Town of Stockton

The landforms of the Town of Stockton are among the most interesting in this part of the Midwest. The east side was covered by the last Wisconsin glaciations. The range of hills representing the terminal moraine of that glaciations are the continental divide, the watershed between streams flowing to the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River and the North Atlantic and the streams flowing to the Gulf of Mexico by the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers.

Emerging from under that moraine on the west of Custer is another range of hills, the Arnott moraine, the remnant of an older glaciations which has not been clearly determined, either an earlier Wisconsin glaciations or a glaciations of the Illinoisan period. On the east of the Wisconsin terminal moraine is the undulating land representing the ground moraine with some flat areas that were outwash plains when the glacier retreated. Between the Wisconsin terminal moraine and the Arnott moraine is a fertile plain, the outwash plain of the last extension of the Wisconsin glacier. East and south of the Arnott moraine are plains that were not glaciated during the last Wisconsin glaciations, part of them having been at one time covered by the glacial Lake Wisconsin. The Arnott moraine range is interrupted by a water gap created by the Buena Vista Creek at Keene. Outwash plains and former lake beds have produced sandy soil good for agriculture; although rain water moves rapidly down through sandy soil which becomes dry and does not favor growth in periods of drought, irrigation has been effective and modern large scale irrigation has brought an important development of crops, especially potatoes.

The Town of Stockton was organized in 1855 and was largely settled by Irishmen who soon dominated the town board. Under their influence the Catholic parish of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary was established and a church was built in 1875. In the south of the town were several Yankee Protestant families. In 1871 the Wisconsin Railroad was built across the town with stations at Custer and Stockton. A year later the Green Bay and Lake Pepin (later Green Bay and Western Company) built a railroad across the town with a station at Arnott. Small centers grew around the stations but none was ever incorporated. Irish and Yankees were at first dominant power in the town but Polish farmers arrived and as their number grew they became the majority. The Immaculate Conception Church at first did not accept Poles as regular members and they could not be buried in the cemetery. When Poles became the majority many Irish moved out of the area and the church accepted Poles who soon became the majority. In 1931 the first Pole was buried in the cemetery. The interior of the church was remodeled and the statue of St. Patrick which was near the main alter was removed to the back of the church on the gallery of the choir.

Although passenger service has been long discontinued, the three stations are still occasionally used for freight. Custer became a small town and it has the only post office of the region. Arnott is still a village and in 1972 Senator Hubert Humphrey came to visit it and deliver a speech as a presidential candidate to an audience of about five hundred among whom were two hundred school children from Stevens Point who had been bused there.


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