The Brandon-Markesan Railroad

FOND DU LAC COUNTY
GREEN LAKE COUNTY
BRANDON
FAIRWATER
TOWN OF MACKFORD
TOWN OF GREEN LAKE

BRANDON-MARKESAN RAILROAD  |  GREEN LAKE COUNTY DEMOCRAT, 1881-84 BRANDON TIMES, 1882

THE BRANDON TIMES, 1882-83
Editor: Martin C. Short


The following articles related to the Brandon-Markesan railroad spur line appeared in the Times between January, 1882, and February, 1883, and illustrate the difficulties involved in developing a railroad  late in the nineteenth century. Articles have been selected primarily for their railroad news content, but additional articles have also been included that clearly relate to railroad-dependent businesses. Copies of the Times are available on microfilm through the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Film number P69-2767 spans the years from 1881 to 1885.


JANUARY 19, 1882

     The granite quarry that the Markesan Democrat is making such a fuss over is about as near Brandon as Markesan. That is the joke of it.

 

FEBRUARY 2, 1882

     The Markesan Democrat wants us, if we claim an interest in the Pine Hill granite bed, to turn in and help develop it. We don't think it will pay. The state geologist informs us, (see report), that the Montello granite is the best of the whole group, and it is as handy to market, and can supply all demands.

 

FEBRUARY 9, 1882

     Can't our Markesan friends manage to find gold or silver in that Pine Hill granite. It would make it more valuable for railroad purposes.

 

FEBRUARY 23, 1882

     James Densmoor and Wm. Paddock and a chunk of Pine Hill granite took the train on Tuesday morning, for Milwaukee and Chicago to see what influence that rock could exert on the railroad prospects of Markesan.
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     Markesan parties have bought up the Pine hill granite ledge, which is a good thing for the German who owned it and couldn't raise white beans on it

 

MARCH 2, 1882

     Suppose we pave Main street with Pine Hill granite when that railroad is built.
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     They say that every time a team comes in sight of Markesan the people all flock out to meet it to see if it has on board the engineer to locate that railroad. They have got it bad over there.
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     The Markesan granite folks are hauling a car load of stone here for shipment. It is deposited near the south lumber yard, where the curious can inspect it.
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     The Kingston correspondent of the Markesan Democrat pokes fun at the granite business in the following manner:
     There is quite an excitement over the granite quarry between here and Marquette. It takes a very fine polish--full as fine as the Montello rock. And then it could be worked so much easier. It is estimated that one man could go in there with a yoke of oxen and a crowbar, and get out more granite in one day, than could be got out of the Montello quarry in seven months by three hundred men and all the latest improved devices for getting out rock. So you see Montello ain't nowhere, and in all probability what stone has been shipped from there will be returned to them and dumped back into the pit and replaced by Kingston and Marquette Granite. One man who owns 40 feet square of the K. and M. granite, has been offered twenty-one thousand dollars for the lease of it thirteen days.
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     The granite quarry that Ripon is so extensively advertising as discovered by O. P. Reed is the Pine Bluff quarry that has been known for years, and is the same as the Markesan one, and was described in geological surveys years ago. It is about five miles west of this place. No doubt the granite is good, but Wisconsin seems to be full of granite quarries.

 

MARCH 9, 1882

     No more granite has arrived from the quarry. When the roads get good there will probably be a flood of it.
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     A blacksmith shop and boarding house have been established at Pine Hill and the granite workers are demolishing the bluff.
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     The Markesan Democrat has granite on the brain, and has it bad. It isn't a fatal attack.
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     The probabilities of the building of the Markesan railroad is being frequently discussed, and the most reasonable view seems to be that though a spur track may be laid out to the granite quarry, in case that proves sufficiently valuable to warrant it, there is not much probability of its being built farther, as in case of a road being built to Markesan. It would be necessary to put an engine and cars on it and run regular trains, which it is not thought the probable business would justify. In case of a spur to the quarry the freight could be brought out by the engine of the regular freight train as is now done at Iron Mountain. But we shall see. To fail on a railroad this time would make Markesan sick.

 

MARCH 16, 1882

     A few more wagon loads of Pine Hill granite have been hauled over, but not a car load yet.
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     The roads are as bad as they can be, unless the bottom drops out entirely.
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     James Densmoor figures out a profit of seventeen dollars a car load on that granite, after paying all expenses, including hauling by team from the quarry to this place. That is a pretty fair thing as it is.
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     James Densmoor of Markesan started for Milwaukee and Chicago, Monday morning determined to bring that railroad back in his grip sack or break a trace.

 

MARCH 23, 1882

     An occasional load of gravel comes in from Pine Hill. It is proposed to get some ten car loads over before making a shipment.
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     We hope the Markesan Democrat will not feel too bad because we haven't unbounded faith in the railroad prospects of that village. We have seen too many of their brilliant prospects fade into thin air.
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     There are some enthusiastic cusses over at Markesan, one of whom writes as follows to the Princeton Republic:
     "Some of our citizens will see about getting the right of way from Reed's Corners on the Ripon and Brandon road west to Portage, commencing at Reed's Corners, within a few days. As soon as we get the road to Markesan the wagon road on each side of Brandon will be fenced up, and the quiet little village there will be devoted to a cow pasture."
     As near as we can remember Markesan got the right of way and graded a track to near Reed's Corners nearly 20 years ago, and couldn't get any railroad company to iron it. They were going to fence up Brandon then, and here we are yet. But when a railroad company build [sic] a road from Markesan to Reed's Corners via Pine Hill, Brandon will undoubtedly be fenced in.
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     The morning freight on Saturday, got up a good sized smash up just below the station. Coming down grade a couple of miles above town the train broke in three pieces. There were no brakemen on the center cars which were loaded with lumber. The engine with sever or eight cars ran by the station, but supposing the brakesman on the rear portion would stop it, and not knowing there was another break, the engineer stopped about eighty rods south. Smoke obscured the back view and before he was aware, the center portion of the train ran into them. Some ten or a dozen cars were more or less smashed, and it was nearly two o'clock before the wreck was cleared away so the trains could pass. Fortunately no one was hurt and the accident caused less delay than was at first thought possible.

 

APRIL 6, 1882

     James Densmoor shipped his first car load of granite to Chicago, yesterday, and went down with it. We hope it will not be the last.

 

APRIL 13, 1882

     Markesan is now looking for a railroad from Juneau by way of Beaver Dam and Fox Lake. But even that would leave that granite quarry nearer the Brandon depot than Markesan.

 

APRIL 20, 1882

     The following from the Markesan Democrat is the latest from the granite quarry.
     Jas. Densmoor and Mr. Ried [sic], foreman of the granite quarry, returned on Saturday evening from Chicago, where they had been for the purpose of making contracts for paving blocks. They have been successful, and have a responsible contract for all they can get out. Mr. Ried proposes to at once increase his force as fast as possible to 100 men. He went to Montello the fore part of this week and hired a number of experienced hands, and has more coming soon. It is now demonstrated beyond all question that the Markesan granite is equal to the best in the United States and sells at sight.

 

APRIL 27, 1882

      Densmoor is keeping several teams on the road hauling granite paving block from the quarry.
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     Markesan once more has a hotel, the old one having been repaired and opened again.
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     James Densmoor, of Markesan is hauling an occasional load of granite to the railroad. As soon as the roads get good that kind of business will probably be lively.
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     A carload of German imigrants [sic] went up the road, Monday noon. Only two of them landed here.
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     The report is that the St. Paul Co. has absorbed the Fond du Lac narrow guage [sic] road and that it will be widened to a standard guage.

 

MAY 4, 1882

     Markesan indulged in a railroad meeting yesterday.
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     Densmoor loaded two cars with granite, Monday.
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     The granite train is now making regular trips from the quarry. It is composed of three or more teams.
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     The Markesan Democrat is responsible for the statement that J. W. Grainger is to be station agent at Marquette when the railroad reaches that place. He will probably take the railroad into Marquette on his peddling wagon.
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     By the Republic [Princeton newspaper] we see that R. W. Pride, has been in Princeton, and as he predicted to the Republic man that a railroad to Markesan would kill Brandon we infer that the chromo and washing machines trade wasn't good and he felt blue. If a railroad to Markesan kills Brandon, it would be because Brandon wanted to die.

 

MAY 11, 1882

     The railroad pay car came along, Monday, and left some money with the boys.
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     The Markesan railroad has been the principal topic of conversation the past week.
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     Markesan seems to appreciate its editor. Goodell was elected President and Supervisor of that village, last week.
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     From one to two car-loads of granite paving blocks are being shipped daily, and teamsters are making fair wages hauling them from the quarry.
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     Work has commenced at the Berlin granite quarries.
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     The farmers west of the village are not enthusiastic on the railroad question. They don't like a railroad track through their farms, if they do get well paid for it.
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     Geo. Dart came over from Markesan early Tuesday morning to assist in running the railroad survey, but when he found the engineers didn't intend to run farther than the granite quarry he lost all interest in the matter and hitched up his horse and went home.
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     An engine and three flat cars and the caboose of a gravel train were thrown from the track Tuesday afternoon at Wood's Crossing on the Berlin division of the St. Paul road. Three men out of sixteen were slightly injured. Cause, backed into a cow. The Berlin passenger train was delayed a number of hours.
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     The village of Brandon couldn't invest some money to better advantage than in putting the road to Fairwater in good condition. That granite business and the western trade are worth looking after and encouraging.
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     Tuesday evening the railroad engineers arrived and yesterday morning began the survey of the railroad to the granite quarry. They started just south of the village limit and are running the line about a quarter of a mile south of Main street. Their orders are to run to the quarry and whether they will go farther will probably depend on how much it is worth to the people beyond, and on whether it will pay to run a road farther if it is built. There is nothing sure about it yet, but it is more than probable that a spur track will be built to the quarry as there is no question but the stone is valuable and in demand and the supply almost inexhaustible.

 

MAY 18, 1882

     If that railroad shouldn't be built, they ought to get one of those Oshkosh steam wagons to haul granite with.
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     The granite teams are still going just as if they didn't expect a railroad to the quarry next week.
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     The railroad engineers find a grade of 175 feet from T. R. Darrow's to the granite quarry. Considerable down hill for a railroad.
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     The railroad engineers are now running another line to the quarry, this starting on the marsh north of the village and keeping on that side of the highway to Fairwater. This is less direct but an easier grade.
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     Markesan is as "mad as March hare" [sic] over the railroad business. The engineers completed the survey to that place Tuesday evening and they got up an anvil bombardment, burned a hundred charges of powder and enthused muchly. And yet the road is not built.
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     A load of 300 paving blocks hauled by James LaClair weighed 5500 pounds. That is how heavy they are.
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     Densmoor shipped two cars of granite, Monday, and keeps doing so.
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     The Democrat thinks that if Markesan don't get a railroad this time she never will. That is a long time, Goodell.
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     Between here and Fairwater that railroad goes through the center of nine or ten of the best farms in the country, and it looks as if the right of way would be mighty expensive for a cheap road.
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     We hear they had quite a celebration when the engineers arrived at the granite quarry on Monday. A big blast was exploded, the Markesan brass band tooted their horns and the woods were full of people who had gathered to see the railroad come in. Well, that is all right as long as they enjoyed it, and it probably amused the engineers.

 

MAY 25, 1882

     A carload of granite is the average daily shipment now.
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     The lofty form of Jas. Densmoor, of Markesan, is seen frequently on our streets. [Densmoor was 6'7" tall and weighed 250 pounds according to Elmer Jahns' history of Utley] His heart isn't as hard as his granite by a large majority.
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     The Markesan road is a certainty. A woman over that way has dreamed she saw the cars going into Markesan. We give it up. There is no use of disputing a woman's dream.
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     A letter to Densmoor from his Chicago contractor says his paving blocks give good satisfaction, and they want all they can get of them and as fast as they can get them.
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     The railroad engineers completed their work on the Markesan railroad survey and returned to Milwaukee, Saturday morning. They say that the north route is the easiest grade, and as it does not cut through but four farms between here and Fairwater, in place of eleven on the other route, the right of way would be much less expensive, and if the road is built it will probably be on the north route, which would suit this place better.
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     According to the most reliable accounts, Densmoor isn't getting rich out of the granite business.
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     There seems to be a lull in railroad talk, which is likely to continue until something else happens.

 

JUNE 8, 1882

     The Democrat has closed its first year as a Markesan institution, and Goodell is well pleased with his venture.
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     They have cut down on the price paid for hauling granite, and most of the teams have struck.
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     Densmoor is bound to make that bluff productive. He has discovered a bed of iron ore and a vein of mineral paint. He brought over samples last week, and they are the genuine article. The only question is whether there is enough to pay to work the find.
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     It is reported that the Berlin stone quarry, now being worked by J. H. Anderson, of the Montello Granite Co., that as the work progresses, large crevices of sand-stone are found; besides, the entire rock is much softer than the outside, so that the question has arisen, whether to proceed or abandon the work.--Montello Express.

 

JUNE 15, 1882

     Thirty-five men are now at work at the granite quarry.
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     Hauling granite still continues, and shipments still keep up to about a car a day.
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     The Northwestern folks have frankly told the Markesan people that they can do nothing for them in the railroad line and that village is now pinning all its hopes on the Brandon line, and we fail to see any brilliant prospects in that direction, but probably they can.

 

JUNE 22, 1882

     The Waupun granite company are about to commence operations at Marquette. Music by Grainger.
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     Markesan burst all its powder when the railroad engineers got there and has none left for the Fourth.
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     Markesan voted to invest four hundred dollars to hire school teachers the next year. They ought to have a railroad to let a little civilization into that village.
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     The Berlin granite quarry has been abandoned for the present if not permanently.

 

JUNE 29, 1882

     The granite business still averages about a car-load a day.
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     Soren Swendsen drew a load of granite the other day and unloaded all but the back end when the box tipped up and he got down and out in a hurry. The horses were frightened and started to run but it was too much work and they were soon stopped.
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     Monday afternoon, as the Winneconne freight was coming into Burnett Junction, a misplaced switch run it from the track and down an embankment from five to ten feet high. The engine and several cars were rolled down the bank and piled in the ditch. One passenger, an accident insurance agent, had an ankle sprained in jumping from the top of the car. The wreck would have delayed the passenger train that evening had not permission been obtained from the Northwestern to run from Minnesota Junction to Burnett over that road, and this roundabout trip caused it to be some behind time when it reached here. Some careless railroad employee is out of a job.
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     Knapp has the big boarding house over at the quarry up and enclosed and will soon have it ready for occupancy.
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     Nothing new about the Markesan railroad the past week. The Markesan people must begin to have a realizing sense of the old maxim, "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick."

 

JULY 6, 1882

     The boarding house at the Pine Hill quarry was inaugurated with a dance on Tuesday night.
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     A load of granite whackers from the quarry made music in town, Wednesday evening.

 

JULY 13, 1882

     The boys have discovered gold in that Pine Hill granite, but no fortunes have been made up to date.
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     Jas. Densmoor was over from Markesan, Tuesday evening, to see to the granite business.

 

JULY 20, 1882

     The granite business will be allowed to go slow until after harvest.
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     It is said that Densmoor has withdrawn from the granite business, turning it over to Laper and the quarrymen.
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     The Northwestern is bidding for the Markesan freight and the Pine Hill granite business, and unless the St. Paul meets them that business is liable to go to Ripon. The St. Paul folks want to wake a little up.
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     Why don't someone at Markesan or here enter into negotiations with the Wisconsin Telephone Co. to put up a line to that village. The company is located in Milwaukee and is in just that line of business.
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     Densmoor and Reid, the granite men, took the cars for the south, Monday morning.
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     The Markesan folks think if they have to grade, iron and equip a railroad and furnish men to run it, they might at well keep it as to give it away.
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     We understand that the Markesan railroad scheme is shelved for the present at least. The company asked $60,000 bonus, and Markesan wisely concluded that it wasn't worth it. We rather expected that sort of a determination of the matter.

 

JULY 27, 1882

     Markesan is bound to have that railroad if it takes "the last man and the last dollar."
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     The Brandon postmaster will not regret the building of a railroad to Markesan. He won't have that mail to handle.
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     A corps of railroad engineers arrived in town, Tuesday evening, and the next morning commenced work on the permanent survey of the Markesan railroad. This looks the most like business of any proceeding up to date. It is now quite probable the road will be built, and then we shall see how much sand there is in the make of the average Brandon business man.
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     There appears to be a fresh boom on the Markesan railroad business this week. The St. Paul managers have made another offer: if Markesan will secure the right of way and grade the road the company will iron and equip it. We don't pretend to be an expert in railroad building, but if Markesan don't find the first offer of $60,000 bonds the cheapest in the end our guesser is a fraud and a deceit. But Markesan is biting on the last offer, and we understand they are already negotiating for the right of way. It is said that Jas. Densmoor offers to give the right of way and grade a mile of road. His grit is admirable, but impression is unavoidable that when he gets it done, he will know more about what it costs to build a railroad than he does now.--But seriously, the section reached by the proposed road can afford to pay the bonus asked. It will increase the value of every farm between the county line and Kingston, on the average, five dollars an acre.

 

AUGUST 3, 1882

     It is reported that Ripon is making an effort to get the Markesan railroad run to that place, offering to pay the extra expense. they ought to have it.
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     Young Densmoor's team got frightened, Friday, while he was unloading granite at the depot, and took an excursion down Main St. at a 2:40 gait. Densmoor stuck to the wagon but was unable to get control of the lines to properly steer them and they brought up against George Jenkinson's lamp post, giving it a leaning towards Markesan and demoralizing the lamp. One of the horses was injured some and this with a few breakages comprised the bill of damages.
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     Several car-loads of ties were left at the depot, yesterday, but not for the Markesan railroad.
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     Another bed of granite has been discovered about six miles from Portage, and of course it is claimed to scoop them all.
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     The Scotchmen were over from the quarry, Saturday evening, and brought along their bagpipe. there is nothing that will elevate a Scotchman away up into the seventh heaven like a bagpipe, and the first wild instrument set Dave Whitton [former legislator from Brandon] up so that he hasn't fairly got down to earth again. they treated the town people to considerable piping which attracted attention on account of its novelty if nothing else.--As A. Lincoln would say, if anyone likes that kind of music that is about the kind he likes.
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     The farmers between here and Fairwater are getting interested in the question of how much it will damage their farms to have that railroad go through them.
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     The Brandon and Markesan railroad company has been regularly incorporated and is ready to proceed with business.--All that is now needed is the money and the prairies over west are covered with that.

 

AUGUST 10, 1882

     The editor of the Markesan Democrat devoted most of his last week's issue to the railroad and the editor of this paper. Both will probably survive it.
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     On two points Markesan seems to have made up her mind--to have a railroad and that said road shall not run to Ripon.
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     Markesan is to have an elevator as soon as the railroad is built. Not a very paying kind of property in this region, but they will put up one just the same.
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     The engineers have completed the permanent survey of the railroad to Markesan and are now engaged in cross sectioning and setting the grade stakes. They have their office in the little building north of the Stickle house, and announce "office hours, rainy days."
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     The route advocated by the Ripon papers for the Markesan railroad shows those editors shows those editors to be railroad engineers of monumental capabilities. No other living engineers would ever have thought of starting a railroad from Ripon running it seven miles west to Green Lake, then turning an acute angle and running about ten miles south-east to the granite quarry, then making another acute angle and running six miles to Markesan, making about twenty -two miles of road instead of the twelve now contemplated and such a road, too. That plan is as brilliant as running Schallern for the legislature.
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     The Waupun Leader in speaking of the Markesan railroad says: "In this move Brandon men have shown a short sightedness in helping the thing along if they are seeking the benefit of their own town, as the line cannot help but injure Brandon." To which we answer that as far as we know no Brandon men have been conspicuous in helping the thing along, and we think our Markesan neighbors are inclined to give us credit in the opposite direction. The fact is Brandon men generally have let the thing alone satisfied that Markesan will get a road from somewhere if they can, and if they get one Brandon men are not idiots enough to fight it away from here to Ripon, Waupun or Fox Lake. As to its hurting Brandon time will determine that more certainly than newspaper editors can. We are not going to lay down on account of it, and say we are dead. We believe the road will hurt Ripon and Waupun more than it will Brandon, and that in the long run it will benefit us. That road will not stop at Markesan, if we are any prophet, but that in time trains will run over it from Oshkosh, via Portage, to Madison.
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     Markesan doesn't bite on the proposition to run their railroad to Ripon. they can't see how it will benefit them any.

 

AUGUST 17, 1882

     Markesan now wants a bank and a livery stable, or think they do.
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     One of the railroad engineer corps who is very fond of milk was slightly taken back the other day on receiving with his lunch from the hotel a bottle of milk labeled "for the baby" and fixed for a baby. He didn't drink it for fear it was loaded.
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     The Scotchmen from the quarry are arranging for a ball and concert, at Odd Fellows Hall, in about two weeks. Highland costumes will be worn by a part of them and aside from the dancing there will be music on the bagpipe, etc. The day after the dance, they will have Scotch sports at the quarry, which will be participated in by a number from the works at Montello. On the whole our Scotch citizens will be afforded an opportunity to get a glimpse of the customs of their native heath, they have not often enjoyed. Further particulars next week.
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     A number of carloads of ties have been received her for the Markesan railroad.
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     Geo. W. Dart was over from Markesan last Friday, looking up the right of way question.
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     The Markesan Herald has been enlarged and printed on patent insides. It takes three pounds of paper for an issue, and the publisher hopes in time to eclipse the Democrat, and we don't know but he will.
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     There was a railroad contractor in town, Saturday, looking over the profile of the railroad to see what he can grade it for. He has just finished a contract on the Wisconsin Central and is ready to begin here. Markesan can have that road this fall they if [sic] hurry up the money business.

 

AUGUST 31, 1882

     More granite workers have arrived at the quarry.
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     Hauling granite from the quarry commenced again, Monday.
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     More contractors were looking over the Markesan road, last Friday and Saturday.
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     G. W. Dart, of Markesan, was in town on Monday, firm in the belief that they had a sure thing on that road.
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     The Wisconsin railroads are endeavoring to make arrangements whereby mileage tickets on one roads [sic] shall be good on all roads.
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     The town of Green Lake has voted the required aid to the Markesan railroad. The aid from Manchester will be secured either by bonds or private subscription.
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     The parties negotiating for the railroad right of way are surprised at how valuable some land is in comparison with other seemingly just as good. It is worth three times as much to run along the edge of one man's farm as to run cornerwise through that of his neighbor. But then it depends a good deal on the kind of a man.
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     The granite workers from the quarry assisted by musicians from this place and Waupun will give the long talked of Scotch concert at Odd Fellows Hall, to-morrow night. Scotch costumes have been secured, and the programme will be varied and interesting. Admission 25 cents and as there will be a crowd there you want to go early to get a seat. There will be a dance after the concert.
     There will also be a Scotch picnic and games at Huyer's grove, near the quarry on Saturday afternoon. A number of Workmen from Montello will be there and the contests in the games of "Old Scotia" will be interesting and spirited.
     Twenty-five cents will be charged for admission to the grounds. Prizes will be given in all the games. The proceeds of these entertainments, after paying necessary expenses, will be donated to the widow of a fellow workman who lost his life in the State of New York. Our people should turn out and give the boys a benefit.
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     You can tell a Markesan man, now days, by the broad smile on his face.
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     James Densmoor and G. W. Dart were negotiating for the right of way of their railroad through the village, on Monday. They were generally successful. They say it is costing them not over fifty dollars an acre for the whole line.
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     The Waupun granite company, who got control of a part of the granite at Marquette, have agreed to cancel their lease or commence work right away. so far the company has done nothing and the Markesan people are anxious the work should begin. So says an exchange and if so they will probably cancel. Grainger doesn't seem to be in luck.
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     It is a source of wonderment to some what was the use of organizing the Markesan & Brandon R. R. Co., as long as the St. Paul co. is to build and own the road. The point of the game is this: The statutes require that when a town grants aid to build a road, it shall receive an equal amount of the stock of the road. Now St. Paul stock is worth 122 in the market and a town would make money to trade their bonds for it dollar for dollar, and the St. Paul folks are not doing that kind of business. Therefore they have this new company organized, the aid is given to them and their stock returned to the towns. The town bonds are passed over to the St. Paul Co. The road is built, and goes to that Co. The Markesan & Brandon Co. dies an easy death, and the stock is worth half a cent a pound and the St. Paul Co. is thirty thousand dollars ahead--if the road is a paying property. Do you see the point?

 

SEPTEMBER 7, 1882

     Going to the quarry is now about as popular as going to the lake has been.
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     Now, every time an outsider goes to Markesan, they think he intends to locate and build a four story block. They will get over it after awhile.
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     Yorty & Abercrombie will open a lumber yard in Markesan as soon as that railroad is built but they don't leave here by a large majority.
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     James Densmoor, Wm. Paddock, G. W. Dart, S. D. Goodell, S. W. Smith, and Tuck McCracken and we don't know how many other Markesan men went to Milwaukee, Monday afternoon to close the contract for grading that railroad.
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     Yorty & Abercrombie have taken the contract to build a store for Davis Bros. in Markesan, 24x60 and two stories high to be put up immediately, if the railroad doesn't peter out.
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     The railroad company are getting ready to fix up their stock yards here in good shape, and it looks as if they would supply them with a set of stock scales which would be a great convenience to shippers.
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     The Scotch concert last Friday evening, drew a good house, notwithstanding the weather was about as unpropitious as it well could be. The program was carried out and gave general satisfaction. The feature that pleased the boys most was the costume dances, and in that line it is said that anything better than John Ried's [sic] performance is seldom seen. Had the weather been good the house would have been jammed. The picnic and games at the quarry, on Saturday, were postponed on account of the rain.
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     The "immense piles of ties being piled up at Brandon for the Markesan railroad" is a "three black crow" story. There is a car load or two piled up here and they are being used to repair the main line. The ties for the Markesan road will probably come later and as they are wanted.
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     The Markesan railroad men returned from Milwaukee, Tuesday night, having perfected all arrangements for grading the road. The contractor is Mr. Cash of New Lisbon whose bill aggregates about $21000 for the whole line. It is expected that dirt will begin to fly in a few days.
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     Engineers White and Keene returned Tuesday evening, and are ready for business on that railroad.
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     It is expected that dirt will fly on the Markesan railroad before the week is out, if the thing doesn't burst.

 

SEPTEMBER 14, 1882

     Brandon is full of railroad men this week.
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     Not much granite being shipped. Waiting for the railroad.
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     Hauling granite from the quarry was renewed yesterday with new vigor, and a large force.
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     W. R. Brown has commenced work on that store for Davis Bros. in Markesan. It was framed here.
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     W. H. H. Cash, the contractor on the Markesan railroad arrived in town Monday noon, ready for business.
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     James Densmoor, president of the Markesan R. R. Co., was in town on Monday, evidently after a barrel of salt.
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     The right of way agent of the St. Paul Co. arrived here, Tuesday, and yesterday commenced work in securing title to land on which to build that Markesan road.
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     James Densmoor was in town yesterday, helping buy land to build his railroad on.
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     W. W. H. Cash, the contractor sub-let seven miles of the grading, on Tuesday, and dirt will fly as soon as the right of wa[y] is secured.
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     Brandon land is valuable. One man asks the railroad company two hundred dollars for one tenth of an acre from one corner of his pasture lot.
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     The contractor is ready for business, and all that is needed is the land to build that railroad on. The right of way is not all secured and commissioners will have to be appointed to condemn some of it.
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     Work has been commenced on the new railroad stock yards at this station. They will have all the latest improvements and will satisfy the most exacting shipper. A large stock scales will be included in the outfit.
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     As a matter of general interest and to do away with any misapprehension, it is due the granite workers that the fact be made public that the net proceeds of the Scotch concert were about fourteen dollars, and that this with some sixty dollars contributed by the workmen themselves was sent, Monday morning, to the widow named in the concert bills, at Peekskill, N. Y. The concert would have been more profitable but for the rain, which cut down the receipt but didn't decrease the expenses a bit.
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     It is a good thing the Markesan Democrat published the statement that W. D. Ash of this place was to build an elevator in Markesan, or W. D. would never have known what was expected of him. He has no more intention of building that elevator than he has of going up in a balloon.
-----
     Supt. Rock and Ast. Supt. Utley, of the St. Paul road were in Brandon Tuesday night and left the next morning Utley for the north and Rock the other way. They seemed to have plenty of business, and kept most of it to themselves. As a result of their visit a new side-track will be built, probably on the east side, running north from Washington street and possibly connecting with the wood yard track. They thought of running one on the west side of the depot, and would have done so but for the mill being in the way.
     One thing our people will thank Mr. Rock for, and that is for ordering the removal of the old reaper sheds on the depot grounds in the rear of this office. They have long been an eyesore, and all that was needed was for Rock to get a fair sight of them. He is a man of too much sense and taste to tolerate such a lot of rookeries on his premises.

 

SEPTEMBER 21, 1882

     Wm. Brown and crew are putting up that Markesan store.
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     The wood sawyers are making music at the depot.
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     The railroad cattle sheds are now finished and hogs can now live there with some degree of comfort.
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     It is understood that the company will not put in a station at Fairwater on the new road. There will probably be a flag station.
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     Work on the Markesan grade is being commenced this week all along the line. Men and teams are wanted at good wages. The principal difficulty seems to be to get boarding places.
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     The right of way for the Markesan road is not all secured, but the proper authorities are working at it, and will probably secure it after a commission has been appointed.
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     Dan Donovan, a Fond du Lac boy, 12 years old, while attempting to jump on a moving train, last Friday, was run over and his right arm and foot and left leg badly crushed. He cannot recover. And still boys will be allowed to fool around moving cars.
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     Markesan folks are in danger of killing their town by holding property so high no one will buy it.
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     Those old reaper sheds are not disappearing very fast. Supt. Rock will have to come around again.
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     Cash, ye contractor, took the train south, yesterday morning. He is full of business and good nature.
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     The railroad pig pen is about completed and being substantially floored, no reasonable pig should complain. The stock scales at the entrance to the yards will be a great convenience to shippers.
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     We understand that Densmoor and Loper [Laper] have divided up the granite quarry property and that in the division the big boarding house to Densmoor who is figuring on building a large addition to it. Densmoor ought to make something out of that quarry, he has worked hard enough to get a road to it.
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     Work was commenced on the grading on the Markesan railroad, last Friday, on the premises of H. Hayward in the north part of village. [sic] S. W. Mather of Manchester, happened to be in town the evening before, and as he had been waiting for a quarter century to see work begun on a railroad to Markesan, he staid in town that night and the next morning was on hand bright and early to see the work commenced and held the scraper for first scraper full of dir [sic] that went into the grade of that road. And then he went home happy.
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     The engineers have been surveying another railroad through Hiram Hayward's place and curve through is pasture just north of his barn, striking the Markesan line a little west of where the other curve running this way commences. This leaves Mr. Hayward[']s buildings in a triangle surrounded by railroad lines. The only object we can see in putting in this new piece of road is to run trains onto the Markesan track from the north, and it looks as if the company was fixing things to some time run a train from Oshkosh to Portage, that way.

 

SEPTEMBER 28, 1882

     Railroad graders are not longing for rain if other folks are.
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     They are hauling out granite pretty lively.
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     O. P. Reed, of Ripon was in town, on Monday.
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     The first mile of the Markesan road is nearly completed.
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     P. W. Jackson, of Princeton, is to start a livery stable in Markesan.
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     Markesan hasn't fenced in Brandon yet, perhaps they have concluded to allow us to stay here.
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     The graders dug Densmoor's potatoes over near the quarry before he got time to do it himself. They also buried them in the railroad grade.
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     The commission to condemn that right of way for the Markesan road, in this county, will be appointed at Sheboygan, to-morrow.
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     Neighbor Randall got his dander up the other day because a granite hauler [sic] hitched his team to one of the shade trees at the depot. He ought to have thrown a paving block at him.
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     President Densmoor, of the Markesan R'y Co., was in town, Monday and took a walk over the grade already made. He is the first Markesan man to ride on that road and he went on foot.
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     Monday morning a gang of railroad men with a construction train commenced taking down the bank north of Knapp's shop. It looks as if they were going to put in a side track.
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     Work has been commenced on the railroad grade across the marsh north of Lingenfelter's. This is the worst job on the line, and contractor Cash not having succeeded in sub-letting it, is doing it himself, and pushing it while the dry weather lasts.
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     Just where that new side track will begin and end is the present conundrum.
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     J. S. Gee, of Waupun, visited his son, the doctor, and inspected the Markesan railroad, last Sunday.
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     W. H. H. Cash returned from Milwaukee, Friday night, but he didn't stop the job.
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     C. W. Giffey is putting in a few days on that new store at the other end of the Markesan Grand Trunk.
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     Just prime weather for grading a railroad through marsh lands, and they are improving it.
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     G. W. Dart had to come over from Markesan, Tuesday, to look at this end of the railroad grade.
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     Ast. Supt. Utley, of the St. Paul road was in town Monday and took a walk over the Markesan grade the next morning. Grading appeared to go on brisker afterwards.
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     Contractor Cash went up the road yesterday afternoon on an extra train. He only intended to ride up to the end of the switch on the pilot of the engine, but the engine started at a twenty mile gait, and he couldn't get off that pilot until the train reached Ripon.
-----
     There is a hitch in the Markesan railroad business that threatens to burst things, though there has been no explosion as yet. It seems that the town board of Manchester claim that the petition for issuing the bonds was not legal on account of insufficient notice, and they refuse to sign the bonds. If this is the case it is claimed that the bonds issued by the other towns are illegal and worthless. Markesan folks claim that the notice and all the proceedings are legal and in proper form, and as they were acting undaa [under] instructions from the St. Paul attorneys it would be supposed they would be. However last Friday orders were sent to the agent to stop buying right of way, and to the contractors not to employ any new hands, but not to stop work where the right of way has been secured. A writ of alternative mandamus issued by Judge Pulling was served on the Manchester officials on Monday, and they were to appear before Judge Pulling at Oshkosh, yesterday to show cause why they did not sign the bonds. This will bring the question of the legality of the bonds before him for decision. If he decides in favor of the road, the work will probably go on, if his decision is that the bonds are invalid it is probable that the work will stop for the present, until new bonds are secured. That is about where the matter stands at this writing as near as we can ascertain.
     --The Judge told the said officials that there was no help for them, and they returned home not only to issue the bonds already voted but to try and increase the amount sufficiently to secure the extension of the road to Manchester.

 

OCTOBER 5, 1882

     The hotels get more railroaders than they know what to do with.
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     Contractor Cash has had orders to rush work and have the railroad grade completed to Markesan during this month, and he will do it.
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     The commissioners to condemn the right of way on the Markesan road have been appointed but hadn't [sic] put in an appearance yet.
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     The first mile of the Markesan grade is completed except a few rods of light grading in the village where the right of way has not been secured.
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     Work on the new side track at this station is progressing moderately, but it will probably be finished before the Markesan road is. It will commence in the cut north of the village and run south to where the Markesan road strikes the main line.
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     A crew of Polacks came down from Berlin, last week, to build the Markesan railroad, but they wouldn't do it unless they could furnish their own boss and do as they pleased, but they found a man here who was building that grade and doing the necessary bossing and they went home again.
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     L. B. rock was in town yesterday afternoon, and found those sheds still there--mostly.
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     James Densmoor, Geo. Dart and other Markesan railroad magnates were in town on Sunday.
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     W. R. Brown has the contract to build a new boarding house at the granite quarry, and is working at it.
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     C. W. Giffey has accepted an engagement with the railroad civil engineer corps. A good chance for him.
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     The engineers started out yesterday morning to survey the line from Markesan to Manchester with orders to look over a line to Kingston. It looks as if Markesan wasn't to be a railroad terminus after all, and it is said that the folks over there are as mad as hornets over it. They were not very far sighted if they supposed that road was going to stop out there in the country.

 

OCTOBER 12, 1882

     The Saint Paul Co. has disposed of all its lands at an average price of $5.50 per acre.
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     The pay car came along last week and left the boys with a lot of hard money to jingle in their pockets.
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     A number of teams are hauling granite from the quarry. That line of industry will soon play out.
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     C. W. Giffey went to Markesan Monday, over the railroad grade, on foot. He was counting up the number of men at work on the line.
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     F. M. Wheeler and William Fenelon, of Springvale, and G. Stelter, of Metomen, are the commissioners to condemn and apprise the right of way of the Markesan road in this county. They met and organized, last week, and served the necessary notices, and tomorrow will proceed to business.
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     Our pet aversion, those old implement sheds, disappeared, in a hurry, last Friday. Under orders from Supt. Rock, the section men tore them down, and then the owners got up animation enough to draw away the old lumber. Some of the old reapers are there yet, but the improvement in [is] so manifest that anyone can see it.
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     That new side track gives A. J. Yorty a capital location for a lumber yard.
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     Geo. Dart was over from Markesan, Monday, to see the new railroad start.
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     The lumber used for the culverts on the Markesan road comes from Necedah Juneau Co.
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     Contractor Cash wants to let the contract to draw the bridge and culvert timber along the line.
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     Two car loads of emigrant moveables started for out west on Tuesday. The parties lived west of this place.
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     The railroad fever has struck Kingston and we have no doubt but they will get the road, if they come down sufficiently.
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     The contractors graded the railroad through Austin's pasture before he had time to stop them. Lawless!
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     The switches from the main track to the Markesan grade and to the new side track were put in last Sunday.
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     Work was commenced putting in the culverts and cattle guards on the Grand Trunk, yesterday. It was a damp beginning.
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     A glorious rain Saturday and Sunday which pleased everybody but the railroad graders, and they are in the minority, and had had things their own way long enough.
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     W. H. H. Cash has taken the contract to put in the bridges, culverts and cattle guards on the Markesan road, and the lumber began to arrive the first of the week. The putting in the culverts and cattle guards has been sub-let.

 

OCTOBER 19, 1882

     Wes Dame and his mules are working out a grading contract on the railroad, near the quarry.
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     They will probably commence laying iron on the Markesan road in a few days. The first mile is nearly ready.
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     The old harvesters have disappeared from the common.
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     Cash went to Milwaukee yesterday afternoon.
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     Supt. Rock and Ast. Supt. Utley were in town on Monday, looking at this end of the Grand Trunk.
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     Densmoor has received about a carload of furniture and materials for his boarding house at the quarry. He evidently means to do some business over there.
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     The first half mile of the Markesan grade is completed and the second is nearly so. The heavy cut through the water shed, on Fred Foster's place will take some time yet as they are liable to get more stone than dirt out of it.
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     The commissioners to condemn and appraise the right of way for the Markesan railroad met again last Friday, and decided the three cases referred to them. they awarded W. D. Ash $350, and Benjamin Austin $125. We do not hear what Mrs. Norris received but the amount was larger than she had agreed to accept. The case of Ash will probably be appealed, by the company.
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     Painters have been brushing up things around the depot.
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     Supt. Rock was here Monday, and soon after the railroad grounds back of this office began to get a cleaning up.
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     W. H. H. Cash went to Milwaukee, Saturday, and returned Monday. He evidently went after his good clothes.
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     The new side track is progressing slowly. It will be finished by the time the Markesan road is.
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     Markesan has a new saloon. That appears to be the first addition to their business facilities on account of the railroad boom.
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     The St. Paul Co. has settled with Hayward for the right of way for the "Y" on his land. It spoils his farm but he got good pay for it. It is said he got $1116.
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     The Manchester folks returned from their Milwaukee trip, with high hopes, confident that the railroad would be extended to that place in the spring. Now let Kingston go in.
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     Supervisor Goodell, A. W. Millard, S. W. Mather, Postmaster Pierce and a lot of other Manchester people went to Milwaukee, Tuesday morning, to arrange with the Saint Paul Company for the extension of the railroad to that village. They mean business, evidently.
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     A. Olien & Co. who had the contract for the first half mile of grade have completed it and received their pay. The company consisted of ten men and they did all the work themselves except team work. They have made as handsome a grade as we ever saw.

 

OCTOBER 26, 1882

     Hotel men are having a little easier time of it.
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     Work has been commended [commenced] grading the "Y" on the new railroad.
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     The lumber on the north lumber yard is being hauled to the other yard.
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     The Markesan grade will not be finished this month by a considerable. [sic]
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     The eleven foot cut on Foster's place will be finished in a day or two.
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     The engineers say that Wes Dame and his mules constructed 700 feet of the nicest grade on the new road and Wes says he made good wages doing it.
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     Boys under 17 years of age should remember that they are liable to a fine of from $2 to $20 for jumping on or off a railroad train while in motion, in default of which fine they will be sent to the reform school. We hope our officers will see that the law is enforced.
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     For two weeks the Markesan Democrat has informed its readers that they had commenced laying iron on this end of the railroad. Up to this date they have put down just enough to start that switch.
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     The railroad depot has been supplied with a new clock of approved construction, warranted to run, and you can now get the correct time there without asking any questions. This station is putting on airs in view of being a junction.
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     It is settled we understand, that there will be but one station between Brandon and Markesan on the new railroad, and that will be beyond the quarry on a wagon road running north from Wm. Bishop's. The company has purchased two acres of land there for depot, etc. the station should be called Densmoor.
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     Last Sunday after noon, Michael Egan and John Brown, two railroad graders, got full of bad whisky and consequently full of fight. In the resulting row, Egan got his arm broke. Marshall [sic] Austin gathered them into the cooler as soon as possible and Dr. Shepard set Eagan's [sic] arm. The next morning Justice Watson charged them $5 and costs each, or twenty days in jail. Brown paid his fine, but Egan after paying the doctor hadn't money enough to settle with the court and concluded to let the county board him while his arm was getting well. Thus it will be seen that the whisky business is profitable to the tax payer. Twenty-five dollars is about what the tax payers will have to pay for the little whisky row, and the whisky was sold on Sunday too.

 

NOVEMBER 2, 1882

     The railroad graders have worked away from us.
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     The Markesan Democrat can again remark that track laying has commenced.
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     George McEvoy runs the engine of the construction train of the Markesan road.
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     The side tracks are full of railroad iron ties and lumber.
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     The switch at the upper end of the new side track and the "Y" on the Markesan road was put in on Sunday.
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     It is said that Montello is bidding for an extension of the Markesan road to that place.
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     Supt. Rock and Ast. Supt. Utley, went to Markesan, Tuesday, to attend to matters at the end of the railroad, locating depot, etc.
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     The granite workers were in Waupun last Saturday, and gave the Scotchmen down there a taste of bagpipe music. We would like to have seen John Bryce when the first note struck his ear.
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     C. P. Utley, ye Ast. Supt., was in town overseeing the track laying on the Grand trunk which was started yesterday.
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     Five car loads of iron arrived, Saturday, for the new road. It is new iron fresh from the rolling mill, which also looks as if the new road was intended for more than a twelve mile spur.
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     E. P. Lamb, of Springvale, has been grading railroad at Fond du Lac and up north, all summer, has returned home, and will take a job on the Markesan road.
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     Contractor Cash has been absent the past week. He is probably up in Juneau Co. on an electioneering tour, as he is the republican candidate for coroner in that county, and expects by hard work to get elected.

 

NOVEMBER 9, 1882

     Our hotel men are getting a little rest.
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     That new side track is about completed.
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     Mr. Peacock, of Beaver Dam, will build an elevator at Markesan.
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     Ast. Supt. Utley was in town Tuesday morning.
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     Wm. R. Brown has completed his Markesan job and come home.
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     A train load of railroad ties was unloaded in front of Hayward's on Sunday.
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     Markesan merchants are putting in tremendous stocks of goods, and maybe they will sell them.
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     Gerpheide threw away his been and eloquence on the railroad graders. They didn't vote.
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     The pay car went out on the Markesan road to the end of the track, Tuesday morning.
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     Yorty & Abercrombie have secured a place for a lumber yard at Markesan, and the railroad company will put in a side track for their special accommodation.
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     The boss amusement now days is riding out on the Markesan track on the construction train and walking back on the ties. It is about equal to "riding down hill."
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     Markesan is planning for a grand celebration, principly [sic] a dance, on the completion of the railroad to that place. The average Markesanner, dances on every possible occasion.
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     Wes. Dame claims that he has got his mules trained so they are the best road graders in the business. He can back them up to a six foot cut, tickle their ears and they will kick the dirt out of it, at the rate of a hundred feet an hour. Shouldn't believe it is Wes. wasn't known to be a regular "truthful James."
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     Ast. Supt. Utley, Engineer White and another railroad man left here last Saturday morning for Manchester, Kingston, Marquette, Montello, Portage City, and other points that way, looking over the country to see what should be done with the other end of the new road. It is quite probable that it will run to Portage, though a short spur may be built from Kingston to the Marquette granite ledge.
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     Railroad trains seem to be troubled with lateness, along back.
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     Markesan has got it bad. They have it over there that the St. Paul shops are to be moved from Milwaukee to that place. It would be such a convenient location for them, to be sure.
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     It is said that the new station beyond the quarry will be named Utley, in honor of the Ast. Supt. of this division. We should have voted to call it Densmoor.

 

NOVEMBER 16, 1882

     Seven more cars of railroad iron arrived Monday night.
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     The railroad track is slowly going toward Markesan.
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     The railroad track will not get beyond Fairwater pond this week.
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     The Markesan Democrat has already begun to warn boys against getting upon the cars when they are in motion.
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     Ast. Supt. Utley was in town, Monday, and went out inspecting the Markesan road.
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     Owing to the good wages paid by railroad contractors, farmers have had difficulty in getting help for their fall work but the fine weather has helped them out.
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     Tuesday the railroad track layers run up to the graders this side of Fairwater, and yesterday backed up and laid the track on the Y in this village. The main track will be continued to the Fairwater pond to-day or to-morrow when the pile driver will be needed to put in piles for the bridge there. Bu the time that is finished the grading will be mostly done to Markesan.
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     Railroaders will get cold fingers before that Markesan road is finished.
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     Asmuth is putting up some kind of building in front of his elevator and it [is] going to cut off our rear view to that we can't see the Markesan train come in.
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     The railroad track run up to the graders on the Batson place, on Tuesday. When they get to Fairwater they will have to wait for a bridge to be built.
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     W. R. Brown's jack-plane crew are out to the quarry building an addition to Densmoor's boarding house, this week.
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     Contractor Cash was defeated for coroner in Juneau Co., and so was the rest of the republican ticket. We are sorry for Cash, but then he has too much company to get lonesome on the banks of salt river.

 

NOVEMBER 28, 1882

     Considerable old iron is being used on the Markesan road.
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     Markesan is to have another Barber shop.
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     The gravel train has commenced ballasting the Markesan road.
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     G. W. Dart of Markesan was in town yesterday.
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     The railroad pile driver was laid up for repairs, Monday.
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     The Fairwater railroad bridge was completed, on Sunday, and the track laying goes bravely forward.
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     The farmers along the new railroad are patiently waiting for the fence builders. Many farms are in rather an exposed condition.
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     Wesley and his mules have finished their second job of railroad grading and made well at it.
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     By next week, granite can be hauled from the quarry by rail, and there is a pile of it ready.
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     Work has been commenced this week on the Markesan elevator. It will be run by steam power.
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     The report that Mitchell's bank and the St. Paul general office are to be moved to Markesan, was probably the outgrowth of the dreams of some enthusiastic Markesanner, and won't be realized this year.

 

NOVEMBER 30, 1882

     L. B. Rock was in town on Friday, and C. P. Utley spent several days on the new line, the past week.
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     About time for clergymen to be looking after their half fare passes, for next year.
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     This division is being relaid with steel rails from "Slingerville" to Milwaukee and the old iron, only used a year, goes upon the Markesan road.
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     The grading of the Markesan road is completed except the side track to the quarry, and the track layers reached the quarry on Monday, but they will not spend thanksgiving in Markesan as was first anticipated.
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     Railroad trails are still troubled with a chronic behind-time-ness.
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     Will our Markesan friends send us word when their big railroad dance comes off.
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     The Markesan Democrat man should not let his angry passions rise. If you hit, you mustn't cry if you are hit back, my boy.

 

DECEMBER 14, 1882

     The railroad grade is finished to Markesan and the graders have generally departed for other fields.
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     A dispatch to Station Agent Randall on Monday, announced that in the Markesan bond case, the injunction was dissolved but the plaintiffs had 3 days to appeal, putting up $3,000 extra bonds. It looks as if it might be expensive to the fellows who sign such bonds.
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     Markesan will dance on Christmas railroad or no railroad.
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     The railroad pay car left some coin with the boys, Tuesday. Randall counted his money this time.
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     From all accounts, some of the subcontractors on the Markesan grade did considerable hard work for a very little money and furnished their own team and board.
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     A gang of railroad carpenters began work, the first of the week, on an engine house to be located in the wood yard. The amount of timber being used indicates quite a large building.
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     The plaintiffs in the Markesan bond case have notified the railroad company that they will not appeal the case and it [is] understood that track laying will be resumed the first of next week. Through much tribulation and vexation of spirit Markesan is slowly but surely reaching the goal of her ambition--a railroad.
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     The Markesan and Brandon railroad has formally passed into the control of the St. Paul Co. Five of the old directors have resigned and Mitchell, Carey, Merrill, Rock and Meyer of the St. Paul Co., were elected to fill vacancies. We understand that the stock issued to the towns granting aid has been turned over to the St. Paul, and they now really own the road.

 

DECEMBER 21, 1882

     Track laying on the Markesan road is being rushed.
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     Work on the engine house at the depot is progressing.
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     Say, Goodall, we don't believe that Markesan railroad has bothered us as much as it has you.
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     The "Markesan Branch" appears on the St. Paul time tables, but without stations or trains, as yet.
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     The Markesan Democrat suggests that when the Ripon commonwealth man saw a hundred car loads of granite shipped from the quarry he must have been looking through Hildebrandt's windows. Perhaps so, and made a lens of a beer tumbler.
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     A change of railroad time table went into effect Monday morning. The passenger train is one minute later each way at 11:10 A. M., and goes south at 2:51 P. M. The freights leave at 11:10 and 4:15. Take due notice and make connections accordingly.
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     C. P. Utley helped lay the Markesan railroad the first of the week.
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     A number of granite workers left on the afternoon train, Monday.
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     The company will try hard to have the iron horse in Markesan, by New Years.
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     Work on the Markesan road was resumed last Saturday and is being pushed.
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     Markesan made a bee the first of the week to distribute a train load of ties along the grade. This helps a half on time, and if they keep up the good work they will get the road done by New Years.
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     We advise the editor of the Markesan Democrat to keep cool. We are not going to tear up their railroad, if we did serve an apprenticeship at that business years ago down in dixie. But my dear boy, there was talk among railroad men of building at town at the quarry and running the road one side of Markesan in case those bonds were lost. As far as Brandon is concerned, we believe it to our interest to have the road built, as it probably will be, to Portage or Montello. We long to be a junction.
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     It has just been announced, on what may be regarded as good authority, that J. H. Anderson, of the Montello Granite Company, has formed a partnership with two other gentlemen of Chicago, with a capital of $150,000. They have bought the quarries at Berlin, Marquette, Fairwater and Preston's quarry, and are trying to get hold of Observatory Hill. In connection with the one at Montello, this will make 6 quarries in operation. The headquarters will be at Montello, where all the stonecutting will be done, and immense polishing works erected on the water power recently purchased by Anderson. The report also says that the C., M. & St. P. R. R. will be extended from Markesan via Marquette to Montello. But all this will be more certain when it has taken place.

 

DECEMBER 28, 1882

     The hotel people are having an easier time of it.
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     Markesan is a railroad town, as sure as you live.
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     Let's go to Markesan on the first train and see the circus.
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     As't. Supt. C. P. Utley and wife are in town. C. P. is bossing the track laying on that railroad.
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     The passenger train was half an hour late, Monday night, just to please postmasters who wanted to attend Christmas entertainments.
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     Some men were over from the quarry, Saturday night, and got into a row in Danforth's fool factory [saloon]. Marshall [sic] Austin succeeded quelling the riot.
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     Regular trains will commence running on the Markesan branch to-morrow leaving here at 11:10 A. M. and returning at 2:51, making connections with the mixed train on the main line. This will be the arrangement for the present.
-----
     The track will certainly be laid to Markesan this week.
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     Markesan had another tie hauling bee yesterday, and we expect they completed the job.
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     The iron horse probably will have reached Markesan before this paper is printed.
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     James Densmoor's team tried hard to get up a runaway, at the depot, Tuesday but failed.
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     The Markesan Democrat seems to have an overwhelming love for Brandon. But we will try and live through it.
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     There was a rumor current of a man being fatally killed in a row at the quarry last week, but as they don't seem to know anything about it over that way the killing probably wasn't very fatal.
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     The iron horse got so close to Markesan yesterday that the people of that town got a good look at him, on their own soil. We heartily congratulate them on the successful termination of their many trials and tribulations.
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     We would mildly insinuate to neighbor Goodell, of the Markesan Democrat, that the republication of "all the smart things and slurs" we have published about the Markesan railroad, would look about at well as the reprinting of all the gush and bombast he has indulged in on the same subject. Get some sensible man to examine your files and give you his opinion on the subject before you come down too severely on your neighbors.

 

JANUARY 4, 1883

     Go to Markesan tomorrow.
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     The Markesan train isn't a lightning express.
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     When is Markesan going to begin building that fence around Brandon.
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     Station Agent Randall took his chance on a trip over the Markesan railroad Saturday., and was the only passenger both ways.
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     A number of our young people under the guardianship of Frank Randall and Geo. F. Wheeler, took a trip over the Markesan railroad, Tuesday.
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     They say Markesan got fearfully happy when the track was completed to that place, last Thursday. Music whisky and beer mixed, and cigars were as free as air. Well they never had a railroad before.
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     The grand celebration of the opening of the Markesan railroad will take place to-morrow. There will be several excursion trains from this place, a grand demonstration at Markesan, consisting of a banquet, speeches and a jollification. One of the features of the occasion will be the presentation of a $250 gold gold watch [sic] and chain to Jas. Densmoor, by the residents of Markesan and vicinity as a recognition of his services in securing the road. The present will be handsome and richly deserved.
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     The railroad surveys say that Markesan is 145 feet nearer the center of the world than Brandon.
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     We understand that work has been discontinued at the quarry until spring. No sale for paving blocks now.
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     The Markesan turntable was sent out yesterday, and as soon as they can get it set trains will come over right end forward.
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     The engine house that was framed and intended to be put up here has been moved to Markesan. One will be built here in the spring, we understand.
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     C. B. Hart, of Ripon, has been appointed station agent at Markesan, and went over there, on Tuesday, to open up for business.
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     The "palace mail and express car" now running on the Markesan road is the same one station agent Randall used to handle mail in, between Horicon and Portage some fifteen years ago. Randall shed tears when he saw it again.
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     Utley is the name of the station on the Markesan road just beyond the quarry, and they go through all the motions when trains arrive there, as if there was a big town. The train stops in an old wheat field, the b[r]akeman opens the car door and shouts "Utley" loud enough to be heard a quarter of a mile, and when the lone passenger in the coach looked out of the window, there wasn't a building, a human being or even a cow in sight. But there is plenty of land to build a village on.
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     The first passenger train was run over the Markesan road, last Friday, and this editor went over on it, bearing flag of truce in the shape of a mail bag, to assure our neighbors that we had no hostile intentions toward the road. Whether Bro. Goodell, of the Democrat had warning of our coming and took to the back woods, or whether our time there was too short to hunt him up, we can't say, but we didn't see him. Markesan is a nice little place but it needs painting. The people are enterprising but they are more given to stores and shops and nice houses than they are to schools and churches, and we hope they will reform. The new road is rough yet, and trains have to make very slow time, but when leveled up and ballasted it will be a far better road to run over that the one to Ripon, and in the summer time, the varied and charming scenery through which it passes will make it a real pleasure to ride over.

BRANDON-MARKESAN RAILROAD  |  GREEN LAKE COUNTY DEMOCRAT, 1881-84 BRANDON TIMES, 1882

Last updated 7/1/1999

This site represents an ongoing project to document the history of Green Lake and Fond du Lac counties. If you have information to share, please contact Bob Schuster by email at rmschust@facstaff.wisc.edu or at 6020 Kristi Circle, Monona, Wisconsin 53716 (608) 221-1421.