James Madison Kellogg, a resident of Kenosha County
from 1854, was born in Amsterdam, Livingston County,
New York, on September 25, 1812. He was the youngest
son of Seth and Naomi Parsons Kellogg, in a family of six
sons and three daughters. Their father was a cabinetmaker
by trade, emigrating in 1800 from Connecticut.
James's earliest recollection was of his oldest brother,
Russell, returning from the war of 1812, and resting his
old musket in the chimney corner. He recalled assisting his
mother in grating potatoes from which she made starch, and of
burning corncobs, from the ashes of which pearlash or soda was extracted.
He learned his letters in a little dame-scbool, and later attended the rural school in the winter.
This must have been a rather turbulent academic course, for the first
procedure of the schoolmaster in the morning was to season over the live coals some very long and
wiry birch switches, and after this school opened with prayer and reading of the
One brother operated a sawmill and lumberyard on the Mohawk River. The father's family
moved to Steuben County, and at the age of twenty James went to Orleans County, where he taught
school, had classes in penmanship and read law. He returned to Steuben County, was admitted to the
bar, and engaged in legal practice.
Another brother, Franklin Kellogg, bad beard of the fertile prairies of the West, and in the summer
of 1841 with his wife and two daughters started for Chicago. Their goods were in two covered
wagons. James had decided to caste his lot with his brother, and to the other goods he added his
Black-stone's Commentaries and oddments packed in a cowhide covered trunk with his initials J. M.
K. ornate in brass nails across the top. (The trunk is still in existence, 1932.)
James had a saddle horse and gun, and one of the party usually scouted ahead for a camp site, and
shot small game for the evening meal. They were a month on the road, and
it was the first of October when they reached Chicago, which was little more than a trading post at
the stage when teams mired down on State Street.
The women were left in Chicago, and the men went land, looking and selected a fertile section near
McHenry, Illinois. Here they built a cabin and broke the prairie sod. Neighbors
were not plentiful, and at first it was feared the newcomers might be "stuck up," as the women
arrived from Chicago with wagon and team of horses instead of oxen!
The first social gathering they attended was a quilting bee. The young men came in the evening,
on the rough cabin floor. The refreshment was a well scrubbed, juicy turnip, and a knife to scrape
it with, passed around.
In New York, Mr. Kellogg had made a study of phrenology; and for fifteen years, during the winter
months, traveled through Illinois and gave lectures in churches, schoolhouses, and cabins, wherever
a gathering might be held. For demonstration purposes in his lectures, he procured three skulls:
one of a reputed pirate, one of an Indian and one of a murdered white man. These skulls werc
carried in a pair of saddlebags, thrown over the horse's back. These same
skulls were for many years a matter of much concern to his household. When not "on tour," they were
consigned to the farthest corner of the darkest closet, and at housecleaning time caused
considerable consternation among the women folk. They were finally given a respectable resting
place. One of Mr. Kellog's favorite stories was of examining the head of old S---, the friendly
Indian of the Black Hawk War.
One summer he spent with a naturalist in central Wisconsin gathering specimens of wild life and
flora for some institution in New York. His lecture trips led him farther afield in southern
Wisconsin, and in 1854 he met and married Mrs. Lemira Tarbell Fowler, the widow of Sereno S.
Fowler. She was the sister of Emerson and Henry Tarbell, well known in Kenosha and its history.
Mr. Fowler was a native of Massachusetts and a graduate of Harvard. Mrs. Fowler was born in Hampden
County, Massachusetts, and was a graduate of a young ladies' academy at Southampton. Mr. Fowler
came to land sales in the territory of Wisconsin, and in 1837 brought his bride to the land just
north of the Woodworth Road on highway 50 in the town of Bristol. Rollin Tuttle brought them out
through the prairie grass that was higher than the backs of the ox-team.
The prairie was broken by groups of magnificent oaks called "oak openings," and Mrs. Fowler
expressed her pleasure at such "nice orchards." When a prairie fire threatened their cabin, while
the men were hastily plowing a strip around the clearing to protect it from the flames, Mrs.
Fowler beat out the flying sparks with her woolen petticoat.
When trees were cut and burned, berry bushes grew around the stumps. Berries were dried for winter.
Wild crabs were preserved in maple sugar. Quail and prairie chicken were abundant; one winter all
the flour they had was buckwheat, till the boat came in the spring with supplies.
Mr. Fowler planted the first apple, peach, and pear orchard in the county, having brought the
seedlings from his home in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1841. Some of the trees are
The Indians looked in the windows, but they were friendly, and brought gifts of venison and game,
and expected a little sugar, tobacco, or tea in exchange. They camped in the woods between
Woodworth and highway 50, but during the winter of the deep snow, many of them died
of disease and starvation, and the little remnant never returned.
For several seasons the winters were mild and all the equipment for winter travel was a rude sled
called a "jumper," and a fiery little Canadian pony, which never stepped over a puddle or running
stream, but jumped. over.
Mr. and Mrs. Fowler were people of fine ideals and an upward vision. His high ambition was the
establishment of a select boarding school; to this end in 1839 be built the house and dormitory of
Fowler's Academy. The lumber was sawed in a mill erected on land owned by Mr. Fowler,
now in the possession of Fred Stevens, on the old Plank Road. With ox-teams and neighborhood help,
they raised a dam and mill race on the little stream that is the outlet
of Neisans and League Lake. The remains of these are still plainly visible. Henry A. Newberry was
the carpenter constructed the academy, and he built well for posterity.
Mr. Fowler was possessed of extraordinary executive ability, and the academy was becoming most
successful when his health failed, and in 1847 the school closed. He succumbed
soom after to tuberculosis, which it is believed be contracted in his eastern home.
The young widow was unable to carry on, and the place
was rented as a tavern. Here, after their marriage, Mr. and
Mrs. Kellogg made their home, continuing it as a tavern,
where they housed many a man and beast when long lines of
ox-teams hauled wheat to Kenosha from the fertile prairies
of Walworth and Big Foot.' (H. E. Cole, Stagecoach and Tavern Tales of the Old Northwest
(Cleveland, 1930), 140.) The charge for man and team
was fifty cents and a stirrup cup thrown in to speed the parting guest. The old house was well
equipped for those days to care for a crowd, and it was Mrs. Kellogg's pride that she
always had her meals on time. There was a big brick oven
with a fireplace and kitchen in the basement. The dining
room was above this on the first floor, and on the second
floor a large hall extended to the north.
In his capacity of justice of the peace, Mr. Kellogg presided over the occasional lawsuits here,
and here Lovell and Webster clashed forensic opinions. In common with many other public spirited
citizens, Mr. and Mrs. Kellogg gave their measure of financial assistance to the building of what
is now the Kenosha and Harvard Division of the Northwestern Railway.
The post office was in the Kellogg home when the mail was carried by stagecoach to Lake Geneva, but
after the railroad was put through, the stagecoach was discontinued and the post office moved to
The Kellogg house was at one time a station of the "underground railroad" that assisted fleeing
slaves into Canada. One evening while a dance was going on above, a wagon load of frightened
negroes was brought over from Antioch.
They were hastily hidden in the "cellar kitchen," where the windows were blanketed and the doors
locked; they were warmed and fed, and the next night taken to another "station" in Kenosha. And no
one was ever the wiser!
Mr. Kellogg was an ardent Democrat, but did not uphold slavery or secession. He gave generously of
time and money, in conducting meetings and making speeches in various parts of the county to aid in
raising troops and furthering the Union cause. Nevertheless, he was subjected to much criticism for
his political belief, but the men of that generation were positive in their convictions and did not
back water for expediency.
At the close of the war, Mr. Kellogg entered extensively into dairying, and in 1869 engaged in
cooperative cheesemaking. The barroom was turned into a cheese room, and
William Bush, one of the sons of a pioneer familv, became cheese and butter maker. He stayed with
them for eight years, and the venture was so successful that a factory was built on the north road.
Other cheese makers were Milton Hubbard of South Bristol, Fred Jones of Pleasant Prairie, and
Early in the '70's the Patrons of Husbandry were organized, and Mr. Kellogg as state deputy
organized some thirteen societies in the county. The hall over the dairy room became the home of
the Bristol grange. A stage was erected in the north end, and the young people gave many
Zalmon G. Simmons of Kenosha had offered $500 for
a circulating library for the Bristol community if it would
raise $300 more. They responded with a will, and by means
of suppers, socials, dinners, entertainments, lectures, and
amateur theatricals achieved their goal. Rev. Lucius Lee,
who had just returned from a trip around the world,
consented to lecture. By the aid of pictures he had taken
several young ladies presented tableaux to show the costumes of
different countries. I believe he brought some costumes
with him, but there was much sewing of paper-cambric and
draping of shawls. By these various activities
a public library for Bristol and vicinity was installed in the
Kellogg house. It was called the "Bristol Grange Library,"
and was distinctly different in operation from the district
school libraries which an early Wisconsin law had provided for. It is believed that the Bristol
Grange Library was the first library of the sort opened to the general public in this section of
Wisconsin. It contained approximately 1,000
volumes of standard works by such authors as Dickens, Scott,
Bulwer, Hume, Macaulay, together with encyclopedias and
other books, too numerous to recall. The grange library were discontinued, and the last of the
books given to the Simmons Library of Kenosha.
Mr. and Mrs. Kellogg had no children, but the child of their adoption was Emma the daughter of
Henry and Mary Cherry Hogle. Henry Hogle was an emigrant from
England to Wisconsin in 1847. He joined the gold rush to California and with many others who
crossed the divide, never returned. The young wife died, the little girl was adopted by Mr. and
Mrs. Kellogg, and later became the wife of Daniel Rowe. She died in 1874, leaving an infant son and
a daughter; the latter is now Mrs. Herbert E. McVicar, the author of this paper.
Mrs. Kellogg was a Congregationalist; Mr. Kellogg was a member of the Methodist church. They
retained their interest in young people, in church and school and public affairs, and as long as
health permitted visited school at least twice a year, as a civic duty. Mrs. Kellogg passed away in
February, 1887, and Mr. Kellogg in 1899. He was a Royal Arch Mason and a member of Washburn Lodge
He had no political aspirations; his favorite quotation was one that ended: "Act well your
part-there all the honor lies."
The old house passed to the hands of strangers. It stood
a neglected landmark for many years. Those who had lived
in it were gone. It burned to the ground in September, 1929,
and the hand hewn timbers from century old oaks gave back
to earth their ashes and their memories.