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.