The Ellsworth History Book progress – and corrections for the publications put out for the 150th so far.

As I am now wrapping up putting together chapters of the Ellsworth history book, I thought I’d write about it and the two publications that have come out so far under Ellsworth’s 150th celebration.

The book that I am working on will be coming out this summer under the Pierce County Historical Association. The book has two main parts to it. I have researched and written about a variety of topics from Ellsworth history that are all going into 10 chapters.

1) Ellsworth Beginnings and County Building Evolution – This chapter covers Ellsworth before the county seat when for about 10 years it was known as Perry. It also covers why the county seat was moved to Ellsworth and the history of the county buildings that have been built in the village.

2) Civic Improvements – Electricity, Sewer, Water, Paving, Village Incorporation, and other improvements like a fire department are in this chapter.

3) West Ellsworth Business History – This chapter was the longest to write, but not necessarily the hardest to research. It attempts to put Ellsworth business histories in order, building by building (even if they don’t exist) from the corner where the Freedom Station is to the Midway Mall. It contains about 50 pages without any photographs yet.

4) East Ellsworth Business History – This was similar to chapter 3, except it involves East Ellsworth. I had some excellent help in this part, for Marvin Struve did similar research and writing in the 1990s. Earlier versions of Chapter 3 and 4 were given to Cal Butts, Jim Peterson, Jack Hines, the Ellsworth Care Center and Ellsworth Chamber members to make sure the information is as accurate as possible. Changes were made and these chapters are nearing final form.

5) Historic Homes – I have this chapter up as a test chapter on my blog. I did not get any feedback on anything wrong in this chapter except some spelling mistakes on current owners. This was an attempt at researching most homes built in Ellsworth before 1960. When where they built and by and for who? Historic photographs will be a highlight of this chapter along with something about renowned architect Cass Gilbert’s connection to Ellsworth.

6) Medical History – This chapter covers all doctors who practiced in Ellsworth from the first, Dr. Dempster Woodworth to Dr. Jonas and Dr. Klaas. Judea Klaas and Dr. Jonas contributed greatly to this chapter. It also will have something on Ellsworth Hospitals (yes there were two!), nursing homes and clinics.

7) Ellsworth Schools – Ellsworth School district history is recounted, not only in a new narrative about the village schools that cover previously unrevealed information, but also histories of all township schools which were: Clayfield, Freier, Maynard, Murphy, Sleepy Hollow, Iverson, Cudd, and Lantz Schools.

8 ) Ellsworth Churches – This chapter will cover histories of all churches past and present in the village and Ellsworth Township. Many of the histories were submitted by long time members and pastors of the churches themselves.

9) Ellsworth Organizations – This will have some histories of organizations in Ellsworth, both active and inactive. Everything from the Hesperian Society to Lions Club, to Masons, to G.A.R. to Girl Scouts, with many others as well.

10) Ellsworth Recreation – This chapter covers some of the fun events and places in Ellsworth over the years. The events include the harvest festivals, 4th of July, Circus, Sno Fest, and Cheese Curd Festival among others. The places include the infamous Ellsworth Pavillion a.ka. Proch’s Pavilion.  Other places include the fairgrounds, the Fireman’s Opera Hall and even the East Ellsworth Pavillion.

These are the chapters I have been working on for the past four years. It feels good to be so close to handing them over to my editor, who is Darleen Schommer. The remainder of the book will be about pioneering Ellsworth families. These are families that came to Ellsworth village or township before 1880. Why 1880? If we try to cover everyone who ever lived here it would be the never ending story. This is the format that other local books have used as well when publishing family histories. The books with family history information so far include volume 7 on the Cherma area, volume 8 on El Paso Township families, and volume 9 on early Beldenville families. These are all still in print and available through our office. Other books that also have extensive family genealogies include The History of Prescott by Beeler and Ahlgren (1996) covering Prescott and surrounding area families and Is there Any Lefse and Ludafisk Left? by Wiff covering Martell Township families (1994). Both of these are also available through our office. Pat (Winn) Mory has been working on a lot of these families for years and has been working diligently and has most of them completed at this time. This section is not only interesting to the families included, but I would think to others who want to know more about the early history of the county and some of their current neighbors families for sure.

Sesquicentennial publications so far.

So far there have been two publications put out as part of the sesquicentennial celebration in Ellsworth: The Ellsworth 150th Calendar put out by the Sesquicentennial committee and the Ellsworth Visitor’s and Residents Guide Sesquicentennial Edition put out by the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce through Helmer Printing. While both of these publications are good in their own ways, there are a few mistakes in them that I feel like I need to share here, because I feel accuracy is important. Once a history is in print, many who read it assume that it is correct and will not check a original source to see if it is really correct.

The Ellsworth 150th Calender

The Calendar has three major mistakes and a few minor ones. Mistake 1: The Pierce County Historical Association was under the impression from our agreement that we would get credit for the photographs used for the calender individually. Instead the powers that be created a list instead. Photos are important view into our past and it is too bad they were not credited individually. Here are the individual photo credits by month.

Cover: Photograph by Ken Close. This is part of the Ken Close collection at PCHA.

January: Pierce County Historical Association photo

February: From the Kathy Deiss post card collection

March: Provided by Brickner’s service station

April: Photograph from the Pierce County Historical Association Collection. This is one of two photos with the incorrect description with the photograph. The cut line talks about the Methodist Church in town, while the photograph is an early one of the Presbyterian Church with Arthur Travis in front of it delivering mail.

May: This is from the Pierce County Historical Association

June: This is provided by the Co-op creamery in East Ellsworth

July: This Main Street view is a Hakkon W. Lawrence photograph out of the new Lawrence negatives in the Pierce County Historical Association collection.

August: This photograph is a Pierce County Historical Association photo. The cut line is incorrect on the first four high school students that graduated from Ellsworth. They list teachers and a principal in the cut line. The correct 4 students are: Mark Terpenning, Lizzie Peterson, Etta Rounce, and Alice Crownhart

September: This also is a Hakkon W. Lawrence photograph from the Pierce County Historical Association.

October: This is a Pierce County Historical Association photograph. It also exists in the Kathy Deiss post card collection.

November: I am assuming this photo of the Ellsworth pavilion was provided by Dick Proch, since he is credited in the list of where they got the photographs from.

December: This a some what common post card of the community Christmas Tree of 1916. It is hard to say where their source is for this.

This was my major problem with the calender : citing sources and having bad information for the cut lines. It was lucky that they did have some of the cut lines proofed, or there could have been more mistakes. There are some minor mistakes in the information on some days as well, but only one serves mention. On August 28 it states: 1855 Anthony Huddleston, cousin of Daniel Boone, was the settler who bought the land where the creamery now stands. First of all, no research has ever linked Daniel Boone to Huddleston. The family has looked into this in great detail and found it is NOT true. Also no mention of the fact that Huddleston is the first settler is made here. The ladies did great work with it, and put together something that it would have been hard for me to do. I am just slightly disappointed in the final product, but not so much that I have not bought more than one!

The Ellsworth Sesquicentennial Edition Community and Visitor’s Guild

Now what is wrong with the Ellsworth visitors guide, you might ask? There are two major problems with it in my estimation. Mistake 1) There are numerous historical photographs including the front cover that are not of Ellsworth at all, but of River Falls! The front cover shows Thomas Tomlinson and Matt Simon’s meat market on it. The proprietors are in the white outfits and Earl Foster is the boy in the center of the photograph. This meat market partnership lasted between 1904 and 1906 and was located where Steve’s Pizza is today on North Main Street in River Falls.  On page 10 there is a photograph of Langwear plant in River Falls during 1931. This was located on Second Street where the Fire Department is today. Langwear was never in Ellsworth! On Page 22 there are a series of photographs, one clearly marked Fred Johnson. This Fred Johnson never lived near Ellsworth, but at Maiden Rock.  Finally on page 37 there is a clear half page image of the Park View Dairy truck with the Bartosh boys shown beside it. The truck is clearly marked River Falls! This was located on today’s Church Street before that area became full of residences as it is today.

The other major problem I have with the book is that it includes 42 historical photographs. None are individually credited anywhere. On Page 1 it says the Historical Photographs were supplied by the Ellsworth Historical Society. This organization does not even exist! It is very clear that the photographs are almost all from the Pierce County Historical Association. This is news to our organization. The authors of the Ellsworth book and the board can not find any documentation showing they could use these photographs or any photographs in a publication. I am sure the information is right within the pages, but these two things put a damper on this publication.

Anyway, hopefully we are on the right track in putting out the Ellsworth History Book a.k.a. Pierce County Heritage Volume 10, by June. It will be over 500 pages and if you pre-order with our office you can get a special rate. E-mail or call our office at 715-273-6611 to reserve a copy. Thank you to everyone who contributed to its creation! You are all on the list to be contacted when the book is completed! We had information, photographs, and artifacts submitted from southern California to Connecticut to Florida as  well as many local contributions. You can also e-mail me if you have any questions about the book’s contents

This entry was posted in Ellsworth History, Overall Pierce County History, Pierce County Historical Association events, River Falls History. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to The Ellsworth History Book progress – and corrections for the publications put out for the 150th so far.

  1. Becky Clark Martin says:

    It is probably too late to get information to you for the book on Ellsworth but I wanted to mention that my grandmother, Estella L. Junkman, b.1886, grew up in Ellsworth and that if you wanted any information about the Junkman/Cope/Clark families I could provide it.

    I look forward to seeing the book on Ellsworth.


    • Dan Geister says:

      The Junkman and Cope families I researched earlier for a book on Beldenville and their families are listed there. They both are technically Ellsworth families, but had ties to Beldenville, River Falls and elsewhere as well. Our historical association would always look for corrections and additions to our history though. Check out volume 9 of the Pierce County Heritage Series if you haven’t already to see what we done on these families.

      • William W Junkman says:


        I was wondering if you ever fixed the mistakes that were made to the Junkman family? Henry Junkman’s son Ray (not Raymond) most of his information is incorrect. How do we go about getting it updated? Ray Junkman was my Grandfather

        Thank you

        • Dan Geister says:

          This book was put together with the help of Carl Junkman from Washington. If there are corrections we always take them and have a master correction list for each volume at our office. We even printed an update for volume 7. If you want to send corrections do so at our mailing address PO Box 148, Ellsworth, Wisconsin

  2. Mary Drier says:

    How nice to visit with you at the Greenwood Cemetery last weekend. My grandson Daniel stayed with me Memorial Day weekend, and we went to the Monday memorial service (which was almost like watching it on tv; quite nicely done).

    I am astonished you are putting together a book about Ellsworth. Ask Eleanor Oltman; she is a fountain of information, and loves to share it with anyone and everyone. She’s 95 but still very clever. She also has a ton of photos.

    I suppose you are c0ming to the end of the school year. My grandkids have finals this week and are studying hard.

    About 15 of my classmates are on a trip to Inside Passage of Alaska this week. I didn’t feel like a week’s cruise would be good for me, so I declined. I have been to Anchorage, saw Mr. McKinley/Denali, and on a six hour cruise saw three kinds of whales (ncluding orcas), walrus, puffins, seal, and dolphins. They seemed so happy to be in cooler water after spending the winter aound Hawaii.

  3. Lisa Eisenberg says:

    Hi Dan,
    I am not sure if you will get this email or not because it looks like there has been no communication on the site for a year, but I will try anyhow. I am bringing my 85 year old mom to Ellsworth on July 11th so that she can see her hometown again. My mom, Donna, is the one of two daughters of Don and Winifred Campbell. Her parents and a few other relatives are buried in Ellsworth. I noticed that “Boog” Campbell was noted on something pertaining to a purchase of a building on the main street many years ago. We would like to get your book that was written for the 150th celebration if we can. We are traveling to Ellsworth from Arizona. If we could get any info or to prepare for our trip that would be great and so appreciated!

  4. Sue Krueger Miles says:

    Hi Dan,

    I am a descendant of Samuel Huddleston, son of Anthony Huddleston, Sr. I don’t have your book, but someone who is also a descendent of the Huddlestons sent me your section on Samuel Huddleston. What I was sent is as follows:

    “Samuel married Mary Crouch’s sister on April 16, 1868. They farmed in Section 32, Martell Twp. until taking a claim in southwestern Kansas in 1887. Returning with his parents and other relatives to Ellsworth, he died in Lexington, MO, and is buried in a Dunkard cemetery there. They had seven children: George, Harvey, Daniel, Rosa, William, Charles and Mary. The last four, the youngest, were sent to the State School of Dependent Children in Sparta, WI, after the death of their parents.”

    I contacted the WI Historical Society recently to get the records for the “youngest” – Rosa [Rose is my great grandmother], William, Charles and Mary. According to the school’s records, only William was taken to the school in Sparta, and he was not taken there until April of 1891, which was 2 years after Samuel died [where he was between the time Samuel died and when he went to Sparta remains a mystery right now]. According to his case summary from Sparta, the other children were placed with “charitable families”, although the case summary doesn’t state when they were placed with these families – it could have been in 1889 when Samuel died, but more likely from the wording it was in 1891 when William was placed at Sparta.

    I have sent for the case summaries of Will and 2 of his cousins that were also at Sparta that the Historical Society found in their search. If you would be interested in seeing them I would be happy to share them with you.

    • Dan Geister says:

      Thank you for letting me know about this connection. I did not do a ton of research outside of the area as in other counties, so was assuming that was the case from the file at the Pierce County Courthouse that is what I was lead to believe. We will be updating and ammending the records from the book as they come in. If you wish to share that information that would be great. you can write me directly at

  5. Lisa Peterson Moschkau says:

    I would love to get a copy of this book. Both my dad’s parents were from the Martell area and I’m not sure where the lines are drawn between Ellsworth, Beldenville and Martell but I have several photos in my collection from Ellsworth.

    Lisa Peterson Moschkau

    • Dan Geister says:

      You just have to contact the Pierce County Historical Association office in Ellsworth to get this book. It is now out and costs 40 dollars. The Beldenville history book also is available that way

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