Near the Banks of the Onion River

Near the Banks of the Onion River

Washburn News

November 9, 1901

At thirty-one years of age Bayfield’s Harvey Nourse was a practicing farmer at the flatland site near-to-where the “Onion” flows into Lake Superior when the following article was printed in the Washburn News and shortly thereafter in the Bayfield County Press.  Riding the Pullman” passenger car on the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway to the farm site, this reporter, [not identified] details his day trip site-visit to Mr. Nourse’s fertile 240 acre farm site positioned adjacent to the banks of the artesian fed and Brook Trout laden river. 

Says ye old Pressman; “this property is now in the high state of cultivation. Mr. Nourse has clearly demonstrated by the present condition of his farm that he is one of the most progressive agriculturists in the state and those who knew the property before he became proprietor are probably aware of what he had to contend with in order to bring it to its present excellent condition; for two seasons he lost his crop by the overflow the river. In order to obviate that, he changed the stream, which entailed a large amount of arduous labor and expense and is satisfactory to know he is now reaping the benefits of his enterprise.

The past season has been a prosperous one as a detail of the products will show. There was shipped from the farm 500, 16 quart cases of strawberries which realized a value over $800; 60 tons of hay which, including an oat crop cut when green, was harvested; 150 bushel of onions, which was an excellent crop of the best quality, the present quotation being $1.50 per bushel wholesale.

Also produced along with 100 bushels of rutabagas were 500 bushels of potatoes. Mr. Nourse has discovered in his experience in growing potatoes that the best results can be had by cultivating the White Rose or Beauty of Hebron varieties. Burbank’s are found to be late coming to maturity and ran out sooner than other grades. He also had 15,000 head of salable cabbage which realized $20 per ton. A small average of carrots, beets, squash and musk melons of an excellent quality were also raised. A good supply of sweet corn was sent to Washburn and Bayfield during the season. A wagon load of vegetables is sent to Washburn and Bayfield twice a week and finds ready sale this fall. It must be understood that there is only a small acreage of the farm under cultivation and the results accruing from Mr. Nourse’s enterprise and industry has been very satisfactory.

One of the most improved hay presses is in use on the farm which is sent throughout the county where ever its services are required. To show its capacity, not many days ago it baled for Mr. Pike of Bayfield 10 tons of hay in less than seven hours; 100 tons of hay was also put up in bale for Frank Stark in a short time. From a small acreage of Clover two crops have been cut this season and that present a fair third crop is in sight. Mr. Nourse pre-meditates in the near future to go into raising hogs on Clover and roots. He is of the opinion that pork can be grown to good advantage on Clover pasturage and will meet with satisfactory financial results. A root house was built in a ravine which is capable of storing 5000 bushels of roots. The stock on the farm consists of five horses and four cows. An icehouse is one of the farm buildings and a good stock of ice is put up for use during the berry season and otherwise.

He has let a contract for the clearing of 25 acres this fall which he purposes breaking up next spring and asserts if he is blessed with good health in the course of a few years he will have a model farm and one that will compare to any in the state. The farm is beautifully located on a living spring. Close to the buildings on Onion River, a trout stream well known to local anglers meanders through the property. Suffice it to say that those who doubt the fertility of Bayfield County soil have only to visit this farm when their doubts will be cast to the wind, and they will be convinced that agricultural pursuit in this county will be a leading feature in the future.

This history brief was written by Robert J. Nelson. Generously sharing our local history through his research and writing.