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Ezra Healy (1839-1915)

From History of the Saint Croix Valley (ARC F 587 .S14 E3 1909 v. 2 in the UWRF Archives)

Lyman and Ezra Healy, known far and wide as the Healy brothers, are not only descended from an ancient family, but have themselves done their country distinguished service in times of both war and peace.  The father, Manly Healy, was born January 2, 1801, on the shores of Lake Champlain, in the state of Vermont, and became a witness of the War of 1812.  During his early life he was a contractor and later in life followed farming.  He helped in the construction of the New York & Erie road, the first railroad laid in New York state.  The building of the mile which he undertook as his share of the work required the services of forty men and forty teams nearly an entire winter, and the pay which Mr. Healy received was just $40.  He married Betsy Newton, daughter of Reuben and Eunice (Manly) Newton, who was born in Onondaga county, New York, in 1804, and passed away in 1872 on the old homestead in River Falls township.  Manly Healy passed away in 1875, also on the old homestead.  His father’s name was Ezra Healy.  His stepfather was named Morgan.  He was a soldier in the revolution and the family still preserves as a relic of that great conflict a powder horn about a foot long, which will hold a pound of powder.  Unto Manly and Betsy Healy were born eight children- Roxena was born in 1827 and died in 1897; Lyman was born in Mansfield, N. Y., in 1829, and died October 7, 1908; Mary was born in 1831 and died in 1852; Manly was born in 1833 and died in 1889; Amelia was born in 1836 and died in 1902; Ezra was born in Mansfield, N. Y., in 1839; Emily was born in 1842 and died in 1904; Helen, born in 1851, is living with her brother, Ezra, none of the four ever having married.  Before the death of Amelia there were four in the family who had lived together for more than fifty-two years.  Lyman and Ezra were brought up on the farm in New York state and attended the common schools.  In those days the teacher received about $1 a week actual cash, and boarded around in the homes of the various families whose children he taught.  The first school, however, that Ezra attended was made up of Indians with the exception of himself and his brothers and sisters.  Ezra worked on the farm in his early days, came to Beloit, Rock county, Wis., in 1844, and to Pierce county in 1856.  Lyman came to the St. Croix valley in 1851, and in 1852 took up eighty acres of government land on section 5, River Falls township, adjoining the present home.  The homestead he purchased from William Wilton, who had taken it up when it was government land.  Wilton sold it to Willis McKuhn, who was killed while a colonel in the Civil war, and the land reverted to Wilton, who sold it to Lyman.  The brothers now own 240 acres of land, 160 acres of which is in section 4.  This tract of land was obtained from the government by a man named Swackhammer, but as he did not appear to claim it the county deeded it to Lyman Healy.

Lyman and Manly were both in the Civil war, enlisting in 1862, and remained until 1865.  Manly was in Company F, Thirteenth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and Ezra was in Company A of the Thirtieth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry.  Manly spend two and a half years at Fort Sully helping to build the same, while Ezra helped to build Fort Rice.  They were in no active service, their companies being used for guarding provisions and building fortifications.  Since the war they have been Republicans; before that conflict they were Jackson Democrats.  Lyman has been chairman of the town board for four years.  He was once before elected to the office, but was prevented from serving by ill health.  He has also served for eighteen years as school treasurer, a position which Ezra held for ten years.  Both are among the most deeply respected and highly honored men in the community.

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