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


This town was first chosen by first settlers as a stopping place and Jacob P. Brower, the pioneer of the town and county, appeared in this locality in March, 1838. He had left his home in Jefferson county, New York. in 1836, and stopped for a brief period in Milwaukee, from which place he made a prospecting tour on horseback through Wisconsin territory as far west as Madison. From there he went to Green Bay and when eighteen miles from Fort Winnebago his horse was stolen by Indians. He was therefore compelled to return to Fort Winnebago on foot, where he secured another horse and continued his journey to Green Bay, where he had some dealings at the land office, which did not exactly reach his standdard of honest methods. Mr. Brower subsequently returned to his home in the Empire state, and in 1837 he made a second journey to Wisconsin territory and located at Sheboygan, where he remained about a year. In March, 1838, as has been before mentioned, he took up his residence on a claim secured while in Green Bay on the northern shore of Fox Lake. At the place chosen, which was in every way calculated to delight the eye and meet the desires of one seeking a new home, Mr. Brower found a band of Winnebago Indians, headed by a chief named Mach-koo-kah. The Indians varied in number at various times from one hundred to five hundred. Though the Winnebagoes were not as peaceable as other tribes in this vicinity, the pioneer managed to get along with them without any serious difficulty. In fact he never was molested by them. After a few years' contact with the Winnebagoes he learned their language and from them got the name of the lake, which has been given to the town and village - Harsh-a-rac-ar-tah - signifying, Fox Lake.

Fox Lake town is situated in the extreme northwestern part of the county and is known as congressional town 13 north, range 13 east. It is bounded on the west by Columbia county, north by Green Lake county, east by the town of Trenton and on the south by the town of Westford. Beaver Lake washes the town on the south and Fox Lake comprises the greater part of sections 12, 14, 15, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26 and 27. The two lakes are connected by a river. Lake Emily, a diminutive but beautiful body of water, lies in the north part of the county on sections 4 and 5. Originally, the town was practically all timber land and the many beautiful, fertile and valuable farms now to be found, are the results of the woodman's axe and years of industry in clearing and cultivating the fields. The land is very fertile and yields bountiful harvests of corn, wheat, oats, rye and other cereals which strike the fancy of the husbandman's endeavors.

The first work Jacob P. Brower found for him to do upon reaching the site of his new home was the building of a habitation for himself and family. In this undertaking he was assisted by his father, Paul Brower, and his sons, George W. and John L. The building was a rude log house and was erected upon that portion of the claim afterward known as the Stoddard farm. In November of the year 1838 Mr. Brower disposed of his claim to Henry Merrill, and in the following month he entered two hundred and forty acres in the name of Governor James Duane Doty, on the south side of the lake within the present limits of the village. There he built on the west side of the river a double log house.

About the same time as given above, Hamilton Stevens with his family located within a short distance of the Browers. He entered the land upon which the principal part of Fox Lake village now stands, built a cabin upon what is now the north side of Hamilton street and soon thereafter he had for his neighbors not far distant, John Van Eps and Julius EL Williams.


Jacob P. Brower remained in Fox Lake until the fall of 1841, when he removed to Beaver Darn, but returned three years later and built a dam and sawmill on his land. By the fall of 1845 the mill was in operation and soon was very busy in the vain attempt to meet the demands upon it for lumber by incoming settlers and those already in the neighborhood. After the sawmill had been gotten in good running order, Mr. Brower commenced the construction of a grist mill, but before its completion his death occurred, in November, 1846. This unfortunate event temporarily checked the progress of the village of Fox Lake. His sons, however, took up the work where the pioneer had left off and in August, 1851, they were grinding corn and wheat for the settlers from many miles around.


Jacob P. Brower was a native of Rockland county, New York, and a son of Paul, who was also born in Rockland county and of Holland stock who settled in and around New York city and whose descendants are of the claimants to the Trinity church estate. A brother of Paul Brower was killed by the Tories during the Revolutionary war and Paul himself was a veteran of the War of 1812. While in Sheboygan, Jacob Brower kept the Sheboygan House about ten months and then moved to Fox Lake, settling on a claim not yet in the market. In the following fall he moved to where the village of Fox Lake now stands. His nearest neighbors were at Fort Winnebago, Fond du Lac and Watertown.

John L. Brower, a son of Jacob, carried on the flouring mill, the building of which was commenced by his father, from 1851 until 1878, when it burned down. John L. Brower married Maria Wiggins, of Genesee county, New York, and was the father of nine children, born in this county, namely: Lavenia, Ophelia, Amelia, Frank P., Lewis K., Cetta, Stephen A. D., Edgar P. and Jacob P. In 1870 Mr. Brower was again married, his wife being Mary E. Stadter. Of this union there was one child, Flora L.

George W. Brower, the other son of Jacob P. Brower, was with his father until his death and then was for some years engaged in business with his brother John.


Benjamin Ferguson was a native of Penobscot, Maine, born February 14, 1820. He was a son of William Ferguson, a native of Scotland, and a descendant of the old Fergus clan. Benjamin Ferguson came to Fox Lake in 1844. He was one of the first settlers and built the first frame house in the village of Fox Lake. He engaged in farming and became very successful in his undertakings. A great part of the land on which he settled now comprises the site of the village of Fox Lake. This pioneer was nominated for sheriff in 1847 when Wisconsin was under territorial laws, and was elected sheriff of Dodge county in 1852. In 1857 he received the nomination for state senator, having for his opponent William E. Smith, a former governor of the state, by whom he was defeated, but Mr. Ferguson was successful in 1859, representing this district in the senate. He was nominated for governor of the state in 1861 but was defeated by Governor Harvey by a very small majority. Mr. Ferguson was one of the prominent, active and influential men of the county. He was chairman of the board of supervisors, a leading democratic politician of the state and contributed liberally to religious and charitable institutions. Education always had his strong endorsement and support.

Christian Heyer was also another early settler in the county, coming to this district in 1844, where he selected a farm of eighty acres, upon which he built a log house. He went to California in 1850 but returned in 1851. He was a veteran of the Civil war, served under General Rosecrana and also under General Grant, was an inmate of Libby Prison at Richmond, Virginia, for a number of years. He returned to Ashippun at the close of the war and settled on one hundred and sixty acres in Fox Lake. Here by industry and fidelity to his interests he accumulated a large estate. He was always known as a man to be trusted in all his dealings. He married Egedie Gosmann, in January, 1849. She was a daughter of Hans Gosmann, one of the oldest and richest settlers in this county. He was a man of sterling worth and ability and served nine years in the parliament of his country. He died in 1857.

Thomas R. Roberts settled in this county in 1844 and was one of the first Welshmen who preempted one hundred and twenty acres in Fox Lake town. When he first came here he lived in a small shanty and was often visited by roaming bands of Indians. The wolves used to keep him and his family awake at night and deer were often seen close about the cabin. The Roberts became people of importance in the county and were influential members of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist church.

John Daniel, whose son, John R. Daniel, was a pastor of the Welsh Calvinistic church, came with his family from Wales in 1845 and settled that year in Fox Lake on a farm of eighty acres. He thus became one of the earliest residents not only of the town but of the county. There were but five or six families in this neighborhood before him, among whom were a Mr. Evans, Catherine Faulks, Ebeneaer E. Jones, M. Bergitt and a Mr. Dart. Mr. Daniel was deacon of the Welsh church for many years and was one of the founders of the Lake Emily church. John R. Daniel was ordained in Springvale in June, 1856. He commenced to preach in 1848 or 1849, first holding services in a private house, then in a schoolhouse and subsequently in a church of fine proportions.

Henry C. Fleck, a Norwegian, came to Wisconsin in 1843 and claimed a section of land in Waukesha county. In 1844 he removed to Ashippun, Dodge county. In 1845 he removed to Rock county, where he engaged in the mercantile business. In 1854 Mr. Fleck returned to his native country and came back the following year. In 1847 he came to Fox Lake and settled on one hundred and twenty acres. He married Caroline E. Gosmaun, daughter of Hans Gosmann, who came to Dodge county in 1843 and settled on about twelve hundred acres of land. He was the father of the following children: Caroline, Egedie, Petronelle, Neils, Egedius, Carl, Sevrin, Sarat, Regive, Peter, Andrew, Julie, Gotf red, August Gabrielle and Findams. One died in infancy.

There were only two houses in the village of Fox Lake when Ebenezer Evans arrived there. One was owned by Hugh Crudent. There was also a log house called a tavern. Mr. Evans built a shanty and settled on one hundred and twenty acres. He cleared a quarter section and was the first Welshman here. When he desired to reach a market he was compelled to go either to Fond du Lac or Portage behind a yoke of oxen. That year he attended a Fourth of July celebration, going five miles on a sled, drawn by oxen. Mr. Evans was deacon of the Welsh church for twenty five years and was one of the founders of the local organization. He assumed the responsibilities of various other offices with credit to himself and satisfaction to all concerned.

Morgan Jones was another Welshman, a son of Thomas Jones, who came with his family to Fox Lake in 1846. Thomas took up eighty acres and built a house, which was destroyed by fire in 1847. He then bought another eighty acres in section 17, where he lived about ten years and then bought eighty acres in section 18 and lived there until his death. Another son was Thomas T. Jones, who, upon the division of the estate at the time of his mother's death in 1859, was apportioned a farm of one hundred and twenty acres in section 16. To this he added several hundred acres, then retired from active labors.

John W. Davis arrived in Dodge county in 1848 and settled at Fox Lake, where he practiced law in the village for several years and then went into partnership with A. C. Ketchum. He became custodian of much property. Eventually he went into the banking business, opening the first exchange office in Fox Lake. He then started a bank under the state law known as the Bank of Fox Lake, and afterward organized under the national act. He was president of the bank many years. He served a number of years as county commissioner, was president of the village, was elected to the legislature in 1853, also served in the legislature in 1873.

S. T. Coman, a native of Massachusetts, came to Fox Lake in 1857 and in 1858 built a fine residence on the lake, where he engaged in business as a loan broker. He built a planing mill in 1878. His wife, who was Fidelia Tyrrell, a native of Massachusetts, died about 1859 and was buried in Fox Lake. Mr. Coman served on the board of supervisors, was president of the village board and was otherwise prominent in the affairs of the community.

H. Germain was a native of the state of New York and came to Fox Lake in 1846. He commenced business for himself in the village in 1859. He married in 1855, Miss H. L. Caldwell, daughter of Nathan Caldwell, an old and respected citizen of the county.

David Metcalf, a native of the state of New York, came to Waupun in October, 1849. In the spring of 1853 he was engaged in business in the village of Fox Lake. After several changes, having in the meantime been in railroad traffic, he entered into partnership with George Jess at Waupun and carried on an extensive and prosperous banking business there.

A. M. Stapleton was a resident of Watertown as early as 1847. In 185o he removed to Fox Lake and after two years spent in the mines in California, he returned to Fox Lake in 1854. He then engaged in the general merchandise business until 186o, becoming very successful. In 1851 he married Catherine Johnson, daughter of James Johnson, of Watertown, and was the father of twelve children.

One of the early carriage and wagon manufacturers of Fox Lake was R. L. Parker, who came to the village in the spring of 1856.

D. D. Thomas was one of the early attorneys of Fox Lake. He was born in Wales and came to Wisconsin in an early day. He settled in Fox Lake in 1851 and from that year to 1854 was reading law and loaning money. In the latter year he went into the mercantile business, which he carried on successfully until 1861. He then took up the practice of law and general speculation, in which lie became proficient and successful.

D. G. Thomas became a farmer and cattle dealer and settled in Fox Lake in 1855. He bought two hundred acres of land in 1859, to which he added several hundred more acres as the years went by. In 1856 he married Martha Morris, daughter of Henry Morris, one of the early settlers of Dodge county.

John Weed, a native of New York, settled in Fox Lake in 1854, remaining here twelve years, having accumulated several large farms. He moved into the village in 1866, where he engaged his time as a capitalist.

De Witt C. Williams came to Fox Lake and settled on two hundred and forty acres in 1853. He was a good farmer and through industry and shrewdness in business matters, accumulated several hundred acres of land, all of which was under cultivation. His large, substantial barns and other farm buildings were always of unusual notice to his neighbors and others.

James A. Williams was one of the earliest settlers of Dodge county, first locating at Burnett, where he located on one hundred and sixty acres purchased of the government, which is now a part of what has been known as the Spring Brook farm. He later moved to Westford, then spent a few years in Beaver Dam, where he ran a flouring mill two years and then in 1873 moved to Fox Lake. Here Mr. Williams became quite prominent in political affairs of the county. He represented the town of Burnett several years on the board of supervisors, was county treasurer two years and supervisor from the town of Westford. He also held other positions of trust.

Arie Banta was an early member of the bar of this county, who practiced in Fox Lake as early as 1851. He was elected town clerk in 1855 and held the position for a long series of years. He was also justice of the peace many years and took an active part in upbuilding the republican party in the county.

W. J. Dexter became a prominent banker in the village of Fox Lake, having become a resident there in 1857. He was cashier of the First National Bank for a number of years and was a man of more than ordinary literary taste and ability.

Charles H. Eggleston, still living and president of the State Bank of Fox Lake and president of the Fox Lake Canning Factory. came to the village in 1855 with his father, T. D. Eggleston, whose purpose in locating in the town was to fulfill the contract of building the Wisconsin Female College. Charles H. Eggleston has a fine war record and is one of the influential citizens of his town.

F. Hamilton practiced law at Fox Lake and settled there about 1854, removing from Milwaukee. He was justice of the peace of the village and has held other offices of trust.

Joseph Hunt was a native of England and came to Wisconsin in 1851, locating at Fox Lake. In 1859 he bought eighty acres in section 29. In 1862 he married Susan Smith, daughter of Samuel Smith, a well to do farmer of Westford who came to Wisconsin from New York state.

Robert Hunter was born in Fox Lake on the 4th of March, 1855. He was a son of George Hunter, a native of Scotland, who came to Fox Lake at an early day and engaged in the mercantile business with D. D. Thomas. He afterward bought and sold wheat.

W. E. Keeley, a son of Erin, emigrated to New York in 1847, and in 1853 located at Fox Lake, settling on a farm of eighty acres. William E., the eldest son, after receiving a common school education, taught school a while, read law with Judge Elwell of Beaver Dam, and was admitted to the bar in the fall of 1879. Mr. Keeley became one of the practicing attorneys of the county with offices at Fox Lake, and raised a large family of children that became a credit to him.

John Marshall was born in Glasgow, Scotland, came to Fox Lake in 1852, and settled on a farm of two hundred acres. Mr. Marshall became a man of means and influence in this community.

Charles Mervin arrived in Fox Lake, December 6, 1854, a day remembered as one of the coldest of that year. He came through by way of Chicago, Jefferson and Watertown with teams. He remained in Fox Lake until 1856, when he went to Fond du Lac but returned in 1859. He then engaged in the lumber business in the village, which he carried on successfully for five years and then farmed in Trenton three years, on the expiration of which period he came to Fox Lake.


The early history of the village of Fox Lake is practically that of the town. The first permanent settler in the county, Jacob P. Brower, chose Fox Lake for his home, and others soon came in and became his neighbors. Mr. Brower put up a rude log but and thus was begun the building of a village that takes a high place in the county of Dodge.

Mr. Brower did not long remain in Fox Lake, but went to Beaver Dam in 1841 and was one of the first to settle in that place. He returned to Fox Lake in the spring of 1845 and began the erection of a sawmill which was in operation in the autumn of that year, the great demand for lumber keeping all hands busy. By this time there were but a few buildings log huts in the settlement. One of these was soon popular as the Sheboygan House and probably the first tavern, or hotel, in Dodge county. In the fall of 1845. Mr. Brower, as has before been stated, began the erection of a flouring mill, but died in 1846 before it was completed.


The first election in the town of Fox Lake was held under the territorial government of Wisconsin, on April 7, 1846, at which time the following officials were chosen: Supervisors, Stoddard Judd, chairman; John Schamburg and Darius J. Wells; clerk, John L. Brower; justices, Harvey P. Farrington, Alonao Hawley, Lawrence H. Van Buren; commissioners of highways, James Evans, Freeman Keith, Vincent Goldsmith; assessors, Mandeville Burgitt, Warren C. Ricard, John Cruden; commissioners of schools, Alonzo Hawley, G. C. Simmons, Joseph Thomas;. collector, Benjamin Ferguson; treasurer, Julius C. Williams; constables, Putnam Farrington, John P. Putnam, Benjamin Ferguson; sealer, Cornelius D. Reiner.

In the fall of 1846, a general election was held for members of the legislature, constitutional. convention and county officers. There were 104 votes polled in Dodge county.

The plat of the village of Fox Lake was first made in May, 1849, by Judson Prentice, for Stoddard Judd, Eliaabeth Judd, Benjamin Ferguson, Phoebe Ann Ferguson, L. H. Van Buren and Beulah L. Van Buren. This important document was signed before Quartus H. Barron, a notary public, and certified as to its correctness by that official.

The settlement of Fox Lake remained under the jurisdiction of the town of Fox Lake until May 4, 1858, when a charter was secured, under "an act to incorporate the village of Fox Lake," and at the time mentioned the qualified electors of the village gathered at the American House and chose William J. Dawes and David D. Cheney, judges of election, and Garrett T. Hawley, clerk. An election was thereupon held and the following officials were selected: President, Abel Merwin; trustees, William D. Barnett, James L. Townsend, Wilson Torrey, William K. Parker, John L. Brower, David Thomas; clerk, Arie Bantam; treasurer, Francis Hamilton; marshal, Newton J. Crocker. In 1859 Benjamin Ferguson was elected president of the village. William E. Smith, afterward governor of the state, received one vote for the office. At this time the village was filling up with a splendid class of settlers, among them remembered being: George W. and John L. Brower, sons of the pioneer; John Van Eps, Hamilton Stevens, Darius J. Wells, J. C. Williams, T. T. Blauvelt, David Green, O. H. Barron, Stoddard Judd, George Jess, Martin Webster, E. Purdy, William E Smith, Lawrence H. Van Buren, W. D. Barnett, Stephen D. Grout, Benjamin Ferguson, John W. Davis, Joseph Davis, Alexander Cameron, Alonzo Hawley, D. D. Ashley, John Cruden, Cornelius De Reimer, Joseph Thomas, J. P. Putnam, Newton I. Crocker, G. C. Simmons, Perry Farrington, James Evans, Ebenezer Germain, John Schaniburgh, H. L. Smith, William Casey. Michael Mulvany, Mandeville Burgitt, John Bowe, D. J. Pulling, G. W. Huntley, Vincent Goldsmith, L. J. Stafford, John C. Webster, Putnam Farington and Oliver O'Hearn. Most, if not all of these men, had families and but few of them are now living.


The first postoffice established in Dodge county was at Fox Lake and was known as Waushara postoffice. For several years the settlers were accommodated with mail about once a week, which was brought to the settlement by a mail carrier on horseback, who traveled from Fort Howard (Green Bay) to Fort Winnebago. In 1844, a weekly post route was established between Fox Lake and Watertown. A former history of the county has it that George Clark was the first postmaster and was succeeded by David Green. But it is evident the postoffice had no real official standing here until Fox Lake postoffice was established May 5, 1856, with Minor Porter as the first incumbent. He was succeeded January 11, 1858, by Benjamin Ferguson and his successors were: Henry Pease, November 7, 1859; L. S. Malbory, September 24, 1861; D. D. Thomas, January 9, 1863; John Medley, September 24, 1868; D. D. Thomas, March 15, 1869; William W. Jones, December 22, 1869; John T. Smith, April 19, 1875; Martin Stapleton, July 20, 1885; Robert T. Lewis, April 12, 1889; Joseph A. North, June 23, 1893; M. E. William, July 2, 1898; Dean J. Hotchkiss, February 2, 1904.


The village of Fox Lake constructed and owns the water works plant, which is considered entirely adequate and meets the satisfaction of the citizens Early in 1911 plans of the proposed improvement were drawn by an engineer engaged for the purpose and blue prints were put up in conspicuous places, so that the taxpayers could see them and pass upon the merits of the proposition, upon which they were called upon to enter their judgment at a special election, which was held in the fall of that year. The question of building municipal water works and issuing $20,000 in bonds for the construction of the plant was carried by a majority vote of 44 and in May, 1912, work of construction was begun. The improvement was completed the following October and the utility was patronized at once by thirty five consumers.

The Fox Lake water works is of modern construction. Three miles of 8, 6, and 4 inch mains have been laid, a standpipe has been erected in the park and to the top of the tank it is 130 feet from the ground. The tank has a capacity of 50,000 gallons of water, which is secured from two ten inch wells, each having a capacity of 350 gallons per minute. The power house stands near the depot and is of brick. Installed there is an International twenty horse power gasoline and kerosene engine, a triple Gould pump, having a capacity of 350 gallons per minute. The pressure in the pipes is 60 pounds. After the plant was built the village secured 750 feet of hose and has two hose carts; to this equipment will be added a hook and ladder wagon and the purpose is at once to organize a fire department, to be under the control of the village authorities.


In 1900, a gas plant was constructed by the village of Fox Lake, after the citizens had voted $7,000 in bonds for the purpose. The illuminant is machine made gasoline gas, but is not satisfactory, although no fault can be found with the quality and brilliancy of the gas. The process itself is in disfavor, owing to the dangerous properties of the material, and in the course of a short time a new system will be adopted.


An important industry of Fox Lake is the canning factory, which was built by a stock company about the year 1907. The product turned out is canned peas and in the season from seventy five to one hundred people are employed. The company is capitalized at $20,000 and the present officials are: President, Charles H. Eggleston; vice president, James Gamble; secretary treasurer, H. M. Howard; superintendent, E. Woodburn.


The La Crosse & Milwaukee Railroad, now a part of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad system. was completed in the '50s, but through dissentions among certain citizens of Fox Lake in regard to the location of the depot, the road left the village about two miles to the north. Some time thereafter a track was laid into the town, and a depot built, to which trains run and then turning a loop, return to the main track and continue on their way. In the summer season many visitors are brought from different parts of the country. For here is a beautiful lake, on which are many summer cottages. Fox Lake is a pleasure resort, becoming more popular every year. The fishing and boating are excellent and the beauty of the surroundings is very attractive.

The present officials of the city are: President, J. C. Williams; clerk, William F. O'Connell; assessor, Leroy Parkinson: treasurer, H. W. Brunner.


This institution was chartered under the name of the Wisconsin Female College in 1855. and was opened for students in the fall of 1856. The principal the first year was Miss H. S. Skinner. At the expiration of that time, it was decided to admit young men to the normal department, and N. E. Goldthwaite was appointed to the principalship, and held it for three years. The war then drew off the young men, so that it seemed best to return to the original plan of a school for young ladies alone. Miss Caroline Bodge, with a corps of teachers from Rockford Seminary, was in charge of the institution until her death, when Miss Mary S. Crowell, Miss lodge's associate, became principal, remaining in charge until 1871. Rev. J. P. Haire and Mrs. Haire were then called to the management of the school and remained two years. After Mr. Haire accepted a professorship in Ripon College, Miss Mary Henry, who had been one of the teachers, became principal. At the end of two years her failing health compelled her to give up the work, and the trustees then decided to open the institution to both sexes.

The buildings were solidly constructed of limestone and each was three stories and a basement high. The main building was 100x40 feet, and Downer Hall, the gift of Hon. Jason Downer, of Milwaukee, was 65x45 feet. The grounds occupied five acres in the center of the village of Fox Lake and were adorned with many fine trees. There was a small endowment on the chair of lady principal. The interest of the Dodge fund of $5,000 was given in scholarships to young ladies who needed assistance.

Several years ago the college was removed to Milwaukee and is now known as the Milwaukee-Downer College. The buildings were sold and the main structure was remodeled and converted into a hotel. In 1907 the hotel burned to the ground, leaving the bare stone walls as a sad reminder to the citizens of Fox Lake of its former glory as a college town. Insurance, to the amount of $27,500, had been taken out on the property, but the insurance companies contested the claim for indemnity and the case lingered along in the courts until the fall of 1612, when the claim was allowed, and the owners of the erstwhile Fox Lake Seminary buildings won their suit. The full amount of their policies was allowed, which, with interest. came to something over $30,000.


The Baptists were the first to organize a society in Fox Lake, this being consummated in 1845, and the Rev. Mr. Pillsbury was the first pastor. A small church edifice was erected in the same year, but this was replaced by a new house of worship in 1857 and is still in use. However, in 1905, the interior was remodeled at a cost of $3,500. There are now one hundred and twenty names on the membership rolls.

Following Rev. Pillsbury's pastorate, Rev. J. W. Fish served as pastor for ten or twelve years, and he was succeeded by Rev. W. J. Walker, who served the church some eight years. His successors have been: Revs. W. G. Inman, 1878-81; Clapp. 1882-85; Wilson, 1885-87; R. C. Watts, 1888- 93; Sweet, 1893-96; A. C. Watts, 1896-1903; J. W. Roberts, 1904 to the present time.

The Congregational society was organized in October, 1853, by Rev. E. S. Peck. who became the first pastor of the church. A house of worship was erected in 1856 and it is still in use, although it has been remodeled from time to time. The church has a membership of seventy five, while the Sunday school numbers twenty five.

Some of the early pastors of the church were: Revs. Cowley, Pette, Dixon, Brown and Haire. Those who have served from 1876 to the press ent are: John Faville, 1879-1884; Henry A. Miner, 1884-85; Stowe Sawyer, 1885-91; A. D. Adams, 1893-96; George E. Gilbert, 1896-1903; Emanuel Breeze, 1903-06; Edgar L. Morse, 1907-08; Fred Osten-Sacken, 1908-09; J. D. Whitelaw, 1910 to the present time.

The Methodist Episcopal society is one of the first organized in Fox Lake and a house of worship was built in 1854, which is a large, substantial brick structure, still in use by the congregation. The membership is small but services are regularly held.

St. Mary's Catholic church was organized in 1845, and was attended as a mission by pastors from Watertown. In 1850 the first church edifice was erected, it being a small frame structure. This was replaced by a more modern structure, which was dedicated November 30, 1862, during the administration of Father Blackwell. The first pastor was James Roche, who remained from 1850 to 1853. His successor was Richard Dumphy, who remained until 1855. He was succeeded by Rev. John Healy, who remained until 1857, when he in turn was succeeded by Rev. James Morris, who remained until 1862. Since that time to the present the pastors have been: Revs. Joseph Smith, 1862-65; William Dougherty, 1865-71; Edward McGurk, 1871-72; J. E. Allen, 1872-78; R. Dumphy, 1878-81; E. P. Lorigan, 1881; Joseph Moder, 1881; A. Mazean, 1881-83; Christ Kelly. 1883-85; James Hegarty, 1885-89; Edward J. Blackwell, 1889 to the present time.


The first financial institution in Fox Lake was established here as The Bank of Fox Lake in 1854. John W. Davis was president, and Charles Luling, cashier. Out of this grew the First National Bank of Fox Lake, in 1864, with a capital stock of $50,000, which was increased to $80,000, but in 1878, reduced to $60,000. The First National Bank went into liquidation December 3, 1889. The officers remained and the affairs of the National were taken over by William Holgate, who conducted a private bank. His interests were purchased by The State Bank of Fox Lake, in March, 1891. This included the bank building which stands on the corner of State and Williams streets. It is a two story brick and was erected in 1856 by the First National Bank. In 1912 the bank was tastefully remodeled.

The bank officials are the same as those first elected, as follows: C. H. Eggleston, president; H. Clausen, vice president; F. I. Davison, cashier. The capital stock is $40,000; surplus and undivided profits, $34,000; deposits, $86,000.


Fox Lake Lodge, No. 67, A. F. & A. M., was organized in 1856. There are at present about seventy five members and the lodge is in good financial condition. The present officials are: Wesley J. Cochran, W. M.; Harvey Jenny, S. W.; O. A. Williams, J. W.; James K. Wallace, treasurer; Henry Clausen, secretary.


Waushara Lodge No. so, I. O. O. F. was organized in Fox Lake in 1850, and Quartus H. Brown was elected the first noble grand. In 1873 the lodge erected a substantial brick building, at a cost of about $5,000. The present officers are: V. G., P. R. Lean; V. G., John Rodgers; R. S., H. Jenny; F. S., C. H. Eggleston; Treas., John Beule; Trus., R. Y. Wallace.


Fox Lake Camp No. 1433, M. W. A., was organized October 14, 1892, with the following charter members: Ira L. Cady, John H. Fanshaw, Sumner C. French, G. D. Gould, H. G. Hoffman, D. J. Hotchkiss, John A. Ketchum, John C. Lindley, Robert A. Lidtke, Herman Marshner, S. C. Mortonson, G. L. Meigs, A. McCloud, James B. Hoffman, J. S. Nourse, Hartman Ohly, Charles Schuckhardt, John Thornton, George H. Weisel, C. C. Webb.


George H. Stevens Post, No. too, G. A. R., was organized August 25, 1883, with the following charter members: S. C. McDowell, C. H. Eggleston, W. Blatchley, R. L. Parker, George H. Gibson, Charles Clough, John Fanshaw, H. S. Wood, George R. Davis, S. D. Nourse, Aaron Fanshaw, John Morrison, Edmund Purdy.

At one time the lodge had a membership of thirty five, but there are now but few left, and Charles H. Eggleston, John Fanshaw and C. C. Hurd are the only living residents of Fox Lake Only occasional meetings are now held.


The Ladies' Improvement Club of Fox Lake was organized February 9, 1901. The object was self improvement. The first officers were: president, Mrs. Mary E. Warren; vice president, Mrs. John Hotchkiss; secretary, Mrs. F. I. Davison. Bylaws were adopted, meetings to be held every two weeks from the first week in October to the first of May. The club joined the State Federation of Woman's Clubs, July, 1902, and September 4, 1909, the name was changed to Woman's Club of Fox Lake, Wisconsin. A study program was followed each year and from the start a library was agitated. The past presidents were: Mrs. Mary E. Warren, 1901-2; Miss Nellie Kinney, 1902-3; Mrs. Flora Lueck, elected 1903-4, but moved away and first vice president, Mrs. F. I. Davison, acted; Mrs. F. I. Davison, 1904- 5; Mrs. William Roberts, 1905-6; Mrs. H. S. Merwin, 1906-7; Miss Mary E. Collins, 1907-8; Mrs. J. W. Hobkirk, 1908-9; Mrs. D. J. Hotchkiss. 1909-10; Miss Minerva Gamble, 1910-11; Mrs. H. Clausen, 1911-12.

The 1912-13 officers are: president, Mrs. R. Y. Wallace; 1st vice president, Mrs. L. F. Smith; 2d vice president, Mrs. A. M. Handy; treasurer. Miss Alice Smith; secretary, Miss Harriet O'Connell, who has served since 1906; assistant secretary, Miss Rosetta Hillier. March 31, 1905, by invitation of the Woman's Club, Miss Lutie E. Sterns, of the Free Library Commission, addressed a meeting at the I. O. O. F. hall, to arouse interest in a library. In the following April, another public meeting was called at the bank but so few attended the matter was dropped for the time. March. 1907, Miss Mary E. Collins attended a club meeting at Fond du Lac and reported that the Fond du Lac club was collecting old papers - and she suggested this method of starting a library fund. In October, a committee was appointed to proceed with the work and during the summer of 1908 collections of paper were made. March 4, 1909, the first carload was shipped and it netted $91.20. About this time an effort was made to secure a Dodge county traveling library. A traveling library was promptly sent to us. The village board gave the use of the council room over the bank, and fuel and light. Miss Mary E. Collins volunteered to take charge. On April 21, 1909, the library was opened to the public with forty two books and the circulation the first day was eleven books. The library was opened twice a week - Tuesday and Friday. In two weeks another section of the Dodge county traveling library arrived with fifty books. Miss Jeanette Drake, of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission, was in town in June, talked to the club women and persuaded them to spend some of their money for book cases, book and library supplies, also to ask for donations of books through the local paper. The result was, that on July 21, 1909, Miss Drake was with us again. 127 books were accessioned and the Fox Lake public library started. February, 1910, the Woman's Club asked the village board to accept the library and appoint a library board. The Woman's Club did not drop library work when the library became village property. They have shipped three car loads of paper, managed three lyceum courses in the past and have one on for the coming year. They had two home talent entertainments and Miss Mary E. Collins acted as librarian for one year without pay. The village appropriates $200.00 each year to the support of the institution and until August 2, 1912, have furnished room, fuel and light. May, 1910, the library was moved from the room over the bank to a small room in the Thomas building and in November, 1910, the library moved again to a cosy and comfortable room prepared for it in the new city hall. In October, 1911, the council room was opened in connection with the library as a reading room. By the spring of 1912 the library had outgrown its room and the State Bank of Fox Lake offered two larger rooms and heat for five years free, and the president of the bank, C. H. Eggleston generously offered $500.00 to furnish and fit up the rooms The offer was accepted and the library moved over the State Bank, August 2, 1912. There have been several donations of books, subscriptions to magazines paid, and money in sums from $1 to $25 received and a lively interest is manifest in the whole community. The Bachelor Girls' Club hold a Tag Day each year, from which over $100.00 has been realized each time. The Catholic Order of Foresters held card socials and procured the Catholic encyclopedia for the library. Nearly every organization in town has helped in some way or another. G. I. Lindsay, William Lindsay, Charles Davis, of Milwaukee, each contributed $25.00. A number of Indian relics have been donated by John Stoddard; they were found on his farm north of the lake. The library now contains 1,600 books. A magazine index and fifteen magazines are on the reading tables. 500 readers' cards have been issued. The library is opened three times a week, and beginning in 1913 a story hour was started. The circulation averages 250 volumes a week. The first library board was composed of Henry Clausen, president; James Gamble, Mrs. H. S. Merwin, Mrs. D. J. Hotchkiss, Mrs. D. S. Roberts, secretary; Miss Harriett O'Connell, Prof. F. R. Nash, ex officio member. The members of the present board are Mrs. J. W. Hobkirk, president; James Gamble, F. I. Davison, Mrs. D. J. Hotchkiss, Miss Harriett O'Connell, secretary; Mrs. W. E. Warren, treasurer; Prof. L. F. Smith, ex officio member. Book ordering committee, L. F. Smith, Mrs. Hobkirk, Miss O'Connell. Librarian, Mary E. Collins.

Return to [ Wisconsin History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ]

Wisconsin Counties at this web site - Dodge - Door - Outagamie - Racine -

Also see the local histories for [ CT ] [ IA ] [ IL ] [ IN ] [ KS ] [ ME ] [ MO ] [ MI ] [ NE ] [ NJ ] [ NY ] [ PA ] [ OH ] [ PA ] [ WI ]

All pages copyright 2003-2013. All items on this site are copyrighted by their author(s). These pages may be linked to but not used on another web site. Anyone may copy and use the information provided here freely for personal use only. Privacy Policy