Monday: Map Day!

1874 map of Washington and Ozaukee Counties

Today’s map is another unique and wonderful map from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, American Geographical Society Digital Map Collection. It is map of Washington and Ozaukee Counties from 1874, and it is packed with information and unique details.

Map of Washington and Ozaukee Counties, Wisconsin 1873-4 / drawn, compiled and published by G.V. Nash & M.G. Tucker ; engraved & printed by J. Knauber & Co. ; colored and mounted by E.M. Harney. University of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeAmerican Geographical Society Digital Map Collection. Full copyright notice here, presented in this post as a public domain item and/or under fair use provisions of U.S. copyright law. Click map to go to the UWM collection and open larger image in new window.

There is so much to see on this map. Click on the image above and give the full-size map a minute to load. Then be sure to enlarge the map as much as you can and enjoy the details.

Then take another look at the previous, detailed, map of our part of the county, the so-called Shoolmap of the Town of Mequon. The date of that map is not certain; the AGS Digital Map Collection estimates a date of 1872. It certainly can’t be later than 1872, as that was the last year Mary Clark (“Widow Clark” on the map) sold the Clark farm. But Clark House director Nina Look has told me that the Shoolmap may be much older, perhaps dating from 1867.

Who’s still here, 35 years later?

Mequon’s earliest white settlers arrived in the late 1830s and early 1840s. Today’s map was published in 1874. How many of the old settlers were still living and farming in Mequon, almost four decades later? Not many, and fewer than on the Shoolmap of c. 1867-1872.

Here’s a closeup of one of the Town of Mequon’s oldest settled areas, sections 3, 4, 9 and 10 of Town 9 North, Range 21 East as shown on todays 1874 map:

Map of Washington and Ozaukee Counties, Wisconsin 1873-4, detail. Click to open larger image in new window.

By 1874, none of the original federal land patent holders remained in section 3. The Clark, Hubbard, Desmond, Roney and Bartin families had all left. In 1874, Mary Clark and daughters Josie and Jennie were living in Milwaukee, as was former neighbor Jesse Hubbard and his family. The former Clark land, the southeast quarter of section 3, was now owned by Thomas Doyle.

Our map shows that original patentee Cornelius Kenny still owned his 101.88 acres in the northeast quarter of section 4. But all the other original section 4 patent holders have gone, including William T. Bonniwell and his brother-in-law Philip Moss.

Two Bonniwell brothers still owned land in section 9 in 1874: Charles Bonniwell the east half of the northwest quarter and Alfred T. Bonniwell1 the east half of the northeast quarter. This was land that had been first patented by their mother, Eleanor (neé Hills, widow Bonniwell) Hyde. The other original Bonniwell land owner in section 9 was brother James Bonniwell, but in 1865 James sold his Mequon land and built a handsome orchard on the shores of Lake Michigan, in the Town of Lake, Milwaukee County.

In section 10, all the original patentees were gone by 1874. Some of them, such as Barnet Clow,2 Datus Cowan, Levi Blossom, Barton Salisbury, and Sarah A. (Strickland) Clark, had died or sold out and moved on years earlier. William T. Bonniwell and his mother, Eleanor Hyde, also sold their section 10 parcels before 1874.

Peter Turck’s land in 1874

Mary Clark’s father, Peter Turck was one of the first land owners in old Washington (now Ozaukee) county. His first entry in the federal land patent registers is dated 16 Nov 1838 (other sources give 17 Nov 1838). Peter’s two early patents covered the east half of the southeast quarter of section 9 and the adjacent west half of the southwest quarter of section 10, 160 acres in all.

The subsequent ownership history of the Peter Turck property, according to a modern “Abstract of Title” report, is quite complicated. As early as 1845, and continuing intermittently for about 25 years, Peter Turck began to sell and then re-purchase parts of his Mequon land. The buyers—and subsequent sellers—include his son Joseph R. Turck, son-in-law Alfred T. Bonniwell, Alfred Bonniwell’s mother Eleanor Hyde, son-in-law Alfred Whitehead (husband of Adamy Turck), daughter Sarah (Turck) Bonniwell, and Philip Moss and his second wife, Helen (Upham) Moss. Finally, in 1870, the Peter Turck land left family ownership and became the property of Gustav Seifert.3

Section 3: the Clark farm and neighbors, c. 1867-1874

There are so many points of interest on today’s map, let’s make sure we don’t miss the Clark farm. Jonathan and Mary (Turck) Clark owned the southeast quarter of section 3, Town of Mequon. The earlier Shoolmap, shows the neighbors in section 3, pre-1874:

Shoolmap of the Town of Mequon (c. 1867-1872), detail showing Section 3. Copyright and credits here. Click to open larger image in new window.

The original federal land patent holders of section 3 still found on the Shoolmap are Mary Clark (widow of Jonathan M. Clark, first patent 1839), and Jesse Hubbard4 (1840). In the northwest quarter of the section, I believe the Shoolmap land owners Tho[mas] Desmond and D. Desmond are related to (sons of?) another original section 3 patentee, Humphrey Desmond. Humphrey Desmond’s two patents (1842, 1843) covered the same 103 acres.

The 40 acre parcel owned on the Shoolmap by John Corcoran was originally patented by Jesse Hubbard in 1840. I’m not sure when Corcoran purchased the land, and whether he bought it from Jesse Hubbard, or from an intermediate owner.

The owners of the northeast quarter of section 3, Fried[ric] and Ferd. Groth, were not original patentees, but had lived in the county for many years. A quick search of online records show many Groth families in Mequon, Grafton, Cedarburg and nearby as early as 1850. And the 1855 Wisconsin state census records “Fr. Groth” living near the Hubbard, Clark and Desmond famillies.

Section 3 and the (former) Clark Farm, 1874

Now let’s see who owns section 3 land on the 1874 map:

Map of Washington and Ozaukee Counties, Wisconsin 1873-4, detail. Click to open larger image in new window.

Since the Shoolmap was made, Jesse Hubbard has sold the southwest quarter to J. Corrigan and Mary Clark has sold the Clark farm to Thomas Doyle.

The Groth family (families?) are still in section 3. They now also own part of the old Desmond property, the east half of the east half of the northwest quarter along with most of their original land in the northeast quarter. But a small parcel has been sold to J. Erdman

And “Mrs. Corcoran” —perhaps the widow of the Shoolmap’s John Corcoran— still owns 40 acres in the northwest quarter of section 3 (and the adjacent parcel of 40 acres in section 4).

A completely new name on the 1874 map is Mrs. Corcoran’s neighbor, one H. Mueller, who now occupies 64 acres, formerly owned by the Desmonds.

Owners or renters?

I’ve been pretty casual in this essay about whether someone owns or rents their land, typically referring to the names on the map as “owners” of the varrious parcels. Ownership is an easy assumption to make. But if we’re going to be precise, we will need to check county deed records to confirm whether, for example, Jesse Hubbard sold his farm to J. Corrigan before this 1874 map was made, or whether J. Corrigan was simply renting the farm from Jesse Hubbard and the mapmakers simply recorded the property as the “J. Corrigan” farm as convenience to map users.

Bonus items

Like many of our other maps, today’s 1874 map has lots of useful details. For example, the location of the former Clark (now Doyle) farmhouse is noted by the small black rectangle just south of the “P” in “Plank Road.”

And School No. 1, the Bonniwell School, is marked with a schoolhouse image just across the road, south of the southwest corner J. Corrigan’s 160 acres.

The Plank Road was a big deal in it’s day. It has long since been paved and widened and is now known as Cedarburg Road. Running somewhat parallel to the Plank Road is the railroad, indicated by the double lines filled with alternating white and black rectangles.

On August 7, 1857, Jonathan and Mary Clark sold some of their section 3 land so that the Milwaukee & Superior Railroad Company could construct the 100-foot-wide right of way for the new railroad on their farm. They received $500.00 for the approximately 5.98 acres sold.

I hope you enjoy today’s map. Please let me know if you have questions or comments.

Be well.



  1. Alfred Bonniwell, by the way, was not only an old Clark family friend and neighbor, he was an in-law. Alfred married Mary (Turck) Clark’s youngest sister, Sarah Turck, in 1851.

  2. Speaking of relatives, early settler Barnet “Barney” Clow was Mary (Turck) Clark’s first cousin. Barnet’s mother was Comfort (Gay) Clow, the elder sister of Mary’s mother Rachael (Gay) Turck. Barney Clow went west with the gold rush, tried mining for a bit, and later prospered as a rancher near Reno, Nevada

  3. As I work on this post, revisiting the Shoolmap (circa 1867-1872) and today’s Washington and Ozaukee Counties map (1874), I realize that comparing the two maps, and some of the land sale dates in the “Abstract of Title” for Peter Turck’s land may be lead us to a more accurate dating for the Shoolmap. Hmmm, sounds like a post or two for the future…

    Also, I need to check the 1870 sale of Turck’s land to Gustav Seifert. If you look at the detail map (above) of sections 3, 4, 9, and 10 from the 1874 map, the initials “G. S.” are found on the 40 acres of the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section 9. Otherwise, Seifert’s name is nowhere to be found in sections 9 or 10.

    I’m wondering if Seifert purchased the rest of the old Turck property and then rented it out to the farmers shown on this map or, possibly, did Turck sell off the other parts of his land before 1870 and those sales were omitted from the “Abstract of Title” that I have seen? Hmmm, sounds like yet another topic for a post…

    One other note regarding the various sales of Peter Turck’s Mequon property: Peter Turck was no longer in charge of his affairs after March 24 1867. From that date until his death on September 5, 1872, Turck’s affairs were managed by other family members and close friends. I will have more on this in a future series of posts.

  4. Clark neighbor and early settler Jesse Hubbard was recorded by the federal land office as “Jesse Hubbard, Jr.” Pretty much all maps and other contemporary sources omit the “Jr.” when referring to Mr. Hubbard, and that’s what I have done, also.

UPDATED, April 13, 2021, to fix a typo and clarify a few land/ownership descriptions.

5 thoughts on “Monday: Map Day!

  1. What was to be gained by Peter Turck selling and repurchasing his land? Also, since the Clark House is visible on the 1874 map, does that mean there were no other outbuildings at the time? Would any major structure appear on this map?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I’m not yet sure why Peter Turck’s land kept changing hands. I do know that as the years went by, Turck focused more and more on his work as a lawyer, which included making real estate deals for himself and for clients.

      My current theory about the changing ownership of Turck’s Mequon land has several parts. I think Turck split off a piece of land for his eldest son, Joseph R. Turck, around 1845. Perhaps Joseph wanted his own place to get started on adult life, I’m not sure. But Joseph moved to New Orleans in the late 1840s, and so the land was sold back to his father.

      Then I think Turck may have done similar transactions for various other children and their spouses. But this is really speculative. Some of the later land deals are more mystifying. It may be that Turck was selling and repurchasing land as a way to manage his cash flow while financing other deals elsewhere. There are a lot of deeds and mortgages to examine before we have a better understanding of what Turck was doing with the various Mequon land deals.

      As to the buildings shown on the map, my experience is that these land-ownership mapmakers usually only indicate the main residence on a farm, along with schools, churches and the occasional business like a hotel or sawmill. (More on sawmills in another post.)

      We know a lot about the Clark farm barn. It stood just east of the main house, across the Plank Road. The barn was photographed and documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey in 1988, before it was demolished to make room for a widening of Cedarburg Road. See our post “Harvest Time” from October 5, 2020, for one of those photos, more information and a link to the full HABS report.

      Liked by 1 person

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