Herewith a little family background before we start:
Three score and four years before the road through Elk Mound, Wisconsin was given the number 12, Abraham Lincoln signed a routine document. The route number came in 1926 with the federally supported highway system. The document provides evidence that my US12 theme is more than mine or my father’s, but truly family heritage that follows The Route by any name. I was still a young teen when I last saw the heirloom homestead deed with that famous signature. A cousin assures me that she has it in safe keeping.
It is quite possible that the family homestead near the village of Elk Mound no longer belonged to our family by the time the road got its number. Even so, the village and road are both family heritage.
Elk Mound is thirteen miles from Eau Claire. It might have been a mile or two farther back then, before Eau Claire grew along Route 12 and Elk Mound didn’t. Dad, Mom, sisters and I traveled every other year to Eau Claire where we visited grandparents, C.B. and Nellie Elliott. They were not connected to that homestead just up US12. No, it’s not because it had been sold or abandoned long before, but because it had never been the home of forebears to the Wisconsin kin I knew.
It was, in fact, an early home for ancestors of those I know as the Chicago side of the family. Chicago – the Austin neighborhood; Plano – then a farm town west of the city; Chicago Heights; and Blue Island, a mere five miles from US Highway 12 as it nears the Indiana line. The Elk Mound-Eau Claire-Chicago connections make it possible for me to note that an aunt on one side was a fourth cousin on the other and that Highway 12 goes back with us to before its pavement beginnings.
I invite you to stick around for the Eau Claire story that follows in next post, which probably means you saw it first. Oh, well.