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


The position is taken, however founded it may be, that the first settlement made in Dodge county was in the town of Emmet. A former historian has it that John W. and Luther Cole and Amasa Hyland settled here in December, 1836, in that part of the town which comprises a part of the city of Watertown. It is stated by the historian heretofore referred to that in the month of January, 1837, these men built a log cabin on their location, which they designated as "bachelor's distress" and cleared a small tract of land, prepared it for spring seeding and in fact made a planting, but what kind of grain was sown, there is nothing in print to show. In all probability, however, the persons whose names are here given were the first to locate in the town of Emmet.

Emmet is in the southern tier and is bounded on the south by Jefferson county. Its western boundary is that of the town of Sheldon, on the north is Clyman and on the east, Lebanon. Silver creek, through its sinuosities furnished sufficient drainage and waterage to the region spread out from the center of the town sufficiently to give the soil what nature desired it should have. The farms are all well improved and the soil renders abundant harvests. A small part of the city of Watertown lies within the border of Emmet. The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul and the Chicago & Northwestern form a junciion at Watertown, making it a desirable railroad town.

Among those first mentioned coming here and opening the territory to civilization and cultivation was Patrick Mahoney, a great admirer of the eloquent Irish patriot and martyr, Robert Emmet. Through Mr. Mahoney's influence the town took its present name and for many years the Irish predominated, but the Germans are now in the ascendency, and the two nationalities comprise practically the entire population.

Among those who may be designated as pioneers of this town may be mentioned the following: James Ames, who came to the county with his family from New York, in July, 1844, and settled on section 22, where lie engaged in farming until entering business pursuits in 1878.

Herman Bentert, a native of Germany, came with his mother and uncle, Peter B. Bentert, in 1844 They settled in the town on a tract of three hundred and twenty acres of government land, which was then heavily timbered. The family was in fair circumstances - an unusual case - and at the time Peter Bentert owned one of the first farm wagons brought into the town.

Joseph B. Brooks arrived here in 1844 with his family, of which his son Joseph was an important part, and located on wild government land. Joseph married Miss Maria McDonough, daughter of Michael McDonough, who settled in Shields about 1851.

William Fleming was born in the town of Emmet in 1851. He was a son of John and Catherine F. Fleming, who settled in the town in 1844 The Flemings were one of the pioneer families of the town and county. William served the district in the Wisconsin assembly in 1879 and also in 1880. Frank Kukhahn was one of the early settlers in this town and in Dodge county. He came to America from Germany with his parents in 1842 and settled on section 24, town of Emmet, in 1843. In 1844 Frank left the farm and spent three years in Milwaukee. After being in various places he returned to Emmet in 1856 and bought seventy acres of land, which lie improved and increased in acreage.

Daniel and Johanna O'Connor came from Massachusetts in 1844 and settled on government land in this town, which they had previously bought, in 1843. Their son Eugene was but a lad at the time. He married Margaret Buckley, of Emmet, in 1870.

Joseph Slight was born in Lincolnshire, England, and came to this country in 1835. He located on government land in the town of Emmet in 1844, when it was in a state of nature. The land was covered with sparse timber and a dense growth of brush. Here he built a log house, improved his farm and made it a most desirable spot for a home and a place from which to derive a splendid livelihood.

Michael Carroll, coming here from the state of New York in 1845, purchased a tract of government land on section 7. His family was with him at the time, among whom was a son, Michael. They built their cabin farther west than any in the town and father and son spent much time hunting in the woods and found no settlers west of them. Fearing the intrusion of Indians, Mr. Carroll hauled two inch plank from Watertown, with winch he enclosed his house with a stockade. This is thought to have been the first frame house in the township and stood stanch and firm for generations after it was built.

John Jones, of South Wales, settled with his family on forty acres of government land in the town of Emmet, in the fall of 1845. Ile began penniless and built a log house in the spring of 1846. Like many of his predecessors, he was compelled to clear the land of a heavy growth of timber. Much time was taken tip in splitting rails for fences. By much hard and diligent labor and management he succeeded in improving his farm and adding a great many acres to it. In course of time he became one of the important and valuable citizens of the community.

John Masterson removed here after landing on the free shores of America from Ireland in 1843, and located with his family in Watertown. About eighteen months thereafter, or in 1845, he settled on a farm of one hundred acres, which was then in a state of nature, and practically covered with a heavy growth of timber. e built a log house. cut, burned and cleared the timber and broke up his land.

John B. Slight was of English birth. He arrived in America from Albion in the fall of 1837, came up the lakes to Toledo, Ohio, reached Kentucky in the spring of 1845 and located in Emmet, where he purchased land on sections 15, to and 21. He finally engaged extensively in the manufacture of lime, which business he followed for twelve years.

Vincent Roberts with his wife and son William came from Oneida county, New York, in May, 1845, and located on a farm in Emmet. Here his second and third sons, John and Vincent, were born. Mr. Roberts bought heavily timbered land of a "squatter" and did real pioneer work in chopping and clearing, living the first summer in a small shanty. He began with eighty acres and finally became one of the well to do farmers of the community.

The family of Lawrence O'Connor came from Ireland in 1845 and bought one hundred and sixty acres in the town of Emmet on section 23. Miles, a brother, died in Trenton in 1869 at about the age of seventy eight. Lawrence, the oldest boy, was elected to the general assembly in 1857, was elected county treasurer in 1864 and again elected to the assembly in 1868.

C. H. Gardner was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. and came to Wisconsin in June. 1846. From that time until 1862 he was a resident of the town of Emmet. In 1870 he graduated from the law department of the State University, at Madison, and began the practice of his profession at Waupun.

Benjamin and Mary S. Stacy left Canada in 1849 and settled on a tract of land which they purchased in this town from the government.

William Downing was of Irish birth. He arrived in America in 1838 and finally located in Emmet town in 1848 on a farm of one hundred and seventy nine acres, which was a wild tract in the openings. At first he lived with his brother in law in a rude shanty.

Marcus Kees came to America from Wales in 1831. The family settled on wild land in Palmyra, in Jefferson county, Wisconsin, in 1843, whence they came to Dodge county and settled in Emmet in the early spring of 1849.

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