Town Barton

Source: Washington County, Wisconsin : past and present; by Quickert, Carl, ed
Publication date : 1912
Publisher Chicago : S.J. Clarke Publishing Co. Page: 26

This town, originally called "Town Newark," was in 1848 sliced off from the town of West Bend to the south and the town of North Bend (now Kewaskum) to the north. On November 25, 1853, the county board re-baptized it "Barton," in honor of its first pioneer, Barton Salisbury.

In the home of Martin Foster (the site now lies in the village of Barton) on October 16, 1848, the first town meeting was called to order. John K. Avery was the moderator, and Samuel H. Alcot the secretary. After being organized, the meeting repaired to the schoolhouse where the election of officers was held.

The schoolhouse was built of logs, and had formerly served as living quarters for Barton Salisbury who on an exploration trip along the winding course of the Milwaukeee river in 1845 had decided to settle here. When in the following year he built for himself a frame house, the log shanty was turned over to the cause of education, yet in its swaddling clothes like the rest of the community.

At the election aforesaid thirty-seven votes were cast. A coffee pot served as a ballot box. The first assessment of all taxable property in the towns of Barton, Trenton, West Bend, Farmington, and Kewaskum showed as a grand total the sum $3,700. The old log schoolhouse in the village of Barton was the accepted meeting place of the old pioneers. They gathered there to talk over the questions of the hour as well as to perpetrate many a stunt.

From all over the country they came. One evening they had a sham session of the Legislature. Hank Trotten was elected governor, and Reuben Rusco secretary of state. Each town in the county had a representative. But when these had assembled it was found that the secretary of state had mysteriously disappeared. The doorkeeper was ordered to look for him and bring him back as quick as possible. He found the recalcitrant officer way off in the woods where he and another deserter were deeply absorbed in a game of Seven-up on a spacious tree stump. After the governor's order had been read to him, he thought it best to leave the jacks, spades, clubs, aces, etc., and betake himself to the schoolhouse. The session was a highly humerous one. No burning question, whether touching upon state or national affairs escaped the tongs of the joke-smiths. The bull's eye was hit by a legislator who claimed to represent the territory east of Ozaukee, consequently Lake Michigan, by rising and in a demosthenic appeal claiming equal rights for all fishes. The assembly was of the opinion that the champion of the fishes' rights should soaked in cider. Whereupon they adjourned.