pioneers started first businesses
H. Keller, April
The "1880 History of Waukesha County" lays
out cryptically the embryonic businesses of
historic Sussex and Lisbon.
Lisbon was started in 1836 and Sussex had its
start around 1842. Lisbon did not get to be an
official political town until April 5, 1842,
when they used what was then the official center
of Lisbon, the Lisbon Plank stone school.
Abandoned in 1950, this school still stands (it
was reconstructed in 1868). After 1950, it
became a home for a period of time for John
Halquist, found of the adjacent Halquist Quarry
which started in 1929. It later became a storage
building and currently is used by Halquist as a
museum of rocks from the quarries. But in its
time from 1842 to 1867, it was the center of the
world for Lisbon.
One might ask what does having a school used for
government purposes have to do with business?
Well the school was built by mason and business
man, George Elliot from a quarry James Weaver
opened on his land claim which is today Halquist
Quarry. Meanwhile, the school turned out
scholars that in the future were business
leaders in Sussex and Lisbon.
Sussex is not the very first "village" in the
area. About 1840, Levi Russell started a little
store and shoe shop at his house near the
intersection of present day Duplainville Road
and the Wisconsin Central Railroad crossing. A
small nucleus of businesses sprang up and even
later a McDonald General Store, but it never
amounted to much and faded away.
The settlers started the primary businesses.
Farming meant they needed blacksmiths to sharpen
their plows and shod their horses and oxen.
Black smiths also repaired and even built wagons
which were essential to taking the main crops to
Milwaukee and bringing supplies back.
In Sussex in 1842, George Elliott was the first
settler, but soon Richard Cooling started a
black smith shop and general store, and became
post master. St. Alban's and its cemetery
started in the village in 1843.
William Brown also started a general store on
the southwest corner of Maple and Main streets
Meanwhile, the ever-enlarging Cooling store on
the south ran until after the Civil War and then
was turned over to the up-and-coming James
Templeton who had it until 1886.
In 1854, a "union store" was started in the four
corners of Sussex. The farmers were behind it,
but they were not businessmen and soon Cooling
The first Sussex school was behind where Paul
Cain has his service station today which was
built in 1849. Then in 1867, this old wood
schoolhouse was too small and a two-room cream
brick school was built east of the four corners
of Sussex by Sussex Creek which was then
considered the edge of the village. The building
of the school there changed Sussex, and the
school and the businesses that sprang up would
be the central focus of Sussex from then on.
Meanwhile Lisbon built for less than $1,000,
including the land purchase of an acre, the
Lisbon Town Hall where today sits the waiting
room of the Wheaton Franciscan Medical Group.
This building was used for political and
In 1886 the Wisconsin Central Railroad came
through Lisbon on Christmas day. The depot had
the first telephone in the Town of Lisbon plus a
telegraph. Nearby James Templeton built an
elevator and feed mill shipping lots of barley.
In short order, Templeton had moved his Sussex
General Store to Templeton. There was a major
lumber yard team track, cattle yards and even
dedicated street going back to the elevator
which lasted until 1932.
Several taverns went up, two in Sussex. The
first and second being Boots taverns while in
Templeton the Mammoth Spring Hotel and future
Olde Templeton Inn got started in the late
Many black smiths plied their trade including
Fred Stier, Don Campbell, John Magnusson and
With the coming of the Bug Line Railroad in
1890, the big downtown Templeton-Holman quarry
employed 50 men with nine lime kilns got
starting in 1890. The kilns shipped carloads of
burned lime each week. They were abandoned in
1916 because of lessening of lime use for mortar
as Portland cement was invented. Meanwhile there
were three lime kilns down off Lisbon Road just
east of today's Swan Road.
The Halquist quarry, then run by the McReady
Stone Quarry, was turning out curb stones and
sidewalk flag stones as its main products. The
Davidson quarry was located on Waukesha Avenue
north of Main Street in Templeton. Most of this
stone was used for masonry construction. Today
it is Madeline Park.
A list of businesses in 1872 included W.B.
Medhurst-Agricultural Implements and farming
utensils. Henry Phillips dealt horses. T.S.
Redford bred Durham and short horn cattle and
the Weaver family raised and sold hops.
Trade card lithographs from an 1884 to 1906
The Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society is
remounting a feature on trade card lithographs
from an 1884 to 1906 Ada Weaver scrapbook. The
impressive 46-page scrapbook contains 169 items.
The state-of-the-art lithographic trade cards
were given out by merchants and manufacturers to
promote their products. The glitzy colors became
a collectable after the Civil War until around
World War I.
Ada Weaver was the daughter of Civil War
Union Soldier and Lisbon pioneer, Alfred Weaver,
(1839-1924), and his pioneer wife, Sarah Ann
Today, in Sussex there is a Weaver Street and
a Melinda Weaver Park (great aunt of Ada).
In Ada's book are five examples of trade
cards that were issued by manufacturing
companies that sold products at the
Cooling-Templeton General Store in old four
corners Sussex - Maple and Main.
Richard Cooling, one of the original Sussex
residents, started a black smith shop where Paul
Cain's Service Station is today. Cooling later
additionally developed a General Store on the
adjacent double lot to the east. On these two
lots, on the southeast corner of Maple and Main,
an 1873 property map shows no less than six
Richard had a daughter, Esther, and in
September of 1886, she married James Templeton
and he took over the Cooling General Store and
became post master of Sussex in 1867 under his
new father-in-law until he fully took over the
reins of the postmastership of Sussex in 1878.
It was probably while he was proprietor of
the old Cooling General Store and Sussex Post
Master that he carried lithographed trade cards
and that Ada Weaver had inherited these five
Templeton trade cards that had added
inscriptions of "James Templeton, Sussex,
Waukesha Co Wisconsin." Three of the five are
numbered from a series, #12, #14 and #16. One
trade card advertises Dr. Jayne's Expectorant
cough syrup while another is for a medicine for
croup or whooping cough.
One specific cough syrup, "Dr. J.C. Ayer's
Cherry Pectorial," has a catch phrase that it
cures, "sore throat, colds, coughs, hoarseness,
loss of voice and influenza."
Templeton maintained the Cooling General
Store until 1887, when he saw took the
opportunity to build an elevator/feed mill in
close proximity to the Wisconsin Central
The elevator/feed mill was next to the tracks
and nearby a General Store where Siego's
Japanese Restaurant is today. However, because
he has Sussex on the back side of these five
trading cards, Ada Weaver, probably got them in
the period of 1884-86 back in the four corners
ex-Cooling General Store and thus they are
roughly 124 years old. He would have had
"Templeton" on his General Store trade cards if
it was his new store in 1887 in the eastern part
of modern Sussex.
Templeton died in September of 1924 just when
Sussex was annexing old Templeton in a
consolidation and incorporation of Sussex into
Today, James Templeton a powerful political
being in old Lisbon/Sussex/Templeton has
Templeton Middle School named after him.
He is buried at Prairie Home Cemetery in the
City of Waukesha.