Williamsonville

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Williamsonville

Williamsonville (or Williamson's Mill) was a settlement in the Town of Brussels (Door County, Wis.). It was centered around the sawmill run by Belgian brothers Tom and Fred Williamson, who were engaged primarily in shingle-making. All 77 residents of the community were either members of the Williamson family or employees of their mill. More than three quarters of them lost their lives in the fire.

Robert W. Wells describes the tragedy of Williamsonville in detail (Embers of October, p. 58-72). Listed in Manuscripts.)

Here is how Fred J. Holmes described the memorial to the Williamsonville victims in 1944:

Beside the concrete highway midway between Brussels and Sturgeon Bay is a hill and valley section set aside as a memorial to the pioneers of that tragic hour. It bears the name of "Tornado Park." Before its entrance portals I paused with uncovered head, and in humility copied from the inscribed tablets this cryptic recital:

Here was the Village of
Williamsonville with a population
of 77 persons on October 8, 1871.
This Village was blotted out by a tornado of fire.
60 persons sought refuge in an open field surrounding
this spot and were
burned to death.

From Old World Wisconsin Chapter VIII, describing the Belgian communities of Door County. Listed in Manuscripts.


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Cite as: Deana C. Hipke. The Great Peshtigo Fire of 1871. <http://www.peshtigofire.info/>
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