|Campbellsport News, 3/24/1952
EARLY HISTORY OF VILLAGE TOLD BY H. WRUCKE
The original old village in the town of
Auburn, was built on the main branch of the Milwaukee River which rises about nine miles
Northwest of here in the town of Byron. Ludin Crouch, a New Yorker and John Howell of
Waukesha first settled in this territory in 1845. At a celebration in 1846 the place was
named Crouchville, and in 1856 was re-named New Cassel by an early settler, Emil Brayman.
There was a grist mill established at the river which was dismantled a few
years ago, and John Husting had a brewery which burned about 1889. There were two stores
there when I came in 1894, one owned and operated by William Pool, Jr., and the other
owned and operated by F. M. Findelsen, built in 1874, now operated as a locker plant.
There were two physicians there, vis. Dr. Eigemuller and Dr. Zimmerman, and also a
veterinarian, Dr. Foltz. A Catholic convent was founded about 1874. It is a home for aged
and ill nuns, and a five story building built in 1933, has been added.
The first hotel in New Cassel, the Adam's House, was built in 1869.
The population of the village was about one hundred fifty when I came in
1894, 58 years ago.
Campbellsport, the new village, was built after the Air Line railway (C and
NW) was built up through here in 1872 in the town of Ashford. The land on which
Campbellsport was built was owned by a farmer, Stuart Campbell, who lived one mile west of
the village. The village was named after him. The railroad station was still called New
Cassel and changed to Campbellsport in 1879. There was a large space between the two
I came here in 1894 and served six years as principal of the Campbellsport
school. There was a one room school in New Cassel, or "Lower Town" as we called
it. I helped incorporate the village of Campbellsport comprising the two villages of
Campbellsport and New Cassel under the name Campbellsport in 1902, and I served as the
first village clerk for two years. M. L. McCullough was the first president. I organized
the Campbellsport Mutual Insurance company in 1895 and served as its secretary for
thirty-eight years and later served as treasurer and vice-president.
James McCullough had the first store up here and was the first postmaster.
Later, Platt Durand became postmaster. He had a drugstore and William Wedde had the first
hardware store. L. O. Kohler owned the first shoe store and E. F. Martin had the
lumberyard. There were two physicians at the time I came: Dr. F. A. Hoffmann and Dr. E. J.
Orvis. The Wisconsin Power and Light Co. had an office here and the Theresa Union
Telephone Co., of which I was a stockholder, built a line in here and mine was the first
phone installed about 8 blocks from the station. We got the first electric lights from
water power at Long Lake, near Dundee, in 1907 and my house was the first house wired for
electricity. A bank was established here in 1902 called the First National Bank, later
changed to the First State Bank, still in operation.
The main street runs one mile from west to east. The first high school
building was built in 1895 and was razed in 1938. The high school three year course was
established about 1907 and my eldest daughter was one of the first three graduates in
1911. She was Edna Wrucke and the other two girls were Margaret Paas and Lillian Van De
There was a peculiar feature of our little town that we had two post offices,
the Campbellsport office and the New Cassel office, until about twenty-five to thirty
years ago, when the New Cassel office was taken up after William Pool the postmaster died.
The population of the town today is about 1250 and it is located about
fifteen miles southeast of Fond du Lac. Sewer and water works were constructed in 1935 and
1936. State Trunk Highway 67 runs through the village from east to west. There are the
following churches in town: Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, Baptist and Methodist. The
Stella Cheese company a large manufacturer of Italian cheese, started here about thirty
years ago and is still in operation. The new shoe factory started here about five months
ago making infants and ladies shoes. We have a movie theatre operated by Mr. and Mrs.
Fischer. It was started in 1943. There are also many television sets in the village. An
oddity of the village is a 6 hundred pound man, "Mush" Bauer, who operates a
hotel-tavern. The largest broom factory in Wisconsin is operated here by Fred Elwing.
We are located about eight miles west of the now famous Kettle Moraine region
and lakes territory, known as the diamond territory since the Glacial period. Several
diamonds were found there years ago. It is now a summer resort area operated by the state.
Dr. Nicholas Senn, the noted surgeon, was born and grew up in the little
hamlet of Elmore, two and a half miles southwest of here.
I was eighty-four on February 29, 1952, it being my twentieth birthday.
H. A. Wrucke
(Scan courtesy Alan Krueger)