Trempealeau County
Circuit Court

PO Box 67
Whitehall WI, 54773-0067
( 715) 538-2311 Ext. 239
Fax: (715) 538-4123

Office Hours:
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Monday - Friday

George Gale

County Judge
(1856)

"According to Judge Heuston, Gale might well have been called father of Trempealeau County."

George Gale was born in Vermont on November 30, 1816.  At the age of 16, he was given a book about Napoleon Bonaparte, which he read through attentively.  From that time on, he gave all his leisure moments to studying history, travel, and land surveying.  At the age of 23, he began reading about law and two years later was admitted to the bar.   That year, he came to Wisconsin, locating at Elkhorn.

In the fall of 1847, he was elected as a delegate to the convention hall to form the new state of Wisconsin and for two years, served as senator.  In 1851, the governor of Wisconsin appointed him Brigadier General of Militia.  Gale located in La Crosse and began a practice and was named to judicial positions.  Indeed an impressive figure, Gale stood six foot, one inch with black, wavy hair.

In 1856, George Gale was appointed Circuit Judge of the 6th judicial district which covered eight counties.   He also was very interested in seeking education advantages in the La Crosse area.   La Crosse refused his ideas so Gale decided to look elsewhere to establish a village and there build such a school.

By this time there were settlers in the area that is now Galesville.  One such man was Benjamin Heuston.   Both men surveyed and platted this part of Trempealeau County.  Gale purchased a large tract of land and started his village "from scratch".  In a few months a mill was erected and settlers began to increase.  Later on, he got the okay from Wisconsin to start his school. Galesville University was completed in 1860.   Before the completion of the university, Gale (eager to start the school) held classes in the little frame courthouse recently built on what is now the Public Square.

In 1857, George Gale held his first court on April 13.  William P. Clark was sheriff and George Parker the clerk.  No business was transacted.  Judge Gale served until the end of 1862.

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