Town History

Town of Lyndon

Sheboygan County, Wisconsin

History of Lyndon

by Ruth Drewry

The Town of Lyndon, named after a Vermont settlement, has a varied topography. The western half is on the edge of the Kettle Moraine, and is hilly and gravelly. The eastern part is low lying, with several large swamps and soil with more clay. The early development by the white man was near the two main rivers, the North Branch of the Milwaukee River, flowing southeast to Milwaukee, and the Onion River, sweeping to the southeast, turning to come north to join the Sheboygan River at Sheboygan Falls. Water power was harnessed for both saw mills and grist mills.

The early 1840's saw several villages being established to service the agricultural community: Joppa (later Onion River and finally Waldo when it combined with Lyndon Station) in 1844, Lina (later Winooski) in 1846, Ninevah (today's Cascade) was platted in 1848, and Hingham (only partly in Lyndon) in 1850. The town grew rapidly and officially became a township in 1847.

All the villages had mills, post offices, cheese factories, implement dealers, and blacksmith shops. General stores came into being in the larger villages. When the railroad missed Winooski and the mill pond filled with silt and sawdust, the village disappeared. Cascade and Waldo today are incorporated villages. Winooski is recognized today as the home of Jonathan Walker, The Man With the Branded Hand, immortalized by the poet John Greenleaf Whittier, for his work as an abolitionist before the Civil War. Walker was caught helping slaves escape to Canada and had his hands branded with SS .slave stealer .Also in Winooski was the first County Insane Asylum, which burned down in 1878. This was run by Glanville Jewett whose descendents still live on the farm.

Agriculture was the main occupation of the settlers, with dairying eventually becoming the mainstay. In the early years, wheat was a main crop (until a blight hit) and hops were grown for the local breweries. Cheese factories were found about three miles apart since this was the distance a farmer could take his milk and get back to milk the cows again. Today, with trucks hauling milk in tankers, cheese factories are much further away and none remain in Town of Lyndon.

Schools, too, were only a few miles apart, since children usually walked to school. The country schools too have disappeared with the consolidation of schools in the 1950's. Today children in town of Lyndon might go to Plymouth, Sheboygan Falls or Random Lake, depending on which community the old country school combined with. Although urban pressure is felt in Lyndon today, with new homes being built and farmland being cut up, Lyndon is still an agricultural township, with much green space and few industries. Dairying is no longer the main occupation, but growing crops is a mainstay for the farmer.