Rochester Township Biographical Sketches


As published in "The History of Racine and Kenosha Counties" (Chicago: 1879), pages 658-664

JOHN G. ACKENBACH, M. D. (Homoeopathist), Rochester; born in Grand Duchy of Darmstadt, Germany, Feb. 2, 1841; son of Mrs. Anna Elizabeth Achenbach. Attended school until he was 11 years of age, in Germany; came to America in 1852, with his mother, and settled in Fond du Lac Co., Wis.; there fourteen years; attended the district school about four years. At the age of 22 years, was sent out as a minister to Columbus, Wis.; was ordained Deacon at Milwaukee, in 1865; ordained Elder at Galena, Ill., 1868; at Blue Island, Ill., one year; Lancaster, Wis., one year; Charles City Iowa, two years; Michigan City, Ind., six months. His health failed, and he abandoned preaching. Commenced to study medicine at Clay Co., Iowa; practiced five years. In 1875, was City Missionary for the American Foreign Christian Union one year. Afterward graduated at the Hahnemann Medical College, and practiced medicine at Chicago and at Burlington, Wis.; thence to Rochester, Oct., 1876. Married Christina, daughter of William H. Stober, of Charles City, Iowa, April 11, 1867; they have five children- Willie G., born May 9, 1868; George H., June 22, 1871; Clara A., March 3, 1873; Nettie E., May 30, 1875; Dora M., Jan. 20, 1878. The Doctor is a member of the Temple of Honor. The family attend the Methodist Church.

MRS. MARY ADAMS, widow; born in Haverhill, Grafton Co., N. H., Jan. 4, 1815; daughter of David and Rachel Whitman, who emigrated to Michigan in 1835; they had seven children. Mary married John B. Wade, Oct. 1, 1839; they had four children; came to Rochester same year; one son living- Lawrence W. -in business at Bay City, Mich.; Mr. John B. Wade was killed by the Indians in California in 1851. Robert Adams married Mrs. Wade, Jan. 13, 1869; he died Sept. 30, 1878; buried in Rochester Cemetery. Mr. Adams was a native of England, and came to America in 1840. In 1849, he engaged in the hardware business in the town of Rochester. He accumulated a nice little fortune, and was spoken of in very high terms.

ALLEN ASPINALL, farmer; P. O. Rochester; formerly a manufacturer; born in Yorkshire, England, Parish of Halifax, Oct. 6, 1822; son of James and Mary Aspinall; his mother died about 1868; His father in 1874. Allen came to America in the spring of 1849 settled in Rochester, at the English settlement. His occupation was different branches of manufacturing- weaving, spinning, wire work for fanning-mills, etc.; was employed by J. I. Case, R. E. Ela and others. He bought the place on which he now lives about 1869. Married Miss Harriet, daughter of James and Anna Radcliff, of Yorkshire, England have had seven children, three now living- Emma, born Feb. 5, 1849 ; Hannah, July 5, 1852; James A., Nov. 22, 1853; Mary Ann, Dec. 9, 1845; died in 1847; Sarah Ann, born Feb. 1, 1847; died, Feb. 28, 1872; their mother died March 11, 1855. Mr. Aspinall married again March 1, 1859, Miss Elizabeth Davidson, formerly of Ireland; they have had six children, five living- Agnes, born Dec.4, 1859; Philemon, Sept. 24, 1861; Edwin, Dec. 19, 1863; died March 4, 1864; Edna, born Feb. 24, 1865; William, July 18, 1869. Mr. Aspinall became a citizen of the United States in 1865. He is liberal in his religious views, and a Republican.

THOMAS BEAUMONT, butcher, Rochester; born in Dover, Racine Co., Wis, July 16, 1848 son of George and Ellen Beaumont, formerly of Yorkshire, England. Thomas was educated at the Dover district schools; commenced his business at Rochester, Oct. 9, 1874. He married Miss Mary R. Jones, daughter of George and Rosetta Jones, of Burlington, Wis., Nov. 18, 1874; they have one child - Clarence H., born July 22, 1876. Thomas Beaumont was elected Constable in 1875; elected Justice of the Peace in 1876; is a member of the Masonic order; also of Odd Fellowship and Temple of Honor. Family attend the Baptist Church.

PHILO BELDEN, farmer; P. O. Rochester; born in the town of Canaan, Litchfield Co., Conn., Oct. 22, 1815; son of Jonathan and Love Belden; came to Rochester, Wis., in the spring of 1837 owned and carried on a saw-mill in 1840, and a flouring mill in 1844 was Town Supervisor a number of years; elected to the State Legislature in 1852; again in 1862, also in 1865, and to the General Assembly in 1870; was elected to the Senate for two years. Married Miss Mary F. Belden, of La Porte, Ind.; they have four children- Henry W., Edward J., Albert O., Allen H. Henry W. enlisted in the 24th Wis. V. L; was promoted to 2d Lieutenant in the 37th Wis. V. I.; promoted to 1st Lieutenant; afterward Captain of his company. Edward J. enlisted in heavy artillery, and was stationed at Washington, D. C., during the term of his service. Albert O. enlisted when President Lincoln called for sixty-day men, at the age of 15 years.

MATTHEW BLACKBURN, farmer, Sec. 5; P. O. Rochester; born in Yorkshire, England, Feb. 6, 1823; son of John and Frances Blackburn, who came to Racine Co. with ten children, six boys and four girls, in 1842; their mother died 1864; was buried at Honey Creek Cemetery at Rochester; the old gentleman is still living, at the age of 85 years; they located on Sec. 5. Mathew married Miss Caroline Anderson, daughter of William and Katherine; her father died in England; her mother lives in Dover, Wis., a widow. They have five children- Clarence M. born June 29, 1865; Isabelle, F., Nov. 9, 1867; Kate I., June 3, 1868; Walter G., Sept. 9, 1871; Arthur W., Nov. 2, 1878.

HENRY CADY, Postmaster, Rochester; born in Windsor, Vt., Aug. 21, 1809; son of Thomas and Elizabeth Cady; they settled at Utica, N. Y.; Henry Cady came to Racine Co. in the spring of 1839 worked at his trade in Rochester as carpenter and joiner was in that business about fifteen years; owned a farm of 200 acres on Sec. 10; worked that about fifteen years; was appointed Postmaster in 1873. His pioneer life was full of deprivations and hardships, but he left many pleasant memories of the hospitality of the early settlers and their hearty welcome to strangers. Mr. Cady married Miss Mertia Hickox; they had seven children, six living. The mother of these children died in 1849. Mr. Cady married again, Miss Sarah Whitman, Oct., 1851, daughter of David Whitman, of Port Huron, Mich.; they have two children- Luella L., Lizzie S. Mr. Cady was Deputy Sheriff of Racine Co. from 1843 for several years; has been Justice of tho Peace, and has held other minor offices.

JOSEPH E. COCROFT, farmer; P. O. Rochester; born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England, May 9, 1821; son of Charles and Mary Cocroft; his mother died in England. He came to America with his father, in June, 1842; located on Sec. 12, town of Rochester. Married Miss Ann Woodward, daughter of William and Lydia Woodward, of England, Feb. 17, 1848. They had twelve children, eleven now living. Mrs. J. E. Cocroft died Dec. 13, 1869. Mr. Cocroft married again, May 30, 1877, Ann Jenkins, born in England. He has been elected Supervisor several times; member of the Temple of Honor; religious views liberal; Republican.

THADDEUS EARLE, farmer, Sec. 6, northwest quarter, 196 acres; P. O. Rochester; born in Chittenden Co., Vt., Dec. 4, 1809; son of Calvin and Eunice Earle. He left Vermont for Michigan, in the spring of 1834. The fall of 1836, he made a claim in the town of Rochester, where he now lives. Married Miss Sarah, daughter of Benjamin and Sarah Jones, Feb. 16, 1843. They have had four children-- John, born Nov. 7, 1843; Lyman, November, 1845; Eunice, April 29, 1848; Harriet, May 17, 1850. Harriet married Edwin Baker, Jan. 1, 1876. The family attend the Free Will Baptist Church. His son, John Earle, enlisted in the 39th Wis. V. I., Co. D., under Capt. G. W. Hoyt, in 1864; was stationed at Memphis, Tenn., on picket duty; this regiment was 100-day men; discharged in September, 1864.

R. E. ELA, farmer, formerly a manufacturer; P. O. Rochester; born in Lebanon, Grafton Co., N. H., May 5, 1S12; son of Benjamin and Abigail Ela; came to Rochester the year of the first land sale, about 1839; started a fanning-mill manufacturing establishment; added to it the manufacture of wagons, carriages, plows and farming implements until 1871. Was elected one of the Supervisors in 1850; was chairman of the board three or four years. Capt. John Trowbridge and himself were nominees for the Territorial Legislature. Trowbridge was elected. They were friends, and neither made any personal efforts. Mr. Ela married, April 26, 1842, Miss Nancy E. Hubbard, of Rochester. His wife died, Oct. 15, 1842. He again married, Miss Nancy Jane Royce, daughter of Philander B. Royce, of Putneyville, N. H. They had three children-- Emily J., born Oct. 24, 1851; died March 31, 1854; Ellen A., born Aug. 15, 1853, now Mrs. J. C. Woodworth, of Warren, Ill.; Ida Louise, Oct. 12, 1855. Mrs. Nancy J. died, Aug. 11, 1856. He married again, at Elkhorn, Emily C. Montgomery, daughter of Rev. Samuel Montgomery. Their children are William M., born Oct. 27, 1858; Edward G., Jan. 30, 1860, died Sept. 7, 1860; Edith Celia, born Oct. 6, 1861; May Hazeltine, July 20, 1867; George, Oct. 11, 1868; Edwin Stanton, Dec. 30, 1871; Emerson, July 7, 1875. Mr. Ela is the largest landowner in the township; owns considerable land in adjacent counties; is a very enterprising man. Several of his farms in the town of Rochester are being carried on shares.

WILLIAM FOREMAN, farmer; P. O. Rochester; born in Isle of Trent, County of Kent, England, Sept. 22, 1839; son of John B. and Sarah Forman; the father was killed at the battle of Itesaca, State of Georgia, May 25, 1865; he enlisted in the 22d Reffiment, Wis. V. I., in 1862, as a private, at the age of 63 years was taken prisoner and thrown into Libby Prison; was in many battles; William came to Racine with his father and two brothers in 1848; they worked farms on shares for a number of years; in 1873, William bought the farm he now lives on. He married Miss Vilanta Flint, Jan. 1, 1860, daughter of Eben and Eliza Flint, of Vermont; they have three children- William, Jr., born May 17, 1862; Harrison, Sept. 10, 1863; Estelle, July 11, 1865. Family attend the Methodist Church. Republican.

BENJAMIN F. FOWLER, farmer; P. O. Rochester: born in Woodbury, Vt., Jan. 26, 1830; son of Benjamin and Nora Fowler; came to Will Co., Ill., with his father, in 1837, and to Wisconsin in April, 1840. Married Miss Anna Dennis in 1854, daughter of William and Sarah Dennis, from Kent, England; they have had eight children- William A., born Dec. 5, 1856; Irene, March 25, 1858 (died March 23, 1865); Frank, Jan. 10, 1858; Mary A., Jan 15, 1862, John C., June 13, 1866; Nora A., Oct. 22, 1867; Carrie, March 4, 1874; Reuben A., Oct. 13, 1876. Mr. Fowler enlisted Aug. 27, 1864, in the 1st Wis. Heavy Artillery, Co. L, under Capt. P. H. Ray; was stationed at Alexandria, Va. during the remainder of the war; discharged in July, 1865. Is a member of the order of Odd Fellows and Temple of Honor. Family attend the Free Will Baptist Church.

HORACE FROST, farmer; P. O. Rochester; born in Dummerston Windham, Vt., July 27, 1810 the son of Benjamin and Lydia Frost; came to Rochester in June, 1836, and located a claim on the southwest quarter of Sec. 9, was obliged to purchase of William Jones and pay him $100 to get a title, which was one of the tricks of an early day, as there was no pre-emption law at that time. Mr. Frost has 177 acres, and cultivates 65 or 77 acres. He married in Vermont, in October, 1838, Miss Amanda Bailey, daughter of Samuel and Christina Bailey, of Westmoreland, N. H.; they have had twelve children- nine living -Julia A., born Nov. 16, 1841; Amelia A., Nov. 12, 1843; Nelson S., Dec. 5, 1845: William H., Aug. 15, 1847; Mary A., Aug. 19, 1849 ; Olive M., May 10, 1851; Byron P., Nov. 18, 1854; Edward M., Sept. 9, 1856; Myrtie L., Aug. 31, 1860. Julia A. married William H. Waddell; Amelia, Thomas J. Bottomly; Mary A., Emily Freeman; William H., Olive Blaine; Byron P., Mary Wannamaker; Olive, Thomas A. Noble.

WILIAIAM GATES, farmer; P. O. Rochester; born in Ryegate, Caledonia Co., Vt.; son of Ezra and Elizabeth Gates; left Vermont in the spring of 1837; went to Michigan, thence to Illinois; came to Rochester in February, 1840; carried on the carpenter and joiner business in the village about ten years. Married Miss Marinda Fowler, daughter of Mr. Benjamin and Nora Fowler; they had two children- John, born Feb. 6, 1841 (died in November, 1854); Louisa, Feb. 15, 1844. Mr. Gates was elected Assessor in 1860, and has held the office since. He is a member of the order of Odd Fellows, Temple of Honor, and is a Granger. His family attend the Universalist Church.

JOHN GLEASON Town Clerk, and dealer in general merchandise, Rochester; born in Auburn, N. Y., Feb. 26, 1846; was the son of Edward and Julia Gleason; came to Rochester, Wis., in 1867; was employed by Mr, Joseph Jackson as a mechanic. Married Miss Jessie, daughter of W. C. and Ann Sproat, June 5, 1878. Went, into business for himself in 1877; elected Town Clerk in April 1876. He is a member of the, I. O. O. F., Temple of Honor. and Son of Temperance.

GEORGE M. HEALY, farmer, Sec. 7; P. O. Rochester; born in the town of Mansfield, Windham Co., Conn., April 7, 1833, was the son of Jedediah and Abigail Healy, who came to Wisconsin in January, 1841, located at Rochester, and bought eighty acres in Sections 7 and 8, and afterward twenty acres of meadow; his son, George, who now has the old homestead, has added thirteen acres. The old gentleman died Oct. 5, 1874; his wife followed him Nov. 5, one month later. This farm is located on the road which was formerly the old Indian trail fnan Weatherford to Delavan. The farm is one of the best in the country, and produces fine crops; Mr. Healy raises fine, domestic stock, cattle, hogs, sheep, and horses and mules. He married Miss Sarah. daughter of Joseph and Lucina Kelley, of Caledonia, Wis.; they have five children- Charles J., born Feb. 18, 1861; William, Jan. 1, 1865; Elton C., March 18, 1870; David M., May 16, 1871; Armenia J. Sept. 26, 1874. Mr. Healy is an Odd Fellow and a Republican. His family attend the Baptist Church.

FRANK E. HOYT farmer; P. O. Rochester; born in Cabot, Washington Co., Vt., March 16, 1824; the son of William S. and Lucia Hoyt, who came to Rochester with three children, one boy and three girls, and located on Sec. 9, south half southwest quarter, where he now lives with his son Frank E., at the good old age of 79 years, and is remarkably active for a man born in 1800. His wife died Sept., 185-, and was buried at HKoney Creek Cemetery, Rochester, Wis.; her life was one of devotion and industry; she was an affectionate mother and a good wife. Mr. Frank E. married Dec. 29, 1848, Miss Eunice D. Emerson, daughter of Stillman and Maria Emerson, of Rochester, Vt; they have two children- William E., Jr., born Jan. 12, 1851; Katie M., born Nov. 12, 1859; married to William H. Dalton April 29, 1879, of Allen's Grove, Wis. Mr. Frank E. and son carry on the farm are engaged in breeding Ayrshire cattle, and have taken first premium at the State and county fairs whenever exhibited; his original bull is now 4 years old. Mr. Hoyt has been Chairman of the Board of Supervisors several terms; in 1876 was Chairman of the Building Committee of the new court house at Racine; was a member of State Assembly for 1859-60.

ABRAM JACKSON, dry goods and general merchandise, P. O. Rochester born in Poughkeepsie, N. Y., Dec. 11, 1834; son of John and Ann Jackson; came to Rochester with his father and mother who had nine children, and came from Yorkshire, England. Mr. John Jackson opened a boot and shoe and general merchandise store in Rochester village in 1842; he died in 1846; his sons, Abram and Joseph, succeeded their father in business, divided the branches, and have separate stores- Abram the dry goods, Joseph, boots and shoes. Abram married Miss Jane, daughter of Orrin and Clarissa Wright, in June, 1856; they have three children- Dwight P., born April 11, 1858; Leigh Hunt, Nov. 8, 1859; John Fremont, Nov. 16, 1861; is a member of the Masonic Order, and liberal in religious views.

JOSEPH JACKSON, boots, shoes, and general merchandise; P. O. Rochester; born in England March 11, 1825; the son of John and Ann Jackson, who came to America about 1828, and settled in Poughkeepsie, N. Y.; they moved to Rochester in the spring of 1842, and opened a boot and shoe and general merchandise store, which he continued for a number of years; he died in the fall of 1846, and left nine children; two of his sons, Joseph and Abram, are now doing business in separate stores and different branches of trade. Joseph married Miss Emily Grant, adopted daughter of Timothy E. Green; they have four children- Irene Jane, Ella A., Jasper E., born July 1, 1856; Fidelia E., July 1, 1864. Mr. Jackson has been elected Town Clerk several times, and to other minor offices; has been a leading spirit in three temperance organizations in the village; is a Mason in good standing, and an advocate of Odd Fellowship.

REUBEN NORTH, Jr., farmer; P. O. Rochester; born in South Lincolnshire England; son of Reuben and Mary Ann North; came to America and settled in Rochester; his father came about 1855, when about the age of 55 years; he enlisted in Co. G, 2d Wis. Cav., under Col. Washburn, as a private; afterward was Chaplain in the 1st Ark. Vol. Cav.; was in many engagements; was honorably discharged at the close of the war, Aug. 23, 1865, and returned to his home in England 1876. Reuben North, Jr., has held many town offices- Supervisor, School Commissioner, Town Clerk, Justice of the Peace, etc. Member of the Universalist Church, and Trustee of the same.

A. J. RUSSELL, flouring-mill; Rochester; born in Cabot, Vt., Jan. 6, 1833; was the son of Henry and Emily E. Russell; came to Rochester June 1, 1850, with his father, a carpenter and joiner by trade. They farmed in the summer and worked at their trade in the winter. Mr. A. J. Russell went into his present business May 1, 1864. He married, Oct. 9, 186-, Miss Harriet E., daughter of Dayton B. and Elizabeth Newbury, of Massachusetts; they have two children- William Arthur, born Sept. 3, 1863; Emma, March 15, 1874. He was elected Town Clerk, and served in 1873 and 1874. Mr. Russell was one of the principal movers in raising subscriptions for building the Rochester Seminary, and is now Secretary or the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee.

JOHN SAWVER, farmer; P. O. Rochester; born in Spencer, Columbia Co., N. Y., Jan. 3, 18O5 was the son of William and Esther; came to Rochester about 1850 bought a farm of eighty acres on Sec. 18. Married Miss America Soule, of New York State, March 2, 1829; they had eight children; five are living. Mrs. Sawyer died Aug. 14, 1851. He married again, Oct. 9, 1862, Miss Sarah Buck, of Holton, Me.; they have had one child-- Willian Eugene, born June 15, 1865. Family attend Baptist Church.

EDWARD F. SMITH, farmer; P.O. Rochester; born in Dover, Wis., Sept. 27, 1853; son of Edward and Charlotte Smith; came to Rochester in April, 1877; purchased a farm of 126 acres on Sec. 1. Married Miss Nettie Cocroft, June 27, 1877; daughter of J. E. Cocroft, of Rochester; they have one child- Vernard Clark, born July 16, 1878. Attend the Methodist Church. Republican.

CHARLES N. SOULE, farmer, P. O. Rochester; born in New York, April 27, 1827; son of George and Harriet Soule; came to Wisconsin, and located on Sec. 8, Rochester Township, with his father, in 1846; went to California in 1849, landing in Sacramento; from there went to the mines; was trading and mining at one trading-post ten years; owned a water ditch, which supplied the miners with water; went to Downersville, on the Yuba River, in the fall of 1850, and purchased a claim in company with four others; remained in California eighteen years, and returned to Rochester in the fall of 1866. Married Miss Mary Cooms, daughter of Elder Cooms, of Rochester, in 1867; they have had four children-- Elmer L., born Jan. 12, 1868; Eugene F., Dec. 15, 1869; Rosa, Dec. 10, 1872; Alden, Oct. 20, 1876.

ALLEN STETSON, farmer, southeast quarter of Sec. 6; P. O. Rochester born in Sprinfield, Otsego Co., N. Y., July 16, 1820; son of Jesse and Amy Stetson; came to Rochester with his family in 1841. Mr. Jesse Stetson purchased two quarter sections in Secs. 1 and 4, and died in 1872. His son, Allen, bought, in Secs. 5 and 6, a farm of 160 acres, in 1845, and still carries it on successfully. The past year he has been raising a very fine breed of hogs (Berkshire), and has been awarded first and second premiums at the State and county fairs for them; he is also raising Ayrshire cattle, and has taken the premiums at the State and county fairs on these; wheat, corn and oats are other products of his farm. He married Miss Emily, daughter of T. C. and Emily Hoyt, of Rochester, April 8, 1845; they have had eight children- Alice Jane, Amy A.; Charles A., died in 1855; George H., died in 1857; Eva E.; Clinton A., died in 1876, Carrie L., Annie E. He was elected Supervisor in 1878; Town Clerk for three years in 1869 religious views, liberal; Republican.

JOHN R. WILLEY, farmer; P. O. Rochester; born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, Nov. 18, 1818; son of John R. and Jane Willey. Mr. Willey left England in June, 1843, for America; came to Racine County in August of the same year. Married, in October, 1846, Miss Jane, daughter of Andreas and Ingebar Anderson; they have had seven children, five are now living- Mary Ann, Emma B., John, Samuel and Jennie. Mr. Willey has been elected Town Supervisor two terms; also Town Clerk. He is a member of Odd Fellowship. Liberal in his religious views and politics.

JOHN WOOD, blacksmith, carriage work, and farming machinery, Rochester; born in Meltham, Yorkshire, Englarad, June 21, 1826; son of John and Nancy Wood; he came to Wisconsin in June, 1842; located in Milwaukee County; the first hard labor he ever did was on the building of the canal. Mr. Wood is a natural mechanic. He came to Rochester in the fall of 1844 worked about a year on a farm, then went into the employ of Mr. Ela, who at that time was doing a large business in the wagon and farming machinery manufacture; he remained with him until he went into business for himself, about 1855; he now has his sons with him, and carries on a large business. He married, in 1846, Miss Sarah, daughter of William and Nancy Crowthers, of Yorkshire, England they have had six children, four now living - William B., born Sept. 23, 1849; Henry C., March 20, 1852; John F., Sept. 3, 1854, died June 4, 1855; Albert J., born Jan. 15, 1858; Emily J., died very young; Phoebe J., born April 22, 1866. Mr. Wood is a Knight Templar. Was elected Justice of the Peace and held the office several years. Has married many a couple.




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