Town of Bristol

Town of Bristol

From "The City of Kenosha and Kenosha County Wisconsin" by Frank H. Lyman, 1916, p. 322:
Bristol (Town)
The settlement of the Town of Bristol dates back to 1835, when William R. Higgins made the first land claim. The first farm opened in the town was by Rollin Tuttle, who in the spring of 1836 commenced working his land claim by plowing the prairie and planting. At the time Mr. Tuttle moved on his claim there were but few families in the region. During the first four months after Mr. Tuttle took up his abode on his land Mrs. Tuttle saw no female neighbor or stranger. William Etheridge, Joel Walker, George Nixon, S. Upson and perhaps some others moved into town in 1836. In 1837 a large number of families arrived, among which were those of Levi Grant, A. R. Wilbur, C. G. Cotting, Charles Jennings. William Tuttle, son of Mr. and Mrs. Rollin Tuttle, was the first white child born in the township. The first death which occurred the town was that of a daughter of Elisha Phillips, aged about seven years, and she was buried on July 28, 1837. Rev. Abner Barlow preached the funeral sermon on the words, "But I say unto you brethren the time is short." This was the first sermon preached in the town. On October 5, 1837 Reverend Barlow preached at the house of A. B. Jackson, to about fifty persons. This was the first regular Sabbath service in Bristol, and at that time appointment was made for regular preaching every two weeks. Arrangements were also made for holding prayer meetings alternately at the houses of A. B. Jackson, L. Grant and S. S. Fowler.

On March 7, 1838, Rev. O. F. Curtis from Southport preached at the house of A. B. Jackson and formed a Methodist society or class. This was the first religious organization in the township. The next preacher in Bristol was Rev. Salmon Stebbins. The same year Reverend Cadwell, a Congregationalist, preached at the house of S. S. Fowler, who erected a school building as a private enterprise, which he expected would eventuallv grow into an academical institution. The school in the course of a few years became of considerable importance and attracted students from neighboring towns. The failure of Mr. Fowler's health, however, arrested the progress of the school.

In July, 1837, Rev. Jason Lothrop surveyed the road running from Southport to Geneva. This was the first road running West from Southport to be surveyed. S. S. Fowler and A. B. Jackson were the chain bearers from the lake to the O'Plain River, at which point General Bullen and party from Salem assisted in running the line west to Geneva.

In December, 1837, a meeting was held at the house of A. B. Jackson, at which a petition was drawn up for a mail route from Southport to Geneva. At this meeting a vote was taken to name the town and a majority voted to call the town Bristol. A postoffice bearing the name of the town was soon afterward established and commenced business in 1839. A. B. Jackson was appointed postmaster and held the office for some years; subsequently Rollin Tuttle was appointed and kept the office at the house of Mr. Jackson.

In December, 1839, at a meeting at the house of S. S. Fowler the Bristol Lyceum was organized. Salmon Upson was president; H. A. Newbury, vice president; and A. B. Jackson, secretary. This lyceum was continued during the winter seasons for several years and furnished the means of instructive entertainment for the settlers.

The first town meeting was held at the house of A. R. Wilbur. The first meeting house erected in the town was the church edifice known as Wesley Chapel on Walkers Prairie. The first district school house. was at Nixon's Corners, long known as the, "red school house." S. S. Fowler built the first frame house and the first frame barn. Mr. Fowler and Mr. Cotting built a saw mill the same year. Mr. Fowler planted the first nursery; set out the first peach and apple orchard; he brought the seeds from Northford, Connecticut. Mrs. S. S. Fowler was the first female teacher in the town; A. B. Jackson built the first tavern and also opened the first store for general merchandise.

The first town meeting after the town organization was held at the school house near Kingmans. P. Judson was chosen moderator; L. Grant, secretary; John Benedict, Ira Pierce and S. E. Tarbell, supervisors, the former chairman. Levi Grant was town clerk; C. Williams, treasurer; Joel Walker, S. Upson, assessors; Rollin Tuttle, collector; Rollin Tuttle, C. Dayton and M. D. Burt, constables; F. J. Jackson, sealer of weights and measures; W. R. Higgins, William Knight, M. Tourtlott, fence viewers; Sereno Fowler, P. Judson and Ira Pierce, school commissioners. The second annual town meeting was held at the house of Northrup Jackson on April 4, 1843. At that meeting it was voted to raise $30 to purchase three lots in different parts of the town for burial purposes north, west and south. The meeting also decided to raise a tax of one mill on the dollar for the support of common schools.

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