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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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History of the Town of Mitchell
Sheboygan Press April 29, 1927

Early in the spring of 1846, Benjamin Trowbridge, Albert Rounseville, James Trowbridge, John Sanborn, Daniel Sanborn, and James O'Cain, with their families, all from the town of Carolina, near Ithaca, state of New York, came to the present town of Mitchell and settled near the center of Section 12, adjacent to a number of bubbling springs which constitute the head-waters of the Milwaukee river.

In September following, James Angus, John Hurn, John Smith, E. L. Adams and Alfred Launsdale, with their wives and children, all from Wayne county, N.Y., joined the first group of settlers and located in their immediate vicinity.

It was the intention of the two parties to form an association, or league, similar to the order of Fourierites, who had several societies in successful operation in western New York.

In the winter of 1846 and 1847, eleven families united in a petition to the Territorial Legislature to grant them a charter under the name of the "Spring Farm Phalanx," and Hon. Harrison C. Hobart, then member from the county of Sheboygan, was intrusted with the duty of obtaining from the legislature the necessary Act of incorporation, but under the leadership of Hon. Moses M. Strong, the opponents were enabled to defeat the project.

Three Families Remain

Disheartened by the result and lacking the cohesive power of great faith, the little colony gradually dissolved and scattered to other locations, only three of the original families remaining in the township. The widow of B. F. Trowbridge with her two sons, on Section 1, E. L. Adams, on Section 12, and James Angus, on Section 14.

In the mean time, however, these earliest settlers became active and started clearing the lands upon which they had located. They organized a school which was taught in the autumn of 1846 by Miss Sarah Hurn.

The first birth in the town was George O'Cain, son to Isaac and Cynthia O'Cain, in May 1846, and the first death recorded was a seven and a half weeks old infant son of John and Sarah Hurn, which occurred on September 9, 1846.

In August 1846, R. Fritz settled on Section 14, and his brother, Edward on Section 23. C. W. Humphrey came in February 1847, E. Seekins in March, and U. Couse in May of the same year. Juliette, second daughter of Mr. Couse was later married to Almond Andrews of Plymouth, on August 18, 1848, and his elder daughter was married to George Miller of the town of Scott. Juliette was married at the residence of her father by Oran Rogers, who for many years lived in the town of Lyndon. This was the first marriage celebrated within the township.

Population Grows

In 1848, the tide of immigration set in Strongly and steadily in this direction. Most of the newcomers being Irishmen, who still form the predominant population of the town, although with the past two or three years, numerous Russian families have settled in the northwestern part of the township.

In 1849, the town was organized with the present town of Lyndon. B. F. Trowbridge was elected the first chairman of the board of supervisors. In 1850, the township was independently organized under the name of "Olio" and the following officers were elected: Patrick Donahue, chairman; William E. Akin and William Austin, supervisors; C. W. Humphrey, town clerk and superintendent of common schools; Stephen Gray, treasurer; and Peter Preston, assessor. The total number of votes cast was 47. The justices of the peace elected did not qualify.

In 1851 the name of the town was changed to Mitchell, as a token of respect to John Mitchell, the Irish patriot, and in commemoration of his efforts in 1848 to relieve his downtrodden countrymen.

The Potash Kettles run diagonally through the town from northeast to southwest, dividing it into two portions of nearly equal extent. In the eastern part of the valley are several large springs.

Many Good Farms

There are few farms in the town where a 20-acre field of uniform soil can be found, though it is mainly calcareous and clay marl, light colored when first plowed, but grows darker on exposure to the atmosphere. It is much more productive than its color indicates. Despite the unfavorable condition of the soil and the rugged topography of the district, there are many very good and productive farms located in the township.

The only village settlement is Parnell, which consists of only one store and two hotels, and a blacksmith shop. The first hotel was built by John Dowling, and the second, known as the East Side Hotel, by John Manley for his father-in-law, John Lindsay. James Reilly established the first blacksmith shop. The first cheese factory in the town was built for Jeremiah Reed and was located a short distance east of Parnell.

St. Michael's Catholic church was established in 1860 by the Rev. Patrick Pettit, as a Mission of St. Mary's church at Cascade. The first building used as a house of worship is still standing, being utilized as a garage.

Rathbun First Post Office

Rathbun was the first post office to be established in the town. The first school house was also located there. The second school was a log house rolled up in 1851 on the town line between the towns of Mitchell and Scott. Miss Maggie Hunt was the first to teach in this school and the second teacher was Miss Eliza Lane.

The only mill ever located in the town was a sawmill put up by Albert Rounseville, on the Spring Farm, Section 10. This mill was built in the late 50's, and after running it until 1867, Rounseville sold the outfit to William Trowbridge, who, a few years later, re-sold it to a man named Krueger.

George Thackray started the first general store at Rathbun a short time before the post office was established there, and he was appointed the first postmaster.

Thomas Burke later built a store in Rathbun, and after conducting it for a few years, sold to Pat Slattery, who turned the store over to his brother Dan when he started a garage at Adell.

List Of Settlers

Among the early settlers in the town may be mentioned the following:

1846 - James Angus on Section 14, and Daniel Murphy on Section 18

1847 - Cad D. Humphrey on Section 22, Bernard Chesner (later cheese-maker) on Section 9, John J. Reilly on Section 35, and his son, Lawrence on Section 34.

1848 - W. W. Andrews on Section 22, F. Garvey on Section 32, Christ Gates on Section 31.

1849 - Esek Brown on Section 13, Simon Gillen (later attorney in Sheboygan) on Section 23, Thomas and John Reilly on Section 32, and John Bowser on Section 32.

1850 - T. F. Malloy on Section 13, and William Malloy on Section 13.

1851 - Richard Phalen on Section 22.

1852 - William Thackray on Section 4; T. F. Herety on Section 8, and George Thackray (postmaster at Rathbun) on Section 5.

1853 - J. M. Reed (first cheese-maker in town) on Section 23.

1854 - Seth M. Morse on Section 14, Austin Hinckley on Section 11, J. P. Ostrom on Section 23, and J. Fitzpatrick on Section 33.

1855 - G. W. Clark on Section 15, August E. Brown, on Section 13, Michael Butler on Section 20, and James O'Brien on Section 21.

1857 - J. Gibbons on Section 24, and George Beckwith on Section 11.

1858 - George Forbes on Section 36.

1863 - Peter Wakeman on Section 12, and August Schultz on Section 32.

1866 - Michael Kane on Section 21, and Patrick Margrave on Section 23.

1868 - Moses Boyle on Section 11.

Residents in 1870

An almost complete list of the settlers and their respective locations in the town in the year 1870, follows:

North Tier of Sections
J. Sellers, McDevine, M. O'Brien, G. Thackray, W. Whitney, W. Whitney, W. Thackray, J. and P. Egan, J. Mangan, Thomas and James Rooney, Mrs. Podden, J. Madden, C. Delman, P. and John Hughes, J. Fisher, L. Trowbridge, W. Fips, C. Nelson, J. McNair, P. Cosgrove, J. Heraty, M. Dooley, P. Scott, M. Kiernan, J. N. Thomas, P. Hanlon, C. and R. Cary, C. Liebetrow, and W. Krueger.

Second Tier of Sections
A. Naughton, Mike Kilcoin, A. and T. Reddington, M. Conners, J. Bowen, W. Reilly, G. C. Cole, J. Egan, M. and J. Murray, M. Rodden, S. Beckwith, A. Hinckley, O and P. Hughes, P. and J. Wakeman, T. Jordan, John Connell, Thomas Heraty, J. Donahue, M. Reilly, G. Blodgett, J Lawrence, T. Rooney, W. Skeleton, N. O'Brien, B. Chesner, J. Cannon, M. Rodden, P. Mulhearn, F. Beckwith, F. Dowe, S. Payner, W. V. Griggs, M. Boyle, James Hughes, S. L. Adams, J. Smith, and Pat Croghan.

Third Tier of Sections
T. Slattery, T. McNichols, J. Kilcoin, J. Murphy, P. Crosby, E. Calvey, J. Bowen, J. Donahue, Clark Andrews, U. Couse, L. Jordan, P. Crosby, M. Jordan, P. Hobbs, C. Payne, C. W. Humphrey, M. Heenahan, F. Wallitzky, W. W. Andrews, L. Reed, R. Clark, J. Angus, S. Payne, T. Cooney, E. Brown, F. Tom, P. Reddington, M. Brogan, M. Reddington, D. Murphy, G. C. Cole, T. Murray, Martin Brogan, S. M. Morse. W. Leahy, A. Brown, E. McLaughlin, P. Doherty, T. and W. Mulloy.

Fourth Tier of Sections
M. Moran, J. Brogan, C. J. McKindlay (justice of the peace), A. A. and Dan Brown, T. McNichols, M. Butler, J. Murphy, J. Burke, Michael Murray, D. O'Rourke, J. O'Brien, M. Kane, Mrs. L. R. Harvey, R. Phelan, J. T .Burke, Simon Gillen, H. Murphy, T. Levitt, J. Gibbons, C. Wallitzky, H. Lynch, P. Dwyer, M. Gibbons, G. Phelan, Mrs. Joslin, T. Sheehan, M. Lang, J. Dooley, B. Collins, J. M. Reed, J. Gillen, C. W. Humphrey, S. L. Reed, U. Couse, J. Ostrom, T. Canfield, P. Magrane, E. Reed, M. Mungan, C. Trippon, C. and M. and Mrs. Abers.

Fifth Tier of Sections
Mrs. L. Murphy, R. Phalen, Fargo Walker, P. W. and J. Gallagher, L. Gahagan, J. Manley, W. Cobb, J. Flynn, P. Cooney, John Mulloy, L. Flynn, M. Reilly, M. Flynn, J. Gillen, J. Collins, E. O'Heran, C. Otto, W. E. Akin, N. R. Groomes, P. Murphy, C. Trippon, R. Melendy, W. Foley, A. Kane, J. Heron, M. Bowen, P. Barrett, J. Lovett, J. Flynn, L. Hefling, J. Lindsay, T. Gahagan, D. O'Rourke, M. Gaynor, M. O'Malley, J. and M.Gahagan, F. Fiebelkorn, T. Henry, W. Kundo, O. Morgan, W. Hemple, G. McLaughlin, and G. Perkiss.

Sixth Tier of Sections
J. Gates, A. Schultz, N. Michaels, Mrs. T. McBride, J. O'Malley, J. Fitzpatrick, M. Early, J. Gettrick, P. Struph, J. Ducey, M. J. Pray, M. Fitzpatrick, Henry Chambers, J. Gilboy, J. H. Jones, J. Fox, M. Bowser (cranberry marsh), J. and F. M. McGarvey, T. Gill, J. M. Reed, J. Gill, L. Flynn, T and J. and L. Reilly (half section), C. Otto, Mrs. M. Hoy, J. J. Reilly, M. Verdon, W. E. Akin, W. Fiebelkorn, A. Tracy, P. Pagel, J. Garvey, and G. Forbes.

At present the town of Mitchell supports three district and five joint district schools, with an enrollment of 274 pupils.

H. F. Dippel

H. F. Dippel has been in the hotel business at Parnell since 1921, at which time he purchased the property originally owned by John T. Manley. The hotel was built for Manley in 1907, and he conducted the hostelry until 1908 when he sold the entire property to J. A. Lindsay. The latter sold to James F. Reilly about the year 1918.

Mr. Dippel is well known throughout Sheboygan county. He was elected assessor of the town, in which capacity he served during 1906-07. He was elected town clerk in 1911, 1912, 1913 and again re-elected to the same office, which he now fills, in 1919.

W. E. Slattery

W. E. Slattery, dealer in general merchandise at Parnell, started in the business in 1920, at which time he purchased the business formerly owned and conducted by his brother, P. H. Slattery.

The store property was originally the property of Tom Burke, who established the business several years ago. P. H. Slattery acquired the property and business in 1901, which he continued until it was taken over by his brother, W. E. Slattery, the present owner.

Since he purchased the property, Mr. Slattery built an addition to the original store, and at the present time, he conducts a public garage in connection with the mercantile line, which consists of dry goods, groceries, shoes and kindred lines of merchandise.

Contributed by: Kay Reitberger

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