Town Richfield

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

The first one to turn his eyes to the arable clay soil of the town of Richfield, dotted in its southwestern part by morainic hills, was Samuel Spivey. On May 31, 1841, he bought 160 Vol. 1—3 acres of Government land in Section 36, but it is not known that he ever settled on it.

July 6, 1841, Jacob Snyder had 40 acres in Section 35 entered, and about his settlement on the land there is no doubt. He is considered the first settler of the town, and for almost a year he also was the only one.

In the fall of 1842 fifty odd entries were made. In 1843 the tide of German immigration began to find its way into the town, and two years later little Government land was left.

Town Richfield was incorporated on January 21, 1846. A few resolutions of the first town meeting have come upon us. They read:

    "Resolved, By the citizens of the town of Richfield, in annual town meeting, held at the house of Zachariah Fuller, April 7, 1846:
    (First), that it is our duty and it shall be our aim to practice strict economy in the government and management of our town affairs, and that our motto is 'the greatest good to the greatest number,' and in order to carry out these principles, therefore,
    "Resolved (Second), That the pay and fees of the officers of the town shall be as follows, to-wit: Supervisors, Commissioners of Highways, Commissioners of Common Schools, and Assessors shall receive each $1 a day, and no more, for every day necessarily employed on the business of the town, and that the Town Clerk shall receive the like sum of $1 per day when the business is such that it can be calculated by the day; in all other cases he shall receive for all necessary writing on town business six cents per folio, and the committee of investigation shall order that the resolution be altered in such manner as to convey the same meaning in a less number of words; they shall make such revocation in the charges as they shall deem fit. The Collector shall receive for his services 5 per cent on all money by him paid into the Town Treasurer. The Treasurer shall receive for his services 2 per cent for all money received by him, and 1 per cent for all money by him paid out.
    "Resolved (Third), That in all surveys of roads, that pay shall not be allowed to more than four persons, to wit: a Surveyor, two Chainmen and a Marker.
    "Resolved (Fourth), That we will raise $80 to pay the expense of the town for the ensuing year.
    "In addition to the above $80, $70 more was voted for at special town meeting, held at the house of Philip Laubenheimer, at 1 o'clock, the 6th day of May, 1846.
    Michael Fogarty, Town Clerk."

The style and slips in the above are those of the original. The chairman of the first meeting was Balthus Mantz. Tradition says that in the meeting the first indemnity amounting to nine dollars was paid to Gustavus Bogk, a pioneer. His wagon on which he had packed his earthly belongings, tipped over on the Fond du Lac Road; whereby a stove and other things were broken. He blamed the poor condition of the road for his mishap, and the town fathers agreed with him and allowed for the damage. It is a historical fact, therefore, that Gustavus Bogk had the first tip-over in the town.

The first church in the town was built of logs by Catholic pioneers in 1845 and dedicated to St. Hubertus. The first priests were Revs. Meyer, Kundig and Obermueller. Another log church, that of St. Augustine, was started soon afterwards by another settlement of German Catholics.