|Bottled Belle City|
|People Places Things|
|Oak Clearing Farm & Museum|
|History Links Page|
|Meet Gerald Karwowski|
Click on Direction above or to continue your journey some place else please, go to the compass located at the top of the screen and click on the appropriate area and we will then whisk you off to the location you would like travel to today.
Dear Historical Travelers,|
We would like to thank you for traveling with Racinehistory.com. Please enjoy your trip back in time, while learning of the rich and unique historical past of Racine County. Bookmark us and come back soon for more destinations sure to fill all your historical needs.
The Racinehistory.com Staff and Family
*Due to the rather large file including many images
Dover Township, one of the southern tier, is coextensive with Congressional Township No. 3, Range 20 East. It is bounded on the north by the Town of Norway, east by Yorkville, south by Kenosha County, and west by the Towns of Burlington and Rochester. Its area is 36 square miles. Eagle Lake is situated a little south of the center. Its outlet and the Muskego Creek, which crosses the northwest corner, are the only water courses in the township.
The first settler in Dover was Captain John T. Trowbridge, who brought his family, consisting of a wife and two sons, to Racine County in 1836. Prior to that time he had been a sea captain for some twenty-five years, had been engaged in whaling, and had been a prisoner at Calcutta and Dartmoor. His two-story log house, which he erected in the Town of Dover, became a landmark and sheltered many a traveler over night. He laid out a town and named it Brighton, after the place from which he came, and was the first postmaster when an office was established there. He also served as justice of the peace and was a member of the lower branch of the Territorial Legislature in 1843.
In August, 1836, Samual Ormiston and J. Sellers located claims near that of Captain Trowbridge, Elizabeth, daughter of Mr. Ormiston, born November 12, 1838, was the first white child born in this township. Mr. Sellers settled on the tract of land afterward known as the Bryce farm. Judge Dyer tells the following story of an experience that happened to Mr. Sellers soon after taking up his residence in Racine County: “He started one morning to go to Pike Grove and on his journey called at the house of George Nichols, in Yorkville. He tarried but a few moments and, bidding his friends ‘good morning’, set out on his travels. He journeyed to the end of the day and at evening found himself at the house of Mr. Nichols; nor could he be made to believe that he had not arrived at Pike Grove until he was introduced to the hospitalities of Mr. Nichols’ cabin and was told that on a prairie without roads, guiding posts or human habitations, a bewildered traveler sometimes made a circuitous journey, arriving at the precise place from which he started.”
During the next two years a number of settlers located in what is now the Town of Dover. Among them were: John Green, George and Robert McKey, James Ballock (or Ballach), Aaron Putnam, Joseph Scott, James Graham, William Cruikshank. Samuel Stenhouse came a little later, some time in 1840.
John Duffus, Archibald Brown and Peter Manny selected claims that adjoined each other. Mr. Duffus built a cabin, or shanty, 10 by 12 feet in dimensions, on his claim, in which all three lived. When his son and daughter arrived in March, 1839, they also found quarters in the shanty, giving it five regular inmates, with an occasional guest or two now and then. But there was ‘always room for one more’ in the home of the pioneer, no matter how humble it might be. The shanty had no floor and the roof was a makeshift affair that afforded but little protection. Elsie Duffus did the cooking for the “men folks.” One day, while she was baking bread, having just placed the dough in a skillet, which she set upon the coals in the fireplace, a sudden gust of wind carried away the roof. A heavy fall of rain followed and the family went without bread that day. Elsie Duffus afterward became the wife of Nicholas D. Fratt, who was for many years prominently connected with the banking interests of Racine. Her sister Maragret Duffus, married Peter Manny, their wedding being the first ever solemnized in the township.
The writer has been unable to ascertain just when the Township of Dover was established as a separate jurisdiction, but it was some time subsequent to February 2, 1846, for on that date Governor Dodge approved an act defining the boundaries of the Town of Yorkville, which included the eastern half of the present Town of Dover.
Dover Township is one of the most beautiful and fertile farming sections of Racine County. The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul ( formerly The Western Union) Railroad crosses the southern portion and there are two stations within the town limits----Kansasville and Dover. The population in 1910 was 820, and the assessed value of the property in 1915 was $2,377,787, or nearly three thousand dollars for each man, woman and child living in the township..
This little village is located in the southern part of Dover Township, on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, eighteen miles west of Racine. No plate of the village was ever filed at the register of deeds . Among the early settlers in this part of the county were Samuel Ormiston, James Ballack, Aaron Putnam and the McKeys. Kansasville grew up after the railroad was built and received its name when the post office was established there a little later. It now has a general store, a hotel, a creamery, a blacksmith shop and a wagon repair shop, a public school, telegraph and express offices, a Congregational Church, and some other institutions. The Wisconsin Gazetteer for 1915 gives the population as 300, but this is probably a too high an estimate. From the post office two rural routes supply daily mail to the surrounding country. Considerable quantities of grain and live stock are shipped from this point
Seventeen miles west of Racine, in the Dover Township, was once a rural post office called Beaumont. Its exact location was in the south side of section 2 and 3, Township 3, Range 20. The post office was discontinued upon the introduction of the rural free delivery system, and the people living in the northern part of Dover Township receive mail through the office at Kansasville. There is little left of Beaumont except the name.
This is a flagstation on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, twenty-one miles west of Racine and in the township of the same name (Dover). It was laid out by Captain John J. Trowbridge, the first settler in Dover Township, and was first known as "Brighton." Captain Trowbridge was the first postmaster. Subsequently the name was changed to Dover, which is still the name used by the railroad company, but the postoffice has been changed to Rosewood. Some grain and live stock are shipped from Dover, which is its greatest business activity.
YORKVILLE EARLY SETTLERS
From a historical address delivered by Judge Charles E. Dyer at Burlington, Wis., Feb. 22, 1871
THRIFTY SIX CLASS OF 1899
Joseph Call was the first settler in Yorkville. He located at what is now known as Ives Grove, in the summer of 1835. He built a log house which he afterwards kept as a tavern.
In the fall of 1835 Nelson A. Walker bought a quarter section claim, from Call, at the Grove, immediately went upon it, and worked it from March, 1836, until the fall of that year, when his family joined him. Mr. Walker says that when he bought his claim the only white woman in Yorkville was Mrs. Betsey Call, and there was no house between the Grove and Rochester. He found at the Grove, in addition to Call, Samuel Kerr, Daniel Whitmore and Samuel Daniels, who each had a claim, but lived together.
Mr. Walker lived on his claim until 1838, when he removed to Mr. Pleasant, where he has since resided. It is worthy of mention that when Mr. Walker came into the country he walked from Toledo, Ohio, to Wisconsin.
George Nichols and Charles Nobles were among the earliest settlers in the town, coming in in 1836. Early in 1837 or late in 1836 Marshall M. Strong and Stephen N. Ives purchased Joseph Call's claim, upon which his tavern was situated, and in May, 1837, sold it to Roland Ives, who then located upon it, his family arriving in May, 1838. The grove has ever since been known as "Ives Grove." John Nobles settled at the same place in the spring of 1837.
In 1837 L. S. Blake made a claim of 160 acres in another part of Yorkville, and sold it to Cornelius Brezee, who settled on it with his family in June, 1837, and there lived until his death.
Charles C. Wait and Alexander Gray, accompanied by George Nichols, came to Yorkville in 1837. Mr. Wait and Mr. Nichols had made their claims in November, 1836, and located with their families in March 1837. Mr. Wait, in 1835, came from Vermont, to Troy, N. Y., via the Champlain and Troy canal, thence to Buffalo by canal, from Buffalo to Detroit on the steamer "North America," from Detroit to Niles, Mich., traveling upon foot, from Niles to St. Joseph, and thence across the lake on a vessel to Chicago; thus, in his own experience, realizing the difficulties and vicissitudes of a journey to the remote West in that early time.
Mr. Wait is yet the owner of 120 acres of land in Yorkville, for which he received a patent from the government, and which he has never removed from, conveyed or incumbered.
Reuben Wait, father of Charles C. Wait, settled in Yorkville on the 8th of April, 1838. The first school in the town was taught in Reuben Wait's house, in the winter of 1839 and 40, by Levantia Barnum. There were eight scholars in attendance, and the teacher was employed by Mr. Wait at his personal expense.
Among the other early settlers should also be named Edward Buchan, Robert Bell and Col. F. F. Lincoln, who came in 1837. He made his claim in June, '36, then went away, and returned in September, '37. Mr. Lincoln is remembered to have traveled through the settlements in the early days threshing with a flail.
Mr. Collar and the Northways came in 1836, and were among the earliest settlers.
Abram Gilmore, in September, 1840, also settled in Yorkille, where he has ever since resided.
In 1838 Arba. B. Terrell located at Ives Grove. He was a carpenter by trade, and a great mimic, when amusement among the settlers was desired. He built Elisha Raynonds's first barn in Raymond.
In September, 1838, Owen Campbell bought the claim of N.A. Walker, paid $1,000 for it, and purchased the land at the land sales. He came out first with Roland Ives, in 1837, and in the subsequent year settled on his claim as the future home of himself, his wife and ten children, who were thus early in years introduced to the hardy experience of pioneer life. Forty acres of his claim was improved.land.
The settlers in this locality were particularly exposed to prairie fires. The grove standing like an island in the prairie, all around it the fires were accustomed to sweep, by night and by day, exposing property and sometimes life to danger.
Dr. Homer Campbell, a son of Owen Campbell, tells me that although exposed to some privations and dangers the settlers were contented and happy. For meat they depended chiefly upon game, in the summer season, which was everywhere abundant. They ate their meals from pewter plates, and submitted cheerfully to the inconveniences of their situation.
Religious services on Sunday, were held at the houses of the settlers when a passing missionary came, or opportunity was otherwise afforded.
Mr. Campbell was a justice of the peace, in his town, seven years, and was familiarly known as Esquire Campbell far beyond his neighborhood.
Ebenezer Heald settled at Ives Grove in June, 1837. He occupied the claim of Samual Daniels until May, 1838, when he made a claim in Dover, where he built a log house, which was burned. This misfortune pushed him further west, and he made a claim and permanently settled in Burlington where, in 1840, his daughter, now the wife of Mr. John Wilson, of Racine, taught school.
The first white child born in Yorkville was Mrs. Mary Jane George, daughter of Nelson A. Walker, born May 13th, 1838.
The Town of Yorkville is one of the southern tier. It is bounded on the north by the Town of Raymnd; on the east by Mount Pleasant; on the south by Kenosha County, and on the west by Dover Township. It embraces Congressional Township 4 North, of Range 21 East, and has an area of thirty-six square miles. The South Fork of the Root River flows in a northerly direction through the central part, and this stream, with its tributaries, affords good natural drainage to the entire township. The surface is generally level, or slightly rolling, and the soil is above the average in fertility.
To Joseph Call belongs the distinction of having been the first settler in Yorkville. He located at what is now known as Ives' Grove in the summer of 1835, built a log house, and afterward conducted it as a tavern. The fall after he located there he sold 160 acres of his claim to Nelson A. Walker, whose family came the following March. When Mr. Walker bought his claim in the fall of 1835, there was not a single house between Ives' Grove and the settlement at Rochester, and Mrs. Call was the only white woman in the Town of Yorkville. Other early settlers were Samuel Daniels, Daniel Whitmore and Samuel Kerr, who all lived together in one cabin, though each had a claim of his own. In 1838 Mr. Walker sold his claim and removed to Mount Pleasant
Charles Nobles and George Nichols settled near the Grove in 1836. Late in that year or early in 1837, Marshall M. Strong, of Racine, and Stephen N. Ives purchased Joseph Call's claim, including his tavern and in May, 1837, sold it to Roland Ives, from whom the name of the grove was derived. About that time John Nobles settled at Ives' Grove and L.S. Blake made a claim in another part of the township, but soon afterward sold it to Cornelius Brezee, who settled upon it in June, 1837, and there passed the remainder of his life.
Alexander Gray, accompanied by Charles Waite, came in 1837. Other settlers of that year were: Robert Bell, Edward Buchan, Ebenezer Heald, Owen Campbell and Col. F. F. Lincoln. Colonel Lincoln had been here in June, 1836, and selected his claim, but did not become a permanent settler until in September, 1837. In the early days he traveled through the different settlements threshing wheat with a flail, in the use of which he is said to have been an expert.
In April, 1838, Reuben Waite, father of Charles E. Waite, located near his son. He was one of the most public spirited of the early settlers. Late in the year 1839 he concluded that the children of the neighborhood ought to attend school, so he fitted up part of his house for a school room and employed Levantia Barnum at his own expense as a teacher. Eight scholars attended the school, which ran through the greater part of the winter.
Another settler of 1838 was Arba B. Terrell, who located at Ives' Grove. He was a carpenter by trade and had no trouble in finding employment. One of the buildings he erected was the first barn of Elisha Raymond, in the Town of Raymond. He was something of an elocutionist, a great mimic, full of good humor, and was quite a favorite at entertainments.
In the fall of 1838 Owen Camp purchased Nelson A. Walker's claim for $1,000, Mr. Walker removing to Mount Pleasant, as above stated. Mr. Campbell had first come to the county the year before with Roland Ives. Forty acres of his claim had been improved by Mr. Walker. His family consisted of a wife and ten children. One of his sons, Homer Campbell, afterward studied medicine and practiced his profession for years in Racine County. Owen Campbell was one of the early justices of the peach of Yorkville.
The first white child born in the township was Mary Jane, daughter of Nelson A. Walker, who was born on May 13, 1838. A few months later her parents removed to Mount Pleasant, where she grew to womanhood and married a man by the name of George.
Yorkville Township was first erected by an act of the Legislature, approved on February 7, 1842. Section 4 of the act provided: "That all that part of the Towns of Mount Pleasant, Burlington and Rochester comprised within the following limits, to wit: Commencing at the southeast corner of Section 25, Township 3 North, Range 21 East; running west to the southwest corner of Section 27, in Township 3, Range 20; thence north eleven miles to the north line of the County of Racine; thence east on said line to the northeast corner of Section 1, in Township 4, Range 21; thence south to the place of beginning, shall be and is hereby set off into a separate town by the name of Yorkville."
The boundaries as above described included all the present Town of Yorkville, except a strip one mile wide across the south side, all of Raymond, the eastern half of Norway, and the eastern half of Dover, except Sections 34, 35 and 36. The act also stipulated that the first election should be held at the house of E. Adams.
When the Town of Raymond was set off by the act of February 2, 1846 -- under the name of Black Hawk -- Section 10 provided: "That all that district of country comprised in Township 3 North, Range 21 East, and the east half of Township 3 North, of Range 20 East, in Racine County, be and the same is hereby organized into a separate town to be all the town of Yorkville, and the first town meeting in said town shall be held at the house of E. Adams."
By this act the southern boundary of the town was extended to what is now the Kenosha County line, and when the Town of Dover was created Yorkville was reduced to its present area. A division of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul Railway system runs across the southern part of Yorkville and there are two stations in the township -- Sylvania (formerly called Windsor), near the eastern boundary, and Union Grove, in the southwest corner. The latter is an incorporated village. In 1910 the population of Yorkville, not including the Village of Union Grove, was 1,146, and in 1915 the property was assessed at $3,164,022.
This is a small railway station on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad in the southeastern part of Yorkville Township, ten miles west of Racine. It was formerly known as Windsor Station. A few dwellings in the immediate neighborhood and the little station building constitute the entire village.
IVE'S GROVE SCHOOL
One of the early settlements of Racine County was made at Ives Grove in the summer of 1835 by Joseph Call. The Grove is situated in the eastern part of Yorkville Township, in Section 12, Township 3, Range 21, on the road leading from Racine to Rochester. In the latter part of 1836 or early in 1837, Joseph Call sold his claim to Marshall M. Strong and Stephen N. Ives, who in turn sold it to Roland Ives and soon after that a postoffice was established there and given the name of "Ives Grove," by which the place has ever since been known. The postoffice has been discontinued and the inhabitants now receive mail by rural carrier from Union Grove.
The old postoffice of Yorkville was established at an early date a little north of the center of Yorkville Township. It was on the old mail route between Racine and Mineral Point and a little hamlet grew up there, but no plat of a village was ever officially made or recognized by the authorities. The postoffice was discontinued some years ago and the people of that section now receive their mail by rural carier from the postoffice at Union Grove, which place is the nearest railroad station. Yorkville, as shown by the Wisconsin Gazetteer for 1916, has a general store, a dealer in hardware and agricultural implements, a nursery, a creamery, a blacksmith shop and a few dwelling houses.
HISTORY OF EARLY UNION GROVE
West side of Main Street. Ca.1910
***The History of Union Grove below was researched and written by Mary K. Nichols, as a community service project of Bixby- Hansen Unit 171 of the American Legion Auxiliary, to Create and develop public awareness of Union Grove's Heritage. Thank you Mary, for allowing the use on this site***
The search for descendants of Union Grove's original white settler, John E. Dunham, has been diligently going on as Local historians study Dunham's arrival in the Union Grove Area with his wife and two children. Dunham, who settled on an 80-acre claim on the east side of Union Grove's Main Street in the spring of 1838, left in a huff when the railroad began purchasing right-of-way land directly north of his cabin. Dunham was sure that the steam cars would ruin the health of his family, so he packed up and headed west in 1854, never to be heard of again.
During Durham's 16 years in the area, he toiled at the task of clearing his acreage and spent little time getting to know the many new settlers flocking into the area just to the south of his claim, along the Burlington-Racine trail. A community was growing in the area of what is now Old Settlers Park and the Racine County Fairgrounds. Tradesmen were attracted to the tiny settlement along this old Indian trail (now part of Highway 11) because the site was one day out, by loaded grain wagon, from the Port of Racine. The heavily laden wagons moved slowly over the rutted trails. There were frequent broken axles. Erastmus Cadwell set up his blacksmith shop near what is now the western entrance to the fairgrounds and was kept busy repairing travelers' wagons and shoeing horses.
William Reid settled next door to Cadwell and sold supplies to travelers and neighboring farmers from his small cabin/general store. A Mr. Burr soon constructed an inn of homemade brick on the north side of the trail, just west of the restaurant at 1400 - 15th Avenue.
A log building housing the Union School was erected in 1846. It served as school, church, and community hall until 1850 when members of the Congregational Church erected their first house of worship on what is now Martin's used car lot at the corner of highway 11 and Vine Street.
By 1850 the essentials of community life; homes, a church, school, inn store and smithy, were all located along the Burlington - Racine trail.
Territorial Governor Henry Dodge is credited with naming the community Union Grove. He was impressed by the large grove of burr oak trees which covered the area and the Union School which united several outlying school districts.
Around 1853, agents from the Racine, Janesville & Mississippi Railroad Co. started buying up right-of -way land. The Grove's first settler left, but most of the area's other settlers were extremely enthusiastic about the coming of the trains. The trend of growth of the area was diverted north from the old Indian trail to the land immediately around the railroad right-of-way.
P.P. Tabor purchased the Dunham farm and set up a general store in the cabin. He sold supplies to the railroad construction crews. Storekeeper Reid, not to be outdone, loaded his cabin on runners and during the winter pulled the building by ox-team from its site on the Burlington-Racine trail to the Main Street site now occupied by the Swantz Ben Franklin Store, where he too did a lively business supplying the needs of the railroad workers.
Land Company Formed
First village President before incorporation.
Union Grove's first physician, Dr. Ammon P. Adams, became president of the Union Grove Land Company in 1853. He joined by 11 other early Union Grove area settlers in purchasing 160 acres of land lying west of the present Main Street and north of 13th Avenue. They paid $45 per acre for the land. They proceeded at once to lay out a village which included 24 blocks. In addition to Dr. Adams, members of the original land company were : Gideon Morey, James Russell, Anizy Northrup, Samuel Skewes, William Reid, Erastmus Cadwell, Richard Goldsworthy, John Roche, William Wildman, Homer Adams and John Edgoose.
The first train arrived in union Grove on June 19, 1856. James Jones built a grist-and- flax mill on the site of the Farmers Grain & Supply Cooperative site 1007 State Street, during the 1860s. He erected a fine brick home just south of his mill in 1871. The Jones home is now the clubhouse of Bixby-Hanen Post 171 of the American Legion Auxiliary.
Union Grove was an intensely loyal community during the Civil War. An entire company of volunteers was raised among the villagers and surrounding farmers. Company A of the 22nd regiment saw action from Sept. 2, 1862, through June 12, 1865. Two women also served – Caroline Dale, a field nurse, and Fannie Sage, a diet kitchen worker.
Through the years time moved slowly and easily in Union Grove. The village never became a flashy kind of place – most folks say that's been all to Union Grove's good , giving it stability, character and a legacy of lovely homes and legends of neighborly generosity and helpfulness.
This spirit of neighborly helpfulness which has been so much a part of Union Grove over the years has reached out to aid those in distress way beyond the village's boundaries. The late Stiles Moe, A pioneer businessman in Union Grove, told this story about the village's response to the Chicago Fire of 1871: "One day in October, 1871, there was a smell of smoke all over Union Grove. The air was heavy a acrid. No one knew where the smoke was coming from. Union Grove was in a state of panic, expecting a huge forest fire to consume the entire community at any moment.
"Finally, a man on horseback came riding from the east, shouting to all who would listen: ' Chicago is burning up! Get food and clothing--- anything you can spare for the survivors!' He raced on to Burlington to spread the dreadful news and ask for help.
" Then how everyone in Union Grove fell to! The Union Grove Hotel was named the receiving center. Men drove their farm wagons from house to house collecting bedding and clothing, whatever anyone could spare. The women of Union Grove worked in shifts, day and night. Baking bread, paring potatoes and putting them in barrels of brine. Each day a wagon loaded with supplies was sent to Racine to be loaded on board a ship to Chicago. For over a week this was done to aid the residents in the stricken City of Chicago."
Today Union grove is on the threshold of what is expected to be a bright and rewarding future. Union Grove is growing. It expects continued steady growth as it becomes interwoven to a greater degree in the growing urban complex blanketing Southeastern Wisconsin. However, as it grows, it continues to care for and cultivate its legacy of legend and architecture, and it is just waiting to share these with future generations.
First Village Postmaster.
The incorporated Village of Union Grove is located in the southwestern part of Yorkville Township, on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul Railway, fifteen miles west Racine. The first settler here was a man named Dunham, who built a frame house on what is now Main Street. The second house was built by William H. Reid. Mr. Dunham remained but a short time, when he sold out to P. P. Faber, who opened the first store about the time the railroad was built. William H. Reid was also engaged in merchandising and was one of the early postmasters. The third house in the village was built by John Roche, who occupied part of it as a shoemaker's shop, being the first to ply that trade in Union Grove. Other early settlers were Dr. A. P. Adams, who was the first physician, James Russell, S. H. Skewes, J. H. Hitchcock, Erasmus D. Caldwell, Gideon Morey, Richard Goldsworthy and William C. Bartlett.
On January 26, 1856, a mass meeting of the citizens was held and an association formed for the purpose of laying out a town. Of this association Dr. A. P. Adams was president; James Russell, vice-president; Gideon Morey, secretary, and S. H. Skewes, treasurer and sales agent. C. M. Sprague was employed to make a survey and plat and he completed his work on February 21, 1856. On March 18, 1856, the Union Grove Company was incorporated by act of the Legislature, with an authorized capital stock of $50,000. A number of lots were sold by Mr. Skewes and Union Grove began "to put on airs," as one of the residents expressed it at the time.
For some reason the survey made by Mr. Sprague was not satisfactory and in the summer of 1859 Sayrs G. Knight was employed to make a new plat, which was filed in the office of the register of deeds on August 27, 1859. Since the growth of the village has been steady and in 1910 the population was 616, an increase of 96 during the preceding decade.
Union Grove has been incorporated for about twenty years. It has waterworks, electric light, a telephone exchange, telegraph and express offices, a bank, a flour mill,a weekly newspaper (the Enterprise), an opera house, a large pickling works, a branch of the Wisconsin-Pennsylvania Oil Company, a number of well stocked mercantile establishments, a brick factory, a creamery, a hotel, and a number of neat residences. The Old Settlers' Park is located about half a mile south of the village, where reunions are held annually.In 1915 the property was valued for taxation at $621,762. A great deal of grain and live stock are shipped.
New brick buildings on the west side of Main Street. They were built to replaced the wooden buildings that burned in "Great Fire" of 1916.
Copyright © 2000 Oak Clearing Farm & Museum
All Rights Reserved