1901-1975: Twentieth Century
Pastor Fritschel of the Lutheran Church resigned to serve the Milwaukee hospital as superintendent. Reverend O. Gammelin was called to replace him.
The Fairwater State Bank was organized January 15 with capital of $25,000. Individuals involved in the bank were listed in the 1960 Study Club History as follows:
The first President was Mr. A. W. Bonesteel, Vice President, Mr. Derk Bruins; and Mr. C. Griffith cashier. He was followed by Mr. Roy Smith and then Mr. F. E. Henslin. There were originally 25 stockholders, namely; Mr. Neils Westman, Mr. A. Bruins, Jr., Mr. E. R. Williams, Mr. E. B. Carter, Mr. B. J. Wikerink, Mr. W. F. Robinson, Mr. C. C. Cease, Mr. U. L. Johnson, Mr. A. S. Duffies, Mrs. Esther Newland, Mr. A. W. Bonesteel, Mr. W. R. Abercrombi[e], Miss Ellen Miller, Mr. J. H. Redeker, Mr. C. O. Tinkham, Mr. Guy Miller, Mr. A. C. Green, Mr. C. S. Griffith, Mr. J. W. Lyon, Mr. A. J. Bradbury, Mr. O. H. Tucker, Mr. S. Vandervelde, Mr. E. F. Starbird, Mr. Derk Bruins and Mr. James Johnson.
Fairwater's only newspaper, The Fairwater Register, edited by E. L. Howe, began publication in May and continued until 1905. Among the other stories in the September 18, 1903, issue was the following notice of the death of Benjamin Fry, one of the village's Civil War veterans:
Benj. Frye died at his home in Fairwater, Fond du Lac county, Wis., September 9, 1903, after many years of poor health. Mr. Frye was born in Vermont in May, 1828. He was an orphan at the age of 9 years and early learned the hardships of life, being thrown on his own resources with no place to call home. Coming west in 1855 he settled in this vicinity. In respect to his country's call Mr. Frye enlisted and went to the front, but on account of sickness never saw much active service, and receiving his discharge he returned home. July 22, 1869, he was married to Miss Clarissa Tinkham and moved to their farm two miles west of the village, where they resided until a year ago, when they moved to their new residence in Fairwater. Mr. Frye was a very kind husband, friend and neighbor, and an honest, upright man. He leaves a wife and many friends to mourn his loss. The funeral services were conducted by Rev. Sanford, of Ripon, Sept. 11th.
An associated story related that,
Mr. and Mrs. A. S. Crooker, Mr. and Mrs. N. A. Tinkham, Mrs. Effie sheldon and Mr. and Mrs. M. Herrick, of Ripon, were in the village Friday to attend the funeral of Mr. B. Fry A number of the old settlers from Brandon were also present.
In the same issue, readers were informed of the following local news:
- Tinkham Bros. have just received a car of choice flour middlings.
- Miss Mae Johnson is attending high school in Brandon.
- Our village has had a very busy appearance the past few days. The good prices for grain is causing the farmers to market it freely.
- Many of the ladies are making good use of the time while the sweet corn is ready for canning and are using Mrs. Price's Canning Compound, sold by Mrs. G. C. Alborn.
- Wm. Bartz's barn blew down last Friday night. (Rosendale Center)
- Farmers are getting anxious about their grain--would like to see some threshing done. (Picketts)
- Will Wentland had his hand quite badly hurt while working around his engine last week. (Green Lake)
The Brandon and Fairwater Lutheran congregations again decided to have their own pastors. The Fairwater congregation built a parsonage, and in October Reverend P. H. Klemm moved into the building as the first full-time pastor of the congregation.
Thomas Baker became postmaster on November 20.
The Lutheran Church organized the first Luther League and the first Ladies Aid. Because of a family illness, Pastor Klemm left the Lutheran congregation for a higher and drier climate in Sugar City, Colorado. The Sugar City and Fairwater congregations arranged for a swap of pastors, with Reverend F. Donath moving to Fairwater. This arrangement quickly proved unsatisfactory, as described in the Centennial history:
Rev. Donath soon felt that he would be better able to work elsewhere. His indiscrete actions with some women, displeased many residents of the community. After a year and a half or so, he turned in his resignation. During the interim between Pastor Donath and his successor, the Rev. J. Haferman of Brandon served the congregation.
The Fairwater Creamery Company, a cooperative, was organized and began operation adjacent to the river in Jim Town. Initially only cream was purchased to make butter. The original incorporators were C. Tinkham, A. W. Bonesteel, W. R. Abercrombie, Fred Berg, George Stelter, and Paul Korb. The latter was the butter maker. (See Fairwater Creamery News Items)
The new Fairwater public school building was completed and opened for instruction with nearly 60 students.
The Lutheran Church steeple was struck by lightning. In October Pastor John Preu was called to serve the Lutheran Church and "continued as pastor until his death by his own hand, sixteen years later." (Centennial)
Jesse Laper erected the first electric light plant in Metomen on October 22 on the former flour mill site. The Study Club History describes the plant as follows:
The direct current was stored in batteries. After changing to alternating current, improving the turbine, installing a large engine, electric service was furnished to the Village of Fair Water, Brandon, and Alto.
The canning factory was constructed by William Sink and C. Yunker and began operation under the name of Fair Water Canning Factory.
The school house associated with the Lutheran Church, apparently constructed under Rev. Burkhardt's pastorate prior to 1897, was sold for $50.
Ralph Blodgett purchased Sink's interest in the canning factory.
The first automobile agency in the village was established by Jesse Laper. It was later sold to Alex A. Laper.
Mrs. Ella Card was appointed station agent for the railroad station on November 1, the first woman to hold that position.
During the First World War, hemp became an important agricultural product. In response, the Fairwater Hemp Co. was established in 1917 by Towne Miller, John Miller, Herman Bielke, and Walter Bielke on the highway north of the mill pond and west of the north fork of the Grand River. The Badger hemp plant was constructed by W. R. Abercrombie and J. W. Laper the same year west of the Fairwater mill pond. Both were located adjacent to the railroad line. The Badger plant was also used to generate steam for the turbine in the Laper power plant. ( Florian Laper, Fair Water: Its History, 1997)
The Lutheran Church steeple was struck by lightning for the second time.
On May 27, the Markesan Herald reported under the headline "Markesan-Fairwater Road Patrolled Now" that Green Lake County had engaged Emil Radke to maintain the "Markesan-Fairwater road." (see Fairwater General News Items)
An election was held on March 8 to determine whether or not the village should incorporate. (See Fairwater Incorporation News Items) As reported in The Markesan Herald on March 10, the vote was 138 to 18 in favor:
FAIRWATER IS NOW A VILLAGE
Special Election On Tuesday Gives Big Vote
In Favor of Incorporation
By a vote of 133 to 18 residents of Fairwater voted to incorporate as a village at the special election held Tuesday. Under the order of the court the action of the voters automatically made Fairwater a village without further procedure. Village Officers will be elected at the regular election in April.
Julius Block, Thos Baker, and H. H. Born appointed by the court to take charge of the election held Tuesday on the question of incorporation will also have charge of the regular election in April. Nomination papers will be circulated at once for president, clerk, treasurer, assessor, supervisor, constable, one justice of the peace and six trustees. Three of the trustees will serve for one year while the remaining three will be elected for two years.
No candidates for the various offices the village will have to fill had appeared today but it is understood that a full slate with contests for a number of the position [sic] will be presented to the voters for their choice in April.
The Brandon Times on March 10 reported the election as follows:
FAIRWATER VOTES FOR INCORPORATION
It will now be the Village of FairWater, if you please! On Tues. at the special election held in that place on the incorporation, a vote of 133 for and 18 against incorporation was cast. The total vote was 151 out of a probable vote of a little over 200. There were about 56 that did not vote. The women did their part in carrying this proposition which is a step towards advancement and no doubt will be of much benefit to all in the near future. Look out for Fairwater! Watch her improve!
In April, W. R. Abercrombie was elected the first village president. H. H. Born was elected first clerk.
On April 19, the village board approved the installation of 25 street lights at a rate of $20 per year. They were lit from dusk to 11:30 p.m. throughout the year.
On November 17, The Markesan Herald reported on a fire at the Card Brothers' garage the previous day. Damage was confined to five vehicles and amounted to $2000. (See Fairwater Fire News Items)
Uriah Johnson was replaced as acting postmaster (beginning January 14) by Anna Johnson on December 14.
Jesse Laper built a dance pavilion on his property near the lower Grand River. (See Laper Pavillion News Items) According to Fair Water: Its History (1998):
About 1915-1917 the community used the Laper Woods by the side of the Grand River as a picnic grounds. Many church and firemen's picnics were held there. About 1918 J. W. Laper built the Laper Pavilion. Many firemen's dances and other private dances were held during the evening hours. This was made possible by the use of electricity to provide light both inside and out. After the pavilion burned after a dance, the picnics were no longer held there and the drive for a community building was started.
On March 30, The Markesan Herald reported on a serious fire in the village on March 24 at the blacksmith shop and residence of Owen Riant, which were destroyed. The adjacent Berg home was also destroyed. (See Fairwater Fire News Items)
On June 1, The Markesan Herald indicated that the Fairwater Creamery Company had begun work on the new creamery building, designed to replace the original Jim Town building and projected to be "one of the finest in this section of the state." The paper reported that operations were housed temporarily in the Laper Electric Company cement block building. (See Fairwater Creamery News Items)
J. W. Laper, B. H. Card, and P. H. Sommer were appointed to organize a fire department. On September 5 a firehouse and equipment were purchased for $6,000, and two fire cisterns were built with a capacity of 45,000 gallons of water. The firehouse was located in the former First Baptist Church building.
Fire struck at the Laper Electric plant on December 28, late in the year, as described by an article in the December 30 issue of the Brandon Times. The damage to the operation was repaired and the plant was operating again within several hours. (See Fairwater Fire News Items)
Reverend Preu, deceased during the year, was succeeded by "the well beloved" Reverend O. C. Bliese, Prairie du Sac, in November.
The Lutheran Church steeple was struck by lightning for the third time. The congregation voted to hold English and German services "alternately on a 50-50 basis regardless of festivals." (Centennial)
Both of the village's hemp mills were closed due to competition from foreign mills. According to Florian Laper in Fair Water: Its History, the Miller mill (Fairwater Hemp Co.) was converted in turn to a cement block factory, a rivet factory operated by Prairie Tubular Rivet Co., and a foundry operated by Roeming Lind. The Abercrombie mill (Badeger Hemp Co.) was demonished and replaced by a pea vining plant.
The Ripon State Bank purchased the building and stocks of the Fairwater State Bank and began operating it as the Fairwater Office of the Ripon bank.
Elmer Zellmer became postmaster on August 4. According to F. Laper's History, Zellmer, a butcher and grocer, had served as acting postmaster since July of the previous year, and "under his tenure the post office was moved twice in the downtown area." Zellmer served the community as postmaster until 1961.
Dr. Gilbert Klosterman, osteopath, began his practice in the village.
The Fair Water Canning Factory was purchased by American Stores Dairy Company of Philadelphia. Mr. Howard Blodgett was manager of the factory.
Villagers contributed their labor to build a village park near the railroad depot, formerly a "very ugly site" used for the unloading of sand and gravel. The Study Club History describes the project as follows:
Teams, trucks and labor were donated. The firemen donated $75 for shrubbery and landscaping. The ladies of the village held ice cream socials, sold popcorn at band concerts and held other fund raising functions to buy seed and for other expenses. Later we contracted the state to furnish picnic tables. What was once an ugly site has now been transferred into a lovely park. It is now used by travelers and townspeople as well.
The Fairwater Civic Center, a longtime goal of the village firemen, was completed. The Study Club History described the project as follows:
Numerous attempts were made to promote the erection of a building, but without success. Not content to accept failure, the idea was kept alive and on March 7, 1940, at one of the Firemen's meetings a motion was made to offer the [Firemen's treasury] to the village as an initial sum toward the promotion and erection of a new community center. It was presented to the village board. After considerable discussion and co-operation by firemen and village board, it was suggested to the voters that the building be erected near the school. This would enable the school to make use of the same. A referendum was submitted in April 1940. The vote was 114 for a[nd] 44 against. Thus the people of Fair Water authorized the village board to proceed with the erection of the present Civic Center. The present fine building was made possible in a financial way by a Federal WPA grant of $30,000.00 for labor and to this we added $2,800.00 to be used for material. This left the original amount of $15,000.00 supplied by the village which was later increased to $19,000.00 for the purchase of materials, equipment, land transportation of men and material and other incidentals. By the use of WPA labor and funds, very little money supplied by the village was used for labor. Through the efforts of those who took a great interest in the successful completion a much larger and finer building was made possible. A small area on the lower level was built to accommodate the fire fighting equipment. Much credit for the supervision of the building went to Mr. Joseph E. Duby, superintendent of construction. In the foyer hangs a plaque with the names of the village officers at the time of construction, President Mr. J. W. Laper Trustees, Mr. B. H. Card; Mr. L. W. Frei, Mr. D. W. Horn, Mr. A. E. Patchett, Mr. Albert Laper, Mr. Edwin Prahl, Clerk, Mr. H. H. Born, Treas. Miss Laura Jahns; Assessor, Mr. Harry Toll, Supervisor, Mr. F. E. Henslin.
The dedicatory program was held Sunday, Sept. 14, 1941, at 2:00 p.m. School lunches are now prepared and served at the Civic Center. The building has filled a much wanted need of the community.
The Ladies Aid society of the Lutheran Church dedicated a service flag for the church to honor the village's servicemen. According to the Centennial history:
In 1942 our defense program necessitated the enlistment and drafting of men into the service for their country. The Ladies Aid purchased a service flag which was dedicated and hung from the balcony. From a special fund called the, "Service Box," they purchased a lecturn for the church which was dedicated in honor of our men in service. Our service flag had 24 stars on it. The men in service at this time were: Herb Albrecht, Herb Witt, Ervin Albrecht, Donald Benz, Ervin Link, Harold Henslin, Gordon Born, Charles Kuehn, Erle Erdman, Clarence Schmuhl, Winton Lenz, Lawrence Born, Eldon Benz, Marvin Link, Florian Laper, George Pischke, Howard Kuehn, DuWayne Block, Roy Born, Blaine Briese, George Werth, Rueben Frei, Arvin Schoeffel. We were privileged to have Erle, Florian and DuWayne with us at the dedication services. They unveiled the lecturn before its dedication by the pastor. Three of our servicemen gave their lives; they were Harold Henslin, Roy Born and Ervin Link.
Army-Air Force 1st Lt. Harold Henslin (front left) and his B-17 bomber crew
before Henslin was killed in 1944 (photo courtesy of Winton and Cirena Lenz)
Overlooked on the church's list but representing the twenty-fourth star was Milton D. Born, the fourth brother of the Born family to serve during the war.
During the war the village also maintained a list of is servicemen on a prominent honor roll displayed on the Civic Center grounds. Identified on the honor roll in the photograph above were Herbert L. Witt, Laurence E. Born, John Mickle, Eldon Benz, Clarence Schmuhl, Charles A. Kuehn, Gordon Ter Beest, Lester Doering, Milton D. Born, Reuben Frei, DuWayne J. Bloch, Darwin J. Sweeney, Roy E. Born, Allen B. Schultz, Morris R. Blodgett, George Lenz, Louis Meyer, Floyd Spalding, Charles Leemon, George Dischke, Raymond Benz, Blaine M. Briese, Gertrude J. Toll, Lorraine M. Menke, William B. horn, Harold F. Henslin, John T. Miller, Donald Benz, William Amudson, Erle T. Erdman, Florian G. Laper, Ervin D. Link, Howard W. Kuehn, Marvin E. Link, Gordon G. born, Winton E. Lenz, and Henry R. Johnson, Jr. (photo courtesy of Winton and Cirena Lenz)
The Lutheran Church Ladies Aid had the church parlors and kitchen redecorated, floors refinished, and pews painted. The exterior of the building was also painted.
The Lutheran Church steeple and parsonage were painted.
Pastor Bliese was forced to retire as pastor of the Lutheran Church due to ill health. As his replacement, Reverend A. H. Adams, an Army Chaplin, was called but was delayed in beginning his pastorate, because he was serving in the Philippines. He was installed as pastor the first Sunday in January, 1946.
Committee members for the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Lutheran Church were Reverend Adams and the church council (planning); Mrs. George Werth and Mr. And Mrs. Emil Laning (contact); Mrs. Nellie Laper and Mrs. Lawrence Bade (decorating); Mrs. Gust Block (preparation and menu); Mrs. Elmer Jahns (waitresses); and Mrs. Herman Korth (kitchen).
The Lutheran Church purchased the old village hall, originally the Baptist Church building, for use for additional Sunday School space. A second story was added to the building.
The village library began service in the old Baptish church, sponsored by the Study Club and Lutheran Church. Mrs. Winton Lenz was hired as the part-time librarian.
The last German services in the Lutheran Church were held with Holy Communion on Good Friday.
Mrs. Adams (nee Edna McNulty), wife of Pastor Adams, passed away on November 8. At the end of the year, Reverend Adams accepted a call from the Stradford congregation and resigned as pastor of the Lutheran Church.
On January 10, Reverend Peter Bunting from Cedarburg was installed as Pastor of the Lutheran Church.
Reverend Bunting resigned as paster of the Lutheran Church and was replaced in May by Reverend Kenneth Tansor. Pastor Tansor's first service was also the last held in the original church building, which was razed on May 13 to make way for a new building. Services were held in the Fairwater Civic Center for the next year. The Centennial history notes that,
A ground breaking service was held on May 26, 1957; the cornerstone was laid on September 29, which was also the congregation's Mission Festival Sunday that year. The contents of the cornerstone include: (1) The Holy Bible (2) Luther's catechism (3) The Constitution of the congregation (4) A list of those who were currently on the council, building committee, Sunday school staff, choir members, officers of the various organizations (5) A church bulletin (6) The Lutheran Standard (7) Newspapers of the local area (8) A 75th anniversary booklet of this congregation.
The first service in the new Lutheran Church building was held on May 3. A formal dedication was held on June 15.
The Fairwater Grade School was expanded by two classrooms and for the first time in its history was served by four teachers. The basketball team went undefeated.
The Fairwater school district was merged with the Brandon district after considerable debate within the community and numerous hearings in Madison.
James W. Hankerson served as acting postmaster between October 31 and November 3, at which time he was officially made postmaster. Accorting to F. Laper's History, "during his tenure the rural route was removed from Fair Water."
Pastor Tansor resigned as pastor of the Lutheran Church in order to serve in Milwaukee. In May, Pastor Robert Weinbender of Toledo, Ohio, accepted a call to replace Pastor Tansor.
Pastor Weinbender of the Lutheran Church became ill and passed away on June 5. According to the Centennial history,
Services were held here at Zion and he was laid to rest in the Fair Water Cemetery. His wife and family chose to stay in Fair Water and to live with the people that Pastor Weinbender loved so dearly. He will long be remembered by his parishoners and the community.
During the later part of the year, Reverend Eugene Baisden of Doyon, North Dakota, accepted the call to replace Pastor Weinbender. Also during the year, the Maynard Schuster house, formerly Dr. Buckland's home and office adjacent to the church property, was bought by the Lutheran Church.
The Lutheran congregation voted to build a new parsonage.
Civil War, 1861-65
Post-Civil War, 1866-1900
Twentieth Century, 1901-1975