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Rev. John J. Elmendorf
RACINE: John Jay Elmendorf, S.T.D., university professor of intellectual philosophy and English literature in Racine College, Wisconsin, represents one of the old Dutch families who immigrated to the "New Netherlands," now the "Empire State," in the beginning of the seventeenth century, although the family name indicates rather a "Platt Teuton" origin. He was born in the city of New York, in 1827, and the first forty years of his life were entirely identified with that metropolis. His schooldays were spent there, and where Union square now stands he collected geological specimens, and skated on the flats which then lay eastward of the Bowery, in that section of the city. He graduated at Columbia College, New York, at the early age of eighteen, standing second in a class of twenty-four. He devoted two years to the study of the natural sciences, attending two courses of lectures at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Immediately after his graduation at Columbia College, by reason of the illness of the professor of mathematics, young Elmendorf was appointed to take his place pro tempore, but this did not interfere with his own work, which he pursued with the utmost vigor and persistence. Having resolved to prepare himself for the work of the Christian ministry, he entered the General Theological Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church, from which he graduated in 1849, to his work having been added a second time the duties of the mathematical professor at his Alma Mater. After an additional year of private study he received holy orders in the Episcopal church in 1850, and having gained some brief experience in missionary work in the city, he warmly took up the cause of "free churches;" and, aided by friends of the movement, he, in 1852, organized a "free church" in what was then the suburbs of the city - near the intersection of Broadway and Thirty-fourth Streets. Of this parish he continued rector some sixteen years, building up a large congregation, and developing a principle which has become popular, at least in theory, amongst Christian churches generally. Education in accordance with the faith of the Episcopal Church was an essential element of his plan, and accordingly a large parish school soon sprang up under the shadow of his church, which was eventually modified and became "Hobart Hall," a suitable building having been erected for its use. Out of this institution sprang up the now (1877) flourishing school of the Protestant Sisters of St. Mary, New York. Dr. Elmendorf has always earnestly advocated the principles then gradually finding acceptance in the Episcopal Church, concerning a higher standard of practice and a warmer and more popular mode of worship, and he was the first, we believe, to introduce to New York a surpliced choir and regular choral worship. Of course his little chapel became an object of wide-spread attention, for such novelties were signs of a movement about which there was considerable difference of opinion,- a reform, some considered it, which lay deeper than ritual, while others had much to say in the public prints in derision of the "poor Puseyites" in Thirty-seventh Street, New York.
In 1868 Dr. Elmendorf published a small twelve mo volume, entitled "Rites and Ritual," tracing the history and meaning of the ceremonial of Christian worship. A year or two previously Columbia College had conferred upon him the degree of S.T.D. In 1869 it became known that he was prepared to withdraw from the excessive labors of mission work in a parish chiefly composed of the poor; and it was also known that he had devoted considerable attention to the principal languages and literature of modern Europe -French, German, Italian and Spanish; he was invited to a position in the faculty of Racine College, Wisconsin. After some delay (his mission work having been taken in charge by Trinity Church, New York), he accepted an appointment to a professorship by the trustees, and removed, in the latter part of that year, with his family, to Racine, where he has since labored. In 1876, the college having been put under an enlarged board of trustees with reference to the founding of a "church university for the Northwest," Dr. Elmendorf was elected university professor of intellectual philosophy and English literature. He published, the next year, his "Outlines of the History of Philosophy," a syllabus of his lectures, with copious reference to original sources, for the benefit of students and the convenience of professors pursuing the historical course.
Dr. Elmendorf is a somewhat reserved student, avoiding general society, and devoting himself almost exclusively to the unlimited fields of studies involved in the range of his work as professor of philosophy, although he occasionally reads a course of lectures before a popular audience, some of which have appeared in our quarterlies and other periodicals. He is recognized as a "high churchman," and affiliates with the so-called ritualistic party of the denomination. He preaches in the college chapel occasionally, and his sermons, when not philosophical, are strictly practical, rarely dogmatic. He is a man of rare intellectual powers, clear, logical and quick. He considers the study of intellectual philosophy as the best means of training the mind, and succeeds in impressing the students with his ideas, so that they generally excel in that department, and leave the college with a bias in the direction of such studies. He is quite popular with his students, and sometimes gives direction to their amusements and recreations. He is fond of fishing, and of sports peculiar to the "backwoods," and usually spends a few weeks of the summer vacation in camping out in some northern recess. With his intimates in the social circle he is quite companionable; his chief amusement being a "rubber" of chess, a game at which he is quite an expert. On October 21, 1850, he married Miss. HenriAnna Green, daughter of Henry Green, Esq., a scion of a well-known New England family, connected with the Jeffries, Amorys and Lawrences of Massachusetts, and the English Marryats. Her only brother, Edward Green, is a capitalist well-known in Chicago. Mrs. Elmendorf is a very highly cultured, amiable and popular lady. They have a family of nine children living, namely: Mary, Agnese, Grace, Edward Green, Elizabeth, Lawrence, Caroline Dickerson, Emily Keene and Augustine. Mary is the wife of Henry Babcock, Esq., of New Jersey; the others are unmarried. [Source: The US Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Wisconsin Volume (1877) transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
EDWARD ENGERUD, junior member of the firm of Morrill & Engerud, is one of the prominent young attorneys practicing at the bar of Fargo and has already achieved an enviable reputation in his chosen calling. He was born in the city of Racine, Racine county, Wisconsin, February 13, 1868, and is a son of Lars and Christine (Bakke) Engerud, natives of Norway, who came to America in 1852 and first settled in Chicago. Two years later they removed to Wisconsin and in 1877 became residents of Otter Tail county, Minnesota, where the father died in 1897. By trade he was a blacksmith. He had three sons, one of whom entered the United States navy, rose to the rank of lieutenant and died in the service. Reared in Minnesota, our subject obtained his early education in the public schools of that state. In 1881 he came to Grand Forks, North Dakota, and entered the high school, from which he was graduated in 1882 with the first class sent out from that institution. The following year he became a student at Beloit College, Wisconsin, and remained there until 1887. He then commenced the study of law at Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and was admitted to the bar at that place in 1889. For two years he was engaged in practice with Judge C.L. Lewis, now of the supreme bench of Minnesota, and he continued at Fergus Falls until the spring of 1893, when he removed to Sheldon, North Dakota, and entered the employ of Edward Pierce as an attorney. A year later he went to Lisbon and was engaged in practice there until coming to Fargo in 1897. He served as state’s attorney for Ransom county for one year. On taking up his residence in Fargo he formed a partnership with Mr. Morrill, which still exists and they now enjoy a large and lucrative practice, both being able and prominent lawyers. Mr. Engerud is now serving as assistant state’s attorney of Cass county. He is a stanch Republican in politics and has stumped the state in the interest of that party. In 1890 Mr. Engerud was united in marriage with Miss Clara J. Jacobsen, also a native of Wisconsin, and three children bless this union: Louis, Harold and Karl, all living. [Source: Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota, Publ. 1900. Transcribed by Kim Mohler]
Among the younger members of the farming community of township 145, range 66, in Foster county, this gentleman is entitled to special mention. He has resided in the county comparatively few years, but has developed one of the best farms in the locality, and is among the substantial men, and is highly esteemed for his honest industry and good citizenship. Our subject was born in Racine county, Wisconsin, in 1865, and was the third in a family of seven children born to Erick and Cornelia (Nelson) Erickson. He father came to America from Norway in 1862, and was a farmer by occupation. The family settled in Michigan when our subject was two years of age, and he was raised on a farm in that state and received little schooling. He was put to work early in life, and lived in the back woods of Michigan, and at the age of twenty-four years he went to Logan county, North Dakota, and took government land near Napoleon, in 1889. He erected a sod shanty, 12x16 feet, and had nothing with which to begin his farming. He broke some land and lived alone on the farm for several years, and in 1891 began farming with oxen and used them in his work three seasons. His first crop was a failure and the second and third proved a little better than none, and in 1894 his crop was good but was destroyed by prairie fires, together with one of his best horses. He remained in Logan county until the spring of 1895, when he removed to Foster county and purchased the east half of section 1, in township 145, range 66. He had about five horses and some farm machinery when he began farming on his present land, and has engaged successfully in grain and horse raising. He lost his entire crop by hail in 1897. He now has a farm of three hundred and twenty acres, and he and a partner, P. J. Carr, operate eight hundred and ninety acres of land. His home farm is fully equipped with good farm buildings and all necessary machinery. During the past two seasons, with Mr. Carr, he has owned and operated a twenty-five-horse-power steam threshing rig. Mr. Ericson devotes the greater part of his time and attention to his farm work, but is interested in the welfare of his community and in political sentiment adheres to the principles of the Republican party. [Source: COMPENDIUM OF HISTORY AND BIOGRAPHY. Transcribed by Carol Eppright.]
George Q. Erskine
GEORGE Q. ERSKINE, one of the founders of the First National Bank of Fargo, and an honored pioneer of that city has a wide reputation as a most capable financier, and occupies a position of no little prominence in connection with the financial affairs of the state. His life demonstrates what can be accomplished through energy, careful management, keen foresight and the utilization of the powers with which nature has endowed one, and the opportunities with which the times surround him. On another page of this volume will be found a portrait of Mr. Erskine. Mr. Erskine claims New Hampshire as his native state, his birth having occurred in Winchester, December 13, 1827. His parents, John and Achsah (Jewell) Erskine, were also natives of New Hampshire, where they continued to make their home until 1833, when they removed to central New York and there spent their remaining years. In early life the father was a dry goods merchant, but later engaged in the manufacture of woolen goods. He was a son of John and Phoebe (Robinson) Erskine, also natives of the old Granite state and farming people, the former of whom died at the advanced age of nine-two years, his wife at the age of ninety-six.
Our subject is one of a family of nine children, having three brothers and five sisters. Reared in New York, his education was obtained in the public schools of that state and the academy at Mexico, New York. It was his intention to enter college, but he had a severe attack of the "gold fever" during the excitement in California over the first discovery of the precious metal, and in April, 1850, sailed from New York bound for the Pacific slope. He crossed the Isthmus and finally landed in San Francisco in June of that year. He went direct to the American river, where he engaged in placer mining, and during the two years spent there he saved about $5,000. On his return to New York, in 1852, he commenced the study of law at Mexico, and also taught a select school. In the early part of the following year he went to Racine, Wisconsin, and entered the law office of Doolittle & Cary. The same year he was admitted to the bar at that place, and when Mr. Doolittle was elected to the bench in the fall of 1854, he formed a partnership with J. W. Cary, which existed for two years. He then retired from practice in order to look after outside interests, with which in the meantime he had been connected, owning two vessels on Lake Michigan beside a large amount of timber land in Wisconsin. In 1865 he was elected to the lower house of the state legislature and served in that position for one term. He was appointed collector of internal revenue for the Milwaukee district in 1867 and held that office for nine years, after which, in 1876, he formed a partnership with J. I. Case in the manufacture of plows at Racine, Wisconsin, starting the J. I. Case Plow Works, which have since become so widely known through the plows manufactured there. He was interested in that business for seven years, and in the meantime purchased a half interest with E. B. Eddy in the bank at Plainview, Wisconsin, in November, 1877. On January 1, 1878, they founded the First National Bank of Fargo, of which Mr. Erskine was made first vice-president, and in the same year the building was erected in which the bank is still conducted. At the death of Mr. Eddy our subject was made vice-president and afterwards president and filled that position until 1897, when he resigned, but is still one of the directors and stockholders. For the past ten years he has been president of the First National Bank of Crookston, Minnesota, and was a director of the Manufacturers’ National Bank of Racine, Wisconsin, for twenty years. He is an energetic, far-sighted and capable business man who has attained success through his own well-directed efforts, and the prosperity that has come to him is certainly well deserved. In 1856 Mr. Erskine married Miss Helen Hinnod, a native of Erie county, Pennsylvania, and they have two daughter: Helen R., now the wife of A. O. Coddington, now residing in Chicago; Ethel A., the wife of Sheldon W. Vance, who are residents of Crookston, Minnesota. Since 1885 he has made is home in Fargo, and as a public-spirited and progressive citizen Mr. Erskine gives his support to every enterprise for the public good and has unbounded confidence in the future of his adopted city and state. Since casting his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln he has been an ardent Republican, and socially he is a member of the Masonic order. [Source: Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota, Publ. 1900. Transcribed by Sally Masteller]
Massena B. Erskine
RACINE: Massena B. Erskine was born in Royalston, Worcester County, Massachusetts, December 19, 1819. His parents were Walter and Margaret Erskine. Walter Erskine, his father, died when quite young, leaving his family in straitened circumstances. Massena, then a mere lad, was left to assume responsibilities and care heavy to be borne, even by those older than he. He had but little time for school, his energies and labor were required for the sterner necessities of work to help to support a widowed mother. Educational advantages were thus early denied him, except that of the common school of New England. Being apprenticed, by his mother, to learn the shoe-making trade, and before he had finished it, the business became so dull that he was thrown out of employment, and obliged to seek another calling. Fortunately it was so, for it enabled him to choose a trade more suited to his taste and ambition, that of mechanics, of which he was very fond. He apprenticed himself at Westford, Massachusetts, to a carpenter and builder, and worked at it till 1847, when he commenced business at Westford, in company with another gentleman, as manufacturer of wood working machinery; remaining there till the spring of 1849, when the excitement attending the discovery of gold on the Pacific coast induced him to seek his fortune in that direction. Arriving at San Francisco, then a small village, he obtained work in a shipyard, of which he was soon made superintendent, having charge of building, alterations, and repairing steamboats to be placed, and running on the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. His mechanical skill was here put to its first severe test. Parties who had been engaged to construct and place in running order those famed boats of California's early history, the Gold Hunter, New World and West Point, had failed to complete the work, when the managers called Mr. Erskine to their assistance, who carried the work to successful completion. Leaving California, December 1850, he returned to his home in Natick, Massachusetts, where he remained till June, 1852. The great West was at this time claiming the attention of the eastern States and attracting many, among them Mr. Erskine, who sought a home in Racine, Wisconsin, where he found Jerome I. Case engaged in manufacturing threshing machines. Asking for employment he obtained it in the shops, where his ability and skill soon became apparent to the proprietor, and in a few months Mr. Erskine was given the entire charge of the mechanical and machinery department of the works; a position, as employee and now as proprietor, he has never ceased to occupy. In 1863 the firm of J. I. Case and Co. was formed, Mr. Erskine purchasing a one-fourth interest. The success of this establishment has gained for it a worldwide fame, and has become celebrated as the largest threshing machine manufactory in the world.
Mr. Erskine is a gentleman who has won the universal esteem of all who know him. In no sense is he a politician, yet he has been called to fill many important local offices; school commissioner and supervisor of the city, elected mayor of Racine in 1869, and reelected in 1870 and 1871; he is also one of the directors of the Taylor Orphan Asylum, of Racine, one of the noblest charities of the West. A man of broad and liberal views, public-spirited and charitable, his support is felt in many of the leading enterprises of the city, while his benevolence is making many a heart glad. Mr. Erskine was married at Westford, Massachusetts, April 7, 1841, to Miss Susan Perry, a lady whose amiable disposition, benevolence and domestic virtue has won for her the whose pleasure it is to know her. They have three children -two daughters, Emma and Flora A., and Charles E. Erskine, who for several years filled the position of cashier at J. I. Case and Co.'s office. [Source: The US Biological Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Wisconsin Volume (1877) transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
Frank M. Fish
FRANK M. FISH, Racine, was born in McHenry county, Illinois, July 4, 1858, was educated in the public schools and at I. G. McMynn’s Academy in Racine. He studied law with Fish & Lee, of Racine, where he was admitted in July, 1879. Since March, 1880, he has been in partnership with his father, John T. Fish, Racine. [Source: The Bench and Bar of Wisconsin, by Parker McCobb Reed, Milwaukee; P. M. Reed publisher (1882) transcribed by Sharon Witt]
John Tracy Fish
JOHN TRACY FISH, Racine, was born at Lake Pleasant, Hamilton county, New York, November 7, 1834. His father was Joseph Warren Fish, a man of notably excellent judicial judgment, and of great honor and integrity of character. Mr. Fisher’s early education was begun in the public schools and completed in Kingsborough Academy, New York. He came west in 1854 to Walworth county, Wisconsin. He studied law in McHenry, McHenry county, Illinois, and subsequently in Whitewater with Mr. Kellogg, and was addmitted in July, 1859, at Elkhorn. He commenced practice at Sharon, Walworth county, and remained there until the opening of the war. In September, 1861, he entered the army and served in the Thirteenth regiment as second lieutenant, first lieutenant and captain, until December 26, 1865, when he was mustered out with his regiment at Madison, and resumed the practice of law at Sharon. In 1867 he removed to Burlington, and practiced there until the fall of 1868, when, upon his election as district attorney of Racine county, he removed to Racine in the spring of 1869. He served in that capacity four years. In 1871 he went into partnership with Charles H. Lee. After this connection ceased, in 1878, Mr. Fish was alone till March 1880, when he took his son, F. M. Fish, into partnership. His practice has been extensive, and has extended through all the courts from that of justice of the peace to the supreme court of the United States. [Source: The Bench and Bar of Wisconsin, by Parker McCobb Reed, Milwaukee; P. M. Reed publisher (1882) transcribed by Sharon Witt.]
Nicholas D. Fratt
RACINE: Among the successful men of Wisconsin may be placed the name of Nicholas D. Fratt, of Racine. Mr. Fratt, after a successful business career, retired from business, and sought retirement in a rural home, but his talents were too well known to be allowed to rust, and he has been called upon to fill offices of trust and honor. Mr. Fratt was born January 25, 1825, in the town of Watervliet, Albany County, New York; is a son of Jacob and Catharine Fratt. He received a common school education at Troy, New York, and then assisted his father in the provision and packing trade. West Troy, where he remained until he was eighteen years old. He then went to Albany and worked for his uncle in the grocery business, remained with him one year, then turned his steps westward to begin his career. Arriving at Racine in 1843, he engaged in the provision and packing business, which he continued with good success until 1868. The latter years, from 1852, he did not devote all his time to business, but bought a two hundred acre farm, two miles from Racine, and has superintended its improvement, which was more congenial to his tastes. Here, Cincinnatus - like, he enjoys that quietude which he values higher than renown. Mr. Fratt has been member of the State senate from Racine County, was elected president of the Racine County Agricultural Society in 1858; was again elected to the same position in 1870, and has been reelected each year to the present time. He served as school district clerk for sixteen years, is a member of the executive committee of the State Agricultural Society; was a director of the Racine County Bank from 1852, at which time the bank was organized, until 1858, when he was elected president of the same, and continued its presiding officer until the bank was changed to the First National Bank of Racine, when he was again elected president of the bank, and still holds that position. Mr. Fratt is very much respected among a large circle of acquaintances. He was nominated for Congress by the democratic reform party in 1874, but was defeated by Chas. G. Williams, republican.
Mr. Fratt was married in 1845 to Miss Elsie Duffes; has three sons and three daughters, and enjoys the happiness of harmonious domestic relations. He is a gentleman of pleasant address, plain and unassuming in his manners, and has a host of friends. [Source: The US Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Wisconsin Volume (1877) transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
RACINE: Stephen Freeman was born in the parish of Llanarchmedd, Island of Anglaise, North Wales, December 26, 1834, and is the son of John and Elizabeth (Owens) Freeman, natives of the same island. They both died within a few days of each other, in July 1835, leaving Stephen and two elder brothers orphans, without any provision for their support. One of the brothers died soon after the parents; the other, Charles Freeman, is carrying on a mercantile and shipping business at Bangor, North Wales. The only school which Stephen ever attended was a Sunday school, nor did he receive any book education except what he picked up almost by intuition and observation, and yet he is one of the most intelligent and generally informed men of the day. His early experiences were fraught with extreme hardship. At the age of ten years he left the family with whom he had lived since the death of his parents and moved to Hollyhead, where he apprenticed himself to learn the boiler-making trade at the yards of the Chester and Hollyhead Railroad Works. After remaining there three years he removed to Crew, and entered the locomotive, shops at that place, so as to gain better advantages in finishing his trade. Having completed his apprenticeship he went to Liverpool, and was employed for some time in the shipyards of Laird and Sons, at Birkenhead. At an early stage in the Crimean war he shipped on board the steam transport Emelia as a mechanic, to serve in case of emergency, and remained in this service nine months, when he again resumed his position in the works of Laird and Sons, where he continued till 1856. Having heard much of the advantages which the great country across the Atlantic afforded to aspiring young men, especially mechanics, he resolved that as soon as he had accumulated sufficient means he would emigrate to America. Accordingly on the l0th of May, 1856, he left in a sailing vessel for New York city, and arrived there on the 5th of July following; remained several months on the Atlantic coast, principally at Rome, New York, and on the 5th of January 1857, arrived at Chicago, Illinois. Times were dull generally during that year, and Chicago was no exception. Thence he removed to St. Louis, Missouri, which was not more promising; and after making a tour through several of the southern States, finding no encouragement to settle at any of the points visited, he retraced his steps as far as Centralia, Illinois, where he found employment at his trade in the machine shops of the Illinois Central Railroad Works, where he remained a short time. Having been induced to try his hand at farming in that neighborhood, he took the management of a farm, which he conducted "on shares" for three years with reasonable success. But soon after the opening of the rebellion he entered the service of the United States navy as a boilermaker in the Mississippi squadron, and remained in the service till the spring of 1864, when failing health compelled him to retire. He next started a "repair shop" at Cairo, Illinois, which, after running four months, he was obliged to abandon on account of his health, which again broke down; and by the advice of physicians he removed to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the autumn of 1864, where he obtained employment in the shops of the Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad Company. He remained in this situation until the month of February, 1867, moving with the company's shops to Watertown, Wisconsin, in January 1866. Having accumulated a handsome sum of money, he now resolved to go into business on his own account, and formed a co-partnership with a gentleman named John Kirtland, to carry on the boiler-making and repairing business, and settled at Racine. In May of the same year (1867) he purchased the interest of his partner, and conducted the business alone until August 1868, when he formed a partnership with William E. Davis, which continued until 1869. In the last named year he added to his former business an iron foundry and machine shop, which continued under his own management for five years with very decided success. In October 1874, he still further extended his operations by adding a department for the manufacture of florists' ornamental work, - aquaria, ferneries, brackets, etc. The products of this department have received the highest awards wherever they have been exhibited. They carried off the first premium at the Wisconsin State Fair in 1875; a gold medal at New Orleans, February 1876; an award by the New York Horticultural Society in the same year; and two awards at the great Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, - one on aquaria, flower stands, etc., and one on brackets, window boxes, etc. In. 1876 he yet further enlarged his establishment by adding a department for the manufacture of the celebrated "Centennial Fanning Mill," a winnowing machine coming into very general use among farmers. This branch of the business is under the management of Mr. Greville E. Clarke, who has become a partner in this department. Mr. Freeman is perhaps as distinguished an illustration of a self-made man as the State affords. Left an orphan in infancy, without means, influence, education or aid, he has, by his own innate powers, indomitable perseverance, industry, wisdom and high moral principles, raised himself to a position of independence and influence. He commenced business in 1867 with a capital of fifteen hundred dollars, and in less than ten years his stock-in-trade has increased to over fifty-five thousand dollars, with a well-established business and annual sales amounting to one hundred thousand dollars. This history has but few parallels. Mr. Freeman was elected a member of the board of supervisors of Racine County in 1873. He has been a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows since 1871. He is an adherent of the Episcopal Church; and although not a politician, is in sympathy with the democratic party.
On the 4th of July 1857, he married Miss Elizabeth Willich, of Pennsylvania, daughter of John and Catherine Willich, natives of Germany. They have had nine children, two of whom died in infancy. The survivors are: Charles, Michael, Margaret, Mary, John, Stephen and Hattie. All strong, healthy and promising. [Source: The US Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Wisconsin Volume (1877) transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
NIELS HEMMINGSON, one of the most progressive and influential citizens of Griggs County, is successfully pursuing agriculture in Greenfield Township and is a man of careful methods and practical nature. He makes his home on section 10, of Greenfield Township, where he located in pioneer days, and his farm is well improved and convenient to the village of Hannaford, North Dakota. Our subject was born on the picturesque island of Moen, Denmark, December 22, 1845, and was the tenth in a family of eleven children, seven sons and four daughters, born to Hemming and Caren (Hanson) Rasmussen, both of whom were natives of Denmark. His father was a soldier in the regular army of Denmark and served six years as corporal. His parents died in their native land at an advanced age. Mr. Hemmingson completed his education in his native land and remained at home until twenty-two years of age, when he immigrated to America to seek his fortune in the New World. He located at Ford County, Illinois, where he worked on a farm for some time and from thence went to Manistee, Michigan, and then went into the wineries and worked during fifteen winters and spent his summers at farm labor in Wisconsin and Minnesota. He went to Griggs County, North Dakota, in 1883 and filed claim to the land on which he now resides. He went to Dakota without means, but is now the fortunate possessor of four hundred and eighty acres of land and has added such improvements to the place as entitle it to rank among the foremost farms of Griggs County. Our subject was married, in Racine County, Wisconsin in 1873, to Miss Mary Skarie, a native of Norway. Mrs. Hemmingson was born in 1843 and came to America when a child aged four years. One child has been born to bless the home of Mr. and Mrs. Hemmingson, Walter, who at present has charge of the home farm. Mr. Hemmingson is a man who keeps pace with the times in all public affairs and is active in his labors for the advancement of his community. He was appointed county commissioner during territorial days and served on that body twelve years. He has held numerous offices in his township and the honor of christening the township was conferred upon him. He is a Republican in political sentiment. [Source: Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota, Publ. 1900. Transcribed by Laurel Durham]
Philo Romyne Hoy, M.D.
RACINE: Philo R. Hoy, a native of Mansfield, Ohio, was born on the 3rd of November, 1816, and is the son of Captain William Hoy and Sarah Drown Hoy. His father, one of the pioneers of Mansfield, was a prominent man in his community, and the first to erect a house in that place. Philo's boyhood differed little from that of ordinary boys. Naturally of a studious disposition he acquired a fondness for books, and in early life decided to enter the medical profession. After completing his education in the common schools and private schools of his native place, he pursued a course of study in the Ohio Medical College, at Cincinnati, and graduated in 1840, with the degree of M.D. During the first six years of his practice, he resided at New Haven, Ohio, and at the expiration of that time (1846) removed to Racine, Wisconsin, where he has since followed his profession. As a medical practitioner, he has made for himself a worthy reputation, and has a flourishing and lucrative practice. Aside from his professional work, Dr. Hoy has devoted much time and study to the subject of natural history, and in all scientific questions has taken a deep interest. In 1853, in company with Professors Kirkland and Spencer F. Baird, he spent the season gathering information respecting fish, and is at the present time (1876) one of the fish commissioners of his State. He is the president of the Academy of Sciences and Letters of Wisconsin ; a member of the Academy of Science of Philadelphia, also that of Buffalo, New York, Saint Louis, Cleveland, etc. Was an organic member of the Academy of Science of Chicago, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Besides these, he belongs to many other medical and scientific associations. Has a large correspondence with most of the scientific savans within the United States, as well as with several distinguished men of Europe.
He has now one of the largest collections of animals in the Northwest, all of them natives of Wisconsin, and gathered mostly in the immediate vicinity of his own city. The following is a partial list of his specimens: three hundred and eighteen different species of birds; of bird's eggs, one hundred and fifty species; of mammals, thirty-five; of reptiles, fifty; of beetles, thirteen hundred; of moths, two thousand; spahingedes, thirty-eight; other insects, one thousand; and besides, a large collection of shells and fossils from the Niagara limestone in the vicinity of Racine.
In his political views, Dr. Hoy was formerly a whig, and is now identified with the republican party. During the civil war he took a deep interest in the northern cause. In religion he is not connected with any church organization, but makes the rule of his actions that expressed by our Saviour in the words: "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so unto them." Unsectarian, his sympathies are broad enough to gather in their embrace all men.
He was married at Ripley, Ohio, on the 26th of October, 1842, to Miss Mary Elizabeth Austin, by whom he has two sons and one daughter. His oldest son, Albert H. Hoy, M.D., a young man of promise, is a practicing physician at Racine. He was appointed a medical cadet in the regular army, and promoted to assistant surgeon. Was in the service for over three years, serving in the hospitals in Keokuk, Iowa, Covington, Kentucky, and at Louisville in several general hospitals. Went to Europe after the close of the war, and studied in Heidelberg, Vienna, Berlin and Paris. [Source: The US Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Wisconsin Volume (1877) transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
Bernt M. Johnson
Bernt M. Johnson, saloon; born in 1848, in Norway; came to Wisconsin in 1870, locating at Racine, where he followed the shoemaking business till the fall of 1875, when he opened a saloon on Main street. In the year 1873, he married Miss Caroline Gulick, a native of Dover, Wis. They have had three children - two sons and one daughter. [The History of Racine and Kenosha Counties, Wisconsin; 1879]
Henry F. Johnson
HENRY F. JOHNSON (Rep.) has been an office holder for 33 years. Born in the town of Norway, Racine county, March 5, 1860, he attended the common schools since when he has followed farming. He has been treasurer of the school board since 1885, was a member of the board of supervisors 5 years, town chairman and member of the county board 7 years, and has been trustee of the Racine county asylum 14 years, and has served as director of the Town Insurance and Telephone companies for several years. He was elected to the assembly in 1918, receiving 2,094 votes to 1,670 for H. J. Herzog (Dem.) and 404 for Otto Felberg (Soc). [Source: The Wisconsin Blue Book (1919) page 500; transcribed by FoFG mz]
CHARLES JONAS, (Dem.), of Racine, was born in Malesow, Bohemia, October 30, 1840; received an academic education at the Bohemian school of science and polytechnic institution at Prague; is a newspaper publisher by profession; left Bohemia in 1860 and resided in London, England, until February 1863 when he came to America and settled at Racine; was a member of the Board of Managers of the State Industrial School for Boys in 1874 and ’75; was a member of assembly in 1878; was alderman from 1876 to 1880; president of common council of Racine in 1878-79; was candidate for state senator in 1878 and was elected state senator in 1882, receiving 3,213 votes, against 2,494 for William T. Lewis, republican. [Source: Wisconsin Blue Book (1883), page 474; transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
William A. Kelly
WILLIAM A. KELLY, clerk of the district court, is one of the prominent young men of Traill county. He is thoroughly qualified for the position which he holds, and has devoted much of his career to office work of this character, becoming proficient in public record work. He resides in Hillsboro and has attained an assured position as a citizen of active public spirit and energetic character. Our subject was born in Waterford, Racine county, Wisconsin, March 10, 1861, and was the youngest in a family of ten children, born to Thomas and Ann (McWilliams) Kelley. His parents were born in North Ireland and there is a Scotch strain running through the family. His parents are now deceased. His father was a mason by trade, and provided our subject with good educational advantages.
Mr. Kelly attended the common schools, and at the age of fifteen years entered the seminary at Rochester, Wisconsin, a mile and a half from their home. He taught school at intervals during three years and attended the seminary, beginning teaching at the age of sixteen years. He taught four years in Wisconsin, and after the death of his father, in 1880, he was his mother’s support, and moved farther westward. During the winter of 1881-82 he taught near Beaver Falls, Minnesota, and in the spirng of 1882 went to Caledonia, Traill county, North Dakota, where his brothers and sisters resided, and where he secured a position in the office of register of deeds. Work in the court house continued until 1886, working in the capacity of deputy register of deeds, deputy treasurer and deputy auditor, and in the fall of 1886 he was a successful candidate for county superintendent of schools. The legislature had passed the township school system, and our subject had the responsibility of re-organization. In the first session of the North Dakota legislature he was elected first assistant engrossing and enrolling clerk, and at the second session of that body he was elected enrolling and engrossing clerk, and was elected to that office for the third session. In 1895 he was placed in charge of a corps of clerks for the purpose of enrolling the code as reported from the board of compilation. He had previously worked in the office of the secretary of state transcribing a copy of the corporation records for North and South Dakota, and in 1891 he received an appointment from the government to assist in securing the amount of the recorded indebtedness of the state. He purchased the "Halstad Reporter" at Halstad, Minnesota, in 1893, and operated the same one and a half years, and later conducted an insurance and collection business in Caledonia. He was elected to his present office, without opposition, in the fall of 1898, and has gained the confidence of the people of Traill county.
Our subject was married, October 15, 1889, to Miss Lizzie Cleveland, a native of Maine. Mrs. Kelly is a lady of excellent education, and was a teacher in the public schools. Mr. and Mrs. Kelly are the parents of two children, Clarence D. and Alice M. Mr. Kelly assisted in the organization of Company L, First Regiment of Infantry, National Guard of North Dakota, in the fall of 1898, and was commissioned first lieutenant. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias, and politically is an ardent Republican, and has attended all state conventions of his party since taking up his residence in North Dakota. [Source: Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota, Publ. 1900. Transcribed by Sally Masteller]
Captain Gilbert Knapp
RACINE: Gilbert Knapp, the first white settler and founder of the city of Racine, was born at Chatham, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, December 3, 1798, and is the son of John and Sarah (Smith) Knapp, both descended from English ancestors, who settled at Horseneck, Connecticut, early in the eighteenth century. His father was a captain in the revolutionary war, and at the close of that struggle became a seafaring man, and for many years commanded a merchant vessel trading with European ports. In later life he was a successful merchant in Poughkeepsie, New York. His mother was the daughter of Elijah Smith, a substantial merchant at Barnstable, Massachusetts, and a native Englishman. Gilbert was educated at the schools then in existence at his native place; he studied English, mathematics and navigation, giving special attention to the last named science. At the age of fifteen he went to sea before the mast in a vessel commanded by his uncle, by marriage. Captain Childs. His first voyage was to Davis Straits, thence to Cadiz in Spain, and occupied a period of nine months. Soon after the declaration of war with England (1812) he shipped as masters mate on board the Leo, a private armed vessel, letter of marque, with seventeen guns and one hundred and fifty men. Captain Be Sonne, of French descent, which was chartered by the American government to carry dispatches to France, and run the blockade, which England had then established over the French ports, into Natches. He made three voyages in this service with success, though with very great risk. During one of those voyages, while cruising off the Western Islands, they fell in with a British ship, letter of marque, of six guns, with which they had a sharp engagement, and afterward took her by boarding. Her crew consisted chiefly of Portuguese and Spaniards, and she was laden with a cargo of Chinese silks and cochineal, valued at half a million dollars, and had in her safe some forty thousand dollars in gold, which was transferred to the Leo and distributed among the officers and crew. They took the prize in custody, manned her with thirty men and ordered her to France; had her in possession some nine days, when an English frigate retook her, and thus they lost their prize. On a subsequent voyage they had an engagement with two British letter-of-marque vessels. This encounter occurred in the night. The Leo occupied a central position midway between the frigates, and was for a time in a very critical situation. She received several broadsides, and made the best response possible, but her escape was due to her superior sailing facilities. Her loss was one man killed and several wounded. During the third voyage to France with dispatches they fell in with a British man-of-war fleet, two frigates, a sloop of war and tender, with six guns. They were chased into Brest; had a sharp engagement and cut up the tender pretty severely, but were obliged to flee from the frigates.
During the war he had made the acquaintance of several naval officers, persons who had been in Perry's fleet on Lake Erie, who prevailed on him to come to the lakes to learn the geography of their coasts, with a view to a position in the marine service. He accordingly went on board a lake cutter in 1818, and after spending nearly two years in tutelage, visiting every harbor and tributary river on these inland oceans, he was, in 1819, commissioned as captain in the United States revenue marine service, and placed in command of the A. J. Dallas, then in commission at Detroit, where he remained some ten months. At this time the celebrated John Jacob Astor was at the head of a great fur trading company on the western lakes, and had complained to the government that a large illicit trade was being carried on between the English and the Indians to the injury of the government and the detriment of licensed traders.
Captain Knapp, with his vessel, was accordingly ordered to Mackinaw to look after this business. In the discharge of his duties he captured large quantities of contraband goods, which were confiscated by the revenue department, and the illicit traffic was in this way completely suppressed, to the no small benefit of Mr. Astor. He remained at this station for eight years, and in 1828 left the service and retired to private life. During one of his cruises on Lake Michigan he had halted at the mouth of the Racine River and gone ashore to "spy out the land" being, as he believes, the first white man who had ever pressed the soil at this point. He was greatly charmed with the beauty of the situation and made a secret resolve to visit the place again with a view to settlement. After quitting the revenue service he located temporarily at a point on Lake Erie, in Chatauqua County, New York, where he was the owner of some property, and where for two years he was engaged as a forwarding and commission merchant, being part owner of the vessels engaged in the transportation. In 1834, however, he sold out his Lake Erie property and resolved to see Racine River once more. Stopping at Chicago, he procured the services of a trusty Indian guide and proceeded overland by an Indian trail as far as "Skunk Grove," five miles west of Racine, where was an Indian encampment, and thence, under the direction of a fresh guide, proceeded to the mouth of the river, passing by the rapids on his way. He spent two days in investigating the adaptability of the mouth of the river for the purposes of a harbor, the probabilities of the situation generally, and resolved to settle. He accordingly returned to Chicago, reported the result of his explorations to his friend Gordon S. Hubbard, now of Chicago, who became his partner in the new enterprise; hired mechanics and purchased some building materials, which were shipped to the new settlement, where a shanty was soon erected on the edge of the lake south of the river, at the point now occupied by the lumber yard of George Murray. He next erected a log warehouse and established a trading post; sold flour and provisions to emigrants and traffickers passing up and down between Green Bay and Chicago. Other settlers soon followed and in a short time the place began to be known. He and his partner, Mr. Hubbard, took the necessary steps toward preempting a half section on the south side of the river (the land had not yet come into market, hence it could not be bought), surveyed some lots and laid the foundation of a town, and would have secured a title under the preemption laws, but during the winter preceding the date when the claim would have matured, congress enacted a law interdicting the preemption of land on which towns had been laid out, and restricting this privilege to actual settlers for homestead purposes. This was a serious obstacle to the pioneer town enterprise, and much trouble was experienced by them in securing a title, they being obliged to build a courthouse and jail as a precedent condition. They also purchased a tract on the north side of the river adjoining the lake, on which a large portion of the city now stands, for which a dollar and twenty-five cents per acre was paid. A third gentleman, Mr. Benjamin F. Barker, was now taken into the partnership. A sawmill was erected at the rapids aforenamed and other improvements added. In the year following (1835) the territory of Wisconsin was separated from that of Michigan, which was admitted to the Union, and Captain Knapp was elected to represent the county of Racine in the senatorial council of the first territorial legislature. This county then included the present counties of Racine, Kenosha, Walworth, Rock and Milwaukee. The new territory then included all the present State of Wisconsin, a part of Iowa, all of Minnesota and part of Dakota. The legislature met at Green Bay, but owing to some difficulty touching the boundary of Ohio the new State of Michigan was not admitted until the following year; consequently the legislature of Wisconsin was not recognized and could therefore transact no business until the succeeding year, when Governor Dodge was appointed by the President, and the legislature met at Belmont, in the present County of Lafayette. Of the twenty-one members from the counties east of the Mississippi River, which constituted this body, it is believed that only five survive at this date (1877), namely, our subject, Alenson Sweet and J. B. Terry, of the council, and General A. G. Ellis and Thomas Shanley, of the house. Few persons can now realize the condition of things as they were in 1836. During this session the State capital was located at Madison, and appropriations made for commencing the erection of the buildings. Captain Knapp was also a member of the council of the succeeding two legislatures, which met at Burlington, Iowa, in 1837 and 1838, and was one of the most industrious, influential and intelligent of the members. He was offered the nomination to congress from the territory, but declined in favor of George W. Jones, who was elected and subsequently made United States senator. In 1840 Captain Knapp returned to the revenue marine service, resuming his former rank, and remained in the service until 1845, when he again retired to private life for a period of four years. From 1849 till 1853 he was again in the revenue service, retiring in the latter year and giving attention to his private business until the opening of the rebellion, when his services were again brought into requisition by the government. In 1860 he was elected to the Wisconsin legislature, and served a term in the lower house, but resigned three days before the adjournment of the session to take command of the "Dobbins," in which he served on coast and blockade duty on the capes for some time, and afterward in command of the Morris at Boston Harbor. Since the close of the war he has been stationed on the lakes. He superintended the building of the revenue steam cutters Sherman and Fessenden at Cleveland, and was afterward in command of the latter for twelve years. Since 1874 he has been off duty "awaiting orders," as the situation is technically phrased, and expecting "retirement."
He was raised under Presbyterian influence, and still prefers that form of religion, though he sometimes attends the Episcopal Church, but is not in union with either.
He was married in April, 1821, to Miss Maria Annan, daughter of Robert J. Annan, Esq., a native of Annandale, Scotland; she died in 1828, at Eric, Pennsylvania, leaving four children surviving her, one of whom, an infant, named Harriet M., died soon after the mother. The eldest son, Robert Annan, born March 3, 1822, was a midshipman in the United States navy, and made a three years cruise in the Mediterranean and other eastern waters, and resigned on account of failing health at the age of twenty-one. He afterward commanded a vessel on the lakes for several years. In 1852 he became connected with the Racine and Mississippi railroad - afterward the Western Union road - filling the various positions from station agent to division superintendent. This position he resigned in 1867. During the war, however, he served a short period as lieutenant in the navy under Commodore Foote, but owing to ill health was obliged to resign, and his place on the railroad being still vacant he resumed it on regaining his health. He was subsequently connected with the Hannibal and St. Joseph line for a period of four years, but having been weakly the greater part of his life, died in August, 1876. The next son, Gilbert, studied law in Racine, and was admitted to the bar, but disliking the profession he turned his attention to farming, and is now a planter at Little Rock, Arkansas. Mary Annan, the only daughter, is the widow of the late Mr. A. McClurg, for many years a banker in Racine. He died in March, 1877. Some two and a half years after the death of his wife Captain Knapp married the sister of his deceased wife, Hannah, who survived her marriage but one year, leaving no issue. On the 25th of October 1837, he married Almira Meach, at Clinton, New York, a very highly cultivated lady, esteemed and respected by all who knew her. She was in her day the leader of society, and entertained with great hospitality. She died in December 1876, lamented by all who knew her. As a man, Captain Knapp has always been very generous, noble-hearted, patriotic, public-spirited and first in every enterprise for the public good, or the benefit of the city of which he was the parent. He was generous to the needy and unfortunate, and always willing to lend a helping hand to those struggling to gain a position; in this way he has sacrificed thousands of dollars. He was eminently j social and hospitable, and, for many years after the settlement of the town, entertained all who visited Racine.
The only sister of Captain Knapp, Mrs. Sarah Milligan, some four years his senior, is still living at Shawano, Wisconsin. She was the first white woman that settled at Racine in 1835, and resided here until 1869. She is the mother of Mrs. Caroline A. Knapp, widow of the eldest son of the captain. [Source: The US Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Wisconsin Volume (1877) transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
William H. Lathrop
RACINE: The subject of this sketch, a native of Manchester, Bennington County, Vermont, was born on the 13th of July, 1816, and is the son of Hubbel Lathrop and Laura nee’ Brownson. His father, a well-to-do farmer, was much respected in his community. After receiving his primary education, he spent half a year in the Burr Seminary immediately after its opening in 1833, and at the expiration of that time accepted a clerkship in the dry goods store of William G. Henry, of Bennington, Vermont. He remained here two years, and in 1835 went to North Bennington and clerked for Messrs. Robinson, Blackmer and Co. till 1837. He next formed a co-partnership with William E. Hawk, and opened a general store, which he conducted till 1839, when he closed out his business, and in the following year removed to Wisconsin, and settled at Racine. During the first year after his arrival he employed his time in the store of Charles S. Wright, and in the post office under Dr. Elias Smith. In 1842, returning to his native place, he spent about a year in settling up his father's estate, he having died in the meantime; and, upon his return to Racine in the summer of 1844, he purchased a farm of two hundred and forty acres, three miles from the city, and engaged in farming and real estate operations. In 1945, forming a partnership with Mr. R. S. King and Mr. J. G. Conroe, he began a forwarding business, under the firm name of King, Conroe and Co., and a lumber trade under the firm name of Lathrop and Conroe. At the end of one year Mr. C. A. Lathrop, a brother, and L. W. Munroe, purchased the interest of Mr. King, and the above first named firm changed to Lathrop, Munroe and Co. In 1852 Mr. Munroe sold his interest to his son, H. B. Monroe, and the firm became known as Lathrop and Monroe. In the following year Mr. Lathrop purchased Mr. Monroe's interest, and the firm name again changed to W. H. Lathrop and Co., C. A. Lathrop remaining in the business. In 1855 the business was discontinued, Mr. Lathrop selling his elevator, which he had erected in 1848, to the Western Union Railroad Company. The next three years were occupied in closing up the business of the firm, and in 1858 he again engaged in the grain and general forwarding and commission business in the elevator known as the Norton and Durand elevator. Running the elevator on a joint interest with the owners till 1865, he then purchased and enlarged it, and continued its operation till 1870, when it was burned, being insured for about two-thirds its value. Since that time Mr. Lathrop, though not actively engaged in business, has dealt to some extent in real estate. Formerly a whig in his political views, he is now a republican, and has been honored by his fellow citizens with positions of public trust. He has been a director and vice-president of the First National Bank, of Racine since its organization, and was also director and vice-president of the Racine County Bank, organized in 1854, and elected a director of the same in 1855. He was also secretary and treasurer of the Rock River Plank Road Company during its existence of thirteen years. In 1856 he was appointed receiver of the Racine and Mississippi Railroad, now known as the Western Union Railroad Company.
In his religious sentiments Mr. Lathrop is identified with the Episcopalians, and is a worthy member of St. Luke's Church of Racine.
He was married on the 22d of June, 1842, to Miss Harriet Ann Munroe, by whom he has had one son and one daughter, neither of whom are now living. Mr. Lathrop, with his wife, has traveled and visited many of the States in the Union and gained a most valuable experience. In 1856 they visited Cuba, and, on their return, visited all the principal cities of the southern States, and were present at the inauguration of President Buchanan. In 1872 they visited California, and spent the winter in the southern part of that State.
As a businessman he is widely known for his honorable dealing, financial ability and untiring enterprise, while personally and socially he is possessed of those noble and gentlemanly qualities which must always command the respect and esteem of men. [Source: The US Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Wisconsin Volume (1877) transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
Alanson Henry Lee
RACINE: Alanson Henry Lee, son of Brewster Lee, L is descended from a family who settled in New Hampshire near the close of the seventeenth century. Members of this family are now distributed through New England and many of the Northwestern States. On his mother's side he comes of Puritan stock, his maternal grandfather being a lineal descendant of Elder Brewster, of the Mayflower. He was born at Pomfret, Connecticut, October 10, 1810, and spent the principal part of his early years in one of the large factories, so numerous in that part of the country, enjoying but limited educational facilities. He acquired his rudimental knowledge by night study, reading by the light of the fireplace such books as came to hand. But being an apt learner he made the most of his opportunities, and by cultivating his large natural gifts, became one of the best informed men of his day. At an early age he removed to Chautauqua County, New York, and was there engaged in mercantile pursuits with his uncle, Oliver Lee, one of the pioneers of that part of the State, who afterward accumulated a large fortune. He was for many years president of the large banking house of Oliver Lee and Co., Buffalo, and was also largely interested in lake shipping, and was a conspicuous and well-known businessman for half a century.
Alanson H. Lee resided at Silver Creek, a village about thirty miles southwest from Buffalo, for some years prior to 1841, when he formed a partnership with Mr. John Dickson, elsewhere sketched in this volume, and came to Racine, where, in the autumn of that year, they opened a country store. The career of this firm, its early struggles, its ultimate triumphs, and the important part which it played in developing the resources of Racine, are more fully set forth in the sketch of Mr. Dickson above alluded to. The partnership under the style of Lee and Dickson continued until the death of the former in 1861. The firm did an extensive business, had an unusually wide-spread reputation, and was foremost in all enterprises which were designed to contribute to the growth and prosperity of the young city. They were among the founders of Racine College, and in a history of the institution, published by Professor Homer Wheeler in 1876, they are mentioned as among the largest contributors of money toward the erection of the building, and, consequently, to whom the college owes a great debt of gratitude. They were largely instrumental in the building of a plank road from Racine to Delavan, an enterprise of great magnitude and importance at that day. To their efforts was largely due the improvement of the harbor of Racine, by which it became a safe retreat forvessels, to which circumstance is due, in no small degree, the prosperity of the city. They were also the prime movers in the building of the Racine and Mississippi railroad, now Western Union, and of the Milwaukee and Prairie du Chien railroad. Most of these enterprises proved unremunerative at the time, and the accumulations of the firm were largely absorbed in public works and improvements, of which the present generation are the beneficiaries. Their commercial standing, however, was never impaired, and their engagements were always met with promptness and exactness. Mr. Lee's health, never robust, was severely taxed by his unremitting industry and devotion to business, and in the fall of 1861 failed entirely. His death occurred on the 27th of December of that year, after an illness of two months. The relations of Mr. Lee with his business partner, Mr. Dickson, which lasted through a period of twenty years, were always of the most cordial and amicable character, and their memory is cherished with the most profound respect by the surviving member of the firm, whose estimate of him is summed up in the words, "HE WAS AN HONEST MAN-THE NOBLEST WORK OF GOD."
In personal appearance Mr. Lee was tall and of spare but well-knit frame. In manner somewhat retiring, but always carrying an air of truthfulness and sterling integrity that never failed to impress those with whom he associated. These were, in short, the salient features of his character-his name in the community where he lived, and wherever he was known, being still a synonym for honesty and fidelity. His charities were numerous but unostentatious, and no religious or benevolent enterprise ever sought his aid in vain. Although a frequent attendant upon the public worship of God in the Protestant Episcopal Church, he was not a member of any religious denomination; nor was he ever connected with any secret society. He never held nor sought an office, but always refused to allow the use of his name in connection with any candidacy. He was not a politician, but in early life had affiliated with the democratic party, and in after years supported its candidates. He supported the administration of Abraham Lincoln, and was known as a war democrat at the time of his death. Mr. Lee was twice married: First, to Miss Permelia A. Gaylord, at Chautauqua, New York, shortly before he came to Racine. By her he had three children, only one of whom survives, namely, Mr. Chas. H. Lee, of the law firm of Fish and Lee, Racine, a young gentleman of fine education, brilliant intellect and large promise. Mrs. Lee died in 1853, and three years later he married her sister. Miss Sarah M. Gaylord, who survives. [Source: The US Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Wisconsin Volume (1877) transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
Charles Henry Lee
CHARLES HENRY LEE, Racine, was born in Racine, August 22, 1847, and is the son of Alanson H. Lee, one of the pioneer settlers of Racine. He was educated at the public schools of that city while under the direction and teaching of J. G. McMynn of educational celebrity. Subsequently he was a year in the law school at Albany, New York, and then entered the law office of Fuller & Dyer, Racine, in September, 1866, as a law student, and was admitted to the bar in 1869 at the age of twenty-one. From that time he had charge of the office business of that firm until April, 1871, when a partnership was formed with John T. Fish, Racine, under the firm of Fish & Lee, which continued until January 1878. Since February, 1878, he has been exclusively employed as the general attorney of the firm of J. I. Case & Company and of the Case Threshing Machine Company, their successors. Mr. Lee is a republican, but in no sense a politician, and his religion is his own private affair. [Source: The Bench and Bar of Wisconsin, by Parker McCobb Reed, Milwaukee; P. M. Reed publisher (1882) transcribed by Sharon Witt.]
Samuel J. Martin, M.D.
RACINE: The subject of this biographical sketch, a native of Weston, Windham county, Vermont, was born on the 6th of September, 1830 and is the son of Jefferson and Rhoda Martin; the former was born at Dublin, Cheshire county, New Hampshire, on the 28th of February, 1805, and the latter, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, born in 1804. His maternal grandfather was a prominent merchant and shipowner; and previous to the embargo of 1807, conducted a large importing business. This act of congress, however, so crippled him, that he retired to private life. When three years of age, Samuel’s parents removed to Mount Holly, Rutland county, Vermont, where he received his early education, dividing his time between study and farm work. Previous to his seventeenth year his help was much needed at home, and he consequently had limited advantages for study; at this time, however, he entered Black River Academy, at Ludlow, Vermont, and spent two terms each year during two years, and for the next four years studied at the same place, during one term of each. His studies during this time were confined to the English branches; but he afterward spent two terms at the Chester Academy, and there pursued the study of Latin, with other higher branches, earning money to defray his expenses by teaching penmanship and day school. After leaving school he engaged in teaching, and continued, with the exception of one year, when he was in poor health, until his twenty-eighth year. He early developed a taste for the medical profession, but in his desire to enter it opposed by his father, who preferred that he should become a farmer. Accordingly, at the age of twenty-eight, he yielded to his father’s wishes and purchased a farm, with money, a part of which he had earned by teaching. At the end of one year, becoming dissatisfied with farming, he began the study of medicine at home under the direction of A. E. Horton, M. D., of Mount Holly. One year later he sold his farm, and gave his entire attention to his studies, and after taking two full courses of lectures, graduated from the elective Medical college of Philadelphia, now the University of Philadelphia. He began his practice in 1863, at Marlboro, New Hampshire, and remained there till 1866, doing a successful business, and at this time removed to Walpole, New Hampshire, and there, in addition to his practice, opened a drug store with another gentleman, who managed the latter business while he devoted himself chiefly to his profession. At the end of eighteen months, his partner having lost everything, he closed out his interest in the drug store and gave himself unremittingly to his studies and practice. The force of circumstances induced him to examine the subject of homoeopathy, and at the end of one year’s observation and careful thought, he embraced the principles of that school. Not having recovered from his failure in the drug business, and desiring a larger field of action, he resolved to remove to the West; and accordingly, 1869, after spending four months looking for a place to settle, established himself at Racine, Wisconsin, where he has since resided building up and extensive practice, and making for himself a most worthy reputation as a skillful and successful practitioner. In his political views, he was formerly a whig, but is now is now identified with the republican party. While living at Marlboro, New Hampshire, in 1865, he was elected superintendent of public schools. He is now filling his second term of office as vice-president of the Homoeopathic Society of the State of Wisconsin, and is also a member of the Illinois Homoeopathic Medical Association. Dr. Martin has given much attention to self-culture, and by extensive reading and observation has acquired that knowledge of men and things which, with his excellent conversational powers, renders him a most agreeable social companion. Prompt and decided in action, he is yet generous, liberal and courteous. His parents were Methodists, but he holds to the faith of the Presbyterian church. He was married on the 11th of May, 1859, to Miss Helen A. Albee, by whom he has one daughter living. Such is a brief outline of the life-history of one who, though having many experiences in common with others, has yet given an example of continued effort and will-power that entitles him to most honorable mention among our prominent self-made men. [Source: Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self Made Men; Wisconsin Volume (1877) transcribed by Pat Houser]
JOHN McKENZIE (Rep.), of Dekorra, was born in the parish of Inveraon, Bauff Shie, Scotland, October 19, 1832; received a common school education; is a proprietor of grist and flour mills; came to New York in 1844, and in April, 1846 he came to Wisconsin, settling at Mount Pleasant, Racine county, and thence in 1849 to Dekorra; was assessor in 1856, ’61, ’62,’63; chairman of town board in 1869, ’71, ’72, ’73 and ’74, and was elected member of assembly for 1883, receiving 1,084 votes against 1,030 for J. Mills, democrat. [Source: Wisconsin Blue Book (1883) page: 486; transcribed by Tammy Clark]
Colonel John G. McMynn
RACINE: John Gibson McMynn, for thirty years past prominently identified with the educational interests of Wisconsin, was born at Palatine Ridge, Montgomery County, New York, July 9, 1824, and is the son of Robert McMynn and Margaret nee Cooke; the former a native of Dumfriesshire, Scotland, and the latter a native of Kingston, Canada, of Scotch - Irish extraction. His father dying in the year 1832, when our subject was but eight years old, he was at that early age thrown upon his own resources, and during boyhood worked on a farm and earned his own living. His youthful experiences were, therefore, rough and uncongenial, but possessing good health, good habits and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, he did not waste time in useless repinings, but resolved to procure a thorough education, if within the bounds of his power.
He pursued his preparatory studies at the academies of Union Village and North Granville, New York, working as a farm hand and teaching school at intervals to earn money to defray his expenses. He entered Williams College, Massachusetts, in 1845, and was graduated from that institution in 1848. After leaving college he removed to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he taught school for five years, and by this means paid off a debt which had accumulated during his last years at Williams. In 1853 he removed to Racine, which has since been his home, where he organized the public schools, and was principal of the high school until the close of the year 1857. During this period he attained to the highest rank as an educator, while the schools of the city were brought to a state of efficiency unsurpassed, if not unequaled, by those of any other municipality in the State or in the West. He spent the whole of the year 1858 in Europe, and visited England, Scotland (the home of his ancestors and the place of his fathers' sepulchres), France, Belgium, Holland and Germany, and devoted much time to the examining of the principles and workings of the educational and charitable institutions, public and private, of those countries. Returning to Racine he resumed his work in the public school of that city, and at the outbreak of the rebellion in 1861 he was among the first to offer his services to the government, and in the summer of that year was commissioned major of the l0th Wisconsin Infantry. In the following year he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel, and in 1863 to that of colonel. The regiment was, during this period, continually at the front in Tennessee and northern Alabama. The service was arduous and responsible. Colonel McMynn was selected by General Buel to take charge of the public property at Huntsville, Alabama, and to transport it by railroad to Stevenson, Tennessee, when that officer retreated to Louisville in the summer of 1862. This very important and perilous duty was successfully accomplished, with the loss of but two men. The command was constantly under fire, and at the battles of Champlin Hills, in Kentucky, and Stone River, Tennessee, lost heavily. The Colonel was invariably with his regiment, and never absent from duty, either on sick leave or otherwise, during his entire period of service. In the autumn of 1863, his command being reduced to two hundred and fifty men, and private affairs pressing heavily upon him, he was reluctantly compelled to tender his resignation, which, after much delay and considerable hesitancy, was accepted.
His high character and accomplishments as a soldier are borne testimony to, not only by those whom he had the honor to command, but by the most distinguished officers in the service. When the raising of a cavalry regiment to be placed under his command was contemplated, Major-General Rousseau wrote to him from Nashville, Tennessee, January 6, 1864, in the following terms: MY DEAR COLONEL MCMYNN,
I am much gratified to learn that you are inclined to enter the army again. True men like yourself, possessing the capacity and courage to serve the country, are greatly needed; in tact such men are always needed. When you resigned I felt that the public service had sustained a great loss, and you will recollect I told you how deeply I regretted it. You and I have passed through many trying scenes, in all of which you have deported yourself as an efficient and brave officer, and I shall hail your return lo the army with unalloyed pleasure. In all the gallant army of the Cumberland I know of no man with whom it would give me more pleasure to "soldier it" and stem the tide of battle, when it comes, than yourself, for I know of no braver or better man.
Should you return to the army I hope fortune may bring us together, and that I may again have the pleasure of leading you and your command; but whether or not, you have in all things my best wishes. Very truly, etc., Luvell H. Rousseau.
A like testimony to his soldierly qualities is borne by General L. A. Harris, commander of the brigade in which he served. That officer wrote, under date of January 9, 1864: From the knowledge thus obtained, I can indorse, to the fullest extent, Colonel McMynn. He is a brave, active, earnest and accomplished officer, and in the service was an honor to his State. The governor of the State decided not to raise any more cavalry regiments, hence Colonel McMynn did not reenter the service. In 1854 he was appointed regent of the State University, a position which he held for fifteen years, during which time the university was developed and placed upon a secure foundation. He was active in securing the organization that has so greatly contributed to its present prosperity. He has been identified with the republican party since its organization, and was on the State ticket as a nominee of that party in 1854, 1855, 1857, 1864 and 1866. In April 1864, he was appointed by President Lincoln and confirmed by the United States senate as superintendent of Indian affairs for Washington Territory, but declined the office on account of pressing private business. In November of the same year he was elected to the very responsible office of State superintendent of public instruction, which he retained for four years. In 1866 he was a member of the board of visitors to the United States Military Academy at West Point.
In 1868 he was induced to enter the employment of J. I. Case and Co., of Racine, the largest manufacturers of steam-power threshing machines in the world, and for six and a half years had charge of their collections. He entered their service on a salary of fifteen hundred dollars a year, which was soon increased to five thousand dollars a year. Much to the regret of his employers, however, he resigned this responsible position, with its very flattering emolument, to return to his chosen profession, that which he always intended to make his life work.
In 1875 he built the Racine Academy, under which name he has since conducted a flourishing private school for the purpose of fitting young gentlemen for college, and to give others a general business education, according to their aims and purposes in life. The institution is largely patronized and doing a most excellent work in this direction. Endowed with great intellectual force, possessed of those elements of mind and character which not only secure success to the possessor, but to those who are brought under his immediate influence, Colonel McMynn has always been a man of marked prominence. These qualities, together with his identification with the interests of education, have made him conspicuous not only in the State in which he lives, but throughout the Northwest. Learned in all branches of knowledge, he possesses rare powers for imparting that knowledge to others. His methods of instruction are original, vigorous and thorough. During the time he was at the head of the public schools of Racine it was universally conceded that they were unsurpassed for discipline and efficiency in Wisconsin, and in consequence the reputation of that city for its educational advantages became widespread. While State superintendent of instruction he impressed upon the public schools of the State the vigor of his own character, and contributed most valuable exertions in behalf of the State University, and for the establishment of normal schools, which have since become a part of the educational system of the State, and of which he was to a great extent the organizer. He infused new life, system and energy into every department of educational work, and has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the most accomplished and successful educators in the Northwest. Scattered throughout the West are many men and women, now established in life, and pursuing a useful and honorable career, who attribute their success to the training and discipline which, as his pupils, they received from him. His private academy, above alluded to, is already receiving such patronage and accomplishing such results as give assurance of a success worthy of the reputation of its founder and principal.
Colonel McMynn is a forcible public speaker, and possesses rare conversational powers. He addresses himself directly to the point under consideration, whether in the presence of a public audience or in private conversation; his thoughts are always full of freshness, and his words terse, crisp and emphatic. Naturally he despises shams, and at once impresses all who come in contact with him with the powers of mind and traits of character above indicated. Education and educational work are with him themes of absorbing importance. His views upon the subject are clear, cogent and comprehensive, and limited only by their relationship to the progress and welfare of the community, the State and the nation. He is a firm believer in the cardinal doctrines of Christianity as taught in the creeds of the Protestant Churches, but is not in communion with any church. In private life he is eminently charitable and benevolent; a warm and generous friend, a kind and courteous neighbor, a virtuous and honored citizen; an honest man.
On the 27th December 1852, he married Miss Ella F. Wiley, who died in June 1858, leaving no children. He was again married in 1860, to Miss Marion F. Clarke, daughter of Norman Clarke, Esq., one of the earliest settlers of Racine. She is a lady of rare culture, and noted in the community for her warm and intelligent interest in all that promotes the happiness of the community. They have four children, two sons and two daughters, namely, John and Robert, Louise and Nelly; all strong and vigorous, both mentally and physically, giving promise of honor and usefulness in the future. [Source: The US Biographical Dictionary and Pictorial Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Wisconsin Volume (1877) transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
John G. Meachem, M.D.
RACINE: John G. Meachem, a native of Axbridge, County of Somerset, England, was born on the 27th of May, 1823, and is the son of Thomas Meachem, whose wife was Elizabeth Goldesbrough. His parents were from aristocratic families, and at one time very wealthy; his father, however, not being a businessman, lost both his own and his wife's property, and afterward became principal of a large school. In 1829 he received an appointment from the Duke of Wellington which would have proved very lucrative, but which he declined after going up to London to qualify. His attention was then directed to the sacred ministry, and he resolved that America should be the field of his labors. He immigrated to this country in 1830, and was ordained in the Protestant Episcopal Church in the city of New York, by the late Bishop Benjamin T. Onderdonk. He ministered with great earnestness and success in different parishes in the State of New York until his death, which occurred in 1849. Four of his sons became practicing physicians; the eldest studied law, and afterward medicine, which he practiced ten years, and then entered the ministry of the Episcopal Church, and was chaplain during a part of the late rebellion to General Mead's I staff.
John, the third son, after receiving his academic education at Canandaigua and Richmond Academy, from which latter institution he graduated, turned his attention, together with a brother next older than himself, to the study of medicine, and entered the medical department of Hobart College. After remaining there during the years 1841-2 he left, and entered Castleton Medical College, Vermont, from which he was graduated in 1843, at the age of 20, and though the youngest in a class of 150, took the highest honors. In 1844 he settled at Weathersfield Springs, New York, where he remained about one year, and then removed to Bethany. During the five years that he remained here, he had charge of the insane asylum of that place, and conducted a successful and satisfactory practice, and performed the very delicate and difficult surgical operation of ovariotomy. In 1850 he sold his residence and good name to another practitioner, who has since figured largely as an army surgeon from the State of Iowa, and removed to Warsaw, about fourteen miles distant from Bethany, and during the next twelve years built up an extensive medical and surgical practice. Almost every surgical case of importance occurring for many miles around fell into his hands. While here he received from the trustees of the Buffalo University the appointment as one of the board of examiners of that institution. He was three times president of the Wyoming Medical Society, and for ten years its secretary. In 1861 he reviewed his medical studies at the Bellevue Hospital Medical College in the City of New York, and in 1862 received its ad eundem degree of M.D. In 1862 he secured the appointment from the adjutant general's office at Albany, of enrollment surgeon for the Wyoming district, and from the governor the appointment of assistant surgeon to the 61st Regiment, 29th Brigade, New York troops.
In the fall of 1862 Dr. Meachem removed to Racine, Wisconsin, where some years before he had become interested in real estate. Here, as at the past, he has given his undivided attention to his profession, and visited the poor as readily as the rich, and earned a reputation second to no one in southern Wisconsin. He was for six years a director of the Taylor Orphan Asylum, and one of the building committee to erect that magnificent structure at Racine, which will keep fresh the memory of Mr. and Mrs. Taylor. He is a trustee of Racine College, and one of the founders of St. Luke's Hospital, and together with his son has had charge of the medical and surgical department since its organization. He is the present mayor of Racine, having been elected in April by a very large majority. In the midst of his large professional and other duties he has found time for self-culture, and has contributed many valuable written articles to the medical journals of the country, and read some able papers at the meetings of his State Medical Society. He is a member of Racine Medical Association, the Wisconsin Medical Society and the American Medical Association. Dr. Meachem is an enthusiastic member of the Episcopal Church, and has for many years been senior warden of St. Luke's parish, Racine.
During the rebellion he was an active war democrat, and exerted his utmost influence in favor of the Union cause. In 1844 he was married to Myraette Doolittle, daughter of the late Reuben Doolittle, Esq., of Western New York, and sister of ex-Senator J. R. Doolittle. They have but one surviving child, a son, who studied medicine, and graduated from Rush Medical College, Chicago, in 1865, and who is a partner in business with his father and doing an extensive practice. [Source: The US Biological Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Wisconsin Edition (1877) transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
RACINE: Henry Mitchell was born in Fifeshire, Scotland, March 11, 1810, and is the son of William and Elizabeth (Jackson) Mitchell, whose ancestors had been inhabitants of the "land of brown heath and shaggy wood" back to a period lost in antiquity; a stern and sturdy race, self-reliant and liberty-loving; all natural born republicans. His father was a farmer, and, in addition to his agricultural pursuits, carried on a limited traffic between the capital and some of the smaller adjacent towns of Scotland, somewhat similar to that now transacted by the great express companies of America. He was descended of Covenanter stock, a man of sterling principles, unswervingly honest and upright, pious and devoted to the principles of his ancestors. In 1845 he followed his son to America and died in Racine in 1857. His mother was a sturdy, energetic woman, a devoted member of the Scotch Presbyterian Church, ambitious for the education and advancement of her children. She died in Kenosha in the year 1847.
William and Elizabeth Mitchell had a family of eleven children, seven of whom lived to maturity, four sons and three daughters. Of the sons, James and William are farmers in Lake County, Illinois. Agnes, the eldest daughter, is the wife of James Elder, a farmer in Minnesota. Catherine is the wife of George Yule, of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Eliza is the widow of the late Peter McCambridge, a wealthy merchant of Princes Street, Edinburgh, while the youngest son, Thomas, is a seed merchant in San Jose, California.
Our subject, Henry Mitchell, received his education in his native shire, mainly at an evening private school, where he gave special attention to the art of drawing. He was an apt scholar; persistent and painstaking, and generally excelled at whatever he set his mind on. At the age of fifteen he was apprenticed to learn the wheelwright business, at which he served faithfully for a period of seven years, becoming one of the most accomplished mechanics in his line, being especially expert in the manufacture of wheels. After completing his apprenticeship he was employed as foreman of a large shop in Edinboro, where he remained for eighteen months. In the year 1834 he immigrated to America and settled in Chicago, where he remained for five years, working in various shops at his trade. He also had a contract for constructing a portion of the Illinois and Michigan canal. In 1839 he removed to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he commenced business on his own account, built up a large trade, and remained until 1855, when he sold out his establishment to Edward Bain, who has since carried on the business with success. In the last named year Mr. Mitchell settled in Racine, his present home, where he purchased property, erected shops and commenced the manufacture of farm wagons and plows; at first on a limited scale, but steadily extending his operations as the demands of trade increased until at the present time his establishment is one of the largest and most perfectly equipped in the nation, being rivaled by but two others. The machinery, which is in many instances peculiar to the establishment, is perhaps the most complete and thoroughly adapted to the purposes for which it is designed to be found in the world. A stranger visiting this immense workshop for the first time and witnessing the operation of the vast and complicated machinery, the perfect adaptation of the various appliances to the designed end, the ease with which the several departments are carried on, all designed to ameliorate, if not to remove, the original "curse," can hardly resist the conclusion that the long expected millennium is at hand. The cash capital employed in the buildings and machinery is over half a million dollars, number of hands steadily employed over two hundred, while from eight to ten thousand farm and spring wagons are annually manufactured and sold; and these are among the most elegantly constructed, light and easy running vehicles of their kind in the world. It is needless to add that Mr. Mitchell has become wealthy and influential, and has surrounded himself with the luxuries and elegancies which adorn and refine human life. He has no taste for the responsibilities or distinction of public office, but at the solicitation of his fellow-citizens he has consented to fill the position of alderman of his ward for the past seven years. He is also a member of the Artesian Well Company of Racine, by means of which the city is supplied with water. He is likewise a stockholder in the Manufacturers National Bank of Racine, and is a promoter of every enterprise for the material or moral benefit of the community. He is a Master Mason, and has traveled extensively both in Europe and America, and is one of the best informed men of his day. He was raised in the Scotch Presbyterian Church, but on more fully considering the ground of his faith in maturer years, he united with the Baptist Church in 1839, and has since been a member of that body. He is an officer and one of the largest beneficiaries of the church of Racine, and largely owing to his liberality is due the erection of the present magnificent and commodious edifice of the denomination; nor is he less liberal in his contributions to Christian and benevolent objects generally.
In politics he has been generally claimed as a democrat, though he votes for men rather than party. He supported Mr. Lincoln for the presidency, and heartily espoused the cause of the North during the late rebellion. His career has been marked throughout by industry, close and unremitting attention to business, promptness, liberality in his dealings, courteous and gentlemanly manners, and by a scrupulous adherence to the strictest principles of integrity in all his transactions. His reputation in all the relations of life is unblemished. In social life he is characterized by a noble-heartedness and cordiality that render him at once both popular and influential.
He was married on the 1st of January, 1832, to Miss Margaret Mitchell, daughter of James Mitchell, his father's brother, a pious, amiable and benevolent lady, a devoted member of the Baptist Church, whose life has been spent in doing good to all about her. They have had eight children, two of whom died in infancy and six survive: William, Eliza, Mary, Martha, Henry, and Frank. William is an extensive saw-mill owner and lumber merchant in Olympia, Washington Territory; Mary is the wife of William F. Lewis, a member of the firm known as Mitchell, Lewis and Co.; Martha is the wife of C. D. St. Clair, also a member of the firm; Henry is overseer of the works, and Frank, the youngest, is bookkeeper of the establishment. [Source: The US Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Wisconsin Volume (1877) transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
RACINE: George Murray was born at Old Deer, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, July 27, 1823, and is the son of John and Ann (Pirie) Murray, natives of the same place. The ancestors of the family from time immemorial had belonged to the celebrated "Clan-Athol," the present head of which is the "Duke of Athol," a very amiable and courteous gentleman, greatly beloved and respected by his tenantry and retainers. The Murrays were among the oldest and most distinguished members of this clan. The father of our subject, like his ancestors, was a tiller of the soil, a man of sterling principles, unflinching integrity and unswerving loyalty to his country. He was, moreover, a pious and zealous member of the old "Kirk," and a man of much influence in his community. He died in 1859 in the seventieth year of his age. His mother, who is still living in her native Scotland, is a woman of superior gifts and attainments, an earnest, humble Christian, awaiting patiently the call of her Master. They had a family of ten children, eight of whom survive, namely, two sons and six daughters, of whom our subject is the eldest. His only brother, John, is settled in Africa, some five hundred miles distant from Port Natal, where for sixteen years past he has carried on an extensive farming business, and where he is likely to found a dynasty. The sisters reside in the mother country and are comfortably settled.
George received a very thorough English and mathematical education, together with a fair knowledge of the Latin language, at the parochial schools of his native village, and from the age of fifteen to twenty-five years devoted his attention to farming. The glowing reports, however, that were constantly reaching him from America, of the larger possibilities of the land beyond the ocean, made him discontented with his monotonous and unpromising Scottish life, and wish for the wider and more fertile fields of the western continent. Accordingly, in 1850, he immigrated hither and settled in Racine, Wisconsin, then a very small village, where he has since resided. His first employment on reaching his new home was a clerkship in the establishment of Hill and Durand, wholesale grocers and general merchants. Here he remained eighteen months, when he transferred his services to Pendleton and Taylor, lumber merchants, with whose establishment he has since been connected, the firm meantime changing to Taylor and Slauson, and afterward to Taylor and Co. In this last organization Mr. Murray became a partner. The business, which had now become quite extensive, was conducted under this name for a few years, when a new organization was effected under the style of Murray and Kelly, which has since been changed to that of Murray, Slauson and Co., the present name of the firm. The firm have also a manufacturing branch at Kewaunee, Wisconsin.
The success of Mr. Murray amply attests his business capacity. He is perhaps as fine an example as may be found of the sagacious prescience, the careful prudence and the stern persistence of his race, which has raised numbers of them to high positions and to great and deserved eminence in America. In addition to his lumber business he also carries on an extensive farm in the neighborhood of Racine, where his finely cultured taste is displayed in his magnificent residence, his beautiful and ornate grounds, and in his unsurpassed herd of shorthorns, the pride of the neighborhood. Mr. Murray is a gentleman of the highest moral integrity and business uprightness. In general and business conversation his words are few but pointed. He keeps his own counsel, and yet is frank and free, leaving no impression of a disposition to overreach or defraud. He is ingenious, sincere and honorable, and is, besides, a man of great generosity, gives liberally and cheerfully to the needy. As a citizen he is public-spirited and foremost in enterprises that have reference to the general good. In society he his genial and companionable. He loves company and entertains admirably. He is a man of excellent judgment and large common sense, but modest and simple in word and manner; his counsel is often sought and his advice generally followed.
Above all he is a Christian man whose daily walk attests the genuineness of his faith. He is a deacon in the First Presbyterian Church, of which he has been for many years a valuable and active member, regular and prompt in his attendance at church. Indeed, these two words may be said to characterize his whole life - regularity and promptness. In politics he is a republican.
He was married in March 1855, to Miss May Slauson, only daughter of Daniel Slauson, Esq., and sister to I. R. and Geo. W. Slauson, lumber merchants of Racine, a lady of great energy and force of character, possessing many excellent traits and a leader in many good works. They have no living issue. [Source: The US Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Wisconsin Volume (1877) transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
ROBERT MUTTER (Rep.) was born Dec. 20, 1873, in the town of Dover, Racine county, where 10 years before his parents had founded a Scotch settlement. He was educated in the district schools and after farming several years went to Burlington where he was employed in a hotel. He served as under sheriff from 1899 to 1903 when he was elected sheriff and since leaving that office has conducted a hotel and saloon in Racine. He has been a member of the county board for 10 years, being re-elected in 1918 for three years. He was elected to the assembly in 1918, receiving 2,090 votes to 947 for Joseph Bradac (Dem.), and 463 for William Summers (Ind.). [Source: The Wisconsin Blue Book (1919) page 500]
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