Rock County, Wisconsin

History of Union Township

Site Coordinator: Lori Niemuth

From: Wisconsin Gazetteer

by John Warren Hunt

©1853 Beriah Brown, Printer, Madison

p. 220

Courtesy of Lori

UNION, Town, in county of Rock, being town 4 N., of range 10 E.; centrally
located, 16 miles northwest from Janesville. Population in 1850 was 1,650. It has 9 school districts.

From: A New Complete Gazetteer of the United States

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

©1854 Lippincott, Grambo & Co. , Philadelphia

p. 1174

Courtesy of Kathy Lenerz

UNION, a post-township forming the N. W. extremity of Rock co., Wisconsin. Pop., 1050.

From: Combination Atlas Map of Rock County, Wisconsin

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

p. 74

Courtesy of Lori

The earliest settlers in this town were Ira JONES, Stephen JONES, Boyd
PHELPS, Charles McMILLEN, Hiram GRIFFITH, John SAYLES, Erastus QUIVY, Washington HIGDAY, Samuel LEWIS, Jacob WEST, John F. BAKER, Levi LEONARD, and Willis T. BUNTON. The town is pretty evenly divided between timber and prairie; the face of the country is generally rolling, but not bluffy or broken. Evansville is the only village in the township located on the railroad, it furnishes a convenient market for the farmers of the surrounding country. There is a considerable amount of tobacco grown in this town. The farmers are generally in a prosperous condition, with their farms under good improvement and cultivation. The church and school interests of the town are zealously looked after. The buildings are good, and a sufficient number of them to well accomodate the demands of the citizens.

From: The Citizen-Review

©January 10, 1887

column 4, p. 3

Courtesy of Ruth Ann Montgomery

About 40 years ago, Mr. Geo. W. ALLEN, of La Porte, Ind., employed Mr.
Christopher McCLURE, to travel in this western country to select and purchase Government lands. Among the Purchased he made was the grove of timber North-West of Evansville, and most of the prairie lying adjacent thereto. After keeping this land a few years, and the country not settling as fast as he expected, and not increasing in value very rapidly, and in order to get a settlement started, Mr. ALLEN proposed to exchange a portion of this land for property in La Porte county.
In the month of June, 1839, a company of men consisting of Erastus QUIVEY,
William QUIVEY, Byron CADWALLADER, Stephen KINGSBURY, Hiram GRIFFITH, John GRIFFITH, Boyd PHELPS, Stephen JONES, all of La Porte, after obtaining what information they could about the location of the Grove, started west to examine the land with a view of exchange of property and settlement.
After getting some distance west of Chicago, Hiram GRIFFITH and his father
separated from the rest of the party and went to Rock Grove in Illinois, to visit some friends, with the understanding that they should join each other at the Grove. After having completed their visit the party came on and crossed Rock River at Janesville on a ferry boat. They followed the road leading to Madison till they came to where the Ball Tavern was afterwards built, when they left the road and struck out through the grass making, as they supposed, the first wagon track from the Ball Tavern, at least, there was no perceptible signs of a wagon having preceded them.
They crossed Allens Creek near where the grist mill now stands, climbing, as they
said, a steep bank on the west side. After beating round on the North side of the Grove, they reached a spring of water on the farm now owned by Mr. BUTTZ. By this spring they made their camp and commenced the labor of tracing section lines and otherwise examining the land.
After spending a few days in this way they concluded to visit Madison. The old
State House was just in process of construction; the stone were lying upon the ground and workmen were engaged in dressing them preparatory to the erection of the building.
Mr. GRIFFITH had not yet made his appearance, but was daily expected, so
they wrote with a piece of chalk on the end board of their wagon "Gone to Madison, will be back tomorrow," and left it leaning against a tree near the smoldering embers of their camp fire.

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


p. 1023

Courtesy of Carol

Union, the northwestern town in the county, was organized by an act of Legislature
approved February 14, 1842, and at that time included what is now Union, Porter and the north half of Magnolia. Its present limits are identical with those of township 4 north, of range 10 east. The earliest settlers were Ira and Stephen JONES, Boyd PHELPS, Charles McMILLAN, Hiram GRIFFITH, John SAYLES, Erastus QUINCY, Washington HIGDAY, Samuel LEWIS, Jacob WEST, John T. BAKER, Levi LEONARD and Willis T. BUNTON.
Evansville, in the south part of the town of Union, on the Chicago, St. Paul &
Milwaukee line of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway, twenty-two miles south of Madison and sixteen miles northwest of Janesville, was incorporated as a village in 1867. The first settler on what is now the village plat, was Amos KIRKPATRICK, in 1842. Wilbur POTTER came about the same time and started a little chair factory. Henry and Lewis SPENCER arrived a little later and erected the first frame dwelling. Up to 1848 the principal center of business between Janesville and Madison was at the village of Union, three miles north of the present site of Evansville. In that year, William WINSTON and C. R. BENT built and opened the first store at this point, which at that date had neither name nor post-office. The post-office was established in 1849 under its present name. Jacob WEST had the first contract for carrying the mail, and his son, James R. WEST, then twelve years old, carried it on horseback. The first postmaster was Curtis R. BENT. The village was platted in 1855. The first school was taught in a log school house by Levi LEONARD. The old seminary building was erected in 1855 and the graded school building in 1868-69. The bank of Evansville was organized as the First National Bank of Evansville, in 1870. It surrendered its charter in 1875 and was reorganized under the State law and soon afterward changed hands. The capital is $50,000, Lloyd T. PULLEN is president and George L. PULLEN cashier. Evansville is fast gaining that prominence as a manufacturing center, which its location and the liberal policy of its citizens justly entitle it to. Among the principal industries are a large pump and wind-mill factory, a carriage and wagon manufactory, a tack factory, a creamery and flourmill. There are five churches, two good graded schools and a public hall. Two weekly newspapers, the Enterprise and the Review, are ably edited. The population is 1,700.


History of Union Township

From: Ruth Ann Montgomery's History of Evansville website


(Published in the Evansville Review, this is truly a must-read!!)

©2002-2006 ALHN-Rock Co., WI

Site Coordinator: Lori Niemuth