History of Rock County, Wisconsin

By a resolution of the Rock County Agricultural Society and Mechanics' Institute, the undersigned were appointed a committee to compile and superintend the publication of a Volume of Transactions of the Society from its commencement, and a brief history of Rock county; comprising, also, a synopsis of the history of the first settlement of each township in the same. The committee, in entering upon the duties assigned them, did so with many misgivings as to the result of their labors.

It was thought by some that we should not be able to avail ourselves of sufficient material to get up a respectable volume, and by others that the expense and Ask would be too great for the Society to incur in the present state of its finances, and especially as we were about to fit up new Fair grounds, which would necessarily absorb all our available means. These objections seemed plausible, to say the least. But, on the other hand, it was urged that with the material already in our possession, and that which would be readily and cheerfully contributed by our friends, would be amply sufficient for such a book as the Society proposed to publish; and in respect to the objection regarding funds, it was believed that the work would pay for itself; and another and more important reason urged for its immediate publication, was, that the facts and incidents for the "historical part," unless secured soon, in a great degree would be forgotten and lost past recovery that now "we can catch the shadow ere the substance fades" for we have the " living witnesses," the identical actors in the interesting drama of the "first settlement of Rock county," living in our midst.

So far as the first objection is concerned, the committee are happy to be able to say, they have found no lack of material ; but, on the other hand, have quite often been puzzled to decide what to select from the superabundance of matter before us, and that, too, of so desirable a character. Our duties would have been less onerous to have compiled two volumes, than to abridge and compress, as we have been compelled to, the material into one. To those gentlemen who have so kindly and promptly responded to the inquiries made of them, and requests to them to furnish articles for our book, our most cordial thanks are tendered.

That our friends will not find errors, and many things to criticize and object to, perhaps, we do not flatter ourselves to believe. But we crave at their hands, the charitable consideration that however much they may find which they believe might have been bettered, they will attribute it to defects of the head, rather than the deliberate intentions of the heart.

If there are excellencies and merit in the work, and we believe there are many, the credit belongs mainly to our numerous contributors, our labor being confined mostly to the compiling and arrangement; and our sole object has been to render this volume a book of interest, entertainment and profit, to all those whose interests are identified with our locality, and especially to our Farmers and Mechanics; and if we have succeeded in any measure in our feeble efforts to do so, we shall have accomplished the object of our highest aspirations.


Table of Contents

Wisconsin Boundary 1
Black Hawk War 13
Rock County 23



Organization of the Rock County Agricultural Society and Mechanics' Institute


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Lima, Milton, Fulton, Porter, Union, Magnolia, Center, Janesville, Harmony, Johnstown, Bradford, La Prairie, Rock, Plymouth, Spring Valley, Avon, Newark, Beloit, Turtle, and Clinton, and the city of Janesville, organized from portions of Janesville, Rock, LaPrairie, and Harmony.

This county is about equally divided between prairie and oak openings, and a more uniformly rich, arable county of land, is not to be found in the state. There is hardly an afire of waste land in the entire county.