Grant County Place Names: N-W

New California.  The post office was established in 1850, discontinued in 1855, and restored in 1856.  There is no explanation for the name.

Nip and Tuck.  This is the name of an old landmark church.  When it was being built the committee bought a load of lumber and said it would have to be enough to do the job.  As the church progressed, workers began to worry whether or not they would run out of lumber.  Someone remarked, “Well, it is sure going to be nip and tuck!” And the church was given this label.

North Andover.  This settlement was established at the intersection of two streams.  A flour mill was built in the early days to grind wheat, and later other grains that were used to feed livestock.  The mill was known as the Oliver Mill.  The machinery for it came from Andover in Massachusetts.  The word “North” was added when the name was chosen because it was thought that this settlement was located farther to the north than the New England one.

Oliver’s Mill.  Douglas Oliver, an early settler, built a gristmill and later a woolen mill, and a thriving community grew up.  The name was changed to North Andover.

Paper City.  This was laid out as a large village in 1836 by an eastern syndicate but was never occupied.  It was located on the south bank of the Wisconsin River, where it flows into the Mississippi River at the foot of Lookout Point, and is now Wyalusing State Park.

Paris.  Tou Le Jon came up the Platte River in 1828 and stopped where another stream entered it.  He cast off a line and made it fast to a cottonwood tree.  The crewmen went ashore, and while they prepared their first meal in the wilderness, Tou Le Jon surveyed the ground and mapped out a city with streets, public squares, and grand avenues to resemble its namesake in France.

Patch Grove.  This site was originally called Finntown for Enos Finn, an early settler.  Henry Patch arrived in 1836 and built a cabin near a grove of trees that was enlarged within a few years to accommodate travelers.  The place became known as Patch’s Grove.

Picture Rocks.  When the large cave in Wyalusing State Park was first discovered, it was under a large waterfall.  Ice was often found there as late as the Fourth of July.  The walls were of multi-colored sand.

Platteville.  It was called Platte River Diggings in 1827 when early settlers arrived.  John H. Rountree and his neighbors petitioned for a post office and asked that it be named Platte River.  For a few months during 1828 the name was Lebanon, and then changed to Platteville.  Alonzo Platt, a prominent citizen, came in 1828, but the Platte River had been named before that time.  It is said the Indians smelted their lead and put it into what was known as plats, or bowl-shaped masses, which usually weighed about seventy pounds.

The Point of Beginning.  In 1831, when Wisconsin was still in Michigan Territory, Lucius Lyon, US Commissioner on the survey of the Wisconsin-Illinois border, built up a mound six feet square at the base and six feet high to mark the intersection of the border and the fourth principal meridian.  All Wisconsin public land surveys began from this point.  The mound built on the border disappeared long ago, but every surveyor’s monument in the state, the borders of all townships and counties, the locations of villages and cities, the position of roads, lakes, and streams, all were determined and mapped form lines and distances measured from this Point of Beginning.

Potosi.  Until 1845 this town was called Snake Hollow.  Two reasons are given: the area was infested with snakes, and the valley winds between bluffs to the river in a snakelike manner.  Potosi may be an adaptation of the Indian name Potosa, the wife of Julien Dubuque, but most accounts agree that it is derived from the Spanish word meaning “lead.”  Willis St. John was the patriarch of the Potosi mines.  He discovered a cave in a bluff that was rich with lead that is still known as St. John’s Cave.

Reed’s Landing.  This site was named after an early settler in 1840.

St. Rose.  Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, an Italian missionary priest, purchased land and built a Catholic church in 1851 that he named St. Rose.  The first settlers were J. V. Donahoo, John O’Neill, and Joseph Banfield.  The town was first called St. Rose of the Prairie by Father Mazzuchelli.

Signal Point.  At this site in Wyalusing State Park Indians built signal fires to communicate with other Indians on the prairies and in the valleys.

Sinipee.  In 1837 this was a boomtown, but it is now completely gone except for some cellar pits and an old spring located in Jamestown Township on the Mississippi River.  The name is an Indian word meaning “lead ore.”  Payton Vaughn came here in 1827 and later built a large stone mansion with a dance hall on the second story.  Zachary Taylor and Jefferson Davis came from Fort Crawford to attend the dances.  The village had several stores, with merchandise brought in by the riverboats that took out loads of lead ore.  John Plum Jr. called a meeting of the citizens here to promote the idea of building a transcontinental railroad from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Ocean.

Sinsinawa.  General George Wallace Jones bought land here for a lead smelter in 1827.  In 1844 he sold it to the Reverend Mazzuchelli, who built a college here and started the Dominican Sisters.  Edgewood College in Madison is a branch of this institution.  Sinsinawa is an Indian word.  In the Algonquian language it means “rattlesnake” and may have been adopted because the hills and bluffs of this region were once infested with many rattlesnakes.  There is also said to be a rattlesnake effigy mound at this site.  In the Sioux language the word means “home of the young eagle” and the college called its school publication The Young Eagle until it was moved to become Rosary College, River Forest, Illinois.

Smelser.  The township was named after an early family.

Stonefield.   Nelson Dewey gave this name to the rock-studded, two-thousand-acre farm he established along the bluffs of the Mississippi.

Tennyson.  For many years this village was known as Dutch Hollow because of the nationality of the early settlers.  No explanation is given for the change in name.

Union.  According to one old-timer, the name was chosen because of the united meetings held here when folks had good times.

Werley.  The name was chosen in honor of a prominent citizen, Gottlieb Wehrle, with an anglicized spelling.

Winneshiek Wild Life Refuge.  [Grant, Vernon, and Crawford Counties]  Winneshiek in the Indian language means “dirty, brackish, muddy” and was applied to water, and also to the yellow birch tree because the bark has a smoky color.  Chief Winneshiek, who presided over the Pecatonica village in this area, was given this name by his people because he had a bearded face, which was unusual among Indians.

Woodman.  In 1864 Cyrus Woodman and Ralph Smith laid out the lots for this village.  A small sawmill that produced lumber, railroad ties, and laths provided work for the inhabitants.

Wyalusing State Park.  This site was laid out as the village of Paper City in 1836 by an eastern syndicate but was never settled.  Robert Glenn, who came from Wyalusing in Pennsylvania, gave it the new name because he thought the location resembled the Pennsylvania village.  The word is derived from an Indian term that means “home of the old warrior” or “dwelling place of the hoary veteran,” after an ancient warrior who lived near the Pennsylvania site.