Township 33 north, Range 9 West, which is the Town of Rusk, is situated in the southwest corner of Rusk County. Before Gates County was set off from Chippewa County in 1901, this area was part of Bloomer Township. Then in 1898 the name was changed to Strickland Township and again in 1900 the name was changed to Samson. Later a petition was signed to change the name to Ten Mile for the creek that runs across the west end of the township. However, Rusk was chosen to be the final name.
The first settlers began coming into the township in the early 1870’s. Most of the land at that time was solid pine and no roads of any kind. The rest of what is now Rusk Township was totally unsettled. The early settler’s task was clearing the land of stumps and picking yearly crops of rocks to make the soil tillable. In 1912 the Rusk County Farm Company built a complete set of farm buildings. These buildings were a prominent landmark in the area. For many years there was a grocery store at Rusk Farm near Buck Lake, and a cheese factory on the shores of Buck Lake. The last grocery store was at Bear Lake Corners.
In the early days of the township, mail was brought out from Chetek by anyone going into town. The chief industries of the area have been logging replaced by dairy farming and of course one of the most important has been our summer resorts.
According to the account book of District No. 4 1891-1928, the first school at Bear Lake must have been a home. In July 1892 $15.00 was paid for moving in a school house. It was located ¼ mile west of Bear Lake corners. June 30, 1899 $12.00 was paid for an acre of land and work was begun on a new school building. This new school building served the Bear Lake Community until 1962. It was the last one room school in Rusk County to close. The building is now Rusk Town Hall and is used not only for voting and town meetings, but for community get togethers.
*Compiled from the writings of Rosma Rathbun Limbeck., in her own words.
“That makes our town hall, as of June 30th, 2011,-- 112 years young.”
Our thanks to the “History of Rusk County”, 1983, Written by the People of Rusk County, Wisconsin and Compiled by the Rusk County Historical Society, Ladysmith, Wisconsin.