Rock County, Wisconsin

History of Johnstown Township

Site Coordinator: Lori Niemuth

From: Wisconsin Gazetteer

by John Warren Hunt

©1853 Beriah Brown, Printer, Madison

p. 115

Courtesy of Lori

JOHNSTOWN, Town, in county of Rock, being town 3 N., range 14 E.;
centrally located, 10 miles east from Janesville. The population in 1850 was 1,271. It has 9 school districts.

From: Combination Atlas Map of Rock County, Wisconsin

©1873 Everts, Baskin & Stewart, Chicago, Ill.

p. 17

Courtesy of Lori

The first settlement in this township was made in 1837, by Norman SMITH, who
claimed on the present site of Johnstown Center, on the property now owned by Henry B. JOHNSON. This is one of the finest towns in the county; the land is mostly under a high state of cultivation. There are two varieties of soil, viz., prairie and oak openings. The openings are better adapted to the growing of wheat, while the prairie soil is better for oats, corn, and other cereals. Each owner is satisfied with the variety of this soil he possesses, and would be unwilling to exchange for the other. The farm improvements of the town are first-class throughout. Most of the inhabitants are Eastern people. There are, however, several very wealthy Scotch families, who are enterprising farmers, and among the best citizens. The villages of Johnstown and Johnstown Center are located in the town; both very pleasant little places, and well represented in church and educational facilities. There are stores and post-offices in both villages; a great convenience to farmers in the vicinity. The frame house built by Mr. David McKILLIPS, now owned by Mr. William RILEY, is said to have been the first frame erected in Rock County.

From: The Portrait and Biographical Album of Rock County, Wisconsin


p. 1013

Courtesy of Carol

Johnstown, on the eastern border of the county, was organized by an act of
Legislature, approved March 21, 1843. The first settlement was made by Norman SMITH on the site of Johnstown Center, in 1837. The second settler was Caleb B. HILL. Daniel McKILLIP (who built the first frame house), Elisha NEWHALL and his sons, Wright and Elbridge G. NEWHALL, Noah NEWELL, John A. FLETCHER, Daniel PHELPS, William VIRGIN, John A. PICKETT and John PUTNAM were among other early settlers. Among those who were enterprising farmers there thirty-five years ago were William GALBRAITH, John McGRATH and brothers, Robert BURLASS, John and William ZUILL, John and Davis McLAY, and John WYNN.
Old Johnstown, in the town of Johnstown, twelve miles east of Janesville (so called
in contradistinction to Johnstown Center), is a village of about 125 persons. It owes its existence in a great measure to the presence of Messrs. CARTER, FLETCHER, CAMMELL and HILL, who settled on the location of the village about 1839, and built the fist house. It contains a church and some small shops.
Johnstown Center, in the town of Johnstown, ten miles east of Janesville, was
located in 1837, by Norman SMITH. The first minister there was Elder MILLS and the church-house there was built in 1847. The village contains a blacksmith shop, a shoe-shop, a wagon shop, a general store and marble works. Population, 200.
Janes' Settlement, near Johnstown, in the town of Johnstown, derives its
names from the settlement there, in 1842, of the JANES family. It at present consists of the residences of about a dozen families and a church, erected in 1861, by the Free Will Baptists, at a cost of about $2,000.

©2002-2004 ALHN-Rock Co., WI

Site Coordinator: Lori Niemuth