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Genealogy: Family Histories

Retrospect: Historic stone house now anchors new subdivision

First of two parts

On the north side of Silver Spring Road, a half-mile east of Lake Five Road in the Town of Lisbon, stands the Savage, Weeks, Dinkel home.

Its newest owner, Mrs. Shawn Nead, appreciates its history. She phoned me recently in my capacity as Lisbon historian to find out more about the house, which she wants to restore within its historical framework.

After researching Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society resources, here's what I found:

The limestone house, with its 18-inch-thick outer walls, was probably built in the 1850s by Sussex pioneer Andrew Davison (1822-1904). His quarry, which also supplied his masonry business, was on Waukesha Avenue near today's Madeline Park.

The property's original land claimer, Henry R. Savage, paid $1.25 per acre in 1846 for his claim. An entry in the 1880 Chicago Western History Co. "History of Waukesha County, Wis." reads:

"H.R. Savage, farmer Section 19 (and 20), post office Merton, is a native of Monroe County, New York, was born in the Town of Churchille May 11, 1822. He married in his native town, Sarah A. Hawley and in 1844 came to Wisconsin, locating in the Town of Lisbon, where she died in 1846. His present wife was Fidelia L. Fuller, a native of Riga, Monroe County, N.Y. They have 2 children, Ida R., wife of Dr. J. Bacon of Waukesha, and Cora E. Mr. Savage has been a resident of Waukesha County since 1844 with the exception of 1851 until 1855, in which he lived in Allegheny County, N.Y. His family is of the (Merton) Baptist Church. In politics he acts as a Republican. In 1880 he owned 160 acres of Lisbon land. At different times he was elected to various local Lisbon elective offices." (He served as Lisbon Town Chairman and county supervisor in 1861-62 at the beginning of the Civil War.)

"William Weeks is a Lisbon pioneer who took over parts of the Henry R. Savage original claim of Lisbon land. His daughter Laura was born in Lisbon in 1847 and married a Merton farmer, Richard Sedgwick. They had one daughter on their farm near Lake Keesus, named Alice May Sedgwick."

According to plat maps from that era, Savage sold the land when he left in 1851. An 1857 plat map shows that the Weeks family had taken over the homestead. It also shows the stone house.

The members of the Weeks family - Mrs. Aleman Weeks, Allen Weeks, Forest Weeks - are listed on Page 168 in the 1918 Farm Journal Illustrated Rural Directory of Waukesha County, Wis.

It shows Mrs. Aleman Weeks and Allen Weeks - "farming & dairying, owner 80 acres, 4 horses, 18 cows" - at an address of Route 20 Templeton, with a Lisbon Telephone Co. number of 51, and fills in the family of Forest Weeks - "farming & dairy owner 80 acres 4 horses" - with "(wife Eldena), one child."

The l928 Prairie Farmer's Home and County Directory of Waukesha County adds Allen Weeks' wife, Cora Schneider, who later died.

The 1950 Farmers Directory of Waukesha County listed Allen Weeks with only 10 acres. He had sold the stone house and his remaining acreage to the Dinkel family in 1955 after marrying Adelaide Weaver, a great-granddaughter of James Weaver, the "Father of Sussex-Lisbon," and moving into her Maple Avenue home.

They had been classmates at Carroll College in the 1920s and hadn't seen each other since. Weaver, who had retired from teaching in 1953 after 30 years, had never married. Allen died six years after their marriage, ending the Weeks line in Lisbon. Adelaide Weaver Weeks died Oct. 29, 1987. Both are buried in St. Alban's God's Acre Cemetery.

Thomas C. Dinkel and his wife are listed in a 1977 Sussex telephone book as living in the stone house with an address on Highway 74 (Silver Spring Road today).

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