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

The history of Columbia County, Wisconsin, containing an account of its settlement, growth, development and resources; an extensive and minute sketch of its cities, towns and villages--their improvements, industries, manufactories, churches, schools and societies; its war record, biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers; the whole preceded by a history of Wisconsin, statistics of the state, and an abstract of its laws and constitution and of the constitution of the United States

Chapter XV,   pp. 833-[873] PDF (20.2 MB)

Page 833

                                  CHAPTER XV.
                                    TOWN OF OTSEO.
     At a meeting of the County Commissioners, held in January, 1849, all
of Township 11,
Range 11, was organized into a town, to which was given the name of Otsego,
and the house
of Edward Williams designated as the placeforholding the first.election.
The name Otsego
was chosen by the early settlers in honor of Otsego, N. Y., from which place
a number had emi-
     Wayne B. Dyer was the first man to make a home in the town. He arrived
here in May,
1844, and erected a log house upon Section 22. In this house he-entertained
the weary traveler
for a number of years, and Dyer's Tavern became a famous institution. During
the summer and
fall* several others came in, among whom were Ulac Wilson and. " 1Old
Hans," Cyrus Root,
Stephen James, Samuel Gibson, E. Lynn, Horace Dodge and Mr. Pellet. In 1845
and 1846,
a large number came in, among whom were Frank Folsom, Isaac W. Spaulding,
J. W. Stewart,
Abram Van Aerman and Henrv Ager.
     In the fall of 1844, Horace Dodge returned East, where he was united
in marriage with
Miss Eliza, Deck, being the first citizen of the town to be married. The
first marriage occurring
in the town was that of John Brown and Caroline Hughes, in the fall of 1847.
     Mary Topliff, in the fall of 1848, taught the first school on Section
22. In the organiza-
tion of the town into school districts, in the following year, this was made
District No. 1.
     Elder Wood, of Wyocena, in.the spring of 1847, came into the town, and
at the house of
Stephen James on Section 23, preached the first discourse. With the exception
of about four
years spent in the East, Elder Wood, who is a Baptist minister, in the spring
of 1880 had com-
pleted thirty-four years of service in this section of country. In 1849,
Rev. Hanson, a Method-
ist Episcopal minister, organized a class in the scboolhouse on Section 23,
which was continued
in that neighborhood until 1853, when a church was built on Section 3, where
religious services
were afterward held.
     In answer to a letter, Wayne B. Dyer writes: "In September, 1843,
I settled on Fountain
Prairie, on the farm known as the Baker farm (Section 34), and there built
the first house in
that town. Mr. Bushnell wa's then living in a small board shanty, where John
Brown now lives.
His house was built early in the winter, and John Brown built the next house
on the Enos
Grout farm. These three houses were all of Fountain Prairie until the next
summer, except
Smith Horton's, who built, during the winter, on the Hawkurst farm. Snow
fell that year in
October, and remained until about the 20th of February, when we had a thaw.
The snow all
went off, and the 10th of April plenty of feed for cattle. I have never seen
grass as early
since. In' May, 1844, I sold out to E. J. Smith, and moved to the present
village of Otsego,
there being no settler between my place and Fort Winnebago. There I built
the first house in
that town, and I was the first settler there also. During the latter part
of the summer and fall
came several more settlers: Cyrus Root, Stephen James, Samuel Gibson, E.
Lynn and others.
My house, during the summer, was the stopping-place for people looking for
land; also being
visited by the Indians, who were sometimes troublesome. Once, during my absence,
a drove of
them came and undertook to make my wife and Mary Swift, (now Mrs. John Swarthout)
them water from the spring, which they refused to do. The women now became
scared and left
for the prairie where some men were at work, but before the men arrived the
natives had-left,

Go up to Top of Page