- The town of Milton comprises all of
township 4, north of range 13, east of the
- principle meridian. It is a fine body
of land, and was first settled, in the summer of 1836, by Alfred,
Jason and Aaron WALKER, who located on section 35 and
36. For some months they were the only persons in the town. In
May, 1837, Daniel F. SMITH and wife came in and located
on section 11. Mrs. SMITH was the first white woman in
the town. Others came in that year, among whom were Peter McEWAN
and Nathan C. STORRS. The former made claim to the north
half of section 34, and the south half of the northeast quarter
of section 27. Mr. STORRS made claim to the south half
of section 26, and the north half of the southeast quarter of
section 27. He erected his residence on the northwest corner
of the south half of the southeast quarter of section 26. Mr.
McEWAN built very near the center of the northeast quarter
of section 34.
- In July, 1838, Joseph GOODRICH
came out from Alfred, Alleghany Co., N.Y.,
- and bought from Mr. STORRS his
claim to the north half of the south half of section 26, and
the north half of the southeast quarter of section 27. During
the following month he erected a story and a half frame building,
in the upper part of which he placed a small stock of general
merchandise. In September he returned to New York, leaving James
PIERCE, who is yet a respected citizen of the town, in
charge of the house and claim.
- From what can be learned from old settlers
now living, there was doubtless an
- understanding between Mr. GOODRICH
and Mr. McEWAN that the southeast quarter of section 27
should be laid out as a village. Subsequent events seem to confirm
this idea. On the return of Mr. GOODRICH to his old home,
he made public what he had done. Orrin SPRAGUE, with whom
he was not on very good terms, on learning the facts, immediately
sold out and, with his family, at once started for Rock County.
Arriving here, he reported to Mr. McEWAN that he was sent
out by Mr. GOODRICH to start a blacksmith shop. On his
representation, Mr. McEWAN staked off for him a lot on
which to erect his cabin and shop, on that portion of section
27 which he, McEWAN, had claimed. The cabin and shop were
at once erected, and, when Mr. GOODRICH returned, March
4, 1839, he found his old enemy in full possession. That he was
displeased is stating it mildly.
- During the year 1839 no further improvements
were made to the prospective village,
- with the exception of a second building
by Mr. GOODRICH, which was the original Milton House,
and the erection by him of a substantial barn. In March, 1839,
the surveyors locating a road between Chicago and Madison reach
GOODRICH's, and in May following continued the survey
on to Madison. One point was now made for the new village.
- On the 18th day of July, 1839, the
people of the vicinity met at the residence of
- Joseph GOODRICH for the purpose
of raising for him a barn. While here assembled, it was determined
to petition the Government to here establish a postoffice under
the name of Grainfield, and to appoint Mr. GOODRICH Postmaster.
A meeting was subsequently held at the residence of Peter McEWAN,
and the name was reconsidered and that of Prairie Du Lac substituted.
The petition was sent on, but the name was rejected by the authorities
on account of its similarity to Prairie du Sac, an office which
had already been established. At a meeting held Oct. 1, 1839,
the name of Milton was suggested by Daniel BUTTS, and
adopted. The office was soon afterward established, with Joseph
GOODRICH as Postmaster, who held it until 1853, when he
was succeeded by W. T. MORGAN.
- The first land sale in which the people
of this section were interested was held in
- April, 1840, at Milwaukee. This sale
was attended by Messrs. McEWAN, GOODRICH and SPRAGUE.
It had been learned that no one could purchase more than one-half
section of land. Mr. McEWAN, as already stated, had made
claim to the north half of section 34 and the south half of the
northeast quarter of section 27 - a total of 400 acres. If he
purchased the north half of section 34, he could not purchase
the other. SPRAGUE, who was living upon the south half
of the northeast quarter of section 27, felt that here was his
opportunity to get cheap land, and become the owner of a prospective
village. He proposed to avail himself of the opportunity. Of
all things, this did not suit Mr. GOODRICH. As he had
not claimed but what only amounted to 240 acres, he could yet
purchase eighty acres more. He, therefore, purchased of Mr. McEWAN
his claim to the south half of the northeast quarter of section
27, but with the understanding that on receiving his deed he
was to deed Mr. SPRAGUE one acre, comprising in part the
land on which his cabin and shop were located.
- On returning home from the sales, Mr.
GOODRICH at once instructed James
who was a practical surveyor, to survey one acre of ground to
SPRAGUE, and that he should be careful that it was a full
acre, but not a foot more. His instructions were carried out
to the letter, and Mr. SPRAGUE got an acre with five sides
to it. The land was entered by Mr. GOODRICH April 13,
1840, and April 27, 1840, he deeded SPRAGUE, the acre
of ground. A park comprising twenty-three acres was laid out
by Mr. GOODRICH, which fronted on the south the land owned
by Peter McEWAN, doubtless for the purpose of giving the
latter any advantages that might accrue from the location of
- As stated, Joseph GOODRICH returned
to his western home March 4, 1839. He
- was a member of the Seventh Day Baptist
Church, and at his house the first religious services were held
in what is now the village of Milton, on the Sabbath (Saturday,
or Seventh day) following, March 9. A society was organized which
met every alternate sabbath at the houses of Joseph GOODRICH
and Henry B. CRANDALL. Previous to this time, however,
religious services were held in the town, the first being at
the hosue of S. D. BUTTS, March, 1838, by the Revs. HALSTED
and PILLSBURY, two Methodist Episcopal ministers. On the
16th day of August, 1838, a Congregational Church was organized
in the WALKER neighborhood, which is said to have been
the third religious society organized in Wisconsin.
- The first school in the town was in
the winter of 1839-40, at the house of Henry B.
and was taught by Miss Olive HALL, now Mrs. James PIERCE.
In Milton village some months later Enos C. DICKSON, now
a respected citizen of the town of Harmony, taught a term of
school at the house of Joseph GOODRICH. The first was
a private school, and the latter was a public school.
- The first birth in the town was that
of Daniel SMITH, son of Daniel F. and Eliza
Feb. 24, 1839. He died at the age of five years. The first birth
in the village was that of David L., son of Orrin SPRAGUE,
April 23, 1840.
- The first death in the town was that
of [Sarah] Jane BOWERS, daughter of Andrew
- and Hannah BOWERS, Sept. 14,
1838. The third death, Mrs. Diana WATERMAN, wife of Hezekiah
WATERMAN, who died Nov. 5, 1839, and was buried in Milton
Cemetery, the first there interred.
- The first marriage was that of James
MURRAY and Margaret McEWAN, Jan. 1,
- No building was erected in the village
of Milton in 1839 save those mentioned, but in
- 1840 a building was erected by Mr.
GOODRICH, and occupied by Mr. EGGLESTON as a blacksmith
shop. Mr. BASSETT, a carpenter, erected a building for
himself near the northeast corner of the square, while Jacob
DAVIS built at the northeast corner of the square.
- For some cause there was no conveyance
made by Mr. GOODRICH to either of
- these men for several years after their
settlement. The first conveyance was to SPRAGUE; the second
was to DAVIS, March 14, 1844; the third to John CHITTIL,
Feb. 13, 1846. Mr. CHITTIL soon afterward erected a store
building, and was the third person to engage in mercantile trade.
During this eyar James L. QUIRK, who for a time had been
engaged in tailoring, added a few groceries in connection, purchased
a lot and erected a building.
- Slowly the village began to form around
the square laid out by Mr. GOODRICH. In
- the first ten years he made about fifteen
or twenty conveyances of lots, principally on the north and west
sides of the square. In the fall of 1844 John ALEXANDER
came to Milton bringing with him a small stock of goods. Renting
a room in the house of Peter McEWAN he opened the second
store in Milton, Jan. 29, 1845. Alexander PAUL purchased
a lot of McEWAN fronting the park, on which he erected
a store building, into which Mr. ALEXANDER moved his stock
of goods. A large granary was subsequently erected by Mr. ALEXANDER
for the storage of grain taken in exchange for merchandise. At
certain seasons of the year he shipped the grain to Milwaukee
by teams, which, returning, brought loads of general merchandise.
The second building erected fronting the park on the southeast
corner was built by Asa WEAVER as a dwelling house. The
Congregational Church was the third on the south. About 1846
Peter McEWAN donated a lot opposite the park to the Congregational
Church, and from time to time he sold other lots from off his
tract, the northeast quarter of section 34. Thus the village
has spread out until at present writing (July, 1889) it covers
an area of about 160 acres. It has never been incorporated, but
now contains about 1,000 inhabitants, and is represented by the
various lines of business necessary to supply the wants of the
community. Religiously, the Congregational, Methodist Episcopal
and Sevent Day Baptists are represented, the latter greatly preoponderating.
The first to commence the proclamation of the gospel, it has
held the lead, and is represented by Milton College, an educational
institution which has sent forth a large number of men and women,
who have become noted in church and State.
- In 1852 the present Chicago, Milwaukee
and St. Paul Railroad was built through the
- place, and shortly afterward a small
protion of the village lying on either side of the road, was
platted. All the remainder has been sold by meters and bounds
without being platted.
- Milton Junction, lying one mile west,
owes its existence to the building of the Chicago
- & Northwestern Railroad, which
crosses the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad at this
point. The road was built through here in 1858, when G. W. MATTHEWS
erected a hotel at the crossing of the two roads on the site
of the present MORGAN House. The village has since had
a slow but steady growth, and to-day numbering about 1,000 inhabitants,
presents a very neat and attractive appearance. Its business
men seem to be thriving, with almost every class of business
represented. There are three churches in the village, and its
public schools compare favorably with any in the county. The
Milton Junction News is a live local paper, and is published
- The town of Milton, including its two
villages is well represented in the biographical
- department of this work.
- The Seventh Day Baptist Church of Milton
was organized Nov. 12, 1840, by the
- adoption of articles of faith and a
constitution, both of which were very simple in form, concise
and comprehensive. Previous meetings had been held for the purpose
of studying the Word of God, the first as early as March 9, 1839,
in the house of Joseph GOODRICH, five days after the arrival
of Mr. GOODRICH and his family in this county, which was
the first white family that settled in Milton.
- The church was organized with sixty
members, who for a long time worshipped in the
- house of Henry B. CRANDALL,
who is still living at Edgerton, and is over ninety years of
age. Subsequently the place of worship was changed to the house
of Mr. GOODRICH, and afterwards to the old Academy. In
1852 a large and commodious church edifice was erected, which
was twice afterwards enlarged, the original building and its
additions costing $3,000. This building was erected upon two
lots donated by Mr. Joseph GOODRICH. At a meeting of the
church and society held Feb. 5, 1882, it was voted to erect a
new house of worship on the site of the old one, which was done
at a cost of nearly $7,000, and completed in March, 1883, and
dedicated Oct. 15, 1883, when arrangements had been completed
for liquidating all indebtedness incurred in its erection. It
is a beautiful building, Gothic in its general design, the admiration
of the beholder. Sabbath-school rooms and auditorium are all
on the same floor. Additions have been made to the membership,
sometimes at revival seasons, but more recently without what
are termed "protracted meetings." 346 individuals having
been baptized into its membersip from the beginning, seventy-nine
under the labors of its present pastor; 423 have been dismissed
by letter to form other churches or to unite with those already
formed, about 100 of these united with the Seventh Day Baptist
Church at Milton Junction at the time and since the latter's
organization. The church has assisted in the establishment of
eleven other churches in this State, Minnesota, Illinois and
Dakota. This has been effected by the dismission of members for
that purpose and by contributions of money to aid in organizing
and building up these weaker societies. Thus it will be seen
that the church has been a center from which has radiated other
centers of Christian power and influence. It is largely through
the influence of this church that no license has ever been granted
in the town of Milton for the sale of intoxicants.
- The following is a list of the pastors
from 1841 to the present year: 1841-45, Rev.
- Stillman COON; 1846-1850, Rev.
Zuriel CAMPBELL; 1850-56, Rev. Varnum HULL; 1856-59,
Rev. William C. WHITFORD, D.D.; 1859-64, Rev. O. P. HULL;
1864-71, Rev. D. E. MAXSON, D.D.; 1871-84, Rev. C. S.
ROGERS; 1874-76, supplied by the Rev. J. C. ROGERS;
1876-89, Rev. Elston M. DUNN, present incumbent.
- The present membership is 213. It would
be much larger numerically but for repeated
- successful efforts recently to erase
the names of all whose whereabouts cannot be ascertained or who
have abandoned their faith and practice. The church has always
maintained a flourishing Sunday-school; its present superintendent
is S. B. SAUNDERS, cashier of the bank. Mr. SAUNDERS
is also conducting a mission work at Rock River, supplying them
with preaching each Sabbath, enlisting young men who expect to
enter the ministry in this work, and when they cannot be procured
Mr. SAUNDERS talks to them himself, his congregations
varying from twenty-five to sixty. This mission work is performed
under the auspices of the Milton Church, which has a missionary
committee of nine persons, elected by the church annually, whose
duty it is to work in and outside of the society as opportunity
may offer. This committee holds its meetings monthly. One of
their number, a female member of the church, born on heathen
soil, employs most of her time in this work, and is remunerated
by the voluntary contributions of the church. The church is doing
other missionary work on the first day of the week, organizing
and conducting Sunday-schools and supplying destitute neighborhoods
- The Methodist Episcopal Church of Milton,
Wis., was organized in the fall of 1846
- by Rev. Matthew BENNETT, with
a membership of nine, viz.: Abraham BULLIS and wife, William
P. IND and wife, Jacob BOWERS, Mrs. D. D. SOWLES,
Miss C. C. ATHERTON, now Mrs. William McEWAN, and
a local preacher, Rev. A. WARREN and his wife. Previous
to this organization, meetings were held from time to time by
preachers sent by the Illinois Conference. As early as 1837,
Rev. Jesse HALSTEAD preached to the settlers. He was followed
by Rev. C. D. PILLSBURY, Rev. HODGES and Father
McKAY. The first services of the society were held in
the old stone school-house. In January, 1854, steps were taken
to erect a church which was completed in the fall of the same
- Messrs. Abraham BULLIS, William
P. IND, Jacob BOWERS, Leander
and Charles M. DRAKE constituted the board of trustees.
Messrs. P. G. McCOMBER, Joel WOOD and David WALSH
were afterward added to the board. The church was a frame building
with a stone basement, with a seating capacity of 225 and cost
$1,500. The lot upon which it was erected was the gift of Mr.
Peter McEWAN. The church was enlarged and repaired at
a cost of $2,4000 under the pastorate of Rev. D. L. BARROWS,
and is now a beautiful house of worship, carpeted throughout,
with elegant seats and pulpit furniture.
- The Milton Junction Methodist Episcopal
Church was organized and a church erected
- in the year 1867 under the pastorate
of Rev. A. A. HOSKIN, at a cost of $2,000. It was built
originally as a Methodist church with the privilege of being
used by other denominations, when not occupied. For several years
the church was closed, until in 1883 Rev. D. L. BARROWS
began services, since which time they have regularly continued.
The house was handsomely decorated in 1888 and otherwise improved
under Rev. W. B. ROBINSON.
- There is now a good congregation and
- NOTE - William McEWAN claims that S. D. and
Daniel BUTTS were here in
- 1836, and that Nathan STORRS
came in 1838. When SPRAGUE came he had two span of horses
and his tools. He did not represent to Mr. McEWAN that
he was sent out by GOODRICH. The first religious services,
he claims were held by the Rev. Mr. HALSTEAD.