NEGROS OF EARLY CLARK CO, WI
(Title not meant to be offensive, preferred term “Black” like other colors such as Brown, White, Green, etc is the surname of many. When used in a Goggle search it results in unwanted references)
Sources: Clark Co., WI web site census and other posted genealogical records compiled by Sharon Short from the many “History Buff” contributors and transcribers
1855 WI State Census, Clark Co, Pine Valley: “...Robert Scott (also has 2 Colored Males and 3 Colored Females in household), John Merphy (also has 1 Colored Male and 5 Colored Females in household)....” POPULATION 153 MALES 69 FEMALES 2 COLORED MALES 8 COLORED FEMALES 232 TOTAL POPULATION This census was taken before Clark County was divided into multiple townships. It consisted of only 2 pages and one Township, Pine Valley. The state census only lists the names of heads of households, and only those households of “Free Inhabitants”.
1860 US census, Clark Co, Pine Valley township: “...Scott, Robert head White Married 3 children born 3 children living born Canada Farmer real estate 400 personal estate 150....” Pine Valley-Free inhabitants of the town of Pine Valley (then embracing the present towns of Hewett, Lynn, Grant, the south third of Mentor and all of Pine Valley, except Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6) enumerated by W. C. Tompkins, assistant marshal, June and July, 1860. There were no population totals or “coloreds” listed in this census, but assume that the same “colored” listed in the 1855 census were still members of the Scott household. There is no listing for John “Merphy” or Murphy on the 1860 census and no further Clark Co record found on the Robert Scott family.
1895 WI State Census, heads of household: Hewett township has Albert McLane “1 colored Male”; Warner township has E. J. Lewis, 2 white male, 3 white female, 1 colored male (error in this listing, should have read 1 black male, 1 white female, the others mulatto.) Thorp Village has 2 colored males in the totals but they are not identified by name.
1930 US Census, Butler twnshp Clark Co, WI: 44 11 11 Greer, Edward Head O Yes M W 31 M 24 No Yes Missouri Missouri Missouri 66 Yes Farmer Dairy Farm O Yes No 8 44 45 Mary Wife F neg 36 M 29 No Yes Missouri Missouri Missouri 66 Yes None 45 46 Hunter, Chester Cousin M neg 43 S No Yes Missouri Missouri Missouri 66 Yes Laborer Dairy Farm W Yes Yes WW 46 47 12 12 Jefferson, Theodore Head O M neg 25 M 24 No Yes Missouri Kansas Kansas 66 Yes Laborer Odd Jobs W Yes No 47 48 Verbena Wife F neg 19 M 18 No Yes Iowa
Verbena, wife of Theodore Jefferson, was the daughter of Wlm and Verbena nee Washington Reasby. Nothing further found on Chester Hunter listed above.
1956 Clark County, Wisconsin Directory: Greer E. J. (address) Thorp 3 Butler (township, section) 22
Butler township Cemetery: Edward J. Greer 1898 – 1965; wife Mary Ann 1895 – 1951
1930 US Census, Butler twnshp Clark Co, WI: 66 15 15 Reasby, N. L. Head O 100 R Yes M neg 41 M 19 No Yes Iowa Virginia Virginia 65 yes Farmer Dairy Farm O Yes No 10 66 67 R. Vervina Wife F neg 40 M 18 No Yes Virginia Virginia Virginia 74 Yes None 67 68 Loyd Son M neg 20 S No Yes Iowa Iowa Virginia 65 Yes Laborer Dairy Farm W Yes No 68 69 Toussaint Son M neg 17 S No Yes Iowa Iowa Virginia 65 Yes Laborer Dairy Farm NP Yes 69 70 Hellen Daugh F neg 15 S No Yes Iowa Iowa Virginia 65 Yes None 70 71 Clarence Son M neg 9 S Yes Wisconsin Iowa Virginia 63 None 71 72 Elden Son M neg 7 S Yes Wisconsin Iowa Virginia 63 None 72 73 Ruth Daugh F neg 6 S No Wisconsin Iowa Virginia 63 None 73 74 Noble Son M neg 3 S No Wisconsin Iowa Virginia 63 None 74 75 Edward Son M neg 1 S No Wisconsin Iowa Virginia 63 None 75
Schools: The Reasby children, who lived ¾ mile away, attended Fernwald school located in Worden Township sec 5 per 1926 and 1936 plat maps. V. B. Reasby listed as “clerk of school” 1930-1935. Birth dates listed on the 1935 school census for the Reasby children: Verbena 20 April 1911; Toussaint 11 Nov 1912; Helen 23 Sept 1914; Clarence 18 Aug 1920; Eldon 21 June 1922; Ruth 5 April 1924; Noble 30 April 1926; Edward 24 April 1928; Naomi 1932. See Fernwald school photos. The c1920 photo (poor quality) of Butlerville school appears to have several black students, possibly Reasby children first attended that school.
1926: Mr & Mrs F.L. Reesby had a son on Thursday. Thorp Courier (probably Noble Reasby)
Roster of WWII Soldiers for Clark Co, Wisc: Reasby, Noble Mason Wood National Cemetery 1926 1983 T/5 US Army
Butler township plat maps: 1920 Wm Reosley and Wm Washington, sec 8; 1926 Wlm Reasby sec 8; 1936 Wm Reasby sec 8 and sec17.
REASBY, Verbena nee Washington (26 Sept 1889 – 4 Jan 1936)
Mrs. Wm. L. Reasby, nee Verbena Washington, passed away at her home in the Town of Butler at 9:30 p.m., after a lingering illness of heart disease and complication, at the age of 46 years, four months and two days. The deceased was born in Stanton, Virginia, Sept. 26, 1889, moving with her family to Buxton, Ia. in the year 1904, where she was married on June 23rd, 1908 to Wm. L. Reasby. They moved to their present home, south of Stanley in the year 1923. Mrs. Reasby was the mother of ten children, and of whom with her husband, survive as follows: Lloyd, Toussaint, Clarence, Eldon, Ruth, Noble, Edward, Naomi, Verbena (Mrs. Theo. Jefferson), all of Stanley; Helen (Mrs. McKinley Ransom) of Milwaukee. She is also survived by three grandchildren, Corrine and Theodore Jefferson Jr., and McKinley Ransom Jr., four sisters, Mrs. Mary Morris of Muskegon Heights, Mich., Mrs. Leona Prentice of East Chicago, Indiana, Mrs. Ruth Wright and Mrs. Hazel Dixon of Des Moines, Ia.; two brothers, Booker Washington of Knoxville, Ia, and Alious Washington of Lovilla, Ia. Mrs. Reasby was a good Christian wife and mother and is sadly missed by her family and friends. The funeral services were held at the home and at the Butler School House. Elders Henry Gereau (see following) of Withee, and Charles Kiser (no info found) of Pleasant Valley officiated. Out of town attendants were: Mr. and Mrs. McKinley Ransom and Lawrence Ransom of Milwaukee; Mrs. Ruth Wright of Des Moines, Ia.; Mr. and Mrs. Henry Gereau and family, and Mr. and Mrs. Faud and family of Withee; Miss Valerie Roth of Augusta, Wm. Krueger and H. Id of Fall Creek; Mr. and Mrs. Taylor and family and Mrs. Mary Christopher of Augusta. Interment was made at the Butler Cemetery.
2 JUL 1939: “...united in marriage ...by Rev. H.W. Gereau, father of the bride, in the Holy Universal Church of Jesus at Maplehurst....” Maplehurst community located in Taylor Co, just over the Clark Co line, no further info on this church.
April 23, 1882: “...Last Sabbath we had the first dark sermon ever delivered in Greenwood, or rather, the first sermon ever delivered by a colored divine. It was in Schofield’s hall to a respectful audience....” Greenwood – April 23, 1882 and Neillsville Times 2 May 1882
“...A few years later, Nelson Marsh, a brother of Levi, joined the settlers. His first few years here were devoted to clearing land enough to support a large family. Then he joined the army and served for several months. Just before receiving his discharge he became ill and was hospitalized. He returned home in August 1865, unable to do any more hard labor. So he left the farm work to his sons and devoted his time to the development of the community. He helped establish the post office at Maple Works... Mr. Marsh became the first postmaster and held that position until the service there was discontinued in 1890. The comfortable farm home was enlarged so as to accommodate the new settlers, land buyers and surveyors coming here after the close of the Civil war. Mr. Marsh served as town chairman for many years and as justice of the peace for 30 years, a job very much to his liking, as he was called upon to officiate at all the weddings...Mrs. Marsh was a very likeable woman and the Marsh home became like a community center. Another feature of the Marsh home was the addition of a Negro, by the name of Carter Warring, or Warren, who served as a handy man around the place. Being the first colored man in this part of the country, he was a curiosity to most of the settlers... This Negro was a deeply religious man. He prayed daily that he might become white. When he last visited here about 1927-28, he was white, a phenomenon which, he claimed, was wrought by prayer....” The Story of Granton, Name of Maple Works
August 1898: “...Carter Warring has a crew of men at work remodeling the building occupied, until recently by O. P. Wells (Orrin Philip Wells 1838-1919). He is placing his laundry machinery in position. The machines are being over-hauled and put in first class shape. He will have the plant in operation some time next week....” Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI
T.F. Ploof, of this city (Neillsville, Clark Co), and Miss Anna M. Staatz, of Fairchild, were married at Hotel Gladstone in Augusta Dec. 20, 1898. They have taken up their residence in this city, the groom being employed in the Carter Warring's Laundry. There was a Troubadore Ploof who served in the Spanish American war of 1898. He was described as age 29, dark complexion, gray eyes, dark brown hair, 5’ 7 ¼” tall.
The O. K. Cash Steam Laundry was on the corner of 6th St. and Grand Avenue, facing Grand Avenue. Dr. Monk, owned the building, H. W. Kirby was proprietor of the business. Photo of unknown date caption
March 1899: “...Carter Warring has sold his steam laundry to R. F. Ploof and H. W. Kirby. Mr. Ploof has been working for Carter for several months. Mr. Kirby comes here from Humbird. Both men we understand are competent laundry men and the plant will be run in first-class shape. Carter expects to remain in the city at least for a time....” The Clark Republican and Press
“...Albert McLain was an interesting character in the early days. He was a young colored man from southern Illinois. In addition to the small farm he worked in the sawmill. He was a very pleasant man and helpful to those in need. When Dad had broken ribs McLain went out into the woods, with snow waist deep to get the pine knots for firewood. Every morning he came to thaw out the frozen pump. He had also done many good deeds for others too. When he left Columbia he married and settled in the state of Idaho....” Recollections of Columbia, Wisconsin by Mabel Schlender Jonkel Note: There is a photo of Albert Mclain in this “recollection”.
1895 Clark Co, WI census, Town of Hewett: “...Albert McLane....” (heads of family, no reference as to race)
“...Curtiss has in later years sometimes jokingly been called "Boon-town." It was in existence before Owen was founded, and was considerably larger in population than it is today. Among it’s approximately 350 to 400 people there was a barber, milliner, doctor, dentist, butcher, hotel proprietor, two telephone operators, blacksmith, shoemaker, livery and dray man, O & N Lumber Company, restaurant, opera house, paint shop, garage, slaughterhouse, and a dance hall. A library was located in what is now the village hall. The first librarian was Tom Wilson, a colored man who was also a mason....” History of Curtis
February 11, 1886: “...Mrs. R. Wilson, (colored), of Augusta, is in town visiting with “Niger Dick’s” family and other friends. Mrs. W. is a professional singer....” The Clark Republican and Press “THINGS AT THORP”
There were many Wilson’s in Clark Co, several “Tom”, but they are listed as white. The 1930 US Census for Butler township has a Thomas B. Wilson, age 64, white, widower first married at age 32, born in Illinois. Listed with his daughter Ethel Richard, age 25 and her son William age 4, both born in Minnesota. They listed are near the Greer and Reasby families but nothing in their bios connects to the Wilson family.
“...Henry Myers (Longwood sec 29) has been engaged nearly all summer, at odd times, in the endeavor to subdue the too ardent spirits of a very fine young horse belonging to Harry Mead, of Longwood. He has succeeded so well that he could throw a hat under him and try other tests without his offering to run away, as had been his wont. Last Saturday he turned him over to Harry under the belief that he had got the run all out of him, but his owner had hardly got hold of the lines when he started. Harry hung to him and run him into a fence corner and stopped him. Myers’ colored horseman, Dab (not listed on Longwood twnshp census), then took the team (for he was hitched with another horse,) in hand, with the same success that Harry had met, but with what came near being more serious results. He ran up Main street to the post office where he ran into the sidewalk and was stopped by losing his footing, falling with his nose nearly touching little Clara Ferguson who stood upon the walk, and who would have been trampled down had the horse taken one more jump. It was little short of a Providential escape....” The Clark Republican and Press Date: 8-22-1879
February 1897: A letter from Henry H. Christian, the colored boy employed in this office for several years during the eighties informs us of his recent marriage. Thorp Courier Old Items published 18 Feb 1998
April 4, 1895: “...Married, at the Douglas house in this village, on Monday evening, March 25 by Geo. Burke, P. J., Miss Alice Tenney and Melvin E. Weaver. The groom is a colored gentlemen while the bride is white, and this is the first marriage of the kind ever performed here....” The Clark Republican and Press “THORP COURIER Items”
Nothing further found on the Henry H. Christian or the Melvin E. Weaver families.
LEWIS, Emanuel family
1895 census, head of family: E. J. Lewis
1905 #126 Lewis, Emanuel Head Blk M 44 M Alabama Virginia Farmer 8 O M F Julia Wife W- F 41 M Wisconsin NY/Virginia House Keeper Reed Daughter Mulatto F 15 S Wisconsin Wis/Alabama Ray Son Mulatto M 13 S Wisconsin Wis/Alabama Ruth Daughter Mulatto F 11 S Wisconsin Wis/Alabama Casker Son Mulatto M 9 S Wisconsin Wis/Alabama Price Son Mulatto M 8 S Wisconsin Wis/Alabama Foss Son Mulatto M 10/12 S Wisconsin Wis/Alabama Nate Son Mulatto M 10/12 S Wisconsin Wis/Alabama
1906 sec 21, 22 no residence Ed Lewis (Emmanuel Lewis?)
“Emanuel Lewis was Julia Markham's first husband. Apparently, N. H. Withee brought Emanuel back with him upon returning from the Civil War. At that time, Emanuel was only 5 or 6 yrs. old. Together, he and Julia raised and adopted a relative's two sons, Ross (Foss) & Nate (twins born 1904). We've been told these two boys were challenged, but were able to work as laborers on area farms. On the 1905 Census, Emanuel was 44, born in Alabama, of natives of Virginia and his occupation was farmer.”
EMANUEL JONES LEWIS, a lumberman of Hemlock, was born in Uniontown, Alabama, May 10, 1861, the son of Rev. George and Patsy (Burges) Lewis. The father was a native of Richmond, Virginia, and was for twenty years a minister of the gospel in the Methodist Episcopal Church in Alabama. The parents had ten children, viz: Henry, Lucy, Matthew, Samuel, Emanuel, Dovie, Manasses, Georgia, Fleming and Rebecca. Emanuel J., the subject of this sketch, came to Lewis Valley, Wisc, near La Crosse, with a Mr. Bradbent, when in his sixth year. He soon afterward went to live with Colonel A. Wood, (should be Col. Withee) of that locality, and remained with him over twenty years, having been engaged in teaming mostly. He began working in the pineries eight years ago, and now takes contracts in taking logs to the river for other parties. Mr. Lewis was married May 8, 1889, to Julia Markham, who was born in Sauk Co Wis, Aug 9, 1865, the daughter of Morris Markham. They have one child, Mollie Reed, born July 30, 1890. Both Mr. and Mrs. Lewis are members of the Presbyterian Church. 1891 HISTORY OF CLARK & JACKSON CO.
LEWIS, Emmanuel James (10 May 1861 – 11 Feb 1928)
Emanuel J. Lewis was born in Uniontown, Alabama, May 10, 1861, the son of George and Patsy Lewis. His father was a native of Richmond, Virginia. He came to Lewis Valley, near La Crosse, Wis., when in his sixth year. He soon after went to live with Col. A. Withee in that locality, with whom he made his home for more than 20 years. When a boy he came with Mr. Withee to this part of the state and at an early age he entered the woods as a logger and lumberman, following that business for about 21 years. He has lived on his farm in the Town of Warner about 30 years, where he passed away in death Feb. 11, 1928, after an illness of short duration. He was united in marriage to Miss Julia Markam May 8, 1889. Eleven children were born to this union, six of them preceding him in death, they being LaRettie (Lorelta May born/died 18 Aug 1900), Rulah (Beulah born 30 June 1901, died 22 July 1901), Lena (born 14 Sept 1906, died 18 June 1909), Price (Elmer Price 23 Aug 1898 – 26 Oct 1920), Lottie (born 23 June 1890, died 25 April 1923) and one infant (no info). Those who are left to mourn his loss are his wife, two daughters, Reid (Mollie Reed born 30 July 1890) and Ruth and three sons, Roy, Casper and Foss and one adopted son Nate (buried Riverside, 1904 – 1977, no other info). Funeral services were held from the Methodist Church. The body was laid to rest in the Greenwood Cemetery (buried near children). [Note that the 1905 census listed Foss and Nate as 10 months old twins. For possible photo of Emmanuel Lewis and perhaps his son Price see “Warner/business/Severson Maple Syrup”]
“Julia (daughter of John Markham) married Emanuel Lewis and since his death married Charles Churkey and lives near Owen” (per Varney) “...At 4:00 o’clock Julia had to leave us, to get home near Owen for chore time and at 5:00 the others departed, expressing the thought that the day would long be retained in the memory of each one....” Varney birthday party April 1937
Greenwood cemetery: Julia Markham Lewis Churkey, born 9 Aug 1864, died 12 Nov 1949; listed as married to Charles Churkey, Jr. (born 1916, died 1988). Think this should be married to Charles Churkey, Sr. (born 1881, died 1971).
LEWIS, George Leroy (17 Sept 1891 – 1 Dec 1945)
Funeral services for George Lewis, 54, who died (of throat cancer) at Hines Memorial Hospital, Hines, Ill., Dec. 1, 1945, were held in Greenwood at the Schiller Funeral Home, and interment was made in Greenwood Cemetery. The Henry D. Wallis Post of the American Legion, Greenwood, had charge of the military rites at the grave. Pallbearers were John Zimmer, John Arends, W. C. Steiger, Adolph Schwarze, Theodore Hines, and Hubert Kuehn. George Leroy Lewis, son of the late Emanuel Lewis and Mrs. Charles Churkey, was born in the Town of Warner Sept 17, 1891, his parents living on a farm 3 1/2 miles northwest of Greenwood. After completing rural school he was employed in this community until entering the Army in World War I. In 1920 he was married to Nellie Ferguson, who resides in Appleton. Also surviving are four children, Mrs. Lillian Pumpa and Robert Lewis of Appleton, Lucia of Chicago, and Loise of the U.S. Navy; his mother, Mrs. Charles Churkey, Owen two brothers, Casper and Foss Lewis, Chicago and a sister, Mrs. Ruth Strassburg, Manawa. His father and two sisters, (Molly, born 1890) Reed and Lottie, preceded him in death.
LEWIS, Elmer Price (23 Aug 1898 – 26 Oct 1920)
Price Lewis, son of Mr. and Mrs. E.J. Lewis, residing northwest Greenwood suddenly passed away in death at the Carl Jorenby home, for whom he was working, Oct. 26, 1920. Price had been in the best of health and the day before his death had enjoyed a little boxing contest with a neighbor. The remains were taken to the home of his parents yesterday from where they will be laid to rest. (Buried Greenwood cemetery, not married, WW1 vet)
LEWIS, Lerelta May (18 Aug 1900 – 18 Aug 1900)
“In the Hemlock notes will be noticed the death of an infant child of E.J. Lewis. The child was taken sick Saturday morning and died that evening.” Gleaner 8-24-1900
1934: “Born to Mr. and Mrs. Foss Lewis Saturday, September 29, a baby girl.” Greenwood Gleaner [Foss Lewis, b. 1904, d. 1977, buried Riverside Cemetery]
KLU KLUX KLAN
KLU KLUX KLAN of Clark Co: Bertha J. Cramblit, wife of William Cramblit, died at her home in Owen June 26, 1926. She was fifty-one years of age (b. 1873) and had been a resident of the city for more than twelve years (c1914). Funeral services were held from the home, Rev. Sigglekow of Withee officiating, after which the Klu Klux Klan took charge of the body and held their services, burial took place in Riverside Cemetery. Many Klan members from Greenwood and Loyal were present at the funeral to pay their last sad rites.
Martha E. Downer Finn (1873-1926) was born at Eden, Fayette Co., Iowa. She was united in marriage to Mr. Joseph T. Finn on Dec. 30, 1911. In the fall of 1914 (same time as Bertha Cramblit) they came to Owen where they have since resided. She was a true and trusted member of the local unit of the women of the Ku Klux Klan, and will be greatly missed by that order. Funeral services were held from the home of Mr. and Mrs. H. E. Reigel, Rev. W.W. Woodward of Waupaca (church?) officiating, assisted by Rev. Chas. Sigglekow and Rev. Lela Oakberg (of which church? Lelah wife of Gus Oakberg, moved to Davenport, IA by 1933), with interment in the Riverside Cemetery. The funeral was conducted under the auspices of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan with robed clansmen acting as pallbearers. Joseph Finn (1864 – 17 SEP 1930), a former resident of the town of Hoard died in Minnesota. Services were held from the home of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Rei? (probably Reigel) with Rev. Sigglekow of Withee officiating. Interment took place in the Riverside Cemetery.
Siggelkow, Charles (22 JUL 1863 – 14 OCT 1937) Charles Siggelkow was born July 22, 1863 at Baraboo where he lived on a farm with his parents. He at one time held the public offices of school treasurer and assessor. For 37 years he was pastor of the Free Methodist Church (where? not on CC Methodist, “Free” or otherwise, list of pastors), the past 17 years he has devoted to farming (1930 Hixon twnshp census has Charles Siggelkow as “farmer”), only on various occasion did he do church work in recent years (1925-1930 various obits have Charles Siggelkow as the pastor but no church mentioned, except for “Rural Union Chapel”, a Nazarene church in or near Owen). He at one time served as pastor of the Gospel Mission here (No such church found in CC, probably means he participated in the camp meetings that were popular in the late 1880 & 90’s). He served, in his most recent appointment, as pastor of the Free Methodist Church at Richland Center. The Rev. Walter Kendall of Chetek (of which church?) officiated at the service and burial was made in Riverside Cemetery. (No relationship between Rev. Siggelkow and the Klan was found other than his presiding over Klan member’s burials at the cemetery.)
It is interesting to note that Clark Co was not immune to those settlers who espoused Klu Klux Klan beliefs. No evidence was found that the mixed marriages suffered any harassment from Klan members. Also interesting is that no established church presided over the burial of the three known Klan members. (Pastors are named but they are not accorded association to any church in the deceased’s obits.)
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