Town and Village of Albany
Source: History of Green County, Wisconsin, Illustrated (1884) Chapter XXVIII; transcribed by Jan Grant
The town of Albany is one of the eastern tier of Green county’s subdivision, comprising congressional township 3 north, range 9 east, except 320 acres of section 6, which has been annexed to Brooklyn. To the north of Albany lies the town of Brooklyn; its east line forms the Rock county boundary; and to the west and south are the towns of Mount Pleasant and Decatur, respectively. The surface is diversified. In the southwestern portion of the town the surface is made up of a gently undulating prairie. Along Sugar river—which stream crosses the town the soil is a rich dark loam, underneath which is a subsoil of clay. Originally there was a good deal of timber covering this territory, much of which still remains.
The town of Albany is reported as having 22,412 acres of land, assessed at $15 per acre. The total value of real and personal property is assessed at $490,650. The population of the town in 1880 was 1,133. The principal farm products grown in the town during the year 1882 were as follows: 1,640 bushels of wheat; 89,250 bushels of corn; 84,810 bushels of oats; 1,070 bushels of rye; 6,755 bushels of potatoes; 4,000 bushels of apples; 15 bushels of clover seed; 65 bushels of timothy seed; 2,200 pounds of tobacco; 47,070 pounds of butter. The principal products growing in the town at the time of making the annual assessment in 1883 were as follows: 88 acres wheat; 3,308 acres corn; 2,811 acres oats; 5 acres barley; 78 acres rye; 96 acres potatoes; 130 acres apple orchard; 3,050 bearing trees; 5 acres tobacco; 2,273 acres grass; 2,850 acres growing timber. There were 635 milch cows, valued at $15,695. The livestock in the town was divided as follows: 585 horses, average value $50.70, total $29,290; 1,602 head cattle, average value $14.13, total $22,695; 2 mules, average value $35, total $79; 6,065 sheep and lambs, average value $1.63, total $9,935; 1,620 swine, average value $3.69, total $5,990.
The first settler within the limits now comprising the town of Albany was James Campbell, a native of the State of Pennsylvania. As early as 1839 he came here and made a claim of the northeast quarter of section 32, and during that year he commenced improvements and hired some breaking done. During the winter of 1839-40 Mr. Campbell erected the first cabin in the town, locating it in the timber land on the southwest quarter of section 30. He had come here for the purpose of getting out rails with which to fence the land. He was accompanied by John Sutherland, who cut and split the rails while Campbell teamed them to his land. At that time they were both single men and kept “bachelor’s hall” for about six weeks in their little log cabin. In 1840 Campbell put in his first crop. Late in the fall of the same year, he was married, and the following spring they settled upon the farm. This family were the only settlers in the town until 1842. The Campbell family receives such elaborate attention in the general chapters, that it is unnecessary to mention them further in this connection.
Hiram Brown, a native of Massachusetts, came here in March, 1842, and entered the southeast quarter of section 22, and later, land on sections 23 and 26. He improved a large farm and lived here until 1874, when he sold out and removed to Nebraska, settling in Harlan county, where he still lives. He was an enterprising, well educated and informed man, and was prominently identified with all public moves in this region during his residence in Green county. At an early day he was admitted to the bar and was one of the first justices of the peace for the town of Albany.
John Broughton, a native of the State of New York, came here in 1842 and entered land on section 36, where he still lives.
John Broughton, one of the earliest settlers of the town of Albany, was born in the town of Hoosic, Rensselaer Co., N. Y., and was there reared to agricultural pursuits, receiving his education in the district schools. When a young man he engaged with a carpenter and joiner to learn the trade, after which he became a contractor and builder. In 1841 he came to the Territory of Wisconsin, and located in Racine county, where he bought a farm. In June, 1842, he came to Green county and entered 120 acres of land on section 36, township 3 north, range 9 east now known as the town of Albany. At the same time he contracted with a party to build him a log cabin 15x20 feet, to be covered with shakes, the contract price being $10. He then returned to Racine county, where he lived until August, then moved here with his family and moved into the log cabin, which they occupied or about a year, then built a small frame house, in which they lived until 1864, when he built the commodious frame house he now occupies. He has also erected a frame barn 36x73 feet, with a stone basement. He has made desirable and useful improvements, among which are shade and ornamental trees, and an orchard composed of a good variety of fruits. He is now the owner of 710 acres of land in one body, the greater part of which is in a good state of cultivation. He was married in 1838, to Amanda Griffin. She was also a native of Rensselaer county. They have eight children—John A., Russell, now practicing physician in Brodhead; Albert L., Delilah, William, Hannah Mary, Eugene and Harriet E. Mr. Broughton has been prominent in town affairs, and held offices of trust and honor. He has assessed the town a number of times, has served as chairman of the board and been justice of the peace. He is a public spirited man and has the respect and confidence of the community in which he lives. Politically Mr. Broughton adheres to the democratic party.
John Warner, a native of Germany, came here from Rensselaer Co., N. Y., in 1842. He entered the east half of the southeast quarter of section 36, and erected a frame house. In 1844 he sold to Jeremiah Brewer and moved to Rock county. He afterward started for California and was massacred by the Indians while crossing the plains.
John Snell, a German, also came in 1842 and ”claimed” the northeast quarter of section 36. In 1843 he sold his claim and removed to the town of Sylvester, where he and his family were found by C. Meinert, in 1845, in very poor circumstances. The whole family were sick in bed, the fire was out and the water in the tea-kettle was frozen. Martin Sutherland and Mr. Meinert removed the family to Mr. Sutherland’s house for better treatment.
Lathrop Abbott came in 1842 and settled on section 26. He fenced forty acres of the land and made other improvements. In 1850 he sold to Abel Peckham and moved west.
S. L. Eldred, another native of the Empire State, came here in 1843 and entered land on section 36, which he still occupies.
Rev. Stephen Leonard Eldred was born in the town of Petersburg, Rensselaer Co., N.Y., July 29, 1815, where his younger days were spent in school and on the farm. He made his home with his parents until November, 1836, at which time he was married to Roxanna Broughton, who was born in the town of Hoosic, Rensselaer Co., N. Y., in February, 1818, and rented a farm in the town of Petersburg and there engaged in farming until 1843. On the 4th of January of that year, he started overland for Wisconsin with a team of horses, a wagon and a sled. Wherever there was plenty of snow, he loaded the wagon on to the sled, and when wheeling was the best, loaded the sled on the wagon, thus accommodating himself to all condition so of travel. They reached their destination in Green county February 8. He entered land on section 36, township 3north, range 9 east, now known as the town of Albany. He erected a small frame house, drawing the lumber from Milwaukee. The family occupied this house a few years, when he erected another frame house in which they lived until 1879, when he built the more commodious house they now occupy. He also built a frame barn 40x60 feet, with a stone basement. He united with the United Brethren Church in 1853, soon afterward commenced preaching and continued in active service until 1874, and has since been engaged in preaching a considerable part of the time, traveling to various parts of the country and carrying the good tidings of great joy. In 1867 he left the farm in charge of his son and moved to Brodhead, where he lived until 1874, when he returned. He has made large additions to his landed estate, and now owns 680 acres. Mr. and Mrs. Eldred are the parents of seven children - Hannah, Fernando C., now an Episcopal clergyman, now in Pierce Co., Nebraska; Stephen R., Mary R., Sarah L., Alonzo H, and Henry E. Mr. Eldred was one of the first justices of the peace in the town of Albany. Mr. Eldred was originally a Jackson democrat, but has long voted with the republican party.
Stephen R. Eldred, son of Stephen L. and Roxanna Eldred, was born July 31, 1843, in the town of Albany, and was the first male child born in the town. He grew to manhood on his father’s farm, receiving his education in the district school. He was married Dec. 25, 1863, to Mary J. Douw, daughter of Cornelius Douw. She was born at Johnstown, in Rock county. They settled on the old homestead and lived there until 1875, when he located on his present farm on the north half of section 22. The farm contains 360 acres, upon which he has good improvements. Mr. and Mrs. Eldred have three children—Alfred L., Ina M. and Lillie J.
Joshua Whitcomb, one of the first settlers of Green county, was born in the town of Lisbon, Grafton Co., N. J., Jan. 17, 1797. He was joined in marriage to Hannah Clement. In 1836 they came to Green county and located five miles southwest of where Monroe now stands, and remained there until 1842, then moved to township 3 north, of range 9 east, now known as the town of Albany, and entered land on section 33. Mrs. Whitcomb died Dec. 4, 1874.
Erastus Hulburt was born in Onondago Co., Your State, June 18, 1803. He was married there Jan. 20, 1825, to Laura Webster, born Feb. 4, 1806. He came to Green county in 1839. He first entered land in township 2 north, range 8 east. He improved a portion of the land and lived in that township four years, then moved to township 2 north, range 9 east, and entered land onsection5, and on section 32,township 3, range 9 east. He cleared a farm here of about 200 acres, and lived here until 1865. That year he went to Iowa to visit his sons who were living there. He died there, December 11, of that year. His remains were brought back to Green county and interred in the Gap Church Cemetery. His wife died Sept. 6, 1863. Six children, that were born to them, grew to man and womanhood—John, Lydia, Hiram, Judson, Webster and Lorrain. Webster was a soldier in the late war, and died in the service.
Harry M. Purington came to the Territory of Wisconsin, in 1847, and settled in what is now the town of Albany, where he still resides.
Christopher Meinert came to this county in 1841. He was born in Pickaway Co., Ohio, July 13, 1818. His father was German, who came to this country when a young man, and located in New York city, where he found employment in a sugar refinery in which he worked until he had laid by enough money to buy a team. He then engaged in draying, and was also employed as night watchman. While living here, he made the acquaintance of Catharine Wonderly, to whom he was married. She was born in Germany and came with her parents to America, when quite young. In 1812 Mr. and Mrs. Meinert emigrated to Ohio and settled in Pickaway county, where they rented land and lived nine years, then removed to Indiana and located in Vermilion county, where he remained until the time of his death. The subject of this sketch grew to manhood in that county, and was married to Elizabeth Frazier, also a native of Pickaway Co., Ohio. In the fall of 1841, concluding to emigrate to Wisconsin, he started with a pair of horses and a wagon which contained his family, and household goods. They camped out upon the way, thus making an inexpensive trip. On his arrival in Green county he had $6.50, which with his team, comprised the sum total of his worldly wealth. He spent the first winter with a brother, and in the spring rented a piece of land of him, near Monroe, on which he erected a log cabin. In 1842 he raised a crop, also some flax which his wife spun and wove into cloth. In 1843 he came to township 3, range 9 east, now known as Albany, and took a claim on section 30, on the center of which he erected a log cabin. The following winter he entered forty acres of land, and sometime later, purchased eighty acres more and moved his log cabin to the south line of the one-fourth section. In 1850 he built a frame addition to his cabin in which he lived until 1861, when he erected the brick house he now occupies. His farm now contains 240 acres, the greater part of which is improved. He has engaged in raising grain and stock, paying particular attention to sheep, and usually keeping a flock of 300. Mrs. Meinert died in 1851, leaving four children,--Martha, Eli, Mary and Sarah. Martha, the eldest, was born in April, 1840, and died in Idaho Territory, April 7, 1878. Eli and Mary now live at Salmon City, Idaho. Mr. Meinert was again married in November, 1851, to Mrs. Abigail Dora Mead, widow of Amos Mead. They have five children,--Statirah, Garet H., Irad C., Frances M. and Dora. Mr. Meinert was the first treasurer of the town of Albany, and has also served as supervisor. Originally Mr. Meinert was a whig, but is now a “national greenbacker.”
James Spencer came at about the same time, and entered land on the southeast quarter of section 23. He was a “New Yorker.” He remained here but a short time when he sold to Jeremiah Corliss and left the country. Mr. Corliss was also a native of the State of New York. He improved the farm and made this his home until the time of his death.
In the winter of 1843-4 Thomas McVee came and entered the northwest quarter of section 28. He erected a log cabin near where the parsonage now stands, thus becoming the first settler on the present site of the village of Albany. He remained there until the time of his death, which occurred late in 1846. This was the first death in the town. His widow died some years later.
Jeremiah Brewer was an early settler in the town of Albany, having come here in 1844. He is a native of the Green Mountain State, born in Franklin county, Aug. 23, 1802. In 1819 he left home and went to Rensselaer Co., N. Y., and engaged in farming in the town of Petersburg. He was married there in July, 1834, to Mahala Croy. They remained in Petersburg until 1844, when he sold out and started overland for the Territory of Wisconsin, coming with two teams, bring family and household goods. They started in the month of May and did not arrive at their destination until August having been detained in Ohio on account of the sickness of Mrs. Brewer. The family moved into the house that John Warner had partly built, and immediately commenced to clear a farm. He has since purchased other land until he now owns 430acres. Mr. and Mrs. Brewer are the parents of four children—John W., Peter W., Hannah M., now the wife of M. S. Milks; and George W. Mr. Brewer was the first and only postmaster of Hoosic postoffice, established as early as 1849.
Daniel Smiley, one of the settlers of Green county in 1844, was born in the town of Ellery, Chautauqua Co., N. Y., June 19, 1812. His father, Joseph Smiley, was an early settler in that county, where he bought timber land from the Holland Company, and improved a farm. There the subject of this sketch grew to manhood, assisting his father in clearing a farm and tilling the soil. He was married May 18, 1836, to Ellen Bemis, born in the same town Sept. 29, 1813. The following May he started west, leaving his bride with her parents. He was accompanied by Marcus Fenton, and they started with a pair of horses and drove to Cleveland, Ohio, where they took a boat for Chicago, thence went to Racine, where he sold his team. He then proceeded to Rock county and selected land a short distance from the present city of Janesville, now known as the Culver farm. He was joined the following winter by his wife. Her father, Charles Bemis, had accompanied her from New York, starting upon their journey in January with a sleigh, but fearing the snow would not remain long enough, they brought with them a wagon. At Freeport, Ill., they left the wagon, and made the entire journey from New York to Hanesville on runners. Mr. Bemis stopped with them a short time and then returned to New York. Mr. Smiley made some improvement on the land and lived there until 1841, then came to this county, and located in the then flourishing village of Exeter. There they opened a boarding house, over which Mrs. Smiley presided, while he engaged in teaming. They remained there until the spring of 1844, then came to Albany. While in Rock county he was appointed by the governor justice of the peace, and was one of the first officers of that description in the county. He entered 160 acres of good land on sections 29and 30, of township 3north, range 9 east, now known as the town of Albany. He was an enterprising, energetic man, and a great worker. He came here with but little means, but kept steadily at work and in a few years he was able to buy more land and erect large frame buildings for his extensive herds of stock. He managed the farm until 1874, when he gave it up to his sons, but still continues to make it his home. Mr. and Mrs. Smiley are the parents of six children—Lorinda, Sarah R., Charles B., Julia A., Florence E. and William. Mr. Smiley was for many years prominently identified with town affairs and has held many offices of trust in the town. The youngest son, William, now owns and occupies the homestead. He is largely engaged in raising cattle and sheep, paying special attention to the Merino breed, of which he has a large flock. In January, 1884, he, in company with others, bought two imported Percheron horses, paying for them $3,800. The farm is said to be one of the best in the county, and has many good improvements, among them two large barns, a large granary, and a windmill, which is utilized in pumping water, grinding corn, etc.
William Smiley was born Sept 6, 1854. He grew to manhood on his father’s farm, receiving his education in the district schools. He was married Oct. 8, 1876, to Ida May, daughter of Thomas and Mary Flint. They have three children—Arnold Edna and one not named. William Smiley, like his father, possesses good executive ability and is a valuable citizen of the town in which he lives. He has been called upon to fill local offices of trust at different times, and has always discharged such duties with credit to himself and satisfaction to the people. Another son, and brother to William, named Charles B., was born in the town of Exeter, Green county, Oct. 25, 1843. He grew to manhood in the town of Albany, receiving his education in the district school. He was married Jan. 14, 1869, to Anna E. Smith, who was born at Cape Vincent, State of New York, Dec. 13, 1846. Four children blessed this union—Nellie, Daniel, Anna and Weltha T. In 1873 he bought the Brown farm, located on sections 22, 23 and 24, town of Albany. In 1882 he sold that farm and purchased another near Janesville, Rock county, which he occupied until 1884. In February of that year he bought the Julius Hulburt farm, located on section 31, town of Albany, containing the north half of that section, with the exception of twenty acres. This is a fine farm, and thought by many to be the best in the county. The year previous his brother William had bought for him the farm adjoining on section 30, so that he now has 300 acres of choice land in a body, and in the neighborhood where he was brought up. His wife died at Janesville, July 25, 1882. His mother now presides over his household.
Another settler of 1844 in the town of Albany was A. S. Holmes. He still resides on sections 25 and 26, on the land he entered when he first came here.
Albert S. Holmes and Sarah A. Cass were one of the first couples married in the town of Albany. The ceremony was performed by Hiram Brown, justice of the peace, at the residence of S. L. Eldred, July 26, 1846. Mr. Holmes was born in Rensselaer Co., N. Y., Feb. 10, 1820. He was brought up on a farm, and in his youth learned the carpenter and joiner’s trade. In 1844 he was engaged by James Eldred to come to Green county and build a house for him. He came with the expectation of returning, but was so well pleased with the county that he concluded to settle here, and accordingly entered eighty acres of land on sections 25 and 26, and commenced housekeeping in the log cabin that Snell built on section 36, where he lived until the spring of 1847. He then removed to his own land. He now owns 200 acres of land in one body, the greater part of which is improved. He has erected a large frame house and barn, and other farm buildings. In 1873 he went to Minnesota and purchased a farm in McLeod county, on which his son Ezra now lives. Mrs. Holmes was born in Rensselaer Co., N. Y. She was one of the first school teachers in Albany. They are the parents of four children—Ezra S., Mary F., Vivus C. and Lee G.
Thomas Pryce, a native of Wales, came in 1845 and entered the southwest quarter of section 22 and the north half of section 27. He made this his home until the time of his death. Three of his sons are still living in the town.
Thomas Pryce, Sr., was born in Montgomeryshire, Wales. When a young man he learned the stonemasons trade at which he worked in his native land. He was married to Elizabeth Evans, also a native of Wales. Nine children blessed this union, six of whom are now living—Edward, Caroline, Thomas, Eliza, Richard and Evan. In 1845 he emigrated to America, coming in a sailing vessel and was about three months on the way. He landed at Quebec and then came immediately to Green county and entered land, which he afterwards divided among his children. He made his home here until his death in 1865. His wife had previously died in 1847.
Edward, eldest son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Evans) Pryce, was born in Montgomeryshire, Wales, June 22, 1824 and there grew to manhood, being brought up on a farm. He came to America with his parents, with whom he made his home until the time of his marriage, Sept. 9, 1848, to Elizabeth, daughter of Benjamin and Jane Swancutt, also a native of Wales. At that time he settled on his present farm on sections 26 and 27, and they lived in a log cabin until he built the stone house he now occupies. They had ten children—Emma, Mary J., Martha, John, William, Delena, Elizabeth, Benjamin, Cora B. and Gracie.
Thomas Pryce, Jr., was born in Montgomeryshire, Wales, March 13, 1831, and was fourteen years old when his parents emigrated to America. He made his home with them until 1856. He was married in March of that year to Sarah Nichols a native of Canada. He then settled on his present farm on section 27. They lived there in a log house until 1883, when he built the commodious frame house they now occupy. They are the parents of three children—Addie, Thomas and Lettie. The daughters are teachers in the public schools.
John Chase came in 1845. He was a native of Pennsylvania. Entering the southwest a quarter of section13, he began improvements, and still occupies the place.
John B. Chase was born in Erie Co., Penn., Feb. 18, 1823. He is a son of Ambrose Chase, a native of Rhode Island. When he was about nine years old, his parents emigrated to Ohio and settled in Ashtabula county, where they remained one year, then went to Erie Co., N. Y. John B. Chase resided in that county with his parents until he was twenty years old, then came to the Territory of Wisconsin and spent one year in farming and carpentering in Walworth county. He then went to Dane county and purchased a farm, just on the line, in Rock county, which he sold six months later and went to Rock county. In 1845 he came to Green county and entered the southwest quarter of section 13, township 3 north, range 9 east. In November, 1852, he was united in marriage with Martha Baker, a native of Ohio. He has improved his land, and engaged in mixed farming, raising grain, stock and tobacco. He is something of a speculator, and is generally engaged in some kind of trade. In 1863 he bought tobacco and shipped it to the eastern markets, and has engaged at different times in shipping poultry to Boston, making frequent trips to that city. In 1876 he took the agency for the sale of the Waupon windmill in this and adjoining counties. The wife of Mr. Chase was the youngest daughter of Aaron and Anna Baker, and was born in Champaign Co., Ohio, Sept. 5, 1835. She removed from there with her parents, in 1836, to Stephenson Co., Ill. Her father dying in December, 1841, her mother and the remainder of the family one year later removed to the town of Union, Rock Co., Wis., where she lived until the fall of 1852, when she was married to John B. Chase, as before stated, and came to this county. Her mother died April 13, 1873. She was a native of Pennsylvania. Her father was born in Virginia. John B. and Martha A. Chase have four children. The eldest, Clark L., was born Dec. 14, 1853, and was married to Minnie Elemier in 1882. They are now living in Nebraska. The second child was a daughter (Phila A.) born Dec. 14, 1855. She was married to B. C. Holmes Jan 26, 1881, and lives in Evansville, Rock county. He is treasurer of the Evansville Mercantile Association. The two remaining children—Franklin B. and William B., the former born Dec. 14, 1859, and the latter May 9, 1962—are living with their parents. Mr. Chase was formerly a member of the democratic party, and still adheres to the principles originally advocated by that organization, but now exercises the right of suffrage intelligently, voting for whom he considers the best men. He may be considered a democrat. Mrs. Chase is a member of the First Baptist Church at Albany. Mr. Chase received a limited education in the district schools, and has followed various occupations. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, having been a member since about 1850.
Albert L., son of John and Amanda (Griffin) Broughton, was born in Albany, Wis., Dec. 28, 1845. Here his younger days were spent. He obtained his early education in the district schools, and afterwards attended Evansville Seminary one term and Milton College four terms. In the meantime he had engaged in teaching school during the winter season, teaching five terms in Green county and two in Rock county. He was married in 1868 to Hattie Bump, a native of Rock county. He then settled on section 34, where he lived two years, then removed to his present location on section 36, on the place where his father settled in 1842. They have four children—Marvin E., Dora A., George E. and Floyd L.
William, son of John and Amanda (Griffin) Broughton, was born in Albany, Oct. 22, 1848. He was reared upon a farm and educated in the district schools, and attended two term sat Albany. He engaged in teaching at the age of eighteen, teaching his first term in his home district. He was married in September, 1870 to Mary J. Coburn, born in Walworth Co., Wis. He then settled on section 34, where he resided until December, 1883, when he removed to section 35. Mr. and Mrs. Broughton have three children—Lena J., Walter J. and Jessie A.
Asa Comstock, settled in Albany in1845. He was an early settler in Wisconsin, having located at Janesville in 1836. He was born June 8, 1800, in Chittenden Co., Vt. In his youth he went to Canada and spent some time with an uncle, then returned to Vermont, and made his home with his parents, until the time of his father’s death. He afterwards went to the State of New York, where he was married to Clarissa Swan, and settled in Chautauqua county, where his wife died. On coming to Green county he entered land on sections 29 and 30, of township 3 north, range 9 east. Here he improved a large farm, erected good buildings, and made his home until the time of his death. He was again married in Janesville, in March, 1839, to Lydia Smiley, who was born in Chautauqua Co., N. Y., in 1814. Eight children have blessed their union—Harriet, Mary, Charles, Alice, Jane A., Leander, Clara and Albert Bion. Jane Ann died at the age of seventeen years. Albert Bion, who now occupies the homestead with his mother, has managed the farm since the death of his father. He was born April 5, 1855, and married March 6, 1883, to Mary Lewis, a native of Mount Pleasant, Green county.
Among the arrivals in 1846 were James Trow and William Reese, natives of Wales. Mr. Trow located on the northeast quarter of section 15, where he lived until the time of his death, in 1873. He was one of the first justices of the peace elected in the town. Mr. Reese settled on the southeast quarter of section 14. He still owns the place, but lives in Rock county.
During the same year Hezekiah Wheeler and his son Carquil, natives of the State of New York, came and settled on the southeast quarter of section13. The old gentleman died there some years later, and the young man sold out and removed to Nebraska. James Townsend, a son-in-law of Mr. Wheeler, came at the same time and settled on the northeast quarter of section 13. A few years later he sold out and removed to California, where he was murdered by the Indians.
Seth V. Peebles was a native of Massachusetts, born in the town of Petham, Hampshire county, May 1, 1803. When he was an infant his parents emigrated to the west and settled in Madison Co., N. Y., where he grew to manhood and was married to May Stevens, in 1828. She was born in Madison county, in 1804. They removed to Chautauqua county, where he purchased timber land. He hewed a farm out of the wilderness and made that his home until 1843, when he sold out and emigrated to Michigan, and stopped in Branch county, until May, 1845, then removed to Illinois and lived in Boone county until February, 1846, when he came to this county and entered land on section 24 of township 3 north, range 9 east, remaining here until death called him away, Feb. 21, 1884. His widow lives on the homestead. They were the parents of four children, all now living—William H., Edwin M., Diana E. and Hial. Mr. and Mrs. Peebles have lived together fifty-six years, and his death was the first break in the family circle.
William H., the eldest son of Seth and May Peebles, was born in the town of Arkwright, Chautauqua Co., N. Y., May 1, 1829, and came to Wisconsin with his parents, with whom he made his home until the time of marriage, in October, 1851, to Betsey Wheeler, also a native of York State. He then settled on his present farm on section 24. They commenced housekeeping in a log cabin in which he lived until 1868, when he erected the neat frame house he now occupies. His wife died in June, 1853, and in October, 1854, he was again married to Fanny M. Griggs, a native of Chautauqua Co., N. Y. She died April 15, 1880, leaving three children—Lura D., Carrie A. and Watson G. Their first child, Orville, died when fifteen years old. His third wife, to whom he was married Dec. 16, 1800, was Emily A. Griffin, a native of York State.
Edwin M., another son of Seth V. Peebles, was also born in the town of Arkwright, April 14, 1834. He made his home with his parents until 1866. He was married April 8, of that year, to Sarah Kyes, who was born in the town of Theresa, York State. He had purchased land on section 23, and erected a log house, into which they moved and lived until 1882, then built the fine frame house he now occupies.
Silas P. Wheeler, a “New Yorker,” came during the same year and settled on the southeast quarter of section 23. He lived here for a few years, then removed to Iowa.
The northwestern portion of the town is mostly settled by Norwegians. The first of that nationality to settle here was Aslak Aarhus, who came in 1848, and bought land on sections 5 and8. He lived here about two years, and then sold out and removed to Iowa.
The next Norwegian settlement was made in December, 1849, by Syver Gothompson and family, and his son Thomas and family. Syver entered160 acres of land on section 17, and made this his home until the time of his death. Thomas also located on section 17, and lived there until his death in 1857, which was caused by an accident. He slid from the top of a haystack and fell upon the prongs of a fork which penetrated his vitals, causing death in twenty-two hours. His widow, married again, still occupies the old homestead.
Syver Gothompson, one of the first Norwegian settlers in the town of Albany, was born in Norway in 1800. He was married in January, 1826, to Barbara Halgerson, who was born in 1810. In 1849, he, with his family, consisting of his wife and ten children, emigrated to America. They landed at New York city, and proceeded upon the Hudson river to Albany, thence by the Erie canal to Buffalo, where they took passage for Milwaukee. On their arrival there, he hired a team to take them to Rock county, where they remained until December of that year, then came to Green county and purchased 160 acres of land on section 17. There was a log house on the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter, to which he built an addition, making it a double house. This was, for a time, the stopping place for all Norwegian emigrants who passed this way. At one time there were sixty-five persons, including the family, who spent the night at this house. In 1856 he moved to another part of the section where he remained until his death, in December 1880. He had erected good frame buildings, including large house and barn. His widow still lives upon the farm. Thirteen children were born to them, all of whom attained an adult age, and eleven are now living—Harry, Sarah, Ann, Barbara, Peter, Mary, Bertha, Andrew, Ellef, Syver and Julia.
Peter was born in Norway in 1840, and was nine years old when his parents came to America. He grew to manhood in the town of Albany, receiving his education in the district schools. In 1862 he went to Minnesota and spent one year with his brother-in-law in Goodhue county. In the fall of 1864 he went to the pineries and engaged in chopping through the winter, and returned to Albany in the spring. He was married in 1866 to Bertha Gilbertson, and settled at that time upon his present farm on section 17, where he has 196 acres, and is engaged in raising grain and stock. He has erected a good frame house and a large barn, and is a successful farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Gothompson are the parents of five children—Sophia, Lena, Laura B., Samuel G. and Henry A. Peter Gothompson is at the present time, and has been for several years, one of the town board in town of Albany.
Andrew was born March, 1848, and was one year old when he came to America. In his younger days he attended the district school and assisted his father on the farm. He was married in January, 1875, to Josephine Swager, a native of Janesville, Rock Co., Wis. They have two children—Norman S. and Bennie A. He owns and occupies the old homestead.
Ellef Gothompson was born in the town of Albany, Jan. 4, 1851, and was one of the first children born of Norwegian parents in this town, where he grew to manhood, and was educated in the district school. He was united in Marriage in November, 1879, with Cornelia Leverson, also a native of the town of Albany. They settled at the time of marriage upon his present farm, which is located on section 8 of Albany. They have two children—Bertha and Syver.
In 1850 the settlement was increased by the arrival of another party of Norwegian pioneers, consisting of Ole Harrolson, Haken Christiansen, Ole Johnson, Torkel Jacobson and his son Gilbert and their families. Harrolson settled on the southeast quarter of section 7. Two years later he sold out and removed to Iowa. Christiansen settled on the southwest quarter of section 8. He improved the farm and lived there until 1872, when he sold out and moved to the western part of the county. Johnson also settled on section 8, and is still a resident. Jacobson located on the same section and died there in 1853. His son, Christian, still occupies the homestead. Gilbert Jacobson settled on the southeast quarter of section 8, where he still lives.
Ole Michelsen came here in 1851, and settled on section 17. He now lives in Minnesota.
Among the Norwegian settlers who came in 1852, were Ole Gilbertson and son, Ole, Andreas Albertsen, Ole Leverson and Ole Broton. Ole Gilbertson Sr., bought land on sections 8 and 9. He died there in 1854. Ole Gilbertson, Jr., and Ole Broton bought the Dexter place, including land on sections 8 and 16. Gilbertson still lives there. Broton has since moved to the Red River Valley, in Minnesota. Albertsen settled on section 5, where he died in 1854. Leverson purchased the Harrolson place on section 7, where he still lives.
Reuben Fulson, familiarly known as “Old Ruby,” a native of Canada, came to the county in 1841, and first stopped at Mr. Baxter’s in the town of Spring Grove. He was soon employed by Erastus Hulburt, whom he served eighteen months. He resided in the county until his death, in 1875. Previous to his coming here he had served in the regular army. He was a very peculiar man and spent a great portion of his time in hunting and trapping. He no doubt killed more wolves than any other man who ever lived in the county, and on this account he became known through Green and Rock counties as “Old Ruby, the Wolf Hunter.” He had no family and his many peculiar whims furnished many a hearty laugh for those who knew him.
In 1845, “Governor” Ford made a claim on section 16, erecting a cabin on the corners of sections 8, 9, 16 and 17, and his claim surrounded it. He remained here for about three years, then left the county. All of the old settlers will remember “Gov.” Ford, as he was known. He was accompanied by a son-in-law, and they supposed by building their cabin as they did, they could claim on either section.
John B. Preston purchased the “Gov’s.,” claim and remained until 1857, when he removed west.
The first birth in the town was that of Stephen, a son of Stephen L. and Roxanna Eldred, born July 31, 1843. He is still a resident of the town.
About the first marriage in the town, was that of Albert S. Holmes to Sarah A. Cass. The ceremony was performed by Hiram Brown, justice of the peace, July 26, 1846, at the house of S. L. Eldred. The couple still live in the town.
The town of Albany was organized April 3, 1849. When the first town meeting was held, E. O. Pond, Asa Comstock and Joshua Whitcomb were inspectors of the election. The following were inspectors of the election. The following were the first town officers, chosen at this election: Aaron Broughton, chairman; James Campbell and George W. Bagley, supervisors; S. P. Wheeler, assessor; Christopher Meinert, treasurer; Gilbert McNaught, clerk; Samuel F. Nichols, superintendent of schools’ Erastus O. Pond, S. L. Eldred, James Trow, Jeptha Davis, justices of the peace; S. T. Bagley, H. Purrington and John Jones, constables. The record states that “Old Ruby” received three votes for constable.
At the first town meeting it was voted to raise $75 for the support of schools’ $125 for contingent expenses.
Hoosic postoffice was established in 1849. Jeremiah Brewer was appointed postmaster, and kept the office at his house on the southeast quarter of section 36. When first established, it was on a route from Beloit to Mineral Point, mail being received tri-weekly. During the war Brewer resigned and the office was discontinued.
VILLAGE OF ALBANY.
Source: History of Green County, Wisconsin, Illustrated (1884) Chapter XXVIII; transcribed by Jan Grant
This is the third village in importance in Green county. It is located on section 28, of the town of Albany, on the banks of Sugar river. A branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, extending from Brodhead connects Albany with the main line of railway, and affords excellent shipping facilities. The Sugar river at this point furnishes a valuable water power, which is now fully utilized and improved. About the village lies some of the most valuable farming and stock raising lands in Wisconsin. The farmers, as well as the inhabitants of the village, are well to do, as a rule, and this is a guarantee of permanent, ever increasing trade.
The locality which is now known as the village of Albany was first called “Campbell’s Ford,” the land having been entered by James Campbell and Thomas Stewart. The excellent water power at this point they agreed to donate to any one who would erect a saw and grist mill, and it was this proposition which first attracted Dr. Samuel F. Nichols and Capt. Erastus O. Pond to this place. Of these two gentlemen, Dr. Nichols was the first to move his family. He came in March, 1846, and erected a double log house on what is now block 13, and thus became the first settler. Capt. Pond arrived with his family the following June, and lived in the log cabin with Dr. Nichols until he could build a frame house. With a yoke of oxen, S. A. Pond, a son of E. O., then sixteen years of age, hauled the lumber for their new house from Amos Sylvester’s mill, being obliged frequently to first cut the logs, then take them to the mill to be transformed into lumber. But notwithstanding the attendant disadvantages, in about three weeks the building, which was 16x24 feet in size, was completed and the family moved into the same. This house was also located on what is now block 13. In one corner of the building Mr. Pond opened Albany’s first store, having brought the limited stock of goods all the way from Newark, N. Y.
Erastus O. Pond, one of the founders of the village of Albany, was born in Oneida Co., N. Y., Aug. 4, 1799. When a young man he was a sailor on the lakes, and finally became master of a ship. He was married Aug. 6, 1826, to Margaret L. Bartle, who was born in Chenango Co., N. Y. They settled in Wayne county, where he purchased a woolen mill and operated that twelve years. He then moved to Newark, in the same county, and engaged in the manufacture of carding machines, remaining there until 1846. In that year he came to Wisconsin. He stopped a few weeks in Rock county, then came to Green county and settled on the present site of the village of Albany, of which he was one of the founders. He was the first postmaster and merchant, and was prominently identified with the interests of the town and village until the time of his death, Oct. 19, 1854. Mrs. Pond died Feb. 19, 1881. They were the parents of three children—Maria, now the wife of C. S. Tibbetts; Chloe, wife of R. H. Hewitt, of St. Louis, and Samuel A., now of Janesville.
Another family named Hills, came with the pond party, but after shaking the ____
There was no further additions to the settlement in 1846; but in 1847 several families arrived, and it was not long until Albany had taken a position of importance among the villages in this region.
In 1847 Dr. Samuel F. Nichols and E. O. Pond, assisted by J. V. Richardson, a surveyor, made the necessary survey and laid out twenty blocks into village lots. The population increased rapidly and it soon became necessary to make additions to the plat, which has been done from time to time. Of the several additions there were annexed by Pond and Nichols, one by J. H. Warren and one by the Railroad Company.
The village was governed by the same laws and under the same authority as the town of Albany, until 1883, when the territory which comprises section 28 was incorporated as a village, and the first village election held on the 17th of October, 1883, resulted in the election of the following named officers: L. H. Warren, president; William Green, W. W. Hill, E. Van Patten, W. H. Knapp, D. Osborn and F. J. Carle, trustees; J. B. Perry, clerk; T. G. Mitchell, treasurer; H. B. Jobes, supervisor; C. S. Tibbitts, marshal; Warren Howard, police justice; Gabriel Jackson, justice of the peace.
The trustees elected would not grant liquor license and thus the newly incorporated village started out on temperance principles.
The first building on the plat of the village was erected on what is now block 13, in March, 1846. It was a double log cabin, and was erected and occupied by Dr. Samuel F. Nichols.
The first frame building was erected in June, 1848. It was also located on what is now block 13. It was occupied as a store and dwelling by Erastus O. Pond.
The first brick building was the dwelling house of Zebina Warren, which was erected by him in the spring of 1851. It was located on lot 4, block 13. In 1884 it was owned and occupied by C. S. Tibbitts.
The first marriage in the village was solemnized in 1847. The contracting parties were Daniel Baxter and Chloe Nichols. The ceremony was performed at the house of the bride’s father, Dr. Samuel F. Nichols, by Hiram Brown, a justice of the peace. Mrs. Baxter is still a resident of Albany.
The first birth was that of Philander Nichols, son of Dr. Samuel F. and Julia A. Nichols, born Sept. 6, 1846.
The first death was that of Thomas McVee, which occurred in 1846. His remains were buried in the grounds now occupied by the village cemetery.
The second was the death of a daughter of C. Meinert, which took place in 1847.
The first general store in the village was opened in June, 1846, by Erastus O. Pond. He kept groceries, dry goods, drugs, etc., and remained in business for about two years.
The next general store was established by R. H. Hewitt.
Shortly afterward R. J. and William Richardson established a general mercantile business and made arrangements to open a large stock of goods; but on the 1st of June, 1851, William was drowned, after which R. J. became disheartened and closing out his business left the place.
In 1851 James Campbell opened a store in a building on lot 10, block 10.
In 1852 Zebina and John Warren were engaged in general merchandising in a building located on block 13.
J. T. Chapman opened a store in 1853 in the south part of the village. In October, 1861, Mr. Chapman enlisted in company A., 13th regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers. He was commissioned major, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and served until November, 1864.
Many changes have taken place during the past twenty-five years and it is impossible to trace with any degree of accuracy the history in detail of any line of business. Among others who have been prominent in the general mercantile trade here, are the following: Troy H. Kellogg, E. Bowen, Jobes & Dolson, H. B. Jobs, Burt & Harris and Charles Campbell. In 1884 this line was represented by W. H. Knapp & Co., J. F. Litel, William Green and Benkirk Brothers. The last named firm deals principally in gents furnishing goods and boots and shoes.
The first hardware store on the present site of Albany was established by Zebina Warren in 1853. E. B. Noble was the second hardware merchant and continued in trade about twenty-five years, then closed out and left the State. R. H. Hewitt, the third hardware dealer, continued in trade until he enlisted in the army. When Mr. Noble closed out his business, Roach & Bloom, of Monroe, established a branch store at this place. They were succeeded in turn by C. O. French, French & Lemuel and French & Brodrick. The latter firm sold to John Lemuel, who continued until the disastrous fire of 1883. In 1884 the hardware trade was represented by Lemuel & Clemons and Osborne & Howard.
Warren Howard, of the firm of Osborne & Howard, dealers in hardware, farming implements of all kinds, wagons and carriages, also dealer in leaf tobacco, was born in Herkimer Co., N. Y., Feb. 27, 1849. His parents emigrated to Wisconsin and settled in Rock county, when he was but an infant. He received his education in the district school and at the Evansville Seminary. When twenty-one years old he engaged in teaching, and followed that occupation during the winter season for ten years, being engaged in agricultural pursuits and manufacturer of spring bed bottoms the rest of the time. In 1881 he came to Albany and established his present business. He was married Dec. 25, 1871, to Jane E. Budlong. They have three children—Ella, Alice and Emmett B.
The first man to deal in drugs at this place was E. O. Pond, who kept a few necessary drugs in connection with his general stock of goods. S. A. Pond succeeded him in this line and also kept books, after which the following firms were in the business: Dr. Shavalia Fayette, Parker & Drake, H. Medbery, Robinson & Dodge, C. Robinson, Gillett & Dolson, Winston & Roberts, Winston & Hudson, Hudson & Bartlett and Bartlett & Roberts. This business is now (1884) represented by G. W. Bartlett, successor to Bartlett & Roberts and J. W. Hicks, successor to G. W. Roberts.
G. W. Bartlett, druggist, was born at Schuylersville, Saratoga Co., N. Y., April 10, 1845. He is a son of L. C. Bartlett, who is now a resident of Brodhead. G. W. Bartlett was thirteen years old when he came with his parents to Wisconsin. They located in Beloit, where they remained two years, then came to Albany. At the age of sixteen years, he began clerking for Freeman Lewis. He afterward clerked for other parties, and was thus employed until 1869, when he engaged in trade in company with W. H. Hudson. Mr. Hudson afterwards sold out to Dr. G. W. Roberts, with whom Mr. Bartlett was associated until 1879. He then purchased his partner’s interest, and has since carried on business alone. He was burned out by the fire of November, 1883, but soon resumed business. In addition to drugs, he carries a stock of groceries, books, stationery and notions. He was married in 1865, to Kate A. Dolsen, and they have had three children—Franky, who died in infancy, Robert E. and Willie.
J. W. Hicks, druggist, commenced business in Albany, in August, 1883, and in March moved into the Murray block, where he is at present located. He keeps a full line of drugs, toilet articles, paints and oils, also a stock of groceries. He was born in the town of Rushford, Winnebaga Co., Wis., Dec. 18, 1856. He obtained his early education in the schools at Eureka, graduating from the high school in that place, in 1875. He then taught until 1876, when he entered the State University at Madison, where he graduated in 1880. He then again engaged in teaching, which he continued until 1883. He was married in June, 1882, to Edith Stearus, a native of Green county. Mr. Hicks’ father, Oliver Hicks, was a native of New York. He was married to Sarah Powell, a native of the same State, and in 1846 came to the Territory of Wisconsin, and settled in Winnebago county, where he purchased land of the “Fox River Improvement Company,” and improved a farm, making it his residence until the time of his death in 1882. His widow resides in the village of Omro.
Sampson and Edward Tilley, in 1852, erected a slab building, 14x20 feet in dimension, with a thatched roof, and here opened the first wagon shop in the village. After a space of three years they erected a better building, and in 1884 they were still enjoying a large patronage, being engaged in the manufacture of wagons, buggies and sleighs, besides running a general repair shop.
The first blacksmith was Charles Barton; the second was Peter Parsolon; the third was E. B. Dorr. Mr. Dorr opened a shop in 1851, also worked as a millwright, and continued in business until the fire of 1883. This trade is now represented by J. S. Smith.
Daniel S. Smith was born in Orleans Co., Vt., Jan. 7, 1807. When a young man, he learned the blacksmith trade in his native State. When twenty-two years of age, he located in Madison Co., N. Y., opened a shop and worked at his trade. He remained there until 1836, then removed to Pennsylvania, and settled in the city of Erie, where he followed his trade for eleven years. In 1847, he removed to the Territory of Wisconsin, and located in Beloit, where he was joined by his family one year later. He was one of the first blacksmiths in that town. He remained there, working at his trade, until 1850, when he came to Green county, and located in Clarence, remaining there until 1854, then removed to Albany and opened a shop. His health becoming bad, he had to stop work. In a few years he removed to Kansas. His home is now in Springfield, Dak. He was married in 1830, to Algina Wentworth, a native of Vermont. This union was blessed with nine children, eight of whom are now living.
James S. Smith, eldest son of Daniel Smith, was born in Madison Co., N. Y., in July, 1833. He came to Wisconsin with his parents, and made his home with them until seventeen years of age. He had learned the blacksmith trade of his father, and engaged in that business in Beloit. He remained in Beloit four years, then went to Janesville. In 1854, he removed to Albany and commenced worked at his trade. In 1864, he went to Idaho and Montana, working at his trade while there. After remaining there almost a year and a half, he went to Michigan, and located in Plainwell, Allegan county. He ran a shop there for about two years, and returned to Albany, where he has since resided. In 1858, he was united in marriage with May J. Hess, born in Herkimer Co., N. Y. This union has been blessed with two children—Nellie and Frank.
The first livery barn was opened in 1855, by Harry Van Wart. It was located on block 17. In about 1857, Mr. Van Wart closed the barn and took his horses across the plains to California. This line of business is now represented by Frank Warren.
The first shoe maker to locate in Albany, was William Lee. The second was J. A. Hahn, who came in 1855, and, in 1884, was still in business. Austin Darling also runs a shop.
The first mean-market was kept by Freeborn Lewis; but before his time a Mr. Nipple had peddled meat about the town.
The first coopers were Samuel DeLaps and a Mr. Shaw.
Dr. Samuel F. Nichols was the first to administer medicine to the sick at this place. Since then the following have been located in the village and practiced medicine: Shavalia Fayette, Dr. Lewis, E. H. Winston, William Fayette, Dr. Lewis, E. H. Winston, William Fayette, Horace T. Persons, Robert Van Dusen and Marvin Bemis. The present physicians are: G. W. Roberts and W. E. Ziegenfuss.
Samuel F. Nichols, one of the pioneers of the town of Albany, and one of the founders of the village, was a native of the Green Mountain State, born at Bennington, Nov. 14, 1801. His father was a sea captain, and an early settler in Bennington. Samuel was educated in the common schools, and at the age of seventeen years he engaged in teaching, thus obtaining money with which to advance his education, and entered Castleton Seminary, from whence he graduated. He then turned his attention to the study of medicine, and graduated from the Castleton Medical Institute. He then went to Newark, Wayne Co., N. Y., and commenced practice. He was there married in 1826 to Julia Bartle, born in Newark, in 1811. He continued to reside in Newark until 1845, then came to Wisconsin and engaged in the practice of his profession in Janesville, one year. He then came to Green county and settled on the site of the present village of Albany. Soon after coming here, he was obliged, on account of failing health, to discontinue his practice, and he engaged as a mail contractor, and did an extensive business in that line, his routes extending to four different States and Territories, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. He employed hundreds of men and horses. This business he continued until 1868. In 1866 he purchased a fruit farm in New Jersey, and spent the fall and winter seasons there. In September, 1874, he visited Colorado Springs, in the hope of finding relief from asthma, from which he was suffering, but he grew steadily worse and died there on the 14th of November following. His remains were brought back to Albany, and placed in the family vault. Mr. and Mrs. Nichols had seven children—Chloe J., Martin V., Louisa A., Bartle W., Philander K., Louis A. and Maggie. Dr. Nichols was one of the Presidential electors of district No. 2, in 1848, in the State of Wisconsin, and was chosen to transmit the result to the seat of government.
Louis A. Nichols, their youngest son, was born at the Nichols House, Albany, Feb. 3, 1849. His early education was obtained in the common schools of his native town, after which he spent five terms at Evansville Seminary. In 1870 he went to Philadelphia and entered Philadelphia College, and studied one year. He then went to Madelia, Minn., where he remained one year, and from thence to Chicago, and was clerk in a real estate office until 1874, when he went again to Philadelphia and graduated from the Philadelphia Dental College. He went to St. Louis and commenced practice, but, his health failing, he remained but a short time. He went from there to Colorado and spent nearly a year, then returned to Albany, where he was married, in 1875, to Ella Warren, daughter of Zebina and Maria (Pond) Warren. He has erected a fine residence on the west bank of the river, and has his office in his house.
The first attorney in the vicinity of Albany was Hiram Brown. The second was J. B. Perry, who is still in practice; the third, E. L. Warner; and the fourth, H. Medbery.
During the first few years of the settlement, of course every one who had a home was willing to entertain strangers without money or price. But as people came flocking in faster and faster, it became necessary to establish some public stopping place. In 1847 John B. Sawyer and A. K. Stearns erected a building on what is now lot 2, block 18, corner of Mill and Main streets, it now forming the upright part of the Nichols House. In 1848 Dr. Samuel Nichols purchased the property, completed the building and opened it to the public for hotel purposes, and it is still used as such. In 1881 the building was enlarged by a brick addition, and it now presents quite an attractive appearance. The property is now owned by M. V. Nichols and Mrs. J. H. Warren. It is leased by S. S. Hills, a gentleman well qualified for the place, and under whose management the Nichols House has become a favorite of the traveling public and the pride of the citizens of the village.
Sylvester Hills was a native of Connecticut, born March 7, 1790. When a young man he went to Onondaga Co., N. Y., where he engaged in farming until 1838. He then started with two teams for Wisconsin, taking his family and household goods. He drove to Buffalo, where they embarked upon the lake and went to Toledo, completing the journey from that point to Green county with the teams. He bought government land in what is now the town of Sylvester, erected a log house and commenced improvements. He was a natural mechanic, and manufactured many of the articles of furniture used by his own and his neighbors’ families; also built a loom and spinning wheel, which were used by the women of the family for weaving cloth from flax, which was raised upon the farm. There were maple trees upon the place, from which they obtained sugar, which, with the wild honey that they gathered, furnished the sweets used by the family. Game and fish were abundant at this time, and nearly all the articles they were obliged to buy were tea and tobacco. He lived upon this place two years, then bought a prairie farm in the same town, on which he built a log house and frame barn. The latter was built in 1841, and the boards with which it was covered were hauled with teams from Chicago; the shingles were made of oak and rived by hand. In 1856 he sold this farm and removed to section 29, in the town of Albany, where he purchased land and remained several years, then sold his farm and removed to the village, and there remained until his death, which occurred Feb. 25, 1881. He was twice married. His first wife was formerly Chloe Webster, and they were married in Onondaga Co., N. Y. Eleven children blessed this union, nine of whom are now living—William, Ashael, Price, Lorinda, Miranda, Nelson, Elizar, Betsey and Electa. Mrs. Hills died March 6, 1832. Mr. Hills’ second wife was Hannah Sutherland, a native of Vermont. She was a woman of much ability, and in her youth was a school teacher, which occupation she followed in her native State, and afterwards in New York, where she became acquainted with Mr. Hills, to whom she was married, Dec. 27, 1832. She was noted for her kindness in cases of sickness or distress, and seemed to feel the misfortunes of others more than her own. She lived to a ripe old age, each succeeding year adding new acts of kindness and generosity to her children and friends. Her memory, always remarkable, was especially so in her old age, and up to almost the day of her death she retained a perfect recollection of past events, and of the names and ages of all the people residing in the neighborhood where she was brought up. She died Oct. 27, 1882. Her children were—Sylvester S., born Dec. 17, 1833; Chloe P., born Jan. 28, 1836; and Isabelle M., born June 6, 1838.
Sylvester S. Hills is the present landlord of the Nichols House, at Albany. He was born in Onondaga Co., N. Y., Dec. 17, 1833, and was but four years old when he began pioneer life in Green county, where he grew to manhood. In 1852, in company with a brother and cousin, he opened a tin shop in the village of Monticello. Soon after he purchased the interest of his partners and then purchased a stock of merchandise from Mathias Marty, continuing in business there until 1857. He then sold out, and the following year went to Mitchell Co., Iowa, and opened a tin shop at St. Ansgar, where he remained but a short time, then sold out and went to Minnesota, stopped there a short time and entered 160 acres of land in Freeborn county, after which he spent one year in Kansas and Nebraska. He then returned to Green county and was there married April 18, 1861, to Sarah A., daughter of Jeptha and Harriet (Conger) Davis. She was born in Varysburg, Wyoming Co., N. Y., Oct. 28, 1838. After marriage, Mr. Hills went to Cross Plains, where he engaged in buying and shipping produce one year, then went to Woodman, Grant county, and engaged in the same business, also acted as station agent. He continued to follow the same business at different points on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad for a number of years, after which he was employed by the Victor Scale Company as general agent, and traveled in the interest of that firm two years in the northwestern States. He then resumed railroading, becoming station agent at Plainsfield, on the Wisconsin Central road. In 1880 he leased the hotel in Evansville and engaged in hotel keeping, which he continued there three years, then came to Albany and leased the Nichols House. As a landlord Mr. Hills is a decided success, his house bearing the reputation of being the best hotel in Green county. Mr. and Mrs. Hills have had three children, only one of whom is now living—Elmer E., who was born Oct. 27, 1867. Erwin F. was born July 13, 1866, and died Sept. 9, of the same year. Their eldest son, Arthur, was born Nov. 10, 1862. He was an unusually precocious child and when twelve years of age became messenger boy in the State Senate of Wisconsin, which position he filled during two sessions. He was so honest and trustworthy that, at the age of fifteen, he was appointed station agent on the Wisconsin Central Railroad, having entire charge of the station, including express and telegraph business. He resigned his position to accept a situation as telegraph operator in the city of Milwaukee, in the employee of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Company, where he soon after met his death, Oct. 13, 1879, in a railroad accident. This young man was universally esteemed, and the High School at Evansville, of which he had been a member, thus expressed themselves:
Since God has, by a mysterious providence, allowed death to come into our midst and has taken away one, who, but lately, went in and out among us, we, the members of the High School, desire to express our sorrow and deep sympathy with the family so suddenly bereft, and to add our testimony that, while with us, Arthur was always cheerful in spirit, of obliging disposition, and faithful in the performance of duty.
By wish of the school.
[Signed.] C. M. MERRIMAN, Principal
L. N. BUSHNELL, Assistant.
Mr. Hills was for twenty years a republican, but joined the greenback party at its organization, in 1876, and was a member of the first State central committee, also a delegate to the Chicago convention in 1880 that nominated Weaver for President.
Ashael Hills, son of Sylvester and Chloe (Webster) Hills, and pioneer of Green county, was born in Onondaga Co., N. Y., March 31, 1815. He was married in 1837 to Julia A. Shults, a native of Montgomery Co., N. Y. In 1839 they removed to Steuben county and lived until 1849. They then came to Green county and purchased a farm on sections 29 and 32, of the town of Albany. There was a log house on the place, in which the family lived two years. He then erected a frame house. He improved a large farm here, and erected a large frame barn. He still resides upon the place. Mrs. Hills died Feb. 12, 1881. Mr. and Mrs. Hills were among the first members of the M. E. Church at Albany. They had one child—Helen, now the wife of William H. Hudson.
The second hotel was built in 1850, by J. B. Perry and Aaron Kellogg. It was located on lot 3, block 19. When first opened, it was known as the “Green County House,” and J. B. Perry was the accommodating landlord. In August, 1853, Z. Warren purchased the property and it was used as a dwelling until 1879, when William Hayden bought the same and again opened it as a hotel. The building was enlarged and neatly refitted in 1882, and in 1884 it was owned by Peter Benston. It is known as the “Central House” and is an excellent place to stop at.
The water power furnished by Sugar river at this point was purchased from the government by James Campbell and Thomas Stewart. From them it passed to Dr. S. F. Nichols and E. O. Pond, in 1846, and the following year these gentlemen improved the power. During the fall of 1847 they erected a saw mill, putting in one of the old fashioned sash saws, and thus for several years furnished the settlers with lumber. In 1848 Z. Warren purchased an interest in the water power and during the winter following erected the first grist mill. The mill used three run of stone and was operated as a custom mill by Mr. Warren until his death in 1854. After this it was owned by his heirs until washed away by the flood of 1867. After the flood the property was purchased by E. F. Warren and C. W. Tomkins. These gentlemen rebuilt the mills, and in 1881, enlarged the same, so that it is now 30x74 feet in size, two and a half stories high. It has three run of stone and is equipped with all modern machinery for doing first-class work. It is still owned by Warren & Tomkins, who operate it as a custom and merchant mill.
Charles W. Tomkins, manager of the Albany flour mills, of which he is a one-half owner, is a native of Ireland, born in county Wicklow, Feb. 29, 1832. His father was the owner of a flour mill in which the subject of this sketch went to work as soon as large enough to be of assistance, and continued to work until he was eighteen years old, when he came to America. He first located at Janesville, where he engaged at his trade until 1852, when he came to Albany, where he had been previously engaged by Zabina Warren to operate his mill. In 1853 he went to Jo Daviess Co., Ill., and lived one year, then returned and engaged again in the Warren mill, which he continued to operate until 1860, when he rented the “Kellogg mill” and operated that on shares two years, then again returned to the Warren mill and run it until it was washed away in 1867. In 1868 the firm of Warren, Tomkins & Erole was formed and the present mill was built, and has since been under the supervision of Mr. Tomkins, who bought Erole’s interest in 1879, since which time the firm name of Warren & Tomkins was adopted, and has secured for it an enviable reputation. He was married in 1860, to Lucy A. Hoyt, from the State of Maine. They have had three children born to them—Estella, Warren and Arthur. The former, Estella, was the only daughter, she was born in 1861 and died in 1878.
The second grist mill was erected in 1857 by T. Kellogg, and was located on the west side of the river. This mill was 40x60 feet in size and used three run of buhrs. Mr. Kellogg owned the mill about ten years then sold to William Nye and J. Montgomery, who, in 1877, removed the machinery and sold the building and water privilege to the Albany Woolen Manufacturing Company. This company put in the necessary machinery and established the “Albany Woolen Mills.” In 1881 E. F. Warren, then superintendent, purchased the property and has since operated the same. The line of goods manufactured embraces flannels, blankets, yarns and skirts. The mill furnishes employment to about eighteen operatives.
In the fall of 1883 Lemuel Warren added a saw mill to the woolen mill, which is also in operation. Thus it will be seen that the water power is being well utilized; but there is still room for more as Sugar river is a never-failing stream and at this point furnishes an eight foot head of water.
Prominent among the names identified with the history of Green county, that of Warren stands conspicuous from the early history to the present time. The ancestors of these Warrens were natives of New England for a number of generations. Their great-grandfather, a blacksmith by occupation, having served as a soldier in the French and Indian War, participating in the battle of Quebec. The grandfather, Lovewell Warren, was born in Marlborough, Mass., Oct. 2, 1764, and was of a family of Howes, and was married to Amah olden. She was born at Charlestown, N. H., in 1794 and was of a family of Adams. Lovewell Warren removed from Leominster, Mass., and settled at Montpelier, Vt., purchased government land, and became a pioneer in the place. The land he improved is still owned by a family of Warrens—his descendants. It was there that Lemuel Warren was born Oct. 27, 1791, and his early life was spent on his father’s farm. When a young man he went to Franklin Co., N. Y., where he formed the acquaintance of Betsy R. Richardson, to whom he was married in 1817. She was born in Granville, Washington county, Aug. 1, 1793. Lemuel Warren was overseer of Hogan’s mills, and remained a resident of Franklin county until 1836, then removed to Chautauqua county, and two years later with his family emigrated to Wisconsin, landing at Milwaukee on the 5th of July, 1838. They proceeded to Janesville which was at that time but a small town, where, although times were hard, they succeeded in making a living. In 1841 they settled on a farm in the town of Union, now known as Center, situated on the Madison road at a distance of twelve miles from Janesville. At that time there were eight children, five sons and three daughters, of whom several had attained their majority, and the older boys—William, Zebina and John H., left home to battle with the world on their own account. Sept. 13, 1846, the father died, and a few years subsequently the family were stricken with grief by the death of the three daughters. Those of the family who remained could hardly recover from such a blow, but they struggled on and finally succeeded in paying for the farm by hard work and prudent economy. The mother afterwards came to Albany, this county, to reside with her sons, where her remaining days were spent. She died Aug. 17, 1870.
Zebina, the second son, was born at Hogansburg, Franklin Co., N. Y., May 2, 1821. When sixteen years old he went to Michigan, and lived one year in Kalamazoo; then in 1838 joined his parents in Rock county and lived with them two years, then made a claim of government land in the town of Center, Rock county, but not having money to pay for it, started out in search of employment. He drove to Milwaukee, and arrived there with money enough to pay for one horse feed. He soon found employment at various things, among others he took a contract from the government to dig a well at the light house, and by winter he had made enough money to enter his land. In December of that year he engaged as bookkeeper for the firm of Holton & Goodell, and remained with them three years, then returned to Rock county and settled on his land, where he continued to live until 1847, when he came to Albany and erected a grist mill. In 1851 he engaged in the mercantile trade in company with his brother. His death occurred in December, 1854. He was married to Maria, daughter of Erastus and Margaret (Bartle) Pond. Two children blessed that union, one of whom is now living—Ella, now the wife of L. A. Nichols. Mr. Warren was a man of good education and fine business qualifications. He was prominently identified with the interests of both town and village, and was in office from the time of the town organization.
Lemuel H., the fourth son, was born at Hogansburg, Franklin Co., N. Y., Sept. 30, 1830, and was but eight years old when the family came to Wisconsin, and he grew to manhood in rock county. In 1850 he came to Albany and engaged in clerking for his brother two years, then in 1854 he engaged in mercantile trade in company with his brothers, J. H. and E. F., and continued that business until 1865, when he sold his interests and engaged in the lumber trade five years. He then became a mail contractor and has, while attending to that business, traveled extensively. In 1882 he bought a farm near Madison, where he lived one year and then returned to Albany. He was married March 26, 1854, to Martha Stanley, who was born in Susquehanna Co., Penn. Four children blessed this union—Frank, Carrie, Fred and Eva. The former, Frank S., was born in the village of Albany, where he grew to manhood, his younger days being spent in school and assisting his father in the store. When eighteen years old he was engaged as clerk in E. F. Warren’s store. At twenty years of age he was married to Clara Trousdale, who was born in the village of Fayette, Lafayette Co., Wis. They then went to Monroe, where he engaged as clerk for F. S. Parlin a few months, then went to Yankton, D. T., in company with his father, who was going there to look after his stage interests. In 1878 he had full charge of the stage line from Yankton to Sioux Falls, and remained there until 1879, when he returned to Monroe, bought a livery stock and managed a stable two years, then, in the spring of 1881, he started west and visited Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska. Returning in the fall, he bought the omnibus line at Monroe and ran that during the winter of 1881-2. In the spring of 1882 he went to Dane county and purchased a farm in company with his father, and lived there one year, then returned to Albany, and during the summer was in the employ of the Western Stage Company. In the fall of 1883 he bought the livery stock of E. F. Warren, and is now engaged in the livery business. Mr. and Mrs. Frank S. Warren are the parents of two children (twins)—Bessie and Jessie. He is a good business man, accommodating and affable, and has many friends.
Of the five sons, Eugene F. Warren was the youngest. He was born at Fort Covington, N. Y., June 30, 1833, came with the family to Wisconsin, and at an early age commenced those minor duties of farm life which his extreme youth could compass, and in which he displayed great energy and facility. He was but thirteen years old when his father died, but as his older brothers had left home, the care of the farm naturally devolved on his, and he found little time or opportunity to attend school, spending but three months each winter, in that manner. Fortunately his mother was a woman of refinement and education, and he received from her the most important elements of early instruction. After acting one year as express messenger on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, at the age of twenty-one, with a capital of $500 he came to Albany, and entered into a co-partnership with his brothers, John H. and Lemuel, in mercantile business, which he pursued for sixteen years, when he bought out the interests of his partners, and continued in the trade alone for five years. Meanwhile, in 1861, he assisted in recruiting company E, 13th Wisconsin Volunteers, and was mustered in as 1st lieutenant of the company. In 1862 he was in the army of Kansas, where there was no hard fighting, but long and tedious marches to be endured, over the ice and snow clad prairies, and the following year being sent to the army of the Tennessee, he was engaged in fighting “bush-whackers,” and in scouting most of the time at Forts Henry and Donelson. While there, he was detailed as judge-advocate of a general court-martial which continued in session for three months, fifty-two cases being tried, and five men receiving the sentence of death. In the fall of 1863, he was ordered to Huntsville, Ala., thence to Stephenson, Ala., where after a long and weary march, on short rations, he remained until November, when he left that place and encamped in the village of Edgeville, opposite Nashville, Tenn., where he remained until the summer of 1864, and then returned to his family and business. He had been at home but one week, however, when he received, from the secretary of war, and appointment to a captain, in Major-Gen. Hancock’s corps, but as one of his brothers had accepted an appointment to the position of United States revenue collector, and the other was in very poor health, and his business in consequence was left entirely in the hands of employees, he was obliged to decline the appointment. Mr. Warren was a brave soldier, competent for any position, and repeatedly refused promotion, having promised to remain with the boys with whom he enlisted and among whom he was a great favorite. In 1869, he built the flouring mill of Warren & Tomkins, and in 1881 purchased the Albany Woolen Mill. He has, also with his brothers, been engaged in the mail and stage business, which furnishes employment to hundreds of men, and requires hundreds of horses, their lines extending from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Slope. Mr. Warren is a republican in politics, a member of the Masonic fraternity, and in his religious views, broad and liberal, holding to the belief of universal salvation. His business success is attributable to honesty, industry, perseverance and the good advice early given him by his parents. Mrs. Warren was formerly Sarah S. Gleason, and was born in Tioga Co., N. Y., and was married to E. F. Warren, Sept. 9, 1855. In the year 1863, she shared equally with her husband the hardships and privations of camp life, thus showing that constancy and affection, which has rendered their union one of happiness. They have been blessed with five children—Mary, Nelly, Willie, (who died in 1867, aged three years) Grace and Charles.
The postoffice at Albany was established in 1848, Erastus O. Pond being appointed the first postmaster. The office was kept in his store, on block 13. Mr. Pond was succeeded as postmaster by E. F. Warren, and he in turn by Andrew Burgor, Hiram Brown, Charles Campbell, Ferdinand Eldred, Hamilton Coates and John Lemmel, the present incumbent. Mr. Lemmel took the office on the 7th of August, 1866. In 1868, the office building was destroyed by fire, but Mr. Lemmel was successful in saving all mail records and postage stamps. Nov. 27, 1883, the office building was again consumed by fire. Mr. Lemmel, this time, succeeded in saving the mail, but some postage stamps and the old records were destroyed. The office became a money order department. Oct. 28, 1878, and up to March 18, 1884, had issued 9,286 orders. The income of the office is about $500 annually.
John Lemmel, postmaster at Albany, and a prominent citizen of this county, was appointed to that position in 1866, and has since continued to serve the people in that capacity in a satisfactory manner. He is a native of France, born in Hiertigheim, near Strassburg, Nov. 2, 1825. He attended school as he had opportunity, until sixteen years old, when he was apprenticed to an older brother to learn the trade of tailor. After serving his time, he went to Strassburg and worked as journeyman for some time, then opened a shop at Hiertigheim, and continued in the business until 1853, when he left his native land and came to America, landing at New York, October 29, of that year. In June, 1854, he came west to Madison, Wis., and thence to New Glarus, where he purchased a farm, on which his father and only daughter settled. He then went to the town of Sylvester and worked in the store of C. F. Thompson seven months, then engaged with S. S. Hills, at Monticello a few months, then came to Albany and had a position with Charles Campbell until 1862, when he opened a shop and carried on the business of merchant tailor until the fall of 1864, when at his country’s call, he enlisted in the old 5th Wisconsin Volunteers, company I, Capt. Thomas Flint being his captain. He belonged to the sixty army corps, Army of the Potomac, Gen. Meade commanding. On the 2d day of April, 1865, he was seriously wounded at the battle of Petersburg. After being seven months in the hospital, he returned again to his family, who had in the meanwhile lived in the country with his father-in-law. He settled again in the village of Albany, and engaged in his old trade—merchant tailor—and did a flourishing business. In 1882, he sold out and only retained the postoffice. He has been twice married. His first wife was Eva Baszler, who bore him two children, one of whom is now living. Mrs. Lemmel and an infant son died on the ocean while on the way to America. His second wife was Orphia Stauffacher, born in Switzerland, coming to his country when six years old. Six children blessed this union—Lydia, Mary E., William T., Emma, Ella and John. Mr. Lemmel has the confidence and esteem of his fellow men to a goodly degree, and belongs to the best class of Green county citizens.
There are several societies represented in this village, and the most of them are in a prosperous condition. The A. F. & A. M. and the I. O. O. F. fraternities had the misfortune of having their charters and all records destroyed by the fire on Nov. 27, 1883, and thus in order to obtain their history, the historian is obliged to rely on the memories of the older members. Albany Lodge, No. 75, I. O. O. F., was organized on the 19th of February, 1854, with the following named charter members: Hiram Brown, J. H. Warren, Ira S. Dexter, C. S. Gleason, Yates Lacy, Charles Robertson, E. L. Warner and A. Thomas. The lodge was in a flourishing condition, and in 1861, its membership numbered nearly ninety. But when the Civil War broke out, and our Nation was calling for brave and patriotic citizens, so many of the leading members responded, that the lodge had its last meeting on the 20th day of July, 1861. In October, 1865, the members returning from the field of battle, re-organized, and the lodge in a short time regained its former vigor. Their lodge room, with contents, was destroyed by the fire. But as they had money in their treasury, that at once rebuilt without calling for or accepting aid from other lodges. Their present room cost them about $750, which amount has been fully paid. The following named members of the lodge are past noble grands: John H. Warner, Thomas Flint, J. B. Perry, C. W. Burns, M. T. Gleason, Ira S. Dexter, S. A. Pond, C. S. Gleason, L. A. Nichols, L. H. Warren, E. F. Warren, C. S. Tibbitts, W. H. Howard, Thomas Gravenor, Richard Glennon, N. B. Murray, A. L. Weston and J. F. Carle. The officers in 1884 were: A. W. Murray, N. G.; A. L. Whitcomb, V. G.; C. S. Tibbits, secretary; Thomas Gravenor, treasurer; and J. B. Perry, John Lemmel and J. F. Carle, trustees. Regular communications every Tuesday evening. The present membership is fifty.
Albany Lodge, No. 36, A. F. & A. M., was organized under dispensation March 1, 1851, and was granted its charter June 9, 1852. H. B. Jobes is the present W. M., and Thomas Gravenor, secretary. Regular meetings are held on the first and third Wednesdays in each month.
Hiram B. Jobes, a native a native of the town of Brant, Eric Co., N. Y., was born Jan. 30, 1838. In his childhood he attended the district school until twelve years of age. He then entered a printing office in the village of Gowanda where he served three years. In 1855 he came to Albany and engaged as clerk with his uncle, E. Bowen, by whom he was employed nine years; then in company with E. W. Persons bought his uncle’s stock of goods and they carried on business together one year. His partner then sold his interest to Hiram Bowen, who was succeeded one year later by Gilbert Dolson, with whom Mr. Jobes continued in business until 1871. In that year they were burned out, and Mr. Jobes purchased his partner’s interest in the stock that was saved. He continued business alone until September, 1883, when he sold out to J. F. Litel. He has been three times married. His first wife, Ophelia H. Stetson, of Erie Co., N. Y., was born March 8, 1837, and died July 19, 1870. He was again married in 1871 to Sarah Van Curen, who died in the spring of 1873. He was married the third time in July, 1874, to Mrs. Frances Usher Banks, who was born in Alexandria, Licking Co., Ohio. Mr. Jobes is a member of Albany Lodge, No. 36, of A. F. & A. M. and has been connected with temperance work for a number of years.
Thomas Gravenor, the present clerk of the town of Albany, is a native of Wales, born March 17, 1840. He attended school in his native country until eleven years old, was then apprenticed to a shoemaker to learn the trade. He served four years, then at the age of fifteen years he came to America with his parents, with whom he remained until the death of his father, which occurred in Monroe Co., Wis., Feb. 9, 1859. The family then came to Green county, where he traded for a farm in the town of Mount Pleasant and engaged in farming. In 1864 he went to Colorado, and engaged in mining three years, then returned and resumed farming. In 1876, on account of failing health, he moved with his family to California and remained one year. He then went to New Mexico and engaged in the livery business, while his family returned to Green county. A few months later he returned to Albany and engaged in the grocery and provision business, in which he still continues. He still owns his farm in Mount Pleasant, which he rents. Mr. Gravenor has been twice married, first to Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas and Ann Pryce who died Aug. 21, 1872, leaving one child - William J. He was again married April 25, 1875, to Araminta Dorman and they have one child—Jesse Thomas. Mr. Gravenor’s father, William Gravenor, was born in the southern part of Wales. In 1855 he emigrated to America and first settled in Mount Pleasant, Green county, where he purchased a small improved farm, and lived there three years. He then sold out and moved to Monroe county, where he died in 1859, soon after which his family returned to Green county where his widow, Margaret Gravenor, died in 1866. They had four children—William, Jane, Thomas and Margaret. William is dead; Jane is the wife of W. L. Baldwin and lives in Minnesota; Margaret is the wife of Amos St. John, and lives in Mount Pleasant.
Erastus Hoyt Post, No. 69, G. A. R., was organized on the 24th day of March, 1883. The officiating officer being L. O. Holmes of Baraboo; mustering officer deputy of Wisconsin. He was assisted by comrades James Brown, Wallace Eastman, Delos Williams and Wilson Brown of Evansville. The following were elected as the first officers: Capt. Thomas Flint, commander; Capt. C. W. Burns, S. V. C.; Capt. J. F. Annis, J. V. C.; F. J. Carle, adjutant; John Gillett, quartermaster; N. B. Murrey, officer of the day; Peter Benson, officer of the guard; S. F. Smith, sergeant-major.
Erastus Hoyt, after whom the lodge was named, came to Albany in about 1860. He was a young man, and soon became a favorite among his associates. He entered the employment of Timothy Kellogg, as teamster, and in a short time united in marriage with Betsy Kellogg, a sister of his employer. When the Civil War broke out he responded to the call of his country by enlisting under Capt. C. W. Burns, in the old company F., 31st regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers, in August, 1862. While on duty as a soldier, he contracted that dreadful disease, chronic diarrhea, which resulted in death, while he was yet in service, and his body now lies mouldering by the side of other brave comrades in the village cemetery. He is justly entitled to the tribute of respect shown him by his surviving comrades. He was born in 1840, and died in 1863.
In the fall of 1859, the first literary society was organized in the village of Albany, Wis. - the Albany Lyceum, which held its first meeting on Nov. 2, 1859, at high school building on east side of Sugar river. It was presided over by J. H. Warren, who was chosen president and William Gould, secretary. A constitution and by-laws were submitted and adopted. Prominent among the members who took an active part in the deliberations, may be mentioned the names of H. Medbery, J., C. W. Tomkins, Ira Dexter, J. B. Perry, E. R. Rockwood, H. B. Jobes, William Gould, J. H. Warren, J. H. Barnes, Gustave Klaesy, N. D. Tibbitts, H. A. Elliott, E. F. Warren and Warren Osgood. The following question chosen for discussion at a subsequent meeting of the society, reflects great credit for the mark of appreciation and esteem bestowed on the gentler sex: Resolved, “That the education of females is of greater importance to society than that of males.”
The society expended its forces in a little over two years, and was known as an event of the past. October 15, 1880 witnessed a re-organization, and a new membership, virtually a distinct society, as it embraced only three of the original members—J. B. Perry, C. W. Tomkins and H. B. Jobes, but retained the name and adopted the same constitution by-laws which governed the first. H. Medbery, Jr., again became a member in the winter of 1883. The present membership includes the above, also Prof. J. L. Sherron, Aaron Broughton, Warren Howard, S. S. Hills, Richard Glennan, Warren Tomkins and others. The society was made rapid progress in the pursuit of useful knowledge. It holds regular meeting each week, in Grange Hall, Albany.
The leading citizens of Albany have always opposed the liquor traffic, and have thus kept up a continual battle with the demon alcohol. The first temperance society organized was Albany Lodge, No. 38, I. O. G. T., which was chartered Dec. 25, 1856. This was succeeded in June 10, 1857, by Rescue Lodge, 118, I. O. G. T. Among the charter members of Rescue Lodge were: Mr. and Mrs. L. Warren, E. F. Warren, Mrs. Maria Warren, Mr. and Mrs. C. S. Tibbits and Mrs. Werner. This lodge surrendered its charter after a few years, as likewise did several succeeding Good Templar lodges and was repeatedly resurrected. The lodge, in 1884, was known as Crystal Fountain Lodge.
Sons of Temperance, Drunkards’ Friends, No. 198, was organized Nov. 22, 1882, with nineteen charter members. The following were the first officers elected: H. B. Jobes, W. P.; Nellie Warren, W. A.; J. F. Carle, W. R. S.; Charlotte Roberts, W. A. S.; Freeman Roberts, W. F. S.; V. D. Burt, W. T.; Rev. Tyacke, W. Chaplain; C. N. Lockwood, W. Cond.; Mrs. Ella J. Kellogg, A. C.; Mrs. Tyacke, J. S.; George Owens, O. S.; Mrs. John Lacy, P. W. P.; Nellie Warren, D. P. The lodge is now in a flourishing condition and numbers seventy-five members. Weekly meetings are held at the Grange Hall.
Crystal Fountain Lodge, No. 478, I. O. G. T., was chartered Jan. 25, 1879, with twenty-one members. The first officers elected were as follows: N. B. Murrey, W. C. T.; Erva Maynard, W. V. T.; Rev. S. E. Sweet, W. C.; J. F. Annis, W. S.; Eddie Dorr, W. A. S.; G. H. Turner, W. F. S.; Mrs. A. Burt, W. T.; D. Atkinson, W. M.; Viola Burt, W. D. M.; Mrs. Alba Murrey, I. I. G.; F. L. Roberts, W. O. G.; Mrs. Olive Annis, W. R. H. S.; Mrs. Susan Alverson, W. L. H. S.; V. D. Burt, P. W. C. T. Meetings are held every Wednesday evening. The present membership of the lodge is eighty-seven.
Albany cemetery is located in the southwestern portion of the village plat between Warren’s addition and the Monroe road. It is triangular in form and contains about five acres. The ground was donated to the village for burial purposes in 1851, by Erastus O. Pond and Dr. Samuel F. Nichols.
OUR NATION’S BIRTHDAY.
The first celebration of our nation’s birthday, at Albany, took place July 4, 1846. On that day the people from miles around met on the east bank of Sugar river, near the residence of Erastus O. Pond. There were present at this gathering, counting old and young, large and small, just seventy-five souls. Dr. Samuel F. Nichols was orator of the day, and the young ladies furnished the music, which consisted of singing the “Star Spangled Banner.” All present enjoyed themselves and went to their respective homes feeling that the day had been well spent.
The second celebration took place July 4, 1853, at which time there was a much larger crowd than at the first, and a pleasant time was had.
LOSS OF LIFE BY ACCIDENT.
The first fatal accident in the town, occurred on the 1st of June, 1851. On that day William Richardson, a merchant, was drowned in Sugar river while attempting to cross in a small boat. He was accompanied by S. A. Pond. When they reached the river, Richardson said he would return to the house for his rubbers, as he didn’t want to wet his feet, “if he did get drowned.” In the middle of the stream the current was too strong for them and they were swept over the dam. The boat went over all right, but the under current drew it back under the falls and it was then capsized. Pond was a good swimmer and struck out for the shore, but the current was swift and he was carried below the bridge before he could reach shore. Richardson could not swim and was drowned. Although every possible effort was put forth, his body was not found until June 21, when it was accidentally discovered, lodged against some drift-wood a few miles below the village.
Isaac T. Armsbury, a farmer by occupation, was missed from his home in 1858. Diligent search was made in the surrounding country and the river was dragged with grapples and after unceasing efforts, his body was found in Sugar river.
In 1858 a son of William Firm, age, thirteen years, took off his clothes, jumped into the river and was drowned. It is thought the boy did not know that the water was deep enough to drown him.
In 1872 a party took a boat to go fishing, and were carried over the dam. One of the party, a Norwegian, was drowned.
Gabriel Baglinger, a tailor by occupation, was drowned while bathing in 1874.
Aaron Peckham was drowned in 1874, while washing sheep in the river about two miles below the village.
In 1866 Herbert Atkinson was accidentally shot with a revolver in the hands of John Pace, Jr. The shooting took place in a saloon. Mr. Atkinson was a promising young man, about nineteen years of age.
Eddie Dodge, son of J. M. Dodge, was killed by falling walls at the fire, Nov. 27, 1883.
John McFarland, while in the employ of the S., M. & St. P. R. R. Co., as brakeman, was killed near the depot, on Dec. 8, 1883. He was in the act of coupling cars, when he was caught between the locomotive and a flat car, the coupling link passing through his body, causing death in a few hours. He was thirty-four years of age, and left a wife and two children.
FIRES AT ALBANY.
Few towns have been so unfortunate with fires as Albany. For, although only a village of about 400 inhabitants, it has suffered the loss of over $100,000 worth of property by fire.
The first large fire occurred in 1866, when the Charles Campbell block, at the time occupied as a hotel, was destroyed; loss, about $2,500. Two years later five stores, including postoffice, were consumed; loss, nearly $20,000. In 1872 five more stores were destroyed, and a loss of about $20,000 sustained, and in June, 1880, the Warren block, occupied as a hardware store, was laid in ashes, causing a loss of $8,000. But the largest and most destructive of the conflagrations occurred in 1883, and was accompanied by loss of life.
ALBANY’S GREAT FIRE.
At an early hour Tuesday morning, Nov. 27, 1883, the family of J. A. Lockridge, who were occupying rooms on the second floor of Murrey’s block, were startled by discovering that their rooms were filled with smoke so dense as to almost suffocate. The family had barely time to give the alarm to J. E. Flood’s family, occupying an adjoining suite of rooms, clothe themselves and beat a hasty retreat, before the flames were on their track.
The cry of “Fire! Fire! Fire!” rang out on the night air, and before many minutes nearly all the inhabitants of the village were at the scene of disaster. The flames spread with such rapidity that all efforts to stay their progress proved futile, and the work of saving goods was begun, but this was soon cut off by the fire breaking through the upper floors.
While the citizens were performing efficient work in the store of John Lemmel, carrying out goods, an explosion occurred from gunpowder stored on the premises, tearing down a portion of the walls of Murrey’s building, throwing the end walls into the street and instantly killing Eddie Dodge, a promising son of J. M. Dodge, who, with others, was occupied in carrying out goods. He had just reached the sidewalk when the crash came, and he was almost buried in the debris. His skull was crushed and a terrible gash cut in the right side of his neck, thus causing instant death. The iron columns in front of the building remained standing, otherwise the loss of life would have been much greater. However, a number of persons were precipitated into the cellar and narrowly escaped with their lives. Some would have perished had they not been extricated from their perilous position.
Excitement now ran high. Union block and Murrey’s block were one sheet of flames. The fire crossed the street and destroyed several wooden buildings, and it was with herculean efforts that the mill of Warren & Tomkins was saved.
The financial loss by this fire was about $60,000; insurance, $20,000. Those who suffered the loss were: N. B. Murrey, Murrey block; John Lemmel, hardware and building; J. A. Lockridge, restaurant; J. F. Litel, general store; G. W. Bartlett, drugs and building; J. Benkirk, clothing; John Hahn, boots and shoes; S. C. Tibbits, harness; A. Darling, boots and shoes; Albany Journal; Albany Vindicator; S. A. Pond, Pond’s Hall; A. F. & A. M. Hall; I. O. O. F. Hall; E. B. Dorr, blacksmith; Parker Dodge, J. F. Maynard, furniture; Humes & Bliss, harness; Charles Humphrey and E. Bagley. The following sustained bodily injury; Thomas Dorman, collar bone broken; Charles Mathews, bruised about the head; Thomas Gravenor, face cut; Richard Glennan, Fred Roberts, Will Roberts, John Lemmel, Charles Roberts and others, sustained more or less injury. How the fire originated is a mystery, but was no doubt accidental.
ON THE DEATH OF EDDIE DODGE.
[By Mrs. Nellie Jacobson.]
Little Eddie was killed in his heroic efforts in the great fire at Albany, on the night of Nov. 26, 1883. Just after returning from ringing the church bell, to arouse the citizens.
In the spring of 1867 the ice in Sugar river was thirty inches in thickness, and when the thaw came it broke up and went out with a rush causing high water. The ice went out with such force as to destroy everything it came in contact with. Thus all the bridges in the town were swept away, outbuildings were removed and the “Albany Grist Mill’ was destroyed. The damage done in the town of Albany amounted to at least $40,000. The mill destroyed being valued at about one-half that amount.
The greatest flood, however, occurred on the 30th of June, 1880, on which date Sugar river was about eight feet above low water mark and thus flooded nearly all of the streets in the village. But as there was no ice so serious damage was done, further than wetting the buildings and inconveniencing the inhabitants.
Albany in 1854
Source: History of Green County, Wisconsin, Illustrated (1884) Chapter XXVIII; transcribed by Jan Grant
The following article was published in the Janesville Gazette in 1854, and has been preserved by J. B. Perry, Esq.:
"In regard to population Albany ranks as the second town in Green county—Monroe being the first—yet Albany is a small village and one would get but a very inadequate idea of its business importance from the number of its inhabitants. The population of Albany is greatly disproportionate to the amount of its business. In fact it can be safely said that there is no other town, of its size, in the State of Wisconsin whose business transactions equal that of this village. The reason of this is found in a great measure in the extremely favorable position this village occupies. It is a central point in reference to a large and populous section of country whose trade is best accommodated here, being sufficiently distant from any surrounding village which can pretend to offer this place any effective rivalry. This village possesses another advantage the importance of which cannot be overlooked by business men. It has a capital water power. It is with no desire to make invidious comparisons, or with any unfriendly feelings toward other villages that the statement is made, that, all things considered, the hydraulic power of this place is superior to any other on Sugar river. There is one large flouring mill already in operation and there will probably be another erected here the coming season. There is also a good saw mill at this place, and there is to be a cabinet and carriage manufactory built here the ensuing spring which will make use of some of this water power. But all of the above will fall far short of exhausting it.
"In regard to the country immediately surrounding Albany, no higher praise can be accorded it than to say, it is as good, as rich, and as productive as any in Wisconsin. It is such a country as demands and guarantees the growth and prosperity of the place.
"That Albany is bound to increase rapidly in wealth and population there can be no doubt, unless, indeed, some unwise policy, or rather, obstacle is interposed to avert for the time its ‘manifest destiny.’ The statistics given below have been carefully collected by J. B. Perry, Esq., and they can be relied upon as correct. They will be found, we think, to substantiate the claims we have made for Albany:
"The Albany dealers have purchased since November last:
Pork - 236,337, lbs.
Wheat- 25,876, bu.
Corn, since October last - 18,800 bu.
Oats - 6,500,
Quails - 1,155, doz.
Poultry - 2,050, lbs.
Number of Prairie Hens - 400,
Wheat ground at mill for customers - 8,622, bu.
Oats and other feed - 3,933. bu
Flour packed - 2,000, lbs.
Capital invested in trade outside of the above - $41,250.
"Albany, Feb. 15, 1854."
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