1121 Center Avenue
Janesville, Wisconsin 53546

--Henry David Thoreau, Walden

 

1222 Marquette

Homesteading of the Farm that is now the
Location of Mocha Moment

by Frank W. Douglas

What prompted [W. H. H. Douglas and his wife, Fanny] to come to Wisconsin [from New York] is anyone's guess... They came out here by covered wagon in 1854. Janesville was only 19 years old at the time, and this makes them one of the early settlers of this community. ...the journey took them almost six weeks to complete. How much can one carry in a covered wagon along with 2 adults and 3 children? Surviving today are a Waterford crystal water pitcher, Fannie's Scripture book, and his book, The Clergy of America.


On June 6, 1854, W. H. H. Douglas became the 4th pastor of the local Baptist church that had been founded in 1847. ...shortly after their arrival with money from Fannie's dowry, they purchased 1,500 acres of land south of the Rock River and east of what is now Center Avenue. This is in the Monterey Bridge area. While attending to the affairs of the church, they also ran a farm. During these years they built the house that still stands at 1222 Marquette Street just off Center Avenue and State Street. [The house] is made out of Milwaukee bricks and stone. The bricks were traded for a load of farm produce that [W. H. H. Douglas] took to Milwaukee. The round trip would take about a week. The stone came from the nearby Miltmore limestone quarry.

The church building that he preached in is [still standing] at the corner of Cherry and West Court Streets. This building once had a pointed facade to make it look like a Greek revival piece of architecture. Note the four-column like brick projections on the front. During the 1870's it served as the Wm. Tallman perfume factory and [in the 1970's] the Hulick Printing Company.


A year after W. H. H. Douglas took up his pastoral duties here in Janesville, a second son was born. He was William Arthur, born June, 20, 1855. Life on the farm was typical of the era. A wing was added later to the north [of the farm house] on the [west] side. The windows do not have a large block of stone over their top part as those do in the original house...


Grandpa Frank often told how Indians would camp along the river near their house and often asked or perhaps stole a chicken for something to eat. I remember my own father telling of how cool the water was on a warm day that they pumped from the well on the farm... Grandpa (Frank) Douglas told how his father and other farmers south of the river got together and built a simple wooden bridge about where the present day Monterey Bridge is now. This enabled them to get to town easier when the river was high due to rain or spring run-off.

 

 
     
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