Former Villages of Lafayette County—Pick and Gad; Thursday December 26, 1918
They will doubtless surprise the younger people while many of the older ones will read with interest and remember these places in Lafayette County that were one time villages with adopted names. The movement of folks in early days from one point to another bent upon some beneficial objectives can be vividly traced from the flowing sketches that have been jotted down and presented to us by Capt. P. H. Conley. "Natchez” about a mile and a half west of the village of New Diggings was the first village in the County, and had, at its best over a hundred inhabitants. “Old Shullsburg” west of the present city was prominent place with its saloons, stores, fort, shops and residences. There was intense rivalry between it and “Dublin Village” north of the city. Both were crowded with miners, prospectors and flotsam and jetsam of the early mining camps. “Stump Grove” was a busy burg with its “Bull Pump” “Horse Pump”, two hotels, store shops and a score of residences and cabins. It is now a pasture. "Horse Shoe Bend”, a village at or near Benton with stores saloons, shops mill furnace and residences. “Collette’s Grove” or “Fort DeSeelhort” in Section Seven in Elk Grove, was founded in 1827. It had stores, tavern, brewery, post office, boarding houses, shops residences, church and school in its day, but now only a fine farm and a schoolhouse remains. "Fort Funk” in Monticello with its general store, furnaces, shops, churches, and school is only a memory. “Yellowstone” a trading point for a radius of five miles, had its post-office, school, shops and stores, and has today only the raging Yellowstone River rushing to the Gulf. ?“Spring Valley”—I question if there are many of the readers who remember this settlement with it hotel, stores, shops and the half dozen residences or it location in the southern part of Gratiot. “New Baltimore” had laid out streets, avenues and public squares, but it never got fairly started. Its site was afterwards known as the Ansley farm above Calamine. In 1827 or 8, there was a village in the southwest corner of White Oak Springs, of a hundred or more inhabitants, the very name of which is forgotten, if it ever had a name. “Schulz’s Ford” later known as “Riverside” had its depot, post office, school, church, shops, mill, saloon, stores, attorney-at-law, and other trimmings, but now the sole sign of business is a cheese factory. “Gratiot’s Grove” was in 1838, the most important place between Galena and Chicago. It had the first school in the county, several stores, two good hotels, furnaces, shops, comfortable residences, and a population of several hundred. It was founded in 1825. “White Oak Springs” had a remarkable start, It had sixty three platted blocks, three hotels, hour saloons, three blacksmiths shops, five good stores, furnaces, smelters and upwards of six hundred inhabitants. It was on the stage line from Galena to Freeport. It was a gathering place for well-to-do gamblers and “sports,” and play ran high. Farms were won and lost on horse races, thousands of dollars changed hands daily, and a thousand dollars was staked on the turn of a card. It held a great Fourth of July celebration in 1829. There is nothing now but a beautiful landscape and a farmhouse. "Prairie Springs” near Fort Defiance was the gathering place of all the prominent men in southwestern Wisconsin and the scene of great conviviality, has now a few depressions in a field to mark former foundations of buildings. “Willow Springs,” northeast of Calamine was founded about 1828 and became a busy little hamlet, with three stores, three hotels, one temperance, furnace, shops, school, Sunday School etc. One saloon was for Jackson and the other for Adams, and politics waxed warm. The spring is all that is left, and that is not as large as it was then.