July 14, 2021

The History of Upper & Lower DeSalle

One might think that the split between Upper DeSalle and Lower DeSalle was the consequence of geography, that the waterways drove a wedge between the two portions of town. Or, perhaps an administrative convenience, to split the town into two, to better manage it. The truth of the matter is in fact more personal.

It's a tale of two brothers, unworthy of their inheritance: the last in a long line of DeSalles who have lived there since their ancestors arrived in the territory. A steady decline in family fortune had naturally seen most of the DeSalle land sold off in packets and parcels, to buoy family finances. However, on the passing of Corentin DeSalle in 1872, the town was still known just as DeSalle, with but nominal differences between the two sides.

The brothers, Darin and Lewis, were fervent competitors. Their lives had always headed down different paths. If they had not been brothers, perhaps they would have never crossed paths. Or maybe it was their brotherhood itself that drove them apart, like two magnets repelling each other in different directions. However much they despised it, their lives brought them together as unwilling partners, and their life-long project was coming to terms with that, and making something of it.

Darin inherited most of the land in the upper town, Lewis the lower. Darin was a diligent landlord, and his businesses prospered. He attracted reputable businesses. He maintained his stake in the Kingsnake Mine, ensuring its continued operation, and making a tidy profit. He cooperated with the Ash Creek Lumber company to fell the nearby woods, and noting the huge profit to be made in ship building, became one of its primary customers, his self-named shipyard gaining a good reputation.

Lewis was not as industrious. He had been his mother's favorite, and surprisingly for a younger son, inherited her family home, the Pearl Plantation. But wanting nothing to do with it, or its legacy, he allowed it to fall into dilapidation. He instead took over ownership of the saloon and wiled away his time on both sides of the bar.


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