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


Clyman is congressional town 10 north, range 15 east. It was named in honor of Colonel Clyman, who in personal appearance was said to have greatly resembled George Washington, the father of his country. From the fact that it was on the old territorial road running north from Watertown, settlers readily chose the locality and it was soon filled up with them. The town is exclusively a farming community, there being no villages of any consequence within its borders. There are, however, two stations - Clyman, on the Chicago & Northwestern, and Clyman Junction, a junction of the Chicago & Northwestern and the Milwaukee, Sparta & Northwestern. The latter place is at practically the center of the town. Dead creek and a rivulet emptying into Beaver Dam river is about the only drainage in the locality. The farms, however, are of a high character, the soil being very fertile and productive of all the cereals indigenous to this latitude. As a matter of fact, the town is exclusively a farming community.

John and Elizabeth Mengel were among the very first to locate here. Mr. Mengel was a native of Germany and came with his family in 1843 and took up land upon which he built a small shanty for a habitation for himself and family. He went into the timber and began to clear the land to prepare it for cultivation. His wife and children assisted him. In 1845 through some mischance the cabin took fire and everything that he possessed in the way of a home was destroyed. His good wife died in 1850, leaving two children, Elizabeth and Rudolph. In 1851 he married Margaret Schaller, who came to Clyman in 1849 with her parents. Mr. Mengel being of a determined disposition and of industrious habits, suc¬ceeded in what he had set out to do, and died in 1871, leaving a well improved farm of one hundred and fifty eight acres and a large farm house. which had replaced the log structure of primitive days.

John C. Weatherby came to this country from England, located in Utica, New York, and there married Ann Jarwin. With his young bride he came west and settled on forty acres of government land in Waukesha county, Wisconsin, in 1842. While there he began to study law with ex-Governor Randall and became intimate with the prominent men of the county in that clay. In 1845 he came to Dodge county and settled on a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Clyman township. He was compelled to chop his way through the timber to his farm, the family spending the first night in a rude pole shed, covered with marsh grass. He built a log house on his property and began pioneer life. Eventually he became a landed proprietor of no small importance. For twenty years he taught school in the county and held various offices. He was justice of the peace at least thirty years, was a member of the board of supervisors and represented this district in the Wisconsin legislature. He was admitted to the bar in 1872 and practiced in the county and circuit courts:

S. Wenker was one of the first pioneers of Clyman. His son John was born here in 1844 The farm on which the elder Venker first located, consisted of ninety six acres, all of which was timber. Mr. Wenker became quite prominent in this locality.

Alexander Ramsey, leaving his native hills in Scotland, came to the United States in 1842 and took up his abode in New York. Thence he removed to Massachusetts and in 1843 he found himself and family in the town of Clyman on forty acres of land, which he had purchased, and which eventually became a plantation of three hundred and twenty acres, part of which was in the town of Emmet He built his log house in the openings. At the time that Mr. Ramsey came the immigration to Dodge county was at its height.

Daniel Fisher with his family, coming here in 1844, settled on government land and was one of the first to take up a habitation in this locality. Keeping in line with others who were in similar circumstances lie built and lived in a log house and saw a great amount of privation and inconvenience. There were no roads or bridges except primitive affairs, hastily and temporarily constructed by his neighbors. His son John was a lad at the time and as soon as he could be afforded the privilege, he attended district schools, and when the Civil war broke out, cheerfully joined with others as a member of a military organization, going to the front to fight for his country's cause.

Patrick Duffy arrived in America from Ireland in 1831 and began life in his new home in Vermont. In 1846 he immigrated to Wisconsin and found what he desired in a hundred acre farm in Clyman township, on which he settled with his family. He lived for a number of years in a log house and did genuine pioneer work, the result of which was apparent in a few years in the well improved farm of one hundred and sixty acres which lie owned. To this other acres were added.

William Waterhouse, long since deceased, came from Yorkshire, England, in 1843, with a wife and five children. He lived in Connecticut for some time and in 1846 settled on a tract of eighty acres on section 21 in the town of Clyman. He was without any money at the time and the family fared hard, but every member was of a courageous and industrious disposition and through diligence and perseverance they managed to get along. For weeks it was customary for them to live on potatoes alone and they were even glad to get middlings to sustain life, sometimes grinding wheat in a coffee mill. This is a sample of genuine pioneer life in a new country.

Jacob Burger came with his parents from Germany in 1847 and settled on sixty acres of wild land in Cayman.

Thomas and Mary Irving immigrated to Wisconsin in 1847 from the state of New York and settled near Cayman. This section was then comparatively new and Robert, the younger son's youth, was spent amid the hardships of pioneer life. Both his parents died in 1873. Robert was educated at Wayland University and at Beaver Dam, and for many years he devoted his time to teaching. He filled many positions of trust.

Peter Neis, a native of Germany, came to America with his parents in 1846 and located on government land in Clyman the following year. Edward O'Keefe came from Massachusetts with his parents in 1846 and settled on government land in this town when it was a wilderness. Gustavus Henke was a native of Germany. He preferred the new world to the old and coming to America in 1851 settled in Clyman. He. worked five or six weeks as a farm hand and then settled on eighty acres of land, which he improved and increased in acreage as the years went by. John M. Jones came to America with his parents in 1832 from North Wales. In 1853 he turned his face westward and being pleased with the country, settled in Clyman. He worked first as a laborer and then bought a farm of eighty acres in the town.

Timothy Mahoney was a Corkonian, a son of the "ould sod." He came to this country in 1842, preceding his family about four years. With them, however, he located in Clyman in the fall of 1854. He bought wild land on sections 4 and 5, on which he built a small house and began pioneer work of clearing, breaking and fencing. His eldest son, Jeremiah Mahoney, assisted him in clearing and breaking the land.

Edmund Carey, another son of the green isle, came to America in 1839. He eventually found himself in the west and finally coming to Dodge county, located in the town of Lebanon, where he worked a piece of wild land until 1856. This he disposed of and settled on a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Clyman township.

Robert Glover came here with his parents, Nathan and Maria Glover, from the state of New York in the fall of 1854.

John Hennessy was born in Ireland and came to America in 1849. He was a currier and tanner by trade. He went to California a poor man and returned with money enough to buy a farm of one hundred and fifty seven acres in Clyman township in 1855. Mr. Hennessy became one of the influential men of his town.

Rev. Father Thomas Dempsey, who was pastor of St. Columbkill's church at Danville, was born in Clyman township in 1859. He was educated for the priesthood at St. Francis Seminary, at Milwaukee, and was ordained June 10, 1876.


The first Catholic services held near enough that the people of that faith in Clyman could attend were held in the home of Owen McCollow, in the town of Oak Grove, in 1853, by Father Dumphy of Fox Lake. A little later services were conducted in Cayman in the homes of Connor Dempsey and Edmund Carey. By 1861 steps were taken toward the erection of a house of worship. Hugh Derving donated the land for the same and others who took an active part in the work of building a church were the following members: William Dowling, Connor Dempsey, Patrick Morgan, Edmund Carey, Lawrence Walsh, Owen McCollow, Timothy Mahoney, Patrick Coughlin, Frank Chapman. Rev. Joseph Smith was the first regular pastor and his successor was Rev. M. J. Ward, who became the first resident pastor, assuming the duties of the parish in 1873. After seven years, Rev. Ward was succeeded by Rev. FL Murphy, and he in turn by Rev. M. Wrynn, who came to the church February 15, 1888.

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