J.H. Beers & Co.

Commemorative biographical record of the counties of Brown, Kewaunee and Door, Wisconsin, and containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens, and of many of the early settled families .. online

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Online LibraryJ.H. Beers & CoCommemorative biographical record of the counties of Brown, Kewaunee and Door, Wisconsin, and containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens, and of many of the early settled families .. → online text (page 1 of 111)
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Brown Jvcwaunce and Door,







E NEW YCt'..;n

R 1918 L .



THE importance of placing in book form biographical history of representative
citizens — both for its immediate worth and for its value to coming generations
— is admitted by all thinking people; and within the past decade there has
been a growing interest in this commendable means of perpetuating biography
and family genealogy.

That the public is entitled to the privileges afforded by a work of this nature
needs no assertion at our hands; for one of our greatest Americans has said that the
history of any country resolves itself into the biographies of its stout, earnest and
representative citizens. This medium, then, serves more than a single purpose:
while it perpetuates biography and family genealogy, it records history, much of
which wiiiild be preserved in no other way.

In presenting the Commemorative Hiogr.\phicai. Kecoko to its patrons, the
publishers have to acknowledge, with gratitude, the encouragement and support their
enterprise has received, and the willing assistance rendered in enabling them to sur-
mount the man\' unforeseen obstacles to be met with in the production of a work of
this character. In nearly every instance the material composing the sketches was
gathered from those innnediately interested, and then submitted in type-written form
for correction and revision. The volume, which is one of generous amplitude, is
placed in the hands of the public with the belief that it will be found a valuable addi-
tion to the library, as well as an invaluable contribution to the historical literature of
Northeastern Wisconsin.

Tllb; I'L r.IJSlllCRS.




"one of the most
conspicuous and dis-
tinguished among the
3and of pioneer settlers
who early gave a nation-
al reputation to Wiscon-
^Sfj^-'A "^"""^ sin. " He was mainly
a^'i/f.h^i instrumental — chiefly by
his influence in both Sen-
ate and Congress — in se-
curing the Fox River Val-
Ic) improvement, and his name
is indissolubly linked with the
early history of a great portion of north-
ern Wisconsin.

Judge Martin, for by that title he is
more generally referred to, came of good
lineage, the fainil}' being of eminence and
antiquity in Hertfordshire, England, and
Tours, France. The name of his imme-
diate ancestor, Thomas Martin, is borne
on the list of colonists who emigrated to
America in 1693, and he became one of
the proprietors of the Ockoocangansett
plantation in Marlborough, Mass., land

•For much of ihe person.-il Hkctrh of JucIkc Murtiii we
arr^itidebtcd to " Keininisccncfs f>f MorKun I-. M.iilin, IK?7-
IK87,"" <.><lited .-in<l iilinot.itotl. wilh liioKnipllicul ••ketrli, by
Kenben G Tbwaims, Secrolary Siiitu Hislorlcal Society of
wiacon!*iti. - ICi>.

having been granted him there. Aaron
Martin, his grandson (son of Adam, who
died April 25, 17 16), born January 21,
17 12, was in Salem, Mass., where the
colonists first settled, the Martins a few
years later moving to .Sturbridgc, in that
State, where the original homestead was
built, and which is still in a fair state of
preservation. This Aaron Martin, who
was the great-grandfather of Morgan
Lewis Martin, was one of the first manu-
facturers in New England, holding large
domains of land on the various river
courses; and, while yet in middle life, was
drowned in one of his own mill streams,
the Ouenebang river, when crossing over
to the mill on a cold March morning.

Adam Martin, his son, who was born
.'\ugust 5, 1 7 16, owned, in 1763, a valua-
ble estate, with water power and sawmills.
He was an officer in the Provincial army
during the French and Indian wars, sub-
sequently captain in a Massachusetts regi-
ment during the Revolution, his commis-
sions dating .\pril 24, 1770, and .\ugust
'7' '797. respectively. Like his father,
from whom he inherited e.vtensive landed
property, he was largely interested in
lumber, woolen and grain mills in Lewis
county, N. Y., whither he had emigrated
at an early ilay, while the country was


yet a wilderness. He purchased a town-
ship in Lewis county (which was named
after Governor Morgan Lewis, of New
York), naming the chief town " Martins-
burg," after himself.

His only son, Walter, father of Hon.
Morgan L. Martin, while yet a young
man, came into the inheritance, and was
considered the patron of northern New
York. While yet a lad he served under
his father in 1/88, and at the close of the
war of 1 812 Col. Martin was commis-
sioned by Gov. George Clinton, of New
York, quartermaster No. i of militia
in which his father had been commis-
sioned lieutenant-colonel. These com-
missions are still intact, the heading of
Col. Walter Martin's reading as fol-
lows: " The People of the State of New
York, by the grace of God free and inde-
pendent, to Walter Martin, gentleman,

Morgan Lewis Martin, son of Gen.
Walter Martin, was born in Martinsburgh,
Lewis Co., N. Y., March 31, 1805. In
1824 he graduated from Hamilton Col-
lege, at Clinton, N. Y., and for two years
he studied law with Collins & Parish in
Lowville, N. Y. In 1826 he went to
Detroit (then t*he chief city of the North-
west), where he entered the law office of
Henry S. Cole, and was soon afterward
admitted to the bar. But he did not
long remain in Detroit, for in May, 1827,
acting under the advice of his cousin,
James Duane Doty — who was then seek-
ing to have the Territory of Huron erected
by Congress, with Green Bay as the seat
of government — he took up his home in
Green Bay, and here resided until his
death which occurred December 10, 1887
— a most interesting period of sixty

Judge Martin landed in Green Bay
May 20, 1827, the voyage from Detroit
having been made on the "La Grange,"
a chance sailer, loaded with provisions
for the garrison at Fort Howard, and
having on board several army officers,
among whom were Brig-Gen. Hugh


few clearings

Brady and Paymaster Maj. Benjamin F.
Larned. Of the civilians, who were also
passengers on the "La Grange," was
Father Fauvel, the first of his Church, it
is said, to land in Green Bay after the
close of the early missions. At Shanty
Town, in those days the commercial em-
porium of the Bay Settlement, our sub-
ject established his law office, which con-
sisted of a room in a story-and-a-half
frame building occupied by a branch of
the Ducharme family. At that time there
were not more than one hundred civilians
at the Bay Settlement, in the main con-
sisting of French and mi.xed-blood ' ' voy-
ageurs, " and Indians of various tribes —
Pottawattamies, Ottawas, &c
numerous. There were a
and cultivated fields surrounding the set
tlement, Lawe, Porlier and Grignon be-
ing the leading agriculturists, the latter
having, probably, the most pretentious
farm, which same was located at the
Kaukauna rapids, on the north side, be-
low the present city of Kaukauna.

In 1828 Judge Martin took a canoe
voyage from Green Bay to Prairie du
Chien, up the Fox river and down the
Wisconsin, and enjoyed a very interesting
experience. The year before had occur-
red the Winnebago outbreak at Prairie
du Chien, and the murderer Red Bird
and his friends were now to be tried at a
special term of court. Judge Doty had
appointed our subject United States dis-
trict attorney, pro tern, hence the latter's
presence with the judicial party. On his
arrival at Prairie du Chien he met Lucius
Lyon (whom he had previously known in
Detroit), at that time a United States sur-
veyor, who had just completed his survey
of the private French land claims there,
and our subject finding that, after all,
his services in the Red Bird case would
not be needed, he and Lyon planned to
make a tour through the lead mines.
"There were no maps of this country
then," writes Judge Martin, "but Lyon
had a small pocket compass with him,
and took the courses and distances of the


Fox-Wisconsin route, and made the first
approximately correct map of that water
highway; later, on my return from Galena
to Prairie du Chien, I did the same for
the Mississippi; we then put our notes to-
gether and gave the result to a prominent
eastern map-maker who adopted it as part
of the geography of the country. It was
published in 1829 or 1830, and was the
first real map of the country between
Green Bay and Galena. I was much
gratified, afterward, to see that later
official surveys of the Mississippi corres-
ponded exactly with mine. Lyon and I
started down the Mississippi from Prairie
du Chien on a very primitive sort of
steamer; there were two vessels like
Mackinaw boats, with a platform between
and a shed built on that — it was, in fact,
a steam catamaran. During the entire
time court was in session at the Prairie,
we staid at Galena, and then Judge Doty
and Rowland came down and joined us
there. After a few days, L}on and I went
on what was then a decidedly novel trip,
an expedition through the mining region
north of Galena," which they found over-
flowing with prospectors, miners, and a
certain nondescript class that might be
catalogued as "camp followers," in all
fully two thousand men. After their in-
spection of the mining coinitry, the party
returned home from Galena the way they
had gone, meeting with no special ad-

In the spring of 1829, in company
with Wistweaw, a Menomonee Indian,
and Alexander Grignon, a young half-
blood Menomonee, as assistants, Judge
Martin and Judge Doty, starting from
Green Bay on horseback, traversed the,
up to that time little known, region south
of the I'ox and Wisconsix rivers, and are
believed to have been the first party to
make the trip by land between the ex-
treme outposts of this section — Green
Bay and Prairie du Chien. At the latter
place judge Doty held a term of court,
and Judge Martin officiated as United
States district attDrney, f'ro toil. Their

return trip was also by overland, but with
some change of trail, and on both jour-
neys they were greatly struck with the
beauty of the lake country and its adapta-
bility for becoming the abode of civilized
life. They passed along the north bank
of Fourth lake, where eight years after-
ward, in 1836, Judge Martin laid out the
" City of the Four Lakes," and the coun-
try they traversed on this novel journey
was (in the words of Judge Martin him-
self), "after reaching a distance of thirty
miles from Green Bay, more charming
than any we had ever beheld, with its ex-
tensive oak openings and almost unlimited
prairies. There was not, however, a
trace of occupancy or any indication that
it had ever before been traversed b}' white

In October, 1829, the first public
meeting in the history of (ireen Bay was
held there, Louis Grignon being chair-
man, and Judge Martin, secretary. Con-
gress was petitioned to build a road from
Green Bay to Chicago, and also to im-
prove the Fox and Wisconsin rivers. In
1833 the Judge paid his first visit to Mil-
waukee, while on a horse-back tour of
exploration, on which occasion he was
accompanied by Daniel Le Roy and P.
B. Grignon, and as far as Fond du Lac
their course lay on the same trail our sub-
ject and Judge Doty had made in 1829.
After that they struck southeast to the
shore of Lake Michigan, following it
closely until the Milwaukee river was
reached. At their destination they met
Solomon Juneau, the trader, whose home
was the "old trading house," and he and
Judge Martin became fast friends, their
business relations continuing many years
— in fact they were joint owners of the
original plat of Milwaukee; and such con-
fidence had they in each other, that no
written memorandum of the terms of
their partnership was ever made between
them; yet at the end of throe years ac-
counts between them were adjusted, and
" property valued at hundreds of tlious-
ands divided with as little difliculty as



you would settle a trifling store bill," the
Judge's own words. Such in brief is an
outline of the life of Judge Martin as a
pioneer of northern Wisconsin; and the
early history of the city of Green Bay, as
well as of the entire Fox River Valley, is
so intervolved with the active period of
his life, that a record of the one is essen-
tially a record of the other.

From the "Reminiscences" we ex-
cerpt the following, illustrative of the
•early efforts toward the improvement of
the Fox-Wisconsin river highway, an im-
portant feature in the development of
this portion of the State. The statement
is substantially in the Judge's own words:
"The first movement by the general gov-
ernment toward the improvement of the
Fox- Wisconsin river highway — with a
view to making a continuous line of navi-
gation from Lake Michigan to the Missis-
sippi river — was made in 1839, while I
was in the Territorial council. Capt.
Thomas J. Cram, of the topographical
engineers, made, under the direction of
the War Department, a preliminary sur-
vey of the rivers and an estimate of the
cost of their improvement. In 1846,
while a delegate in Congress, I secured,
by dint of very hard work, the passage of
an Act (approved August 8) making a
grant of land to the State, upon its ad-
mission into the Union, for the improv3-
ment of the Fox river alone, and the build-
ing of a canal across the portage between
the two rivers. The grant covered every
odd- numbered section within three miles
of the canal, the river and the lake, en
route from the portage to the mouth.
When the second Constitutional Conven-
tion was held, this proposition on the
part of Congress was endorsed, and, at
the first session of the State Legislature,
the latter body passed an Act, approved
August 8, 1848, appointing a board of
public works consisting of five persons
and providing for the improvement of the
river. * * ■■ On January i, 1851, the
board reported to the Legislature that
the work would have to stop unless some

device for a more rapid sale of land could
be originated. While the affair was in
this condition, I made a proposition to
the Legislature, through Gov. Dewey, to
do the work from Green Bay to Lake
Winnebago, except what the board of
public works had finished or was already
under contract for. The board had dug
the canal at Portage, before there was
any steam navigation possible on the
Lower Fox. * * * The Legislature of
1 85 1 accepted my proposition, and I
went to work with about five hundred
men, commencing at Kaukauna. Oper-
ations were carried on throughout that
season, along the entire distance from
Green Bay to Lake Winnebago." The
Improvement Company went on with the
work until 1856, in which year the first
boat, the " Aquilla," passed through the
works — from Pittsburg to Green Bay.

From 1 83 1 to 1835 Judge Martin was
a member of the legislative council of
Michigan Territory, and from 1838 to
1 844 he was one of the Territorial council
of Wisconsin. In 1845-47 he represented
his Territory in Congress with marked
ability; was president of the State Con-
stitutional Convention of 1847-48, and
both in the chair and on the floor was
one of the guiding spirits of the body
which framed the charter under which
the Commonwealth of Wisconsin still
operates. In 1855 he was elected a
member of the State Assembly, and three
years later was sent up to the Senate.
Throughout the entire period of the Civil
war he served as an army paymaster. In
1866 he was appointed Indian agent,
holding the position until 1869, when the
War Department took charge of Indian
affairs. In 1866 he was the candidate
(under the Johnson movement) for Con-
gress, from the Fifth District, in which
campaign he was defeated by Philetus
Sawyer. In 1870 he resumed the prac-
tice of law which he had temporarily laid
aside, and in 1873 he was again elected
to the Assembly. From 1875 until his
decease he served as county judge of


Brown county, and from its organi2ation
was one of the most active of the vice-
presidents of the State Historical Society
of Wisconsin.

On July 25, 1837, Judge Martin was
united in marriage, at Green Bay, with
Miss Elizabeth Smith, daughter of Col.
Melancthon Smith, U. S. A., and grand-
daughter of Judge Melancthon Smith,
who was a delegate from New York, in
Congress, in 1782-84, prior to the period
of the Constitution. To this marriage
were born si.\ children, nameh': Leonard
Martin; Annie, who died in 1861; Me-
lancthon, deceased in infancy; Sarah,
Morgan L. , Jr., and Debbie. Judge
Martin was a man of generous impulses,
kindly manner, keen wit, fine literary
tastes, and greatly enjoyed the comforts
of his beautiful home in Green Bay,
" Hazelwood," where he was surrounded
by a loving and accomplished family. He
died December 10, 1887.

JOHN L. JORGENSEN, proprietor
of the largest dry-goods and carpet
establishment in northern Wiscon-
sin, the same being located in the
thriving and wide-awake city of Green
Bay, Brown county, is a native of Den-
mark, born of German ancestry May 27,
1849, in the city of Nakskov, Laaland.

Grandfather Jorgensen (who spelled
his name "Juergcns"), a highly educated
man, resided in Schlcswig, where he was
a minister of the Lutheran Church. He
was possessed of great force of character,
interesting himself deeply in the jiolitics
of his country, and, being both pro-
gressive and aggressive, he took an active
part in the revolutionary risings of 1848,
shortly after which he was removed to
Denmark, the language of which countr\'
he spoke fluently.

J. A. Jorgensen, father of our subject,
who was one of a family of six children,
received his education at the public
schools of Denmark, which was sujjple-
mentcd with a course of study at a

college, his intention at first being to
enter some profession. Preferring, how-
ever, a mercantile career, he prepared
himself for such in some business house
of Nakskov, Denmark, where he re-
mained, and he has been prominently
and successfully engaged in mercantile
pursuits for the past fifty years or more,
being now one of the oldest and
wealthiest merchants in that city, where
he is highly esteemed for his integrity,
and recognized as a man of influence and
ability, and as a leading churchman. He
married Miss Sophia Mortensen, a native
of Denmark, who died in middle life, the
mother of one son, John L. , the subject
of this sketch.

John L. Jorgensen received his educa-
tion in his native town, and was reared
to mercantile pursuits. At the age of
sixteen years (in 1865), having decided to
try his fortune in the New World, he set
sail from his native land, and after an
uneventful transatlantic voyage landed at
Boston, whence he at once proceeded
westward, arriving at Chicago, a stranger
in a strange land. After a short sojourn
in the metropolis of the West, he set
out for Wisconsin, Neenah, W'innebago
county, being his objective point, and
here attended school for a short time in
order to become conversant with the
English language. Securing now a
position in Mr. Pettibone's dry-goods
store in Neenah, he remained there a year
and a half, after which he was sent by
Mr. Pettibone to Green Bay, where he
clerked for him a long time in his store
in that city; also was in the employ of
D. Butler & Son for a brief period.
Having by this time saved some money,
he commenced the dry-goods business
May 27, 1876, at Fort Howard, in part-
nership with A. Gray, of that place, in
which they continued two and one-half
years, when they divitled the stock, and
Mr. Jorgensen opened out a similar busi-
ness for his own account in Fort Howard,
commencing on a small scale, with but
two clerks; but he soon found he had to


enlarge his store by adding to it from
time to time. The business at last had
grown to such proportions in 18S7 that
he was compelled to open a branch store
in Green Bay, and form a joint-stock
company composed of himself and his
two brothers-in-law, G. A. and F. T.
Blesch, under the firm name of Jorgen-
sen, Blesch & Co. Soon the branch
store became the chief one, and Mr.
Jorgensen found himself under the neces-
sity of building a new store on the same
street, opposite the old one, which he
fitted with all modern improvements, and
to-day it is without exception the largest
dr3'-goods and carpet store in northern

In 1877 John L. Jorgensen was mar-
ried at Fort Howard, Wis., to Miss
Sophia Blesch, daughter of Francis and
Antoinette (Schneiderj Blesch, natives,
the father of Bingen-on-the-Rhine, Ger-
many, the mother of Brussels, Belgium.
Mrs. Jorgensen was born and educated at
Fort Howard, is a lady of refined tastes,
a great reader, a lover of home, fiowers
and home influences, and, withal, special-
ly excelling as a musician. Our subject
in his political preferences is a Republi-
can, and in social affiliations is a member
of the I. O. O. F., A. O. U. W. and
Royal Arcanum; in the I. O. O. F. he is
grand master for the State of Wisconsin,
and he was instrumental in having the I.
O. O. F. Home established in Green Bay,
where at present some thirty members
find a home and shelter, and he has been
general manager and superintendent of
this institution since its establishment.

WILLIAM LUEKE, the able and
efficient county treasurer of
Brown county, stands promi-
nent among the German-Ameri-
can citizens of northern Wisconsin, by
reason of his popularity, his administra-
tive abilities and his long-established
reputation for honesty and loyalty.

He was born December 24, 1850, in

Fahlenverder, Province of Brandenburg,
Prussia, Germany, of which province, in
the city of Nauen, Potsdam, his ancestors,
who were for the most part millers by oc-
cupation, as far back as can be traced,
had "a local habitation and a name."
Here his father, Charles F. Lueke, was
born December 4, 1822, and here he was
reared and taught the trade of miller in
the ancestral mills. After serving his ap-
prenticeship he became a journeyman in
the business, traveling from place to place
(as is the custom in the Fatherland),
finally settling in Fahlenverder, where he
married Miss Amelia Hordlemann, young-
est daughter of one of the prosperous
farmers of that locality. Here to Mr.
and Mrs. Lueke were born two children,
William (our subject) and Louisa, the lat-
ter of whom died in Milwaukee, Wis. ,
shortly after the family's arrival in the
Western World, in the fall of 1854, the
then village of Green Bay being their ob-
jective point. Here the father first found
employment with G. T. Kyber, in the
construction of the old military plank
road running from Green Bay to Fond du
Lac, next spring moving to De Pere,
where he found employment as a miller,
his legitimate vocation, and so continued
until i860, in which year he bought a
mill on Cedar creek, near Green Bay. In
the following year, however, he abandoned
this and, returning to De Pere, made his
home there till the spring of 1867, at
which time he moved to Wrightstown,
where he built a gristmill, on the East
river, more frequently called "Devil
river," which mill he successfully operated
till July 4, 1880, when it was destroj'ed
by fire; he also owned a fine farm of 160
acres of land. Selling out this property
in the fall of i 880, he removed to Mani-
towoc, and here remained till the spring
of I 883, the year of his taking up his resi-
dence in Greenleaf, Brown county, where,
in association with his son M'illiam, he es-
tablished a grain and general mercantile
business, which they successfully con-
ducted till April 7, 1890, when they dis-


solved partnership, the father taking the
store, the son retaining sole control of the
grain branch of the concern. Charles F.
Lueke continued the store up to his death,
which occurred March 23, 1891, when he
was sixty-seven years old, the county los-
ing one of its best-known and most highly-
respected citizens, esteemed by all for his
sterling honesty and manly qualities of

Online LibraryJ.H. Beers & CoCommemorative biographical record of the counties of Brown, Kewaunee and Door, Wisconsin, and containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens, and of many of the early settled families .. → online text (page 1 of 111)