The Scouting Party
The story of Milton begins with a man named Joseph Goodrich. He was a fine hard working man of outstanding morals and a very good humor. He was married to a fine woman named Nancy and together they had two children Ezra and Jane. The family lived in Alfred New York where they enjoyed a good and happy life.
Joseph was very well respected man in the community and was involved in his businesses, the church and education as well as being a member of the militia where he had advanced to the rank of major.
Life was going along well for the Goodrich family until 1836 when Joseph ran into some problems. While was moving a raft of cargo down the Susquehanna River to sell. The raft broke apart and Joseph lost most of the cargo. This was a financially devestating blow which would have required the sale of everything he had in order to pay his creditors. Fortunately a family member heard of his perilous financial situation and interviewed on his behalf. The following year brought even more financial woes with crop failures. So, Joseph began to look outside New York to provide a new start for his family.
Joseph was originally considering the central part of the Ohio and even went so far as to purchase a tract of land but conversations about the Rock River Valley with military men heading home after the Black Hawk War had peaked his interest. They of spoke very highly of wonderful fertile prairies of tall grass, wild flowers and beautiful lakes. This was enough for Joseph to want to go check it out for himself so he talked a good friend Mr. H.B.Crandall, then 41 years of age, into taking a trip west with him to see if this would be a good place to live. Joseph, 38 years of age, hired Mr. James Pierce, then 21 years of age, as an assistant to go along. The three men packed their bags, Joseph got his spade, the men said goodbye to their families then set out for Buffalo New York on June 26 of 1838.
After reaching Buffalo the men bought passage on a steamboat which traveled through the Great Lakes and docked at Milwaukee in late July. From there it was a journey in the hot summer sun on foot. This was by no description a pleasure hike for the travelers, each man carried a heavy pack of supplies and water was limited. Along their walk Joseph, who was not a small man, did his best to keep spirits high. He would take out his spade and turn some soil if an area seemed to be suitable for farming, but not finding the perfect spot they kept searching and made it to the area that is now Milton. Spade in hand Joseph turned the soil, the men examined it and being very pleased declared this a good place to live.
Prairie du lac was born with the turn of a spade.