History of Mount Pleasent Township, Racine County, Wisconsin
From: Racine, Belle City of the lakes
and Racine County, Wisconsin.
Fanny's Stone, Supervising Editor
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1916

MOUNT PLEASANT

When the first civil townships in Racine County were created by the act of January 2, 1838, all that part of the county in fractional Range 23 and two miles of Range 22, extending across the entire county from north to south, were included in a township known as Racine By the same act the boundaries of the Town of Mount Pleasant were defined as follows:

"Commencing at the southwest corner of the Town of Racine; thence due west to the southwest corner of Township 3 North, of Range 21 East; thence north to the north line of Township 4; thence east to the northwest corner of the Town of Racine, and thence south to the place of beginning."

The act also provided that the first election should be held at the house of George F. Robinson, in the Village of Mount Pleasant. The boundaries as above described were reenacted on March 3, 1839. They included all the present Towns of Raymond and Yorkville, and a strip four miles wide across the western part of the Town of Caledonia. By the act of February 7, 1842, that part of the Town of Racine lying in Township 3 North, Ranges 22 and 23 East, was added to Mount Pleasant and the northern part of the Town of Racine was added to Caledonia, which was then erected with its boundaries as they are at present. At the same time the Town of Yorkville was cut off from Mount Pleasant.

If the present boundaries be taken into consideration, the first settlers in Mount Pleasant were Captain Gilbert Knapp, the Luce brothers and the man, Welch, who came to the mouth of the Root River in November, 1834. Harrison K. Fay and a man named Carpenter settled at the Rapids soon afterward, where they were joined in January, 1835, by William See and Edmund Weed. Mr See located at the Rapids, but Mr Weed selected a tract of land that afterward became known as the Fratt farm. Carpenter soon afterward went to Captan Knapp's claim and settled on the north side of the Root River, within the present corporate limits of the City of Racine, where he died a few months later. Judge Dyer says: "After his death, his widow removed further north and continued to occupy what was long known among the old settlers as 'the Widow Carpenter's claim'."

James Walker came to Racine on a vessel with Captain Knapp in April, 1835, and made a claim in Mount Pleasant, where he built a cabin, purchased the land at the sale in the spring of 1839 and lived upon his farm for many years. He made the coffins for Mr. Carpenter, who was the first white man to the within the limits of Mount Pleasant or Racine, and who was buried "on the bank of Duck Creek, in the depths of the forest." Mr. Walker established a turning lathe at the Rapids, where William See erected a saw mill and also laid the original foundation for the dam at that place. Mr. Walker was likewise a member of the first jury ever convened in Racine County.

Early in 1836 Andrew Place and his son Thomas, with Alva and Zadock Newman, left Chicago with ox teams for Racine County, where Andrew Place and the Newmans had selected claims about a month before. At Grosse Point they fell in with Daniel B. Rork and the whole company traveled together to Skunk Grove, where Thomas Place found employment with Jacques Jambeau as a clerk at the trading post. The following winter the elder Place and the Newmans went to St. Joseph, Michigan, for a supply of flour. Their oxen were slow travelers and they were gone for two months. In 1836 they went to a mill on the Fox River, a distance of sixty miles Mr. Place used to describe the burial of an Indian chief which he witnessed. First, a pen was constructed large enough for the body and chinked up with moistened clay and other material. Then the dead chief was placed therein, in a sitting posture, surrounded by some of the weapons and ornaments of his race. The pen was left open and for some time afterward the followers of the chief would visit the place, where they moaned and wept, pouring whiskey upon the head of the deceased as an offering to the Great Spirit. There were a large number of Potawatomi Indians then living in the neighborhood and they frequently visited the trading post. Twice a year they had their great corn dance, when fervent prayers were made to the Great Manitou for a good crop of corn. Near the present Mound Cemetery was an old Indian burying ground.

In November, 1835, Alanson Filer, Samuel N. Basey, Silas Lloyd, Orville W. Barnes and one or two others settled in Mount Pleasant. About the same time James Kinzie came to the Rapids and became a partner of Mr. See in the saw mill. Knapp, Hubbard and Barker, who made the first claim at the county in 1834, also erected a saw mill at the Rapids and brought a stock of goods to that place. The mill and store were both in "full blast" before the close of the year 1835.

Wallace Mygatt settled at the place afterward known as "Mygatt Corners" in the early part of 1836. He built a small frame house on an elevation, and on a clear day his residence could be seen for several miles, which led the other settlers to call it the light house. Philip R. and Henry Mygatt also came to the "Corners" not long after Wallace. In June, 1836, Nathan Joy came from Buffalo, New York, to Chicago in the first three master that made a voyage around the lakes. From Chicago he came to Racine on a little schooner called the Llewellyn, and bought a claim in what is now Mount Pleasant. Another settler of 1836 was Lewis 0. Dole, who built a log house and conducted a tavern on the farm afterward owned by Orville W. Barnes.

Among the settlers of 1837 were William Bull, Daniel Slauson, Jonathan M. Snow and E. D. Filer. Mr. Snow had visited the country the preceding year and selected a claim near Dole's tavern, upon which he had built a frame house, or shanty. Mr. Bull remained but a short time in Mount Pleasant, when he removed to the Town of Caledonia. In the spring of 1839 he bought the claim of Mr Snow, above mentioned, and became a resident of Mount Pleasant. Daniel Slauson purchased a claim from a sister in law of Samuel Mars and planted some fruit trees - probably the first orchard in the township, if not in Racine County. Mr. Filer also bought a claim on which was a poorly constructed log house. As he could not find a cook stove in Racine, he did his cooking over a fire kindled against the side of a log near his cabin. He afterward assisted in building the first court house at Racine and in the construction of the harbor. One Sunday morning, in the dead of winter, Mr. Filer took his rifle and started out to overtake a wolf that had been causing him some annoyance, but had not gone far when he met an elder of the church, who remonstrated with him for going hunting on Sunday. After Mr. Filer had explained the situation, the elder agreed that he might go on in pursuit of the wolf, on condition that he proved himself a good marksman and gave the elder a good dinner. He used to tell the story and laugh over how he bribed a good church member to permit him to "desecrate the Sabbath."

The Town of Mount Pleasant occupies the southeast corner of the county. On the north it is bounded by the Town of Caledonia; on the east by Lake Michigan; on the south by Kenosha County and on the west by the Town of Yorkville. Its area is approximately fifty square miles. The Root River flows in a southeasterly direction across the northeast corner, and the headwaters of Pike River are in the southern part. The City of Racine is located in this township and about six miles west of Racine is the incorporated Village of Corliss, at the crossing of two divisions of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. The population in 1910 was 4,219 (exclusive of Racine and Corliss) and the taxable property w as valued in 1915 at $7,479,335, with the same exceptions.


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