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)


The town of Forest was named after the splendid forests of hard timber thatoriginally covered much the larger portion of its surface. No town in the countywas blessed with finer hardwood timber, with occasional jungles of tamarack andsome patches of cedar. It contains no genuine prairie, and but few oak openings. In early days, it was excellent for winter wheat, and is yet, as compared with othertowns, owing to the peculiar soil of the timbered tracts. A great amount of laborhas been expended in this town to fit the land for crops; but the cash return forhard timber and cordwood, the abundance of it for home use, the protection forestsafford in winter and the excellent soil when once ready for crops, abundantly repaythe inhabitants for their extra exertions. The town is well watered. is rather moreuneven than prairie towns, has some splendid sugar-maple groves and severalwater-powers. On Sections 28 and 33, in the south, is Mullet Lake, whence rises astream of the same name, flowing northeast into the Sheboygan River, whichflows across the entire western portion of the town, turning a lathe, two mills andother machinery even as early as 1853. At Dotyville is a flouring-mill run bywater - by the Sheboygan River. In February, 1847, the following act was passed:

Sec. 32. That township number fifteen north, and the south half of townshipnumber sixteen north, of range number nineteen east, in the county of Fond duLac, be, and the same is hereby, set off into a separate town by the name of Forest,and that the first town meeting be held at the house of George Chase, in said town.

In March, 1848, another act, as follows, was passed, by the Legislature:

SEC. 16. Township number fifteen and the south half of township numbersixteen north, in range number nineteen east, organized into the town of Forest, ishereby declared to be a town by that name, and the acts and proceedings of saidtown in its affairs for the year l847 shall not be deemed illegal or invalid by reasonof said township having been included in Taycheedah.

The town is now the six full sections in Township 15 North, of Range 19 East. Itwas settled in 1845, Henry C. Giltner, now of Minnesota, probably making thefirst location, though Josiah A. King settled there permanently in May of that year,and James Davis and P. T. King settled the same year near the center of the town,and were, probably, permanently located a month or two earlier than Mr. Giltner. Early in 1846, William Chase, at whose house the first election was held; 0. C.White, Solomon Benedict and others settled not far from Mr. Giltner's, in thewestern portion of the town.

The town is now largely owned by Germans, who are unusually well-to-do, aconsiderable amount of their ready money being derived from the sale of wood,which they haul to Fond du Lac.

At the first election, held April 1, 1848, H. C. Giltner was chosen Chairman. Thefirst birth was that of Sarah Chase; first death, James Davis; first marriage, a Mr.Slocum to Miss Riley. The first schoolhouse was built on Section 14, and, in thesummer of 1849, S. Corbett taught school in it. The town now has eightschoolhouses.

CHURCHES.-Some time in 1847, the first sermon was preached, at the house ofWilliam Chase, by Rev. Mr. Scott. In 1858, the Catholics built a church onSection 19, at Dotyville, and now the town has five church edifices. The UnionChurch, on Section 36, was organized, April 7, 1879, by Henry Stannard, E. C.Coon, William Stewart and P. H. Montgomery; Henry Stannard, President andSecretary; E. C. Coon, Treasurer; H. Stannard, E. Conger and E. C. Coon,Trustees. It was dedicated by Rev. F. A. Marsh, February 19, 1880, who preachedthe first sermon in it. On Section 13 is the Methodist Episcopal Church. Thesociety was organized November 17, 1873, at James Corbett's house. The edificewas built in 1874. The first sermon was by Rev. J. T. Woodhead. The firstTrustees were James Corbett, S. Elecson, David Rogers, Ezra Coon, WilliamBennett and J. 0. Dowling. The first Pastor was J. S. Bolton. Present Pastor, Rev.H. Knight. The first marriages in the church were Joseph Colton to S. Hall and S.Gibson to Sarah Bolton.

The first post office was established early in 1847, called Oasis, of which H. C.Giltner was Postmaster. The second was Dotyville, established by ThomasDavidson in 1849. In 1852, Mr. Davidson opened the first store in Forest, atDotyville. In 1866, C. A. Corbett established Banner Post Office.

The first cheese-factory was built on Section 16, in 1877, by C. C. Lyon and J.Smith. It is the only one in the town.

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