History of the Village of Magnolia

Section 23, Magnolia Township, Rock County, Wisconsin

MAGNOLIA, P.V., in town of same name, Rock county, being on sections 22 and
23, town 3 N., of range 10 E. It has 15 dwellings, 1 tavern, 1 store, 4 mechanics' shops, 1 church and 1 stone school house.
 
[Source: Wisconsin Gazetteer by John Warren Hunt; ©1853 Beriah Brown, Printer, Madison; p. 138; Courtesy of Lori]

Magnolia, a little village two miles from the railroad, was located in the fall of 1843,
by Joshua DUNBAR, Andrew COTTER, Joseph PRENTICE and a man named JENKINS, each of whom settled on different sections, as follows: DUNBAR on the northwest corner of Section 23, COTTER on the northeast corner of Section 22, PRENTICE on the southwest corner of Section 14, and JENKINS, by an agent, on the southeast corner of Section 15. In 1845, in consequence of the advent of a number of settlers, Mr. COTTER had a portion of his ground platted for building purposes; but settlers evidently preferred to choose their own sites, and so his scheme was a failure. "Uncle Sam" made his presence felt in 1848 by establishing a post office, his representative being Mr. George McENZIE, whose duties, however, were of the lightest description, consisting merely of the reception and dispatching of a weekly mail via Monticello and Janesville. Subsequent Postmasters were Joshua DUNBAR, Oliver EAGER, James HOWARD and Wilson BROWN, the present incumbent. The spiritual welfare of the residents is cared for by a Congregational and a Methodist Church, the former of which was organized in the fall of 1850, by Rev. J. JAMESON, assisted by the Rev. Mr. FOOTE, of Janesville, the following persons uniting with it: Simon REED and wife, Mrs. PRENTICE, E. LEONARD and wife, Miss Althea LEONARD, Miss HARPER, Mrs. McENZIE, James HAWES, Miss Wealthy HAWES, Mrs. Betsy HAMMON and J. JANISON and wife. For a number of years, meetings were held in the schoolhouse, but, in 1854, they erected the present church, at a cost of $1,300. It is a frame building, with a seating capacity of about one hundred and fifty. The present membership is about twenty. The Rev. Mr. JAMESON, who first preached the Word here, gave up his charge in 1869, and was succeeded by the Rev. Mr. MORRIS, who remained one year. The Rev. Mr. SABIN was then installed as Pastor, and remained three years, being succeeded by the Rev. Mr. DOREMUS, who retired after eighteen months' service, leaving a vacancy which has not yet been filled. The Methodist Church is a much older institution, having been organized in 1844, with twelve members, some of whom were as follows: Andrew COTTER and wife, Harvey PARTRIDGE and wife, Mrs. MORRILL and Mrs. Ogden BARRETT. In 1872, a church edifice, having a seating capacity of about one hundred and fifty, was erected, at a cost of $2,200. The present membership is about forty-five, who received their Sunday meal of grace from the lips of the minister at Footville, they constituting a portion of his charge. In connection with the church is a Bible Society, which was established in 1849, with Lyman BATES as Depositary. The present officers are - President, J. B. HARTLEY; Secretary, George E. AUSTIN; Treasurer and Depositary, Langford BURTON.
The other institutions of the village come under the head of manufactures, and consist
of a spring-bed manufactory, started in 1877 by Osborn HOWARD, under the name of the Automatic Spring-Bed Company, which now employs five hands and turns out about one hundred beds per week; and a sulky-plow manufactory, started this current year by Mr. J. R. WHITNEY. This is, as yet, only in its infancy, as it was only patented last February, but as it is an excellent invention and calculated, owing to its lightness and other excellent qualities, to save considerable wear of horse-flesh, it will not be long, once it is fairly introduced to the farming community, before its merits are properly appreciated and a good trade results. The rest of the business portion of the village consists of a store, a blacksmith-shop, a shoe-shop, a hotel and a schoolhouse; the latter is under the control of a Board of Directors consisting of J. R. WHITNEY, Director; George H. AUSTIN, Treasurer; George HOWARD, Clerk. It is a neat frame building, erected in 1872, at a cost of $1,400, and was last under the charge of Warren HOWARD.
 
[Source: The History of Rock County, Wisconsin by C. W. Butterfield, ©1879 Western Historical Co., Chicago, IL; p. 674; photograph of the sulky-plow courtesy of Joanne]

Magnolia, a village in the town of Magnolia, fifteen miles west of Janesville, and two
miles west of Cainville (Magnolia Station), the nearest railway point, was located in the fall of 1843, by Joshua DUNBAR, Andrew COTTER, Joseph PRENTICE, and Mr. JENKINS. Settlement advanced so rapidly as to encourage Mr. COTTER, two years later to plat a portion of his land for building purposes; but he found no purchasers for his lots, settlers selecting other sites. A post-office was established in 1848, with George McKENZIE in charge. Rev. Mr. JAMESON was the first preacher. Osborn HOWARD and others began manufacturing spring beds in 1877; J. R. WHITNEY embarked in plowmaking in 1879. There are two churches. Population, 250.
 
[Source: The Portrait & Biographical Album of Rock County, Wisconsin, ©1889 Acme, Chicago, IL; p. 1015; Courtesy of Carol]

©2002 ALHN-Rock County, Wisconsin

Site Coordinator: Lori Niemuth