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Platteville History

Source: Sangamo Journal/Illinois State Journal, 16 July 1841; transcribed by MD:

The Galena Gazette states that a Mint designed for the establishment of an "exclusive specie currency," was broken up a few days since at Platteville, Wisconsin Territory. All the machinery was seized, and metal enough to make $20,000 of bogus money."

Source: Grant County Witness (Platteville, WI), 21 Jan 1875; transcribed by MD:

One of Platteville's heaviest tax-payers (and by the way he is the only one we think to whom the anecdote we are about to relate could apply) was in one of the shops on Main Street a few days since when the following conversation ensured:

"Well? Mr. _____ have you paid your taxes yet?"

Wealthy tax payer.--No, I haven't. I let it run on till after the 1st of January, and then I thought I wouldn't be in a hurry as I'd have to pay the 4 per cent, additional anyhow.

Shopkeeper--Well, but you had till the 12th, at one per cent. Don't you take the Witness?

Wealthy tax payer--No, confound the Witness. It never was worth anything to me. I haven't taken it for years.

Shopkeeper--Well, the Town treasurer advertised for two or three weeks that he would receive taxes at 1 per cent until the 12th, so if you had taken the paper you would have saved enough to pay two or three year's subscription.

W.T. Payer.--Is that so? Well I lost more than that. My additional per centage amounts to between fifteen and sixteen dollars.

We give the above simply to show that it is to the interest of everybody to patronize their home paper. Here this man really thought that the Witness would be of no account to him and so never subscribed for it. But there is no telling in how many things he might have been benefited had he been a regular subscriber at the insignificant cost of four cents per week.

Source: The Milan Exchange (Milan, TN), 15 July 1880; transcribed by MD:

The Hodges Bank, at Platteville, Wis., was very cleverly swindled out of $1,900 on the 5th, by James Drew, a professional bank swindler, by means of a forged draft and letters of introduction. He got off safe with his booty.

Source: The National Tribune (Washington, DC), 8 Feb 1883; transcribed by MD:

Comrade C. Weittenhiller, Platteville, Wis., writes us that a new Post is about to be established at that place. Application has already been made for a charter, and it is thought that the Post will be one of the largest in the Department.


Source: New York Tribune, 12 Februrary 1884; transcribed by MD:

Chicago, Feb 11.--A dispatch to The Journal from Platteville, Wis., says: "The Platteville Bank closed its doors to-day. The liabilities are $150,000; assets $230,000. The affair creates great excitement as many local depositors had all their money in the bank."

The Bank Failure.

Source: St. Paul Daily Globe (St. Paul, MN), 13 Feb 1884; transcribed by MD:

PLATTEVILLE, Wis., Feb 12.--The estimated assets of Isaac Hdoges' bank are about $260,000, and consist of real estate, notes, bonds, mortgages, overdrafts and accounts. The liabilities about $125,000. The entire assets of the bank have been assigned to J. H. Evans, who will enter into the discharge of the trust, and settle with the depositors. The suspension was the result of unsecured advances, made principally to shippers of grain and stock. There is no suspicion of fraud, either against Hodges, the proprietor, or O. F. Griswold, the cashier; but it is a misfortune brought about solely by unsecured overdrafts.

Source: Mower County Transcript (Lansing, MN), 20 Feb 1884; transcribed by MD:

The banking house of Isaac Hodges closed its doors at Platteville, Wis, on the 11th.

Source: Little Falls Transcript (Little Falls, MN), 29 Aug 1884; transcribed by MD:

Northrop & Co., private bankers, Platteville, Wis., pulled down the blinds.

Source: New Ulm Review, 27 Aug 1890; transcribed by MD:

Boys near Platteville found the skeleton of an anteluvian giant.

Source: New Ulm Weekly Review, 5 Nov 1890; transcribed by MD:

Platteville's City Council refuses to allow an electric light mast to be erected on Main Street.

Intercollegiate Prohibitionists.

Source: Bismarck Weekly Tribune, 24 May 1895; transcribed by MD:

MADISON, Wis., May 21.-- On June 7 the Intercollegiate Prohibition association will holds its annual meeting here. After the business meeting in the afternoon the customary oratorical contest will be held in the evening. The present officers of the association are: Edward James, president, Lawrence university; Miss Etta Robinson, secretary, Platteville normal school; F. W. Barber, manager of lecture bureau, University of Wisconsin; Lee Bassett, treasurer, Lawrence college.

Source: Platteville Journal Flashback--75 Years Ago--April 5, 1916; transcribed by MD:

A Dubuque paper reports a great flock of juncos flying north over that city. These are dainty little birds smaller than an English sparrow. The flock was over a half hour passing a given point.

Source: Platteville Journal Flashback--75 Years Ago--March 15, 1916; transcribed by MD:

Platteville will settle the "wet-dry" issue by referendum.

Source: Platteville Journal Flashback--75 Years Ago--March 15, 1916; transcribed by MD:

Milwaukee business men included Platteville in their annual good will trip.

Source: Platteville Journal Flashback--75 Years Ago--March 15, 1916; transcribed by MD:

The European war is responsible for increasing cost of junk. Cast iron is bringing $10 a ton, and mixed iron $8 ton.

Source: Platteville Journal Flashback--75 Years Ago--March 15, 1916; transcribed by MD:

Platteville collects more income tax than all the rest of the county put together. $1906 was collected in Platteville of which the city gets 70 percent, Grant County 20 percent, and the state 10 percent.

Source: Platteville Journal Flashback--75 Years Ago--April 5, 1916; transcribed by MD:

Beautiful lots in Monroe Park addition go on sale at $1.25 to $1.65 a week at Monroe st. and Fifth Ave.

As Reported By The Journal:

Area Mines Going Strong But Were They Profitable in 1917?

(It Happened In Platteville 85 Years Ago)

Source: Platteville Journal Flashback in 2002; transcribed by MD

Despite a shortage of electric power, and high prices for supplies and labor, zinc mining in the Platteville area was strong and growing 85 years ago as the year 1917 started.

Prices and electricity shortages cut holes into profits for area companies, yet the companies were putting large amounts of money (sometimes over $100,000 per mine) back into their operations for new machinery.

Landowners on whose property the mining companies had easements appeared to be the best off as they were taking in a 10 percent royalty.

In this mining district, which included the regions of Highland, Mifflin, Linden, Cuba City, Platteville, Benton, Hazel Green, Galena and Mineral Point, a total of 219,128 tons of zinc ore were taken from the ground in 1916, valued at over $10 million.

The Platteville region had the largest amount of ore extracted from the ground with the Hodge mine leading the Platteville mines with 5,521 tons. Other Platteville mines included the Klar-Piquette mine at 1,900 tons, East End at 3,927, West Hill at 723, Kister-Stephens at 853, Star at 834, M and H Mine at 243, and Block House mine at 1,806.

However, as active as the Hodge mine was, it paled in comparison to the Champion Mine at Benton which had over 12,000 tons of ore taken in 1916.

The Vinegar Hill Mining Company was very active in 1916. The company had built plants at the Blackstone, Graham, and Yewdall mines and equipped with the latest and best in mining equipment. A new plant at the Meloy mine in Shullsburg is nearly done, and the company is sinking a new shaft on the Jefferson property at Hazel Green.

In addition, Vinegar Hill had built a building in Platteville (present American-Legion building) and will occupy it soon.

The Utt-Thorne Co. of Platteville has purchased the old ice plant here and disposed of that machinery. The plant has been remodeled for their use and is now selling a full line of mining machinery and supplies. Utt-Thorne purchased the building and machinery of the Enterprise, Beacon Hill, Horseshoe, Scheuer, Mills, and Klar-Piquette mines, razed the buildings and disposed of the old equipment. The company has also recently taken over the Harris mine in Mineral Point and put in new machinery. The Harris mine will soon be put back into operation.

The Lawrence mine near Elmo burned to the ground in 1916 after a year back in operation producing low grade ore. The owners are now re-drilling for a new shaft and expect to be back in operation in 1917.

The Benton Roaster continues ownership under the Utt-Thorne Co. of Platteville. It has recently taken over the Big 8 mine, installing new machinery and drilling a new shaft.

The Wilson Mine at Potosi continues its busy production schedule. It is now running 24 hours a day with new equipment.

The Tiffany Zinc Co. at Potosi just completed installation of a 200 ton mill.

U.S. Steel has made its presence known in the area as it is now operating the Mulcahy Mine. This is the first intrusion into the district by the national giant.

The new Meyers-Whaley shoveling machine has local miners and mining companies excited. It has recently been introduced to mining ventures in southwest Wisconsin at both the Wisconsin Zinc and Vinegar Hill operations.

Platteville Plans Tourist Campsite

Source: Duluth News-Tribune (Duluth, MN) 28 May 1922; transcribed by MCK:

Platteville, Wis., Jan 27.--The city council, aided by several women's clubs, have prepared a camping ground for tourists eight blocks from Main street. The site is provided with running water, lights, fireplaces and fuel. Signs posted on all roads into the city direct the motorists to "Follow the Red Arrow" to the campsite.

Wright's Drug Store

Platteville's Downtown Historic District: Then & Now

Source: The Platteville Journal (Platteville, WI) ~1993; transcribed by MCK:

The structure at 105 East Main Street was built by George W. Wright in 1884. It was known then as "Wright's Drug Store." Through the years, the building has mainly been occupied by drug stores. However, today it is the site of the "Thrift Shop" and is owned by Val Tregloan.

Settled in response to the discovery of lead ore in the area, the original village of Platteville was platted in 1835. Designed around existing miners' diggings and lead ore smelters, Platteville was patterned after English villages with narrow streets, thin lots, and a village square. Platteville's Main Street Commercial Historic District encompasses the early Second Street commercial area established in the 1840s, and the Main Street area where development occurred in the 1850s.

The Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1990 and consists of more than 60 historic commercial, religious, social, governmental and industrial buildings. The majority exhibit the Italianate style of architecture, but the Federal, Romanesque, Queen Anne, Classical and Mediterranean styles are also represented in the district.

(Materials courtesy of the city Community Development Office.)

State Bank of Platteville

Source: The Platteville Journal (Platteville, WI) 4 Mar 1993; transcribed by MCK:

The bank at 35 East Main Street was built in 1892 and was occupied by the State Bank of Platteville. In 1900, the bank had a capital of $60,000 with J.P. Huntington as president and Duncan McGregor as vice president. Sometime in the 1970's the building became "First Federal Savings and Loan". Today the structure stands vacant.

(Materials courtesy of the city Community Development Office.)

Tracy's Avalon Theatre

Source: The Platteville Journal (Platteville, WI) ~1993; transcribed by MCK:

The structure at 95 East Main Street was built in 1930, by William C. Tracy. Tracy had a dream-"To give Platteville a beautiful House of Mirth, a handsome temple of entertainment and amusement." His dream became a reality on Thursday, Dec. 11, 1930, when Tracy's Avalon Theatre opened its doors to the public. The cost to build the theatre was $85,000. This substantial investment provided movie patrons the most modern and luxurious theatre of its time; no detail was spared. The theatre was designed to create a "Spanish atmosphere". Its acoustics made it the most modern in the country. Tracy's theatre was equipped with the latest sound system that enabled movie-goers to hear the human voice, not merely a reproduction. The side walls and ceiling of the theatre were treated with special acoustical plaster which prevented the reverberation of sound and the aisles of the theatre were carpeted. There was a full-size stage with automatic velour curtains. A ventilation system was installed that allowed pure fresh air to be circulated into the theatre. Ample exits in the front and rear of the building were added to insure the safety of its patrons. Every known modern convenience and invention in the theatrical industry had been marshalled for Tracy's Avalon Theatre. The theatre provided a variety of entertainment: the latest and finest feature pictures and comedy films, novelties, vaudeville acts, and road shows.

In 1945, John O'Connor and his wife, Jo, began operating the "Avalon Theatre". Family movies were shown to keep pace with the ever-changing entertainment industry. The O'Connors sold the theatre in 1974. In 1979, Stanley and Kathleen Steers purchased the theatre and continued to use it as a movie theater. The theatre has been known as "The Avalon". In 1991, the theatre closed its doors. Today, the theatre remains vacant. "Downtown Discs" and the "Chamber of Commerce" office is located on the first floor, next to the theater, and "House of Bernard Allen" is located in the basement. It is presently owned by Kathleen Steers.

(Materials courtesy of Dr. David Canny with credit to: State Historical Society of Wisconsin and Sherwin Gillett, photographer. Building facade improvement designs and design assistance available to the historical district...???)

Source: History of Grant County, Wisconsin (1881) Platteville; submitted by Mary Saggio:












Platteville is one of the southeasterly towns of Grant County, as also one of the more highly cultivated and prosperous, with abundant resources, both vegetable and mineral; is bounded on the north by the town of Lima, on the east by La Fayette County, on the south by Smelser, and on the west by Harrison, and contains a total of 23,040 acres of land, fairly divided into prairie and timber.  It is well watered by Little Platte River and its branches, Block-House Creek and other streams furnishing superior water-power, which has been successfully employed in operating mills, etc.  The Galena & Southwestern and Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroads, enter the township from opposite points, and converging at the city of Platteville afford ample facilities for communicating with all points immediate and remote, and are of incalculable value to farmers, merchants and the world at large as mediums of exchange and mutual benefits.



The first settlement made in this township – indeed, in the county – for the settlement of what subsequently became Grant County was commenced on the present site of Platteville City – was begun in the spring of 1827.  Fifty and four years ago the foundations of a new empire had been laid in the almost undiscovered lands of the Northwest, which have since blossomed into a more than perfect realization of what was hoped for by its founders.  These were composed of men who were the natural architects of success; not men who, like chameleons, only reflect and have no positive coloring of their own; but as Saul among his brethren stood head and shoulders above them, so stood these pioneers as compared with succeeding generations.  Many of them are dead, but their works live after them.  Rest well, grand old men who have dropped like grains of “good corn” and lie “warm in your earthly beds!”

In November, 1827, John H. Rountree, still a prominent and distinguished resident of the township, accompanied by Maj. J. B. Campbell and two men named William Ruby and John McWilliams, made his advent into future Platteville, attracted thither by the opportunities he had ascertained only awaited the hand of industry and enterprise to pluck without resistance.  The previous spring it might be interpolated.  Mr. Rountree had satisfied himself of these facts and began negotiating for the purchase of a claim owned by one Emanuel Medcalf, who discovered its value some time before while prospecting for mineral.  After several attempts to effect its purchase which had failed to culminate, Messrs. Rountree and Campbell accomplished their object, paying for the title $3,600; contingently upon its equaling moderate expectations, and at the period indicated, came into the territory to test its value and identify themselves with the development of this portion of the “lead mines.”  These adventurous comers knew that, with patient watch and untiring diligence they would reap a generous reward, and having erected a sod cabin twelve feet square on the branch about two hundred yards southeast of Mr. Rountree’s present mansion, corner of Pine and Lydia streets, began working the claim as the breath of advancing winter made them to realize that the fall with all its glories had vanished, to be laid in the great storehouse of the past.  Through storm and sunshine, when the icy air swept down the valley of the branch chilling all before its way, these four men toiled on from early to late hoping and thinking that, with the dawn of spring, their labors, their enterprise and their patience would be rewarded.  So hoped and thought Columbus as he lay at anchor among the drifting seaweed and waited for the dawn of the day.  Nor was he disappointed, nor were the toilers in the lead discovered by Emanuel Medcalf, doomed to failure.  Before the wandering snow flakes, sweet and silent messengers from a sinless region, had ceased to fall and kiss the earth’s brown breast with their soft white lips, the toilers had laid up a hundred-fold of the treasure gathered with the “pick and gad.”  In truth, the results which attended the efforts of this quartette who first came to Platteville Township are said to have been of the most generous character.  But there was no furnace nearer than Gratiot’s Grove or Galena in which the raw material could be rendered a marketable commodity, and until one was built the mineral was slacked up awaiting its completion.

During the inhospital winter of 1827-28, there were but few arrivals of men who became settlers.  A limited number of huts, of the most primitive description and conveniences, skirted the incline, upon which the Gates House has since been erected, put up by an invoice of careless, quixotic, wandering miners, who tarried but long enough to prospect, yet not sufficiently long to realize, and went hence in search of more inviting if less hospitable scenes.  That is, when the ice and snow, in which the hills and vales were wrapped, yielded place to the sunlight and affection of returning spring.  With the arrival of that season, Messrs. Rountree and Campbell began the building of a rude log furnace and hurried the same so effectually that is completion was announced before summer.  It was located in the Rountree tract, in sight of the habitation of these gentlemen, on a line between Mr. Rountree’s present residence and Virgin’s mill.  They also put up what, for those times, was known as a commodious and pretentious domicile, on their tract, now opposite the foot of Oak street.  It was a single story double log house, with a long hallway running down the middle, and adapted to the uses of a caravansary, for the accommodation of men employed by the parties operating the mine.  Here came that spring Frederick Holman and family, accompanied by James R. Vineyard.  Mr. Holman’s family consisted of himself, wife and four children.  He became landlord of the boarding-house, and Mrs. Holman was the second lady, it is believed, who came into the township, Mrs. Medcalf and Mrs. Lewis, her daughter, being the first of the opposite sex to locate in these comparatively unknown wilds of the time mentioned.  The same spring a Mr. Jones escorted his wife and three young ladies of venturesome temperament into the Territory, and, putting up a log cabin near where Mr. Potter now lives on Water street, were enrolled as among the pioneer residents of the vicinity.  Jacob Hoosier settled one mile south of the present city, where he still lives.  There were some others came in about this time, though the number was exceedingly limited, and could be expressed without exhaustive numerical faculties.  Among these were Joseph H. Dixon, who, with a younger brother, settled on a tract of land about one and a half miles south of the subsequent city, and made the first attempts of farming undertaken in the township, if not in the county.  They plowed up ten acres of prairie, sowed it to corn, cultivated the latter until it grew yellow in the sunlight, when it was sold to J. H. Rountree, and sufficient was realized unto the producers to enable them to repeat their experiment with increased profit.  The old farm, it is said, on which these early labors were expended, has passed through a varied experience, and is still made to pay tribute to the necessities of mankind.  Col. Dixon died a number of years ago, since when his widow become Mrs. Enoch Robinson, and a resident of the southwestern portion of the town, where she still remains.

This year was rather noted in connection with great endeavors besides those mentioned.  On March 30, Mr. Rountree established the first store in the town.  It was located near where he lived, and contained the usual stock of dry goods, groceries and provisions, obtained in St. Louis and shipped to their final destination via Galena.  The business was transacted on a credit basis, and the distinction between meum and tuum in the obligations thus imposed was as defined and sacredly observed as in portions of the country where sustained by the majesty of the law.

In October, 1827, the settlement was called Platte River and continued under that title until April 7, 1828, when the name was changed to Lebanon, by which it was known until May 20, of the same year, when Platteville was substituted and still obtains.  From records beyond dispute it appears that the following were resident of the vicinage at that date, in addition to those named:  A. and W. Daugherty, Samuel Kirkpatrick, A. L. Orden, Alexander Willard, B. B. Lawless, John Wellmaker, Waller Rowen, William Morrison, Joseph Brammer, M. M. Woodbridge, Jesse Harrison, Benjamin James, Frederick Reamer, Isaac Yoakum, Thomas Densen, Israel Mitchell, Robert Roper, James R. Vineyard and William B. Vineyard.



In September, 1828, occurred the first marriage in the town, the contracting arties being James R. Vineyard and Miss Mary Jones.  A minister from Galena officiated, but beyond the ceremony there was nothing to interest or entertain the contracted social world established at that day in this vicinity.  Previous to this event, and on August 7, 1828, Maj. Rountree was married, at Galena, to Miss Mary Grace Mitchell.



The same fall an election was held in Platteville, the voters depositing their ballots for State officers of Illinois.  During its progress, a squad of men residing at Elk Grove and Benton visited the polls for the purpose of exercising their prerogative as citizens and, what is not an unusual circumstance upon similar occasions to-day, became pugnaciously inebriated.  The result was a row, which ended in a drawn battle, with the manor born, as it were, retaining possession of the field.

The improvements this year were limited to those already mentioned, namely, the furnace, Holman’s boarding-house, Rountree’s cabin and store house, Jones’ cabin and one other, inhabited by miners.  The Finney patch and Meeker diggings were discovered and worked, and the furnace which began operations in May, smelted mineral for miners working within a radius of twelve miles.  Prairie fires in the spring and fall were the only sources of excitement, the Indians having ceased to be the cause of apprehension or amusement.  A scattering few belonging to the Winnebago tribe wandered aimlessly and harmlessly about the country and pitched a camp upon the banks of the Little Platte in the vicinity of which they hunted and fished, or enjoyed their dolce far niente, afar from the haunts of semi-civilization.  Churches and schools were blessings that had thus far failed to materialize.  Possibly some peripatetic Wesleyan or Calvinist, who combined both professions, may have “joined issue” with ignorance and sin, but according to the most authentic, at the same time reliable, reports, the bliss of the former remained undisturbed and the latter’s presence unrebuked.

The winter of 1828-29 was mild and open, and work was prosecuted without interruption.  A moderate degree of prosperity had accompanied the efforts of those who were employed the previous years, and continued in service during those succeeding, and, as a consequence, there were fewer of the trials incident to hardships indigenous to a new country than in other portions of the lead mines less remote from the humanizing as also tempting influences here wanting.  Early in the spring, Pierre Teller, with his family, settled two miles southwest of the present city, and he was followed by others during the same year.  Among these, were included William and Daniel Richards, the former with his family, and establishing homes in the vicinity of Teller’s settlement.  Thomas Cruson, William Davidson, Thomas Hugill, probably E. M. Orn, Benjamin Good, Benjamin Green, all with domestic dependents, and the usual run of sucker miners came into the township in this year.  The former named remained, but the suckers following the habits of their finny namesakes, returned whence they came with the frost.  This year, a man named Meredeth became involved in a fracas with miners in the southwestern portion of the township, and received injuries which caused his death, said to be the first death happening in the township.  The fact, however, is a mooted question, that distinguished honor being by some awarded to a young man who resided in a miner’s hut near the Teller cabin.  He was taken sick, it is said, with one of the malarial diseases peculiar to the times and place, and before another spring’s violets colored the withered grass of the prairies, a mound was raised in the old cemetery near Virgin’s Mill, another soul was beside the still waters.  His name was not preserved, and, with his fame, is denied to posterity.



The most prominent events described as of record in 1829 was the agricultural beginnings made by Scott Kirkpatrick, and the opening of a post office at Rountree’s store.  Kirkpatrick came here in 1828, and procuring land east of the village site, plowed up ten acres and planted it in corn.  The postal facilities were established at Platteville, so named, as already stated, by Mr. Rountree in 1828, Platte River being the derivation, and that gentleman appointed the Government official.  This he did until October, when further honors were buckled upon his back, and he was obliged to divide his duties as Postmaster with those of Justice of the Peace, he being the first who served in either capacity in the township.  There were mineral discoveries made this year also, chiefly in the vicinity of those already developed.

The year 1830 was marked by no event worthy of preservation on tablets of stone or memory.  Nothing is remembered to have occurred calculated to electrify the world or paralyze the nation, save and except the birth of a daughter to James Vineyard and wife, which cheerful episode is claimed as the first to take place in the town.  The young lady was christened Jane, and successfully passing through the ages of childhood, youth and felicitous maidenhood, was married in 1851, and removed to California with her husband, where Iris, of the ancients, clipped the golden lock of life that the spirit thus disencumbered might plume its wings for flight to the beautiful shore.  The population in 1830 would not exceed forty, it is said, in the township.  There were but two farms – one opened by Dixon, and the other by Kirkpatrick – but purchased that year by Mr. Rountree for consideration of $150.  Mining and smelting was carried on with remunerative results, and provisions and other necessaries could be obtained only at St. Louis.  As yet mills and other conveniences of life, which succeeding years compelled the development of, were unknown factors in the sum of human experience in the wilderness.  As the year advanced, the absence of many features, which subsequently contributed to the prosperity of the mines, was seriously felt, and produced an effect upon the community which, if not entirely cheerless, was not altogether rose-colored.  With the winter came comparatively hard times, depreciation in the price of mineral, scarcity of supplies, and few if any accessions to the population.  This condition of affairs was continued into 1832, when the number of inhabitants is quoted as at no time having exceeded a hundred, including women and children.  In the spring of the latter year, a Methodist minister named Robinson, attached to the Indiana Conference, made a visit to Platteville, and formed a class composed of J. H. Rountree and wife, William B. Vineyard and wife, who settled in the country a few weeks previous, and a very few others, from which sprang the Methodist Church, one of the most flourishing and the oldest religious organizations in either the present city or county.  During the war, services were irregular; but in the fall, the Rev. John T. Mitchell succeeded Mr. Robinson, and formed a circuit made up of Platteville, Mineral Point, Galena and Gratiot’s Grove.



Early in April, 1832 news reached Platteville that the Indians had commenced hostilities and were camped on Rock River, near Dixon, preparing for a campaign of extermination against the whites.  As all are aware, this was the prelude to the Black Hawk war.  Gen. Dodge made requisitions upon all the settlements for troops, in response to which one company was organized at Platteville by J. H. Rountree, who commanded, composed of the following:  George Robison and J. P. Cox, Lieutenants; J. H. Dixon, Cleland McMurry, Hiram Wells, Thomas Brooks, William Davidson, Irwin O’Hara, Frederick Holman, John Henderson, Allen Carpenter, James Hopkins, A. Rasdell, William Dean, Charles Lewis, John Van Wagoner, W. H. Farmer, Edward James, Verni Dawson, George Rosamire, Thomas Fitzpatrick, William Carpenter, Missouri Dixon, J. B. Lavine, D. McGaws, B. H. Duncan, John Barns, James Kaney, J. Sturtevant, Thomas Ion, Abram Travis and Daniel McMullen, Privates.  This company was mustered into service, and, after brief halts at Blue Mounds and Mineral Point, participated in the battles of Wisconsin Heights and Bad Ax, after which it was disbanded.  For the purpose of more effectually furnishing a defense for those remaining behind, a stockade and block-house was erected.  The combination was located on the property of Mr. Rountree, diagonally opposite the present site of the Gates House, and abundantly fulfilled its object.  The stockade was circular in form, about 100 feet in diameter, and the block-house full twenty feet square.  A squad of volunteers under the command of Capt. Irvin O’Hara, manned its defenses, and defied the “wily foe,” which, happily for those who composed it, remained at a distance from the outer walls of the fortress.  With the close of hostilities, the people resumed the arts of peace.  Swords were turned into plows and picks, and spears into pruning hooks, and through their agency was the attempt once more made to woo and win that fickle dame, called Fortune.  The outlook was far from encouraging.  When the war opened, as has already been hinted, lead and other products, upon the sale of which the people depended for support, was low, and the necessaries of life correspondingly high.  Apprehension of the Indians and bounden fears of the future impelled a number to resign their possessions and citizenship and seek more congenial localities.  There was no work of moment begun or concluded this year.  The causes of progress and civilization, touched by the hand of an enemy, had shrunk before the advance of war and become the burial places of bright hopes, high ambitions and dead affections, over which bitter disappointments, unyielding griefs and sorrowful memories were erected as monuments.  In 1833, but very few, who had left the town, returned, and still fewer came to identify themselves with its success.



In the spring of this or the following year, a building was erected on Section 16, to be used as a school and church.  It was of logs, small and without ornament or finish, but the first in the township or county, and second in the State, especially for school purposes, the buildings at Prairie du Chien and Winnebago having preceded it a few months.  The year 1834 ushered in better times.  With what proved to be the dawn of happier days, the pioneers closed the eyes of the dead past, straightened its rigid limbs, and drawing the white sheet of oblivion over the pale corpse, left it to desolation and forgetfulness.  The storm had passed away, the sun of promise shone out with glorious brightness, and the fierce winds of discouragement were hushed, while a rainbow of surpassing beauty sprang from the clouds and arched above the horizon of the future.  In October, the land office was opened at Mineral Point, and occasioned no inconsiderable interest to be manifested in all sections of the country affected by its location.  Very many hastened to the Point from Platteville, and large purchases were made by those who had anticipated the event, and entered the lands during prior years.  In adjoining counties trouble was experienced between settlers and new-comers, the latter largely made up of speculators and adventurers, growing out of disputes involving the questions of title to lands claimed by actual settlers, but purchased as an investment by those who visited the sales on speculative business.  In the town of Platteville, there was a commendable absence of this feature of pioneer life.  No fierce discussions succeeded the purchase of land within its territory, no “wars or rumors of wars” besieged vendees, and no judicial arbitrament was necessary to define or quiet a title.  Notwithstanding the inducements offered for immigration to the town, the arrivals for this and many subsequent years were by no means as large as were anticipated or deserved.  Yet many came in, through whose brawn, industry and enterprise, mines were made to pay tribute to the wealth of the country, wild wastes transformed into productive farms, and puny settlements to extend their limits and graduate into towns and cities.  When Themistocles was asked to play upon a musical instrument, he replied, “I cannot fiddle, but I can make a wilderness a great city,” and the men of whom mention is made as the architects of civilization in Platteville, were counterparts of Themistocles.

The settlers who came in during 1834 were in part made up of Henry Snowden, Richard Waller, Robert Chapman, Benjamin Farmer, T. R. Hugill, Miles Vineyard, Lorenzo Bevans, Richard Huntington, Robert Bonson, Richard Bonson, Samuel Moore and some others, not to omit mention of the arrival of a delegation of Cornish miners who came also this year, some of whose names are cited in the above list.  The year, while not one of boundless prosperity, had, nevertheless, attended the town with a complement of encouragement, and with little to mourn as it paused upon the threshold of departure to contemplate its career, passed silently on the tide of time to the kingdom of obscurity.

What was true in 1835 in regard to the accession of inhabitants, the acquisition of wealth, the improvement of the town and the employment of auxiliaries to the promotion of any of these agencies as means to the development and building-up of the country, applies also to the years that followed in its wake for almost a decade.  A saw-mill, begun by Mr. Rountree the year previous, was finished and commenced operations in 1836.  It was located on Section 9, and was the first of its kind established in the town.  Richard Huntington opened a farm on Section 24, which is now occupied by his son; a man by the name of Carpenter also cultivated property lying in Section 12.  Hon. Edward Eastabrook came in this year and located, as also did Robert Myers, J. Chalders, Thomas Lewis, Edward Hugill, D. Crockett, Thomas Rowe, James Bonson, George Snowden, Miss Ann Snowden (now Mrs. Samuel Moore), and probably a few others, nearly all bringing their families with them.



During the summer, a tragedy occurred on the farm of Benjamin Good, located in the northeastern portion of the town, which occasioned more than a passing excitement.  It seems that an adopted son of Mr. Good was in the timber searching for cattle which had strayed away, when he was accosted by a lad of his own age and challenged to fight.  While the altercation was in progress the former was assaulted and received injuries which resulted fatally within a week.  The young murderer, whose name cannot be ascertained, was apprehended and taken to Mineral Point, where he was locked up.  While thus in the toils, he succeeded by strategy in eluding the vigilance of the bailiff during the day, and could nowhere be found, although a vigorous search was instituted.  It was afterward learned that upon his enlargement he dropped into an abandoned mineral hole near the jail, where he remained until after sundown, and, emerging therefrom in the darkness of the night, made his way through the country to Southern Illinois.  No effort was made to procure his return, and, when last heard from, he was a resident of “Egypt.”



Residents of the town celebrated the anniversary of American independence in 1836, with ceremonials both tempting and patriotic, in a grove on the edge of the village.  Here a stand was erected, from which either S. O. Paine or Lorenzo Bevans orated; the Declaration was read, and the company feasted on the barbecued carcass of an ox, with the attendant vegetable and inebriating condiments.  With the conclusion of the exercises and after the dinner had been discussed, a minor number of the celebrants, bubbling over with their love of the ardent, forgot country, the battle of Lexington and associations suggested by the day, and became vociferously intoxicated.  Some of them mounted the festal board, along which they pranced furiously, sending the dishes in one direction, the crowd in another, and creating a commotion that can only be compared to an Indian stampede.  After prolonging this token of their appreciation until its variety lost its spice, the chief actors retired behind the scenes to recuperate, and the audience, encouraged at the prospect, resumed their more appropriate enjoyments.



In 1837, as will be remembered, a financial panic swept over the country and left its mark upon the commercial world so pronouncedly that its effects were experienced for years afterward.  The residents of Platteville, while only remotely affected by the visitation, were sensibly aware of its presence by the absence of mediums of exchange, and the high price at which commodities were held.  There were few provisions, cereals or vegetables then raised in the town or county, and the people dependent upon foreign sources of supply were in nearly every instance compelled to pay cash for their purchases.  To do this was not always possible; lead was low, and in little demand, and the consequence was that some hardships and privations, though no suffering, was experienced.  There were no improvements to speak of, of a private character, completed or even projected that year.  In February, the county was organized, but this advance accomplished no change for the better.  There was but one schoolhouse, and the educational opportunities were limited to about three months during the year.  Among the cheerful evidences that the citizens still lived was the building and dedication of the first church edifice in this portion of the State.  It was of frame, and considered for the times a pattern of architectural perfection and elegant accommodations; occupying a prominent point of observation on Main street, it was the cynosure of admiration for citizens, and inquiry by strangers for many years.  After serving its purposes for a continued period, the old church was removed to give place to a brick block, now in part occupied by Sanford & Chase, and the Rev. Wellington Weigley, who preached the dedicatory sermon, long since become a resident of Chicago, where he abandoned the “cloth,” and pleads for the forgiveness of sinners for the more lucrative returns incident to an appearance before temporal courts with pleas in abatement and avoidance.

There was nothing beyond the ordinary rules of life occurring during the ensuing years (until the Mexican war) deserving of special mention.  There were occasional arrivals of immigrants, who came into the promised land eloquent with hope and happiness, and laid broad the foundations upon which superstructures of prosperity and felicity have since been erected.  There were occasional departures, too.  Some wandered off to the more distant frontier; while on some, Death daguerreotyped a smile as he gave life to another angel.  Up to 1840, the trust and confidence of man, in these regions remote from business centers, and in the honor and integrity of his neighbor, was as complete and unchangeable as the deductions of a mathematical problem.  A man’s word was, in those days, his certificate of character, and honesty a vital element in his composition.  There were few cases of felony, and tribunals for the adjudication of criminal presentations were not esteemed as indispensable branches of government.  By that year, schools had found abiding-places in the township, and the Gospel was “preached to the multitude.”  Postal and traveling facilities had advanced in a wonderful ratio during the thirteen years of the township’s occupation, and communication was enjoyed with friends and the public at intervals remarked for their brevity.  Stages then ran from Galena to Madison via Platteville, Mineral Point, etc., conducted by Frink & Walker, and afforded accommodations comfortable if not luxurious.  By that year, the lands in the town were all taken up and owned, mostly by occupants.  Indeed, the sum of human happiness, as compared with what it had been in the earlier days of the venture, was an aggregation of features that defied discord and affliction.  After this period, accessions to the population included representatives of a tyye of civilization found in thickly inhabited districts, where good and bad are commingled indiscriminately.  As a result, to express it in the language of one who was prominently identified with the body politic at the time, “there was more hustling than before, and miners, instead of leaving their mineral scattered about indifferently, never dared to leave any out after dark.”  Mining remained in the van of occupations until the discovery of gold in California.  Agriculture was not so much employed as a means of livelihood even after that date.  It required continued labor, and content with small returns, to become a farmer in those days.  The improvements in farm machinery, which have since contributed so effectively to the breaking-up of the prairies, the cultivation of the soil and harvesting of the products were unknown quantities at the time of which mention is here made.  Since that period, however, as is universally known, the population has become numerous, the absence of the unknown quantities supplied, and the wastes and “barrens” been made to blossom as the rose.

On the breaking-out of the Mexican war, the town had become an important and wealthy constituent of Grant County, in all respects mentioned, as also politically.  In that behalf, it was about evenly divided between Whigs and Federalists, with a preponderance in favor of the former.  In June, 1846, Gov. Dodge issued his proclamation, directing the enlistment of one regiment of infantry for service in Mexico, to which, however, no response is on record as having been made by Platteville residents.  Wirom Knowlton, of the city, raised a company, of which he was appointed Captain, with Joseph Morrill and Charles  Brisbois as Lieutenants.  It was composed of men hailing from all parts of the county, and was ordered to Fort Crawford to do duty in place of regulars who had been transferred across the Rio Grande; but beyond a few comparatively insignificant skirmishes with impertinent Indians, no brows were bound with victorious wreaths, or bruised arms hung up for monuments to the prowess and patriotism of volunteers from Platteville.  With the success of the Americans, Peace followed, and spreading its spotless wings over the scenes of war and desolation, inspired the victorious forces with ambitions appropriate and deserving of education.



About this time, gold was discovered in California, and there are very many still living, who not only remember and participated in the excitement that greeted the news, but were drafted into the army of Argonauts which marched thither.  The miners employed in digging throughout the township with one accord abandoned their “leads,” eager to be piloted over the prairie, across the desert and through the canon, that they might snuff the salt air of the Western Ocean, and drag up the hidden wealth reserved for soldiers of fortune beneath the soil of a land that was kissed by her sparkling water.  The miners were not alone in their determination either.  Representatives from every profession and occupation joined the column hastening from the Atlantic to the Pacific, leaving the marks of their bivouacs on the way in graves and skeletons, and “blazing” trees on the route, which guided the advance of succeeding years in the contest for supremacy between civilization and barbarism.  Yet the community survived the inroads made upon its resources – the township prospered – sleeping quietly under its great trees, and smiling with an air of perfect content upon those who abandoned its advantages in their pursuit of wealth, so few of whom wrested their object from its secret hiding-places.  Among those who went out to seek fortune in that far-off region were Curtis Barker, James R. Vineyard, William B. Vineyard, Thomas Cruson, Dr. John Bevans, W. B. Bevans, C. D. Bevans, R. T. Verran, Jackson Basye, William Gross, Joseph Fink, Edmund T. Locke, Octavius Hollman, John Hollman, Fisher Bayley, T. J. Colburn, Adolphus Holliday, D. and M. Comstock, Charles Wright, E. M. Orn, Michael and John Stephens (twins, still living at an advanced age), T. Stephens, Henry Eastman, C. and T. Eastman, Robert Snowden, Milo Jones, Benjamin Green, James Moore and a large number of others, whose identity has been forgotten.  Of those who went out, about sixty per cent returned, while a large proportion removed on the Pacific Coasts, and the remainder either died en route or subsequent to their arrival.  When the excitement, consequent upon the prevalence of the gold fever was at its height, the township was organized under and by notice of an act of the Legislature, and placed under a form of municipal government adapted thereto.  For the past thirty years, the township has made steady progress in all directions that would either mold the intelligence of citizens, or master the development of material resources.  Yet in the haste to become prosperous the pioneers and their descendants realized the fact that “man lives not by bread alone,” and subscribed to the support of schools and churches, the base of civilization and democracy, for the education of the soul and mind.  Including the city of Platteville, there is a total of twelve churches in the township, enjoying a generous support, and wielding an extended influence.  It also sustains six schools, exclusive of three in the city, for which an annual tax of about three mills is assessed, producing an income of nearly $1,100, expended in their support.  Up to 1850 say, the mines, as has been already stated, were vigorously and successfully worked.  Two blast furnaces were required to prepare the mineral for market, and these were constantly employed.  With the departure of gold seekers, mining diminished rapidly, and has never resumed its former prominence.  One furnace was abandoned and fell into decay, while that run by Straw & Spensley is only worked about half-time.  The mines in the Davidson estate, and those discovered three years ago on the Robbins property, principally furnishing the raw material.  Agriculturally, the town made steady advance, though with not that gratifying progress which began in 1861, and continued until 1865, when all the arable land within its limits was taken up and cultivated with profit.

When the war between the sections became an established fact, when the unity of the Federal compact was assailed, and dissolution, anarchy and ruin impended, the town sent among the first of Wisconsin soldiers into the field to repel the enemy and maintain the laws.  Through the contest her citizens responded to each levy made upon them for men and money, until before justice was satisfied, before mercy was content, 500 soldiers and $25,000 were contributed and subscribed, that the star-lit folds of the National ensign should float aloft for the “Bonnie Blue Flag.”  After the war, the soldier died, the citizen was born again, and the heart that throbbed with the hot fever of battle, beat as gently as when in boyhood’s happy day; the child gazed into the near heaven of eyes, that were long since palsied by death.

The half-century, through the good and evil of which the town has lived, is filled with reminiscences to the manor born that rush upon the soul as a mighty torrent, over which a cloud has burst.  They see the country a trackless wilderness, filled with danger, disease and death.  They see the savage foe that once inhabited the wooded fastnesses, rioting in the ruin of settlers’ homes with barbaric joy.  They see him put to flight, dispersed, wiped out, and in his stead appears the videttes of civilization, the advance of that grand army of pioneers that joined issue with the prairies and the forests, and prevailed against them.  They see the relics of another race and another age dissolve from view as bubbles upon the water.  Huts and cabins give place to commodious mansions, forests to smiling fields.  The prairies have become farms whereon the waving grain grows yellow in the sunlight, and the voice of the reapers is heard as they harvest the crop, before the noiseless snow wanders downward from the veiled heavens and wraps in folds of white the autumn leaves and stocks.  But few remain of those who came in the flush of youth and health and hope to battle with the foes of life and happiness in a new country.  Some, long before the morning of life had reached its meridian, fell by the wayside and were heard of no more; some had almost reached the haven of their hopes, but, like a ship dashed against an unknown breaker, went down to death and left no record of their departure.  Many of them died poor, none of them died rich, but all have left behind them a legacy of noble lives.  Lessons of patience in suffering, hopes in adversity and confidence and trust, where no sunbeams lighted up their pathway.  All of them failed to win, with charming endeavors, the fickle goddess, Fortune, but all of them conquered in the battle of life, and stepped forth from the ranks of men, Christians and heroes.


                1849 – Benjamin C. Eastman, Chairman; George W. Lakin and J. N. Jones, Supervisors.

                1850 – John H. Rountree, Chairman; Stephen O. Paine and John H. Durley, Supervisors.

                1851 – Charles W. Wright, Chairman; Joel Potter and James Durley, Supervisors.

                1852 – Charles W. Wright, Chairman; Titus Hayes and N. W. Bass, Supervisors.

                1853 – H. Hurlbut, Chairman; H. Hutchins and Edward Eastabrook, Supervisors.

                1854 – John H. Rountree, Chairman; H. Hutchins and Thomas Chapman, Supervisors.

                1855 – J. H. Rountree, Chairman; N. H. Virgin and Joseph Robinson, Supervisors.

                1856 – John H. Rountree, Chairman; J. F. Kirkpatrick and George J. Coates, Supervisors.

                1857 – N. H. Virgin, Chairman; J. F. Kirkpatrick and John Stephens, Supervisors.

                1858 – Samuel Moore, Chairman; S. O. Paine and John Stephens, Supervisors.

                1859 – Julius Augustine, Chairman; J. F. Kirkpatrick and John Stephens, Supervisors.

                1860 – Allen R. Bushnell, Chairman; George R. Laughton and Calvin Russell, Supervisors.

                1861 – Edward M. Hoyt, Chairman; John Huntington and Henry C. Lane, Supervisors.

                1862 – John H. Rountree, Chairman; Thomas Chapman and Isaac Hodges, Supervisors.

                1863 – John F. Kirkpatrick, Chairman; Thomas Robinson and Henry C. Miller, Supervisors.

                1864 – Isaac Hodges, Chairman; Calvin Russell and Thomas Chapman, Supervisors.

                1865 – Isaac Hodges, Chairman; Joseph Robinson and Carston Hinners, Supervisors.

                1866 – Isaac Hodges, Chairman; Peter Pitts and Carston Hinners, Supervisors.

                1867-68 – Isaac Hodges, Chairman; J. F. Kirkpatrick and Peter Pitts, Supervisors.

                1869 – Isaac Hodges, Chairman; Peter Pitts and Carston Hinners, Supervisors.

                1870-71 – N. W. Bass, Chairman; Robert Neely and Christian Grusse, Supervisors.

                1872 – N. W. Bass, Chairman; Robert Neely and H. S. Rountree, Supervisors.

                1873 – N. W. Bass, Chairman; Christian Grusse and Francis Rowe, Sr., Supervisors.

                1874 to 1879, inclusive – N. W. Bass, Chairman; Peter Pitts and Thomas Chapman, Supervisors.

                1880 – John McArthur, Chairman; George C. Huntington and William Pruessing, Supervisors.

                1881 – John McArthur, Chairman; Frank E. Huntington and William Pruessing, Supervisors.

                Clerks. – R. Hodgson, 1849; Thomas Eastman, 1850-51; B. F. Wyne, 1852-57; A. R. Bushnell, 1858; B. F. Wyne, 1859-64; Milton Graham, 1865-66; Charles W. Hill, 1867-68; W. H. Beebe, 1869; Joel C. Squires, 1870; E. A. Andrews, 1871; J. C. Squires, 1872-73; R. J. Huntington, 1874; C. W. Hill, 1875-79; W. R. Laughton, 1880-81.

                Superintendent of Schools. – J. L. Pickard, 1849; Samuel F. Cleveland, 1850; J. J. Pelatour, 1851; Titus Hayes, 1852; Hanmer Robbins, 1853; Thomas Perry, 1854-55; Hanmer Robbins, 1856-61.  No return for 1862 or subsequently.

                Assesors. – S. F. Cleveland, 1849; Robert Neely, 1850; Thomas Hugill, 1851; Thomas Chapman, 1852; George R. Laughton, 1853; H. Hurlbut, 1854; H. G. Stiles, 1855; J. B. Penn, 1856-58; Thomas Reuder, 1859; J. W. Rewey, 1860; J. B. Penn, 1861-62; Henry G. Stiles, 1863-64-65; J. H. Evans, 1866-67; A. J. McCarn declining to serve, C. T. Overton appointed in his stead; James Durley, 1869-70; Thomas Jenkins, 1871-72-73-74-75; E. Vanderbie, 1876-77-78-79; Thomas Jenkins, Jr., 1880-81.

                Treasurer and Collector. – William H. Zenor, 1849; A. C. Inman, 1850-51; Jonathan B. Moore, 1852; William Butler, 1853; J. Miner, 1854; Leonard Coates, 1855; Thomas Chapman, 1856-57; F. E. Palmer, 1858; Frederick Hollman, 1859; E. T. Mears, 1860; Judson H. Holcomb, 1861; L. M. Devendorf, 1862; Engel Vanderbie, 1863-64; J. H. Holcomb, 1865; John Grindell, 1866; Joseph Meinhart, 1867; Henry Rewey, 1868; Herman Buchner, 1869-70; R. Longhenry, 1871-72-73; J. H. Holcomb, 1874-75-76; C. G. Doels, 1877-88; H. C. Lane, 1879; J. N. McGranahan, 1880; J. H. Holcomb, 1881.

                Justices of the Peace. – Bennett Atwood, A. C. Inman, S. O. Paine and Harrison Bell, 1849; S. O. Paine and A. C. Inman, 1850; W. H. Chapman and J. W. Vanorman, 1851; S. O. Paine and C. C. Clinton, 1852; W. H. Chapman and B. F. Wyne, 1853; F. Hollman and J. W. Vanorman, 1854; B. F. Wyne and I. S. Clark, 1855; no return for 1856; B. F. Wyne, H. G. Stiles and W. H. Chapman, 1857; A. R. Bushnell and N. Goodrich, 1858; B. F. Wyne and W. H. Chapman, 1859; Allen R. Bushnell and N. Goodrich, 1860; B. F. Wyne, E. A. Andrews and Frederick Hollman, 1861; F. Hollman, J. H. Evans and W. H. Chapman, 1862; B. F. Wyne and John D. Wood, 1863; F. Hollman and W. H. Chapin, 1864; Milton Graham and B. F. Wyne, 1865; Frederick Hollman and John Bender, 186; B. F. Wyne and C. W. Hill, 1867; E. A. Andrews and A. W. Bell, 1868; B. F. Wyne and S. O. Payne, 1869; Joel C. Squires and E. A. Andrews, 1870; B. F. Wyne and Augustus Michaeles, 1871; C. Hiners and J. C. Squires, E. Vanderbie to fill vacancy, 1872; B. F. Wyne and W. H. Beebe, 1873; R. J. Huntington and C. W. Hill, 1874; B. F. Wyne and W. H. Beebe, 1875; C. W. Hill and R. J. Huntington, 1876; B. F. Wyne and Charles Weitenhiller, 1877; C. G. Marshall and C. W. Hill, 1878; B. F. Wyne and C. Weitenhiller, 1879; W. R. Laughton and Thomas Jenkins, Jr., 1880; Dennis J. Gardner and Charles Weitenhiller, 1881.

                Constables. – J. B. More, 1849 to 1852 inclusive; T. R. Hugill, 1853 to 1856 inclusive; William Butler, 1857; E. W. Covell and Hudson Thomas, 1858; Hudson Thomas and T. R. Hugill, 1859; A. K. Young and J. H. Holcomb, 1860; J. H. Holcomb and T. R. Hugill, 1861; A. K. Young and C. W. Hill, 1862; C. W. Hill and J. W. Rewey, 1863; J. W. Rewey and E. G. Beckwith, 1864; E. Stephens and W. P. Durley, 1865; W. P. Durley and John Williams, 1866; A. K. Young and T. W. Smelker, 1867; T. W. Smelker, Henry Neihls and P. D. Hendershott, 1868; H. Neils, P. D. Hendershott and G. D. Streeter, 1869; H. Nehls, Thomas Gardner and S. J. Hutchins, 1870; T. R. Hugill, P. D. Hendershott and J. Alford, 1871; T. R. Hugill and Thomas Gardner, 1872; T. R. Hugill and J. H. Holcomb, 1873; James Dodge, Joseph Meinhardt and N. Bradbury, 1874; N. Bradbury and S. B. Spencer, 1875; John Cavanaugh, John T. Davidson and James Hammond, 1876; John Cavanaugh, J. L. Rewey and John P. Sampson, 1877; John Cavanaugh, J. L. Rewey and S. C. Stephens, 1878-79; J. L. Rewey, W. H. Bishop and E. J. Bentley, 1880; John Fawcett, E. J. Bentley and W. H. Bishop, 1881.

                Sealer of Weights and Measures. – John N. Jones, 1850; Samuel Moore, 1855; Edwin McHoyt, 1860; A. J. McCarn, 1861-62; James Dodge, 1863; H. M. Gribble, 1864; F. R. Chase, 1865; A. J. McCarn, 1866-67; Samuel Stern, 1868; N. Messersmith, 1869; Thomas White, 1870; A. J. McCarn, 1871-72; J. H. Evans, 1873; no returns for 1874; E. H. Doscher, 1875; F. R. Chase, 1876, 1877 and 1878; E. H. Doscher, 1879.

                Town Agent. – N. W. Bass, 1874, 1875, 1876, 1877 and 1878.



The city of Platteville is situated in the heart of the lead mining region, surrounded by a beautiful and fertile agricultural country.  The city is irregularly laid out, yet with considerable taste, though it bears the appearance, as is claimed by some writers on the subject, of having sprung up of its own accord.  Its irregular character is accounted for in part by the fact that in early days it was a mining settlement, and in surveying the streets it was necessary to respect the rights of miners who owned mineral shafts on its present site, which were subsequently filled up.



In 1835, Maj. J. H. Rountree, to whom the present generation is indebted for the growth and prosperity that for a half a century has attended Grant County, Platteville Township and city, caused the survey of the southeastern portion of the present city.  Thomas Hugill ran the lines and laid off nineteen lots.  At the conclusion of his work, operations were suspended, to be resumed when the entire city was surveyed and platted, and lots became accessible to purchase.

At that day there were no improvements of any kind on the present site.  The little cabin of Miles M. Vineyard occupied a limited portion on the slope south by east of where the Gates House now is, and the improvements made by Mr. Rountree on his farm.  Richard Waller owned a cabin near Hawley’s factory of to-day; the Rountree furnace on Mineral street; the schoolhouse and church on Section 16; and miners’ cabin located at large in the direction of the mill subsequently erected by N. H. Virgin and others, embraced the improvements made within sight of the prospective village.  Upon the completion of the survey, Maj. Rountree put up a frame store at the corner where the post office now is, the lumber for which was obtained at McKee’s mill in the southeast corner of Harrison Township.  That fall a grocery was established on Grocery street by William Miller, whose stock in trade was made up of bibulous compounds.  Robert Chapman erected a blacksmith-shop on the corner of Main and Oak streets, and one or two small cabins sprang up near the Branch.  These were all the improvements completed before winter.  Among the citizens who were then or afterward became prominent, were Maj. Rountree, J. R. Vineyard, W. Vineyard, M. M. Vineyard, Samuel Moore, Henry Snowden, Richard Waller, Joseph Chalders, J. W. Woodcock, W. W. Barstow, Robert Chapman, Irving O’Hara, William Martin, Thomas Lewis and John Wiley.

In this year occurred the first marriage celebrated in the future city, being that of George Rosemeyer and Fanny Jones, Maj. Rountree, in his capacity of Justice of the Peace, officiating.  There was no merry-making, the usual incident to modern weddings; the happy couple took no note of such formalities, but subsided into practical life, without the attendance concomitants of wine, cake, etc.

The spring of 1836 was without features of importance; if there was any of more than passing consequence, they have escaped without having been placed on record.  Early in the spring, Maj. Rountree built a hotel, the first in the town, on the corner opposite the post office, where it was known for many years as the “Blundell House,” of which William Blundell was the landlord.  It afterward became the Adams House, and, during the small-pox epidemic of 1843, was the scene of a number of fatal cases.  The same season, James W. Woodcock opened a grocery on Grocery street; one or two log residences were located on Mineral street; James Eastabrook made him a home on Market street; Samuel Mitchell came into the settlement and put up a frame house on Main street, where O. C. Griswold now lives; the Rev. James Mitchell erected a residence on Main street, where John Grendell now resides; and these constituted the buildings which found an abiding-place during this year.

John Barstow was the village carpenter; Samuel Moore and Robert Chapman, the village blacksmiths; Drs. Locey and John Bevans diagnosed diseases and prescribed remedies; the Rev. James Mitchell divided his time between commercial pursuits and preaching the Gospel, and is said to have been not only eloquent and persuasive, but capable of sustaining his position in arguments, to which the exciting times occasionally gave birth, when he was almost overwhelmingly convincing.  On one occasion, the threat of a citizen to shoot him on sight was brought to his notice a short time before it was necessary for him to enter the pulpit.  Thereupon he procured a pair of dueling pistols, and, placing them along side the cushion on the reading desk, promulgated his knowledge of the fate reserved for his acceptance, and that he was prepared to join issue without unnecessary delay.  There was a notable absence of lawyers up to this time, and for some years after.  The inhabitants usually settled their disputes by arbitration or according to more effective modes of action.  In the first place, they were, as a rule, composed of men who rarely failed to requite their promises and discharge their obligations.  Theft was almost unknown, and refusals to abide by the terms of a contract were of exceptional infrequency.  As illustrative of this, the following is related:  During the forties, a citizen of the town, who was working a lead in the vicinity, failed to realize his hopes before his exchequer became exhausted, and, in a condition of mind pardonably discouraging, he visited the store of Samuel Moore, and related his grievances to the proprietor.  The lead was there; he knew it, and if he could obtain the means to enable him to prosecute his search to a finality, he would be richly rewarded.

“Well, what do you want?” interrogated Mr. Moore.

“I want powder, fuse; my tools are worn out, and my family is in want of necessaries,” he replied.

“You can have them,” responded Mr. Moore, and availing himself of the accommodation, resumed work.  In about thirty days he “struck it big,” and the first thing he did after making a sale was to liquidate the liability he had been permitted by Mr. Moore to undertake.

Nor was this all.  Some months after, his benefactor was on the eve of visiting St. Louis to lay in his stock, when the successful miner called, and after inquiring as to his financial needs, insisted upon Mr. Moore’s acceptance of a large sum of money, to be taken out in trade.  Of such material was the early citizens of Platteville composed.

The supplies of groceries and edibles were then obtained at St. Louis; those of dry goods and notions at New York.  The former came by boat to Galena, thence overland to Platteville.  The latter, however, were shipped to their destination via New Orleans, thence to St. Louis and home.

The amusements were of the most primitive and limited character, being made up of dances, sociable and card-playing; and although the games of poker, seven-up and whist were never without patrons, gambling was as a rule rarely indulged.  Occasionally a “sport” would put in an appearance, and hiring a saloon for a certain period, set up his game and gather in what he was able to bet on faro, roulette and other ventures.  But as stated, gambling was not of so universal a character as in the mining regions elsewhere.

In the spring of 1837, the population of the future city was estimated at about 200, including women and children.  The Methodist Church, on Main street, the first exclusively church edifice erected in the city, was commenced this season.  Benjamin and Sanford Farmer built and opened a saloon this year on the corner of Main and Third streets; Sylvester Gridley put up a store and residence on the present site of I. Hodges’ bank, and these, with a few cabins and tents scattered about the city at long intervals, comprehended the list of improvements.  During 1838-39, the village seems to have progressed but indifferently.  The hard times, failure of banks in Illinois, scarcity of money and other causes, combined to delay either emigration or the expression of enterprise.  But some came in and identified themselves with the town, and though the outlook was far from cheerful they remained, and, taking the tide of affairs at its ebb, rolled on to glory and fortune.

While material interest may have lagged, the same cannot be said of those relating to religious and educational affairs.  Schools had been established, the academy had been incorporated, and a subscription made for the erection of a building, and in these and some other respects a steady advance is said to have been witnessed.  The early pioneers, though as a rule uneducated, evidenced a commendable interest in the cause of learning, and a determination to supply their descendants with that to which themselves had been comparative strangers.  To the influences exerted at this early day was the superior reputation of Platteville as an educational center to be attributed, for twenty-five years ago, it was known all over the State, and so pronounced was the reputation it had acquired in that behalf in 1866, that the city was made the point for the location of a State Normal School, which is now one of the most prominent and highly prized of the Normal Schools in the country.

The fall of 1838 is represented to have been unprecedentedly dry.  In consequence of this steamboats found it extremely difficult to pass the rapids on the Mississippi River, and the inhabitants of Platteville could only obtain their supplies of coffee, whisky, sugar and tobacco at great cost.  In the year, 1839, the Northern Badger, the first paper in the city, was established.  The paper was a stock concern, and owed its origin to Maj. Rountree, who procured the press and type in St. Louis.  In the following year the Academy was organized; in 1842, A. M. Dixon was employed as principal at an annual compensation of $500, and he, it is said, gave the cause of education its first enthusiastic impulse.  The first lawyer to settle professionally in Platteville came also in 1839.  He was Wirom Knowlton, who was converted during the small-pox epidemic of 1843, and expecting to die caused his coffin to be made by one of the carpenters, and handsomely trimmed and stuffed, so that no delay might prevent the immediate interment of his remains.  But he survived an attack of the disease, commanded a company during the Mexican war, and lived for many years, notwithstanding the premonitory admonitions which, as he supposed, enveloped him with pustules.  Of the remaining counselors, advocates and lawyers who flourished here in early days, B. C. Eastman, Lorenzo Bevans and George W. Lakin came in 1840; James M. Goodhue, afterward publisher of the Herald and St. Paul Pioneer, delayed his arrival until 1842, while S. O. Paine and C. K. Lord came still later.  The early physicians, it may here be observed, were Drs. Bevans, Russell and Basye, of the regular school, and J. C. Campbell, who killed or cured with lobelia and steam.

Thus, practically, was the condition of affairs with the dawn of 1840.  For the reasons cited, the growth of the city had been backward, and the improvements, both in point of numbers and quality, were of the most limited and inexpensive character.  Main street, as compared with its present prosperity, bore the appearance of desertion.  True, buildings, or rather cabins, lined that thoroughfare, but no more equaled the number or graceful attractions of those at present enrolled than an oleaginous Numidian is to be compared to the Phryne of Praxiteles.

Among the merchants who were present, prominent and prosperous at the beginning of this decade were O’Hara & Hopper, on Grocery street, the third door from the corner of Main; J. S. and S. Bass, on Mineral street, opposite the City Park, Sylvester Gridley, where Hodges bank now is; L. W. Link, French & Baker, and D. & N. Kendall, all on Grocery street.  The Platteville Hotel was built this year by William Martin, and Dr. Deffenbacher’s present residence, corner of Mineral and Bonson street, materialized.  But as already hinted, building was confined to very few undertakings.  This rule prevailed also during the year 1841.  Nothwithstanding that the village was duly incorporated that year, and enjoyed the services of such distinguished ministers as the Revs. James and Samuel Mitchell, B. T. Kavanagh, Rufus Spaulding and Elder Weed; the lawyers, doctors and merchants have already been mentioned, but it should not be omitted that Ezra Adams, John Bevans and French & Mitton kept hotels; Messrs. C. K. Lord, Durley and Colter officiated as Justices of the Peace, while O’Hara & Hopper, Carson & Morrison, the Vineyards and David Seeley were smelters.

Among the residents of that day who have since become famous, was Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth, the authoress, who resided with her husband on Second street in the city.  The couple had come into the country some months previous, but failing to secure a living, had been furnished with means by his relatives to return whence he came; but he was indisposed to do this, and with the fund subscribed to procure his departure, together with some further assistance from other sources, he established himself as a tinner in the old log schoolhouse.  Success attended his efforts, when he moved on to Second street, invented a patent lamp, made considerable money, with which he removed to New York, where he deserted his wife, who had recourse to the “pen,” and wrote “The Deserted Wife” and other tales, while he wandered amid the vine-clad hills and sunny vales of California.  In time he returned to learn that she was “famous,” wealthy, and a resident of Boston, which rejoiced his soul exceedingly (as he was impecunious) and hastening to her domicile he made overtures for a reconciliation, but this accomplished no results, and he went back to California where he died.

In 1842, James and Samuel Moore, Isaac Hodges, E. Bayley and John Kemler were added to the commercial responsibilities of the town.

On the night of January 29, 1843, occurred the first fire which visited the village.  Late in 1842, John H. Nichols, a resident of Southport, on Lake Michigan, consigned a stock of goods to Platteville, and opened a store in the frame house of Maj. Rountree, where the post office now is.  George Laughton, still a resident of the city, was placed in charge and slept in the store.  Between 1 and 2 o’clock on the morning in question, Mr. Laughton was aroused by the cry of fire, and narrowly escaped destruction with the premises.  An examination into the causes of the conflagration, induced the belief that it was the work of an incendiary, and the indignation consequent upon this supposition created the most intense excitement.  On the following day a public meeting was convened in the village, at which resolutions condemnatory of the alleged act were adopted, and threats of lynching the supposedly guilty party indulged.  This calamity was presented, however, and the circumstance was, in time, lost sight of in the whirl of events.

This was a year of notable events.  On February 4, James Paul, accompanied by a half-breed, made a trip to Ontonagon, a distance of 300 miles, over a comparatively trackless wilderness for the purpose of claiming what has since become celebrated in the history of the copper regions, as “Copper Rock,” located in Michigan on the shores of Lake Superior.  James R. Vineyard, James Hammonds and Grosevenor proceeded thither also, by the lake route, and the little company collected from Platteville held the fort until dispossessed of their possession by the United States forces, and for a valuable consideration.

The winter was remarkably prolonged and severe, succeeded by a spring both unprecedented and alarming.  It was changeable and complex as the variations of a kaleidoscope.  On the 22d of February, the mercury in the thermometer was frozen, and blizzard blasts ranged over the prairies, down this street and then down that, tweaking noses and pulling ears, and completely paralyzing the business and other interests of the community.  In April, the snow disappeared, and was succeeded by falls of rain and peals of thunder, the like of which had never been previously experienced.  During one of these storms, a wedding party was overtaken on the ridge, near the present residence of Hanmer Robbins.  Thinking to secure protection, the prospective bride and groom, with their guests, took refuge beneath the wagon, and narrowly escaped drowning.  They succeeded in reaching the Platteville Hotel, however, where the services of a Justice were procured, the twain consolidated, and the storm was forgotten in the festivities which followed.

In those days “charivaris” were vouchsafed newly married men and women, which were provocative of emphatic profanity in some cases, and often taxed the patience of performers.  The last of these happened about 1843 or 1844, when a Mr. Shinn was married to the sister of Dr. Clark.  The bridal couple went to Dubuque on their wedding trip, and while absent arrangements were completed for greeting their return with a vociferous welcome.  They managed to avoid the preliminaries concluded upon, and gain the bride’s home by a back way, before the minstrels were aware of their presence in the village.  When this fact was brought to the knowledge of the artists engaged, they became furious, and proceeding to the residence of those immediately interested, where they set up such an orchestra of discordant arrangements that the entire town was attracted to the scene.  But Shinn and the madame refused to be admonished by these hints, and laughed at the efforts of their persecutors.  The latter determined to conquer, redoubled their efforts, and prolonged the contest until, at the expiration of a fortnight, the bride and groom admitted defeat, and paid for the price of their capitulation a generous supper.



In the summer of 1843, Maj. Rountree erected the first brick building in the village.  The brick were molded and burned on the west side of the Lancaster road, a short distance from the town.  The lime was manufactured in the vicinity, and the sand procured at Platte River.  The building still stands, being now occupied in part by Mr. Wyne as a bookstore, and in part by the post office.

The Fourth of July was celebrated this year with impressive ceremonials, at the old academy.  George R. Laughton read the Declaration, and Jonathan M. Goodhue orated.  The crowd was large, and the exercises rapturously applauded by all present except a lank, lean and hungry looking farmer named Fillebrown, who protested against the reader of the “Charter of American Liberties,” because he was a Briton.  But the protest was suppressed, and not allowed to diminish from the pleasures of the day, which were concluded with a picnic at Platte Mound.



In December following, the small-pox broke out in the village, and, before the physicians were able to agree as to the exact nature of the malady, an epidemic succeeded.  It was believed to have been imported hither from Milwaukee by a merchant of Platteville, whose clothing had become impregnated with the seeds of disease while in the former city.  A son of James McKernan, who resided with his parents at the corner of Second and Mineral streets, was the first case, and died before remedies could be prescribed for his convalescence.  Miles M. Vineyard was among the next cases, and he, too, died.  He resided at the Platteville Hotel, and, after his death, the coffin was brought down stairs into the hall of that house, when Mrs. Vineyard, the widow, insisted it should be opened.  This was done, notwithstanding the protests of those present, and the virulence of the disease dates from this point, it is claimed.

During this period, the doctors in the village were debating the facts in the cases daily occurring, and being divided in opinion, but little progress was made toward its treatment.  Dexter Castle insisted that it was the unmistakable confluent small-pox; Dr. Basye, that it was varioloid; Dr. Clark, that it was a new type of eruption, while Drs. Bevans and Campbell remained undecided in the premises. While they were discussing the facts, however, the disease spread with discouraging rapidity and remediless violence.  The city became panic-stricken, and to add to the gloom and distress which hung like palls above its prospects, was quarantined against by surrounding municipalities.  At this point, the citizens convened, and, determining to take charge of affairs themselves, directed that all within the town limits should be vaccinated, and inaugurated other measures for the public welfare, including the appointment of a committee composed of A. S. Bennett, “Doc” Simmons, George R. Laughton, James McKernay and two others, whose names are forgotten.  Their duties were to visit and care for the sick, bury the dead, etc., and were fortunate in discharging the same without becoming subjects for the physician or undertaker.  The population of the village at that time was about five hundred, of whom two hundred and twenty-six were attacked, and of these eleven per cent, at least, fell victims; whole families were swept off, and the survivors of the terrible experience recall its scenes with feelings of horror.  The epidemic prevailed during December, 1843, and January and February, 1844.

Some time after the disease had abated, Mr. I. Hodges and G. R. Laughton engaged Dexter Palmer to drive them to Galena.  They arrived at their destination late in the afternoon, when they put up at the American Hotel, of which A. Rossette was proprietor.  During the evening, David Seeley and J. Allen Barber began to joke them at the danger that was entailed to the town by their presence, and created the most wide-spread and indignant excitement.  When the Plattevillians retired, the ladies in the hotel attended upon Mr. Rossette in a body and demanded their expulsion.  This summary process was postponed until morning, when Mr. Hodges, upon descending to the first floor, was confronted by the Boniface with a request to “March on, Mr. Hodges; you don’t owe me anything, but please vacate at once.”  The gentleman addressed appreciated the situation of affairs, and rousing Mr. Laughton from his morning nap, both procured breakfast at a cellar restaurant, which was hurriedly eaten, after which the team and driver were placed in readiness, and the party slid out of town in time to avoid the vengeance of a mob, which had gathered in the meantime and threatened dire results.

With the opening of spring, emigrants and “suckers” came in together and prepared to remain as long as the climate continued genial.  The canvass held for appointment to office this year was quite exciting, and many a hand-to-hand contest resulted as the outgrowth of differences of opinion.  William B. Vineyard was recommended for Sheriff against E. S. Baker, and their friends were not only ardent and aggressive, but inclined to be pugnacious, in which latter particular the candidates themselves were not averse to taking a hand.  After a heated struggle, during which James R. Vineyard and Wilson engaged in a struggle for physical supremacy, neither prevailing, however, Baker secured the prize, and his friends proceeded to Platte Mound, under the leadership of Hanmer Robbins, and announced the result to the residents of Lancaster by an immense bonfire.



In July of this year, Lorenzo Bevans discovered a lead in Maj. Rountree’s land south of the present site of the stone schoolhouse, which not only enriched himself, but profited the general public.  The history of Mr. Bevans’ labors, in what proved to be a lucky find, is tinged with a color of romance rarely experienced without the pages of fiction.  It seems that he had been working the lead for some months, meeting with returns the reverse of encouraging, but still confidence of the existence of large quantities of mineral.  He finally became absolutely impoverished, without means to procure the necessaries of life for his family, or material indispensable to the prosecution of his labors.  These latter were supplied by a generous-minded merchant, as also the means to hire an assistant for a limited period.  On the day he tapped his “bonanza,” he had paid the hired man until noon, which exhausted his exchequer, but suggested that he remain until evening and receive his pay out of the proceeds of the day’s labor.

 The “hand” consented, and after their noon lunch the twain re-commenced work in the shaft with redoubled energy – the one in the desperate hope of realizing his cherished object; the other by the knowledge that his rewards would be measured by the quantity of mineral his industry would aid him in bringing to the surface.  While pegging away, along about 2 o’clock on the afternoon of a sultry day in July, Mr. Bevans suddenly thrust his pick into the clay bank which lined the avenue wherein he was at work, which being withdrawn, developed such positive evidence of the existence of wealth as to cause him to labor with increased diligence, conscious that he had at last reached the acme of his ambitions.  A few strokes of the pick and shovels of clay, encrusted with ore, cast one side, at length displayed a vein of mineral, in comparison with which all previously discovered in the vicinity had been insignificant rather than inferior.  Furthur labors served to dissolve all doubts regarding the enormous value of the lead.  His patience, perseverance and abding faith in his judgment had been more than requited.

Within one hour after the first discovery of lead was made, many tons of mineral were raised, and the embryo city was alive with excitement.  Nearly every one became cognizant of the facts, and nearly every one hurried to the scene, bent on ascertaining for himself and herself, for the multitude was made up of men, women and children, the truth concerning the things whereof they had been informed.  Before an hour had elapsed, Mr. Bevans was offered $50 for an interest in his mine, which was soon increased to treble that amount, but both offers were refused.  During the afternoon, Hanmer Robbins sought to purchase a share in the venture for $500, which was declined, and when the men ceased operations at evening, that gentleman was intent on buying a moiety for the consideration of $1,000, without results.  Upward of two million pounds of ore were taken from the lead which was discharged in 1845, not before the fortunate discoverer had become rich, as also his friends and the merchants in the village from its profits.

This discovery gave an impetus to mining, and many were the attempts made to duplicate Bevans’ experience.  The population of the town, which was quoted at 800 in 1844, visibly appreciated in 1845, by the influx of miners, attracted thither by news of his luck.  But no other discoveries of importance succeeded their coming, and the number of inhabitants dwindled proportionately, leaving as a residuum only the best classes, whose efforts aided in the substantial growth of the vicinity, and the development of its resources.

In 1845, the brick block of E. Bayley on Main street was erected, the two brick schoolhouses in North and South Platteville commenced, and the brick Methodist Church decided upon.  It was begun late in that year or early in 1846, and completed before the spring of 1847.  Morally and educationally, the village surpassed expectations or comparison with surrounding towns.  The academy built four years previous was conducted in a manner that attracted a generous patronage, and schools for the education of youth of more callow experience than those for whose improvement the academy was designed were springing up in various localities.  Commercially, too, the village evidenced a spirit of progress, both permanent and gratifying, and through succeeding years has maintained a prominence special and deserved.  Considerable of the uncertain classes, here to-day and there to-morrow, had given place to a class of people who are invaluable to progressive communities.  Farming in the surrounding country was revived and carried forward with increased vigor.  This condition of affairs continued until flattering reports from the Lake Superior copper mines, combined with the Mexican war, served to drain the village of many of its more enterprising citizens.  July 4, 1847, was observed by a dinner in the public square, to which the patriotic, as also the liberally disposed toward the Presbyterian Church, then in progress of building, were invited and came in large numbers.  On October 30, of the same year, a concert was given in the church edifice to defray the cost of pews and the purchase of an æolian for the same religious society.  As an item of interest to those who attended, the programme is submitted as follows:  Voluntary; Hymn, tune, “Josiah,” from the “Sacred Harmony;” Overture, from the French Boreldieu; Anthem, “Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house;” song, “The Irish Emigrant’s Lament,” Mr. Laughton; quartet, “The Wild Rose,” Miss E. Wiley, Miss M. Durley, J. W. Stewart and J. Durley; song, “There’s a good time coming, boys,” Ben C. Eastman, Esq.; Quartet, “Sweet the hour when free from labor,” Misses M. and H. Durley, and Messrs. Colburn and Eastman; son, “And they lifted up their voice and wept again,” E. W. Prentiss, of Hazel Green; glee, “He who trusts in ladies fair,” Messrs. Prentice, Stewart, Colburn and J. C. Eastman; Hymn tune, “Palestine;” duet, “Now at moonlight’s fairy hour.”  Miss M. Durley and Mr. Prentiss; Anthem, “Jerusalem, my glorious home.”

Part second was made up of solos by J. C. Eastman, E. W. Prentiss and Mr. Stewart; duet by Miss Wiley and Mr. Prentiss; quartets by Mrs. Bancroft, Misses Durley and Wiley, and Messrs. T. Eastman, Covell, Stewart and Durley, in addition to hymnals and instrumental music on the æolian.  The concert netted $120, and provided means for the purposes mentioned.

The Mexican war came on about this period, but few residents of Platteville or vicinity being persuaded to enlist.  It is estimated that from twelve to fifteen recruits were obtained in this township, in no comparison with the number who went to California two years later, which is said to have been upward of 200, and whose departure unquestionable retarded the growth of the city, diminished the volume of business for many years, and worked an injury to material prospects scarcely short of permanent.



In 1850, the population of the city is stated as nearly 1,500, an increase of nearly 100 per cent in about four years.  There were three churches, the Methodist, Primitive Methodist and Congregational, and quite a number of merchants, prominent among whom were I. Hodges, Moore & Lane, E. Bayley, John Kemler, Mrs. Gridley and Dennis Clark.  This year, the Hon. Benjamin C. Eastman was elected to Congress, the first and only Congressman Platteville ever furnished.  The ensuing five years were dull, without any enlivening features to ripple the current of daily events.  Along in 1855, however, business began to revive, a great many people came in from the East and large amounts of money were invested in public lands.  Buildings, too, were erected, and the Clinton House, erected at the corner of Main and Oak streets in 1846, ceased to be among the more prominent structures of that thoroughfare.  Prior to the panic of 1857, farming began to revive and attracted the attention of husbandmen at the East and in Europe; as a consequent, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York furnished a large number of settlers, while Germany sent hither representatives of Teutonic thrift and industry, who have aided in the building up of the city, for most of them settled in the city and have become among its most substantial residents.  The panic above referred to produced an effect in Platteville similar to that experienced all over the country.  Times were hard and money scarce, notwithstanding which there were but few failures among the commercial circles.  The campaign preceding the war was characterized by the absence of that rancor and fierce partisanship to be observed in some parts of the country, and previous to the commencement of actual hostilities, though there may have existed a difference of opinion as to where blame for the trouble rested, when firing upon Fort Sumter inaugurated the trouble, there was no one who held back his tribute and support from the cause.



Meetings were held all through the war for the purpose of encouraging enlistments and raising funds, and from the first meeting convened opposite the Tyler House, in April, 1861, which was addressed by Maj. Rountree, N. H. Virgin, Hanmer Robbins and W. E. Carter, and when the first recruit, Billy Britton, enlisted, to the day when Lee surrendered, there was no holding back nor absence of patriotism on the part of citizens to promote success.

After the war, the village grew gradually, and improvements succeeded the rude structures improvised in the early days of the settlement for business and residence purposes.  In 1849, the precinct of Platteville was changed into the town of Platteville, with Benjamin C. Eastman Chairman; railroad enterprises were projected upon numerous occasions, having Platteville for their base of operations or objective point, but all proved failures, and nothing more than speculation was indulged by enterprising citizens until 1867.  In that year, individuals subscribed stock to the amount of $50,000, which was supplemented by subscriptions to the extent of $60,000 additional stock, for which bonds were issued, payable in twenty annual installments, with interest at the rate of 7 per cent per annum.  The following year, the road was completed, and has since been in operation.



In 1872, Platteville subscribed $32,000 to aid in building the narrow-gauge railroad, which has also been an outlet for the city and adjacent country since, and with these facilities the means of communication with distant points have been reliable and uninterrupted.

The city has been visited by two destructive conflagrations, one on the night of June 10, 1870, in which the Tyler House, Hodges’ bank burned, involving a loss of $12,000; the other two years later, when the balance of the property contiguous to the site of the fire in 1872, was burned, entailing damages estimated at $12,000.  Both blocks, however, have been rebuilt, and a reliable fire organization has been substituted for the “bucket brigade,” providing security against a repetition of these calamities.

On March 4, 1880, an act providing for the chartering of the city of Platteville was approved, and to-day the city, with a population of 2,685, distances her rivals throughout the county in her religious, educational, social and commercial interests and enterprises.

By act of the Legislature approved February 19, 1871, all that part of Section 15, in Township No. 3, of Range No. 1 west of the Fourth Principal Meridian, in the county of Grant, was appropriated to and thereafter known and distinguished as the town of Platteville.

The roster is incomplete, owing to the absence of records.  March 4, 1880, the city was duly incorporated, and the following officers elected, who are still in service.



                Mayor, H. J. Traber, 1880-81; Aldermen, R. W. Laughton, G. W. Eastman, T. Jenkins, Jr., W. Meyer, Sr., N. Bevers and F. Libert, 1880-81; Clerk and Police Justice, W. R. Laughton, 1880-81; Treasurer, W. S. Northrop, 1880-81; Supervisor, Hanmer Robbins, 1880-81; Surveyer, J. C. Squires, 1880-81; Weigher, O. A. Boynton, 1880-81; Street Commissioner, Curtis Barker, 1880-81; Marshal, J. L. Rewey, 1880-81.

                The officers under village organization and previous were as follows:

                1845 – Samuel Moore, President.

                1846 – Samuel Moore, President; Henry Snowden, J. H. Watts, William G. Spencer, S. N. Jones and Robert Chapman, Trustees.

                1847 – The board of the prvious year held over.

                1848 – G. W. Lakin, President; S. Hawley, P. Stone, Thomas Stephens, N. Hutchins, H. C. Lane and Joel Potter, Trustees.

                1849 – S. O. Paine, President; N. Hutchins, N. Messersmith, T. Stephens, G. Hawley, H. C. Lane and H. Bell, Trustees.

                1850 – S. O. Paine, President; J. M. Alford, N. Messersmith, James Durley, E. J. Madison, P. B. McEntire and D. W. Clark, Trustees.

                1851 – A. C. Inman, President; H. Hurlbut, P. B. McEntire, Noah Hutchins, James Durley, Nicholas Messersmith and D. W. Clark, Trustees.  Leonard Coates elected Presient, September 22, 1851, vice A. C. Inman, deceased.

                1852 – Leonard Coates, President; Isaac Hodges, J. Pickard, William Grindell, John Kemler, H. C. Lane and N. Goodrich, Trustees.

                1853 – John Bevans, President; Joel Potter, William Grindell, H. Hurlbut, R. Snowden, Isaac Hodges and John Kemler, Trustees.

                1854 – John Bevans, President; H. C. Lane, E. Vanderbie, H. Bell, G. Hawley, J. T. Kirkpatrick and J. S. Marsh, Trustees.

                1855 – Samuel Moore, President; J. M. Alford, J. T. Hancock, Calvin Russell, Elijah Bayley, Daniel Richards and William Butler, Trustees.

                1856 – Noah Hutchins, President; Frederick Hollman, George Hammons, Bennet Atwood, E. H. Stowell, Daniel Richards and Nehemiah Goodrich, Trustees.

                1857 – N. H. Virgin, President; O. A. Boynton, William Grindell, F. Frederick, Thomas Bender, John Kemler and Noah Hutchins, Trustees.

                1858 – Samuel Mitchell, President; Leonard Coates, J. Potter, Jacob Cramer, B. F. Chase, W. V. Murphy and James Kelly, Trustees.

                1859 – O. A. Boynton, President; Samuel Block, William Grindell, James C. Wright, Jacob Cramer, John Smelker and Samuel Nasmith, Trustees.

                1860 – Nelson Dewey, President; Samuel Block, Samuel Nasmith, George S. Hammond, Henry Spink, Joel Potter and Henry A. Miller, Trustees.

                1861 – Nelson Dewey, President; Samuel Nasmith, Joel Potter, John H. Rountree, W. G. Babcock, Jacob Cramer and F. Frederick, Trustees.

                1862 – John H. Rountree, President; Joel Potter, W. G. Babcock, E. Vanderbie, S Block, N. Stork and L. Coates, Trustees.

                1863 – Noah Hutchins, President; J. F. Kirkpatrick, Henry C. Miller, Leonard Coates, Engel Vanderbie, William Grindell and L. L. Goodell, Trustees.

                1864 – John H. Rountree, President; Lonard Coates, Charles G. Marshal, William Grindell, E. Vanderbie, Joel Potter and Nicholas Stark, Trustees.

                1865 – S. O. Paine, President; N. Hutchins, E. Vanderbie, R. Straw, N. Stark, W. Parmell and S. M. Devendorf, Trustees.

                1866 – S. O. Paine, President; N. Hutchins, E. Vanderbie, Joel Potter, James V. Hollman, Richard Straw and Henry Hoyt, Trustees.

                1867 – J. H. Rountree, President; J. V. Hollman, Conrad Ketler, J. B. Penn, J. W. Smelker, Alexander Butler and H. Spink, Trustees.

                1868 – E. Vanderbie, President; N. Hutchins, Joseph Minehardt, John Kemler, Richard Straw, Michael Stephens and Samuel Block, Trustees.

                1869 – E. Vanderbie, President; S. M. Devendorf, Joel Potter, F. R. Chase, Richard Straw, A. Ketler, J. Minehardt, Trustees.

                1870 – J. H. Evans, President; F. R. Chase, Curtis Barker, John Huntington, Joseph Minehardt, Conrad Ketler and J. B. Penn, Trustees.

                1871 – J. B. Penn, President; A. W. Bell, J. Huntington, C. Witenheller, Thomas Jenkins, Samuel Block and John Kemler, Trustees.

                1872 – N. H. Virgin, President; C. Ketler, J. Kemler, L. J. Washburn, T. Jenkins, E. Bayley and R. Shaw, Trustees.

                1873 – N. H. Virgin, President; J. Kemler, C. Ketler, T. Jenkins, L. J. Washburn, J. B. Penn and R. Straw, Trustees.

                1874 – N. H. Virgin, President; Thomas Jenkins, N. Hutchins, Conrad Ketler, C. Henners, J. B. Penn and R. Straw, Trustees.

                1875 – N. H. Virgin, President; Thomas Jenkins, J. B. Penn, C. Henners, C. Ketler, R. Straw and N. Hutchins, Trustees.

                Treasurers. – Robert Chapman, 1845, 1846, 1847; Isaac Hodges, 1848, 1849, 1850, 1851; Samuel Moore, 1852; Leonard Coates, 1853; R. W. Stevenson, 1854; Manville Comstock, 1855; H. A. Chase, 1856; William Butler, 1857; E. W. Covill, 1858; J. F. Kirkpatrick, 1859; Samuel Block, 1860.

                Clerks. – J. L. Marsh, 1845, 1846, 1847; J. C. Eastman, 1848; William Zenor, 1849; R. Hodgson, 1850; Thomas Eastman, 1851; J. W. Van Orman, 1852, 1853; B. F. Wyne, 1854; James Durley, 1855; B. F. Wyne, 1856, 1857, 1858, 1859, 1860, 1861, 1862.

                Collectors. - A.C. Inman, 1848; R. Hodgson, 1849; A. C. Inman, 1850; no returns for 1851 or 1852; T. R. Chesebro, 1853; R. W. Stevenson, 1854; H. Bell, 1855; H. A. Chase, 1856-57; E. W. Covill, 1858; J. F. Kirkpatrick, 1859; Samuel Block, 1860.

                Assessors. – A. M. Holliday, 1848-49; A. C. Inman, 1850; J. C. Campbell, William V. Murphy and Abel Conner, 1851; S. F. Cleveland, John Bayley and Isaac Richards, 1852; J. S. Clark, O. A. Boynton and W. D. Mitchell, 1853; C. T. Overton, 1854; H. Bell, 1855; George W. Henry, 1856-57; William H. Howard, 1858; B. F. Wyne, 1859; B. F. Wyne, 1860.

                Constables. – A. C. Inman, 1848; William Zenor, 1849; J. B. Moore, 1850; Richard Hodgson, 1851; Thomas Chesebro, 1852; T. R. Hugill, 1853; R. W. Stevenson, 1854; no returns for 1855; H. A. Chase, 1856; William Butler, 1857; E. W. Covill, 1858; P. D. Hendershot, 1859; A. R. Young, 1860.

                Marshals. – A. C. Inman, 1846-47; J. Grumley, 1848; no returns for 1849, 1850, 1851, 1852, 1853 or 1854; Manville Comstock, 1855; H. A. Chase, 1856; William Butler, 1857; E. W. Covill, 1858; P. D. Hendershot, 1859; A. R. Young, 1860.

                Supervisors. – J. H. Evans, 1870-71; J. H. Rountree, 1872; E. Bayley, 1873, 1874 and 1875.

                Weighmaster. – J. H. Parnell, 1874.



Previous to the extended and disastrous conflagration, which swept over a portion of the city on the night of April 15, 1874, the elements were stayed by more primitive means than those which have since obtained.  That event, however, impressed citizens with the necessity for adequate means of protection, and, soon after its occurrence, a paper signed by sixty business men, called for a meeting to convene at Thomas Hall with a view to organized action.  The meeting was largely attended, with Gideon Hawley presiding, and A. W. Bell acting as Secretary.  The inadequate means at command to cope with fire was fully discussed, and various plans suggested to remedy the evil.  Finally, Messrs. H. H. Virgin, A. L. Brown, W. H. Beebe, H. J. Traber and James S. Hammond, were appointed a committee for the purpose of taking the steps necessary to organize a hook and ladder company.

On the 6th of May following, this committee met at the office of the town clerk, and drew upon an application to the Town Board, which was numerously signed for the formation of the organization.  This was submitted on the following day, and notice was served upon the applicants to meet at the Town Clerk’s office on the 18th of the same month for organization.  At that meeting, A. L. Brown occupied the chair; W. H. Beebe officiated as Secretary, and the company was organized by the election of the following officers:  H. J. Traber, Foreman; H. H. Virgin and John Grindell, Assistants; A. W. Bell, Secretary, and Thomas Shepherd, Treasurer.

The truck was built by Alexander Butler, of Platteville, and cost $300.  It is nearly twenty-four feet in length, supplied with windlasses, spring bells, etc., and securely mounted.  The company also has the tackle, apparel and furniture indispensable to its line of business, is composed of seventy men, and officered as follows:  H. J. Traber, Foreman; F. W. Newton and John Spink, Assistants; J. F. Funston, Secretary, and Thomas Shepherd, Treasurer.

Mound City Engine Company No. 1. – Soon after the organization of the hook and ladder company was completed, many citizens, realizing that the interests at stake were not entirely covered by the efforts thus far put forth, proposed the establishment of an engine company, and proceeded to effect arrangements looking to that end.  In the fall, these efforts produced results, and secured the organization of the Mound City Engine Company with thirty members, and John Grindell as Foreman.  Immediately, the organization crystallized into shape, the company purchased a “chemical” in Chicago, of power and excellence, and have since been prepared to cope with the most formidable of enemies to prosperity and happiness.  The present officers are James McCoy, Foreman; H. S. Vaughn and Horace Chase, Assistants; W. Grindell, Treasurer; J. Maloney, Secretary.

In the meantime, the fire department was regularly established as one of the departments of the city, and the following officers elected:  Alexander Butler, Chief; H. J. Traber and H. G. Chase, Assistants; John Grindell, Treasurer, and W. J. Funston, Secretary.

The department at present is composed of 140 men, embracing the best element of the city on the alert for danger and ever ready to encounter its suppression, free from the evils incident to more metropolitan organizations, and receiving, as it deserves, the confidence and support of a community for the protection of whose property “the boys” have volunteered.  The present officers are Alexander Butler, Chief; H. J. Traber and J. B. McCoy, Assistants; E. F. Newton, Treasurer, and Max Stickle, Secretary.

The department own property valued at $3,000.  Elections are held annually, and meetings convene monthly.

The Mound City Engine Band, made up of members of the Mound City Engine Company, was organized February 15, 1880, with twelve members and the following officers:  Augustus Schmidt, President and Leader; W. F. Grindell, Secretary and Treasurer.

Since that date, some changes have occurred in the personnel of the organization, which is constituted at present as follows:  A. Schmidt, President and Leader; W. F. Grindell, Secretary; David Grindell, Treasurer; H. Cowduroy, B. Cornet; A. Martin, Baritone; C. Mansfield, Second Tenor; George Alcock, First Alto; M. Stevens, Second Alto; William Mann and Oscar Henning, Bass; M. Rose and C. B. Goldwood, Drums.

Meetings are held three times each week, and the society owns property valued at $300.

The Platteville Hook and Ladder Band. – As the name indicates, the composition of this musical society are representatives of the Hook and Ladder Company of the city of Platteville.  It was organized in June, 1879, with H. C. King as President and Leader; E. J. Bentley, Treasurer, and W. J. Funston, Secretary, with a full complement of performers.

The association at present consists of H. C. King, President and Performer on B Flat Cornet Solo; Eugene Spencer, Leader; Lyman Spencer, Treasurer and Alto; B. C. Eastman, Clarionet; A. Martin, Trombone; William Topps, B Flat Cornet; Elmer Thomas, Bass; James Hammond and James Washburn, Drums.

The society meets twice each week, and estimates the value of their property at $525.


The reader is already familiar with the opposition manifested by the Indians to the occupation of the lead mines by the whites.  This opposition first evidenced itself as early as 1822, when the hostilities of the savages prevented operations in that region.  Then came the Winnebago war, followed by the Black Hawk war, in which the red man was practically annihilated, and peace, with its blessings, first began to be a source of profit and enjoyment.

In the meantime, prominent villages were located and built up near valuable openings in the mines, and a number of the most useful citizens had arrived with the miners, all of whom employed their best efforts to the establishment of that system of education which has since so successfully obtained.  Among these were Gov. Dodge, who urged the adoption of a public school system; Hon. John H. Rountree, who aided materially in opening the first schools in the southwestern portion of the State, including Platteville Academy, now a State Normal School; Gen. Charles Bracken, who first introduced the bill in the Territorial Legislature to create a common school fund; and Col. Daniel M. Parkinson, who was Chairman of the Assembly committee which made the earliest inquiries into the expediency of establishing common schools in the State.

In Mineral Point, in July, 1830, was built the first schoolhouse in the lead district.  It was constructed of logs, and, when not occupied by the school, furnished accommodations for a Justice’s Court and church.

The second school in the Mineral District was built in June, 1834, on the east side of Section 16, now a part of the city of Platteville.  It was built by subscription, through the efforts of Maj. Rountree and others.  It was of hewn logs, one story high, 18x20 feet in dimensions, and presided over by Samuel Huntington, a pioneer teacher, who drifted into the country from no one knows where, and disappeared no one knows how.  Here came the children of pioneer families for miles around, including those of the Rountree, Reily, Snowden, Waller, Vineyard, Holman and Chalders families, about twenty-five all told, and here the preceptor divided his time between the cause of education and search for mineral.  He was about forty years of age, eccentric, exacting, but not severe, and though he taught about two years, at $3 per capita per quarter, the parents of those in attendance were accustomed to argue themselves into the conclusion that his efforts would have proved more satisfactory had he paid more attention to instruction, and less to the discovery of “rich leads.”  The school was discontinued at this point upon his departure, and resumed in a house to the rear of the present Deffenbacher lot, north of Mineral street, where Dr. A. T. Locey gathered about forty pupils, who were taught in the main by his sister, Miss Locey.  In May, 1837, Hanmer Robbins opened a school in a log house south of the present Congregational Church site.  His pupils embraced among others, H. S. and Ellen Rountree, Miss Locey, two daughters of Thomas Render, a son and daughter of Richard Waller, and Henry Snowden, the children of James Durley, the children of James Vineyard, and others, about sixty all told.  The branches taught were the ordinary elementary studies.  The same was paid for at the rate of $4.50 for a term of sixteen weeks, and success attended his efforts.  He remained here, and in the Methodist Church, until the spring of 1839.

In February of that year, Maj. Rountree, who was a member of the Territorial Council, introduced a bill providing for the incorporation of the “Platteville Academy.”  The bill was passed, and A. M. Dixon came hither from Bond County, Ill., to take charge.  Some say the institution was opened in the basement of the Methodist Church, under the care of Mr. Dixon, where it remained until its removal to the building erected for academic purposes, in 1841, in the northern part of the city.  Others insist that he began teaching in his private residence, still standing at the corner of Main and Court streets, when he was assisted by his wife, which was attended by the children of Henry Snowden, Maj. Rountree, J. R. and W. B. Vineyard, N. H. Virgin, J. B. McCord, Robert Dixon, a sister of Samuel Moore, and others.  At all events, the academy was established in the basement of the Methodist Church until the limited quarters there necessitated its removal.  In about 1841, John Myers, assisted by a man named Byerly and others, prepared the frame for the new academy building, and during that year completed the structure.  It was 40x60, two stories high, containing two school apartments, and was presided over by Prof. Carrier, when it was completed and furnished.  School was taught there until about 1853, when the stone edifice was finished and occupied.

The basement of the Methodist Church continued to furnish room for educational purposes after the removal of the academy, the Rev. Mr. Nolon and possibly some other educators officiating as Principals for some years.  In 1845, when it was decided to erect the brick Methodist Church on the site of the present edifice of that denomination, Maj. Rountree made some changes in the interior arrangements which permitted its utilization for school purposes, and and Prof. Carrier was placed at the head.  In 1845-46 Miss Annette L. Godell taught in the basement of the church, and a Mr. Burk, who subsequently went to California, occupied the auditorium in a similar capacity.  In 1846, the brick schoolhouse still standing on Pine street was built, and is recurred to as the first building erected in this section of the county as a common school.  The same year, it is thought, the north brick school was built and similarly appropriated, and these were the only edifices for the purposes indicated which had been erected up to the date of the admission of Wisconsin as a State.

With the adoption of the constitution the several counties in the State, as is well known, were divided into school districts and provision made for their support.  Up to this time the cause of education was committed to the care of private corporations and individuals.  No one was obliged to countenance schools nor contribute to their support and but for the presence of an enlightened public sentiment in that behalf this civilizing influence would not have accomplished the results cited.  For in addition to the efforts made by Maj. Rountree and others, children’s education in place of being neglected was provided for.  Instead of allowing them to run wild in the sunshine, they were gathered into impromptu kindergartens and taught the primary principles by Mrs. H. Z. Nixon, Miss Julia Bevans and others.  The admission of the State added an impetus to material interests and gave birth to measures for advancing the State, educating the youth and developing sources of information and wealth which have obtained so satisfactorily since.  Prominent among these was the increased provision made for and the increased interest manifested in the education of the youth of both sexes.  The academy became an object of special and specific interest, and its curriculum was sought to be availed of by students from nearly every point to which it was accessible, while the common schools in the present city designated severally as districts number four and five, were crowded for room.

Mr. Magoon had in the meantime succeeded Prof. Carrier as Principal of the academy, and the latter had in turn yielded place to J. L. Pickard.  Under the administration of that gentleman, the need of additional room became so pressing that the academy directory decided upon the building of the stone premises now in part occupied by the Normal School.  Land was procured, contracts made, and other arrangements completed early in 1852, and on the 5th of July of that year the corner-stone of the edifice was laid with appropriate ceremonies.  Maj. J. H. Rountree presided and had charge of the arrangements, the address being delivered by W. R. Biddlecome.  The box inclosed in the stone contained a copy of the charter and subscription book, names of the Trustees and building committee, a history of the academy, a copy of the Independent American, and a map of Wisconsin.  Work on the building was prosecuted with vigor, and its completion for occupation reached early during the following year.  For nearly fifteen years this building was occupied as the Platteville Academy, and under the administrations of J. L. Pickard, A. K. Johnson and George M. Guernsey, became the Alma Mater of an alumni both numerous, progressive and of extended reputation.  In 1866, it was transferred to the State for normal school purposes, and has since been and will doubtless continue to remain in that capacity for decades to come.

The city, as above stated, was divided into two districts when the constitution was adopted, which lasted until about 1857, when the same were consolidated.  In the spring of the latter year it was decided to erect another schoolhouse, and a discussion occurred between the citizens of North and South Platteville regarding its location.  The committee after almost endless examination, inquiry and debate, decided to purchase a lot of Maj. Rountree, at the east end of Main street, and contracted for the building of what has since been known as the “stone schoolhouse.”  The foundations were laid the same year, and the walls run up, but it remained unoccupied until 1860, when only the first stories were rendered inhabitable.

The result of this decision of the committee was to again divide the city into two districts, and inspire the erection of a second schoolhouse of brick, on Rountree, near the corner of Rebecca street.  Both were completed and furnished in 1863, at a total cost of $12,000, and have since furnished the necessary accommodations for the education of Platteville youth.

The stone schoolhouse contains five departments – two primary, two intermediate, and high requiring the services of five teachers, enjoying an average daily attendance of three hundred pupils, and requiring an annual outlay of $2,600.

The brick or North District Schoolhouse has four departments, furnishing employment to four teachers, by whom an average daily attendance of two hundred and twenty-five pupils is taught, at an annual cost of $2,000.

The schools are under the supervision of a county Superintendent and School Board, consisting of one Director, Treasurer and Clerk for each district.  The terms are co-incident with those of the Normal School, and examinations for promotion are held at the close of each.  The officers of the North District School are William Meyer, Director; H. C. Sanford, Treasurer, and J. H. Holcomb, Clerk.  Of the South District, L. N. Washburn, Director; William Grindell, Treasurer, and B. F. Wyne, Clerk.

It may be of interest to the reader to add that the old frame academy building subsequently became a Presbyterian Church, in which the Rev. Mr. Bradford expounded the doctrine for some time; the old South Brick Schoolhouse still stands, adjoining the residence of Alexander Butler, southwest of the Masonic Hall, and the old North Brick Schoolhouse, corner of Lewis and Third streets, was, until his death, the homestead of the late E. Vanderbie.

The Methodist Church and schoolhouse still survives the rush of worlds also, on the very spot of its origin, to the rear of the brick block on Main street, in part occupied by Sanford & Chase.

The Normal School. – The Normal School system first came to Wisconsin during its Territorial existence from the East, and found expression in the Constitutional Convention of 1846.  The subject was, however, but superficially referred to, and not until two years later did the idea crystallize into shape.  In the constitution of that year, an article was incorporated provided for the creation of “a separate fund called the school-fund, the interest of which, and all other revenues derived from the school lands” to be applied “to the support and maintenance of common schools in each school district, and the purchase of suitable libraries and apparatus therefor.”  The residue to be appropriated to the support and maintenance of academies and Normal schools, with suitable libraries, apparatus, etc.  In January, 1849, the Regents of the State University established a Normal department, but the ordinance providing therefor remained inoperative, owing to a lack of funds.  Various efforts were made during succeeding years by those friendly to the cause of education to adopt means by which Normal schools might become established, without results.  In 1857, the Hon. J. Allen Barber introduced a bill into the Senate to “create and establish a literature fund from the proceeds of the sale of swamp lands.”  At the same session, a bill was introduced into the House by the Hon. L. J. Evans “to establish a Normal School and Teachers’ Institute.”  Both bills were referred to a special committee which reported a substitute providing “That the income of 25 per cent of the proceeds arising from the sale of swamp and overflowed lands should be appropriated to Normal Institutes and Academies under the supervision and direction of a Board of Regents of Normal Schools appointed in pursuance of a provision of that act.”  The act passed and became a law, from whence sprang the present Normal school system in Wisconsin.  In 1865, the Legislature adopted an act providing a much more liberal endowment for Normal instruction and devoting it distinctively to the establishment and support of Normal schools.  The swamp lands and swamp land funds were divided into equal parts, one of which constituted the Normal School Fund.  Upon the passage of the act, proposals were invited for extending aid in the establishment of these schools, and different localities began at once to press their claims.  In July of the year in which this act was passed, the trustees of the academy of Platteville convened and decided to offer the academy building grounds to the State for Normal school purposes for a consideration of $25,000, the State to assume an indebtedness of $4,000 which was due from the corporation.  On the 19th of August following, a meeting of the citizens of Platteville was held for the purpose of examining into the merits of the undertaking, and ascertaining what inducements could be offered the Regency to establish the school in this city.  The subject was thoroughly discussed by those in attendance, but no conclusion reached prior to adjournment.  On the 26th of the same month, another meeting was held at which N. H. Virgin presided, and the Board of Trustees of the Academy was authorized to offer the academy property for Normal school purposes at a fixed price, the citizens of Platteville assuming all liabilities, except the amount due the State, and three days later, a resolution was adopted providing for the levy of a tax to liquidate the liabilities proposed to be assessed.  In September of the same year, the Board of Normal Regents met at Madison and appointed a committee consisting of C. C. Sholes, J. G. McMynn and W. E. Smith to visit and examine the various sites proffered for the venture, and at this point those interested were obliged to contain themselves in patience until a report could be submitted.

For many weeks occupied by this committee in an inspection of the advantages and inducements offered by rival municipalities for the location of the school, Plattevillians were fed on hope and faith, a rather unsatisfactory diet; but all that was reserved to their disposal.  Finally, on the 29th of November, the committee reached this city, and met the citizens on the evening of that day in the hall of the academy.  The Hon. Hanmer Robbins was chairman of the meeting, and the subject which had convened the assemblage was exhaustively debated by those in attendance.  Nothing was decided upon, however.  Through that year, and the opening month of 1866, there was little to encourage, less to enthuse the hopes of those who had by patient watch and constant effort endeavored to secure the assignment of the business in hand to Platteville.  On the 23d of February, 1866, a meeting was held in Platteville, at which G. K. Shaw presided, and it was resolved to petition the Legislature to pass an act directing the Town Clerk to insert on the town tax roll a sum sufficient to meet the outstanding obligations of the academy and leave a surplus of $5,000 to be appropriated by the Board of Regents of the Normal School for building purposes.  Five days later, the board voted to locate the schools at Platteville and Whitewater.  On the 2d of May following, the transfer of titles to sites, etc., were completed, and the building committee was instructed to proceed with building the necessary improvements.

According to announcement, the school opened on Tuesday, October 9, 1866, the exercises being attended by a large number of ladies and gentlemen of Platteville and the surrounding country, old students of the academy and others.  The ceremonies were opened with prayer by the Rev. Mr. Mather, after which Prof. C. H. Allen was then introduced, and made a few earnest remarks on the responsibility he had assumed as Principal, and his hopes for the success of his labors.  Hon. J. L. Pickard followed in an address full of feeling, and abounding in practical observations.  At the conclusion of his remarks, occurred a most pleasing and gratifying episode.  A covered stand was brought forward, and Mr. W. E. Carter, addressing Hon. Hanmer Robbins, presented him with an elegant set of silver service, consisting of a coffee urn, castor and cake basket, as a slight testimonial of the appreciation of citizens for his services in procuring the location of the Normal School at Platteville.

The recipient returned thanks in an appropriate speech, in which he complimented the people of Platteville upon their labors in the same behalf, without which he could have accomplished nothing.

After the singing of the doxology by the Glee Club, and benediction by the Rev. Mr. Pond, the meeting was adjourned until evening, when the exercises concluded with a re-union supper.

The regular course was commenced on the following day, under the administration of Prof. Charles H. Allen as Principal, assisted by Jacob Wernli, George M. Guernsey, Professor of Mathematics; Fanny S. Joslyn, Instructor in History, Geography and Physiology; Esther M. Sprague, Principal of the Model Department, with Henry Triganowan, Janitor.

During this term, 60 pupils were enrolled in the Normal Department; 14, in the Preparatory Class, and 38 in the Model School; and, during the year first following, there were in attendance, for some part of the year, 219 students, exclusive of the Model School.

This unexpectedly large attendance necessitated the increase of accommodations, and, before the dawn of 1867, a new wing of dimensions sufficiently commodious to supply the existing demands was commenced.  Its completion, however, was delayed until 1868, when the finishing touches were added, and the whole turned over to the school authorities.  The cost of the improvement was $20,000, and the dedication occurred on the 10th of September, 1868, at which an address was delivered by State Superintendent Craig, followed with speeches by the Hon. J. H. Rountree, the Hon. Hanmer Robbins, the Rev. Messrs. Parmelee and Pond, Mr. J. C. Cover, Prof. Allen, and Gen. Grant.  At that time, the buildings consisted of one main stone edifice, three stories high, fronting forty feet to the south, and seventy feet to the north; west of this was a building, also of stone, two stories high and 40x60, connected with the main building by a stone corridor 32x40, and three stories high.  They were of a blue limestone, based well, substantially built, well lighted and ventilated, and thoroughly heated.

The course prescribed by the board is designed to meet the wants of those teachers, who, possessing the necessary scholastic acquirements, yet feel the need of the professional training.  It consists of a rapid review of the various subjects taught in common schools, with lectures upon the best methods of teaching the same; upon the organization, classification and government of schools; and upon the school law.  The elementary course is to fit students to become teachers in the common schools of the State, and consists of a thorough drill in the studies pursued, experimental lectures on methods of instruction and practice in the Model School.  The advanced course is designed to fit teachers for the higher departments of graded schools in the State.

These ideas were embodied in the course begun at Platteville, and, in June, 1869, that school graduated its first class, the first of a Normal school in Wisconsin, and was composed of Lewis Funk, Melvin Grigsby, Andrew J. Hutton, Richard H. Jones, James Roit, Edward H. Sprague, Ella Marshall and Alvena E. Schroeder.  The school remained under the care of Prof. Allen until July, 1870, when he resigned, and Edwin A. Charlton became his successor, and changes were made in the other departments, as also in the courses of study adopted in 1868.  This latter was further altered at the annual meeting in July, 1874, when two courses of study were decided upon to be known as the “Elementary Course,” requiring two years to complete, and the “Advanced Course,” requiring four years to complete.

In 1873, it again became necessary to increase the accommodation facilities, and a two-story stone addition 26x40, occupying the west front of the corridor, was completed and occupied.  This improvement was made at a cost of $2,200.

From the inauguration of the system, the character of the common schools has been elevated and improved in every particular, to which the influence of the Normal School may be made to reach.  The course of study pursued by Normal pupils makes them acquainted with the subject of school economy, and, to some extent, qualifies them to suggest and make such improvements in school appliances as may increase the possibilities of effective work.  In short, the Normal School has become an educational center, from which is disseminated information bearing upon the conditions that make a good school possible.  In addition to improving the school accommodations, it gives more stability to the profession of teaching, and, in every way, contributes to the means of education available to the student in a degree both gratifying and liberal.

As is known, the Platteville Normal School is accessible to candidates from all parts of the State.  Each Assembly District in the State is entitled to eight representatives, and, in case vacancies exist in the representation to which each Assembly District is entitled, such vacancy may be filled by the President and Board of Regents.  The candidate is nominated by the County or City Superintendent, must be of sound bodily health and of good moral character, and sustain a satisfactory examination in the branches required by law for a third-grade certificate.  These preliminaries being complied with he becomes a student, and, upon the completion of the prescribed course, is entitled to a diploma and the privileges of teaching.

The Normal School at Platteville is to-day considered one of the most valuable adjuncts to the science of education to be found in the West.  Improvements are constantly projected and completed, and, at the opening of the fall term, a kindergarten will have been provided, for which an addition to the Main street front was finished during the summer, at a cost of $20,000.  The corps of teachers embraces among the most accomplished and experienced, the discipline is superior, and all things combine to render it all that is claimed.

Since the organization, 684 ladies and 574 gentlemen have been enrolled in the Normal Department; 959 ladies and 1,036 gentlemen in the Training Department; and a total of 172 of both sexes have graduated.

Prof. Charlton remained as Principal until 1879, when he was succeeded by D. McGregor, who has since directed its affairs.  The school is divided into six departments:  Kindergarten, Primary, Intermediate, Grammar, Preparatory and Normal, requiring a regular force of thirteen teachers and an expenditure of about $14,000 for its support.

The scholastic year is divided into three terms, the first beginning on the first Tuesday of September and continuing sixteen weeks, the second term commencing on the first Tuesday in January and lasting twelve weeks, and the third commencing on the second Tuesday in April and expiring in June.

The present class consists of 475 students, and the value of the school property is quoted at $65,000.


On March 10, 1829, William T. Barry, Postmaster General of the United States, appointed Maj. Rountree Postmaster at Platteville, and on October 10, of the same year, opened the office in a house within the grounds then and since occupied by this gentleman for residence purposes.  There were no mail carriers in those days, and it was only when the Postmaster, or some of his servants visited Galena, that letters were obtained and transported to their addressed in Platteville and vicinity.  In 1831, the mail was carried from Galena to Prairie du Chien, in a wagon via Platteville, twice each week, and was succeeded in 1832 by mail from Platteville to Mineral Point at stated periods.  This continued until 1870, when the advent of railroads placed Platteville in more immediate and frequent communication with the outside world.

In 1835, the office was removed from the residence of Maj. Rountree to his store, corner of Third and Main streets, the Major discharging the duties of his position until 1838, when he was elected to the Territorial Council resigned, to be succeeded by N. W. Kendall, who located the office in his store on Grocery street.  He was followed by Sylvester Gridley, who was appointed about 1841, and had the office in his store, where Hodges’ Bank now is.  Thomas Eastman was the next recipient of executive confidence, serving the public in premises near the present site of Wright’s drug store until about 1849.  At that time, Dr. James Russell accepted the trust, in a building near Sickles’ cigar store.  Dr. G. W. Eastman was the next incumbent.  The office under his administration being where Hooper’s drug store now is, and whence H. Hulburt, Dr. Eastman’s successor, removed it to Rountree’s Block, corner of Main and Bonson streets.  In 1857 Maj. Rountree was appointed, remaining in office until 1861, when he was relieved by James Kelly, who in turn yielded precedence to B. F. Wyne in 1865.  That gentleman is still in charge.  During the earlier portion of his term of office he occupied the present site of Sickles’ cigar store, but in 1879 he moved it to the corner of Main and Third streets, where it still remains, in the first brick building erected in Platteville, and on the same corner to which it had been moved from Maj. Rountree’s residence forty-four years previous.



Grant County Witness. – The history of journalism in Grant County found expression first in Platteville, at which point the publication of the Northern Badger was commenced on Friday, July 30, 1840.  The paper was a folio of twenty columns, printed in brevier and containing a large amount of general information.  For many seasons previous, the absence of a newspaper had been noted.  It was a matter of surprise that a section of the country with soil, climate, mineral wealth, and other features of excellence rarely paralleled should have so long remained without a press to make known its advantages and sustain its interests.  Thomas Eastman, the editor and publisher, designed it to be a concise review of passing events.  The political complexion of the paper would take the hue of all parties, and the useful and agreeable would be so united as to insure for it a welcome reception in the family circle.  The first numbers contained Congressional and Legislative proceedings; news from different portions of the country and county; a brief epitome of local intelligence, including the announcements that Dr. A. Hill, of La Fayette, Thomas P. Burnett, Dr. Crockwell, Miles Hollingsworth, Cyrus K. Lord and Samuel Lewis were candidates for the Territorial Legislature; Darius Bainbridge, Stewart McKee, of Platte Mills, Robert Langley, of Van Buren and Normal McLeod for County Commissioners; Ira W. Brunson for the office of Collector of taxes, and William McAuley for the office of Treasurer.  Under the caption of “The Broken Head,” the Badger is “happy to hear from high authority that William Rogers is entirely out of danger, and able to walk out; he could even attend to his labors, but his medical attendance deems labor too early as yet.  The legal proceedings, however, are going on, and should the person aggrieved think proper to prosecute the action, in the name of the people, or try a civil suit for damages, the case must come before a jury.  If we might offer a word of advice, we would say, keep the case out of court.  We have understood, however, that a gentleman of great legal ability has been spoken of as likely to be retained for the defense.  Should the case take such a direction, it is probably that our young but highly gifted townsman, B. C. Eastman, will have an opportunity of entering the forensic arena with a veteran adversary in a highly interesting suit.  That he will be retained in the pending trial, we infer from the very deep impression he has made on the public mind by his efforts in the preliminary investigation before the Justice’s Court.”  The local department also contained an editorial brevity on ‘Our Southern Boundary,” a notice of “Dr. Burhaus’ lectures on the Science of Phrenology,” the Illinois election returns, Indiana and Missouri election news, and other notes and comments of great interest and moment to readers of those days.  The advertisements comprehended the Sheriff’s “venditioni exponas, by Harvey Pepper, Sheriff; B. Roulette, lime dealer; Miss Longsden, pianoforte teacher; S. McKee, lumber dealer; J. Reynard, tailor; Ben C. Eastman, attorney at law; W. G. Spencer, boot and shoe maker; one or two guardians’ notices, and the markets.  The miscellanies were made up of a dolorous poem in iambics, under the title of “Requiem,” and beginning, “I see thee still,” running through four verses; “Washington’s Ancestors; Aaron Burr; Steam Navigation; A Brave Soldier and Shin-Plasters.”  The fourth page was also devoted to advertising the prospectuses of the Northern Badger, the Philadelphia Saturday Courier and Brother Jonathan, “the largest and most beautiful newspaper in America,” in addition to the arrival of the mails in Platteville, and New York prices current.

Such, imperfectly, is a description of the first newspaper published in Grant County.  It was conceived and brought forth in Platteville, where its infancy was rocked, and where it grew in strength and character under the influences of encouragement and genial surroundings.  According to all accounts, for the records are missing, it had run the gantlet of a cheerful experience, had put off its swaddling clothes, and become garbed in apparel, mechanically speaking, of the latest and most improved design, when it sickened, and before the remedies usually provided upon occasions of a similarly critical period could produce an effect, stiffened in death.  But as the “form” of the journalistic infant lay at its home in the village of Platteville, where it had begun life with such bright promises for the future, its senses closed to the world whence it was passing.  A new dispensation, metaphorically speaking, opened the door of the apartment, and, gliding to its bedside, pressed its lips upon the pallid brow, over which the death damp was gathering, and as silently passed out to take up the “stick” and “rule” of its predecessor, and furnish the world and all that therein is with news and notes, under the name of the Independent American and General Advertiser.  This was commenced as the indirect successor to the Badger, early in the year 1845.  J. L. Marsh, at present a member of the Fourth Estate at Sheboygan, directing its policy, molding its education, furnishing its mental and substantial resources, and doing all things needful for its advancement and independence.  The Wisconsin Whig, however, was the immediate successor to the Badger, lasting but a short time, and was followed by the Wisconsin Register, equally short lived.

In appearance, the American and Advertiser, typographically speaking, was a decided improvement over that of the Badger.  The print was clear, the paper of a superior quality, and very much that had been wanting in the latter was supplied.  Every policy that could in any way contribute to the welfare of the Northwest or development of its resources was advocated by Mr. Marsh, and a system of internal improvements for more accessible communication with other portions of the country was urged upon the attention of his readers.  The enterprise and spirit of Plattevillians was commended, and such allocutions as the editor promulgated, designed for the encouragement of those who, by their labors and examples, sought to build up the town and its vicinage, thereby promoting the growth and importance of the communities contiguous thereto, fell not upon stony ground.  About this time, the system of telegraphy, which has since so universally obtained, was just coming into experimental use, and this, too, was availed of to add to the quantity of information furnished.  Mr. Marsh conducted the paper alone until January 14, 1848, when E. F. Bayley became associated, and the firm was afterward known as “Marsh & Bayley.”  This arrangement created, no change was observed from the course previously pursued.  Every exertion was made to render the American worthy of patronage, which was as liberally extended as under the former regime.  These gentlemen remained in charge until 1849, when the paper suspended, and so continued until September 13, 1851, when J. L. Marsh resumed its publication, in outward appearance entirely changed, but the same in principle as when he first launched his journalistic bark upon the tide of time – independent.

Typographically, the new issue was a superior specimen of mechanical art, and from his office, in the third story of Moore & Hodges’ block, the editor was accustomed to commune with his constituency in a manner both frank and dignified.  On the 17th of September, 1852, was commenced the seventh volume of the journal, still under the editorship of J. L. Marsh, and with increased facilities for consulting the wants of advertisers and subscribers.  This and the succeeding volume were edited by Mr. Marsh, but with the opening of the ninth volume, Harlon M. Page greets the reader as editor, and Page & Chatterton, proprietors.  Under their administration, the Independent American, while not presuming to rival cotemporary dailies, in the extent and variety of foreign and general intelligence, furnished to its readers, in a condensed form, a summary of the world’s news.  To this was added, for the benefit of farmers and business men, an accurate report of the markets and matters of interest to the commercial and agricultural communities from whom its support was obtained.  In politics, the paper remained independent.  The firm of Page & Chatterton remained as the published owners of the paper until January 11, 1856, when H. M. Page succeeded to the partnership, and discharged the duties incident thereto, in conjunction with those of editor.  This move, it appears, had been for some time in contemplation prior to its being consummated.  The expenses of publishing a paper in those days were heavy, and the tight times which are known to have existed about this time greatly augmented an outlay that was disproportioned to the income.  These considerations prompted the centering of the responsibilities, which were undertaken by Mr. Page, who promised to maintain the standard of excellence which had been attained as the result of the efforts of himself and Mr. Chatterton.  Mr. Page remained in the harness, so to speak, until October 30, 1857, enduring many trials, experiencing few triumphs, when he laid down the editorial pen, and in a few plain words, expressed his reasons for suspending the further publication of the American.  A period of nearly two years elapsed before effort was made to establish a weekly journal in Platteville, but on the 26th of May, 1859, the Grant County Witness was issued, and has since been attended with a success reasonably gratifying.  The venture was first undertaken by Israel Sanderson, who announced his reasons for starting a paper, and the character that the same would bear before the public.  It would bear testimony of occurring facts; labor to advance the principles set forth in the National and State Republican platforms; protest against the authority of Congress to give legal existence to slavery in the Territories; maintain the doctrine asserted by the Supreme Court of Wisconsin on the question of State Rights, and advocate the right and reprove the wrong wherever seen.  The paper was a seven-column folio, neat in its make-up, containing choice selections of miscellaneous reading, crisp editorials, brief and to the point localisms, and a large number of advertisements.  The first eight numbers of the Witness were issued from Lancaster, but on July 14, following its establishment, the office was removed to Platteville, as the prospect of self-supporting was considered more gratifying at the latter point than at Lancaster.  A year’s experience established the truth of this conclusion.  By hard labor and close attention to business, a corresponding liberality on the part of the public was begot, and the fact that a paper could be sustained in Platteville was settled beyond a peradventure.  For upward of three years, Mr. Sanderson realized this experience.

At the expiration of that period, or on May 8, 1862, he entered into an arrangement with George K. Shaw and Daniel E. Bockius, of Galena, who assumed the management himself, acting as assistant publisher, rendering, as occasion required, such assistance was deemed necessary.  The firm was afterward known as “Shaw & Bockius.”  During the period when Mr. Sanderson catered to the intellectual appetite of his readers, the Witness never failed weekly to visit the homes of subscribers, bringing entertainment and instruction.  This, too, at times when business interests had been subjected to great hardships, and suffered therefrom.  But the paper passed successfully through these crises, and at the date of its transfer was yielding fair profits to its publishers.  Under such auspices, and with such advantages, did Messrs. Shaw & Bockius commence the race with cotemporaries.  It was at the most exciting period of the war, but the policy of these gentlemen was such as to commend their efforts to a generous patronage, which was continued during their joint and several management of the enterprise.  The partnership lasted until November 5, 1863, when the name of Daniel E. Bockius disappeared from the editorial page.  On the 31st of December of the same year, Mr. Shaw sold out his interest to F. S. Houghawont, who assumed charge on the following day, and began its publication after completing a number of improvements, etc.  His lease of authority, however, was short-lived, for with the issue of April 7, 1864, Mr. Houghawont closed his connection with the Witness, which reverted to George K. Shaw, from whom the former obtained title in December previous.  The new lease of life obtained under the tutorship of Mr. Shaw was both prolonged and mutually beneficial.  For upward of five years he had control of its editorial columns, making the paper a respectable and flourishing institution, especially during the gloomy years of the war, and when business stagnation held out no inducements to persevere in the walks of professional life.  Mr. Shaw did persevere, however; and by his efforts contributed to swell the population and resources of the county until February 28, 1867.  At that date, a sale of the Witness was effected to M. P. Rindlaub, for three years previous editor of the Herald, at Lancaster; an experienced newspaper man, a practical printer and a gentleman fully appreciating expectations borne of the successions.  For some time prior to his assuming control, the Witness had abandoned its independent policy, and came out Republican in politics of the strictest sect.  The innovation thus established was adopted by Mr. Rindlaub, and in his views of the situation as set forth in the editorial columns, the syllabus of his predecessor was intensified rather than diminished.  In the campaign of 1868, he supported Grant for President, and contributed in a marked degree toward the molding of public opinion in that direction in Grant County.  In the winter of 1871-72, Mr. Rindlaub enlarged the Witness to its present size, procured a new dress, and completed other improvements, which have been annually added to from time to time, as the necessity occurred, until to-day the paper, which began with so little pretension nearly twenty-five years ago, ranks second to no journal in the State in its influence and character; not alone as the formulator of public opinion and the conservator of public morality, but also as a dignified witness of passing events and the unprejudiced advocate of equal rights to all men.

Der Correspondent – A German weekly issued on Thursdays, and enjoying a rapidly increasing prosperity.  In the fall of 1879, Herman Melster, an enterprising and ambitious journalist, previous to that date connected with the Herald and Seebote, of Milwaukee, conceived the idea of establishing a German paper in Wisconsin, outside the territory tributary to Milwaukee, as the source of all that is good, true and beautiful in knowledge and art.  He canvassed the State with care, and finally deciding upon Platteville as a point furnishing the most available advantages for the establishment of a German paper, located here and, on October 19 of that year, in conjunction with Ferdinand Remshogue, issued the first number of Der Correspondent.  The paper was then, and still is, a folio of eight columns to the page, well printed, attractively made up, and presenting all the features of excellence necessary to success.

The partnership continued until December 18, 1880, when it is dissolved, Mr. Remshogue retiring, since which period Mr. Melster has conducted the enterprise without assistance, and is succeeding beyond his most sanguine expectations.

The Correspondent is the only paper printed in the tongue of the “Faderland” in Southwestern Wisconsin, and is steadily becoming a power in the community as the formulator of public opinion and conservator of the sentiment of equal and exact justice to all men.  Politically, it is independent, strictly so, without preference for or prejudice toward either of the contesting parties, and, while this is strictly true, the promulgation of an opinion through the columns of the Correspondent, from its office on Grocery street, has not been altogether unproductive of results in the politics of the city.

The present circulation is stated at 600, and the value of the enterprise at $1,000.



I. Hodges’ Bank – Organized in 1846 by I. Hodges and L. McCarn, who commenced business in premises on Main street now occupied by the store of D. Wilson.  The firm remained here until the spring of 1870, when the building was materially damaged by fire, and they removed to the building at present used as the post office, corner of Main and Third streets.  The same fall, they erected the commodious brick building on the opposite corner of the same thoroughfares, where the business has since been carried on.  In March, 1873, Mr. McCarn died, when the firm was re-organized with I. Hodges and O. S. Griswold; this continued until January 1, 1880, when Mr. Griswold retired, since which date Mr. Hodges has operated alone.

The business is that of general banking and exchange, and aggregates $2,000,000 annually.

W. S. Northrop & Co. – Composed of W. S. Northrop and George W. Eastman, bankers and dealers in exchange, Government securities, etc.; was organized April 1, 1880, and are engaged in a large and rapidly increasing business, amounting to $1,500,000 per year, principally with the farmers of the township and merchants in the city of Platteville.



Melody Lodge, No. 2, A., F. & A. M. – The second lodge of Masons established in the present State of Wisconsin was organized on the 15th of February, 1843, with the following members and officers:  John Bevans; B. T. Kavanaugh, W. M.; Hugh R. Colter, S. W.; W. C. Fillebrown, J. W.; Servis W. Link, Secretary; J. H. Rountree, Treasurer; Rufus Spaulding, S. D.; John W. Wiley, J. D., and David Rich, Tiler.

The organization was completed, and for nearly a year the lodge worked under a dispensation granted by the Grand Lodge of the State of Missouri.  Meetings were convened at first in the hall of the old academy building, but this was only for a short time.  The same year, a log building erected by Samuel Moore and brother, on the east side of the public square, was purchased and reconstructed so as to serve the purposes of a Masonic temple.  The building still stands, occupying the southwest corner of Block 44, at the corner of Mineral and Bonson streets.

Almost from the start, the lodge prospered; in point of membership and influence, it was rapidly becoming a power in the community, as also of the craft.  As a result, the “temple” improvised out of the unpretentious log cabin became of too contracted dimensions and limited resources, and in the winter of 1846, the question of constructing a hall was agitated.  This agitation was continuous and earnest, culminating in a decision to erect a building that has since been utilized as the meeting-place for both Masons and Odd Fellows.  Samuel Moore, W. G. Spencer and Joel C. Squires were appointed a building committee; a lot was selected at the corner of Court and Pine streets, contracts were concluded with H. R. Beebe, and the corner-stone was laid with impressive and appropriate ceremonies about June 24, 1846.  From this time forward, work was diligently prosecuted under the superintendence of Samuel Moore, and during the same year the building was completed and dedicated.

It is of brick, 24x40, the hall being 24x32, handsomely finished and ornamented, costing a total of $2,200.  The upper floor has been used by the Masons, while the first story has been appropriated to the occupation of Odd Fellows, a German Society and other fraternities.

The Lodge worked under the dispensation and charger obtained from the Grand Lodge of Missouri, until January 17, 1844, when it was re-organized, and a charter issued by the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin, with the following officers:  Benjamin C. Eastman, W. M.; Lewis W. Link, S. W., and Bennett Atwood, J. W., under the jurisdiction of which it has since worked.

The present membership is about ninety-one, making a total of 308 persons admitted to the lodge, either by initiation or otherwise since its organization.  The value of lodge property is quoted at $4,000, and the present officers are Duncan McGregor, W. M.; W. B. Wyne, S. W.; J. B. McCoy, J. W.; J. H. Evans, Treasurer; A. L. Brown, Secretary; J. McGranahan, S. D.; A. C. Hawley, J. D.; I. M. Gear, Tiler.

Washington Chapter, No. 2, R. A. M. – On or about the 14th of August, 1844, a dispensation was received from the General Grand Chapter of the United States, directed to B. T. Kavanaugh, Moses Meeker, Marcus Wainwright, Ephraim F. Ogden, Thomas C. Legate, William R. Smith, Eleazer Smith, Hugh R. Colter and Charles Knight.  The dispensation was to continue in force for a brief period, and under its authority B. F. Kavanaugh became High Priest, Moses Meeker, King, with Marcus Wainwright, Scribe.

On September 13, 1850, delegates from Milwaukee Chapter, No. 1, Washington Chapter, No. 2, and Southport Chapter, No. 3, convened at Madison for the purpose of organizing a Grand Chapter of Wisconsin, authority for the same having been granted by the Grand Chapter of the United States.

A session of several weeks was held in completing arrangements.  The meetings of the chapter, from its organization in the first instance to the present time, have been held in Masonic Hall, at Platteville, on the second Tuesday of each month.

The chapter is at present in a highly prosperous condition, having a membership of seventy-five of the craft and the following officers:  John Grindell, High Priest; J. H. Evans, King; and H. H. Virgin, Scribe.

Lilly of the Mound Lodge, I. O. O. F. – One of the oldest lodges in the Northwest, and the sixth in order of precedence in the State, was incorporated January 6, 1846, under a dispensation granted by the Grand Lodge of the United States to the following petitioners:  Edward Symmes, J. L. Marsh, A. M. Holliday, J. W. Basye, H. L. Bevans and A. S. Bennett.  The lodge was instituted by John G. Potts, and all the above-named gentlemen, constituent members, are deceased, except J. L. Marsh, of Sheboygan.  Meetings were convened in the lower story of Masonic Hall, corner of Court House and Pine streets, where, during the period the lodge was working under the dispensation, forty-eight candidates were admitted to membership, and the following served as pioneer officers: J. W. Basye, N. G.; E. Symmes, V. G.; A. M. Holliday, R. S.; J. L. Marsh, P. S.; I. Hodges, Treas.

On the 1st of February, 1848, a charter was granted by the Grand Lodge of the State, to R. Chapman, N. H Virgin, R. Milton, John N. Jones, A. M. Holliday and Noah Hutchins, with the following officers:  N. H. Virgin, N. G.; A. M. Holliday, V. G.; J. N. Jones, R. S.; Robert Milton, P. S., and N. Hutchins, Treas.  The society remained in the Masonic Hall until 1858, when it procured accommodations in the third story of James Kellogg’s building, corner of Main and Pine streets, which were fitted up and furnished at a cost of $1,800, and have since been occupied.

The present membership is stated as numbering fifty-five of the craft; the value of lodge property at $1,200; and the officers to be William Grindell, N. G.; J. L. Nye, V. G.; Philip Eden, R. S.; H. J. Traber, P. S.; and Charles G. Marshall, Treas.  Meetings are held weekly, on Friday evenings.

Platteville Encampment, No. 47, I. O. O. F. – was instituted December 6, 1871, under a dispensation granted upon application of Patriarchs B. F. Chase, John Grindell, J. L. Nye, Alexander Butler, B. F. Dugdale, J. M. Guernsey, S. M. Tracy and E. M. Wilson.  The first officers were:  William Grindell, C. P.; C. H. Nye, H. P.; F. R. Chase, S. W.; S. M. Tracy, Scribe; and Alexander Butler, Treasurer.

The present membership is twenty, and the encampment has a capital of say $200; with the following officers:  H. H. Wright, C. P.; William Grindell, H. P.; T. D. Bass, S. W.; Joseph Weston, Scribe; and C. G. Marshall, Treasurer.

Meetings are held semi-monthly, on the first and third Mondays.

Badger Lodge, No. 6, A. O. N. W. – was organized April 16, 1877, with the subjoined members and officers:  W. H. Beebe, G. D. Streeter, E. R. Frederick, A. T. Davidson, H. J. Traber, J. H. Parnell, T. J. Hooper, J. C. Hooper, H. H. Virgin, A. F. Buss, J. T. Munger, H. D. Thiele and G. C. Handy; H. H. Virgin, P. M. W.; G. T. Streeter, M. W.; H. J. Traver, Overseer; J. C. Hooper, Foreman; H. D. Thiele, Financier; W. H. Beeber, Recorder.

The lodge now has thirty-seven members, with the following officers, and meets every Thursday evening in lower Masonic Hall, corner of Pine and Court House streets:  Edward Frederick, P. M. W.; H. J. Traber, M. W.; J. T. Davidson, Overseer; Stephen Alger, Foreman; W. Cowduroy, Financier; A. J. Buss, Recorder; and John H. Parnell, Guide.


The Young Men’s Library Association. – A society for social and intellectual improvement composed of the young men and older residents of the city of Platteville, was organized early in the year 1868, and has attained a liberal growth and prosperity.  By an act of the Legislature approved February 22, of the same year, A. J. McCarn, John E. Gurley, Richard Carter, Charles H. Allen, A. W. Bell, W. H. Bebee, George B. Carter, J. H. Evans, M. P. Rinlaub, George W. Eastman, Frank A. Hawley, Fay R. Chase, and W. E. Carter, were declared to be a body corporate under the title above designated, with the privileges and immunities appertaining thereto.  Immediately upon the passage of the act of incorporation, the association duly organized by the election of W. E. Carter as President, A. J. McCarn, Treasurer, and J. H. Jones, Secretary; 110 shares of stock were disposed of and paid for, a library room was established at the residence of E. W. Thomas; Miss Thomas was appointed Librarian and the collation of books and articles of interest to the literary inclined commenced.  This labor has been prosecuted with such vigor and so advantageously that at present the association control a total of 1,300 volumes, the selections embracing the choicest productions of the best authors of fiction, history, philosophy, poetry and the arts, in addition to standard authorities and reference books on these subjects.  In addition to these advantages the association has recently provided an annual course of lectures on various subjects, and by this and other means been enabled to contribute to the education and edification of an appreciative and intelligent constituency.  The labors of the members have not been without results, as is evidenced by the support extended their efforts and the society promises to fully realize the most sanguine expectations of its founders.

Meetings are held annually on the fourth Monday in January, and the present officers are:  J. V. Hollman, President; E. J. Buck and D. McGregor, Vice Presidents; O. F. Griswold, Treasurer and W. B. Wyne, Secretary, with F. A. Chase, M. Sickle, H. J. Traber and W. S. Northrop, Board of Directors.

The Young Men’s Catholic Association of Platteville – An association of recent date, composed of the younger members of St. Mary’s Church, with the object of promoting literary tastes, Christian virtues and total abstinence from intoxicating drinks.  It was organized April 3, 1881, with a membership of fifty, and the following officers, who are still serving, elected:  J. C. Cleary, President; J. V. Gardner, Vice President; John J. Barden, Secretary, and E. Schlater, Treasurer, with the Rev. W. G. Miller as Spiritual Director.

Meetings are held alternate Sabbath evenings in the rooms of the Reform Club, the exercises consisting of debates, essays and brochures of a literary character.

The Platteville Reform Club. – On the 29th of July, 1877, a movement in behalf of temperance reform was inaugurated at the Congregational Church in Platteville, under the management of Jacob H. Hoffstiller, of Sterling, Ill., and H. W. Rowell, of Rockford, in the same club, which was organized August 7 following, at a meeting held for that purpose, at which a committee consisting of W. H. Deffenbacher, J. D. Alford, Silas W. Traber, William Jones and Silas W. Streeter was appointed, by whom a constitution and by-laws were prepared, and the same adopted at a subsequent meeting, when the following officers were elected:  A. L. Brown, President; Charles Potter, Vice President; J. H. Robertson, Secretary; B. A. Jacobs, Treasurer, and J. W. Smelker, Chaplain; George B. Carter, Bryon O’Neil and William Martin, Executive Committee; G. D. Streeter, E. J. Bentley and R. J. Huntington, Grievance Committee.

At present, the membership of the club is stated at 200.  Meetings are convened weekly, and the following are the officers:  A. L. Brown, President; L. J. Washburn, Vice President; J. A. Calason, Secretary; J. P. Sampson, Treasurer, and S. Haw, Chaplain; James Dyer, John Cavanaugh and William Cox, Executive Committee.

Platteville Loan and Building Association. – An association, for the purpose of affording members an opportunity for the safe investment of their savings, facilitate the acquisition of homes, and for other purposes specified in the charter.  It was incorporated under the laws of Wisconsin in May, 1876, by Alexander Butler, H. J. Traber, Hanmer Robbins, W. H. Beebe and A. W. Bell.  The officers elected at the first meeting were Hanmer Robbins, President; E. F. Newton, Vice President; C. W. Hill, Secretary, and H. J. Traber, Treasurer.  To become a member ownership of stock is necessary, paid for in monthly installments, and thus far 500 shares have been issued.

At present, the association possesses a membership of 200; control $16,000 invested in first mortgages on real estate, and has $536 in cash.

Meetings are convened annually on the third Wednesday in May for the election of officers, and monthly on the third Wednesday for the transaction of routine business.

The present officers are Hanmer Robbins, President; E. F. Newton, Vice President; G. M. Guernsey, Secretary, and H. J. Traber, Treasurer.

Legal Benevolent Society. – An association of Germans organized in March, 1867, as the name would indicate, for benevolent purposes, by Conrad Sender, Hans Spalth, Henry C. Miller, Ernst Johnson, Christian Fosz, Christian Peterson and Henry Fosz.  The initiation fee was placed at $8, and the annual dues at $6.  Members receive $4 per week during sickness, and upon their death in addition to $40 for funeral expenses, the widow was paid $4 per month for herself, and $1 each for children under fourteen years of age for the same length of time.  But these regulations have since been changed, the widow or family of deceased now receiving $500 in lieu of monthly allowances.  At first the society held meetings in a hall in Rountree’s building on Main street; but of late years their convocations have assembled in the Masonic Hall.  The charter officers were Hans Spalth, Baron; Ernst Johnson, Vice Baron; Conrad Sander, Treasurer, and Henry C. Miller, Secretary.  The present officers are Conrad Sander, Baron; Christian Fosz, Vice President; Jacob Karman, Treasurer, and Henry Meilhopf, Secretary.



Laflin & Rand Powder Company. – The manufacture of gunpowder was commenced in a primitive way during the reign of Edward III, of England, about 1345, but not thoroughly established until the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when the improved art was brought from Flanders by Evelyns.  Some authors contend, however, that Bartholobus Schwartz discovered this explosive in the year 1320, and that it was used by the Venetians during a war with the Genoese in the years immediately succeeding.  George Evelyn, grandfather of the celebrated Sir John, had mills at Long Dulton, near Kingston, in Surrey, and at Leigh Place, near Godstone, in the same county, and these seem to have been the first of any importance in the British kingdom.

The manufacture of gunpowder in the United States is nearly as old as the Constitution, and is chiefly confined to the Northern and Middle States.  In the fall of 1848, F. A. Stowell and E. H. Stowell, accompanied by D. Marble, wandered West from the “stern and rock-bound coast” of Maine, in search of fortune and its inseparable companion happiness, believed to be hidden with the fountain of youth among the hills and vales, landscaped on the hither side of the Alleghenies.  They visited Platteville, and after examining the advantages of a position with a view to that end, decided to locate a powder-mill.  After some negotiation, the property formerly known as “Griffith’s saw-mill,” on the Little Platte, about one and a half miles northwest of the present city, was purchased as a site, upon which buildings were erected, and the mill fairly put in operation during the summer of 1849.  The improvements completed by these gentlemen were, from all accounts, of rather limited capacity, sufficient, however, to perform the work necessary, and nothing beyond the daily routine is supposed to have occurred until the summer of the year following.  One day in July, J. R. Marble, who was employed in the packing-house, contracted an engagement with Dr. Hayes and the Misses Vineyard for an afternoon’s ride, and proceeded to the mills for the purpose of concluding some work upon which he had been employed prior to his accepting the invitation.  The day is represented to have been the exact counterpart of a day in April.  The sun shone brilliantly at times; at times obscured by clouds from which a passing shower would be distilled, lasting but an instant, when they would once more open as the gates of paradise, amid which the god of day, smiling through tears, was revealed, and causing the foliage of trees that lined the village streets to sparkle in regal magnificence.  Suddenly, and without any premonitory sign, a dull, smothered, as it were half-suppressed report, like the mutterings of distant thunder, was heard, and the residents, for miles around, instinctively knew that an accident had happened at the mills.  A multitude of citizens hurried to the scene, and realized the truth of their apprehensions in the destruction of the packing-house, the debris of which was scattered far and wide, as also were the remains of the unfortunate victim, who was within the walls of the structure, when the accident occurred.  A few fragments of his mutilated anatomy were gathered together and decently interred; the premises were rebuilt, and business resumed by the surviving partners.  They remained in charge until the fall of 1854; neither accident nor incident happening during that period to disturb the usual current of events; when E. Bayley purchased a half-interest in the venture, the success of which had by this time become assured.  He retained the control of his moiety until the following spring, when a sale was affected, and the firm was known as Stowell, Turck & Co., being composed of E. and F. Stowell, and Solomon and John Turck.  Some years later, Dwight Laflin, S. H. Laflin, F. Laflin and Solomon A. Smith purchased control; and, in January, 1867, the Laflin & Smith Powder Company succeeded to the ownership.  This continued until 1869, when the Smith Powder Company and the Laflin Powder Company consolidated, and the establishment has since been conducted as the Laflin & Rand Powder Company, being composed of the Laflin brothers, A. T. Rand, Sol A. Smith, Jr., and the Smith heirs, and S. and J. Turck, with A. T. Rand, as President; Edward Greene, Secretary and Treasurer; and E. F. Newton, Superintendent.

The company now own a tract of 175 acres, of low, seemingly unreclaimed land, rather thickly overgrown with trees and tangled vines, one of those neglected spots where everything has so long been permitted to have its own way that even a bold cultivation might well pause before it in despair.  A rank vegetation overspreads the valley, for the place is a valley of awful possibilities, in savage exuberance, defiant almost of human efforts to accomplish its subjugation.  Trees innumerable cluster along the banks of the Little Platte, which creeps its way sluggishly to the Father of Waters.  Occasional oaks and sycamores display their superiority, while here and there green foliage of a cedar or pine crowds its way upward into the sunlight, rejoicing in its privilege and in its thrift.  Bushes flourish in impenetrable masses underneath, while overhead vines are interlaced and clamber from tree to tree in vigorous luxuriance, reveling in the enjoyment of weaving their fantastic draperies undisturbed.  Scattered about the valley with an air of carelessness, as it were, but really with an eye to security, are the buildings wherein the destructive combustible is “incorporated, pressed, corned, dried,” and made ready for market.  The buildings are low, unpretentious structures, built as cheaply as comports with durability and convenience, partially of brick and partially of frame, and bearing the impress of the business for which they have been erected in the sooty stains traced upon their sides.  At a distance from these are the furnaces for the manufacture of coal; near by is the superintendent’s office, past which a roadway meanders to the river, over the hills, out into the sunlight, to the city.  Near the banks of the river stands the engine house, and equidistant between the cylinder mills is a stone building where the steam is distributed to run the machinery, dry the powder, and for other purposes.  Taken altogether, the place, if failing to present an altogether forsaken appearance, would hardly be selected as the scene of a picnic or hustings.

The gunpowder manufactured by this company contains 75 per cent of niter, 14 per cent of charcoal and 11 per cent of brimstone, and the preparation and mixing of these ingredients require a knowledge, judgment and caution almost equal to that employed in the presentation of an intricate chancery plea.  The charcoal is distilled from willow and what is known as the “Quaking Aspen,” which is readily obtained in the vicinity, stripped of its bark and corded up to undergo a process of seasoning.  This requires several months, and the supply constantly on hand can be easily measured.  When the seasoning is concluded, immense quantities of it are taken to the furnaces and stacked within the retorts, each 12x14, constructed of brick, with apertures in the side, through which the steam and smoke escape.  The fires are then lighted, and the mass is left to burn slowly until it is sufficiently baked, when the drafts are closed and sealed, and the “grist” remains until it is required at the mills.

The refinery is of frame, 20x30, containing the constituent parts of powder, i. e., charcoal, niter and brimstone, and is also used for weighing the same and tempering the saltpeter.  This latter, as is well known, is peculiarly susceptible to moisture, and until this dampness is eliminated, the essential feature of gunpowder cannot be ground, or incorporated with the charcoal and sulphur.  To overcome such an immeasurable impediment, an adjoining building is supplied with a furnace, upon which rests a huge iron pan 6x12, capable of accommodating one thousand pounds of niter.  In this the latter is placed, where it is stirred and manipulated for a certain length of time, when every particle of saltpeter is cleansed and dried ready for weighing.  These preliminaries having been disposed of, the component parts are carefully weighed in canvas bags, placed on a car, which moves noiselessly over a narrow-guage railroad track to the cylinder rooms, distant fully a quarter of a mile from the furnaces and refinery.

The cylinder mills are two in number, each one-story frames, 20x30, and are really the most dangerous points that can be encountered by a visitor to the works.  Each of these mills contain ten cylinders 2 ½x7, and containing sufficient power in the composition for the destruction of a city.  In these cylinders the incorporation or thorough pulverization and mixture of the ingredients is accomplished.  The manner of doing this is as follows:  Each of the cylinders is charged with four hundred pounds of the composition and set in motion, revolving at the rate of fourteen revolutions per minute, and running from forty to fifty hours.  The composition is crushed by means of two hundred and fifty pounds of copper bullets, which, falling from side to side with the composition at each revolution of the cylinder, resolves it into dust fine as flour.  By the old process of “crushing,” wheels were employed, and two hours only were occupied in its incorporation.  But if left ten minutes longer than long enough, the rollers instead of traveling over the mass as they should, were apt to push it along in front until at last the iron roller would strike the iron bed, when there is a noise and the mill “went up.”  The process in use by the Laflin & Rand Company avoids this imminent danger; and, while, as the Superintendent observed, danger at the works was measured by the proximity of objects and the curious to the cylinder mills, the same is by no means as unavoidable as formerly.  When the composition has been ground up and thoroughly incorporated as described, it is removed from the cylinders and placed in tubs preparatory to removal to the pressing rooms, distant about one thousand feet.  Cars are the means of conveyance employed, not only here, but in communication with the graining, drying and packing departments.  The powder, when taken from the cylinders, is exceedingly fine, of a uniform dark-gray color, and free from glittering particles of sulphur, or specks of any sort.

The pressing room is also of frame, of dimensions similar to the cylinder mills, furnished with an hydrostatics press of great strength and power.  Here the crushed powder is pressed into cakes in the following manner:  The operator takes a copper sheet about two feet square and a piece of canvas of the same size, a quantity of powder about an inch in depth, shaped and measured by a wooden frame, is laid upon the canvas, then another canvas and another copper, and so on, the process being repeated until a mountain of powder sandwiches at least three feet in height is produced, when the operator, finishing with a copper sheet, pushes the frame upon which this pile rests carefully until it stands directly beneath a screw of the hydrostatic press which is set in motion, and so continues until resistance of the mass beneath exceeds the power brought to bear upon it, when the press becomes motionless; in a few moments, however, the settling of the powder relieves the pressure, when the power again becomes preponderant, and the screw makes another turn or two with a slow, grinding, painful sound, suggestive of the instruments torture the Inquisition gave birth to.  This alternation of rest and motion continues for about two hours, when, every particle of resistance having been crushed out, the power is relieved by reversing the motion of the press and sliding the frame back to its first position.  The copper sheet is raised from the top, the canvas stripped away, and the first layer of powder taken out in a thin, solid cake, technically known as press-cake.  The operation of pressing preserves the powder and prevents its deterioration.  The power of gunpowder, assert works on the subject, depends upon the rapid evolution of certain gases from it while in course of combustion, and the effort of these gases to escape from the gun-chamber where they are combined is what carries the ball to its mark; the more rapid the combustion, the greater evolution of gas at a given instant, and mill-cake powder burns as much more rapidly than pressed powder as shavings do than a block of wood.  From the press-room the cake is taken to the graining house.

The graining house is at the usual distance from the remaining buildings, and is supplied with ten cylinders with a capacity of twenty-five kegs of powder each.  Upon the cake reaching this department, it is subjected to a grinding process, being run through cog-wheels supplied for that purpose, which, with the cylinders, are propelled by water-power.  From between these cog-wheels, the powder falls upon a horizontal wire screen, to which a constant lateral motion is imparted, so that the finer particles are shaken through upon an apron which carries them in one direction, while the coarser ones remaining upon the screen are thrown off and submitted to another crushing process.  They are then placed in the cylinders, which are revolved in a moderately swift manner, resulting in a certain degree of polish to the powder, the abrasion of the sharp corners and edges of the grains fitting it for closer packing, and more direct contact when fired.  It is then run through a separator to size and graduate the grain, placed in barrels and wheeled to the drying room on the extreme point of the semi-circle in the form of which the buildings are ranged.

The drying room is of brick, 20x40, where the powder receives its finishing touches, and from the excessive heat necessary to that end, the explosive does not seem half as dangerous a substance, after all, as most people think.  Here it is arranged in wooden trays, with paste-board bottoms, ranged in layers eight or ten feet high, and for seventy hours undergoes a seasoning process, through the agency of hot air generated by a furnace located some yards distant.  By this means the last particle of moisture is eliminated, the saltpeter and sulphur are reduced to fusion, and the grain is protected from attracting moisture, even in a very humid atmosphere.  In addition, the strength of the combustible is increased and its energy improved.  When the drying is completed, the powder is run into kegs, labeled, conveyed to the magazine, a mile off, in covered wagons, where it is kept in stock, as a marketable commodity.

Accidents. – In so critical an enterprise, a description of which, imperfect though it may be, is submitted, the public will appreciate the fact that accidents are not altogether unavoidable.  That they have not been more numerous and disastrous, is due almost entirely to the care taken and diligence exercised for their prevention.  The workmen are men of experience and judgment, and not only their comfort but their safety demands the caution characteristic of their service.  For example, every particle of powder must be removed from their person and clothing before running the chance of ordinary life at home, and every one of them takes a thorough bath, and changes every article of clothing, before leaving the mills at night.  Their working clothes never leave the mills at all, and their home-clothes never come any further than the wash-house.  Their shoes are without iron pegs, the “tools” used are selected because of their safety, and all things combine to render the hazardous undertaking as devoid of danger as possible.  Yet in spite of these attempts at prevention, accidents have occurred.

The first has already been noticed, and the second occurred on the night of Monday, November 7, 1870.  This occurred in the cylinder mill.  Materials for about 200 kegs of powder were in the cylinders, and with the exception of the water-wheel and a portion of the flume, not a vestige of the building or machinery was left.  The charred fragments were thrown in every direction, and many of the copper balls in the cylinders were found a mile away.  In one of the workshops a clock was hanging against the side of the building, secured by an iron strip.  The explosion caused it to tilt forward, and stop at the hour the explosion is supposed to have occurred – a quarter past 10.  The damage was estimated at $5,000.  There was no loss of life.

On Friday morning, February 8, 1877, the coining mill blew up instantly, killing Mr. John Stout, who was therein at work.  At the time there was in the neighborhood of 250 kegs of powder in the department, a great deal of it, however, in cakes and slightly damp.  No one knows how the powder ignited, as there was no fire about the building.  E. F. Newton, Superintendent of the works, and David Griffin, foreman of the mills, were on the ground, but cannot account for the calamity.  They first saw a light flash through the windows and cracks of the mill, followed by a succession of explosions, a few seconds later.  The sides of the building were blown out, the roof distributed around promiscuously, but, strange to say, the machinery remained standing just as it belonged, and continued operations until the water gate was shut down.  The body of Mr. Stout was found outside of the mill, partly lying in the water, with every particle of clothing stripped from him, except his stockings and boots.  His hair was singed off, his ears shriveled up, and the general appearance of the body as though it had been roasted.  Loss to building and materials quoted at $3,000.

On November 8, 1877, the press mill blew up, and James N. McGranahan, who was washing in the bath house, narrowly escaped death by plunging into the mill-race.  As it was, however, he sustained serious injuries, but recovered and resumed labors at the mill.  The loss to the company by this explosion was $2,000.

On Monday evening, September 16, 1878, the most serious explosion of any that had previously been experienced, occurred.  It was so loud and startling that many citizens of Platteville thought it had occurred on their own premises.  They were not long in determining the cause, for soon a dense black cloud of smoke rose up over the powder mills.  Hundreds of citizens, and also many from the surrounding country, flocked to the scene of the explosion.  The dry and packing house, containing 900 kegs or about 22,500 pounds of powder was found to be a total wreck; scarcely a stone or a piece of timber of which it was constructed, including the foundation, was to be found on the place where it had stood.  All the buildings belonging to the company were more or less injured, and the wash-house, house for drying lumber, keg factory, coining mill, old keg factory, old sorting room and store room were completely destroyed.  One of the cylinder mills was considerable damaged, also the press and saltpeter houses.  The coining mills, standing at least 200 yards from the dry-house, was nearly as badly damaged as it was at the time it exploded, and Mr. Stout was killed.  The wash-house stood about 300 feet from the dry-house, and was knocked to pieces.  Here is where Mr. James McGranahan, the same who was so badly injured when the press exploded the previous winter, was at this time.  He was stripped, taking his usual bath after his day’s work.  His cries were heard, and those who happened to be in the vicinity rushed to his rescue.  He was so completely buried in the debris that it was with difficulty he was taken out.  He was very badly cut upon the head and shoulders, and sustained bad wounds on the thigh.  Daniel Schaffer, in company with some other workmen, were at work near the coining mill.  While the building was all knocked to pieces none of them were injured.  Mr. Tappes was with his team near the charcoal towers.  The horses were stunned so that they fell down and the wagon was upset.  Jacob Kramer was in the old store house, and is somewhat injured about the shoulder.  Henry Dobson, the engineer, was in his house just across the Platte, about 200 yards from the dry-house.  His wife had just awakened him to eat his supper, previous to taking his place at the engine for the night, and he was seated at the table when the explosion took place.  He was thrown completely out of the chair to the floor.  His wife was in the next room and she was thrown to the floor.  The house was badly riddled, the windows being all blown out and the plastering knocked from the walls and ceiling.  One large rock, weighing about one hundred pounds, was thrown so that it entered the side of the house, just below the window, and, striking the floor, bounding so that it went out at the other side of the house near the ceiling, and dropping about fifty feet from the house.  The bedstead was broken, and the chair which had been vacated a moment before by Mrs. Dobson was shivered to pieces.  The side of the building was blown out, and the paint-keg tipped over on him, completely covering the side of his face.  The trees for several hundred yards were stripped of their leaves, and one tree which stood more than one hundred yards from the building was blown up.  Daniel Schaffer lived in the large white house on the hill, not more than 400 yards from the scene of the explosion, and the windows and doors were nearly all blown out.  Some of the furniture was moved and much of the plastering knocked off.  A number of window panes were broken in Mr. Colman’s house, also in Mr. Gollmer’s house.  The chimney on B. A. Jacob’s house, nearly half a mile from the mills, was knocked down.  A telegram was received the same evening from Warren, forty miles distant, inquiring whether the powder mills had not exploded, the shock, no doubt, being heard and felt at that place.  The cause of the explosion is not known.  Mr. Smith, who works in the packing house, had left it just an hour before, and stated that everything was all right when he left.

The loss to the property was $10,000.  Just previous to the explosion, J. L. Rewey, in company with Mr. Frank Newton, the superintendent (to whom the writer hereby tenders his acknowledgments for courtesy and a safe conduct), had been inspecting the works and were resting at the office.  “There,” observed Mr. Newton, “you’ve seen all there is to a powder-mill except an explosion, but if you desire one I’ve only to know it to ring up the curtain.”  Before Mr. Rewey was able to respond, the explosion occurred, but, aside from a severe shock, he escaped injury.

The investment is regarded as representing a valuation of $25,000.  A superintendent and sixteen men are necessary to the proper conduct of the mills, requiring an expenditure of $1,000 per month for wages alone, and forty thousand pounds of powder are turned out in the same period.

The present officers are:  Solomon Turck, President; A. W. Higgins, Secretary; Edward Greene, Treasurer; R. H. Collier, manager of this department, and E. F Newton, superintendent.  The company have also works at Kingston, Newbury and Schaghticoke, New York; Wayne, N. J., and at Pottsville, Scranton and Carbondale, Penn.

Alexander Butler’s Carriage and Wagon Factory – Is located at the corner of Pine and Third streets, and an establishment wielding an important influence in the prosperity of the city.  Prior to 1850, a mechanic named Mahaffey carried on a wagon-maker and repair shop in a small frame building near the site of the present brick structure.  How long he had been there at the date of which mention is made, or the extent of business transacted by him, is not only not of record, but beyond the memory of the proverbial oldest inhabitant.  Along in 1851 or 1852, Calvin Russell purchased Mahaffey’s investment and good will and succeeded to the business.  During his ownership, he erected the frame building now occupied as a paint-shop, opposite the brick structure, employed eight hands and worked up a prosperous trade, his manufacture, it is said, consisting of two hundred vehicles annually.  In 1863, Alexander Butler, who had been for some years in the employ of Mr. Russell, purchased his employer’s interest, and has since managed the enterprise.  After six years of diligent enterprise, Mr. Butler found the premises transferred to him as too small to accommodate the demands of his increasing business, and, in August, 1869, he contracted for the edifice which at present is devoted to the manufacture of stock.  It is of brick, forty feet square, two stories high, and furnished with machinery and appliances adapted to the line of business carried on within its limits.  It cost a total of $3,000, and fully meets the requirements its erection was intended to provide.  Mr. Butler is largely engaged in manufacturing running gear of all descriptions, as also in repairing, and when running to its fully capacity his manufactory requires the services of ten hands, turn out 175 vehicles annually and does business to the amount of $25,000 per year.

Hawley & Son Carriage Factory. – The present flourishing business conducted by these gentlemen originated with the senior partner nearly forty years ago, when, as a member of the firm of Lane & Hawley, he began the business of framing wagons and sleighs on Main street, in the village of Platteville, where P. D. Hendershot’s harness-shop now is.  As can readily be imagined, elegance of design and finish in those days yielded precedence to strength and durability, and the facts that settlers and miners, as also those who “teamed” over the unbroken prairies or almost impassable roads, realized their demands in that behalf, is to be found in the success which is said to have attended their efforts.  The firm continued in existence until the spring of 1847, when P. B. McEntire purchased the interest of Mr. Lane, and was substituted in his stead in the management of the concern.  When the negotiations in this behalf were concluded as cited, the improvements of the firm, which have since their erection supplied every demand, were contracted for, and in the following year became a part and parcel of improvements then made in the growing and prosperous village.  The main building is of brick, 24x30 feet, two stories high, and, with the additions made in 1859-69, presents an appearance both attractive and convenient.  In 1855, Mr. Hawley acquired title to McEntire’s moiety by purchase, and for twelve years carried on the business solus.  In 1867, F. A. Hawley was admitted to an interest, the facilities for manufacture were increased, and business appreciated proportionately.  The latter is still a partner in the enterprise, and, in 1871, took charge of a branch house established during that year at McGregor, Iowa, at an expense of $12,000.  The manufacture of the firm embraces every description of wheeled conveyance, from a light trotting wagon to a mineral “float,” and when operated to its full limit furnishes employment to thirty-three hands, and enjoys a trade represented as worth $30,000 per annum, in all sections of this portion of the State.

Genesee Mill was built in the spring of 1857, by N. H. Virgin, and is located on the Little Platte, two miles from the city, by the road hence to Lancaster.  Joseph Teasdale was associated with Mr. Virgin in the undertaking, and the premises were of the same dimensions, capacity and power, as the mill on Rountree’s Branch, save that it was supplied with three runs of stone.  In 1864, Julius Augustine purchased the interest of Mr. Virgin in the premises for $7,500, conducting it until 1869, during which interim he became sole owner.  In the latter year, he sold to Stephen Carhart for $10,000, who run the mill a year, when it passed into the control of Burley Jacobs.  That gentleman completed some improvements, and managed the concern until 1879, when it was sold under foreclosure proceedings, J. C. Holloway being the vendee.  Since this transfer, the establishment has been operated at intervals, but is now idle, and is for sale.

Virgin’s Flour Mills – Located on the road from Platteville to Galena, and in sight of the former city, were established in the fall of 1838 by the organization of a firm for that purpose, composed of J. H. Rountree, N. H. Virgin and Neeley Gray.  Previous to that year, the inhabitants of the country comprehended within the limits of Platteville Township and the territory contiguous thereto were, in a large measure, dependent upon the product of a mill of limited capacity, at a distance of seven miles from Platteville settlement, operated by Stewart McKee.  In the spring of 1839, Rountree, Virgin & Gray began the building of their mill with materials hewed out in the woods the previous winter.  But slow progress was made during the summer and fall, and work probably suspended during the winter.  At all events, the structure was not completed until the spring of 1840, and operations were postponed until fall, it being late in September before they began grinding corn.  The building then was of frame, 36x40, three stories high, and supplied with two runs of stone driven by an overshot water-wheel.  The capacity was 150 bushels every twenty-four hours.  In 1843, Mr. Rountree withdrew, and the firm became Virgin & Gray, and so continued until 1849, when Mr. Gray retired and Mr. Virgin succeeded to the entire ownership.  The old mill served the purposes for which it was erected for nearly a quarter of a century, or until 1863, when it was razed and the present edifice erected in its stead.  It is of the same dimensions, power and capacity as its predecessor, owned and operated by N. H. Virgin, and cost, with improvements made upon the original design, a matter of $10,000.  The mill is worked continuously, requiring the services of two men, with an extended trade throughout Platteville and adjacent townships, and is valued at $25,000.

The McKee Mills – An old landmark which flourished when the genial climate, fertile soil, virgin forests, lovely streams and majestic hills of Grant County first furnished a rich and varied feast to the enterprising settler who came to avail himself of such privileges.  In 1833, Stewart McKee, an energetic Irishman, visited the present city of Platteville, designing to locate a mill site and establish a residence.  His trade was that of a millwright, in which capacity he was employed by the Gratiots and others of St. Louis and vicinity.  Immediately prior to his advent into Grant County, he erected a mill at Shoal Creek, Ill., for the Rev. Samuel Mitchell, father-in-law of Maj. Rountree and upon his arrival in Platteville was aided by that gentleman in selecting a mill site on the Little Platte, at a point in what is now Harrison Township, about five miles southwest of the city.  This being accomplished, McKee “put his shoulder to the wheel,” and, before the season of winter had come with its mantle of spotless white, erected a saw-mill of limited dimensions and measured capacity, and began operations.  At the time of which mention is made, settlers who had fled before the advance of Black Hawk into the wilderness, and emigrants who were attracted hither by the promise held out in the lead mines, as also in the waste of prairie lands, began to “come in,” and McKee was kept constantly busy in supplying the demand for lumber from all portions of the Territory.  The frame “shanty” and cabin, the “chinks” of which were filled with “mother earth,” have long since given place to the luxurious farmhouse or the elegant villa, from a design by architects of national repute; the people who gave them birth alone remain.  They have won the heritage they to-day enjoy, and cultivating it with industry and wisdom, yet find time to legislate for the common weal and protect the common interests.  The men of the type of McKee, who first settled in what crystallized into Grant County, are familiar to posterity as examples of virtue and ambition worthy of emulation.  Men who, in war and peace, have been prominent, who have attained distinction in the camp and council, and whose reputations, too universal for appropriation by county or State, have long since become national.

In 1834, the existence of McKee’s mill had been disseminated to the furtherest inhabited point of Iowa Territory, and his services were employed day and night to supply the wants of miners, farmers, builders and all others who began or contemplated improvements.  Among the works that this mill furnished material for was the old capitol building at Belmont, the first frame building erected in Platteville, and those which followed in its wake.  In 1836, Mr. McKee increased the capacity of the mill and supplied it with a “corn-cracker,” and added the manufacture of “grits” and corn meal to that of lumber.  About this time, he leased the property for one year to Adams & Co., which firm did an immense business, but, at the expiration of that period, resumed control and maintained the same until 1858.

During his early residence, the health of Mrs. McKee was precarious, and she returned to St. Louis to die.  Prior to 1840, he married the Widow Deselhorst, of Elk Grove, but, it is reported, separated from her, and in after years made another matrimonial venture with happier results.

In 1858, or thereabouts, he discontinued his connection with the mill, which he disposed of to George Marshall, and returned to St. Louis, but subsequently removed on to a farm near Belleville, Ill., where he died, it is believed, ten years ago.  His family, as editors, army officers, and in other lines of life, have acquired a reputation throughout the West, and the name in Grant County will ever by associated with the old mill on the Little Platte.

The last one to operate the undertaking is believed to have been a man named Zimmers, as lessee.  But this was many years ago.  Since then, the mill has gone on its pilgrimage to oblivion.  Those who founded and supported it – very many of them, indeed – with tired lids and weary frames, have floated calmly out on the ocean of rest.  The youth of to-day, standing in the Louvre, can gaze upon the Venus of Milo with feelings of rapture, but the old settler looks back on the old mill as the wanderer recurs to pleasant pastures and sweet waters, and while they love, that pilgrimage will never reach its destination.  The ruins still survive the hand of Time, being located on lands owned by R. Wilmers, in Section 24, and, though covered with the growth of rank vegetation and rapidly obscuring from sight, will always be remembered and referred to as “an old landmark” worthy of a better fate.

Bass’Mill is located on the Little Platte, about three miles from the city in a southwesterly direction, where it was built by N. W. Bass in the fall of 1847.  It is of frame, 30x40, two and one-half stories high, and was erected at a cost estimated at $4,500.  In the day of its building, mills that would furnish the luxury of bolted flour to consumers were limited in number throughout this portion of the State.  McKee’s corn-cracker on the Platte further south still afforded accommodations, but the Bass mill was, comparatively speaking, a “new dispensation” to farmers and producers in Grant County.  The machinery, which has since been exchanged for that more modern, was brought from New Orleans, and was cumbersome, inelegant and imperfect, though the culmination of mechanical skill for the times in which it was constructed.

Mr. Bass operated the mills for many years, and the two runs of stone with which the premises are equipped furnished the immediate necessity, at least, with their supplies of flour and meal.  In time, it came into the possession of Henry Pearce, who directed its interests for a season, when the mill was returned to its founder, who still owns it, though the same is rented and operated by F. C. Folts.  During the fall of 1880, the old machinery was removed and that of the latest and most improved pattern substituted and other changes completed, which have enhanced the value of the property.

 The present capacity is estimated at 160 bushels of grain per diem.

J. Cheever’s Mill. – Located on the old Potosi road, though within the limits of the city of Platteville, was commenced by Mr. Cheever, in September, 1859, and completed during the following May.  Originally it was 32x18 and two stories high, but in 1865, an addition 14x32, and in 1866, a further addition 8x32 was completed, making the improvements commodious and convenient, and costing, altogether, between $3,000 and $4,000.

As first furnished, the mill was supplied with two runs of stone, but at present, its capacity in that connection is reduced one-half, and will now grind fifty bushels of wheat or corn daily.  In April, 1881, the premises which include the mill proper and forty-three acres of ground were sold to H. B. Phillips, of Independence, Iowa, for $2,000, since which date, the vendee has operated them.

Platteville Woolen Mills. – This property, which is located at some distance from the city, was originally owned by Fairchild & Davis, and was, with a saw-mill, burned early in the sixties, and re-erected in 1865, by N. W. Bass, who has been a resident of Grant County since 1865, and owns 378 acres of ground in connection with the mill.

The premises are of frame, supported by a stone foundation, and are supplied with every requirement of the business.  The manufacture includes all grades of woolens, blankets, flannels, etc., and disposes of his product through agents in the surrounding country.  Eight hands are employed in the manufacture at weekly wages of not less than $100; his annual sales aggregate $25,000, and the investment represents a valuation of $15,000.

Snowden’s Foundry and Machine Shop – Located on Second street, between Rountree and Cedar streets, where it was erected in 1849, by R. & G. Snowden, and is claimed as the pioneer foundry of this portion of the Northwest, there being nothing of the kind at Dubuque, and but one of extremely limited resources then carried on at Galena.  There was need of such an establishment in Platteville at the time, and this need was supplied by the Snowden Brothers in the building of their business headquarters.  The premises are of brick, 25x36, one story high, and, though apparently of measured capacities, has been found equal to every requirement.  The business comprehends the building of steam engines, water-wheels, both turbine and over-shot, mining and other pumps, patterns, mill, house and general building castings, etc., and furnishes employment to five hands when worked to its extreme limit.  The trade now is confined to Grant and adjoining counties, being principally of a local character, but notwithstanding, this is valued at $12,000.  In former times and before mechanical enterprises found expression in neighboring towns and cities, the “Snowden Foundry” was known from Milwaukee to St. Paul, and its capacity taxed to the utmost, but since then, new dispensations have come in and taken root, its business, as stated, is of a local nature.

R. Straw & Co., Furnace. – One of the oldest furnaces in the county is located on the Dubuque road, in the southwestern portion of the city, and is in constant operation.  It was first built in the spring of 1838 by Leonard Coates and James Vineyard, who were prominently identified with the early settlement of Platteville, and closely allied with the several improvements in the present city each successive season gave birth to.  The furnace was 20x40 in dimensions, supplied with one shaft and capable of smelting two “shifts” of mineral per day.

It was constantly resorted to by miners, and its fires, like those in the temple of Vesta, were never permitted to become extinguished – that is, precious seldom.  Coates & Vineyard carried on the business of smelting at this furnace for about four years, when they disposed of their respective interests to O’Hara & Hopper, for a consideration of $4,000, and relinquished the pursuit of wealth by that route.  The vendees took possession and conducted operations until say, 1846, at the expiration of which period they in turn sold to Leonard Coates, Robert Chapman and Henry Snowden, the latter, however, never becoming actively interested.  These gentlemen made some radical improvements in the building, and increased its capacity by the erection of a second shaft, at a cost of $1,500.  The new firm, with these increased facilities for the convenience of miners and the public, attracted a large patronage, and in the four years during which they had charge, did an immense business.  In 1848, Mr. Coates assumed entire ownership and charge of the venture, which he ran until 1851, when the title to the premises became vested in Straw, Spensley & Staley, who paid $1,800 for the privilege.  Later the junior partner met his death by accident, and Straw & Spensley succeeded to his interest, becoming sole owners, so remaining up to the present time.

The furnace, is at present operated, possesses a capacity for two shifts, or sixty pigs of lead, each weighing seventy-two pounds, and requires the services of two men to conduct successfully.

The weekly yield is three hundred and fifty pigs of lead, which are consigned to Chicago, and the value of the investment, with improvements and appurtenances, is estimated at $5,000.

Rickard’s Machine Shop. – Located at the east end of Mineral street, where it is conducted by John and David Rickard, the manufacture embracing machinery and the line of articles usual to the business.  The firm began operation about 1860, on Furnace, near Mineral street, under the name of Rickard & Son, when they engaged in jobbing, the building of engines, saw machines, fan blowers, turning lathes, etc., and there continued until 1874.  In that year, the name of the firm was changed to the present style, and the foundry was removed to its present locality.  When running to its full capacity, the firm employs four hands, at a weekly compensation of about $60, and does business annually estimated at $2,500.  Lately it has been engaged in the manufacture of the Gratiot Patent Heater, invented by a resident of Platteville, and designed to draw the moisture of wheat from the kernel to the surface, rendering the flour less liable to deterioration, and enhancing the value of the bran.  The firm turn out an average of fifteen of these machines weekly.

The Platteville Brick Yard. – Located in the northeast part of the city, where it was established by W. & J. Grindell during the summer of 1874, who have since conducted the business.  At the time designated, these gentlemen leased three acres of ground and began the manufacture of brick of the ordinary and superior grades.  So great grew the demand for their product that they were obliged to increase their facilities with succeeding seasons, until the business has grown to be one of the larger and more prominent in the city and vicinity.  The season properly begins on the 1st of May, and closes about the 1st of October.  During that period, a total of not less than three-quarters of a million of brick are molded, seasoned, burned and made ready for market, requiring the services of sixteen men, at a weekly compensation of $150, and producing an annual net return of $2,500.  The yard is supplied with the most improved machinery employed, and every care is taken to make the article offered for sale, particularly the pressed qualities, of an order that shall procure an extended patronage.  The custom of the firm is principally to be found in Platteville, but the ensuing season facilities will be completed for influencing a more extended trade.  The investment represents a valuation of $4,500.

Platteville Butter Tub Manufactory – Was established by A. Potter in March, 1870, at its present location on Elm street, between Main and Pine, where he employed six hands, and placed 24,000 tubs on the market annually.  Since that date, rival manufactories have been opened in various parts of the West, dividing the trade and diminishing the volume of business disposed of by Mr. Potter.  At present he employs but two hands, and his custom is principally made up of buyers resident in Grant County.

The Platteville Brewery – Was first built by Dennis Centliver about 1868, who maintained the ownership of the property until 1871, when it came into the possession of John Kemler through foreclosure proceedings.  Almost as soon as title had been vested in the purchaser, and in September of the same year, the premises were destroyed by fire, entailing serious loss.  In 1872, the building proper was rebuilt.  It is of stone, fifty-six feet square, two stories high, and supplied with every convenience required for the preparation of malt liquors.  Attached to the main building is a one-story stone ice-house 26x56, and within the brewery property a two-story and basement barn 20x30, also a brick dwelling of the same dimensions, two stories high, the improvements thus made costing in the aggregate $25,000.

In the fall of 1875, the premises were sold to Richard Briscoe and H. F. Rehmsted, who managed the enterprise until 1878.  During that year, Briscoe failed to execute certain provisions contained in the bill of sale, when Mr. Kemler was placed in charge as Receiver, and ultimately resumed the ownership of a moiety in the property, which is valued at about $20,000.

When run to its full capacity, eight men are employed, at a monthly compensation of $350.  At present the establishment turns out 1,600 barrels of beer per annum.



P. C. Hawley & Co., Elevator – Also located opposite the depot of the Milwaukee & St. Paul Road depot was erected in 1870 by G. Hawley, and first operated by the firm of Hawley & Benedict.  At the expiration of two years the firm name was changed to Hawley, Benedict & Co.  This firm maintained possession one year, and were succeeded by Hawley & Shepherd, and they in turn by Hawley & Miles.  In 1879, A. C. & H. G. Hawley became the owners, and have since conducted the business under the firm name above cited.  Their consignments are not less than 150 car loads of grain per annum; also handling salt, hides, pelts, etc.

The firm does a large business and operates the elevators at Lancaster, Fennimore and Livingston in addition to those at Platteville.

Moore’s Elevator – Opposite the depot of the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway was erected by S. Moore in 1870, and is constantly occupied.  The building is of frame, 40x50, three stories high, with a capacity for 15,000 bushels of grain, and cost $4,000.  At present it is occupied by Thomas Shepherd, lessee, whose business aggregates $20,000 annually.

N. H. Virgin & Son, Elevators – At the west end of Main street, opposite the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway depot, was erected in 1870 to supply a growing demand for accommodations incident to the transportation of grain and other commodities.  It is of frame, 36x48, and forty feet high; cost $5,000, and possesses a capacity for 15,000 bushels of grain.  The value of business annually transacted is quoted at $25,000.



Platteville M. E. Church. – According to all accounts, there could have been no appointment or circuit that would have reached Platteville prior to 1827.  In the fall of 1828, John Dew was sent from the Illinois Conference to Galena.  But how far into the surrounding country he extended his services there is no means of determining.  In 1829, the Galena mission was in the care of the Rev. Benjamin Stephenson; in 1830 and 1831, under that of the Rev. Smith L. Robinson, and, in 1832, under that of the Rev. John L. Mitchell.  For these four years Peter Cartwright was the Presiding Elder, but never visited this part of his district.

It is believed, however, that in the spring of 1832, Maj. J. H. Rountree and wife and W. B. Vineyard and wife met in the log cabin which stood at the lower end of Maj. Rountree’s grounds, and organized the first Methodist class established in Platteville Township.  The name of the Pastor who addressed this limited assemblage during the spring was Rev. Smith L. Robinson; but, upon the breaking-out of the Black Hawk war, services were suspended, and this Pastor who had been assigned to duty in the lead mines returned whence he came.  At that time the Indiana Conference embraced Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota Territory, and the circuit riders assigned to duty in this section supplied the lead mines on both sides of the Mississippi River.  Early in the fall of 1832, the Rev. John T. Mitchell, was sent to fill the appointment made vacant by the retirement of the Pastor referred to, and services were held at occasional intervals in the log hut, and so continued for some months.  He was returned the following year, accompanied by the Rev. Barton Randall, and meetings were resumed.

When the log schoolhouse and church, erected on Section 16, was completed, services were held there, the Rountree, Coleman, Snowden, Vineyard, Waller, Orn and Hugill families, etc., constituting the congregation, presided over by the Revs. Hooper Crews, Lorenzo Bevans, James Mitchell, J. Hadley and other divines.  During the winter of 1836-37, the village made rapid strides in wealth and population, the congregation increased in membership, and the necessity of a more commodious house of worship became imperative.  In response to these demands, a house, which had been erected for residence purposes near the present site of the Congregational Church, was secured and adapted to religious uses.  In the spring of the latter year, the Pastor succeeded in raising a fund of $1,200, designed for the erection of an edifice to be known as the Methodist Church, and work on the same was commenced in May or June.  By September, it was completed, and, before the close of fall, its dedication celebrated, the Rev. Wellington Wigley preaching the sermon.  The church was of frame, of architectural proportions, 30x40 in dimensions, with a seating capacity of three hundred.  The basement was devoted to educational purposes, and also formed the location of the first academy in Wisconsin.  For upward of ten years, the Word of God was preached in this building, which sheltered all who applied during its existence as a church.  To-day it is an adjunct, a property-room, to the brick block on Main street, occupied in part by Sanford & Chase.  Its original cost was $2,600.  Along in 1845, the society began the erection of a brick church at the corner of Main and Chestnut streets.  The building of this house of worship, as also its arrangement and accommodations, was conducted under the supervision of the Rev. Samuel Mitchell, and was complete in all its details.  In dimensions, it is 40x50, one story high, decorated with a handsome and lofty steeple, in which a “curfew bell” rang out its notes of warning on each recurring Sabbath and feast day; chimes for the quick and a requiem for the dead of the growing town.  During its life of thirty years many were enrolled as members, of whom the world was not worthy, many who might otherwise have been strewn with the wrecks of men who have been driven upon the rocks.  In 1877, the question of erecting a new edifice was again mooted, and decided in the affirmative.  The Rev. G. W. Case, Pastor in charge, Maj. J. H. Rountree and Capt. John Grindell were appointed a building committee, and empowered to procure plans and contract for the same.  In pursuance of such authority the committee visited Oregon, Ill., and after a thorough investigation into the merits of designs submitted, decided to adopt that of a church there located, the plans being altered to conform to improvements suggested by those immediately interested in securing a house of worship in all particulars appropriate.  The old house was demolished, the congregation meanwhile (until the lecture-room was completed) attending services holden in the stone schoolhouse, and, in July, 1877, the corner-stone of the new edifice was laid, the Rev. Messrs. Benson and Knox officiating.  That fall the lecture-room was prepared for divine service, and the building roofed.  In the winter and through the ensuing summer, work was carried on in the auditorium so that a completion was reached in the fall of 1878, and, on Thanksgiving Day of that year, the dedication was had, the Rev. Dr. Hatfield, of Chicago, preaching the sermon.  The building is of brick, with a frontage of sixty feet on Main street, and ninety feet on Chestnut street.  It is in the Queen Anne style of architecture, with two towers, one of which is about seventy and the other about one hundred and forty feet from the pavement to the final end.  The walls of the auditorium are wainscoted in alternate panels of white and gray, the ceilings painted in artistic designs, and handsomely decorated.  The woodwork is appropriately finished in a manner both neat and plain, and the capacity of the church is estimated at one thousand.  The building is practically fire-proof, every precaution having been taken in the plans to avoid liability to conflagrations; is lighted by gas manufactured on the premises, and heated by furnace, which renders the temperature equable and pleasant.  In one of the towers is located a clock manufactured by the American Clock Company, at a cost of $1,025; and the structure; built with a view to strength, beauty, convenience and perfect adaptation to the purposes intended, will be a monument to the taste and liberality of the congregation in the generations to come.  The interior is lighted by six memorial windows as follows:  One at the southern front to the memory of Mrs. Mary Grace Rountree, by the family of the lady; two at the eastern front, one being a token of affection to the Rev. Samuel Mitchell and wife Eleanor, contributed by J. H. Rountree, J. S. and the Rev. J. F. Mitchell, of Ohio, and John T. Hancock, of Dubuque; the other to Frederick V. Holman and wife, the donation of James Holman, son of decedents; a memorial to Mr. and Mrs. David Cook, also to Mrs. Hannah Howdell and Mr. and Mrs. John McMurty.  The two latter fronting to the west.

The following is an imperfect list of the Presiding Elders and ministers who have officiated on the Platteville Circuit since 1840:  H. W. Reid, Presiding Elder; Pastor to be supplied; 1841 – H. W. Reid, Presiding Elder; Solomon Stebbins; 1842 – B. F. Kavanaugh, Presiding Elder; Charles N. Wayar, Rufus J. Harvey; 1843 – B. F. Kavanaugh, Presiding Elder; no supply stated; 1844 – B. F. Kavanaugh, Presiding Elder; J. G. Whitford; 1845 – Henry Summer, Presiding Elder; N. P. Heath; 1846-47 – Henry Summer, Presiding Elder.

In 1848, the Wisconsin Conference was organized, and in 1852 the Platteville District.  Henry Summer was Presiding Elder, and in 1849 Henry Yocum succeeded, remaining in position during 1850 and 1851; 1853 – Samuel C. Thomas, Presiding Elder; W. Wilcox; 1854 – Samuel C. Thomas, Presiding Elder; to be supplied; 1855 – Eli C. Jones, Presiding Elder; J. M. Staff; 1856-57 – Eli C. Jones, Presiding Elder; James Lawson; 1858 – Eli C. Jones, Presiding Elder; Enoch Tasker; 1859-61 – W. Wilcox, Presiding Elder; E. Tasker, J. Aspenwall, Edwin Buck; 1862-65 – J. C. Aspenwall, Presiding Elder; Edwin Buck, James Lawson; 1866-69 – Enoch Tasker, Presiding Elder; P. S. Mather, John Knibbs; 1870-73 – William Haw, Presiding Elder; John Knibbs, W. H. Palmer; 1874-77 – P. S. Mather, Presiding Elder; A. D. Dexter, G. W. Case; 1878-80 – William Hamilton, Presiding Elder; G. W. Case, Henry Goodsell.

The present congregation is stated at about 200, and the value of church property at $16,000.

Primitive Methodist Church – Was organized in Platteville, as near as can be determined, during the year 1847, through the efforts and earnestness of the Rev. Mr. Lazembee, a pious member of the church, aided by the following, who constituted the original society in Platteville:  John Trenary, Henry Snowden and family, Mark Waters and wife, John Chapman, Mrs. Verran, John Clayton, Mrs. Mary Bronson and a limited number possibly, at present forgotten.  Services at first were attended at Shullsburg, and it was not until the building of a church edifice, located then, as no, near the corner of Cedar and Second streets, was completed, that the same were established in this city.  Between 1850 and 1860, the society increased rapidly in numbers and compelled the enlargement of the premises, which are now about thirty-five feet square, built of brick, one story high, and capable of comfortably accommodating a congregation of 200 worshipers.  The society at present embraces about 100 members, owns property, including a parsonage, estimated to be worth $2,000; and has supported the following Pastors:  The Revs. Frederick Dobson, John Sharpe, Charles Dawson, Charles Doughty, George Wells, Henry Lees, Christopher Hendra, Joseph Hewett, John Harrington and James Arnold, the present officiant.

The German Methodist Church – Was organized in the year 1848, under the pastorship of the Rev. H. Whithorne.  During the following year, a frame edifice for public worship was erected near the corner of Cedar and Second streets, at a cost of $500, the lot having been donated by Maj. Rountree.  In 1862, the premises were sold to the Christian denomination for $500, and a new church built at the corner of Furnace and House streets, costing $3,300, exclusive of the price of the lot, for which L. Coates was paid $500, where services have since been held.  The constituent members were John Spink, Rebecca Spink, A. H. Spink, Meta Spink, John F. Nehls, E. F. Nehls, Nicholas Nehls, Anna Nehls and Henning Nehls, Minnie Wellers, Dietrich Boldt and Helena Boldt, Henning Rige, Nicholas Niehaus and some others.

The present congregation numbers 126 communicants.  The church property is valued at $6,000, and the following pastors have officiated:  The Revs. John Braener, F. Hemz, L. Kunz, Henry Voshall, C. Schuler, John L. Schaefer, R. Fregenbaum, F. Rinder, Charles Weinreich, E. Felzner, P. Hellwey, F. Fischer, C. Hess, F. Schmidt, J. Schmidt and C. C. Miller.

The Platteville Free Methodist Church – Originally a part of the Mounty Valley Conference, was organized as a separate charge in June, 1871, by the Rev. Lewis Bailey, assisted by the Rev. G. C. Caffee, who were the founders of the society in Platteville.  The pioneer members included William Hart and wife, Mrs. Lininger, Lizzie Capels, John Capels and some few others, whose names have either been omitted on the roll of membership, or are forgotten by those identified with the primary efforts undertaken by those mentioned to secure the establishment of the sect in this vicinity.  At first services were held in the usual place of resort for congregations without local habitations – the schoolhouse – and were there conducted for the period of about one year.  In 1872, however, means were provided for the purpose, and a commodious frame church edifice was erected on Cedar street, between Hickory and Chestnut streets, which has since been occupied.  It contains accommodations for 300 worshipers, and cost, furnished, a total of $1,000.  Since the date when the society first manifested its presence in Platteville, it has increased by annual accessions until to-day.  The congregation numbers 150 communicants, with church property valued at not less than $1,000, and is considered as in a gratifying and flourishing condition.  The following Pastors have officiated since the society was organized:  The Revs. E. C. Coffee, C. E. Harroun, James Scott, John Murray, E. Z. Thwing, L. Whitney and D. M. Sinclair, at present in charge.

Trinity Episcopal Church. – For some years prior to 1862, the limited number of Episcopalians residing in Platteville and the vicinity were dependent upon services at Lancaster and other points, or upon the offices of transient ministers of that faith.  The unsatisfactory condition of affairs lasted without interruption or variation until the year above indicated, when the Rev. L. C. Millette visited Platteville, where he established a mission and laid the foundations of the present prosperous parish.  At that time there were but two adult communicants of the faith in the village – George R. Laughton, who has lived to see the charge of which he was in part the custodian appreciate from small beginnings, in wealth and influence, and Miss Wilhelmina Hooper, who long since took on the pale seal of the master of mortality and became precious dust beneath the turf.  These three Christians were the nucleus about which gathered a congregation measured in numbers, but not in ardor or diligence, assembling weekly in schoolhouses and the residences of members of the flock for worship and communion.  This continued for about one year, when the rock schoolhouse was secured for their occupation, and members convened there until the church at the corner of Chestnut and Market streets was taken possession of.  The initiatory steps looking to the erection of this edifice were taken as early as 1863 by Mr. H. Kimball, whose endeavors to procure subscriptions in that behalf within the parish not proving satisfactory, went East and raised the necessary funds.  In the same year, the Rev. Mr. Millette yielded possession of the charge to the Rev. C. H. Rice, who remained until November, 1864, subsequent to which date the congregation was, in a measure, limited in its regular services, owing to the inability to secure a permanent incumbent.  In 1865, the building of the church was commenced and prosecuted without delay until its completion was accomplished in 1868.  The Rev. Frances Moore succeeded to the vacancy created by the resignation of the Rev. Mr. Rice, and exercised a large degree of influence in building up the church and promoting the cause in which he labored.  Up to 1867, a debt of $12,000 prevented the consecration of the church.  This debt, however, was liquidated on Easter Sunday of that year, and in August following the services of consecration were formally celebrated, the Rt. Rev. William E. Armitage preaching the dedicatory sermon.  Soon after, the church was again left without a Rector, and no settled services were enjoyed until June 24, 1868, when the Rev. S. W. Frisbe accepted a call and took charge of the parish, which was finally organized and admitted into union with Convention under his administration.

From this last-named date the career of Trinity has been such as to gratify its constituency and commend its labors.  The services have been continuous and uninterrupted and the congregation increasing and select.  The church edifice is an architectural ornament to the city, and attracts admiration for its symmetry, absence of ornamentation and appropriate furnishings.  It is of brick, fashioned after old gothic styles, 40x70, one story high, surmounted by a handsomely proportioned steeple, and cost, complete, not less than $15,000.  It possesses a seating capacity of 250, and enjoys a weekly attendance of nearly that number.  In 1871, the congregation erected a parsonage costing $1,800, and with the church property represents a present valuation of $12,000.

The following Rectors have served since the Rev. S. W. Fisbe retired:  The Rev. James S. McGowan, from July, 1869, to July, 1873; C. A. Canfield, from February 23, 1874, to July, 1876; and Samuel D. Pulford (the present incumbent) from November 7, 1876.

The Congregational Church of Platteville. – This is one of the oldest religious organizations in the State, having been established over forty years ago.  It was organized under the Presbyterian form of government, August 17, 1839, and consisted of nine members.  During that year, the congregation was without stated preaching and destitute of any convenient place of worship.  In August, 1840, the Rev. Solomon Chaffee began supplying the pulpit alternate Sabbaths with the Mineral Point Presbyterian Church.  About the same time, the Rev. James Gallaher, a well-known evangelist, labored for a short time with the church, and under his administration about thirty were added to the membership.  During the autumn and winter of 1840-41, arrangements were made for the erection of a building to serve as a place of worship, and also as an academy.  A school was at once opened in the second story, the first story being occupied as a place of worship.  The Rev. A. M. Dixon succeeded the Rev. Mr. Chaffee, and supplied the pulpit from the close of the latter’s labors until November, 1842, when the Rev. E. G. Bradford accepted an invitation to labor with the church.  His labors ceased early in 1844.  In the summer of that year, the Rev. J. D. Stevens was installed as Pastor, and continued his labors for nearly three years.  During this year, arrangements of a preliminary character were completed for the erection of a permanent church edifice.  The two lots upon which the present house stands were purchased, and, in 1845, the second home of the church was commenced.  This was so far completed as to be dedicated to the worship of God December 20, 1846.  In the summer of 1847, the Rev. John Lewis accepted a call of the church, and, on September 1, commenced his long and successful pastorate.  In July, 1849 (the way having been prepared by a special act of the State Legislature), the church, by a unanimous vote, changed its name and form of government from Presbyterian to Congregational.  Three seasons of very general revivals – in the years 1849, 1851 and 1855 – were enjoyed, and contributed largely to the growth of the church and success of the cause – this, too, notwithstanding the ministry of Mr. Lewis was interrupted by ill health.  So pronounced did this become, that, in October, 1858, he felt obliged to resign his pastorate, which the church declined to accept, but consented to a recess of one year, hoping that at the expiration of that period he would be able to resume his labors.  During his absence, the pulpit was supplied by the Rev. D. W. Pickard.  The Pastor’s health continued to decline, and, in 1860, he again tendered his resignation, which, with great regret, was accepted by the church.  Five months later, he died, sending from his deathbed this last message to his people:  “Remember the words that I spoke unto you while I was yet with you.”  During 1860, the Rev. Charles Jones occupied the pulpit, occasional supplies only being obtained until October, 1861, when a call was extended to the Rev. J. E. Pond, who accepted, and began his labors in December following.  In 1868, the second church building was taken down and the present commodious, symmetrical, durable and handsomely finished church of brick was completed, after plans prepared by George Nettleton, of Janesville, at a cost of $11,000.  This house was dedicated July 19, 1869, the Rev. Dr. Whiting, of Dubuque, preaching the dedicatory sermon from Exodus, xxv, 3:  “Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.”  At the close of the sermon, the debt was taken in hand, and in less than an hour’s time, through the efforts of the Pastor and others, was liquidated.  In the afternoon, Dr. Whiting preached upon the strength and beauty which are in God’s sanctuary, and with earnest prayer, the congregation uniting, the house was set apart to the sacred services of God.  The church, under Mr. Pond’s ministry, enjoyed a steady and uniform prosperity, and continued until 1872, when he tendered his resignation, which was accepted in September of that year.  In November following, the church invited Rev. A. P. Johnson, of Woodstock, Ill., to act as Pastor for six months.  The relationship has been maintained ever since that time to the present date.  Upward of 700 names have been enrolled upon the register of the church, out of which number nine have entered the Gospel ministry, as follows:  Alvin M. Dixon, Truman M. Douglas, Arthur D. Laughlin, Robert L. McCord, John D. McCord, David Mitchell, Samuel Mitchell, Daniel W. Pickard and Adrian Van Vliet.  The church now numbers 228 members, and owns property (including a parsonage purchased in 1880 for $1,800) representing a valuation of $13,000.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church. – There seems to have been no effort to establish the Catholic sect in Platteville until about the year 1842, although there were a few scattering members of the church in Platteville and vicinity, principally composed of miners.  In the fall of 1842, the Rev. James Causse undertook to establish a mission, and said mass in the houses of John Morrison, Bernhard McKerney and John Micka.  So successful were the efforts he put forth that a church was commenced the same year, and completed in the spring of 1843, but its dedication was postponed until 1844, in the meantime mass being said and services held in the houses of communicants, principal among which, in addition to those cited, were David Gardner, Edward Dorsey and Frank Fies.  The church was of frame, 24x36, and its erection was promoted by contributions from many non-Catholic residents, Mr. John H. Rountree donating the lot.  The leading members of the congregation that season were:  John Micka and family, Bernhard McKerney and family, John Morrison and family, Edward Dorsey, David Gardner, Michael Maher, Peter Carroll, Frank Fies, Patrick Bannagan, Anthony Hallagan, Dr. Droulette, Phillipm Reilly, Mrs. Pitts Patrick McMahon, Cornelius and Joseph Schutner, Casper Hermann, the McGoern brothers, the Henessey brothers, Owen Gallagher, James McLaughlin, James Savage, Patrick O’Malley and some others.  The church was a mission attached to Potosi and Mineral Point for some years, but finally became an independent parish.  In the summer of 1870, it was decided to build a new edifice, and in the spring of 1871, the foundations were commenced.  May 13 of that year the corner-stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies, the Rev. P. H. Albricht preaching the sermon.  On November 21, following, the dedication occurred, the Rt. Rev. Bishop Henni officiating, since when it has been occupied as a house of worship.  The building is 40x80, of brick, with a capacity for 400 auditors, and cost $10,000.  The present congregation numbers 100 families.  The property, including the cemetery and parsonage is valued at $12,000, and the following prelates have had charge of the Parish:  The Revs. James Causse, Father Doherty, Francis de Vivaldi, Martin Hobbes, M. W. Gibson, P. A. Vorssen, Charles Exel, Joseph Prasch, M. J. Joerger, Philip Albricht, J. M. Cleary, J. Gruemer and W. Miller at present officiating.

The Church of Christ. – Located at the corner of Cedar and Second streets, and owned by the society known as Disciples of Christ, which was first organized in Platteville under the labors of J. P. Lancaster during the year 1847.  The society was then composed of James Campbell, M. D., wife and mother, William Tibboot and wife, J. W. Smelker and wife, Mr. Whitaker and wife, Mr. Chatfield and wife, L. H. Wannemaker and wife, and some others, these latter being added to the congregation between the years 1847 and 1854.

In 1865, the present church edifice was purchased for $500, the congregation previous to that date worshiping at various accessible points, including the houses of members, stone schoolhouse, etc.  The present value of church property is stated at $600, and the following ministers have served since the organization:  The Rev. J. P. Lancaster, Calvin Smith, Mr. Dixon, Charles Levan, John Sweeney, William Sweeney, Henry Exley, E. C. T. Bennett, C. J. Mortimer, Mr. Searls and Mr. Monroe.

J. W. Smelker has been acting Elder, and John Robertson acting Deacon, since 1865.

The German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Platteville. – The German population of Platteville became numerous at an early day.  Most of them were Lutherans, and in the absence of a church attended services at the German Presbyterian Church.  In 1855, H. Martens, A. Groath, Messrs. Knebs, Gilbert, Johnson, Mehren and others extended a call to the Rev. S. Fritschel, which was accepted, and services regularly held thereafter until the completion of the church edifice, in the brick schoolhouse.  In 1856, a meeting of the congregation was held to make arrangements for the erection of a house of worship, at which Henry Carl donated two lots on “Dutch Hill,” upon which the building was put, the same being dedicated in the spring of 1857, the Rev. Mr. Grossmann, of Iowa, officiating.  The building is of brick 30x50, with a capacity for one hundred and fifty worshipers, and cost $2,800.  In the spring of 1857, the Pastor in charge accepted a call to Detroit, and was succeeded by the Rev. Mr. Burk.  That gentleman, however, rendered himself unpopular by his advocacy of the “private confession of sins” and the use of a form of absolution which gave universal offense.  For these reasons, a part of the congregation withdrew its support and absented itself until the arrival of the Rev. C. Starck, who was substituted for the Rev. Burk.

This trouble caused a division of the church, eight families who supported the latter gentleman withdrawing and erecting a church edifice, on the lot opposite the old church.

In the spring of 1859, the congregation procured the erection of a parsonage, and, in 1862, the Rev. Dr. Neumann was elected to the pastorate, occasioned by the resignation of Dr. Starck, who moved to La Crosse, and remained until 1868, when he retired, and after three months, during which the church was without a minister, the Rev. Dr. Bartlett was installed.  He remained only six months, when, developing signs of insanity, which subsequently manifested themselves so pronouncedly as to require the restraint of the victim, he, too, was retired, and the Rev. Mr. Thiele took his place.  From September, 1869, till July, 1870, the church was closed, but during the latter month once more opened under the pastorship of the Rev. Mr. Reichenbecker, who remained until the spring of 1876, being a man of the greatest energy and supported by a strong party.  At this date some trouble was experienced, and the church united with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.  The Rev. Mr. Severingham, President of the Wartburg Synod, arriving in Chicago in March of that year, came to Platteville, re-organized the congregation, and influenced the selection of the Rev. J. Salinger, a member of the Lutheran Synod of Canada, who responded and remained in charge four years, going hence to Washington.  The Rev. C. Starck was elected his successor, and returned to a field of labor he occupied acceptably twenty-one years previous.  In the twenty-five years during which the church has obtained in Platteville, 826 persons have been baptized, 382 confirmed, 161 couples married, and 166 funerals have occurred.  The sacrament has been administered to 8,760 members during that period, and the congregation has contributed a total of $20,000 for church purposes.

St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church – Was first organized April 17, 1876, by the Rev. E. Naltz, then Vicar of the Wisconsin Synod, who held services in the rock schoolhouse on Main street.  The congregation, up to that date, had been identified with the German Lutheran Church of Platteville, in which a difference of opinion was caused, on account of what was considered by some the support of inconsistent doctrines.  This caused a separation of the congregation, the dissenters establishing the present society.  A constitution was adopted, which was signed by about thirty-five members, and the following Trustees were elected:  R. Barzmann, W. Goeke, J. H. Wiese, N. Besers, A. Beutz and F. Goeke.  On May 14, 1876, it was resolved to erect a church edifice, and work thereon was commenced immediately.  So vigorously was the same prosecuted, that its completion was reached early in the ensuing fall, followed by the dedication, which occurred October 14, of the same year, when services were conducted by the Rev. Ungredt and Stregenmeier.  The edifice is located on Broad street, is of frame 60x36, sixteen feet high, handsomely finished and cost $4,000.  Previous to this and in July, the congregation was incorporated, and the Rev. L. Jaeger was ordained Pastor.  He remained in charge until August, 1878, when failing health compelled his resignation, and he was succeeded by the Rev. E. Hoyer, who is now in charge.  The congregation at present numbers sixty voters, and the value of church property is quoted at upward of $4,000.

A portion of the building is occupied as a parish school, which enjoys an average attendance of fifty-five scholars, but the congregation has in contemplation the erection of a parsonage and schoolhouse during the present year.

German Presbyterian Church – Located at the corner of Green and Cedar streets, was organized during 1850 as the German Evangelical Church of Platteville, but subsequently received the title by which it is now known.  The original members were, in part, as follows:  J. J. Brodbeck, Augusta Brodbeck, Maria Brucker, John Valentine Carl, Maria M. Carl, C. N. Doscher and family, Catharine M. Fert, John P. Kolb and family, Valentine Fitz and family, Heinrich Landsberg, Christian Schlegel and family, and others, and the same year the present church edifice was erected with the Rev. John Bantly as Pastor.  The church has, from its foundation, constantly held up the Bible as the standard of truth, and advocated the lessons taught in the Heidelberg and Westminster Catechisms.  At present, the church is in a flourishing condition, with a numerous congregation, and owning property valued at several thousand dollars.  The following Pastors have occupied its pulpit since the resignation of the Rev. Mr. Bantly:  The Revs. Jacob Schwarz, John Van Derlass, John Fechudy, John Grab, and Joseph Wittenberger, at present officiating.

The Platteville Cemetery Association. – Every day comes the sad intelligence that some loved one has put off the mortal life and gone to dwell in the realms of everlasting bliss.  Every day a flower is plucked from some sunny home, a jewel snatched from some treasure of love.  Every day from the summer fields of life a harvester disappears; every day a sentinel falls at his post, and his funeral train winds like a wintry shadow along the street.  A young girl, perhaps, pure as the bridal wreath that clasps her forehead, is stricken down at the altar, and from the aisles of the temple is borne to the slumberer’s gardens.  A strong man clothed in the garb of victory falls to dust as the pæan sounds from his lips.  An aged patriarch bowed down with years and pain sinks into his dreamless sleep as he looks out upon the horizon of the future for the coming of the angel host.  Each day some pearl drops from the jeweled thread of friendship; some lyre to which we have listened with ecstatic pleasure is hushed forever.  But wise is he who mourns not the pearl and music lost, for life with him shall pass away gently as an eastern shadow from the hills, and death prove a triumph and a gain.

The first cemetery of Platteville was laid out on land donated by Maj. Rountree and N. H. Virgin, south of the Virgin mill, on a line between Setions 15 and 16.  The first burial was that of a young man whose name is forgotten, who died in a miner’s cabin, on the Rountree branch, as early as 1829.  Here for many years were the dead of Platteville laid.  The gentle babe, sinless as an angel; the ambitious youth, hopeful and generous, whose path was hemmed with flowers; some aged soldier whose cheerful cry in the sieges and struggles of the past was missed from the bivouac of life, was laid to rest here.  During the small-pox epidemic of 1843, the soil of this primitive graveyard was flung upon the form of him or her who had been touched by the icy breath of Azrael the dark-winged, and dreamed no more save in the strength of that promise, “Ye shall live again.”  In time, the four acres set apart for sacred purposes became occupied with the bodies of those who have gone before, and in about 1850 the grounds were deeded to the village upon the condition that the municipality should care for it forever.

It is handsomely laid out, and bears upon it the impress of care and affection in the monuments that have been erected to commemorate departed worth, in the flowers that deck the hillocks there, in the visitations of friends to the graves of those who shall be awakened at the first call of the herald angels to the flush of that summer which is eternal in the balm-breathing gardens of God.

On September 15, 1855, the present Platteville Cemetery Association was organized by William Butler, John Lewis, Henry C. Lane, Isaac S. Clark, Homer Perry, N. Messersmith, James Kelley, William Woods, J. L. Pickard, J. Alford, Homer Page, N. Goodrich, James Durley and P. D. Hendershot.  At a subsequent meeting, John Lewis was elected President, V. P. Eastman, Treasurer, and I. S. Clark, Secretary, with the following Board of Trustees:  N. Goodrich and J. L. Pickard, one year; H. C. Lane and H. Perry to serve two years, and J. Lewis and William Butler, three years.  A tract of land comprehending ten acres was obtained on Section 16, west of the city, and landscaped and laid out in lots, drives, avenues and walks, the same handsomely adorned, and presenting a rare picture of art and nature exquisitely combined.  Here, since the organization of this association, have occurred the burials of those who died in Platteville and vicinity.

The present officers are J. H. Bevans, J. H. McArthur, F. R. Chase, G. M. Gurnsey, W. H. Behn and H. C. Lane, Board of Trustees, with F. R. Chase, President, J. H. McArthur, Secretary, and J. M. Gurnsey, Treasurer.