Richard J Harney.

History of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and early history of the Northwest online

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Vinland, north part of Town of Oshkosh.

Waukau, south-part of the Town of Rush-

Winchester, Winchester.

Winnebago, east part of Town of Oshkosh.

Winneconne, Winneconne.

Zoar, south-east part of Town of Wolf


IS40 135

1S5O 10,167

1S55 >7.439

IS60 23,770

IS65 29,767

i'^7o 37.325

IS75 45.043


1^548 $ 258,545.07

1850 874,09325

1855 962,658 64

1861 3,681,37300

1865 3,668,237 00

1870. 12,356,816.00

1875 i2;454,287.oo


Menasha Press, George B. Pratt, Editor.

Menasha Observer, John C. KUnker,

Neenah Ganette, H. L. Webster, Editor.

Neenah City Times, J. N. Stone, Editor.

Neenah Herald, Frank S. Verbeck, Editor.

Oshkosh Noi'tlrMestern, Daily and Weekly,
Allen & Hicks, Editors.

Oshkosh Times, Fernandez & Glaze,

Oshkosh Telegraph, Kohlmann Brothers,

Oshkosh Greenback Standard, Morley &
Kaime, Editors.

Oshkosh Early Daivn, M. T. Carhart,

Omro Journal, P. M. Wright, Editor.

The following is an Abstract of the Assess-
ment Rolls of the several towns and cities in
the county of Winnebago, as returned to the
County Clerk for the year 1879, under the
provisions of section i ,066 of the revised
statutes. Also the average value of each of
said items:


Algoma, . .
Black Wolf,
Clayton, . ,
Menasha, . .
Neenah, . .
Nekimi, . .
Oshkosh, . .
Omro, . . .
Poygan, . .
Rushford, .
Utica, . . .
Vinland,. .
Wolf River,
Menasha City
Neenah City,
Oshkosh City,



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This Count)' has had among its residents,
some who have taken a very distinguished
part in State and National affairs.

First on the list is Governor Doty, whose
residence was on Doty Island, now part of the
City of Neenah, and a brief sketch of whose
career is given on Page 105. He took
a most distinguished part in the public affairs
of the Northwest and its early explorations,
naming many of its localities, examining the
country and its resources, and collecting valu-
able information in regard to the same. He
took apart in the making of treaties with the
Indians, and held the first court west of the
lakes. He also donated to the State the
present site of the State Capitol, and in 1841,
was appointed Governor of the Territory of
Wisconsin. He was a man highly esteemed
for his valuable public services and for his
ability, and integrity of character.

Governor Coles Bashford, now of Arizona,
was Governor of the State of Wisconsin, in
1856 and 1857. He reached the executive
chair through one of the most exciting political
contests in the State, and his title to the office
was obtained through a decision of the
Supreme Court. His administration involved
questions which occasioned bitter party
and some local and individual dissensi
account of the disposal of the large land gran/
which eventually fell into the possession of th
Chicago & Northwestern Railroad. He was 'a"
man of very fine address and genial manners,
of much culture and ability, and had many
warm friends.


Probably no one, for the last ten years, has
been more influential in the public affairs of
the Northwest, than Hon. Phiictus Sawyer, of
this city, a man whose whole business and
political career has been one long series of

Mr. Sawyer commenced his business career
as a manufacturer of lumber, in 1850, in the
village of Algoma, now the Fifth Ward of the
City ofOshkosh, and soon became the leading
manufacturer of that staple from the Wolf
River pineries.

His business energy, promptness, and prac-
tical efficiency and sagacity, ha\'e led to the
highest success in the accumulation of great
wealth, and in an unremitting business pros-
perity which still attends his efforts.

Mr. Sawyer's integrity and practical ability
soon attracted the attention of his townsmen^
who called him from private life to public


rty strifer
sions, oj

1 849-79-]



position. Hecommencedhis long and successful
political career, as Member of the State Legis-
lature in 1857, was again elected in 1861, was
Mayor of Oshkosh in 1863 and 1864, was
elected Member of Congress from this District
in 1864, and was re-elected for four consecutive
terms; making a continuous term of service as
Member of Congress ten years.

His political career has been as successful as
his business one, having never been defeated
in any election in which he was a candidate.

His ten consecutive years in Congress, gave
him an e.xperience, which, added to his prac-
tical ability, caused him to be regarded as one
of the most influential members of that body,
and as one of the leaders in the public affairs
of the Northwest.

After the close of his fifth Congressional
term, he declined a renomination, and has
since devoted his energies to the pursuit of his
personal affairs. He has since been frequently
and persistently urged to accept nominations
for the highest positions, but has invariably
and positively declined.

But few men of such a long political career,
are so universally esteemed as Mr. Sawyer,
and whatever bitter things may have been
said in the heat of party strife, his morals and
integrity of character have never been

He has been very liberal in his donations to
benevolent associations and churches, and many
of his benefactions will be known only to
those he has kindly assisted in their pecuniary
troubles; and if Mr. Sawyer is energetic in his
struggle for wealth, he has been liberal in
assisting those whom he considered worthy,
and has contributed largely to the business
success of many, who, without his assistance
would have failed in their enterprises.

HON. c;abe bouck,

Of Oshkosh, now Member of Congress from
"this District, was elected Attorney-General of
the State of Wisconsin in 1857 and served for
the term of two years. In i860 and again in
1864, he was elected to the State Legislature,
and in 1876 was elected Member of Congress,
carrying this district by a large majority. In
1878, he was re-elected.

Mr. Bouck came to Oshkosh in 1849, and
entered upon the practice of his profession —
Attorney at Law, in which he has attained
great success, having had an extensive and
successful practice, from which he has realized
much wealth. His professional career has
been signalized by the closest attention to
business entrusted to his hands, and by his

promptness, efficiency and professional

He has been known as a political leader
since his first arrival in the State and has
exercised much influence in political circles.



The Embryo City — First Settlers — First Houses, Stores and
Hotels — Description of the Place in 1846 and in 1S49 —
First Saw Mills — First Grist Mill — Steamboats — Busi-
ness Films in '49 and '50 — "The Days of Auld Lang
Syne" — Items from the Oshkosh Democrat in the Early
Day — Market Reports — High Water — The Country
Flooded — A Historic Bell — Oshkosh becomes a City —
Items from the Oshkosh Courier — Organization of First
Fire Engine Company — Work Commenced on the Win-
nebago Railroad — Bonds Issued to the Chicago & St. Paul

H E history of the city of Oshkosh,
from the advent of the first perma-
nent settlers, the Stanleys and Gallups
in 1836, up to 1846, is related in the
early history of the county. Up to
this period, the progress of the settlement was
slow, and the place consisted simply of a few
log houses on the farms of their respective
owners, and the little stores of Osborne &
Dodge, Smith & Gillett and Miller & East-
man. This was the embryo city of Oshkosh
in 1846, destined to become the second city
in wealth, business and population in the State
of Wisconsin.

In 1846 Mr. Stanley opened the first public
house, a small structure, on the corner of High
and Main streets, opposite the present Union
National Bank. The next public house was
opened by Manoah Griffin on the siteof Stroud's
oil store, and nearly opposite to this was the
store of Miller & Eastman. These two estab-
lishments constituted the business center of
Oshkosh at that time.

The following article, copied from the Osh-
kosh Democrat of March 2, 1849, gives a very
good description of Oshkosh in its earlier days.

Oshkosh was so named in honor of Oshko'-h, the principal
chief of the Menominee Indians, whose lands, in and adjoin-
ing our immediate neighborhood, were lately purchased by the
General Government.

The village is located on the north side of the Neenah, or
Fox River, near its confluence with Lake Winnebago, about
twenty miles north of Fond du Lac, and fifty south of Green

No steps were taken towards the formation of a village until
the summer of 1846. At that time there were no dwellings,




except one store or trading post, owned by Mr. A. Dodge, and
four or five farm houses within a circuit of as many miles. Dur-
ng the summer settlers began to arrive, and Messrs. Wright &
Jackson surveyed ofi a portion of their lands into lots, and these
met with ready sale, and almost instantaneously buildings of
every grade were erected, although there was then the greatest
difficulty in procuring the necessary materials. But the pio-
neers went to work with a persevering determinntion, hewing
the whole of their frame work, studs, beams and rafters, from
the woods, and obtaining lumber as best they could, so that in
the month of September there was one tavern, three stores, one
shoe shop, shingle factory, and about twenty dwellings finished
or in progress, and settlers were arriving every day, and most
interesting scenes of bustling excitement and industry were to
be seen at all times.

Early in the winter an addition to the village was surveyed
out from a purchase of Messrs. Miller & Eastman from Colonel
Conklin, of Taycheedah, and in an incredible short time, the
whole of the principal and best lots were sold, and through the
winter building was going on lively, rafts of timber having
arrived from the pinery before the season closed, but it sold a
exorbitant prices. f

A new interest was given to the village, while the territo-
rial Legislature was in session, by the passage of a bill removing
the county seat from an isolated and unsettled point to Osh-
kosh, at which the good citizens took occasion to rejoice liber-

Such was the first settlement of Oshkosh, and since that
time its growth has exceeded the most sanguine hopes and
expectations of every one. At the present date the village con-
tains a population of four hundred and eighty-six, of which
two hundred and seven are females, and two hundred and sev-
enty-nine males. There are six extensive dry goods stores,
four groceries, seven lawyers, two shoe shops, two tavernsi
one recess, one steam saw mill, one tin shop, one sash, shingle
and furniture factory, two cabinet makers, one physician, one
watch maker, one gun smith, one harness maker, three black-
smith shops, employing eleven hands, and one newspaper
establishment. Besides these there are a good assortment of
mechanics, and the necessary offices and county buildings,
etc., and every day witnesses the arrival of some one or more
families, and since the census was taken for this article, several
large families have come amongst us. It is also computed that
not less than one hundred of our male population are at the
time engaged in the lumbering business in the pinery.

In the spring of 1847, the Fox River Bridge
Company was incorporated for the purpose of
building a bridge from thefoot of Ferry street.
The incorporators were Edward Eastman,
Chester Ford, S. H. Farnsworth, John Smith,
G. F. Wright, L. M. Miller, Albert Lull, and
others. They commenced work on the bridge,
but it was finally completed by Abel Neff on
the third day of July, 1849; and on the day
following (the Fourth of July), a celebration
being held, the procession marched acroFS the
bridge to the hotel of Otis & Earl.


In 1847 two saw mills were erected at about
the same time; one by Morris Firman near the
site of the present gang mill, and one by For-

man & Bashford at Algoma. The latter, it
is claimed, sawed the first lumber. The third
mill was built by Sheldon & Hubbard; the
fourth by Reed, Wyman & Company. These
were soon followed by the building of mills
by J. P. Coon, Geer & Company, Stilson &
Chase, and Joseph Porter. The firm of Brand
& Sawyer, in 1848, came into the possession
of the first mill, built at Algoma the year pre-

This was the beginning of that vast lumber
industry of Oshkosh that has since grown to
such great proportions.


The first grist mill was built by Forman &
Company at Algoma. This supplied a want
that had been badly felt; for previous to the
building of this mill much of the grist of the
county had to be sent to Manchester on the east
shore of the lake; and in the earlier days, flour
had to be packed in from Green Bay on an
Indian trail.


The first steamboat plying these waters was
the little Manchester. She was the only boat
until the Peytona made her appearance in 1849.
This fine boat had a most successful career, and
for years plied regularly between Fond du Lac
and Oshkosh The roads were frequently
impassable, and for months at a time the onl)'
means of communication between the places
was by steamers. From '49 to '53 an immense
immigration was pouring in, and the Peytona
was loaded with passengers on her daily trips.

The D. B. Whitacre, another steamer, was
put on the lake about the same time, and in
1852, the Menasha, a splendid-looking boat,
eclipsing in appearance anything yet seen in
these waters, commenced making regular trips.
The Jenny Lind, Oshkosh, Badger State, A.
W. Knapp, John Mitchell and Berlin were soon
added to the marine force, and Oshkosh had
daily lines from her docks; one to F"ond du
Lac, one up the Wolf to Gill's Landing and
New London, one up the Fox to Berlin and
one t'l'a the Lower Fox to Green Bay. The
coming and going of these steamers, with the
tugs which were soon introduced to tow the
rafts and the sail craft which began to multiply
in numbers, imparted a very business-like-
appearance to the place, and added much toi
its commercial importance.


On the ninth day of February, 1849, the
first newspaper published in the County, the
Oshkosh Democrat, made its appearance.i
This was hailed as a great event.





In the advertising columns of the Oshkosh
Democrat, the following named firms appear.
If there were any others, they will not be
handed down to posterity, from the fact of not
having advertised in their local paper:

Dry Goods, Groceries, Etc. — Weed &
Baldwin, Andrea & Papendick, J. Davis,
Whitacre & Langworthy, W. A. Knapp &
Co., David & Ford, M. J. Baker, James A.
Chesley, who also included drugs, paints and
oils; J. C. Hayes, Eastman, Cottrell &
Ames, George Warren.

Clotliing Stores — Samuel Eckstein, David
Robinson & Co.

Boot and Shoe Store — Petersilea &
Geschwender, Henry Priess.

Hardivare Store — Hay & Hall.

Books and Stationery — E. R. Baldwin.

Groceries and Provisions — P. V. Wright,
B. F. Phillips, J. K. & J. Hicks.

Jewelry Store — J. W. Scott.

Storage, Forwarding and Commission —
Gordon & Dodge.

Hotels — Oshkosh House, by Manoah
Griffin; Winnebago Hotel, by A. Olcott.

Liquor Store — A. Sittig.

Shoemaker — Edward Edwards.

Blacksmithing — Edward Eastman, C. T.
Kimball, C. A. Garrett.

Oshkosh Steam Saw Mill — M. Firman.

Fox River Iron Works — G. S. Olin, Pro-
prietor; Grist mill and saw mill gearing, steam
engines, etc., made to order.

Sash Factory — John J. Fort.

Furniture Dealer — J. Y. Davis..

Architect and Builder — George Williams.

Harness Maker — Albert Pride.

Gunsmith — J . Craig.

Livery Stable — J. Harris.

Attorneys-at-Law — Rowlev & Austin, G.
W. Washburn, L. P. Crary, Buttrick & Spaul-
ding, Blodgett & Hobart, Gabe Bouck, Eighme
& Onstine.

Pliysicians — A. B. Wright, B. S. Henning,
G. H. Kleffler.

Notaries — Clark Dickenson, E. A. Cooley.
; In 1850 the additional firms advertising are
as follows:

Steam Saw Mills — D. W. Forman & Co.,
Reed & Wyman, Chase & Stilson, Gere &
Co.; Planing mill, Hubbard & Ridlon, and

Foundry — Williams.

Flouring Mill — D. W. Forman & Co.

Clothing Houses — McCourt & Marks, Anton

Dry Goods, Groceries, etc. — G. C. Ames,
Gruenhagen & Son, A. H. Read; H. Hicks &

Brother, L. H. Cottrill, Reardon & Brother.

Groceries and Provisions — R. Vessey.

Wine and Cigar Store — Theodore Frentz.

Drug Store — M. J. Williams.

Iron and Hardware Stores — A. N. and A.
H. Raymond.

Sash, Door and Blind Factory — Chapman
& Abbott.

Tannery — G. D. Bullen.

Oshkosh Brewery — Scheussler & Freund.

Furniture Warerooins — Henry Reynolds.

Tobacconist — A. H. L. Dias.

Wagon and Carriage Shop — Barnes &

Stage Line from Oshkosh to Fort Winne-

Furniture — Samuel Schaub.
Eagle Hotel — ]. F. Mills.
Algoma House — Cooley & Moody.
Meat Market — Conrad Ernst.



The Democrat announces the breaking out
of the California gold fever, and has an article
on the "Importance of the Wilmot Proviso,"
and the great merit of the Free Soil Party.
The issue of July 6, 1849, says:

'Tn our tramp last week we passed through
Omro, a new town started on Fox River five
miles above the junction with the Wolf. It is
not a town yet, but its proprietors tell us that
it is a central place, that several new leading
roads cross the river at that place and that it
cannot fail to grow. Dean, Beckwith & Co.
are building a steam saw mill there. "

September 21, 1849. "Mr. Edwards, School
District Clerk, last Tuesday took the census of
this district to ascertain the number of school
children between the age of four and twenty.
He also, while doing this, numbered the whole
population of our town. The census shows
187 school children and 1,032 inhabitants.
There are in Oshkosh si.x dry goods stores,
nine grocery stores, three taverns and another
nearly completed, five shoe establishments,
three meat markets, one brewery, one bakery,
two forwarding houses, one tin manufactory,
one silversmith, one saddler, four blacksmiths,
one wagon shop, two tailoring establishments,
etc. Of professional men in town there were
four doctors, eight lawyers, two money lend-
ers and several others whose professions are
rather precarious. "

A stage is advertised to run between Osh-
kosh, Fond du Lac and Winnebago Rapids.

The steamer Manchester it is announced will




ply between Fond du Lac and Oshkosh. F"or
freight or passage apply to P. Hotaling.

The True Democrat, of October 26, 1849,
has at the head of its columns the following
county ticket:

For Senator — L. M. Miller.

Clerk of Board — Frank Powers.

Treasurer — Edward Edwards.

Surveyor — Joseph Osborn.

Independent Candidate for Member of
Assembly — John P. Gallup.

"The Board of Public W^orks met here last
week, to receive proposalsfor contracts for the
works at the Rapids and Grand Chute.

"The Board were all present, together with
Governor Dewey.

"The work at the Rapids was let to Curtis
Reed. The conditions of the contract are that
Mr. Reed binds himself in good and sufficient
sureties to build the work without charge to
the State, and to pay to the State, in addition,
$5, 000 for making it. In consideration of this,
the Board permits the work to be made on the
north channel (the Menasha side).

"The work at Grand Chute was not let, as
the bids in the aggregate amounted to more
than the Board are allowed to expend at this

"Thus it will be seen that the Board are push-
ing everything just as fast as they can. And
what is more, it will be seen that every circum-
stance seems to work favorably to the State.
All interested can congratulate themselves on
the good luck that seems to attend the progress
of the Improvement."

Online LibraryRichard J HarneyHistory of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and early history of the Northwest → online text (page 29 of 71)