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

Town of Freedom. - The first clearing in the town of Freedom was made by a negro named Jackson. Mr. Beebe, who came next, found Jackson here. He had an Indian wife and one child, and had a clearing of nine acres. The negro lived for a while on the Oneida reservation, leasing from the Indians. Beebe settled on section 1. E. B. Abbott came next, in 1842, and bought the Jackson claim. Jacob Juley arrived in the spring of 1846.

After removing to Appleton Jackson acquired the title "General." He claimed his settlement was made in May, 1830. He died in September, 1879.

H. M. Culbertson fixes the date of white settlement at 1843, crediting the first white settlement to Elon B. Abbott, and the Beebe family about the same time. A published biography of Abbott states that after two years' residence in the Oneida settlement he located on the northeast quarter of section 11, in 1842. Prentiss Beebe located on lot 5, section 1, where he resided until his death, about 1849-50. Hiram Rhoads was another early comer, settling on the east half of southwest quarter of section 11, it is thought, soon after Abbott and Beebe. His land entry, October 2, 1845, precedes theirs by two days. The next land sale recorded was to Arthur B. McCallon, in section 15, in 1846. John Stafford, in section 10; Peter Jacob Juley, Joseph L. Sloan, John Hine and James Jackson, in section 15; Reuben M. Norton, in section 20, and China Adams, in section 2, all bought in 1847. Jacob Juley arrived in the spring of 1846. Thus the settlement of Freedom antedates any other of the inland towns of the county. The sale of land proceeded rapidly in 1848. The holders of Mexican land warrants began placing them; many by speculators who had no intention of settling, but in 1848 entries were made by the following, who became settlers: Patrick Roche, section 4; Alexander Bales and James A. Trotter, section 5; William Bales, in 6; Frederick Souders and A. S. Hartman in 8; Samuel Preston and Stedman Hager, in 9; John G. Siddons and Christian Hartman, in 17; Edward G. Smith and Henry W. Armstrong, in 20, all in 1848. Patrick O'Brien in 1849 bought in section 1, Albert Cook in 5, Patrick Monahan in 6, Jonathan J. Nye in 7, Jeremiah Foley in 9, William Monahan in 18, and John Shortell in section 28. In addition to these there were a number who bought lands already entered. Nicholas Juley, a German, came about 1847, to the locality of Sagole, or Freedom village. John Sanders, probably the first Hollander, settled 1848. John Hermes about that year, L. A. Hine, Newells, A. Casper, James Sanders; Ezra Kent in section 11 about the same time James McCarty lived in 21, Martin Van Dyke came from Holland, and after stopping a. year in DePere settled in section 14 in 1849.

Ethan Powers, a former lake captain, lived in northeast 29, on what is called the old Randerson farm, and was the only one there in 1850. In southwest 28 were Hugh McCann and his mother, and his brother-in-law, Barney Boyle, who came that year; Mike McCann, who came at the same time, worked at lumbering for several years before settling. John Doonican and J. M. Cox lived on the west town line road. Warren Newton and M. Roche were residents in April, 1850. Robert Sheriff came about 1851; John Garvey and his sons were early. In the early '50s John Shortell lived in 21; A. McNeal, John Van Den Linden, John de Young, the Smiths, Van Vleeks, Taylors, Nyes, Stedman and Joe Hager lived in the northern part of Freedom. Edwin Nye came in 1856. William Randerson, in 1856, on section 29. John Gehring settled in section 33 in 1858; his brother, Gottlieb, coming at the same time Fred Weise and other Germans came to section 6 in 1859. John Brinnan came early, squatted in northeast 28, endured extreme hardships the first winter, thought he must give it up, but in the spring made maple sugar, which he carried on his back to Oshkosh and got supplies and determined to hang on.

The first religious services were held in Mr. Sanders' house by Rev. Father Vandenbroek. The first church in Freedom was St. Nicholas. Nicholas Juley donated five acres for church purposes and upon it are now the church, school, pastor's residence, the sisters' house and the cemetery. The first church was built of logs; the next was a frame, then a stone church, which has been enlarged. A Methodist church was built in northwest section 7. A Congregational church was early organized and a good building erected in section 8. Death and removals so depleted the congregation that the church was sold to the town and converted into a school house. The cemetery on the northeast corner of section 8 is probably the oldest in Freedom. St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Freedom was organized 1869. From that date to 1895 but two pastors served the congregation. In 1889 the beautiful stone church was erected at a cost of $5,000, Rev. Gustave Dettman, pastor. The Moravian church is located on section 7; Rev: Frank Zeller is pastor.

There were a number of families, mostly more or less related, who settled about 1849 in the northern 'and northwestern part of the town. Among them were the Hartmans, Siddons, Souders, Trotters, Cox and the Bales. Coming from Indiana and settling as nearly in the vicinity of one another as possible, the locality was called "The Hoosier Settlement." Though at one time there were as many as twenty six families, their descendants are said to be few in Freedom. The first postoffice was established in the Hoosier settlement and was called Freedom. The postoffice at the village was called Sagole and was discontinued after rural free delivery began. It is said Arnt Sanders was the first mail carrier. His route was from Green Bay through Freedom, Center and Ellington. In this work Mr. Sanders traveled afoot.

In 1854 Albert Cook claimed to have one of the best farms in the county. He was located in the town of Freedom. He owned 320 acres in a body, all under fence, and 130 acres of it cleared, of which 40 acres were in winter wheat. In the summer of 1856 improved land in the town of Freedom sold as high as $65 an acre. There was an abundance of excellent land still to be had in that vicinity at from $3 to $7 per acre. Center also contained land worth about the same. In 1857 the town of Freedom embraced township 22 north, range 18 east, all in Outagamie county, and north of the Indian reservation in the same town. A portion of the town, all that joining the Indian lands, was excellent farming land. The soil was of a sandy nature. Much limestone was found below the surface. This town was noted for its living springs and brooks. Irish, Germans and Yankees were there. It had good schools, good roads and an industrious population. In 1857 Andrew Cook of Freedom raised 100 acres of wheat which averaged nearly 30 bushels an acre. His farm was only four years. old.

In 1856 the Bradys, Luke, Christopher and John, were here. Others were L. S. Augur, the Knowles, George, Henry and John; the Byrnes, William Bates, Henry W. Armstrong, Hughes, Pollock, Murphy, the Van den Bergs, John Hoks, Patrick Coffey and Sikes. The following year Vain Sickle, Vanderlinden, Van Dunkel Berdenson, the Williamsons, Consodines, Hermes, O'Neal, the Wiesbars and Sullivans. In 1858 the Gardners, James and Solomon settled in Freedom. Others here that year were Christ, Miller, Frederick Stormer, N. V. Broekhoven, John Vincent, Ephraim Walker, Philander Hawes, John and Christ Jurry, E. Sargent, Philip Dodge, John and Constant De Young, Matthew Kirby, Anton: Ketchoff, Theo. Myse, John Whitsky and Sam. Kelly.

In the spring of 1859 by the setting off of Osborn the town of Freedom lost more than one half its territory. The portion set off now composing the towns of Osborn and Seymour. New settlers continued to arrive. On the militia list for 1859 are found several new names, among them, Patrick Lennon, D. P. Church, Carneys, James Maher, Patrick King, John Reamy, John Darcey, John Vanderben, H. L. Van der Bore, Peter Pfennings, Gerhard Vandelour, Martin Van Nudon, John Vandeboom, Nicklas Shoemaker, John Abraams, Anthony Rothkopf, Dennis Suppels, Charles Grundorff and Frederick A. Knapp.

It was stated by the Crescent, in December, 1860, that the owner of a threshing machine in the town of Freedom cleared during the previous autumn $500.

In June, 1865, John Rickard announced that he had discovered copper in the town of Freedom. He produced specimens which he claimed., were found on section 17, town 22, range 18. He was quarrying limestone and found a couple of specimens in the grooves. of the rock two feet below the surface. One weighed over two and one half pounds and the other weighed four ounces.

In December, 1878, Levi Parker, an Oneida Indian, killed James Garvey, a saloon keeper, at the village of Freedom by chopping him down with an ax, making four ghastly wounds, either of which was sufficient to cause death. Parker was promptly arrested and confessed the killing, but pleaded self defense.

The history of Freedom as a body politic begins with the history of the old town of Lansing, which included, with other territory, the present towns of Freedom and Center. The settlement of Freedom antedates the other township of Lansing, and was in reality the parent organization from which has descended the towns of Center, Osborn, Black Creek, Seymour and Cicero.

The first annual town meeting of the town of Lansing was held September 12, 1849, at the house of Lewis A. Hine. At this time Lansing included the present towns of Freedom and Center, and other territory lying to the north, but since "no one lived there," of importance, and so fax as this election was concerned the settlers in the southwestern part of Lansing were not represented among the officers elected. There being no poll list recorded, it is difficult to know if they were represented at this meeting. The officers elected were: Lewis A. Hine, chairman; Elon B. Abbott and Frederick Sanders, supervisors; Lewis A. Hine, town clerk; Alvin S. Hartman, treasurer; Elon B. Abbott, superintendent of schools; James Sanders, Elon B. Abbott, Lewis A. Hine and Prentice Beebe, justices of the. peace; Lewis A. Hine, assessor; Alexander Bales and Chauncey Beebe, constables.

The matter of road making being of first importance, the new town at once voted a tax of seven mills on the. dollar valuation for that purpose, and a two mill tax to defray all proper town charges and expenses. The first act of the town board recorded was the laying of a road, October 23, 1849, commencing at the town line between sections 6 and 7, running east in township 22, range 18, to intersect the Green Bay road at or near the southwest corner of section 1. Another road also beginning at the west town line at the corners of sections 18 and 19; running east until it intersects the Green Bay road near the southwest corner of section 15. The order for the first mentioned road was afterward revoked "on account of illegal proceedings at the time said road was ordered."

The Green Bay road mentioned was a road extending diagonally across township 22, range 18, from section 1, southwest to section 31, and extended through Grand Chute to Neenah and though thus mentioned, it seems was not surveyed nor formally established by the town until Match 16, 1850.

Two school districts were formed December 3. 1849; the first to include all of the east half of township 22 and the fractional sections 34 and 35, township 23, range 18, and district two, included the remainder of the township.

More than twenty miles of highway were established by the board during the first half year of the town's existence. The total of taxes charged to the treasurer was $632.85, of which less than $500 was available for roads.

At the second town meeting, April 2, 1850, two tickets were offered, 22 votes were cast and in nearly every instance the result was a tie vote. It is not likely this result was induced by political differences, but it is thought probable that local considerations were the cause. The ties resulting by ballot were decided by lot, electing E. B. Abbott chairman, William Monahan and Nickolas July, supervisors; E. B. Abbott, superintendent of schools; William Monahan, town clerk; Arvin S Hartman, treasurer; Lewis A. Hine, William Monahan, A. Trotter and William Byrnes, justices; Alexander Bales, Patrick Monahan and Warren Newton, constables; Hiram Rhodes and Alexander Bales were overseers in road districts one and two, respectively.

Forty nine votes were polled at the town meeting in 1851, when it was determined to raise $1,000 for the improvement of highways, of which there were about thirty miles established.

The town of Lansing was divided and by an act of, the legislature, June 5, 1852, that portion in ranges 18 and 19 was set off to form a new town to be called Freedom. The record of its organization is missing, but from other sources it is learned that S. M. Powers was chairman, in 1852, Albert Cook and James Taylor, supervisors, and H. P. Beebe, clerk.


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