Chapter Eight

First Milton House

The picture above is courtesy of the Milton Historical society. The structure on the left is the Goodrich home, built in 1838. The structure on the right is the first Milton House built in 1839. The buildings were taken down sometime in the late 1920’s

The building Begins

1839 was not an extraordinarily busy year but it was productive. With Joseph and his family back in Wisconsin, one of the first things he did was build another frame building behind his home to be used as a hotel. Survey crews were working their way through the area planning a road from Chicago to Madison. This pleased Joseph because found that his site for a home and business were indeed in just the right spot. His hotel would be put to very good use.

Mid-July brought activity. Being a man of many talents with farming being one of them, Joseph realized that he had a need for a barn and planned a barn raising.  On the 18th of July in 1839 several men from the community came to help build the barn. During the construction they spoke at length about petitioning the Government for a post office.

A meeting was held at Peter McEwan’s home to discuss the possibilities for a community name for the post office. Joseph suggested Grainfield. This was debated by those present but the vote was in favor of Prairie du Lac, which is what they had been calling their new community. The petition was written, sent off and was returned rejected. It seems a small village north and west of Madison had previously been given a post office using the name Prairie du Sac and the Government thought the names would be confusing.

Well this was disappointing and another meeting was held on October 1,1839 to discuss possible alternatives. Daniel Butts suggested Milton, everyone agreed this would be a good choice and the petition was drafted, sent and, this time, accepted. Prairie du Lac had become Milton. The first postmaster was Joseph Goodrich. He held the office for several years, until W. T. Morgan took over the position… But that’s another story!


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