History of Chester, Dodge County, Wisconsin
From: Dodge County, Wisconsin Past and Present
By Homer Bishop Hubbell
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1912


Congressional township No. 13 north, range 15 east, is known as Chester, and is one of the most thickly settled sections of the county. Two railroads traverse it from north to south, being the Chicago & Northwestern and the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul, the former having a station at Chester in the north part of the township, and the latter a station at Atwater and one at Waupun.

The town of Chester lies in the northern tier of townships and is bounded on the north by Fond du Lac county, on the west by Trenton town, on the south by the town of Burnett, and on the east by the town of Le Roy. The east half of the town was originally covered with what is known as Horicon marsh. Some of this land has been drained but a great part of it is not fit for cultivation. However, there are many fine farms with modern buildings. Good schoolhouses and churches abound. The residents are prosperous, as may be evidenced by the number of them skimming over the country to their places of business in their own automobiles.

This town was early settled; in fact, shortly after the settlement at Fox Lake. On March 20, 1839, one year after the coming of Jacob P. Brower, Seymour Wilcox located on a claim which he made on Rock river, within what is now the site of Vaupun. With him at the time were Hiram Walker and J. N. Ackerman. Mr. Wilcox had been engaged on government works near Green Bay and came to the city of Waupun to locate land for a home, doing so at the suggestion of John Bannister, who had surveyed in the vicinity and later moved to Fond du Lac and was the first surveyor of that county.

The first marriage in the town of Vaupun was that of one of its first settlers - John N. Ackerman. It is said that Mr. Ackerman, with two small ponies, went to Fond du Lac and secured the services of Alonzo Raymond, a justice of the peace. They then proceeded by Indian trail to Ashippun, where the bride, Miss Hannah A. Ford was stopping. After the ceremony the young couple mounted the ponies and made the journey to Waupun. The trail being exceedingly rough, it was almost impossible for the riders to stick to their mounts unless they sat astride, which they occasionally did.

John N. Ackerman put up the first barn built in the town, in 1843. The next two buildings were Mr Ackerman's residence and a building erected by Seymour Wilcox, where the Exchange Hotel stands.

There were no further settlements made here until some time in 1841.


Abel Wright came to Wisconsin in the fall of 1843 from the state of New York, arriving October 3d. In the following spring he located on a farm in the town of Chester and occupied it for many years. He married Mary Ann, daughter of Nathaniel and Content Thompson. She died in the town of Chester in 1848. Mr. Wright took for his second wife Mrs. Eunice Jane Trivett, daughter of James and Esther Cooper, natives of New York. Abel Wright raised a family of four children. He gave his whole attention to farming and stock raising and succeeded in what he undertook to do, becoming a man of means and one highly considered by his neighbors.

Horatio Wedge, one of the early pioneers of this section, was a native of Litchfield county, Connecticut, born in 1818. His father was a soldier in the War of 1812 and his grandfather Wedge served in the Revolutionary army. By burning charcoal down in his native state Mr. Wedge gathered together enough money to give him a start in Racine, Wisconsin, in 1844; but he at once removed to Chester town, where he secured one hundred and sixty acres and built a log house. In those days it was a matter of much time and exertion to go to market, as there were practically no roads and the villages were few and far between. It would take Mr. Wedge three days to make the trip to Milwaukee. In his efforts to make for himself a name and a new home he was successful. He married Louisa Smalley in 1838 and to this union were born several children.

Silas March, a native of Vermont, came to Wisconsin in the fall of 1840 and settled in Waukesha county. In the fall of 1841 he arrived in the town of Chester and settled on a farm in section 19, where he followed farming up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1879. Mr. Marsh became an influential citizen of the community and held the office of justice of the peace and was chairman of the town of Chester. He was a careful business man, a man of fine appearance and was highly esteemed by his neighbors and acquaintances. He married Lucy Davenport in 1842 and to them was born one child, Edward.

Spencer J. Mattoon came to Wisconsin in the fall of 1844 from Portage, Ohio, and settled in the town of Chester on a farm he owned for many years, which at the time consisted of two hundred and ten acres. In 1846 he married Sophia Knapp, a native of the state of New York. She was a daughter of David and Flavia Knapp. Mr. Mattoon never found any reason to complain of the choice he had made in selecting Chester town as a home, and through industry attained at least a measure of his anticipations in the way of this world's goods. He was held in high esteem by his neighbors and was given by them offices of trust, among which was that of township supervisor.

There remained upon a certain farm in Chester township for many years, W. E. Scott, who was a pioneer of the year 1845. He was here at the time of the organizing election of the town, which occurred in November, 1845. Mr. Scott was a native of New York and married Sarah Tandewater for his first wife in 1847. She died in 1848, and in 185o he married Jennette, daughter of John and Maria Purdie, of Chester. To them were born seven children.

Ira Cement arrived in the town of Chester in the fall of 1845 and located here. He was a native of Lower Canada. He reached a fair measure of his anticipation. In the war of the rebellion Mr. Clement enlisted in the Sixteenth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry and remained until the close of the war.

Philander Cole came to Wisconsin from Vermont in January, 1831, and settled in Rochester, Racine county, where he followed farming until the spring of 1845, then came to Dodge county and located in the town of Chester on a farm. which he owned for many years. He was married in Racine county, in February, 1838, to Nancy, daughter of Benjamin and Nora Fowler, and to get his marriage license he walked from Rochester to Racine, a distance of twenty five miles, in one day and back, with the snow six to eight inches deep and no track.

D. L. Bancroft came from New York to Wisconsin in 1843 and stopped in Milwaukee. That winter he taught school and bought a farm in the town of Genesee, which he kept two years, then selling, removed to the town of Chester in December, 1845, and settled on a farm of one hundred and sixty acres. This farm he more than doubled in acreage in a short time and erected thereon a very fine residence. Mr. Bancroft was a man of literary attainments and served the county as superintendent of schools for twenty two years. He was elected to the assembly in 1852 and again in 1874.

John Mosher was born in Ohio, and came to Wisconsin in October, 1843, remaining about a year, when he returned to Ohio. In the fall of 1845 he again came to Wisconsin and settled in the town of Chester. In 1849 he purchased a farm and moved on it in 1851. He had served the people of the community in various offices. In December, 1840, Mr. Mosher was married to Julia McGrennell, of Waupun. She died in 1862, and in 1864 Mr. Mosher married Mrs. Sophia Williams, of Waupun. She was the daughter of Allen and Sophia Dutton. The Mosher farm was partially devoted to the raising of mulch cows and the manufacture of butter.

Robert Mosher came to Wisconsin and located in Chester town in November, 1845. He engaged in farming during the continuance of his active career. He was a veteran of the Civil war.

C. Hanf was a sturdy German, who came to the United States in 1842. He finally located in the town of Chester in 1846 and bought a piece of wild land. He prospered and in 1869 removed to Horicon, where he engaged in the hardware business. Mr. Hanf was one of the influential men of the village.

George Raymond had the distinction of being the first white child born in the town of Chester. This auspicious event occurred February 17, 1846, on a farm upon which his parents, Lemuel and Maria Raymond, had located. His brother, Albert Raymond, was also born on this farm, February 11, 1848, and here they were raised and eventually formed a partnership for the manufacture of windmills invented by them. They also manufactured other machinery, the result of their genius.

Justin Jacobs, a native of Vermont, came to Wisconsin in the summer of 1848 and settled on a farm in Chester. He held several minor township offices and was postmaster at Chester for several years. His record as a soldier in the Civil war was a good one.

Frank Johnston was born in County Down, Ireland, in 1814. He came to America in the spring of 1842, locating in New York. There he remained until 1844, when he came to Wisconsin and settled in the town of Trenton. He remained there for some time and in 1849 removed to a farm in the town of Chester. Mr. Johnston accumulated several hundred acres of land and became one of the wealthy men of his community.

William D. Chesebro was a native of Albany county, New York, and came to Wisconsin in 1836. He returned to New York, however, and married there in 1840. With his family he removed to Walworth county, Wisconsin, in 1848, and settled near Delevan. In 1849 he settled in the town of Le Roy. There he lived about twenty years and then came into Chester, where he remained until his death, which occurred in 1879.

James S. Clark was born in New York and was married there in 1851 to Eveline M. Hallett. In the fall of 1846 he came to Waukesha county and in 1856 settled in the village of Waupun, where he followed teaching and farming. He held the office of superintendent of schools, supervisor, chairman of the county board, and was placed in other positions of responsibility by his neighbors.

James Daily, a native of Ireland, arrived in America in 1843. In 1854 he came to Wisconsin and settled in Chester, where he accumulated quite a tract of land.

Isaac Fowler, a native of New Hampshire, came to Wisconsin in 1840 from Plainville, Illinois, where he lived about two and a half years. He settled in Rochester, Racine county, and in 1848 came to Chester, locating on a farm which was his home for many years. Mr. Fowler became quite prominent in affairs not only of the township but of the county. He at one time was a member of the county board and held minor township offices.

Luke Howells came from Ireland to the United States in the spring of 1849 and located in New York, where he farmed until 1854 and then removed to the town of Chester and continued his chosen occupation.

James Titus was here as early as the fall of 1853 and settled on a farm in this township, which he made his residence for a long period.

D. S. Morse and his brother, O. A. Morse, traveled through the west in 1842 and 1843, selling Connecticut clocks, and came to Chester in September, 1844. They were among the earliest settlers in this section of the country, locating on about two hundred acres of land. They lived in a log house with one room and went through all the hardships that sur, rounded the early settlers. D. S. Morse sold his farm in 1851 and went to Waupun, where he engaged in the grain business and also as a loan broker.

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