|TOWN OF GRANT -- From
Shawano County Centurawno 1853-1953:
The Town of Grant was named in honor of Ulysses
S. Grant, President of the United States in 1868 when the Town of Grant
was carved out of the Town of Pella by action of the County Board of Shawano
County on June 16th of that year.
In 1857 J.B. Churchill, the first white settler,
arrived in what is now known as the Town of Grant, with his wife, Mary.
He bought 160 acres in Section 35 in what was then known as the Town of
Matteson, and which has since been split up into the towns of Grant, Pella,
Matteson, Fairbanks, and Split Rock.
Mr. Churchill originated from the State of
New York and journeyed as far as Fond du Lac by rail, thence by boat to
New London, and thence afoot through trackless forest to his homestead
in the Town of Grant.
For some time after his arrival, all supplies
had to be bought in New London, floated to Clintonville, and then carried
on the backs of the homesteaders the rest of the way, in the case of Mr.
Churchill, a distance of ten miles. Carrying a hundred pound sack of flour
through the woods for that distance was not considered unusual at that
time, and was a condition of pioneering cheerfully accepted by all the
In 1861 other settlers arrived. Timber was
so abundant that only pine had any market value, and that sold for $5 a
thousand. In order to carve farms out of the wilderness, it was necessary
to destroy quantities of elm and basswood by fire, because they had to
get rid of it, and it had absolutely no market value.
In 1861 the settlers who came to the Town of
Grant were: Ernest F. Pockat, Ferdinand Buelter, Christ Lade, and Wm. Papendorf.
By that time it was possible but extremely difficult to drive an ox-team
through the almost impenetrable forest to New London for supplies.
The first schoolhouse was opened in 1861, a
small log hut about 10x14 feet, located about a half mile east of the present
village of Caroline. Miss Minnie Lade was the first teacher.
In 1865 the first small church was built under
the direction of Reverend Dicke, and was served by him. It was located
where the Bauman Church now stands. In connection with the church, Rev.
Dicke also conducted a German school.
In 1866 Frank Jolitz arrived; in 1867 Charles
Mehlberg; and in 1868, Herman Wissman, Chas. Netzel and Fred Pechtel.
The forty acres upon which the Zion Lutheran
Church now stands were bought by Charles Netzel from Charles Trantow for
$15 with all standing timber. At that time no saws were used to cut down
timber, only axes. All grain was cut by cradle-scythe, and threshed by
In the same year (1868), with only nine settlers,
this area was granted a township status on June 16th by the County Board
of Shawano County. The first town meeting was held in the schoolhouse on
April 6, 1869, with the following as temporary officers: Chairman, August
Koeppen; Clerk, Wm. B. Brainard; Treasurer, Wm. Papendorf; Supervisors,
August Schoepke and Wm. J. Braun. At that meeting the following officers
were elected: Chairman, August Koeppen; Supervisors, Ernest Pockat and
Martin Mussack; Clerk, Wm. B. Brainard; Treasurer, Wm. B. Papendorf; Assessor,
Wm. J. Braun; Justices of the Peace, August Koeppen, Wm. Domke, August
Moenke and Wm. J. Braun; Constables, Joseph Hull and John Warnick; Sealer
of Weights and Measures, Wm. Anklam.
In 1878 there was some agitation to organize
the Village of Caroline, but there was some dissension as to where the
village should be located. Some people wanted it on the Charles Lade farm,
but the contenders for the present site won, and the village was called
Caroline in honor of August Koeppen's wife whose name was Caroline.
The first store building was erected in the
village by August Koeppen. The building was not quite complete when Charles
Stier arrived with $50 and an armful of supplies, and purchased the building.
Charles Stier carried on an enormous trade with both the white people and
the Indians. The store was bought by Charles Engel in 1895.
The first grist mill and dam operation was
started under the management of Theodore Buettner. The grist mill became
famous for its rye flour ground on stones.
Rudolph Schmidt and John Mueller were the first
to engage in the blacksmith and wagon business. Julius and Albert Netzel
opened the first furniture store. August Moenke opened the first hardware
store. August Shirk opened the first saloon. Ernst and Frank Thiele operated
the first sawmill in 1885.
Another small community in the town of Grant
was Hunting. The first store there was opened by Almyron Fuller, the first
saloon by Matt Wobosel, and the first settlers were a Mr. Green and Wm.
The big business in Hunting was a kiln. Farmers
for miles around sold 2 ft. lengths of maple, birch and elm for $1.25 a
cord, which was burned to charcoal, and then sold to blacksmiths and foundries,
mostly in Fond du Lac. The kilns were started with strong heat and then
shut down, which charred the product.
Hunting had a post office in a combination
store and tavern. Wm. Opperman appears to have been an important person
in the community and was a leader in everything.
In 1886 Charles Mehlberg bought the first binder
for $150. Horsepower threshing machines had also arrived to take the place
Information received from:
Art Braun, Shawano;
Who received his information from:
The Marion Advertiser;
Records of the Town Clerk, J. Brunner;
The biography of J.B. Churchill, in "Commemorative