Township History - 1880
Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin

(From the "History of Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin" published by the Western Historical Company, Chicago, IL. - 1880)


This town was first a constituent part of the town of Auburn in its organization,but was set off from it and separately organized in 1849, the first election beingheld in April of that year, at the house of William Boener, at which Robert E.Adams was elected Chairman, and George Thorn, Town Clerk.

The territory included in Ashford is Township 13 north, in Range 18 east, of theGovernment survey, containing, theoretically, thirty-six sections, or 23,040 acresof land. In reality, it has 23,096 & 97/100 acres, being 56 & 97/100 acres morethan thirty-six full sections. Its boundary lines were surveyed by Mullett & Brink,in the first quarter of 1834 and during the second quarter of 1835; while itssections and quarter-sections were run out in the third quarter of the last-mentioned year, by Hiram Buruham.

The first settlement in Ashford was made in the summer of 1846, by HenryBarnett, Josiah L. Perry, Charles Crownhart, and several others, who settled in theeasterly part of the town, near the West Branch of the Milwaukee River, not farfrom where Crouchville was afterward located. On their arrival, they found not ahuman habitation within many miles, except the little beginning commenced byMr. Crouch. They soon threw up log shanties, and commenced clearing land forcrops for the ensuing year. They had many hardships to meet and overcome. Thetown had neither prairies nor openings ready for the plow, but was everywherecovered with timber. Hard-maple trees were found in abundance, affording rareopportunities for the manufacture of maple sugar. Basswood, ash, elm, oak,hickory, butternut with other kinds of hardwood constituted the forest growth.

The surface of Ashford is undulating, or, perhaps, it may with propriety be calledhilly. The soil is uniformly strong and fertile, and much of it of a warm nature. The hills are underlaid with limestone, and the soil is clay and loam, with sand,producing good wheat, oats, peas, and other grains, and excellent pasturage. Thevalleys are alluvial and very fertile; grain of all kinds has a luxurious growth. These lowlands, when stocked-down, make excellent meadows. The town is wellwatered - the West Branch of the Milwaukee River running through it fromnorthwest to southeast, receiving several tributaries upon both its sides. Springsand small brooks also abound.

Among the annoyances which the early settlers had to contend with, was theferocity of bears; these were numerous, and they became bold and frequentlydangerous.

The first death which occurred in Ashford was that of Mrs. Electa Pryor. Herdaughter, Mrs. Watson, died so soon after, that they were both buried in the samegrave. The first birth was that of C. D. Helmer, in the family of J. E. Helmer. Thefirst marriage was Eleazer Cisco, to Miss Fanny Pryor.

The first school was taught by Miss Calista Colvin, in the house of J. L. Perry, inthe summer of 1847. The first religious meeting was held at the house of HenryBarnett; the sermon was preached by Mr. Sears, in 1846.

Ashford is bounded on the north by the town of Eden, on the east by Auburn, onthe south by Wayne, in Washington County, and on the west by Lomira, in DodgeCounty.

The Northwestern Union, or Air Line Railroad crosses the northeastern part of thistown, entering it at the southeast corner of Section 13, and, after a northwesterlycourse of over three miles, leaves it on the north line of Section 2, crossing intothe town of Eden, on its way to the city of Fond du Lac, ten miles distant.

Ashford was originally organized as the town of Chili; but for some reason thisname was not satisfactory, and by act of the Legislature, approved January 26,1854, it was changed to Ashford, which, it is said, was suggested on account of thegreat quantity of ash timber growing in the town. This name was given by Dr. S.G. Pickett.

On the 14th of February, 1874, the Ashford Fire Insurance Company wasorganized with thirty-two members. The towns of Ashford, Auburn and Eden, inFond du Lac County, and Lomira, Dodge County, compose this company. Themeetings are held annually on the first Monday in January, at the CarterSchoolhouse, in Ashford. The capital stock subscribed at the organization was$37,600; the amount insured (1880) is $985,338; total losses paid, $4,500;percentage of loss, .0112; number of members, fifty-seven. The Presidents havebeen: A. Dieringer, H. J. Carter and Thomas Coleman, who has held the officesince 1876. J. A. Hendricks, of Ashford, has been Secretary since the organizationof the company.

The Chairmen and Town Clerks of Chili and Ashford have been as follows: 1850- Daniel B. Wilcox and Seth G. Pickett; 1851 - D. B. Wilcox and Ely B. Hull; 1852 and 1853 - Henry B. Crownhart and Ed. Boener; 1854 - Peter Johnson andJacob Haessly; 1855 - Peter Johnson and E. B. Hull; 1856 and 1857 - JacobHaessly and John Mauel; 1858 - P. Johnson and J. Mauel; 1859 - AndrewHendricks and J. Haessly; 1860 - Andrew Dieringer and John Mauel; 1861 and1862 - Joseph Wagner and John Mauel; 186 3 - J. Wagner and John Berg; 1864 -A. Dieringer and J. Berg; 1865, 1866 and 1867 - A. Dieringer and Peter Mauel; 1868 - P. Johnson and P. Mauel; 1869 - P. Johnson and J. Berg; 1870 - GeorgeAnderson and P. Mauel. Since 1870, except for 1877, when George C. Dennistonfilled the office, Peter Mauel has been Town Clerk. The Chairmen since then havebeen 1871 - Jacob Haessly; 1872 and 1873 - Peter Johnson; 1874 - MichaelSerwe; 1875, J. A. Hendricks, since which time Michael Thelen has held theoffice of Chairman.

The first land was entered in the fall of 1846, by Henry Barnett, in the southeastquarter of Section 11.

The first settler in the northwestern portion of the town was E. Welton. He wasalso one of the first Postmasters in Ashford.

The first frame house was built by R. F. Adams.

ASHFORD. - This village (Ellmore Post Office) was formerly called Leglerville,after its founder, Ulrich Legler, who platted it and built a saw-mill in 1857. Healso built a grist-mill here in 1861, on the West Branch of the Milwaukee River. In 1867, the Evangelical Reformed Church erected a building here for worship,having one, also, at New Cassel. The first Postmaster was C. F. Brokmeyer; thepresent Postmaster is William Reinhartt. The village contains a store, saloon,wagon-shop, meat market, shoe store, tailor-shop and blacksmith-shop.

CAMPBELLSPORT. - This village and post office had a very recent and novelbirth. The Air Line Railway folks desired to establish a station on H. B. Martinsfarm of 120 acres, Section 13. He would sell no fractional part, but offered thewhole of his farm for $10,000. Stuart Campbell purchased the farm, gave therailroad company three acres, the company afterward buying three more, andplatted a village. Jacob Haessly named the place Campbellsport, in August, 1873,on the day the deed for Martins farm was signed, in honor of its public-spiritedfounder. It is now a thrifty village. The first lot was sold to J. M. Saeman, and thesecond to James McCulloch, who built thereon the first store. Mr. Saeman builtthe third store and second warehouse. All of the original plat, except sixty-threeacres, has been sold in village lots.

The first organization of Methodists was in December, 1862, and meetings wereheld in the Carter Schoolhouse. The organizers were, some of them, J. N.McSchooler and wife, L. Norton and wife, William L. Andrews and wife, GeorgeMosher and wife and Leonard Goodax. Regular services were not held until thepresent edifice was erected in 1875, at a cost of $3,200. The members numberover forty. The building committee was composed of J. N. McSchooler, W.Saeman and William S. Hendricks. The first organization was by Rev. McFarland,and the first Trustees, in 1862, were: J. N. McSchooler, President; W. L. Andrews,William Dusenbury, Stuart Campbell, W. S. Hendricks and M. Saeman. Mr.McSchooler is still President, the other Trustees being John Huges, F. A. Rosco, J.H. Denniston, W. L. Andrews, S. Campbell and W. S. Hendricks. A UnionSabbath School, begun in 1862, at the Carter Schoolhouse, is still in existence.

Wicker Lodge, No. 128, l. 0. 0. F, was organized January 8, 1868, by G. M.Cheeney, of Janesville. The charter members were S. L. Marston, I. S. Sheldon, E.P. Odekirk, D. Wilcox, R. Romaine, G. Romaine, T. F. Gage, M. H. Flint and Mr.Hancock. The Lodge, which now numbers fifty working members and owns$1,200 in property, including the hall and lot, was named after Grand WardenWicker. The first officers were: S. L. Marston, N. G.; M. H. Flint, V. G.; E. P.Odekirk, R. S.; Mr. Hancock, P. S.; G. Romaine, Treasurer. Present officers: G.C. Denniston, N. G.; T. F. Wicker, V. G; E. P. Coburn, R. S.; C. F. Ladwig, P.S.; E. F. Martin, Treasurer.

New Cassel Lodge, I. 0. G. T., was first organized as the old Ashford and AuburnLodge, by S. G. Pickett and wife, J. E. Helmer, E. P. Odekirk, William and S.Tuttle, H. Burnett, Martin Dyer and others, who belonged to the KewaskumLodge, organized in 1859. S.G. Pickett was the first W. G. T.; Mrs. E. P.Odekirk, W. V. T., and George Pickett, W. S. The twenty-eight members soongrew to two hundred, and met weekly in what is now Odd Fellows Hall. The wartook so many members away that the charter was finally surrendered. In 1872,however, J. S. Thompson began open temperance meetings; which, December 11,1874, resulted in the organization, by Deputy G. W. C. T. Ross, of the presentstrong Lodge, with thirty-one charter members. J. S. Thompson was the first W.G. T. Meetings were held in Odd Fellows and Yancys Halls until 1877, when ahall, costing $1,000, was erected by the Lodge, under supervision of J. S.Thompson, H. Darrow arid A. H. Miller. The first $50 was raised by the ladies,who held sociables and made fancy work for that purpose. The hall is 28x55x14feet, and will seat two hundred. It is an ornament to the village. The Lodge nownumbers one hundred, mostly young people.

New Cassel and Campbellsport Turnverein was organized November 18, 1878, byDr. L. Eidemiller. Adam Holzhauer and others. The first officers were: D. Gudex,President; A. Holzhauer, Treasurer; R Tillack, Secretary; L. Eidemiller, Turnwart. The society now has forty members. Meetings are held on Friday evenings, inGood Templars Hall. Present officers L. Eidemiller, President; John Schrooten,Vice President; M. Herbert, Secretary; J. Dagenhardt, Treasurer; J. Terlinden, FirstTurnwart, and A. Fuchs, Second Turnwart.

The New Cassel and Campbellsport Literary Society, with a membership oftwenty, is in a flourishing condition. Its entertainments consist of lectures,debates, readings and affairs in that line. It was first organized in 1879.

Campbellsport has a large local trade. In the place are one drug store, four generalstores, one elevator, two warehouses, two lumber-yards, two wagon andblacksmith shops, pump-factory, boot and shoe store, harness-shop, barber-shop,furniture store, two tailor-shops, meat-market, picture-gallery, cheese-factory,cigar-factory, two saloons and three hotels - Railroad House, New Cassel Houseand Central Hotel. S. L. Marston is the only physician and S. C. Matteson the onlylawyer in the place. Platt Durand is Postmaster.

Thanks to Ron Friedel for preparing these pages in html format.

last modified:
13 Mar 2007
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** Ruth Shaw Worthing, The History of Fond du Lac County, as told by its Place-Names, 1976.
** The History of Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1880.

** Portrait and Biographical Album of Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, Chicago: Acme Publishing Company, 1889.
** A. T. Glaze, Incidents and Anecdotes of Early Days and History of Business in the City and County of Fond du Lac from Early Times to the Present, Fond du Lac: P. B. Haber Printing Company, 1905.
** Maurice McKenna, ed., History of Fond du Lac County, Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912. 
** Wisconsin Volunteers: War of the Rebellion 1861-1865 
** Plat Book of Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, C. M. Foote & Co.  1893