The history of the town of cary
The Town of Cary was officially established on the first Tuesday of April, 1901, after the reorganization of Wood County on February 13, 1901.
The first person to establish land holdings in the area that became the Town of Cary was Cyrus Woodman in 1853, followed in 1854 by Samuel Weston and in 1855 by Thompson Warren.
The railroad established to ship logs out the area ran daily from Babcock and Lindsey and crossed the eastern part of the township, with stops at Amelia and Cary Switch.
Early settlers in the newly formed township came primarily from Western Europe and the Scandinavian countries. They traveled by paths, as no roads had yet been established. Later settlers came to the area for resettlement following the Dust Bowl era of the 1920s in the Corn Belt. Most residents in the township were farmers. Over the years the number of farmers has steadily declined to the point where we now have few farmers.
The Amelia community formed around the train stop and included the railroad depot, a store, and a cheese factory. Cary Switch became a shipping point for granite quarried for cemetery monuments at Dinse’s pit, located east of Cary Bluff. Several families lived in close proximity to that train stop.
Fred Meyer, Fred Fritz, and Christ Newman moved a cheese factory building from Progress to the corner of CTH V and Progress Road in the early 1900’s. Mr. Meyer became sole owner and operated it until 1924, when it was purchased by Louis Wagner. He ran it until 1941, when a dwindling supply of self-hauled milk, caused the Wagner cheese factory to close
Three schools were established in the Town of Cary. Rocky Run began in 1899 and was built for $434. West Cary, established in 1901, first held classes in a log building. The school closed for 2 years due to a lack of students and then reopened in a permanent building. In 1914 the building was moved to the corner of Lindsey Road and Sparks Road. Cary Bluff was established in 1902 on Steffek Road. That building burned in 1929, and in 1930 a new building was erected on the corner of CTH B and CTH CC. In 1964 all area rural schools were closed and consolidated into the Pittsville School District. When the Cary schools were in operation, the social life of the families in the township revolved around their school.
The Cary Town Hall was erected in 1928. Emmet Knapp was the lead carpenter, with help from many community members. Upon completion, a great celebration of feasting and merry-making was held, lasting two days. Many community gatherings were held at the hall, where no alcohol is served at public gatherings. The Cary Ladies Aid was formed to provide furnishings for the Town Hall. Mrs. Anna (Fred) Meyer was the first president.
The Cary Baseball team was formed in 1948, a member of the Central Wisconsin League for ten years before joining the Wood County League. The team, coached by Art Fairbert and Frank Neve, raised money to purchase 20 acres on CTH V for $250. They cleared the land and played there until the late 1960s. The sale of soda kept them in balls and bats. Various community members sponsored and paid for individual uniforms.
The Township also gave rise to two 4-H clubs: Cary Go-Getters 4-H, meeting at the Town Hall, was formed by Inga Neve and Mildred Wagner, still functions today. Cary Bluff 4-H was formed by Clara Christensen and Clara Thomer when the Richfield Club got too large. That club is no longer in existence.
Besides farming and residential land use, the Township has two cranberry marshes as well as several other small businesses.
The Town Board has as its main function the maintenance and upkeep of the township roads not serviced by the County or the State. While our town hall has served us well for over 75 years, it needs repairs and upgrades or replacement. A fact-finding committee has been appointed to begin that process.
In 2009 we hired a local contractor to remodel the town hall. We removed the stage and put a warming kitchen, bathroom and office space in its place.
This is a brief history prepared in 2017. We welcome contributions of photos or other historical data.