ORGANIZATION OF TOWN --- TOPOGRAPHY --- PIONEERS --- BLOOM CITY --- WEST LIMA --- AGRICULTURAL FACILITIES --- UNION CHURCH --- CHRISTIAN CHURCH.
The surface of the town is broken and hilly, one main ridge extending through the western portion from north to south, while on each side of this are smaller, or connecting ridges, extending to the east and west. On the ridges the soil varies, in some places being a rich black loam and in others a yellow clay, but it is all very productive. In the valleys the soil is a rich dark loam, but in seasons of high water some places are overflowed, and farmers often lose a portion of their crops. There is comparatively little waste land in the township, and the condition of the farms, buildings, and surroundings is indicative of thrift and prosperity. The natural drainage of the town consists of a stream called the West Branch of Pine river, which courses in a southerly direction, and on its way through the eastern part of the town is joined by six spring tributaries. The town is thus well watered, making it a desirable and profitable locality for stock raising.
Among the first to establish a home within the bounds of the town of Bloom, was Isaac McMahan, who, during the year 1853, came and entered one hundred and twenty acres of land on section 23. He was born in Ohio, and was a resident of the town of Bloom from the date of his settlement therein until his death, March 14, 1881, at the age of seventy-four years. Another conspicuous figure in that early day wilderness was Daniel Householder, who entered three hundred and twenty acres of land on section 35. He also came from Ohio and lived upon the land he entered until the time of his death, in August, 1878, having reached the extreme old age of ninety-nine years. He located in the town of Bloom in 1853, later encouraged settlers to come to the place, and did much toward starting the town on its final prosperous career.
Edward Morris, another early settler, was born in Rochester, Fayette county, Ohio, and in early life migrated to Fulton county, Ind., where he lived eighteen years, coming from there to the town of Bloom. He drove all the way with a two-horse wagon and arrived during the month of October, 1854, entering the north half of the northeast quarter of section 26, town 12, north of range 1 west. He later purchased one hundred and twenty acres in sections 23 and 24, and there built a house and barn assisted by William Lowry. He remained there nine years and cleared a farm, the land being covered with heavy timber. Then he came down Fancy creek and settled twenty-three acres of the Beisecker place and about forty of the Todd place, a total of sixty acres or more, in section 9. He then moved to the town of Rockbridge, about four miles above Richland Center, where he purchased a farm and remained six years, after which he located on what is known as the Wood farm, two miles west of Richland Center, and remained there about twenty-nine years. He then removed to Richland Center where he still resides.
Others of this town's first settlers were John Rogers, Israel Cooper, Reuben Selby, Thomas Siers, Isaac Pizer, Thomas Borland, John Jewell, Josephus Downs and James E Kidd, all of them becoming residents therein prior to 1855. John Rogers came in the spring of 1853 and entered land on section 18. He improved the land during the following summer, and then returned to Indiana, where he died shortly afterward. Israel Cooper came at about the same time and entered two hundred and forty acres, a part of which was on section 26. He erected his house on that section. Isaac Pizer came in 1854 and bought land on section 26. He laid out the village of Spring Valley and remained a few years, when he removed to Cerro Gordo county, Iowa. In 1872 he sold out and started for Oregon, but when three miles from Sacramento City, he fell from the cars and was instantly killed. Josephus Downs came in 1854 and entered land on the northwest quarter of section 22. He was a lawyer. He remained here for several years, then moved to Dane county, but a few years later returned and died on the old homestead.
James A Jones came in 1854 and settled on section 25.
James E Kidd, a son-in-law of Josephus Downs, came in 1854 and entered the southeast quarter of section 15. He improved the farm and made it his home until the time of his death, which occurred in 1881.
Jobe M Hurless, another of the pioneers of Bloom, was born in Pendleton county, Va., May 15, 1831. He remained in Virginia until 1883, in which year his father removed to Clinton county, Indiana, where the latter died in 1842. Jobe M then went to Carroll county and lived with Dr. Courier some years, and from thence to Howard county, same state. He then engaged in farming, and on September 17, 1854, departed for Wisconsin, arriving in the town of Bloom on October 5, following. He there entered one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 5, and was forced to cut his road through the woods three miles to get in with a team, and had to haul his provisions form Orion, a distance of thirty miles. Upon his arrival in the town of Bloom he possessed only $300, but by hard labor and successful speculations he acquired a competence.
Samuel Downs came in 1855 and bought land on the northwest quarter of section 14. He afterward removed to Kansas.
James A Sellers, one of the early settlers of the town of Bloom, was born June 22, 1817, in Perry county, Ohio, where his early life was spent, obtaining his education in the common schools. In 1855 he moved from Knox county, Ohio, to Green county, Wis., wintering there in 1856 and 1857. In 1859 he came to Richland Center, and in August, to the town of Bloom, where he entered one hundred and twenty acres of land on sections 26 and 27.
John J Jewell, who was one of the most prominent business men and farmers of the town of Bloom, was born in Carroll county, Ohio, in 1828, where his youth was spent, and he received such education as he was able to obtain in the district schools of his native county. In 1855 he moved to Vernon county, Wisconsin, settled in the town of Union, remained six months, then moved to the town of Bloom, Richland county, where he purchased eight hundred acres of land, located on section 1, where he engaged as a farmer and merchant, and also in loaning money and buying and selling stock in Richland and Vernon counties. He had business qualifications beyond most men, which, combined with economy, energy and good judgment, enabled him to outstrip others in the accumulation of wealth, until he was in possession of a sufficiency for every enjoyment during his declining years.
David Griffin came from Indiana in 1855 and entered one hundred and eighty-two acres of land on section 18. His father, Ralph Griffin, came in 1856 and settled on the same section. Friend Morrison came in 1855 and bought land on section 6.
Nathan Ford, a pioneer preacher of the town of Bloom, was born January 6, 1823, in the state of New Jersey. When he was three years old his parents moved to Allen county, Ohio. In 1837 they went to Montgomery county and remained three years, then went to Clinton county, Indiana, where Nathan attended the common school and engaged in farming until 1855. In that year he came to Richland county and settled in the town of Bloom, on section 18, where he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land. After coming to the county he was constantly engaged in farming, preaching and working at the joiner's trade. He held the office of chairman of the town board eight years, member of the side board four years, and justice of the peace twelve years.
Joseph Pippen came at an early day and settled on section 30, where he lived a number of years, and then became a resident of the town of Forest. M R Griffin came in 1855 and entered one hundred and twenty acres of land on section 7. He was never out of the county afterward. N M Trubaugh came during the same year and entered one hundred and sixty acres on section 21. Jesse Harness at about the same time entered eighty acres on section 17.
Bloom City, formerly called Spring Valley, is quite an important gathering place for the people of the town. There is perhaps nothing in its annals of any great historical importance, other than the fact of its existence, which statement is equally true of its business rival, West Lima, a few miles away. In each place there are several energetic and enterprising business establishments, and schools are carried on to a high degree of excellence.
The town of Bloom enjoys the distinction of being one of the best agricultural towns in Richland county. Its soil is especially adapted to diversified farming, fruit growing and truck gardening, in which pursuits, combined with stock-raising, the intelligent and industrious farmers have met with phenomenal success. The pleasant homes and thrifty surroundings are abundant proof of this, while an occasional handsome mansion, with modern improvements and appliances, affirms the conclusion that even in this favored land, some have been more successful than their worthy rivals.
In 1868 a Union church was built on the present site of the village of West Lima, it being a very neat frame building, and cost $1450. It belonged to no religious denomination and was under no ecclesiastical control, but was intended and used for united services, where any and all religious bodies of people could meet for worship. In 1877 a church edifice was erected, on section 18, by the Christian denomination. It was a log building, and was known as the Sugar Tree House, services being held in it once each month.
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