Richard J Harney.

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

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the road from Oshkosh (at Main Street bridge)
to Waupun; this was Road Number Four.

Mr. Stephen Brooks, father of Mrs. J. Eaton,
was born in Middletown, Connecticut, in 1781.
At sixteen years of age, he removed to the State
of New York, and in May, 1837, to Green Bay,
Wisconsin. Residing here and at Neenah, he
assisted in cutting out the road from Fort
Howard to Fort Winnebago, and in May,
1839, located at Clifton (north end of Lake
Winnebago); but, purchasing a farm in Section
One, Town Eighteen, Range Sixteen, where
he removed his family in 1842, and after hold-
ing many places of public trust, and receiving
a full share of public confidence. He died Feb-
ruary 26, 1864.

Charles Derby was born in Downpatrick,
seat of County Down, Ireland, in August,
1819, and emigrated to the United States (by
himself, having lost both parents), at the age
of eighteen, in search of two uncles, who had
preceeded him by many years. On his arrival
in this country, his first sojourn was in Massa-
chusetts, where he worked at his trade (that

of machinist), at three dollars per day, but by
working overtime, he was much of the time
enabled to earn five dollars per day.

In 1849, about eight years from his arrival,
having accumulated about fifteen hundred dol-
lars, and, with the desire to secure a home, he
migrated to this country, and purchased a pre-
emption right to his present farm.

Here he found the logs rolled up for a
house. This was June 11, 1849. The first
year of Mr. Derby's farming he cleared twenty
acres, and the same fall (1849) he sowed nine
acres to winter wheat, without plowing, and
the next season harvested three hundred
bushels ol wheat, which he sold for thirty cents
per bushel, on ninety day's time.

Oliver Libbey, S. S. Keese and Mr. Derby
were the principal men in this school district at
this time, and caused a school house to be

Mr. Derby now owns a valuable farm of one
hundred and sixty acres, well provided with

Mr. E. W. Allen was born in Wayne
County, New York, in 18 14; femoved to
Michigan, thence to Wisconsin, residing for a
time in the southern portion of the State, and,
in 1846, purchased a farm adjoining the Town
of Oshkosh, where he resided until 1856, when
he sold to Mr. Eli Stilson, and purchased a
farm about one mile further north, where
he resided until 1876, when he retired to the
city, where he still remains, leaving his son
Albert, as successor on the farm.

Corydon L. Rich purchased his farm in
1 845 ; commenced work in spring of 1 846. (For
incidents in Mr. Rich's settlement, see page

T. J. Townsend and R. S. Lambert also
settled in 1846.

The northern portion of the town, including
two miles in width, was, from 1849 to 1856, a
part of the Town of Vinland, and the first set-
tlements in the original town were within the
present limits of the city; the reader is there-
fore referred to the history of the city for early
mcidents and experiences, not here alluded to.

The lands in this town were included in the
purchase from the Menomonee Indians, of
September, 1836; and were surveyed by David
Giddings, in 1839, oft'ered for sale in April,
1840, and along the shore of Lake Winnebago
were generally purchased by non-residents, as
a speculation.


The County Poor Farm, comprising one
hundred acres, with commodious and substan-
tial buildings, is on Section 36, Town 19,
Range 16.





The first post-office in the county was estab-
lished in 1840, within the present limits of the
city, prior to any town organization, and John
P. Gallup was appointed postmaster. June 2,
1847, the Vinland Post-office was established,
and Samuel Brooks appointed postmaster, a
position he has ever since retained. This office
is within the present limits of the town ( north-
east corner Section 26, Town 19, Range 16).
A post-office was also established at the Insane
Hospital, June 26, 1876, and Wm. W. Walker
appointed postmaster. This office was named

In 185s, the town comprised only that portion
of Town 18, Range 16, lying north of Fox
River, and the fraction of Town 18, Range 17,
exclusive of the city, and then contained one
school, seventy-seven scholars, and three hun-
dred and forty-five inhabitants. Population in
1875, eleven hundred and twenty-four; in
1878 there were three schools and two hundred
and seventy-six scholars.


This town contains many elegant farm resi-
dences, as shown by the views of the same in
this work.


Commodore Roger's beautiful farm, which
is situated on the shore of Lake Buttes des
Morts, in the Town of Oshkosh, contains 312
acres, and is one of the best wheat soils in
the country. His wheat crop in 1877, aver-
aged twenty-two bushels per acre. One piece
of land in this farm, has been cropped with
wheat for twenty-three successive years, and
has frequently yielded from thirty to forty
bushels per acre; and last year, which was the
twenty-second crop, yielded thirty bushels.
This is particularly remarkable, from the fact
that the crop last year was unusually light
throughout the country. The same piece of
land this year has produced its usual large
crop. On that portion of the farm, sloping to
the lakeshore, there is an admixture of shell lime
(marl) one of the best wheat fertilizers, and
which is probably one of the causes of its
great productiveness.

Mr. Rogers moved from Crawford County,
Ohio, and settled on this farm in 1854, and is
one of the most successful farmers in the
county. By judicious management and well
directed industry, his farm has been made to
yield bountiful crops, and reward him with a
substantial prosperity. His farm is most
eligibly situated, being only two miles from
the business center of Oshkosh, and commands
a fine view of Lake Buttes des Morts and the

surrounding country. A view of the place is
here given.

Among the illustrations of the Town of
Oshkosh will be found a view of the farm of
Hon. C. L. Rich. As Mr. Rich was one of
the first settlers of the county, a description
of his fine farm, and a relation of his settle-
ment is given on pages 118 and 119, in His
tory of Winnebago County, in this work.


Mrs. Mark Plummer, the view of whose
residence is here given, is the relict of the
late Mark Plummer, who was one of the well
known and highly esteemed pioneer settlers
of Winnebago County.

Mr. Plummer was a native of England,
from whence he migrated at eight years of age,
to the State of New York. From the latter
state' he moved to Illinois, in 1841, where he
resided until 1846, in which year he
settled in this county. He was for some time
in the employment of Webster Stanley, and
acted in the vocation of ferry-man at Oshkosh.

In 1847, he settled on the beautiful farm,
which he has left as an inheritance to his
family. This place was at this time a wilder-
ness, and settlers were just building their log
houses. Neighbors were from one to two
miles apart, with a plentiful supply of Indian
wigwams. Mr. Plummer, through his enter-
prise and well directed industry, soon became
one of the leading and substantial farmers of this
county, and left as the result of his labor, this
highly improved farm of four hundred acres.
He died in December, 1874, greatly lamented
in the community in which he had so long and
usefully lived. Six of the children are now
living with Mrs. Plummer, on the homestead.
This is one of the finest farms in the county,
and its appearance gives every evidence of
good management and thrift. The residence
is a very handsome brick structure, and is the
home of an orderly and well conducted family,
who are making a good use of the advantages
which surround them, and are held in high
esteem by their neighbors and a large circle of


The farm of George Rogers, a view of which
is here given, is situated on the shore of Lake
Buttes des Morts, in the Town of Oshkosh.
It contains 400 acres of as fine land as can be
found in the county, in a high state of cultiva-
tionr This is one of the leading dairy farms
of the county. The cheese factory supplied
exclusively with milk from the cows kept on
the farm, produces from eight to ten tons of



-ir__- p




cheese, and one thousand pounds of butter,
per annum; all of which finds a ready home
market in Oshkosh. The wheat crop on this
farm has, for late years, averaged over twenty
bushels per acre. It contains an inexhaustible
supply of one of the best of fertilizers, in the
large deposits of shell lime (marl) on the lands
adjacent to the lake. The location affording a
fine view of Lake Buttes des Morts and the
distant perspective, is one of the most beauti-
ful in the county.

Mr. Rogers settled here in June, 1853. The
country was comparatively new at the time,
and the settlers in the immediate vicinity had
for some years felt discouraged at the failures
of the wheat crop, occasioned by a luxuriant
growth of wild sun-flower, which choked the
wheat growth and destroyed the crop. After
Mr. Rogers purchased, it was frequently
remarked among the knowing ones that the
weeds would soon starve him out; but he was
not that kind of a farmer, and as soon as the
sun-flowers appeared in full force and asserted
possession of his wheat-fields, it occurred to
him that to mow ofT their heads would check
their enterprise. He did so, and a splendid
crop of wheat was the result — over thirty
bushels to the acre. His neighbors adopted
the same process, and wheat-growing became
a success; this section having now the reputa-
tion of being one of the best wheat districts in
the State.


A view is given in these pages of the fine
farm and cheese-factory of John Ryf, in the
Town of Oshkosh. This farm contains 240
acres, and is kept in a high state of cultivation.
Forty milch cows are kept on the place, the
milk from which is used in the cheese-factory.
A large quantity of milk is also purchased of
the neighboring farmers. Mr. Ryf manufac-
tures 28,000 pounds of Switzer cheese per
annum, which finds a ready sale; as the pro-
duct of this factory stands high in the market,
and much of it is purchased for foreign ship-

Mr. Ryf emigrated from Switzerland to
Rome, New York, in 1853, and from the latter
place to this county in i860, when he settled
on his farm in this town, which he has con-
verted into one of the best dairying farms in
the county, and is now enjoying a substantial
prosperity. He has a fine little vineyard
which he cultivates very successfully, and from
the product of which he makes an excellent
wine for home consumption. The farm is a
very handsome one, with excellent soil and
good buildings, and is a place where the visi-
tor is received with the heartiest welcome, and

the most generous hospitality. Mi*. Ryf is
highly esteemed by a large circle of friends, as
a generous-hearted man, a kind neighbor, and
useful citizen.


One of the early settlers of this county is
George M. Wakefield, whose parents moved
to the now Town of Nepeuskun in the fall of
1849, and were among the early residents of
that section, and also among the most highly
respected and influential.

In 1866, Mr. George M. Wakefield
embarked in business in Eureka, where he
had a wheat elevator and a store — dry goods
and mixed merchandise. He conducted those
branches of business until 1869, when he
moved to the City of Oshkosh and purchased
the flouring mill on the site of the present
Wakefield Mills. This was destroyed by fire
in May, 1870, and shortly after this occur-
rence he erected the fine large brick mill on
the same site, now known as the Wakefield,
and engaged largely in the manufacture of
flour. Having subsequently purchased a large
quantity of pine and mineral lands, among
others a large tract on the Ontonagon, he
engaged on a large scale in the manufacture of
lumber, and in dealing in pine lands; and had
an extensive milling interest in Ontonagon.
This so much occupied his attention that he
sold out his flouring mill in Oshkosh. In
addition to his lumbering and pine land busi-
ness, he entered largely into mineral land oper-
ations, and became possessed of many valua-
ble tracts. The late business revulsion depre-
ciated the value of mineral, and pine and hard
wood lands, to such an extent that it involved
him in serious losses; but with a most com-
mendable energy and courage, that deserves
the highest success, he has struggled manfully
against the tide, and bids fair to recover his
lost ground.

No man is more highly respected where
known, than George Wakefield, for his integ-
rity and all those qualities that constitute true

His beautiful residence, a view of which is
here given, is situated in the Town of Oshkosh,
a short distance from the city limits, and is one
of the many handsome places on the outskirts
of the city.


This mammoth pile of buildings is situated
on the lakeshore, in the Town of Oshkosh,
four miles north of the city, on a handsome
tract of land belonging to it, and which con-
tains three hundred and eighty acres. The
frontage of the buildings, on a straight line




measurement, is one thousand feet; and the
total cost of the land, buildincrs, improvements,
furniture, apparatus and fixtures of all kinds,
is $658,300.

The trustees and officers are as follows:

Trustees — T. D. Grimmer, Oshkosh, term
expires November, 1878; D. W. Maxon, Cedar
Creek, term expires November, 1879; Peter
Rupp, Fond du Lac, term expires Novem-
ber, 1880; W. P. Rounds, Menasha, term
expires November, 1881; N. A. Gray,
M. D., Milwaukee, term expires November,

President, D. W. Maxon; Secretary, N. A.
Gray, M. D.; Treasurer, Thomas D. Grim-
mer; Medical Superintendent, Walter Kemp-
ster, M. D.; First Assistant Physician, Wil-
liam H. Hancker, M. D. ; Second Assistant
Physician, John R. Thomson, M. D. ; Stew-
ard, Joseph Butler; Matron, Mrs. L. A.

The following reports give the history and
description of its construction:

Office of Trustees,
Northern Hospital for the Insane,

Oshkosh, Wis., Uctober 19, 1876.
To His Excellency, Harrison Ludington, Governor of the State
of Wisconsin :

Sir — The trustees of the Northern Hospital for the Insane
have the honor to present their fourth annual report.

This hospital is situated about four miles north of the City of
Oshkosh, on a farm embracing about three hundred and sixty-
seven acres, bounded on the east and south by Lake Winne-
bago, and extending westward near to the track of the Chicago
& Northwestern Railroad.

The bill which authorized the location and commencement
of the work, was approved March 10, 1870; it appropriated
$125,000, but provided that not more than $40,000 should be
expended during that year.

Subsequent appropriations were made to complete and fur-
nish the hospital, gas-works, water supply, sewerage, barns,
and out-buildings, which, including the first appropriation,
amount in the aggregate to $571,700.

On the twenty fifth day of November, 1870, the site for the
hospital was fixed on the most accessible and highest point on
the farm, being one thousand seven hundred feet west, and
twenty-one feet above Lake Winnebago. It is constructed on
the most approved plan, consisting of a series of transverse
and longitudinal wings on both sides of a center building, the
latter being connected with rear buildings by a brick corridor,
eighty -seven feet in length; the wings and center building
extending north and south en echalon about eight hundred feet,
cover one and three-quarters acres of land. The basement is
constructed of quarry stone ; the superstructure and partition
walls of brick ; the water-table, belt-course, door and window-
sills, caps and quoins of Cleveland sand-stone, an iron veran-
dah, galvanized iron cornice, and a slate and tin roof.

It is well lighted with coal gas, has an ample supply of
water, a perfect system of heating and ventilation, which is
now being imitated in public buildings in our own and other

con- J
Jan- 1

It has been constructed with the highest regard for econ
omy, health, convenience, and safety from fire.

It was completed and accepted on the eleventh day of
uary, 1875, within the amount appropriated therefor, and has a
capacity for the care and treatment of five hundred and fifty

The construction of the hospital has cost the State
$495,484.80; for farm, outbuildings, and furnishing $129,-
765.20. Total cost, $625,250.

The apparent small cost compared with the magnitude of
the work, has been the subject of common remark by those who
have examined it, with a view to building similar institutions
in other States. This has been achieved by extensively adver-
tising for proposals, awarding contracts to the lowest bidder, in
all cases requiring adequate security, and, above all, ignoring
materials controlled by monopolies, and by arranging and pub-
lishing specifications, so as to admit the greatest freedom in
the purchase of materials consistent with the character of the
work. For boldness of design, workmanship, economy of con-
struction, strength and durability, this institution is second to
none ; for those more unfortunate than others it provides a safe
and often times curative home, of which every citizen in the
State has reason to be proud.

During the brief period the hospital has been in operation,
its progress in usefulness has been most gratifying. Under the
treatment of the present skillful superintendent, a large per-
centage of the patients have been sent to their homes restored
to reason.

The whole number of admissions up to the date of this
report is seven hundred and fifty-seven, of which number
seventy have been discharged fully recovered ; sixty-six dis-
charged so that in many instances their recovery has been com-
pleted at home.

Its usefulness in the future depends upon the generous sup-
port of a competent superintendent. The school for investigating
the cause and treatment of insanity, now conducted by the
medical superintendent of the hospital, gives assurance that it
will yield important results so long as it has a competent head
to guide its progress and direct its course.

After the completion of the south wing, the governor and
the presidents of the boards of trustees of the two hospitals, met
in the executive office, on the twenty-fourth day of November,
1875, ^"'^ changed the bounds of the districts.

The list of counties assigned to the northern district, with
the quota of patients, may be found in the accompanying report
o( the medical superintendent.

This hospital was constructed for the purpose of the treat-
ment and cure of the more hopeful cases of insanity ; there are,
however, a large number of chronic cases now in the hospital,
which might be comfortably cared for by the erection of two
additional wings as recommended in our last annual report ;
the plans and estimates, therefore, may be found in the office of
the Secretary of State.

Such wings would accommodate two hundred and thirty of
this class, and the estimated cost of construction does not
exceed $115,000.

We ask for an appropriation for this purpose, and
earnestly recommend the subject to your favorable consid-

Our charitable institutions are built from the wealth and
capital of the State ; their doors should be open to all our unfor-
tunate, without discrimination. The insane ought to be treated
as the wards of the State. The people are able and willing to
care for all the unfortunates. No complaint has been made




against the economical expenditure of money for public
charity ; on the contrary, we have heard of no instance where
counties have charged patients or their relatives with the main-
tainance authorized by law ; we therefore recommend the
abolition of the law which authorizes the State to charge
counties with a portion of the maintainance of patients, and
recommend that the insane be supported at the expense of the
State, without discrimination.

We especially call your attention to the elaborate and inter-
esting report of Dr. Walter Kempster, medical superintendent
of the hospital. The advanced rank which this hospital holds
among other similar institutions, is largely attributed to his
eminent services.

As an instance of the wise policy of the State in fostering
the scientific investigation inaugurated by him, we call your
attention to the fact, that the work which he has accomplished
in the laboratory of this hospital, was made the subject of an
address, prepared at the request of the Centennial Medical
Commission, and delivered before the International Medical
Congress, held in the City of Philadelphia in September
last, which address was published in the transactions of that

It shows that the work thus begun is fully appreciated by
the highest medical authorities, and should be regarded as a
direct compliment to the people of the State, and is worthy of
their continued support.

Accompanying this report are the reports of the secretary,
and treasurer, showing the receipts and disbursements of the
hospital during the year, and also the reports of the committees
of the board.

The following is an estimate for current expenses and appro-
priations asked, for the commencement March I, 1877 :

Money on band snd subject to order of truBtees to March 1,

1877 S 84,103.86

It will require to pay for completion of the purposes

for which special appropriations were made. . . .$ 3,050.00

There will be an avernge of 540 patients to be sup-
ported from October 1, 1876. until March 1,

1877 .52,418.57


Leaving balance en hand March 1, 1877 $ 28,635.29

Cost of maintainiDg 550 patients from March 1, 1877, to March

1, 1878, at $4.50 per week $129,064.00

Leas balance on baud March 1 $28,635 .29

Due from counties 35,109 17


Leaving to be appropriated for current expenses $ 66,309 54

For purchase of land between hospital and raUroad depot $ 300.00

For additional wings for chronic insane, as recommended in

reports of 1874 and 1875 116,000.00

For changing water-closets of the north wing to correspond

with those of the south wing 1,000.00

For additional material for changing heating apparatus of

north wing 2,600.00

For Boilers 8,000.00

For improvements on grounds and tor farm purposes 2,500.00

For building pier and tramway, which is necessary as pro-
tection against exhorbitant freight rates 3,500.00

For laboratory 600.00

For lamp-posts 250.00

Experience has demonstrated to us that the lead-safes
placed under the water-tanks afford no protection from the drip
caused by the condensation from the atmosphere, the drip being
the same from the safe as it is from the tanks. It will be neces-
sary to have this remedied, as the water destroys all plastering

through which it passes. Therefore, for this purpose we ask

$600. Total appropriation asked, ;!!i99,549.54.
Respectfully submitted.

D. W. Maxon,
Peter Rupp,
N. A. Gray,
Thos. D. Grimmer.

The following extracts are copied from
Superintendent Kempster's report:

The hospital proper consists of a central building with
wings on each side. The central building is one hundred and
six feet long, and sixty feet wide, and is four stories high. The
building is used for administrative purposes and contains the
business offices and apothecary shop, the living-rooms of the
house-staff, and rooms for subordmates; it also contains a
room fifty-seven by thirty-six feet which is used as a chapel and
lecture-room. In the attic of this building there is an iron tank
of three hundred barrels capacity, into which water is pumped
to supply this building and some of the adjoining wings, and
from which there is a pipe having outlets on the several floors
for hose connections.

The wings on each side of the center building are so nearly
alike that the description of one will suffice for both. Adjoining
the center building is a section of the wing, one hundred and
seventeen feet long by fifty-two feet wide ; each story contain-
ing fourteen single rooms and two associate sleeping-rooms.
The single rooms are twelve feet high, nine feet wide, and
eleven feet six inches deep. Each room contains one or more

Online LibraryRichard J HarneyHistory of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and early history of the Northwest → online text (page 49 of 71)