Ellis

Ellis was also known as Poland Corners

Poland Corners’ remains a quiet, rural community
From the Stevens Point Journal May 19, 1992
By
KELLY BERG

Life in the town of Sharon is much faster than it was in the old days, according to Claude Skibba, town chairman since 1981 and a town supervisor since 1967.

"I recall when we used to take and load up potatoes on a sleigh to take to Stevens Point" Skibba said “It took the whole day there and back. Now you can do it in less than an hour.” Skibba was born in the town of Sharon some 70 years ago in the same house he resides in now. Though life is much different now, Sharon has remained a quiet, rural area, he said. ‘“There’s not too much excitement in town,” Skibba said. There are no major industries in the area, he said.

While Sharon may seem like a sleepy little expanse now, the “four corners were a strategic location In the northeast portion of Portage County more than 150 years ago.

Known then as “Poland Corners,” it was situated on the main road for logging operations between mills and camps in Sharon and Shantytown and the mills on the Plover River and in Stevens Point. Lumberjacks, teamsters and farmers driving to Stevens Point often stopped in the area to wet their parched throats, according to Malcolm Rosholt’s book “Our County Our Story.” The area also was a meeting place for a mixture of foreigners, including Germans, Irishmen and Poles. There were as many Germans as then were Poles in the area.

But, one cannot mention Sharon without mentioning its municipalities. The opportune location of the four corners fostered the growth of two communities there: Ellis and Polonia.

Two stores, three churches a post office and hotel made up Ellis in the 1870's. Polonia had a tavern and a store.

Ellis was noted for its frequent disturbances of the peace, although no one was ever killed there. Four saloons operated in Ellis within four years of the issuance of the first liquor license in 1866.

Ellis’ churches catered to three nationalities residing in the area. On the east side of Trunk J was the First National Polish church; west of Poland Corners was St. Martin church; and east of the four corners was St. Joseph Church.

A split in the latter parish caused the formation of Polonia. The Poles and Germans became increasingly disenchanted with each other and eventually went their separate ways.

The first store in Polonia may have been built in 1876 by August Bischoff, according to “Our County Our Story". The village never incorporated.

There are no stores in Ellis now, but Polonia still has two, according to Skibba. Ellis also ran a Hop House around the turn of the century, which cured hops for making beer, he said.

Most of Sharon now is made up of vegetable farmers Skibba said. Potatoes are the main product followed by beans, peas and sweet corn, he said. “Dairy farming has kind of gone by the wayside,” he said. About a dozen dairy farmers live in the town of Sharon, he said.

Sharon was established in 1860, with most of its land taken from the town of Hull. Its major geological features are the Tomorrow River, which drains the town on the east, and the Plover River, which lies on the west.

Two lakes lie at the “peat divide” in Portage County, where an unnamed stream flows west to the Plover across Highway J in the town of Sharon. Though they are not identified by name on any of the old plat maps, they are known as Twin Lakes, according to "Our County Our Story".


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