Reminiscences of Live in Territorial Wisconsin by Elizabeth Therese Baird

From "Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Vol. 15"

Annotated and Edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites

©1900 Democrat Printing Company, Madison, Wisconsin.

 

pp. 258-259

In the morning of our departure from Madison, we made the acquaintance of two
young gentlemen who were on their way to Janesville. They were journeying in a cutter. We joined forces, traveling together. The gentlemen both bore the name of WRIGHT, though not bound by any tie but that of friendship. One, as we later learned, was on a journey of love; the other was only a looker-on. The sleighing was fine, and with these young spirits our ride was one of pleasure. We reached Janesville in due time, and there we found a friend of Mr. Baird's awaiting us. Gen. William B. SHELDON seemed at that time to be almost the sole occupant of the town of Janesville, as there were not a half-dozen houses there besides his. There was no hotel of any kind: but that made no difference to us, as the General had kindly invited us to be his guests. The house, I think, was of one story. It was large on the ground, with a wide porch in front, and was painted white, with green blinds. We were taken to this delightful home by its genial host, who acted as usher upon our arrival there, conducting us to our different rooms, and informing us that supper would be ready as soon as we wished it. As we were very hungry, our toilets took but little time. We found our rooms delightful, large, and warm; I believe they were heated by fire-places. Certainly they formed a striking contrast to our room of the night before, at the American House at Madison. The gentlemen, after a few touches, were ready for supper. As we came out of our rooms, properly paired, we met the General, who led us to the parlor. And here, to our great surprise, we met our compagnons du voyage. They were seated with the two beautiful young daughters of the host. One was the fiancée of George WRIGHT. I assure you that the surprise was not received in silence. It afforded much sport throughout the remainder of our visit. I believe these lovely girls had no mother, nor can I remember any brother.
Miss SHELDON and Mr. WRIGHT were married the next spring or summer.
They lived in Racine, where, in a few years after, Mr. WRIGHT died of softening of the brain. I have been told that Mrs. WRIGHT, after some years, married again and lived in Chicago. General SHELDON I never saw again after this visit, though Mr. Baird met him often at Madison, where every gentleman went for his country's good.1 During our stay the General took us through the country round about. I was going to say the town, but there was no town there, as yet.
[Note 1: 1 Henry S. BAIRD was president of the territorial council, in 1836, and
member of the first constitutional convention, 1846. William B. SHELDON was a member of the lower house, in the territorial legislatures of 1836 and 1837-38. - Ed.]
We were taken to Beloit, which then was a very small place. Had we gone in the
proper season, there was a chance in the city limits to find the berries for which the city of Beloit is named - the huckleberry. The French called it au beloit [See History of Rock County (Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1879), pp. 614, 615, for another version of the origin of the term. - Ed.]. On the following day we bade our new but kind friends good-by, little dreaming it was a final one.
We drove from Janesville to Elkhorn, in Walworth County, to visit a brother of Mrs.
BRUCE, who was living on a farm...
 
[The complete transcription (and digital images) of this piece as well as Vol. 15 in its entirety can be found at the Library of Congress* website.]

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