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-
"Well? Mr. _____ have you paid your taxes yet?"
Wealthy tax payer.-
Wealthy tax payer-
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.
A BANK FAILURE IN WISCONSIN.
Source: New York Tribune, 12 Februrary 1884; transcribed by MD:
Chicago, Feb 11.-
The Bank Failure.
Source: St. Paul Daily Globe (St. Paul, MN), 13 Feb 1884; transcribed by MD:
PLATTEVILLE, Wis., Feb 12.-
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.
Source: Bismarck Weekly Tribune, 24 May 1895; transcribed by MD:
MADISON, Wis., May 21.-
Source: Platteville Journal Flashback-
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-
Platteville will settle the "wet-
Source: Platteville Journal Flashback-
Milwaukee business men included Platteville in their annual good will trip.
Source: Platteville Journal Flashback-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
The Benton Roaster continues ownership under the Utt-
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-
Platteville Plans Tourist Campsite
Source: Duluth News-
Platteville, Wis., Jan 27.-
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-
In 1945, John O'Connor and his wife, Jo, began operating the "Avalon Theatre". Family movies were shown to keep pace with the ever-
(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-
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-
During the inhospital winter of 1827-
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-
The improvements this year were limited to those already mentioned, namely, the furnace, Holman’s boarding-
The winter of 1828-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
On the breaking-
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-
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-
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.
1869 – Isaac Hodges, Chairman; Peter Pitts and Carston Hinners, 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-
Superintendent of Schools. – J. L. Pickard, 1849; Samuel F. Cleveland, 1850; J. J. Pelatour, 1851; Titus Hayes, 1852; Hanmer Robbins, 1853; Thomas Perry, 1854-
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-
Treasurer and Collector. – William H. Zenor, 1849; A. C. Inman, 1850-
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-
Sealer of Weights and Measures. – John N. Jones, 1850; Samuel Moore, 1855; Edwin McHoyt, 1860; A. J. McCarn, 1861-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
The “hand” consented, and after their noon lunch the twain re-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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.
Assessors. – A. M. Holliday, 1848-
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-
Supervisors. – J. H. Evans, 1870-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
The Normal School at Platteville is to-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
The present membership is about ninety-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
The cylinder mills are two in number, each one-
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-
The graining house is at the usual distance from the remaining buildings, and is supplied with ten cylinders with a capacity of twenty-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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 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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
A portion of the building is occupied as a parish school, which enjoys an average attendance of fifty-
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-
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-
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.