University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

State Historical Society of Wisconsin / Wisconsin domesday book. Town studies
Volume 1 (1924)

Castle Rock,   pp. [34]-38 PDF (4.9 MB)


Page 38


38                                     WISCONSIN DOMESDAY BOOK-TOWN STUDIES
    The schools of the town have always been of the one-room,
 one-teacher type. The earliest was opened in a rude log
 house located in section 6, probably in the year 1856. Others
 were added until the number was four, the same as at present.
 Well remembered teachers of the period 1856 to 1888 were
 Isaac A. Sabin, a New Yorker; Mathias Schafer, a native
 of Rhenish-Prussia; Charles Wanek, a native of Bohemia;
 also Sarah Switzer, Fred Sylvester, and Herbert Johnson,
 all natives of Wisconsin and all trained in the Platteville
 Normal School, as was Mr. Wanek. Mr. Schafer was
 educated in the Gymnasium at Trier (Treves) in Germany,
 and Mr. Sabin in some eastern school, academy, or college the
 identity of which has not been ascertained.
   Among the Bohemian immigrants to the town were several
families of Protestants who, with some of the Germans,
maintained a Lutheran church located near the town line in
section 4. For a number of years in the 1870's and 1880's the
church had a resident pastor, a Bohemian educated in Vienna,
who spoke both Bohemian and German, and who was also a
practicing physician and a prominent character. He after-
wards settled permanently on a farm. Later, preachers have
come at stated times, usually once each month, from Chicago.
A Catholic church located on section 27 has always been served
by priests who officiated regularly in town or village churches
located elsewhere. The Norwegians had a church near the
hamlet of Castle Rock. Various denominations from time to
time used the schoolhouses for holding occasional church ser-
vices and Sunday-schools. Probably a majority of the farm-
ers were of the Catholic faith, and most of them attended the
large and flourishing church at Muscoda or the equally prom-
inent church at Highland.
    PopuLATIoN CHANGEs.-The table printed at the end of
this section shows that, numerically, Americans and aliens in
1860 were almost equal. But, significantly, the American
families numbered 26 and the foreign 59. Ten years later the
proportion was 8 to 98. Then a gradual change occurred.
In 1885 there were 21 native families, 115 foreign; in 1895,
52 American, 102 foreign; and in 1920, 101 American and 44
foreign. Castle Rock was practically a community derived
from foreign immigrants who at first were German, Bohe-
mian, and Irish, in that order; then Bohemian, Scandinavian,
Irish, and German. While most of the inhabitants now are
American born, a large majority are of Bohemian stock.
   The American contingent, though from the first small,
was socially and politically important. During many years
the leading citizen of the town unquestionably was Daniel R.
Sylvester, a native of Maine, who served in the Civil War,
earning a captaincy. Afterwards he held many town offices
and also represented his district in the state legislature. He
was not a skillful politician, however, and his leadership was
often challenged successfully, especially since politically he
belonged to the minority party in the town, Castle Rock being
Democratic. Charles Van Buren, another eastern man, held
the town board chairmanship for a series of years, as did also
Henry Gore. The division of the foreign element into Ger-
man, Scandinavian, and Bohemian rendered American and
Irish control of town affairs easier. In recent years the Bohe-
mians have had things much their own way, though ap-
parently without manifesting any special race consciousness.
   As   farmers the  Germans, who    settled there early
enough to secure the pick of the lands, were in the lead. One
of them (Christopher Dieter) in 1880 was the sole representa-
tive of the cattle feeding class, having a herd of 70 steers
which he pastured in part and fattened on corn. He raised
some of these animals, but bought most of them from the
neighbors. Another German had the largest number of
swine, 63, while an Irish farmer produced the largest amount
of butter. The leadership in securing the cheese factory was
taken by an American farmer, and that same farmer (James
Black) influenced some of his neighbors to begin breeding
up their herds. Germans, Bohemians, Irish, and Norwegians
all developed into successful co6perative dairymen.
               CASTLE ROCK-POPULATION STATISTICS
            AMEarcAx           FoaaIoN          FAmInus
Yz TOTAL Wie- Other   Bohe- Ger- Ire- Scan- Other  Amer- For-
                 Total            dina-  Total      TotalI
         consin States  omia many land  i Lamnds  ican eign
 1850........................................................................
 1860 444  136  97 233  96  43  35  17  20 211 26  59 85
 1870 660  230  35 265 237  37  50  58  13 395  8 98 106
 1885 726 ..... .... 447 ... 50 23  36 170 279 21 115 136
 1895 704 .............477  25  13  29 160 227 52 102 154
 1905 711  499  26 525 14*5 12  2   23  4 186  54 77  131
 1920 675  566  19 585  74  1   2   10  3  90 101 44  145
88                                     WI S CON SI N
D OMES DAY- BOOK--TOWN
ST UD I ES


Go up to Top of Page