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St. Croix County Biographies and Historical Sketches


St. Croix County Townships Map | St. Croix County (1909) | Early History of St. Croix County | Villages, Townships & Municipalities | St. Joseph, Troy & Warren Townships | Stanton & Star Prairie Townships | Rush River, Somerset & Springfield Townships | Richmond Township, City of New Richmond | Kinnickinnic & Pleasant Valley Townships | Hudson Township & City of Hudson | Forest, Glenwood & Hammond Townships | Eau Galle, Emerald and Erin Townships | Baldwin, Cady & Cylon Townships
Richmond Township, City of New Richmond
Richmond Township, City of New Richmond

Richmond Township

Richmond Township is one of the richest farm sections in the county. It is one of the interior townships of the county, bounded by Somerset, Star Prairie, Stanton, Erin, Warren and St. Joseph townships. It includes township 30, range 18, is drained by the Willow river, crossed by two railroad lines and contains several settlements, New Richmond City, Boardman and Clarendon station. The land is mostly undulating prairie. Among the early settlers prior to 1855 were: Eben Quinby, Lewis Oakes, James Taylor, Harvey Law, Norman Hooper, J. J. Smith, A. S. Kinne, W. R. anderson, Francis Kelley, Clinton Boardman, S. L. Beebe, the Beal brothers, E. P. Jacobs and E. W. Darnley. The town was organized in 1857 with the following officers: Supervisors, Robert Philbrick, chairman, C. A. Boardman and Harvey Law; clerk, W. M. Densmore; assessor, W. R. Anderson; treasurer, G. W. Law. The first postoffice was established at the house of Joel Bartlet, who acted as postmaster, the office being known as the Richmond postoffice. The first mail brought on a mules back from Maiden Rock contained but one letter. The postmasters commission for the first quarter amounted to just $1.59. The postoffice case contained but four boxes, 5 by 6 inches in size. Richmond Township contains 22,497 acres, having an average value of $34.50. There are 510 horses, valued at $30,600; 1,275 neat cattle, valued at $17,850; 400 sheep, valued at $1,200; 300 swine, valued at $1,500. The total value of real estate is $761,900; total of personal property, $63,500; grand total, $845,400. Following is the acreage devoted to the various crops in Richmond township in 1908: Wheat, 125; corn, 756; oats, 4,274; barley, 1,095; rye, 273; flaxseed, 289; potatoes, 85; strawberries, 23 ; raspberries, 4; currants, 4; hay, 2,397.

Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909

City of New Richmond

New Richmond is spoken of by visitors as an ideal small city, and the beauty of the place and the character of the residents more than justifies this high opinion. It is said that the city contains more wealth in proportion to the population than any other city in the Northwest, and this claim has never been successfully disputed. The population is a little over 1,800, but the people are so progressive and public-spirited that they have accomplished all that would be expected of a population three times the size of that contained in New Richmondand this, in spite of the fact that the city was almost totally destroyed by a terrible cyclone, which swept over the place in 1899 devastating its streets, destroying its buildings and entailing a severe loss of life. The village is picturesquely situated on the banks of the Willow River, which divides it into the north and south sides, one section being the business and residence portion and the other the milling portion, in which there is a large settlement of people of Swedish descent. Two railroads pass through the city, each having a station. The streets are broad and well kept, and the main street is macadamized for a short distance. The residences are large and well built, and the broad velvety lawns are tastefully adorned with shrubbery and trees, while the streets are shaded with maple, elm and boxwood trees. In former years a profusion of red and white clover filled the air with its perfume and gave the city the name of "The Clover City"and much of this clover still remains in certain yards. Among the business houses of New Richmond are three hardware stores, eight general stores, three drug stores, one dry goods store (exclusive), two furniture stores, three livery barns, five restaurants, nine saloons, three barber shops, two jewelry stores, two tailor shops, one photograph gallery, one Chinese laundry, five hotels, three blacksmith shops, two meat shops and two shoe makers. The Willow River Lumber Company has a large plant and employs many men, and the New Richmond Rolling Mills Company is also a large concern. There are also two cement plants, one machine shop, one repair shop and a sash and blind factory. The city is supplied with water works and an electric light plant, as well as with excellent telephone and telegraph service. There is an opera house, where good attractions appear, and aside from this the Modern Woodmen, the Masons, the Odd Fellows and the Good Templars have roomy halls. Five doctors and two dentists practice here and three law firms carry on business. One newspaper, "The Republican Voice," gathers the news of the city and county and publishes this, together with the news of the general world, in a concise and attractive form. There is an excellent postal service, several rural routes, having their headquarters in the local post office. Seven church edifices add not only to the beauty of the town but also to its desirability as a residence locality. The high school has the finest building in the county, and has an excellent course of study. The graded schools are also well housed and taught by competent teachers. Taken altogether New Richmond is essentially a "home" city, an ideal place for residence and a still more ideal place for the bringing up of children. It has by no means reached it zenith, but is growing rapidly. The business houses are largely of brick, and it should be remembered that practically everything that has been accomplished has been done since 1899 by a people at whose hearts had been struck a terrible blow of death and disaster.

The village was incorporated in 1884. A part of what is now embraced within the city limits was originally a part of Star Prairie. The first election was held April 8, 1884, at which the following officers were elected: President, Ward S. Williams; alderman, F. W. Bartlett, George A. Gault, Th. Gaskell, A. L. Greaton, A. H. Stevens, J. C. Sabine, John Halversen, D. H. Dodge, H. F. Fall; treasurer, L. Taft; clerk, W. F. McNally; assessor, D. A. Kennedy. The story of the men who have assisted in building up the city is told in the biographies, which follow this article.

The Bank of Richmond was incorporated September 10, 1873; opened for business September 23, 1878. It has a capital stock of $35,000, all paid in. The original incorporators were: R. A. Guy, Mathias Frisk, Joel Bartlett, F. W. Bartlett and John W. McCoy. The officers were: President, R. A. Guy; vice president, F. W. Bartlett; cashier, J. W. McCoy; board of directors, R. A. Guy, Mathias Frisk, Joel Bartlett, F. W. Bartlett and Joel Bartlett are now deceased. The present officers are: President, Mathias Frisk; vice president, Frank S. Wade; cashier, John W. McCoy; assistant cashier, D. W. Williams. The bank does a general banking business, paying considerable attention to farm loans. It has a surplus and undivided profit of $10,600.

The Manufacturers Bank of New Richmond was incorporated September 15 and opened for business October 12, 1887. Its capital stock was $50,000, and the incorporators were: John E. Glover, Hudson; A. J. Goss, Hudson; John A. Humbird, Hudson; Peter Berkey, St. Paul; F. W. Anderson, St. Paul; E. A. Glover, Jr., E. J. Thompson, Charles Donohue, James Johnston, William Johnston, R. A. Guy, P. C. Maxson, Mike Peron, New Richmond. The first board of directors were: John E. Glover, James Johnston, William Johnston, A. J. Goss, R. A. Guy, E. J. Thompson, Charles Donohue and P. C. Maxson, who elected as the first officers: John E. Glover, president; R. A. Guy, vice president; P. C. Maxson, cashier; W. T. Lambdin, assistant cashier. These were reelected each succeeding year until 1894, when P. C. Maxson resigned as cashier, and E. A. Glover, Jr., was elected to succeed him, although he took no active part in the management. At the annual meeting on December 5, 1895, John E. Glover was reelected president; W. F. McNally was elected vice president, in place of R. A. Guy, who resigned on account of approaching age, and L. A. Baker was elected cashier in place of E. A. Glover, Jr. On June 10, 1897, at a special meeting of the stockholders the capital stock was reduced from $50,000 to $30,000. At the time of the cyclone, June 12, 1899, the bank and store building, which was owned by the bank and where it had been located since their organization, was destroyed. Since that time it has occupied a building specially built for it, at the corner of Main and Second streets. At the present time the capital stock is $30,000. Undivided profits $5,000. Deposits $200,000. Its officers and directors are: John E. Glover, president; W. F. McNally, vice president; M. P. McNally, director; L. A. Baker, cashier; H. E. Rounsavell, assistant cashier.

In a855 came Robert Philbrook, and for the winter built a small house in Mr. Fosters yard, then in the spring built a house opposite the present power house site, on a 160-acre farm. Solomon Russell also took up 160 acres just west of his farm. Ephriam Dawley came next. He was a carpenter by trade and had left his mark on many pre-cyclone buildings. The years 1855 and 1856 saw quite a number of additional settlers. Levi and Timothy Oaks had buildings on the Oaks and Bell farms on Paper Jack. Henry Beal came to live on a farm south, now the Gloverdale farm. There was a fairly good water power there, and some rivalry sprang up between the settlers near this and Fosters Crossing, but it seems the latter won out in regard to securing the village, and in 1858 the village was platted. The Philbrook farm received the name of Gridly and the Russell farm the name of Fremont. The first furrow that was "broke" was from the present location of the Catholic church, east along what is now Main street, about to where Hon. Charles Donohues house now stands. Harvey Law says he and Alex. Russell did the breaking. In 1858 came Josiah Bartlett, who became a prominent figure in the building up of the village. He was a man of some learning and became the first school teacher. A schoolhouse was built large enough to seat two on each side of the middle aisle. About this time the Methodist church was built, north of the river. Henry Beal, Harvey Law and Alex. Russell went up north about as far as Deer Park, cut the trees and hauled the logs. While the horses were eating, after the load was on, "The boys" would get out their lunch of frozen bread and pork and eat it, and when the horses were ready they started home. Mr. Fosters contribution was the sawing of the logs into lumber. About this contribution was the sawing of the logs into lumber. About this time Leindon Coombs built a hotel and William Densmore a store.

At the breaking out of the Civil War New Richmond was able to send a generous number of volunteers, among them Solomn Russell, who died in the service; Ephriam Dawley, Henry Beal and Harvey Law, who are still able to tell many a tale of the old days. There was another schoolhouse built about 1860-61, used until 1883, when a much larger one was erected. This was destroyed by fire in 1905, and a fine, $45,000 building put up the same year. Fosters mill was superseded by a grist mill, built by Turner & Rollins, utilizing the water power. This was later owned, enlarged and operated by Hon. John E. Glover. Still later by Hon. O. W. Mosher and others, and run by electric power brought into the city by the Apple River Power Company. Later the Apple River Power Company was supplanted by the Roller Mills Company, who then furnished their won electricity. Jacobs & Cragen were superseded in the lumber business by Hon. John E. Glover and Eben Jacobs, and later by the Willow River Lumber Company, owned and operated by Hon. John E. Glover & Sons. The Roller Mills Company and the Willow River Lumber Company are the two great industries of the city. The Farmers Grain Company also does an extensive business. The city was incorporated in March, 1885, and during this year the steel bridge across Willow river was built during the mayoralty of Hon. W. S. Williams.

The advent of the Omaha railroad gave a fresh impetus to New Richmonds advancement, and she began to grow quite noticeably, though at no time very rapidly. In 1893 the city has telephone and electric light and water systems added to its modern conveniences. The late Dr. Frank W. Epley brought electricity to the aid of the light and water plant by building the first long distance power transmission plant in this section of the Northwest, at Somerset, Wis., and due to his initiative the city is said to have more paved streets than any place of its size in this part of the state.

In the year 1853 one might have seen the present site of New Richmond a nearly level field on the banks of the Willow River. Only one enterprising doctor, Lambert by name, with his son, had a dugout residence on the riverbank near where the Phillips residence now stands. Dr. Lambert and son had a claim stretching back to Hatfields lake. They did not remain long, but went away, no one seems to know whither. B. C. B. Foster came in 1854 and in 1855 built a sawmill on the bank of the river, near the present site of the "News" office. At that time the river was narrower at this point, more recent changes in the dam having altered the contour of the millponds. There was then a crossing about where the lumberyard now is, where teams going north with loads or to haul logs crossed over. So for a time the place went by the name of Fosters Crossing, and later by the name of Willow River. No one seems to know just when the name New Richmond originated.

One of the important influences on the life of the city of New Richmond is the church and parish of the Immaculate Conception. A disastrous fire destroyed the records of this church in 1890 and thus there was lost to posterity much valuable data concerning the early life of the parish and the people therein. The parish was founded in the year 1884, at which time the Rev. Father De Paradis was appointed its first pastor. He remained two years and was then succeeded by the Rev. Father Sturm. His stay was of but short duration and he was followed the same year by the Rev. Walter J. Fardy, who maintained the pastorate until 1892. During the latter year, Fr. Fardy was succeeded by the Rev. William E. Degnan. The present rector, the Rev. Michael E. Boyce, was born in Ireland, where he began his classical course which he finished in Pittsburg Catholic College. He completed his theological course in Pris and was ordained to the priesthood there in 1887. The congregation of the Immaculate Conception is comprised of 200 families or about 1,000 souls. There is one parochial school in this parish which has an enrollment of 140 pupils who are in the charge of the School Sisters. Of the societies connected with the congregation are the Altar society: President, Mrs. Margaret Barrett; treasurer, Mrs. James OBrien. Catholic Knights of Wisconsin; Charles McCarty, treasurer, William Hughes; secretary, Andrew Deneen. Catholic Foresters: Chief Ranger, Edward OMalley; treasurer, Michael Keefe; secretary, Martin Lynch, and a young ladies sodality: President, Katie Dixon; vice president, Sadie Moran; treasurer, Katie Hogan.   (Taken from "Hisory of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)

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