graphicIn the 1840s, trappers, traders, and settlers traveled to the rolling prairie north of what is today called Madison. During these years, it was the hunting grounds and location of villages of the Ho-Chunk Indian people. One of the largest of the permanent villages was at Token Creek, the location of an important water source and the intersection of two important trails.

This flat land and very fertile soil attracted Scottish, English, and Yankee pioneer settlers. The first white settler, William Lawrence, arrived in 1841 and purchased and farmed a large tract of the land north of the location of today’s Village of DeForest. He also built the traveler’s inn, Eagle Point Tavern.

In 1842, Charles Lawrence bought a farm at Token Creek, which became an important crossroads settlement. Token Creek established the first post office in the area, the first school, a library, a dance hall, hotel and two gristmills.graphic

By 1845, James Stephenson had purchased large tracts of land from the government in the region of today’s DeForest. The land was sold to Charles Durkee in 1853. Durkee became one of the largest wheat growers in the area. In 1856, he sold the land to Isaac N. DeForest who expanded the agriculture enterprise. Issac DeForest eventually platted out 29 lots and established a settlement which was to bear his name, DeForest.

More settlers came to the area, including James Morrison, who purchased land and was instrumental in the establishment of a settlement that was to become Morrisonville, which was platted in 1872.

Today, the DeForest/Windsor area continues to reflect both the agricultural origins and the pioneer’s entrepreneurial spirit.


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