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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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This article was contributed by Kay Reitberger

Sheboygan Press - April 29, 1927

Kohler Principal Settlement In Town Sheboygan

Model Village, Famous Throughout Nation, Is Fruit Of Achievement


The important events associated with the settlement of the town of Sheboygan were described in a special historical number of the Sheboygan Press a year ago, when a comprehensive history of the city of Sheboygan was compiled and published in a single issue of this newspaper. For this reason, the present review of the settlement of the town will be brief and confined principally to that section outside the corporate limits of the City of Sheboygan.

A brief synopsis of the earliest settlement would show that in 1834 William PAINE and Col. Oliver C. CROCKER came to this locality and built a sawmill about three miles from the mouth of the Sheboygan river. One year later William FARNSWORTH, an Indian fur trader, bought this mill and engaged the serviced of Jonathan FOLLET and his wife, the former to take charge of the operation of the sawmill and Mrs. FOLLET to provide the necessary comforts for the men employed there. It is, therefore, taken for granted that Mrs. FOLLET was the first white woman to become a permanent resident of this county.

Soon after his arrival, Jonathan FOLLET built the first log frame house in the county on the left bank of the Sheboygan river near the mouth of what later became known as FOLLET creek.

About this time William ASHBY arrived and located on a farm in Section 28. For many years he was one of the most prominent men in this region.

Land Boom In 1836

In 1836, a spectacular land boom resulted in a sporadic influx of settlers to this port. Several buildings were erected along Pennsylvania and Center avenues and during the following winter there was general prosperity in the community. The following spring, however, their money having all been spent and there being no opportunity for advancement, all the inhabitants, with the exception of the postmaster, left this region and some of the buildings were loaded on scows and moved to Milwaukee.

For a number of years thereafter nothing of consequence occurred at this port, although families were beginning to locate in and near Sheboygan Falls, where a sawmill was in operation and a post office established.

Besides the buildings already mentioned as having been erected in Sheboygan, it is recorded that in the fall of 1836 A. G. DYE erected a dwelling house amid the stately pine trees which stood on the present site of the SELL Bros. Co. department store, at the northeast corner of N. Eighth street and Niagara avenue. Asemeth, a two and one-half year old daughter of Mr. DYE, passed away that fall and was buried in the public square, being the first white person buried within the present city limits. The DYE family later removed to the town of LIMA where they continued to reside up to the time of their deaths.

Locate On Government Land

There was no unusual activity until about 1844, when settlers began to arrive from eastern points in vessels which made stops at this port. The majority of these arrivals being farmers, they immediately departed for the interior to locate on government lands which were offered for sale at the nominal price of $1.25 per acre.

The first permanent settlement in the town , outside the present city of Sheboygan, was made along what is now known as the Upper Falls road. This was the first regular highway constructed from Sheboygan westward to Fond du Lac. A little later settlers began locating along what is known as the Calumet road, and also the Pigeon river where a few sawmills and gristmills were in operation.

Along the lakeshore the main occupation of the early settlers was fishing, while inland the pioneers were busily engaged in clearing the land, hauling logs to the cooperages, wood to piers and later delivering timber to the shipyards of which there were several located along the banks of the Sheboygan river, extending from its mouth almost to the Pennsylvania avenue bridge.

Keg Maked Big Industry

For a number of years Sheboygan was the center of the barrel and keg making industry in this region. Within a few years after active settlement of the town began, hundreds of cooperages were established in and near Sheboygan and, for many years, formed the only lucrative industry in this vicinity. The early settlers, therefore, found a ready market for timber and the returns supplied their only means of livelihood until after the land was cleared for agricultural purposes.

When the farmers began harvesting grain, grist and flouring mills became active. Among the most prominent of these mills may be the one owned and operated by ARNDT and another by H. BLISS, both of which were located on the Pigeon river from which water power was derived to turn the machinery.

While the Upper Falls road was then the main artery of western traffic, the toll gates which were later installed encouraged the settlers to traverse another route now known as the Lower Falls road along which no toll was exacted from persons driving over the highway. This road, however, had its disadvantages. The bridge located at the ASHBY farm was frequently washed away halting all travel until another bridge was constructed over the river at that point. In order to avoid this interruption of traffic, another road was cut through the woods on the north side of the river, beginning at a point south of the present Wildwood cemetery, thence over SEELY hill and westward until it converged with the regularly traveled road beyond the ASHBY bridge.

When the road on the north side of the river was being graded for travel it was found necessary to make a deep cut through the SEELY hill, and during the spring freshets large quantities of clay were washed down the embankment, completely obstructing traffic for several days. Whenever this occurred, farmers volunteered their services in shoveling out the dirt and clearing the road for horse-drawn vehicles to pass.

Town Sheboygan Settlers

The names of some of the earliest settlers in the town and the year in which they arrived follow:

1844 - Jonathan LEIGHTON on Section 31; and W. J. PIERCE on Section 30.

1846 - George ALLEN on Section 30; Evan EVANS on Section 22; (EVANS was the first to make regular deliveries of milk to the inhabitants of the city of Sheboygan).

1847 - F. MO?KLING on Section 4

1848 - Henry ZERNER (later hotel and saloon) on Section 5; E. HARTMANN on Section 19; and C. H. PAPE on Section 21.

1850 - C. SCHUCHART on Section 28.

1851 - Henry E. ROTH (later lime and stone quarry) at Sheboygan.

1852 - James LAMPMAN (later saloon) on Section 20; and August ZSCHETZSCHE on Section 9.

1853 - A. SCHMIDT on Section 21; and H. J. KEPPELMANN on Section 19.

1854 - C. FOESTERLING on Section 18; C. STOELTING on Section 4; John HINZ on Section 5; and George SCHMIDT on Section 3.

1855 - William KROOS on Section 15; Charles RABE on Section 7; and Henry EHRBRECHT on Section 18.

1858 - Herbert BLISS on Section 10; and James LAMPMAN on Section 30.

1862 - John SCHLICHT on Section 22.

A nearly complete list of settlers or owners of land in Town Sheboygan in the year 1870 follows:

Northern Tier of Sections

Mr. STRASSBURGER; F. MOEVES; C. GOELBECK; C. STALKER; C. JOPF; H. KIEFER; H. WILLER; Mr. HOEHLMANN; G. STOLZENBERG; J. PETZHOLD; C. REGENTIN; F. SCHULTZ; C. A. KREPSKY; F. WISCHBROEKER; J. HINZ; J. HERMAN; P. HARSE; William SIEBOLD; M. JUCHEM; H. LUPINSKY; R. THEMAN; J. HAMMER; F. TOEPFER; H. HORN; A. HERMAN; P. WILBERT; C. CARSTEED; F. LORAWITCH; Chas. STOELTING; F. MOEHLING; J. SCHOENING; G. MAYCHT; A. TASCHE; W. HILMERT; J. REICHTSDORFER; J. KWEKKEBOOM; George SCHMIDT; S. DENN; Thomas BLACKSTOCK; H. AHRENS; D. DeGRAFF; C. WEHE; B. TASCHE; S. LEHMANN; P. TESCHNER; and P. VAN DOMEIER.

Second Tier of Sections

W. RABE; J. GRUPE; J. PROVINSKI; W. RAHN; G. C. COLE; F. SCHULZ; A. BRAUN; H. HAMMES; F. MOCHLINE; A. KOHLHAUS; W. SINGER; Ira BLISS; H. SCHULTE; H. WEDEBOLD; F. KENNE; H. UPPLEGER; C. HEHLING; J. RABE; M. MILLER; M. HENTGES; Mrs. LEESE; G. DRAGUET; A. LOCHERZSCHE; P. H. JUCKEM; John HAAS; C. GOLDBERG; M. HEIDER; P. BARTZEN; A. HORN; A. KASTERMANN; L. WERKMEISTER; W. ENGELL; E. A. JOHNS; S. J. SANDERS; and George COLE who owned several sections of land along the lake shore.

Third Tier of Sections

A. DREPS; M. LEHF/LEHT; A. KOESERMANN; A. SCHNEIDER; C. FOESTERLING; N. SIEBER; C. MEYER; J. NICK; GUTSCH & Co.; William MUTH; H. HIRST; W. KRESS; L. CLEMENT; H. HABIGHORST; F. JACOBS; J. RUDEN; H. DIETSCH; H. MITTHIAS; F. KOCH; O. ERNST; Mrs. TRESTER; F. P, TOWN; D. TAYLOR; J. B. CORSON; and B. WILLIAMS.

Fourth Tier of Sections

H. J. KAPPELMANN; E. HARTMANN; W. LONGFELLOW; J. NOTT; J. RUDEN; R. WHEELER; C. HARTMANN; A. SCHMIDT; C. WALLE; H. MITTHIAS; A. P. LYMAN; J. HERNBERGER; F. FEHSING; A. NONNEMACHER; C. DENKELMEYER; J. KLIMER; M. GOEBEL; A. PPER; F. and C. GOERLITZ; W. GOKING; A. DRIVER; D. TAYLOR; F. T. EILE; H. PUGH; and J. SCHLICHT.

Fifth Tier of Sections

W. J. PIERCE; W. McKILLIP; George ALLEN; M. BUNDING; J. McKENNA; E. D. LANGMANN; Mr. HINES; William AYRES; J. SCHNEIDER; F. GEARLDS; T. MURPHY; T. MORGAN; J. HERTEY; G. BRICKNER; O; GEARLDS; M. ADAMS; W. FOLLET; William ASHBY; N. BECKER; W. W. GILMAN; George COLE; J. A. BENTLEY; J. BERTSCHY; J. HILDEBRAND; W. H. GOULD; Mrs. TESTWUIDE; C. SCHUCHARD; and A. DREXLER.

Sixth Tier of Sections

N. CARPENTER; F. RICHMEIER; W. SOMMERS; C. OEHLER; G. PECK; A. KUHNE; G. BRICKNER; N. A. GILBERT & Co.; A. FROEHLICH; F. GOTTER; N. BECKER; N. GOTTER; T. OPGENORTH; August ZIMBALL; P. RIES; M. GRAFF; Mrs. P. GRASH; A. WEDEMEYER; C. FLAIG; Mr. WREN; W. LONGFELLOW; Jonathan LEIGHTON; Mr. REARDON; L. MICHAELS; F. HEMM; F. KUNTZ; J. FUCHS; C. F. MALLMANN; and Mr. SIBLEY.

Owned 1,000 Acres

One of the most notable farmers who settled near the northern part of the town was Fredrick G. LINTZ, who came here with his wife about the year 1847 and located on land north of the present city of Sheboygan. At one time he owned over one thousand acres of land and built a pier at the mouth of the Pigeon River from which he shipped wood and other materials brought in by farmers. Later he moved to Sheboygan where he conducted a store for many years on Michigan avenue.

Another early settler in the town who later became very prominent in the professional life of Sheboygan was David TAYLOR, who arrived about the year 1845 and later built a brick residence located on the Upper Falls road, now the property of the county and used as the county workhouse. Mr. TAYLOR served the county as district attorney in 1847, and represented this district as assemblyman in 1853 and in the state senate in 1855 and 1856. He was re-elected to the senate in 1869 at which time the seat was unsuccessfully contested by Otto PUHLMANN. He also served in this office in 1870. He was chosen circuit judge of the Fourth Judicial District and held this office from 1853 to 1858.

One of the largest institutions controlled by the county is the asylum for the care of chronic insane, which is located on part of the original TAYLOR farm.

Asylum Burns

In 1875 the county board contracted with G. S. JEWETT of WInooski to keep and care for the chronic insane belonging to the county. On the night of February 19, 1878 the asylum at Winooski burned to the ground and four of the twenty-one unfortunates perished in the flames. The asylum was immediately re-built and was supervised by Mr. JEWETT until he died. On June 1, 1879 a new contract was made with C. W. PRESCOTT, the administrator of the JEWETT estate, to care for the insane for three years.

In 1881, a committee comprising Carl ZILLIER, chairman; and supervisors James WHITE, E. C. OLIVER, Eugene McINTYRE and T. C. SHARPE, was appointed by the county board to select another site, and to secure plans and specifications for the construction of a larger and more suitable building to be used as an asylum. The committee recommended the acceptance of a tract of 19 acres which the city of Sheboygan offered free of expense to the county, and this was approved by the county board.

The first unit of the present asylum was completed on June 1, 1882, and on June 4 following the institution was opened with A. J. WHIFFEN as superintendent and his wife as matron, looking after the comfort of forty inmates.

The number of inmates increased so rapidly that it was necessary to increase the accommodations at the asylum. In 1883 an addition was made to properly care for ninety inmates. In 1886, twenty acres of land adjacent to the original site were purchased by the county and two years later another addition was made to the building.

Another Fire

On December 29, 1892. fire broke out in the drying room, and only for the pipe line from the city and the two fire hydrants, which had been installed a short time prior to the breaking out of the fire, probably the buildings would have been destroyed and many lives lost. Chester CARVER, the night watchman, was suffocated by the dense smoke and Mr. WHIFFEN was temporarily overcome, but he recovered sufficiently to summon the fire department from the city, which succeeded in extinguishing the flames before much damage was done to the buildings.

On July 4, 1893, lightning struck a new barn on the farm destroying the building together with contents consisting of 80 tons of hay, 100 bushels of potatoes and other products, in all, valued at $1,600 upon which there was no insurance.

In 1905, the county board purchased the TAYLOR farm of 250 acres with the buildings.

In 1910, Dr. and Mrs. H. A. ARPKE took charge of the institution and have faithfully and satisfactorily performed their respective duties as superintendent and matron up to the present time. On March 1, of this year, there were 120 male and 90 female inmates at the institution.

Good School System

The town of Sheboygan supports excellent educational facilities. In the city of Sheboygan, when the last school census was taken, there was a total enrollment of 11,288 pupils, of which number 7,236 attended the public schools and the remainder parochial schools. In the village of Kohler the enrollment was 335. Besides these there are five district and one joint district schools in the town, having an aggregate enrollment of 950 pupils.

Kohler

Kohler, the only village in the town, was started in 1899 when J. M. KOHLER, who began business in Sheboygan in the year 1873, erected a foundry and enameling plant at what then was known as Riverside. Nick BALKINS, who was active in real estate circles at that time, platted the village.

Kohler was incorporated as a village in the fall of 1912. At the special election held on November 13 of that year, 52 votes were cast, of which number only six were opposed to the incorporation. The following village officers were elected at that time:

President - A. L. STOCKS
Clerk - A. W. SPERL
Treasurer - Wm. SCHUMANN, Sr.
Assessor - Ferd MOLTZ
Supervisor - Nick BALKINS
Constable - Ed. MUELLER
Trustees - Frank G. BROTZ; Carl BERLIN, Sr.; Otto KREPSKY; Anton BROTZ; Frank ??MMER; and Alb. LEONHARDT.
Justices of the Peace - Emil BERNDT; and Fred DICKEY.
Street Commissioner - Peter VAN OUWERKERK.

At the time of incorporation the village contained 50 dwellings, two saloons, one store, one school, one church, besides the Kohler Co. plant. The population was 254.

The present officers are as follows:

President - Anton BROTZ
Clerk - Wm . NESEMANN
Treasurer - W. J. IRELAND
Assessor - Eug. POOL
Supervisor - Andrew GUNDERSON
Constable - Max RICHTER
Police Officer - Frank PERCIVAL
Street Commissioner - Gust KREPSKY
Trustees - Carl BERLIN, Sr.; Frank G. BROTZ; Otto KREPSKY; Rich HELD; Wm BERLIN; and H. G. SOMMER.

Justices of the Peace - O. BAHR; and T. P. BAUMGARTNER

The population of the village at the present time is approximately 1,300.

The first post office was established in 1913, with Mrs. Alfred SPERL as the postmistress. She served for two and one-half years and was succeeded by Henry R. SCHUMANN, who served until February 16, 1926, when the present postmaster, Albert TREICK, was appointed. The business last year far exceeded that of a second class office, and it is expected that within a short time the office will be placed in the first class.

The first store in the village was started about 21 years ago by Allie LEONARD, who also conducted a saloon in the building located at the east end of the village.

The second store was erected by Peter VAN OUWERKERK, on the Lower Falls road directly west of the North Western right-of-way, about 16 years ago. Eight years ago John IRELAND took over this store and carried on the business until about two years ago. This building has since been moved to another location and remodeled for residence purposes.

Kohler is a model village and its beautifully laid-out streets, well-kept lawns, fine residences and unusual cleanliness, is admired by everyone passing through the village. It has a well-organized volunteer fire department, equipped with a modern combination hose and chemical truck similar to those used in Sheboygan. A siren sounds the fire alarm. There are also two bands, one the senior of about 40 pieces and the other the junior band, composed of the young men of the village.

With the increase of population in the village of Kohler followed an urgent demand for retail stores, and to meet this demand, a large modern brick building was erected about two years ago, which was divided into sections and arranged for mercantile purposes.

Besides the post office, several commercial enterprises are now located in this building.

The Public Garage

The Public Garage at Kohler was incorporated on January 1, of this year, and immediately took possession of the fire-proof construction garage located near the west end of the village limits, on the main traveled highway between Sheboygan and Plymouth. The company is distributors in that district for the Oakland, Pontiac, and Peerless automobiles.

A feature connected with the garage is the service department and the oil filling station, the latter being the biggest one in the state outside of the city of Milwaukee.

The Service department is in charge of Ed. JUETTEN, an expert auto mechanic of many years' experience, who has been supervisor in some of the largest service stations in Wisconsin. The service department of this garage has been fully equipped with the latest appliances to insure quick and efficient service at a minimum cost to motor car owners. Facilities are available to handle any job and all wash jobs.

The Public Garage operates 14 oil pumps from which all the different gasoline sold by Sheboygan oil companies may be obtained. Two drain pits offer free drainage service to patrons. A complete line of auto parts and accessories are kept in stock at all times, while ample floor space provides storage room for several cars.

The officers of the company are as follows:

President and Treasurer - A. E. KORMAN
Vice-president - Ed. JUETTEN
Secretary and Sales Manager - John H. LIEBL

Mr. KORMAN, identified with the KORMAN-SCHMIDT Auto company of Sheboygan, was formerly employed at the Kohler Co. plant for 18 years, Mr. JUETTEN has been engaged in the automobile business for 18 years, while Mr. LIEBL was employed in the accounting department of the Northern Furniture company for 19 years.

Special attention is given to Kohler residents, who will find the highest quality of oil, the best of workmanship and the most courteous treatment at The Public Garage.

Kohler Pure Food Market

The Kohler Pure Food Market was established on July 1, 1925, and since it was first opened has enjoyed a steady and constant increase of patronage, not only from the families residing in the village but also from surrounding territory.

In addition to a large and well-selected stock of groceries and notions, the Kohler Pure Food Market conducts an up-to-date meat market in which all kinds of fresh, salted and smoked meats are handled under modern sanitary methods.

Edward NAUSCHUETZ, manager of the grocery department, was formerly identified with the grocery business in the city of Sheboygan, while Roman STEPHANI, who has the management of the meat department, was associated with his (???) in a chain of meat markets in the city of Sheboygan, for a number of years before going to Kohler.

Ten (?) persons are employed in the market.

Sanitary Engineering Co.

The Sanitary Engineering company was incorporated in September 1920, and has filled a long-felt need (?) in the rapidly growing village of Kohler.

The company installs all kinds of plumbing, steam and hot water heating systems, and maintains a sheet (?) metal department. The members of the company, all of whom are permanent residents of Kohler, are experienced and competent engineers(?), and their work has been of a highly satisfactory character. One of their latest important jobs is the installation of the plumbing(?), heating system and sheet metal in the new Reformed church which edifice was formally dedicated on Sunday, April 3, of this year.

The company now occupies a portion of the brick store building but will move into a section of the addition which is now being built on the east end of this block, as soon as the rooms are completed. The officers of the Sanitary Engineering Co are as follows:

President and Treasurer - E. ALBRECHT
Vice-president - Jac KLAUCH
Secretary - S. ALBRECHT

Kohler Pharmacy

The Kohler Pharmacy was established on October 30, 1925, by (???) HAUEISEN who, previous to that time, had owned and operated a drug store in Chicago. After having considered the future bright with the prospects of success offered by this thriving village, Mr. HAUEISEN disposed(???) of his stores in Chicago and established the pharmacy at Kohler.

Mr. HAUEIESEN has stocked his store with everything found in metropolitan drug stores, including a complete line of drugs, toilet articles, confectionery and cigars, all kinds of cooling beverages are dispensed from a magnificent soda fountain and together with ice cream, are served, when desired, on (???) tables located in a series of booths.

Mr. HAUEIESEN is an enterprising business man, and has been given a cordial reception by the residents of Kohler and vicinity.

Art Imig

Realizing that the village offered alluring prospects for the successful expansion of his business, Mr. IMIG purchased the north unit of the building in which he is located and about two years ago opened a branch store at Kohler.

The name "Art" IMIG is well-known throughout Sheboygan county as being associated with men's and boy's clothing and furnishings, dyeing and cleaning, and the opening of a branch store at Kohler has proved to be a great convenience to his customers residing in that village.

Mr. IMIG specializes in custom-made clothing, but he also carries a complete line of haberdashery. His dyeing and cleaning department is one of the largest of its kind in this region. Patrons at Kohler and vicinity are given the added advantage of selecting merchandise from the very large stock displayed at the Sheboygan store.

Kohler Shoe Store

The Kohler Shoe Store was started on October 9, 1925, by Joseph BADURA, a thoroughly experienced shoe man, who formerly resided in Freeport, Illinois. Before opening his store in the building located near the east end of the village limits, he was employed for a time at the Kohler plant.

In addition to carrying a well selected stock of men's, women's and children's footwear, Mr. BADURA maintains a shoe repairing department. Having worked for several years in a shoe factory, he has a knowledge of how shoes ought to be made, and this knowledge insures careful and efficient repair work.

Joseph F. Konrad

Of great convenience to families residing west of the city limits of Sheboygan is the grocery store owned and operated by Joseph F. KONRAD, who started the business on August 20, 1924 in a small block building located about two blocks west of MATTHEWSON's greenhouses, on the Upper Falls road.

The business proved profitable from the start and to meet the growing demands of the trade, Mr. KONRAD erected a larger and more modern building, which he formally opened on August 1, 1926 with a full line of groceries and notions. In addition to these, Mr. KONRAD carries a stock of vegetables and fruits in season, bakery goods, cigars and tobacco, magazines and Sunday newspapers.

Churches Of Kohler

Grace Reformed Church

Grace Reformed church of Kohler was organized by the Zion Reformed church of Sheboygan on the evening of January 10, 1924, at a meeting called for the purpose in the village hall of Kohler. There were 24 names enrolled as charter members.

The Rev. E. G. KRAMPE, present pastor of Salems Reformed church, near Plymouth, was the first pastor to serve the congregation. The Rev. T. HILGEMAN, now a missionary in China, served as supply pastor while still a student at the Mission House College. The present pastor is the Rev. E. A. KATTERHENRY, formerly of New Knoxville, Ohio, and a graduate of the Mission House college. He began his pastorate in July, 1925, as the first resident pastor of the church. This is Rev. KATTERHENRY's first pastorate.

Sunday school was held regularly several years prior to the date of the organization of the congregation, having been organized and supervised during the early years of it's existence by G. A. STRASSBURGER of Sheboygan. The growth of the Sunday School, as well as the congregation, has been constant from the beginning.

On the night of July 8, 1926,plans and specifications for a new church building were formally accepted by members of the congregation. Construction work started soon thereafter, and the edifice, with and approximate seating capacity of 250, was formally dedicated Sunday, April 3, of this year.

Grace Reformed church is community in spirit, and its membership comprises people from many different religious denominations.


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