Ozaukee County, Wisconsin

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One of the Richest and Most Fertile Regions of the Badger Commonwealth.

The Port Washington Star (4 July 1898) submitted by Diana Heser Morse

OZAUKEE COUNTY COMPRISES AN AREA OF 216 SQUARE MILES and is divided into seven townships, viz: Mequon, Cedarburg, Grafton, Saukville, Port Washington, Fredonia and Belgium. Its people follow mostly agricultural pursuits, although its principal city—Port Washington—has of late years grown to considerable importance as a manufacturing town. Dairying and barley growing constitutes the principle source of income to the people, and the nearness of the county to the state metropolis makes stock raising very profitable. Oats, rye, corn and wheat are grown with success, as are also the various vegetables and grasses common to the state. 

The general surface is gently rolling, mostly of a tillable nature, well watered, with fine groves of timber interspersed. The country between the lake shore and Milwaukee river has a red-clay soil of great depth and durability, and is particularly adapted to diversified farming, while west of the river and in the valleys is found a dark-clay loam, having in places a considerable mixture of sand.  

The country is well drained by the Milwaukee river and Cedar creek, and several well distributed smaller streams. Springs abound in the vicinity of Port Washington and Cedarburg, which have been utilized for various purposes. The water power of the Milwaukee river and of Cedar creek, the larger portion of which has been improved, is not excelled on streams of equal size anywhere in Wisconsin. Good wells are generally easily obtained, and there is still plenty of timber for home demands.   Building materials are plenty and easy to obtain, there being many ledges of Niagara lime-stone at various points throughout the county from which a superior quality of lime is made, and clay suitable for making cream colored brick. Sand is also abundant and easy of access. Quarries have been opened in Saukville, Cedarburg and Port Washington from which are taken a fair quality of building stone and sandstone. 

The state census for 1895 gives the population of Ozaukee county at 14,943, comprised mostly of German-Americans, with a few Yankees, Norwegians and Irish, and here and there a native of France. These different classes work harmoniously together, and by thrift, energy and perseverance have made themselves generally a well-to-do people, with scarcely a pauper in the whole county. 


The earliest settlement of Ozaukee county, of which we have record, Was in 1835. They were men who came to make for themselves homes in the then unbroken wilderness, and the fields and gardens that now annually teem with bountiful harvests are grand and silent witnesses of their indomitable will and patient toil. 

Prominent among the early settlers of 1836-7 was John Weston, the first postmaster in the county, who located near where Thiensville now stands. Timothy Wooden was the first settler of Grafton, and Asa Jackson the first in Saukville. William Worth was the first to donate land for public school purposes and Daniel Strickland was the pioneer school commissioner. Joseph Gardinier had the contract to cut out the Green Bay road. To Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Bigelow was born the first white child in the county, and James W. Woodworth was the first white man married in the county. Thomas Day, a devout Englishman, introduced observance of the Sabbath day, and Peter Turck first preached the doctrine of immersion. Ephriam Woodworth kept "bachelor's hall" in 1837. B. O. Zastrow originated the monthly stock fairs, which are still regularly held at various points in the county, in 1858. The Germans began coming into the county in August, 1830, Adolph  Zimmermann and his brother-in-law Wm. F. Opitz beinig the first.   They were later followed by Wm. Vogenitz and a large company of Lutherans in October of the same year. The Freistadt colony came the same year, and established a Lutheran Evangelical church, the first religious organization in the county. Other settlers came in rapidly, Fred. W. Horn in 1841, and a few years later Col Wm. Teal, Harvey J. Turner, Geo. W. Daniels, C. E. Chamberlin, I. T. Brown, Fred. Hilgen, J. Schroeder, G. W. Foster, Hiram King, Orman Oce, O. A. Watrous, Hiram Johnson, Wm. Payne, Col. B. H. Mooers, and a host of others whose early associations and the vicissitudes through which they passed have left so marked an effect on the county's history. 

An Old Settlers' Club was formed in 1873 and had a large number of names recorded in its roster at one time, but in the natural course of events has passed out of existence with the death of many of its members. The annual reunions of the club afforded great pleasure to the members but the all too frequent answer "dead" at the annual roll call so saddened the spirits of the surviving pioneers that after about ten years the gatherings were abandoned. 

Of those still living who were members of this organization may be mentioned Hervey L. Coe, Shepard E. Moore, 1844; Peter Spehn, H. B. Schwin, John P. Weyker, 1845; Wm. Beger, J. W. Sizer, F. C. Race, J. J. Bace, E. S. Turner, 1846; Mrs. O. P. Melin, L. Towsley, B. Patch, Anthony Bell, A. Bodendoerfer, Dr. Theo. Hartwig, 1847; Mrs. J. M. Boatwick, J. W. Vail, Adam Even, E. R. Blake, W. H. Landolt, W. H. Ramsey, 1848; W. A. Pors, L. Eghart, 1849; C. F. Cooley, 1850; M. Audier, 1851; John Neuens, 1852; J. C. Corrigan, J. C. Schroeling, 1853; A. Koenig, J. B. Peffer, T. Rubly, N. Jacobson, Jos. Malherbe, 1854; Jos. Albrecht, 1855. Peter Spehn is the oldest of those above named, having been born in 1815. The dates given above are the years of settlement in the county. 


The organization of Ozaukee County was effected by an act of the legislature passed March 7, 1853, the territory prior to that time forming a portion of Washington County. At the time the division was consummated, the county seat of the original Washington County was located at Port Washington, it having been removed from the village of Grafton to that place several years previous. Strenuous efforts had been made by the West Bend people to have the county seat transferred to that place. The jealousy existing between the factions representing the different towns, each claiming their respective locality to be the most favored and desired spot on which to erect a court house and other public buildings, was one of the principal causes leading to the division of the county. Considerable chicanery was resorted to, and occurrences of a kind calculated to cause ill feeling were frequent.   It is evident that at the time the division took place, a majority of the people were bitterly opposed to it, as the county officers refused to give up the records until the question had been settled by the Supreme Court. In this act they were sustained by the people.   It was many years before the inhabitants became reconciled to the change forced upon them by the legislature, but after the decision by the Supreme Court sustaining the constitutionality of the law had been handed down, the situation was accepted. Happily for all, the old grievances which then existed have passed away, and the two counties and the inhabitants thereof are good neighbors. 

The first officers of Ozaukee county were: County Judge, H. G. Turner; Register of Deeds, H. G. Schulties; County Clerk, John R. Bohan; Clerk of the Circuit Court, L. Towsley; County Treasurer, J. Fitzpatrick; Sheriff, B. F. Pidge, District Attorney, E. S. Turner. The County Board of Supervisors consisted of: John Thompson, Mequon; Wm. Schroeder, Cedarburg; Harvey G. Turner, Grafton; Patrick Hayes, Saukville; Milo M. Whedon, Port
Washington; Daniel M. Miller, Fredonia; Nicolas Langers, Belgium. 

The Board of Supervisors held its first meeting in the village of Saukville at the house of Wm. Payne and passed resolutions condemning the division of the old county. The settlement of the financial affairs of the old county caused much ill-feeling between the two new counties, but was finally amicably concluded in the fall of 1853, through a joint committee from the two counties, when the new county may be said to have fairly struck out untrammeled for itself. 

At that time the valuation of the whole county was $395,081.42, which increased in 1860 to $2,542, 538.48, in 1870 to $3,920,475.00, in 1880 to $5,420,563.00, in 1890 to $5,000,000, in 1897 to $5,374, 200. 

The Court House was built in the village of Port Washington, the county seat, in 1854. It is a substantial building of brick, three stories in height. It will probably be replaced by a more modern structure within a very few years. The first floor is fitted up for living apartments for the janitor, the second floor is used for the County Treasurer's, Clerk of the Court's, District Attorney's, and Surveyor's offices, and law offices of leading attorneys; the third is the Court room. The building cost $12,000. 

In 1867, a fireproof building, adjacent to the Court House, was erected at a cost of $6,600. It is occupied by the Register of Deeds, County Clerk, and County Judge. 

In 1893 the county erected on grounds just west of the fire-proof office building, a $20,000 Sheriff's residence and jail. 

The present county officers are: Sheriff, Wm. Alten; County Judge, Leopold Eghart; Register of Deeds, Wm. Ahlhauser; County Treasurer, John F. Bruss; Clerk of the Circuit Court, James Hedding; County Clerk, John C. Schroeling; District Attorney, E. S. Turner; Surveyor, L. Towsley; County Superintendent, Peter R. Kunny; Coronor, blank space; State Senator, representing Ozaukee and Sheboygan Counties, Hon. F. A. Dennett, of Sheboygan; Member of Assembly, Herman Schellenberg, of Horn's Corners. 


Under the county system of supervision, which was inaugurated in 1862, our schools have attained a high grade of excellence. The superintendents under whom the work has been carried on were as follows: From 1861 to 1864, Fred. W. Horn; 1864 to 1874, P. K. Gannon; 1874 to 1878, E. H. Jansen; 1878 to 1880, Adolph Heidkamp; 1880 to 1885, Wm. F. Scott; 1885 to 1889, J. E. Reichert; 1889 to 1892, A. J. Kreitzer; 1892 to 1896, H. F. Fehlandt; 1896 to 1898, P. R. Kunny. 

From the last report of Superintendent Kunny the following statistics are gathered: Number of schools in the county, 59; teachers, 81; children of school age, 6, - 499; children attending school, 3, - 398; value of school buildings and sites, $97,435; cost of running the schools, $39,438.59. 

Miss Helen Upham taught the first private school in the fall of 1839 in a log house owned by James W. Woodworth, in the town of Mequon. The first public school teacher was E. H. Janssen in 1839, followed by William Worth, who taught district No. 1, near Thiensville, in 1840, C. E. Chamberlin taught in the town of Grafton in 1842, and George W. Foster in Port Washington about the same time. Other early day teachers still living are L. Towsley, H. L. Coe, L. Eghart, W. H. Ramsey and H. B. Schwin. 


The Ozaukee County Agricultural Society was organized at Cedarburg, Jan. 31, 1859. Annual fairs were held on leased premises at Cedarburg for several years, and afterward at Saukville on land owned by Joseph Albrecht, but in 1889 after a bitter fight between Fort Washington and Cedarburg the latter place, by outbidding its rival, was given the preference as the place of holding the annual county fair. A beautiful park of nearly 30 acres, good buildings, and a half mile race track not excelled by any other grounds in the state have been provided by the public spirited citizens of Cedarburg. The fairs of the society have grown in importance so that they are now included in the State Fair racing circuit, and this county has also the proud distinction of having inaugurated the  educational department, now so popular, as well as each year showing the best exhibit. Last year over $3,000 were paid out by its treasurer in premiums and expenses. Officers are: President, W. H. Rintleman; secretary, J. Dietrich; treasurer, Louis Schroeder. 


The people of Ozaukee County first became interested in the building of railroads in 1856, the first project in this line being that of the "Milwaukee & Lake Superior Railroad." The plan adopted for the raising of funds was that the fanners were to mortgage their farms in return for stock, these mortgages to be used by the company as security upon which to raise money. This scheme met with considerable favor from the people of the county; subscriptions, or rather mortgages were freely made, and the work of grading the road began, the starting point being Milwaukee. The track was laid as far as Mequon, a distance of fourteen miles, an engine was ordered from Cincinnati, and a great public demonstration held at the arrival on the iron steed, which was christened "Mequon." This jubilant spirit was not destined to be of long duration. The President of the road, anticipating a crash, and apparently believing in the more prudent than honorable maxim, "Save himself who can", absconded with about $30,000 of the company's funds, which act of rascality soon brought matters to a climax. The company was dissolved and the mortgages distributed among the directors and a few of the favored office holders, many of them being paid at 25 cents on the dollar, while others fell into the hands of speculators, and being carried to the Supreme Court, were there decided legal, leaving the unfortunate farmers who had been inveigled into giving them, to pay them in full with interest, the transaction costing many of them the entire loss of their farms. This swindle discouraged the people of Ozaukee County from embarking in railroads enterprises for several years. 

In February, 1870, a charter was granted by the Legislature to a company styled the "Milwaukee & Northern Railroad Company," but previous to the granting of the charter a strife had risen between the towns of the eastern and western divisions of Ozaukee County as to the location of the road. Port Washington, anxious to secure the road, made liberal offers in land privileges, and was willing to pledge $20,000 additional in subscriptions secured by bonds. The railroad company, however, favored the western route, offering to touch at Saukville, a point three miles west of Port Washington. This proposition did not satisfy the people of Port Washington, they desiring to have a railroad of their own or none at all, and being strengthened in their persistency by the coast towns north, who would be left in the cold by the proposed western route. 

The Milwaukee & Northern Railroad Company being the stronger party, the lake-shore towns, including Port Washington, began to despair of having a railroad, when, to their great joy, a new avenue to the consummation of their wishes was opened by the appearance on the scene of a contractor or speculator from New York, James Easton, who made the following proposition to the Port Washington leaders: "Gentlemen, secure a charter and I will build you a railroad." Encouraged by this assurance, John R. Bohan, G. W. Foster, James W. Vail and others from Port Washington, assisted by a strong corps of railroad enthusiasts furnished by their northern allies, made all possible haste to prepare their claim for a charter. The Milwaukee & Northern Railroad Company of course opposed the movement, but finding opposition useless, decided upon a compromise. It was agreed at a union meeting of the opposing parties, that the rival claimants should both present their petitions to the Legislature, the Northern having precedence in point of time, but that neither faction should oppose the other's claim. With this understanding, the Directors of the Milwaukee & Northern Railroad were allowed to procure their charter without opposition, when everything being arranged to their entire satisfaction, they smiled serenely on their lake-shore rivals, and returned to Milwaukee to commence work on their road. 

When the time arrived for the Port Washington petitioners to present their claim for the lakeshore railroad, they found, contrary to their expectations, a strong party of lobbyists at Madison to oppose the bill, on the ground that the county of Ozaukee was not of sufficient width to warrant building two lines of railway running parallel to each other. A warm fight ensued, and the bill was defeated by one vote. Nothing daunted, the lake shore party finally succeeded in getting the bill reconsidered, when it was carried and a charter granted. 

There was a great rejoicing in Port Washington, Sheboygan, Manitowoc and other lake-shore towns over the result. Easton commenced the work at once, money was subscribed by the towns along the proposed route, and about fourteen miles of the road was graded, when the lack of funds delayed operations for a time, but responsible parties taking the matter in hand, work was recommenced and the road rapidly pushed to completion. The road was incorporated under the name of "Milwaukee, Manitowoc and Green Bay Railroad Company, March 10, 1870. 

The Milwaukee & Northern Ry. was completed and in operation in 1871. It is now owned and is called the Lake Superior division of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Ry. The Milwaukee & Green Hay Railroad Co., after considerable changes, was re-organized as the Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Ry. and completed in 1873. Several years ago it was absorbed by the Northwestern Line, and is now known as the Lake Shore division. 

The two roads run parallel with each other, at an average distance of five miles apart, through the entire country, north and south. It is not at all improbable that a spur connecting the two roads will be built between Port Washington and Saukville at no distant day as manufacturers of the former city are determined to have another outlet for shipment of their products. 

History of Washington and Ozaukee Counties Wisconsin (1881) submitted by Diana Heser Morse

This terrible and malignant disease made its first appearance in Port Washington during the summer of 1849, when, in the space of two weeks, it ravaged almost every home in the village. In many cases whole families were prostrated by its direful influence. The exact number of deaths caused by the disease during its reign of that year is not given. Some of those who passed through the trying ordeal claim that the mortality would range somewhere in the fifties. In the spring of 1854, it again made its appearance in the village, this time with more fatal results, the number of deaths in ten days being sixty-five. There was scarcely a family in the town but was deprived of a member. Its victims were selected from all ages, from the babe in the cradle to the aged sire. The old settlers who still remain say that they sincerely hope that it may never be their lot to witness another such sight as that caused by the dreadful devastation made by the cholera of 1849 and 1854.

History of Washington and Ozaukee Counties Wisconsin 1881; submitted by Diana Heser Morse

The first white settlers were a company of land speculators and traders led by Wooster Harrison, familiarly known as Gen. Harrison. This company landed at Port Washington, September 7, 1835, and during the fall laid out the town at the mouth of Sauk Creek. The first name given was that of Wisconsin City; but there being another place of the same name in the State, it was changed to Washington City. The first post office was established as Washington, receiving its present name of Port Washington from George C. Daniels, in 1844. The founders of Wisconsin City carried on a brisk trade for a period of two years. Extortionate prices were asked and paid for all kinds of produce. Lands quadrupled in value in a fortnight; money was plenty; speculators wild.

Everybody seemed to swim in a sea of excitement; intoxicated with success, they rushed blindly into a whirlpool of inflation, only to be swallowed up by the great financial crash caused by the panic of 1837. The high prices which had been paid could not be sustained, and the little colony of fortune-hunters were compelled to succumb to the stern reality of a contracted currency. They were buried in the general ruin.

The actors who had taken part in this speculative drama soon abandoned the scene, leaving Waubeka, an old Indian chief and his tribe, in full possession of the little harbor, where, in their dreams of prosperity, they had pictured a nourishing city.

A year later, Aurora Adams and Asa Case came to brood over the wreck of the once proud Wisconsin City. No traces of their predecessors remained, with the exception of one or two houses, which had been left standing, and a fresh mound of earth with two plain boards, which marked the last resting place of Gen. Harrison's wife. Hers was the first death; she died October 10, 1835.

Aurora Adams took possession of one of the deserted houses and opened a hotel for the accomodation of travelers on their way to Sheboygan. Port Washington being the half-way point on the trail then used between that city and Milwaukee.

Asa Case built him a little store-house near the lake. He was an oddity in his way, but managed to do a fair trade in supplying the men who traversed the trail with tobacco and provisions. His first invoice consisted of one barrel sugar, one sack coffee, one gross matches, one jug molasses, ten pounds tobacco, one keg nails, two boxes crackers, one hoop cheese. When the settlements of 1843 began, he seemed to realize that his best days were over. Subsequently, he sold his store and started on foot for Sheboygan, when he was discovered by a peddler about ten miles north of Port Washington, lying on the road with a severe gash in his throat. The old man was brought back to the village, when he stated that he had been waylaid by two men who had robbed him of all his money. His wound was dressed, but neither by persuasion or force could he be induced to eat. He died from sheer starvation.

The first dwelling house built in the village was erected by Gen. Harrison in 1835. It is still standing apparently in a good state of preservation. It is a little story-and-a-half frame building, gable end, the sills resting on the ground. A partition divides the first floor into two apartments, and also the upper or half story. It was at this house that the first votes of the town were polled. This old and time-worn structure has become one of the sacred relics of the past, commanding a prominent place in the history of the town of Port Washington, not only on account of the relation it bears to the first white settler of the village, but because it once served as a shelter to one of America's greatest statesmen. It may be of interest to mention the fact that the great and martyred President, Abraham Lincoln, during his days of roughing it, once walked from Milwaukee to Sheboygan, and stopped a night in this old house. After the defeat of the Merrimac by the Monitor, Mr. Lincoln, in company with some of his Cabinet officers, visited Fortress Monroe to get a practical knowledge of the fort. While viewing the works, desiring some information, he approached an officer, who proved to be Capt. Beger, from Port Washington. "Well, my man," said Lincoln, "where are you from?" "Port Washington," replied the Captain. "Port Washington—let me see: that is in Wisconsin, about twenty-five miles north of Milwaukee, is it not?" The Captain answered that it was. "I stopped there over night once," said the President; "just name over some of the men who lived there in the early days." The Captain proceeded to name over quite a number, finally mentioning that of Harrison. "Harrison, that is the man!" said Mr. Lincoln, "I remember him well." He then walked off to join his escort, leaving Capt. Beger very much elated to think that his town had been honored by the presence of so great a man.

In 1843, Wooster Harrison returned in company with Ormnn Coe, Ira C. Loomis, Solon Johnson, O. A. Watrous, Col. Teall and others, and began to make permanent improvements. As there was no pier built at that time, they were compelled to wade quite a distance before they could effect a landing, and when on shore rough crafts were built on which to convey the women ami children. Houses were speedily erected, and the establishing of a town began in earnest. A pier was built out to a point in the lake where boats could land their passengers and cargoes, after which the vessels touched regularly.

During the three years which followed, there was quite an influx into the town of people from the Eastern States. Aurora Adams was superseded in the hotel business by a man named Thomas, and had taken up quarters in one of the old houses which had been left standing from 1835. It had been built by one of Col. Teall's agents, and wishing to take possession of his property, the Colonel notified Adams to vacate, which he refused to do. Teall then procured a writ of restitution, and in company with the Constable, proceeded to the house. On being refused admittance, the officer attempted to force an entrance, when the report of a rifle and the whiz of a bullet compelled them to beat a hasty retreat. The shot was supposed to have been fired by Adams's wife. She was immediately arrested and taken to Milwaukee, where she was tried for the offense, but acquitted for lack of evidence.

O. A. Watrous was appointed the first Postmaster of the village. Hansen & Reymert kept the first store after the 1843 settlement. James D. Reymert is now the recognized Scandinavian lawyer of New York City. The early settlers experienced numerous hardships in getting provisions and lumber. The nearest grist-mill was that of Deisner's, near Waukesha, a distance of thirty-eight miles.


This large and populous town forms the whole of the southern boundary of Ozaukee
County, and comprises all of Town 9 in Range 21, and a fractional township in Range 22.


The first white settlers of Mequon were Isaac Bigelow and Daniel Strickland, who emigrated with their families from the British possessions and settled in the town of Mequon in 1836. The territory at that time was one dense wilderness, the only thoroughfares, if such they could be called, were the Indian trails, leading in different directions through the vast country which lies north and west of the village. The pioneers followed one of these trails north until they came to Mequonsippi or Pigeon Creek, where they proceeded to erect for themselves rude shanties out of such material as could be found until they could replace them with more substantial log structures. In 1837, James W. Woodworth and his brother Ephraim came and took up claims near by. In 1838, William Worth, Taylor Haverlin, John Weston, Peter Tnrek, Reuben Wells, Isham Day, Joseph Loomer and several Irish families made settlements in the town. During the month of August, 1830, William F. Opitz, in company with his father, mother, sister and brother-in-law, Adolph Zimmerman, came and settled in what is now known as Mequon proper, one-half mile south of where the village of Theinsville is now situated. They were the first German settlers. A month later, they were followed by five German families, consisting of Andrew Geidel, Michael Mueller, Andrew Lanzendorf, W. Schumann and Gottfried Baer. During the same year, the Bonniwells, William, George, James, Charles, Henry and Alfred came from England and settled that portion of Mequon now known as the Bonniwell District. Next after the Bonniwells came the Friestadt Colony, numbering about sixty families. These people sheltered themselves at first in tents. Timothy Wooden, the first settler in the town of Grafton, and a neighbor of his, helped the Germans to erect their log houses. A year later, the colonists erected a log meeting-house, the first structure of the kind built in old Washington County. In the month of May, 1840, Edward H. Janssen, Henry Heisen and John Thompson located in Mequon, and at once set about clearing the lands and interesting themselves in the general welfare of the community. Edward H. Janssen was the first German school teacher in the town. He was a man of great enterprise, and soon became an active worker in the politics of the county. Besides holding important offices in the town, he was made a member of the Constitutional Convention, was elected for two terms to the office of Register of Deeds, and, in 1851, was elected to the important office of State Treasurer. In 1854, he in company with his brother and a man by the name of Geitsch built the Hamilton Grist Mill, a large stone structure located on Cedar Creek, a mile south of the village. He was afterward elected County superintendent of Schools, which office he held at the time of his death, which occurred during the year 1877.

Poll List for 1846, town of Port Washington was as follows:
Abram Bates, Abram Ingersoll, Wooster Harrison, William Teale, A. Cuningham, John Barrett, Jr., R. B. Freeman, O. A. Watrous, Barney S. Kelly, A. C. Klinglen, Jonathan Loomis, Jacob Anderson, John Chion, Charles Lunderborg, John Thomas, Andrew Watterstrom, William Rice, Orman Cow, Hugh Owen, Nicholas Watrey, S. Tallakson, J. Duigl, Benjanin Safford, Hilgen Allendorf, John Bourtow, Charles Bourtow, Joseph Allendorf, John Schole, M. Persow, John Suell, Martin Mix, John P. Watrey, Peter Wolf, A. E. Boesswater, L. N. Loomis, Joseph Loucely, Jean Weycher, Thomas Micheal, Solon Johnson, Harvey Moore, Henry Schmidt; Francis Opladen, Theodore Stemper, William Mix, William S. Cow, Nicholas Poncely, John Ditz, Pierre Holtigen, P. Bievier, John Virland, George C. Daneisl, Stephen Mix, N. Riding R. Griswold, David Acker, E. Sloutenborg, Theodore Corman, Clark Bourtow, Lemuel Hyde, Jacob Pors, Lewis Jones, Loring D. Cunningham, Isaac C. Loomis, Allen C. Daniels, John McLean, W. P. Thomas, S. P. Watson, J. B. Young, F. W. Merritt, Washington Leonard, Harry Williams, John Longly, B. F. Pidge, George W. Foster, J. P. De Contres

The foregoing is the poll list kept by me at the town election, held at Port Washington, on the first Tuesday of April, 1846.
(signed) George W. Foster, Clerk of said Election
I certify that the above is a true copy.
(signed) F. W. Merritt, Town Clerk


The natural beauties of Port Washington, the county seat of Ozaukee County, are unsurpassed by any of the lake-shore towns. The village is built in a recess formed by Nature, in the shape of the letter U.

Two bluffs, three-quarters of a mile apart from north to south, and with an elevation of a hundred feet at the lake, recede westward a distance of half a mile, where they are joined by a bluff, running north and south, forming walls on three sides, from the base of which the land takes a gradual slope to the lake, thus shaping a natural basin. Through the west bluff is an aperture, by which Sauk Creek finds its way to Lake Michigan. Back of this hill are a number of smaller elevations, extending along the banks of Sauk Creek; resting on these knolls are handsome residences, many of them having terraces fringed with shade trees and flower-beds.

To the west of Sauk Creek is a large opening or ravine, which extends back to the forest beyond. A small tributary of the creek winds through the ravine, and is fed by a number of springs along its banks. The rivulet cuts its way through two embankments, a short distance from Sauk Creek; by walling the channel of the stream level with the banks, an artificial lake could be formed, which would extend back to a beautiful forest about a mile beyond.

This lake would have an average width of a quarter of a mile, while its widest point would be about three-quarters of a mile. When this plan is carried to completion, with a good summer hotel erected near the grove, on the shore of the artificial lake, a more inviting place for tourists cannot be found in the State.

The numerous mounds which exist in and around the vicinity of the village, lead many to suppose that this quiet retreat was resorted to by the Indians as a favorite burying ground. There is no doubt that the Jesuits of the seventeenth century made this one of their stopping points, while endeavoring to teach the noble red men of the forest to comprehend the infinite greatness of their God.

Belgium History
Source: "Histories of Washington and Ozaukee Counties", Western Publishing, (1881) submitted by Mary Saggio, and displayed here with her permission

The town of Belgium forms the northeast boundary of Ozaukee County, and comprises all of Township 12, Range 22, and a fractional Township 12, Range 23.

It was set off from the original town of Port Washington, and incorporated in 1848. Among those who took an active part in the organization were John Weyker, Nicholas Sosley, Anthony Bartol, S. Wilgen, Nicholas Watry, Nicholas Reading, Peter Buwer, Theodore Pierson, John P. Watry, Bernard Schomer, Nicholas Langers and Nicholas Watry. The first regular meeting was held at the house of John Weyker, July 11, 1848. John Weyker was appointed Moderator, and Samuel Reynolds, Clerk of the Election. The first school meeting was also held at the house of John Weyker, when the following officers were elected: District No. 1 - Trustees, Dominique Wolf, Nicholas Reading and Anthony Bartol; Collector, John Weyker. District No. 2 was formed in 1849.

The population of Belgium is composed principally of Germans and Luxemburgers, who adhere to the customs of their native countries. Their principal occupation is farming, the products of the soil making up the bulk of their resources. Next in importance to agriculture, is the manufacture of cheese. There are five large milk and cheese dairies in the town, which are pushed with considerable enterprise, adding materially to the revenue, besides creating a profitable market for the farmers to dispose of their surplus milk, which otherwise would be of little value to them. While there are no villages in the town, stores are stationed at central points where the farmers are accommodated with a market for their produce. There are two post offices conveniently located; one taking the name of Holy Cross, the other that of Belgium Station, established on the line of the Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Railroad. The farmers of Belgium are noted for their industry, and have , in a remarkable short time, changed what was once a dense forest, into well-cultivated farms, each one possessing a good dwelling-house and barn. There are two Catholic Churches in the town, this being the only denomination represented. The meeting-houses are substantial stone structures, and are designated by the names of Holy Cross and Lake Church, the latter being located in the eastern part of the town near the lake, and presided over by Rev. George Leetner. The Holy Cross congregation numbered, in 1846, twelve families. They held services at first at private houses; Rev. Anthony Meyer was the first visiting priest. In 1848, a log meeting-house was erected as a place of worship. This rude structure was replaced by the present edifice, a handsome stone building, erected in 1865, under the supervision of Rev. Fusseder, and dedicated by Bishop Henni, of Milwaukee. In 1881, the congregation added a two-story stone building, at a cost of $4,000, for school purposes. The school is in charge of three Sisters of the order of St. Dominique. Both the German and English languages are taught in the school, the average attendance being about eighty. The church has also erected, at various points along the public highways, shrines or places of prayer. These buildings are pained white and are handsomely decorated throughout with artistically designed crosses and holy emblems of the church. The public schools of Belgium have not been neglected. The town is divided into eight districts, each of which contains either a frame or stone schoolhouse, surrounded with grounds sufficiently large to accommodate the children, with ample room for their out-door sports.

Cedarburg History
Source: "Histories of Washington and Ozaukee Counties", Western Publishing, 1881; submitted by Mary Saggio, and displayed here with her permission

The town of Cedarburg was set off from Grafton and organized in 1849. Among those who took an active part in the organization were C.E. Chamberlin, John McGill, John Roth, John Dunne, John Smith, Frederick Hilgen, William Schroeder, C. Rentleman, Charles Deberpool, J. Arndt, Reuben Wells, Michael Gorman, John Seidell, James GAFFERNEY, Dr. H. Boclo, Dr. S. Hartwig, Edward Nolan, L.L. Sweet and James Ruddy. The Board of Supervisors, composed of the following gentlemen, William Vognitz, Henreich Krohn and Edward Nolan, met at the house of George Fisher, in the village of Cedarburg April 23, 1849, where they proceeded to lay out the different road districts of the town. The oldest settlement was that known in early days as the New Dublin District. It derived its name from the fact that the majority of the settlers had immigrated from Ireland.

As nearly as can be ascertained, Joseph Gardinier, better known among the old settlers as "Miserly Joe," was the first white man to make an onslaught and break the solid phalanx of the forests in this section. Joe was employed by the agents who had charge of the survey and construction of the old Milwaukee and Green Bay road, and made his headquarters in a little log shanty near Cedar Creek, where the Hamilton Mills now stand. Samuel Place, L. Fox, Valentine Hand, I.S. Brown, and Daniel Strickland were the first to make improvements in the district. Valentine Hand built a hotel, which served as an excellent rendezvous for the old pioneers in which to crack their jokes and sample the bourbon of "Mine Host." It was at one of these meetings that a resolution to change the name of the district was offered. The proposition met with considerable opposition, but was finally passed, and, in 1847, New Dublin District was re-christened, and has ever since been known as the Hamilton District. Of I.S. Brown, an old settler relates the following: "Brown had evidently met with reverses in the East in money matters, which was the principal cause of his seeking the seclusion which the wilds of Wisconsin afforded. He was highly educated, a perfect gentleman, courteous in his manners and charitable in disposition. These excellent traits of character won for him the esteem of all who knew him. But some hidden secret of his past life seemed to weigh upon his mind. Melancholy had taken full possession of his being, creating a desire for solitude. The old settlers soon came to understand and respect his feelings, leaving him to seek, as was his delight, the hidden retreats of the forest undisturbed, and to seek intercourse with his fellowmen only at such times as his own inclinations might prompt him.” Of his home, the following lines of Spenser form an excellent description:

"A little lowly hermitage it was,
Down in a dale, hard by a forest's side;
Far from resort of people that did pass
In travel to and fro."


The development of the public-school system, and the establishment of school districts commanded the attention of the early settlers from the first, and the rapid advancement made in this important branch reflects much credit on the pioneers. The first School Commissioners in the town were Daniel Strickland, H.V. Bonniwell and Levi Ostrander.


The streams of Ozaukee County afford excellent facilities for water-power. The early settlers in this section were not slow to discover these natural advantages, and, as some old writer has put it, “necessity is the mother of invention,” so these men, cast into the wilderness, out of the reach of civilization, and destitute of a market or the means of manufacturing breadstuffs, were entirely dependent on their own exertions to supply the deficiency. Log shanties were built which served them as a shelter, where they cracked the kernels of the grain by hand, until saw-mills to make their lumber and grist-mills to grind their flour could be erected. Reuben Wells was the first to come to their relief, by erecting a combined saw and grist mill on Cedar Creek, near where the village now stands. In 1844, Frederick Hilgen, the father and founder of Cedarburg, in company with William Schroeder, another worthy pioneer, came out from Milwaukee to Hamilton on the Green Bay road, from which point they cut a new road to the site upon which the village of Cedarburg now stands. They found the four Kroth brothers, Carl Dapperpool, Patrick Smith, Hugo Pool and Thomas Brokaw living in the vicinity, where they had made for themselves a few small clearings and erected a number of rude huts. They purchased thirty-five acres of land, at $35 per acre, from the Kroth Brothers, and immediately set about hewing timber with which to lay the foundation of a grist-mill, which they completed the same year - a half log and half frame structure. The following year they built two or three dwelling-houses, and a building for store purposes, the first in the village of Cedarburg. In 1847, they added a saw-mill, and made improvements on the dam which had been affected by high water. In 1855, the frame mill was taken down and a large stone one, six stories high, erected in its place. In 1865, Mr. Hilgen sold his interest to Joseph Trottman, the present partner of Mr. Schroeder. The latter, though now silvered with age, still retains his position in the mill, which has now a capacity of 120 barrels of flour per day. The cost of the building was $22,000. Mr. Schroeder was the first store-keeper, and was also appointed the first Postmaster of the village.

The Columbia Mill, located three-quarters of a mile east of the village, on Cedar Creek, was built in 1846 by Dr. Luming & Bros. Objections were made by some of the early settlers who lived in the close proximity to the mill, to the dam, which caused the water to overflow their land. This dam was subsequently torn down, and a new one built further east on the creek, when everything proved satisfactory. The mill property was purchased by Gustav Pfiel in 1851, at sheriff's sale. Pfiel made several improvements, and run the mill for a period of two years, when he sold it to Joseph Trottman, who held possession until 1864, when he sold out to E. Hilgen, E. Stallman and Charles Barthel. The latter was succeeded by William Rahn, in 1865. One year later, E. Stallman disposed of his interest to Hilgen and Rahn. The mill again changed hands in 1875, Mr. F. Hoehm this time being the purchaser. Hoehm met with poor success, and the property was foreclosed. It was then rented for a period of three years to Boedendoefer & Zaun. At the expiration of the lease, September 1, 1880, the mill was sold at Sheriff's sale, to the Northwestern Life Insurance Company of Milwaukee. On June 1, 1881, the company sold to Mr. Zaun, who rebuilt the dam, which had been washed away by the spring flood of the same year. The mill is now in good running order, has four sets of stone, and a capacity of eighty barrels of flour per day, besides custom work. The fall at this point is thirteen feet. Hilgen & Meyer opened a store at the mills in 1874. This undertaking proved unprofitable, as their buildings were destroyed by fire two years later, after which disaster the enterprise was abandoned. There are two other grist-mills in the town of Cedarburg.

The Excelsior Mill is a large stone structure, built in 1875, by H. Wahausen & Co., at a cost of $21,000. The property is now owned by Henry Colway. The power at this point is the finest on Cedar Creek. The fall obtained is twenty-five feet. The mill is located in Section 26.

The Hamilton Grist-Mill was built by Edward H. Janssen in 1854. It is now the property of Andrew Bodendorfer.

Ranking high among the manufacturing interests of the village of Cedarburg, is the Hilgen Manufacturing Company, established in 1872 by Frederick Hilgen & Son, at a cost of $25,000. In 1879, the business was purchased by the following-named gentlemen: Diedrich Wittenberg, J.W. Johann, J.H. Wittenberg, from the F. Hilgen estate. J.H. Winner is President. The company manufactures doors, sash, moldings, blinds, glazed sash and Straub's Wash Machines. They also handle lumber in large quantities, and employ regularly seventy-five men. The mill is run by a forty-horse-power engine, and does a business of $125,000 annually. The company have warerooms at 458 to 466 Third street, Milwaukee.

The Cedarburg Woolen-Mill, run by water-power obtained from Cedar Creek, was built in 1865, at a cost of $30,000, by Hilgen & Wittenberg. The business was carried on under this name until 1872, when the mill was incorporated as the Cedarburg Mill, D. Wittenburg, President; H. Wittenburg, Treasurer; J.W. Johann Secretary. The principal productions of the mill are yarns, blankets and flannels. The company employ on an average about forty-five hands, and does a business of $100,000 per annum. The mill contains twelve broad and three narrow looms, three knitting-machines for scarfs and jackets, and three for other purposes. The floor contains four sets of carding machines; second floor, weaving and spinning; the upper floor is used for twisting, reeling and storing goods. This company built a branch mill in the village of Grafton, in 1880, at a cost of $40,000. This mill manufactures worsted yarns, and is the only one of the kind west of Philadelphia. The machinery was imported from England. The mill is in charge of Joseph Isles, formerly of Philadelphia. he has in his employ sixty hands, and does a business of $125,000 annually.

The pioneer blacksmith of Cedarburg Village was Joseph Carley, who made a clearing in 1844 and built himself a shop and dwelling house. He obtained heat from charcoal burned by himself. The first doctor was Theodore Hartwig, who came into the village in 1846, and, in company with Hugo Boclo, opened the first drug store. Mr. Boclo still flourishes under the pharmacy sign. The brewing interest of the village were started in 1848, by Engles & Schaeffer.

Frederick Hilgen, the founder of Cedarburg Village, came to this country in 1844, and located in the city of Milwaukee. During the same year, he, in company with William Schroeder, started on a prospecting tour through what was then the wilds of old Washington County. They followed the Green Bay road north until they came to what is now called Hamilton, when they proceeded to cut a road from that point through the timber to the site where the village of Cedarburg now stands -- a distance of one mile. Being favorably impressed with the facilities afforded by the creek at this place for water-power, they at once began preparations for building a grist-mill. This enterprise was completed the following year, when both Mr. Hilgen and Mr. Schroeder decided to make this their permanent abode, and immediately set about clearing the land upon which to erect homes for themselves and families. From that time, Mr. Hilgen employed every means within his power to build up and advance the interests of Cedarburg Naturally enterprising, he seemed to possess the faculty of inspiring others with the same loftiness of spirit. Let any new project be started worthy of support, Mr. Hilgen would be among the first to aid in its completion. In 1864, Mr. Hilgen, in company with D. Wittenberg and Joseph Trottman, commenced the erection of the Cedarburg Woolen-Mill. The following year, he exchanged his interest in the grist-mill with Mr. Trottmann for his share in the woolen-mill, when the factory was run under the firm name of Hilgen & Wittenberg. In 1872, Mr. Hilgen engaged with his son in the lumber business, when he built the large planing-mill now known as the Hilgen Manufacturing Company. The Hilgen Spring Park, a favorite summer resort, was laid out by him in 1852. The park comprises seventy-four acres, thirty acres of which is forest. The grove is one of the finest in this part of the State. There are two good hotel buildings, a band stand, spring and bath-house, besides several fountains in connection with artistically designed flower-beds and fine gravel-walks, which intersect at various points throughout the parks. The grounds and hotels are now the property of the Hilgen heirs, and are at present in charge of John F. Hilgen, who is keeping them in repair until a sale of the estate can be consummated. The spring has become quite popular, and is visited every summer by people from St. Louis, Chicago and New Orleans. Mr. Hilgen was also interested in the Bank of Cedarburg, which was organized March 20, 1868, under his supervision. These are among the principal enterprises in which he was the prime mover, and which now stand as grand witnesses of his energetic and useful career, which was brought to a close by the never-failing agent, March 27, 1879. Mr. Hilgen's death was deeply deplored by the community in which he lived, and when the imposing obsequies giving back his remains to mother earth had ended, scarcely a heart in all the town of Cedarburg but mourned the loss of "Father Hilgen," a name given to him by the old settlers. Mr. Hilgen was the father of thirteen children, eight of whom are still living.

This band was organized March 20, 1868, by the following-named stockholders: Frederick Hilgen, William Schroeder, Henry Wehausen, Frederick Schatz, Juenjen Schroder, Joseph Trottmann and Adolph Zimmerman. The capital stock was fixed at $25,000, and divided into 250 shares of $100 each. These shares were held as follows: Frederick Hilgen, William Schroeder and Juenjen Schroder, fifty shares each; Henry Wehausen, Frederick Schatz, Joseph Trottmann and Adolph Zimmerman, twenty-five share each. This institution did not prove a success financially, and was discontinued at the end of three years.


The village of Cedarburg was founded by Frederick Hilgen and William Schroeder in the year 1845. The village possesses natural advantages rarely surpassed by a town of its size. Cedar Creek, besides furnishing excellent water-power, has in connection with its small tributaries, chiseled out ravines, along which are a dozen or more elevations of greater or less magnitude, forming grand foundations which have been utilized for resident sites. The business portion of the village rests on a level tract of land, the storehouses and public buildings being mostly of stone and brick. Considerable enterprise has been manifested by the people of Cedarburg in both their private and public buildings. In the way of manufactures, the village ranks among the first of its size in the State, the capital invested in the various manufacturing enterprises being estimated at $250,000. The village has a population of 1,000, and is afforded an outlet for its manufactured and farming products by the Wisconsin Central Railroad, which touches the eastern portion of the town, near to the Hilgen Spring Park, a favorite summer resort, one of the many enterprises established by “Father HILGEN,” as he was familiarly termed by the old settlers. The village has good public schools, several parochial schools, four church edifices, three Lutheran and one Catholic, the latter being one of the finest buildings of the kind in the county. It is located on an elevation at the head of Main street, and forms one of the principal attractions of the village. It is a magnificent stone structure, and was erected at a cost of #30,000. The Lutheran Church edifices are neat, unpretentious buildings, one of wood, and two of stone.

The Fire Company was organized March, 1867, with thirty-one members. The officers were: Fred Schatz, Chief; William Rettburg, First Assistant; Phil Roth, Second Assistant; Charles Wilke, Secretary; P. Wehausen, Treasurer; John Weber, Hose Captain; F. Bergmann, Assistant Hose Captain; A. Graef, Captain Hook and Ladder Company; John Roth, Assistant; George Strihle, Janitor. The house now owned by Hugh McElroy, and used as a dwelling, was built for the company, and for an engine-house. The company had a hand-engine, with about 500 feet of leather hose; cost $800. Soon after its organization it was merged in the Turner Society, and remained so until April 27, 1875, at which time it again became a separate organization, and in the fall of the same year built their present engine-house, a frame building 18 x 38, on a lot for which they obtained a perpetual lease from School District No. 2. The company has discarded the old leather hose, and now has 700 feet of rubber hose. In 1880, a hook and ladder department was added at a cost of $250. The present officers are E. Langheinrech, Chief; Henry Roth, First Assistant; A. Boemer, Second Assistant; G. Burthmann, Hose Captain; C. Boxhorn, Assistant Hose Captain; P.P. Dietrich, Hook and Ladder Captain; G.H. Wirth, Assistant; John Bruss, Treasurer; H. Wehansen, Jr., Secretary; H.C. Nero, G.H. Hilgen, Robert Pfleger, Treasurer. The company holds a meeting on the first Friday of each month, and practice the day following. They have not been called out to a fire for about two years.

The Turn Verein was organized August, 1853, as the Cedar and Hamilton Society, with forty-five members. In 1867, the Hamilton members withdrew and formed a separate society, since which time the Cedarburg members have taken the name of Cedarburg Turn Verein. They built their present hall in 1868. It is located on Sheboygan street, and is a fine stone building costing over $5,000. The society hold their meetings on the first Tuesday of each month. Present officers are Charles VOGEL, First Speaker; Joseph Trottmann, Second Speaker; G. H. Hilgen, Secretary; A.R. Bomer, Treasurer; P.P. Dietrich, Assistant Treasurer; H. Wehausen, Jr., First Turn Master; G.A. Bomer, Second Turn Master; Theo. Krause, Janitor; John Weber, G. Wurthmann, H. Wehausen, Jr., Trustees.

Astrea Lodge, No. 104, A., F. and A.M. was removed from Port Washington to Cedarburg in 1863, being organized in the former place on the 24th of March, 1858. Its first officers were: William A. Pors, W.M.; C. Beyor, S.W.; B. Schommer, J.W.; S.A. White, Treasurer; Ulrich Landolt, Secretary; L. Eghart, S.D.; C.W. Bials, J.D.; E.J. Dodge, Tiler. On March 4, 1863, a committee, consisting of Charles Wilke, H. Boels and Dr. Theo. Hartwig, was appointed to find a new location for the lodge, on account of the disturbance caused by the draft riot, and Cedarburg was decided upon. The present officers are Edward Langheinrich, W.M.; Henry Hentsche, S.W.; William Lehmann, J.W.; Andrew Bodendoerfer, Treasurer; Charles Wilke, Secretary; Gustave Banze, S.D.; John W. Johann, J.D.; Ehrg. Zschommber, Tiler.

The I.O.O.F. of Cedarburg was organized in Newburg, a charter granted July 13, 1862, and the lodge removed to Cedarburg, December 20, 1873. First officers were: E.H. Gilson, N.G.; G.E. Vandercook, Vice N.G.; J.B. Kendall, R. Secretary; E. Frankenberg, P. Secretary; J.F. Collins, Treasurer The present officers are William Rettberg, N.G.; John Mueller, Vice G.; Charles Wilke, R. Secretary; Charles Law, P. Secretary; George Anschatz, Treasurer.

The post office was first kept by William Schroeder, then by Hugo Boclo, who held the office for about fifteen years. Louis Burgstaal was the next incumbent, succeeded by John W. Johan, who is now Postmaster.

The Hamilton Mill is owned by Andrew Bodendoerfer, who bought the place in 1860. The village has one flour-mill, a marble-yard, one wagon-shop and a blacksmith-shop.

There are three hotels -- the Cedarburg House, Washington House and Hartford House.

The Cedarburg House is a stone building built in 1861, by Andrew Kruther, who has since that time made various improvements and additions to the property. It is now valued at $4,000. Mr. Kruther still remains proprietor of the house.

Town of Fredonia
Source: "Histories of Washington and Ozaukee Counties", Western Publishing, (1881) submitted by Mary Saggio, and displayed here with her permission

The town of Fredonia was set off from Port Washington, and incorporated in the month of April, 1847. It comprises all of Township 12 in Range 21. The first town meeting was held in the spring of 1847, at the house of Hiram King. The officers of election were chosen, sums were then voted for the purposes herein mentioned: For incidental expenses, $25; for support of the poor, $80; for construction of bridges, $80. It was voted further that the town officers be compensated at the rate of $1 per day. It was also voted that the fences in the town should be five feet high, and that there should be no cracks in the fences within two feet of the ground to exceed four inches in width. The following town officers were then elected: Supervisors, Isaac Carmen, William Kelly and William H. Bunce; Town Clerk, R.H. Manney; Justices of the Peace, Lemuel Hyde and Edward Bunce; Collector, Jacob M. Sutton; School Commissioners, John H. Hovey, J.T. Irwin and Sylvester Whiting; Assessors, Thomas Irwin, Joseph Mooney and John Wonderly; Highway Commissioners, Daniel M. Miller, William Bunce and Homer Johnson; Constables, Alanson Arnold and Hugh Kelly; Sealer of Weights and Measures, William Bell; Fence Viewers, William R. Davis, Lemuel Hyde and Albert Read; Treasurer, William R. Davis. The following poll-list taken from the first election held in 1847 will show who the early settlers and founders of Fredonia were:


William Bunce, Edward Shubert, George Kollor, Joseph Lichart, Joseph Rix, Frantz Bear, Thomas Ruland, Julius Schubert, George Briedgert, Peter Nerberst, Adam Wachter, John Kollor, Martin Kollor, George Feirreisew, William Beger, Charles Beger Christ. Beger, Charles Rudolph, Andrew Liebel, George Beck, August Ohrling, Charles Milleer William Kelly, Jacob M. Sutton, William Heinberg, Edward S. Bunce, Thomas McCowen, Joseph McCowen, George W. Virgil, Jeremiah Lott, Isaac Carmen, Clark Boughton, Hamilton Bunce, William Hudson, C.S. Griffin, Hiram King, E. Tollett, Henry Orcutt, John Wonderly, Michael Bratt, Thomas Kelly, Joseph Smith, King Case, Oren Case, Michael Casler, Joseph Mooney, B. Patch, Hiram Hills, Lemuel Hyde, Hugh Kelly, Arlanson Arnold, R.H. Manney, W.R. Davis, Thomas Johnson, I.L. Irwin, J.K. Hovey, Daniel W. Miller, Albert Read, Samuel Shaff, Joseph Shaff and B.S. Cassell. Total, sixty one.


The first white man that settled in the town of Fredonia was Hiram King, who took up quarters in 1844, in a wigwam located on the Indian trail which followed close to the Milwaukee River, and now forms the present site of the village of Waubeka. King was well advanced in years, having served as a soldier in the war of 1812. He, in company with his wife, fitted up a sort of hotel for the accommodation of travelers who might chance to pass that way. The old man took an active part in the organization of the town, and was elected to several important offices. He remained in the town for a number of years, when he sold out his property and emigrated to the western part of the State, where he is still living in the ninety-second year of his age. The first post office in Fredonia was kept by William Bell, on the line of the old Fond du Lac road. The office was established in 1848. Previous to that time, the nearest post office was the one in the village of Saukville, kept by George Tischbein. In 1846, Clark Boughton and Lemuel Hyde were appointed to superintend and construct the Sheboygan road, from the Saukville bridge, north to the Sheboygan line. The road was surveyed by Col. William Teall, of Port Washington.

The first school district of Fredonia was formed as early as 1846, by the School Commissioners of Port Washington. The district was called Number 3, and comprised all that part of Town 12, Range 21, lying east and north of the Milwaukee River. School district Number 4, was formed March 7, 1847. The pioneer teachers were: Mrs. Emily Bunce, Miss Harriet Cochran, Mrs. Julia Orentt, Charles M. Kreysig and Joseph Carroll. The report of the School Commissioners for the year 1847, were as follows:

Total number of scholars enrolled - 54
Number of districts - 4
Number of schoolhouses - 1
Number of teachers - 2
Amount of money raised for school purposes - $64.75

School Report for the year 1880:
Number of scholars enrolled - 495
Number of whole districts - 8
Number of fractional districts - 2
Number of teachers employed - 11
Number of schoolhouses - 10
Cash value of school property in the town - $6,230.00
Amount of money raised for school purposes $3,399.99
Total expenditures - $2,442.26
Balance on hand August 31, 1880 - $957.73

The pioneers of Fredonia were men of high moral character, and strict observers of the Sabbath. Representatives of the various sects met in common fellowship, as no one denomination was strong enough to work independently of the others. As was common in those days, services were held at private houses, until the public schoolhouse could be utilized for church purposes. The Catholics were the first to erect a church building, a long structure, built in 1849, in the Kollor District, on Section 19. The building was replaced several years afterward by a handsome stone edifice. The church numbers about sixty families, and is at present in charge of Rev. A.H. Reininger.

The Catholics have also quite a large congregation in the village of Wabeka, numbering about sixty-five families. A stone meeting-house was erected in 1872, at the cost of $3,700. The building was dedicated by Bishop Henni, of Milwaukee, and Rev. Louis Mueller, from the Holy Cross Church, in the town of Belgium.

The Methodists and German Lutherans are the only other two denominations now represented in the town. Both congregations have handsome frame church edifices in the village of Wabeka. The churches are visited by ministers residing in the village of Port Washington.


This romantic little village, resting on the knolls divided by the Milwaukee River, was named after an old Indian chief who lived in the vicinity for quite a number of years after the whites began to settle the country. Waubeka had made several clearings, at various points long the Milwaukee River, where his tribe cultivated corn patches, their principal occupation, however, being that of hunting and fishing. The Indians were very fond of goodnatosh (whisky), and would give the settlers almost any quantity of game and fish for a demijohn full of the tempting liquor. The village of Waubeka was surveyed and laid out in town lots by George W. Foster, now a prominent lawyer of Port Washington. Mr. Foster, in company with H.J. Turner, built the first dam across the Milwaukee River at this point. They soon discovered that excellent water-power could be obtained, and at once commenced the erection of a saw and grist mill. These buildings were erected on the north bank of the Milwaukee River. The grist-mill was entirely destroyed by a fire a few years after its completion. The saw-mill is still standing, but in a dilapidated state. Part of the old relic was swept away by the spring flood of 1881. The present grist-mill, a large frame structure was built by J.B. Schauble. The mill has a capacity of eighty barrels of flour per day.

In 1871, Burnett Zindell erected a plow and machine foundry in the village, at a cost of $12,000. The foundry has changed hands several times; the building is now standing idle. Korman & Lapham were the last to engage in the enterprise. In connection with this, the village contains two pump factories, one cheese-box factory, one cheese factory, owned by J.H. Klessig, one large tannery, run by M.S. Neuens, three blacksmith-shops, two wagon and carriage shops, five stores, three hotels and three churches. The bridge which spans the river at this place, was built in 1870, at a cost of $6,000. The first Postmaster was John J. Race. The office is now in charge of B.S. Cassell, who has held it for the last twenty years. Mr. Cassell kept the first store in the village.


This thriving little place is situated on the line of the Wisconsin Central Railroad. It contains two large warehouses, one store, and one hotel bearing the double name of "Fredonia and Filmore House." The building was erected in 1871 by Peter Martin. It is now owned by John P. Coltax. The post office was established in this place in the spring of 1880. C.C. Learing was the first Postmaster. The office is now in charge of John P. Coltax. A large steam saw and turning mill was erected in 1874, by John J. Race and C.F. Cooley. The mill is run by a fifty-horse-power engine, and turns out work to the amount of $25,000 per annum. The population of Fredonia, for the year 1880, was 1, 839. Of this number five sixths are Germans, the remaining sixth being composed principally of Americans and Irish. Farming is the principal occupation, and from this source the revenue of the town is obtained.

The town officers of 1881were elected as follows: Town Clerk, C.H. Witt; Supervisors, J.J. Race, N. Rheingans and Peter Jung; Treasurer, H. Groteluschen; Assessor, F.E. Oehme; Justices of the Peace, Charles F. Cooley, Francis Smith, N.E. Becker and Fred Bemer; Constables, John Fuetzen, B.R. Burrell and August Thompson; Sealer of Weights, Charles Zetter.

The only crime every committed in the town of Fredonia was perpetrated by an inhuman wretch, bordering on the brute creation by the name of John Conrad, Sr. Conrad had an idiot son whom he would, on the least provocation, beat unmercifully, and it was thought this manner of treatment that the boy was brought to the deplorable state of an idiot. His miserable existence was terminated May 17, 1880, by his brutal father throwing him down a pair of stairs. Conrad then fled to Buffalo, N.Y., where he was arrested May 19, 1880. He was brought back and lodged in the Ozaukee County Jail, at Port Washington, to await his trial. At the June term of the Circuit Court he was arraigned for murder, and pleaded not guilty. His bail was fixed at $10,000, which sum he failed to obtain. At the January term of Court, 1881, Conrad's counsel, Eugene Turner, asked for a change of venue to Sheboygan County, stating that his client had made an affidavit to the effect that he believed Judge D.J. Pulling to be prejudiced against him. The prisoner was subsequently sent to Sheboygan County, where he was tried, and found guilt of manslaughter in the second degree. He was sentenced by Judge Gilson to four years in the State Prison.

History of Washington and Ozaukee Counties Wisconsin (1881) page 530; submitted by Diana Heser Morse

The village of old Grafton, once the county seat of old Washington County, is situated on Section 24, in the western part of the present town, on the Milwaukee River. It has the marks of age upon it. The stone and other buildings are mostly clustered about the square. Some of them, still standing, were among the earliest built. The old stone block, built for county purposes when Grafton had county seat aspirations, is still standing. The excellent waterpower was early utilized. Between 1842 and 1844 a dam was built and a saw-mill started, also a flouring-mill. I. Edwards, William Bonniwell and P. M. Johnson owned the flouring-mill, and it is stated by old settlers that they built the first dam. John Simon, still living in the village, gives the following account of it, in 1848, when he first arrived: "When I came, the stone block was already built, and so was the dam; then there were two saw-mills, and a grist-mill with three runs of stones. It was a part of the same mill that is running now. Three old-fashioned limekilns were burning near where the kilns are now. At that time we got mails by stage, daily, by line running between Milwaukee and Port Washington, on the Green Bay road. Datus Cowan drove the stage. There was also business done at Milwaukee Falls, a mile down the river. Lamson and J. B. Gill had a turning-shop, and made bedsteads; and on the other side was a chair-factory, run by George Miller. For many years Grafton lay in a state of rest, showing little life or enterprise. It has lately awakened from its Rip Van Winkle slumber, and started into new life with all the vigor of youth."

The principal manufacturing industries of the place are:

The woolen-mill, built in 1880. It is built of stone, contains two sets of woolen machinery and one of worsted. It manufactures woolen and worsted yams of the best quality. Its worsted machinery is imported and of the most modern kind. This is the only worsted mill in the West. It is owned and run by the Cedarburg Woolen Company. Derdrech Wittenberg is the President and business manager. It employs, when in full operation, one hundred hands.

The flouring-mill, situated a few rods north on the same dam, is now run successfully by H. Schmith & Co. It has five runs of stones, all the modern improvements, and a capacity for the manufacture of one hundred barrels of flour per day. The products find a constant sale to the bakers of Milwaukee, the brand, "White Lily," being a favorite with the trade. The mill creates a constant and reliable market for wheat.

The water-power is one of the best on the Milwaukee River. The fall, at the dam, is sixteen feet, and at the woolen-mill, a few rods below, 20 feet.


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