Town of Barton


Click the image to learn more.

The Town of Barton occupies 19.5 square miles in WASHINGTON COUNTY, 37 miles northwest of downtown Milwaukee. The town is governed by a town board made up of five members.[1] The town is home to the unincorporated community of Young America. The early histories of town and village of Barton were intertwined. The Village of Barton, which overlapped both the Town of Barton and the Town of West Bend, was consolidated into the City of WEST BEND in 1961.[2]

While Washington County appears on the United States Census of 1840, the town was not listed until 1860. Its population was 1,376 people. Most were farmers born in Prussia or Germany.[3] By 1870, the town’s population had grown to 1,400, but by 1950 it dropped to 1,029.[4] This apparent decrease in population occurred because the Village of Barton was incorporated in 1925, shifting how the town’s residents were counted.[5] In 2010 the Town’s population was 2,637 people, of whom 98 percent were white, with small numbers of Asians and African Americans.[6]  Over the years, the population of the town has remained small because it contains 12,376 acres classified for agricultural use.[7]

Barton Salisbury was the area’s first settler. On a mission surveying the Milwaukee River in 1845, he identified rapids that were well suited to power a sawmill. He soon built one in the area that became Salisbury’s Mills.[8] In 1848, the name was changed to Newark, but in 1853 the Washington County Board of Supervisors reverted it to Barton in honor of its founder.[9]

The Town of Barton had its beginnings in the sawmill industry. For example, Morris Wait founded Young America in 1851. Wait harnessed the Milwaukee River to power his new sawmill, but it burned down three hours after opening.[10] Many local sawmills were converted to flour mills, attracting grain farmers from neighboring counties.[11]

The area’s early ministers often preached in schoolhouses or the homes of residents. The first church on record is the German Methodist Church, also known as the Knopp Church, in 1850.[12] By 1852, the Presbyterian Society of Newark (then located in the Village of Barton) was organized to serve families of English, Scotch, Irish, and Dutch descent.[13]  By 2010, approximately one-third of Town residents were ROMAN CATHOLIC, with Protestants making up another third.[14]

Two early schools served Barton’s children. The first classes were held in Barton Salisbury’s home.[15] Barton School was opened in 1856 and sponsored by Father Caspar Rehrl. Its teachers were nuns the Congregation of St. Agnes.[16] Today, Town of Barton children attend West Bend schools. The most common sources of contemporary employment in the town are construction, health care, metal products, machinery, department and general stores, electrical equipment, and educational services.[17] In 2010, the town contained 1,033 housing units; 655 had mortgages, 270 were owned outright, and 108 were rented.[18]

Footnotes [+]

  1. ^ Washington County Official Website, “Town of Barton,” accessed April 8, 2015.
  2. ^ M.G. Toepel, The Wisconsin Blue Book: 1962, ed. H. Rupert Theobald (Madison, WI: State of Wisconsin, 1962), 649.
  3. ^ Richard H. Driessel, A History of the Village of Barton, Washington County, Wisconsin, rev. and expanded (West Bend, WI: R. H. Driessel, 1997), 52.
  4. ^ The Wisconsin Legislative Reference Library, The Wisconsin Blue Book: 1952 (Madison, WI: State of Wisconsin, 1952), 482.
  5. ^ Southern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, “A Comprehensive Plan for the Town of Barton: 2035 Washington County, Wisconsin” (Wisconsin: Meehan and Company Inc., 2008), 10.
  6. ^ United States Bureau of the Census, “Population,” under “Community Facts, 2010,” http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml#none, accessed April 8, 2015.
  7. ^ Southern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, “A Comprehensive Plan for the Town of Barton: 2035 Washington County, Wisconsin,” 28.
  8. ^ The History of the Town of Barton, Washington County, Wisconsin ([Barton, WI]: Bicentennial Committee, 1976), 30.
  9. ^ Carl Quickert, Washington County, Wisconsin: Past and Present (Chicago, IL: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1912), 26.
  10. ^ Quickert, Washington County, Wisconsin, 48.
  11. ^ Driessel, A History of the Village of Barton, 38.
  12. ^ History of the Town of Barton, 52.
  13. ^ History of the Town of Barton, 54-55.
  14. ^ City-Data, “Barton, Wisconsin,” accessed April 8, 2015.
  15. ^  History of Washington and Ozaukee Counties, Wisconsin (Chicago, IL: Western Historical Company, 1881), 439.
  16. ^ Driessel, A History of the Village of Barton, 46.
  17. ^ City-Data, “Barton, Wisconsin,” accessed April 8, 2015.
  18. ^ United States Bureau of the Census, “Housing,” under “Community Facts, 2010,” http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=CF, accessed April 30, 2015.

For Further Reading

Driessel, Richard H. A History of the Village of Barton. Fern Park, FL: R.H. Driessel, 1991.

Driessel, Richard H. A History of the Village of Barton, Washington County, Wisconsin: A Nineteenth Century Settlement in Southeastern Wisconsin. Fern Park, FL: R.H. Driessel, 1992.

Driessel, Richard H. A History of the Village of Barton, Washington County, Wisconsin. Rev. and expanded. Wisconsin: Richard H. Driessel, 1997.

Driessel, Richard H. The Village of Barton: A Photo Album. West Bend, WI: R.H. Driessel, 1992.

Quickert, Carl. Washington County, Wisconsin: Past and Present. Chicago, IL: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1912.

Southern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. “A Comprehensive Plan for the Town of Barton: 2035 Washington County, Wisconsin.” Wisconsin: Meehan and Company Inc., 2008.

The History of the Town of Barton, Washington County, Wisconsin. [Barton, WI]: Bicentennial Committee, 1976.

0 Comments

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. Encyclopedia of Milwaukee reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Copyright, Privacy, and Terms & Conditions.

Have a suggestion for a new topic? Please use the Site Contact Form.

Leave a Comment