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Plain in Sauk County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

White Mound Settlement

“Billytown”

 
 
White Mound Settlement Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Paul Fehrenbach, October 2, 2021
1. White Mound Settlement Marker
Inscription.  The northern area of Franklin Township, Sauk County, WI, was first settled in the early 1850s by mostly English, along with some Irish and a few Swiss immigrants. This area, known as White Mound, got its name from the whitish limestone rock, which once protruded from the side of the high hill you see behind this kiosk. The remains of the lime kiln can still be seen within White Mound Park, located about 2 miles northwest of here on Hwy GG. The first settlers grew wheat in the valley and raised hops in the 1860s until the crash came in 1868. By the late 1880s, many of the early settlers moved out west or to the Reedsburg or Spring Green area. By then, many German immigrants had moved in and brought with them the concepts of crop rotation and manure use.

The land on which White Mound Settlement once sat, was first owned by Daniel Carpenter and Jacob Henry. Daniel Carpenter was one of 5 brothers, who came to this area from Ohio and owned land near each other; thus, this area was first known as Carpenters’ Settlement. It became known as White Mound when the post office was established in 1859, in a home on what is now Dawn Road, across
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the valley from here. A stage stop was located on what was then the J.B. Carpenter place, and now is the Walter Bindl farm. After the store was built, the post office and stage stop relocated there. The post office was discontinued in 1918. The cheese factory, blacksmith shop and store were west of Shortcut Road and the saloon, garage and church were east of it. Horse stables once stood along Shortcut Road behind the buildings. Horses were tied there while patrons shopped, got their mail, danced, or socialized in the saloon.

Billytown was named after William Welch, who opened the first store on January 1, 1899. It burned down in February 1901 and was rebuilt the same year. The post office and living quarters were located on the upper floor and were reached by an outside stairway on the east side of the building. Some time later, a dance hall was added on the west side. This building burned a second time on Halloween Eve in 1921, and was never rebuilt

In the fall of 1905, Andy Hutter built a blacksmith shop next to the cheese factory and sold it in 1908 to Merton Prouty, a farmer and blacksmith northeast of Billytown.

Billytown flourished only a short period of time, from the 1880s to the early 1930s. During this time, it was a lively place and many stories were told about it. Farmers brought their milk in, bought grocery staples, supplies and hardware
White Mound Settlement Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Paul Fehrenbach, October 2, 2021
2. White Mound Settlement Marker
in the general store, picked up their mail, and could stop for a “bier”. Here they would learn the latest gossip about the neighborhood and discuss their crops. Dances, picnics, plays, spelling bees, and raffles were held for entertainment. Fireworks were set off from the top of White Mound on the 4th of July. This little village served as a hub of much activity for folks in the area during its heyday, even though it existed for so short a time.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1859.
 
Location. 43° 20.645′ N, 90° 3.775′ W. Marker is in Plain, Wisconsin, in Sauk County. Marker is at the intersection of Valley View Road and Short Cut Road, on the left when traveling east on Valley View Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Plain WI 53577, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. White Mound (approx. 1.8 miles away); St. Anne’s Shrine (approx. 4.7 miles away); Natural Bridge State Park (approx. 6.6 miles away); Bear Valley Cemetery and Brown Church (approx. 9.6 miles away); Western Escape (approx. 10.8 miles away); Van Hise Rock (approx. 12.4 miles away); a
White Mound Saloon image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Paul Fehrenbach, October 2, 2021
3. White Mound Saloon
The Billytown Saloon first appeared on the Franklin Township tax assessment roll in 1906. It was run by various owners over the years. Bedrooms above the saloon were used by the proprietors and were also “let out” to stage coach drivers and travelers. A lean-to on the building contained a kitchen and living room for the owners. The saloon burned sometime between 1926 and 1929.
different marker also named Van Hise Rock (approx. 12˝ miles away); Mid–Continent Railway Historical Society (approx. 12˝ miles away).
 
White Mound Settlement Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Paul Fehrenbach, October 2, 2021
4. White Mound Settlement Marker
Geographic information of settlement area
White Mound Settlement Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Paul Fehrenbach, October 2, 2021
5. White Mound Settlement Marker
Inset map of area
O’Malley’s Cheese Factory image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Paul Fehrenbach, October 2, 2021
6. O’Malley’s Cheese Factory
The cheese factory was built in 1891 by James O’Malley. He was the first cheese maker but many others ran the factory between 1891 and 1936, when it closed. This was the last building remaining in Billytown. Photo taken in early 1900s shows local farmers with their teams hauling milk to the factory.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 4, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 4, 2021, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 339 times since then and 59 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 4, 2021, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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May. 18, 2024