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Eau Galle History

"The Eau Galle Mills Famed Lumber and Flouring Town."
[no author given]

Source: Page 1 of the October 16, 1932, issue of The Spring Valley Sun, Spring Valley, Wisconsin; Wisconsin Historical Society microfilm P28758


    Few of those who worked in the Eau Galle mills in the early days are living now, but all have heard of this, the first enterprise of its kind in the Chippewa river valley.

    Capt. George Wales built the first saw mill at the present site of Eau Galle village in 1838-9.  Wales was a West Point graduate who had found this timbered section while working here for the federal government; his partners did the work.

    William Eaton, a "down-East Yankee" came next year and began independent operations, hiring crews to cut timber (which he had not bought) and square it by hand.  He and Wales went into partnership.

    The mill was enlarged to handle 10,000 feet a day with two upright saws.

    The Eau Galle at that time was large enough so that logs could be  run from as far up as Brookville.  Lumber was rafted down from the Mills in single strings of two or more cribs, according to the stage of water, running into the Chippewa at Round Hill and from there being handled by boat.

    E. D. Rand bought into the firm.  After awhile Wales dropped out and the firm name became Carson & Rand, this being the name known to most of the people who settled in Pepin and Pierce counties later.  The most of the pine was cut by 1874 and the mill was then changed to a flouring mill which was operated for many years.

   In the early days the company had to board the single men and to provide supplies for the married men; the boarding house and the company store were as much parts of the lumbering business in those days as the sawmill--and perhaps more profitable to the company.  For years Carson & Rand's general store at the Eau Galle Mills carried the most complete stock of frontier merchandise to be found in a long distance.  The old building burned March 6, 1930, this being the last trace of the operations which made Eau Galle so lively a town in its prime.


Contributed by: Jeanne Wingert

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