Rock County, Wisconsin

History of Magnolia Township

Site Coordinator: Lori Niemuth

From: Wisconsin Gazetteer

by John Warren Hunt

©1853 Beriah Brown, Printer, Madison

p. 138

Courtesy of Lori

MAGNOLIA, Town, in county of Rock, being town 3 N., of range 10 E.;
centrally located, 15 miles west from Janesville. It is settled by New-Yorkers. The population in 1850 was 1,871. It has 7 school districts, and 7 well-finished frame and stone school houses, a good water power, 6 feet head, with 1 grist and 1 saw mill. The face of the country is gently undulating, with burr oak openings and prairie advantageously mixed. It is well watered by springs of the best and purest quality. The soil is a sandy loam, on a subsoil of yellow clay, and is excellent grass land. Large quantities of grass seed, of a superior quality, is annually produced and shipped East. The town boasts of having some of the best improved stock farms in the State.

From: A New Complete Gazetteer of the United States

by Thomas Baldwin and J. Thomas, M.D.

©1854 Lippincott, Grambo & Co. , Philadelphia

p. 646

Courtesy of Kathy Lenerz

MAGNOLIA, a post-township in the N. W. part of Rock co., Wisconsin. Pop., 632.

From: Combination Atlas Map of Rock County, Wisconsin

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

p. 74

Courtesy of Lori

The face of the country here is mostly undulating, burr-oak openings, with a mixture
of some prairie, making many very desirable farms. It is well watered by springs of the purest water, as may be seen by reference to the above map. There is considerable marsh land along the creek, inexhaustible in fertility, and producing heavy crops of grass. The soil is a sandy loam on a subsoil of clay, producing heavy crops. The town is noted for its grass seed, which it produces in large quantities. There are some of the best stock farms here that are to be found in the State. The first settlements made in the town were in 1840, by J. N. PALMER, Joseph PRENTICE, Andrew COLTER, W. ADAMS, W. FOCKLER, and several whose names we could not learn that settled the same year. The citizens are mostly Eastern people, enterprising and prosperous in their pursuits. The Madison branch of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad passes through the town, affording shipping facilities to all parts of the country.

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

©1889

p. 1015

Courtesy of Carol

Magnolia is situated in the northwest part of the county, adjoining Green. It was
organized by act of the Territorial Legislature, approved Feb. 2, 1846, and included township 3 north, of range 10 east, its present limits. The first settlements were in 1840, by J. N. PALMER, Joseph PRENTICE, Andrew COTTER, W. ADAMS, W. FOCKLER, Abram FOX, Jonathan COOK, Edmund BASY, Ambrose MOORE, George McKENZIE, widow HINES and her son, William L. HINES, and Sanford P. HAMMOND. A reliable record gives the following, among others, of the principal farmers at an early day: N. B. HOWARD, James A. ROBSON, William P. HAMMOND, A. K. BARRETT, Jopthan LAITEN, T. M. LOCKWOOD, James M. SMITH, William HUYKE, Ezra MILLER, Charles S. DUNBAR, Hiram BARR, and James F. JONES.
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.
Magnolia Station (Cainville), in the town of Magnolia, on the Chicago &
Northwestern Railway, twelve miles northwest of Janesville, was located as early as 1848, but no general settlement occurred until after the advent of the railroad, in 1860. It was named in honor of S. J. CAIN, who was instrumental in establishing a post-office there in 1861. The settlement comprises a store, a school house built twenty years ago, and a few residences. Population, 50.

Rock County, Wisconsin

History of Magnolia Township

Site Coordinator: Lori Niemuth

From: Wisconsin Gazetteer

by John Warren Hunt

©1853 Beriah Brown, Printer, Madison

p. 138

Courtesy of Lori

MAGNOLIA, Town, in county of Rock, being town 3 N., of range 10 E.;
centrally located, 15 miles west from Janesville. It is settled by New-Yorkers. The population in 1850 was 1,871. It has 7 school districts, and 7 well-finished frame and stone school houses, a good water power, 6 feet head, with 1 grist and 1 saw mill. The face of the country is gently undulating, with burr oak openings and prairie advantageously mixed. It is well watered by springs of the best and purest quality. The soil is a sandy loam, on a subsoil of yellow clay, and is excellent grass land. Large quantities of grass seed, of a superior quality, is annually produced and shipped East. The town boasts of having some of the best improved stock farms in the State.

From: A New Complete Gazetteer of the United States

by Thomas Baldwin and J. Thomas, M.D.

©1854 Lippincott, Grambo & Co. , Philadelphia

p. 646

Courtesy of Kathy Lenerz

MAGNOLIA, a post-township in the N. W. part of Rock co., Wisconsin. Pop., 632.

From: Combination Atlas Map of Rock County, Wisconsin

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

p. 74

Courtesy of Lori

The face of the country here is mostly undulating, burr-oak openings, with a mixture
of some prairie, making many very desirable farms. It is well watered by springs of the purest water, as may be seen by reference to the above map. There is considerable marsh land along the creek, inexhaustible in fertility, and producing heavy crops of grass. The soil is a sandy loam on a subsoil of clay, producing heavy crops. The town is noted for its grass seed, which it produces in large quantities. There are some of the best stock farms here that are to be found in the State. The first settlements made in the town were in 1840, by J. N. PALMER, Joseph PRENTICE, Andrew COLTER, W. ADAMS, W. FOCKLER, and several whose names we could not learn that settled the same year. The citizens are mostly Eastern people, enterprising and prosperous in their pursuits. The Madison branch of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad passes through the town, affording shipping facilities to all parts of the country.

From: Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin & Historic Significance

©1920 Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, MN

p. 468

Courtesy of Lori

MAGNOLIA township [Rock County, Minnesota], organized November 27, 1872,
was named for the township and village of Magnolia in Rock county, Wisconsin, on suggestion of Philo HAWES, who had lived there. The railway village of this name, platted in October, 1891, was incorporated September 4, 1894. When first established as a station, in 1877, it was called Drake, for Hon. Elias F. DRAKE, of St. Paul, president of the Omaha railway company, who owned a large farm here; but May 2, 1886, the name was officially changed to that of the township.

From: The Janesville Gazette

Friday, November 2, 1923

MAGNOLIA GOT A NAME FROM THE TREE WHICH FAILED TO GROW THERE
The question of why Magnolia town is named as it is has been answered. A
school boy asked the question of a man in Evansville a few days ago. He was an old resident of Magnolia but could not answer. He, in turn, asked the Gazette and there is nothing in any of the records to tell the story. So the Gazette passed it along and Frank K. JANES, attorney at Evansville, has answered the question, and here it is:
 
Editor of the Gazette:
I noticed your article a few nights ago asking "Who Named the Town of Magnolia"
and wondering if anyone could answer this question. I well remember of hearing my father tell hundreds of times how Magnolia was named and am pleased to give you the information.
My father's name was Chester JANES. He came to Wisconsin in the fall of 1839
or 1840 and lived with Henry JANES, who was his cousin, at the JANES Tavern in Janesville, during that fall and winter. He well remembered the early history of Janesville.
From his description of that winter I have always supposed until recently that
JANES Tavern was on the site of the MYERS House as my father used to tell us that at [one] time there were but two buildings in Janesville. The one was the store run by Tommy LAPPIN, as he would call him, which store was on the bank of the river at the east end of the bridge and on the south side of the street. The other building was the JANES Tavern which was just across the road and east of the LAPPIN store. However, the road which he referred to was probably not what is now Main street but a road nearer the river, making the Tavern about where the HAYES block now stands.
The next spring my father's parents, four brothers and three sisters came on from
western New York and they all settled on land in what are now the townships of Union and Magnolia.
At about the same time a man by [the] name of Joseph PRENTICE came from
some of the southern states, I do not remember which state, and built and for a number of years conducted the first store in Magnolia. He had brought with him a supply of the seed of the Magnolia tree. He planted the seed with the idea that he could develop a grove of Magnolia trees. With the hot house methods of that time he was able to get the young trees to live for a year or two but the climatic conditions were against him and his scheme was not a success.
The novelty of the young trees cause some attention, as no one there had ever seen
a magnolia tree, and his store being located at the crossing of two roads soon became known as Magnolia Corners. Soon after, when the townships were named the logical thing was to name the township after its metropolis and the township was named Magnolia.
Joseph PRENTICE conducted his store for a time but died while yet a young man
leaving his widow and two children, Fred PRENTICE and Almina PRENTICE.
Mrs. PRENTICE afterward moved to Janesville and married a man by the name
of HUTCHINSON. They lived on East Milwaukee street on the North side of the street and a short distance east of where Milton avenue branches off of Milwaukee street.
Fred PRENTICE grew to manhood in Janesville and for a number of years was a
member of the firm PRENTICE and EVERSON, druggists, who had a drug store on the south side of Milwaukee street about opposite the BURNS dry goods store.

Fred L. JANES.

©2002-2007 ALHN-Rock Co., WI

Site Coordinator: Lori Niemuth