TOWN OF NEW HAVEN
DUNN COUNTY, WI
(Historical research and photos provided by Jayme Kistner-Beyrer)
The Town of New Haven is located in the northwestern most corner of Dunn County. The township consists of 36 sections; each section consists of 640 acres for a total of 23,040 acres. The town is bordered on the north by Barron County, on the west by St. Croix County, on the east by the Town of Sheridan and on the south by the Town of Tiffany.
The first early settlers arrived in the area in the early 1860’s. They were mostly lumbermen. These men were attracted by the seemingly endless expanse of virgin pine forests. Since there were no sawmills in the area at that time, the lumbermen had to float their logs down the Hay River to the Red Cedar River and then on to Menomonie. There the logs were processed by the numerous mills in operation.
By the early 1870's logging was beginning to play out. The results of the logging industry left behind newly cleared land. This in turn, opened up land for other uses. The next wave of settlers was the dairy farmers. This new group, coming primarily from the Scandinavian countries, took over where the lumbermen had left off. While the lumbermen cleared the land and then moved on, the farmers put down roots and created the community that exists today.
The stage route from Menomonie to Prairie Farm passed through the town and a post office was established in Connorsville on February 23, 1874. It was originally located two miles to the northeast of Connorsville on the old Fred Hammonds place (currently the property is owned by David Katuin), located in section 27, just off County Rd V. It is said that later the post office was moved to a place owned by Andrew Whistler (located in the SE Section of 34). This move happened when the construction of the Wisconsin Central Railroad some six miles to the west took place. The mail was delivered to the post office one day a week, and patrons had to visit the post office to pick up their mail as no deliveries existed at that time.
The Hay River runs through the town as does Bolan Creek, Carver Creek and Flayton Creek. Flayton Creek has also been known as Biss Creek, James Creek, Sly Creek and Fighting Creek
The Town of New Haven has had a colorful past. There have been two murders that have taken place in the town, both in the southern sections of the town. The first murder was that of James Biss. James was found shot to death with 2 gunshot wounds to the chest. This murder remains unsolved. No one was ever accused or convicted of this crime. The second murder was that of Eva Maria Hendrickson in 1933. She was shot through the back with a .32 caliber gun. Both are buried at the Town of New Haven Cemetery.
The New Haven town hall is located at E1318 1260th Avenue, in Connorsville. It was built around 1920. Ferd Schultz laid the block for the foundation of the building. The town hall was used for many town events. There is a small office where tickets were sold for shows that were held on a stage once located on the south end of the hall. The 4-H made full use of this stage as did others. When the hall was remodeled to keep up with the “times” the stage was removed. Indoor toilet facilities were added and a small office with storage space was constructed. To the very far south in the office there is a small storage room. This was at one time the toilet facilities for the hall. The town hall was equipped with a full kitchen in the basement. The cabinets and counter are still there but are no longer in use.
The town shop is a concrete block building that was also constructed around 1920. As the town grew and the maintenance machinery became larger it became evident that the shop was too small. In 2001 the town purchased the building on the corner of State Hwy 64 and County Rd K to be used as the new town shop. This building was formerly known as Swenson’s Garage.
The town once had its own “Town Dump” that was located on 230th St (informally known as Dump Road) in section 25. This was on the east side of the road. Today, the site of the dump is now completely enclosed by a fence in accordance with DNR regulations. After the closure of the dump, the town board set up a recycling center. In 2002, this site was closed and Dunn County established a fenced in recycling center.
State Hwy 64 runs east and west through the southern sections of the Town of New Haven. There are three County roads running through the town. They are County Rd Q, County Rd K and County Rd V.
In addition to the State and County highways, the town maintains and is crisscrossed by 48 miles of town roads.
Interstate highways have not always been around. Other roads were slow in coming to the rural areas. About the time of World War I, Dunn County lacked a good east-west road. There was a proposal made for a road to go across the north of the county and the south of the county. After a meeting in Menomonie (the County seat) a man spoke in favor of the northern route and Highway 64 was born.
The highway came into Connorsville from the west, turned north in town past the Methodist Church and when it got to the intersection of the general store and the creamery it tuned east at a 90-degree angle, went past the church and school, and made another 90-degree angle to the south and continued east out of town. In 1948 the State of Wisconsin decided to straighten this road and they eliminated the two 90 degree angles and cut across behind the church. Connorsville now had a bypass. This greatly improved the traffic flow.
During the late 1800’s when people were first settling in the area and the town was first forming, the town’s government consisted of a town board, town clerk, town treasurer, justice of the peace, health inspector, constable, highway inspectors and school inspectors. Today, the local government consists of a town chairperson, 2 supervisors, town treasurer and a town clerk. These are elected positions and each held for a two-year term. A Town Caucus is held in January of odd numbered years. The spring election for these positions is held on the first Tuesday of April in odd numbered years. The town employs one full time town patrolman. The town also has a cemetery sexton.
The town of New Haven got the name from the “Best Brothers” that settled in the area. The brothers traveled from a place called Big Springs, Wisconsin, which was located near Wisconsin Dells, in the Town of New Haven, in Adams County. When the brothers became active in organizing a community here, they named the town New Haven. The population of the Town of New Haven, as of January 1, 2014, is 676.
New Haven holds its town board meetings on the first Tuesday of each month in the town hall. The Glenwood City Tribune is the official newspaper for the town’s notifications. Recent town clerks: Wilma Nosko, Vivian Solberg, Ilene Sempf, Elizabeth Lohfink and Jayme Kistner-Beyrer, Stephanie Voelker and currently Diane Duerst.
The Town of New Haven Cemetery is also known as the “Old Connorsville Cemetery.” The cemetery is located in section 23, coordinates Latitude 45.1508 and Longitude 92.0672. Legend has it that “they had to kill a man to start the cemetery.” Well, we know this isn’t true, but just ask around and it seems to be a standing joke with the old timers.
Many years ago, it was quite common for children to die very young. This was due to illness and disease. It was not uncommon for the routine illnesses of today to be yesterday’s deadly disease. Diphtheria, scarlet fever, influenza, small pox and many other plagues devastated families. Most families purchased the full “8 lot” grave site.
The town board and a cemetery board jointly maintain the cemetery records. The cemetery board consists of town board members and Jayme Kistner-Beyrer, cemetery sexton. Prior to 1925, the State of Wisconsin did not require that cemeteries keep records. As a result, records of burials prior to this date are neither complete nor accurate.
In 1877 the sum of $25.00 was paid by the town board to David Hay to purchase land for the cemetery. In 1879 the sum of $2.00 was paid to Michael Hay for Timothy Seed for the cemetery ground. In 1883, the amount of $98.76 was allowed by the town board to construct a board fence around the town cemetery and a gate.
When the New Haven cemetery was first started, a person did not have to purchase a plot, or pay for perpetual care. The families were responsible for the upkeep of their own graves. In order to raise funds for maintenance and upkeep of the cemetery, quilting bees and bake sales were held in the Pleasant Valley school building. Eventually, the town clerk was made responsible for maintaining cemetery records.
In June of 1963 the cemetery association was formed. At that time, annual care of $3.00 per lot was charged. Years later, a perpetual care fee of $10.00 per lot was charged. When interest rates dropped and the cemetery association could no longer afford to pay for the costs of upkeep the township took over the expenses. Currently, the cost of a burial site is $50.00 for the lot, and $75.00 for perpetual care.
The Cemetery is plotted for 1,080 gravesites. There are currently 425 recorded burials and 346 lots for sale (the remaining gravesites are already purchased.) Unfortunately, there are many unmarked and unrecorded graves. Sometimes people doing genealogy research will make note of an unmarked grave that was never recorded. While Lester French was the cemetery sexton, he tried to mark all the known unmarked graves. He poured concrete slabs and wrote the names into the concrete. He did an excellent job of maintaining the cemetery records. Prior to Lester’s term as sexton, his father had also been the sexton.
The first recorded burial was in 1864, a 2-year-old girl named Effie Gene Marlette. The oldest recorded person buried in the New Haven Cemetery was 98 yrs old. The person with the earliest birthday (recorded) is John Hay, who was born in 1789.
Potter’s Field is located at the foot of the cemetery driveway, to the west. A person was buried in the Potter’s Field when the family was too poor to pay the expenses or if there was no family. The town then paid for the burial. It is recorded that there are 4 persons buried in Potter’s Field. There is an old shade tree and one headstone. The headstone is that of Ray C. Andrews.
Once located in the Town of New Haven was a small hamlet called Graytown. Graytown was located in the northwestern corner of the town, just south of the Barron County line along the south fork of the Hay River in section 5. It came to existence when the only roads into the great forests of white pines were railroads. The plat map of New Haven Township 1870 does not show Graytown as existing, but the 1880 plat map does. The founder of Graytown was a man named Aaron Gray. He built a 3-story house in Graytown, which is still proudly standing. Aaron Gray is buried in the New Haven Cemetery.
The Graytown area consisted of: a sawmill, a shingle mill, a cheese factory, a general store; a post office, a bolt mill, and a vining factory.
Through the existence of Graytown, the post office moved locations three times. It is believed that the first location of the post office was in the home of C.B. Thatcher. Mr. Thatcher was not a postmaster, so this might or might not be accurate. Stories have it that the post office then moved to the general store.
In August 1907, the Graytown Post Office was discontinued. Patrons then received their mail by railroad via the Clear Lake Post Office,
Walt Jones built the Graytown Store in 1901. The store changed hands many times over. Some of the storeowners were Joe Conrath, Mr. Mass, Harry Holland, Fred Turritan and Bert Goodspeed. Bert ran the store for fourteen years. The store was always painted gray.
Graytown had a pea vining factory located on the east side of the river near the cheese factory. Many farmers brought in their peas and they were then shucked off the vine by machine. The farmer then hauled the vines back home with to feed their cattle with. The peas were later hauled to the Clear Lake Canning Company, which was part of the Stokley Company.
By the year 1924, Graytown had ceased to exist as it once did. Businesses were no longer up and running and the spur track was removed. In 1948 the general store building was torn down and has since been replaced by the Full Gospel Country Church.
In 1892, the Glenwood City Manufacturing Company built a 15 mile stretch of standard gauge logging rail road spur track of the Soo Line running to the sawmill. After the best timber was logged off (around 1902) the railroad line was then leased to Mr. Clow. He was in the process of developing a Kaolin mine. Kaolin is white clay and is used to make porcelain. Mr. Clow wanted to use the railroad as a means of transporting the Kaolin and developing a successful business. The venture did not develop and the railroad was then abandoned.
Around 1901 Chester Thatcher and William Gray built a sawmill in Graytown. Rough building materials were in great demand by many of the early settlers. The mill was a huge success. About 1903, C.B. Thatcher bought out William Gray. Fire was a hazard to the business, destroyed the mill in 1914 and again in 1919. The sawmill was in full operation until about 1927.
Across the creek from the Saw Mill a Bolt factory was built. This mill was run by steam engine. A bolt of lumber was bought for about $4.00 per cord.
C. B. Thatcher added a planning mill and a box factory in about 1918. Cheese boxes were made for the cheese factory. Butternut and Basswood were used for these boxes. The sawmill employed as many as 30 people at a time. Many farmers that needed to make ends meet spent time working for the Thatcher Mill doing jobs such as woods crew, mill workers, farm workers or cooks.
Around 1918, Jacob Blatt built the cheese factory in Graytown. It was in operation until the mid 1950’s.
Generally, a post office's establishment date is the date of appointment of its first postmaster. Typically there was up to a two-month delay between the appointment of a postmaster and his or her first day in office.
From 1836 to 1971, Postmasters at the larger post offices were appointed by the President of the United States, by and with the consent of the Senate. Postmasters earning less than $1,000 per year were appointed by the Postmaster General, generally upon the advice of the local congressman or townspeople. Regulations required that postmasters execute a valid bond and take an oath of office, thus minors and aliens were ineligible. Prior to 1971, it was also required that postmasters live in the delivery area of their post office. Since 1971, postmasters have been selected on the merit system.
Women have served as postmasters since the Revolutionary War and even earlier, under British rule. "Postmaster," and not "postmistress," always has been their official title.
Citizens of a community who desired a new post office generally submitted a request to the Post Office Department stating reasons why they thought a post office should be established, the number of patrons who would be served, and the names proposed for the post office. Other factors considered were the nearness of existing postal units and the relative cost involved, including the estimated expense of mail transportation to the proposed office.
The Graytown Post Office was established on March 23, 1892. The post office was discontinued on July 31, 1907. After it closed the Clear Lake Post Office serviced the Graytown area.
Postmasters and the date they were appointed to Postmaster are as follows: Ashbury N. Levings 3/23/1892; Thomas Thoen 8/24/1892; Myron E Kenny 5/10/1900; Herman J. Maas 6/24/1901; Walter F. Jones 5/20/1902; Joseph M. Conrath 3/1/1904; Fred Turrittin 6/27/1905; and John H. Holland 11/30/1906.
The Connorsville Creamery Building was built in 1902. It was a wooden building, not a brick building as is standing today. The building was located on the same property as the creamery is today, but it sat slightly to the north, where the parking lot is currently. The wooden structure was torn down in 1928 by Frank Sweeney.
The brick building was built in 1927. Many changes have taken place with the brick building. Many additions were added, and many were removed also.
Back in the early days of the creamery, farmers hauled only cream to the creamery. The separation of milk was done by hand at the home of the farmer using a “hand separator”.
In 1903, local farmers started a cooperative creamery with fifty patrons. It was formed on November 23, 1902 with capital stock of $4,000.00. The Articles of Incorporation were signed by Wm. J. Owen, B.D. Smith, Ed Gordon and H. J. Maes.
Herbert R. Whistler took over operations in 1911. The capital stock was increased to $16,000.00. The creamery had 170 patrons and two milk routes by 1917. The milk routes were taken care of by Claude Edmund and H. Aasmundrud.
In 1929 the salary of a butter maker was one cent per pound of Butter manufactured.
In 1933, the Creamery started accepting whole milk and charged patrons 10 cents per hundred for hauling.
By 1934, Irving Burns became the superintendent of the creamery. He served for 37 years, officially retiring on December 31, 1970. The creamery steadily grew by the 1940’s having 10 people employed. William Jackson took over as manager.
In 1938, electricity was installed. The total cost of the installation project was $1,044.00
A stoker and can washer was purchased in 1940. A new steel smokestack was purchased and installed in 1947. In 1963 the creamery began accepting bulk milk from farmers. During 1960 a small silo was added to the front of the building. A small block addition was also added when the new can washer was purchased.
In August of 1967, the creamery discontinued making butter. In 1974 the creamery stopped taking can milk. The can rail/track was thus boarded up.
The daily intake of milk by August 1975 was 50,000 lbs. The creamery was then sold to Twin Town Cheese Factory in Almena, WI. The patronage in 1975 was 88.
In 1976, the Cooperative Creamery had total sales of $1,602,684.00. The patrons were paid $1,550,207.00. Net proceeds for the year were $7,693.00 compared to $6,659.00 in 1975.
This same year, 17,688,249 pounds of milk were received. Average tests of milk were 3.64 percent. Patrons received an average price of $8.77 per hundred. Up $1.00 from the previous year.
The men who hauled milk over the years were Nelson Trucking, Walter E Kahler, Ed Wiken, Dale Siler, Arnold Finerud, John Shelton Logan, Albert Maes, George Doboscz, and Eldon Annis. Art Nelson, Leonard Harnisch, Roy Johnson, Andy Krupa, Joe Filipa, Clarence Determan, Bob Schlough and Clyde Olson.
Butter makers at the Connorsville Coop- Creamery were Elmer Symes (1903), George Southand, Herbert Whistler, Bill Hil, Tony Christianson, Merlin Brook. Vic Erickson, and Irving Burns..
The only 4 generation farmers to ship milk to the Creamery were the Talmage family, George Talmage, John Talmage, George Talmage, and Raymond Talmage.
On Saturday April 10, 2004, the Connorsville Cooperative Creamery greeted customers for the very last time. As of noon that day, the doors were locked and over one hundred years of business were put to rest.