Richard J Harney.

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

. (page 43 of 71)
Online LibraryRichard J HarneyHistory of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and early history of the Northwest → online text (page 43 of 71)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

administrator under obligations to render an
account as such, and, ergo, his share of the
booty was legal plunder.

It was now found that in many cases deeds
had been given by said agents without author-
ity, and the consideration paid to them; and
in some instances, the purchasers were com-
pelled to pay the second time. These diffi-
culties were however amicably settled, lands
upon the Island side platted and offered for
sale, and Neenah, relieved of this incubus that
had weighed upon her for fifteen years, started
upon a career of prosperity fully realizing all
reasonable expectations.


In 1863, the block known as Pettibone




block, was erected by Wm. E. and J. R.
Ford, on the southwest corner of Cedar Street
and Wisconsin Avenue, who, soon after its
completion, sold it to C J. Pettibone. Mr.
Pettibone occupied the corner store with a
stock of merchandise, and J. A. Kimberly,
son of John R., with Havilah Babcock occu-
pied the next. This firm of Kimberly &
Babcock had for a number of years been promi-
nently known in mercantile circles and had
carried on a successful business at the old brick
store of John and Harvey L. Kimberly, where
they commenced business in 1857. This
block is three stories high, and contains on the
ground floor three stores on Wisconsin A venue,
and one on Cedar Street.


In 1866, the first paper mill was erected
near the lock, on the site of the Jones' saw-
mill, which was removed for the purpose, by a
stock company, consisting of Nathan Cobb,
president; Hiram Smith secretary and treas-
urer; Dr. N. S. Robinson, Edward Smith,
John Jamison and Moses Hooper, as the
Neenah Paper Mill Company. The first two
years after its completion, it was run under
the management of Dr. N. S. Robinson, the
first year as lessee, and the second as superin-
tendent for the company. It was then sold to
Hiram Smith and D. C. Van Ostrand, who
in 1874, sold it to Kimberly, Clark & Co.,
J. A. Kimberly, Havilah Babcock, F. C.
Shattuck and C. B. Clark.

The same year William Pitt Peckham, who
had resided here since 185S, built the Island
City Stove Foundry, on ground now covered by
the Globe Paper Mill, and which was a promi-
nent feature in the business of Neenah for
some ten years.

The Island City Flouring Mill, the eighth in
number, was built in 1868, a substantial stone
structure, thirty-four feet by sixty, four stories
high, erected by A. H. F. Krueger and Carl
Stridde, under the supervision of John Jami-
son. After the death of Mr. Stridde, which
occurred in 1877, Mr. Krueger leased that
interest and has since that time managed and
controlled the business.


In 1868, we find uncle John R. Kimberly,
senior partner in the first undertaking of the
kind, engaged in a new venture, with his son
J. A. Kimberly and H. Babcock, which soon
resulted in 1869, in the completion of a com-
modious and ornamental stone building, with
six run of stone, known as the Reliance Mill.
The millwright was H. A. Burts, who was

also pioneer millwright in the Neenah Mill.
Forty by seventy-five feet on the ground, it is
the ninth in numerical order. In 1877, John
R. Kimberly having sold his interest, it has
since been conducted by the firm of J. A.
Kimberly & Co.

A. W. Patten having sold his mill to Mr.
Gustavus, now purchased the Welsh sash,
door and blind factory, and converted it into
the tenth flouring mill. This mill became the
property of Howard & Davis in 1877, and is
still owned by them.


During 1867-8, Mr. James Bassett moved a
building which was standing near the race and
railroad track, originally intended for a grain
elevator, to the river bank adjoining the
Neenah flouring mill on the North, and
directly in front, on the bank of the canal,
erected a shingle mill. The elevator building
was soon after purchased by J. A. Sanford,
who added the necessary machinery for a
planing mill, and for the manufacture of sash,
doors, blinds and mouldings, still owning and
occupying it. Henry Sherry became the
owner of the shingle mill, which with a full set
of machinery for a first class saw mill, he is
still running to its fullest capacity.


In 1 87 1, the Wisconsin Central Railroad,
completing its track to Stevens Point, com-
menced running its cars over that part of the
road, with the depot near the Northwestern
depot, on the Island, but obtaining posession
of the Milwaukee & Northern Railroad, it
removed its business to the office of that road
at Menasha, soon after.

Having now enumerated the long list of
mills and manufactories that have heretofore
occupied important positions on the water
power, and many changes connected with
them, we now turn to their final disposition
and changes of a later date.


In 1872, Messrs. Kimberly, Clark & Co.,
proprietors of Neenah Paper mill, purchased
the old Fox River Mill, and removing the
building, erected a part of the present Globe
Paper Mill, and in 1876, bought the Island
City Stove Foundry, and added to the Globe
Mill, making a total length of two hundred and
ten by eighty-eight feet, of brick.

March 13, 1873. an act of incorporation
was passed by the Legislature, constituting
Neenah a city of three wards, and on the 31st





of the same month, was held the organic ejec-



Edwai-d Smith, mayor; WilHam Kellett and
John B. Russell, aldermen of the First Ward;
Ansel W. Patten and Andrew Michelson, ald-
ermen of the Second Ward; A. H. F. Krueger
and John Bergstrom, aldermen of the Third

At the first meeting of the Council, April 5,
Carl J. Kraby was elected city clerk; J. B.
Hamilton, attorney, and J. L. Mathews, chief
of police. James Conlan was at the charter
election, chosen police justice; George
Donelson, treasurer, and Lovel Stowe justice
of the peace, for the Frst Ward.

In 1874, Edward Smith, mayor; Carl J.
Kraby, clerk; H. P. Leavens, William Kellett,
A. H. F. Krueger, J. O'Brien, A. W. Patten
and M. E. Sorley, aldermen.

The charter was now amended, providing
for four wards.

In 1875, Alexander Billstein, mayor; Carl
J. Kraby, clerk; G. C. Jones, H. P. Leavens,
Hugh McGregor, J. O'Brien, Charles Petz-
hold, William Robinson, M. E. Sorley and J.
W. Tobey, aldermen

In 1876, A. H. F. Krueger, mayor; C. J.
Kraby, clerk; Martin Gavin, M. H. P. Haynes
Wm. Kellett, Hugh McGregor, William
Pitt Peckham, Charles Petzhold, J. W. Tobey
and G. C. Jones, aldermen.

In 1877, D. L. Kimberly, Mayor; C. J.
Kraby, clerk; John R. Davis, Martin Gavin,
M. H. P. Haynes, J. W. Hunt, Andrew Jager-
son, William Kellett, W. P. Peckham and
Henry Sherry, aldermen.

In 1878, A. H. F". Krueger, mayor; C. J.
Kraby, clerk; G. Christenson, J. R. Davis,
J. W. Hunt, A. Jagerson, John Roberts,
Henry Sherry, E. L. Sawjer and J. W.
Tobey, aldermen.

In 1879, Wm. Kellett, mayor; C. J. Kraby,
clerk; Andrew Michelson, treasurer; J. R.
Davis Sr. , N. Demerritt, G. Bergstrom, G.
Christenson, G. A. Whiting, John Roberts,
A. Guldager, J. O. Tobey, aldermen.


The seal adopted by the Council was very
appropriate, being a representation of the old
Council Tree. This old elm tree is one of the
institutions of Neenah and is claimed to have
been the scene of frequent councils among the
different tribes of this vicinity. Gov. Doty
is the authority for this, while it is contra-
dicted by those who say they never heard of any
councils there. We will take the statement of

the man who has heard, and regard it as a
relic of the past, under whose wide spreading
branches perhaps the fate of Indian nations
has been decided.

A. w. patten's paper mill.
In 1874, A. W. Patten purchased the old
Empire Flouring Mill, took away the building
and in its stead built a paper mill, onehundred
and fifty feet long and forty feet in depth, of
brick. In digging the wheel pits for this
institution Mr. Patten discovered a relic of
antiquity, which we will endeavor to describe,
but leave for the more scientific to account for.
About four or five feet below the surface of
the ground, and corresponding very nearly
with the bed of the river, a bed of hard clay
and coarse gravel was struck, which produced
numerous large blocks of a fine grained, hard,
blue limestone, very closely resembling in
appearance, the stone obtained at the Oshkosh
quarries. At a depth of about eight feet
below the bed of the river and twelve feet or
more below the original surface, one of these
blocks was found of unusual size. Mr. Patten
availed himself of the use of these stones thus
taken out for the foundation of his mill, and in
splitting this large block for that purpose, an
implement of flint was found imbeded in the
fractured surface; it was about twelve to
fourteen inches in length, two inches in great-
est width, and three-eighths of an inch in thick-
ness, tapering gradually for four inches to a
point, and double-edged; about eight inches
from the point, it slightly diminished in
width, with rounded edges, forming a handle
nearly one third its entire length. In the
endeavor to remove it, it was broken, but
about four inches of the pointed end was
secured and is now in Mr. Patten's possession.


In February of the same year, the old Gov-
ernment grist and saw mills were destroyed
by fire; but, phcenix-like, arose from the ashes
the fine brick building, known as the Winne-
bago Paper Mill, built by John R. Davis, Sr.,
president; J. R. Ford, secretary; H. Shoe-
maker, treasurer; C. H. Servis, C. Newman,
Mrs. E. A. Servis and S. M. Brown. The
main building is forty by seventy, machine
room thirty by ninety, and boiler room sixteen
by twenty two. In 1876, George A. Whiting
purchased an interest and became secretary of
the company.

The Neenah, Winnebago, Reliance, Island
City, Falcon, Howard and Davis mills, the
Hooker & Wieckert and the Sanford planing
mills are still in operation.

Of the new and elegant brick blocks and




single stores along the streets, they are too
numerous to mention, with their respective
dates, and it is unnecessary, as it can be said,
for each one and all, that they are in the high-
est degree ornamental, substantial and cred-
itable to the city and proprietors, and are
occupied by a class of business men who with
her manufacturers have built up a reputation
for strict business integrity and stability second
to no equal numbers in the West.

We now come to the crowning glory of Nee-
nah enterprise — her hotels. The Russell
House, erected by John B. Russell, owner and
proprietor, in 1875, on the site of the old
Weeden House, is no.t only a chief ornament,
but is a substantial benefit, of which the city
may and does feel a commendable pride as
shown by the liberal assistance extended in its

The Roberts House, although not a hotel of
the city, is situated within its limits, was com-
pleted in 1877, by John Roberts, favorably
known in this section, as landlord at the
National Hotel, at Menasha. Situated on the
old homestead of Governor Doty, on the south
bank of the Neenah channel, it commands a
delightful view of Lake Winnebago, and would
prove a desirable acquisition to any locality.

The Page Hotel, for many years a popular
house, is still open, and C. O. Page, one of
the early settlers, is always happy to shake
hands with the weary and hungry and ever
ready to cater to their wants and pleasure.

The Neenah Hotel, Wm. Hess, proprietor,
the Union Hotel, by A. Pfeififer (both Ger-
man), two commodious structures on Cedar
street, and the Island City House, Mrs. Lach-
man, proprietress, long and favorably known,
at the depot, offer comfortable quarters to the


In 1875 the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad
Company constructed a side track the entire
length of the water-power, by which each mill
is enabled to load and unload cars direct from
their own doors, thereby saving the enormous
transfer bills between the mills and depot, and
affording conveniences for shipping by railroad
nowhere excelled.

The handsome and commodious hall of the
Schuetzen Bund, was erected in 1875, and
dedicated in November, which, with the large
hall in Pettibone Block, affords ample accom-
modations forpublic entertainments and amuse-

The steam bakery of A. Loos, and omnibus

manufactory of G. Olds, have also became
permanent institutions of the place.


Of the early residents not particularly men-
tioned we still find George Rogers in the jew-
elry and watch business. Mr. Rogers came
here in 1847. Gotfredt Christensen, a settler
of 1852, dealer in dry goods, notions, etc.
Charles A. Leavens and James Callaghan, who
both commenced business in the grocery trade
in 1853 and still doing a successful business.
James Monahan, who settled in Neenah in
1 85 I, still running his blacksmith shop. The
first Catholic service in Neenah was celebrated
at his house, and he was largely instrumental in
procuring the site for the church edifice, after-
ward erected. His wife was a woman highly
esteemed by a large circle of acquaintances,
and her death, which occurred in 1858, occas-
ioned the deepest grief in the community. Her
family was an influential one, and one of her
brothers represented the City of Drogheda, in
the British House of Commons. John Hunt,
still in business here, and one of Neenah 's sub-
stantial and most reliable business men, with a
wide circle of acquaintances and highly
esteemed by all, for his kind heart and integ-
rity of character.

Carl J. Kraby, who came to Neenah in
1849, and was subsequently appointed United
States Consul to Norway, which position he
held for several years, and returned to his old
camping grounds, where he has long held the
office of City Clerk, and was last year elected
Register of Deeds of Winnebago County.

Other old settlers and business men will be
mentioned in connection with the business
directory on subsequent pages.


As has been stated, the fiist school taught
within the present limits of the town of Neenah
was in 1847.

In 1855 there were two schools within the
town, attended by one hundred and fifty-one
scholars (number of teachers not given). In
187s, the public schools of the city were organ-
ized under a special act of the Legislature, dur-
ing the winter previous, and the "Free High
School Act," the first of which provided for
the election of a superintendent, by the quali-
fied voters of the city, who was also consti-
tuted president ex-officio of the Board of Edu-
cation, which was composed of one commis-
sioner from each ward, to be elected by the
Common Council, In pursuance of this law,
T. T. Moulton was elected superintendent,
and the following persons commissioners;




Robert Shiells, Edward Smith, Jacob Bell and
E. Giddings.

The first meeting of the board was held July
lOth, 187s, at the Council Room, and L. J.
Dunn was elected clerk.

September 1st, the schools were opened
under this organization. At that time there
were six school houses (two of brick); three of
these were devoted to different grades in the
High School department. The teachers were
thirteen in number, of which H. A. Hobart
was principal, and Miss F. E. Hobart, assist-
ant. E S. Starkweather, Jennie Jaquith,
Carrie P. Emery, Anna Jones, Delia Darrow,
Mattie Quinn, Marion L. Smith, Delia Meigs,
Ella E. Hayward, Amy Warnes and Maria
Bergstrom, as teachers in the various depart-
ments of the High and Ward schools.

The total number of children between the
ages of four and twenty years, was 643 male,
and 636 female; total, 1,279. Of these 660
attended the public school.

Since that time a new brick school house has
been added to the number, in the Fourth Ward.
Substantial additions have been made to
others and the school grounds generally
enlarged and improved.

The present officers of the Board of Educa-
tion are as follows: J. B. Russell, superinten-
dent, and William Krueger, W. P. Peckham,
G. H. Albee and George Danielson, commis-
sioners; Carl J. Kraby, clerk. The teachers
are: H. A. Hobart, principal; Miss M. G.
Van Olinda, assistant; Julia Bacon, Anna
Jones, J. M. Montgomery. Maria Bergstrom,
Delia Meigs, Jennie Wheeler, Mary Mcintosh,
Mary Ager, Miss Ager, Amy Warnes and Isa
E. Brown.

There are at this time seven school houses —
three in the High School department and one
in each ward.

The number of school children, that is those
between the ages of four and twenty, residing
in the city, was, according to the Superinten-
dent's report of 1878, 1,294.

These schools are graded under a system
requiring ten years for a full course, but a
very important feature is added to this system,
termed a "mixed school," permitting the pupil
to take up any study, or drop it at pleasure,
thereby giving such as can only attend a por-
tion of the year, an opportunity of educating
themselves in such branches as may be deemed
most suitable and desirable.

The High School Building, now in course
of construction, will be completed in time for
the ensuing spring term, and will then take the
place of four of the present buildings. This
is a fine brick structure, and will cost, with

furnaces and equipments, $25,000. See view
of same in this work.

The following description is from Superin-
tendent Barnett's report:

*' In largest dimensions it is one hundred feet square and
contains eight class-rooms — five on the first floor, three on the
second. Excepting the high-school room, they have a uniform
height of thirteen feet. The former is fifteen feet high. On
the first floor, on each side of the main corridor, in the front
part of the building, is a class-room 27x33 feet in size, with
two closets off each. Back of the cross corridor are three class-
rooms, each 27^x35. These corridors are respectfully 9 and
9^ feet in width. On the second floor, just above the first
named class-room, are two more of like diminsions. Back of
these is the high-school room, 36x52 feet in size, having two
recitation rooms, 15^x28. Near these and in opposite sides of
the building, are the Superintendent's office and library, each
11^x15 feet in size.

" The arrangement of stairways at the ends of the cross cor-
ridor, with double-swinging doors 10 intercept sound along the
halls, is the best possible, to reduce to a minimum the noise of
children passing up and down. The architect has been equally
thoughtful in more important things, admitting light only from
the rear and one .side of the class-rooms, thus guarding the eyes
of the pupil from the injury of direct light and of multiplied and
angular shadows, caused by crossing rays of light.

'' The heating of the building is the most perfect possible,
short of the most expensive system of steam heat. As the latter
must have cost us very nearly twice as much, and as it has no
corresponding superiority, it had to be left out of consideration-
Three large furnaces are to supply a sufficient amount
of warm (not hot) air, to maintain that in the several class
rooms at a temperature of 70°, and to renew it every twenty
minutes. The admission of hot air is made impossible by the
construction of the furnaces, which, being of double thickness,
never permit the outer surface to reach a red heat.

" The air warmed is pure, because admitted to the furnaces
directly from out-of-doors. It flows to the several rooms through
flues so large, that injurious currents within are obviated.

" The system of ventilation is, I believe, as perfect as the
present state of sanitary science will admit of."
* * ******

" The report of the Finance Committee, appended, shows
that there was on hand at the beginning of the school year
$5,032.65. There has been received from all souices, includ-
ingSl,23oin outstanding orders, $19, 301. 92 ; giving a total of
of ^24,334.57. Of this there has been expended for all purposes,
including contract payments upon new school building, and for
heating apparatus, $13,939.70, leaving a balance in the treas-
ury of $10,394.87."


The first church organized in Neenah, was
the Congregational, in 1847, with Rev. O. P.
Clinton, pastor; followed by Revs. C. A.
Adams, J. M. Wolcott, A. Lathrop, Hiram
Marsh, J. E. Pond.

In 1848 a Presbyterian Society was organ-
ized by Rev. H. M. Robertson, succeeded by
Revs. J. H. Russell. H. B. Thayer, A. A. Dins-
more, and J. C. Kelly, which brings the latter
to 1870, and the Congregational to i860, when

i85o 78.]



it was reorganized as the Second Presbyterian,
with Rev. J. E. Pond, pastor; after him came
Revs. H. G. McArthur, James Bassett, J. H.

In 1870, they were united under the name of
First Presbyterian; Rev. J. E. Chapin became
pastor, and still remains.

The Methodist Society was organized in
1849, under Rev. Wm. H. Sampson, suc-
ceeded by Revs. Albert Baker, C, G. Lathrop,
Samuel Lugg, C. W. Brooks, T. C. Wilson,
L. L. Knox, J. H. GaskiU, J. H. Waldron,
M. G. Bristol, W. J. Olmstead, J, T. Wood-
head, N. J. Aplin, the present incumbent.

The Baptist Church was organized in 1851,
by Rev. Peter Prink, followed by Revs. James
Anderson, James l""ollett, Luke Davis. In
1867, the Baptists of the two towns united in a
church on the Island, Rev. O. W. Babcock
presiding, followed bv Revs. Benj. Freeman,
H. T. Gilbert and T. T. Palmer.

Trinity Episcopal, organized 1866, by Rev.
Wm. D. Christian; services having been previ-
ously held by Rev. Simon Potter and Rev.
Geo. Gibson.

In 1869, the present church building was
commenced under Rev. E. Peake, next after
him was Revs. Geo. N. James, J. A. Deaven-
port, H. M. Thompson, George Verner, J. W.
Tays, and Geo. Gibson, officiating at the pres-
ent time.

The organizations in 1878 were as follows:


Methodist ,




German Evangelical Lutheran

Evangelical A.8sociation of North America

Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran


German Lutheran

Evangelical Lutheran ( Trinity )

Welsh Calvanistic

Welsh Congregational.

Danish Baptist

Seventh Day Adventists

Norwegian Methodist

298 John E. Chapin . . .

70 W.J. ApUn

67 Thomas T. Potter. .

2X Greorge Gibson. ....

5610. L. Lombard


76 S. Kortemier

70:0. 0. Anderson . . .
131!n. Thompson

45 J. Haach

35 J. C. Jacobson

14, No resident ^'a8to^.


44 Lars Knudson

27, J. P. Jasperson

35|Henry Danielson...

Making a total of sixteen religious societies,
of which fourteen have good houses of worship
and resident pastors.


Masonic — Island City Chapter No. 23, R.
A. M. Kane Lodge, No. 61., F. & A. M.

Odd Fclloivs — Neenah Lodge, No. 41.
Rebekah Lodge, Doty Island Encampment,
No. 43-

Temperance — Crystal Lodge, No. 75,
Good Templars; Neenah Temple of Honor;
Neenah Division, Sons of Temperance, No.

154; Coral Workers, Juvenile Temple, No. 40.

Misecllaneons — Neenah Grange, No. 109^.
Scandinavian Library Association; Knights
of Honor, Relief Lodge No. 383, Schuetzen


The first newspaper started on this side of
the river was The Conservator, issued May 21,
1856, by Harrison Reed, editor and proprie-
tor, and was thus continued until 1858, when
it was sold to B. S. Heath, and removed to
Menasha. Republican in politics, it was largely
devoted to the interests of this section. Mr.
Reed was also a pionee reditor of the Milwaic-
kee Sentinel and a popular writer.

At the same time, May 21, 1856, W. H.
Mitchell issued the first number of the Neenah
Bulletin, which, however, was published but a
short time, the place being then too small to
sustain two papers.

This was succeeded by \\\q Neenah Democrat
in 1858, published by D. Hyer, editor and
proprietor; ably conducted but very unfortu-
nately located for that name.

The next was the Island City Times, the
first number appearing October 22, 1863, con-
ducted by J. N. Stone, in a very satisfactory
manner, until July 15, 1870, when the
press and materials were sold to Messrs. Tapley

Online LibraryRichard J HarneyHistory of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and early history of the Northwest → online text (page 43 of 71)