1836 La Crosse’s First Settlers Disputed

Dispute over the First Settler

H.B. Coons or Col. N. Myrick?

In the examinations made with a view to definitely determine the facts regarding the first settlement of La Crosse, the seeker after knowledge has been made the Trustee of information in that behalf both cumulative and persuasive. Mr. H. B. Coons claims the distinguished honor for his father, whom he alleges settled at La Crosse in 1836, while Col. N. Myrick is equally positive that Mr. Coons is in error, notwithstanding his statements are in part supported by public documents, and that he was the first white man to establish a permanent occupation of the county. The weight of authorities, it is but proper to observe, indicate Mr, Myrick as the gentleman to whom this dignity properly belongs; Morrison McMillan, in his history of the early settlement of La Crosse and Monroe Counties, makes the award to Mr. Myrick. He states that no trading-post was established in the vicinity of La Crosse prior to 1840, at which time a man named La Batt or La Bathe opened a store one mile below the present city, but did not remain long.

Mr. Coons insists that his father and Mr. Cubbage opened a trading-post in 1836, within the limits of the present city, which was destroyed by the Indians in 1837. It was rebuilt, but again burned, and, in 1838, Messrs. Coons & Cubbage made a claim for damages thus sustained, which was allowed and deducted from the annuities due the Indians. The Interior Department at Washington furnishes proof that the claim was made, but casts a doubt upon the allegation that the same was paid. From this, it would appear that the averment made by Mr. Coons, in behalf of his parent, is entitled to considerable weight. A prolonged correspondence resulted from this claim which is herewith furnished, that the reader may determine the question, as the evidence appears conclusive of tie facts or faults, but this is done with the statement that among the pioneers of the county still living, the opinion obtains that Mr. Myrick wras the first settler to locate permanently on the present city site, and that Coons possibly located on the island opposite.


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