gl_logo.jpg (10734 bytes)

Green Lake County, Wisconsin

berlin_1867_aruger.gif (29206 bytes)
Sketch of the City of Berlin, 1867,
by A. Ruger (Library of

tuttle_672_berlin.gif (13126 bytes)
Description of the city of Berlin
in Charles R. Tuttle's
Illustrated History of the State
of Wisconsin
, Madison: B. B. Russell, 1875


Land Patent Records--Green Lake-Fond du Lac Area

Town of Berlin, situated in the northeast corner of the county, is bounded on the North by Waushara county; on the East by Winnebago county; on the South by the town of Brooklyn; on the west by the town of Seneca. The city of Berlin takes from the north line of this town, before the addition of that part of the town of Sacramento, lying east of Fox River, was added thereto, two and a half miles east and west, and two miles north and south, leaving a strip of about two miles north and south on the east and west line of the city of Berlin, its greatest length north and south, nine miles; breadth east and west, six miles.

One of the first settlements in this town was about the year 1847, by Mr. Atkins, who built a log cabin, now standing near the dwelling of Mr. Peck, which, for a number of years, was kept as a tavern--it would puzzle most any one, who has any idea of comfort or space, to understand where the accommodations for travelers could be found, although men were glad, in those days, of a shelter, even under any circumstances of comfort; yet at this, there were but two rooms, a loft overhead, and the privilege of find your bedding lying at times on the bar-room floor, and paying 10 cents for the accommodation; this no doubt was little enough. Men in those days were not particular--brown bread and common doings for 50 cents, white bread and chicken fixens 75 cents. As for the price of whisky I have never had information, though no doubt so material an article for the comfort of the inner man, was in accordance with the times.

The first frame house built in town is now occupied by Mr. Decker, about one-half mile north of Peck's corners. The settlement of the town rapidly extended from these corners at the Atkin's place. There is now but little, if any, land in the town but what is under cultivation.

The Fox River runs through the western half of the town; along the shores of which, from the city of Berlin, are extensive marshes, either on one or both sides, from one half to four miles wide, fringed with a heavy growth of rice. These marshes extend inland on some of the small streams from one to three miles, and vary in breadth from one-fourth to one mile.

The lands in this town, east of the Fox and south of the city line, are of the first quality--mostly burr oak. In the southeast part of the town are about three thousand acres of as choice prairie land, all under cultivation, as can be found in the State. Neat and substantial dwellings and barns attest the thrift of the inhabitants. West of the prairies are openings, generally under good cultivation, with every appearance of comfort and independence.

Lands in this neighborhood and the prairies are held and often sold at from twenty to thirty-five dollars per acre, as to location and quality. East of the city of Berlin, the soil is rather more sandy, although considered as good as any in the town. Some part handsome valley and dry marshes, north of which some high rolling lands mostly kept for wood and timber; heavy growths of white and black, interspersed with burr oaks. Passing over these high lands for about one mile, you come to the valley of the Fox River; along the shores from the city line to the boundaries of the county on the north, are very handsome flats, all under cultivation; some parts of which, near the north line of the county, are as rich lands as any in the State.

Lands in this town, west of the river, are much inferior in soil and productions.

Near the center of the town, two miles west of Peck's corners, on the east side of the river, is quite a large settlement of Seventh Day Baptists. Messrs. D. E. Lewis, J. Larkin and J. F. Brown, in 1847, were the nucleus of this thrifty neighborhood. The first organization of their society in 1850, under the pastoral care of Rev. J. M. Todd; had 14 members; although many have since that period removed, they now have about sixty members; have a very neat church, a settled ministry, and public worship every Saturday.

The village of Sacramento, in the north part of this town, is rather a small settlement. Has had rather a restless time of it from the start. It originally belonged to Marquette county, and was, by an act of the legislature, attached to the county of Waushara, at its organization, contrary to the wish of its inhabitants and, as believed, to the constitution of the State. In the recent division of Marquette county, by an act of the Legislature, it has been attached to the town of Berlin.*

The growth of the village has not equalled [sic] the expectations of its earlier settlers. Being only two and one-half miles from the city of Berlin, it has been and probably will be, overshadowed by the superior advantages appertaining to that city.

This thrifty little city [Berlin], is situated near the northeast corner of the county of Green Lake, in the town of Berlin. Its chief claim, in earlier days as a desirable spot for settlement, was owing to its being the only good crossing or landing place on the Fox River, for many miles above or below. A ferry was here established, by one, Nathan Strong, in the year 1848. On May, 1847, Strong entered the land on which, part of the city is built. In August of that year, Mr. Thomas Noyes, for many years a resident of the city, purchased the undivided half of three fractions of land, lying on the river, of Strong, for $500.

Early in the fall [of 1848], Dr. Merriman, D. R. Shailer, Mr. Montague, C. R. Taylor and D. W. C. Benham, came. C. D. Taylor built the first tavern, (now Topliff,) which was the second frame house. Montague started the first store, in Noyes' meat shop, on the ground now occupied by Pierce's saloon.

In the winter of '49 and '50, a road was laid out to Stevens Point. No white man from Berlin to Plover. Noyes brought lumber from Stevens Point, to build the Fox River House.

John C. Gillespy, The History
of Green Lake County
Berlin: T. L. Terry & Co., 1860

* C. W. Butterfield's History of Wisconsin indicates that "the territory was part of Marquette county until May 12, 1858, at which date is was by an act of the legislature separately organized under the name of Green Lake county." Berlin was made the first county seat, followed by Dartford in 1862.

Last updated 5/23/1999 This site represents an ongoing effort to collect information related to the history of the town of Berlin. If you have information to share, please contact Bob Schuster by email at or at 6020 Kristi Circle, Monona, Wisconsin 53716 (608) 221-1421.