Source: Washington County, Wisconsin : past and present; by Quickert, Carl, ed
Publication date : 1912
Publisher Chicago : S.J. Clarke Publishing Co.
By a legislative act the town of Jackson was created on Jan. 21, 1846. But some years previous the settlement of the fertile and almost level land, watered by the Cedar creek and numerous tributary rivulets, had already begun.
The first entries were made in 1843 by John McDonald and Peter Devereau. Each one took up eighty acres. In May of the same year John Kinney followed the Scotch-French vanguard and picked out forty acres. By fall thirty-one entries were made, and until the winter of 1845 their number had increased to 149. Much land was bought for speculation.
The first poll list, that of the year 1846, showed up only one-fourth of the names in the realty records. The value of the land was in those early days readily recognized by people who saw the day coming when steel rails would glitter alongside of the foot-worn Indian trails, and the little heap of grain that was ground between two stones would be overtaken by golden wheat fields and the clacking mill.
Among the first settlers was a large contingent of Germans. A troupe of German Lutheran immigrants headed by their pastor Kindermann and their teacher Steinke largely settled in the town and founded the hamlet of Kirchhayn which today can boast of having one of the oldest Lutheran congregations in Wisconsin. Smaller fractions of the same troupe founded colonies in the neighboring hamlet of Freistadt in the town of Mequon, and in Watertown.
April 7, 1846, three months after the town had been born and baptized, the first town meeting was held. It appears to have been looked at as a most important affair, for 43 voters were present—evidently the entire voting population.
It was in the turbulent times of the quarrel about the seat of the county's offices, and Jackson had its hands in the pie.
The Poor Farm already lay within the borders of the town. Why not move the other offices onto the grounds and have everything together? The intentions were excusable and the arguments plausible, but the older towns laughed at the little shaver who tried to put on father's big hat. But regardless of the scoffs they unanimously voted for the removal of the county seat to the town of Jackson. The meeting was held in the home of L. Topliff who was the clerk. He also was the first to be elected chairman of the town. It was decided to levy $100, of which $75 were for general expenses and $25 for schools. Thus the town began to manage its affairs.