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