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)


In the southeast corner of Fond du Lac County lies the town of Auburn. It isbounded on the north by the town of Osceola, east by Scott, in Sheboygan County,south by Kewaskum, in Washington County, and west by Ashford, in the countyof Fond du Lac. It contains thirty-six sections of land, but these are not all fullsections. The actual number of acres in the town is 22,901.99, being 138.01 acresless than the full 36 sections - 23,040 acres. The territory of Auburn includes thatplatted by the United States as Township 13 north, in Range 19 east. Thetownship lines were run during the first quarter of the year 1834, by Mullett &Brink. It was subdivided into sections and quarter-sections during the secondquarter of 1835, by Deputy Surveyor Hiram Burnham. By him the lake onSections 10 and 15 was called "Crooked Lake;" the one on Sections 11, 12, 13and 14 was named "Off-Set Lake." But these names were not retained. (Theselakes are now named Auburn and Mauthe Lakes.)

The face of Auburn is smooth in appearance, though not level in surface; it isgently undulating, with ascents and declivities of various heights and depths. Thestreams of water - of which the principal are the three branches of MilwaukeeRiver - flow with a strong current. Lying as it does within the broad belt of heavy-timbered land skirting the northerly part of the western shore of Lake Michigan,the territory now included in the town of Auburn presented to the eye, in itsnatural state, neither prairie, openings, nor hay marsh - nothing but continuouswoods. The forest trees proclaimed the excellence and fertility of the soil whichsustained their growth; the principal of which were sugar-maple, basswood, elm,black ash, white ash, red oak, white oak, hickory and butternut. The large grovesof sugar-maple offered excellent opportunities for manufacturing maple sugar.

The soil of this town is a deep, black, sandy loam, with a mixture of marl, and asubsoil of reddish clay. In early spring, when the county was first settled, theground in the woods became covered with grass and herbage, giving good supportto cattle before vegetation was developed in cultivated fields. Many of the farmsof Auburn have living springs upon them, which send their running waters toswell the outlet of Long Lake and the three branches of the Milwaukee River. Thesoil is rich in those properties which make it warm, productive and durable. Thedifferent varieties of grain are cultivated with success, while the growth of grass isgenerally excellent. The Northwestern Union Railroad crosses the southwesterncorner of Auburn in its northwesterly course toward Fond du Lac, entering it nearthe center of the south line of Section 32, and leaving it at the northwest corner ofSection 19, crossing into the town of Ashford.

The first settlement in this town was made in 1846 by Ludin Crouch and JohnHowell, on the spot afterward occupied by CrouchvilIe, now New Cassel. HereMr. Crouch built a log shanty and then commenced building a saw-mill. The sameyear, there was a small settlement made in the neighborhood by J. 0. Baldwin, J. L.Perry, C. Crownhart, Rev. H. A. Sears and others, but some of them settled acrossthe line in what is now Ashford. In February, 1847, Roswell Hill purchased a loton the west side of the Milwaukee River, near what was subsequently Crouchville,built a house, and, in July following, removed his fami1y into it. AlamonWheeler, Seward Wilcox and Harvey Woodworth soon located in the sameneighborhood. Several other settlements were made in different parts, and, thatyear, the town of Auburn was organized, its territory including, also the presenttown of Ashford. (The first settlement of Ashford and Auburn being so near to theline now dividing the two, it is no wonder there is a dispute as to who were firstsettlers in each.) At the first election, held at Mr. Crouchs mill, there were twentyvotes polled. Ludin Crouch was elected Chairman, and Hiram Hatch, Town Clerk.

The first marriage was C. Hemenway to Harriet Hall in December, 1847.

The first school taught in Auburn was in the summer of 1848, in the house of Mr.Crouch, by Miss Maria Bristol. Mrs. Crouch taught the school the next year.

The first death was that of Mrs. J. 0. Baldwin in 1846 or 1847. Rev. Harvey A.Sears preached the funeral sermon.

The first stock of goods - general merchandise - was opened in the fall of 1849,probably, at Crouchville.

Auburn was named by R. F. Adams and brother, after Auburn, N. Y., their nativeplace.

Michael McCulloch was the first Irish settler; Philip Oelig and Gerhardt Volkerts,the first German settlers in Auburn.

The most notable event in the history of this town was the tornado of July 4, 1873,which killed one person and laid waste forests, crops, buildings, fences and otherproperty in large amounts.

The first election after Auburn and Ashford were separated, was in April, 1849, atwhich twenty-seven votes were cast. T. S. Wilcox was elected Chairman; M.Buckland, Clerk; A. W. Wheeler, Assessor; C. D. Gage, Collector, and M. Miller,Superintendent of Schools.

NEW PROSPECT. - This is called "Jersey" because its first settlers came fromNew Jersey. The first Postmaster was B. Romaine, who held the office twentyyears, being appointed probably in 1859. He was with Gen. Scott in the Mexicanwar. In 1877, a two-story building for a schoolhouse and church was built on Mr.Van Blarcoms farm. The church is non-sectarian.

EBLESVILLE. - This village was founded by Andrew Eble, who came fromMilwaukee, in 1855, purchased the water-power and built a saw-mill. He wasaccidentally shot on Christmas, 1859. The New Fane Post Office, established onthe line between Sections 29 and 30 in 1851, by T. S. Wilcox, was moved toEblesville in 1875. The village consists of a saw and feed mill, two stores,Lutheran Church, built in 1871, and the usual number of shops.

NEW CASSEL. - This is an old village; has the honor of being the firstsettlement in the towns of Auburn and Ashford. Ludin Crouch, a school teacherfrom "York State," came to the spot from Waukesha, in February, 1846, campingover night with an Indian named Weh-aug-wok-na. He was in search of a water-power, and had followed up the Milwaukee River. Here he found the desiredpower and returned to Waukesha. As soon as spring came, Mr. Crouch and hisbrother-in-law, John Howell, returned to the spot and erected a log wigwam, withshaker roof and puncheon floor - the first white mans domicile in the presenttowns of Ashford and Auburn. Mr. C. entered 160 acres of land on the west sideof the stream (Middle Branch of Milwaukee River), and Mr. H., eighty acres onthe opposite side. These two were joined in June, by H. Barnett and J. L. Perry,with their wives. The dam was then begun. C. Crownhart and wife came next,and during the year, J. 0. Baldwin and wife, E. B. Hall and wife, Joseph Johnsonand wife, C. and R. Hemenway, L. Pryor, William Brown, C. North, H. Hatch, J.E. Helmer and wife, William Pool and wife, Adin Nelson and wife, T. S. Wilcoxand others. The village plat was surveyed by John Bannister, and after acelebration gotten up by the three ladies then in the settlement, July 4, 1846, theplace was formally named Crouchville. In 1856, Emil Brayman changed the nameto New Cassel; in honor of Hesse-Cassel, his birthplace. Some of these earlysettlers claimed by Crouchville actually located just over the line in what is nowAshford. Crouchs saw-mill, the first in the vicinity, was put in motion in the fallof 1846, and did good service for the settlers. Lumber was scarce, and what wasnot wanted for home use brought a good price at Taycheedah. The Hemenwaybrothers, millwrights, first used it without roof or sides. It changed hands manytimes before going into disuse. In 1856, Emil Brayman purchased 160 acresincluding the mill, and raised the frame of the present flouring-mill. He failed, andthe mill stood incomplete and unused until about 1863, when the Hirsch brothersfinished and put it into operation. It has since changed hands several times, A.Colburn & Sons, the present proprietors, finally making it one of the best mills inthe county.

New Cassel Post Office was called Auburn for many years. It was changed toNew Cassel in 1856. Squire Crownhart was the first Postmaster, keeping theoffice in his tavern at Crownharts Corners. The Postmasters have been, MarionBuckland, S. C. Matteson, Seth G. Pickett, Adin Nelson, Emil Brayman, Mrs. EmilBrayman, S. Hirsch, who kept it in his mill, P. Berkhauser, David Gudex, F. M.Findeisen, and William Pool, Jr., appointed August 3, 1870.

The Baptist Church society is comparatively an old one. The first services wereheld in the fall of 1846, in H. Barnetts house, by Rev, H. A. Sears. In 1852 anorganization was formed in the schoolhouse at the five corners, town of Auburn. R. F. Adams was elected Deacon and Clerk. In 1866, the present edifice, costing$2,200, was built under the supervision of J. E. Helmer, Henry Barnett and C.Yancy, Building Committee. The first preacher in the town, Rev. H. A. Sears, isthe present Pastor. The Trustees are F. W. Tanner, President and Treasurer; F.Borchert, Clerk, and 'William Scheid.

The Evangelical Reformed Church was organized and built a log place of worship,in 1855, in the south part of Ashford. The leaders in the work were Ulrich Legler,John Senn, U. Gundel, and others. In 1867, they built the present edifice in NewCassel. The first Pastor was Rev. Reine, the present is Rev. Charles Huicker.

The Roman Catholic Church is now the richest in New Cassel. The first serviceswere held by Father Dael, of Fond du Lac, in Owen Bannons house. JamesKramer, J. Guippe, C. Becker, 0. Bannon, T. Hoy, M. McCulloch and otherscomposed the first organization. The first attempt to build a house failed. In1866, however, the congregation having been re-organized in 1865, the churchedifice was erected; soon after, a pastoral residence was built by Father Michels. Since 1872, when Father A. Michels took charge. additions costing $1,800 havebeen made, the debt of $1,100 canceled, and in 1874, St. Josephs Convent built,at a cost of $10,000. This was erected for the Sisters of St. Francis, who numberedeighty-five. They teach a boarding-school in the Convent building, and aparochial school in a building near the church. They also teach music, needleworkand all useful branches. The church numbers ninety families. A new parochialschool building, 30x54 feet, two stories high, will be built during 1880.

In 1846, 0. R. Potter sold the first goods in New Cassel, then Crouchville.

The Adams House was built in 1869, by Adam Holzhauer, who opened the firsthotel in New Cassel, in 1856.

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

last modified:
27 Dec 2003
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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