Kemah Farm, Residence of Albert W. Harris
~ Williams Bay Citizens Vote to Incorporate October 23, 1919 ~
In January 1937 J.S. Hotton wrote "Millions of years ago, so they tell us at the Observatory, the almighty architect of the Universe designed and began to shape our rolling hills and valleys and to fashion the splendid water basin that forms our glorious lake. There isn't any doubt that the eleven hundred acres within our village boundaries is one of the outstanding beauty spots on earth. It is no wonder that first the Indians and later the white man picked this spot as a village site." in an article titled "Our Village" published in Bay Leaves.
The original plat of Williams Bay which contained Blocks No. 1 to 6 and Lots No. 1 to 17 in Block 7 was signed by Lucretia Williams, widow of Royal J. Williams, and William G. De Groff, owners and recorded July 3, 1889. The stimulus for this development was the arrival of the Chicago Northwestern Railway to the Bay in 1888.
The growing fame of Lake Geneva as a summer resort inspired John Johnson Jr. who had a home on the lake near the village of Lake Geneva to plat Grand Terrace Subdivision. This plat was recorded in March 1892.
Thus when Dr. E.J. Fucik, William Valentine, S.J. Noble, Gottllieb Henne, Andrew Carlquist, Alfred Pihl, Lawrence A. Hollister, Walter E. Jewell, Andrew Anderson, Oscar M. Waterbury, and A.B. Carlson signed a petition asking that the Village of Williams Bay be incorporated in June 1919 practically all of the main part of the village had been laid out.
On June 26, 1919 a subscription list was passed around and $81 was secured to pay incorporation expenses. A census was taken by Lawrence Hollister who found that there were 492 people living in the area of the village which was to be incorporated as of August 2, 1919.
The surveyor who laid out the village for incorporation was William Child. It contained 1,114 acres of land and was bounded on the south by 19,520 feet of lake shore, on the west by Delavan Road, on the north by the township lines of Delavan and Geneva, and on the east by the East line of Peter Johnson's farm. In April of 1929 the Village took in as a part of its incorporation the waters of the Bay, giving complete control of the waters of the bay.
Circuit Court Judge Grimm granted the plea of the incorporators on September 15, 1919 and the papers were recorded on October 23, 1919. Easton Johnson of Whitewater acted for the village in all legal matters.
On October 23, 1919 the persons living in the area voted as to whether or not to incorporate. Those serving as members of the Election Board were: E.H. Hollister, Clerk; Henry Granzow and A.H. Arneson, Ballot Clerks; Harry Brumgard and S.B. Barrett, Inspectors.
Only men voted at the time. Those who voted were as follows:
Total voters registered: 108; Voted for: 66; Voted against: 41; Void vote: 1.
At the first election for Village officials the following were elected:
The first meeting of the new Village Board was held on November 24, 1919.
Reprinted from Bay Leaves, November 9, 1939.
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