Town Germantown

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

Of all townships in the county Germantown was the first to be settled. As its name tells, the old pioneers were almost all Germans. They came by the way of Milwaukee where they had learned of the new country just opened for settlement. They had come to America to conquer the wild and cultivate the soil.

In Town Mequon, adjoining to the east, many Germans had already settled, and the neighborhood of compatriots encouraged the newcomers to push into the wild to the west. The first settler of Town Germantown was therefore the first settler of Washington county of the present day. This first settler was a German, Anton D. Wisner. His name appears first in the records. On March 11, 1839, he took up eighty acres of Government land.

In the second place appears the name of Levi Ostrander who bought his eighty on the same day. He had followed closely.

In the same year sixteen more settlers arrived and settled mostly in the southern part of the town. For five years following the pioneers poured in steadily, and by the end of 1844 most all of the land was taken up. The settling in this town was not so much wrought with hardships and want as in parts farther north. Milwaukee, at that time quite a village, was not far off, and victuals could be toted from there with comparative ease. Many of the settlers had not come without means.

Among the first buyers of land of non-German nationality the Scotchman Alexander Mitchell may be mentioned, who later in Milwaukee amassed a fortune that made it unnecessary or undesirable for him to take to his eighty acres and agriculture as recourse.

The town was incorporated on January 21, 1846. On April 7, 1846, the first town meeting was held in the home of John Mattes. The clerk was J. T. Brown, a scholarly man well versed in the English language. But something seemed to weigh down his spirits, and poor and melancholy he passed his old age in the poorhouse. In the meeting eight road masters were elected for as many districts. $150 were allowed for the poor fund, $100 for highways and bridges, and $400 for schools. Votes were cast in favor of the admission of Wisconsin into the sisterhood of states, and the removal of the temporary county seat onto the county farm, and the raising of $1,000 for the erection of county buildings. There were 123 voters present. At the election of town officers George Koehler was chosen chairman.