Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hartland's First Families

Within a year, several families moved into the area including George and Lucinda Nicholson Skinner, who soon after arriving became the parents of Emma, the first white child born in Hartland. Mrs. Skinner's sister, Mary Nicholson, became the bride of Stephen Warren on May 7, 1840, with the first wedding to take place in the new settlement. George Skinner performed the ceremony in his capacity at Territorial Justice.

Mrs. Mary Nicholson Warren started the first school in her home in the fall of 1840, with twelve students in attendance. By this time the population, having grown to the point at which the eastern half of Summit Township could support its own government, the Town of Warren was formed. The town was comprised of the present Towns of Merton and Delafield. The first blacksmith, a Mr. Mathers, and his family came to the community. He built a shanty for his family and shop. Three weeks later he died, leaving his wife and several children stranded in the near-wilderness. The shop was located at the point in the intersection between Lisbon Avenue and East Capitol Drive.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hartland's First Settler

You might say that the seed from which Hartland grew was planted in Ann Arbor, Michigan, sometime in the fall of 1837, or even earlier, when the idea to move west began to evolve in the minds of the Sylvanus Warren family. That fall, Stephen, (pictured here) the oldest of the thirteen Warren children left Ann Arbor and walked to Fort Dearborn (Chicago). He spent a few months there working and trying to save some money for the rest of his journey.

In February of 1838, young Warren left Fort Dearborn and walked to Milwaukee. After a few weeks in that village, he walked to Prairieville (now Waukesha) and inquired about available land.He was pointed toward the Northwest and was told of some settlers in the Town of Summit (then made up of the present townships of Merton, Delafield, Oconomowoc and Summit). He first stayed with R.B. Allen, who was the first settler in what is now the Town of Merton. He left there to stay at the cabin of two bachelors, a David Short and T.B. Cowles. From there he went to stay with a New England family by the name of Daugherty who lived in the southwest part of the town of Lisbon, south of the present intersection of County Highways K & F.

Stephen lived with the Daugherty family several weeks after agreeing to work for them two days a week toward his room and board. The rest of the week he spent searching for a suitable piece of land for his father to settle on. He found a spot on which he built a cabin before looking for a place of his own. Stephen's first land site was on what is now Dorn Road, north of Hartland. By this time his parents and brothers and sisters had arrived, bringing with them the first dairy cows and some much needed flour which they shared with the family that Stephen had been living with. Sylvanus Warren's family settled on the land known first as Oscar Orth place and later as the Julius Peterson farm on Lisbon Avenue in the Town of Merton. Stephen's farm site was what was later the Dan Nye Farm.

Because Stephen felt that there would never be a road built to his place, he sold it and in 1839 bought up 165 acres that lies south of what is now the Merton and Delafield town line between Maple and Cottonwood Avenues. Later he got a pre-emtion on all of the land east of Maple Avenue, probably another 80 acres. Hartland now had its first real estate man, its first settler and its first builder.