Shullsburg Stories

Submitted By: Unknown
One of the more populous and flourishing villages of LaFayette County, formerly the county seat, is located on parts of Section 10 and 11 of the town of Shullsburg, twelve miles from Darlington, eighteen miles from Galena and seventy-five miles from Madison. The town is handsomely built, particularly the residence portion, and is the business point for farmers for many miles around. Shullsburg Branch, a comparatively sluggish stream, courses the village from east to west, but the water power thereof, if any exists, has never been utilized. It was not until about 1840 that the present village began to make itself known, though cabins had been in existence upon its site for several years. The village of Gratiot's Grove, lying south of Shullsburg, where it had been laid out by the Gratiots several years previous, commanded public patronage, and with Old Shullsburg, west of the present village, disputed the continuance of such patronage. Subsequent to the establishment of Gratiot's Grove, extensive mineral discoveries in the immediate vicinity of Shullsburg, including the Badger, Irish, Giant, Clay and other diggings, attracted the presence of miners, and laid the foundation for the present village. From: History of Lafayette County, Wisconsin 1881

Submitted By: Mary Bradley
In 1840, Beon Gratiot, who had previously laid claim to the greater portion of the west half of Section 10, whereon the village is in part built, and where most of the mining had been carried on, sunk a shaft at the north end of the ravine running north and south, for the purpose of erecting a pump to drain the mines of water which greatly impeded their operation. The mines to be thus benefited were known as the "Elevator Diggings", which had been discovered during the year 1838 or 1839, by a man named Glover, and are represented to have been of surpassing richness. The difficulty of "working" the same was the origin of Beon Gratiot's venture in erecting what has since been known as the "Bull Pump" so called because of the motive power employed to move what in the light of subsequent improvements was a bulky, unwieldy affair, requiring the exercise of care and diligence, not only to keep it in motion, but also to preserve its utility. It was built and placed in position by Charles Rodolph standing about two hundred yards south of the present residence of Edward Weatherby and for many years did service in aiding the miners who delved in those diggings for ore. Gratiots's house stood on the site now occupied by the home of Edward Weatherby, on the west side of the ravine, in the vicinity of which he erected a number of cabins for the occupation of his men, thus paving the way for their settlers who came with their families and located thereabouts. There were no streets in those days, and improvements then projected or completed were of the most primitive character. Nevertheless, the "settlement", if such it might be called, was known as "Quality Hill", though what influences may have been exerted to secure this aristocratic appellation for the vicinage are not of record. This small, unpretentious beginning has resulted in a city of character and influence, while its whilom rivals have disappeared and left scarcely any relics to indicate that they ever existed. From: History of Lafayette County, Wisconsin 1881