History of Brookfield

Excerpts were taken from pages of an old 1880's publication on the history of Waukesha County.

Township 7, Range 20 East, called Brookfield, was set apart as now bounded, and organized into a town by act of the Legislature of 1839. It is an excellent farming section and one of the good fruit growing towns of the county. Its close proximity to Milwaukee, excellent connections with that city by two railroads and the plank roads, gives the farmers opportunity to secure at all times, the highest cash market prices for their products. Thus the location adds materially to the natural productive value of the farms in this town.

The first real settler was Robert Curran, who came to Prarieville August, 1836, with his family, consisting of a wife and three children. In September of this year, he moved to Brookfield and purchased a claim on Section 25, where H. Gregg now lives. there was a small cabin, partly completed, on the place. He moved in while there was yet a stump inside, no floor having been laid, and with scarcely a roof over their heads. He came in with two yokes of cattle and had to brush out a road, there being only Indian trails through the town at that time. He went to work at once and cut a large quantity of hay for his cattle and for the purpose of providing for travelers. During the winter, he made the first clearing, and in the spring of 1837, built an addition, and made it his chief business to care for travelers.

His house was the first tavern and Elon Fuller his first guest.

In November 1836, George Putney came in with a family and settled in the west part of the town, on the farm now owned by Chester Blodgett. He remained a few years and at last ran away with the Mormans.

S.G. Putney came in the fall of 1836, and in 1840 brought his family and settled on a canal claim of 200 acres, one mile south of the Brookfield Junction Depot, where he still lives on the same old claim.

In the spring of 1837, Augustus Yale, a young married man, came in, hiring a team to haul his things out from MIlwaukee into the deep woods where he has made his claim. He he started life by sticking up two or three poles in the ground and covering them with a bed quilt, this constituting his first dwelling. Where he stuck his first stake he now lives, having developed a fine farm and reared a large family.

During this spring, Mr. Curran broke three or four acres of land and planted corn and vegetables. this was the first land broke in the town, and these were the first crops raised.

Jacob Stam came in very early spring of 1837, with his family, the snow being quite deep when his house was built. He was the third settler in the town.

Maj. Farr and family, and E. A. Parker, his son-in-law, a brother of John G. Parker, the Canadian Patriot, came in the summer of 1837, and made permanent claims and built houses.

Augustus Story, came in and settled at the Plank Road Junction about this time.

Moore Spears came in 1837 and setled near Elm Grove; Ezra Maynard came in the summer of this year, and Mr. Van Vleck also.

In the winter of 1837 and 1838, the first school was taught in the town by Moore Spears, on a claim cabin on Maj. Farr's place. There was about twelve pupils, some of them being of age.

In the spring of 1838, the Hatch settlement, so-called, was formed in the northwest part of the town. there were two Hatch brothers, and two or three others in this settlement.

A saw-mill was built by Charles Hart on Section 15, about 1838. This was the first mill in town, and was run until within a few years.

J.P. Story bought out his brother Augustus about in 1840, and built a steam saw-mill soon after. This was run for several years, but did not pay, and was finally abandoned.

Charles Hart built a small grist mill about 1860, near his saw-mill. This mill was never prosperous, and after standing a few years as demolished.

The first schoolhouse in District NO. 1, Section 26, was built in 1839 of logs and John Phelps taught the first school here.

In 1840, Rev. H.W. Frink held meetings here, and organized a class of Methodists. there were five members from Brookfield. Robert Curran, wife and son, and Gideon Wales and wife. The first preaching in town was at the house of Robert Curran, by Elder Wheeler in 1838, and Mr. Curran's son Charles rode around the neighborhood to warn out the settlers.

The first death was that of Miss Susan Farr, daughter of Maj. Farr, who died in the spring of 1838.

Joseph Irwin and Fanny Farr were married in 1839, by Rev. Cyrus Bowles of Milwaukee. This was the first marriage in the town.

The first birth was a child of Gideon Wales. His son Solomon was born about 184?.

Harmenus Van Vleck was the Territorial Justice about 1840.

The first election was held in a house built by Lot Blanchard on the old Dousman place afterward occupied by Jerome Topliff, who kept tavern here and the first post office.

The plank road junction was at one time called Storyville, after the Story family.

Charles Raymond was the first Justice of the Peace and Postmaster in Brookfield. He lived two miles east of the plank road junction.

The first blacksmith-shop in the town was started by Jacob Stam, in 1837, on Section 26. He was anexcellent workman. John Bevier, M.D., came here in 1840, and was the first resident physician in Brookfield.

There are several churches in town -- two Catholic, one Lutheran, one Methodist and a Bible Christian Church.

Most of the land in town came into market in 1839. Among the first settlers were Mr. Buell, about 1836 or 1837; Joseph Irwin, Mr. McLaughlin, Joshua Cheney and Paul McMahon, in 1836 or 1837; Gideon Wales, Isaac N. Smith, Mr. Van Vleck, J. Shirtleff, Nathan Raymond, Charles Raymond, J.W. Brackett, John McLean, Charles Hart and father, William Leith, Isaac Fellows, Charles Leland, G.H. Breed, James Hines, Deacon Degraff, Mr. Ellis, Jacob Keeler, Charles Shut, Harmenus Van Vleck and sons, Amos and Aaron, who came in 1838, 1839, or 1840.