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Wayne Donovan's share of stock in the Van Dyne Telephone Co. dated December 31, 1936 (courtesy Noel Matthews). If you have information about the company, please contact Bob Schuster at rmschust@facstaff.wisc.edu.

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Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin


1860 Census (Partial)
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Civil War Veterans Credited to Town of Friendship
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Wisconsin State Gazetteers for the village of Van Dyne

This, one of the most level and unbroken towns in the county, was, previous to being erected into its present proportions, a portion of Eldorado. An act by the Legislature, approved February 1, 1849, set off so much of the territory of Eldorado as was in Township 16 north, Range 17 east, into a separate town called Friendship, the first election to be held at Lyman Walker's house. Friendship lies along the west shore of Lake Winnebago, and contains but seventeen full sections of land, the balance being shore-marsh and lake. In this town the State owns some overflowed lands in Sections 3 and 10. The town contains but few springs and streams. Its soil is very deep and rich; its timber tracts of excellent quality; its crops varied and profitable, and its inhabitants, being near a good market, generally well to do.

The first election was held at Lyman Walkers house April 12, 1849. The first settler was Champion Wilson, who came in 1845. In 1846, L. Forbes, Russell McCarty, Edwin Roberts, C. B. Matteson and, perhaps. others settled in the town.

The first births were Julius Roberts and Dora Cook.

The first deaths were two, recorded near together - Burns and Coleman.

In 1847, a school was taught on Section 28, by Elias Worden.

In 1848, a schoolhouse was erected on Section 21, in which Miss Robinson taught the first school.

In 1849, John Prescott preached the first sermon in the town in Lyman Walkers house.

In 1848, Friendship Post Office was established - Jackson Pritchard, Postmaster. Van Dyne is the present post office, and D. N. Morgan, Postmaster.

In 1851, Adolph Henning opened, on Section 16, the first store in Friendship.

In 1860, the German Methodists built a church edifice on Section 17. The town now contains two churches - the German Methodist, P. Limber, Pastor, and German Lutheran, John Rosenthal, Pastor. In 1879, a cheese factory was built in the town. The Chicago & North-Western Railway extends across Friendship from south to north, maintaining a station at Van Dyne. In 1851, the inhabitants along the lake shore began to be uneasy when, without any apparent reasonable cause, Lake Winnebago began to steadily advance upon their shore lands. As the waters continued to advance, they continued to be more uneasy. Nearly one thousand acres were overflowed at this time, caused by the erection of dams at Neenah and Menasha.

In 1854, the cholera made its appearance in Friendship, causing greater consternation than the sudden rise in Lake Winnebago. The disease appeared in August, and resulted fatally in six instances.

Champion and Minor Wilson, soon after the first settlement of the town, began the manufacture of chairs, which they continued until the larger factories made the business unprofitable. Whether Minor Wilson settled within the town limits in 1841, the year before the accepted time of permanent settlement, is a matter of question. There seems to be more than a probability that he did.

The population of Friendship is composed mostly of French and Germans.

The Chairmen and Town Clerks, since the town was separated from Eldorado, have been: In 1849, Henry Bruce and Edwin R. Roberts; 1850, Henry Bruce and Edwin R. Roberts; 1851, Charles Wheton and Edwin R. Roberts; 1852, Minor Wilson and Hector Munro; 1833, Adolph Henning and Hector Munro; 1854, Adolph Henning and Hector Munro; 1855, Ebenezer Austin and Hector Munro; 1856, John Stoddart and Hector Munro; 1857, Charles Carberry and Hector Munro; 1858, John Stoddart and Hector Munro; 1859, John Stoddart and Hector Munro; 1860, John Stoddart and Mitchel Perrizo; 1861, Charles Carberry and John Stoddart; 1862, Joseph Kinsman and Mitchel Perrizo; 1863, Joseph Kinsman and Mitchel Perrizo; 1864, Joseph Kinsman and Mitchel Perrizo; 1865, Charles Carberry and Mitchel Perrizo; 1866, Charles Carberry and Mitchel Perrizo; 1867, Charles Carberry and Hector Munro; 1868, Charles Carberry and Hector Munro; 1869, Charles Carberry and W. J. Raycraft; 1870, Joseph Kinsman and William Lumly; 1871, Joseph Kinsman and William Lumly; 1872, Hector Munro and Fitch Kinsman; 1873, Hector Munro and Fitch Kinsman; 1874 Charles Carberry and Fitch Kinsman; 1875, Joseph Kinsman and Hall McCourt; 1876, Patrick McMonagle and Hall McCourt; 1877, Joseph Kinsman and Hall McCourt ; 1878 and 1879, Theodore Herrling and Hall McCourt.

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

*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 1/1/2000

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