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


This city, one of the most important in Dodge county, lies partly in Fond du Lac county. In name it probably has no counterpart in the United States. The meaning of the word is "the early light of day" and is of Indian origin.

Seymour Wilcox was the first settler here. He came from Green Bay in the fall of 1838 and selected a location near Rcok river, in the vicinity of the old Markle & Harris mill. He then returned to Green Bay and in February, 1839, accompanied by John N. Ackerman and Hiram Walker, again arrived in the locality of his future home and erected a crude habitation with a few boards which he had brought with him by ox-team. Again going to Green Bay, Mr. Wilcox returned with his family and soon was sheltered under the frame "shack." This is but a repetition of what has been related of the early settlement of Chester town.

In 1845, the first store was opened by Thomas Snow, in John Ackerman's house. Previous to this, however, a schoolhouse was erected, in 1844. near where the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad crosses Main street. and Charles Cleveland was the teacher. Here Rev. S. Smith, a Methodist clergyman, preached the first sermon in the town.

The first election was held at the house of Seymour Wilcox, in the spring of 1842, and eleven votes were cast. In 1845 a "hotel" was opened by John N. Ackerman at his home.

The first grist mill was built by Forest & Smith in 1846, where the Markle & Harris mill later was erected.

At Seymour Wilcox's house occurred the first marriage, which was that of William G. McElroy to Lucinda Collis, in 1841; and the first birth was that of a son, Ira, to Seymour Wilcox.


By the year 1846, there were several families in Waupun. The village had its school, church organization, mill, shops and other conveniences that go to make up a village, so that, in the year mentioned, John N. Ackerman, in order to attract others to the settlement, laid out into village lots, platted and recorded as the village of Waupun, about ten acres of land on the southeast corner of section 31, in the town of Waupun, Fond du Lac county, which became known as the "upper town." The following year, Seymour Wilcox, whose farm lay about three quarters of a mile to the eastward, unwilling to see the prospective town grow without sharing in its triumphs, with others laid out and platted about fifty acres of land, part of which lay in Fond du Lac and a part in Dodge counties. This locality was called East Waupun, and it entered into an active but friendly contest for supremacy with its rival. In 1857 the two parts of the village were united, under the name of the village of Waupun, practically occasioned by the completion to this point of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad.


By a special charter granted by the Wisconsin legislature in 1857, the village of Waupun came into existence. Under the charter the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of section 4, the north half of section 5, and the east half of the northeast quarter of section 6, taken from the town of Chester, in Dodge county, and the east half of the southeast quarter of section 31, the south half of section 32, and the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of section 33, taken from the town of Waupun, in Fond du Lac county, was incorporated as a village. In 1858 and again in 1865, the charter was amended, also in 1871.


Waupun continued to grow and becoming ambitious, applied for and received a charter as a city, March 5, 1878. Under the charter additional territory, taken from each county, was added to the limits of the newly created city.

The first village officers of Waupun were elected in 1857 and were: President, J. Look; treasurer, Ira Hill; marshal, Cromwell Lathe; clerk, W. H. Taylor; street commissioner, A. P. Phelps. Those who first took office under the city government were: Mayor, John N. Ackerman; treasurer, P. W. Wells; marshal, Simon Heath; clerk, S. J. Sumner; street commissioner, A. Colburn.

The streets of raupun are paved with crushed stone and there are about nine miles of cement sidewalk. The fire department is volunteer and is equipped with chemical apparatus, hose wagon and hook and ladder truck. There are about 1,500 feet of hose and forty nine fire plugs.

The police department is made up of a chief of police, two day patrolmen and one night man. The present mayor is John T. Shinn; Ray C. Merriam is clerk.


In 1899 the city council was given authority to issue $6,000 in bonds for the building of an electric light plant, and in 1900 the improvement was constructed and finished. A further issue of $12,000 in bonds took place in 1911. The service is satisfactory and the city is practically getting its lights free of cost. There are now five hundred consumers and power is served to ten institutions during the day.


In 1894 the proposition of issuing $33,000 in bonds for water works purposes was placed before the electors of Waupun and carried. Owing to a defect in the wording of the first ballot, a second election was held, at which time the water works proposition was carried by a large majority. The plant was built in 1895. Two artesian wells, one sixty five feet in depth, and the other nine hundred feet, were sunk, and a fine culinary and drinking water secured. Seven miles of cast iron mains were laid and forty nine fire plugs set up. A power house was built on North Forest street, the material being of brick and stone. Two Dean duplicate pumps were installed, and a stone tower, seventy feet in height, was built, upon which was placed a cement lined tank, with a capacity of 6o,000 gallons. The cost of the water works and electric light plant was about $90,000, $17,000 of which reamins to be paid and is the only bonded debt of the city.

In the fall of 1912 the city elected to inaugurate a sewerage system.


The first postoffice in Waupun was established in the winter of 1840. Seymour Wilcox was the first appointee, receiving his commission May 20, 1840. He kept the office in his log house and had but very little to do during the first year or so of his incumbency. There were neither envelopes nor postage stamps in use at that time and the customary charge for a letter was twenty five cents, which the postmaster demanded before the letter was delivered. Barnabus Hinkley sueceeded Wilcox February 26, 1844., and Mr. Wilcox again was appointed December 15, 1846. December 14, 1848, John N. Ackerman secured the appointment and moved the office to his residence in "Upper Town."

Charles Smith was successor to Ackerman, receiving his appointment February 22, 1849. Then came L. B. Hills, who served from May 29, 1849, until 1853. As soon as the office was turned over to him he removed it hack to "Lower Town." June 18, 1853, Artimedorus Ingersoll was appointed postmaster of Waupun but was removed before the end of the year, owing to his failure to agree with certain of the politicians. Cromwell Laithe was his successor, whose commission was dated February 25, 1854. When Mr. Buchanan came into office as president, Thomas Stoddart was appointed May 21, 1857, and on July 12, 1861, John H. Brinkerhoff received his commission from Abraham Lincoln. George E. Jennings succeeded to the office October 21, 1864, and was followed by his predecessor, John H. Brinkerhoff, May 5, 1865. Then came Samuel Chamberlain, who was appointed April 16, 1886. He served until June 2, 1890, when James E. Brinkerhoff took up the duties of the office. E. D. Doucy was appointed December 12, 1894, and the present postmaster, James W. Meiklejohn, has held the office since January 28, 1899.


One of the oldest manufacturing concerns in Waupun is the pump and windmill works, established in 1852 by Milo J. Aithouse. The business was started in a little shop, on a farm, where he had worked alone, which Mr. Althouse left in 1859 and opened a shop in the village. This concern has grown to considerable proportions and is now a stock company, with E. D. Doucy, president. The style name of the concern is Althouse, Wheeler Company.

The Zimmerman & Sons Carriage Company was established by F. F. Zimmerman as a wagon factory in 1865 in "Upper Town."

In 1876 O. A. Morse, Jr., erected a carriage factory on the corner of Franklin and Drummond streets. In 1877 J. S. Morris purchased an interest and the concern is now known as the J. S. Morris Carriage Company.

There was for some time a plow factory in the town. It was established by M. K Dahl in 1850. Stoddart's organ factory began operations about 186o. These concerns are not now in existence.

An important business concern is the Shaler Company, vulcanizers of umbrellas, etc. The members of the company are: C. A. Shaler, W. E. Graham and F. E. Jones.

The Palma Shoe Company is another manufacturing concern of no small importance. Henry Hartgerink is president of the company.

The Breyer Brothers, Whiting Company, manufacturers of windmills, do a splendid business, covering a wide territory. The members of this firm are J. C., A. D. and Fred W. Breyer, and Charles Whiting.

The Paramount Knitting Company, employing one hundred and fifty people, has a branch mill in the city. This is the company which has the contract in the prison for knit goods.


The first attempt at organizing a library in Waupun was the circulation of a subscription paper, in which persons solicited subscribed their names and agreed to pay the sum of $3 yearly for the support of a library and purchase of books. The petition was signed by eighty persons. A meeting was then held, at which Edwin Hillyer presided. W. H. Clark was clerk, L. B. Hills, John Ware, William Euen and J. H. Brinkerhoff as a committee drafted a constitution and bylaws. The library association was perfected by the election of the following officials: President, H. L. Butterfield; treasurer, George W. Bly; collector, William Euen; clerk and librarian, Edwin Hillyer; directors, C. S. Kneeland, David Ferguson, A. H. Rounsville, George Wirt, George Babcock, M. Leary and Charles Smith; committee on books, L. B. Hills, Jesse Hooker, R. W. Wells, John Ware, George E. Jennings.

The library continued with indifferent success until within the last few years, when the city extended to it a moiety of support and a beautiful building was erected. The structure is one of which the citizens of Waupun are proud, and the library, with its large collection of valuable books, is well patronized.


That part of Waupun lying in Dodge county, comprising wards 1, 2, 3 and 4, has a population of 2,217. The population for the whole city is 3,362.

Following are those who were serving in an official capacity in 1912: Mayor, John T. Sheehan; clerk, Ray Merriam; assessor, Robert Davison; treasurer, Oscar Hanisch.

******* [Church History was at this point, now on a seperate page.] *******


was organized in the '70s as a private concern by George Jess & Company, and in 1876 the present home of the bank, a two story brick structure, located on the corner of Main and Mill streets, was erected. In 1885 the firm was bought out by George W. Mitchell, L. D. Hinkley, Edwin Hillyer, George Stanley Mitchell and Henry E. Southwell, who organized the First National Bank of Waupun with a capital stock of $50,000. The first officers were: George W. Mitchell, president; George S. Mitchell, vice president; J. C. Perry, cashier.

In 1905 the bank was reorganized as the National Bank of Waupun, with a capital stock of $50,000, and the following officers were elected: L. D. Hinkley, president; C. A. Shaler and W. E. Caldwell, vice presidents; B. W. Davis, cashier. In 1904 the building was remodeled according to modern ideas and is well fitted for the uses to which it is put.

In November, 1907, Mr. Hinkley met his death in an elevator in the Wells building in Milwaukee, and Mr. Shaler succeeded him in the presidency. In 1911, however, the latter resigned, and B. W. Davis was elected to fill the office of president. C. E. Hooker was elected vice president, and Ben Kastein, cashier.


This financial institution was organized in 1903 by H. J. Hartgerink, J. S. Morris, W. E. Rank and Oscar Hanisch, with a capital stock of $25,000. The first officials were: J. C. Sherman, president; H. J. Hartgerink, vice president; S. M. Sherman, cashier; Oscar Hanisch, assistant cashier.

In 1907 the present officials were elected: J. J. Roberts, president; H. J. Hartgerink, vice president; Fred W. Luck, cashier; Oscar Hanisch, assistant cashier. The home of the bank was purchased in 1903 from E. M. Beach and in 1911 a new front was put in and the interior was remodeled. Capital, $25,000; surplus, $10,000; deposits, $300,000.


Waupun Lodge, No. 48, A. F. & A. M. was duly organized August 12, 1853, with the following charter members: D. L. D. Huntington, L. B. Dodge, Milo Sikes, Andrews Burnkam, Sr., Jeremiah Look, George T. Wood, C. B. Carrington, Joseph Bardwell and Charles Spoor. The present officials are: J. T. Shehan, worthy master; F. R. McCray, senior warden; H. H. Hatcher, junior warden; J. J. Roberts, treasurer; H. C. Curtis, secretary; W. L. Zweiger, senior deacon; A. Leamon, junior deacon. The lodge has a membership of eighty five.

Odd Fellows

Telulab Lodge, No. 33, I. O. O. F., was instituted December 25, 1848, with the following charter members: Isaac Valentine, L. B. Hills, George Howe, W. S. Post, J. Dickerson, Barnabas Hinkley, Edwin Hillyer, Francis Carter, J. T. Eagleton, Samuel T. Vaughan, William T. Haskell, T. W. Miller, Jr., W. D. Barnett, D. J. Yells, C. Hinkle, Henry L. Butterfield, E. C. Rich, Edward Wolf, William L. Dean, T. E. Ward, William N. Ayers, Jackson L. Prentice, W. H. Taylor, Julius Austin, John Cochran.

The present officers are: E. H. Hall, noble grand; Daniel Woodward, vice grand; F. W. Johnson, recording secretary; A. G. Gunnison, financial secretary; R. R. Oliver, treasurer.

The lodge occupied rented rooms until 1852, when they built a hall of their own at a cost of about $600. This was occupied until 1871, when a new building replaced the old one and is still in use. The lodge has a membership of fifty one and is in a prosperous condition.

Naomi Lodge, No. 2, Order of Rebekahs, was organized April 3, 1869, with the following charter members: R. W. Wells, H. L. Butterfield, Joseph 'McElroy, A. S. Johnson, A. F. Morse, N. J. Newton, Lyman Town, M. J. Althouse, J. T. Hillyer, E. Hanison, J. N. Olin, D. C. Fairbanks, J. S. Gee, George Hill, S. Heath, L. B. Hills, D. A, Lowber, N. J. McRobert, W. H. Parsons, John Manz, D. Graves, George Gee, C. L. Loveland, F. E. Sikes, L. Butts, E. Winn, L. B. Baloom, J. O. M. Kewitt, T. W. Gee, J. C. Wilms, H. E. Gee, D. C. Brooks, Mrs. R. W. Wills, Mrs. A. F. Morse, Mrs. T. W. Gee, Mrs. M. J. Olin, Mrs. L. J. Aithouse, Mrs. H. E. McElroy, Mrs. E. F. Newton, Mrs. P. Beardsley, Mrs. Sarah McElroy, Mrs. L. A. Gee, Mrs. D. C. Fairbanks, Mrs. D. S. Morse, Mrs. J. Winn, R. Pierce, S. Wilms, E. S. Johnson, Lydia Gee, M. Hill, Mary E. Brooks, Mary Heath, S. Polly Town. The only surviving charter member is Mrs. R. W. Wills. The first noble grand was James McElroy.

There are now forty eight members in the lodge, and the present officials are: Edith Taft, noble grand; Lois Van Gilder, vice grand; Mattie Gunnison, recording secretary; Minnie Harman, financial secretary; Mary Heath, treasurer; Ella Oliver, chaplain.

Fraternal Reserve Association

Waupun Council, No. 33, Fraternal Reserve Association was organized March 24, 1903, with the following charter members: Clark H. Tennant, Martha M. Boose, Fred W. Johnson, Alfred S. Johnson, James B. Titus, Ralph J. Andrus, Frank B. Rate, Ray C. Merriam, Ole Bronson, Leslie L. Young. The above mentioned served as the first officers.

Modern Woodmen of America

Waupnn Camp, No. 477, M. W. A., was organized January 19, 1888, with the following charter members: J. H. Pratt, F. W. Moore, J. O. Herman, J. G. Wynn, W. J. Peets, James McEwan, G. B. Durand, George Benway, T. W. Mod, T. C. Calvin, M. B. Tucker.

The present officers are: A. G. Gunnison, consul; P. Carrington, banker; J. E. Williams, clerk; A. J. Baldwin, escort; E. C. Lamb, watchman.

Prison City Lodge, No. 705, Royal Neighbors, an auxiliary of the Modern Woodmen lodge, was organized June 3, 1897, with the following charter members: Anna M. Tucker, Addie O. Moul, Frances A. Moss, Kate Flanders, Mattie E. Gunnison, Amelia Davison, Maggie Towne, Katie Lynn, Clara Lamb, Hattie B. Hornby, Marina A. Blankenberg, Della H. Lockhorst, Anna E. Peters, Nellie A. Hasbruck, Maud L. McElroy, Wealthy Beardsley, Sarah Wood, Josie E. Warren, Mary Coyle, Margaret Murphy, Henrietta Beenvokes, Sarah V. Bel, Gertrude M. Busch.

Equitable Fraternal Union

Waupun Assembly, No. 51, Equitable Fraternal Union, was organized July 1, 1898. It has a membership of about two hundred and fifteen and is the strongest lodge in Waupun.

Knights of Pythias

Star & Crescent Lodge, No. 95 Knights of Pythias was instituted December 4, 1891, with the following charter members: W. A. McCorn, J. Silber, L. A. Hoard, E. E. Davis, John Harmon, Jr., F. W. Moore, H. S. Brooks, W. Fisher, W. W. Green, G. G. Conway, H. Thiele, F. T. Watson, Otto Amthor, F. S. Jacobs, A. G. Gunnison, D. W. Jones, John Howard, J. W. Meiklejohn, O. Hanson, O. Baldwin, Sr., D. J. Loomans, James Donovan, D. L. Boyle, A. de Voss, J. W. Blaisdell, C. T. Mogul, R. S. Sargent, F. J. Powell.

The first officers were: J. Silber, P. C.; L. A. Hoard, C. C.; W. C. McCorn, V. C.; F. W. Moore, P.; D. W. Jones, K. R. S.; Richard Sargent, M. E.; D. W. Jones, M. F.; W. W. Green, M. A.; Harry Brooks, I. G.; D. J. Loomans, O. G.

The present officers are: T. M. Turner, C. C.; O. Zimmermann, V. C.; J. R. Putnam, P.; B. Walker, M. W.; A. G. Gunnison, K. R. S. and M. F.; O. Hanison, M. E.; W. F. Lenz, M. A.; Ira L. Brown, I. G.; H. G. Baker, O. G.

Waupun Temple, No. 25, Pythian Sisters, was organized June 22, 1909, with the following charter members: Mattie Gunnison, Louise Brower, Mary Stills, Lulu Marshall, Almira Walker, Emma Hanisch, Jane M. Walker, Gertrude Sweet, Emma Thompson, who filled the first offices; the other charter members were: Flora Amthor, Otto Amthor, Mary Bogie, J. R. Brower, J. H. Burmeister, Arletta Campbell, John de Voss, May de Voss, Charles Getchell, Martha Getchell, A. G. Gunnison, Oscar Hanisch, Anna M. Hauger, Kate Hanson, F. S. Jacobs, Nettie Jacobs, Kate Lynn, J. M. Lynn, George Marshall, Ethel Marshall, Guy Marshall, Ethel B. Marsh, Edith A. Marsh, Lorena Sanborn, Bertha Spars, Mary Stiles, R. O. Stiles, Gertrude Sweet, H. O. Thompson, Emma Thompson, Salem Towne, Bernice Towne.

The present officers are: Gertrude Sweet, M. E. C.; May de Voss, E. S.; Ethel Marshall, E. J.; Edith Marsh, manager; Elmira Walker, M. R. and C.; Flora Amthor, M. of F.; Dorothy Turner, P. T.; Bernice Towne, O. G.; Lulu Marshall, P. C.

Grand Army of the Republic

Hans C. Heg Post, No. 114, G. A. R., was organized October 16, 1883, with the following charter members: D. R. Arnidon, Fred M. Moul, H. H. Trowbridge, J. W. Oliver, J. H. Elkins, William H. Parsons, Samuel Atkins, C. H. Lindsay, Robert Paine, C. W. Page, George W. Carter, J. G. Moore, A. S. Clark, W. H. Ferris, Jacob Ferris, M. B. Tucker, J. W. Bartholomew, J. C. Reynolds, James J. Hilibert, C. T. Owens, L. B. Balcom, J. J. Roberts, W. T. Conant, Henry Brooks, E. A. Padgham, W. T. Whiting, L. E. Beardsley, L. D. Hinkley.

The present commander is L. E. Beardsley.

Hans C. Heg, Woman's Relief Corps, No. 52, was organized February 11, 1887, with the following named as charter members: Eva Elkins. Ellen Hillbert, Anna M. Tucker, Emeline Carter, Flora Amidon, Edna Ferris, Julia Ferris, Caroline Ferris, Mary Heath, Rilla Robbins, Anna E. Page, Lizzie Baldwin, Ella Conant, Hattie Conant, Ella Smith, Clara Massey, Carrie Nichols, Emeline Bouldue, Elizabeth F. Pratt, Jennie M. Bridge, Agnes M. Conant, Annie G. Simpson, Angeline G. Hillyer, Ellen Amidon, Annie B. Balcom, Addie Moul, Vesta Sykes.

Captain L. D. Hinkley Circle, No. 31, Ladies of the G. A. R., Department of Wisconsin, was organized September 22, 1911, by Mrs. Ethel Irish, department president of the Ladies of the G. A. R. of Wisconsin. Following is a list of the charter members: Mrs. Alice Cole, Miss Laura Tucker, Mrs. Angeline Hillyer, Mrs. Edna Ford, Miss Johanna Boldt, Mrs. Adda M. Curtis, Mrs. Lela Gray, Mrs. Martha Trowbridge, Mrs. Minnie Cole, Miss Hazel Cole, Miss Gertrude Allen, Mrs. Algenia Allen, Mrs. Sarah Wells, Mrs. Bertha Mugridge, Mrs. Adaline Cronk, Mrs. Ella Oliver, Mrs. Nettie Hobkirk, Mrs. Nellie Stack, Mrs. Mattie Gunnison, Mrs. Almira Walker, Mrs. Margaret Rhodes.

[Continued in Waupun History part 2.]

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