Settlers and Immigrants

At Home on the Township Farm BHA 2010.06.30

At Home on the Township Farm
BHA: 2010.06.30

Settlers and Immigrants

Currie G. Bell- Editor

Bayfield County Press – Friday, February 14, 1908

[“One pleasant and notable thing on this trip is the immense tract of hemlock and cedar timber of the Wachsmuth Lumber Company, in which several thousand acres are without a dead or burned tree.  Also, in one the only tract left in this section of the county, about a million feet of standing pine.

This land lies in a splendid valley near the Bayfield Transfer Railway Companies line and next winter the woodmen with their axes will commence to slay the beautiful timber, but there will be some choice lands left for settlers when it is cut over.  A little farther along there are frequent evidences of the pioneer homesteaders who pinned their faith on a home instead of the faith $$ they got out of the lumber butchers on the final “prove up”. They, the farmers, staid and their farms, building and improvements now valuable, tell the story of grit, endurance and faith.  Bayfield Progress, July 01, 1909, W.H. Holmes- Editor-Journalist

Under the United States Homestead Law “any person 21 years of age and over, male or female, native or foreign born – married woman accepted – could obtain 160 acres of government land on payment of $18 fees and after a residence of five years on the land they can have a clear deed of it from the government. After six months residence, if it was preferred, they may get a deed on payment of $200, and no further residence will be required. Soldiers could deduct time spent in the service of the union not to exceed four from the five years”.  

A second Act of Congress, the “Pre– emption Act” stated that a person over 21 years, except a married woman, could take 160 acres of government land on payment of two dollars fees, and after residing on it for six months, For any time not exceeding three years and a half, they could get a deed on payment of $200 upon giving evidence settlement and improvement. The timber law then gave 160 acres to anyone planting one fourth of it in trees and cultivating it for eight years; 40-80 acres maybe taken. The fees were the same as for homesteading. Transcriber’ notes]

Excerpt New Wisconsin’s Offering to the Home Seeker; Bayfield County Press – Friday, February 14, 1908: “Now that the attention on the greatest number of farmers throughout the other states is being directed to the section of northern Wisconsin, the Press deems it a worthy project to assist in whatever way it can in bringing new settlers to this region.

The settler who comes to this new portion of northern Wisconsin becomes a pioneer in a much modified way. He does have the satisfaction starting at the bottom and becoming the architect of his own fortune. He has the benefit of virgin and fruitful soil. He has the enticing features of pioneering without the hardships. If he has the means, he can hire his house made of cheap lumber; if he has the means, he can build it of logs that cost nothing. A well of purist water is a matter of a few days’ work. He need not locate, if at all, off the graded road. He has not to locate farther from railway stations than he cares to. He can have his children in a nearby school during the full school year. He can locate within daily reach of the mails and need not live beyond the sound of his church bell.

In many sections he may have the service of the farmers’ telephone lines, over which he may talk with the merchant, doctor, banker or lawyer. No matter where he locates, of opportunities to go home for lands will, in the future, be of the highest value, as is always the case in a dairy country.

Having in our position numerous pamphlets relating to the advantages offered by northern Wisconsin, which have been compiled by Secretary A. D. Campbell, of the Immigration Committee, we have chosen for publication one, “Wisconsin’s offering to the home seeker,” which sets forth in clear and precise form the advantages and opportunities of this section.

Northern Wisconsin offers to figure every advantage to be found in the most favored portion of the world. If fruitful soils are wanted, they are there. If a cleared immigrant claimant desires land, there it is found. If clear, pure water is deemed a necessity, that necessity is found in all its fullness. If nearby, active markets are intended, they are to be found upon every margin of the New Wisconsin, and in all the many smaller manufacturing cities and villages that prevail at short intervals on all the lines of the railway that transverse this empire of the North. If a desirable surface is demanded, it is almost universal in that immense area of unused lands. Thus, it would appear that all of desirable natural conditions needed to make a country great in advantages and attractive to the home seeker shall prevail in the large area of which we speak. In general terms, these advantages may be expressed in the following seven lines, productive soils, invigorating climate, ample rainfall, pure, clean water, excellent drainage, manufacturers in every city or village and active nearby markets.

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