Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin
CENSUSES AND MAPS
1847 Wisconsin Territorial Census (Included in Ashford
Town Plat Map*
Civil War Veterans Credited to Town of Ashford
Christian Spreiter, 2nd Wis Inf
GENEALOGIES AND OTHER
Auburn Area Scrapbook (includes Ashford
Wisconsin State Gazetteers for the Village of
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
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
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
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
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,
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.