SEYMOUR - A BRIEF EARLY HISTORY
Settlers began to move into the Seymour area in the late 1850s just prior to the Civil War. Inexpensive land and abundant timber were the main attractions. Most people lived off the land selling timber to local sawmills and raising crops on the newly cleared rich land. Following the end of the War in 1865, numerous Union Army veterans purchased inexpensive land in the vicinity.
By 1867 the population of the Town of Osborn increased to the point where the northern part was organized into the Town of Seymour. Horatio Seymour, the former Governor of New York and land speculator, owned thousands of acres of land in the township. He was active in the Democratic Party and a national political figure running against U. S. Grant for the presidency in 1868. Consequently, when the town was organized it was named after him.
Many of the early settlers were “Yankees” who came from New England. The German influx came later and by the 1870s they outnumbered the English speaking residents especially in the rural areas.
Before the railroad was built through the valley in 1873, the south town line road was a busy place. This settlement called “Lime Rock” included a grist mill, general store, blacksmith shop and church. With the completion of the railroad the business district gradually shifted and the present city of Seymour began to grow. During the 1870s five timber processing mills operated in the city. They produced a variety of wood products ranging from wagons, hubs, and spokes, to barrel staves, shingles, and cheese boxes.
Seymour, with a population of 910, was incorporated as a city in 1879. As the vast stands of white pine were depleted, the lumber camps and related mills began close and move farther north. By the 1880s the transition to an agricultural based economy was well underway. By the turn of the century, Seymour was a prosperous farm based city of 1,100 inhabitants and a major shopping and shipping center in northern Outagamie County.