taken from the May 19, 1992 Stevens Point Journal
Almond named for city in New York
How did Almond get its name? According to Ralph Tess’ “Our Heritage: Almond and Vicinity,” Jacob Meyers secured an agreement to carry mail between Berlin and Stevens Point in 1847. Meyers, a native of the Mohawk Valley of New York, started a stagecoach and freight route between the two communities, but needed a stop for the horses in between the route. He set up a barn and an inn in what is now Almond. Meyers, who is considered one of the first pioneers, purchased land in the town of Buena Vista where he produced feed for the horses.
The U.S. government signed a treaty with the Menominee Indians ceding land in central Wisconsin in 1848, which opened up the area to settlement. A post office was established on July 8, 1850, at the stagecoach stop.
So how does this tie in with Almond’s name? James F. Moore, a native of Almond N.Y., became postmaster.
By the way, George Stevens, who is credited with founding Stevens Point, vas the postmaster in Almond, N.Y., before establishing a trading post on he Wisconsin River where the city is located today.
Stagecoach stopped at Almond
By MATT KALINA
Almond began as a stagecoach stop between Berlin and Stevens Point in 1847. After a post office was established one year later, the first settlers - mostly from New York and New England - started coming to the area in 1850, according to Ralph Tess “Our Heritage: Almond and Vicinity.” At that time, the population was roughly 20, but by 1900 it reached 1,052. Today, the population is 477.
Original settlers were from Steuben County, New York, but Soloman Wellcome, a Methodist minister from Maine, is considered the first white man to settle near Almond.
In Almond’s early days, a tavern was built as a stagecoach stopping place, and later a hotel went up at the site. The hotel burned in 1931. The first store was operated by Edson Doolittle, who also ran the post office around the time of the Civil War.
The Methodists were the first church to organize in Almond, followed by the Baptists. A Methodist church was constructed around 1890, before the Baptists built their own in 1902 or 1903. The village had as many as seven churches, but today four remain: Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist and Seventh Day Adventist denominations.
The year 1901 was a big year for Almond. The construction of a railroad through Almond was a major development for the community. The first train steamed into Almond on Aug. 27, 1901, the same year that the Portage County Bank was organized.
The Portage County Press newspaper of Almond also published its first issue on Aug. 7, 1901.
However, the railroad has since closed its Almond line, the bank has relocated within the community and the paper has long since ceased publication.
This history was discovered in our Archive Dec 27, 2000. Mrs. F. B. Young wrote this in 1953.
HISTORY OF ALMOND VILLAGE AND SURROUNDINGS
Mrs. F. B. YOUNG
Permit me to review with thoughtful consideration some historical matter about the little village of Almond, its past - its present and its Whose Who.
The name of the territory including the township and the village was selected by early settlers who came from a town in the state of New York bearing the name of Almond.
The village lots were platted on land owned by the late Daniel E. Frost, Fred J. Frost, Charles N. Frost and F. S. Roberts of the Chicago Northwestern Railroad Company.
The railroad was built through the village in 1901 being completed October 1, 1901 and a celebration was hold here on that date. Action has been delayed on the application of the Chicago Northwestern Railway Company for authority to discontinue passenger service on Trains 9 and 10 between Marshfield to Fond du Lac after 52 years of continued service and the application has been postponed until later by the Public Service Commission whose decision as to its continuance depends on the acquiring of the necessary figures to prove that the service is rendered at a loss to the Company. A delay in assembling the required reports will result in having the action dismissed for all time.
In an early day before the advent of the railroad, a stage line came through the town. The stopping place was at the Felker Hotel where the horses were changed as the line extended from Berlin to Stevens Point. The stage was called the four horse stage and about six passengers comprised the usual stage load.
Some of the first to settle in this locality were the J. L. Frost and E. D. Frost families, the John Cowans, the Dr. Guernsey family, the John Smart, the George Crowell Sr., the Charles Webster, the W. H. Plank, the Milius, J. A. Miller, the Bowdens families; in the surrounding area were the Doolittles, the Mehnes, the Livingstons, the Hetzels, the Pipers, the Beiers, the Keffners, the Raths, the Whitmans, the Polls, the Martins, the Shaffers and others.
There is a little bit of all the world in Almond - its descendants from Canada, England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, France - Americans all, living with good will and a kindly thought for the well being of all. They struggled and toiled to build their homes and to make an honest living in an ideal location.
They cut woods raised a little wheat, broke new land, kept only a limited number of farm animals. Machinery was many times, home made. The women spun yarn, made the clothing by hand and did so much work that the women of 1953 would think out of the question.
A survey was made by Mr. Holliday, county surveyor, in 1904 and recorded by Mr. Wyatt county register on April 19, 105 that the village was incorporated,
A post office was provided here on July 1, 1850 and the 100th anniversary of its founding was July 1st, 1950.
Almond landmarks are the present dwellings of Mr. and Mrs. Jay Goodwin, Mr. and Mrs. Bay Boelter and the present restaurant building. Improvements have been made at various tines. A part of the present Bartel Market was formerly the school house where the ABC's were learned by some of our present Almondites.
Strong men and women went forth armed with the 3 R’S and made a successful fight in life's battles, with knowledge gained in the first school building, which was destroyed by fire. The present brick building was erected in 1903. The first class to graduate was comprised of two students Frank Frost and Harry A. Plank, who received high school diplomas at exercises in June 1899. Improvements in the school building have been made from time to time. Extra courses were added and a new addition is now in use.
The spiritual welfare of the people of the village was considered at an early date; church buildings were erected. Five steeples now point heavenward - the Advent, The Baptist, the Catholic, the Lutheran and the Methodist. The two last named buildings were moved here from locations in the town of Almond. Almond's religious life and activities - the religious tolerance - the achievement of an enlightened race is much in evidence among the village people where all are summoned by the ringing of the church bell to go to God's house and speak to God in prayer.
Early day business places were the Samuelson Store, the Smart and Crowell Store, the Miller and Bowden Paint and Wagon Shop, the Frost Insurance, the Hill Millinery, the L. S. Walker Co. Store, the Davidson Restaurant, the Calkins Harness Shop, the Karnopp Hardware Store, The Hetzel Brothers Pump Shop, the W. Wood and Poll General Hardware Store, the Melcher Lumber Co., the Kellogg Bros. Lumber Co., the Princess Restaurant, the Walter’s Studio, the Grant and Jenson Garagee, the E. A. Soule Sales Co., Staples and Son Market, Adams and Reader Shop.
The first autos were owned by John A. Bowden, who in 1904 purchased a one cylinder Cadillac, and Dr. Cooper and E. G. Crowell. The Cooper model was named the Horseless Carriage. The Bowden car was used the following July 4th to give passengers a ride from Main Street south to the county line and return for 25 cents. Frank Hoaglin manipulated the machine and the passengers thought he mm an expert at the wheel.
Our streets were not marked but they are well named - we have Main Elm, School, Church, Division, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Webster, Blaine, Oak, and Poplar Streets.
Side walks have been laid, cement highways built, streets black topped and improvements of various kinds made.
A number of fires of definitely unknown origin played one disappointing obstacle here some years ago, but never the less we have many more pleasing remembrances and important facts to call to mind.
To provide for the safety and care of the profits and the finances of the residents in southern Portage County the Portage County Bank was organized here in 1901 with O. A. Crowell as its president and Charles Webster as cashier. Mr. Crowell has continued as its president in the new bank building which was erected in 1908 until 1952 when it was sold to the Follett Company of Coloma.
The first paper was the “Portage County Press”. a weekly publication. The first number was issued August 7, 1901 by Winfield Smart of Wild Rose, who later married Miss Grace Dopp of the town of Belmont. The successive proprietors were Miss Lillian Phillips, Irvin Nash, David Thompson and Ernest E. Ingle about whom you will hear from the Almond Whose Who.
A free traveling library was in charge of Mrs. L. D. Scott and Mrs. Bertha Casey before the Almond village library was started by the Auxiliary of American Legion in February, 1930. Mrs. George G. Crowell was named library chairman and has continued in that position for the past 22 years. There are now nearly 2100 books owned and the circulation loan averages approximately 3000 books per year. The library containing desirable reading material for both young and old is conveniently located in the north east 1st floor room in the Community hall which was built in 1939. Social events are held in the building where provision is made for teaching band and athletic course that add to the efficiency of the school program. Everyone is proud of the school band whose members have recently been supplied with new green and white uniforms. The chorus members have had new green and white robes.
Our fire department consists of paid firemen who meet monthly and they have been provided with improved fire fighting equipment.
A grist mill owned by W. J. Pierce was purchased by Wm. Brunker who moved to Almond from the town of Lanark in 1910. Seeing the need for the use of electricity for power, a light company was organized by Frank Wood, Mr. Brunker, and Charles J. Turner, who moved to the village from Belmont in 1908 and our homes were lighted by electricity. Oscar Culver later - on Jan. 20, 1915 - traded a farm in Lanark for the mill from where the power was generated. The mill was destroyed by fire and after spending a winter with kerosene lamps and candles Wisconsin Power and Light Company from Berlin has since provided electricity for our use.
Dependence on the blacksmith ship, the local grocery stores, the milliner store, the hardware and other places of business was much greater in the early days before the arrival of the auto, called the horse and buggy days. Surrounding the village are good farm land where for many years large crops of potatoes were raised and marketed here where they were stored in eight warehouses for later sales. The Leonard Crosset and Riley Co., the A. N. Penney Co., the Murphy Co., the Starks Co., F. E. Poll, J. H. Johnson, M. H. Hansen and other dealers.
Merchandise was reasonably priced and many came to the village to obtain bargains in trade. In addition to the Walker General Store, we have a Gamble Store, two meat and grocery markets, three garages, a barber shop, a drug store, a hardware store, a funeral home, two mills, two chick hatcheries, a milk product plant where first class cheese and dried whey are made. A pickle station, two receiving stations, a U. S. Post Office, two rural mail routes covering areas in surrounding townships. We have the Spring Bloom Honey Plant here where nearly 25 tons was prepared for sale the past year.
We have the Masonic hall, the Legion hall and the Odd Fellows hall We claim the Almond Progress club with about 39 members, the Almond Lions’ club, the Home makers clubs, Men’s clubs, the Auxiliary, the Order of Eastern Star, the Rebekahs, the Royal Neighbors, the Rod and Gun club and Music Mothers. We also have the Boy Scouts, the Holy Name Society, Ladies Unions, Aid Societies and a well working Parent Teachers Assn.
I regret to state that we do have three taverns never the less we have sobriety without gunman tactics and an absence of public nuisances.
In addition to all this we have our interesting surroundings. During the summer months we have lakes not far from the village limits where are found many varieties of fish. There is also good swimming for those who desire to swim. Summer sports of many kinds such s boat riding and camping; winter with its ice and snow and winter sports for the young.
Model highways three: J, D, and A are laid through the village, lead us south to the prairie lands of Waushara County. East to the town of Belmont where there are wooded hills and scenic and interesting historic spots, then on the Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes and to Whispering Pines - north to the townships where hills and valleys make diversified scenery - west to the Two Lakes Summer Resort region - then the winding road with delightful scenery to Highway 51 where traffic is heavy and leads you on and on.
Last but not least we have our homes where we live. First built of logs, then wood, brick and stone. An abundance of shade trees improve the appearance of our residential areas. Mention must be made of a long line of elm trees planted many years ago along south Main Street by John L. Karnopp, former Co. Supt. of Schools, now of Portland Oregon and the two rows on Elm Street. Those on the north side were placed there by the late Mr. Crowell and some have since been replaced by his son E. G. and on the south side they were planted many long years ago by Herman Felker, a brother-in-law of Mr. Arenberg a former Stevens Point jeweler who is at St. Michael's Hospital and he often inquires about the Almond elms.
Many flowers are to be seen in the gardens owned by the villagers as many of our people are fond of flowers.
Speaking of our town we must not fail to make note of some of our soldiers.
Falling not behind the soldiers of the Civil War and the Spanish American War
the past half century men in World Wars 1 and 2 proved their abilities in the
air, on the land and on the sea. In the present policing or whatever the name,
many have gone and others are being called.
And we who are the folks at home
Almond village is rich in settlers who have faithfully contributed to the
high standards of its citizenship and its character for morality and substantial
achievement. As time is limited I shall mention only a few of the people who
have contributed something to be remembered by those of us who can not fail to
appreciate that our early settlers here were
Like soldiers in the struggle
Almond's Who’ s Who
In compiling this chapter I have placed the name of Ernest B. Ingle who will be remembered as the owner and editor of the “Portage Co. Press”. Mr. Ingle attracted the confidence and appreciation of the public who enjoyed reading the neatly printed weekly paper, which included news matter and other interesting features. He acquainted the outside world with our thriving little village and the surrounding vicinities. The last issue printed in April 20, 1922 is at hand. Mr. Ingle was born in Rock Township, Wood Co, Illinois, Feb. 9, 1887. His father died when the boy was only 13 years of age and there were four other children. He attended the public school at Plainfield. He began the printer's trade when only 18 years old. On Sept. 26, 1909 he and Miss Ethel Elwood an Almond young lady were united in marriage. In 1913 they moved to this village where they became valuable additions to the class of progressive citizens, Their home was the present home of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Holtz. They had no family. Following a fire at Almond in 1922 the Ingles having suffered the loss of their business moved to the state of Washington were he wrote a civil service examination which later provided a desirable job in the United States Government Printing Office at Washington, D. C., which office he continued to hold until his untimely death. His wife remained at Washington for a few years before coming to Milwaukee where she suffered a stroke and joined her husband in death.
Another resident here for many years will long be remembered by those who knew him best was Dr. Cooper. Left standing in our town is the former residence of the tall slim physician and his tiny wife whose familiar saying in her declining years was “ Much to be done and only one pair of hands to do it”. Many antiques are housed there the home now owned by Dr. Wm. H. Studley, a nephew. Of the Doctor's childhood and early manhood we know but little. The few lines which follow speak more than any biography I am able to write.
Our best citizens have not all passed to the eternal home. The qualities of perseverance good judgment and honesty have prevailed in the lives of many. One of our merchants B. J. Walker - birthplace Wautoma; graduate of the Plainfield, member off the first class to graduate after attending the state university for year began in 1901 and worked out a well deserved success in the mercantile established by his father the late L. S. Wa1ker - the golden jubilee was observed in 1951. When fire destroyed the Walker store building in 1923 Mr. Walker did not leave a blackened sore spot in the village center but rebuilt the present structure where after a half century he continues to meet his customers again after completing 15 years as postmaster prior to June 1, 1949. His predecessors were O. A. Crowell, Etta Cowan, John Cowan, Frank Poll, Mary Blair Beier and Glenn Johnson each serving for several years.
In business circles of southern Portage County O. A. Crowell, president of the Portage Co. Bank for 51 years was closely identified. 51 years of weighing risks and probable gains before making worthwhile decisions; 51. years of stick-to-ativeness. A former storekeeper, Mr. Crowell was the Almond postmaster from 1896 to 1901; a member of the State legislature from 1908 to 1912 and a school district officer for 13 years; one of the directors in First National Bank, Stevens Point. He was also county supervisor for a number of years and served on many committee and offices of trust. Interested in agriculture for years found him also interested in conservation. A few years ago he donated land northwest of the village to the Almond school district for a school forest where each year school children assist in planting hundreds of evergreen trees. When one's life is being spent among the familiar surroundings of his home where he spent his childhood and early manhood, where he saw the growth of the town and the village knew about the failures and the prosperity of the people, their joys and their sorrow , it is but natural that he takes pride in just such a heritage and finds pleasure in the care and improvement of his home. Mr. Crowell remembers the village in its infancy having been its first president recalls its early growth and notes its present state of progress and possibilities. Many changes have taken place with the passage of years and very remarkable ones have come about within his memory. In all movements for improvements and in all drives conducted he has been a generous contributor.
Another resident who has been associated with Almond since 1908 is A. H. Bowden, Secy. and Manager of the Almond Telephone Co. started here in Mar. 8, 1900. Mr. Bowden, a nephew of the late J. A. Bowden and Mrs. Geo. Hill Almond pioneers erected telephone lines north, south, east and west to carry business messages and social visits far and near. In Aug. 1948 the dial system was installed here dispensing with services of telephone operators whose services were not always appreciated. Many cities with large populations have as yet not been provided with the dial system. Mr. Bowden also has been village president and supervisor and president of the State Tel. Co. True there are many other outstanding citizens who have done much for our town
Now, I care not to infer there were men only in the portion of our county, town and village of Almond. Both the men and the women started out with an abundance of ambition. The experiences and the hardships that fell to the lot of the pioneer were varied, but by their efforts many met with success and they all left a memory to be cherished. They raised large families with no knowledge of and no help from a baby sitter. Mr. and Mrs. David Hetzel - 9 boys and 3 girls - Mr. and Mrs. Frederick H. Young - 9 girls and 3 boys; Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Mehne Sr. - 6 boys and 6 girls; Mr. and Mrs. Don Sawyer who formerly lived in the next house before going to Almond - 6 boys and 6 girls. No, we can not forget the mothers for it has oft been said the hand that rocks the cradle rocks the world.
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