Country roads often named for prominent citizens

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Ginny Hall | June 13, 2014

The Wilson barn, located in the northern part of the county, sports the barn quilt titled “54-40 or Fight.” The quilt pattern references the Oregon boundary dispute, which pitted the British against the Americans in a conflict over territory south of the parallel 54-40. This was a time of manifest destiny and U.S. expansionism. In 1846, the Oregon Treaty made the 49th parallel the official boundary between the United States and Canada.

The barn is in the town of LaGrange, Section 15 at W5910 Greening Road. Often the town supervisors would name roads for a prominent farmer living on that road. William Greening is listed as a farmer on the 1857 plat map in sections 13 and 14.  

Greening was born in England in 1827 and came to this continent in 1849, landing in Quebec. He worked there for two years, earning $10 a month. In 1851 he traveled south to Wisconsin, looking for work around Lake Winnebago. Finding none he came to this county and briefly worked at a lime-kiln. Then he rented some land and farmed. As soon as he saved enough money he bought 120 acres of land. By 1894 he owned 360 acres.

Greening was a township supervisor for 12 years. He served as the town justice of the peace for more than 30 years. He served as an assessor for two terms and was a district clerk for around 12 consecutive years. He was elected to the state Legislature in 1877.  

The 1857 plat map indicates that the land on which this barn is located was owned by F.W. Mills. In 1873 the owner was listed as W.W. Norcross. This ownership continued through the 1907 plat book although the configuration of the farm changed.

C.O. Patton was the owner of a smaller farm on which this barn is located as shown in the 1921 plat book. The next owner that I was able to discover was Alex McPherson. This was shown in the 1930 book. In both 1977 and 1982 the owner was listed as Edward and Josephine Vanderbosch.
My eyes apparently played a trick on me when I wrote the story about the Rieck farm. I matched up the wife of the current owner with another person. Patricia is married to David J. Rieck.

However, I'm glad I made the mistake because I received a call from Patricia. I learned that the outstanding 4-H leader was Mrs. Friedel Rieck. She served in that capacity for many years. Former 4-H members under her tutelage will remember receiving a cookbook the year they graduated.

The barn quilt, “Sunbonnet Sue,” has a connection to the Rieck family. Mrs. Friedel Rieck, Evelyn, made a quilt with the Sunbonnet Sue pattern. It was used for many years.

The barn on the farm burned either in 1920 or 1921. The neighbors helped with a barn raising. The family held barn dances in the new building — even a wedding was held in the barn.

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