History of Livingston, Wisconsin

One of the documents that Don Hill collected was a short typewritten history of the town of Livingston, Wisconsin. The manuscript is noted to be a gift of K. E. Livingston, Portales, New Mexico, dated 12/28/83, but it seems this document was a transcription of some earlier version, as one page is marked as missing. The origin and date are not known. It was written sometime before March 1944, since one Livingston resident -- Thomas Behan -- is mentioned as still living, yet he died on 3/6/1944. 

Research shows that there was a Kenneth E. Livingston (8/28/1900 - 2/22/1987) of Portales, New Mexico, married to Ruth Luella (Hanson) Livingston (8/30/1899 - 10/30/1993). Kenneth and Ruth had a son, also named Kenneth (1928-2011), so it's not clear which was responsible for transcribed the document.

The document can be viewed in pdf form at this link. The text of that document follows, without any spelling corrections. The author substituted "1st" for "first," "Wm" for "William," etc. Page 8 is missing.

The village of Livingston was founded on the property owned by Hugh Livingston, Sr. and later on part of the William Thompson land. Mr. Livingston sold the right of way for the railroad. The village was started in 1880 and the land was surveyed for a branch railroad from Madison to Galena. It was named the Chicago and Tomah railroad and later was known as the C.R.W. The last spoke was driven Feb. 13, 1880. Settlers began to arrive and business places were established.

The first building erected was a highfront building that was moved from Annaton and was placed on the ground, where the W.F. Alton house now stands. It was used as a restaurant. The James Allen family lived in the building and Mort Allen, now deceased, was the first child born in the village. It was later occupied by Mrs. Lib Wheeler. The next building was the hotel which still stands and is occupied by Mr. and Mrs. E.W. Hawley. When it was used as a hotel, it was occupied by the Walker and Scott Watson families. 

The first post office was on Center St. and was later used for many years as a meat market owned by W.T. Skaife. Thomas Watson Sr. and John Woodward were the first postmasters. Mr. Woodward was also a merchant. The building was also used for a dressmaking and millinery shop. Elizabeth Walker, later known as Mrs. Elizabeth Webb (Webber?) was dressmaker and Mrs. Heathcock was the milliner.

The depot was also one of the 1st (sic) buildings. Miss Margaret McNaney later known as Mrs. W.C. Livingston was the first operator and John Woodward was the Station Agent.

Among the first buildings erected were the Joseph Allen home and store which was moved on wheels from Martinville. It still stands and is occupied by Frank and Bess Allen. Mr. Allen then built the building which is used as a store with Joseph Allen as proprietor. Other business places were John Sleep Furniture store in the building used now as the Wagner Grocery. The Lange & Runkel Hardware Store, a frame building which stood where the T.O. Gundlach building now is. It was later moved down into the Tourist Park and was used for a schoolhouse. It was later moved on Main St. again and was located by the Sleep Furniture Store. For some time it was used as a restaurant with Timothy Marshall as proprietor. The dwelling and blacksmith shop owned by Mr. Wm Fisher Sr. and son William were the Veteran blacksmiths. The Blacksmith Shop was located where the State Bank now stands and the Fisher house is now occupied by the Louis Millards. The building used as a dwelling by the Frank Rundell family was formerly the Little Red Schoolhouse which was located south of the village. It was then moved to the village and was used as a dwelling occupied by the Robert Hershey family who in partnership with W.A. Livingston operated the Allen Store for a short time. It was then purchased by Robert Graham, the ________ wagonmaker, Messrs John and Joseph Allen then purchased the stock of goods from Hershey & Livingston. The building known as the telephone office now, was moved from Arthur. It was used for many years as the Wm Livingston Sr. home.

A dwelling known as the Patrick McAnaney home stood where the Standard Oil Station is. The building was torn down and Thomas Vipond moved a part of the Martinville Free Methodist Church from the Brian Rundell farm and was made into a dwelling now converted into a modern home. It was later purchased by Albert Warne occupied by Wendell Watson. The little home now owned by Mrs. Laura English was formerly owned by Mrs. Elizabeth Woodward and later by Mr. Ezra Spencer. A very fine home was erected by Mr. Harry Howdle and purchased later by Mrs. Hannah Andrew. It was moved and the Yelinek Filling Station has taken its place.

W.C. Livingston erected a small building where the Livingston Hotel stands and it was used as a restaurant with a Mr. Armafield as proprietor. Later it was purchased by Mr. Charles Waring Sr. where they established a hotel that housed all those transients who came into the village about this time.

The following business places were established: The R.S. Jacobs Harness Shop which later gave place to a more commodious building which is located on the east side of Main St. north of the former Jacob homestead with John Jacobs as proprietor. The Jacob homestead is now owned by Mrs. Mary Livingston.

The District School was erected at this time and was later purchased by Mr. Albert White who converted it into a dwelling. It is now owned by the Herbert Goldman family. The 1st (sic) church services were conducted on the depot platform by Rev. Bauchman of Montfort.

The village now felt the need of a church building. The Methodist church was then built. Hugh Livingston the founder of the village, Thomas Watson Sr., Charles Watson, George Livingston sponsored this undertaking and not long after Elder Goodsell dedicated this edifice. Many others helped in this effort. The first minister was Rev. Bauchman. Mr. Hercules Rundell was the 1st (sic) Sunday school Supt. and his daughter Georgian the 1st (sic) organist. The family later moved to Platteville and Mr. Rundell's place was taken by Mr. R.S. Jacobs. Miss Libbie Jacobs conducted the 1st (sic) Children's Day program. She later became Mrs. J.J. Andrew. The l1st (sic) choir sang at the funeral of Mr. Hugh Livingston.

For many years Mr. George Livingston operated the grain elevator. Other buildings on Main Street were established namely the W.T. Skaife meat market and restaurant, the Lange & Runkel hardware store later purchased by Mr. Wm Muellor and Theodore Gundlach. Dr. J.S. Cocklin office and drugstore. The Carter building. The upper story was used for a Dental office. Dr. Carter was the 1st dentist and later Dr. F.B. Rundell was the dentist and the lower story was used for a Barber Shop and jewelry store. The Woodward and Carter General store was located north of the Carter building. It was later purchased by D.O. Eustice and J.W. Nicholas for a general store. South of W.T. Skaife's meat market J.J. Andrew built a hardware store. The building now the home of Mrs. McCloud was built by Mr. Charles Livingston Sr. and was first used by Dr. Cocklin as a drug store. He later moved his store into ? He then moved to his store on the other side of the street. Mr. Andrew Noble operated a butcher shop near the Hotel Livingston. Dr. Steel was the 1st Doctor assisted by Dr. Tom Livingston. They were located in the home now owned by V.M. Hannan. They were followed by Dr. Cocklin who traveled night and day around the village and country side to relive (sic) suffering humanity. Later the Village Park was donated by W.C. Livingston, Dr. J.S. Cocklin, George Livingston, D.D. Eustice, J.W. Nicholas, and Robert H. Livingston. Mr. Charles Watson Sr. appropriated funds for the building of the band stand in the park.

One of the 1st business places was a shoe shop owned by Jacob Winters. It is still located south of the V.M. Hannan home. Mr. Winters and John Parsons who owned a blacksmith shop where the Thomas Harris home stands lived in the home new occupied by Mame Burroughs. Mr. Parsons sold his business to Mr. A.B. Fredricks and moved to So. Dakota where he and his family engaged in farming. Mr. Fredricks purchased the dwelling now owned by Mrs. Jennie Watson from Mrs. Hayes. She then occupied a building east of this home which was later moved and used as a barn on the Fredricks ground west of house. Mr. Fredrick has as his helper John Graham who purchased the blacksmith shop and the dwelling owned by Mr. Fredricks. The Fredrick family then moved to Platteville. Mr. Wm Lee purchased the Graham house and Mr. Graham built a new home and the family lived there several years after which Mrs. Watson purchased it. Mr. Hegg Hayes who was engaged in the harness making business on Main St. north of the Allen Store built a home located where the F.M. Parsonage now is. It was destroyed by fire. The Hayes family then moved away from here, and Mrs. Jane Livingston a pioneer resident of the town of Clifton built a comfortable little home where she spent the remainder of her days. It later became the property of Mr. James Alton.

Mr. Thomas Watson built the home where his daughter Martha A. Watson still lives. Mr. Fieldhouse a mason by trade purchased land from Mr. Watson and erected a home about 2 years later. Mrs. Alice Watson then purchased land west of the Fieldhouse home and erected a dwelling. The Hugh Livingston homestead and farm were purchased by Thomas Watson Jr. a few years later. The Livingston house was purchased from Mr. Watson by Mr. Coombs who later moved it on the south side the village and made it into a comfortable home. Mrs. Watson then purchased the Fieldhouse property which is now owned by C.M. Fisher. The Watson farm was then sold to Brian Rundell. It is now rented by Mr. Len James. Mr. Rundell is the overseer of the Grant County Home.

(Page 8 was missing so disconnected so copy page 9.)

was purchased by Mrs. Ada. Livingston. Mr. Wm Hill a pioneer resident purchased a small house which was later owned by Mr. George Dolphin who built a larger home on the same place. The Webber building was built many years ago and is now occupied by Mrs. Lena Martell. The home now occupied by Orin Livingston is one the oldest buildings in the village. It was built by Mr. Charles Watson Sr. It later became the home of Mr. and Mrs. Arch Rundell who made it into a more modern house. It is now the property of Miss Martha Rundell. Mr. W.C. Livingston purchased the Hotel Livingston from Mr. Charles Waring and for many years he and his good wife afforded accommodations for the stranger within our gates. It is now used as a four apartment house. What was known as the Free Methodist Church in Martinville was moved to Livingston and a part of it was used as the old Free Meth. Church which was founded by Mr. John C. Livingston and Mrs. D.O. Eustice who are both recently deceased. A fine new church building has taken its place. Rev. Frank Wolf was the 1st minister. The village of Livingston is finely equipped High School and also an excellently equipped Graded School. The High School was built by the Township of Clifton incorporated with a part of Mifflin.

A few years ago the Village owned two papers. The first one was edited by Harvey Schermerhorn who later moved to Muscoda and the second by Mr. Frank Moffett who moved to Iowa. The building used by them now houses the Livingston Public Library. For 19 years, Harry Marshall and Ben Noble conducted a meat market and grocery store. Their business was sold to Mr. & Mrs. Lloyd Wagner within the past few months who are enjoying a portion of the business.

An interesting fact in connection the early history of Livingston is that the famous Ringling Circus held one of their 1st shows in the Red Schoolhouse south of the Village.

For many years Mr. L.J. Court was the proprietor of the Livingston Creamery. He did a very fine business. About 2 years ago he sold his creamery and all its equipment to Mr. Andrew Kanstrup who has established a creamery and also a cheese factory. He has four men employed namely Bertram Livingston, Pete Kuntson, Leonard Gererady and Louis Millard.

W.M. Comstock, a young Station Agent who followed Miss Margaret McNaney, organized a Young Peoples Literary Society which was one of the most outstanding efforts put forth in the Village at that time. He is still gratefully remembered by those young people who had the privilege of being members of that circle.

Mr. W.J. Hooper followed Mr. Comstock on August 16, 1888 and his labors in his work, in the church social and musical circles has been much appreciated. He is still a great asset in the church and musical circles. He was followed by Mr. Frederick, Mr. Stewart Nelson and Mr. Lenard (sic) Sebora, who is now the agent.

Livingston has had a bank since 1902. J.P. Rundell and his son were the organizers. Arch Rundell was the president, A.V. Wells Vice President, Fred Stephens was the first cashier. The first bank was instituted in the north building of Allen's store. The building now used as the Post Office was the 1st bank building and later another building was erected which was larger and more modern. M.F. Olafson is the cashier and Miss Irene Livingston and Teddy Gundlach are the helpers. For many years Wm M. Livingston was the pioneer barber. He bought the building where his son Donald and family live. The family lived there and he also had his barber shop there.

Mr. Cornwall of Lancaster operated a restaurant for sometime in the Reed Watson building. V.M. Hannan for many years has been the furniture dealer and funeral director of this village. He now occupies this building. The building where Mrs. W.T. Skaife lives was the 1st lumber office in the village and was operated by Mr. Charles Watson Sr. and Mr. Carl Lange.

The Cokerville Mines was a great asset in this community. For many years a large number of men were employed who took up their residence in this village.

In about 1905 or 1906 this village was incorporated. The Motor Inn Garage was built by Allen Spang, who later sold to Lincoln Thomas. For many years the Charles Drinkwater building was used as a garage and it is now rented by Cushman & Scott who are engaged in the implement business. A stock pavilion was built and for the past few years was used for a Feed Store was operated by Wm Biddick. It has been the property of Wm Loy the past few years. The dwelling by Mrs. Shinn as a house was one of the 1st homes built in the village by Mr. Wm Powell. It is now the property of Thomas Behan of Platteville. The Sherman Murduck house was one of the first dwellings was later moved to the Charles Watson farm and was replaced by the Hefty home. In May 29, 1914 a disastrous fire distroyed (sic) 5 business places on the west side of Main St. namely the W.T. Skaife restaurant, the T. O. Gundlach hardware Store, Dr. Treglown building, The Elizabeth Carter business place and the D.O. Eustice General Store. All of the buildings were rebuilt except the D.O. Eustice Store. The depot was destroyed by fire eleven years ago. The business places now are W.F. Alton & Co. Elevator, which has a large business, The Livingston Lumber Co. with W.B. Alton as manager, The J.J. Andrew hardware store, was moved where the Eustice Store was and is now used as a restaurant. The Carter building is used by Mr. Louis Millard. The Treglown building houses the Livingston Locker and general store.

Dr. Treglown uses the upstairs rooms as his office Mr. Val Treglown manages the Locker and general store. T.O. Gundlach is still proprietor of his hardware store. Mrs. Josephine Fest now owns the W.T. Skaife restaurant which has been converted into a fine restaurant and drug store. Allen's Store has Joseph Allen as its proprietor who enjoys a large business. Harry Allen owns a Hardware Store and the Livingston Hotel is the home of Mr. & Mrs. C.E. Garner. Orin Livingston is the Livingston Postmaster assisted by Harry Eustice. Mr. and Mrs. Phil Warren are occupying the building formerly the property of Mr. T. Marshall. It is now the property of Harry Marshall. In conclusion Mr. Harley Newman is our efficient mail carrier.