Rollins, John (History - 1869)


Janet Schwarze





----Source: 1918 History of Clark County, Wisconsin

JOHN ROLLINS, who is engaged in operating a good farm in Section 9, Fremont Township, is a native of Wisconsin, having been born in Adams County, Jan. 25 1869, son of John and Josephine (Pishon) Rollins. The father, John, Sr., was a son of Anthony and Abigail (Herd) Rollins, Anthony being a native of Vermont, and his wife of Scotland. John Rollins father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Barton, Vt., Aug. 25, 1813. His youth days were spent Mostly in Burlington, that state, where he at tended school. In those days the forests in New England had not been greatly utilized, and the lumber industry was becoming important. John Rollins, Sr., became connected with this work and subsequently followed it in Maine, where he was foreman of a gang in the woods. While residing in Maine he was married, April 28, 1845, to Josephine Pishon, a daughter of Isaiah H. and Abigail (Knowlton) Pishon. The original form of her family name was De Pishon, or De Pichon. Her father was born in Augusta, Maine, Dec. 13, 1809, and her mother, Abigail, in Vassadunkey, Maine, Jan. 19, 1808. Her own birth took place April 12, 1828. Isaiah Pishon, who was a lumberman by occupation, removed from his native state to Michigan, where he followed lumbering for a number of years and where his death occurred. His wife died in Adams County, Wis. Their children were Angeline, Charlotte, Mary, Sarah, Isaac, Jefferson and Josephine. After his marriage John Rollins, Sr., and his wife, Josephine, continued to reside in Maine for ten years or more, or until about 1856.


They came West to Wisconsin, locating at Quincy, Adams County, were he became connected with a lumber company and, having a good education, was employed as compass man and timber estimator. There he and his family remained until they came to Clark County, in 1870. Their first winter in this county was spent on the north bank of Yellow River. In the following April, Mr. Rollins located on a tract of eighty acres in Section 9, Fremont Township, the lumber company giving him a life lease of the land for his services. Here he had to begin under pioneer conditions, as the land was wild, there were no roads and Indians were numerous in the vicinity. The nearest neighbors were about nine miles away, and their market was first at Necedah and later at Nasonville. The first summer they got an ox team and a cow, so had two of the most important requisites of a pioneer. The distance to Necedah was about 100 miles by the river road. That long distance they had to drive with the ox team and a jumper--a rude sled used by the pioneers in place of a wagon, which latter few, if any of the early settlers had nor, indeed, would it have been easy, if possible, to drive a wagon through the woods. It used to take them a month or six weeks to make this trip.


In the winter Mr. Rollins worked in the woods and in the summer was engaged in clearing his land. His first residence was a bark shanty afterwards he built a good-sized log house, 16 by 40 feet in size, and still later he hewed pine for a log house, 20 by 30 feet. The first year he and his family ground wheat in their coffee mill, using the coarse flour thus obtained to make bread. He and his family lived on very friendly terms with the Indians, his sons going hunting with them, and they would often spend the night in his cabin, sleeping on the floor. When any of the family were sick the red men would cheerfully volunteer their services to help in any way possible. Here John Rollins, Sr., resided until his death in 1881, at the age of 67 years. He was one of the most prominent settlers in that part of the county and, being able to make land surveys, was employed to run the lines for the roads of Fremont Township.


He and his family attended the Methodist Church. His wife, who is still living, has now reached the venerable age of 89 years, and resides with her son, John, the subject of this memoir. Their children were as follows: Amanda, born in Maine, March 24, 1846 Oscar, born in Maine, Dec. 30, 1847 William, born in Maine, March 24, 1850 Charles, born in Michigan, July 23, 1852 Edgar, born in Michigan, Aug. 7, 1854 Jasper, born in Wisconsin, Feb. 18, 1859 Mildred, born in Wisconsin, July 6, 1861 Guy, born in Wisconsin, May 30, 1864 Maud, born in Wisconsin, Feb. 8, 1866 "Baby," born in Wisconsin, December, 1868, and John, born in Wisconsin, Jan. 25, 1869. John Rollins, Jr., acquired his education in a log schoolhouse and remained at home with his parents, working on the farm, except when he was employed in the woods during the winters. After his father's death he bought the old home place which he farmed for some years until he finally sold it. He then bought his present farm of eighty acres in Section 9, Fremont Township, there being at the time a small clearing on it. Since then he has cleared about twenty-five acres and has built a barn, 48 by 56 feet in size, and a silo, 12 by 28 feet. Mr. Rollins raises good shorthorn cattle and Belgian horses, being a successful stock-raiser. He is also a shareholder in the Co-operative Elevator Company of Chili, in the Independent Implement Company, of Plano, Ill., and the Wausau Packing Plant. He is now serving as treasurer of District No. 9.


Mr. Rollins was first married to Blanche Austin, a daughter of John Austin, by which union there were no children. He married, secondly, Clara L. Schultz, who was born in Minnesota, daughter of William and Bertha (Spigler) Schultz. Her father was a native of Dodge County, Wis., and her mother of Germany, and after their marriage they lived first in Minnesota, later removing to Chippewa County, Wis., where Mr. Schultz engaged in farming. He is still living, being now 64 years old, his wife died in 1916, at the age of 59. They had five children: Agie, Edith, August, Alvin and Clara L. Mr. and Mrs. Rollins are the parents of two children: Vera and Robert.



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