History of Delafield
Excerpts were taken from pages of an old 1880's publication on the history of Waukesha County.
"Originally the present town of Delafield, Township 7, of Range 18 east formed a part of the town of Warren, now Merton; by act of the Legislature, approved February 17, 1842, it was included as a part of Warren, the election to be held at the schoolhouse in District No. 1; by an act approved March 21, 1843, the boundaries were established as they are now, and the town named Nehmabin, the first election to be held at the house of N.P. Hawks; and by an act of the Legislature, passed January 26, 1844, the name was changed from Nehmabin to Delafield."
The town of Delafield presents as many attractions, expecially to the tourist, as any in the county. That it is one of the most beautiful, fertile and well watered, cannot be denied. Here are as fine drives, views and farming lands as heart can wish for or imagination suggest.
The population of the town is quite varied in nationality. It is an easy matter for one to study here, in the sapce of a few square miles, the manners and customs of several different nationalities. The Welsh still live in primitive simplicity among the hills of the south; in the northwest, the Scandinavian cultivates the hop-vine with enthusiasm, and in other parts Yankee and Scotchman, Englishman and German, each pursues his peculiar way of life without let or hindrance from the others.
The first claim was made by Deacon Schuyler, in the spring of 1837 when he erected a cabin, lived there for a year or more and moved to Summit. Albert Campbell came in 1837 and chose a farm where he built himself a little house out of poplar logs as well as furniture, the best he ever did in his life. Among those that came that year were: Hiram Campbell, Henry C. Skinner, George W. Skinner, Edwin Skinner, E. Melvin Skinner, Gaylord Ellsworth, Homer S. Finley, D.W. Kellogg, George Paddock and Millard Hughson.
1838 brought Stephen Warren and many others came after including: Ira Morris, A.J. Wilson, John A. Messenger, Elisha Daggett, Robert Lookwood, John Heath, Harvey Burchard, Rufus Scott, Edward Pearmain, Ben Brewer,k Ben Moffit and Nathaniel Hughson, but many of these moved away soon after or sold their claims.
According to the old poll list for September 1842, there were but nineteen voters: of those not already mentioned there were George Paddock, Martin Waite, Harvey Brewer, Isaac Harrison, N.P. Hawks, Francis Chase, Ben Brewer, E. Dolivar, M.B. and W. Cushing, E.L. Matthews, A.L. Castleman and Samuel Smith. Soon after, Michael Ward, Thomas Cahill, Mike Clarey, Jack Wilson, John Heath, Russell Frisby, Daniel Plumley, Albert Alden and many others came.
The first deaths were those of E. Melvin Skinner and Gaylord Ellsworth, who were drowned in Snail Lake, now known as Pewaukee Lake. This occurred October 8, 1837. Their funeral was conducted by Elder Wheeler about October 12, 1837.
The first funeral and first sermon was on the occasion of the deaths by drowning of the above named. The ceremony was conducted by Elder Wheeler, about October 12, 1837.
Not many years after this, Edward Pearmain committed suicide by shooting himself, owing to trouble which he had with Daniel Plumly, his son-in-law, said to have been a worthless wretch, who subsequently traded his wife with another fellow, of equal merit for his sister.
The first marriage was that of Henry Bowron to Miss Hellen Campbell, being performed by Elder Griffin of Waukesha in the spring of 1840.
The first person to commence his existence in this town was Frank H. Skinner, son of Henry C. and Susan Skinner, born January 4, 1838. He died in California.
The first school taught in town was that of Mrs. Stephen Warren in their dwelling house in the fall of 1840 with about twelve pupils. The first school in a schoolhouse was taught by Morgan L. Skinner in 1841-42 with fifteen pupils. The schoolhouse was made of poplar logs, and stood near Rowell's gate.
The first dam was built and a saw-mill commenced by the Warrens in 1841 at Hartland. This property was purchased by Christ Hershey in 1842 and was operated by him for several years.
The first well was made in 1841 by Stephen Warren, on the place occupied by the Widow Skinner.
Albert Alden operated the first store in 1843 in the building soon occupied thereafter as a hotel by Silas Barber.
In July 1842, N.P. Hawks advertised for a blacksmith, and soon after a shop was started here by a Mr. Selick.
The first Justice's docket in the town was opened by Milton b. Cushing, on the 15th day of February, 1840, and a case was tried by him between Russell Frisby, defendant, and G.S. Hosmer, plaintiff. Mr. Cushing was succeeded by N.P. Hawks, in 1843.
The old Territorial Road came to DElafield in 1838, and gave the town the benefit of a public thoroughfare.
The first hotel was started by N.P. Hawks as early as 1840. Hawks was known from that time forward for many years as the "prince of high living."
There were three hotels, located between Delafield and Pewaukee, on the stage route in this town, as early as 1844, and so great was the travel that they all did a thriving business until the advent of the plank road and railroad. Daniel Mc Vean owned one on Section 25, and Messrs. Houston & Crombie owned the others on Section 26. They were all burned after 1850, heavily insured.
At the first town meeting held in Delafield, then Warren, at the schoolhouse of District No. 1, Tuesday, January 5, 1842, the following officers were elected, George Paddock being chosen moderator, and George W. Skinner Clerk of the meeting: Milton B. Cushing, Chairman, Henry Cheney and William Odell, side Supervisors: Town Clerk, Elias Palmer: Constable and Collector, Stephen Warren; Assessor, Hiram Warren; Road Commissioners, John Johnson, John Molster and A. L. Castleman; School Commissioners, Samuel B. Parsons, Albert Campbell and Philetus S. Cross. It was then resolved that all town officers should receive a compensation of $1.00 per day for service if not otherwise provided for by law. That a tax should be levied on all property not to exceed 1/4 of 1 per cent, for school purposes, on all taxable property, and that $25.00 shall be raised to pay town officers. The amount of personal property assessed was $1,530.00; of real estate, $9,815.32; total wealth of the town $11,345.32.
Albert Alden built a saw mill in 1844 on Bark River. N. P. Hawks built a flouring mill and Dr. Castleman was the first practicing physician in town.