TWENTIETH CENTURY: 1901-1975
A certain merchant left town the morning after for parts unknown. Before the fire he was seen by William Lyon, then a young lad, to have carried a small parcel across the street, presumably to find a cache. The next morning it was picked up and taken with him when he departed on the morning train. County officials were called in to investigate. They were unable to find the man or prove there was arson committed. The site was rebuilt. [The Brandon Times account of the fire in its August 1, 1901, edition does not mention these details.]
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.
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 new Fairwater public school building was completed and opened for instruction with nearly 60 students.
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.
Ralph Blodgett purchased Sink's interest in the canning factory.
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 electric plant.
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."
FAIRWATER IS NOW A VILLAGE
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
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 new 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.
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. According to Fair Water: Its History (1997):
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 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.
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 Village Hall.
Fire struck the original Laper Electric plant on December 28, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 to the right 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 last German services in the Lutheran Church were held with Holy Communion on Good Friday.
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.
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."
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.