Clinton Community Historical Society

Presenting the histories of Clinton, Turtle, La Prairie and Bradford Townships, the Village of Clinton and Turtle Grange.

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The Clinton Community Historical Society was founded November 12, 1988. The goal is to promote the preservation of the area's historic past. The Society wishes to encourage people of all ages to appreciate the rich heritage of this community and actively participate in the development of historical exhibits, the collection of artifacts, and the creation of oral history recordings.

CCHS is a qualified 501(c)3 charitable organization, contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by IRS regulations.

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The Battle of Waterloo

Original version written in 1856 (click here to read)

A family from Penn. formerly, by the name of Meeks, claimed where Shopiere now is situated, and built a shanty near where Eacher's store now stands. This family, which consisted of Father, Mother, five Sons and five Daughters, was rather remarkable for size-the whole number averaging about 200 lbs each. They belonged to that class, in the western country, that keeps a little ahead of civilization--known as "Borderers," a sort of connecting link between civilization and barbarism.

They first stopped in Ohio, then moved to Ind., then to Ill., and at this time hauled up here in Wis., on the Turtle, only to again remove--when "neighbors got within 40 miles of them.” This class of people can never do too many kindnesses for their friends nor too many injuries to their enemies.

About this time a company was formed in Connecticut, and claimed on the north side of the Turtle, opposite Shopiere. This colony was composed of people of an entirely different character and disposition, having brought along with them many of those peculiar notions, for which that State is noted. The reader can readily imagine the consequences resulting from the proximity of two such settlements and of such contrasting characters. The Meekers soon dubbed the Conn. people with two quaint sobriquets; “Pussy" and "Whale,"—the former from the fact that they brought in a lot of cats and sold to the settlers; and the other from the fact that some of them had been engaged in a whale fishery, and were great at "spinning yarns."

Things went on without any upon rupture until the latter part of the summer of 1837, when both parties commenced cutting hay on the bottoms on the north side of the stream. The Yankees, proving to be the smartest workers, were like to monopolize all the hay, and thus rob old Brindle—the only stock possessed by the Meekers--of her rights, and subject her to a winter of browsing.

This was too much for a generous nature to bear, with any degree of equanimity. Uncle John, from his cabin door discovered the true state of things, and sounded the bugle for a general parade of the colony. They got together all the fire-arms about the premises--charged them heavily and a log, extending from one corner of their cabin eight or ten feet, served as a resting place for their muskets and rifles--all ready for a discharge upon the offending Yankees while he, with stentorian voice, worthy of a general officer. ordered them to disperse and leave the hay, or in case they neglected to obey, he would discharge a broadside into them; but the Yankees, reckless of consequences, did not heed the threat; but continued the work of raking and carting off the hay.

Matters were now coming to an "awful” crisis. It was thought best to hold a council of war at the “Meekor fort," when it was thought best to dispatch a detachment consisting of the old lady and her five daughters to attempt to drive the marauders from the ground, while Uncle John and the five sons were to keep possession of the "fort." The old lady, armed with a long-tined pitchfork, the daughters each with a fish spear, actuated by the strongest sympathy for a poor old Brindle, prevented no mean battle array on the south bank of the Turtle, each one full six feet in their shoes.

Having arrived at the stream the heroine thus address her daughters: “The infernal Yankees are the pest of our lives. We left Penn. for Ohio to get away from them; again we left Ohio for Ind., and then to Ill., and at last have arrived at this place, and here they are; and now I am determined to make a stand and fight, for I will not go any farther.” “Go it, mother, we will follow you," was the unanimous response ; when, brandishing their weapons, they started to ford the stream.

The Yankees, observing the warlike movements on the opposite side, had not been idle; but heroically acting up to the exigency of the circumstances, made choice of “Whale" to command the defense. He at once ordered the hay wagons to be arranged for a breast-work, and thus addressed his compeers; " I sincerely thank you for the honor conferred, in making choice of me for your commander—you who in old Connecticut have been brought up to clam digging and wooden-nutmeg manufacture—who came all the way from “ away down east," to claim the little Territory of Wisconsin—Now prepare yourselves to defend your rights; to fight the Meekers individually and collectively-males and females. If in this fearful contest I should be slain, O, fail not to bear the mournful tidings to my disconsolate widow and fatherless children, and assure them that I fell nobly, defending my rights and those of my fellow citizens,"

By this time the assailants had approached the breast-works. The old lady ordered her valiant daughter to charge upon the company, while she made an individual onset upon the Captain, which she did, approaching him with the long-tined fork. The Captain drew a pistol and ordered her to stand—to advance at the peril of her life: but she was well aware of her safety under cover of the guns at the “fort ; " --an, nothing daunted, she pricked him out from behind the ramparts-he continuing to step backwards as she advanced-still threatening to fire if she advanced “another inch,” until ere he was aware, he backed off the bank of a bayou of the stream, with eight feet of water, She, observing her advantage, gave him a severe thrust as he went down the bank, when he dove and swam beyond the reach of her fork.

The rest of the company—assailed by the girls—stood their ground, courageously defending themselves, until they saw their Captain fall; and supposing that he was killed; hastily retreated, and left the field to the undisputed victors. They hurried to the settlement to break the sad news to the widow, who, being just in the act of fainting, was joyfully relieved by the presence of the Capt., all dripping with mud and water,

The trophies consisted of three rakes, one fork, one pail of rations, containing four yankee johnnycakes, eight cold potatoes, one jug of whisky.

From the above mentioned battle the place was ever after known as Waterloo, until changed-on the establishment of a Post Office-to the present name of Shopiere.

Sometime in the year 1837 Blodgett purchased the Meeker claim, and soon built a saw mill. The first importation was a distillery. First exports from this place, a load of whisky, sent to Janesville.,

About the same time, A. F. Lewis commenced another village, about one mile below on the same stream. Built a saw mill and opened a store; the first one within the present limits of Turtle. These were ever rival towns, and much strife existed between them; Turtleville claiming all the religion and morality ;-Waterloo possessing all the whisky, drunkenness and swearing.

At a meeting of thirty citizens, to agree upon a name for the town, preparatory to an act of incorporation, and separate organization from Beloit, 29 voted for Waterloo, and only one, B. E. Mack,—voted for the name of Turtle. When the matter went to the Legislature it was found that there was already one town in the State by that name, (Waterloo,) so it was incorporated by its present name. Such are a few early reminiscences of the early times in the history of this town.

I am, B. E. MACK (circa 1856)

It is January 1875 and you have just arrived in Clinton Junction on the 7:03 pm train from St. Paul. You need to transfer to the Racine train but it doesn't leave until 5:51 am. What are you going to do? Station Agent G. N. Peacock suggests you stay at the Taylor House hotel since it is right next door to the depot. Baggage man True Babcock offers to take your baggage there. To read more about the Taylor House, click here.

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