Town Wayne

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

The northwestern quadrangle of the county map was named Town Wayne. The settlement of the wooded, undulating country dotted with numerous steep gravel hills and stretching west of the morainic ridges began in 1846. On June 8, 1846, Alexander W. Stow took up the first eighty acres.

In the fall of the year several other pioneers arrived. Among the first ones was a German, Konrad Schleicher. He on Feb. 1, 1847, had three tracts of forty acres each in Section 28 entered under his name, and brought his wife and two children out from Milwaukee to his big estate in the wilds. He left them in the care of his brother-in-law and returned to the city to work and save up a little capital to run the farm with. They began to clear the land and the woman put in her solid share of the work. An experience of her's throws a spotlight on the hardships these pioneers had to wrestle with. She needed flour to bake bread, and walked nine miles to get it. With a sackfull placed on her head - a practice which the peasant women of the fatherland, who carry large baskets and jugs filled with butter, eggs, milk, etc., for miles to the next market-place, still follow - she started for home. At one place she had to cross a creek swollen with heavy rains, which she could not ford. There lay a tree athwart the water, and on hands and knees, pushing the sack carefully before her, she managed to crawl over, and for a time she again could stuff the hungry mouths of her family.

In the house of Patrick Conolly the first town meeting was held on April 1, 1848. Eleven voters were present - hardly enough to fill the offices. They chose A. S. McDowell for chairman; he also served as street commissioner and justice of the peace. The salary of the officers was fixed at $1 a day. $10 were appropriated to the poor fund, and $75 for general expenses. The latter sum seemed to some of them too weighty a burden for the young community, but after a long squabble in which the epithets "extravagant" and "stingy" were liberally exchanged, it was carried by a vote of six to five.

Until 1850 the town was mostly settled by Yankees and Irishmen. Then the German pioneers came in larger numbers, and they kept on acoming and buying land of the first settlers, or taking up the rest of the homestead land, until the township was almost entirely peopled by Germans.