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


In town 10, range 13 east, lies the town of Elba, the first settlement of which was made in 1843. It is bounded on the west by Columbia county, on the north by Calamus, east by Lowell and south by Portland towns. Originally the town was all openings, with small ridges running northeast and southwest. The first settlers were generally from the east. Later the Irish predominated and in the northern part there was a large settlement of Welsh. The farmers are well to do, own their own land and there are but few renters.

The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad passes through the town and on section 15 is Elba station.

The first election was held at the cabin of a Mr. Robinson at a place called Ox Bow, on account of the river presenting that appearance near his house. There were two tickets in the field for town officers, one representing the landowners and the other the "squatters." The result of the ballot was a tie. In consequence thereof the business of the town for that year was transacted at Lowell. In the next election the landowners were victorious and the town was fully organized and given the name of Elba, after Mr. Thompson and Mr. Robinson had failed to agree on what the new town should be called. The secretary of state, having been consulted, decided upon the name. Among the early settlers were Miles Burnham, Lawson Trowbridge, Morris Burnham, a Mr. Jarvis, James Webster and George Adams.

Miles Burnham, the first settler, was a native of New York. He came to Dodge county in 1844 and entered forty acres of land, where the village of Danville now stands. He was accompanied by his cousin, Morris Burnham and Samuel Hasey. These were the first residents of what is now Elba township. During this time Miles Burnham and his cousin engaged to construct a dam and sawmill at Danville for Lawton Carrier, but they purchased the property before the completion of the work. Miles Burnham married Caroline Johnson, daughter of Charles Johnson, who came from Racine to Elba township in 1845. They had three children: Melissa, who married John C. Brainerd; George and Matie. Mr. Burnham was the first township clerk of the town of Elba. He was long a justice of the peace, served on the board of county supervisors and in the general assembly of the state.

Jacob Lawrence removed from Jefferson county, Wisconsin, to this town in 1846 and settled on a farm which was his home for many years.

J. T. and Esther Sweet came to Elba town from Jefferson county, Wisconsin, about 1846 and settled on a farm.

Edward J. Williams arrived in Dodge county from Cleveland, Ohio, May 1, 1846, and entered eighty acres of land in this town. He came to the county poor and when he paid the entrance fee to his first eighty acres of land he had but fifty cents remaining. As the years went by Mr. Williams rose to a position of high favor among his neighbors. He was elected to the legislature in the fall of 1857, held all of the minor township offices and was chairman of the board of supervisors for several years. By his first marriage Mr. Williams had three children, John W., K E. and Helen M.

One of the early settlers of this town was Samuel and Mercy Austin, who came from Pennsylvania early in the '40s and located on section 34, where they resided till their deaths. Samuel M. Austin, a son, married Philena Adams, whose parents settled in Jefferson county in 1840, and came to Elba township in 1845. Mr. Austin was not only one of the earliest settlers of Elba town but also one of the largest landowners.

Michael Kelley was born in Ireland and came to this country in 1834. He settled on a farm in Elba township in June, 1847 and became one of the successful farmers and large landowners of the town. He was the father of fourteen children. Mr. Kelley was held in very highest esteem by all who knew him.

Job W. Hartley removed from Ontario with his parents to Michigan, in 1840. In the spring of 1848 he located on a farm in Elba town and before retiring from active business pursuits owned over a thousand acres of land in the township. He was a man of probity and had the trust of his neighbors, which was evidenced by the number of offices they prevailed upon him to fill.

B. F. Cooper was a native of New York and after living in Wisconsin several years he removed to this town and settled on a farm in May, 1849. Twin girls, Ella and Ellen, were born in 1850. His son Fred was born in 1857, a daughter, Cora, in 1863, and the son Frank in 1868. A son, Isaac B., born in 1856, died.

Philip Traynor came from Ireland in 1849 and settled on a farm in Elba township. He died in the fall of 1875. His son, O. W. Traynor, was born in County Kildare, Ireland, in 1838. He with his brothers Michael and Philip, and their sister, remained on the farm after the death of the elder Traynor. Oden W. Traynor was treasurer of Dodge county for two terms. He served in the Civil war, as did his brothers Michael and Philip.

Alfred Hager came here from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, in 1850, and settled in the south part of Elba town, where he died in 1874.

John C. Brainerd was a New Yorker, who came west and located in Elba town in 1854. He followed teaching for many winters and in the summer attended to his farm duties. He was also noted among his neighbors and acquaintances as a fervid minister of the gospel.

Daniel and Elizabeth Breuecher came from Germany in the early '40s and entered one hundred and sixty acres of land in Elba town, eighty of which included the farm of his son Daniel. There were eight children in all.

Patrick Burrell immigrated from Ireland in 1847 and after living three years in New York settled on a farm in Elba township in 1851.

Levia A. Randall came to Elba town in 1852. He was a blacksmith and located in Danville.

Patrick Roache was born in County Wexford, Ireland. He immigrated to this country with his father, Robert Roache, in 1849. The father and son reached the town of Fox Lake in the fall of 1851 and in 1852 Patrick Roache purchased a farm in this town, upon which he resided for many years.

Matthew Stone was an Englishman by birth and a harness maker by trade. He came to Wisconsin and in the spring of 1853 purchased a farm of two hundred and twenty acres in this town. Mr. Stone sold the farm in 1868 but repurchased it in 1875 and took up his residence here.

James Webster was a native of Oneida county, New York. In 1845 he purchased a farm of ninety six acres in Lowell township, also forty acres in Elba township and located on the forty acres in the fall of that year. He purchased another farm in the spring of 1851, where he removed that fall. He was one of the early and most active settlers of this section of the county, began life poor, but by hard work, economy and good management secured a competence. He dealt quite extensively in thoroughbred stock, making a specialty of Spanish Merino sheep and shorthorn cattle. Mr. Webster accumulated several hundred acres of land.

Miles Burnham was the first settler in Elba town, and located and entered forty acres of land where the village of Danville now stands. With him were Morris Burnham, a cousin, and Samuel Hasey. Soon after their arrival they engaged to construct a dam and sawmill at Danville for Lawton Carrier, but before the completion of their contract they purchased the property.

The village of Danville was laid out by Daniel E. Bassett. Its growth has been a limited one. Daniel E. Bassett, shortly after its settlement in 1850, opened a store, and soon thereafter Dr. C. W. Bond, of New York, arrived here with his wife and began practicing his profession. He some time later removed back east and was appointed surgeon of a New York regiment during the Civil war. Danville has a good school, church and stores.

Columbus and Elba Station are stopping points on one of the branches of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad.

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