise be regarded as undue or extravagant mention of myself.

Edwin Ellis, M.D. ghostwrote the Ellis Incidents.
James Smith Buck authored the Penokee Survey Incidents.

Those who have preceded me in their published “Early Recollections of Ashland,” especially those from the pen of Edwin Ellis, M.D., and J.S. Buck, Esq. Of Milwaukee, place the public largely in debt.  First, on account of their having undertaken so thankless a task, and secondly, on account of the marvelous earnestness of their statements, which alone gives them value.

Engaged as I now am, the past comes up to me, with the precious freighting of recollections; some sad, and others of brighter hue, woven by memory into a varied “woof,” every thread of which has its cherished incidents in which we have born a part, and by which the soul is saddened or  brightened as the “web” unfolds its various hues; and “old time friends” are again about me, and memory is busy with those things of the past which rendered “blessed” our “Cabin Homes” in the wilderness.

Ashland

Detail of Ashland in LaPointe County circa 1855 from the Barber Papers.

Equadon is an Anglicization of the Ojibwe placename Gichi-wiikwedong.

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.”  Very well do I remember how our awkward attempts at rowing made us the laughing stock of numerous Half-Breeds and Frenchmen as we pulled from the shore, and how it was our fortune to face a lively head wind during this, our first few days attempting at rowing alone.  However, at 5 p.m. of the day named, having taken soundings for two miles along the south shore of the bay, we landed our boat at the westerly limit of the present “town site” of Ashland, where the high land leaves the bay.  As I stepped ashore, Mr. Kilburn exclaimed, “Here is the place for the big city!” and (handing me his ax) added, “I want you to have the honor of cutting the first tree in the way of settlement upon the “town site,” and the tree of which I then fell formed one of the foundation longs in the

FIRST BUILDING ERECTED,

and was erected upon what is now known as lot 2, block 105.  This building was 14×10 feet square, had but one door which faced to the south, and but one window which was upon the north side, furnishing a full view of the bay.

On the 16th of August, we were joined by Mrs. Whittlesey, with her “golden haired” and only child, “Eugenia Vesta,” then less than two years of age.  Mrs. Whittlesey presented an extremely youthful appearance, being less than twenty-one years of age and unused either to sunlight or to toil; she nevertheless brought “sunlight” into our first

HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.

At this time our nearest neighbors were at Odanah, a distance of eleven miles in a direct line, without even a “trail” leading thereto.

Read about Superior City, Ironton, and Houghton in the Barber Papers for other examples of preemption mania leading up to the Panic of 1857.

Mrs. Whittlesey’s surroundings were now in strong contrast with her former life, and so absolutely were we shut in by the dense forest that there was but one way to look out, and that was to look up.  But for all this our conceptions of the place were past description.  Business blocks in the near future filled our minds, and enabled us to sustain every inconvenience.  Already the “town site” fever had grown into a “mania,” and adjacent lands were rapidly being taken up by “pre-emptors.”

To be continued in Number III

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 22, 1877.

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

Number VI.

Joseph C. Cutler came to work with his father; GeneralGray Devil Cutler.
George Spaulding may have been a pastor and clerk from the St. Croix River valley, or a musician from Brodhead that served in the 3rd Wisconsin Infantry band.

At length, somewhere about the 25th of October, the General returned from below, accompanied by his son, Joseph Cutler, George Spaulding, a young man who had formerly been in his employ in Maine, and Henry C. Palmer of Milwaukee, a son of President Palmer, who all came to hold claims for the Company, if wanted. He also brought two cook stoves and two metal kettles, the stoves for housekeeping, the kettles for sugar making. Both of the kettles and one of the stoves were subsequently sent to the Range, where they did good service during the winter and following spring, and are no doubt in use somewhere in the country today.

Houghton was a small settlement at what is now the City of Washburn. (Detail from A.H. Barber's survey during August of 1855)

Houghton was a small settlement in the Town of BayPort, located northeast of what is now the City of Washburn. Captain Steven Butterfield and Peter B Vanderventer lived at what is now Washburn.  (Detail from Augustus H. Barber’s survey during August of 1855)

Houghton was named for Dr. Douglass Houghton, an early American geologist of the south shore of Lake Superior.  He came to La Pointe during the 1840 Houghton Expedition with Bela Hubbard, possibly on the Jane.
Captain Stephen Butterfield came from New York and married Marie Lamoreaux, an Ojibwe from La Pointe.
Peter B. Vanderventer was a grocer from New York and married Caroline Lamoreaux, an Ojibwe from La Pointe.
Antoine Gordon was an entrepreneurial Ojibwe from La Pointe, owned the schooner Algonquin, and later settled the town of Gordon at the ancient village of Amik along the Grand Footpath between Chequamegon Bay and the St. Croix River.
Antoine Gordon from Noble Lives of a Noble Race (pg. 207) published by the St. Mary’s Industrial School in Odanah.

Antoine Gordon from Noble Lives of a Noble Race (pg. 207) published by the St. Mary’s Industrial School in Odanah.

These kettles and stoves came very near sending Gen. Cutler, myself and Mr. Sidebotham, who had been stopping at La Pointe for several weeks, awaiting events, to a watery grave, during the run from that place to Ashland, in the Jane, a large two-masted boat formerly used by the Government upon the lake coast survey. Nothing but the coolness and skill of Captain Steve Butterfield, who was at the helm, saved us from going to the bottom. It was a long time before the recollections of that November day ceased to haunt us. The idea of going down in 150 feet of water with such a load, was not a pleasant thing to contemplate. Mr. Sidebotham was wholly unconscious, until after he reached the shore, of the peril we were in, owing to his ignorance of nautical affairs, but not so the General. He realized it as keenly as I did, not a word was spoken for over an hour, but in that hour we lived a lifetime. At length we succeeded in reaching the land at Houghton, where the high rocky shore furnished a lee. I shall never forget that ride while I live. We stopped for dinner at Antoine Gordon‘s, who lived at that time a little to the westward of Houghton, after which we ran down the shore to Pete Vanderventer‘s old place before venturing to cross the Bay to Ashland, which however, we finally did, reaching there in safety about sunset. Here we left Mr. Sidebotham to remain until wanted, and with J. Cutler, Palmer, and Spaulding, started the next morning for the Range, reaching there the second day at noon. Immediately upon our arrival, an interview was had with Stuntz, who informed us that if the fine weather we were then enjoying should continue for three weeks more, the survey to complete which he was making every possible exertion, would be finalized. This was to us indeed joyful news, as we were getting very anxious to return to our homes for the winter; whereupon all of our spare men were at once detailed to assist him, leaving me alone at Penoka, the General, in the meantime, visiting the different locations, and arranging for the winter, during which a blockhouse was to be built at Penoka, and one at the Gorge, which was done, the lumber for both being manufactured upon the ground, with a whip saw. Up to this time there had been no snow except the usual light fall we had every year, about the 1st of November. This, however, had all disappeared in three days after it fell, after which the weather was beautiful. In this way the time passed along, I seeing no one except Gen. Cutler, who came occasionally, or some of Stuntz’s men, who came for supplies, which were at this time kept mostly at Penoka, until the 12th of November, when it being certain that one week more would finish the survey, General Cutler left for Ashland, after Mr. Sidebotham, who by the requirements of the pre-emption law, must sleep upon his claim the 30th, in order to hold it, at least we so understood it at the time, leaving me entirely alone.

The weather continued fair up to the 18th, when there came a change. Saturday, the 17th, was as fine an Indian summer day as I ever saw, nearly all of which I slept seated upon a log in front of the cabin, listening to the singing of the birds, many of them not yet having left us for their homes in the south, and watching them as they were fitting around me, in search of food. At length old Sol sunk in the west, and night once more spread her dark mouth over the surrounding landscape. A strange feeling of loneliness, such as I had never felt before, crept over me as I closed the door of the cabin for the night, and sought my couch of balsam boughs, where I slept soundly until 6 o’clock the following morning, when presto! what a change met my eye! The air so soft and clear the previous evening, was now filled with snow, while upon the ground it was two and a half feet in depth, and increasing rapidly. You can easily imagine that I was not a little startled at the outlook, as being snowed in upon Lake Superior was no joke; and from the rapidity with which it was falling, it was apparent that it would be six feet in depth in twenty-four hours, if it kept on. I quickly saw that the first thing to be done was to lay in a supply of wood, the nearest pile of which was thirty rods distant. To this a track was quickly made, and the work of moving it commenced; neither did it stop until 2 P.M., at which time the whole pile, one and a half cords was in the cabin. The snow was now three feet in depth, but very light. My wood secured, I proceeded to cook some food, of which I felt the need, after which my thoughts began to wander after Stuntz and party, who were fifteen miles south. Neither did they reach the Range until the fourth day, as they had but one mile to run, in order to complete, when the storm came. This done, they started, and were three days in making that fifteen miles, during one of which, the last, they had nothing to eat, and one of them, Wilhelm Goetzenburg, literally nothing to wear, being clad in duck pants, hickory shirt, and stoga boots, no stockings, coat or vest. They were all badly used up when they got in; Stevens, in particular, who gave out when within only three miles of the Range, where he remained until his companions had reached the cabin, and two of them returned to him with some food, after which he came in, but as weak as to render it necessary to lead him. It was several days before he fully recovered his former strength. Goetzenburg, although nearly naked, stood it the best of them all. Perhaps a short sketch of this curious mortal, who certainly exhibited upon this occasion, powers of endurance equal to the gay and festive mule may not be inopportune, in this connection, before closing this article.

William Gotzehenberger was introduced in PSI: Number V.  His brother in Ontonagon has not been identified.
Low Dutch refers to Hollanders.
Equimaux is French for Eskimo.
New Zealander refers to Māori.

Wilhelm Goetzenburg, or Gutsenburg, as George Miller once spelt it when directing a letter for him to his “bruder” in Ontonagon, was not an Adonis, in the strict sense of the term. No sir! his keel was laid for a jumping jack, but from some unexplained cause, that plan was abandoned by his builder, who finally modeled him after the tubs the performing elephants use in the circus, broad at the base; in fact, his basement story was the largest part of him, in fact, nearly all of him; his legs, which were bowed, were short; his arms were long; his chest was short, and shaped like the dummies we see in the windows of ladies’ furnishing stores; his shoulders were broad, upon which a head covered with a thick mat of coarse hair, in color like that of a North Carolina clay-eater; a short nose, and a mouth that if open would have fooled a badger. Taken as a whole, he looked like a mixture of Low Dutch, Esquimaux and New Zealander combined. But beneath that iron frame, beat as honest a heart as ever beat in Ashland, or any other land. Good luck to thee, honest Wilhelm, I shall never see thy like again, but wherever thou arts or goest, may beans be plenty and clothing cheap. But en resume.

George Kilburn and Asaph Whittlesey came from the Western Reserve, Ohio, to Chequamegon Bay in 1854 and co-founded the first townsite claim near the ancient village of Wiiwkwedong.
George Kilburn was affectionately known as “Uncle George” to many early settlers.
No record found for Steve Sanborn. He may have been related to future Wisconsin Senator Albert W. Sanborn.
Records not found for Elie Valliant or William Pell.  William Pell could possibly be John W Bell Jr.

The fifth day brought Gen. Cutler from Ashland, accompanied by Mr. Sidebotham, George Kilburn, Sibley, Steve Sanborn, and George Miller, with the pack horses, who all came to break the road, except Sanborn, who came to stay through the winter. The boys had also now got in from the different claims, and the old cabin was full. Here they all remained for two days, when there came a thaw and melted the snow, after which Uncle George and Sibley returned to the Marengo, and George Miller with the horses to Ashland. The rest remained until the 30th, when their claims secured, and the arrangements for the winter completed. Mr. Arthur E. Wheelock was placed in charge of the week with J. Culter, Palmer, Steve Sanborn, Spaulding, and Elie Valliant, a French Canuck, formerly a resident at Ironton, a ship and house carpenter by trade, as companions. This done, Gen. Cutler and myself, Sidebotham, McClelland, Chase, and Al. Stevens accompanied by two of Stuntz’s men, whose names I have forgotten, left for home. We camped the first night at the Marengo, where the boys, as usual, hid the sugar from Mr. Sidebotham, reaching Ashland the second day. Here we remained for two days, when leaving Mr. Sidebotham, as previous stated, we took our departure, going directly across the bay upon the ice, for Pete Vanderventer’s. Before reaching the shore, however, Chase, who led the party, broke in, and came very near drowning, as in addition to his pack and snowshoes, which were also carried, he had on rubber boots, the legs of which held water enough to run a milk factory for a week. He was finally pulled out and inverted a few moments to let him drain, after which we proceeded, reaching Antoine Gordon’s at dark, and reached Bayfield the second day, the last six miles being made in an open boat, obtained, from the Indians at Sioux River, which was returned by Wheelock and William Pell, who had accompanied us thus far on the way.

From Bayfield to Superior City on snow shoes, occupied seven days, during which we camped on the snow every night. This, although a hard tramp, was very much enjoyed by all. The last three days our route lay along the shore of the lake, where many laughable scenes occurred in the way of tumbles from the ice bergs that lined the shore. From Superior City via St. Paul and La Crosse, to New Lisbon by stage, occupied nine days. From New Lisbon by cars to Milwaukee, one day, reaching that place Dec. 25, 1857.       J.S.B.

By Amorin Mello

The Ashland Weekly Press became the Ashland Daily Press.

December 15, 1877.

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

Number V.

… Albert W. Whitcomb, who in young manhood left the Empire state and for a time resided in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was employed as paymaster and bookkeeper for the Cincinnati, Dayton & Ohio Railroad Company.  He then came to Wisconsin and for some time worked on the road being built westward from Milwaukee. The grade was established but the line was never constructed. Mr. Whitcomb became principal of the schools at Waterford, Wisconsin, and afterward occupied a similar position at Sheboygan Falls and was the first superintendent of schools in Sheboygan county. He was likewise a practicing physician, a licensed member of the bar and a civil engineer. Moreover, he became assistant actuary of the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, which position he occupied for a year, and was then elected actuary, but his health failed, preventing his continuance in the position. He was a mathematician of notable ability and one of the six honorary members of the Paris Philosophical Society outside of France, an honor he obtained through his discoveries in the Tables of Logarithm.
~ History of Milwaukee, pg. 358
Coburn claimed the Old Penokee Trail; an ancient footpath between Wiikwedong and Bad River Gap.  This could be Henry Coburn or John H Osborn.
Junius T. Welton’s sawmill, built with brother-in-law T.P. Sibley, was covered in PSI: Number II.
Martin Roehm was the only remaining resident of the deserted Bayport townsite in 1868.
Dr. G.L. Brunschweiler moved to Bayport in 1854.

Friend Fifield:- The reader will no doubt remember that my last left us all anxiously awaiting the completion of the township surveys, which, up to this time, we had hoped would have been accomplished as soon, at least, as we were ready on our part, to “prove up.” But still the work lagged, and instead of being through and home in three months, as at first anticipated, it was now plainly seen that such was not to be the case. Three months had already elapsed since the work was commenced, yet the goal was apparently as far distant as over, and as we could not discharge our men, it was finally decided to explore the country south and west of the Range for the purpose of ascertaining, as far as possible, its adaption for a railroad from Milwaukee to the Range, as well as from the Range to Ashland, the latter of which must, of necessity, be built to move the iron.  And in order that it might be properly done, Mr. Albert W. Whitcomb, a civil engineer of considerable experience, was sent up from Milwaukee, to superintend the work, who, after making one trip to the Range returned to Ashland and commenced his work by running what was afterwards known as the “Transit Line,” on account of its being run with that instrument. This line followed principally what was known as the Coburn Trail, which was the only one in use at that time by the company; crossing White River at Welton‘s mill, the Marengo at Sibley‘s, (now Martin Rhiem‘s.) and the outlet of Dr. Brunschweiler‘s old copper location, and thence to Ashland “Pond.” When it became evident that no good route could be found from that point to the Range on account of the heavy grades to be overcome, the work by transit was abandoned, and the balance was run by compass and chain only, simply to ascertain the exact distance in miles. This work, which should under ordinary circumstances, have been completed in ten days, occupied over a month, besides involving a large expenditure of money which might as well have been sunk in the ocean, as far as the Company was concerned, as no benefit whatever resulted from it except to the men employed in the work.

Palmer's townsite claim located near Penokee Gap on Bad River with trail to Ashland. (Detail from Stunt'z survey during May of 1858)

Palmer’s townsite claim located near Penokee Gap on Bad River with the “Coburn Trail” to Ashland. (Detail from Stuntz’s survey during May of 1858)

No record found for either Charles Stevens or “French Joe” Le Roy.
“Big Joe” Houle was introduced in PSI: Number II.
“Little Alic” could be either Alexander Aiken or Alexis Carpenter Jr. from La Pointe County.

Subsequent, however, to the close of the survey upon the Transit Line, and the return of Mr. Whitcomb to Milwaukee, several extensive explorations were made to the south and west of the Range, by Gen. Cutler and myself, accompanied by Wheelock, Chas. Stevens, French Joe, (Joe Le Roy, with Big Joe as packer, and a Halfbreed called Little Alic as cook.) in one case nearly to the head waters of the Chippewa. These explorations, which were made with compass and chain, were by far the pleasantest part of my labors that summer, relieving us, as they did, not only of the monotony of camp life while awaiting the completion of the survey, but they also added largely to our knowledge of the topography, as well as the resources of the country south of the Range, then an unbroken wilderness, filled with beaver ponds, many of which were seen, but which is today, thanks to the energy and business tact of the gentlemen in charge of the Wisconsin Central railroad, beginning, metaphorically speaking, to bloom like the rose, and is destined, at no distant period, to take rank as one of the most wealthy and prosperous portions of our fair state. All honor to them for the same.

“Bascom” may have been John Bascom from the Civil War; not to be confused with John Bascom from the University of Wisconsin.
No record found for George Miller from western Canada.  He may have been related to Sylvester Miller, an early settler of Washburn/BayPort.

In this way our time was spent until September, when all homes of Stuntz being able to complete his work that season, unless some special providence should intervene, were abaonded, and preparations for spending the winter upon the Range were at once commenced. Gen Cutler immediately left for Milwaukee after additional supplies, first placing me in charge of the work. A pack train consisting of Stuntz’s pony, (old Jack) and Bascom‘s mare, were at once put upon the trail, in charge of Geo. Miller, a wild, harum-scarum Canuck from Canada West, who quickly stocked the Range with supplies.

William Gotzehenberger was an early settler of Equadon/BayPort.  Mecklenburg is a region in northern Germany.
No record found for August Eckee from Quebec.

But in order that the survey might yet be completed, if possible, additional men were put on, among whom was Wilhelm Goetzenburg, a Mechlinberger, at that time domiciled at Bay City and August Eckee, an old Courier de Bois, including all of our spare men, leaving me to keep camp at Penoka, which I did from about the middle of September to the 12th of October, during which time I saw no one except those who came in from the different claims at stated intervals, for supplies.

Whittlesey’s reference to Sibley and Lazarus was in PSI: Number II.
The political barbecue in Ohio during the fall of 1844 may be a reference to the United States presidential election.

I see in your number of December 1, a reference by Hon. Asaph Whittlesey, to my sketch of Sibley and Lazarus, in which he not only confirms my statement, but goes one better in assigning him the belt as the champion liar, also which belt he (Sibley) was subsequently, however, compelled to surrender to John Beck. In consequence of Mr. Whittlesey’s statement I will relate one of Sibley’s yarns, told in the presence of Gen. Cutler, myself, Wheelock and a young man from St. Paul, by the name of Fargo, while eating dinner at his house on the Marengo, in August, 1857, which not only illustrates his powers as a yarn spinner, but the wonderful acoustic properties of his ears as well; being seated at the table, Sibley at once asked a blessing upon the food, for he could pray as well as lie, after which the question was asked by some one, how far it was possible to hear the human voice, upon which Sibley stated that he had not only heard the shouts of the people, but the words of the speaker also, distinctly, that were made at a political barbeque held in Ohio, in the fall of 1844, one hundred miles distant from where he was. Mr. Fargo, although no slouch of a liar himself, was so affected by this statement as to nearly faint, and finally made the remark that if that was not a lie, it came very near it; them lugs of Sibley’s were lugs as was lugs. Can John Beck beat that?

fargo

Harvey “Harry” Fargo was a cabinet maker, George R. Stuntz’s neighbor on the Minnesota Point in Duluth, an early mail carrier, and was in the 1853 census of Superior as “Arfargo.” ~ Duluth and St. Louis County, Minnesota; Their Story and People: An Authentic Narrative of the Past, with Particular Attention to the Modern Era in the Commercial, Industrial, Educational, Civic and Social Development, Volume 1, edited by Walter Van Brunt, 1921.

No record found for Sigourney Lumber Co. of Quebec

I wish to state at this time, also, a little incident in connection with Eckee, mentioned above, related to me by himself, which was this: That in the fall of 1846, he, in company with three others, in the employ of the Sigourney Lumber Co., of Quebec, ascended the river of the name three hundred miles in an open boat, for the purpose of cutting timber during the winter, and that when within three miles of their journey’s end, their boat was upset in a rapid, they barely escaping with their lives, but with the loss of the boat and all its contents, axes, fishing tackle and supplies. His companions, horrified at their situation, started immediately on their return, following the sinuosities of the river. He however, chose to remain, which he did until spring, never seeing a human face for six entire months. There were four oxen and two horses at the camp the care of which he claimed, kept him from going insane. It is needless to state that his companions were never heard from again. Although this incident has no immediate connection with my history, yet it serves to illustrate the hardships to which the class of men he belonged to are often called to suffer. He could never speak of that winter and its horrors, without tears.

But to return to the Range. Although I can truthfully say that the whole time spent upon the Range was to me one of unalloyed pleasure, yet that engaged during the latter part of September and up to the 20th of October, exceeded all the rest. The forest has, at all times, a charm for me, and the autumnal months doubly so; It is then and then only that its full glories can be seen; and in no country or section of country that it has ever been my privilege to visit, is the handiwork of Dame Nature’s gelid pencil, so grandly displayed as upon Lake Superior, and more particularly is this so, in and around the Range. No doubt the good people of Ashland think the scenery at the Gap very fine, and so it is. Yet that at the west end is far more so. Here the range terminates in a bold escarpment some 300 feet above the surrounding country, giving to an observer an unobstructed view east, west and south, for forty miles.

Indian Trail to Rockland townsite overlooking English/Mineral Lake and asdf.

Indian trails to the “Rockland” townsite claim overlooking English Lake and the west end of the Penoka Range. Julius Austrian later claimed the “Rockland” site for his daughter’s estate.(Detail from Stuntz’s survey from May of 1858)

This was my favorite resort in those beautiful autumn mornings, where, seated upon the edge of the bluff, I would feast my eyes for hours upon that matchless panorama. Neither could I ever divest myself of the feeling that, while there, I was alone with God. I have seen, in the course of my life, many landscape paintings that were very beautiful, but never one that could at all compare with the views I enjoyed in the months of October 1857, from the west end of the Penoka Range.       J.S.B.

By Amorin Mello

The Ashland Weekly Press became the Ashland Daily Press.

December 8, 1877.

The Survey of the Penoka Range and Incidents Connected with its Early History
Number IV.
 Friend Fifield:- As no doubt many of your readers are acquainted with the form and location of the Penoka Range, I have concluded to give in this number a short sketch of its main topographical features, in order that a better understanding may be had of the work done upon and in connection with it, by the Wisconsin & Lake Superior Mining and Smelting Company, in 1856, ’57 and ’58.
Increase A. Lapham surveyed the Penokee Iron Range on behalf of the Wisconsin & Lake Superior Mining and Smelting Company during 1858.

Increase Allen Lapham surveyed the Penokee Iron Range in September of 1858 for the Wisconsin & Lake Superior Mining and Smelting Company. Years later, Lapham’s experience was published as Mountain of Iron Ore: The buried wealth of Northern Wisconsin in the Milwaukee Evening Wisconsin newspaper on February 21, 1887. (Image courtesy of the University of Wisconsin Geography Department)

Water gaps are valuable locations in mountain ranges for transportation routes and geological study.
The Gogebic iron range is crossed by the Bad River, City Creek, Ballou Creek, Tyler Forks River and the Potatoe River. Each forms a valley termed a ‘gap’ in the range.
~ 1978 Marsden Report for US Steel.
Penokee Gap, 1000 feet above Lake Superior, is a break in the rough country, a regular gap where the Bad River breaks through the Iron Range Hills on its way to Lake Superior. The Gap is an historic pathway through which the copper workers from Mexico and South America came to Lake Superior centuries ago enroute to the copper deposits on Isle Royal in Lake Superior.
~ Railroad History, Issues 54-58, pg. 26
Palmer’s station, aka Penoka, was near Bad River Gap, aka Penokee Gap.
Lockwood’s station was not mapped.  City Creek and Ballou Creek are the two water gaps on either side of Mount Whittlesey (midway between the Bad River and Tyler’s Fork).
Sidebotham’s station, aka “The Gorge,” was near Tyler Forks Gap and the Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest & Education Learning Project.
S.R. Marston’s treachery to the company was revealed in Penokee Survey Incidents: Number III.
George W. Chase and Dr. Enoch Chase were cofounders of the Old Settlers’ Club of Milwaukee along with Horace Chase.  The father of the Chase brothers was a Freemason in Vermont.
John B.D. Cogswell was the brother-in-law of Simeon M. Small.

The Penoka Iron Range consists, as is well known, of a sharp ridge, some fifteen miles in length, by from one to one and one half in breadth, with a mean elevation of 700 feet above Lake Superior, from which is a distance about twenty-two miles, as the crow flies, its general trend being nearly east and west, it is densely covered with timber consisting of sugar maple, (of which nearly every tree is birdseye or curly) elm, red cedar, black, or yellow birch, some of which are of an enormous girth, among which are intermixed a few white pine and balsams, for it is traversed from north to south at three different points, by running streams, upon each of which the company had a station, the western being known in the vernacular of the company, as Palmer’s, (now Penoka); the center, as Lockwood’s, in honor of John Lockwood, who was at the time a prominent member of the Company, and upon its executive board; and the eastern, as Sidebotham’s, or The Gorge.”  These were the principal stations or centers, where supplies and men were always kept, and as which, as before stated, more or less work had been done the previous year.  Penoka, as which the most work had been done, being considered by far the most valuable.  This post was, at the time of my first visit, by charge of S.R. Marston, of whom mention was made in my last, and two young boys from Portsmouth, N.H., who had come west on exhibition, I should say, from the way they acted.  They soon left, however, too many mosquitoes for them.  “Lockwood’s,” as previously stated, was garrisoned by one man, whose name I have forgotten, and although a great amount of work had been done here as yet, it was nevertheless considered a very valuable claim, on account of the feasibility with which it could be reached by the rail Mr. Herbert had in contemplation to build from Ironton, and which would, in passing along the north side of the Range, come in close proximity to this station; besides, it had the additional advantages of a fine water power.  At the east end were two half-breeds employed by the company, and George Chase, a young man from Derby, Vermont, a nephew of ex-Mayor Horace, and Dr. Enoch Chase, of Milwaukee, an employee of Stuntz, who, with James Stephenson, was awaiting the return of Gen. Cutler with reinforcements, in order to continue the survey.  Chase subsequently made a claim which he was successful in securing – selling it finally to the Mr. Cogswell, of Milwaukee.

Palmer's station aka Penoka, near the Bad River Gap.

Penoka, aka Penokee, is Palmer’s station near the Bad River Gap.

No record found for Samuel Champner. He may have been a resident of Whittlesey’s settlement near Equadon within the Town of Bayport.
Wiiwkwedong (Ojibwemowin for “bay”) aka “Equadon” was the name of an ancient Indian settlement at the artesian springs of Prentice Park and Maslowski Beach.  Wiikwedong was accessible by Lake Superior as well as footpaths from Bad River Gap, Odanah, Lac Courte Oreilles, St. Croix, and Fond du Lac.
Lysander Cutler abandoned the Ironton trail between Saxon Harbor and Tyler’s Fork Gap before it became a road.  Cutler favored the Old Penokee trail between Wiikwedong and Bad River Gap.

It is also proper to state in addition to what has been already mentioned, that at, or about this time, a road was opened by Mr. Herbert’s order, from the Hay Marsh, six miles out from Ironton, to which point one had been previously opened, to the Range, which it struck about midway between Sidebotham’s and Lockwood’s Stations, over which, I suppose, the 50,000 tons as previously mentioned, was to find its way to Ironton, (in a horn).  For this work, however, the Company refused to pay, as they had not authorized it; neither had Mr. Herbert, at that time, any authority to contract for it, except at his own risk; his appointment as agent having already been revoked; although his accounts had not, as yet, been fully settled.  This work, which was without doubt, intended to commit the company still further in favor of Ironton as an outlet for the iron, was done by Samuel Champner, a then resident of Ashland and who if living is probably that much out of pocket today.  No use was ever made of this road by the Company, not one of their employees, to my knowledge, ever passing over it.

There are two significant gaps in the between Sidebotham's and Palmer's. Lockwood's station may have been located at Mount Whittlesey or at Ballou Creek.

The location of Lockwood’s station was not mapped by Lapham or by Stuntz. City Creek and Ballou Creek are the two water gaps on either side of Mount Whittlesey, midway between the gaps of Bad River and Tyler’s Fork.

William Herbert was a resident of Superior City in 1855 and moved back to Bayfield by 1859 where he and his family were prominent settlers.

This description will, I think, give your readers a very good understanding of the condition as well as the true inwardness of the affairs of the Wisconsin & Lake Superior Mining and Smelting Co., in the month of June, 1857.

Arthur R. Wheelock, Julius O. Smith, and Alfred A. Stevens secured land patents for Lockwood’s station through the General Land Office.
No record found for Joel P. McClellan.

At length, after remaining on the Range nearly three weeks, awaiting, Micawber like, for something to turn up, a change came with the arrival of Gen. Cutler from Milwaukee with the expected reinforcements.  Mr. Herbert at once left the Range, went to Milwaukee and settled up with the Company, after which, to use a scriptural expression, “he walked no more with us.”

Among those who came at this time was Arthur R. Wheelock, Joel P. McClellan and Julius O. Smith, of Milwaukee, for the Company, and Alvin Stevens, (from Maine), with a number of others whose names I have forgotten, for Stuntz – thus enabling him to again commence work.
Springdale is John Sidebotham's townsite claim at The Gorge of Tyler Fork's River.

Springdale is Sidebotham’s station at The Gorge of Tyler Fork’s River.

No record found for John Cummings.
A.S. Stacy was from Franklin, Quebec, and started a family in Milwaukee.
James Smith Buck alludes to Freemasonry influences in the Penokees.  Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni and Sir Christopher Wren are famous Freemasons.  The Forty-seventh Problem of Euclid and fifteen degrees to the Ecliptic are traditional Freemason concepts. “Fearfully and wonderfully made,” Ancient Milesianand  Modern Milesian were cited in American Freemason publications during the 1850s and 1860s.
Sixteen rocks and iron ores from the Penokie Range were featured at the United States Centennial.  These mineral specimens are detailed in the Catalogue of the Wisconsin State Mineral Exhibit at Phialephia, 1876.
Non Est Factum (“not his deed”):
A special defense in contract law to allow a person to avoid having to respect a contract that she or he signed because of certain reasons such as a mistake as to the kind of contract.
~ Duhaime.org

Wheelock, Smith, and McClellan were at once placed upon claims – McClellan in the interest of John Cummings, (whose name by an oversight was also omitted from the list of stockholders, given in my first paper), and Wheelock and Smith for the Company generally.  Subsequently, A.S. Stacy, of Canada, was also employed to hold a claim.  How well he performed this duty, will be seen further on.  This done, the improvements necessary to be made in order to entitle us to the benefits of the preemption law were at once commenced.  These improvements consisted of log cabins, principally, of which some twenty in all were erected upon the different claims.  These cabins would have been a study for Michel Angelo, or Sir Christopher Wren.  They had more angles than the Forty-seventh Problem of Euclid, with an average inclination of fifteen degrees to the Ecliptic.  O, but they were fearfully and wonderfully made,” were these cabins.  Their construction embodied all the principle points of architecture in the Ancient as well as ModernMilesian-Greek, mixed with the “hoop skirt” and Heathen Chimee.  Probably ten dollars a month would have been considered a high rent for any of them.  No such cabins as those were in exhibition at the Centennial, no sir.  Rome was not built in a day, but most of these cabins were.  I built four myself near the Gorge, in a day, with the assistance of two halfbreeds, but was not able to find them a week afterwards.  This is not only a mystery but a conundrum.  I think some traveling showman must have stolen them; but although they were non est we could swear that we had built them, and did.

Enemies included the La Pointe Iron Company, the Town of Bayport, the Bayfield Land Company, and other land speculators.
Meanwhile our enemies, who had begun to show themselves occasionally – not idle, and from fear of yet loosing a part of our lands on account of not being able to hold all by preemption, we decided to adopt what was known at that time as the townsite plan,’ in part.  This townsite fever was then in full blast from Maine to California, in fact.  The whole Lake shore was dotted with them from the Sault to Superior City.  Every man had one and as they were supposed to be ‘sure fire’ they were of course just what we wanted.
Springdale townsite (John Sidebotham's Claim), the Ironton Trail, and the Iron Range at The Gorge of Tyler's Fork River. (Detail of Albert Stuntz's 1857 PLSS survey map)

Springdale townsite plan at Sidebotham’s station by The Gorge of Tyler’s Fork in close proximity to the Ironton Trail and Iron Range. (Detail of Stuntz’s survey during August of 1857.) 

Land patents for Sidebotham’s station at The Gorge were secured at the General Land Office by Lysander Cutler with Sioux Scrip.

Three were accordingly platted — one at Penoka, one at Lockwood‘s and one at the Gorge.  And in order that it might be done without interfering with the regular survey, Gen. Cutler decided to place S.R. Marston who, in addition to his other accomplishments, claimed to be a full-fledged surveyor, in charge of the work, assisted by Wheelock, Smith and myself.  He commenced at the Gorge, run three lines and quit, fully satisfied that he had greatly overestimated his abilities.  We were certainly satisfied that he had.  A drunken man could have reeled it off in the dark and come nearer the corner than he did.  He was a complete failure in every thing he undertook.  He left in the fall after the failure of the Sioux Scrip plot.  Where he went I never knew.  George E. Stuntz was subsequently put upon the work, which he was not long in doing, after which he rejoined Albert on the main work.  This main work, however, for the completion of which we were all so anxious, was very much delayed, the cause for which we did not at the time fully understand, but we did afterwards.       J.S.B.

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.

November 24, 1877.

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

Number II.

Friend Fifield:– Notwithstanding the work upon the Range was delayed very much on account of the unwoodsman like conduct of the Milwaukee boys, referred to in my first communication, yet it did not cease,- the company having a few white men, previous employed, as well as a large number who were “to the Mannor born” that did not show the “white feather” on account of the mosquitos, gnats, gad flies and other vermin with which the woods were filled,– most of whom remained with us to the end.

Joseph B. Houle was from Lac Courte Oreilles and married to Catherine Roy of La Pointe.  Together they were early pioneers of Superior City with the Roy brothers.
Batteese (Badiis or Zhaabadiis) is the Ojibwe word for Baptiste (i.e. “John” or Jean-Baptiste).  That was probably the most common name among the mixed-blood men.  The surname of “Old Batteese” could be Denomie, Roy, Belanger, Cadotte…  Let us know your theory in a comment to this post.
The Ironton trail connects Saxon Harbor to the Tyler Forks Gap.  John Sidebotham’s claim was located near the Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest & Education Learning Project.

Prominent among these last named was Joseph Houle, or “Big Joe” as he was usually called,– a giant halfbreed, (now dead), who was invaluable as a woodsman and packer. Some idea of Joe’s immense strength and power of endurance may be formed from the fact that he carried upon one occasion the entire contents, (200 lbs.) of a barrel of pork from Ironton to the Range without seeming to think it much of a feat. Among the party along on this trip was a young man taking his first lesson in woodcraft, whose animal spirits cropped out to such a degree that the leader caused to be placed upon his back a bushel of dried apples (33 lbs.), simply to keep him from climbing the trees, but before he reached the Range, his load, light as it was, proved too much for him, when Joe, in charity, relieved him of it, adding it to his own pack – making it 233 lbs. This was, without doubt the largest pack ever carried to the Range by any one man. There was an Indian, however, in the employ of the company, as a packer, (Old Batteese), who left Sidebotham‘s claim one morning at 7 A.M., went to Ironton and was back again to camp at 7 P.M. with 126 lbs. of pork, having traveled forty-two miles in ten hours. This was in July ’57, and was what I considered the biggest day’s work ever done for the company. The usual load, however, for a packer, was from sixty to eighty pounds.

Ironton townsite claim at Saxon Harbor with trails to Odanah and the Penoka Iron Range. (Detail from Wisconsin Public Land Survey Records)

Ironton townsite claim at Saxon Harbor with trails to Odanah and the Penoka Iron Range. (Detail from Wisconsin Public Land Survey Records)

The halfbreeds were sulky and mutinous at times, giving us some trouble, until Gen. Cutler, who was a strict disciplinarian, gave them a lesson that they did not soon forget and which occurred at follows:

Other stories regarding Lysander Cutler as a disciplinarian were published here.
Lockwood’s station was located near Ballou Creek Gap.  Lockwood’s and Sidebotham’s were connected by a footpath running along the Penoka Iron Range.  Sidebotham’s was the halfway camp between Lockwood’s and Ironton.
Duncan Sinclair was businessman from Racine and (in)famous for sheltering and employing a fugitive slave from St. Louis, Missouri.

The General and myself left Ironton just before the removal of our supplies to Ashland, with four of these boys, with provisions for the Range, to be delivered at Lockwood’s Station. But upon reaching Sidebotham’s, two of them refused to proceed any further, threw down their packs, and started on their return to Ironton. The General’s blood was up in a moment, and directing me to remain with the others until he returned, at once started after them. Reaching Ironton at 11 A.M., about an hour after their arrival, they were quite surprised at seeing him, but said nothing. The General at once directed Duncan Sinclair, who had charge of the supplies at that time, to make up two packs of one hundred pounds each, with ropes in place of the usual leathern strap, which was quickly done, the “rebels” looking sullenly on all the while. When all was ready he drew his revolver and ordered them to pick them up and start. They did not wait for a second order, but took them and started, he followed immediately behind. Nor did he let them lay them down again until they reached Lockwood’s at sunset, a distance of twenty-six miles. – That evening they were the most completely used up men I ever saw on the Range, and from that time forward were as submissive and obedient as could be desired. After that we never had any trouble.  It was a lesson they never forgot.

No record found for James Stephenson, young surveyor from Virginia.
Charles Blondin achieved international fame for walking across Niagra Falls.

Among the whites referred to in this article, was James Stephenson, a young man from Virginia, who came up with Stuntz as a surveyor. He was of light build, wiry and muscular – full of fun – very excitable and nervous, – but a good man for the woods. He had some knowledge of the compass, but not sufficient education to make a good surveyor. “Jim” got lost once and was out three days before he came into camp, which he did just as the party was starting out to find him. “Jim” would not have made a good rope walker. He was no Blondin. On the ground he was all right, but let him attempt to cross a stream of water, be it ever so small, upon a log, no matter if the log was six feet in diameter, and he would fall in sure. He fell in twice while lost and came near perishing with wet and cold in consequence of it. He left the company in the fall of ’57.

George Erastus Stuntz was living with his grandfather Rev. George Stuntz during the 1850 census. George Riley Stuntz (another uncle of George E.’s) first came to Chequamegon Bay in 1852 and was known as a “Maker of Millionaires.
Thaddeus Pembroke Sibley established a farm on the Marengo River and built a road to where his brother-in-law, Junius Tillotson Welton, built a sawmill on the White River.  Their land claims are detailed on Charles Whittlesey’s 1860 Geological Map of the Penokie Range.  Sibley was married to Mary M. Wright and Welton was married to Jane E. Wright.

But the best man we had on the range that summer, as a surveyor, (except Albert Stuntz, and I very much doubt if he could beat him), was George E. Stuntz, a nephew of Albert’s, known among the boys as Lazarus.” He was tall and slim, with a long thin face, blue eyes, long dark brown hair, stooped slightly when walking; walked with a swinging motion, spoke slow and loud – was fond of the woods, prided himself on his skill with the compass, and was, I think, the laziest man at that time in the county, except Sibly,” who could discount him fifty and then beat him. But notwithstanding all this Albert could not have completed his survey that season without him. His lines never required any corrections. George was a singer – or thought he was, which is all the same. The recollections of some of his attempts in this line almost brings tears to my eyes from laughter, even now. Nearly every night in camp, the boys, after getting into a position where they could laugh without his seeing them, would coax him to sing. His favorite piece was a song called “The Frozen Limb.” What it meant I have no idea, and do not think he had. One verse of this only can I recall to mind, which ran as follows:

“One cold, frosty evening as Mary was sleeping –
Alone in her chamber, all snugly in bed. – She woke with a noise that did sorely affright her.
‘Who’s that at my window?’ she fearfully said.”

You can easily imagine how this would sound when sung through the nose in the hard shell style – each syllable ending with a jerk, something like this:

“Who’s-that-at-my-win-dow-she-fear-ful-ly-said-ud.”

George had a suit of clothes for the woods made of bed ticking, cap and all complete – all but the cap in one piece. The cap was after the “Dunce” pattern, ie, it ran to a point. The stripes instead of running up and down as they should have done, ran diagonally around him, giving him the appearance of a walking barber’s pole. He was a nice looking boy – he was.

Shortly after donning this beautiful suit, while crossing the Range, he suddenly found himself face to face with a full grown bear. It was no doubt a surprise to both parties,– it certainly was to the bear. For he took one square look and left for distant lands at a speed which, if kept up, would have carried him to Mexico in two days. “Not any of that in mine” was probably what was passing through his massive brain, but he made no sign. The boys who were surveying some fifteen miles south of the Range claimed to have met him that day, still on the jump.      J.S.B.

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.

By Amorin Mello

Gray Devil schoolmaster

(Lewiston Saturday Journal, April 27, 1895, page 11)

Lysander Cutler is renown for his service as a Union Army commander during the American Civil War.  His other, more obscure, adventures have had long-lasting impacts upon the social fabric in the Penokee Mountains of northwestern Wisconsin because his reign of terror allowed mining companies to dispossess the Penokee Mountains from the Lake Superior Chippewa.  Although his efforts failed to produce any significant minerals, this heritage still thrives in the conflict between GTAC’s proposed mine site and the nearby LCO HELP camp. Today, Bulletproof Securities advertises their eco-terrorism and economic sabotage security services, as seen in the Penokee Mountains on Indian Country TV.
(Lewiston Saturday Journal, April 27, 1895, page 11)

(Lewiston Saturday Journal, April 27, 1895, page 11)

Transcript from the

History of Milwaukee, Wisconsin:

From Prehistoric Times to the Present Date

as published in 1881 by the Milwaukee Genealogical Society:

MAJOR-GENERAL LYSANDER CUTLER was born in Royalston, Worcester County, Mass., February 16, 1807. His father, Tarrant Cutler, was one of the most independent and sturdy farmers of the county, and cultivated, with the help of six boys, as they grew up, one of the largest and most rocky farms in all that stony region of hills that lies at the foot of Mount Monadnock. Here Lysander received his early education. He worked on the farm during the Summers, and attended the district school each Winter till he was 16 years old. At that age he had acquired all that could be gotten from the town schools and all other sources within his reach, and in the opinion of his father was in a dangerous state of forwardness, calculated to unfit him for the high and noble career he had marked out for him — on the farm, and he accordingly determined that his education was complete, and set him down for the coming five years as a steady hand on the farm. The young man broke out in open rebellion against this paternal edict and announced his intention to leave the homestead forever, unless his father would at least assist him to acquire an academic education. After many stormy discussions, the matter was settled by a sort of treaty, whereby, although still under parental rule, he had a roving commission to forage for himself within limits set by his father. Under this arrangement he did very little farm work except in haying, when all the boys were called home to assist. During these five years he managed to clothe himself, learn the clothier’s trade, get a fair academic education, had learnt the art of land surveying, and had acquired a very enviable reputation in the county as a successful schoolmaster, as he had fought into submission several turbulent and unmanageable schools that had heretofore made it a practice to “pitch out” such teachers as were undesirable to them. With such acquisitions, at the age of 21, he emigrated to Maine and settled in the town of Dexter, Penobscot County, in 1828. His worldly goods on his arrival consisted of a silver watch and two dollars in money. He arrived in the Winter, just as the settlement was in an uproar over a rebellion in the school that had thus far proved unmanageable and had resulted in the flogging and summary ejectment of several masters who had attempted to maintain discipline by the ferule and switch, the only means then in vogue. He immediately volunteered to keep the school out for the sum of sixteen dollars per month — no school, no pay. The school committee accepted his proposition. The first day was devoted to an examination on the part of the big boys, as to the qualification of the new master. The examination was searching, and resulted in the thorough flogging of every bully in the school and a quiet orderly session thereafter to the end of the term. Thus early established in favor at the settlement, he began the business of his life. He surveyed the land up and down the stream which flowed from a small lake having an outlet at the village, and discovered the value of the water-power which had hitherto only been roughly put to use to run a saw-mill. In 1834 he entered into a co-partnership with Jonathan Farrar, a wealthy proprietor of the township, and built a woolen mill, then the largest east of Massachusetts, which under his successful management brought him what was then deemed an independent fortune in ten years. In 1843 the mill was burned to the ground, leaving him as poor as when he started. His partner, however, drew upon his private credit and the works were speedily rebuilt and added to from time to time till 1856. At that time the village had grown to a smart manufacturing town numbering 2,000 inhabitants, nearly half of whom were dependent on him for support. The firm owned three woolen factories, a foundry, a grist-mill, a saw-mill, a large store and many tenements. The panic of that year found his business widely extended. The mills stopped, the immense accumulation of their unsold goods were sold, in some instances, at less than half their cost, the property went into other hands and the firm was ruined. Turning his back on the scenes of his active life, he came to Milwaukee in 1856.

Cutler served as a Lieutenant Colonel during the Aroostook “Bloodless” War land dispute in Maine. 

During his New England life he took an active part in the affairs of his State. He was almost uninterruptedly a member of the Board of Selectmen of his town, served in the State Senate one term — 1839-40 — as a Whig. He commanded a regiment of troops on the border, pending the settlement of the northeastern boundary, in 1838-9. He was also active in educational matters. He was for several years one of the Trustees of Westbrook Seminary, and served on the Board of Trustees of Tufis College, during the years when it was struggling into life. He also gave his time and means to the development of the railroad system of the State, and was one of the Board of Directors of the Maine Central (then the Androscoggin and Penobscot Railroad Company) until it was built as far east as Bangor. He was generous to a fault, and for the thirty years he lived in Maine he carried an open hand and purse to all who needed. It was certainly no small thing or such a man at such a time of life to commence anew, in a strange country the strife for business success among the crowds of younger men who were thronging every avenue that opened to even a chance of good fortune.

“…the population of Ashland increased quite rapidly…  Of these a few remained only a short time, coming merely for temporary purposes. 1855 brought a still larger increase of inhabitants, among them M. H. Mandlebaum (now a resident of Hancock, Mich.), Augustus Barber (who was drowned at Montreal River in 1867), Benj. Hoppenyan, Chas. Day, Geo R. Stuntz, George E. Stuntz, Dr. Edwin Ellis, Martin Roehm, Col. Lysander Cutler, J. S. Buck, Ingraham Fletcher, Hon. J. R. Nelson, Hon. D. A. J. Baker, Mrs. Conrad Goeltz, Henry Drixler (father of Mrs. Conrad Goeltz, who died in 1857, his being the first death in town), and Henry Palmer.” ~ Ashland Press, January 4, 1893 (Wisconsin Historical Society)
Dr. James P. Greavesinvestigated animal magnetism and was a bad egg.

He came to Milwaukee in answer to a letter from an old Maine friend, Horatio Hill, then one of the most active business men and public-spirited citizens of Milwaukee. He with Palmer, the Pbrothers Hercules and Talbot Dousman, Dr. Greaves and others had organized the Penokee Mining Company. The company had a sort of undefined and undefinable title to some parts of the celebrated iron deposits in the Penokee Range lying some thirty miles inland from Lake Superior, at the extreme northern point where what is now Bayfield County, juts out into the lake. The title was held by virtue of some Indian script which had been bought from the Sioux Indians, then inhabiting that region, and was by no means a perfect one, except the land was surveyed and occupied by the company and direct warrants thereby secured from the Government Land Office. Most brilliant reports had been made of the extent of the deposits and the purity of the ore. There could be no doubt that the development of these immense mineral resources would bring to the owners untold wealth. Mr. Cutler was appointed the managing agent of this prospective Wisconsin bonanza, at a fair salary, to which was added a liberal amount of the stock of the company. His first task was to perfect the title to the property, and the first step toward it was to take a personal view of the situation and the property. It was a somewhat arduous undertaking, not unfraught with danger. Excepting two or three traders and surveyors, who had stock in the company, the population, which consisted mostly of Indians and half-breeds, viewed this incursion of wealth-hunters from the lower lakes with suspicion and distrust. To add to the difficulties of the situation, other parties owning Sioux script were endeavoring to acquire a title to the mineral range. One man working in the interest of the company the year before, had been discovered, after being missed for some weeks, dead in the forest, near the range. Bruises and other indications of violence on the body gave strong ground for the belief that he had been murdered. Altogether it was a position, the applications for which were not numerous. His first trip was made in the Summer of 1857. He spent several months on the range and at LaPointe, Ashland, Bayfield and on to the Indian Reservation, acquainted himself thoroughly with the status of the company’s claims, and returned to Milwaukee. He had ascertained that the immense value of the claim had not been overestimated, and had made a further discovery, less desirable, that the company had no valid title to it, except they occupied it as actual settlers. It was determined to organize a colony sufficiently large to cover every section of the territory desired, and squat it out a sufficient time to entitle them to settlers’ warrants. The colony consisted of picked men, some from the State of Maine, who entered the employ of the company, and built their cabins as fast as the surveyor’s stakes were driven. The main cabin, which was a depot of supplies, was of importance as it was the center of the town, and as it complied with all the requirements of the law, being organized as a store and a school, it gave the company a claim to a “town plat” of a square mile. Here Colonel Cutler spent two Winters, during which he and his trusty employs endured all the hardships and dangers of a pioneer life. The nearest point where supplies could be obtained was thirty miles distant through a trackless and dense forest. All supplies were packed in on the backs of the squatters or half-breed packers who sometimes in a surly mood would lay down their burdens and return to the settlement. Nothing but the fearless pluck and dauntless courage of Colonel Cutler kept these men in wholesome awe, and insured the safety of the settlers while they remained.

Lysander Cutler's store and school for a town plat. (Paul DeMain © 2013)

Lysander Cutler’s town plat ruins at the “Moore Location” of the Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Education Learning Project (Paul DeMain © 2013).

(Pioneer History of Milwaukee: 1847 by James Smith Buck)

Lysander Cutler and the Ironton Trail (Pioneer History of Milwaukee: 1847 by James Smith Buck)

The following story is told by James S. Buck, of this city, who was one of the colony, as illustrating his mode of discipline: Late one week it was discovered that there were not sufficient supplies to last over Sunday. Colonel Cutler dispatched one of his men to the lake, with instructions to load two half-breeds and send them forward to camp the next day, he agreeing to meet them at the half-way camp and pay them for their services. They arrived before him, in a surly mood, and without waiting except to get breath took up their loads and trudged back to Bayfield. Soon after Colonel Cutler arrived and having been informed of their return set out after them. He did not overtake them on the road, but entered Bayfield a few minutes behind them, and found them at the store sitting by the fire, with their packs, which they had just thrown off, by their sides. On entering he drew up his rifle and said: “Boys, you can have just half a minute to shoulder those packs and start for the range.” In less time than was allowed they were again on the return tramp, supported in the rear by the Colonel and his rifle. At the half-way camp they begged for rest, but the only reply from their implacable guard was: “March!” with an expletive which showed undoubtedly that he was in earnest. They reached the range late at night. It was the last attempt at breach of contract on the part of the half-breeds while he remained in that region.

Cutler was contracted for carrying the mails in 1858 (United States Congressional serial set, Volume 1013).

Cutler was contracted for carrying the mails in 1858 (United States Congressional serial set, Volume 1013).

In the Winter all the communication with the rest of the world was cut off, except by a weekly mail which was brought through from St. Paul by an Indian mail-carrier. Once during each Winter he made the trip on snow shoes, to St. Paul, a distance of over two hundred miles. The claim was at last secured, and a valid title to the land vested in the company. He left the region, at the end of two years, successful in this mission, and attained, while there, the general respect of all, both white and red, although his pet name among the Indians did not evince a love unmingled with fear; they called him Gray Devil.”  The dull times that followed put a long quietus on Western schemes of speculation, and Colonel Cutler’s company was laid on the shelf with many others of less merit, till more propitious times.

Cutler's contract ceased. (United States Congressional serial set, Issue 1041, Part 2).

Cutler’s contract was not successful for long. (United States Congressional serial set, Issue 1041, Part 2).

In 1859 he engaged in the grains and commission business, in which he continued with indifferent success till the breaking out of the war.

The first gun fired on the flag seemed to rouse the full energies of his naturally pugnacious nature. It seemed as though the burdens of twenty years had fallen from his shoulders, and he showed the war-like enthusiasm of a young man of thirty instead of the more quiet demonstrations of a man who had already done the arduous work of a common lifetime. It was only in deference to the earnest protests of his friends that he did not enlist as a common soldier when the first call was made for ninety-day troops.

(History of Milwaukee)

pg. 787 (History of Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

Colonel Cutler was commissioned as Colonel of the Sixth Wisconsin Regiment June 25, 1861. His regiment left the State July 28, and joined the forces around Washington August 7. August 29 it was attached to King’s Brigade, of which it remained a part during the war and shares in its imperishable renown asThe Iron Brigade.” During its first year of service Colonel Cutler was much of the time in command of the Brigade, and did much in perfecting it in discipline and tactics. His active service in the field commenced with the campaign of 1862. McDowell’s Division, to which the “Iron Brigade” was attached, did not participate in the peninsular battles of the campaign, being held as a reserve force to repel any overland demonstrations on the Capital, similar to that of the year before, which culminated in the first battle of Bull Run. During the earlier months of the campaign Colonel Cutler commanded the Brigade, till the assignment of Brigadier-General John Gibbons, May 2, when he again returned to his regiment. The Brigade was almost constantly on the march from point to point to avert threatened danger or mislead the enemy, till the beginning of August. On the fifth of that month the withdrawal of a part of the rebel forces from McClellan’s front, and a movement up the Shenandoah as well as toward Pope, commenced the active campaign. August 6, Colonel Cutler with his regiment and a New Hampshire regiment of cavalry penetrated into the enemy’s country as far as Frederick’s Hall Station, twenty-three miles from the junction of the Virginia Central with the Richmond & Potomac Railroad, and there tore up the track for a mile in each direction, thus cutting off the rebel communication between Richmond and Gordonsville. They also burned the depot, warehouse and telegraph office and destroyed a large amount of Confederate supplies. The expedition was entirely successful. During three days and one half the regiment had marched ninety miles, and were, when they struck the railroad, thirty miles from any support. It returned without the loss of aman. General Gibbon in his official report commended the regiment and Colonel Cutler as follows: “Colonel Cutler’s part in the expedition was completely successful. I can not refer in too high terms to the conduct of Colonel Cutler; to his energy and good judgment, seconded as he was by his fine regiment, the success of the expedition is entirely due.” On the 19th of August General Pope commenced his retreat. The “Iron Brigade” was for nearly ten days within sight of the enemy as they slowly worked their way up towards Washington, avoiding as much as possible any collision with the troops during its maneuvers to outflank Pope and if possible intercept him in his march to the defense of the threatened Capital. On the twenty-eighth having so far out-maneuvered him as to have separated the divisions of the army too far for support, the division of Longstreet fell upon the “Iron Brigade” which was marching toward Centerville on the Gainesville road. The Federal troops were outnumbered three to one, but they held the enemy in check till night put an end to the carnage which marked it as one of the most severe engagements of the war. How Colonel Cutler and Colonel Hamilton of Milwaukee bore themselves on that bloody field has been detailed in a previous chapter. They were severely wounded. Colonel Cutler had his horse shot under him, and was wounded by a minnie bail which passed entirely through his thigh, His wound was dangerous and kept him from active service till November 5, when he returned to the front and took command of the Brigade which he retained till the twenty-second, when General Sol. Merideth, who had been appointed Brigadier-General, assumed the command and he again returned to his regiment. At the battle of Fredericksburg he again led the “Iron Brigade,” being put in command during the action, after the Brigade had crossed the Rappahannock, and taken position in line of battle. Soon after he was appointed Brigadier-General, to date from November 29, I862, and assigned to the Second Brigade, First Division, First Army Corps. His Brigade with the “Iron Brigade” comprised the division commanded by Wadsworth. The corps was commanded by Major-General Reynolds. He fought through the Chancellorsville campaign, his Brigade covering the retreat after the three days’ slaughter was finished. At Gettysburg his brigade was in the advance, opened the battle and, with the “Iron Brigade,” sustained the brunt of the fighting on the memorable 1st of July 1863. During that day. his old regiment, the Sixth, was attached to his brigade. Major-General Newton, in his report, details the part taken in this action as follows:


General Cutler was in the advance and opened the battle of Gettsyburg. In this severe and obstinate engagement he held the right for four hours, changing front without confusion, three times, under a galling fire, and lost, in killed and wounded, three-fourths of his officers and men, having three of his staff wounded and all the horses killed. When the order was given to retire, he marched the remnant of his brigade off the field in perfect order and checked the advance of Ewell’s corps, which gave the artillery time to retire. In effecting this he lost heavily. His brigade was engaged on the night of the second and the morning of the third in repulsing the assaults of the Rebels on the right of our line.”


During Grant’s campaign of 1864, General Wadsworth was killed in the second day’s battle in the Wilderness. On his death the command of the division devolved on General Cutler, which he held thereafter all through the series of battles that followed, and during the siege of Petersburg, until August 21, when he was wounded in the face while repulsing an assault on the Weldon Railroad. On the 15th of September, wounded and in broken health, from his long and arduous service, he was, at his own request relieved from field duty, and ordered to New York, to take charge of the forwarding of troops from that State. Subsequently he was ordered to the command of the draft camp of rendezvous at Jackson, Mich., where he remained till the close of the Rebellion. He was appointed Brevet Major-General. the commission to date from his last fight on the Weldon Railroad, August 21. 1864, He resigned July 1, 1865,and returned to Milwaukee. With the excitement of active duty gone, his recuperative powers failed to restore his impaired health, and his earthly career ended July 30, 1866. The following orders were issued at Madison on the occasion of his death, by Gov. Fairchild, one of his companions in arms, and by the G.A.R.


State of Wisconsin, Executive Department,
Madison. July 31, 1866.

Executive Order No. 7.
The people of Wisconsin will hear with deep regret the announcement of the death of Brevet Major-General Lysander Cutler. at Milwaukee, on Monday the 30th inst.

General Cutler was among the most efficient and best beloved soldiers from this State. Distinguished for his services, covered with honorable scars, filled with years and glory, he goes to his grave deeply mourned by the entire people of a sorrowing State.

As a testimony of respect, the flag upon the State Capitol will be displayed at half mast, on Tuesday, 31st of July, inst.

By the Governor,
Charles Fairchild, Military Secretary.

LUCIUS FAIRCHILD


Headquarters Post No. 1. G.A.R;
Madison, July 31, 1866.

Special Order No. 1.

It is my painful duty to announce the death of one of Wisconsin’s most devoted and prominent general officers during the late war, Major-General Lysander Cutler, of Milwaukee.

It is ordered that as a mark of respect to the deceased, the members oi’ this post wear the badge of mourning prescribed by army regulations, for the period or ten days from this date.

By command of
Henry Sanford, P.A.

J.W. TOLFORD, P.C.


General Cutler was married in 1830, to Catherine W. Bassett. He had five children, two sons and three daughters, all of whom are still living. His widow still survives. In stature he was six feet tall and spare. His eyes were iron gray, deep set. and overhung by heavy eyebrows. He was prematurely gray, and during the later years of life both his hair and beard were white. His indomitable will and strict devotion to duty rendered him stern and uncompromising in his general bearing and appearance; but underneath his rough exterior beat a heart, as tender as a woman’s, that won the lasting love of all who came to know him well. To the toils, dangers and sufferings of his campaigns he never yielded, but on receiving the tidings of the death of his little grandson, who died while he was in the service, he took to his tent and bed, completely bowed and broken by the great grief that had smote his heart.  The child and the grim old warrior now sleep side by side at Forest Home.