Submitted Stories for

Lewis Packett

Submitted By: M. Bradley
Lewis Packett also spelled Louis Paquet was born Oct. 27 1831 and was a farmer of Section 32 in Shullsburg. He farmed and mined until 1855 and then went to California in search of gold. He returned to Shullsburg in 1864. He owned 75 acres and was the Treasurer of the school district for 9 years. He married Elizabeth Brady of New Diggings in 1864 and they had 8 children: John D.,George L.,Edward,Alice A.,Charles A.,Ida ,Peter H.,and Sarah E.

Submitted By: Mary Bradley
Seeing an article in the Local sometime ago from the pen of Miss Ivy Doyle about old Shullsburg, I thought I would jot down a few rememberings and happenings about old Dublin and its surroundings. I will first state that I was born in Wayne County, Illinois, on the twenty-first day of January, 1824. My father moved to this part of Wisconsin in the spring of 1824. We were three weeks coming and we did not camp two nights in the same place until we got to what was then called the “Dry Groves”, which afterward became the property of the late John Ryan. Here we camped for one week to let our oxen rest. Mother washed all our bedding and clothing and in the meantime father heard there was a demand for teams at Blue Mounds. So we loaded up again and started for the Mounds. We were fortunate enough to find an empty house on the South side of the Mound where there was a good spring. In this house we, and when I say we, I mean father, mother and all of us stayed until September 1828. Father had plenty of hauling to do. Up until that time I do not recollect what the freight he hauled was, but I think it was lead from some furnace. Then we moved back to Old Dublin and the trip required three days. We got an empty cabin about thirty rods north of the present residence of Richard Symons near the Shullsburg Depot. We had time to put up plenty hay for our three yoke of cattle. We stayed in this cabin during the winter of 188-29. My brother John was born there in the month of February, 1829 and was the first white child born within the limits of what is now Lafayette County. In the spring we moved into a cabin vacated by James Monahan in the west end of Dublin, which then contained about fourteen houses. Each house has a small garden in which quite a lot of vegetables were raised. Among the residents of Dublin at that time were my father and family, James Findley and family, John Koneze and family, Michael Farwell and wife. Among the bachelors were Michael Fox, Hugh Ward, Adam Collins, John Cody, John Dempsey, Peter Curran, Patrick Doyle Dennis O’Neill, John Ryan Michael Slavin, James Mcquade, Nicholas Walsh, John McNulty, and others whose names I have now forgotten. The last seven names above mentioned will be remembered by the old settlers now living in this neighborhood. John McNulty and Adam Collier kept a butcher shop on the left side of the road near the foot of the hill and the present residence of William Deppe. They bought their beef cattle from drovers who came up from near Chicago. Every summer the drovers would come and stay as long in one place as they could sell any cattle and then they would move on to other camps until their stock was all sold. Those who died while we lived in Dublin were Mrs. Demehert and child who were buried where the new catholic cemetery is located. The grave was marked by a large pile of rocks which remained there for over forty years and may be remembered yet aby some of the older Shullsburgers. The next was John Dempsey who died in our house and where he is buried I know not. The graveyard afterwards founded in Townsends Gove was not started then. This was in 1829. The next to die was John Cody, in the spring of 1831. He had planted a garden with potatoes on the site now occupied by the Shullsburg Brewery, and was poisoned by eating wild parsnips. I think he was buried in Townsends Grove as that graveyard was commenced about that time. We stayed in the Monahan house until autumn 1830 and then moved into a house vacated by one John Fleming. This house had two rooms and a hall between. In it my brother Patrick was born on the seventh day of March, 1831. He was probably the second white child born in Lafayette County. Right here I will relate a funny incident that occurred. Nick Walsh was then a greenhorn just over from Ireland and he had never seen a rabbit. A house vacated by one Jim Burton was used by some of the miners for storing the corn they raised for their cows. A wildcat had been in the habit of coming down the chimney of the house and sleeping on the corn. Chimneys in those days were built of split sticks and plastered with mud mixed with chopped hay. The mud had fallen off making it easy for the wildcat to climb up and down. The owners of the corn told Nick that a find large rabbit slept on the corn and that if he was cautious he could catch it. Twisting around, it tore Nick’s shirt to ribbons and scratched his are and breast so that he had to let it go. He did, however, retain a handful of the animal’s hair as a trophy to show how near he had come to catching the rabbit. When told it was a wildcat, his profanity was such that an odor of Sulphur pervaded the atmosphere of that neighborhood for weeks. Nick’s scratches soon healed and Mother washed and mended his clothes, but he never wanted to do any more rabbit hunting. During the time we lived in Dublin father got plenty of work with his teams hauling lead to Galena and barrels of pork and flour back to the miners. At that time pork was about thirty-six dollars a barrel and flour sixteen dollars a barrel. Flour had to be brought from St. Louis as there was no wheat raised in Lafayette County and no mill to grind it until the Murphy brothers built one in Benton where the Cottingham mill now stands. There was no meeting house in Dublin when we lived there. A catholic priest name Francis Dearbousne came up from St. Louis and stayed one week in Dublin. All the people in Dublin at that time excepting three were Catholics. I will now bid goodbye to poor old Dublin and follow on our track for a few years more. In the spring of 1831 we moved to a vacant house left by one Matthew Fawcett pm the identical spot where Sam Durocher now lives. We got a chance to rent a small field of five acres from David O’Keefe. It was on the hill north of where the late Fanny Kilcoyne used to live. We worked that field in the summers of 1831 and 1832 and were living in the Fawcett house when the Blackhawk War broke out. I remember well when mother and I were picking mineral on the Patrick Dole on the old Irish diggings and there came six men on horseback running as though Old Nick were after them and warning all the people to get to Galena where there was a fort. They said the Indians would come and kill us all. But mother was not a bit frightened so stayed a while longer and then went home. In the meantime the miners were getting together to consult on what was best to do, finally deciding to go Galena. We loaded up our wagon with provisions and other necessities and started out about nightfall. Some had teams and wagons, some had horses and many went on afoot. We all got in safe next morning after traveling all night. Col. Hamilton got up a company of volunteers composed of nearly all of Dublin and they were sent back to Dublin to build a fort which they did in a few days. The fort stood just ten rods west of the northwest corner of the present city limits. It w enclosed about twelve square rods. The wagons and a few small tents were placed inside and in these the families lived. The single men mostly stayed in their cabins during the day but came to the fort a night. In this fort my brother William was born on the fifteenth day of August, 1832. Finally Blackhawk was captured and the war ended. The fort was vacated after about a week and all went about their business. Peter Curran was more fearless than the others and when all went to Galena in a hurry he stayed behind a day or two and gathered up all of the miner’s tools and buried them for safe keeping until the war would be over. He died in Galen and when dying told of the men where they tools were buried but nobody was ever able to find them and they remain buried to this day. The company of volunteers was now disbanded but the men were allowed to retain their firearms for home protection. The arms consisted of flint-lock muskets with bayonets about fifteen inches long which fitted onto the muzzle of the guns. They will be yet remembered by many of the old settlers. Lafayette County was not surveyed but in the fall of 1832 it was surveyed by a man named Lucius Lyons. He stayed with us two nights while surveying in our neighborhood. Soon afterward the people of Dublin and vicinity began to scatter out and take up farms. The land was not yet in market so they had to take out what was called preemption rights which gave them first chance on the land when it came into market in 1835. I will now relate a tragic incident which occurred at about this time. Two miners, Daniel O’Connell and George O’Keefe were partners in mining somewhere about the Drybone. O’Keefe used to come to our house to buy butter and eggs. He was a man fully six feet tall and stout in proportion. O’Connell was five foot ten and had a wooden leg. I saw him just once and that was in a fort in Galena. The partners quarreled about something and O’Keefe left the cabin and went out among the miners. When he returned O’Connell had the door barred. He told “O’Keefe to wait awhile and he would open it. In the meantime O’Connell loaded his musket and seeing O’Keefe through a crack in the door he raised his gun and shot him. Some of the miners hearing the discharge of the gun went into the cabin and found O’Keefe dead. O’Connell did not deny that he had killed him intentionally so they took him to Galena and put him in jail there. At the next term of the court he was tried for murder, found guilty and sentenced to be hung. The sentence was carried out in less than two months. It may be remembered that in digging the new court house in Dubuque, the remains of the coffin in which “O’Connell was buried were discovered. The lettering on the coffin plate was still legible. It contained the name of O’Connel and the names of the twelve jury men who had convicted him. In the fall of 1832 my father and Dennis O’Neill took out pre-emption rights and began making improvements by braking small patches of prairie among the thickets of brush. Dennis was then a bachelor but in 1833 he married Mrs. Paquette, mother of the late Louis Paquette. My mother cooked their wedding dinner. They were for a couple of years our nearest and best neighbors. Patrick Doyle took up a claim before the land was surveyed and built a log cabin on it. But he did not go to live in it. He let us got there to live. It is now the property of Edward Field but the remains of the foundation of the old house may yet be seen. Needless to say, we suffered many hardship all this time so in the spring of 1833 we bid goodbye to the Fawcett place and moved to the Doyle house. Here we got a chance to rent another five acres from one Matthew Cullen, the land now owned by George Sheffer. In the fall of that year we managed to build a log house on one claim but we did not move into it until the spring of 1834Then the land came into market and were were able to enter one hundred sixty acres at $1.25 per acre. The land office was then in Mineral Point. I don’t think it is necessary for me to say much more for the times after this has been discussed at several old settlers meetings. I will say, however, that we never lived in Shullsburg except for the time we spent in the fort there but were familiar with all the people who live there afterward. I remember well Jessie Shull and wife, Jacob Cheval, said to be an Indian trader and Adam Plank who was afterward killed by lightning and buried where the Catholic Cemetery is now. I am the only man living who ever lived in Dublin with the exception of my brother Patrick was born there. Wild game was plentiful in 1835 and wild turkey in large flocks were numerous. There were lynx, panthers, wildcats, and coon, also black wolves which were as tall as St. Bernard dogs and said to be dangerous when pressed by hunger. Grey wolves infested the prairies and the countryside abounded in deer. It was not an unusual sight to see twelve or more deer together while hunting our oxen. One bear was seen in the neighborhood but nobody captured it. One day when I was coming home from a neighbors, I caught a young fawn doe which made a great pet. We put a bell on it and it would follow us everywhere sometimes wandering among the wild deer. The wild der would often follow it home and sometimes when I heard its bell in the morning I would take my rifle and hide in a fence corner. In this way I was able to shoot four find bucks. Our pet finally strayed away from home. We heard of it near Galena but never did find it. I will conclude this article with a snake story. Three of us boys went to the woods to cut up a fallen log and when we got to it we heard a noise we all knew well. We poked under the log and saw the largest snake we had ever seen. We had killed many snakes and were not afraid of them. The large ones were not so dangerous as the small black devils that infested the prairies and swamps for their motions were not as quick. We cut a hickory pole about ten feet long and peeled off the bark with which we made a running noose. Slipping it over the snake’s head we dragged him to the house and place him in an empty flour barrel. His rattling was so loud it could be heard thirty rods away. When we had tired of its rattling we killed it and it measure once less than twelve feet and had twenty-two rattles and a button. Its body was as much as four inches in diameter in the largest place, and its head was as broad as an ordinary man’s hand. This story may sound somewhat snaky, but it is literally true. These snakes were called yellow hammers by the old settlers. What I have written may be interest to some of the old settlers. It may remind them of old times and may awaken memories of perhaps long forgotten events. It may also serve to show those of the present day that the paths of the early settlers were not entirely strewn with roses but with many thorns. When they remember the sufferings and privations of the pioneers of Lafayette County, they may more fully appreciate the comfort and luxuries with which they are surrounded. Goodbye Joseph Sullivan