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History of Mondovi 1891-2


Historical and Biographical Album of the Chippewa Valley Wisconsin Edited by George Forrester A. Warner, Publisher. 1891-2

PP. 374 -377 Mondovi is a handsome and prosperous city, located in the northeast corner of Buffalo County, in the township of Mondovi, on the bank of Buffalo River at the confluence of Mill Creek. It is the terminus of the Mondovi branch of the Chicago and Northwestern railway, which was opened for traffic in 1887. The first actual settler was Harvey P. Farrington. He built a shanty on the site of the village, and was quickly followed by three brothers, P.V, Harlow P., and L.D. Farrington. They all engaged in farming. This was in 1855. Among the other early settlers were William Van Waters, Thomas Glasspool, Harvey Brown, and the Gore and Harvey families. The first frame dwelling was erected by H.P. Farrington, and he lives on the site now. Harvey Brown located within two miles of the village in 1855. It was surveyed and platted in 1858, by H.P. Farrington, L.T. Bump, and J. Bump. The first child born here was John, the son of E.B. Gifford, who settled in this locality in 1856. The first person who died was a son of James McBride, in 1858. It is not known where he is buried. The first marriage occurred in 1857. The parties to it were Charles Billings, of Durand, and Mary Fishburn, a widow with four children; she was known as the sister of the blind lady. The ceremony took place in the shanty of John Callahan on the creek, a mile west of the village. Monroe Webster, a Methodist minister officiated.

The first postmaster was Robert Nelson. He came to the settlement in 1856. The mail was carried by him to and from Durand, eighteen miles, in 1858. The office was in an old log house. He held the office for many years.

The first schoolhouse was a board shanty. It was started in 1857, and the first teacher is now Mrs. George Sprague. The first district school-house, with one department, was erected in 1860. It was a log building and located about a mile and a half south of the city. Widow Heath occupies it now. A new building was erected in 1871. It has two departments. This was followed by the graded school which was built in 1878, at a cost of $4000. It was destroyed by fire in the winter of 1890-91, and a new structure erected on its site, with four departments. Mr. H. H. Moe is the principal.

The Methodist Society was organized in 1859 by Rev. S. M. Webster, and the church building erected in 1865 at a cost of $2000, under the supervision of Rev. Thomas Crouch. The parsonage house was built by Rev. John Holt, who initiated several improvements to the church structure. They were completed by Rev. William E. Doughty, who continued in the pastorate for three years. He was followed by Rev. T.W. Stamp. Who served two years. Rev. Y.H. Yocum remained one year, then was succeeded by Rev. L.W. McKibben. The present pastor, Rev. G.W. Smithe, took charge of the organization in the fall of 1889. Further improvements were made to the church building in 1882 by Rev. G. D. Brown, and additions were made to it in 1891, at a cost of $200. It has a seating capacity of 250, and the society has a membership of eighty. A Sunday school is attached to the church. Mr. Walther H. Thomas is the superintendent.

The Congregational Church was organized August 17, 1861, by Mr. and Mrs. Luther Eager, Thomas Dillon, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel L. Newton, Mrs. Charles Waste and Miss Hannah Waste. The visiting pastor at this time was Rev. A. Kidder of Eau Claire. The first resident pastor was Rev. J. M. Hayes. The services were held in the school house up to 1870, when the church edifice was erected and dedicated on October 30 of that year. Mr. Hayes was succeeded in 1868 by Mr. Kidder, who was followed in 1872 by Rev. D.B. Gordon. His successors were Revs. J.S. Norris, W.B. Williams, L. L Radcliff, A. Doremus in 1882, Mr. Kidder in 1885, Rev George P. Thomas in 1889, and Rev. F.E. Lyon, the present pastor, in May, 1891. A Sunday school is attached to the church. The average attendance of pupils is seventy, and O.G. Hawkins is the superintendent.

The first industry started in the village was in 1858, when Jacob and Alonzo Gordon constructed their water-power flour and grist-mill. They operated it until about 1870, when it was sold to Walter Brown. After running it for a year, he disposed of it to S.M. Newton. J.T. Brownlee became the next owner of it, in 1878, and he has since operated it. The plant is known as the Buffalo roller mills.

Another prominent industry is what is known as Fishers mill. It was built in 1873 by N.K. and Hiram Fisher. The latter died in 1879, and the first named has operated it since that time. It is principally a feed mill, and worked by water power. A planing-mill is run in connection with it. They were both built at the same time. The capacity is 10,000 feet a day. There is also a machine shop, twenty-four feet square, and a wood working shop filled with scroll and splitting saws.

A cheese factory was built by Mr. Van Auken in 1875. Delmont Robinson operated it a few months. It then became the property of Amos Bates, the present owner. He has conducted it for several years.

The only other industry is the plant of the Mondovi Brick company, a bed of clay in the neighborhood furnishing the material for a fine quality of brick.

The Norwegian Methodist Episcopal church has a small charge here, which is presided over by Rev. F.A. Scarvie. The meetings are held in the Methodist church building.

The Mondovi Herald was established in 1876 by W.L. Houser. It passed into the hands of George W. Gilkey in 1877 and then into those of W.H. and C.E. Edes in 1878. George W. Gilkey again became the owner in 1879, and a year later it was published by Messrs. Gilkey and Houser. During 1881 and 1882 it was owned by W.L. Houser alone. He sold it to J.C. Rathbun, who published it for two years, and from early 1885 to the present time it has been issued by Mr. Houser alone. It is a weekly publication, republican in principles, and exhibits considerable enterprise.

The city of Mondovi was incorporated in February, 1889, and includes the following territory: The south three-fourths of sections thirteen and fourteen; all of township twenty-four north, range number eleven west, being a part of the town of Mondovi. The city is divided into two wards. The first ward embraces all the territory in sections thirteen and fourteen before described, and the Second ward all the remaining lands constituting the city.

The first election of officers took place in April, 1889, and resulted as follows: Mayor, B.S. Lockwood; city clerk, R. Southworth; city treasurer, R. Farrington; municipal judge, W.L. Houser; justices of the peace, H.B. Pace and W.L. Standish. Aldermen  First ward, Charles Ford and O.G. Hawkins; Second ward, H.B. Pace and N.K. Fisher.

The following officers were chosen at subsequent elections: 1890  Mayor, B.S. Lockwood; city clerk, R. Southworth; city treasurer, C.E. Otis; municipal judge, W.L. Houser; justices of the peace, H.B.Pace and W.L. Standish. Aldermen - First ward, Charles Ford and O.G. Hawkins; Second ward, H.B. Pace and M.K. Fisher. 1891  Mayor, B.S. Lockwood; city clerk, W.H. Thomas; city treasurer, R. Farrington; municipal judge, W.L. Houser; justices of the peace, W.L. Standish and H.C. Barrows. Aldermen  First ward, R. Farrington and O.G. Hawkins; Second ward, M.K. Fisher and H.B. Pace.

The Bank of Mondovi was incorporated January 12, 1891, with a capital of $25,000. The officers are: J.W. Whelan, pres.; R. Southworth, vice-pres.; F.H. Dillon, cashier, and J.D. Pace, asst. cashier. A handsome new brick building with stone facings has been erected for the transaction of the business, the office being fitted up wit all modern conveniences.

A destructive fire occurred on the morning of June 16, 1891, whereby seven stores on the main street were reduced to ashes. The damage was placed at $20,000, with an insurance of $9,000.

Among the secret and benefit societies are: Mondovi Lodge No. 37, K of P. , organized in 1883; a lodge of the A.O.U.W., organized in 1878; John Christian Post No. 95, G.A.R., and the Knights of Ladies and Honor No. 604, organized January, 14, 1883.

The population of the city in 1890 was, according to the census returns, 1,090.



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