Wades Establish Village in Frontier Territory
In 1844 Sylvanus and Betsey Wade and their family settled in what was to become Greenbush. At that time Wisconsin was a frontier territory. The land between Fond du Lac and Sheboygan was a wilderness of virtually uninterrupted forest. Years later, Betsey Wade would tell her children that the forest was so dense that, even on a clear night, she “could hold in her apron all the stars she could see.”
The Wades were the first permanent settlers in Greenbush. They came to the remote area not to carve a single homestead out of the wilderness, but to establish a village on the developing frontier.
Sylvanus and Betsey Wade selected the location for their village carefully. They chose a place halfway between Sheboygan and Fond du Lac along a well-used stagecoach trail. The Mullet River crossed the trail, offering a promising source of water power. The Wades purchased several sections of land around a potential mill site as well.
Wisconsin became a state in 1848. At that time Greenbush was a booming little village with two stores, a school, a sawmill, a wagon shop, a blacksmith and a doctor. The trail between Sheboygan and Fond du Lac had been improved by the territorial government. There were plans for further improvements by building a plank road.
Sylvanus Wade sold most of his land to enterprising settlers. They, like him, were willing to stake their futures on the little community. The Wades kept a tavern in their log house. As the years passed and business grew, they twice expanded the structure.
By 1848 Wades’ “Half Way House” was a regular stop for the stagecoach lines operating between Sheboygan and Fond du Lac. The Wades planned to build a new large and elegant inn to serve the growing traffic. It would also lend an aura of establishment and civilization to the growing village of Greenbush.