Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin

Stories from the Past

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Thanks to Joyce Frey who sent this in to us.

The following was found in Edward McEnroe's papers. I am not sure if it was ever printed in the FDL reporter. Edward came to America, New york in 1836. The family then came to FDL in 1847. They bought property in Eden Twp. section 34, per 1874 Plat map. I thought you might enjoy this.
Sincerely, Joyce Frey

Series of Sketches of the Pioneer Life of the Early Settlers of FDL
For the Reporter  (Written about 1884)

Edward McEnroe came to Eden in 1847.  Nicholas Martin, a former neighbor
in Washington County, NY was working for J.C. Bishop.  He wrote to
McEnroe to come to Fond du Lac.  He delayed moving until 1847 and landed
at Sheboygan.  He hired a teamster to bring his family and goods to Fond
du Lac.  Night overtook him the first day out and they built a fire and
"laid out" all night.  It took them nearly three days to get through.
There was not many houses here at that time.  He, with the teamster and
family, finding no stopping place, went as far as D. Bailey's shanty near
Bishop's. Mrs. McEnroe and four small children spent the night in
Bailey's log work shop.  Bishop was a carpenter.  As Bailey had no
children and Mrs. McEnroe's little ones were sick and tired, she was
afraid of annoying Mr. & Mrs. Bailey, she therefore insisted on remaining
in the shop.  In the meantime, McEnroe and Nicholas Martin were looking
at a piece of government land which Martin had selected for him and which
had been entered by other parties four days previous.  McEnroe was
disappointed, and paid Charles Nugent, and old settler, one dollar a day
to select a quarter section of government land with running water on it.
He chose that section which he still occupies.

Casper Clark of Byron, had previously erected a sugar shanty where he
would make maple sugar every spring, as the timber was almost entirely
maple.  McEnroe, with family and goods, stopped in the sugar shanty and
hung up a blanket for a door.  An encampment of Indians were his only
neighbors, only a few rods distant.  Early mornings, before they were up,
squaws would be peering through the spaces between the logs.  Mrs.
McEnroe was homesick and would for hours sit upon a
stump near the shanty and find relief in tears.  McEnroe would encourage
her, telling her not to look back but forward that there was nothing for
them in the East.  The next year, he built a large shanty and was three
days getting help enough to put it up.  Went for miles after men.  One
summer evening, while himself and wife were sitting on a log near the
shanty they heard a strange noise in a northeasterly direction; presently
a similar noise south; they had never heard the like before and thought
it a roving band of outlaws who were calling each other together.  The
set up all night, fearing fearful consequences.  The dreaded cries proved
to have come from screech

Mr. McEnroe converted his vast amount of maple into charcoal, sold it to
Fond Du Lac parties and reaped a good income at 8 cents per bushel,
hauling several thousand bushels during the season with an ox team and
going by way of the Milwaukee Road.  For a month at a time, Mrs. McEnroe
never saw a white woman.  Nothing but Indian Squaws every day.  She says
that they were excellent neighbors.

When McEnroe footed it twelve miles to Fond du Lac village after
provisions, he carried a horn.  His wife had another and when he was
approaching the shanty he would blow the horn and she would go on the top
of the big hill and answer him in order that he might not pass the shanty
in the darkness and get lost.

Soon after his arrival, while after a squirrel, bare-headed, he shot the
animal.   He went a ways farther and shot another one.  Starting for
home, he found that he was lost.  Hearing the sound of a woodmans axe, he
found the chopper, who proved to be Barrett, at work for Klotz.  Barrett
directed him home the best he could by the Indian trail.  McEnroe missed
the trail, but by following the river he finally found his shanty.  On
his return his clothing was nearly all torn off, his face scratched and
bleeding and he was tired and  hungry.  Although the deer were plentiful
he never again shot a gun, either at a deer or anything else.  "It was my
last hunt."

His first two cows he purchased for $40.00.  Once they strayed away and
he searched three weeks for them in Fond du Lac, Dodge and Washington
Counties.  They were driven off while in Dodge County by a man who sold
them North.  It was a year after before he could buy another cow.   Once
he went to Fond du Lac after flour, but none was to be had.  He went to
Conklin's mill and all the miller would spare was fifty pounds.  Mrs.
McEnroe' feared that they would starve.  He told her that old Mr. Sears,
of Byron, said that he had worn out three coffee mills grinding wheat and
corn.  They had a good large mill and ground corn when flour could not be
had.  His wife would make Johnny Cake and they had maple sugar.  This is
what they lived on mostly.  One day Rand, Vandervoort, and Mitchell came
to his place requesting the privilege of letting their hogs run in his
woods.  It was during the fall and they lived on acorns.  The hogs lived
in the woods all winter and in the spring each of the owners gave him a
pig, the first he owned in Wisconsin. He bought a rooster and two pullets
from Hiram Edgerton and he never felt so rich before.  They kept them
until they died of old age.  He said, "I must tell you my bear story.  I
had a large hog weighing
about 300 lbs.  A bear killed it and dragged it several rods into the
woods.  I brought  from the East with me a two-edged sword sharp as a
razor.  Armed with that weapon, I started in pursuit and caught up to the
animal but he ran faster than I could, and succeeded in getting away,
thereby saving his life and perhaps my own."

It was in 1851 and still very little clearing was done; all was wild,
with no roads.  One day while I was cutting hay on the Marsh, my wife
brought my dinner and then she and I pitched hay with wooden pitchforks.
The next year a Byron blacksmith made for me two iron ones.  She and I,
returned home at sundown and were met by one of the elder children who
was looking for their four-year old sister.  That four-year old is now
Mrs. Freeman Johnson of Eden.  They had not seen the child, who had
attempted to follow its Mother, but became lost among the many cattle
paths.  They gave the alarm and Mr. Peck and others searched the woods
all night without tidings of it.  The next morning, she was found at
McCarthy's home, four miles distant.  The child arrived
at the shanty of McCarty's about dusk the evening before.  The little
girl would not tell her name or give any clue, whatsoever, as to whom she
belonged.  All she could say was "I'm going home."

McEnroe's first crop was 500 bushels of oats and sold it for 10 cents per
bushel.  He threshed 323 bushels of winter wheat from five acres.  This
was his first crop, and better by far, he says than any crop since.

One rainy day while at West Bend to the mill, a big Indian, came to the
shanty, took off his wet clothing, made a big fire and preceded to
sharpening his hunting knife.  Mrs. McEnroe and the children were greatly
alarmed.  Soon after McEnroe drove up, she told him of their fright.  He
rushed into the shanty, seized the Indian boy by the neck and waltzed him
through the door.  He kicked the Indian out and went through the woods
with the speed of a dear.  He never was seen after.  That was the only
Indian that caused him any trouble.

Mr. McEnroe is in his 84th year and never was ill a day in his life.  His
memory is bright and he is still able to do chores, although, sight and
hearing are a little dull.  He is sometimes afflicted with "Rheumatism."

Transcribed by Tracy Reinhardt for the Fond du Lac WI GenWeb Page .

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                                This page last updated on Nov. 5, 1997