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White Mound

The ghost village of White Mound (also known as Billy Town after William Welch who opened a store there in 1899) was located near the banks of the northern branch of Honey Creek, 5 miles north of Plain, on Valley View Road in Section 18, T10N, R3E, Franklin Township. It’s name was probably derived from a nearby outcropping of white limestone rock.

In 1851, J.B. Carpenter built a log house five miles north of Plain. Known as the "Half-way House", it was a stopping place for stages – carrying passengers and mail – operating between Spring Green and Reedsburg.

A post office was established here around 1859, after the citizens proved the need by carrying the mail weekly from Spring Green to the new village of White Mound at their own expense for a year – a test given by the U.S. Government to determine that need. The post office closed in 1919.

The small village consisted of a church, cheese factory, store, blacksmith shop, and a saloon with ice house. A two-sided stable, with roof and open front was available during bad weather of patrons of the store and saloon.

The Methodist church was the first building in town, constructed before 1877. During the late 1880's, as German Catholics moved into the area, the English Methodists moved away. In 1902 the building was sold to Richard Kaun and used as a granary.

A cheese factory was built on the nearby J. O’Malley farm in 1891 which operated through various owners until 1936 when it closed. Farmers brought their milk to the factory by horse and wagon. The cans were lifted into the loft with hooks around the handles where it was weighed and dumped into a large tank. Wood was burned which produced steam to heat the vats where cheese was made. Harold Kaun recalled that for each can of milk delivered, a farmer would receive back 2/3 of a can of whey, which they took home to feed the pigs. During winter months, the factory closed because cows were dry then.

Billy Welch opened a general store in 1899 next to the cheese factory. It burned in 1901 and was rebuilt that same year. It was again destroyed by fire on Halloween night in 1921 and not rebuilt

Andy Hutter built a blacksmith shop in the village in 1906.

The saloon was also built around 1906. Vera Bindle recalled that the bar was on the first floor and an inside staircase led to bedrooms upstairs, where stagecoach drivers sometimes bedded down for the night. An ice house was adjacent to the building. The saloon was also consumed by flames sometime around 1927.

At one time, White Mound was a very active and thriving community. According to Hildegarde Thering’s "History of Plain Wisconsin", an orchestra was formed by locals which included violinists, John H and Albert Liegel; George Liegel Sr. on base horn, John Mick, Clarinet, and Rose Mick on the organ. It was known as the White Mound Orchestra. "A toe-tapping good time could be had at gatherings, clapping and dancing the squares sung by a caller," noted Phyllis Dearborn.

By the 1930's White Mound was only a memory, with a few cement foundations remaining to remind folks that it existed at all.

Based on a history by Phyllis Dearborn, 2001.