In 1853 J. and S. MACKEY purchased the property of REED and the year following they took in their brother, Dr. E. R. MACKEY, as a partner. The financial prosperity of the town thus became permanently restored. Settlers came in rapidly. Money became plentiful and a large number of houses and stores were built. A. B. SMITH erected the Alba House and D. C. REED and Dr. MACKEY the Mansion House. In 1856 NORTHRUP and YOUNG built a large sore and filled it with goods. About the same time came J. JOHNSON and Co. and J. V. KELSEY, who opened dry goods stores. George MEYERS opened the first furniture store.
The MACKEY brothers were directly responsible for the favorable turning of the place from ruin to success. They came (1853) at a time when their genius at finance and their personal or mental energy was much needed by the disheartened settlers. Yet we must give the sturdy pioneers of 1848, '49 and '50 all that is due them.
Joseph MACKEY, probably the most prominent of the three, was born May 17, 1822, in Schoharie County, N.Y. He was educated for the bar and practiced law practically all his life. With his brother Safford and their families they came to Reedsburg where he settled permanently. He was especially active, in cooperation with Colonel R. M. STRONG, in promoting the Baraboo Valley Air-Line Railway and labored earnestly until the Chicago and North Western Railroad obtained control and completed the road. He undertook to raise a fund for the building of the road and issued an appeal to the people of the community, about 1870, to bond the towns for various sums. In this he was highly successful and received pledges ranging in amount from ten to twenty-five thousand dollars. On the organization of the railway we will go into detail on page 115. Joseph MACKEY died October 23, 1879. His wife survived him forty-two years, dying at the advanced age of 90 years, August 30, 1921. (See Reedsburg Bank, page 210.)
Safford MACKEY, born July 25, 1831, was also a native of Schoharie County. Beside retaining his interest in the mill, he dealt widely in hops and real estate and accumulated considerable wealth. He died August 25, 1893.
Submitted by Carol