The old town of Brookfield provides an ethnic microcosm of what makes Wisconsin’s settlement story so unique. As Native Americans, primarily the Potawatomi tribe, were forced out of the region, in came large numbers of Protestant farmers from New York State. A step and a half behind the New Yorkers came distinct colonies of families from western EuropeCatholics from near Nuremberg, Bavaria; Evangelical Lutherans from Canton Bern, Switzerland; Methodists from Lincolnshire, England; Zion Evangelicals from Sulzback, Württemberg; as well as Catholics from County Sligo, Ireland.
About the Author
Thomas Ramstack teaches special education for Milwaukee Public Schools. He holds bachelor’s degrees in history and psychology from the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, as well as a master’s degree in special education from Cardinal Stritch University. As a child, his father took the time to tell personal tales, dating to the 1920s and 1930s, describing various neighbors he encountered as a boy while growing up in the then very rural communities of Elm Grove and Brookfield. Through these images, Ramstack hopes modern-day residents, too, might capture something of the life experiences of the town’s earlier inhabitants.
Table of Contents
1 Immigrants in Town 9
2 Success in Farming 21
3 A Great Conflagration 47
4 The Tornado of August 16, 1907 59
5 The Village of Elm Grove 69
6 The Tornado of May 31, 1914 81
7 Elm Grove Fair 105
8 The End of an Era 121