Richard J Harney.

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

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small island near the head of the channel, and
supplied with all the necessary appurtenances,
and Dennis Crowley was appointed keeper.
A light was kept here several years, when it




was abandoned and nothing now remains but
the dilapidated walls. The appropriation for
this was obtained through the influence of
Governor Doty, then Member of Congress,
from this district, with the view of eventually
getting it so modified that the means might be
expended in removing a ledge of rock at the
upper end of the channel, which could not be
accomplished by direct appropriation, as the
improvement of the river was under the control
of the State.


In 1854, CaptainMcKinnon, on his return
from England, brought some of the finest stock
ever imported to this country. The horse,
King Cymri, thoroughbred short horn Durham
bull, full-blood Southdown sheep, and some
fowls, all from the best stock of England, such
as would, at this time, prove a fortune to any
man; but, at that time, wholly unappreciated,
our farmersnot having been educated to the
difference between that and native stock, but
who have become painfully aware of the oppor-
tunity neglected.

This horse, "The King," entirely unappreci-
ated and neglected by breeders in this country,
was sold and employed in common labor, where
he soon broke down — about the same time
the stock from which he sprung, became the
most noted on the English turf, and anything
of that blood was eagerly sought for. A prom-
inent horseman was dispatched to the United
States to search out "The King," and if found,
uninjured, not to return without him, at a cost
of anything within ten thousand English
pounds — equal to about fifty thousand dollars.
He was found, a peasant of the lower,
instead of a king, broken down and entirely
unfit for stock-raising. Lo! how had the mighty
fallen. Ir'robably no finer specimen of the horse
kind ever trod American soil.

About this time. Captain McKinnon pur-
chased the farm now owned and occupied by
Ed. Mathewson, at the upper end of Doty
Island, and commenced making improvements
thereon, taking a deep interest and investing
money freely for the welfare of the place he
had selected for the future of his sons, at the
same time devoting considerable means to the
improvement of the Clifton farm.


During this year, the steamboat facilities of
Lake Winnebago were limited to the Peytona,
under the ownership and management of B. F.
Moore, of Fond du Lac, and John Fitzgerald,

of Menasha. In the winter of 1852 and 1853, the
Feytona had passed into the hands of Mr.
Moore, who monopolized the entire lake trade
during the season of 1853, running his boat
from Fond du Lac to Menasha and return,
daily, except Sunday, and in the winter of
1853 and 1854, Moore & Fitzgerald controlled
the entire fleet of the lake and Fox and Wolf

In the season of 1853, large quantities of
railroad iron were landed at Green Bay, for the
Rock River Valley Union Railroad (now Chi-
cago & Northwestern), brought to Kaukauna
by water, thence over the plank-road to
Menasha, where it was loaded on barges, and,
by the Feytona, towed to Fond du Lac.

In 1854, John Fitzgerald established
an exchange office here, with Charles
Schafifer as cashier; Mr. Fitzgerald being
absent a greater portion of the time, the
responsibility rested mainly with "Charley,"
and never was trust more faithfully dis-

Possesssed of rare qualities of head and
heart, he had acquired business habits of a high
order; he soon made many warm friends, and
will be remembered with none but kindliest

Although but a boy when here, in less
than ten years he became the owner of a bank
at Stillwater, part owner and president of a
prominent bank at St. Paul, and Treasurer of
the State of Minnesota, all at the same time.
They are both gone, but not forgotten.

In 1855, there were two channels of com-
munication only, between this section and the
business centers of the continent, and each of
limited capacity. One over the plank-road to
Kaukauna, fifteen miles, thence to Green Bay,
by steamer; the other by steamer to Fond du
Lac, and over a plank-road, some forty miles,
to Sheboygan.

An unusual yield of wheat this season, with
prices unheard of before in this country, reach-
ing one dollar and forty to one dollar and
forty-five cents per bushel, taxed these two
routes to their utmost capacity, each convey-
ing away all that their respective termini —
Green Bayand Sheboygan — couldholdorship,
with return freights to nearly an equal amount.
One hundred teams made daily trips to Kau-
kauna and return; and added to this was a
suppl)' for the numerous mills at Neenah and
Appleton. The Star Flouring Mill was erected
in 185s, by W. R. Ellis, purchased by R. M.
Scott in 1857, and by Eli Butler and T. D.
Scott in 1878, and is still running.

The great event of 1856, and marking a new
era in the history of this locality, was the




opening of uninterrupted navigation between
Lake Winnebago and Green Bay, which was
accomphshed in June, and, immediately after,
a Hne of boats was placed upon the route.

In the early part of this year, the Rock River
Valley Union Railroad, running south, from
Fond du Lac, was extended to Minnesota
Junction, connecting with the Milwaukee and
La Crosse Railroad, thereby opening another
foute, very important to this entire section,
and it at once took the lead in travel and

The Methodist brick church was built this


Doty's Island — Its Lovely Scenery — Chicago & Northwest-
ern Railroad — More Manufactories — The National Hotel
Built — Menasha Bank — Incorporation of the City — List
of City Officers and Aldermen from Date of Incorporation
to the Present Time — The Wisconsin Central Railroad
and Milwaukee Northern Railroad.

O R the four years succeeding, very
little seems to have transpired here, out
of the usual course of events. The vil-
lage had steadily increased in popula-
tion, business and general importance,
no evidence of, or any
branch of business overdone. Frequent addi-
tions to the original plat had been made, and
October 28, 1857, a plat of the "Town of the
Island" was recorded, James D. Doty, L. B.
McKinnon, Charles Doty and D. J. Pulling,

This plat was confined entirely to the Island,
as the name implies, being an addition to both
Neenah and Menasha, and covered s large
amount of territory.

It seems pertinent in this connection to say
that no lovelier place exists, of the same
extent, for city residences, than this Island,
consisting of about seven hundred acres, where
Nature has lavished every favor with unstinted
hand, and whatever may now be wanting, is
justwhattheruthlesshandof man has destroyed.
The writer can well recollect this landscape as
it appeared over a quarter of a century ago;
its wide-spreading white oaks and lofty maples,
huge beeches and towering elms, a carpet of
Nature's richest patterns, with an occasional
glimpse of lake and river and the far-off cliffs
of Calumet, Clifton and Stockbridge beyond.
Can we, for a moment, wonder that this should
bathe favorite haunt of the red man? Here,
even to this day, maybe found marks of his

rude cultivation. Could he more forcibly
express his feelings than by the free and vol-
untary gift of all this to Governor Doty, as a
tribute of respect, unbounded confidence and
esteem? And yet it has been stated in the
public press, within a few weeks, that the wife
of Governor Doty was taken captive by these
same Indians.

Some one must have possessed more credu-
lity than sense.


In 1859, the Coral Flouring Mill was erected,
at the centre of the dam, by H. A. Burts,
millwright and proprietor, and after passing
through many hands is now owned and oper-
ated by McGinty, Wahle & Koepfel.

In i860, the old furniture factory of Thomas
Price, having been purchased and carried on
by Charles Doty, was converted into a factory
for the manufacture of flour barrel stock by
Doty, Abel Keyes, and Charles May. In 1861,
the latter sold out to his partners, and the bus-
iness was continued until the fall of 1865,
when the building and power were leased to
Andrews & Underwood, who commenced the
manufacture of children's carriages, sleds, etc.
In 1869, the building was abandoned, though
still standing.


In January, 1861, the old Rock River Val-
ley Union Railroad, now called the Chicago &
Northwestern, was extended to Appleton, run-
ning about a mile west from the Neenah
water-power, where adepot waslocated, which
was about two miles west from the Menasha

The road from Neenah to the depot over a
bed of clay, was, by continued heavy teaming,
almost impassable, and absolutely unsafe for
man or beast. A side-track was now laid at
the west end ofButtes des Morts bridge, about
one mile from the water-power of Menasha, of
which the bridge formed a large portion of
the distance.

It had been intended to cut Menasha off
from the benefit of the road, but the directors
of the road, making a trip of inspection,
enquired of an officer why the road had been
run around these water powers; he replied
that it had been located by the chief engineer.
The directors then requested the business men
of Menasha to send a delegation to Chicago for
a conference relative to a change of route.
Curtis Reed, Charles Doty, and Reuben Scott
were accordingly chosen, and returned with
the directors to Chicago, where an arrange-
ment was made to change the track to itspres-




ent location, Neenah agreeing to pay the
expense of grading and ties south of their
channel, and of building the bridge across that
channel, and Menasha to do the same from
the north end of that bridge to the old line
west of Lake Buttes des Morts, including the
bridges across the lake and north channel, the
depot to be located near the line dividing the
two places on the Island. This change was
accomplished in December, 1862.


In 1862, Charles May, having sold his inter-
est in the first barrel stock factory, this year
built an establishment of the same kind, sup-
plied with steam power, near the bank of the
river and the old Reed & Doty warehouse;
the latter he soon after devoted to a cooper-
shop. In 1864, Alex. Syme became associated
with him. May afterwards sold his interest,
but Syme has retained his to the present

In 1863, Lum Hart, having settled here in
the fall of 1849, had, until now, been engaged
in gunsmithing, repairing, and all kinds of
light machine work, now erected a small foun-
dry and machine-shop on the water-power
near the east end of Block 49. This he
enlarged as necessity required, and a few years
later sold out.

In the fall of 1865, G. R. Andrews, from
New England, and J. R. Underwood, from
Aurora, Illinois, leased the barrel stock fac-
tory belonging to C. Doty, and the water-
power connected therewith, and commenced
the manufacture of children's sleds, and during
the succeeding winter added the necessary
machinery for the manufacture of children's
carriages and carts.

This might have proved a profitable enter
prise but for the hostility of the business men
of the place, but after frequent changes in
ownership and an existence of some four
years, the machinery was removed and the
property vacated.


In 1867, a stock company was organized for
the purpose of building a hotel on the corner
north of the public square, and some labor per-
formed to that end; but in 1868 it was par-
tially abandoned, and again revived in 1869,
when the present National Hotel, a credit to
the city, was commenced.

During the process of construction, the
stockholders, one after another, sold out, or
forfeiting the amount paid in, dropped out;
until, at its completion, only R. M. Scott and
Charles May remained as owners. It was com-
pleted in 1870, and formally opened Novem-

ber 4, of that year. Soon after the opening,
May disposed of his interest to Scott, who
having superintended its entire construction,
now became sole owner, and so remains to
this day.

November 1, 1870, a national bank was
established here with H. Hewitt, Sr. , J. W.
Williams, J. A. Kimberly, H. Babcock, J, R.
Davis, Sr. , Robert Shiells, Moses Hooper and
A. G. Galpin, Jr., as stockholders. Robert
Shiells was elected president, and H. Hewitt,
Jr. , cashier.

This institution has continued business to '
the present time, and we believe under thej
direction of the same officers.


By act of the Legislature, approved March
5, 1874, the city was incorporated, and at the
organic election held soon after, O. J. Hall
was elected mayor; H. Hewitt, Jr., and C. P.
Northrup, aldermen of the First Ward; Julius
Fieweger and Pat McFadden of the Second
Ward; John Harbeck and Joseph Mayer of
the Third Ward; C. H. Watke and H. B.
Taylor of the Fourth Ward; John Planner,
treasurer;- assessors, Carlton Bachelder, First
Ward; E. Wold, Second Ward; L. D. Bryan,
Third Ward; William Koepfel, Fourth Ward;
justices, Silas Bullard and John Potter, Jr.,
constables, Thomas Jourdainand James Schu-
felt; city clerk, Charles Colborne.

/ls'75 — P. V. Lawson, mayor; C. Colborne,
clerk; John Planner, treasurer; H. Hewitt, Jr.,
C. ¥. Augustine, aldermen of the First Ward!
P. McFadden, C Koch, aldermen of the Sec-
ond Ward; H. Hewitt, Sr., E. D. Smith,
aldermen of the Third Ward; Curtis Reed,
Frank Engles, aldermen of the Fourth Ward.

18^6 — P. V. Lawson, Mayor; Charles Col-
borne, clerk; John Planner, treasurer; H.
Hewitt Jr. , C. F. Augustine, P. McFadden,
P. Sensenbrener, E. D. Smith; A. J. Webster,
Curtis Reed and Frank Engles, aldermen.

/lS'77 — P. V. Lawson, mayor; E. G. Bell,
clerk; E. Wold, treasurer; John Schubert, P.
O'Malley, John Harbeck, Elbridge Smith, L.
H. Brown, Leonard Brugger, J. F. Mayers
and Frank Engles, aldermen.

18^8 — P. V. Lawson, mayor; E. G. Bell,
clerk; E. Wold, treasurer; John Potter Jr.,
P. McFadden, T. D Phillips, Martin Beck,
John Schubert, John Schneider, J. F. Mayer
and J. C. Underwood, aldermen.

In December, 1871, the Wisconsin Central
Railroad Company opened its road and com-
menced running trains from Menasha, or more
properly speaking, from Doty's Island, to




Stevens Point, and in anticipation of the com-
pletion of the Milwaukee and Northern Rail-
road, in 1872, the Wisconsin Central erected
a depot in the northern part of the city,
removing its business to that point.

In 1873, the Milwaukee and Northern was
completed and opened from Milwaukee to
Green Bay, with depot and grounds adjoining
the Central. The same year the Wisconsin
Central, while negotiating with the Lake-
shore and Western Railroad, then running
from Appleton, via Manitowoc, to Milwaukee,
for a lease of that road, constructed a track
from their line at Menasha to Appleton, con-
necting with the Lake Shore & Western at
that place, but obtaining control of the Mil-
waukee & Northern, negotations with the
Lakeshore & Western were broken off,
and subsequently the track to Appleton taken
up. This gave the Wisconsin Central a con-
tinuous line from Milwaukee and Green Bay
to Lake Superior at Ashland, whenever they
should complete their contemplated line from
Stevens Point to the latter place, which was
consumated in 1877.

In the meantime, the Wisconsin Central
Railroad had constructed side tracks the
entire length of the water power at this point,
which with that of the Chicago & North-
western Railroad and the facilities for shipping
by water from any point on the water power,
gave this point advantages nowhere excelled,
if ever equaled, in this particular point, and
there is no place to-day that has greater advan-
tages for manufacturing and general bnsiness,
or more of them, if properly improved and
made available, than Menasha. What its
future will be rests entirely with its business
men, and, whatever the result, they can always
have the satisfaction of knowing that nature
and outside influences, have done all that
could be done anywhere.


The following account of the commencement
and progress of the wooden-ware manufacture
at this point, has just been obtained from Mr.
E. D. Smith, under whose management its
present proportions have been attained. The
original pail factory was commenced in the
spring of 1850, by Messrs. Sanford, Beckwith
& Billings. A two story building, 24x36,
and one small dry-house was the extent. The
timber for the frame of the building was cut on
what is now the canal, and stood so thick on
the ground, that when the shop was done, one
of the firm could not see his house, which
stood directly opposite the factory, across
what is now a canal, one hundred feet in

They manufactured the original machinery,
including a sheet-iron stave-saw, with steel on
the edge for the teeth, and a wooden head.

Their entire outfit of machinery would, at
the present day, prove as great a curiosity as
the original locomotive. They were delayed
in starting their machinery, until a small race
could be completed to supply the water. Strug-
gling along for six months, with little means
and paying high rates of interest, (as the note
drawing fifty per cent, interest, before quoted,
gives ample evidence), their entire production
was 1,500 pails — this being the only article
manufactured. In 1851, Joseph Keyes and
Lot Rice became the owners, but with similar

In ■ 1852, E. D. Smith purchased the estab-
lishment, and has been connected withittothe
present time. Additions were at once made to
the building, the old machinery taken out to give
place for that which was more suitable, and fur-
ther additions with all the later improvements
in machinery have, from time to time, beensup-
plied, until at the present time two large fac-
tories and three saw-mills are kept busily
engaged, with twenty-four dry kilns, extensive
paint shops, cooper shops, and several large
warehouses, requiring the services of from two
hundred to two hundred and fifty persons.

The daily product of pails far exceeds that
of the first si.x months, besides the manufacture
of wash tubs, keelers, churns, measures,
butter tubs, fish kits, covered buckets, horse
pails and barrel covers, consuming annually,
about six million feet of timber. The first
ware shipped to Chicago was carted to Kau-
kauna, shipped thence by boat, via Green Bay,
subsequently by boat to Fond du Lac, thence
by railroad, and still later to Oshkosh, by
boat, and from there by rail, until 1862, when
the cars run through to Menasha.

The present wooden-ware company own
their cars and have the choice of two railroads,
or water transportation, and their wares are
pretty generally distributed throughout the


During the Government occupancy of the
improvements at Winnebago Rapids, 1836-7-8,
Father Vanderbrook, then stationed at Little
Chute, held services at the Rapids once or
twice a year, for the benefit of the few resident

In 1848, a mission was estabhshed among
the settlers, about four miles West of the
present city of Menasha, by Father Vander-

In 1849, he was succeeded by Father Faran-



aticii, who inaugurated the erection of a log
church, and officiated until 185 i, when he gave
place to Father Colton, now residing at Fond
du Lac. The congregation at this time was
composed of some twenty-five families, largely
from the Irish settlement in the western part
of the present Town of Menasha. Father
Fussedcr was the next in succession, and
uniting the Catholics of the two towns, and
different nationalities, the society, imder his
administration, was considerably increased.

In 1854, Captain L. B. McKinnon presented
the society with one acre of ground, on the
Island, where the church now stands, and the
present building was at once erected, although
it has since been enlarged. Fathers DeBreca,
Cieppe, Dale, Wilkins and Uhlmire, now
succeeded each other in the order named,
and under the latter, the society was
divided in 1867, the German portion
purchasing the building first erected by
the Congregationalists of Menasha (mentioned
elsewhere), and under the lead of Father
Uhlmire, organized a separate church. The
order of Servite Fathers, at this time, took
the original church under their charge, and
Father Morini was installed, and succeeded by
Father H. Venturi, who still remains at the
head of this organization.

In 1868, a substantial brick school house
was erected on the same lot occupied by the
church and parsonage (the latter having been
built soon after the church). This school was
opened by teachers of the order of Servite
Sisters, from London, and connected with the
school were one hundred and forty scholars.

In 1877, the Servite Sisters removed to
Chicago and were succeeded by teachers from
the order of "School Sisters of Notre Dame,"
five in number. One hundred and seventy
scholars are now connected with the school,
and one hundred and fifty -five in daily attend-
ance. This congregation now numbers one
hundred and twenty-five.

The German organization was presided over
by Uhlmire until 1871, when he was succeeded
by Father Joseph Neusspaum, the next in
order being Father John Yaster, who in turn
was followed March, 1875, by Father Andrew
Seubert. the present incumbent.

In 1868, this society also built a commodious
brick school house, having purchased lots
adjoining the church property, until their
posessions covered twelve lots. The school
was opened with about ninety scholars, by
teachers from the order of School Sisters of
Notre Dame.

In 1876, a large brick parsonage was con-
structed upon the grounds, and at this time a

brick building is in process of construction,
designed for a residence for the teachers.
Five teachers are employed. The German
language is taught in the morning, the English
in the afternoon. The common branches are
taught in English. There are now connected
with the school three hundred scholars, two
hundred and forty of whom are in daily
attendance. It is conducted under the super-
vison of the resident priest and trustees.
There are now two hundred and seventy fami-
lies in this congregation.


The First Congregational church was organ
ized in 1851, and for the first two years the>-
worshipped in a rough board school-house, in
"Roby's Hall" the next five years, and in 1858,
commenced the building now occupied by the
Catholics, near the Central Railroad depot.

The Winnebago District convention had
appointed a meeting at Menasha, in December,
and it was desirable that the church should be
completed previous to that time. This wish
being expressed to Deacon Northrup, he
declared he would "eat all the plastering they
put on that fall," nevertheless the church was
plasteied, and the convention held there, at
the appointed time. All were too happy over
their success to require a fullfillment of the
Deacon's promise.

The cost of the house was three thousand
dollars, built with great personal sacrifice on
the part of a few.

After some eight years, the necessity for a
larger building became apparent, and the
present edifice was constructed, at a cost of
ten thousand dollars. Commencing with a
dozen members the organization now consists
of one hundred and twenty-five members,
with an active sabbath school, and efficient
church work in various ways.

The present pastor is the Rev. S. V. S.


The Methodist church of Menasha, was
organized in 1850, although circuit preachers
of this denomination had frequently held
divine service.

In 1856, the present handsome church was
erected. The present pastor is the Rev. G.
H. Moulton.


The Univcrsalist society of this place was
organized in 1866. The Rev. C. L. Lombard
is resident pastor.


The Lutheran, (German), Church of
Menasha was organized in 1856, and the

Online LibraryRichard J HarneyHistory of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and early history of the Northwest → online text (page 46 of 71)