Edwin Ellis M.D.

“The subject of this sketch is a native of New England, and one of the ‘Oxford Bears,’ having been in Peru, Oxford county, Maine, in 1824. His birthplace was on the banks of the Androscoggin river, among the mountains, a wild, romantic place. His ancestors came early from England to the Massachusetts colony, about the middle of the seventeenth century.”

Recollections of Ashland

Ghostwritten by Edwin Ellis, M.D.

Number I:

“In 1853 the site of Superior City had been pre-empted and in 1854, laid out into regular lots and blocks, and the work of a new city begun.  The site had attracted the attention and capital of some of our ablest men.  It was backed by stronger political influences than ever combined to lay the foundations of any town in the west.  Among its proprietors were many leading members of Congress and of the Cabinet, especially from the South.  The most sanguine expectations of its future greatness were entertained, for it commanded a scope of country as great as that paying tribute to Chicago.  Its lots were sold at fabulous prices.  It was in 1855 and 1856 – probably the most talked of town in the Union.”

Number II:

“These men had also been attracted by the situation of our bay as the outlet of an extensive country, abounding in minerals and timber.  They had perfected no plans for the acquisition of title to the land.  It is true several claims had been made reaching from Fish Creek nearly to the Indian Reserve –  a narrow strip on the bay, but the claimants gained no rights thereby, for the lands had not been surveyed, and we were all in the eye of the law, trespassers.  The Land Office, which was then at Hudson, on the St. Croix river, was not allowed to receive and entertain declaratory pre-emption statements.”

Number III:

“Martin Beaser, though he did not bring his family to Ashland till 1856, he is entitled, nevertheless, to be ranked among the very first settlers of Ashland, for he had chosen this for his home in 1854; had aided by his means and counsel, Messrs. Whittlesey and Kilbourn, and came from Ontonagon several times during the year 1855 to assist in carrying out their plans. He employed and brought with him early in 1855, Dr. Brunschweiler, a Civil Engineer, who surveyed and platted the first site on this bay, which is now known as ‘Old Ashland’ or ‘Beaser’s Division of Ashland.’ Brunschweiler River, twelve miles from Ashland, perpetuates his name.”

Number IV:

“Albert C. Stuntz was also one of our early settlers.  He is a brother of Geo. R. Stuntz, to whom reference has already been made.  He was here engaged in practicing surveying and ran many hundred miles of township and section lines in this and neighboring counties.  The townships embracing our Penoka Iron Range were subdivided by him in 1856 and ’57.  He once represented this district in the Legislature.  His old home is in ruins on the east bank of Bay City creek.”

Number V:

“Of Augustus Barber the early Surveyor of this vicinity, who is unknown to a larger part of this generation, a few words ought to be said:”

“Ironton has long been deserted, and Barber’s grave with its marble headstone, is the sole make of that civilization, which twenty years ago there essayed to lay the foundation of a mart of commerce.”

Number VI:

“It may not be uninteresting to consider in a few words, the varying modes in which the heavy accumulation of ice, during our long winters, is got rid of in the spring, and navigation opened.”

Number VII:

“Recollections of Ashland which should forget to mention Martin Roehm, would leave out a material part – in truth a connecting link in the ‘chain of events.’  He came to the Bay in the summer of 1856 – a hearty industrious young man, not many years from the ‘Fader Land.’  He pre-empted a quarter section of land near the town site – which he still owns.” […] “Martin and his worthy wife still live in Ashland, having witnessed and participated in its varied fortunes for more than twenty years.  They may be said to form the connecting link between the Old and New Ashland; for when all others had been, by the force of circumstance, compelled to abandon their homes, they alone remained “monarchs of all they surveyed.”  They were in possession of an improved estate in their beautiful valley of Marengo twelve miles from Ashland.  This was their favorite winter retreat; while upon the shores of the bay their palaces exceeded in number the residences of the richest kings of the old world.  For years they were sovereigns alone, in possession of territory rivaling in extent some of the Kingdoms of Europe.”

“Robert D. Boyd, unknown to most of the present generation, came to Ashland in 1855. He was a native of the island of Mackinac – the son of an Indian Agent there stationed. His father was connected by marriage with a distinguished ex-President, to whom he owed his appointment.” […] “He laid claim to a piece of land on the west side of the bay opposite to Ashland, of which a plat was made, to which he gave the name of “Menard,” in memory of the lamented French Jesuit Priest, who, according to tradition, labored for a while at an Indian village then located at this spot, – the point where the old St. Croix Indian trail reached the water of the Great Lake, and which in early years was a well beaten path – but now deserted.  No traces of the village are now visible.  The storms of nearly two hundred and fifty winters have obliterated all traces, of what from its position, must have been an important point among the Ojibwas of the northwest.”

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