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Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin



1847 Wisconsin Territorial Census for the Town of Forest
1862 Town Plat Map*
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Town of Forest Cemetery, Part 1
Town of Forest Cemetery, Part 2
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Civil War Veterans Credited to Town of Forest
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"History of German Methodism" in the Town of Forest
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Seymour Ellicson and his Descendants

The town of Forest was named after the splendid forests of hard timber that originally covered much the larger portion of its surface. No town in the county was blessed with finer hardwood timber, with occasional jungles of tamarack and some patches of cedar. It contains no genuine prairie, and but few oak openings. In early days, it was excellent for winter wheat, and is yet, as compared with other towns, owing to the peculiar soil of the timbered tracts. A great amount of labor has been expended in this town to fit the land for crops; but the cash return for hard timber and cordwood, the abundance of it for home use, the protection forests afford in winter and the excellent soil when once ready for crops, abundantly repay the inhabitants for their extra exertions. The town is well watered. is rather more uneven than prairie towns, has some splendid sugar-maple groves and several water-powers. On Sections 28 and 33, in the south, is Mullet Lake, whence rises a stream of the same name, flowing northeast into the Sheboygan River, which flows across the entire western portion of the town, turning a lathe, two mills and other machinery even as early as 1853. At Dotyville is a flouring-mill run by water - by the Sheboygan River. In February, 1847, the following act was passed:

Sec. 32. That township number fifteen north, and the south half of township number sixteen north, of range number nineteen east, in the county of Fond du Lac, be, and the same is hereby, set off into a separate town by the name of Forest, and that the first town meeting be held at the house of George Chase, in said town.

In March, 1848, another act, as follows, was passed, by the Legislature:

SEC. 16. Township number fifteen and the south half of township number sixteen north, in range number nineteen east, organized into the town of Forest, is hereby declared to be a town by that name, and the acts and proceedings of said town in its affairs for the year l847 shall not be deemed illegal or invalid by reason of said township having been included in Taycheedah.

The town is now the six full sections in Township 15 North, of Range 19 East. It was settled in 1845, Henry C. Giltner, now of Minnesota, probably making the first location, though Josiah A. King settled there permanently in May of that year, and James Davis and P. T. King settled the same year near the center of the town, and were, probably, permanently located a month or two earlier than Mr. Giltner. Early in 1846, William Chase, at whose house the first election was held; 0. C. White, Solomon Benedict and others settled not far from Mr. Giltner's, in the western portion of the town.

The town is now largely owned by Germans, who are unusually well-to-do, a considerable amount of their ready money being derived from the sale of wood, which they haul to Fond du Lac.

At the first election, held April 1, 1848, H. C. Giltner was chosen Chairman. The first birth was that of Sarah Chase; first death, James Davis; first marriage, a Mr. Slocum to Miss Riley. The first schoolhouse was built on Section 14, and, in the summer of 1849, S. Corbett taught school in it. The town now has eight schoolhouses.

CHURCHES. Some time in 1847, the first sermon was preached, at the house of William Chase, by Rev. Mr. Scott. In 1858, the Catholics built a church on Section 19, at Dotyville, and now the town has five church edifices. The Union Church, on Section 36, was organized, April 7, 1879, by Henry Stannard, E. C. Coon, William Stewart and P. H. Montgomery; Henry Stannard, President and Secretary; E. C. Coon, Treasurer; H. Stannard, E. Conger and E. C. Coon, Trustees. It was dedicated by Rev. F. A. Marsh, February 19, 1880, who preached the first sermon in it. On Section 13 is the Methodist Episcopal Church. The society was organized November 17, 1873, at James Corbett's house. The edifice was built in 1874. The first sermon was by Rev. J. T. Woodhead. The first Trustees were James Corbett, S. Elecson, David Rogers, Ezra Coon, William Bennett and J. 0. Dowling. The first Pastor was J. S. Bolton. Present Pastor, Rev. H. Knight. The first marriages in the church were Joseph Colton to S. Hall and S. Gibson to Sarah Bolton.

The first post office was established early in 1847, called Oasis, of which H. C. Giltner was Postmaster. The second was Dotyville, established by Thomas Davidson in 1849. In 1852, Mr. Davidson opened the first store in Forest, at Dotyville. In 1866, C. A. Corbett established Banner Post Office.

The first cheese-factory was built on Section 16, in 1877, by C. C. Lyon and J. Smith. It is the only one in the town.

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 4/19/99

This site represents an ongoing effort to collect information related to the history of the town of Forest. 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.