Natural Scenery

Vernon County Museum Notes | News

It was 175 years ago when Moses Decker and two of his sons arrived in what we now call Viroqua. First called Deckerville, then Farwell, it was officially named Viroqua in May 1854. Among the first families to settle in Viroqua was the Terhune family.

This account of their travels was published in the Viroqua Republican on Aug. 23, 1905. In the summer of 1851, William F. Terhune, age 30 and his wife Margaret, age 31, left their home in New York to make a new home in Fort Snelling, MN. Their boat trip west on the Ohio River culminated in Quincy, IL and it was pure fate that they arrived there alive. A cholera outbreak on the boat took many lives. The next leg of their trip took them up the Mississippi on a different boat which most likely would have taken them all the way to Fort Snelling. However, in August, 1851, the boat made a stop at Stevens Landing (now Victory), Bad Axe county (now Vernon), for the purpose of taking on wood and freight. The passengers were enamored with the beauty of the landscape and left the boat to view the bluffs and enchanting scenery. Ira Stevens, the first white man to settle in Victory in 1849, greeted the travelers. His captivating description of the area persuaded the Terhunes to locate here instead of Minnesota. After staying with Stevens for two days, they traveled by wagon and oxen, escorted by Moses Decker’s son Solomon to their new home. Their final stop was no doubt due to the fact that Ira Stevens was married to the daughter of Moses and Elizabeth Decker, Eliza, in 1848.

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