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Looking back a long ways
Random Thoughts, May 4
Random Thoughts by Wendell Smith

MUSCODA - A short time ago I received a telephone call from a lady hoping to find information regarding a longdead relative. I could not be helpful as our files don’t go back as many years as was needed in that case. Since that time I came across a rendition of a letter penned by an early editor who produced a newspaper in Muscoda. It was written by Charles H. Darlington, dated July 1, 1876, addressed to “My Great-Grandson” to be opened 100 years later. It bore a one-cent postage stamp and reads as follows.

“ My Dear Infant,

The Muscoda News was started by Henry W. Glasler and myself in December, 1874. The first issue being sent forth on the 19th of the month. It was printed on a 12x15 press, by foot power, one page at a time for more than a year when H. W. G. sold his interest to me.

At this date Muscoda is a scattered village of say 400 inhabitants. About 200 years ago a party from Green Bay came down the Wisconsin River and camped here – the only available landing for many miles, the rest going on to Prairie du Chien.

Since then it has been a trading station until about 1830 when it was made a military post. After the Blackhawk War the fort was allowed to go to pieces and the government land office was moved to Mineral Point.

A village grew up on the river bank, gaining slowly  in numbers until after the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad was completed and the station was built about a mile distant and it became the center. Within the next six years nearly the whole of “old town” has been removed.

In 1867 Gen. Jonathan Moore built a wooden bridge across the river at this point, 1, 710 ft. long, charging 10 cents for a double-team round trip.

The writer, your great-grandfather, is comparatively a young man, born in Chester County, Pennsylvania in 1848. He is six feet and one-inch in height, slender, nervous, active and called good looking. He has lived in Iowa, New York, Maryland, Illinois and Wisconsin, and of course Pennsylvania.

He was graduated from Haverford College in 1867 and holds a degree from the same institution. He has at present one wife and a seven-months old boy, your grandfather. The grandfather is just able to sit alone, a state of affairs you will scarcely be able to remember.

I put a one-cent stamp on this letter, supposing by the time this reaches you, the era of cheap postage will have arrived.

Yours most truly, Charles H. Darlington.”

This letter was placed in a “100-Year Box” for Grant County – opened, on July 4, 1976.