Village of Merton History
Excerpts were taken from pages of an old 1880's publication on the history of Waukesha County.
William Odell was the first settler here, in 1840, and built the first house. He entered the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 24, and his brother Austin claimed the west half of the same quarter soon after. The land claimed by Austin fell into the hands of John Metcalf, of Oconomowoc, in 1841. Dr. Hill came on and jumped the north half of Metcalf's land, and sold it to Huntington and Kent in 1844, who built a saw-mill, which stood a little northeast of the present mill. In 1846, Henry Shears and George Trowbridge bought the property, and in 1847 built the present grist-mill. the saw-mill was demolished about 1855. The grist-mill is now owned by Phillip Snyder. J. Finch came here and built about 1840, near where now stands the house of Phillip Snyder, and kept a hotel for some time. About 1843, Loyal M. Moore opened a blacksmith shop.
Homer E. Fenn, who came here as a pettifogging lawyer, built the first frame building in 1847, near where now stands the store of F. Schraudenbach, and in partnership with Mr. Warren opened the first regular store; but there had been a few goods kept by Mr. Finch for sale for some time before this.
W.W. Caswell built the first frame hotel about 1847 or 1848.
The first school was taught here in a little slab house north of the Bark River in 1847 or 1848, D.S. Foote, teacher.
About 1849, the District bought the building erected by Fenn. An attempt was made to make a schoolhouse out of adobe, or sun-dried brick, at this time, which failed, and Col. Shears put up a building out of them which stood for several years.
About 1868, a comfortable schoolhouse was built, where the present one stands, which was burned in 1878 and rebuilt the same as before. It has two departments. William Odell was the first Postmaster; then A.J. Dibble was appointed; after him E. Hackett held it for a time then it passed into the hands of M. & R. Weil, who were succeeded by J.M. Gavitt, P.M. and Robert Kruger, assistant; they were followed by T. Mayhew in 1861, who was followed by Francis Vaughn in 1866; who was succeeded by the present Postmaster Eli Eastman, in 18??.
In 1862, the Merton folk were frightened almost out of their boots by the "Indian scare," and nearly all left for parts unknown.
The Baptist Church of Merton was organized August 31, 1843, with a membership of nine. Rev. Richard Griffin acted as pastor until 1849. During that year meetings were held at Hartland. In 1867, Rev. Chapin began his labors as pastor. Up to January 8, 1880, the total number who have joined the church amounted to one hundred and seven. The Methodist Church in this town has thirty-five members, and belongs to the Pewaukee charge. Rev. George W. Burtch is the minister.