EARLY HISTORY OF AUBURN
From History of Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin,
Western Historical Company, Chicago: 1880*
In the southeast corner of Fond du Lac
County lies the town of Auburn. It is bounded on the north by the town of Osceola, east by
Scott, in Sheboygan County, south by Kewaskum, in Washington County, and west by Ashford,
in the county of Fond du Lac. It contains thirty-six sections of land, but these are not
all full sections. The actual number of acres in the town is 22,901.99, being 138.01 acres
less than the full 36 sections - 23,040 acres. The territory of Auburn includes that
platted by the United States as Township 13 north, in Range 19 east. The township quarter
of the year 1834, by Mullett & Brink. It was subdivided into sections and
quarter-sections during the second quarter of 1835, by Deputy Surveyor Hiram Burnham. By
him the lake on Sections 10 and 15 was called "Crooked Lake;" the one on
Sections 11, 12, 13 and 14 was named "Off-Set Lake." But these names were not
retained. (These lakes are now named Auburn and Mauthe Lakes.)
The face of Auburn is smooth in appearance, though not
level in surface; it is gently undulating, with ascents and declivities of various heights
and depths. The streams of water - of which the principal are the three branches of
Milwaukee River - flow with a strong current. Lying as it does within the broad belt of
heavy-timbered land skirting the northerly part of the western shore of Lake Michigan, the
territory now included in the town of Auburn presented to the eye, in its natural state,
neither prairie, openings, nor hay marsh - nothing but continuous woods. The forest trees
proclaimed the excellence and fertility of the soil which sustained their growth; the
principal of which were sugar-maple, basswood, elm, black ash, white ash, red oak, white
oak, hickory and butternut. The large groves of sugar-maple offered excellent
opportunities for manufacturing maple sugar.
The soil of this town is a deep, black, sandy loam, with a mixture of marl, and a subsoil
of reddish clay. In early spring, when the county was first settled, the ground in the
woods became covered with grass and herbage, giving good support to cattle before
vegetation was developed in cultivated fields. Many of the farms of Auburn have living
springs upon them, which send their running waters to swell the outlet of Long Lake and
the three branches of the Milwaukee River. The soil is rich in those properties which make
it warm, productive and durable. The different varieties of grain are cultivated with
success, while the growth of grass is generally excellent. The Northwestern Union Railroad
crosses the southwestern corner of Auburn in its northwesterly course toward Fond du Lac,
entering it near the center of the south line of Section 32, and leaving it at the
northwest corner of Section 19, crossing into the town of Ashford.
The first settlement in this town was made in 1846 by Ludin Crouch and John Howell, on the
spot afterward occupied by CrouchvilIe, now New Cassel. Here Mr. Crouch built a log shanty
and then commenced building a saw-mill. The same year, there was a small settlement made
in the neighborhood by J. 0. Baldwin, J. L. Perry, C. Crownhart, Rev. H. A. Sears and
others, but some of them settled across the line in what is now Ashford. In February,
1847, Roswell Hill purchased a lot on the west side of the Milwaukee River, near what was
subsequently Crouchville, built a house, and, in July following, removed his fami1y into
it. Alamon Wheeler, Seward Wilcox and Harvey Woodworth soon located in the same
neighborhood. Several other settlements were made in different parts, and, that year, the
town of Auburn was organized, its territory including, also the present town of Ashford.
(The first settlement of Ashford and Auburn being so near to the line now dividing the
two, it is no wonder there is a dispute as to who were first settlers in each.) At the
first election, held at Mr. Crouchs mill, there were twenty votes polled. Ludin Crouch was
elected Chairman, and Hiram Hatch, Town Clerk.
The first marriage was C. Hemenway to Harriet Hall in December, 1847.
The first school taught in Auburn was in the summer of 1848, in the house of Mr. Crouch,
by Miss Maria Bristol. Mrs. Crouch taught the school the next year.
The first death was that of Mrs. J. 0. Baldwin in 1846 or 1847. Rev. Harvey A. Sears
preached the funeral sermon.
The first stock of goods - general merchandise - was opened in the fall of 1849, probably,
Auburn was named by R. F. Adams and brother, after Auburn, N. Y., their native place.
Michael McCulloch was the first Irish settler; Philip Oelig and Gerhardt Volkerts, the
first German settlers in Auburn.
The most notable event in the history of this town was the tornado of July 4, 1873, which
killed one person and laid waste forests, crops, buildings, fences and other property in
The first election after Auburn and Ashford were separated, was in April, 1849, at which
twenty-seven votes were cast. T. S. Wilcox was elected Chairman; M. Buckland, Clerk; A. W.
Wheeler, Assessor; C. D. Gage, Collector, and M. Miller, Superintendent of Schools.
NEW PROSPECT. This is called "Jersey"
because its first settlers came from New Jersey. The first Postmaster was B. Romaine, who
held the office twenty years, being appointed probably in 1859. He was with Gen. Scott in
the Mexican war. In 1877, a two-story building for a schoolhouse and church was built on
Mr. Van Blarcoms farm. The church is non-sectarian.
EBLESVILLE. This village was founded by Andrew Eble, who
came from Milwaukee, in 1855, purchased the water-power and built a saw-mill. He was
accidentally shot on Christmas, 1859. The New Fane Post Office, established on the line
between Sections 29 and 30 in 1851, by T. S. Wilcox, was moved to Eblesville in 1875. The
village consists of a saw and feed mill, two stores, Lutheran Church, built in 1871, and
the usual number of shops.
* Like many similar publications of the period,
Western's 1880 history relies heavily on interviews with early residents conducted many
years later. Narratives were subject to selective, sometimes creative recollection, and
the resulting work should be appreciated for the historical publication that it is but
viewed with a critical eye as a history. We caution viewers to verify the data contained
in these early stories.
Appreciation to Ron Friedel for transcribing the text.