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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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This article was contributed by Kay Reitberger

Plymouth Reporter - March 19, 1927

Pioneer Days In Cascade

Whiskey And The Indians - Lincoln's Visit And Overnight Stay - These And Other Historical Highlights - Silas Abers, 91. One Of Pioneers Sill Surviving


Shilling-a-gallon whiskey, Indian Pow-wows and Abe Lincoln's visit to Cascade may not mean anything to the memories of most of us, but to Silas ABERS, Dave McINTYRE and William HULEE and other pioneers of Cascade and vicinity such things are mere incidents in recollections of the "good old days."

Silas ABERS, 91 year old veteran of the Civil War, was big enough to swing an axe when the military road from Madison to Fort Howard (now Green Bay) was cut through the woods. And it was on this road in the year 1846 that Huntington LYMAN built a lodging and boarding place for the men he had at work building a dam and mill on the upper branch of the Milwaukee River. This little building still stands and is now the front section of the Fred FELBEL home in Cascade. Mr. LYMAN, with James PRESTON the "pettifog" lawyer, plotted 40 acres at about that time which is the site of the present village. The mill he built was a saw mill which later was changed into a grist and flour establishment and became known as the FOREST mills.

Fear Indians - Buy Whiskey

An incident in the old days which was funny in one way, but was a mighty serious and well planned act at the time of the Indian Scare in 1862, was the burial of about ten barrels of whiskey back of the old Lyndon hotel on the night before the much-featured raid on the "pale faces." The old Lyndon hotel, built in 1850 by Zeke EFNER and still standing as the west section of the place Tom KELLY now operates, was one of the places where women and children were sheltered from possible attack. And in the hotel there were about ten barrels of whiskey, "fire water" as the Indians called it, and it was feared that if the Indians would find and drink the whiskey they would kill many more people than otherwise. So the night before the Indians were expected a group of men dug a trench in the ground back of the Lyndon house and buried the "fire-water."

"The stuff didn't stay in the ground long, though," said William HULEE, who appreciated both humorous and serious sides of the incident. "The Indians didn't come when they were expected, so the next morning the whiskey was dug out and dragged into the cellar again."

Lincoln Stays Over Night

That Abraham LINCOLN once stayed over night at the Lyndon house in Cascade is nothing new to the old-timers in that vicinity, according to William HULEE. "I have been told by old Dave McINTYRE and other old-timers that Abe LINCOLN actually stayed over night here," he said. "LINCOLN was on his way to Madison from Fort Howard, which is now Green Bay. This happened before he became famous, of course. He was campaigning for his first term in the Presidency." Mr. HULEE emphasized the point that the report of LINCOLN stopping at Cascade was not a rumor. "I was told this a number of times by old settlers who were here at the time," he said.

Whites Go To Pow-Wow

That the present S. L. SMITH place north of the village was an Indian camp ground where feasts and pow-wows were held was told by Mr. HULEE. "Along in the early fifties the Indians had their camp grounds on this 160, and after their corn planting time they would generally have a pow-wow," he said. "They invited Ben FORD, Elisha FORD, Caleb FORD, Oliver WOOD and many of the old pioneers for a barbecue and target shoot one spring. Well, the whites didn't know what to make of this. They were more than a week in deciding that they would accept the Indians' invitation, after all. You see, they figured that perhaps the Indians were trying to get them all together for a massacre. But then, they thought if they didn't go the Indians would be insulted and would massacre them any how.

"So finally they shouldered their rifles and went anyhow," he continued. "And it turned out that they were having a wonderful time when all of a sudden something happened. One of the whites got near the soup kettle, which was getting empty - an saw in the bottom of the kettle a whole head of a deer. (The eyes were still in their sockets, etc.) Well, that turned the whites' stomachs, and as quickly and gracefully as they could they told the Indians that they had a wonderful time as their guests, thanked them, and went home. And as far as I know of the whites were never dinner guests of the red-skins after that."

Norwegians Go To Orleans

On the present site of the Mrs. Wm. RATKE home three Norwegians, David PRINDELSON and brother and brother-in-law, settled in 1848. They were expert mechanics and worked in the John C. SHADBOLT factory where hubs and spokes were made. The SHADBOLT factory, incidentally, once employed 30 men the year round, but when the panic of 1856 came along the firm couldn't get rid of its products and had to go to the ground. The young Norwegians were adventurous and fearless, and when in 1853 they heard that big pay was to be had in New Orleans building caskets for the thousands who succumbed to the ravages of yellow fever they set out for that place. Word was received in Cascade later that the PRINDELSONS got to the Gulf City, and that they got big pay - for a while; but that they, too, caught yellow fever and died.

When the Civil war came on, Cascade was a center of recruiting activity. The present KILONE hotel, built by Robert FRITZ in 1848 and the oldest hotel in the village, was the boarding places of Captain Orin ROGERS of Company I, first Wisconsin infantry and his company. He recruited across the road in the present MOLL's store building where he, too, had operated a store but failed to keep in good financial standing.

Captain John McGOWAN who owned a drug and shoe shop on the site of the present John GALLAGHER hall recruited federal troops for Company E of the 17th regiment. He raised the company and went out as its captain.

The Lyndon hotel housed the recruiting headquarters of Captain Jerome BROOKS who was head of Company G of the 36th Wisconsin infantry.

Dr. ROGERS, belonging to the "Hartford" ROGERS family, became a regimental surgeon during the war and was with "Sherman to the sea.."

Other Old Buildings

Among the buildings that figure prominently in Cascade history and which are still standing are the present telephone building and the old NOONAN and McINTOSH feed and grist mill which was run by water power farther up the river than the FOREST mill.

The telephone building, in which John DOHERTY now runs his telephone headquarters, was built in 1848 by James PRESTON, known to the old-timers as a "pettifog" lawyer. He was also a partners in the construction of the mill in '46.

The NOONAN and McINTOSH mill building still stands, but is not used.


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