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1919 History of Mondovi

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P. 95 Mondovi Township and city

Mondovi was first settled by Harvey P. Farrington. With a view to locating somewhere in this region, Farrington started out in 1855 from Dodge county, this state, on horseback to look over the country. He reached Black River Falls, from there found his way to the Chippewa river, and followed that stream down to Eau Claire. Then he continued on his journey to the Bear Creek region north of Durand, and followed that stream to Lima township, where he met George Tuttle. Tuttle had traveled in the Beef River region and had examined the territory where Mondovi is now located. He carefully described the locality, and the possibility of developing waterpower, and mentioned in particular two great pine trees on the bank of a creek. With such explicit directions, Mr. Farrington had no difficulty in finding the spot, and under one of the pine trees, both of which are still standing, he made his camp on a night in April, 1855. Tying his pony to the most northern of the two trees, he made a pillow of his boots, and laid down for a nights repose. But before he could compose himself to sleep, he was surrounded by a pack of some fifty wolves. Gathering some dry wood, he kindled a great fire, spent a sleepless night constantly replenishing the fire and keeping the wolves at bay. In the morning he selected sections 12 and 13, and then made his way to the land office at La Crosse, where he took the proper measures for obtaining the land. Then he went back to Dodge county and organized a colony, consisting of Harlow P. Farrington, Putnam V. Farrington, and L.D. Farrington, John LeGore, Thomas Hurtley, and J.D. Harvey. They came here and started breaking a stretch of land extending from Eau Claire street west a mile along the north side of Main Street. The next year there were several additions to the colony. *Robert Harvey, the father of J.D. Harvey, arrived with other members of the family. The first white woman in the town was Mrs. Betsie Bump Hill Ault, who came with Robert Nelson. Other early settlers were William Van Waters, Thomas Glasspool, *Harvey Brown, John Calahan, Rev. B.F. Morse and Luther Eager. Circumstances were favorable for the starting of a village. Here the Buffalo River makes an abrupt turn to the south toward Alma. The road from Alma to Eau Claire therefore extended up the river valley to this point, and then leaving the river continued northward to Eau Claire. The Osseo and Durand road came down the river valley from the east, and here branched westward to Durand. Nearby was an excellent waterpower. Seeing an opportunity of getting some of the passing trade, Jacob Iberg in 1857 started a small store on the rise of land west of the creek and south of what is now Main street. He enjoyed a good trade. As an accommodation for travelers, Chester D. Ide opened a hotel. A little later, in the house erected by N.K. Fisher, Rensellaer Strong opened a hotel and Marcus Snyder a saloon. Jacob and Alonzo Gordon built a small dam and put in the mill. John Thompson opened a blacksmith shop where the postoffice is now located. About 1858, Robert Nelson opened the postoffice in his residence, eight or ten rods south of the Mondovi State Bank. Mail was received from Alma once a week, the trip usually being made on horseback. The second store was opened in the early sixties by N.K. West.

The first frame dwelling in the town was erected by H.F. Farrington. The first death was that of a son of James McBride in 1858. The first marriage was that of Charles Billings of Durand and Mary Fishburn. The ceremony was performed by Monroe Webster, a Methodist preacher, at the shanty of John Callihan on the creek a mile west of the village.

*List of early settlers on pp 99-112 records Harvey Brown and Robert Harvey as settlers in 1855.

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