Early Settlers

The organization of Ozaukee County was affected by an act of the Legislature passed March 7, 1853. The county contains an area of only 232 square miles, the smallest in the state and is made up of 7 townships:
  • Belgium
  • Cedarburg
  • Fredonia
  • Grafton
  • Mequon
  • Port Washington
  • Saukville

The name Ozaukee is of Indian derivation. It means "yellow earth" and is descriptive of the sand and clay soil of the county.

Among the early settlers who came into the county were the Yankees from the east who came into the settled communities to establish business, to practice their professions and to become the early political leaders. Abraham Lincoln, as a young lawyer looking for a suitable location to establish an office, visited this territory and stopped at Port Washington for a short time. Leland Stanford, a lawyer, practiced his profession here between 1848 and 1852. After being defeated for the office of district attorney, he became discouraged and left for California where he became governor of the state and with his wealth founded Stanford University.

However, the real pioneers into the county were the hardy and thrifty people from Germany, Luxemburg, Belgium, and Ireland who went into the wild forest lands to develop agriculture, build homes, churches, and schools. Each people preferred certain sections of the county and settled in groups so that even today we know the Luxemburgers are from the Town of Belgium, the Germans from Cedarburg, and the Irish from Fredonia and Mequon.