Sunday, October 10, 2010

Back when Cuba City was Western

Before Cuba City existed, this area was known by the landmark Western Hotel. The newspaper column below can be difficult to follow, but it contains some great information about the Western.

An article by "Old Timer," from the Cuba City News Herald, December 31, 1915:

An Old Settler Shows Up

A letter has been received from William H. Miller, but it would have sounded more natural if he had left the William H. off and signed it “Billy Miller.” But that seems to be a fault or custom of all of us when we get old.

53 years ago the Miller family owned and run the old Western hotel, situated on the spot where the Pascoe and Hendricks dwellings now stand. A large house and barn built by the Davies family in 1855, which for 20 years or more was one of the landmarks known by everybody from Milwaukee to Dubuque and Galena and this piece of territory then included all of America so far as we knew or cared about. The building took two years to be completed. Oak timbers a foot square for frame and all as we might say, home made, that is logs from the timbers squared on the ground by the woodman’s ax which was the most important carpenter tool of the time and any man that could handle it skillfully needed never be out of a job. No sawed timbers then.

Many times have we seen the big house, barn and even the yard filled to overflowing with the lead teamsters and the farmers from Highland, Montfort, (Pedlers’ Creek), and Mineral Point country. Everything heading for Galena and back loaded with merchandise and lumber. It was the social center, too, for 25 miles around. Dances and all kinds of home plays and us boys though we knew no more about dancing than a cow, used to steal off at night under some excuse or other and with bulging eyes and open mouth take it in and the hotel on account of its size and the first attempt ever known on the prairies to build so big an ornament. And if we knew them at all, no matter how far apart it was, in a sense, a close social or neighborly acquaintance each being called plain Tom, Dick or Harry, as the case might be.

The Davis family were the builders and landlords for a time. But hold on, we have lost the text. The Miller family consisted of the parents and five children, John, Sarah, Rebecca, Lucey and Billy. Jno. married one of the Pattersons from Georgetown. Sarah to Sanford of Georgetown way, Rebecca married DeLong of Belmont, Cottage Inn Billy enlisted in the army in 1862. The old people died soon after and the family scattered to the four winds as we say and now Billy wants to know what became of the rest of us. Says he is 73 years old, lives at Wall, S.D., farming and small store. Mentions the Reeds, Nicolas, Doyle, Bray, Banfield, Craiglow, Shoemaker, Donohoo, Faherty, O’Neill, Jenkyn, Day, Pascoe. Says, “wish I could be on the old stamping ground once more.” That there was always a warm place in his heart for his old time neighbors. To quote his own words their very names have been sacred to me.

But all I can find of his old companions is Sarah and Julia Banfield, Bridget Schroer, Art Doyle, Mrs. P.M. Donohoo, M. Banfield, Geo. Bray, John Jenkyn, Mr. & Mrs. John Stephens, Wm. Pascoe, Mrs. Goldsworthy, Harriet Stephens, A. Nicholas and they are all old and feeble. The writing of this taxes to the limit the strength of one of them, but excepting the Shoemakers the families are all represented here yet.    –Old Timer

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