First Woman in Town of Lisbon

 Photographed March 2, 2015
Erected 1986 by Lisbon-Sussex Sesquicentennial Committee
Sussex, Waukesha County, Wisconsin

Melinda Ann (Warren) Weaver, B. Feb. 25, 1813 in New York State, married an English immigrant, John Weaver, in 1833. In the fall of 1836, with Melinda 7 months pregnant & leading two children the Weaver family took an Erie Canal boat to Buffalo, & a sail boat from there to Milwaukee. John left Melinda and children in Milwaukee while he went out to the Town of Lisbon for a land claim. After building a log cabin, he brought his wife & 3 children to Lisbon March 4. Thus Melinda became the first woman settler in Lisbon. She later became the first school teacher in Lisbon & all Waukesha County. (1838)

Affectionately called “Aunt Melinda”, she wrote a book about the early pioneer days in 1876, titled “Memories of Early Days.” She died Oct. 24, 1886 & is buried in this cemetery.
The marker is located at St. Alban's Episcopal Church church cemetery, on the northeast corner of the intersection of Main Street / Silver Spring Drive / County Highway VV and Maple Avenue, Sussex, Wisconsin 53089.

NOTE: There are inaccuracies in this marker. According to the writings of Melinda Ann Warren Weaver, she was one of several women and girls who arrived simultaneously in Lisbon. Click here for more information about the "First Settlers -- Town of Lisbon" (by Michael R. Riley, Assistant Museum Curator, Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc.)

"Memories of Early Days" by Melinda Ann Warren Weaver
Transcribed and Edited by Michael R. Reilly, Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc.

This obituary of Melinda Ann Weaver appeared in the Waukesha Plaindealer newspaper in October 1886:
Sussex - Died, at the home of her son-in-law, Jeremiah Smith, on Sunday, October 24th, 1886, Mrs. Melinda Ann Weaver, widow of the late John Weaver.

Mrs. Weaver was born in the town of Augusta, Oneida county, New York, on the 20th day of February, 1813. Her father, Daniel Warren, was an old revolutioner, and a relative of the celebrated Gen. Warren who fell pierced by English bullets when fighting for and defending freedom's cause.

Early in the year of 1833 she was married to John Weaver. In the fall of 1836 they, with their two children, came to Wisconsin, landing in Milwaukee on the night of September 27. On the 13th of October following, their son James was born, there were but few white children born in Milwaukee before him. It was extremely touching to see them on the fiftieth anniversary of that day; she so near her mortal end, yet that meeting seemed to bring back some of the life of by-gone days.

Fifty years! What memories crowded upon her mind, what wonderful changes have taken place in the last half-century. Death seemed to halt in his mad career that she might recover her strength to look back on a well spent life before she departed hence - upon the trials, troubles and hardships and privations of a pioneer's life; this then a wilderness now a noble commonwealth; Milwaukee then, but a fur-trading station now a fine city; Waukesha but three log cabins now a beautiful summer resort and watering place, and dubbed the Saratoga of the West. To be a pioneer in those times was to be one in every sense of the word. Shut out by winter's icy hand on the great lakes for more than half the year from the civilized world, famine and privation staring them in the face, was it any wonder that women's hearts failed and strong men broke down.

On the 4th of March 1837, they, with three other families, came into the town of Lisbon as real bona fide settlers, there to make homes for themselves and families. Of those four men and four women as heads of families, the first actual settlers that came to this town on the same day, now none remain. She was the last, and their lives are a part of the history of this town, county and state.

In 1838 she opened and taught the first school in this town. In their little log cabin by the brook many received instruction at her hands. Although now scattered far and near, those of them that live well remember the good advice and instruction imparted to them.

Upon the organization of the Episcopal church in this town she affiliated and ever remained a faithful member of that society, so faithful that when the society was assailed by scoffers and persecutors by word and pen, her pen flew as it were a sword from the scabbard in the defense of that little society till strong men were heard to say that they knew it was Mrs. John Weaver who was defending that little church, and they would neither say nor write another word against it.

As a nurse she will long be remembered as having waited on many in their very young infancy, and the pillows of the aged and was often made softer by her deft and gentle hands. The long, cold, dark and stormy journeys that she has made to wait on the sick and afflicted will not be soon forgotten.

As a friend her memory will long be green, all knowing that they have lost a true one.

As a mother she was one in every sense that that word implies, and as such her councils were often sought and never refused, to many besides her own direct descendants.

This much mourned one has gone and left us, leaving us an example that all can follow and but few can excel. How many are better men and women from her acquaintance and good councils. The silver cord is severed, the golden bowl is broken, and they mourn because she is not. Mrs. Weaver leaves four sons and three daughters, twenty-six grand children and six great grand children to mourn her loss.
The foregoing content used with gracious permission of the Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc. (NOTE: paragraphs added to original content for ease in reading.)

See also, St. Alban's Episcopal Church, also at this location.

 With St. Alban's Episcopal Church in the background

First visit November 12, 2014:

The faded initials are "M.A.W."

No comments:

Post a Comment