Jane Haseltine Carpenter's Reminisces
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 and poetess. 
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.
Jane Haseltine Carpenter
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 a wilderness 
inhabited by Indians and wild animals. 

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 
pocket compass they found their destination and a sawmill.  The qr section on which it was built was the only land that had been entered in the whole north half of the county. 

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 
settled, and there can never be a town at this point."  Ira replied, "If you are afraid, I will take it up and play it alone."  Accordingly soon after he bought the land and in 1851 had it surveyed and laid out into lots and blocks.  Thus by Haseltine enterprise and intrepidity were the initial steps taken toward the foundation of a city which has surpassed the ideal of its' founder. 
He immediately took the necessary steps to get the County seat located there, to which there was bitter opposition by those who had settled in the extreme southern part of the County and where the County business at that time was transacted.  Haseltine grit and perseverance won out, and the county seat at Richland Center became an assured fact.  In view of existing circumstances it 
became necessary to take up residence on the premises and accordingly a frame building for use as a court house and another for a public "hotel" was built and the Proprietor moved his family and played the roll of "mine Host".  In the month of Feb 1853, there was quite an addition of "Haseltines" to the population of that part of the county.  The family of Alden Haseltine, of six 
children and their parents, a grownup son and a daughter of his brother, Jonas.  Making ten individuals come from the old Jonas Haseltines homestead in Vermont in 1852, to Waukesha Wis, where they spent part of the winter, making the journey from there to Richland by team and wagon.  Where they arrived on day in Feb 1853 about sun down, a very tired and dirty outfit. 
The entire population (which at that time) consisted of 3 or 4 families most of them being the children of Orren was assembled at the hotel to give the newcomers gladsome greeting. This addition settled in Rockbridge and took an active part in developing the country. 

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 with 
these wholehearted people.  Next morning when armed with my certificate I started alone for a two mile walk to my school, through heavy timber, not even a path.  My only guide was blazed trees, just a chip from the bark of trees.  I found my way to one of my patrons who had a daughter a dozen years of age and a very large black dog.  After arranging that I was to board there first and was to board around.  The girl and myself accompanied by the dog, we went on to the school house which was another mile through heavy timber.  It had been built for a family.  It was of logs about 14 by 14 ft a mud and stick chimney at one end, one window but no sash.  Seats were of pucheon with legs of poles put into holes in the floor of pucheon also Desks there were none.  It was a picturesque location a clear bubling spring near the door and the stately trees made a place not wholly uninvitingand here the pioneer School flourished.  For many years the Haseltines were prominent teachers in that part of the country.  My father was not only a successful teacher in the winter schools, but held many places of public trust.  He was PostMaster for 24 consective years, at rockbridge until his death Feb 8, 1883, when L. A. Haseltine his son succeded him. 

Written by Jane Haseltine Carpenter, Sept 13th 1913.  Orient, Iowa 
She was approaching 80 years old when this was written, dying 17 January 1915 
(14 days after her 81st birthday.)

Contributed by Dorothy Appleby Turner
to Haseltines


to Rockbridge