Settlers

Patrick Conroy 

First Irish settler in Muskego. Married to Bridget Ward. Died in Muskego, August 12, 1847.

Abstract of Title

 

in

 

The following described land situated in Waukesha County, Wisconsin:

 

Lot number 7 Block number 5 in the Plat of Muskego Shores, being a part of the South East quarter of Section Number Four, Township Number Five, North of Range Number Twenty East in the Town of Muskego, Waukesha County, Wisconsin, according to the recorded Plate thereof in Vol. 9 of Plats, page 29.

 

>From the transcript of records in the General Land Office at Washington, D.C., it appears that Patrick Conrey has made full payment for the South East quarter (SE1/4) of Section No. 4, Township No. 5 North of Range No. 20 East, in the District of Lands subject to sale at Milwaukee, Wisconsin Territory, containing 160 acres, according to the official plat of the survey of said lands, returned to the General Land Office by the Surveyor General, which said tract has been purchased from the Government by Patrick Conrey March 11, 1839, taking receiver's certificate No. 3361.

Lavarlette Ellerson

Laverlette Ellerson obituary
Waukesha Freeman (Waukesha, WI) - September 22, 1904

 

Laverlette Ellerson, Honored Pioneer, Dead

 

Had Reached Age of 87 Years

 

Built the First Saw Mill in Muskego and was Among Earliest Farmers

 

Laverlette Ellerson, aged 87, one of the oldest and most esteemed residents of the town of Muskego, died at his home there Sunday afternoon. His death was caused by a fall from his bed two weeks ago which resulted in a fracture of the hip bone.

 

Mr. Ellerson was born on a farm in Schoharie county, N. Y., March 5, 1817, his parents being Thomas and Phoebe Ellerson. Thomas Ellerson was of Scotch ancestry and was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. Laverlette Ellerson resided on his father's farm until seventeen years of age, when he fell in with a man bound for the wilds of Michigan, and engaged to drive a team to that section. The boy drove a covered wagon as far as Sandusky, Ohio, and his employer decided to settle at that place. Laverlette remained in Ohio and Michigan two years and came to Milwaukee the first of October. He remained in Milwaukee a short time, being employed in grading streets and erecting a slaughter-house, this last in answer to the demands of the citizens of the little place that butchers should no longer do their slaughtering in the heart of town.

 

On the twenty-sixth of November, 1836, Mr. Ellerson, accompanied by his cousin, David Ellerson, and a Mr. McIntyre, started for Muskego township, and walked through the forest until they came to the pond later known as Hale's Mill-pond, in the town of New Berlin. Here in the employ of the contractors, Dewitt & Thompson, Mr. Ellerson helped to construct the first saw-mill in the vicinity. It was a rude structure and had a capacity of about 3,000 feet of lumber per day.

 

In the spring of 1839 Mr. Ellerson attended the land sales in Milwaukee and purchased from the government a quarter section of land, part of which constitutes the present homestead. He at once erected a log house and began clearing the land with a yoke of oxen. Leonard Martin, Peter Muckey, Mr. Parker and a few others were his neighbors. The Cheneys settled in New Berlin a few years later.

 

In 1841 Mr. Ellerson was married to Miss Betsey Muckey, a daughter of Peter Muckey, and a native of Jefferson county, N. Y. Mr. and Mrs. Ellerson became the parents of six children of whom three are dead. The living are Mrs. John Babcock of the state of Washington, LaFayette and Ferdinand, well-known farmers of the town of Muskego. Mrs. Ellerson died in 1870.

 

Mr. Ellerson was a Democrat and held several town and district offices. His long life was full of industry and thrift and he was widely known and esteemed.

 

The funeral took place Wednesday, with burial at Sunnyside cemetery.

One of Muskego's earliest settlers took up one of the first 160 acre land grants in Muskego in 1839

James Feild

During the latter part of 1839 a post office was established in Muskego. James Field was the first Postmaster and kept the office at his house.

Peter Goff

Farmer, Sec. 35; P. O. Tess Corners; born in or about 1808, in the province of Leinster, Co. of Louth, Ireland. He came to America when 17 or 18 years of age, worked a short time in a factory at Paterson, N. J., then engaged in farming on the Holland Purchase (Wyoming Co., N. Y.). Sold out his claim there in 1836 and went to Cook Co., Ill., where he owned 380 acres.

 

In 1840, Philip Riley, Patrick Kerwin and himself came to Waukesha County, Mr. Goff settling where he is now, and Messrs. Kerwin and Riley near him. Mr. Goff began here in a claim shanty built among timber so dense as to shut out the noonday sun; felling trees to right and left, he planted a few Irish potatoes among the stumps for his first crop. These grew as large as quart cups, while white turnips were immensely large; the seed potatoes were brought in by him, on his shoulders, from the Fox River Valley; from wheat bought of N. K. Smith, he raised the first crop in this vicinity.

 

Peter Goff is a genuine old settler, whose salt pork was, in early times, brought from Milwaukee. His 240-acre farm, with the excellent buildings, prove that his labor and management were rewarded.

 

He married Mary Loughney, of Telara, County of Mayo, Ireland; they have four children-Matthew L., Eliza, Mary and Teresa, all born on the New Berlin Homestead. The family are Catholics and Democrats. Mr. Goff, in early times, assessed the town, but would not qualify as Justice of the Peace; he is also a radical temperance man, who has not allowed a drop of liquid damnation to be used upon his farm. M. L. Goff, born in 1845, was educated in the district schools and Carroll College, spent 1877 and 1878 in Nebraska, visiting Missouri, Kansas and Iowa.

 

He married, in Feb. 1880, Miss Annie M., daughter of John Burns, deceased, one of the pioneers of Muskego.

(Source: History of Waukesha County 1880)

George Green

Settled in Muskego in 1837. At the first town meeting in 1842, he was elected Treasurer.

Henry Houyck

Settled in Muskego in 1836 with his sister, Rebecca.

Homer Hawkins

Settled in Muskego in 1837.

John Kendall

Settled in Muskego in 1837.

John Kearney 

Born in Ireland and settled in Muskego in 1852. Died in 1897 and is buried in the St. Mary's Cemetery in Hales Corners. Married to Honora. Daughter Julia (McKenna).

 

The Kearney farm was near Lake Denoon.

Thomas Lannon 

Farmer, Sec. 3; P. O. Tess Corners; born in County Louth, Ireland; in 1818, emigrated to America 1836; worked as a laborer in New York, Ohio, and Michigan; carried on a store with a brother-in-law in Monroe, Michigan, for a time, and in June, 1842, settled in the forest covering his present farm; the only roads in Muskego then were the Janesville, Waterford & Town Line Road, which passed his log cabin; he built this, and it still stands as a monument to old times, when its floor was strewn with sleeping Indians, who came to trade with Mr. Lannon.

 

He had a small stock of goods and a barrel of whisky, and was a favorite with the Reds, who exchanged furs and skins for fire water.

 

Mr. Lannon is an old settler, who has an improved farm and good home, standing near the log-house. He married Mary A. Carroll; she was born in Java, Wyoming Co., N. Y., in 1834; they have four children, Mary, Thomas, Catherine, and Anne, the eldest is Mrs. Thomas Made, of Muskego.

 

Mr. Lannon is a Democrat, and a Catholic. He was formerly Road Commissioner, Town Treasurer, Assessor, Supervisor, etc.; and has held his present office of Justice of the Peace for eighteen years, and is the the veteran Squire of Muskego.

(Source: "History of Waukesha County" by Western Historical Company, Chicago 1880)

Leonard Martin 

Leonard Martin, farmer, merchant and proprietor hotel; born in Ferrisburg, Vt., April 16, 1814; his younger life was spent at school in old Vermont, where he learned surveying; in the spring of 1886, he reached Milwaukee, and remained there until fall, when he made first claim at the noted Oak Orchard of pioneer times; during the winter.

 

He surveyed the plat of Kewaunee, Wis., not seeing other men than those with him for two months; returning in the spring of 1837, he built on his claim, just across the line in Muskego, the inevitable log house, and began life a lone bachelor, "poor as Job's turkey", his musty flour, etc., earned by hard day's work.

 

March 11, 1840, he married Miss Betsey F. Munson, of Bristol, Vt,; to pay for his land when it came into market, he hired money at 50 per cent.; in 1852; Mr. Martin built a hotel and store on a large scale, main building 41x61, with kitchen 32x48, which, with its additions, is known over South Wisconsin as "Martin's Tavern" the generous old hostelry, with its three floors, being often crowded in the palmy days of Janesville and Milwaukee plank road. His stock of goods is very large; "too much stock", says Mr. Martin; "everything from a needle to a plow."

 

He is a genuine "old settler", and dug the first well in Muskego; his farm of 450 acres, with a small village of tenement houses, gives his place a business-like look. Mr. Martin was the first County Surveyor, Chairman of Muskego four years prior to this, member of the last Territorial Legislature in 1847, was County Commissioner in old times, and is now serving his fourth term as Chairman of the largely Republican town of Vernon, though he is a radical old Jacksonian Democrat; he says his fearless advocacy of these principles has beaten him for more offices than any other man in the county.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Martin have three children - Ann E.. widow of Everett Chamberlain; Sarah E., Mrs. C. A. Pride, and a son, S. Munson, who married Miss Emma Keyser, of New York, and is with his father.

(Source: History of Waukesha County)

Luther Parker 

Luther Parker, son of Joshua & Polly (Taylor) Parker was born 18 Dec 1800 in Temple NH. He died 15 June 1853 in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. He received his early education in the common school at Temple NH. About 1816 he learned the shoemaker's trade at Stoneham MA. He returned to Temple and attended the New Ipswich Academy. Completing his studies there, he taught district school in Albany, New York.

 

In 1825 and 1826 he taught school in Stratford NH in Coos County NH. Here he met and married 1st) 18 Feb 1827 to Alletta "Lettie" French, a student in the Stratford school where Luther taught, and one of ten children of Thomas Giles French of Brunswick VT. She was b. 11 June 1803, and d. August 1849 of typhoid fever in Wisconsin. She was buried in the Durham Hill cemetery, south of the Parker estate.

 

Soon after they married, they settled in what was then known as the Indian Stream Republic. (Aletta French was a descendant of John French of Essex County England and Dorchester & Braintree MA.) Luther probably ran a small store from his residence in Indian Stream Republic. He was one of the framers of the Indian Stream Constitution, and preferred New Hampshire allegiance to that of Canada.

 

In June of 1835 he was arrested by the Canadian authorities, which increased the tensions between New Hampshire and Canada. In 1836 he drove a team of of animals from the Indian Stream Republic to the shores of Lake Michigan when he moved to Wisconsin and settled with his family in Muskego. In 1845 Luther was chosen a member of the territorial legislature of Wisconsin representing part of Milwaukee county. In October 1846 he served as a grand juror in Waukesha county. He was a Democrat, then a member of the Free Soil party.

 

In 1851 he was elected a member of the county board from Muskego. In April 1850, Luther Parker married 2nd) Susan G. Goodman. Luther and Alletta Parker are buried together with the tombstone reading: "Luther Parker died June 15, 1853, Aged 58 years. What thou art, I was. What I am, thou soon wilt be."Also his wife Alletta died August 26, 1849, Aged 47 years. Those who knew her best loved her most."

 

U.S. Census > 1850 United States Federal Census > Wisconsin > Waukesha > Muskego

Luther Parker 67 M Farmer 5000/N.H.
Susan Parker 25 F CT
Persis Parker 19 F N.H.
Ellen Parker 18 F N.H.
Benjamin Titus 18 M Laborer Wisconsin

 

Children of Luther & Aletta (French) Parker:

  • Charles Dunham Parker, b. 27 Dec 1827 Indian Stream Republic, Coos County NH

  • Persis Euseba Parker, b. 24 August 1830 Instead Stream Republic NH; attended Mrs. Baker's Female Seminary at Waukesha Wisconsin.

  • Ellen Augusta Parker, b. 16 March, abt 1831 NH; attended Mrs. Baker's Female Seminary at Waukesha Wisconsin.

  • Amanda Melvina Parker, b. 8 Sep 1835 Indian Stream, d. 8 August 1838 Muskego, Wisconsin

 

Child of Luther & Susan G. (Goodman) Parker:

  • Mary S. Parker, b. 17 January 1852

  • Charles Dunham Parker, son of Luther & Alette (French) Parker, was b. 27 Dec 1827 in Indian Stream Republic, Coos Co NH. In 1836 he removed with his family to Wisconsin. He died in 1925. In 1849 he was sent east to attend the New Ipswich (NH) Academy where his father had also studied. He married 8 Nov 1853 to Angeline Flora Southworth at Muskego Wisconsin. She was born July 1831 in NY. In 1859 they settled at Pleasant Valley, St. Croix Co., Wisconsin. He was a member of the Wisconsin assembly in 1869, Lieut. Governor 1874-78, served 12 years on the state board of control and 3 years as a university regent. He lived in River Falls after 1895.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Henry M. Peck 

Farmer; Sec. 16; P. O. Muskego Center; born near Whitehall, New York, May 5, 1827; his parents, Romanta and Polly (Durgin) Peck, both Vermonters, settled in 1835 in Mendon, Monroe Co., N. Y., where Henry M. lived until 1837; his brother, Rufus C., made claims for himself and a brother, W.D. (Winthrop Durgin), in Muskego during 1836; and in May 1837, R. C., and Henry M. Peck settled on Sec. 8; here the pioneer brothers worked together nine years.

 

The first summer was spent in a 12x13 claim-shanty; in this, were R. C. Peck, wife and two children, besides Henry M. Peck; they lived under a bark roof on a puncheon floor; cooked in a small tin baker, and in kettles hung on poles over a fire-place, backed up with mud and stones; only blankets hung in the door and window- openings to separate them from the wolves howling outside.

 

In 1846, Mr. Peck bought eighty acres of the very heavy timber on Sec. 16; one tree cut by him here was eighteen feet in circumference; he now owns 150 acres, of which 90 have been literally chopped out; the timber at first burned in log heaps, was at a later day sold as cordwood and lumber.

 

The log-house of early days was replaced in 1873 by tasteful brick farmhouse, and a good barn, etc., built. He married Miss Harriet, daughter of John and Lucy Post; Mrs. Peck was born in England, her parents coming to America when she was three years old and were early settlers in Muskego, where they began with just five cents and made a good record.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Peck have nine children - Josephine, Oscar, Henry F., Eva, Michael, Nellie G., Hazen, Dora and Ada, all born in Muskego; Mr. Peck is an attendant of the local churches; a Republican and was town Treasurer once, and Supervisor twice.

(Source: "History of Waukesha County" by Western Historical Company, Chicago 1880)

James Denoon Reymert 

In 1845, James Denoon Reymert came to this country from Forsund, Norway. He was 24 years of age and previous to his arrival here he had studied law and business in Scotland. His natural abilities and knowledge of the English language quickly made him a leader in the New World Colony. In about a year he was married to Caspara Hansen, daughter of a dancing master who had recently come to the colony and lived on what is now the Posbrig farm.

 

In 1847, Reymert founded and began publishing the first Norwegian newspaper in a small print shop on Lake Denoon. The paper was called Nordlyset (Northern Light). The first issue was published July 29, 1847. It was a four page paper, with three columns and measured eight by eleven inches. It had a circulation of 200. This was the first Norwegian [language] paper to be published in America. A picture of the American flag headed the editorial column. The motto of the paper, "Freedom and Equality," was later expanded to "Free Land, free speech, free labor and free men." The first issue even contained a translation of a portion of the Declaration of Independence. Eric Anderson Rude, a compositor loaned by a Chicago newspaper taught the art of typesetting to Ole Heg, Even Skovstad and Ole Torgeson. Reymert continued to publish the paper until May of 1850, when he sold it to Knud Langeland, who changed the name to Democraten and moved it to Racine.

 

Reymert was close friends with Søren Bache, one of Muskego's first settlers, who had large holdings in the area. It is believed that Bache was the backer for most of Reymert's enterprises. One day after returning from hunting, Bache stopped at a friend's house to pass the time of day. As he was entering the cabin, the trigger of his gun caught on the doorlatch and the gun fired, killing the neighbor's young wife. That same year, grief-stricken over the tragedy, he gave Reymert power of attorney over all his holdings and returned to his native land.

 

From the first time Reymert set foot on the shores of Lake Denoon, which was called Silver Lake at the time, he dreamt of building a city and naming it after his mother, a Scotch woman named Jessie Sinclair Denoon. In 1850 he named his new town and the lake on whose banks it stood, Denoon.

 

The new town of Denoon grew rapidly, no doubt with the help of Søren Bache's money. The first two-boiler sawmill in America was built on the southeastern-most corner of the lake. Reymert also built a two-story hotel, a soda factory, a tannery, and blacksmith shop. In this same period he established the Denoon Post Office. The farm on which he lived in 1852 embraced about 3,500 acres and was stocked with 2,000 sheep, 20 horses and 100 head of cattle. He employed over one hundred workers in his prospering town at this time.

 

Just as everything was going smoothly in the Town of Denoon, new immigrants to the town brought with them the plague (cholera). Pestilence raged; death took victims every hour; all transient persons fled. Reymert was the only active organizer in the panic; his wife was in confinement with their last born son and there was no escape for him. He improvised a hospital. The contagion continued to spread. There was but one doctor (Dr. Squirls) but he soon fell prey to the disease. Reymert quickly mounted his horse and raced to Milwaukee for medicine and help. Upon his arrival he met Dr. Lissner, who had just arrived from Norway. Reymert bought the doctor a horse and filled their saddlebags with medicine and returned to the settlement. In three days the doctor was in his grave. In that week Reymert buried 110 victims of the plague. On one night, while his wife and child were fast asleep, Reymert went to the neighbor's house whose family had all been taken by the plague. The father had fled; the grandmother was sick and unable to comprehend the situation; two young children were asleep; and the mother was drawing near her end. Within half an hour the mother died. Reymert went to the mill, but found not a soul in sight. With great haste, he shouldered a casket to the plank road and loaded it on a wagon and drew it by hand to the house where he lifted the body into it. He then enlisted the aid of the trusty gravedigger and the grandmother and buried the young woman's body before sunrise. He returned to his home without his wife discovering his absence.

 

The Town of Denoon was practically wiped out and little remains today of that dynamic settlement.

 

Reymert left the area and was active in Wisconsin government. He was appointed receiver for the United States land office at Hudson, Wisconsin, where he moved. He was nominated for the western district congressional seat, but lost in a heated campaign. He moved to New York in 1861 to practice law and became a successful attorney. In 1873, he went to Chile (South America) where he was in business for a couple of years. Then in the 80's he turned up in Arizona, where with a son he took up mining, started a small paper and was appointed a judge by President Cleveland. He died in Los Angeles in 1896.

(Source: THE DENOON SETTLEMENT by Agnes Posbrig)

Engebert  Rolfson

Came from Christiana, Norway in 1849 with his wife, Isabell and their children, Robert, Louis, Brady, Marie and Andrew.

 

Settled in the Denoon area of Muskego. Planted oats and wheat using ox teams to break the land. When the cholera outbreak came he got sick but recovered. Many others died.

 

Two more sons were born, Martin and Edward.

Peter Schmidt 

Settled in Muskego in June 1846, the second German family in the town. Died October 1874.

Anson Taylor 

One of the early settlers, Anson H. Taylor bought up 800 acres around the present Muskego Center area.

 

Anson went right into business. He built the first sawmill, the first store and the first hotel.

John Welch 

During the summer of 1840, John Welch, following a line of blazed trees, came into Muskego and bought at Government price the present Welch homestead. Returned to Milwaukee and spent the year in helping grade the first streets with Mat. Galligan, who, with a family, accompanied the Welch family to Muskego for permanent settlement in 1841. They began in a log house, and did good work among the giant timber; hay was cut, cured, and hauled to Milwaukee, and traded for goods the same day, and to reward the pioneer work, the farm of 50 acres is now under cultivation, a good two-story frame house has replaced the log house.

 

John Welch died Oct. 6, 1872, leaving his widow and eight children – William and Stephen (twins), Charles, Samantha, Henry R. and Mary (twins), Thomas and James, Henry R.

Joachim Wiegert

St. Paul's Lutheran Cemetery

Francis Wollman

 

Farmer, Sec. 2; P. O. Tess Corners; born in Reignberg, German Bohemia, in 1811; his father, Anton, was a doctor and a large farmer.

 

Francis attained a good education, knows four languages, and learned the farrier's profession in Germany; he fought on the patriot side through the rebellion of 1848, and can show scars of sword, bayonet and bullet wounds then received; he assessed three Bohemian towns in 1850, and collected the taxes in them; and served three and a half years as Supervisor, resigning a week before coming to America in 1852, with his wife, formerly Barbara Ehrlich, born 1818, in Reignberg, locating the same year on his homestead of 110 acres; it was then a wilderness of heavy timber, except 15 acres of stumps.

 

They began in a leaky log house; were stricken with ague, and we can hardly blame Mrs. W., who had left an elegant home, for being heartsick and homesick; they kept on, and the large and pleasant home, with a number of large and well-filled barns, is the reward. Mr. W. has prospered well, and has given each of his children $1,000 in land or money; he has owned over 400 acres.

 

He has also followed the practice of veterinary surgery with the best of success, over a wide range in all adjoining towns, and even in Milwaukee.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Wollman have six children - Frank, Mary, Charles, Annie, Julia and William, all born in Bohemia; Anthony- and Emilie (born in Muskego), are dead; Frank is in a store in Appleton, Wis.; William, only, remains with the old folks; he married Sarah Baasa.

(Source: "History of Waukesha County" by Western Historical Company, Chicago 1880)

George Zingsheim

The first German to settle in Muskego.