Alto Township, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin ALTO TOWNSHIP
Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin

alto1893.gif (26480 bytes)
Village of Alto, from C. M. Foote
and J. W. Henion, Plat Book of Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin,
Minneapolis: C. M. Foote & Co., 1893 (Wisconsin State Historical
Society library microfilm
P72-1172). Click on map for a
larger image (258K).

pond_twain_sm.jpg (16383 bytes)
Alto native James Pond, left,
and wife, right, with Samuel
Clemens and family, 1895
(courtesy Kevin Dier-Zimmel)

alto_windmill_1915_tdb_sm.jpg (19599 bytes)
The Alto windmill prior to the turn
of the century. It served as
Zoellner's grist mill. (courtesy
Twilah DeBoer, Brandon
Historical Society) Click on
image for a larger picture and description.

Starblak.gif (298 bytes)Town of Alto Chronology
Starblak.gif (298 bytes)Biographies in Print
Starblak.gif (298 bytes)Village of Alto Gazetteers

Starblak.gif (298 bytes)County Land Patents
Starblak.gif (298 bytes)Map of Alto Township Land Patents (PDF format)
Starblak.gif (298 bytes)1862 Town Plat Map (PDF format)

Starblak.gif (298 bytes)1847 Wisconsin Territorial Census
Starblak.gif (298 bytes)1850 Federal Census
Starblak.gif (298 bytes)1855 Wisconsin State Census
Starblak.gif (298 bytes)Oak Mound Cemetery
Starblak.gif (298 bytes)Wood Cemetery

Starblak.gif (298 bytes)Civil War Veterans Credited to the Town of Alto
Starblak.gif (298 bytes)Company C, 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry
(Recuited by Alto Native, James Pond)

Starblak.gif (298 bytes)"A Pioneer Boyhood," James Pond, Century Magazine, 1899
Starblak.gif (298 bytes)"Dutch Settlers in Alto Wisconsin," Twilah DeBoer, 1998
Starblak.gif (298 bytes)Alto First Reformed Church

Starblak.gif (298 bytes)Genealogical Information and Public Records Errata

Starblak.gif (298 bytes)Winterswijk Emigrants to the U.S.A. [1840-1883]
Starblak.gif (298 bytes)Winterswijk, Achterhoek-Gelderland. Emigrants 1841-1851

Alto is the southwestern township in Fond du Lac County. It is bounded on the north by Metomen, east by Waupun, south by Trenton, in Dodge County, and west by Mackford, in Green Lake County. It is Township 14 North, in Range 14 East. It contains 23, 153.31 acres which is 93.31 acres more than thirty-six full sections. It was subdivided by John Brink in November 1834.

Fully one-fourth of its area is marsh, most of which yields valuable hay product. Nearly one-half was openings and timber land, which is highly prized by wheat-raisers. The remainder is prairie, rolling, warm and rich. The South Fork of the Rock River passes through the entire width of the town in its southern part, having two principal branches coming in from the north. These with brooks and springs, give abundant supply of water. Notwithstanding the United States Surveyor marked the soil of the town "second rate," it is, in fact, rich and highly productive. Wheat and wood are the chief exports, Waupun and Brandon afford convenient markets.

Francis D. Bowman, formerly of Rochester, N. Y., was the first settler in Alto, having located on Section 36 late in 1841. The first advent of a Hollander (said to have been a Mr. Meenk) into Alto was in 1845, and now three-fourths of the polulation are of that nationality. Politically, Alto is the banner Republican town of the county.

Alto was organized on the 6th of April, 1847, at a meeting held in the schoolhouse near Miller's mill, in the southeast part of the town. At this first town meeting the proposition to confer "equal suffrage to colored people" was voted down by five majority.

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

The first church organized in the town of Alto was the First Reformed, or Ebenezer church. In 1856 land was bought in section 23 for a church ediface, on which the building was erected. It was organized as a Reformed church, with forty-seven members. The first trustees were: N. Mensink, F. Beeuwkos, M. Duven, G. Duitman, G. Stilsel, C. Landaal, L. Sligster and J. W. Kastein. This church, as will be noticed from the names of the members, was composed mostly of Hollanders. They first began settlements in the town in the later part of 1845. These people first held religious services in private houses but in 1848 erected a log church, 16x26 feet, which also served as a schoolhouse. A second Reformed church was subsequently built, mainly at the expense of Henry Bruins; also a Methodist Episcopal and Congregational church were built.

Alto village, lying in section 23, and about six miles north of Waupun, no longer has a postoffice. There is a general store.

Maurice McKenna, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin,
Past and Present
, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago: 1912

Last updated 2/13/2000

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This site represents an ongoing effort to collect information related to the history of the town of Alto. If you have information to share, please contact Bob Schuster by email at or at 6020 Kristi Circle, Monona, Wisconsin 53716 (608) 221-1421.