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Green Lake County, Wisconsin

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Utley Hill, looking west from the former village of Utley. The Grand River flows under the bridge.
(Photo courtesy David Schuster)

Land Patent Records--Town of Green Lake and Surrounding Area

1847 Wisconsin Territorial Census
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Creation of the Brandon-Marksan Railroad Line, 1882
History of Pine Hill/Utley, 1877-1939

Wisconsin Gazetteers for the Village of Utley

Bounded on the North by the town of Brooklyn; East by the county of Fond du Lac; on the South by the town of Mackford; on the West by the town of Dayton.

About 400 acres of this town is covered by the waters of Big Green. Twin and Spring lake are within the western limits of this town, covering about 450 acres; some marsh on the borders; face of land broken, hilly; timber, oaks; soil, clay loam. These lakes empty into Big Green. Little Green covers about one section of land, lying in south part of town; empties into Grand River. All the lakes in this town abound in pickerel, bass, suckers, &c. Two-fifths of the town prairie; mostly under cultivation; beautiful swales, hills, and vales; quite extended plains occasionally, yet falling gradually to the horizon, sufficient to carry the water from its surface to lower lands, which are the conductors to the lakes and streams. The soil of the prairies is not surpassed by any lands in the State; in good cultivation; many neat, tasteful, and some rather costly farm houses. The town presents to the traveler a rich and varied prospect; many a pleasant homestead along the borders of the openings, makes one almost covet the ownership of locations which are so pleasant and comfortable.

Traveling on the prairie in these days, is a common affair enough, but in times gone by, when with no house to vary the scene, no fences to keep a man to the point desired, was a venturesome and hazardous undertaking, at the close of a foggy day or in a snow storm, even when the road was staked, men well acquainted with localities have found themselves in a fix; after night fall been compelled to leave their loading, when, perhaps, not more than three miles from home, being lost entirely as to their whereabouts, taking the back track, traveling miles before they could find a land mark to guide them on their way home--hunting when the fog or storm passed, with no certain knowledge of the spot where they had left their wagon the night before. It was a good day's work, even in the day time, during winter storms, to cross the prairie.

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

In 1880 the Utley Quarry was tentatively opened and samples of the rock were taken by wagon to Brandon for shipment to Milwaukee and Chicago to see if a market could be found. It was decided that it was good granite and enough there to make it profitable to quarry it and ship it by rail.... Accordingly the Markesan & Brandon Railroad Co. was formed by subscription, with James Densmoor Sr. as the man in charge.... As long as the quarry was in operation, there was a thriving little settlement on the hillside.... Nearly 250 people lived there, with most of the laborers being of Italian extraction because of their skill in quarrying.

Samuel E. Smith, A History of Markesan,
Ripon: Ripon Commonwealth Press, 1976

Last updated 6/27/1999 This site represents an ongoing effort to collect information related to the history of the town of Green Lake. If you have information to share, please contact Bob Schuster by email at or at 6020 Kristi Circle, Monona, Wisconsin 53716 (608) 221-1421.