ORGANIZATION OF TOWNSHIPS
Several changes took place in the year 1848, pertaining to the methods of running
County affairs. Wisconsin was admitted to statehood, and the Legislature, on March 2,
1848, enacted a law establishing township system of government, and abolishing the
Board of Commissioners.
The last Board of Commissioners, before its
discontinuance in 1848, was comprised of Peter Poh, J. M. Sprague and Albert Wheeler.
Manitowoc County was comprised of four towns, Manitowoc, Manitowoc Rapids, Two Rivers
and Meeme. The first session of the County Board of Supervisors was held June 18,
1849, and these towns were represented as follows: Manitowoc, Andrew Vieu; Manitowoc
Rapids, Charles McAllister; Two Rivers, John Stuart; Meeme, T. Cunningham. The
Chairmen of the various towns constituted the County Board of Supervisors.
At this time the North boundary line of Manitowoc County was the township line
running between Towns 20 and 21 across Ranges 21, 22, 23, 24 and a fraction of
Range 25. The division of the County into towns, as effected at this time, resulted
in the setting off of four individual units, namely, the Towns of Two Rivers,
Manitowoc, Manitowoc Rapids, and Meeme.
The Town of Two Rivers embraced all of the territory which is found in that town at
the present time, that part of the present Town of Mishicot in Town 20, Range 24 and
Sections 18, 19, 30 and 31 of the same Town and Range, now a part of the Town of
Kossuth. The Town of Manitowoc was set off at this time as it is today, with such
territory as has been added to the City of Manitowoc. The Town of Manitowoc Rapids
embraced all of the territory now comprising the Towns of Maple Grove, Rockland,
Franklin, Cato, Manitowoc Rapids, and the greater parts of Eaton, Liberty and Newton,
the South boundary line of the Town of Manitowoc Rapids at that time commencing at
the S. W. corner of Section 19, Town 18, Range 21 and then East along the Section
line across Ranges 21, 22 and 23 to that point where said Section line strikes the
shore of Lake Michigan. All of Manitowoc County south of this line constituted the
Town of Meeme.
From time to time, as various parts of the County developed
and were settled, petitions were presented to the Board of Supervisors, asking that
certain tracts be set off and established as separate towns. By these steps, as
recorded in the Proceedings of the County Board of Supervisors, the number of towns
increased to eighteen, the present number.
The Village of Manitowoc was incorporated under an act of March 6, 1851, the first
village president being George Reed. The two village wards were represented on the
County Board by G. Kremers from the first ward, and C. W. Fitch from the second ward.
A city charter was granted by the legislature March 12, 1870, Peter Johnson being the
The chronological order of the establishment of the last fourteen townships was as follows
||Newton, Centerville and Maple Grove.
||Kossuth and Eaton. (In 1853, the name Eaton was changed to Walders. In 1854 it was changed back to Eaton.)
||Mishicot. (In May, 1853, the name Mishicot was changed to Saxonberg, but in November of the same year it was changed back to Mishicot.)
||Schleswig and Franklin.
||Cooperstown and Rockland.
||Liberty (originally named Buchanan from 1857 to 1861), and Cato.
||Two Creeks (originally named Rowley, changed to Two Creeks in 1861).
On March 31, 1858, a village charter incorporating the Village of Two Rivers was
granted. H. C. Hamilton was chosen as the first village president; Wm. Aldrich and
H. B. Allen represented the first and second wards, respectively, on the Manitowoc
County Board. A city charter was granted March 18, 1878, Michael Malloy being the
On April 18, 1924, an election was held for the purpose of
determining whether the city should adopt a council-manager form of government.
Since the referendum favored the adoption of the council-manager form, the City
Council on May 18, 1925, appointed Richard Biehl the first city manager, his term
of office becoming effective June 1, 1925. The city still operates under the
The Village of Kiel was incorporated as such on June 12, 1892, Charles Heins serving
as the first village president, and J. C. Mueller being the first County Board
representative. Kiel became a city on December 15, 1920, H. J. Ammann being elected
The Village of Reedsville was incorporated as a village on January 29, 1892, Mr. W. H. Noble being its first president,and Mr. F. F. Stelling the first village supervisor on the County Board.
The Village of Valders was incorporated by an order of the Circuit Judge of Manitowoc County on November 7, 1919. On January 13, 1920, the first village election was held, Wm. F. Christel being elected president, and A. A. Lyken the first supervisor on the County Board.
The Village of Mishicot was incorporated as a village on August 23, 1950. Hugo F. Holst was the first president and Reuben Harpt the first village supervisor.
The Village of St. Nazianz was incorporated as a village on June 5, 1956. Ambrose L. Eberle was the first president as well as the first village supervisor.
The Village of Whitelaw was incorporated as a village on May 23, 1958. Emil J. Steeber was the first president and Jerome Martin the first supervisor.
The Village of Cleveland was incorporated as a village on November 6, 1958. Howard Vogel was the first president and William Rutherford the first supervisor.
The Village of Francis Creek was incorporated as a village on June 24, 1960. Matt J. Kocian, Jr., was the first president and Clifford Meyer the first supervisor.
The Village of Maribel was incorporated as a village on September 12, 1963. Harvey Becker was the first president and Antone H. DeLorme the first supervisor.
The Village of Kellnersville was incorporated as a village on July 1, 1971. John Deets was the first president and Russell M. Steeber the first supervisor.
The Town of Centerville was recognized as a township in 1850 with Mr. Charles Kaehler as its first chairman. Town Board meetings were held at the clerk's office until a referendum on April 1, 1930 changed the meeting place to the Cleveland
Fire House. It was not until April 1953 that plans were made to buy land and construct a new fire house and town hall. This vote was never carried through. The Town bought a garage from a local man and used it for the Town Hall with the
fire department renting the garage space from the Town. In 1959, Manitowoc County Highway Department bought the garage from the Town. Since that time, the Town Board has had an agreement with the highway department to rent the front of the
building for a Town Hall.