Ure, George (History - 1826)


Janet Schwarze





----Source: 1918 History of Clark County, Wisconsin, p. 168 - 169.


GEORGE URE, a pioneer of Lynn Township, who, for many years, was one of the best known citizens in his part of the county, was born in ScotLand, March 3, 1826. Left with the support of his family by the death of his father, he early learned the trades of machinist and foundryman which he followed for some years in the old country. In 1855, with his wife, Ellen Ray, and three children, James, Jennie and John, he set out for the United States, an uncle of his, David Anderson, having emigrated to Chicago the year before. The family took passage on a sailing vessel which, however, made an unlucky start, being blown by a storm to the coast of Ireland, where it was wrecked. The Ure family escaping, returned to Scotland, but Mr. Ure, not having money enough to start again immediately with his family, sent his mother before them to Chicago, which place she reached after a three months' trip, making her home with the uncle. As soon as he was able Mr. Ure followed with the rest of the family, reaching America after a long voyage in a sailing vessel, and joining the mother in Chicago. There he found work at his trade and in 1856 smelted the first iron ever smelted in Chicago. While in that city he purchased 330 acres of land in Chicago, and eighty acres in Clark County. The Chicago land lay on the South Side, not far from the Stock Yards. This Land, which would now be worth millions of dollars, he sold for $400. The County land lay in Section 6, Lynn Township. It was purchased for $300 and is now worth many-thousands. In the fall of 1856, Mr. Ure Visited Clark County, and in the fall of 1857 he again came here and made A small clearing and built a shanty on his place. In 1861, after preparations for moving, the family set out for their new home. Of the three children who had come with the parents from Scotland, James and Jennie had died in Chicago, but a fourth child, Nettie, had been born in that city so the parents had now two children, John, born in Scotland, and Nettie. The family of four reached Sparta by rail and then drove from that place through the woods-a distance of seventy-two miles-to Lynn Township, having to hire a team. Mr. Ure had changed his gold money into paper currency which, owing to the war, had now depreciated to about forty cents on the dollar, and as flour was $12 a barrel, his financial outlook was not promising. He had brought with him a wagon-load of goods, but had no team nothing practically but his hands and an axe with which to begin the arduous labor of developing a farm. Like other pioneer settlers he had to carry supplies on his back through the woods, his market being Neillsville. The first year he bought two cows, from which he raised his First yoke of steers. His first crops he grubbed in by hand. For a number of years his progress was necessarily slow, but was gradually accelerated.

Though in early days many privations were suffered by him and his family their lives were not all shadow but were enlivened now and then by moments of relaxation or brightened by some enjoyable event. Mr. Ure was one of the four principal actors in the first Fourth of July celebration held in Lynn Township. To do justice to this occasion he manufactured a fiddle which he was able to play to some extent, and he and William Sternitzky constituted the band, Mr. Sternitzky making a drum, which had to stand considerable hard usage that day. The flag of the Nation was represented by a large red handkerchief tied to a stick, John Geary being the color bearer but, perhaps the most important of all in its effect upon the jollity and excitement of the occasion, was the jug of whisky of which Archibald Yorkston was made the happy bearer. With this complete paraphernalia the patriotic four went down to Lynn Creek where the village now stands and went through the appropriate ceremonies, the pride and envy of all beholders. In those days total abstinence societies now called temperance societies, were little heard of, or not at all, and Mr. Ure used to say that a societies, were little heard of, or not at all, and Mr. Ure used to say that a trip to Neillsville from his locality took three days of any man's time--one day to go, one day to return and a day to sober up in. Mr. Ure set up the first steam engine in Neillsville for grinding purposes, and with Archibald Yorkston set up at Windfall the first sawmill in this immediate region. On the farm on which he settled he spent the rest of his life, and for many years was one of the leading men in his township. He had received no education but from his popularity was frequently elected to township office, his son John doing for him any clerical work connected with it. He also took the leading part in securing the establishments of the Lynn Insurance Company. He and his wife belonged to the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Ure died Oct. 28, 1886, at the age of 68. With the passing of himself and his good wife the township was deprived of two of its earliest settlers, who had done their full p4rt in taming the wilderness and introducing civilized conditions, and whose work is well worthy of mention in a volume devoted to the history of Clark County. It is interesting to note that the family has in its possession a violin made by George Ure in Scotland, in 1852, and also an old clock brought by him from that country. With this violin Mr. Ure played at the first Fourth of July celebration ever held in Lynn Township.



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