Douphner, Felix (History - 1844)


Janet Schwarze





----Source: 1918 Clark County, WI History

FELIX DOUPHNER, in recalling early days in Withee and the vicinity, says: "I was born in the Province of Quebec, Canada, in 1844. In 1865, when 21 years old, I went to Louisiana, then up the Mississippi River from New Orleans to St. Paul, Minn. I then walked from St. Paul to Stillwater, Minn., and engaged in rafting logs down the St. Croix to La Crosse, being thus occupied the first summer. The next winter I went into the woods chopping. In all I spent twenty-one winters chopping pine timber from Stillwater to Black River Falls, and La Crosse and Clark County.


I came to Clark County in 1866, and logged on Black River, Wedge's Creek and Popple River. In 1874, I came to Hixon Township, then composed of four of the present towns, and settled a mile and a half west of where the village of Withee now is, in the timber. I cleared a part of the land, and had at that time four neighbors-John Gibbs, Frank Sturgeon, Charlie Johns and Joe Hibbard. I cut the pine on the land where Withee now stands, for D. J. Spaulding, and after the railroad came I assisted W. S. Tufts in clearing the stumps off of what is now the town site of Withee. The first building was erected by Jim Chandler and was used as a saloon. E. A. Eaton put up the second building and started a small store, which he afterwards sold to W. S. Tufts. The next building was a saloon. Hamilton Brothers built the first hotel soon after the arrival of the railroad in 1880. We used to get our supplies from Hemlock, which were toted in during the winter on sleds from Black River Falls. In the summer time we used to go to Hemlock by boat and bring them in. The first mail was brought in by stage from Greenwood, after the roads were opened through the woods.


When I first came here I stayed one year with my family, then rented a farm in Jackson County, and farmed there three summers, and in the winter worked at clearing my farm here. I remember I had two nice hogs, and one day a large, black bear came along and decided he wanted the boar hog, which weighed over 200 pounds. The hogs both put up a hard fight, but the bear carried off the hog. I learned to fiddle when I was young, and after coming here in the early days I used to fiddle for dances held in the logging camps. After the first schoolhouse was built we used to dance there, people coming in from the surrounding country with ox teams. There was an Irishman with us on the drive one time and one day an Indian squaw died and was buried with a red blanket, which the Irishman took a fancy to, and he stole it. The Indian found it out and went after him, but the Irishman managed to escape. There were many rough men here in the early days. I made a. good living, but had to work hard for it. In 1896, I came to the village to live and started a hotel, which I am still running."



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