The first permanent settlement outside the Fort Atkinson Military Post in Winneshiek County occurred in June, 1847, when pioneers and homesteaders came into the region. These first settlers included Gottlieb (Gotleib) Krumm, Gottlob Krumm, Charles Kregg (Kreggand), and Francis Rogers. Gottlob Krumm, his wife, and two little children, came directly from South Germany. For a few weeks they lived in a deserted Indian wigwam that stood next to a spring while Mr. Krumm, with the assistance of Charles Kregg, built a log house nearby. This was the first house built and occupied by an actual settler in this part of the country. (The Krumm brothers’ names, which are German, are translated as follows: Gottlieb means ‘God of love’, and Gottlob means ‘God of praise’).
In 1848, prior to the removal of the Winnebago Indians, George Bachel came to the fort prospecting. He returned in 1849 with his family, accompanied by five other families who made a permanent settlement in Washington Township. Included among the group were Francis Joseph Huber and family, Andrew Meyer and family, and Jacob Rausch and family. These first settlers were Germans.
In the fall of 1849, Josiah Goddard, Sr. and his family of seven children moved here from Wisconsin to homestead. He purchased the ‘claim’ of Mr. Olmstead, an Indian trader. (It was also reported by Mr. Goddard Jr., that there was a small farm house occupied by a Mr. Kilpatrick close to the fort).
Prior to the above dates, there is no knowledge of any settlers in Winneshiek County, although there may have been a few who had crossed over the line and settled on that part of the ‘neutral ground’ which is now in the southeastern corner of the county. From 1840-1848, the ‘neutral ground’ was the legal land of the Winnebago/Ho-Chunk Indians. While soldiers, traders, and government workers at the Turkey River Indian Subagency were present in the 1840s, no other settlers were supposed to be in the ‘neutral ground’.
After the Indians were removed from the ‘neutral ground’ in 1848, the military post of Fort Atkinson was abandoned in 1849. Pioneer settlers were then allowed to move into the region. Some former soldiers at Fort Atkinson also remained and developed farms in the area. Historical records indicate that Gottlieb (Gotleib) Krumm, Gottlob Krumm, Charles Kregg (Kreggand), and Francis Rogers and their families were the first settlers in the region around the former military post once it was abandoned. About 20 years later, in 1869, a railroad entered the region and the town of Fort Atkinson then developed down the hill southeast of the original post grounds.