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The Community of Templeton

Compiled and Edited by Michael R. Reilly

Last Revised 01/10/2016

    The Community of Templeton, at one time, was a separate town growing out of the established town of  Sussex. In 1924 it merged with its' next door neighbor and became the Village of Sussex. (See History below) 


    Hamlet at 86 Shies at Plan to Incorporate - Founder of Templeton Also Opposes Union With Sussex; Recalls Pioneer Days

Source: Originally printed in The Milwaukee Journal; Sunday, February 4, 1923

    Local surgeons of things municipal are about to attempt a gland operation upon the Siamese twin village of Sussex-Templeton in Waukesha, 26 miles northwest of Milwaukee, in an effort to restore youthful vim, vigor and vitality.

    The patient, a community which is now buried beneath the snow blankets of its eighty-sixth winter, is none too keen about going upon the operating table of a public election or submitting to the ether at the hands of the legal lights who would doctor it up.

    The gland which the municipal surgeons would graft - far be it from calling them grafters because of it - upon the nearly nonagenarian settlement goes in the books on "How to Fix Up Decrepit Towns" by the name of  "incorporation". Like a confirmed bachelor who ignores the existence of women, Sussex has gone about its' way for 86 summers without ever advancing to the altar of incorporation and many of its' members now think it's too old to start in for any of that fol de rol now.

    Before the surgeons start cutting, it's always necessary to know the history of the case. Although Sussex is 86, its' Siamese twin, Templeton, is paradoxically only 37, but none the less a twin. Forty-nine years after Sussex was born, Templeton just grew out of its' side, normally and naturally and exists there so tight and close now that the boundary line between the two villages cuts through a farmer's barnyard so that when he milks his cows, their heads are in Sussex, while he milks in Templeton.

    Tombstones Dot Town

    Richard Weaver [Editor's Note - It was actually James Weaver]  and Richard Cooling, both born in England, came hither in 1837 with a few of their countrymen, looked over the three log cabins which stood freshly hewn in the clearing, cleared a little larger space and put up new cabins. The Weavers were a popular family. They came from Sussex in England. To them fell the honor of naming the settlement and they named it Sussex to help chase away a bit of the homesickness that crept in when they weren't worrying about the Indian.

    Others of English birth came hither. Many Yankees moved down from New York state. Among these latter in 1843 was James Templeton, 6 months old, who brought with him his father, Andrew Templeton, and mother, who was Agnes Howitt. The boy looked out upon the cabins and wigwams - the Indians lived close enough for that - and began having things his own way immediately. In four years he had Indians bringing him antlers from their deer hunts. He recollects back four score years now and measures an imaginary stack of elk and deer horns, six feet square and four feet high, accumulated from the trophies which the young bucks brought him from their hunts.

    Before long Sussex was known throughout the Wisconsin Territory as "that English settlement". It became a typical English village. The Episcopal church [St. Alban's] around which the cabins began to spring up soon came to be the center of the burying ground for the village, following English churchyard customs. Years later - in 1864 - when the church was outgrown and moved away to be made into a blacksmith shop, after the new stone structure has been put up north of the village's "four-corners", the graveyard occupied the center of the community. It still does, and the newer residents, who have not had associations with a former age there, say that "Sussex can never amount to anything with a graveyard at its' heart".

Raise $600,000 Hops Crop

    The Weaver family brought to Sussex, roots of hops plants from the homeland [Editor's Note - Actually believe it was New York State where they first settled.] and started raising hops. From the first hill of hops planted in June, 1837, the product was sold at $1 a pound. In 1882, the family firm did a business in hops that reached almost $600,000. In 1889, Richard Weaver and his wife went to the Pacific slope on a hop buying excursion, purchasing 15 carloads for $28,000, which they shipped to the breweries in Milwaukee.

    The village was in its' pristine glory in those days. The Templeton baby had left his pile of antlers and his antics with the young braves, had apprenticed himself to Benjamin Boorman, a miller at Pewaukee, or where Pewaukee now is. He served there two years, traveled afar into Kansas and Colorado, where his brother was, came back and married Esther A. Cooling and invested his money in a general store in the town of Sussex.

    The railroads were pushing their way through the forests and hereabouts at this time and it was largely due to Mr. Templeton's efforts that the Soo Line came through a half mile from Sussex' four corners [Editor's Note - Main and South Sts. (present day Main St. and Maple Ave.)]. The ties and rails were laid on Christmas Day, 1886. Soon thereafter the Sherry Lumber Co. of Neenah put in a big lumber yard near the Soo Line right-of-way. Templeton bought land adjoining the railroad, paid for lumber and built his home there, where he and his family could witness the miracle of the steam horse daily snorting its' way northward and back again. The station established by the Soo Line was called East Sussex.

Starts His Own Town

    Mr. Templeton was the postmaster at Sussex when the Soo Line was built through East Sussex and when he moved over to his new home. He wanted to move the post office over, too, but Sussex protested that it was too far out of the way. Mr. Templeton had grown to be a power in local politics then, so he had a new post office established, had it named Templeton and had the railroad change the station name from East Sussex to Templeton.

    Mr. Templeton and his son, Andrew, now with Armour & Co. in Milwaukee, built a grain elevator beside the Soo Line right-of-way, a stone's throw from their home, and in 1894, were doing a grain business which a biographer estimated at $125,000 a year. The last two years [Prohibition years] the grain business has not been good, Mr. Templeton says. The grain elevator and a pea canning factory are all of the industries which the village possesses. Its' population, boastfully painted at 200 on the white signboard the motorist views on entering, was admittedly counted during the six weeks' season when the pea canning factory was operating and the gravel pits were being worked. The bona-fide residents, according to a man who says he "knows every soul in the village", number 98.

    Sussex, on the other hand, has 323 residents, mostly retired farmers and widows of farmers of the township and neighboring country. These, naturally, want the name of their village to remain as Sussex in case the two villages are incorporated and in numerical strength, they seem to have the edge on the 98 Templetonians. The Latter are opposing incorporation because they know it means the loss of their village name.

    Many there are in Sussex who oppose incorporation because they hesitate to pierce the heart of James Templeton in his eighty-third year by taking his name from his village and robbing him, at the close of his career, of his life's crowning glory.

Business Men Ask Change

    The move for incorporation of the twin villages under the name of Sussex is prompted by officials of the Business Men's association. John Stier, garage manager and farmer, who lives on a farm a quarter of a mile outside Sussex, and John P. Kramer, manager of the pea cannery, who came to Templeton a year ago, are president and secretary, respectively, of the association.  They asserted $3,000 a year in taxes collected from the villages is spent on the country roads of Lisbon township and not a penny of it returned whence it came.  Incorporation would lower the taxes of the village, they say.

    Frank T. Schroeder, who succeeded Mr. Templeton as postmaster and general storekeeper when the latter retired 12 years ago, is the most outspoken of the opponents of incorporation.

    "The villages exist for and by the farmers of Lisbon township", he says.  "If the villages were to depend upon themselves for their lives they would soon perish.  What support could the few hundred here give the business men who are the mainstay of the village?"  The business men owe their existence here to the trade of the farmers.  So why should the villagers ---  How can these things be done without increasing taxes?"

    Young Mr. Kraemer, secretary of the Business Men's association, says that since the new paved state highway was built through the village last summer, motorists speed through the village at from 40 to 60 miles an hour.

    "If we catch them, we have to take them to Waukesha", he said.  "Who wants to go to all that bother?  If we were incorporated under the law, we could have our own justice of the peace right here to take care of that.  The villages need more life and industry.  We can get them if we are incorporated.  We can't if we are simply country settlements".

    Mr. Templeton, looking back over a life of intense activity a score of years longer than the normal span, shakes his head sadly and says:

    "Why do they want to do it?  Is it just to make some more jobs for somebody?  They tell me the survey is extended clear out into the country to take in John Stier's farm.  No other village that I know of, certainly none in this part of the country, has ever incorporated without taxes going up.  Look at Hartland.  Look at Menomonee Falls.  It costs money to make public improvements.  It's a waste of money to spend it where it isn't needed, too."

    Mr. Templeton remarked about the changed complexion of the community.  In the prime of the village of Sussex, the east central portion of Lisbon township was all English, the east and north all Irish, a swath through from north to south just west of Sussex was all Scotch Presbyterian, while the Yankees filled the west part.

                                                                                        One Civil War Veteran

    "I can remember when there wasn't a man of German descent in the entire township", he said.  "For years there was only one.  Everybody referred to him as 'Fred, the Dutchman'.  Now the community is almost wholly German, by descent."

    The English have died or moved away one by one.  Only one of the male members of the Weaver family remains in the township - Alfred, a son of James, who was a brother of  Richard.  Alfred is the township's only Civil War veteran.  He was a color bearer of  the Twenty-eighth regiment.  Some of the women of the Weaver family married locally.  Not more than a half dozen families descendant from the founder of the village still remain in the township and none of the village itself.   The Episcopal church which the English founded here maintains a rector and meagerly attended services.  The German church is filled each Sabbath day.

    The village of Sussex recently purchased by popular subscription a $3,000 fire engine for $2,500.  It is being kept in a garage.  The school burned down a year ago in January and they have built a new brick structure good for many years to come.

    The men pushing the incorporation proposition have filed a petition with Judge C. M. Davison of the circuit court at Waukesha, together with a survey of the proposed incorporated village of Sussex and have asked that an election be ordered.  They hope for it this spring, but admit it is hardly possible until next fall.  They feel confident of success for their plans.  The opponents say incorporation will lose, two to one, maybe three to one if all the votes can be brought out.

    Incorporation, one villager observes, is like automobiles and matrimony and a lot of other things:

    "It isn't the cost, it's the upkeep."

Title:   Templeton quarry
Photographer:   Steidtmann, E.
Contributor:   Steidtmann, E.
Date:   1912
Place:   Waukesha County (Wisconsin)
Survey Description (PLSS):   T08NR19ES26
Description:   View [above and below] of the Templeton Lime and Stone Companies quarry in Templeton, Wisconsin. At time of photograph, they quarried exclusively for limestone. The Wisconsin Sugar Company has used a few carloads of stone in their plant at Menominee Falls, they now [1912] get their stone from Indiana.



    With the coming of the Wisconsin Central Railroad in 1886 there was a start up of a new village one mile east of the old four corners Sussex.

"The new post office established at Templeton will soon be in running order with James Templeton as postmaster". Waukesha Freeman  Aug. 29, 1889

    The old Sussex postmaster, James Templeton, came over to the new village and as postmaster he chose his family name for the emerging village. Originally, the post office was on a back table in the village general store, but in 1911 it was moved to  the front west side of the store and boxes were put in for the patrons.

    With the incorporation of Sussex and Templeton into one village in 1924, the days of having two post offices in one village were numbered. The Templeton post office was discontinued April 30, 1932.

    "The Templeton Post Office patrons have received notice that the Templeton Post office will be discontinued, and on and after May 1 the address will be Sussex". Source: The Waukesha Freeman, April 28, 1932

    A list of Templeton postmasters includes:

James Templeton                 July 18, 1889

Owen C. Smith                     Dec. 26, 1899

Frank F. Schroeder               May 12, 1911

Mary Schroeder                    Dec. 10, 1930

    Discontinued April 30, 1932; mail was sent to Sussex.

    Templeton was succeeded by Owen C. Smith as postmaster. In 1907, Smith,
50, committed suicide in the general store-post office - 12 years after his wife killed herself.

                        OWEN C. SMITH SUICIDES
        Was Postmaster at Templeton, This County, Wife Also Suicide

    Last Sunday morning, Owen C. Smith, postmaster at Templeton, and well known throughout this section, visited his store about seven o'clock and in a room in the rear of the store committed suicide by shooting himself
through the head with a revolver.
    When Mr. Smith went to his store, he was accompanied by his brother, Cliff. The two went to different parts of the store and presently Cliff heard the report of a revolver. He rushed tot he side of his brother, who
had fallen to the floor and who expired almost immediately. O. C. Smith had been in poor health and his mind had become affected. He had been at a Milwaukee sanitarium for treatment and returned last week. He leaves three children, two boys and a girl, the eldest being a boy about fifteen years old.
    Mrs. Smith committed suicide a dozen years or more ago, by taking Paris green. She also had been in poor health.
    Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon at the residence, and at the Templeton M. E. church, the pastor of the church officiating. Corner Charles Hill will hold an inquest Friday afternoon at Templeton.
    Mr. Smith had a large general store at Templeton, in which the post office was located. He is said to have carried about $12,500 life insurance. Source: The Waukesha Freeman, Thursday, July 18, 1907, page 5

Historic Templeton

by Fred H. Keller

Printed Living Sussex Sun, March 31, 2010

The photo for this Retrospect feature was taken of the entrance of the Allen Lumber Company in Templeton 99 years ago. The location is the eastern part of the future incorporated Village of Sussex (1924). The storage building for products in the foreground has the remnants of a Wisconsin State Fair sign showing fair dates for that year, 1911, of Sept. 12-16.

In the background of the photo is a Soo Line box car. In 1886, the track was laid by the Wisconsin Central Railroad only to become the Soo Line as the 20th century arrived. Much later that century, Wisconsin Central again gained control of the line only to later become part of the Canadian National Railroad.

The roadway today is Main Street in Sussex and designated on maps as Highway 74. When this photo was taken, the roadway was surfaced with clay dirt. It must have been a cloud of dust when one of those "new fangled" cars came flying through the railroad/street intersection back in 1911.

Allen's lumber yard started in the spring of 1886 well before the completion of the Wisconsin Central Railroad which has a traditional first day of Christmas 1886.

Sherry Welton and Co. purchased the property on March 10, 1886. This company consisted of Henry Sherry and his wife, Abbie, George Welton and his wife Helen, and William Paddock and his wife, Ida. The net result was the construction of the Templeton-based Sherry Lumber Yard that would take advantage of the soon-to-be completed rail delivery service. The Sherry Welton Co. saw that a lumber yard with a storage building were erected along with a manager's home and office building fronting on the north side of Main Street. They also built a general store and later a meat market which they rented out. James Templeton was the first proprietor of the general store/Templeton Post Office which he later leased.

In 1888, further west on the north side of the road which was then called Merrill Street, the Mammoth Spring Hotel was built and today this structure now called Tailgators is the only thing left of this tavern, meat market, general store and lumber yard that once graced the north side of Main Street.

A newspaper clipping from the spring of 1886 in the Wisconsin Free Press reads, "There has been some transfers of real estate here on account of land (east of Sussex) being cut up by the railroad. There is a number of places along the line where parties might be convenienced by buying and selling. Honorable W. Paddock has a large building up for a lumber office (and home) and intends on putting in a spur line to his lumber yard. He has a good and convenient site for his purpose."

Again in the Wisconsin Free Press on Oct. 22, 1887, is this reference, "Building is going on apace in East Sussex (then the name of Templeton) Honorable William Paddock is doing a heavy business at his (new) lumber yard."

Unfortunately William Paddock died very suddenly and unexpectedly in early 1891. W. Stanley Young was appointed as the new lumber baron as the Sherry Lumber Company went into receivership on Nov. 17, 1897.

Curtis W. Allen took over the bankrupt lumber yard and called it Allen Lumber Co. It went out of business in 1911 just about the time this photo was taken. Caldwell and Gates Lumber Co. took over until 1926. Fuller Goodman then ran it for 36 years until 1962 when Charles Zimmerman took over and had it until the 21st century when he sold it. It was torn down on Sept. 13, 2004, Zimmerman had run it the longest; for more than 40 years.

Soon afterward, the now-split property had an owner for the back acres rental storage buildings and Seigo's Japanese Steak House was built.

In the photo, one can see a lone house in the distance. It was built prior to 1891 and was destroyed by the Sussex Fire Department for a practice burn. The land was cleared for the Quad Tech buildings. Historically, the house had one long-term tenant, the Magnusson family which included his wife and five children. Born in Sweden, Magnusson came to Sussex-Templeton with the coming of the North Western Railroad in 1910. He chose to remain here as the village black smith with a shop where the Sussex Inn is today.



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