Recollections of Columbia, Wisconsin

by Mabel Schlender Jonkel

Contributed by Sarah Poertner

transcribed by Crystal Wendt & Michelle Harder.

*Chauncy Primmer, the son of Charles, married Nettie Barr of Humbird. She had taught the Dewhurst school. After farming three-quarter mile south of Columbia for several years they moved to the state of Washington in 1902.

*Elliot Bliss was another Civil War Veteran. He and his family moved to Columbia from Hales, Trempleau county in 1887. He and his wife Elzorah had a

Mrs. Bliss was one of the first settlers at Columbia.

Homestead two miles East of Columbia where he cleared land and built a cabin, There were eleven children: Addie, Elmira, an infant son, George, Laura, Victor, Fletie, Mathee and Myrtle (twins), Neuman, and Jewel. Seven of these children and a grandson passed on in the fall of 1891 of black diphtheria.


One had passed on in infancy in 1868. Three were married and away from home at the time of the epidemic. After this the log cabin had to be burned, through the orders of the Board of Health. All that was left was their dog, Shep. The authorities wanted to kill him but Mr. Bliss said he would shave, scrub and disinfect him. After the burning of the cabin, the neighbors all came to help erect a new frame building. These first settlers all had log cabins which were later replaced by frame buildings.

One married daughter passed on at childbirth in 1887. She had two daughters, Mabel and Myrtle Cooper. The Blisses took the two girls and raised them. They attended the Columbia school and were active in community affairs. Mabel married Columbia’s first cheese maker, Charles Harlow.

Mr. Bliss played "the fiddle" for dances. In the early 1900’s he sold the farm to Sam Cook, retired and moved to Neillsville where he passed on October 1915. His wife passed in 1927.

Clara Baxter

*Charles Baxter was another Civil War Veteran. He came from Nebraska in 1894 and homesteaded 60 acres a half mile North of town. His wife was an Indian decent. In addition to farming he worked in the saw mill. Their three children were: Clara, Dora and Loyal. The oldest daughter, Clara, was very beautiful. After completing school she went to Waupaca where she took up nurses’ training at the Veterans Home. Her grandfather lived there. Later she trained at the Oshkosh Hospital and became a visiting nurse in Milwaukee for many years. Dora married Charles Varney of Columbia. They lived out their lives in North Dakota and Idaho where they raised two children,


Loyal did engineering at the Waupaca Veterans Home. He was married there and they raised two children. In their retirement Mr. And Mrs. Baxter spent their last years at the Veterans Home and were buried there.




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