Preston/Blair

preston Blair (598x800)
1914 Plat Maps of Preston and adjoining Towns. Preston Township was settled in 1855. The first settler is reputed to be Richard Porter who allegedly was killed in a fight with wolves. A group of Scandinavian settlers also came into the area. Gullick Olson was part of this group and has the distinction of being remembered as the first Norwegian in Trempealeau County. Some of the original settlers were Ebenezer Thurston, Robt Thompson, EM Reynolds, Simon Rice, John Hopkins, Sivert Johnson, Lars Olson, Peder Pederson, Gullick Storlee, Nels Halvorson, Bengt Danielson and Jacob Tenneson. An article in the 1860 Galesville Transcript noted S S Rice in Sec 7 who had a fine farm as did James Hopkins and Wessel Lowe  in Sec 6 ‘  Blair was originally platted as Porterville in 1873 and named by Duke Porter for his father, Richard. When the railroad laid the tracks closer to the Trempealeau River, the town was moved northeast and renamed Blair. The new name was given in honor of John I Blair, a stockholder in the Green Bay & Western RR. The Town of Preston was named by Edmond Reynolds in honor of his wife, Susan Preston. The Town of Preston had ten rural schools- Brookside in Welch Coulee, Carpenter, Irvin Coulee, Lakes Coulee, Larkin Valley, Pleasantview, Reynolds Coulee, Riverside, Sunnyside and Valley View. Blair was incorporated in 1894. An Electric light system was constructed and installed in 1901. The 1917 ‘History of Trempealeau County” gives the following account of Blair’s early days-” The Hiles & Ketchum Plat of Blair, the railroad plat, was filed April 16, 1877. Later the land was the subject of considerable litigation and the title to some of the best land in the village remained long in dispute, some of the railroad officials claiming that the plat belonged to them personally instead of to the railroad as a company. In 1891 the business section of the village was entirely wiped out by fire. The conflagration took place at noon July 27 and rapidly destroyed several blocks, leaving on the east and  west a blacksmith shop, on the north a hotel, and nothing else but blackened ruins. Undaunted the citizens started to make plans for rebuilding……the stores were eventually rebuilt on their former sites.” The Town of Preston was the notorious site of the Hans Jacob Olson Lynching in 1889.

Pigeon south Preston east (643x800) Arc and Preston (631x800)

Preston/Blair