Letters to the Editor

Duncan, ‘The Big Creek’

By Joe Johnson

Dear Editor:

Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin has approximately the same number of people (11,000) as it did back in the lumber days. My uncle on my father’s side was Duncan, “the big creek.” Duncan Creek, in Chippewa Falls, was named after him. For many years he was the sheriff. I remember (and this is quite accurate for it made quite an impression on me) when I was a young boy, seeing the gun he had in a holster, and asking him if he had ever shot anyone. He said, “NEVER! In fact I have never taken the gun out of the holster on the job!”

It was just him and two deputies to take care of a rather active hard-drinking group of lumberjacks. There was at this time 22 hard-liquor bars on Spring Street. In one-half of the bars only French was spoken and non-French speakers were not welcome.

Later I asked others what he did to control the drunken bar fights, etc., since there were only him and the two deputies to do it—and he did not use his gun! A number of people told me he would go into the bar that was having trouble. He knew everyone, and he’d go up to two or three of the men and ask them to help him control the “problem.” They would be happy to do so and this “problem” would be controlled—often by sending the drunk home to his family. No killing, no arrests, no jail time.

But now Chippewa Falls has a super-armed SWAT team!