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Corrigan, Walter D., Sr. / History of the town of Mequon, Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, brought down to about 1870
([1950])

Schools,   p. 16


Page 16

HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF MEQUON
and a third vote was taken January 1, 1849, at which Cedarburg received
1,643 votes, West Bend 1,111 votes, and 986 votes were cast in opposition
to either of them. This vote resulted in a court contest which showed there
had been ballot box stuffing, particularly in Belgium, Port Washington and
Grafton, which was then much allied with Cedarburg. Scarce a town
escaped imputations from some quarter of illegal action concerning that
election. The controversy was thrown back into the legislature, and on
February 8, 1850 an act was passed cutting Washington County into two
counties by an east and west dividing line, creating the county of Tuskola,
embracing the two southern tiers of towns, which of course included Me-
quon. This act made Cedarburg the county seat of the new county of
Tuskola, and Port Washington the county seat of what remained of the
then Washington County.
However, the legislature referred the determination of whether that
division should take place to the people of the newly established county.
The vote resulted in an affirmative vote of 275 and a negative vote of 716.
It is to be noted that Mequon voted 285 no and 49 yes.
That plan having been thus defeated, the legislature on February 13,
1852 provided Grafton should be the county seat, but provided a vote
might be taken for the removal to West Bend, which resulted in a vote of
789 for West Bend and 2,496 against. The vote of Mequon was 310 against
West Bend, and 33 for. An exciting controversy then arose regarding the
legality of that election. The matter again came up in the legislature.
Different sections of the county sent large delegations of lobbyists. The
legislature was heartily sick of the imbroglio. It was out of patience with
the fraudulent and illegal voting and ballot box stuffing which had been
going on throughout this contest. The Port Washington and the West
Bend lobby combined in an effort to divide the county by a north and south
line, and this was successful. This resulted in the establishment in 1853 of
Ozaukee County as it is at the present day. There was very great dissatis-
faction with this plan. The matter went to the Supreme Court, and that
court decided the act so dividing Washington County into the two counties
was constitutional. As the result of the controversy there then occurred
the abduction of the records from Port Washington to West Bend, an inci-
dent which caused endless confusion for many years, but the lost records
have since all been recovered.
The name "Ozaukee" is said to be a corruption of the Indian word
"Ozagig", which means people living at a river mouth. Other authorities
claim "Ozaukee" is derived from an Indian word meaning "yellow earth,"
and therefore that the county got its name from the general color of its
soil. The Chippewa Indian word for "yellow" is "Osawa."
SCHOOLS
The first school held in the Town of Mequon was a private school
taught by Miss Helen Upham in a log house owned by Joseph W. Wood.
That school was opened in the fall of 1839. The first public school house
was a log structure erected by the Bonniwells in 1840. The pioneer teach-
ers were William Worth, Eliza Bonniwell, Edward H. Janssen, and G. W.
Foster. The Bonniwell district in 1844 had 37 male pupils and 19 female
pupils. The total expenditure for maintaining the school that year seems
to have been $6.82.


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