Friends & Relatives

Ak,
I was impressed to find your website. I was watching Hee Haw on the RFD channel tonight and Buck Owens announced a salute to “Romance, WI; population 20”. I believe it was their 5th season, episode 3. Although I have lived and traveled all over Wisconsin, I have never heard of Romance and thought that Hee Haw made it up. I was very stunned to find that your community exists! Kudos to you and your great website and educating the rest of us!!

Best regards,   Julie Mecikalski  Hustler, WI

Ak,
There used to be a Church of Christ in Romance, and Nancy Helgesen Lyons' father was a guest preacher there in the 1950s. He was at that time 34 and divorced, and as a divorced man, in that day he could not become pastor of a church, but he could substitute. Nancy's father's name was Floyd Helgesen, and he was raised in Madison. Her aunt, Vera Getter of Bud, was going to the Church of Christ in Romance, and brought her little sister, Nancy's mother Corrine Harris, who was 19. Nancy's mother lived at the time in Red Mound on the family farm. After about 2-3 months of "long distance" dating between Madison and Red Mound, her parents were married in 1952 and lived in Madison.
If you happen to know of any Romance residents who are elderly and may have attended the Church of Christ, or if you know of any photos of the church and people in the congregation that might be at a local historical society, or that people in the area might be willing to show, she would appreciate any leads.  
Thanks,  Nancy Helgesen Lyon

Ak,
Thanks the website and effort. 
 The Romance, Wisconsin  poem you have included opens with:
 “We keep poor records. What matters most happens so slowly no records are kept at all”.
This is certainly the case, only fragments of the history remain. I include excerpts from a couple of 
documents that capture just a tiny piece.
Some of the remarkable early residents of the area were William S. Hall and his family.  Many of their 
graves are in the beautiful little “Romance cemetery” and are my family’s earliest connection to Romance.  

A section from an old Hall family tree follows, including a description of the journey to Romance:   
  William S. Hall 
  Birth: 22 Dec 1821 in Angus, Aberlemno Scotland 
  Death: 8 Jan 1914 in Romance, Wi. 
  Burial: Romance Cemetery 

Aberdeen is county seat of Aberdeen Co. in Scotland . A seaport, 
Population of about 185,000.(1941) Located on the east side fo Scotland.
Forfar (Forfar shire) Located about 25 miles north of Dundee (seaport), Scotland

Forfar has population of about 10,000.(1941) Forfar is county seat of Angus Co. Scotland.
William Martin Hall Sr. supposedly born in Forfar shire, Scotland, noted by his
hand writing in his military papers.  Farmed along the Bad Ax at Romance.

Other residences: England with an uncle for two years, after marriage. 
Lived in Brookllyn, N.Y. for 3 years. Shewasa Worked as a Seamstress to make enough 
money to move to Romance, Wi. William Hall received his educational advantages in the parish of 
Eberlemens, Scotland. At the age of fifteen he became employed by a 
physician, with whom he remained a year, and then found employment under 
another physician(DR. Smith) in his native town. Following an old 
country custom he was apprenticed to a tailor, receiving in return for 
his services his board and lodging. For a time after his term had ended 
he went to England and was with an uncle for two years. In 1846 he 
retuned to Scotland and married Ann Martin, a daughter of Charles and 
Margaret (Glen) Martin. Shortly after his marriage he took up his 
residence in Glen Clorn, Scotland, and in 1849 started for America on the 
sailing vessel "Harmonica." The voyage was a stormy one and took six 
weeks. After a year's labor as a gardener in Lodi, N.Y., he came west to 
McHenry county, Ill., where he entered land under the homestead act and 
cleared and improved it. For a time he was shepherd of 900 sheep on 
Crystal prairie. In September, 1856, the family started for Wisconsin, 
and had gotten as far as Mill Creek, in Richland County, when they were 
snowed in and compelled to remain there the balance of a hard, cold 
winter. They lost the larger part of the stock they had with them, and 
had difficulty in supplying themselves with food. In the spring of 1857 
they continued their journey and shortly afterward located on eighty 
acres of pre-empted land in section 36 of the town of Genoa. A log cabin 
was the first domicile of the family, but in later years this gave place 
to the fine stone house which Albert J. Hall now occupies. Most of the 
clearing and improving on the place was done by William Hall. He was a 
man well-known throughout the town and county and the incumbent of many 
of the offices. For twenty-five years he was postmaster at Romance, for 
thirty years was justice of the peace and for several years was clerk of 
the school district. He and his wife, Ann were the parents of eight 
children. William Martin, the eldest, is a farmer of Genoa Township.
Anna is the wife of Merritt Rowe of Bronson, Ia. Mary, who died in 1900 
was the wife of Frank Waller of Sprink county, S.D. Agnes became the wife 
of Albert Adams of the town of Harmony. David died in 1874. Jane 
Elizabeth is now Mrs. Sidney Gillette of New Albin, Ia. and Matilda is 
deceased. Albert J. Hall is the fifth child in order of birth.

Remarkably tough people as they made the arduous trek to Romance with  7, 5, 3, and 1 year old children!  

In 1993, my uncle Robert Tulloch Stormont of LaCrosse, compiled a bit of our families history.  The 
following is an excerpt including my forbearer’s connection to Romance:

From Robert T Stormont:
Grandfather James Stormont was trained in Arbroath as a joiner or carpenter and stonemason. 
(There was no future in rope making). He migrated to this country when he was about 19 years 
of age. We don't know what ship he came over on, but we do have information that he entered 
the U.S.A. through the port of Detroit. We do not know for certain why he came to the
La Crosse, Wisconsin area so we are forced to make some "educated" guesses. Remember that 
his mother’s name was Jane Martin (the Martins had been tenant farmers in Augus County) and 
that Jane had a younger sister named Anne Martin.

Anne Martin had married a William Hall in Carmyllie, County of Augus, in 1846, and the two of 
them spent their honeymoon migrating to the United States. They tried farming in McHenry 
County, Illinois, but did not feel at all comfortable on flat land, so they "pulled stakes" and finally 
settled on the west bank of the Bad Axe River at a sport called Romance about 20 miles 
southeast of La Crosse. (My mother told me that she had heard that "Uncle Willie" Hall had 
named the spot Romance). Now, what would be more natural than young James Stormont, our 
grandfather, going to his aunt's place in Romance to pay his respects? Undoubtedly, the Halls 
told him to go to the growing community of La Crosse nearby where there was a need for well-
trained carpenters and stone masons. A kinsman of ours, Ronald Harris of La Crosse is 
descended from William Hall (Uncle Willie) of Romance.

It would be well to digress at this point and go back to the highlands of Scotland to an area near 
Beauly just a few miles to the east of Inverness. There in a little hamlet called Kiltariity lived a 
tenant farmer named Hugh Tulloch and his wife, Barbara Hutchen Tulloch. One of their children, 
Robert Tulloch, was born in 1814.

These were mighty tough times for tenant farmers who were trying to convert their properties to 
profitable sheep grazing lands. Young Robert Tulloch journeyed south seeking employment and 
found a job working in a stone quarry for a Mr. James Hall of Aberlemno in Augus County near 
the town of Forfar.   Mr. James Hall was the father of William Hall who had married Anne Martin 
and then migrated to Romance on the Bad Axe River. James Hall also had a daughter, Mary 
Hall, a younger sister of William Hall.


Strangely enough, Robert Tulloch must have found time for a bit of relaxation between all his 
time spent in "contemplating" rocks, and ultimately found himself married to Mary Hall. On their 
honeymoon they migrated to an area near Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, where Robert found work 
with the railroad, and began to raise a family. There must have been correspondence between 

Jane Martin Stormont of Arbroath, Scotland, and her sister, Anne Martin Hall of Romance on the 
Bad Axe River in Wisconsin. It also appears that William Hall probably wrote to his younger 
sister, Mary Hall Tulloch up in Canada. So it is not all surprising that the Robert Tulloch family 
migrated from Canada to Romance in the valley of the Bad Axe River and bought a small farm 
adjacent to the William Halls. Likewise, it is not at all surprising that Aunt Anne Martin Hall 
should arrange that her young nephew, James Stormont (our grandfather), meet the Tullochs 
next door, and suffer exposure to the comely daughters of the Tullochs (Any fool can write the 
rest of the scenario). On April 14,1875, James Stormont was married to Jean Tulloch in La 
Crosse, Wisconsin. Jean was the oldest daughter of the Tullochs.

As you can see in the excerpt, my Grandmother believed that William Hall (Uncle Willie) named the area 
Romance.   

My father and I have trekked to Romance several times as it is a very special place for us.  Thanks for the 
opportunity to share.

Sincerely,
Bob Stormont
Hartland, Wisconsin

I will gladly add anyone else's story to this page.  Please pass this website on to your friends and relatives.