buttonblgrey_fdllogo.jpg (3089 bytes)


1893plat_ashford.jpg (21190 bytes)
1893 plat for Ashford, from C. M.
Foote and J. W. Henion, Plat
Book of Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin
, Minneapolis: C. M. Foote & Co.


Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin



Starblak.gif (298 bytes)1847 Wisconsin Territorial Census (Included in Ashford Township)
Starblak.gif (298 bytes)1862 Town Plat Map*

Starblak.gif (298 bytes)Civil War Veterans Credited to Town of Ashford
Starblak.gif (298 bytes)Christian Spreiter, 2nd Wis Inf

Starblak.gif (298 bytes)Auburn Area Scrapbook (includes Ashford Township)
Starblak.gif (298 bytes)Wisconsin State Gazetteers for the Village of Campbellsport

This town was first a constituent part of the town of Auburn in its organization, but was set off from it and separately organized in 1849, the first election being held in April of that year, at the house of William Boener, at which Robert E. Adams was elected Chairman, and George Thorn, Town Clerk.

The territory included in Ashford is Township 13 north, in Range 18 east, of the Government survey, containing, theoretically, thirty-six sections, or 23,040 acres of land. In reality, it has 23,096 & 97/100 acres, being 56 & 97/100 acres more than thirty-six full sections. Its boundary lines were surveyed by Mullett & Brink, in the first quarter of 1834 and during the second quarter of 1835; while its sections and quarter-sections were run out in the third quarter of the last-mentioned year, by Hiram Buruham.

The first settlement in Ashford was made in the summer of 1846, by Henry Barnett, Josiah L. Perry, Charles Crownhart, and several others, who settled in the easterly part of the town, near the West Branch of the Milwaukee River, not far from where Crouchville was afterward located. On their arrival, they found not a human habitation within many miles, except the little beginning commenced by Mr. Crouch. They soon threw up log shanties, and commenced clearing land for crops for the ensuing year. They had many hardships to meet and overcome. The town had neither prairies nor openings ready for the plow, but was everywhere covered with timber. Hard-maple trees were found in abundance, affording rare opportunities for the manufacture of maple sugar. Basswood, ash, elm, oak, hickory, butternut with other kinds of hardwood constituted the forest growth.

The surface of Ashford is undulating, or, perhaps, it may with propriety be called hilly. The soil is uniformly strong and fertile, and much of it of a warm nature. The hills are underlaid with limestone, and the soil is clay and loam, with sand, producing good wheat, oats, peas, and other grains, and excellent pasturage. The valleys are alluvial and very fertile; grain of all kinds has a luxurious growth. These lowlands, when stocked-down, make excellent meadows. The town is well watered - the West Branch of the Milwaukee River running through it from northwest to southeast, receiving several tributaries upon both its sides. Springs and small brooks also abound.

Among the annoyances which the early settlers had to contend with, was the ferocity of bears; these were numerous, and they became bold and frequently dangerous.

The first death which occurred in Ashford was that of Mrs. Electa Pryor. Her daughter, Mrs. Watson, died so soon after, that they were both buried in the same grave. The first birth was that of C. D. Helmer, in the family of J. E. Helmer. The first marriage was Eleazer Cisco, to Miss Fanny Pryor.

The first school was taught by Miss Calista Colvin, in the house of J. L. Perry, in the summer of 1847. The first religious meeting was held at the house of Henry Barnett; the sermon was preached by Mr. Sears, in 1846.

Ashford is bounded on the north by the town of Eden, on the east by Auburn, on the south by Wayne, in Washington County, and on the west by Lomira, in Dodge County.

The Northwestern Union, or Air Line Railroad crosses the northeastern part of this town, entering it at the southeast corner of Section 13, and, after a northwesterly course of over three miles, leaves it on the north line of Section 2, crossing into the town of Eden, on its way to the city of Fond du Lac, ten miles distant.

Ashford was originally organized as the town of Chili; but for some reason this name was not satisfactory, and by act of the Legislature, approved January 26, 1854, it was changed to Ashford, which, it is said, was suggested on account of the great quantity of ash timber growing in the town. This name was given by Dr. S. G. Pickett.

On the 14th of February, 1874, the Ashford Fire Insurance Company was organized with thirty-two members. The towns of Ashford, Auburn and Eden, in Fond du Lac County, and Lomira, Dodge County, compose this company. The meetings are held annually on the first Monday in January, at the Carter Schoolhouse, in Ashford. The capital stock subscribed at the organization was $37,600; the amount insured (1880) is $985,338; total losses paid, $4,500; percentage of loss, .0112; number of members, fifty-seven. The Presidents have been: A. Dieringer, H. J. Carter and Thomas Coleman, who has held the office since 1876. J. A. Hendricks, of Ashford, has been Secretary since the organization of the company.

The Chairmen and Town Clerks of Chili and Ashford have been as follows: 1850 - Daniel B. Wilcox and Seth G. Pickett; 1851 - D. B. Wilcox and Ely B. Hull; 1852 and 1853 - Henry B. Crownhart and Ed. Boener; 1854 - Peter Johnson and Jacob Haessly; 1855 - Peter Johnson and E. B. Hull; 1856 and 1857 - Jacob Haessly and John Mauel; 1858 - P. Johnson and J. Mauel; 1859 - Andrew Hendricks and J. Haessly; 1860 - Andrew Dieringer and John Mauel; 1861 and 1862 - Joseph Wagner and John Mauel; 186 3 - J. Wagner and John Berg; 1864 - A. Dieringer and J. Berg; 1865, 1866 and 1867 - A. Dieringer and Peter Mauel; 1868 - P. Johnson and P. Mauel; 1869 - P. Johnson and J. Berg; 1870 - George Anderson and P. Mauel. Since 1870, except for 1877, when George C. Denniston filled the office, Peter Mauel has been Town Clerk. The Chairmen since then have been 1871 - Jacob Haessly; 1872 and 1873 - Peter Johnson; 1874 - Michael Serwe; 1875, J. A. Hendricks, since which time Michael Thelen has held the office of Chairman.

The first land was entered in the fall of 1846, by Henry Barnett, in the southeast quarter of Section 11.

The first settler in the northwestern portion of the town was E. Welton. He was also one of the first Postmasters in Ashford.

The first frame house was built by R. F. Adams.

ASHFORD. This village (Ellmore Post Office) was formerly called Leglerville, after its founder, Ulrich Legler, who platted it and built a saw-mill in 1857. He also built a grist-mill here in 1861, on the West Branch of the Milwaukee River. In 1867, the Evangelical Reformed Church erected a building here for worship, having one, also, at New Cassel. The first Postmaster was C. F. Brokmeyer; the present Postmaster is William Reinhartt. The village contains a store, saloon, wagon-shop, meat market, shoe store, tailor-shop and blacksmith-shop.

CAMPBELLSPORT. This village and post office had a very recent and novel birth. The Air Line Railway folks desired to establish a station on H. B. Martins farm of 120 acres, Section 13. He would sell no fractional part, but offered the whole of his farm for $10,000. Stuart Campbell purchased the farm, gave the railroad company three acres, the company afterward buying three more, and platted a village. Jacob Haessly named the place Campbellsport, in August, 1873, on the day the deed for Martins farm was signed, in honor of its public-spirited founder. It is now a thrifty village. The first lot was sold to J. M. Saeman, and the second to James McCulloch, who built thereon the first store. Mr. Saeman built the third store and second warehouse. All of the original plat, except sixty-three acres, has been sold in village lots.

The first organization of Methodists was in December, 1862, and meetings were held in the Carter Schoolhouse. The organizers were, some of them, J. N. McSchooler and wife, L. Norton and wife, William L. Andrews and wife, George Mosher and wife and Leonard Goodax. Regular services were not held until the present edifice was erected in 1875, at a cost of $3,200. The members number over forty. The building committee was composed of J. N. McSchooler, W. Saeman and William S. Hendricks. The first organization was by Rev. McFarland, and the first Trustees, in 1862, were: J. N. McSchooler, President; W. L. Andrews, William Dusenbury, Stuart Campbell, W. S. Hendricks and M. Saeman. Mr. McSchooler is still President, the other Trustees being John Huges, F. A. Rosco, J. H. Denniston, W. L. Andrews, S. Campbell and W. S. Hendricks. A Union Sabbath School, begun in 1862, at the Carter Schoolhouse, is still in existence.

Wicker Lodge, No. 128, l. 0. 0. F, was organized January 8, 1868, by G. M. Cheeney, of Janesville. The charter members were S. L. Marston, I. S. Sheldon, E. P. Odekirk, D. Wilcox, R. Romaine, G. Romaine, T. F. Gage, M. H. Flint and Mr. Hancock. The Lodge, which now numbers fifty working members and owns $1,200 in property, including the hall and lot, was named after Grand Warden Wicker. The first officers were: S. L. Marston, N. G.; M. H. Flint, V. G.; E. P. Odekirk, R. S.; Mr. Hancock, P. S.; G. Romaine, Treasurer. Present officers: G. C. Denniston, N. G.; T. F. Wicker, V. G; E. P. Coburn, R. S.; C. F. Ladwig, P. S.; E. F. Martin, Treasurer.

New Cassel Lodge, I. 0. G. T., was first organized as the old Ashford and Auburn Lodge, by S. G. Pickett and wife, J. E. Helmer, E. P. Odekirk, William and S. Tuttle, H. Burnett, Martin Dyer and others, who belonged to the Kewaskum Lodge, organized in 1859. S.G. Pickett was the first W. G. T.; Mrs. E. P. Odekirk, W. V. T., and George Pickett, W. S. The twenty-eight members soon grew to two hundred, and met weekly in what is now Odd Fellows Hall. The war took so many members away that the charter was finally surrendered. In 1872, however, J. S. Thompson began open temperance meetings; which, December 11, 1874, resulted in the organization, by Deputy G. W. C. T. Ross, of the present strong Lodge, with thirty-one charter members. J. S. Thompson was the first W. G. T. Meetings were held in Odd Fellows and Yancys Halls until 1877, when a hall, costing $1,000, was erected by the Lodge, under supervision of J. S. Thompson, H. Darrow arid A. H. Miller. The first $50 was raised by the ladies, who held sociables and made fancy work for that purpose. The hall is 28x55x14 feet, and will seat two hundred. It is an ornament to the village. The Lodge now numbers one hundred, mostly young people.

New Cassel and Campbellsport Turnverein was organized November 18, 1878, by Dr. L. Eidemiller. Adam Holzhauer and others. The first officers were: D. Gudex, President; A. Holzhauer, Treasurer; R Tillack, Secretary; L. Eidemiller, Turnwart. The society now has forty members. Meetings are held on Friday evenings, in Good Templars Hall. Present officers L. Eidemiller, President; John Schrooten, Vice President; M. Herbert, Secretary; J. Dagenhardt, Treasurer; J. Terlinden, First Turnwart, and A. Fuchs, Second Turnwart.

The New Cassel and Campbellsport Literary Society, with a membership of twenty, is in a flourishing condition. Its entertainments consist of lectures, debates, readings and affairs in that line. It was first organized in 1879.

Campbellsport has a large local trade. In the place are one drug store, four general stores, one elevator, two warehouses, two lumber-yards, two wagon and blacksmith shops, pump-factory, boot and shoe store, harness-shop, barber-shop, furniture store, two tailor-shops, meat-market, picture-gallery, cheese-factory, cigar-factory, two saloons and three hotels - Railroad House, New Cassel House and Central Hotel. S. L. Marston is the only physician and S. C. Matteson the only lawyer in the place. Platt Durand is Postmaster.

History of Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin,
Western Historical Company, Chicago: 1880**

* From W. T. Coneys, Map of Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, Bogert & Haight: 1862 (Copied and Indexed by Sally Powers Albertz, Wisconsin State Historical Society library Pam 93-3904 Mss Sect)

** Like many similar publications of the period, Western's 1880 history relies heavily on interviews with early residents conducted many years later. Narratives were subject to selective, sometimes creative recollection, and the resulting work should be appreciated for the historical publication that it is but viewed with a critical eye as a history. We caution viewers to verify the data contained in these early stories.

Appreciation to Ron Friedel for transcribing the text.

Last updated 8/30/1999 This site represents an ongoing effort to collect information related to the history of the town of Ashford. If you have information to share, please contact Bob Schuster by email at rmschust@facstaff.wisc.edu or at 6020 Kristi Circle, Monona, Wisconsin 53716 (608) 221-1421.