Archie R. Crothers Archie R. Crothers was born April 14, 1887, on a farm his grandfather purchased from the government in the late 1840's. There he spent his entire life, and died 100 years later within a few feet of where he was born.
His father, James Morris Crothers, was born in 1847 near Montreal, Canada, the fourth of ten children born to J.M. Crothers Sr., and Ann (Briggs) Crothers. J.M. Sr. was born and raised near Belfast, Ireland, and was the son of George Carruthers and Margaret Graham. Ann Briggs was the daughter of Robert Briggs, an Irishman who fought in the Battle of Waterloo.
James I and Annie were married in 1840 and promptly migrated to Canada. In 1856 they purchased the Jordan farm on the south shore of Jordan Lake in Adams County, where they lived for the rest of their lives. James II grew of age there and in 1866 married Julia Ward of Big Spring. Julia, the daughter of Ira C. Ward and Ursula (Edwards) Ward, was born in Lake Mills, Wisconsin in 1847. When she was two, Ira moved his family to this wilderness where bear were a common sight and their closest neighbor was Chief Pretty Man and his family. Ira and his friend, Richard Rose, are believed to be the first two farmers to enter and claim farms in the area now known as southern Adams County.
Ira chose a piece of land on a ridge with white and red oak timber, close to spring water, with rocks in ample supply for building needs. He built a farm and raised his family by trading beef and wheat for lumber at Pineries to the north. Later, he raised hops and, in 1868, erected a hop kiln for processing. The kiln, constructed of hand hewn Wisconsin pine rafted down the river from the lumber camp, still stands today. Direct descendents of these people, as well as their livestock, continue to live on the same farm.
Around 1870, Ira was struck by lightning. After a lengthy recovery he sold his farm to Julia and James Crothers and spent the remaining years of his life operating the Ward Feed Mill in Big Spring.
Archie's parents lived and raised their family on the Ward farm. James II was active in local affairs; serving on the town board, county board, and as sheriff of Adams County. Julia was active in raising her large family and helping with school and 209 i-r, Elton Ray, Jr, Harry, Elton R., Richard, Irene, and Thomas Davis church activities. Julia died in 1921 and James II in 1927. They are buried in the Big Spring Cemetery.
Archie attended the Ward School for eight years and went on to High School in Portage for one year. There he lived with his older brother who was Columbia County Clerk of Court. He then returned home to farm, all of his brothers having pursued other careers. In 1913, he married Laura Clough, born in New Haven in 1889 to Charles and Eva Clough.
Charles Sylvester Clough, known as 'Vet' was the son of Steven Clough and Polly Compton. Steven's father, Moses, was a soldier in the War of 1812. Moses was born and worked in the granite quarries of the East. Following a dynamite blast that blinded him, he and his wife moved to Wisconsin and raised a large family under difficult pioneer conditions. He would live to old age without seeing his new home.
Steven and his brothers were stone masons and carpenters by trade. A surviving example of their work is the Big Spring Church, built in 1875.
Charles Clough died of heart trouble, leaving behind a wife and four young children. Eva Clough was descended from, among others, the Eighme family who were very early settlers near Eighme Pond in Adams County. Re-named 'Amey' Pond by moder map-makers, the pond is about eight miles east of Wisconsin Dells on the south side of Highway 23.
Laura Clough attended the Badger Valley School, graduated from Kilbourn High School and taught until she married Archie in 1913. Archie and Laura farmed in Big Spring for the rest of their lives. Laura died in 1954.
Archie was active in all facets of local politics, serving as Town Clerk for the Town of New Haven and many years on the Ward School Board. He was serving on the Wisconsin Dells High School Board when the new high school was built.
Archie enjoyed keeping abreast of current events and told stories of the good old days to many friends who enjoyed spending time with him during his last years. He died in June, 1987 and is buried in the Big Spring Cemetery. His son Erwin operates the farm today. Erwin and his wife Ruth (Ramsey) have two children: Kenneth and Marie.