This town contains a portion of four congressional townships, one half of township 11, in range 3 west; also six sections in township 11, in range 4 west; and sixteen full sections and five fractional sections, in township 10, in range 4 west.
The surface of Clayton is very broken. The valleys are well supplied with springs which gush forth in all their crystal purity, giving an abundant supply of water for both stock and domestic purposes. Upon the ridges there have been improved some very good farms. Here the sub-soil is clay and is well adapted to the growing of corn, wheat and oats. In the valleys the soil is of a black loam, made from the decay of vegetable matter, a portion of which has been washed from the higher and more uneven lands. Wheat does not do well on this land as it grows too rank and is apt to lodge before it ripens.
The Kickapoo river which washes a greater portion of the western border of the town, runs through a sandy soil, well adapted to small grain and corn culture. This valley, however, requires much more fertilizing than does the ridges and other valleys of the towns. The timber of Clayton is principally oak, maple, with some ash, elm and basswood. The oak, however, is the species upon which the farmer and business man depend. There are large amounts of railroad ties cut and sent to market from out these forests. This town is also noted for the large number of hoop poles which are cut and shipped to various markets.
This town, not unlike the other portions of Crawford county, is well supplied with never failing streams, which make it a desirable place for stock business. The main water course is the Kickapoo river, which enters Clayton on the northern line near the northeast corner of section 19, in township 11, of range 3 west, running in a southwesterly course through sections 19 and 30, in township 11, range 3 west and through sections 25, 35 and 36 of the same township, in range 4 west; also through sections 2 and 11, of township 10, range 4 west, leaving the town from section 34.
Soldier's Grove creek takes its rise on section 4, in township 10, of range 3 west, and passes through sections 31 and 32, emptying into the Kickapoo river, on section 30, in township 11, of range 3 west.
Janes creek heads on section 23, in township 11, of range 4 west and passes through sections 23 and 24, uniting with the Kickapoo river on section 30, in township 11, of range 4 west.
Trout Run has its source on section 26, passing through sections 27, 28, 21, 20, 29 and unites with the Kickapoo river on section 30, in town 11, of range 3 west.
Smith creek takes its rise on section 6, of township 11, in range 3 west and passes through sections 1 and 11, of township 10, in range 4 west, forming a junction with the Kickapoo river on section 11.
Bear creek has source on section 8, of township 10, in range 3 west, passing through sections 17, 18 and 7 of township 10, in range 3 west, and sections 12 and 11, in township 10, of range 4 west.
Little Sand creek heads on section 26, township 10, range 3, and unites with the Kickapoo river on section 24, township 10, range 4 west.
Big Sand creek heads on section 20, township 10, range 3 west, and passes through sections 20 and 19, of township 10, range 3 west, and sections 25, 26, 36, 35, leaving the town from section 34, township 10, range 4 west. The eastern portion of the town of Clayton is well supplied with never failing cold spring brooks, which are utilized for various purposes.
The first to effect settlement in this part of Crawford county, was Simeon Tyler, who came in 1850. He was a native of New York; he "squatted" on section 28, town 10, range 4 west, where O. P. Rounds was living in 1883. The next to locate was a Mr. Marsten, who "squatted" on section 19, town 11, range 3, west in 1852. Elias Bell came the same year, and located in the south part of the town. Another settler of 1852, was L. B. Smith.
During 1853, among the number who came in for settlement, were J. E. Campbell, who in 1884 was living at Prairie du Chien; John Jones who settled on section 30, town 11, range 4 west; John Janes, who entered eighty acres on section 11, town 11, range 4 west; Benjamin Hill took up a claim in the fall of 1852, or spring of 1853, on section 19. Other settlers of 1853 were Christopher Christopherson, who settled on section 2, town 10, range 4 west. Thomas Hooverson on section 35, town 11, range 4 west. Andrew Bottlerson on section 2, town 10, range 4 west.
In 1854, David Smith located on section 11, town 10, range 4 west. He died in 1866. Among others who came that year, were the following: Joseph Martin, who settled on section 11, town 10, range 3, west, who moved to Dakota in 1875; Robert Welch, John Murphy, Mathew Ryan, Henry Murphy, Morris Murphy, David Mook, David Black, J. Glover, Peter Hoffman, David Underwood, Marwood Houndsell and B. Davenport.
Mr. Patridge, who afterward became nationally known in connection with the affair of the capture of Jeff Davis, settled in 1854 or 1855 on section 32, town 11, range 3 west. In 1884, he was living in Iowa. Richard Brannan came the same time locating on section 30, town 11, range 3 west. George and Samuel Briggs also located in 1854, on section 30, town 11, range 3 west. George A. Smith was another who settled in 1854, he claimed 160 acres from parts of sections 20, 29, and 30 of town 11, range 3 west. In 1884 he was a merchant, doing business at Soldier's Grove. C. W. Baker was another pioneer of the town, coming in 1854. He purchased the "squatter's claims" taken up by Mr. Marsten.
In 1856, Joseph Brightman came in and entered eighty acres of land on section 31, town 11, range 3 west, where the village of Soldier's Grove now stands.
Nathaniel Woodard came the same year and entered 320 acres on section 35, town 11, range 3 west. During that year Samuel Clark claimed forty acres on section 29, town 11, range 3 west.
William Bounds came in at about the same time and entered 80 acres of land on section 3, town 11, range 3 west; also Robert Briggs who claimed land on section 24, town 11, range 4, west, came the same season. Other settlers of 1856 were: George W. Barlow, who took land on section 1, town 10, range 4; Ralph Barker who settled on section 22, of the same town and range; C. P. Bennett, section 31, town 11, range 4; Dennis Bell, who took 120 acres on section 34, town 10, range 4, west.
The following year, 1857, came S. S. Brown, who entered eighty acres on section 27, town 10, range 4 west; Joseph and Isaac Evans came the same year and entered a farm together on section 14, town 10, range 4.
During 1858, the settlement commenced in earnest and the tide of emigration has rapidly increased until now (1884) the larger part of the land that is tillable is already occupied and improved by an industrious class of people, a large per cent, of which are of Irish descent, with some Norwegians, and a few Americans who came from the State of New York.
Simeon Tyler, the first settler of the town, erected the first house, without anyone to aid him. It was a log building 10x14 feet, on section 28, in town 10, of range 4, west.
Joseph Brightman, who, in 1884, is still a resident of the town, erected in 1856, the first frame house and barn, where Soldier's Grove is now situated.
Weddings were not common in the early settlement of this town. The good people witnessed no such event until the latter part of 1859, when Samuel Mitchell and Miss Ida Smith were united in marriage, by Joseph Evans, who was then a justice of the peace.
The first birth was that of Benjamin Hill, Jr., which occured in the summer of 1852.
The deaths were not numerous, although occuring early in the settlement of the town, the first being Simeon Tyler, the first settler who died in 1853. His wife followed him to the grave, in about two weeks. The death and burial of James Brannan is of historical importance enough to be given in this connection. He died in 1856, in the northern part of the town, near the banks of the Kickapoo river. His remains were taken up the river in a canoe and the mourners and friends followed in skiffs and other boats, making a funeral cortege of three boats, which meandered their way around up this remarkably crooked stream to Readstown in Vernon county, where the body was interred.
The first mill within the town was a water saw mill, erected in 1856, by Joseph Brightman, near the present location of Soldier's Grove. In 1884, A. Peterson owned this mill power and another mill upon it.
The earliest religious services held in the town of Clayton were held at the house of David Smith in 1856.
The first school was taught by Miss Frank Carter, in the barn of J. H. Brightman. After teaching the school two weeks, she was compelled to resign on account of sickness, when Mary Brightman --- afterwards Mrs. M. R. Tate --- undertook to finish the term, being at the time but thirteen years of age.
The first Fourth of July celebration was held at Bell Centre, in 1856, and was attended by most of the people of the town.
The first cemetery in Clayton, was the one known as the "Yankee Town Cemetery." This was laid out in 1861, and the first burial therein, was Mrs. Sarah Bennett, wife of C. P. Bennett.
The first orchard set out was by C. W. Baker, in 1856, who, in 1884, was still spared to eat of the fruit of his own planting and culture.
The first election in Clayton was held on the 7th day of April, 1857, at the house of David Smith, who then resided on section 1, of town 11, in range 4, west.
Clayton was organized in the spring of 1857, and the first town meeting for the election of officers was held at David Smith's, April 7, of that year, when the following were elected: Peter Hoffman, chairman; David Smith and D. Bell, side board; G. Morgan, clerk; Peter Hoffman, treasurer; Isaac Evans, assessor. The number of votes polled at the election were forty-two.
The officers for 1883, were: A. Peterson chairman; C. P. Sessman and John Severson, side board; C. W. Baker, treasurer; N. O. Peterson, clerk; William Barney, assessor; J. H. Brightman, John L. Stowell, justices of the peace; Daniel Ryan, Eben Hartly, Stephen S. Brown, constables. Mr. Ryan failing to serve, Peter Nelson was appointed to fill his place.
Much interest has always been manifested in school matters in Clayton, and its educational advantages have been fully up to the other towns of the county. In 1884, there were fifteen school buildings within the towns. The school population at this time was 855, the value placed on all school property at that date was $2955. The following gives the number of pupils in each district Jan. 1, 1884: No. 1, 55; No. 2, 29; No. 3, 30; No. 4, 126; No. 5, 85; No. 6, 40; No. 7, 75; No. 8, 50; No. 10, 38; No. 12, 62; No. 13, 36; No. 14, 63; No. 15, 59; joint district No. 9, 15; joint district No. 11, 59.
In 1884, the town of Clayton contained five postoffices, established and located as follows: Knapp Creek, on section 12, of township 10, range 3, was established in 1869. The first postmaster was Daniel Adney, who was still serving in 1884.
North Clayton is located on section 34, it was established about 1870.
St. Phillips is located on section 16; this was established after the civil war.
Yankeetown postoffice is on section 1, established about 1858.
Soldier's Grove was made a postoffice in 1866. The first postmaster was Joseph H. Brightman, who was followed by Samuel Hutchins, and he by Atly Peterson, who is now (1884) still in office.
There are now (1884) four religious organizations within the town of Clayton --- the Catholic, Methodist, Disciples and United Brethren. The former had occasional services at a very early day. A house of worship was built in 1869, on section 22, township 10, range 3, west.
A society of the United Brethren sect was formed just after the rebellion closed; a log house was erected in which to worship, which was situated on section 26, township 11, range 3, west. This church bears the name "Mt. Zion." Rev. John Day, of the town of Scott, was the minister in charge in 1883.
About 1858, a Methodist Episcopal class was organized by Rev. Brakman, with David Gander as its leader. In 1884, that class numbered about thirty; they were then holding service once in two weeks at the school house at Soldier's Grove. The pastor stationed at Mt. Sterling had charge of the work.
No organization as a parish existed prior to 1873. Previous to that period the spiritual wants of the faithful, who now constitute this parish, were attended to by visiting friends from different sections of the surrounding country. The first priest who visited this section was Father Gaultier. He lived in Prairie du Chien, and was accustomed to make excursions, at regular intervals, through the different parts of Crawford county that required the services of a Catholic priest, he being the only one, at that time, in the county. His first visit was on July 6, 1857. The journeys were made, for the most part, on foot, and with great difficulty, through the dense woods and over the rough hills of Clayton town. Father Gaultier continued to visit Clayton for about two years, until 1859, and died a few years later in Prairie du Chien. His successor was Father O'Conor. During his attendance the little log church, begun under Father Gaultier near the site of the present structure, was finished. Father O'Conor resided at Rising Sun and paid his first visit to St. Philips in October, 1859. Towards the end of 1862 he was succeeded by Father Murphy, who also resided at Rising Sun. Under his administration nothing of importance took place. He was a great favorite with his people, and was a successful instrument in the conversion of a great many who entered the fold of the Catholic church during his attendance. A modest monument in St. Patrick's cemetery, at Seneca, will point out to many, to whom his kind features were familiar, the spot where he is buried.
The next to take charge of the congregation of St. Philip's, was Father Montague, in the beginning of 1868. He it was who first projected the erection of a new church. The idea of a new house of worship seemed to give a new impetus to the religious affairs of the mission, and the zeal of the scattered flock was quickened, about this time, by a visit from the bishop of the newly erected diocese of La Crosse, Rt. Rev. Michael Heiss, now Archbishop of Milwaukee. During his visit a committee of three prominent gentlemen of the congregation, Matthew Ryan, James Brady and Peter Kelly, all of Clayton, waited upon his lordship and interviewed him regarding the new undertaking and the further organization of a regular parish. The prelate sanctioned the project, promising, further, that he would send them a resident pastor provided they were able to give him the necessary support. With an enthusiasm worthy their desire they gave the required assurance, and never has the bishop or his honored successor had cause to regret his promise, and the hearty good will with which the entire congregation have from year to year made good the pledge of the zealous committee, testify to the spirit of unity that prevailed among the people and that the promise made to the bishop was not without foundation. Father Montague, during his short stay, prosecuted with no little enthusiasm the new undertaking, which was brought to a successful end in November, 1870, under the wise direction of his successor, Father Beau, seconded by the energetic co-operation of the committee and people; the happy event was celebrated by a mission conducted by the Benedictine Fathers of Chicago. In August, 1872, the new church was dedicated by Bishop Heiss, assisted by Fathers Vexweist and Bernard.
Father Beau, besides completing the church edifice, erected a very neat little pastor's residence.
Heretofore, St. Philip's congregation received only the attendance of visiting priests. The last of these was Father Beau, who was succeeded in February, 1872, by Rev. Father Wendelin Bernard, the first resident pastor. During his pastorate Father Bernard donated to the new church a number of utensils and sacred vessels required for divine service. He presided over the parish one year and was succeeded in February, 1873, by Rev. R. V. Steinburg. Father Steinburg was in turn succeeded by Rev. Patrick Walsh, in June, 1875, who was again succeeded by Rev. John Conroy, in May, 1876. Nothing of particular note occurred during the administration of the latter three gentlemen, the affairs of the parish running smoothly on, with satisfaction to all, as the result of a solid and thorough organization. Father Conroy died on Feb. 12, 1877, and is buried in the churchyard near the front entrance to the church. The prostrate forms of the worshipers at St. Philip's, on each succeeding Sunday at his grave, where they stop to offer a prayer, attest the high esteem and veneration which his noble and saintly qualities gained for him, and the tender affection of the people who thus piously regard his memory.
Father Conroy's successor was Rev. Bonavintun De Gory. Father De Gory belonged to the order of Capuchin Friars, in his native country, Holland, but being in delicate health, was permitted, by his superiors, to come to this country over thirty years ago. His missionary labors extended throughout the State of Wisconsin, he having belonged successively to the dioceses of Milwaukee, Green Bay and La Crosse. He was possessed of a great zeal for the erection of churches and other buildings in the interest of religion and a facility for acquiring the necessary funds and other assistance, as well as the good will and co-operation of the people was always at his command, and insured success from the beginning. It is said that he erected between forty and fifty churches in this State; for, though old and longing for the peace of a quiet and retired life again, did his customary zeal in this regard forsake not him while at St. Philip's. Understanding full well that the safety of religion, no less than the welfare of society demand that youth be instructed in religion and the principles of Christian morality instilled in their minds, with heroic self-sacrifice and apostolic zeal, he devoted his time, labor and private property to the erection of a beautiful frame school house, which he presented to the congregation of St. Philips, in 1881. The school known as St. Francis Parochial School, was first in charge of the Sisters of Mercy, of Fond du Lac, but laterly has been conducted by the Sisters of St. Francis, of Silver Lake. The building is a two-story cottage-roof, with a capacity for eighty pupils on the ground floor, the second floor being occupied by the Sisters apartments.
Father DeGory also erected two mission Churches, St. Patricks, Scott town, Crawford county, and St. Peters, Richland county, both being attended from St. Philips. On July 8, 1883, Father DeGory bade his sorrowing congregation adieu and a few days later left for New Jersey to visit friends. On August 1, he set sail for Europe, visiting the home of his youth, Haarlem, Holland, traveling the greater part of the continent, and spending two months in Rome, when he was accorded an audience with the Holy Father in November. He again returned to Holland, and now, from the quiet and solitude of his convent home looks back over a life of toil and untiring exertion, devotion and self-denial in the interest of his fellow men, happy in the reflection that his life was spent for their welfare, and the consciousness that the love and prayers and affections of his children follow in his seclusion.
One week after the departure of Father DeGory, his place was occupied by Rev. J. L. Fitzpatrick, the present incumbent of St. Philip's parish. Father Fitzpatrick was born in Jacksonville, Chickasaw Co., Iowa, August 25, 1858. He attended the district schools of the neighborhood until the age of fifteen when he went to Milwaukee and became a student at St. Francis' Seminary. Here he remained three years, studying the classics, English and mathematics. In June 1876, he left St. Francis and in the following September was numbered among the students of St. Josephs college Dubuque. He remained at St. Josephs two years, the first being devoted to a continuation of his former studies, the second being occupied in the study of philosophy. He then rested from his studies for one year, remaining at home, his time being occupied principally with a review of his previous studies. In September 1879, he was again back at St. Francis' Seminary with his old classmates where he prosecuted with them the study of philosophy for another year. He was now ready for the finishing study in preparation for the priesthood; this he began in September, 1880, and finished in June 1883; the course occupying three years. On July 2, 1883, he was ordained priest by Rt. Rev. Killian Flasch, at Big River, Pearce Co., Wis. Two weeks later, in obedience to his bishop, he came to St. Philips, in charge of which he has since remained. Father Fitzpatrick is the son of Jeremiah Fitzpatrick, and his wife, Catherine Collins, both living in Jacksonville, Iowa. He is the second youngest of ten children, seven of whom are now living. Their names are --- John and Timothy, both dead; Jeremiah, living in New Mexico; Ellen, died in infancy; Daniel, now in Virginia City, Nev.; Ellen, Clayton, Crawford Co., Wis., Mary, now Mrs. T. Burck, Sacramento, Cal.; Patrick F., Jacksonville, Iowa, and Michael J. E. now attending the College of the Sacred Heart, Prairie du Chien.
Adjoining the church premises is the St. Philips' cemetery. It was organized in 1857, the first person buried therein being Philip Murphy, after whom the church was named. Mr. Murphy was born in the county Wexford, Ireland, and came to this country in 1852. He resided a few months in Chicago, removing to Rock Co., Wis., in the vicinity of Beloit, where he married Jane Cavanaugh. In 1856 he came to Clayton. He died July 4, 1857. He left two sons, now living in Minnesota. Some years later, his widow married Mr. Michael Gorman, of Clayton, where she still resides. Two of Mr. Murphy's sisters, Mrs. Mathew Ryan and Mrs. Miles Dorren, are living in St. Philips' parish, and one, Mrs. Mathew Ryan, of Sylvan, Richland county, in St. Peters'.
Among the earliest members of St. Philips' parish are to be mentioned: James Brady, Mathew Ryan of Clayton, Miles Dorren, Michael McCormick, P. McCormick, Robert Welsh, M. Garrity, Mrs. Eichorn, Richard Rowe, John Kelly, Terence Gaffany, Peter Gaffany, James Garrity, John Brady, Terence Brady, Philip Murphy, nearly all of whom are yet living, staunch supporters of the parish which they helped organize, and whose steady growth they witnessed from its infancy and favored in every possible manner.
The Disciple Church was organized in 1870 by Rev's. Buraker and Sheffield, with a membership of thirteen, who held services at the Yankeetown school house. The first officers were Amos Braman and Fletcher Canfield. The first pastor was Jacob Reinhart. In 1884 this Church numbered eighteen. At one time it numbered thirty-eight, but was decreased by death and removals.
A well conducted Sunday school has always been a strengthening arm to this Church.
The oldest cemetery in the town of Clayton is located at what is known as "Yankeetown," below Soldier's Grove a few miles. This was laid out in 1861. In 1884 the town contained the following burying grounds: One at the Catholic church; one on section 34, town 11, range 3 west, called "Winns;" one known as the "Sugar Grove cemetery," on section 24, town 11, range 3 west, which was the most used and best cared for of any in the town; another, "Soldier's Grove burying ground," on section 25, town 11, range 4 west.
In 1882 J. L. Nowlin built a steam saw mill provided with a circular saw, on section 33, town 11, range 3. He soon sold to Joseph A. Barto, who engaged extensively in the manufacture of hard and soft wood lumber and railroad ties. This mill had a capacity of 10,000 feet of lumber and 200 ties per day.
In the summer of 1855 Mr. Patrick Padden and his three children, Mary, Edward and James (the oldest being about eight years of age), were in the forest in search of "sang" (ginseng root), which grew in great quantities throughout the valleys and hill sides, at an early day, and became a great source of revenue to the inhabitants. In their search the children got away some distance from their father and were lost. As soon as they were missed by the father the alarm was at once given about the settlement, all of which turned out in pursuit of the little wanderers. The calls for "Mary! Mary!" who was the eldest child, all seemed in vain, as no answer came back, save the hollow echo of the poor father's cry. The curtains of night were drawn in by nature and the search was continued with but little hopes of finding them alive, as the forests were alive with various wild animals, including wolves and bears.
The following morning the company was increased by men from Vernon county, near Liberty Pole, making in all about thirty, nearly all of whom had guns with them. An arrangement was made by which no one should fire his gun unless he found the children, and then this signal was to be repeated all along the line that all might know the glad tidings. Fortunately the dog had accompanied the children, but in his travels he crossed the track of a pole cat and for the time being seemed to think more of the skunk than of his precious charge, the children. Whether the dog was a complete conqueror or not, he succeeded in getting well perfumed, and then returned home. By quite an effort the party tracked the dog's foot prints to the point where he intercepted the path of the skunk, and from that point were able to mark the wanderings of the lost children by an occasional stalk of spikenard, which they had broken down.
Long before the morning sun had made crimson the eastern sky, the party in search had divided off into squads throughout a radius of many miles; and notwithstanding the solemnity of the occasion, now and then laughter was provoked by the constantly repeated words of Mr. Padden, who in his distress would say: "Well! well! well! phwat shall I do? The bears will ate 'em up, the bears will surely ate 'em up!" Pwhat shall I do? The bears will ate 'em up!" Sometime during the second day the children were found near Knapp creek, five miles away, having cried themselves into a half-wild state and were feasting on blackberries and seemed more like Indian children than those of a civilized race. To any one acquainted with the rough surface of the land in this part of the State, and a knowledge of the fact that wild beasts roamed at will through these same valleys, where had passed the feet of these young and helpless children, it will seem almost a miraculous deliverance from the jaws of death.
This thriving little mart, which in 1884 contained about 300 people, is situated on section 31, town 11, range 3. The first building erected in the place was by J. H. Brightman, in 1856. He built a saw mill at this point about the same date, these being the only buildings for a number of years. In 1866, the village was laid out by Messrs. Netwick and Sime. Ten years later the grounds were legally platted. They at first consisted of four blocks, but a little later three blocks additional were platted by Mr. Severson.
The first mill was put in operation in 1856 by Mr. Brightman.
The first store was operated by Samuel Hutchins in 1866.
A flouring mill was built in 1875 by T. N. Sime, which was propelled by water power derived from the Kickapoo river, upon the banks of which the village stands.
The first hardware dealer was W. H. Smith who began business in 1875.
The first hotel was opened by Samuel Hutchins in 1866.
The first school was taught by Mrs. M. R. Tate (formerly Miss Brightman).
The first school building was erected in 1857. This building was 24x30 feet and cost $300.
In 1884 the business interests of this village were represented by the following firms: R. S. & F. W. Smith, drugs and groceries; George A. Smith, hardware; W. W. Tate, J. L. Nowlin, Ole Knuterson, Henry Davidson, general stock; H. M. Peterson, boots and shoes; George Baker & Co., harness and saddles; J. L. Nowlin, saw-mill; Sime & Mullikin, flouring mill; Loe, Foss & Son, wagon makers; Foss & Son, Cowan & Olson and E. Brimmer, blacksmiths; James Chambers, meat market; Charles Nebel, barrel hoop factory; James Dinsdale, physician and surgeon.
Soldier's Grove, I. O. O. F. Lodge No. 36, was organized in 1882, and the following officers chosen: James Dinsdale, N. G.; J. O. Davidson, V. G.; G. C. Baker, S.; William H. H. Smith, P. S.; S. Larson, T.; G. A. Smith, R. S. N. G. In 1883, the officers of the lodge were, J. O. Davidson, N. G.; J. F. Whittimore, V. G.; G. C. Baker, S.; William H. Smith, P. S.; S. Larson, T.; S. Fox, R. S. N. G.; R. L. Smith, L. S. N. G.; A. Peterson, W.; William H. Smith, C.; W. W. Bennett, R. S. D.; John Stowell, L. S. S.; T. M. Sime, I. G.; C. A. Nebel, O. G.; F. W. Smith, R. S. V. G.; C. M. Poff, Chaplain. At this date the lodge had a live membership of forty-seven, and was in a flourishing condition, having a fine hall well furnished.
Temple of Honor, No. 129, was organized, Feb. 21, 1878, by the following charter members and officers: J. F. Whittimore, V. C. T.; George C. Baker, W. V. T.; William E. Williams, Recorder; A. D. Smith, F. R.; C. W. Baker, Charles Brekke, T.; Frank Smith, U.; T. E. Hutchins, D. N.; Thomas Murphy, G.; H. Knuterson, S.; James Davidson, G. A. Smith and Theodore Allen.
This, in 1884, was a small collection of houses, though not a regularly platted village. However, considerable business interest was manifested by the few live business men who were then living there. This place is located on section 23, in town 11, of range 3 west, and was commenced in 1882, by H. E. King. A year later it contained a steam saw mill, owned and operated by J. D. Hunter, who was doing a large business in cutting lumber and railroad ties, and a blacksmith shop conducted by William Wallace.
The following named persons are representatives of the bone and sinew of Clayton town. Some are pioneer settlers, and others have been here but a few years, but they are all, individually and collectively, among the honored and respected citizens of the county:
Frank Brightman was born in Crawford Co., Wis., in 1851, and has resided in the county since. He owns a sawmill, with circular saw and water power, on section 34, town 10, which has a capacity of 3000 feet of hard wood lumber per day, but is run mostly on railroad ties. He also has 110 acres of land on sections 34, 35 and 36, town 10. He is now engaged in farming, milling, and keeping the books for W. W. Tate & Co., at Bell Centre. In 1876, Mr. Brightman was married to Margie C. Wood, who was born Oct. 24, 1857, in Crawford Co., Wis. They are the parents of three children --- Joseph G., Mary G. and an infant not as yet named. Mr. Brightman's father, Joseph H., was born April 7, 1818, in Pawtucket, R. I. He has now retired from business. He was a member of the 18th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and was discharged by reason of promotion to 2d lieutenant of company H., 37th regiment, Volunteer Infantry. He was the first town treasurer of the town of Utica, chairman of the town of Haney three years, and chairman of the county board one year.
Charles Wesley Baker was born in Broome Co., N. Y., Sept. 11, 1829, where he grew to manhood, receiving a common school education. In 1853 he removed to Crawford Co., Wis., settled in the town of Clayton, and purchased a squatter's claim to a farm of 160 acres on section 19, town 11, range 3, which he lost in 1856, not being able to prove his claim. The same year he purchased a farm of 120 acres on sections 31 and 32, town 11, where he now resides. Mr. Baker now owns 220 acres of rich land. Sept. 20, 1853, he was married to Laura A. Smith, who was born in Broome Co., N. Y., Aug. 13, 1835. They were the first family to settle in the town of Clayton. Mr. Baker was a member of the 1st United States sharp-shooters, known as Berdan sharp-shooters, and was engaged with McClellan, Burnside, Hooker and Meade. He was wounded by a gunshot passing through his right cheek into his throat. Mr. Baker has a stock farm, and owns some fine cattle of the Galloway breed, and is otherwise improving his grade of stock in all branches. Mr. Baker has been a member of the side board two years, and town treasurer for three years. It is said that he planted the first orchard in the township.
George A. Smith, one of the early settlers of Clayton, was born in Broome Co., N. Y., March 23, 1825. He received a common school education, and arrived at manhood in his native county, being engaged in farming until 1854, when he removed to Crawford Co., Wis., and entered 120 acres of land on sections 30, 20 and 29, town 11, which he now owns, and which he has increased to 200 acres. He also has a house and lot, and an acre of ground in Soldier's Grove. In 1879 he removed to Soldier's Grove and engaged in the hardware business, which he still conducts, carrying a stock of about $1,500. He was married in 1846 to Jane Edson, born in Broome Co., N. Y., Feb. 22, 1825. This union has been blessed with five children --- Helen, A. D., R. S., F. W. and M. E. In 1862 he enlisted in the 17th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, holding the position of drum major, and was discharged April 5, 1865. His father, Samuel M., was born in New Hampshire, in 1790, removing to Crawford county in 1860, returning to New York in 1862, where he died April 16, 1865. His mother, Betsy, was born in New Hampshire, and died in New York in 1857. Mrs. Smith's father, Guy Edson, was born in 1794, and when seventeen years of age, was coachman for John Adams, second President of the United States. He died in Crawford county, Oct. 18, 1883. Her mother, Rhoda, died in Vernon county in 1864.
Jacob Allen was born Dec. 23, 1838, in Perry Co., Ohio, where he remained about sixteen years. He then came west to Crawford Co., Wis., and settled in the town of Clayton. He was engaged in farming until 1882, when he embarked in the mercantile trade, and is carrying a general stock, consisting of dry goods, groceries and notions, in the village of Kingston. Mr. Allen owns a store building and residence combined, and five acres of land on section 23, town 10 north, of range 3 west. He was married, in 1865, to Nancy Kellogg, who was born in 1851, and by whom he had seven children --- John, Mary A., Sylvester, Harvey, Newell R., Carrie and James. Mrs. Allen departed this life in 1881.
J. J. Briggs, one of Clayton's young farmers, was born May 24, 1855, in Crawford Co., Wis., where he has lived ever since. He owns forty acres of land on section 16, town 10, range 4 west, where he now resides. In 1878 Mr. Briggs was united in marriage to Sarah A. Mook. Mr. and Mrs. Briggs have three children --- Eva A., Mary W. E. and Charles D. S. Mr. Briggs commenced life without anything, and now owns a small farm well improved.
David Mook passed his earlier life in Pennsylvania where he was born March 4, 1818. In 1827, his parents removed to Stark Co., Ohio, and there he arrived at manhood and remained until 1844, when he went to Allen Co., Ind., and remained there until 1855, when he again moved westward, locating this time in the town of Clayton, Crawford Co., Wis. He entered a farm of eighty acres on section 21, town 10, range 4 west, where he still resides. Mr. Mook was married Oct. 13, 1849, to Mary Correll, who was born in Allen Co., Ind., in 1833. Mr. and Mrs. Mook have six children --- David H., Sarah, Abram, Charles, Johanna and Ella. David married Martha Shanes. Sarah is the wife of Jesse Briggs, and Johanna married Henry Pinkham. Mrs. Mook's father, Abram Correll, was born Aug. 3, 1776, in Maryland, and came to Clayton, Crawford Co., Wis., in 1856, where he died Nov. 23, 1882, being 106 years, three months and twenty days old.
Chas. P. Bennett, a pioneer settler of this town was born in Alleghany Co., N. Y., Aug. 21, 1820, where he received a common school education and arrived at manhood. In 1842, Mr. Bennett commenced lumbering on the Alleghany river, and followed that vocation until 1856, when he removed with his family to Crawford Co., Wis., and entered a farm of eighty acres on section 11, town 10 north, of range 4 west, where he now lives. He also owns a farm of 120 acres on section 11, town 10, range 4 west, where he keeps and breeds some very fine specimens of thoroughbred Galloway cattle. On July 7, 1849, Mr. Bennett was married to Sarah Langdon, who was born Nov. 13, 1822, in Alleghany Co., N. Y. Mr. and Mrs. Bennett have seven children --- G. M., who was born in 1854; W. W., born Feb. 9, 1855; Deett, born in 1859; Fred, born in April, 1861; Arthur, born Sept. 14, 1863; Rexie, born Sept. 16, 1865, and Harvey, born in October, 1867. G. M. married Ellen Purington. W. W. is the husband of Nettie Montgomery and Deett selected for his wife Adelbert Mulikin. Mr. Bennett has been a member of the town board for three years.
Abraham Phillips was born in Orange Co., N. Y., Dec. 23, 1815. In 1837 he removed to Indiana, where he remained until 1842, removing to McHenry Co., Ill., where he remained six years. He then removed to Dodge Co., Wis., where he was engaged in farming for seven years. He then removed to McGregor, Iowa, where he remained two years, and in 1856 removed to the town of Marietta, and has resided in the county since. He is now a resident of Clayton and owns 160 acres on section 19, town 11. In 1838 Mr. Phillips was married to Lucy Barnard, by whom he had six children --- William, Nettie, Mary, Susan, Lucy and Hellena. Mrs. Phillips died in 1856, and in 1863 he married Julia Hale, by whom he has had four children --- Elijah and Elisha, twins; Luticia and Albert.
Philip Sheridan is a native of Ireland, born in 1830, and came to the United States in 1848. He worked as a common laborer in different places for a number of years, mostly along the Mississippi river, and the line of different railroads. In 1864 he came to Crawford county and bought a farm of forty acres on section 33, town 11, range 3 west, which he now owns. In 1847, Mr. Sheridan was married to Ellen Dolan, by whom he had three children --- Michael, John and Mary. Mrs. Sheridan died in 1877. Michael Sheridan, the oldest of the children, is a native of Massachusetts. He was born in Fillmore county, Dec. 4, 1853. He remained in his native place until 1857, when his parents removed to Wood Co., Ohio, and resided there ten years, thence to Crawford Co., Wis., and settled in the town of Clayton, on section 33. Michael is now owner of a farm of eighty acres on section 32, town 11, range 3 west, but is residing with his parents on the home farm.
J. L. Stowell, a native of Ashtabula Co., Ohio, was born June 13, 1831. When one year old his parents removed to Dupage Co., Ill., and were there during the Black Hawk war. In 1835, they removed to La Salle Co., Ill., and in 1857 to Crawford Co., Wis., settling in the town of Haney, where he purchased 170 acres of land. In 1879 he removed to the town of Clayton, purchased a farm of 160 acres on sections 22, 23 and 27, town 10, where he now resides, being engaged in farming, contracting and building. In 1853 he was married to Rosina Mullen, by whom he had four children --- Roselle, Arthur L., now married to Mary Parker, Jefferson S. and Calvin. Mrs. Stowell died in 1863. He was again married in 1866 to Julia Brown, who was born Jan. 3, 1846. Mr. Stowell was the superintendent of schools in the town of Haney, from 1859 to 1863, and held the office of justice of the peace and town clerk until 1878. He has been justice of the peace of the town of Clayton for three years, and during the winter months since 1859, has taught day school and music.
S. L. Brown, a native of Winchester Co., N. Y. was born May 14, 1805. In 1858 he removed to Clayton, Crawford Co., Wis., and purchased eighty acres of land on section 27, town 10, which he now owns. He was married in 1826, to Mary Hoyt. They are the parents of six children --- Nancy M., Elizabeth, Lydia, Julia E., Stephen and Samuel. In 1860, Mr. Brown engaged in the mercantile business in Bell county, and in 1861 was burned out, losing about $6,000, and leaving his family nothing.
David Gander was born Aug. 10, 1825, in Muskingum Co., Ohio, where he grew to manhood, and received a common school education. In 1860, he removed to Crawford Co., Wis., settling in the town of Clayton where he purchased 160 acres of land on section 33, town 11. He now owns forty acres of the original land, and forty acres on section 32. He sold his son George, a farm of fifty acres, his son John forty acres; his son Nathan forty acres, and his son Frank, forty acres, of the old farm, and three "forties" of land purchased about the year 1874, known as the "Sprague land." He was married, in 1849, to Mary P. Ward, who was born in Muskingum Co., Ohio, July 19, 1830. They are the parents of seven children, six sons and one daughter. One son died in infancy, and the daughter in her sixteenth year. George J. married Martha Kissack; John L., married Lucretia Grandstaff; Nathan H., married Eva Parmer; Milton F. married Ida Bailey; David E. is yet single, and is living at home with his parents. Mr. Gander has been a member of the town board for one year. He has never been an office-seeker in any direction desiring rather to live a quiet life on the farm.
G. J. Gander was born in Allen Co., Ind., Sept. 24, 1850. In 1853 his parents removed to Muskingum Co., Ohio; removing in 1860 to Crawford Co., Wis., settling in the town of Clayton, where his father purchased 160 acres of land on section 33, town 11. Mr. Gander now owns fifty acres of the original farm, and is engaged in farming and merchandising for Mrs. M. R. Tate. He was married in 1871, to Martha Kissack, who was born Feb. 17, 1854, near Cleveland, Ohio, and who came to Crawford county in 1867. They are the parents of five children --- Laura E., Rhoda, Bertha, Thomas and Frank. Mr. Gander has been a member of the town board for two years. In early life he received a good common school education, and was engaged in teaching in the common schools for a number of years.
Ole Johnson came from Norway in 1857. He was born Jan. 10, 1840, and first settled in Vernon Co., Wis., where he was engaged in farming until the year 1860, when he removed to Crawford county and purchased eighty acres of land in the town of Clayton, on section 25, town 10, range 3 west, where he now resides. He is a very prosperous farmer. In 1865, Mr. Johnson was united in marriage to Betsy Johnson who was born in Norway, in 1843. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson have eight children --- Christena, John, Carrie, Anna, James, Bertie, Emily, and Ella.
Archibald Montgomery was born in Cortland Co., N. Y., Sept. 13, 1818, and received a common school education. He was married April 30, 1845, to Silence E. Huntley, of Cortland county; came west to Wisconsin, May 11, 1845. They settled in Racine county, and he was engaged in farming for over three years. In 1849 he removed to Sauk county, and was chosen justice of the peace, which office he held until 1861, when he removed to Crawford county. He enlisted in company A, 31st regiment of Volunteer Infantry, Aug. 8, 1862, and was engaged in the battle of Bentonville, N. C., and mustered out June 20, 1865. He commenced the practice of law in Sauk county; was admitted to the bar at Prairie du Chien in 1871. His wife died Sept. 20, 1875. They were the parents of five children --- four of whom are married --- William, Franklin A., John A., Lilian S. and Nellie R. He was chosen chairman of the town board of the town of Clayton in 1871. He has lately sold his farm and now resides with his daughter Lilian, who is married to William Rinehart. Mr. Montgomery is still engaged in the practice of law. While living in Sauk county, he was engaged in various branches of business, keeping the Wisconsin House, in the village of Delton, in 1858, and also buying and selling land, and selling dry goods on a small scale. His children are all settled near him but one, John A., who is living in Dakota, where he owns a large farm. Mr. Montgomery has been a justice of the peace in Crawford county eight years, and has married in this and Sauk counties, 126 couples.
Amos Braman, a native of Washington Co., N. Y., was born Oct. 11, 1842, and in 1846, his parents removed to Kalamazoo, Mich., where he became acquainted with Nancy Fish, and married her in 1862. That same year, Mr. and Mrs. Braman, with his wife's parents, came to Crawford Co., Wis., and first located in the town of Seneca, where they remained but a short time, and then came to the town of Clayton, and purchased 120 acres of land on section 1, town 10, range 4 west, where they now reside. Mr. Braman owns but 40 acres of the original homestead. Mr. and Mrs. Braman have four children --- Loretta, Mary, George and Adeline. Loretta is the wife of Stephen Martin. Mr. and Mrs. Martin, have one child --- Dollie. Mr. and Mrs. Braman are prominent and influential members of the Christian Church, located in their neighborhood. Mr. Braman has been clerk of his school district for three years. Mrs. Braman's father, Lyman Fish, was born in Vermont, in 1807, and died in Crawford Co., Wis., in 1881. Her mother, Hannah Fish, was born in 1819, in Vermont, and now owns eighty acres of land on section 1, town 10, range 3 west.
Seymour Fish is a native of St. Lawrence Co., N. Y. He was born March 1, 1853, and accompanied his parents to Sauk Co., Wis., in 1854, where he remained until 1859, when his parents removed to Kalamazoo, Mich., and remained there until 1862. They then returned to Wisconsin, and settled in Crawford county, in the town of Seneca, but remained only a short time, and subsequently removed to the town of Clayton. Mr. Fish now owns forty acres of land on section 1, town 10, range 3 west. He was united in marriage in December, 1865, to Charlotte Talcot, a native of New York, born in 1861.
Sever Christopherson is also a native of Norway. He was born Feb. 22, 1833, and there resided until 1862, when he emigrated to the United States, and settled in Dane Co., Wis. He was engaged in farming until 1866, when he removed to Vernon county, town of Clinton, and remained one year, and then came to the town of Clayton, and purchased sixty acres of land on section 23, town 11, range 3 west, which he subsequently sold, and purchased 210 acres on section 36, town 11, range 3 west, where he now resides. Mr. Christopherson was united in marriage to Engry J. Datler, who was born July 7, 1840, in Norway. Mr. and Mrs. Christopherson are the parents of nine children, Anna, Jens, Christoperson, Christena, Ole, Sophia, Carrie, Ida and Thomas. Mr. Christopherson has had a great deal of sickness in his family, and yet is a very prosperous farmer. He has been supervisor of roads for three years.
George C. Baker, one of the prominent business men of Soldier's Grove, was born in Broome Co., N. Y., Dec. 25, 1840. In 1868 he removed to Soldier's Grove, being engaged as a common laborer by a lumber firm. In 1871 he removed to Minnesota, returning to Soldier's Grove in 1876, and engaged in the harness business in company with J. F. Whittemore, carrying a stock valued at $1,500. Mr. Baker now owns two business buildings with lots. He was a member of Co. B. 89th New York Volunteer Infantry, and was discharged in 1864. He held the position of 2nd sergeant for one year and was under the following officers: Burnside, Gilmore, and Grant.
J. F. Whittemore, the partner of Mr. Baker, was born in Broome Co., N. Y., June 24, 1844. He removed to Soldier's Grove in 1876 and engaged in the harness business. He was married in 1868 to Jane Acker. They are the parents of two children, Georgie and Birdsal. He has held the office of constable three years, and deputy sheriff five years.
Nelson O. Peterson, one of the prominent men of the town of Clayton, was born in Norway, June 3, 1851, and emigrated to the United States in 1852 with his parents, coming direct to Crawford Co., Wis., and settling in the town of Utica. After a residence there of twenty-nine years, Mr. Peterson removed to the town of Clayton and located in the village of Soldier's Grove, and engaged in the mercantile business. He continued in that for four years, and then opened the Headquarter's hotel at Soldier's Grove. He now owns the hotel, a large two-story frame structure, with two lots in the village. Mr. Peterson was united in marriage, in 1872, to Betsy Foss, who was born in Norway, in 1852, and emigrated to the United States in 1869, and settled in Soldier's Grove with her parents. Mr. and Mrs. Peterson have two children --- Martin and Nellie. Mr. Peterson has held the office of town clerk for the past six years.
Hoover M. Peterson, a native of Norway, was born Aug. 28, 1855, and emigrated to the United States in 1872. He came direct to Soldier's Grove, and engaged in shoemaking, which trade he has since conducted with good success. He now carries a stock valued at about $500. Mr. Peterson was united in marriage to Mary S. Larson, who was born in Crawford Co., Wis., in 1861, where she has lived ever since. They have been blessed with three children --- Henry, Peter and George.
J. F. Whittemore, one of the prominent merchants of Soldier's Grove, was born June 24, 1844, in Broome Co., N. Y., where he remained until 1866, when he emigrated to Wisconsin, and was in different counties of the State until 1867, when he settled in Walworth county, and engaged in harness making. In 1868, he removed to Jefferson county, and worked at his trade until 1870, when he returned to Walworth county, and remained until 1872 thence to Chippewa Falls, and remained there until 1876, when he came to Soldier's Grove. He engaged in the manufacture of harness with A. D. Smith, and remained with him two years, then went into partnership with G. C. Baker, and they are now conducting the business on a large scale. Mr. Whittemore owns a house and lot in the village of Soldier's Grove. He was united in marriage, in 1868, to Jane Acker, by whom he had two children --- Georgia and Birdsal. Mr. Whittemore enlisted in 1864, in company M, 1st New York Veteran Cavalry, and was honorably discharged in June, 1865. He has held the office of constable three years, and was deputy sheriff of Crawford county five years.
Oley Knutson, a native of Dane Co., Wis., was born Feb. 21, 1849, where he remained until 1859, removing with his parents to Grant Co., Wis. While there, Mr. Knutson learned the miller's trade, and after completing his apprenticeship, operated the Badger mills for four years, and the Boscobel mill for three years. In 1874 he removed to Clayton, Crawford Co., Wis., and operated the Soldier's Grove mill one year. He then engaged in the mercantile business, carrying a stock of dry goods, notions, clothing, hats, caps, boots and shoes, and in fact, everything that is kept in a first-class general store. He now owns a store building and residence combined, and three-fourths acres of land in Soldier's Grove. He was married in 1876, to Betsy Peterson, who was born in Crawford Co., Wis., March 20, 1857. They are the parents of two children --- Nelse Adolph and Gahard. Mr. Knutson's father was born in Norway, in 1817, and now resides in Grant Co., Wis. His mother was born in Norway, and died in Dane county, in 1857.
S. Lawson, one of the prominent business men of Soldiers Grove, was born in Denmark in 1838. He emigrated to America in 1873, and settled in Vernon Co., Wis., where he remained until 1877, removing to Soldier's Grove, where he opened, and has since conducted, a furniture store. Mr. Lawson now owns a house and lot, and a half interest in a large three story business block in Soldier's Grove. He was married in 1859 to Bergithe Nelson, by whom he had three children --- Lauritz, Nels and Mary. Mrs. Lawson died in 1870. In 1883 Mr. Lawson was again married to Betsy Halverson, who was born in Dane Co., Wis., in 1851 and who came to Soldier's Grove in 1872.
James Dinsdale was born Nov. 18, 1848, in England, and emigrated to the United States in 1849, with his parents, John and Tirzah Dinsdale. They first settled in Grant Co., Wis., and in 1876, James taught school, and read medicine under Dr. J. J. Leavitt, of Fennemore, Wis. In 1877, he attended the Rush Medical College at Chicago, Ill., graduated in February, 1878, and then came to Soldier's Grove and commenced the practice of medicine. He has since remained there enjoying a good practice, being the only physician in the village. The doctor now owns 240 acres of land on sections 9, 32 and 35, also a house and lot in the village of Soldier's Grove. In November, 1882 he was united in marriage to Sarah Hoverson, who was born in Crawford Co., Wis., May 2, 1861.
Martin Helgerson was born in Vernon Co, Wis., in 1857, where he resided until 1880, when he removed to the town of Clayton and purchased 120 acres of land on section 35, town 10, where he now resides. He was married in 1879 to Susan Oleson, who was born in Vernon Co., Wis., in 1856. They are the parents of two children --- Nellie and Ida.
J. D. Hunter was born in Dauphin Co., Penn., Sept. 21, 1835. In 1853 he went to Illinois and remained three years. He then returned to Pennsylvania, and July 29, 1859, was married to Sophia R. Brubaker, a native of the same county, born May 20, 1841. In 1861 Mr. Hunter enlisted in the Union army, and ten months later was discharged, his term of enlistment having expired. He returned home to Millersburg, Penn., and soon after removed with his family to Brookville, Ogle Co., Ills., and resided there till 1865. In that year, he re-enlisted in the 2d Illinois Light Artillery, and served till the war closed. In 1870 he removed to Republic Co., Kan., but in 1874, returned to Illinois, locating in the village of Polo. He worked at carriage making until the fall of 1878, then returned to Kansas, where he resided until February, 1883. He then made a settlement at Kingston, in this town, and purchased a saw mill, which is located on section 23, town 11, range 3 west. The mill is operated by steam power and has a capacity of 4,000 feet of hard wood lumber per day, and 4,000 railroad ties. Mr. and Mrs. Hunter are the parents of five children --- Harry, who married Mahala Martin, Bertha, wife of Jacob Pursinger, Jennie, wife of John Null, Mertie and Frank.