The Brandon-Markesan Railroad

FOND DU LAC COUNTY
GREEN LAKE COUNTY
BRANDON
FAIRWATER
TOWN OF MACKFORD
TOWN OF GREEN LAKE

BRANDON-MARKESAN RAILROAD  |  GREEN LAKE COUNTY DEMOCRAT, 1881-84 BRANDON TIMES, 1882

THE GREEN LAKE COUNTY DEMOCRAT, 1881-84
Editors: S. D. Goodell (1881-84), David C. Gawdey (1884-85)


The following articles related to the Brandon-Markesan railroad spur line appeared in the Democrat between December, 1881, and December, 1884, and illustrate the impact of a railroad on a largely agricultural community late in the nineteenth century. Articles have been selected primarily for their railroad news content, but additional articles have also been included that clearly relate to railroad-dependent businesses. Copies of the Democrat are available on microfilm through the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, film numbers P72-3157 (1879-80), P69-2343 (1880-82), P72-3158 (1882-83), and P72-1216 (1884-85). A single issue of the Markesan Herald for 1883 (March 7) survives on film P72-3158, and it has been included here.


DECEMBER 22, 1881

     Hold on, here, you fellows, who are blowing so much about granite quarries in your respective towns, hear us talk. Markesan is never behind the times on granite or anything else. There is an extensive ledge of rock a short distance east of this village, which has been examined by experts, and pronounced fully equal to any granite quarry in the country. There is a strong probability that a company will soon be formed to open up the hidden treasure. If enough can be sold to make it an object the St. Paul folks will lay a railroad track right over here, and the chances for the enterprise are favorable if the right course is pursued. Bring along the giant powder and blow old Pine Bluff open once, just for luck. This is no humbug, but gospel truth, every word of it.

 

 NOVEMBER 23, 1882

     A very formidable document was on Monday served upon President Densmoor and Secretary Barter of the M. & B. R'y Company, and upon Town Clerk Atkinson, and also the Saturday previous upon W. I. Sherwood, in the shape of an injunction to prevent the delivery of our town bonds to the R. R. Company on completion of the road. The complaint is based upon the ground that there was no notice given to the people that a petition for aid would be circulated for signatures. If we read correctly they allege that the clerk did not even post up notices. The plaintiffs are A. Willard, Ira Davids, E. Lovejoy, Clarence Shayler, H. Graham, George and Henry Gilmore, all residents of this town. Col. Turner of Ripon and Chas. Shepard of Fond du Lac are the attorneys, and the injunction was issued by Judge Gilson, of Fond du Lac. The defendents have twenty days in which to make their answer.
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     Frank Norcross' buildings at old Mackford are now all moved out of the railroad right-of-way.
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     The railroad paymaster was here Saturday night, and paid off the men for last month. A large amount was dealt out to the workmen.

 

NOVEMBER 30, 1882

     Some important changes were made last Saturday, in the Markesan & Brandon railway company. Five of the old directors--viz: S. W. Smith, L. B. Phelps, C. N. Holbrook, S. W. Mather, and S. D. Goodell, retired from the board of directors, and Alexander Mitchell, S. S. Merrill, John W. Carey, L. B. Rock and P. M. Myer, of the St. Paul Co., were elected to fill vacancy. This makes the B. & M. a pretty solid institutions.

 

DECEMBER 14, 1882

Injunction Dissolved!
RAILROAD SUIT AT AN END
Work to be Resumed at Once, And Pushed to an Early Completion
THE SITUATION

     It will be remembered that some weeks ago Ira D. Davids et al procured an injunction restraining the delivery of the town bonds to the R. R. Company, on completion of the road according to contract, on the ground that the vote was taken without a legal notice being given. The suit commenced, of course, caused the tracklaying to be suspended until it was decided. Neighboring papers and towns, who rather see almost anything else [sic] than see Markesan get a railroad, have made a big blow about it, claiming that it would never be built, and so on. The Brandon Times even had it built around us entirely, and had Markesan fixed forever. However, their howl was for naught.
     The attorney of the road, Mr. John W. Cary, of Milwaukee, put in an answer, and made a motion for the dissolution of the injunction. It was argued last Wednesday and Thursday, and on Monday last, the following dispatch from the Court to Mr. Cary, tells the decision of the question: "Injunction dissolved. Three days to appeal. Bail bond at $5000." On Tuesday W. W. D. Turner, attorney for Davids & Co., sent the following to Mr. Cary: The plaintiffs will not appeal on the injunction suit."
     So thus ends the great war of Davids & Co. against the railroad company, though it is quite possible that the company will now commence a suit against them for damages.
     As to the completion of the road, it is only a matter of a few days if the weather will permit. The company have asked the town Boards to give them a short extension of time, as the 1st of January is near at hand. They agree, however, to commence work immediately and get here as soon as it is possible. The Town Boards of Mackford and Green Lake met yesterday and extended the time until June 30th, but with the express understanding that the track will be laid to Markesan at once. So we are now just as sure of the road as we are to live, and don't you forget it.
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     All is well that ends well. Now, boys, let's bury the hatchet, and go on and enjoy the benefits and blessings of our railroad just as if there had never been any injunction suits or bad feelings.
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     A Fairwater correspondent writes to the Commonwealth that Densmore has shipped a hundred carloads of granite over the new railroad. He must have counted the cars through Hilderbrand's window.
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     The Ripon Commonwealth says "The Markesan branch road seems to be a source of constant affliction." If the editor had added the words "to Ripon" his item would have been more complete. The Ripon and Brandon papers have had a hard time over the Markesan railroad. But keep up good courage, boys, the road will soon be here, and then you can take breath.

 

DECEMBER 21, 1882

     It would now be in order for Short to look over the back numbers of the Times [Brandon Times], and get together and republish all of the smart things and slurs he has published about "that Markesan railroad" since last spring. It may amuse him still, and it will do no more harm this time than it did the first.
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      One day lately there were 90 loads of hogs and grain from this vicinity hauled to Brandon, which made a big day for that village. We imagine it is the last time they will ever see such a crowd there from this section.
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     Tuesday was a bad day, and many did not turn out to the railroad bee, who would if the weather had been good, though about 10 teams and a good crowd of men were on hand, and the ties were distributed about one mile on the grade. There will be another bee next Wednesday, for the same purpose. By that time the iron will be laid as far as Mackford, and if a good crowd takes hold that day, the iron can certainly be laid into the village next week. Try it once more.
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     The new elevator will be erected as soon as possible after the road reaches here, but in the meantime many of our heavy farmers propose to commence shipping their produce at once, loading into cars. They cannot think of waiting for a building to be put up. A large amount of grain, &c., will be shipped by rail from Markesan in the month of January. Mr. Peacock will no doubt be on hand to buy, as soon as he can ship, which will be in a few days.
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     Every farmer within a radius of ten miles of Markesan, are cordially invited to haul his farm products to Markesan.
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     We saw a new time table just issued by the St. Paul Company, containing the Markesan branch, with two trains a day each way. That will be business.
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     Before the new year begins, Markesan will be a railroad town. Do you realize the fact?

 

JANUARY 4, 1883

Markesan is Now a Railroad Town
CARRY THE NEWS!

     On Friday, December 29th, 1882, the first regular train of cars was run into Markesan. To outsiders this may seem unimportant, but to the people of Markesan and surrounding country, it is a great achievement, not only for Markesan, but for the entire southern part of Green Lake county. It is what they have been laboring and striving for these many years, and the event is hailed with delight by all. The many difficulties we have had to overcome and the troubles and vexations which have stood in the way, all serve now to make the coming of the iron horse to our village the more welcome. Markesan has several time, [sic] as was supposed, almost secured a road, but until now something has happened to prevent the fulfillment of her wishes.
     Less than one year ago the key note of this last and successful effort was sounded. It was at the time when nearly every town in the country was excited over granite quarries. The attention of Jas. Densmoor was attracted to the now famous Pine Bluff quarry. With him, to think is to act, and in a few days he was the owner of an interest in the bluff. He had specimens got out and polished, and some time in March last a good good sized railroad boom was in progress, with Markesan as the objective point, and Densmoor's granite quarry as the strong point in its favor. A force of men was put to work in the quarry and the products were shipped to Chicago, where it was pronounced the best in the country, and a market was readily found for all the paving blocks that could be got out. This was brought to the attention of the St. Paul railroad company, and in a short time an arrangement was made for the construction of a railroad from Brandon to Markesan. The road was built, and is now in operation, in less than a year from the time the agitation was commenced. It has taken a large amount of work and a good deal of expense to individuals to bring it about. Mr. Densmoor is entitled to much credit for his efforts in that direction, he having been in a position to do more than any other one man. But there are a good many more of our citizens who have ably seconded him, and did very much to get us our road.
     As a business point and a thriving town, Markesan has a bright future before her. Isolated as she has always been from all markets she has held her own, and has always been one of the best points for trade in the country. Now, with railroad facilities, and a good market for all products of the farm, she is bound to increase her business very materially. Located in the very heart of the finest farming and stock-raising countries that the sun ever shone on, it must be one of the most important shipping points in this part of the State. A large elevator, with the most approved machinery for handling and cleaning grain, will be in operation long before another crop is harvested. Stock yards will be built in a short time, and one lumber yard, (and perhaps two) will be started at once.
     The coming spring and summer will witness many improvements in what is already here, and a good many new business enterprises will be started. Real estate is changing hands considerably already, and several new buildings have been erected, and more are getting ready to build as soon as spring opens. There is a chance here for good live business men, and such are cordially invited to come and settle with us.
     To the farming interests of this section, the road is of incalculable benefit. The work of marketing can be done at half the expense formerly required, just as good prices can be realized, and farmers can buy their goods, lumber, &c., nearer home, and just as cheap. Then, aside from the profit, the convenience of living in or near a live railroad town, must be apparent to all.
     Come and live with us, and help us build up the best town in the country, and come to our
Grand Celebration To-Morrow!
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     The bonds of the town of Mackford and Green Lake were turned over to the St. Paul Company last Friday. A demand was also made for the Manchester bonds, and if they are not forthcoming there is liable to be music in the air in the near future.
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     Mr. McMillan, a heavy lumber dealer at Oshkosh, was looking over our town last Thursday, with a view of putting in a lumber yard here. Abercrombie & Yorty, of Brandon, also contemplate opening a yard here. Come on, gentlemen, there is plenty of room for you.
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     Short speaks of the "gush and bombast" in the Democrat, on the railroad question. You bet, Martin, we have gushed, and we propose to keep right on gushing, as long as we can keep truth on our side. You can designate that "sensible man" you refer to, to examine our files, and if he can find anything in them that says Markesan did not want a road, and would not have one, we are mistaken. Send along your s. m. Bro. Short.
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     Station Agent Hart says that the freight rates to and from Markesan station will be just the same as Brandon, Berlin, Waupun, or Randolph. That's good enough, and explodes the pet argument of croakers.
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     At the head of the local column today will be found the official time table of this branch of the St. Paul Road. This give us connections with the evening train going north, and the afternoon train to Milwaukee.
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     The Democrat does not claim to have done anything toward securing the railroad, but it does claim this: That an item in these columns, on the 22d of last December, in relation to Pine Bluff, and its rich store of granite, was the means of starting, or at least hastening the commencement of operations there, which has done more than any other one thing to secure a railroad to Markesan.
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     Men are at work putting in the turn table.
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     Come and take a ride over the M. & B. railroad to-morrow.
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     Fred Olds and Will Green were passengers on the incoming train Monday.
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     Liveryman Jackson will run a free bus to-morrow between Main St. and the cars.
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     Billy Lewington was the proud purchaser of the first ticket over the Markesan branch.
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     Wanted--To know how many times a day Charley Lambert and Geo. Dart go to the railroad.
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     Frank Wilson, of Ripon, came in on the train Monday to eat a New Years dinner in his old home.
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     The Democrat has never said a word against Brandon, nor any of her people in any shape or manner.
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     A party of our young people went over to Brandon on the train Monday to attend the New Years Ball there.
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     Bro. Short of the Brandon Times, was in town last Friday, having come over on the first train. Mr. Stevens and several other Brandon gentlemen also came over.
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     The man who is to run Markesan Station arrived yesterday, and is ready for business. It is Mr. C. B. Hart, of Ripon, a life-long railroad man, who is well known to many of our people, having for a long time run the N. W. Depot at Ripon and Princeton. Markesan is fortunate in securing so good a citizen.

 

JANUARY 11, 1883

THE CELEBRATION

     The whole theme and object of our people since last spring has been the building of a railroad to our town. The pathway has been rough since the organization of our local company, disappointments at almost every turn.--Each new difficulty would soon be overcome and the chasm bridged over, and the work would proceed again. when the road was almost completed an injunction was served upon the officers of our local company, and the work had to be abandoned for twelve days or more. The complainants in the case liked railroads, but wanted someone else to build them. It seemed more like jealousy of our little burgh and its future prospects than anything else; but they were beaten on their every point, and by a Judge too of their own choice. After the injunction was dissolved the road was rushed through to completion within the time stipulated, and two or three days to space.--When the last spike was driven our people became enthusiastic. Bells were rung, guns were fired, and there was music in the air. Thereupon a day for the celebration was fixed for Jan. 5th.
     On the evening before the celebration our elated expectations were prefaced by a snow storm and everything was blue indeed for us. But on the morning of the 5th the clouds broke away and it became quite pleasant.--Our village soon filled up with the anxious people of the surrounding country. Through the kindness of the St. Paul people an excursion train of 4 coaches was put on the road, and everyone, friend or foe, was invited to ride free.
     After the excursion, the town was crowded all day, with our own people and from neighboring towns. Everything passed off pleasantly, and not a row or disturbance of any kind during the entire day and night.
     The evening exercises at the hall consisted of speeches and music, and a grand love feast was held. The speeches were good in the main, but a good deal of gush and taffy was spread on. The music by the Arion band was fine, and gave entire satisfaction. The banquet opened, and was participated in by 97 couples. The varied and beautiful costumes of the ladies was one of the crowning features of the evening. The dance and supper were under the auspices of our band. The boys made ample provisions for all that came, and had plenty left.
     After all of our summer, autumn and winters' [sic] work we have a railroad at our door, but not even a caboose or a flat car on the line. The inclemency of the weather and the bad condition of the track are the reasons given for the non operation of the road until spring.
     One of the pleasing features of the celebration was the presentation to Jas. Densmoor of a beautifully upholstered reclining chair, and a heavy gold headed cane; appropriately inscribed, the two costing $90. The fund was raised by his friends in this vicinity. The formal presentation was made by Hon. David Whitton, in a neat little speech. After a few remarks of a general character, Mr. Whitton said:
     "Mr. President, I would thank you to order Mr. Densmoor before the court. Mr. Densmoor, I have in conclusion a few words to say to you which affords me much pleasure. You have been selected as one who has perhaps done more than any other, in aiding in securing the means, and in the final completing of the road to this place. And it has been thought by some of your friends befitting at this time, and upon this occasion, to present you with a slight token of their esteem, for the personal effort, the power and influence used, the self sacrifice made, and your never failing energy in the starting and final completion of this great undertaking, which event we meet here to-day to celebrate. This beautiful cane and easy chair have been selected as the reward of true merit. May they be a support and a comfort to you in your declining years. And, now, on behalf of the donors, I have the pleasure of presenting to you these beautiful gifts, not for their intrinsic value or excellence of design, but as momentos which will remind you of this occasion. We hope you will accept them in the same friendly spirit in which they are given, and may this day ever dwell as a green spot in thy memory.
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     Supt. Utley and wife, of Milwaukee, attended the celebration and banquet Friday.
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     The venerable Capt. Mapes of Ripon, was present and made a short speech at the celebration.
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     The railroad track, in is present condition, is unsafe for business, therefore no more regular trains will be run until spring, when the road can be ballasted and buildings can be put up to do business. It seems a little bit tough, but it is the only thing that could be done under the circumstances. But the road is here, just the same, and will be operated as soon as spring opens.

 

JANUARY 11, 1883

     Not much work being done at the quarry.
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     General Freight Agent Bird, of the St. Paul Road, has issued a circular giving notice of the following new stations: Northern Division--Utley and Markesan; Council Bluffs Division--Dunnville, Downsville, Menomonee and Cedar Falls. Utley, on the Northern Division, was so-called in honor of Charles Utley, assistant superintendent of that division.
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     There is a good deal said in the papers about their being a bloody fight in Markesan on the day of the railroad celebration. The report has not the shadow of truth in it.

 

MARCH 7, 1883 (MARKESAN HERALD, VOL II, NUMBER 4)

     Markesan has, for thirty years, been trying to get a railroad. Roads have been surveyed, and a road was even graded to this place, but to no avail, and the majority of the citizens had given up ever trying to get a railroad; with railroads so near on the north, east, and south, people had come to the conclusion that we were too near the other railroads but there were a few men who could not rest until the iron horse came roaring into our beautiful village and that when this should come to pass Markesan would climb to the top of the ladder and leave Brandon and Manchester in the lurch. In 1881 the question of granite quarries was being agitated and James Densmoor thinking that Pine Bluff might be of value, inspected it, had it tested cut and polished, and it proved to be far superior for various purposes than many of the granite quarries of this State. The next thing was to form a company to buy and work the quarry but men of money were yet suspicious as to the value of the stone and many discouraging remarks were made, but to no avail, Mr. James Densmoor purchased one half of the Rock. Many thought it a poor investment, there being no R. R. to the Quarry, and that all the stone shipped would have to be hauled to Brandon, a distance of 7 or 8 miles, but this did not stop the proprietor. Forty or fifty men were put to work, a blacksmith shop and a fine boarding house built, and stone was quarried, hauled to Brandon and shipped to Chicago. The next thing to do was to get a railroad. This was a great undertaking that had puzzled the citizens of Markesan for 30 years. A delegation was sent to the officers of the North Western and St. Paul Roads to interview them in regard to building a railroad to Markesan. And this huge pile of granite was shown to them to be an endless amount of freight. The St. Paul Co. gave them some encouragement, and in the meantime, carload after carload of this granite stared them in the face as it passed on its way to Chicago, but to go into detail would take more space than we are allowed to occupy, but you all know the trials and disappointments; the bright prospects one day, and the gloomy aspects another; of the opposition that met us in our own town, of the squibs in the Brandon Times and the cold water thrown on by the Ripon papers but the ring of the drills and the thundering roar of the blast in Pine Bluff Granite Quarry kept on, and the officials of the R. R. Co. saw that the proprietor of the quarry meant business and the road was built and completed Dec. 28, a day long to be remembered by the citizens of this place, and on the fifth of January our people celebrated. And oh, such a celebration! The St. Paul Co. sent five coaches up here and gave the citizens of this place a free ride to the famed village that was going to stop Markesan having a railroad. About 200 took advantage of this offer, not so much to see Brandon as to see the new road. When we got there the people of Brandon met us at the depot and knowing it to be a FREE ride, and supposing that another trip would be made during the day, got on and filled the vacant seats and many stood in the aisles, all going to see the famous village so much talked of; as soon as they had all got nicely settled, a brakeman came through the cars and shouted that the train would not make another trip that day, but would stay in Markesan until the next day. What a stampede of Brandon folks. We did not know what was the matter and thinking that something had broke down of that our train was to be telescoped, we ventured to ask what was the matter, and one of the men who sat in front of us said that if the train wasn't coming back until the next day they couldn’t go because the expenses for lodging would be above their means. But some not hearing the brakeman kept their seats and enjoyed the pleasure of seeing Markesan. They stood around until they thought it about time for the train to start back and then wended their way down to the depot and found to their horror that the train was not going back until the next day. What was they to do? [sic] They could not stay, so they hired a team to take them back to their familiar spot.
     In the evening several speeches were made, and a fine chair and cane were presented to Mr. Jas. Densmoor, the man who had done so much to get a railroad to this place. The celebration closed with a dance. Markesan was no longer destitute of a railroad. And in conclusion, we will say that so far there has been no apparent willingness on the part of the citizens generally to encourage attempts at establishing manufactories of any kind. It is very greatly to be hoped that a more enlightened sense of self-interest will now prevail and make this the business center of Green Lake County.

 

APRIL 12, 1883

     The section men were working on the depot grounds yesterday.
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     The gravel train is at work on Drager's marsh, this side of the quarry. They will soon be here.
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     We hear that Station Agent Hart has rented, and will live in Densmoor's "mill house," and that conductor Mansur and family will board for the present, at Densmoor's.
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     It is said that the depot at Brandon is so full of goods for Markesan that the agent has been obliged to secure storeroom elsewhere and have them moved. Fairness on the part of the railroad company, it seems to us here, would be for them to send a train over here, instead of obliging our merchants to pay for extra storage and drayage there. Those goods were mostly ordered on the assurance that the cars would be running here by April 1st.
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     There has been a new firm recently organized in Markesan, which is already doing a rushing business. It is composed of Geo. Dart, Dell. Green and Frank Knox, and their business is excavating. They have been digging a cellar for Phil Bloedel this week. If the railroad is extended this season, our people may look out for some big work by this firm. They will probably hire about one more man, and do the grading from here to Kingston. They are ready to dig anything, from a cellar to a canal.

 

APRIL 26, 1883

     The cars have been in every day this week, and a good deal of freight has been brought over. They promise to commence regular trains next Monday.
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     Station Agent Hart is here, ready for business. At present he is using a caboose for a depot. The ground was staked out Monday for the depot, which will be put up at once. It will be 24x65 feet.
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     The mail route from here to Kingston will be a good paying route in the future. We are reliably informed that the business men of Kingston are ready to give all their freight to the contractor as soon as their goods can be shipped by rail to Markesan.

 

MAY 24, 1883

HASH

     Our village has shown considerable activity the past week--The lumber market has been quite lively, fending being in the greatest demand.--There is considerable wheat coming in and will be much more after corn planting--The railroad company have their turntable in and the depot will soon be up. The material is all on the ground, and framed. The material also came Saturday evening for the engine house, which will be 24x65--The stock yards are nearly ready for use. A side track is being run to them, also to the lumber yard--Agent Hart keeps on sale brick, lime, plastering hair, salt, land plaster, &c.--Will Kempton has bought a lot from Wm. Paddock for $250, and will put up a good house right away. He has let the contract to W. R. Brown. It is the next lot north of where Mr. Paddock's house burned, and a very desirable location--Contractor Knapp of Brandon, is at work on the frame for Frank Knox's new building--Work is progressing on Phil. Bloedell's new house--Davids has his agricultural warehouse filled with farm machinery of all kinds--The telephone line is now open for business, Markesan office located in the Democrat office--The drug stores refuse to take out license at $50--The saloons are willing to contribute $400 to the pauper fund of Mackford, and would give more if the statutes did not expressly forbid it--Conductor Mansur and engineer John Lyon would each like to rent comfortable houses to live in here. Why don't some one erect some cottages here for rent or sale?--Mail agent Wilder thinks Marquette should be supplied with mail from this point instead of Ripon--Utley, the granite city, is to have a post-office, with Jas. Densmoor as P. M.--Densmoor has 45 men at work in his quarry and is shipping from three to five carloads a day. He is putting up two large additions to his boarding house, which will give him ample room--The Sherwoods are putting up a monster three story boarding house. They expect to work one hundred men this season--A depot will be put up at Utley as soon as the buildings here are completed. We understand there will be a small store and a lumber yard there--The business men and farmers in this vicinity contemplate an excursion to Berlin about the 1st of June, if satisfactory arrangements can be made with the railroad company.
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     On and after June 5th the mail for this place will be carried on the cars.
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     Green will turn over the mail business to the railroad company on the 6th of June.
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     Mrs. Millard was a passenger on the outgoing train Tuesday morning, for Milwaukee.
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     A delegation of Germans arrived on Saturday evening's train, fresh from the Faderland.
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     The train has been late every night this week, caused by trains being delayed on the main line.
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     Two cases of fresh strawberries by this evening's express at J. A. Pratt's.
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     Two car loads of wheat and one of oats were purchased and delivered at the depot yesterday. Business is rushing.
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     Among the passengers on Monday morning's train, we note Homer Wheelock, of Marquette, for Beattrice, Neb., Mrs. Swift and daughter Birdie, for Neb., Merrett Day, for Springfield, Da., [sic] Mrs. Wm. Bazeley, of Green Lake, for LuVerne, Minn., and Rev. Scherbel and Ed. Loebel, of Manchester, for Milwaukee.

 

JUNE 7, 1883

     The frame is up for the depot and freight house.
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     Even if they did not need a railroad, they find it mighty handy just the same, and they come here too.
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     Green has no orders from the government to quit, consequently he must keep making his regular trips until the 1st of July.
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     There is a small bridge just this side of Henry Cortz's [sic] place, on the quarry road, that ought to be fixed, before the town is called upon to pay damages to somebody.
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     W. K. Smith, of Kingston, took the train here Monday morning, for Circleville, Ohio. He goes in response to a telegram from his daughter Nettie, informing him that her little son lay at the point of death.
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     Station Agent Hart has found it necessary to have an assistant at the depot, and C. H. Lambert is the lucky man who has been appointed. This is a good job for Charley, and the Democrat predicts he will make the Company a good man. He commenced his new duties Tuesday.
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     No more caboose business for the Markesan branch, if you please. The company has put on this line a good passenger coach, and Mansur is happy as a clam. He didn't have room to expand his lungs in that little red concern. Our railroad facilities are all O. K., and the road is doing a good business.

 

JUNE 21, 1883

     Smith & Edwards shipped another car load of hogs yesterday.
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     A carload of telephone poles at the depot for the Marquette line.
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     The passenger coach is pretty well filled every morning and evening.
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     Hubbard has the new sidewalk from the depot completed up nearly to Higgin's corner. It is a good substantial walk, and a credit to the village.
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     Crowley, the nightwatchman, received a pressing invitation the latter part of last week, to report at headquarters and receive his "time." Young French now takes care of the engine nights.
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     The Waupun Times of last week gave the Markesan people who went to attend the circus a little fling--comparing them with a flock of sheep, and intimating that they never traveled on the cars before. Now see here, Brother Hooker, we had all seen cars before. It was simply a difference in the custom of the two places. Our people are free and untrammeled, and "get there Eli" every time, when they start. At Waupun, they are different. It is not to be expected that when a fellow is attended by one or two officers, and had hand-cuffs and foot shackles on, that he will move very fast, especially when he reflects on where he is going. That being the kind of people who most frequently get off the cars there, it is no wonder the Times man thought Markesan people were crazy. We sincerely hope our brother pencil pusher suffered no great inconvenience from the rudeness of our people.

 

JUNE 28, 1883

R. R. EXCURSION

     The people of Markesan and surrounding towns will take a railroad excursion to Berlin next Wednesday, the Fourth. The train will start from Markesan depot at 7 a. m., and return at 7.15 in the evening. Tickets for the round trip only $1.50, good until the 6th. Come on, everybody!
     The Berlin people have secured Library Hall for the use of our people during the day, free of charge, a good chance for those who wish to picnic. This will be a pleasant trip, and Berlin people will do their best to make it all right there.
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     Sam. Smith shipped a carload of hogs to Chicago Tuesday.

 

JULY 19, 1883

     Hart now holds forth in the new depot.
-----
     Supt. Utley has been in town all the week. Rock was here Tuesday.
-----
     There is now a very strong probability that the Northwestern road will be extended west from Princeton to Valley Junction. The surveyors are now at work at the west end of the proposed new route. It will be a rainy day for Princeton when that road goes on.

 

JULY 26, 1883

     The elevator machinery is now being put in, and it will be ready for business in a short time.
-----
     Monona Lake Assembly at Madison, Wis., July 24th to Aug. 6th. One and one-fifth fare for the round trip via C. M. & St. Paul R'y.

 

AUGUST 23, 1883

     Stock is now shipped from this station nearly every day.
-----
     W. K. Smith, of Kingston, took the train here yesterday.
-----
     Some Chicago parties are anxious to lease Densmoor's quarry. They offer him ten dollars for every car load, and agree to get out at least one car a day. The offer includes the use of his buildings. This seems to be a splendid offer but Jim says he can do better by running it himself.

 

SEPTEMBER 6, 1883

     Will. Milligan holds forth at the elevator.
-----
     Grain has commenced pouring into the Markesan elevator.
-----
     Mrs. Frank Knox to the train for Appleton, Tuesday morning.
-----
     Dr. Manley took the train Tuesday morning for Milwaukee, to attend the meeting of the State Medical Society.
-----
     Conductor Mansur is taking a few days lay-off. Several days ago he fell from a flat car, at the stock yard, and broke one of his ribs, which causes him to use the cane.

 

SEPTEMBER 13, 1883

FRIGHTFUL ACCIDENT

     On Monday evening of this week, as the Markesan passenger train was rushing along at a high rate of speed, just east of Utley, engineer Lyon discovered a man laying [sic] on the track, with his head on the rail. It being on a curve he did not see him in time to stop the train before it struck him. The pilot of the engine caught him and lifting him from the track threw him into the ditch. The train was backed up and the unfortunate man taken on board and brought to Markesan. After taking him on a stretcher up to the hotel, Dr. Manley was summoned to attend him. An examination showed a frightful cut on the head, one on the back of the neck, and another across his chin, besides numerous bruises about the body. His wounds were properly cared for, and he made as comfortable as circumstances would permit. [sic] On Tuesday morning he was much better, both in mind and body, and gave the following account of himself:
     His name is Mike Cavanaugh, and lives over near Rosendale. He had lately been at work in the granite Quarry at Utley. He says the last he remembers is, that some time Monday forenoon he was at Fairwater. He got a bottle filled with liquor, and with a companion, started for the quarry, on foot. Thinks he has a faint recollection of their sitting down under a tree and taking a drink from the bottle. From that time all was blank to him until the doctor was sewing up his wounds, in the hotel sample room. President Paddock sat up and carred for him during the night.
     Appearances indicate that Mike was on a big "toot" that day, and started for home on the railroad track , with the above result. What clothes he had left on him were wet, and he had probably been wandering around in the marsh. It came very near being his last spree, and it is a great wonder that he was not killed outright.
-----
     Agent Hart has been on the sick list the past week, and has spent most of the time at home. Frank Randall of Brandon and C.H. Lambert are running the business at the depot.
-----
     The St. Paul Company have been discharging a very large number of their men lately. The order was general on all their divisions, and wherever a man could possibly be spared, he has to go.

 

SEPTEMBER 20, 1883

     A good new bridge has been built across the creek near the depot.
-----
     Mansur is again on deck.
-----
     L. J. Brayton brought passengers to the Monday morning train.
-----
     Miss Estella Harmon took the train Monday morning for her home at Kasson, Minn.
-----
     A whole car of kerosene was received by our merchants last week. Let there be light.
-----
     C. B. Wheelock of Marquette took the train here Monday morning, for the city markets.
-----
     The two quarrymen who came so near death's door last week, are both able to be out again. Cavanaugh, the one who was ditched by the locomotive is walking around town, but he is not yet ready to try the experiment again. McGeuch, the one who was gashed in the fight at Fairwater, is recovering, and will be all right in a few days. Ohmen, the man who did the stabbing, was sent to Fond du Lac jail in default of $500 bail, to await trial at the circuit court.

 

OCTOBER 4, 1883

     Jas. Densmoor and family will soon become residents of Markesan again, we are glad to say.
-----
     Tuesday was quite a day at the stock yards. Seven car loads of stock of all kinds were shipped from this station Tuesday.

 

OCTOBER 18, 1883

     Our buyers are shipping a large number of hogs these days.

 

OCTOBER 25, 1883

     Tuesday and Wednesday were lively days at the stock yards.
-----
     Tuesday evening's train brought in another lot of German emigrants.
-----
     We hear that the Sherwoods have shut down work at the quarry for a couple of weeks.
-----
     Jack Hammond of Fox Lake shipped several car-loads of stock from this station yesterday.
-----
     Seven car-loads of stock, mostly hogs, were shipped from here yesterday. O! no, the Markesan market don't amount to anything.
-----
     Frank Hoyt and another young man from Peabody, Kansas, have been here this week buying up all the sheep they can get, to take to Kansas.
-----
     A. J. Hammond will buy stock for shipping, during the season, at Markesan and Fox Lake, and pay the highest market price. G. W. Dart is agent at this place.

 

NOVEMBER 8, 1883

     Jim. Millard bought, in two days 65,000 pounds of pork.
-----
     Sam and Ned Smith shipped five car loads of hogs Tuesday.
-----
     Eleven carloads of stock were pulled out from Markesan station Tuesday afternoon.
-----
     The roadway in front of the depot ought to be leveled down, before any more accidents occur there.
-----
     Jack Hammond shipped two and Millard & Edwards shipped two car loads of stock Tuesday from here, and Ash of Brandon is taking in hogs here to-day.
-----
     Mrs. Hull's mother, who we mentioned last week as being thrown from a buggy near the depot one night last week, is still confined to the house, and was hurt worse than at first supposed.

 

NOVEMBER 29, 1883

     Tuesday and Wednesday were hog days again.
-----
     Ministers in this vicinity, who desire half fare tickets over the St. Paul road, will please call on Station Agent Washburn before Dec. 10th.

 

DECEMBER 6, 1883

     The hog trade has been lively again this week.

 

DECEMBER 13, 1883

     Thanks to station agent Washburn for the St. Paul company's new map.
-----
     A new express and mail car and a new engine is what makes our railroad boys happy.
-----
     E. G. Boynton, the wide-awake merchant and postmaster of Kingston, took the Markesan train for Milwaukee Monday morning.

 

DECEMBER 20, 1883

     Six or eight carloads of stock shipped from here again this week.
-----
     There is a rumor that Densmoor has sold his granite quarry to the Sherwoods.
-----
     Agent Washburn is the first to supply us with a calendar for 1884. It is issued by the St. Paul Railway Company, and is a beauty.
-----
     Densmoor was in Chicago the fore part of the week. We believe the quarry will be opened up again soon.

 

JANUARY 10, 1884

     Oman is the man who stabbed a fellow quarry man at Fairwater last fall, during a drunken brawl in Hilderbrand's saloon. Judge Gilson, of Fond du Lac, has released upon his own recognizance, Michael Oman, who has been held since last September on a charge of assault with intent to kill. The case is a peculiar one. Oman, who is a Finlander, cannot be tried for the reason, that he does not speak English and that no one can be found who can converse with him in his own language. During the months he has been in jail he has learned to say "tobacco" and "matches."
-----
     The report that Mr. Densmoor had sold his quarry to the Sherwoods proves to have been incorrect.
-----
     We know last Friday was a cold day, for we rode to Milwaukee in the cars, and shivered all the way.

 

JANUARY 31, 1884

     James Densmoor has sold out his granite quarry, buildings, &c., to a company of capitalists in Chicago. We believe the Sherwoods are members of the new firm, and the two quarries will be consolidated and worked on a big scale. It is understood that Mr. Densmoor has realized a handsome profit on his investment.

 

FEBRUARY 7, 1884

     James Densmoor deeded his Pine Bluff interest to Judge Caton, of Chicago, for $8500, cash down. Judge Caton is reported to be worth $5,000,000. He has formed a stock company, with other capitalists, and will run the Pine Bluff Quarry for all it is worth the coming season. The company will put in two steam crushers this summer, whereby all of the refuse chips will be utilized and shipped to Chicago. Since the opening of the quarry, there had been 700 car loads of paving blocks shipped up to this last fall, for which the St. Paul R. R. Co. received $21 per car making the sum of $14,700 freight.
-----
     About this time of the year our rail-road boys are on the watch for heavy snows. It is hoped they will not see enough to block the trains this season.
-----
     Johnny Abercrombie and wife were in town Monday morning. They drove over from Manchester just in time to miss the morning train.

 

FEBRUARY 14, 1884

     Work is to commence immediately at putting up the monster crusher at the quarry. It is expected that the machinery will arrive the latter part of this week. One of the Chicago men was out last Saturday and located the place for the crusher, engine house, etc. Old Pine Bluff will be a busy place as soon as spring opens.
-----
     We hear that the Sherwoods will open a big store at Utley soon.

 

FEBRUARY 21, 1884

     Land is decreasing in value, all on account of the railroad. On Monday Jas. Densmoor deeded to the railroad company a strip of land nearly two miles long and one hundred feet wide for a consideration of one dollar.
-----
     The stone crusher to be erected at Utley is to be quite an extensive affair, the cost of which will be $20,000, and have a capacity of crushing 8 carloads of rock per day.
-----
     Some of our farmers are buying corn by the car load in Chicago and Iowa.
-----
     If you want a carload of good sound corn from Iowa, call on Washburn at the depot.

 

MARCH 20, 1884

     Another installment of German emigrants fresh from the old country arrived on the train Tuesday night, bound for Kingston.
-----
     Engineer John Lyon, who has run the Markesan train since the road was built, has been transferred onto the main line, and his brother takes his place on this run. Markesan is sorry to lose Johnny and his estimable wife.
-----
     Four double cottages will be built at Utley this spring. Horace Brown, of Brandon, has the contract. The Times says he secured the contract against sharp competition from Ripon and Markesan. W. R. Brown, of Markesan, says all the competition he had from here was the fact that Sherwood asked for his (W. R's.) bid, but none was made, as he already has all he can do without them.
-----
     John Laper has gone in with O. P. Reed, and will again try the granite business at Utley.
-----
     John Abercrombie was a passenger on the handcar to Markesan Tuesday.

 

MARCH 27, 1884

     Geo. Sherwood's daughter arrived on the train last night from Michigan.
-----
     The train was an hour late Monday evening.
-----
     John Abercrombie went from here to Brandon on a "tie pass" Monday night.
-----
     Ash of Brandon shipped a car-load of sheep and hogs from this station yesterday.
-----
     The railroad boys had the engine off turn-table Saturday night. No damage however.

 

APRIL 17, 1884

UTLEY
The Improvements Going On--The Paving Block Business--The Giant Crusher.--Holmes Haberdashery, &c.

     On Friday of last week, in company with a large delegation from this village, the Democrat scribe visited the famous Utley granite quarries. Many changes and improvements have been and are still being made.
     At the present time there are two different firms engaged in the paving block business, with Chicago for a market. The main firm is composed of a stock company of Chicago capitalists and J. D. and W. C. Sherwood, who possess all necessary capital to carry on the business on a large scale, and work is just now fairly commencing. In addition to the large force at work on the paving, the company are putting in a steam crusher, to work up the refuse stone into macadam, also to be used on the streets of Chicago. This machine is a monster, both in size and strength. It weighs twenty-two tons, and has sufficient power in its huge jaws to crush a boulder a foot through and three feet long into pieces the size of a walnut. A large engine house has been erected , in which are placed two large steam boilers and a 100-horse power engine, which, with the aid of a mammoth fly wheel ten feet in diameter and weighing 3,500, furnishes the power for running the crusher, and other machinery. The gentlemanly superintendent, whose name we have forgotten, informed the scribe that when they got ready for business they would crush about seven or eight carloads every ten hours. Also that all the stone would be got to the crusher with steam power, by means of tramways and cars, running from any desired point on the ledge; and that after the crushing process the macadam would be conveyed to the cares for shipment, by the same process. The work of quarrying will also be greatly facilitated by the use of steam. Pipes will be run from the building to different points on the bluff, and all the drilling for blasts, will be done by machinery. The blocks, when finished, will also be spouted and carried to the railroad. All this immense amount of stone will be thus handled by machinery, without the necessity of teaming or heavy lifting, thereby saving to the company a vast amount of time and money. The crusher will be started about the middle of next month.
     Laper & Reed are operating on the east end of the ledge. They are at present working about 25 men, which force will be doubled in a short time. They made their first shipment on Monday, and have a contract for all the blocks they can get out.
     Quite a good deal will be done this season at Utley, in the way of building. Contracts are already let for six cottages, and more will follow. The buildings already there are filled to overflowing. The large hotel building formerly occupied by Mr. Densmoor, is now used as sleeping rooms for the men, above, while a part of the lower story is being fitted up for a general supply store, to be managed by Charlie Evans.
     The main building or headquarters of the place is the fine large hotel put up last season by the Sherwoods, and which is run by Mr. Asa Holmes, nephew to our townsman of that name. At this hotel there are now something over eighty regular boarders. Everything in and about the establishment looks neat and in the best of order. That the boys are good feeders is attested by the fact that last Friday they got away with an even hundred pounds of fresh fish for dinner. In the rear of this hotel a neat little building is nearly finished which will be occupied by Knox & Green, as a meat market. There are three or four smaller boarding houses, and quite a number of the men who have families, live in small houses.
     Utley has a post office, and an effort is being made, with a good show of success, to have a public school. The railroad company is putting in more side tracks, and will immediately build a depot and locate an agent there. That little square building out on the field south of the bluff is innocent and safe enough, but it is just as well to keep away, unless you have business. It is where the giant powder is stored, which is used for blasting.
     The number of men now employed in the quarry is about 160 to 175. The paving cutters and drillers are nearly all Scotchmen and Welchmen--we believe the Scotch predominating. All over the bluff can be heard the ringing of hammers, mingled with the rich Scotch brogue, songs and jokes of the men. We saw the boarders file into the supper room at Holmes' hostelry, and never before have we seen a finer, healthier, or we might add, happier looking lot of men together, anywhere. May continued health, prosperity and happiness be the portion of every one of them.
-----
     Utley is to have a new depot immediately, and a station agent located there. It is also understood that a telegraph line will be put up on this branch, right away.
-----
     Fairwater has been made a flag station on this branch of the St. Paul road. Conductor Mansur informs the Democrat that he has received orders to stop there to take on or let off passengers.
-----
     Caton, Sherwood & Co. of Utley, received 14 tons of merchandise by last evening train, for their store.
-----
     The first two weeks of this month the passenger tickets sold at the Markesan depot, were a little over $200.
-----
     Supts. Rock and Utley, and several other officials, were over to Markesan on a special train last Thursday.

 

MAY 1, 1884

UTLEY ITEMS

     The pay roll of the Granite Co. is $6000 a month.
     The foundation for the new depot is laid and it will soon be up.
     We are informed by the superintendent that the crusher will commence operation next week.
     Utley has offered the Wisconsin Telephone Co. $350 to build a line either from Brandon, Ripon or Markesan, to Utley, they prefer Markesan.
     Eleven car loads of paving blocks were shipped last Friday. This is the largest shipment made since the opening of the quarry. They intend to ship about eight carloads a day.
     The Granite Company are constructing an elevated platform between the crusher and the main track, which requires 200,000 feet of lumber and timber. Two side tracks run under the platform, and the rock when crushed is elevated by cups and emptied into a screen, and emptied from that into dump cars, and conveyed to the platform, and emptied down through into the car.
-----
     Dr. Dustin a former practitioner of Markesan, but now of Alexandria Dakota, came in on the Wednesday evening train last week, and has been busy shaking hands with his many friends in Markesan and vicinity, he left for his home last Monday morning.
-----
     Five car loads of freight arrived at Markesan on last Wednesday's train. D. D. Williams and Davis Bros. were the merchants that received most of the goods.
-----
     Trains on the C. M. & St. Paul railway on the northern division and after Monday April 28th go into effect as follows: No. 3 will leave Milwaukee at 7:00 A.M., instead of 6:30 A. M. as now, arriving at Fond du Lac at 11:50 A. M.: Oshkosh \, 1:20 PM. No. 1 will leave Milwaukee at 2:45 P. M. instead of 3:30 P. M. as now, and arrive at Fond du Lac at 6:40 P. M.; Oshkosh 7:05 P. M. No. 2 will arrive at 11:30 A. M. as at present. No. 4 will arrive at 6:30 P. M. instead of 7:55 P. M. as now. On the Markesan and Brandon branch trains arrive at 6:30 P. M. and depart at 7:30 A. M.
-----
     Rev. Enoch Perry took the Monday morning train for Milwaukee where he expects to meet his wife, who sailed about ten days ago on the steam-ship Chicago from Liverpool.
-----
     Chas. Perry is building a bridge across the river near the depot.
-----
     Smith & Dart shipped another car load of hogs last Thursday and are buying for another car this week.

 

MAY 29, 1884

     The C. M. & St. Paul R. R. will sell excursion tickets from Markesan for the Theodore Thomas Musical Festival at Milwaukee for $4.80 for the round trip, including tickets for festival. Tickets will be sold June 13th & 14th, return coupons good until June 16th.
R. J. WASHBURN, AGENT
-----
     The excursion, to Utley last Friday were a great success. [sic] The train from Brandon unloaded about 150 passengers at the rock, and about the same number went from here in the afternoon, making Old Pine Bluff livelier than ever before. Everything passed off perfectly harmonious and pleasant and no one we believe had reason to regret being present. The band and a few others went home with the Brandon people and returned on the regular evening train. Dave Whitton of Brandon, is to blame for the whole business.
-----
     Last Sunday all the men and engines on the northern Division of the St. Paul road were ordered out to change the Fond du Lac narrow gauge to a standard gauge, and that little road is now a part of the St. Paul system and regular trains are running.
-----
     J. W. Cawley and family, of Kingston, took the train here Tuesday morning for Richmond, Virginia. Those Kingston fellows seem to have the Virginia fever bad.
-----
     Mrs. Allen Hunter of Birnamwood, Shawano county, is visiting at her old home in Kingston. John Crooker met her at the train here Tuesday evening.
-----
     L. J. Brayton of Marquette took the train here Tuesday morning for Milwaukee.
-----
     Conductor Mansur is the boss man to handle an excursion party.
-----
     Utley will have both telephone and telegraph communication with the outside world, in a short time.
-----
     Mr. McDuffie, Supt. of Am. Express agencies, and the auditor of the St. Paul road, were in town Tuesday night.
-----
     Elmore Boynton and Charley Chapel of Kingston came over Friday and joined the excursion party to Utley.

 

Note: S. D. Goodell's last issue of the Democrat was July 17.
David C. Gawdey "resurrected" the paper and began publishing
on September 10, 1884.

 

OCTOBER 8, 1884

     Auditor Hayden of the St. Paul Railway was here over night on Friday.
-----
     Wm. Smith, of Fox Lake, shipped 195 hogs from here last Friday--three car loads.
-----
     J. L. Millard went to Chicago yesterday with three car loads of hogs.

 

DECEMBER 3, 1884

     NOTICE--Clergymen desiring half fare permits over C. M. & St. P. Ry. for 1885 will please call at my office on or before Dec. 10th and make application for same. R. J. Washburn, agt.
-----
     The St. Paul Railroad company is covering the stock yards here for the protection of hogs and cattle in bad weather, a valuable improvement.

BRANDON-MARKESAN RAILROAD  |  GREEN LAKE COUNTY DEMOCRAT, 1881-84 BRANDON TIMES, 1882

Last updated 6/27/1999

This site represents an ongoing project to document the history of Green Lake and Fond du Lac counties. If you have information to share, please contact Bob Schuster by email at rmschust@facstaff.wisc.edu or at 6020 Kristi Circle, Monona, Wisconsin 53716 (608) 221-1421.