|This is Jane Haseltine Carpenter's Reminisces written by her for the
Haseltine reunion, held in Rockbridge on 13 September 1913. She wrote
it from her home in Orient, Iowa. There are several pages, and most
are almost shredded with age. Jane was the Haseltine family's historian
Dee copied the first page in black and white, so you don't get the effect of the yellowed paper, but she wanted you to see the actual handwriting. Click here to see the first page of the original papers.
|Reminiscences of some of the Haseltine pioneers life in Richland County,
Wisconsin in 1852-1853.
To the Haseltine Clan, Greetings.
It would afford me a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction to be present
in person on this occasion, but as I cannot, I have at the solicitation
on some of my friends written some reminiscences of the pioneer life of
two of the Haseltine brothers, Orin and Alden, sons of Jonas, and their
families who settled in Richland County over sixty years ago, when it was
In the month of July 1849 Orin and his son, Ira S. arrived at Sextonville
in Richland County which is about seven miles from the present city of
Richland Center and seventeen miles from Rockbridge, which was the place
where these men were on their way, traveling on horseback and continue
their journey up the valley of Pine River. There were no roads, but
with the aid of a small
The Haseltines bought the mill, left their horses and built a raft on which they floated down the Pine River seeking to discover any water power there might be. Arriving at a point just west of where the city of Richland Center now is, they were greatly pleased with water privilege they found there, and also the prairie near by, which they thought would be a good place for a future city.
In October of this year, Orin brought his family from Black Earth, and
Ira S. brought his from Waukesha, Wisconsin, and both settled at Rockbridge.
They were self-appointed immigrant agents to encourage settlers to come
in and take up land and improve for farming purposes. They entered
considerable land chiefly for the timber. Sometime in 1850, Ira got
two of his brothers to go with him to view the water power prospective
and the site for a city near where now is the city of Richland. They
viewed the place from the hillside on the west side of the river.
After Ira had portrayed the beauties of the prairie and the value of the
water power, and the probablility that a flourishing village might be built
and which from the fact that it was the geographical center of the county,
it would become the County Seat. Ira requested his brother to buy
the land from the Government but the brother said, "Ira, you are so fanatical.
This country is so rough it cannot be
The town of Rockbridge was first organized in 1851 and the first election was held in a building owned by O. Hazeltine. The amt. of tax raised from the levy that year was twenty dollars. At an election held in Sep 1853, two yrs. after the organizations of the town and while it comprised a much larger extent of territory than now, there were only 14 votes cast. It is a forgone conclusion that they elected their best men as nearly or quite all had an office. The next annual town meet was the the house of Alden Haseltine.
The first school in Richland Center was taught by Syvia Hazeltine, the
daughter of Jonas who came with Alden. The next was by Calesta Hazeltine
grand dau. of Orren H. The first school in Rockbridge was a subscription
school the only pupils being the children of one other family beisides
the Hazeltines. The teachers were Delia, dau. of Alden, and Persis,
dau. of Orren. They taught a week about in a slab shanty. The
enterprise must have been successful as there is no record to show to the
contrary. In the spring of that year, 1853, a district was organized
in the west part of the township and your humble servant was elected teacher.
To show that progress has been made in education matters since then, I
will give you a little of my experiences in getting started with my school
at that time. Town Supt of Schools then examined prospective teachers
and issued certificates to each. The day before I was to commence
my school my father went with me on foot as there were no roads worthy
the name. Two miles to the home of the Superintendent. We found it
a log house in process of construction. There was a pucheon floor
in about half of it. On this were two pole bedstead a hole in the
roof let the smoke from the campfire out. the cooking being done
by said fire. I made known my errand and was duly examined and passed
satisfactorily. Father returned to his home and I stayed over night
Written by Jane Haseltine Carpenter, Sept 13th 1913. Orient, Iowa