This, one of the most level and unbroken towns in the county, was,
previous to being erected into its present proportions, a portion of Eldorado. An act by
the Legislature, approved February 1, 1849, set off so much of the territory of Eldorado
as was in Township 16 north, Range 17 east, into a separate town called Friendship, the
first election to be held at Lyman Walker's house. Friendship lies along the west shore of
Lake Winnebago, and contains but seventeen full sections of land, the balance being
shore-marsh and lake. In this town the State owns some overflowed lands in Sections 3 and
10. The town contains but few springs and streams. Its soil is very deep and rich; its
timber tracts of excellent quality; its crops varied and profitable, and its inhabitants,
being near a good market, generally well to do.
The first election was held at Lyman Walkers house April 12, 1849.
The first settler was Champion Wilson, who came in 1845. In 1846, L. Forbes, Russell
McCarty, Edwin Roberts, C. B. Matteson and, perhaps. others settled in the town.
The first births were Julius Roberts and Dora Cook.
The first deaths were two, recorded near together - Burns and
In 1847, a school was taught on Section 28, by Elias Worden.
In 1848, a schoolhouse was erected on Section 21, in which Miss
Robinson taught the first school.
In 1849, John Prescott preached the first sermon in the town in
Lyman Walkers house.
In 1848, Friendship Post Office was established - Jackson Pritchard,
Postmaster. Van Dyne is the present post office, and D. N. Morgan,
In 1851, Adolph Henning opened, on Section 16, the first store in
In 1860, the German Methodists built a church edifice on Section 17.
The town now contains two churches - the German Methodist, P. Limber, Pastor, and German
Lutheran, John Rosenthal, Pastor. In 1879, a cheese factory was built in the town. The
Chicago & North-Western Railway extends across Friendship from south to north,
maintaining a station at Van Dyne. In 1851, the inhabitants along the lake shore began to
be uneasy when, without any apparent reasonable cause, Lake Winnebago began to steadily
advance upon their shore lands. As the waters continued to advance, they continued to be
more uneasy. Nearly one thousand acres were overflowed at this time, caused by the
erection of dams at Neenah and Menasha.
In 1854, the cholera made its appearance in Friendship, causing
greater consternation than the sudden rise in Lake Winnebago. The disease appeared in
August, and resulted fatally in six instances.
Champion and Minor Wilson, soon after the first settlement of the
town, began the manufacture of chairs, which they continued until the larger factories
made the business unprofitable. Whether Minor Wilson settled within the town limits in
1841, the year before the accepted time of permanent settlement, is a matter of question.
There seems to be more than a probability that he did.
The population of Friendship is composed mostly of French and
The Chairmen and Town Clerks, since the town was separated from
Eldorado, have been: In 1849, Henry Bruce and Edwin R. Roberts; 1850, Henry Bruce and
Edwin R. Roberts; 1851, Charles Wheton and Edwin R. Roberts; 1852, Minor Wilson and Hector
Munro; 1833, Adolph Henning and Hector Munro; 1854, Adolph Henning and Hector Munro; 1855,
Ebenezer Austin and Hector Munro; 1856, John Stoddart and Hector Munro; 1857, Charles
Carberry and Hector Munro; 1858, John Stoddart and Hector Munro; 1859, John Stoddart and
Hector Munro; 1860, John Stoddart and Mitchel Perrizo; 1861, Charles Carberry and John
Stoddart; 1862, Joseph Kinsman and Mitchel Perrizo; 1863, Joseph Kinsman and Mitchel
Perrizo; 1864, Joseph Kinsman and Mitchel Perrizo; 1865, Charles Carberry and Mitchel
Perrizo; 1866, Charles Carberry and Mitchel Perrizo; 1867, Charles Carberry and Hector
Munro; 1868, Charles Carberry and Hector Munro; 1869, Charles Carberry and W. J. Raycraft;
1870, Joseph Kinsman and William Lumly; 1871, Joseph Kinsman and William Lumly; 1872,
Hector Munro and Fitch Kinsman; 1873, Hector Munro and Fitch Kinsman; 1874 Charles
Carberry and Fitch Kinsman; 1875, Joseph Kinsman and Hall McCourt; 1876, Patrick McMonagle
and Hall McCourt; 1877, Joseph Kinsman and Hall McCourt ; 1878 and 1879, Theodore Herrling
and Hall McCourt.
History of Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin,
Western Historical Company, Chicago: 1880*
*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.