History: History of Abbotsford, Wisconsin

Contact: Stan

Surnames: Wing, Roter, Baker, Perkins, McKenna, Dillon, Shilling, Vincent, Corliss, Dix, Hughes, Swanson, McCabe, Kaudy, Ellofson, Chris, Anderson  

----Source: Abbotsford Tribune (Abbotsford, Clark County, Wis.) 07/17/1952  

Compiled and Written by F. H. Wing 

The railroad was put through town in 1873, and a few settlers came. Most of the homes at that time were constructed of logs, and were known as log houses. As the town progressed, the log houses were replaced by frame buildings or additions were made to the log part. It seemed to be the custom for families to live in the log houses until new, frame houses were built.  

Some of the houses, still being occupied, are partly constructed of logs. 

A current list of early residents of the locality is impossible to obtain. Some of the early ones were Bakers, Perkins, McKennas, Dillons, Shillings, Vincents, Corliss, Rev. Dix, Owen Hughes, Swansons and McCabes. 

L. R. Roter was one of the first merchants. Under date of March 3, 1887, the Colby Phonograph gives the following: Gerald Kaudy, the sign artist, completed and delivered two neat signs last week, one for L. R. Roter, leading merchant, and postmaster of Abbotsford; the other for George N. Ellofson, a merchant of the same place. 

Feb. 17, 1887, from the Colby Phonograph: The engine house and locomotive, belonging to the Central Wisconsin, were destroyed by fire at Abbotsford, Wednesday morning. The cause of the fire was not determined. 

Abbotsford has an elevation of about 1, 400 feet, and has been described by some, in the early days, as the high swamp. Before the timber was removed, puddles of water seemed to be everywhere. Girls of those days tell how they would wear rubber boots or high tops, walk through the woods to the railroad track, remove the boots, take a hand car and visit their neighbors or the next town. Older men tell how they, as boys, skated and coasted with their sleds where a creek was located at the present site of the Abbotsford Hardware store, and on down over Division Street, where Danielson’s dry cleaning establishment now stands. 

Loads of hay and wood being hauled in by farmers often tipped over right in front of the Hardware store. Later this was remedied by hauling in loads of rock and stones. The business men would often work a half day filling in soft spots in the road, west of town and in the hollow, so the farmers could get to town, as they wanted them to come to Abbotsford instead of going elsewhere.  

People used to travel to Colby and Dorchester on the road one mile west, as Highway 13 was not always in traveling condition. Settlers tell how they carried their wife and children over Krause creek north of town. No doubt, the fording of streams prompted those who named the town, Abbotsford. 

The Krause creek, Porky creek, and the Eau Pleine river seemed to fascinate the youth of that day, as that is where they learned to swim, fish and go boating. Somehow nature and human life seem to vibrate about the rivers - fishermen, bird lovers, vacationists, and others who love rivers, were drawn to them. They seem to have a pulse beat, movement, always movement, and they seem to go on forever, like the rhythm of the heart beat, finally reaching the sun. 

The Eau Pleine river, all that time or earlier, had an abundance of water, compared to its present flow, but the water disappeared along with the forest. The Eau Pleine was a river all the year around. The railroad had dams and a water pumping plant on the Frank Chris farm, which furnished water for the railroad engines. 

The Eau Pleine had sufficient water and flow to permit extensive boating. There was a boating and recreation society at Riverside. 

To show the contrast in mode of transportation, then and now, it was about 39 years ago that Rev. Calvert rode on horseback to preach at the Riverside church on Sunday, when weather and roads made other travel impossible. Carl W. Anderson writes from Sacramento, California, that he can remember that there was a brook of running water in the swale between his father’s farm and the Lindberg farm. There was water in the creek all summer long and fish, nearly a foot in length, came up this brook from the Porky and Eau Pleine rivers.  



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