and a Landmark was created….
The Old Territorial Road originated at a sand-bar just north of the present steel bridge, on the west side of the Mississippi, from LaCrosse, Wisconsin to Chatfield, Minnesota. The historic main road ascended the high bluff behind LaCrescent, followed the ridge north by northwest. Even with a well-laid road, a sturdy team of oxen could travel on average eight miles a day. Along this old route were strategically placed ‘water holes’ at 8-mile intervals. One of those locations was Neoca. Neoca was named after a Winnebago Native American girl who would run like the wind down the territorial road with her hair flying behind her. Using hand forged nails, local trees and plaster mixed with horsehair; a dual-purpose store was built in the spring of 1856, one mile east of its current location at Neoca corner. The first post office was established in1857 at this location with Luther C. Rice as postmaster.
Passed down from many generations, it has been told that in the middle of the night the Neoca (Fremont) store was jacked up from its foundation and moved ½ mile to the west to its current location. There was still Indian uprising in the territory; the move would keep the store out of trouble. In its day it was common to move buildings on logs to different locations.
How the Fremont Store received its name:
General John Charles Fremont (1813-1890) was traveling on the Old Territorial Road, perhaps during his Republican presidential campaign, and stopped at the hotel/general store in Neoca. The next morning after he left it was decided to change its former name, Neoca, to Fremont, as it was unusual to have a General stop and stay overnight at such a small place.
156 years of owners:
1856 – 1868 Luther C. Rice
1868 – 1876 Orrin Kelley
1876 – 1898 John & Murray Kelley
1898 – 1912 Kelley & Hans Selvig
1912 – 1922 Hans Selvig & Neil Bain
1922 – 1954 Neil Bain
1954 – 1978 Frank Root
1979 – 2003 Don & Pauline Johnson
2003 – Pres Martha Johnson & Family