ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin

Miscellaneous set


Dr. F. J. Parkhurst Called by Death

Born and Reared in Watertown

Widely Known Physician and Business Man and Founder of Sanitarium

Watertown Gazette, 09 16 1915


Dr. F. J. Parkhurst died at his home in Danvers, Illinois, Saturday at 3 a.m. September 9, 1915, after an illness of several months.  During the last two weeks his condition had so improved that his friends were greatly encouraged.  On Friday afternoon he was at his office, but became very ill early Saturday morning and died in a short time.


Fred J. Parkhurst was born in Watertown, Wisconsin, February 13, 1855, and was one of a family of six children.  After attending both the public school and the Lutheran College of Watertown he graduated from the Northwestern Medical College, Chicago, in the class of 1880.  After serving an internship at Mercy hospital he located at Danvers, Illinois, where, for a time he was associated professionally with his uncle, Dr. Harvey Parkhurst, one of the pioneer physicians of McLean county. 


In 1881 he was married to Miss Mary A. Abbott of Danvers, who survives him.  Three children were born to this union, one dying in infancy, and one daughter Francis, who died at the age of seventeen, Sept 29, 1904, and Arthur A. Parkhurst, a son, now editor of The Boulder Morning News, of Boulder, Colorado.  He is also survived by a brother, Hiram H. Parkhurst, of Lincoln, Neb., and one sister, Mrs. Lois Baldwin of Oak Park, Illinois.


Dr. Parkhurst was of Revolutionary ancestry.  His great grandfather, Elisha Parkhurst, was a surgeon in the Revolutionary War and died in service.  His paternal grandmother was a direct descendant of Samuel Huntington, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  For many years Dr. Parkhurst had an extensive practice which later he renounced in order to give his entire attention to the study and treatment of inebriates for whom he had established a sanitarium in Danvers, Ills.  This institution grew to large proportions and thousands of men have been under his care.


In Dr. Parkhurst’s death Danvers loses one of its most generous hearted and public spirited men.  He was greatly interested in the cause of temperance and circulated the first petition that made Davers local option territory.  He was a member and director of the First Presbyterian church and has for many years been a director in the First National Bank of that city.  Dr. Parkhurst was a member of the American Medical Association, the Illinois and McLean County societies, serving as president of the latter at one time.  His remains were interred at Danvers.


The news of Dr. Parkhurst’s death was received in Watertown with sincere sorrow by all his old friends, who held him in very high esteem.  He was one of the very best of men and his boyhood days in Watertown is remembered with a great deal of pleasure by such of his schoolmates as now reside here.  After leaving school for several years he was employed by F. P. Brook & Co., our worthy citizen George Hawkins being a member of the firm, and by the late J. W. Mentink, as delivery boy, in which employment he saved enough money to enter Rush Medical College.


Wheeler & Leschinger’s

New Shoe Store

Watertown Gazette, 02 20 1913




March 1st Ernst V. Leschinger and Harry S. Wheeler will open a new shoe store at 420 [East assumed] Main Street.  It will be known as the Royal Blue Shoe Store and will have the exclusive agency for the Royal Blue Selz shoes.  Mr. Leschinger has been a salesman the past seven years in the Gile-Strauss-Sette store, and is one of Watertown's most popular young men.  Mr. Wheeler is a musician of note in Watertown and vicinity and is popular with a large acquaintance.  They will carry a large line of everything in the shoe business.


Office of Coroner

Watertown Gazette, 09 30 1915


Michael Manning of Clyman, coroner of Dodge county, was in the city on official business on Wednesday.  The office of coroner of Dodge county has been a very important one since Mike was elected to the office.  He is right “on the job” and sees to it that “no guilty one escapes”.  We want more men like Mike in office. —Watertown Gazette.


You are right, Bro. Moore, Mr. Manning is discharging the duties of his office as all faithful officers should.  Prior to Mr. Manning’s election, the office of coroner of the county was looked upon by many as little more than an office without a salary or duty — just a bit of “red tape.”  As a matter of fact, the office of coroner, while it carries no salary, is one of the most important offices in the county and state.  All sudden deaths are not the result of accident by any means.  Some of them may be suicides and some may be murders.  Many a convict who is now behind the bars was landed there by discoveries made at coroners’ inquests . . .


Paddy Puts on New Front

Watertown Tailors

Watertown Gazette, 09 23 1915


A decided improvement has been made in the front of the store of the Watertown Tailors, proprietors of the $16.50 store [?].  George Hawkins, the owner of the building, has had a new and modern front erected, the iron work having been done by Otto Biefeld & Co. and the carpenter work by Richard Rowlands.  The new front already presents a very attractive display of fall and winter goods.  Paddy Ryan, the manager, has arranged for a fall opening for next Saturday.  The Watertown Saxophone Orchestra has been engaged to furnish the music for the occasion and souvenirs will be presented to all visitors to the store during the day.


Death of Lawrence J. Fribert

Watertown Democrat, 01 01 1863


Mr. Lawrence J. Fribert, one of the early residents of this city, died at his home last Saturday night, the 27th of December, 1862, after severe illness, in the 54th year of his age.


Mr. Fribert was a native of Denmark.  He came here about twenty years ago.  During a considerable portion of that period he was engaged in mercantile pursuits but for some time past he has been a practicing lawyer at Juneau, forming one of the firm of Billinghurst, Lewis & Fribert – his family remaining here, with the exception of a short interval.  Returning to his home some four weeks since quite unwell, he continued to fail in strength until death finally closed the scene.  He was a gentleman highly respected for his intelligence and virtues and kindly esteemed by all who knew him.  Uniformly cheerful, with a playful remark always ready, his fine social qualities drew around him many warm friends.  Upright and blameless in all the varied relations of life, his loss is most sincerely and deeply regretted by those who had the best opportunities to learn and appreciate his real worth.


Hours of Labor

Watertown Democrat, 10 19 1865


Bodily and mental labor are too unequally distributed in our country.  Some men occupy the whole time in menial labor.  In the practice of law, in preaching, in teaching, lecturing, or retired study, they pass on from day to day, never laboring with their hands or exerting their muscular powers, so far as even to produce a moderate perspiration.  This is bad for that class of men.  Perfect health cannot be had in general without bodily labor.  This appears to us to be an inevitable law of our nature.  Man was made to labor, not only to take pleasant exercise, but actually to labor, to weary his frame by regular daily exertion.  Such exertion is an absolute condition of good health.


On the other hand, the greater part of mankind are obliged to work too hard.  Mental cultivation is essential to a sound state of the human constitution. 


Perpetual labor, without mental improvement, is the condition rather of the brute than of a human being.  But such is the necessity of the case, as society is now constituted, that hard labor twelve hours of the day is required from the greater part as the condition of their very existence.


This state of things is wrong.  Labor and study ought to be more nearly equalized.  The laborer ought to be able to support himself with such a degree of labor as would leave him a few hours every day for the improvement of his mind.


The proper development of all the faculties is best for the professional man and all other classes.  But the tendency of the times is to improve and exercise none of our powers, except to accumulate a vast amount of wealth.


House Breaking

Watertown Democrat, 10 12 1865


Two or three nights since one of our citizens caught a prowling thief in the act of lifting one of his windows and trying to enter his dwelling.  This would indicate that a gang of these robbers are hanging around the city, watching their chances to plunder.


The right way to treat them is to be prepared for their visits, and we know nothing better to entertain them with than a little lead.  That is the kind of reception such fellows deserve, and if it should prove to be cold, all the better, for the cure will be certain.


Dwelling Houses

Watertown Democrat, 10 19 1865


In this city the demand for comfortable and commodious dwelling houses is much greater than the supply.  Those who wish to rent find it next to impossible to obtain a house of any description.  We do not believe a vacant tenement can be found within the city limits.  The only way to meet this want is to supply more.  Those who have suitable lots and the means to build would have plenty of occupants for any number of convenient houses they may put up.  This state of things shows that our city is steadily growing in numbers and there is every indication that this will be the case for some time to come.  The elements of property exist here.  Our splendid water power is not half employed and the fertile country around is being more extensively and carefully cultivated.  In order to keep people here there must be houses to live in and this want ought to keep pace with the demand.


Sold lumber yard

Watertown Democrat, 10 19 1865


Notice.  Having sold out my lumber yard and retired from business and wishing to immediately adjust all claims both for and against me, I have left my books and accounts at the Wisconsin National Bank of Watertown where all indebted are requested to call and settle between this and the 1st of November next, as after that date all demands will be promptly placed in the hands of a Justice of the Peace for collection.


J. C. Rhodes, Watertown, Oct. 11th, 1865


The Wild Men

Watertown Democrat, 10 19 1865


There are now to be seen at Cole’s Hall in this city two wild men from the island of Borneo, who are objects of great interest worth visiting. 


As an exchange paper remarks, “They are something more than mere curiosity and suggest strange thoughts to the mind of the beholder.  The characteristics of the human race and those of the animal seem to be almost equally blended, while it would be difficult to tell which predominates.”


Given Loving Cup

Watertown Gazette, 01 15 1914


During the year 1913 Herman Bahr, local associate manager for the Guardian Life Insurance Co., wrote $110,000 insurance.  In recognition of his splendid record he was given by the company a nicely engraved silver loving cup.


Dr. F. C. Haney

Watertown Gazette, 01 15 1914


Dr. F. C. Haney attended a meeting of the state board of medical examiners at Madison this week.


Cheese Men Elect

Watertown Gazette, 01 22 1914


At the annual meeting of the stockholders of the Union cheese factory, town of Emmet, the following officers were elected:


President — John P. Roffeis.

Secretary — Ernest Klecker.

Treasurer — John Kreuziger.

Directors — John P. Roffeis, Ernest Klecker, John Kreuziger, Gus Tonn, William Schroeder.


Big Brush Order

Watertown Gazette, 01 22 1914


Lee B. Skinner of Dunedin, Florida, has placed an order for 10,000 feet of orange brushes with the Standard Brush Co. of this city.


Edward Davies Homestead

Watertown Gazette, 09 23 1915


For Sale Real Estate:  The Edward Davies homestead on Second Street.  The 1 1/2 story frame dwelling house on Dodge Street, between 1st and 2nd streets, and the two story brick building on 1st Street, all in the 1st ward.    For further information call on C. R. Blumenfeld, Lawyer.


Crawford moves to Madison

Watertown Democrat, 04 21 1864


Mr. William G. Crawford is about to move from this city to Madison.  For some years he was an extensive merchant tailor here, but more lately he has been at the head of the manufacturing department of B. Swan’s clothing store.  He is a skillful and experienced cutter, knows how to make “just the fit,” and is not only an excellent business man but an estimable citizen.  We wish him success.


Oil Painting

Watertown Democrat, 09 28 1865


Messrs. Johnson & Buttles are now in this city for the purpose of giving lessons in a new art of painting on glass, called “American Oil Painting.”  They have shown us some specimens of their skill, which are certainly finely executed with rare beauty and finish.  They profess to teach the whole process in one hour so thoroughly that the learner can go on and practice it successfully without difficulty afterwards.  By this art, photographs, engravings or lithographs can be transferred to glass and painted in oil, with all tints and shades of color.  They will be found at the Lindon House, where they are prepared to teach any who wish to learn.


Death of Stephen Stimpson

Watertown Democrat, 02 26 1863


Intelligence was received here last week that Mr. Stephen Stimpson, formerly of this city, died on the 3rd of January, 1863, at Bannock, on the head waters of the Missouri River, in Dakotah Territory, some 800 miles from the city of Denver.


Mr. Stimpson was long a resident of this city, having come here in 1844.  For many years he was actively engaged in different business pursuits and was once the owner of considerable property, but the financial revulsions of 1857 affected him unfavorably, as it did many others, and he became somewhat embarrassed by his losses.  In 1859, when the Pike’s Peak gold discoveries excited the whole country with wild expectations of untold wealth to be easily acquired in that region, in company with Dr. G. Shamberg, he went to the far west to try his fortune in that new field of chance and luck, which was then attracting so many thousands to its rugged borders from almost every state.  In the midst of his efforts to regain a competence we receive the sad news that he has suddenly been called from his labors by the stroke of death, leaving his numerous friends nothing but the mournful privilege of recalling once more and finally the name and memory of one who had many generous impulses, agreeable social qualities and some manly traits of character.


Death of Dr. Rood

Watertown Democrat, 03 12 1863


Dr. Ira R. Rood died at his residence in the village of Waterloo of inflammation of the lungs in the 50th year of his age.


Dr. Rood made his permanent residence at Waterloo about sixteen years ago.  He was then in the midst of the years of early manhood – the country was new and thinly settled – but among the scattered population he found there he commenced the practice of his profession and he was a true and honorable disciple of the healing art. 


He also interested himself in all enterprises calculated to promote the growth and improvement of the pleasant village he had made his home and was one of the most prominent and influential men of that place . . . .



Maple Sugar

Watertown Democrat, 03 12 1863


Last week new maple sugar was offered for sale on our streets and brought from 15 to 20 cents a pound.  We are informed that those who have maple orchards are preparing to manufacture extensively this spring.  If the season should be favorable there will doubtless be large quantities made in this vicinity.  Where the means exist, every farmer ought to go into the business and produce all the maple sugar he can.  The price of other sugars is now so high that maple sugar will bring more than ever before and make it a paying investment.


Brutal Murder

Watertown Democrat, 10 23 1862


Last Thursday evening, the 16th, between four and five o’clock, Michael Gamble, under the influence of excitement caused by liquor, shot his wife.  As near as we can learn, the circumstances attending this crime are about as follows:


Mr. Gamble had been to this city on some business and returned home in a state of partial intoxication.  He called for his supper and while at the table angry words passed between him and his wife and dishes flew at each other – he commencing it.  She in return, he states, threw a tea cup back at him, hit him near the left eye, and ran into another room, shut the door and held it. 


He made an attempt to force open the door but could not.  Seeing a gun, which was loaded, standing in the room, he seized it and some of his neighbors say deliberately put in another charge and fired.  The contents passed through the door into the body of his wife.  He then reloaded the gun but could not find the caps after searching for them. 


She fell and expired in the course of fifteen minutes.  He was soon afterwards arrested, brought before Justice Ducasse for examination and committed to jail to await his trial at the next term of the Circuit Court.


There are various reports afloat which tend to aggravate the barbarity of this act, but which we will not report, as the prisoner is to be tried and we would not knowingly say anything that might prejudice the case of a man who has already a sufficiently heavy load of guilt to answer for before the bar of our courts.


He appears to be about fifty years of age, has one child some twelve years old, and is the owner of a farm on the line of the old plank road, about three miles east of this city.  He was an industrious man, but given to the indulgence of an appetite for whiskey, which has led to the commission of the act that in all probability will bring down on him the severest penalty known to our laws.


New Grocery and Provision Store

Watertown Democrat, 11 27 1862


[Advertisement]  New Grocery and Provision Store – The undersigned takes this method of tendering his thanks to his numerous customers for their liberal patronage and to inform them that he is still at his old stand, with a good supply of family groceries, such as are used in war times, which will be sold at the lowest living rates.  Markets are rather fluctuating now-a-days, but having good facilities for keeping well posted, the aim will be to sell at market prices.


Cash paid for dairy butter.


Main Street, two doors west of the Bank of Watertown – Amos Baum.


George Peebles, Agent

Watertown Democrat, 11 27 1862


[Advertisement]  Notice to Farmers – The undersigned has been appointed agent for the sale of Braley & Pitt’s Buffalo Threshing Machines and Horse Powers.  Also Hall’s Stump Machine.  This machine is a good saving of labor to the farmers, being worked by two men only.  Also improved grain drills for sowing all kinds of grain.  Also all kinds of grain scales, of which no farmer should be without.  Also the Champion Fan Mill and all kinds of agricultural machines and implements.


George Peebles, Agent, Watertown.


The Price of Drinks

Watertown Democrat, 12 04 1862


The Boston liquor sellers have raised the price of drinks to thirteen cents each, or two for a quarter.


By drinking twice the customer saves.


By not drinking at all he can save the whole expense, keep the wretched poison out of his system, be sober and respected, and remain perfectly indifferent whether the price of the vile alcoholic adulterations now sold goes up or down.


Humble Oil Co

Watertown Daily Times, 10 03 1964


The Humble Oil Co. last night notified city officials that it is filing a petition to have a piece of property at 734 West Main Street rezoned from light industrial to heavy industrial in order to permit expansion plans the company has in mind to be carried out.  The company, which now operates in West Main Street as well as South Third Street, plans to close down its bulk operations in the South Third Street facilities, keeping only its service station in operation there, while concentrating its bulk operation at its West Main Street location.  In order to do this the change in the zoning designation will be necessary.


St. Regis Paper Company

Watertown Daily Times, 08 13 1965


The fact that Watertown is among several cities in the running in an effort to secure a new industrial concern — the St. Regis Paper Company — was brought out into the open at last night’s committee meeting of the common council.  Mayor Robert P. White, in reply to a question from Council President George Shephard, said the city has made overtures to secure the industry and that a brochure had been filed yesterday, the deadline for presenting such data.  Mr. Shephard said it was a move worth taking since he understood the company would provide jobs for some 600 persons.


Glen Mfg. Co. plant

Watertown Daily Times, 06 21 1964


The Glen Mfg. Co. plant in Watertown will close on Friday on what was reported today to be a temporary basis.  However, it was not stated when plant operations will resume.  At peak operations the plant employs 65 women.  On June 3 it was announced out of Milwaukee, by Jack Winter, president of Jack Winter, Inc., and Stanley Glen, president of Glen Mfg. Co., both of Milwaukee, that an agreement had been made under which members of the Glen family would exchange their holdings of common stock in the Glen Mfg. Co. for five per cent convertible preferred stock of $100 per value per share to be authorized and issued by Jack Winter, Inc.


A Runaway

Watertown Democrat, 11 09 1865


Last Saturday a Whitewater team became frightened while standing on West Avenue, dashed across Main Street bridge, paid the Robinson House a visit, knocked down the lamp post in front, tore out one of the supporting pillars of the portico, rushed along the sidewalk and scattered the dry goods boxes in front of Pearson’s store and stopped.  It was about as furious a runaway as we have ever seen.  The damage done must have amounted to nearly fifty dollars.


Indian Summer

Watertown Democrat, 11 16 1865


The beautiful Indian summer weather continues.  Nights of frosty clearness are succeeded by days of delicious dreamy warmth and brightness.  The wind is southerly and during the day soft as summer.  The air is full of the haze peculiar to the season and all conspire to make the days as delightful as possible.


Snow Storm

Watertown Democrat, 11 02 1865


Last Friday night, October 27th, we were visited with a storm.  For some days previous the weather had been cold and rainy.  The trees still retained most of their foliage, and so great was the amount of snow that fell and covered them that the limbs were borne down, and in many instances broken off.  In this way considerable injury has been done to fruit and shade trees.  On the ground the snow was almost four inches thick.  The roads are in a horrible condition and will be hardly passable until improved by dry weather.


Horse Thieves Around

Watertown Democrat, 03 19 1863


In the town of Lake Mills, on the night of the 13th, a span of bay horses about six years old with a set of silver-plated harness were stolen from the barn of Mr. John Michiels.  A liberal reward has been offered by the owner for the recovery of the team and the apprehension of the thief.  There must be an organized gang of horse thieves in this vicinity.  No pains should be spared to detect and bring the rascals to justice.  The many fine horses that abound here is a great temptation to this class of depredators. 


Horses are probably first taken by one party and so rapidly run off to distant places by another that it is almost impossible to recover them.


The 37th Congress


Watertown Democrat, 03 05 1863


The Congress of the United States, which came into existence before actual hostilities between the States of this Union broke out – before the first gun had been fired at Fort Sumter – closed its career last Tuesday night. 


We cannot say that it caused the war, but we know it has not ended it, with all the vast powers of the Government on its side . . . Two years of stirring and eventful history have passed – many desperate and bloody engagements have taken place – and yet the great and final battles for the Constitution have yet to be fought and won, if the Union of our Revolutionary fathers is to be saved as it was handed down to us. 


Some good acts have been passed but the proceedings of the 37th Congress will be distinguished as much by what was not accomplished that ought and might have been, as by what has been done. 


A troubled and stormy future seems to be before us, but if out of our contention and strife, justice and right prevail and peace, order and unity eventually arise, we may yet belong to a nation great, powerful and happy – the glory of this continent.


The Territories

Watertown Democrat, 03 05 1863


An act providing for organizing a temporary government for the Territory of Arizona has passed Congress and is now a law.  This Territory is said to contain 120,000 square miles and its mineral wealth is represented as much greater than that of any other except Nevada.  Its silver mines are considered among the richest in the world.  Gold is found in many parts and copper abounds everywhere. 


Bills have also been reported to enable Colorado, Nevada and Nebraska to form constitutions and be admitted into the Union as States.


Winter Drawing to a Close

Watertown Democrat, 02 12 1863


The winter is drawing to a close but as yet there has been no sleighing, comparatively few severely cold days and much of the time the weather has been quite mild and pleasant.  Notwithstanding this, business has been active, a heavy amount of wheat and pork has been brought in and sold, and money has never been plentier, or rather that which passes as such, for of gold and silver we have none.  Even real estate, so long unsalable, has found buyers and there are indications that arrangements are being made for considerable building when the proper season arrives for such enterprises.  In the midst of war, we still continue to make improvements and prosper, and if peace should return and give stability to public affairs, we might reasonably look forward to as good of times as we have yet seen.


Winter Wheat

Watertown Democrat, 03 05 1863


We have made quite extensive inquiries relative to the condition of winter wheat and from what we learn we are justified in making the statement that the crop now looks remarkably well and promising.  A more than usual number of acres have been sown by the farmers in this vicinity and on the whole the winter has been very favorable for the grain in the ground.  The soil has either been very wet or covered with snow, so that there has been but little freezing, thawing and wind to destroy the roots of the young wheat.  Last autumn was an excellent season for plowing and it was so generally improved that a large breadth of land is now ready to receive the spring seed.


The Old Year

Watertown Democrat, 01 01 1863


The old year will depart in sunshine, if we may trust in the appearance of the cloudless skies that now overspread us. This is mid-winter, but there is not the least snow on the ground and the weather is pleasant and mild for this season of the year.  There have been an extraordinary number of warm days during the present month and rarely has December dealt so gently with us in this climate.


John Young

Watertown Democrat, 02 19 1863


Common Council Proceedings:  Ald. Brown reported to allow the bill of John Young for night watch, $4.


John Atwood

Watertown Democrat, 02 19 1863


At the Lake Mills Lodge No. 46 of Free and Accepted Masons the following preamble and resolution relative to the death of a worthy brother were adopted: 


Whereas, by the dispensation of an All-Wise Power, we are called upon to mourn the loss of a worthy and beloved brother, John Atwood, who departed this life at his residence, in the village of Lake Mills, after a short illness, Feb. 2nd, 1863, in the eighty-seventh year of his age, thereby depriving the Fraternity of a true and faithful brother, who, for more than fifty years, had been ardently devoted to the interest of the order.


As a Mason he honored all men, loved the brotherhood and feared God – as a friend his heart was in his hand and when he died the poor and needy lost an earthly friend only to gain another to plead their cause in heaven; as a Christian he was devoted, humble and penitent and our prayer is that our days may be as well spent, that we may discharge our duty to God, neighbor and ourselves with equal fidelity.


Valuable Property For Sale

Watertown Democrat, 02 12 1863


The subscriber has concluded to offer his dwelling house and forty acres of land connected with it for sale.  The house is built of brick nearly new, 47x30 feet, two stories high with kitchen and pantry, 16x24 feet.  The land is all of the best quality and all under good cultivation and embraces five acres of the best meadow in the state.  Six acres of orchard with apples, pears, plums and cherries in bearing.  There are also twenty bearing grape vines, raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, currants, asparagus beds, etc.  A more healthy location cannot be found either East or West.  It is only a pleasant walk from business and overlooks the city of Watertown.


If not disposed of together within a few weeks I will sell 25 or 30 acres of the land and retain the balance of the buildings.   J. A. Hall, Watertown.


John S. Rockwell

Watertown Democrat, 02 12 1863


On the passing of John S. Rockwell, Feb. 3, 1863, Oconomowoc –


. . . About 1838 he removed to Oconomowoc and made that pleasant village his chosen and final home . . . When he arrived there fifteen years ago there was only one solitary log cabin between his new abode and Milwaukee.  Reaching his destination he pitched his tent and spent his first night under a tree that stood on the ground where he afterwards reared his comfortable and elegant house.  He found but few settlers, thinly scattered about here and there, at long distances from each other, and those mostly in poor circumstances, with small means at their disposal – in truth, scarcely enough to make a beginning.  The wide and fair region around was almost untouched by the hand of cultivation.  All was ready for the farmer, the mechanic, the trader, the laborer, but they had yet to take possession.  His presence was soon felt everywhere.  He started a store, put up mills, opened roads, erected dwellings, laid the foundations of school houses and temples of worship, took a lively part in all projects for the growth and improvement of the place, and before long was the leading man of the town and vicinity.  In him the early pioneers – the rugged and hardy “’36ers,” as they are sometimes called – found a warm and steady friend, ever ready to help them in the hour of need . . .


1865 State Fair

Watertown Democrat, 09 28 1865


The state fair is now being held at Janesville.  The display is said to be the best ever made.  It is well worth a visit.  Railroads carry for half price, which should induce all to go who can find the time.



E. W. Sprague

Watertown Democrat, 09 28 1865


E. W. Sprague has just received at his drug store the largest and best assortment of all kinds, styles, sizes and descriptions of willow baskets ever brought to this city.  Many of them are fine specimens of ingenuity, skill and beautiful workmanship.  The ladies will find there an extensive variety from which to select and please their fancy.


Augustus Schiffler

Watertown Democrat, 09 28 1865


MERCHANT TAILOR –Mr. Augustus Schiffler, a skillful and first rate merchant tailor, is located one block north of Main Street, between Third and Fourth streets.  He always keeps on hand an extensive assortment of the best and most fashionable goods and makes all kinds of garments as cheap, and fits them as exactly, as anybody.  He is a fine workman and always gives satisfaction.


Winter Wheat

Watertown Democrat, 10 05 1865


The winter wheat, sown this fall has come up vigorously and gotten a good start.  The fields have a bright green appearance, which clearly distinguishes them from the surrounding meadows.



Watertown Democrat, 10 05 1865


There was a very slight frost on the morning of October 2nd, the first of the season.  It was not severe enough to do much damage.  There is scarcely anything not already ripe enough to be beyond the reach of injury.


Broke Jail

Watertown Democrat, 01 29 1863


On the 20th William West and Evan Davis broke jail in the village of Jefferson and made their escape.  Davis was retaken by Sheriff Giles last Friday and now is safely lodged in his old quarters.  West, the most dangerous rogue of the two, is still at large and is described as follows:  He is about 5 feet, 9 inches high, dark hair, grey eyes, Roman nose, strongly built, is about 20 years of age and English by birth.  Sheriff Trucks has offered a reward of fifty dollars for his apprehension.


These prisoners affected their escape by means of a brace and bit furnished by someone outside, with which they cut through the plank and then knocked a hole through the wall by pushing away the brick.  Both had an iron ball fastened to the ankle, but they cut the chain with a file and made off.  Alarm was immediately given and no efforts spared to arrest West, the professional burglar, who is still at liberty.


Something Useful, Cheap, and Desirable

Watertown Democrat, 02 26 1863


Mr. I. D. Seeley, now in this city, is the agent for 15 counties in this state of what is known as a patent strip door protector, which is very simple and practical in its operation.  It is intended to prevent rain and air from blowing in from the outside to the inside of a room under a door and this object it accomplishes perfectly, without the least trouble or inconvenience, after once adjusted.  It consists of two strips of sheet iron, with a kind of clasp, which catches when the door is shut, and binds so closely together that it is impossible for water or wind to force its way through, and so far as the bottom of the door is concerned, all is air tight, and results in a great saving of fuel.  It is really a very desirable improvement and those who have tried it are so pleased with it that they would not be without it.  It never gets out of repair and once put in it remains as long as the house lasts.  We strongly commend this simple but valuable invention to all who desire to protect their rooms from all exposure to the violence of the elements, whether in the shape of rain or wind.  In a very short time it saves far more than it costs, and is so contrived that it always works with the utmost accuracy and never fails.


Christmas, 1862

Watertown Democrat, 12 25 1862


He who said “It is more blessed to give than to receive” knew the depths of the human heart and its capacities for joy and sorrow.  Better than the gratification of the insane thirst for gold, the hunger for acquisition – more grateful than the raking together of possessions for self – more blessed than gathering and hoarding, is the luxury of giving.  Nobler in kind and higher in degree is beneficence than avarice and self-seeking. 


It is not the thousands in the bank vault that confer happiness, but the dimes thoughtfully given to the poor and needy.


Stocking are the delight of children on Christmas morning and – until the charm is dissolved by which Santa Claus fills them with so many good things – a great mystery.


River Iced Over

Watertown Democrat, 12 04 1862


Last Tuesday morning the river was covered with ice and a thin layer of snow was spread over the ground.  It is very seldom that the river has remained open as late in the season as it is now.  During the entire autumn the weather was remarkably warm and mild, and even yet we have not experienced a very severe touch of winter.



Watertown Democrat, 12 11 1862


The boys and girls – young folks and old – have had a fine skating time during the past few days.  The ice on the river has been in excellent condition for the full enjoyment of this healthy exercise – being smooth and strong, without any danger, except from the hard bumps the green ones occasionally get from a sudden fall.  Parties of ladies and gentlemen have also improved the beautiful moonlight evenings we are now having to indulge in this recreation.  It is a vigorous and exhilarating amusement and when the weather is favorable, if more generally indulged, would be highly beneficial in many respects.


Real Estate

Watertown Democrat, 12 25 1862


Last week Thomas Dervin purchased the brick block belonging to A. Hunt, on the west side of the river, for $2,000.  It is a good business point and has already been taken possession of by the new owner.


L. R. Cady sold to Fischer & Rohr a 30 foot lot on the north side of Main Street for $75 per foot, amounting to $2,250.


Peter Seaborg sold to Henry Bieber a lot 10 feet in front, adjoining the above, for the same price.


Smabie’s Great Show

Watertown Democrat, 09 11 1862


Contains the following specimens:  African Lion and Lioness, Senegal Leopards, Asiatic Lion and Lioness, Santa Fe Bison, Amazonian Black Tiger, Cinnamon Bear, Striped Hyena, Wild Cat, Brazilian Tiger, American Cougars, Zebra, Bengal Panther, Grey Wolf, Grizzly Bear, Spotted Hyena, Australian Kangaroo, Apes, Baboons, Lamas, Alpacas, Black Bears, Monkeys, Siberian Coons, Ant Eaters, Opossums, Macaws, Parrots, Cockatoos, Gold and Silver Pheasants, Emus . . . .


The Gymnastic Elephants, Romeo and Juliet !


The whole forming the model and moral show of 1862.


They will exhibit in Horicon on Sept. 20th.


Petitioner Requests Refund

Watertown Democrat, 12 11 1862


The petitioner represented that on the 14th of August last he paid into the City Treasury the sum of fifteen dollars for a license to sell spirituous liquors.  That sometime afterward, and before his bond was approved, or the license issued, he applied to the City Clerk to have the bond returned to him, as he had discovered that he would be obliged to pay to the United States a license of twenty dollars and his business could not pay for taking out both licenses, and for that reason he did not wish to take out either.  The petitioner asks that a fair proportion of said license money be refunded to him. 


Where money is regularly and fairly paid into the city treasury and not under mistake, it cannot be drawn out except for some purpose specified by law.  The Common Council has no right to make donations from the city treasury, their powers are limited by the city charter and they can do only what that authorizes them to do. . . .


T. Prentiss, for Commissioner


Automobile Thief Caught

Watertown Gazette, 10 28 1915


On Wednesday evening of last week, while Emil Kressin of Clyman was attending the show at Turner opera house, his automobile was stolen from in front of the theatre and the thief on Friday was brought to this city from Oconomowoc, where he was arrested by the police of that city while purchasing gasoline for the machine.  At Hartland he sold an extra tire and with the money obtained returned to Oconomowoc to purchase gasoline for the machine, the supply being almost exhausted.  He gave his name as Peter Schmidt and he is well known here, having been stopping in the city and passing as a newspaper man for about three weeks before he stole the machine.  He was taken before Justice Schmutzler, who bound him over to the next term of the circuit court.


Miss Estella Claussen

Watertown Woman Will Try For Film Actress.

Watertown Gazette, 11 11 1915


Miss Estella Claussen, 400 Clyman Street, has entered the “Beauty and Brains” contest being conducted by the Photoplay Magazine in conjunction with the World Film Corporation.  The proposition is to send eleven young women to the studios at Fort Lee, New Jersey, across the river from New York City, where they will be given a thorough tryout as film actresses.  All of their expenses will be paid on this trip and if they show any talent they will be given contracts for a period of not less than one year at the regular salaries paid to stars.  No effort will be spared to make film star of these young women.  Miss Lilian Russell and William A. Brady are among the judges of the contest.  Their experience and reputation alone assures contestants of every possible consideration based solely upon ability.


Bob Lessner

Watertown Daily Times, 09 29 1990


Watertown loses one of its most beloved businessmen Monday.  State Farm Insurance Agent Bob Lessner will embark on an early retirement next week to get out of the office and onto the golf course.  Lessner’s retirement comes after 31 years as an insurance agent with State Farm, 216 N. Fourth St.  Prior to his tenure with State Farm, Lessner was a project engineer with Henszey Company, formerly of Watertown.  Lessner, a Watertown native, said he plans to stay here after he’s retired.



Jefferson County Agricultural Society

Jefferson County Fair

Watertown Democrat, 09 18 1862


The people should not let their attention be too much taken up by the excitement of war and the conflicts of contending armies.  There are other interests which demand the care of such as remain home and follow peaceful pursuits.  The annual fair of the Jefferson County Agricultural Society commences on Wednesday the 24th at Lake Mills and it is desirable that it should be well attended and made useful by a large display of the usual variety of the stock, grain, fruit, flowers, implements and handy-work. 


These exhibitions serve valuable purposes when conducted, as they can and should be.  Let all go and see what progress and improvements the “lords of the soil” are making, even amidst the conflicts of civil revolution.


Jefferson County Fair

Held in Watertown

Watertown Democrat, 08 24 1865


We publish this week the premium list of the present year, as prepared by the officers of the Agricultural Society of Jefferson County.  The next Annual Fair will be held in this city on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the 4th, 5th and 6th of October, 1865.


Without the active and cheerful cooperation of the farmers and mechanics of this county, no amount of zeal or effort on the part of the officers of the society will avail to make these yearly displays of products and implements either interesting or useful.   The officers can only afford an opportunity for bringing together and exhibiting the results of industry and labor — the cultivators of the soil and the manufacturers of machinery must furnish the articles of show, or nothing can save enterprises of this character from a failure.  If all work together for the accomplishment of an end mutually beneficial, this occasion may be made the source of improvement and instruction to all.  We are confident the present officers of the society will leave nothing undone to secure the entire success of the fair.


We urge every farmer and mechanic to give their aid and assistance, for most everything depends on their favor and influence.  Let them promptly bring forward the best they have for exhibition — the best stock, grain, fruit, vegetables and labor-saving machinery of every description, and make a display that for extent, variety and quality will be unsurpassed and worthy of inspection and study.  The grounds should be covered with the finest specimens of livestock contained in Jefferson county, and crowded with all manner and kinds of implements now employed by farmers. 


The hall should be decorated and filled not only with the flowers and the handy work of the ladies, but with the products of the dairy, the hive, and everything else that will contribute to the value of such collection.


Of course, the ladies will lake a pride and pleasure in giving this enterprise the benefits of their taste and skill.  They have as important a part to take as any other class, and as usual, their duty will be as fully and perfectly discharged as that of others engaged in promoting the success of this exhibition . . .



Bids for Street Sprinkling

Watertown Republican, 01 30 1900


Taxpayers of the city who desire to have street sprinkling done the coming season, and whose premises are now not included in the sprinkling district, should notify Alderman H. C. Mayer, chairman of the committee on streets and bridges, or any of his fellow-members, before the next meeting of the common council, Tuesday, February 6.  It is necessary to have these applications in as early as possible, so that the several districts can be arranged as specified before the contract is let.  According to the system now in vogue, the cost of sprinkling is based on the assessed valuation of the property benefited and inserted in the tax role. The season for sprinkling begins April 15.


Edward Torpy

Watertown Gazette, 10 21 1915


Editor Watertown Gazette.


I am sending you a marked copy of my paper containing an obituary of my uncle, Edward Torpy, who formerly resided near Watertown.  The account will be of considerable local interest to your readers.  He was a great booster for Watertown and vicinity and advertised your city in perhaps a more effective manner than any other single agency, so well and popularly known was he in this community. 


He was one of your first subscribers, his family taking The Gazette while they lived on the “Plank Road” outside of Watertown, near Milford.  He knew you well and I have often heard him speak of you and how he would go to the Milford post office every week to get The Gazette.


He was the son of William Torpy and Maria (Goff) Torpy, his wife.  Both parents are interred in the Catholic cemetery in Watertown.


My ears will always ring with his stories of Watertown, the “Plank Road,” Milford, Hubbleton, and other points of interest in your community.  He has a cousin still living in your city, Mrs. Mary A. Burke.


Should you wish any further information, feel free to write me.  May I ask that you send me a copy of the issue containing mention of my uncle.  I am the local editor of the Waseca Journal-Radical.



Jay White


Infant's Body Found in River

Watertown Gazette, 10 28 1915


The body of an infant was taken from the river in the rear of the Specht property on First Street last Monday and conveyed to the morgue.  A coroner’s jury was summoned and adjourned till tomorrow in Justice Rohr’s court.


The body had the appearance of being about a month old and an effort will be made to ascertain whether the child was alive or not when thrown in the river.


Lack of a Quorum

Watertown Republican, 01 23 1900


The regular meeting of the common council last Tuesday evening was postponed on account of lack of a quorum. Failure of aldermen to attend meetings seems to be quite frequent with this council.  Some think that the remedy for the evil lies in the institution of small salaries to aldermen, but we doubt that that would help much.  Besides, it is not very probable that a measure providing for such could be enacted.  It would be a radical step, and there are perhaps not many mayors of small cities who would care to sanction such with official approval.


City Ordinances and City Charter

Watertown Republican, 01 23 1900


At an adjourned meeting of the common council last evening Mayor Grube presented a communication in which he recommended that a resolution be passed requiring the city attorney to compile all the existing city ordinances in proper form and to revise the city charter, prepatory to having the same printed and bound into one volume.  He also recommended that the fire limits ordinance be amended so as to include all that district extending from Tenth to Church streets and including two blocks north and south of Main and West Main streets.  A resolution was subsequently passed in accordance with the first named recommendation, the cost of printing and binding to be paid out of the city general fund, while the city attorney is to receive no extra compensation above his salary for the work of compiling and revising.  Another communication from the mayor recommended that the council enact a measure compelling the railroad companies to place guard gates at all principal crossings in the city.


Lieut. William Wilson

Washington Market

Watertown Democrat, 10 26 1865


Lieut. William Wilson, after serving in the Western Army three years, has returned to his home in this city and resumed his former business.  He may now be found at the Washington Market on the west side of the river, ready to wait on his old customers and friends and please them with anything they may want in the way of fresh meat.  He has an excellent market and always keeps it supplied with the best qualities of all kinds of fresh meat.


Watertown City Directory, 1866-67


Auction Store

Watertown Democrat, 10 26 1865


Great excitement at the Auction Store.  It is surprising to see the amount of choice silver plated ware, fine silver lever watches, fancy articles and rich Turkey Morocco albums sold by Hodge, day and evening.  Auction every evening.




Watertown Democrat, 11 23 1865

There were only four runaways on Main Street last week which we witnessed, though others may have happened which we did not see.  In one instance a lad came near being killed.  In another a wagon standing on the street was ran into and smashed up generally.  In another still, a fine shade tree standing on the corner of the Exchange Hotel was broken down and perhaps destroyed.


These incidents are getting to be every day amusements.  If they result from carelessness, as in some cases they do, those guilty of such negligence ought to be made to pay for all the damage occasioned by their inexcusable indifference to their own and the safety of others.


_____________ more on runaways _____________


City Races

Watertown Democrat, 12 14 1865


We have had a decided improvement in the way of runaways since our last issue.  Heretofore we have been visited with one at a time, but our last entertainment in this line was on Saturday last and consisted of a combination of three. 


A span of horses, with wagon attached, came out of Second Street at a furious rate, making things fly generally, and crossing Main Street bridge, collided with a new and valuable carriage belonging to Mr. Chase of Farmington. 


The vehicle was smashed, demolished, while Mr. and Mrs. Chase, together with the little Chases, were spilled out and scattered about, to their horror, and consternation of the assembled crowd. 


No time was lost, however, for while the original runaway took, like the star of empire, its way westward, the nags belonging to Mr. Chase concluded to join the chase and went off towards the eastern horizon, scattering the remnants of the aforesaid vehicle to the four winds. 


Meanwhile, a pair of steers, not to be outdone by any ordinary feats in the shape of horse flesh, cocked their tails, joined in the festivities of the occasion, and the affair became a stampede.


The scene was exciting, we may say exhilarating, though nothing new or novel to this town, except from the combinations.  Lager beer was for the time at a discount and Main Street cleared in a twinkling, as the property of Mr. Chase passed through on its eastern tour, in a chaste and elegant manner. 


New Tobacco Store

Watertown Democrat, 11 09 1865


Messrs. Carl & Hugo Jussen have just started a new tobacco store in Dennis’ Block on the west side of the river.  They intend to manufacture and keep constantly on hand a heavy stock of the finest varieties of cigars and furnish them to customers on the most favorable terms.  They have excellent facilities for doing this and we have no doubt they will soon succeed in building up a large and profitable business.


Isaac E. Pearson

Watertown Democrat, 11 16 1865


[Advertisement]  $30,000 worth of goods just arrived at I. E. Pearson’s Cheap Cash Store, in corner store in John W. Cole’s Block, all of which has been purchased within the last 30 days direct from the largest importing houses in New York City, Boston and the Auction Rooms.


Having had over thirty years’ experience in the dry goods trade and having better facilities for purchasing goods that any house west of Chicago, I feel confident in saying to the public that I can offer them inducements in good styles and quality and prices that cannot be found in this city in figured dress goods, French merinos, alpacas, poplins, bombazines, wool shawls, cloaks, shoes, carpets, white goods, oil cloths and ready-made clothing.


Isaac E. Pearson,

G. P. Jones, Agent.


Dr. J. Sleicher was Held Up

Watertown Republican, 11 09 1898


When returning from a call in the country between 1 and 2 o'clock Tuesday morning, Dr. J. Sleicher was held up near the Howard farm by three masked men, who at the point of revolvers, asked for money.  The doctor offered them his medicine case as his only possession, but they refused it and departed without further words.


An Essay on Boys

Watertown Republican, 11 09 1898


At a recent school board examination for girls one of the tasks was an essay on boys, and this was one of the compositions, just as it was handed in by a girl of 12:


The boy is not an animal, yet they can be heard to a considerable distance.  When a boy hollers he opens his big mouth like frogs, but girls hold their tongue till they are spoken to and then they answer respectable and tell just how it was.   A boy thinks himself clever because he can wade where it is deep, but God made the dry land for every living thing, and rested on the seventh day.  When the boy grows up he is called a husband, and then he stops wading and stays out nights, but the grew-up [grown-up] girl is a widow and keeps house.


Max Giese

Watertown Republican, 12 07 1898


Max Giese, who works the Cody farm in the Fifth ward, was assisting in operating a feed cutter on the Hartwig farm Friday afternoon, when his left hand was drawn into the machine and crushed so that a portion of it had to be amputated.  Drs. Werner and Moulding performed the operation.  When the accident occurred the machine was just about to stop running, otherwise the unfortunate man might have lost his whole arm.


Chop Wood on Mud Lake

Watertown Democrat, 11 09 1865


Wanted.  50 men wanted immediately to chop wood on Mud Lake.  Apply to the subscriber, the Yard Master of the Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad at Watertown.


J. S. Pierce



Watertown Democrat, 07 31 1879


We are requested to call the attention of Marshal Henze to the heavy crop of burdocks in the 1st ward.  The plant is running to seed.  Nip the evil in the bud.


BURDOCK:  A large herbaceous Old World plant of the daisy family.  The hook-bearing flowers become woody burrs after fertilization and cling to animals' coats for seed dispersal.


Our People now in “Oil-Dom”

Watertown Democrat, 11 30 1865


Personal.  A correspondent of the Jefferson Banner, who signs himself “Bob” – whom we take to be Robert Tompkins – makes the following allusions to the representatives of our city, now in “Oil-dom:”


“I. E. Leonard and S. P. Day of Watertown and A. F. Mattice and “Till” Basford of Waterloo are at Pit Hole, speculating in oil lands and oil interests, and as far as I know, doing a large business.  Dr. Shamburg of Watertown is also at Pit Hole.  Col. Hill of Portage has an interest in the well recently struck on the Morey farm, which is considered one of the best in Pit Hole.  Lieut. Wood of Watertown has charge of a construction party on the Buffalo and Cross Cut Railroad above Corry.”


Severe Electrical Storm

Watertown Gazette, 08 10 1900


Last Thursday evening at night one of the most severe electrical storms that ever visited this section took place.  In the afternoon the house of Mrs. Carr on Jones Street and the home of Carl Sprenger on First Street, was struck by lightning.  No one was injured, and the damage was slight.


In the town of Farmington the granaries of H. Ehrke and Robert Lucknow were struck by lightning, fire setting in and totally destroying them with contents.  In the town of Concord a number of barns were destroyed in the same manner.


One of the Hottest Weeks

Watertown Gazette, 08 10 1900


This has been one of the hottest weeks in the history of our city—beginning Sunday last the heat has continued all week, the thermometer indicating as high as 96 degrees in the shade nearly every day.


Swam Across Rock Lake

Watertown Gazette, 08 17 1900


Sidney Eberle and Clifton Parks, of Watertown, swam across the lake on Tuesday evening, starting at Howe’s boat livery and ending in the rushes near the “castle,” the widest point from east to west. — Lake Mills Leader


Charles Weichert

Watertown Gazette, 08 10 1900


Chas. Weichert, the 11-year-old son of Gottfried Weichert and wife, 111 Bailey Street, was run over by the C.M. & St. P. passenger train which arrived here from the east at 6:32 o’clock last Saturday evening, and received injuries from which he died the following morning.  He was in company with several other boys at the depot when the train pulled in, and as it started from the depot again his companions jumped on, and young Weichert, in trying to do likewise, fell under the train, having one of his legs badly crushed and the other slightly injured.  He was conveyed to his home and one of his limbs amputated.  His injuries resulted in death next morning. Tuesday morning his funeral was held from the Immanuel church.


This is the second serious railway accident that has occurred here this year by young boys jumping on trains, and it is high time that some way should be devised to keep young boys off of the right of way of the railways entering our city and away from the depots unless accompanied by someone able to look after them.


Emil Kaddatz

Watertown Gazette, 08 17 1900


Last Friday evening while Emil Kaddatz, of Emmet, was bathing in Rock River, he cut his foot by stepping on some sharp article on the bed of the river.  On arriving at his home, he lost so much blood that Dr. Hermann was sent for.  The doctor arrived just in time so save his life, for he lost so much blood that he no doubt would have died in a short time had the doctor not been on hand to stop the flow of blood.




Table of Contents 

History of Watertown, Wisconsin