History of Embarrass, Wisconsin
From: History of Outagamie County, Wilsonsin
Thomas H. Ryan - Editor in Chief
Goodspeed Historical Allociates, Publishers
Chicago 1911

Town of Embarrass. - On the last day of December, 1852, by the Board of Supervisors the following resolution was adopted: "That so much of the territory of Outagamie county as lies north and west of the Wolf river Be, and the same is hereby organized into a separate town and the legal voters therein are duly authorized to elect town officers and transact town business, and the first town meeting be held at the house of Washington Law on the first Tuesday of April next; the polls to be opened at the hour specified by law for annual elections; said town to be known by the name of Embarrass. And be it further resolved that Norman Nash be and is hereby authorized to post up in said territory three or more copies of the above resolution, said resolution to be furnished him by the clerk of the Board."

Prior to this time, though included in Outagamie county, It does not appear that this territory possessed any political significance. By the settlers of Ellington. Hortonia and Bovina it was known as "The Indian land beyond the Wolf," and does not appear to have been included as an out.district of any town already organized A few settlers had located there before the survey was made. The first settler of record within the present boundary of Maple Creek, was the venerable George W. Law, whose house was appointed the first annual meeting place, who now resides in New London. The date of his coming is fixed by Thomas C Nickel, who a boy of eighteen came with him, as the first week in May, 1850. This trip was undertaken with Mr. Turney to procure tan bark for which they had a contract. On this they were engaged until November, when they returned to the settlements, but each it seems selected tracts and made locations to which they returned the following year, Mr. Law in section 29, Maple Creek, Mr. Turney in Liberty.

A few settlers followed Mr. Law probably the same year though he says it seemed nearly a year before his wife saw a white woman. There were plenty of Indians, however, but while never troublesome, they could never be companions nor associates of the pioneer niothers. Viewing it after a lapse of sixty years it was not long, however, it seemed to them, until others came, probably Jeremiah Merricle coming next after Law to section 18 and George Lutsey, Alvin and Lewis Holcomb and a man named Geer who lived on the creek.

On the records of the old town Embarrass we find the following: "Failed to hold town meeting on the day specified in foregoing resolution; for want of an officer to qualify the board. It was therefore deemed necessary to call a meeting for the purpose of organizing said town."

It does not appear when this conclusion was reached but this entry is followed by a declaration as follows: "We the undersigned c ualified voters of the town of Embarrass, and county of Outagamie, co believe it is for the common interest of said town to organize ourselves into a body politic, for the purpose of choosing officers and transacting such other business as may (be) deemed proper and necessary.' Dated, "Embarrass, Wis., Oct. 25, 1853" and signed by Jer. Merricle, George Lutsey, George W. Law, Alvin C. Holcomb, Augustus Busch and Lewis M. Holcomb. Then under same date is the notice of meeting and election. At this election thirteen votes were cast and the following officers elected, each of whom received the total vote: Jeremiah Merricle, George Lutsey and Alvin Burnell, supervisors; Alvin C. Holcomb, town clerk; George W. Law, treasurer; Alvin C. Holcomb, superintendent of schools; Alvin Burnell, Alvin C. Holcomb, George Lutsey and Joseph Turney, justices of peace; Lewis M. Holcomb, Fordyce Worth, constables; Lewis M. Holcomb, assessor; George Lutsey, sealer of weights and measures; Andrew A. Dakin, overseer of highways. No poll list is recorded and the five voters who were not elected to office remain unidentified. The settlers located rapidly in 1851-2 and 3 and it is believed a full poll would show nearly double the number appearing of record though some had not "gained residence." Among those mentioned, Augustus Busch settled on what is now the Kickhoefer place in section 17; Andrew A. Dakin came about 1851 to section 29; Alvin Burnell was about as early as Law but settled in Liberty, was a bachelor and probably the first white man in Liberty. Joseph Turney settled in Liberty. Fordyce Worth came to Maple Creek about 1852. Some not mentioned in the records but known to have settled before November, 1853, were: Thomas Nickel, father of Thomas C., Levi and John Nickel, who came to Maple Creek and located in, section 29, in February, 1852, and died the following April. John Wheeler came to the same section about the same time or possibly earlier, Mrs. Wheeler died in March, 1852, and hers was probably the first death in the settlement. There was no cemetery and both she and Mr. Nickel, and later, a little child of Wm. McDonald; were buried in the woods on the section where they lived; resting there until a cemetery was established. McDonald joined the settlement in 1852. James Payton came in the fall of the same year. Sam and John Payton about that time. Joseph N. Owen, unmarried, came with his brother in law, Gordon House, both locating in 32, in 1853. Porter Bowen in the same year on the same section near the Embarrass river, afterward removing to section 13, Deer Creek. Norman Gerard lived near Lutsey in saction 15, Maple Creek. Alexander Cuthbertson and Robert Hutchison both of Scotch ancestry, bought land in 1854 on Maple Creek in section 17. Lyman Woodward came about 1853 to section 31. Joseph N. Owen in the same year bought in 17. Carl Ohm lived in 29 and Giesbert Stechtman in 30. The Ruckdashels, Lorence and his parents, came about 1854 and were the first in what later became Sugar Bush Thomas C. Nickel, who came with Law 1850, settled in 29 in 1855. Michael Flannagan about a year later settled in 19. Fred Fuerst came 1856 to 28. Walter Housten lived on Shawano road in Maple Creek about 1856, kept a tavern and had the first bar in the town. Isaac Krake came 1856, stopped at New London where by this time there was a little settlement, until he could prepare a home in section 32, Maple Creek. His sons Levi and Ephriam lived in same section. They were of the "Mohawk Dutch" and with the energy characteristic of that people engaged in the development of the settlement. Warren Jepson from the same region in New York came the same year, removing in 1860 to section 31 in Deer Creek, being one of the earliest to locate in that town.

By 1857 daily steamers from Fond du Lac and Oshkosh reached the village of New London on the south line of Embarrass and a rapid growth of population was predicted at an early date. The Embarrass pine lands were very valuable and a large capital was employed in 1857 to getting out logs for the upper Fox river and Lake Winnebago markets. Much of the pine used at Appleton in 1857 was obtained on the Embarrass.

John Spence came to section 19 in 1857. Gottleib' Krueger about the same time, to 8, later removing to Liberty. Daniel Bratts in 32, that, or the year following. Fred Roloff, William, August and John Pribbeno and Fred Quitben about 1858, all in section 29. Darby McGlone settled on town line in section 6. "Old Doctor" J. E. Breed settled where August Kempf now lives in 8 and was the first and only doctor in Maple Creek. A. W. Wilmarth came at the same time and lived with the doctor. William Kickhoefer came about 1858, settling in 17 and is still living on the old place with his son Charles, who came at the same time Calvin C. Walker built a hotel on the Shewano Road about 1859, William, Henry and Plummer Walker were brothers and all lived together in section 7. About 1860 Martin Glass came' to section 29 and William Merricle and Charles Labe, a gunsmith, who lived at the month of Maple Creek. Fred Ebert lived near him on the same creek. John Bubolz in 17, Thomas Madden in the northern part, Fred Cortbein in 29, Jamas and George Hutchison in 20, George later lived in 19, all about 1860. Godfried Finger settled a part of August, Kemp's place, Sim Price on the John Flannagan place, later at mouth of Maple Creek. Fred and George Weisuer lived in northern part of town. The Knaaks, Levi and Isaac, were residents in 1863, Ludwig Kanthook and John Knapp in 1865.


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