History of Walworth county, Wisconsin

VOLUME I

In preparing this work, which. is not so much a county history as a collection of notes to serve the coming historian, the following sources of information have been used freely: The printed and manuscript collections of the historical societies of the state and county; the records of the adjutant-general's office at Madison; the Legislative Manuals and other official publications of the state; the Geological and Hydrographic Surveys of Wisconsin; the county records at Elkhorn, including those at the office of the county judge, county clerk, clerk of the circuit court, treasurer, register of deeds, and superintendent of schools; the books of the County Agricultural Society; "History of Walworth County" (Chicago, 1882); Cravath's "Annals of Whitewater"; Simmons's "Annals of Lake Geneva"; the files of Delavan, Elkhorn and White- water newspapers; the personal recollections of the compiler and of many of his known and unknown friends, within and without the county; the tombstones of forty-five burial grounds; and unreckonable minor or incidental papers, pamphlets, documents and letters.

A few words as to the plan and arrangement of this volume may not be wholly useless. The theory of its construction is that a local history, its interest, if any, confined to a narrow plat of ground, cannot have in it too much of the personal element. An arch-necromancer's uncanny skill could not avail to restore anything like the semblance, even though but ghostly, of all those men who once answered to the names found in the lists of land-patentees of 1838, in the juror lists of 1839, and in the town-officer lists of 1843; but the patient searcher of fading records may find a date, a wife's name, a hint of heirs wrangling over a will something to show that these men have not all of them become as forgotten kings ,,f pre-Mosaic dynasties.

The neighboring counties, in two States, were much like Walworth in their origin and development; and human nature was and is the same in all of them. Walworth included. But there were little lines in the lives of the earlier men and women of Walworth that are yet of some human interest to their descendant- and successors. Too little can be recovered of lives Ion- gone to make each one's tale over-tedious. For most of them, little more than the length of a tombstone inscription remains, but for us that little differentiates Walworth from Rock and McHenry and all the other counties of the Union and the Dominion.

Of this work were our county history's last word, far more could with reason be required of it than is herein performed. A little, no doubt, worth another workman's consideration, is added to the store of historic material. It will be observed that in the lesser divisions of the volume the town- art- taken in their alphabetical order for their readier finding. Citizens of each town of whom nearly nothing was learned but their names and a date or two for each, are named with their towns. They of whom more detail was found are placed in alphabetical order as a county list.

It would be pleasing to acknowledge explicitly all the favors shown by old and new friends, official and unofficial: but the tally-list would be very long. and omissions would seem coldly careless if not intentional. No person, how- ever, can make even a barely passable local history without that kindly cooperation nowhere to be found more intelligent and willing than in "glorious old Walworth."

 

Table of Contents

CHAPTER I PRE-GLACIAL EPOCH GEOLOGY 25
CHAPTER II NATURAL FEATURES 29
CHAPTER III INDIANS MOUNDS GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES 38
CHAPTER IV SETTLEMENT OF THE OLD NORTHWEST 42
CHAPTER V SURVEYS GENEVA LAKE TROUBLE 46
CHAPTER VI POLITICAL ORGANIZATION 53
CHAPTER VII POLITICAL REPRESENTATION 58
CHAPTER VIII - COUNTS BUILDINGS AND POOR FARM 64
CHAPTER IX - THE BENCH AND BAR 72
CHAPTER X - OFFICIAL ROSTER 79
CHAPTER XI DIVISIONS OF POLITICAL PARTIES 97
CHAPTER XII MILITARY HISTORY OF WALWORTH 104
CHAPTER XIII NOTEWORTHY INSTITUTIONS 158
CHAPTER XIV WALWORTH COUNTY AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY 170
CHAPTER XV CHURCHES AND SCHOOLS 176
CHAPTER XVI ROADS AND RAILWAYS 183
CHAPTER XVII COUNTY HISTORICAL AND OLD SETTLERS SOCIETIES 193
CHAPTER XVIII - LOCAL EDITORS AND AUTHORS FINE ARTS 199
CHAPTER XIX - MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS OF INTEREST 209
CHAPTER XX - TOWN OF BLOOMFIELD 226
CHAPTER XXI TOWN AND VILLAGE OF DARIEN 240
CHAPTER XXII TOWN OF DELAVAN 248
CHAPTER XXIII CITY OF DELAVAN 257
CHAPTER XXIV TOWN OF EAST TROY 272
CHAPTER XXV CITY OF ELKHORN 286
CHAPTER XXVI TOWN OF GENEVA 316
CHAPTER XXVII CITY OF LAKE GENEVA 324
CHAPTER XXVIII - TOWN OF LAFAYETTE 349 CHAPTER XXIX - TOWN OF LAGRANGE 357
CHAPTER XXX - TOWN OF LINN 366
CHAPTER XXXI - TOWN OF LYONS 372
CHAPTER XXXII TOWN OF RICHMOND 384
CHAPTER XXXIII TOWN OP SHARON 392
CHAPTER XXXIV TOWN OF SPRING PRAIRIE 405
CHAPTER XXXV TOWN OF SUGAR CREEK 418
CHAPTER XXXVI TOWN OF TROY 426
CHAPTER XNXYII - TOWN OF WALWORTH 437
CHAPTER XXXVIII - TOWN OF WHITEWATER 451
CHAPTER XXXIX - CITY OF WHITEWATER 460
CHAPTER XL - MAKEBS OF THE COUNTY 481
BIOGRAPHICAL 573

 

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VOLUME II (Biographical - Continued)

 

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PUBLISHER'S PREFACE

All life and achievement is evolution; present wisdom comes from past experience, and present commercial prosperity has come only from past exertion and suffering. The deeds and motives of the men that have gone before have been instrumental in shaping the destinies of later communities and states. The development of a new country was at once a task and a privilege. It required great courage, sacrifice and privation. Compare the present conditions of the people of Walworth county. Wisconsin, with what they were one hundred years ago. From a trackless wilderness and virgin land. it has come to be a center of prosperity and civilization, with millions of wealth, systems of railways, grand educational institutions, splendid indus- tries and immense agricultural and mineral productions. Can any thinking person be insensible to the fascination of the study which discloses the aspirations and efforts of the early pioneers who so strongly laid the foundation upon which has been reared the magnificent prosperity of later days 5 To perpetuate the story of these people and to trace and record the social, political and industrial progress of the community from its first inception is the function of the local historian. A sincere purpose to preserve facts and personal memoirs that are deserving of perpetuation, and which unite the present to the past, is the motive for the present publication. The work has been in the hands of able writers, who have, after much patient study and research, produced here the most complete biographical memoirs of Walworth county. Wisconsin, ever offered to the public A specially valuable and interesting department is that one devoted to the sketches of representative citizens of this county whose records deserve preservation because of their worth, effort and accomplishment. The publishers desire to extend their thanks to the gentlemen who have so faithfully labored to this end. Thanks are also due to the citizens of Walworth county for the uniform kindness with which they have regarded this undertaking and for their many services rendered in the gaining of necessary information.

In placing "Beckwith's History of Walworth County, Wisconsin," before the citizens, the publishers can conscientiously claim that they have carried out the plan as outlined in the prospectus. Every biographical sketch in the work has been submitted to the part) interested, for correction, and therefore any error of fact, if there he any, is solely due to the person for whom the sketch was prepared.