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Fredonia History

The following is taken from "Histories of Washington and Ozaukee Counties", Western Publishing, 1881. It is copied exactly from the book except that I have capitalized surnames.

The town of Fredonia was set off from Port Washington, and incorporated in the month of April, 1847. It comprises all of Township 12 in Range 21. The first town meeting was held in the spring of 1847, at the house of Hiram KING. The officers of election were chosen, sums were then voted for the purposes herein mentioned: For incidental expenses, $25; for support of the poor, $80; for construction of bridges, $80. It was voted further that the town officers be compensated at the rate of $1 per day. It was also voted that the fences in the town should be five feet high, and that there should be no cracks in the fences within two feet of the ground to exceed four inches in width. The following town officers were then elected: Supervisors, Isaac CARMEN, William KELLY and William H. BUNCE; Town Clerk, R.H. MANNEY; Justices of the Peace, Lemuel HYDE and Edward BUNCE; Collector, Jacob M. SUTTON; School Commissioners, John H. HOVEY, J.T. IRWIN and Sylvester WHITING; Assessors, Thomas IRWIN, Joseph MOONEY and John WONDERLY; Highway Commissioners, Daniel M. MILLER, William BUNCE and Homer JOHNSON; Constables, Alanson ARNOLD and Hugh KELLY; Sealer of Weights and Measures, William Bell; Fence Viewers, William R. DAVIS, Lemuel HYDE and Albert READ; Treasurer, William R. DAVIS. The following poll-list taken from the first election held in 1847 will show who the early settlers and founders of Fredonia were:


William BUNCE, Edward SHUBERT, George KOLLOR, Joseph LICHART, Joseph RIX, Frantz BEAR, Thomas RULAND, Julius SCHUBERT, George BRIEDGERT, Peter NERBERST, Adam WACHTER, John KOLLOR, Martin KOLLOR, George FEIRREISEW, William BEGER, Charles BEGER, Christ. BEGER, Charles RUDOLPH, Andrew LIEBEL, George BECK, August OHRLING, Charles MILLER, William KELLY, Jacob M. SUTTON, William HEINBERG, Edward S. BUNCE, Thomas McCOWEN, Joseph McCOWEN, George W. VIRGIL, Jeremiah LOTT, Isaac CARMEN, Clark BOUGHTON, Hamilton BUNCE, William HUDSON, C.S. GRIFFIN, Hiram KING, E. TOLLETT, Henry ORCUTT, John WONDERLY, Michael BRATT, Thomas KELLY, Joseph SMITH, King CASE, Oren CASE, Michael CASLER, Joseph MOONEY, B. PATCH, Hiram HILLS, Lemuel HYDE, Hugh KELLY, Arlanson ARNOLD, R.H. MANNEY, W.R. DAVIS, Thomas JOHNSON, I.L. IRWIN, J.K. HOVEY, Daniel W. MILLER, Albert READ, Samuel SHAFF, Joseph SHAFF and B.S. CASSELL. Total, sixty one.


The first white man that settled in the town of Fredonia was Hiram KING, who took up quarters in 1844, in a wigwam located on the Indian trail which followed close to the Milwaukee River, and now forms the present site of the village of Waubeka. King was well advanced in years, having served as a soldier in the war of 1812. He, in company with his wife, fitted up a sort of hotel for the accommodation of travelers who might chance to pass that way. The old many took an active part in the organization of the town, and was elected to several important offices. He remained in the town for a number of years, when he sold out his property and emigrated to the western part of the State, where he is still living in the ninety-second year of his age. The first post office in Fredonia was kept by William BELL, on the line of the old Fond du Lac road. The office was established in 1848. Previous to that time, the nearest post office was the one in the village of Saukville, kept by George TISCHBEIN. In 1846, Clark BOUGHTON and Lemuel HYDE were appointed to superinted and construct the Sheboygan road, from the Saukville bridge, north to the Sheboygan line. The road was surveyed by Col. William TEALL, of Port Washington.

The first school district of Fredonia was formed as early as 1846, by the School Commissioners of Port Washington. The district was called Number 3, and comprised all that part of Town 12, Range 21, lying east and north of the Milwaukee River. School district Number 4, was formed March 7, 1847. The pioneer teachers were: Mrs. Emily BUNCE, Miss Harriet COCHRAN, Mrs. Julia ORENTT, Charles M. KREYSIG and Joseph CARROLL. The report of the School Commissioners for the year 1847, were as follows:

Total number of scholars enrolled - 54
Number of districts - 4
Number of schoolhouses - 1
Number of teachers - 2
Amount of money raised for school purposes - $64.75

School Report for the year 1880:
Number of scholars enrolled - 495
Number of whole districts - 8
Number of fractional districts - 2
Number of teachers employed - 11
Number of schoolhouses - 10
Cash value of school property in the town - $6,230.00
Amount of money raised for school purposes $3,399.99
Total expenditures - $2,442.26
Balance on hand August 31, 1880 - $957.73

The pioneers of Fredonia were men of high moral character, and strict observers of the Sabbath. Representatives of the various sects met in common fellowship, as no one denomination was strong enough to work independently of the others. As was common in those days, services were held at private houses, until the public schoolhouse could be utilized for church purposes. The Catholics were the first to erect a church building, a long structure, built in 1849, in the Kollor District, on Section 19. The building was replaced several years afterward by a handsome stone edifice. The church numbers about sixty families, and is at present in charge of Rev. A.H. REININGER.

The Catholics have also quite a large congregation in the village of Wabeka, numbering about sixty-five families. A stone meeting-house was erected in 1872, at the cost of $3,700. The building was dedicated by Bishop HENNI, of Milwaukee, and Rev. Louis MUELLER, from the Holy Cross Church, in the town of Belgium.

The Methodists and German Lutherans are the only other two denominations now represented in the town. Both congregations have handsome frame church edifices in the village of Wabeka. The churches are visited by ministers residing in the village of Port Washington.


This romantic little village, resting on the knolls divided by the Milwaukee River, was named after an old Indian chief who lived in the vicinity for quite a number of years after the whites began to settle the country. Waubeka had made several clearings, at various points long the Milwaukee River, where his tribe cultivated corn patches, their principal occupation, however, being that of hunting and fishing. The Indians were very fond of goodnatosh (whisky), and would give the settlers almost any quantity of game and fish for a demijohn full of the tempting liquor. The village of Waubeka was surveyed and laid out in town lots by George W. FOSTER, now a prominent lawyer of Port Washington. Mr. FOSTER, in company with H.J. TURNER, built the first dam across the Milwaukee River at this point. They soon discovered that excellent water-power could be obtained, and at once commenced the erection of a saw and grist mill. These buildings were erected on the north bank of the Milwaukee River. The grist-mill was entirely destroyed by a fire a few years after its completion. The saw-mill is still standing, but in a dilapidated state. Part of the old relic was swept away by the spring flood of 1881. The present grist-mill, a large frame structure was built by J.B. SCHAUBLE. The mill has a capacity of eighty barrels of flour per day.

In 1871, Burnett ZINDELL erected a plow and machine foundry in the village, at a cost of $12,000. The foundry has changed hands several times; the building is now standing idle. KORMAN & LAPHAM were the last to engage in the enterprise. In connection with this, the village contains two pump factories, one cheese-box factory, one cheese factory, owned by J.H. KLESSIG, one large tannery, run by M.S. NEUENS, three blacksmith-shops, two wagon and carriage shops, five stores, three hotels and three churches. The bridge which spans the river at this place, was built in 1870, at a cost of $6,000. The first Postmaster was John J. RACE. The office is now in charge of B.S. CASSELL, who has held it for the last twenty years. Mr. CASSELL kept the first store in the village.


This thriving little place is situated on the line of the Wisconsin Central Railroad. It contains two large warehouses, one store, and one hotel bearing the double name of "Fredonia and Filmore House." The building was erected in 1871 by Peter MARTIN. It is now owned by John P. COLTAX. The post office was established in this place in the spring of 1880. C.C. LEARING was the first Postmaster. The office is now in charge of John P. COLTAX. A large steam saw and turning mill was erected in 1874, by John J. RACE and C.F. COOLEY. The mill is run by a fifty-horse-power engine, and turns out work to the amount of $25,000 per annum. The population of Fredonia, for the year 1880, was 1, 839. Of this number five sixths are Germans, the remaining sixth being composed principally of Americans and Irish. Farming is the principal occupation, and from this source the revenue of the town is obtained.

The town officers of 1881were elected as follows: Town Clerk, C.H. WITT; Supervisors, J.J. RACE, N. RHEINGANS and Peter JUNG; Treasurer, H. GROTELUSCHEN; Assessor, F.E. OEHME; Justices of the Peace, Charles F. COOLEY, Francis SMITH, N.E. BECKER and Fred BEMER; Constables, John FUETZEN, B.R. BURRELL and August THOMPSON; Sealer of Weights, Charles ZETTER.

The only crime every committed in the town of Fredonia was perpetrated by an inhuman wretch, bordering on the brute creation by the name of John CONRAD, Sr. CONRAD had an idiot son whom he would, on the least provocation, beat unmercifully, and it was thought this manner of treatment that the boy was brought to the deplorable state of an idiot. His miserable existence was terminated May 17, 1880, by his brutal father throwing him down a pair of stairs. CONRAD then fled to Buffalo, N.Y., where he was arrested May 19, 1880. He was brought back and lodged in the Ozaukee County Jail, at Port Washington, to await his trial. At the June term of the Circuit Court he was arraigned for murder, and pleaded not guilty. His bail was fixed at $10,000, which sum he failed to obtain. At the January term of Court, 1881, CONRAD's counsel, Eugene TURNER, asked for a change of venue to Sheboygan County, stating that his client had made an affidavit to the effect that he believed Judge D.J. PULLING to be prejudiced against him. The prisoner was subsequently sent to Sheboygan County, where he was tried, and found guilt of manslaughter in the second degree. He was sentenced by Judge GILSON to four years in the State Prison.

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