History of Calumet County
Calumet County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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History of Northern Wisconsin

History of Northern Wisconsin
Publisher Chicago The Western Historical Company, A.T. Andreas, Proprietor
1881 Copyright The Western Historical Co.
Reprint The Ralph Secord Press Iron Mountain MI. 1988

Calumet County


Soon after this absorption and riddance of an element which had been a check upon the advance of settlement, the county began to fill up in sections further from Lake Winnebago. In January, 1845, Moses Stanton located on the site of the present city of Chilton, and in May his daughter Catherine was born. In 1846 he had a saw-mill and two years later a grist-mill in operation. His energy soon drew settlers to the spot. Frederick Sircher came in 1847, and Nicholas Chesboro in 1848. During this year also a number of industrious Irishmen, who had been employed in building the Sheboygan and Fond du Lac plank road, became residents of Chilton and increased its claims to be called a village. Through the influence of James Robinson, an honored citizen (since deceased), the town of Portland, afterwards Chilton, was organized, by special legislative act, in 1853. In December the county seat was fixed at Chilton, and every thing promised well for its continued growth. James Robinson, who had represented the county in the Legislature the previous Winter, was elected Chairman of the first Town Board, which convened at the hotel of Otto Schucht, on Sircher street, April 21, 1853. Post-office conveniences had been enjoyed for two whole years, the first United States official in Chilton being L. Fields, Sr. Chilton certainly promised to be what it became, a thriving burg. Moses Stanton, its founder, lived here for over seventeen years, universally respected, and died in 1862. His wife still survives him.

Originally the village was called Stantonville, but in 1852 John Marygold, an Englishman, became proprietor of the place by purchase, and began to plat it. It was surveyed by A. Merrill in August of that year, and named "Chilington" by its owner, in remembrance of his native town. He sent a verbal message by one Patrick Donahoe, to have the change in name recorded at Stockbridge, the county seat. Such a burden upon his brain was too great for Patrick to carry, and before he arrived at his destination he eased it by dropping the middle syllable from Chil-(ing)-ton. "Chilton" was therefore recorded as the name of the new village.

Although by popular vote the county seat had been located at Chilton Center, about half a mile from the village, the citizens were not satisfied, but wanted a change made to Chilton itself. No buildings were erected for three years, although contracts had been let and the material for them was on the ground. In l854 Harrison C. Hobart settled in Chilton in the practice of law. He took up the cause of Chilton vigorously, and chiefly by his and Mr. Stanton's efforts the change in location to the present court-house square was made, as previously stated. With this advantage gained, and some years afterwards the construction of the Milwaukee & Northern Railroad, Chilton left such rivals as New Holstein and Gravesville far behind.

The first child born in Chilton was the daughter of Moses Stanton (Catherine) in May, 1845; the first death his second daughter, Eliza, born in September, 1846, and died in January, 1848.

Miss Jane Scott taught the first school in the Summer of 1848. The first religious services were held in the same building by a missionary from the Stockbridge House.

In January, 1848, the first marriage ceremony occurred between Hugh Wilson, of Racine, and Miss Mary Hume.

The first Fourth-of-July oration was delivered by B. J. Sweet, then a law student, in 1852.

Chilton is situated on the south branch of the Manitowoc River, and contains a population of 1,200, the prevailing nationality being German. Its people are industrious and thriving, a good general trade being carried on in addition to a variety of manufactures. The corporate limits of the city embrace a territory nearly two miles square.

By act of the legislature the city was incorporated March 11, 1877. The charter was adopted by one majority on the twentieth of that month, the vote being 108 to 107. F. R. Gutheil was elected Mayor. The officers for 1881 are Mayor, Dr. D. La Count; Clerk, H. Arnold; Treasurer, William Rothmann. The city is divided into three wards.

Fire Department. - The Fire Department consisting of a hand-engine company and a hook-and-ladder company, was formed in 1875. The membership of both organizations is sixty. D. D. Ebert is Chief of the Department.

Schools. - In 1849 Moses Stanton erected a log building for a school-house, on land near where the post-office now stands. A frame building, on the site of the present district school-house, succeeded it. The two-story stone structure now occupied was erected in 1870. The value of the property is $5,000. The school (District No. 1) is divided into a Grammar Department (graded) and a High School. The Principal of the latter is J. E. Luce, and of the former, J. O. Luce. Out of a total enrollment of 449, the attendance is 216. During the past Autumn the building has been renovated and improved. Its crowded condition, however, calls for an increase in accommodations.

The Press. - There are no newspapers published outside of the city of Chilton. Of the seven established in the county, four survive. The first number of the first newspaper, The Chilton Times, appeared September 26, 1857, editorially and financially under the management of John P. Hume. Charles W. Fitch was its proprietor until May 27, 1858, when the former purchased it. Up to the time of his death, 1881, Mr. Hume conducted the paper alone, and became as well known and as much beloved as any man in Calumet County.

The Times is now edited and Managed by his sons, W A. and J. P. Hume, under the firm name of Hume Brothers. It remains Democratic in politics and issues on Saturday.

The Calumet County Republican was published at Gravesville from 1859 to 1862, when its editor and proprietor, J. N. Stone, suspended the paper by laying down the pen and taking up the sword.

The Calumet County Reflector was established at Chilton in 1867 by William M. Fogo. Mr. Fogo sold it in 1868 to E. N. Sweet, who, after publishing the journal tsro years, removed his office to Nebraska.

The Stockbridge Enterprise was established by the Corning Brothers, Cyrus and Sidney, in March, 1873, who, after a short time, sold it to T. C. Stearns. In a few weeks both himself and wife were found dead, a narcotic lying near. Some held their deaths to be suicidal, others accidental. With them the Enterprise ceased to exist.

The Stockbridge Union was established by the Corning Brothers at the same time as the Enterprise. After editing it for a few months, F. A. Willman purchased the journal in the Summer of 1873, and in September of that year came into the possession of H. Arnold, its present editor and proprietor, who removed it to Chilton and changed its name to The Wisconsin Demokrat. It is independent in politics The Volksboteestablished in March, 1877 by George Schleyer, is Democratic in politics. He continues its editor and proprietor.

The Calumet County News was established in February, 1880. It is published at Chilton, edited by H. W. Wing, and is Republican in politics. The News is issued weekly.

A daily paper has never been published in the county.

Saint Augustine Church (Catholic). - Among the early settlers of Chilton there was quite an admixture of those professing Catholicism. Their number, however, was not great enough to command the attention of a bishop until 1854, when the Rev. Father Debeck paid missionary visits to Chilton. Father McMahon was the first resident pastor, and commenced to build a church in 1855, just back of the present edifice. It was not completed till 1860. He remained for ten years, and was followed by Father Morris and Father Dulcee. Father Schraudenbach continued his ministry until 1869, when Father Andelschack succeeded him, remaining seven years. Father Uerbak built the present edifice in 1879, at a cost of $16,000. The Rev Father Lorigan is the present pastor, and has over l,000 communicants in his care.

Saint Mary's Church was organized in 1877, and a building erected during that year at a cost of $9,000. The parish school building in the rear of the church and the parsonage were erected in 1879. The school is in charge of the Sisters, and has an attendance of about eighty. Rev. Father Gaellweiler is the pastor of the society, having under his charge eighty families.

The Union Church. - This society was organized and incorporated in the Spring of 1877. The church building was erected on land donated by Zachariah Stanton, son of Moses Stanton, and the first sermon preached by Elder Todd. The membership of the society is about thirty. The Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians and Baptists worship in the same building. The Union Church is entirely unsectarian.

Societies. - Chilton has a lodge of Masons (No. 154) organized in 1866, and two lodges of Odd Fellows-No. 295 and No. 207.

Chilton Turn Verein was organized in August, 1871, and its hall erected during that Fall and the following season at a cost of $2,000. Its membership is thirty; first speaker, H. Arnold.

Hotels. - The Chilton House was built in 1855 by J. C. Green. Mr. Vicking became the purchaser, and continued the same until 1867, when he sold it to Messrs. LaCount & Feind. F. W. Esser soon became the proprietor. In 1879, it was bought by E. Rossburg, its present proprietor.

The Central House, situated near the railroad station, was built by F. Reinboldt. It fell into Charles Koinke's hands the present owner.

The Wisconsin House. - Before 1875 the old building was occupied as a gents' furnishing store. It was remodeled the same year by Mr. Jackals for a hotel, and in 1876 sold to Joseph Bersch the present owner.

The Western House was built in 1874 by Menig & Goeddertz. In 1875, Charles Menig became sole Proprietor, as at present.

The American House was built in 1855 by Mr. Ortlieb. It was sold in 1875 to A. Mason, and to A. McHughe. J. D. Parker has been the owner since 1877.

Banks. - In 1859, Col. Bean established the Shawano Bank at Chilton. He turned the institution over to Meyer & Sprague in 1860. The bank suspended during the trying times of 1862. From that date up to January, 1875, the village was without a bank. Kersten Brothers then established the German Exchange Bank, which is still doing business under their management. Its capital is $7,600; resources $89,169.27.


The Union Flour Mills were erected by Mooney & Zech in 1874. In 1876, Zech Brothers bought the former's interest, and are the present proprietors. The manufacture is forty barrels daily.

Reblitz Brothers' Flour Mills were erected in October, 1880, by the present proprietors. They have four run of stone, and turn out on an average thirty barrels of flour daily.

Philip Becker's Brewery is the oldest establishment of the kind in the city, a small building being erected by J. Paulus in 1860. It was bought by Mr. Becker in 1875. He has so added to the original establishment that the capacity of the brewery is at present 1,200 barrels of beer annually.

F. R Gutheil's Brewery was established in 1867, by its present proprietor. Its capacity is about 400 barrels of beer per annum.

Dorschel & Co.'s Sash, Door and Blind Factory was erected in 1875 by William Dorschel, the head of the firm. The partnership with William Kartheaser was formed in 1878, the latter being the "Co." About a dozen men are employed on an average and $3,500 is the amount of business transacted annually.

The Chilton Stave Factory was built in 1881 by 0. D. Bishop, its present proprietor, and has a capacity for turning out 600,000 staves pet annum.

Stendel & Goesling's Plow Works were established by the present firm in 1875. They manufacture plows, cultivators and buggies, and do an annual business of $5,000.

Besides the above A. Vahldieck, Junkee Brothers and L. D. Geisse have small machine shops, the second named a foundry.

For some years Benjamin F. Carter and his son operated a large brick yard in Chilton, but upon the death of the latter, work was temporarily suspended. It is probable that it will be revived again during the coming season.

George D. Breed is about to establish a large cheese factory in Chilton.

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Transcribed by Debie

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