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Wonewoc, Juneau Co., WI


Organized: 1856
Village Incorporated:  1878
First Village President:  R. A. Wilkenson
Origin of Name: Wonewoc may have evolved from the Indian expression meaning "they howl."  It may also mean "the place of the evil spirit."
First Settlers: George and Lucinda Willard in 1851
First Church: Methodist Episcopal in 1875
First School: Wonewoc village, near Rock House
First Recorded Town Tax:  $990.42 in 1865
First Town Chairman:  R. Andrews
First Attorney:  H. W. Barney
First Doctors:  Thaddeus Davenport, William Seonard, L. N. Wood and J. E. Smith
First Barber:  Simon Nelson

source: Juneau County, The First Hundred Years, published 1988

1860 Census -Wonewoc
1870 Census - Wonewoc
1880 Census - Wonewoc
1885 Census - Wonewoc
1910 Census - Wonewoc
1920 Census - Wonewoc

 Wonewoc Plat book 1877
 Wonewoc Sketch 1879  
List of 265 women contributors to Wonewoc Cook Book 1915
Wonewoc 1940 Phone Directory
 Patron's Directory of Wonewoc Township & Village - 1898
History of Wonewoc
Lodge Directories - 1907
Wonewoc Public Library
 Wonewoc Spiritualist Camp 

Alcott family
Fisk family
Hill family
Pratt, Delando
Tillotson family
Tongue family
West family
Willard, George & Lucinda
Wolfenden family


George Willard was the first settler in what is now known as Wonewoc Village. In August, 1842, in company with Don Carlos Barry and Alexander Draper, he visited this locality and explored the country.

In the Winter of 1842-43, Willard, associated with J. Chrystie and Arch Barker, cut a logging road through to Pine Grove. Part of them worked a logging camp there, and Willard operated a camp near Rathburn's mill. During the same year, they rafted the logs to Sauk City. From the Winter of 1842-43, Willard ran logging camps in the vicinity of Wonewoc, and in 1849 he rolled down the bluff just back of the residence of Hon. T. K. Dunn over a million feet of logs. In 1851, Mr. Willard cut a road from the State road in Sauk County to Wonewoc, and built a log house on the place now owned by Samuel Veeder, in Plum Valley. In the summer of this year, he built a saw-mill at Wonewoc, and also a frame building, now known as the Rock House, and moved his family into it. Mrs. Willard was the first white woman who came to this vicinty. Their son Fred, who was born in Wonewoc, November 18, 1853, was the first child born there. In 1854, Delando Pratt came to Wonewoc, purchased a water power from Willard, and the land now occupied by the village, whereon he had the site plated. At that time, the entire ground of the plat was a tangled jungle of bushes, trees and logs, without a house. In 1855, Pratt purchased additional water power from Willard, and built the first grist-mill. Joel Bishop arrived in 1854. He built the first hotel - a portion of the Frazell House - which he sold the following year to J. Clements. Mr. Clements was the first Postmaster; he received his commission in the Summer of 1856. The office was kept in his hotel, and Willard carried the mail from Reedsburg twice a week for the proceeds of the office. John Grant, Sr. located at Willard's Prairie in 1851. Abram Tawney on the ridge, about a mile and a half from the village. Messrs. Fisher and Ganser located at Union Centre about the same time. Then Plymouth and Wonewoc were consolidated, and in 1857, Wonewoc was organized into a separate township, in pursuance to an order of the Board of Supervisors of Adams County.

The first election for town officers was held in the office of Daniel Schermerhorn, then a Justice of the Peace, afterward County Judge of Juneau County. From that time onward, Wonewoc steadily increased in size and population. Hard times came with the hop decline of 1868, and continued until the opening of the railroad, in 1871. Since then it has improved slowly, but with a steady, healthy growth.

Thomas Brown and Thomas Riddle made the first claim and settlement in the town of Plymouth. In May, D. M. Fowler, R. A. Fowler, John H. Fowler and Daniel Fowler made claims and settled in the same neighborhood, on what is now known as Fowler's Prairie. In 1852, a public road was laid out from Fowler's Corners to the Stewart settlement, in Lindina. From this time forward, the section settled up more rapidly. The town was organized November 16, 1854. In 1856, J. M. Vintnall built a sawmill on the Baraboo River, at the east end of the prairie, and the following year, removed to building where the post-office was located; R. A. Fowler, Postmaster.

Wonewoc is a thrifty village, nearly surrounded by high bluffs, situated on the Madison division of the C. & N.W. R.R., in the southwestern town of Juneau County. The Baraboo River runs though it, which furnishes good water power. The various branches of business are well represented here, the most important of which, however, is


This factory is a two-story frame building, about 300x300 feet, with iron roof, situated about one half mile south of the railroad depot. It is operated by steam power, and has all the latest improved machinery in use in such establishments, both in the woodworking and blacksmithing departments. It was built in the Winter of 1877-78, by the Wonewoc Manufacturing Company, and operated by them until their failure, in Feburay, 1880, at which time a new company was organized, known as the Wonewoc Wagon Company, and in 1881 it was incorporated as the Case Wagon Company - of which Nathan Fisk is president; William Case, vice-president; R. Risk, treasurer, and M. H. Case, secretary - all of whom are men of energy. The business is under the immediate supervision of the last named officer, who is known as one of the most careful, systematic and prudent busienss men in the county. The factory furnishes employment for about seventy-five men, and during the year 1881 will turn out about 3,000 wagons.

Next to the Case Wagon Company, comes the flour-mill of Cooper & Cary, located on the Baraboo River. It has good machinery, and under the managment of Mr. Cooper is doing a fine business.

The Bank is owned by P. R. Briggs & Son. It was organized in the Spring of 1881, has a capital of $12,000, and is doing a general banking business under the name of The Juneau County Bank.

Another important manufacturing interest is the stave factory of S. S. Daun. It is mostly employed in the manufacture of tight barrel stock, and is one of the finest of its kind in the State.

There are two churches in the place, the Methodist Episcopal and German Lutheran Evangelical. The former was built in 1875, has a good membership and a flourishing Sabbath school. Its pulpit is a present supplied by Rev. H. D. Jencks. The latter was built in 1880. Its pastor is Rev. Christian Sauer.

The Spiritualists have a strong society, and a building of thier own. J. T. Potter lectures to them weekly when at home.

Wonewoc has one of the best school buildings in this section, and always employs a good corps of teachers. F. W. Lee is principal. The first school organized was held in an out-building used as a granary, near the Rock House, in 1854, with Elizabeth Clements as teacher. The present school-house was built in 1874. Value of school property, $5,000. Number of children of school age, 277. Number of children attending school, 225.

The secret and benevolent societies are well represented here. Wonewoc Lodge, No. 184, F. & A. M., has a good membership, and is constantly adding to their numbers. Wonewoc Lodge, No. 236 and Juneau Encampment, No. 66, I.O.O.F., have a wide-awake and hard working membership in both branches.

Wonewoc Lodge No. 64, of the A.O.U.W., is constantly increasing its membership, and as several thousand dollars have been paid to families of deceased brethen, it has the entire confidence of the people. Harmony Lodge, No. 251, of the I.O.G.T., has a good membership, is a flourishing society and is doing a good work.

Source: History of Northern Wisconsin. Publisher: Western Historical Co., Chicago 1881 pp. 388-391

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