My 3rd Great Uncle
Brother to my 2nd Great Grandfather, Silas.
* Balm of Gilead *
A story of the Pioneer Days of Barron County and the Part Played by the W. H. Logan Family By: Mrs. Mattie Nicklow of Dallas, Wisconsin.
Copied from: the Rice Lake Chronotype newspaper, issues; November 16, 23, 30 and December 7, 1932.
“About 60 years ago there resided on a farm within the present city limits of Janesville a family consisting of the parents, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Logan (Margaret Jackson Hyland) and seven children: Libbie 19, William 17, Lilly 14, Lydia 12, Margaret 8, Mary 4 and Ethel 2. An older sister, Clamanie had prior to this married S.A. Stowe of Neenah, and a brother, Lemuel H. preceeded all in death.
Mr. Logan in purchasing this farm had fully intended to till the soil and make the place a permanent home. An anticipation which no doubt would have matured had it not been for two facts: (1.) the growing activities of the world renowned Knapp Stout & Co. in northern Wisconsin, (2) the adaptability of several members of this family to become woof for the great shuttles of enterprise which this lumbering company had set in motion.
In 1871 Mr. Logan a finished woodworker and wagon maker obtained a position with Knapp-Stout at Menomonie, committing the care of the farm to the son Willie and Mrs. Logan. Having proved his efficiency he was soon sent by the company to Prairie Farm where in company with Thos. Blyton, A West Dallas pioneer farmer and carpenter, he worked on the first store building in this village, which served as a general supply store for not only Knapp-Stout, but for the country at large.
It may be of additional interest to mention here that George E. Scott, who in 1883 became manager of this store, eight years later purchased the business and erecting a new structure “famed” Prairie Farm nationally as possessing the most beautiful country
store in the world.
In the course of events, as Mr. Logan was building away on the store, he noted in the conversation of his fellow laborers, corroboration and augmenting of previous reports he had heard at Reedsburg regarding the possibilities of the dairy industry in Barron county. As a direct result of this propaganda he became more and more convinced that
here was his opportunity. Land could be homesteaded, he had three grown children as well as himself who could soon file on a piece of land: teachers would soon be in demand–Willie, Libbie and Lilly were all qualified teachers. Thus he reasoned to himself and little by little his conversion to Barron county was conveyed by letter to his family until finally Mrs. Logan received a definite request asking her to dispose of the farm home at Reedsburg. Also all the equipment except the team, the colts, two cows, a heifer, the wagon, necessary clothing and food for the trip and to carry them through the next winter, with an additional statement the Barron County offered ideal homemaking conditions and he desired them to join him there.
Letters continued to arrive, one finally stating. Mr. Logan had actually filed on a claim. Mr. Stowe, the son-in-law, was asked to aid Willie in preparations for the trip and to also accompany them to Prairie Farm. By midsummer all was in readiness with everyone gay and light hearted except mother. Thoughtfully she closed the old home door and with a face set toward duty and heart turning back to the closed door she
seated herself beside the driver.
Early morning revealed a white covered wagon with a team of horses, colts, cows and heifer slowly moving north from Reedsburg. Due to the cattle’s slow travel several nights were spent in camp, but Mrs. Logan and the two small children were fortunate in getting a room in a hotel or farmhouse each night. While the men and three older girls were truly enjoying their camp-outs until after passing into the heavily-wooded section surrounding Black River Falls. Here they were frightened by the appearance of a number of tough looking men and abandoned plans for the night camp, driving on until the animals were exhausted.
Among the major adventures of the trip was the fording of the Red Cedar River. The water was running high and the wagon box was soon floating along with ropes serving as guys, to regulate its path to that of the running gear. When they were safely on the opposite shore the children looked back to see their precious colts following up the
riverbank they had just left. The silly things did not spy their mothers until they reached a point directly across the stream but some rods up from where the ford started. In they jumped, and out of sight! But the screams of Ethel and Mary soon turned to shouts of encouragement as they spied the dark specks–noses, ears, and their heads-
swimming. Then with a lunge they came up the bank beside the children, making a never-to-be-forgotten picture for the more sophisticated members of the family.
During the time of preparation for the trip Mr. Logan had been busy putting up a house on his homestead. Logs were cut and hauled to the little clearing. A road was cut through the woods west to the tote road at the Sam Tucker place, so lumber could be hauled from the Knapp-Stout mill at Prairie Farm for the floor and doors of the rude structure. Jos. Richards, whose homestead was 3 miles away, gave valued help in putting up the building. Three other homesteaders (all bachelors) were for some reason deeply interested in the early completion of the house and the coming of the Logan family into their midst. These men were John Knight, Lem Sharp and John McMullen. Their claims partially joined that of Mr. Logan’s on the north and west. Their assistancewas most welcome and many an evening they spent that winter “getting acquainted with their new neighbors.”
“On Aug. 28, 1872, the wagon, which for a few days had been the only home of the family of nine, drove up at the door of Knapp Stout & Co.’s boarding house in Prairie Farm. Here comfort and plenty reigned, this added to the reunion of the family. A night’s rest and morning found them all clamoring up behind the team into the wagon for the last 6 miles of their trip.
Before leaving, Mr. Logan borrowed from his employers, Knapp Stout & Co., ox teams to furnish extra power if necessary when they reached the 2 miles of road he had earlier in the summer cut through the heavy timber to his homestead. This proved a wise precaution for after leaving the tote road from Prairie Farm to Rice Lake they were in a wilderness supreme. A cyclone a short time before had nearly obliterated Mr.
Logan’s by-road and uprooted trees, stumps and fallen timber required much chopping and detouring for the loaded wagon. After a long day the wearied travelers came to a small opening in the timber. Here was home! True, a “log house,” but that was to be only temporary, a stopping place by the way that was leading to a fine set of buildings
on a Barron county dairy farm “some day.”
“Mother’s vision was a bit cloudy that evening, but she tried to see the brilliantly pictured future as she quietly passed through the opened door and thereby took possession of the woodland cottage. Hope ran high as things were placed here and there, and sleeping arrangements were being made. Supper over the quiet hour came. It was different though–such a quiet they had never known! Out of touch of all
humanity! Trees, trees–the pines’ low crooning, and far away the “who-who” of a lone owl, as if questioning the right of the new intruders.”
“Overpowering fatigue had forced a similar quiet upon the household when the plaintive little sobs of Baby Ethel were heard from an adjoining room and in a burst of self-defense she declared: “I isn’t going to sleep in this colties’ house–I’s going to Papa’s house.” Log walls to her were associated with stock and barns and the only
house she had seen in Barron county was the company’s boarding house, where she had met her father the evening before.
Came morning, then another and another followed evening. The house
had been turned unconsciously into a home. The clearing which at their arrival was slightly larger than the house, was day by day creeping into the forest growth. There would be some acreage for garden in the spring.
Fall was here and Willie had been hired to teach in the Kellog district near Prairie Farm, boarding at the Roseman Kellog home. Libbie taught the Pelton school, boarded at Hiram Pelton’s, and Lilly did not teach until spring of the following year (1873) when she secured a school 5 miles north of Rice Lake, known as the Beaton or Demars school. The three took teachers’ examinations at Dallas and when William returned
home he told how Chas. Finley was caught in the act of helping a would-be teacher with an arithmetic problem and when taken to task by the superintendent, A. B. Finley, how he straightened up to full stature law and said: “Well, Brother A. B., I’ve given you a little
similar assistance -in the past. I guess this will pass.”
“Summer brought the teachers all back to the thatched roof which now indeed was like home to them. The little farm was growing in size. Somehow the timber that had such lonesomeness about it when they first came there was growing more friendly too. The purplish border of tress was fast changing as bud and leaf told of summer’s coming.
Even the two “Balm of Gilead” beside the path (only switches in size) had great bulgy spots up and down their stalks. They were alive! Though shrubbery abounded, only these two have to do with our story.
Among the pleasures in Willie’s days at the new farm were his horseback rides to Prairie Farm. Often he made these trips, but the one described here is different in that the Balm of Gileads are today bursting into bud and leaf, as living memorials, after 57 years of growth at the Logan home in West Dallas!
The name of the horse Willie rode has been forgotten, but for the story’s sake we’ll call her “Doll.” She was usually well behaved and even that day conducted herself with real dignity until nearing home, some 3 miles away, she began-to put on airs. She became too proud to trot and soon cashed off with a mild run, then suddenly stopped with a force that nearly set her rider on the ground in front of her. So reining her up to the Balm of Gileads at the Sam Tucker place, which he happened to be passing, he took a couple of twigs in his hand. Nothing more was necessary! Horse and rider were home in a few moments.
The twigs were dropped as he dismounted. Later his father passing that way noticed the sticks–for nothing more did they look to be, till picking them up he discovered they were more domesticated than the growth about the home, and upon closer scrutiny he found them to be Balm of Gileads. As he stood holding them, thoughts came–not new thoughts, but old ones, of another place. There were Balm of Gileads there, yes, neighbors had them too. They bespeak settlement, culture-I’ll set them out by the, path to the front door, one on each side . . . . So now, in late spring, they were ready to silver out, and small though they were, Father and Mother loved to watch them grow and oft as they walked by, the sight of sprouting swigs carried their minds to other scenes: pleasant roads, comfortable homes, refining influences; again they’d recall Willie’s riding home, happy and gay — were it not for him they possibly would never have made this venture. He must have a chance! Yes, in a few years he could file on a claim, as Libby had. He was clearing now–fields are growing-soon the place will be a real farm, a new home. How much Willie is worth to us. Our only son! At these times the “some day” was very near.
The two little twigs by the front door path were as a mental lens which drew unto them the possibilities of the future as a field glass takes the very horizon and drops it at our feet.
Summer of 1873 is waning. The school year is near. Lilly has the Wygant School, Willie the DeMars school, north of Rice Lake, and Libbie a school adjoining that of her brother.
The oldest child at home this fall was Lydia, 14. The three others were Lucinda, Mary and Ethel. Mr. and Mrs. Logan, ‘not exactly young, were still in the prime of life, he being 47 and she 43. Both where of a spiritual turn of mind. Mr. Logan made many trips about the country establishing Sunday schools and distributing religious literature.
Libbie was planning how she would prepare linen for housekeeping, evenings after school, so when vacation came she could take Mary for company and live on her own claim. How her heart leaped for joy at the thought!
September found the three teachers at their school work. The two north of Rice Lake did not expect to get home before the holidays, but Lilly was boarding at the Sidney Wygant home, only 3 miles away and was home every week end.
All went well until the last friday in October when, reaching home she found her little sister Lucinda ill. No doctor? Yes, Mr. Logan while working in Prairie Farm had made the acquaintance of a physician, and harnessing up the team he drove after him that evening.
Dr. Buck consented to come and diagnose the case providing Mr. Logan could get him back to the mill in time for work the following morning. Lucinda was found to have typhoid fever and lay for weeks waiting for the fever to take its course.
Mrs. Logan watched over her child and finally saw hope of her recovery, but before her patient was able to be about, she herself was stricken with the same disease. When Lilly came home, the last weekend in November, there were two patients, one recovering and one in the toils of a raging fever.
Lydia was now nearing 15, and with Mr. Logan and the week end help Lilly could give they managed to take care of mother, and Lucinda, though very weak, did not need so much attention.
Night after night the father drove through the snow filled road to Prairie Farm to get Dr. Buck, then back again with him at an early morning hour. Often Discouraging thoughts came as he made his early morning return from Prairie Farm, but he would find consolation in the fact that three were teaching.
Libbie’s school term finished in December and then she would be at home to help awhile before she moved to her own land. Lilly would soon be home on vacation. Willie was doing fine. Mother was no worse–nature was waging a successful battle in her case as in Lucinda’s.
December was here and Libbie was home. She moved about in a cheerful, happy way. Mother and sister were still helplessly weak but with her to care for them and cook they would gain rapidly. Willie had accompanied his sister home for a short vacation but was back at his school in a week’s time.
One morning Willie was unable to rise and go to his school –headache, fever. Dr. Whinney was called out from Rice Lake and turning to Mrs. Demars he said, “A case of typhoid.” Youth is not easily daunted. Willie thought of home, however, and after days turned to weeks he wished his father would come and see him. “Surely mother and sister are well by this time,” he reasoned. Dr. Whinney wrote Mr. Logan of his son’s
illness and asked him to come and see him.
In the Logan home the drama of sickness was still on. The first two patients were pitifully helpless and the third patient, Libbie, was daily growing worse–she too, was a typhoid victim. A few days later Mr. Logan received Dr. Whinney’s letter–the return mail carried a short letter telling Dr. Whinney the conditions at home and saying he would
come just as soon as possible, but not to tell Willie of Libbie’s condition.
The coming days brought strength to young William and in due time he took up his school work. The game days increased the seriousness of Libbie’s illness. Hope fled.
Another letter: “Come, Willie is worse.” Dr. Whinney. ” Torn between his double duty the father answered: “Can’t come till there’s a change here.” Long before the line reached Dr. Whinney the change came — the last long change, mortal to immortal!. Casket, cemetery, pastor, church–where were they? If only Willie were here! Mr. Logan grew weak. Night after night of lonely vigil with midnight drives through snow filled roads, hoping against hope that his recompense would be Libbie’s recovery, not daring to falter lest Mother in her weakness might also fail–and if Mother’s heart were to fail. . . .
Night wore on. Stars shone outside. Somber, unleafed trees stood watching, still, as if fearful that one twig moving might burst the hearts of their cottage dwellers. White faced and trembling, they–mother and father of the dead–met the morning, which did not come as it always seemed to, before. It was evening time with them–dark, sad,
bitter, a darkness within that morning light could not penetrate. But Nature has many forces and is resourceful beyond measure. As the light and warmth of day is fatal to the spent bloom, it at the same time is energy and life to the bursting bud at its side. So with the stricken–joy and happiness gone, duty springs up and sweet submission leads
on. Mother stilled her heart with thoughts for Willie–he was needing his father–she would be brave so he could go to him.
The team was again put over the road to Prairie Farm, this time for a casket (which Knapp Stout & Co. kept in stock, bringing them up by team from Menomonie.) No burial place! Oh, must their farm, their home, their little clearing, become their cemetery? Was this pioneering?
Neighboring settlers came in, to aid and comfort. The matter was talked over and finally it was decided to take their loved Libbie’s remains to a slight knoll just across the opening from the house.
The funeral over, Mr. Logan left for Willie’s bedside. A hard day’s drive brought him to the DeMars home, where he learned that the relapse was more severe than the first attack. And after being there but a brief time the father was looking into the lifeless eyes of his only son. A casket was obtained in Rice Lake and the return home I will leave to my readers–often, words fail!
Duty, Still there. in this lonely and stricken home–yes, to the dead, the living, and to God! Lilly finished her school. Mr. Logan filed an heir’s right to the claim Libbie had taken. Later Lydia Ann married and her husband, Joe Cobb, Took over the Claim. Later still Lydia Ann proved up on the claim and held it until late years, when it was sold to an outsider.
Lilly became the bride of Joe Burrell, Lucinda married Ed Smith. Ethel inheriting the family trait of education and teaching taught for many years in Barron county before her marriage to Wm. Modersbach of Comstock. Mary, next older than Ethel, was Mrs. Urban Larson of West Dallas.
Mr. and Mrs. Logan stayed on in their cottage home. Somehow, try as they would, the old-time cheer never completely reigned, for there, where “some day” the new home and wide tilled acreage was to be, lay two conquerors–stilled.
Yet Mr. and Mrs. Logan labored on, trusting in a final victory. Mr. Logan did much Sunday school work and distributing of religious literature in the early day homes. The tendency toward teaching spiritual truths seems to rest especially with the Burrall faction of this family and their daughter, Jessie, brought real fame to the family through this channel. Miss Jessie, born on a farm near to the home of her grandparents
and the homestead of her Aunt Lydia, in West Dallas, grew to womanhood in Minnesota. After graduating from high school and college she took up teaching as her life’s vocation. During the war she was engaged as chief of school service by the National Geographic Society in the city of Washington DC. While there she organized
a girls’ Sunday school class with a membership of 500 which in a short time reached the goal of 2,000 and carried with it the distinction of being the world’s largest girls’ Sunday school class.
The special aim of this able teacher-leader, who on her maternal side is descended from five generations of New England ministers, is religious, and all her efforts tend toward the stimulation of religious work at home and abroad.
After the war she accepted a position as a religious instructor in Stephens college, Columbus, MO, and in nine months found herself teacher of a Sunday school class that had grown by her efforts from a small class of men and woman from the college and state university to a number nearing 2,000. About this time the American Magazine in
an article on Interesting People, said this of Miss Burrall: “Miss Burrall is a human dynamo, spending her strength prodigally but apparently drawing on some unseen force for renewed vitality. She is a rather fragile looking little woman, scarcely more than 5 feet in height and weighing only 115 pounds.
During the week she gives her time to lecturing and teaching. But if you could see her on Sunday morning, when she faces her great class, you would never guess that she had worked hard all the week. Her enthusiasm and freshness of energy would make you conclude that she had done nothing but rest and save her strength for the Sunday morning message to her pupils. Miss Burrall reads more than 30 magazines each month in order to know what her young people are reading. She believes that prayer is as essential as breathing and just
as natural.” Miss Jessie Burrall (my 2nd Cousin 2x removed)
“In 1929 the Jessie Burrall Hall was dedicated in memory of the work done by this plucky girl in Columbus, Mo.
After a motor trip to the Vermont hills and through New York state, where she took her mother, Lilly Logan Burrall, to visit the scenes of her greats’ and grandparents’ homes, she was united in marriage with Prof. Eubanks, who is a writer as well as a teacher. Together, they are carrying on the great work so near to Mrs. Eubanks’ heart. This pioneer mother and father have long since ceased their toil. They no longer
watch the Balm of Gileads leaf. “At rest” they lie, close to their only son, and daughter Libbie. Part of the old farm is still owned by a member of the family. The schoolhouse where Mr. Logan and family loved to gather for Sunday services has for many years been replaced by a more modern one. The little plot of ground where Libbie and William
were laid was given to Dallas as a cemetery in which, besides those mentioned are to be found many other pioneers.
The Balm of Gileads are still budding for leaf.”
Another story written of him:
Abstracted from pages 98/99 of The History Of Barron County, Wisconsin, published in 1922, by H.C. Cooper, Jr. & Co., Minneapolis, Minnesota:
William Henry Logan was born August 30, 1826 in Portland, New York. He was a man of pious inclinations, and after arriving in Wisconsin, went from place to place in the wilderness, distributing religious tracts and organizing Sunday Schools so that the children living there might be reared in Christianity. On Sep. 9, 1849, after leaving New York state, he married Margaret J. Hyland at Highland Prairie, Wisconsin. She was born Oct 27, 1930 Hillsburg, New Hampshire. In the early 1850s they moved to Sauk County, Wisconsin, and in 1872 homesteaded 160 acres of land in Dallas Township, Barron County, Wisconsin. He developed the farm over the course of twenty-seven years and died there March 19, 1899. His wife died at Stone Lake, Wisconsin on April 24, 1919.
William and Margaret were the parents of nine children as follows: Clamania, born June 3, 1850 in Beaver Dam, Dame County, Wisconsin, and became the wife of S.A. Stowe, of Neenah, Wisconsin; Elizabeth F. was born June 13, 1852 in Burnett, Sauk County and was deceased as of 1922; William A. was born May 2, 1854 in Burnett, Sauk County, and was deceased as of 1922; Lillie J. was born July 11, 1857 in Westfield, Marquette County, Wisconsin, and became the wife of J.H. Burrall of Little Falls, Minnesota; Lydia A. was born Jan. 12, 1859 in Westfield, Wisconsin, and was deceased as of 1922; Margaret L. was born Feb. 11, 1863, in Westfield, and became the wife of Edgar A. Smith of Barron, Wisconsin; Lemuel H. was born Oct. 24, 1864 in Westfield and was deceased as of 1922; Mary L. was born June 23, 1867 in Reedsburg, Sauk County, and became the wife of U.L. Parsons; and Ethel M. was born April 5, 1870 in Reedsburg, and became the wife of William Modersbach of Comstock, Wisconsin.
History of Sauk County, Wisconsin:
Read more about the Descendants of John Logan, Sr., our immigrant, at