Muskego Historical Society website

Leonard Martin


LEONARD MARTIN, farmer, merchant and proprietor hotel; born in Ferrisburg, Vt., April 16, 1814; his younger life was spent at school in old Vermont, where he learned surveying; in the spring of 1886, he reached Milwaukee, and remained there until fall, when he made first claim at the noted Oak Orchard of pioneer times; during the winter.

He surveyed the plat of Kewaunee, Wis., not seeing other men than those with him for two months; returning in the spring of 1837, he built on his claim, just across the line in Muskego, the inevitable log house, and began life a lone bachelor, "poor as Job's turkey", his musty flour, etc., earned by hard day's work.

March 11, 1840, he married Miss Betsey F. Munson, of Bristol, Vt,; to pay for his land when it came into market, he hired money at 50 per cent.; in 1852; Mr. Martin built a hotel and store on a large scale, main building 41x61, with kitchen 32x48, which, with its additions, is known over South Wisconsin as "Martin's Tavern" the generous old hostelry, with its three floors, being often crowded in the palmy days of Janesville and Milwaukee plank road. His stock of goods is very large; "too much stock", says Mr. Martin; "everything from a needle to a plow."

He is a genuine "old settler", and dug the first well in Muskego; his farm of 450 acres, with a small village of tenement houses, gives his place a business-like look. Mr. Martin was the first County Surveyor, Chairman of Muskego four years prior to this, member of the last Territorial Legislature in 1847, was County Commissioner in old times, and is now serving his fourth term as Chairman of the largely Republican town of Vernon, though he is a radical old Jacksonian Democrat; he says his fearless advocacy of these principles has beaten him for more offices than any other man in the county.

Mr. and Mrs. Martin have three children - Ann E.. widow of Everett Chamberlain; Sarah E., Mrs. C. A. Pride, and a son, S. Munson, who married Miss Emma Keyser, of New York, and is with his father.

(source: History of Waukesh County)

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