Date in History: 1836

The first white family to settle in what is now Fort Atkinson was the Dwight Foster family. Dwight Foster was born in Connecticut in 1801 and grew up in upstate New York. In the 1830s, he headed west to join the Rock River Land and Claim Company, a group of men who were planning to claim and settle the land in this area where a proposed canal coming from Lake Michigan would reach the Rock River.

In November of 1836, Dwight and his wife Almira left Milwaukee with their 3-year-old daughter Celeste and traveled here to live in a cabin that allowed them to hold the claim. It took them 8 days to get from Milwaukee to the fort along the Rock River that had been built here during the Black Hawk War. The Fosters lived in a log cabin right next to the dilapidated fort from 1836 until 1841 when they moved into a frame house built by carpenter Charles Rockwell. The original location of this house was directly across the street from where the Post Office is now, but it has since been moved to the grounds of the Hoard Museum.

This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 07/04/2005.