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Kinney, Thomas P. / Irish settlers of Fitchburg, Wisconsin, 1840-1860

Fox settlement,   pp. 42-47 PDF (6.3 MB)

Page 47

McWilliams' Oakwood Stock Farm and R. J. McWatty's
Lake View Stock Farm.
Additional Irish farms were established north of the Fox
Settlement on County MM. Matthew Fox, brother of George
and Dr. William Fox, started a farm in 1845 a half-mile north
of the Lake View village. The farm north of Matthew Fox's
belonged to the Irish Cathcart family, who sold their place
in 1868 to Edward and Ellen Glennan. The Glennans are an
example of a family that first lived in a large East Coast city
before buying a frontier farm. During the Famine, the Glennan
family left County Roscommon and moved to Philadelphia.
They traveled west in 1858 and lived in the Dane County
towns of Blooming Grove and Westport before settling in
Fitchburg. Their Irish-American hired man, Frank White,
married their daughter, Bridget, and assumed management
of the farm. 104
In the years 1843 to 1860, the Irish families of the Fox
Settlement established a large number of households on the
woodlands south of the Milton Moraine and along County
MM. The settlement was founded primarily by well-to-do
Irish and was expanded by Famine-era immigrants, forming a
diverse but interdependent community. The Fox Settlement
became known for welcoming Irish immigrants and offering
employment on the established farms until newcomers could
buy their own places. Two of the Fox Settlement's greatest con-
tributions to the Fitchburg community were the first doctor
south of Madison, and political leaders on the town, county,
and state levels. The economic and political life of Fitchburg
and the surrounding region was greatly enhanced by the efforts
of the Fox Settlement pioneers.
In 1851, John Keenan was the first Irish person to be
elected town board chairman. John and Flora Keenan
lived on a Caine Road farm that had a stone quarry
from which the limestone foundation blocks were gath-
ered for most cabins and barns in southeast Fitchburg.

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